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Friday, April 28, 2006

Who Dropped Their Waffle On The Floor?


Progress on the second waffle sock is going slowly. I wish I could say it was because I'm moving so quickly along on the Picovoli, but that's going slowly too (I still think I can finish it before Maryland). Yesterday Caleb's preschool class took a field trip to one of the farms here in Northern Virginia and we spent the afternoon playing with animals, eating strawberries and generally having a great time doing farm things. By the time we got back home, Caleb was a sniffly allergy monster. Poor little guy was just miserable. Mickael and I were tired too, so when we got Caleb off to bed (after some Benadryl so he could breathe) we just crashed in front of the TV. No knitting last night. I do hope to get some work done this weekend on both the sock and Picovoli and hopefully I'll have something to show for it Monday. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Sleepy Cat Thursday

There's nothing earth shatteringly interesting on the knitting front to report, so I give you Ramius on the sofa instead. I am knitting: I'm on the cuff of the second sock and the Caribbean Sea Monster is bigger, but neither one looks particularly interesting. Since Ramius hadn't been on the blog in a while I figured it was his turn. Yesterday afternoon Mickael surprised Caleb and I with a trip to Cold Stone Creamery so we all got some yummy ice creamy goodness to brighten up the afternoon! (There's really nothing like fat and sugar to perk up your day!) Ramius happens to LOVE ice cream. When I sat down with my bowl of ice cream (Strawberry Shortcake Serenade with Cake Batter Ice Cream instead of Sweet Cream) Ramius was in my lap almost immediately. I have to say that his ice cream manners have gotten better over the years. When he was a kitten he would try to knock the ice cream off my spoon with his paw before I could get it into my mouth. Now he just eyeballs me in that creepy cat way that you know if you don't share, he's going to jump on your head. Good times.

In other food news, have you guys tried the Jelly Belly Buttered Popcorn flavor? Yes, the jelly beans actually taste like buttered popcorn - and the best part is that its not weird - its good! It seems to me that the minds that can make a jelly bean taste like buttered popcorn could be better put to use coming up with some alternative fuel sources. I mean really, why does JellyBelly get all the really smart scientists?

I'll be back tomorrow with some knitting stuff. Or something!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

No, I'm Not Knitting A Tropical Sea Monster...

It does look like one though, doesn't it? This is the start of Picovoli which I decided to make to wear to MDS&W. I'm knitting it out of KnitPicks Shine in Sky with the picots in Green Apple (the red is just a provisional cast on - but I do like the way it looks). Once I stitch the edgings down I'll be left with the little picot bumps in green at all the edges of the blue tee shirt. I'm really excited about how this is looking so far. The Green Apple decided to give me a bit of a challenge - when I pulled the end of the ball out of its middle, I didn't just get a small bit of yarn to sort through to find the end. I got what I fondly refer to as "Yarn Puke." Half the ball came out the middle and it was so twisted around itself that it took me over an hour to sort it out. Thankfully Ramius didn't try to help since he was busy taming some knitting needles that were up to no good. Once I got past the Green Apple's attempted sabotage (c'mon, I've got 10 days left. Its going to take more than some yarn puke to thwart my fashion plans for Maryland) the knitting started moving along pretty well. I figure if I knit 3 inches or so a day, that should give me plenty of time to do the picots on the sleeves and get all the hems stitched down. By the way, just in case you were wondering, I did do a gauge swatch so theoretically, I'm safe from Gauge issues. Hopefully it won't look like a tropical sea monster next time it makes a blog appearance!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Waffles Anyone?



You might have noticed in yesterday's post that there was a sock in progress sitting in my new sock bag - well its not in progress anymore! I finished up this sock last night and will cast on for its mate today. The stitch pattern is from the Blueberry Waffle Sock pattern (I'm only using the stitch pattern, not the whole sock pattern since this yarn is not worsted weight). The yarn you might recognize- its the leftover Loganberry yarn that I spun from the roving I got last year at MDS&W (Kid Hollow Farm - they'll be there again this year - I'll be getting more). I made these socks with it before: and I find that I keep grabbing them every time I see them in the drawer. I had no idea I wore these colors that much, but apparently these socks just go with a lot of my clothes. The fiber is Border Leicester lamb's wool and mohair and these socks have some really great drape, but they aren't saggy. The mohair has bloomed a bit and I just love them more every time I wear them. I thought the Waffle pattern would be a nice variation for a second pair out of this yarn.

Thanks for all the kind comments on the bags. The bag fabric for my bag was from a shirt that I have had since at least college and possibly high school. I loved all the colors so much I just couldn't toss it out even though I wasn't wearing it anymore. I had been thinking about writing a bag pattern and since so many of you asked about it, I'll start putting it together. I love the way all of the pockets keep everything right where I can get to them and I'm not shuffling through the bottom of the bag looking for things.

Finally, I wanted to point out that the wonderful Christine is doing a contest over at her blog. Check out the entries for April 24 for details and April 25 for prizes (silk, Lorna's Laces and even some patterns from the Pink Lemon). I'll be putting her new button on my blog soon and it will link to all the details! Let's all support her and Christie if we can!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Sock Knitting Bags!

Blogger has been having some problems publishing but hopefully it will go through now -I've only been fighting with this since 9 AM!

This weekend I finished up the sock knitting bags! I did these for the Sew? I Knit along since the April project is bags. I made the bag on the left for myself and the bag on the right for my Sockapaloooza pal - I thought it would look cute with her socks. Here is what the inside of my bag looks like:As you can see, its big enough to hold yarn for 2 pairs of socks, or as we learned during the Knitting Olympics, eight days worth of sock knitting. For a full tour of all the pockets, starting on the top left with the toggle clasp and going clockwise we have: my tiny calculator-on-a-keyring (found it at Staples), a little plastic box that I keep nail clippers, a yarn needle, and stitch markers in, the needle roll and a graph paper note card (also from Staples) with notes on my current pair of socks, a 6 inch clear Omnigrid ruler (I love these for checking gauge - you can get them in the quilting section of your crafts store), a crochet hook for picking up dropped stitches, a pencil, extra graph paper note cards, my new Mini Kacha Kacha, a tape measure, and I think there's room in the last pocket for my mini iPod, but I haven't checked it yet. There is also a big pocket on the outside of the bag for whatever. My Sockapaloooza Pal's bag is similar on the inside but instead of a needle roll, I found some small zipper bags that she can put her circular needles into. By the way, Sockapaloooza Pal, I was wearing your sock in the pattern picture (you're getting a copy of the pattern by the way) but my feet were clean and I totally washed both socks after the picture was made! I think we're supposed to mail the Sockapaloooza goodies at the first of next week!

UPDATE: Earlier this year I mentioned that Mindy (my sister in law) had entered her dogs Jack and Stephen in the MADD Strides For Change, well apparently they won the Top Dog award for the dog(s) who raised the most money! At least part of their prize was some bumblebee doggy toys that have already met an unfortunate end. Go Jack and Stephen!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Spring Tootsies Sock Pattern Collection


Are you looking for a sock pattern to put some Spring in your step? When its too cool for sandals but you're searching for signs of Spring, you need Spring Tootsies! This is actually two sock patterns and one variation so you have three different options.
The first pattern is Cottage Garden Socks. Vine Lace running down the center front and back with delicate lace flowers and buds on either side make a sock design you can knit long before Spring flowers scent the air and enjoy long after they have faded in the Summer heat. A shaped top edge (naturally shaped by the Vine Lace pattern) makes a memorable pair of socks. The lace pattern is easily memorized for a quick to knit pair of socks that will make your feet want to dance!
The second pattern is Egg Stripes Socks. Inspired by the simple patterns children use to decorate Easter Eggs, these socks have a fun, textural pattern of checkerboards, zig zags, and circles. A simple eyelet pattern divides the different stripe designs and adds to the Springtime feel of these socks.

Both the Cottage Garden pattern and the Egg Stripes pattern are complete and independent sock patterns, so you can just keep the pattern you need with your knitting. Both include a color picture, step by step directions, and pattern charts for making these beautiful socks.

The third option in this pattern collection is the Egg Stripes Stashbuster Socks. Instead of having a textural striped pattern as the Egg Stripes Socks do, these socks use stranded colorwork to make the stripe patterns. We all have small balls of yarn leftover from other socks we've knitted, why not use these up in the pattern stripes? The Egg Stripes Stashbuster Socks pattern includes a separate chart to use to prevent long floats in the colorwork and directions for adapting the Egg Stripes Sock pattern for the Stashbuster variation.

Finally, I have included directions for quite possibly the most unscientific method of dying yarn there is - Easter Egg Yarn Dyeing. By using Easter Egg dye tablets, wool yarn and some basic directions, you can make completely unrepeatable colors for your socks! The blue yarn for the Cottage Garden socks shown here was dyed using this seat of your pants dyeing technique. You don't have to measure or weigh anything!

Spring Tootsies Sock Pattern Collection

$6.00




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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

AWOL

Thanks for wondering about me CareBear (and anyone else who has wondered but didn't post). The next couple of days are going to be really crazy around here. This morning I registered Caleb for Kindergarten - I can't believe he's old enough already. The rest of the day has been spent running errands and just getting stuff done that needs doing. Some really good friends of ours are moving into the area and tomorrow I'll be watching their two oldest girls while the movers unpack so there won't be blogging tomorrow. I'm hoping to be back Thursday or Friday with the sock pattern all done though. Otherwise, Pink Lemon Twist is going to be quiet for a couple of days but don't worry. I'm here, I'm fine and I'll be back as soon as I have something to share!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Consistency versus spinning for the moment

This weekend, I finished spinning the San Clemente roving (at least the first 2/3 of it) enough for a pair of socks. The colors look a little more orange than they are in real life. Its raining here this morning and its so dark inside that we had to turn on lights. I feel like I'm starting to get pretty consistent with my sock yarn spinning - I spun these singles at 24 wraps per inch and while I haven't checked the wraps per inch of the finished yarn, it looks like its the same size as the Manhattan yarn I spun last weekend. If I can learn to spin all my sock yarn a reasonably consistent size, then I will be able to mix and match yarns within a sock without changing the gauge or fit of the sock. I also think that staying consistent with sock yarn should help me stay more consistent with other yarns I spin which will make knitting them easier. I enjoy spinning just to spin, but this doesn't really help if I'm knitting a project that needs a consistent yarn. Because of this I'm really making an effort to spin more consistently, but if it becomes too obsessive, I won't enjoy the spinning. How do the rest of you balance the need for a fairly consistent yarn (not to be confused with a commercial consistency - if I want that kind of consistency, I'll buy it) with the need for just spinning for spinning's sake?

By the way, in writing this post, I consistently misspelled consistent. Kind of ironically impressive isn't it?

Friday, April 14, 2006

Random Fridays

I'm not sure who started Random Fridays, but a lot of knitbloggers are doing them and today it just works, so I'm doing Random Friday. Yesterday Caleb was playing with his LEGO's and had built a really big tower, but when I looked again (going back and forth doing laundry yesterday) I saw this: He had built an entire city! In the tallest tower there is a restaurant (or resteryknot as he says) and a toy store. I have no idea how he came up with this idea but I love it. The fact that he knows at least some of the businesses in the buildings cracks me up. This is the first time he's built something this big with the LEGO's and its also the thing most unrelated to the LEGO kit things we've gotten him. He owns quite a few of the Star Wars LEGO kits as well as some cars/trucks and dinosaur kits. The kits are fun, but I really think LEGO's should be used to build random things and not just follow the directions and Caleb really did that this time. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next!

In other random news, I have reserved my first fleece! Its for the 2007 shearing so I'm not getting it any time soon, but the sheep (ram actually) is growing it right now - grow, baby, grow!) I had purchased a bunch of Finn roving from Kary that came from a sheep named Emmi from Firefly Fields Finnsheep. I haven't spun it yet but its absolutely gorgeous stuff. I have been wanting to do something for Mickael and being male, I knew he would appreciate a dark gray or black something. (I'm leaning towards a sweater something but I'm not sure if I have the intestinal fortitude to do one this big - he's 6'3" and wears a size 52 suit. You haven't seen gorilla arms until you've seen his arms.) So I looked at her colored sheep. I finally narrowed it down to Bo or Usko. Both are black rams. Despite the fact that Usko can apparently fly (scroll down to the bottom picture on his page if you don't believe me), I decided to reserve Bo's fleece because Bo Duke was my very first crush ever! All of the really knowledgeable spinners who have written books on how to pick a fleece will tell you to look at the crimp, the strength of the individual locks, the amount of VM, the amount of grease and other really important things. None of them really address picking a sheep's fleece because he has the same name as your first crush. I could rewrite fleece picking guidelines for spinner's everywhere! Well, anyway (yes, there's more to this story) Tracy - the sheep's human mommy - emailed me and apparently, due to the fact that they had a chocolate colored male lamb born this year (chocolate lamb's are huge for Finn sheep in the US) and because she has limited space for wintering rams (sheep are like teenagers on a church retreat - must keep boys and girls separate), she is going to sell Bo so I will probably be getting Usko's fleece after all. Have a great weekend, and if you have any other helpful fleece picking tips that the experts might have missed, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Stash Enhancement


Yesterday I went to the LYS and did a little stash enhancement. From top to bottom: Colinette Point Five in Marble, Mountain Colors Mountain Goat in Lady Slipper, and Mountain Colors Mountain Goat in Rose Hip. The Colinette will be used for this hat and the Mountain Goat will be used for socks. I've learned there are a few problems dyeing with Wilton's food coloring: I can't get a stable pink or purple - both colors seem to be fugitive (they fade very quickly or in the case of purple, it shifts to a bluish gray color), and I can't get a clear red (or a blue red for that matter) only an orange red. Obviously, I could use "real" dyes, meant for wool instead of food, but I don't really want the chemicals around and this house doesn't really have a good place to do "real" dyeing. So I'll need to buy these colors from people who do use "real" dyes (I'd do this anyway so its not a big stretch). Sock yarns in these colors are primarily what I'll be looking for at Maryland (at least in yarn - who knows what I'll buy to spin).

On the topic of spinning, I got a little more stash enhancement yesterday through the mail: This is Mischief - tussah silk top from The Silkworker. For Christmas, Rick and Mindy got me a gift certificate for two of Carol's tops (that sounds weird doesn't it) and this is the second one. I can't remember if I showed the first one on the blog, but it was a periwinkle blue with some purple in it (at least that's what I remember without going stash diving). All of her silks are just gorgeous and they really aren't hard to spin at all. Thanks for the gift certificate guys!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

More Spinning

I'm still working on the sock knitting bags (next up is figuring out the pockets) so I won't bore you with details. What I do have to show you is singles from the San Clemente roving (from Linden Lane Farm again). This bobbin is half of the singles that I will ply (with the other half of the singles once they're spun) for yarn for ... wait for it....socks! Huge surprise there huh?

Thanks for all of the comments on the needle roll yesterday. I did not use a pattern for it which probably would have made my life easier, but I later remembered that Stitch and Bitch has a needle roll pattern. I just started cutting and sewing (which is why I got the ties in the wrong place) and it worked out pretty well, but I honestly don't remember how I did it.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A Needle Roll - Like a Jelly Roll, but without the jelly

This is my little sock needle roll! I've never made a needle roll before and except for an unfortunate incident involving tie placement, it was pretty easy. As you can see, it does roll (at least half of the purpose of a needle roll is that it rolls - otherwise it would be a needle thing which isn't near as handy for storing needles). It also opens and holds needles - the other half of the purpose of a needle roll. I will eventually get needles from size 0 to 3 put in here, but for now, you get the idea. This is to go in my sock knitting bag. My Sockapaloooza pal seems to use circulars for her sock knitting, since I don't see any double points on any of the socks on her blog. I won't make her a needle roll since circular needles don't need a roll. Circular needles need more of a wrangler to tame their twistyness (oooooh, mental image of cute cowboy dude holding circular needles - maybe I should look into circulars, hmmm). Anyway, I got the pieces cut out for my bag ( I barely had anything left from that shirt), I have the first part of the lining ready, and I'm ready to figure out pockets. For my Sockapaloooza Pal's bag, I got the outside cut out, I've got to add an outside pocket, then cut out the lining and figure out the pockets for the inside of her bag. I'm planning on figuring out pockets all at once, then I just sew them together! Maybe, if I work really hard, I can get these done today!

Monday, April 10, 2006

What I did this weekend...



Remember how I was going to spend the weekend knitting socks and working on the sock bags? Well, there was a slight change of plans. I did work on the sock bags a little bit, but what I mostly did was spin. At the top you can see the mohair that I did my first combing with. I gave it a really good washing and got all kinds of yucky goat stuff out of it. Now its shiny and pretty. In the middle is a pair of sock's worth of yarn from the Manhattan Roving from Linden Lane Farm. I left 1/3 of the original 8 ounces unspun because I'll spin and ply that with a solid color for another pair of socks (and probably get a third pair of socks from those leftovers and the leftovers of the yarn you see here - yeah, that made sense). At the bottom of the picture is another 450+ yd skein of the blue and green from Spinner's Hill that I got from MDS$W last year. This skein is 4 ounces and is within just a couple of yards of being the same length as my first skein of this wool. Hopefully, that means that I'm spinning pretty consistently. I just love the way this yarn knits up and while I still haven't decided what kind of sweater it wants to be, I will definitely be hitting the Spinner's Hill booth at Maryland again this year. Maybe today I'll work on the sock bags.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Sockapaloooza Socks Done!


I finished my second Sockapaloooza sock yesterday, so I'm done with them! I'll be getting on the bags this weekend. I feel pretty good getting them done already. I'm usually a big procrastinator so finishing these up almost 4 weeks early is a good thing for me. I'm really happy with the way they look, in fact I'll have to knit myself a pair soon.

Some of you have asked about the pattern and I plan to write it up and offer it for sale, but it won't just be for this one sock design. It will actually have two complete sock patterns, plus directions for a third, which will actually be a variation of the second design. I also plan to give directions for dying with Easter Egg Dyes, just in case you don't know how to do that. My Sockapaloooza Pal will get a copy of the pattern with her socks and bag. I've started knitting the second pair of socks for this pattern so its well on its way. Once I get the first sock done, I'll write up the pattern, then double check it with the second sock. I like to knit from the pattern I've written, rather than write the pattern after knitting because I think I can catch errors better. I also always knit from the chart AFTER its been entered into the computer, rather than just a pencil drawing. Again, it helps me to catch errors so I don't pass them on in the pattern. I hope everyone has a great weekend! I'll be knitting socks and making bags - unless I decide to wander the streets and measure strange people's feet (I think there could be a song there!)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Sew? I Knit Bag(s)



The current project for Sew? I Knit is a bag. It can be any bag, any size, just a sewn bag. I decided to make my own pattern for a sock knitting bag (shocking, isn't it?) I decided since I was making my own bag, maybe I should make a bag for my Sockapaloooza pal too while I'm at it. On the left you can see the fabric I picked up for her bag I think it will look nice with her socks. The lining fabrics are some handdyed fabrics that I dyed several years ago. On the right is my bag. The plaid fabric is actually a shirt I had and couldn't part with because I love the colors. I figure with all those colors, the bag should look good no matter what color socks I'm knitting. I'm also using some handdyed fabric for my bag's lining. I'm planning on making the bags big enough to hold yarn for two pairs of socks and there will be pockets in the lining. There will be pockets for needles, a ruler, note cards (I like these to note how many repeats or rows I use on the first sock so the second one matches - I found this set of index cards with graph paper on it so I can chart designs on it too!), a pencil, a row counter, a crochet hook for picking up dropped stitches, a tape measure, and I even found a tiny calculator that's the perfect size for a knitting bag (FYI: Staples, 99 cents, by the checkout stand). I figure with all this stuff, I should be able to walk up to random people on the street and measure their feet and knit up a sock for them. Not that I would, but I could. Its nice to know you can scare random people this way. Good times.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sock On, Dude!



Yep! I'm still knitting socks around here. Still singing the Llama Song too! I've finished my first Sockapaloooza pal's sock and started on the second one. I will have to knit a pair of these for myself too. I'm really liking their lacy goodness. Even unblocked I think the sock looks pretty. I hope my sock pal likes them. Its really hard to pick out a sock pattern and yarn for someone you've never met. I mean, she's got a blog, and that helped a little bit - she knits, she has a cat, she likes Harry Potter. Really narrows it down doesn't it? I pretty much described at least 75% of all knit bloggers - possibly more. One thing that was a big help is that we have the same foot length measurement so it was really easy to figure out where to start the toe decreases. There are about 4 more weeks of Sockapaloooza - the socks are supposed to be mailed on May 1 - and I can't wait to see if she likes them! I'm also really curious who's knitting socks for me and what they look like. OOOooohh, the suspense!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Here's a Llama, There's a Llama, And another Little Llama...



Yesterday I did some more combing. I decided to try some raw llama I had and it was a definite improvement over the mohair. At top, you can see the llama. It was originally unwashed but had been sent through a drum carder. I went ahead and washed it just to get out as much of the dust as possible. Llamas don't have the grease in their coats like sheep do, but they take dust baths, ironically to stay clean. Because of this, there was a lot of VM (unprocessed for those of you that care) in the fiber. Combing is an excellent way to remove VM, shorter snips of fiber (called second cuts) and any noils and mats that you wouldn't want in your yarn (this is why the combed fiber is called "top" - its top quality). At the bottom of the above picture, you can see the combed top. I am pretty proud of how the top looks considering this was only my second combing session. Below, you can see a bit of yarn I spun from the top.
I have a pound of this llama fiber and its so soft and drapy that I'm thinking about spinning part of it for a Mobius or a smoke ring thing around my neck. The color is a pale fawn so I will definitely be dying it (beiges and fawn colors don't look good on me, I do much better with grey's). And by the way, yes, I was singing the Llama Song the whole time I was combing and spinning.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Bunnies, Bunnies Everywhere


This is what my weekend looked like. Here are our bunnies: (from L to R) the baby's bunny - he can name it whatever he wants, Pink Lemon, and Caleb's bunny - Blue Lemon. Caleb picked out the fabrics for Blue Lemon and the baby's bunny, then drew them faces, which I embroidered onto the bunnies. Then Caleb got into the button jar - 5 buttons and a jingle bell were chosen (I think the little guy has some Pearly in him). None of the bunnies have tails yet - the baby's bunny will not get one - choking hazard. I'm still deciding what kind of tails to put on them. He also helped me stuff the bunnies. I must be raising him right because when he saw the bag of stuffing he said, "Oh, wool!" I told him that it wasn't wool, it was polyester and he looked at me like I was crazy. He wanted to know if this was a new animal he hadn't heard about and I think he still doesn't believe me. I mean, why would anyone make a fiber from plastic when there are animals out there growing it, every year? And they BAAAA too!