Saturday, March 25, 2006

2 steps forward, 1 step back

The last 2 weeks have been most unproductive, knit-wise. When we last spoke, I was ripping the koolaid socks back to rework the holey short row heel. I reknit a garter stitch heel which is just fantastic. The photo is not the greatest, but you might see, I'm finally just about back to knitting the toe. Unfortunately, the carpal tunnel in my left hand has been acting up for most of the last two weeks, so the sock hasn't gotten much attention.

I have been instead, knitting on the Cottage Creations (never ending) Tunic. I'm in the black hole of knitting on this one. Knit five rounds, see no progress. You've all been there, I'm sure. But it's still pleasurable knitting so I'm not unhappy.

I also started working on the 3 Seasons Cardigan from Lion Brand (in Oxford Grey). I had about 5 inches knitted when I decided I wasn't happy with the gauge. I tried my gauge swatch with the
recommended 10s, but my gauge was too small, went up to an 11, but then I was too large. So I decided to just go ahead and knit the sweater on 10.5s. Alas, the gauge was still too small. I'm the kind of person who likes their clothes a little big rather than a little small. So not wanting to risk a too small sweater, I ripped the whole thing out and started over, now using 11s. Here's where I'm at today. Just finished the ribbing, ready to start the moss stitch body. I was afraid I wouldn't like moss stitch, all that switching back and forth between knit & purl, but it's not so bad once you get the rhythm going. I'm slower doing moss stitch in Continental, though, so I keep switching back and forth between English and Continental. I am staying faithful to Continental on the CC Tunic though, and am getting pretty darn fast at knitting that way.

More finished soap.
Please excuse my oh so fancy drying area, a cardboard box and needlepoint canvas! But, hey, it works like a dream. These are Pumpkin Spice (left back), Oatmeal, Milk & Honey (left & center front), Chocolate (center back) and Almond (right). Today I made Sage. Yes, I do seem a bit soap obsessed at the moment. I actually managed to sell a few bars, which made me feel inspired. I may list these up on eBay once they are fully cured. Meanwhile, I'm making plans for selling during the craft fair. Chuck has some neat packaging ideas to try. I've got a few more scents to make up then I'm going to stop for awhile. If we don't sell any of these, we will easily have enough soap to keep us clean for a good 2 years! But it keeps well and smells great, so no worries.

Only 2 weeks and counting until THE quilt show. Quilters Heritage Celebration is held every April in Lancaster and mom and I have been going for the last 5 years or so. If you are a quilter in this area, be sure to go check it out. Although we both found last year's show disappointing (too many art quilts, not enough traditional) it's still a ton of fun to attend. The quilts themselves are always beautiful and inspiring. Then there's the vendors. It's like quilter's heaven. There are easily, hundreds of vendors. Between the show at the Host and the little independent show across the street, you can find ANYTHING quilt related you could possibly want. Full report and pictures after the show!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Let's try that again

I made it all the way to the start of the toe decreases on the koolaid sock before I decided I just couldn't live with the heel. I put it on and you can see how bad it looks. Look at that hole. And the decreases look awful.
So I ran my needles in a row or two before the heel and ripped it all the way back. I love this technique. It's so much less scary than just ripping since you know the stitches can't go any further than where the needle is. This time I'm knitting a no-purl heel flap I found here. I love the look and it feels like it's going to be nice and cushy.

I was knitting on it while watching Goblet of Fire this afternoon. Had to stop when I reached the heel turn because I didn't want to miss any of the movie while reading instructions. I enjoyed the movie much more the second time around. I think my expectations were a little high when I saw it in the theater. But now, knowing what was and wasn't included, I could just enjoy it.

I've decided to try to sell some of my soaps. I'm quite happy with how they are turning out and think others will enjoy them too. I've listed a few on Ebay. Anyone who is interested and mentions my blog, will receive a 20% discount. All I ask is you let me know how you like the soap.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

First of all, I want to thank everyone for the nice comments you've been leaving. I was very disappointed that Blogger doesn't give me the email addresses so I could reply to you all directly. But I love to hear from everyone, so either comment here or send me an email (my address is in the sidebar).

The koolaid socks are progressing nicely. I've got the whole 2 circular needle thing down pat now. The Knitting Korner DVD was a big help. Often times, seeing something done is all it takes to understand how it's done.

I used Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' short row heel (from Simple Socks). I was a little lazy about paying attention to which decrease I should be using, though, and have some little holes down the sides of the heel (kind of hard to see here, but they're there). I will do better on the second sock. Short row heel seems faster than the heel flap/gusset combo. Not sure if it will wear as well, but I wanted to at least try it. I should have got reinforcing thread but haven't gotten to a store that had any. I will probably regret that I didn't since this is 100% merino. Someone did mention I could weave it in after the heel is finished, so I still have options.

Pictures of some of my finished soaps. Lovely, no?

They are Pumpkin Spice, Edelweiss Almond and Lavender Vanilla.

I think the little sleeping cat impression is just so cute. I'm really getting the hang of this and am figuring out which recipes and methods I like best. I just love these marbled soaps. So far I've only had one failure (the color turned out wrong and the soap never got hard) and even that batch is still useable. But I've been really pleased with all the rest.

Have been seeing robins nearly every day now. Guess spring might actually get here soon. I've got some onion and tomato seeds started for the garden this year. Don't plan on planting much this year, just onions, tomatoes and peppers probably. I tend to overplant in my small garden, then things don't do well because they are too crowded. And then it gets hot and I don't feel like tending it like I should. So this year, I'm keeping it small and easy (I hope!)