First Day of School 2014

Today was the first day of school here.  Bug started 4th grade and Fidget started Pre-K.   Both were pretty excited about starting a new adventure.

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Here Fidget is waiting outside his classroom before he could go in with his new teachers and classmates.  The school my boys attend is an awesome school.  It’s a Montessori school and they have combined classrooms for the Pre-K/K classes and the 1/2 classes.  This means Fidget will remain in the same class for 2 years, with the same teacher and half of the same kids.  They do a lot of hands on activities and they teach in a child led manner (despite the fact that NY is unfortunately a Common Core state).2014-09-04 08.14.52

 

I will say that Fidget was a bit hesitant and scared about starting something new, but he did it with no tears.  He did try to make not one, but two attempts to leave with me, but once he was significantly distracted finding his cubby he was fine.  When I picked him up at the end of the day he said he had fun, left his lunchbox in his cubby and was very distraught over the fact that he couldn’t bring his nap blankie, that I knit for him, home.  He doesn’t quite understand that he’ll get to see it again every school day.2014-07-22 19.45.56My day was a typical housework day and while I was sad that my baby isn’t a stay at home baby anymore I was glad to have the break and the quiet, even though it meant cleaning.  I had the sheets off the beds and into the washer before we left for school, had them hung up on the line outside just after getting home, opened all the windows, had breakfast, put away some clean laundry, cleaned the living room and vacuumed it, put new sheets on the beds, cleaned one of the bathrooms, and gathered all the garbage and put it in the bin outside.  

After all that cleaning I did manage to do some crafting.  I’ve been spinning up some wool that I brought home from the Estes Park Wool Market this past June.  After attempting to dye it, I found that it’s rather sticky (almost like there is lanolin that won’t come out) and it felted with hardly any agitation.  Spinning it seemed to work better for it and I am actually liking how it came out – despite the fact the my fingers feel sticky whenever I touch it.  I finished the second bobbin of singles last night before bed and today I wound it into a center pull ball and made a 2 ply today, all while watching a couple episodes of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman on tv.  The first skein I made, which I re-skeined today, is 140 yrds of DK/sport weight (13-15WPI).  I also found that soaking the yarn in super hot water with dawn, followed by 2 hot water rinses and a conditioning rinse alleviated the sticky factor and the yarn is a bit softer.  It’s actually a very pretty ecru color…not sure if I’m going to bother dyeing it.  I think I might leave it plain.  

Not sure what tomorrow will bring…I need to clean the other bathroom, at the very least.  I’m hoping to do a little spinning.  I’m thinking of having a giveaway contest on my shop facebook page when I reach 300 likes.  I think I’m going to offer a skein of handspun faux cashmere as the prize.  If you are interested, hop on over to facebook and give my page a like – if you want to make sure you get in on the contest you can request notifications whenever I post anything…it will go directly into your notice bar.  🙂

 

 

More Going for the Gold

The Olympics are still going and so am I.  I’ve been dancing with my Works In Progress and going for gold in the Flying Camel Spin event.

Here are my recent Finished Objects.

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I’ve mentioned before that I joined the Downton Abbey Mystery Knit Along hosted by Jimmy Beans Wool in January.  This was my first ever mystery knit along AND my first ever shawl.  I’m not typically a shawl person, never having seen a use for one since my style is not usually something that would go well with a shawl (I’m a t-shirt and jeans girl and I just don’t see that working with shawls.)  Anyway, I thought it would be fun to go out of my comfort zone and try something new.  I figured, worse case, that if I didn’t like the finished shawl I could either gift it or sell it.  I still have to try it out myself, so I haven’t decided what will become of it, yet.  I will admit that I have found myself searching the ravelry pattern database for more shawls…I may have created a monster!  lol

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All blocked out.

I worked on this shawl every week, following the clues posted every Sunday (aka Downton Day).  There was some drama with a 2nd week clue having a flaw, and while mine didn’t come out as it should have (because of that error) I actually like how it ended up.  This shawl is definitely one of a kind!  I did add an extra repeat of the shell lace pattern at the bottom cause I really liked it and I wanted the shawl to be a bit wider.  I ended up using 833 yrds (approx) of DK weight Patons Superwash wool in Claret.  That is nearly 300 yrds more than called for, but, I learned about how row gauge can really affect yardage.  Next time I make a big project I’ll be sure to I check my row gauge, too.  Click on either of the shawl pictures to see it’s ravelry project page.

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As for the Flying Camel Spin, I worked up this gorgeous yarn.  It is made from a mix of Corriedale, Finn and Ramboulette wool, dyed in gorgeous shades of pink, purple, brown and silver.   The roving this was spun from was dyed by Spinner’s Hill in Bainbridge, NY and purchased at Trumpet Hill Fine Yarns in Albany.   As I was plying it, it kept reminding me of berries dipped in chocolate.  Yum!  It is approximately 133 yards, 3.4oz/97g and worsted weight (10wpi).  I started this Wednesday night at the once a month Open Spinning at Trumpet Hill and finished plying it last night around 11 (and washed, spun out and hung to dry) while we were having our game night group over.

I still have one more WIP that I’ve been struggling with…my sock hop sweater.  I was good and picked it back up, sewing the the shoulders and starting the neckline…The only thing is now that I’ve knit several inches I’ve decided I don’t like how the front looks (one side flows well from the ribbed pattern, and the other looks awful.)  I think I might have to frog that portion and start again…I’m not sure I’ll find time to rip it back, knit it again and sew the arms by Sunday…)  Guess we’ll see…At least I’m happy having finished my socks, shawl and spun a yarn.

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…

WIP Wednesday – Hexes, Socks & Lima Beans

I’ve been busy with crafting over the last couple weeks.  I’ve been plugging away at the twin size Spring Flowers hexagon blanket.  I realized that my original calculation were slightly off.  The blanket is now the proper width (12 rows), but I’m going to need many more hexes than I figured to bring it to the proper length.  I’m currently at 130 hexes completed and crocheted together.  I figure that I need a total of 205 hexes to bring it to bedspread length.  I finished 15 hexes in the past couple days and have completed through the 2nd round on 10 more.  I haven’t been given a deadline to finish by, but I’m hoping to get it done before the end of the month.  I’ve only been working on it for 2 months now, which isn’t too bad considering the size of the project.

Here is an updated picture of it.  I’ve also been granted permission from the pattern creator to make blankets and sell them in my Etsy shop.  So, a big shout out and thank you to Jessie from Jessie at Home for creating a beautiful pattern!

Spring Flowers Hexagon Blanket

Since I finished 3 bibs for Sarandipity Handmade and I like to have a little traveling project with me, especially when I am sitting down at the school waiting for Bug to be released, (those bibs were great for that) I started on another pair of socks for myself for Mother’s Day.  I’m following the same vanilla pattern that I used for the other 2 pairs I made, but I’m doing my heel and toe a bit differently, following a pattern in a book I borrowed from the library.

And, I’ve realized that my diet is still a work in progress, too.  I’ve been doing so well, nearly another month soy free without an issue until Monday night when I ate lima beans with dinner.  According to some research  lima beans (as well as other legumes) can trigger the same effect if you have an issue with soy.  So, until then I’m avoiding lima beans.  I’m thankful I don’t have issue with green beans, kidney beans or peas, cause we eat those all the time.

I’ve got so many ideas floating around in my head, but I’m hoping to finish one of the 2 projects I’ve got going before starting more…though I’m sure I’ll probably pick up another small project before all is said and done…that’s just how I am!  lol

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!

WIP Wednesday – Sweaters!

I’ve been busy knitting lately.  I’ve got 2 projects currently on the needles and finished a 3rd (a hat) this past weekend for one of the ladies at my library knitting group.  I’ll try to remember to post about that on Friday (FO Friday.)
The first project I’ve been working on is my 2nd Hooded Cardigan in charcoal grey.  I’m approximately 95% done with it and just have to get through the sewing part…which is the part I hate the most!  Last night, at my weekly craft night, I finished seaming up the front button area and the corresponding pocket area and started stitching together the button holes.  I still have to finish the last 2 button holes, sew on the buttons and knit the pocket tops.  After that I’ve just got to weave in the loose ends and wash it and I can wear it.  🙂  Hopefully I’ll have it finished by this weekend.Here’s a picture of the almost finished product.

Charcoal Grey Hoodie (aka the Twilight hoodie!)

I also cast on another project on Monday since I was in the sewing stages of the cardigan and missed the knitting.  I decided that Fidget needed a wearable (aside from the hats that I’ve made him).  I was going through some of my friends projects on Ravelry and stumbled across the Coastal Stripes Pullover pattern.  It looked like a simple little sweater that I could use some of my leftover yarn from previous projects for.  I pulled out a couple skeins of black wool-ease leftover from my Tubey sweater and some half skeins of red and blue Plymouth Encore Worsted I had leftover from Bug’s Super Shirt.

Coastal Stripes Pullover

So far this little sweater has been super easy.  The first day I finished the back panel and the first 9 inches of the front.  I finished up the remainder of the front while Fidget napped and Bug and I watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone that we borrowed from the library.  We’ve been reading the Harry Potter series at bedtime and are now about halfway through the 3rd books.  Later, I finished one sleeve and cast on the 2nd one at Craft Night last night.  I’ve only got a couple more inches to go on the 2nd sleeve then I get to start sewing it together and finish the neckline.  I’ve done the sleeve edges in blue, but I think I’m going to do the neckline in the red.  I’m hoping that it turns out as cute as I’m picturing and I hope that Fidget will wear it and that it fits!

Hats Off!

At the beginning of the month one of my Craft Night friends and her sister-in-law planned a trip to a LYS called Common Thread Saratoga.  Carole (the sis-in-law) found this yarn shop in Saratoga, NY and thought it was different and knowing my friends yarn crafting habits, thought bringing her up there to buy her birthday and Christmas presents would be fun.  I tagged along in the hopes of finding some yummy yarn.  I can count the time I’ve used the really expensive and awesome yarns on well one finger!…pretty much all of the yarn in my stash is acrylic or wool/acrylic combined.  Not that there’s anything wrong with acrylic.  It’s great for items that need frequent washing  or things that are difficult to wash like baby blankets, large blankets and sweaters.  It’s just not yummy yarn!

While we were in the shop I fell in love with this Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Chunky (100% baby alpaca) yarn.  Oh. My. God!  This yarn is so soft and squishy and, like the clerk said, it’s like knitting with a cloud!  I didn’t have a particular pattern in mind when I set foot in the shop, but one of their display hats caught my eye and I was in love.  It was a bulky snowboarder earflap hat with braids.  It was exactly what I was looking for!  I ended up purchasing the pattern (at around $5.50) and 2 skeins of the alpaca yarn (at $22 a skein!) in a variegated green called Midsummer’s Night (CP25) that matches the bright green of my winter coat.  I’ve never bought yarn that cost that much…much less 2 skeins of it!  Thank goodness for credit cards! lol

I had to wait about a week before I could start on the hat for myself…I had to finish the project on my circulars before I could start anything new.  I have a set of Boye interchangeable circulars and I was using the smallest length for a scarf that is a Christmas presents for one of Bug’s teachers.  I also had to pick up a set of size 15 dpns and I ended up going up to the other LYS called Trumpet Hill because Joann’s (despite me having a 50% off coupon) just doesn’t carry needles that big.

I finished the scarf on Thursday the 8th (I’ll post about those Christmas presents later) and started the Snowboarder Hat (for Everyone) on Friday.  I was worried that I wasn’t going to have enough yarn since the pattern calls for 130 yards of super bulky yarn and together the 2 skeins of Misit Alpaca were only 110 yards and only bulky, so I would have to hold them together to get gauge.   I figured worse case scenario I’d go back up to Trumpet Hill to get a contrasting color in the baby alpaca they carry for the border and braids.  Turns out I had nothing to worry about.  The hat is such a quick knit and the alpaca was like knitting with a warm fuzzy cloud.  The only downside is that it shed quite a bit, but I didn’t mind!   I ended up making the braids holding the yarn single stranded rather than doubled and I’m sure that saved me a bit of yardage at the end.  I actually love how it came out!  I wish I had more of the yarn leftover so I could make a matching scarf or some mittens.  It’s the most expensive (and luxurious) hat I’ve ever owned.  Seriously, I’d never buy a hat that cost nearly $44 bucks in a store!  It cost as much as (if not more than) the 2 new pairs of jeans I bought last month!  I’m looking forward to wearing it every chance I get this winter!

I seriously loved the pattern so much that before I was done making mine, I bought yarn to make more and I’ve made it twice since!  Once for Bug and again for Fidget.  Bug's HatI picked up some Lion Brand Home Town USA yarn in Cinncinati Red and Oakland Black at Wal*Mart for less than $3 a skein when I had to buy a replacement Christmas tree stand for out 8 year old one that cracked.  Two Skeins of Red and one black was enough for me to make 2 hats and have enough left over to probably make one more child size one.  Bug’s hat is red with a black edging and red and black braids (that’s the one that’s pictured).  Fidget’s took some modification to make it sized down for an 18 month old, but I did it (the mods are written on my Rav project page) and it’s also red with black edging and has black braids (mostly so I can quickly tell which hat is which.)  Now if I can just get Fidget to keep it on his head when we go outside!  lol

Since pretty much everyone in my family has new hats, (except Darling Hubby who has a perfectly good earflap hat (not made by me!  GASP!)) I think it’s time to go through all the hats in storage and wash and donate the ones we really don’t need.  I know I have at least 2-3 hats and a couple scarves that I haven’t worn in forever…Guess it’s in with the new and out with the old.