Shop/Craft Update – Let’s Get This Blog Going Again!

I really suck at this blogging thing…with the end of school and the summer having the boys home I just never found a quiet moment to sit and type.  I’ve had ideas floating through my brain for what I could write about, but never put my fingers to the keyboard.  With school starting back up this Thursday I’ll have the house to myself for almost 6 hours a day!  Yay for peace and quiet!  

I still have my normal housework to attend to, but I’m sure without someone underfoot or needing me to do something or help with something I can get it all done fairly quickly.  I also plan on working on my shop/stock, advertising, and my crafting/spinning.

I currently have 3 knitting projects in the works.  The first is a hat, following this Cabled Dad Hat pattern, worked in Premier Yarns Alpaca Dance.  It’s a lovely silver color (silver fog) and is super soft.  It has a slight aura to it as well.  I’m 4 repeats into the first chart.  I’m not sure if I’m going to keep it or not.  I haven’t decided just yet.

The second pattern I’m working on is for 4 year old Fidget.  I’m making him a new pair of socks.  I’d planned to get it done before he starts school – he’s going into Pre-k this year – but I just didn’t get it in progress in time.  I finished the first sock today and with a little luck I can get them finished by next week. 

The last thing I’m working on is a shawl.  I’m actually using my own handspun for this project.  It’s a mix of corriedale, finn, and rambouillet cross spun into a laceweight singles yarn.  I called the colorway Little House on the Prairie because it’s a brownish green mix that reminded me of the cabin and the fields from the old 1970’s TV show.  I just finished watching the 3rd season on dvd with the intention of watching the rest when I get around to checking them out from the library.  The shawl is knitting up very nicely, using this Swallowtail Shawl pattern.  I think I made a mistake in the last row that I worked, but thankfully I put in a lifeline strand so hopefully I won’t lose too much of my work when I “tink” it back.  

As for my shop I’ve done some new colorways that I’m really proud of.  My favorite so far is Laetiporus, which was inspired by an awesome shelf fungus that I found in the woods at my parents house.  You are probably thinking, “Eewww!  A Fungus!  That’s disgusting!”  That’s where I think you are wrong…just look at this amazing, bright color that was created by nature.  

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Here is the colorway that I created.  This is dyed on a Merino/Firestar blend (85/15), this bright colorway closely matches the inspiration photo and sparkles slightly like it’s dew covered!  Click the image for the etsy listing.

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I’ve also been spinning, too.  I recently finished up an amazing faux cashmere handspun from fiber that I dyed myself.  This bright colorway is called Neon Lights and is available in my Etsy Shop.  This has all the amazing softness of cashmere without the high ticket price of the real thing!  

A2014-08-01 11.27.25Well, it’s almost bedtime for the boys.  Hopefully this post won’t be the last one for another 5 months.  I really do have plans to update this blog more often.  I may even try to offer photo or video tutorials.  

 

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Leaving On A Jet Plane

So on Thursday, June 6th, I got up incredibly early (like 3am Eastern early!) and made my way to the airport to catch a flight from NY to Denver Colorado.  I’m not gonna lie, I was excited, scared, nervous and sad all rolled into a tight little bundle!  I was leaving Darling Hubby and my boys for nearly a week, boarding a plane all alone, switching planes in Chicago, hoping my luggage would do the same and excited to be visiting a completely new and beautiful state and staying with some awesome friends, their cats and meeting their cool friends.

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Sunset over Southwest

I snapped the above picture of my plane from my gate around 5:20am as the sun was peaking up over the horizon after saying good-by to my family and making my way into the airport to figure out what I had to do and where I had to go.  Thankfully, it was very easy to find where I needed to go and after checking my bag I made my way through security.  There was only a small line at 5am (my flight left at 6:25) so I was through pretty quickly and it was pretty painless, too.  I just hope that the woman I let go in front of me at the scanner was able to catch her flight.  She was running very late and was really thinking she was going to be left behind!  

I ended up sitting at the gate for a short period of time knitting on my Van Gohg sunflower socks.  I talked to a couple people about knitting and that calmed my nerves a bit.  I was still pretty scared to be getting on a plane alone.  I chose to sit by the window so I could see the clouds and was just behind the right wing.  It turns out that I wasn’t alone in my being a nervous flyer.  While the plane was not a full flight I did end up having an older couple sit in the row with me and the woman told me that her husband was also nervous.  I was actually really glad that I had another nervous flyer sitting with me because he talked my ear off and it really helped me to calm down.

Here are some pictures I snapped from my seat at the wing – and no, I didn’t see anything on the wing!  lol  I saw all sorts of different cloud types from puffy clouds to smooth clouds that went from horizon to horizon and seemed to curve around the earth…

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At take off, my seatmates and I joked about the seat back pocket insert, in particular the “bracing position.”  It turns out that we needed the bracing position as we landed at Midway in Chicago.  lol  I think the pilot slammed on the brakes, tossed out the anchor and let out the parachute.  My seatmates were also heading to Denver, but unfortunately were were not scheduled to be on the same plane.  Their plane left shortly after we landed and I had about an hours worth of wait time, which ended up being extended because the flight crew for our plane had just come in on another flight, had to disembark that plane and then make their way to ours and ready our plane for take off.  We left about 45 minutes later than scheduled, but the way I look at it, I got extra knitting time in.  

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Blues Brothers Statues in Midway

I’m actually glad that the flights happened in the order they did and not reversed.  My flight from Chicago to Denver was actually pretty boring and lonely and had I not had my mind taken off of everything during the first flight I think I would have been more nervous than I was switching planes and starting again.  Midway to Denver was a full flight, so I was guaranteed to have seatmates.  I again had a window seat, taken so I could hopefully see the mountains as we came into Colorado, and the guy on the aisle seat looked like he was ready to puke and drank ginger ale the whole flight, and the 20 something girl that sat in the middle seat was the absolute last person on the plane, never said word one to either of us, popped her headphones in and sat scowling the entire time.  I’m thankful I had my I-pod, knitting and the view to keep my occupied.

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While I was able to see the Rocky Mountains as we flew toward the airport, I wasn’t able to get any good pictures because they made us shut down all electronics for landing.  It was ok because I knew I’d have ample opportunity to see and take some amazing pictures.

The landing into Denver wasn’t as bad as the landing into Midway, thankfully, and despite getting such a late start out of Chicago, we landed 5 minutes early.  I think we had some good tailwinds.  I was a bit worried about finding my way around Denver International as it’s a much bigger airport than the Albany International that I left from.  I had no trouble taking the underground train from Gate C into baggage claim and was easily able to find where I needed to go and quickly spotted Michael waiting for me at the top of the escalator.  

I then met up with Barbara who was waiting for me over at Baggage Claim.  My bag made it, too!  lol  It was a good reunion all around!  lol

Now, by this point I was starving.  I didn’t eat much prior to leaving and really only had a banana and a few grapes and some complementary OJ – I couldn’t eat the crackers they gave us on the plane and decided to save the little peanut packs for the kids back home.

Since it was almost lunchtime (Colorado time) we stopped at this awesome restaurant called the White Chocolate Cafe.  Now, I’m soy free and Barbara and Michael are soy and gluten free, so to make things easier for the week, I decided to add gluten free to my diet as well.  I really have to commend the WCC on the way they handle allergies.  Instead of assuming that something was soy free, the waitress checked the ingredients herself to discover an unsafe item.  And, the food was amazing!

After lunch we made our way straight to the house (my home for the next 6 day) so I could settle in and meet the kitties.

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Yellow Kitty – Duck

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Serra (who, for the duration of my stay was referred to as Serra Kitty – I was referred to as Sara Hooman.)

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Sweet Wesley

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Beautiful Princess Buttercup

We made a trip out to Whole Foods later to get some stuff for dinner and ended up staying up way too late talking and playing games (it wasn’t until like 1am EST that I finally crawled into bed.)  We had a pretty easy day on Friday, so it wasn’t a big deal that I didn’t get into bed early.  Though, I think Barbara and Michael were pretty impressed at the fact that I was still going pretty strong after being awake for over 20 hours! lol

I’ll post about Friday’s trip into Boulder to visit Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins and tour the Schacht Spinning Wheel Factory.

I Love Knitting Socks

I have a new knitting love!  I love knitting socks!  I love that they are easily transportable.  I love that I can work on them standing up while just waiting in line to pass the time or at the park while my son plays.  I love that (once you get the hang of it) they are a quick, almost instant gratification, project.

Ok, I’ll admit that I’ve only completed one pair of socks, but I’m already hooked!  They are so comfy and better than those mass produced, machine made, store bought socks.  Yes, they are a bit more expensive (the yarn alone for my first pair cost me probably around 7 bucks and I could probably get 3 pairs of machine made socks from the store for that price), but they are handmade and well worth it!  I wore mine all afternoon yesterday!  I went out Saturday and picked up some more sock yarn (some of the good stuff like Heritage Paints and Berroco Sox) and I picked up some more of the Deborah Norville Collection’s Serenity Sock yarn in red to work on a second pair that I’ll, if they come out well, give to my mom for Christmas or maybe even Mother’s Day.  I started them during the last half hour of The Walking Dead last night.  lol

So, here’s a picture of my first sock.  Pretty, isn’t it?

I made them out of Deborah Norville’s Serenity Sock yarn in a colorway called Chili that I initially bought with plans to attempt to crochet socks, but I just wasn’t feeling it.  Socks, in my opinion have to be knit. Oh, and everyone was so surprised that my first pair of socks had stripes.  They thought I was changing colors!  I had to admit I was using “cheater yarn” that makes the stripes for you.  lol

I started with a cuff down sock rather than toe up since I wasn’t comfortable with the magic loop method of knitting, using circular needles.  I just can’t get the hang of it.  I probably just need more practice.  I do have the book Two at a Time Toes Up Socks, so now that I know how the whole sock process works I may have to give it another go.

Since I did cuff down, I had to learn, what I thought of initially as a daunting task, the kitchener stitch.  After looking on You Tube, I found a great video (Kelly’s Sock Class – Kitchener Stitch) that walked me through the whole process and it was amazing just how stupidly simple it is.  There’s nothing scary about it at all!  I made a couple mistakes my first time doing it, but it’s not noticeable unless you are looking directly at the toe of my first sock and lets face it, who’s going to see it when I have my foot in a shoe?

I’m gonna admit that they aren’t perfect and I made a few mistakes that I had to fix, like tinking 10 rows at the gusset where I misread the pattern and forgot to knit every other row (I did my decrease rows one after the other – oops!)  The second sock is a smidgen longer than the first and has a slight pink tip, where the first doesn’t – oh well.  I made sure I measured multiple times to make sure they’d be the same length, but apparently my measuring skills need some work.  lol  I slid the first sock on my foot and measured, but didn’t do that for the 2nd…Guess that will probably be my go to technique when making socks for myself.   The first sock has a couple stitches on the toe where I purled off when I should have knitted off for the kitchener stitch…but, what are you gonna do?

So, there you have it, my new knitting love!  I hope to keep making more socks as they are fun to make…I just hope I don’t start having “second sock syndrome!”  That would be the pits!