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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Slippers

Back in January or February, Mindy of the Original Hanami (my sister in law), sent me a picture of a pair of slippers she had seen and wondered if I could make a pair for her other nephew. (Not Caleb, but her sister's son and since I don't have permission to use his name on the Internets, we'll call him Luigi. Just a side note, I think there should be more Luigi's in the world - it's a fun name to say, so if you're pregnant or know someone who is, think about it.) Luigi is younger than Caleb and therefore his feet are smaller, so Mindy got his shoe size and we decided to go up a size so he could grow into them. (If you've never knitted for kids, they do this annoying growing thing and if you don't go up at least one size from where they are when you cast on, by the time you bind off, they're too big to wear whatever you knit for them.) Here is the original picture she took - the orange ones were the shape we were going for.

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So I did a brief run through of the felted slipper patterns in Ravelry and didn't find anything that seemed just right and/or came in the right size. Naturally, I decided to procrastinate and see if elves would make the slippers for me. In April I decided to buy yarn for the slippers, but since the procrastinating thing was going so well, I thought I'd keep doing that for a bit. In May I did another felted slipper pattern search, found a couple that could be modified into something that might work (felting does weird, unpredictable things to knits - I don't understand it well enough to really start from scratch and write my own pattern), and procrastinated again. Then I asked the Pattern Detectives group on Ravelry for help and gave them the picture Mindy had taken. Within an hour, I had three or four options - they all needed some modifications, but they were closer than I had gotten by myself.

I started working on knitting the first slipper, but I could tell that things weren't right, so I frogged it and procrastinated some more. Finally, since Luigi's birthday was coming up, I had to get moving so I made what seemed like good modifications to the pattern I was using and knit up the slippers. Here they are unfelted.

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When I did my felting for Christmas gifts, I went over to Mom and Dad's and used their traditional washing machine. I have a High Efficiency Top Loader and wasn't sure if it would felt. I decided to give Luigi's slippers a try in the HE machine and see how they did. I set it for a Heavy Duty wash with hot water, cold rinse, put the slippers in the pillow protecter to keep the fuzzies from attacking the washer, tossed in my dedicated to felting tennis balls and crossed my fingers. They did start felting, but after 3 cycles through on the HE machine, they still fit me. Realizing that I might have made myself a pair of jester slippers, I went over to Mom and Dad's, tossed everything in their good, old Kenmore and let it go to town. In an hour, they had felted down to a reasonable size and were ready to dry. I added some felted wool balls to the points and here they are, ready to give to Mindy so she can give them to Luigi! Happy birthday Luigi!

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Another sleeve

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I am zipping through the second sleeve of the Featherweight! I have only a few more inches to go on it. Then I do the front /neck band and I have a finished sweater. (I do think it will need a nice steam to even up the stitches and get rid of wrinkles and crinkles from being stuffed in my purse before it's totally finished.)

I'm really happy with how well it's worked to have a sweater as a portable knitting project. Working with DPN's on the sleeves made it more bulky and a little more difficult to get rolled/folded/stuffed back into it's project bag and I had to be more careful putting that into my purse, but next time I'm near an LYS, I will be checking into the short cable needles. I have several other cardi patterns favorited in Ravelry that are worked in the round and assuming I can pack them up easily, I'd might do some more portable sweaters.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Finished Yarn

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I've finished the plying and washed the yarn! I ended up with 375 yards of heavy fingering weight, 3 ply yarn. It's a very dense yarn because of the way I spun it (worsted) and because Border Leicester is not a particularly crimpy wool (kid mohair doesn't have much crimp either). I love the way it came out and I think it will be perfect for socks, which was my original plan. It should wear really well.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

I Started Plying!

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I couldn't wait any longer, so I set up the wheel with the plying bobbin and started plying. I am definitely getting a yarn in the fingering-ish size range. It's a little on the thick side of fingering but nowhere as big as sport weight. (Fingering weight yarns knit at 7-8 stitches per inch depending on needle size, while Sport weight yarns knit at 6 stitches per inch.) I'm loving the way it looks, but I'm running out of room on my plying bobbin, so there will be two skeins of this when I'm done.

I wasn't really paying attention, but I just found out that next Saturday is the beginning of Tour de Fleece (and also the Tour de France - isn't it great that the bicyclists like to ride along when we spin?) I hadn't planned on participating, but now I'm thinking I might, even if it's just to spin a little while every day. I'll think about it some more over the weekend and I'll let you know what I decide on Monday. Hopefully I'll be able to show you this yarn all finished too!

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Finished Sleeve

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The first sleeve has zipped right along and I was able to finish it last night. I was debating between a ribbed edge or the seed stitch like I put along the lower edge and will use for the neck band. The color of the yarn is so dark that the seed stitch doesn't really show unless you're right next to it, so I think ribbing would have worked without being weird, but I decided to use seed stitch for all the edges. I'm still thinking I'd like to try short circulars on the sleeves, but since I don't own any, I'm just working with the double points. At some point, I'll have to get a short circular and play with it.

I've tried the sweater on several times to double check lengths and fit and I really like the way it fits at this point. I think it's going to be something that I wear a lot and I can definitely see myself making it again.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Babette

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I've gotten a few more squares for The Babette worked up. I think at this point I have fewer than 20 of this size to go. I have a feeling I need more of the lighter colored squares, but I might sort through the pile (of this size) and see what I've got. I know I have plenty of middle range (colorwise) squares, and I have a lot of dark ones. I haven't really thought things through on the bigger squares, but I know I'll need this size and the smallest size to blend and connect the bigger squares, so I feel like I need a good mix of light, medium and dark.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Spin, Spun!

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I've finished up the third bobbin of singles of the Kiwi colored roving. To me it looks more like Abalone shell than a Kiwi, but no one actually asked me. I'll probably wait until this weekend or next week to ply this so the more recently spun singles can relax like the earlier two bobbins. I'm pretty excited to see how this looks as finished yarn though, so I'll just hold out as long as I can.

I have no real plans for this yarn right now. I was thinking socks (which is why I did 3 ply) and it might still be socks, but I haven't picked out a specific pattern yet, which means I could do something completely different with it in the meantime. I'll have to see what kind of yardage I get also, before I can decide what to do with it. Oh, the possibilities!

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Monday, June 21, 2010

A Sleeve!

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Over the weekend I finished up the Seed Stitch edge of the Forest Featherweight cardi and I started a sleeve. Picking up and getting started took a bit of time, of course, but once I got going, it started moving right along. I also wove in the ends left from the body before I started the sleeve, so I wouldn't have those flopping around.

I'm using double points for the sleeves but I know there are a couple of brands of circulars that do very short lengths. I feel like I need to be very careful with double points so I don't snag the rest of the sweater, and I'm kind of wondering if anyone has tried knitting sleeves on the short circulars and how they liked them? I think the circulars would be less likely to snag - also, fewer points running around in the project bag. And for those of you would recommend Magic Loop or knitting on two circs at a time, I'm glad you enjoy those techniques, but I'm generally not a fan of circulars and the idea of these circular gymnastics makes me cringe.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Something Pretty

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Today's post isn't about something I've done, it's about something I've got, to do things with. In the short time since I learned how to make a double crochet stitch, I've been working with the standard metal hooks you can pick up anywhere for hardly any money at all. This has worked pretty well, but I don't like the feel of the metal hook for very long and while I know you can get foamy stuff to put on the hook to make it more comfortable, I don't like the way that looks. (I might just be really picky.) So a couple weeks ago I contacted DyakCraft about making me a Hummingbird Hook in Cocobolo Rosewood. I'll need a 4.5mm hook for the Hexagon blanket I'm planning (and have most of the yarn to do it with), so that was the size I asked for. The next day, Tom turned one for me and emailed me a photo of it - less than a week later, something that was a piece of wood in Vermont was a hook, in my hands, in Texas - can't beat that for customer service! It's so smooth and the shape fits perfectly in my hand and since I adore Rosewood, I think it's just gorgeous. I know this will feel much better to work with than the metal hooks. (Which are admittedly both cheap and effective - important for figuring out if you even like doing the crochet, or for crocheting in public or anyplace your hook could be lost or confiscated.)

Now, to finish up The Babette!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Forest Featherweight - Edging!

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I've gotten to the point where I needed to begin my edging on the Forest Featherweight Cardi. I decided to use Seed Stitch for the lower edging and the neckband on this green one. The texture isn't very obvious on this laceweight yarn, but it will give it a nice, non rolling edge. I can't believe I've gotten this far on this. I thought it would take longer to knit a sweater out of laceweight yarn. I've still got sleeves to go, but it looks like I'll be starting them fairly soon.

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I've tried it on a couple of times just to make sure things were looking right and it feels SO GOOD! It's a lightweight sweater, but I think it will still be warm. It might be the perfect weight for Fall in Texas.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Babette

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I've gotten six more squares done for The Babette and the ends are even woven in on these. I haven't added them to the "Official Tally" yet, so I can't remember how many more I have to make, but I think I have 20-something of this size to go. I can't wait to start laying out the squares for this project!

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Spinning!

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I sat down this weekend and got some spinning done. Caleb even wandered in and commented on how long it's been since I've spun and he told me he missed me spinning! He likes to come in and curl up on the floor with a blanket and read or just lay there and talk to me while I spin. He told me once, when he was little, that he liked the quiet sound of the spinning wheel going around and around. I think he still enjoys listening to it.

This (on the left) is the second bobbin of the Kiwi colored Border Leicestershire Lambswool and Kid Mohair. I'll spin a total of three bobbins of singles and I'm aiming for a fingering weight finished yarn. I think this second bobbin went faster than the first bobbin, but I've never actually timed myself to see how long it takes to spin a bobbin. I've started the third bobbin and with Caleb's encouragement, I'm sure I'll get it spun up pretty quickly. I may have to see if he's interested in learning to spin - he's definitely big enough (to reach everything) now. Or he may just enjoy laying on the floor listening to the soft whooshing sounds the spinning wheels make...

Something else happened this weekend: Finn turned 4 on Saturday! He was happy. (He's really always happy, but he does enjoy it when we sing to him. That's even more happy!)

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Back to The Babette

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I don't even remember how long it's been since I worked on The Babette, but I can tell you that it was long enough I had to double check the directions before I got going. Ramius appreciated me getting back to the small squares that don't bash him in the head while I work. I know I won't need The Babette to keep me warm for a few months, but I also know it might take a while to put it together.

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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Forest Featherweight

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This weekend I made a discovery - this is not the Forest Heather colorway of Shadow laceweight. This is Lost Lake. I ran across my colorcards from when Knitpicks first started doing their own yarn, which is when I ordered this yarn (I've stashed several projects worth of Knitpicks yarns over the last few years) and this is the Lost Lake colorway. (The reason I didn't know was because at some point, I had wound this into balls, the tags got separated from the balls and then I didn't end up starting whatever project I was thinking about after all.) I have no clue whether or not the current Forest Heather colorway is at all related to the old Lost Lake colorway and it is this old Lost Lake colorway that matches Elann's Forest Glade Heather colorway.

I'm still moving right along on the body of this sweater. It will definitely need a nice steaming to get all the wrinkles out after riding around in my purse, but it has worked out well as a "drag along" type of project. It's a good thing it's working as this type of project because I usually use socks for this same purpose. I reorganized my sock drawer yesterday, and it's stuffed!

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Monday, June 07, 2010

A Finished Bag!

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I got the second strap finished and then I attached them to the bag! I still have some ends to trim and somewhere I've got a tracing of the bag base to use for the plastic canvas (yes, I had already planned on using that instead of cardboard - great minds think alike), but for all intents and purposes, I'm calling it done.

Now, to get back to The Babette...

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Friday, June 04, 2010

He is out of his mind

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I know he looks super snuggly cute here, but he's really not right in the head. Let me explain. Our neighbors (next door, we share a fence) have a tiny, white fluff ball of a dog. She is about a third the size of Ramius, tops. She does her best to boss Finn around (from her yard, while Finn is in our yard) and Finn is always very respectful of her and tries to follow directions. He never barks at her or gets his hackles up at all, he just wags his tail at her through the fence. (As far as I can tell, she's fixed and I know he is so there's really no romance going on here.)

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. Some new neighbors moved in on the other side. They have dogs too. A Great Dane and a Weimaraner. Remember, at 60 pounds, Finn is on the small size for a Golden, so it's a safe bet that he's smaller than both of them. He has heard them bark - great big, low, BIG DOG barks. Does this impress him? Does this make him respectful? No. He goes outside, fluffs up his hackles as best he can (his hair on his shoulders is about 6 inches long so when he raises his hackles, he looks like he's wearing a toupee on his shoulders, not scary so much as funny) and barks like he means it. They pretty much ignore him, but he is determined that they will respect him, or something. It totally cracks me up because if he saw them, he'd probably have a heart attack. This is the same dog that stopped mid-pee one day to run away and hide behind Mickael because a robin landed near him. Fortunately, all the dogs are inside dogs, so there's no all day barking around here. Can he not tell by the sound of their barks that they are bigger than him, or does he just not care? Like I said, he's just not right in the head.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, June 03, 2010

Cerisara

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I'm past the lace section on the body of this cardigan and I'm working on the reverse stockinette area. I'm thinking about putting the body on a holder for a bit and doing the sleeves (pattern calls for long sleeves, I'm going to do 3/4 sleeves) and then coming back and finishing the body. That way I can make the body longer if I think I need to (I'm 5'8" and sometimes I need to lengthen things).

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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Almost a Bag!

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Yesterday ended up being six kinds of crazy, so no time to blog, but I'm here today!

I got the shell edging around the top edge of my bag and as you can see by the blue thing laying on it, I'm working on the handles. That's the first handle you see there. As it turned out I didn't have to learn a new stitch for the shell edging, it was US double crochet, but the handles are in single crochet. So I got out the How To Crochet Book and learned how to single crochet. I'm keeping notes on this handle so the second handle is the same size.

I haven't decided if I will line the bag or just leave it as it is, but I will probably put something in the bottom of the bag to make it have a firm bottom and sit (or slouch) nicely. I also don't know if I'll put the flowers on the handles, I'm still thinking big buttons, but I'm not sure yet. Oh, the decisions I have to make each day...

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