Tuesday, November 25, 2008

ARRRRGGGHHHHH

My brand new computer had a dead network adapter, so that means no internet at home. After spending many hours with my ISP provider and the Tech Support for my computer, I will have to ship the computer back for fixing. I cannot believe this........ I am currently sitting in the library at a public computer, when I should be home starting to cook for Thanksgiving. I just didn't want any faithful blog readers to worry about me if I was not posting for an extended period of time.

Have a wonderful holiday with good food, good conversation, and good company. I plan to as well and will post again when I get the monster back online!

Friday, November 21, 2008

BSJ

I finished the BSJ ( Baby Surprise Jacket) by EZ ( Elizabeth Zimmerman) except for sewing on buttons. Of course, when I was in NYC, I bought 4 buttons, and then stupid me, I put 5 buttonholes in the sweater. So the hunt is on for the identical button, or 5 new ones. I also finished the baby beanie ( link is a few posts back).

Instead of making booties, I think I will make thumbless mittens on an I-cord string, which can be threaded through the sleeves. I have the perfect gauge swatch in the sweater, but I have till January to finish the whole project. Here is the Mom-to-be and the Grandma-to-be!
I attended the baby shower on Saturday for Erin and I have never seen so many cute outfits for boys. I hope that this gift doesn't get buried in the stash and forgotton, only to be found after he outgrows it!
This is the cutest centerpiece idea. It looked like a wedding cake, but was made of 3 hat boxes, Pampers around the outside, secured by ribbon. There was the cutest monkey on top and knitted (made in China, of course) finger puppets tucked in all around.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Spinning WIP's

I think it is time to show some of the spindle spinning that I have been doing. What has been taking a lot of my spare time are these two fibers that I bought at the Sheep and Wool festival at Rhinebeck last month.

Here is the Briar Rose fiber which is BFL in lovely shades of green. The purple which is visible in the roving just blends to dull the brightness in some areas and the final result which I am planning to do a regular 3 ply should be nicely variegated in brightness, but not necessarily in different colors. I have been trying to spin a little thicker so the 3-ply is about worsted or heavier weight to use for hats, cowls, or even a vest since I have so much of it (17 oz total).



This is the pretty rose/copper fiber from Creatively Dyed in wool/seacell. It is so soft, but the frustration is that the seacell prevents me from spit-joining when the single breaks during spinning. I think that the wool portion is superwash, which doesn't felt either. The colors are so pretty individually that I decided to Navajo ply the singles instead of regular plying three singles together. It kept the colors more distinct in the final yarn.




After skeining, washing and winding into a ball on my ball winder, I began knitting a neckwarmer that I found on Peaceful Knitter's website. I am using size 8 needles, but the yarn is heavier than regular worsted weight, so I am going to frog it to get closer to her gauge. I will use size 7 needles and reduce the cast on by 2 pattern repeats to see how that does. What I knit, before frogging, is next to the skin soft, so it will be a nice use for this yarn.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The new Twist Collective is Up

Yes, I know that I just posted 30 minutes ago, but I just discovered that the new Twist Collective is up online. Just as before, it is fabulous. I wish I didn't have so many UFO's right now so I could start on Kingscot, by Norah Gaughan.

2 almost finished projects in one day!

Actually, I did finish completely the Monkey Socks, including washing and blocking on my sock blockers. They make the FO so neat and tidy, don't you think?


Here are some stitch close ups of the socks:




I picked up and finished the knitting of the Baby Surprise Jacket I started for Candy's first grandchild, a boy! I still have to stitch up the shoulder seams and weave in the loose yarn ends, but the knitting is done. YAY!! It is utterly amazing that this blob of finished knitting:



folds up to become this adorable sweater!!


I am going to the baby shower for Erin on Saturday, but I will save the finished sweater for January, when the baby is due. I also began a hat to match:


This is called Baby Beanie by ulli schober and it is a free download on Ravelry. I am altering the pattern by using size 3 needles with the same yarn as the sweater and adding the stripes to match. I also found booties called BSJ Inspired Booties by Megan Grewal aka the_witty_knitter, also a free pattern on Ravelry. All together, this should be a very nice gift for the baby boy..



I did order the new Harmony needle tips for my lace scarf and I am really glad I did. Not only will I now be able to easily use a life line each pattern repeat, the tips are so much pointier than the bamboo needles and will make the lace knitting so much easier.

One last thing, I found this cute little project bag: perfect for socks, the lace scarf, or any smaller project for only 99 cents at Michaels. They are clearing out the line of bags and I couldn't resist the bargain!

Monday, November 10, 2008

By George, I think she's got it!

I have doubled the length on my lace scarf and except for a few tinks back (tink is knit spelled backwards) I am starting to move forward. No frogging since the the last post and even though I need to have the pattern on my lap at all times and the continual counting, I think there is hope for a finished project. From the picture you can see that the steam blocked portion shows the pattern, the new knitting does not. I have read that there is a certain trust one needs to have when looking a lumpy, bumpy blob of lace knitting to know that the finished result will be worthwhile. I had a movie marathon at home this weekend, but I needed to put the lace aside while watching the subtitled movies. It is on the agenda for today again.

I did turn the heel on the second Monkey sock and should finish it this week. I really love this pattern as I have said before.. Thank you, Cookie A and Knitty.com for making this pattern available. I will not hesitate to try her other patterns because of how well this one was written.

Gardening season is over. There are a few hardy begonias on my front porch which are holding on, but the rest of the garden is shot. To provide a little color and greenery to this blog I give you my blooming african violet:


I don't have a lot of history with african violets. I bought a bunch a year and a half ago to make a centerpiece on the table when I had some friends over and then gave most of them away as gifts to my guests. I ended up with 3 for myself and have managed to keep them alive and healthy in my garden window over my sink. The blooms are different on each plant and this one is a ruffled edge deep purple. It is really hard to capture the color, but in the darker picture it is a bit closer.


When my 4 year old orchid blooms again I will celebrate the color with you.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Back to normal

The political messages are over and we can get back to the real business of the day......knitting and spinning! It is good to know if the economy totally tanks and if I can no longer afford to leave the house, or heat the house I can make my own warmth from my wool stash and once I run out of yarn, I can spin up from my stash and make some more. That is a warm thought for this chilly day.......
I finished my last skein of homespun from my Louet Northern Lights. It is washed skeined and now I have 4 skeins which I estimate to be at least 600 yards. I plan to begin a clapotis by Ruth Gilbert once I have some room in my current project bag. This was such a nice yarn to spin and I would definitely recommend it to beginner spindlers. Very little drafting necessary and the random color spotches blend very nicely when plying.
I began the lace scarf from Misti alpaca, and it has been a bit frustrating to get going. There are only 51 stitches in the scarf as designed and 3 border stitches at the beginning and the end. The problem is that there is one extra stitch in addition to the 11 stitch repeat of the pattern and this extra stitch is gonna kill me. What this means is that I cannot use stitch markers to keep my place in the row because everything moves this one extra stitch every other row. I have started and frogged at least 6 times so far until I "got" it. So now I count at the end of each row to make sure I have 51 stitches and I count each 11 stitch repeat with out markers! Ughhh... this is gonna take a long time and I may use a "life-line" for the first time in case I get off in my count and have to rip back. The yarn is so fine that each time I frogged it, I tossed the yarn previously knitted because it got too fuzzy. I am trying to be very diligent to count as I go along. I forgot to mention that I started this on addis, but then ran out and got some bamboo straight needles which aren't nearly as slippery. I may end up ordering knitpicks harmony tips in this size because using a lifeline with those is much easier because of the little tightening hole.
This second photo is after steam blocking what I had so far and the pattern is starting to show up. A nice surprise came in the mail today: my blog prize of 2 oz of fiber from Spinknitandlife and it is so soft and pretty. I look forward to spinning this and maybe doing a two color hat with some natural colored BFL fiber I have in my stash. Thanks, Phyllis!! I love it!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I am a winner- again!

What a great way to cap off a great knitting/spinning week! I just received an e-mail from Phyllis at SpinKnitandlife that I won her blog contest and will be receiving some luscious fiber she calls a ditty batt to spin up and I cannot wait for it to arrive so I can give it a spin. Other than the blog award nomination from Needles of Iron , and some of her fabulous iris she sent me late in summer, this is the only other thing I have won.

On Thursday, I joined my knitting buddy for lunch at the new Corner Bakery restaurant in Highlands Ranch. It was a gorgeous Indian Summer day and we sat out on the patio catching up. By the way, they have some of the most delicious Rugalach I have had in the Denver area. I was very impressed and happy. I make it myself sometimes, but it is so labor intensive that I don't make it too often. Now I have a great place to satisfy my craving for this delicacy. The link takes you to a recipe (not mine) but but looks good as well.
Anyway, after lunch, we went to Tattered Cover to knit and enjoy sharing our WIP's. I brought most of my purchases from Rhinebeck to show her and I enjoyed seeing her progress on her Nantucket Jacket. Stacy has such a calm voice and mellow personality, that I really enjoy spending time with her to keep me sane in an insane world.

On Saturday, I was had the opportunity to meet Becky if Iron Needles fame in person for the first time. She had driven to Denver to have lunch with a college friend and we met after that at the Lamb Shoppe in Denver. That was a great experience to meet in person and I think we hit it off famously. What is interesting is that I felt immediately comfortable with her as if I had known her for years, and we were sharing things that are too difficult to get into with the blog. I am sure we will meet again next time we have a chance. Too bad we didn't know each other while the girls were at CSU, since she lives in Ft Collins.

I have been working at cleaning out and organizing all my WIP's that are scattered about the house. I finished spinning the last singles from my louet Northern Lights fiber, and have decided to make a Clapotis with it. There will be 4 balls of 3-ply fiber when I finish plying the last group of singles. I started and finished the first sock of my new Monkey Socks using the Regia Galaxy that I took to the east coast, but I never got around it it while traveling. On the second sock, I just started the pattern after the cuff. Look at my new sock blockers, size medium from Fiber Trends. I had been thinking about these for a while, but since I was hanging out for a few hours at a new LYS, I splurged and bought them there.

I wound the Misti Alpaca lace weight into a ball to begin a scarf using the pattern "Simple Vine" by Ruth Hirsiger. I picked up this pattern at Rhinebeck from Windy Valley Muskox. The pattern calls for Qiviut fiber, but I couldn't afford that. I cast on using size 6 needles, but I didn't like the way that looked, so I will begin again using 4's. .................to be continued.