Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Present is Good Enough

I recently read this blog post which prompted me to look back and find the quote and original post she was talking about:

“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” - Voltaire

...and then I've stumbled across these two quotes that go so nicely with that concept...


“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for.”
--Epicurus

"We don't have to be perfect today. We don't have to be better than someone else. All we have to do is to be the very best we can."
--Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, "One Step after Another,", Nov. Ensign 2001 pg. 25


I'll be back to update the past two months of my crafts soon, but I thought that in the stress of the holidays it would be good to share these.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Gifts and Weaving

My newest niece received a bright teddy bear that arrived in her home just a little while before she did.



I also worked on a gift for my neighbor's new baby - she or he hasn't arrived yet, but a new bear and blanket are waiting for him/her.





I recently finished weaving something. It was my first weaving project and it was very exciting to have it come off the loom. I still need to finish hemming and weaving in the ends of all the color changes.


I can't wait to have all five cloths done and wash them and have them done... I just had these random other things to finish first.

...like these:



My three kids now have new slippers (or will as of tomorrow when I felt the last pair and stretch out the smallest pair a bit)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

More things for the Kiddies

I'm getting ready to mail off (or send with my mother when she goes to visit) a package to my sister's house. The brown pocket hoodie is for one of the kids... The newest little kid will be getting a teddy bear (yet to be made) and a blanket



It's a nice snuggly cotton blanket... I used up all my scraps and bought a couple of new skeins to make sure it would be nice and big.


I think I reached my goal. The only problem right now is it is shedding a bit as I discovered when my little tomato insisted that he sit on my lap and wiggle as I worked on the last little bit (I think he might be getting a complex - I keep crafting and he loves each item a tiny bit as I work on it, and then I give them away - I'll have to make something soft for him soon). It's just leaving little cotton threads behind - I think a couple good washings and it will be fine.

Of course, I'm ruining all of the surprises for my sister, but since I won't be there to see her face anyway (and it's up to her whether she wants to show the pics to the kids or safe the surprises for them), eh.





I then wanted to try a new technique for spinning. These samples were core spun over some crochet cotton. One of them (the red) I spun a bunch first, and then let it untwist a bit as I corespun it. The other one is definitely more rough and twine-like since I didn't twist first. - so it's a little tight.

I felt I had played enough with the technique (I'll try it again sometime with different fiber) so I just spun normally the other fiber in that packet and started a little doll blanket.



This will be for my 5 year old niece in that family. As I finished it up I added some pink merino with some glitz in it, I think my girls are a little jealous. I might have to make them something small with glitz in it soon!



I'm still working on socks for my husband, a vest and a shawl for me, and of course, the teddy bear with sweater to finish up this package so I can get it ready to send!

Current Favorite Recipe

I know, I don't normally share recipes, but this one is good. I got this from the 'Reclaiming the Home' group on ravelry several months ago and every time we make these and they are eaten until gone, the begging for more begins. Let me know if you try them!


Chocolatl Scones

2C flour
3Tb sugar
1Tb baking powder
4Tb (1/4 C) cocoa powder
1 (or 2) tsp ground cinnamon
1C chocolate chips
6Tb chilled butter
1 beaten egg
1/2 C half and half or buttermilk or evaporated milk or sour milk (1Tb white vinegar or lemon juice + 7Tb milk, let stand 5 min)
1Tb more of the above milk
2 tsp cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 400F. Mix dry ingredients. Add chocolate chips. Cut in butter until butter pieces are pea sized. Leave a well in the center. Mix milk and egg together. Pour mixture into the well. Stir until moistened. Dump out dough on floured surface. Knead 12-15 times until dough is smooth and pliable. Do not overwork.

Pat dough into a circle 1/2 - 3/4" thick. Cut into 12 wedges. Place wedges 1" apart on baking sheet. Brush the 1Tb milk onto the wedges and then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Bake 12-15 min until golden. Serve plain, with whipped cream, or with ice cream. (Can be microwaved for about 15 seconds if cold to make it warm and moist) Store in a ziploc bag, with the air squeezed out.


They will stay good for a day or two before starting to stale (but I've never had them last longer before being eaten). We've been making fresh whipped cream (heavy cream, a little powdered sugar, a bowl and beaters that have been in the freezer for a few minutes - Yum!) to top them, and I'm thinking some fresh fruit on the side would taste great. I'll have to try that next time....

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Gifts...

It's 10pm. The house is quiet. Everyone else is asleep. So after finishing up some other things, I decided to catch up on the blog. It's been a month almost, but this time I have valid excuses. Many of these items are for other people, so I couldn't blog about them before giving them... well, one of them I will, but as it's for my nephew and he won't see if unless my sister shows him I think we can all survive.


First up was a baby shower gift. I finished these with plenty of time (more than 26 if I remember correctly) to spare. I took photos and even took the time to place them in a nice gift bag.





As you can see, I normally try to match my teddy bear outfit (if they have one) to another part of the gift (if there is one), unfortunately, in an effort to make the blanket as big as possible, I only had enough yarn left for a rascally little hat.


I made the vest out of other yarn in my stash.


Hopefully the little boy won't be as much of a scamp as his bear is.


...speaking of rascally little boys (like that segue?) I finished a sweater for my nephew. He's about a year older than my little guy, so I thought it'd be funny to put the sweater on him.


He didn't agree...

So here's a bad picture of the sweater...


...hopefully after I mail it out I can get a good picture of him wearing it.


I hope it fits him well, after all the measuring he endured for it (custom fit, except it should be baggy). I want a picture especially if it doesn't fit well - he just can't have the same expression in it as my guy!


I also finished the swap sweater. In the end it took 50 hours (dk weight, lots of little cables and lace... fun, but long). Isn't it a pretty color and stitch though?



I'm hoping that she won't have to block it all out every time it's washed, but I wanted to in order to make sure the fit was larger than needed.


I saw it on her on Sunday (without ribbon still - hopefully a pic of that when it's in too!?) It was loose and hanging just right and very pretty.

If it won't just dry flat and work then I will show her a quicker way of blocking than with all of these pins! I'm glad she likes it and it fits well, I hope she still likes it so much after many hours of sewing for me!


...and last for now, but certainly not least, is the sweater I finished for Curly. This is the reason my nephew got the above sweater. I needed/wanted to knit one from pattern before I tried to adapt for handspun yarn.



This is fiber she chose back in May at the MA sheep and wool (Fantom Farms). It was fun to work with when I spun it in July during the Tour de Fleece. I wanted something a little bulkier than what I normally knit with, but not as bulky as when you buy 'bulky' yarn in stores. I knit a swatch to see what size needle would work best, and then figured out how long around the sweater needed to be, and then cast on for the size that would give me that many stitches around her body. (It ended up being the 2T size, so I followed that around, and just made sure to knit to the right lengths for her). Having made the sweater once already really helped me know where I could adapt and where I should follow.



I think it worked out great - unfortunately, I was about 12 rows short in the hood (and only had about 10 inches wasted yarn - in 4 pieces), so she got a couple stripes of Cascade (violet) and then to tie that in I put the flowers on the pouch. If I had known it was going to be that close I would have spread it out and put random stripes throughout the whole thing, but I'm not about to rip out the whole thing to change that when this works fine. She loves it, and has even worn it out a couple of these chilly mornings.

I am working on a couple of knits for my nephew's family, but I've also started swatching for a couple of projects for me - and then I still have a sock started for my husband, and various spinning things - both started and planned. We started homeschooling again this past week - so I'm purposefully giving my projects a backseat for another week or so (still working on them when I can, I still need to knit/weave/spin a bit, right?) to give us time to adjust back to school schedule instead of summer schedule, but then I'm hoping to find more time again and finish a couple!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Distracted

I'm still trying to finish a couple of projects, but I have been busy with this:



and with this...




...and my husband's week long vacation, and painting our hallway and bathroom ceiling, and our ninth anniversary, and normal summer stuff.


I should have at least a couple finished things to show next week, but this week is going to be lots of quiet work, which sounds great to me right now.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Present Pictures and Tour de Fleece

Since my presents for my nephew arrived I can now show the pictures of those. I made a blanket for him...



You can really see the cool texture in the close-up.


...and a little bear also!



The silk that I had recently finished spinning was knit into a kerchief for Lily.


I adapted a shawl pattern and knit until it was big enough. She of course, then cut her hair so it is less needed, but she can still use it.


I used the rest of the silk to make a choker for Curly.


She loves wearing it and has me put it on her most days.



now, for the Tour De Fleece wrap up. Out of my six goals I managed to accomplish 4 of them. I did spin every day - in fact, yesterday was the first day I didn't spin probably all month. (and I washed yarn instead - all of these pics are pre-washed)

I also finished some fiber...


The Yarn Pirate April Club Fiber was finished. I think it's between a lace and fingering. I'll have to measure it after it dries.


I also finished the Fantom Fiber Purple. This is for a sweater for Curly. She helped choose it at the MA sheep and wool. She wants it made into a Wonderful Wallaby sweater.


I really like how it came out. Now I need to do a swatch and see how much I'll need to play with the sizing. I was aiming for a worsted weight yarn, some places look a bit thicker as it's drying.



Another goal was to start the silk hankies I have.


They have been started. It was fun to just start this and put it away in the middle of the other spinning.



The Sweet Pea (Yarn Pirate) was spindle spun and then plied on the wheel. The purple was done completely on the wheel. Both were chain plied. The silk is on my bosworth featherweight.

The two goals I didn't get to were to spin either gray or brown for an adult sweater, and to spin another fiber (4 oz or less) of something I had gotten at Rhinebeck several years ago. Oh well.


Now that the purple yarn is done for Curly's sweater I need to finish a commercial yarn test of the pattern (so I'll know what if anything I need to change as I knit the handspun one). This is for one of my nephews... there's no time crunch, I figured I'll send it out in the fall with a baby present, but Curly is wanting it done tomorrow so I will start her sweater as the purple yarn dries.




I'm still working on the lace and cable cardigan for my sewing swap friend, but I am on the first sleeve, and actually halfway done with that I think... so if all goes well I should be seaming it up within the next week or two. After that (during the wallaby sweaters) I plan to start two things for me. One is a shawl, and the other is a vest.



This is the yarn for the vest, which is going to be fun as I haven't done colorwork in a while, and I have never steeked, and this pattern calls for both! :)

I also have a loom borrowed from my neighbor and I just got all the tools for it today... I think I'll be learning to warp a loom sometime very soon also...

Monday, July 27, 2009

For Fun and For Family...

Enjoy!

video

(July 16, 2009 10pm)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Tour de Fleece - goals

Ok, so although I never really sign up for things, I sometimes do like to participate. The Tour De Fleece for instance, is a spinning challenge to set some goals for yourself and spin every day of the tour de france (July 5 - July 26). Last year I managed to spin four different yarns. Three of those four yarns have now been knit up, which is a very happy ratio. The orange became a bag, the sage and daffodil yarn became mittens and a cowl (the mittens are loved by Lily, the cowl - not so much), and the red yarn became Noel's scarf.

This year I would like to:

1. Finish the April yarn pirate roving (5/16 done, working on number 6 during the first couple days of TdF). I've been spinning it on a spindle and plan to navajo ply it on the wheel to get a sock weight yarn.

2. Spin the purple wool that was just bought at the Ma sheep and wool for Curly's sweater

3. Spin either some brown (alpaca) or gray (superwash) for a sweater for an adult

4. Spin one additional braid of pretty wool in my stash

5. Start some more silk (hankies?) on my featherweight spindle

6. Spin some (at least 10 min) every day

I'm not sure I'll finish all of these goals, but at least they are out in front of me now, so I can keep an eye on them. So far I have done the spinning every day by working on the April roving on my spindle. the only problem is I have a lot of knitting I want to get done in this same time-span. ...and some sewing, and some gardening, and exercise, and family time... yeah. We'll see how well I can juggle these goals with the rest of my life!

What are your hobby goals for July? Come on... other than normal daily things that HAVE to get done, what are you trying to do this month?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Another month, a bunch more done

Wow, what a month it's been. We finished all of our external homeschool groups, 'Curly' turned 5, we celebrated several times, we went camping for the first time with kids, we started our 'summer schedule' (piano practicing + one schoolish thing every day), we've endured days and days and days of rain, my back went out, the library summer reading program started, the garden is planted and in, we picked strawberries and made jam, flowers are blooming, and suddenly a month has passed.

On the crafting front many things have been started, several things have been finished, and much more is planned...

First up, I did my first Pay it Forward gift. Noel was given this beautiful scarf.



It was made of fiber that I spun last July (tour de fleece). It's a merino/tencel blend that spun close to a dk weight. I was planning to make this Rivulet scarf - and joined a group on Ravelry to discover they were doing it as a Knit-A-Long, so I decided to let it skip queue and started during their KAL. I had to drop down a bunch of needle sizes, as I'm not used to holding yarn tight unless it's for socks, but it was a fun pattern, and pretty easy.



Handwash cold, lay flat to dry (I blocked it out with wires and pins, but just laying it flat should be good enough). I told her all this when I gave it to her, but thought I better include it here in case her memory is like mine...



Hope she likes it and gets lots and lots of use from it!


Next up, I started a pair of socks for my husband. I actually began it during the drive out to camping, I finished the first toe on the way, and then on the way back I only did about 6 rows.

I have this as my travel project, as it is mostly ribs with just a couple tiny cables, I can figure out where I am fairly quickly. It's yarn from my husband's stash (that he wanted me to knit up for him), and a pattern from WendyKnits.


I also had been drop spinning the silk cap I purchased. I managed to finish spinning the single, wound it into a center pull ball, fixed the big mess it became, and plied it. Then I wound it and plied it back on itself, so this is a four ply cable yarn I guess.



Althought it was purchased for 'Lily' she was willing to share. After I finished a kerchief for her (shawl pattern from Knitter's Stash - changed into a stockinette pattern instead of a garter one, and then I added a crochet border on to the knit on.) I also made a choker necklace for 'Curly'. She loves it and I still need to snap a picture...





Let's see... I also started a time-swap sweater. One of my friends made a bunch of skirts for my girls, and so I'm knitting for her. We agreed to buy our own materials and just swap time. Since she chose a sweater that's made with Dk weight yarn, with cables and lace, I might be getting some more sewing done for me :)

It's a debbie bliss pattern, Empire Line Cardigan, making it with Knitpicks swish so she can machine wash and then lay out to dry.
I did just finish the back yesterday. I need to block it out to size it and make sure it all looks good before I start the two fronts.


I'm also involved in another time-swap. My friend gave me a big bag of roving to spin up for her. I never did take a picture of the roving, but 21 hours later...


There was actually three skeins, two larger and one smaller. I had given her the first one after finishing it so she could see how it was coming along. I didn't really take too many measurements of the yarn, since it wasn't mine to keep, but it was very nice.


Probably a bit thicker than worsted, which was the only direction she gave me (thicker rather than thin). I spun it all up and Navajo plied after I filled each bobbin, that way I had some finished yarn gratification before the end.


I can't wait to see what she does with it... even if it takes a while!


Oh right, since it was the month of June I also got my final fiber club shipment. This fiber is BFL and the color is by the Yarn Pirate and is called Zinnia. Although I really enjoyed getting the fiber club (great present idea any time, almost any fiber club...) I thought I'd not renew this gift from my husband and maybe buy a bit every other month of different wool blends from different etsy sellers. Unfortunately I've already found several that I like and faved on etsy.




It is so pretty though, I can't wait to spin it...


However....


I have started a bear and blanket for my new nephew, need to finish the rest of the Empire Line Cardigan, I borrowed my neighbor's loom, knit my husband's socks, a vest for me with steeking, and fiber to spin for a sweater for 'Curly', and many other projects that I can't wait to get to... so the fiber club spinning will happen - sometime.