I’ve been chugging along, merrily, on this lovely chevron scarf in Lion Brand Mandala yarn. Pretty sure this is the Chimera colorway. I am not one to buy yarn at the grocery store, but these colors are just ridiculously amazing. I was hoping to have this scarf done to wear this winter, and it’s looking like there is no end to winter in sight. I can see my yarn ball withering away row by row. I haven’t knit anything but tiny sock yarn in so long, it’s so fun to watch such progress happen in a relatively short amount of time. Stay tuned here and my Facebook page for this pattern, written up in a little free printable.
My next project has presented itself and of course I immediately want to dump this chevron scarf and cast on with my new crush The Rill Scarf. I found it through a Craftsy link to their clearance sale. I can’t resist a great clearance sale!!! They had a discounted knit kit, but only black yarn left. I knew I wouldn’t like it in black so I bought just the pattern and knew I had some stash yarn I could use. I have the most perfect skein! It’s a luscious skein of Madelinetosh Prairie in a colorway called Dachshund. It’s mocha and purple… still one of my favorite color combos. This is a yarn that I would never have bought without a project in mind, but someone gave me birthday money while I was in a yarn shop, so I basically HAD TO buy it. It was fate. And now I have the perfect pattern for it!
So, excuse me, I’ll be knitting today and no one will eat or sleep until I’m done with the chevron scarf. Ok ok… I’ll feed the 3 year old. But everyone else here is tall enough to reach the snacks.
*This post may contain affiliate links and I might earn some yarn money if you make a purchase.
May 20, 2010
In between the days and days of rain have been a few nice, warm, sunny days. We’ve been able to use those nice days to get our garden started. The past couple years have been pretty embarrassing in the vegetable garden department. The first full summer we, under my ambitious direction, plotted out a 20 by 26 area of our yard and dug up the grass, roto-tilled, planted tons of things and actually harvested a lot. The second year I couldn’t put the time into it that I wanted/needed to, so I grew mostly weeds. Last summer was the wedding and we knew we’d be busy and gone on our honeymoon for a whole week and didn’t plant anything. But we also didn’t do anything out there to prevent the whole 500+ square foot area from being completely consumed by weeds that eventually grew into 5 foot tall tree-type things!
So the task of clearing out the “garden” was a big one. Ryan set to work and got it cleared out in half a day’s time. The following weekend he bought landscaping timbers and started building raised beds. The weekend after that we salvaged a lot of great soil from other areas of the yard to fill our new raised beds.
Last weekend I planted cherry tomatoes, red peppers, brussel sprouts, carrots, radish, parsely, borage, thyme and oregano. Last night we filled another bed with more salvaged dirt and I planted two lemon cucumber, two bush cucumber and four zucchini. I learned my lesson with zucchini that second year. I only planted one plant and didn’t get a single zuke from it. If you only have one plant, there is nothing around for it to cross-pollinate with, and you get no fruit. (it’s still called fruit on a veggie plant, yes?) So this year I’m making sure and planting four. Because I LOVE zucchini! And I want to try to stuff and fry some zucchini blossoms, and don’t want to feel bad about picking the flowers and tiny baby zukes before they get big.
Here is how it looked out there this morning.
We have two more beds to build and need to find dirt to fill three of them. I think we can salvage more dirt from the rest of our yard, enough to fill one more bed, but then we will probably have to buy some for the last two. If we dig any more, our yard will look like a quarry. The next bed will have broccoli, cauliflower, and jalapenos. Then we’ll have one whole bed for Watermelon, since that is a vine and you need a lot of real estate just to get one or two melons. And the last bed will be for lettuce and spinach. We are also going to plant sweet corn around the west side of the garden (so as not to block sun all day) and green beans and sugar snap peas on the north side, to grow up the fence. I had such a problem with japanese beetles the last big garden year, I hope these past two years of no garden has fended them off a bit. I still got A LOT of beans that year, despite the beetles, so even if they do come back I’ll have a squirt bottle filled with soapy water at the ready!
On the rainy days, I’ve been knitting. A lot actually. I have my Whisper Cardigan about 18 rounds away from casting off for the 2nd sleeve.
I am still working on the second toe-up sock
, I carry that one in my purse but rarely knit on it.
And for some reason, decided to start a second pair of toe-up socks using my Twizzle
sock yarn that I coveted for so long.
I have already turned the heel on the first sock! This yarn is a bit bigger than most of my other sock yarn, so it is going really fast. I should probably be using size two needles I think. But the density of this sock will be great on size 1.
Today is only Thursday. Every day this week has felt like Friday for some reason, and I keep waking up and 3 seconds later being pretty disappointed that it still is not Friday. Looking ahead at the calendar, this weekend appears to be the last weekend we have totally free until late June. I plan to use it to it’s fullest!
This post originally appeared on Textile Stockpile on May 20th, 2010. A year’s worth of posts were lost when I switched servers, but they’ve been found and I’m updating and reposting them here. Stay tuned for more!
May 17, 2010
A few weeks ago, on a normal sunny Tuesday morning I left work for a couple minutes to get a cup of coffee. I generally make coffee at home but that morning I had run out of time. And being the coffee snob I am, I drove not to the nearest coffee place, but to one that had exactly what I wanted…more milk and chocolate than coffee.
I was driving back to work with my coffee when I got to a busy intersection with a McDonalds, a big box grocery and gas station and Best Buy store.
|THIS busy intersection
There were about ten cars all stopped at a green light. I could see something small and white in the middle of the road, not moving. I thought it was a McDonald’s bag crumpled up in the road. A woman up at the front of the line of cars got out of her car and walked around it, looking underneath and around. She must have been satisfied with whatever she was looking for and got back in her car. Just then, I saw a tiny little duck dart across the busy street. It was running back and forth under cars and stopped for a minute in the shade of another car. The duck made it into the gas station parking lot safely and the cars in the road started moving again. As I inched forward, I saw that the white object in the road was not litter. It was a duck. It was the mommy duck. It had been hit by a car and was lying belly-up in the road.
I watched as the woman at the front of the line made a last minute swerve into the left turn lane, I assumed she was going to go into the gas station and save the baby duck. I got into the left turn lane too, ready to help her. But she did not go to the gas station, just went on her way. I pulled into a parking spot and barely had the car in park when I hopped out and started running after the baby duck. A hundred thoughts were racing through my head all at once. “is it dangerous for me to touch a wild bird?” “is it dangerous to the duck for me to touch it?” “what will I do with it if I catch it?” “am I crazy to chase a duckling around a busy gas station parking lot?” “can I keep it?” So I grabbed my phone and called my office. I was so relieved when it was my fellow animal-lover co-worker who answered the phone! I asked her what to do and she said, “YES, get that baby duck!”.
I proceeded to run around the gas station parking lot, with my phone held between my ear and my shoulder, hunched over trying to grab this baby duck. He was so scared, running with his little wings splayed out to his sides. He ran back toward the road and I swerved wide around him to force him back toward the relative safety of the parking lot. Finally, as I dropped my phone, I grabbed the duck and went back to my car. I sat there for a minute, shaking, patting the duckling’s little head and telling him it would be ok. I started the car and drove for less than a mile and started crying. I found the nearest parking lot, pulled into a parking spot and totally lost it. I cried so hard. All of a sudden I realized that this little baby was an orphan. His mommy was gone and now separated from his siblings. I started to think about my own situation with my mommy gone and my sister and girlfriends who live far away and the parallel was overwhelming.
I had this crazy feeling that I found and rescued this baby duck for a reason. That we both now have no mom and must stick together and now I have to step in and raise this wild animal. I took a deep breath and called my sister. No answer. I knew she was at work and normally can’t answer her phone. So I texted her and asked her to call me. She couldn’t, so I just briefly told her what happened by text, but obviously couldn’t convey that I was loosing my shit over it. I asked her if I could keep it, and she, being the cute-and-fuzzy-lover she is replied YES.
I pulled myself together, now only sniffling a little bit, and drove back to work with the duckling still in my lap. After another deep breath I went inside and showed my co-workers my new little friend. Not leading on that I had just fallen apart over it. I put him in an empty paper box and put him near my space heater while I googled “how to raise a duckling”, texted Shannon, called Ryan, and also tried to work (luckily it was a quiet day).
While I was daydreaming about Bella having a new best friend and the little house and pond we’d have to build in the back yard, the little guy was just hanging out in his box being cute, calm and quiet. That lasted for about an hour and a half. Then he started quacking. A lot. Then he pooped. I called a local Mallard rescue and took him there on my lunch break and didn’t look back.
|They’re so cute until they poop.
This post originally appeared on Textile Stockpile on May 17th, 2010. A year’s worth of posts were lost when I switched servers, but they’ve been found and I’m updating and reposting them here. Stay tuned for more!
April 21, 2010
How did it get to be the middle of April already? Taxes have been done and e-filed. I’ve finished a few projects, oh, and I turned 30.
We had a big party and it was a lot of fun! I was so busy having fun that I didn’t even pick up my camera. I brought it outside just before the first couple people arrived and set it down on a table near the food. I meant to hand it off to my dad or a friend to take pictures but didn’t. The picture above was taken at the beginning of the night by my sister Shannon with an old 70’s camera that uses FILM! So we did get a few images to capture the evening.
I finished the cabled baby cardigan I was working on. It turned out incredibly cute and got many oohs, aaahs and fondles at the party.
|Cabled Baby Cardigan
I got some really nice Crystal Palace yarn from my friend Crystal for my birthday and I have already cast on for the Whisper Cardigan from Interweave Knits. I’m only about 2 inches into the first sleeve, so no pics yet.
Recent news from the sewing room: it is clean! it is semi-organized! and it has NEW fabric! I even have new inspiration. As if the room being clean wasn’t inspiration enough! For my birthday in 2009, my mom-in-law Gayle got me a gift certificate to a great big quilt shop in Ohio called The Door Mouse
. It took us nearly a whole year to put it into our schedules and trek down there. It was definitely worth the wait and the drive! One reason we waited to get there until now is because this place has so much fabric, that you really have to have a project and a plan in mind when you go. So I took my great tree fabric that I bought in North Carolina about 5 years ago and had designed a quilt for it and needed supplemental fabrics for it. I think I have everything I need now, I just need to find the time to start working on it!
When we got home, Gayle gave me part of my birthday present for this year. It is a signed copy of Frieda Anderson’s book
Fabric to Dye For.
I was so excited to get this book! I have looked through it quite a bit and am very anxious to try some of her methods. I am accumulating quite a list of projects that I want to start, work on or finish. So if someone would come over and clean my house, cook for me, and also go to work for me, I can get right on that list… yeah, guess I’ll just have to squeeze in some time wherever I can find it.
This post originally appeared on Textile Stockpile on April 21st, 2010. A year’s worth of posts were lost when I switched servers, but they’ve been found and I’m updating and reposting them here. Stay tuned for more!
Last week here in Michigan we got A LOT of snow. I’d guess it was almost a foot over a whole week. 8 inches of it was all in one day, and I even got to have a SNOW DAY from work!!! So when I saw that the temperature for the coming week was going to get into the balmy forties, I decided I should use the snow while we had it.
My mom-in-law told me about Snow Dying, she said you layer the (soda-soaked) fabric in a container however you wish, then cover with snow and pour the dye over the snow. So that’s what I did. I waited until about 4:30 Saturday afternoon and soda soaked my fabric while I mixed 5 dye concentrates (I don’t use a recipe or anything, I just mix between 1 tsp to 2 Tbsp dye powder with 1 cup of warm water). I set the dye concentrates outside to cool a bit while I wrung out the fabric and got my containers together.
Outside on the picnic table covered with at least 8 inches of snow, I slapped the buckets deep into the snow to keep them upright in case it got windy. The first bucket, I put about 2 inches of snow in the bottom, layered the somewhat scrunched fabric on top and then more snow. I packed it down a bit too. It was really heavy, wet snow. Good snow-man snow (and boy, you should have seen some of the pretty impressive snowmen around our house!) Then I poured the dye concentrate over the snow. The liquid was still pretty warm, so it did melt the snow a bit.
Bucket 1, one yard of fabric, two dye concentrates, lots of snow
In the other bucket, I scrunched the fabric into the bottom of the bucket and packed some snow on top. I poured the first color of dye concentrate over the snow and let it sit for just a minute (I was outside with no coat and just rubber gloves, and I am impatient). I layered a second piece of fabric, with more snow and more dye and did it all once more so I had three layers of snow and fabric. I basically followed the Parfait Dying instructions from Color by Accident by Ann Johnston, but added layers of snow.
These are two from the ‘parfait’ bucket
I figured for the best results, I would leave the buckets outside overnight and let them thoroughly re-freeze and make sure the dye can really get into the fiber, which I thought may have been slowed a bit by the cold temperature. The next morning I brought the buckets in and put them in the bathtub to warm up enough to scoop the snow out.
Then, rinse, wash and admire.
I didn’t realize when I was mixing my colors that I was pretty much making purple each time. oops!
Next time I think I’ll try layering the soda soaked fabric and snow but leaving that outside overnight (depending on how cold it is, it may only take an hour) so the fabric can freeze. Then pour cold dye over the snow. I think that would give me crisper lines and more mottling.
Also over the weekend, I finished my first toe-up sock! I knit around and around until the leg was about 12 inches from the heel. I was worried that the taller the sock got, the tighter it would be on my leg, so my first thought was to increase stitches. But I couldn’t decide how to stick to my 2 by 2 ribbing and also add increases. So I increased every 8 stitches on one round, but changed to all knits to create a roll top sock. I did a few more increase rounds and maybe had a 1/2 inch worth of stockinette and decided I didn’t like it. I ripped back to before the increases and decided all I would need to do to make the leg circumference bigger AND keep my 2 by 2 ribbing is go up one needle size. So for the last two inches of the leg, I used size 2 dpns.
Toe-up sock #1, toe taken from IK Summer 07, heel and cast-off from Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson
I don’t think I’ve been this fiber-productive in a long time. It feels pretty good and I think it fended off a cold I felt coming on. Solid proof: knitting heals your soul and your body. I’m sure the chocolate helped too.
We spent the whole weekend finishing up the living room. I am thrilled with this room. I feel like I’m in a totally different house! Here’s a quick reminder of what it looked like before:
Note the DARK green walls, blue/grey cove, and dusty purple on the inside of the doorway. Also, you can just see the edge of a weird section of wood paneling on the left. What you can’t see in this picture is that whoever painted this house used flat paint. So you can see every fingerprint, smudge and scratch from anything or anyone that has ever come near these walls. No one had ever filled a nail hole and the window and base moldings don’t match the rest of the house.
Here is that same corner in the middle of the re-do.
Nail holes filled and sanded, moldings removed and wall partially removed. Also, no more paneling!
And here it is as of last night at 9pm.
New wall color is called Magnolia Spray. It’s just on the yellow side of cream with just a touch of peach. It is so bright and clean. We had such a problem in here with the dark green paint, even with our big bay window it was always dark in here. We had FOUR lamps in here and with them all on, and all the kitchen lights on, it was still not light enough to read or knit comfortably. Last night I turned the lights off in the rest of the house and turned only two lamps on (and the new lights over the new breakfast nook) and it was totally bright enough to knit. Not that I was knitting…
Which brings me to my confession. I haven’t been knitting. I have held it on my lap and stared at the chart. I have held the first 20 rows and stretched and examined them. But I haven’t knit a stitch since I realized that every 4th line should have a little cable twist over 3 stitches and I wasn’t doing them. I am having such a hard time reading the chart, I don’t understand why the chart couldn’t be ONE BIG chart with all the stitches for the whole 36 row repeat. I’ve never really done any cable projects before. I did one pair of socks with a very simple cable over 4 stitches and I am currently working on a baby cardigan with a cable over 10 stitches. I admit I am inexperienced. But I am not dumb. I can read a chart but why am I expected to remember so many repeats. Is it so hard to print a complete chart?!
See those sections of stockinette. They aren’t supposed to be stockinette.
For the past three days, I’ve picked up the first 20 rows of the shrug and stared at it. Comparing it to the chart. Deciding which I want more; a finished, perfect shrug or a finished in a week shrug. I think I have decided. This is the first large garment I am making for myself (or anyone for that matter) and I do want it to be perfect. What’s teh point of spending $65 dollars on yarn, another $5 for the magazine/pattern and all that time if the finished product is shoddy at best? I would accept a missed cable stitch in a sock. I’ve looked past bigger mistakes than that, and generally I am a ‘make it work’ knitter. But this is too much.
I think at this point I have figured out all the possible problems I’ll have with this pattern and chart. I think I have the knowledge now to rip back and start over. I will start over with the confidence that it will be the last time I rip back and cast on for this project.
I am disappointed. But I am also sitting in my bright new living room. So I’ll take the good with the bad this time.
I’ll leave you with some more pictures of the finished (but mostly unfurnished in these photos) living room.
Or is it? Ok, right, this is day 5 of the Olympics. So far I am not making good time on my shrug. I am on row 9. That works out to about one and a half rows or about 140 stitches per day since Friday. Since there are 33,372 stitches (give or take a couple hundred) in my cabled shrug… I’ll be finished in… um… about 240 days…
I cast on 103 stitches Friday night during the opening ceremony and worked the ‘set up’ row. No problemo. I moved on to row one and proceeded to cable my little heart out. I was just using the page right out of the magazine but I photocopied it so I could use my magnetic board to keep track of what row I was on. Moving along the charts to about row 4 when I realize there are two pairs of symbols in my chart that look exactly alike. But they have different descriptions. I was totally perplexed. I stared at the photocopied chart for too long and had no idea what to make of it. So I picked up the magazine and looked closely. The symbols WERE different. My photocopy just hadn’t picked up the tiny little corners that were white on one pair and grey on the other pair. In addition to that problem, I was not even sure which of the four symbols I was using where.
So I ripped and cast on again.
I wasn’t too mad or frustrated, but glad I figured it out before I got through one whole repeat of the 36 row chart. I got up and got four different colored markers. I filled in the four different symbols with four different colors. I didn’t put too much thought into choosing what color markers to use for each symbol, I just grabbed four colors that would look pretty on my chart together. Blue, light blue, turquoise and purple. See where this is going?
Here is my color-coded chart. What? you only see two colors in that chart? yeah… let’s not dwell here too long, the problem is obvious. Well, now it is anyway.
I ripped and cast on again.
So today I enlarged the big chart on the photocopier at work. and also made two enlarged copies of the smaller side chart (it goes on either side of the big chart). I cut the charts out and frankensteined them back together in the orientation I would knit them. I chose four VERY distinct different colors and carefully color coded my enlarged Frankenstein chart. I made little notes on the margins reminding myself of the tricky little things I had discovered during the four times I worked the first 5 to 9 rows of the charts.
So now I am home. The Olympics are on tv and I am ready to give this new chart with the knitting equivalent of training wheels on it a try. Because the fifth time’s a charm, right?
I am not sure the 9 rows I have on my needle at the moment are correct. Some little sections look like they are setting up to be cables. There are other sections that look like I’ve been making stuff up as I go along. I think I’ll try to follow the charts for a couple more rows and see if those rows start to make sense. If not… I’m going to have to call in reinforcements. I don’t know who or what they’ll be yet, so this color coded Frankenstein chart better help.
I had decided a long time ago, exactly 4 years ago, that I would try again in the 2010 Knitting Olympics. I did not get a medal in 2006, so this year I have extra motivation to accomplish my goal. My first idea was to make fingerless gloves. The kind that also have a mitten part that folds back to reveal bare fingertips. I couldn’t decide if that project would be too easy or too ambitious. I guess I just wasn’t feelin’ it.
There is a project in the very first knitting magazine I ever bought that I have always gone back to and oogled and oohed and aahed. It has cables and requires quite a bit of yarn. So I always had some excuse why I couldn’t make it. Either I didn’t have the money to buy enough yarn that I would actually want to touch my skin (yummy wool perhaps with silk) or I didn’t think I could successfully read and follow the cable charts.
A couple weeks ago it was really cold in my house and I couldn’t get warm. I couldn’t keep a blanket on my shoulders and the one on my lap wasn’t enough. In that moment I decided I had to finally make the Cabled Shrug from Interweave Knits Fall 2005. And with the Knitting Olympics coming up, maybe I had a better chance of actually starting it AND finishing it. And maybe even get to use it before it starts warming up this spring… haha, ok that last part is just funny. I live in Michigan, I’ll still be using this thing in June.
Thursday afternoon I headed out to Knit A Round in Ann Arbor and used the gift card I got from my coworkers for Christmas. I found a gorgeous 100% wool that is softer than any pure wool I’ve ever felt. I couldn’t believe it didn’t have a bit of acrylic or silk or something in it to make it so soft. I picked out a nice rich chocolate brown but there wasn’t enough. After another 20 minutes of petting each color (there had to be 25 or more colors to choose from) I decided on a green. Not quite sage, not quite celery, somewhere in between.
As an added bonus, the yarn I chose was made in Michigan!
And… I can’t leave a yarn shop without some sock yarn… two skeins of Koigu. This colorway is so NOT me. I think that’s why I like it. It’s all rusts and orange and gold with just a few bits of light blue and a scant bit of purple. I’ve never used koigu before and have seen so much of it on other blogs for years and years.
I can’t leave this post without an update on our living room remodel. It’s not done yet. Soon though.
Kitchen wall: now you see it…
Now you don’t!!!
Ryan is building a butcher block style counter top to go there and we’ll have a little breakfast nook. I am SO excited. I have the most amazing and talented husband!
Hopefully this project will be accomplished peacefully along with the Knitting Olympics… fierce competition around here.
Our living room is still torn up. I spent half the day yesterday with a palm sander, going over every inch of the old paint. There have been so many coats of paint in that room and each one had a worse finish than the previous. So many drip marks and bumps and places where it looked like they dropped the paint roller on the floor and kept painting, not caring that there were little bits of who-knows-what in the paint. You can see a line around the whole room where it was poorly cut in. So, we’re sanding every inch of the room. Since we are painting a light cream color, every little bump and ding will be very obvious. We are also patching a ton of holes. I think we are the first owners in this house’s nearly 60 years of existence to ever patch a nail hole. I am not a perfectionist, by any definition of the word, but you can’t just paint a room without removing nails and patching holes.
Because there is so much sanding and mess going on in there, we’ve cleared out pretty much everything except the dining room table and a couch. The tv and stand got moved into our bedroom and everything else is now in the sewing room.
Wish us luck, I hope to have this project done before Valentines Day…
It is a dark, cold, rainy Sunday here. It is after 11am and I am still in bed; with my laptop, a book, knitting, and the tv all right here… going back to the palm sander feels like punishment.
I’ve had some people prodding me for an update, so here it is. Just a quick recap since October.
I’m a trucker and Ryan just got out of bed. Bella is the doggy that had to stay home.
R to L is Ryan, Shannon, Daddy, me, Leah. We stayed with my little sister Shannon in Chicago. She and Leah cooked us an amazing Thanksgiving meal Wednesday night when we got there and then on Thursday we went to Maggiano’s
for an amazing family style dinner where we gorged ourselves on crazy good bruschetta, pastas, traditional thanksgiving faire and amazing desserts!
He brought us a Wii and Super Mario Wii, and Wii Fit Plus. I haven’t been doing a whole lot other than playing Mario. I am addicted and in less than a month have gotten to the Castle at the end of World 5. I keep telling myself to slow down because if I beat the game this fast, then what am I going to do?! But I just can’t stop.
Ryan’s birthday is the day after Christmas and I planned a surprise birthday party for him. It was great and he had NO idea anything was going on.
For his birthday I gave him a pair of (one finished but unfelted and one almost finished) clog slippers. Here they are finished and ready for felting.
The only other gift I made this holiday season are the cutest pair of baby slippers I have ever seen! My cousin and his wife are having a baby in February. Her shower was the first weekend in December, but the slippers weren’t done until the 26th. So I gave them to her at our family Christmas.
I think Bella got more gifts than any of us. She was due though, she was a good girl this year and all of her toys were getting worn out, her balls didn’t squeak any more and none of her stuffed animals had any fluff inside of them.
As for 2010, January is shot. We are in the middle of painting our living room. As you can see in the “Surprise” picture above our front room is a dark forest green. I’ve hated it since the day we moved in, possibly since before the house was ours. The room is not very big, and we have a lot of furniture packed in there since it is a living room slash dining room. That dark color on the walls makes it so dark even when the sun is shining through our large bay window. We are going to work on it all week after work, getting it prepped for paint and then hopefully have it done by the end of next weekend. After that is finished, my sewing room is an absolute mess. A lot of the stuff that had to be cleared out of the front room for painting ended up in my sewing room. And it was a pretty nice disaster before that happened too. Things just keep going into the sewing room and never coming out. So don’t look for any sewing projects to be coming out of there anytime soon either.
I’ll be knitting though… if I’m not playing Mario.