Gift Knitting Part 1

Hello Everyone!

I hope you all had a Happy and Safe New Year!  May your 2016 be your best year yet!

The holidays may be over, but I am still gift knitting.  I may have bitten off more than I could chew this year.  I also had some surprise gift knitting I had to get done.  More on that in a later post.

I was however, successfully able to send 3 Christmas gifts off and they were all very well loved by the recipients.

The first was a pair of socks for my dear Mother-in-Law.  I knit her a pair of Heart to Heart Socks from Toe-Up Socks for Every Body, by Wendy D. Johnson.  I knit these socks out of Lisa Souza Bouncy Hardtwist Petite in the colorway Persephone, a beautiful vibrant royal blue.  My mother-in-law LOVED them!  She hasn’t even worn them yet, she has however shown them off to all her friends who also knit.  That makes me feel good, but I hope when she does wear them, she loves the way they feel.

Heart to Heart Socks for my Mother-in-Law
Heart to Heart Socks for my Mother-in-Law

I also knit a pair of socks for my mom.  I knit her the Crocus Socks, also from Toe-Up Socks for Every Body,   This is a second addition to Wendy’s book, Socks from the Toe-Up, that I have knit my way through.  Yes, I will be starting to knit my way through this one as well and will further review the book and patterns later.  I knit my mom’s socks in Lisa Souza Bouncy Hardtwist Petite in the colorway Fifi.  It is multi-colored, pink, blue, yellow and brown.  My mom is very creative and an artist and loves bright colors and she loves these socks.  It makes me feel good when the people I knit for truly appreciate what I knit for them.

Crocus Socks for my Mom
Crocus Socks for my Mom

The final projet I was able to ship before Christmas was a hat for my Aunt, I knit her the Pebbled Beanie by Elisabeth Parker as published in Weekend Hats, by Cecily Glowik MacDonald and Melissa LaBarre.  I also knit this out of another skein Lisa Souza Bouncy Hardtwist Petite in the colorway Persephone.  My Aunts favorite color is blue so I thought she would love this and luckily I was right.  She was also able to use her new hat on Christmas morning and the day after as she shoveled snow.  I know she wasn’t happy about having to shovel snow, but at least her head was warm.

Pebbled Beanie for my Aunt.
Pebbled Beanie for my Aunt.

A note on the yarn, I do love Lisa Souza and try to get her yarns whenever I see them.  They are so well spun and dyed.  The colors are so bright and fabric from the hard twist that I used is drapey yet sturdy. Just what I am looking for in hats and socks. Its a comfy fabric but nice and warm and durable. I also purchased this yarn at Rhinebeck 2015 when I was there with the recipients of these items in mind.  I stayed in the Lisa Souza booth because I wanted them all to have similar type yarn and there was so much variety of colors it was easy to pick for everyone.

Anyway, I must make dinner and continue knitting my last Christmas (Valentine’s Day) knitting project.  Also, Season 6 of Downton Abbey premiers tonight so I better be glued to the couch and TV by then to watch.

I will talk to you soon!

Happy Knitting everyone!

LYS and Christmas Cheer

Hello Everyone!

I hope you are all surviving the holiday’s.  I love Christmas, I love this time of year but every year, it just comes right at me in a huge expensive ball of stress and anxiety.  But I think I am done for the most part.  I have all my gifts knitted and shipped and my Christmas shopping as of this morning is DONE!!!!  Phew!

Yes, I knit 3 Christmas gifts this year and I will tell you all about them and show pictures after Christmas.

Another reason why I love this time of year and I know this will make me sound like a spoiled 6 year old but I don’t care, is my birthday is on the 11th.  Exactly 2 weeks before Christmas.  This year, my WONDERFUL Husband surprised me with a weekend trip of one of my favorite cities, Chicago.  We had an amazing time. We saw friends, shopped on Michigan Ave and saw all the Christmas lights and decorations and on Saturday, we went Yarnify (click on the name for their website) on Polk St.  It is a fabulous LYS in a funky neighborhood.  I love this store and will for sure visit every time I am back in Chicago.  All the yarn is divided by weight in rooms. DK in one room, fingering in another, etc., and all the ladies working there are more than happy to show you around or just chat about yarn or anything else with you. There are even comfy chairs for tired and patient husbands.  I had limited room in my suitcase to buy too much yarn but I did walk away with a skein of MadelineTosh Tosh Sock in Hasta Blue and Jilly Lace Dream in Poppy.  I think this may be like my 2nd skein of lace yarn and have no idea what I am going to do with it but I couldn’t resist the color.  Yarnfiy also has a downstairs with classrooms, roving and books.  My feet were killing me from walking all morning so I did go down, sit and look at their amazing selection of books.  Like I said before, next time I am in Chicago I will definitely go again and I think you should all go as well, you will be in for a treat in the middle of an already fabulous city.

Well, I am home now and we are a week from Christmas, I am trying to take it easy as all my decorating, shopping and knitting is done.  Now I can do some selfish knitting for a bit and put my feet up and enjoy this holiday season.  I hope you are all doing the same.  Remember what Bing Crosby said, it is the most wonderful time of the year.

Have a very safe and Happy Holiday and I will talk to you soon.

-Alexis

Travel Knitting

Hello Everyone!  I hope all who celebrated are still nicely stuffed from Thanksgiving and still enjoying the leftovers.  I also hope you all survived Black Friday if you dared and braved the malls.

Since Thanksgiving weekend is traditionally the biggest travel weekend of the year.  I thought I would take this time to write about travel knitting and really how wonderful it is.

I love to travel and I love travel knitting.  I always feel like I get so much knitting done when I am travel knitting.  When it comes to road trips, my wonderful husband drives and I just sit and knit hexi-puffs. I have the pattern memorized and they are small so I can fit them in my purse or overnight bag.  Usually before we leave for our trip, I grab 3 balls of yarn from my hexi-puff kit as well as my needles and other supplies that I keep in a small bag in my kit, and go.  Depending on how long the car ride is is how many Hexi-puffs I can get done. It take me about 45 minutes to knit one puff.  Also, depending on how much downtime and energy I have at our destination I try to knit a few more.  Usually while sitting on the bed watching TV at the hotel at night.

As for flying or more extended trips, I usually pack a sock in my travel purse to work on.  Just like Hexi-puffs, a sock is a small project that can be easily thrown in a big purse or carry-on and will fit in your lap or the tray table on the airplane.  The day before, I will get my sock pattern ready, wind my yarn and get my needles and stitch markers, measuring tape and row counter into a baggie and throw it all in my travel purse.  I will also usually take my whole tool kit with scissors and pack it my luggage.  I have never had a problem getting my knitting through TSA, but I always pack wooden needles just incase.  Once at the airport I will then cast on my sock. I love sitting there in the airport, everyone is on their phone or other electronic devices and I am knitting.  I’ve even done it at the airport bar with a beer in front of me.  I will continue to knit as soon as I board the plane and just recently have accomplished cables while taking off.  I love to fly, but turbulence does make me a little nervous, knitting gives me something else to think about.  I do usually get a good amount knit on the plane ride and again depending on my downtime and energy at my destination I will knit some more.  On our recent trip to see family in Michigan I was able to knit every night, even more than usual so I got a lot done. Which I really liked since it was Christmas knitting.  I even brought the yarn for my next Christmas knitting project just in case.

I love how travel knitting makes the time go by quickly especially if you are excited to get to your destination or if you are stuck or delayed.  I don’t even mind the looks I get when I am knitting in the airport or on the plane. I also love it when I see other travelers knitting or crocheting as well.

What do you like to knit when you travel?  Do you bring an existing project or start something new?  I would love to hear about it and any other travel knitting stories.

Talk to you soon.

-Alexis

Relaxed, Rested and Ready for the Holidays

Hello Everyone!

The hubs and I just returned from a vacation up in Michigan to visit family and friends.  We had a great time and both really needed this time off.  We are now relaxed and rested and ready for the holiday season!

While on vacation, I was able to get some quality gift knitting in. I have four people I am gift knitting for this year and just finished one gift today.  I am proud to say it is now blocking.  Three more gifts to go. Ekk?!?!  Really what is stressing me out is that all four of these gifts need to be shipped So its to like I can I still be working on these on Christmas Eve.

So what am I knitting for gifts you might ask?  I will tell you after Christmas.  Some of the recipients know what they are getting but they don’t know all the details, color, pattern, etc. so no.  I am not telling you until after Christmas.

Well.  I better get knitting on gift number two. I will talk to you all soon and everyone have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving.

-Alexis

Gin and Tonic and Yarn

Hello again everyone!

Well, I told you last time about Rhinebeck and how wonderful that was so here I am today to tell you about the Indie Untangled Trunk Show the night before Rhinebeck. Its like the pre-party to Rhinebeck in my opinion.

First of all, when I got to the Best Western Kingston there was a LINE OUT IN THE PARKING LOT!!!  I couldn’t believe it. But once I got in line, I realized it moved fast and they were all knitters of course so I made friends while we made our way inside.   Once inside I could see what the line was all about it.  Wonderful indie vendors that are all apart of the Indie Untangled network.  Check out their website  Indie Untangled .

At the show, I was using every ounce of self-control not to buy everything there and save my money for Rhinebeck.  But I did buy a few things. The first thing that caught my eye was a beautiful skein of fingering weight yarn from ColorPurl in the “Mussels in White Wine” colorway, this is a luscious deep dusty purple. I later learned that the dyer does this in her spare time, after her full-time job.  So much yarn and so many beautiful colors.  It was hard to pick the one I did, but really, it picked me.

Indie Untangled show #rhinebeck2015

A photo posted by Alexis (@butterfly_knitter) on

I also bought 2 skeins of DK Oakworth in the color way “Damselfly” from Eden Cottage Yarns.  Another skein of sock yarn from Sophie’s Toes Sock Yarn in the “Rhinebeck Twilight” color way, Alpenglow Rangeland sock yarn in the color way “Juicy”.  A bright perfect Orange.  And to top it all off, while I was waiting for the raffle drawing (I didn’t win) I picked up a skein of fingering Three Fates Yarns in the color way “Lilypad”.  I couldn’t resist.  It was an amazing show. I also heard that the hotel bar had even made a special drink, so I moseyed over to have a taste.  It was a bourbon drink and I am not a fan of bourbon so I just had a Gin and Tonic and sat in the hotel lounge, knitting and making new knitting friends.  The lounge was also a restaurant.  It was filled with knitters, along with the hotel lobby.  I think other hotel guests who were just enjoying their dinner could not believe their eyes with all the knitters sitting around doing our thing. Knitting.

Indie Trunkshow loot. Soo hard not to spend all my #rhinebeck2015 money here

A photo posted by Alexis (@butterfly_knitter) on

If/When I ever go to back to Rhinebeck, the Indie Untangled show will defiantly be on my list, and it should be on yours also.  It’s the Friday before Rhinebeck usually at the Best Western Kingston.  About across the river from the town of Rhinebeck.  Check the link above for more details and their fabulous website and blog.

See you all next time and Happy Knitting?  Oh is anyone doing any gift knitting this holiday season?

-Alexis

Rhinebeck Memories

Hello Everyone!

It has been exactly one week since Rhinebeck and I have been recovering, re-living all the wonderful memories and enjoying my new yarn ever since.

Rhinebeck was INCREDIBLE!!!!  I loved every second and it was everything I thought and heard it would be and more.

My Rhinebeck journey started at 3:30 a.m. Central Time on Friday morning as I rose to make my way to the airport to catch my 6:30 flight to St. Louis and then it was off to Newark!  Upon arrival in Newark, I’m not gonna lie, I was giving myself a pep-talk. I was about to drive my rental car through the unfamiliar and busy city of Newark, I was a little scared.  Of course my GPS had other plans, before I knew it I was driving over the George Washington Bridge and into The Bronx.  I have always wanted to go to NYC but this was not how I wanted to do it and not a time to look around at the skyscrapers.  I was SCARED!!!  But I did good.  Honestly, once I was over the bridge, traffic was fine.  The traffic in The Bronx wasn’t that bad and once I got out of the city it was like I was a million miles away, surrounded by golden trees.

Ok, skip to that evening in Kingston, NY at the Indie Untangled Trunk Show.  Wow!  There was a line to get in!  It was amazing, all the vendors were independent dyers and spinners.  In fact, I think I will devote a whole other blog post just to the Indie Untangled show so stay tuned.  There is just to much to say.

Greetings from #rhinebeck2015

A photo posted by Alexis (@butterfly_knitter) on

If you have never been to Rhinebeck, you need to go!  Book your hotel now because they book up fast and go!  If you have been to Rhinebeck, then you know everything I am about say. Rhinebeck, is like Comic Con for knitters.  Everyone is wearing their Rhinebeck sweaters and other hand knits. Myself, in addition to my Gnarled Oak Cardigan, was also wearing my Maine Morning Mitts and my Greenery Beret in the morning to beat the morning chill.  I have also never see so many crowds in my life.  If you are not into crowds, go to Rhinebeck on Sunday.  So many wonderful vendors, including of course, Miss Babs, Liza Souza and Bijou Basin Ranch but others that I just discovered, including Sweiters Fiber Mill, I swear I have purchased from them before. SinsAndNeedles89/Primrose Pottery, ( I got a beautiful hand dyed skein of sock yarn and a hand sewn project bag.  She dyes and sews everything herself and also makes and handpaints yarn bowls with TV and movie characters)  I also purchased some worsted weight yarn from Buckwheat Bridge Angoras who grow and make the yarn on their farm in the Hudson Valley using solar and wind energy.  I got a skein of fingering yarn in Angora and Romney from Gravers Dream and some soft colorful yarn from The Periwinkle Sheep. I love the colors on this yarn, Bold grays and greens.  Not sure yet what I will do with it, the color way is called “Grass in a Crack in the Sidewalk.”

I got so much yarn, I had to ship some home, most of the yarn was for me yes, but some I did get for Christmas knitting.  I honestly can’t wait to cast on my Rhinebeck yarn.  I had a wonderful time.  The food was great (Artichokes French are everything they say they are) I bought a bottle of wine from the Finger Lakes region I have yet to open.  I made some great new friends and even met some old friends up there and we walked around and explored Rhinebeck further.  She just lives in the city and comes every year so she gave me some tips to remember for next time.  Like Sunday’s are much quieter.

My haul from the day. Not too bad.#rhinebeck2015

A photo posted by Alexis (@butterfly_knitter) on

The town of Rhinebeck is also so cute.  I left the fair at about 3 on Saturday and spent the rest of the evening walking around Market Street in Rhinebeck and had a lovely dinner at a restaurant called The Local.  I thought about the Terrapin but The Local got great reviews from locals I talked to.

I left the fair on Sunday after giving half my haul to the UPS tent that was set up with nothing but wonderful memories of my weekend. I will definitely go again.

If you went to Rhinebeck let me know what you thought? Did you buy a ton of yarn?  Have you never been but want to go?  Let me know!

Talk to you all again soon.

-Alexis

All In The Family

Hello Everyone!

Sorry I didn’t post last week,  my Mom and my Aunt Mary were in town.  We had so much fun.  Since Bob and I bought our house last February, my mom decided to drive down and bring me all my old stuff. It has been a walk down memory lane looking through it all.  Anyway, my Aunt Mary came with her and they had a great road trip by themselves but I think we all had a great time here in OKC.

For a long time, I have been wondering where I get this knitting from.  I am a self taught knitter and no one in my family really knits as actively as I do. One night while my family was in town my aunt was watching me knit and she mentioned something about when she was teaching her daughter (my cousin) to knit.  I never knew my aunt knew how to knit.  She said she learned from her sister (my other aunt) who learned from her grandmother who probably just learned as a child because that is what you did on the farm in the turn of the century.  I never knew.  So I guess this knitting of mine is really just all in the family.

Also while my family was in town, I finished the Van Dyke socks.  I just know put them on sock blockers.  They are nice and long and cozy. Perfect for cold winter nights.

Van Dyke Socks
Van Dyke Socks

Also, the other night, I went to the Oklahoma State Fair and stumbled upon alpaca yarn that is raised 30 minutes from my house. I love that!  The company is called Mustang Alpaca after the town it is from.  It is worsted weight and 150 yards so I really have no idea what I am going to do with it but I am excited and will let you know.

Mustang Alpaca
Mustang Alpaca

Well, that is all I have for today.  I will talk to you all again soon.

Happy Knitting!

-Alexis

Hexi-Puffs on the Road

Hello Everyone!

I hope you are all enjoying your Labor Day weekend. I am so glad to have an extra day.  I had a race yesterday in Kansas City (ok, Overland Park, Kansas)  Its about 5 hours from OKC and not a bad drive.  Of course on the drive I had to have some road knitting.  And what did I knit? Hexi-Puffs of course.  I got 11 done on my trip.  The night before I had Bob randomly pull 3 balls of yarn out of my hexi-puff yarn bag. Two of the balls he pulled I have had in that bag since I began making Hexi-puffs 3 years ago and for some reason those are the ones I automatically pull out of that bag every time, even though I never look at what yarn I am pulling out.  I like to be random that way.  Well, I did manage to use up one of those balls on the trip, the other ball  still has a few hexi-puffs left in it.  We are going on another road trip this weekend. I wonder if I will end up pulling that one out of the bag? I will let you know.

My race went well by the way, it was hilly and hot!  When I think of Kansas I do not think of hills but there were hills. But it was a good race, I think I did really well.

Besides road trip knitting, I have a pair of socks on my needles at home.  I am knitting the Van Dyke Socks from Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson. Yes, this is the sock books I am knitting my way through,and I am almost done. I am on the last chapter, Sportweight Socks. So yes, these socks are knit in sport weight yarn. I am knitting these with Baah! La Jolla Original Hand Painted yarn in the Chocolate Cherries colorway. It is a bright red yarn with flecks of black throughout. This yarn is 100% Superwash Merino and wonderful to knit with and is making a thick cozy fabric.  It is a little knotty though but they are easy enough to get out.  I am right now working on the gusset for the first sock.

Well, that is all I have for today. Everyone enjoy the rest of your Labor Day!

Happy Knitting,

-Alexis

Big Bad Blankets and Shawls

Hello Everyone!  Happy Sunday!  I have been quite productive this week.

First of all, I finished my special project and delivered it.  My co-worker is having a baby and we held a baby shower for her this last week.  I knit her the Big Bad Baby Blanket.  I have knit this several times for several babies, it is such a simple blanket, not only simple to make but simple in look so it will go with any nursery decor or what ever style the parents have.  And most important, it is soft.  Well, that depends on the type of yarn you use.  But when knitting anything for a baby, it MUST be soft, and washable.  When I knit for adults, I usually give care instructions, mostly, hand wash cold, lay flat to dry.  Knowing (hoping) the recipient will take care of their hand knit gift. But with babies.  It is inevitable, they are going throw up on this lovingly hand knit item, and mom does not have time wash this by hand.  So yes, washable soft yarn.  I think every time I have knit this it has been with KnitPicks Swish Worsted.  It is a soft washable yarn that gets softer with each washing.

Big Bad Baby Blanket by Lisa Shobhana Mason
Big Bad Baby Blanket by Lisa Shobhana Mason

This is the point where I would post a picture of the blanket, but in my excitement to give this to my co-worker, I forgot to take a picture. So here is a picture of the same blanket I gave to another baby.

Yesterday, I finished the Yowza Weigh it Shawl.  This has got to be the longest shawl I have ever knit.  I also used almost all of the yarn.  You can see the tiny scrap of yarn I had left after that big ball.  I will try to post another picture of the shawl but here it is fresh out of the sink blocking.

All thats left from my big ball of yarn.
All that’s left from my big ball of yarn.

I think I am going to knit a pair of socks.  More on that next week.  Until then, have a great week and happy knitting everyone.

-Alexis

Yowza Weigh it Shawl
Yowza Weigh it Shawl

Boy Yowza!

Hello Everyone!

Happy Sunday, I am sorry I have been absent for a bit.  While I do try to post on a weekly basis, honestly, sometimes I don’t have much to write about that week and would rather wait for a week to give you guys something good.

Gnarled Oak Cardigan

Boy do I have something good today.  I finished my Rhinebeck Sweater!  It is done.  It fits perfectly and I can’t wait to wear it a Rhinebeck.  The yoke was the last part I had to knit and it was a little interesting to knit. One Friday night I was really on a roll working on it and about halfway done.  I took a look at it before I went to bed and realized I purled where I should have knit and vice versa.  Of course, it was late and night and I was tired so I thought…Well, it looks OK, no one is really going to know. Knowing full well, I end up tearing the yoke out but I REALLY didn’t want to.  I went to bed vowing to sleep on it.  The next morning, coffee in my hand (on the coffee table) cooking shows on TV to work taking out the yoke.  Then, the weirdest knitting phenomenon happened. This seems to happen every time I takeout a piece of knitting and start again.  The yoke flew off my needles.  It had taken me a week to get to the point I was on the yoke when I had to take it out and I was to that point by Sunday night. It wasn’t long until I was finished with the yoke, collar, button band, and by the end of the week, I was grafting under the sleeves and finished with the sweater. I blocked the next Saturday.

MissBabs Yowza Whatt Skein

That was about 2 weeks ago.  Since then, I have also finished another special project I will tell you about next week.  I am now working on the Yowza Weight it Shawl by Susan B. Anderson.  It is the easiest shawl ever, I would highly recommend to anyone, beginners, travelers or those that just want some mindless knitting.  I just happened to have a skein of MissBabs Yowza Whatta Skein in the colorway Faded that I purchased a few years ago at Maryland Sheep and Wool.

Yowza whatta yarn ball!I LOVE this yarn, while I was winding it into its giant ball I love the way it is spun, It is spun very smooth and doesn’t knot or tangle very easily and when it does, it is easy to take out.  I hate it when my yarn tangles and I have to end up either knitting the knots into my work or cutting the knots out or just simply wasting time taking knots out. Anyway, this shawl, Susan describes it in her blog Susanbanderson.com, but I’m going to tell you anyway.  Instead of counting, all you have to do is weigh it with a kitchen scale.  You start with 8 oz of worsted weight yarn,  cast on 9 stitches and knit per a VERY easy pattern until you have 3 oz of yarn until you come to the next set of instructions. I am working on it and have about 6 oz of yarn left.  Its great for sitting on the couch and zoning out in front of the TV.

Ok, well, that was a long post, I even have more to write about.  Maybe I should try to post once a week.  Ok, I will see you guys next week. Until then, enjoy the rest of the summer and I will talk to you soon.

Happy Knitting,

Alexis