Wednesday, June 22, 2011

who me?

So... I started this bag ages (a month and a half!) ago and made some progress. I'd planned to finish it before the fiberfest, but didn't make it in time and lost my motivation so it sat, and sat, and sat... waiting for me to finish the last bits. I haven't been playing with yarn at all lately and was trying to figure out how to get back on the horse (or owl), debating starting a small, quick project to get the yarny juices flowing again when I decided yesterday to just pull something out I already had going and finish it.

who bag 4

I know! I was shocked too!

He seemed a little angry that I'd taken my own sweet time in finishing him.

who bag 5

But owls are apparently a forgiving lot and it wasn't long before he was happily mugging for the camera.

who bag 3

who bag 2

who bag 1

What a ham.

I do think I need to look into some ergonomic crochet hooks. Maybe it's the way I hold my hook - I do tend to have a death grip - or maybe it's the cotton that did it, but I get this not-so-pleasant pain at the base of my right thumb after a little while. Any suggestions?

Now, if I can just finish those socks...
(I'm not delusional enough to think the blanket will be done anytime soon.)

Monday, June 13, 2011

rollin' right along

The dice are loving me. I've rolled for six books for the summer reading program at my library and gotten THREE books on CD so far. Makes up for my slightly late start, though now I'm way ahead of the game.  Today, I had to choose a romance on CD. The one I'd seen a few days ago while looking for a humor CD has been checked out in the meantime and not finding something else that looked all that interesting, I chose something fairly short at only 5 hrs (The Rocky Road to Romance). Who knows, maybe it'll be great! Then I headed upstairs to choose a humorous non-fiction book. I pulled half a dozen books off the shelf for this choice, read the first few pages, then picked one that looked promising (Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog). Dogs are easier to train, after all... heh

After that first book on CD and being stuck in my bedroom where my computer is (the only option for playing a CD other than sitting in my car), now I'm importing them into iTunes and listening on my iPad. =) While listening to Charmed Thirds, I kept thinking the reader's voice sounded familiar. I finally pulled the case back out and discovered the reader was an actress from a tv show I watched as a kid in the 80s. How funny.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

a roll of the dice

My local library is hosting an adult summer reading program. Patrons roll a pair of colored dice - one die determines the type of book (fiction, non-fiction, book on tape/cd) and the second determines the genre (fantasy, suspense, comedy, western, romance, reader's choice). My first roll, I got non-fiction/suspense. They decided crime worked into that category since only 4 books came up in the catalog with the original parameters. I chose Transcending (link below).

Though I'm not loving their choice of genres, it will be a great way to get people reading books outside of their norm and it's been fun trying to find a book I'm interested in reading that falls within the set parameters when the specified genre isn't one I'd normally choose on my own. I know I've chosen three books so far that I probably wouldn't have read otherwise. My rolls have produced two books and a book on tape/CD so far. One down, two in progress, seven to go... by July 29th.


Saturday, June 04, 2011

get your fiber today!

I got mine yesterday... but I left some for everyone else. I'm nice like that. The Hoosier Hills Fiberarts Festival in Franklin, IN, is always good for at least a couple hours of woolly fun. It seems a bit smaller than last year, but there were still lots of great booths to browse through. I did miss the couple with the great deals on bamboo needles this year though. =( I'd planned to fill in a couple gaps in my supplies. And I'm so glad I went Friday instead of Saturday! It's blazing hot today and would have made for miserable wool shopping. And yes, stash be damned, I did shop for wool! lol I planned ahead though to keep within my budget, stopping at the bank for cash and left the plastic in the car so I had to be sure I really wanted something before buying. What did I want?

This:
Liberty Alpaca
(alpaca)

and this:
WindSong Fibers purple 1
(handspun)

and this:
WindSong Fibers red purple 1
(handspun)

Did I need it? Nope. But man is it pretty!

There's always a booth outside with at least a few adorable lambs. This year did not disappoint.
So much cuteness!
They even had a couple of angora goat kids. SO much cuteness in one little pen! And they're so friendly, I could sit there all day scratching little lamb heads. =) One of the ladies at this booth spun the red and purple yarns above. I think this is my favorite booth every year.

One little critter did sneak into the car with me.
curly sheep
Isn't he adorable?! I thought briefly about purchasing the fiber and supplies to make my own... then I added it up and realized I'd be better off buying this little guy instead. =) 

There was also a booth, Bur Oak Studio, selling aluminum knitting needles repurposed into jewelry. She had some nice pieces and at very good prices (much less than I've seen similar items on etsy). Unfortunately, I spotted a very cool set of earrings just as someone else picked them up to purchase them. Ah, well. Wasn't meant to be. They went to a good home though - the lady wore them away from the booth! =)

This morning, I hit the farmer's market. Not much produce to be had just yet, but there were a few booths with some crafty wares. I sense a sheepy theme to this weekend... heh
sheep towel

Thursday, May 26, 2011

not much to see

poppy

At least, not much in the yarny department.

I've worked on my crochet bag and finally started the 2nd color. With the amount of stash I have... how is it I didn't have the cotton I needed to finish off this bag?! The main yarn is super busy, so I didn't think any of my brown cotton (all variegated) would work. Being in a small town and an hr from any real craft stores, I headed off to Walmart in hopes that I could find a solid brown.

who bag 2

One choice... but it works. This is also probably the first time in years I've paid FULL PRICE for yarn! Thank goodness it was cheap cotton. I like the stitch I'm using, but boy does it eat yarn. Thankfully, I started with a mondo skein of cotton so I don't have tons of ends. Getting excited to finish this though. It's been going far too long - cotton's a little tough on the hands.

The garden is getting it's share of visitors these days:

bee n pea

The peas are way bigger than that now. They got beaten down by the storms that passed through last night, but are bouncing back nicely. =) The flowers look a little worse for wear, but I did make a few photos before the storms had a chance to do their harm.

Monday, May 16, 2011

why so sensitive?

I added to my little container garden this weekend - a japanese eggplant and some bush cucumber plants. Unfortunately, it got into the low 40s last night and the cukes took it personally. They seem a little depressed, no?

sensitive cukes

Thankfully, they're bouncing back pretty well. The flowers are faring better. =)

purple iris pair

Friday, May 13, 2011

give peas a chance

pea new growth

We decided to do a bit of container gardening this year and keep it simple (esp since there are still veggies in the freezer from last year!). The only place in the yard for an actual garden plot (even a small one) doesn't get great light. Plants did okay there last year, but not as well as we'd have liked. So this year, I bought some pots and good soil and moved the "garden" to a sunnier locale. We planted a few varieties of tomatoes (yay, grape!), a couple pepper plants and lots and lots of peas. =)

Are you planting anything this year?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

maybe I should play the lottery

Wow! I guess I can't say I never win anything anymore. First a book, now a wonderful crochet pattern!

I won a copy of the Dudley Do Wright shawl pattern from a blog I recently started reading, Peacefully Knitting. I've been working on my crochet skills since last year and am trying new things with it this year and just happened to be thinking a shawl would be a great next step before committing to an entire sweater. lol I have the perfect yarn in my stash for this shawl... might be up next after I finish the bag I just started this weekend. =)

The bag? I started hooking a new bag on Saturday and want to have it finished before the Hoosier Hills Fiber Fest next month so I can use it for shopping. =) I had a basic idea for a bag, went in search of patterns but not finding just what I had in mind, I decided to wing it. I got inspiration from a couple designs, sketched out what I had in mind and searched out an appropriate stitch pattern. The full bag will be a surprise once it's finished, but here's the start:

beginnings of a bag

Any guesses where I'm going with this? lol

Hope all the moms out there are having a wonderful Mother's Day and are being adequately spoiled! =)

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

for your listening pleasure

Still on a bit of a crochet kick. Maybe that's my issue - I just need to switch back and forth  between knit and crochet to keep myself going. Dish/wash cloths a couple days ago, now a hat. I worked up this little hat last night with some mystery yarn purchased from a (now-closed) charity yarn shop in Seattle much too long ago.

seafoam shell hat

Best guess is it's a mercerized cotton. I used the newborn sizing and it turned out more like a preemie size. I need to work on my tension apparently. I've been crocheting mostly amigurumi and those need to be done tightly to keep stuffing from showing through so I'm working on loosening up my tension for other projects. Baby stuff is great to practice on. Small, quick and cute. =) I think this one might need a flower...

As a side note, I'm using the GoodReader app to access my Ravelry library of pattern downloads on my ipad. AWESOME! I searched for a pattern, saved it to my pattern library and was then able to download it to GoodReader to crochet from - no printing, no turning on my computer. Happy, happy!

Now that I have a way to easily listen without having my computer on, I've finally jumped into listening to podcasts too! I've been trying out a smattering of crafty podcasts, looking for some really good ones. I've found a few that are okay, a couple I'll skip listening to again, and a few I really like. So far, these are my faves:

The Knit Girllls (video podcast)

I've even gone back and listened to the back episodes of JOMR and am now catching up on TKW. Nice little distraction while working... esp when work can't keep up with me and I have to drag things out to even get close to getting my hrs in. lol The video podcasts are a little too distracting sometimes to watch while working though.

Any other great ones I need to check out?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

V is for Vendetta

My dogs seem to have declared war on a very dangerous foe:


The tulip.

Yeah, they don't look very threatening to me either. Maybe the dogs know something we don't?

tulip carnage

I do have a couple flowers the boys don't seem to have it out for...


yet.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I won!

I occasionally enter for giveaways on various blogs, but I never win... at least I never have, until now! =)

I won a book!


I won a copy of The Rhino with Glue-on Shoes from the Simpler Living blog. Okay, so there weren't a ton of entries and we all got books, but still. =)

I also finished my ipad sock (finally) a couple days ago. I think maybe my knitting mojo went away. I haven't been working on much the past week or so. I think maybe I should try to crochet something and see if that gets my going again. =)


I'd like the top and bottom ribbing to fit a bit more closely. It's not a perfect fit, but it'll do... and it stays on nicely so I'm happy. I do like how the short sides fit - they stay out of the way of the Home button and the light sensor and since the fabric is so stretchy, I don't even have to take the cover off to charge it on the dock.


I still have 19g of this 50g ball of elsticized cotton left. Any suggestions?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

At long last...

Proper pictures of my Salem Hooded Jacket!

But first, a better shot of the hat I finished a few days ago:


and a glimpse of the sweater. =) I do like how the color seems to swirl in the opposite direction of the textural swirl. Nice combo of yarn and pattern. I love when that works out!

Okay, you've waited long enough. I'll show you the whole sweater:

my first fully completed sweater

I love the ribbon detail:

my first fully completed sweater

And I can vouch for it's warmth! wow. So not the day to stand around outside in a wool sweater and hat!

Yarny Organization

When I was in Portland a few weeks ago, I (of course) spent some time browsing in IKEA. There isn't one even in my state, much less close by, so the only chance I get to go is when I'm traveling (for now, anyway). It's always so much fun wandering through and seeing what there is to see. I've been wanting this glass-front bookcase for ages now. I think it'll be perfect for yarn storage, keeping it visible yet safe from the critters and their floaty fur.


Ignore that high price - that's for the multi-piece setup covering the whole wall. It comes in a nice black/brown that I love. This, or something similar, would be perfect for my stash. =) I'll definitely be on the lookout for marked down pieces in this line once I move... whenever that is.

I decided which yarn I'll use for my Saroyan. After looking through my stash on Ravelry and looking through a few bins, I settled on the one I'd first thought of for this pattern.


I wound up the yarn late Saturday night and it's now in a bag with the pattern. BTW - the bag? It's from IKEA too. heh $6 for a set of two - the smaller perfect for a sock in progress and the larger easily holds these two 220yd skeins with room to spare for the WIP. The bottoms are flat so they stand up on their own and there are even pockets (and a zippered pocket inside the larger size) perfect for corralling necessary notions/ball bands. =) I discovered these in the bathroom section of the store - sold as toiletry bags - so they're even water resistant. Much nicer than the ziplocs I've been using to contain my projects in the larger knitting bag and I won't have to keep replacing them since needles won't be poking through. I'm thinking I might add a small piece of the yarn from each project to the zipper pull so I'll know at a glance which project is which... I purchased two sets of the bags and have all four project bags in my larger bag now. lol Could be fun sitting down to knit and just grabbing a mystery project to work on though, huh? =)

(I'm not loving what blogger is doing to my photos. These are just quick shots from my point&shoot, but they're nowhere near that blurry when I upload them. I'll have to start uploading to flickr and see if that helps.)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mellow... with a pop of color

Wow. Four posts in five days!?!

Last night, I cast on for a log cabin garter stitch blanket. I debated whether to use my Lavish alpaca in these colors:


or maybe go with some of the variegated wool I have in my stash for a brighter blanket. Neither yarns are machine washable and I don't have enough of anything else in my stash that is... I refuse to go out and buy more yarn, so that's not a deciding point. =) After playing with some color layouts, I decided to go with the alpaca. Since I used just over 3 skeins of the darkest colorway already on other projects, I felt more secure limiting myself to these two choices for my block layout:


I like both, but I think I like B better. As long as I have enough yarn, I'll do some type of edging on it as well - maybe in crochet. It'll be awhile before I need to think about that though. heh

I've apparently gotten over my one-project-at-a-time thing. =)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Let them eat (cup)cake!

Anyone want a cupcake?


It's my mother's birthday today so I whipped up a cupcake for her. Cute, isn't it? No fat, lots of fiber, much less messy than a traditional cupcake. Can't go wrong with that!

I've been looking through some of my many, many queued projects (seriously, way too many on there!) and chose one to knit one up over the past couple days.
 


Super simple and pretty brainless knitting - I barely had to glance at the pattern. I'll have to get a better shot on a day that's not windy and rainy... even if the name of the pattern is Hurricane. lol

I also started a sock for my iPad.


I've had this pretty, elasticized cotton in my stash from the charity knit shop in Seattle, but only one ball. Not enough for a pair of socks... but should be enough for this... I hope!

I'm planning to cast on for my own Saroyan scarf/wrap. Just deciding which yarn to use. Looking through the projects, it looks good in just about anything as long as the yarn isn't too textured. Even variegated yarns look great as long as they're not too loud. Time to dig through the bins and see what calls to me, I suppose...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring has Sprung!

Finally!


And with inspiration from the beautiful colors of Spring popping up all over, I'm also finding inspiration in the form of new patterns. I've been hearing commercials for Tuesday Morning for years, but had never ventured into one... until a couple weeks ago. A little disappointed upon entering and discovering what appeared to be closer to a thrift store than other discount shops I've been in, I decided I'd power through and see what was hiding in the depths of those aisles (having heard of great, yarny deals). Though I did find some nicely priced, name-brand yarn (mostly organic cottons), nothing called to me strongly enough to make it into my basket (lord knows, I don't need any more cotton, even pretty organic skeins). I did discover a pile - yes, a PILE - of craft books. I think at one time, the pile might have had some sort of order, but when I happened across it, it almost appeared someone had up-ended a couple boxes of books onto a shelf and hoped for the best. Spotting a few yarny titles, I dug...


They ranged from 60-75% off the cover price. Not bad! I picked up The Happy Hooker while in Portland (with a 50% off coupon, of course), but the others were all finds at Tuesday Morning. =) There are some really nice summery patterns in Louisa Harding's Summer Classics. Sweater Renewal has some great ideas for those thrift store finds that haven't had the most gentle care. This skirt is made with the body of a felted fairisle sweater with an added crochet waistband and hem. Funky, but I'm kinda loving it!


Hollywood Knit Style has a few cute patterns, though I'd never have purchased it anywhere near full price. The crochet references (150 Crochet Trims, Textured Crochet) will undoubtedly come in handy as I continue to build my crochet skills. Maybe pulling these out will be the motivation I need to get going on projects again... or maybe I'll go take in some more of those Spring colors!