Friday, December 30, 2005

Peace and Quiet

Husband feeling a bit better and we are pretty close to getting his medication regulated, so all is a little quieter around here. Kid is off on a three hour play date, so I am catching up with little fiddly things like digital photos and getting a few more packages ready for the post office. And blogging of course - gotta get back all the readers who left in a fit of boredom during that week and a half I didn't post. One of the many FOs that I have whipped out in the last week during my spasm of nervous knitting. There are for me, Jade Sapphire 6 ply cashmere, pattern from my web site http://www.knitting.allinfoabout.com/patterns/wristers.html . They work up in a flash and are so darn soft I just want to pet them all the time! I layered them over a nice pair of thin black leather gloves now that it is a bit too cold to just wear wristers, and they look great if I do say so myself. I made a pair in a pima/silk blend for the allergic sister, she got them for Christmas.

While we are on the subject of Christmas, all knitted gifts were well received. The washcloths were a big hit with my editors, I am getting effusive thank you notes which is great. My sister LOVED the ugly scarf (my mother said "It isn't THAT bad"), and mother herself was quite taken with the warmth of her Fuzzy Feet.



These photos are the first results of my Wilton experimentation - I am quite taken with the way the color shades. I have 150 yards of this worsted weight, haven't quite figured out what I will do with it yet.

It is like Christmas all over again here today - so many of the online yarn stores were having big markdowns for the end of the year that I went a little crazy. Today brought a niddy noddy, some Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn which looks fabulous, some other sock yarns, some heavily marked down colors of Lamb's Pride worsted (kid wants a second pair of Fuzzy Feet, this time in purple), and a back issue of Wild Fibers magazine devoted to alpaca insights. Oh, and some circs - God I love half price sales!

Off to hide some of the new stash, and to work on the socks I just cast on - Lana Cervinia in a red variegated colorway in a pattern from Nancy Bush's Vintage Socks, which I just love. Something to do during the next round of waiting in doctor's offices that won't get done too quickly.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Greetings from the infirmary

Wow, I didn't mean to be away so long, honest I didn't! But between holiday hell and the husband's never-ending surgical complications, I haven't been able to come up for air in quite some time.

Which does not mean I haven't been knitting. Since I knit more when I am stressed, and knit while sitting around doctor's offices, I have gotten quite a few projects done in the last week - a cool poncho for the kid in Berroco Chinchilla, a washcloth for her, cashmere fingerless gloves in gray and black for me, and I cast on the Oak Ridge Socks from Vintage Socks for me, and Guinevere from Wrap Style for me. Hub's vascular dude says perhaps I should cast on a blanket to keep myself occupied for the next few months.

Photos to come, I have taken a bunch, but haven't downloaded them from the camera.

Santa brought me a whole lot of knitting books, with a little help from an exchange and a Border's coupon I had for after Christmas. Loop-D-Loop, Handknit Holidays, Socks Socks Socks, Vintage Socks, Not Just Socks, and Not Just MORE Socks have all taken their rightful places on my bookshelves. I also got a much needed ball winder which was way cool.

And I also got one of any knitter's favorite holiday gifts, appropriate gratitude for knitted gifts I made. The washcloths were all a big hit, my mother loved her Fuzzy Feet, and my sister loved her glittery scarf. The kid has already worn her skirt and her boa scarf, so I know those were a hit too. It is wonderful to give hand-made gifts to those who appreciate the work that went into them.

More tomorrow night when the photos are ready - off to rescue the kid from grandma's where she had gone to escape the medical madness here. Looking forward to having her back!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Where did the week go?

It isn't like I haven't been knitting, I just haven't had ten uninterrupted minutes to sit and do a blog entry. I know you all hate the entries without photos... so here goes.
Fuzzy Feet the Fourth - hot pink for the kid. They also have little red hearts on the heel flap, but the photos didn't turn out well so you will have to use your imagination. The first thing she did after she told me how wonderful they were was fall down the steps, so I had to take them back and stitch on some Jiffy Grip.But she looooooooves them and puts them on right after school, which is very gratifying. She also wants another pair, but I keep telling her she has to wait until after the Christmas knitting is done. Speaking of Christmas knitting...

Skirt for the kid. Some furry nonsense she liked on the hem, balance is Lion Brand Thick and Quick Chenille in black. She loves skirts, this one is a surprise for Christmas.

And a distraction! When I swapped sock yarn with someone, she threw in a ball of this lavender lace weight from HandPaintedYarns.com. It just stared at me and begged to be cast on as something, anything. Not a ton of yardage, but should be enough for a scarf. I like the Branching Out pattern on Knitty.com, but it wasn't going to be wide enough to suit me - I hate narrow scarves. So I did a modification by repeating the lace chart a second time. Now there is a garter stitch band up each side and up the center. It may take me the rest of my life to finish, but I have banged out so much brainless knitting for gifts and for charity recently that I like having to concentrate a little bit.

Did I mention I got the 9 washcloths finished, finally? No photos, by the time I got to the last two they were coming off the needles and being dropped directly into the Priority Mail boxes! I already got two thank-yous though, so I know they are getting where they are supposed to.

One measly pair of fingerless gloves left on the Christmas knitting pile, then back to knitting some things for the kid and for me. She has four things she wants all lined up - a washcloth (sigh...), a hat, a skirt, and a sweater. For me - I have yarn picked out for two pairs of socks, a pair of fingerless gloves (I lost one of mine at Carnegie Hall last year and it never got found) and a wrap from Wrap Style. And I have this monster Vogue scarf that I started last year and got bored with that I truly ought to finish. And now I have the Branching Out to finish too. And I should start another Project Linus blankie, and have a few more pieces to do for Dulaan. Then there is the spinning... So I basically won't run out of projects to do in the near future.

Off to the Post Office to mail the last of the washcloths - paired up with glycerin soaps from The Body Shop and plunked in a pretty red and gold bag, they really do make impressive gifts.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Once upon a time...

a very long time ago (okay, it was 1988, but who's counting?), I took a magical trip to New Zealand. It was amazing and I loved every minute of it, but one of my favorite things was this little odd gift store I found in a deserted-ish area on the North Island. There I bought a big hank of local DK weight wool in tan, and one in an olive green.

Later I stayed two nights on a working sheep station, but that story is for another time, when the scanner is working and I can provide pretty pictures.

The next stop on my road trip was San Diego, and I had a lot of time on my hands there for a few days while I was waiting for work to catch up (I did costumes in those days, pre-writing phase). I went to the nearest general store type of place, and bought a pair of size 5 needles, and made up this pattern that night.

Eventually, I got this -

Now, that sweater hasn't fit me right in more years than I care to to admit, in fact due to my poor patterning skills at the time it didn't really fit well from the beginning, but I just couldn't seem to part with it. It has moved with me over and over and over again. I don't wear it, but I don't want to live without it.

Fast forward to last month when I discovered the magic of felting. Hmmmmmm...
So I threw the sweater in the washing machine in the hopes of getting some wonderful felt to make a handbag or tote from. That way I can get a little more use out of my wonderful memory.

Will let you know how it turns out....

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Kool-Aid Collection 2005

Kool Aid fever has hit my household. It all started when I reviewed the book Yarns To Dye For (which I loved) for my web site (www.knitting.allinfoabout.com/book_reviews/yarnstodyefor.html for the full review). The kid and I both fell in love with all of the pictured hand-dyed yarn, but I was worried about health hazards from checmical dyes, so a friend suggested we try Kool-Aid. Next trauma was trying to find good colored flavors during the first snowstorm of the year, but we managed to find a lot of lemonade and orange, and a little bit of fruit punch and grape, so we went to town. Results are above - drying in the shower. It actually wasn't nearly as messy as I thought it would be, and it dried pretty quickly. We did a whole 440 yard skein of KnitPicks sock yarn in all four colors, then cut a skein of worsted weight in half and did half plain yellow, and half three color variegated.
All dried up and ready to knit or weave. The kid wants a knitted earflap hat out of the worsteds, pattern in the YTDF book. Some of the sock yarn will be socks for her, and whetever is left she wants to warp her loom with. She cannot wait to weave with stuff she dyed herself, but just like her mother, she has holiday gifts to finish off first.


Speaking of holiday gifts, biggest big sister's glamorous scarf is finished. Boy it was annoying to knit, so I hope she likes it. She should like the colors though, plus it has eyelash which she likes, PLUS it has some gold sparkles even though they didn't turn up in the photograph, so I have high hopes that she will be happy.

She is a pretty great gift recipient anyway - pretty well pleased with the thought no matter what you give her. Either that or she is a truly fine faker...hmmmmm

Worked on a fashion photo shoot yesterday and thankfully it was slow. I nearly finished washcloth number 5, then realized 4 rows from the end that I didn't have my DPNS with me (I start them on circs and then change when it gets down to 34 stitches). Had to wait until I got home to do the last little bit, then I immediately cast on number 6 so I wouldn't have a chance to stop knitting them. I am SO bored with washcloths, even though I love how they turn out. Have to find some great soaps this week to go with them, I already found gorgeous lillte gift bags for them at the Christmas Tree Shop for a whopping 39 cents each. Presentation is everything...

After the kid went to bed I worked a little bit on her surprise skirt for Christmas, but talk about boring - black chenille garter stitch on size 13 needles! Thankfully I only have a few more inches to go, and sewing it up should be very quick. And done is good.

I asked Santa for a bunch of knitting books for Christmas, so hopefully I will have a wealth of more interesting patterns to choose from after 1/1. And I just saw the preview flyer for the Spring 2006 Interweave Press knitting books and I have to say, they have some really great stuff coming out in the new year. Cannot wait to get my hands on two of them specifically!

Back to try and get some actual work done.

Monday, December 05, 2005

HOW many days until Christmas?

The washcloth pile is growing. I wish I had used the paler yellow for the daisies and the darker yellow for the black-eyed-susan, but oh well, done is good. Working on a solid red one now, aiming for a total of 9 by 12/15 so I can get them in the mail.
Final Knit Unto Others hat tally - 4. One of these hats goes into the Dulaan box, the other three will probably go off to the yarn shop in Vermont that was collecting. All three of the reddish ones were made with the Patons Divine in Floral Fantasy - one has a white companion yarn, one a pink, and one black. The pale one is pale pink Patons Divine with a blue/pink/violet variegated companion. My daughter wants that one, but I told her I could make her another one, I have plenty of both types of yarn left.

Almost finished the glittery, eyelashy scarf for biggest big sister. And the kid and I spent yesterday afternoon going crazy with plain wool and kool-aid, so I may have to make something out of that next.

Thankfully, today the check fairy delivered two of the 6 checks I am expecting before the end of the year, so I can get the holiday shopping finished this week. The joys of freelancing - unpredictable cash flow! Not that I am complaining mind you, a recent foray back into the 9-5 world for a few weeks reminded me just how lucky I am to be self employed! I am too ornery to play nice with idiots anymore.

Off to work on a scintillating piece on caulking....

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The promised pictures...


Well, at least some photos, have to save some for the next post so you guys keep coming back! First off, the Extravagant Fuzzy Feet - farm-raised mohair/wool with Lorna's Laces Grace for the toes and heel. Let me say again, these make me happy just by putting them on, so in this case, expense be damned! There is a little more cuff opening than I would like (I had to alter the pattern to accomodate the light weight of the gray), so I plan to add some sort of closure as soon as I catch up with the holiday knitting, and I am still wearing them in the meantime. They are thick and soft and warm, and I am afraid to turn the heat up in this barn of a house so they are practical too! Note our lovely model, affectionately known as the Barf Bear because the kid's auntie gave it to her after a bout of nasty projectile vomiting while on vacation! It comes out whenever she or I are not feeling up to par, and it very cuddly to sleep with.

I love, love this boa-like scarf. The yarn was a zillion dollars (anybody sensing a theme here?). I bought it on vacation last summer without looking carefully at the price, then almost had a heart attack, but now I am glad I had it. Thick, thick, thick fun fur (Plymouth Foxy), knit on size 17 needles in a three stitch I-cord, then fluffed out. I just love it, and the kid is going to freak out when she gets it on Christmas morning.

Barf Bear in all her fluffy glory - she may not want to give it up!

Doing the errand/laundry/cleaning/Christmas shopping thing today, back to the never ending washcloth pile tonight for knitting - still at 4 down one to go. And a very sparkly, eyelashy (all the things I hate to work with) scarf for the biggest big sister who didn't want any warm fuzzy feet for Christmas, darn her. I took the Lamb's Pride green I had gotten for those and returned it to the LYS the other night. When the owner asked what I wanted instead I blurted out "something ugly and sparkly" Love my sister, hate her taste. We settled on two skeins of Berocco Optik from the sale bin, with some carry along eyelash as if it wasn't quite busy enough!

I don't want to offend those who live for sparkles and glitter and eyelash, but I just happen to not be one of those types of people. Although you wouldn't know it from all of the holiday knitting I am doing right now, would you? Anything to please the recipients! My first post-holiday knitting cast-on will be a cornflower blue alpaca/silk blend for Guinevere from the Wrap Style book. I can't wait!

Happy days and thanks for visiting...

Friday, December 02, 2005

Dilemma resolved

Did I go to the yarn sale? You bet I did! When I am homeless because no editor will talk to me, in my heart of hearts, I will know why...

And you want photos don't you? Tomorrow, I promise!

For the record? Got lucky with the parking and was in and out of there in a flash. Got a bag of Paton's Classic in black to stretch all of my oddballs into Dulaan knits, some incredibly obnoxious hot pink variegated Polar Spun for the kid (who keeps nagging me to cast something on in that already!), some Cotton Ease in a lovely green for the next Project Linus blanket (pattern to be determined), and a bag of sock yarn in a red stripey colorway. I was worried about having ten balls of sock yarn in the same colorway, but put some up to swap on the Knitty board and it was snapped up almost instantly. So I am keeping four of the red, have two of the same stuff in the green colorway coming, some Dale baby weight, and if a new friend in New Zealand can manage it, some merino/possum blend.

Possum yarn? I am faint with curiosity!

I double promise I will drag out the camera tomorrow, I know these are boring with no pix, and I have a ton of things to show you all!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A moral dilemma

So here I am, way behind schedule on a project, and I finally schedule all day today to bang a big chunk of it out (it is mostly written, I am editing, formatting, etc.) Then, when making an unscheduled internet detour to the Knitty coffeeshop (darn you Crazy Aunt Purl for telling me about that big old wonderful time-sucker :-), I am reminded that the mondo Smiley's yarn sale in Manhattan is going on today.

I looooooooove that sale. I am pretty careful not to buy so much that the stash explodes, but they have some really great bargains there if you look carefully. And they don't take credit cards so I can't get in over my head. And it is only a 25 minute drive during the lunch hour, and they have parking. And I really want to go. But I really should be finishing up this project that is hanging over my head like a ton of bricks.

Which will win out - stash or story? I will have to decide by 11:30 AM EST or it won't work out with the kid's schedule, so I only have 2 hours to dither.

Check back tonight and I will let you know what I decided!

Tons of knitting accomplished this week but no photos yet. Someof the FOs were holiday gifts for the kid so I have to take some shots after she goes to bed tonight. 4 washcloths down, 5 to go, one more hat for the Knit Unto Others KAL finished, and a fabulous obnoxious fun fur scarf for the kid done. I am working on a skirt for her too, after hours. It is Lion Brand Thick and Quick Chenille so it is going very fast.

My sister hinted broadly that she would like to have an everyday scarf from me this year (but with some sparkles, blech), so I am going to give up on her fuzzy feet and do a scarf instead. So I just have one more pair to finish for the kid. I absolutely love my own fuzzy feet - I had changed the pattern to accomodate some skinny yarn so I have a bit too much cuff opening, but I am going to think of something clever to fix that. They are incredibly thick and soft and just putting them on makes me happy, so there is something to be said for splurging on the good yarn, even for fuzzy feet. Will stop by the LYS tonight and exchange the dark green Lamb's Pride for something a little more glam for the sister.

Anyway, if I am going to the yarn sale, I ought to get going and get at least a little work done on the story.

Decisions...decisions....

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thankful

Well I for one am thankful to be home! Spent the weekend dragging the kid around to see most of my immediate family. It wasn't like all of the individual parts weren't fun, but it seemed like I tried to cram too much fun into one weekend. Of course she dragged herself through all of the weekend activities and then didn't want to go to school this morning because she didn't feel well, but with no fever, I packed her off. The nurse hasn't called me yet to come get her so I assume she is managing - mean mommy!

On the knitting front, I did manage to get two more hats finished for the charity of my choice - haven't decided where to send them yet as there are so many options, but they are very pretty and very finished - all good. I am on knitted washcloth number three (I think I have seven total to make by the middle of the month to send for Christmas gifts), and when there was too much family noise for me to concentrate on a knitting pattern, I got a little bit of spinning done with the drop spindle. And managed not to stab anyone with its lovely ebony shaft - yay me :-)

In the course of the weekend madness, I dropped in on a new-to-me yarn store, Yarn Over Ewe in Lebanon, PA. Very nice place, and I bought some fluffy chenille yarn to make a skirt for the kid - she LOVES knitted or crocheted skirts. She was with me, so she picked out the colors - three shades of blue. The pattern was written by the store owner, and she gave me a copy with the yarn purchase, and I always appreciate free patterns! She had intended it to be a child's poncho, but agreed that it worked as a skirt too.

I also came home to a very nice note from the state Project Linus chapter, letting me know that they had received my most recent blanket donation, and that it was going to a cancer center for their holiday drive. I love when they are able to tell me what group is going to get my blankets - I always feel good just sending a blanket off, but it just adds to the warm fuzzies getting that extra bit of info.

Two more days for Knit Unto Others (see button on my sidebar), I want to try and finish a scarf I have on the needles for Dulaan, and I have enough mohair for three more cloud hats, although I don't expect to get all three done this week - I do have to work a little bit, even if I don't feel like it!

Off to clean the office, which is sort of like work, then unload all the crud from my car and do the weekend's laundry.

Happy back to the schedule for all of those who, like me, were sort of put off by the long weekend!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Compulsive Knitting

First, some photos of the blankie I finished for Project Linus, it was the Corner to Corner blanket from Storey's Knit Baby Blankets! book, in a variegated Red Heart yarn. Yeah, I know, Red Heart, but it was pretty and PL likes acrylic.



That one goes in the mail today, after I get back from seeing Harry Potter!


Here we have the cloud hat I mentioned for Dulaan, the largest fuzzy foot in the world (it's for me and I wanted it to felt to a thick fabric - made of a farm-raised mohair blend that I had in the stash, and the blue is Grace by Lorna's Laces), and the first of what I suspect will be many cotton chenille washcloths that I intend to give as gifts. The washcloth is Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille, the pattern is a two-toned version of the washcloth pattern in Weekend Knitting. All of my friends with new babies, and the editors who gave me work, and the sources who went above and beyond the call of duty are getting these with bars of pretty soap for the holidays.

But now I have to do some actual work, I fooled around with yarn (or shopping for yarn) pretty much all weekend...well after I get back from the movie I will work....maybe....

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Knitting Whisperer....

So last Sunday night I was sitting in my very messy living room, surrounded by my daughter's craft supplies and a fine layer of dust, in denial about the whole thing and happily knitting away on the Gryffindor Fuzzy Feet - when the doorbell rings. At the door is a complete stranger, holding a knitting bag. "I totally messed this up, I don't know what I did, and the yarn store isn't open until Tuesday PLEASE can you help me?" said the stranger. So of course I bit the bullet and invited her in.

How did the stranger find me? Remember the Halloween post when I said I had taken my knitting outside to relax and hand out treats? This woman's daughter came trick or treating at my house and commented to her father that I knit "just like Mommy does". He and I exchanged a laugh and said I should meet his wife some day. Apparently, the lack of knitting was driving her so crazy that she would rather knock on my door than have to wait 36 more knit-less hours - and I have to say I respect that.

Other than the fact that I was completely humiliated about the state of my house, it was actually kind of fun. I saw instantly the error she had made, frogged a few rows, and got her back on the right track very quickly. My daughter took it upon herself to do a show and tell on all the cool things I had made for her - the poor woman didn't know that she was in for a fashion show when she knocked! She turned out to be a very nice person who lives on my block, and the next day I dropped off a bunch of patterns and books for her to look at. End of story, or so I thought.

Thursday I went into the LYS to pick up some Lamb's Pride in green for yet another pair of FFs for holiday giving (for biggest big sister, who also doesn't read this blog). The owner of the store wanders out of her office and said she heard I was now giving lessons in my living room! Turns out the neighbor had gone into the LYS the day before to buy some yarn for one of the patterns I had given her and told the owner the whole story. So now it is urban legend in my small knitting community - drive-by knit-fixing on demand.

The Knitting Whisperer - I kind of like it...

Finished my Project Linus blanket, and a cloud hat that should probably go into the Dulaan box since I snagged a hat that was already there to send to Indiana for that knitting drive. Love the cloud hat pattern, although I must knit much more loosely than Ms. Ryan so will have to make it a bit smaller next time. My local AC Moore is having a huge sale on Patons Divine, so I can bang a bunch of these out pretty quickly.

At the risk of offending my wool-devoted sisters in knitting, I am coming out of the closet right now and saying I am using up some acrylic that was laying around for these hats. I know the A word is a dirty one in most knitting circles, but the fact of the matter is the hat looks just fine with the acrylic, and the more stash yarn I can use, the more charity knitting I can do. Like most knitters, my yarn budget is finite, and a LOT of it just went for Christmas gift yarn. I use the good stuff when I have it, but have been known - horror of horrors - to use cheap yarn on things for the kid. I just don't feel like I need to use merino or alpaca all the time when I know that there will be grape juice spilled on it someday. There, I said it, I feel so much better now :-)

Photos tomorrow of all the finished goodies, that Knit Unto Others knitalong really has me on a tear.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Gifting away...

Here are the orange and red fuzzy feet after felting. The person who got them for her birthday LOVED them - she kept pulling them out of the bag to pet them while we were driving to lunch. Don't you just love it when you give someone something and they just get it? They get that you put thought into it, that you made it, that it is special? I always hate when I buy someone a gift and it fizzles, but I really hate it when I make something and they don't like it. I had a great time making these, but I had the best time watching her reaction - she was just so darn pleased that it made me happy too.

Of course, what would also make me happy right now was if I had a pair of fuzzy feet of my very own - but not yet. I went stash diving to see if there was anything fabulous, but there either wasn't enough, or it wasn't exactly what I wanted. I have plenty of maroon Paton's Classic left - the same yarn as my first pair, but I like the way the red/orange ones felted more because they had mohair in them. I have no business buying any more wool this week, so we will see in another day or so if I give in and get some more Lamb's Pride, or give up and use stash yarn - stay tuned!



This is a hat I had made and put in the Dulaan box, then got worried because it was cotton and I was afraid it wouldn't be warm enough for deepest darkest Mongolia. I even put a fleece lining in the top for extra warmth. Well, when I heard about the collection for those who lost their homes in the tornado in Indiana, I figured it was problem solved. I pulled the hat, made a double moss stitch scarf out of the last of that yarn, and just put it in an envelope to be mailed. I think for Dulaan I will stick to wool in the future.

If you are interested in either Dulaan or a charity knitalong, there are buttons on my right sidebar. Thank for those who emailed me with instructions on how to put those up there properly.

Having finally made all of my November deadlines, I immediately broke into a dead panic that I didn't have enough writing work lined up for the rest of the year! Can't win, can ya - either feast or famine! Thankfully, I got in a query-writing mode and got some new ideas circulating, then one of my regular editors emailed me with another assignment, so I calmed down a bit. Also trying to catch up on all the administrative stuff that I put off when I am busy - filing, cleaning out photo files, etc. Not thrilling, but I will be happy with the results when I am finished.

Off to go back to work on the web site, I have two pages of the new gift guide up, but 3-4 more pages to go.

Happy knitting...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Stupid Button Question

I finally got the Fuzzy Feet Knitalong button on the sidebar where I wanted it - yay me!

I want to add a button for Dulaan and one for a charity knitalong that I just joined but I can't figure out how to do it. In both cases is says the button has to be saved to my own server - that's the part I can't figure out. Anyone want to explain this to me? I now know where the code goes, and it isn't like I don't have bandwidth - I have two websites in addition to this blog. I just can't figure out the steps in the process.

I would appreciate any direction anyone can give me.

The Gryffindor Fuzzy Feet (as I have taken to calling them) are just about dry so I will photograph them later tonight - they get gifted tomorrow. Finishing up a blanket for Project Linus that I am sick of looking at - just want to get that finished. Then back to Christmas knitting.

I did make a little cyber drive-by to Elann today and bought some alpaca/silk fingering weight for a shawl I want to make from the Wrap Style book. But I doubt I will have the nerve to cast that on until after the holidays with all the projects I have started! Maybe that will be the project I obsessively knit while visiting the immediate family so I don't kill them over the holidays! In fact, it might be done on Thanksgiving!

Back to the web site - working on a nice gift list for knitters piece - the first two selections are up, but I am still plugging away at the rest - will let you know when it is finished.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Photos, finally

So here are the promised photos - the chunky hooded sweater that the kid liked so much she wore it two days running - how is that for knitterly gratification? The front, she didn't want her face on the blog, and who could blame her? :-)
Fuzzy Feet Pair 2 - pre-felting. Just took them out of the washing machine and they felted beautifully, although as I said in a previous post, they do have a sort of Gryffindor air about them.
Jiffy Grip on the original pair of Feet -
And a close up - those dots look like they will work a good long time, although other's have been more creative with fabric paint!
That is it for photos today. Will post a picture of the new fuzzies when they have dried. I see a lot of traffic here coming from the Fuzzy Feet Knitalong page - thanks for dropping by!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

More Fuzzy Feet!

So I got carried away with the whole fuzzy feet idea since the first pair came out so nicely. I went to the fabric store and bought a sheet of Jiffy-Grip - white flannel fabric with rubber dots applied to it in nice even rows. The owner of my new favorite LYS says that she prefers the whole paint on the soles with fabric paint thing because it was more creative, but my theory is, when the Jiffy Grip wears out I can replace it quickly. And the extra layer of fabric might make the soles wear longer. I like to sew so no harm done there, I already added it to the finished pair, and put them in the "finished items for holiday giving" box.

While I was at the LYS I bought a few skeins of Lamb's Pride worsted for the next two folks on my list. My neighbor who saw and coveted the first pair I made is a sucker for reds and oranges, so I bought one of each to make her a pair of feet. Now that the first one is knit, they have a sort of Gryffindor air about them, but I am hoping that calms down a bit when they are felted, and if not, well she likes Harry Potter too. Then a pair for me, by gosh, probably out of the Patons I made the first pair out of (in the interest of using up some of what's laying in the stash). Then I got some hot pink Lamb's Pride for the kid.

I know, no photos today is boring, but I will try and do some tomorrow. Kid had a dance competition today at the crack of dawn, so she is recovering from an adrenaline hangover, and I am just plain tired. Tomorrow I want to finish up the edits on the last article I have with a November deadline (yay me!), and maybe work on the big holiday round-up article I am doing for the knitting web site.

Just wanted to say hello - I am pleased by how many readers I seem to have acquired recently - thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Now that I have the hang of the pictures


These are the way cool socks I mentioned earlier that I finished last week. It is the free toes-up pattern that I found on Elann.com. I did most of the work on the planes to and from Finland I had to take a few weeks ago - that is some LONG hours of flying! 5 flights over the course of a week on that trip, the sock needles made it through security each time, yet one over-excited Finnair flight attendant wigged out and made me put them away. Thankfully that was the shortest part of the trip, and there was less than an hour left of the flight at that point.

I still haven't managed to make identical twins, only fraternal ones, but I still don't happen to care all that much either - close enough for me!

The stash, post stash-busting and organizing. I bought about half of those boxes on a trip to IKEA and my friend (who knows about my obsessive yarn habits) kept telling me I didn't have enough of them. Sadly, she was right, and I went back a second time to get more boxes. They are all pretty full, but not so stuffed that I can't find anything. Of course, I keep thinking I have all of the yarn in the stash, then I keep finding more - it's everywhere, it breeds! I originally wanted a more open system so I could peer at my heart's content at the more interesting skeins, but we have a moth problem here, so I think this is better.

I also finished a sweet chunky hooded sweater in pink and yellow for my daughter last night. I had knit all of the pieces last winter, then procrastinated about finishing it. I found it when I was going through all the yarn bags. She wore it to school today, she LOVES when I make something for her. I have all of the materials put away for a purple fuzzy scarf and a black chenille skirt to give her for Christmas, thankfully she doesn't read this blog so I can chat about it here.

I decided my fuzzy feet were still a wee bit too big now that they are completely dry, so this pair goes to Mom for Christmas, and the next pair are for me. My dear friend and neighbor, for whom I regularly knit Christmas presents saw them today and oohed and aaahed, so fuzzy feet go on her list now too.

I also found all of the materials for a very pretty Victorian style handbag that I forgot I had planned. I made it in red for said neighbor last year and she loved it. I enjoyed making it so much that when she gave me a yarn gift certificate for the LYS, I bought the same yarn in a black/gray colorway for myself. Then promptly forgot about it. I am feeling so virtuous about all the finishing I have been doing, that I think maybe I could start that soon, if only I remembered where I put the stupid pattern!

That's it for knitting news here, work is finally calming down, although I still have a few projects kicking around that need finishing. Maybe all of this knitting finishing will rub off in a good way onto my business pursuits!

MB

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Fuzzy Feet Tutorial, Part 2

More Fuzzy Feet Fotos...


A few photos of what it looks like as you are picking up the stitches along the heel flap, and just after you have picked up all the stitches along the heel flap.



The gusset decreases - look how the little buggers neatly line up on the diagonal. As mentioned in other posts, if you wing up with a lot more picked up stitches than the pattern called for, just keep decreasing until it comes out close to the number you started with.



Toe decreases, I put the stitches on two needles so I remember where to decrease, again, I just don't like to have to remember to count. I tried a Kitchener photo but just got a bunch of blur, so you will have to go elsewhere for that. Try the graphic on my web site http://www.knitting.allinfoabout.com/features/grafting.html



The Sock Monster, which positively makes my feet look dainty and girlish.




Post felting - that is my plastic shopping bag encased foot so they could mold to my feet. AS I have said elsewhere, I think I took them out a wee bit too soon and they could have been a hair smaller, but so it goes. I am going to make this pair non-slip and give them to my mom for Christmas. Then I get to make more for me, and my daughter wants some too now!

Happy FF-ing,

MBT


Monday, November 07, 2005

Promised Fuzzy Feet Tutorial, Part one!

I know, I know, I promised Fuzzy Feet instructions, but I had to go earn a living darn it - it happens to the best of us.

That said, since nothing I am trying to do today is going right, I just took a break, bit the bullet, and threw said Feet into the machine to felt. I think I may have taken them out a hair too early and they are a little bit big, but I am new to this felting thing, and I got nervous. They are on my feet as we speak, drying out. They have a lovely wet sheepy smell to them :-) And now I want to go make many more pair. My mother's feet are a half size larger than mine - maybe these need to be hers..... she just made me return her birthday gift because it was "too nice" and she would never wear it...sigh... she is 84, I really wish she would stop saving nice things for later, but what can you do. She asked me to return the cut velvet shawl I bought her and buy her a few nice cotton shirts instead!

So - here is the beginning of the photo tutorial



First photo - knitting the cuff. I am a DPN user, I had 15 stitches on each of two needles, 14 on the third, for 44 stitches. I made the cuff longer than the pattern called for, because I just felt like it. Felt, get it? Okay, I'll stop.

Photo Two - the monster heel flap. I put all 22 heel flap stitches on one DPN so I don't get confused, but that's just me. It looks ridiculously out of scale, but it is still right, so just keep going.

Photo Three - Short Rowing the Heel. Short rows are pretty easy once you get the first two laid in, because the knitting is going to tell you where to stop. See the obvious gap where my index finger is pointing? There are the stitches before and after the gap mentioned in the pattern that I am going to knit together. If you pay attention to those little gaps, you can stop counting, which is a good thing, as I always forget to count.


Photo Four, which I remembered to center, picking up along the heel flap. Okay, this photo isn't the clearest, but it isn't easy to pick up with one hand a shoot a camera with the other. Every row that you started with a Slip 1 will leave you with a larger than normal end stitch (there should be 12 if you did 24 rows on the heel flap). Just scootch the point of your needle in that stitch, catch the working yarn, pull it through, and put it on your needle. Easier than it sounds, I promise.

NOTE - the pattern said topick up 12, but that left too big a gap on either side for my taste, felting be darned, so I did 14. I know others (ehem, Crazy Aunt Purl) have picked up more than 12-14. DON"T SWEAT IT - it will all felt out. Patterns are an inspiration and a guideline, not the holy bible, you won't go to hell for changing things.

Okay, I am going to post this now to make sure it all works out - more to come, probably tonight.

Happy felting, mine are almost dry!

MBT

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

Under huge deadline pressure at the moment, although I did get one of my four articles due this week submitted this morning, I finally decided to bag it all and take a break this afternoon. Lovely fall day, kid out looting and pillaging with the neighbors, I settled on my front porch with the second of my Fuzzy Feet to knit while handing out candy.

At which point the next-door neighbor's lawn service decided to start their ultra loud leaf blowers and shoot the whole mood. They blew some leaves onto my lawn, and in response to my raised eyebrow, came over to blow them off. Well my daughter had decorated the tree on the property line with orange streamers, and some other kids had added some local color in the form of good old TP. The poor clueless lawn service guy brought his BIG OL' leaf blower over, where it promptly sucked up half the streamers! It was like a three stooges movie - instead of breaking, the orange crepe paper streamer started to...well..ply itself! To those of you who also spin, it was way overspun, to those of you who don't, well it's still funny. So the longest orange streamer now twists itself into a rope of streamer, and won't break off. The lawn service guy is now in a mechanically fueled tug of war with my tree. I laughed so hard that tears almost came out, who new that crepe paper was that tenacious? Eventually the machine won, the streamer snapped, and the lawn service gave up trying to be nice and moved on to the backyard.

Less trick-or-treaters than usual tonight, I guess that fact that it is a school night for the first time in a few years cut way back on the foot traffic. The good news, or the bad news depending on how you look at it, is that I didn't run out of candy for a change. Must get it out of the house sometime tomorrow though, or the consequences could be dire.

I really did take the photos for the Fuzzy Feet tutorial, as well as visual proof that my stash is organized for the first time in years, but haven't downloaded them all yet. Pix tomorrow if I can figure out how!

Happy Halloween all!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Fuzzy Feet Knitalong

Knitalong.... knit-a-long....knit-along......anyone know the correct spelling of this word? IS there a correct spelling for this word? Is it a word?

Anyway, I am about to go where I have never gone before and try and post a little button link...here goes....



Oh My Gosh - it works! I am so psyched! Maybe by the time this blog has an actual reader who isn't related to me I will know how to use all the clever little features!

Not much knitting news today other than finishing my first Fuzzy Foot. Can't wait to get the other one finished so I can try and felt them - never did that before.

I also need to make a Halloween costume for the kid. As usual I have all the supplies purchased, and it won't be ready until the last possible second. It doesn't even faze my daughter anymore, she just says "You will get it done in time, you always do." Nothing like unconditional faith.

I also have four articles to turn in on Tuesday of next week - did I mention I am a freelance writer? I hope my editors have the same unconditional faith in me that my daughter does.

Going to get some sleeeeeep, must not cast on second slipper, must not cast on second slipper, must not cast on ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

FInished Objects

First, don't you just love how the Google ads work? Since this blog is called Addicted to Alpaca, the very first Google ad was about heroin addiction.

My knitting goal this weekend was to get some items finished, ANY items finished that were already on the needles. I had way too many things going, and when I fall into that habit, I tend to just spin my wheels and work a short amount of time on a lot of different projects, and nothing is ever finished. So I finished a very cool pair of socks (that are for me) knit using the Toes-Up Chevron sock pattern on Elann.com, and a pair of chunky mittens for the Dulaan Project. For those of you who aren't already members of the Dulaan Brigade you can click here for more information http://www.fireprojects.org/dulaan.htm It is a wonderful charity that gets hand-knit items onto the people who need them in Mongolia, where the temperatures can reach 40 degrees below zero in the harsh winters. That makes five items I have in my Dulaan box - three hats, a sweater vest, and now a pair of mittens. I took the leftover mitten yarn and mixed it wil some other leftover chunky yardage and am now working on a scarf for the box. I dug out a 7/8 finished sweater I made for my daughter last year, threw it on her to make sure it still fit (growth spurts are a bitch for distractable knitters!), and just have to sew on one sleeve and finish one side seam, then she can wear it.

So of course, since I felt all virtuous for finishing things, I am in a frenzy of casting on. The aforementioned scarf for Dulaan, a pair of baby booties for a friend who is due soon, and a pair of Fuzzy Feet because I am hopelessy devoted to the blog stylings of Crazy Aunt Purl -http://www.crazyauntpurl.com - and wanted to join her amorphous knit-along. Of course, there are still the leftover projects from last year that I never finished, a linen shawl, humoungous color-blocked garter stitch scarf (note to self, READ THE FINISHED DIMENSIONS BEFORE YOU START THINGS!), and the recently started tesselating fish afghan. Since I am afraid to turn my heat on as I can only imagine what the heating prices will be this season, maybe I should finish the afghan first.

Will load some photos of all of these goodies just as soon as I figure out how to do it with the Blogger software.

Have a great day, all...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Rhinebeck

Like every other fiber obsessed person in the Northeast, I was at the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival last weekend.

I bought a lot of fiber, a gorgeous hand-crafted drop spindle, and a rigid heddle loom for my daughter the aspiring weaver. The fiber was a wonderful thing, as were all the cute little cleaned-up-for-non-farming-human-consumption fiber producing animals. We were particularly fond of a lovely soft white llama named Irish Cream.

But what I liked best about the weekend was meeting so many interesting people that shared (to varying degrees) my obsession. One woman started a conversation with me while my daughter was shopping for roving at Spirit Trail (my daughter also got a drop spindle, for a nine year old with no discernable income, she sure did have a lot of packages when we left...) The woman said to me "I hope you know what you are doing, teaching your little girl to love fiber - it's a lifelong addiction!" It made me laugh (and caused my daughter to ask me what addiction meant) but I realized the woman was right - soon I would have to make room in the house for someone else's stash, when there was barely room for mine!

I think it is interesting that the language of illegal drugs is the language of choice for the knitters I know...stash...addiction...one knitter I know refers to fiber dealers who are great salespeople as pushers. I could quit any time I wanted to though - really I could. I have my habit completely under control....