Saturday, August 29, 2009

All's Quiet on the Western Front

I have finished the large green and multi socks.
I used Cascade 220 Heathers in a light green held double for the cuffs, heels, and toes. Then I held one strand of the Cascade with a strand of Di'Ve Butterfly in a green and orange colorway for the leg and foot if the sock. Knit on US size 8 DPNs. A very quick and satisfying knit (only 2-3 days of real knitting time) and I love the colors. I bought three balls of the Di'Ve and 2 skeins of the 220 so I should have enough for another pair. We shall see.

I have finished the collar on the Mystery Sweater #3 for Warm Woolies.
Not really a huge feat considering I only had about 10 more rows to do before I knitchenered the sides together. It's an interesting construction though where you knit up the side then around the back and graft to the other side. I couldn't work it out in my head but it came out just as it should have. I haven't picked up stitches for the arms yet because I'm not in the mood. My knitting mojo has taken a brief hiatus so I'm waiting for it to return.

With the knitting mojo out to lunch the Rivulets socks looks pretty much the same. I feel as though I've been knitting on them forever. Really any time I pick them up I may do a row or two and then have to put them down again. Not terribly exciting but I am ready for them to be done. Nevermind that after I finish the first sock I have to make a matching one.

So the knitting frontier is pretty quiet. Watch out for tumbleweeds.

I am dyeing though. In fact, I've been trying to get my store looking a little nicer and my products listed a little differently (tell me what you think, please :)).

Last night I needed to do some dyeing for a function at Rare Purls on Sunday. I had a volunteer appreciation dinner at my church to go to first but when I came home I jumped right in.
What's that I spy with my little eye? Could it be...?
It is! Black, superwash roving! For free! I've been wanting to try mixing in some long lengths of black with some punchy colors but I figured it would be awhile before I got around to it. Then my roving supplier sent 5 oz. of it to me for free. I've got two colors that I dyed last night that I'll be mixing it with.

It was a late night when I got started working
so I fortified myself with a tasty beverage
which kept me going all night and into the wee hours of the morning until I finally crashed at 2:30 (a.m.). It was worth it though.
(Sorry for the poor lighting. It is a bathroom after all.) This is my first time dyeing a large quantity of superwash roving and I know I still have a lot to learn: 1. Superwash falls apart if you soak it for too long. So I didn't soak it for more than 2 minutes before applying dye. But since I soak my pre-dyed fibers in vinegar I must remember to add adequate amounts of vinegar to the dye before I apply it or the color won't take (because a dunk in sythropol and vinegar isn't the same as a half hour bath in the stuff). 2. Brown is a very splitty color. I'm going to try and heat the dye before I apply it, especially if I hand paint (it doesn't split hardly at all if it's kettle/immersion dyed). Since my hot water comes out scalding from the tap (ask me how I know) I'm hoping that will be enough of a boost to get the colors to all take at the same rate (on a side note: Did you know in England that hot water out of the tap is supposed to be hot enough to steep a cup of tea? And the hot and cold water comes out of separate taps? So if you are in an English hotel, and you need to wash your hands, turning on the hot faucet full blast isn't a good idea. Ask me how I know.). 3. Superwash will take colors very vividly but in order to get full saturation from one side of the roving to the next I really have to turn and paint both sides. But not too much or the colors bleed together.

This is all experimental right now and I'm hoping that at least some of my stuff is ok. This is all a learning process so it will only get better (and hopefully easier) as time goes by.

The dyeing frontier is a flurry of activity and it would be great if I could keep it that way.

Other than no knitting and lots of dyeing today I took a little trip out to the local Barnes and Noble to see my friend Amy.
Amy is kind of a big deal because she wrote this book called As You Wish (P.S. Jackson Pearce is her pen name). Back when I taught drumline at the local high school (and I was still teaching middle school band), Amy worked with the color guard. In fact, she still does. But she also wrote a book.
Which is pretty awesome. And she signed one for me.
And I didn't even have to print my name on a little post-it because she knows my name (and even how to spell it, not that it's really hard. But you'd be surprised...). Because, dudes, we're that close.
And I feel pretty confident that when (not if, but when) this book sells a billion copies and becomes a movie and Amy becomes a big, big star, as big as J.K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyer or Michael Crichton (different genres, I know, so sue me), she will still grab a pint with me at the Loafing Leprechaun. Because she's pretty cool like that.

And now I have something on the reading frontier as well.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Week in Review

Let's begin from where we left off...

Wednesday Night:
Sadly, these socks:
did not get finished at Wednesday night's knitting group. I actually got all the way to the ribbing before I left for the evening.

Continued with above mentioned socks.

Finished the socks Friday night at my parents house while I was house sitting for them and watching their crazy dog, Luke (who actually tried to eat one of the socks).
I'm calling these the "Harry Potter House Socks Gone Wrong" because it looks like if I had just kept with the red and yellow they could have come from an HP movie but by adding in the pink things go terribly awry. I used the Perfect Fit Hiking Socks pattern (Rav link) with some of my own heavy modifications. And these things are *BIG* but they're going to charity so I know they will be put to good use.

Picked up work on the Rivulets socks (Rav link) after a night of minimal sleep (Luke woke me up at 3 a.m. to take him out and then was up for good by 6).
I'm now past the heel but the going is about to get real slow because now the pattern is executed all the way around the sock instead of just on the top. Still a great pattern and lovely yarn. Just not getting as much playing time as other stuff.

I also started a super secret stealth project for a belated birthday gift for a friend.

Later that evening my parents arrived back home with my brother and his fiance in tow. They had all just gotten back from New Orleans where my brother had interned during the summer. I brought him a special present:
His sweater! The pattern was a test knit that I had worked on during the summer (I'd give you the link but the designer is trying to get this pattern published). Like a good brother he donned the knitwear (in 100% wool none the less) in the July heat for a quick photo shot. I think he liked was evidenced by him wearing it for 10 more minutes under his own free will. I had to take it back from him though so I could block it, I just wanted to make sure it would fit. I'm pleased with how it turned out and maybe he'll move to Vermont or Boston, MA so I can make him and my future SIL plenty of handknit sweaters!

After church I finished the secret project for my friend.
This is Logan's Sad Marshmallow S'more. My friend Logan found a picture of an amigurumi s'more with this sad marshmallow inside on the internet. I asked if he wanted it for his birthday and he said no (but of course this really means yes) so when I finally had a hour or 2 to spare I whipped up this little guy. Logan loved him so I'm really pleased with how he came out...So pleased I'm going to post the pattern for you.

Logan's Sad Marshmallow S'more
Needles: U.S. size 3 straights and DPNs (I knit mine all on DPNs by simply turning the work on each row and not joining it in the round except for the top and bottom of the marshamallow)
Yarn: Less than 1 oz. each of light brown (graham crackers), darker brown (chocolate), white (marshmallow), and black (face) (I used some old acrylic yarn I had lying around but really any type will do)

With white yarn cast on 10 stitches using a provisional cast on.
Row 1 (RS): K
Row 2 (WS): P
Repeat these 2 rows until piece measures approximately 3.5 inches. Do not bind off.
Thread provisional cast on stitches onto a needle.
Fold the piece so the 2 needles are laying side by side and the wrong side is facing out.
Using a third needle do a three needle bind off (the white piece should now form a circle.
Turn inside out so the right side is now facing.
Using the DPNs pick up and knit 15 stitches in the round from one edge of the circle.
Row 1: K
Row 2: *K1, K2tog repeat from * 5 times
Row 3: K
Cut thread and run a length through the remaining stitches.
Pull very tight.
Using black thread sew a face onto the marshmallow. I used french knits for the eyes and back stitching for the mouth (be sure not to pull back stitching too tightly or it will get lost in the knitting) but you could create your own unique marshmallow face.
Stuff marshmallow well.
Using the DPNs pick up and knit 15 stitches in the round from the other edge of the circle.
Row 1: K
Row 2: *K1, K2tog repeat from * 5 times
Row 3: K
Cut thread and run a length through the remaining stitches.
Pull very tight.
Weave in ends.

Graham Crackers (make 2):
Using light brown yarn cast on 20 stitches.
Knit every row until piece measures approximately 3.5 inches (or makes a nice square).
Bind off.

Using darker brown yarn cast on 10 stitches.
Knit every row until piece measures approximately 3 inches (or makes a nice square).
Bind off.

Assemble and enjoy!

Usual work stuff with the added bonus of a head cold. I didn't even go to knit night on Wednesday because I was so stuffy. I did start another pair of charity socks using the Perfect Fit Hiking socks general pattern only with 2 strands of yarn and more of my modifications.

Enjoyed my favorite Mexican foods from Frontera with several good friends.

Knit night at Rare Purls. By this point I'd already finished the first (new) charity sock so I cast on the for the second one. These socks go quick. Just look how far I got in one night:
It's a little hard to see but I'm already to the gusset increases for the heel.

As for the rest of this evening I see a little more knitting and nice hot bath in my future.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Know

I know that it has been a week since my last post. I know some of you are wondering what has become of me and the socks and the sweater and all my other languishing projects. I know you might even be wondering if I have dyed more yarn. I know all these things. And I have answers for most (if not all of them). Unfortunately, work has gotten in the way of all the fun stuff I'd rather be doing. I come home pretty run down and then I have to do laundry and pick up around the house. The weekends are for fitting in things like engagement parties and dinners with friends. To top it all off I've become rather sick: two days of head congestion and generally being uncomfortable and no real sign of relief. I do have pictures and I've been formulating a good post so it should be soon in coming. Soon. If I can catch up on my blog reading and there are no specials on Ocotomom during prime time...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Knit Night

Tonight is my weekly knit night at Barnes and Noble and I have one singular goal: to finish this sock:
Sometimes I get on these kicks where I will pick up a project that has been languishing for awhile and I must finish it...*now*. Maybe it's because I like making socks. Maybe it's because I love knitting for charity. Or maybe it's because these are truly one of the more hideous things I have dreamed up and I can't wait to pawn them off (believe me, these colors looked a lot better next to each other in ball form).

Friday, August 7, 2009

I Blame Work

I blame work for...

1. Not getting to go to Sock Summit.

2. Having to get up early.
This is what Penelope does while I have to get ready to go to work.

3. Lack of real knitting progress.
Charity sock. Second of the pair. Not even to the heel turn.
Rivulets sock #1. Not fully past the heel.
Charity sweater. Still working on the collar. Pretty much looks the same as the last picture.

4. No pictures posted of Peru nor put in a photo album (they have been printed though).

5. Dyeing? Ok, work isn't to blame for this. Lack of work is the reason to celebrate these 2 rovings that will go in my shop soon.
Jillian's Razzmatazz
Dwain's Mango Tango

I asked my friends to come up with good color names and these two where the ones I liked best. I dyed the roving after they'd given me suggestions.

6. Lack of shop updating.

7. Making chefs knit on the back stoop.
This is the chef of the restaurant next door to Rare Purls. He just learned to knit. I know he'd be a full on knitterly type if he didn't have to cook all the time. Poor guy.

(For the record, school officially starts back Monday for the kids. I was scheduled to go back to work this Monday but due to state budget cuts I was on furlough for 2 days. This means we crammed 5 days of faculty meetings, planning, registration, open house, and room set up into 3 days. I think that's the definition of fun.)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Big News

As you probably know from reading my blog, I have a little yarn dyeing business that I take great pride in. Just recently I started selling my goods in the brick and mortar store Rare Purls. I've also been thinking about doing some shows. Eventually I would like to be able to travel to shows all over the place and make this dyeing gig my full time job. That may be a ways off but I've been keeping my eyes peeled for opportunities to expand and network. One such thing just fell in my lap this weekend.

I was on Ravelry and just happened to be browsing a forum for Stitches South that I check occasionally (even though the next show isn't until next April) and there was a thread entitled "Looking for a booth mate." I immediately read, personal messaged the person, waited, stressed a little, waited some more and...Gwen got back to me and I will be her booth partner at Stitches South 2010! I just took a peek at her Etsy shop and, boy, am I going to have to work hard to keep up with her!

Nothing is 100% set in stone yet (still need to send in money and get confirmation back, etc.) but I'm very excited to be doing such a large show. I hope I'm not in over my head. I've started to draw up a little business plan that should have me cranking along for the next 9 months. If you have any suggestions about doing a show feel free to pass along the love :) I'm planning on taking lots of sock yarn, roving, and I'm thinking about starting to carry a DK weight. Here's a little of what I've got going on right now:
6 new colors and 3 new rovings. For now I'm off. I spent the better part of today at a pool party and there is something about the sun and water that total drains me.