Saturday, April 27, 2013

Ack, the Plague

In a turn of events that will surprise no one, I am sick again.

Brandon and I both woke up on Tuesday suffering from an uncomfortable amount of snot, and it is has just gotten worse since then. Brandon is feeling better but I am still feeling like something the cat coughed up. I have not even felt much like knitting this week, since I have to stop every other minute to blow my nose or have a sneezing or coughing fit. I have been reading A LOT though. I am re-reading the Harry Potter series, this week I got through the Goblet of Fire and the Order of the Phoenix. I started the Half Blood Prince this morning and am about a fifth of the way through it. 

My knitting time has also been delayed a bit by happier things. I spent Monday with Celeste and Phoenix, and watched him while Celeste and Levi went to get the first ultrasound of the baby. It looks like I'm going to have a niece! I am so excited!!!!!! And now I can finally use some of those baby dress patterns that I have been coveting for so long. I don't think I own a single skein of pink yarn, except for some hand-me-down acrylic yarn, but I don't really like color coding things for babies anyway. I think I'm just going to use up some of the yellow baby yarn I have an make ALL THE THINGS before she arrives. EEEEE!

Brandon's birthday was on Wednesday, and we had a nice day playing video games and just relaxing together. I made him his favorite peanut butter chocolate cream pie (OOOOOOOOOOH SO GOOD) and some yummy malted flour waffles for breakfast. His parents took us out for dinner and margaritas later, and over all I think he had a really good birthday (in spite of the fact that we were both coming down with colds).

In other news, I am currently on a yarn diet, meaning that I am not buying any more yarn until the end of the summer. I realized that I have been spending too much money on yarn lately, so I made Brandon my warden and made me promise that if I can not buy any more yarn until Stitches Midwest this summer, then he has to come with me. If I just haaaave to buy something, because it's a once in a lifetime opportunity or something, then I have to do dishes for a week. I think Brandon is sort of hoping I will fail so that he doesn't have to do dishes or go to Stitches, but I am determined not to fail....wish me luck.....

And on an unrelated note, I sent out a yarn swap package this week. I am a part of the Knitting Samurai Plus One podcast group on Ravelry, and the group was doing a yarn swap this month. A yarn swap is sort of a Secret Santa type deal, where you are randomly assigned a partner and have to secretly send them a present. The fun part of yarn swaps is that you get a chance to get to know someone new and give and receive awesome presents. I didn't get a chance to take a picture before I sent mine out, but I sent my partner a lovely skein of yarn, some natural soap, chapstick, and hand balm, a notebook, and a couple of little Hamster Beans (pattern by Emily Stoneking)

I asked a coworker to cover my shift today because working last night was beyond awful. I had to run to the back of the restaurant every few minutes to hack up my lungs and blow my nose, and I was so out of it that I kept getting really disoriented and stressed with only a few tables. I also managed to spill beer all over one of my customer's laps. I still managed to rake in good tips, but I think that's just because my tables all felt bad for me, because I know I was doing a horrible job. I am currently curled up on the couch with a cup of tea, Harry Potter, some knitting, and articles. 

I did manage to get a couple of things made this last week though, so without further ado:

Finished Objects:

1) I made some Hamster Beans, some for my yarn swap and one for my mom.

I used some leftover sock yarn and size US 1 needles.

2) I finished my handspun Cassiope shawl! 

I am really really happy with how this turned out! I used size US 8 (5 mm) needles, my hand-dyed, hand-spun BFL yarn, and Alexandra Beck's Cassiope pattern. I modified it a little bit, adding another mesh lace repeat to the bottom to make it longer, but I really enjoyed this pattern. I think I would consider this  my first real lace project (in that most of the pattern was charted lace repeats). I looooved knitting with my hand-spun yarn. I think this may be one of my favorite project ever. And it is just so pretty and warm and soft!

Works in Progress

I have not worked on my cotton cami or my socks recently, but I have been working on a couple things

1) I started a secret project for a very special person that I will not reveal until I am done. But I will tell you that I am using some of the yarn that I mentioned in my last post. I bought it specifically to make something for this special person, and I really hope she likes it. 

I will reveal more once I give the project to the recipient.

2) I am almost done with a baby blanket for my future niece. 

Just as a note, I am not 100% happy with this. I had some stash Hobby Lobby Luscious yarn and some Lion Brand Jiffy and Lion Brand Pound of Love in yellow colors that I thought I would have enough of to finish this blanket. Unfortunately, I ran out of the fuzzy yarn, and they discontinued it years ago. I tried to find some online, but couldn't find any. There were some people on Ravelry who had theirs listed as "will trade or sell" but nobody has emailed me back. The only other fuzzy yarn that I have is pink, so as soon as I found out the baby was a girl I decided to finish off the blanket with pink yarn and make it a design element, maybe crocheting a yellow flower onto the pink corner to bring it all together. Hopefully it will look good once it's finished, but as of now I'm feeling kind of meh about it.

I am using size 15 (10 mm) needles and as this is such a basic blanket I am not really using a pattern. This is such a well known blanket/washcloth pattern that it would be ridiculous to link just one pattern "designer". The pattern is basically just as follows:
Start with five stitches (or three if you are not doing a border) and knit one row
Knit two or three border stitches, if desired,  yarn over and knit to the end. 
Repeat this row until the blanket is half as big as you want it
Knit the border stitches if desired, yarn over, knit three together (or sk2p) and knit to the end. Repeat this row until there are three (or five) stitches left and bind off.

3) I have spun about one ounce of the faux cashmere that I dyed with Easter egg coloring. 

I am spinning fingering weight singles, hoping to end up with a worsted weight two ply yarn. 

I have run out of tea and my Robitussin has worn off, so I am going to finish this post off here. 
I hope that you will be seeing some May flowers in your town this week!


Thursday, April 11, 2013


I have a ridiculous amount of stuff to talk about, and I don't want to bore you, so it's going to be mostly pictures today.

I have been a busy little bee the past week. I am going to start with finished projects this week.

Finished Objects

These might be my favorite socks yet! I am using Wendy D. Johnson's Toe Up Socks with a Difference pattern for the sock, and Emily Locke's Vanilla Bean recipe for the stitch pattern. I am using Jo-ann Sensations Truly Pattern yarn in color 2280, and am using size US 0 (2 mm) needles (wooh, these are tiny!).

2) I finished my Zu Zu's Petals with my hand -dyed yarn.

I have crazy alien eyes...

I loved knitting this pattern, and I was very happy with my yarn, but I'm not sure how I feel about the finished product. I think that I may have pinned it out too tightly after I washed it, so it might be a little less stiff if I wash it again and don't block it as strongly. 
I used Carina Spencer's Zu Zu's Petals pattern with, size US 9 (5.5 mm) needles, and Malabrigo Merino Worsted yarn in Natural, which I dyed with Kool-Aid and food coloring.

5) I dyed some fiber with Easter egg color pellets!

I split it into three strips for easy spinning

This is the faux cashmere (100% nylon) fiber that I purchased from Yarn 2 Spin on Etsy. I have been collecting Easter egg dyeing kits since after the holiday (at 25-50 cents a box!) and I used 3 pellets of blue and 2 pellets of purple (which was really more of an indigo), which I mixed with a couple drops of red food coloring, and quite a few drops of blue food coloring. I added 3 tablespoons of vinegar to each cup, and filled it up the rest of the way with water. I soaked the fiber in water and a little vinegar, put it in a large baking dish, and poured the dye mixtures over it. I then baked it (lol) in a 200 degree oven for half an hour. It is beautiful! 

4) I finished spinning and plying my BFL roving.  

As mentioned in previous posts, I purchased this roving from Three Water's Farm on Etsy, spun  half of the undyed fiber on my drop spindle, dyed the other half with Kool-Aid, and spun the colored fiber on my spinning wheel (except for the first few dozen yards, which I did on my spindle). I then plyed the two colors together. I had quite a bit more of the colored singles, so I plyed them from a center pull ball (so that I could ply the two ends together). I ended up with a small skein of around 83 yards and a large skein of around 283 yards of a fingering/sport weight yarn. I loved it so much that, after washing and drying it,  I immediately had to cast on a project!

Works in Progress

1) I cast on a beautiful shawl today.

This is the Cassiope pattern by Alexandra Beck. I am knitting this with the hand-dyed, hand-spun BFL yarn that I mentioned earlier. I cannot express how awesome it feels to create something beautiful from start to finish. I sincerely recommend anyone that loves knitting to learn to dye and spin. It makes me feel like such a Renaissance woman!  I AM SO HAPPY!

2) I started knitting a cotton tank top

I am using a GIANT (400 grams) skein of Bernat Handicrafter Cotton that Brandon bought me from Jo-Ann's. I am using Jennifer Miller's Pixie Vest pattern and size US 7 (4.5 mm) needles. 

3) I have the toe of my second Vanilla Bean sock done, that I mentioned above

4) I started spinning the Faux Cashmere that I talked about above, but I haven't gotten very far yet.

Stash Enhancement

I got a few new yarn that I forgot to mention last time, and one gift from someone on Ravelry!

Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in natural

Lion Brand LB 1878 in Claret

3 skeins Queensland Sugar Rush in silver

I am a member of the Random Acts of Kindness group on Ravelry. Each month members post a wish list of yarns, patterns, notions, treats, etc and other member send them or buy them something, without asking anything in return. I usually buy patterns for other people, but I will occasionally also send yarn that I don't want. This month someone (I don't want to link her, in case she is sensitive about her privacy) sent me three skeins of this beautiful Knit Picks Gloss yarn in Scarlet. There is nothing like the kindness of strangers to brighten your day!

Other Stuff

I also baked some delicious chocolate chip and coconut cookies this week with Molly, but we ate all of them before I could take any pictures.

Brandon and I made some AMAZING ground turkey shepherd's pie this week, as well. AMAZING!


We used this Easy Shepherd's Pie recipe, but used turkey and chicken broth in place of the beef in the recipe. We also added garlic, cinnamon, and cumin to the stew, and sour cream to the mashed potatoes. 

Whew, I think that's the longest post I've ever written! It is rainy and cloudy outside, so I believe it is the perfect time to relax on the couch with my knitting and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (this is the 8th time I've read it....sheesh)

Wishing you a happy (and dry!) weekend!


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mini Hiatus

Sorry about being so lax with my posts lately. 

Life has been a little crazy with having Sophy in town, moving, doing Easter stuff, and working, and I haven't had a lot of time to work on crafty things! I did finish one sock, but other than that, nothing.
So, now that we are all settled in, I am going to wait another week to write a post. Then I will have had plenty of time to knit and spin and do fun things, and I will have more to talk about. And, who knows, maybe I'll make another video!

More coming soon!