Thursday, January 30, 2014

How they're wearing

Thought since they were so pouffy and fluffy some of you may be curious how they have been crushed/smooshed down:

They haven't started to felt yet. I don't think my feet have gotten overheated and started to sweat yet to have that start. I need to do some research to see if they could be plausibly period-ish to maybe do for largesse. I had done some research on thrums and can link their use with the British Navy and their hats back to the Monmouth cap. Those thrums were worn on the outside and made kind of a Rastafarian look to the hat.

They are keeping my feet nice and warm, but not TOO warm. The alpaca is starting to fuzzy a little bit more on the outside but they aren't entered in any beauty pageants so still doing what they were intended to do, keep my feet warm. Pattern is still on sale I think.

Need to get some hand sewing projects done before the weekend. Two days to get that accomplished. We'll see!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Project Planning and Ravellenics

By the end of February I need to have the following projects done:

One cowl out of qiviut for Carina - pattern found. I'm going to do Zuzu's Petals by Carina Spencer (yes, I enjoyed the same name thing) Since I spent the $5 for the pattern, I may have to knit another one for me or someone as a gift.

One pair of socks for Carina out of her Zitron Unisono I shared. So need to find a sport weight sock pattern that will look good with self-striping yarn. Bless Ravelry! Doing an advanced pattern search there gives me three pages of patterns to look through to find one or two that will work. Then after looking realized that I'll have to request a book from the library so I can scan the pattern. I like that! It also caused me to find a pair of stranded knee high stockings I want to try. So I'll need to buy another pattern!

Need both of those to be done by February 15th when I'll see Carina/Katera at Carnevale. Doable.

Also due by February 15th - one quilt of undetermined size. I know that I want to use this block. Because Sara used to be a dealer in Vegas and both she and Mike play a lot of card games. I've used this block before and its fun to sew up. I need to dig through my stash and find the ones that I have in the colors they both like. Thankfully, they have colors they each like that will work well together. So depending on how much fabric I have, and how quickly the blocks go together, will depend on how big it gets. My initial aim is to have something that will be at least a couch quilt to snuggle up on there. Would love to be able to put something together that would work on a bed. I'll need to buy the batting and possibly the backing. So budget dependent there.

Due by February 27th, one pair of socks for Dawn-Marie. She specifically asked for these socks. I hadn't planned on learning entrelac, but she's changed that idea. ;-) I have some Noro Silk Garden in my stash in blues-greens that hopefully she'll like. Not sure about the entrelac on the bottom of the foot though. I'll have to see how the comments are on how it wears.

So those are all the things I have to get done for others in February and this last week of January.

February 7th marks the Opening Ceremonies for the Olympics in Sochi. Ravellenics will be happening during that timeframe also. So I need to scope out my competing projects. I think that I can safely include Dawn-Marie's socks in somewhere. That will help. Possibly one of Carina's projects. Ravellenics for any of you new to the concept is knitting/spininng/weaving/crocheting a project or projects while the Olympics are occurring. I have had fun 'competing' for the last few years. Even suffered shoulder injury while knitting a shawl one year. ;-)

I need something for ME to do though. My mother was on a cruise and stopped in Estonia a couple years ago and picked me up some skeins of yarn. Looks like I didn't share on the blog about it! So she bought three skeins of yarn from Kalliver in Tallinn, Estonia. The yarn is the Aade Long Artistic, it's the lavender in the far right of row 1 of the multi-color. The 'Lila', third from the right in the bottom row of the solids. I found the "Thistle" or in Norwegian, Tistel (scroll down to find the pattern download) by seeing what projects other people have done with these yarns.

The Thistle shawl should probably be the main focus of the Ravellenics. It's going to be a big project! I'd also like to have it done in time for the Rose City Yarn Crawl. I know I've been telling Michele I didn't have a use for shawls right now and why I'm not doing the Mystery Knit Along for the event. Then I got a phone call from mom saying she was going to fly up to visit specifically to see the yarn crawl and us for a couple days on March 1st, so deadline for it to be done for sure. Since she's asked several times if I've done anything with this yarn, it was also a birthday gift. I thought I should go ahead and get it done.

The cool factor with the Thistle shawl besides the stranding is that its done in the round and you steek it open. I haven't done any steeking yet, so another new knitting thing to learn/try out. I do like to try out something new each year, so I'll have two things in one month!

The shawl will fit in the main event - Short-Track Shawls. The socks would also fit in the main event - Sock Hockey. Then I can tag them into Entrelac Slalom for the socks, Nordic Colorwork Combined for the shawl and both will fit in the Stash Skeleton (because the yarns for both projects have been in my stash for longer than 6 months.)

I might get wild and enter the Flying Camel Spin event with some handspun yarn. I have some pretty fibers that could be spun up. I think though with the month being February, spinning up some Alexandra Crafts Black Rose BFL I got back in October with a Pearl Fiber Arts store credit from my destash in September.

This should keep me plenty busy in February! February 1st is a Baronial Town Hall and Customary Meeting. There's a fleece sale/spin-in on February 8th as well as Founding Revels for Stromgard. Baroness Jill was asking if we would be there. That's sometimes code for 'you should go to the event' because they want to make sure you get an award. February 15th is Carnevale and Mike and Sara's wedding. The wedding had the date first, but we aren't going there. I need to be at Carnevale as the barony's Minister of Arts and Science to do the A&S Championship. Ravellenics February 7-23. Rose City Yarn Crawl starts on February 27th. That's four days of fun!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

I had mentioned something about photos of the next batch of chocolate pudding. I made some for Game Day on Sunday. Didn't get the photos done while making the pudding. But really Smitten Kitchen's are great, so imagine I followed the same process. ;-)

Jenna likes milk chocolate, but I needed to use up some of this chocolate that mom had sent me for Christmas. She's asked if I tried it a couple of times. She does it as a hot chocolate, I thought I'd use it in here. I chopped up one of the two blocks in the box and still needed to fill in for that 1 cup needed for the recipe. So I grabbed down the box of milk chocolates that I have slowly been nibbling on over the last two years that she brought back from Germany. Don't be shocked but they sat uneaten for a couple of months. Straight chocolate I don't eat a lot, I much prefer it as a cake or brownie.

This is the Christmas chocolate box and the finished pudding. I got seven custard cups full of pudding:
American Heritage Chocolate Block it lists 'spices' and you can taste them and I liked it. William liked the previous batch better.

Side view to show that it does look like a milk chocolate rather than a dark. 

She also gave me a bag of the bites. I tried one after eating the pudding and you can taste the 'spices' in it also. It's a little dark at 63% cacao. I think I'll use them for baking. Maybe some homemade brownies? ;-)
With seven cups we all had some on Sunday night and the three of us will have the remainder after dinner Monday night.

My chocolate stash currently has some Ghirardelli Pumpkin Spice Squares that Danna brought back for me from her trip to San Francisco a year ago. They aren't offered all year round, so can't even find them on their web site. Yummy Caramel with the pumpkin spice flavor. (Hmmm seems like someone got in and ate all my pumpkin spice squares!) Erik was going to Switerland and I asked him to bring me back some chocolate. (I paid him for the bars against his wishes.) He brought back a brand I hadn't seen before - Frey. A bar of Truffes au Lait. If I'm reading the ingredients correctly they have a cherry filling - kirsch and a bar of Caramel, with the obvious caramel filling. Both are milk chocolate (I'm driving Brandon crazy by not opening them and sharing.) There's also a bar of Nutcracker Brittle from Theo that is also some Christmas Chocolate. Brandon had gotten this one and I'd gotten one with hot chili peppers in it. We traded because he doesn't like nuts.

These found a new place to live until I decide to share. ;-)

Oh, had thought about trying Smitten Kitchen's Dulce de Leche recipe, but that required the whole quart of whole milk and I didn't want to do a half recipe since then I'd only get half a cup. That just didn't make sense with the time commitment. Hence the repeat of the chocolate pudding. Still have a bit left, so I'll try the hot chocolate with the second bar of American Heritage.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Game Day

Jenna's arrived. I've made chocolate pudding. Need to take pics of the finished. I used some chocolate that mom brought back from Pennsylvania and some of the leftover milk chocolate from Germany. Added in a bit of Kahlua that I had one of those tiny bottles of. Looking forward to eating it later. We're having orange beef with jasmine rice. She brought egg rolls and fortune cookies to complete the meal.

Had a surprise view with a little Hobbit I've been working on and thought I'd share it with you:

We're playing our Elves in Moria today. Hopefully I don't fall off into a crevasse again!  It's a terrible way to die!

ps: this was supposed to post on Sunday. Just discovered it didn't. Sad panda. I didn't fall into a crevasse, but it did go to far and fall down into a lower level into the water and had to wait for Brandon to finish finding where a gear was supposed to be, then come back and get me. We were in the "Water Works" area on LOTRO. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Selfish Knitting Accomplished!

Spent most of the day catching up on shows that we had missed in the last week or two using my Chromecast. So nice to watch on the big TV the shows that we were trying to catch up on with the laptop. I just have one episode of NCIS and Brandon wants to see Rake on FOX, but that's for Sunday before the game.

I thought CBS was having issues, but I figured it out, I didn't have my browser full screen so why it kept having fits and not letting me tab between the show and having it on the TV and still letting me use the laptop. No big deal, meant I "had" to knit. lol Okay, it also kept me off of Facebook.

I got the first one done somewhere after the second Big Bang Theory and I think one of the episodes of Almost Human. Decided it would be the left foot:
Inside out, bottom

Inside out, top

Rightside out, and a little fuzzy, alpaca is that way.

On my foot!
I immediately cast on and started the second one. I did take a break to take time out to go out for dinner. Dawn-Marie invited us out with her husband Brent. They had coupons for Home Town Buffet and since I had never been there, we went there. I admit to having some salad and cottage cheese before I went on this whole protein thing. A bit of prime rib, a small chunk of steak, some cod, a chicken thigh, some fried shrimp and a roll. I ended up only eating a couple of the shrimp, too greasy. The rest was pretty good. There was a thin slice of carrot cake, after all, it didn't have walnuts! No death by nut. Tried their chocolate pudding, not as good as the stuff I made on Thursday. I used Smitten Kitchen's Best Chocolate Pudding, and I'm going to make more of it again soon I'm sure! I do have the leftover whole milk to use up. It will either go into a pudding or maybe try making this?

So I finished up the second slipper while were in the middle of the Sleepy Hollow season finale. (We started the series online at episode 5, because that's when we had the Chromecast and people were giving it decent reviews.)
I'd been wearing the left one for an hour or so. I was sitting there with cold feet thinking I needed to finish the second one, when I remembered - it's okay to wear only one until the other was done. 

Side by side. I think the right may be slightly larger. May have been paying closer attention to row numbering since it was done all in one swack? It's only 1/4 inch longer than the left. 

Warm toes!
The colors may not be terribly exciting, but their purpose was to make something for me and I needed to make something quickly. Michele's KAL inspired me to get going. Now, tomorrow morning before we game, I'm going to see if I can get my Central Park Hoodie cast on. I will even start out by doing a swatch! NCIS should help with that. ;-)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Finally Selfish!

Michele is doing the mystery knit along for the Rose City Yarn Crawl. She's the pattern designer. But the pattern is a shawl. I have enough shawls and not terribly excited to knit one right now. I have one I need to knit from yarn my mother bought me last year for my birthday. She's been asking if I've used the yarn, need to make it in the next few months. ;-)

Michele is doing another KAL, one for her Thrumbelina pattern, I thought it was one I could do for myself. I've knit samples for Knitted Wit and made a pair for my niece, Bailey.

Decided to use the Lamb's Pride in Bittersweet that I got from Friday and the free alpaca fleece from Bethany to make them. Since the fleece had been cleaned, I just need to pull out the locks and knit them in. Their length isn't long enough to make the suggested butterfly thrums out of them, so I'm just pulling the locks out the bag and aligning them in the same direction and knitting them as I go along. It will take a bit longer but overall not any longer than if I had made all the little butterflies in advance.

All the supplies

Michele had mentioned making her thrums a bit bigger than normal so that the slipper is a little more 'cushy'. Thought this sounded like a good plan so after the first row, thickened up the thrums a bit. The alpaca is so soft and will felt a bit with wear, so looking forward to how that happens.

Here's my progress after spending some time knitting them while at Pearl Fiber Arts on Wednesday:
Inside of the slipper - can't see the knit yarn!

Outside is a little messy looking, but will get cleaned up when I'm done.
I need to get these done so that I can start getting a couple projects done for Carina. Need to knit up her qiviut into a cowl. I thought I had the perfect pattern, then the Yarn Harlot posted this. I think it may work better than the other pattern. So I'll buy it and give it a try. Her husband, Ken, washed the socks that I made for her. It was lovely yarn, but not superwash. So after chatting with her about how nice superwash was. We met up at Pearl Fiber Arts so that she could take a look at the yarns available. Unfortunately, because dyers are getting ready for the Rose City Yarn Crawl, some of the local stuff wasn't available. She was able to find a nice skein of another sport weight yarn in her favorite colors - blue-green.
I cropped this down, but for some reason blogger refuses to see the cropped version or even that I renamed it as the cropped size. So you get all the stuff around it. 
For some reason this blue-green yarn is really hard to photograph the true richness of its colors. Then I went to look and I'm not the only one. Check it out here on this site, its color 1220 Blues. Still have to find a pattern to do with this. It will be fun with the long color stripes.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Jaime's Birthday Gift.

I have been making things for people and I do enjoy that. But its also impacted my creativity a bit because I guess I haven't felt the appreciation for all of it?  I had kind of promised myself that I would make at least one thing for myself each month before making and giving away anything to others.

I did make the black velvet 12th Night hat for myself, so I'm counting it as a crafty thing. Good thing too! Because I had to come up with a birthday present for Jaime last weekend and I was resisting knitting her something. I really wanted to do it, but couldn't bring it all together to make it happen. So instead, I sewed her a Kindle/Nook/Kobo cover:
Scrap wool pieces that I used to pad the project so it would protect the device.

All sewn together. The window part I had an idea of doing that like the neck opening for my tunic dress, but was having a hard time accomplishing that. Need to go read those instructions again - or make another tunic dress!

All closed up. Found a nice green-ish button. 

What it looks like with my Kindle Fire in it. 
Turns out Jaime has a Kobo. She hasn't been bringing it to many events (I'd seen that she had something like a Kindle at Sport of Kings) because she couldn't hide it. Now she can!

Jaime had a Dr Who themed party and we were all supposed to dress up as something. We couldn't think of any one character, so I used a shirt that was a gift to be "70's" and Dawn-Marie was "50's":
She borrowed my mink cape and silk scarf.

A little blurry, but the best pic. Took a bit of work to straighten my hair out!

Us together. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Goodies I brought back from 12th Night

I had my gift Visa from my mom with me and was happy that I had some $$ to spend. The last big event - September Crown/Autumn War I could drool but not buy.

In particular was Thistle Hollow. She had a bunch of spinning fiber I haven't spun yet. If I had more money to spend I would have bought more of course. I settled for some Manx Loaghtan and got two bundles so I can have lots of fun playing with the fiber. It's a Rare Primitive Breed that has a dual purpose. Meat and fiber. The fiber is soft unlike some dual purpose sheep where the wool is more intended for outer wear. (Or for you non-fiber people, what you'd want to wear close to your skin, or not. lol)

I can't remember the name of the booth, but it was just a few down from them and they were selling various fiber related supplies for weaving, but had books for naalbinding too. I found a nice little bone shuttle/beater:
top, curved

Underside or bottom, flat.
It was a steal at only $6!

In between the two was a knife dealer. I've been long wanting a knife. People had been talking a bodice knife, but all the pictures for the various German ladies have them hanging off their belt along with their purse.
Like these:

Grendel makes lovely knives, but I can't afford him yet. So had to make do with something that is half handmade. I went back and forth between two bone knives and had Ignatius come and look and give his thoughts. After a little price discussion with the vendor, we agreed on a price. (His wife had quoted me $10 less than what he quoted, so we had to agree with her price before it came home with me.) It included the sheath and is very balanced, if not 'pretty':
In sheath, you can see where there's a cutout for it to be attached to something. I think a leather cord attached to my belt.

knife and sheath, the handle is antler

He did have a few Red Troll blades that he had added handles, this blade if you look closely comes from Sweden
Now to make the purse!  I have some leather sew aside to do this. 

I hadn't posted my Christmas gift from Brandon. He made me a period box loom that I can use for weaving trim, doing tablet weaving and most like a little inkle weaving. 

The little heddle I had picked up at our first An Tir - West War when I took the board weaving class and made my pouch. I think its a 12 dent heddle. He didn't have it handy to make for it, but its pretty close in size I think. You can see the holes that he drilled so that I can tie on to the posts.

I'm looking forward to learning how to use it! It also explains why I got the bone thread winder above. ;-)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

12th Night 2014

This year 12th Night was up in SeaTac at the DoubleTree Hotel. We were able to go because we shared a room with Dawn-Marie and Susan. Thus splitting the cost of everything. We bought food to eat in the hotel for breakfast and lunch and ate at Denny's for dinner. Still a little spendy but fun.

We arrived mid-afternoon on Friday and settled into our room. Went had dinner before changing for the ball. Millicent and Ignatius were looking forward to the ball. Millicent had a new Italian style dress she had made for her with bees all over, completed just the day before:
I have some velvet in the same color that I have planned for a German style dress. It's heavy! I had added a panel and some decorations to the belt of the dress I made for 12th Night last year. I also added a satin guard to the back neckline that I had done with a mink collar last year. Used some black velvet to make a little hat to wear with it and while not perfect, happy with how it came out, shows most of the front of the dress:

Ignatius had also spent time making a new doublet for himself. He's not too sure he's happy with the shoulders, so those may change. Standing next to Nicolai in his new 12th Night garb. One of the few times that Ignatius feels short....

The dancing:

The yellow is a big 'halo' for my 'saint' moment. You can also see the hat. 
Gwen and I checked out the Merchant's area. She found a basket. I was tempted by other things you'll see in another post. There were lots of Vigils going on Friday night for those being elevated to Laurels and Pelicans. We knew two of them and Gwyn had been asked to look in on one of the nine that were going on. Unfortunately we got up there late and missed the two and Baron Refr was acting as gatekeeper on the third. I did write a congratulations to Baroness Cristiana in her book though. Ignatius did get to chat briefly with her on Saturday and she did remember where we met her and her family - at Glymm Mere's Bardic Ithra I think three years ago. We had dinner with her family. It was a most delicious dinner! It's been fun watching her take part on Retinue for the Crown:
B. Cristiana's Laureling ceremony. 
I had woken up Saturday morning with a very swollen right eye lid and a slightly swollen left. I had not been able to find my make-up wipes and since it was late, and I was tired, I used the hotels wash cloth and facial bar to wash my face. Ugh! On the right I must have scratched the skin a bit and that allowed the allergic reaction. I took a couple of benedryls and tried icing them but they remained swollen for most of the day.

Since Saturday was also a court day, I didn't get down until much later than planned. Missed the Laurel Speed Dating, the Sable Lion Weaving meeting as well as the Embellisher's Guild meeting. So I went to court in 'comfy' clothes, but borrowed a veil from Millicent so I didn't have to put my hair up:
My Green Gates of Hell dress with my dusty rose dress you saw me wearing for Yule Feast with my honey-comb apron. Gwen was wearing a tunica that she had done all the hand sewing on. Millicent was wearing a dress that she had made by Windblown Whimsey.

I started a little project while in court:
It's in number 10 Crochet Thread and US 0000 needles. It only took me three attempts to get the cast on correct with 120 stitches. It's also interesting knitting with three colors in a row. Can't wait until I have all of them!

I think the combination of not getting enough sleep and those benedryls really got me though. I was only able to stay for a couple hours and did not see the step down and step up ceremonies.

Saturday after court we did get back down and saw some of the Rapier competition. Eoghan was able to compete and was wearing his new garb:
He had Guard duty during court
Then we popped up to the Penthouse floor and tried to find friends at the parties and while we did say hi to people, never did really settle into a party. A little too crowded and loud for me, so we ended back in our room. Ana and Nicolai did show up for the invited Cards Against Humanity game. It was just the five us and Ana was a little the worse for wear so only a few rounds were done before they headed off to put her to bed.

Sunday came all too soon and we were up packing, dressing and heading home. We'll skip the next one that is down in Eugene next year. We will be helping out with the one for 2016 as our Barony won the bid for that event. We are all on staff in some capacity.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A little dyeing

I had bought a skein of pale blue superwash yarn. A nice bouncy soft yarn, but so pale of a blue it looked anemic. When I was contemplating knitting for nieces and nephews I flirted with making a Minion hat. The yellow I bought at the same time was just the right color, the blue, not so much.

So how about overdyeing it? Pulled out the Blue Raspberry Kool-Aid. It didn't seem dark enough, so added some blue Wilton's dye and it was pretty good.
original color

Mixing up the dye

Trying to see into the crock pot

Soaked up the dyes

After drying

Second after dyeing
So I had to pour in more of the Wilton's because I noticed when I tried pulling it out the first time that some of it had not dissolved into the water before pouring it in and it sat on the yarn - those very dark splotches. Sad panda. 

Added more Wilton's to hot water and stirred and stirred to get it all to dissolve into the water and still a tiny bit didn't at the end. You see this as its slipping into the water. The color doesn't show well here in the photos, but its definitely brighter and kind of fun. 

Sadly, in an effort not to have tie lines where the skein is held as a hank I didn't tighten up Kraemer's ties. Kraemer is the manufacturer of the yarn. What does this mean for me? When I went to try to put it through the ball winder the hank on the swift had fits. I'm now left to wind it up by hand into a ball and then put it back through the ball winder or back into a hank with a niddy-noddy. 

That's why I had to buy a skein of Encore to do Keefe's Ola hat waves. The hank went into a time out to be dealt with after Christmas. I've started to detangle it, and as usual its frustrating. Since its superwash, I can't cut and spit splice ends.