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Monday, November 30, 2009

New Group on Ravelry

Yesterday I set up a new group on Ravelry for The Designer's Studio. As of now this group has almost 100 members and is growing fast. Designers and knitters are all together in that group. I am having so much fun with this project! All three interviews are a hit. There are many more people sending me their answers to my 15 questions. So, check in back here for new posts.

I have been very busy these days (besides what I already mentioned :)). Our Thanksgiving was very nice. As a devoted (or obsessed?) knitter I could not just sit and watch the movie with the family, so I made a hat from 100% angora that my friend Dawn gave me some time ago. What a luxurious yarn!! My daughter wanted a Dolce Slouch, so this is it.
I am almost done with the tunic, but the collar needs some changes, so a little more work is needed. I am taking an online class from Stefanie Japel right now. She is terrific! I will learn all kinds of things about videos, chats, online classes, and so on. I am very excited about it. You will hear about it more from me as we progress. It is a three-week class.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What's In The Bag For Kids?

This is the last stop for a very fun blog tour that Kara Gott Warner has put together. Bravo, Kara! Good choice of blogs for a very interesting and well done book! This book is designed to provide you with some ideas for small projects which can be done while you are traveling, when you need a quick gift, or when you have a few big projects started and want to relax and get the satisfaction of a small finished one. As you were cruising from blog to blog during this tour, you have learned about many designs included in It's in the Bag. Since my design for this book was a Cozy Hooded Sleeping Sack for a baby, I wanted to take a look at the designs for kids only. My idea for this design came from the experience of using a similar sack when my son was a baby. I loved it. When I took him for a stroll in the baby carriage on a cold day, I was sure that he was warm in that little garment. As you see on this photo it is plenty of room for a baby to move and it is so much better than a blanket which you have to constantly watch since it is not going to stay in place. The front opening is long enough for you to put the baby in without any difficulty. It is a quick and simple knit-in-the-round project with the minimal seaming. You can do it while your baby is taking a nap or is busy with some toys. I hope you will consider making one.
So, let's take a look at more of the delightful designs for kids in this book. There are 11 designs for children, so I will have to skip some of them, sorry.
Bodacious Bobble Hat by Irina Poludnenko is a perfect little project if you want to use your stash. Simple and very playful hat adorned by unexpected bobble tassels that use the colors of the hat. Can you say NO to this?! Next time I am invited to a baby shower, you know what I am bringing:)

Laura Nelkin named her so very cute little girl's dress A-dorable A-line Ruffled Jumper. Need I say more? It just summed it up. This jumper can be worn as a summer dress or as a jumper over a short or long sleeved shirt under it for a colder weather. You can dress it up or dress it down. Just a perfect outfit to take on a trip for your little girl. Schaefer Yarns are wonderful and this one called Lola is no exception. Simply delicious.

Tonal Triangles Kid's Pullover by Amy Marshall is using intarsia color pattern that is suitable for a boy (sizes 2-10), but girls might like it as well. If you never made a sweater, or never worked with this technique, this is a great project for " a first ever". There is no shaping for a sleeve cap or body , so your concentration will be on intarsia and finishing. Even if you are a pro at knitting, this one you will put on your "to make" list. I did.

The next one is the one I could not skip. Diane Zangl's Cable Sampler Baby Blocks. Can you believe it? These are 6" cubes that are soft, squishy and fun. While any baby is going to love playing with them, any knitter will love making them. Never done any cables? Here is a project for you. Try it. You will learn plenty.

Since we are looking at the boy's patterns, here is one by Kara Gott Warner called Nautical Stripes Onesie & Sunhat. The raglan sleeved outfit worked from the top down and in the round. Simple stripe sequence is decorated by sewn little design that finishes the look to a very interesting and unique onesie.

This trio designed by Christine L. Walter named Cute as a Button Baby Set is hard to miss. A gentle, soft, and very baby-like set. It has that classic look which comes to mind when people say something about knitting for a baby. Don't you agree?

So, like I said, there are more designs for kids in this book, but you just have to believe me and take a look at the book yourself. Or... you can WIN A FREE COPY!!! Here is how: Just leave your comment below in the next two weeks with some tip for traveling with kids, knitting while traveling, about a gift for your baby that you appreciated most, or any tip that you just have to share with your fellow knitters. Your name will be entered in a drawing and the winner will have the book in the mail. If you left a comment on the previous post it counts also.

I already have my copy, so here is my tip:
When we traveled with kids, we always had prepared something to do for them. In our "bag" we had some games, books, their favorite toys, and a string for string figures. This is an interesting website with explanations on string games among many other useful tips. Enjoy!

And here is another exciting news. Kara has decided to extend the time for her game. Win a Molly Bag by going to her blog. Go here to learn what do you need to do.

I can't wait for your comments. Have fun winning and reading other posts on the tour, if this is your first stop.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Want a free book?

Do not miss my post tomorrow. It will be the last day of the blog tour for "It's in the Bag". Prepare some travel with kids and knitting on the go tips. You will have a chance to leave your comment at the end of my post and enter the drawing for a free copy of the book. I hope to hear from many of you. Till tomorrow! Poka! (Bye in Russian :))

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wooo! Hooo! Mandarins!!

I confessed already a while ago that I love mandarins. Well, it is officially the season for them. You can see them in all stores and in the orchards. I do not have a mandarin tree in my yard, but my neighbor has it right next to our fence and told us long time ago that the branch of the tree that hangs over to our side is ours :):). So, here is what I have right now on that little branch. Isn't it awesome ? They are very sweet and wonderful! I will leave it for my children to pick for our Thanksgiving feast when they will be here.
The Fall is still fighting for its right to stay and the Winter is not really ready to take over or just lazy. So, during the day it is still warm enough to go outside without a warm jacket. At night the Winter is showing its power and it is cold. Most of the trees are loosing their leaves and many are still very beautiful dressed in red, yellow, brown of all shades. My birch tree is still fighting to have some leaves on it. For many years living here I saw snow in town only a few times and mostly just falling, not staying on the ground. If we drive about thirty minutes out of town, we will see the snow in small town called Paradise. Strange, hah? If we really want to see the snow and even ski cross country or down hill, we can drive an hour and a half to get to the Lassen park or two hours and a half to get to Boreal, or the Squaw Valley (the VIII Winter Olympic Games site in 1960). Or... we can stay here and eat mandarins.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pre-Thanksgiving Salad

Today I went grocery shopping for our Thanksgiving dinner. Our dinner is very traditional. We inherited all of the recipes from our dear friends who always invited us to their home when we were still new to this holiday. The only variation my family tolerates is in the turkey dressing and in my apple pie that I make using a Russian recipe. Do not misunderstand me, please. I love that traditional dinner that my friends make. It's just I am the type of a cook that does not like to follow any recipes. I love to improvise and have fun with flavors. One minus in that is that I do not always remember what I did since I am not writing it down. This way my invention cannot be qualified as a traditional dish, I guess. It is only once a year and I can survive the pressure on my creativity :):) Other times I am having a ball though. Here is the example:
For tonight's dinner I made a link cod dish with the side of this salad that I improvised with what I had in my refrigerator. It turned out very nice, so I broke down and wrote the recipe.
Here it is:
- 2 big carrots
- 2 English cucumbers
- 1 Granny Smith apple
- 2 sticks of fennel
All of the above grate using Cuisinart
- 2 tsp dried blueberries
- 2-3 tsp pine nuts
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 tsp sugar or sugar substitute
Mix well and enjoy!
It is very fresh, healthy, and infinitely delicious.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Blog Tour for "It's In The Bag"

bOn Monday there will be the first day of the tour for the book by Kara Gott Warner. Try to follow this tour as much as you can. We are expecting that it will be a big hit and some people will end up winning some stuff. This is where it all begins:
Day 1- 11/16: Holly Barcelo's blog- Hook and Needle Girl
Don't miss Holly's introduction to many of the exciting designs in the book. Holly will also chat with me about the editing process, and a behind-the-scenes look into how this book was created.

To see the whole schedule go to Kara's blog She Knits in The Loop.

I will be the final stop and there will be a surprise waiting for you. So, see you back here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Long Weekend

Our college has decided that the Veteran's Day is today, so we worked when many people did not and we are off today. It is great to have a long weekend, especially when you have tons of things to do.
On the top of my list is the interview with Shannon Okey that will be posted tomorrow. You will hear from Shannon herself about her life as a designer.
Next, I am finishing sleeves for the tunic for Cascade Yarns made with their beautiful yarn called Soft Spun. This is what the tunic looks like sleeveless and collarless on my Monique. I am very happy so far with it. Maybe, just maybe, I will be done with both sleeves by Monday and start working on the collar. We will see. After that more swatching, writing two patterns and starting two new designs.I need a few weekends like this, don't you think?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Favorite Month of the Year

Ever since my childhood in Russia I loved November. It was the time when you just knew that the winter is coming. Every day it was colder and sometimes snow was falling. Snowflakes were hitting the ground and melted almost right away.
It was almost like the nature was warning us :"The winter is almost here." There was a big change in what we were wearing and ate (it was a very seasonal food back then). For example, mandarins were sold only in November and December. In the evenings we spent more time at home with the family. I can't explain it, but it was very exciting time for me every year. I loved the change around me. Close to November 24th or right on that day snow would fall and stay on the ground. Very clean, new, fresh snow was falling quietly covering the ground...
This feeling never left me. Now, leaving in America for many years, I am looking forward to November with the expectations of comfort, cozy family evenings, lots of knitting time, and my favorite mandarins. We have the best of them growing right here locally. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday that we gladly adapted. I love to cook and I make everything from scratch. Our family has a lot to be thankful for and we are. So, here is the parallel of my life in two different countries. It is amazingly similar in many ways.
And what about the snow, you would ask? It is not that far away in the mountains.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Elinka's Ruffled Hat

I made a gift for my dear friend's baby. Elinka baby dress and the booties, both knitted in pink, brown, and white, were a big hit. The colors were great and the size was right. My friend asked me if I could give her the leftover yarn, so she can make a little hat that goes with the set. Knowing how busy she is with the new baby, I made it myself. So, the trio is complete.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Free Download Offer

For a short time Martingale and Company offers a free download of my pattern Vintage Hat on their website. This is a great opportunity to get a taste of the book Casual, Elegant Knits. This hat is easy to make and a lot of fun to wear. The attached ties can be tied in many different ways. Three of them suggested in the pattern with detailed instructions. Do not miss the opportunity to get it for free.