Friday, August 26, 2005

Has It Really Been A Week?

This past week has been a busy one - between DD's birthday and putting up veggies, I haven't had time to blog. I tried catching up on email yesterday and today it is time to report the news and all my fo's this week :-)

DD's birthday went well! I finished her Lion's Brand Hooded Sweater Friday night after she went to bed, and got things wrapped up and ready for a very early birthday party. She loved the sweater - which was good since she said she wasn't into pink any more. After she opened her presents, we got ready and left for Knoebels. My brother's girlfriend went with us - and boy was she a blessing to have along! When we were too pooped to ride with the kids - she did.

DS (our big time history buff) begged to go to the Coal Museum, so we went and had a nice look around at all the displays. They even had lamenated pages from a record book telling of accidents and deaths in the mines. What an interesting read! From there, we bought a bag of gem laden dirt so DS could try his hand at prospecting. LOL!! He had a blast and spent a good hour digging through all the pebbles. He came home with a nice assortment of gems and minerals. He's now after us to take him to do some real panning!! uh-oh We brought a souvieneer from the museum home with us - a coal train on a railroad spike. I photographed it on Melissa's Norwegian Heritage Knitted Dishcloth that I finished up on Sunday. I love Melissa's patterns - she has so many fun ones on her website!

I had almost a skein of pink and about half on a skein of purple Homespun left from DD's sweater, so I dug through my patterns to see if I could find something to to make to try to use it up. DD zeroed in on the Crochet Bucket Hat pattern, and asked that I make it to match her sweater. So, I sat down and did some on Sunday night, but ended up with a hat that I thought was shorter than it should be. I waited to try it on DD on Monday, and we decided to add 3 more rows on the sides to make it long enough for her liking. This turned out to be a really cute hat and so quick to crochet.

Finally with all that out of the way, came some time to start another new project. To celebrate the new Harry Potter book (yes, I know I'm a bit late in reading it - but needed to wait my turn here! LOL), I got out the DMC Perle cotton and made Laura's Harry Potter Bookscarf. It was a nice fun and quick knit. Since it was small, I decided to fool around with it and try Meg Swansen's joggless color change to see how it would turn out. I think I did pretty well with it, and I can't wait to try it on a bigger item now!

I've been slowly plugging away at the Iowa Cruise Socks from Cottage Creations. I really love the pattern, and love Carole's chattiness thoughout the instructions. It's like having an old friend over for coffee. I'm considering getting more of her patterns just because of the style - and the instructions are just about fool-proof. Even for me!!!!

I've really slowed down on the socks because of the needles. I purchased some Swallow brand needles and don't like how blunt they are. I've been wrestling with them to give them a fair chance, but so far, I'm not thrilled. My ribbing on the socks is not even - but after trying to fix it a few times, I said the heck with it - they'll still wear the same, and kept pluggin' on. I only have to Kitchener the toe now, and the first sock is done. If I still don't like the needles by the second sock - I'm not using them on the next pair, but will buy another brand to try. I did like how warm the needles were when using them, but they have a terrible smell, and don't you dare put one in your mouth for any reason because they are "bloody wicked!" tasting. ick! Ewwwwwh! yuck! Pooey! BLAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!

And for the last piece of interesting news.... one of the 2 boxes of White Buffalo yarn arrived yesterday!!! Ohhhhhh! Such neat stuff! I wound the first wheel into a ball and swatched for the Einstien Coat. The six strands were just too heavy and stiff, so I removed one, and am now on gauge but am not sure if it will still be too stiff or not. I've decided to knit a bit to see how it comes out. I just can't tell much with a 4" swatch. Oh to be like those knitters that can just whip it up and visualize......

Friday, August 19, 2005

Mrs. Depp Hat is DEAD

It was doomed from the start - and with sadness I must report that the Mrs. Depp hat has gone to a better place. Remind me next time to make sure I only use a pattern with a gauge - and when it doesn't look like it makes sense - it probably doesn't! With all that being said - I'll now tell you the "rest of the story".

It all started with a cute hat pattern I found in an old issue of Workbasket magazine. No gauge was listed, but I knit pretty tight, so it should be ok... I should have been committed with that thought! The k2p2 ribbing was way too long and it seemed odd - but hey - I was knitting on circulars, and it was hard to judge at that point. Then the body of the hat and wording - looked need but the hat really seemed to mushroom and got huge looking. I checked the directions numerous times and it was right on the money - must be that because of the needle it looked weird. (does the word idiot describe me yet? LOL) then the rest of the hat and decreasing.... OMG! It was horrible, and when I got to the final decreases, I was supposed to then work the center for a few more rows - which would have made a hot dog looking protrusion on the top. NOT! Something was waaaaay off - not at all looking like the picture. I read and reread those directions over and over and I didn't do a thing wrong, but I had a huge yellow hat that looked like I stole it from Strawberry Shortcake. Then I put it on - heck it could even fit DH's huge head with room to spare! And with a bubble on top - and the ribbing was awful. So I ripped some out and tried finishing it shorter - hoping that would help. Nope - just looked stupid any way I tried.

DD got to see it - had her little belly laugh (ok - big belly laugh!) and tried it on. They had a great time with my disaster. I will rip it out and try over with a TNT method of a plain ol' hat, and just put the wording on. What was I thinking when I tried this one?!

Tomorrow is DD's birthday and also the company picnic or gathering or whatever you call it where we all go to Knobels Amusement Park for the day. They give the family $30 in tickets and have a drawing for a couple of prizes. With gas prices the way they are, we'll put that much in the tank driving to the park and back - but she's been talking about this for months - that the picnic falls on her birthday. She thinks it's the coolest thing.

So maybe I'll get some time on Sunday to start the hat over again. The sweater still isn't totally sewn up yet. I love how LB's Homespun feels - so nice and soft, but it's a bear trying to find the ridges and valleys to sew seams on. I got the one sleeve in, and found I left a ridge on the right side, so had to take that apart and put it back together. I still have to sew the side seams and bottom of the sleeves yet, then I'm done. I like the pink/purple combination, but not sure if I like the pink edging on the purple hood. Their hoods are kinda weird to begin with, so this seems to emphasize it.

Mail Bag.....

Yipee! My order from Dawn Brocco came today. Some drop dead gorgeous Cyclamin Pink Targhee wool and a pattern for Simply Lovely Beaded Hat and Scarf. I'm so anxious to play with this yarn. I've heard so much about how soft it is and am hoping it holds true to its reputation. It's going to be hard to concentrate on my other projects with this sitting around here tempting me to come and play.

More good news! I receive an email from both Yarn Forward and the Canadian post letting me know my White Buffalo has been shipped!! YIPEE!!!! I'm going to be swimming in wool :-)

I got my glasses back today. Still weird looking through them, but I think it's the shape of the lens and how small they are next to my other ones. I still don't like them, but at least I don't have the strange distortion that I had before from whatever was on the lens. They said it was something inside the lens. At least I wasn't nuts. (well......) On that note - have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Knitting Away.....

Oh goodness - that Sally Melville book has me entranced. Yes, I know it's a beginners book, but it is so nicely done. How I wish it would have been around when I was learning! I'm reading through to see if there's anything I might learn - a new twist or just something I plain don't know. I love all the pictures - they're so clear and easy to understand. This series is a winner in my book!

While going through it, I decided that I really want to make the Einstein coat NOW. I need a good winter coat for doing my errands in, and it looks like something I could wear out in public. Styles and prices of coats don't turn me on, so I figured if I could make something out of real wool for the price of a synthetic piece of ugly, I'd settle on the real wool. Now, mind you, I grew up with Red Heart or store brand synthetics. That's all Mom knitted and crocheted with because the price was right. I have no idea what to expect from what wool for an outside garment, so I posed a question to the KnitList. What a great group of people! I received so many answers and opinions, that I decided to look for a nice hairy type yarn for warmth. I found some White Buffalo unspun in a burgundy on clearance at Elann and was going to buy it, but almost $25 to ship 15 wheels was a bit steep in my opinion. I continued my search and found some in steel grey - and for 20 wheels I paid under $50 including shipping! Elann is great, but shipping really put me off. Now I'm glad shipping was so high - I saved another $1 a wheel this way :-)

Now, I just need to patiently wait to get my grubbly little hands on this new yarn. Until then, I'll just have to concentrate on DD's sweater and "Mrs. Depp" hat. A what hat you say? Well, there's a story behind it. DD has a monster crush on Johnny Depp - or maybe it's Captain Jack Sparrow, or another character he plays, but either way, she loves him to death. We did some surfing to find some JD items and found some Mrs. Depp articles of clothing - like t-shirts with Mrs. Depp printed across the front. Man - the prices on them were outrageous - so I got to brainstorming, and decided that I would make her a winter name hat with Mrs. Depp across the front. Not any old hat though - it HAS to stick out, so I making it a BRIGHT yellow with Mrs. Depp in black across the front of it. Will she wear it? Heck, I dunno, but it is fun knitting and it will get a reaction. :-) I'm hoping to get the lettering done tonight.

As for the sweater, I'm working on the hood edging, and should finish that tonight. I'm planning on sewing it up tomorrow night and hopefully will have the hat finished then as well. That will leave Friday night open for me to bake a cake and work on DS sock.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

OHH!! I got mail today! :-)

YES!! My order arrived today, and just in time to make DD's birthday on Saturday. I bought her the most wanted Teen Knitting Club book she's been asking for since we got it out at the library. I've never seen her so interested in a knitting book before. She's looked at the patterns and stated: that's ok - it's nice... but not any real interest in knitting. This book has spurred her to actually pick up needles and try all by herself! She was disappointed when I took the book back to the library.

Since it wasn't enough for free shipping, I HAD to buy a book for me. It's been so long since I purchased a knitting book that I had to really comb through my wish list to see what I'd really like. I decided on Sally Melville's "The Knit Stitch" figuring it would be well used by both DD as well as myself. I took her "The Purl Stitch" out of the library, and was very pleased with it. This was the sell on the first book - plus I really wanted to try the Einstein Coat I've heard so much about. I think her patterns are wonderful - making the basic garter stitch look very classy and certainly not a beginner's stitch. I think the book is very well written - and and she holds the attention of the reader with her love for knitting. To me, she is as interesting as Elizabeth Zimmermann with just as informative and useful projects. Although the pattern writing style is different, it is just as captivating to me.

I will be collecting all of Sally's books and look forward to all of the books in The Knitting Experience set.
Multidirectional Scarf is finished!

The multidirectional scarf is finished and I'm very pleased with the outcome. I'm posting multiple pictures because DD loves to wear her scarves different ways. Wished I knew the different ways when I was young. I think I would have worn the scarves I had a lot more. But then again, they weren't as neat as the ones that we are able to make now! All the unusual yarns and all the cool patterns that I never ever seen younger. Oh to be youn again! LOL!!

We went to JoAnn's yesterday to see if we could find different yarns to make the ZigZag scarf that I got from Iris's group, but sadly, there really wasn't anything there that interested either DD or me. There were lots of flashy and frilly things, but nothing wool or nothing that really spoke to us. DD insisted on getting the same color Wool-Ease again, for her other scarf. She says she really likes the color, it's soft and doesn't itch.

I also bought one of JoAnn's exclusive Rainbow Boucle Sensations in the dark blue. I had a 40% off coupon, and wanted to try it to see if it might just work for the 3-2 blouse pattern I got from Jackie E-S. It is interesting and soft - and I'm going to try a swatch of it today. If it doesn't work for that, I'm sure I can find some other use for it.

I really need to find a LYS - hopefully there is something close. Sad that the one that I frequented is now gone. If I can't find anything, I'll just have to try ordering all my yarns online again. I had some great successes and some great disappointments when buying without seeing in person or being able to touch.

Speaking of buying without touching, I placed an order through Dawn Brocco for her Garden Yarns. I've heard a lot about how nice the Targhee wool is and her colors are drop dead gorgeous - so I broke down and ordered 2 yanks of Cyclamen Pink. I also bought the pattern for the Simply Lovely Beaded Hat and Scarf that is also on the same page as the Garden Yarns. The hat is just gorgeous in the Pink! Dawn is also supplies such good support for her patterns and answers questions quickly and very detailed. I have ordered a few patterns, wool and the Heels & Toes Gazette. I really miss not getting those issues. I have the whole set and treasure each issue! They are full of information, and have such lovely patterns in them.

We have finally gotten a break from the heat!! YEAH! Today we are getting a nice slow and steady rain. Our garden needed it so badly. And I needed the break from the heat as well. With no air conditioning, it was greatly felt this year. Usually our summers are not as hot as this - we are tied with the all-time record of days at or above 90 degrees. It appears that not only I am enjoying the nice weather change - so is our oldest cat. You can see she is sitting and waiting for dinner to show up. Being old, fat and very lazy, dinner could show up, but she wouldn't take the energy to move to get it. That bird would have to hop into her mouth for her to move!! LOL

In her day she was the best hunter one could ever imagine. She came to us as a kitten when her owners moved, and left her behind. She wandered over here and was quite the wild beast. She was never really tamed down - always had a wild streak in her and never liked being in the house much. We tried, but she much rather stay out unless it was cold. Then she'd want in almost all the time - but only as she got older.

Now as an old gal, she has mellowed a LOT in her old age. She actually loves people to pay attention to her and will even initiate contact. She's turned into quite a loving cat.

We've ended up with yet another stray kitten. This one was a real farrel kitten - and I've got the toothmarks to show for it! That little bugger sunk his teeth right into my index finger and ran like a bat. That was over a week ago, and now he's calmed down some and we can actually pet him - but only on his own terms. We are trying to get him calm enough to get him to a vet and have him checked over. He seems to have a cold - and something is wrong with his back, but can't check him yet - not that friendly. We've been trying to find the owner, but so far, no luck.

I picked up my new glasses yesterday. I was less than thrilled with the choices of frames and they weren't categorized in male/female - but you had to try them on to see if they fit. Some were huge, but certainly didn't look male to me. It was a real pain, and I finally had DH and the kids help me choose - as I went through the whole store and couldn't find anything that I really liked. After being about $300 lighter, I put the glasses on and told them there was definately something wrong with them. Things looked - weird and wavy. This of course after I had ended up not being able to wear contacts because of an allergy. While DH was talking to me about it, the girls were just off to the side discussing what a PIA I was and complained about everything. The girl came back and said it was normal and I needed to get used to them. Hey - my eyes aren't that bad - and I've never had a problem before. They wouldn't look at them but told me it wasll basically all in my head. Well, ok, I'll try them for the couple of days they say I needed to.

So I left the store and had absolutely no depth perception - things were really weird and I got so sick to my stomach. I finally took the glasses off and found that when they cleaned them they were so smeary, and I had to wear them that way till I got home - as I had no way to clean them. So I get here and clean them, but that really didn't help. I only take a drop of dish soap and hot water and don't even use a cloth to dry them, so I know they are clean and clear. I went to bed early last night with a nice amount of eyestrain and a headache. This morning I put them on, and found the same problem again, so I washed them and really looked at them in the daylight. That's when I found the interesting pattern on the lens. It lookes like someone took an extremely fine sandpaper and rubbed at an angle and circular motion all over the middle of the lens. It is horrible, and no wonder things were distorted. Called them this morning, and they are ordering another pair of lenses for me. (all in my head, eh?!)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Multidirectional Scarf Started!!!!

And boy am I in love! I've stayed away from this technique way too long. It intimidated me, as I thought it would be too hard and too complicated for my little brain to comprehend in the late evening hours after the children went to bed. Sigh.... Silly me!!!

I'm doing the scarf in a Wool-Ease in the color Wood. I only had 2 triangles done, and DD insisted that she was getting this scarf. And while I was at it, I really should make socks to match it. It would look so "cool" she exclaimed. :-) I haven't decide what is better - learning a new technique or having my work claimed before I even really started!!

One thing for sure, my next book order is going to contain Iris's Modular Knits. I can't wait to start trying my hand at other things now. Ohhhh, I can see this becoming a sickness.......
Moebius Neck Ring is finished!!

A huge thank you to Kat for allowing me to test her pattern for her Moebius Neck Ring!! It came out lovely! I have never done a moebius before, but it has been on my to-do list, and when she posted for test knitters, I jumped at the chance. I'm so very, very glad I did!!

I didn't have the Wool-ease that she used in her pattern, so I substituted Plymouth Galway in a beautiful soft yellow Color #88 (the picture shows it darker than it really is) and a size 9 needle. It was an easy and quick knit once I figured out the beginning, and it seemed that the lace edging took about as long as the rest of the ring! Maybe it was because I was so anxious to get it done and off the needles to try it on. LOL

One thing I really liked about this neck ring was the fact that it wasn't so very loose. I've seen so many that hang like cowls, and when they're not up over your head, they don't look like they'd serve the purpose of keeing one's neck warm. With that all said - this one is MINE! No one gets it or even touches it!! LOL

I had some help on the Mohair, so I'm now just trying to decide on a pattern than will show it off in all it's glory. I knitted a little bit with it, and it feels really scratchy. Certainly not something I'd like for a sweater or anything like that. Maybe it will soften up after being washed? Right now it feels like someone took a boar's hair and spun it!!

Next on the needles is a Multidirectional Triangle Scarf by Iris Schreider. I joined her Multidirectional Knitting group and this was sent out to try when you posted your intro. I'm going to be knitting it in a brown/grey varigated Wool-Ease that I bought just for this project. DD eyeballed the yarn and tried to talk me into knitting her a pair of socks out of it - says she LOVES this color. Sorry sweetie - this is for the scarf. Maybe on the next run we'll get more :-)

I'm also ready to start Laura's Harry Potter Bookscarf. I have all the materials, and will have to get it started - since I've just started the book. The HP books have to go through the children before I can get to read it, but I have been known to sneak in their room after they go to sleep to get it. It hasn't happened this year though, because they have been going to sleep after I do! Man, I must be getting old!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Feeling silly today...

So I decided to take a little quiz to see which Harry Potter alter ego I was...........

You scored as Severus Snape. Well you're a tricky one aren't you? Nobody quite has you figured out and you'd probably prefer it stayed that way. That said you are a formidable force by anyone's reckoning, but there is certainly more to you than a frosty exterior and a bitter temper.

Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
created with***

***Please note - this was modified to fit my blog.

This really hit us all funny, as I'm always teasing DD that I'm madly in love with Snape - since she dislikes his character so. :-)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Model is finished - back to normal life....

The model for Sue is finished and I took it down to our LNS yesterday to have it framed. It took me exactly 2 weeks to stitch.

This lovely piece is called "Santa's Wardrobe" and should the leaflet should be available in your LNS right now or you can order it straight from Sue's website.

It was a real treat to go to the LNS yesterday. Our shop owner is none other than Maeann Bush of BushMountain Designs and she is so much fun to talk with. I also took in my brother's Camaro that I did a while ago, to get a quote on how much it would be to frame it. Let me tell you - I was very pleased on not only the quote, but the quality of framing that they do there. This is a place that I really won't mind handing over my hard earned $ to get something special framed at!!

Ohhhh! And all the lovely leaflets that Maeann carries. She even handles Heritage Stitchcraft and Chatelaine Designs! Something I haven't seen anyone around here handle. What a treat it was to see these leaflets. :-)

She also has Teresa Wentzler's models - owned by TW herself. Just gorgeous!!! Which leads me to the nicest treat of all.... Teresa showed up at the shop while Maeann and I were chatting. You know, I don't think she has changed one bit since I first met her like 20 years ago. She is always so nice and not the "professional nice", but a truely genuine nice. Fame has not gone to her head!

So, with all my obligation stitching behind me, I took the evening to sit with the kids, eat ice cream and watch a movie. Then, when they went to bed, I got the Moebius Neck Ring out and worked on that more. I finished the neck ring and am now ready to move onto the eyelet edging. Can't wait to start that! It's such a soft yellow color, and I'm anxious to see what it's going to look like done and on. :-)

Speaking of yarn, I wanted to trip to the LYS and take up a yarn my dear friend sent me that she got from her late grandmother's stash. It's a lovely Mohair and I wanted to see what suggestions and patterns were available for it. I wanted to make something special to send back to her made out of it. So, after I left Maeann's shop, I took a trip up the road to what used to be my LYS. Notice I said USED to be. It's GONE! The shop hours are still posted but no note saying "we've moved to...." WAAAAAHHH!!! No more fondling the yarns, smelling the wonderful wools, looking at new patterns.... no more touching and dreaming of what that yarn would feel like. I'm so disappointed. Looks like I'll be back to ordering on the net for things again. It's so hard for me to do that, as I need to feel the yarn. Ah well.

Now I still have this yarn with no real idea of what to do with it. I've never used mohair before so I don't know if I should be using another yarn with it - or use it alone. The worst part is, there is no real information on the labels like yardage, needles, gauge, etc., so I'm really at a loss (more than usual!!)

What I do know is, it's Italian Mohair made in Italy, and each ball contains 40 grams. It has the Sears Roebuck and Co. logo on it, a color and dyelot # plus washing instructions. I have a total of 4 full skeins and one partial. Any help, suggestions, or comments would be grately appreciated!! I would love to send my dear friend this back made into something she would be able to use and remember her grandmother by. She is just the type of person to love a gift like that.

Well off to do some of the little things I've put off for the last two weeks.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Taking A Small Breather Before Bed

I put in another full day of stitching while the kids went with DH to my brother's house. It is amazing how much more gets done when they're not at home! Now that I'm getting close to getting finished, I'm very anxious to get it done and out of here. I'm longing to get back to my knitting. The moebius is calling to me from it's basket - whispering sweet seductive nothings and making me want to reach out and put a few stitches in. I can't do that though, as I know I won't be able to stop! LOL

My goal is to have the model done and down to the framer's on Tuesday. I still have to wash and press it first, then off it goes. The design isn't terribly huge - about 7" x 9", but has a lot of solid stitching on it - a good 3/4ths of it (at least). I'm working on the backstitching now, and it's coming alive. Such a neat design! I can't wait to share it.

The cool part for me is, when I take it to the framer's, I'll also be able to see the other pieces Sue sent to have done (at least I hope Maeann will let me!!). I also figured while I'm there, I'd take one of my pieces down to get an estimate on how much it'll run me to get done. I did a Camaro for my brother a couple of years ago, but never got it framed. I want to get it done this year so I can give it to him for Christmas. This was one piece that was a labor of love - since cars aren't my thing, but I was very, very pleased with the results when it was finished! I am anxious to have it framed. This will be the first piece I've ever had done professionally - so maybe you can understand the excitement :-)

Well, the clock continues to tick, and I've finally wound down and relaxed. It's off to bed for me, to be back up in a few hours and start stitching again. I'm so looking forward to getting the model off the bars and on to another project.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Model Stitching Again

Last week Sue Hillis contacted me to stitch up one of her designs. It is rather a large one and quite solidly stitched, and needs to be finished by the end of next week. So, for the past week, I have been stitching my little heart out, and am confident I will be able to meet her deadline. I really enjoy stitching for Sue. She responds quickly to emails, and is a genuinely nice person. I love her designs, and really enjoy the challenge of a tight stitching schedule. Mind you, I wouldn't want to do it all the time, but a few times a year is fun. It gives me a couple of weeks to me - able to stitch a lot and enjoy movies, and not be interrupted. Life can't get much better than this, and imagine - I'm being paid to stitch and watch tv! LOL

With this tight schedule, I won't be able to be online much, so things will sit quiet here until I get the model done.