Happy First Day of Spring

Spring is finally here, though you wouldn’t really know it by looking outside.  It’s very dark and dreary with a fine rain falling on the layer of sleet that fell yesterday.  Hopefully, the weather will start improving, the buds will start popping up and Mother Nature will show her true beauty in all the flowers and green leaves.  I’m looking forward to the snow going away!

I’m also hoping that I won’t need all the winter woolies anymore.  Though, that will make me kinda sad as I just finished a pair of fingered gloves for myself.  I’m loving the colors (black, red, green with a hint of white and blue) and they match my winter coat and hat perfectly (well, the black and bright green do anyway), but I’m kinda sad that while I made them to fit me perfectly, they have stretched a bit with wearing them a few times and now feel like they are floating on my hands.  They are still warm, though and I’ll either keep them or give them to Darling Hubby if he’d like them.  I was considering making them with a mitten flap to go over the fingers, but I don’t think I have enough yardage leftover to do both flaps…Oh well.

I haven’t been spinning since the Ravellenics ended in February (geeze, that was a month ago almost!).  I went to Open Spinning at the LYS last night and finished up the 2nd skein of my X’s and O’s worsted weight Navajo plied yarn.  It felt good to finish something.  I finally washed the first skein of X’s and O’s and the skein of Ten and Tardis singles that I spun.  Now I’ve got 3 skeins of yarn drying.  I’m hoping the weather improves so I can get out on the porch to photograph.  The dark and dreary light of today isn’t great for photography…and my attempt at making my own light box was a failure.  😦  Sometimes I’m crafty, but this wasn’t one of those times!

Oh, and I have added one new project to my WIP list.  Little Fidget will be turning 4 in May and along with that he has the opportunity to go to pre-k.  I’ve already put his application in for the district pre-k lottery which will be drawn on 4-11-14.  We should hear if he got into our chosen school by the following week.  We’re really hoping that he gets into the same school his brother currently attends.  It would make life so much easier!  lol  Anyway, since school starts in 6 months I figured that would give me plenty of time to work on a “nap blanket” like I made for Bug when he went to Pre-k.  Fidget decided that he wanted something simpler than the Wheels on the Bus blanket I’d made for Bug.  In a way I’m grateful that he chose something simpler.  While the Wheels on the Bus was a cute blanket it was a lot of work and after a school year of weekly washing it didn’t hold up as well as I’d have liked. Plus, sewing all those 2 inch squares together was a right royal pain!  lol

Fidget chose a red blanket at first, then chose a red and black blanket.  I fell in love with the Moderne Baby Blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting so we scoured Ravelry together to find red and black blankets to give us ideas for 2 more colors.  We settled on black, red, white and dark grey.  So far I’m on block 6 and only messed up once, putting block 4 in the wrong place, but it will work out in the end I think with a bit of fudging.

Sadly, I don’t have any new photos.  Hopefully I’ll get something this week to share.  It’s weird, but I don’t like talking about my craft projects without photos to share!  Better get back to knitting.  Happy Spring, Everyone!

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Crossing the Finish Line

Last week I’d posted about Ravellenics on Ravelry.  I’d joined the Sock Hockey event with plans to create a pair of socks using the yarn Darling Hubby brought back from Northern England.  Well, I’m happy to report that after going for the gold for a week I finally crossed the finish line this morning (after shoveling out from the Valentine’s Snowpocalypse of 2014!)

We got at least a foot of snow, but since I’m not 100% sure of that exact measurement I’ll just say we got a metric butt ton of snow.  I say this because I shoveled it…not once, but twice.  I wouldn’t have had to shovel this morning except the half of the snow blower auger broke (a shear pin broke off and was lodged in the bar) and it took Darling Hubby 2 hours to do a passable job on the driveway (and I say passable as you could pass the car from one end to the other and get out into the street) and most of the day to fix the auger (he even stayed home from work to get it done since he didn’t know when the plows were going to go back through refilling the driveway.)  We are under a state of emergency now so all cars need to be on the other side of the street so the plows can come fill us back in sometime between 8pm tonight and 8pm tomorrow.  I’m sure it will be right before I need to leave to go to the grocery store…

Anyway, here are my Vanilla Latte Socks in Wendy Roam Fusion sock yarn in the colorway Moor.  I haven’t worn them yet, but I can tell they are going to be warm.  I think I’ll wear them tomorrow.

Ravellenics Socks

IMG_4928

As for the pattern I did enjoy it.  My standard go to sock pattern is just a plain vanilla one with a short row heel and a standard toe.  I did a little combining of that pattern with this to come up with something I love.  I used the ribbed pattern for the cuff and the top of the foot, the short row heel from my vanilla pattern and the wedge toe from the latte pattern.  I have to say I really enjoyed that toe.  I think I might start using it for other socks.

The ribbed pattern does spice up a plain vanilla sock, even with variegated yarns like this one (I usually don’t do fancy patterns because I love striped socks and funky variegated yarns and this is just enough pattern to be noticeable and not so fancy that it is either lost in the color or takes away from it.)  It’s mindless enough that I can work on it while holding a conversation or watching TV, but gives me just a bit of a brain workout in that I have to occasionally count and take note of what row I’m on.  It was also nice that I could make the 2nd sock exactly the same as the first by counting the number of purl repeats.

As for my other entries, I’ve been plugging along.  I worked through this weeks intermediate clues for the Downton Abbey Shawl Mystery Knit-along hosted by Jimmy Beans Wool.  I believe we will get the final week’s clues with enough time to finish it before the 23rd.  It only took me a couple days to do the 6 rows for this week, so I’m hopeful.  I only hope I can make the time since my oldest will be off from school next week for winter break and when both he and his little brother are in the room together…nothing can get done!  lol

I also found some time today to work on my sock hop sweater.  I sewed the shoulders together and picked up the stitches for the turtleneck.  I have to work 6 inches and bind off and then sew on the sleeves.  I have hope that I can get that done this week, too.  I’m kinda disappointed in how the shoulders look because my color change happened right at the bind off for the back and it made a single “row” of teal on the black so when I sewed them together it was just noticeable.  More so on one shoulder than the other.  Hopefully it will be on the top and not so noticeable to everyone else.  Fingers crossed.

As for the Olympics themselves, I haven’t watched very much.  I caught a bit at Craft Night last Monday and watched a little at home on Tuesday, but that is pretty much it.

So, there you have it.  I’ve been plugging away on my knitting and I even blogged twice in 2 weeks!  I’m hoping to keep the blogging up, so be prepared for random ramblings from me.  I know I can be a bit wordy!

Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival 2012

Yesterday was an adventure into all things fibery!  A couple members from the Frequent Fibers Club at my local library went for a drive to Rhinebeck, NY for the annual Sheep and Wool Festival.

Let me tell you there was so much to see, touch and even smell!  There were over 260 vendors, not counting the food.  That’s barns and barns full of yarn, wool, animals,  needles & hooks, spindles, hats, scarves, shawls, patterns, books and of course people…OMG I could go on and on…It was serious sensory overload.

This is just a sample of  the yarn.,  Every where you turned there were walls, baskets, bins, and tables full of yarns in all colors of the rainbow and every size you could think of.

Lots and Lots of Pretty Yarn!

We arrived at opening and immediately started shopping.   I decided before going that I wanted to try my hand at spinning my own yarn.  My friend Barbara who spins yarn for her online shop Kitty Mine Crafts makes awesome things and because of that I was bitten by the bug!   Rather than shell out a ton of money on a spinning wheel, I decided to try a drop spindle…I’d been advised to look for a top whirl one, but I’d viewed a video on Knit Picks with someone using a funky looking crossed one, so I’d already had that in mind.  In the first building, I ran across this kilted guy using that same funky looking drop spindle I’d seen in the video.

Kilted Spinner

He told me it was a Jenkins brand drop spindle and that I might find one a couple barns over.  Another pro to this particular spindle, which I later learned is called a Turkish drop spindle, is that if you wrap the newly spun yarn around the tines a certain way you can create a center pull ball!  Sweet!  My search was on.

In the second barn we found it filled with llamas, alpacas, sheep, their owners, and respective shops.  Here are some pictures of the more interesting specimens.

This guy was not happy about being the center of attention…no siree bob!  He gave everyone who got near his stall the stink eye.  I was just waiting for the spit to fly.

Unhappy Camper

This guy was pretty unusual.  He has a wicked under bite.  It just goes to show that you don’t have to have a pretty face to have pretty fleece!

Under bite!

These little sheep were playing shy.  They wouldn’t let me get a good shot of them.  I think the little brown one was too embarrassed to his his picture taken.

In one of the later rows of vendors we stumbled across a shop called Still River Mill.  They sold interesting yarns like yakaboo (combination of yak and bamboo yarn) and dog hair yarn.  I contemplated the yakaboo yarn, but decided it was too thin to make a hat (I was thinking something for Darling Hubby since it was a nice gray color) and ended up picking up a dark blue skein of the Seven Sammy’s dog hair yarn.  It’s made from the hair from a Samoyed sled dog team from Cambridge, VT.  It has a beautiful halo effect after handling and I’m partial to Samoyeds having had a big white one named Sheba growing up.  Her long hair would have been perfect for spinning.

Also around that area we came across this cute little knitted monster.  I couldn’t resist taking a picture of him.

Eventually I did find the spindle I was looking for.  It was indeed a Jenkins brand (hand made by Ed Jenkins) Turkish drop spindle, made from purpleheart at 2.22 oz.  I’m excited to give it a try.  I know I’m not going to be perfect right out of the gate, but a girl can hope!  Maybe I’ll take to it like I did to knitting.  The best thing about that purchase was the other customers there that I spoke with.  One was adamant about using a bottom or turkish spindle while her friend was all about the top.  They both were really helpful in giving me pros and cons about the different spindles and I think I made the right choice.  The one woman, Elizabeth, even gave me her card and told me to shoot her an email if I got stuck.

Now, before I could even think about trying out my new purchase, I had to get some fiber to practice with.  Having not purchased fiber before it was a bit overwhelming, to be honest.  There were so many different colors, feels, and blends…I really didn’t know where to start.  Barbara told me to look for something with a long fiber and I did my best…I ended up getting a 2oz bag of a mix of merino from Loop Fiber Studio in a gorgeous sea treasure colorway.  It’s got lots of greens and blues and a bit of sparkle.  I also found a merino and silk mix, from another shop that sadly I missed the name of, that is so soft!  I do remember they also had adorable 8 week old bunnies for sale.  They were so sweet!…Not that I need a rabbit!  lol  I fell in love with the black, blues and silver of this 2oz of dyed wool.  I know this will be rather difficult to work with out of the gate, but I’m holding on to it for when I get better.  It was just too beautiful to resist.  I think it will make a gorgeous yarn!

Aside from knitted monsters we came across a knitted critter that looked like Eeyore and a knitted moose. Both were too cute to resist taking a picture of.

 

Other things we saw were a demonstration of needle felting and of someone using a circular sock knitting machine.  Personally, I think hand knitting is more fun!  lol

Circular Sock Knitting Machine

There was even this funky contraption below.  It was a spinning wheel created by this woman’s husband.  It was called a pendulum spinning wheel…it was a crazy looking thing.  Basically it had this super long arm that had a spindle at the very end that was spun around by the wheel.  It seemed to me to be a version of a drop spindle laid on its side.  Personally it seemed like there were many easier methods of spinning…and the amount of room that was needed was enormous…I don’t even think it would have fit in my living room!

Spinning Contraption

Later in the afternoon was the drop spindle contest.  There were approximately a dozen people signed up to see how much yarn they could spin in 10 minutes.

Drop Spindle Contest

It was interesting to see each person’s method of spinning.  Some preferred to sit, while other preferred to stand.

Drop Spindle Contest

Some preferred to drape their roving over their hands and others over their shoulders.  A few, along the back wall, were able to continue a full conversation while spinning…they didn’t even seem under pressure.  lol

Drop Spindle Contest

Some gave their spindle a quick flick with their hand to get momentum while other preferred to spin it down their leg.  I was a bit disappointed to only see top whirl spindles as I was hoping to see all the different kinds in action, but it did give me an appreciation for both types of spindles.  The winner of the contest was able to spin 16 yards of yarn in 10 minutes and there was a tie for 2nd place with I think about 13 yards.  I hope that I can one day be that good.  I also got to see this thing called the niddy noddy in action.  Apparently that is how you can wind your spun yarn into a skein and know how many yards you made.  I may have to get one in the future…lol

And the day wouldn’t be complete without a picture of me wearing a big fluffy, fuzzy wool hat.  I think it suits me!  lol

Here are a couple pictures of some of the other random animals that really had nothing to do with fiber arts…they were just there to keep the kids entertained in the kids zone  🙂  The red kangaroo seemed to be posing…He was sexy and he knew it…lol

This was a ginormous bunny.  I think it was a Flemmish Giant.  He was also in with a big tortoise.

Overall we had a fun day with beautiful fall weather.  We couldn’t have asked for a better day, especially at the end of October.  The sun was shining, the weather was warm and not too humid.  There was a ton to see and by the end of the day we were all a little overwhelmed and a lot tired from all the walking.  I’m looking forward to maybe going again next year.  Maybe by then I’ll be an accomplished spinner and can broaden my horizons even further!  One can hope, right!

Socks, Socks and More Socks!

Once again I’ve been neglecting my blog in favor of spending time with my kids during the summer and crafting.  Just yesterday I took the boys to the Auntie Shannon’s house and we went swimming in her condo’s pool.  It was a lot of fun.  We actually haven’t been swimming all summer and both boys really enjoyed it.  Even Bug taught himself to go underwater and Fidget was enjoying jumping in when he was wearing his floaties.  Everyone was thoroughly tuckered out, including me.  I could barely focus on our roleplaying game last night and didn’t even have the focus to work on the vanilla pattern sock I’m currently working on.

We’ve also been spending a lot of time at our local library.  Every summer they have the “Summer Reading Program.”  Kids are encouraged to read so many minutes a week and they earn little prizes for their success.  The culmination is an ice cream social with a magician.   This summer the kids made dream pillows (Bug’s was a mouse in space wearing a space helmet so he didn’t eat his cheese house), worry dolls (Bug’s was a ninja), wind chimes using clay pots, and they even tasted jelly beans to vote on the best tasting.  Bug read over 25 hours!  He’s still reading, too, even though the program ended.  He’s got a stack of books that he personally checked out on his own library card!

On the crafting front, I’ve been mostly working on socks.  Since my last craft post I’ve finished 6 more pairs of sock, a Bullseye stuffy and got most of the Spring Flowers blanket done.  Here are some pictures of my complete projects.

These are a pair of belated birthday socks to myself.  For my birthday I went to the awesome LYS, Trumpet Hill, and picked out some sock yarn.  When I was there I was introduced by the wonderful staff, to Opal’s Van Gogh Sock yarn.  The awesome yarn designers took the colors from some of Van Gogh’s famous paintings and turned them into yummy yarns!  Since it was late in the month, Trumpet Hill was running low on colorways, so I picked out a skein of In Variation Nach.  I asked if there was a colorway of Starry Night, since it is one of my favorite Van Gogh paintings (we have a print hanging in our living room) and there was, but they didn’t have it in stock.  Fast forward a couple weeks and I saw on Facebook they’d received a new shipment of the Van Gogh yarn and when I asked, they said they had Starry Night!  Squee!  I rushed over that evening to pick up a skein and also came home with a skein of Vase with Sunflowers, too!  Of course I cast on the first sock as soon as I got home!

Van Gogh's Starry Night Socks

Van Gogh’s Starry Night Socks

Barbara (Knittin and Kittens) and I did a KAL (Knit Along) for these interestingly designed socks called Carousel Socks.  We both stumbled over this pattern on Pinterest and decided to give it a try together.  I’m glad we did.  These socks had very interesting construction and we ran into the same issues together, which made getting through the project a little easier.  We’ve both decided that while it was nice to learn a new technique, we probably won’t be making these again any time soon.  They are comfy, though and I do wear mine regularly.

Carousel Socks

Carousel Socks

Upon finishing the Carousel Socks, Barbara and I decided to venture into the world of Sideways Socks.  This was another pattern that had a unique construction.  We made some major modifications to the pattern after reading notes from others on Ravelry.  I’m glad we did because otherwise our socks would have come out being knee highs!  We also modified the heel to do increases and then decreases around the other side and Kitchener the seam at the top rather than cutting the yarn and rejoining.  I think we’re both agreed again that while it was nice to learn something new, we won’t be making these again any time soon!  lol

Sideways Socks

Sideways Socks

I’ve also been getting ready for a craft fair in September.  I’ve got some baby blankets and some baby bibs done, but want to have some socks as well.  I pulled out some worsted weight (thick yarn) and made these Broken Rib socks.  They will make great boot socks for someone (with a size 9 foot) here in the great northeast during the cold winter!  They are very thick, cushy and warm!

Broken Rib Socks

Broken Rib Socks

Another pair of socks for the craft fair are these Pink Camouflage socks.  These are a size 9/10.  I kind of like this colorway for myself, but I’m going to save them for selling.

Pink Camo Socks

Pink Camo Socks

I’ve also started on another pair of striped socks for the craft fair.  I have a feeling these are going to be identically striped socks…fingers crossed, anyway.  It’s the same yarn and colorway I used for the Carousel socks.  It’s called Harlequin.  I really like this color and stripes, so I may have to pick up some more to make myself a pair.  I currently plan to make this pair of socks a size 7/8 so I can have a variety of sizes.

Harlequin Socks

Harlequin Socks

I also finished a pair of socks for Darling Hubby.  His “Whether He Wants Them or Not” Socks.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture.  He’s worn them and they are ok.  He said they were a bit slippery and I noticed that they stretched a bit more than I thought.  I think that’s the yarn I used, which is a bit of a heavier sock/fingering weight.  It’s a learning experience.

I also finished a Bullseye amigurumi for Fidget.  He’s on a Toy Story kick.  He loves anything and everything to do with Buzz and Woody.  He has a big stuffed Woody and Buzz, little mini ones and even a talking Woody.  The one thing he didn’t have was Bullseye.  I searched Ravelry high and low for a pattern that I could turn into Bullseye and the wonderful April Draven made one called “Brown Pony” that was exactly what I’d been searching for.  Apparently it had to be renamed because apparently someone was unhappy with it’s former name.    I actually managed to whip this little guy out in 24 hours!

Woody and Bullseye

Ride Like the Wind, Bullseye!

I’ve also been working on the Spring Flowers blanket.  It’s been tough working on it since it’s been so hot…I just don’t want to sit under a hot blanket on an 80* day.  I’m getting to the finish line, though.  I’ve gotten most of the border done and then I need to weave in all those ends…I’m kinda dreading that!  lol

So, that’s it for now.  Kind of a big ol’ Finished Object Friday post…

FO Friday And A WIP Sneak Peek!

Considering at the beginning of this week I was shocked that it was only Tuesday I can’t believe that it’s already Friday!  I think it helped that Wednesday we got some snow.  We’ve had a very mild winter this year and I’m loving it!  The snow was predicted to start after noon, but it started a little after 11 while I was out buying yarn, of course..  We only got about 5 inches in our area.  It’s funny that this is only like the 2nd storm we’ve had since Halloween last year.  The first one, in January, we only got a couple inches and it didn’t last that long.  The weather is supposed to get warmer by Saturday (near 50*F), so our recent bit of snow probably won’t last long (and I’m actually ok with that!  lol)  My boys, however are gonna be kinda bummed.  We had a snow day today for Bug and after breakfast we bundled up and went out to play.  Fidget loved being dragged around in the sled.  I will say that snow is a good workout for me.  Before 8am I had the front walk, side walk and the bottom of the driveway shoveled out and all the running around in circles pulling both boys in the sled gave me some cardio!

Anyway, like I mentioned in my last post, I finished my Grey Hooded Cardigan.  Here are a couple pictures of it.  I really do love it!  It’s my new favorite!

And here’s one with the hood up.  I mentioned previously that with the first sweater I made with this pattern I had trouble with getting the front panel of the hood on easily and without a slight twist.  I felt it was unnecessarily difficult to sew on the extra piece.  Following the suggestions of fellow ravelers who endeavored to make this sweater, I picked up the stitches along the front of the hood (the same number as the final amount of rows for the front panel) and knit it to the width of the 20 stitch button area.  Then I inserted the cord and folded it over.  It doesn’t twist like the first one and gives it a slight flair, which is unique.

I don’t have a close up of the buttons, but they are a silver metal button that has what appears at first glance to be a Celtic design.  They really suit me and the sweater nicely!

I mentioned buying yarn, too.  I picked up some Caron One Pound skeins at Joann’s on Wednesday (Lavender Blue, Deep Violet, White, Sage Green, and Petal Pink) and I’m using some Rose and Cream from my stash.  I’ve started working on a Twin Sized Spring Flowers blanket for my friend Pammi’s daughter.  I’m really excited about it.  Here’s a sneak peek.  The pattern can be found here on Ravelry.

So far (in 2 days) I’ve made 7 white ringed hexagons and 7 cream ringed hexagons (only the white are pictured).  I really like how the cream looks…I’m leaving it up to Pammi whether we omit the white and go with the cream only or if we use both.  It would probably end up with diagonal stripes if we go with both, though that’s not a bad thing.

WIPS and FO’s – Sweaters

So, I’m still working on Fidget’s sweater.  I have only worked on it a bit here and there after posting last Wednesday.  I did manage to sew the one neck seam and pick up the stitches around the neckband and knit that for an inch or so, but other than that it’s just sat in the work bag.  I was hoping to get to it today (maybe during Fidget’s nap while watching Breaking Dawn part 1 that Darling Hubby bought me yesterday) but it’s looking like it might be tomorrow or this weekend.  lol  I’m hoping for a snow day tomorrow for Bug since we are supposed to get our first big snow of the season…I can’t believe that tomorrow will be the 1st of March and we are just now getting some snow that will last more than a few hours!    At least if March comes in like a LION it will go out like a LAMB, right?

On the other hand, I did pick up my hooded cardigan a couple times over the week.  I finished sewing the button holes Monday night and last night at Craft Night I sewed on the buttons.  It’s a bit bigger than the last hooded cardigan I made using the same pattern.  Mostly because I used heavier yarn and I didn’t do a proper “washed and hung” gauge swatch.  I just went with the needles called for on the pattern and my quickly knitted up, measured, and then frogged swatch.  It’s fine as I prefer my sweaters to be a little baggy.  It’s not like the sleeves are too long or anything!  lol

Hopefully by next week I’ll have another WIP to write about.  One of my fellow January Jubilee mommies approached me asking if I’d make a blanket for her 7 year old daughter.  I’m looking forward to the task.  I have to take some measurements of Bug’s twin bed and calculate dimensions and figure out how much yarn I’ll need.  I also have to find a pattern.  I’m thinking flowery hexagon granny squares in purples, pinks and white with some light green.  I’m excited to start it!

Donations Make You Feel Good

After my Hats Off post yesterday I went through all the hats, mittens, scarves I had in storage and pulled out a bunch to donate to those who need them.  In total I pulled out 3 hat/scarf sets, 3 scarves, 3 children’s hats, 4 adult hats and 3 pairs of mittens/gloves to be donated.  Many of those items were either knit or crocheted by myself or my mom…only a 4 pieces were store bought.  I washed and dried everything last night and Darling Hubby took the to the clothing drop box this morning.  Hopefully someone out there will be warm this winter here in NY!