Friday, August 23, 2013

School and Stitches

Busy busy busy busy!

These last couple weeks have been super busy. Going to Stitches, working, taking care of Milo, and getting ready for school have taken up most of my time. 

Stitches Midwest was so much fun. If you don't know, Stitches is a huge yarn and fiber convention for knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers and felt-ers. Stitches is organized by Knitting Universe, which is a knitting book and magazine company. There are dozens of booths full of yarn, fiber, books, tools, and tons of beautiful things to look at. Hundreds of fiber-folks attend, and a lot of people I saw were wearing lovely hand made sweaters, shawls, scarves, hats, and bags. It was awesome to see so much yummy fibery goodness and to be surrounded by like-minded folks. Brandon came with me, because he is the best boyfriend ever, and he even enjoyed feeling and looking at all the yarn.

Celeste's baby shower was also a ton of fun. Molly and I spent six hours baking and decorating coconut cupcakes and lemon cookies. For future reference- don't use cream cheese frosting to make roses. It does NOT work out well. Celeste seemed very happy about all of the baby sweaters and accessories, and I can't wait to see them on the baby.

School starts on Monday, which I am super crazy nervous about. I have all my books and supplies, but I still feel unprepared. They aren't lying when they warn you not to take time off school because you won't want to go back. I love learning but, blecccch...I am not excited to go back to papers and tests. But I have to go back! I am already going to be graduating a year or so after all of my friends due to switching majors, and I don't want to push it off any longer than that. They are all seniors this year and I am only a junior! 

Milo is getting huge! We made an appointment to get him neutered soon, because he is already three months old. He is so adorable and so much fun. He is definitely a very spoiled kitty- I can't walk anywhere in my apartment without stepping on a cat toy. 

I have been pretty monogamous in my knitting endeavors lately, so I have made a lot of progress in a couple of things, but it doesn't look like I've done much.

Finished Objects: 

1) I finally finished spinning and plying that Polwarth that I have been working on forever

I spun this very thin and chain (aka Navajo) plied it. The plying process was kind of difficult to get used to. Chain plying makes a three ply yarn out of one long single strand of yarn, and it involves basically making a huge crochet chain with lots of big loops. Since there is a lot of tension on the singles, it is easy for it to snap when you are plying. I had an interesting time keeping my yarn from falling apart a couple of times. I think next time I will try going a little slower. I ended up getting 460 yards of a fingering/sport weight yarn. 

2) I also finished my Dane shawl, and it is gorgeous.

I am so proud of how this turned out. There is nothing more satisfying than taking bare, undyed wool and dyeing it, spinning it into yarn, and knitting it into something beautiful. This is my second hand-spun shawl, and I think that they are my favorite things to make in the world. 
For this shawl I used Jane Tanner's Dane Shawl pattern and my hand-spun corriedale wool on size US 7 (4.5 mm) needles. This shawl is very warm and looks wonderful when draped or pinned around my shoulders. LOVE IT!!

3) I knit a little baby set for my future niece

I also knit a Poppy hat, but forgot to take a picture. I knit all of these on size US 3 (3.25 mm) needles and used Lion Brand Baby Soft yarn in lavender. For the booties I used Lucie Sinkler's Mary Jane Booties pattern. I made up the pattern for the mitts because I wanted them to match the booties. 

4) I dyed some yarn!

I used Wilton's black food coloring dye. I broke the dye, meaning that I made it split into the different colors that make up the dye. Wilton's black is made up of blue and red coloring with a little bit of yellow. Since red dye absorbs faster than blue, if you put dry yarn into the dye pot, the red dye with absorb first and then the blue will absorb after, giving the yarn splotches of blue and splotches of reddish purple. I think it's gorgeous. 

Works in Progress

1) I am almost done knitting a Henslowe shawl.

I am almost done with the edging, but I ran out of yarn! I ordered another ball online so hopefully it will come soon. This is Beth Kling's Henslowe shawl. I am knitting it with Knit Picks Capretta yarn in Celestial with size US 5 (3.75 mm) needles. The yarn is merino and cashmere so it is super soft and squishy. 

2) I started spinning some BFL

I bought this wool for the Wool Peddler on Etsy and I am spinning it to make a fingering or sport weight two ply yarn.

Stash Enhancement

I saved up a hundred dollars to spend at Stitches, so I bought a LOT of stuff.

Knitting Notions Classic Merino Bamboo, Aubergine 490 yds

Shaky K Fibers BFL, Desert Jewel, 4 oz

Madeline Tosh merino light, Baltic, 420 yds 

Verdant Gryphon Mithral, Autumn Oaks, 750 yds

Carolina Homespun Mixed BFL 4 oz

Newton's Yarn Country 2.2 Softball, Crimson, 1350.5 yds

Lisa Souza Grace, Portsmouth, 774 yds

Tiffany Yarn Sock, 420 yds

Tiffany Yarn Sock, 420 yds

I am rewatching Doctor Who, so I am off for a marathon! I love it!


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Welcome to the family Milo!

Hello folks! Did you miss me?

I got back from vacation about a week ago, but have been too busy to post, partly because I was sick the last few days, but mostly for the best possible reason.


Meet Milo! He is a two and a half month old shorthaired tabby and he is my baby. A couple was giving away kittens at the local farmer's market and he was the last one left.  He was very skittish when we first brought him home, but now he loves to play and snuggle and get into all sorts of mischief. We're still in the training phase right now, and are trying to teach him not to scratch furniture and attack our feet under the blankets at night, but he is a ton of fun and very sweet. Right now he is being super adorable and taking a nap across my legs.

Vacation was amazingly fun. We stayed up in Boyne City, MI, and visited Petoskey and Charlevoix while we were up there. Our condo was on Boyne Mountain, and it was very beautiful up there. There was a lot of relaxing and taking hikes in the mountains, visiting the beach, eating TONS of delicious food, shopping, playing with my nephew. It was one of the best vacations I've had in a long time, and I even managed to fit some fibery fun in by forcing my family to come with me to the Stonehedge Fiber Mill, which was only a few miles away from where we were staying. The actual fiber mill location was a little underwhelming, but the yarn was beautiful and the owners of the mill were very friendly. I will get onto the knitting now, but will post lots of vacation pictures at the end of the post.

I did not get a ton of knitting done on vacation because I was too busy having a blast, but I've gotten a few things done the last week. 

Finished Objects

1) I finished my second Boyfriend Sock.

I was not in love with this yarn by the end of the project (too much brown) but I would definitely buy it in a different color in the future. I combined two patterns for this project: Erica Leuder's Hermoine's Everyday Socks and Wendy D. Johnson's Sport Weight Toe-Up Socks with a Gusset, using Leuder's stitch pattern and Johnson's sock pattern. I knit these for my dear boyfriend with 60 stitches on size US 1.5 (2.5 mm) needles with Paton's Kroy Socks FX in Camo Colors.

2) I also finished my Sunshine Socks!

I love these socks so much. I used Wendy D. Johnson's Toe-Up Slip-Stitch Heel pattern, except that I did an eye of partridge heel because apparently it is physically impossible for me to actually follow all of the directions of a pattern. I think the slip-stitch heel would have looked better, but I wanted to try something new. I also tried hard to make the stripes match on these, which meant that I had to cut and tie the yarn on the second sock about four times. I knit these on size US 1 (2.25 mm) needles over 56 stitches with Knit Picks Felici Sport in Southwest. 

3) I also crocheted a hat in about two days.

I bought this yarn on a whim during a trip to Michael's because it is sooo soft and shiny and eye catching.  When I bought the yarn I saw a little free pattern sheet at the store which I thought was PERFECT! This is the Wave Stitch Beret pattern crocheted with Paton's Metallic in Blue Steel on a size H (5.0 mm) and a 4.5 mm hook. It is difficult to photograph because of the shininess* it is actually much darker than the first photo shows. The pattern was fun and very quick. I got a little distracted at one part while doing the increases, so I accidentally made it a whole repeat bigger around than the pattern called for, meaning that it is much floppier than it is supposed to be. I am actually pretty happy with the floppiness though, and I'm glad that I "messed up". 

Works in Progress

1) I am still working on the Dane Shawl.

I decided to make this shawl mine instead of Molly's since it will probably be too scratchy for her delicate skin. I am moving onto the third repeat of the body pattern, which means that I am (supposedly) 2/3 of the way done, but since the rows keep getting longer I'm more like 1/2 of the way done. I am knitting this with my handspun Corriedale on size US 7 (4.5 mm) needles and am using Jane Tanner's Dane Shawl pattern.

2) I started another, softer, shawl for Molly

Molly picked out this skein of very soft, snuggly yarn at Joann's , so hopefully she will like it better. This Liz Corke's Storm Warning shawl and I am knitting it with Joann Sensations Cuddle in Lilac on size US 6 (4 mm) needles. I have modified (of course) the pattern to make it more triangular, and am knitting it without beads. I love this pattern, and it is very easy and fun to knit.

Stash Enhancement

I got a few things while on vacation

Stonehedge Fiber Mill Crazy

Stonehedge Fiber Mill Fine, mill ends, Plum, 515 yards

Stonehedge Fiber Mill Fine, mill ends, Raspberry, 432 yards 

Jojoland Melody Superwash, color MS12


I'm going to Stitches Midwest next weekend, so I will have much more to share with you then. Until then, have a great week, and enjoy some of my pictures from vacation.