Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never forget?

Ten years ago, I was in the middle of my morning homeschool routine with our then five and six year olds. A friend called me and told me I needed to turn on the television because she knew I wouldn't have it on at that time of day and that I wouldn't know what was happening. She was right. I turned it on just seconds before the second plane hit the World Trade Center.

I will never forget that moment. Or that day. How can I?

In some ways, it's hard to believe ten years have passed since the day we will always know as 9/11. Yet, for those families who suffered losses of loved ones, I'm sure it feels differently. Life as we knew it -- both here and abroad -- hasn't been the same since, and yet I admit...I'm kind of put off by the sentiment, "Never forget."

Like it would be possible to forget?

How can I forget the destruction I witnessed as it was happening? That isn't an image that leaves you.

How can I forget the aftermath, not just to our country, but personally? Had it not been for 9/11, I wouldn't have been awake as early as I was on 9/12, at which time I happened upon something that was going on within our family that turned out to be the beginning of many years of heartache. 9/12 was, in effect, my own personal 9/11, the aftermath of which has been no less tragic.

More recently, how can I forget that had it not been for 9/11, my oldest son most likely wouldn't have spent seven months in Afghanistan this year, where he sustained injuries when he was caught in an IED explosion? Thankfully, his injuries were not severe. But every time I see the scars on his face and left arm, I'll remember that day and the reason for it. How can I forget it?

Truthfully, I would like to be able to forget the pain that was wrought on 9/11, both directly and indirectly. Being told to not forget it seems to imply there is a benefit to holding on to that pain, to not letting go of the horror, to nurture it in some way so that it is always there. How is that at all helpful to anyone?

It may seem a matter of semantics, but I believe it would be more productive to encourage people to "always remember"...remember what happened. Learn from it. Make positive changes to try to avoid it in the future. Remember it enough that we can take something edifying from the ashes. But the pain, the anguish, the raw images? They'll never completely go away, even if we wanted them to. I don't think we need to nourish them beyond that.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hi! Remember me?

So, back in April when I moved the videocast over to it's own blog, I fully intended to leave this one up and to continue to blog here about my own personal knitting and fiber and life stuff. Heh. That worked well, eh?

Sorry.

Really didn't mean to leave you hanging like that.

If anyone is still checking in here after four months of radio silence, I'm happy to tell you that I am going to begin blogging here again, f'realz. Not sure if it is the impending change of seasons or what, but I'm feeling that old familiar feeling of wanting to blog again, to get back into a routine (in general, really, not just in the blogosphere). Not sure how often I'll be able to post, but I'll try to make it regular.

A few things that have been going on in my life since you heard from me last...

 I went to Spring Fling in April, where I got to hang out with Steve from Dramatic Knits...

 ...and with Stacy from Tempted Yarns.

 In June, the kids and I spent a week in Florida visiting my mom and stepdad...

 ...and spent lots of time on the beach and in the sun.

 ...and I endured the after effects of a really ill-fated decision to try platinum highlights (this was after they were "fixed" but still...ugh...)

 It got hot and we all had to find ways to stay cool. Muffin's favorite way has been to sprawl on the wood floors like this.

In July, I got a new tattoo!

 And at the beginning of August, we went to NC to welcome our oldest home from his seven months in Afghanistan!

Then I got to spend the next weekend back in NC, taking my grandson to visit with his dad for a few days. First time they saw each other since January. What a happy day!

And of course, there has been a lot of dyeing for the shop, and a LOT of knitting!


 Plain ribbed socks out of some of my hand-dyed yarn...

 Springtime Bandit out of some of my handspun...

 Flutter-by Socks out of a colorway called Tiny Umbrellas!

 The Arcadian Shawl, which was my first Camp Loopy project. I finished my second project, too, but the third has done me in. I'm a Camp Loopy drop out!

And I've done a bit of designing, too!

The Twistygoo hat...a free pattern downloadable on Ravelry. :)

I'll stop there. I've got more to share, but it can wait! I will say I have a couple more patterns in the works...a sock pattern that is out to test knitters right now, a shawl pattern I need to edit and get out to testers, and another sock pattern that I'm still knitting and writing up. So, yeay!

And we started our 12th homeschooling year on Monday, definitely a harbinger of fall!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

90% Knitting...has moved!

I've officially moved the 90% Knitting videocast over to the new Fibernymph Dye Works blog. So, each week's episode will now appear over there along with the show notes. Though I will not be updating this blog with the videocast any longer, I am going to leave it up and active, as I haven't yet decided if I will try to continue to use it for it's original purpose or not. Time will tell! :)

If you're looking for this week's 90% Knitting episode, though, here's the direct link for it. I'm having some issues with the sidebar stuff on the main page of the new blog (issues as in...it's no longer there...no idea why...it's on all the other pages, just not the main one, which is kind of a problem), but I'm hoping to get them worked out soon!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring is offically here...


First wash of the season out on the clothesline today! Can't wait to hang the sheets out later this week. :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

90% Knitting - Episode 11



This was Take (freakin') Four of recording today. Me and the camera...grrrr. I was far more put together and coherent in Take One and Two. Sigh.

Welcome to the new members of the 90% Knitting group on Ravelry, and thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers for our son in Afghanistan. He's all recovered from his injuries and has returned to his unit now.

ON THE NEEDLES:
  • 1. Moody Blues Socks, plain vanilla sock, my hand-dyed, stilllll on #2. US1/2.25mm needles.
  • 2. Autumn Dream Scarf, pattern by Wendy Johnson, yarn by Indie Dyer in Dragonfly. US6/4mm needles.
  • 3. Slouchy Cardigan, vaguely following Helene Roux' pattern from Greetings from Knit Cafe, Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy yarn, on US7s/4.5mm needles.
FINISHED OBJECTS:
ON THE WHEEL:
  • 1. Started the Knit Girllls SAL last Friday. Spun half of my Tempted fiber so far.
SHOP UPDATE:
  • 1. Lots of sock yarn this week, mostly 100% Merino. There will be some short skeins and a few new colorways featuring my new favorites shades of pink and purple.
  • 2. Two new colorways in the light fingering 535 yard skeins.
  • 3. I dyed up mini-striping yarns w/ coordinating semi-solids in worsted with monsters and mittens in mind.
  • 4. Featured spinning fiber this week is BFL.
  • 5. There will be more bags this week (I don't think I remembered to say this on the videocast!)
  • 6. This week's shop update will be on Friday between 6 - 7 p.m. eastern. Hoping to give people who work during the day a shot at catching the update!
RESOURCES/RECOMMENDATIONS:
10%:
  • 1. This week's Quickie KAL will be Susie's Reading Mitts, by Susie Rogers and Janelle Masters.
  • 2. Got the basement cleaned out enough that I can access my workout equipment again! Time to get busy! I feel so sluggy.
  • 3. I can't help it...I feel the urge for a new tattoo. Soon. Very soon. Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

90% Knitting - Episode 10




ON THE NEEDLES:
FINISHED OBJECTS:
  • Pedestrian Crossing Cowl, pattern by Melissa Tuttle Sibley, Malabrigo Rios in Indicetia
  • Bunny Nugget, pattern by Rebecca Danger, my hand-dyed
  • March YOSS Shamrockin' Socks - done only in the sense they are going to be frogged due to excessive stupidity and lack of common sense on my part. Total and utter sock FAIL. :(
ON THE WHEEL/IN THE DYE:
  • Still spinning the camel on the wheel while I wait to start the Knit Girllls SAL with the Tempted fiber on Friday.
  • Bought a fabulous new spindle - a Trindle - at Homespun Yarn Party.
  • Dyeing galore to try and restock the shop for this Friday's update. This week, there will be some worsted and fingering self-striping, some light fingering vareigated and some Falkland top, as well as a few more bags. The shop will update this week between 4-6 p.m. eastern, NOT 5-7 as I said in the videocast! Argh!
RESOURCES/RECOMMENDATIONS:
10%:
  • Happy birthday Lala/Laura from The Knit Girllls!
  • This month's Quickie KAL drawing winner is...announced in this segment of the videocast! ;)
  • This week's Quickie KAL pattern will be Preemie Baby Beanies by Karen Everitt. I chose this in support of Melissa/Meliabella's Sweet Caroline KAL on the His & Her's podcast group.
  • Homespun Yarn Party was so much fun last Sunday! Really enjoyed meeting those of you who introduced yourselves to me there! :)
  • Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who came and made opening day of the shop a huge success last Friday! I really appreciate each and every one of you!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thank you!

I want to say the biggest THANK YOU to everyone who visited the shop last Friday and who made a purchase. Your response to everything was incredible. I never expected to see so much sell out so quickly! You are amazing, and I am most thankful for you all!

We are busy skeining and dyeing and sewing so that we can restock the shop for you. My plan, at this point, is to do a shop update every Friday. The time will vary, but I will post it on the Etsy shop site a few days in advance so you'll know. I'll try to also post it in the blog. This week's update, on Friday, April 1 (no foolin'!) will go up between 4 - 6 p.m. eastern.

There was a month's worth of dyeing up in the shop when it opened, so for sure our weekly updates will not be nearly as large as what we originally had to offer, but I hope to have a nice variety of things every week. :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

90% Knitting - Episode 9



The big announcement this week is that the Fibernymph Dye Works Etsy shop will open on Friday, between noon and 2:00 p.m. eastern. Hope you stop by! You can sign up for the FDW Update Newsletter on the new blog. (I'm still updating the old blog too, but we'll be completely switched over in the new few weeks.)

ON THE NEEDLES:
ON THE WHEEL/IN THE DYE:
  • Finished spinning the BFL/Silk in Juniper colorway from Dyeabolical Yarns.
  • Re-started spinning the camel down I started a couple years ago from Anne Tullett's Luxury Natural Fibers.
  • Dyed a lot of self-striping sock yarn and variegated light fingering; also sewed up our first batch of bags.
RESOURCES/RECOMMENDATIONS:
  • CraftSanity Magazine - available in PDF or hard copy
  • Wendy Johnson's Japanese Garden Shawl. She's donating the profits from this pattern to the American Red Cross for relief efforts in Japan through the end of April. I'm offering a drawing for one copy of this pattern on the Rav group. Enter here.
  • I will also be donating any profits I make from now through the end of April from my two patterns on Ravelry, Call Before Digging and Twisted & Twining to relief efforts in Japan through Mission to the World.
10%:
  • This week's Quickie KAL will be Bunny Nuggets and/or Chubby Chirps, free patterns both from Rebecca Danger. Make either or make both and post pictures on the Rav thread to be entered in the monthly KAL drawing. First monthly KAL drawing will be on next week's episode.
  • Going to the Homespun Yarn Party on Sunday in Savage, MD!
  • I'm obsessed with Plants vs. Zombies on the iPad. Totally addictive!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Shop Announcement



I'm happy to announce that the Fibernymph Dye Works Etsy shop will be open for business as of this coming Friday, March 25, 2011. It will go live sometime between noon and 2:00 eastern (need to give myself some wiggle room in case there are any glitches!). Please stop by and check out all of the yarn, fiber and bags we've been working on for your enjoyment!

And just a reminder, my blog will soon be moving to it's new home, The Fibernymph Dye Works Blog. Until I post a final announcement about that, I'll still be updating this blog as well. But the new one, in addition to having a focus on the shop, will also be home to the 90% Knitting videocast as well as my regular (albeit scarce lately...sorry!) knitterly posts.

This is an exciting time for me. I can't remember the last time in life I've ever been this incredibly busy. Maybe back when I had newborns in the house? Setting up this business has very much been like having a newborn around! It's fairly all I think about when I'm awake. Well, that and laundry. But mostly the shop. ;)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

90% Knitting - Episode 8



This week my daughter Emma joins me for the videocast. We're also using a new camera, which hopefully will not throw in any technical surprises with regard to viewing it. Fingers crossed!

(Note that right around the 15 minute mark, there is a weird jump in what I'm saying...had to stop to deal with a phone call and had to stop recording for a few minutes, but that isn't overly obvious in the video, it just kind of looks like I randomly switched topics...I'm scattered, but not that scattered. LOL)

Welcome to all of the new members this week who introduced themselves on the 90% Knitting Rav board.

And thank you to ALL of you who watch 90% Knitting. There are a ton of knitting videocasts out right now, so I appreciate that you choose to use your valuable time watching mine. :)

The shawl I'm wearing is the Traveling Woman, pattern by Liz Abinate, which I made last year out of Fleece Artist Merino 2/6, Moss colorway.

ON THE NEEDLES:
FINISHED OBJECTS:
ON THE WHEEL:
  • Dyeabolical Yarns, BFL & Silk fiber, Juniper colorway. Since I forgot to bring the bobbins in for recording, here's a picture...the one on the left is the second quarter(ish) of the fiber. I'm so bad at dividing fiber equally.


  • Check out my special episode, Intro to Spinning.
  • If you'd like to see a good video plying demonstration, check out the one LynnZimm -- spinner extraordinaire! -- recorded last week.
  • Dyed four braids of 100% Merino top for the shop, including the one informally being referred to as the "Happy Hippy" colorway. ;) Did some yarn dyeing as well, though some was for specific people, so I didn't show it, and the rest of it was still damp.
DESIGN PROJECTS:
  • I'm teaching my first class at the new LYS this Saturday, Beginning Knitting. 
OOPS:
  • Dyeing oops...learned that dye doesn't always do what you think it will do under certain circumstances. So noted. :}
RESOURCES/RECOMMENDATIONS:
  • If you're looking for a drop spindle, check out the ones made by Highland Handmades. I've heard nothing but good things about them. Individual spindles and fibers are available in her shop now, but Heather is putting together more spinning kits for anyone just starting out or who'd like both a spindle and a bit of starting fiber. She said they'll be listed sometime this weekend.
10%:
  • Received my Knit Girllls SAL fiber in the mail from Tempted today! Yum!
  • The 90% Knitting Quickie KAL pattern for this week will be the Pedestrian Crossing Cowl by Melissa Tuttle Sibley of Keegan Lane Yarns. Perfect project for Malabrigo Rios, if you're still looking for a Malabrigo March project.
  • Made reservations for the hubby and I to go to Rhinebeck in October. Yeay!
  • New videocasts you might want to check out...I haven't had a chance to watch all of them yet, but you can't say there aren't viewing options! ;) (Rather than link them all here, you can find the links to them over to the right in the sidebar for Knitting Videocasts.)
    • A Chronic Knitter
    • Complex Textures
    • Dragonfly Soars
    • Knit Bytes
    • Needle Bound
    • Suezee Knits
    • The Expectant Knitter
    • This Cat Knits
  • I'm putting together a new blog to go along with the shop once it opens. Eventually, this blog will no longer be updated, and all new videocasts will be posted over on the Fibernymph Dye Works blog (the old ones have already been put up over there as well), along with shop news and my own knitting, spinning and fiber-related news. There is a button over there that will let you sign up to be on the FDW mailing list and receive updates about the shop a few times a month.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

90% Knitting - Intro to Spinning



Because there seemed to be a lot of interest on spinning on the 90% Knitting Ravelry group, especially from new spinners, today I recorded the first in a series of special episodes on spinning. This one mainly talks about the basics of what to know about fiber and your spinning tools before you actually get started spinning. As I said in the

The book I referred to is The Knitter's Book of Wool, by Clara Parkes. I realllly recommend this book to all knitters, but especially if you want to spin. You need to know your fibers!

I may have referred to the S & Z twists backwards. I said that spinning clockwise creates an S twist and spinning counterclockwise creates a Z twist. After I recorded, I thought about it and decided I had it backwards. So I looked it up in several different places. Depending on where you look, you'll see it both ways! Gah! Regardless, what is important to note is that if you spin clockwise, you must ply counterclockwise and vice versa. But I'll talk about that more when I get to the plying episode. :)

Thanks for watching!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

90% Knitting - Episode 7



So sorry for the horrible lighting in this episode! Between needing to have my ceiling light on and my unforunate choice of a hot pink shirt (never! again!), the colors in this episode are quite off at some parts. Blargh. :( 

Thank you to everyone who introduced themselves in the Ravelry group this week! We've over 200 members now, and to celebrate that, I did a couple of random drawings. Wombatknitter and flangel813 will both be receiving a little something direct from my stash!

ON THE NEEDLES:
FINISHED OBJECTS:
  • I got nuthin'.
ON THE WHEEL/IN THE DYE:
  • No spinning, but I dyed some roving and several skeins of self-striping worsted weight. Still testing out colorways for the shop! Shared some swatches of how they might knit up.
DESIGN PROJECTS:
  • Planning outlines for upcoming classes I'll be teaching at a LYS, Stormy Blue, this month and next.
OOPS:
  • Beret de Printemps mess...I should NOT knit lace while watching TV, no matter how simple the chart seems.
RESOURCES/RECOMMENDATIONS:
10%:
  • Stash enhancement - I fell down with a large Rios purchase from TLE's update last Monday. Also received a lovely skein of Wollmeise in the mail in a swap, and I won a TLE gift certificate as well as a skein of Bugga in Blue Lobster from the Spring Fling Feb. KAL.
  • This week's Ravelry group Quickie KAL pattern is the Mitered Leaf Shamrock, by Vickie Howell. Great way to knit a little something for St. Patrick's Day next week and use up some leftovers in the process!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

90% Knitting - Episode 6



ON THE NEEDLES:
  • Moody Blues socks, plain vanilla pattern, my hand-dyed self-striping sock yarn.
  • Will be casting on soon for Beret de Printemps (pattern by Jeni Chase) out of Malabrigo Silky Merino in Archangel and my March YOSS plain vanillas out of Keegan Lane Yarns Toasty Sock Big Footies in Shamrockin'.
FOs:
ON THE WHEEL/IN THE DYE:
  • Spinning Dyeabolical Yarns BFL/Silk top in Juniper on my wheel.
  • Spinning my hand-dyed Targhee-Mohair in Storm Clouds on my drop spindle.
  • Dyed three colorways of sportweight self-striping.
DESIGN PROJECTS:
  • Simple lace pattern for a class I'll be teaching next month.
OOPS:
  • A few minor dyeing mishaps, but it's all part of the learning process!
RESOURCES/RECOMMENDATIONS:
10%:
  • This week's Quickie KAL project in the 90% Knitting group on Rav will be the free Round Dishcloth pattern by Amy Carpenter. I'll be using Peaches & Cream yarn for mine, but any unmercerized cotton yarn will do!
  • 3191Q, the quarterly indie published magazine put out by the women behind 3191 Miles Apart web site. Fabulous photography, inspiring articles, projects and recipes. Love it! (Sorry, I was way off on the price. A year's subscription within the US is $58, individual issues $20, including shipping. I still think they're worth it.)
  • Anton Strout's Simon Canderous series of the urban fantasy genre. Good storytelling, fun sense of humor throughout. The fourth in the series, Dead Waters, just came out.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Shawls...I love shawls...

I added another shawl to my collection recently...

 This is Stephen West's Daybreak pattern....

I was inspired to make it after perusing my stash one day and coming upon the yarn leftover from the scarf I made for my mother-in-law last year, which you can see here. It's Three Irish Girls Kells Sport Merino, club colorways Lagoon and Arboretum.

I knew when I started that I wouldn't have enough of Color B to do the border section as written in the pattern, and I was right. I only got about 2/5 of the way through it before I was almost out. So I did a couple rows of garter stitch instead and then bound off. Or tried to. I'd overestimated how much I had left for binding off and had to tink back a good 300 stitches. Started the bind off again. STILL not enough! Ahhh! I set about cannibalizing all of the tails I could find, including those buried in my yarn scraps bag from the scarf last year...and I knew it just wasn't going to happen. Tink, tink, tink, another 300+ stitch row. Sigh.

Oddly, after blocking, the shawl was shaped like a half circle instead of the crescent shape it should have been. I imagine that has to do with row gauge differences between sport (which I used) and fingering (which the pattern called for. Not that it matters. I'm very happy with it, and it used stash yarn, so, win!

Another recently finished project was this Lowell Cowl, from a recent Classic Elite e-newsletter...

It is a very pretty, very versatile cowl (check out the other pics on my Rav project page to see other ways to wear it). However, the pattern called for knitting it from two strands of laceweight held together. I opted instead to use Sublime Angora Merino and Kid Mohair Blend yarns instead, held single, and not overlapped in the second section. Dude...soft? Yes. Sheddy? OHMYGOSHYES! I cannot wear this thing without getting bunny in my mouth or eyes, up my nose, sticking to everything...argh. After doing a bit of reading, I've come to the conclusion that the angora used in this yarn was probably clipped, not plucked, which affects the staple length of the fiber and makes it more prone to shedding. Not much you can do about it. I have no idea what I'll do with it. But it's pretty. And, yeay! More stash gone!

In other news, I tried my hand at dyeing up some self-striping sock yarn...

This was the first time I'd dyed yarn at all, and I have to say it is a little more fun than dyeing roving. Don't get me wrong...I love dyeing roving. But yarn...it's different. It's got a different character. I'm looking forward to doing more of it, roving too. It's all part of my master plan...ahem...yes, I have a master plan. I'll let you in on it as things unfold... ;)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

90% Knitting - Episode 5


Show Notes:

ON THE NEEDLES:
FINISHED OBJECTS:
  • Lowell Cowl, pattern by Antonia Shankland; Sublime Angora Merino & Sublime Kid Mohair Blend
  • Daybreak Shawl, pattern by Stephen West; Three Irish Girls Kells Sport Merino, Lagoon & Arboretum
ON THE WHEEL/IN THE DYE:
  • Finished the Rambouillet-Soy Silk, 124 yards 2-ply worsted/heavy worsted
  • Dyed some (hopefully) four-stripe self-striping sock yarn and some Targhee-Mohair fiber
OOPS:
  • Overestimating the yardage I had to work with for the Daybreak shawl, necessitating much tinking in order to bind off!
RESOURCES/RECOMMENDATIONS:
10%:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pattern: Twisted & Twining

My Twisted & Twining Cowl pattern is now available for purchase!


Twisted & Twining is made from 130 yards of sportweight yarn (sadly, an often overlooked weight of yarn). This sample was made from one skein of Frog Tree Alpaca Sportweight.


The cowl is quite versatile, with wearing options to keep neck, face and ears warm. The cables and twisted stitch motifs provide a close but comfortable, stretchy fit. The pattern is sized for 13", 14 1/2" and 16" necks, and it includes instructions for traditional cabling technique as well as the steps for doing the cables without a cable needle.


It's only February, and despite what the groundhog said, the 7" of snow that appeared in my  yard overnight tells me that winter isn't quite finished. That means there is plenty of time to get some use from a cowl! Why not spruce up your winter wardrobe with this quick knit?

$3.00

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

90% Knitting - Episode 4



This week the 90% Knitting Ravelry group topped 100 members! Thanks! Please feel free to start your own threads on the board...you don't have to wait for me!

The videocast also appeared on the "New and Noteworthy" page on iTunes in the Hobbies category for podcasts! Check it out! :) Thanks to those who are leaving star ratings and reviews!


ON THE NEEDLES:
  • Plain Vanilla Sock for Feb. YOSS; first sock finished, second one started. Fleece Artist Somoko yarn, Sun colorway.
  • Calvados - still there, no progress.
  • Lowell Cowl - pattern by Antonia Shankland; Sublime Angora Merino & Sublime Kid Mohair Blend
FOs:
ON THE WHEEL:
  • Still slogging through the neppy Rambouillet-Soy Silk
DESIGN PROJECTS:
OOPS:
  • No oopsies this week other than the angora yarn of death, which really isn't my fault!
BOOKS/RESOURCES:
  • Piddleloop Bags are complete awesomesauce! Check out Jennifer's Etsy site!
  • Lots and lots of new knitting videocasts out there, and I'm enjoying them. I think I talked a little about all of the ones I've gotten to watch so far, and I'm keeping a running list of the ones I've been watching over there ------>  in the sidebar. Check 'em out!
10%:
  • Son's dance picture and Daughter's Lolita dress pictures are in this post.
  • Enjoyed Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival despite walking around in the fog of a killer headache. :P (And when I rolled my eyes as I mentioned Bloomin' Yarns, it was not at all a reflection on them! It was just an ill-timed eye roll based on the fact that I was thinking about how crappy I felt at PK&C at that point due to my headache! The Bloomin' Yarns people were extremely lovely!!)
  • Big, big thank you to my Shawl Swap partner, Lisa33, for the beautiful Seaside Shawlette and other goodies!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I love when the pretty things are for ME! :)


Can ya believe it? Someone knit this lovely shawl just for me! That someone -- also named Lisa -- was a wonderful partner to have in the Shawl Swap on The Knit Girllls Rav group, and knit up this Seaside Shawlette (pattern by Wendy Johnson) out of DIC Knitosophy yarn, Strength colorway. It is beautiful. I've been wrapping it around myself ever since it arrived yesterday.

And last week, this all came in the mail...just for me!


This was my swap package from Meesh from The Loopy Ewe Swap #7 on Rav. Among all these goodies were those beautiful socks you see there. Someone knit socks! For me! (Inferno pattern, DIC Smooshy in Lipstick Lava.)

These are the first swaps I have ever been in that knitting for the other person was a requirement. While I obsessed and agonized over what to knit for both of my partners in these swaps, I realized when I got my packages that I cannot imagine being disappointed with anything I might receive because really? Only a knitter knows what it means to knit for someone else, and as such, only another knitter can truly appreciate being knit for. And I am deeply appreciating these beautiful objects that were made especially for me. These ladies rock!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Dress and dressed up...

So, I finally finished the Lolita dress (well, jumper) that I was making for my daughter. She wore it to her meet-up last Saturday, and I have to say, she looked so freakin' cute! Front view...


Back view...

And check out her cute shoes, too! Kitties! And you can see the kitty tails on the backs of the shoes. Love them!

Same day as the Lolita meet up was a semi-formal dance my son was invited to...the boy cleans up well, doesn't he? LOL

And his girl friend (I have such a hard time saying that...my wittle boy had a girl friend?? LOL Yeah, ok, he's 16 and not so little, but still! :}) looked lovely too! Ah...kids...they grow up so fast!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

90% Knitting - Episode 3



Welcome to Episode 3!

90% Knitting is now available through iTunes. Hopefully, I've solved the iPod/iTouch issue with this week's episode, but if someone could let me know for sure, I'd appreciate it! Also, there is a 90% Knitting group on Ravelry now. C'mon over!

And again I failed to mention the knitted object I was wearing. It was my A Little Jazz scarf that was made from the pattern (by Samantha Roshak) and yarn (Fiesta Baby Boom) from the March 2010 Loopy Sock Club shipment.

I think I rolled my eyes less in this videocast, but they're still looking shifty. What's up with that??

ON THE NEEDLES:
  • Calvados, Thea Colman, Cascade 220.
  • February YOSS sock, plain vanilla sock, Fleece Artist Somoko yarn, "Sun" colorway.
  • Swap shawl revealed, even though it is still secret. Check it out on the videocast if you want to know more about it. ;)
FOs:
ON THE WHEEL:
  • Finished spinning and plyed the Targhee wool & mohair fiber from last week. Got 285 yards of a worsted weight.
  • Handpainted some Rambouillet-Soy Silk fiber. Check out this blog post for more info on this project.
DESIGNING:
  • Working on finalizing Twisting & Twining.
OOPS!:
  • Calvados Oops Redux...don't just re-read your pattern if you've taken a long break in the middle of a pattern. Go back to your Ravelry project page and see if you've left yourself any helpful notes! Duh.
BOOKS:
  • No books this week, but Yarndex is a very helpful resource if you're looking for info on most commercial yarns.
10%:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Great North American Afghan

Wow...I don't really do afghan projects very often, but I just saw the pictures for the new Cascade Great North American Afghan, the pattern book for which is apparently being introduced at Stitches West next week. Wow! There are some really cool squares in this one! And it is done in primarily red, pink, gray and black, which makes me swoon! I know I'll probably never knit it, but you can bet I'll be buying the pattern book as soon as I can, just to ogle the beauty.

There's also a Great American Kids Afghan pattern book coming out. Very cute...yet it's another thing I'll never knit and unlike the grown-up version, I'm not sure I feel the need to own that one.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

So, I had a day to myself...

...and while I could have used it to do a major cleaning job in the house (because, woooboy, it could use it!), or I could have just sat and knit and watched Bones episodes on Netflix all day, instead, I chose to do this...

Deep Space Drama

and this...

Love, Lola

and this...
When Buttercups Play Dress-Up
Yes, I pretended I knew how to dye again! You may recall my first foray into dyeing last September, which went OK, aside from the fact that I wasn't crazy about the fiber I'd used and I'd used way, way, way too much dye in the process. That time I'd kettle dyed. What I really wanted to try was handpainting, and that's what I did today on a bagful of a Rambouillet-Soy Silk blend that I picked up at the Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Festival last May.

Honestly, I have no idea if I did it "right." I read up on it, and while the general process is the same, just about every place I read had some sort of conflicting information about the various steps in the process. Gah! See, it's that kind of thing that can leave me paralyzed and make me want to do nothing. But today I decided the heck with it, I'm going to just give it a try. What was the worst that could happen? I could ruin a bag of wool that has been stashed for months inside a suitcase in my basement? Yeah, that would have been a bummer, but not a huge loss, compared to the alternative of just leaving it in it's dark little home for eternity.

I will say it took me most of the day to do these three batches of fiber, just under a pound, all told. Clearly, there's a learning curve which takes time to master, and there's the set up of mixing the dyes into a concentrated form to dilute as I go (and each pack of dye makes enough concentrated solution to be used for many more dyeing sessions to come), and then there's the issue of figuring out my own process, which will hopefully become a little more streamlined as time goes on.

Handpainting itself is definitely a way slower process than kettle dyeing since you are putting the dye in specific places on the fiber, one color at a time, instead of just pouring it into a kettle with the fiber. My process was made even slower because I was only able to steam one batch of fiber at a time due to a lack of multiple steaming baskets (and the one I had was the result of MacGyvering my old metal colander with some floral wire).

Over all, though, I am really pleased with how this went and with the outcome of the fiber. The colors are fantastic, and when it came time to rinse the fiber, I was pleased to see that the rinse water had very little dye left in it, a far better outcome than when I kettle dyed. And I really enjoyed the process of the handpainting, having more control over where the dye goes. It felt more creative to me.

I have to admit, probably the most fun thing about this project today was naming the resultant colorways! I know, it's silly, because I'm not selling them or anything (at least not yet...hopefully some time this year, though!), but with each batch, as I was unrolling it from it's damp, plastic wrap encasement after it had cooled, and the newly dyed fiber was plain to see, a name popped into my head for each one of them. It was really pretty cool! It felt...biblical!

Adam: You will be called...goat. You will be called...penguin. You will be called...velociraptor--hey, ouch!

Me: You are -- Deep Space Drama! You are -- Love, Lola! You are -- what buttercups would look like if they played dress up, so I shall call you When Buttercups Play Dress-Up!

Yeah, that last one sort of explains why the fiber companies of the world aren't banging on my door asking me to name their colorways. (Haha...reminds me of when I worked at the LYS. A customer came in one day looking for yarn in a specific shade of red. After much discussion, I said, "So, you want sort of a spawning salmon red?" We at the shop came to the same conclusion that Debbie Bliss probably wasn't going to be phoning me up asking for yarn color suggestions anytime soon. ;))

At any rate, it is going to take forEVer for this stuff to dry, as I have nowhere to hang it, and laying flat doesn't seem like the best way to dry it. Though, this roving is pretty fine -- almost pencil roving in some spots -- and I'm not sure hanging it would have been great either, at least not when it was really wet. I've been mentally engineering a rack of sorts that would be good for drying roving. I may need to enlist Kevin's help to make that a reality!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Oh yeah...the shawl...

I forgot to mention what shawl I was wearing in yesterday's videocast! It's the Shetland Triangle, pattern by Evelyn Clark, knitting in Wollmeise 100%, the special "Femme Fatale" colorway that we got in our goodie bags last year at Spring Fling. (I knit it up last May, so this picture will seem familiar to some of you.)



And by the way, if anyone is downloading the videocast on iTunes and then trying to watch it on a portable device, can you please let me know if you run into any problems or errors? I'm trying to stay on top of all this technamological stuff. Thanks!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

90% Knitting: Episode 2



The aspect ratio on this video is really wonky, and I can't find a way to fix it. I'll work on it for next week's videocast. Until then, please know that my head really is not that squished. ;)

Thank you to everyone who watched the first episode last week & left such encouraging feedback for me!

Also, thank you SO MUCH Leslie (udontcallmeles) from The Knit Girllls for helping me figure out post-production.

There is a new Ravelry group for the podcast. Come join us!

(Also, I found out right after I finished recording - natch - the podcast is now available on iTunes!)

ON THE NEEDLES: (Links go to my Rav project pages)
  • CalVADos Cardigan (as opposed to CalDAVos, as I have been calling it since I started knitting it last year...duh) - Thea Coleman pattern, Cascade 220 Heathers yarn.
  • Haruni - Still there, no progress.
  • Crescent Shawl - Scholler & Stahl Limbo from deep in my stash; just winging the pattern as I go.
  • Shawl Swap Shawl that I can't show you because the swap is still at its secret stage. I can tell you I'm knitting it from the BamHuey fiber I spun and showed you last week, and it's being knit into an Anne Hanson shawl so it will count for the Spring Fling February KAL.
  • YOSS February Plain Vanilla Sock - Fleece Artist Somoko yarn, Sun colorway.
  • The project bag is a GoKnit pouch, the small one, made by KnowKnits and sold at The Loopy Ewe.
ON THE WHEEL:
  • A Targhee wool and mohair blend from Cosymakes' Farm Wool Fiber Club, the November 2010 colorway called Fire Gang. Cosy's blog. Cosy's Etsy shop.
FO's:
DESIGNING:
  • Twisting & Twining is out to the test knitters!
OOPS:
  • Austerman Step...6 knots and reversed color sequence halfway through the ball? So! Not! Acceptable!
  • Not re-reading instructions for projects you've set down for a prolonged period leads to errors, such as forgetting to change needle sizes after the ribbing on the back of your Calvados Cardigan.
BOOKS:
10%:

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thanks!

I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has watched the first episode of 90% Knitting already. Your comments have been so encouraging! Thanks so much!

At this point, I'm planning to do them weekly. I'm still decided about keeping it on Wednesday or maybe moving it to Thursday instead. Honestly, it may morph back and forth between the two, depending on my schedule each week...the schedule that seems to have forgotten the meaning of the word "routine." :::sigh:::

In the mean time, I finished these...


I started knitting this...


And I've been spinning some of this...


All will be featured on this week's videocast.

See...now here's my dilemma. I still want to share things via the blog between videocasts about what I'm doing, but I don't want things to become too redundant. What do you think? Any opinion?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

90% Knitting: Episode 1



And...ta-daaaa! The idea for a weekly knitting videocast has been percolating in my mind for a while, and this is my first attempt at making it happen. I beg your mercy for anything strange (including the hum in the audio...will work on that!). I'd love your feedback, as I hope to improve as I go, both technically and content-wise. :)

Show Notes:

Thanks to all of the knitting podcasters (both audio and video) who've come before me and been an inspiration for me to come and join the party. Special thanks to Laura and Leslie from The Knit Girllls and Carin from Round the Twist...your shows are highlights in my week and inspire and encourage me more than you will ever know! (And extra special thanks to Leslie for her technical assistance in getting this up on Blip!)

I said I'd link to my blog in the show notes. However, if you're watching the show, chances are you've already been to my blog, so duh! Still, here it is.

On the Needles: (links go to my Rav project pages)

  • I'm participating in the Year of Stash Socks group on Ravelry.
  • Little Girl Plain Vanilla Toe-Up Socks, Austerman Step yarn, generic toe-up pattern using Judy's Magic Cast-On and Wendy Johnson's gusset heel. (And yes, I realize my husband's cousin's daughter is not our niece...gah!)
  • Caldavos Cardigan, pattern by Thea Colman (Baby Cocktails), knit in Cascade 220. (And yes, I am good with the word things..."pattern writer"...really? I'm sure Thea would be thrilled to know I called her a "pattern writer"...desiiigggnnnerr. That's the word. Sigh.)
  • The all-white Haruni that I talked about but didn't show because it a gift that will be finished some time this year.

Finished Objects:

  • Year of Stash Socks January Plain Vanilla, my original Pair #1. Regia 4-ply, Kaffe Fassett colorway. (My Danskos that I knit them to knit!)
  • Pulpie and Val, made from my original design for a piece of orange juice pulp, that can do extra duty as a candy corn or water droplet. Pulpie was knit from Plymouth Encore worsted; Val was knit from Cascade 220 and Cascade 220 Superwash.

Spinning:


Designing:

  • Twisting & Twining Cowl, using Frog Tree Alpaca Sport, 130 yards (1 ball). I need a couple more test knitters before I publish this pattern, so leave a comment if you'd like to be one of them!

Oops:

  • Why yes, Virginia, Malabrigo Silky Merino DOES felt. Really well. Sigh. (What the Beret de Printemps used to look like.)

Books:

  • The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns, by Ann Budd
  • Knitting Workshop, Elizabeth Zimmerman

10%:

  • It's the middle of a gray winter in Pittsburgh, it's snowing (again) today, so thank goodness I have my yarn basket of sunshine-y goodness! (And I mentioned the Cupcake Mittens that I haven't yet started.)
  • Lolita dress in progress. Go here to read about Lolita fashion.
  • The Steelers are going to the Superbowl in Dallas a week from Sunday! Woohoo!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Yes!!!


PITTSBURGH'S GOING TO
TH
E SUPERBOWL!!!


HERE WE GO!!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Knitting Monogamy?

I've noticed this strange trend in my knitting lately, one that is largely reflected in my non-large WIP list over to the side. I've been working on fewer items at the same time! In fact, I often find myself focusing on one project at a time. Really! I've never been like this before. It's strangely fulfilling, yet odd. Remember, a couple years ago around this time, I was busy spending my January finishing up WIPs in an effort to get their number down into the single digits. Now, there are a whole two projects over there! There were three a few hours ago, but then I finished these:


This was my original pair of January "Plain Vanilla" Year of Stash Socks (YOSS) socks. That pair of worsted weight socks I made for my son slipped in there and ended up being my first pair for the month, but this was the pair I set out to make. They're made from Regia 4-ply, a Kaffe Fassett colorway. I love them because they will go with my Danskos perfectly! I'm irked with them, though, because they stripes do not match up. I have never been too anal about making my socks all matchy-matchy, but with such clear stripe patterns as this, I like to try. However, the first ball of yarn had a knot in it, and the splice did not follow the stripe pattern, thus the right sock, halfway up the cuff, is off. In retrospect, I could have either wound off the yarn until I got the correct color to keep that one in pattern, or I could have matched the color disruption on the second sock. But I did not think to do either of those things. At any rate, I love the colors, and at least the portion that will show when I'm wearing them with my Danskos will match.

Anyway...knitting monogamy. Whodathunkit?

On another front, I set about re-organizing my sock yarn the other day. That means that I pulled it all out of its bins and have since been arranging it in piles on the floor and in baskets, realizing I have more sock yarn than any one person needs, but that will likely not stop me from purchasing more in the future. I know. It's a sickness.


Anyway...see those two empty cubbie cubes? All that sock yarn is supposed to fit into them. Heh. Probably isn't going to happen. That's why it's all still on the floor. I must now figure out how to re-arrange and condense some other yarn cubbies to open up one more for my precccccioussss sock yarns. Because we lovvvvves it. :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pulpie


Pulpie, a fun little piece of orange juice pulp, was created in response to my teenage daughter’s ongoing references to her great dislike of pulp in her juice, to which I heartily agreed. Pulp = ick. The other day, however, the vision of this happy little guy popped into my mind, and I decided I must make him!

After knitting Pulpie, I realized his shape would make a wonderful rain droplet (or tear drop) as well as an aptly shaped candy corn, or a very dimensional flower petal. Once stuffed, you can shape him to be rounded or squish him a bit for a flatter appearance. And Pulpie is a great project to make with leftover yarn from other projects.

So, here you go, my first pattern for the new year, and it's a freebie to boot!

Mateirals:

About 20 yards of worsted weight yarn. (Pulpie was made from Plymouth Encore; Val, the Valentine’s Day candy corn, was knit out of Cascade 220 and Cascade 220 Superwash.)

US4 DPNs

Scrap yarn for stitching eyes, mouth, etc. Or, you can use small buttons or plastic eyes that have snap-on backs that hold them in place (usually found in the googly-eye section of craft stores). If knitting this for a young child, I do not recommend using the buttons or plastic eyes, as they could be a choking hazard if they came off.

Polyfil or yarn/fiber scraps suitable for stuffing

One locking stitch marker.

Tapestry needle.

Notes:

Gauge for this project is not essential. You just want to make sure your resulting fabric is snug enough that the stuffing will not poke through the stitches.

Finished size is approximately 4” tall and 7 ½” in circumference at the widest part.


Abbreviations:

K – knit
Kfb – knit front and back
Pfb – purl front and back
K2tog – knit two together
SSK – slip, slip, knit

Directions:

Cast on 2 stitches.

Row 1: Kfb (4 stitches)
Row 2: Kfb (8 stitches)

[Note: This project is mostly worked in the round knitting each row, but these first two rows are just
easier to work flat instead of in the round, I find. Technically, to keep the project all stockinette, Row 2 should be purled, not knitted. However, I do not find the task of purling front and back an enjoyable one. Since this will be on the base of the stuffie, I have no qualms about it being an odd row of garter stitch. If it bothers you, though, feel free to Pfb instead.]

Divide stitches evenly across four DPNs, two per needle. You will now be working in the round. Be careful not to twist your stitches as you join.

Round 1: Knit
Round 2: Kfb (16 stitches, 4 per needle)
Round 3: Knit
Round 4: Kfb (32 stitches, 8 per needle)
Round 5: Knit
Round 6: *[K, Kfb,], repeat from *. (48 stitches, 12 per needle)
Rounds 7 – 14: Knit (this will add approximately 1” from last increase round).
Round 15: [K2tog, K8, SSK], repeat three more times.
Rounds 16 – 19: Knit (this will add approximately ¾” from first decrease round).

(Note: if doing a candy corn, Row 18 is a good place to change to your second color. Overlap your tail yarns with the working yarn on the inside of the stuffie for several stitches, snugging them up as needed, in order to anchor them and not have a visible gap.)

Round 20: [K2tog, K6, SSK], repeat three more times.
Rounds 21 – 24: Knit (this will add approximately ¾” from second decrease round).

At this point, you will want to add your eyes and mouth. Also use your cast on tail to cinch up any hole that might have resulted after you joined to knit in the round. Weave the tail in a bit and then pull it through to the inside of the stuffie where it can stay forever. Add your stuffing to this lower part of the stuffie at this point before continuing. It’s easier to add the stuffing as you go since the stuffie narrows as you go up.

Round 25: [K2tog, K4, SSK], repeat three more times.
Rounds 26 – 30: Knit (this will add approximately 1” from the third decrease round).

(Note: if doing a candy corn, Row 26 is a good place to change to your third color, again overlapping the tails to prevent a hole.)

Round 31: [K2tog, K2, SSK], repeat three more times.
Rounds 32 – 35: Knit

If you haven’t been doing so, add more stuffing now.

Round 36: [K2tog, SSK], repeat three more times.
Round 37: K2tog four times

Last chance to squeeze in some stuffing for the top!

Break yarn, leaving a 10” tail. With tail on tapestry needle, run tail yarn through remaining four stitches and cinch them up. At the back of the top, weave the tail yarn in and out a bit, as inconspicuously as possible. Now, take the needle and run it down through the inside of your stuffie, pulling it out the bottom. Snip the tail yarn off as close to the body as possible, then smoosh it around a bit to let the end pop back inside, never to be seen again.

Name him.

Squish him.

Love him.

Make him a friend.