09 December 2006

Gifts galore

I'm getting my Christmas tree today and I've been planning my Christmas gifts. Hopefully I'll be ready to give them when the big day comes!

First things first. Here's my Christmas gift to myself. You should never overlook yourself in all this holiday planning. I'm making the over-the-knee stockings from the book Handknit Holidays. The cable ribbing is what (supposedly) keeps them in place above the knee and the darker line you can see running down them is actually a little cable lace pattern. The lace runs down the back of them, mimicking a fancy stocking seam. I'm using Knit Picks Essentials sock yarn and it's treating me fine so far. I think I can get them both done by Christmas. I'm giving my aunts pretty lace scarves this year. One is getting the trellis scarf I finished a while ago. I bought some beads to add to the ends of the points to fancy it up a little. I have another skein of the same yarn so my other aunt is getting a similar scarf that I recently started. The pattern is from the cathedral lace afghan in the Interweave Holiday issue and I added a wavy edging.

Next up is a blanket made of old, felted sweaters. It's really big and I haven't started sewing the squares together. I'm kind of afraid to start because I'm worried it will be harder than I'm anticipating. When it's just all planned out, it seems so nice and simple. I'll let you know if it really turns out to be nice and simple. I think I'm going to give it to my mom. It seems like her kind of colors. I finished my yarn-dying class. Here are my skeins! I'm in a hurry (Mike's rushing me to go out and get our tree) so I won't take the time to dredge up from my memory what dyes I used. If you want to know, just ask and I'll try to remember. The one on the left is a skein I dyed last week. It's the one on the right in the last picture- the one that's yellow and grey and green. That's right, the ugly one that you were all too kind to point out. I decided I hated it so I took it back and dunked the whole thing twice in the indigo dye. Now it has really pretty shades of blue and blue-green and it's one of my favorites! It's great to able to fix your mistakes by just dunking it in another color. I think I'm goint to knit the hexagon scarf from Knitting Nature. It's probably not quite enough yarn but I'll figure something out.

Lastly, another gift for me! My lovely secret pal sent me some gorgeous yarn, candles that didn't make it into the picture and some candy that is already eaten. Thanks secret pal!

29 November 2006


Hi readers. The 2 questions I got about my last post were: Where did you get the elephant buttons? and Who is the lucky baby that gets the sweater?

I got the buttons at a store here in Portland and I don't remember the brand. Sorry to disappoint those of you who wanted to buy then online. They're probably there somewhere but I don't know where.

The baby is, or will be, MY baby! My lack of knitting and blogging lately is because I have been feeling really sick and tired. I think I went almost a month without knitting because all I could do was sleep or lie on the couch watching stupid tv. I'm starting to feel better now so I'm happier and slightly more productive.

I've been knitting my frost flowers and leaves blanket but it doesn't seem like I'm getting anywhere. It's quite repetitive.I took it off the needles and spread it out so I could see that it really has gotten bigger. It's about 2 1/2 feet square so I still have a ways to go. It was fun to see it all spread out but it took almost an hour to get all those stitches back on the needles!

My other project has been dying yarn with natural plant dyes. I'm taking a class at Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks and it's super fun! I think I'm hooked. The little skeins at the top of the post are tiny mini skeins I dyed at the first class so we could practice. They're tinier than they look in the picture. I could maybe knit one baby bootie out of each one. Any ideas for what to do with them?These are my skeins from the last class. The blue is indigo, the pink is cochineal (actually a bug, not a plant) , the yellow is osage orange and the purple is logwood. I don't remember what the other dyes were. Next week I get to dye the rest of my yarn and I can't wait!

08 November 2006

I've been knitting!

Remember me? Not only do I still know how to knit but I've been knitting again!

I picked up my frost flowers and leaves shawl/blanket and have started working on it again. I was surprised at how easily the pattern came back to me. Even though I hadn't worked on it in weeks, I don't have to look at the pattern very often. I'm going to put it on scrap yarn soon because I have no idea how big it is! It doesn't look much different than the last photo I posted but trust me, it is.

I also knitted this quick baby sweater last weekend. It's Inca Cotton and I wish I had enough to knit myself a sweater with it. It's so soft! I found these adorable elephant buttons and they really finish the sweater. I sewed a ribbon to the inside so the buttons wouldn't pull on the stitches too much. That's all for now! You'll be hearing from me more regularly now that I have things to show you! There's nothing like the cold, rainy fall weather to make me start knitting again.

16 October 2006

A Day (or 2) Late

So, I joined Secret Pal 9 and I was supposed to have my answers to the all important questions posted by Sunday. Needless to say, that didn't happen.

I haven't touched knitting needles in over 2 weeks now! I think that's a record for me. My rusted root was coming along nicely. The weather was still warm and I put it on scrap yarn so I could try it on. It looked fabulous and I thought to myself "I can totally finish it before the weekend is over." That was nearly 2 weeks ago and it's still on the scrap yarn.

Life is beating me right now and I have no energy for anything once I get home from work. I want to knit but I just can't pull myself out of my stupor of tiredness. Now it's cold, which I am enjoying, but I fear I've lost my chance to wear rusted root this year. I could fix my ogee tunic, though. That would be productive. Hopefully I'll pull myself out of this funk soon. I really do want to knit again!

Okay, the questions. They're pretty much the same as those from the last round of secret pal so if you feel like I'm repeating myself, I am. 1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I love soft yarn. Alpaca, cashmere, merino, any soft wool. I don't like acrylic in large quantities but have seen some nice blends.
2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have a case for my straight needles and my circulars are all dumped in a drawer. I would like to organize them better.
3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I've been knitting for 4 or 5 years and I'm entirely self taught. I'd say I'm advanced. I feel like I could pretty much knit anything that I wanted to. I don't mean to sound cocky but I'm pretty good at following patterns and I've tried a lot of things.
4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)
I love natural scents like vanilla and lavender. I like citrus too. I hate really sweet scents and things that smell artificial.
6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I like really dark chocolate. The darker the better. I'm not a chocoholic, though. I could kind of take it or leave it. I like fruity candy too like gummy bears and starburst.
7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I love to sew and I took a drop spindle class and even made some (lumpy) yarn but I definitely wouldn't call myself a spinner.
8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s?
I can listen to mp3's and the only music I really don't like is country. I have pretty eclectic taste in music and am open to new things.
9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I love color. While I wear grey, brown and black, they're not my favorites. There's nothing I really dislike.
10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I have husband who knows everything there is to know about knitting except for how to actually knit. I have a super cute dog, a fluffy bunny and 2 cats.
11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I love scarves! I wear mittens occasionally. I'm particular about hats because my hair is usually out of control and hats look dumb stuck on the top of my crazy hair. I do have a few that I love, though. I do not like ponchos.
12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I like to knit sweaters but I've been knitting a lot of lace lately as well.
13. What are you knitting right now?
I'm trying to finish rusted root and the frost flowers and leaves shawl from A Gathering of lace.
14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
I love them!
15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I don't really have a preference. I use whatever seems to work best for the yarn and project.
16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
No, but I wish I did.
17. How old is your oldest UFO?
I started a baby blanket about a year and a half ago but then decided I would never finish it in a timely manner so I gave a different gift. Now, I'm just waiting on the right baby to come along so I can finish it.
18. What is your favorite holiday?
I love Christmas and Thanksgiving. Oh, and my birthday!
19. Is there anything that you collect?
Other than yarn, I collect floaty pens. I don't know if there is a better name for them but they're the touristy pens that have little scenes and people or a boat or train or something floats back and forth when you tilt them.
20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I subscribe to Interweave knits. I'm sure there are thing I'd like to have but I can't think right now.
21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I would like to try more fair isle but buying so many colors for one project seems daunting.
22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
I have knit socks but I wouldn't call myself a sock knitter. I wear a size 7 1/2.
23. When is your birthday?
January 20th.

29 September 2006

Flock and Fiber and Finished Things

I finished the trellis scarf! This is the first lace item I've knit that looked all bunchy until I blocked it. It came out so pretty that I'm rethinking my plan to give it away. I don't really need it, though. I want to put some beads on the ends of the points like I did with the wavy scarf I knit last year but I'll wait to do that until I know who it'll be for. The picture is shadowy. The true color is the deep purple in the upper right corner.
Last weekend I went to the Flock and Fiber Festival with my friends Lisa and Kirsten. We saw a lot of animals and a lot of fiber! Even Lisa, who's not a knitter, had fun. At least until she saw people buying really ugly shirts and was disturbed.

We saw a lot of great yarn and a lot of great fiber that made me with I could spin. The highlight, though, was the animals. Alpacas are the cutest!! Just look at this one munching his hay. How could you not want to take him home?

This pretty trio was for sale. Each a different color. I wanted them. I still want them. The weirdest animal was the Jacob Sheep. Look at all the horns! We weren't allowed to pet them. It was probably so we didn't get impaled by all the horns. They looked friendly but we followed orders. I got a great deal on some Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. They were seconds so each skein was only $3! I have been wanting to knit Rusted Root for a while now so I bought some cotton fleece and started knitting. It's a quick knit so hopefully I'll get to wear it before the weather gets really cold. I also bought a big skein of organic Inca cotton and knit a quick little washcloth. It's so soft! I wish you all could feel it! The pattern is from Mason-Dixon Knitting but the pattern is free on the web (that's how I got it!) here.

18 September 2006

Family + Knitting = A Happy Weekend

I brother came to visit for 5 days and we had a really good time. This was his 1st time visiting Mike and I in the 5 years we've been married so it was nice to have him at our place for once! We did the grand tour of Portland and the gorge, ate a lot of food and had a nice time. Ryan was even so kind as to wait patiently for me to finish seaming my ogee tunic before we went out one day because I really wanted to wear it. The only thing I like about the sudden cold, cloudy weather that's hit Portland is that I can wear my sweater! It needs a little tweaking, though. I need to redo part of the shoulder seams so you'll have to wait a little longer for a better picture and I'll have to wait to wear it again. In addition to my new sweater, I also have a new knitted bag! My lovely secret pal, Nicole, knitted me a fabulous felted bag using Peace Fleece. She even sent me the leftover skein along with a bunch of other great things. Thank, Nicole, for being a great secret pal!

I'm still working on the diamond trellis scarf, one repeat at a time. My new project is the Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl from A Gathering of Lace. I'm not really knitting it as a shawl, though. I'm using Devon from Elann. It's 100% wool that they call unshrinkable. That seems like it should mean superwash but they say to handwash it. It's really soft and nice to knit. The color is called mineral green but Mike insists it's blue. Whatever it is, I like it! It's sport weight so I'm making a light blanket instead of a shawl. I love the look of shawls but don't really see myself wearing one anytime soon.

10 September 2006

Oliver is cute

Oliver is so cute!! He's my new bunny. His color is called chocolate but he's really a light orange. I don't know who comes up with the names. Here he's eating weeds like a good little bunny.
Since Kathy asked, here is some info about angoras. (If you're not interested, skip this part) They are more work than your average bunny. He lives outside but has a roof so he doesn't get rained on. Since they have so much fur it's important they don't get wet. They also don't do well in the heat. Again, because of all the fur. When it's really hot, we freeze a liter bottle of water and put it in the cage so the bunny can cool off. They also require brushing so they don't get mats in their fur. We'll see how this guy does but once they're over a year, most don't need to be brushed more than once a week. Different angora breeds need different amounts of brushing- it depends on how many guard hairs they have- and individuals vary too. They are the softest bunnies you'll ever feel and I love petting Oliver!

Besides knitting, my project this last week has been painting my bathroom. My bathroom used to be terrible. Here's the before:
It doesn't look that bad until you see the walls up close.
It's wallboard with wallpaper attached. (It's popular in trailers and manufactured homes. Classy stuff.) It was super old and dirty and we couldn't take the paper off because it's fused to the wall so we had to use a nasty oil-based primer to cover it all up. Fumes filled the house for days. How I love inhaling chemicals. It was all worth it, though, because now my bathroom looks like this. The color is called spring rain and it reminds me of a robin's egg. I love it! No more dirty, nasty walls! We even had this pretty print that matches perfectly.I haven't been neglecting my ogee tunic. I started seaming it together the other night and it's coming along slowly but surely. It's still summer so I'm not in a big hurry to finish it. It's not like I'll get to wear it soon. It's looking like it'll fit nicely and I am excited to see it all finished!

06 September 2006

Proof is in the pictures (a.k.a. Why I love the fair)

I had so much fun at the fair on Sunday! I took lots of pictures, petted lots of animals and ate lots of sugar. I told you before that I won ribbons so here is the proof.
My river stole only got third but everything else won a blue ribbon! They hung my backyard leaves scarf backwards so no one got to see the pretty pattern. They also really packed the things in the cases. My soleil tank top was barely visible and The lace on the bottom was almost completely hidden. I'm not complaining, really. I won ribbons so I'm happy.

My bread also won a blue ribbon! I love baking bread and last year I entered a recipe I had never made before. Bad idea. This year I entered my favorite recipe and it turned out great. It looks a little weird in the picture but remember people- at this point it has been sitting out in the open for almost 2 weeks. It looked beautiful the day I dropped it off. Other Oregon State Fair highlights included:

My friend Amber eating a fried snickers bar. Hey, someone had to do it and it wasn't going to be me. After the funnel cake and giant sno cone, I couldn't eat anything else.
(For the record, she liked it but doesn't think she needs to eat one again. Mike feels the same way about the one he ate last year.)

I think these are the cutest tomatoes ever! I'm glad they won 1st place.
There was an entire display devoted to vegetables with faces. This was my favorite. Do you think it's "supposed" to be a seal?This won the most unique vegetable award. I wish I had a vegetable that unique in my garden!This is a "cute vegetable." I think that's fair code for smallest vegetable. This bitty carrot lost to a teeny ear of corn.
Baby piglets (is that redundant?) are so cute!! They were sleepy. I wish I could have picked one up and squeezed it- not too hard, of course. This fluffy bunny won the award for "Best Wool." It looks well deserved. The cutest bunny at the fair was a baby English Angora that won 3rd place and then came home with me! Yep, I bought a bunny from a 4-H'er and he's really fluffy and cute. I don't have a good picture yet but when I do, I'll show him off.

I hope all of you had the chance to go to a fair this summer. If not, go next year! It'll be tons of fun, I promise.

27 August 2006

Fair Ribbons!

I have had some really crappy stuff happen in the last few weeks but still . . . I didn't realize how long it had been since I've posted. I apologize and if I haven't commented on your blogs lately, I will be back soon. I'm doing better now.

So, the fair!! Mike and I went to a concert at the fair lastnight (The Decemberists, Violent Femmes and Cake- So Good!!) but on our way to the concert pavilion, I made him run through the home arts building, looking for our entries. I couldn't be at the fair and not find out even though we didn't have much time to get to the concert. Out of 5 knitted items, I got 4 1st places and one 3rd! I also got a blue ribbon for my bread but the judge thought my jam was "sticky." At least that's what she wrote on the back of my card. Oh well. Mike got a blue ribbon too! I think I'm more excited than he is. I'm going back next weekend to actually go to the fair so I'll scope it out better and take pictures then.
I finished knitting my ogee tunic and it's really pretty and sems like it'll fit well but I won't know for sure until I block it and sew it all together. I think I've finally cleared enough space in my messy house to block it so hopefully that'll happen soon.

This fine piece of knitting is the trellis scarf from the spring IK. It's Shadow from knitpicks that my fabulous secret pal sent me a while back. The color is called vineyard and it's more of an eggplant color than the picture shows. I started this on the plane back from El Salvador and didn't think I was going to continue knitting it because of the K7tog! But, I got past that and knitting 7 stitches together really isn't that bad. It helps that it makes a pretty pattern.

I hope you all had a great weekend. This is my last weekend ever of having to work both Saturdays and Sundays, so that helped get me through it!

13 August 2006

Catching up

Everything is ready to be taken to the fair tomorrow! I'm so excited. I hope I win a ribbon! The only thing missing from my pile of entries is the ogee tunic because all I have finished are the sleeves and this: It's coming out really well and I changed it from a tunic to more of a standard pullover with the addition of some waist shaping. A-lines just don't work for me. Here's a detail of the cabling. It's so pretty! (A while back Anna posted a comment asking about the gauge for the ogee tunic. I don't have her email address so here's the answer to the question she asked. The stated guage deson't seem to match up with the number of stitches you cast on and the measurements you're supposed to get. The math doesn't work out right, but everything turns out fine. The edges of the pieces have a small amount of ribbing, lace and cables, which apparently changes the gauge just enough that you end up with the right measurements even though it seems like you have a lot of extra stitches. So, my advice to Anna, and anyone else who is thinking of knitting this, is that as long as you get the same guage as stated, trust the pattern's stitch numbers and measurements. It works out. )

Backing up a little, here's a picture of me knitting the second sleeve in El Salvador. The cute yellow building is the hotel we stayed at in Apaneca, a little town in the mountains. Rocking chairs and hammocks- what more could a knitter want? Okay, maybe cooler weather so that I actually felt like knitting, but I didn't want to be picky.

Finally, here is a finished picture of the pillow I knitted for my friends that got married. I am still finishing the second, but the 1st one had a special assignment.
As part of the ceremony, they got lassoed together. As my friend Cindy said, "I't like a unity candle but we get lassoed together instead." Yep, those are exactly the same. Anyway, they needed a pretty pillow to kneel on so my gift was very fitting. You can just barely see the corner of my (their) pillow below.I had to fancy up the pillow a little for it's big day. I folded the flap inside and then safey pinned some ribbons to the inside so I could tie it closed. To make it look balanced, I tied some bows and pinned them to the other end as well, keeping the pillow case snug around the pillow. The happy couple loved it!
Last but not least, my secret pal deserves a huge thank-you shout out. I got this great package, along with a stitch pattern book that didn't make it into the photo. I got some soap (I love cute soaps!), pretty needles, felted tweed to make the knucks from the latest knitty, and some really pretty hand-dyed yarn that I've already started swatching.
Thank you, secret pal and good luck to all you knitters who entered things in your local fairs this summer!!

06 August 2006

Picture Time

In no particular order, here are some pictures of El Salvador. I know you came here for knitting content but I don't have any pictures of knitting to show you right now. I do have pictures of knitting in El Salvador but those will have to wait for another day. I am making progress on my Ogee Tunic and even (with lots of wishful thinking) entered it in the fair. I really don't think It will be finished by then because I didn't take going on vacation into account when I planned out my state fiar knitting. I have other things to enter, though, don't you worry! As I said, I did knit in El Salvador, just not very much.

This was my 1st (and last) view of El Salvador as it's the view from the airport window. Getting off the plane, it was immediately apparent I wasn't in the US anymore! It was a great feeling. Mayan ruins near the location of my friend's wedding site. It's the rainy season so we were caught in a rainstorm there. The ruins in El Salvador aren't as big as those in Guatemala or Mexico and they're not completely excavated yet, but still interesting to visit. For me, the highlight was learning how they used to make indigo dye. The wedding was fun! That's my soleil tank top that I knitted and the skirt I made. I didn't set out to wear a totally handmade outfit. It just worked out that way.This is Apaneca, the highest town in El Salvador. We spent a few days there and it was really nice. It was cooler and less humid than the city, which was a nice break. If you look closely at the picture, the bright orange house on the left is where we stayed. The hills are covered with coffee trees as it's one of the coffee growing regions in the country. This is Moke and our guide from the hotel taking us on a hike through a coffee plantation and the surroinding beauty. We were on our way to see some old Mayan statues that are on the property. Everything was so green and pretty thanks to the rainy season. It was really fun and I will show what I've been knitting soon.