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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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.

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

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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!

Ravellenics 2014!

I’m going for the gold!

Every year Ravelry, the knit and crochet community website, holds Ravellenics, an Olympic-like game that corresponds to the Winter (or Summer) Olympics.  This year we’re starting today, February 7th, and going til the 23rd.   There are different events you can be a part of, much like the various sports.  I’m thinking of doing Sock Hockey, WIP Dancing (Work in Progress) and possibly doing something with dyeing or spinning.

I’ve already got a project in progress, my Sock Hop Sweater, that I’ve been working on since December.  It really is in the final stages of being done.  I just have to sew the seams and pick up stitches to knit the neck.  The sewing part is what I dread, so I’ve set it on the back burner for a while.  Plus, I got a little discouraged when I didn’t finish it by my deadline of Christmas…then New Years…maybe this will be the final push I need to get it done.

As for Sock Hockey, I’m going to make a pair of Vanilla Latte Socks for myself using the Wendy Roam Fusion sock yarn that Darling Hubby brought back from England when he was there in December for 2 weeks on a business trip.  I’ve looked at some pictures of what other people have done with this particular colorway of yarn (it’s called Moor) and I think it’s going to knit up beautifully.  I’m also going to attempt a new cast on…one that I found via a spinner’s guild facebook page this morning.  It’s called Long Tail Tubular Cast On.  Click the link for a video tutorial.

I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to spin or dye or both, but that can happen later if I have time.  Most likely I will dye something for the shop.  I’ve got roving and sock yarn that are calling my name and I just bought some hand dyed roving last night from the LYS.  I don’t have to decide everything right now.  I’ve got a couple weeks and most, if not all, of my projects are small and quick ones.

We are to cast on no earlier than the opening ceremonies in Sochi, which I believe is today at 20:00 MSK and 11am EST…So, I think casting on around lunchtime is a safe bet.  Maybe after I do my laundry and clean up the living room I can wind my yarn and swatch…I think that is safe!

I hope everyone enjoys their crafting time and don’t forget to do your best and go for the gold!

The Blanket’s in the Mail!

Seven months ago, on February 29th, I started a project.  That project turned out to be a massive undertaking .

It wasn’t a difficult pattern, in fact it was a pretty awesome one.  Rather than traditional granny squares, these were hexes and the greatest thing about them was that the final round attached the hexes to each other rather than having to sew each one together.  It was great.

The downside of the project was that as I was attaching the hexes, the blanket grew and grew, as blankets should, but it became unwieldy to work on…I needed an area to spread out on the floor so I could see what hexes should go where (I was attempting to not put the same color hexes next to each other).  This meant that I could no longer work on  it in my car while waiting at the school…or easily take it to the library for knit group…and, I often had trouble finding a child/pet free zone at home  in which to work on it…this meant I didn’t have much time to devote to it.  Plus, when it got down to June, July and August, it was just TOO HOT to sit bundled up under a pile of blanket…especially when I had all those ends that needed to be woven in and trimmed off.

Spring Flowers Hexagon Blanket

I ended up putting it aside for those 3 hot summer months, save a few times when I knew I could work on a few hexes.  Now, that wouldn’t have been bad, except I wasn’t just making this project for myself.  I was asked to make this for the daughter of one of my fellow January Jubilees moms.   I didn’t have a deadline and I actually feel really terrible that it took so long for me to complete it.

It was exactly 7 months to the day I started when I did the last stitch of the border and wove in those last few danging ends.  I am proud of myself for finally finishing it.  Here’s a slideshow of the finished blanket that I just put in the mail today!

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I really hope that the recipient loves it!  I gave it a wash and a dry and it fluffed up and is so soft!  I think when I finish some more projects that are currently on the hook, I might try to make some smaller baby blanket versions to sell in my shop.

Now, I’m working on 3 projects that all have a Christmas deadline!  I’m kinda stressing about getting those done.  They are also granny square blankets, but thankfully for 2 of the blankets are using the same pattern.  The squares are bigger than the hexes and I’ve done the pattern once before (Butterfly of Hope Afghan – rav link), so it’s not that difficult.  I just need to make 48 squares for the one (I’m almost halfway done with this one) and 24 for the other.  The 3rd one is a log cabin throw and is a little more intensive than the others.  Lots of color changing and I have to pay attention cause each section is different…Fingers crossed that I can get all 3 done before Christmas!

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.

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!