Saturday, August 25, 2012

2012 Beach Trip!

We made the drive to Manzanita, we like the beach there. Its often not as crowded as the others but this trip it had more people than we usually see. I think it was everyone trying to escape the heat. ;-) It was in the low 60s while we were there, compared to the previous days 99.

Brandon running them together

Leeloo's face said that she thought the beach was a blast

The boys have fun going in the water, the girls, we stay out - its COLD!

Towards the end of the beach there is a hillside of rocks. Brandon started climbing, Norbert followed. I took Leeloo off leash so that she could clamber around freely. She seemed to enjoy the rock climbing too, until she realized I didn't come along.

Checking out a log and back on leash. I waited until after we got home for a bath and haircut for Leeloo. Norbert still needs a haircut.
It was a lovely afternoon and we'll have to take them for a weekend at the beach house in October. Hopefully, early October when the weather is still nicer.

Friday, August 24, 2012


I have been in this weird mood to knit through all my leftover sock yarns. Which I guess is an improvement over not wanting to knit at all!  I had gotten the hexi-puff pattern and its a fast knit to get a puff made. I have fourteen of them now:
These did use up a lot of little bits of samples and odds and ends that I had from socks. I'm following the pattern but have noticed that they are not equally balanced top and bottom. You start with twenty stitches divided across two dpns and increase on the ends every other row until you are back to twenty stitches on each needle. Then you start decreasing back to ten stitches on each needle and bind off, after stuffing of course!  I haven't used Judy's Magic Cast On for this, but I could see where it would be very easy to use with this project. I've purposefully kept the cast on as given so that both sides have a ridge. I guess you could also kitchener them closed, but haven't tried that yet. Is anyone else noticing this? Am I doing something wrong?

I had in my queue another pattern that would use up the leftovers, a garter square very similar to the Barn Raising Quilt pattern I've been using on my handspun yarns, this one is by DROPS. The garter stitch square gobbles up more yarn than the BR square, but has been fun to do. I have nine blocks done as of today, the last one hadn't been blocked, but I wanted to get pics:
In fact the just finished block, upper right hand one, was using some leftover ShibuiKnits yarn in Wisteria colorway and I found that I had a moth problem. ACK! I found that larvae had nibbled their way out of the yarn and I was left with long and short pieces. So I pieced them as best as I could and finished the block and threw away what was leftover. Oddly, I don't remember seeing any moths in the house. It has reinforced my desire to knit the rest of the bag up. Luckily my odds and ends were being stored in a ziplock bag in my sock bin. I need to double check that there is a cedar block/ball in the big bin and that all of my other bins do indeed have cedar in them. 

I have a desire to get some other projects done, but kind of have this ball rolling on the blocks and puffs. The other bits don't seem like they've been nibbled on, so hopefully it was just this one poor ball, but you know what I'll be doing for a bit. I think things will do their own kind of change up project wise after September Crown. I do want to try to get a couple projects done for that, may be knitted or sewn, we'll see.

What do you do with your leftover sock yarn, or really any weight yarn? I have another gallon ziplock bag with worsted odds and ends that I suspect will become another blanket project, maybe that mitered squares, or I really like the idea of the Log Cabin which is a take off on the Fussy Cut. Which do you think I should choose? 

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Today its supposed to get above 100 degrees, something that is out of the norm for our part of the world. I know that the rest of the country has been experiencing drought and high heat, but we're not used to it here in the Pacific Northwest. Natives start to whine when it gets above 75 and anything about 80 is just not fun. We do have humidity, nothing like the South though, so we shouldn't complain, too much. ;-)

I had let the dogs out to go potty and caught these pics:

Leeloo had laid down on the mat outside the patio door, and its one of the spots that Norbert also uses for that. He decided that sunbathing was more important than the fact she was laying there.

It's not that they don't get along, its just they don't sleep side-by-side that often. Leeloo would do it more often I think, but Norbert will stretch and kick out in the stretching and she's taken it as a 'keep away from me' type move. As you can see she's definitely smaller than him.

They are both due for trims, but its warm enough that I haven't wanted to take them outside to do it. Maybe Friday though. We're going to try for that beach trip on Saturday. It's supposed to be a bit cooler in the valley, so will be interesting to see what kind of weather we'll have there.

Hope if you're local, you're staying cool!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Acorn War 2012

We've gone for the last three years. First year, Jose was the autocrat and I worked gate and it was up on Chehalem Mountain. Last year, I was asked to teach drop spindling and knitting. It was 90+ degrees and out in a field with no wind. I had no one take my class. This year it was back up on Chehalem Mountain and while 85+ degrees, there was a very steady wind.

J'nati took my drop spindling class and it was interesting getting her going with all that wind. I had the wind blow my fiber at one point into her spindle. It made it a bit of a challenge, but we were able to get fiber spun and then I taught her how to ply it. So she ended up with a finished yarn to take home as well as fiber left still to play with.

There was battles going on while we were spindling, but didn't get to watch much of it until later:

Lady Havoise was teaching a beginning embroidery class after mine. I ended up taking it too. After all it was only $1 and I walked away with a nice practice cloth, DMC floss, the hoop, and instruction pamphlet:

She had it nicely finished to keep from unraveling while we worked with it

She had gotten the hoops for free, so she passed it along to us. Plus she has tons of floss, and happened to have a pretty purple. ;-)

The top is a running stitch with a running back stitch, the middle is a back stitch and the bottom a stem stitch

The stem stitch, you can see that keeping the tension even on the floss is important, the middle is satin stitch and I was playing with turning it so it was mitered and then just did kind of a daisy. The bottom is a herringbone stitch. We have it on the sewing machine, but now I can do it on my own!
The blue arch is so we can practice our satin stitch. The leaf was the  split stitch. I did the outline and then , bisected it, then again. I want to play with this one more. It's often used to fill in areas where you aren't using satin stitch.

Well worth my $1!! J'nati was talking about having a second embroidery class at Boar's Head Hunt and Feast in September, so I'll have to do that one too. 

I stayed under day shades for most of the day and was out without shade for a very short time, but apparently, long enough that I came home and after an hour or so, found that I had a very red chest. After the embroidery class I sat and knit on Brandon's Boneto hat and socialized. 

The wind really kept the day bearable and it was lovely day. We're going to try to take a day and go to the beach this next weekend with the dogs. Then later in the month we'll have a day of classes at an Ithra. I'm going to take the fingerbraiding and cooking classes. I'll actually have a full day of classes too! The classes will be held at WOU, so a drive down to Monmouth.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ravellenic Games Wrap-Up

I left you with the fiber I was going to spin up, here it is as the finished yarn:
243.8 yards of light fingering weight 2-ply yarn.

I hadn't really looked closely at the label when I got it and didn't realize she had personalized it. Very cool.

I had a drop spindle class scheduled for the Saturday of Acorn War on August 11th, so I pulled out the polworth I had used in my last drop spindle class. Thought it might be more fun if the fiber was something other than white. Divided it up evenly and then a few times through the microwave and some dyed fiber:

Got to enter it into the hand dyed event for the games too. ;-) I had one official student and Nancy bought one of my spindles and added some teaching techniques from me. She looks very familiar and does weaving as well as spinning, so I may have seen her anywhere locally. Don't you just hate when you know you've met someone, but can't remember?

I've been wanting to make these since I found the pattern, Kunigunde. I used my Crocus Corriedale handspun. I didn't make the wrist pattern as long as the pattern called for, but I think they'll still work nicely when worn with a coat and give flirty floats out the cuff. I'm still waiting on the medal for it, but there was a lot of finishers!

I cast on immediately after for the Round Crown Spanish Boneto hat for Brandon. It's a pattern based on some late 1400 to early 1500 paintings. I was a bit concerned because there wasn't a gauge listed and the only one done was for a 22 inch head. Brandon's is almost 25 inches, so a big difference! I went ahead and went with the pattern and found something that work as a form for drying. I decided to use Brandon's straw hat as a form since it does fit his head. It took two times through the machine to get it felted down to the right size. I'm pretty happy with the results as well as Brandon:
He'll have to decide if he wants any cut outs or decorations to it, but its a good solid base.

So while the hat was felting I still had a few hours before the official end, and couldn't just sit there doing nothing, so I looked for a dish cloth pattern that might fit the bill. I stumbled across the Starfish cloth and then found all these odds and ends of cotton and whipped this out:

Even though I haven't gotten the official medals for all the events, I've pulled all of them together into a collage:
It was fun and I think I found my knitting mojo. I didn't get all the things done that I had hoped to do during the event, but I'm happy with all of the ones that I did:
I'm leaning towards doing a colorwork bag that would become largess. Actually a few bags are calling to me. I do need to make one more hat before the end of the year, but have decided to wait until September to work on it. I'd like to get a few things put together for the Unbelted Artisans demo Labor Day weekend.

Friday, August 10, 2012


So I had mentioned that I hit a knitting wall trying to get all those twelves done and doing one of them each month. I came up with trying to get all of one of them done at a time. So I started out with hats.

I used some yarn that I scored in a Goodwill auction, some Madelintosh Vintage in Rosewood to make a Koolhaas hat:
I think this will make a lovely hat for one of the men in my family for Christmas.

The Foliage hat that I showed I frogged and why:
See how big it is?! Still a nice pattern, just not ready to go back there yet.

Not truly a hat, but hat like in keeping your head warm, by keeping your ears warm. I know a college girl in the family that loves pink and will wear this in style. ;-)
Pattern: Bow Headband, yarn Cascade 220, pink
Kristy had her baby Sophia back in April and so I stash dived and came up with some Stitchjones dyed sock yarn called "Happily Ever After", so Kristy. A couple of baby hat patterns later and I had these to give to her:
Left is Vine Lace Baby Hat and Swirl Hat

Little Sophia had inhaled the meconium when she was born so stayed in the hospital for awhile while her lungs recovered. She was able to wear one after coming home but they were quickly outgrown. I suggested that Kristy donate them to the hospital for other babies that spend time in the NICU, she loved that idea. :-)

Michelle had drawn my name from her Breast Walk that we participated in a couple years ago and sent me a skein of Dream in Color Starry in the Night Watch colorway. I had tried making some Viper Pilot socks out of it. Oh my! That pattern is very brain intensive. I was watching Storybrooke and like a lot of knitters loved Mary Margaret's Tam. So decided to use this for the pattern.

I still had yarn leftover, enough for another tam. So I knit up this one:
Pattern: Springtime in Philadelphia
I took the picture the same time as the MM one, but hadn't woven in the ends or as you can see blocked it. I finished it back at the beginning of May. It sat in this unfinished state until the end of July. Starting the Ravellenic Games helped kick start me back into knitting and cleaning up languishing projects. So wove in the ends and soaked and didn't really block it, just laid it out in the sun. I think it might need to be resoaked and blocked to lay like a tam though. Could only get a night pic of it at the time after it was washed:
Really think it needs some plate time, what do you think? Oh, I was also hoping the silver strands would sparkle in the light, so why the night pic. The braid I was wearing also doesn't lend itself to hat wearing unless stuff inside of the hat I think.

I'm officially at ten hats completed. I don't count frogging a complete hat as one. I hope to get another hat or two done in the next few weeks. One of them might even be a Ravellenic Game hat. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ravellenic Games 2012 thus far, part two

I wanted another easy to knit project, so went with a cowl that is doing double duty as a future Christmas gift for a family member. When I queued the project I thought I would use a pretty yarn, but turns out that I wasn't paying attention to the weight and it wouldn't have worked. So I thought about the intended recipient and realized that the just frogged Foliage yarn would work. So pulled out the needles to get started and quickly had this cowl:
Pattern is Malabrigo Cowl. I didn't use Malabrigo obviously.  The designer showed it with a pin, so I'll have to look for one to include with the gift. Personally, having something around my neck like that and slightly scratchy would drive me buggy. Granted, probably works well with a turtleneck, not so much in 80+ temps. ;-)

I had also entered in the handspun yarn category and decided to use something that I can use as Largess or a prize offering for another event, some indigo dyed Falkland from Pico-Accuardi Dyeworks. I had gotten a couple years ago when Rachel and I did a natural dye workshop they were having. They've since split the dyeworks up. There was a ton of indigo flaking out of the top and on to my hands while spinning it. While the fiber was nice and soft, I just wanted to get this spun up as quickly as possible! I managed to get all four ounces spun up in a single in one day! My hands and knees hurt afterward that's for sure. I plied it up the next day and ended up with just short of 300 yards of lace weight yarn:

I thought I would combine some cabling along with some handspun yarn leftovers and so started a fingerless mitt pattern with my camel. I started out with the suggested needle size but wasn't happy with how it looked or felt, so frogged it and went down a needle size. The instructions had you half way through the cable chart stop knitting in the round and start knitting flat for the thumb hole opening. Well I didn't like that idea, so I thought I would add in a thumb gusset. I forgot to check how many stitches I wanted to grow the gusset so did end up with too many in the end, but figured I could do some decreases and make it work. Of course it didn't work, so I frogged back to that starting point, after I had the mitt finished! This should have been my first clue that this project was doomed. ;-) I tried following the written instructions of knitting it flat and had a finished mitt with the thumb hole.
Pattern: Blue King Cabled Mitts
Not as crisp because of the nature of the handspun yarn. I had spun the camel back when I had my loaner Louet S51 and fought to spin it finally on that wheel. It truly was a battle to get it spun. Put before I jumped in and cast on for the second mitt, I must have had alarms going off in my head, I weighed them both. The mitt weighed in at 18grams and the leftover yarn at 13 grams. Sigh. I could have frogged it all and shortened the wrist portion, but I really didn't think that was going to make up the difference to let me come out with two mitts as planned. I still need to frog the mitt, but it is going to happen.

I had been eyeing the Sheep Heid Hat pattern for awhile and saw that it was a popular knit for the Ravellenic Games, but didn't let that stop me from attempting to make my own. I had set aside some handspun yarn samples and after I got the pattern went through all my handspun yarns finding the right ones.

The pattern called for fingering weight and I had lots of lace weight, so I opted to double them and go from there. I ran out of two yarns, my black alpaca and a merino sample that I spun in the grease. It had come as a sample from a SOAR 2009 bag that Cindy got. I ran out of it on the last two rows of the yowes. ;-) I didn't double the grey Gotland lamb or the camel. That hat came out just lovely! It's incredibly soft, well the yarns are soft so I shouldn't be surprised. The Gotland had come out a bit wiry, but is blooming up a bit and I think if I try to full the inside a bit, might soften it more. Why would I full the inside? Just for that reason, its slightly itchy were the Gotland is and trying to soften get rid of the itch. We were still 90+ yesterday when trying to get pics of the hat. I'm looking forward to wearing this next winter.

So I was missing a cable project and the mitts in my queue weren't inspiring me to knit. Looking for something with quick satisfaction at that point to keep me going and I found a couple of cup cozies that had potential.  Grabbed yarn and needles for both and got started.
Pattern: Hugs and Kisses Mug Cozy

I used a Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Shoreline colorway and hadn't really intended to do the crochet picot edging, but figured it would help me with the closing loop to wrap around the button. So found some bright Cascade 229 Heather Yellow. It does fit around my big coffee cup. I might try felting it a tiny bit, but that's for another day. ;-)  The project is entered for cabling and home work (something that you use in the home like coffee cozies, dishcloths, pillows, etc.). I haven't been called up to the podium for it, but since it was posted in the wee hours of the night last night, I'm not surprised.

Towards the end of knitting this though, I noticed that my right wrist was tingling with discomfort. Hmmmm, those muscles hadn't been used for awhile and thus complaining. Instead of pushing on towards getting my next project started, I thought I would do a kind of rest day. Another spinning day.

I had the perfect thing to spin too. More naturally dyed Falkland, this from My Heart Exposed. I had gotten from a Random Number draw in the 2009 Tour de Fleece. It's colorway is called Plumalicious and is part of her 'Fairy Godmother' line. She sent me 115grams of it.

I ended up spinning it all on Monday. I really didn't intend to spin it all up at once. It was just that lovely to spin! I'm going to ply it up this afternoon and will give it a soak and dry and hope to have new pics of the finished yarn by Wednesday.

So I'm all caught up with my Ravellenic pursuits. I hope to get a few more projects done. Are you doing anything for the games?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ravellenic Games 2012 thus far, part 1

I really need to do a post for the things I knit but didn't do a blog post but hinted at for the longest time. I'll do that next! I'm in a weird groggy state and throwing coffee at it to make it go away.

We finished up Tour de Fleece 2012 and I won a Random Number Generator pick of some fiber in Team Ashford:
Isn't it pretty?! The colorway is called Tanzanite and I'm showing great restraint in not jumping in and spinning it right away. ;-)

Instead, I have been knitting! I picked some projects that I want to show off in and Arts and Science showing Labor Day weekend - at September Crown, the Unbelted Artisans Geekout. I thought I would take a variety of things, knitting, spinning and hopefully some needlework type stuff. Depending upon space in the car, and heat, also a wheel.

Here's what I have knitted thus far:
Gunnister purse knit with Jamieson's Shetland and on US 00 needles
I put it next to the first one that I made using sport weight yarn and US 3 needles. I had hoped to get it to size, but my gauge was still a bit off. I think it still works as a nice small belt bag. I even followed the fussy cast on that gives nice little loops to thread the drawstrings through. Cool! This was entered in the Bag and the Colorwork groups:

I had also looked at my project page and things that have been sitting for a year, or more, and what to do with them. I decided some would hit the frog pond and then went for it:
These are in the official competition. A shawl I wasn't happy with the end and thought about frogging half of it and re-doing, but really didn't want to do that, so just frogged the whole thing. A shop sample that I had started during the winter Olympics, hurt my shoulder and lost Nessa and was struggling with, so frogged. Just need to get the yarn back to the shop with a HUGE apology. A blanket I started for a nephew who is now a couple years older and not as enthusiastic about Spiderman as he was when younger. 
These were going to be fairy wings. I needed to do some crochet and that ended up stalling me out. I tried frogging, but mohair and frogging is often difficult. I ended up just throwing it away because I wanted it GONE!

Foliage hat that came out HUGE! Okay, checking gauge might have been useful at some point. ;-)  I frogged it. I had thought it might work for a man's hat, but Brandon nixed that idea.

Think this is getting long, so splitting and adding the rest to the next post. You'll catch that tomorrow. ;-)