Tuesday, December 20, 2005

More from the sweatshop

I FINALLY got the Cigar gloves done!! Hooray! I used WoolEase on size US1 needles. That's right, the suggested size is US8, but not for me--size 1s gave me the tight fabric I was looking for on these gloves (6 stitches per inch).

Here's a picture:

The black and grey yarns are WoolEase worsted weight, and the sparkly stuff is something that I can't remember at the moment. I think it's from Moda Dea. These are for Greg's boss' wife, a very nice woman. She (and the boss) spend a lot of time in the garage smoking, and since she's so thin she just freezes the whole time. Thus, gloves that will still keep you warm while you smoke! I hope they'll work for her--she's not exactly easy to buy for.

Here's a close-up of the fingers; the ring and pinky fingers are full-finger gloves, while the other three digits are partial fingers:

Not exactly easy to see since I used black yarn, buy I think they look good. They took me MUCH longer than I thought they would. The mittens I made for Gillian's teacher's aid took me a day each, and these gloves took me about 8 days, I think.

So now I only have two stockings to finish before Christmas, plus a few little things I can't mention here until after Christmas.

Happy Holidays, and I hope you're further along with your holiday preparations than I am.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Christmas sweatshop

Well, not really a Christmas sweatshop since 1.) I'm the only one frantically knitting, and 2.) it's too cold to sweat. ;-)

I did finish gift for Gillian's teacher's aid and teacher. Since neither of them are aware of this blog, I'll post pictures:

This is a scarf for Gillian's teacher. I used Wool Ease Chunky (since I have NO idea about many of the recipients will treat their gifts, I decided to use washable yarns) and the pattern is "Midwest Moonlight" from Scarf Style by Pam Allen. The pen is there to show scale--it's a big scarf!

The mittens are for Gillian's teacher's aid. I used Kool Wool, also from Lion Brand, and the pattern is from The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns which I highly recommend!!

The rest of the knitted items are destined for people who might read this, so I won't be posting about them until after Christmas.

I'm currently working on a pair of Cigar gloves from Knitty, and I'm trying something new to me: working on both of them on the same time, using two sets of double-pointed needles. It certainly isn't going as quickly as the mittens did, but I'm using Wool Ease in worsted weight (again, not sure about how they'll be laundered) at 6 sts to the inch, so the fabric is going to be fairly thick and warm. I hope. And I have to keep reminding myself that not only will they be the same, since I'm finishing one step on BOTH gloves before going to the next step, but they'll also BOTH be done when I'm finished with the last step. Pictures when there's something to see! ;-)

I'm getting really excited about my family coming for Christmas, although there's an overwhelming amount of stuff to be done before then. I need to finish painting the bathroom they'll be using in addition to the regular mad cleaning session that takes places right before the parents come over.... Then there's the sewing/craft/computer/guest room that has to be shoveled out before we can set up the bed. And the knitting I'm planning to do between now and Christmas. Ack!! Here's one of the things I managed to finish a few weeks ago, and now I just need to do two MORE:

The one on the left is my original stocking (my parents call me "Kate" but I haven't gone by that for about 15 years now; I'm not changing the stocking though!) and Greg's is the one I made. I didn't have a pattern so I copied it as best I could. I'm thinking about trying to block it more flat, but I don't want to kill the acrylic. I managed to find almost exactly the same yarn with the exception of the green, which is darker. Not bad for 30+ years later, though! I just need to do one for Gillian and one for Ryan. In 10 days. Oh, my.

Friday, December 02, 2005

NOT Sweepstakes after all

After inquiring about why I didn't get the prize money for my Sweepstakes hooked rug, it turns out I DIDN'T GET SWEEPSTAKES, DESPITE THE RIBBON BEING PINNED TO MY RUG.

I got a really condescending email basically calling me a liar from the creative arts people at the Tulsa Fair. My response was that the damn ribbon was pinned to my rug, and to attach a picture showing it in their locked display case. Fine, so I didn't get sweepstakes (the rug that did definitely deserved it more than mine) but THEY PINNED THE RIBBON TO MY RUG. I just think that's really shitty.

Just in case you were wondering if it could have been a mistake on my part, not only do I have the ribbon in hand (as it was pinned to my rug), but here's a picture again of the rug with said purple sweepstakes ribbon:

The angel rug above it was the real sweepstakes winner. Deservedly so, as it's a beautiful rug. I couldn't figure out at the time why mine had gotten sweepstakes instead of hers. Yeah, turns out it DIDN'T. Sorry, a little bit bitter and hurt here. I was SO excited to have won, and for the woman at the fair office to basically call me a liar is just an additional slap in the face. Here's her email:

[name deleted] gave me your email to answer.

The Sweepstakes winner for Rug Hooking was Mynette [name deleted], I'm not sure who had given you the information that you had been given the Sweepstakes. But sorry for the misinformation.

[name deleted], Creative Arts Assistant

So now what the hell do I do with this ribbon??? I proudly wrote in my information on the back. I know Mynette and she's a wonderful, very nice person. Now I'm wondering if she'll say anything the next time I see her. I'm just totally embarrassed about the whole thing now, and I'm excruciatingly glad I didn't go to the rug hooking meeting last night.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I just realized that it's been 10 days since my last post--shame on me! :-)

We went up to my sister's house in Illinois (hi Karen!) and that entailed a TON of preparation. It was our first major trip with two kids and they both handled it better than I thought they would. I've got such good kids! We started up on Tuesday evening and made it about 4½ hours up the road to a hotel. None of us slept well since we were all too tired and in a strange place, but we made it up to my sister's by about 3:00 on Wednesday. We made reeeaaaallly bad time due to a number of factors, but we did get there. And, we got a really good up-close look at the St. Louis Arch as we drove by on that frontage road. No, we didn't mean to be there. ;-)

Thursday we went to one of Karen's knitting friend's house and had a great Thanksgiving meal! Karen and I made two apple pies (delicious!!) and yam balls (which were good--but her layered yams are much better) that morning so we were tired by the time evening came around. After we ate the kids played and the rest of us sat around and gabbed and knitted. Well, the men sat around and the women knitted. ;-)

Friday Greg (my wonderful husband) replaced the door that goes from Karen's family room to the garage with a 2-hour door, which also involved widening the opening. It'll now be possible to get furniture through that door which should greatly simplify things when she moves. Then Karen and Greg put insulation on the hot water pipes in the crawl space which made a HUGE difference in the length of time it takes to get hot water to her half-bath. We got back on the road at about 2:15 on Saturday afternoon, after Ryan had his nap and Greg and Karen finished up a few things. We made excellent time home and got to our house just after midnight. That included a one-hour stop at Cracker Barrel for dinner, which was delicious.

One of the projects I took along was a Christmas present for someone (and I'm not saying who or posting a pic until after Christmas) and I managed to finish it today. More details later.

Now I just have to finish about five six more knitting projects before Christmas. HA!! We'll see....
I'm almost done with Greg's Christmas stocking, which I'm trying to copy from a stocking my mom made for me when I was very young. It's not too bad--I managed to match the cream and red she used, although the green is a little darker. I'm going to redo the top band with his name on it because I relaxed a bit too much on the colorwork. I was worried about being too tight on it, which I what I usually do, but went a bit overboard. I've tried pulling on various things but it's such a jumble back there that I think it'll be easier to just redo it. Then I need to do Gillian's stocking and Ryan's stocking. I figure that they do have back-up stockings from last year, which were just pre-printed things we stitched up, so we can use those if I don't manage to get them done.

And tonight I picked up my Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl again and did four more rows! That's about 45 minutes at this point, so I'm not doing too badly. It's the first project I've done where there's something to do on the purl rows, too, so it's not as easy to catch mistakes as I'm used to. So now I'm up to row 87, woo hoo!

I haven't been feeling well (headache, sinuses bothering me, nauseau, etc) so I had a little (two hours but with tons of interruptions) nap today. Poor Greg had this when we got home, and I remember he crawled into bed and stayed there for a while on Sunday, poor guy. On the upside, it doesn't seem to last very long. I missed knitting night tonight, and I didn't go to my Sew and Sews meeting last night (quilting group), but hopefully I'll kick this thing and start feeling like I want to leave the house again other than to take Gillian to school and pick her up. Whine whine whine. At least it's a minor thing that should pass quickly. I have too much knitting and cleaning to do to be ill for long! :-)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

First pair of socks done

I've been bitten by the sock bug. I had a great time making these for Gillian, DD!

The heels are too short so they pull down in the back just a bit on her, but she doesn't seem to care. I had a hard time getting the first one off her (before I even started the second one....)

I actually started a sock for myself before these, and finished it while the first of Gillian's socks was in progress. I'm not thrilled with it and probably won't make one to match. The texture of the purl stitches on the inside bothers the bottoms of my feet, so I'm planning to do the bottoms in reverse stockinette on the next pair. I also need to drop down a needle size since apparently I loosened up after the ribbing. I usually drop down two needle sizes from the suggested size, and socks seem to be no exception! :-)

I'm looking forward to Gillian asking me if she can wear her new socks with her sandals. :-)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I managed to leave out some rather important information, like yarn weight and how much!!
I'm working on a new introductory page for the pattern that will include that kind of information, so I hope to have that added late this evening.

For those of you who already have the pattern, here's the pertinent info:
The yarn is lace weight; I got mine from http://www.handpaintedyarn.com, and it started out in the "flirtation" colorway. I overdyed it because when I joined the second hank in the middle of the border the color was MUCH darker. Keep in mind that these balls were part of a set of three that were packaged together so I assumed (silly me, you know what they say about assuming) that they'd be close enough that you wouldn't notice. NOT!!!

I used approximately 4.25 ounces of yarn, which should be around 1,030 yards. Since this yarn is a bit on the thick-and-thin side, and due to variations among knitters, I'd recommend purchasing 1,200 yards. The yarn I used is supposed to be 850 yards per skein. Notice I said supposed to be. Mine was not. No big, at the price I paid I don't feel like I got cheated, but it does make it slightly more difficult to plan. My bag of three hanks was almost 1.5 ounces shy, but it wasn't a big deal for what I wanted it for.

So I'll add this info to the pattern and repost it late tonight. Thanks, everyone, for your help!!

Much later.....
I've posted the revisions!!
We're now at version 1-2, so if you have anything earlier you'll want to trash it and download the new one. It's grown to 9 pages, so it's a big file--be patient! I've included written instructions as well as the charts.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Fir Cone Shawl pattern is up!

I've been extremely productive today (compared to the last few days, anyway!)--I'm finally starting to beat this head cold (I hope!!).

It's still a little rough, and NO ONE HAS TESTED IT YET, but I've posted the pattern for my Fir Cone shawl here and I've added it to the sidebar.

If you make it, please let me know--I'd love to see it!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Anemone pictures

It occurred to me that it might be nice to acutally POST more pictures of the Anemone for those who are interested, so here goes.

Now it's probably just the fact that I don't have my contacts in yet and I have a head cold, but the rest of the pictures are pretty bad. LOL!

Dyed Fir Cone

I dyed my Fir Cone shawl last night (in between rounds of trying to get my almost-2-year-old to sleep) and it's blocking now.

The carpet sucks obscures the pattern a little bit but you can get the general idea. I'll take some better ones tomorrow or Sunday. This took me about two hours to get right--I knew it looked off but until I got down with a tape measure, picked a center point, and measured about 20 different directions, I figured out where things needed to move. It's still not perfect but it's close enough for me until its next blocking (shudder!!).

I'd thought that it would block out into 3/4 of a square but it REALLY didn't want to--it wanted to be in a more winged shape.

Overall, I think I'd give this finished item a 6 out of 10 on an expectation rating; I thought I'd like the non-pointy end over my butt, but I think it's reeeaaaaly bad--I don't need another horizontal line there to emphasize my width. I'm also disappointed with the wool, especially after the gloriousness of the Alpaca Cloud I used for the Kiri. I'm pretty happy with the color though, which is why this project is scoring as high as it is. Before dying it was hovering in the 4 out of 10 range, so things are looking up. I added a little too much red to the bath (one of these days I'll remember to wait until ALL the dye has been absorbed before I start "correcting") but I think it's fine. Not as blue as I wanted, but totally livable and a big improvement over the differences between the skeins.

Sorry for being pissy and negative--head cold that the rest of the family has is finally hitting me, and I hate having a sore throat. Whine! Hopefully things will look up after more sleep (4 hours last night and about 4½ the night before do NOT make for a happy camper).

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Anemone Pattern is up up up!!

After multiple tries all day, for some reason the computer gods smiled and the same thing I've been doing finally worked!

The Anemone PDF is up on my site!!!
Here it is and I'll also put it on the sidebar on the right.

Woo hoo!!

I'd love feedback on it, so feel free to share!

If anybody has any ideas about how to fix the sidebar graphic header being off (which didn't bother me a first, but now it's driving me nuts), I'd love to have some help fixing it. Don't ask how I screwed it up. LOL!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Fir Cone knitting finished!

At long last (it's been one day less than a month!) the Fir Cone shawl is done as far as the knitting goes. It hasn't really been long at all, and I'm pretty proud of myself for getting it done relatively quickly. This is far from the best picture, but I'm going to dye it so I didn't bother pinning out the whole shawl.

I'm really not happy with how much darker the second ball of yarn is. It's totally obvious on the border.

You can really see it in the first picture. So, I'm going to over dye the whole shawl! I think I'm actually going to paint it rather than do a dye bath, so that I can control the dye a little bit more and not get the already-too-dark border any darker. We'll see how it goes. The whole shawl may end up a really dark blue.

So except for the color differences between the two balls of yarn, I'm quite happy with the way it turned out. I have to have decent pictures of it by Monday the 14th in order to enter the Shetland Lace Workshop contest on EZasPi, and I also want to take it to knitting guild and show it off (also the 14th). It's a good thing I have deadlines!

Sunday, November 06, 2005


I got a very nice email from Amy at Knitty.com that they aren't going to take my Anemone design for the Winter issue. Dang! Dang for me, that is--good for you, since I'm going to post it on my website instead.

So, now I can post a picture of it:

It's a neck gaiter with a flirty ruffle--lots of fun! Best of all, it's fairly quick to make, and very portable for while-in-transit projects. So why is it a neck gaiter and not a cowl, you ask? Well, that would be because it's tighter than a cowl--it very lightly hugs the neck, while a cowl drapes more around the neck. Now what's a wimple, you're wondering? Well, that's a larger cowl that can be pulled over the head like a hood, kind of. Yeah, that was probably more info than you wanted, but there it is anyway.

So now I just need a rejection from KnitPicks and my pathetic knitting life will be complete. Oh wait, no, I'll need to not win anything in the EZasPi Shetland Lace contest, too. Ha!! One good thing about being an established quilt pattern designer is that I'm used to rejection from publishers. I'll just have to keep designing. Gee, how awful. ;-) Throw me into that briar patch!

So, give me a day or so and I'll put up a link to the pattern, downloadable in PDF format. It'll take me a little while to remember how to do that, since it's been a while. :-)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Triangular Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl

I'm doing a happy dance--or at least I would be if I weren't so tired. I got the first chart redone (and tested!!) for the Frost Flowers and Leaves KAL from A Gathering of Lace (see button at right). I decided that I really didn't want a square shawl so I decided to make it triangular. I posted my thoughts to the list and other people are interested in doing that also, so I had to clean things up enough that others could follow my instructions.

So here's my test knitting, which is chart 1:

It's not blocked, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up overdying it. I think the variegation of the yarn obscures the stitch patterns, although it worked fine for the Fir Cone shawl (which isn't done quite yet--had a deadline on this one to do first!).

So now I have to get a bamboo size 4 circular needle since my size US4 9" straights aren't big enough to continue without packing the stitches onto the needle really tightly. Woo hoo, yarn shop here I come! ;-)

Monday, October 31, 2005

Finished the ribbon yarn project!

I finished my ribbon yarn Moebius thing! You can see an in-progress shot on my October 18th entry.

This was a quick knit, although it would've been a lot quicker if I'd been more disciplined about it. Two weeks from start to finish, although it's really about 10 hours of knitting. Probably less. Maybe like 6. Who knows--I wasn't keeping track!

Anyway, here are some pictures, and I don't want any snide comments about them. Yes, I'm talking to you. It's extremely difficult to take a decent picture of youself. Don't worry, everything's covered, they just look crappy. ;-)

Worn around the shoulders with the twist in the center front. For as open and lacy as this is, it got really warm!

And here it is twisted around the neck twice. Really really warm.

I repeat, I don't want any snide comments about the pictures. Yes, I know they're bad.

Here's the "hood" arrangement. Again, surprisingly warm.

I'm going to try to work on the pattern in a few days, so I'll post it on my website.

I used US 15 needles (BIG needles!) and the yarn was Sari from Kertzer. I think I used 3 balls, but I'll have all the details in the pattern once I transcribe my notes. ;-)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Fir Cone Edging (again!)

I got two repeats into the edging last night, and here's how it looks:

I'm quite pleased with it so far. I keep reminding myself that while it SEEMS like it's going slowly, I'm doing the equivalent of 20 rows at a time—so it should take the same amount of time as if I had continued on for 20 more rows. Whew! No wonder it seems to take forever! :-)

Now I just need to hustle and get this done so I can start on the triangular version of Frost Flowers and Leaves for the KAL.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday, and it's been a great day!

My wonderful husband made biscuits for breakfast (they were yummy!), and we went out to dinner as a family. Incredibly fabulous DH got me a monitor and put it up on Friday night, so I've been really enjoying that. My parents sent a fun card and some money that I'll probably use for yarn, my in-laws sent a fantabulous feather duster, and one of my best girlfriends sent a garlic roaster. Hmm, much of my life seems to revolve around my husband/kids, knitting/quilting (and crafting of all kinds), eating, and my house. Quite a variety of presents, but I love all of them! :-) My mom says there's a package that should arrive any day now, and I haunted the porch this afternoon waiting for the UPS guy in vain... Oh well, as my wonderful DH says, it's my birthday week and we can spread it out.

I was ruminating in the shower this morning about how being a mom really changes your perspective on things. My birthday has taken on a whole different dimension for me as I think about what my mom experiences on my birthday. What a life-changing events the births of my children have been, and it's incredible to be able to feel what my parents felt as I grew up (although some would debate that I have grown up).

Isn't life wonderful?

Edging for Fir Cone shawl

I'm working on picking an edging for my Fir Cone shawl, and it's a tough choice!!!
I made a swatch of a variation of a Normandy Lace edging, and I don't think I like it for this shawl. I'll definitely use it on something else, but I think it would detract from the neat pattern of the fir cone stitch.

What does a Normandy edging look like, you ask? Well here you go:

I changed it a little bit; I made it into a 10-stitch repeat instead of 12, and I eliminated the yo in the center of the open parts (it liked kind of like a weird eye to me).

Here's a truly bastardized version of how it might look (through the wonders of Photoshop, although it's EXTREMELY quick and dirty):

The proportions are a little off, but you can get the general idea.

Here's my second edging attempt, again a frankenstein-ish conglomeration:

I'm also worried that the Normandy lace is a bit too time-consuming, since I'm supposed to be starting the Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl on Nov 1 for the KAL. That's next week....

I'm definitely liking the second edging better. Now I just have to figure out how to miter the corners so it doesn't look weird on the shawl.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Life and times

Ryan is back to normal as far as his hives go. I had him back to the doctor this afternoon because he had so much mucus that Gillian asked "Mom, why does Ryan have those green things coming out of his nose?" I'll spare you the details, but it was gross. Since his cough was getting worse and he seemed miserable, back to the doctor we went. We're going to start some Zythromax and try to get the recurring ear infections cleared up, since the original antibiotic prescription got cut short. I'm not one of those people who beg the doctor for antibiotics all the time, since I understand the dangers of breeding "super bugs," but he's just not kicking this illness on his own. That's enough baby boy/health stuff!

I'm about 2/3 of the way done with my Fir Cone 3/4 shawl, amazingly! I've got the pattern memorized so it's going pretty quickly. I tend to fall asleep on the plain purl rows so I'm practicing "knitting back backwards" and I'm getting faster at it. I'm faster at purling back, but it's just so boring! I know it's an opportunity to count and make sure you're not off, but that just wasn't working for me on this pattern. It's just as easy to make adjustments on the knit side and I've only messed up once which was due to confusing myself about which row I was on.

Last weekend I went up to a friend's place by Grand Lake with some quilting friends and we had a GREAT time!! It was my first night away from Ryan and neither kid handled it particularly well, according to Greg (who is the most wonderful husband EVER). I got a fair bit of knitting done, and I'll post pictures when the project I started--and almost finished--is done. Woo hoo! It's something I've had in my head for a while, and it's nice to get it onto needles. I'm using a ribbon yarn that I got on a killer sale at Robert's Crafts in Idaho Falls, and I'm using US15 needles. After the 5s I usually use for lace, those are BIG honking needles!! I'm not really enjoying using needles that big, but it's giving me the look I'm going for. Here's a teaser:

The yarn isn't quite that shiny in real life, but I had to use a flash since it's dark outside. The color isn't quite right, as there's a touch more orange in the yarn, but you can get the idea. If it looks good I'll be posting the pattern here on my blog. We'll see.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Kiri photo session

My Kiri and I had a mini photo session earlier, and here are the results!

And here's a close-up of the stitch pattern and dye job:

I'm VERY pleased with it and I've been enjoying wearing it even though it's hasn't been too cold yet. Except in some over-air-conditioned buildings, that is, and usually only when I didn't have it with me.

What else has been going on in my life, you ask? Well, how 'bout this:

That's my boy, with a NASTY case of hives. He was on Amoxocylin (spelling??) for croup (which he picked up at the hourly day care place to which I RARELY take him) and an ear infection, and apparently he's allergic to the medicine. We were almost done with the bottle, and Tuesday morning when I got him up to take big sis to school, I had a nasty surprise when I took off his diaper--big, nasty, red rash areas around his waist and upper thighs. Talk about freaking out! An hour later, after rushing to the doctor, we started him on Benadryl to keep down the swelling and he's been recovering ever since. Man, was it nasty though! I have a picture of him in the tub which I'll edit and post. It's better now, thank goodness, and he's been back to his happy, very busy self since the same day the hives showed up, actually. Oh yeah, that orange on his forehead? Spaghetti sauce. That boy enjoys his food. :-)

While he doesn't look happy, he really has been his normal busy, happy self, with no itching. Amazing! But I'm still not eager to take him out in public unless I have to. He's so funny--he waves to everyone with what we call his "beauty queen wave." And believe me, people are starting when we walk his sister to her classroom at school. I keep wanting to yell "It's an allergic reaction! He's NOT contagious!"

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Fir Cone 3/4 shawl

Well, I've decided to design a fir cone shawl, and I've managed to get it figured out after multiple starts (and frogging). By 3/4 shawl, it's 3/4 of a square instead of the regular triangular shawl, and I've started it lower to accommodate the neck.

Here's a photo of some of my progress:

I blocked the center portion because I just HAD to see how it looked, and I'm very pleased with it. I'm using a yarn from www.handpaintedyarn.com 100% wool lace-weight, color "flirtation." I got three skeins of it from eBay.

After this one I'm going to convert the Frost Flowers and Leaves Shawl from A Gathering Of Lace to a triangular shawl, then I'm going to work out a Faroese shawl, possibly with Fir Cone again. I'll be posting the pattern changes to the FF&L KAL (see button on right).

Friday, October 07, 2005

Don't laugh too hard...

Let me just preface this by saying that I have a head cold (for which I took a night-time cold pill which is making me feel drunk--but NOT in a good way-- as I type this) and I'm not normally this dumb. Really.

I'm working on a shawl design for the Shetland Lace Workshop over at the EZasPi list, which 'm designing as a circular (same start as the Frost Flowers and Leaves, some in the First Book of Modern Lace by Kinzel and others, I assume).

So I'm working on my cast-on, then my two plain rows of knitting, then I start into my chart (which I worked on for TWO DAYS). O.K., ktbl, yo, k, yo. Good, got that. Now here's the DOH! part: I forgot to do the next row as a plain round.

So, I try to start in immediately on round 5, only it was round 4—I didn't have that pesky plain row in there. "Huh," I'm thinking to myself, "how the hell do you put two yos together and have something workable in this pattern?!?"

Now mind you, I didn't have this thought just once; I've been stumbling over that ALL DAY. So I get through with round 3. For the third time. And I'm sitting there starting at it thinking WTH?? This is about the time I'm sure others have been tempted to throw things across the room. So I'm [still] staring at it thinking: "I know that others have done this. What in the world am I missing?"

Then, DING! The light goes on! (So light going on doesn't make a sound, but work with me here!) THERE'S A PLAIN ROW BETWEEN EACH CHARTED ROW. Once again, "doh!" I think it's time for bed. Hopefully to sleep tonight for the first time in about a week. Why yes, I would like some Brie with my whine.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Kiri dyed and blocking

Here are some pictures of the dying process:

That's my Kiri soaking in water and a little bit of Synthropol.

Here's the dyed Kiri:

And here's the shawl blocking, with my 4-year-old daughter next to it. You can kind of see the color change in the lower left wing of the shawl--those aren't shadows. I was going for a more varied effect, but then I messed with it in the dye bath too much. I may re-dye it down the road.

And here's a close-up:

The yellow band is part of the dye effect I was going for, although since I poked at it too much in the dye pot it's not as pronounced as I was going for. I'm very happy with it, though!

Kiri off the needles!

Wow, does that feel good!! Kiri is off the needles and ready to be dyed!

I ended up with six yards left over. That's right, SIX YARDS. Talk about cutting it close! I thought I'd end up having to rip out my swatches for the yarn. Here's what six yards of leftover Alpaca Cloud looks like:

I stewed about running out of yarn all day, so I decided to stay up and finish the dang thing so that I wouldn't lose any more sleep over it. The kids are both sick, and now Greg's sick too, and between my head cold and Ryan not sleeping at night, I'm a little on the tired side. Can't afford to lose much more sleep. But hey, knitting is keeping me sane at the moment!

And here's the unblocked shawl:

I ended up with 16 repeats (that's the first chart once, the second chart 16 times, then the last chart once). Not sure what I'll block it out to--we'll see after I get it dyed. I think I got the bind-off loose enough, since it's already going into the scallops and I haven't done any blocking yet.

I'm pretty happy with myself! Now the weather just needs to cool down so I can wear it. Oh yeah, and I need to dye it and block it.

Friday, September 30, 2005

It's off....

Well, I submitted my Anemone to Knitty this evening. No, you can't see a picture. :-)

When I get my rejection notice from them I'll post a picture, but not until I'm sure they don't want to use it. Nothing like a good bit of pessimism, right? [No groaning now, I just had to use that expression!]

So today's challenge was getting photographs of the Anemone. On me. Sure, I could take photos of the Anemone. And they looked good. Put me in the Anemone and the whole project goes radically downhill. I had to resist the urge to make some improvements in PhotoShop, but other than removing some of the glaring redness from my cheeks and a slight smear of lipstick, I left the photos alone.

You know, my mental image of myself just doesn't match up with real life. Sigh. If Knitty actually accepts the project, you'll get to see me (oh yeah, and the Anemone) in glaring color. ;-)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Tulsa State Fair SWEEPSTAKES!!

Wow!! I got a sweepstakes ribbon for my (Gillian's!) rug!! I just can't believe it. I don't think there were a lot of rugs entered in the primitive division, though....

I also got a first place for my quilt I entered, a third place for my moebius neck ring, and nothing for my crochet--which is just fine, as I saw many beautiful things! I think I did pretty well and I'm just blown away that I got a sweepstakes! The first place ribbon is for the primitive division, and I was in such shock that I didn't check to see if the sweepstakes ribbon is for the entire rug hooking category or just the primitive cut. I can't believe that it'd be over the rug to the upper right....

Gillian wanted to take her rug home tonight, the first night of the fair. I told her that in 11 more days we'll go pick it up, and she said "I hope I can wait that long, Mommy!" So cute!

And here's a picture of my Moebius Neck Ring, in case you were wondering what it looks like. It's the blue thing in the front there, not displayed terribly well, but that's O.K. And of course that's Gillian there in the front.

Here's a picture from the Ferris wheel (the fair had THREE going!) that we promised Gillian we'd ride:

I think Ryan enjoyed it, too, although he was so tired he just kind of laid in my arms and looked around occasionally. I asked him if he liked it and he nodded.

And who can leave the Tulsa State Fair without checking out the butter sculpture? That's right, butter sculpture. Here it is:

It's not that easy to see, but it's a boy on the back of a horse, facing backwards. It's based on the winning rodeo poster contest, apparently. Here's the people who produced it: http://www.steps-plus.com/bumann/butter-d.htm. Last year there was a TON of Star Wars stuff (way cool!!) and the butter sculpture was Darth Vader and Yoda.

We had a good time, even though when I asked Greg if he'd had a good time, he looked at me and said "as long as you had a good time, I guess I did, too." What can you say to that?? What an awesome guy!! Of course, he's been spending his free time between work and nightfall with his new toy:

That's a Troy Built 10 horsepower chipper/shredder! He's really gone to town with it, too. We had a pile of branches (from our two VERY large pecan trees) that was probably 7' tall and about 10' wide, and he's got it down to about 4' high and 5' wide. We've got some great mulch!!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Booties DONE!

This was a really fast knit--even for me! I started them last night and finished this afternoon.

Here is my very first-ever pair of booties (drumroll, please):

They're from the book Last-Minute Gifts (see previous post), although I did make some alterations. I COULD NOT get gauge, so I finally decided I'd just use my gauge. I ended up with 16 sts/4 inches, which came out to a 2/3 difference.

I also added a crocheted chain for a drawstring. On the first bootie, I finished it, made the chain, and poked it through the knitting. On the second one, I made the crochet chain and simply laid it between the stitches as I went. MUCH easier. The I did a row of single crochet around the tops of the booties to tie in the drawstring color.

They sure do look different than the angora ones, but I like them. Gillian (DD) wants to keep them and put them on her stuffed animals, so the booties are going to have to "hide" until I get them wrapped. I'm thinking about making a hat to go with the booties. We'll see. I still have to finish two Anemones before the 1st of October....

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Baby Booties and Yarn Types

Well, I've started another project, which makes 5 projects on the needles:

1.) Non-Henley henley, which needs some serious frogging and is stalled
2.) Kiri shawl, which is progressing nicely, if slowly...I'm on repeat 14 and I'm working toward 18....
3.) Anemone gaiter (which I won't post a picture of yet--maybe in a few months after I've submitted it...)
4.) Christmas gift for one of my best girlfriends Kathy
5.) Baby booties from Last-Minute Gifts

The other two projects on my list to the right don't count because they're not on the needles at the moment. Right??

I swore I wouldn't have a bunch of projects going at once. HA!
The baby booties are for my daughter's teacher's aid at school (pre-K program) who is due October 14, I think. Better get my butt in gear, which is why I jumped in and started these.

Now if only I could get GAUGE with the yarn I want to use! It's just not happening. The yarn is sinfully soft--kind of feels like polar fleece, but softer--and I really want to use it. I'm thinking that I'll figure out the difference between my gauge swatch and the necessary gauge, and calculate the difference for casting on, etc. I'll probably fail miserably, and they'll probably take me two weeks to finish (they're "supposed" to be under an hour each), then I'll end up buckling under and buying the suggested yarn for $24 a ball.... Wish me luck!

And for my entertainment/time-wasting segment, here's my result for the "what kind of yarn are you?" quiz:

You are Merino Wool.
You are Merino Wool.
You are very easygoing and sweet. People like to
keep you close because you are so softhearted.
You love to be comfortable and warm from your
head to your toes.

What kind of yarn are you?
brought to you by QuizillaE

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Finished rug AT LAST!!


It's only taken me more than a year, at least 6 months of which went by without a single bit of work. Whenever I'd set down my hook, one of the kids would carry it off. I'd reach down for it after snipping a worm and it'd be gone! I've got one of those hooks with a sharp point, and I could just see one of them stabbing it into one of the leather couches.

And if they weren't stealing my hook, they had my scissors. Also with a lethally sharp point.

Or there were wool "worms" all over the floor from one of them haring off with my bag of strips. Sigh. So, it got put aside.

A few weeks ago I decided to enter it in the fair. That meant that it had to be finished by this Saturday, the turn-in date for items.

I managed to finish the hooking within an hour or so yesterday, and today I bound the edge. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy hooking. Rug hooking, that is. I know what you were thinking.

Now the hooking is pretty good and the binding is really not good, but my little girl (Princess Gillian, if you haven't figured it out) has already placed it by her bed. Clever little girl! She even learned to read and write her name this week and asked me what the word in front of her name was. Smarty pants!! She's just started pre-kindergarten.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Um, well, sometimes NOT so boyish...

For some reason my youngest is obsessed with shoes. Namely his big sister's shoes. Which are usually pink, and often have sparkly parts.

Now, I don't usually let him run around in just a diaper because he's apt to take it off and run around naked. And pee. But I'd just gotten him out of the tub and figured that he'd go splash in the water a little more, so why get another outfit wet? Instead he wanted me to put these shoes on him, then brought me his visor (both kids have one--his is blue, hers is pink), then posed!! He's NEVER posed before. I was so thrilled to get this picture! He usually smiles right after the flash has gone off.

I picked up all the toys and various kid detritus after this picture was taken, and it's a whole new sewing/computer/guest room, so ignore all the stuff in the background. And on the floor. Sigh. He's just SO pleased with himself in this picture. You should see him walking in those shoes, which are about three sizes too big--he really high-steps it!

This is going to be major blackmail material when he's a teenager. [Insert maniacal mean mommy laugh here.]

Friday, September 09, 2005

Crocheted Exchange Doily done!!

I finished a doily earlier this week for an exchange on the TulsaOklahomaCrocheters list. It's about 8½" from point to point, in ecru size 10 crochet thread.

It was a fun, fast project. The pattern is from a magazine I picked up a while back, which I've already managed to misplace again. I think I had help from little hands. My sewing/craftcomputerr room looks like a toy store exploded. It's way scary.

It seems like most of the projects I have going now (quilts, a Kiri shawl, a neck gaiter for my physical therapist, etc. etc.) are all taking a long time, so it was really nice to be able to finish something within a few days. Woo hoo! Now if only I could get myself motivated to clean house.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Knitting Hilarity

I discovered this hysterical post on Stitchy McYarnpants' blog--you must read it. I laughed so hard I cried.

Read the Tuesday, August 30 entry about the 80s and try to maintain your composure.

I finished a crocheted doily for an exchange with the TulsaOklahomaCrocheters but it's blocking right now. I'll get a picture up tomorrow, after the doily has undergone a beautification ritual.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Dying Stuff

I've had some questions about how I dyed my Branching Out scarf, so here goes. Keep in mind that these comments apply to dying wools, not cottons.

I used ProChem dyes from a rug-hooking dye kit here: http://www.rugartsupply-suzi.com/proddetail.php?prod=s0012_PrimaryFusionDyeKit. [The picture above is from their web site.] You can also find some kits for dying on eBay, although they don't have the swatchettes or formula book. Dharma Trading Company (http://www.dharmatrading.com/) also has dyes and kits and a lot of other wonderful things.

The swatchettes are actually a bunch of dyed pieces of wool that show each formula in the book in eight grades or intensities of color. The kit comes with the basic CMYK colors (blue, red, yellow, and black more or less--it's actually cyan, magenta, and yellow) that you can use to dye millions of variations of colors. Yes, I also do rug hooking. :-) And there are 50+ swatches (not the four shown in the picture above). Here's a picture of my swatch set:

So here's what I did: I picked a swatch that had the color I was going for, used the book to figure out how much of each color dye to add, mixed it up in a plastic cup, soaked my scarf in some water with a bit of wetting agent (JetDry--the stuff you can get in the dishwashing detergent section of your local grocery-- or Synthropol, a chemical specifically for wetting fibers), then brought some water to just under boiling.

Then I put my swatch and scarf into the water and added the dye. The thing about dyes is that they don't absorb at the same rate; black will usually absorb first, so if you pull your item out of the dye bath too soon you get a gray color. Once you submerge it you can look through the water and see the color you want it to be, but that dye is still suspended in the water. So after an hour all the dyes are usually absorbed and you get the color you wanted. The more you stir and fiddle while the items are dying, the more uniform the color will be. Adding vinegar sets the color and you don't have to do much rinsing at all.

You can overdye colors you don't like, too! I figured that if I make stuff using light colors and hate the result, I can overdye them to the colors they want to be. I also would rather have splotchy areas of color instead of horizontal lines of color the way a lot of hand-dyed yarns knit up. My tastes will probably change, but that's what I like right now. :-)

The other nice thing about these dyes is that you can (most of the time) pull color out if you've totally messed up. It depends on the dye used, and sometimes it ends up grayed and even uglier, but there are ways to do it.

Color theory is one of those things that you really need to learn if you're going to get into dying. For example, say you've ended up with an acid green that you hate. What are you going to do? You can add a touch of red (green's complement) and make it more brown/gray, you can add more blue to make it more green (yellow and blue make green), or you can add more yellow and make it an acidy yellow. There are LOTS more options, but I'm not going to go into it in this post.

The ProChem dyes also work on nylon from what I've heard, although I can't verify that personally.

There's a LOT more to dying (and color theory), but a lot of it already exists out there on the net. If you really want to know more let me know.

A note about mixing dye powders: I mixed up all of my dye powder into a squeeze bottle (one for each of the four colors) using a specific ratio of dye powder to water, then I measure out the liquid for the formulas. It's not using them exactly as written in the book since most books use powder, but then I don't have to worry about 1/256th of a teaspoon measurement, either. The dyes have a MUCH longer mixed shelf-life--like a year, from what I've heard--than cotton dyes which are only good for about a day once they're mixed. The powders for dying need to be handled with care, like using a mask and not using food containers for dye powders or liquids.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Branching Out scarf again

I dyed the Branching Out scarf and swatch, and I LOVE it! The color is exactly what I wanted.
I haven't blocked it yet, as that's become a little bit of a problem with two kids who can't seem to leave it alone.

You can see in a revious post that the yarn started out as an almost-pure white. Now it's a dark green, but slightly more yellow than a hunter green. Perfect!

I can't wait to see how it looks when it's blocked properly! I blocked the first 8" or so on the right side, but it's certainly not perfect. I couldn't let it sit for more than about two hours because little fingers kept pulling out the pins.

On Tuesday I'm going to try to get some of those stainless steel welding rods for blocking wires and give it another shot.