Join me as I share my crafty journey with you. I continue to expand my repertoire of hobbies. I knit, sew, crochet, bead and probably most importantly am a lover of science fiction. Occasionally I even pick up a book. I play Nerd Wars for Team Stargate Command which consumes most of my time.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Round One, Complete

     Round One, and subsequently October is now over.  I've made some changes in my personal life which has limited my knitting time.  Sadly I only completed two and a half challenges.  So knitting news first.

     As I stated in my previous post, October is the anniversary of Nerd Wars for me.  It has involuntarily become a tradition for me to celebrate this fact by making a pot holder each October.  It was my first ever submission to Nerd Wars, two years ago and these crazy pot holders keep popping up.  So my first project this round was a pot holder:
I used left over cotton scraps from dishcloths.  I have a little basket I put these leftovers in, once it gets full, I make one of these pot holders.  The pattern is: Double Thick Potholder.  I've used the pattern many times.  Its very simple and make a very thick and durable pot holder.  I submitted this one to the Zoo challenge.  The orange and blue looked like the markings that some lizards have. 

     The next projects I completed were some WIPs.  I finished Jeweled Cowl II.  I ran out of yarn, so its shorter than the pattern states. 
I was able to complete 46 beaded rows.  The yarn is Malabrigo Lace in the color Bobby Blue.  I used 8/0 seed beads from Fire Mountain Gems.  I love the beads, they are silver lined Delicas.  They all fit on my crochet hook and I only found one broken one out of the three vials I had.  I still have some left over.  My cast on edge was too tight so it doesn't roll like it should.  I'm hoping Kelly wont notice it.  I haven't been able to give it to her yet, she is still out of work.  Her recovery is having more complications.  She is still in immense pain.  I decided to make an attempt at finishing up some more projects that were just hanging out. 
I finished the larger pair of Baby Sandal Socks, although I don't know if they fit or not.  Raelynn has been under the weather lately.  The finishing took me less than a half hour so I had to find something to add to that to meet the two hour requirement. So I whipped up a quick dishcloth:
Dishcloths usually take me 1.5 to 2 hours depending on the pattern.  So those three projects went into the WIP challenge.  I used the cowl to answer the challenge and that one was also my Unity Project.  In honor of Halloween being in October we decided to pay homage to a scary or creepy element of Stargate.  The cowl is approximately the same color that John Sheppard's skin turns when he starts to mutate into an Iratus bug like creature. 
John is on the left, he has some great creepy mutations going on here. 

     My last project was for the LARPing challenge and sadly I was only able to get it half done.  I am however very proud of what I did accomplish.  I finally knit up the knuck pattern I had started the prelim on exactly a year ago. 

The first one fits the Hubbs!  I'm sort of using the pattern:  Koigu Fingerless Gloves.  I'm modifying this pattern so much though, that my plan is to write up what I've done in a pattern of my own.  I did this first one based only on measurements I made and the swatch I did with the yarn.  I've never made fingers on gloves before so that was totally winged.  I'm still so amazed they fit.  These are a birthday gift for the Hubbs, now I just have to finish the second one, based off my notes.  The yarn I'm using is Cascade 220 Fingering.  Its got a nice hand to it, and it should be warmish.  I sort of wish now I had gotten something that is machine washable, but oh well.  So that was it for submissions.  I did have a project all picked out for the atmosphere challenge but I ran out of time.  

   I also acquired some stash last month.  Some was for a commission, that I still need to start and the rest is for me and Christmas presents, maybe, if I ever get to it. 

This yarn is for a commission for two baby hats.  The white skein will be dyed pink.  I practically stole these.  I'm not sure if they got rung up incorrectly or if the sign was wrong, but I sort of feel bad.  The were less than $3 a piece.  They're Queensland Collection Super Aussie, 100% superwash Merino.  It works out good for me since I quoted the commission before I bought the yarn, which I don't like to do, but the money was being handed to me so I made my best guess.  I haven't used this yarn before, but I've used other Queensland Collection and I was happy with it.  More to come on these two projects.  I can even fit these hats into one of the Round Two challenges. 

I also bought:
this and
this.  The first is Shibui Knits Silk Cloud in Ash, the second is Island Yarns Papyrus in Blue Lagoon.  The Shibui was going to be a scarf for the Atmosphere challenge.  It's still going to be that scarf at some point.  The yarn is so soft its crazy, I cant wait to work with it.  The Island Yarn is going to be my Cassis Shawlette.  I need to get matching beads for it.  I've never worked with either of these yarns so reviews shall follow. 

  So on to my personal life change.  Its not that dramatic or anything.  I've been watching my weight slowly clime by a few pounds each year so I decided to do something about it before I become overweight or start to have medical problems.  I did some research and I have started Paleo.  Its been about two weeks and I've felt so much better.  I did go off it this past weekend, since I went home to the farm and took a friend with me.  I don't expect my parents or my friends to adhere to my diet plan.  I'm finding it difficult to eat out at restaurants.  Paleo is grain free, potato and legume free.  It is super hard to find something at a restaurant without either bread or potatoes.  I am doing a lot more cooking and it takes me longer to eat on my break at work, all that chewing adds up.  But I feel so much better on Paleo, its worth it.  I've found some good websites that have recipes and encouragement.  I've even lost a few pounds already.  I recommend this plan to anyone who is having digestive issues, it has alleviated most of mine already and Paleo is gluten free.  After just two weeks I can now tell if I get some gluten in my diet, it makes me cramp right up.  So despite my fall off the wagon this weekend I will be going right back on, and keeping up with this one as best I can.  All the fresh vegetables and fruits cost more than crappy food, which is just not right in my opinion, so getting used to the financial side of this change is sort of throwing the Hubbs off, at this point.  I'm hoping he'll embrace it and join me.  (He needs to do something...).  More to follow in this for sure.  I need to go make my dinner for tonight actually.  I also need to pick out a project since I'm at an impasse on my current one.  Do I get more yarn or frog what I have and go to plan B?
Until later, Happy Crafting!



Sunday, September 29, 2013

September FOs and a Road Trip

     I find it interesting how my life revolves around Nerd Wars.  For us Nerd Warriors, September is a break month between tourneys.  Its a relaxing, no points, fun times month.  We re-group and re-power when the rest of the world is getting off of summer vacation routines and getting those kiddos back to school.  Collage too goes back in session at the end of August, so they're at full swing come September.  Me, I'm getting ready for the next tourney, planning, catching up and putting my house back together.  Once the tourney starts its all knitting all the time.  Dishes, laundry, vacuuming, pashaw!  Points, darn it all, I need those points.  I've never been the competitive type, I never played sports or anything.  I did do two academic type things in high school but I've never been the team oriented person.  'Til I found Nerd Wars.  Stargate Command is most certainly not about the points, or the number of projects, or Dwarfing the Nebula.  We are all about each other.  Support for the rough times, celebration of achievements, and we all have crafting addictions of some kind.  So its sort of a themed support group who sometimes earns points.  Love them all so much!  I'm only getting sentimental because this upcoming tournament, T9, will mark two years of Nerd Wars for me.  TWO years!

     Okay this thing is supposed to be about projects and yarn acquisition; so here goes.   Since its break time I haven't done much.  The seasons are changing and the weather is getting colder, so I've also been "nesting" for the entire month of September.  (Which has freaked out the Hubbs, ha!)  I had intended to participate in the blog hop which ended on the 19th.  I totally forgot, oops.  I did finally finish the second oven mitt in the set I was paid to make, oh, a year and a half ago...  Thank goodness I have forgiving friends.  So here it is:  Sorry It Took So Long
To my defense, I did make a second one way back, but it over felted and was too small, so I had to make a third one to complete the set.  I know they get used, that's why he kept begging me for the second one, the first one gets used all the time and he wanted the second one so he would stop burning his other hand.  The pattern is Out of the Frying Pan.  The yarn is Ella Rae Classic.  I love the transformation, I really should do projects like this more often.
     I was getting an itch to knit some lace, so I did a second Cassis Shawlette, this time for my Mother.  I had originally picked out the yarn for myself, but as soon as I started knitting it, I knew it was for my Mom.  
As I was doing this one, I realized I didn't follow the pattern correctly for the first one.  In the short row section, I was knitting the wraps together one stitch too soon.  It worked out good though.  The first shawl was for my MIL and it was deeper, she is a more substantial person, so a deeper shawl is better.  My Mom is short and small, so a shallower and longer shawl is what she needs for her body type.  I put beads in this one.  Green 6/0 seed beads that I ordered from Fire Mountain Gems.  
 Beads don't photograph well...  Mom loves it.  I wrapped up the shawl and left it for her.  I wish I had been able to see her open it, but I had plans last weekend and had to come back to the city early. 
     Those are my only two FOs.  I'm working on a second, larger pair of Showsy Toes Baby Sandal Socks.  I actually just have to do the bind off on the second sock and then sew in fifty million ends.... okay its like eight ends.  I really should get a move on, so Raelynn can actually wear them. 
     I started a second Jeweled Cowl.  This one is for a friend of mine at work who is a beader.  She loved the first one.  My timing is pretty good too.  She has been out of work due to medical complications.  She has a compression fracture in her back and will be out for the entire month of October, at least.  I hope this lifts her spirits at least a little bit.  I hope to go visit her once the cowl is finished.  I counted last night, I'm two rows shy of halfway.  
That is quite a few rows ago, but at least you can see colors this way.  The yarn is Malabrigo Lace in Bobby Blue.  The beads are 8/0 silver lined Delicas from Fire Mountain Gems.  So far all the beads have fit on the crochet hook.  The quality of these is far superior to the ones I got at Michaels.  I know where I'll be getting all my beads from now on. 

     Last weekend I went home, as it was Lowville's Ninth Annual Cream Cheese Festival.  I've been wanting to get up there for quite a few years, but it never seemed to work out.  This year Kraft was attempting to break the world record for largest ever Cheese Cake.  They invited celebrity Chef Duff Goldman to help.  Well, they did it!  Lowville, NY is now the holder of the record for a 6,900 lb. Cheese Cake.  I really wanted to see the unveiling but right at 12:15 we had a torrential down pour and nasty gusts of wind.  Several vendor tends blew over.  I was under a tent eating BBQ chicken at the time, so I didn't get wet.  I had seen the line for the cheese cake earlier when I did a quick walk around.  So when the rain tapered off I made a bee line back to my car.  I had other plans that day.  My uncle told me the next day he stood in line for an hour to get a piece of the cheese cake.  He got there about the same time I did.  There will always be next year. 

     So what were my other plans that day?  Yarn shopping!  My Aunt took me to Old Forge for the day.  The Old Forge Hardware Store has a yarn shop in the back.  I know, it sounds goofy and it is, but its a half way decent yarn shop.  Unfortunately there are no yarn shops near Lowville.  Old Forge is about an hour away, Syracuse is an hour and 20 minutes or so.  The closest is The Handmaiden Boutique in Adams (45 minutes) but she only carries Cascade.  Old Forge is inside the Adirondack State Park, which is just beautiful, and is a tourist town.  The Hardware store is a huge tourist souvenir shop essentially.  It has everything, books, pottery, utensils, candles, furniture, yarn and there is an actual hardware section.  The yarn shop part has a pretty good selection of yarns.  Dale of Norway, Cascade, Mirasol, Noro, Araucania, Sublime, Debbie Bliss, James C. Brett...  There were a couple brands of sock yarn I had never seen before.  They had lots of pattern books too.  Since its a tourist town, all the shops close down over the winter, I think that's why I found this:
Yes folks that Noro Cash Iroha.  Its been discontinued for at least a year now if not longer.  They had quite a bit of it, in several colors.  I picked up two of those and this:
Araucania Huasco I decided to splurge since this is souvenir yarn.  I found a shawl pattern I think this will work with.  The Noro is probably going to be a scarf with a lace pattern to it.  The silk and cashmere make it grow like crazy, from the comments I've read.  After the yarn shop we went to Montezuma Winery's shop.  The actual winery is down on Seneca lake (in New York's Finger Lake region, where amazing wine is produced.)  I had no idea Montezuma had a shop in Old Forge so of course I had to go.  I picked up a bottle of Cranberry Bog and a bottle of the 2012 Riesling.  I've already consumed the Riesling.  It was very good, sweet, floral and fruity.  I've had Cranberry Bog before, I hope to save that one for Thanksgiving, maybe. 
     We also went to a sort of knick knack shop, I wasn't to interested 'til I got to the back.  They have antiques too!  I found a Boye 11 crochet hook and size 3 knitting needles.  I think the needles are Susan Bates.  They look like my moms so I know they aren't super old, but they are a size I don't have.  The shop had a basement filled with even more stuff.  Glassware, Pyrex, appliances, flour tins, glass milk bottles, sifters.  Oh, it was great.  I inherited my nostalgia from both my Grandmothers.  I also grew up in an old turn of the century house, so yea, I love old musty shiny things.  After that place we went to The Country Cottage, its a candy/chocolate shop.  We got fudge and chocolates.  So good.  My two favorites were the chocolate walnut fudge and the salted caramels.  They make the caramels with dark chocolate and they had the perfect amount of salt.  They had other commercial candy there and they make their own donuts, but they were already out of the donuts.  After we finished shopping we hunted down a place to eat.  The first place, Sisters Bistro, was pretty much all reserved, so we decided to go elsewhere.  One of the waiters there recommended Five Corners Café as it was good and similar to that place.  So we checked it out.  It was Amazing!  It was really small, maybe only 10 or 12 tables, but everything was made to order ,from scratch.  We both got the roasted chicken with butternut squash gratin and escarole.  There was a cranberry puree around the chicken too.  Amazing!  Did I mention that yet?  I thought the pricing was really good too.  They also had a wine and beer selection.  I went with a glass of Graff Riesling.  Very good, I like the Montezuma just a tad better, but overall it was a really great day.  It had started raining back when we were in Montezuma and it got crappier on the way home, but eventually we made it back.  So, if you ever make it to Old Forge, get some yarn, wine and chocolate and have lunch or dinner at Five Corners Café.  I think I may have to make it an annual trip.  

     September has flown by.  Nerd Wars starts back up tomorrow at midnight.  I have a dissertation planned for this tourney and a commission coming up so I plan to be busy for this one.  More FOs will be forthcoming and therefore new blog posts.  Until Later, Happy Crafting!


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Thats a Wrap...I Mean Hat.

     So that's it for me.  I just turned in my last project, Tournament 8 is done.  I'm even four days early.  That probably means I'm forgetting something important.  So what was my last project?  It was Snappy Hat. 
The Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride made it go quick.  I finished it today in one sitting.  Finally, after nine or so years of living in this apartment, we got lawn chairs for the balcony.  I spent my afternoon out there with the cats.  It was the perfect temperature and the balcony is high enough off the ground that the cats stay put.  Well almost, Mongo jumped down once, but he didn't really like where he ended up.
Mongo enjoying all the new smells.

Jack chilling under the air conditioner. 

     Now that I'm done with Nerd Wars knitting, I should be working on that list of things I should get done for other people.  I know me though, too well, and I'm probably going to start a little pocket bag thing that I just queued the other day.  It gets lined with fabric once its done and I have yet to do that sooo.... 

Until Later, Happy Crafting!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Vacation Knitting

     I've been on vacation this past week.  I haven't gotten much done, which was the point of this vacation.  My Husband, myself and my in-laws went to the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park on Monday.  I didn't take any pictures 'til we got to the farm animals.  The Thompson Park Zoo only keeps animals that are now or were historically native to the Northern New York area, so the zoo is limited on animals for the most part.  I've been there before, many years ago and it hasn't changed much.  It was still fun and I got to meet a very friendly goat and three alpacas.
She/he very much enjoyed being scratched behind the ear.
The Alpacas had just been fed, so they ignored me, but it was great to see them up close.  I was tempted to ask what is done with the fiber after they shear them.  I also thought it would have been nice to have demonstrators there spinning or at least a mention that these were yarn producing animals.  There is a petting zoo Old MacDonald's Farm nearby so maybe all that sort of thing happens there.  I remember there being more farm animals in years past, not sure why there aren't as many now.  I also picked up a souvenir bag from the gift shop, it will be great to use as a project bag.

     I found out on Tuesday there is a Blog Hop happening right now.  I found out through a blogger friend of mine, who is also my Nerd Wars Team Co-Captain.  It started August 19th and runs through September 19th.  I have decided to join.  The object is to finish up some WIPS within that time period and read some new blogs.  Tournament 8 will be done soon and I always seem to have some things lying around that need to be completed.  I'll compile a tentative list.  The first three are projects that other people have asked me to make them and I have, rather rudely. not completed yet.
Elf Clobbers
Out of the Oven (Oven Mitt)
Jack's Knucks
Cables & Garter Cardi (My failed dissertation from T7)
Gift Card-igans

I'm sure this list will grow.  I have some other projects lined up as well.  If you would like to join this blog hop the info can be found here:  Blog Hub

     I did get some knitting done on this vacation.  I finished up the shawl before I left since I was giving it to my Mother in Law on the vacation.  Here is the glamour shot of that: 
I also finished the knitting on the Brain Wave right before I left.  I did the finishing work on vacation.  Here she is finished: 

I really enjoyed this one and I have about half a skein each of the Mini Mochi left over.  I think I'm going to do another but with the colors opposite.  I have to say, it was really fun to knit with both hands.  I think now that I've had a hat worth of practice, I may try knitting continental with just the one stand to change it up every now and then.

I did a quick project with some of the left-over Cascade Heritage Silk I used for the Cassis Shawlette. 
These are Showsy Toes Baby Sandal Socks.  They were relatively quick, but sort of fiddly and there winds up being four ends to weave in.  They are cute though, so I suppose its worth it.  They barely took any yarn at all.  I should probably make another pair or two for all the babies who were born over the summer to my co-workers.

I started another hat today.  This will be my last project for T8.  The pattern is:  Snappy Hat.  I'm using Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky in the color "Aztec".  The pattern has been in my queue since March of 2011!  Its fast and fun, I really enjoy cables.  I think I'm already halfway through the hat.  After knitting one lace weight project and three fingering weight projects this month this bulky yarn feels like rope.  Its nice to see some progress after only 10 minutes.  Sadly. I don't have pictures of it yet, since I just started it earlier today.

I think that's it for knitting news.  I may be "teaching" a class at Yarn Cupboard soon.  There was some demand for a beaded knitting class after all the ooohs and aaahhhs generated from my Jeweled Cowl at the Jephson Estate.  More details later.  At this point all I know is I'm already slated to knit three more of them. 

Until Later, Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Two Handed Stranded Colorwork... Why Yes!

     There it is.  The pattern is Brain Wave.  I'm using Crystal Palace Yarns Mini Mochi.  Its a fingering weight yarn.  This is the only yarn left in the Mochi line that I hadnt used yet.  Its a single, lightly spun Merino.  Its very very soft, but tends to show wear and tear pretty fast.  Despite that its still one of my favorite yarns.  The softness and warmth just cant be beat, and the colors...oh lovely!  So as I stated in the title I'm doing this one two handed, as in one strand in the left hand one in the right, so I just switch hands when I need to switch colors.  Its faster and the yarns dont get tangled.  It took me a little bit to get comfortable.  I've tried knitted contental a couple times but it felt funny not doing much with my right hand.  Since I'm knitting with both hands there's yarn in my right hand, so switching over to my left feels "right", for whatever reason it all just clicked for me and I'm finding it very addicting.  The pattern is very easy, the color sections move over a stitch each row, so its easy to know where I am or if I've messed something up.  I think this would have been a better first faire isle project than my snowflake hat, but I'm still really happy with how that one turned out.  Basically my message is this, if you've been wanting to try two handed colorwork knitting, my best advise is to jump right in.  Your muscles will get the hang of it, just be patient.

I have better photos of my last two projects.  I've blocked Cassis.  I wish I would have taken before measurements to see how much it grew.  I'm sure its not that much but at least the lace is open now and the edges are straight.  I also got to use my new blocking boards, hurrah.
I have the blocking boards teetering on top of a pile of stuff in my craft room so the cats cant lay on this.  I pinned it out with the boards on the floor and within 30 seconds of laying everything down all three cats were there and "helping".  Naughty children...

I also got a better picture of Jeweled Cowl.  I have it all folded up though.
Thats it for now, just a quick update.  Until Later, Happy Crafting!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

It's Easy to Live Fast...

     This summer has absolutely flown by.  I have no idea where the month of July went!  So, I left you with updates on my projects for May and June and an update on my transportation dilemma.  That has been resolved successfully.  Let me re-hash quickly.  My husband and I bought a new vehicle, a 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser.  We traded in one of our 2002 Pontiacs and kept the other 2002 Pontiac.  The day after we brought the FJ home the car we decided to keep died on us.  So we muddled through with the one vehicle for a couple weeks and three weeks and one day later this is what I brought home:
A 2013 Toyota Corolla S Special Edition.  The color is "Hot Lava".  That's the FJ beside it.  So we should be set on cars for a least a decade now, in theory.  
     There was a massive heat wave in July, so I didn't do much in the line of complex knitting in that time.  I did complete a few dishcloths for the round two challenges.    I had been wanting to get my stash back up to par.  (I have a game plan for Christmas this year.)  Here's a quick run through, nothing new or fancy.

Near the end of the round the heat finally subsided and I started a new endeavor.  It's a checkmark for my list of goals this year.  Beaded knitting!  I started it on the 21st of July and came really really close to finishing it for round two, but alas close only counts for partial points.  It is done now.  The pictures don't do it justice, its been really overcast lately and I got at this too late today but anywhoo:

The pattern is:  Jeweled Cowl.  The yarn is Malabrigo Lace in the colorway Paris Nights.  The colors are darker in real life.  Its more of a dark blueish purple with lilac highlights.  There are beads all throughout the lace section.  I tried many angles, the camera just doesn't pick up the beads.  This was my first experience with Mal Lace.  I loved it!  Its 2-ply and just a tad felted.  Its amazingly soft and drapes really nicely.   
This is only a marginally better picture.  At least the beads sort of show up in this one and it shows how huge the cowl is.  The beads (all 728 of them) are placed individually with a 0.75mm crochet hook.  Its actually easy and quick considering its lace weight yarn.  I really enjoyed this project and I cant wait to wear it somewhere.  I've already picked up yarn for another one.  Right after I finished this project I started a shawl, which I just finished up this morning.  I've officially been bitten by the lace bug.  This has not been blocked yet.
The pattern is:  Cassis Shawlette.  I used Cascade Heritage Silk, which is a fingering weight, machine washable, mulberry silk blend.  Its spun very tightly and therefore has a great amount of spring.  Its soft and the silk gives it a slight sheen.  I would have no problem using this again.  I still have quite a bit left actually.  I will be gifting this shawl, but I plan to make another for myself.  (I already picked up the yarn and I plan to put beads in mine.)
     That segues into my recent yarn purchases, and I nearly forgot.  I bought a spindle at the end of June!  I haven't had much time to spin but I've tried at least.  I have a long way to go before I'll have something good enough to call yarn.  In the month off, between tourneys, I hope to practice, practice, practice.  Right now I've become rather addicted to lace and beads.  Okay back to yarn.
This was back in July from Yarn Cupboard.  (That's where I got my spindle and fiber to go with it.)  The four skeins on the bottom are Brown Sheep Lambs Pride Bulky.  They were on sale.  The two blue-green hanks are Malabrigo Rios in the colorway Solis.  They are slightly greener in real life.  The little purplish hank in the middle is the Malabrigo Lace I used for the Jeweled Cowl. 
These are from the same day but from Sheep Thrills! Yarn Company.  The darkest purple hanks are Cascade Highland Duo.  They are 70/30 Alpaca-Merino.  The softness and squishiness in beyond words.  I'm looking forward to winter this year.  The lighter and middle two purple hanks are Manos del Uruguay Maxima.  Manos is a company that employs very poor individuals who otherwise wouldn't be able to find employment.  Each tag has the name of the artisan and their location hand written on it.  It's kettle dyed 100% Merino, so there is a wonderful variation of color.  I was out of town for my birthday so I did some belated birthday yarn shopping yesterday. 
Left to right; I picked up the new Knitters Pride Karbonz needles for my next project.  They are carbon fiber needles.  I've heard wonderful things about these needles and I've been wanting to try them since I first read they were available.  They are comparably priced with other "good brand" needles as well.  The multicolored hank is Lorna's Laces Solemate in the colorway Franklin's Panopticon.  The Panopticon penned by Franklin Habit was the first knitting related blog I started following when I started this blog twoish years ago.  It is by far one of the most entertaining blogs out there.  Franklin is a very talented knitter and has an amazing sense of humor.  He, like nearly everyone, is on Facebook as well.  I friended him a while ago so I could keep up with his escapades.  He teaches classes at various knitting events and is publishing designs of his own now.  He must have several hundred followers, well this gentleman wished me a happy birthday on Facebook.  I know its menial, but I was touched that he took the 5 seconds to wish me, some total stranger, a happy birthday.  It makes me enjoy the blog that much more, and renews a tiny shred of hope for humanity.  I'm not sure what I'll do with this yarn.  I'm on a lace kick right now so I'm thinking a lace shawl or scarf or something.  The small hank in the middle is more Malabrigo Lace, in the colorway Bobby Blue.  I've already ordered the beads to go with it.  Last but not least is Malabrigo Sock in the colorway Lettuce.  Beads have been ordered for this too.  This will be made into a second Cassis Shawlette.  I've found it nearly impossible to find 8/0 seed beads.  All the craft stores have a plethora of 6/0, 10/0 and 11/0, but not 8...  I don't understand, so I was forced to do my bead shopping on line.  I've heard rumor there is a bead place around here somewhere, I need to make some inquiries.  I prefer to support local businesses if I can. 
     I've been able to enjoy my knitting socially recently.  On Sunday July 28th I attended a fundraiser knitting luncheon at a historic estate out in Cazenovia.  It's an annual event and I very much plan to attend next year as well.  I was attempting to finish my cowl by midnight that day so I didn't get pictures.  The estate was built in the late 1800s and it overlooks a lake, its not as grand as Downton Abby, but it felt a bit like that.  Last weekend after a family gathering of my Mom's side of the family, I spent the evening with my paternal grandmother.  She still knits, so we spent our time working on projects and watching Lawrence Welk.  It was wonderful!  That's it for now, I have a hat planned as my next project and I'm eager to start it.  More fingering weight and its colorwork.
Until later, Happy Crafting!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Lots to Report

     I just looked through my last update, wow.  I've done a few things on both the knitting and dyeing front.  So I'll attempt to do this in cronological order. 

     Back in May I was working on a dishcloth and dish towel set for my MIL.  I finished all the knitting on those before Nerd Wars started in June.  I have a picture of the dish towel.  I took the picture before I wove in the ends.  I just did that today, now I just neen to attach a button and I have to locate my sewing needle for that.  (The heads on tapestry needles are too big to fit through button holes, I have this problem every time I need to put a button on something...)  The towel is huge, but its a towel so I think thats a good thing.  The matching dishcloths are also large, so I think in the long run it will work out okay.  The pattern is:  Mitered Ballband Hanging Towel.  The top portion is knit with two strands of yarn held together so its very thick and strong.  I really like the effect of holding the striping yarn together, the colors mixed up really well. 
I'll be attaching a tourquise button to this.  I dont need to get it all done 'til August, but I've been on a cleaning streak since yesterday.  I want to get my craft table cleaned off, it looks like a hurricane struck in there. 

     Back on June 1st I was able to do some solar dyeing.  That weekend was quite hot and sunny so I figured it would be a good time to try.  Solor dyeing is awesome!  Its basically set it and forget it.  Here are the two finished skeins:

I think I've figured out what I'm making with both of these.  I hope to use the green and yellow one this month yet, if there is still time. 

     So, on to Nerd Wars.  I've posted to two challenges as of today and I'm halfway through a third project.  First up, for the Encyclopedia challenge; Birthday, I made a baby hat inspired by my birthday flower, the gladiola.  My mother and I used to keep gladiolus, when I was still at home to help with all the planting and then digging up the bulbs and storing them.  (Glads are sort of a pain in the bum...)  I chose my favorite color of glads to use for the yarn inspiration.  It's not right on, but I was limited to about three colorways.  Here's the hat:
I really love this pattern, its a top down, which I've never done before for hats.  Its got spiraling eyelets on the top, then and eyelet row for the ribbon/I-cord and a frilly edging.  So cute!  The pattern is:  Lacy Baby/Toddler Hat.  I used Bernat Jacquards in the Petunia colorway.  The colors are more purple than the original glads, but the frilly edging is what I was really trying to mimic.  (I've already been scored so they must have agreed with me.) 
     The second challenge I've submitted to is the Discovery; Kelper challenge.  This project is also in conjunction with the Finglerless Glove Fanatics group's June KAL.  We were to craft an obscure pattern.  Including mine, there are 4 projects listed for Twisted Trellis Fingerless Gloves

Its a good little pattern.  The trellis pattern is made by twisting stitches either left or right.  Its a bit fiddly at first but very easy to catch on to.  One mitt is shorter that the other.  I think I may have done only two repeats of the pattern before the thumb on the second one.  Or I did four repeats on the first one.  I'm not sure, but its actually not that noticable.  The only modification I made was to do the 1X1 ribbing on the cuffs and the fingers as twisted rib.  I knit the first one almost exclusively at a Knit In Public (KIP) event at Yarn Cupboard on WWKIP day.  I was chit-chatting so there is no telling what I did to that first mitt.  The yarn is Elsebeth Lavold Cool Wool.  I only have a small bit left now.

     As I stated earlier my third project is only half done.  I'm making socks!  They will be for the Nerdology; Alternative Transportation challenge.  Human feet will be my non-fossil fuel powered vehicle.  I'm making ankle socks since those are the type I prefer anyway and that style takes less yarn.  The pattern is An Anklet a Day.  Here is the one I've gotten done.  It fits me too!
The yarn is Patons Kroy Socks Stripes.  Its acutally sock weight yarn.  The pattern calls for US2s and the ball band from the yarn calls for US3s.  I went with 3s since my gauge is always tight.  Like I said this one fits so, US3s were the correct choice.  I chose a vanilla pattern for this yarn because of the stripes.  I love how this one turned out.  I also learned a new cast on.  I used the twisted german cast on.  Its a long tail cast on that ends up in a very streatchy first row.  Its perfect, its streatches out well, but also bounces back like elastic, so it will hold up the cuff when I'm wearing these socks.  Its seriously a great cast on, I dont know why I didnt learn it sooner.  I'll be using this for everything with a brim or cuff or anything that needs to streatch a bit.  It makes for a nice looking edge too. 

     Thats it for knitting news.  In personal news, the hubbs and I bought a brand new vehicle last week.  We test drove it on Saturday and picked it up Monday, so we havent even had it a week yet.  Its a 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser.  Its one of those off road sort of SUV things that acts like a truck but drives like a car.  So far we both love it.  I thought it would take longer for me to get used to.  Its higher up but for all intents and purposes is a car.  I've even been able to back into parking spaces with no issues.  This is the first new vehicle we've bought.  Its always been used cars up 'til now.  It was somewhat of an event in our household.  That was the good news, the sort of murphy's law news is this.  The very next day (Tuesday), less than 24 hours later, the car we kept died.  Grumble grumble, mumble mumble.  There will be more news on this subject later, and pictures.  All I have right now are some cell phone pictures of the new FJ.  Thats it for now.  I'll have more news soon.  I have the socks to finish and I'm trying to catch up with the finishing work.  Once it gets hot outside like this I get antsy and my craft room has been bugging me for a few weeks now.  I dont like this much clutter.  Until later, Happy Crafting!

Update:  I forgot one of my May projects.  Oh no!  I finally knit up some of my own hand-dyed yarn.  Its great seeing it go from hank to cake to finished item.  The pattern is Twistygoo.  
It was a fast project, I got it done in one day.  I want to say it was only a two or three row pattern.  I cant remember though since it was a month ago...  I think it would be good to wear durring blizzards.  It is very highly visable with all the orange.  Okay now I should be done.   

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I'm Still Here...

I just realized its been exactly a month since I last posted.  I didnt drop off the face of the Earth or anything, I've just been busy.  A new post will be forthcoming.  I need to take pictures of some things.  Today is June 22.  Its been exactly 10 years since my graduation from High School.  I'm feeling old today. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Kettle Dyeing and Some Fishy Tawashi

     Alright lets cut right to the chase.  I've been bitten by the yarn dyeing bug.  He's big and ugly and leaves a really itchy welt that only can be scratched by dyeing some more yarn. I don't have pictures from yesterdays excursion, since one its just now dry and two it looks almost exactly like another skein I just did.  More on why that is later.  This is what I dyed on my day off last week:
The two orange skeins and the purple skein are new.  The orange and purple spotty skein is that muddy one, now touched up.  I used straight grape to make some purple spots, the blue is a perk of the heating process.  It is much more in tune with the May KAL:  Spots.  That skein was handpainted.  The orange and purple skeins are kettle dyed.  Kettle dyeing is another dyeing technique.  The dye and the heat are applied at the same time.  In my case it all happened in a pot on the stove.  Kettle dyeing can also be done with a crock pot.  I did the purple one first.  It is a mixture of Kool-Aid flavors added to a decent amount of water.  I used my large pasta pot and added 7 cups of water.  The yarn was completely submersed.  This is why the color is more or less uniform.  The two orange skeins were done separately but with the same three Kool-Aid flavors.  I changed the amount of water in the pot for these two.  I put the yarn in first then poured the mixed up dye over the skeins in concentrated areas.  The colors mixed together in the pot with more water so that skein has minimal variegation.  For my third skein I put very little water in the pot to begin with so when I poured in the dye there would still be a limited amount of liquid.  With less liquid the yarn keep the dye colors sequestered so the last skein has much more distinction between the three colors.  All in all I think it was a successful session.  I'm learning slowly that less is more with dyeing.  

     As I said earlier I dyed some more yarn last night.  I was trying to get a lighter purple.  It didn't go so well.  I ended up using five packets of Kool-Aid and the last of the made up Grape.  It wound up nearly the same color as the one pictured.  I did get a variegated effect because I let the yarn sink into the pot on its own.  Once the yarn was heating I jumped into the Internet and learned some things about getting purple with Kool-Aid.  Basically its tricky since Kool-Aid red is Red40 and it tends to make things muddy.  In hind sight I should have used less of the made up dye, saved the rest for later, to make a lighter color.  The part of the yarn that sank into the dyebath last is a really pretty light purple.  I may keep experimenting with purple now that I found a great site with formula's.  I sort of see this Kool-Aid purple thing as a challenge now, I shall defeat thee Red40!

     Enough blathering about what I could'a, should'a, would'a done differently.  I was able to finish one project recently.  (I aggravated the pinched nerve in my neck last week, so I've refrained from knitting for an entire week now.  Gah!)  So, before all that happened I finished the two Wishy Washy Fishy Tawashi.     
There is some embroidery I can do to make the eyes stand out more, but I'm pleased with them as is.  I hope the recipient likes them as much as I do.  I had been working on a Mitered Ballband Hanging Towel diligently up until the pinched nerve.  I have one repeat left of the pattern before I switch back to the main color to do that solid garter top section.  Sadly I don't have progress pictures yet.  

     There was a really great sale at my favorite yarn shop Sheep Thrills! Yarn Company.  Beth wants to make room for the new yarns coming in so she put a huge list of yarns up for sale at 40% off.  Of course I had to take advantage of that! 
I picked up four skeins of Elsebeth Lavold Baby Llama.  Yes, more Baby Llama.  I got three whites so I can dye them if I so choose.  The other three are Sublime Yarns; Extrafine Merino Wool DK and Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK.  I've never used these before, but the yardage was decent and they're super soft.  After the discount the Baby Llamas were under $5 and the Sublimes were all under $6.  I scored Cashmere for under $6!  The sale will continue 'til the end of May.  I would love to go back and get some more.   

     That's everything I've been up to lately.  Its been getting into the 80s here, so summer has officially arrived.  I'm excited to start knitting up the yarn I've been dyeing.  I finally dyed through that first skein of Fisherman's Wool.  Until later, Happy Crafting!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Handpainted Yarn, Earrings and Some Dishcloths

     Okay, I've been meaning to post for a week or three, lets see what I've been up to.  Tournament 7 ended in April so I'll start with the rest of my projects.  I finished the fingerless mitts:
The pattern is Peridot.  I used Jack as my tie in since he states on numerous occasions that peridot is his favorite color.  Peridot is also the birthstone for August which is what originally drew to this pattern.  (My birthday is in August.)  The pattern in the cuff and fingers is berry stitch.  It ends up looking very pretty, its a fiddly stitch though.  You increase and decrease every other stitch and then purl in between those rows so its actually very open.  The yarn is Elsebeth Lavold Cool Wool, its a DK weight 50/50 cotton wool blend.  The colorway is Peridot too.  These turned out snug on me and I have small hands.  If I do them again, and I probably will since I still have half the skein left over, I'm going to add at least a pattern repeat.  The gauge is already pretty loose so I wont change needle sizes.  (The pattern calls for worsted weight.)  I put these, along with a dishcloth, into the WIP challenge.  I also used them for the April Fingerless Glove Fanatic's KAL.  I was on a green kick last month, I think because it was the very beginning of spring and the tree leaves are this color when they bud.
This is the tree outside my craft room, the leaves are all grown out now and a normal dark green.
     Once the weather warms up I usually start making dishcloths again.  The bright colors remind me of summer and knitting cotton just feels right.  Here is the dishcloth I submitted with the Peridot mitts:
 The pattern is:  Leaf Lace WashclothI finished this one just before the tournament ended so I had to take the pictures in the dark.  I suppose I should get a better one now.  This pattern has been in my queue forever so it was nice to finally do it.
     I made another dishcloth for last round as well, this one should be familiar, its the project I chose from Knit Crochet Blog Week:
The pattern is:  Spring Time Dishrag.  I made a couple modifications.  I did seed stitch borders instead of garter and I did only four rows and the top and bottom.  I should have omitted about four stockinette stitches on the sides of the pattern as well since I shortened the cloth it looks squatty.  This was a super fast dishcloth, the tulip pattern is just yarn overs and then SSK or K2Tog to compensate for the YO.  I like it and I'll probably be making more of these too.  That wound up being it for round three of T7.  The final scores aren't out yet.  At this point most of us are doing other things since we only get a month off.  I'm already looking forward to T8.  

     Speaking of a month off...  I've been working on a combo of projects here in May.  I need to do some end weaving but I've already finished two dishcloths and two tawashi.  Tawashi are Japanese style pot scrubbers.  I don't have pictures yet of those, but I assure you they are super cute.  I do however have pictures of the dishcloths:
The pattern is:  Mitered Ballband Dishcloth.  They turn out pretty big which is great since these and the tawashi are going to be gifts.  The designer has a pattern for a dish towel as well.  I'll be making that too, once I get some more of the Peaches and Cream Striped yarn.  I went with the same general color scheme for the tawashi as well.  I want everything to look like a set as much a possible.  I love ball band dishcloths, it was the second dishcloth pattern I ever did, so finding and making this mitered pattern was really fun. 
     I showed you the stitch markers I made.  I got some more beading supplies and I've started making earrings as well.  I made eight pairs in one sitting, but I've only taken good pictures of two of them.  I have two reasons for making earrings.  One, earrings are fun and fast and I love to wear dangly earrings, two, the earring heads can double as crochet stitch markers.  The stitches are different for knitting and crochet.  Its hard to explain to people who don't craft, the easiest thing for me to say is that crochet markers have to be removable.  The dangle earring heads work for that so I can use those parts two fold.  Alright pictures:

The flash kept going off on the second picture for whatever reason.  They are pretty simple and not too long.  I found that I like to mix the sizes of beads for a nice textural look.  The larger glass beads are 6/O seed beads.  I have no idea what size the tiny beads are.  I'm up to two cases for my beads now.  I have mostly green and mostly blue happening right now with clear and silver to off set the colors.  I want to get a purple ensemble yet and then I think I'll be happy.  I also want to pick up wire so I can experiment with shapes and essentially make my own head pins.  I don't want to go super crazy though since I have more than enough yarn to keep me happy... I don't want to get side tracked.  (I think it may be too late.)
     Speaking of being side tracked...  I dyed more yarn!  Remember the Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool I picked up?  I wound off six mini skeins and had a dye session Monday night.

The dark greens and orange are from Easter egg tablets.  The blue, purple and pink are from Kool Aid.  Yes, Kool Aid can dye wool and its color fast.  I never really drank Kool Aide growing up and I'm rather glad I didn't.  It's sort of scary that only two packets each can permanently color that much yarn.  When using KA, make sure to pick up unsweetened packets, or else you'll wind up with horribly sticky yarn.  There are multitudes of tutorials on the web.  I sort of combined at least three and winged it a bit as well.  For the purple (grape) and blue (mixed berry) I did two packets and 8 oz. of water.  For the pink (strawberry kiwi) it was two packets and 6oz water.  I steamed these skeins to set the dye but the microwave can be used too.  I have quite a bit of the purple left over so my next session will be purple oriented.  I think I'm going to try kettle dying for the purple, I want some variegation.  What I really should do is knit some of these up, since I haven't done much of this yet, I don't know how the color placement correlates to finished product look.  All I really know for sure is that this is super fun and I will be getting side tracked with this!  The first picture is actually two skeins twisted together.  Those colors are the left overs from the Easter egg kit I used for the first dying attempt.  They are orange, dark green and supposedly gray, but it just looked like even darker green when I was dying.  I think I figured out where I went wrong with my first dying attempt.  I watered down the dyes too much.  This time I only added the 1/2 cup of water the kit specified.  The orange turned out really bright and pretty.  My inspiration for these skeins was my husband's grandfather who just recently passed away.  He was an avid hunter and outdoorsman so this is a tribute to his favorite pastime.  I don't expect other people to get it, but its my way of appreciating his life.  I did this with the two smallest skeins since I expected it to be a disaster, how on earth will orange green and gray go together, right?  I was very surprised when I unwrapped them from the Ceranwrap and they were gorgeous.  I wish I would have kept the extra dye so I could have done more.  Now I guess I'll have to re-create these colors... oh darn.  The muddy skein was the only other one I had a "plan" for.  It was, however, a fail, IMO.  I joined the group What a Kool Way to Dye on Ravelry.  The Dye Along (DAL) for May is spots.  This was supposed to be spots of color.  It is mud.  I think I'm going to use the left over grape to make splotches.  I think my drops were too small and they ran together.  I also got over zealous with the dropper and covered everything instead of leaving some white.  I think a superwash would also work better for this technique too, since superwash sucks up color faster...  See how much I'm learning already.  (I'm not addicted, really I'm not.)  The other skeins were just off the cuff so to speak.  I really love the one with all four of the colors.  I cant wait for my next session.  
     I also got some more yarn:
There are two skeins of Cascade 220 Fingering in turquoise and pale blue, one skein of Ella Rae Classic Superwash for more dying and two skeins of Malabrigo Rios in Piedras.  I love Rios.  Maybe someday I can dye yarn to look this good. 
I picked up a skein of crochet thread so I can try some of the knitted edgings in the old book my co-worker gave me, remember that?  Keep and eye out I have some ideas brewing.  Until next time.  Happy Crafting!