Monday, September 24, 2007

Score!

As I've mentioned, I've been reading through the Cat Who series and trying to collect the books. Well, I managed to score the entire series in on Ebay for less than $20 including shipping!! All but one are hardback. 2 of the short story collections were missing, but I already had those. I am thrilled to bits. I'm still on Post Office since I've had almost no time to read this last week. And when I do sit down to read, I invariably fall asleep. This should keep me busy for months!

Finally, progress on the Drops Tube Socks.
100_3129
Although I've got to come up with a new name since they are no longer tube socks. I did, in the end, decide to put in a short row heel. I'm also only going to put the pattern on the top side of the foot so the sole is nice and smooth.

Jaywalkers in Jack.
Jaywalkers
I'm so thrilled with how this yarn is knitting up. I fell in love with it when I dyed it and am even more smitten by it knitted up. And this pattern is great. I can see why so many people have knit these.

I spent my weekend dyeing. Here's 5 skeins of Patons Classic Merino Wool, originally Winter White, dyed up for the Mr. Greenjeans sweater.
Yarn for Mr. Greenjeans
I had some issues with this yarn. Originally it was too bright.
After and before overdye
So I overdyed it with a small amount of black and brown dye. Now it's perfect.

I also dyed up the last of my sock yarn for my friend's shop.
Hand dyed for yarn shop
From left to right: Americana, After the Rain, and Shire. I'm going to have to dye up another Shire for myself, love those colors!


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Should I be scared?

Clear out of the blue the other day, my dear husband asked me if I would knit him a sweater. Be still my heart! I of course jumped at the chance, showing him sweaters I'd knit for me so he could pick a yarn he liked. He picked Wool Ease, which is good. I don't expect he'll wear the sweater much so I don't want to spend a ton on materials. He wants plain black, plain sweater. This makes it super easy for me since I can machine knit most of it and have it for him in time to wear this fall. And I'm safe, right? No sweater curse when he's your husband, right??

Through my job, I know a lady who owns the only yarn shop in miles. It's a cute little shop in Brickerville. We got to talking this week and I mentioned I'm dyeing sock yarns and making knitting bags to sell on Etsy. She asked if I'd be willing to make some stuff up for her to sell at her shop. She's along a tourist route and often has people looking for local crafts. I was thrilled and jumped at the chance. I'm going to her shop for the Harvest Festival in a few weeks and hoped to have a bunch of yarn and bags to take with for her. Unfortunately, KnitPicks is sold out of the base yarn I use until the end of October! I was crushed. I have a few skeins left and am going to dye those for her, but it's super disappointing not to be able to do a larger batch right off the bat. I spent some time looking online trying to find a similar base, but came up empty. I found coned yarn that was close, but I don't have adequate facilities to measure skeins for consistent yardage. I don't feel my system of counting wraps on the skein winder is not accurate enough. Plus, pre-skeined yarn is just so much easier to work with. I did have good luck finding fabric for the bags, though. We went to my favorite fabric store, Martin's Fabric Barn, and found a line of marbled fabrics that look perfect. I can't wait to get started on them.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

V-neck Cardigan

The weather turned delightfully cool yesterday and I was inspired to finish the V-neck Cardigan. I picked up stitches all around the front opening and knit a garter stitch band.The pattern called for knitting a ribbed band separately and then sewing it on. And although I've come to terms with seaming my knitting, it certainly isn't my favorite activity and I avoid it whenever possible. I designed the pattern myself with the help of the Knitware software. It is knit from Lion Brand Wool Ease in Oxford Grey. I think I used 5 or 6 skeins. I'm not sure since the yarn was salvaged from another project that didn't work out. The buttons are from Jo-Ann Fabrics.I love the purple color against the grey sweater. I may have to stitch the buttonholes closed just a bit. 3 stitch holes didn't seem quite big enough so I went with 4 stitch buttonholes which are just a hair too big. The fit is just about perfect except for the bottom.The pattern called for decreasing a number of stitches before starting the ribbing. In hindsight, I should have left those stitches in. However, I steamed the bottom ribbing and that seemed to relax the acrylic content enough so I can at least button all the buttons and it looks pretty good. This was a super quick and easy pattern, especially since the majority was machine knit. I will probably make this pattern again.

I've been splitting my evenings between reading the Cat Who books (I'm up to The Cat Who Played Post Office), knitting on the summer shell (which is now destined to be a fall vest) and punching on the ghost picture. I cast on a belt last night from some of the New Zealand wool I hand dyed.
This should go quickly. 7 stitches in garter stitch. I'm going to felt it slightly when it's done for durability.

The new Knitty is out. I've totally fallen in love with Mr. Greenjeans. I'm not sure what it is about this little cardigan that I love so much. I think it's all the cabling. She even incorporated the cables into the sleeve ribbing. Awesome. I've got so many projects in queue, but I may just have to knit this one next. At the moment I don't have yarn in my stash that would work, though, and am flat broke so I can't buy new yarn. So it will have to wait at least for awhile.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A little bit of everything

It's been a busy 2 weeks since I last posted. The week before Labor Day weekend I spent every spare minute sewing. I made nine knitting bags for a huge Etsy shop update. I also dyed up some more sock yarn in "almost solid" colors (inspired by a prior week's feature on Knitter's Review). There's still a ton of stuff left so hop on by and have a look.

We ended up dealing with some health drama over Labor Day weekend requiring a trip to the Emergency room. Why is it we have to have trouble that could nor
mally be handled by a physician on a holiday weekend when none are open? Everything is getting back to normal now, thank goodness.

Our heat wave continues. It's been in the upper 80's with humidity leve
ls suitable for growing tropical plants. The library's annual book sale was yesterday and it was the hottest one I could remember. As always, it was a fun day. My family staff's the bake sale portion and we had a huge spread this year. So many donations of delicious food! They had fewer books this year, but better quality and selection of books. The librarian did a good job of culling out the "junk". I got a bag full of books.Managed to snag 4 of the "Cat Who" books I was missing. Renee found me 3 James Bond books! Also found a vampire book, one of James Herriot's books, a Roddy Doyle and an Agatha Christie. Not a bad score for only $14!

On the craft front, here's what I've been up to...

I finally got around to machine knitting a bag from the wool mom & dad brought me from New Zealand. This yarn was gorgeous, but pretty scratchy, so I figured it would be perfect for a felted bag.I was right. It machine knit pretty quickly. Although the yarn had a lot of "grab" and managed to jump the needles several times. I restarted the bag 3 times (so much fun casting on 100 stitches 3 times) before I realized I'd have to run the carriage slowly to prevent the dropped stitches. But it was worth the hassles in the end. I need to stitch the lining in yet.The bag has plenty of structure on it's own, but I decided to line it to keep the fuzzies from transferring to whatever I carry inside. As soon as the humidity drops and I can stand to have wool in my lap I'll get it stitched.

I've started a new punchneedle project.
A cute little ghost for Halloween. I started punching the background in grey variegated floss but quickly realized I'm not going to have nearly enough thread to do the whole background that way. So I've switched to a combination of variegated and solid floss combined. I'm using granny's Pretty Punch this time. It's certainly more comfortable to hold than the cheap Dimensions punch I used for the first picture. But my loops are not as consistent on the front side. I got a bunch of supplies this week...wool floss, a kit, a pattern book and some issues of Create and Decorate. I have plenty of ideas now. Now I just need more time!

The Summer V-Neck vest is coming along nicely.
I've put a lot of time into this as I'd like to have it to wear over a shirt for fall. I finished the back and have started the cabled section on the front. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love cabling! Such a simple process creates such a cool effect. I'm glad I changed the pattern to have left and right slanting cables rather than them both going in the same direction.

And on a final note. I'm such a lemming. Wendy has been talking about how happy she's been with the Wen cleansing conditioner. I was intrigued. I'm a hair care junky, although I have reigned it in a lot the last few years. But I still love to try new stuff in search of great hair. So I finally broke down and ordered a bottle of Wen Fig. I've been using it for a few days now and am absolutely thrilled so far. The product is a non-foaming cleanser that is supposed to replace your shampoo, conditioner, leave in conditioner, deep conditioner, detangler. Out of the bottle it looks and feels just like conditioner. The directions call for you to use a ton of the stuff. I used about 1/3 of what they call for. You apply it to your wet hair, massage it in and let it sit for several minutes before rinsing. It feels tingly on the scalp and smells fantastic. I must say, I am completely sold so far. My hair is soft and clean and manageable. I have not put a drop of anything else in my hair, no leave in conditioner, no styling gel, nothing. It's fantastic. I generally can't go a day without at least wetting my hair down to make it look presentable. Even after yesterday's full day outside in the sun and breeze, my hair looks great this morning. I brushed it out when I got up and it looks perfectly presentable. I'm thoroughly impressed. It's early days yet, so we'll see how it preforms in the long run. But so far, Wen sure looks like a keeper.