Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Charity Knitting Hat #3

The charity knitting hat with ball of yarn.

Close up of the charity knitting hat #3
As you can see, I am being lazy on working on this hat.  I have managed a whole whopping inch and a half.  The yarn is wonderful to knit with.  It is a merino/silk/acrylic blend.  I wound out another ball of it just in case I need to use a second ball to complete the hat. 

I have managed something to show off.  It will have to wait until I finish the shawl and then maybe between me starting the scarf, it may get knit on.  I also have an afghan to work on and a pair of socks for my niece.  I bought seed beads today for those socks.  I am thinking it will look awesome to have beaded socks with lace. 

That One Damn Tomato Plant

We have a huge bed of tomato plants this year.  We have a total of 8 plants in the bed and I have one plant in a pot since we ran out of room in the bed.  There is one tomato plant that hasn't done a thing.  We were talking about ripping it out so, the other tomatoes can grow and get more light.  Well, today when I was picking tomatoes, what do I see?  That one tomato plant that was about to get ripped out of the ground is loaded with tomatoes.  I couldn't believe it.  It is a late bloomer.  It is also a heirloom tomato that I picked up at the local home improvement store.  No idea what the name of it is but, it is doing it's thing.  It also likes it hot.  We have had some serious heat indexes lately of 104 and more.  Just plain freaking hot! 

It is also fig picking time here.  Since I was picking tomatoes this morning, I decided to check out the fig tree, it is loaded with unripe fruit.  I have noticed the birds have snagged a few of the ripe ones but, I don't care this year since there is so much fruit on that tree.  Other years, the birds eating some has really ticked me off.  Not this year.  My next door neighbor has mentioned that she loves eating raw figs.  Well, neighbor, you are going to get some figs. 

I also started working on the shawl again.  I am changing to longer cords on a new set of needles.  I hit the Knit Picks sale and bought needles.  I decided to go ahead and get the really long cords since I am addicted to lace knitting.  Now I know why my MIL is crazy for lace knitting.  I hope to get this shawl finished in the next two weeks.  It is time for it to be finished. 

Have I finished charity hat #3?  No.  I haven't.  I haven't been knitting.  Instead, I have been spinning and checking out the beautiful fibers I have laying around.  I pulled out some Mountain Meadows Camino Range Roving Domestic Wool and started to draft it.  I am actually spinning it on a spindle instead of the wheel.  Why you ask, the wheel is loaded with another fiber.  The fiber on the wheel right now is Ashland Bay Mixed BFL 75/25 Roving.  Which means that 75% is ecru colored and 25% is natural black fiber.  It is cool looking and spins like butter.  I have plans for it.  So, that is staying on the wheel.  I am finding I need more spindles and more bobbins for the wheel.  I have the spindles, I just need to find them.  I lose everything or put it up so, I won't lose it and I end up losing it in the end. 

Anyway, the Mountain Meadows fiber is so springy and when I spin it, it is making some gorgeous yarn.  I can't wait to knit something amazing out of it.  I don't think I will ply it, either.  I am going to keep it as a single. Not sure if I will even dye it.  I love the natural color the way it is.  I might change my mind at a later date. 

So far it is spinning up as fingering weight.  I find I can spin a lace or a fingering weight easier than I can a worsted or a bulky weight.  Go figure.  No idea how this came about. 

I have a pair of socks I need to knit for a niece.  She asked me for a new pair.  I am going to be crazy by the time Christmas rolls around.  I thought about making all of my presents but, I am not sure about that one this year.  For some reason, I just can't get it together.
The fig tree.

The tomato plants, they stand about 7 to 8 ft tall. 

The shawl being moved onto 40 inch cords.

The bfl 75/25 fiber

The Mountain Meadow on the spindle

The springy goodness of the Mountain Meadow fiber

Monday, July 7, 2014

My Coupon is About to Expire

I belong to a 12 month fiber club, it was my present to myself for Christmas.  Well, any way, I shop at this one site and they sent me a reminder that my 45 points were about to expire.  Okay, I guess I will go see what I can find.  I found several fibers.  So, I put them in my cart, they gave me my spinning club discount but, they won't let me cash in my points.  I tried everything I could to use my 45 points.  I would have to put in a new order but, since I am in the fiber club, I wouldn't be able to use my points.  Pardon the language...how fucked up is that? 

My points will be expiring because I do not need any form of yarn.  I am up to my ears in yarn.  I am trying to use up my stash and not buy more yarn.  I am even using my stash yarn for charity knitting.  I am on hat number 3. 

The online store pissed me off so much that I went to another online store to get the spinning wheel part I needed.  I am not a happy camper over this.  Why won't they let me cash in my points and take my fiber club discount off of there?  Is that too complicated?  I don't need that 10% off.  I just want to use my points. 

I am still working on the shawl but, I am putting it aside right now to work on the charity hats.  I think this year, I am going to do just hats.  It may change and I might do some neck warmers.  The kids seem to like those.  Not sure about mittens or mitts right now. 

I need to get back to painting lace weight yarns.  I have had several requests but, lately I have been too lazy to deal with the heat and the dyes.  It is freaking hot outside, too and it just ruins the whole day. 

We have been picking tomatoes and fighting off the varmint who keeps eating our tomatoes.  We think it is a squirrel.  He loves to get underneath the bird and wild life netting and take out the black truffle tomatoes.  I don't blame him since they are so incredible but, come on, only eating half and then leaving it.  That ticks me off. 

It is also fig picking time.  So, I will be starting that this week.  Oh the joy of it.  I have a neighbor who loves them so, she is going to be getting some.  We gave her fig preserves last year but, she said she would rather have them fresh.  Not a problem.  She can have as many as she wants. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Charity Knitting and the Shawl

I am working on two items right now.  I have the shawl which is coming along nicely.  I am working on it when I can.  I also had to go in for a follow up for my three month blood work check.  I took along a hat that I am working on for charity.  I didn't want to drag along the shawl and the chart.  The hat is small and works out well. 

I love the new book.  I have several projects picked out from it.  Then I spotted them one day, while I was perusing seed beads.  I found some root beer rainbow seed beads and knew instantly what I was going to use them for and which yarn.  I have a chameleon orange lace weight that has been sitting around for a while.  I decided to use the unusual colored beads with the orange yarn.  It should turn out well. 

This week has been a visit to the vet for shots for my oldest doggy.  He is 13 years old.  He is my sweetie pie.  Then I noticed the hound dog who is 12 years old has skin issues so, he has to go in tomorrow.  He will have to have surgery to remove several large lumps.  Poor old guy. 

I don't know who will get the orange shawl or scarf and then I had an epiphany...I can make a scarf for charity in lace.  Some child will love it, I hope. 

I have a huge line of knitting to do for people.  I am taking a much needed break on socks.  I have one person who will get them later in the year.  I am thinking of re-working her pattern.  I can do that. 


Chameleon orange lace weight yarn

Root beer transparent rainbow seed beads

Beads and yarn together

The shawl on Chart C

Close up of the bead work on the shawl

 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Back to Knitting

I am currently working on a shawl.  I started it last week.  I am using one of my own hand painted lace weight yarns, this one is a bfl/silk blend in cherry.  It is various shades of pink and some red.  It is really pretty. 

I have a new book of shawl patterns and found one that struck me as gorgeous.  It involves beads and a crochet hook.  I have found my comfort zone with beads.  The crochet hook is the way to go since it does not weigh down the yarn as you are knitting along.  It is a simple method as well. 

I take my bead out of my seed bead container, take the crochet hook and place the bead onto the hook, then I grab the stitch and hook it with the crochet hook, slip the bead onto the stitch and then put it back onto my working needle.  Simple and quick if everything aligns, if not, start cursing, put the bead back onto the hook, and try again. 
My new book

My bead box, my sticky notes for my chart

My yarn, Cherry

Rose colored seed beads, rainbow finish, found these at Fire Mountain Gemstones

Chart A of Kodama

A close up of the bead work on the shawl
I love the bead box.  It means no fighting with the crap little bag that some bead stores use and I have to use one of my bead boxes to store the things. 

Anyway, the shawl is Kodama and it is from this book, see top photo.  I pre-ordered it when I received my birthday money.  People know what I like, cash, gift cards, yarn, and beads...those items can never go wrong in my book.  Fiber is also another thing I like...I have some fiber that I am spinning on my wheel and on one of my spindles. 

I work on my shawl at night when I am sitting in front of the television.  It keeps me occupied. 


I made a new necklace yesterday but, I forgot one bead and so, I have to rip it apart and add the bead and then go from there. 

I also made another necklace last week...my supply of necklaces is small right now, my basket of love was blown apart after Mother's Day.  I let all the mom's in the family take their pick of the basket of love and needless to say, there were hardly any items left in it. 
The pendant is a Lillypilly etched shell

The full necklace in pinks, roses, and turquoise
I used Czech druks, Swarovski, and other beads, that I bought recently.  I found a new bead store on line that has the most amazing beads.  They also sell Czech buttons, the glass ones that are really  nice.  I bought one of them and thought to go back and get more...uh, no more to be had.  Things go quickly at this bead store. 

I went to the water park last week with my hubby.  I spent my day in the lazy river.  It was nice.  I did swim some in the lazy river and even took a turn in the wave pool.  Love the wave pool.  I didn't ride any slides.  My left ankle was swollen and I have no idea what I did.  I wrapped it for 4 days and now it is back to normal.  No clue what happened with the thing.  No telling with me, either. 

Today I checked my pool chemicals and the water is still a bit cloudy but, not like what is was so, I went swimming for 30 minutes.  I skimmed the pool for some bits of grass and some bugs and did my laps.  I even used my new outdoor shower.  Hubby made it for me.  Love that shower.  Love that man.  It hooks up to the water hose but, after dealing with three previous outdoor showers....crappers all of them, I decided that it was time for something new.  He took pvc pipe and fittings, a primo shower head with the hand held line on it and voila!  I have a new shower.  He installed a new post for the shade sail over the pool and the shower is attached to this post.  He has to install the hook that will hold the shower caddy for my shampoo and my soap. 

I have another pair of socks on another set of needles but, I don't want to knit socks.  I want to knit lace.  I also have a hat on another set of needles.  Okay, two ufo's and the shawl, not bad for this knitter.  It could be worse. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Meagan Sock

I am naming my sock patterns after my sisters and nieces these days.  I have loads of both.  So, I started a new pattern for my niece, Meagan.  The first yarn I am using is my merino/silk sock.  It is the test knit of the pattern.  I love the pattern so far.  Meagan was over to pick up some things and she loves her pattern. 

She specifically asked for turquoise yarn.  I had to hand dye it.  So, I am going to knit her socks out of merino/nylon for better wear. 

I am using US 3 Addi Turbo Rockets.  The pattern is lace and the needles are so amazing!  My cables are 24 inches.  I have two of these needles and they are worth every penny I paid for them.  If you knit as much as I do, invest in quality needles, it saves your hands. 

The Meagan sock is very pretty and the pattern is easy to knit, it isn't a challenging one but, it makes such a pretty sock.  I love the way it looks on the foot as well as on the sock dummy.  I have given up on fancy heel flaps and use my plain old stockinette flap and I have found that more recipients of this heel flap love it more than the fancy stitches.  They frankly don't notice if I have used a fancy stitch or not.  As much as I like the look of the eye of the partridge, I don't even take the time to use it.  I have a basic Dutch heel I use and it is getting rave reviews.  It fits better is what I am hearing. 
It hugs the heel. 

Right now I am hooked on a 9 stitch pattern for my socks.  Hey, it is working out nicely.  I have a basic cast on of an even number of stitches, I have my heel formula written down and it works out nicely.  I just plug in the formula for my patterns and it works out great. 

I am whipping out nice socks with the help of Barbara Walker's Knitting Treasury books.  Well worth the time and effort it took me to find them all.  If you plan to design, invest in them.  They are a great read and a great reference when you need something out of the ordinary. 

I also peruse as many lace books as I can find to make beautiful sock patterns.  Sometimes they work out and other times, you live and you learn.  That is just the way it goes. 

The Meagan sock started out with one pattern but, then I had to rip it out because it didn't work.  I had to move two lace patterns around to make it work.  Now, it is really cool looking and I have plans to make more patterns from my current lace charts.  I plan on intertwining them.  I want to get the best look possible.  Maybe it will work or maybe it won't.  I am still thinking about them.  I know this current pattern, the middle chart is what I will be moving to other socks in my quest for the perfect lace pattern.  It is a beautiful simple lace.  Then again it might not work with Sabrina socks.  It is all trial and error. 



The Meagan sock top picture, in natural sunlight, middle picture, the pattern on the side of the sock and the top of the foot.  It also shows off the sock heel stitches. 
The last picture shows off the chevron pattern on the top of the foot. 

This is a fun knit.  I am working on the leg of the second sock.  Yes, I knit one sock at a time, I am not a two socks at one time knitter.  I love sock knitting, it is my relaxation method.  I also bead when I need more relaxation and sock knitting isn't doing it. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Charity Knitting Has Started

This morning a realization set in...don't you just hate it when they set in and you completely feel like an utter idiot?  Well, my realization of charity knitting is going to have to be done in between my current projects. 

I am currently doing a test knit of one of my sock patterns.  I have my yarn, my pattern, my knitting work book full of notes, and it is looking pretty cool.  I am using a beautiful blue yarn, it is one of mine, I generally do not use someone else's yarn unless it is one hell of an awesome colorway.  I am picky. 

Anyway, I have enough yarn and dyes around here that I can paint my own skein or hand dye my own skein of yarn, why buy it when I can do it? 

So, I am sitting here working on one of my charity hats, since I have two schools that I will be knitting for this year, I have a change of venue in one of them because they sent out this really nice book and our chapter was not even mentioned.  Excuse me, I spent all that time and effort and you don't even mention us?  Hello!  So, since they are so unappreciative and obviously do not want us to donate to them anymore, I am not going to.  I mentioned it to the ladies and they agreed with me. 

Apparently, they have two ladies who have been knitting for them for well over 10 years and did not think to mention our box of goodies.  So, I am going to move on to another school who hopefully, will be more appreciative of our efforts. 

I have loads of fiber that I need to spin but, apparently, sock knitting is what I really want to do.  Yep, you heard right, sock knitting.  I had taken a break from it for a while and now I am back to it.  I am a sock knitter at heart.  Something about a well knit pair of wool socks to make me so happy.  Yeah, I am the knitter but, that is okay because I love wool socks.  They are soft and keep my cold feet warm in the winter.  Nothing better than moving my toes around the inside of a pair of wool socks. 

For those of you who tell me, "you can't wear wool in Texas!", my reply, excuse me, yes we can wear wool down here because if you have never ever experienced a Gulf Coast winter then you have no idea what kind of fun you are missing.  The humidity plus the cold, killer!  Absolutely awful.  It goes right through a person. 

I am working on these new socks and I have one skein waiting for me to start my own Lipstick socks and another skein drying for a new pair of socks for one of the nieces.  I have loads of nieces.  I also have great nieces and nephews.  They travel in a pack like we did back in the day.  I have noticed though it is mostly nephews and the girls are losing ground in the family.  That younger generation is hell on wheels. 

I am not knitting for the younger generation right now...too many of the little darlings for me to keep up with.  They will get socks when their feet stop growing.  Then I will probably be in my dotage and knitting socks for them, anyway. 

Hopefully, by then my yarn stash will have dwindled into something manageable versus what it is now.  That is why I am trying to charity knit, to get rid of the yarn stash.  I also have mittens in the works some where along the path.  Scarves will be coming along as well.  I have plans for some lace knitting this summer and hopefully, I can whip out some shawls and stoles.  I have several patterns around here that I have been positively aching to do.  Just finding the time and the energy, that is the whole problem. 

For those of you who knit in the round on two circular needles, Addi Turbo now has the Rockets...love love love this needle.  Absolutely the best thing to come along for this sock knitter.  I love the sharp points on these babies.  Makes it so much easier to do a psso, ssk, and k2tog.  They remind me of the addi clicks with the long barrels and points.  I love those babies, too.  As much knitting as I do, I prefer to use my Addi turbo clicks.  I had to order in extra cords, since I am constantly knitting away with the things.  They are well worth every penny I spent on them.  They were a nice birthday gift one year to myself.  :) 

For UFO's...I have one UFO sitting around over here...the hat for charity is a work in progress and then I have the sock.  I am doing really well with that.  Today I have plans to organize my Willow Yarn Wash.  I have a huge stack of those babies that are being used to make a blanket.  My crochet stash.  I do not have the patience to sit and knit a blanket.  Uh, I would lose my freaking mind or what is left of it.  I have yarn for another blanket in Homespun.  It might be a nice present for someone who needs something to snuggle.  It might become a nice present for one of the older nieces.  The oldest niece, is always freezing cold in the winter so, I try to make it a point of making her things to keep her warm.  I know she is going to need another pair of wool socks to make winter bearable.  Just when I get one pair done, another pair is needed. 

Off to knit.  Everyone have a safe and wonderful day.  Happy knitting!