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.

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!