Sunday, January 24, 2010

Treading Water

I thought I was going to hit my knitting stride in 2010 but it has not turned out that way. Between working and trying to purge my office, I have not done nearly the amount of knitting I had thought I would. I have been working on the same project as has been seen here many, many times in the past few years. I so love this pattern as is evident of how many times I have knit the Mary Scarf. Now I am just knitting now to knit down my stash.

I joined a group called 5K Stashdown because another Ravelry friend mentioned it. I thought it a bit silly but when I sat down for 2 1/2 hours and started an Excel sheet with my stash inventory; I was mortified. I always knew in the back of my mind that I had a lot yarn, but I didn't know I HAD a lot of yarn. I am up to item #98. That doesn't mean that I only have 98 skeins, but different kinds of yarns and colors. Some of the catergories I have listed have 7 skeins, so I have more than 98 skeins of yarn. Say what? No, it can't be. I have only been a knitter for five/six years and there is no way that I could have bought that much yarn. Really?

I have still yet to tackle my closet. I have bags in the closet that are for sweater knitting that I have yet to inventory. I am dreading that. It only reminds me that I have been overly free in my spending for my hobby. I used to laugh and have self righteous thoughts about those who had storage sheds with yarn in them. Not anymore.

So to help relieve myself of some of the "yarn burden," I have been knitting on several projects at once. One of the projects was for a co-worker who admired my fingerless mitts. I told her that if she bought me the yarn I would knit her a pair. So she did. She purchased one skein of Homespun yarn. I let it sit on the diningroom table for a while until I could get motivated to knit the mitts. When they were done, I was happy with them and I think she liked them too.

They do look rather plain but when they are one someone's hands they do look so much better. The pattern is rather simple which gives me courage to step up my design selection for the next pair.
I had to try them on before taking them to work. I don't think they look so bad. Homespun is rather bulky so they are very warm. I took them to work and then my co-worker modeled them for you.

Notice the chef's jacket. That is the co-worker at work trying on the gloves.

I used the same pattern for these that I used in the first pair I made over a year ago.
There are the palms. The whole pattern is basicly a ribbed pattern with a thumb hole, which I had never done until I knit my first pair, which I gave to another co-worker. Then there was so much left over yarn, that I knit her a hat.

I took the hat to work for her to put a button on. I sadly did not get a picture to show you the hat but she did promise to bring the hat back and model it so I can take her picture. Stay tuned for more

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wrapping Up

I was thinking that I had another blog entry in the wings so I have been sitting here all fat, dumb and happy. I just checked and there is not another post. I could have sworn that I wrote one before the end of 2009 and it would be posted sometime this year so I could coast. No such luck. So here I am trying to come up with a post with last year's news. Does that really matter as long as it's a subject that brought others joy? Probably not. So I will wrap up what was wrapped up and given away.

I sent out my last package for my Santa Swap right before we left for our Christmas vacation. It had to be in the mail before Dec 16 and I did have it out before that to my partner who lives in Lawton, OK. Everything they say about mailing early is totally true. My box got there in three days. I was shocked and very pleased that my partner got her package so quickly. It's a good thing I did mail it early. She posted on the Ravelry site that my gifts were her only gifts under the tree because she was snowed in and was not able to be with her son and his family. I sure was glad that I mailed that box on time.

I tried my best to give her things that I thought she would enjoy. When I went to Rhinebeck back in October of last year, I was shopping for gifts for my friends and my swap partner. I know that my partner loves to make Tams and I tried my best not to come up with some more chunky weight yarn but my yarn was pretty fat. This is how it turned out below.

I know this is dark but the yarn is very dark too. It's a dark green with smatterings of orange, brown and shades of a lighter green. There was about 7 ounces all spun up. It was wonderful to spin and actually went very quickly.
I sent the tag with the yarn so that Laura would know what kind of yarn she would be dealing with. It was a blend. I was pleased at how well it turned out and I hope that Laura was too. Laura also received the red felted bowl. I purchased that roving from Rhinebeck too. I spun it and then made the bowl. I loved the bowl and gave some serious thought about keeping it for myself. Now I have to make another one!

I wanted to put in an ornament so I decided to sort of make one.

I took some of the yarn that I had spun and put it into the ball, some stitch markers, a stitch counter, and some point protectors. I bought some needles to put into the ball but they were too long to fit. The ball is plastic and can be opened in case of a fiber emergency; a knitter never knows.

Here is what the box looked like right before I packed it up.

There is the handspun, some Biscotti I baked, the little box that the ornament was in, the red handspun bowl and the left over yarn and a cute little felted sheep pin. I am never sure if it's enough. I hope that Laura enjoyed the box. I had fun playing the fiber hunter gatherer.

So here is what I got from Laura.

This is contents of the box I received minus a few things. You'll see in a minute what is missing.
There was a box to make some socks. The box has the yarn, instructions and includes the needles. Then there was a lovely gold shimmery gold tam. I have a model showing it off. She's doing such a lovely job that I took two shots of her and the Tam.

I also got a pillow sham with purple and yellow and then some single serve coffee bags from Starbucks And last but not least the things that are missing...
I would say the box was a success! I ate them all! I was happy to swap with Laura and hope that she had a lovely Christmas. I know I did. Thanks Laura.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Simple Yet Effective Shawl

I found this pattern on Ravelry. The designer is Laura Chau. She also wrote this book. I met her very briefly at Rhinebeck (NY Sheep and Wool Show) this past October. She was there to sell and sign her book. I don't own one but might consider buying one due to this shawl that drove me a wee bit nuts.

I thought that since it had the word simple in the title I would breeze through it. Three skeins of sock yarn later and it's finally done. I picked sock yarn for this project because I thought it would wash and dry up like a great pair of socks would. Wrong. Let me refresh your memory. Here is the shawl I worked on for months...

Not much to look at in this form or the next one either...
I decided that months of my grubby hands on this piece, it might need a bit of a wash. So I had some special wool wash that smells like lavender and gave it a nice dunk in tepid water. Not hot mind you, just tepid. As I watched the water fill the sink, I started feeling sick to my stomach. Panic set in. See how murky the water is?? Does this tip you off to the next shot?
See that lovely shade of blue? It's bleeding from my sock yarn shawl. This is not hand dyed yarn mind you. This yarn is made by a big named company, Berroco Sox Metallic. I have never had sock yarn, hand dyed or other wise bleed like this before. I am so thankful that even though it says you can wash in the washing machine and dry in the dryer, I did not. I rinsed it off and hopefully that will be the one and only time it bleeds blue everywhere. I will never wash this in with any of my clothes at this point because frankly, I don't trust it. I know yarns bleed all the time but just never thought that it would happen with a product from Berroco which I have knit socks with before.

I rinsed the shawl out as much as I could. I did see the water run clear but who knows...I still don't trust it. Then it was off to the next step of blocking. I have never blocked a shawl because I never really had anything that needed to be done that way in the past. Lucky for me my friend had a brand new set of blocking wires and let me borrow them. So without really knowing what I was doing I started to thread my shawl on to the wires through holes as consistently as possible.

It took way more wires than I thought it would but there were some to spare. The cat loves to lay on my bed upstairs so I can't lay it out on the bed. So the dining room table had to be cleared off and there it will sit until it dries. Thankfully Thanksgiving dinner is over and we don't have to eat there for the time being. It's not as flat as I have seen in other photos but this is all I have to work with for now. I will check on it tomorrow to see how the drying process is going.

This post was right after Thanksgiving when I started it and now it's 2010 and the shawl was given to my SIL for Christmas. Since both my SIL and MIL read my blog, I have to be careful what I say the closer it gets to Christmas every year. I am really mad at myself that I didn't get a picture of my SIL with her shawl. I hope it brings many, many warm days to come!