Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wandering Aimlessly Shawl

I joined a "Twitter Knit Along" about a week ago which was the brain child of @SpazzyYarn. She put up a blog post about it, took opinions on different patterns, etc and then began a series of polls where we involved could go and vote on our favorite pattern in each catagory and then finally out favorite pattern out of those top picks.

The pattern picked was from a lace shawl pattern on Ravelry called Travelling Woman. I had never done lace pattern before and since I figured I'd get it wrong and bumbling my way though it I named mine Wandering Aimlessly. It was a beautiful leafy lace pattern, that was actually really easy to do once you got the hang of it. The pattern called for the use of stitch markers which messed me up royally so I pulled the knitting out and began again without them; smooth sailing after that!

I also ended up with an odd number of stitches at the end of the rows, even though I counted and counted. So instead of doing whatever the last few extra stitches on each row called for (after the last pattern repeat) I just repeated as much of the pattern as I could before the yarn-over, k2 for the garter stitch border. Since each row increased 2 stitches every row the extra pattern I was doing got larger and little by little more leaves apeared so it worked out well!

I had 2 skeins of "Mini Mochi" sockyarn by Crystal palace which Tony had given me for Christmas. I decided to use those because it was the only appropriate weight yarn I had enough of, and I used a size 8 needle because it was the only circular needle I own. The 2 skeins of yarn gave me a total of 390 yards of yarn to work with.

I did the stockinette the pattern asked for, ending with 159 stitches before beginning chart A. I did 4 repeats of chart A and then began B. On beginning the 7th row of chart B I realized I would quickly run out of yarn, so I changed the pattern a little. I worked the "leaves" (yo, k(x),slk2p,k(x),yo) as directed by the pattern but between them I switched to yo (yarn over),k2tog until it was time to repeat the leaf pattern. This gave me a serious of "holes" and allowed the leaves to form "points" as they finished. I bound off and had about 5 yards of yarn left!!!

I will need to block it again since I don't really know what I'm doing. I straight-pinned the wetted shawl to a bath towl but it pulled in a little in places. Maybe I can invest in some of those rods when we get our tax return back in a week or so! As it is though the shawl measures approx. 60" across the widest point by 22" long!

I love it. This was a real challege for me and stretched my creative ability! I resolved to knit less boring (in other words, more complex) things this year and I think this is a great start!

If you're on Twitter you can search the keyword "#TwitKAL" and see what we're saying about our projects and see pics of other's process/finished shawls!

If you're on Ravelry you can look at my other projects by clicking on:

Oh, Snow!

We actually got snow here in Clinton. Like, Snow, snow. Not a sprinkling. Not a dusting. Not the normal 18 flurries furiously floating through the air. We got 6-8" inches of fluffy white stuff piled EVERYWHERE!

With it we got slick road, slick driveways, frozen trunks and car doors, etc but it is SO cool! I grew up in West/central FL and then moved here, so I've never really experienced "snow" before. Yesterday we bundled the kids up in the proverbial Randy's Big Fat Snow Suit (see a Christmas Story) and took them out for a romp. A romp which lasted about 10 minutes until they complained that their hands hurt and wanted back inside the heated house. : ) I didn't blame them. Mine were cold too!

I don't understand people with the patience to make real, decent sized snowmen. I tried and managed a large snowball before my hands were too cold and I gave up. I did get to make my first ever snow angel! Maybe professional snowmen makers wear waterproof or thick gloves? That might help. All I had on was some pirate-striped fingerless gloves from Hot Topic. Not really winter wear but I can't press the camera button in my chunky warm handspun Bella mittens!

I was so thrilled that it snowed that much because everytime it's even flurried in the last few months Jeremiah has said, "If it snows enough, I'm going to make a snow angel." Well my little boy got to! He made several, all over the yard. Then walked through them.

My sister Veronica had spent the night and she very patiently made a small snowman. When she finished she proudly told us, we admired it and then Jeremiah promptly snatched its head off and threw it at her.

It was warmer today and the snow began to melt in a few places (like the roof on the south side of the house) but even still, it makes for some cool pictures!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Think Ouside the Box

So using my handspun I shared in my last post I began knitting my darling husband another hat that is inspired by the simple ribbed watchman style cap Jacob wore in Twilight on the beach at La Push, and also because of the russett-y Jacob/Wolf color LoL!

Fiber was soft, yarn was soft, hat is itchy. Shoot! Very strange, some of the alpaca hairs have worked their way out of the twist of the yarn and out of the knit stitches so the hat has these little 2" long hairs all over it, LOL!!

I knitted my simple ribbed pattern forever and decreased down to 2 stiches, tried on the hat and I thought it was too short. Crap! Only had 5.5yds yarn left too.

What to do? What to do?
Do I frog the entire project? I talked it over with my friend Marion for a few minutes and settled on this little "fix up":.

I picked up stitches with size 4.0 needles along the inside of the cast on edge and knitted about 30 rows of stockinette stitch with black NaturallyCaron.Com’s “Country” yarn that I had leftover from another project. It’s merino/acrylic and machine washable. When that was about 3.5" long I bound it off and whip-stitched it up inside the hat all around as a lining so it won’t be itchy around his ears. Added bonus, it also makes the first half of the hat thicker and therefore, warmer. I used Jeremiah's head as a hatform because his big ol' head stretched the hat out nicely and made it so easy for me to sew the lining in. Shown here in the picture with the hat turned wrong side out so I could sewn it more easily.

Then I picked out down to the row before my original decreases, marked out 5 yards on the yarn with some waste yarn and began reknitting until I got to the waste yarn, then re-decreased and finished the hat. I ended up with about 2 feet of yarn leftover so I could have gone a little farther before my decreases but I didn’t want to cut it any closer.

He isn't home from work yet to try it on him or see if he likes it. If this doesn’t fit him, it can go in the Charity bin with this year’s homeless/hospital knits.

Sometimes projects don't go as planned. Sometimes the thing to do isn't always the most obvious (like my first idea to frog.) Think out side the box and be creative; creating is what you were doing to begin with anyway!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Lovely New Yarn?

Remember I mentioned my dear husband Tony was complaining his hats let air through which makes his head cold? So I bought some superwash merino/alpaca fiber to spin for a new hat for him.

I weighed out 2 ounces of my trusty new gram scale and stuck it in a dyepot with a bunch of orange koolaid. I weighed out 2 more ounces and began to spin it without fooling with it, while the first bit cooked and dried.

I ended up with a gorgeous russetty orange "Jacob Black as a Wolf" color, LoL! I thought it would be very pretty plied with the natural gray/brown of fiber.

I finished plying it today though I am drawing a complete and total blank on the yardage I got. I'm thinking 120s? Plenty for a tightly knit hat regardless.

Now that I'm done plying it I'm not sure the two colors work as well as I'd thought. I guess I can always knit the hat and if it's ugly, just chuck the hat in a dyepot and no harm, no foul.

Hodge Podge

We had a busy weekend! We drove to South Caroline to do "Christmas" with Tony's Mom's side of the family. It was great to all get together again, it had been about a year and a half since we had. It's fun to see how everyone is changing, how everyone is the same and meet the new people (like our cousin's girlfriend and her daughter, both as nice as can be.)

We had a nice drive down there and back, figuring out it's really only about a 3 hour drive if you don't get lost....which we do. Neither Tony nor I are the type of people that get lost. We're good with directions, have a good sense of directions and generally find our way around without help. So to drive around in SC where everything is screwy just makes us MAD! LOL! We had to turn around over and over, added about an hour and a half to the trip down and back just for that. Argh. At least we get a good story out of it? Nah... but at least the scenery is pretty! I love North Carolina but they don't paint their roads with reflective paint and going over a mountain in the dark and rain is a little hairy without it, haha.

Nana loved her slippers and hat I'd knitted her. Jeremiah gave her the present as soon as he walked in the door, LoL! He couldn't wait! We all had a nice visit and Tony's aunt Charlene is already plotting the renting of a lake house somewhere in Georgia over the summer for a week of family water fun.

Yesterday we celebrated Artemas' 18th birthday at Mom and Dad's house, even though his birthday isn't until tomorrow. I went a little nuts in the exotic spice aisle and we gave our budding chef a world tour of spices and little glass jars to put them in. I hope he gets good use out of them and doesn't kill the family with the curry powder. ;-)

Mom's birthday is Saturday but I was impatient and we gave her her present early also. Just yesterday morning I finished the Eleanora socks I was working on (for about a month now). I took the 2nd one with me on the road and managed to do from the middle of the heel to about 6 rows from the kitchener stitch while sitting around Tony's Uncle's house chatting. I am sure they think I'm a boring house guest, though I left with 2 requests for a deadfish hat and a watchman style cap LoL!

Mom also got "Les Chaussettes Folles" or the Crazy socks I made; named so because a woman I work with told me she thought it was crazy to knit socks while I was making them. The toes and heels are the same Bamboo and Ewe Sensations sockyarn I used for the Eleanora socks but the main body parts are from Mini Mochi yarn, which is wonderful! I love it.
Today my best friend is coming over and I'm going to help her make a Tennessee Titans pillow case to send to her hubby at war. I'm going to teach her to quilt too so we're going to start going over the basics of that, verbally. The sewing will come later. : )

Look What I Got!

I am soooo terribly late in posting this, my extreme apologies Jenn!

Last week, midweek I think, I got a lovely squishy package in the mail from Jenn of Sunshine of Autumn Quilts on etsy! Inside were two gorgeous, bright red towels that she had taken and machine appliqued (with a pretty leaf design) some black cherry fabric on!

Both ends of the towels have the fabric appliqued on them. They are thick, fluffy and wonderful! I just love how RED they are too! These were the perfect little surprise for me! My kitchen is done slightly retro in red, white (and a little black) and cherries. They look wonderful hanging from my stove!
I don't know what happened when I took this pic, everything was straight...or so I thought. Maybe my kitchen has vertigo? LoL!
Check out her Etsy shop...she has lots of other totally cute towels, quilts and burp rags!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Depression Bars

I've had the pictures of these on my desktop since before Christmas because I meant to make a post with the recipe. I know many of you are on your New Year's Diets, I am (and not doing well with it I might add) but I figure Valentine's Day is coming up and these are great little bars to take to a potluck or party (so you don't have to eat them all yourself) LOL!

Depression Bars:

  • You'll need to make one standard graham cracker crust (sugar, crushed graham crackers, butter)--if you don't have a recipe you use already, just do a google search or try's recipes.
  • One small can of sweetened, condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup of slivered almonds
  • 1/2 a bag of chocolate chips
  • 1/2 a bag of butterscotch chips
  • 1 - 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • Press the crust onto a cookie baking sheet with at least a 1/2" lip all the way around.
    Using your hands, scatter chocolate and butterscotch chips all over the surface. Then do the same with the almonds and shredded coconut. Drizzle the entire can of sweetend, condensed milk evenly over top of all the other ingredients and the crust.

    Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Keep on eye on it, if the coconut stars to burn take it out sooner. You want it everything to brown (chips will not look melted though!)
    Remove and allow to cool for about 20 minutes so the crust firms up enough to cut. You can speed this up by putting the pan in the fridge, these are just as good cold as they are warm!
    Cut into 2" square "bars" and enjoy!
    Variations: Swap peanutbutter chips for the butterscotch ones, or chopped pecans for the almonds or add extra chopped nuts or dates to a little extra "healthy" ingredients.

    Saturday, January 9, 2010

    A Small Frolic in the Snow

    It snowed like the dickens 3 days ago. We got a whole whopping 1/4-1/2" of snow. That's right, a HALF INCH of snow!

    It was just enough to make the roads slick and treacherous with ice. Driving was a little scary, people were obnoxious. At the threat of snow here the locals go crazy, buying gas, milk, bread. I hate to think what they'd all do if they lived somewhere it actually snowed. Like Fargo.

    Anyway 2 days ago the snow was still on the ground so when we got home from running a couple errands I let the kids play a little. They both really enjoyed dancing around in it, hearing it crunch. I tried to make a snowball to start a little tiny snowman on the steps butthe snow was too powdery and wouldn't stick together.

    Both Jeremiah and Hannah seemed unsure if they liked it or not when they stuck their hands in it. Hannah yelled "Cold!" Jeremiah used his fingertip to draw a heart in the snow on our front walk because he loves me. :-)
    It's almost all gone by today, though it hasn't gotten any warmer outside. We've walked most of it off the front yard by now LoL!

    Sunday, January 3, 2010

    Progress, progress, progress

    Well we've made some progress on our bedroom and upstairs this week.

    Tony got the rest of the drywall up on the new wall and got it taped and mudded, then I sanded and painted it. Together (me cleaning and him hauling buckets of water) we cleaned the mess upstairs. Drywall dust gets EVERYWHERE!

    Everything upstairs and downstairs is going to have to be wiped off/down with a soapy cloth. I did my stash bins, the walls, floors, railings and end table upstairs--still have to do my bookshelves and all the books--yesterday before I painted.

    Today I did that to the kitchen. Every surface had to be wiped and cleaned and mopped. I am tired!

    We are trying to keep the bedroom door shut to keep the rest of the mess contained the best we can. Tony finished knocking out the old wall and doorframe and is working on hauling away the debris. He needs to patch the floor and ceiling where the old wall was, put drywall on the inside of the new wall and then we can sand it, clean and paint.

    The end is in sight...I keep saying that, right?

    Until we get our taxes back and knock out the long wall on the back of house, change the pitch of the rood and extend our room the 8 feet back into the eaves. When all is said and done we will have a huge master bedroom that will greatly increase the value of our home. We are hiring someone to help us knock that wall out next spring. LoL!

    Saturday, January 2, 2010

    Christmas Presents Revealed

    It's taken me a couple weeks to get around to it but now I can finally show some pics of some projects I worked on for Christmas gifts!
    The first I am really excited about. I bought 7 ounces of luscious fiber back in July, 2 batts that were a mix of blue bamboo and purple colonial/corrie wool and one that was a red, black, purple and gold mix of bamboo, merino & angelina. I also bought 50 grape colored small jump rings (from UnkamenSupplies on etsy). I only spun 48 in the yarn for some reason. I got 366 yards of thick and thin, average worsted weight yarn from the 7oz.

    That was Mom's Christmas gift. I actually bought the jump rings and held onto them until I found just the right colors of fiber to spin them into for her. I hope she didn't think that was a dumb present and I hope she can knit herself something fabulous from it.

    Second we have some Bella/Twilight style horseshoe cabled mittens for Diantha. I used the pattern I bought last spring from LilyKnitting on etsy, only I used smaller needles than her pattern called for and I added one extra repeat of the horeshoe pattern between the cuff and thumb to make them almost elbow length. I used brand "Country" yarn which is a machine washable blend of microfiber-acrylic and merino-wool. It is soo sooo sooooooo soft and loveable.

    I had planned something else for Diantha and already had it in the works when she asked for some Bella mittens. I decided to make the original item for her birthday and make her the mittens for Christmas. I had the cuff/arm of the first done and had already begun increasing for the thumb when she mentioned that she really thinks horseshoe cables are stupid. ARGH! She got mittens with them anyway and she says she loves them.

    The Christmas-turned-birthday project was given to Diantha at Christmas anyway, wrapped in birthday paper with a note that she's old enough to understand her birthday present came 3 months early. Because what we were giving her was this awesome black baby-cord suit-style jacket which I used batik fabrics to applique an old-school tattoo style motiff of sparrows and heart on the back.

    Diantha also got my Tanya Denali/Twilight inspired fingerless gloves, given to her by Jeremiah and Hannah. She has that modeling convention to go to next week and she's sure to be in great style now!

    Jeremiah got some Christmas surprise mittens just like the ones I made for Rush. I knit them while he was alseep since he was sad when he saw me knitting them since they were supposed to be a surprise! Apparently I hadn't gotten that particular memo. I stuck them down in his stocking with some store bought Iron man socks and he was thrilled!
    Then last but certainly not least we have Riley's kiddie cadet hat. This pattern is so quick, it only takes a couple hours of uninterupted knitting (which means it took me at least 1 day to knit). The same pattern as the one I knit Rush, only in solid navy instead of a varigated yarn.

    I think that's everything. I already shared pics of Rush's hat, Dad's socks.
    OH! I did knit a pair of slipper socks for Tony's Nana Juanita this week, to give to her in 2 weeks when we go to SC to do Christmas with them. I am also working on a "Sparkling like Diamonds" hat. The slippers are knit from that "Country" yarn I love and the hat is from the same brand's "Spa" yarn which is microfiber-acrylic and bamboo blend--very sparkly and nicely machine washable.