Spring Forward socks

31 August 2009

Spring Forward socks for me!

toe-up heel flap from Sensational Knitted Socks

toe-up heel flap from Sensational Knitted Socks

interesting heel flap shaping fits really well

love them!

love them!

Pattern: Spring Forward from Knitty
Yarn: Socks that Rock in Pease Blossom (from a swap with Zonda)
Needles: 32″ size 1 Knit Picks Options
Started: mid-June
Finished: mid-July
Mods: worked toe-up; used heel flap from Sensational Knitted Socks; 1 x 1 ribbing on cuff; sewn bind-off.


The haul

15 July 2009

Looking back at what I purchased at the Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival, it doesn’t seem like much. But a couple of my goodies were big ones.

The basket is hand made and is quite large (13.5″ tall x 18.5″ wide). I loved it immediately and had to have it. I love that it has multicolored bits running through it. The handles are lime green leather, which I also love. My plan is to put my spinning stuff in it. With the handles, I can take it along with me if I choose.

The other thing in the picture is a big bag of hair. I’m not really sure what I was thinking when I bought this one except that I really loved the color – deep charcoal with bleached tan tips.

My adventures in spinning have been short and frustrating, so I am well away from the point where I can process my own fleece. I’m thinking of sending this one back to the farm where it came from for processing. They have a mill and can turn it into something I can spin.

Let me tell ya, when I brought the bag of hair into the house, the cats were all over it. Cleo spent a good 15 minutes sniffing every square inch. Once they had scoped it out I was pretty sure they were just leaving it alone. Then I found a hole in the bottom of the bag with a clump of fiber pulled out. I had to find a hiding place for the bag that the cats couldn’t get to so that they’d leave it alone.

Anyway, the other things I bought were 8 oz of a spring-y green Coopworth…

and two skeins of sock yarn…

That’s 430 yds of wool/nylon, each, by Sandy’s Palette. It’s a singles yarn, so should be interesting to knit up. When I saw that these skeins were $12 each, I told Wendy to pick out a color and I’d make her a pair of socks. The lighter blue is for her and the darker is for me.

So that’s it. Not much, but that basket is a nice souvenir.


Iowa Sheep & Wool

22 June 2009

Weekend before this past weekend, my sister and I took a road trip to Iowa for the Iowa Sheep & Wool Festival. The original plan was for my aunt J to go with us (she’s a spinner and a weaver), but she ended up with a scheduling conflict. So, we sisters had a little weekend trip, just the two of us.

We both took Friday off, so we were able to leave town a little after noon. Wendy drove my car, as she loves to drive, and I love to make other people drive so I can knit. She had already checked the route and made some notes on where to go, but I set up the iPhone GPS to see how accurate it was. It did pretty well. Got us all the way to the hotel in West Des Moines without any problems. It took us about 4 hours to make the drive. A big rain storm hit right before we reached the hotel. Once we arrived, we ordered some Chinese food and hung out in the room until bedtime.

The next morning we headed out for the festival, which was in Adel, Iowa, about 20 minutes west of the hotel. Thankfully, the rain had stopped overnight. It was pretty cloudy but that meant it was nice and cool.

Having only been to one other fiber festival before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Turns out that though I thought this would be a large festival, it wasn’t. Not by a mile. The fairgrounds where the festival was held were not that big – there were a lot of buildings but not a lot of activity. One building was holding classes; one building housed the sheep-to-shawl competition; another building had the fiber vendors; and another one had some animals.

We walked around and saw some sheep. There were black sheep.

Horned sheep (okay, I know it’s a ram. I think. Right?)

Brown sheep.

Bald sheep.

And little baby cow sheep (Yeah, there’s no such thing. But they look like cows with the spots, you know?).

You get the idea. There were lots of sheep.

Anyway, after seeing the sheep, we had lunch. Or rather, we attempted to have lunch. The only food vendor was this one selling various lamb items – lamb burgers, lamb brats, lamb burritos, lamb jerky, etc. I decided to try a lamb cheeseburger and Wendy tried the lamb brat. Big mistake. Unless you like lamb. Very gamey. Not so yummy. Not sure I’ll get that taste out of my mouth any time soon.

Bad lunch got me in the mood to shop, so we headed over to the fiber vendors. I ooh’d and ahh’d over all the soft and pretty fiber. Wendy pissed off one of the vendors when she accidentally knocked over a rack containing pamphlets (the woman was not nice about it even though it was an accident – needless to say she didn’t get any of our business). After making the rounds of all the vendors and pricing everything, I made some purchases, a couple of which were definitely impulse buys. I’m hoping the buyers remorse stay away.

After shopping, we had pretty much done all that we could do there and decided to leave. It was a little after noon at that point. Our original plan was to stay Saturday night and drive home Sunday morning, but after finishing at the festival so quickly we decided to head home. Thankfully the hotel let us out of our reservation for Saturday night.

We did a quick bit of sight-seeing on the way home and I’ll share those pics in a later post, as well as pics of the fiber/yarn haul.


He so stupid

16 June 2009

I was getting ready for my trip up to Iowa last Friday when I heard a crinkling sound coming from the living room.

tangled kitty

Um, yeah. That would be Tony, my stupid little booger, and that’s a Kohl’s bag he’s stuck in – one handle wrapped around his middle and a foot sticking through the other handle. I wish I had taken a picture of the “What Ma? I not doin’ nuthin’!” expression on his face. Tsk, tsk, tsk. And, yes,  I did dispose of the bag after detangling the dumbass.

Stay tuned for a report from the Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival…


I’m 35

2 June 2009

My birthday was last Thursday. The big 3-5. Ugh. I feel old. And yet not, at the same time.

I had a great day at work, if an unproductive one. There were two cards waiting for me in my office when I arrived in the morning – one from Shane and one from BB. He also left me this really cool picture that he and the boy had taken of themselves in a photo booth at the mall last week. One of my coworkers made this really amazing teddy bear cake. And, I had lunch with my two closest local friends.

Shane took me out to dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse. It was quite yummy. I love a steak, but I much prefer if someone else cooks it. After dinner we went to Best Buy to pick up a car charger for his birthday gift to me – an iPhone. I’ve had it for close to 2 weeks now and it has quickly become my best friend. I lurve it.

I learned Saturday morning that TechGirl had called in a gift certificate for me for at Yarn Barn. So that afternoon I did a little shopping for myself. After much consideration, I bought this lovely stuff:

That is Punta Yarns Merisoft Hand Paint. Very squishy and soft. I’m not sure if the color will look good on me, but I don’t care. I’m planning on making Shawl That Jazz. I’ll need another 3 skeins for the project, but since they only had 3 skeins in the shop, I’ll have to wait until they get in another shipment.

Thanks TG!

I received quite a few other Yarn Barn gift certificates for my birthday, so I see a lot more yarn and fiber purchases in my future. Yay! I love guiltless shopping.


Grandma’s shawl

27 May 2009

When I gave my mom the Peacock Feathers Shawl, Grandma fell in love with it. She put it on and told me that I needed to make her something like it. Now, if you know my grandmother, you know that giving her an intricate lace shawl made out of 100% wool is just crazy. As a crocheter of lace doilies, she gets the lace thing. She appreciates the workmanship involved in creating such a lovely thing as lace. The problem is Grandma’s laundry habits. Everything is washed in hot water and dried in the dryer. When she had a yard, she hung the laundry on the line in the backyard, but that’s the only drip-drying she would ever do. The woman is hard on her laundry. Now, if you need to remove a 10 year old mystery stain in one wash, Grandma’s your gal. But she also has left a mass of felted wool sweaters in her wake.

Grandma turned 80 last Sunday. I knew I wanted to make her a shawl, but I had to carefully consider the pattern and the yarn. Initially, I thought superwash wool was a good choice. It would allow me to do a lacy pattern in worsted weight. The problem was that my LYS doesn’t carry any superwash wool suitable for this project. After using Vanna’s Choice for the Baby Surprise Jacket, I thought I’d look for some more of it in a different color for Grandma’s shawl. That yarn comes in a wide range of really nice colors. I settled on a lovely blue that I found at Michael’s.

Next, choosing a pattern. Since I would be using an acrylic yarn, lace was out of the question because of the lack of blocking ability. I spent several hours researching patterns on Ravelry and narrowed the search down to a few choices. The Landscape Shawl is what I eventually settled on because it had a lot of texture without much lace. So it wouldn’t bore the hell out of me, but was still simple.

Please excuse the kitties. They needed a nap. On the knitting. Right out of the dryer.

Anyway, I did something with this shawl that I’ve never done with a knitting project before – I faked it instead of purchasing the pattern. Normally I would buy the pattern, no problem. But this time I was really lazy. I didn’t want to hunt down the pattern at my LYS, and I didn’t want to wait for a hard copy to be mailed to me. So I looked at as many pictures as I could find and figured it out on my own.

Such tired kitties.
Such tired kitties.

The above photo shows the texture a little better. The bottom “V” is garter stitch. Above that is seed stitch. Above that is stockinette. Above that is moss stitch. The center triangle is reverse stockinette. A “V” of yarn overs separates each section from its neighbor.

And see this? It’s a picot edge.

A CROCHETED picot edge. Yeah, I rock. Never done more than a small bit of single crochet before. Armed with some awesome instructions in the last issue of Knitty (I love “Techniques with Theresa”), I grabbed a crochet hook and went to town. My hands hurt just a few inches into it, but I did it and it turned out pretty nicely, if I do say so myself.

And Grandma?

She loved it.


Sinus pressure

21 May 2009

Shane gave me the plague. Okay, not really, but he did give me a cold. My sinuses hurt and I can’t breathe. Whine, whine, whine (I do a lot of that, don’t I?)…

I will have an FO post for you this weekend because I’m nearly finished with Grandma’s shawl, but in the meantime, I give you kitties.

I have this stupid ladybug ottoman that is fit for the trash, but Shane had the brilliant idea to place it in front of the storm door so that the kids could look out at the birds and bunnies. They love it. And they’re so cute on it that I can’t bring myself to get rid of the damn thing, even though I really hate it.

Oh, and there was an arrival here yesterday…

More on that later. Right now I have to finish Grandma’s shawl. Her 80th birthday is this weekend and we have a crap ton of family coming into town for the event. I’ll be spending the next 2 days cleaning, cooking and baking. I’m tired just thinking about it. Oy.