Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hello 49!

I won't bore you with "I can't believe I'm that old!" or even trying to lie about it. I've packed a lot of living into those years, and I've got lots more to do! So 50 here I come! Yahoo!

I got birthday goodies...

From Fred, a cherry-chip with fudge chip frosting cake! Yum! (He thinks it looks like the cake of doom, but I think it looks like delicioso!)

Some great Celtic rock (Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, & Wolfstone) and a wonderful design book that is out of print. Fred found a used one in perfect shape on Amazon. The Knitter's Guide to Sweater Design by Carmen Michelson & Mary-Ann Davis. It's fantastic! I had checked it out of the library recently & Fred heard me raving, so he found me one! Isn't he sweet?

And look what else he got me from Gaelsong? This beautiful, huge cloth with the Tree of Life! It's on the bedroom/office wall, as you can see. I want to look at it when I work--very inspirational!

Okay, I'll continue in another post--blogger is freaking out.

To be continued...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Part Two

(of the birthday goodies)

Daisies from my mom, cuz I love daisies. There are even seeds to plant more daisies. Thanks, Mom!

And what did I get myself? I finally caved and got a swift and ball winder! Here's Fred using them--he loves it too. It's the funnest new toy in the house! That's a backlog of Cascade 220 he's helping me wind up--smooth as silk and not nary a knot nor break. Can't say that for all yarns.

I also got some cash from Fred's mom & dad, and Emily did a tear-jerking post for me on her new
blog! I'm so excited--now I can really keep up with her.

Another gift I gave myself was to go on a really painful hike with Fred (it's only 5 miles but lots of incline) and to knit a bit on a purely personal project. It felt good to just relax (especially after that hike) and do some fun knitting--I haven't had a day off in weeks & weeks! Here's a little snap of my Kureyon cardigan....

I'm done with the body and started a sleeve! It's just a figure-it-out-as-you-go thing. Ya know, for fun!

Go do some fun knitting yourself today!

Thanks for visiting...
See ya!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Monday Goodies #11

It finally worked! (See Friday's post.)

Okay here are some links!

Go play with it from Mason Dixon. It makes a pretty graph of your blog. What does it mean? How does it work? A mystery to me.

Have I told you about
Knitting Fog?

What about

Check out the
Urban Dictionary.

And here's some
blog freebies.

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Needling You

...specifically, circularly.

Here are the tips of five kinds of circulars that I have been using. From left to right, they are...

Clover bamboo, Crystal Palace bamboo, Addi turbos, Susan Bates Quicksilver, & Inox. They are, obviously, different sizes (6, 4, 5, 6, 1 respectively). Of all five, the Crystal Palace has the pointiest tip. This helps when working those stitches where you have to move stuff around (slip stitching, psso, etc.)

The first circular needles I ever used were the Clover, mainly because they are readily available (Joann, Michael's) and inexpensive. Then I found real yarn shops and tried Crystal Palace. They were worth the extra price. Then I found Addis and I thought I would never use anything else! I have a ton of them, but never enough. They are my favorite for Magic Loop, of course.

Just recently, though, I decided to try the Inox--so many people list them as their favorite, especially sock knitters. I have not tried the Inox dpn's, but plan to. I like the material--coated aluminum. It's a little delightfully "clicky," and while I love wooden needles for their warmth and quiet, sometimes it's fun to use something different. They're not expensive, either! That's a plus.

Then just the other day I finally bought some of the Susan Bates Quicksilver, because they are made with the same material as the Inox. The difference is in the join. I like 'em!

the tape--had to hold down these squiggley babies for the pic.)

Of all these joins, the Addis & the Susan Bates are the smoothest. The Clover has a little ridge that's mildly annoying, the Crystal Palace has a snagger at top of the metal piece, and the Inox has a spot at the beginning of the cord that is flattened, presenting a snagging opportunity.

All have very flexible cord, except the Clovers, which can be very unyielding until you warm it up. My latest favorite way to relax the cord?

Well, once again, I had a picture, but blogger decided I had uploaded enough, I suppose. It would NOT work. (I've been hearing other people complain about this, too. Oh, well, how much can you complain about something that's free?) Anyway--I have been putting my 16" circs into the pages of my big unabridged dictionary. Leave them a few days, and they straighten themselves out. Now for the longer ones...hmmmm. I don't like the whole hot-water solution for some reason. Maybe if I wrap them in a heating pad for a few minutes.

Okay, I leave you with something beautiful.

Cascade's "
The Heathers"--gorgeous, huh? I'm going to try some gloves and socks with some of these. If you go to their page, scroll down to the bottom for these colors. Also, notice something for me--look at all the colors. Why do some of them look like some kind of fingering weight? This is Cascade 220--worsted weight. What's up?

Okay, have a great Friday. Next time I'm going to crow about my new toy. An early birthday present--I love it!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Samradh Sona Dhut!

Happy Summer! Sarah had a post a while back about what means summer to her. Here's some of my thoughts.

1. Hearing the ice cream vendor coming down the street (aka "the ice cream man"),
2. Barn swallow babies hatching in the eaves of our carport,
3. Real tomatoes & cucumbers,
4. Flip-flops,
5. Blackberries & cherries,
6. My birthday's only days away,
7. and around here, sluggies on the sidewalk!

Watch your step!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Swatching Cotton

There was no Monday Goodies this week, because I haven't been able to gather up any links. Next week for sure! I will give you some links today, though. No more school for almost three months!!!WAHOOEY!!!!

Okay, now that I've gotten that outta me--here's one thing I've been doing lately. Swatching cotton! I'm working on a couple of baby blanket ideas, and wanted a smooth, washable cotton to show off the stitch patterns. I have done a baby blanket in Cascade Sierra, and it does show off stitches well, but it is hand wash. It and the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece are 80% cotton, 20% wool. I want to swatch the Cotton Fleece and compare with Sierra. The Cotton Fleece seems more tightly twisted, and so it might not split as much.

All of these yarns are hand wash except the
Plymouth Fantasy Naturale, and thank you, Dawn, for suggesting it to me! When I found some online at Yarnware on sale, I nabbed it. It arrived really fast and I was able to do a swatch last night. Gorgeous knitted up, folks--like satin. I'm gonna wash a swatch and see how it behaves & let you know. In fact, I will show you future swatches with all of these. I love the Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton for its delicious softness, but it changes (not for the better) with washing and takes forever to dry once laid out. I have only crocheted with the Patons Grace, but loved the result there. I'll try some knitting with it. The one I am most curious about is the Classic Elite Premiere. This yarn is 50/50 pima cotton & tencel & feels like baby's cheeks! I found it up the road at Pacific Fabrics & Crafts. At first, I thought I'd do some cabled bed socks (you would not want to actually walk on these much) but now I want to swatch for a sweater with it. We'll see.

Now, that's the cabled yarns in cotton that I'm trying out. I am also working with some of the wrapped cottons--a single ply of cotton wrapped with a skinny thread of the same. The first one that comes to mind is Mission Falls 1824 cotton.
I've worked with it before and simply love it. It can be machine washed on gentle. I am working a project now with another of these wrapped cottons,
K1C2's Cotonade, which I like almost as much as 1824. The fabric comes out looser, but still lovely. I swatched with Bernat's Cottontots, and was not thrilled. I will go down a size in needle (from the recommended US 7) and see if it produces a tighter, more desirable fabric.

Arghhhhhh!!!! I tried so hard (four attempts) to upload a pic of strands of these three yarns, but blogger is being very difficult. I'll just have to describe. The Bernat is the mostly loosely wrapped of the three, and the thread actually comes loose at times. The Cotonade is next and the wrapping makes for a zig-zag effect. It holds its wrap just fine. The Mission Falls is by far the best and the wrap makes a tight, bumpy strand. You don't want to use very complicated stitch patterns with these yarns, because they have their own texture. I am working on a project with one of them, however, using a couple of different twist-stitch patterns and the result is lovely. I can't show you, because it's for a future mag publication, but trust me.

I know the problems with working with cotton--doesn't give like wool and other fibers, so your hands get sore--I still have sore hands from the swatch I worked last night. Still, I love cotton yarns and love working with them. I guess you just have to hit a cotton project a little at a time to keep from wearing out!

Whatever you're working with, I wish you happy knitting! Thanks for joining me today--have a good one!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Back with a Vengeance!

Oh, yeah! I have a blog--I almost forgot! Thanks for waking me, Twig. I was just about to come around all by myself (the overwhelming June 15 deadline passed without killing me & subbing will be over at 11:30 Monday for the summer! Yea!), but your little nudge helped SO much.

I'll start off by showing my sock assembly. "Calling all sock designs--get yourselves on the ott
oman for a meeting. "
I've done 13 sock designs to date. Four are published on the Figheadh Yarnworks site, and all the others will be submitted other places. There are 2 cable ones, 5 lace ones, 1 cable & lace combined, and all the rest are various knit/purl stitch patterns. Ten are top-down and 3 are toe-up. As you can see, the last 4 are still in various stages of production. One of those is almost to the toe, 2 are about 2 inches down on the cuff, and the other is still in the edging stage and won't even peek out of the stitch pattern book. Two pair were done in Mountain Colors Bearfoot (love it!), one in the old Brown Sheep Wildfoote (which was horrible), one in the newer BS Wildfoote (which I like much better), 2 in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock ( love the colors & texture), one in Patons Kroy (which is actually one of my favorites), one in Galegarn Baby Ull (wonderful), 2 in Dalegarn Stork (a gorgeous cotton texture), one in Cascade Sassy Stripes (just good sock yarn), one in Plymouth Sockotta (fun yarn!), and one in DMC Senso Wool Cotton (which is making a darn beautiful fabric--I will be using more of this for socks). It's good to take stock and see what variety of yarns and pattern elements I'm using. I forget when they are strewn all over the place. (Sorry there's no links, but I would rather get this posted-- if I have to spend 30 minutes getting all the links set up, who knows?)

Okay, I'm gonna chop up all the stuff I have to share. Next time I'll show you some cotton & cotton blend yarns I have been swatching with lately. To sign off, I give you this.

No, that's not a Dagwood sammitch. It's a pile of swatches! I've done enough swatches lately to have knit a whole big ol' sweater.

I hope someone out there is still reading. Sorry for the hiatus, but I am really back and will be posting regularly. I have missed blogging and missed reading your blogs (haven't even had time to check those!). Let me hear from you, and have a great weekend!

Figheadh Sona Dhut!
Happy Knitting!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Monday Goodies #10

Gotcha!!! Now I know what gets your attention. The last Monday Goodies' (I know--2 weeks ago!) chocolate cake got me lots of comments, so here ya go...even more yummy!


From Emily, and oh, so fashionista...naughty secretary.

A different way to do your weekly planner.

Recycled gift products.

A really cute site from the SO of one of Fred's coworkers. Look at her stuff, and look at her cool links!

I can't believe it, but no knitting links today. That's a bad sign. Maybe it's to balance out my life lately--all knitting and subbing. Yep, that's about it. Only two more weeks of school, though, and then there will be some hiking & camping! There will!

Happy birthday, Mom! Today is her day.

Hopefully, I'll get a real post in soon. Thanks for your patience!!