Sunday, December 14, 2008

Back to my usual

So it is official! I passed my nurse practitioner boards last week, and am now getting back to my usual knitting, reading, running self after a bit of a hiatus. Here are a few of the yarns I picked up at Stitches East last month.

I was particularly impressed with WEBS selection and will most likely order from them in the future. Other highlights included a bin of discounted free-for-all yarns and some very interesting stitch markers. There was less than adequate spinning materials, which may have been a blessing. I might have walked out with a wheel had there been any there.

More knitting and yarn postings to come. I am glad to be back.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's Electric!

So last week, I ventured for the first time into hand dying. And I used, what else, but Kool-Aid! I decided that I would show you a bit about the steps of dying with Kool-Aid, complete with pictures. And dying with Kool-Aid is not that messy. The only thing beside my yarn that got dyed were my finger tips!

I followed the instructions found at Knit Picks and also consulted a tutorial on Eunny Jang's website for additional tips and tricks.

1. The first step is to purchase a plain undyed yarn. I chose Knit Picks Bare Fingering Superwash/Nylon Blend. If you prefer, you can chose Eunny's route and pick a pale color and over-dye only in certain areas. The only trick is it must be an Animal Fiber.

2. The next step is to split the yarn into thirds and mark each section with scrap yarn. This creates three different areas for various colors. If you want to get really technical and create exact strips, consult Eunny's tutorial, she tells you exactly how to accomplish this.

3. Next, wash the yarn with wool soap and lukewarm water. I particularly love Friendly Products Sweater Soap. I got mine at Slip Knot but I am sure you can find it elsewhere if you don't live near Newtown Square, PA. The lavendar scent is divine.

Rinse to get the soap out.

4. Prepare your solutions. I used Mason/Glass Jars and 2 packets of Kool-Aid for each jar mixed with plain old tap water. The next time I do this I will probably use 4 packets per jar, to get a little more color absorption to the center of the yarn. The two pick colors ended up being a little to similar, so I put a few extra orange packets into one of the pinks in the middle of dying to give it a nicer color.

5. Next, put the yarn in the jars and the jars in a large pot filled with water. Now, turn up the heat. You want the water almost boiling. Once that happened I turned off the heat and covered the pot for about 30 minutes. Make sure to stir frequently throughout the heating process. Additionally, you can avoid too much white gaps between the sections of yarn by moving intermediate sections between the two colors periodically to create a "transition". Warning: your yarn will smell delicious, please try to resist the urge to gobble it up in the middle of dying.

6. Let the yarn cool in the pot uncovered.

7. Wash your yarn again and rinse several times.

8. Hang to dry. My bathroom door provided the perfect spot.

9. Cut the temporary scrap yarn and twist into a skein. Take photos of your hand-dyed creation and scheme up a project for your yarn. Name your color creation. I call mine It's Electric.

I think a pair of Fruit Loop Socks would be perfect for this yarn. I have one more Bare skein at home, and finally found some blue and green Kool-Aid Packets at my grocery store, so look for more Kool-Aid creations in the future.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sea Shrug

I finally blocked and seamed up the baby shrug for Charlee, a coworkers child. This was a really quick project. The actual knitting only took a few days.

Pattern: Baby Shrug from Debbie Bliss Simply Baby
Size: 12-18 months
Needles: 7 for the body, 6 for the edging and 8 to bind-off.
Yarn: Knit Picks Comfy 3 Skeins
Color: Sea Foam

The Comfy is delightfully soft, but does show tension variations unmercifully. Thankfully, this was evened out with some blocking.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008


I had to show you all the construction of this baby shrug. I don't know why I am so facinated by it, but I really love the shaping of it. It is knit all in one piece and I have am almost done! Just have to knit the border and seam it together. Woo hoo! This is one of the quickest projects I have ever knit.
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Monday, September 29, 2008

Some commisioned work

Now that FLS is done, I moved on to some commisioned baby projects. One is a secret, so I won't show it here. But I will show you a peak at a Baby Shrug I started this morning. One morning's worth and I am more than a 1/4 through it! This is a Debbie Bliss Pattern. The Yarn is Knit Picks Comfy in a color called Sea Foam. The color is actually a bit litghter than this photo appears.
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Friday, September 26, 2008

Who's that Lady?

My February Lady Sweater is Complete! I managed to sneak a photo shoot in between rain storms today and here she is!
Pattern: February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne (AKA Flint Knits)
Size: Small
Needles: Size 9 and Size 10.5 for the Cast Off
Yarn: Rowan Calmer 6 skeins
Modifications: Not many, but I did try a suspended cast-off for the first time. Very stretchy! Usually my bind off is way too tight, so I was happy to find this method.

I am very happy with how this sweater came out. The Rowan Calmer is so soft to work with and wear, and the sweater is light enough for spring/fall or even a cool summer night. I may redo the buttons, as they pull a little bit. This sweater has turned me onto Elizabeth Zimmerman and I recently picked up Knitting Without Tears and the Knitters Almanac.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory

I couldn't put this book down, although it felt a bit cyclical at points. This is the story of Mary Boleyn, a mistress to Henry VIII and sister to Henry's second wife Anne Boleyn.

Many have lamented that Gregory took many liberties in telling this story, but I think those people are forgetting that this is a book of fiction, albeit based on real events. Gregory did not set out to write a history book, but rather to imagine what might have gone in the bedchambers and court of Henry VIII. She tells an intriguing story of betrayal, love and greed and gives us the thoughts of a character in history about which not much is known.

One of the themes I found most interesting was the exploration of how a woman in these times had no property, land or money of her own, and all her interests were tied to that of her husband or family's success. It almost seems that to be a poor farmers wife held more power than being a rich courtier. As a farmer, you were a partner in a family run business; as a courtier, you were whatever the men in power told you to be. Ultimately Mary successfully breaks free of this, and although Anne tries to exert her power, ultimately men decide her fate for her.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I never stop buying yarn.....

Here is a peek at a few of my recent yarn purchases. There is more listed in my ravelry stash for those who are interested.

First is some Cascade Ecological Wool I picked up at Saybrook Yarn on a recent trip to CT over Labor Day. I plan on using the two skeins for a blanket. Which one? The Hemlock Ring blanket seen over at brooklyntweed.

Next is some Cascade Heritage Hand Painted Sock Yarn. I could not resist the deep greens when I saw this at Saybrook Yarn.

I also ordered some Knit Picks yarn for some commisioned work I will be doing this fall. This first one is Comfy in Seafoam. This will become the Baby Shrug from Debbie Bliss' Simply Baby.

Next is some Shine Sport in Fedora. Fedora is a deep brown that reminds me of dark chocolate. Mmmmm, delicious. This will become the Smock Coat from Debbie Bliss' Simply Baby.

In other news, I have one sleeve left on FLS. Going to the Media Knitters Group tonight, so I should make some progress there. Maybe I should stop shopping and start knitting!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Pact by Jodi Picoult

This is a quick page turner about an apparent teen suicide and its aftermath. I appreciated the nuances of the characters and the development of the close childhood friends turned lovers, and the conflict that Emily felt in dating someone who she grew up with and felt was more a brother than a lover.

Many people who recommended this book to me loved it. While I liked the novel, it does not earn my coveted 5 star rating. It was a great story and I would recommend it, but it is no Kite Runner.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Lancaster Goodies

Today was our first wedding anniversary and to celebrate, hubby and I went to a Bed and Breakfast in Lancaster called the King's Cottage for the weekend. It was just the getaway we needed. Of course, there was no getting out of the area without stopping at a yarn store. These hand-dyed goodies are from Labadie Looms in Bird-In-Hand, PA. This was a wonderful shop with a selection of weaving and spinning supplies and yarn, much of which the owner dyes herself.

This is approximately 425 yards of Hand-dyed Merino Superwash. It seems like fingering weight to me.

This is approximately 400 yards of a Hand-dyed Silk Blend. It seems like a Sport weight to me. It also happens to be our wedding colors, lavenders and greens.

Walking through this store made me want to start spinning as she had lots of colorful rovings and stunning wheels on display. A drop spindle may be headed my direction if the stars are in alignment.
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Monday, August 04, 2008

Running With Scissors

I finished Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs today.

I realized when I started reading this book that I must have read it before. Although as a rule I don't read books more than once, with a movie recently made based on this memoir, I decided to read it again.

This is a memoir about a boy who's mother sends him to live with his psychiatrist and the unusual childhood he endured.

Written in a comedic style and yet with a hint of a child/adolescent's perspective, this memoir is unique. Burrough's writing style and content can be a bit rough and in-your-face, but totally appropriate for the content.

I was a bit perturbed at the ending, and without giving too much away, will say that I did not feel the characters got any sort of resolution at the end. The end felt rushed and incomplete. This is somewhat softened by the listing of characters in the epilogue and the paths life took them. Additionally, if you read Burroughs memoir of his adult years, Dry, you do get a bit more resolution.

I have the movie in my Netflix queue, and the previews look hilarious. I may enjoy the movie more than the book for once!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Branching Buttons

Here are the buttons I picked up at SlipKnot for My FLS. What do you think?
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Adventure in Lititz

My friend and bridesmaid, Katie, came to visit this past weekend, and to say the least, we had a bit of an adventure.

On Friday, we went downtown and walked around. We passed by Independence Hall and went to the Liberty Museum.

This was one of the pieces of artwork at the museum.

On Monday we drove to Hershey, PA and then drove around an area called Lititz, PA so that Katie and her brother could see where their family was from.

Shortly after taking this picture, we heard an awful screeching noise coming from the back of my brand new, less than 1 month old car. After pulling over and trying to discern the problem, I decided to take advantage of our AAA membership and had the car towed. Unfortunately, the tow truck couldn't take all three of us, which left us stranded with no car in the middle of nowhere. With hubby in class, we were looking at a nice long stay at the Sunoco Station in the middle of nowhere! Luckily, I made a few phone calls, and a friend was able to come and retrieve us. In the meantime, we settled in for some dinner at he picnic table in the parking lot.

It turns out that there was a pebble stuck in my brake between the rotor and the backplate, and a screw in my tire. Seems I would have had a flat if I kept driving anyway!
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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lacy Lady

I managed to accomplish some knitting this weekend, and my February Lady Sweater is coming along at a steady, but slow pace. I have completed four repeats of the lace thus far. I love this sweater....

I brought it along with me to hear one of our favorite local performers, David Stone: The Johnny Cash Experience. They played a free outdoor concert last night at Rose Tree Park as park of their summer concert series. David Stone plays the part well, and even had his own June Carter that sings with him....

It was quite a different experience from seeing them in a crowded pub downtown, but they were great nonetheless.

I did get a few eyebrows at intermission when I was knitting away. Rest assured, the bust has more give than these pictures imply, but not without falling off my needles.....
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Buttonhole Blues

Well, I have made a little progress on the yoke of the February Lady Sweater, and I have to say, I am not a big fan of the buttonholes that were suggested. I found that an extra hole develops next to the one-row buttonhole suggested in the pattern. I used a 4 stitch button hole, and have ripped back 2x now to get each one right, even now that I know about the problem. I am unknitting right now back to the 2nd buttonhole. It is lucky that there are only 3 of them in the sweater. Otherwise, I am loving this pattern. I have never done a raglan before, and I have to say, the construction is genius!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Sweater for a Lady

I have been making some progress on Bell Sleeved Jacket, but was feeling the the wool sweater was not exactly ideal for summer knitting. Just when I needed a summer sweater to work on, the perfect one came along!

I am officially jumping on the bandwagon, this time while the wagon is still rolling. I am knitting the insanely popular February Lady Sweater. The pattern is free on either Ravelry or at the link above. It is based on EZs February Baby Sweater.

Last night I went to the very first knit night at the brand new store Slip Knot (sorry no website yet) in Newtown Square. There I picked up some Rowan Calmer in a soft blue to start my Lady Sweater. When I got home, I immediately started a gauge swatch, and cast on this morning on the train (sans coffee...apparently, coffee machines need a little thing called water to make coffee. The nerve!). Never have I seen a pattern and started a project so quickly!

I can't wait to see how this turns out!

In other news, an envelope arrived in the mail today containing this:

How divine! If you have even a small itch to knit this Niebling, I would purchase it now, because Laci's has it for a whopping $7. Prior to that, the only way to get it was to bid on Ebay for a back copy of Anna July 1986 for a whole lot more than $7. I was a bit shy to spend a hundred dollars or more on one pattern, so imagine my excitement when I discovered that Laci's had republished it. Get um while they're hot, ladies and gentleman, because I have no idea how they got the rights, and it very well may be a limited edition.

I probably won't knit this for awhile, but this was one pattern I wanted to be sure was in my library!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Reading has stolen my knitting time!

After the move to the burbs and my newfound train ride time, I thought for sure I would be whipping through knitting projects in no time!

However, with the train ride has come a renewed love of reading. In the morning, I am almost always drinking coffee and have found it nearly impossible to juggle my coffee and knit on the train. In the afternoon, the train is often crowded, and I feel when I knit, I almost invade others space on the train even with the small motion of my arms.

I have always loved to read, but the last few years have been busy, and a lot of the free time I did have was spent knitting. In the last month I have read 3 books:

The Spectator Bird by Wallace Stegner
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

None of them were " 5 -star" such as some of my favorites such as The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns and Life of Pi, but they were good reads nonetheless. I particularly liked Eat, Pray, Love and My Sister's Keeper.

I am currently reading The Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler.

Not to fret though, I have managed to finish the first snowflake sock and cast on for the second. Here are a few pre-blocking photos.