January 27, 2014

Monday FO: Shurt'gal Socks (modified)

My first selfish knit of 2014:  Shurtugal Dragon Socks for me.  The yarn is Knit Picks in, I think, a Stroll Multi.  It came from the stash and I didn't even think to check the label before I tossed it in the trash.  I've been meaning to make a pair of socks that matched the spring palette in my winter/spring wardrobe for quite some time, so it's great to have gotten these done.  It took me about 8 days for the pair, but I must admit that I did spend quite a bit of time on them on Saturday when I realized that I was only 4 inches from the finish line.

The last pair of Shurtugal socks that I made was last spring for my mother, and I turned those into a pair of cool-weather pedicure socks.  I really liked the pattern so I broke away from the usual ribbed sock, and I'm so glad that I did!

I was really quite concerned at the beginning about the pooling affecting how well the pattern shows up, but I think it all worked out okay in the end. I changed the heel and just did a straight stocking stitch v-heel instead of the slip-stitch that the pattern suggested.  I'm not really into ridges on my heels.

Of course, as soon as I was finished with these, I got orders from the family for more socks for them.  So far I'm 3 pair deep before I can knit another pair for myself.  It's a good thing that the Farmers' Almanac says the we have at least one more very cold month ahead.  Maybe I'll still be able to get another pair in for myself before winter ends.

January 15, 2014

Basic Raglan Baby Cardigan Sweater

As promised, here are pics of the finished newborn sweater that I was working on Monday. (It's even more adorable in person!)

This particular sweater is now available for purchase in my Etsy shop. Of course, I will also knit up a custom order if you send me a message on Etsy.

And, as promised, here's the pattern:  Basic Raglan Baby Cardigan Sweater.  It's sized from 0-3 mos., 3-6 mos., and 6-12 mos.  If you go to the Craft Yarn Council, you can get measurements for additional ages and, really, if you keep gauge in mind, you can alter this pattern to produce larger sizes as needed.  I'm giving it to you for free, so if you want a larger size than what I've offered, please do the math yourself.  Of course, there are a zillion other free raglan top-down patterns on Etsy, too. This pattern is simply what I've worked out over the years for my own knitting purposes.

January 13, 2014

Monday FOs: Baby Cardi Central

I think I mentioned in the last post that I was knitting up a baby cardi, the Puerperium Cardigan, for a baby shower this past weekend, and promised pictures of the finished project. (One sleeve looks longer, I know, but that's just the angle.  They measure to exactly the same size.)

Well, that little number knit up so quickly that I had time for a second, more involved cardigan.

This one is just a basic top-down raglan that anyone with a good raglan worksheet and a few standard body measurements can whip up.  The stripes are just a matter of one knit row and one purl row, which is pretty easy since a top-down cardigan is basically knit flat, with the working yarn carried up the right side selvedge. The yarn is 100% DK weight organic merino (kettle dyed pea pod green and hand painted ash grey). There are probably a gazillion photos on Ravelry just like it, but that doesn't make it any less adorable!

I plan to share the instructions with you in my free patterns section of this blog, but that will be at a later date.  Today, I'm just feeling under the weather.  Although I was beyond thrilled to see friends at yesterday's baby shower that I haven't seen in ages, some in almost 2 years, I think too much talk of "school" has done me in for a few days.  By the time I left, I had a serious eye twitch that lasted well into the wee hours of the morning and, after a night of miserable "school" dreams, my stomach problems that caused me to leave teaching in the first place are in full swing today.   So patterns for another day, though I promise to give you a few sizes to work with when I do.

Not even whipping up a new cardi (I think I'm on a baby cardi jag), which I began yesterday morning and will probably finish this evening, or spending a good chunk of my morning at knitting club where no one talks "school" has been able to relax me.  This cardigan is done in a fingering weight 100% merino in natural, undyed cream and kettle-dyed cobalt blue. I promise better pics when it's been blocked and finished.

You can find this newest cardi (0-3 mos.) in my Cedar Hill Farm Company Etsy shop later this week.  I'm also happy to do custom orders; just drop me a line.

January 07, 2014

On a Tuesday

Monday (yesterday) was the occasion of the first FO of the new year, which was also one of the last COs of the old year: ribbed socks for Scout #1.

I think he was expecting them to be substandard to his thick boot socks.  But, later in the day, he exclaimed in surprise at how warm his feet were, even though they were thinner than his usual and we were working to secure the chickens and rabbits for the night in temps in the low 20s and wind chills in the single digits.  And boy howdy did we have some WIND!  I don't think I've been in wind that cold since I was a kid in Upper Michigan.  At one point, having gotten a few finger tips wet arranging the water bucket in the coop, I lost all feeling in my fingers.  You know you are in trouble when you have to run cold water over your fingers to warm them up! But, all is well and my fingers have been busily working on a new, impromptu project.

This morning, I watched the thermometer drop to 6 degrees F. at 7am.  6 degrees.  In Georgia.  You know, the "Peach State"?  No snow.  No ice.  Just 6 degrees.  Wind chill -11.  Since homes are not really insulated here for that kind of cold, and since the guy who fixed our air conditioning last summer STILL hasn't come to install the part for the emergency heat thingy that he took off, there was a husband/wife tag-team fireplace vigil that afforded me the opportunity to make significant process in the wee hours of the morning on this sweater. Our fireplace is huge.  As in somebody confused building a house with building a ski lodge, huge.  (15 feet across.)  This morning I'm tired, but it will be worth it if we don't have to go into debt over a massive electric bill for these few days of insanely cold weather.

My Tuesday morning project, which was actually started about 15 minutes after I finished those socks on Monday, is a short-notice baby shower gift.  I'm doing a Puerperium Cardigan in the "newborn" size.  Since the shower is on Sunday, next, and I received my invitation yesterday, I had to visit the stash for my materials.  I've elected to go with a natural extra fine baby alpaca sport.  It's a bit light, but alpaca tends to make up in warmth what it lacks in weight.

Buttons will be blue or green or not.  I'm still undecided.  I wish we had a button store around here.  Even the fabric stores, which are a considerable trek from here, have nada for buttons.  (Why is China the only place that a woman can get classy buttons these days?! ) I expect to have this cardi finished by the end of the day--it's too cold to do anything other than to sit and to knit and I am entertaining no arguments today about that fact. I only have about 3 inches on the body and then the sleeves.

The splendid thing about how quickly this is knitting up is that I'm positive that I will have enough time to also knit up something else.  Another of these cardis, perhaps, in a hand painted merino, or some snuggly baby alpaca socks to match. Also on the fence about this.

January 03, 2014

New Year, New Name, New Projects on the Horizon

2014 began with the changing of the name of my business.  No longer will you find Zibeline Knits on Etsy.  You will find Cedar Hill Farm Company, and I hope you will stop by once in a while.  Nothing has changed about the yarn and fiber that I offer, but since we bought a farm and the plan for it seems to be moving toward developing our own self-sustaining fiber farm, it just seemed like the online business and the market business should fall in line with the rest of my life.  And so, even though I don't think I will change the address of this blog because that would throw off anyone who has it cached in their blog reader, but the next time you visit, it will have a new banner.  I hope you will continue to visit.

We also have a new business website for our Cedar Hill Farm. It's very new and still under construction, so pardon my web design mess.

In case you were wondering: sheep.  We're seriously looking at having a herd of medium wool sheep. I think, though with some regret, that sheep are a better fit for our pastures than alpaca.  Right now, I'm all about not killing off 8 acres of pasture and replanting it because alpaca are picky eaters. My husband has even, all without prompting from me, been considering developing our own fiber mill to mill our wool and process that of others.  (Dare I dream!?)

We're definitely going ahead with the organic vegetable plan for local farmers' markets.  We've already planned out the massive garden, planted the blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, and selected the seeds.  Now we just need to put up some anti-wildlife fencing and build the new greenhouse.  The hoop house of bygone days is, with the amount of gusty wind that we get, bygone.

So that's the farm and business update.

As for the projects for the new year … I still have a pair of man socks to finish, though I'm on the gussetts.  Scout 1 doesn't seem to be in any kind of hurry to wear them, so I'm just working on them when I can.  I also have my mother's shawl to finish.  This one is a handspun project, with a combination of thick/thin handspun merino/silk and handspun mohair locks.  I'm a bit more than halfway finished on this. (Pictures are promised when I'm done.) I also have a vest with the bodice to re-knit and my semi-circular lace shawl pattern that I was self- test-knitting but put down to do the Christmas knitting. That shawl suffered a slight set-back last night when we came home from buying the latest in a string of new fish for Rocket (at least this last one lasted the night this time!) to discover that a beagle had climbed onto the end table and had a good chew on my new blonde Harmony needle tips, though the cable is fortunately still intact.  There were many expletives when I walked into the house.  These are the suspects (Rooster on the left; Elvis on the right).  Somebody is going to lose his knitting buddy priveleges.

For Christmas I received a substantial addition of literature to my reference library.  Among them are two Elizabeth Zimmerman texts.

Consequently, I think my big project for the year will be a Pi Shawl, though the prospect of that much knitting in circles sort of makes my head spin when I think about it (the pattern says something about 500+ stitches before you want to think about knitting on a sideways border!!). I think I will knit it in my Flock 225 label.  I've had my eye on that Highlands colorway for some time. I'm also going to design a Shetland lace something or other (got new yarn for Christmas that is perfect for such a project).  I also finished (JUST in time for Christmas) the by-the-seat-of-my-pants cowl for my step-daughter ("thanks, Pinterest" she says with a note of sarcasm), which turned out so nicely that there will have to be a pattern written up and at least one more knit for me. It doesn't look as much like the Pinterest pic that I was supposed to re-create as I would have liked, but that's okay because it was a big hit and now I can claim the pattern for my own.  I also recently and unexpectedly unearthed (some days I feel like we are NEVER going to be finished unpacking from the move in June!) the handspun Shetland wool that I did for the purpose of knitting up a Kate Davies Snawheid for myself.  My two handspun hanks just need to spend some time in a dye pot and then this might be the very next project to make it to the needles.  One of my knitting groups is also planning to start the year with a KAL and learn new tricks.  We're making Tunisian Crochet Entrelac Throws using a free pattern from Lionbrand.  And socks.  I'm still bitten by the sock bug, and have amassed a substantial stash of sock yarns over the last few months.  I think 2014 will be 12 months of having at least one pair of socks on the needles at all times.

I hope your new year is off to a great start!


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