Friday, December 17, 2010

Warming, in Green

I finally finished the last of the winter stuff for my kids... only about a week after it started to get cold enough for them. After finishing them I took a night or two and just watched tv without crafting before picking up another project to work on during my evenings.

First, the mittens:

Second, the hat/scarf:

I really wanted to make one of these for one of the kids - and the girls didn't need hats or scarves, so Tomato had to be talked into it. It didn't take *too* much talking, but every time I tried it on him he would freeze for a second, then feel with his hands where the knitting ended, and then really quickly WHIP it off while declaring '2 inches'. So, if I needed to actually measure anything I had to do it really quickly while he was frozen for 1.5 seconds.

I think he decided that he liked it though.

He really loves that it matches his mittens and that they are both green.

Speaking of green.... I found a really neat group on Ravelry that likes to barter - yarny stuff of course, but really anything. I swapped my many skeins of lopi yarn for four skeins of this:

At this point I'm not sure if it will end up being for me or for one of the kids, but I am really excited about making something with it in the new year!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Decisive Element

Happiness Project blog

I have this Goethe quote I find myself going back to:

"I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Un-Fun has begun....

I have a song stuck in my head. It's a silly song from my childhood - in fact I mentioned it to my sister and she burst out laughing. I looked into getting it as an MP3, unfortunately it'd be really expensive right now to do that, as it's part of a 12 book series (and you know I couldn't just get one!) and each book and music sells digitally for more than I want to pay (or for a lot all together). Someday perhaps, but in the meantime I went onto Ebay and found an auction for the three music books that hold the piano music for the whole series- no going and snatching the auction up!

The exact song I had stuck in my head was all about Professor Un. He's the arch enemy of Captain Dependable... you can see why I loved this growing up. He somehow makes it so Captain Dependable becomes Un-Dependable. ...and when that happens, the Unfun has begun! Hooray Professor Un! Don't worry, the brave children manage to fix the situation and all is great in the end.

So, instead of doing laundry and cooking and all those other nice things, we took Thanksgiving off. We brought our veggies and rolls to the extended family meal, we split up some food assignments and had our own feast on Friday and then other than attending church we did nothing. We had some Un-fun. We ate leftovers... We sat and read... I got a little knitting done and I think a couple of games were played. It was a wonderful weekend. ...and hard for it to all come to an end.

With all that down time I managed to finish the Gl-ittens for Curly.

She had to come running when a called about 486 times to try them on, but she did so happily....

...and now she loves them!

She even wore them to the store last night when we had to run out for a few things for a certain husband birthday cake that needs making this week.

I even managed to start the mittens for the little boy....

so many stories already while knitting for him... the first mitten is almost done!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Slippers, Slippers, and a Glitten

The slippers for 'Little Tomato' are done:

He loves wearing Red Socks (and we get a kick out of the sports pun that he has no clue about). He insisted as we were picking out yarn for 'Lily' to start making her own slippers that the red yarn was his. Nice of him to pick out some bulky yarn.... they worked up fairly quickly and aside from a couple days when they were missing, he has worn them almost non-stop around our cold house.

'Curly' chose some yarn out of the girls' yarn basket in their room and had me start slippers for her. Unfortunately I ran out of yarn as I was starting the second slipper, so they have different color bottoms, but they are warm and fuzzy (and can be machine washed, unlike the red ones) and only took a couple of days of tv watching once I got moving on them.

As I said earlier, 'Lily' chose some yarn out of my stash and is working on her own slippers... She's almost to the sole on the first one, and then the second should move faster. I might take pity on her and do the sole, which is the only tricky part on the whole slipper.

However, as she was starting to work on her own slippers she was not left out of the mommy knitting juggling act...

I was finishing up her glove/mittens:

And they are now done!

She had to try them on ummm... about 435 times in order for them to have the perfect fit.

...Curly's first glitten is almost done, work will commence on her second and then only to plain mittens for Tomato - he is insistent that his mittens will be green!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New England Fiber Festival

The first weekend in November was a very busy one. Saturday we squished in a lot, and then Sunday we recovered....

The first annual New England Fiber Festival was held on the Big E grounds. My kids were very excited, as they had wanted to go to the Big E and although we didn't make it this year they would at least get to see where such an event would take place.

It was a fun way to spend the morning - some animals, lots of vendors, and many fun things to see. I ended up bringing home a small amount....

(this does not include my husband's meager purchases of one skein of yarn and two patterns - he's already snatched them and put them away)

I purchased my fiber at Spunky Eclectic. This included some fiber for me to use, green fiber for 'Little Tomato', and sparkily fiber for 'Curly'. I also bought a small skein of fiber at the New England Felting Supply booth and a little wet felting kit there also. It was funny to buy from them as they are based in the town my husband grew up in, and I've never been there before... maybe when I use up more of my stash.... I also bought three skeins of yarn - two of them on 50% off sale at Creatively Dyed. Once again, green for the Little Tomato, and pink for 'Curly' and then I picked up some neat rainbow Kauni yarn for a shawl for the girls. 'Lily' wandered around the show with us but wanted to play at the train table with her brother more than she wanted to choose yarn, so we let her do that.

We then had a couple of hours downtime - which was nice since it had been a crazy week.... and then the near-by crazy uncles showed up to babysit so my husband and I were able to attend a Pink Martini concert. If you've never heard them you should check out some of their music - jazz and pop and world music all on the same album. We own all four of their albums (and just got the fifth one - a holiday one - this week) and really enjoyed the show.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Socks and Socks and... Mittens?

Alrighty, no pictures this time, just a quick catch-up and a promise of pictures next time.

Since my last post I finished the brown tunic for the girls and a pair of socks for me. I am SO close to being done with another pair of socks for the sweet husband. However, halloween, with it's need of costumes, has prevented that. Progress was made today now that halloween is done, and they should be finished soon.

That is excellent since earlier this week we canvassed the 'warm things' basket in the front closet and while hats and scarves are in good supply we are completely out of mittens or gloves that fit this year's hands. Since last year's hands are gone and will not be returning I guess I will be starting new mittens within the next week...

(I'm torn whether it's a good sign or not that the Little Tomato put his hand into daddy's new sock-in-progress and declared that his hand was warm and I needed to knit for him now)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Baby Showers and Bread

This past weekend I attended a double baby shower. I was planning to make each of these mothers something, but plans, as I said in my last post, got moved up a little bit (They are both due in the early-middle of november) when I heard when the shower was scheduled for.

One family is have another baby boy, and since it is their fourth child I changed things up a bit and chatted with her ahead of time. All set on making a sweater and hat I went to the store and chose some shades of brown.

I decided to go with my wonderful wallaby sweater pattern (which, in one booklet has sizes 2-48") and I actually dropped and did a size smaller than it had, which involved some math, but thankfully not too much.

I wanted to try out a new hat though, so I looked on Ravelry and chose what I hoped would turn out to be a neat baby hat.

Since I didn't get their gauge I did the largest (three month) size and hoped for the best. This is what the hat looks like when it's worn as the largest it can be.

And this is what it looks like when you take it off:

Hopefully, with that range of sizes, it will fit the new baby this winter!

The other family that this baby shower was for is having a little girl. They seemed like people who could take some color, especially as we enter winter, and so, not finding a pink I liked, I made this blanket:

Bright, eh?

I also made them my more traditional baby shower gift of a bear...

It was a fun time, aside from an unexpected allergy attack earlier that evening....

I have gotten many comments, and questions, about the bread I mentioned in my last post. It was this book which I think is well worth the price, or a trip to your library. It really is the best bread I've found for pasta and soups. Anyone who wants to try just the basic dough, let me know and I'll give you that one recipe (I tried it off of a website review of the book several years ago before I bought the book) or I can lend you my book for a couple of days if you are local. They also have a healthier breads version of it that I haven't looked at yet.

I also spun a little bit today (while I should have been starting to sauce my apples....)

One of my friends is making a secret project and needed just a bit of red/orange yarn. I found this small amount of fiber and now it's ready to go to her!

I'm still plugging along on a couple of the other projects - it was nice to get back to them after finishing the shower gifts. I'm at the point in several of my projects where they are almost done, all the fun stuff is over and I just need to put in the time to finish them - which is a lot less exciting then starting something shiny and new, but I will do my best to finish at least something soon!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

August and September

So, last we left our crafty tale spinning had been going on a little bit every day and progress was being made...

Fiber was being made into yarn and much fun was being had by all...

...and then came the day I didn't feel so good, so I spun on and off most of the day and then played some starcraft that evening without setting up a good place for the computer mouse. I felt a lot better by the end of the day. Mental Health wise it was exactly what I needed, however, the next day or two I noticed that my wrist was really sore. So after those last two yarns I started another batch but stopped. I spent a couple of days resting it and then slowly, over a week or two, started using it more each day and it's fine again now, but I'm again out of practice with the spinning.

During this time my husband finished a pair of socks for me.

Since he's (mostly) stopped blogging I figured I would show them off here.

I've worn them once since they were finished and now that it's getting cooler I look forward to wearing them some more (along with all of my other knitted socks)

We also have spent some time at local parks (both biking to them and driving on occasion).

This was a day that we biked, fed the ducks, played on the playground, and everyone got to take pictures. Little Tomato took a picture of his pants (and the corner of mommy's sweater)

We have been harvesting and making yummy food. One of the biggest hits was this pot of spaghetti sauce (made mostly from garden tomatoes, supplemented by canned) with meatballs (made from local grass fed beef purchased at our farmers market).

That same night we had a fun artisan bread. I have loved the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes book, but I normally make the same two recipes over and over again. That morning, as I was flipping through the book I came across Spinach Feta Bread.

Yum Yum.

It seriously took about 10 minutes to stir together, left it on the counter for a couple of hours and then 5 minutes to make the loaves and about an hour or so later I shoved them in the oven for 30 minutes - so less than 20 minutes of my time and we had yummy bread.

Along with several other things we grow in our garden every year (cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, chard, eggplant, peppers, etc) we always try to grow squash. The butt of all gardening jokes just won't grow for us, but we did get a couple small cute butternuts this year for the first time.

(measuring cup for scale)

Back in June Curly was given an interesting birthday present.

She got to name and take care of a chicken for a week or two. We were given instructions and enough food for the time and she had a blast. Mommy and Daddy, however, were having more than a blast I guess... we got a little bit attached. So we got permission to keep Sam (Samuel or Samantha) and watched it grow.

and grow....

and grow...

until the past couple of weeks when we started to hear Sam every morning.

The thing is, Sam was spending the nights in a cardboard box just inside the kitchen door, so the crowing in the morning was actually kindof cool (plus, you know you are not morning people when the rooster crows around 8 every morning - and sometimes wakes the kids up).

But then he started to crow outside randomly during the day also, and as much as our neighbors like us, I didn't want to see how much they like us, so sooner or later we knew Sam would be dinner. So last week someone came over and taught us how to take care of a rooster in the city. We did cook up a lovely meal (including those cute butternuts) and talked about the circle of life.... and we look forward to raising some more chickens again in the spring.

back to crafts....

Current Project Round-up:
Back when my wrist was recovering I figured I'd move it in a different direction for a while, so I started a project I've planned for a long time...

I started a granny afghan. I'm using my sock yarn scraps (obviously some scraps are longer than others) and planning to just keep going around the one square until it's as large as I want it to be, so this project might take a while.

I started a tunic cap-sleeve cardigan for my girls to share (yes, two years and one inch apart they are sharing clothes already).

I attended a conference where I had several hours available to knit while listening, so I get it almost done, and then discovered it wasn't nearly long enough for these long-torso girls, so I bought another skein and I need to just keep working and finish it off. It's going on hold for a week or two though, as I have some baby showers coming up....

...and here's a sneak peak at one of those projects!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Drive by Blogging

I was just reading a blog in my google reader (anyone who reads any blogs should take the time to set a reader up!) and wanted to share a quote that hit me.

The blog is Unclutterer by Erin Doland, the post is here.

And she said...

All while I was reading Chris Guillebeau’s book, a quote from Orison Swett Marden kept running through my mind:

The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. It is not in your environment, it is not in luck or chance, or the help of others; it is in yourself alone.

I love that.

The whole post is worth a read, and for that matter, I really enjoy this blog.... but I just love that quote and reminder.

I'll be back with more spun yarn and knitting and crocheting and such soon...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Six Weeks of Spinning

Well, as the title would suggest, after months of not touching the wheel, I've been spinning for about 6 weeks straight now, trying to get in a little time almost every day (only missing one or two days before vacation week where i managed to spin about half the days)

So.... here's what about 4 1/2 weeks of spinning looks like:

...and the other 1 1/2 weeks are these three yarns:

A lot of these were either given to me for my birthday or were purchased at MA sheep and wool. All were just bags or braids of fiber at the beginning of the 6 weeks and all are now washed, dried and ready to craft with now. All are different blends and came out different weights of yarn, if you are curious about any you can ask or check out my stash on ravelry. I'm still spinning and trying to do a bit every day, as I can see the outcome of just a bit of effort daily and want to work through more of my fiber stash - it is so nice to knit with handspun! :)

I also, in the middle of that, went shopping and got a shirt to wear with a sweater I had finished... and managed to get a picture taken:

The sweater isn't quite as flattering as I was hoping for, but it does look good and I'll feel fine wearing it, after it cools down a bit more of course! I've had the yarn and pattern for it for a long time and I'm glad I finally got it made and done.

I also finished socks for my sweet husband.

He had bought this yarn and tried to use it in a different pattern for him, and although that pattern wasn't working with it he loved the colors, so he handed it over to me and I turned it into plain ribbed socks - very easy to work on while trying to multitask and fit him pretty well.

I'm now working on a not so plain sock... well, every other row is plain knitting, but every other row is a lace pattern that hasn't been memorized yet (and I'm almost 3/4 done with the first sock)

I do like how the pattern and yarn are working together though (yes, this picture is a couple of weeks old, the first sock is now through the heel and working up the leg)

So I'll keep working on the sock, I'm currently spinning some bright soysilk that I bought in Cummington, and I'm starting to look for some commercial yarn to pair with one of those spun yarns above... I'm thinking a vest of my now two-year old Tomato boy sometime this fall....

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Finally a picture!

Finally, a picture of a finished sweater on me. I took this right before the heat wave started, so I don't think I'll be wearing it again until fall.

I should have a picture of me wearing the blue sweater soon also, just need to wait for it to dry again.

I'm almost done (about to bind off) with the first sock in the current pair for my husband - so I'll be casting on and starting the second sock maybe tonight. I also have kept up the spinning (or plying) every day so far since my last post... I'm on my second lot of fiber, and I'll soon be plying that and starting a third something or other!

...but first, laundry is waiting for me to fold, and mending will get done too hopefully - then off to bind off the sock and spin some more.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Spinning Again

The blue lace sweater is now sewn together and finished. It looks okay on me, but I either need to find a shirt to go with it, or give up on it and pass it on....

I have finally started spinning again. I was planning to start the fiber I had put next to the wheel sometime this week, but then I realized the tour de fleece starts next saturday. So, friday night I pulled it out for just a few minutes and made sure everything was running smoothly. I haven't spun since we put in new seating, but everything works well together and I have spun for at least a short while every day since then. I never have joined an official team for tour de fleece, but i do tend to spin for it every year so far.

I also started the next pair of socks for my husband. He had some yarn he loved and had started some socks with a new pattern, but it wasn't working, so he handed over the yarn and I'm now making a plain pair of socks with it. It is fun stripey yarn and I'm enjoying working with it. I am almost (within 5 rows?) ready to start the heel, and then i get to start the second sock probably.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sweater Blocked

I finished the blue lace sweater tuesday night. I managed to block it yesterday, and because it is cotton I was worried about it taking forever to dry in this humid weather, so instead I dry blocked it! (This involves pinning the sweater out to the right measurements - making sure it stretches right and the edges are straight - and then spraying it with water)

I ended up having to refill my little spray bottle three or four times, so if I plan on doing this again I might want to purchase a bigger spray bottle, but since I had the pieces pinned out on foam boards the water didn't damage anything and it was dry this morning!

Due to other chores I might get to sewing it today, or I might have to wait another day or so anyway, but at least I was able to unpin, neatly fold, and put everything away so I'm not worried about the kids getting to it!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lace - Socks and Sweater

After working on the socks for my husband (with fingering weight yarn), the vest for me (out of dk weight yarn), and the tunic for my daughter (out of fingering weight yarn), it felt really nice to work with some sport weight yarn, especially this sport weight yarn, Knit One, Crochet Too Ambrosia is 70% alpaca, 20% silk, and 10% cashmere.

These socks were knit up so quickly, not only was the yarn a heavier weight than I am used to making socks with, the lace made them even faster!

I actually knit three feet, as the second one I made I realized my gauge had changed too much to have them both match and fit. So I ripped out and went up a needle size for the second sock.

I had bought this yarn several years ago at Webs, and it's been sitting in my stash for a long time, waiting to be made into this exact pair of socks the whole time. It's nice to finally have them in my drawer instead of my bin of yarn and fiber.

At the same time I bought the yarn for the socks I also purchased yarn for a sweater. I finally started that also.

I'm almost done with the sweater and hoping to have it completely done within another week or so. If you look at my queue on ravelry I only have 6 items listed now, the socks and sweater were the items that had been on there the longest, it's nice to feel like I'm finally accomplishing some things that have been on there for years!