Thursday, March 31, 2011

Where are they now?

Whatever happened to your __________?
Write about the fate of a past knitting project. Whether it be something that you crocheted or knitted for yourself or to give to another person.

I knit my nieces each a pair of piggy mittens. They got them for Christmas and from my niece up in Snohomish I heard nothing further about them. The niece in town, I didn't really hear anything about them either until her father happened to mention that she wore them every day to school and was devastated  that one of them was missing. It was found the next day in the school's lost and found. They're pretty distinctive, so the whole set would have to go missing for them not to be turned in.

Who wouldn't like something that you could play with while wearing?
I had made William a Jayne Cobb hat a couple of years ago for his birthday. He's still living at home, so I know he has it and I've seen him wear it. Not as often as I'd like, but its colors aren't always easy to match with what he's wearing.

It would be nice since a majority of my knitting are gift items if I heard back from the giftees that they still are using them or not. I had made my mother a purse when I was first learning how to knit. It was out of this awful to knit with Lion Brand boucle type yarn and really hurt my hands to knit with it. I visited with her a year later and asked her about it, it was buried in her bedroom closet. I hadn't taken a picture of it before sending and was finally getting one. At lease she still had it - right?

Do you see your gifts being worn/used?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tidy mind, tidy stitches


I store most of my yarns in plastic bins. I have one big bin full of acrylic yarns to knit for family members I can't give hand wash items. My wools are stored in a couple of smaller bins. I also have a bin that I was using for Christmas gift giving. I pulled the yarns and printed patterns for the intended projects and then had them in the bin so that I could pull them out as I was ready to knit them. Last year's bin got put on hold due to depression from losing Nessa, then adding Leeloo there was less knitting. I have them for this year, because many of them still apply or can be shifted to another person on my list. I should probably shift some of them to the smaller bins and put all my wool in it, but haven't gotten to that yet. (It sprang to mind as I was typing this...)

I do make sure that if I add any new yarns to my stash that I photograph them and put them into Ravelry. I've also pretty much tied all of my stash to intended projects in my queue. There's now an ability to sort by yarn weight and we've had the ability to separate out handspuns, but I'd like to be able to find out if a yarn doesn't have a project linked to it.

My queue is then organized into different tabs - socks, shawls, sweaters, baby/toddler/child, etc. I have way too many items in my queue just to page through and hope that I find a pattern that I thought I put in there! ;-)  I'm up to 22 pages in my queue - oh my!

Putting projects on the main page into their own tabs by year or 'gifts' was something I started doing as soon as I figured out we had that ability. This year, since I'm participating in different year long groups for specific knitting, I have have tabs for those as well. The ability to organize the Project page and Queue pages has been a sanity saver! 

I found myself on someone's project page and noticed that they had tabs for socks and shawls and I thought that was a pretty cool idea. So I added those also. That way if someone finds themselves on my project page and just wanted to see the shawls I've knitted, they don't have to scroll through all of the projects I've done, unless they really want to do so. I know I've gotten additions to my queue by looking at people's project pages from looking up a pattern and seeing what others have done.

I try to remember to add the right kind of tags when I add to my queue, so I don't lose a pattern, but I also try to go through and delete things as my tastes change. Have you ever put something in your queue and then later wonder what were you thinking when you added it?  22 pages, I may need to do some cleaning. LOL

Did you know that Casey has added, what I think is a cool feature, on a pattern that you are looking at doing - go to the 'projects' tab, then from the drop down menu (2nd from left) select 'friends projects'. This will then show if any of your friends have knit that particular pattern. You can either be the cool kid on the block and be one of the first to knit it, or join in the viral experience. (Speaking of viral, I'm still resisting Clapotis. I have no idea why, but I am. What are you resisting to knit that's gone viral?)

My actual knitting projects, I try to keep together in project bags in one main basket. I do try to only keep one project at a time going but there are times when more than one happens. Sometimes you want something that doesn't take a lot of concentration to take to knit night when there's chatting going on. So another project gets started or picked up again. I do have one project that has languished for a month or so from when it was started, that I've picked back up worked on it, then put it back down. It will get done, but not this month! 

I don't think I'm over-organized, am I?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Knitting skills - Skill +1 up


Looking back over the last year of knitting and suddenly I felt like I had hardly knit anything. There were a lot of dishcloths, but those were gift items. Then I really looked and realized that I was taking on colorwork as something not to be afraid of doing -

I'm also finally growing beyond small projects of hats, gloves, socks and dishcloths. Of course the start of the growth were small steps in baby sweaters, but I've also finally knit one for myself!

 Necessity came in here and I used leftover yarns that were machine washable and Leeloo had her first hoody.
We found out that one of the cousins was pregnant so I made my first Baby Surprise Jacket, but I was worried that it would clash with her red hair, so saved it and gave it to a friend of William's that was also pregnant.
So instead I tried out the Baby Sweater on Two Needles and gave it to baby, a little bit for her at the time, but I think she'll get use out of it. Since its the smaller version of the adult sweater known as February Lady, I felt more than comfortable getting started on my own. Knitting growth! Of course the picture does nothing for my figure, I'm really not apple shaped. ;-)
Leeloo's sweater is the latest sweater, it includes intarsia. I was able to finally get a good picture and an idea of how it was fitting and found out that I'll have to rip out the ribbing and do a bit more decreases and a couple inches of length before doing the ribbing again. It's in timeout on my table for next month or early May. No camping until Memorial Day weekend, when she'll need it then.
We met Nicole and Skuppas this month. Skuppas is a 3.5 pound Yorkie and while its big on her, Leeloo's hoody fit her better, so we gave it to them. So I know where other 'small' fitting sweaters can go in the future. LOL

Looking back over the last year and the knitting that was done, only four items stayed with me. All others were either shop samples or gifts. This year, I'm trying to achieve a balance of knitting for me and others.  Its only fair - right?

How prepared are you?

Friend Laurel on Facebook has pointed out that the area we live in is due for a major earthquake similar to Japan's. So she took a look at her Emergency Preparedness and spent the weekend stocking up their deficits. She shared these links - FEMA's lists and Red Cross lists. 

Now I want to spring clean out the garage and create a space to store stuff for this. I had been thinking about re-homing the plastic dog crates, but realized that if something did happen we'd need those. So they need to go in a cupboard in the garage with the other supplies. I think Brandon has most of our camping gear stored out in the shed, so we'd have some form of shelter if the house came down. The pantry is decently stocked, but I want to add in some other basics to have on hand. We have a nice selection of cast on cookware, but lack a decent supply of propane for the cookstove.

I'd also like to get a better fire pit. Our current one is the bottom of a former chimena that rusted out. So a new one that we can also take camping would be nice. I'm not so sure that we have the space to store firewood. One could be made, but its so bulky.

The garage freezer also needs to be defrosted, so part of the garage spring cleaning. It makes me wonder if some non-powered dehydration system would be needed? I have a food dehydrator, but it needs electricity. Sure freezer foods would be the first foods used, but I also have a tendency to think long term catastrophe events.

So I know of some holes, and imagine we'll find others as we get things ready. How prepared are you for an earthquake?  Rachel's already said that we need to stock up on Via from Starbucks for when her family makes its way over to our house for a post-catastrophe visit. ;-)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Knitting like mad and a spot of spinning

I forgot to post that I finished the cabled capelet -
 I actually like this photo too!
Its delightfully warm too. I'm looking forward to using it for spring/fall camping events. Yes, I know its not terribly period, but I'm still going to use it. Unless the garb police crawl out of the woodworks. ;-)

I'm planning to knit the Aeolian Shawl with some Malabrigo Lace in Azul Profundo (for some reason its just fun to say the name - try it). Beads, I think beads should happen with this shawl. I don't have any with beads yet this year. I have some nice clear ones I picked up from the Gem Faire earlier this month.  Pattern's all printed along with the alternative edging, yarn is all caked and both in a ziplock bag.

We haven't been meeting at the Grange because William had to be taken to the pool at 5am for work on Wednesdays and just couldn't get an alternative day going. This last Wednesday was the first one that we managed to get a few people together. I think we'll have a few more this week.

I had bought an ounce of merino-alpaca-silk from Urban Fiber Arts (Cindy's shop). It was only $2.75 for the ounce. I divided up into three equal sections and then Kool-Aid dyed them - Blue Raspberry Lemonade, Grape and Black Cherry -
So I spun up the single last Wednesday -
 Friday I chain plied it up and on Saturday gave it a soak and let it hang dry -
Trying to photograph the colors was difficult, so I decided to go ahead and just wind it up into a ball. I ended up with 145 yards of light fingering. I think it will be a Barn Raising Quilt block but with Easter coming up, I might see if I can do an egg or two.  So for $3.05 I've had a lots of fun and I'm not done yet!

Next month's spinning is all for Fairs - County and State. Haven't decided if I'll try entering any of them at Black Sheep Gathering or Oregon Flock and Fiber, those I have to pay to enter them. ;-)

I knitted up Leeloo a little sweater to wear while SCA camping. I had her try it on before doing the ribbing and it looked like it was good to start the ribbing. Of course after getting it all done and finally getting a good picture/look at her, I find that I needed more decreasing and a little more length. Sigh. I'm not looking forward to frogging out the ribbing and doing that though. So its sitting on the table waiting to have that done. I might have to wait to re-do until next month though.  This is what it looks like now - 

What has kept me very busy this month is Brandon's kilt hose. Oh boy! 35-1/2 inches in length per sock. Right now I'm having the dickens of a time trying to get them to dry so I can have him take photos with them. So here's one pre-blocked - 
Here they are both off the needles and before I gave them a good soak with his other pair that needed to be washed (trying to get them to dry too) - 
I have next month's sock pattern all ready to go and the sock yarn all caked up and needles in a ziplock bag. It's my Kool-Aid dyed Lion Brand *pink* Sock Ease yarn. 
I have a shrug to do for Christmas giving before the end of the month. I'm also trying to do a couple shrugs for the nieces, also for Christmas. The one I thought I'd do just is acting too small. They are 10 average and 11 petite, so if you have a suggestion for a pattern that I don't have to buy, that would be great!  Help please!

Hopefully without a sock project like the kilt hose, I should be able to get the Spiderman Blanket that's another Christmas gift done.  There's also a teddy bear that needs to get done next month if I'm going to stay on track with projects. Trying to stay organized and on top of things. This month has me a bit stressed with the end of the month rush.

A Tale of Two or more yarns


Thinking about various yarns I've knit with, I'd have to say that I have enjoyed working with Cascade 220 as a good workhorse yarn. I have my Cascade Lizard Ridge Blanket out of it and its holding up well. I've used it for felting and had success with it. I plan to use my leftovers from CLRB to do a Mitered Square blanket. I'm told that there's a new yarn that's softer than 220 and has a bit more yardage that people are liking.

I've also enjoyed knitting with Berroco's Ultra Alpaca Fine and spun up alpaca that was enjoyable to work with.  I'm looking forward to knitting with my handspun camel and yak/merino. Handspun yarns are different to work with than factory made. I'm not going to run away from a cashmere or silk blend yarn if offered a chance to knit with them. ;-)

Yarns that annoy? Lion Brand Homespun for knitting. It's been long enough since I've crocheted with it, that I can't remember how it worked for that. Knitting it sucked big time. Such that I cringe when I have Homespun given to me. Its caused me to have a strong dislike for boucle type yarns.

There was also a raw silk kind of like a paper-ribbon yarn that I really didn't enjoy. For the most part though, I can usually find a way to work with a yarn, even if I find I don't like it. Allergies don't count. ;-) My Lizard Ridge blanket is out of Cascade 220 because we figured out that I had a dye allergy, or maybe the vegetation in the Noro Kureyon, or the rough wool?

What's your favorite yarn? Or least favorite?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I did what?!

Spent Saturday plying the single I flashed. It came out to a nice chain-plied light fingering weight and about 284 yards:
Since the pretty crocuses were showing off, and also a lavender color, I thought why not show them off together?

Sunday, I was up bright and early and then over at Rachel's house to catch the Trtlgrl yarn bus. Kathy was there too and after gathering the list off the printer we were headed off, with no definite plan in mind. Our first stop was a bust because we were there before 10am and they were weren't opening until noon, so off to the next closest shop. We stopped at twelve stores throughout the day, out of the twenty available. We picked up Noriko and Kristi for part of it. We had another stop that apparently closed earlier than the list we had said, so added another store in its place. I think we finished up around 5:30 and back out in Hillsboro about 6pm - so a looooong day of checking out yarn stores!

Last Wednesday at knit night I cast on the Cabled Caplet that I'd like to use for SCA events.  The pattern is this one. I had a difficult time getting started, and it was all due to this row: Row 3: [K2, P2, K3], (K2, P, K, P, K) X 7, K, [K3, P2, K2]. For some reason the X 7, K, [ with the "K" I was totally glossing over. I flat out did not see it until I complained on Facebook that I apparently couldn't read a pattern and it was kicking my @$$. Dina was lovely and stepped up and tested out the pattern for me and said that lots of stitch markers helped her get through the stumbling block. After she said that it all worked for her, its like that "K" magically popped out at me.

So Sunday night I pulled out the yarn and stash of stitch markers and I'm powering through. I did find this morning that six rows back I had one of the seven section have a hiccup on the cables. Luckily it was the next to last section towards the end, so I was able to slide that part on to a stitch holder and drop those four stitches down and re-do them. Okay, it took four or so attempts to get it fixed, but oh so much easier to fix this way rather than tinking back those six rows of cables.

Here's what it looked like late this afternoon:
The last couple of days we've had sun and late afternoon rain. Yesterday afternoon the dogs were barking at a tree further along the backyard. We had moved one of the willows away from the big maple and along the back fence next to the shed. Other side of the back fence? The fallow filbert orchard. It's mecca for the birds and of course the bush tailed rodents in the area - squirrels. Norbert is fixated on the squirrels, Leeloo is an equal opportunity fixater and also takes exception to the birds coming into 'her' yard. Anyway, the bushy tailed rodent:
Further sign that spring is nearing:
Still need to get the kilt hose started, two little girl shrugs and maybe get started on next month's spinning, because there's a lot.....

Anything kicking your you know what? ;-)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Portland Yarn Crawl

First, I used up the leftover bits of handspun from the Opal Dane Shawl and Winter Finn Pretty Thing Cowl in another Barn Raising Quilt Square. It's six inches square and turns out just the right size. I thought it might be a smidge small.
I started spinning this month's fiber. It's a 3.8 ounce bundle that was part of the fiber I got with my Lendrum from Morgaine. I thought it might be BFL, but after working with it, I'm not really sure what it is. ;-) I'll go through my Big Book of Wool after I ply it and see if I can figure it out. This is what the single looks like on the bobbin. I plan to chain ply.
March 4-6 Portland fiber fanatics get to visit 20 stores in a bid to win a raffle basket or other raffle items that the stores may also have. I went to Knit-Purl first to pick up a couple skeins of Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift because I want to knit the Beaumont Tam. I was also one of the first twenty people to arrive so recieved a free gift from them, a pretty spring green skein of Staccato Sock yarn. Twisted was also giving away something to the first forty people, but I just missed that by arriving at 10:30am. I did get store front parking though!  Same with Knit-Purl. I tried stopping at Saint Cupcake on my way to Happy Knits, but was foiled in stopping due to utility construction blocking side streets and filled street parking. I looked around at Happy Knits but even with a 15% discount I wasn't buying. I had parked halfway between them and Yarn Garden so stopped there too. I found out that the S264 Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn has been discontinued from a nice girl there. I have a skein I had thought to do socks with, but not really feeling it. So was thinking of doing a Fan Shawl. I'd need another skein, so another skein or similar colorway is needed. (I think it may be more cost effective to get a couple skeins of Knit Picks Chroma. [Sunrise colorway])

From Yarn Garden it was back over the river to Urban Fiber Arts, Cindy's shop! We had talked Wednesday night about the needles she had gotten in. I need US4s for socks for the DH (think I mentioned this) and I don't have any outside of my interchangeable set of US5s, so bought two of each. I might actually get Gail's fingerless mitts done now that I don't have to do them on the non-pointy Brittany dpns they're on now. ;-) I found storefront parking at Cindy's too. My luck in that didn't hold out for The Button Emporium though. Luckily there's a parking garage a block over. I found some clasps for the Raspberry February Lady Sweater. Now I have to sew them on! I resisted temptation and didn't stop at Cupcake Jones while I was at UFA.

I was low on gas and ready for lunch so headed on to get that done, so didn't stop at The Knitting Bee or For Yarn's Sake.  I might be able to do a quickie at For Yarn's Sake on the way to the SCA meeting tonight.

Who knows if I'll make the other stores on the list? It's a lovely raffle basket, but I'm not really interested in doing a whole bunch more driving for a slight chance. Especially since I'm not shopping!