Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Books

Yesterday I bought this adorable book . I can't wait to make some of this cute dolls for my special secret pals - yes, I have many 'cause sending fun stuff to people who don't expect it is one of my favorite things to do!

I also made laundry soap and dishwasher soap from this book which has all knids of goodies in it! I hope they work because I would really like to stop polluting the environment with chemical cleaners! Besides, I worked out the prices and it would be so much cheaper to make these myself, and they only took minutes! The book also has cool recipes for craft materials and for yummy baked goods. I'll post a complete review next week insha'Allah.

Abou's box+Project update

I have a special place in my heart for one of my students. She is in my 8th grade class and in my afterschool knitting club. I taught her how to knit a scarf and how to sew up seams and she took these skills and ran! So far she has made a purse, a cell phone holder, a bracelet, an eraser bag, and this morning she presented this little box to me as a gift.
Perfect for paper clips!

Project update:
By the end of March (yikes!) I will try to finish:
Knitting Club flag
Baby bolero #2
Dishcloth for a special secret pal
Snake scarf
Zaahir's sweater
Fingerless mitts for another special secret pal

I've got until next Monday because then I will have to start on the coffee swap goodies!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Coffee Swap Questions

I have so many ideas for my swap project - very exciting!!!

1. What is your preference? ground - no grinder
2. What kind of coffees do you enjoy? A rich, bold roast - caffeinated-PLEASE!
3. If you were headed out right now to buy some coffee for the house, what would you be picking up? Arabic coffee - I am the only one in the house who drinks "American" coffee on a daily basis, in which case I'd buy a pound of organic fair trade from my local coffee house, Dana Street Roasting Company - or Peet's.
4. Do you drink for caffeine, pleasure, or both? Both
5. Do you enjoy flavored coffees? No.
6. A large, lovely mug or a small, dainty cup? Mug.
7. Describe your perfect cup - an americano with a touch of cream, homemade muffin in the other hand - with family, early morning, on the beach.
8. You're sitting down to enjoy a nice cup in the local coffee shop, knitting bag in hand, iPod all tuned up - or maybe you're there with a few friends for knit night! What treat do you pick up to enjoy with your coffee? A sweet, rich brownie, or something more healthy? I could go either way - I love chocolate with coffee, but my favorite local coffee shop makes a great spinach quiche that is yummy with a strong Americano.

1. Do you knit or crochet? Knit
2. What are your favorite types of yarns to work with? Organic cotton.
3. What do you have on the needles (or hook!) right now? A scarf, two kid sweaters, dishcloth, some fingerless mitts and a doll sweater.
4. What are your favorite colors in yarns? Blues and greens. What about those that you'd never find in your stash? Acrylic orange.
5. What sort of needles or hooks do you enjoy using? Bamboo circulars or DPN's
Any you just detest? Plastic
6. Are there any particular notions you absolute do NOT need? No.
Some of us swap a lot - are you sure that you have enough tape measures to last your lifetime? Enough stitch markers to mark every stitch of a 10 foot wide afghan? I would love stitch markers!
7. You walk into the yarn shop and have exactly and only enough money to purchase 2 skeins of yarn in their 2 for 20 special they have going..The choices are a soft, thick cotton/viscose blend in your favorite colors, slightly variegated..a beautiful sock yarn that's just squishy and sproingy in your hands.. a soft, worsted weight wool like malabrigo.. and a lovely bamboo blend with colors to just die for. Which do you walk out the door with? Bamboo - no doubt.

1. We're starting sign-ups on the first day of Spring - is it already truly Spring-like where you are? Yes.
2. What's your favorite spring flower? Jasmine.
3. What do you most look forward to about springtime? Plum trees in bloom, fresh, clean salty breezes, going to the beach.
4. They've predicted a gorgeous day tomorrow - Sunny and about 65 with a nice breeze - how do you spend your day? Take the family to the beach!
5. The day after, it's going to be cooler and pouring down rain - does that impact your mood? Not at all - rain is my favorite!
How do you spend that day? Take the kids to the museum or make cookies at home.

Odds n Ends
1. Do you collect anything BESIDES yarn and needles? fabric
2. Are you allergic to anything? No.
3. Do you have pets? hermit crab - he's pretty hard to knit for!
4. Is this your first swap, or are you an old pro? This is my third swap.
What are the last 2 swaps you participated in? Winter Wonderland Coffee; Defeat the Doldrums Dishcloth
5. List 3 of your favorite blogs - craft related or not - and tell us why you love them.
http://barakahlifehandmade.typepad.com./ - cool homeade stuff but very professional. Also, she does charity work.
http://www.makingbookswithchildren.blogspot.com/ - I teach language arts and have kids, so we make books all the time.
http://www.purlbee.com/ - I think we all know this one! Can't get enough of Purl Soho - makes me wish I lived in N.Y.
One more - when I am feeling down, I go make snow: http://www.popularfront.com/snowdays


I have no knitting content today, but I do have pizza! My dear friend Sarah grinds her own flour and makes her own pepperoni! So last week I made one with straight pepperoni and one with fennel, mushrooms and goat cheese. Yummy!
The next day I made a chocolate cake with crazy chocolate frosting. I used a half/half combo of whole wheat flour and sweet rice flour and I really liked the texture - sort of a cross between cake and brownie. No pictures - it went too fast!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Another bolero

I loved the baby bolero pattern so much and know so many new babies - I think I might just keep making them! On Monday I started another one in the same yarn - but with a few changes: to make it a bit bigger I am only using #9 needles; to make it longer I did a couple extra rows at the beginning and then again before dividing for the fronts and back. I'll post pictures when they're interesting.

This pattern really boosted my knitting confidence. I think I'm ready now to get back to Zaahir's sweater. Now that it's almost summer in California! I hope it will be big enough for him to wear it next year!

Snake scarf is almost done!

New Knitty!

I'm not much for knitting socks - I knitted a sock once - now it's half way between a slipper and a puppet!

But when I saw this pattern I felt dizzy.

I just might be converted.

Somehow, that page led me to this one, and I really felt faint.

Time to buy some yarn!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Zaahir is 6!

Yesterday my big little one turned 6. We met his best friend at the park and they thoroughly thrashed their skateboards! But they really had a good time. I am so privileged to be his mom. He is very strong and smart, masha'Allah, and a real trooper. I learn from him every day, and every day I am reminded of how much I need to be a good example for him. He is a true gift from Allah.

Baby Bolero #1 is my first sweater FO!

Alahumdulillah I finished the sweater this weekend - here it is:
I love the pattern, but will lengthen it next time - everyone I show it to says, "isn't it supposed to be longer?" But I like it - it reminds me of a bunad jacket. Here's the back:

Thursday, March 6, 2008

WIP: Baby Bolero

This is a great, quick project so far. I finished the body section in less than two hours - and I'm not the fastest knitter! It looks a little small - even for a newborn - it's hard to believe that my sons were ever that little!

Here's what it looks like closed - I tried to match the colors and almost got a perfect match. If I make this again I will do the body in a solid and maybe the ribbing in a varigated accent color. On to the sleeves!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Spring Fling Coffee and Yarn Swap

Spring Fling Coffee and Yarn Swap

Hurray! Another swap - such a cool way to get knitters together and motivate us to try new projects! So I got the link up - if anyone knows how to post one of those cool buttons I'd love the tech help!

Casting on and on...

I have about ten projects going right now - can't seem to keep my attention on any one piece. But deadlines motivate me, so I casted on for the baby bolero from One Skein for a baby shower that I just heard about...it's on Saturday, but I think I can swing it. Here's the beginning:

The red on the bottom is waste yarn. The lovely green and blue yarn is Universal Yarn - Acrylic/wool in Prairie Fields. I want to buy a whole slough of this stuff because it is so soft and it's machine washable - a plus for moms! And it makes really cool patterns - more later when there is more of it to show.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Snake Scarf

One day I was shopping with my kids and Zaahir spotted a multi-colored color block scarf that we thought looked like a snake. I found some cool self-striping yarn and am making him a snake of his own:

Doesn't it look like a snake? I casted 18 stitches onto size nine needles and did basic stockinette so the edges would curl and make the scarf more snake-like. The yarn is "Moda Dea Sassy Stripes" and the color is "Crayon".

Here's a fun piece of knitting trivia - I was teaching a Pakistani kid in my 8th grade class how to knit, and he says that his mother calls casted-on stitches "houses".

Doldrums Defeated!

Well it's gettin' pretty warm out hear in Cali, but nothing warms the heart like a lovely, thoughtful swap package! Alissa sent me the most beautiful, yummy package ever! Everything was wrapped in sweet little gift bags and tagged with cute notes. Take a look:
First up, the eatables: TWO dark chocolate bars, some raspberry tea (DE-licious!), and a packet of minestrone soup which I will save for a day when the boys and I are alone because I know they will love it. (I am selfishly saving the chocolate for a day when I'M alone - it's okay, kids don't like dark chocolate).

Next, the toys: My son LOVES playdo, so it was fun to discover two containers of playdo in a cute little bag. For me she sent Loopy Ewe Needle inventories and some yarn samples, plus some olive oil soap and some SOAK!

The Yarn: 4, yes FOUR skeins of yarn -

3 skeins of cotton - one organic (hurray!), and one skein of a cotton blend in my favorite color green .

Finally, the piece de resistance - a beautiful flower-shaped cloth which I do not intend to use for dishes! Too pretty - I'll be using it on my face with the olive oil soap!
Thank you, Alissa, Thank you!