Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas goodies galore!

And some new techniques you'll just have to wait until tomorrow for!

Hope everyone had a great Christkwanzhannukahyule! Did I cover everything? Whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope you had a good one full of fiber and yarn and knitting books and all kinds of goodness!

I got me some new knitting books:
(No, I'm not preggers - we're waiting till this summer to try, but that doesn't mean I can't start knitting the Bump sweater!)

And some MORE new knitting books:
(Let me tell you, EZ's "Knitting Without Tears" has me buying yarn to knit a seamless sweater without a pattern! Ok, so I'm going to knit one for my daughter first because it's just smaller, even though there are just as many chances to screw it up!)

And I got me some gift certificates (I'm already trying to figure out how to spend only $30 at Crown Mountain Farms!):

And some more STR!!!! I LOVE this colorway! Chapman Springs - sooooo purdy!

We live in a very small house, a rowhome (with a psycho neighbor, but that's a completely different post) with no room. And we went nuts for our daughter (well, not as bad as some, but we definitely went over-budget a bit). Just a bit:

Yes, we have a midgie tree. There was a bigger one and this one, and the hubby let the toddler choose, so we ended up with a tree that's even too small for my small living room! Sheesh. Oh, and our presents aren't even under the tree. They're on the chair because there was no more room (and we figured we should keep the presents out of Hurricane's hands so she wouldn't open everything - which she did try to do!)

This is everything after - our presents to her, my in-laws (who go insane every year, no matter how much we tell them to take it easy because we have NO FREAKIN' ROOM - they drive me nuts) and my parents' presents (who also went a bit nuts this year, although not as badly, because they're in Florida and don't see my daughter that often now - my mother is guilt shopping!) Oddly enough, it looks like less stuff because all those boxes are so big! And I hope the children's toy manufacturers' fancy houses sink into the sea for all the shit they use to secure the toys in their boxes. I swear, I have a sore spot on my thumb from weilding scissors all damned day trying to get everything out of the boxes!!! There should be a law!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Spinnin' n' knittin'

First of all, I want to share this, which I found via Sheilah's blog. It's totally addictive and fun, and it's for a great cause!

I tried to post a picture link from the site, but for some reason it's not showing up!

Ok, on to the knitting and spinning (yes, I actually DO spin! I dye, too, but I have no pics of that just yet!)

Here is Soleil for my mom, blocking on my mattress. I use a spray bottle, so that's why it looks all weird and mottled. It's just some spots are wetter than others.


And here she is all done and ready to be wrapped and shipped to Florida!

Here's Kepler! All done except the blocking (and obviously the sleeves. What? You think I knit a TANK TOP out of wool/cashmere/silk yarn? Hee hee! I'm crazy, but I'm not that crazy!)


Let me tell you, I love me some quick knits. So when I saw Colleen was knitting Calorimetry, and I saw how quickly she was motoring along on it, I decided I wanted to whip one out, too. So I cast on that evening, knit knit knit, and by bedtime I had this:


I had just finished the 15 short rows and was starting the decreases. Not bad for a couple of hours of work. I was knitting it out of silk/angora blend yarn recycled and hand-dyed from Yarn Rescue (shameless plug: remember, I have my yarns there, too!)

So here it is, all finished (and blurry, I HATE my camera!) the next morning. Um, it's just a TAD too big!

How big was it? Well, big enough that it covered the entire top of my head, and I had it TIED at the nape of my neck, with a good 2-inch overlap on each side AFTER tying it. Hmm...frog frog frog, and now I'm knitting it on size 5s (instead of 7s, which is still a size smaller than the pattern recommends!) Hopefully this will work out better!

And here's some spinning I've FINALLY gotten around to! Here's some brown corriedale roving that I added merino locks hand-dyed by Ashley to, then ran through the carder.


Finished batt (sorry it's blurry - my camera is giving me fits not focusing well at all!):

Finished yarn, plied with shiny metallic gold DMC thread (it's a carry-along thread for cross-stitching, I just happened to have it on hand):

I haven't plied with thread yet, after the last attempt ended badly, but I figured out to stuff a piece of paper in the spool to slow it down on the lazy kate, and it worked well! Here's another plied yarn:


It's super-duper soft Merino hand-painted with black, purple, and green and plied with black thread. I have some more fiber from this left over, which will be listed in my Etsy shop either tonight or tomorrow.

And here's Glee, the last yarn I've gotten to this week, a nice, simple white domestic blend spun thick & thin with "butterfly blue" angelina. It's a pretty yarn, I think, nothing too crazy.


These are all going into my Etsy shop, along with some of the fiber I've dyed this past week - no photos, sorry!

Hope everyone is getting all they need to done before Christmas! I can't believe it's only a week away (especially since it's going to be 60 here today and 65 tomorrow!)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hee hee!

Your Elf Name Is...

Grumpy Sweet Cheeks

Monday, December 11, 2006

Put them down and step away from the scissors

Ok, really, I should not be allowed to make any major knitting decisions on 5 hours of sleep and first thing in the morning (I'm not a coffee drinker, so that wouldn't have helped at all!) This is what comes of it:


What's that, you ask? Why, it's my mother's Christmas Soleil, due to go in the mail to Florida by Friday, unraveled at the one shoulder. Why? Well, because I did the crocheted edging, and it came out sooo tight I don't think my 2-year-old daughter could have fit her arm through it. So I took what I thought was a close look, snipped what I thought was the end of the crocheted edge - and it turned out to be a random stitch! So I had to throw a lifeline into the front and back straps, rip them back, and reknit them. I seriously think I'm going to skip the whole crocheted edging, since I don't crochet (I mean, it was the most fiddly, frustrating, tight thing I've done with yarn in, well, EVER - Col, it was tighter than even my usual knitting!) and it came out so tight!

On to other things; there is this.


A tisket, a tasket, is it a little basket? It holds a ball of yarn...


No, it's a swatch for a boob holder! I decided to use short-row shaping in Kepler to give me some more, um, ease for the girls. So I decided to do the smart thing and surf the net looking for a million different mentions of short-row shaping within a pattern, and then I actually swatched! Look out, the sky may fall! I found invaluable help at Purlwise, Knitty, and Savannahchik (which mostly gave me the balls to try this on my own - me, blind follower of patterns since I have NO concept of how something should look when it's done...oh, and also made me want to knit a Somewhat Cowl, too!). But the best advice was from Juno, who not only posted a great entry back in May 2005 about it, but also had the decency to email me back (and quickly!) about my silly questions regarding the shaping. The best thing she said? That "short row shaping exists outside the structure of the sweater." In other words, you just knit to where you need it, knit the short rows, and then pick up in your pattern where you left off before the shaping. Easy peasy! Thanks SO much, Juno!

Wanna see some pics? Of course you do! I did something that made me feel like a teenager in a silly book (believe me, this was something I NEVER had to do growing up!) and stuffed the short-rowed area with socks to bring it out more for the pics...

Here you can sort of see the slope up the front. I added 12 short rows for a D-cup.


And here it is from the side! Mount Kepler!


And I have sleeves, too!


Now, the only issue is that what I read said to start the short rows 2-3 inches before the armhole shaping. So I did, but I didn't do the bust shaping in the Kepler pattern, which calls for an increase of 6 stitches over 17 rows (and since I'm knitting in the round and the front and back is the same, I'm actually increasing 12 stitches over the 17 rows, since I have to increase 2 stitches on the front and 2 on the back at round 1, then again 8 rounds later, and again 8 rounds after that). I don't care if I should have done the increases and then the short rows, I'm NOT frogging back (it took almost an entire 110-yard ball of yarn for just the short rows - not frogging, no way, no how!). Should I just do the increases by increasing 4 stitches on one round, knit a round plain, increase 4 stitches on the third round, knit a round plain, and then increase 4 stitches the fifth round? I worry that will be too sharp an increase and will make the top over my short rows (like, my breastbone area) look too baggy. Or should I just knit the increases like it says in the pattern, over the 17 rounds, since that will give me the 2-3 inches to the armhole shaping? Am I overthinking this? I know what's happening here...I got cocky about going off pattern all on my own (don't ask me about the internal debate raging about making Kepler a V-neck!) and the knitting goddess is slapping me by making me think I royally f-d up! So am I cool to just do my gradual, 17-round increases and then do the armhole shaping? Please say I am!

Friday, December 08, 2006

New Knitty

Ok, seriously, I was going to blog with FOs and almost-FOs and new ideas and the like, but I just checked out the new Knitty, and I'm so enamored of SO many of the patterns that I want to dive into my stash and forget my current obessions. Oh, believe me, Kepler is moving right along (in the round!) and I'm going to knit myself a small swatch and try some short-row bust shaping for this baby. And Clapotis is, well, ever growing. I'm at the 5th repeat of the straight section, but I'm dying to get Kepler done so maybe I can wear it for a Christmas party I'm going to next weekend. So I WILL have pics! But on to the new Knitty...

I am in my heart an instant gratification kinda gal. I hate waiting in lines, hate driving long distances to see someone or something I like (why oh why haven't we perfected teleportation yet?!?), I'm just too damned impatient! That's probably why I have a ton of lace yarn and NO lace FOs to show for it - I just have the feeling it will take FOREVER. So I adore this new Knitty for all it's quick, painless, adorable patterns! I am seriously having a hard time deciding what to knit first. Although I think it will be these socks, since I have three, count 'em, THREE skeins of Socks that Rock yarn (bday gifts!) that are none-too-subtly calling my name from the pile of their kin (remind me to post a pic of the pile of sock yarn I have. It's a sickness.) In fact, I think I feel a contest coming on when the new year (and the last of my Xmas knitting - and Kepler and Clapotis are done) rolls around! Especially since I have 2 more colorways on my Christmas list, I think I'll have a new year contest to see who can guess which colorway I knit Monkey out of! Yah, I'm diggin' that idea - maybe scare some of you lurkers (please say there are lurkers out there, please!) out of the woodwork!

Ok, so I also love this (I no longer have long hair, but I can see how this would work for my shorter hair, too!) And this. I have about 450 yards of hand-dyed laceweight mohair that I MAY attempt this in - if not, some Noro. And this for the copious amounts of handspun I have, both my own and from others. And these as a nice intro to latvian mittens. And these because they're just TOO FRICKIN' cute! And these, but as bracelets and not napkin rings, because they are literally knit as if the designer was reading my mind as to what I consider to be uber-perfect jewelry!

And lest you think all I do is knit for me (yes, they would ALL BE FOR ME!) I would love to knit this for Hurricane, but I don't know that I'd have the yarn in my hands in time to construct it for Xmas. She would LOVE it, but her birthday is in March, so that would work, too! And, actually, I still need to knit a few of these and maybe this for her for Xmas - see, I knew I was getting cocky thinking I just had one more Xmas gift to finish up (I'm on the last 2 repeats, so I'm almost done)!


Hopefully I can do a lot of these things from the stash that ate Philadelphia, since the transmission on the hubby's car just went (anyone have $2000, or even better, a new car they can send me?) We're seriously considering becoming a one-car family, both to save on our ridiculous car insurance rates and the whole his car is crap and mine's not much better cloud hanging over our heads. We may trade in both our cars and get this or this (used, of course!). Ah, the joys of being a SAHM and BROKE!

Edited to add: Ok, and I really LURVE Eiffel (the lace! the eyelets! the ribbon!), but man, you can't have an ounce of fat on you! And is it just me, or does that lace pattern and the silhouette of the bottom of the sweater just BEG for bell sleeves? I lurve me some bell sleeves!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Now THAT'S service!

I just want to share an online yarn shopping experience I just had! What? Online yarn shopping? You?!?! Well, yeah, I guess. See, I did a good thing by, ulp, finally getting up the nerve to frog Clapotis, since I figure I will NEVER find more yarn like that. So I went stash diving, and found 4 skeins of Manos in the same colorway. So I figured, YAY, stash knitting is great, especially right before Christmas! I knew I would need at least one more skein, so I searched high and low and found a shop that sells the colorway (it's #25, and the skeins I have are old, with old tags, and I was worried I wouldn't be able to find it anywhere - I only found it one or two places). So I Googled, and found it cheapest at Flying Fingers. I ordered 2 skeins yesterday afternoon, and was told they'd shipped yesterday, too. At only $3.99 for the shipping, I figured they were maybe shipping parcel post and I would have it by the beginning of next week. No biggie. Imagine my surprise when I opened my door early this afternoon and saw a box from them sitting on my porch! Wow! That's some EXCELLENT service! I'm already incorporating it into Clapotis (it's more pink than green, unlike my other skeins, so I'm going to work it in every few rows). I'm SO thrilled, and I highly recommend shopping with Flying Fingers! (Oh, yeah, and I'm just about to start the straight section, so hopefully I will have it done this weekend - or maybe early next week!)
Spin Sisters
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