Thursday, December 23, 2010

He's watching....

Who needs Elf on a Shelf when you can have Sith on a Cliff?
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Thursday, December 2, 2010


Okay, confession - Paul and I are tv junkies, and one of our guilty pleasures is watching a highly predictable show called Brothers & Sisters. Right now we're trying to watch everything on the DVR as quickly as possible so I was watching an episode by myself and saw a character under this cozy looking blanket. Now I want to make one!
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

In Which I Join the Future

We decided to go for it and now my husband and I both have these fancy new android smart phones. I found this app for Blogger that lets me easily post from the phone, so I'm trying it out.

I'm almost done with my Octopus Mittens (only one thumb to go!) and I've been really productive over the last week or so. It's the end of the month and term for the HPKCHC so time to wrap things up!

Well let's see how this looks online now, shall we?
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

WIP Wednesday November 17

Rolling in a little late this week.... it's been a long week! I finally got a good night's sleep last night though and I'm already feeling a million times better about life, the universe, and everything.

So what have I been working on? This stuff.


We'll start with the red sleeves there, which are still not done, and I've finally faced the fact that they will NOT be done (along with the entire back of the sweater) for a finishing techniques class on Saturday so I postponed it. Since time is running short and deadlines are coming up fast, I decided to focus again on the squirrel mittens (top left) to get those finished up to complete my OWL in Ancient Runes. Top right is the Holden Shawlette that I love knitting and am very happy to get back to. And bottom right is Spike's Sweater, which is still slogging along as stockinette in the round on magic loop and therefore perfect for knitting in the dark.

I don't think that the cabled sweater will be done by the end of the month. Oh well, it's still quite a bit of sweater accomplished this term!

Over on the wheel we have this:


It's superwash roving (top, actually, I think) from Younger Yarn in Hurley. She's got a bunch of fiber up for sale right now - take a look!


I'm taking a spinning class tonight at The Spinning Room called "Beyond Spinning 101" and I practiced getting my wheel in the car earlier. I think my best bet for tonight is across the car seats in the backseat. I took Spinning 101 four years ago with a rented wheel and that was my spinning experience before getting my spindle in June, so I'm hoping that what I lack in experience I make up in enthusiasm!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Turquoise, I think

Last summer I went through what I realized, in retrospect, was most decidedly a green phase. I think I've entered a turquoise phase, although it's not quite as beat-me-over-the-head obvious as the green phase was. But it does add up.

Back in September my husband surprised me with this skein of Araucania Itata in Ocean:


Then around the same time I bought this skein of Alina Shea Creations Crescent Moon (my very favorite base of hers!) in Turquoise:


At first glance, the fiber that Spike and I dyed up the day we waited for my wheel to arrive doesn't look like it's going to fit in this lineup. (Apologies for the blurry picture - I had already started spinning it by the time I realized my picture was not crisp!)


Things are mellowing a bit here on the bobbin of singles:


And here is my final yarn - 31g/49 yards, spun into a continuous single and my first real attempt at chain plying.



Chain plying (also called Navajo plying) is an exercise in mild insanity for me, since (like I just said) this was my first real go at it and it's a little more complicated than regular old plying. Considering I got my wheel on November 5th of this year and you're reading this on the 16th at the earliest, you can safely assume I am no expert at it. The Yarn Harlot explains chain plying a bit in this post, but if you can crochet a chain it's basically that. But with really long loops, and using your hands to hook the spun single through each loop and using the wheel at the same time to create twist and pull the yarn onto the bobbin.

It's not incredibly balanced, or really all that even... but I still like it!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Syracuse Hat!

Paul came home from work one night last week and told me that he needed me to make another hat like the one he was wearing, but in orange and blue Syracuse University colors. This was at the request of a contractor he is only working with for another week, so I had to move fast. I also had to really dig through the stash to find just the right orange and blue yarn.

The hat that Paul wore that was so envied was crocheted about five years ago. It looks it.


Five years ago is well before Ravelry, even, so I knew it was a long shot but I flipped through my pattern printouts from that era just in case I still had it. No luck there. I searched Ravelry and stumbled across what I vaguely recall was possibly the pattern I used. But I'd altered it to begin with and have since also gained some skills, mostly the ability to count, and my initial attempts at following the pattern again were frustrating. In the end, I came up with my own pattern from scratch. I'm sure there are a bajillion crochet beanie hat patterns out there (Ravelry says 1,020, 376 of which are free) but this one is mine.

Then I switched blue yarn, then tried doubling the blue yarn, then switched the orange yarn to a sport weight and tripled it while doubling the light worsted blue yarn... and in the end, I had a hat, my very own pattern, and a great stashbuster clocking in at 259.6 yards of yarn. Once I test the pattern a bit I'll post it here on the blog.


A hat!

Pattern: my own little creation


Elann Norwegian Sport Wool 50g/150m (164 yards) 100% superwash wool in orange, held tripled throughout, purchased from a clearance basket at Rhinebeck 2009 (Ravelry stash page), approximately 187 yards

Cascade 220 Superwash 100g/220yards 100% superwash wool in color 885 deep blue, held doubled throughout (Ravelry stash page), approximately 72.6 yards

Hook: 5.0mm/H Susan Bates hook

Friday, November 12, 2010

Yarn Barf!

Yarn barf is what happens when you are trying to find the end inside a skein of yarn and you get this.


It pretty much sums up my week this week!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

WIP Wednesday November 10

I'm running a day late everywhere, so here goes yesterday....

I've been mostly focused on my Herbology OWL sweater sleeves, which seem to be completely endless. I measured them here to prove to myself that all my knitting is really going somewhere.... eventually.... I only have until the 20th to get these sweater pieces done for my sweater finishing lesson. EEEK.



At least there are two of them going at once, so when they're done they will match and BOTH be done!

I did finish spinning a little lump of fiber into a single on the bobbin. I guess I need to work a bit on bobbin management. Spinning on the wheel goes so quickly I don't notice that I've made a leaning tower of singles in one spot!


Craft room reorganization is still going on to make the room more useful. I do have two lovely assistants.





Luckily Paul installed some shelves for me well out of reach of the kids for the super fun toys, like scissors, pins, and knitting needles.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Newest Member of the Family

My spinning wheel is here!


It's a Kromski Minstrel with a clear finish.

It arrived on Friday afternoon and Paul and I put it together. Friday and Saturday I spun some of the Bluefaced Leicester (BFL) fiber that was free with purchase of the wheel from The Spinning Room.




It's 29g spun 2 ply (last part is chain plied), and about 55 yards, 19 wpi (wraps per inch) (that must be wrong ... it's anywhere from fingering to aran weight).

Last Friday while we waited for the UPS man, Spike and I dyed some of the BFL to keep things interesting.




The braid on the right is what I'm spinning up now. It's hard to stay focused on finishing my House Cup knitting and crochet projects by the end of the month with my new awesome fun toy!! Must focus!!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

October Stashdown Report

It's that time again, the monthly stash reckoning where I try not to worry too much about my swiftly growing stash and we all laugh because clearly I'm nuts. Ready? Ready!

October had the potential to be a disaster because of Rhinebeck, but it actually went pretty well. My salvation this month was that some of the yarn I bought at Rhinebeck was a gift and I gave some other yarn away as well.

October yarn in: 4,428 yards (Rhinebeck, yarn club, and one 1,000 yard splurge early in the month)
October yarn out: 1,847.6 yards

September to December challenge in: 8,903 yards
September to December challenge out: 2,640.9 yards
Break Even in 6,262.1 yards

Year-to-date in: 57,761.25 yards
Year-to-date out: 14,596.5 yards

So how am I going to finish up 6,200 yards worth of projects in the last two months of the year? Let me see.... I've got at least 250 yards in the Squirrel Mittens and 1500 yards in the Fireside Sweater, so that covers my OWLs. That leaves 4,450 yards. Spike's sweater will be about 500, the Holden Shawlette another 400 or so, and another 250 or so for another shawlette I have planned. Zee needs a hat (~75) and probably a spare for throwing (~75). A couple traveling scarf pieces (~40 each) and some yarn for seaming up a blanket (no idea) and we've really taken a bite out of the total. It's still crazy, but it's possible.

At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

WIP Wednesday, November 3

It's been a crazy, busy week around here. The end of the month was Sunday so all my House Cup classes were due, as well as proof of 50% progress on my OWLs. I already turned in one OWL's progress but the other was down to the wire. I took my picture and posted it with less than two hours to spare. As you can see, the picture quality wasn't all that great either.


What can I say, it was late.

On November 1st I cast on a new project, a Holden Shawlette. I saw someone wearing one at Rhinebeck and asked what pattern it was. It's a quick knit so far, although that could be because I can't put it down because the yarn is dreamy - Alina Shea Creations Shmerino in Peace at the Beach, the June club yarn (80/10/10 superwash merino/cashmere/nylon).


I'm afraid the yarn and pattern are fighting too much with each other though and the shawlette would be better in another colorway. That.... that would be a serious bummer. Either way, I'm finishing it and giving it a chance. All the shawlettes at Rhinebeck gave me shawlette envy and I've finally accepted that the only way to have my friends and family begging for lace is to show them how awesome it is.


The brown thing on the right is Spike's sweater. It goes everywhere in my purse these days.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes!

I decided to try a new pancake recipe fitting for the season - Pumpkin Pancakes. They came out great!


Happy pumpkin season!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The State of the Stash: 2010 Reorganizing

At our last State of the Stash I'd bought a dresser to hold my overflow yarn. I don't think that my acquisitions have really taken up a lot of space since then, but I needed to organize again so I could find things.

So Paul found a roll of blank newsprint I'd stashed in the basement and I hauled every speck of yarn into the garage. Every bin and bag from the basement, every bag and box and all the yarn from the dresser. Every WIP. Every bit of spinning fiber. Even the bag of squares for the collaboration blanket I'm assembling. EVERYTHING.

Here it is as of Monday, all jumbled together because I had to borrow bins to carry in the dresser yarn and pile it up to get it all in one picture.

yarn stash as of Oct. 24, 2010

By Tuesday night it looked like this:


And my dresser was nicely organized again!

Scraps (on the left) and WIPs (on the right):


My prettypretty sock and other special yarns:


My fiber stash:


Now I just need to rearrange all the furniture in the craft room and swap out my desk for something smaller and I might as well mop while I'm in there..... busy busy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

WIP Wednesday, October 27

Hmmm. This didn't look as blurry on the camera phone....


My Herbology OWL is the cabled sweater pieces we see here, and the right front piece is coming along. I just put the underarm stitches on waste yarn and have some more to go before retiring to the sleeve to try to hit 50% before the end of the month for my midterm points!

Upper right we have Spike's sweater... coming along through stockinette at stop lights....

Upper left we have my spindle and my remaining fiber and the singles I've spun so far. But speaking of spinning, I have a little confession to make. I bought a spinning wheel and it will be here Friday (that's the day after tomorrow!!!) or Monday! So in an effort to have somewhere to put it, I've figured out how to rearrange my craft room and reorganized my entire yarn stash. But more on that tomorrow!

Hello, Mr. Turtle

In September's Potions class in the HPKCHC, the topic was beautifying potion and they were accepting repairs and sewing projects. I decided to repair a stuffed pillow creature that my mom made for me when I was a baby named Mr. Turtle. My turn-in post is here.

Well that doesn't look so bad.




That doctor (Doctor FRANKENSTEIN) should be sued for malpractice! (Sorry Mom! ;) )


Mr. Turtle just wants to go outside without shame. Or even stay inside without shame would do.


The supplies: a 99 cent pillow from Ikea and a pile of cotton flannel scraps of fabric.


First I cut apart the shoddy stitching holding parts of Mr. Turtle together that didn't belong together. Then I ironed 1/4inch hems down on the back side of flannel scraps to patch the holes on the top (less of a mess) side of Mr. Turtle. Then I pulled his old stuffing out and threw it into the trash, and stuffed the Ikea pillow into the giant freaking hole left behind by clipping the sutures of Dr. Frankenstein. I then pieced two panels of flannel scraps on my sewing machine to cover the giant holes, and used more single-piece patches to finish the job.

It took sixteen patches, hand-sewn with a needle and thread, to close all the holes. That is a LOT of beautification potion!! Hand-sewing is not a skill I am proficient with so I made up my own rules and made it as sturdy as I could.


Mr. Turtle's new back


Mr. Turtle's new belly


Hand-stitched, obviously, but it came out better than those Frankenstein sutures!


The two machine-pieced patches actually ended up overlapping a wee bit on Mr. Turtle. Double application of Beautification Potion ensures that the ugly will not shine through.


He's still smiling, but this time he means it.




Friday, October 22, 2010

Rhinebeck Recap 2010

This year was my fifth Rhinebeck, properly called the New York Sheep and Wool Festival and held the third weekend of October every year.

Weather permitting, people get decked out in their wooly finest.

rhinebeck knitwear collage
(L-R: Mystery sweater I quite liked and a green shawl roaming the Ravelry meetup Saturday; a fetching knitted viking helmet; a gorgeous Citron shawl; dinosaurs on a hat)

This sheep is on the way into the arena...


We had a great weekend...

(L-R: me with a very unique display scarf; Spike traipsing through the sawdust; Spike, Paul and Zee in the stroller headed down the hill to the gate; very sound advice not to bend the dragon)

(L-R: Spike and his long-awaited balloon animal snake; Paul and Zee; Zee taking a stroller nap; Spike checking out his new water cup)

Met up with online friends and made new ones...

Picnik collage
(L-R: Saturday HPKCHC meetup; Spike and his favorite sheep; fabulous fall foliage; Kara/dnatheory getting friendly with some merino)

I made it to the Ravelry meetup too and took pictures of my HPKCHC buddies with a knitting superstar, Ysolda Teague, and Casey of helping-invent-Ravelry fame...


I also kinneared author Clara Parkes (on the left), who runs and authored a couple really awesome books, The Knitter's Book of Yarn and The Knitter's Book of Wool.


This was my first Rhinebeck since I learned to spin, so I wanted to see it all again for the first time with fiber in mind. I got a little yarn too that was just too good to pass up. Click through for notes to see what everything is.

Rhinebeck loot

Not pictured here is some rustic green wool I bought at closing on Saturday. While we just sat in our parking spot (*not* moving) and let the kids watch Cars on DVD,


I paced around outside with my new green yarn draped over my wrist, winding it into a ball,


and then got a start on a hat for Sunday before we even got to the hotel. I finished it at breakfast the next morning.


Pattern: Divine Hat - I made it twice last January so I was going from memory. My Rhinebeck is Divine project page.
Yarn: I lost the card!! I know, I know.... it's around here somewhere.
Hook: 5.5mm/I hook

I think this was the best year so far. Time to start stashing away for next year!