Monday, November 28, 2011

Day Tripper

One way ticket, yeah.... it took me soooooo long to find out, and I found out.

Not really. This morning I took a little trip to go to the Clay Purl in Nashville, Indiana. It was my first trip to Brown County, and I thoroughly enjoyed walking around Nashville because I was an hour and a half early to my appointment.

Here were some of the sights (it got quite drizzly and I put my camera away- I'd rather keep it dry if possible). I found the most wonderful little shop called Madeline's, and it smelled like Gardenia candles and had fantastic vintage dress forms that in hindsight, I wish I had bought.
I did a little damage waiting for my appointment- I bought a nice little jar of lemony lotion that isn't greasy at all, and a pair of sheepy socks. Then when I went out to the car to get my rep bag, I found that I had a stowaway...
...who turned out to be quite the Olive Garden party animal.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Happenings...

The Holiday season is upon us, and that means it's time to bake enough to provide a small army with love handles, knit until your index finger bleeds, and run around taking care of things that you've been meaning to do since July.

Or maybe that's just me.

Anyhow, here's a super fast update on what I've been up to since my last post.

Finishing my wonderful red tweed cardigan.
Cross stitching in my wonderful red tweed cardigan while listening to "Outlander" on audiobook. I've had to put that on hold for a while, it's getting smutty and I'm afraid someone will walk in on me, blushing and stitching very quickly. They might just get the wrong idea...
Finally weaving in my ends on a shawl I started in July and finally finished in October.
Making a 12" blanket square (that is so thick that it could survive a nuclear holocaust) for a wounded veteran Kim knows.
Finishing up my cupcake orders (for a while at least).
Making Magic Octopus socks.
Tending to an overachieving Christmas Cactus.
And working on my new love, my stash-eating blanket.
And that's about it for now. My show is on in a few minutes and I need to figure out how I'm going to do my decreases on a hat I'm designing for work before Prime-Time Knitting Hour starts.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cross-stitching in my sleep

I had the strangest dream on Thursday night. I was sitting, working on my Halloween cross-stitching project that I LOVE and suddenly, I was out of aida cloth. I was stitches away from finishing and it looked like I hadn't given myself enough cloth to finish the project. Since this was more of a nightmare, I shot up and ran to my cross-stitch bag on the other side of the room, dug out the Halloween piece, and counted.

I didn't have enough fabric. And I have no idea how I did that! Luckily I wasn't almost done or anything. Dang. I'm glad I dreamed about it- I could have stitched for a few more weeks before figuring out I was 8 stitches' worth of fabric short. I was so upset (not really) that I turned on my "Outlander" audio book and grabbed the next p
roject in the queue. The piece is called Mrs. McKenna's Farm and it's a little sampler with a farm house, a few trees, and my favorite thing ever- sheep. Here's my progress after 4 discs of Outlander and half a bottle of wine (it was on Saturday night- drinking is allowed). I'm absolutely in love with it even though it doesn't really look like much...yet.
And here are all of the projects that have been utterly neglected because of the cross-stitch sampler. (I knew I shouldn't have started it, but I have absolutely no self control when it comes to NOT starting new projects)
1. Red Tweedy Sweater Beast. I'm going to wear this on Thanksgiving. End of story.

2. Magic Octopus Sock. Started on Florida trip so that I would have plain knitting to take to the Harry Potter theme park (hence the "magic" part). Yarn is Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock in "Octopus Gardens" colorway.

3. Teal Mitten. It needs to be closed at the top, given a thumb, and then given a mate. I'll get there eventually. Preferably before we have real snow.

4. Crochet Stash-Eater blanket. Was going to be a Christmas present for my mom who said she didn't like the colors. Whew- more for me!

So that's what I've been up to. How's your holiday crafting coming?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

the hat

I began this morning a little earlier than I wanted to, but all with good reason. I took a Fair-Isle class from Amy Detjen today and it was marvelous. I took my 8 rows of homework ribbing in and a dark and light color that I thought looked nice together (it's a very dark green if the pictures don't show it well). Within a few minutes, I was knitting with two colors! I never really got a fluid two handed-system going, and anchoring down stitches with the right-hand color is still a little over my head, but overall I'm very pleased with myself and my- scratch that- Meghann's new hat.The pattern is a little crazy because it wasn't really meant to be a hat, just a sampler where I get to experiment with things like color changes and floats, but if someone is willing to wear my first fair-isle on their head and look this happy about it, then I'm all about that.
It's improvised. It has mistakes. It had slightly wonky decreases. And I couldn't be happier with it. And Meghann seems to be happy with it too. (And isn't her owl sweater adorable! I totally picked the buttons :p)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Getting back in to the spin of things...

I have immensely enjoyed my cupcake break this week, and even have a little to show for it!
On Halloween I repeated last year's theme- a witch costume and a spinning wheel on the front porch. We live in a cul-de-sac and don't get many trick-or-treaters, but the few that I had seemed to like the "witch wheel". One kid that was far too old to be trick-or-treating even stayed for a few minutes, watching and asking questions. I was thrilled to answer them, but didn't offer for him to give it a spin. I'm still a little snobby. I was able to finish my blue and yellow sparkly batt single and started a pretty pink, purple and green braid that I picked up a couple years ago in Florida and have been promising that it would be the next project since then.
It will be a few more days until I'm plying again. My usual plying technique is to wind the singles into a yarn cake and work from each end, meeting in the middle. It gives me a nice Andean ply and prevents any pesky 2 gram leftovers at the end of the project. But my ball winder has been sliding downhill and finally destroyed 4 ounces of BFL a month or so ago, and it had to go. I called and ordered a replacement a couple days ago and it should be here soon. But I'm really going to try to finish spinning the rest of this merino braid and the 2 others I have so I can just got nuts and have a big ply-day (I sure know how to party, eh?)
I've also been doing a little knitting on my fabulous red sweater, which thrills me to no end. I have some irrational hatred of sleeves that turn sweaters from a 1 month project to a 1 month, 2 years of hibernation and 3 week project. Not this time, red tweedy thing!
This sweater started life 8 years ago as Mariah from Knitty, a fabulous cabled hoodie on worsted weight yarn. I fell in love with Rowan Felted Tweed for this sweater, and I told myself that even though this a dk weight (who is Rowan kidding- it's a sport weight AT MOST) that my lovely worsted weight sweater pattern will work. (On an unrelated note, I believe that this is where Paige-Gauge began). After knitting both immensely cabled sleeves (This might be the source of sleeve-phobia as well now that I think about it) and the body up the armpits, I decided that I hated this sweater. Mostly because it didn't fit. Seriously peeps- check your gauge. I threw it in a corner for a year or so.

I'd like to point out that at this point in my career as a yarnoholic, my stash was in it's infancy, and I didn't have the ability to put something away and work on other projects for years without ever encountering it again. And so the red Rowan felted tweed and the Pariah Mariah sweater was revisited the following summer. This time I picked a pattern that called for the same size yarn (crazyness!). I knitted, I purled, I loved. I took it to the restaurant where I was bussing tables to show a fellow knitter and someone spilled a large container of fat-free raspberry vinaigrette all down my faux-Burberry with the real-Rowan inside. I took it off the needles, washed it, washed it again, washed it a third time, and frogged it and washed it again. I threw it in a corner for a few years.

And then Ravelry happened, and I joined the Ravelypics the summer before I left for my year in England. I signed up for the sweater sprint, and dug out that damn Rowan Felted Tweed. I picked the Central Park Hoodie and held the yarn doubled because I had plenty of it. I knitted. I purled. I cabled. I loved. I ran out of yarn. At this point it's been 4 or 5 years since the original dye lot was made, and I knew my odds weren't looking so hot at finding a matching skein or two to finish the project. I ordered some from England that looked as close as possible to mine and I told myself it would be fine. (At this time I would like to point out that de nile is more than just a river in Egypt) The yarn came, I thought it looked fine, I knitted, I purled, I cabled, and I finished on time with a lovely red tweed sweater to wear all over England for a year. Except for the fugly line across the middle of the back where I changed dye lots. Even the tweed was different. I threw it in a corner for a few years.

And then a few weeks ago I was flipping through a J-Crew catalog, wishing I could afford things out of the J-Crew catalog and checking out what they think a good cardigan looks like. I was flipping through the guy's section because I like to look at the guys in the J-Crew catalog, and I saw it. A super simple men's cardigan with a giant button-band that was ribbed with one button on the side. It was so simple, so perfect. I had to knock it off.

But that yarn should have been tweed. And not that gray-green. How about brown. No! Red! Deep red tweed would make the perfect fall cardigan! And that 2 x 2 ribbed button bad would have to go- maybe the farrow rib I love? And waist shaping is a must. So naturally it looks nothing like the cardigan from the J-Crew catalog, but I'm on to something. Now if only I had some deep red tweed yarn...

BUT I DO! So I dug it out, analyzed, and realized that I not only have to frog this sweater, I had to frog it, separate the two strands held together and then figure out which dye lot was which. That part was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be, thanks to Jazzle-Dazzle and Jen at Meghann's knitting party a few weeks ago.

So here I am, a few weeks later, just starting the second sleeve. I'm running out of the second dye-lot, but I totally have enough to finish this sleeve. The button band is a different story. I'm pretty sure that it will still work if I hold 2 strands of the original dye lot together, as it's not *completely* introducing a new color AND the shawl-collared button band is going to be that Farrow rib, and I think a slight color change won't be so obvious since the since the stitch pattern in changing anyway. But de nile is more than a river in Egypt.

Okay, good chat. Back to cupcakes.