Monday, December 24, 2007

The force is strong with this one...

now complete and it is awesome! I am so stinking proud of this, I can't stand it. The score? Scully hat =done, R2D2 = done, MIL Mitts need 1.5 thumbs, mom's mitts need .5 mitt, sister scarf done, hubby's gran's mitts need mitt #2, still hoping to seam a sweater, too. Oh, and I have to wrap EVERYTHING.
Merry Christmas! (oh, and May the Force be with you...)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Look Ma, TWO hands!

That's right -- I did it! Two-handed knitting. Started this Sunday night, and I can't believe how quickly it is working up. This is for lil' bro Jason and next up -- hopefully to be cast on today -- is a hat using this R2D2 chart for my other lil bro, Zac. I really enjoyed the whole Fairisle, two-handed thing. When I did Jacob's R2D2 hat, I had to stop and switch yarns to throw and my floats ended up a bit too tight and puckery. Somehow, this was much easier to knit loosely and was just all around quicker and more pleasant to work. I can see a lot more colorwork in my future now! Don't count on me going Continental anytime soon, tho. The whole purling thing still mystifies me, and I have got reasonably speedy in my old way.
Oh, and at some point I'll finish my mom's mitts. I have until Christmas eve to see that side of the family, so I am feverishly making use of the time! As for lil sis, her scarf is done (OMG, I want it!) and I'll try to get some modeled shots once I weave in the ends. She is going to Aruba for Xmas, so I am going to give it to my mom for her before hand. Glad that one got done!
all for now -- back to knitting!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Still pluggin'

Still knitting along on gifties and otehr various small knits. For some reason all the "have-to" knits bring about a desire to cast-on other "frivolous" knits. Some sort of comment about my covertly rebellious nature, I would imagine. I have picked up lil sis' scarf once again (not pictured) and it is nearly done. Finally started the thumb on the MIL mitts, mitt #2 for my mom is underway, and in the meantime I have knit 2 pair of slipper socks for the kids -- Rachel's are pictured, but Jacobs came out a bit too tight, so I'll felt them for my nephew -- and two Calorimetries. Both are from my handspun. The blue/green one was left over from some wonderful Spunky Eclectic Brainfreeze I used for socks, but it is much too itchy for prolonged wear, but good enough to get me from house to the car until it warms up. The pink is a fabulous sparkly confection of BFL, silk, and silver glitz from Holly EQQ spun into singles. THIS one is soft and suits the girl beautifully, don't you agree?

No more excuses to avoid ponytails, either.
I hope to get a bit of a shop update done. Pictures must be taken first. Most of this weeks dyeing was done to fill orders, once again, but I HAVE YARN finally, so will get it wound off the cones and into the proverbial pot soon enough. I hope to reveal a new color soon -- OMG, LOVE IT!!! -- as well as my new base yarn.
We here in NH are gearing up for another lovely bout of snow in the form of a Nor'easter tomorrow, delightfully in time for the ManchVegas group's Holiday Party (at the gracious and lovely Gina's house). I am not pleased. Maybe we'll all be forced to stay the night and knit knit knit. That wouldn't be so bad, I guess. I'm bringing ALL holiday my projects just in case!
So, snow -- yeah, we've got it! Some pics from the bus stop...
(My house is on the right.)

Rachel felt this chunk made a rockin' guitar.

The bus was a good 1/2 hour late this day, so the kids got to get some of their snow fever out before school. They have been lamenting the fact that the have to head inside to the gym in the morning, rather than play outside. My guess is that the administration is not keen on having unprepared-for-the-snow children beginning their day cold and wet. This is New England people! Why can't people dress their kids for it? Ug. Off soap box....
And off course, the happy puppy pictures. Chewie went for a play date with Ms. Cocoa. (Tashi got to stay home warm and toasty. The little princess hates snow between her toes.)

After an hour of frolicking, leaving no inch of BIL's yard untrampled, THIS is what came inside...

Snow encrusted doggies! Chewie had snow balls hanging from every flank and bit of fluff -- butt, front leggs, tummy, chest. (If you look closely at the pics above, chewie is on his back, and all that snow is not flying up around him, it is attached ot him!) How do you get this off??? And Cocoa, well, I'll spare you the pics, but she had BIG snow balls where balls should not be on this sweet little girl!! She fared a bit better, thanks to her longer legs.

Monday, December 03, 2007


13 days since my last post?? I would imagine y'all are wondering if I had abondoned blog, knitters and knitting, but I assure you this is not the case. The hectic pace of the season is certainly keeping me from my computer and, well, I haven't really felt that I have had much blog worthy news to tell. (I have been, in the evenings, playing far too much Webkinz, however. Mea culpa!) The MIL mitts are done, sans thumbs. (I apparently have an aversion to thumbs. Rachel's mittens are still wanting one. Perhaps tonight?) I have put a sparse few items in the shop, as well as filling a few requests (Wild Side is huge! Can't keep that one in stock!)
My real thrill lately has been the mitts I am working on for my mom. At the start of my knitting career which was shortly followed by the start of my family camping adventured in Maine, I happily discovered a lovely little shop in Bridgton, ME and a locally produced yarn they carried, Bunny Blend from Acker's Acres farm. (I later bought my Lilah from this breeder.) This yarn is AMAZING (40% of her own angora, and 60% local, lovely, soft wool) and I made a habit of purchasing 2 skeins each time we visited. It has been marinating in the stash and from it I picked out some lovely soft pink to design fingerless mitts for my mom, at her request. I am thrilled with how they are turning out, and who wouldn't love knitting with this stuff??

I found this cable motif in Cables Untangled by Melissa Leapman. It looks like little stacked hearts, so what better motif for my mommy? I also felt it was substantial enough to hold its own with the fuzziness of the angora. When they are done, I'll be sure to share the recipe. I am LOVING everything about them, and am so jealous each time I slip them on my hands -- you know, to make sure the sizing is right. Thank goodness I still have 5 skeins in the stash! It has been a nice bit of cabling experience for me. In truth, I have only knit the simplest of cables, so it took me a bit to envision where I was in the chart and had to rip back and start over once as I had mis-crossed too many spots. On the re-knit, however, I found a mis-crossed cable 2 rows back and was able to successfully drop and re-knit. I love it when I can do that! THAT is when I know I've got a technique down. I had also gone into this thinking to cop-out on the thumb and just go with an add-on afterthought type thumb, but went for the gusset since the fit is just so much nicer. I mean, it is ANGORA people. It must be given its due.

She just better not felt them.
(The wonderful Julie nominated me for the Nice Matters Award. I'm so not worthy, but will do my best to do justice to the honor tomorrow. Thank you Julie! all I can say is, "No, you are!!" lol)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


(No, the mitts are not finished. Look at the pretty birdhouse. Move along.)
So while not much knitting is going on, we did have a busy weekend, with the kiddos graduating to the next level of their karate classes. The Girlie is now a blue belt and the Boy is a brown. A brown! My mom and good friend Amber came for the ceremony, and the kids were thrilled. As requested, here are some pics of my dangerous little duo.

And today, we not only received the first snow of the season, but this was also the first snow of Chewie's very short little life. I made sure to arm myself with my camera, fully expecting Chewie to approach this even with his customary delight and gusto. He did not disappoint.

Even his favorite stick was oh-so-much-better.

Tashi is not much of a fan of the cold white stuff, herself, and was less than enthused with the silly puppy's antics. She was happy to come in and warm her paws.

I do have an FO to share, that was actually completed at Grandview and never photoed. As I approached the toe on the second sock -- socks I had been knitting for quite some time FOR ME, that I had been dying to wear -- I had the thought that they would make a lovely gift for my sister. DAMNNIT! Why? I then felt guilty at the thought of keeping them for myself, depriving her of their wooly goodness. The languished in my bag for 2 weeks unworn, their fate uncertain. Yeah, I'm over it.

These were made with my Woolicious Superwash Falkland wool sportweight yarn. So warm and wooly and cushy. I've already washed them, too and they got even softer. mmmmmm (Sorry, Sis!)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Gettin' Chum-my...

Ok, so that was BAD. Real Bad. But seriously, I'm fading fast here and that was all I could come up with. So what is it all about? WELL, my shop was featured on Lime and Violet's Daily Chum as the Etsy shop of the day yesterday! YAY! Thanks to all the folks who visited as a result.
I also just posted my first official ad on Ravelry! I was quite pleased with the results, not being much of a computer aficionado (beware of falling understatements). Here it is...

I am slowly learning a bit of Photoshop, and with hubby's direction got the above ad done without a terrible amount of trial and error. This little software tool has become my best friend with shop photos, too. I can finally get my colors to look almost right! My purples LOOK LIKE PURPLE!!! Red is red, not orange! I used to dread the photo taking/posting regime, and while it may take me a bit longer to run everything through Photoshop first, it is so worth it.
There will be a fairly decent shop update today, mostly of the fiber variety. I'm low on yarn presently, but have some on order and should be good to go shortly after Thanksgiving. In the meantime, don't forget to head over to Woolgirl, Yarn and Fiber, and One Planet on-line for Sereknity yarns and goodies (see the links in the sidebar), as well as visiting Yarn Sellar (York, ME), Knit Pickings (Plaistow, NH) and Yarn and Fiber (Windham, NH) locally.
I am anxiously awaiting Knit Night at Y&F tonight! I miss my peeps! You see, I've been holding out on you a bit, my blogging faithful -- fear of $4 heating oil prices and the looming visit of that big guy in the red suit I need to subsidize has caused me to run out on y'all a bit. No, I am not simply living and breathing yarn, fiber, and color everyday. I am now a substitute teacher. LORD, I forgot how tiring teaching could be! I have had the pleasure, however, of subbing in my children's school, both days in the same 3rd grade class, and -- never thought I would say this -- I really enjoyed it. Maybe even miss teaching a teensy-tiny bit. (For those who don't know, I used to teach HS English. I honestly don't spread it around because people really scrutinize a persons blogging grammar so much more when they know, and I enjoy being lazy here!) The kids were cute and well behaved -- a testament to their teacher, the school run fabulously, and it was nice to walk down the hall and enjoy a sweet kiss from my excited 7 year old when he ran into me. Sadly, I subbed on Wed. -- knit night -- and then later in the evening wrangled my Brownie troop, and seriously? I was so spent by the time I got home NOTHING was pulling me out the door. So, tonight, watch out, folks, I'm makin' up for lost time.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Status report...

All other knitting has been paused in favor of Christmas knitting for the time being -- even Poppy, which is SO CLOSE. Lil' sis's scarf is 1/3 done, and I cast on mom-in-law's mitts as planned, and hope to get a lot further on them today while the kids are at karate class. So soft and pretty...

It is so dry now that I actually don't have nearly the sensation in my hands that I normally would, no matter how much lotion I apply. I so hate that about the cold weather. I'm working with cashmere, for goodness sakes! So cruel to take that feeling away. I expect these will be done by the end of the day (crossing fingers) and then I hope to cast on for the Mosaic Mitts from last years Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts issue. I did a bit of stash diving and will use some Knit Picks WOA and some newly purchased Ella Rae Classic.

The light blue and white I am planning to transform into EZ's Snowflake mittens from her Knitter's Almanac, but am still on the fence as to whether or not I want to over-dye the blue to more of an aqua/turquoise. I think time will be the deciding factor there.
In shop news, I've been poking away at the web-site to get the new colorways and all the yarn types listed in the dye-to-order section. You will soon notice some colorways will come with an additional option to choose "mild" or "bold" patterning in regards to how the yarn is dyed. Mild will have smaller color sections and less chance (always with the disclaimer in regards to gauge!) of pooling, whereas the "bold" patterning has longer color repeats that allow, based on gauge, for a nice swirly/stripey effect. I have had such a hard time deciding how to cater to all manner of tastes and thought that this just might be the way to do it. Now I just have to figure out how to post a gallery on the site of knitted objects so everyone can see the difference. Computers are not my forte, for certain.

Friday, November 09, 2007

of Halloween, Hackers, and Horrors...

So, yup, been a while. I can pretty confidently say you don't need nor want to know about everything that has happened, but I'll give you some high- and low-lights.
Halloween -- great fun. Ain't they cuties??

Daddy took them around the neighborhood with friends while I manned the door, after an hour of which I became paranoid that they were cold and called his cell phone to be sure I shouldn't hunt them down with coats. He laughed me off -- they were fine. Silly mommy. I was getting cold, however, sitting out on the porch, but at least I had my knitting.

As for hackers, well, some of the wildest and most fabulous (and ridiculously generous) knitters I have the pleasure of knowing and myself converged upon Grand View Lodge for a weekend of knitting, shopping, drinking and jell-o-shooting (yum), and encountered all kinds of horrors and mishaps. I, for my part, contributed to the weekend debacle by having my Paypal hacked into the moment I logged onto an unfamiliar and unsecure wireless connection. Yup, they cleaned me out. MAJOR KUDOS to Paypal, however, for speedy action. My account and money was restored by Monday evening. Definitely NOT the stress relief I was looking for, tho. You can read more about our weekend here and here. And there was more, but again, you don't come here for the horror. You just want the knittin'.
I got little done while away -- finished the Mystic Mountain socks pictured in the candy bowl above; got the duplicate stitch and bobbles on Jacob's R2D2 hat finished, and he now proudly wears it to school everyday; I have one last thumb to put on Rachel's mittens, started AGES ago; didn't get to start Hip in Hemp; I did complete one sleeve of Poppy and cast on the second. I did also buy some nice Lamb's Pride Superwash Bulky from the sale bin that is surprisingly soft and cushy. After a few tries at various stitch patterns, I settled on a reversible ribbed cable design on sz13 needles and I am really loving it.

This will be a Christmas present -- lots of those in the next few weeks, I hope. I am going to cast some mitts on today to alternate back and forth from the scarf, so I don't get too bored. I'm going to make some of my Smocked Gauntlets (see side bar) in Posh yarns cashmere from the stash for my mom-in-law. (Yes, yes, pictures later...)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

When good gloves (and socks) go bad

So, I did quite a bit of work this week (see the shop for updates) and I wore gloves, I swear,
but apparently they had holes. le sigh
I came up with a few more new colorways, and dyed up a few old favorites. First is Cowboy (already sold out!)

and Deep Forest (I love this one).

I also tried a new experiment with some lovely South African Fine roving -- Perfect Pairs. I took a semi-solid length of roving and paired it with a handpainted length containing the same color to sell as a duo. And of course, I picked my favorite colorway -- Pomegranate.

(There's only one of these pairings left, so grab it if you can!) I think this is something I'll definitely try this again. This roving is fabulous, soft, and very reasonably priced as well. I can't wait to spin some of this up for myself. But what colors?? Oh, the decisions....
On the knitting front, I still LOVE the Cowgirl sock -- she is beautiful, BUT I am struggling a bit with the pattern.

From my view, the pattern omits some helpful directions (such as stitch counts and "you should be here now" info)and for some very strange reason, although I am following the pattern verbatim, I am getting weird nubbins on my sock...

and ended up with awful holes where there should be no holes after my short row heel.

I am persisting, tho, as the still looks pretty nice on, but this may be the first sock I actually block (darn nubbins). Although I have knit a total of 7 short row sections, for some reason I can't do number eight right!! I have ripped it back 3 times now. No more knitting during the ball game, dozing off sitting up or knitting with screaming kids around. It, and I, am in a time out for today.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I couldn't resist...

But seriously, is this not the coolest sock ever?? I just had to cast on for the Rainbow Socks from this months Magknits in Sereknity Cowgirl Perfect Sock. I have spent DAYS trying to resist, but I just had to see if the marriage of this colorway and pattern would do what I hoped and it does! It is a very addicting knit, even with all the purling, and is going surprisingly fast. I am using size 2 needles (they were what I had available) and the fabric is soft and the size should be just right. Here a shot of the other side...

I am very definitely going to do 6 short row sections for the longer cuff. Back to knitting (and laundry -- tons of laundry. No dyeing until the machine is free. UG.) I leave you with one other irresistable...

ain't he the cutest??

Sunday, October 21, 2007

It's been a long week...

...of dyeing! I finally made some headway at getting the shop stocked, and had a minor burst of creativity so I came up with a few new colorways (these are all listed in the Etsy shop as I type)...
Fat Tuesday...


Bountiful Harvest (this was a tough one to name, with so many different opinions from friends)...

my favorite, Cowgirl,

and Maui Sunset (don't know how this pic got missed the first time around, but it is here now... ),

inspired by a photo sent to me by Donna.
I focused on the bit of color at the horizon, but may need to tweak it a bit for her. I love how this particular version came out, tho. I really like how the dark blue plays against the brighter colors.
And for good measure, I dye a couple skeins of Black Forest Fudge, my old stand-by favorite, since I was doing up some fiber for Knit Pickings as well. I'll also have this in merino/silk roving as soon as it is dry. (drool!)

In knitting news, I am cruising slowly along on Poppy's sleeves, and am feeling better about the striping as they develop. I'll spare you the pics for now, but will show more when they are further along. I did take a break from it to cast on Jacob's R2D2 hat yesterday and literally knit ALL DAY while sitting at the computer doing listings and Photoshop and was therefore able to cast off the main portion this morning. I fudged it a bit. I didn't want to have to go back and duplicate stitch the details on -- I know me, it would never get done. So, I instead knit it as a stranded piece (something I really want to get better at) and just used the existing charts for this. If you try the hat this was, make note that for some reason, the first 15 stitches are omitted from the chart (I used the adult large in a smaller gauge - more stats later). It got a bit sticky in the decreases, again -- it wasn't designed to be knit this way, but I managed it in a fairly presentable fashion. I also got nervous it wasn't going to fit, so I reduced the rate of decrease after a few rows. It shows a bit now while lying flat, but I am confident it will all come out in the blocking. It fits the Boy with plenty of room to spare and he is thrilled. Now, to just knit the little protrubing bits and the "eye" as a patch that I will sew on. (Another personal mod. If I had knit it in, I would have had to carry the yarn all the way around the hat to knit about 12 stitches. Not happening.) So here it is...

and you know what you really want, the inside...

how did I do??

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Executive Decisions

*** A note of thanks to all my friends and fellow bloggers who have expressed concern and support after my last post. You have no idea how much it means to me! I can assure you that I am OK; more importantly, my family is OK, and I will keep getting up each day and getting through. With the support of such wonderful people, I know I can make it. You are all the best! ***

Now, for the most important executive decision of late, not made by me, but by Ericka and Chris, I present to you some images from their big day...
There was a bubbling (and, thankfully, late) bride, caught by surprise in the back of the chapel. Were she not late, I would have missed the whole thing! Isn't she lovely?

There was a smiling and anticipatory groom (the way he looks at his beloved just slays me)...

There were knitters, knitting in the chapel, and later at the reception, as we were required to do...

A lovely couple and wedding party, the bride gorgeous in her hand-knit shawl...

Centerpieces, inspired by the bridal shower...

And the king of all wedding cakes -- a Whoopie Pie cake! YUM.

It was a perfect day for a perfect couple. I hear they are tearing it up in Disney, but -- horror of horrors -- can find no yarn! AHHHHHH!

In other, me-centric, news, I have made the long thought out decision to no longer re-skein my yarns. The reasons are numerous and varied, but I do feel ultimately that this is the right one for me. The debate rages on and on among dyers and customers alike, and while I often like the look of a re-skeined yarn with the colors broken up from the original hand-painted appearance, it doesn't seem to have as much impact on sales as one might think. At this point, I am looking at the time it takes for me to re-skein, not to mention the FRUSTRATION. My equipment, while faster than winding each skein by hand, it incredibly difficult, unreliable and fussy to use, and better models cost far more than I could even conceive of spending. Also, most of my yarns are now coming to me in cones, which I will be sending first to a mill to be wound off into 4oz. cones, cutting down on my time initially skeinning. All this means I can DYE MORE YARN. The Etsy shop has been a snore, as I have been spending so much time on wholesale orders. I really want a balance between the wo, and I want to be able to spend more time developing new colors. TIME. It all comes down to time. So there it is. And seriously, these still look nice, don't you think??

Oh, and here is a new colorway, Freyburg...

I have also made a decision to join the local Planet Fitness gym with a dear friend. I need it. It will be good for my physical and mental health, and while I could do without the initial expense right now, it is cheaper than therapy!
Look for more shop updates this week, as I have no outstanding wholesale orders and can concentrate on retail. I have soem sock bags that have been begging to be photoed for far too long, some hat kits, and lots and lots of stitch markers. I also have boat loads of fiber to dye -- merino/silk, merino superwash and non, South African, some tussah, BFL -- oh the fibery goodness! If there are any colorways you are hoping to see, shoot me an e-mail or comment. Direction is good.
Oh, and there has been some fairly significant knitting (I do still do that) on Poppy. The unevenness of the Noro stripes has been railing against my perfectionist nature, but I am persisting, trusting it will all work out in the end. The issue? No, I don't expect to have even stripes, but with the way the color sequences fall, it looks like the front and back are knit from too different yarns. I figure it will all come together when the sleves are added. We shall see. At least she fits well!

I am also having a bit of confusion at the shoulder directions, which call for some oddly stages decreases and binding off, but I think I am just going to leave them as is and graft together a the top, so I don't have seams. I'm a bit of a weirdo -- I love the kitchener stitch. I should have that completed today, and then cast on for the sleeves. I my actually get to wear this one this fall! WOW!