Friday, June 6, 2008

'Tackling' Circular Needles

I thought I'd share my circular needle storage/organization solution with you all. I don't remember exactly where I got the idea (on the net somewhere!), but it seemed like a unique solution - and I love, love, love it!

Here's my needlecase:

Do you know what it is IRL? A soft-sided Tackle-bag. That's right, for worms! (Well, the plastic variety, anyway). Guess how much it cost. Go ahead, guess..... $5. At Wal-Mart. Came with 10 zipper pouches. I bought 10 more pouches at Outdoor World for $2, plus 10 smaller pouches (they fit as well) for another $2.

It has a zipper pocket in the front that holds my end caps, tightening screws, stitch markers, etc. Cramming the 20 extra pouches in was a little tricky, but now I have plenty of pouches for all of my circular needle components. (I splurged and got a ton of the Harmony interchangeable ones, btw!)

Anyway, I think it's a nifty (and cheap!) way to conveniently store the circular needles. It even has a handle and it zips completely closed.

On another knitting note, I wanted something to measure my new (size unmarked!) Harmony needles, so I wouldn't be lost as to what size they were. Of course, I could just get a little needle size thingamabob, but I don't like those - some of them don't have the half-sizes. The Engineer in me wanted a tool. A Caliper. I could have just spent 5 or 10 bucks on a plain old brass caliper. But no, I wanted the cool dial caliper. $30. To measure my knitting needles. Overkill? At least I'll know to the hundredth of a millimeter the size of my needles. Need to know your needle size? Come to me. The Chemical Engineer will measure for you. ;-P

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Tuesday was my birthday - I won't say how old I am - other than to say that I'm now one year closer to the big 4-0. :-( I certainly don't feel like I'm in my (late!) 30's! But, man, I'm really happy with my birthday present - finally a Democratic Nominee!!!!!! Yipee!!! I'm so fired up and ready to go, ya'll!

Hubby got me a lovely tea brewer and some loose leaf tea. I had never heard of Teavana - they originated in Atlanta, so you'd think I would have heard of them. The brewer is the coolest thing - you put your loose leaf tea in and pour you hot/boiling water in and let it steep. Then for the cool part - you place it on top of your mug, and the tea filters out down into your mug - hard to explain, but the coolest thing I've seen in a while. Did I mention that I think it's really cool? Here's a linky to the brewer so you can see for yourself. :-)

So, let's see, it's been I while since I blogged - I've started and finished a Hemlock Ring Blanket - here it is blocking:
I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in the Lake Ice Heather color. I ended up using 7 skeins plus a little bit from an 8th skein. The finishing row took about 4 hours to do - and I ended up with over 500 stitches on the needles! Once it was blocked it was about 48 inches wide.

I am ever amazed with lace blocking. You start with an ugly clump of knitted material that looks like this:
And then you end up with a beautiful lace blanket:

And I started a pair of Pirate Socks (pattern is Jack Sparrow's Favorite Socks):

I'm using Chameleon Colorworks Bambino in the Midnight colorway, and Knit Picks Gloss for the heels, toes and fair isle bit. I am loving the Bambino (wool/bamboo blend) - it has a lovely sheen to it and feels so silky - goes well with the gloss yarn, since that's a wool/silk blend.

And here's some spinning I've done - a fingering weight yarn with a long color change (I was actually going for laceweight to do a Swallowtail Shawl with it, but it ended up a little too thick, at 330 yards):

It's Gale's Art BBFL Roving in Ocean Blues colorway.

I'm in the process of spinning up another batch much more thinly - Gale's Art BBFL Roving in "Stormy Seas" colorway:

This batch is going well - I think it'll end up a nice lace weight once I ply it.

Well, I'll stop there for now! Ta-Ta!

(Edited to add: Update on my FIL - they've determined the stage of cancer - it's Stage 3a. He's starting Chemo within the week. His doctor is very optimistic, and says that it's curable. Please continue to keep him in you thoughts!)