Tuesday, May 31, 2005

One Skein Wonder Pattern

Beck (and others) asked where to get the pattern for the OSW. It's over on Glampyre's blog, right HERE. I'm already plotting another OSW with some handspun. I figure that since it only takes about 150 yds, I can spin that up pretty quickly.

Monday, May 30, 2005

My 1.23 Skein Wonder

Well I finally got my One Skein Wonder completed. It took about 10 yrds of the second ball of Blue Sky Organic Cotton. Here's the front:

And here's the back. I love this pattern and I will definately be making another one.

The Blue Sky cotton is luscious. I'm not much for knitting with cotton but I will knit again with this brand. The shrug is really soft, stretchy and very comfortable.

Memorial Day Block Party

We decided last Wednesday that we were going to have an impromptu Memorial Day block party. I put fliers in everyone's mailbox on our street and we had a great turn out. Lots of yummy food, plenty of drink and gorgeous weather made for a wonderful afternoon of fun.

Here's Shane on the slide in the kiddie pool...

Little Man and Amber at the Play Doh table, which was a big hit!
More pics here

Saturday, May 28, 2005

A gratuitous shot of me, Little Man and Monkey Boy. Posted by Hello

I swear, Monkey Boy is such a happy little guy. He's already starting to sit up for short periods of time. Posted by Hello

I took some pics of Little Man at his swim lesson last week. He seems to really enjoy swimming and looks forward to each class. Posted by Hello

Little Man doing his "diver" act. Posted by Hello

I should know better

So I saw the One Skein Wonder on Knit N Tonic's blog and decided it would be a fun, quick knit. I was right, it *was* a fun, quick knit. Till this happened:

Notice how small that little wad (calling it a "ball" would be generous) of yarn is. Notice how this shrug is completely finished except for the ribbing trim. The ribbing trim which is supposed to be only 1 inch in width. The ribbing trim which is already one half an inch wide at this point. This is where I finally admitted that I wouldn't have enough yarn to finish the shrug.

The pattern calls for 150 yds of yarn and I had bought one 150yd skein of Blue Sky Organic Cotton. The whole time I was looking at the yarn, I was thinking "Buy two skeins, just in case." But did I listen to myself? Of course not.

Which is why I'm going to have to go to La Petite Knitterie tomorrow and pick up a second skein of yarn to finish this darned shrug. Argh.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Ok, I don't speak Korean but...

This has got to be the cutest thing ever. Of course, it's probably an ad for condoms or something. Anyone know what those carrots are chanting? It's oddly hypnotic...

Run away! Run away!

It's the attack of the killer knitted dino!

This is Lionel (according to Little Man)- isn't he cute? I am so going to make another one of these! Monkey Boy doesn't have one yet and Little Man brought me some yarn from my stash this morning with the command to "make more". Actually, he brought out some bulky weight yarn and when I said the yarn needed to be thinner to work, he ran and grabbed some DK weight stuff that was perfect. LOL He's learning already!

The hardest part about knitting the dino was the seaming. It took nearly as long to seam him up as it did to make him. I'm also thinking that the addition of some knitted wings might turn the dino into a cool little dragon.

Monday, May 23, 2005

My house is a mess

But I still have time to start one of these adorable dinos:

I showed the photos to Little Man and asked him which one he wanted me to make. He picked Mr. Stegs. The above photo is Mr. Stegs' completed body- it was a super quick knit; probably took me less than an hour to knit. I'm working on his legs now, and then the spine. I think it's going to take longer to seam the dino than knitting it.

And here's the start of my Pinwheel Blanket knitted from Koigu Kersti #137 on US#6 needles.

I love working with the Koigu- it's such beautiful stuff. The pattern on the other hand...I had a heck of a time starting this blanket. It calls for you to cast on 5 sts, knit around and then do a round of K1, yarnover. I tried four different ways of casting on the stitches and I just could NOT get it going correctly. Finally I decided to CO on the 5 sts, knit one round, then do a couple of rounds of increases before starting my YO rows. That got me past the first few rows successfully, but at one point I had my work on all five of my DPNs AND a set of 16inch circs. I was knitting w/ANOTHER pair of circs. It was quite a hand full! I'm finally past all that and it's looking pretty good now. It's a fun pattern and pretty mindless once you get past the first few inches.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Hidden Yarn Stores

Why is it that some of the LYS around here are totally hidden? Is this a common practice throughout the country or is just here in So.Cal?

Anyways today I went searching for Suzoos Woolworks. After a few wrong turns, I finally found the shop in a generic industrial park. The outside (and inside) isn't much to look at- it's your basic small shopfront in a long rectangular warehouse. Inside was a treasure trove of Brown Sheep, Berrocco and Crystal Palace yarn. They also had some really fun sock yarns, which is why this followed me home:

I also found some Wildfoote handpainted sock yarn:

I know it's really bright but I couldn't resist the colors. The store also has a ton of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, which I have always wanted to try. The biggest drawback was the operating hours- they are only open Friday and Saturday 9-5. I'll have to try visiting them again soon.

More spinning

I haven't had much chance to knit, but I was able to spin this up while waiting for my MIL yesterday:

It's merino and tussah silk. YUM.

I was over at Felicia's blog and she was talking about using storage bobbins to store her singles instead of leaving them on the wheel bobbins. I had been wondering if I could so the same, since Lendrum bobbins are about $9US and I knew that there were less expensive plastic spools out there. After reading up on the links Felicia had provided, I decided to order some plastic spools from the Woolery along with the two spare Lendrum bobbins I was getting. (BTW It seems that I got the last two wheel bobbins they had! There's some shortage of bobbins for the Ledrum.)

Not sure yet how I'm going to wind onto the plastic bobbins. DH suggested using his old Makita hand drill, since it has variable speeds and a great low speed setting. I think I'll give it a try- if the drill doesn't work well I may have to buy one of these instead.

(Thanks to Felicia for enabling me-tho DH may not agree)

Some mystery wool from Ebay. I got a pound of this for about $8US from some random seller. I figured it would be good for practicing my spinning, since it wasn't too expensive. It turned out to be really nice wool: long stapled and well prepared. I can do a modified long draw with it without much predrafting on my part.

I'm planning on using this for a pair of socks for DH. There's only about 2.5 oz on this bobbin so I'll have to spin more as DH has loooooong feet.

Little Man put his fireman's hat on Monkey Boy yesterday. Too cute IMHO Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I *have* been knitting

I really have and here's the proof:

It's the start of my Sweet Tart Cami redux. I really like the new version much better than the old one. Not only does the Shine yarn hold the stitches much better, the cast on edge isn't curling any more. There's also the fact that I'm not making as many mistakes this time around. :) Shine is the first cotton yarn that I've used that I actually like. It doesn't make my hands hurt like most cottons- probably because there's 40% modal mixed with the cotton.

Monday, May 16, 2005

This is a lot harder than it looks!

Well here are my first couple of tries at plying on Ellie. This is the Brown Sugar roving combined with the Coopworth.

I tried to spin the Brown Sugar a little thinner than the Coopworth, and it's a good thing I did because the Coopworth really fluffed up when I was setting the twist. It also took me a while to figure out how to get the plying head to work and how much tension to use. Ellie came with an extra drive band and I'm not sure if'n I'm supposed to use that drive band with the plying head or not? Anyone know? Well, I ended up using the original drive band and it seemed to work ok. Tho I felt like I had to really treadle that plying head!

The plying close up. More over- and undertwisting. Posted by Hello

And my second attempt, using some of my own dyed Blue Face Leicester (the yellow) and ingeo (the pink).

The ingeo was a challenge to spin- Ellie kept wanting to eat it before I was done drafting. It broke *alot* because I couldn't get a consistent, thin single.

Close up of the the BFL and ingeo plied together. Some of the BFL is really over twisted and some of it is really undertwisted. I have to practice getting a more consistant single. Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Sundays are for showers

My soon to be married sis (center). I can't believe the wedding is less than a month away! Today was her bridal shower and the weather was absolutely perfect.

The food....


More pics here.

And on another note- DH and I succumbed to consumerism and picked up a Senseo coffee machine at Costco (am I the only person who still calls it "Price Club" half the time?). They had a pretty good deal at $57.00 for the machine and 5 packages of pods. We wanted something that could make a single serve cup o' joe and would be easier to clean up than our present 10cup+ Braun coffee machine. Some days I would want a cup of coffee in the AM and wouldn't make one because DH was already gone and there was no point in firing up the Braun to make a single cup. Anyways, the Senseo looks cool and the coffee it produces is pretty good. Neither of us likes really strong coffee so it works perfectly for us.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Felicia asked me how I liked my Lendrum and so far I'd have to say I really love it. I got to try out 2 Majacrafts before I got Ellie and I don't think Majacrafts are for me. They just didn't 'feel right'. Unfortunately, pickings are really slim when it comes to spinning/fiber sources here in So.Cali. so I never got to try any other wheels out. I would have liked to check out an Ashford Joy, but the nearest dealer is a good 2 hrs away.

One of my requirements for the wheel was that it had to be foldable/portable. I wanted to be able to put my wheel away if the munchkins got too interested in it. So that ruled out a lot of the other wheels (tho I looked longingly at the Kromski Minstral- such a pretty!). Also I wanted a wheel that would grow with me as I got to be a better spinner. I talked to other spinners and spent a lot of time at KR before deciding to get the Lendrum.

I took Ellie with me to the LYS for class this morning and spun some of my hand dyed roving into this. I think it looks pretty good (nevermind the awful winding on the bobbin). I kept getting distracted by people asking me questions, and one lady wanted to sit down and try some spinning herself. She couldn't manage to get the treadling down and kept turning the wheel backwards, which is why some of the yarn on the bobbin is unspun.

A couple of ounces of BFL roving I dyed. I wanted really intense, fun colors because I'm planning on making this into socks for the boys.

This silk/merino didn't turn out the way I thought it would and I think I'm going to re-dye it. I wanted a light pink and soft ecru combo for another Clapotis. I got a dirty tan and washed out pink instead. :( So I think I'm going to over dye it and go for really intense colors (maybe deep purple).

Some fingering weight wool dyed in pretty oranges and reds. This is either going to be a pair of socks or a shawl. Haven't decided yet....

Friday, May 13, 2005

No photos tonight....

It's been a long day and I'm exhausted- but I did have time to spin some more. I ended up spinning some of my Brown Sugar roving, which I want to ply with the Coopworth I've already spun. I had a heck of a time with the Brown Sugar, though. I wanted to spin a little thicker and could not for the life of me get the tension right. Either it was taking up too quickly or not fast enough. Several times I had the yarn twisting back on itself before it even got to the orfice. grrrr I think my problems tonight have more to do with the fact that I used Ellie upstairs where it's all carpeted. She kept trying to slide away from me and I really had to work the treadles. Maybe I'll have to limit my spinning to the tiled area downstairs.

I did get out the plying head and played with it a bit. After figuring out how everything worked and what went where, I managed to ply just a little bit of the Coopworth and Brown Sugar together. Not a pretty sight! I think I will spend some more time spinning singles and save the plying for the Wednesday night sit N stitch so I have some other spinners to help me.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

And now for kiddo content...

Monkey Boy has finally started figuring out how to hold his toys.

hehehehe Can you tell Little Man hasn't had his nap today?

What did you say Mama?

This is already fun....

So I took Ellie with me to the sit n stitch last night and thanks to (blogless) Lori and Karen's help, I was actually able to do some spinning. And it actually looks like it's supposed to!
Here it is: my first singles spun from the Coopworth roving sent with Ellie.

Kinda hard to see since the Coopworth is so dark. I think the fact that I learned to draft on the drop spindle really helped me; when I used Ellie I was just learning to draft a little faster while treadling. It reminds me of learning to drive a stick shift LOL

I think I will dye some roving different shades of red and then ply the Coopworth the red. I have ALOT of Coopworth- about 1 lb. worth. We were joking about the shape/size of the roving last night and we decided to call it the "Sausage O Roving". Lori thinks that I may have enough Coopworth for a pair of socks....

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

She's here! She's here!

My wheel arrived this afternoon while I was putting the boys down for their naps. It only took me about 10 minutes to put her together, and I was happily treadling away after only a few more minutes of practice. It's pretty easy to keep the wheel spinning only in one direction (I had problems with that when trying other wheels). Here she is in all her glory:

I'm almost afraid to try out some roving, can you believe it? I have a sit n stitch tonight at La Petite Knitterie and I think I'll try bringing her. There are two other spinners there who will hopefully help out this hopeless newbie. Now to name her....She keeps whispering "Eleanore/Ellie" to me....

The regular flyer, which was already set up and ready to go on the mother of all when I opened the box. Notice the lack of yarn!

The roving I chose- you get a choice of $20 of fibers or $40 off the travel bag. I figured if I ever went anywhere w/the wheel, I'd take a hard case, so I skipped the travel bag (twas soft-sided).

On another note, I finally took some photos of my roses yesterday. They are going all out with the spring bloom- probably due to all the rain we've had.

A shot of my Gertrude Jykell climber...this rose has the amazing scent.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I've been working on the Sweet Tart Cami from the Spring/Summer IK for the past few weeks and finally decided I don't really like the way it's coming out. No way I was going to use $70 work of silk yarn for this, so I found this King Cole Soft As Silk DK yarn and went with it for the cami. Unfortunately, the yarn (100% acrylic) doesn't seem to be working very well. It doesn't hold the stitch definition as well as I'd like, plus I'm having issues with the way the cast on edge of the cami is curling up.

After much thought, I decided the whole thing was headed for the frog pond. Here it is right before ripping commenced....

So here's the yarn I'm going to use next:

It's Knitpicks' Shine in Blush (I've been knitting a lot of pink stuff lately for some reason). I think the cotton/modal will show the stitches and eyelet pattern of the Cami much better than the acrylic. So hopefully I'll cast on tonight- all 150+ stitches- and get started on a new version that will be done before summer is over.

And yet more Shine, this time for Little Man's "Little Star Sweater". I had already gotten about 2 inches into the sweater using Elann's Endless Summer Collection Sonata (100% cotton) and realized pretty fast that my hands were going to give out way before I would ever finish the sweater. The cotton was just too stiff- it reminded me why I don't like knitting w/cotton yarns.

But then I ordered some Shine for another project for Little Man and decided that it would be perfect for Little Star Sweater. The only thing I'm torn about is which green to use....should it be the light or the dark?

I'm still working on DH's sock, but decided to start a pair out of some of my worsted weight hand dyed yarn. I started out knitting both socks on 2 circulars, which worked fine till I hit the part where you turn the heel. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to turn the heel on both socks at the same time.

So I took this one off the circulars and put it on DPNs. Here it is after decreasing for the gussets. It's going back on the circulars after this and I'll take the other sock off to put it on the DPNs for the heel turn. Hopefully I can get both socks back on the 2 circs to finish them off that way. If the sock looks short, it's because it *is*- there's only about 4 inches on the leg. I wanted a shorter sock for around the house.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Mother's Day Surprise

(not for me!)

For my lucky MIL. She's a great mom to her 10 (!) kids and a wonderful MIL. This year, her sons decided to re-do her 30yr old kitchen. They wanted to make it s surprise, so they enlisted the help of FIL and started making plans about 3 months ago. FIL took MIL on a two week vacation while the boys worked like crazy to rip out the old kitchen and install the new stuff.

They went all out: completely tearing out the old cabinets, moving the stove and going from electric to gas, removing the 'popcorn' ceiling and old paneling, knocking down half a wall....the list goes on & on. Then they got new countertops, new appliances, painted and patched, and touched up everything. FIL footed the bill, but the boys did ALOT of work. It was like an episode of Extreme Home Makeover.

MIL arrived home at 11pm on Saturday night (I couldn't be there, as *my* boys didn't have a babysitter and 11pm is way too late to have a 4 month old & nearly 3yr old up). Everyone hid and waited for her to walk in the door. She says her knees nearly gave out when she realized what they'd done. What a wonderful Mother's Day gift she got- not just the kitchen, but all the work and emotion behind it. She's a really sweet woman and deserves it all....

Some pics:

Breaking in the new stove...we decided to really grease it up. We cooked up about 2 lbs of bacon and everyone had BLTs along with scrambled eggs, toast and OJ. Great Mom's Day brunch!

Lovely MIL- she was so surprised to see her new kitchen, the first words out of her mouth were "Oh sh!t" LOL