July 30, 2010

FO: Swing!

Finally, it's done!  My big Finished Object/Design Project of the summer:
 
Swing!  


This four-button, top-down, raglan cardi is seemless (except for the sleeves if one chooses, as I did, to knit them flat on a circular needle) with 3/4 sleeves.  It's knit with Caron Naturals SPA, a bamboo blend that is super soft and super pliable.  I think that's how the name got stuck in my head--the fabric is so flexible it just swings.  The sweater in the pictures has zero ease, but the pattern, which I am triple-checking this weekend for mathematical errors because I am mathematically inept, will have instructions for increasing the ease.  The pattern will be available for small (pictured), medium, large, and extra-large.  It is primarily designed according to bust size, so the small is for bust sizes 34-36. As I test-knit through the sizes, I will update any purchased pattern-owners with corrections; but I think the instructions are pretty spot-on as they stand right now.



You may be asking, "Why the mandarin collar?"  Initially, I had this sweater in mind as a quick cover-up over a tank top.  Rain showers are sudden and short in Georgia, and this was a great little summer number that I could throw on, but still avoid the rain running down the back of my neck.  It's too hot in the summer for a hood, I think.  And about those buttons ... I finally found some, obviously.  I literally searched the world over and finally found some at a sewing company in New York.  These are pewter with a swirly design on each end of the button.

This sweater ROCKS! 

(And Rocket took these pictures.  Pretty good for a 6 year-old, huh?)

Friday Following

Welcome visitors!  Happy Friday!!!
Did your week fly by as quickly as mine did?

Sorry there's no pictoral fanfare this morning.  Blogger isn't being very cooperative with my computer as far as images go. I can't even post my Friday Following buttons, but they're on the left if you want to check them out.

I wanted to roll out a new cardigan design that I've finished today, Swing,  so check back later.  Hopefully all will be well in the Google images world after lunch.

July 29, 2010

How's That Checklist Coming Along?

I've skipped a couple Thursday posts because I've just been WAY too busy to post.  I have a Summer Checklist.  I think most teachers have one of these.  It's the list of all of the things that you put off during the school year because between your own kids, your own family, general house work, the never-ending stack of papers that should have been graded over a week ago, meetings, grades, attending student sporting events and activities because your principal sets that "magic number of attendance" if you want a good annual review, staff development, that little bit of time you eke out to knit, and maybe a garden, things sort of pile up.  This year I had a VERY long list!  I put it on List Buddy on my Iphone, and I deleted each thing as I accomplished it.  I thought that I would be more motivated to achieve if I saw the list growing smaller.  In hindsight, I should have just put a check in the box so that I could see how much I had accomplished. And to make sure that it all got done, I joined Michelle's "No Excuses Thursday" group at You Just Gotta Keep Knitting!

Since I haven't posted about all the summer list items that have been checked off, I thought I would share a few that had been done in the last two weeks:
* 6 quarts of organic Georgia Peach jam done
* 2 ballerina skirts for The Princess Foundation (plus Rocket made one for herself by herself) done

















* 1/2 of the trim in the house painted (1/2 done)
* New bed sets for all of the kids (that involves a lot of laundry!) done
* All of the kittens given flea baths (that took mom & 3 kids because those babies are wiggly!!!)
* Canning Garlic Dill pickles and pickled veggies done
* Swing (the cardi sweater for which I designed a pattern and then couldn't find buttons to save my soul!) done, washed, blocked, and ready for its reveal tomorrow.
* Swap package sent to my swap partner (Rav: Yarn Lover's Swap) for my first swap ever done (can't wait for her to tell me she received it so I can show off the skein that I hand-painted for her!)
* Garden weeded (that was a job!  I let it go for two weeks and could barely find it among all the barn yard grass!)
* Learned to card fleece
* Finished the first 203 yards of the Corriedale top that I started spinning with my drop spindle in May.
* Frogged the fair isle socks and the Coral Columns sweater that I was working on, tore them out, and got all of that yarn rewound and re-labeled
*  Hand-dyed and Hand-painted more yarn for my Etsy store
* Figured out how to use Google Web Analytics for my Etsy store
* Knit another 6 inches on the body of Dillon's Reconstruction Sweater (5 inches to go and it's on to the sleeves!)
* Knit another two rounds on the lace scarf
* Knit the wrist bands for Honey's motorcycle man gloves (going to try to finish those today)
* CO again for the 2-at-a-time, toe-up socks and knit to about 1/2 way through the instep
* Learned how to wash "virgin" fleece

On tap for today is just knitting, knitting, knitting, and washing/drying a few ounces of the 25 "virgin" ounces of alpaca that have been sitting in the knitting room for about a month, taunting me.  This will be a true kitchen experiment involving a salad spinner and a window screen.  And when it's dry, I'm going to card it with some soy silk.  I haven't decided whether to dye or not to dye.  Even unwashed it's a pretty camel color, and I might just stick with that.

July 27, 2010

Tuesday's Treasures

Here's the stunningly lovely merino lace that is the last of the Summer Fun Collection in my Etsy store.  I've saved the best for last, I think.  I decided to sell this one as a solid skein of 880 yards instead of breaking it up into two or four skeins.  It's just too pretty!  I call this one Sherbet because, honestly, it looks like the lovely pastels of a gallon of rainbow sherbet.


I think it may be difficult to see in this photo, but there is just a hint of pale green in with the yellow.  There's twice as much pink and yellow in this one than there is peach; but I think in a skein there's an optical illusion created by the proximity of the colors; so it looks predominantly peach in the picture but won't when it's knit up.

And the first 203 yards of our first roving dye project ever is finished.  I learned to card yesterday, so things will go a little easier from here on out because I can card the individual colors together instead of trying to pre-draft them together.  I'm still waiting on the electric spinning wheel that my husband says he's going to make for me (there are awesome perks to being married to an engineer!); so, in the mean time, what you see was done on a drop spindle--a little here, a little there.  Rocket and I haven't named it yet.  Turquoise, Kelly green, grapey-purple, red, cream, and brown are the colors of this single-ply skein.  

And speaking of making summer treasures, Rocket and I are going to shoot over to the fabric store to pick up some materials to make tu-tus (some for her, some for charity) and soapsicles.  These crafty ideas are the work of Greenbean at Greenbean's Crafterole.  She finds the absolute cutest projects to do with kids and to make for gifts.  Since this is going to be the last full week of my vacation, and since the boys are gone for the last of their summer visitation with my evil ex-, I thought we'd make this a crafty kind of week.  Besides, the rain gods may bless us and we may have some rainy afternoons this week. Fingers crossed on that one!

July 26, 2010

Monday's Mimosa


What I Just Whipped Up! Monday  brings the beautiful colors of Mimosa, a new item in my Etsy.com store.  Mimosa is hand-dyed, 2-ply Peruvian wool.  Rocket says this one is her favorite of all that we have dyed this summer.  I'm thinking of snagging some of this for myself and whipping up a hat/glove/scarf trio for Rocket, or maybe doing a little felted purse.  If I could just get another FO, I might be able to start a new project.  And I can't help sharing this pretty picture that I took in the kitchen as I was winding Mimosa into skeins this morning. 

I've also hand-painted some merino lace in similar colors plus a lovely pale green.  I'm not sure this one will make it to my Etsy story either, but I'll show it off tomorrow.  I'm getting a vision of a feathery stole for it.  Maybe I should just try to finish the lace scarf I've been working on all summer.

July 25, 2010

Awesome Blog Post for Diminishing your Stash!

I came across a FANTASTIC one-stop shopping kind of blog post yesterday as I was searching for patterns for 220 yards of yarn or less:  Simple Knits: "653 Patterns to Knit with 1-285 Yards of Yarn!".  It's a few years old, so some of the links no longer work; but for the most part it's pretty handy.  It's difficult for me to look at the yardage on a skein and think: "Hey, that's just enough to make an elephant!" or something like that.  So, this little gem of a blog post breaks down what you can do with 285 yards or less, and that's a pretty great stash-busting resource, if you ask me, especially since my stash over-floweth right now.  OR, if you participate in a Ravelry group that swaps yarn each month, here are some ideas to put that surprise that you received in the mail to good use.  So, thank you Vicki from Northern Indiana.  You are a saint!

Oh, and another stash-buster, I think, if you can master the less-than-rhythmic flow of it, is the Knit One Below method. I learned how to do this (thank goodness for Youtube.com because the directions in the book were rather sketchy and disorienting) during my vacation, and my daughter will be getting a blanket for Barbie's townhouse bed out of it.


Despite my disdain for this technique, I will say that it does seem to suck up the yarn and you can do multiple colors--probably as many different colors as you want to include--in a single panel.  The result is a striped pattern of some sort--most of the patterns in the book have a vertical solid stripe and a vertical variegated stripe.  My initial efforts (and this is after many tear-outs because if you make a mistake you are mostly out-of-luck and have to start over) are rather novice in appearance; but that my be the best that there ever is for this technique as far as my knitting is concerned.

July 23, 2010

Back in the Saddle

It's been a little over a week since I blogged, but it seems like an eternity.  A little hard to get back in the saddle after the vacation.  There's always pros and cons to going on vacation at the beach--pros include the way the sun, salt, and chlorine work like your own personal team of salon technicians to add highlights to your hair and hide that gray!; cons include how the beach always comes home with you in the carpeting of your car and stays with you, vacuuming after vacuuming!

I'm not blog hopping or anything today.  Still busy trying to get the house, yard, and garden back in shape on what is supposed to be the hottest day of the year in Georgia.  But, I wanted to share my two newest hand painted sock yarns in my Summer Fun Collection that have posted to my Etsy.com store.   The first is Georgia Sunset (75/25 merino/nylon superwash):



 and the second is In the Vineyard (Georgia muscadine vineyard that is), also 75/25 merino/nylon superwash.


 
Stop by and check them out!

Happy Friday everyone!

July 13, 2010

W.I.P. Wednesday for July 14

 I stayed up late on Monday night and managed to get half of the sleeve of the no name sweater completed.  I figure that I will have plenty of car time this week to wrap up this project.  Hopefully, I'll even find some buttons and be able to announce that I finally have a FO to show off. Here's how she's lookin' (without that one backwardly knit row):


Yes, that is the camera strap in the picture. I said I could knit, not photograph.

 Now, on to the important news:


 Yeah!  I'm leaving for my vacation in Florida today!  Hopefully there will be sun, sand, and a trip to a LYS or two!  Be back next week. 

July 12, 2010

Quite Contrary

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your knitting go?
Crappy.  That's how it goes.  Did I lose my knitting mojo or is my life just getting in the way of my knitting?  Holy Cow! this was a bad weekend for knitting!

I finished the body of the no name sweater on Wednesday or Thursday last week.  So I was going to whip up some sleeves over the weekend and be done except for the ever-elusive buttons.  Well, best laid plans and all because after ripping out the first sleeve four times with expletives, I finally knit one sleeve to completion, ONLY TO DISCOVER that on that last rip out session, I had neglected to rip down far enough, and there is one frickin' row that knits in the opposite direction as the rest of the sleeve, and now I have to tear out the entire sleeve and start over. Expletive, expletive.

Okay, so then I had it in my head that it's time to get some socks back on the needles and wouldn't it be swell to learn how to do it two-at-a-time, toe-up?  Swell.  THAT is like knitting backward and upside down at the same time.  Why do people think that knitting this way is fun?  HOW can people think that knitting this way is fun?  Just making sense of the CO for two-at-a-time is like mastering calculus.  Top down is so much easier, I think.  But, I think I have it now, with three hours of time invested into these pitiful little toe tips, which appear to fit Rocket's little feet much, much better than they are going to fit my big feet--and THAT was not the plan at all!  The only saving grace is that I decided to use the el-cheapo yarn to learn how to do this instead of my new Have You Any Wool (click on the Yarn Marathon button 'cause my computer won't cooperate with a link this morning) gorgeous sock yarn.


And the gods are out to get me because someone's dog has strayed into my yard (Saturday) and someone hasn't come to collect her and now (Monday) I have to take her to the pound because we can't keep her and the kiddos are going to be all sad and pitiful today. She's such a sweet girl--obviously someone's dog because she has a very expensive collar and smelled--before she started sleeping under the workshop--like she had just escaped from the groomer. Oh well.  Onward we must go!

July 09, 2010

A Must Have if you are a teacher or a commuter: the Brugo Mug

PS Mom Reviews did a review of the Brugo Mug (click on the button below or the link) and I am in LOVE with this coffee mug thingy!  I want a sport version in black and one in purple, and then maybe a shiny Jazz version, too.  PS Mom Reviews is doing a give-away for this product; but if I don't win, I'm going to buy at least two, anyway.  If you are a teacher or a commuter, this is so for you!  Even if you drink tea instead of coffee.  My principal requires us to have a lid on our coffee cup or we are not supposed to be allowed to drink coffee in the building--even the kids who man the coffee cart in the morning have to give us a lid--like we are students, ourselves, or something.  Okay, teachers do tend to spill coffee in a trail down the hallway.  I admit it.  We are as bad as the kids.  But check this baby out. 

Friday Following



Happy  Friday to everyone!  
I hope I've met you today. Thanks for stopping by! 

July 08, 2010

NO Excuses Thursday


So just after I got all the kids fed this morning and just before I started "Kill Yourself"--I mean "No Excuses" Thursday, I walked down to the mailbox and got the mail.  JC Penny's sent me an envelope that said: "JC Penny knows what you need today!  Look inside!" in bright red letters.  I looked inside.  Turns out, JC Penny's does NOT know what I need.

What I need is about 5 muscley cute guys in tight jeans who want to paint all of the trim in my house, wash windows, and fold laundry for FREE.  What JC Penny's thought I needed was 10% off my entire purchase on my next JC Penny's shopping spree, paid for with the 28.9% APR credit card for which I was pre-approved.  This is why I don't shop at JC Penny's.  They never have what I need.

But, since this is the day of the week when I pledged to get things done on the Summer List, here's what got done:  the mantel, 2 window casings +trim, and 4 doorways painted, all of the downstairs windows and their casings/trim washed, all of the curtains in the house washed and re-hung, the entire downstairs vacuumed, including the kitchen because by that point I was too tired to sweep and I have a Dyson and those babies can vacuum up cars so what's a little spilled dog food, two smelly boys' mattresses aired out, 2 old TVs stored in the garage because my husband tells me he's going to take them to the dump and I'm going to pretend that I believe him, and two boys' bed frames painted.  My husband will come home and not even notice.  Bet me.  And, yes mother, some of the curtains were ironed.  I intentionally buy curtains that don't need to be ironed; but if they do I figure that if they hang on the rod long enough, eventually gravity will pull those wrinkles right out.

Today did make me realize how easy one of my favorite literary villains had it.  Oh to be Ms. Habersham (of Great Expectations), a woman who, I guarantee, never even looked at a paint brush or a broom, let alone washed and ironed curtains.  Some women don't know how good they have it.

And I feel like I worked  my butt off, but it's still there, along with the cellulite.  I had thought that I would run off some of that cellulite in that marathon, but when I pointed out afterward that it was still all there, my husband told me that I had to run more than one marathon a year to affect cellulite; so I guess I stopped eating those Cosmic Brownies for nothing.  I gave them up for an entire week while I was in training for that race--they are usually my breakfast of motherly champions.  I even let Rocket eat the last one, even though she reminded me that I had told her that I was cutting her off.  My son just came in and said, "ooh what is that, scar tissue?  I hope my legs never get to look like that!"  He was talking about the cellulite on the Polish lady thighs that I seem to have inherited.  I don't think there is anything physically good about getting older.

I used to hate Mondays.  Now Mondays are looking pretty good next to Thursdays.

July 07, 2010

W.I.P. Wednesday

I am supremely envious of all of those knitter-bloggers who seem to be cranking out the FOs lately (finished objects).  I'm beginning to suspect that they've had these things hiding in a drawer and are bringing them out all at once for dramatic effect.  I can't seem to get ANYTHING  finished (insert crabby face here), just new things started. I thought that when I was bragging to my mother last week about how well the cardigan with no name was going and how I'd be wearing it when I came to visit next week, that it would actually be DONE.   But, sadly, it's not looking good.  The darned holiday got in the way of any real progress and it's Wednesday already--how did it get to be Wednesday already?!  Try as I might, my monsters and at least one dog, Buddy the Knitting Dog, seem to have their radar turned on extra high this week.  Every time I sit down in the Knitting Chair, here one or all come with a "Mommy Do" list.  I knit like 6 inches in two hours last week at knitting club--where children are forbidden!--and then all I've gotten done today in two rather fragmented hours is 12 darned rows--not even 2 inches.  I AM going to knit these last 6 rows of the body today, even if a bored child has to do something for himself for it to happen, darn it! 

Here's how she's lookin' from the back side--too early for the big reveal.


I have hit a snag with this project:  buttons.  Well, it feels more like I've had a little train wreck.  I apparently have no artistic vision where buttons are concerned.  The buttons that I chose for this project look crappy now that I've put them on the sweater--sure, the color of the button is a dead-on match to the sweater, but they make the sweater look dumpy, despite it's lovely shine and woven cloth appearance.  I went online and found the perfect buttons, but the price isn't so perfect.  Can't justify spending more on 4 buttons than the entire cost of the yarn and needles used to make the sweater.  So, the search continues for the 4 elusive "Yeah Baby!" buttons that I need for the big reveal.

July 06, 2010

Whoo Hoo! My first award!


Look what gigantic surprise awaited me this afternoon!  Thank you to my newest friend, Michelle, at You Just Gotta Keep Knittin".  I am truly tickled pink!  Whoo Hoo!!!

Okay, so there are rules that go along with receiving this award. 

First, thank the blogger who bestowed the award on you:  Thank you, thank you, thank you Michelle!

Next, sum up your blogging experience, philosophy, and motivation in 5 words:

experience:  topsy-turvy

philosophy:  be real

motivation: knowledge, connection

Finally, pass along the award to 10 bloggers:

I choose these bloggers because I have truly enjoyed following along (in no particular order):



 

Simpler Things Tuesday

A few thoughts for Simpler Things Tuesday:

The hibiscus is in bloom.




And the zinnias have finally gotten with the program.

July 05, 2010

The Day After

So the tradition for the past few 4th of July celebrations at my house has been to run in The Peachtree Road Race.  This is a 10K (6.2 darned miles!) race that is run by 55,000 people who have either managed to get their entry in online (this year's online entry closed in something like the first 2 hours) or by lottery.  If you are lucky enough to get in, you run through the streets of Atlanta in the early hours of the morning while 150,000 people line the streets and cheer you on to the finish line (many with wine glass or beer in hand).  There's the "real runners" race that involves a sizeable cash prize and is won by someone from an African country who can run a mile in about 6 seconds flat--this year it was a guy from Ethiopia who did it in something like 27 minutes and 19 seconds.  That might seem incredible, but when one factors in the 2 miles of hills--and we're really talking about ascent into the Andes kind of hills--and the fact that there is almost no downhill to catch your breath on, it's pretty darned amazing.  There's also a women's "real runner" race and a wheelchair race.  Then the 8 seeded (you have a history of having a competitive time in a marathon during the previous year) groups run, then the 12 unseeded groups run. My husband and I ran among the seeded groups.

Another amazing fun fact about the race is that I finished and got my trophy:  the coveted t-shirt.  See my prize!


 You have to finish the race to get the shirt.  My husband and I got the shirt.  I didn't quite make my goal of beating last year's time by 10 minutes, but I beat it by 8 minutes, so I'm pretty pleased; especially since I didn't actually start "training" until about 3 weeks beforehand and then found plenty of excuses to avoid the treadmill during that time.  And I am not even as sore as I was last year.  The day after is usually a killer, as the body waits until you try to get out of bed in the morning to announce that you won't actually be able to move the lower half of your body enough to even just roll off the bed and onto the floor.  Last year I pulled some muscle that connects your knee to the rest of the upper body and I was in pain for about 3 weeks, no joke.  This year, however, even though my hip was complaining loudly yesterday, I just have some sore lower back muscles to suffer.

And my time:  1:18:23 by my watch, but less by the official watch because I started my watch before crossing the starting line.  That's a 12.5 minute mile folks.  The first three I was averaging--really, not kidding here--a 10.5 minute mile; but then I hit Cardiac Hill--so named because it not only is so steep that you could die of an heart attack, but also because it is in front of a hospital that specializes in cardiology.  I did pretty well for an old lady of 38. Next year, the whole family's running. Rocket, the 6-year old, says she would rather have a sitter; but I know she's going to want the shirt, too.  It's always about the shirt.

July 01, 2010

Friday!!!


Fun Follow Friday, Blog Hop Friday, New Friend Fridays, and Friendly Friday Follow!  Everybody follow along and visit the fantastic sponsors of these events. My newest follow along is Playdates Friday Follow--today is opening day for this one, sponsored by Stash Mama.

But before you visit the next blog, check out the awesome products of my dying adventures with Rocket this week.  We are naming our collection "Summer Fun" because Rocket says "We did it on a day that was summer and it was really fun!".  What a great helper I have!  These lovelies are available on my Etsy.com site.

Soul Citrus (superwash merino wool sock)

Berry Season (100% Peruvian Wool fingering wt.)

Blue Moon (100% merino lace wt.)

Bubblegum Princess (100% Peruvian Wool fingering wt.)

And while you are bopping around today, check out Live, Love, Laugh with Leslie's Shabby Apple dress giveaway.  The dresses are honestly the perfect thing if you are a working woman.


Caution: Wet Paint!

I think that most women would agree that, on at least one occasion in their lives, they've gone somewhere, like a restaurant, seen a particularly stunning color of paint on a wall, and said, maybe even out loud and seriously, "That color would be fantastic in my house!"  Now raise your hand if you ever actually went to the store and bought that color.  Don't be shy.  I did.  I did all of those things.

I went to a Cuban restaurant (Papi's) last week for lunch with Honey and Rocket (the 6 year-old) for the BEST Cubano sandwich on the planet.  And there was this gorgeous wall in a lime greenish tropical color, and I said, "Rocket, that would look so great in your room!" because she's been wanting to paint her room green, but we couldn't decide on the particular green. And I apparently had a moment where I had lost my mind. 

Yesterday, I bought the paint, still with no misgivings whatsoever.  Today, I opened the can and asked myself if I was sober when I had the paint guy mix up this color.  But Rocket was excited, so we painted.  6 hours into it, I was seeing green spots and I had run out of paint with a second coat on two walls to go.  Apparently, the pale, lovely pink walls didn't like it either, and they fought me all afternoon about this color.



This is a color that cannot be photographed, thank God, because it will go down in family infamy--right there with the yellow kitchen I had in college and the raspberry bathroom that was part of that same apartment. If you have a bottle of Rose's Lime Juice in the cabinet, then you'll get the idea. The walls, all 4 of them, are the color of that cap.  This picture is terribly dull compared to those walls.  It lacks that glow-in-the-dark, put on some sunglasses brightness.  When Honey texted me that he was coming home and couldn't wait to see it, an "I Love Lucy" episode flashed across my vision and I could hear Ricky say, "Lucy, you got some splainin' to do!".  Honey's not too keen on the color, come to find out.

In case you are wondering, the ENTIRE rest of my house is painted in muted earthy tones.  Of course every room is a different colored earthy tone, but still.  None of them are electric anything.  We're going to call this the "unripe banana" room from now on, I think.

All I really wanted to do today was run and knit.  

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