Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Knitting Karma

Only a mere two blogposts ago, I tempted the knitting gods by saying how much I had learned from the Yarn Harlot about being aware of your progress and not in denial about needing to frog a less than perfect project before finishing it... WELL.................as you have probably guessed, the knitting gods bit me in the butt. Here is the comparison between my first foliage hat on the right, and my second on the left, which was off to such a good start!

My error was to put one too many pattern repeats into the crown section of the hat which added about 4 inches to the diameter and 2 inches to the height. Major OOOOOPS. Otherwise, it would be perfect.

I claim duress and distraction since I knit the rest of the second hat while in the surgical waiting room and tending to hubby after some needed fixing over the past weekend.. Did I try it on after finishing the knitting....YES. Did I frog it then....NO. Did I wash it in hot water, shock it in cold, and, oh my, even try to shrink it in a hot dryer....YEA. But other than a lovely fulling, it is still huge on my head. Did I trash it...NO. My next step is to get out the crochet hook and turn said Foliage Hat into a Foliage Beret. How about that.....making lemonade out of lemons.

I will never tempt the knitting gods again. I will be humble. I will listen to my own words and mind. Until next time, anyway.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I love this image of my 2nd Foliage Hat with yarn and needles!

Another beautiful Iris has opened up. The photo really captures the soft lavender shade.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Finished one and Restarted Another

What ended up being knit with the Bright Hibiscus homespun discussed in an earlier post, turned out to be a foliage hat. I should have enough yarn for 3 of these hats, using the bulky weight directions.

I am "training" for the Tour de Fleece which starts on July 4 to coincide with the Tour de France bike race. I have spun up two bobbins of the fiber I will be spinning for the sweater. I am going for medium worsted weight yarn and I am striving for consistancy.

I frogged the Berry Season Socks from the book 2-at-time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes because the fabric was just too dense, and it almost felt woven. I began them again, this time using the top as designed in the pattern with Size 2 needles. So much better and more stretchy. The way the yarn shines in the stockinette section of the cuff makes me wonder if I should reconsider again and make a plain sock to show off the fiber. Hmmmmm.

I recall a blogpost by the Yarn Harlot where she knew all along that the socks were coming out too big and she knitted away in denial till the end...when they were indeed too big. It is one of the best lessons she has taught me over the years: Frogging in the early stages of a project is a whole lot less painful than once it is completed.

Today's nature shot:

How nice of him to stay put and pose for me!

Friday, June 19, 2009

For something different

For anyone who is a fan of animation, and knitting.....this is for you! If you like this, make sure you see the movie Coraline, which is probably still playing at some theaters. Thanks to FuzzyMitten for this video!

Monday, June 15, 2009

What a weekend!

I really love having weekends off because I can take advantage of all the events that only happen on weekends.

On Saturday, I walked around the block with $4.00 in my pocket and took in several garage sales. I would have tried to hold one myself, but I worked on Friday, which is the big day in our neighborhood. Can you tell I was on a strict budget....after all, I was going to the Estes Park Wool Market on Sunday, but more about that later.

For $1.00 I purchased a used pitchfork. Weird, I know, but I have a compost setup and have never been able to turn it, and now I can.

I have been on the lookout for a higher table with a solid top where I could clamp my swift (skein winder) and a couple of doors up there was this sweet magazine rack/table which would fill my needs perfectly.....cheap and functional and only $3.00!!! Last year I almost bought a solid wood sofa table for $90, so I am thrilled with this purchase. I had been using the insides of a drawer on a dresser in that room and this is so much better.

On Sunday, Stacy and I went up to Estes Park for the Wool Market, which by many national standards is a small show....only one vendor barn with lots of cute animals to pet and coo at. Can you keep a secret....Sunday is a great day to go to the show. The crowds were light and we didn't feel like everything was sold out. Also, traffic through Boulder was much lighter as well. Don't tell anyone, or else Sunday will get just as insane as Saturday is up there.....Shhhhhh Of course, next year we are planning on going up for workshops on Thursday and Friday and we can leave before the crowds get back on Saturday. The best part was being able to get into all the booths, talk to the vendors, especially Maggie Casey at the Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins booth. What a sweetheart she is, just as I imagined from her book.

For the tour de Fleece next month, I purchased from Cloud City Fibers 2 pounds of Ashland Bay merino roving in the Color English Garden. Yes, it is commercial, but in my price range and very nice quality..consistant throughout the batch.

I also couldn't resist the Fall Kid Dyed Roving from KaiMohair in the color Caribbean. I am amazed how soft and shiny it is and my goal with it will be to spin for a shawl. The 4.2 oz should be enough if I spin fine enough. Ok all together now.....group "Ahhhhhhhh OoOoooh!

Obligatory cute animal photos from the show:

Friday, June 12, 2009

Gift Iris #2 and other distractions

Finally the bloom opened up on the second iris plant from Becky, It is a rich white with a hint of periwinkle in the beard. There is one more to go that has a bloom stalk in development. Stay tuned....

Here is my one and only poppy bloom this year. Maybe it is tired, since in past years, there have been up to a dozen blooms. My plan is to give it lots of miracle grow and we will see what happens next year!

Spinning updates:

This is the Suri Alpaca from several postings back. The single on the bobbin felt like twine and still felt greasy, so after consulting with my spinning group, I washed the singles again, hung them to dry and now I will ply them into a two ply...and wash again to set the twist. The singles are so much softer and more of what I expected, so plying is on tonight's agenda.

This is the softest merino from Juliespins in Brilliant Hibiscus which I spun thicker and plyed into two ply. I haven't checked the wraps per inch yet, but it will fall somewhere between worsted and bulky. Hats are planned...maybe the Yarn Harlot's Unoriginal hat, or a Ysolda beret like Gretel or Rose Red. Any suggestions???

Monday, June 8, 2009

New Challenges Ahead

Did you see the new button to the right for the Tour de Fleece?? I am joining up for the first time this year and my challenge is to spin enough yarn for a sweater or to make significant progress towards one. Of course, I am talking about spinning it on my wheel, and lucky for me I will be going up to the Estes Park Sheep and Wool Festival this Sunday to scope out and purchase something squooshy. The way this works is that you set yourself a big challenge to spin every day of the Tour de France bike race which this year runs from July 4 to July 26. There is a Ravelry group that issues prizes and it is a forum to post progress reports and photos as you go. Sounds like a lot of fun and I am up for the challenge.. Now I have a shopping goal: 2 pounds of fiber should be sufficient to make enough yarn to do this. Any ideas for colors or fiber type??? Suggestions always welcome.

I haz Iris!

This is the first blooming iris.....gift from Becky of Iron Needles and it looks like there will be several more on the stem. It is a very yummy shade of butterscotch with burgundy accents. I thought it might be the same as she showed in her blog this morning, but hers look like a much brighter gold. In addition, there are bloom stalks on 3 other iris that she sent me. Stay tuned.

I have cast on for my variation of the Berry Season Socks from 2-at-a-time Socks in my first 3 ply wheel spun sock yarn from dragonfibers. It is actually knitting up more bulky than I thought it would, so next time I will do 2 ply. Changes made so far is a plain k1p1 cuff, and I will make them regular length, instead of shorty as in the original pattern. I love the sheen that this yarn has and they are very soft, if bulky. Using size 1.5 needles.

This is a much better representation of the true colors and it shows off the texture of the pattern.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

As the Who said, "I'm Free!!"

Am I dating myself with the Who reference???    I passed my last exam today at work, so now I am free to knit, spin and read my own choice of books in my free time!    I am now fully licensed and registered at my new job, so my free time is my own, without guilt!    If anyone tells you they are too old to learn new tricks, like the proverbial old dog, tell them about me, reinventing myself at the age of nearly 59.   Anything is possible if you work hard enough and take a chance.   Of course, I was definitely aided by my new boss who also took a chance on me.    I am forever grateful for her confidence in me, and the opportunity she has given me..

Another walk in the trail on Sunday and I visited my friend, the Koi, and it looks like mating season is over for this year.   I talked to a wonderful older lady at the pond, who told me that this Koi has been in the pond for 19 years and she knows the woman who released it there.   It grew too large for her yard pond and she has been watching it over the years, grow to this enormous size.   I understand that there was another one, but it has not been seen in a couple of years.   The heron was back as well, but no photos of interest there this time.

A few more flower shots:

These are tropical Hibiscus that I am growing in pots on the back porch.   Now that there is no more smoking at my home, I can enjoy this back patio again, so I thought I would dress it up with plants.   I have always loved Hibiscus flowers, and I have discovered that so does the dog!    The first weekend, she ate about 8 blooms. I worried that they would make her sick, so I googled them and learned that in the South Sea Islands, the blooms are eaten in salads.    So the dog would not get sick, but I was not happy, nevertheless.    I then sprayed the two plants with Liquid Fence which does a good job keeping the bunnies from eating my flowers  and it seems to have discouraged the dog as well!   Good, now I don't have to kill her..........
My clematis have broken out in a multitude of blooms.   Too bad they only last a few weeks

Another weather report......Rain! Rain! Go Away!    Once the sun shines again, as it must, things will be very lush and green.    I should have some new Iris blooming from the ones sent to me by IronNeedles last fall.    I have buds on at least two varieties, and can hardly wait to see the blooms!  This photo is before the rains began again.   Once the sun comes out again, I know it will pop open with a fury!

Tonight I worked (played) on spinning the Suri Alpaca fiber that I was given at one of the Alpaca shows earlier this spring.  To remind you, here is my washing episode.   After watching many videos on hand-carding, I tried again and I think I have the hang of it now.   Here are a few photos of the progress:
I carded up a bunch of fiber, but my rolags are not nice and pretty like I see them in the videos and in books, so I just gathered the fiber off the carders and put the bunches in a plastic bag.   I then spun from the resulting clouds of fiber, best as I could.

And here are the singles on my wheel.   

I will be two-plying this yarn and should have about 2-3 oz of finished yarn when I am done.

Before the rains began, I photographed my original Iris, which had been in my garden for many years.   Usually, by the time they are ready to bloom, we get the strong Spring storms which make the heavy bloom stalks just lay down in defeat.   This year, I enjoyed many blooms before the winds and rain began.   

Of course, now they are down, and it is too sad to photograph, so enjoy the before photo!