Monday, April 06, 2015

Dyeing for Hapalong

Over the weekend I dug into my yarn boxes and came up with a bunch possibilities for my Hansel hap shawl. I found yarn bagged up with patterns for sweaters in size 12 months. The pattern said it was for Knitter #3. She is now 9 years old and in the third grade. That yarn has been languishing in that bag for nearly 10 years. I did not realize I had actually been accumulating stash for that long. In my mind, I only started 3 years ago. But I had a lot of yarn when I joined Ravelry something like 8 years ago. I have been married almost 13 years (next month) and I didn't start accumulating stash until after we got married. Anyway, I found some yarn to use and I feel really good about finding a project to use that yarn with. A double win.

Here is what I did with the yarn I found:

I unwound several balls, tied them in hanks and dyed them. When I started the dye process I really wasn't sure how it would turn out, but it turned out perfect. I love the color. I can't wait to start the Hapalong on Friday. I haven't dyed the contrast colors for the border yet, but I have some time before I will need them.

One of my requirements I put on myself to do the Hapalong was to finish my socks and my Ravello sweater. The socks have been coming along:

The heels are done and am knitting right on down the foot on both socks. They might really be done by Friday. My sweater probably won't be done, but you never know.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Hot and Cold

I made a decision on my socks the other night. I decided to abandon the heel pattern and just knit my favorite slip stitch heel and a plain foot. All of the sudden I can't quit knitting on them. Happiness reigns once again in Knittingland. Just take a gander at these heel flaps:

One of them I am going to rip back a couple rows because I actually made it a couple of rows too long. My next sock will be a nice, plain sock that I have no doubt that I will love knitting. Maybe by next winter I will have a pair for every single cold day of the week. And they are all cold in Idaho.
I've been trying to decide what kind of yarn to use for the Hapalong. It seems like I used to have a lot of plain colored Knit Picks Palette that I could dye for the project. I really should pull out my yarn tubs and dig through them for yarn. Who knows what kind of treasure I might find. Every time I pull them out, I find something I have forgotten about.

Last week was spring break here. It was so nice to have a lazy non-demanding week. I am really looking forward to summer. I have big knitting plans for the summer. I want to make EZ's Pi shawl in July. How I came about that particular time for knitting it, I don't know. And I have two sweaters that I started planning at least 5 years ago and bought yarn for at that time. I want to actually make them this year. In my mind, I will get up early and enjoy a cup of coffee out on the back deck in my favorite chair while knitting on whatever my current favorite project is. In reality, I will probably have to spend that time in the garden so I don't have to get heat stroke and a sunburn working in the garden. It gets really hot here in the summer and really cold in the winter. However, I am going to indulge in dreams for a few weeks.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Knitting into Spring

My Ravello has had some hiccups. When I tried it on, it just seemed too big. When I took it off, I laid it out on my bed and measured it and measured myself. The Ravello is supposed to have 3 inches of ease, and mine was going to have 6 inches. TOO much. My chest is 38” and the sweater was 22” across, making it 44” all the way around. I checked my gauge and sure enough, it was off by about half a stitch per inch. That can add up to a lot of extra sweater. So I ripped the whole thing out and started over with the next size down. When I ripped it, there was 7” of sweater from the underarm down. Now I have around 4”. If I were making a sweater for working around home, I would have just kept on going. But this sweater is going to be for wearing in public at my other job and I try not to look like a slob there. Anyway, this is what it looks like today:

I want to finish it in time to do the Hapalong with the KnitBritish group on Ravelry. But I also want to finish the socks I have been making for a really long forever:

This pattern, Crescendo, is not hard but I have a hard time getting into it. I think that my reality with socks is that I prefer simple patterns. Plain socks or ribbed socks that just show off the color of the yarn really well. Lace patterns for the most part to excite me when I am knitting socks. Not to say I don't love the look, because I do. I have a pair of Monkey Socks on the needles from way back when the pattern first came out. I loved the look, but I couldn't get into knitting them. Someday I will want the yarn for something and rip the half a sock out. I'm a knitter who loves making socks but only has a couple pair to wear because I can't knit them fast enough. Unless they are stockinette or ribbed socks. I don't know what to do with these. Struggle through, or rip?

Spring has really, really arrived here. My husband is at the very moment I am writing this, mowing our yard for the second time this year. We don't generally mow our yard until mid-April. It is so weird to have so much warm weather. Hopefully it doesn't mean a long, hot, dry, fire-filled summer. Anyway, here is some treasure I found this morning:

Our chickens are now laying eggs nearly every day. After a long winter without eggs, it is fantastic. I can't stand to eat grocery store eggs. Tomorrow morning I am having scrambled eggs for breakfast!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Love Your Knitting

I have come to a new conclusion about my knitting. I should only knit things that I absolutely love. About 2 weeks ago, I decided to start a sweater that I've been wanting to make for 6 months. I had been thinking I would make it after finishing another sweater I have on the needles, but I decided I wanted to do it so bad that I just needed to do it. It is made with sock yarn and I have plenty of that in stash, and had already decided with 3 balls to use for it. They were originally meant to be a Stephen West shawl, but I frogged it last year because I knew that if I finished it, I'd never wear it. Anyway, it is Ravello by Isabell Kraemer. Here it is in progress:

It was going to be my take-along knitting. It ended up being too fun for just take-along knitting. Ravello has turned out to be can't-put-it-down-knitting. I think ALL my knitting ought to be this way.

At the beginning of the month, I decided it was warm enough to start running again. So Maggie and I headed out for our first run of the year one afternoon. I thought it was so great that I managed to run the first mile and a half without stopping. In fact, I was really patting myself on the back for it. For several hours. But my heel and ankle just kept hurting more and more. Until I could barely walk. I went hunting on the internet (better than going to the doctor, right?) and found that I probably had irritated my Achilles tendon. Since then, I think it probably affected another tendon down there, too. They are fine unless I step wrong. I have had to face the fact that I can not treat my body like I am 16 anymore. Now I am trying out walking for exercise. I may try running a month or two when I've had a chance to strengthen my achilles tendon and calf muscles. If I do, it will be with a couch 2 5k program.

Today, Maggie and I went for a walk:

I wore these lace up boots to keep my ankle happy.

I found these tiny little wildflowers blooming.

This is a really cool looking old fence post we found in the fence line. I wish I had a whole fence made out of tree branches.  I especially love the woven ones that you see in medieval period shows.

Enjoy your day!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Knitting is My Life

Happy New Year! Our first day of the year has been great and I hope yours has too.

Yesterday I said I would share some of my resolutions with you. Here they are:

  1. Drink 4 jars of water every day
  2. Get into a workout routine
  3. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day
  4. Make 2 sweaters that I have been planning and designing for YEARS.
  5. Knit a project in brioche stitch
  6. Knit a project in linen stitch
  7. Learn more ways to increase/decrease
I have more goals/resolutions for the year, but these are the ones I want to share. I suspect the water goal is going to be on my list every year. The more water I drink in a day, the better I feel. And the more fruits and veggies I eat, the less often I get sick. Not to mention, they don't have preservatives or gluten in them. Preservatives and gluten give me a lot of problems that I would rather not have to deal with. I had to last summer and it was UNPLEASANT to say the least.

I used to have knitting goals every year and after a while, I quit doing that. It can get hard trying to find new techniques to learn every year. The reason I started doing that was because I was one of those knitters who would look at a pattern and say “Oh, I can't do that. I don't know HOW to do that”. It finally occurred to me that it was ridiculous, so I started learning how to do everything. To be honest, I wasn't born to be helpless, indecisive, or say can't. I blame my mother for my attitude and my paternal grandmother for my desire for perfection. All of my aunts were enablers. None of those women ever told me I couldn't do something, they told me I could. See what I am saying? I didn't stand a chance. Knitting is my life. I have worked to make it my life. Originally it wasn't with intent, but then I became intentional about it. This year I decided to put all my goals in writing so I can keep track of my progress. There are DEFINITELY other goals on my personal list that I'm not posting here. Last year was my best year ever on Etsy, and I hope to make this year even better.

And now I am off to knit!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve

Here it is the LAST day of the year. Well, lets be real, the last NIGHT of the year. I was going to get this post done earlier in the day, but I got distracted with stuff that seemed a lot like work. Filling the garbage up, doing laundry, making party food. I have three girls who are so full of home made caramel apple dip that I hope they don't get sick.

Tomorrow I am going to post about my New Years resolutions for 2015. Today, I am going to update you on my yarn project. The peach yarn came out great. I wondered if it had enough color to affect the color I was trying to dye. It turns out that it is pale enough that it doesn't really have much effect. I dyed it blue, and it came out a nice shade of blue. I took notes just like I do when I am developing a new color. Now I have to decide what I am going to make with it.

I had been going to make a Kate Davies pattern, but when I went to Ravelry to look at the pattern, it used worsted weight yarn. It is Blaithin and I love it. I'll have to dye some yarn for it some day. For now, I am looking for something new. I really fell in love with the idea of a yoked cardigan, so I am hunting for one I can do in fingering weight. I might even have a pattern in one of my books.

Hope you all have a wonderful and safe New Years Eve!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bring Out the Dye Pots

I decided back in November that during Christmas break, I was going to have to get some stuff done that I just didn't seem to have time for during the last couple months. One of those things was dyeing some tees I had bought for myself this fall. I couldn't find any in colors I liked earlier in the fall, so I am finally dyeing some of them. Last year I started dyeing leggings to wear in the winter with skirts. It is a far different process than when I dye my yarn.

So far, I have always like how the colors have come out in clothes I have dyed.

Yesterday I decided I should start dragging out that dreadful peach colored yarn. So today I am going to get a couple balls out and wrap them on my warping board. I may even get one dyed today to see what it looks like. Overdyeing is kind of a science experiment. I'll just have to see what effect the peach color has on some other colors. Maybe I will find something just right for a sweater or Pi shawl. Here is the offending color:

I have at least 10 more just like it. My ravelry stash says I have over 2700 yards of the stuff. I can't believe it could have possibly taken that much to make a size 3 or 4 sweater and dress. It would probably make 2 sweaters for me. I will probably dye it into a couple of colors. The yarn is Knit Picks Palette which is a great jumper yarn. It is fingering weight and sticky. It is not next to the skin soft, but the project I bought it for was not mean to be next to the skin. I honestly really like this yarn. It isn't Jamieson & Smith, but it works.

The other day, I finished a project that was a gift for a friend. I decided I could get out another languishing projects. They are pair of socks from September 2013. That was over a year ago. It might have even been August. I can't remember, to be honest. I am working both socks at once, one from each end of the ball of yarn. One is just about to the heel, the other was in the middle of the ribbing at the top. When I started looking at that one, it just didn't make any sense. I couldn't figure out what I was doing with it. I clearly wasn't following the chart. In fact, I had changed what I was doing with the top ribbing half way through what I had (about 8 rows). Neither part matched the chart. I do remember that I misunderstood the chart when I started the first sock. I ripped the whole thing out and started it over. One of the socks will have the correct ribbing at the top and I doubt anyone will ever notice.

I seriously thought about frogging the whole project this year. The pattern is Crescendo and I think they will look amazing when I finish them.So, I will stick with them and have something lovely to  show off in a month or so.

Right now I am resisting the urge to cast on something New Year's morning. Nope, I am going to finish my current projects first. Yes I am. I'll just keep telling myself that...