Sunday, February 24, 2008

Feels like spring!

I have spring fever really bad! The sun is out both weekend days (I can't remember the last time that happened) and it actually warmed up to 40 degrees in the shade today. Nothing like some bright sunshine and relative warmth to recharge my tired batteries :)

I had my second of 3 spinning classes yesterday. Started on a wheel. Can I even describe how happy that made me?! Only other fiber-heads will understand :)
I got to try my hand on 4 different wheels, and borrowed the Ashford Joy to bring home. I got home with a big bag of wool, and promptly spent the next 6 hours spinning it all up! Wheeeeeeee.

While I don't necessarily like the Ashford's look, I will probably purchase that model, as it folds up into a tiny thing that I can put away in our tiny house when not in use! I admit though, I really liked the way the Louet 2-treadle felt & looked(was it a "Lendrum"? Not sure...) I also tried a 1-treadle Louet which gave me immediate back pains, and a Majacraft Rose, which, though pretty, really took some effort to use. Only the Louet was seemingly effortless. Louet will be my "one day I'll get that" dream wheel, but the Ashford is practical and fun, truly portable.

Ah, I feel fully fiber-contented today :) No pics lately, I'm lazy with the camera. Besides, the snow is all yellow and brown at this point, still 6 inches deep everywhere. Who wants to see that?!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

February Funk

What a sad and sorry post that last one was, so lacking in luster or energy of any kind! Wow. I'll try to be a bit more upbeat; after all, my least favorite month is nearly over ;D

I'm back, it's the weekend, the sun's shining for the first time in 4 days, and things are looking better! I get my second of three spinning classes today, woo hoo!

First thing I want to do is show the Hello Kitty doll hat on the doll. I took the pics last night at my knitting group.

I'm very pleased with this first completed KAL project for the HK Mystery 3 KAL. Oslofia is really cool to make this available to us. If you are interested, she will probably do another one in the future, so you should join that group on Ravelry and watch the posts. (Current KAL/CAL is still in progress at this time)
I just love how this turned out. Can't get over what a great feeling it gives me to make doll clothes (go figure!)

TAKE A LOOK AT THIS LINK! It is amazing, and the room of my dreams (!)

Well, I'm off. Hope to get bunches of stuff done today, my house has fallen into sad disrepair lately due to February Funk. Taaaa.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Random Surfing

Been lax about my blogging, but mostly because my sleep schedule is so off, and I've been sick every week with something new >:( It seems like all I've been doing is sleep & work, sleep & work.

But I have squeezed in some Ravelry time. I found some interesting patterns: Look at the cute Feathers McGraw! She has a fun flower pattern available on the same page; it would be good to make up for putting on a handbag....

I just found this site with some knit lace patterns from the turn of the century....Nice to get edging patterns etc for free :)

An interesting list of web-tutes about different cast-ons.

Anyway, tired now. Am going to bed :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Pain to Remember

Wow. I dislocated my big toe tonight.

While lying in bed.

Was. That. EVER. PAINFUL! I have arthritis in my toe, it has been stiff for years, and it usually feels good to sort of "forcefully" flex it gently at the end of the day. I have been doing this maneuver for so long, I don't even think about it anymore, it's just a habit. I bend it forward slightly by pressing it against the mattress. And it stretches a little and feels good. Usually.

Tonight was a very rude awakening. I have never done that before. It was awful. Even mo' bad when I reached down with my hands and popped it back into position. Holy crud.

I haven't stopped panting yet. As Bullwinkle used to say, "Don't know my own strength!"

(He also used to say, "Nothin' up my sleeve......presto!" and do a magic trick. Wish I could magically undo that trauma, cuz it's throbbing now.)

Wondering about this post title? At the time this occurred, I was reading a Betty Neels romance novel, my favorite brain-dead escape just before falling asleep. Thought this title fitting :B

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I had my first of 3 spinning classes yesterday. It takes about an hour to drive through the country to where I was taught, but it was worth it. The sun was shining brilliantly for once. And, the owner of the shop is a doll! I love her, she's so nice and down to earth. She has a little fiber empire going in the wilds of Illinois--such a cool place.

Things I learned:

  • how to card wool

  • that I like curved carders better than flat ones

  • that if I use a top-whorl spindle, I don't need a yarn leader--I can just hook the spindle into the rolag and start spinning!

  • that the big giant lumpies I occasionally get when spinning are because I am drafting too close to my other hand--that was a crucial finding, and well worth the price of admission :)

  • how to read an S-twist vs a Z-twist (it's just the cross-bar of the letter that labels the wrap direction!)

  • I feel much more confident in my spindle-spinning now, and not quite such a newbie! My only problem is that the other ladies in the class spent more time talking than learning, and, because my job all week is talk-intensive, I had a hard time joining in. I'm just concentrating on my fiber. Hope they didn't think I'm rude :) That sometimes happens at knit night, too!

    Next week we get to move on to a spinning wheel, and I think I am going to drive there whether there is a winter storm or not :) (brave words for the midwest)

    While there, I purchased two skeins of Socks that Rock midweight in the most awesome colors. Wow, 'fire on the mountain' is one of the prettiest yarns I've seen. I'll post a pic later :) What a nice yarny Saturday that was.

    Saturday, February 16, 2008

    Hello Kitty Hat

    Oh, I did it and is it ever cute cute cute! I made Oslofia's HK hat in needles and yarn to fit an American Girl Doll! Whee is it ever cute on that doll. I have forgotten how much fun it is to make doll clothes--I used to have a blast sewing clothes for my DD's Kirsten American Girl 18" doll. It was such fun to knit this.

    and now (drumroll, please).................

    First is a grainy photo w/o flash.

    That's a little better.

    Hello Kitty doll's hat posing on a skein of Socks That Rock.

    I must find DD's American Girl doll for a proper photo shoot.

    (If I can't find it by next week, my LYS owner has one I can use at Friday Night knitting, so I'll have a pic of the hat on the doll within a week.)

    Anyway this was made for the Hello Kitty Winter KAL, which I joined through Ravelry. I love HK!!!!!!!

    My mods: I used fine yarn and needles in size 1 to knit this (instructions called for DK or worsted). And I made different ears by CO 18 sts, and doing garter stitch, with 2 dec every other row until there were only two st, then K2 tog and thread yarn through. I also embroidered the features with other yarns, instead of using felt. (I did adjust the hat slightly, by cutting out 4-5 rows overall.)

    Now on to the next HK project!

    Thursday, February 14, 2008

    No Sleep 4 U

    Geez. I even tried a sample of prescription sleeping pill tonight. No go. I'm up after 5 hours sleep.

    Mostly b/c DH just came to bed and this awakened me, and my mind started racing with some cool knitting brainstorms! I HAD to get up and write them down in my little book of ideas, for inspiration later on!!!!

    I am starting the Hello Kitty KAL first project, finally. At 6 weeks later than everyone else. But I joined it, I need to do it. And I decided to make the first project in a scaled down yarn and needle size to fit an American Girl doll. So, I am starting that project right now. I love being creative, it's so fulfilling!

    Will post pics later, once I get a start on it. Now to print out Oslofia's first pattern :)


    Wednesday, February 13, 2008

    More midnight knitting...

    Yes. It IS 3:29 AM. Sigh. After casting about for 2 days, unable to settle on the next project, I finally cast on (in the wee hours of this morning) for the Einstein Coat, from the Sally Melville book 'The Knit Stitch.' I had purchased the yarn for this project last spring, and tucked it away. It is thick, 100% wool, very nice to work with. I am already loving it! Nice brainless knitting. Just the ticket ;-D

    The color is not true in either photo, it's just a nice apple green in daylight!

    I just need to get myself some circular Addi Turbos in size 10, maybe 24" and 36"? The fabric this knits into is very thick and strong. It will make a wonderful coat. However, knitting this on straight needles is becoming very heavy already! I don't need to make my tendonitis flare up, so ergonomics are important!

    Mods: I am knitting this in the size medium, because it looks better if it is not too oversized, and I am adding 1" to the peplum length due to being long-waisted. I see that the bodice stretches like a fiend, so I may also take away an inch from that. We'll see when I get there. Right now I'm on the peplum.

    And, Ballerina has come to a screeching halt!

    Grrr. I simply cannot get past the awful instructions for this. I am going to have to sit down and write out row-by-row where the increases are, and color changes, etc. I got about 8 rows knit up and am completely stuck. This, as it stands now, is not going to be a knit-while-you-do-something-else kind of thing. And it's only garter stitch, for crying out loud!

    These count for knitting from the stash, right?!

    Off to bed now....'night all!

    Monday, February 11, 2008


    Here is some stream of consciousness writing for you:

    It is 4 AM, and I am bustling around, doing dishes, cooking for the day, hard-boiling eggs and keeping the laundry rolling. "What is she doing?" you ask. She is doing what she always does. Goes to bed at 7:15 PM because she cannot keep her eyes open, and awakens at 2:30 AM when DS arrives home (or whenever DH begins to snore.) Sigh. I guess it's a mid-forties thing. Or maybe a self-preservation thing--if I'm going to be awakened each night, it might as well be after 5-6 hours of sleep!

    It doesn't help that I've just had 8 ounces of diet Pepsi with Lime, and am working on an antipasti platter of cheese cubes, crackers, olives, pickles and hard-cooked egg. No way I am sleeping after that, heh!

    Thought I'd post about blocking. We have replaced all but 2 rooms of the house with laminate flooring; the remaining two rooms have awful, 12-year-old carpeting (that is due to be replaced this year after I pay off my Lasik surgery!) What I usually do is lay an old sheet down on the carpeting, and pin out my wooly items into the carpet and padding, spray them down with a fine mist of water, and leave them to sit overnight. In this weather, with the furnace running all the time, items dry within 2-3 hours; in the summer it may take 24-48 hours. I usually don't drench the items, but I do spray them liberally :)

    It's funny, learning to knit with wool in the past 2 years has taught me a lot about blocking and finishing items. Prior to wool, I had acrylic, which I find does not require blocking. However, I have also made crochet cotton doilies for many years, and I don't remember ever blocking them! Ever! I usually iron them if I want them to be less rumply after laundering; even that is awful because I just throw the items into the washing machine. Cave-man style linen care :) (Well, some items I have hand washed and laid flat to dry.)

    But now, I feel I have some finesse to apply to my finished items. Really, the amount of work that goes into making crocheted lace deserves better than I have given in the past! I want them to last for generations, and be appreciated for their beauty, even by muggles.

    That reminds me--two years ago, I went to a craft show in early November, doing some Christmas shopping. There is a local church that has an annual craft fair and sale with about 40 booths! It's just down the road from my house. Anyway, one of the booths had vintage crochet and embroidered linens for DIRT CHEAP!!! The lady selling the things said that they were her mother's, and that she'd found trunkfuls of them after her mom passed. She and her sister split up what they wanted, and were selling the rest.

    Oh my, I don't have to tell you that I spent my whole wad on those linens! I will have to pull them out and photo-document them for posting here! You will be so amazed. If I remember right, I spent about $22-28 dollars and got TONS of doilies, tablecloths, towels, etc. There are some incredible items in that stash! And such beautiful work.

    Have you seen this 4th of July potholder? (1/18/09 ETA: Fixed link is here.)Isn't it the bomb?! I would like to make one of those myself....Really into the patriotic thing right now. I started a group on Ravelry about patriotic knits--some of the items that are posted there are so gorgeous! I love the red, white, and blue! So graphic, so meaningful, so crisp and summery!

    About yesterday's photo shoot:

    Uh. It was colder than stink! Look at this close-up of my poor hand. My thumb is getting pre-frostbite! And this is after running outside in my Blue Beauty sweater, posing for about 3 minutes, running back inside until I thawed out, and then running back outside for another 2-3 minutes shooting photos! Ah, the things we do for the love of knitting....I musta been crazy :D (current wind chill is around -18 degrees F! Not sure what it was yesterday....)

    See ya!

    Sunday, February 10, 2008

    Blue Beauty

    Here it is, in all it's glory :)

    I also got down to business and made my charity afghan square for Krochet Krystal (see previous post). So now I just have to mail it! Yay, two FOs today :)

    I will be watching the pro-bowl in about 20 minutes, so will be knitting up a storm then, too. Yay for weekends! (who needs to do housework?)

    Here is a photo of Hemlock Ring Blanket being blocked:

    and folded up ready to gift to my padre:

    We had a b-day dinner yesterday at the Olive Garden, and I gave it to him then :) I think he liked it.

    And photos of 2 of the 3 washcloths I made in the stripes yarn during the Superbowl.(see previous post)

    I feel productive this weekend :) And, to brag a bit more, my pants are getting looser, WAHOOOOOOOO! Life is good =D

    Blue Beauty Sweater, FINISHED!!!

    I finally bound off the finished Blue Beauty sweater this morning in the wee hours! Now to get DH to help me photograph it. I wanted a pic outside in the snow, but overnight the temperature has dropped and the winds picked up, so not real sure that's gonna happen today :)

    Mostly because DH doesn't want to go outside today. I told him to take the photos from the window...we'll see!

    I am so gung-ho right now! My first finished knitted sweater, and I designed it as I went! Pardon me while I toot my own horn for a minute :D

    I had been laboring over the sleeves for a few weeks, mentally if not actually. Was pretty sure I wanted a fitted sleeve at the cuff, with about a 2 inch excess length to roll up. However, the first sleeve accidentally became a bell sleeve. I got so many comments on it though, I thought I'd just leave it and work the other sleeve like I had originally intended, and then decide when I could see both sleeve types on the sweater.

    That worked well, I was able to try it on at knitting night, and it was a consensus that the bell sleeve looked better with the overall design. So I frogged back the second sleeve to mid-forearm, and knitted it like the first. I LOVE THIS SWEATER. So cushy and thick, and the rib pattern I knit it in is forgiving so I can stretch it as much as I require :) There is no buttonhole--I will be using a pin or brooch to close it. Yay, I finished a sweater!

    Now next to concentrate on, while my knitting ADD is pulling me in all kinds of directions, I will try to concentrate on:

    1. my Hanne Falkenberg kit as my sweater project.
    2. I may begin the Great American Aran Afghan, so that, square by square, I will have it grow over time. Kinda like a bunch of washcloths :)
    3. I have to finish my Kittyville hat and mail it to my girlfriend. I started that in 2006, and all it needs is an ear. Geez.
    4. Baby Bobbi Bear. I will probably work on that today, it looks so cute :)
    5. I'm going to start my first pair of socks. Not sure which pattern I will start with, but obviously something easy. And I will be using Trekking XXL yarn that looks lovely but tiny in gauge!
    6. I owe Krochet Krystal at least one afghan block. I asked her to send me her cute flower granny pattern last summer, and in return we send her a finished square. I haven't even made mine yet (I had to go out and buy acrylic, because that is what she stipulated).
    7. I owe the Hello Kitty KAL group on Ravelry a hat. Yikes, I was supposed to make that last month. It's time to step it up.
    8. I want to start an entrelac project, and probably will try a Quant from . I had found a cool tutorial for step by step walk-through of entrelac.....

    I also found some cool sites with instructions for making stitch markers. Here's one, heres another with more detailed photos, and another with detailed instructions for using rattail or jump rings. So this project may be #9 on my list above :)

    Superbowl Sunday, I had taken a break from the sweater project, and got started making red-white-and blue washcloths! I got some fun cotton yarn from Sugar 'n Cream called American Stripes, and it knits up fun into washcloths. Only thing bad is, the red in it runs horribly. You can tell the process of dying was a sprayed-on dye in segments. It's not fun to see your red dye running into the white that is next to it. Don't know if that will actually wash out though--keep your fingers crossed.

    Pics later, people. It's early yet :)

    Sunday, February 3, 2008

    Superbowl Sunday!

    Hi everyone! I am gearing up for the Superbowl. What are all your own plans?

    Since I've been sick this week, there's not going to be much game-time munching going on. But lots of knitting for sure! I'm almost done with the last sleeve of my Blue Beauty Sweater. I still have 2 balls of this yarn left, cool!

    I made a calorimetry after joining a KAL for it on Ravelry. It is part of the Christian Knitters February KAL. I cast on yesterday, and finished it about 3 hours later!

    I made it out of acrylic yarn---collective gasp! Yes, I went and bought a skein of Hobby Lobby brand "I Love This Yarn" that just so happened to be on sale for 1.99 yesterday. I saw someone on Ravelry had made this pattern in this color called Pink Camo Ombre, and really liked it. (I usually am anti-acrylic, but I'm finding it's nice occasionally!)

    But the lack of lighting in my house at night is not really capturing the colors right. It's not drab, but neither is it neon pink....

    Anyway, that was a fun, quick project, and I made it smaller than the instructions based on everyone's notes that it knits up way too large!


    I CO 90 stitches, and made a total of 12 decrease repeats instead of 15. If I make it again, I will make it about 5 rows less wide--it ended up a bit wider than it looks in the pattern photo. But it's a good warm headwear item for walking the dogs :)


    I wanted to post this idea: I made this tart last weekend. It is made out of all the little sampler jars of jelly and jam that came with a christmas food platter. I've done this before, and it is a simple way to use those up. Looks really pretty:

    You get a double piecrust from the store, and line a tart shell with one of the crusts.

    Then you take the other crust and form little rolls to separate the tart into wedges. Make sure they are sealed down well to the first crust (you can use dabs of water to seal it.)

    Then you fill each wedge with one of the sampler bottles of jelly, and bake it at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or so. (You may want to try 350 degrees, and a different time--just keep an eye on it and when the crust is browned a bit, remove from oven.) You may have to poke the bottom crust with a fork during baking if it bubbles up--no problem.

    It's a yummy treat to get each different flavor every time you eat it :) And very good with a cup of tea.

    See ya!

    Saturday, February 2, 2008

    Help Ravelry is sucking me in....

    I'll be back, I promise :)