I got in a serious knitting funk, and I know I’m not the only one that’s ever happened to. A lot has happened in the last year and I don’t even want to get into it. If you genuinely want to know, ping me on twitter, email, facebook, SA, whatever. I just don’t want it out there in the public about my personal life on a knitting oriented blog for the world to see.
So I’m participating in the RedditGifts yarn exchange #1, and finally feeling up to working on my giftee’s yarn the night before I have to ship it, eek! I have some lace weight that I won’t use anytime soon if ever that they said they’d use, and some worsted weight wool that I’m custom dyeing with some food coloring gel and vinegar in a crock pot. I’m following this knitty dye post for the last method and I’ve had a few interesting learning moments so far. Everything started out well, but as time went on, the colors weren’t continuing to darken and I was confused. I gave it more time but no go. Then it hit me, there was some serious wicking going on because I wasn’t putting the lid back on, and it wasn’t only the water! So I added some more vinegar, got the lid on tight and we’re back to darkening up! I have taken a few pictures during the process to show my mom and her boyfriend since it’s their crockpot. And if all goes well, I can’t wait for flea markets to try to get some 8 quart single tub pots of my own! And if I ever do this method again, I’ll try to put the pot down lower and the large pot for the yarn up higher to try to eliminate the wicking.
I was inspired to dye my own for my giftee by my random browsing of Ravelry, namely this group on dyeing. There was a post there about How to do that, and browsing it I came across some of the most interesting, unique looking yarn I’ve ever seen. The lady was even nice enough to make this video to share with everyone there (and now you!) how she gets these colors to do what they do. I’m now even more interested in studying more about color theory. I can’t wait to try the knotting method. I want to start with bare yarn, knot it up, dye it a medium pink, redo the knots or some other method and then drop it all in black to get a nice tri-color yarn in one of my favorite color combos. Also love light blue, brown and white.
As for the machine, since my grandparents were so kind as to cover my car’s inspection this year, I have the money I needed to get a sponge bar and a used power cord for my Brother Electroknit KH-930E knitting machine. I’ll be getting my cord shortly and will place the order for the bar and oil shortly after that. I hope that’s all I need to get it going, and things work smoothly, but we shall see. Of course, if anything happens or I am perplexed, there’s a Ravelry group for that.
As for hand knitting, I finally finished my first project in about 11 months. My old friend from High School’s SIL had another baby and his mother threw a baby shower for his middle brother and her and invited me since SIL had never met me in person and his mom hadn’t seen me since graduation. I power knit a Shadow Cable Baby Blanket in two days. Well mostly, I had a huge boo-boo 3 repeats back and had to rip it out a few hours before I had to leave. The cable repeats had shifted over 4 stitches and I didn’t catch it. So when I thought I had plenty of time, I really had to rip it all back and panic knit. I had another 30 or so minutes left to do by the time I had to leave, so I finished it in spurts during the shower. Thankfully I wasn’t the only knitter there and was seated next to a lovely lady whose name I have forgotten. She’d never done cables before and after a 30 second demonstration, she was excited to try it herself soon! Always glad to enable a fellow yarn addict :) And of course I forgot to get a picture to share, so hoping the SIL will send me one soon if she gets the chance!
Hopefully I’m done with that funk for a while since I enjoyed knitting that and it didn’t flare me up too bad, which was a huge hump/fear for me to get over to get back into it. I have plenty more projects queued up on Ravelry that have definite deadlines looming, including another baby gift, a if I have time before that baby arrives awesome prop, a helmet and beard for another gift exchange, a cute project bag for me and then I want to try my hand at sock knitting. I got some beautiful solid sock yarn from my exchange partner (yay superwash!) and am actually happy it’s sport and not fingering for my first pair.
Anyhoo, here’s a picture for you! This was where the colors stopped darkening before I figured out the vinegar thing. I was hoping the drink jug thing would catch the water if it wicked off or prevent it being up higher. I have to do some more research on that!
Well, it’s sure been a while since I’ve felt I had anything to write about, which is funny because once I started I remembered so many things I could add! My personal life has been really crazy with the pain (new meds not working as well a month in, physical therapy, etc.) and now my grandfather’s battling colon cancer and I’ve been super involved with being there from the ER visit to his first oncology appointment coming up December 6th. Plus, wedding planning is in full swing and we’ve been having one hell of a time finding venues for 10/20 since I had to wait until a year before to start (boys! They don’t get it!), but looks like we’ve squeezed in at one place for the ceremony. I still have to call the Elks nearby to see if we can get their banquet hall for the reception (fingers, toes, eyes, etc crossed!)
But in knitting news (which is what you come here for amirite?!) my LYS participated in Black Friday with 15% off yarns, needles and notions, and 40% off books. Normally I abhor Black Friday because things get completely insane. But since KnitPicks has been out of stock on a lot of bulky weight yarn I need to order for my friends kids’ gifts they insist I make, I figured I could get the smaller more “need by Christmas” stuff down there. (The kids were warned they may not get their Stuffie Pug or Cowboys colored mohawk hat on Christmas, and were such troopers when I broke the news that was indeed the case because KP won’t have the yarn until after the new year.) I found a great alpaca blend in dark grey for my grandmother’s Tam, and some simple black wool for another WWII patterned hat for Tim, which he better not stretch out again! Plus, at the checkout I picked up a pack of super cute gift tags that have easy to mark care instructions on the back (no more adding a note card with that stuff and looking all ghetto!)
Guess what?! I STILL don’t have that baby blanket done I was working on during the NASA trip, and that baby’s over a month old now and another snuck up and popped out two weeks ago that I’d planned to knit for, eek! Hopefully this dilemma will be easily solved thanks to my mom’s fiance’s parents, who came down from Michigan before Turkey day and brought with them the knitting machine — please insert angelic choir here. It’s a Brother electroknit KH930E, which was a pleasant surprise because I was expecting something completely manual, not something awesomely hackable! So once we can find time to pick up in here, eek!, I’m hoping to crank out all these blankets I’d wanted to make in much faster time, and maybe in the future once I get awesome designs going, I’ll test the waters with Etsy or SA Mart.
And finally, being that it’s Cyber Monday, KP has a nice sale going on! I’m trying VERY hard not to get the sock yarn I’ve had in my cart for myself since I’d lose out on the free shipping of having a very large order, but part of me screams it’ll sell out again and may never return since it’s one of those special types so it’d be worth the few dollars…maybe I’ll peruse the queue I’ve built up on Ravelry and try to add a few excuses to the bunch, considering I was way under budget at the LYS. Sounds like a great way to start the week to me!
Not been feeling too well the last month. But I’ve also spent WAY too much time playing WoW with my friends Bob and Kyle or by myself *blush* Plus, I’m changing doctors around again while my pain’s been flared up. The new PCP has me on powerful antiinflammatories that seem to be helping a bit so fingers crossed! It’s been touch and go, which caused me to miss the spinning guild’s basket weaving class this month. But today I finally made myself finish the hat so I can get planning on what to knit during the drive to SEE THE SHUTTLE LAUNCH YES YES YES YEEEEEEEEES!!! My childhood dream come true! :D
So here’s the hat! I took the pic w/ my new iPhone, and I think the colors look more true on the gloves shot with my regular camera. I just didn’t feel like digging it out right now — getting lazy with this fancy new phone :)
As for the trip it’s going to take 2 days of at least 8 hours of driving to get from NW PA to Sanford, FL which is an hour from Titusville where we’ll watch the launch if we don’t get causeway tickets *fingers and toes and legs and arms and eyes crossed!!*
So I’m thinking about a set of bibs in rainbow colors would be more portable, like one in each color of the rainbow since I found out Tim’s cousin Eric’s wife is 4 months pregnant. Plus we’re taking my bug so I can finally recline on a trip! (Tim has a truck with only a regular cab)
I finally met up with the spinning and weaving guild for my county yesterday, and it was so amazing! It was hosted at an alpaca farm that was having an open house. Well, the open house part was canceled due to the weather but we could still go check out the shearing. Warning: alpaca’s tend to barf when stressed, yuck! But the guys shearing were amazing and one tried to fool us into thinking he never spun before when he took over Lynn’s wheel!
The night before, I made a small spindle that’s not too terrible from a dowel rod and a wooden toy wheel. My spindle is a bit light until you get some fiber on it, so I could put a washer on the top to help weigh it down a bit to start. But for my first attempt, I did park and draft so I wasn’t trying to do too many things at once. That’s where you spin the spindle a lot to get the twist, then “park” it by placing it between your legs or something to hold it while you move the twist up the fiber while drafting. I was using alpaca combed straight off the critter so it wasn’t all in the same direction so I’m hoping some proper roving will help matters. Of course it’s thin and thick in places but it’s not as horrible as I’d imagined!
I think the best part was seeing my friend’s mom again after all these years, aka my other mother. Somehow, I’d forgotten she was into spinning, knitting and basket weaving (which we’re doing next month!). Lynn’s talking about making me a niddy noddy so I can ply since I don’t have anything, so hopefully I’ll have enough by next Sunday to worry about that. The guild meets up once a month but she says to come on by next Sunday night and she’ll give me some fiber and such, which is so kind of her! And Bonnie gave me the alpaca to learn on, I mean this is just a great bunch of ladies and I’m so glad to have found them! That and I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who vultures over estate sales looking for stuff hah!
The only downside was all the standing and activity I did flared up my pain pretty bad later that night, but future meetings shouldn’t be that intense since they’re normally not like that. I’ll update with pictures here shortly!
I go through knitting spurts it seems, weeks where all I want to do is knit stuff, then I’ll feel blah and not want to pick up my needles. Is this normal? I’m not sure. I have so many projects in my queue, like special olympics scarves, an ipad cozy for my brother, a new hat for myself, something in that dark green mill ends I got for my aunt, gramma wants a tam…maybe start on Christmas knitting early hmm?
But for the life of me I can’t get any motivation. I start on something and just don’t feel it and quit a few rows later. Maybe it’s because I’ve felt worse again for the past week. I don’t see my pain doctor until Thursday and my back doctor until the 17th to discuss any of it so I think things may be quiet for a week or two on the knitting front.
I did finish a pair of easy fingerless mitts last week. Why, I’m not sure. I can’t even use them until Fall rolls around but they’re gorgeous. All I did was make a long rectangle of garter stitch and sew up the side, leaving a hole for the thumb. Super easy and cute! The pattern called for the rows to go up and down but I switched it to across, feeling accomplished that I altered it a tiny bit ;) the hat I’m working on will match so I’m pretty excited about that.
Here, have some pictures! Here’s the yarn, its cascade bulky leisure HD(hand dyed) , a 50/50 mix of alpaca and pima.
and a mitt on my hand, complete with bling
I was in the hospital last month and made a wonderful friend that’s old enough to be my mother, who invited me to a sheep auction today, and it was much more awesome than I anticipated! It was hosted by my counties 4H and the sheep and wool growers association. Not only did I get to admire sheep and talk to farmers (it’s mostly meat this sale), but I found a spinning and weaving guild in the county and they offer teaching FOR FREE *Squeels*
But the icing on the proverbial cake is Susan is offering to have as many sheep as I want for fleece in her flock of meat sheep, so I’m so damned excited I could pinch myself! She’s assigned me to researching breeds, how much fleece = enough for me, etc. There was a couple there that raise Tunis sheep that I’d never heard of. They’re red faced with beautiful cream fleece that’s not quite merino but close, and flavorful meat. As soon as I got home and googled their lil faces I fell in love so maybe that’ll be it. She got a couple cards of some great sheep farmers that raise sheep she’s worked with in the past for meat so we’ll see!
I forget how it came to be, but I’ve promised my brother an i-Pad coozie made from fingering weight yarn. Last year, I bought my first blank hank of fingering weight anticipating making socks from it but it’s pure wool so now that I know better it sat waiting for the perfect project. TA-DA! But it was white and he wanted either grey or dark blue, so what to do…
KOOLAID! Yes folks, if you’ve never heard of it, Kool-Aid can be used to dye protein fibers in a very simple process. This is the tutorial I used along with this color chart and it came out perfecto if I do say so myself. So far I only have starting dyeing and cooling down in the pot pictures but you’ll just have to love them.
EDIT: I’ve added a picture of the sloppy hank I made :) The yarn is darker in person, not quite as dark as it was wet but not that light either.