Posted in Knit Ramblings

Klean Kanteens – A Review

Today I wanted to do a little review of a product I recently purchased. Not something I’d normally do, especially since it’s not even knitting or crafting related, but I have been quite smitten with this recent purchase, so I wanted to share!

I drink a lot of water. I’m probably one of those few exceptions since it seems like so many people tell me they don’t drink much water. I grew up drinking lots of ice water, so even now it’s a staple for me, especially at work. It has to be COLD, though. I don’t like drinking room temperature water at all. I’ll do it, but much prefer it cold or iced. At work, we have a water and ice dispensing machine. For quite a while I was using that and my Nalgene bottle every day while I was there. Some time last year, the water machine started tasting off to me after they had someone come “fix” it. The guy came out a second and I think a third time, but it still just didn’t taste right. In fact it tasted downright disgusting to me. I couldn’t handle it. So, I started buying bottled water and bringing it to work with me. I was going through about 3 bottles on average per day. Since I work somewhere that’s very environmentally conscious, recycling the bottles just didn’t seem enough to me after a while.

I started to look at other options, since using the water machine just wasn’t one of them. I tried and tried again to drink that water, but I can’t. The taste and aftertaste are just not bearable for me. I decided I could bring water from home, but how? I already had one Nalgene bottle, but with the amount of water I drink per day and the fact that I couldn’t have cold water at my desk all day with just one 40 oz Nalgene bottle, I knew I needed to get more based on my needs. I’d looked into getting a Sigg, but they are a bit out of my price range and unless you have a special ice maker, you can’t get ice cubes in them because the opening is so small. Thought about getting an additional Nalgene, but I was worried a bout BPA’s (though I’m fairly sure they have changed materials now). Then, Matt pointed me to Klean Kanteen. I wanted to order, but hadn’t really heard much about them. After a while, I gave up and stuck to plastic bottles.

This month, it started bothering me again. I went back to the Klean Kanteen and saw one of their banners at the bottom that read something like “The average person consumes 168 bottles of water in a year.” I immediately thought, “I must drink double, maybe tripple that amount!” It struck me pretty hard and knew I just needed to make the switch. So, last week I ordered three Klean Kanteens. Two in the 27 oz size and one in the 40 oz size. One 27 oz bottle was for Matt, and the other two were for me.

Klean Kanteen
The black one is Matt’s and the two pink ones are mine.

They arrived on Monday. I was surprised that they showed up with sports caps along with the loop caps. I didn’t see anything on their website about this or that they were supposed to come with one. The colored ones don’t specify a cap type, but the all metal ones do. Hm. Anyway, I was pretty excited that they arrived with both caps. I’ve used them all week at work and I have to say, I love them!

The sports caps are really great. They don’t leak at all! When you turn them upside down when it’s open, you do get a steady drip, but not a pour. When you drink from them, you do have to suck a little. When you tip them over (yes I did try this to see how much they’d spill), you get very, very little spillage, if any at all (depending on how it falls). Otherwise, they are leakproof when closed. They stay nice and cold, too. Much longer than plastic bottles, especially if you have ice in them. What I do for work is fill my 40 oz one with water and my 27 oz one full to the top with ice, then water. I keep the 27 oz one at my desk and the 40 oz one in the fridge at work. When I need a refill, I just pour from my 40 oz one into my 27 oz one (which is actually really easy and not a mess at all). The prices are quite reasonable (especially if comparing with Sigg) and you get a discount if you buy two of the same size bottle. Shipping was really quick and they are easy to care for (dishwasher safe!). The only thing I could even mention about improving is the opening. I’d like it to be just a little bit bigger if I were going to drink directly from it rather than from the sports cap. Overall, I’m very happy with the bottles so far! I’m also glad I can stop buying all that bottled water :o)

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Posted in Spinning

Babe Wheel, Freckle Face Fibers, & Zarzuela’s Fibers

Guess what arrived yesterday!! My wheel!! *squee*

49/365: My New Wheel!

It’s a Babe Fiber Starter, single treadle. On Craigslist last week, I saw this wheel for sale for a great price. I promptly emailed the seller, she let me know it was still available and offered to ship it to me (since I’m about 3 hours away, one way). I decided shipping would probably be best and would be about the same as I would have spent in gas to get there (not to mention time involved). She shipped it via UPS on Saturday. They tried to deliver it Tuesday, but no one was home. I made sure I was home to sign for it yesterday, though!

Soon as I heard the UPS guy in our apartment complex, I went to the door to wait for him. Yes, I was that excited!! I think he could tell! He’s really nice, though, and just laughed at me when I told him how excited I was about the package. I got it in the door and immediately unpacked it. Since it showed up pretty late last night, I wasn’t able to play with it much or try it out (plus, I wanted to read the booklet with it first). The seller was very kind and included some fiber for me to play with! I can’t wait to get home and try it out tonight.

In preparing for the wheel to arrive, I ordered some fiber. One must be prepared for something like this! I had a happy mail day on Tuesday when two packages with fiber arrived.

Someone turned me on to Freckle Face Fibers, so I finally decided to buy some fiber this shop. I wanted to get a few different kinds of fiber to try out and she had a merino/tussah silk blend that I really liked, so I bought it on Wednesday and it arrived on Tuesday (via First Class mail and Monday was a holiday). Very Pretty and soft!

Freckle Face Fibers: Coral Reef
Coral Reef, 80% merino/20% tussah silk, from Freckle Face Fibers

I’m quite happy with my purchase and with the beautiful colorways and fiber blends, I’m sure I’ll buy from this shop again. She even offers yarn if you don’t spin!

In January I ordered from Zarzuela’s Fibers after much debating about joining the spin along (using my spindle) in the accompanying Ravelry group. I had my eye on some fiber in her shop and after I’d decided to join the spin along, I saw it was still there for sale, so I immediately scooped it up. When I got it, I was impressed. The colors were just like pictured and I got it really quickly. Here’s what I purchased back in January (since I’m pretty sure I didn’t talk about it after I’d received it):

17/365: Fiber
Thinking of Fall, 100% Bluefaced Leicester top, from Zarzuela’s Fibers

I knew that when I wanted more fiber, I would definitely be coming back to Jessica’s shop! There were just so many colorways I liked! So, when I decided to “stock up” on some fiber and get some different kinds to play with, I turned to this shop. This time I purchased two braids of fiber. I ordered them Friday evening, shipped on Saturday, and received Tuesday (via First Class mail and Monday was a holiday). Here’s what I purchased this time:

Zarzuela's Fibers
Emerald City (merino) & DC Sunrise (cheviot) from Zarzuela’s Fibers

I’ve chatted with Jessica over email/blog comments, Plurk and Twitter. When she saw my order on Friday, she let me know she’d be sure to ship it out Saturday before going out of town for a week. I’m a pretty patient person and I would have waited, but I thought it was really great that she let me know and went the extra mile to make sure it got out before she left. In both orders, I’ve had hand written thank you notes and I really love that touch. I already know I’m supporting an independent business rather than a big box store, but it really is the little touches like that that make things special. I’m now a repeat customer and I have no doubts that I’ll continue to order from her as long as she keeps her shop running!

Currently she has sock yarn in her shop as well. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve heard good things. I may place a custom order for some soon enough. If you’re looking for something that she doesn’t have or previously sold, just ask and I know she’d be more than happy to dye something for you! I doubt you’ll be disappointed! What are you waiting for? Get over to her shop! ;o)

That’s all I have for today. Next time I’ll show you some toe-up socks I started this week and maybe some spinning progress!

Posted in Completed Projects, Current Projects

Pescovegetarian Mittens, 2009 Goals, Lakeside Socks, & Toe-Up Socks

This weekend, I decided it was time I knit myself a new pair of mittens. I lost one of them a few weeks ago when we got slammed with snow. I had hoped I would find it, but after a few weeks of looking, I figured it was gone for good and it was time for a new pair. It was really time for a new pair anyway since these were getting pretty worn out. The pair I had were the pair I knit back when I was still pretty new to knitting, so they are at least 3 years old, probably more. They’ve seen quite a few winters and were starting to felt pretty good!

I came across the Pescovegetarian mittens pattern a week ago and knew right away this was the pattern I wanted to use to make my replacement mittens. I had some Patons Classic Wool in my stash for just this purpose. A very pretty purple. I knew I wanted bulky mittens, similar to my last ones, which were also knit with Patons Classic Wool (in bright pink), held double. My plan was to use the Patons Classic Wool held double. Looking at the mittens, they seemed a bit bulky and I was afraid that using US 10’s might make the fabric a bit too loose or be too loose on my hands (I have fairly small hands). So, I decided to make some modifications. The modifications I made ended up turning out great and I love the end result!

Pescovegetarian Mittens 2

Pescovegetarian Mittens 1

43/365: Mittens

Pattern: Pescovegetarian mittens
Started: February 14, 2009
Completed: February 16, 2009
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool, Royal Purple (used 1/2 of each of 2 skeins, about 1 full skein total used)
Needles: US 8 & 9 bamboo DPN’s
Notes: There are a number of notes for this one! I did change some things to make them fit my hands better – that’s the best part about knitting, right? Totally customizable! I used smaller needles (US 8 & 9 instead of US 9 & 10) size needles and followed most of the directions. Here’s my mods:

  • After knitting the two rounds after the 2nd increase round, do another increase round like this: at the beginning of the second needle, k1, m1, k6, m1, knit to end of round.
  • After the increase round, work 8 rounds (or until you get to the base of your thumb).
  • I chose to kitchner/graft the top of my mitten because I couldn’t get the yarn tight enough to make no gap. I ended up liking the way this looks better.
  • For the thumb, work as indicated, picking up the 6 stitches above and around the thumb hole. The very first round, decrease those 6 stitches to 4 so you have a total of 12 stitches.
  • Work as many rows as needed to get to the tip of your thumb then work two decrease rounds as follows: 1st round, ssk, k2, k2tog, ssk, k2, k2tog, k2. 2nd round, ssk, k2tog, ssk, k2tog, k1. 5 stitches remain, pull yarn through the 5 stitches and pull tight to close up. I liked the way this looked better than decreasing them all at once.

I really love how these turned out. They fit great! I got to try them out this morning since it was about 25 degrees out! Kept my hands nice and toasty just like the old ones did.

~~~~~

I thought I’d give a brief update on how I’m doing with the goals I gave myself this year.

In this post, I outlined what my goals were for this year:

  • Read at least 12 books this year
  • Take one photo per day (Plurk Craft 365)
  • Blog more (personal and here)
  • Do more colorwork knitting
  • Knit something that requires steeking
  • Knit more sweaters and lace
  • Wear socks that I’ve knit
  • Try one new recipe per week using the crockpot

So far I have:

  • Read 1 book for the month of January (Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel) and I’m a good way through my second book for February (Enchantment by Orson Scott Card). I’m also reading Getting Things Done by David Allen, but it’s taking me a while to get through it.
  • I have kept up with the one photo per day goal.
  • I think I’ve done a good job blogging (though I’d like to be more “regular” here still).
  • I knit a swatch for a sweater, but decided it looked to much like Christmas colors. There’s a new KAL coming up for colorwork, though, so I have plenty of time to get that in (after all, it is only February).
  • Haven’t done steeking yet.
  • Haven’t knit a sweater or lace yet.
  • Haven’t worn my handknit socks yet.
  • Did 3 meals in the crockpot, but ended up scratching this goal.

The reason I bring any of this up is that last one there. The crockpotting. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the crockpot. Matt wasn’t really wrong when he said I was trying to go too far with it, too exotic for a crockpot (with things like lasagna that ended up really greasy and not very good). He’s right. There’s plenty of things I could make that I already know that I like and maybe expand a bit from there. Perhaps I was approaching it totally wrong. It’s okay, though. My crockpot hasn’t been banished from the kitchen, but I have a much better idea what I’d like to do with it. Soups, stews, chili, roasts, whole chickens… that sort of thing. Haven’t done it yet, but soon!

~~~~~

I’ve been moving right along on the Lakeside socks. Nothing really to note about them. I’m following the pattern pretty much exactly (except for the mix up about using needles 1 & 4 and I used needles 1 & 2). I’m working on the gusset now. Here’s some progress shots:

IMG_0226

IMG_0192

IMG_0196

I started a pair of socks for the Knitting Purls Toe-Up KAL that started today. I decided to use the Knitterly Things Vesper Sock Yarn in the “Love Stinks (Yeah Yeah)” colorway. I like how it’s going so far. I started with 24 stitches (12 each side) and knit the first row, increased every row for 6 rows, and now I’m working on increasing every other row until I get the number of stitches I want (haven’t determined that yet). Kinda making it up as I go along!

48/365: New Socks, Toe-up

That’s all I’m working on right now. Juno Regina is still on the needles, but taking a bit of a vacation for now! I did a colorwork swatch that I’ll share when I can figure out what colors I’ll be doing instead. And, no, Matt, I will not be doing the 80’s colors you suggested… Knit Picks doesn’t make the colors I need :oP

Posted in Current Projects, Spinning

Lakeside Socks, Louet Spindle, and… a Babe wheel?

I’ve been working right along on the Lakeside socks and yesterday I started the calf shaping. Here’s what they currently look like:

Lakside Progress: calf shaping

I’m actually not knitting on anything else right now, so I don’t have anything else interesting to share right now. I’ve been working on just one project at a time lately and feel like I don’t have a whole lot to say!

In non-knitting, but fiber related news, I’ve been playing with the top whorl spindle that came in the mail a week ago. I just realized that I hadn’t even mentioned it here! I bought a spindle from Louet. I really wanted a Golding, but decided a lower cost version was needed first. As much as I think I like spinning (and I’ve done okay with the bottom whorl one I had), I’m a little afraid I’ll try it and not like it suddenly. Of course this hasn’t happened yet at all, in fact the more I do and try with fiber, the more I love it and want a wheel! But, thinking about cost and not being sure if I’d like the top whorl better than the bottom whorl one, I bought a simple Louet spindle.

30/365: Louet Spindle

It sat on my desk for almost a week (hey, I was distracted by those socks up there!), but yesterday I sat down and watched this YouTube video on how to get started (there’s also a helpful one on drafting). Both of the videos were quite helpful! I drafted out my fiber and then had a go at it. Oh boy was it fun!! Took me a while, but I was able to get a thinner, more consistent “yarn” by the time I put it down yesterday. I don’t have a picture to share right now, but I hope to take one tomorrow!

The only part I’m having a bit of trouble with is drafting. I’m afraid of pulling the fibers too far apart that they will separate, but the thinner I draft it out, the thinner yarn I can make. I keep seeing folks with really finely spun yarn on their spindles and I admit I’m a bit jealous. I know that my skill is just not there yet and I have to keep practicing!

On another fiber related note, I may have a wheel soon! Every once in a while, I browse Craigslist to see if anyone is selling a wheel on the cheap. I happened to look outside my normal list and actually found a wheel that was posted on Friday for a price I could afford! It’s a Babe Fiber Starter, single treadle, complete with the goodies that come pictured there (minus the fiber). Listing said it had only been used once and she was asking $75/obo! I emailed her right away and she said it was still available. I immediately said I’d take it. I think it will be a nice intro to spinning for me. It’s a less expensive way to have a wheel at my house, see how much I use it, see how much I like spinning, and so on. Basically a good starter wheel for me to decide if I want to save up the money to get a different wheel (I’ve been eying a Joy or Ladybug). She’s about a 2.5 to 3 hour drive (one way) from me and said she would be willing to ship it, so she’s going to give me a price quote on how much it would be to ship and then I’ll decide if I want to just go pick it up or have it shipped. This isn’t a deal I could or wanted to pass up! I’m excited! :o)

Posted in Completed Projects, Current Projects

Shedir Hat, Cigar Gloves, Lakeside Socks, New Pattern, & a Lost Mitten

I have two finished projects to share today!

The first one is a hat I was commissioned to make for a friend. I had kept it rather hush-hush here on the blog because she said I could use whatever pattern and yarn I wanted, so I wanted it to be a surprise. Well, she received it in the mail yesterday and took a fantastically fun picture for me today! (The picture and the hat totally suit her!)

Pattern: Shedir from Knitty’s Fall 2004 Surprise
Started: January 16, 2009
Completed: January 28, 2009
Yarn: Cascade Heritage in red
Needles: US 3 bamboo circular and DPN’s
Notes: I did one more repeat of the main cable portion then I typically do and I think it worked out well. Other than that, no changes! I really do love how this hat comes out and no matter how many times I’ve knit it (this would be the 4th if you’re counting), it’s still enjoyable.

Anaya's Hat
Also, in this photo, she’s wearing a scarf she knit! She just started knitting not too long ago and she’s already addicted. Another knitter added to the fold! :o)

Pattern: Cigar, modified to have full fingers/thumbs
Started: January 18, 2009
Completed: February 3, 2009
Yarn: Berroco Comfort DK in black
Needles: US 3 bamboo DPN’s
Notes: The only big change that I made is to make the thumb and fingers closed instead of open (full fingers/thumbs). On the second glove, I decided to pick up more stitches on the cast on edges of the fingers/thumb and then decrease them the very next round. This helped close up the gaps much better and if I ever do gloves again, I will do it this way. Doing it like that made for less holes I needed to close up when weaving in the ends. This was my first time making gloves. I have to say it was a bit fiddly to do all the fingers and thumbs, but wasn’t too bad (and went quickly!). There were a lot of ends to weave in!

Ta da!

One thing I did learn in making these is how to weave in ends “properly.” I’m sure however I’ve been doing it works just as well, too, but I never really did know how to weave in ends “the right way” or the best way, so I did the “fake it til you make it” method up until this point. Being curious about it when face with so many ends to weave in, I Googled it and found this very helpful Knitty article. I guess I had just never really put that much thought into it before now. I think it looks a lot neater this way and I’m glad I bothered to look it up.

Since I finished up the gloves last night, I cast on the pair of Lakeside socks I’ve promised to the same friend pictured above with the hat!

35/365: Beginning of a sock

Today, I was checking my Google Reader and saw a post by Grumperina showing a beautiful scarf. As soon as I saw it, I wanted to knit it. As I read more, I saw that this is a new pattern from her. The pattern is Mother of Pearl and it’s a free pattern from Crystal Palace Yarns. Very pretty! I have just the yarn for it already sitting in my stash.

This morning, as I was leaving the house, I realized one of my mittens were missing. I searched around the kitchen table where I would have left it and couldn’t find it. Searched a few other places in the house and I still couldn’t find it. I didn’t think much of it, just figured I’d left it in the car, but when I got to the car, it wasn’t there either! I’ll look again when I get home tonight. I’m pretty sure I’ve somehow lost it between getting out of my car and going into the house last night. Thankfully I was already planning on making myself new mittens and have the yarn for them. I just wasn’t planning on having to make them so soon. I was more planning on making them by next winter, but I may need to move that date up if we keep getting snow like we have been!

Posted in Completed Projects, Current Projects

Harry Potter Scarf, Yarn, and Gloves

I was finally able to give my sister her scarf about a week ago now. Forgot to blog about it! Here she is modeling it:

IMG_0822

I think it ended up a good length for her. I also think it will keep her quite warm! Especially with all the icy death from the sky we’ve had lately.

Yesterday was Happy Mail Day for me! I got Zombie yarn from The Yarn Bearer (Sock Club), Sweet Water from Vesper, and Happy Housewife Cupcake Club goodies.

33/365: Happy Mail Day
The Zombie yarn is on the left (under the top yarn), Vesper on the right (top yarn), and Cupcake Club goodies are at the middle bottom.

I’ve been busily working on gloves for Matt. I’m hoping to finish the second glove today! I’m half done with the pinky finger and then just have the thumb to go.

34/365: Almost Gloves

I don’t know if I mentioned it previously, but I’m doing a modified version of the Cigar Gloves from Knitty. I was going to make the first finger and thumb on the right glove as written in the pattern then maybe make little caps for the finger/thumb, but Matt decided last night that doing them as full fingers would be fine.

Soon as these are done, I’ll be casting on a pair of socks for a friend. I’m looking forward to knitting socks again. Feels like it’s been a while since I had a pair on the needles!