Saturday, May 29, 2010

plaid wool scarf!

A plaid wool scarf is just the thing for the weather we've been having lately - 85F and kind of sticky! But really, how many things that you make in the summer are actually for wearing in the summer - sometimes I think that's the best time for getting a jump on winter woolies. I'm not sure that's why I decided to set up my loom and make a plaid scarf, or if it just sounded like a fun thing to do - probably the latter! Now that I've made it I've decided that everyone in my family probably needs a plaid scarf for christmas this year! we'll see how that goes!

I did learn that you should not use mixed fibers for the warp (those are the bits that run lengthwise.) I used some cotton and some wool and duh, cotton doesn't stretch so the edges, where the cotton is, are tighter than the center which makes the whole scarf kind of bubbly in the middle, but when it's on it's not so noticeable. lesson learned.

Oh man, I've been making some adorable baby stuff because there seems to be babies everywhere lately (my newest nephew was just born yesterday!) but I'll just have to show them after gift giving time is over!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I heart aprons!

Today I made the apron from the fabric that Catherine gave me - it was surprisingly easy and sooooo cute!

I mean when in your adult life do you get to wear so many ruffles? never. add that to the "yeah for aprons!" list. Oh, and I totally have enough left over to make matching oven mitts! would a ruffle on the edge of those be too much? oooh, maybe a little one :)

Oh - I also finished the green cotton cardigan that should have been finished long ago!

I did sewn on button bands and added just one button to the top. It's just a simple top down raglan, but I love it and I know I'll totally wear it all the time!

It occurred to me that Father's Day is around the corner, so I started some socks for my Pop.

I'm using Knit Picks Stroll Sport and I cast on 54 stitches using size 3 needles and even though I'm doing a ribbed pattern (decorative rib, to be exact!) it seems a little big. I keep horrible notes on my Ravelry projects - and by "horrible notes" I really mean "no notes" - not a cast on number or anything! so every time I make him socks it's like starting from scratch! why do I do that? I have realized that his feet aren't much bigger than my own, and I tried on the leg bit that I have finished and I think it'll be ok. could probably be a bit smaller. I supposed starting over now would make the whole process quicker, but I don't want to second guess myself (and Charlene Schurch - I mean she does know socks!) All the other sport weight sock patterns that I referenced on Rav said to cast on way more stitches, so I think I'll just carry on!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fiber Festivals are fun!

well duh, fiber festivals are fun! they're also very easy places to drop lots of money! However, I got some great deals, so what was I supposed to do? This was the annual Upper Valley Fiber Festival in Troy, which is considerably smaller than the Woolgathering, but still fun. There were quite a few local wool and alpaca farms represented, which is always the biggest reason, for me, to go to these festivals! Although when I look at my haul, I got surprisingly little local stuff.

I picked up some bamboo circulars, which were nothing special - kind of stiff cords, but they were only $1.75! My knitpicks interchangeables don't come with 16" cords so I got a few common 16" sizes.

Then I got some black (natural color) fingering weight alpaca from Mount Ampato Alpacas - I think it'll make a great shawl (everything looks like a shawl to me now!) {hmmm something happened to my picture here - sorry!} I also splurged on a couple skeins of worsted weight natural colored alpaca and tencel from Cupola Alpaca Farm, and more specifically, from their alpaca "Libby" - I love knowing the animal's name!
I know this sounds stupid, but I really envision a big Shetland Triangle that I can use as a snuggly scarf with my coat in the winter.

Now I'll get to the real steal, and the booth that nearly killed the three of us!
This couple (I don't even remember seeing the name of the folks -Emily, Kamille, did you get a business card?) had scads of wool - all dk weight - in 100 yard skeins for $1.75 and then in 3lb bags for $12! That 3 lb bag was 2700 yards!! To make matters worse (well, worse in that they were so irrestible, but better because they were so very useable) the colors in each bag went together wonderfully - I got one bag with assorted greens just because it screamed out to be a striped cardigan! or two!
Then I got another bag just because I was getting a little hazy and I needed another.

Then I got some extra skeins because, I dont' know, I was getting really hazy and
I just wanted 'em! and they were $1.75.
It's not super soft stuff, but it'll probably get better with a washing and honestly I think it'll be fantastic for colorwork because you kind of want your yarn to be sticky for that. It's going to be months and months of fun for only $35! seriously? I walked out of there with 6000+ yards of yarn, and only paid $35! Oh, we also all got some felted soap - it's handmade soap with differnt colors of fiber wrapped around it - as you use the soap the fiber felts to the outside of it and it helps to make the soap last longer. Not something I'd usually buy, but we stood there and sniffedthe soaps so long I felt like we had to buy some!

The 4-H club brought out llamas just as we were leaving so we waited around to see them. we tried to pet them too, but they weren't having it.
I wore my Ishbel and got lots of compliments, but when people asked me about it, none of them seemed to recognize either "Ishbel" or "wollmeise" - words that I think everyone knows. To me, that's like not knowing what "kitchen" and "rainbow" mean. Emily took this picture to make it look like the llama and I were hanging out! I have a stupid look on my face, but apparently that's my "I like hangin' out with llamas" face. unfortunately.

OH, I almost forgot another exciting thing - I won a door prize!! this is my second door prize from UVFF! It's a gift certificate for a free handmade paper class from Paper Alice! I watched her do a demo and I think I could really get into it! Anybody want to come with me? It's $5 off if I bring a friend (that'd make the class $20)

Friday, May 14, 2010

freshest ingredients

I've always joked that it was a bad idea to join the "Destash" group on Ravelry, but I've definitely gotten some great stuff (and just for the record, I've sold some stuff I was never going to use too! My newest score is a skein of Wollmeise 80/20 twin! yippee! It was red, and on the low end of the price range for Wollmeise, so I jumped! Isn't she pretty?

And speaking of ingredients, I just got some non-knitting ingredients too! My friend Catherine got me this fabric because we share a love of aprons and she thought this looked like me, and also looked like it totally wanted to be an apron. With the green fabric for a pocket. I agree!

I have a book called The Perfect Apron and I decided I'm going to use the fabric for this one:

Oh, it'll be adorable! (are you seeing that polka dot ruffle on the edge?) And maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to eek out a matching pair of oven mitts!

Tomorrow is the Upper Valley Fiber Fest!!! squeee! My friend Emily tells me that llamas will be doing an obstacle course in the afternoon! those crazy llama - they always have a sort of arrogant air about them (i think it's the way they hold their heads back so that it looks like they're staring down their nose at you) and I think the idea of them deigning to entertain us in such an undignified fashion is unlikely. well see, I suppose!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Knitting. Yes, I still do it.

"A mostly knitting blog" my ass, huh? I don't think I've blogged about knitting in forever!

Next weekend is the Upper Valley Fiber Festival!!! yippee! I would say I feel like I haven't bought any yarn in forever, except that I did just grab another skein of Wollemeise from someone who was destashing it! I couldn't help myself - I can't wait till it gets here! But seriously, I've been getting much more discriminating about the yarn I bring in - it's like it finally sunk in that I really have enough and that justifying something just because I could make a great hat or pair of mittens with is, and therefore wouldn't need a lot of it, just doesn't work on me anymore - I have lots of yarn already that will make great hats and mittens. I've fooled myself with that line one too many times! Anyway, I do plan to buy yarn at the UVFF because there are always so many local vendor and you just can't get that stuff anywhere else. I looked at my stash listing on Ravelry and did a search for "uvff" because I was trying to remember what I got last year - big surprise - I hadn't used any of it yet! I decided that I needed to feel like I'd used something before I go again and I've had my mind on both the shetland triangle and some hand dyed yellow sock yarn I got from a local vendor (Amazing Grace Farms) - perfect match! The yellow is a little semi solid which is perfect for this pattern. I'm kind of gaga over shawlettes lately. yeah, i'm aware that it's all bandwagon-y and I'm ok with that. So here's what I've got so far -

4 repeats, and I have to do 8 before the border. How do you give a percent complete number for a shawl? I mean I can hardly say I'm 50% finished just because of the number of repeats - I mean repeat 7 is way different than repeat 2 in terms of size! anyway, this is one of those patterns that you just don't ever want to end. I'm loving it. I can definitely see more of these in the future. Oh, I just finished another shawl! I started one before I left for Phoenix because I wanted something that I didn't have to think about too much - I just used a basic triangular shawl pattern then did some lattice sections whenever I felt like it. I totally ran out of yarn half way through the cast off row though! I found some other sock yarn that's close enough and I don't think anyone will know. I'm pretty much loving it. It's kind of impossible to see the great colors though with this lack-of-lighting picture

Oh, it's Rio de la Plata sock yarn, which I believe I also got some someone's destash and it's great stuff - despite the fact that it's variegated! So there! I'm knitting! (oh, there's also a green cotton cardigan that should totally be done right now, but I'm all caught up in that shetland triangle, so it isn't - I'll fill you in on that one later!)

Happy Mother's day to my mom!

My mom is, hands down, my biggest fan when it comes to stuff I make - she's always encouraging (she bought me my loom) and never criticizes or nitpicks (even though I always nitpick my own stuff and can't seem to keep my mouth shut about little flaws when I give her something.) My grandma was an amazing seamstress (she made Barbie clothing with finished seams and smocking and hand sewn hems - I can barely get myself to zig zag the raw edges on the inside of a person-sized skirt!) and my mom always says "oh, you're just like your grandma!" - and my mom doesn't just say crap to make you feel good, if she says it, she means it, even though I think it's a ridiculous comparison! Even though I've never seen my mom sew without cussing and getting mad about something not working right, she taught me a lot about sewing and always let me make mistakes when I was learning - then taught me the valuable lesson of seam ripping! My grandma always wanted to do the difficult stuff when we make things together, so that I didn't screw it up, and I guess I learned something from both sides. I'm eternally grateful to my mom for everything she's ever taught me and everything she's ever done for me!

I decided to make her a set of placemats for mother's day. In my mind, a "set" meant 4, but then later I wondered what exactly she'd do with 4 placemats since the people at her table are either her and my dad, or the whole giant family! I changed my definition of "set" to 2 and it's a good thing because I just got them finished! It's also a very good thing I'm going to visit her tomorrow instead of today (initially she asked if I could come Saturday then changed her mind - whew!) I think they turned out great - even if the color scheme is totally not "me". I think she'll love them. I even made the binding myself!