Monday, July 20, 2015

A New Knitting Book: KNITTED Wraps & Cover-ups by Annie Modesitt

I got this once in a lifetime opportunity to review a brand new knitting book and I grabbed it. The main reason is because I love the designer/author Annie Modesitt. Why? Well, if you ever get a chance to take a workshop with this person, sign up immediately and you'll understand why I love this person.She is so much fun to learn from. Annie has a wonderful sense of humor and is wonderfully creative. She has published amazing patterns in almost every major knitting magazine. She has written quite a few books of which I own.Her first book, Confessions of a Knitting Heretic has a place of honor in our powder room. I know what you are thinking but this is where serious reading goes on. My husband has his baseball statistics book, recent copies of Consumer Reports, and two National Audubon Society guidebooks for trees of the northeast and weather. Annie's book is entertaining and informative. It deserves a spot in the "office".

I was so excited when Annie's book arrived. The cover is graced with her daughter wearing a white cabled poncho set with matching hat and gauntlets. The set is knitted with bulky weight yarn. It is amazing looking. The directions include charts, a schematic of the poncho with measurements and tips. Don't let the word chart scare you away from making this set or any other pattern that has a chart. In the beginning of the book, Annie invites the reader/knitter "in" with her introduction and the thoughts that went into writing this book. The 24 designs include boleros, capes, shrugs, crop tops, ruanas, ponchos and scarves. There is such a variety of projects that you will definitely find one to knit for yourself or for someone else who is deserving of your knitting talents. The designs in this book show the sophistication of small knitting projects to provide a satisfying knit and beautiful results. The patterns include a variety of sizes which for this knitter is a good thing. (I once saw a knitting book that only had designs from small to large. Forget it if you were extra-large!)

There is such a variety of patterns in Knitted Wraps & Cover-Ups. From the different yarns to the different projects, it's like a buffet for knitters. Some of my favorites that are added to my "to knit" list are the Log Cabin Cardigan which is so unique and cozy looking, the Mitered Ruana with its beautiful fit over the shoulders, and the Cross Body Wrap & Scarf which can be worn in a variety of ways. I see gifts for members of my family. I believe my nieces would love either the Lace Knit Shrug or the Funnel Neck Twisted Float Armery which was previewed on Facebook and my first reaction was that it looked so warm and cozy to wear.

Kitted Wraps & Cover Ups is a wonderful resource not only for Annie Modesitt's designs but for techniques and chart reading. This is a very user friendly book. It allows the knitter to knit the way she wants to as long as she gets the results needed for the pattern. There is also a visual index for a quick reference to the patterns but you will want to peruse this book at a leisurely pace to really enjoy the work of Annie Modesitt. This hipknitta recommends this book...I give it 2 needles!

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

I'm An Artist!

I don't consider myself an artist. I guess I can be called a fiber artist because I do create with fiber but I think of an artist as someone who paints, sculpts, or makes big-ass things. Today I was called an an artist. It's amazing how that label made me feel. I stood up straighter and all of a sudden felt part of a larger group of creative people. I ran into a woman, Donna, who I know from various teams my sons and her son have been on together. Donna is an artist. She has studio space outside of her home. She paints. She, in my world, is legit. She is funny and I am secretly in awe of her talents. But today, Donna called me an artist. We talked about selling stuff and getting holiday things ready now so we can sell them effortlessly at holiday time. But she called me an artist. She talked to me about a new website to sell my stuff. She asked about my knitting because that's what I did during those games we sat through. So I guess one doesn't have to paint, sculpt, or make big-ass things to be an artist. I sort of knew this but I never said it out loud. Donna did.

Walking away from our very pleasant time together, I felt very energized as if my creative energy was buzzing to get out. I felt lighter and empowered. Could these few words make such a difference? That's something for me to watch for.

I have been knitting like my life depends upon it. My hands missed holding those needles when I was studying for my last exam. I finished a small scarf called Helsinki and started a pair of socks for Ben's senior year. I feel so great when I am knitting. I've also been doing a lot more reading of blogs and websites about knitting. The internet is so perfect for that. It keeps me fresh and excited for my next project. I'm trying very hard NOT to get startitis. I'm keeping to a maximum of 2 knitting projects at one time.

I've also been reading like a fiend as well. Nothing too heavy but to hold a book that isn't about phlebotomy or EKG is a pleasure.

It's good to be back.

I'm an artist. Donna said so.

Monday, June 29, 2015


Hello yarn! Hello knitting needles! Hello patterns! Hello everything knitting. I missed you so much. I've been busy. I've been working at my job as a teacher. Then I decided that I wanted to see what it would be like to work in the health field so I took a phlebotomy/EKG course. I am now a certified phlebotomist. I am waiting to see if I will also be a certified EKG technician. The results should arrive any day now. While I was studying for my exams, I would think about knitting and get such a feeling of joy. When I needed a break I would look at the patterns on Ravelry and save patterns in my library. I have tons of patterns in my library and the fact that I would eventually have time to knit any one I want when my exams were over. Well, that time has arrived. THE HIPKNITTA IS BACK WITH A VENGENCE!

It took me a few days to get back into the groove once my school year ended. I was surprised that I did not grab my knitting and start right away. I had to decompress and get into the zone. Yesterday, I got into the zone. I started an afghan but I needed some clarification on the directions. The friend who also made it left for Italy yesterday. Then I frogged the Catkin that I started years ago. I bought Periwinkle Sheep yarn in a tonal blue and a brown color. I couldn't stand the Catkin so I decided to repurpose the fiber. I bought a book, Free Spirit Shawls by Lisa Shroyer. I found one pattern, Basilica, which I started this morning. I realized that there wasn't enough contrast between the two colors. So I ripped that out and started Helsinki. The pattern works well with these two colors. So I sat on the couch, this first official day of my vacation, and knitted until I had to walk Shadow. I am so back. It feels great.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

It's March...What Progress Has Been Made?

I just looked at my January blog post and whoa! I totally forgot all about that! I reread it and winced when I saw what I wrote, especially the part where I said that I will post two times a week. Okay, I didn't do anything on that list. I did lose about 4 pounds but I didn't exercise. I didn't get creative for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. I am reading before I go to bed almost nightly. I usually conk out after 2 or 3 pages but it's reading and it's a book! We didn't get an exercise bike yet and that's our fault. But I did go out of my comfort zone.

This February, I decided to take a phlebotomy class at BOCES. I always wanted to work in health care. I wanted to be a doctor when I went to college. I realized that I wasn't that great a student once I saw those pre-meds in my bio classes. But I always loved science. I am the team teacher in science at my school. I love it and I think getting back into it led me down this path. I wanted to work in a lab but you need to get a whole new bachelor's degree for that and I don't want to do that. So how about sticking a needle in someone's arm and drawing blood? Why not?

I must admit that the idea of drawing blood scared me. I wanted to bolt out of that classroom during the first class but I didn't. The book learning part isn't hard. It's easy and interesting but once we started actually drawing blood...I was drawn in. I couldn't believe that I actually did it on real person! I didn't get queasy or scared. I felt for the vein, stuck the needle in, attached the evacuated tube and there she went! I was hooked.

My plan is to try to work over the summer as a phlebotomist hopefully at a hospital. I would like to do it part-time and then transition into it as I get closer and closer to retiring from teaching. I think I could rock some scrubs and some Crocs!

So the big question is: what's with me and needles?

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year

Happy New Year. A new year signifies new beginnings. Another chance to get something right. A signal to improve oneself. Or just happy new year. The news is full of ways for us to keep the resolutions we make. I haven't made any but seeing the news reports got me thinking. What can I do differently this year? There are obvious ones like losing weight and exercising more. But to be able to stick to my resolutions I have to be more specific. So here's some specifics:
1)I will lose 10 pounds by March
2)I will walk three times a week BUT if we get an exercise bike (for Elijah) then that will count as well resolutions are out of the way. Easy to write, harder to keep but I will try. No wait. I will do it Using the word "try" means just that. You will try but it doesn't necessarily mean you will be successful. I want to be successful.

Now for the creative part of this resolution thing: I am happiest when I am doing something with my hands, mind and eyes. Sometimes at work I think about knitting and I get happy. Happiness sparks my creativity and being more
creative makes me happy. It's a wonderful loop to be in. I want to be in it forever! It makes me less bitchy. I'm easier to live with. I laugh more easily. You get the message, right? So here's some creatively-slanted resolutions which are subject to change:
1)I will do something creative at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
2)I will design my first shawl/shawlette and post it on Ravelry (no timeframe on this one but I will do it by the end of the year)
3)I will research, pick people's brains and step out of my comfort zone to sell my creations.
4)I will read more books (not just on vacations) and write more blog posts (at least twice a month)
5)I will keep my eyes and mind opened.

Hey, I like these resolutions. I believe this will make me smile more which means feeling happier which means it lights up parts of my brain and makes me feel alive.

Happy New Year!
Here's some previous results of my creativity!