Friday, July 29, 2005

Done with my slump?

Dare I say it? Yes, I really do think my slump is over. I finished the blanket last night, and I'm actually excited to start and finish my next project! While I have plenty of WIPs, I'm going to start a Pike Place Market Bag in some bright red wool for a co-worker of mine. And to celebrate my most recent FO, I ordered more yarn last night! I really just wanted this cabled hat pattern so that I could make the plain white one for my stepdad for Christmas, but I didn't want to pay $3 shipping for a $2 pattern, so I added my first set of Addi Turbo knitting needles and a bunch of yarn until, um, I qualified for free shipping.

I'm planning a knit cardigan in Knit Picks' Andean Silk, and it's going to be striped, so I got some of the Sunset colorway to see if I like it, and then I got some of the new Gossamer yarn. I think it was just released last week, and while I've never done anything with lace weight yarn, it's absolutely gorgeous, so I got some. I'm thinking about making a shawl for myself out of it, although I don't know for sure what I'll do. We'll see what I decide when I see the yarn....

I'm heading out to visit my sis and her new baby girl after work today, so hopefully I'll be able to post later this weekend or Monday about progress on the bag!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Welcome to the world, Ainsley Grace

I am again a proud auntie! My sister Erin just had her first child, a baby girl named Ainsley Grace. She was born at 9:28pm, which ironically is the same time I was sewing in ends on her baby blankie... here's a photo:

Ainsley's Baby Blankie

I made it pretty small because I wanted it to fit nicely on top of a baby carrier or stroller, and to tuck nicely into a car seat. Also, I only had two days to make it, because I've been doing other stuff, of course. I think it works either with the stripes going horizontally or vertically, but I photographed it this way for fun.

Tomorrow I have to work all day, and then I'm heading out to visit the new parents and child. I hope I won't be in the way, but I want to visit, and let Erin nap, and make some lasagne to leaveout there.

That's pretty much all the news there is... hope you're all having a nice end of July! I've had a nice month, what with the Sea of Yarn swap and Christmas in July over at Crochetville. Now I just have to wait a couple of days to find out who my Autumn Secret Pal is! I'm excited, most especially to find out who I have and start figuring out what to make/get for her (him? I don't know if any guys have signed up). And now, since I've FINALLY FINISHED SOMETHING, I'm going to relax.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I Can Never Come Up With a Catchy Title

I've spent the last week doing a little bit of knitting and crocheting, and relaxing. Of course, since I spent the whole weekend relaxing, I just want to keep on relaxing through to next weekend. I don't really get to, though.

Since last Wednesday, I've finished the sleeves of my first knit baby sweater. I haven't blocked it or seamed it yet, but that's okay. I started the back of a more reasonably sized baby sweater (the first one, a cardigan, might fit a toddler, and it's really not bigger than the pattern says, the pattern is just rather vague) so that my sis might have a handknit sweater to dress the darling child in this year. Of course, I've got my eyes on a lovely dressy sweater that I'd like to make to be worn around Christmas, but we'll see if the child ever gets that.

In other news, I've restarted the baby afghan and refrogged it, too. Now I'm at square one, and a blankie's got to be ready by Friday, as that's when I'm heading out to see the new baby, who is scheduled (yes, I said scheduled...) to be born on Thursday. Of course, I work 10:30-6 on Friday, and then I have to drive 4.5 hours to see Sis, so I've got to get the blankie done well before Friday (by this, of course, I mean during the wee hours of Friday morning, when I'm cursing myself for not getting it done sooner).

I still haven't actually finished anything, but that's life. I made some nice knit swatches in KnitPicks Andean Silk, which is undoubtedly my favorite yarn ever. And I really mean that. I have a cardigan I'm planning on making for my dear roommate out of this yarn, and I'd like to make something for myself out of it, too. If this yarn is ever discontinued, I think I'll just cry... all the more reason to buy as much as I can get my greedy little hands on now, right?

My roommate, Heather, dyed yarn for the first time this week; she turned some wool green and some purple. I'm planning on felting her a Bible case with it, for her journey to seminary. Of course, as she knows how many things I actually finish in a reasonable amount of time, I'm sure she'll be happy to get it at any time before she graduates four years from now. I really do intend to have it done soon, but prior to that, I've got to finish one of the felted Pike's Place Market Bags that I continually talk about working on. Do I really work on it, though? Not so much. I do need to have it done in early August, though, to give to my coworker. Then I can finally get to business finishing the sweaters, the pencil bags, the Bible cover, and maybe, just maybe, something for myself.

Last year I gave out lots of crocheted stuff for Christmas, and that was the plan again this year, but I just don't know. I don't think I'll have that much time, you know? I'd like to make an afghan for my Daddy, and if those Market Bags work up quickly, I'd like to make some for various other people I know, and I desperately want to make a fabric bowl for someone I know, as it would be the perfect gift, and I'd like to maybe knit some stocking caps for my stepdad. I've got a shawl in mind for Mom, but I already know it'll take forever, and I also know that I don't have forever to work.

As a non-crochet side note, I've got an Apple iBook, and I love it more than any person should love a computer. Heather finally decided to take the plunge and ordered one a couple of weeks ago, but due to some glitches it didn't actually get delivered until yesterday. In other news that is clearly related, yesterday Apple unveiled the improved, much faster, free Bluetooth, bigger hard drive, more included memory, same old price iBook. Isn't that a bummer? Well, Murphy's Law and all that.

Anyway, I hope you're all having a nice end of July, and hopefully I'll be back soon with pictures of what I've finished.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


I think I've hit a slump. It just feels like it's been forever since I've finished anything, you know? Since May the only things I've finished have been swatches of knitting and crocheted dishcloths, and yet I feel like I've got half a million WIPs. Let's see, right now I've got:

Knitted Baby Cardigan 70% done
Knitted iPod Cozy (blue) 95% done
Knitted iPod Cozy (pink) 30% done
Pike Place Market Bag in hand dyed yarn 20% done
Crocheted Sweater/Shrug 40% done, to be frogged today as I hate it, and it's for me
Crocheted pencil bags (2) 35% done, after being reinvented

The problem with all this is that I've seen about five hundred things I desperately want to make, but I can't bring myself to start anything more until I actually finish something else. Except that pink iPod cozy, I just started that last night. But that's the last thing I'm starting until I finish more stuff, and preferably something crocheted, as I feel I've been neglecting that and it's my favorite.

And a light bulb just lit above my head: I have to start something new, and right away! My sister's baby is due Aug 2, but it seems that was overestimated, and they're going to induce July 28th. Last week I frogged the baby blanket I was working on with every intention of restarting it right away, but that didn't happen. Now I have five fewer days to work! Well, there goes my plan of not starting anything else. I've got to start that blanket tonight, and as soon as it's done, I've got to finish a Pike Place felted bag, as it's promised to my coworker.

In other news, I got a huge box of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in the mail yesterday. It's got eleven balls of Tomato, and eleven big hanks of natural just waiting to be dyed with Kool-Aid. It feels similar to LB Fishermen's Wool (as they're obviously both 100% wool); they're both a little rougher than I would regularly use, but I think they'll both be fine when felted. The advantage of the Knit Picks is that it's a few dollars cheaper than the LB.

I'm not that much of a yarn snob, I just can't spend $8 on 50g of yarn. I do have high standards when it comes to how the yarn feels, though. What do I mean by that? That I probably wouldn't pick Red Heart Super Saver for a project, not because it's acrylic or because it's sold at Wal-Mart, but because it's scratchy. I want to make things I'll feel comfortable cuddling up with, so if I need something cheap, I go with Caron Simply Soft or something like it. I have jumped headfirst into Knit Picks yarn, mostly because it's gorgeous and inexpensive. I just hope I'm not yet a snob about what I use, if only because my budget would never allow it....

Sunday, July 10, 2005

What's Happening?

Well, what's happening. I've unfortunately been ignoring my crochet for the last week or so; I've got to finish a baby blanket for my sister and lots of felted totes, but the felted bags won't begin until I get my much-anticipated ball winder! After that, there'll be no stopping me, but for now, lots of hanks that are unpleasant to work with. I also need to get myself into gear with that blanket, or I need to start it over (which will probably end up happening).

In other news, teaching myself to knit has been going well. I've progressed from square making to my first almost-FO (an iPod cozy awaiting some coordinating I-Cord) to a more than half done baby sweater! It's a cardigan out of Knitting for Two by Erika Knight, and I've got the back, the two front pieces, and half of one sleeve done already (of course, it's in chunky yarn, which helps). When it's done, I'm hoping to make another (much smaller) baby sweater that can be used in the months after the baby's birth and before this cardigan will fit....

And in even more news, my roommate has just finished up her first baby sweater and is starting her very first hat! She's only made afghans before, so this shaping stuff is new to her. I'll put up some pics sometime.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Kool-Aid Dyeing

Well. The dyeing experience is over (for now), and it was so much fun. Seriously. And this post? Lots of pictures. Seriously.

Up first: all of the yarn got wound into hanks around the back of a desk chair. That was fun, for awhile.

Wind Wind Wind

I can't express to you how long this took. I did a decent job of making the hanks even; they're approximately 2 ounces each. Then I soaked the yarn as my guide (Julie's post about dyeing yarn) suggested. You can see the yarn soaking in the corner of the next picture, which is mostly a picture of my lovely Kool-Aid dyes.

Bowls of Dye

That's essentially all of the counter space that exists in my apartment... again, seriously. FYI, each of those bowls held 2 packets of the selected color, slightly less than 2 tablespoons of white vinegar (I didn't want to run out), and 1 cup of warm water. Each set of three bowls was enough for 3-2 oz. skeins of yarn.

At this point, I realized that the picture of my dye looked an awful lot like another picture I have... sorry for the slow loads, but this one's got a lot of good memories with it.

Chinese Dumplings

That's a picture of the dumplings I learned to make when I was in China last summer. Do the pictures look similar to anyone else? I thought it was strange.

Anyway, I forgot to get any sort of turkey baster type utensil at the grocery store, so I used 1/4 cup measures to pour dye onto my yarn. It worked really well for my purposes, and my pie plate was the perfect size for a plastic-wrapped packet of yarn. Fortunately I have lots of pie plates, and they all fit in my tiny college student's apartment sized microwave.

Here's a shot of the yarn drying in my shower... there's lots of yarn in there.

Drying Yarn

It's still in the shower, as I didn't finish until 1:20 in the morning, but it's almost all dry now. I think some of the thicker hanks have a bit of dampness at the bottoms, but they'll have to hurry up, as I need to take a shower!

Also as an FYI, the solid blues in the picture were a combination of 1 packet Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade and 1 packet of Berry Blast mixed together in 1 c warm water with 2 Tbsp white vinegar.

A mini-hank that I dyed Lemon-Lime for accent stitching dried quickly, and I've already wound it up. I stuck some undyed Fishermen's Wool in with it, to show the change.

Kool-Aid Green

Now, isn't that pretty? As a side comment, I thought the wet wool (when it was soaking) smelled a lot like damp chewing tobacco (eeew, right?), but the Kool-Aid smelled great despite the vinegar! And now that my first dyeing experiment is over, it's nearly time to jump into a felting experiment, as that's what all of this wool is for!

Cleaning Out My Camera

Some interesting pics to post real quick. Up next, of course, will be more on my dyeing experience, but I thought I'd split the posts for any low-bandwidth friends.

I found a photo on my camera this morning of some squares I sent off for a comfortghan, and thought I'd share.

Comfortghan Squares

I got the square pattern out of 200 Crochet Squares. It was super simple and I really like how they turned out. The book itself is okay; I really like a lot of the squares, but I find the thought of making a whole afghan out of squares rather more daunting now than I did when I bought the book.

What's next? Oh, yeah! I've been building up my stash recently. Two weeks ago I got this yarn in the mail, which is earmarked for dishcloth use. The color is much nicer in person, but this is the only photo I could get.

Green Cotton

And I got some lovely thread, mentioned in an earlier post. Here's the picture!

New Threads

It's really really pretty. Don't know quite yet what I'll be making; I'll just wait for inspiration to hit me.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Long Process

Hmmm. It's taking longer than I anticipated to get the yarn in shape to dye. I think that may be because I have three skeins of Fishermen's Wool (24 ounces!!) to wind around my ever-obliging desk chair's back. I've got two skeins done and tied into eight hanks. Then I had to pause for dinner, as I've been forgetting meals recently. I know it seems odd, forgetting meals. But I normally don't eat breakfast anyway, and I forgot dinner last night (wrapped up in yarn research, I think). This morning I was kind of hungry (surprise surprise), so I went to the grocery store because I needed food if I was going to eat. I had to go get some yarn first, and after the groceries I had to stop by and pay the cable bill, and when I got back, I put the food away and forgot to eat. I finally remembered when my friend called to ask if I was ready to go down to the Jazz Festival around three and said she needed to get something to eat, and I realized that I did too.

At any rate, I George Foremaned some tasty pork chops for dinner, and now I have to wash a bunch of glasses (my least favorite dish to wash, and therefore the one that's always pushed to the end of the line) so that my sink is ready for yarn. Hmmm, I'll probably have to clean out the sink before I put any yarn in there, too. But I told myself that I wasn't allowed to dye the yarn until the dishes were (mostly*) done, so I'd better get cracking if I want the yarn to be ready to dry overnight, and I want to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

The skeins of wool are lovely, though, and calling to me, so I'll update later, and hopefully be able to tell you all that my yarn is bright and cheerful!

* Experience tells me that I won't really wash all of the dishes. Everything has to be washed by hand, and therefore I usually only get 100% of the dirtys clean if I'm going to be out of my apartment for a week or longer. It works, right?

Friday, July 01, 2005

Relaxing Holiday Weekend

Woo hoo! It's time for a relaxing holiday weekend! We'll see how relaxing it is, but my goal is to get some quality yarn time in. Let's see... I've been working on some dishcloths for a charity project, and started a shawl for my roommate that is now on hold for the forseeable future. I keep thinking I should work on the sweater I'm crocheting myself, but I just can't force it right now. I've got to work on my sister's baby blanket.... What else is there? I hate when I know I'm forgetting something. Oh, well.

I've been wanting to enter an afghan in the State Fair here, but as luck would have it, I remembered that I had to send in the entry form at 5:45 tonight, and it had to be postmarked by July 1, which is today, so I'm out of luck. Or maybe it's off the hook? I hadn't actually started anything for the fair, so now I don't have to worry about that.

In addition to the yarn from the swap, my stash has grown even more lately! I got three balls of thread from Jackie at Crochetville. I also got a couple of balls that were part of a shipment of yarn that I'm sending out as my part of the Sea of Yarn Swap, so no more on that till my partner's gotten her package.

I do have a big upcoming project, though... one of my co-workers requested a Pike Place Market Bag, so I'm going to order some lovely Wool of the Andes from Knit Picks, which has fantastic yarn for little green.

The major project I'm hoping to undertake this weekend is buying Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool, dyeing it with some Kool-Aid, and turning it into a Market Bag of my own. Of course, I've never 1) dyed yarn or b) felted anything, so we'll see how it goes. I'll take photos along the way....

Of course, I've got to do the dishes before I can dye wool, as I don't have any counter space until the dishes are clean. And I don't know if the washer in my apartment building will give me the control I need for felting, so I might have to check out some laundromats. Of course, before any of this can happen, I've got plans to go to the Jazz Festival that's downtown this weekend. Don't worry, though. I'll make sure there's time for yarn shopping.

And now, I'm going to relax and watch The Dog Whisperer on National Geographic Channel.