July 21, 2011

The Summer List: Update

Where has my summer vacation gone?  I can't believe I only have one week left!!!  Grrrr.  I'm even more distraught over the absolute lack of progress that I seem to have made this summer on THE LIST.  I can only console myself with the fact that my Etsy store is now full of gorgeous things (don't you want to go shopping?) and my garden looks great, and I did repaint/redecorate three bedrooms in my house, including the one that is now my knitting studio.  And there was jam making, flour making, and canning. And there was a whole lot of spinning that got done (wait until you see the corriedale/soy silk 3-ply that I'm working on!). But still, so much to do and so little time left.  Well, here's where we are, two months after the posting of the last summer list:

3 custom ordered scarves/cowls
finish yellow Swing
Swing for my mom
additional sizing for Swing pattern
2 test sweaters for Rocket's sweater toward publishing the pattern (one underway, at least!)
publish Rocket's sweater pattern
socks for mom
finish twitsted basket weave toe-up socks for me
finish Autumn Leaves beret
finish the Reconstruction Sweater
finish the green Elegy gloves for me
finish the baby blanket
finish the teddy bear
finish the macrame vest
finish the 80s shrug
woolen rectangular shawl
cardigan for me
cowl for Honey
write a new pattern for Knit Picks
knit 2 new cowls for me
dishcloths for the kitchen
Padima Shawl

I am going to be focusing my remaining summer energy on the Padima Shawl and on the smallest size of Rocket's cardi, which has a name now:  Rakieta Cardi.  "Rakieta" (Rah-key-etta) is Polish for "rocket".  She chose the name, which is fitting since she designed the sweater.

July 19, 2011

A Nifty Trick for Spinners

Last Saturday, the other spinner in my knitting group, Chris, shared with me this nifty little trick to use when I run out of spindles and need to transfer yarn to a "holder".

Toilet paper tubes!  Take an empty toilet paper tube (remove all the remaining bits of paper), then tape it onto the spindle of a ball winder.  My toilet paper tube seemed a little flimsy, so I wrapped it in some pretty purple floral (with glitter) card stock. 

Then, I taped the tube to the base of the ball winder's spindle.  I cut a little notch in the top to hold the initial end of the soy silk that I had spun while I wound the silk onto the intermediate spindle.

The coolest thing about this is that I can put that intermediate spindle onto the lazy kate and ply with the silk from there.  So glad Chris shared this tip, or I would have been really stuck and wouldn't have been able to ply Rocket's 'Taffy" that I showed off yesterday.  Thanks Chris!

July 18, 2011

My Monday Masterpiece

Usually, on Mondays and Fridays, I have an FO of some kind to show off. Mondays, it's usually something that was spun up over the weekend.  I'm thinking of starting a blog hop for people like me who don't scrapbook or make crafty wreaths or cutesy kids' party decorations or work-of-art cupcakes.  Not that there is anything wrong with that; but there doesn't seem to be much in the way of a blog hop thingy that is focused on the knitters, crocheters, spinners, quilters, and weavers out there.  So, how about telling me what you think?  Would you link up your weekend masterpiece?

And now, on to the show!

My Monday Masterpiece is this gorgioso skein of 2-ply superwash merino that I spun up--some last week, but mostly all yesterday.  It was such a perfect day, weather-wise, yesterday that I made getting this done the goal for the day.  Rocket has claimed this yarn, so that's one more something-to-make to add to the list.  Not sure what I'm going to make with it, though. Rocket said "you could make me a hat or a scarf or something"; which is funny because in the winter it's like getting blood from a stone to get her to wear either a hat or a scarf.  So, I don't know.

We'll call this one "Taffy".  It's from the second braided roving that I bought from Blue Dog Fibers (the first became the Serendipity Scarf).  Turned out to be 304 yards aran weight.  Pretty nice, huh? 

July 15, 2011

This Week's Projects

I did some nifty things this week in terms of learning how to do some random things.  First, I had been in Pier 1, buying a wedding gift, and I came across a magazine basket that had been woven out of newspaper.  I took a picture of it because, well, I was sure that I could do that for free and not have to pay $30 for it.  I was deceived by my own sense of awesomeness.  Weaving a basket out of little rolls of newspaper is no easy task--it's stiff, it bends in awkward angular directions, and when you get to the end and need to weave in the ends of the newspaper, it's so tight that you need some sort of hook to weave the ends in (I used a crochet hook after I had abused all of my fingernails on the first basket).  And, worst of all, newspaper, no matter how thinly you roll it, doesn't like to be woven--it pops up and out and unweaves itself at every opportunity. I made two baskets, both are just big enough to hold odds and ends on my desk or to serve as a little yarn bowl.  Honey said I should lacquer them, but I'm on the fence about it.

I also learned how to mill my own oat flour and to make oatmeal pancakes.  I had oatmeal pancakes at the Flying Biscuit near Piedmont Park with Rocket while we waited for the guys to finish the Peachtree Road Race on July 4th.  They were pretty tasty.  When I looked up a recipe, it called for oat flour and oatmeal.  I live in the sticks; so oat flour isn't exactly readily available.  We don't have organic supermarkets or specialty markets.  We have Walmart and Piggly Wiggly.  Anyway, I looked up oat flour and discovered that it is finely ground oatmeal.  Soooooo, I threw some oatmeal into the Magic Bullet

 Then I ground it in the Magic Bullet (and overheated the Bullet and broke one of the attachments!)
 But, I made oat flour!

I had to do it in small batches, but I ended up with about 14 cups of oat flour.

And, the pancakes were awesome!

Finally, I finished the Serendipity Scarf and am washing and blocking it today for its big photo shoot. Fingers crossed that one of the Interweave editors is going to LOVE it and want to publish my pattern. This picture is, of course, a bathroom mirror shot (grey, misty, and a whole lot like October weather today--odd since it's been 70% + humidity with a heat index of 102 or higher every day this week) and the scarf is totally unblocked. Still, I'm rather pleased that it looks so nice with no blocking.

Now, which of my projects will I focus on next?  So many to choose from!

July 08, 2011

Friday FO: Swing in Yellow

Really. I was beginning to think that this day would never come. My Swing cardi pattern, done in butter yellow, c'est finis!

For a week after the knitting was done, I contemplated the button dilemma: order buttons?, search high and low around town? ... and I even did a little searching around town. In the end, I decided wooden buttons would be best. And then I shopped around online, mostly on Etsy, when the idea to make my own buttons hit me. Why not? Other people make buttons, right?

So, Scout #2 found an incredibly straight piece of deadfall birch--river birch, I think--and I brazenly walked out to the man cave (Honey's workshop), fired up the saw thingy, and sliced off some buttons. Then, Scout #2 sanded them, and I coated them, sanded again, and re-coated them with polyurethane. Took 2 days to do. I even ended up with an extra button because I can't count. Although now that I have the buttons on the sweater, I'm thinking that it could use an extra button above the boobs.

I think we did a pretty swell job for a couple of amateurs!

July 07, 2011

Zibeline Knits & Interweave

You may have noticed the two right sidebar buttons from Interweave.  Beginning today, Zibeline Knits is an official affiliate of Interweave.  I think that's pretty awesome, don't you?

But what does that mean?  It means that from this blog you can go directly to Interweave for patterns, books, DVDs, fiber, emags, etc.  How cool is that?  I know that not everyone who reads my posts is a knitter, so there's a separate link for the crochet superstars out there, too.  Did you know that Interweave offers online spinning classes?  They have a gazillion resources for quilters and beaders, as well. You can access those via this blog, too. 

So, try it out!  Just click on a sidebar button or on this link to go to Interweave:

Shop the Interweave Knitting Store Now!

July 06, 2011

Something New Afoot

 Socks!  I love socks, don't you?  What I love even more than socks is sock yarn!  Not all sock yarn is equal, though, as I have discovered over the years.  Cotton yarn makes saggy, baggy socks.  Wool from some companies, especially the German ones, is scratchy and a little like having an on-going argument with a crabby neighbor to work with.  But merino ... ahh, merino!  I love merino.  As a matter of a fact, two of my sock lines are all about merino.  But there's a new line, just introduced in the shop, that I love equally well:  superwash BFL (Blue Faced Lester wool), which is easy to work with and great fun to dye.

There have been some significant changes in my shop over the last few weeks in terms of sock yarn, so I wanted to introduce the new and re-introduce the old.

First, there's Rocket Sock:  A new name, but the same wonderfully squishy superwash merino in dazzling, wild multis and self-striping patterns for both the beginner sockenista and the expert who want to knit happy with simple stitches and excellent stitch definition.  Totally machine washable.

Second, there's the newly-named Gypsy Sock:  Named for the bright, simple colors, solid and nearly-solid dye patterns.  This sock line is superwash Australian Merino--so squishy and soft you won't believe it!  I used this same sock line in the Mermaid colorway to make my Traveling Woman Shawl earlier this year; so the possibility of this sock line aren't just limited to socks.  This sock line is great for cabling and lacey stitches.  And it's totally machine-washable!

And, introducing the newest sock line and soon to be one of your favorites: Mission Sock!  This is a superwash BFL that is soft and stunning.  I love the way this fiber soaks up and retains the dye!  This sock line is dyed in deep, heady, graduated colors that work their way from dark to light in long sections of color.  The more you work with this fiber, the softer it gets; and like the other two sock lines, it's totally machine-washable.

See, isn't it gorgeous?!  I hope you'll stop by the Etsy shop to check out the full range of colors.  After all, everyone should knit happy!

July 05, 2011

Get it together already!

This is turning out to be a summer that is totally out of character for me.  First, I received the parting gift from the school year of a raucous respiratory infection that took me literally the entire month of June to get over.  Then, because I was so sick, I didn't get much accomplished on the knitting front.  I finished the yellow Swing on the last day of June--and then the buttons I had picked out before I knit it don't match now that it's done.  Frick Frack!  Then, I didn't run the Peachtree Road Race (but Rocket and I had a great breakfast curbside and watched while my two sons and Honey ran--Scout #1--the 14 year-old--ran the 10K in 60 minutes and Scout #2--the 11 year-old--with my Honey by his side to make sure he finishe--go Honey!--ran it in 90 minutes).  They are awesome!  And the trophy T-shirt was kinda blah.  And I haven't really been into keeping up the garden, either.  And forget about yard work.  Starting to wonder who I am these days.

Well, I'm hoping to get my butt (literally) and everything else in gear this month.  Honey, Scout #1, and I re-worked the garden on Sunday (7 hours in the blistering heat and humidity; so some new things had better grow!)  I put my butt back on the treadmill after a little check-up at the doctor revealed that my butt had gained 8 lbs during the month of June while I was sitting on it.  I would like to fit into my work clothes when school is back in session in August; so it's back to the frick frack treadmill.  I haven't been on it since, uhhh, LAST July.  I figure 2 miles in under 30 minutes every other day should do the trick.  I did 2.05 miles in 30 minutes on Friday, took Saturday off, worked my self into exhaustion on Sunday, took Monday off (good thing, too, because I strained the muscles in my lower back during garden duty), and did 2.25 miles today.  I hit the 2-mile mark 1.5 minutes sooner today than on Friday, so that's progress.  I run in the garage with the garage door up, so the local area temperature was 84 degreed F. with a relative humidity of 69%.  You can't run in Georgia if you don't like to sweat, that's for sure.  The scale, however, this morning said--pre workout--that I had gained another 5 lbs since frickin Saturday, though.  Apparently, I need a more user-friendly scale.

Fireworks last night were awesome!  Talk about leading a charmed life ... we sat in the back of the truck and they exploded right above our heads.  Directly above us.  It was totally amazing--like having our own private fireworks show.  And Mother Nature held off the really big storms until after the show was over, which was much appreciated.  I tried to load a video of the fireworks onto Facebook; but it didn't work and I don't understand enough about Facebook to be able to figure out why.  Facebook and I are like this:

! ........................................................................... !

With that thought in mind, there are errands to run as usual; so off I go.


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