September 2007

I have found myself covered from head to toe the past week or so in varying combinations of wools with a little mohair thrown in for fun.  Sometimes I forget this before I go out into the real world.  Sometimes it is amusing to watch people’s faces when you explain that the hair is not from a cat, but from a sheep.  The lady at the beauty supply place seemed startled when I told her all the little bottles I was purchasing were not for dying hair, but wool.  It can be such a great conversation starter!

I have also been working on Diamante socks.  I don’t have a photo yet, but they are about 3 inches long from the toe up.  I am using a nice peach colored yarn.  I might be keeping these ones for myself.  My toes can get so cold durring the winter!  I am a desert creature and I don’t deal with cold all that well, unless I have too.  It will start with my toes, they will get cold and then I can feel the cold creeping up my legs.  Then it hits me and I am shivering so hard my back hurts!  I have tried having my husband sit on my feet when they start getting cold in an attempt to ward off the shivers, but usualy I have to jump in the shower and crank the hot water before I start feeling normal again.  The worst is when it happens in the movie theatre when I forget my sweater.

I decided that this year I needed a pair of warm socks to wear around the house.  I am hoping that this will keep the shivers away.  I will let you guys know how it goes.  It might be cold enough to wear them soon!

I also did another shop update today.  Some wool blends, and since I don’t want this whole post to go without a picture, here is one of my favorite rovings so far.

That’s Sparky.  He is my new mascot.  I told you a while ago that I had been working on a new project.  Well, today I re-opened Amy’s Babies with a new line of hand dyed fiber called Electric Sheep!  Go check it out.  In the next few days I am hoping to add lots of new fibers and new colorways.  If you would like to get notified of shop updates let me know in the comments, or send me a convo over at my shop.

 This isn’t the only thing I have been working on.  I have been knitting some socks, no pictures unfortunately.  I joined the Sock Knitters Anonymous group over on Ravelry and I have jumped into the Sockdown challenge.  It is a year long knit along designed to encourage knitters to try new techniques and master new skills.  Each month there is a different technique and designer to choose from.  Being a new sock knitter, I thought this would be fun to sample all the different techniques and help me find my own style.

The ladies over at this group are not just knitting socks, but also donating some of them.  They are collecting the socks for a 17 year old girl who has been diagnosed with a terrible illness.  Sockin’ it to Maggie is coordinated by kemtee.  Please go check out this great cause!  I will be donating some socks myself.

I have been working on this shawl for a while now

It is a modified Spiderweb Shawl from Victorian Lace Today in the Tulips colorway from Spunky Eclectic.  I have been keeping my working ball of yarn next to me on a TV tray, but it sits at an uncomfortable angle.  I thought that the best place to have the ball while I worked was on the floor between my feet.  The only trouble was I didn’t want carpet fuzzies on it.  I wanted to put the ball in a project bag to make it easier to move around the house, but I didn’t have any that wouldn’t collapse in around the ball and drag on the yarn.

So with my problem in mind I set out to make the perfect project bag that would stand open when it was being used.  The kids have large collapsable cubes that fit into wire square shelves.  I love these cubes, but they have two major flaws.  One is they are WAY to big for my projects, they are about 11 inches square.  The other is that there is only one very short handle, smack in the middle of only one side.  Not very convenient for moving from place to place.

I went to the post office on Monday and shipped a box that was a 6″ cube.  As I was packing it, I realized it was the perfect shape and size to hold not only the ball of yarn for my shawl, but all the other projects I have stashed in random places around the house.  When I got home I dove into my fabric stash and began designing.

The first couple bags came out like those clones that are found in Sci-Fi labs moaning things like “kill me” as I tried to work out how to get the bottom on, but I finaly started making some nice looking cubes

As you can see, they stand open nicely.  This one has my current sock project in it.  They have 12″ handles which are just the right length to carry them around and stay out of your way when the bag is in use.  They have a removable pannel in the bottom so that they will fold flat for easy storage when (if) the project inside is completed.

Here is another one I love

It is made from some fabric book fabric.  It has dinos all the way around.

When all the projects were organized, I finaly felt like I could sit and do some spinning.  I finished up 4 of the 16 oz of Arizona Sands today.

I have been so busy, I have lost all my spinning muscles!  I find I am terribly sore today from spinning yesterday and today.  I didn’t realize it had been so long since I had a chance to focus on spinning.


So this weekend I finaly finished the Sidewinders.  After knitting one, knitting the other, ripping the first and knitting it again, I have improved my grafting skills and I have this pattern memorized.  I gave them to my sister yesterday and she wore them around the house all night!

And, yes I asked if she could get both of them up by her face, and she refused to do it!  Go figure.

I have also started to work on the Arizona Sands fiber I showed you guys last week.  It will be a lace/sock weight.  It is so very fluffy and wonderful to work with.  I can’t wait to have the first two bobbins filled so I can start plying!

Now, what you have realy come to see.  My KnitPicks Harmony Needles got here on Saturday!

I got two fixed circulars, sized 2.75 and 3.25, and the sock set that has all the smaller, sockier needles.  The sock set comes with 6 needles per size, in case one breaks, and as you can see there are only 2 needles in the center space!  Did they forget to put some of the needles in the pack when they sent them?  No, I just couldn’t wait to use them!

These needles are beyond amazing!  I have been a Magic Ring girl for a while because every time I tried DPNs, it was like knitting with a greased sea urchin!  There were needles sliding all over the place!  None of them stayed where they were supposed to be.  They were never sharp enough.  I always felt like I couldn’t grip them securly because they would bend and break.

These needles solve all those problems!  The laminated wood makes the needles stronger, so they don’t bend or give too much.  They are just as sharp as the original KnitPicks needles.  The wood is slick, but still grips the yarn securly.  No slippery needles!  And the colors aren’t as bright as they appeared on the KnitPicks site, not garrish or clashing.  Most of the time when I am working they just look like a nice dark finish under my yarn.

I sat down and began working on an ankle sock.  It worked up so quickly and evenly with none of the nasty laddering I had been getting with other needles (ymmv on that last statement)  I have to say that I am very happy with these needles and can’t wait to get more!  They have even been given a nickname by my husband.  He calls them my Hippy Tie-dyed needles, as opposed to my original style Options which he refers to as my Metal Space Aged needles.

I am also happy to report that I have brought a new one over to the dark side.

Ah, my young apprentice.  Little does she know as she sits there, happily knitting away on her garter stitch scarf, that this is the beginning of a lifetime obsession! *evil laughter as I run from the room in a swirl of black cloak*

I was going to be finished with my sister’s Sidewinder socks yesterday and as I grafted the second one (right), I realized that there was something terribly wrong with the first sock (left).  Actually, I had known there was something wrong with it the whole time, but I just couldn’t say what.  I knew that the toe was too pointy, that when my sister put it on it looked too tight.  She said it felt fine, but I knew in my gut that there was something odd about it.  Always trust your gut.

 Then as I did up the second sock, I realized that I had left out 8 of the stockinette rows smack in the middle of the sock!  I frogged the sock yesterday afternoon and I am already back to the point where I had left out the rows.  I ripped the whole sock because I didn’t like the cast-on I had used.  It looked icky in the graft.  I am going to try to get it finished tonight, in between kid wrangling and canning Spaghetti sauce.

In better news, the mailman left this on my door step today!fiber-169.jpg

It was all full of yummy fiber from Christina over at The Dye Pot.  They are having a 30% off sale on their handpainted fibers, and I scooped up 3 pounds of it!

I got Arizona Sands, in Superwash.  This is my September fiber for the SAL at the Spinners Central group on Ravelry.

Mixed Fruit in Merino

Sea Glass in Merino

These are super soft fibers!  When I opened the box, Teeny kept petting the fiber and laying her face on them.  I don’t blame her, I couldn’t stop petting it too.   Christina was super nice to work with and incredibly understanding when paypal refused to update to my new address.  The Dye Pot is certainly being added to my list of fantastic fiber folks!  I can’t wait to spin this up.

Next time I hope to have a review of the new Harmony Wood Needles from Knitpicks

The Katamari pattern has been added to the Patterns section on my Sidebar! (stop holding your breath now Debbie!!)  I also updated that section with links to the Moogle Doll and Pirate Doll patterns.  Have at it!  I would love to see some of them when they are done 😀

 I will be adding a new pattern to my site this weekend.  It will be for my Magnetic Katamari.  These are very handy to hold all sorts of things!  I have been promising this pattern for too long and I promise it will be up very soon.


On the knitting front, I haven’t gotten back to my Bug shawl after the Teeny incident a few weeks back.  I did want to let you know who designed this fabulous shawl.  It is Mindy.  She designed this shawl with beautiful garden scenes that I can’t wait to knit, and it is in a great Choose Your Own Adventure format so your shawl can reflect your own personality.  She is debating whether or not to publish this pattern and I say whole heartedly YES!

What I am working on is making some Sidewinders for my sister from this scrappy yarn

Here is a realy dark photo of her wearing the first one.  I had her try it on to make sure it would fit her.  The pattern calls for size 2/2.75 needles and all I had were size 3/3.25, so I made the size 7-8 instead of the 8-9 and it fit great.

She is a daycare worker in the infant room and they wear only socks at work, so she needed some fun and fancy socks!  I think this will keep the babies very entertained.  Just look how entertained she is!

I also wanted to show off something very exciting!  For the longest time I have wanted a Hibiscus plant.  Not just any Hibiscus, not the plain red or yellow-orange ones you see at every home center, but one exactly like the one that grows at my Grandmother’s house.  They are the most visualy stunning flowers I have ever seen and I NEEDED one.  When we got closer to moving into the house, I went on a search online looking for that elusive plant.  I found it and I have been nurturing it for almost 6 moths now, and this week I was rewarded with this bloom

It is a variety called High Voltage and I got it from Hidden Valley Hibiscus.  I am so completely in love!  The bloom is about 6″ across and there is a second one waiting to bloom right behind it.  And you can see that as of now it is the only thing growing in our back yard at the moment

My husband saw this photo and said it looked like one of those giant flowers that only bloom every 50 years or so.  That it looked big enough to be eating neighborhood cats!

Not only is it about darn time I got myself back to the computer, but it is about darn time I finished this shawl and posted a photo of it!

It turned out beautiful!  I gave it to my husband’s grandma for her birthday this weekend.  I couldn’t get a good photo of the edges, but I left them pointy instead of filling them in with triangles.  I liked the extra detail it gave the project.  Here are the specs

Mitered Square shawl
Knit with handspun Corriedale in the Dogwood colorway from Spunky Eclectic, 12 oz to start with – aprox 1350 yards
Spun in a heavy sock weight and knit on US7 sized needles

When fully blocked it was over 6 feet long!  I know this because I blocked it on my queen sized matress and I had to pin one end of it down the end of the bed!  I love how it looks, but I don’t think I will make another big project until I get some of the other large projects off my needles.

I also did a little bit of spinning this week too.  This is wool in the Brain Freeze colorway from Spunky Eclectic.

It is a sock/lace weight wool, about 700 yards from 4 oz.  I was trying to make longer stripes of color,  so I split the roving in half long wise and then spun each half and plied it together.  There are long runs of soft purples, blues and teals with bright stripes of yellow.  The colors softened beautifully together.  I can’t wait to start knitting with this yarn.  Not sure if it will be a pair of socks or a lace project.  I have to finish some other projects first because I am starting to drownd under all my UFOs