Monday, October 31, 2011

The Pleated Scarf is done!


Happy Halloween, everyone!

A short note about Halloween:  I love Halloween! And it’s a holiday that I do miss living abroad.  But … it’s coming! J

I am so pleased to announce that my “pleated scarf” is completed!  I think I needed this blog to motivate me to complete it.



This was all I had left of the third skein and I just “boomed” it out over the weekend!

Completely worth the effort!  It feels so nice but it has been so hard not to keep touching it!  It’s still a little damp from the blocking …

Now I am on the rampage to finish a bunch of “ufo’s” (unfinished objects).  Now, forsake of discussion this only applies to knitting (not to my other craft – quilting). I am finishing up the following “knitting” ufo’s:
  • a pair of socks (1 sock has been completed since August
  • and Christmas gifts items – I have 2 more gifts to get into the mail.  And I am still ahead of the postal clock. 

And then once this list is completed, then I can move on to a sweater (Harvest Moon by Heidi Kirrmaier) that I so ready to make!

But yesterday … I was caught by my husband, The Shaker. I had all the UFO projects lying before me when he caught me in the act of sorting and prioritizing.  He asked me how many projects do I have going on?  I wanted to correct him by saying, “You are suppose to ask what is on my needles?”  But instead, I came cleaned; I said I want the following projects at all times going:  a pair of socks, a sweater, a scarf, and a felt bag and/or hat.  But I wanted the ones in front of me done first.

Then I had to explain the thinking behind having 4 projects constantly going on (and let’s face it, there could be more added at any time). 
  1. Socks: they have a pattern and at times, require some thinking
  2. Sweater:  can go either way on the thinking level depending on where I am (meaning listening to my iPod or watching TV
  3. Scarf:  can be transport
  4. Felt bag/hat project: can be nice knitting while reading my Kindle

And lastly, I have added another reference book to my knitting library, Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman.  I am on Chapter One, The Opinionated Knitter.  I will leave you with these two sentences on page 11: 

“Really, all you need to become a good knitter are wool, needles, hands, and slightly below-average intelligence.  Of course, superior intelligence, such as yours and mine is an advantage.”

Cheers!
The Martini Knitter

Friday, October 28, 2011

Another hat ...

After finishing The Shaker’s hat, I wanted to make myself one too.  I am making myself a “tam” from the book called The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd. I am using Morehouse Farm’s Merino two-ply (sport weight) wool in cornflower blue.  I needed a project that I could just knit round and round.





Ok, so you know that I enjoy listening to Kelly Petkun’s podcast from KnitPicks.  But another tip that I have learned from her is to read and knit at the same time.  I know! It sounds crazy but it’s totally possible.  It only takes a little practice; and, it has to be knitting or purling stitches only.  Purling is a little tricky, but still possible.  I have a Kindle from Amazon and I can the font size larger. I sit on the couch and place the Kindle next to me and just knit and read. 

This month the book club that I am in, has suggested The Assault by Harry Mulisch.  He’s a Dutch author that writes about the resistance during WWII.  I am 24% into the story (according to the Kindle) and I am enjoying it.  I have to be done reading in 2 weeks. 

Now, you ask what is on my iPod?  Remember, I am still working on that “never ending scarf” (I did almost 2 inches this week). I really enjoy reading/listening to Harlan Coben.  I first found him through Amazon.com suggesting, “if you like this, you may like this…”  I started with the Myron Bolitar series and have read many others by Mr. Coben.  I listening Caught now and I am, literally, “caught” in the book!


Cheers!
The Martini Knitter

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Field Hockey: a skirt, a ball and a bite guard




Hockey is a HUGE sport here.  I have been known to tell friends that the Dutch are born with a hockey stick in hand!

Here is one of the things that I like about living here: We went last night to watch the 2012 Dutch Woman’s Olympic Hockey play Belgium’s woman’s team.  And it was for free!  No tickets were sold.  Completely opened to the public! 

Which brings me to the photo at the top.  Willemijn Bos is the niece of a very good friend here.  She has been selected to play on the 2012 Dutch Woman’s Olympic Hockey team.  And her team plays and trains at the next hockey club over from Vermouth’s hockey club. 

We stood by the Belguim’s goal during the first half with Willemijn’s aunt, uncle and cousins.  We cheered her and teammates on to victory.  The Dutch won 3 to 0.  It was an exciting game to watch. The ball travels at lightening speed on the field!

Willemijn Bos is an amazing player to watch.  The way that she fields the ball and the way she help defend her goal was inspirational to watch!  She even waved to aunt and uncle at the start of the 2nd period!

Which brings me to why we love (field) hockey so much! Vermouth plays every weekend for her hockey club in our village.  Her position is keeper/goalie. I am originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, but we moved to North Carolina in the late 90’s before moving here to the Netherlands.  Vermouth has always been a Carolina Hurricane fan, so naturally, we bought her the Carolina Hurricane’s jersey and she wears it every weekend.  Side note:  Vermouth learned the sport in Dutch.  In the beginning it was hard for her to translate the sport into English because she was learning new words that she had never heard before.  But now she can. 

Ok, back to Willemijn Bos, she knew that we were coming last night.  And she told us to bring the magazine for her to autograph. So, I wasn’t really acting like stalker/paparazzi person. It was really cool meeting her.  She is just nice person who just happens to play on the Woman’s Olympic Hockey team! 



This "Vermouth" and Willemijn Bos - hockey mates for life!

The good news about the Dutch Woman’s hockey team is that they have a very good chance at the Gold this year in London.  So, as they say in Dutch, Hup! Holland! Hup!

Cheers!
The Martini Knitter

Post drink: If you live in the Netherlands, and you want the magazine click this link you can save "€2 korting" by scrolling down to where it says “Bruna” and under that “Download heir de bon and print deze.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hats!


I am typing this as my new refrigerator is being delivered.  Here’s a bit of Dutch culture for you: when you have work done on your home or deliveries made, it is polite Dutch culture to provide coffee or tea for the workers.  It doesn’t make me feel put out in the slightest way.  Because, let’s face it, they are speaking English.  Can I speak Dutch? Yup!  Not that well, but I can make myself understood.

Back to hats … they are fast!  And with changing of seasons, they are easy to whip up while watching nightly TV on the couch.  Our weather here is starting become colder BUT the sun is shining!! The daytime temperature has been around 12 to 14 C.  So we are just on the cusp of hat and glove weather.

Last year, I bought hat kits from Morehouse Farm to make for my brother and his boys.  They really like skiing and I thought that these hats would look nice on them.  My brother was given the Snowboarder hat in blue and the boys were given the Twin Stripes in blue and white stripes.

Since making them, I have learned a lot about changing colors and creating “jogless stripes. Here are two links that should help you: Knitting Tips by Judy has this video on changing colors.  I love the way she speaks slowly so that you understand what she is doing with her hands.  And as for “jogless” stripes I like Meg Swanson’s method which is on Judy Gibson’s Socknitters.com website.

I have tried many methods for jogless stripes.  I have tried Eunny Jang’s method, which I used on my sister’s son hat.  I was pleased with the result, because … let’s face it … if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have given it as a gift! 



Oh! I added the hat decoration on top from this book:  





I used Anny Blatt’s Merino, DK, 8 ply
Rolled-Edge Hat by Kristin Spurkland

But I discovered a new pattern recently from my buddy, Olive (the woman that taught me to knit wanted a name too!).  Jared Flood’s Turn a Square hat!  I love love love this hat!  I made it for The Shaker while he was gone. (Also, Jared Flood has a blog.)

So on Jared’s hat, I did take out a little out in the body of the hat above the ribbing, before you start the shaping.  The yarn I used, of course, is now discontinued.  But it was Lana Grossa’s “Lord” worsted weight yarn.  It is soft and looses a bit of elasticity once it blocked – not a lot, like “the 3 times a sweater”, but just a bit.

What drew me to this pattern was the square pattern that just naturally happens on the top of the hat.  And with the pattern, it came with Judy’s link from Meg Swanson.  Perfect!


 The Shaker went to work before the photo opt!  
So this Vermouth modeling the hat!

This is what I like about knitting:  sometimes the rules just don’t apply! You must find what works for you.

Cheers!
The Martini Knitter

Monday, October 24, 2011

Random Thoughts

So The Shaker took the Skull and Cross Bones washcloth for a test drive last week on a business trip.  He works for a large pharmaceutical company. He said it was best washcloth that he has ever used!  But he always says encouraging comments like that.  Even when the orange sweater was being ripped out – he said nice things.

I wasn’t’ too happy with the shape, it was more rectangle than square.  So, it’s a work in progress …

I am almost finished with my Christmas knitting!  I am hoping to have the rest of all my packages in the mail by the end of this week.  I work better under pressure.  My girls, Gin and Vermouth, (they want to remain anonymous) usually say, when it gets close to a deadline for a gift: “Aren’t you suppose to be working on that?”  My answer is, “Is it the 11th hour yet??”

And I just got my package from Simply Socks Yarn! So excited and can’t wait to knit socks for me!  She had a special that if you spent over $20, you got a free travel sock knitting project pouch and inside that pouch was candy and her business card. I got a piece of Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate and a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  I’ll be eating this with my martini later …

Side note:  The American candy that we can get here is limited. And the one thing I can never keep straight is this:  Mars Bar here is not the traditional Mars Bar that is from the States.  And it is the same for 3 Musketeer Bar and the Milkyway Bar – they are here but reversed. In the end, it doesn’t matter because they are here and I like them!

And finally, about Simply Sock Yarns - love this business card!



As you may have already figured out, I am really new to knitting and maybe other companies do these types of business cards, but I thought it was really cool. Since I am a HUGE online shopper, it was really nice to "feel" the yarn.

Allison also has a blog check it out here.

Cheers!

The Martini Knitter