Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hermit-ing with Julia Child

Here I am! I'm blogging "hermit-style" just to let you know that I haven't moved (god forbid!) or gone into hiding (does sound nice). I AM feeling like a hermit these days, though. I've been trying to finish up my new design for the upcoming One Skein Wonder book by Judith Durant and, since I'm due to mail it out in less than 2 weeks, it's really down to the wire. I have many new pictures to upload to the Amanda Hat Gallery and also some other knitting and spinning related news.

I'm WAY behind in reading blogs so I hope you won't hold that against me. I'll be able to go back and read them all soon. Promise.

I have to say that, since reading Julia Child's "My Life in France", I am obsessed with the kooky chef. I can't believe what an interesting life she'd lead and how wonderfully refreshing she was! I HIGHLY recommend reading the book. I've gone so far as to borrow DVDs of her early cooking shows from the library to watch on the laptop while knitting this design. It's really a very nice arrangement! I'm not only more motivated to get my knitting done, but also to cook more delicious meals for the guys! It's a win-win, don't you think??

I want to publicly congratulate my hubby, Ian, for being almost 2 months SMOKE-FREE!!! He's doing so well and, although it's been very difficult on our family as well as on him specifically, I think it was the best thing to do and he's not only feeling better, but looking years younger, too. Yay, honey!!!

Well, I should be off. I'm going to the local elementary school tonight to register Ben for kindergarten. Ahhhhhh! Hopefully, I won't snivel and be all mushy while I'm handing in all his papers...all 700 of them...well, not THAT many, but close. My baby off to kindergarten...it's very traumatizing, I must say. Wish me luck!

More knitting news and lots of pictures soon!!!!

Happy Knitting!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Slightly Wavy

Whoa, I can't believe it's been almost a week since I blogged. I am BEAT! I still have my Christmas decorations up and my house is very slowly becoming a pigsty. Just enough so that I can feel it creeping up around me....damn dust bunnies and other crap!

Meanwhile, I've been working on no less than 5 PROJECTS at once:

-A new design using Heather's gorgeous Sereknity yarn in "Luxe", the 100% handpainted cashmere....oooooh....

-My Winter White Icarus shawl, which is about 12 inches long and coming along sooo beautifully. I just saw Hilary's last night and it's just lovely.

-My Wavy Scarf, shown above....which is about 2/3 done and coming along quickly. I bring this everywhere and I can work on it anytime...easy and mindless...compared to last time when it was kicking my ass. I think you get the hang of it once you make it once. I'm using Ella Rae Classic 100% wool, it's practically identical to Cascade 220.

-Tim's "Spherey" toy, which is also half done...in Lamb's Pride Worsted. It's going to be MUCH smaller than "Squarey", but very cute.

-A shop sample using SWS Oasis in Bistro for the Phiaro Scarf, found in the newest KnitScene. Very simple, but somehow this keeps getting pushed to the side. Must work on it more at work.

I've got the sniffles today and, thankfully, Ben hung out in bed and played with toys while I snoozed for a few extra minutes. I had lots of fun last night at knitting group, though we were missing some of our "regulars"....hopefully I'll see them on Friday. We had two new ladies join the group and I hope we didn't overwhelm them....we still had a HUGE group, even missing about 6 people.

I wish I could say that today I could rest, but I've got to take both kids (Tim's got midterms today so he'll be coming home from school early) to Exeter to get Ben's birth certificate. I can't believe I never got that! DUH! He's 5 years old now! Jeez...


Gallery Photos: 40 HATS and more than 6 that I haven't had a chance to add yet....it's sooo cool! (BTW, the Gallery, I've just found out, is only viewable if you actually go to my blog itself here. It doesn't show up if you're on a blog reader, for some reason.)

Bobby Awards: If you're on Ravelry, they are having a mini awards ceremony and The Amanda Hat is one of the chosen patterns for BEST FREE PATTERN 2007. Isn't that awesome??? If you're on Ravelry, I would truly appreciate your vote! Thanks!

Prizes: Pictures of the prizes are coming soon, so please keep a look out. If you have something you'd like to contribute, I'd be happy to advertise you and your blog/website, as a thank you. Anything knitting related is welcomed. Please email me if you'd like to contribute ; )

What Amanda hat is your favorite so far in the Gallery?

Friday, January 18, 2008

FO Friday: Pink Christmas Eve Mitts!

I've been meaning, for a WHILE, to update my Christmas Eve Cabled Mitts pattern...correct mistakes and also add newer pictures to it. After a few people on Ravelry told me that the pattern had a few mistakes in it, I thought I would finally get my butt in gear and get it done.

It's actually a very easy and pretty pattern, if I say so myself. LOL! I decided that, in order to make the pattern completely updated and perfect (I hope!), I should also knit the mitts again to make sure.

What do you think??


Pattern: Christmas Eve Cabled Mitts by me!
Yarn: 1 skein Elsbeth Lavold Angora
Needle: Size 7 dpns, 2 24" circs or 40" circ for Magic Loop
Time: I finished mine in one weekend, working on them only now and then.
Size: Woman's medium

*Note: Heather of Sereknity dyed this angora for me in memory of my sweet angora bunny, Little Miss Tubbsie. I didn't know what I would knit with it until the other night, when I was looking for a yarn for this pattern and missing my bunny. I have one more skein of it that I may use to knit a scarf to match the mitts.

Here is a close up of the yarn and mitt:

They are supremely warm, soft and very elegant. The yarn puffs up a bit with a nice halo, but not so much that you're gagging from bunny fur. If you decide to knit a pair (which I hope you will), PLEASE knit up a swatch first so that you get the correct gauge. And also, if you plan to add even one extra row to make them longer, buy an extra skein of this yarn because I literally had 1 inch of yarn leftover from the skein when I was finished....and I used only 3 inch tails on each end of the mitt. Just in case ; )

If you'd like to download any of my patterns on Ravelry, please go here:

Designs by Gina House

or if you'd like to download them from here on my blog, please:

Look over to the right of this page, scroll down to Sleepy Eyes Patterns and you will see all of them right there. They're all pdfs except for one (for now!) and you just have to click on it and it should start to download immediately.

Oh, and for all of you out there who have been saying to me, "Where the heck is the Amanda Hat Gallery????

Look over to the right of this blog page, scroll down to Sleepy Eyes Gallery and you will see three links underneath. The top on is called, Amanda Hats. Click on that and it will show you all the hats I've uploaded so far. I have a bunch more and will be updating them very shortly. I love seeing all the pics! Keep those hats coming!!

Have a great weekend and my next blog will be all about HOOPS!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Winter White Icarus

I've been dying to show you my newest knitting project, but have been up to my eyeballs in everyday life responsibilities (the usual mountains of laundry, visitors, bills and cleaning...ugh!) to actually be able to blog about it.

But, I promised myself that, if today was snowing, I'd do my best to take time to post. And, HERE I AM!

I was inspired (aka corrupted) by Hilary to start the Icarus shawl. She bought some gorgeous Cherry Tree Hill Merino laceweight from the store last week for her birthday and started her shawl right away. Now, I WAS trying to be good and finish the three projects (Noro lace scarf, Wavy scarf and shop sample Phiaro scarf...hmmm...why all the scarves, I wonder?) I already had on the needles, but I've been dying to start this every since I saw Cayli's shawl a few months ago.

When Hilary brought her SIP (shawl-in-progress) to knitting group last week, I was just bowled over. Amazed. Dazzled! I immediately went home, took out the gorgeous Alpaca with a Twist's Fino in "First Frost" and balled it up. Oh, this yarn is wonderfully "cleavage worthy" and has just a slight halo from the alpaca and shine from the silk. Start drooling....now.

Here is what my shawl looked like after one night:

Here is what it looks like close up:

The picture at the start of the blog is how far I got after only 3 days. and now that I am 5 days into it (with only about an hour's work a day), it is about 8 inches tall and 20 inches (or so, hard to tell on circs) wide, unblocked. The pattern is extremely easy to understand and I can even knit on it while at knitting group or during the day with Ben. It's not difficult at all and, since the yarn is so pleasing to work with, I'm really loving every minute of it.

One other FO that I forgot to show you is a hat I knit about 2 weeks ago. Get ready for a PINK ATTACK!


Pattern: Insubordiknit's Monster Hat Kit, "Hiya Cat"
Yarn: Jacey Bogg's Handspun and Handdyed single ply yarn in pinks and whites
Needle: Knit Picks Options size 9
Time: Only 1.5 days of knitting on and off, very quick knit.

I loved knitting Tim's Monster Hat and I begged Jacey to make me up a "Hello Kitty-like" kit. Isn't it great? It's a little big for me, even though I used the smallest needle size, but I knit loose. It's sooo warm and sooo cute!

One other thing....

On Friday night, after knitting, Blogless Amanda brought her new, adult size Hoola Hoop to show us and also demonstrate in the hallway outside the shop. I can't believe how fun it was to do it (though I was horribly spaz and only managed to do it with my knees) and so funny to watch others. Amanda said that it's great exercise, too. So....Lora has created a Ravelry group called "The Ravelhoopers" (I think...am I right?) and we're all going to make/buy our own hoops and then knit, then hoop. Though, at first, we won't be trying them at the same time. LOL!

Here's a great couple of pics of Heather doin' some hoopin'....with Jackie off to the right:

Go Heather!

Happy Hooping AND Knitting!

P.S. I put a Ravelry -along, called Amanda Hat Mania up on the site a couple days ago, so if you're on Ravelry and making an Amanda Hat, make sure to sign up for the group and also go back and link your Amanda Hat project to the group as well. I'd love to see lots of hats up on there by the end of week. Thanks!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Squarey...and the Amanda Hat UPDATE!

I am in LOVE with this little knitted guy that I made for Ben this week. Ben couldn't wait for me to finish him and asked every, single day if he was "done yet ?". I had lots of fun knitting this toy, too. Tim, trying not to look interested, kept passing by while I was knitting Squarey and then, finally, he couldn't contain himself anymore....he started looking at the pattern book and pointed to "Spherey" and said, "Uh, can you make me that one?" (of course!)

Here is Ben loving his Squarey:


Pattern: "Squarey" from "Unusual Toys for you to Knit and Enjoy" by Jess Hutchinson
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Worsted- 1 skein orange and a few yards of purple and turquoise
Needles: Size 8 32" circular for Magic Loop
Time: 5 days
Fun Level: B+, loved knitting with this yarn, the pattern was very easy to understand, well written and cute as hell...the only thing that took away from super fun is the final sewing up of the body, arms and legs. That was a bit tedious.

I'm looking forward to starting Tim's "Spherey" and I think he'll be even easier...he's knit in the round! I'm getting the yarn on Friday at the store. Woo-hoo!

Now....on to....the "Do the Amanda" UPDATE!

Ravelry: 133 people heart my hat pattern and there are 49 knitted hats finished or in progress at the moment. I am thrilled!!!

Gallery: I have 25 hats in the gallery so far and I have at least 4 more that I need to put in. I've been adding new pics to my other galleries, as well, so make sure to check those if you're interested.

Other News: The yarn store, Nana's Knitting Shop in Illinois has asked my permission to have an "Amanda Hat" class! They'll be taking pics of everyone knitting their hats and pics of the shop, too, to send to me to share. I can't wait to see the diversity of those hats and how nice they'll look wearing them....

Prizes: As of this moment, I am getting together delicious skeins of yarn, stitch markers and other goodies for the winner of the contest. (so much fun!) And, Blogless Amanda has had another idea as well. Giving three prizes...first, second and third prizes. This way, more people have a chance to win...Amanda is the judge!

There will be a prize for:

1. Best Hat using Malabrigo yarn
2. Best Hat using a non-Malabrigo yarn
3. Best and Most Interesting Photo wearing the Amanda Hat

There is still over a month for the contest, so you have plenty of time to knit another hat, if you'd like. There is no limit on the number you can enter. I love opening up my email and seeing all these new and beautiful hats. It's like Christmas!

*A few people have sent me links to their photos or told me where they are so that I can add them in, but...if it's at all possible...I would really appreciate the pics being sent to my email address if you'd like to be added to the gallery. I'm getting a bunch every day and need to edit the pics as well, so I don't always have time to go and find a picture. Thanks so much!*

One more thing....I wanted to give Sonya a HUGE thank you on the blog because she is one who gave me the idea to make this hat. She is the inspiration behind this super comfy and quick to knit hat that we're all enjoying and I wanted to make sure that she knows how grateful I am for her great idea. You rock, Sonya!!

Before I go, I wanted to say a HUGE "HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!!" to my hubby, Ian and share a pic of Ian (and Ben) blowing out the candles on his ice cream cake. He turned 35 on the 8th (and I can be younger for another 4 months!!! he he) and we had a small party while his parents were visiting from Texas. Love you, Ian!!

Happy knitting and keep those hats coming!!!!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

"DO the AMANDA" KAL/Contest

It's almost FO Friday!

To start off the first Friday of 2008 in the best possible way, I am having a KAL/Contest!

Wanna know more? Read on...!


What? A Knit along for my Amanda Hat pattern...a contest and prizes!
Where? Here, on my blog, of course!
When? Starting now until Blogless Amanda's birthday - February 21st, 2008.
How? Knit as many Amanda Hats as you'd like to win a prize and to have your hat (plus name and webpage link) in my "Amanda Hats" Gallery! Grab the button on the right (link to this post) and you're ready to go...!

*Note: The Amanda Hat was named after one of my closest (and most fabulous) friends, Blogless Amanda. (She is the model for the hat on the pattern.) After all of the Amanda hats are knit and pictures posted (pics must be sent!) to the Gallery, Amanda herself will pick her favorite hat and that person will win an awesome yarn-y prizes!!! All submissions must be sent to me by midnight on the 21st and the winner will be revealed on the last day of February.

Wanna join in? Start now...!


The Amanda Hat pattern

Size 9 16" circ and dpns (or needle size to get gauge)

2 oz/60 grams of Malabrigo worsted yarn or a heavy weight worsted yarn of your choice. (You can click on the Gallery at the right to get yarn inspiration!)

*Note: I was able to use only half a skein of Malabrigo for this hat, so 2 hats are possible with this exact yarn, but you must be very, very careful...leaving a tail of only 3 inches at the start and a 5-6 inch tail at the end. Knitting to gauge (though I know is tedious, but necessary) is a must if you want to get 2 out of 1 skein. I was also able to make 1 Amanda Hat and also a pair of little boy mittens out of one skein with a yard left over.

One more thing about the yarn- I strongly recommend Malabrigo, not only because of the yardage and thickness, but because the hat becomes just truly LUXURIOUS and SUPER CUDDLY and you'll love it more if you use this yarn. Some have used other yarns and still fell in love with them, but others thought the yarn they used was a bit scratchier than they thought and were slightly disappointed. But, it's totally up to you! Amaze me (and Amanda) with your gorgeous hats!

If you have something you'd like to DONATE for this KAL, I would love to hear from you. I will advertise and link to you, if you have a store for the entire duration of the KAL/Contest.

*I will try to get this on Ravelry as well, so if you get a chance, you can check it out there...I can't promise I'll have time, but I WILL try!*

Now...go on...."DO the AMANDA"!!!!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Resolutions-Knitting Style!

Happy New Year, Knitting Friends!!!

Can't believe it's already January 1st of 2008! Where has the time gone?

I'm starting off my new year on the right path! The FO Path!

My first FO of 2008, highly recommended to me by the fabulous Melissa, whose birthday we celebrated on Sunday. Happy Birthday, Lisha!! (Also, a very Happy Birthday to Sarah and Amy, as well!!)

These are the Noro Fingerless Mitts from MimoKnits:


Yarn: Noro Silk Garden, color 205 B
Needles: Knit Picks Options size 7 and 9 (magic loopin' it)
Dimensions: 8.5 inches long and 3.75 inches wide (there was no gauge or finished dimensions on the pattern, so I can't be sure if I was knitting to gauge. I tried knitting more tightly than usual (I'm VERY loose...lol), but it still seemed a bit large.
Time: Two Days
Rating: B+ (great fun!)

*Notes: The scale that Jackie got me certainly came in handy with this pattern. I wasn't entirely confident that this single skein would make the two mitts, but once I made one, I weighed it and...sure enough...I had a little more than half the skein left over for the other mitt. My hand seems to be much smaller than MimoKnits and I needed to take 5 rounds off the final top part, before the ribbing. Also, I wish I'd used only 7 rounds, instead of 11, after the cuff...my mitts are a bit on the long side. And, for the thumb, I knit 3 rounds less of the ribbing...to shorten the top. (I think I have freakishly short thumbs). Besides these adjustments, I LOVED the pattern and it was fun and easy. I especially liked the way the increases for the thumb is made....super attractive and MUCH simpler!

A close up on the yarn and pattern of the thumb:

Now, on to my New Year's Resolutions. This year, instead of making a HUGE list of things I won't do (while knowing full well that I will probably end up doing them anyway), I'm making a list of 10 things that I'm definitely doing....with knitting and spinning, that is!


1-3. I am going to finish at least 3 wip's....preferably....my Lizard Ridge Afghan, my Tim's sweater, and my RockStar Scarf...all of which have been on the back burner for some time.

4. I am going to blog more....2 posts a week at least, instead of 1, which I've ended up doing this past month with all the craziness.

5-6. I will knit at least 2 (yes, count'em, 2!!) lace shawls this year. One, a functional, warm and cozy one...the Spinner's Shawl. And the other, something really beautiful. I have 3 "beautiful" shawls in mind....the HoneyBee Stole, the Icarus, and the Wings of the Moth shawl.

7. Since my Ravelry account is coming along really well (over 100 fully finished projects with pics now!), I want to learn to take some better pictures with my digital camera.

8. It's going to be a very selfish year. I'm calling this the "Year of Knitting Selfishly 2008" and start knitting projects only for myself....and not have to feel that ever growing panic, arm pain, neck tightness and very slight "obligation-feeling" that comes with Christmas knitting...no matter how loved the recipient or how wonderful the project. (The exception to this is knitting for babies, in which I feel little or none of this for some reason.)

9. Yarn and Fiber will be bought in very minimum amounts and some will be donated to high school knitting clubs (Hannah, I'll have a bag for you shortly!) or traded for something else. I'm trying very hard to use up what I have...or at least make the output more than the input. (Is it really possible?)

10. SPIN MORE! I used to dedicate at least one day a week to spin, but have gotten out of the habit and I sorely miss it. I'm thinking...which day do I have the least amount of work to do and errands to run...and when I'll REALLY need some stress relief. Make Friday afternoon? Or maybe Tuesday?

And...now....make sure to come back on Friday to check on the new Sleepy Eyes Knit Along....grab a skein of Malabrigo (or some other very soft, slightly heavy worsted yarn) and a 16" size 9 (or so...please check your gauge!) circular needle. I'm starting the 2008 "DO the AMANDA" Knitalong....for my Amanda Hat pattern. I'll be correcting a mistake and changing the pic on the pattern so hold off on grabbing it until Friday, if you can. If you don't mind the slightly "off" version, then go ahead and get it now. See you then!