Thursday, December 27, 2007

My Wheel is on its way!

So I've spun a couple of batches now on my drop spindle:

This was my first attempt - nice enough, but *not* what I was going for, so I tried again, and this is what I got:

Now that's more like it!!!! I could actually knit me some sockys out of this stuff - I'm loving it!

AND, the best part is - after DH saw me struggling last night to ply the yarn using my makeshift lazy kate, and the yarn was kinking all up and being nasty to me - he told me today to go ahead and order the spinning wheel that I want. So I did it before he could change his mind! :-) (There's no need to tell him that simply getting a tensioned lazy kate would solve that particular problem, now is there? It *was* also annoying to have to wind the singles *off* of the spindle just to get the spindle free to then ply it back *on* which I will then have to get back *off* again! And a spinning wheel with nice bobbins and what-not will solve that problem!)

Now I will very shortly be the proud owner of a Kromski Mazurka in a beautiful Mahogany finish! I love that it comes from Poland because DH's family comes from Poland! Looking at the assembly instructions online, however, kind of gives me a sick feeling - am I going to figure this contraption out? Granted I am an engineer (although a chemical one....) so I *think* I can figure it out, it's just a little intimidating is all.

So I get a belated Christmas gift! DH and I didn't exchange gifts, we just got the boys presents. But now I get a present after all! DS#1 got two of the things he asked Santa for, and then promptly threw a hissy fit because he didn't get the third! So we threatened to take all his nice gifts away, and he was suddenly quite happy with what he did get! My mother suggested that she might go ahead and get the thing he didn't get (we're going down to her house this weekend for a belated Christmas celebration with my parents) - a Jabba the Hut toy, btw, but I told her not to, since it would ruin the lesson - don't you agree?? AND DH remembered that he has an old Kenner Jabba the Hutt toy in amongst his action figures in the attic, so we're going to get it down and clean it up and give it to DS for Easter. That'd be better, imo, since it'll be a toy that his Daddy had when he was little!

Here's a few Christmas pics:

Leaving the reindeer food on Christmas Eve-

And a very Star Wars Christmas was had by all:

That's the Cantina Set that DS#2 is playing with - it plays the Cantina Band music -how cute is that? He kept saying "Push Button?" and pushing the button to play the music. :-)
Anyways, I hope you all have a very Happy New Years! Mine will start off with a new spinning wheel!! Yippee!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Spinning Bug has bit again!

So, I now officially have another fiber obsession. Spinning! I'm loving spinning on my drop spindle, but I can now see the usefulness of a spinning wheel. Spinning straight to a bobbin? Not having to stop the spindle and manually wind up the yarn a foot at a time? I'm there! (Hopefully, maybe, sometime soon!) I have my eye on the Kromski Mazurka. I'm short on space, and I love the looks of it (maybe not a valid technical/spinning reason for purchasing a wheel, but I do love fine furniture, and if it's going to be sitting in my living room I'd like it to look good!) Here it is in the walnut finish: (I'd want the mahogany finish).
There's nowhere near me that I know of to try one out, so I'll be just going on intuition as to what would work well for me. I *think* I want a single treadle, double drive (with a scotch tension option). I love the fact that it's from Poland too - DH is of Polish descent (his grandparents immigrated here in the 40's). $500 is a steep amount, though, especially right now for us. We've been wanting hardwood (i.e. laminate!) floors for a while, and that would go a good ways on buying those. So I may have to wait a while on the wheel. :-( Oh well, I'll make due with my drop spindle for the time being!

Change of topics! So there's this new children's show on PBS called 'Super Why!'. My DS's absolutely love it! They both sit entranced for the whole 30 minutes - which is a looongg time for my two boys, let me tell you! AND, they actually interact with the show the way they're supposed to (calling out letters and such) which is something they never do with other shows (well, except maybe Dora). It's teaching my 2 yo his letters (or more like re-enforcing my teaching). He loves shouting out the letters that they find (they look for "super-letters" that pop up while on their mission.) Anyway, I won't bore you with the whole plot structure! Just fyi - it's a really cute show! Check it out if you have kids under 5!

The new 'issue' of Knitty came out a few days ago, and man, are there a bunch of projects that I want to do!! It does not help my Ravelry queue at all! (Or my pocketbook!) I just get one or two projects on the needles or done, and then *BAM* ten more projects get added to my 'want to do' list! It doesn't help when I go ahead and get the yarn for the projects, either, 'cause then they're just sitting there waiting to be knitted (actually looking at me and begging to be knitted! LOL) and I don't have the time!!!! Or the hands!!!! And I don't think I'm the only one who has yarn talking to them -(am I?). I don't know which is worse, having the yarn on hand for a project, and having said project yelling "Knit Me!", or not having the yarn on hand for a project, and coveting said yarn, and the project is still yelling "Knit Me!" but not as loudly :-). And to top it all off, I now have roving sitting in my stash yelling "Spin me!" just as loudly as the yarn. And you know that once I spin it, it'll just start yelling "Knit me!" along with all the other yarn! Unless of course I do a horrible job of spinning it, then it'll just be crying in my stash, but nevertheless adding to the noise (that only I can hear!) emanating from my closet.

Oh well, I'll stop the rambling for now! BTW, does anyone know how to shut yarn up? (other than knitting it!?)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pigeon Forge and other ramblings

We got back from our Thanksgiving trip yesterday. We had a wonderful time! It rained on Thanksgiving day, but we had our meal at the cabin, so it was alright - it was actually nice not having to go out to a restaurant for the meal.

On our way out of town yesterday we stopped at a yarn shop in Gatlinburg, Smoky Mountain Spinnery. What a wonderful little shop! The owner, Nancy, helped me pick out a drop spindle and some roving to learn how to spin. She was so friendly and helpful! I bought some sock yarn too (of course!). I picked up some Wildefoote and some Rio de la Plata yarn in a beautiful sand, cream and peach colorway. I've started spinning some of the Blue-face Leicester roving - not very evenly, I'm afraid! But I'm just learning, so hopefully I'll improve with practice :-).
My dad liked his socks, and they fit him, too! I'm so happy!

Here's DS#2 looking at the jellyfish at the Ripley Aquarium in Gatlinburg. It's a neat aquarium, but not worth the $20/adult, $6/child to get in, IMO.

Now I've got to get working on the rest of my Master Knitting swatches. I've done a K1,P1 rib swatch, but I'm not sure the ribbing section is up to par. The stockinette section looks great, but the ribbing seems a little distorted. Maybe blocking will help it. If not, I guess I'll try again!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Christmas is just around the corner!

Ta-Ta for now!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Getting Better

Thank you for all your well wishes about my toe! It's getting better. The swelling has gone down some and the bruising is fading. It still hurts, but not as badly as it did, and it's started aching and itching.

I'm just past the heel turn on sock #2 of dad's socks - we're in the home stretch! I can't believe how freaking long it's taking to knit these socks!! The only other socks I knit on 0's before were the one's I did for William, and let's face it, his feet are tiny compared to a men's size 10.5. :-) But I didn't think they would take this long! I mean, I cast on in early October for goodness sake! Hopefully they will be done in time! About a week to go - keep your fingers crossed for me!

I am so looking forward to our week in Pigeon Forge - you have no idea! I can't wait!! I'm already packing some stuff and making shopping lists for groceries and such.

Oh well, back to the daily grind. Laundry, vacuuming, dishes and general cleaning up await me. The boys are doing "quiet time" right now, which is the only time I get to myself until DH is done with work.

Talk at ya later!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Broken Toe

Big clutz that I am, I stubbed my toe on the door frame Saturday night, and of course, I broke it. It's really amazing that I've never broken a toe before now, with the amount of toe-stubbing that goes on with me. Here's a (blurry) pic of the purple and blue mess:

I have it "buddy taped" and I wear a lovely post-op shoe that is awkward as heck to walk in. It still hurts like the dickens too. Oh well. C'est la vie!

I blocked my Master Knitter Swatch #3. I think it looks acceptable (I hope!!):

And, after about three attempts, I think I have an acceptable Swatch #1:

I didn't realize I had such trouble getting ribbing to look even. The ribbing on my socks looks great - maybe the fact that they're knit on 0's and 1's has something to do with that?! (And possibly the fact that they're knit in the round). When I actually pay close attention to my knitting it seems harder to get a consistent tension!! I'm still worried that the ribbing is too loose. And I hate how my selvage stitches look. I may try to knit this one again when all is said and done. I want to move on to another one though, since I'm fed up with this one! Two down, 14 to go!!

I'm still plugging away at dad's socks - I'm just past the calf of the second sock. Two weeks to go - I really need to get busy!! Plus I have several things I want to knit for my Etsy shop. I need more hours in the day!! (or at least some more hours free of the kids!! - The pitfalls of being a SAHM - no time away from the kids!!)

Oh well, back to the kids now. It's really funny (not!) trying to chase around two boys with a broken toe!


Friday, November 2, 2007

Swatch #3

I got my Knit Picks Yarn in the mail yesterday, and I've started working on my Master Knitter swatches already. I'm starting with swatch #3 - seed stitch, since several of the swatches have to be knitted on the same size needles, and some people have said that they've had trouble getting the seed stitch swatch dense enough. My first attempt was pretty pathetic! Uneven gauge galore! So I tried using the Combined Purl Method on my purl stitches (i.e. bringing the working yarn under the needle to form the stitch instead of bringing it over the needle). This results in a stitch sitting on the needle incorrectly, which you then have to fix on the next row by working into to back loop of the stitch. Doing it this way helps to eliminate the excess yarn that you tend to have when forming a purl stitch. I also made sure to move the previous stitch forward with my finger when moving the yarn to the front prior to working the purl stitch - this helps to eliminate any excess yarn between the stitches. Both of these techniques helped greatly, as you can see by these photos:

These are unblocked swatches. The swatch on the left is my first attempt - I didn't knit the full 4 inches since it was obviously a piece of crap. (Halfway through I started doing the combined purl to try it out - can't you tell the difference?!) The swatch on the right is my full completed swatch. Here's a closer look:

I'm not sure if this one will pass, since the tension still seems uneven in several spots. My selvedge stitches are a little uneven as well. I'm hoping that blocking will take care of it and even everything out - we'll see. I'll probably block these tonight. Oh, yeah, I used Clover Bamboo size 6 needles on both of these. I really didn't want to go down a needle size - my stitches seem small enough as it is - I don't want to blind the committee members!

I also added to my knitting reference library with a couple of books:

I'd like to start on my research paper soon, but I have so many other things to do. Plus take care of my kids somewhere in there too! :-)
I really need to work on the second of my dad's birthday socks. The first one took me so long, I'm afraid I'll run out of time. His birthday was Oct 25 (he turned 60!), but we're going to do a little surprise party for him at Thanksgiving. We're all getting together in Pigeon Forge for a week (my mom rented a 4 bedroom cabin.) I am so looking forward to it! I hope dad likes his sock(s)! :-)
I'll keep you posted on the swatches!

Monday, October 29, 2007

On my way to a Master Knitter!

I just sent off for the TKGA Master Knitter Level 1 course. I'm going to use Knit Picks' Wool of the Andes for my swatches, and I just ordered it, too. Whooo hoooo! I can't wait to get started!

Dad's socks are coming along nicely, and they seem like they'll fit this time! Yeah!

We went to a Halloween Party tonight, so I can't resist a pic of my cuties in their costumes:

They love their costumes!

That's about it for tonight.

Happy Halloween everybody!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sock Issues and other ramblings

Really, more like gauge issues. I started knitting some socks for my dad's upcoming birthday - he'll be 60! But, I didn't do a gauge swatch beforehand and the sock is turning out too small - although it fits me perfect! The problem is I don't have enough of the yarn I was using to do him a pair at the gauge I am getting, so there's no point in frogging the sock (which I am loath to do, since it took me forever to just get to the heel turn, which is where I stopped). Instead I started on a new pair - same pattern, different yarn - after doing a gauge swatch and adjusting the pattern accordingly. These are taking quite a while to knit as well, since I'm using size 0 needles and I'm getting 9 sts/inch. I'm almost to the heel flap on the first sock, and it's been about 4 days now. I'll take pictures soon.

So I've been doing my Christmas shopping for my 2 DSs. DS#1 is into Star Wars like you wouldn't believe. He's going to be Darth Vader for Halloween, and he can't wait! I ordered a Star Wars pop up book (it was $25) and wasn't expecting too terribly much. I just got it in the mail today, and let me tell you, it looks like it should have cost me more like $50. It is freaking amazing!! Words cannot describe how cool this book is. I am not letting either DS touch the thing until they are a lot older. I'll let them look, but not touch!!

I can't wait until the new Star Wars Galactic Heroes Cinema scenes hit the shelves at Walmart and Target. They are both getting 2 exclusive sets - Walmart is getting 2 cantina scenes, and Target is gettting - get this - an X-wing set!! and a Jabba the Hut set!! The Walmart ones are supposed to be out any day now, and the Target ones sometime in November. I love these little action figures. They are so cute! I think I'm getting them more for me than for my sons! (Yes, I'm a Star Wars fan - the original movies, not the piece of crap new ones.)

I just ordered, and received in the mail, some hand-dyed sock yarn from Hawaii. Gorgeous stuff! I can't wait to knit with it! I also ordered some Maizy and Panda Cotton yarns to make some more Yoga socks with. I've never knitted with these before, so I'm hoping they are nice to knit with!

I'll get back to my boys now, I've started homeschooling DS#1 (kindergarten math and reading and such), and he's bugging me right now to do "school", so I'd better go and educate him!! I wouldn't want to deny his zest for learning!


Sunday, September 30, 2007

My First Post

Yipee! My very first blog post! So I'm new to this blogging thing - I've been reading them for a long time now, I've just never done my own. We'll see how it goes!

I just finished a pair of socks - the Queen of Cups pattern from Knitty. I really liked it, it wasn't too difficult as far as lace goes. I'd definitely do it again. Here's a pic:

The yarn used was KnitPicks Gloss - it was the first time I've used it, and I have to say that I really like it! Very soft. I just got into Ravelry a few days ago, and I finished these in time to enter them in the SockKnitters Anonymous Sockdown KAL. Yeah! BTW, Ravelry is awesone!!

On a non-knitting note, we recently got a Wii. Wheeee! That's the most fun I've had in a long time. I especially like the boxing game. It's a blast! If you ever get a chance to play, don't pass it up!

Here's another pair of socks that I just finished within the last week or so:

It's an improvised pattern, basically a garter rib, for my 4yo son, William. The yarn is Opal Uni in a dull brown color that he picked out. Of course he has to go for the boring color amongst all of the colorful Austermann Step that was next to it on the shelf. Oh well, at least he likes them!

Well, I'll stop there for my first post.