Friday, February 29, 2008

Next up......
3 super preemie hats. My DD's teacher had her babies at 29 weeks 2 days. They were 3lbs. 3lb 2oz and 3lbs 4oz. Apparently the singlet (they were 1 pair Ident. Twins and 1 single) was 4 days older than the twins. But I wonder if they are just smaller because they started out with half the cells that the single did. So I will be making some preemie caps and booties. Strickwear will have to wait....

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Revontuli is finished!

I finished it last night, well technically early this morning. When I left the South San Jose Ravelry Knitting group at Starbucks I had only 6 more row to go. So I went home and cranked them out while catching up on DVR'd shows with my hubby. 2 hour long tv shows and a Jay Leno later I was done! I have to block it now. This was a 150g skein of yarn and the pattern writer used a 160g skein. I had just a little bit of yarn left, probably about 10 - 15 yards left. I was sweating a little there at the end. Here is it, unblocked. Blocked pictures coming soon to a blog near you. First I have to go total up all of the Sees fundraising money at the kid's elementary school. Fun!! What should I do next!? I am thinking about making Mister Ben or the Strickwear mobius. I can't decide.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Yippee Skippy! (php)

Stitches was fun! I love to shop and shopping in a massive market of pretty much only the things I am interested in with a large budget specified for shopping with is just stupendous. I did a MUCH better job this year of budgeting my money as I went through. Last year I spent my entire budget by the time I was only halfway through and had to ATM the rest of the way through. This year I came with almost the same budget and came home with money left over! Although I have to admit that I have called my friend Teenuh who is working there today at the fabulous Fiber Fiend booth to ask her to buy a book for me that I am having non-buyer's remorse over. Hopefully she can get it for me. Stupid me and the out of print books! And as Teenuh said, it was quite a bit more fun this year seeing other knitters she and I knew
and shopping with a larger gang in tow.

Thursday night at Stitches was loads of fun, starting with the Ravelry meetup. There were many Ravelers there and I have to confess that I was surprised with the number of "older" knitters that were there (people older than my parents qualify as older - so over 60) as I sort of lamely assumed that they were not strongly represented on the internet. My mistake, I stand corrected! Baby Boomers are representing! Perhaps it is only my own mother and the mother's of my friends who struggle with the internet, all the rest seem to be doing well. After the meet up and some on-stage humiliation with my Pretty as a Peacock shawl, we were "snuck" into the Market Place preview for free. We got our super awesome Ravelry Passport books, which were SO snazzy and cute and well done! I picked up the Knitter's Block from Article Pract (something I had non-buyer's remorse over not buying at TKGA in Oakland last fall).
At Commuknity's booth I purchased 2 skeins of Malabrigo lace weight (exactly) similar to the KnitandRun's tasty yarn that I was coveting. I also bought all of the heavy things that I didn't want to carry all day long the next day or was afraid were going to be gone. This is the Fibersphere which will work nicely when ball winding or using a ball of yarn that tries to escape (like Kauni for example). It is nifty because when you open the container, the feed hole opens too, so you don't need to pull all of your yarn back through the hole if you frog or cut the yarn if you want to swap out your take-a-long project mid-project.I also got these 2 German lace books Kunst-stricken I and II, purchased at Village Spinning and Weaving. An expensive place to buy books but a place that always has a hard to find book or imported books if you are looking for one. Then we found the free sample row. FREE 10 g balls of Malabrigo laceweight! Cripes, that is like 1/5 of a skein, almost 100 yds! I got a spiffy red one. Also to be got- a 10g sample of Cherry Tree Hill sock!

So you KNOW that was the first place we went on Friday morning. I got another red Malabrigo and my super smart mom grabbed the same color and gave me hers! We worked on getting the rest of our passport stamped and shopped quite a bit and got another freebie at Bella Knitting, a small bottle of Wool Wash!

Here is the rest of my stash enhancement. I guess this year I was kind of into buying kits:

Strickwear Kit in Purple Passion: (Purchased to learn the varied strand technique to be used again in the future with my nifty silk from Redfish)

Mister Ben Kit from Black Water Abbey Farms: Featuring the Mister Ben pattern by Two Old Bags.

The Maple Leaf Shawl Kit from Just Our Yarn (who were so accommodating and let me switch the kids around):

Then some loose balls of yarn:

Noro sock from The Yarn Place (Capitola):

Pagewood Farm Hand Dyed Sock Chugiak in Harvest from Great Yarns:

I also did some fiber enhancement:

A sampler of colors from Carolina Homespun 4oz of Silk hankies from I think maybe the Oak Grove Studio Booth, but I am not sure. Two 40z hanks of 100% bamboo fiber in Sunset colorway from Fiber Fiend.Then I did a little tool enhancement, just a needle sizer and some needle caps.

I returned to the Ravelry booth and delivered my filled in passport directly to Mr. Ravelry himself Casey (who was wearing a humorous "Bobfather" shirt), then dragged my tired butt home.

So, to anyone curious on the "Bag of lies" rectification front, just before we left the show Deanna of Deanna's Vintage Designs was there and I talked to her about my 120 yds of yarn (instead of 185). She said it was an Interlacements Yarn problem and talked to them. The Interlacements Yarn people were gracious enough to give me an entire skein of 345 yds of the very same yarn! They were so very kind. Whoo. Finally reached the end! I swear the next post won't be so long...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fun felted thing project from Stitches

This morning at Stitches we were lucky enough to catch the first seating of the Art felt needle felting demonstration. We got to make an entire project (about 6" x 15") while the rep talked about the process and the materials (and don't forget where they were available...). My mom, Melissa and I all three made project. I don't know about the other 2, but I couldn't wait to get home and finish it! This was it before felting.

This was a fun learning project. I think I have learned much from it. It was relatively hard dissolving the Artfelt paper from the back of the felting. The colors bled some too, Annoying!! After pouring a large tea kettle's worth of boiling water on the thing I rinsed it in cool and put in the spin cycle in the washer. When I pulled it out, it had sticky, snotty, little chunks stuck to the edge from the undissolved Artfelt paper. So I had to boil another pot of water and re-rinse the edges. Spin cycle again. Still there was left on the edge and I gave up and scissored it off! It suffered more shrinkage I think due to the repeated rinsing. Here it is, post felting. Tomorrow, a summary of the show and photos of my loot.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

It's done! I dumped the dyes into some nifty anti-spill kids paint buckets and stuck my brushes out of the top. I started with the swatch and did several different color combinations. I then did a quick heat set on it (which obviously was too quick, it came out very light ) but I got the gist of what I wanted to do. I consulted my peacock photos and decided which was the best set of color combinations.

So I put a big sheet of painter’s plastic drop cloth over my table. Pulled out a gazillion feet of saran wrap and tossed the shawl on to it, sprayed it with water and just started painting. Here it is part way through. As I finished a section I saturated it with a vinegar/water solution from a spray bottle and then rolled it up in the saran wrap. Then I laid out some more saran wrap, moved the shawl over and painted some more. It took a long time. I worked on it, for about 45 minutes in the afternoon then had to set it aside. I came back and worked on it from 10:30 pm – 1 am. Then I rolled it up in its saran warp skin and stuffed it in a colander to steam over a pot of water all covered in foil. I left it over the steam to set for an hour then, I rinsed it and sent it through the spin cycle. Blocked it and left it to dry. There you have one hand painted Pretty as a Peacock shawl. It was dyed using 6 colors of Jacquard liquid silk/wool dye: Virdian Green, Marine Green, Royal Blue, Kelly Green, Cyan, and Apricot.

And I still had time to do 12 more rows of my Revontuli. By the way the Kauni yarn kind of sucks. There is tons of debris in the yarn, bits of straw and hay, strings, garbage, and weeds actually spun into the wool and dyed! I have never seen such a mess before. It is like the wool right off the sheep without being well combed or carded. Bummer, because it looks awesome.

The shawl has been painted and is sitting in a pot as I type steaming away. It is late. I am tired and my fingers are stained various shades of blue and green. Keep your fingers crossed. I hope it was worth it. Because it is going to suck if I have to dye it a dark solid blue....

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Pretty as a Peacock shawl is finished being knit. I love this pattern, it worked up so quickly and was pretty easy. I think I could make this again and again. Here it is in its invisible splendor.

The bright pink twin sheet I use to block on was too small so I had to switch to a queen and only had a white sheet to use. So it is very hard to see. I will snap some more pictures that will be easier to see when it is dry. I need to run out to University Art Supply and pick up a bottle of gold colored dye before I start dyeing. I have been studying photos of peacocks and have formulated a plan of attack. This is my little swatch to dye. I worked several different parts of the chart into a square so i could test dye on each style of feather.

Here it was before blocking. A little easier to see. Lastly, here is my newest project. Revontuli - huivi. It is a Finnish pattern for gradually varigaited yarns like the Kauni that I am making it out of. This is the EQ (rainbow) colorway. This pattern is pretty easy and seems to be working up very quickly also.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Apparently I was jumping the gun on my worries about the amount of yarn I am using. How foolish I was, forgetting that the majority of yarn use occurs in the last rows. I seem to have used a much more reasonable percentage of the yarn than I thought I was going to. I am now working on chart I. I have caught back up to where I noticed the mistake at and passed it by a couple of rows.

My mom and sister went to the Friends of the Library book sale on Saturday and picked up knitting book for me that they argued over buying. My mom said I wouldn't make any of the sweaters and it was a waste of money. My sister argued that there was cool stuff in there and it didn't cost much so just buy the darn thing. They stuffed it into the bag and bought it (as much as you could fit in the bag for $5) and ended up paying about $0.25 for the thing. Turns out it's this book: Tudor Roses by Alice Starmore A very precious out of print knitting book! Can you believe it!? Just the 2 days ago I was looking at another Ravler's Elizabeth I and thinking it was a pretty pattern as well as looking at the other patterns from the book. Funny how the world works. My mom and sister were quite surprised to find out how much it was worth!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Coming Clean.

I was reading Teenuh's post and thinking about her crazy agreement to control her sock yarn buying tendencies. I was snickering to myself while looking at her stash and thinking, "wow she has got some serious stash!" Then I went into my garage to look for some blue yarn to make my square for Thom's afghan. I looked all through my stash and didn't seem to have any blue or gray yarn in the appropriate weight. I did however seem to have quite a bit of yarn.

So I am now trying to catalog more of my stash onto ravelry. I added just a few things, although I did just buy the 3 skeins of Paton's classic wool today (who can resist they were on clearance for just $2.00! and someday I will felt with it...) but I realized I have tons of yarn in there I haven't even looked at or touched for at least a year... So sadly over the next couple of weeks I am going to try and post most of my stash onto Ravelry and not just my good stash or my recently acquired stash, because I have been collecting for years now and most of what is listed up there has been purchased in the last 2 years... I am just wondering, is it really worth it to list the cheesy acrylic caron simply soft and red heart pounds of love onto Ravelry. Most were bought with the intention of using just a little bit, but needing the color... Honestly do I have to be THAT honest??

Now for my Thom's afghan square:

This was knitted in the round from the center out. it was nice and easy. I knitted it in sock yarn first to see how the pattern would work over many more repeats than I would need and it worked great. Here it is knitted on size 2 needles in Trekking XXL left overs I had lying about.

This one is made with the Lion Brand Yarn Baby Soft solids in (obviously) blue. The squares are both 4" x 4". The rules were it needed to be knitted with a gauge of 20 - 24 sts / 4" and have 3 rows of garter on the border. So I thought instead of picking up stitches, just knit it in the round and finish with 3 rows of garter border. I quite like the way it looked in Trekking. After 17 rounds my square was 4" by 4". So here is the super simple pattern.

Round square:

Cast on 8 stitches. Distribute around a set of dpns (I put 2 sts on needles 1 & 2 and 4 sts on needle 3 so I don't have to mark the beginning of the round, if you use 4 needles, mark beginning of the round.)

Row1: K 1 into the front and back of every stitch. (16 sts)

Row 2: *K1 into the Front and Back of the stitch (kfb), k2, kfb * Repeat from * to * 4 times.

Row 3 (and all odd rows until garter stitch) K around.

Row 4: *kfb, k4, kfb*, repeat from * to* 4 times.

Row 6: *kfb, k6, kfb* , repeat from * to* 4 times.

Row 8: *kfb, k8, kfb* , repeat from * to* 4 times.

Row 10: *kfb, k10, kfb* , repeat from * to* 4 times.

Row 12: *kfb, k12, kfb*, repeat from * to* 4 times.

Row 14: *kfb, k14, kfb*, repeat from * to* 4 times.

Measure your square, if it is 3.5" then work the rows as follows, if not continue in the pattern until your work large enough then work rows 15 and 17 as your odd rows.

Row 15: Purl around

Row 16: *kfb, k16, kfb* , repeat from * to* 4 times.

Row 17: Purl around and bind off.

Use the center cast on tail to sew the center hole shut and weave in the ends.

Rinse and block it to 4" x 4".

This pattern is based on the principle of a flat circle and will continue to grow outward. So as long as you continue the pattern Row X: *kfb, kx, kfb* repeat *to* 4 times... and the increases are aligned as corners, you can make this square as large (or as small) as you want.