Thursday, April 30

Up for Air

I have knit exactly one row in the last three weeks. Things have been extra busy at work and with the overtime, moving, packing, cleaning, planning, etc. I haven’t had much time to sit and concentrate on knitting. I need a vacation. And maybe some chocolate cake? Oh, and sunshine. I think it has been raining for two weeks straight.

I have managed to squeeze in a little spinning here and there. It seems to be easier to pick up and put down than knitting right now, ironically, since I am still not very good at it.

So, enough whining, on with the photos! (Don't you hate reading posts where all the person does is complain about their life? I hate to be one of them...) I am attempting my first true 3-ply yarn from Spunky Eclectic’s “Route 66” BFL.

Here is my first bobbin:

Route 66 BFL 1st bobbin

Lennie in action:

spinning on my Lendrum

I actually have all three bobbins spun, and hopefully will be able to finish the yarn this weekend. We are renting a truck on Saturday and moving all of the remaining large furniture pieces to the new house.

Send “no rain” vibes – if this rain keeps up much longer we make have to move by boat!

Friday, April 17

Finished: Bunnies!

knit bunnies

These cute guys are modified from Christine Manitz's Easter Bunny pattern. The original pattern calls for the bunnies to be felted, but since most of my felting experiments end up slightly misshapen I wanted to make these bunnies non-felted to retain their cuteness.

For the most part I followed the pattern as written. I reduced the needle size drastically to make a nice firm fabric that had some body and didn't let the stuffing show though. One of the only changes I made was to switch the 'knit into the front and back' increases to 'knit into the row below' increases since I didn't want the little bar that is created with the kfb to show on my unfelted bun. I also shortened the length of the body, neck, and head since I wasn't losing any length in felting.

I wanted to be able to play around with the positioning of ears a little, so I bent some thin wire into ear shapes and inserted them.

bunnies in progress 2

Finally, I wanted to make sure the bunnies stood up by themselves without falling over. This was accomplished by sewing a little bean bag (filled with dry lentils - I felt they were heavier than rice per volume) into the base.

bunnies in progress 3
Cutting the felt.
One half fits the interior diameter of the bun base,
the other is larger to form a pocket for the lentils.

bunnies in progress 4

Filling the base.
The lentil are a snack for my hub's
spiny-tailed lizard. Don't tell her I stole some!

bunnies in progress 5
The completed UFO-shaped base.

bunnies in progress 6

Sewing the base into the bun, so the flat side is down.

Oh and I pinked up the ears with a little of my favorite eyeshadow, Bobbi Brown Pink Sugar. I tried twice to embroider a face but my pathetic skills actually make the bunnies less cute. So plain it is!

And just in case there are not quite enough photos in this thread I'll show you a few more bunnies I made for Easter dessert with the family.

bunny cake pan
Wilton cake pan

Bunny Cakes
Red Velvet Bunny Cakes

A pastry chef I am not, but they were delicious!

Tuesday, April 14

Husbands v. Yarn

This is something I have a feeling I should just let lie, but it has left me scratching my head for so long that I can't ignore it anymore.

You can find "flash your stash" photos on various forums online, including Ravelry, Knitter's Review, and even the old Knitlist where people show off their yarn and storage solutions. In these threads, and indeed in topics discussing yarn purchases, a surprising percentage of women respond in the following ways:

1) I can't take all my yarn out to photograph, my DH might see it!
2) I'm in trouble if DH ever finds the yarn I've hidden/sees the credit card statement/etc.
3) DH says yarn/knitting stuff has to fit in "X" space, or else I have too much.

Ignoring for a moment how nauseating I find the term "DH", I don't understand how that many women can be in a relationship where they have to hide or limit something they love because of what their husband thinks of it. I know everyone's situation is different but jerk is the first word that comes to mind every time I read that. I mean, sometimes my husband rolls his eyes jokingly when I have been blathering on about yarn for an entire evening but we both think it's funny.

What is wrong with having a hobby? Is is because knitting, yarn, and crafts are seen as a waste of time by some? Should you not be able to do whatever you please with your disposable income? If you don't have the disposable income at the moment and are spending grocery money on yarn you then have to hide, well, maybe you should take a moment to yourself and think about that. I also feel this applies to yarn taking over the entire house, or your hubby not having any money left for his own interests.

Now I'm sure some of these women are exaggerating. Can every single time I've read something like this be an exaggeration?

For the record, I limit my own stash much more than my husband ever would dream of. While I was packing up my craft area to move last week he looked at the pile of bagged yarn and said "This is all your yarn? Why don't you have more?".

I actually think I have a ton, and feel a little claustrophobic from all of the unfinished (and un-started) projects. He doesn't understand why I stop myself from buying something new because I already have yarn. I guess I'm lucky - but then, I never would have married someone who didn't respect what I did with my own time and money!

Friday, April 10

Hooray for Sheep!

My Mom is retiring from teaching this June after 35(ish? more?) years. I can't image doing the same job for 35 years at this point in my life. Also? I'm a little jealous at the idea of retirement.

Anyway, she is cleaning out and giving away a lot of things she's purchased for her classroom over the years. I received this book:

Sheep Book

It is very sweet, with a mix of photographs and watercolor illustrations. She knew I would like it and thought it would be funny to give me. What she didn't expect is that I would actually learn something from it. My fledging attempts at purchasing wool to spin have mostly been based on guesses and pretty colors. This page has at least given me a little guidance on which types of wool I might find softest:

Sheep book - wool types

I think this guy is the cutest but he is listed under "coarse" fleece. I'm afraid our paths might never cross...

Sheep Book - Lincoln sheep

Wednesday, April 8

Space and Chocolate

I've slowly started packing my yarn and craft supplies for the move. Although we have both places for another month we'd rather be in the new place, so hubs has almost completely emptied his half of the room.

Anyone who as done it will understand why I am dragging my feet on this. But what if I need something unexpectedly and it's packed? Or at the other house? My current knitting should be enough to keep myself occupied, especially since I came down with a case of startitis recently.

One compelling reason to get my stuff moved asap is that I am going to have my very own room!

my own room!

I'm so excited. You know, when we moved into our current space (less than a year ago...) we were so excited to have a second bedroom. That fact that somehow managed to elude both of us is that we would both want to be using the room for our hobbies... at the same time after work... nearly every single day. While it was nice not having hobby things strewn across the living room all of the time (ok - not having everything we own strewn across the living room) it wasn't really the fiber sanctuary I had envisioned. Cheers for a third bedroom!

Something else to make the packing a little easier is this piece of home made fudge, from one of Steve's co-workers.

monster fudge

Yes my friends, that is a piece of fudge the size of a slice of cake. We finished it in one night. Now I wish there was more...

Monday, April 6

Vogue Knitting; a sort-of review

I haven't made much progress on any knitting projects this week, so I thought I'd write a little about the Spring/Summer '09 issue of Vogue Knitting that arrived in the mail last Thursday.


I received a subscription to VK a few years ago as a gift, and have continued my subscription even though I have never actually knit anything out of it. I think it can be a great source of inspiration, and fun to browse at the very least. However, this issue contains a number of things I could actually see myself knitting and wearing.

First, this lace throw blanket (OK, so it's not exactly worn...):

A slightly different take on the drop stitch scarf:

Fine gauge cowl neck (I can see this with long sleeves as well):

Last but not least, a ruffled sleeved v-neck top:

These are only a selection of the patterns I find "do-able" in the issue. There is at least one more lace shawl and a few pairs of socks I like as well. I suggest you give it a glance, even if you don't typically think of VK as your favorite mag.

Wednesday, April 1

Good Omen?

rainbow over new home
Rainbow over our new home as we picked up the keys.

Finished: Spinning Wheel Bag

(Last catch-up post. Woo!)

I happened across this cute little spinning wheel bag on Ravelry and knew I had to make it.

Spinning Wheel Bag

I don't have any of the little tools that are supposed to go in it yet, and to be honest am not really sure even what they are. But the bag is cute, huh?

In keeping with my theme of using leftover yarn, I wanted to finish the Paton's SWS I used in my Fake Isle hat. I'd never felted it before but knew other people had successfully. (It worked just fine, but took a few trips through the machine.)

I didn't measure how much yarn I had left - just assumed it was enough. This next photo is entitled "Extreme Yarn Usage":

extreme yarn usage

The arrows point to my two yarn ends, untrimmed and not woven in. Oh yeah! That's extreme, baby. (I am unreasonably thrilled by this. I think I need to get out more.)

spinning wheel bag

Pattern: Felted Spinning Wheel Bag by Shannon Geddes (on Ravelry)
Yarn: Paton's SWS in Natural Navy
Needles: US10 Bamboo circs
Started/Finished: March 20/March 20 (about two hours around 1am)

Finished: Fetching mitts

Once again, I am way behind the curve on knitting the popular patterns. And really, the only reason I made these was because I had 100 yards of Malabrigo to use up and I didn't know what else to make. (I've gotten sick of seeing the same old balls of yarn in my stash and am in need of some turnover.)

Fetching mitts

They are the perfect size to keep me a little warmer when it is chilly inside but not so big they get in the way of either long sleeves or hand dexterity.

Hrmm... what else to say about these? Oh - when I was putting stitches on hold for the second thumb, I noticed that I had miss crossed the one of the cables on the first cable round. After contemplating for a minute and deciding that no, I couldn't live with it, I dropped the four stitched that made up the cable all the way down and fixed that cross (and then the two above it) with a crochet hook. And even I can't tell which cable it was now.

Fetching mitts

Pattern: Fetching by Cheryl Niamath, Knitty Summer '06 (on Ravelry)
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Pearl, less than 100 yards
Needles: bamboo dpns, US4
Started/Finished: March 11/March 19

Finished: Urchin Hat

(Three more FOs to post and I am caught up.)

Urchin hat

Urchin not only marks a finished project, but my first finished project from handspun yarn. I used my first spinning attempt on Lennie the Lendrum, this lumpy designer CVM wool:

first handspun yarn

I can't find any notes that tell me how many yards I had, but I'm sure I measured it at some point. Although maybe not, since I did run out of yarn about 3/4 of the way through the hat and had to spin some more up.

An interesting thing is that when I went to recreate my lumpy designer yarn, it was actually difficult to make it lumpy enough to match. Apparently the few weeks of spinning practice in between evened out my drafting enough so that getting that "designer" look is actually a skill and not an accident. You can see the difference in the last quarter of the hat if you know what you are looking for. I guess I am now too talented to make chunky lumpy yarn on accident and no where near good enough to make it on purpose. Oh well.

Pattern: Urchin by Ysolda Teague, Knitty Fall '07 (on Ravelry)
Yarn: handspun CVM ("Madge" from The Fold), 2 ply
Needles: US10 straight
Started/Finished: February 26/February 28