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: 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: [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 ( 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.

Rip-it, rip-it....

Looking at my Kiri on Friday night, I realized that I had a funky error on my Kiri a few rows back. No problem, I'll just drop some stitches out, I thought....

Two hours later, I was back to being able to purl back. Now it actually only took me a half-hour once the house was quiet and the kids were in bed. So that's about five times of knitting it back up, dropping it out again. Sigh.

I've done another repeat since then and everything is going much better. I really do think it was faster to drop the stitches back rather than rip out to that point. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

I really should know better than to work on this shawl at 1:00 in the morning, but I just can't bring myself to not work on it at least a little bit every day. I'd like to have it done by next week for the K.N.I.T. meeting (which isn't going to happen, I know, but at least it's a goal...). I've got the pattern down enough that I think I might be able to take it to the meeting to work on it, though. We'll see.

In daily family life news, we're working on building a wooden play set for the kiddos. Well, DH is working on it and I'm either distracting the kids or handing him stuff. I did design it, though. DD is about to pop with anticipation.

I still can't believe what's been happening with people and Hurricane Katrina, both the good and the bad. I'm so horrified by the entire situation that I'm not going to say anything else. I think Joan has said it about the best (

And on that happy note, I'll go back outside and help the great backyard project.