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.  

 

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!

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!

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…