Crayon Box

August 15, 2010

Do you remember this?

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Now it’s this

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I took advantage of a rainy Sunday afternoon to spin a little, and I not only finished the singles for this, but I plied it all up.  I’m very happy with it, and I am really looking forward to using it.

Roving:  4 oz. Gale’s Art, 100% blue faced leicester, colorway Crayon Box
Weight:  Fingering
Yardage:  362 yards

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I have to say I’m pretty pleased with how even the yarn is – I only had a few small sections where it wasn’t consistently the same and a bit blurpy – and usually that happened when I first sat down to spin each session while I was getting back into, but overall it’s pretty consistent and I’m happy that I’m doing better.  Now I need to spin some 2 ply  laceweight!

I initially thought of using this for socks – I love  socks made from handspun  – there is something so comforting to me about them.  But this isn’t superwash, and I’ve learned that non-superwash socks and me just don’t go together  – I just  threw out a bunch of socks that had felted or shrunk from either going in the wash by mistake or not being hand washed  correctly.  I don’t want to waste this yarn then by making socks that I know will end up getting messed up.  So I decided on a shawl.   I did spend a little time on Ravelry this afternoon looking at patterns, and I think I may do another Traveling Woman shawl with it.  I think it will be beautiful and very cheery colors for the winter.   It’s the perfect yardage and I think the pattern will be able to handle the variegated yarn.  Any other ideas?

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I still have to soak the yarn and dry it – its mostly balanced; just a little off so I think a little weight on it while drying will fix that.  I am going to do it in a little bit  – but it’s so rainy and humid here I think it will take a while to dry.  I’m hoping that it will be dry and ready by tomorrow night though; I’m leaving for a business trip on Tuesday to Tampa, and I thought I’d take it along with me.  I  have other things to work on but I just can’t resist the lure of this yarn!  I don’t know if I’ll have a lot of knitting time, but I know I’ll at least have flying/airport/hotel time, so it will be a good distraction.    And I did finish one old project this week, so I think it’s ok to start a new.

I’m not looking forward to this week – in addition to traveling, I need to get a million things done because I’ll be off work the following week.  I love taking vacations but sometimes it’s hard because of all the work before – and the stuff that I know I’ll be coming back to.  But I am looking forward to being off for a bit – and getting away from everything.  We have scheduled most of our time in Williamsburg (I’m most  happy when I have a schedule) and I’m looking forward to everything we are going to do.  Just have to get through this week!  I think I will have a post later this week to show you the project I finished – it took so long that I’m embarrassed to list the stats.

OK, I’m going to go –  a little knitting time, and maybe looking through the roving stash for the next project.  Have a great week!


Ten on Tuesday

August 3, 2010

I signed up for Ten on Tuesday a month ago, but always seem to miss doing this on a Tuesday – but I had to do this week’s topic, Ten Things to Bring on Vacation, because I’m really ready for a vacation!

  1. Knitting.  No matter where we go on vacation, I bring my knitting.  Usually a couple of projects or three or four.  Like socks, shawls, sweaters – just in case I get a burst of knitting energy and finish 3 projects.    This year I think I’ll just bring one…well, maybe two.
  2. Golf clubs. Since I started golfing a couple of years ago, we always bring our clubs and try to get one or two games in.   This year we already have tee times booked, and I’m looking forward to it!
  3. Books.  I always bring one book with me because I don’t read as much as I’d like to normally, and vacation gives me a little more time for it.
  4. Clothes.  As in too many.  I always overpack.  I hate the thought of not having enough clothes, and enough options so I typically have way more than I need.
  5. Shoes.  See #4.  Same thing.  Always have to have options.
  6. Money.  We like to eat out and shop on vacation, so I always bring a little extra.
  7. Names and addresses of local yarn stores.  I know, but I can’t help it.  I always find out what is around and plan a small side trip.  See #6.
  8. Snacks.  I also like to bring snacks from home for at night, the drive or just whenever.  Not too much – and generally something that isn’t heatlhy.
  9. Alcohol.  Speaking of unhealthy – we usually bring a little wine or martini fixin’s.  This year we will bring both!
  10. iPhone.  This probably doesn’t count because I always have it with me, but I can’t imagine going on vacation without it.  I keep in touch, look up things and keep in touch with the kids.

When I was thinking about what I bring on vacation, I also thought about what I’m not bringing on vacation this year…the kids!  Larry and I are going on vacation alone this year – I wasn’t sure initially, but it just worked out that way.  It is the first time haven’t  had a family vacation, but although I’ll miss them, I’m ok with it.  We are going to Williamsburg, Virginia, and I’m looking forward to having some down time with Larry.  We are golfing and I can’t wait to go to Colonial Williamsburg – I’ve always wanted to go.  We are going in three weeks, and I am counting the days already.

I’ve been knitting a bit this week – I went back to a pair of socks that I had started months ago.  I had finished the first one, and had started the second but just stopped knitting them.  Its been so long since I made socks that I forgot about the heel – so I just kept on knitting and knitting – and now they are too long  and I think I’m going to have to frog them back a bit so that they match the first one.  Sigh. I’m already unmotivated about them because I don’t like the pooling that is happening, and now this – I feel like ditching them and starting something new.  We’ll see – I hate to not finish a pair and they are for my sister but….

I got a package in the mail today that I thought I’d share…

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Isn’t that pretty?   Wandering Cats Slinky Cat which is a merino/silk blend.  The colorway is Peacock and I just couldn’t resist.  This is 870 yards of fingering weight, and it will be perfect for a shawl.  I’m not sure what pattern yet – but I can’t wait to start it!

OK, I guess I’ll go frog my socks – have a great week!


Spinning again

July 27, 2010

OK, this is a little rough, but it has been a long time since I’ve made yarn

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but I like it!  It felt so good to get this off the bobbins  – I had started this over a year ago – and bought the roving two years ago!

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The roving is 100% superwash merino from The Dyeing Arts and the colorway is Goth Chick Duo.  The roving was  2 oz’s of two different colorways – one with black tones, and one red/pink.   I spun the red/pink first, and the black was a bit of a chore – sort of boring which is why I think I stopped spinning it.  But once I started spinning again a couple of weeks ago, I was so happy to get back to it that it just flew, and I was so excited to get to plying that I finished it in one sitting.  Not the most even yarn – definitely thick and thin but it’s about 250 yards of sport weight, so I think I have enough to do something – maybe a cowl for the winter.  The colors are pretty, and its very soft and I’m looking forward to using it (there is something so satisfying about knitting with  handspun!)

Once I finished this yarn, I went back to another project that has been on the bobbins for a long long time.  This is a merino/tencel blend and I finally finished the single last week.

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I haven’t plied this yet because I want to Navajo ply it to maintain the color stripes – and I have only done Navajo plying once and I think I need to gear up for it (for those of you that don’t spin, Navajo plying is when you take a single yarn and ply it to get a three ply/cable ply).   Kim sent me a great video so I think I’m going to sit down this weekend and give it a try.  I love the colors in this yarn and the sheen is amazing so I think it’s going to be a beautiful yarn when it’s done.

Since I’ve been back to spinning, I had to also get back to buying a little stash enhancement!

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Pretty, eh? The one on the left is from Gale’s Art – it’s a combo of dyed light and dark BFL (blue faced leicester) and it’s just really amazing.  I’m spinning it now, and I’m really enjoying the colors  –  the dark BFL really adds a good depth and mix to it.     The roving on the right is Perchance to Knit and its 100% Polworth – I’ve never spun this type of sheep fiber, and it’s so soft and I’ve read good things about it –  I  think the colors are beautiful and I’m definitely looking forward to it.  It is so much fun to get new things to spin up – and so hard to resist starting it.

So there you go – now you know what I’ve been up to fiber-wise!  I haven’t knit in days – wow!  I just realized its been almost a week  – I can’t believe how long its been!  It has been very very busy at work, and I haven’t had a lot of downtime.  I’m really missing it though – I have so many things I want to get to!  I just found out today that a co-worker is having twins – it’s a high risk pregnancy so I’ve been hesitant to knit for her, but she had some tests recently and it looks like things are going better so I think I’ll start knitting her up some presents.  Definitely booties – maybe some blankets.  I was thinking about trying some of the new Loopy Ewe yarn because of the pretty colors.  Any other thoughts on nice baby yarn?

OK I think I’m going to go read some blogs and sneak some knitting in – just a couple of rows would make me so happy!  Have a great week!


My quilt!

July 18, 2010

I didn’t make this, it isn’t knitting, but I just had to show it off…

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Isn’t that gorgeous?  It’s my new quilt, and my sister made it for me!  She started quilting a couple of years ago, and offered to make me one.  I picked out the materials in January – it was so hard!  I finally understood why people who don’t knit have such a hard time envisioning projects and yarn choices – she took me to her quilt store and I was completely overwhelmed by all the pattern and fabric choices.  But someone who worked there helped us, and I picked out all the material.   My sister started it a few months ago, and kept on telling me how nice it was – and today I saw it for myself when I picked it up.  Its beautiful – I can’t get a good picture of the whole thing – its huge!  But it looks beautiful on the bed, and is perfect for the room – we picked shades of green for the walls, and all of the colors in the quilt just stand out.

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I can’t decide on what my favorite block is – but this one is in the top two – I love the black and pink combo.  In fact, I think all of the black in the quilt just add a little bit of something different.  It really is amazing – I’m not a quilter (I can’t sew period) so it’s just amazing to me that she took all of this fabric and created something like this.  She’s very creative and is so passionate about quilting that its fun to listen to her.  And of course, its great to get the end product!    Thanks, sis!

I haven’t been knitting a lot this week – I’ve been having some medical issues that just made me really tired and just not up to it.  But when I could, I did work on the Aeslight shawl a little and I’m up to the lace border.   I’m really enjoying it, and I hope that the meds that I’m taking get me back to normal quickly – I really want to finish this section and get to the edging!

I also want to finish the shawl because I have the yarn for my next project….

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Isn’t that pretty?  It’s from Wandering Cat and I just couldn’t resist the colorway!  I am not sure what I’m going to make with it – it’s 400 yards of fingering, but I am sure I’ll find something for it.  Definitely a shawl though – and I can’t wait to start using it!

I’ve been spinning a lot this weekend, and I’m just about done with the roving I’m spinning.  I’m trying to decide if I should Navajo ply it, or if I should just ply it like I always do.  I’ve only done Navajo plying once when I was learning – and my teacher was there.  I’ve watched some videos of it online, and it looks fairly easy – but then again, I can also see me really messing up the yarn, so I may take the easy way out and just two ply it.   I’m really loving the spinning though – it feels so good to get back into it!   I should have some new yarn to show next time – and some new roving that I just had to get.

OK, I’m off to get some knitting in – have a great week!


Purple

June 20, 2010

If you look at my Ravelry project page, you’ll see that I’m in a pretty big rut – everything that I’m currently working on is blue.  I don’t know why that happens, but I’ve always been that way – in my life, and in my knitting.    I will stick with certain colors all of the time, even if I think I should have other colors around (like my clothes – mostly black, or the family room/kitchen – lots of red).  Anyway, the blue phase of knitting has been going on for some time  – but I think that it may be changing soon…

Not too far from blue, but judging on my two recent yarn purchases, I’d say purple is the next “stuck in a rut” color!

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This is Wandering Cat Alley Cat yarn in the Grapes of Wrath colorway.  Alley Cat is a Merino/Nylon blend and its fingering weight.  I think it’s going to be very pretty knit up – I just need to come up with the best patter for it.

I placed a Loopy Ewe order a couple of weeks ago for the yarn for the Peaks hood – and couldn’t resist throwing in a little Malabrigo.

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This is Malabrigo lace weight in the Cuarzo colorway.  I saw it online, and just loved it – and then when I got it and also saw the Wandering Cat yarn, I just had to laugh.  I guess I’m shading away from blue to purple!

So hard to decide which one to start something with – so they both have been sitting out where I see them all the time.   I’m trying to finish up two of my current projects – I have about 30 rows to go on the Artemis shawl and its knitting up quickly.  I’m a little worried that I’m going to run out of yarn because the ball seems a little small, but I suppose worse case I’ll improvise something.    My cashmere scarf is now long enough so I just had to do the beaded row and cast off.  I think I may do that today – assuming I can find where I put the beads!  The scarf is beautiful – so soft.  I’m going to block it so that the lace pops but I think this will be done today.    Once these two are done, I need to get a commute knitting project going – so socks or scarf?  What do you think?

We are having a very quiet weekend.  We did a little shopping yesterday (food, clothes, dog toys) and then went out to dinner.  We went to a local restaurant, sat outside and it was just so nice.   I know that in the blink of an eye it will be cold again, so its nice to be able to spend as much time outdoors as we can.  Today we are having a lazy day – Cieara is coming over for lunch, and Dan for dinner to see Larry for Father’s Day.    I’m going to be attempting to make a home-made banana cream pie  (it was so tempting to do a cheater pie with a store-bought graham cracker crust and some jello pudding mix!).  I haven’t made home-made pudding in a long long time so I hope it works out.     Other than that, its going to be really hot here so I’m planning on just hanging out by the pool, knitting and relaxing.

Our hydrangea are blooming – a little weird this year – normally they are all blue, but this year they are light blue with a white center.  I have no idea why, but it’s very pretty!

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OK, I’m off – happy Sunday (and Father’s Day if you celebrate!)


Traveling Woman

April 4, 2010

I thought I’d start this post with a little sweet

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Doesn’t that look good?  Cieara and I made carrot cake cupcakes today (with cream cheese frosting of course!) and Cieara piped some carrots on them.  I have to admit – everyone in the house already sneaked one.  They are very good, and I’m looking forward to having another one later. 

Want to see something else sweet?

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I finished it last week, but finally got it blocked today.   And really – what a perfect shawl for spring! 

Pattern:  Traveling Woman
Yarn:  Top Cat by Wandering Cat Yarns, Aurora colorway
Started:  March 16, 2010
Finished:  March 30, 2010 (well, blocked on April 4, 2010)

This is a great pattern – very simple, very easy, very fast.  Just what I need sometimes in between bigger projects.  Another very easy, great as a first time lace project.   I like the stockinette portion, and I think the lace piece is a little different from other small shawlettes so it kept my interest, and I enjoyed working it.  This was commute knitting – so you know it wasn’t complicated. 

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The yarn is a cashmere/merino blend and I have to say – it was fantastic!  I loved working with it, and couldn’t wait to pick it up.  It is so soft that it would make wonderful baby clothes or blankets (if you think that a cashmere/merino blend would be good for a baby!).    I couldn’t resist this colorway when I saw it – it’s just perfect for this time of year – spring colors – a few different soft pinks with yellow.   Just so nice to see and use after such a long dark winter.    I’m struggling a little with wearing this – I don’t typically wear pastel colors, but I think I’m going to branch out a little and do it.  Because this colorway just is so beautiful that it will make me happy to wear it  – and make me remember that its nice outside when I’m stuck inside working.    I love this yarn too – I’ll be stalking the Wandering Cat shop for more  –  highly recommend!

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All in all, another succesful knit.    Fast, interesting pattern, wonderful yarn.  What’s not to like!

We have been really busy this last week – the room got painted, and we had a bit of a time cleaning up after the painter (he’s cheap but so sloppy – not sure we’ll use him again).  The room looks beautiful and we are starting to get things back in.    I’ll have some pictures to show you once we get it a little further along, but wow – there is nothing better than going to sleep in a room that makes you happy!     

We took the dogs for a walk today in a preserve right across the street from us (very convenient!).  They had such a great time – they are so happy that its nice again, and that we are back to fun walks.  There is a lake in the preserve and Penny ran right in up to her belly (we don’t think she realized how deep it was) – we had one dirty dog on our hands!    I didn’t care though – it was so good to be out in the sun and be moving.   Isn’t it amazing how good Spring feels?

I’ve been working on Coraline – I’m still working on the hem, but I should be finished with that shortly and then onto the body of the sweater.  I needed some commute knitting so I started a project today with the silk/cashmere that I picked up visiting my mother.    I’m having a hard time putting it away in my knitting bag  and saving it for my commute – amazing yarn!

OK, I’m off – have a wonderful week and enjoy Spring!


Citron

March 30, 2010

Finally!  This shawl has been done for over a week – actually about two weeks – but I just procrastinated on blocking it.  But I was home sick today, and decided to finally just do it!  But just a warning – the pictures aren’t wonderful because its raining here (again) and Cieara was not too enthused about modeling this (she wanted to eat her after school snack).

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Pattern:  Citron
Yarn:  Madelinetosh Prairie, Thunderstorm colorway
Started:  February 6, 2010
Finished:  March 15, 2010

OK, let’s start with the pattern.  This is really an extremely easy pattern – it’s just basically stockinette with the occasional increase or decrease row.  I did one more repeat than the pattern called for to make it a little bigger – I had enough yarn for yet another repeat but by the time I finished the one extra I was so tired of it – and every row had 800 stitches and that’s just too much sometimes.    I blocked this out by hand – no wires and I just sort of pulled and patted it into shape.   I’m glad I did the extra repeat – it would have been a little small without it but I think the size is perfect now.

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I loved using this yarn – Prairie is lace weight – Ravelry says two ply but it’s actually a single ply superwash merino.  It is such a nice yarn – its sort of soft and yet crunchy and I think it had great stitch definition.  I love this colorway – I bought this at Webs in January and as soon as I saw it I had to buy it – its black with a little bit of blue – just gorgeous.    I know its hard to see in my horrible pictures – but it’s there and it just adds something to the shawl.  Definitely recommend the yarn – it’s a great price for the yardage and the colorways are amazing.

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I’m pretty happy with the shawl – I don’t know why it took so long to block but I’m glad I finished it finally.  I think this will be a nice shawl to wear when I need a little something for nice occasions (well, nicer than when I’m wearing yoga pants and t-shirts!)

Remember when I told you that Wandering Cat Yarns was having a contest?  I won! 

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I was floored – but very happy to pick something from their shop.  It was a hard choice but I finally chose their Fat Cat DK – colorway is Budgie.  This is such nice yarn – very soft and I think it will make very nice socks.  Thanks Valerie and Rhonda!

I have been sick with a cold for two weeks now, and it just kept on getting worse and today I finally gave in and went to the doctor for antibiotics.  Its been terrible – I’ve been really tired and out of it, and haven’t been able to do anything fun.    I hope that the antibiotics work fast  – it looks like this weekend is going to be nice and I’d love to do something outside (play golf, walk dogs, etc).  I haven’t even been knitting much – too much time sleeping and sneezing.  I still haven’t started the sweater but I think I’m going to cast on tonight since I finished the Traveling Woman shawl today (more on that next time!). 

What has also kept me busy recently is that we are starting a lot of house projects – ok, well, we are watching other people do things on our house!  The painter started on our bedroom Monday (the last post on this was last August – and we’ve had these stripes on the wall ever since!).    I am so excited about the room being done – we made a lot of changes to it, and its going to be beautiful.   We are also having a new furnace put in, new patio door, cleaning out rooms, decluttering…the list goes on and on.    Something about spring makes me want to clean up, make changes and do things a little bit more.   It’s exhausting though!

OK, I’m off to try to figure out a provisional cast on with 200 plus stitches – that sounds scary! 

Have a good week – happy Spring!