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Date: Monday, 02 Jan 2012 12:22
New year

New laptop

New camera

New inspiration

New pattern!
Author: "Amybel (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Zoey   New window
Date: Tuesday, 30 Aug 2011 12:09
We are in the midst of no power for the third day from Tropical Storm Irene and are dealing with the loss of our gentle giant. RIP Zoey. You are no longer struggling.
Author: "Amybel (amybelbags@gmail.com)"
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Date: Friday, 26 Aug 2011 22:15
My blogger is broken.  Not because I haven't posted in a while.  But because it wont let me leave comments on anyone else's Blogger blog.  After four or five login screens it just tells me I don't have access to view the page.  Hmmm, it has to be something with this laptop, because when I do it on the desktop I don't have that problem.  Trouble is the desktop freezes up after about two minutes, so that wont work either!  So just to let you all know that I have not been ignoring you, Blogger just thinks we're not friends anymore :(.  And if you know how to fix it drop me a line :).

Oh, and about the posting?  Well, I finished the little clutches for my mother's wedding. Then my camera died (I really don't think I broke that) so I took pictures of them with my mother's camera.  Which then went to Hawaii, and is now in the midst of a move from Columbus to Chicago!

But they are so adorably cute (if I do say so myself) that I am thinking about submitting them.  So no pictures, for now, might be a good thing.
Author: "Amybel (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "new pattern progress, hand knit love, fi..."
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Date: Saturday, 09 Jul 2011 12:25
When I last posted about how my new bag ideas usually come out in the summer I had an idea brewing around in my head, ready to come out when I had some time and a little wisp of inspiration.  Well, my mother's ears must have been ringing because right after I wrote that she called me and asked for a little purse. 

Two actually.  She's getting married in August and she asked if I would make her a little something just big enough for a hairbrush and a compact. And one for my aunt, who will be her Matron of Honor.  I asked her if she wanted anything in particular or if I could come up with something.  She said "You're the purse designer, of course come up with something!" 

Flattery will get her everywhere.  This is one project for someone else I know will be appreciated (ok, two)!

All you purse knitting lovers stay tuned...a new pattern really is in the works!  And it's not the one I had brewing either :).  Stay tuned for a picture...Blogger is not cooperating this morning.
Author: "Amybel (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "purse, new pattern progress, hand knit l..."
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Date: Wednesday, 15 Jun 2011 22:47
I haven't disappeared. I'm just in baseball/school's out/working part time/summer mode.  So in other words, don't expect to hear from me too much.  But on the plus side, I tend to come up with new patterns in the summer, so please don't disappear from the Backyarn!

I just wanted to make a quick post about a new yarn shop in Westport, MA called Sisters of the Wool.  Fantastic little shop with very friendly staff.  Oh, and they have a little something there you might recognize!
Find and friend them on Facebook!

Author: "Amybel (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Amybelbag, Braided Cable Handle Tote"
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Date: Saturday, 30 Apr 2011 22:03
Little League season has started, and now both kidsters are playing.  Kidster #1 is on an instructional team, Kidster #2 is making his debut in T-ball, and of course Hubster is coaching both teams.  Today was downright cold with gray clouds tumbling in and just enough of a wind to chill you straight through.  So even though it's the end of April I cracked out the winter coat and finished casting off this cashmere cowl.  The yarn is reclaimed from a sweater that met an untimely demise.  I held two strands and knit on size 1's.

I'm not much of a cowl person for a couple of reasons.  First off, I haven't found a yarn soft enough not to be irritating after an hour or so.  And I hate having something too tight around my neck (I almost never wear turtlenecks!), plus there's the messy-hair-putting-it-on factor to deal with.  But I am happy with this one.  It is stretchy enough to avoid the hair issues, and not too loose or too tight on the neck.  The result is just right for tucking behind a coat collar and is super soft on the skin.  

Although I have to say that I won't be sad when the weather warms up enough that I have to put it away for the season!
Author: "Amybel (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "finished"
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Date: Saturday, 16 Apr 2011 19:18
Sock minis?
Sock midgets?
Gee, I hope that wasn't politically incorrect or anything.

Whatever you want to call them, they are little socks.  From the Ballet School Dropout Sockettes pattern, I knit mine with a shorter heel and the regular (not cleavage) toe. 

I knit them specifically for these shoes.  I would prefer to wear them without socks, but they rub right at the inside of the ball of my foot.  So the socks are getting the job done as far a preventing blisters.

It has occurred to me that if I am going to make socks in the future, I need to stick with a solid or semi-solid color.  Trying to match up the stripes was just that, trying.  And having mismatched stripes?  My brain doesn't work that way.
Author: "Amybel (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "socks, finished"
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Date: Friday, 08 Apr 2011 14:51
My sweater woes have past. 
Spring has finally sprung (today broke 50 degrees, just barely).
And my Retro Redux Shrug is complete. 
Not perfect, but good enough!
Author: "Amybel (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "sweater, finished"
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Date: Monday, 28 Feb 2011 14:00
This is how my February started. 

Full of high hopes and aspirations for some new winter wearables. I got my yarn and Knitpicks nickel plated interchangeables ready, and settled in for a long winter's knit.  (And since I don't have any other knitting pictures to show you, I thought this one would try to give a little life to this post.)

So if March comes in like a lion, how does February go out? 

Like a frog.

A frogged cardi. 
One or two button cardi's are going to accentuate my middle no matter how cute they look on the size 0 model.  And even though I plan to lose 10 pounds, I haven't lost it yet.

A frogged pullover, twice.
Even if everyone is making it, the bulky knit v-neck with the beautiful cable pattern in the center isn't all that flattering with negative ease.  Especially when I can't get gauge and have to make it one size two sizes bigger making the cable pattern, the highlight of the design, seemingly disappear.

March will be a return to the things I do best.  Small items finished in a relatively short amount of time.  I have some charity stuff to make, a cashmere (yes!) cowl to finish, and a second sock in teeny tiny sock yarn to start.  I will get some pictures up for you soon.  But for now I'm going wait for the April flowers to start blooming before I go and get all inspired again.
Author: "Amybel (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "frogs"
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Date: Friday, 18 Feb 2011 12:35
My newest pattern has been hibernating since June. I'm not sure why. It was fast, fun, and easy to knit. The pattern probably can fit onto one page. Which reminds me, where are my notes anyway? Darn it, see what happens when things just sit around for ever?

But one part of this new pattern has me pretty excited. For the straps I made an i-cord. But not the traditional kind that takes forever doing three or four stitches, one row at a time, or the kind that hurts your hands from trying to pull that yarn tight in the back.

Ladies, hold onto your needles. Gentlemen too, but I don't think there are any of you out there since I haven't heard from you yet! (Hint, hint.) I am about to present you with a groundbreaking knitting technique. (I checked.)

This is a faux i-cord. I'm sorry to say that it only works if it is felted, but it works like a dream and is so much easier to do!

For this particular one, I cast on about 250 stitches (you don't really need to count) and joined in the round. Keeping the stitches straight for the join is the hardest part, I promise! Then just knit away for 4 rounds or until your work naturally curls back onto itself (I was using worsted weight for this project, you may have to adjust rows depending on your yarn). Bind off.

Yes, that's it. Do not weave in yarn tails! Do not sew tube closed! Throw it in your washing machine and give it a nice strong tug when it comes out. When it's dry and you are ready to use it, cut it to the length(s) needed!

I'm starting a search party for the missing notes so I can finally get the pattern out. Soon!

I have been asked a few times about making this on straight needles.  Yes, you can! 
There are two reasons why I didn't.  First, I wanted to get as many stitches as possible on the needles and the best way (for me) to accomplish this was to use a circular needle.  And the second reason is that if you work in the round, there is no purling!  Yay!
Author: "Amybel (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "new pattern progress, free pattern, felt..."
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Date: Monday, 31 Jan 2011 10:59
Shovelling snow once again. 

Talking to myself as usual. 

I turn around to see my mailman standing right behind me.  Now that I wasn't expecting.  He was holding my mail, a little package, and a delivery confirmation to sign.  I had almost forgotten about it, but here it was!  I ripped open the package and twirled the contents around my neck with glee.

One thing I know for sure, my mailman obviously doesn't know anyone who knits.

This lovely new addition to my wardrobe is Isobel.  Made by a Raveler who just couldn't stand the curling.  I happen to love the curling so I offered to swap her for it.  It's hard to describe the color.  Is it avocado, moss, olive, lettuce, or kiwi?  Frankly I don't care.  They are all my favorite colors!

Author: "Amybel (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "ravelry links, scarf"
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Date: Wednesday, 26 Jan 2011 14:16
My friend (husband's cousin's wife...yeah, easier to say friend) and I got our boys together last week.  We were getting ready to leave when she saw the bee mittens and went crazy.  If you're new to my backyard then you may not know that I made them two years ago.  They were originally made for Kidster #1 and have since been very happily inherited and now loved even more by Kidster #2. They've been shaved more times than my legs (Ha! Just kidding, I wanted to see if you were paying attention!) and the eyes have been replaced but they are a getting dressed for outside staple.
Nov 2008, Kidster #1 and his new bees

Anyway, I noticed that my friend's DD had the cutest little black coat with a gray checkered lining and little red turn back cuffs. The idea for these came to mind almost immediately.  I think she'll like them. We're getting together next week. 

Now as much as I love people fawning all over my kids' knits, I hope they don't bother me for a while.  I am trying to work on some selfish knitting. 
Author: "Amybel (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "finished"
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Date: Saturday, 22 Jan 2011 09:31
iPod mitten.
Or iPod Sweater (kidster #1 giggles at this).
Or iPod Cozy for you more conventional types.

(Friday night post-beer prose deleted. Post is self explanatory, no?)

Author: "Amybel (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "finished, cozy"
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Date: Saturday, 15 Jan 2011 06:15
This week I finished a pair of super cute mittens, if I do say so myself!
A friend asked me to make mittens for her 5 year old son, a friend and classmate of kidster #2. She wanted something that could go with his two winter coats, one blue and one brown. He asked for either Santa, reindeer, or a snowman. At first I thought about making these Cabled Snowman Mittens which I think are adorable (and will make for someone in the future!). While searching the Ravelry project pages, I came across these made by fellow raveler ironknitter and then I had my aha moment.
I am pretty proud of them and they even turned out just like I had imagined. They got thumbs up approval from both of my boys, and the look on Sam's face when he put them on was totally worth it. His mom approved too!
Author: "Amybel (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "ravelry links, finished"
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Date: Tuesday, 11 Jan 2011 14:25
Do you remember these mittens from last January?

Well I liked the idea of them well enough but I didn't really wear them too often. So I retro-knit them and now they are great!

Problem #1: Mittens are not supposed to be drafty!
I picked up stitches along the bottom opening and knit about another inch. I sewed the sides of the new flap to the inside. No more drafts, and the opening is still very accessible.

Problem #2: Sock top.
The original mittens had sock type decreases. I'm sure there's some technical knitting name for it, but I don't know what that is. Anyway, I much prefer the new rounded top.

Problem #3: Try to do anything with only your fingers.
I took out the bind off of the thumbs and added about an inch, then ribbing for an inch. Because they are longer than my thumbs they are perfectly warm. But when I need my thumbs, they are super easy to scrunch down or they can be turned down like a cuff for extended periods. Now I can tie skate laces and snap coats without taking off my mittens.
Ok, I'll be honest, I really needed my thumbs for texting and playing on our new iPod!
Author: "Amybel (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "finished"
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Date: Wednesday, 22 Dec 2010 21:56
I am so happy now that winter has finally started! Not because of the unending cold, and not because I can again wear some of my knittables, but because the days are now getting longer!

One painful minute at a time.

Is it funny that a knitter loves the summer so much?
Author: "Amybel (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Friday, 10 Dec 2010 22:04
The Party:
We had a family party to go to and my friend is one of those people who prefers that people remove their shoes when inside the house. I don't mind doing that but her floors are all tile or hardwood and my feet are always freezing there. I started thinking about making slippers. If you've been with me for a while, you might remember that last year I made two pairs of French Press Slippers for Christmas presents. I thought about making another pair for a few days, but by the time I was ready to knit them I knew I wouldn't have enough time to knit all the pieces, sew them together, felt them, wait for them to dry, sew them again...ugh. I think Freud may have been working in the back of my mind.

Do you get where I'm going with this?

Then I stumbled upon the pattern for Duffers (non-Ravelry link here). Can I tell you how much I love this pattern? It is so easy. The fit is fantastic and there is only one seam to sew up. Can you say 5 minutes? Seriously! And it's free, too. While I still like the French Press pattern, now that I have tried this new pattern I will not turn back.

The Bad:
I had the strange notion that making them with some of the half-boatload of Lopi I have in my stash would be a good idea. Um, no. I feel like I need to drag my vacuum around behind me when I wear them.
The Good:
Luckily I still had one more day before the party. I made these in three hours. That's like instant knitting for some of you high speed knitters out there (and you know who you are)!
The pattern is so addictive I want to make these for everyone!
So about the Lopi, you ask? Before you get all defensive on me, I know that every knitter has their own feelings about certain kinds of yarns. I get that. I have discovered that I dislike Lopi. Very much.
But if you like it and you want my Lopi slippers, or my Lopi stash, just let me know. Merry Christmas, it's yours. Seriously.
Author: "Amybel (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "ravelry links, felting, finished"
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Date: Monday, 15 Nov 2010 16:21
I have been a little quiet lately but I do have a few projects going on, all at the same time! Here's a rundown:

My boys are very lucky to have a cousin about 5 years older. We get his a lot of his things when he outgrows them. Being a private school kid there aren't a ton of clothes since he wears a uniform, but what we do get lucky with are coats! So when the weather cooled off a few weeks ago I headed to the coat box for Kidster #1. Of course a new coat means new mittens. He designed the colors and pattern. I tried convincing him to have lots of small stripes but he didn't want to hear it. He's my biggest fan so instead of arguing I got my needle ready for all those ends! They are just waiting for thumbs.

I also started some yoga-type socks for my mother. Ever since she broke her ankle, she's been saying how it gets so stiff on her in the mornings and when she's outside when it's cold. With all the screws and pins in there I thought this was the least I could do. I plan on making at least two and will have to dye them to her preferred work colors (navy or black). If there's time I will also make a thicker version for sleeping. Mom doesn't read the blog so I can show you how the first one looks, pre-dyed. And Mom, if you are reading, please let me know so I don't spoil the surprises in the future!

As for sewing, I am in the middle of a toy sack. The kidsters have a new found appreciation for Legos. And as you can imagine (or already know) they get all over the floor! A few years back we discovered some Legos in a vacation home we were staying in and they were in a great drawstring "bag" that opened all the way up to a flat mat. You can find actual vintage Lego bags on eBay, but buy one? Who me? I am ready to put in the grommets, string it up and it's done. I printed out an outline of a lego guy and I think I will try to embroider it on the side of the bag. I'll keep you posted.

Then last night I got another item added to my to-do list. My FIL brought over a chair seat. My MIL had been asking about how to get it recovered and generally hinting around so I offered to recover it for them a while back. I guess now is the time. Maybe I can drag it out a little and make it their holiday gift?

On a good note (fantastic, actually) I already have my holiday cards and have picked out a pretty good picture of the kidsters taken at my niece's wedding in September. It's not exactly "snowy winter wonderland" but it's better than the torture of spending a whole weekend trying for "the shot". Hubster isn't sold on the idea yet but he will be once I show him a nice stack of cards all done and stamped and ready for mailing before Thanksgiving. Usually we squeak them out on the 22nd of December!
Author: "Amybel (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "crafty bits, family, knitting"
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Date: Thursday, 28 Oct 2010 12:13
Picture courtesy of 6 year old kidster #1. Enough said.

Details here.
Author: "Amybel (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "ravelry links, sweater, finished"
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Date: Tuesday, 05 Oct 2010 11:55
I've been plugging away on my latest project, the Easy Top Down Raglan that I am knitting as part of a KAL in the Spud & Chloe Ravelry Group. It's from Wendy Bernard's Book, Custom Knits. It has been going much quicker than I expected, which is good, because it is in this very fall like color and it would be a shame if I didn't finish it until April!Whew, enough links for you?
Author: "Amybel (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "ravelry links, cast on"
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