Tuesday, October 13, 2009

5 months later...

I know, I know. 5 months without blogging? Shame on me. I've been really busy...I promise!
Well first, we obviously got married on May 2nd.
The wedding was in my hometown of Spearfish, SD. I'd really forgotten how gorgeous it is there. This pic was taken in Spearfish Canyon, in front of Bridal Veil Falls. We had two weeks at home after the wedding to get packed, and headed out on our honeymoon. We blogged about it here.

As a wedding gift, my grandma presented me with a vintage sewing machine which my grandpa had bought for her shortly after they were married. It's a 1963 Singer Slant-o-matic, aka 'Rockette' for the streamlined shape.
Since I've used a sewing machine once in my life (when I was 12 with help from mom!) I've mostly been playing with scrap fibers just to learn everything that the machine will do, and trying to sew straight lines! This machine is really a workhorse. My grandma really only used it for hemming and repairs, and had it serviced before giving it to me, so it's practically like brand new.

I've made a couple of really cute little drawstring bags to hold my projects. I love shoving my knitting into my purse, but I hate getting my keys or other things caught. I also wanted to make these because now that we're watching our nieces, it's hard to be knitting around them if I'm up chasing after them, getting snacks/bottles/bubbas, etc, so it's awesome to have my yarn in the bag with the cord around my wrist...I can knit when they're content, and run around with my knitting still with me, not having to worry about a 2-year old accidentally pulling it apart.
And of course, I've been doing my Christmas knitting like a good girl. I started in late August, and have a few things to show for it.
First is a shawl I knitted for Rick's grandma. She gave me this vintage baby yarn, saying she couldn't crochet with it because it was too thin for her to work with. So I dyed it her favorite color, and set about to knit her a shawl. (Pattern is Gail/Nightsongs) Grandpa is in the final stages of Alzheimers, so I thought gramma might like something special. Every time I completed a pattern repeat, I had Rick say some prayers for her. He'll write about it in her card, and I think it will be really special for her.

The second finished gift is for my mom. Last time she was here we were discussing knits, and she mentioned that she would really love a looong rectangular stole to wrap around her. I improvised an entrelac shawl in Paton's SWS and it turned out phenomenally. The colors are perfect for mom's skin tone, and I can just see her rockin this with a white shirt and some jeans. She'll probably receive this at Thanksgiving when we'll be in SD, since we'll be in MN for Xmas.
We finally got a Christmas tree, so I've also been stash-busting with some teeny tiny mitten ornaments...aren't they the cutest!?!
Another stash-buster, I had a skein of Misti Alpaca Laceweight in my stash, and this seemed like the perfect pattern for it. It's the Qiviuk Webs scarf from interweave knits. Of course it looks crappy right now since it's unblocked, but this yarn is so freakin soft you'd never care. I have no one specific in mind to give this too, but I'm sure I'll think of someone. (Or keep it if I'm feeling selfish.) So, there! I have been busy. And now I'm off to watch some awesome ghostly halloween TV and cast on for a new hat/scarf set to match hubby's new coat.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Surprising myself...

Ok, so I swear that I hardly ever sew, but I managed to surprise myself with how well I did sewing up the liner for my Brea bag. I started by tracing the individual knit pieces of the bag, leaving some space for seam allowances.

Here's all three of my fabric pieces, ready to sew. I started pinning them together at the bottom/center point.
Here it is all sewn up! Not too shabby, and most of my seams are even pretty straight.
I included a cell phone and regular sized pockets on the inside of one of the pieces. I think this is a touch that will make it much more usable like a store bought bag. I got half of the knitted parts themselves sewn up last night, and will finish sewing it up tonight, and will pin the liner in.

I also FINISHED SOMETHING! (cue triumphant music). This was the Mommes Lysedug doily pattern I've been working on as a wedding thank you gift for my Aunt Becky, made from my great grandmas (her grandmas) old crochet thread. I ended up leaving off the last patterned section from the doily, since I was running out of room for stitches on my circular, I wanted to get it done, and I couldn't quite get the pattern to work out just right after row 100 of the pattern, so I just stopped and bound off. I think it still looks great.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Taking a break from our previously scheduled program...

With...the AEOLIAN!
I really did want to start this shawl as soon as I saw it. But, there was a little problem. I had NO needles! They sell Addi lace needles at my LYS, but they make my hands smell like pennies and I don't prefer metal needles. I used this as a very good excuse to buy a few sets of fixed KnitPicks Harmony Circulars. They arrived last Friday, and here they are along with the lace weight I had already dyed for the shawl.

Incidentally, I don't know how I EVER knitted without these needles. (I keep petting them and enthusiastically wiggling the cable around, because I can. Normal? I think so.) An interchangeable set will be mine, SOON.
I'm through the first chart of the pattern, and am just starting the transition charts to the next pattern. (I've decided to opt OUT of the 'nupps', since it is apparently a nice word for "this one stitch will make you want to kill yourself") So far, I'm loving this shawl. It's a great pattern to turn to when I've been working on things for the wedding way too much and I need some quiet time to chill. I'm sure that it will also get shoved into my bag to keep me company on the long car ride to South Dakota, along with the February Lady Sweater I have begun. (Pictures of that later when it's a bit more interesting.)

I'm very pleased today, because I got to give someone new the spinning bug! Sarah came over to my place yesterday for lessons. I gave her my old Ashford student spindle that I never, ever use anymore, and a really nice spinning book since she's been hinting at wanting to learn for a while now. She picked it up like a natural, and her first yarn actually LOOKS like yarn! (My first yarn looked like a bag of fleece threw up.) Yay, Sarah!
Other than that, I'm just plugging along with wedding plans, and the required knitting for gifts. I'm headed to buy fabric to line my Brea Bag today, let the hilarity of me trying to sew ensue. (Really, it's pretty funny. I'm NOT a seamstress.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bellocq Stockings

The bellocq stockings are going really fast!! I had a bit of confusion once I got past the cuban heel, but Marnie and another raveler explained it very well and now I'm a few rows away from being done with the calf shaping!

After the calf shaping is finished, I'm going to put this stocking on a holder, and knit the second one to the same length. Then I'll know I at least will have a pair of knee-highs if I don't have time for more than that. If I do have time, thigh highs!

A new spinning project is on the bobbin as well. This is a 60% Merino, 30% Bamboo, 10% Nylon sock blend fiber. I needed a little yellow since we're so anxious for spring here but it just KEEPS SNOWING!
The plan for this is 3-ply fingering weight sock yarn. You should see it soon on the store.

I'm doing a bit of dyeing today as well. St. Patty's day is coming up fast, so I figured I'd best whip up some festive batts. In the pot now is 4 oz of BFL in all kinds of different colors...I have a fun idea for this batt, but I think you'll have to wait a day or two to see the outcome.

I'm also taking some undyed lace weight I've had sitting around, and dyeing it to start the Aeolian shawl from the new knitty. A friend from my knitting group started an Aeolian Knit A Long on Ravelry for it right away, and I had to join in. I'm going to have to order new needles for it though, I'm a little lacking in the lace weight sized circs around here.

For now, back to the dyepots!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Getting back to business...

Ack! I feel so far behind on everything, even the blog! So, to catch up...
The bain of my existance for the last few months is almost finished. The invitations have the picture and announcement, ribbons, all the required informational inserts, and almost all of the envelopes have addresses printed. Today I'm going to the craft store to get more envelopes (I ran out!) stickers to seal them, and the stamps I ordered online should be here in a day or two.

I feel like I'll be able to breathe again once I get these things out. After that we've only to get details of the ceremony and music in place.

In other wedding news, I've been working on knitting a few thank you gifts. My 13 year old cousin Chloe is my Maid of Honor, so I wanted to knit her something cute that she would love. So, I grabbed some purple acrilyc (Vanna's Choice, it's actually a very nice soft yarn for an acrilyc.) and whipped up a Brea bag.

This bag is way bigger than you think it's going to be!! But a very quick, fun knit. I finished both the front and back sides while watching 2 movies, and the gusset took me an hour or two on a Saturday morning. I definitely want to line this bad boy, which means I'm not going to sew it up until I get some fabric for it. (Don't worry, I'll take some pictures so we can all have a good laugh at my sewing skills.)

Chloe's mom, my Aunt Becky, is going to be coming along with her, and will be my personal attendant. While thinking of a project to make for her, I remembered that I have a large bag full of her grandma's (my great-grandma's) crochet thread. She used to crochet those amazing lace doilies, and my grandma had a stockpile of the stuff and didn't use it herself, so it was passed onto me. I'm knitting lace doilies for both Aunt Becky and Gram from the thread. (Note: not crocheting, my skills there are laughable as well.)

I need to order some circs to continue on this one, and I'm thinking I'll probably try a pair of the Knitpicks harmonies, since I'm not willing to pay $15 for a pair of Lace Addis, which is all my LYS would carry in a tiny circ. (They make my hands smell like pennies, and the brass tarnishes which felts my stitches. Not a good time.)

I'm going to have to prioritize my knitting 'chores' a bit, as it gets closer to the wedding. I have a number of projects that I'm basically committed to finishing before the wedding (or the honeymoon!). Here goes...
Before Wedding...
1. Line the Brea bag
2. Finish Becky's doily
3. I'd like to start/finish a thigh high pair of Bellocq to wear under my gown. I have two months...not SO crazy, right?

Before Honeymoon...
I promised Rick that I would have his University of Illinois sweater finished for him by the time we leave for the honeymoon. There is one sleeve left to knit, and a letter to attatch. We have 2 weeks between the wedding and when we leave for the honeymoon, so even if I don't get this finished before the wedding I should have time to finish it up.
4. Order a chenille sweater-letter for Rick's U of I sweater and get matching orange yarn
5. Knit last sleeve for U of I sweater, finish and attatch letter.

In non-wedding news...
I've been spinning my way slowly through a 4 oz bump of BFL that I yanked from the store. I spun it into a very fine single, and navajo-plied the whole mess and ended up with a good 480 yards of fingering/sock yarn! This isn't the best picture on the niddy-noddy, but I'm so proud of this. It's the best navajo plying job I've done to date, especially considering that the BFL required TONS of twist for the singles to not fall apart, and they fell apart alot while plying anyways.

You should see this up in the store sometime today.
As for my personal knitting, there isn't a lot going on. I started this sock out of some of my hand-dyed as a purse/bed project. It's kind of a treat because I don't knit with my own yarn as much as I should. I really like it! No ugly pooling at all.I'd better get going, the craft store opens in 10 minutes. Might as well get it over with!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Look what came!!!

It's my Crazy Monkey Skein Winder, perched in its new spot next to my Beka swift! This thing is amazing, all my coned yarn is already skeined and ready to go. I need to order more now!!
Might as well give you a shot of the desk park of my studio too, since everything is pretty clean. I have an entire room here, and so far I only really have this one little corner filled. I have a tiny cubby shelf set up for store stock, but it was supposed to be bigger, so that's probably the next thing on the list for this room. Better storage!
I had received some kind of hand crafted knitting "caddy" from Rick's grandma, but we weren't quite sure how it was supposed to be used. After a lot of discussion on this Ravelry forum, there were a couple different viable uses found for it, and I've been using it for this:
That's a section of the Sampler Afghan from Cables Untangled. I'm using Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool, so the dowels on this fit perfectly through the skein. It's wonderful for projects that stay close to your couch.

I've been on a spinning/knitting with handspun kick lately. I finished a folded brim hat out of some 3-ply worsted handspun, and Rick couldn't help but ham it up a little.
On the wheel are some super low twist bamboo singles, which I actually finished last night. Should be up in the shop in the next few days.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Busy, Busy!

I've been keeping so busy, I've been having to force myself to stop working for things like food and bathroom breaks during the day. My main focus has been wedding stuff. I really want to get it all done early so I can have a month or two to de-stress before hand and get back to my poor, neglected business!
First, I've been making my own pocketfold invitations, following this awesome tutorial: DIY Wedding Invitations

I think they look really pretty for all the money I saved doing them myself. Rick's sister is a photographer, so she will be taking care of engagement shots this weekend, and then she'll be designing the main announcement with our picture for me to put on them. I already have the info inserts ready to print on my Mac. The envelopes will be easy, since I can print the addresses onto them with the same font right from my printer/computer. Oh, I love technology.

I think after the invitations are finished, all we really have left to do is get my dress fitted (appt already set), get the boys measured for tuxes, and get our readings picked for the ceremony. I'll be so glad when I can rest until May 2nd knowing that there is NO more planning to do. I'm not a party planner. Ish.

On the knitting front, I had a big custom order in shades of purples to do last week, so I did a test regular sized skein for one shade to make sure I had it right. I liked it so much, I knit a pair of monkeys out of it in 2 days flat. (OKAY, I knit *most* of it in 2 days, I've been procrastinating on the very tippy tip of the second toe. But thats up on my schedule after I finish this post.)

For the first year I've been in business, I have not owned a swift, or a skein winder, and only just recently acquired a ball winder. My right arm has nearly fallen off a number of times winding huge amounts of yarn off of cones to be dyed later. I've been saving up for quite a while to get both a swift and a skein winder, and good news! That custom order I had last week was just enough to put me over. Look what I got yesterday!

It's a Beka swift. I REALLY, REALLY love it. I was worried that the traditional umbrella type would be a bit to fiddly and/or might break easily if I use it more than just every once and a while for personal knitting projects, and the adjustable peg type swifts just looked ugly and strange to me. It was love at first sight when I saw this on Ravelry, and I had to have it.

Also, today my Crazy Monkey Skein Winder shipped, so it should be here soon! I can't wait to skein entire cones in no time.