Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Swap and Filler

I love my Swap Pal. I really do. I was all set to post today about my garden and my frantic attempt to finish spinning (so I can start knitting that and spin other fibery goodness). ...and then the mail came today - and I love my pal.

Yes, that is Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran, some blue sky cotton, and... some yarn pirate :) I love the colors she does, and this one is great!

In fact, one of my LYS just recently asked for suggestions and I tossed that brand out as a 'good idea'... The funny part is, I haven't actually knit with any yet, I just love the colors! So I look forward to knitting with it - I might even have to ball it up before heading to the Yarn Harlot event tonight...

All the yarns are so soft and squishy. :) She included a little note thanking me for my patience and giving me encouragement for my projects. The encouragement was so nice to read - it's nice to hear that others like reading about my projects... and if this is what a little patience brings, you can take all the time you need for the final reveal ;). Thank you so much!!

After that, I feel like what I had planned is filler, but I will keep going, since I already took the pictures. My front and side yards are pretty, but I already missed the prettiest part... My back yard refuses to grow grass, but I did plant a square foot garden:

It has tomatoes, bell pepper, mini-pepper, carrots and radishes, eggplant, brussel sprouts, the four in the middle are lettuces, spinach and chard, and then there are three squares with edamame.

And I have my two herb gardens that break up the patio from the pretend grass (weeds and dirt right now):

I can identify any plants if you're interested, but I just think it's really pretty right now. My sweet husband just tilled the old garden area (square foot is new this year, so there's only one - probably more next year) where we're going to be the squash and cucumbers and peas and beans (and any other plants that didn't fit in the squares).

I washed the sock yarn for my sweet husband:

it is now hanging to dry, so I can ball it up and start. I didn't do this earlier because I wanted to finish spinning it all up before I start knitting. I am this close:

I can finish it up maybe tonight... or tomorrow. and then ply it. and skein and wash it... but I am close enough for my comfort - I just didn't want to have to stop knitting to spin more up.

I also finally started the bunny that will be felted. Two feet are done and I've started the back. (I did work on the lace scarf for a couple of days first, but I couldn't have that be my only knit project for too long... of course, now I'll be starting multiple pairs of socks also within the next day or so, but I will keep working on the bunny too)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Hats, Skirt, and Sheep

Quick blog note: I recently went though and listed the finished projects of 2007 on the side bar, linking to posts containing pictures (and hopefully some information) on those projects.

A couple of weeks ago, at my monthly craft night, I took 3 skeins of knit picks sock yarn that my husband had gotten for himself and then decided he didn't like, and I carefully put all three together, and used a US 10 (I think) and made these three hats. Two are baby sized, one is more toddler sized. I thought that'd be great to bring to the Yarn Harlot event at Webs soon. I'm thinking of making a couple more of these for Dulaan before I close and ship the box(es) - which will be after my brother's graduation (as my mom plans to knit during events until then and will probably have a couple more projects to squeeze in)

Last week at Webs, they had the fiber fair going on in the parking lot, and I picked up a big bag of alpaca. I washed a couple handfuls and teased and carded it, and then spun it up on my lace drop spindle. After making it into a 3 ply, I knit this Barbie skirt.

I ended up putting a big hook/eye in the back. I think it came out pretty cute, that theory was supported by the fact that my girls were (slightly) arguing over who was going to be the owner of the skirt when it was done (while I was sewing on the hook/eye). We decided that it will belong to the older daughter, but she will have to share.

On Saturday we went to the MA sheep and wool fair. It was our first time, and I brought my sweet husband and the two girls and my mom - who had not been to it before either. The girls were great and we lasted for 3-4 hours of looking and sheep...

and goats....

walking around and watching sheep get sheared....

...and touching soft fiber and yarns (and occasionally buying some)

(pictures of the contents of these bags to come in a couple of days, along with more highlights of the day)

I think we all had fun. The girls kept wanting to go back to the barns and see the sheep, until they were done and then they just wanted to keep me moving in the direction of the car. Unfortunately I didn't make it to see any of the contests etc, since by the time I was ready to look, they were ready to go. We did make it to a couple of booths that had angora bunnies. One of which was allowing them to be held, so everyone got a turn holding a bunny. It was fun to see Jenny in person again, and meet her friend. It was also nice to connect a face and voice with a couple of names from the spindlers list (Sheila and Jackie) My mom walked away with both a rakestraw and a plying paddle... I'll have to visit her house to explore those sometime soon.

On the recent socks, thanks for the compliments, and thank you Dot for your comment (and thank you Jenny for gushing about them on Saturday!). It is so nice to have the feedback.

In the US today is Memorial Day. It is nice to have it 'off' and get some spring/summer stuff done around the house, but it is important to remember why we do. Thank you to all those we honor today!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Finished (part two)

Socks are done. These were made from yarn I spun. Fiber purchased from Yarn or a Tale, custom dyed by Leah. I used my generic toe-up sock pattern, with US2. I have a fair amount left, probably enough for another pair - but I haven't measured yet.

They look a little on the long and skinny side because of the ribbing I put up the front of the sock. They fit really well, but it's a bit warm for them. I just need to make a little swatch and wash it to make sure it *Really* is superwash (cuz i'm a nervous person) and then I'll put them away for fall.

I have a small amount of alpaca waiting for me to ply it, so I can try to finish the barbie skirt and get an idea of how this yarn will work with me. Hopefully I can get to that today.

I actually finished my socks yesterday, but I was so busy spinning I forgot to post those new pics. So here is (about) half of the yarn for my husband's socks. I just need to wash this up and then work on the other half. (I might start knitting with this half once it's dry, or I might wait until it's all done... not sure)

This was the other half of the custom dye order from Leah, isn't it working up pretty?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Knitting Skills Meme

The Knitting Skills Meme

Bold is for things you have done
Italic is for things you want to do some day
Leave anything else plain

Garter stitch

Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up

Knitting with camel yarn -I have some that I spun up
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL

Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns

Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting

Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items
Knitting with your own hand-spun yarn

Graffiti knitting
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns

Publishing a knitting book
Participate in an exchange

Teaching a child to knit - I keep trying with my girls!
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting

Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on one or two circulars
Knitting with someone else’s hand-spun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit

Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener stitch

Knitted flowers
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards

Machine knitting
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegated yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items

Knitting with cashmere

Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern

Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Free-form knitting

Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mits/arm-warmers
Knitting a pattern from an on-line knitting magazine

Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

What have you learned to do that has marked a definite change in your knitting life?
I have learned that it doesn't hurt to frog. I mean, yes it does hurt emotionally, but learning to frog and not feel (too) badly about it has made me feel a lot more free in my knitting. I swatch sample stitches and measure and go for it, or rip-it out and try something else a lot more at the beginning of projects and make sure it is working well before I put hours into a big project - but even with big ones, it's better to fix it or rip-it if you need to rather than put more time into a mess. Oh yeah, and use good supplies if you want to end up with a good finished project.

Now, this isn't really a meme, but I'm going to treat it as such (like anne did), as I couldn't tag anyone with the 7 facts one. So, if you've already done this let me know, otherwise Seanna, Mini, Tammy, Jenny, and Robyn
consider yourselves all tagged. Don't do it if you don't want to, and only tag the number of people you want. I found this very interesting to look at as an inventory of my skills, and gave me some ideas for things I want to try soon.

7 Facts Meme

Alrighty, so Tammy tagged me for this meme - 7 random facts about me.

1 I got married when I was 19, which is probably too young for most people but was perfect for me.

2 I love begonias and double impatiens (along with many other flowers - but those are some of my favorite potted flowers)

3 I was co-valedictorian (there was such a tiny difference they co'ed us at the last minute instead of ranking us)

4 I have only attended one year of college - I still plan to learn more at some point (and do so every day informally), but how important a formal degree is for me varies from time to time

5 I love chocolate - dark and milk, flavored or plain, I also love cheesecake, but don't really enjoy it at most places as we have a family recipe that is just so good it's ruined me for anything else.

6 I don't read books. I inhale them usually. I read more non-fiction now then I used to, but I real enjoy fiction. It could be fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, thriller, or just a good novel... I do have my favorites, but I'll save that for another time.

And since I've managed to keep this blog pretty much craft-centric:

7 I learned to needlepoint (plastic canvas), knit, and crochet, all while i was in elementary school (as did my older brother with me). I didn't really knit until high school when I knit a sweater and started an afghan, and then taught my then boyfriend (now husband) how to knit. Spinning was something mom taught me when I was younger at some point and I kindof picked up again when I was married (made felted slippers for her) and then *really* picked up only within the past year or so. It's in my blood I guess, as my mother measures time in crafts (i.e. I have two more hats and then we'll be done watching your brothers volleyball games for the season) and also is trying to resurrect netting. It also makes me laugh as the next generation (my two daughters) make comments about how something is 'as soft as angora' and how they are 'learning to knit - by myself!' (those comments were made by the 5 year old and the almost 3 year old respectively - although the 3 year old is not knitting by herself yet, she just thinks she is)

So there's my 7 things... enjoy... comment... discuss amongst yourselves.... I am supposed to tag 7 others with this, but I think everyone I would tag has already done it, so instead I will post a different meme soon and tag some people with that.

Bear and Blanket

Everyone else is in bed. The house is quiet (except for the tv I am watching). I begin what I think is my last row... and I know I'm going to run short - and I do. So I undo it. A whole row. I then work across the row, binding off as I go. ...and this is what was left:

Inches. This blanket and bear sweater took 10 oz of Lion Brand Jiffy. I did throw away some scraps as I wove in ends and such, but really, not much.

The blanket has been sitting there almost done for a couple weeks. The hold up was the fact that I didn't have a bear done, so I couldn't 'whip' up a matching sweater to fit a bear - and I needed to do that first because I wanted to make the blanket as big as possible. So I spent the past week half-heartedly working on a bear (not exclusively of course).

I finished it up this morning, made the sweater during the afternoon, and finished off the skein (and blanket) this evening.

You can't really see the pattern in the blanket. It's a combination of a double seed stitch and ribbing. I think it's really pretty - as it has a simple texture that works with the beautiful colors.

I know that's a bad picture, but I always try to take one with both bear and blanket - the brown and the colors of the blanket just blend right in together.

The bear is a Debbie Bliss bear made with Berroco Chichilla Chocolate with US 3
The blanket is my pattern made with Lion Brand Jiffy El Paso with US 8

Now back to work on my other colorful projects.

[Update] Thanks to the Yarn Geisha I played around with Picasa - and here are the new pics:

and I was having so much fun...

...and now back to knitting [end update]

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tent Sale - the damage

The damage wasn't actually that bad.. I had a gift certificate from my birthday and that took the edge off of the price. We got enough for five different projects (2 for me to knit, 2 for my husband, and my older daughter chose some yarn too)

These two yarns were both part of the tent sale. The tan/gray is Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed, and the pink is 100% cotton yarn that is a Webs yarn (Pelham I think) - which was on sale for $3 a skein! My husband has plans for both of those - plans to make things for me I believe.

This is knit one, crochet too ambrosia - nice stuff... baby alpaca, silk and cashmere. These are for some fancy lacy socks.

This is Classic Elite Yarns Four Seasons. At 70% cotton 30% wool this will make a nice lacy t-shirt top. Both the top and the socks are going to be from patterns in the new 'knitting lingerie style' book.

This is the yarn my older daughter picked out - bright pink and superwash... sounds like a good plan - she wants to make something for her barbie.

Outside of Webs there were a number of local fiber sellers - there was beautiful yarn and lots of soft different types of wool. There was a booth for a local alpaca farm....

This big bag got put in our car...

Four(?) Pounds of soft beautiful brown alpaca... I took a handful and washed it and spun it and started knitting a barbie skirt.

The color is somewhere between those two photos - and I need to wash another handful to finish the little skirt, and then the bag will probably end up downstairs until I finish a couple more projects.

Next post: actual knitting (both socks are almost done, along with progress on multiple other projects)

Fiber Swap!

My fiber swap box arrived, a lot quicker than we both thought the mail would deliver it!

Thank you to my swap partner, as I was telling my husband (before he saw it) there's a little bit of everything in that box (and now that I've unpacked it I can't believe everything actually fit in it). I did break it down a bit for pictures, more for my benefit than for anyone else's...

There is some raccoon, some baby alpaca (hand dyed), and some combed silk top.

Some wool, recycled sari silk, and some sparkles (the technical name of course)

Buttons, toggles, nice notebook, and some wool with yarn in it

Tea, soap, lotion, and silk cocoons. (I'm trying to figure out how to start with them - looking through a website that was written down with them)

A whole package of stuff for my girls - they were SO excited that one of mommy's boxes had something for them. Thank you!!

Some nylon, merino, a couple different breeds, and a nice carded batt

Beautiful colors on this wool roving

Like I said, I can't believe all this came in one small box. Thank you so much to my spoiler. I'm can already feel my sub-conscience working on the different possibilities and projects. Thank you!!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Post-Tent Report

Webs was great (of course). We hit it early this morning (before it even opened really) and then strolled through the local fiber tents set up in their parking lot. It was wet and raining, but I enjoyed looking at yarn and touching all sorts of wool. There was a four-day-old lamb there that my two girls just drooled over. Of course, there was a sign on the playpen that said free, and my older girl can read.... but, since we live in the city, we didn't take it... I did end up with a pretty brown alpaca fleece though... and a bag of yarn (from both inside the store and from their outdoor sale tent). I did practice restraint as the MA sheep and wool festival is next weekend. Pictures and details of the purchases early next week.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Finished (part one)

I finished one sock! The colorfully spun yarn is making it rather fun and quick to knit up. I've already got the second one past the toe increases and I'll be working on the foot tonight during lost.

The next contest for SP10 is to list all current projects... I think I'll try to cheat a bit and finish up a couple before I post that - since I have a little while before it has to be up. ...especially since I started spinning my small bag of angora last night on the spindolyn.

And yes anne, I do get to just 'go to webs'.... and so can you, any time you want to buy a plane ticket... :) I try to remind myself how much of a nice thing that is, since it's still a bit of a pain (I know... no pity). I'm also not a big stasher... I tend to buy things for projects, and then once in a while something that's a great deal or that is just beautiful. The tent sale is this weekend, and then the MA sheep and wool is the week after that (memorial day weekend). So I've got to take it easy at the tent sale, as I haven't been to the s&w before, so I want to make sure I save some budget for that.

and another recent comment:
I LOVE the socks in the first pic! The second one is blurry, though; do you have a smaller version that's easier to see?

Where'd you get the fiber for the colorful socks? And did you dye that batch yourself? XD Sorry I'm not up on the latest news--but I'm glad I checked in to see these!

I'll take new pics of the tofutsies after they are all through the wash - perhaps tomorrow. The fiber I am knitting my current socks with was custom dyed from 'yarn or a tale' and I spun it up, I'm now working on the batch that was dyed for my husband.

Back to knitting and Lost....

Monday, May 14, 2007

Spinning, Socks, and Swap

My current work in progress:

The other side of the sock is ribbing that started at the toe and will go all the way up.

Since it's so much fun and working so well, I figured I should start spinning my husband's socks:

I got to start working on my handspun socks because.... I finished the tofutsies for my husband!! He's already worn them (the day after I wove in the ends), we have yet to wash either pair (his or mine) but that will be tonight or tomorrow and I'm not (too) worried.

For SP10 we were asked to blog about where we craft. Sometimes it's in the car, or outside, or in bed, or on the couch... but usually, I sit right here:

It's comfy, I can see the tv, reach my laptop or the spinning wheel, and a have two windows right near me. The chair has enough room for one (or both) of the girls to sit with me and read.

And of course, behind my chair is a huge mess I need to clean up again (every month or two, or more often, I have to clean it out and decide what projects need to be near me and put the rest back with the main stash)

You can also see the nice shelfs that should be mostly empty. You can tell where I am in my craft projects by how crowded those are. They also hold the remotes and phone and light and fan.

Thank you for the kind comments on my husband's knitting. We are now preparing our project lists for the next couple of months and comparing our stashes with those lists... all in preparation for going to webs on saturday for the tent sale (and fiber fair)!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Nothing New

I've been working outside (mulching for about 5 hours on monday), cooking (4 square lasagnas ready today, some for us to eat and freeze, some for other people who need some tlc), and schooling (trying to decide whether or not to home-school for kindergarten next year). I've also managed to knit up the foot and turn the heel on my husband's second sock. I am in the midst of mind-less ribbing, which is just about right for me right now. I'll probably start spinning his sock yarn, and start work on another baby-bear soon. We went and played some more pool last night... lots of fun - and I think I did better! ...and even better, my wrist doesn't really hurt today, unlike last week!

Maybe pictures of a finished pair of socks soon....

Friday, May 04, 2007

My husband knits (tons of pics)

Peggy commented:
Wow!!!! A husband that knits!!!! What or what would my stash look like if my husband did the same? Hmmmm, might cause a family feud. :) The socks are beautiful and such a sweet gift.

Yes, this is a blog about my crafts, but sometimes my crafts and my husband's crafts overlap. Since he was working late tonight I ran around the house and snapped pictures of things he has knit. I'm amazed at how much has been for me.... Thank you sweetie :)

His first big project was this green blanket.

We worked together on a pair of slippers for our older daughter. (We both knit and then I seamed)

Socks, socks, socks... some for me, some for him.... and his latest pair for me

He also made me this lopi hat - the matching sweater-which-shall-not-ever-be-blocked was made by me.

This hat was for our younger daughter - very pretty noro. He also did another hat for her when she was younger - red/brown woolease. I'll post a picture when I find it (that closet needs some help) and snap a picture.

We called this 'Big Gray'. It's a Lavold design made with Lopi. He was planning for it to be big, but it kept growing. It's nice a comfy looking on him, but we keep joking about felting it down a bit.

Pi shawl with arms, made with a WEBS tent sale find - again, for me. This picture doesn't do it justice, I'll have to post another one soon.

Big cushy pillow made with Bamboo yarn, completely designed by him.

There is also his recently completed hedgehog

This is his normal craft bag. It makes me smile since it's a tool bag and says 'Craftsman' right on it. It's big enough to hold medium sized projects and it doesn't have flowers on it.

He has a small cube that holds all the random needles and such that every knitter gathers.

...and a new travel bag for knitting. It will hold a small project or two and a book or something else to do. It's currently holding the nice lacy socks that he is making for me.

His stash... the first picture is in a big basket off to the side of our room. The second picture is in a big tub under the bed. (hiding yarn in with lopi sweaters, perfect plan - he claims the lopi is all mine to make another sweater with) The only thing not included is the fact that there's more lopi in my stash - I claim all lopi is pretty much jointly owned. Most of this stash is yarn that's been left over from old projects.

And here's where it starts getting fun. Here's some yarn that he started more socks for me, but ended up deciding it wasn't working. This yarn is now mine, I just need to frog it and move it to my stash.

And thus ends the husband portion of the show... almost. While digging around and taking pictures I found an old finished object. There are two pairs of finished toe socks I made for him. t-o-e socks. four of them. measured and custom knit. yay. maybe some day I'll end up making more for him, just not right now with my present project load.

So there we have almost all of his knitting... more on my current projects next time.