Tuesday, March 31, 2009

REVIEW: Iris Schreier's Reversible Knits

Iris Schreier's Reversible Knits: Creative Techniques for Knitting Both Sides Right
by Iris Schreier
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Lark Books (April 7, 2009)

ReversibleKnits

Are you sick of picking up new knitting books, only to realize there's really nothing new or exciting in them? Are you interested in trying new techniques, but don't want completely off-the-wall projects that would only suit your pre-teen niece? Do you want to create hand-knits that look amazing on both sides? Iris Schreier's Reversible Knits: Creative Techniques for Knitting Both Sides Right is for you!

I hate to gush, but I am already in love with this book - both for projects and techniques! I've been wanting to get my needles clicking with some "reversible" knitting for awhile now, and even took a double knitting class in August, 2007 (for those of you snooping my Ravelry projects, you'll see that I have still not completed that project). In my previous search for patterns and technique books, there really wasn't much excitement to be found. Now, thanks to Iris Schreier, we have an entire book devoted to six different techniques in reversible knitting!

Reversible Knits features 24 beauteous projects, as well as dozens of tips and techniques, making it a fantastic reference book for your knitting library. The photography throughout is stunning - and extremely helpful in learning the stitching methods. Every technique is described with clearly written instructions and large photos of swatches, showing both sides. You'll find Iris' take on the usual knitting book essentials - tools, yarn, glossary and basic stitches - however when it comes to casting on, Iris takes Reversible Knits to a whole new level. Casting on how-to's include the basics (knitted, long tail and provisional), as well as some not-so-basic (casting on to a belt ring, mobius cast on, and casting on for both double and modular knitting). There are also extra techniques associated with double knitting including methods (two-strand and slip stitch), how to change colors, fix mistakes and decrease. While all of the patterns in the book were knit using Artyarns, Iris was thoughtful enough to include the best yarn substitution chart I have seen in any knitting book!

Reversible Knits presents the 24 patterns in six chapters, each showcasing a key technique in reversible knitting: One-Yarn Knit/Purl, Multi-Yarn Knit/Purl, Lace, Cable, Double Knitting and Modular. For good measure, Iris also tossed in six additional techniques for readers to dabble in at the back of the book. The patterns include scarves, shawls, hats, socks, shrugs, mitts and more.

While flipping through Reversible Knits, I found myself continually marking pages with post-its for future projects... so I've decided to pick one personal favorite from each section to spotlight...

One-Yarn Knit/Purl French Cap, as the name would suggest, a cute little French-cafe inspired fitted beret using ribbing to give a lovely look

Multi-Yarn Knit/Purl Riff Belt, perfect for jeans or belting your favorite dress, one side results in a solid color while the other side results in a woven 2-color look

Lace La Parisienne Collar, using five different colors of mohair and an alternating center double decrease pattern, this collar is simply divine and makes a great "necklace"

Cable Tiger's Paw Scarf, one of my most favorite patterns in the book, it is knit with a variegated and a solid color yarn, featuring a cable pattern on one side and a rib pattern on the other

Double Knitting Ribbon Candy Scarf, another favorite, this scarf is made with two different colors, resulting in a beautiful checkered effect that is similar on both sides

Modular Shoji Wrap, a delicate seamless modular piece knit with laceweight and trimmed with a beaded cashmere/silk blend - simply stunning

Pick up your copy of Reversible Knits - if you have ever been interested in any of the reversible techniques described above, you won't be disappointed. This will surely be one of those knitting books that you reference many times in the future for the techniques, but its also one that you'll find plenty of gift-able knits to make as well (even if gifting to yourself)!

About The Author: Iris Schreier is the author of Lacy Little Knits, Modular Knits and co-author of Exquisite Little Knits. Her original, innovative techniques are used in knitting workshops around the world, and her patterns have been translated into multiple languages. The luxurious handpainted fibers featured in her designs were developed by Iris herself and are available through her company,
Artyarns. Iris lives and works in White Plains, NY.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Catch Up

Its finally Friday... and finally time to play a little bloggy catch up! Grab a cuppa your favorite beverage and settle in, this is gonna be a long one...

First up, a couple of FO's from last weekend. The umbilical cord hat for Emma (yes, yes... its a Ravelry project link... if you're not a member, just sign up already) is finished.

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A quick and easy knit, with a really cute result! This is the second one I'vs made and, once again, used Rowan All Season Cotton, which I am really liking. Because of the blend, its more "silky" than traditional cottons and I'll definitley use it again, especially for baby items. As usual, I had some helpers during the photo shoot...

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After getting "caught," Lola gives Tut the "Mom's gonna get mad at you" look...

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They just wanted to eat the poor model, which is actually going to be a birthday present for another little girl (though I still need to dress him). I did a good job of hiding his "tags" here...

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Speaking of Emma, the first hat I made for her actually fits quite nicely! I was able to spend a lot of time with her last Friday and snapped some cute shots of her modeling it.

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In more hat news... here is the Care Wear Preemie Jester Hat. This is one of the hats that we'll be donating to the Special Care Nursery in honor of Emma. Thank you to everyone who's already sent some in and to those coming (I'll be sure to photo the group before donating)! Emma's Mom & I are planning to deliver them in person on April 11 - just in time for Easter.


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A very quick knit, I used some Moda Dea Baby Talk that I found in my stash. The pom-poms were actually what took the longest! I have some pom-pom makers that my Mom gave me when I first got back into knitting and I don't think I've ever mastered the frustrating process. It took five attempts to acheive these two tiny pom-poms!


While trying to finish off some quick things last weekend, my cozy for my new cell phone finally came off the needles. I actually set this aside for quite awhile since I had gotten a cover for it and don't really know how much I'll use the cozy. However it will also fit my digital camera, for which I did the first cozy for last summer (the red one). Yarn was Rowan Siena.

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Quick etsy plug! I added two more yarn cutters to my shop. These were on consignment at a LYS, but they seem to do better on etsy. I am still listing new sets of stitch markers off and on. If you don't see what you're looking for, please ask.

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I'm hoping to accomplish a bit of knitting over the weekend, including getting started on some more cute things for Emma. After all, how can I resist? Baby girls are just so much fun to shop and knit for! There's a few different things going on that we would like to get to this weekend, as well as visting the munchkin and bringing some more things up to her Mom & Dad.

I know this post is getting long, but I can't help leave you with few more pictures...

Auntie finally got to hold her!

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The bond of mother & daughter and a "3 Generations" kinda shot; Mom, Great Auntie & Baby.

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Little munchkin decided she was done with her feeding tube on Wednesday afternoon and removed it herself. Yup, she's related for sure...

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Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Snow

Is it doggy day already? Things are getting exciting over at Dogs on Thursday. We are approaching the 100th post and having a contest, so be sure to hop wag on over and check it out! If you only stop in here on Thursdays, be sure to scroll back to Tuesday's post for a review of NuHemp dog treats & products!

While it has been a chilly start to spring here in Lapdog country, we're expecting temps in the mid 50's over the next few days. Woo hoo! However we did have some spring snow a couple weeks ago. Since we're quite hopeful that will be our last snow until much later in 2009, I'll share a few more pics from then...

Zeus always loves romping in the white stuff... {click linked names for more pics}

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Sophie out exploring...

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Teutul zipping like a maniac... before heading inside to cuddle up in his blankies.

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Lola, queen of the snow!

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I have loads of blogging catch up to do ... some FO's and adorable Emma pictures, but I'll leave that for tomorrow and leave the spotlight on the furbabies today. Well... on second thought, they will share just a little today, but its okay... they don't mind sharing with one particular munchkin. Besides, they are convinced she's saying "oooohh... doggy!!! cute doggy!!!" in the first pic... and I can't resist not sharing the second one.

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Emma got her little feeding tube removed yesterday... and could be coming home as soon as Saturday!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

REVIEW: NuHemp Dog Treats & Products

NuHemp: Nourishing Pets Inside & Out
Where to Find:
NuHemp

NuHemp

The Lapdog Creations 4-legged reviewers were thrilled with the items they received from NuHemp and have been working hard on their review. The human reviewer was excited to learn more about this hot trend in the pet industry, as well as NuHemp's healthy living philosophy.

Taken from NuHemp's press kit: The NuHemp brand was established in 2005 by KicX Nutritions, a Canadian company that develops and markets natural, good-for-you health and wellness products for humans and animals. The unique NuHemp line of products utilizes the versatile hemp plant as its common foundation - making the company very eco-friendly in today's ever-growing "green" world. Each part of the hemp plant is utilized during the manufacturing of NuHemp products and the truly renewable resource offers significant nutritional and therapeutic benefits, promoting a healthy & active lifestyle for our animal companions.

NuHemp_DogProducts

The most popular item, according to my 4 star reviewers, is paws-down the brand new Fetch'erz Balls, which retail for $6.99. These fun little 1" diameter balls are formulated with hemp, flax and ancient grains (spelt, millet and kamut) for superior nutrition and digestibility - and plenty of great taste! The kids have gone nuts (no pun intended) for the Sweet Peanut Butter Crunch. Did I mention just how fun these treats are? We've had a great time rolling them around and quite literally, playing fetch. In addition to the peanut butter, Fetch'erz Balls are currently available in 3 other varities; Fruit 7 Veggie Medley, Chicken Stew and Fish & Chips.

The 4-legged reviewers also got to try the 2-Chomp Munchies in both Crunchy Peanut Butter Maple and Luscious Liver & Cheese. Although these treats were a little small for my medium to large size pack (they are marked "mini"), they enjoyed them nonetheless. 2-Chomp Munchies retail for $6.99 and come in 3 additional varieties (Hearty Fish with Sweet Potato, Roasted Turkey with Cranberries and Assorted), as well as two Nutraceutical Varities (Skin & Coat and Joint, Hip & Digestive) which retail for $8.99.

Nu Hemp's Omega Sauce is a balanced, dietary supplement food topping in an oil format which comes in four flavors, Peanut Butter Smoothie, Roasted Chicken, Sizzling Bacon and Luscious Liver & Cheese, as well as a non-flavored Joint, Hip & Digestive formula. My kids tried the Peanut Butter Smoothie and gobbled it right up with their kibble, so I'm guessing it must be pretty tasty! Although we haven't tried it yet, the Joint, Hip & Digestive formula is on hand for Zeus who is a large breed, 8 year old boy with joint issues (he's had a TPLO surgery) and I'm always looking for supplements to meet his needs. Omega Sauce retails for $7.99 for the flavors and $8.99 for the Joint, Hip & Digestive formula.

NuHemp also makes several grooming and topical therapy items. We tested the PAWZitive Therapy over the winter months in our house and give it 2 paws up! PAWZitive Therapy, which retails for $9.99, is a deep conditioning and protection balm that comes in a deodorant-like stick that is easy to apply to paw pads, as well as noses and other tender areas. Made with cold-pressed hemp seed oil, which has numerous benefits to the skin, it works great to moisturize and sooth dry skin, as well as to provide a protective barrier for paw pads against ice, salt and sand. I've tried it on all of our kids' paws, as well as a nose or two. An excellent product to have on hand, I recommend that all cold-climate doggy households get one. Teutul, who has some dry skin issues, has gotten the most use and as you can see below, he was the most eager to check it out...

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OK, so maybe he was more eager about checking out the treats, but still... he recognizes the soothing benefits of NuHemp! Please stay tuned for a "part 2" to our NuHemp review in the coming months as we still have a few bath products to test and its almost time for spring baths! We will be trying out the Omega Therapy 2 in 1 Conditioning Shampoo with Oatmeal and the Omega Therapy Tree-Tar Shampoo with Oatmeal. I appologize to the pr people in advance, but I truly hope that we do not have the opportunity to try the Omega Therapy Skunk Odor Shampoo (which I think may have been relabeled to what is now Strong Odor Eliminating Shampoo) any time soon!

NuHemp is not just for dogs either! Check out their website for information on Bio-Nesting Small Animal Bedding and Meadow Munchies all natural horse treats. Humans aren't left out either, as there are many products on the horizon for three new human lines; Hip Hair, Hip Body and Hip Lips. I will happily be testing the Hip Lips Zen lip balm and hope to try some of their other products soon!

Friday, March 20, 2009

You Have to Spend Money To Make Money

Happy Spring! Happy Friday!

So... I thought I might have an actual FO report for you today, but not quite. Emma's umbilical cord hat is almost off the needles, just an inch or two of i-cord left. What I do have to share is some great modeling shots of the first umbilical cord hat which I made at the end of July for then-new-baby Ethan. I think it was one of those "can't find size 7 circs, I'll just use 8's" moments, which resulted in a bit bigger hat than I would have liked... as it actually fits him quite nicely now.

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Isn't Ethan the perfect little model? I just want to squeeze those little cheeks!

In more baby hat news, Emma's first hat is already looking a bit small on her. I had actually made two, since the first one came out super-tiny-preemie sized...

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Here are some other cute, smiley shots...

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I just adore seeing all these smiling, laughing shots of her. Such a happy baby... she doesn't even seem to mind that Auntie knit her such a tiny little hat. Don't worry baby girl... there are plenty more cashmere-blend baby knits where that one came from!

Time for some Fill-Ins...

1. Why do we have to work on this fine Friday, the first day of spring?
2. Stiching 'n bitching are now habits.
3. I have not figured out what I want for lunch yet.
4. I had never heard the phrase "you have to spend money to make money" so often before as I do now that I have my Lapdog Creations side business selling on etsy, etc. and it is so incredibly true.
5. I need to just get everything done... the way I always do.
6. How was I to know she'd grow up to be such a self-centered, disrespectful young adult.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to visiting Emma and her parents, tomorrow my plans include hitting the garage sale at the Life Is Good factory and Sunday, I want to hang out at home with Matt & the furbabies, watching the Bristol race and getting some knitting done!

Ethan says "that's all folks... enjoy your Friday!"

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Its Doggy Day

Hard to believe its Thursday already, but I'm not complaining... one step closer to the weekend! Sue has the reins over at Dogs on Thursday today and posted some great information on pet first aid. One of the tips she gave was to keep emergency phone numbers handy. To help you do this, request a free safety pack from ASPCA. It includes an ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center magnet and a Pet Rescue decal for your window/door. The decal is important for first responders, as it makes them aware of pets in the house in the event of a fire or other emergency. The magnet is right next to my phone and I also wrote the phone numbers for my vet and our local after hours emergency center on it as well. Very handy... and free!

There is much sadness on this doggy day. I just found out that Molly, the 1 year old Australian Cattle/Blue Heeler mix who was adopted from Miss Linda's at the end of January, was found dead. She got loose and went missing just hours after her new family picked her up from the transport. Many volunteers spent countless hours trying to capture her and bring her back to safety, only to be discouraged when sightings suddendly stopped about a month ago when we thought perhaps she had been taken by coyote.

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After 2 months of searching, Molly was found in a local mall parking lot by the cleaning crew. She had been hit by a car and passed away just 8.4 miles away from her adopted family's home. The jerk who hit Molly never even stopped to help her! My only salvation in this is that we now know they coyotes did not get Molly... and for the unknown jerk out there, karma will catch up to you. Rest in Peace Molly... you sweet baby girl.

On a happier rescue note, I heard from Cotton's (formerly Bella) {I still love that pic} Mom last week. Cotton is doing very well and is as energetic as ever! It seems as though Cotton has trained her Mom & Dad on how to keep her out of trouble, meaning her "bad habits" have come under control.

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She looks a little different to me in this photo... I think its due to her short hair cut, which seems to get rid of most of her tan/rust coloring.

Since I can't leave my own kids out on a doggy day, I'll leave you with these shots...

Sophie (with snow on her nose from last week) doing her "I can't see you" trick and enjoying a very lazy moment...
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Tut up close and enjoying some sun...

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Zeus being lazy (do you sense a theme with my kids) and checking sis' ears...

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Lola posing with Sophie & Tut...

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Behind the scenes at a Lapdog Creations photo shoot...

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Teutul was clearly just making sure none of his siblings ran off with one of Emma's hats... Click here for the original post.