Sunday, March 29, 2009

Who doesn't like free stuff?

Head on over to Knit Purl Gurl for a great contest. A chance to win almost $60 worth of yarn? Yay!

Friday, March 27, 2009

On the Needles - 03/27/2009

Right now, I'm working on an ADORABLE watermelon dress for my niece Jorja for her 2nd birthday coming up next month. I'm about half-way finished with it and it's looking really great. I've been searching all over for some watermelon seed shaped buttons or beads to put on it... but no luck. If you know where I could find some, please let me know! I checked Shipwreck and Fire Mountain beads online, among others, no go. It's driving me crazy.

I recently finished a cute summer top. Pictures will probably come sometime next week.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Crossing my fingers

I sent in my resume and cover letter to a reputable company offering a work from home position with customer service, technical and knitting knowledge being the key components. I worked on my stuff for several hours yesterday and I hope it's good enough to stand out. If I get this job... my hubby and I could very well afford to finally get on our feet.

In other news, I'm currently working with several testers on my Thorn Lace sock pattern. A few minor errors were pointed out and corrected, but overall everyone's saying my pattern looks well written and easy to follow. I've been stewing in pride the past two days. It's not often I get complimented, and when it's on something that's so important to me, it makes me even happier.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Yay!


I got my Knit Picks Options set in the mail yesterday. It came in a handy carrying case, which I was able to stuff with not only the set that came with it, but also my current cables, needles, and fixed circulars as well as some notions. Overall, I'm very pleased with my purchase!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thorn Lace Socks



If you'd like to test the pattern for errors, send me an e-mail at ladyfirelyght AT gmail DOT com. I look forward to hearing from you! The finalized pattern will be offered for sale

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I like to keep it low-budget.

Good (including tapestry or yarn) needles, yarn, tape measure, and scissors are the only truly necessary pieces of equipment you need to have in order to knit. But if you look around, you'll see thousands of different knitting-related items that many people like to have. Needle holders, stitch markers, gauge measurers, yarn guides (for your fingers), and the list goes on and on. All this can add up to hundreds of dollars if you don't watch out. I'm on a budget, so I can't afford all the fancy stuff.

I had some acrylic yarn from years back when I used to do loom knitting. When I first started regular knitting, I bought a 70, yes 70!!, piece DPN set. I had no idea what to do with them to keep them organized. So I thought about it... and I figured it out. I took two contrasting yarns, and knit a 8x20" rectangle. It was stockinette except for the top and bottom, which I did in reverse stockinette. It helps to keep the needles in there. I then put all of my DPNs in order onto it by inserting them into the loops. Each size alternated the colors, so I could easily pull out each "set" if I needed to. Starting from the largest needle size, I rolled the thing up as tightly as I could. Then, I secured two loops of yarn on the outside, which I then wrapped around the entire bundle. Voila, super inexpensive needle holder! It takes up very little space, holds everything pretty securely, and has held up really well even though I go into it all the time.

Stitch markers can be expensive. Why spend $3-20 on a few that you might misplace when you can easily make something just as functional for nearly free? You know those "locking" stitch markers? I use safety pins. Regular round stitch markers? I use scraps of yarn. I have a cup full of yarn scraps that I've dedicated to the purpose of using at stitch markers. If I lose one, it's no big deal. And if it gets too beat up, I don't feel bad about throwing it away.

You don't really need a retractable tape measure. It's a frivolous thing to have, considering that you could just as easily go to your local craft store and pick up a regular (non-retractable) tape measure with its own little case for less than a dollar. It works exactly the same. It's not that hard to rewind a tape measure. It's really not!

Why waste money on a chart tracker when a simple pen and paper would do just as well?

Two things that I recommend budgeting for are a yarn swift and winder. If you're like me, you like hand-dyed/handpainted yarns. Most of said yarns come in hanks, not center-pull balls. I don't currently have a swift nor do I have a winder, but after 6 months of knitting, I can tell that I need to save for one of each. It drives me nuts spending over half an hour winding one 100g hank of fingering yarn. And if I have multiple hanks? Forget about it. Sometimes I have to hire Brit to help me wind. I have a swift and winder on my birthday/Christmas wish list. If someone doesn't get one for me, I'll defintiely be investing in one myself.

If you've got the money for it, Joann.com has a large yarn swift for only $49.19! It's for a limited time only, though, so you better hurry.

What cheap/free methods do you use to keep knitting within a reasonable budget? I'm all about new ideas!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Woo hoo!

Yesterday, my husband (Brit) got paid. Now, normally that's awesome on its own, but this paycheck brought something even better: a KP Nickle-plated Options set! I finally saved up enough money to order one. I'm so excited! Also, Brit took me to Michael's and I picked up 8 skeins of Sugar 'n Cream in two different colors for only $10.84! They were having a 4 for $5 special, and I was originally going to only buy one color, but neither Brit nor I could decide which color to get out of two. No hesitation, Brit said get both!

Now that's what I call an awesome husband.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Magazines

I'm usually not too big on magazines (even knitting ones), but after reviewing Interweave Knits' website and seeing the patterns that they've offered in past issues, I decided to subscribe. I can tell you now... I am not at all disappointed. Of the 22 patterns offered in the Spring issue, there are only 3 that I can't see myself ever making. And the ads are relevant to my interests and even the ads themselves have given me inspiration for things.

I got a free issue of Creative Knitting and totally disliked it. Of the 29 patterns in the issue, I liked 2. And I didn't really like them enough that I would make them. The ads were pretty good, but that was definitely the deal-breaker. Needless to say, I did not subscribe.

If you subscribe to any knitting magazines, which ones are they? What are your likes and dislikes of ones that you've read?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Free Patterns

If you're like me, you're always searching for FREE patterns. I don't have much money to spend, and I want to spend it on the supplies, not the pattern! My favorite website for that is Knitting Pattern Central, KPC. You can find any kind of pattern you could think of, from afghans to women's wear. Some of the patterns require (free) sign-up at certain pages, but the majority are just click and knit.

There's also a "Tips and Tricks" section that might teach you a thing or two. I know it did me!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Let's talk about eBay

I'm a big fan of eBay. If you're careful about whose items you bid on, you'll have a safe, easy, great transaction. Not to mention you can get some AWESOME deals on yarn, needles and knitting accessories.

My personal favorite eBayer is Julia's Yarn. Good quality yarns at an even greater price. I love JY sock yarns. I've used Zania and Salvia. Zania is a bamboo/wool blend, Salvia is 100% merino. Both are quite soft and knit up awesomely. They offer bulk packages of yarn, so as an example, you could get 10 skeins of Salvia (one color) for $40, FREE SHIPPING. And they ship fast.

They also have a regular online store, if you don't like shopping on eBay. You can often find items in this store (especially for bulk purchases) that you can't find on eBay. If you sign up for their mailing list, they reguarly send coupons for sometimes up to 50% off purchases over $49.

Check them out. It's almost guaranteed that you'll find something you'll like. If you happen to buy something from them, please let them know that the wife of Brit Mckay (britmckay @ gmail dot com) sent you, as they have a referral point program. If you don't, that's fine too. No one will be the wiser! And hey, you'll still get awesome yarn.

Here are two projects I did, the first with Salvia, the second with Zania.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Knit Picks

If you haven't heard of Knit Picks, you are in for a treat! Affordable, quality yarns at a fraction of the cost of other brands. I wouldn't be able to do nearly as many projects if I didn't buy much of my yarns through Knit Picks. Also, they have interchangeable needles in both wood and nickle-plated that are divine. The only other needles I use now are some of my bamboo dpns, but I'm hoping to replace those one day.

Knit Picks is for much more than just yarn and needles, though. They have project holders/carriers, organizers, gauge finders (awesome!), crochet hooks, book, many other notions as well as dyes, wool wash, and much more! Any questions? They've got their own online community.

Another thing that I've got to mention is their SUPERB customer service. They're very quick and friendly to resolve any problem you might have with your order. I recently did a hat project with blue and white Wool of the Andes, and the blue bled a little. I contacted them simply to ask them if there was any way I could fix it. They not only gave me some tips on how to prevent it in the future, though sadly it's not fixable, they gave me and $11 credit toward my next order.

Lastly, the shipping is great. Very reasonable prices and orders over $50 get it free! I've seen other sites that will charge up to 10% of your order price on shipping. No thanks!

Monday, March 9, 2009

On the Needles - 03/09/2009

This week I have two projects OTN (On The Needles).

First up is a pair of socks that I'm writing the pattern for. I'm looking for testers for when I'm finished. If you're interested, let me know. It's a pretty simple pattern. Toe-up with a short row heel. I'm doing it in green with black toe, heel, and cuff. The yarn I'm using, Over the Rainbow Twinkletoes in Leprechaun, coupled with the lace pattern of the instep makes it look like a cool moss. I really look forward to finishing it! I'm still trying to figure out a name for them.

The second is a pair of Cabled Toddler Socks for my niece, Jorja. I made her a pair about a month ago, and her mom (my sister) says she doesn't want to wear any other socks. So, I figure another pair will do quite nicely. Not to mention that it's basically Instant Gratification (IG).

IG is necessary because I've been killing my brain with figuring out all the specifics of the previously mentioned pattern, trying to make sure that I write everything out right. Needed a little break. I can whip out these little socks in a couple hours. Ahhh... almost as relaxing as a cup of hot cocoa.

An Awesome Contest!

Knit Purl Gurl has a great giveaway going on. I HIGHLY recommend checking it out and entering. The yarns are gorgeous!

KH

Need help with a knitting (or crocheting!) related problem? Go to Knitting Help! Videos or glossary don't answer your question? Head on over to the forums, sign up, and post your problem in the most fitting section. Most of the time, you'll get an answer within an hour. Everyone there is extremely helpful and very nice. It's about as close to a pocket full of sunshine as you can get.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

So it begins.

Because it probably drives people crazy on my Myspace blog that I hardly post about anything other than knitting, I figured having my own knitting blog seemed a good compromise. Sadly, my Myspace blog will probably be neglected now. Oh, what a tangled web we weave!

Hi, I'm Lydia. I've been a knitter since late August 2008. Even though it's been such a short amount of time, I like to think that I've progressed rather rapidly. I've done everything from shrugs to sweaters to socks, scarves, toys, and hats. Lots and lots of hats. Hats and socks are definitely my favorites.

From time to time, I'll share with you some fun/interesting knitting sites that I find. Today, I'd like to introduce to you my FAVORITE knitting site, Ravelry. If you haven't heard of it, go there and request an invite. Mine took about a week and a half, and I'm SO glad I signed up. It is awesomesauce. Go there now, please.