Monday, February 26, 2007

Still Dyeing

This morning shed new light on things. The yarn wasn't as dark in daylight as it seemed to be last night. DD took one look at it and said she wanted it darker. OK. We used all the Kool-Aid we had so I got out the 2 Easter egg coloring kits we had and opened them. I told her to put the red in the hot water, turned my back and in went the blue. Hmmmm - 13 years old and doesn't know the difference between the color tablets - even after we went over it. :) No problem. I wanted to do some blue anyhow - so we dissolved the other blue tablet we had, put it in a smaller crockpot and I went off to soak the yarn for that.

She had put more water in the microwave to boil, and this time, she got the color right. It didn't look dark enough, so we also added about an ounce of red liquid food coloring. Back in the pot it the yarn went with the new colorings.

DS saw that we were doing another batch and got all excited to see blue in the pot. I want that blue for socks. Man - not even yarn in the pot and he's putting dibs on it for socks. Maybe after he sees the color, he might change his mind! LOL

Honestly, I'm having a ball fooling around with the colors and am really glad DD didn't put the correct tablet in the water. I would have missed this lovely blue color!!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Trying New Things

It has been a fun weekend full of new things for me. I finally finished the I-cord for my felted bag, made a little crochet cord for a closure and then felted it yesterday. It felt soooo wrong putting that bag in the washer and using hot water and agitating it. I spend all my time being gentle with my wool items when washing, and doing this made me feel so naughty. grin

It took three runs through the washer, but it is done and I'm so pleased. Currently, it is drying and then I'll be putting the grommets in and finishing it up. I want to use it on Thursday. The kids have a class and then a 4-H meeting to attend, so I'll be out for the day. I'll be putting it to the test and see if it's really what I wanted. I have thought about lining it, but I don't have the fabric for it yet.

Sadly, one of the yarns I had purchased from a yarn store that was closing, had a few short pieces tucked around the ball. I was told it was the same yarn from another ball, so I used it on the purse. One of those short pieces wasn't the same and it didn't felt at all. I had to try to do a fix on it, but I'm not happy with the fix. I should try felting the area that I fixed, but it will have to wait. I'll try a spot felting on it. Ah well, it won't make the purse work any differently. At least it's near the bottom :)

My daughter has been after me to make her some fingerless mitts, so I had decided to try Robbyn's Valentine Mitts, but DD liked her "Someone-Stole-the-Fingers-from-my-Gloves" Gloves even better. I printed out the directions for them, and we went looking through my small stash of wool, only to discover I didn't have the color she wanted. She wanted a nice bright red, but I had nothing like that here. I did have a lot of Lion's Brand Fisherman's wool, so we decided to use Robbyn's method of Kool-Aid dying in a crock pot and make our own red wool. Six packs of cherry Kool-Aid and a few hours later, we had the most gorgeous red color yarn!!! Now it needs to dry, and then I'll be casting on. Mega Kudos to Robbyn!!

One last new thing for me - I found knitting podcasts!! Way cool. If you haven't already, you must have a listen to Lime & Violet. Those two are such a hoot. Before you listen, freeze your credit card, because I know they will tempt you to buy more yarn. The luscious colors and wools they find - oh it should be illegal!! I'm inspired to try some new things just by listening and following their program notes. The other podcast that I found interesting is called Math4Knitters Laura's program really makes you think, and makes knitting even more interesting. It will surely get your creative juices flowing. I'm sure you won't be able to resist trying some of the subjects she talks about.

Sorry no pics tonight - I need to charge the batteries. Pics will be posted with my next update.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Gentleman's Plaing Winter Sock Update

The sock is taking shape, but I'm still apprehensive with the heel. This is my first Dutch Heel (like this one). I'm not sure if those three knit stitches on the bottom middle of the heel are going to be a problem or not. DS says he doesn't notice them - but then again, he's not walking on them at this point. I was surprised at how the foot stitches were decreased, but they don't seem tight on DS.

I'll soon be to the toe, and I can't wait to try that as well. These Vintage patterns are cool, and I'm anxious to see just how they will wear.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The UGLY Socks are finished!! I grafted the toe last night and put them in DS's room so he could find them this morning. He found them at 2am when he woke up in the middle of the night. He's thrilled to have new socks even though they are ugly. :)

Yesterday, the Trekking XXL (#104) that I ordered from Judy to make my next pair of socks came yesterday. I'm finally been able to join in on the Vintage Socks KAL. The group is doing the "Gentleman's Plain Winter Sock" from the book Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush. I'm making these for DS, and am already changing the pattern. I've shortened both the ribbing and the leg, and I've removed the center stitch that goes down the back of the leg. I just LOVE the colors of this yarn!! Trekking has to be one of my favorites to knit with - the colors are gorgeous!

I'm still working on the I-cord for the purse. I really should have it done, but the socks have lured me away for a bit. As soon as the cord is done, I'll be casting on to make the Valentine Mitts for my DD. She's been begging for fingerless mitts for quite a while and these are so pretty. Thanks for a great pattern, Robbyn!

Monday, February 19, 2007

I took some time this week to look for what materials I had on hand to knit my bag. I had been wanting to do it for some time, but had put it off for one reason or another. I found some yarn that would felt, and sat down to start knitting it on Friday. I didn't follow a pattern, but decided to combine what I needed with what I found on the net. I made my bottom 8" x 12" in garter stitch and picked up the stitches around the sides and then knitted for 13". The kids and hubby don't like the colors, but it's what I had on hand, so the bag isn't costing anything extra to make.

When I casted off, I did a loose cast-off, and I'm not sure how it's going to felt, since it's rolling now. I think I should have done an I-cord edging or maybe a garter stitch edging, but being this is the first time trying this, I'm going with just a cast-off edge to see what happens. On top of the bag, you can see I've started knitting the I-cord. This is the first time I've ever tried knitting it, and I look at it in amazement. I know, the simplest things amaze me. :) As soon as the I-cord is finished (I'll be making it about 5-6 feet long), I'll felt it. This will be the first time felting a piece, besides a test piece I had done by hand to see how the yarn felted. Hubby has asked that I don't felt this until he is around, because he's really interested in seeing how this is all going to work. Cool, don't you think?

It's a good thing I started this, as Saturday, when I was just getting ready to go to town, I picked up my purse, and the handle broke even more - now just hanging by mere threads. I didn't take my purse and was lost without it. How's that for timing?

JoAnn's is having a President's Day sale that ends today. We went Saturday to pick up a grommet plier kit and some grommets so that my I-cord can run through my bag easily. They were 50% off, so you can imagine my pleasure at timing again. Wool-Ease was also on sale, and although I don't care for a mostly acrylic wool blend, these make some nice soft bed socks that the kids love. I used my 40% off coupon on the skein of Fisherman's wool that DH likes for his boot socks, and the Simplicity patterns were $1 each. To top it all off, there was also a 10% off the total purchase - so we did really well!!

I couldn't find the large double point knitting needles I needed for the I-cord, so I went to the knitting shop to buy them. I asked for size 13 dpns, and she pulled them off the wall and asked if I realized they were $13?!! She then asked what I was using them for, and when she found out it was for I-cord, she said I didn't want to spend my money on them for just doing the cording. She grumbled about all the books insisting on buying unnecessary needles and said I could do it with what I had. She pulled out a circular needle and showed me how to do it on them. I would just treat the needle like a huge dpn and slide from one side to the other. DUH!!! Did you ever have one of those moments when you thought "Why didn't I think of that?!!"

Since I didn't have to waste money on the needles, we came out with some new sock yarn for DS. He pulled out three different yarns he wanted me to make socks out of. I wasn't planning on 3, but he sounded disappointed when he thought he had to choose, so I took them all. This child asks me for nothing. He is extremely frugal (to downright cheap), so when we go out shopping, he hardly ever gets anything except for necessities. Socks are his luxury. We were discussing with him a bit one day about our consideration of the one house our son wants us to buy, and told him that if we moved, we'd have to give up everything except for the necessary things. He said that was fine. We named off things like camp, store-purchased goodies, etc. and he was fine with everything until we came to the socks (you know - sock yarn is expensive!). He said he'd give it all up, but not the socks. I thought my husband was going to choke on dinner. :)

On the subject of socks, here's an update on the socks for DS. I call them the "Ugly Socks". (Hey! They're almost as ugly as our couch!!) I still am disappointed, because I would have paid just a bit more for a different brand in a beautiful colorway. I won't be making this mistake again! LOL

Monday, February 12, 2007

New Start

DS says to me, "Mom, I'm so glad you got your knitting out!! I need AT LEAST 5 pairs of socks. Do you think you can hurry up and make them before I go to our retreat next month?" Hmmmm - if I do a pair a week, maybe... but I really doubt it. Then DD chimes in and says she needs them, too. She has to have some new ones for the retreat as well. Oh yah, and don't forget we all need gloves, hats, mittens and a couple of fingerless mitts. And when you're done with them....

I have to really be thankful for the kids wanting my handmade knits. I remember growind up and all the kids HATED when their grandmothers made them something and they might have to wear it. Have our patterns and wools come a long way from those things from that time? Honestly, I don't think so. We do have patterned sock yarns, but outside of that, we still have many of the same lovely patterns. Elizabeth Zimmermann was popular then, and still is now. I see many of the patterns on the net that were popular when we were kids. Things really haven't changed that much. My kids love the colors of the yarns, but mostly they love how warm they stay. They say the wool is so much different than the synthetic stuff they can get at the store. The don't mind the extra care that comes with wool, either. Both know how to wash and take care of their woolens. They also know what happens to wool that is abused. DS found that nice big mittens can end up toddler size in no time!

So to make the dear sweet children happy, I've started a new pair of socks. These are being knitted in Opal Masterpiece #1307. I will say we are all disappointed in it as it is turning out to be pretty darn ugly. I bought it thinking it was Magic. I got them mixed up, and didn't realize it until I started knitting, knowing it looks very, very different. hahahaha! Ah well. They will still keep the feet happy - just not as pretty as normal. Only 3 more balls to knit through - each in a different color. :)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Sock and Dishcloth Finishes

The Kool-Aid socks are finished! I can't believe how long ago I started them, but like everything else, being for me puts them low on the list of priorities. Honestly, I think the color combination is kind of cool, and now DD says she wishes I would have made them for her. HA! This is the same kid that HATED the combination when I first test knitted them. :) The pattern I used: Iowa Cruise Socks from Cottage Creations. I used Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool for both the main color and what I Kool-Aid dyed. My gauge was 5.5 stitches to the inch, and it makes a nice warm and comfortable sock.

I also have 3 kitchen knitted finishes to report. I joined in the February Mystery Dishcloth KAL (see sidebar for group information) and ended up with a nice Valentine's dishcloth. I found a cool dishcloth based on Elizabeth's Zimmermann's square baby blanket called 4-Corners Dishcloth. It's a neat pattern that really shows its stuff in varigated yarns. My last FO is a Circular Scrubbie. I used smaller knitting needles than called for (yes, I was too lazy to get the others out) and now know that looser is better on this pattern. No worries, though, as it will still be used. DD loves it and wants to make some for her hope chest.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

First of the Kool-aid Socks Finished

The first of my hand-dyed Kool-aid yarn has actually been used. I know the colors are a little strange, but that's what happens when each of 3 people pick a color. My teen children and I had a blast dying the yarn, but the house ended up smelling like a wet sheep dipped in Kool-aid. LOL

The first sock is finished and the second is down to the heel flap. In no time, these will be on my big old feet. It's amazing to me that I finally get a pair of socks out of all that I've knitted. This will be my 20th pair, and the only reason I'm getting these is because no one likes the color combination of the Kool-aid yarn. That's fine with me, because every time I look at them, I'll remember how much fun we had dying them!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Another Finish for the Challenge!

YAY!! Another WIP to cross off the list!!DH's socks are finally done. I started them last year, and found that I had messed up on the heel, so I put them aside. You know... Out of sight - out of mind. They were never finished for hunting season, and I'm sure DH has forgotten about them. However, he will receive a nice surprise for Valentine's Day :) To appreciate the size of these socks, they take up a whole cushion of a 3 cushion couch. Not tiny things by any means. He loves them though, so I can't complain. It's really nice to have him request them every year. This year, I'm hoping to get everyone in the family 2 pairs of socks done. I didn't make it last year. I was short one pair (these ones).

Friday, February 02, 2007

Dishcloth Finish

Both dishcloths are now finished and ready to post. The red is all hearts, and the pink has LOVE on it.
Spring Right Around the Corner

Yes! Phil says spring will be early this year!!! And being from PA, I have to believe Phil's forecast. It wouldn't be Pennsylvanian of me if I didn't. :)

I decided it was time to teach 13yoDD to stitch on evenweave. We took our time and picked out a cute little pattern by SamSarah Designs called "Smile". She then went through my stash and decided she liked Silkweaver's 32ct. Lugana Solo and wouldn't hear that 32 count may be just a bit smaller than she'd like to start on. Ok - we'll try. We then found threads in my stash that would work. I couldn't believe out of all the threads I had, I had NONE of what the pattern called for. We came up with some nice substitutes, though.

Well, she sat down, and wanted to do a swirl pattern for the center. I said that back and forth was easier, but she didn't want that. So she started out with the swirl. She took off and is having a great time with it! So much for me knowing anything. She says she is enjoying working with the colors, making it so much more interesting than "normal" cross stitch. My biggest surprise was how quickly she caught on to working on the fabric. I had imagined there would be much more frustration and a little more difficulty with the transition from aida - especially since she hasn't done it in a while. HA! Not this gal.

As for me, I finished the dishcloth for Valentine's day and started another called LOVE in a nice hot pink. When it's finished I'll take a picture of both and post.

I worked on The Baby more and really hated putting it away. There's just not enough hours in the day!!