Monday, July 28, 2008

Team Overly Ambitious Yet Plausibly Possible

Ravelry is having their own Olympics, the Ravelympics, during the 17 days of the summer Olympics in Bejing. While rooting around trying to find a Team L.A. to join, I found this team, which seemed to fit my particular fetish well.

There are now 24 members of the team lead by Carolyn at Two Cables and a Frap
This should be interesting. There are different events to compete in. I am signed up to compete in the "Afghan Marathon" and "WIP Wrestling." I may sign up for a few other events, just in case I happen to finish sooner than I think and have a little extra time.

My uncle Matt (who is my age - long story) and his wife Carol, just had twin boys a couple of weeks ago. I ordered some yarn to make Pinwheel Blankets for both of them. The yarn should be arriving on 8/8 - just in time for opening ceremonies. I would also like to finish some hibernating goodies, and am itching to start some socks and felted entrelac pillows. My focus will be on the blankies though, and they WILL get finished by the time the flame goes out. Sound "overly ambitious?" I hope my plan is "plausibly possible."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Teaching Entrelac

Two of the ladies in my class at the Senior Center have been begging me to teach them entrelac. One of them wants to make a bag like the suede entrelac bag that I have been brining to class, and one of them wants to make entrelac hand towels to travel with. She doesn't like to use hotel towels on her face or hair. We only had one class left in the summer session and that was today. I knew if I got them started during their last class, then I would need to hand them some very detailed directions, or they would be stuck until September.
I decided to write the pattern for the hand towel, and make one for my downstairs bathroom at the same time. The towel ring is often empty, and I thought if there was a dedicate towel for that bathroom, maybe it would stay there!

I photographed my work step by step for their directions. It took a while, but I am happy with how the pattern turned out. I didn't finish my sample in time to have a "real" finished photo for the first page, so I doctored the above photo in Photoshop to create a filler photo. Once I finish, and put a real photo in, I'll make the pattern available. Maybe that can be my pattern for the week.

The ladies both did very well today. They finished the base row of triangles and half of the first tier. Neither one of them could read a pattern 6 weeks ago, and today they both told me that they thought it made sense and they would be OK to continue on their own. I'm curious to see how much they finish by the time we start up again in September!

New Zeland Hand-dyed Yarn

My parents spent last February in New Zealand for business. When they came back, they brought my brothers both beautiful hand-knit throws. I, of course got 600 grams of hand-spun bulky weight wool yarn, so that I could dye (or leave natural), and knit my own. I am thinking of knitting an Aran throw out of it, and leaving it natural colored.

Well, my parents had more surprises up their sleeve. They came with us Saturday night to see a play that my dear friend Courtney was starring in. After the play, they came back to our place with an amazing chocolate lovers cake and a bag full of MORE New Zealand yarn.

This is hand painted worsted weight wool yarn from JJ's Specialty Yarns. It matches my living room PERFECTLY. I think it is begging to become felted entrelac throw pillows for my red leather sofa. It was hand painted by a woman named Jan Gilray. Apparently she stopped doing it commercially and these were the last 2 skeins in the shop that my mother went to. What an extra special find.
This is hand-dyed worsted weight raw silk yarn in the exact colors of the quilt that I made for my bedroom. She was thinking that I may want to make a throw for the chair in my bedroom, but I already have one that is about 75% finished in these exact colors. I want to find something very special to make with this yarn. I wear these colors a lot as well, so it may need to become a cardigan or something. It is itching to become something in entrelac as well - so maybe a handbag with a matching scarf?? We'll see. . .

This was produced by a woman in New Zealand named Anna Gratton who raises sheep, spins, and dyes her own yarn. My mother has been to her (farm? workshop? mill? - what do you call it?) a few times and worships the woman. I would love to meet her, and maybe BE her one day.

This colorway is called “Paua” is named after a native mother-of-pearl type shell that has these same rich jewel-toned colors.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Jeff asked me the other day what I wanted for my birthday. I said "You know those interchangeable needles from Knit Picks that I have been talking about for the last 2 months? Those. . . and some sock yarn." His response: "Really? I had no idea! Why don't you go order what you want and give me a hint about something I can get you to surprise you with." How can he not have had any idea?? I've only brought them up whenever I can slip them into conversation. Well, hopefully I'll be opening up some new novels tomorrow for my birthday from him. He studdied English at Columbia, so he's great at picking out books that I'll love. I guess I can't expect him to be on my same wavelength, he's not a psycho-obsessed designer/knitter like me!

I finally placed my order today. Too bad I'll have to wait 2 weeks to play! Maybe that will give me an incentive to finish a few more things.
These are the Options Interchangeable Harmony Wood needles that I ordered. They only go down to size 4, so I ordered some size 1 nickel plated fixed circulars for some magic loop socks.

I also ordered some Gloss Sock Yarn in what looks to be an indigo color called "dusk" so I can start these Clessidra socks. I can't wait. These are going to be time consuming, but I figure if I'm going to spend time making any socks for myself, they better be merino and silk, and they better be from an amazing pattern.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

New Spiral Baby Shrug in Development

I have been dreaming about circles over the last week. Strange huh? It's what happens when I don't read before I go to bed, I dream about future projects. Unfortunately I finished reading "The Queen's Fool" a few days ago, and without a new book readily available to pick up, I've started obsessing about trying to figure out how to make a baby sweater out of a circle.

I am proud to say that I've completed FOUR projects this week, so I am allowing myself to start a new one. I've had 4 balls of Bernat soy yarn in a bag under my sewing table for the last 5 months waiting for an idea to strike. This seemed like the perfect project to use it.

I had made 3 spiraling berets for Christmas presents and was happy with the inside out technique of knitting a circle, so I'm starting the same way. I am hoping that the rest of the details gel as I get large enough for armholes and ribbing.

I am loving how silky smooth and glossy this yarn is. It is super soft, knits easily, and is washable. If all goes well, Charlotte will be happy with her baby soft Spiral Shrug.

Poppy Bookmark - July 7th KAL

The July 7th KAL was a fun one. I had a good idea from the beginning that this would be a flower, since the suggested yarn was green plus another bright color. I started this a few days before my house was going to be tented for termites. My plan was to finish it while on a forced "vacation" up in Big Bear. Alas, in the rush to get out of the house while they were setting up the tent, I left my green floss on my desk. I was excited to get back on Monday to finish it.
I love the idea of faux pressed flowers as bookmarks. It has opened up a lot of possibilities in my mind. I may have to come up with a few variations of my own. Thanks Brian for a great KAL!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Green Sheldon's Surgery was a Success

Green Sheldon's shell surgery and leg sutures were a successful. Blue Sheldon is quite happy to have a brother in the house. Mikey is happy that he now has a "feen one" like Jackson.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Zipper Trauma Over

I found a site called Zipper Stop where you can custom order zippers from the YKK color card in any color and any length that you need for reasonable prices. I needed zippers for my boys sweaters and couldn't find them locally. They were only $2.50 or so each online plus shipping, so I figure why not try them out? If my money disappeared or if I got the wrong color/length zipper, it wouldn't be a huge loss.

Well, I got a confermation e-mail from them quickly including a tracking number for my package. The zippers arrived 3 days later (from NY) and were exactly what I had ordered!! These guys will get all of my business from now on. I think shipping ended up being $3, but I would have spent that on gas going to JoAnn or the Fabric District.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sheldon is Born

I had a 2 hour car ride up to Big Bear on Friday, and a 2 hour return trip today. I was finally able to finish a Sheldon!

No - I didn't finish the green one that I started a few weeks ago, I finished the blue one that I started last week. Why you ask? Even though the missing green leg did show up in the mail in time for my trip, I ended up leaving the turquoise yarn at home. Why would I need turquoise yarn if all I had to do was sew on the legs? While knitting the blue Sheldon, I realized I had misread the pattern when making the underside of the green Sheldon's shell. I am so ridiculously anal, that I ripped apart the shell pieces, frogged the underside and re-knit it. Now I have to go through the extremely slow process of sewing them back together complete with a new attached I-cord. I did learn something though. I made the new under piece with the smaller size 5 needles. I think it will help the shell to keep it's domed shape better than the size 6 knitting is doing with the blue version.

Jackson loves his new pet. He started playing with him as soon as the pictures were taken. He is happy with the name "Sheldon" and has already started pretending that he is a prehistoric Ice Age turtle.

I am still quite tickled that Sheldon has a removable shell!

What To Do When Stuck on the 5

My car broke down on the highway the other day, and I had to wait for almost an hour before AAA showed up to tow me. I was very lucky to find 3/4 of a ball of cotton (leftover from Sheldon) and a spare pair of size 7 needles at the bottom of my bag. I had dumped most of my knitting out of it as I ran out the door to sing with my quartet at a friend's party. Needless to say, I missed the party. This Checkerboard Washcloth is the only washcloth pattern that I have committed to memory. It certainly helped keep me from going crazy as the semi trucks blew by me. I really like it in a solid color, and will be replacing the picture on the pattern with this one.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Pattern A Week

I have a new goal. I am going to sit down and write and post one pattern a week until the end of the summer. I have so many little projects kicking around that I have patterns written on sticky notes, or planner pages, or the backs of envelopes, and I am going to make them all pretty so that I can get organized, and maybe recoup a few bucks for all of my time.

Today, I managed to finish and post 2 more patterns. The Checkerboard Baby Blankie and the Checkerboard Washcloth patterns. The are both VERY EASY patterns and have been the designs that I have most of the beginners that I teach start with. Now I have something pretty to hand my students, instead of quickly scribbling notes on the back of a photo for them.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cable Knit Baby Leggies update

I finally had a little photoshoot with Charlotte yesterday in her leggies. She was having so much fun in them. I am glad it isn't 100 degrees anymore, so that she can wear them more often. I think they really help protect her knees and the top of her feet when she crawls.

I posted the pattern in my ravelry shop and on Etsy. We'll see how it does. They have already been favorited and queued quite a few times.