Saturday, August 25, 2007

Summer is back with a vengeance this weekend. It was cool and rainy last weekend and it felt like fall might be right around the corner. But today the thermometer outside my window reads 96 degrees. Ugh! And the humidity is just downright oppressive. Luckily, the air conditioner is doing it's job to keep it bearable and it's supposed to be only in the 80's tomorrow.

Not much to blog about. Just a few FOs to share.

Mrs Beeton
Glorious! I absolutely love these.
I can't wait for fall to get here to wear these. The yarn is from Elann. Super Kydd in Ice Blue is the whisper soft mohair and Peruvian Quechua in Dusky Lavender is an alpaca tencel blend. I ended up getting blue 11/0 beads for the top cuff and used the purple 8/0 for the bottom cuff. You can barely see the beads in the picture, but they are a great subtle accent and definitely worth the effort to do the beading. Some people leave the beads off, but i think they make the cuffs so much more elegant. I did not enjoy knitting with the mohair at all, but once past that point, these were a super easy and fast project to knit.

Here's my first finished punchneedle embroidery project finished.
I'm very pleased with the results. This is a super easy craft and the results are impressive. But I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. Probably frame it. I've just found that DMC makes a wool floss (this was done with standard DMC cotton embroidery floss). I've got to get my hands on the wool. I think it will give an even more folk feel to the designs.

I used up the last of my soap supplies making 2 batches of soap
On the right a batch of lavender with my own dried lavender adorning the tops and on the left a highly experimental batch of almond soap made with the leftovers of all the oils I had. I weighed the oils and plugged it into a soap calculator to determine how much lye to use. The bars are really quite nice at this stage. I'm going to let them cure for a few weeks before giving them a try. I just placed an order for more oils. I've been having a dickens of a time finding oils at a decent price around here lately. I decided to try this place since their prices seem good and they were recommended on a podcast I just listened to. I'll let you know how I make out.

I've resisted the urge to cast on another pair of socks. I'm going to make a concerted effort to get some of my WIPs finished up. Of the 2 tanks I intended to knit for this summer, I'm still not even finished with the back of the first one! I've gotten a few inches on the Montery Bay Scarf, but still have a very long way to go on it. And the cardigan needs only to have the front band picked up and knit. The tank will probably win out for this weekend since it's cotton and will be cool knitting.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The skin of my teeth

Talk about cutting it close. This is how much yarn was left as I completed the Opal footies42 inches. I had actually dyed up one of the tiny skeins of Treadsoft I had to more or less match in case I ran out. But I didn't need it after all. The socks have been dubbed Low Rider
Low rider socks
They sit delightfully low, not even reaching my an
kle bone. I think they'll be perfect with my clogs. I really dig the short row heels.
Low rider socks in action
No holes on the second sock. I think I did one too many rows on the heel of the first, resulting in holes at the corners. The short row heel went way faster than the standard heel/gusset. I may just be converted. They also seem to be fitting a bit better too. I struggle with getting my heels to not be baggy. I'm sure there's an adjustment to eliminate the bagginess, but I haven't run across it yet.

All of the yarns I had dyed for Etsy have sold! I'm so happy other people are liking what I've dyed. It's hard to let some of them go because I love the colors so much myself. But I know I can always dye more. This weekend I dyed up the last of the undyed yarn I have (more is on the way). Here they are pre-reskiening.
Blue Jean
Bats in the belfryPoodle SkirtThis brings up a question. In my journeys on the Internet, it looks as if most dyers do reskein their yarns. But some leave them as dyed (the famous Socks That Rock are not reskeined). I'm just wondering what you all prefer. Reskeining is a pain, but I think it gives a better picture of how the colors will blend and show up when used. "As dyed" gives a great view of the individual colors, but I just don't find it quite as appealing for some reason. Thoughts? I think I'm going to list this batch as is and see how they sell. These should be up on Etsy by the end of the week.

I was very busy this weekend. Not only did I finish the footies and dye yarn. I also made these fab-o Halloween candle holders.
Canned a whack more tomatoes. Finished another Cat Who book. Started another Cat Who book. Got started on the punchneedle.I know it doesn't look like much now, but it's coming along nicely. I'm finding it very hard on the eyes. I'm trying to get a feel and rhythm going so I don't have to look as hard, but it's pretty detail oriented so pretty close attention is required. It's a lot of fun and goes pretty quickly. I don't see this becoming a top of the heap craft for me, but certainly one I'll keep in my repertoire.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The latest additions to stash & library

Well, it's that time of year again. Dog days of summer. A year ago this week, we had temps pushing 100. This year, it's not been quite that bad, temps sitting firmly in the upper 80s low 90s, but the humidity is so high, it feels like a sauna. But with the heat of August comes the knowledge that fall is not far off and on the heels of that...the holidays! The girls over at Stash & Burn reminded us this week, it's not too early to start thinking about Christmas knitting. Indeed. I've started giving it some thought and do have a few things in mind to make for gifts this year. Most of my family is sensitive to wool, so I have to be a little careful of my choices. Meanwhile, I've got plenty of projects to keep me going. No progress pictures of the WIPs today. The only one with noticeable progress is the 2nd footie sock. I'm getting very near the end of the yarn, so I must soon be done, I hope! I've knit some on the Montego Bay scarf, but have a long way to go. The other socks, cardigan and vest are all collecting dust at the moment.

I've been reading a lot this summer. Mostly audiobooks and mostly Lillian Jackson Braun's "The Cat Who..." books. My mom and sister have enjoyed her books for some time, I'm so late at getting on the bandwagon. They are delightful little tales of a man and his two Sia
mese cats. There's always a little mystery to be solved, but mostly it's lighthearted, life in a small town stories. When I found this book, I had to have it.I love companion books. Especially for a series such as this one with tons of recurring characters. Haven't even had the chance to crack the cover on this one yet, but hopefully tomorrow night. After Doctor Who, of course! Are you tuning in for season 3? Friday nights on SciFi. New time this week...8:00!

I purchased new yarn for the Huck Lace shawl...Absolutely gorgeous Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in Iris. Imagine a fluffy soft kitten and you'll have an approximation of just how soft this yarn is. And the color is amazing. I'm so glad I went with this color. I had such a hard time deciding. I think this heathery solid will work much better for the Huck Lace than the variegated yarn did. This yarn is fine, really fine. I'm a bit nervous about knitting with it since I've only just adapted to fingering weight and this is for sure a lace weight. But I feel I've grown a lot as a knitter this last year and am a lot more adventurous to try new things.

Mrs Beeton, also newly arrived and waiting in the wings.
These are both Elann yarns. Super Kydd in Ice Blue and Peruvian Quechua (an alpaca tencel blend) in Dusky Lavender. The lavender is much more blue than purple so I'm not sure the beads I had picked out are going to work. I'm making a trip to the craft store this weekend and will see if I can't find something that matches a bit better. I did also purchase a ball of the Quechua in Parchment figuring I might do a hand dye for a 2nd pair of Mrs Beetons, if I like the first pair enough.

Reason for the craft store jaunt this weekend...Punchneedle embroidery supplies so I can make ANYTHING from this book! Grannie's needles seem to be working pretty good in my little test last weekend. I don't have proper fabric or a proper hoop, so that's my mission this weekend. I can't wait to give this a proper go.

Oh yeah. I'll be doing that and canning more tomatoes! And look...
I found a food mill! Life is good.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Weekend update

New yarns are up on my Etsy store. "Bushel of Tomatoes" (tomatoes are EVERYWHERE right now!)and "Dragonfly"This is the new Treadsoft yarn I got recently. The yarn seems to me to be much finer than the KP Gloss I was using. I have that small ball of the Treadsoft I'm keeping to try for myself. But just by feel alone, I think I prefer the Gloss. If only Gloss were superwash, it would be perfect. The search for perfect dyeable yarn continues.

Yesterday, in addition to dyeing yarn, I put up a batch of tomatoes.
They are coming in so slowly this year. Which in a way is good since I can do them in smaller batches and not have to spend whole days working at canning. I froze the batch of sauce I made earlier this week. These I canned. I'm in the market for a good food mill which should greatly speed up the sauce making process.

On tap for today,
sorting through Granny K's craft box. I've been wanting to learn punchneedle embroidery since first seeing it at the Lancaster quilt show a few years ago. Mom got grannie's sewing and craft stuff after she died. When we were going through the boxes we found her "Pretty Punch" supplies, which mom graciously let me have. I'm hoping to find needles and instructions so I can finally learn this craft. If it looks promising, I'm going to get a book or 2 of folk art designs from Amazon. Because, I just NEED another hobby! Yeah right. Have you SEEN my Ravelry queue? I think it's up to 12 now (oops, no I just looked. 17). That's not including the 5 WIPs in my knitting basket. And the fabric waiting to become sock bags. I better get busy!