September 29, 2010

WIP Wednesday for Sept. 29th

Not much knitting happening this week, it seems.  Just too many papers to grade and too much chaos around the house.  I need to knit because it's only Wednesday and it has already been a very stressful week for me.  I don't know what the signal change was, but the kids at the high school, the kids in my household, and Buddy the Knitting Dog have all just lost their minds.  Maybe it's the sudden change in the weather--Monday we had a pretty good thunderstorm followed by, seriously, about a 20 degree drop in temperature.  The past few days we've awakened to temperatures in the mid-50s, whereas the standard since school started has been in the mid-70s.  The kids complain that they are "freezing to death!" because it's so "cold".  Really.  This is my favorite time of year--malaria season--because it's cool and refreshing in the morning and hot but not ungodly humid in the afternoon.  Malaria season because you get a chill in the AM and need a light coat, and you are sweaty in the afternoon and want to strip down to a tank top and some shorts.

I think the temperature change has come too late this year and we won't have a very pretty season of autumn foliage--trees are already skipping the color and going straight to brown and crispy, not unlike my lawn, which, even though we had a little rain on Monday, is still crunchy and dead.  Anyway, the word for the week around here is "chaos".

As for what my WIP happens to be ... I finally finished the bottom band on the top-down Reconstruction Sweater that I started last June (pay no attention to the poor photography skills that went into posting this picture!).  That's supposed to be fire-engine red and a dark heather grey.  Obviously, the overhead light in the room has yellowed everything.  You'll just have to use your imagination.

Since I seem to have wrapped up several recent projects (Talus, Envy, and Elegy), it's time to finish this project.  My goal is to get the sleeves done by Oct. 16th--the next campout for my sons' Boy Scout troop.  I figure Scout #2 is going to wear this for camping out rather than for going to school.  He's at that age where he wants his mom to make him things, but he's not sure if it's still cool to wear those things out in public--might hurt his rep. you know. Hmm.  Boys.

September 26, 2010

Sometimes I surprise myself!

Talus, which is a synonym for "drift", which is directly connected to the fact that the cabled "drifts" remind me of snow drifts and ripples in a sand dune at the same time, is my newest creation!  It started out with the name "tempest", but the more I knit on this, the more that just seemed wrong.

This is a repeating cable pattern that, when it's all said and done, took about 340 yards of worsted weight wool (Wool of the Andes from Knit Picks) to get 66 inches of length by 7 inches for width. I knit this over the weekend--well, technically, I started on Thursday night and finished on Sunday evening.--and it was a pretty quick knit.  It could be blocked to lay flat, but I kind of like how it rolls up into a perfectly-sized tube.

I am submitting this one to Knit Picks' Independent Designer Program (IDP), so I'm not going to give away too many details; however, this little number is posted on my Etsy page.  I'm both surprised and pleased with how this moment of serendipitous inspiration evolved.

September 24, 2010

Friday Blog Hopping

Come hop with me today!  Hope we've met somewhere along the way!  Here's where I'm hopping today:

Thanks for stopping by.  Please leave a comment and I will return the favor.  Happy Friday!

September 22, 2010

WIP Wednesday for Sept. 22nd

On the needles this week ... I've wrapped up knitting the asparagus green version of Envy, and will be posting it on my Etsy page.  Here's a close-up.  The pattern is available at Ravelry and my Etsy store as a pdf download if you are interested--beginner rating.

While working on it, I was inspired to start that giant braided cable scarf that I was working on for last week's WIP  update.  I've swatched it with a few different types of wool and with a few different sizes of needles, and I'm just not getting in real life the picture in my head.  The search for the best yarn for that project continues, so it's on hold right now.  And, Saturday, I was inspired to knit a third scarf, and for this one I have found the perfect yarn (Knit Picks' Wool of the Andes).  I happened to have a few skeins of this in my stash, and that little number is knitting along very nicely.  Pictures coming soon.  I'm thinking of submitting this one to Knit Picks' Independent Designers Program, so I don't want to give too much away up front; but I will say that this one looks like little dancing rivulets of water.  And not just because the yarn happens to be a dark aqua Gulf of Mexico kind of color, either.

September 19, 2010

Ever Make Your Own Body Double?

Yesterday, it occurred to me that my body double was looking a little shabby, and that it was time for a makeover.  Raise your hand if you knit or sew and have a body double.  Anyone?  Well, this is a project that you just have to do.  I mean it.  Like run to Home Depot and pick up a couple rolls of Duct Tape right now.  Go.

Here's what the ol' girl looks like now--all black and shiny.
And here's what she looked like before.

If you look closely along the bottom, you will notice that I had to photoshop the bottom to hide the hole where the stuffing was popping out and the neckline where the hanger was poking out and where the duct tape had started to come loose.

So, how about some directions?  This is easy, but you need someone (your husband/boyfriend/significant other/favorite UPS hunk, etc.) who would be glad to wrap your upper body tightly with duct tape and then cut you out of the cast with a pair of scissors.  Maybe you should just get a girlfriend to help ...  You'll need a hanger, at least two rolls of duct tape, an old cotton t-shirt, a pair of scissors, a piece of cardboard--cut to fit the base of the body double--and at least one, but probably two, bags of batting/stuffing.

Step 1.  Put on the bra you are most comfortable in--things will get a little tight during this process--and one of your old, old, even if it has holes in it--I raided my husband's t-shirt drawer--cotton t-shirts.  Kiss it good-bye and put it on.  Make sure that it is long enough to cover your hips so that you don't accidentally duct tape your jeans.

Step 2.  Beginning with the chest, have your buddy wrap strips of duct tape very tightly--but not so tightly that you can't breathe--around your body.  I'm a size 4 with a 36C bust, and it took 2 big rolls of duct tape to wrap my upper body.  Then, wrap wherever there is t-shirt, being sure to wrap tightly and to smooth down the edges.  Do NOT duct tape around your throat.  You can do that part later, when you've gotten out of the mummy wrap.  Wrap the arms to about 2" above the bottom of the cuff, then fold the cuff up and tape over--or, don't fold it and leave it loose to sew shut later and then tape over.

Step 3.  Wrap the duct tape so that it covers the belly button area and the top of your hips--make sure to get all the curves, ladies!  Also make sure that you have put on enough duct tape that you, literally, can't move inside of the body double.  Layer it on--the stiffer the better!

Step 4.  When you've just about run out of duct tape, and the wrapping is tight and immovable, have your buddy cut straight up the back.  You will tape this back together later.  Remind your buddy not to cut through your bra strap.

Step 5.  Get out of that thing!  You might also want to put on another shirt.

Step 6. Place hanger through the inside of the body so that the hooked end protrudes through the neck and the rest of the hanger is sticking out the sleeves.  Then, hang it up and tape the back shut.

Step 7.  Stuff that baby!

Step 8.  Stand the body up on the table and trace the base onto a piece of stiff cardboard--don't use poster board because it is WAY too flimsy.  Make your husband buy you a new appliance so that you have some good cardboard to use for this project.  Tape the cardboard base to the bottom of the body with more duct tape so that the body will stand upright on its own.  Re-tape the base so that you have a smoothly taped bottom edge to your body.

Voila!  No more trying to make modifications to your sewing/crocheting/knitting project by looking in the mirror and hoping that you don't stab yourself with those straight pins!

One final note, I cut out a strip of cardboard from an empty cereal box and made a neck and some shoulders to cover the hangar parts when I did my makeover.  You might like to do this, as well.

September 17, 2010

Lessons from the week

This Friday morning--did you realize that I do my daily blogging, now that school has started, around 4:45 am?--I wanted to share a few "lessons" that I've learned this week.  They don't really have much to do with knitting, I'm afraid, just with the knitter. (And I apologize for breaking about 9,000 copyright laws by including this cartoon.)

#1.  There is a Maxine cartoon to fit every moment of my life.  I love Maxine.  I don't look like Maxine, though--let's just get that straight from the start.

#2 Principals, no matter how much of a god they are in their own heads, would be more effective if they didn't practice the following mantra "do what I say, not what I do".

#3  Photoshop cannot be learned, even over a string of days, when one works a 10 hour day, has three kids who need help with homework, a husband who likes to be fed when he walks in the door, and knitting projects calling your name.

#4  Coffee is truly necessary to my existence, especially between the hours of 4:45 am and 9 am, when my brain still thinks it should be in bed asleep and continues to act like it is still in bed, asleep.

#5  I'm more motivated to finish a project if I don't have a swatch to tear out first.  I hate to watch all that work unravel.  I made that braided cable swatch, but it's so pretty that I just can't bring myself to tear it down to make corrections.

#6  Getting yarn in the mail, even when it is because you ordered it, is great fun; even when the postman is too lazy to get out of his truck and leave it at your doorstep and tries to make you pick it up at the post office, located 25 miles away.

#7  I often feel a pang of envy when I see other people's stashes.

#8  Iphones should come with a better battery life.

#9  I truly enjoy having an online business related to my favorite hobby. (HINT:  You should stop by for a visit!)

#10  I get really irked when I think I have created something fantastic, have worked really long hours on bringing it to fruition, and then weeks later discover that someone else has already published my idea.

#11  Sometimes you have to just play the game, smile, and let people figure out for themselves how grievous of a mistake it was for them to share their thoughts with you in the first place.  What does that cryptic statement mean?  My principal's secretary has been telling all the veteran teachers who are worth a *%#@ this week, some of the best of the best in our county--that would include me--that there are "... 42 other people standing in line for your job and your contribution isn't all that valuable; so you can be replaced, you know, and the principal will be happy to do it." Hmmm.  I was recently identified as the #1 high school English teacher in my school system in terms of state test scores for TWO grade levels.  I am the only teacher with that distinction for TWO grade levels in any subject, and my students' scores set county records last year.  And I am appointed by the principal to be on EVERY dang leadership committee and school steering committee there is.  Hmmm.  I think that secretary made a serious mistake when she told me that my work is not valuable at our didn't-make-AYP-last-year school.  Hmmm.

September 15, 2010

WIP Wednesday: A little something from the back of my mind

I've been tossing around the idea of using an extremely large braided cable as the primary pattern of a scarf for a while now, and after some ego inflation from some of my friends, I decided to just do a "little" swatch to see how this might play out.  The yarn is 100% wool from Plymouth, one of my favorite makers of fine wool, and if it looks like a grapey purple to you in the picture, it's actually lilac and my camera just didn't want to express the reality of my project.  So sorry. I'm still playing around with the number of stitches for each section of the braid, and I'm not sure that I like this as it stands--I think I want something more pillowy than  this for each turn in the braid.  This is about 24 "--I guess that means I can call this swatch done now.  This is also my pitiful attempt at reducing my stash which, over the last two months, has grown out of control!  Please share with me your thoughts on this cable.  I am also thinking of creating my own group on Ravelry and doing a scarf knit-along with this pattern when I get it finalized.  The pattern would be free.  Any thoughts on this?

Rocket has informed me that I am now "grounded" from purchasing any more yarn (but she didn't say anything about not winning more!).

Just for a little example, I now have yarn for 13 pair of socks waiting to be knitted, which totally flies in the face of knitting the sweater that took my breath away (of course the sleeves are odd and I will have to make some kind of adjustment) and I will have to get started on--a deep blackberry Peruvian wool is on its way to my doorstep right now, all 18 skeins of it!  Oh, and two sweaters on the needles, an an Envy scarf half done--gotta tell you about that little miracle in a minute--and two sweaters in the queue before the blackberry sweater, and 2 pair of fingertip-less gloves for the boys for fall and winter camping--that wool came yesterday.  "Lucy, you have some knitting to do!" Here's the project that will take me at least a year to finish:

A word about the miracles of online ordering.  I ordered the asparagus merino from Knit Picks about a month ago that I started the Envy pattern with, and then I ran out.  I really need two more skeins, I think, so I had to order more.  Being unusually optimistic for my nature, I decided to order two more and haven't even once thought about tearing the whole thing out even though the likelihood of getting two more skeins via online ordering in the same lot is what, zero?  But, ahh, serendipity ... two skeins arrived yesterday in EXACTLY the same dye lot.  I did a little dance.  My children continue to think I need therapy for this yarn obsession I have.

September 12, 2010

"Just Something I Whipped Up" Monday

Ideal Preemie Hat

I didn't just whip this up.  I've been whipping these up for months and months now, and I am sharing this pattern with everyone because, especially with the colder months coming along, 'tis the season to be knitting and donating preemie hats.  I'm not asking you to donate them to me; rather, there is a hospital wherever you live with an NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit) full of nurses who would be absolutely and completely thrilled to get two or twenty of these cute little numbers from you.  I donate mine to Gulf Coast Medical Center in Panama City, Fl.  All you have to do is practice your circular knitting skills--and if you are a novice knitter, this is a great way to learn how to knit something much simpler than a sock! If you can knit and pearl, you already pretty much know how to make these hats, even if you don't put a pom-pom on them.  If you don't want to take them to a local hospital, then put them in an envelope and mail them.  It's really pretty easy.  And there isn't a better in-the-car knitting project.  Really.

The pattern is free. Just click on the picture's caption above or the link on the right sidebar under "Nifty Free Stuff".  This is my pattern; so if you aren't going to use it to make preemie hats for charity, please don't use it.  It carries a copyright.  I'm giving it to you for free for a reason. There are tiny babies with cold heads out there people!

Thanks, and happy knitting!

My Shop is a Featured Etsy Shop (and Envy is in stores now)!

I am so thrilled to be in the "Spotlight" this week at The Esty Shop Spotlight!   Jaime has a fantastic blog that exists for the purpose of helping Etsy shop owners to get the word out about their shops and wares, and she offers links from her site to several fantastic Etsy shops--mine included.  Thanks, Jaime!  Please check it out

There will be another new pattern release today.  It's been a very productive weekend for me, which is a fantastic turn of events (knock on wood!) because the craziness of my day job has really had a negative impact on my knitting.  It's hard to get to that FO point when you don't have any time to knit, you know?  Anyway, I have had some very enthusiastic responses to the Envy scarf this week, and Envy will be available today at both Zibeline Knits at Etsy and at Ravelry as a pattern download.  Here's a look at the FO:

Envy done in organically-dyed Merino DK

September 11, 2010

A Moment for Silence

Autumn Shrug Pattern

The Autumn Shrug pattern.

It's done!  It's triple-checked and test-knit.  It's available to the wide, wide world!  Check out the pdf download for this super fast top-down knit at either my Ravelry store or my Etsy store.  $5 USD.  You're going to love it!

September 10, 2010

Friday Pattern Preview

After a week of being tired and feeling beaten down, I am glad to finally make it to Friday!  I have high hopes for the release of a top-down shrug pattern--just have to tweek the numbers a bit--and the conclusion of the Envy scarves I've been working on this week.  Here's a peek at the final product for the shrug. This was done with 100% hand-spun and hand-painted alpaca.  The pattern will be titled "The Autumn Shrug ", as it is the perfect weight for when the cooler autumn temps. start sneaking in.  It literally took me a few hours one weekend to knit this up from scratch, so it's a pretty quick and easy knitwear project.

September 08, 2010

Spud & Cloe has been good to me!

After a week and a half of anticipation, the Spud & Cloe yarn that I won in the giveaway at Yarn on the House arrived.  It was pretty impressive.  See?

9 skeins of 80/20 wool/silk--ooh, shiny!--and the Spud & Cloe stripey sock pattern in a cute little envelope, and a pattern box to put my cute little pattern in, with room for about 100 more.  Good stuff!  There is enough yarn here to make 9 pair of socks.  It's like I won the yarn lottery.  Yeah for me!

W.I.P. Wednesday

I know that this is not the point of the Wednesday Work In Progress report, but I just want to share something that is starting to creep me out, and if anyone has a good suggestion about how to stop getting stalker blog comments from people whose comment tag includes the word "escort"  and whose English syntax is so badly crafted that you know that each word is coming from a translation dictionary, PLEASE share your advice!  I have gotten three of these types of comments from three different sources since Saturday, and they are really rather unnerving.

Okay, on to the WIP.  Well, as I mentioned on Monday's post, I have had a scarf epiphany.  Unfortunately, by Tuesday, I had run out of yarn to finish Envy, which I'm still--to use an SAT vocabulary word from my students' vocab. list from last week--vacillating about (I think I still prefer to say "on the fence") whether or not to make this a published pattern.  Anyway, since I ran out of green yarn, I thought I would put that beet juice-dyed yarn to good use.  I know that you can't see it very well, but the orangey spots that appeared without rhyme or reason on the skein when I dyed it are providing an absolutely perfect--symmetrically, even--zigzag up the scarf.  It's rather nifty, and I didn't even try to make that happen.  Serendipity is the coolest thing!

September 06, 2010

Something divine on the needles

I had a moment of divine inspiration on Sunday evening, and  there's going to be a be a scarf!  I have a little sneeky-peek for everyone, too.  This pattern will be called Envy for myriad reasons.  I'm knitting it in a DK merino; but am thinking of trying out some Peruvian fingering weight for a second test.  I'm having to order another skein, so the version in the picture won't be done until the end of the week; however, I think I can put that beet juice-dyed merino to good use now.  This pattern will be so easy that even the knitting newbies who are following me can whip one up in no time!  Those who wear it will be the ENVY of everyone who sees it!  Nothing better than wearing a scarf that everyone covets.  The pattern looks rather flat in the picture, but the ridges are actually raised and the pattern has a fantastic texture.  Better pictures to follow as the FO emerges.


September 05, 2010

Finally some progress in the knitting department

Well, this could be the weekend when I actually get some knitting done right!  High hopes for weekend knitting have yielded a finished pair of Elegy gloves and 4 new hand-dyed and/or hand-painted yarns for the Etsy store. Take a look!


All are superwash merino (75/25). The Pink Chocolate is hand-painted, and the other three are hand-dyed.  If Mayhem doesn't sell, Scout #2 has his eye on it--maybe there could be a hat with ear flaps in it for him.  Ha ha.  I can hear him now--"Mom, that's SO embarrassing!"

And here are the new gloves. These are tres gorgeous in person but photograph like crap.  I have tried every possible color combo of background for these, and they come out looking bright orange every time; but they are really a pumpkin spice.  They are that rusty orange color that is all the rage for this season's fashion shows and that Harper's Bazaar says is THE color of the season.  Check this baby out!


So with some progress already, recovery from the stress but not the cold of the work week, and a little extra sleep, not to mention the second astoundingly perfect day, weather-wise,  of the weekend, LET THERE BE KNITTING!

September 03, 2010

This Just In!

This weekend, well, actually today, new merino superwash sock yarns will be appearing in my Etsy store.  I thought I'd give everyone a preview.  I've decided to focus on sock yarns because, even though it is still feels like I live in the Sahara Desert, I know there will be socks on the needles ("Hey! You already have socks on the needles!" my abandoned toe-down sock project screams from the knitting basket.) for me and for many, many others very soon.  Time to shop and stock up!  Lots of great prices at Etsy this weekend!

Here's a sneak-peak at what's new in my store this weekend:

These lovelies are 75/25 merino/nylon so you can wash them til the cows come home and the colors won't fade and the socks won't shrink!  Stop by and check out the new stuff!

And Happy three-day weekend Friday!

September 01, 2010

W.I.P. Wednesday

Last weekend was a seriously sad knitting couple of days. Everything that involved knitting needles and yarn went badly.  The only good thing to go well on the needles was the pair of women's size medium Elegy gloves that I started knitting on Sunday night.  These will be available in my Etsy store this weekend.  I love this color; it's sort of a rusty pumpkin.  (knock on wood) These gloves just fly off of the needles, which makes it difficult for me to get motivated to work on any of the other thousand knitting projects I have going on which, by comparison, are definitely not flying off the needles!

If we are meeting today because you are visiting from a blog hop, thanks for stopping by!  So glad we could link up today!  I love getting visitors!

I hope everyone has a fantastic Wednesday!


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