Posted in Current Projects

Blocking, Buttons, Stripes, and Sweaters

Look at what’s blocking!

Blocking!
Button-Up Neck Warmer and Liesl, blocking.

I hadn’t planned on blocking either of these yesterday, but I got home before Matt and had some time to myself, so I washed and blocked the Button-Up Neck Warmer and Liesl. I also got some great buttons yesterday at Banasch’s. I think I might be slightly obsessed with wooden buttons. I can’t help it! They call to me and I want to put them on every project I make lately.

Buttons
Pretty wooden buttons.

I’ll leave you guessing which buttons are going to which projects for now. You’ll see soon enough! πŸ™‚

I was feeling rather bored with most of my knitting projects last night, so I brought out my Open Flame sock, pulled out the cast off, ripped back the ribbing, cut out the extra stripes so I could line it up with the current strip of the skein, and started knitting the leg longer. I thought that I’d like the shorter leg, but I just didn’t. I tried to convince myself it was fine and even started the second sock. I knew, deep down, that I wouldn’t be happy with it, though. It got set aside because of that until yesterday. I absolutely LOVE Vesper yarn and the stripes. Probably my favorite sock yarn for plain socks. I want to do something different at some point, but I just love watching the stripes take shape as I knit around and around and around and… πŸ™‚

Open Flame Sock 1
Back on the needles, Open Flame stockinette sock.

I have to admit that some of the pictures I take and post here aren’t from my regular point and shoot camera. Many of them, like the one above, have come from my iPhone 3Gs. It actually has a great camera and I’ve taken some good pictures with it. This one is probably my favorite. So crisp and clear as if I’d taken it with my camera using the macro setting. I love having a camera with me at any given time and it’s great that this one takes such good pictures! Anyhow… I just wanted to share that since I’ve been rather impressed by it.

Have you seen the new issue of Twist Collective that came out yesterday? There’s a lot of great patterns in there as always, but the one that has captured my attention is the Vine Yoke Cardigan by Ysolda Teague. It’s knit side to side, in one piece, and comes in a wide range of sizes. I haven’t knit a sweater in this manner before, but something I have wanted to try. I just haven’t seen any patterns knit this way that have called to me like this one is! I had to restrain myself from winding yarn and starting it yesterday. I plan on using Brooks Farm Mas-Acero (55% wool, 30% Silk, 15% viscose) that I have in my stash. I was thinking of doing the February Lady Sweater with it, but my interest in knitting that has dwindled. Eventually I’m sure I will, just not right now.

In my stash, I have enough yarn to make at least 4 sweaters: Climbing Vines Pullover, another Liesl, Little Birds Cardigan, and Vine Yoke cardigan. Did you know those last three are all by Ysolda Teague? Totally not intentional, just so happens I seem to love most of the patterns she’s done! This year seems to be all about sweaters for me. I suppose after almost 2 years of being obsessed with socks, I’m not totally surprised that I’d move to something else at some point. Not to say that I’ll stop knitting socks (really, I doubt that will EVER happen!), but right now I’m all about knitting sweaters and I’m pretty inclined to give into that feeling. πŸ™‚

What’s your favorite kind of thing to knit? What patterns are calling to you this time of year? I’d love to know!

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Posted in Current Projects, Spinning

Designing, Neck Warmer, Spinning, and New Projects

Not long ago, I came across the Knitting Purls/Knit-a-While Cuff-Down Smack-Down. Right away I knew I wanted to design something. Didn’t take long for me to start having some ideas. I wound up some yarn and kept it near my desk as a reminder. I let the ideas simmer in the background until yesterday when I finally charted up the pattern I had in my head.

216/365: Designing
Lorna’s Laces in Old Rose

Tuesday I cast on and knit the cuff of the sock and Wednesday I began the pattern. I’ve done a little over one chart repeat so far and I like how it’s turning out!

My Sock Design

What do you think of it? I’m already trying to think up names. Plenty of time to decide on that, though.

I’ve been working on my Button Up neck warmer, too. It’s moving right along and it’s been growing pretty quickly when I actually work on it.

Neck Warmer
Guessing that I’m about 1/3 of the way done.

After a few days of not spinning, I started the second bobbin of the Scarlet Macaw fiber last night.

Spin Spin Spin

Didn’t do a whole lot, but that’s because something new was calling me. I decided I wanted to knit Liesl and I had 4 skeins of Louet Gems worsted in my stash without a project in mind. I love the color of the Louet Gems and I’ve been wanting to make this sweater for a while, so yesterday it was all I could think about after I’d decided I wanted to make it. I knit a swatch and while it was blocking, I went ahead and cast on.

Liesl
Louet Gems worsted in Eggplant (the color is fairly accurate in the photo)

Might have been a dangerous thing to do, but this morning I found that my swatch was dry and the gauge was perfect. I’m using US 10.5 needles, so it’s going pretty quickly. Few more rows and I’m already to the sleeves!

Yesterday I received the August shipment from The Yarn Bearer’s Sock Club. This is the Nightmares Club and this month’s theme was Blood & Gore. It’s semi-solid red and I love it! Another project I’ve been looking at is the Ishbel shawl, so immediately I thought this would be perfect for it. I have 500 yards to work with, which should give me a decent sized shawl.

218/365: Sock Yarn, Yarn Bearer (August)
The Yarn Bearer’s Uber Sock, Blood & Gore

As if I didn’t have enough projects going on or ones that I’m planning, I’ve also ordered yarn for the Little Birds cardigan, the Shipwreck shawl, and the Aeolian shawl! I also have beads coming for the two shawls. What about socks? Ummm… but I am knitting socks! See the ones above? I’m still knitting socks. I don’t think that will ever change, but I knit other stuff sometimes, too πŸ˜‰

The weekend is nearly upon us! It’s been a busy week. Tomorrow I’m going to head down to MainStrasse in the afternoon for the World’s Longest Yardsale with some knitter friends. I’ll probably be looking for shelving or other furniture for our house. Should be fun! It will probably be hot, too, since it’s supposed to get up to 90 degrees tomorrow, which hasn’t happened since JUNE! It’s been a fairly cool and rainy summer this year. Any fun plans this weekend?

Posted in Current Projects, Spinning

Hey Teach Blocks, TDF Wrap Up, Stripey Socks and Starlight

Last night I got out the blocking mats, washed Hey Teach, and it’s now blocking.

208/365: Hey Teach, Blocking!
Hey Teach, blocking!

I also finished up Clue 3 of the Secret Garden Shawl. The yarn is Green Sheep Fingering from The Unique Sheep and the colorway is Hearts on Fire. (Sorry, forgot to mention that yesterday!)

Secret Garden, Clue 3
Clue 3, laid out as best as possible

Secret Garden, Clue 3
Clue 3, close up

I did some spinning last night, though I forgot to take a picture. It feels like it’s taking a long time, but these are pretty thin singles, so I’m guessing that’s why it seems to be taking a while! I don’t think the rain has been helping, either. My knee, hip and lower back haven’t been allowing me to spin as much as I’d like to. When did my body get like an old lady?!? This morning I woke up sore and thinking, “It’s going to rain today.” Not 5 minutes later the radio said, “There will be showers and thunderstorms this afternoon.” I had to laugh a little at that! My body knows about the rain before the weather people tell me! Hahaha πŸ™‚

Speaking of spinning, I should do my Tour de Fleece wrap up! Counting it up, I did 30 hours and 25 minutes worth of spinning from July 4th through July 26th. That’s a LOT of spinning time! Here’s the break down:

July 4th: 1 hour 5 minutes
July 5th: 1 hour
July 6th: 2 hours
July 7th: 20 minutes
July 8th: 20 minutes
July 9th: 20 minutes
July 10th: nothing
July 11th: 2 hours 20 minutes –> Finished first yarn
July 12th: 3 hours
July 13th: 2 hours –> Was the scheduled day of rest, but I did some spinning since I β€œrested” on Friday, July 10th
July 14th: 1 hour 30 minutes
July 15th: 1 hour
July 16th: 2 hours
July 17th: 1 hour -> Finished second yarn
July 18th: 1 hour
July 19th: 1 hour 30 minutes
July 20th: 4 hours -> Was the scheduled day of rest, but I’m β€œresting” on July 22nd instead (knit night)
July 21st: 2 hours
July 22nd: rescheduled my day off
July 23rd: 1 hour
July 24th: 2 hours
July 25th: 1 hour
July 26th: 1 hour

Not bad! I was able to finish up 3 rovings and get part of the way through a third.

Tour de Fleece 2009, Wrap Up
Top Left: “Thinking of Fall” BFL from Zarzuela’s Fibers, 137 yards
Top Right: Pink and Purple BFL, 153 yards
Bottom Left: “Emerald City” Merino from Zarzuela’s Fibers, 210 yards
Bottom Right: Superwash Merino from All Spun Up, still in progress

I frogged the Fountain Pen Shawl last night. I decided I wanted to do it on bigger needles, so I frogged it and decided that I’ll try again later since I’m already working on a shawl right now. I would like to do it at some point, just not right now. Now that Clue 3 of the shawl is done and Hey Teach is blocking, I decided to get back to some projects I haven’t been working on. Last night I finished the heel on my stripey socks.

Open Flame Socks
Vesper Sock Yarn, Open Flame colorway

This morning, as I was thinking about what I’d take with me to knit at work, I decided on the Starlight sweater. Yes, THAT sweater. The one that I started in April 2007. My oldest WIP. The sweater I keep thinking about frogging, deciding I’ll frog, then deciding that I can’t possibly frog it because it will be so beautiful once I’m done. I’m going to finish this. This is my next “big” project that I’m going to work on until it’s done.

209/365: Starlight
Starlight Sweater in Rowan RYC Silk Wool, colorway Porcelin

I’ve been meaning to reply to the comments people have left, but recently, my webmail was blocked at work and I usually spend my lunch hour responding to emails when I have them. Since I’ve been busy at work, when I get home, I don’t even THINK about getting on my computer since I spend 8 hours sitting in front of one at work and I’m usually exhausted when I get home (or even on the weekend). As it is, it’s a struggle to make and dinner, do any house work that needs doing, and maybe get some time to relax and knit or spin, but most of the time I’d rather just come home and go straight to bed. I feel like I haven’t been sleeping well, but can’t really pinpoint why. Only thing that’s really changed recently is the stress at work, though I don’t see that changing any time soon – nature of the season and job I suppose. Don’t get me wrong, I do like my job quite a bit, it’s just mentally exhausting most days. This means that by the time I get home, my brain is mush! Anyway, all that to say I plan on getting back to you soon if you’ve left me a comment or emailed me recently. I haven’t forgotten, just been busy and tired lately. I think it’s a combination of moving and the new job and I’m just trying to get readjusted still. Though it doesn’t usually seem like it, there’s still TONS of stuff that needs to be done around the house to make Matt and I feel less stressed by the state of things. This weekend we’re planning on getting most, if not all, of the “To Do” list done so that we can get back to “normal.”

Hope your week is turning out to be a little less stressful then mine so far πŸ™‚

Posted in Current Projects, Spinning

Emerald City, Nanners, and Buttons

Last night I spent two hours plying and skeining the lovely merino singles I finished spinning Monday night. I ended up with about 210 yards.

202/365: Emerald City - 210 Yards
Emerald City, merino, 210 yards

Emerald City - 210 Yards
Close up.

I really need to get a wraps per inch tool so I can get a better idea of the weight of yarn. Looking at it, it looks about worsted weight to me. I also need a niddy noddy to make it easier to wind skeins. I’ve just been using my swift, which works okay, but it’s a bit of a pain in the butt to do. A niddy noddy would make it a lot easier! I’m thinking about getting this one since it’s a) cheap and b) the same company that made my wheel. Eventually I’d like a nice wooden one, but this would do for now. I’ve even considered just making one out of dowels. I don’t know that I have the tools to do that, though. I wonder if just gluing some dowels together with Gorilla Glue or something similar might work. Anyone ever made their own niddy noddy?

Tonight I’m taking my “day of rest” (supposed to be Monday – the day I spent 4 hour spinning!) for the Tour de Fleece since tonight is knit night. Tomorrow, though, I’m going to be spinning up the batts I have from Gnomegarden. I was going to spin up one of the bumps of fiber I got from All Spun Up next, but with the Tour de Fleece ending on the 26th I wanted to be able to finish up one more bump of fiber before it’s over. Plus, I did want to see the difference of spinning with a batt vs pre-drafting a braid. I might have time to at least get started on one of the ones I got from All Spun Up, we’ll see. Spinning definitely isn’t going away once the Tour de Fleece ends, so I can still plan out what I want to do next! πŸ™‚

I got the toe done on the second Nanner sock and started the lace pattern last night. I really like how these are turning out. The only modification I’ve made is that I did 2 x 2 ribbing instead of 1 x 1 ribbing. I didn’t even change the heel to a short-row heel! I will say, though, that this heel flap business seems to take SO much longer. After this pair, I’ll probably go back to short-row heels.

203/365: Nanners!
Golden Nanners!

Even though these socks aren’t done yet and I’m still working on both the Absinthe and the Open Flame socks, I’m already thinking about the next pair I’m going to knit. Me? Obsessed? Nahhhh πŸ˜‰ I’d like to do another “quick” pair (thicker yarn/bigger needles), so I’ve decided I want to use a skein of Vesper I bought from a Raveler in Pumpkin Spice (special sock club colorway) and do the Tadpoles pattern. I think they’ll go nicely together πŸ™‚

Pumpkin Spice
Pumpkin Spice Vesper Sock Yarn

I decided on some buttons for Hey Teach and the Button-Up Neck Warmer, which I received on Monday. These buttons are from The Button Shop – probably my favorite place to get buttons.

Buttons
The top buttons are for Hey Teach and the ones on the bottom left are for the Button-Up Neck Warmer.

I haven’t picked up Hey Teach in a week or so, but tonight is knit night and I plan on bringing it with me to work on. I’m up to the lace on the right front, which I think I can get done tonight and maybe even start on the sleeves. Hopefully I’ll have an FO to show you soon!

Happy Hump Day, everyone! πŸ™‚

Posted in Cooking, Current Projects, Spinning

Craft Room, Prezzies in the Mail, and Nanners

This weekend seemed busy, but long. I feel like I at least got a lot done, so that’s always a plus! We did 5 loads of laundry yesterday, which didn’t seem so bad because we only had one to fold at a time compared to the 2 we would do at a time when we were at the apartment since they had 2 washers and 2 dryers available (of course we paid per use for those). I love not having to get quarters anymore and not having to wait on other people to use them. We’ve been cooking a lot more lately, which I’m really happy about. I think I’ve had my fill of eating out for a while. Occasionally is fine, but when you’re doing it really frequently, it gets old quick! At least for us. We’re even making breakfast in the morning – mini bagel sandwiches with egg, cheese, and turkey sausage or bacon. YUM! And it keeps me filled until lunch, which is fantastic πŸ™‚

I unpacked almost all my books in the craft room. I need more shelving before the rest of my cooking and other books can be unpacked, so for now the ones that don’t fit on the shelf are in boxes in the closet area. I even sorted some recipe cards I never bothered to open however many years ago it was that I received them.

200/365: Sorting
Sorting recipe cards.

I’m hoping to use my cook books and recipe cards more to change up our dinner routine. We’ve started to get bored with the same old thing week after week and now that they’re unpacked, I plan on making use of the books that haven’t received much love over the years. I took some updated pictures of my craft room to show how it’s coming together.

Craft Room - Entering
View as you enter the room.

Craft Room - Books & Sewing Table
To the left after you enter are my book shelves and sewing table.

Craft Room - Stash
To the right after you enter is my stash.

Craft Room - Closet
On the back wall is the closet. I’m planning on hanging those curtains draped over the bar there in place of closet doors.

I wound up the pink and purple yarn I spun this weekend and found that I have about 153 yards. Not bad! This one was much more even then the first one, but that’s to be expected. I’m really loving spinning!! I’d say I’m thinking about it just as much as knitting now πŸ™‚

Pink and Purple Yarn
Pink and purple yarn, skeined.

Friday, I got prezzies in the mail! I received a shipment from All Spun Up. Talk about fast shipping! It was mailed out Wednesday from the west coast and I received it Friday. I love these colors even more in person then I did from the photos online! Simply beautiful πŸ™‚ This was my first order from Kristin, but you can bet I’ll order again.

Fiber from All Spun Up
Top: Mernio/Silk blend, Bottom left: Superwash Merino, Bottom right: Merino, all are 6.2 oz

I also received the yarn I one in the Cookie A. KAL on Ravelry. It’s Nature’s Palette in Seafoam. Very pretty! I’m already trying to decide what I’ll make with it.

Nature's Palette
Nature’s Palette in Seafoam

This weekend I decided I wanted something new to knit on, something that would go pretty quick, so I decided to cast on Nanners with Socks That Rock mediumweight using US 1.5’s (2.5 mm). I’m up to the cuff of the first sock as of yesterday, so it’s going pretty quickly. I didn’t even modify the pattern to do a short row heel instead of the slip stitch one the pattern calls for. I have to say, the slip stitch heel seems to take a lot longer and I can’t say it fits my heel any better then a short row one, but I like how it looks.

Nanners
Nanners!

Nanners On - Top
Nanners, on my foot, top of the sock.

Nanners On - Side

Nanners, on my foot, side of the sock.

I did some spinning this weekend, but I’ll wait until the next post to show you all my progress and talk a little about my Tour de Fleece progress. Hope your Monday is turning out to be a good one!

Posted in Cooking, Current Projects, Spinning

Tour de Fleece (Spinning!), Stripes, and Cooking Class

The Tour de Fleece continues! Yesterday I spent an hour and a half spinning. I think I managed to spin up half of the 4 oz worth of BFL I’m working with, which filled up my bobbin.

195/365: Look at me go!
Pink and purple filled bobbin.

By the time I was done, my knee was actually hurting a bit. I think that was probably the first time I spun for over an hour straight! I didn’t really want to stop, but considering it was 10 pm and my bobbin was full, I set it aside for the night.

So far I’ve logged 13 hours and 55 minutes worth of spinning which averages out to over an hour per day. Last week I didn’t get in the hour per day I wanted to because I was feeling rather worn out from the week and even had a day that I didn’t spin at all. I was curious about my time and since I’ve been posting it in the Tour de Fleece group on Ravelry each day, I looked it up. Figured I’d share it here, too.

July 4th: 1 hr 5 mins
July 5th: 1 hr
July 6th: 2 hr
July 7th: 20 mins
July 8th: 20 mins
July 9th: 20 mins
July 10th: nothing
July 11th: 2 hr 20 mins –> Finished first yarn
July 12th: 3 hr
July 13th: 2 hr –> Was the scheduled day of rest, but I did some spinning since I “rested” on Friday, July 10th
July 14th: 1 hr 30 mins

A lot of days I did over an hour of spinning, but there are quite a few where I did less. Ah well, it’s been a lot of fun regardless! The best part has been seeing all my progress, getting more comfortable with spinning, and learning things as I go. Before the Tour de Fleece, I didn’t even know how to ply yarn! I got out my spinning book (Start Spinning by Maggie Casey, which came highly recommended by a number of people) and figured it out. Took a bit to get used to, but I think I did pretty good for my first try. Now I’m dreaming of all the things I want to get for my wheel, tools that would be useful, and fiber I want to spin!

I got in some knitting time yesterday, too. I’ve been working on the stripey sock during lunch this week and I’m getting close to where it’s time to start the heel.

Open Flame Sock
Stripey goodness!

The cooking class last night was pretty good. My only real disappointment was that I was pretty sure my chicken wasn’t cooked yet (it was really thick in one spot), but the instructor thought it was and told me to take it off. Sure enough, in that one part it wasn’t cooked all the way through. As someone who’s been through culinary school, I’d like to think that I know what I’m doing when it comes to cooking something. I should have trusted my gut that told me it wasn’t done yet. Half of it was edible and I wasn’t hungry enough to eat the whole thing anyhow. The class was called “For the Love of Garlic” and we had a shrimp salad with vinaigrette, stuffed chicken breast, and risotto with snap peas and asparagus. Of course all of those had garlic in them! I usually don’t care for shrimp, but it was really good and I liked the vinaigrette a lot. I just realized we totally forgot our recipes at the place, though 😦 Bummer. I’ll have to call and see if I can get another copy.

Knit night tonight! Looking forward to it πŸ™‚

Posted in Current Projects, Spinning

House Updates, Spinning, and Socks

Since the last time I blogged, I feel like I have a ton of stuff I want to share or say! I suppose that means I should just blog more, but other things keep getting in my way lately.

This weekend was good. Spent time with friends and had a good time with that. We bought lamps at IKEA that have their on/off switch on a button attached to the cord at the base of the lamp. I really love this idea, especially for the living room where the light switch isn’t connected to any of the outlets. We bought two for the living room and one for my craft room. We use CFL’s in all the lights we possibly can, but I’m always worried about breaking them. Well, I finally broke one. I was trying to fix the lamp shade for the lamp going in my craft room and while looking for a place to set the bulb, it broke! 😦 I was really stressed out about it since Matt kept telling me horror stories about people who broke them and had to have hazmat teams come out (CFL’s have mercury in them). I quickly looked up what to do. I found this very helpful article on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website. Now if it ever happens to you, you know what to do! It’s really not as big of a deal as I thought it was, thankfully. I also looked up how to dispose of them for Ohio and found EPA Ohio’s website that said to throw them in with your regular garbage. I was a little disappointed that we don’t have recycling facilities for this, but we did find out after a second trip to IKEA that they do accept CFL’s for recycling there (though it didn’t say anything about accepting broken ones, so I’m not sure if they do). We have a few others that aren’t useable anymore, so the next time we go to IKEA, we’ll be taking those there for recycling.

Anyhow… enough about broken light bulbs! I now have lamps in the living room and a lamp in my craft room. I’ll have to take a picture – I love the lamp shade I picked out. I bought a chair from IKEA for my sewing table, but we couldn’t get it together. One of the bars wouldn’t allow the screw to go in. We took it back and I didn’t bother getting another. It was on clearance and I didn’t want to chance getting another broken one that needed to be returned. Oh! And blinds!! We got blinds for the house, finally. We have them up in the living room and downstairs hall. We bought enough to also put some up in the bedroom and office, but I didn’t understand how you should measure for blinds, so we ended up with blinds too small for the living room. As a result of buying cheap blinds, we have two others that need to be returned on top of the two that are too small. One of them had holes and stains on the slats (near the top, so they can’t be removed) and I can’t remember what the issue with the other one was. Slowly, we’re getting there!

I took some pictures of the backyard and uploaded them to Flickr. You can see them here.

This weekend, just as the power went on Saturday evening, I finished spinning and plying my first yarn!

192/365: First Yarn!
Yarn I made!!

My First yarn :)
All skeined up.

I ended up with about 137 yards worth. I’d say it’s bulky weight, sort of thick and thin. I love how it turned out and I’m quite proud of it! The fiber is from Zarzuela’s Fibers, BFL in the “Thinking of Fall” colorway.

Speaking of Zarzuela’s Fibers… have you seen her Luxury Sock Batts? This one was so beautiful, I had to have it! It’s BFL, mohair, and silk. I love the color and pictures just don’t do it justice. So soft!! I can’t wait to spin it up πŸ™‚

Luxury Sock Batt

Now that I have the other fiber off my wheel, Sunday, I started pre-drafting the next thing I wanted to spin. I picked up this BFL a while back at a fiber fest and I believe it’s from Twisted Stitches. Monday I finished pre-drafting it all.

Pink and Purple Spinning
Box full of pre-drafted fiber.

Then, even though I’d said I wouldn’t spin any of it since it was the Tour de Fleece “day of rest,” I ended up spinning a little anyway!

194/365: Pink and Purple Spinning
Pretty pinks and purples.

This weekend I spent 5 hours spinning and did 2 hours on Monday. I feel like I’m really getting the hang of spinning and find that I want to do it more and more! πŸ™‚

I’ve been working on my Absinthe sock and have started the increases. The pattern is going along pretty smoothly so far, no issues. It’s been a while since I’ve done cables, so that’s been a nice change of pace for me.

Absinthe Sock
Limey green Absinthe sock.

I haven’t worked on it much in the last few days between spinning and starting this sock…

Open Flame Sock
Vesper Stripey Goodness

It’s been a while since I knit a stripey sock and the recent sock club shipment was really calling to me, so Saturday morning, I cast on for a plain stripey sock. The colorway is “Open Flame” a four stripe colorway. I love it πŸ™‚

I’ve been working on Hey Teach. Pretty close to being done with the left front, but no pictures yet. It keeps getting put aside for other things lately! Ah well, I’ll get to it.

Tonight Matt and I are going to a cooking class at The Learning Kitchen. The class is called “For the Love of Garlic.” Should be fun! I’m looking forward to it. It’s almost mid-week again. Sometimes I just can’t believe how fast the time goes by! Later, all.

Posted in Gardening

So Long On-Hold, Absinthe, and the Yard

Happy Friday everyone!

Remember how I started those On-Hold sock earlier this week? I got to the 3rd lace repeat and I really wasn’t loving the yarn, so it’s been frogged. It’s something about the color. I’ve tried to knit it into a sock twice now and each time the colors don’t excite me. The first time, I started knitting the Lacy Rib pattern with this yarn. I thought it was just the pattern I wasn’t loving, so I frogged it. Then I tried again with this pattern and I really love the yarn itself. It’s soft and very nice to work with, but the color just made me feel kind of blah when I knit it. I’m thinking about maybe over dying it with some Kool Aid… or just knitting a plain stockinette sock with it. I’ve been feeling so indecisive lately!

Since I frogged the On-Hold sock and nothing else in my WIP pile was really enticing me, I cast on for Absinthe.

Absinthe Socks
Lime green Absinthe sock.

I started these on US 0’s while I debated frogging the On-Hold sock, but the row gauge was off and I really didn’t want to mess with the pattern so that the chart lined up right. I decided to frog the On-Hold sock, so my US 1’s (2.25 mm) were available to use. I frogged the little bit of toe I started with US 0’s and started over. I just started the foot chart of the pattern. It’s going fairly quickly. I’m loving the color a lot more then I thought I would!

I’ve still been going on the Tour de Fleece, though not as much as I’d like. I’ve been so exhausted lately. Last few days I’ve only got as far as drafting for about 20 minutes each day and no actual spinning. Still something, though! I need to find my spinning book so that I can figure out what the next step will be after I finishing this last bit of fiber.

I’ve been exploring the things that are growing in our backyard and I found that more and more things keep coming up. First the daylilies came up and then I noticed these coming up in our yard…

Wild Onion (Allium Vineale)

Wild Onion (Allium Vineale)

Wild Onion (Allium Vineale)
Lots of these are coming up! They look like garlic bulbs before they bloom.

I asked my Twitter friends if they knew what they were and Rose let me know that the looked like Wild Onion (Allium Vineale). When I got home, I smelled them and found they smell like onions! I think they’re really pretty looking, interesting, and different. I can’t wait until they all bloom!

For a while there was a group of plants that I couldn’t figure out if they were weeds or not. I finally saw what looks like buds coming up, so I’m pretty sure they aren’t weeds, though there are some weeds coming up beside them. No idea what it is, though. Anyone have any ideas as to what they might be?

What is this?

Closer - what is this?

There’s going to be lots of garden work that needs to be done. I’d like to get some flowers for the front porch and maybe the deck in the back (potted). This summer/fall, I want to get the bushes on one side of the deck pulled up so that I can plant veggies there next year. There is a LOT of weeding that needs to be done, but I’m waiting until I have a better idea of what needs to be pulled up and what doesn’t. I need to take more photos of the backyard to share! πŸ™‚

Last night we finally got the living room set up. It feels cozy to me! We just need some lights in there. We thought that the living room, like every room in the house without a light fixture so far, would have two outlets that have the top one connected to the switch. We tested all 5 outlets in the room and NONE of them are connected to the switch! How strange. We speculated that either there used to be a light fixture or they intended to put one in, but never did. Seems like we’re learning things little by little about the house and it’s quirks!

190/365: Living Room
Sorry for the low light photo of the living room.
We don’t have any lamps in there yet and there isn’t a lot of natural light in the room.

Have any plans this weekend? We’re going out with friends Saturday night for dinner and Sunday we’re going out to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I’m sure in-between that we’ll spend time unpacking, setting up the house, probably a trip to IKEA for some light fixtures, and hopefully some relaxing time on the deck (I really need to get some candles to keep the mosquitoes away from us, though). Have a good weekend πŸ™‚

Posted in Current Projects

Tour de Fleece, WIP Wrestling, and On-Hold Socks

Monday night I was able to spin up a good portion of the fiber I had. I pre-drafted for a good hour before starting and had this huge pile to work from.

187/365: Pre-Drafted Fiber
Fiber ready for spinning!

After another hour, I had a bobbin full of singles.

Tour de Fleece: Day 3
Full bobbin

Monday I had a total of 2 hours of spinning. I’m counting the time I spend pre-drafting because it’s all part of the process. Three days into Tour de Fleece, I have 2 full bobbins of fiber!

Tour de Fleece: Total so far
Progress 3 days into Tour de Fleece

I have a confession, though. Yesterday I pre-drafted some fiber, but that’s about as far as I got. I was so worn out and just wasn’t feeling up to it. I’m counting my 20 min of pre-drafting for my time yesterday. I did spend 2 hours spinning Monday, so I think that evens out my time a bit (for my hour per day goal I set) – at least that’s what I’m telling myself πŸ˜‰

Total time spent spinning for the Tour de Fleece so far: 4 hours, 25 minutes. Not bad for someone who bought a wheel then hardly used it and has since been collecting dust in the corner up until now. I think a lot of my initial unhappiness with spinning had to do with the fiber I was using and not really finding my groove. Different story now!! I’m enjoying spinning quite a lot now. We’ll see if I still feel the same at the end of the Tour de Fleece πŸ™‚

My WIP Wrestling started out strong. I finished the Cotty socks just a few days in. Then the Tour de Fleece started and I was feeling a bit like I was puttering out of the WIP Wrestling. Since the beginning of the month, I’ve had my eye on the On-Hold socks from Socks from the Toe-Up since that is the pattern this month for the KAL over on Ravelry. I told myself I wouldn’t start them until I have at least half of the WIP’s I’m “wrestling” done and that maybe I wouldn’t do the KAL socks at all. Then I started to see people post their progress pictures of their socks. Each day I wanted to knit them more and more!! Finally, last night I caved and started them.

189/365: On-Hold
Beginnings of the On-Hold sock.

I don’t know that I’m loving the pattern, though. I think it might be the yarn. This is the second time I’ve tried to use this yarn and it doesn’t really speak to me as much as other yarns I have (or have used). I think it’s also partly the pattern itself. The gauge for the pattern is 8 stitches/12 rows = 1 inch. I am getting 9 stitches/12 rows = 1 inch. I figured this would help me get a better fit since at gauge the sock would end up 8.25″ around and I like socks about 8″ around giving me a half of an inch of negative ease (my foot is 8.5″ around at the widest point). Still, I took out 4 stitches – 2 from the ends of the chart and 2 from the sole. I should have 66 stitches total and instead I have 62, but it still seems just a bit big. I thought about ripping back and taking out 4 more. Instead I think I’ll knit the sock length a little shorter to make up for the slight difference. I might even do the heel called for in the pattern this time around!

As for the WIP Wrestling… I really don’t think I will finish all I set out to do. I’m not super surprised by this because I kind of knew going in that the Fountain Pen Shawl wouldn’t get done, but I did think that I’d be able to do the rest. We’ll see how the month goes. Tour de Fleece seems to be cutting down my knitting time and I didn’t really take that into account when I decided to work on all of my WIPs for WIP Wrestling.

I’m still working on Hey Teach. I’m up to the lace on the left front, though I don’t have an updated picture of it yet.

House is sloooooowly coming together. A/C and hot water were restored Friday, but we’re having trouble getting the 2nd floor to be as cool as the 1st floor. I suppose this is an issue in any 2 story house, though. Always warmer upstairs! More boxes are being unpacked almost every day. I’m not feeling in any rush to get them all unpacked, but I have to admit, I am getting sick of seeing them and them constantly being in the way. The rest of this week I plan on attacking them pretty fiercely, making Matt set up the living room properly so we can have the TV back and making him finish unpacking his stuff in the office. We’ve met most of our neighbors now. Yesterday we went out and said hi to the two guys who live in the house across the street since they were out doing a bit of yard work. While we were chatting with them, more neighbors came out and introduced themselves. They all seem really nice! I’m really not used to having friendly neighbors, so this is a welcome change πŸ™‚ I found out that one of the guys across the street has recently learned to knit! Of course I told him about the weekly knitting night, so maybe he’ll be able to go sometime.

Well, there’s lots that I should get back to! I can’t believe it’s already mid-week and knit night. I’m looking forward to it, though. Happy crafting!

Posted in Completed Projects, Current Projects

Cotty FO, Hey Teach, TDF Day 2, and Thoughts on Socks

Today I have an FO to share with you! I finished the Cotty socks yesterday and was able to get a few decent pictures of them despite our lack of lighting in the house. We have 7 actual light fixtures and 2 lamps for a 5 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom, house with living room, dining room and den. The 7 actual fixtures are in the downstairs hall, upstairs hall, bathrooms (2 full, 1 half), kitchen and dining room. We have the two lamps in the bedroom and office. Neither give much light. We need to go on a light buying spree! I’m getting a little tired of the lack of light in the house in the evenings. Anyway… I got the best pictures in the dining room which seems to have the most light aside from the hallways and downstairs bathroom. (Have I mentioned I love this green paint we picked? I really do and green usually isn’t a color that appeals to me!)

This is my first WIP down for WIP Wrestling and my 4th pair of socks for the 52 Pair Plunge III.

Cotty, Complete
Oh, hello, we are ready to wear now!

Pattern: Cotty by Irishgirlieknits (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: June 26, 2009
Completed: July 5, 2009
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock mediumweight in Dreidel (gifted to me by Laura)
Needles: Knit Picks US 2 DPNs
Notes: I made some intentional and unintentional modifications. The pattern is written for top down with picot edge. I’ve really fallen in love with toe-up socks and short row heels, so I decided to modify the pattern to toe-up with a short row heel. I’ll admit I’m too lazy to bother with a picot edge on toe up socks because that means I can’t just do a provisional cast on and then knit the folded edge over when the time comes and that I’d have to sew it down instead. I don’t trust that I could sew it down loose enough to be able to still fit, so that went out the window and I did 1×1 ribbing instead. Those were my intentional modifications. My unintentional modification ended up being from my lack of really reading the pattern. Once you do the leg, you are supposed to have 4 repeats of the lace (two columns on each side of your leg). Well… I didn’t notice that until after both socks were done!! So, instead, I just have two repeats of the lace on the front half of the leg instead of four. Whoops. It’s alright, though, because I love them all the same! I think that if I hadn’t moved recently, these would have gone a heck of a lot faster, but there were other things that needed doing first πŸ˜‰

Cotty, Complete

Yesterday I got in an hour of spinning time and ended up filling my bobbin. This time I drafted all my fiber before I started spinning instead of doing a little at a time like I did on Saturday. This made it a lot easier to keep the flow going! I noticed that it was coming out a lot more consistent this time and less super bulky/not so bulky/super thin like it was. I’m still getting bits that are really thin and a bit thicker, but nothing like it was. It’s so great to see improvement already!! It’s been keeping me motivated to keep at it.

Tour de Fleece, Day 2
Getting better!

Yesterday we went over to Matt’s mom’s to do some laundry. We did get the washer and dryer set up, but the dryer requires a gas hook up, which Matt’s dad needs to install. We were running low on clean clothing, so we brought two loads to his mom’s. Since she only has one washer and one dryer at her apartment, it took a while to do. I’m sure you know I did some knitting while waiting, right? Since I’d finished my Cotty socks by then, I was working on the back piece of Hey Teach. I got really close to being done with the back piece while there. When I got home I just had to put the 35 center stitches on a holder and knit the little shoulder bits. This didn’t take long to do and now I have a finished back piece.

Hey Teach, Back Complete
Back piece of Hey Teach complete!

Today I cast on for the left front. I think this will be the only thing I’m working on until it’s done, so I’m hoping it goes by quickly like it did the first time I knit it. I’m hoping it will be WIP two down for WIP Wrestling!

Hey Teach, Left Front
Small beginning of the left front

I’m sure many regular readers have noticed how many socks I knit. You can pretty much bet on the fact that I’ll have at least one pair on the needles at any given time. Did you notice something else? I always use DPNs. ALWAYS. I just prefer them. I did try magic loop once and hated it. Since then, I’ve never gone back to try it again and really don’t find the thought of giving it another go very appealing. I have to admit, though, that since I’ve been helping mod the Socks from the Toe-Up KAL on Ravelry, I’ve noticed I seem to be a minority! Well, I’ll also admit that this seems to be the case with most sock knitters I know, too. They all seem to prefer magic loop over DPNs. I know loads of people who think DPNs are fiddly and I’ll even admit that they can be (especially when you first start out a toe-up sock, but this doesn’t seem to deter me at all), but I just don’t get the magic loop love. I’m sure I’ll have a number of comments from folks that love magic loop and I know that many wouldn’t be knitting socks without having discovered it and I’m happy for all who love it so much – really, I am! πŸ™‚ It just makes me feel a little “out of the loop” for not being in on this magic loopin’ love. I’m considering giving it another shot. I mean, let’s face it, had I not given socks another go, I wouldn’t be knitting as many as I do now!

Speaking of which, I don’t think I’ve ever talked about my first sock attempt here. I don’t even have the socks anymore and I’m fairly certain that they were lost in the move from Connecticut to Ohio, but good grief they were AWFUL. I was maybe 6 months to a year into knitting and I was seeing people all over the internet going crazy over knit socks. I wanted to knit them too! This was at the point in my knitting that I really didn’t know what an LYS was and I was getting all my yarn from Big Box Craft Stores. So, not knowing much about yarn weights still and thinking I could us any old yarn I wanted, I went down to AC Moore, picked up some US 2 DPN’s and two skeins of TLC Cotton Plus yarn. For those not familiar with TLC Cotton Plus, it’s worsted weight yarn that is 51% cotton/49% acrylic. Yeah… and I was going to knit socks with it on size 2’s!! Can you guess how my attempt turned out? The socks were knit at such a tight gauge that they were like iron. They did fit, but they were incredibly difficult to get on and once they were on, they were almost painful to move around in! Talk about a knitting fail – this is probably my biggest one! Of course, at the time I had no idea what I was doing and was just blindly leading myself into something I wanted to do, just like when I first started sewing and later when I started knitting.

That first pair was so awful, I thought all sock knitters must be crazy to spend time to knit such an uncomfortable thing that I put them away in a box and decided to never try that again. Then I kept seeing all these lovely socks. I learned about yarn substitutions, found an LYS in my area, and learned a load more about knitting. So, I tried again and I found the second pair to be much better then the first since I’d used fingering weight yarn (Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock) and I think size 1’s. It took a little while longer to really get hooked on sock knitting, but if I’d never given it another go, I wouldn’t be knitting socks now. Knitting has been one big learning curve for me and continues to be. I love that about knitting!

I think the next pair of socks I knit, I’ll try magic loop again. I have a pair of plain socks on the needles right now and once I finish those, I’ll cast on for another plain pair trying it magic loop. I can’t promise I’ll like it or even finish the socks, but trying it again only seems fair. Just because it didn’t appeal to me before (and I’ll be honest, it still doesn’t), doesn’t mean I won’t like it when I try it again! πŸ˜‰

What sort of knitting or crafting thing have you tried, found you didn’t like, then tried later and loved? I’m curious – leave a comment and let me know πŸ™‚