Monday, October 30, 2006

Meet the new addition...It's a Girl! (and a contest!!)

hehehe...oh, don't act surprised! You knew it was BOUND to happen. Yup, got me a bunny -- 3mo. old 75% German angora/25% satin angora (approx. lineage -- didn't really care once she tucked her forehead under my chin! eeeeeeeee!). the whole story? Well, Gina (check her blog for more pics of our day) and I took a trip to Ackers Acres in New Gloucester, Maine -- home of the fabulous Bunny Blend yarn and it's lovely proprietor, Beth Ackers, and her many BEAUTIFUL bunnies. I had pretty much reserved myself to being a grown-up and just going for the fiber, info, and yarn, and waiting for the bunny until I was truly ready -- but then hubby said "why? What's the big deal?" HA! Silly man. After 12 years, doesn't he know not to give me even a smidge of a loop-hole? I mean where does he think our son gets it from???? Anyway, we walked in to see a cage full of lovely palm-sized baby bunnies (3 weeks old -- can u stand it?) And I turned to Beth and said "Where are the bunnies for sale?" It was all over. This little charmer stayed contentedly in my arms for over and hour -- I never even bothered to hold another. Guess there is something to love at first site, huh?

Now don't despair -- there certainly will be more pictures. The cats and dog are jus t going CRAZY trying to figure her out, but my camera batteries are giving me a hard time, so they may have to wait 'til tomorrow. Until then, I NEED YOU HELP! My little darlin' has NO NAME, thus we have the "NAME THAT BUNNY" contest. This is open to all bloggers and non-bloggers, but you have to hurry and get me you submission! I will be going away on Friday and would like to have the results in before I go, so you need to LEAVE A COMMENT WITH YOUR NAME CHOICE BY WEDNESDAY, NOV. 1ST. The top three winners will be announced on Gina's next podcast, as well as by e-mail so be sure you leave one for me. Oh, and let's try to stay away from the "Fluffy"'s and "Flopsy"'s, hm? 3 prizes will be awarded for the top three names as voted on by myself, my children, and hubby. (I won't guarantee that the top name will be used as we may come up w/something on our own, but for now, your guess is as good as mine! HELP!) More bunny pics and fiber news later. Let's get those names rollin'!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Girl's Lacy Rib Hat (Formerly "Holy crap! Another FO!")

The girl's lacy rib hat has been re-worked and posted here in a light worsted weight. For the editted heavy worsted Lang Tosca version, read below.
That's right folks, you heard it here first! Heather HAS in fact finished another knitted object in the same week. We're setting records now! The object in question is the adorable (if I do say so myself) little hat knitted for Rachel from Lang Tosca yarn. Lovely colors. I pulled the stitch pattern from one of my many stitch books. I hope you don't mind the self-indulgent photo display of the beautiful little girl wearing the hat.

And now for the FREE PATTERN: (edited to include gauge info 11/12/06)

Girl’s Lacy Rib Hat w/ Picot Edge
Pattern written by Heather Spellman for Sereknity Knits
This hat pattern is worked from the bottom up, starting with the picot edge and was designed to fit my 7 year old daughter. Stitches from the cast-on edge will be worked into the picot edge leaving no finishing to be done. This is a fairly quick and easy knit. Skills needed are familiarity with circular knitting, yarnovers, and decreasing. If needed, add a few extra pattern repeats before decreasing to get larger size. The circumference is large enough to fit this adults head, so the only adjustment should be to the length.

1 Ball Lang Yarns Tosca, 55% wool, 45% acrylic, 92 meters or approximately 100 yards; or equivalent weight (heavy worsted) yarn
12” Addi Turbo circular needles, size 8US
One stitch marker

Gauge: 18 stitches and 30 rows over 4 inches in pattern stitch

Definitions: K2Tog = knit two stitches together
Skp=Slip the first stitch (knitwise) to the righthand needle, knit the next stitch, then slip the slipped stitch over the knitted stitch and off the needle. Decreases one stitch.

Cast-on 90 stitches, place marker, and join in the round, being careful not to twist. (I used the long-tail cast on.)
Rows 1-3: Knit.
Row 4: *K2tog, yo, repeat from * to the end.
Rows 5-7: Knit.
Row 8: Fold work under at YO row and begin knitting, knitting both the stitch on the left hand needle and picking up stitches from the cast on edge, knitting both together at the same time. Knit all stitches on the needle and cast-on edge together in this manner.
Row 9: Knit

Begin Lacy Rib Pattern stitch as follows:
Row 1: *k2, p, k2, p, yo, skp, p, repeat from * to the end
Row 2: *K5, p, k2, p, repeat from * to the end
Row 3: *k2, p, k2, p, k2tog, yo, p, repeat from * to the end
Row 4: *k5, p, k2, p, repeat from * to the end.

Work these four rows to end 8 times – a total of 32 rows. (edited 9/3/07)

Begin crown decreasing:
Row 1: *skp, p, k2tog, p, yo, skp, p, repeat from * to end
Row 2: *k3, p, k2, p, repeat from * to end
Row 3: *skp, k1,p, k2tog, yo, p, repeat from * to end
Row 4: *k2,p, repeat from * to end
Row 5: *k2tog, p, skp,yo,p, repeat from * to end
Row 6: *k1,p,k2tog, p, repeat from * to end
Row 7: *k1,p1, repeat from * to end
Row 8-9: k2tog to end

Cut yarn leaving a long tail. Thread tapestry needle with the yarn and thread yarn through all stitches. Pull opening tight to close, but not so tight as to cause the hat to buckle. Fasten and weave in ends. Voila!

Please contact me, with any questions or suspected errata! Thank you! I hope you enjoy this pattern as much as I did. (Editted to fix a small error.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

...and she even knits!

Finally! A finished object! After they were MIA for a few days (I had hurriedly stashed them in a closet while tidying for a family gathering and couldn't remember where in the world I had put them), I finally got down to finishing a pair of Smocked Gauntlets knit in 75% angora...mmmmm. They are so soft and comfy! Sadly, the fuzzy nature of the yarn somewhat obscures the stitch detail, but I like them just the same.

Also on the needles are the Haiku Flower socks designed by Gina for Black Pearl Yarns and the soon-to-open One Planet Yarn Store. Since she has been such a wonderful help to me in checking my patterns for errata, I agreed to "test knit" her pattern as well, and I am having NO PROBLEM whatsoever. Very well written, and it is actually a quick knit (I just happen to be slow at knitting them. Sorry, Gina!) Once this post is done, I plan to pick them back up and hope to get through the gussets at least. As cashmere was not in the budget and I want to be able to wear these socks frequently, I opted to knit them from Skacel Ecco in this fabulous eggplant color. I am quite pleased with how it is working up, and doesn't my new camera show the stitch detail nicely?

Finally, a little peek at the next design for Sereknity Knits patterns -- a hat for Rachel. Another for Jacob is also in work on paper. Rachel's is being done in Lang yarns Tosca -- a 50/50 wool/acrylic. Not super thrilled w/ the feel of the yarn while knitting (I swear I can feel the acrylic! OMG -- I am such a yarn snob. What happened to me??) but I think it will still be a soft hat and not itchy -- prime importance on a childs hat. I'd like to try a version of this with merino/silk and glass or swarovski beads, w/ a matching scarf. Maybe a kit? Have to the sock kits done first though, don't you think? That's the problem, the mind is always goign faster than my poor little hjands can keep up with! Anyway, here's Rachel's hat (lovely colors in this yarn, btw) after the picot edge and one and 1/2 stitch pattern repeats.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Feast your eyes...

Isn't it just fiberlicious? (notice my cute little doggie in the bottom corner?)I started dyeing as soon as the kids headed off to school and NEVER STOPPED -- not to eat, not to pee, nada -- until Rachel walked through the door at 3:20 (Daddy met her at the bus stop -- sheesh! what kinda mom do u think I am? lol) Feeling kinda giddy about all the work I got done, although that could be the wool and dye fumes. Hubby says the house was "ripe". Not really a fan. hehehe -- I probably was, too! As you can see, still had my pj's on at 4pm! Ya know how it is when you just get on a roll?

A fair portion of these yarns will be going to Lis of Yarn Botanika for the new One Planet shop which should be up and running soon. I'm so excited to be included in this venture! I'll be putting together some polymer Knittles today on my own hand-carved needles to send, as well as fill an order for llama needles. Once the yarn has dried, been re-skeined and photoed, there will be a big etsy shop update that will include a few sock kits, sock bag and marker sets, and both beaded crystal needles and polymer topped needles. We're getting there folks! Got my new camera, too, so I am hoping to be able to get some top notch photos with it and the lighting studio. Now if only the Sereknity web-site were ready...
Have I mentioned how my darling little Mouse likes to get in the middle of all my projects? I swear she was a crafter in a former life, I mean, SERIOUSLY, what is up with this? Here she is while winding yarn,

dyeing yarn,

and drying yarn.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mid-week Musings on knitting

I am at the point where ripping out a project is finally a very freeing event. I, as a rule, have far too many projects on the needles, and so very many more floating about in my head, that if an item is behaving in a less than satisfactory manner, it must needs go to it’s room until such time it decides to behave as all nice wool should. Sheep are timid creatures, prone to follow one’s lead, not ask too much or be too demanding. Doesn’t it stand to reason that we should expect the same of their lovely fleece? And don’t get me started on alpaca. Those big doe eyes that beg you to “love me, pet me, and I will be your eternal servant and beloved companion” how can they produce such an unruly offspring? It is a cruel trick of nature, to be sure. But, as any proper mother should, I will ignore the tantrums and not give weight to the silly antics of my yarn. I will quietly put it to the side, with a firm “I do this because I love you,” and wait for it to call to me, apologetically, hopefully, “Mommy? Will you come knit with me?” After all, I have big plans for my wool, and I will not allow it to cheat itself out of its full potential.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

RibZagger Socks -- Sereknity Knits FREE PATTERN

FINALLY! In honor of SOCKTOBERFEST, the new Sereknity Knit Sock Pattern, RibZaggers is complete! Keep a lookout for sock kits using this pattern in my etsy shop SereknityBoutique -- kits will include a copy of the pattern printed on quality cardstock in a protective sleeve, hand-carved DPNs, sock bag, and stitch markers. These will make a great gift for your favorite knitter -- even if that person is yourself! ;)

Without further ado, I give you the...

Rib Zagger socks, A Sereknity Knits Pattern,
by Heather J. Spellman
(pattern editted for erratta on 11/14/06)

Sock is designed to fit a womens medium, and has a good deal of stretch.

One skein (approx. 260 yards, 4oz.) Sereknity Sock Options Sport Weight yarn, pictured here in the Gothic Rose colorway
5 Size 3 double pointed needles – Sereknity Handcrafted needles used, 6 to a set

Gauge: 7 stitches to the inch on size 3 needles in stockinette

Using your favorite method (I use Long-tail or Continental) Cast On 56 stitches. Divide evenly across 4 needles (14 to each)

K2,p2 rib for 1inch

Begin pattern stitch:
Sequence A:
Row 1&2 – p1, k2,p1
Row 3&4 – p2, k2
Row 5&6 – k1, p2, k1
Row 7&8 – k2, p2
Repeat 1-8 one time.

Now, you will reverse direction…
Sequence B:
Row 1&2 – k1, p2, k1
Row 3&4 – p2, k2
Row 5&6 – p1, k2, p1
Row 7&8 – k2, p2
Repeat rows 1-8 rows one time.

Go back to the start of pattern stitch and work Sequence A (16 Rows).

Begin Heel Flap by working back and forth across 28 stitches on Needles 1 and 4. Allow the other 28 stitches to rest on needles 2&3 for working later.

Heel Flap.
To set up flap, knit across to end of needle one, turn work and purl across needles one and four. Continue as follows.

row 1: (slip 1, k1) repeat to end
row 2: slip 1st stitch, purl all across to end
Continue in this manner for a total of 34 rows, ending on a purl row.

Turn Heel.
Sl1, k16, k2togtbl, k1, turn.
Sl1, p5, p2tog,p1, turn.
Sl1, k6, k2togtbl, k1, turn.
Sl1, p7, p2tog, p1, turn.
Continue in this manner until all stitches have been worked, being sure to end with a knit row. 16 stitches remain.

PU 17 stitches along right side of heel flap.
Begin instep in pattern stitch for 1 row. PU 17 stitches along left side of heel flap. Knit 8, place marker. This is now the beginning of the round. You will work instep pattern at the same time as working the gusset decreases.

Instep pattern stitch…
Row 1&2 – k1, p2, k1
Row 3&4 – p2,k2
Row 5&6 – p1, k2, p1
Row 7&8 – k2,p2
Repeat 1-8. (Sequence A). – 16 rows completed.

Row 1&2 – p1, k2,p1
Row 3&4 – p2, k2
Row 5&6 – k1, p2, k1
Row 7&8 – k2, p2
Repeat 1-8. (Sequence B). – 16 Rows.

Repeat all rows once again – total of 64 rows.

Gusset/flap stitches –

First round work through the back loop to reduce holes/gaps.

Round 1 -- Needle 1-- k to last stitch b4 instep, p1 ,Needles 2&3-- knit instep pattern, Needle 4 -- p1, knit to marker.
Round 2 –Needle 1 -- knit to last three stitches b4 instep, k2tog,p1, Needles 2&3--work instep in pattern, Needles 4 -- p1, ssk, knit to marker.

Repeat these two rows until 28 stitches are left on the heel needles, 1&4.

Work Round One until 64 Rows of the instep pattern have been completed.

Toe –

Knit all needles two rounds even (work all stitches as knit stitches.)

Round 1 – Needle 1 – knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1; Needle 2 – knit 1, ssk, knit to end of needle; Needle 3 – knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, knit 1, Needle 4 – knit 1 ssk, knit to end of needle.
Round 2 – knit all stitches.

Repeat these two rounds until times until 20 total stitches are left. Graft toe using the kitchener stitch.

Weave in ends and enjoy!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Freyburg, fiber, feet, and fingers

This past weekend brought about our last camping trip for 2006. We went back to our favorite place -- Four Seasons Camp Ground in Naples, Maine -- and from there spent Friday at the Freyburg Fair. What an amazing fair this is. IT IS HUGE. We spent six hours there (the we being myself, hubby, kids, and Amy, her hubby and 3 kids) and still didn't get to see everything. What we did see, however, was fabulous. Tons and TONS of animals -- oxen that towered over my six foot hubby, cattle of all breeds, goats, of which one almost found a new home with Amy and family, rabbits -- all of which I loved, although I desperately pine for an angora (JIm thinks they are homely. no taste.) And sheep. barn after barn filled with lovely sheep. OMG, are they the sweetest?? Sadly, my camera batteries were dying so I only managed to snap a few pictures. Seen here are a few, including some Jacob sheep.

We also came across a live demonstration of an old-fashioned still working smithy on premesis. Chris, of Manchvegas and Armed w/ Ponity sticks fame, and I recently discovered a common fascination with the blacksmithing trade, so this pic was for him. Yes, another media to be conquered!

I then found my way to the FIber Center. ahhhhhhhhhhhh Awesome. There was tons of fiber to be had, many many folk crafting, knitting and spinning away. My main aim was to make a connection with Beth of Acers Acres, as we have been discussing procurement of her yarns for sale on the Sereknity web-site. In addition, I am going to be heading to her farm with Gina for her annual Open House, where we can sit, knit, spin, tour the bunny barn, and learn all there is to know about these fabulous creatures and their fiber. I came away from her booth with some lovely angore/wool lend roving. Not a clue what I am going to do with it just yet, but it was a must have. The picture doesn't really show it, but the bright blue fiber is blended with a deep lavender purple. I can't wait to spin it. Also procurred from the center was the amazingly soft and fluffy cinnamon brown llama fiber -- 4.5 oz. -- that will become a scarf for hubby. My one disappointment with the fiber center was the lack of spinning equipment. there was none being sold that I could find. There were bags upon bags of raw fleece, but no cards to be bought, no bobbins, spindles or wheels. Had there been cards, I very likely would have been tempted to purchase the raw fleece. Maybe next year.

Also pictured with my newly purchased rovings is a batt of superwash merino, gifted to me by Gina and hand dyed by me. See any resemblance?

I can't possibly hope to compete with the beauty of nature, but I have no problem taking inspiration from it. I am dying to see how it spins up; I plan to spin this nice and fine for socks.

From there, we have another bit of fiber hand-dyed by me (4oz.) to be listed in the Etsy shop in the Vineyard colorway. I hope whoever purchases it will be willing to send a pic of it spun. I think it will be gorgeous. I have 20 oz. of a local Corriedale to dye, and a lb. pf BFL and a Lb of Border Leicester/Mohair blend on the way for dyeing as well. I'm def. going to have to save some for me. I recently spun a BL/MO blend to make Jacob's mittens and I absolutely loved it.

Now, for feet and fingers -- The RibZagger sock is finally done!! YAY! I plan to post the pattern tomorrow.

What a comfy sock. I am very pleased with the outcome. I also, prompted by 50 degree mornings at camp, cast-on for a pair of Smocked Gauntlets, these in Louisa Harding Angora (75%angora, 20%wool, 5%nylon) in the most beautiful colorway that I picked up at Knit Wit in Portland, ME.
This is so amazingly soft, I can't wait to have them done. The one problem I am having are the ladders -- I am using Magic loop to knit two at a time, but I wonder if the problem is more the yarn than the technique. I am not experiencing the same problem with my Jaywalkers (wool) and I wonder if it is because angora lacks the elasticity that wool has. Thankfully, the fuzziness and the varigated colorway camoflage the laddering well enough that it shouldn't bother me when I wear them.

Until tomorrow!...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

New Needles and yarns

Here is a little peek at what I put (and will be putting) on the etsy site today...
Harvest Moon and Romance...


and Rock Lobster...

all in sport weight -- great for the Smocked Gauntlets and the new sock pattern coming. (I swear! It is! Really!!) And then there is the delectable Vineyard in Fingering weight...

I also finished up this batch of hand-carved needles w/ swarovski crystals...

I'm not sure how I feel about the numbers on them -- I got a wood burning tool and wrote the needle sizes on the needles, but the REALLY look hand done with hat on there. Does this ruin them? PLEASE give me some feedback on this. I'm not sure what to do. I really want to put sizes on them but frankly, my writing stinks. Help!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Socktoberfest begins!

It is the first -- err, ummm, I mean the second -- day of SOCKTOBERFEST! (The weekend didn't count, right?) Hooray! To celebrate, I thought I would show you a bit of what is on the needles that I intend to finish up during this fine fiesta.
Here we have the three most current projects – my first pair of Jaywalkers, knitting two at a time using the magic loop technique (also a first); Rachel’s Butterfly Bows Anklets, knit in her self-dyed yarn; and the new Sereknity design to be dubbed Rib-Zaggers that I hope to FINALLY finish and publish free to the blog this week. Just a few more inches to go!
And as for Rachel’s socks, there will be a bit of froggy action soon – notice anything wrong w/ this?

I guess I should have checked a little closer b4 moving on to the heel flap, huh? I had actually lent this sock to a friend at Manchvegas who had finished a project, had nothing to work on, and is waiting very VERY patiently for the Rib-Zagger pattern to start socks in her “What else? Watermelon” yarn. Sarah had never knit on dpn’s before, and had never knit a sock, so I threw her to the wolves! As I left her no copy of the pattern, she took a guess on the length, and it looked good to me, so I didn’t check either! Oh well – it served it’s purpose!
In other news, I also FINALLY listed some new yarns in the Sereknity Boutique today. I am quite pleased with the colors, and have some more drying on the porch to list in a few days. Very yummy if I do say so myself. I have a bunch of needles carved and ready for finishing as well, so I hope to post a few kits and some beaded/crystal needles. I’m also very excited to say that I’ll be compiling my first wholesale order to ship out in a few weeks – more on that and where to find everything soon!
And why does it take me so long between posts? Well, there is always something happening here at the Sereknity household, but this weekend was a banner one. The kids stayed with my mom while hubby and I – well, hubby really (I got dizzy spells and had to bow out) – worked on my new workroom!!!! (Can I call it a studio?? Is that too pretentious?) He informed me that some pics had better make it to the blog, so here they are…

The last is a bit scarier, but it really isn’t too far from completion. Jim has to rig the wiring for the lights and then we have to hang the sheetrock for the ceiling. I’ll do the taping and plastering (Jim hates finish work) and the oil tank at the far end will be hidden by wall of bamboo shade panels. I’m trying to decide on a wall color. I don’t want anything too loud because – as Jim pointed out – I don’t want any color reflection distorting my work. Besides I’m shooting for something a bit more Zen-like. Benjamin Moore has a great color – Quiet Moments,which is similar to this, but lighter...

I really like it but I’m not sure what the distortion would be. It is between that and a nice soft beige – something like this…

Any opinions?