Monday, June 22, 2009

FO: Brett Thomas

Say hello to our newest creation! Brett Thomas H. was born June 20, 2009 at 2:59pm and came in at 6 lbs. 6 oz and was 20" long.

After what seemed like an eternity, I'm so glad he's here. He's such a serious little guy. He always looks so worried, but has shown a pretty mellow temperament so far. He sleeps really well and the only time he seems to cry is when he has a bubble. It's been a weird 5 days so far trying to adjust, but we're finally getting back into life as normal. Welcome to this world, little gnome!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


The day lilies are blooming like crazy in our front planter. They're so gorgeous.

This needs to be a yarn colorway and a pattern... Looks like I'll be designing & dyeing soon!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Circles, Problems and Therapy

Let's start with the Circles. I'm stuck in a loop with spinning. I have been wanting to spin very badly the last few nights. But I'm afraid to start something because if I do I'm sure the bebe will come and I won't have time to finish it any time soon. But then again, it's almost a sure way to get him to come. So what do I do? Wait until after he gets here, which is who knows when, and then start a new project? Or start something now, ensuring he'll show up tonight and then wind up having to leave it sitting for who knows how long? Decisions, decisions...

In the Problems section today, we have my scarf design that I've been working on for the last few days. The design itself is working out well:

This is the first version I came up with, which has since been refined. Here's my problem. I ran out of yarn. And it's only about half of the length I would want it to be. So I go down to the yarn shop and they only have two balls of that particular yarn left, neither of which are the color I need. Not even in the back. So... I'll finish up what I've got and see how long it blocks out. But! While I was there I got this, which will probably be another scarf of the same design:

Sirdar Just Soya (100% soya) in a pretty olive green color (and I got 2, just in case). Which plays into the Therapy section of today's post. I am so overly pregnant and hot and irritable and it was a crazy two year old twins day and the phone kept ringing all. damn. day. and I'm in so much pain from bebe trying to break my pelvis. So Ben watched the kids while I went out and when I found out they didn't have the yarn I needed I decided there was no way I was leaving without SOMETHING to make me feel better. Which it has. Getting out of the house was nice, and yarn makes everything better.

Now all I have to do is finish the scarf, clean up the chart and write out the pattern and find a test knitter to make sure it's all good. Anyone up for test knitting?

Monday, June 15, 2009

FO: Secrets of the Shawl

I just realized I haven't had a knitting FO in a long time. That's really sad. :( But here's one!

Pattern: Secrets of the Shawl a.ka. Crystal Garden Shawl
by Vicki Mikulak

Yarn: Knit Picks Essential in "Granny Smith" - 6 balls (and I used every bit but 12 yards)

Needles: US 6/4mm

Since this was a mystery knit-along there weren't any variations. I did just do 2 rows of garter stitch for the cast off edge though, instead of the picot edge that was a choice. I like the way it turned out and I'm really happy I decided to do it in the Essential yarn. It's so soft and has been really nice to throw on for the last few days that have been chilly (what the crap June?!). I think it might actually make a nice nursing shawl. The little man could still breath without me flashing everyone around! You know, if he ever decides to show up.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stay Tuned

2-3 edging rows away from finishing the Secrets of the Shawl (green one)! But I have a doctors appointment this morning, and then it needs to be blocked and have it's photo shoot done. So stay tuned for shawl finishing!

In the meantime - New Knitty is out! Go looky. I wanna make that crab so bad.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Chuggin' Along

In addition to my spinning (see below post), I've been slowly working along on the shawls.

I finished clue 6 of the Springtime Swirl and began clue 7 yesterday. 7 is the last one and is the edging for the whole thing. It's very easy but will be very time consuming as there is a LOT of edge to this thing. 640 stitches to join to said edging... But I'm getting there. I doubt I'll finish it today and this is why:

Mom and I's Knit Picks order came yesterday, which included the last ball I needed for my Secrets of the Shawl. I joined that on today and will be continuing on to hopefully finish the last clue either today or tomorrow. Depends on how long the boys sleep and what they get into while they're up.

As soon as I am done with these I will be casting on for the newest Mystery Shawl I've gotten sucked into. Clue 4 is already out, and 5 comes out on Saturday. But I still want to get it done since the yarn I dyed for it came out so well. By the way, anyone near a FoodsCo will find Kool-aid packs at 5/$1. Let's just say I got excited about this and have plenty of colors to dye with now.

Another part of the Knit Picks order was my scale to weight fiber/yarn. It works great! I'm really excited about it because now I can evenly split my fiber before I spin them so that my plying will come out more even. And I can see what my finished skeins come out to be.

I'm trying to make sure I stick to finishing these shawls before I start anything else. I have so many ideas in my head for new things, new designs, and ripping back and starting over with old things. I've decided the Sea Blanket is going to die and will be reknit in a size that actually resembles a human being. I'm going to change the Christmas Tree Skirt to an in the round project. And I'm going to attempt opening an Etsy shop to sell things I make, patterns I design and possibly yarn/fiber that I make up and dye myself. I need to get things made up for that, but should finish those shawls first. Oh well, I have plenty of time. Until the little one comes...

Spinning FO: Sweet Grass Targhee!

I finished spinning and plying this a few days ago, but just finished washing and setting it yesterday. It turned out great! It's really fun to see my skills getting better and better with each time at the wheel. The yarn turned out fairly soft, and I'm thinking it might make a good hat or socks. I still have a little bit to ply up, but here are the specs I got for the stuff I finished:

Fiber Type: Sweet Grass Targhee (from Targhee Sheep)

Color: Natural/Cream

Quantity/Weight: Spun up 4 oz., finished this skein with about 2.8 oz.

Preparation: Combed Mountain Top

Divided: Divided the whole lot into equal(ish) weights (about 1.3 oz.) then separated each bit into 4ths for drafting.

Method: Short draw/Worsted

Whorl Size: 10.1:1 both singles and plying

WPI of Singles: 31

Twists per Inch: 9

Number of Plies: 3

WPI of Finished yarn: 14

Finishing: Soak in warm water with baby shampoo, rinse, whack, hang dry overnight.

Finished Yardage: Approximately 144 yards

Approximate Yarn Weight: Fingering

This wool was a lot easier to spin than the Merino. It had a bit longer staple from what I could tell, and it wasn't as slippery. I didn't have as much trouble with it slipping and breaking while drafting. Not as fun to run through my fingers, but still really nice. I'm thinking I might get some more and possibly dye it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dyeing: A How To With Kool-Aid!

I decided for the newest Mystery Shawl I've signed up for that I wanted to do it in red yarn. Unfortunately, I don't have have any laceweight red yarn. So what did I do? I decided to dye some! It was really fun! So now, I share with you how it went.

I suggest that if you don't have air conditioning (we do not) that you do this on a cool day so as not to die of heat exhaustion from your stove. Yesterday was not too bad. Plus I started early in the morning while it was still really nice. I had originally tried dyeing my yarn with cherry tea on Sunday, but it turned out a gross looking skin color. Not cool.

So! I asked Rach to pick up some cherry Kool-aid while at the store the other day and that's what I used. I didn't want to use industrial type dyes because of the little man I'm carrying, so food safe stuff it was!

First, you must soak your undyed yarn to get it ready for dye uptake. This allows all the air to get out of the yarn so you don't have to deal with those air pockets keeping the dye from it. Soak it in lukewarm water and GENTLY squeeze it to get the air out. Don't agitate it - it could felt. (I'm using Knit Picks Bare laceweight - 100% Merino wool.)

Next mix your Kool-aid with water in a large pot. This pot needs to be big enough to let your yarn move around freely. I used 6 packs of Kool-aid for my two skeins of yarn. Settle your prepared yarn into the pot and turn it on high. What you want is for the water to almost come to a boil. If it actually boils then it can agitate and felt your yarn. So I watched it carefully and once the water started steaming and I saw a bubble or two, I turned off the heat and put a lid on it. Let it sit, stirring occasionally (again, gently) until the water has cooled until you can handle the yarn.

The third step is to rinse your yarn. The important part here is that your yarn goes into the same temperature water as it's coming out of so that you don't shock it. So for me, since my dye water was still fairly hot, I had to make sure that the water in my sink was pretty hot too. Fill your sink or tub with the water, then gently place your yarn in the water and let it sit for awhile (about 15-30 minutes is what I did). This is the first step to rinsing out excess dye.

Remove the yarn, drain and fill the sink again - this time adding soap. I used baby shampoo rather than the suggested liquid dish soap because my dish soap has bleach in it. Let it sit again. Drain and refill the sink a third time with clear water. Let sit to rinse out the soap. This should be enough to completely rinse it out, but if you still have dye leaking into your water keep rinsing until your water is clear.

After you're done rinsing, hang to dry. I used plastic hangers because I didn't want to risk rust getting onto my yarn from a metal hanger.

Tada! All done. It didn't turn out quite as dark as I had wanted it. I should have used more packs of Kool-aid. But! For a first time run, I think it turned out pretty well. It's a little variegated, which is actually pretty cool. I think it will knit up nicely and if I don't like it knit up then I can over-dye it once the project is done.

I think the best part was how all the color in the Kool-aid got sucked into the yarn. When I was done letting it cool in the pot, the water was pretty much clear! It was awesome! I now have about 1700 yards of pinky-red laceweight ready for a new shawl! I've heard that you can dye in old crock pots too, so I might do that next time just to save the hassle of the stove being taken up. I'll have to hit up Goodwill and see if there are any crock pots around.

Now it is a lovely, cool, cloudy, non-June like day and I'm going to go enjoy it!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Better Get To It

Good Morning and Happy June everyone! As I procrastinate on doing laundry for the moment I had a thought occur to me:

There are only 208 days to Christmas. If you haven't done so yet, now is the time to panic!

I haven't even begun to figure out what I'm going to make people this year. And given the fact that I can get the worst cases of knitting ADHD (KADHD) I better get to it now to give myself time. Although I suppose I should finish the gifts from LAST year first... Oy. I've been really bad. Can I blame it on being pregnant?

Knitting knews! (Hehe, see how I did that?) Not much good stuff. I realized that my Springtime Swirl shawl was majorly screwed up on clue 6. I guess I should learn to count, it might help me move along in life. I'm not completely positive where I got so off, so I'm ticking back to the middle of the chart where it started. Which is a long way since I was a good 10 or so rows through that part alone. I was going to send a lifeline through it and just rip it out but there are so many stitches I was having a hard time making sure my lifeline was straight across them all. So once I get to the point of starting over I will be putting a lifeline in at each pattern row... You know. Just in case I don't pick up that counting skill any time soon.

Good news is Mom and I went in together on a Knit Picks order yesterday so we could get the free shipping without either of us having to spend the $50 alone. Which means I'm getting more yarn for my Secrets of the Shawl! Hopefully that will show up this week and I can finish it soon.

Why was Mom ordering stuff from Knit Picks? Because I've got her hooked on knitting again apparently and she has stumbled into the dangerous world of needles and stash building. Taking over the world, one person at a time! Muahahahaha!