Friday, December 30, 2011

Review of 2011 projects

Here we are again at the end of the year, a good time to take a look through the projects. See what I've done, and what I would like to do.
I almost wrote "review of knits" but this year my fiber crafting went beyond knitting.
I'll start with the knits. Some of my projects include multiple pieces, but I will lump them together.
In 2011 I knit:

1 baby bag
2 sets wash cloths
2 hats
4 shawlettes
3 slugs
1 pair baby socks
1 bunny
2 owls
3 baby sweaters
4 mini mittens

Incredibly--none of these items were for myself, though some were for my children. Hmm--I've got to work on this. In the line up for the new year is a new sweater for me me me. The yarn and the pattern have been purchased and are just waiting for me to get my act together. We'll see how that goes.

My other projects this year included weaving.
In 2011 I wove:

1 stuffed animal blanket
1 scarf
1 set of wash cloths

Among the woven items--well, I use the wash cloths (for the baby).

I also got some spinning done. Lots of little batches of things to test out, but my big project was about 700 yards of 2-ply lace weight bamboo merino, in winter of my discontent, from Sereknitty. One goal for 2012-- knit something (for ME) with this lovely stuff.

I also leave some things undone.
In the UFO pile for knitting:
2 owls
1 cowl
a pair of bunny slippers

All the knitting is done, just the finish work is left. I also just started a scarf, but that was just started, so I'm not counting that as a UFO just yet--it is still a WIP. Unlike the other projects that have been waiting around for me to sew things up.

And some weaving UFOs too:
a set of spa cloths--9 of them, on one long warp. Waiting for me to learn how to use my sewing machine, and
2 rainbow scarves, also waiting for finishing.

I've also got a spinning UFO--I started some nice silk merino blend. I've gotten through over half of it, but it got stalled for holiday knitting. This is also destined to be 2-ply.

So overall, lots of little projects in 2011. Lots of gifts. I'm glad I was able to get something done, but it would be nice to dig into some bigger projects. Also, I really should learn how to work this sewing machine. I've had it nearly a year, and I'm still scared of it. And of course, my child free time is limited, and learning how to use the sewing machine has just not made it to the top of the list of priorities.

But overall, 2011 was a pretty good year for fibery things. I have high hopes for 2012. Maybe I'll even learn how to crochet.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Anther slug. This one will travel eventually.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Another gift knit.
My friend's daughter recently redecorated her bedroom--an owl theme. Well since I have the power to make owls I thought I'd make her one.
Behold, Goldie

Pattern Owls Two Ways (knit) by Ana Clerc
Plymouth Yarn Encore Worsted

She was well received, and I think she will enjoy living in a owl filled room.

Babies, babies, babies

Much of my knitting time has been spent making smallish and tiny sweaters.
I made one for my little guy who is now 18 months old! So not a baby any more :( but a toddler now.

I loved the baby elephant pattern, but didn't want to make too many elephants (a bit too girlie) so I just used one. As I have stated elsewhere--live and learn. Do not put a garter ridge in your raglan decreases, unless you want a 1980's members only thrilleresque look. Luckily, babies (um, sorry, toddlers), don't have much say in what they wear.

Baby Elephant Vest by Melanie Rice
Needle US 8 - 5.0 mm
Yarn Lion Brand Wool-Ease Solids, Heathers & Twists

Next I went on to make a baby kimono, from Mason Dixon knitting.
One-Piece Baby Kimono by Cristina Bernardi Shiffman
Needle US 7 - 4.5 mm
Yarn Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash
I added snaps rather than ribbon to keep things closed. My only disappointment is that I had to leave the baby shower before my co-worker opened it.

On to another sweater, also made for a colleague (and fellow knitter, mellenknits). I used what I learned from the first baby elephant to make a tiny green one. I added some green beads for eyes.
Needle US 7 - 4.5 mm
Yarn Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash

I'd like to get my act together an make one more baby sweater for another colleague, due in November. We'll see what I can manage.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Four years of Ravelry!

Just a quickie post here to say


But you all knew that right?

Today is my four year anniversary of getting my Ravelry account.

What's new that I love about Ravelry? Well, I can now post a picture to a project page, or to a forum post directly from my iPod Touch or iPhone. Totally cool. With the iPhone I can take the picture and post it within seconds! This is a new service that Ravelry is offering. You've got to download a free app to make work, and you get a 2 week trial for free. Ravelry is asking $5 per year for this service, which I found to be very reasonable considering much of my current on line time is spent on the ipod or iPhone. When I went to pay for the service I found a gift coupon! Because I have donated to Ravelry in the past they waved the $5 fee!!

Happy Anniversary to me :)

ps had some technical difficulities--so this posted a bit late.

Monday, July 18, 2011

WWHD? Yarn bomb

Yarn bomb cont.

Here is the rest of that one.

Yarn bomb

Saw some very nice yarn bombing in Northampton MA. Here is a peek.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Another Shawlette

I did finished the latest Mezquita Shawlette, using yarn from Ellen's half pint farm. The yarn has been living in my stash for too long and I'm glad I found a project that worked well with the yarn.

So the mods for this are similar to the last one. Made wider by having fewer stitches after each decreases (3 instead of 4) and 6 rows of garter at the end just before binding off. I also slipped the first stitch after each turn.

Very straightforward pattern and I think it looks very nice. I made this in 2 weeks. Now to get it off in the mail.


Ok--more food, but really just an excuse to post some pictures.

These peas were picked, shelled, cooked for 3 minutes and eaten within 15 minutes. I can barely describe how delicious they were. Even my 7 yr old who is not fond of peas admitted that they were good--though he would have preferred broccoli.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Escarole in Fish Packets

More cooking.

I love escarole--but there is only so much bean and escarole soup my family will eat, though I could eat it every week. We like to make fish packets, especially in the summer when we can grill them, and keep the fishy smell out of the house. I added some escarole to my packets last week and it was great.

I usually buy approx. 1.5 pounds (for two adults, one 7 year old and one 1 year old) of firm white fish (often haddock). This is usually 2 pieces of fish, that I get with no skin on. I often make it two ways. One packet is Asian inspired, the other Mediterranean inspired.

First I mix up my flavorings in little prep cups. For the Asian fish I use minced garlic, fresh ginger, soy, sesame oil, and canola oil. I would add sesame seeds, but the 7 yr old doesn't like them. For the Mediterranean fish I use minced garlic, parsley, oregano, olive oil, and the juice of one lemon or lime. I am often told by the 7 year old that this is too lemony for him--but he eats it, and I like it that way.

For each packet: I wash and chop the escarole. On the heavy duty foil I drizzle oil (olive or canola depending on the packet), and mound up the chopped escarole. On top of that goes the fish, then I pour the sauce over everything. Seal tight and bake for 15 min in a 500 degree oven, or on the grill. I serve it with rice.

Summer CSA

And now for some non-knitting content.

For years I have been intrigued by the idea of joining a CSA, but just never got my act together. Well, I can't say that I got my act together this year, but I did get a chance to join. My son's first grade class had a field trip to the local organic farm and I tagged along. While there I inquired about the availability of the CSA, and I left a message. Someone called back and let me know they had some unofficial openings, and that I could join. So we did.

The trick now is using everything that we pick up. We don't have to take everything and items can be donated to a local food pantry. It has been a good way to get out of my cooking rut and the veggies have been yummy. So occasionally I will post what I've cooked to remember all the yumminess--though I can't guarantee pictures, since these items don't stick around very long :)

Today we made Kale Chips. The recipe was on a hand out at the farm. Normally I saute kale with minced garlic, olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar--but this was a big hit. Kale chips look a little weird. Surprisingly they do not stick to the cookie sheet. I think I oversalted mine, but they were yummy and they reminded me of toasted nori. The 7 year old loved them--while cooking the smell reminded him of spinach, which he likes a lot. Even the 1 year old ate them! They do not hold well, especially if it is humid. We were imagining using this as a crunchy component is an otherwise softish plate of food. Maybe on top of some mashed potatoes.

One important note if you make these. Put only one layer of kale leaves on each cookie sheet. Otherwise the kale stays moist and does not crisp up. If you try it I'd love to know what you think, and pass you comments on to the original poster (see link) also.

Surprise Birthday Shawlette

Two of my good friends turned 40 in June, within days of each other. In late May I received an invitation to a surprise party for one of them. Though her husband let us know that no gifts were necessary, I thought it would be nice to make her something. So with three weeks to work with, I dug into my stash and started a shawlette.

I found Brown Sheep Wildfoote in blue blood red and decided on the Mezquita Shawl. I had never made it before, but it looked pretty and straightforward, so off I went. I was able to finish the shawlette in time, and I think the recipient really liked it. Not bad, considering how little time I have to knit these days.

I enjoyed making it enough that I started another one, for my other friend. Of course that one is late, but it is coming along and should get sent out pretty soon.

For the red shawl, my only mod was to make it wider. I did this by (eventually) knitting only 3 (rather than 4) stitches after the p2tog (or ssk), and before the turn.

In the current shawl the only additional mod is to slip the first stitch after the turn. The current shawl is also made from stash yarn--I'll get up some pics once it is done.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

NH Sheep and Wool 2011

So many wooly things to write about and so little time. NH Sheep and Wool was last month, and we had a lovely time.

The plan was to take the boys on Sunday and have a nice leisurely day to see everything. Our Saturday afternoon was fully booked. But as luck would have it, the weather for the weekend was iffy, with the worst of the rain forecast for Sunday. So I got everyone up and ready as early as I could on Saturday (which was not all that early) and headed up to Contoocook NH. I raced through what I could. My goal was to avoid buying yarn and see what interesting spinning fiber I could find. My older son wanted to see the sheep dogs.

We saw some cutie sheep and alpacas, and some sheep dogs trying to herd. One additional difficulty was in my rush I forgot to bring much cash, and I didn't want to use the ATM at the fairgrounds. So I was limited in my spending. I could only buy fiber from sellers that accepted credit cards.

In the end I found Dianne from French Hill Farm in Maine. They have Coopworth sheep and she had 3 one pound balls of roving in a basket. I debated whether to buy one or two. Dianne offered all three to me at an excellent price. I came home with three pounds of Coopworth. Here is what they look like with a business size envelope for reference.

My long term goal is to spin enough to make a sweater. I did a test run and spun up about 40 yards. My 2 ply is a light worsted and knit up surprisingly soft. I hope to start plugging away at this project, but I've got a few others currently in the works that need more immediate attention. I've got a lovely superwash merino/bamboo/nylon blend from Sereknity that I have working on. About 3/4 of it is singles in a plying ball ready to become 2 ply. I'm hoping this will be a light fingering weight. We'll see how it all works out.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spin, spin, spin

Very little knitting action, but I have been spinning. It is the sort of thing that is easier to pick up and put down at the moment. No need to count where I am or figure out what I've done. I can just pick it up and go, and put it down whenever I need to--no need to get to the end of the row.

So, I mentioned another spindle in the last post. Here it is.

This is a trindle!
In April trindleman was offerring a special--where I received an extra set of arms. Yes, the arms are removable from the shaft. You can change them up, and they come in different weights. The pair I ordered were a midweight (below), and I requested a lightweight (above) for the extra set. The shaft is nice and long and it spins very nicely.

Trindleman is offerring another special in May--who knows I may end up with some more trindle gear in my collection.

I actually even finished some yarn. Here is the Frabjous Fibers that I have been working on for ages! About 175 yards worth--please don't laugh at all the miniskeins, I'm getting better at all this, but slowly.

I have also finished spinning 4oz or so of BFL that I hand dyed with Kool Aid. While the fibers looked nice as fiber, the spinning of it muddled up the colors. Live and learn. If I do any more dyeing I will stick with a more tonal palette. I haven't set the twist on that yet. I'll get some picture up once I do that.
Also for a future post--NH Sheep and Wool 2011!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Down the slippery spinning slope

I've had a couple of student grade spindles for a while and every so often I spin with them, but didn't get really excited about it. More recently I have been reading more of the spinning and spindling forums on ravelry and I got the bug to get another spindle. After a bit of searching around I ordered a Golding.

She is a beauty and a pleasure to use. Quite different then the clunky spindles I had (which are perfectly fine and weigh about 1.5 oz). The one I got is a 0.75oz carved in the tsunami design. She spins and spins.

Here I am giving her a test drive en plein air on the day she arrived.

For school vacation week we took a few days in NorthWestern MA/SouthWestern VT (where we drove through a snow squall by the way!). This was spitting distance to the farm where the Goldings are born and I was in touch with them about stopping by, since they have a showroom and open their workroom to the public. But alas, the baby was just not holding it together, and it would have added too much driving time for him. He seems to have a 2 hour limit before he loses patience. Maybe lucky for my wallet that we could not go--I'm sure I would not have walked out empty handed.

And would you believe I ordered another spindle since then. But I'll save that for another post, when I've got some pictures.

Brother Slug

Well my first slug was so cute I just had to make another.

I also wanted to make Easter bunnies. I made one and didn't love it--but it did end up in an Easter egg for the baby. He just stuffs it on one of his toys (with the slugs) anyway.

And how do you like my tangled Easter egg?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Slug Love

I don't knit softies. I can only remember having made one toy, a little bear for my nephew. It was so fiddly, and seemed to take a long time for something so small--though he was pretty cute. So I don't know how I got sucked in by the slugs!
Here is my first.

I've already started another!

What a fun way to use up bits and bobs of random yarn--of which I have plenty!

Garden Slug by Kahra Grae
from Cheezombie on Etsy

Friday, March 18, 2011

Baby Birthday Socks

It has been over 2 years since I knit a pair of socks! I know, crazy. The last year has been light on knitting, but I don't know what happened the year before that. In any case, I've eased back into sock knitting.
I knit the baby some birthday socks--I did the same for my older son. They were infant sized and worsted weight and so were lighting fast, even without much time to knit.

I even got to use my new Knitpicks Harmony needle.

Needle US 7 - 4.5 mm
Yarn Adriafil Knitcol Trends

Yarn Crawl 2011

Last week was the North Shore second annual yarn crawl. I had fun visiting some new (to me, and just new) shops and old friends. Got a few lovely goodies for knitting and weaving.

Last year I was way pregnant and did not venture far from home. This time I dragged a nearly 1-yr-old all over the place.

Today is warm and windy. I washed my winter sweaters--they really needed it--with my new Soak wash, and they are outside drying.
I even used some of my yarn--check out the next post.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

More weaving

I finished another project on the loom. Although this was supposed to be a stash busting machine, I find I am buying yarn and stuff to use for it. Another black hole of crafting.

I finished this scarf for J.

Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool
2.25 skeins = 432.0 yards (395.0m)
Colorway: Thundercloud

And I bought a sewing machine to hem my ends.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Cricket

There has been some knitting here, but today I will be posting about another fibery interest of mine. Back in August I purchased a Cricket Loom at the Fiber Revival, from Loom with a View.

It took me months to find the time to put it together (assembly time less than 30 minutes), and then months again to get my act together to get a warp on (um, more than 30 minutes, because I need to watch the YouTube videos over and over because I must understand before I do), but we finally got a project going, and finished very quickly.


It is just a little blanket for Stitch.


It has all sorts of errors, mostly due to my tension issues putting on the warp, and the pattern and how that affected the tension on the apron--but it was a lot of fun, and I'm trying to find the time to get another warp on for a real project. This time a scarf, using Silky Wool. I had planned on using the yarn to make a scarf in linen stitch--but since I have the loom now, I might as well weave it. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Look Back at 2010

2010 was not much of a knitting year for me. The biggest FO was a little human--and of course the delivery was only the beginning.

In 2010 I only finished nine projects (!)

1 sweater
1 hat
1 wrap
2 shawlettes
4 diaper covers

Three of these items were for me--33% (not to bad considering one was a sweater).

I'm slowly getting back in the swing of things, and at least planning projects. Maybe I will learn to crochet in 2011 (don't hold your breath).

In any case, looking forward to what the new year will bring.

Now it is time to clean Cheerios up off the floor :)