May 31, 2008

What's Up

We've been working on the yard. We're going to go ahead and sheet mulch (thanks to reader Andi who gave me lots of good advice) the whole thing and not worry about planting anything until later. Right now we're clearing all the fallen canes and big stuff. We've got some people coming tomorrow to haul off all the yard waste. We've gotten cardboard down with a small bit of bark chips in one corner of the yard. There's a LOT left to do. We've got calls in to some local arborists to see if they can dump some wood chips here.

I'm still working away on the Merino Lace socks. I'm just finishing the gusset decreases.

My sewing has been languishing. I was doing really well with the Dear Jane quilt-along. In fact not only was I completely up to date as of mid-April, I won the contest for people who were up to date! And have only finished one block since then. I went to a little sewing bee on Monday and brought all my Dear Jane stuff with me. I had blocks prepared to sew already. I started stitching and felt like I had never done it before. It was awkward and uncomfortable and the results were shit. I'd show you a picture but it's just too mortifying. Last night I ripped out the really embarrassing parts and managed to finish a block. It's okay but no masterpiece. I'm half-way through another two blocks. They're getting harder just as I'm feeling less confident. I know I just need to work through a few to get the feel for it again. In a sea of 225 blocks no one will notice the wonky ones. It's dark now so I'll get some photos for tomorrow.

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May 28, 2008

The Yumness

You can see here that I'm actually making progress on my socks. And you can also see the subtle, chocolate-y beauty that is Cocoa Kiss in Smooshy Sock. Click here to see really big.

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The Next Step

Now that I'm crafting lobsters I suppose this is the next step.

A lobster sweater from Doctorknits.


May 26, 2008

Knit-Crochet Smackdown Lobster Style

So somehow I ended up starting two new projects this weekend. One is knit and one is crocheted but they're both lobsters. Weird, huh?

A customer mentioned knitting a cute lobster pattern from Ravelry. I went to look for it and found this crocheted lobster(.pdf) first. It called for 75 yards of worsted weight yarn. I remembered that Amanda had given me a skein of Mission Falls cotton in a tomato red colorway. And that Isabella had gotten to it and dragged it around and chewed it up a bit. I know that most people would have thrown it out at this point. I, for whatever reason, chose to save it. When I pulled it out I had to spend a little time untangling it and winding it into little balls.

I made all the pieces then realized it looked really crappy and was way too loose. The stuffing was showing all over the place. It was lumpy. Blech. I ripped it out and have restarted it on a smaller hook. It's looking a lot better.

While I was working on the first lobster I continued perusing lobster patterns on Ravelry. There's a lot more than you'd think. When I found the knitted lobster I had to cast on for that too.

The pattern is cute and looks a lot more lobster-y than the crocheted amigurumi style. This appeals to my Nantucket side. I can make buoys to go with it if I want to. We had lobster pots briefly when I was growing up. I don't remember them yielding many keepers.

Since I was hot on this whole toy theme I also finished knitting my charcoal Terra Bear. He's just hanging out waiting to be felted.

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May 9, 2008

Camouflage Knitting

Are you familiar with the concept of camouflage knitting? Try this. The next time your at a knitting group look around and see how many people's clothing match their knitting. It happens all the time. I see this at spinning events too.

I once had a customer in the shop who was struggling with her yarn selection. "I don't know," she told me, "I like these colors but I don't know if I'd ever wear them."
"You're wearing them now."

I had to laugh today when I looked down at my knitting and realized it was the precise same shade of mauve as my shirt.

This is Monica in Cotton Classic. I am making two for Wes's cousin's daughters in LA. We stayed with them (family of four) in a one bedroom condo! They deserve a nice gift.

Tailored Scallops is almost dry on the blocking board.

I know this photo makes it look like it's also the exact same shade of mauve. It isn't. It's a slightly browner shade of mauve. I'm flexible that way.


May 6, 2008

I Am a Wrecking Machine

Last night while finishing up the last front of my Tailored Scallops I broke another Denise cord. That's two on just this project. In fact, something has broken on my Denise needles on nearly every project I've ever used them on. I'm just a brute I guess.


May 2, 2008

Knit Your Cares Away

I started a Hemlock Ring Blanket for a shop model. It's a really fun knit. The beginning is a small bit of lace--nothing too complicated and then you feather and fan until the cows come home. I chose to start with a circular cast on using magic loop. I get really frustrated trying to keep four dpns from slipping or twisting when doing a circular start, especially on big needles (US10) like this. I quickly switched to a 16" circular. As I knit I noticed my blanket looked like an angry skull face.

It also strongly resembles the trash heap from Fraggle Rock.

It looked a little nicer once I got it on a 32" circular.

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March 15, 2008

Moving On

Thanks for all the get well wishes. I have a mighty assortment of welts and bruises but I'm getting around just fine. I'm in denial about the dishwasher. The last time I lived somewhere with no dishwasher was the summer of '91. For now I'm just letting the dishes pile up in the sink.

So what else have I been up to? Even though it's barely had a mention on the blog since I started it, the Tangled Yoke is slowly creeping toward the finishing line. I am a few rounds short of a full tangle on the yoke. I believe this photo of a crumbly, gray mass explains why I haven't been taking a lot of pictures of my progress.

Since this project is far, far from portable, I cast on a new pair of socks.

This is Evelyn Clark's Go With the Flow socks in STR Chapman Springs colorway. I started these socks once before and ripped them out. These are going splendidly and I'm not hating the variegation. I started working on them yesterday while on the way to a quilt show with Molly. It was my first quilt show. It was really interesting to see all styles and skill levels represented. I found that I am always drawn to the hand-quilted ones. I bought a few fat quarters in 30s reproduction prints while I was there. I got some of these at the Sew Expo a few weeks ago. Love the 30s stuff.

I also bought one piece of vintage fabric.

When I pulled it out to photograph I realized it matched the large-scale floral in Blossom I got for the border on my Four Square quilt.

There were two quilts based on Dear Jane at the show too. I came home and finished a block, Dad's Plaids.

This one has reverse applique and regular applique. I think I'm improving since the last one.

I also knocked off two tiny new sewing projects. A needlebook and a camera case with a quilted lining for my new camera.

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March 7, 2008

Joining the March

After seeing Brainylady's post and Nicole's follow up I feel inspired to get this load of nearly finished knitting out of my life this month.

1. My simple gloves have just three fingers left to knit.
2. I need to complete the yoke and edging on my Tangled Yoke.
3. The handspun baby cardigan just needs one more sleeve and some edging.

I finished the Noro shawl/scarf this morning. Why did it take me so long to knit 460 yards of simple, simple lace? I can't explain it. Then I overshot the finish last night and ran out of yarn while binding off. I ripped back a few rows and reknit the edging and bind off. It's on the blocking board. (Sadly my blocking wires are MIA. The edges aren't all that straight on this.)

I had this much yarn left.

No waste here. Makes my frugal heart feel good. I've already picked the baby cardigan back up. Just a little bit more and I can cross another item off my list. I love crossing things off lists.


March 5, 2008

Taking the Long Way

I started the Tulips Cardigan as a quick diversion. It was a chance to use my handspun and knit a small, simple project. I ran out of yarn. So instead of finishing the sweater last night I had to make more yarn. I dug around a little bit in my office and came up with leftover Dazzle yarn and this merino/tencel that I spun up two years ago and have never had a clue what to do with. I took my newly acquired cabled yarn skill from Madrona and set to work. I added extra twist to the two finished yarns then plied them together. The result is not great. Dazzle was a little underspun and the merino/tencel is a little overspun. They don't hold together well as a cohesive yarn. Oh well, too bad! I used it anyway for the bottom edging.

I used a second class sample three-ply skein to start the first arm. The color works pretty well with the rest of the sweater but it's going to get a ugly by the second sleeve I fear when all those orange/reds start coming into play. Oh well, too bad!

Here, I'll distract you from my ugly sweater with a picture of my adorable, but now enormous, dog.

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