Friday, August 31, 2007

C is for...


which the past couple of days it has definitely not been. The AC went on again last night. I keep hoping we can go ahead and turn it off for the season, but obviously not yet.

C is also for Children.

Mine are so sweet! I don't post pics of them up here for safety reasons, but if you ever see me in person I either have them with me, or have pics in my bag. They are to the point (5 1/2 and 3) that they usually help each other out... but yesterday I caught them making faces at each other and then screaming silly words and then falling down laughing. ...and the teasing has begun - at least yesterday they were laughing....

C is for Cat Borhdi, and the fact that there is a couple of her new book in the house, even if I haven't seen it yet. Someday soon...

C is also for Contests.

I love them. I have won a couple now, and I've even held one.

So I decided I would hold another contest. This one will be open for several days... in fact, if you are really (un)lucky is could be open for quite a while, but then again, it could be closed next week, so get the entries in.

Look back over my current WIP - most of them are in the sidebar, but I haven't updated that recently, so there may be a couple not listed there. I have not made much progress on any of them lately. I have not been knitting lately. There are reasons, some of them even good reasons, but I want it to end. I want to be knitting again. SO... What current WIP will I finish first? (you may even guess something I haven't started yet if you think that is more likely). I will keep the contest open until I finish something knit - the spinning doesn't count. Anyone who guessing the winning item will be put in a drawing and will win a skein of something nice. (I'm willing to mail anywhere).

I will likely be working on several of my projects, so you can't just wait and see what pops up on the next post... I'm also about to start some small quick I-cord rugs for my preschool co-op, those will not count. Those are the only knitting items that will not count.

So go ahead and enter (one entry per person, please include your emailATaddressDOTcom with your comment) until I finish something!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

B is for...


Over the past couple of weeks I haven't been knitting much, but I have been reading a lot and I've now finished:
Screwtape Letters, The Green Mile, The Dark is Rising, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park (why yes, I was given a collection of Jane Austin's books that I'm working through, I'm now in Emma).

It seems that although I can read while knitting (yes, something I actually have in common with Wendy of Wendyknits), I can't actually read a lot and knit a lot during the same space of time. One of them has to be dominant. I need to pick the next book for a book club I am part of (I'm thinking either this one or this one, but I could pick something completely different), and read a couple more books before I begin my official homeschool adventure, and then my reading will probably subside a bit, and I can feel the knitting coming back.

B is also for Breathless. I know my Virtual Vacation Package is coming and I have no clue where it's from or when it will get here. We talked about it last night at dinner and Lily was trying to think of places it would be coming from since it is 'crossing land and sea'. We explained that that meant no north america and we came up with quite a list of possibilities. So now we are all looking forward to it arriving. Lily is fascinated with princesses right now (princess gown needs to be found for Halloween) and she's hoping it's coming from a place that has some. (Although we know for sure that SP11 is in the UK, so they at least have royalty... which made her happy to know)

Knitting update: I checked my math on my yarn pirate sock, although it won't work (without much fiddling) for one of the heels in my husband's new book (cat bordhi's book is awesome), I am almost ready to begin the normal short row heel. It's been a LONG time coming, as this has been my traveling sock, and I haven't been doing much traveling knitting. I also am about a quarter done with the second long side on the edging of the melon shawl for Curly. The shawl wants to be done soon. So my knitting, for now, will probably focus mostly on that and my comfy knitting (which hasn't been touched recently).

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A is for...


This isn't my favorite finished bear and blanket, but I am always pleased with how they come out. The bear is, as always, from a Debbie Bliss pattern that I've adapted to knit in the round (tiny arms and legs aren't so much fun to sew up). The sweater was my own creation, and as it is the piece I am not so impressed with, no more info on it.

The blanket is Jack's blanket. I measured both the blanket (about 28" by 30") and my gauge (starts at 3 st per inch and ends up about 2 1/2 st per inch, maybe even pushing 2 st per inch - I loosened up as I got used to the yarn/needle combo, and I think most people would too). I realized I didn't give that information with the pattern, and will fix it at some point hopefully.

A is also for...

...absolutely ecstatic.

Those are the socks my sshusband finished for Curly. She was sooo excited to get them she did a little dance around the floor. She was very willing to let me take pictures, but it was a bit difficult as she didn't want to stand still. They do match a pair he made for me, and there was just yards left when he finished with hers. There are a couple of other left over balls of yarn, but I don't know if any more tiny socks will be made from them, as these are just barely fitting her.

Hmmm... what will B stand for...?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Project Recap and the magical alphabet

I know that I am a very picture-centric blogger... that works very nicely except for the times I don't (for one reason or another) have pictures ready to blog about. I have an idea on how to break me of that!

I'm going to steal a page from someone else's blog that I saw, and so for the next 26 (or so) posts, each will be brought to you by a letter - starting with the next one of course. This post, however, is to bring everything up to date.

I realized that I was sick of referring to my daughters as the older one and the younger one. So, for those of you who didn't notice in my SP11 questionnaire - I named them. With different names of course (all about protecting the children here). My older daughter, who is almost 5 and 1/2, asked to be called Lily, as that is her favorite flower. My younger one, who is 3 and a bit, agreed to be known as Curly. My husband will still be known as sweet sweet husband, or perhaps ssh for short. ;)

I'm still working on my MS3, just very slowly. I've gotten to see one that's almost done though, as my mother is pretty much on schedule. (A link to her blog when she posts her finished pics).

I'm still working on my yarn pirate sock - debating, since it stalled, whether to finish it as a plain sock, or to wait and do a couple of small trial ones, and adapt it to a toe-up pattern from Cat's new book - my husband dropped by the store after work during the MS3 knit-a-long, and he ended up bringing home that book.... he promises me I can use it too... someday.

I'm still working on the melon shawl for Curly. I'm almost done with the edging on the first short side. ...I know, also stalled. Not much knitting going on apparently.

I did finish, however, the teddy bear and little sweater to go along with Jack's blanket. Pictures are taken, just not on the computer yet, and the package was delivered!

I'm started a project from Knitting Lingerie Style - it's not quite lingerie... it's not quite public wear either - but I'm looking forward to finishing it and having something very comfy to lounge in. For those of you who haven't seen the book, it has a wide selection of some very nice stuff - I have multiple projects on my to-do list from it.

I also managed to get my Virtual Vacation Package off to my person. More on that once she gets it. I'm looking forward to getting mine, sometime... I'm sure it will be wonderful! This swap was great so far, even though I didn't have the time to participate in the fun contests - it was a lot of fun to put that package together.

I joined SP11 (duh, the questionnaire I already posted...) I already started reading the blog of the person I get to spoil and I'm looking forward to that fun as the weather starts to cool down.

I also started to spin the purple/green yarn I won from the SSAL - maybe I'll get that done in time to enter contest #5 - ummm, that's this weekend... maybe not. We'll see.

I also took some time today and took stock of all my needles. They are now all entered into ravelry, and my husband's needles are all written down on a paper chart. (As we share, but they are stored separately).

My husband finished a pair of socks for Curly, and is now experimenting with his new book before starting a pair of pink socks for Lily. Pictures of all those socks at some point...

I think that's it - now I just have to get out of my posting once a week rut. Hopefully the alphabet will help me!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Vacation - (Part Two, Day Two - End)

Tuesday. We went to the local museums. These are known as the quadrangle - as there are four museums and a big library all around a grassy area. I've previously been to all the museums, as they are now free to residents of the city. This time we just went to the science museum and stopped in at the planetarium. We went to the show for older kids, which older daughter enjoyed (younger daughter was a little scared in the dark room - the younger kids show has a lot more light and music). We walked through most of the exhibits in that museum, and then stopped at the gift shop to pick up something for my Virtual Vacation Swap. Springfield is the home to Dr Suess (we have a mulberry st, and a bliss st too, although they don't cross like the book shows), indian motorcycles, and the basketball hall of fame.

Wednesday. We dropped the girls off with family and spent the day at the Boston Temple.

Thursday. We went blueberry picking and then spent some time making sure we had all the supplies to jam them.

Friday. We had dentist appointments and then went north for a little while and walked around Yankee Candle for a while (they have whole christmas displays, which was nice after a rainy warm week).

Saturday. We spent a good portion of the day canning blueberry jam. Yummy :) ...and avoiding retail locations as it was tax free day and we assumed places would be nuts.

My Vacation Swap package is all put together - it just needs to journey to the post office and then off to my giftee. It was a lot of fun to pull together local things to ship off. I hope she'll like it!

We had a great vacation week. Didn't do everything we hoped to, but you never can. I've spent the first half of the week trying to return both the house and our schedules to normal. I haven't been doing much knitting, but the bear to go along with Jack's blanket is almost done. ...and other mysterious knitting has occurred. I think my summer craft break is slowly ebbing out. Hopefully within the next couple of weeks I'll be back to being a spinning, knitting, dyeing, crafting machine. (although the full return of that may wait until the garden is done, apples are sauced and canned, and fall is officially here)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

SP11 Answers

Secret Pal 11 Answers

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I like to knit with soft yarn - usually wool, but I also like bamboo and silk and others.  I'm not usually a big fan of novelty or art yarns. 

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

Ziploc bags in a drawer - I probably should find a better option, but it works for me...

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I'd consider myself an advanced knitter.  I've been knitting for 10-15 years.  I learned as a child, and then really picked it back up when my boyfriend (now husband) had me teach him. 

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

yes I do have a list on amazon, I'll need to check it to make sure it's current.

5. What's your favorite scent?

I like light fruit and flower scents - I do light candles, but I have a ton right now - same with lotions.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

Yes.  Chocolate! I don't mind things in the chocolate - but no coffee, tea, or liquor. 

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I do spin, I've played around with wilton and citric acid dyeing.  I also crochet, and cross stitch, but prefer knitting.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I like a variety of music - I can play mp3s. 

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

I like earth tones and jewel tones.  I also like natural colors.  I don't really like neons or pastels.  I like most colors, although some combinations scare me ;)

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I live with my husband (who is also crafty), and two daughters ('Lily' is 5 and is starting to collect a stash and learning to knit, and 'Curly' is 3 and loves to help with anything fibery)  I'm allergic to cats and dogs, so right now we have a fish.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

I do wear them, I also like to make them.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

I do like socks, and lace.  I make a lot of baby blankets (with a little knit bear as a shower gift).  I end up making a lot of things for family members.

13. What are you knitting right now?

lace scarf, simple socks out of yarn pirate yarn (which I love), another bear, melon shawl for curly, Mystery Shawl 3, and a pair of socks out of handspun for my husband that I haven't actually started yet.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

yes, as long as some thought went into it to make it right for me :)

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

I use dpn and circular.  I like different types, my husband loves bamboo so i usually end up with something else.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

I have a winder and a table swift and a meter - and various other things to make spinning and knitting and dyeing easier.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

for yarn - the lace scarf - someday I will finish it.  for other things...  there's pieces of a quilt...  we won't get into that.

18. What is your favorite holiday?

Whatever one is coming up next...  although I don't really get into Halloween so much  - so thanksgiving and christmas. :)

19. Is there anything that you collect?

other than fiber, yarn and chocolate?  naw, not really...  I read a lot, so I have a ton of books, and I've been gardening a lot this season. 

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I do have a subscription to Interweave knits - someday I'll get the spinning one.  Nothing I'm really dying to try...  I've never used STR, and I just got yarn pirate during sp10...  Hmmm...  I've done wing of the moth, and I plan to do her bee shawl sometime, but have decided whether to do the triangle or the rectangle.  I joined the lacey shawl yahoo group, but haven't bought that pattern yet.  I'd love to try some different fibers, but that only works if there's enough for a project to knit afterwards.  (there, that also gives me husband some ideas for the future)

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

I recently tried wire knitting - I want to play around some more with that.  I'm usually up for something new...  Just have to find new things ;)

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

I am a sock knitter.  My husband knits socks for me, so I asked him for my measurements.  They are about 8" around and  about 9 1/2" from tip of toe to heel.

23. When is your birthday?

April 8

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?

workbasket (but remember not to list me as a friend if you're on there until the end, cuz then I'll know who you are!)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Jack's Blanket

Bernat Soft Boucle: 1 skein soft taupe, westport shades, moss shades, and misty shades

Hold two strands together, beginning with light brown and green

1. CO 6 circular (figure 8 or crochet method)
2. Increase round - *k in front and back* 2 times, k1, repeat. (10 )
3. Mark either side of 2nd, 5th, 7th, and 10th stitches.
4. Knit around, making one before and after each marker (increase 8, 18 stitches total)
5. Knit around plain.
6. Knit around, making one before and after each marker (increase 8, 26 stitches total)
7. Knit around plain.
8. Knit around, making one only on one side of each corner - after the first corner, before the second corner, after the third corner, and before the fourth corner. (increase 4, 30 stitches total)
9. Knit around plain.
10. Continue in this pattern - increasing every other row (knitting plain otherwise). Increase on both sides of corners two times, then on one side of corners, the long side, the third increase round.

increases should continue in this method.
increase 8 is referred to as a square increase, increase 4 is referred to as a rectangular increase

continue knitting around plain between increase rows
square increase - 38 stitches total
square increase - 46 stitches total
rectangular increase - 50 stitches total

square - 58 sts
square - 66 sts
rectangle - 70 sts

S - 78
S - 86
R - 90

cut green yarn, join blue. continue with light brown and blue.




cut blue, join dark brown. continue with light brown and dark brown.


continue knitting around, working in seed stitch along each side.


As the light brown ran out, I joined a second strand of dark brown and began the bind off, working appropriate increase during bind off.

Count should be (if I counted right), 38 stitches along the short sides, and 58 stitches along the long sides.

Vacation - (Part Two, Day One)

I'm almost over my cold now - and remembering why I do, aside from the humidity, like this time of year:

Today we went to go see the New England Air Museum.

We all had fun looking around at all the planes and exhibits - the girls especially loved the peddle planes (just like it sounds - plans to build them available at the gift shop).

Since my older daughter loves space, she was excited to see a moon suit.

I thought the size comparison charts were very interesting...

...and we all enjoyed walking around and looking at both the military and civilian exhibits.

....and then of course, since we were already down in CT, we went to my LYS and poked around. My husband was a bit surprised when they greeted me by name - I quickly pointed out that that's because of the weeks I've gone there to work on my Mystery Stole, not because of the amount of money I spend.... I picked up a couple of things, including the yarn for my Knitters Vacation Swap, so no pictures!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Still alive and knitting

As my house guests left on Tuesday I came down with an awful bug - at first it wasn't too bad and I kept working and knitting, but then my throat decided that it wanted to burn. Burn, and rip itself apart. Ummm, yeah. So, the past day or two I've spent sitting and reading, and eating fruit (since that doesn't hurt like drinking water does).

I did manage to finish a baby blanket before my throat went on strike - pictures soon (I don't think I even mentioned it here, I just listed it on ravelry as one of my WIP - but I will make sure all the details get listed both places). It was a rectangular blanket worked from the middle out, and I actually kept track of the pattern as I made it up - so that those directions will be listed with the pics.

We are actually getting tomatoes from the garden (seeds that I planted inside in April) along with the lettuce and a couple beans and peas. Squash and cucumbers and eggplant and soy beans and peppers and many other things are currently flowering. The Phlox and Monkshood are both flowering and are very pretty too.

I have also been reading a whole bunch of books by Jasper Fforde while I've been ill - rather strange, but very interesting. Oh, and I also read (finished) Harry Potter 7, the Saturday it came out, thanks to my husband distracting the kids while I read.

All of this to distract you from the lack of pictures (and a lack of a MS3 update....) - did it work?