Thursday, November 20, 2014

One for me... Two for you: Knitted Gifts and the Holidays

Nephew with his snowman and Santa skull t-shirt


Earlier this year my 5 year-old nephew saw me knitting (not uncommon) and asked me if I would make him something. When I asked what he wanted he replied: "a snowman."
Me: "A snowman?"
Him: "YES! A Snowman" Looking at me like he was doubting my comprehension of the English language.

A few weeks later at a holiday family gathering, I gave him the snowman I made with felted eyes and nose. Thrilled, he posed for a picture in one of his favorite holiday t-shirts: a skull with a santa hat and candy canes.

It was April and we had gathered for Easter.



The holidays are almost here with the shopping and the cooking and the baking and the eating and the gathering and all the craziness that goes with it. I'm tempted to set up a spreadsheet like the Yarn Harlot. Lately, I've been giving knitted gifts throughout the year, as I finish them. That way I'm enjoying the knitting time as relaxation rather than stressing out about the deadline. I'm always knitting something for somebody on my list for a Christmas gift, but I choose carefully. Usually it's for my grandmother, the person who taught me to knit and still knits at 93. My grandmother works on her gifts throughout the year and stashes them away until the holidays. In theory, that sounds great, but it usually doesn't work for me. I'm so thrilled when I finish something that I have to give it right away. I can hold back with purchased gifts, but barely.

How do you manage your knitted gift giving? A database, spreadsheet, or checklist? Any tips for keeping things sane during the holidays so you can enjoy the moment?


Don't forget:

To help with your holiday knitting, from now through November 26,  25% off all IGK patterns ($6.00 or less) with the coupon code: HOLIDAYS

Sunday, November 16, 2014

And then there were none.

I've been slowly knitting away on the last of these fingerless gloves this week.

image

image

I made sure to not make the same mistake as the last pair. Once this pair is complete, I'll be all done with my new designs. I'm forcing myself to not cast on any new designs. NONE. Why? Because it is time to catch up and get them out to you guys! I've got quite a back log of patterns to write up. 

First up, will be the Sorin hat.

image

Tracey has finished the test knit and I'm just about ready to send it to my graphic designer to put it together. By the way, Tracey has a fabulous podcast, Moms with Yarn, and I just love it!! She cracks me up! If you are looking for a new podcast to try, I'd definitely recommend listening to her and Sharon.

I have a mini version of the Sorin hat on my needles for tv knitting. It'll be for Magpie. 

image

Once that is done, it'll be all about holiday knitting and pattern writing. Speaking of holiday knitting, I think it is going to be easy things on my end. A couple of hats, maybe some fingerless gloves. We'll see. 

What kind of holiday knitting plans do you guys have? Don't forget about the IGK Giftalong KAL on Ravelry. I still can't believe the holidays are right around the corner. To help with your holiday knitting, from now through November 26, I'm offering 25% off all of my IGK patterns ($6.00 or less) with the coupon code:  HOLIDAYS

And Cheeky Attitude still has our pattern giveaway going too! What is your favorite comfort food? Be sure to enter (follow link) soon.

Happy Knitting!
xoxo Irishgirlieknits

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Comfort Food Fingerless Mitts Finished and a Giveaway

Untitled
Finished Comfort Mitts
Pattern: Comfort Food  
Finished!

As I mentioned, these mitts were a great travel project and the yarn (Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio Chunky) is a dream. This is a speedy knit and I look forward to the cozy warmth they will provide. They'd be great holiday gift, either paired with the cowl or solo (or keep the mitts for yourself and give the cowl to a friend :-) ).

The Comfort Food pattern came to Irish Girlie during a tough time and, like good comfort food should, the knitting helped on a path to healing. Read more about the pattern and the process.




My go to comfort food is often a bowl of hearty homemade soup like this posole (recipe) or Italian sausage soup (recipe).

What's your comfort food? Post in the comments below and I will pick a random number for a free Irish Girlie Pattern of your choice. UPDATED: I will pick the winner Tuesday November 18 11am Pacific Time.

Remember the Comfort Food Pattern is on sale for $4.75 until the end of November.

Pattern: Comfort Food 



Congratulations Linda!!

Lmecoll
Lmecoll
You get to choose a IGK Designs pattern of your choice.

Thanks so much for all the comfort food ideas everyone!



Sunday, November 9, 2014

Go Irish!

Last month I took a long weekend trip to go visit Erica and Padraig and our main event for the weekend....

image

going to my alma mater for a Notre Dame football game!

It had been way too long since I had been back to campus and I figured why not fly through Michigan and visit Erica too.  We had such an awesome weekend!

image

image

On Friday, we started with a quick trip down the tunnel the players come out every Saturday and were able to go onto part of the field. Yeah, they didn't let us do that back when I went there!

image

I'm not sure Padraig was thrilled about the gold helmet. I was on the other hand!

image

We stayed with my best friend from college and it was so great to catch up with her!

image

Her two nephews dressed in their Halloween costumes on Saturday and looked so cute posing with the ND Band!

image

image

And it was a gorgeous fall Saturday on campus and there is just nowhere that does college football better than Notre Dame in my opinion. It is such a special place.

image

The Golden Dome

image

The Library and Touchdown Jesus

image

image

The Grotto

image

We squeezed in a quick photo shoot (hello, how could we not?!). New hat pattern coming soon!! And then game time.

image

image

We tried to get a picture of all of our different Knitspot hat's on. Yeah, not perfect at the selfies. I have to admit, for a 2-year old, baby Padraig was a trooper! He loved watching the band and the student section right below us. I think he went the entire day without a nap, poor kiddo. He melted Auntie IGK's heart when towards the end of the game he got the "Let's go IWISH" cheer down :)

image

image

image

All happy after a close win!!

Bonus part of the weekend was hanging out with Erica's parents! We stayed at their house in Kalamazoo the first night and it was so fun hanging out. Plus, her mom made us this delicious pie!!! So good!

image

Plus, Nana and Padraig have this little whipped cream routine :)

image

Missing this kiddo and his mama so much now!!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Happy Knitting!
xoxo Irishgirlieknits

p.s. Reminder few days left to participate in our Veteran's day pattern sale/fundraiser. More info here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

When in Rome or Florence...


I am so thrilled to be part of the "We" in "We do not have a knitting problem." When Irish Girlie suggested I contribute, I knew exactly what I wanted to post first. And at the time I hadn't even boarded the plane.



Untitled

My recent trip to Italy has been in the planning for over a year and there were times when I was afraid it wasn't going to happen. And then it did.

A couple of weeks before departure I started panicking -- What to knit on the trip! It had to be pretty portable (duh!) and I was afraid of losing tiny needles either to security or just because of my own clumsiness. And even though I am a notoriously slow knitter, I have a great fear of being under yarned. And then I remembered Irish Girlie's Comfort Food pattern for fingerless gloves.

Untitled
 IGK Comfort Food Fingerless Gloves in Neighborhood Fiber Company Studio Chunky


I've decided that fingerless gloves in a larger yarn are the best travel project. So easy to take everywhere.

Untitled
Knitting on the Spanish Steps



Our first stop was Rome where our hotel was located near the top of the Spanish Steps. No need to climb UP the steps, we just walked down and around town from there. Bonus!

IMG_8171 - Version 2
I honestly love this glorious green colorway

We walked and walked around Rome and also spent a day at the Vatican.

Untitled
Swiss guards at the Vatican

I was going to ask the guards to pose with my knitting, but decided against it.


Untitled
Saint Peter's Basilica
It is so very hard to explain the splendor of the art and the scale of the Basilica. But look at the bottom of the photo above. Those are people - look how tiny they are compared to the columns and archways!

Untitled
Outside view of Saint Peter's Basilica
Outside St. Peters they have chairs set up for when the Pope gives his regular Sunday blessing.


Untitled
Lemon!
Gelato Break! There was lots and lots of gelato breaks.

Untitled
Wine & Knitting
And wine with every meal except breakfast. (Cheaper than water!)

Untitled
Morning Cappuccino
And Cappuccinos every single morning. So good I had to stop myself or I would start to get the jitters.



Untitled
Not much progress
Lovely day spent walking around one of the palaces - Notice I haven't made much knitting progress. Oh well.

Untitled
Meat and Cheese Plate (The wine was there, trust me)
We tried to eat at little neighborhood places where we could get bread, and cheese and meat or a sandwich.

Untitled
Train rides are a great time to knit
We took a side trip to Venice and also traveled to Florence by train. It was such a great way to see the countryside.

Untitled
Gondolas!
Sights so picturesque I felt like I was in storybook land.


Untitled
Duomo, Florence

Craftsmanship both inspiring and intimidating. No CAD programs available in 1446 when construction started on the Duomo.


Untitled
Colosseum at Night
A tour of the Colosseum at night was one of the highlights of the trip. (I used Walks of Italy as our local tour guide and we had stellar experiences every time.



photo(5)
New knitting bag from Italy!
I did end up finishing one of the mitts. But I'm not quite done with the second yet. I love how the cables add interest to the mitts. They also add a little progress happy dance when you get to create the twist.


Untitled

Ahhhh, I miss you already Italy. Someday we will be together again.

To celebrate being part of the "We" in "We do not have a knitting problem," we're designating the Comfort Food pattern as "IGK Pattern of the Month."  The pattern will be on sale for $4.75 the entire month of November 2014. 



Sunday, November 2, 2014

Good Things.

So many good things the past few weeks that I've been wanting to share with you guys, I feel like I've been writing mini-blogposts in my head to you. Here goes.

1. Did everyone have a happy Halloween? I spent it with the cutest unicorn! I loved watching her walk 10-12 steps down the hallway at Grandma's house! Such a big girl. She's been taking steps for a few weeks now, but it is so exciting to see her get better and better each week.

image

image

The tween aka Lil' Snowboarder went as Beyonce and looked Flawless but you know how Beyonce has contractual issues with appearing on knitting blogs...haha!

Now, we all know how crafty Lil' Guy's mom is, right? Are you ready to see the makeup she did for his costume? They do pictures together every year for Halloween....I always look forward to their card... are you ready???

image

image

Amazing, right?! I love it!

2. Almost as amazing as #OrangeOctober and the Giants winning the World Series!

10402937_10152401051971828_8160738384105855511_n

It was an awesome week! An awesome month of playoff games actually. Lil' Snowboarder and I spontaneously decided to go to the divisional game where the Giants clinched it and went on to NLCS. The game was awesome!

image

First, our friends who live a few hours away happened to have the seats right in front of us (crazy, right?!) and then lil' snowboarder was determined to catch the ball that Juan Perez was tossing to the crowd in between innings after the outfielders were warming up. So she went down there and lo' and behold, her pointed right to her and tossed it to her! She was on cloud nine the entire night!

image

image

image

3. Now if you read my last post, you may remember I mentioned I was trying to finish knitting Magpie a sweater for her birthday party last weekend. Oh, us knitters and our deadlines. I think I gave myself a week to knit a baby sweater. No problem, right? Well, here I was the Friday morning before the Sunday morning party.

image

I'd divided for the sleeves and was now at the body. I was feeling somewhat positive.

image

Saturday morning I was on the first sleeve by the end of the soccer game. Feeling very positive. But then there was party prepping for a few hours, and then my stupid head pain problems caught up with me and I was down for the count for a few hours. But then the sleeves were done, and the sweater was blocked and dried overnight with multiple fans on it! The buttons were sewn on two hours before the party.

_MG_9843

_MG_9857

So worth it! My own design, similar to her baptism sweater, but this time in a sport weight yarn, The Plucky Knitter Primo Sport, colorway After Dark.

Magpie had a fabulous time at her party. She loved her cake, made by her Auntie, Lil' Guy's mom (you know we LOVE her cakes!).

_MG_9829

_MG_9956

_MG_9972

4. I have some fun blog news to share! Many of you longtime blog readers have heard me mention my friend Tricia, aka Cheekyattitude, over the years. She's my friend, a knitter, she's been an IGK photographer, a librarian, and an amazing blogger. And now she'll be part of the IGK team! I'm not sure assistant is the right word for what she'll be doing since she is overqualified for everything she'll be helping me with, but I'm excited to have her on board. You'll see her in our IGK ravelry group, she'll be behind the scenes cleaning up the blog about, but most exciting will be that she'll be blogging here, putting the "we" back in the "We" Do Not Have a Knitting Problem. Please help me welcome her this week when you see her post.

BestPhotog.Model.Ever!

Cheekyattitude, behind the camera

5. I made these Banana Yogurt Crumb Muffins this morning. It seems like forever since I've had energy to bake, so  I'm slowly trying to get back into the groove. These muffins are from Jennifer Perillo's magazine, Simple Scratch Cooking, and I've been wanting to make them since the magazine arrived. They are delicious and the family has already requested more.

image

I've made another recipe from the magazine too, the apple salad (I can't remember the exact name off the top of my head), and I love the dressing from it. I paired it with these sweet & savory candied walnuts from her blog- so good! It was a hit at the birthday party last weekend.

6. Autumn Rainbow colorway from Knitted Wit. I ordered this yarn after falling in love with it over on Neuroknitter's blog.

image

image

So much pretty in one skein of yarn!

7. Pretty flowers. Thanks sis! They sure made my week.

image

8. Knitted Wit has a new sock yarn, Victory Sock, and to launch it she's donating $5 for every skein of Camo and Purple Heart purchased from Nov. 1-15 to Fisher House Foundation and Wounded Warrior Project. And what to knit with this gorgeous yarn? I'm joining her and I'm donating $2 from every pattern purchase of Uncle Frank, Dear Baby Francis, and Fine Fella from Nov. 1-15 to Fisher House Foundation to support our military families and veterans. After all, my Great Uncle Frank gave his life for our country in World War II and received the Purple Heart, and I named all of those patterns after him, so I'm glad to give back in a small way. To encourage you all a bit, I've also marked the patterns on sale during this time to $5.

4a76dea5-07dd-4b23-9b51-abb74abd25f4

Hightower Socks by Sorren Kerr (also participating in this with us) shown in Victory Sock colorway Camo (right), Uncle Frank shown in Victory Sock colorway Purple Heart

So there you go. Lots of good things. I hope your weeks have been filled with good things too. I'd love to hear about them. Here's a great week ahead filled with more good things.

Happy Knitting!
Irishgirlieknits






ShareThis