Tuesday, July 22, 2008

From the stash of the Harlot (and other mail)

Mondays are my long day. I try to leave the house by 7am and work from 8am-4pm. Then from 4:30 to ~7pm I work on my thesis. Then as a reward, I meet up with my knitting pals for some quality chat, show and tell and knit encouragement time (but often not much quality knit time--too much chitchat=mistakes). I usually get home between 9:30 and 10pm.

I get periodic updates from home on Monday, to make sure things are in order. One of the phone calls I got this Monday was to inform me that some packages had arrived. Packages!! I was expecting one of them--the prize I won from my donation to Claudia. Is it from Canada I asked?? Yes!! So I knew some Socks That Rock were waiting for me when I got home. I didn't get much info about the other package--my other line started ringing, darn clients calling with questions. So that had to wait.

I got home to find this:

Socks that Rock in the color Cockamamie (gotta love the name), and some yummy chocolate.

The other package was a thank you card from Destiknit. A whole bunch of us knit squares for a baby blanket (we are still waiting on news of the impending baby). Inside was a lovely card with the sweetest angel stitch marker. I'll be thinking of her and the baby (and the whole Monthly Adventures gang) when I use it.

All in all, a nice day, with some nice mail.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

More color

1 pkg Slammin' Strawberry Kiwi
1 pkg Grape
1 pkg Berry Blue
1 pkg Cherry

That thorny weed behind my house?? Look at this!
Also, here is a funny looking bug on my screen--will try to figure out what it is.

One Hedera down, started the other one last night.

Friday, July 18, 2008

In the garden

Fridays seem to be a good day to share my garden. I work from home and if the weather is nice I can sit outside while working. It gives me a chance to see how things are looking.
This guy (gal) spent a lot of time on the remains of my poppy. I was able to get some good views.
Here is a bee that was buzzing around the hosta flowers.

Here are the hosta flowers just hanging out.

The hydrangeas, are drooping already.
A lily.

Another lily.

More lilies.
Weeds or flowers, who knows, but they are cute.

The dragonfly (damselfly?) was getting cosy on my sandal.

Kool Aid swap

My Kool Aid swap package arrived this morning. What fun! As well as a new flavor of Kool Aid (Soarin Strawberry Lemonade) the package included all the fixins for s'mores, and some star shaped ice cube trays. Yummaliscious!

Here is the progress of Hedera. I should finish it tonight and get to work on the second. This heel flap is longer than I would have liked--but it does fit.
Here are some outdoor shots of the yarn I dyed last week. These colors are truer. I think I'll be doing some more dyeing this weekend!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Final product

I'm not usually a yarn sniffer--but these just smell so good, I can't help it.

Woolly, fruity, yummy!

My first dye job

This morning we gave kool-aid dyeing a whirl. It was great fun, but the 4-yr-old was only entertained through the first skein (of two). He did get to add in some color, his favorite--green!
I started off making long skeins. The length is about 5 feet. Last night I separated the giant 1/2 lb skein into 3 skeins (2 of them approximately 90 grams--enough for a pair of socks each, and the other approximately 50 grams). I worked on the two larger skeins today.

I got one of the skeins tied up, and put it to soak. Then I got my first batch of kool-aid ready. In my four jars I had the following envelopes:
3 pink lemonade
2 lemon-lime
1 grape
1 ice blue raspberry lemonade

and a bunch of water (I didn't measure it).

For the first skein, I place it in a square pyrex in a zigzag pattern. Then using a turkey baster I squirted the pink lemonade on one half of yarn (along the long part of the zigzag, to try to get some long color repeats). Then I did the rest of the yarn in the different colors. Along the way I realized that the color was not making it through to the bottom yarn. So I used another package of pink lemonade (4 total) and squirted it into the bottom.

I took a picture of the top and the bottom. You can see the bottom is paler.

The color was getting sucked up really fast, even with out heating. I did heat it for two minutes, squeezed some water out, then added some more kool-aid, until I finished all the kool-aid. Then I put it in the microwave for 3 minutes. I took it out, let it cool, rinsed it with eucalan, and hung it up outside to dry. Then I started the second one.

This time I used:

3 black cherry
3 mandarina-tangerine
2 strawberry
2 berry blue

and I placed the yarn in the pyrex in a spiral pattern. I squirted the black cherry on the middle, being careful to get some on the underneath yarn and the other colors on the edges. When it seemed like there was too much water in the pyrex I would give a zap, squeeze out some water (I used a wooden spoon) and then add more kool-aid. Again at the end, a 3 minute zap, cool, rinse, hang.

Here is what I've got. I'm pleased with the results. I will reskein when I have the energy. I want to see what it will look like in a skein. Lots of fun, no bad chemicals, no mess to speak of, and there is plenty more yarn and kool-aid where that came from.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fibery Friday

I love getting fibery mail. Yesterday, I received a package with this (and it really is super soft!):
And what will I be doing with a pound and a half of natural, fingering weight merino? Does this give you an idea. Should be fun. I'll be sure to document whatever I do.

I also received these in the mail today:
The Knit Picks catalog and my first issue of PieceWork. Since my first obsession was cross stitch and needlepoint, I thought this would make for interesting reading. Who knows, it might even get me interested in crochet.

For those who have asked for a close up view of the fair isle, here you go:
And here is the inside:
Enjoy the weekend!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sweater Progress

The sweater is moving along. I've still got plenty to do, but I can see the finish line. Here is where I'm at now.

I've decided to pick up the button band and neck band at the same time--to do that I will need a longer size 2 needle. While I wait for that to arrive I have plenty to do. I need to work a bit on the back neck, graft the underarms, and sew the hems for the bottom and sleeves. Then I will be all ready to make the big cut when the new needle arrives.

I'm just so pleased that the sweater fits. I've been looking at it for so long now, and it was starting to worry me--is it too big, is it too small, did I just waste all my time?!?! But I think the fit is great. Just a touch of waist shaping, fitted but not tight.

I also love the way the woven in fair isle technique worked. I will take a picture of the inside to show that off. I also found that color dominance is for real. If you look at my cuffs, you will see that they look slightly different, even though they are really identical. I think it is because I wasn't keeping track of which yarn I was holding in which hand. I'm okay with it--a learning experience. Also, the cuffs are a bit tight, since I did not know about the woven technique when I make the first one and I wanted them to be made similarly. I think I probably pulled a little tight on the floats--but they are fine.

On other news, I started a new pair of socks to have as a bring along project. This is Hedera. I'm really enjoying it.
Since this picture I have turned the heel and I'm working on the gusset. Unlike Bellatrix, this seems to have a really long heel flap. Look at the cuff. What do you think about that!! I've never seen yarn that checker boards--pretty cute.

What's in my garden?

The day lilies are blooming.

And here is my Nepal Cinquefoil.

And all the rain had brought on the mushrooms.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I'm a winner

At the end of last week, I read the Yarn Harlot's post about Claudia and the MS ride. This reminded me that my neighbor was also doing the ride. I had decided that I would be donating to the cause, but I had completely forgotten about it.

So off I went to donate to Claudia and Mike. Is it bad to say that I gave Claudia a bit more?? She was offering all sorts of yarny goodness as prizes--and it was all going to the same place after all.

Well, the other day I received an e-mail from Claudia that I had won one of the prizes! She had also cced the donor to send/confirm my mailing address. It was only after I checked her site to see if a picture of the yarn was posted that I realized the donor was none other than the Yarn Harlot herself. So some time soon, I should be receiving my first every socks that rock--from the stash of the Harlot. It will be interesting to see what all the fuss about this yarn is about, as I've never used it myself.

On other news, I have been working on my sweater. Slow and steady. Here are some pictures of the progress.

I will have to post some pictures of the inside. I am loving the woven technique. It does slow me down a little bit, but I think it is well worth it to not have to worry so much about being too tight or too loose. Some of the "floats" are 5 stitches wide--always a risk for problems.
We had a lovely long weekend with my college roommate and her family. The boys are 12 days apart in age and they had a great time. We also took yesterday off, and in between thunderstorms we went out for some letterboxing. We found 7 boxes in one afternoon--and we found some lovely locations, not too far from home.

Now back to our regularly scheduled thunderstorms. "Lookout , a funderstorm is rolling in" is becoming a common phrase in my house.