Friday, August 26, 2005

Some Tidbits Before I Go

I put my Niddy Noddy to use last night and now have some beautiful skeins. I love the way the colors show through in a skein. Below is some of the Gryffindor yarn that people ordered this week :)

This week I also started the Lace Camisole from Morehouse Farm. I love the texture of the overspun yarn. Supposedly when you wash it, the lace softens and it fills in some of the space between the stitches! Yum! I am starting out with the medium size, but am going to add in some increases at the waist so that I can fit my um chest, into the top :-)

And like I have said before, I am going to hve a crazy next week. I'm going to dissapear until next Wednesday night. I'll be doing field work in the White Mountains and am leaving tonight. Then on Thursday and Friday, I will be working my new PT job at my LYS! Wish me luck! I am so excited... So, adios everyone!

And another picture to leave you with :) We love our Mexican food :)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Magic In Blocking

Ok, I promise, no more pictures of this blanket after today, I just had to share a few things. One, thank you all SOOOOO much for all your help on trying to decide if I wanted to do a border or not. As you can see, I decided not to, for lots of reasons, but mostly that I was just happy with how it looked without! Two, following Johanna's advice, I gave the blanket a bath in the washing machine. Let me tell you, I was a bit scared putting this in the machine... 56 blocks worth of seaming... um yeah you get the picture. After a short cycle on warm, I took the blanket out and, voila, its soft, the seamed ridges on the back have dissapeared, and the blanket is a few inches bigger! I pinned it down to discovered that a few of the woven in ends have slightly come out of their places, but that is because the blanket stretched out a bit. After some drying and cutting, here is what I ended up with.

So, the final project details:
Pattern: Baby Knits for Beginner's, by Debbie Bliss
Yarn: Debbie Bliss, Merino Aran in 7 different shades (color numbers 325508, 325101, 325601, 325604, 325102, 325213, and one I can't find)
Measurements: 19.5 x 21.5 before blocking, 21.5 x 24 after blocking
Started: August 7, 2005
Finished: August 25, 2005
Other Important Details: Wash this in the machine before you block! The difference was amazing!

And look at what came in the mail this morning! A new toy that will help me tons with my dyeing! Diana suggested that I get this Niddy Noddy (how cool of a name is that?!) to help me with winding skeins. I can't wait to try this out on all the Gryffindor yarn I dyed yesterday.

And last, but not least (I'm always shy about putting up random pictures of myself) Scott and I took the day off today since I am going to be gone from tomorrow afternoon through next Wednesday night... and he is going to be gone from Sunday through Thursday. We figured its supposed to be a gorgeous day, so why not enjoy it! We went for a nice bike ride this morning with our cousin Peter and had a great time. Here we are this morning getting ready to head out. Oh, and as of this weekend, we've been dating for 6 years, can you believe that?! Its stinks we'll both be traveling for work for the next week..

Have a great day everyone! New project pictures to come tomorrow before I leave!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Call Me Crazy

I think I lost it these past few weeks. I don't know what got into me, but I just kept on kitting and seaming those damn squares! And, in about 2 and a half weeks, I ended up with this...

And of course, Kali couldn't stay away! She is such a funny kitty. Whenever I am busy, she wants to sit on my head... literally! She climbs on top of me like she is playing king of the mountain. Here you can see, she has to just be the center of attention while I am trying to take some indoor pictures...

So, what to do, what to do. Thanks everyone for your advice, but I am still not sure whether it needs a border or not (you guys were all pretty split too). Here is what I am thinking: 1. I kind of like it like this and have the fear that I won't like it as much WITH a border, 2. I also am feeling very done with this project and want to move on, 3. I also am knitting this for a co-worker, whom I am somewhat close with, but not very, 4. I can't find one of the colors I would want to do the border in (either the dark blue, the dark plum, or the off-white) in any of my LYS's, 5. It still needs a good block (okay, that was random), 6. Umm, okay so still undecided, 7. Call me crazy, but maybe I am just feeling lazy about the border.

Shoot me some thoughts now that you can see the entire blanket. Hugs :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Sneak Peak

10 more blocks to seam together, thats it! Now the question is, should I add a border around the entire thing?!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Swatch Time

As promised, here is a swatch of the Gryffindor yarn I dyed yesterday. I am really happy with how it came out, even though I was unsure of how wide to make the yellow stripes. I was going for a similar look as the newest HP scarf, the one with the smaller yellow stripes. I also really like the natural variation in the dark red color. I dyed another, longer skein yesterday, meaning that the red sections are going to be slightly bigger and the yellow stripes might be another half a round longer. I already have a few takers on these, but will be dyeing more within the next few days if you are interested. I also have another Grapevine variation, but I still need to wind and knit a swatch of that one first :)

And, look what surprised me in the mail yesterday! Wow! A fantastic little RAOK from Cheryl at Diva Knitting! I love the new notecards and am sure they will come in handy in the near future :). So, thank you Cheryl.. you made my day!

And last but not least, the new pattern and yarn I ordered came in the mail from Morehouse Farm! I can't wait to start knitting this little camisole since I think it will be great for the early fall. I told myself I can start this once I get the baby blanket done (mind you, I finished all the squares yesterday). So, just some seaming (yeah right, just SOME) and I'll be having a block party!

Enjoy your Saturday everyone! I am off to celebrate my Uncle's birthday with some great company and great food as always :)

Friday, August 19, 2005

Flower Power

Earth laughs in flowers. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Hamatreya"

I'd rather have flowers on my table than diamonds on my neck. ~Emma Goldman

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a flower with the other. ~Chinese Proverb

How can you not be happy when you are knitting flowers?! I've been walking on sunshine (or is it knitting sunshine?) the past few days knitting these. I wanted to keep this project a secret, because there is really no thrill in seeing a droopy unfelted, crappy looking flower. But the finished product is amazing. The first one I did isn't that great, but once you get the hang of it, they are super easy! So, now I can tell you my plans for these flowers... My goal is to make a large bouquet of about 12 flowers and send them to someone really special for their birthday. I am going to make some red tulips, calla lillies, and iris's as well, and see how I like them all together. If I am not happy with that, I might just go back and make a few more of these daffodils and just send calla lillies and daffodils. Either way, plan on seeing a few more bouquets in the near future.

And of course, for the project details... I found these patterns in my LYS. The patterns are from Pick Up Sticks and are extremely easy (though they look intimidating at first because the pattern is super, super detailed). I used size 10 DPN's and Cascade 220 in various shades that I had leftover from other projects (that is the size needle and the yarn they recommend). I have to say, I love Cascade 220 and have used it on a few other projects. The color selection is phenomenal and it felts very easily. The only changes I made were some of the finishing techniques.

So, that's it for today folks! I have a few skeins of Gryffindor yarn in the works and have yet to knit up a swatch of the one skein that IS dry. I also wanted to have some more fun with my leftover green and purple dye and so I made an all striped version of the Grapevine colorway. Oh okay, you can't wait to see it... Here is the one skein I have wound up already!

I am super happy with how the colors came out on this one. Like most of the other yarns I've dyed, this colorway is for sale too. I'll post a swatch tomorrow so we can all see how it knits up. But if you are really interested in purchasing this, please email me. I was planning on selling some on ebay, but I am also willing to take specific orders for any colorway you've seen on this blog so far. I'll also take personal requests too :) Have a great Friday night everyone...

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Pick or Throw?

Over the past year or so, I've taught numerous people how to knit. This has been great for the most part; however, I started knitting differently than most people at first and taught some people how to knit this way. Basically, I realized that my Old Ottoman Empire, or the westerner knit stitch (which is wrapped around the needle clockwise), doesn't work as well for knitting in the round, or for lace knitting. Late this winter, I changed my stitch (now I wrap the yarn counter-clockwise) because obviously these are things I enjoy knitting. Even with this change to my knitting, I still supposedly knit "wrong" according to some people... so I just want to clarify.

Here is a great quote by Fuzzy Galore, "The ultimate result, knitted fabric, can be achieved in many different ways, and how you get to that nice sweater is or should be irrelevant as long as no injury results to you or others. Knitting in public is fraught with almost as many pitfalls as breastfeeding these days, at any time some total stranger is liable to look over your shoulder and declare that "you're doing it all wrong" , slap your hands, proceed to rip your work out of your hands, and/or berate your grandma's teachings. This can be unnerving for the unweary beginner, to say the least. So let's first establish an important point: as long as what you're doing produces knitted fabric, you're doing it right, or well enough for you."

I knit in the English style, holding the yarn in my right hand. Its the only way that feels comfortable to me. This stitch is supposedly great when alternating between yarn colors and provides nice even stitches very easily.

Others knit using the continental style shown below with the yarn in the left hand. This style is supposedly more efficient in terms of speed since there is less movement in the hands throughout the course of a single stitch. It is also better for those who have repetitive stress injuries.

So basically, there is no right way to knit. As long as you are happy with what you are creating, that's all that really mattters. I do know HOW to knit continental, I just haven't stuck with it long enough to make it comfortable and natural. I've also read on numerous occasions that its really good to switch between both methods to prevent injury. For more great information, see this.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Soma's Day

No knitting news today unfortunately. The first batch of my secret project is STILL drying! Who knew that it could take a felted item more than two days to dry?! Anyhow, stay tuned for that later in the week. My goal is to finish up the socks and the blanket I am working on in the next couple of weeks so that I can start some new projects! Woohoo!

As for pictures, here are two great ones I got of Soma this morning. She was hunting birds in the window and the lighting was just perfect.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A Bunch Of Jibberish

Oh, another few days gone by, and I have so little to show for it right now. I've been working on a secret project, which will be debuting tomorrow (keep your fingers crossed). I've also been trekking away at theses blocks... Can you guess how many I have done from the pictures?! On two blocks so far, I ran short a meter or two of yarn and might be cutting a few tails to make up for it.

As for mail news, Rebecca sent me the greatest little thank you package. I gave her the extra's for two of the blue colors in the wave skirt. She is going to be making one with different shades of blues! Its going to be beautiful! So, thank you Rebecca, I LOVE all these little goodies :)

Besides all that, is there anyone out there that is good with Blogger?! As you can see, I am starting to archive some things to cut down on all the nonsense in the right hand bar. I've figured out how to do galleries for finished works, but can't seem to figure out how to have a link to various posts. For example, under the Who I Am category, I want to be able to click on that link and have only the three posts that explain who I am. I can get the link to go to one post, but what do I need to do to have it link to more than one post?! Does that make sense? Its not the end of the world if this isn't possible, but I think it would make for better browsing.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Swatch time

As promised, here is a swatch of the "Grapevine" colorway. At first I wasn't crazy about it, but it has totally grown on me! Christine is the proud new owner of this yarn... I hope you make some great socks :)! Go say hello to Christine, she has 5 kids and is a wonderful knitter! I think I am going to do a second version of this in all stripes as well once the heat subsides in Boston.

And, how cool are these stitch markers?! Lee Anne sent me these a few days ago and they are already in use on a secret project :) so, thanks Lee Anne, you are such a doll!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Some More Color

Don't think that I have not been doing any dyeing recently! Yesterday I did the "Grapevine" colorway and am really happy with the results. There are two different shades of green and two purples. The yarn is self-patterning with some green stripes and then purple splotches. I can't wait to knit a swatch of this!

I also did a bit more Kool-Aid dyeing to use up some of what I bought a while back. Below are two different versions of "Earth Day". The first one has a little bit of a darker green, a nice grass green, a sky blue and then this really pretty seafoam green color. The second version is the one not in a ball below and has grass green, sky blue and a really pretty lilac purple.

The other colorway I was experimenting with was the "Gryffindor" sock yarn. However, the gold color came out really orange so I want to do another batch this weekend. Below you can see two skeins drying on my back porch as well as the Kool-Aid skein in the making... This weekend I want to try more "Gryffindor" and also attempt the "Bumblebee" colorway!

UPDATE: The Grapevine and the two different Earth Day skeins are sold! Phew, that was quick! I didn't even get a chance to knit a swatch of the Grapevine, though I am going to do that quickly before it goes out in the mail! I still have one watermelon left from last time if anyone wants that one. I keep on wanting to post these on ebay, but you guys get me first! Thanks for your support :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries...

Problem solved! I made a quick trip yesterday to my LYS and found two new colors that work perfectly! Better yet, they were only $2.25 a skein since they were on major clearance! The two new colors are the lighter purple/pink color (which goes great next to the plum color) and the cream color. So far, I have done around 20 squares believe it or not :)

And, Laura will be happy to know that I finally sent out my Preemie Project donation! Unfortunately, I didn't get the fourth set finished since I kept on messing up the lace pattern (and after starting over three times, called it quits). I have so much yarn still and am planning on donating more stuff before the next donation day! And, of course I didn't even begin the "quickie baby blanket". I have this great pattern for a reversible blanke... tis shame, tis shame.

Of course last night my mind wandered due to the lack of interest in knitting squares, and so I started cross-stitching. Ahh, one of my favorite sayings. I am not sure what I am going to do with this yet... maybe I will throw it in a cute little frame :)

And, last but not least, I came up with a new cookie recipe and made a second batch last night. Yes, once again, the damn squares drove me away from knitting! If anyone wants to try the recipe out, email me! They are Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies. Of course I have to give some credit to Scott when last weekend he said, "Peanut Butter cookies would be good right now", and I said, "Hmmm, chocolate". A match was made! I have never really liked other recipes for this kind of cookie, so I just started throwing things in the bowl. The key is refrigerated peanut butter (both natural chunky and the commercial smooth kind).

Dani's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mix together: 1.25 cups light brown sugar, 0.5 cup white sugar, 1 cup refrigerated peanut butter (I used half natural chunky and half smooth processed kind), 0.25 cup margarine (softened), 2 large eggs, 1 tbsp. vanilla.
Stir in: 2 cups flour, 2 tsp. baking soda... Then add as many chocolate chips as you'd like!
Bake: 350 degrees for 12 minutes. They aren't going to be quite done, cool on pan (I use a nonstick pan without spray).