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Archive for the ‘Minnesota’ Category

Knit-Out 2009

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On Valentine’s Day we headed out to the Mall of America to bring our oldest, Aidan, to Nickelodeon Universe as a reward for all the hard work he’s put into his schoolwork and therapy. Much to my surprise, we arrived to one of the largest crowds that I have ever seen at the Mall! We couldn’t figure out why it was so crowded until we got to the main rotunda and found this.

So while my husband and Aidan went on the rides, Jameson and I cruised the fiber booths and took lots of pictures.

The crowds were pretty thick all day, and they had some really cool giveaways such as a ginormous yarn bag from Lion Brand Yarn and a free 10th anniversary edition of Knit N’ Style magazine.

And all the major national yarn brands had booths showing their newest products. Red Heart was giving away some free patterns and kind of felt a little out of place. The displays and patterns felt very granny-esque in comparison to the rest of the show. Didn’t they get the memo that a younger crowd of whippersnappers are knitting these days? I mean really, mannequin heads with beanies? What’s next, a Barbie doll toilet paper cozy?

Red Heart Booth

The Lion Brand Yarn booth was more relevant to today’s knitter. I have a love/hate relationship with Lion Brand yarn. I think that much of their synthetic yarn is overpriced and of poor quality. And let’s face it, they’re probably the main enabler of novelty yarn knitting in the U.S. But on the other hand, they really seem to be branching out with new natural and luxury blends. I guess I don’t see a lot of incentive to buy it other than the fact that at least you can buy Lion Yarn at JoAnns with their discount coupons.

I have to admit that it was really cool to see the full spectrum of colors for the newer blends and luxury yarns. If it hadn’t been so crowded, I would have been brave enough to take closeup pictures. Maybe I’ll try out one of their new lines since they were giving out these.

The Caron booth had a contest  going on and free patterns. I really liked the feel of some of their new line of Eco-Yarns. All the brands had new eco-friendly yarns made from recycled material, but Caron’s felt the softest.

There were a lot of free workshops available at the two smaller rotundas in the mall, but I hadn’t brought any knitting with me.

And while there wasn’t any fiber for sale, a few of the local yarn stores had booths such as my favorite, The Yarnery.

And the Yarn Garage had some cool displays.

I keep meaning to check out the Yarn Garage, but its kind of a hike since its in Rosemount, a southern suburb of the Twin Cities. I’ll have to stop in before we move this summer.

All in all, it was a fun event to slowly wander around with Jameson in his stroller. I’ll have to make an effort to go to the next yarn expo in my area that actually sells fiber.


Written by Milwaukee Knit Chick

February 21, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Fall Colors

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Lots of fun things going on lately. Every autumn we have a tradition where we go and take family pictures when the fall colors are at their peak. I got the opportunity to take some pictures with our new camera and I am really happy with the quality of photos.

It was difficult to get good pictures what with the lack of cloud cover, and my very pale children and husband practically glowing in the sun…

Ok, so I’m not exactly tan myself. Anywho, even my husband volunteered to take a few pictures, which is unheard of. Its the reason I’m in hardly any of our family pictures from the past ten years. BUT, this year I set up the auto-timer and tripod and…..voila, family portrait! Sure, the lighting and shadows could be better, but for a first-time effort I’m happy.

Next time, current knit-projects and a copycat design for the mittens that Bella wears in Twilight! What a fangirl I am…Bella Swan Mittens? Kinda wierd when you start seeing the handknits in movies and just HAVE to have them.

Written by Milwaukee Knit Chick

November 15, 2008 at 11:08 pm

Posted in Family, Minnesota

Spring Knitting Spree

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Spring has finally arrived in Minnesota, in a fashion. It’s quite brisk outside (low 50s), but there is actual evidence of greenery and sunshine. Don’t believe me?

We went to the park near our apartment, and it was quiet as can be. I guess going to the park is too tame for most people on Mother’s Day. For those of you who don’t know, Minnesota is called “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, but there are many many more than that. You can walk about 1/4 a mile in any direction and find water here. They are cratered across the state from when the glaciers scraped the land in the Ice Age.

I’m as big as a whale so I just sat in the shade and watched Andy and Aidan play soccer. Nice and peaceful way to spend an afternoon, watching the birds chase each other along the shoreline.

Knitwise I’ve got a ton of projects that I’ve finished in the past couple weeks.

Rose’s Wristwarmers (Doctor Who)
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk DK in Aqua
Needles: US 5 circular

Notes: This yarn was so delicious, that I’d like to roll around in it nekked…ok, probably TMI. This is the second time I’ve made this pattern, and it’s much lovelier on a solid color than a variegated yarn. If you’ve never used a chart before, the designer makes it super simple to follow so it’s a good learning opportunity. The only thing to keep in mind is that this yarn isn’t very elastic, so if you stretch it out it could be problematic.

Next, in my efforts to knit through all my yarn before buying more I used up the rest of the yarn from my floor pillow to make a layette for el baby-on-the-way.

Yoda Kimono
Pattern: Baby Kimono
Yarn: James C. Brett Marble Chunky
Needles: US 5 circular
Notes: Yes, yes, my son isn’t due to be born until the disgustingly sticky and sweltering days of early July, but I figure with the A/C he’ll still get some use out of them. The sweater is very quick and easy, and I ended up going with a shorter sleeve due to the time of year it will be worn. I also added a moss stitch border to the sleeves and hem so so that the stockinette wouldn’t roll. I used a crochet hook to do a single crochet border along the neckline too, to add a little color and contrast. The buttons were in my sewing basket, and while I thought they were a bit fussy at first, they kind of give it an heirloom look I like.

Baby Booties
Pattern: Saartje’s Booties
Yarn: James C. Brett Marble Chunky
Needles: US 5 circular
Notes: I altered the pattern since I was using a bulky yarn and newborn sized. I cast on 23 stitches on a size 5 needle, and did the math to subtract how much the pattern changed. They may be a little bit too big for my son when he is born, but we will see! I’ll post an action shot when the time comes. It’s really hard to capture the colors of this yarn accurately. It’s much prettier in real life than in the photos.

Doll Blanket
Pattern: Giant Granny Square Blanket
Yarn: Various wool and silk blends
Size G hook
This is a great project for stash-busting. I’ve made another in the past, but this one was just to use up some leftover yarn I had sitting around. It’s mostly wool blends, and I made it for my friend’s 3 year old niece. I added an improvised shell edging to make it a bit fancier. One tip I have is that you should definitely try to sew in the loose ends as you go, it makes your life a lot easier!

I’m having a hell of a time getting my next project off the ground. I bought 3 skeins of DreamBaby 4-ply by Plymouth Yarns to make another baby sweater, but it doesn’t seem to be working for the pattern. I may just knit too loosely, but it seems like there isn’t much elasticity to it. Since it is a ribbed pattern, that’s not good. One more attempt tomorrow, and if it doesn’t work I need to find another sweater pattern.

<—Ze pattern which will not cooperate. (Knit Simple Fall 2007)

Anyone have a suggestion for a simple baby sweater pattern that I can use this yarn for? I need a break from cables, and it has to be ok for all in cream colored yarn. Any ideas are welcome!

Written by Milwaukee Knit Chick

May 11, 2008 at 11:50 pm

Now is the winter of our discontent…

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So I may have mentioned that I live in Minnesota. I wasn’t born here, and I didn’t grow up here, but it’s a nice state. Friendly people, beautiful landscapes, lots of history. That being said…

I am so freaking jealous of every other region of the country right now. It was supposed to be 70 degrees today, so I thought I would haul my pregnant ass outside for that bright yellow ball of gas that is rumored to exist in the sky. I work in downtown St. Paul at a bank-that-shall-not-be-named, right next to the Mississippi River. It’s a gorgeous view, and there are walkways and parks all along the shore. I figure, a little walk, a little sun, a little knitting, what could be better?

I stepped outside and was blasted by nearly 50 mph winds that just about knocked me over. It’s a miracle I got any pictures without hair in the lens. We had 8 inches of snow last week, and even though it has melted now, the grass is that ugly, yellow-brown color that makes you think of death, not rebirth.

Sometimes it feels like Minnesota has something against spring, as it frequently jumps right from winter to summer. Even so, I am lucky to have such a great view of the city from work. The architecture is interesting, and we’re only a block away from Harriet Island, a little park area that has tons of festivals such as the Taste of Minnesota and the Winter Carnival

I always look at this lonely little shack atop the water locks and wonder if it is actually functional. In all the years I’ve been here, I’ve never seen the locks activated.

Oh well, at least I got some knitting done today. I’ve been trying to find creative ways to use the yarn I have so that I can start a new project in good conscience. I had about a ball each of Berroco Ultra Alpaca in a heathery pink and a dark plum that needed a home. Neither color really is very interesting on their own, but stranded together they are lovely, indeed!

My friend Shannon’s birthday is this weekend, so I knitted up a cabled purse from a free pattern on Ravelry. I thought it would be fun to try felting, so I knitted it until I ran out of yarn, and then attached it to the bamboo handles that I bought at Joann. The handles are too delicate to go into a washing mashine, so I went ahead and handwashed/felted it in a little washtub in the bathroom and then hung it up to shape/dry.

I have no idea what will happen next, but it didn’t seem to shrink very much. I’ll be lining and sewing up the sides tomorrow, so stay tuned for a more detailed picture in the daylight to see the results!

I’ve also been working on my very first pair of socks. I must have restarted these damn things about 40 times in the last year. The yarn is Tofutsies and beautiful, but it’s so tiny! It probably would have been more practical and less frustrating to knit a pair in wool for the winters around here. And although it is tempting to just do a simple stocking, I want something to show for the time and effort put into my first pair. So I went ahead and used the Widdershins pattern from Knitty Summer 06.

It’s really frustrating trying to cable on such thin thread, but I have to admit I like the way it looks. And the twists are only every 8 rows. I think tomorrow I’ll be able to start on the heel. Admittedly, the most exciting thing about this project is that I’m knitting both socks on the same circular at once. Am I the only one who thinks that TOTALLY rocks?! I am so looking forward to trying this method for mittens. I always end up altering the shaping or length of mittens, and inevitably forget what I did on the first one by the time I get to the second. This makes it so much simpler!

Written by Milwaukee Knit Chick

April 16, 2008 at 5:50 am