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Monday, February 28, 2011

Man Socks - Finished!

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I finished up Mickael's socks Saturday morning! Now he's ready for our next ice storm. (Hopefully not until next January.) This is just a plain vanilla, stockinette sock. Nothing fancy or difficult, just a nice, basic, classic Man Sock. I used Trekking XXL in colorway 71 and I did use part of the second ball of yarn. (I've found that I need to plan on about 150 grams of sock yarn for Mickael socks, so I always get a little extra.) I knit these on US 0's (2.0 mm) at 9 stitches to the inch.

I'll be sockless for another 24 hours until I can start my March Knit Something of the Month Club project, which is socks for me. I also may or may not have ordered some more sock yarn in Manly colors to make Mickael some more socks, since I realized that this pair of socks that I just finished is only the third pair of socks I've made him (and he has worn one pair to work - solid, dark gray with a rib pattern), so he should get more socks. When you consider that I've been knitting for 13 years, 3 pairs of socks isn't a very good pace.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Briar Rose Wrap

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The name Briar Rose was the name given to Princess Aurora when she was raised as a peasant. Most of us know her better as Sleeping Beauty. This wrap, knit in a DK weight yarn, is a practical alternative to an elegant lace wrap and might be just the layer you need if you find yourself spending time in a drafty cottage while you are displaced from your castle. The tangle of cables calls to mind wild roses growing along pathways and roadsides and plays into the more literal image of the name. Whether you're in hiding from an evil witch with a bad attitude or you're just looking for something to keep you warm while you wait for True Love's kiss, this luxurious wrap will comfort you in style. After all, worked in cashmere and silk, it's fit for any princess.
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This design has an intermediate difficulty level due to the untraditional cables. The stitch patterns are in both written and charted format. Finished size as shown is 18 inches wide by 60 inches long. The length can be adjusted easily by adding additional repeats, while the easiest way to widen the wrap would be to use a heavier weight of yarn and larger needles. Changing either length or width will require more yardage than the 1200 yards (1097 meters) used in the sample. Shown in Colourmart 12/36 DK weight, 55% Cashmere/45% Silk, in "Innocence" colorway.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In Dreams Clue 2 - Just a Little Bit

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I've gotten started on the second clue from the In Dreams KAL, but just barely. Do you see the little V shaped lace thing in the center? With the beads? That's all I've gotten. This clue has lots of beads (someone has already counted and there are 900+ in this clue alone) so what you see is just the start. I hope to be able to sit down and work on it more later this week or over the weekend, but I have to be careful when and where I work on it with all the beads.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Man Sock

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I've finished the heel flap of Mickael's second sock and I've done the heel turn. My next step will be to pick up stitches for the gusset, which I'm planning on doing today (in good light since it's such a dark color of yarn). I'm hoping to finish this sock by the end of the month because I've got socks for my March Knit Something of the Month Club. Also, it's just time to get these wrapped up and finished.

In other news, we're beginning to think we have more than one puppy here. There's just no way that one dog can lose this much hair and still have a fur coat! Yes, Logan is still shedding even though I keep combing him and I'm not really getting anything out of him anymore. We won't even discuss how many times I've vacuumed the house in the last 36 hours. Of course having the dark, hardwood floors and the light, fuzzy dog means the fur is just that much more obvious. He does match the carpets and the tile in the kitchen pretty well, but the majority of the downstairs is hardwood and it's impossible to ignore fuzzy little white tumbleweeds of fluff bouncing happily across the floor every time you walk by. If only I could find and comb out the spare puppy that's making such a mess!

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Drive by Blogging

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The Fuzz Bucket got a bath this weekend and in typical Golden Retriever style, he started shedding like crazy once he was all dry. I was hoping and expecting this so I was ready with a comb. There's still some more fuzz to comb out, but I've gotten a lot of clean, fluffy, creamy white undercoat out of him. Mickael thinks it looks like Tribbles.

I've got a good amount of Bear dog undercoat (he was never on the blog) blended with merino and silk upstairs in my spinning stash and even a small bag of Finn undercoat from his puppy days. Finn didn't have an undercoat as an adult so I really only have that tiny bit of fluff from him. Logan looks to be quite the fur-bearing critter and having such a creamy white undercoat will make blending it really easy!

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Logan!

Today I am 8 months old and Mommy said I could blog! I like this blogging thing, it's almost as much fun as helping Mommy vacuum (I try to hold the cord in my mouth for her and she says, "Drop It!") or helping with laundry (I try to take the heavy laundry out of Mommy's arms so she doesn't hurt herself and she says, "Down Logan, Drop It!") In addition to all the help I give Mommy, I found my toy basket the other day. When I first came to live with Mommy and Daddy and Caleb all my toys lived in a basket. It was a very nice basket and I would dump my toys out of it and carry it around. When I got tired of carrying it, I chewed on it. Then Mommy would tell me to "Drop It" (she REALLY likes to say that) and "No Bite." Then one day, my toy basket disappeared. I didn't really mind that my toys were all over the floor since that's kind of the way I like them anyway, but I sure missed carrying around and chewing on the basket.

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Anyway, the other day I realized I was tall enough to reach on top of my Happy Place and there was my toy basket! I was so excited, I pulled it down immediately.

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I went in circles with it a few times and then dropped it on the rug to chew on it. I don't know if you know this or not, but it's easier to chew on things on the rug than on the hardwood. Stuff kind of scoots out of your paws on the hardwood and then you have to go after it. If you chew on your toys on the rug, it stays with you. You should try it, I think you'll be much happier chewing on things on the rug.

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When I dropped the basket to start chewing on it, I noticed Mommy was watching. She watches me a lot. I tried to look innocent but I think Mommy knew what I was planning - it's like she can read my mind! She took the basket away from me, told me to "Leave It" (another of her favorite things to say) and put it back on top of my Happy Place.

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I got out my chew bone and worked on that for a little while, but I know where my toy basket is and I'll get it when she's not looking. I like to chew on things. Mommy Googled my age and apparently my teeth are getting set in my jaw bones. I've been chewing on lots of toys lately and Mommy even got me some new ones to chew on. She says I'm a Power Chewer. I say the kitchen table tastes good so I really don't need special toys.

Mommy also says I'm a teenager dog now. I thought I was a Golden Retriever dog but maybe I misunderstood that part.

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I think I'm going to take another run at the toy basket, Mom looks distracted right now. Have a great weekend! I'm going to practice being a teenager dog all weekend!

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pettine

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I finished up Pettine last night. Those last few decrease repeats really zipped along! I've got to block it now but the knitting is all done. This was my February project for my Knit Something of the Month Club so I'm still on track with that (good to know that I haven't gotten behind two months into the year).

The pattern was Pettine, which is available either all by itself or in an eBook with 7 other designs (all shawlettes knitted from side to side). The yarn I used is the Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere in the Joy in the Morning colorway. This particular colorway was a special dyeing for The Loopy Ewe's anniversary, but the yarn base is available in all the regular Dream in Color colorways. It's a wonderful yarn and I will definitely be getting some more for the stash! The nice thing about this pattern (and all the patterns in this little eBook) is that since you knit the shawlette from side to side, you can adjust your size depending on the amount of yarn you have. You will need a scale or some way to know when you hit the halfway point, but you could easily work these designs in anything from laceweight to bulky weight and as long as you adjust your needle size to your yarn weight, they will work. I think these designs could easily be used for some serious stashbusting projects!

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Man Sock, The Sequel

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I'm well on my way on the second Man Sock! Between the snow and ice, everyone of us getting sick and the science fair, the last three weeks or so have not really given me much waiting and knitting time. Yesterday was a regular Monday again though and this week should be much more "normal" for us (normal being what usually happens around here, not normal in any sense of the word that the rest of you might understand it). So, I'm back to having time to work on the Man Sock. Of course it's starting to get warm here (at least this week) so Mickael has probably lost a bit of his enthusiasm for his Man Socks, but I'm sure that it will be cold next Winter and he'll wear them then.

I had planned on getting pictures of the Valentine Incinerator for the blog, but it got a bit beat up and isn't really in one piece anymore (4th grade is a dangerous place). He did get voted "Most Original Use of Materials" by his class for his Valentine's Box and all the other boys loved the idea. The girls' Valentines boxes were very pink and red and glittery and pretty - one girl even had flashing lights!

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Pettine

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Over the weekend I passed the halfway point of Pettine. When I felt like I was getting close, I started weighing the yarn after every repeat and at one point, I even put in a lifeline, just in case I didn't have enough yarn for another repeat. I was able to work 19 repeats before hitting the halfway point in the yarn, and now I'm decreasing back to the other end. This is a great pattern and I'm still totally in love with this yarn (so soft and drapy).

In other news from this weekend, Caleb had to make and decorate a box for his Valentines for the class party today. He and Mickael worked together on it since they have similar feelings about Valentines Day. (Mickael is convinced it's a made up holiday for jewelry and candy marketing and thinks that if he ignores it, it will go away. Caleb agrees with Mickael and also finds it offensive because girls like it and it involves pink.) How did they decorate the box? They made an incinerator. The outside was all black and they lined it with pictures of hot lava. So you put your Valentine in the incinerator with all the hot lava. Caleb tells me it won't melt any candy, only the actual Valentines - he has his priorities.

Happy Valentines Day!

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Friday, February 11, 2011

In Dreams, Clue 1

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I've finished the first clue from the In Dreams KAL! I finally got back into a rhythm with beading and the laceweight yarn doesn't feel quite so strange in my hands anymore. The little opening at the bottom of the photo will be grafted shut later - that's the center of the top edging (it's a half round shawl). Oh, and just in case you're curious, there were 364 beads in this first clue. I didn't count until I'd finished it because I didn't want to scare myself. The second clue doesn't come out until next Friday, so I've put In Dreams away for the week and I'll be knitting on other things.

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I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and just as a little Friday treat, I give you...FEET! (It totally cracks me up that the fur on the bottom of his feet, between his pads, is a light reddish instead of creamy like the rest of him - I think that's so his feet don't look dirty.) See you Monday!

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Snowbird

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I'm not really working on this poor cardigan very much lately, but it is getting a little bit of attention. I'm still on the sleeves and I'm probably about halfway done with them. I realize this is not the best picture, but Snowbird is in a weird place photographically right now - there's no way to get a good picture of it at the moment. It's not really Snowbird's fault it's being ignored right now, it's just that beads and lace are very distracting and Snowbird isn't portable like the Man Sock. On the other hand, once they're all knitted up, a cardigan like Snowbird will probably see more time being worn than the other projects will.

We lived through the storm yesterday, although Caleb has now had snow days for 5 of the last 7 school days. (Not that he's complaining.) The weather people are saying that this should be the last big, cold storm to come through for this Winter and things should start to slowly warm up. I'm SO over being cold! Fingers crossed that the weather people (and the groundhog, who probably knows more anyway) are right.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Man Sock, One Down.

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Last night I finished the first Man Sock. I hope to cast on the second one today so I can get it moving along and get Mickael a finished pair of socks. We're supposed to get more snow and freezing rain stuff tonight, so he'll just have to wear another pair of wooly socks until I get these done. (Which will probably be about when things start warming up, which is not as far away as it seems when I'm standing outside freezing my patootie off while the silly dog rolls in the snow.)

We're also going to be helping Caleb finish up his science fair project tonight. This is the first year he had to do science fair and he's really just about done. He's done the experiment, collected the results and written everything down, including the report. Tonight he'll just assemble the project board to turn it in. What was his experiment? It was whether or not video games can distract from pain. He had us put our bare foot in ice water and timed how long we could leave it in. Then he timed us while we put our other bare foot in the ice water while we played video games. All of us (he tested this 4 times) essentially doubled our time in the ice water while we played video games. It has something to do with the video games distracting our brains and suppressing the pain response. Apparently, some hospitals are using video games to help burn patients deal with the pain of their treatments. Another interesting thing that happened was that the older the volunteer was, the longer they were able to leave their foot in the water. As Caleb told his Big Daddy (my Dad), "Next year I'm going to do an experiment on whether or not old people feel things." Not sure how we're going to determine that one!

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Monday, February 07, 2011

In Dreams

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Friday afternoon I got the first clue from the In Dreams Mystery KAL and in a miracle of doggy goodness, Logan fell asleep after dinner and I cast on! (Not that Logan isn't a good dog, but Logan is approaching the teenage dog phase - until around Christmas time, so he's becoming a bit of a handful sometimes. I caught him moving furniture around the other day, apparently rugs aren't interesting enough to relocate anymore.) As you can see, I went with the Intuition colorway and my beads are crystal aurora borealis seed beads (this is taken without flash because the flash made the beads completely disappear from the photo.

I'm a little more than 1/3 of the way through this first clue but not quite to the halfway point. I don't remember the last time I worked with laceweight yarn and it's been about two years (I think) since I've used beads. There are a lot of beads in this design and while I've only worked three rows with beads so far, they're definitely slowing me down. Also, Caleb must have felt a tremor in the force, because as soon as I started the first bead row, he wandered into the room and wanted to snuggle up and watch TV with me. Anyone who's ever been around a 10 year old boy knows you drop everything when they want to spend time with you and if they'll let you hug them (without making gagging noises and pretending to die), that's just that much more important. So the beads and the boy are making for some slow knitting, but I have two weeks between clues and it's not a race.

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Friday, February 04, 2011

Pettine

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Somewhere between trying to convince Logan that he doesn't need to go back outside and play in the snow (I think the only way to win that argument is shaving him bald), answering Caleb's phone calls* and pouring hot tea down my sore throat, I started Pettine. I'm actually far enough along that I'm ready to start weighing the remaining yarn. I know I'm not at the halfway point yet, but if I weigh early and often, I should be able to avoid overshooting the halfway point and having to frog. The pattern is easy and memorizable, just the thing for a project I can pick up and put down quickly. The yarn though, the yarn is wonderful! This is Dream in Color's Smooshy with Cashmere (Smooshy is their standard sock yarn, I believe) and this is the first time I've used it. It's so soft and squishy and almost melty in your hands - it's like buttah! Every few rows I just stop and squish it and stroke it - it's lovely. I don't know if I could bear walking on it in socks, but for shawlettes or mitts or hats or scarves, it would be amazing. Just, YUM! I will definitely be adding some of this to my stash for emergency purposes or maybe just for Tuesdays.

Have a great weekend! I should be starting the In Dreams project later this afternoon or evening when the first clue comes out, so I'll show you how that's going next week.

*Sometime over the last two weeks, Caleb became a teenage girl. All weekend the phone is ringing off the hook and he and his friends (sometimes in a 3 way conference call) are playing on the computer or on the PS3 together. With 4 days off of school this week, they've been talking all day long with only brief breaks for meals. We had to have a discussion about what call waiting was and how to use it because no one could get through. On the other hand, he's not walking around telling me how bored he is.

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

Man Sock

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Despite not really leaving the house for days (and therefore no "waiting on Caleb" time for knitting), I have gotten some work done on Mickael's Man Sock. I'm going to try it on him sometime today to see how much farther I have to go before toe decreases should start. I've probably got 2 or 3 more inches to go, but Mickael has this annoying habit of walking off with his feet and taking them to work where I can't make him try socks on so I have to measure him when he's here. On a top down sock (at least with the kind of toe decreases I work), if you start the toe decreases when the foot of the sock reaches the place where your big toe connects to the rest of your toes (or where a flip flop would go), the sock will be the right length. I learned that little trick early in my sock knitting from a comment left here on my blog and it works for my socks, Mickael's socks, and Caleb's socks, so I'm guessing it's a pretty universal rule.

It's still really cold here and Caleb is still out of school, but the temps are supposed to get above freezing tomorrow - for the first time since late Monday night. Of course, we might get more snow tonight and tomorrow too, just to make things nice for Logan. I think he's about the only one in the Metroplex who's enjoying this weather.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Growing

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I got this picture of Logan in his "cave" over the weekend. I haven't actually weighed him, but I think he's about the size Finn was (Finn weighed 62 pounds). Logan is only 7 months old though so he's not done growing. I'm not sure whether you can see how much bigger he is in the new picture above, versus his last "cave" picture, below, but he's gotten longer in the body. His beak is also longer now and more dog-like than it was.

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According to the dates on the photos, they were taken about 3 weeks apart. I'll keep taking pictures of him in the cave as he grows since it gives a frame of reference on his size. Of course it would be easier if he would lie in the same position every time, but that's not going to happen.

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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

February Knit Something of the Month Club

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Since it's February 1st, I can introduce my next Knit Something of the Month Club project. January and February are the only two months for the year that do shawlettes one after the other. Starting in March I'll alternate with socks. The yarn I'm using is the Dream In Color Smooshy with Cashmere in the Joy in the Morning colorway. This was the anniversary yarn from The Loopy Ewe this past year. The pattern I'm using is Pettine from the Sideways Shawlettes eBook. (First link is to a regular website, second is Pettine's Ravelry page which has links to buy just Pettine as well as the eBook.)

As the title of the eBook implies, Pettine is knitted sideways. If I weigh my skein before I start and weigh it periodically while I knit, when I hit the halfway point, I should stop increasing and start decreasing. This should give me a shawlette that uses all of my yarn. I would think that while the patterns in this little collection (there are 8 of them) are written for fingering weight, if you wanted to change yarn weight, you should be able to do that - just change needle size accordingly. I mention this because one of these shawlettes could make for a good little stash eating project and/or potential gift.

Also, It is snowing here today. Last night we got freezing rain and at some point it changed to snow. The wind chill is -1F. I'm not amused. Logan thinks the world turned into Disneyland while he slept. There's going to be a lot of hot tea around here today!

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