Tuesday, December 02, 2008

My Students are AWESOME!!!!!

This week my students are finishing up lots of projects for themselves. Finally. I am so glad they are knitting stuff to keep. They donated over 50 baby hats and 11 bunnies to Stitches from the Heart last week. Their baby sweater final project is coming soon. It will be a set with a hat, booties and a baby sweater.

Here are a few of the finished projects this week. This is Lizzy. She is a brand new knitter and was "over" the bunnies (after making 3) and decided to tackle cables. She made this super-cute purse and even went to Michael Levine's downtown to shop for the perfect handles.

Here is a close up of her black cable purse. Super cute!

This is Iliana. She is a beginner who is such a fast knitter that I keep having to come up with new projects to challenge her.

Here is a close up of the purple cable purse. Love it!!!!

Here is Hannah in a hat she knit out of chenille yarn. Very pretty.

And finally, here is Erin. My most advanced knitter. I wanted her to try entrelac knitting, so she did this headband. The pattern is from Knitty.com It was foggy and chilly yesterday so her headband kept her ears nice and warm. I love this pattern and plan to knit a few as x-mas gifts.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Buddha and all things felted

A few weeks have past since my last post. I went out of town to visit my cousins and family in Arizona. I delivered all of the fair isle hats and am now finished with the big project I have been working on for the past few weeks. I love felting and I have recently learned to love fair isle, so I decided to combine these 2 into one monster project. First, I charted a buddha image. Then I ordered yarn for the job. I chose Knit Picks Wool of the Andes. This stuff felts perfectly. I have never had a problem, and it comes in all sorts of colors. Next was to start knitting the bag. Oh yeah, I decided to put the Buddha image on the face of a purse. Reading the chart was really hard since there are no repeats! Just follow it row by row. 122 rows in all! As the bag grew, so did the pile of knitting on my lap wherever I went! This project reminded me why I like to knit small things. My favorite project is one that fits in my purse.
Here is Charlie with the bag before felting...

And here it is after felting. It measures about 13" x 15" and is the perfect size for my gym clothes or a knitting project.

This afternoon I was thinking of a way to combine knitting with beads and felting. I decided to knit a swatch of the leftover wool with some chunky beads I got from Ellene. My idea is to design a bag with the beads embedded in the felt, to give it a bumpy feel.

The swatch before felting...

After felting.

Not the exact result I was hoping for, but it is interesting. The beads are on top of the fabric (except the one that was pushed through to the purl side and felted that way). I don't think this would look good on a purse. They look sewn on after the fact. Definitely not what I was going for. Oh well, back to the drawing board. If anyone has any suggestions, please pass them along.

Ahh, Halloween. This year I dressed up as part of a group costume. 3 students and I were the dance crew Jabbawockeez. That is me on the far left with the handkerchief around my calf. All of the kids at school knew who we were...none of the adults did.

Here is a picture of the Obama lantern I carved this year. I didn't get any good pics of it lit up.

My class has knit so much lately. I have 2 huge bags to drop off at Stitches from the Heart this week. I will try to photograph it at work tomorrow so I can post their donations. Up next for them is to begin working on holiday ornaments. There is a "holiday tree" in my classroom (goes up right after Thanksgiving) that they can decorate. I encourage them to make ornaments to put on top of gifts they will give this year. People love that!

Happy crafting.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fair Isle Hats and Charlie's Halloween costume

First things first. My knitting class is so amazing this semester. These girls (no boys this time, sadly) are fast knitters and are genuinely interested in learning new stuff. Most are still working on their baby hats (they have 3 due by Nov. 7th) but there are a few girls who whipped out their hats in a weekend and are hungry for more. I tossed out the idea of this cute but simple bunny. Basically, you knit a square then with the magic of seaming, you turn it into this precious little bun bun. I am making a family of them, a mommy, daddy and 4 little babies. This is one of the babies. About the size of a tangerine. I found the pattern years ago and made a few when I was just learning the basics. The kids are gaga for them and more and more are appearing each day (sorta like real bunnies, right?) We have pink ones, brown, fluffy blue and rainbow. Once they are sewn up into pocket pets, I will show their work off.

My latest projects have been hats. Lots and lots of hats. No idea why. I do know why, but am embarrassed to say. I have fallen in love with a new yarn. Maybe it is just a crush, too early to know for sure. The new yarn in my life is Berroco Comfort. Don't get me wrong, Bernat's Satin still has a secure place in my heart as the best baby toy yarn, but this Comfort is a dream. Knits up so soft and the color choices are great. One thing I love is that the skein seems to never have an end. I have made a few more Swell earflap hats, like the one in my last post. The first one is using the Swell chart.

Then I decided to try my hand at chart design. I did a repeating jolly roger skull and crossbones...

...and a repeating heart pattern that I have been drawing since i was a little girl. I used to fill pages of notebook paper with rows of these hearts, then color them in with markers. It was nostalgic and comforting (oh, using Comfort yarn!!!!) to knit this hat last night.

...then I decided to try a non-repeating chart. I did one hat with Obama '08 on one side and Biden '08 on the other. I love the result but let me tell you, writing this chart then actually having to use it was no walk in the park. But it was worth the experience, right?

Finally, Charlie Brown can't decide who he wants to be for Halloween. We want him to be the Dark Knight...

...but he is secretly leaning towards The Joker.

My Halloween costume is still a secret. I'll post pictures after the big day. This year I am part of a group costume with a few of my students. I am really excited about it since it is EASY and requires no tattoos unlike Amy Winehouse last year. Also, no wig! Have a great week. Hope to see you at SnB at Farmer's Market this week. Looking forward to the costumes and the yummy treats.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Blanket Donations!

The kids have finally finished their baby blankets. I took pics of the blankets with each knitter who contributed to that blanket. There are a few stragglers, so I hope to have 3 more blankets by tuesday.

The kids are doing great and eager to move on to baby hats. Almost everyone has started a hat and I am hoping for 90 hats to donate by the end of the month. I dropped off 5 hats with these blankets on Friday to Stitches From the Heart and Stitching Is an Art. It had been WAY too long since I sat at the table and heard the shop news. Nancy and Sandy are doing well, knitting and crocheting up a storm. I hit the giant sale wall and bought up a few dozen skeins of terrycloth yarn. The kids will make plush toy bunnies with this beautiful yarn, so watch for tons of little bunnies in the coming months.

My advanced knitters (2 this semester) are tackling knitty.com projects. Cristyn is sewing her Sheldon turtle together, and Erin is working on Swell. To help Erin understand the concept of knitting with 2 yarns, I decided to try the hat myself. Here is my version.

This hat is cool, there is a subtle peace sign on each earflap, and the waves are connected and roll all around the hat. I love it so much that I am already finishing up my 2nd one, in purples. I will post pics of Erin's progress next time.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Tubby by Mochimochiland

As you might already know, I have an obsession with amigurumi knitting. This is my latest completed project, Tubby by Mochimochiland.

Not sure why I need a knit bathtub with bubbles, but I just do. Some of you are nodding your heads in agreement. Others are questioning my sanity. Just look at the bubbles close up! Super cute!
The pattern called for something like 25 bubbles. At first I was enamored and never wanted to stop knitting these tiny delicacies, but by the end, I was counting down to the final one. Last night while watching USC stomp all over my Oregon Ducks I finally finished the last one. Today I assembled the whole thing and boy did it take a lot of stuffing. I knit this on size 7 needles. I recommend trying a 6 of even a 5. I think mine is too loose and floppy. Next time (not sure when this will be) I might do it on 4s, for a baby tub.

At school. the baby blankets are whipping together quickly and I should have 10 or so to take over to Stitches From the Heart by the end of the week. Of course I will photograph them with their knitters before we donate them.

Did anyone see this funny article? An elderly knitter/criminal was ordered to knit sweaters as part of her punishment. Funny stuff.

Happy knitting.


Monday, September 08, 2008

A Few Of My Addictions...

I am going to be on TV this Monday, Sept. 22 at 3:30 pm on Fox channel 11. If you don't live in LA, check your local listings for the show. It is a game show called Trivial Pursuit: America Plays. Watch and see if I win!!!!! I love game shows and have been on a few in the past few years. This was the most fun, since trivia is sort of my obsession.

My dad came over last weekend and brought a big box of dusty stuff for me to go through. Inside I found some treasures! My grandma was an avid knitter (we spent so many afternoons at Super Yarn Mart in the Valley) who knit baby stuff for me throughout my childhood. He brought a few baby sweaters she had knit for me. They are a bit stained (I must have been a messy eater) and worn, but they are so dear and I am glad to have them back. She embroidered a lot as well, and this sweater has a row of little flowers down the front. I took a bunch of the sweaters to work to show the kids. They couldn't believe that they might be able to make something like this some day.

This new group has so much potential and I am excited for them to finish their first project. They are all knitting furiously and many have completed their first strip. They are knitting 2 strips that will be sewn together to make baby blankets. With 28 new kids knitting 2 strips each, I am hoping we will have at least 11 baby blankets to donate to Stitches From the Heart at the beginning for October. I will post pics of that as soon as they are finished.

One of my advanced knitters, Erin, said she wanted to knit a chicken. I suggested the "Which Came First? Chicken or Egg" toy from a past issue of Craft. I brought the magazine in and she fell in love with the reversible toy. I told her I would knit along with her, since she seemed to think it might be too hard for her to do on her own. I am a little bit faster than Erin, and I finished my chicken on Friday. Here is my version, both poses. I'll post pics of Erin's once she is done.

Finally, since it is back to school time, the kids are all decked out with new gear. THIS awesome backpack walked into my room the other day and I needed to photograph it. Alex told me that part of the sale price goes to helping stop shark fishing for Shark Fin Soup. I love this!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Yes, it is that time again. First day of school. Usually the kids say YUCK! but these kids are saying YEAH! because they are enrolled in Knitting at Pali High! This looks like another fun group of community service-doers, risk-takers, fun-havers, lesson-learners...ok you get my point.

Huge thanks to those of you who have sent me boxes and dropped off yarn and stuff for the kids. Melinda came by school this afternoon with a treasure trove of goodies. I met Nancy this past weekend (turns out we are neighbors) and she gave me a big bag of yarn. You have all been so fabulous to us throughout the years and our success is due to you. THANKS!

I can't wait to get the knitting club going again. We usually have another 40 knitters there, so all together we should have over 100 knitters this year!

After my summer off (from blogging and school work) I have a few things to show for my time away. I took a machine knitting class at Otis and love it! I have been designing a few sweaters for an evening wear collection that a friend is working on. My sweaters are not as cool as her gowns, but they sort of make the dresses be more funky and hip, less formal gowns. Can't wait to show you some pics.

I have also been working on a home improvement project all summer. My dad and I built a deck in my backyard. We used composite lumber which is made with recycled plastic and sawdust from mills. Totally recycled! Here is a before and a few after shots. This kept us occupied for 6 weeks. There was a steep learning curve and I have come away with such a respect for construction workers. We were beat at the end of each day because we did all of the work (including the landscaping) on our own.

BEFORE: old deck was 8 feet deep and was a waste of space. never used.

UP ON THE DECK: now I have room for a big table, chaise lounges, a BBQ and dance floor if we want it! 500 sq. feet

LANDSCAPING: so much prettier than before. I am a huge fan of bark chips!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Yesterday was WWKIP and I did so at the Farmer's Market with some really cool ladies. That WeHo group is so much fun! Thanks for welcoming me with open arms. Ellen even helped my with my WIP, an Alien, by crocheting the eyes for me. She is awesome!

I took Dad out for dinner at Todai, an all-you-can-eat seafood and sushi buffet place at the Beverly Center. He was in heaven. I was, on the other hand, really full and uncomfortable after my plate of yummy sushi followed by a strawberry and cream crepe. Yep, they have made-to-order crepes. Really cool. Our evening wasn't over yet, as Dad wanted to buy a Buddha statue for the garden. We went to Pier 1, where I just knew they would have exactly what we were looking for. Sadly, they did not. At 8:45 on a Saturday night, we were not prepared to admit defeat. We raced across Hollywood, through Silverlake, into downtown, took a left at Chinatown, and found ONE SHOP still open. Dad got the perfect garden Buddha and we headed back to my house to reflect on our successful mission. It was a fun night, Dad, thanks for always keeping it interesting. Love you!

In other news, I bought a knitting machine. The LK 150 pictured in my last post. I am determined to figure this sucker out. I practiced for a few hours and have this to show for it!

OK, I know it doesn't seem like I know anything, but that bit there on the right? That is real progress!

It is that time of year for me to bid farewell to my senior knitters. It pains me to see them go, but i LOVE the time we spent together, knitting and learning. These kids really make my job meaningful and fulfilling.
This is Brittany and Orchideh, two of my seniors. Brit (on the left) is holding a bacteria rattle I made, and Ochideh is showing off the Spongebob toy she INVENTED! She said she couldn't find a pattern so she made one up! Oh, really? That's easy enough, go for it!

Next up is Amanda. Ah, Amanda. She is on Ravelry and is always searching for new patterns to challenge herself. This is a little bird that she knit a few months ago. She is so fast! She can whip out two of these little dudes in one class period!

Amanda was also one of the first kids to try the Sheldon turtle from knitty.com Here is an orange version:

I am really proud of my knitters this year. Not only have they donated more items than any previous class, but they have advanced the furthest and learned the most. Goodbye seniors! Keep knitting!

As for my own knitting, I have been slowly finishing toys and such this week.
This is a set of baby rattles modeled by 1-day old Josh! I went to visit him in the hospital on Friday. A good friend from work made him! We are so proud and the happy family is now at home and comfy.

This is my attempt at the Robot doll by Jess Hutchison. I saw her toys on the cover of Craft magazine and was sad to see that the pattern was not inside. I wrote to her to buy the pattern, but it is no longer available. So, I drew out what I wanted, using her photos as a guide, and I knit one up (I actually made 2, but the second is armless). This is a prototype, since I messed up the seams and I think the body doesn't look quite right.

Charlie has been sick this week, moping on the couch and getting to eat human food. Ah the life. Here he is in a typical pose at the end of the couch in Mike's office, watching "daddy" work.

Happy Father's Day!