Archive for June, 2009

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Contest!

June 26, 2009

So, here I am, packing for a 10 day getaway to Germany.  DH arrives home with a package for me.  I love packages.  This one is a cardboard envelope… a book?  I love books.

Within 2 minutes I have torn the packaging open to see this:

Sock Innovation by Cookie A.

Sock Innovation by Cookie A.

Ah yes, the wonderful Sock Innovation by Cookie A.  I just reviewed this book a few weeks ago… or was it last week?  I don’t know, time seems to be compacted for me lately.

I had requested a review copy but had never heard back from the publisher, so I purchased this book as a pre-order and devoured it upon arrival.  I am quite grateful that Interweave has sent this book along but since I already have a copy… let’s give it away to a lucky reader/listener!  Hope you like socks!

So, how shall we run this little contest? Hmmm?

Since I am leaving tomorrow, returning for a few days, only to leave again, this contest will run for 4 weeks.  Heck – let’s just make it 4 weeks and 6 days, that would be my youngest son’s birthday.  All you have to do is leave a comment to this post, you can say anything – well, almost anything – please don’t be vulgar ;)

I will close the contest on July 30, 2009 at 11:59 PM (Rome).  On 31 July I will use Random.org to draw a winner.  Bonne Chance!

Edited to Add:  Your comment will not show until I have approved it… please allow time for me to do this.  Also, only one comment per person – I will be checking IP addresses ;)

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What the Plurk!

June 24, 2009

I have quite a lot to catch up on but the first item to address is the most recent – Plurk.

‘What is Plurk?’

To my surprise, many listeners, readers, Tweeters and Ravelers have asked this question in the past 48 hours.  Plurk is making my networking life a whole lot easier.  From one site, Plurk, I post my updates/comments.  They are streamed over to Twitter and Facebook – no extra entries required!  Some may say, “Um, so what.”  But for me, Plurk has removed the stress of using these great Networking applications/sites because – c’mon – time is limited and valuable!

On to the good stuff:

Dyeing – I joined a Dye -Long and Swap over in the Makin’ Cookies group in Ravelry.  I was assigned to dye a skein of yarn for Debbie, who loves pinks, oranges and teal.  Hmmm…. would these all go together?  I decided to dye a skein in a pink semi-solid colorway.  The result was nice but not at all exciting.  I am guessing Debbie is an exciting person, based on her color preferences.  I then sprinkled orange, yellow and teal dots of color over the now pink-semi skein.

Makin' Cookies DAL

Makin' Cookies DAL

Spinning – I haven’t really been good about spinning these past weeks.  But, I have played with my fiber stash quite a bit.  As mentioned in the podcast, I had ordered a pair of hand combs.  These are my first hand combs, I’ve never touched a pair in my life before they arrived in the mail last week.  I put them to use almost immediately and I just love them!  They are pretty, too.

My New Hand Combs <3

My New Hand Combs <3

Knitting – After sitting on the needles far too long, I’ve finally finished the Pomatomus for DD.  That’s all I’m saying about that ;)  On to the next pair!

Poms for Z

Poms for Z

Felting – After combing some wool, I decided to felt some more as well.  This time, I was going for a lightweight, lacy piece.  The end result, was just what I had been going for.  Next time, I may embed some Angelina or sequins.

Lacy Felt

Lacy Felt

Crochet – Yes, Crochet!  I’ve finally relaxed and tackled the hook!  DD took this journey with me, though her interest isn’t as high as mine, she felt satisfied after completing a granny square and hasn’t picked up the hook since.  I, on the other hand, have learned a handful of stitches and am now learning to follow a pattern and read the charts.

Crochet Study

Crochet Study

Finally, non fiber crafting is always alive and well in our home.  School is out and I have resolved to do at least one craft/activity a week with the kids.  Last week brought a few activities:

We started the week by making Sun Tea.  De-Lish-Us.

Sweet Sun Tea

Sweet Sun Tea

Then we tackled the Crayon Box.  Let me explain the Crayon Box:  A large packing box where broken, small and unlabeled crayons lay in peace.  We have been adding to this “collection” for  more than 6 years as I just can not seem to throw away what are otherwise, good crayons.  I decided we would give new life to these crayons.

Remembering a failed childhood attempt where my sister and I baked crayons in my Easy Bake Oven.  We thought we would melt down our broken crayons in the mini cake pans and have new, funky crayons.  It didn’t go so well for a few reasons:  the rather high temperature caused an awful smell and lots of smoke in our bedroom and removing the small, hot mini cake pans from the oven without spilling all the super-hot wax proved to be a challenge.

I decided the kids and I would do something similar but much safer and hopefully with better results.  We lined some cupcake tins and added the broken crayons, popped them in a low-temp oven until melted, allowed them to cool and Viola! Cool, funky crayons!

Cool, Funky Crayons

Cool, Funky Crayons

Cool, Funky Crayons

Cool, Funky Crayons

Flash forward to Thursday.  The kids and I went to the store in need of wrapping paper for Father’s Day.  I hate buying wrapping paper – it seems like such a waste of money.  After much conversation with the kids, I remembered a roll of craft paper stored behind a shelf.  We unrolled the paper and took out the new Funky, Cool Crayons and the kids just scribbled away (sitting under crayons above).  Dad agreed, this was the best wrapping paper, ever.

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Knit Study, Anyone?

June 13, 2009

As mentioned in last week’s entry and this week’s podcast, I am planning a Knit Study/Learn Along.  I still am not certain of the actual title but am leaning heavily toward Knit Study.  What do you think?

So you know, I will be playing along with you.  Each week I will announce the new study on the podcast, then post instructions here.  During the week, I will insert photos of my progress and/or instructional info here and in the Destiknit the Podcast Group in Ravelry.

This week will be easy.

  1. Gather up some worsted weight yarn and needles in three different sizes.
  2. Cast on at least 32 stitches onto the largest needle size, Knit 1.5 to 2 inches (height) in stockinette stitch.
  3. Switch to the next size smaller needle, Knit 1.5 to 2 inches in stockinette stitch.
  4. Switch to the last set of needles, Knit 1.5 to 2 inches in stockinette stitch, BO.

Now, some of you may ask, “Why am I casting on 32 stitches?  Why not 16-24?”  In my opinion, you should make a swatch larger than 4 inches (10 cm) for several reasons.  The first being your measurement of 4 inches (10 cm) should be taken from the center of your swatch.  By doing this, you have no worries or fussiness of rolling stitches near the selvedges also, stitches nearer the selvedges tend to be tighter.  Another reason for making a larger swatch is to see the true drape in fabric.

The exercise in the study is to note the effects of needle size in gauge and the overall effects of the fabric due to needle size.  I have a reason for this… stick with me here.

(Photo of my finished swatch will be here)

Next, let’s wash our swatch, just as we would wash a finished piece.

(Photo of my swatch being washed will be here)

Block your piece as you normally would.  If you have never blocked a piece before, instructions can be found here.

(Photo of my swatch blocking will be here)

Once your swatch is dry, measure 4 inches (10 cm) from the center of your swatch.  Because we are only knitting 1.5 to 2 inches high, we will not worry too much (at the moment) about row count.

(Photo of my block and gauge measurements will be here)

So, what was the point in this exercise?

(I will answer this question when we are finished) ;)

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A New Trend on the Forecast…

June 8, 2009

Procrastination.  Even if you don’t think it looks good on you, you still wear it.  In fact, it seems 95% of us (Americans, anyhow) are wearnig the title.  So, if that many are wearing the title, it is a new trend and thus, looks good – right? ;)

 

OK, OK – I’m just trying to rationalize and glamorize my severe neglect of this blog – You caught me :”)

 

So what has been going on these past weeks?  Lot’s in fact.  I’ve been knitting quite regularly, done some dyeing, back at spinning, tackled some felting and had even done some sewing, too!  Of course, all this productivity does not in anyway imply I have shunned my other responsibilities.  In fact, the four kiddos are keeping me on my toes.  And, I find I am as excited as they are to see school and baseball come to an end this week.  

Before I post photos of my latest accomplishments, I want to take a moment and invite you to join me in a Knit Study or Learn Along – I am not sure which title I prefer at the moment but that can be worked out later.  I will go into further detail on this week’s Podcast (which will record on Friday) but for now, details are as follows:

 In an effort to brush up on knitting skills and learn new things, I plan to study the following ( not necessarily in this order – or in any sort of order, really ) :

 

  • Cast Ons: for garments, cuff down and toe up socks
  • Bind Offs: for garments, cuff down and toe up socks
  • Increases & Decreases
  • Short Rows
  • Shaping 
  • Hem Lines
  • Incorporating a stitch pattern into a design template
  • Joining flat peices
  • Freeform knitting
  • More to Come…

 

 I am gathering up all my half-skeins, acrylic, and long-forgotten yarns to begin this study in basic and advanced knitting techniques.

I will use various books from my library when necessary and will include them in a separate post as a Bibliography for your reference.  I may also make reference to online resources, which will also be added to the Bibliography.

In this week’s Podcast I will announce the first study.  We will begin with a basic and essential: Measuring for Gauge.  If you wish to participate, please leave a comment on this blog or post a message in the Destiknit the Podcast (DTP) Group in Ravelry. (a Ravelry link)  

Depending on listener/reader response, I will post study info and possible tutorials here on the blog, in DTP Group or both.  The greatest benefit of choosing DTP Group as a posting place is that we can all share our experiences, suggestions, questions, photos, etc. there.  

 

So, onto hand made goodness; knit-wise, spin-wise, dye-wise, felt-wise, sew-wise:

 

 

 

Unst

Unst - These were pair #2 for DD, knit at a looser tension.

 

 

POMS  – one finished (picture coming)

 

Dyewise:

 

Sacre du Printemps

Sacre du Printemps - I actually dyed this yarn for the fore mentioned sock pattern. But, I can be a fickle fanny and am now thinking this yarn wants to be Sunshine.

 

 

 

Shades of Grape

Shades of Grape - DD has requested purple Spiral Boot Socks. Since I am trying to work from the stash, I kettle dyed some SW Merino with Kool Aid.

 

 

 

 

 

Crayon Sack

Crayon Sack - DS2 and I were truly bored one day. I found a skein of Cascade 220 and one of each type of Kool Aid we had in the pantry. After a very brief instructional (he's watched me hundreds of times), he went at it, creating a beautiful rainbow yarn, he called Crayon.

 

Crayon Sack, closed

Once the yarn was dried and caked, I knit and knit and knit until I nearly ran out of yarn. We felted the floppy pouch and were thrilled to bits when the finished item was 'perfect' for DS2's colored pencils. Crayon Sack, closed

 

 

 

 

 

Felt Fabric from Scratch

Felt Fabric from Scratch - Really! I have a pile (really a plastic shopping bag) full of wool fibers that just aren't suitable for spinning. I thought I would try needle felting but that would require the purchase of more equipment. Instead, I decided to try wet felting the loose fibers to create a single, cohesive fabric. This small sample has given me tons of inspiration for future projects!

 

 

 

 

Cape May-ish

Cape May-ish - Our Monthly Adventures Group had decided to do a Sew/Knit Along, using the Cape May pattern. DD and I thought this would be a great collaboration and immediately purchased a Charm Pack of her chosen colors. Once we reviewed the pattern, we realized the original bag would be too long for her frame. Not to mention our Charm Pack was short 6 squares. We grossly modified every aspect of the project. In fact, this is an entirely new bag, inspired by the Cape May bag.

 

As for Spinning, I have been tackling the Finn, still.  It really is taking me far longer than it ought to get this yarn spun!  But, I am half finished – then to plying.  I am still uncertain as to which ply I will use; either a basic 3 ply or a cabled yarn.  Either way, it will be a new ply for me!

Plus, I have two projects I am designing/knitting up.  I also have the Fat Feet pattern to finish.  Generally, pattern writing isn’t  tedious for me.  But, in this case, just as with the Ultra Comfy House socks, I am fairly certain a seasoned sock knitter wouldn’t need a pattern to recreate Fat Feet.  I am toying with the idea of simply typing my notes into the blog, as I’ve noticed other blogger/knitters do.