November 29, 2010

A few things accomplished

Well, well, well.  I had missed that feeling, which I haven't had since the beginning of August, of having ALL of the laundry done, folded, hung up, and put away.  It took me a full week of vacation to accomplish this.  I once read in one of those self-help books that one should not stress out over the little things--decide what absolutely has to be done and then cope with what isn't an overwhelming priority.  That's great, but after a while, those non-priorities pile up, and then it seems more stressful as it would have been if time had just been made to deal with those little things when they were little things.  Laundry is one of those things for me, and not just because I hate doing laundry.  My children hold the Guiness record, I think, for most clothes in the hamper in a single week.  But, I'm all caught up!

The living room and all of its trim was painted.  It looks fabulous!  Thanks Honey!

The master bedroom closet was re-done--super sale on shelving at Sam's on Friday!--and I can't believe it's our same closet!  Even Honey's side is organized!!!  Thanks Honey!

Closets and drawers were thinned out and bags for charity are awaiting departure in the garage.

Most of the Christmas shopping for the children is finished.  

Final details for the online publication of my Elegy gloves for Knit Picks have been taken care of and fingers are crossed that you will be able to see them in all of their awesomeness in the Knit Picks online catalogue on Thursday.

All baby items are knit and on their way to their recipients.

My November and December swap partners have packages in the mail to them--shopping an knitting done for both last week!

Papers were graded.  Not a lot considering how much there is piled up; but if you multiply Advanced American literature 52 students by 6 assignments, that's 312 pieces of paper (roughly 2 full packages of notebook paper!).  Still, plenty of time will be dedicated to grading to come in the next three weeks.  Only three weeks to Christmas vacation--hurray!!

I created a new invoice system was created on my Macbook for Etsy sales.  (It's amazing what you can do at 5 am on a Sunday morning when you can't sleep because you are stressed about going back to work the next day!)

All purchased yarns from this weekend are packaged, labeled, and ready to ship today.  If you aren't getting one from me, stop by the Etsy shop--sock yarn sale is ongoing.  I also created a new holiday banner for the shop.

I've gotten a good start on Christmas present knitting, and I actually made progress on the Leaf Lace Scarf.  I have, however, decided that I strongly dislike knitting lace.  My hat is definitely off to those who can knit with this thread-like yarn and not lose their sanity in the process.  

It was a banner week.  I hope that if you were on vacation, your week was as productive as mine was.  I'm linked up here today:


Happy knitting!




November 27, 2010

The Saturday after ...

Well, Black Friday sales weren't as impressive as I had hoped for the 'ol Etsy shop, but I'm still having a sale!  All hand-dyed sock yarns are on sale from now until Christmas (click the banner on the right to take a look).  That's a pretty good deal, as superwash sock yarn prices go.

Sock yarn, by the way, is basically just a 4-ply fingering weight yarn.  I've learned that superwash merino is the best plan if you are making socks for a gift or intend to wear yours as a daily accessory.  This yarn doesn't pill up like plain merino, it doesn't have to be hand washed or line dried, it doesn't shrink, and it's nice and stretchy.  And it's super soft!

Here are a few of the yarns on sale:









Yarn love to you!

November 26, 2010

Black Friday!

Here's a quick reminder that everything is 15% in my Etsy shop today!  Use coupon code BLACKFRIDAY15 when you check out to have 15% taken off of your final total.  You'll find that my prices are lower than most and my yarns are very high quality!  100% positive rating from sellers, by the way.


So, I've done a little Black Friday shopping, and so far I'm just frustrated.  Promises of free shipping that don't materialize when you get to checkout, items not in the right size ... not seeing the awesome Black Friday deals that I expected.  I think that too many stores have been doing the Black Friday thing all week, and now that I waited for the "big sale!", what I want is gone.  Isn't that always the way?  Well, I've done the doors-open-at-4am thing in years past, and found the same deal, even at 4am.  Somehow I think, with inflation imminent, there's not really going to be too many actual deals out there.  Bah Humbug, right?

I almost forgot!  I have  new hand painted yarn to show off.  This one's so cute!  It literally looks like a bowl of Fruit Loops, so that's what I've named it.


And for my usual Friday link-ups, visit me here:



http://plumslife.blogspot.com/

November 24, 2010

W.I.P. Wednesday (November 24)

First, let me just remind everyone that I am offering 15% in my Etsy store on Friday.  Use coupon code BLACKFRIDAY15.

Second, how did I get so busy with non-knitting things during this vacation?  Doctor, dentist, science project, 4-H project, trips to the grocery store--I forgot how much my three children can eat during vacation!--baking to do, laundry, painting ... I had such big dreams.  Turns out, I have to really stay up after everyone goes to bed, even while on vacation, to get any serious knitting done.  Yesterday was kind of productive, though.  I was able to get most of the Geometry Scarf done--a few more triangles and some edging left on that one.


I was able to get a few inches of progress on the 80s shrug, and I was able to get one panel done on this vest that is in my head.  Technology, though, seems to be against me.  I have Knit Minder on my Iphone, so I put the pattern into the log as I was knitting it, and when I went back to find it, it wasn't there.  Fortunately, this pattern is a simple one, and I could easily count my rows to get my notes back.  For this reason, my favorite size of needles is US 11.  Everything is so easy with US 11 needles!  



Today I am going to be making serious progress on the leaf lace scarf, or else.  I have blocked out my entire morning for this project, which needs to be done in three weeks when we go to Christmas break--is that all there is left? Stress, stress!  I still have three pair of my Elegy gloves to knit for friends, 2 sleeves to put on the Reconstruction Sweater for Scout 2, and two pair of gloves to knit for the Scouts for Yule Log (tent camping & Scout festivities in December).  Oh, well, I'll worry about that later.

If you haven't discovered this yet, all the great pattern companies (I just love Rowan) are ramping up their free pattern selection--out with the old, in with the new.  Some pattern companies are so classically awesome that their patterns never go out of style, so when they develop new ones, they put the older ones out in the free pattern section.  Problem is, I just seem to be collecting patterns that I love, but never get to knit.  Ah, the woes of the obsessive knitter!

November 22, 2010

What a way to start the week!

I begin this week of vacation with having won a wonderful prize, book Entrelac, The Essential Guide to Interlace Knitting by Rosemary Drysdale from Peacefully Knitting (thank you, thank you!), and two new handspun yarns in the Etsy shop:  Spring Garden, which is a bulky two-ply handspun wool/silk mix, and Green with Envy, which is a BFL wool single-ply:





And what would Thanksgiving Break be without a little holiday shopping?  Visit my Etsy shop on Friday, and you can use this coupon code to save 15% off of your total purchase from Zibeline Knits:  "BLACKFRIDAY15".  Enter the code without the quotation marks.

This coupon thing is in Beta phase at Etsy, so if it doesn't work, just let me know in the comments to seller section or send me an email, and I will adjust the invoice.  We shop owners have been warned that there might still be a few bugs.

Finally, since I didn't get around to it on Saturday, here's a pic of the finished preemie hat & socks.  These are going to little J. today, along with the much larger blue socks I made last weekend.  I found this great blog post for children's foot sizes, which actually includes newborn and preemie sizes by the pound.  If you are a sock knitter, especially with children in mind, you might check it out:  Bev's Country Cottage.

November 19, 2010

Friday Notes on Knitting

Ah, Friday.  Don't you just love the melodic syllables of that word as they roll off of the tongue. Such a happy word, "Friday".  Ah, the trumpeted announcement of V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N!!!!  I especially love Fridays that are followed by vacation days, Thanksgiving vacation days, Christmas vacation days, summer vacation days. Today is Friday, and it's about darned time!

Now, the knitting.  A friend of mine from work had a baby this past Monday, and I am scrambling to re-make my gifts.  The baby was a week late and was supposed to be 7.5 lbs, thereabouts.  When it came into the world, it was 4.5 lbs.  How does a doctor screw up that badly?  Anyway, baby J. is in the neonatal ICU, and those baby socks I've been cranking out won't fit him for quite some time.  So, I've been rushing all week to make preemie hats  (two are ready for their final 4 rows) and preemie socks (CO today to match the hats).  I just feel terribly for my friend, his wife, and their new baby.  Say a prayer, okay?

Pictures to post tomorrow.

And the knitting for vacation is all lined up and waiting--literally, lined up and waiting since forever!  First I have to finish the lace scarf for M., then I have to make 4 pair of gloves--2 for the Scouts and two for gifts for friends for Christmas.  And I have to get some sleeves on Scout 2's Reconstruction Sweater.  That's  pretty ambitious list, I know, especially since I have convinced my husband that the important thing next week is to re-paint the living room, and while we are at it, the master bedroom.  And then we were looking at paint colors online, and the kitchen would look really fantastic in this muted clay color--red clay, as in clay pot, 'cause this is the South and there is no other kind.  But, there will be knitting.  And yes, boss, there will be a paper grading day. Grumble, grumble.

I'm linked up here today:


November 18, 2010

Thursday link up

Today I am linked here.  So many people with so many cute things!  Stop by if you get the chance.

November 17, 2010

And the award goes to ...

My amazing new pal Tessie at Homemaking ... My Final Frontier gave me a very cool award yesterday, so it is my turn to pass it along to other very cool and deserving bloggers:





*To accept this award, there are 4 rules

1. Thank the person who gave you the award.


I Just want to thank Tessie again at Homemaking .... I am totally enjoying your test of Martha Stewart's greatness and your latest culinary experiments. Can't wait to see you put down the apron and pick up the knitting needles for a change (wink, wink).

2. Share seven things about yourself

1. I am a night owl trapped in the routine of a bunch of early birds.
2. My passion for all things knitting defines me. 
3. I am newly addicted to sesame mochi.
4. One of my students told me last week "Mrs. K, you are the teacher who will change my life, and I mean it!"
5. I love to spin my own yarn, even if it turns out to be ugly.
6. I knit for charity (preemie hats, mostly), and I haven't done enough of that lately.
7. I want Carrie Bradshaw's wardrobe--well, mostly just all of her shoes and the black diamond ring.

3. Pass the award on to 12 bloggers you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic.

All of these bloggers inspire me to be a better knitter and blogger:


4. Contact the bloggers you picked and let them know about the award.

November 14, 2010

Finished Projects from the Weekend

First, I finished the first pair of my two-at-a-time baby socks from Thursday's post.  They seem a little long in the foot; but it's been seven years since I had a baby foot around to measure; so these will have to do.  The next pair is going to have a little pattern and no cuff--celery green this time, but same wool/silk machine washable yarn from Spud & Cloe.  Hopefully, these will knit up quickly this week.  I'm planning on an easier week than last week was.



And then Sunday afternoon, I brought out the electric spinning wheel--which I ultimately broke and my Honey is having to fix for me.  But, before I broke it, I managed to get 118 yards of 2 ply artsy yarn--bulky, mostly--out of that super-waxy wool/silk mix that I started playing with last week.  I have some of the roving left, and can probably eek out another 50 yards.



Honestly, I think the fiber broke the spinning wheel because of it's waxiness and its tendency to not want to feed into the machine very smoothly.  Basically, I broke the motor.  Early reports from the shop are that, even though the internal magnet cracked in half--you should see that thing!  There's no way I can be held responsible for breaking a magnet an inch thick, no way!--and has to be re-glued, all can be repaired with the right glue.  Honey says he thinks he's going to have to weld it back together; but that's just because that will give him an excuse to buy a welder.   He might not be too keen on the idea of me quitting my job and opening a yarn shop, but he sure does like to use my online store as an excuse to ramp up his tool collection. ;)

Anyway, it's Monday, so here's where I've linked up.  See you on the knit side.


Creating a Web Site: lessons for the less-than-savvy

So I have spent the last 24 wasted hours trying to set up a better web page than the kinda ugly one that I have through Soopsee.com because my traffic to that web page has been zero % over the last two months, and how can that be good for business?

I searched the Internet.  I read the reviews and I thought I was doing "research" and getting reliable information about which web hosts were the best for setting up a web page, transferring a domain, establishing another e-commerce way to sell my wares, and linking my pre-existing blog.  I took the Internet advice, which said that "Ipage.com was the #1 web hosting service" out there.  I signed up, and here's what happened:

I couldn't set up the page the way I wanted to set it up without a degree in web publishing or paying for someone else through the host to "help" me (not mentioned in the sign-up info.).  When I wanted to cancel my account and get a refund, though, this service suddenly was offered for free.

I couldn't actually have things, like site security for payments made by customers, even using Paypal, without paying an additional fee.

I couldn't back up my site without an additional fee.

I couldn't support e-commerce without an additional fee (not mentioned in the sign-up info.).  The advertisement suggested that e-commerce set-up was part of the sign-up, but it's a la carte.

I couldn't transfer my domain, which I actually already own, without a hidden fee (not mentioned in the sign-up info.) and over 10 hours of exchange by email & chat with a technician--it never did happen in the end because I wasn't about to re-pay for a domain name that I had already purchased for the same prescribed period of ownership.

They wanted me to start from scratch--build a blog, build a web page according to their own prescribed templates (they said "over 1,000 templates available", but I think there were less than 50 available), build an e-commerce site from scratch.  I already have a blog and an Etsy store, though.  Who wants to start from scratch if you have something established?

And after exchanging email, doing live chats, and pulling out my hair, I spent over 30 minutes trying to convince the "helpful customer service agent" that I really did want them to honor their "45-day money-back guarantee" and refund my money.  7 days to refund my money on my credit card, folks.  I think I had better call the credit card company on this one.

So the moral of the story is ... don't believe what you read on the Internet.  I could have paid someone to set it up for me, professionally and effortlessly, for as much as it would have cost me to get, in the end, what I thought I was getting with the sign-up.

So the ugly web page remains, and I continue to search for a better option.  Ugh.

November 12, 2010

Baby Socks and Spinning Woes

If you are like me, and 3 babies made it into the world in one week among your circle of friends, then this is the pattern for you!  I happened to come across it on Ravelry, as I frantically searched last Monday, and except for having to make some heel/gusset instruction modifications so that I could do these 2-at-a-time, the pattern is really great. (What's up with not wanting to know until their born what gender those babies are!?)  My heels look a little more like adult socks than what is pictured; and I think that the next pair will have a rounded, short-row heel.  I can' knit one sock at a time.  I'd go nutz.  But some people like both DPNs and one-at-a-time.  I don' judge. Here are my socks, not quite complete:



Here's the link to Baby Mitten Socks on Ravelry, and to Fuzzy Mitten, which is the blog of the pattern designer where the original pattern posting is located, Barbara Prime.  Fuzzy Mitten is one of the blogs that I am newly following.  You should check out her adorably knit animals!

If you are new to sock knitting, this might even be the practice you've been looking for:  socks on a REALLY small scale!  What's cuter on a baby than its feet?

So why isn't my one pair of baby socks done yet?  "Geez, you've been working on them all week!"  Because of two things:  those darned research paper rough drafts and the worst spinning fiber on the planet!  I spent most of my day off yesterday (we had Veteran's Day off, and I don't think that has ever happened in the history of my school system before) fighting with the worst spinning fiber I think I have ever bought.  It was REALLY gorgeous when I bought it, but it hates me, and I hate it now that I've gotten down to spinning.  And I have a ton of it, wouldn't you know.  The problem is that two of the four components, which are not blended at all but are just kind of next to each other in the bat, are so laden with lanolin that when the yarn wraps around the spool, it sticks together and then breaks under the strain of the spindle, or something like that.  It doesn't break or spin too thinly in my hand. Where it is breaking is right at the spool as it is winding around.  And I know that the lanolin is the problem because when I go to work the yarn off of the spool to re-thread my machine, it's glued to the spool and I can't find the end anywhere!  I wanted to spin two laceweight strands and ply them together to make a pretty fingering weight shawl; but I think I'm just going to have to put what I have aside, spin it thickly, and then ply what I have loosely around the thick strand.  GRRRR. This totally messed up my knitting plans.  And it's so addictively frustrating that I couldn't just walk away.  Type A personality and all that, you know.

Linked up here today, so stop by for a visit if you are out and about the Net.

November 09, 2010

A little geometry in the knitting

Anyone will tell you that mathematics and are are, well, to put it nicely, TOTALLY incompatible.  Totally.  But I had an idea for a short scarf for my husband.  He isn't
the cowl type, and he does sometimes ride his motorcycle to work on days when all I want to do is stay in the car with the seat warmer on and the heat on full blast.  Despite all of his leather and insulated clothing, there's still that little place where the zipper ends on his jacket, leaving is throat exposed to frigid air at 60 mph.  So I started on a "manly" scarf in charcoal bamboo/angora from Patons.  I'm not one to really stock up on the commercial stuff anymore, but this particular fiber, when you can find it, is just superb--soft, drapes well, good stitch definition ... Anyway, I digress.  Here is the geometry scarf, half done.



It's really very easy, and totally reversible.  I'd like to add an edging to keep it from rolling in opposite directions, but I think that may call for an extra skein.  I got this on clearance back in September; so that means I'll probably have to order one skein.  Don't you hate that?  I hate that.  The shipping always makes me think that it isn't worth the purchase; but then it's probably cheaper than driving from store-to-store (which is really town-to-town where I live because you're lucky if there's one commercial yarn store within 25 miles).  I guess we'll just have to see how it all knits out.

Happy Tuesday everyone!  Here's where I'm linked today:


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November 07, 2010

Newly Spun

It's Monday, and although I don't have "how-to" instructions to follow the picture for this post,  I just had to show off something that I whipped up this past Saturday to break in my new electric spinning wheel (Honey made it for me and it works like a dream!).  I went with the BFL top from my SAFF stash on the expectation that it would take some getting used to before I could spin an even thread.  Although there were three or four thin spots, it came out pretty impressively even.  I was able to spin about 208 yards of medium weight/DK weight yarn.  I'm very impressed with myself, and with my Honey for engineering this wonderful machine!  (Of course, he tells me this is just the prototype and then went out and bought himself some new power tools for "future projects". wink wink)


I would have whipped up some more, and I am dying to try out the silk/merino roving I bought at SAFF, but I had to spend 6 hours grading research paper rough drafts--makes me think they don't hear a word I say, those students of mine!--and I still have 18 left of the 52 papers that I started with last Wednesday. I worked it out, and between note cards and rough drafts, just getting through the first attempt at the research paper is 26 hours of my personal time devoted to mostly last-minute baloney. My students don't understand why I didn't have their papers graded the day after they were turned in to me.  Dang!  

But, amid the "watch my baby (doll)"--seen in the backround in her PJs, Pickles having to be parked on my lap or else, Buddy the not-the-lap-dog-he-thinks-he-is trying to shoo Pickles off my lap, the Scouts coming in and out of the dining room to "just see what you're doing Mom", Honey was my hero as usual, and he whipped up a little Kahlua & Cream espresso with whipped cream to bolster my spirits. Makes you kind of wish you had incredibly sub-par research paper rough drafts from 10th graders to grade, doesn't it?


Honey's really my hero, even though he thinks I'm just saying that to placate him.

Here's where I'm linked up today:

Tomorrow, I'll share more newly dyed yarn to show off from the Etsy shop!  Thanks for stopping by today!

November 05, 2010

Finally Friday, but a big weekend coming up!

It's finally Friday, and it's been a week of craziness as usual.  Grades are due today for report cards, everyone is counting down the days to Thanksgiving Break, and I still have an endless stack of research paper rough drafts to get through.  Blah, Blah, Blah.

But, on the fun and creative side of life, this weekend will see a visit to Knitting Club, a crafty Girl Scout meeting, the carding of some to-die-for black llama (roving will be available in my Etsy shop by Sunday), the dying of some 100% alpaca fine lace, some Australian wool sock yarn, and some superwash merino sock yarn--all of which I hope to have pictures of for you by Monday.  These will also be featured in my Etsy store.  Keep your fingers crossed, though, that the invite that I received to have my hand-painted lace yarn used in a new knitting patterns book follows through.  I'm hoping to hear back today on the final word about that.

I've made some progress on both the first panel of the olive-green cabled 80s shrug and the body ribbing of the yellow Swing cardi, but not so much that I can shout "FO!".  I will knit on!

And if you are feeling like visiting some crafty link parties today, I've linked up at these:


November 02, 2010

WIP: New on the Needles

I've been doing a truly excellent job of keeping myself on task to crank out the FOs--totally on track for two weeks straight!--, and then on Saturday I happened upon a sweater/cardi/shrug thing in a little Asian market that brought the 80s crashing back, and I tried it on and really liked it; but not the price tag of $40 for a machine-knit 100% acrylic thing that I could make myself.  So I went home and thought about it, obsessively, because is there any other way to think about knitting?  And then I woke up on Sunday morning with the pattern in my head.  And you know what that means ... yes you do!  No papers got graded.  That's what that means.  I had to start on the sweater in my head and get that pattern written down before it was lost.  The good news is that I have found a use for that giant cable that I couldn't get to work out as a scarf about 6 weeks ago.  So, here's a sneak peak at part of panel #1.


This yarn (Vanna's Choice) is 100% acrylic--which is perfect for developing a pattern because it's cheap and it helps you to figure out how much yardage you need before spending money on the really good stuff.  Plus, it's from the stash, so I'm creating something new AND busting my stash at the same time.  Bonus!

I'm thinking I might get away with under 600 yards of heavy worsted weight yarn for this project, but we'll see.  I'm using 10.5 US circular; but will probably transfer to a pair of straight needles since my 29" cable just doesn't seem long enough for this project.  I've already done some ripping out because of a row mis-count. The post-Halloween candy drama (we thought the world would end this afternoon when Scout 2 ate a mini-Hershey Bar out of Rocket's candy bucket!  So many tears!!) caused the miscue.  But, back on track now and looking good.  For Ravelry project purposes, I've temporarily named this one "Retro", but I am sure there is a cliche 80s title out there, just waiting to be claimed.

And as a side note about how much my day job--which does not involve knitting or fiber whatsoever--has started to get to me, this morning, after turning off the alarm at 5:10 am, I fell back asleep and dreamt that I was in a giant closet--more like a master bedroom in and of itself--sitting on one of those giant, round velvet ottomans that you find in the chic women's restrooms at the Fox Theatre, which was covered up with my clothing, looking at three walls of my own clothes hanging up, and I was having a temper tantrum about how there was nothing that I wanted to wear because I only wanted to wear jeans and I hated my job and didn't want to go to work.  I don't have quite so many clothes, and my small walk-in closet is so over-run with assorted mess and things to be hidden from the children that there's definitely no room for a velvet ottoman.  I guess the clothing thing was just my brain's way of hyperbolizing my subconscious desire to have a job where I can wear jeans every day and not have to even think about which pair of shoes to wear and did I wear that sweater already this week.  But, if my Etsy and Ravelry sales hadn't totally bottomed out over the last two weeks, I don't think I would be quite as stressed about my day job--I find myself thinking that if I stayed home I could find some way to ramp up my sales.  Patience is not one of my virtues.  Oh well.  There are 15 of 52 sets of research paper note cards left and calling my name to be graded.  See you on the knit side.

Linking up at Crafters' Anonymous today

You can find me all linked up at Crafters' Anonymous today. This week's theme is "felting", so I'm showing off my DPN needle case. This is, actually, the only thing I've felted, so I guess I'm a bit of a felting newbie.  It wasn't as difficult as I thought, just time consuming.  I'm sure that once I get several more projects completed, I'll try this again.  Here's a picture of the finished case again, and a link to the Crafters' Anonymous link party.  I'm also linking up on Sugar Bee.  Click the button below to visit that great site, too.


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