Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Crafty Day!

Boy, what a crafty, crafty day I have had! Lots of new things to show, which I am just so excited to present. Beware, it's about 8:45 pm here, so the lighting is awful, even with every light on in the house. You've been warned.

First up, it's the knitting. The Fiery Bolero has been frogged and re-knit. I'm not as far along as before, but I am getting there. And it was totally worth it. The hems are just gorgeous! The cable cast-on is my new favorite cast on! Just look at the seemingly seamless seam! (Say that five times fast!)

Look at those stitches! So perfect.

Current size and state of the bolero.

Next, it's handspun! I'm practicing for the Twisted Sisters Knit and Dye Along. My yarn is getting so much better! Believe it or not, it is thinner. Sort of. I haven't got the whole idea down yet. How do people spin laceweight? There has to be like five fibers on the draft, total, I swear. I forgot to measure how much this is, but it isn't a lot. Probably less than 50 yards. It's bulky, the most I can compare it to is Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk. Only like above that. I took it and dunked it in a pot full of koolaid. Red is a bitch to photograph, so beware the super-bright skein! In real life, it's about the color of a strawberry jolly rancher:

Oh handspun, how I love you!

Finally, there's a new type of FO. I purchased these plain wood forms at Michael's for $2 a piece. Then I painted them up like the models in the store (yeah, okay, so not that creative- just crafty!). They aren't done yet (there's glitter involved on the santas, and there's no paint on the tree ornaments or stars). But look how cute they are turning out!

It's that time of year again! Ho Ho Ho!

There was a Snowman model, but they didn't have any in stock. I guess there's a lot of crafters out there who like this type of thing, too! In addition to the trees and men, I also bought a little birdhouse to paint. I've never painted one before, but always kinda wanted to when I saw them in the store. I think I had better be careful, this wood painting can get addictive! Here's the current state of the birdhouse:

Ignore the poorly painted fence, it will be fixed.

And this is what the birdhouse is destined to be when it's all cleaned up and done:

Everyone knows birds prefer barns for birdhouses.

The wood figures are already painted, so don't think I'm that good with acrylic. After it's all done, I'll shoot it with a clear coat of weatherproofing spray to make it Oregon rainproof. All the wood figures are destined to become Christmas presents, including the birdhouse. I can't wait to gift them, but December is so far away. Maybe I'll paint some of the Halloween ones to tide me over in the meantime...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

M is for Missing

It's been a while posting here! Not to worry, I've been busy, busy, busy these last couple of weeks. Fall is here in town which means the nights are getting colder and it's almost pleasant to knit with wool again. Hooray!

First up, it's an FO! The Trekking socks have made their debut:

I really love looking at this toe!

Look how cozy these look! So ready for fall.

Pattern: Rib and Cable socks from Interweave
Yarn: Trekking XXL, 1 skein (lots left over)
Needle: Size 1 Susan Bates, toe-up on 2 circs
Special skills/mods: short-row heel, cables without cable needle

There's a lot I could say about these socks. I love this pattern....but I am not knitting it on such tiny needles EVER again. These socks took forever to knit. And all the tiny cables every four or five rows put me over the edge. After a while, I was looking for reasons not to have to cable any longer. I had to bribe myself to keep cabling. It worked...sort of. As a result, I started knitting all sorts of other projects to instead of finishing this one. So, the moral of the story is, be careful what you wish for. I wanted these socks since I saw them, but to get a happy result meant a lot of unhappy hours in the making.

Next up, it's a WIP! Here's the current state of the drop-stitch scarf for my Funky Scarf pal:

Lovin' that purple color! So shiny!

And there's a bonus WIP! A clothing WIP! This is my first ever attempt at a knitted clothing item. Up until now, it's been all socks, scarves hats and the like. This is my attempt at the Debbie Bliss Fiery Bolero:

Love that minty, forest green color!

I've already discovered one mistake, but it was a newbie one. I had to learn the cable cast-on increase for this piece. Instead of using a M1 or bar raise, you do cable increases at the beginning of the row. Well, I did, but over the space of 8 or 10 stitches, instead of one stitch. Oops. So there's all these holes in the piece where it should be just plain stockinette. I think I'm going to rip it, since there's no use in having a bolero I'm going to hate, and I hate looking at the holes. Oh well. I really like the yarn- Sirdar Snuggly DK weight. It's an acrylic, but feels like an alpaca/wool blend. And it doesn't rip up my fingers like some acrylics do.

Following the bolero disaster, there's some spinning on the horizon. Look what I found at the LYS the other day:

My little black rain cloud

It's Alpaca With A Twist! And this stuff is sooooooft. I believe it's made of what a cloud is. Yep, this is my little black rain cloud of fiber. I wish I could roll around in piles of it, and sleep on it at night, I love it so. However, this stuff has two very big caveats: it is very short, which leads to lots of breaks in the drafting, and it sheds everywhere. Thus, to spin with this means I'm covered from head to toe in short, black fibers that won't go away. But I don't care. I love it with all my heart.

Finally, there's a bevy of KALs out there for the joining. A few I've added (or may be adding) to the side bar as of late:

Pirate socks!

Dye and Spin along

Knit Socks!

Cables and more cables

Hooray mittens!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Do you see what I see? They are searingly bright, I hope you do! That's right, it's an FO! Take a closer look:

Nice socks!

Yeah, my feet rock!

Pattern: Jaywalker by Grumperina
Yarn: Blue Moon Socks that Rock "Fire on the Mountain"
Changes: Knit toe-up on 2 circs, first of all. Pattern linked above will guide you to a bevy of options for knitting this sock. Knit with Addi US 2's instead of recommended US 1's. This made only four total chevrons around the leg, with quite a few less stitches. That's okay, I wanted a larger stitch to show off the fancy, fancy colors. Also, I knit the top ribbing around the leg until I felt it was sufficient, so it's longer than the pattern states. But I don't care. I finally finished a Jaywalker!

Finally, pretty evening sky:

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Progress on several fronts

It seems progress is being made all over! Labor Day weekend, indeed!

First up, we've got some socks that indeed are rocking. I'm officially part of the I Heart Jaywalker fan club and the I Heart STR fan club as well. Never was there a more perfect pair than this yarn and this pattern. Just look!

Socks that Rock in "Fire on the Mountain"

But seeing the sock colorway seems awfully familiar... maybe a little enchanted?

Psychedelic grotto at the Enchanted Forest

Hmm. Maybe the fire is in the mind of the artist? It's pretty darn colorful. I think they should re-name it "Eugene" because of the tye-dye colorways. Eh, oh well. These socks aren't without problems, however. My short-row heel was a little holey, so I gussied it up with a few quick chain-stitches to close it up. Then I continued on with the same number of stitches as the foot instep had. Bad choice. While my feet and ankles are narrow, the area around them- the whole circumfrence of my ankle/instep/heel portion of my foot is not. What does that mean? Jaywalkers that don't go on quite well. Okay, it's a two-handed struggle. Now that I'm farther in, it's increasingly apparent that I may have to frog all the way back and add in stitches. I am reticent to do this for two reasons. One, the socks fit great once they are on. Two, who wants to frog back when they are so close to being done? Ugh. Choices.

Spinning Roving Swap FAQ

1)How long have you been spinning?
I've been spinning since only this summer. I don't do it as often as I'd like to- knitting tends to take up most of my crafting time.

2) Are you a beginner, novice or experienced spinner?
I am a beginner spinner! My handspun is slow-going, uneven and never perfectly spun. But practice makes perfect, or so I'm told. We'll see.

3) Do you spin on a drop spindle or wheel, or both?
I currently covet a wheel, but my finances have left me with an Ashford top-whorl. However, it's quite nice and I'm happy with it, for the time being.

4) What types and weights of drop spindles (or what type of spinning wheel(s) ) do you currently own?
Again, Ashford top-whorl spindle. It's pretty substantial, so I'm guessing it's a heavier weight.

5) What type of fibers have you spun with before?
Hee. Here's the thing. It's the $12/ball stuff from the LYS. There isn't really a well-posted sign for what it is. I think it's a merino blend. It's really soft. I love, love, love it. I'm still working on the ball I bought, so it's the only thing I've ever used. And it's still undyed! I may buy another ball this week and dye it just so there's something else to see when I spin.

6) What fibers do you prefer to spin with?
Wool, I guess. I've never used anything else. But I hear silk is alternately "hard" or "easy" depending on the spinner. It sounds really neat to try. I'd love to try different breeds of sheep, especially the Blue Faced Leceister (sp?) that everyone goes on and on about.

7) What fibers do you dislike?
I don't really dislike any fibers so far. Anything scratchy, I guess. Or unprocessed- I don't have any way of cleaning unprocessed wool.

8) Do you prefer natural colored fibers, or handpainted/dyed fiber?
I love handpainted or handdyed fiber! It's so pretty and unique. I love color!

9) Would you prefer all one type of roving or smaller amounts of different types to sample?
I think I'd prefer all one type. That way I can make a project out of it. A bunch of little things might get lost or frustrate me- just when I figured it out, it's all gone!

10) What are you favorite colors?
Blue first! Anything blue. Then the "cool color" spectrum- greens, purples, etc. Red, pink and white from the warm color spectrum.

11) What colors do you dislike?
Neon, halloween orange. Especially when placed next to that one neon yellow-green color. The season is coming up, and it's killing me seeing all that orange and green.

12) What would you like to do with your handspun yarn, or what do you plan to do with it?

I'd love to be able to spin for some type of accessory- socks, mittens, scarves. Maybe something I could wear for the graveyard shifts coming up this year at work? To remind me at four AM that I can spin something really, really cool and really, really warm just when I need it. And then brag about it to anyone nearby.

13) What spinning projects are you currently working on?
Again, just learning the ropes here. I'm attempting to see how thin and how even I can make a yarn. Maybe somewhere around a fingering weight. I'd love to be able to spin laceweight.

14) Do you have a wishlist?
I'm sure it's too long for this blog! I'd love a spindle that offers a different capability than my current one- a lighter one, a different hook, etc. And more fiber!

15) What are your other favorite hobbies?
Just spinning and knitting. The two cost enough already. I tried beading, but it didn't work out. Do you need some beads? I don't, and they are just sitting there.

16) Do you have any allergies (pet, smoke, food, fiber,etc...)?
I detest cigarette smoke, but it's not an allergy thing. No specific (or known!) allergies here. Hooray for easy shopping!

17) What is your preferred shipping method (USPS, UPS, FedEx)?
Any way it gets to me is fine. My mailbox is big enough for a parcel box, and the UPS man and FedEx man have found their way to my house just fine.