Saturday, September 30, 2006

Dark Rich Chocolate...

Brownies. Oh, sorry not those Brownies. Instead I should be talking about the Brownies who are little girls, that gather in meetings and earn badges and sell cookies. Somehow I am on my way to becoming a co-leader for a Brownie troop. 17 girls. Now, I have a confession to make. I'm really not all that great being in front of a group. So, all this is making me a little nervous. I did teach Sunday School for a while and that was usually 5 -6 kids. And I was stressed out about that. Now I am going to be faced with a bigger group? But the idea of those girls not getting to do Brownies because no one was stepping up to volunteer - well, I didn't feel right about that. And at least I am doing it with someone else. That makes it a lot better. And I have good memories of being in Brownies and Girl Scouts - there was nothing more exciting than getting a new badge and watching my mom sew it on my sash. I did hate wearing the uniform - these days the whole uniform is not required. Each girl must have a sash or a vest for the badges. So, anyway, I will be doing a lot of preparation for my new volunteer job. Maybe I can teach them all to knit and do my part in spreading the joy of the craft.

And now for some knitting content. The knitting of DFS continues on. But since I cannot resist a beautiful new pattern ...

I purchased Susan's newest pattern - Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl and started it in STR Fire on the Mountain. I keep it by my bed and work on a row every once in a while.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Where You Lead, I Will Follow...

Well, not anywhere. But show me a good KAL and I will probably join. Who knew I was such a joiner! Look at the ones I've joined for the fall.

First there is the Warm Hands KAL which I joined last year. I made 4 or 5 pairs of mittens - all gifts, none for myself. This year I vow to make something to keep my hands warm - that is after I make my daughter's mittens and some fingerless gloves as gifts. Yeah, right, who am I kidding. I should probably get out the gloves with holes from last year (hope I didn't do anything stupid like throw them away in a fit of cleaning).

And I also joined the second Knitters Tea Swap. Yes, I am a coffee drinker - I just love my coffee. But this time of year I like to indulge in a cuppa during those chilly afternoons. Lately I have started a bad habit of drinking more coffee in the afternoon and I figure the tea would probably be better for me. I think I'd like to get one of those mugs with those filter things where you can use loose tea - maybe even bring one to work. I checked out the Adagio tea site - they have some cool stuff there.

And of course we cannot forget socks. Socks for sanity, socks for warmth. I always have a sock on the needles. So I joined in with many many other knitters who will be knitting socks during the month of October - Socktoberfest. Love this button.

I am also impatiently waiting for the Yarn Aboard explorers to show up at my doorstep. It's been fun watching their progress as they traverse the globe. I've had to hide away the stuff I bought to send on to the recipients after me. The sock yarn is not a problem since my pal prefers sportweight while I prefer fingering weight. However, the roving keeps calling out - come spin me - and I must turn a deaf ear.

And since I am planning on spinning my own sock yarn anyway, I figured I may as well join this. But I am leaning towards using my wheel instead of my spindle.

And then there's Rhinebeck Bingo. What an absolutely ingeneous idea and it should be a riot watching this go on at the festival.

Speaking of Rhinebeck, there has been knitting going on - frantic knitting.

The shawl calculator tells me I am about 55% done with this. My Diamond Fantasy Shawl that I hope to have done in time to wear to Rhinebeck. I was a little worried about having enough handspun to finish this. The need to spin some more may be my undoing, but I realized that I could always stop one repeat shorter if I need to. I've just started 15 repeats and the pattern calls for 19 and I am really noticing an increase in the time it takes me to complete one row. But I'm still enjoying it so that makes it fun. And hey, the song's right - diamonds are a girl's best friend.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Random Wednesday

I've never tried this random thing. May as well try something new.

1. We have been playing a lot of Uno these days. And not just any Uno - Disney Princes Uno. It's fun.

2. Saturday we participated in this. Picked up a lot of cigarette pieces, plastics, glass, bottle caps, fishing line, a broken snorkel, a paintbrush and other miscellaneous crap. I'm sorry but you have to be some kind of idiot to just throw your trash into the ocean or on the beach. Can't people find a friggin' trash can or take the stuff with them???

3. I wasn't sure we were going to do the beach cleanup since it was supposed to be a rainy weekend. It ended up being beautiful! I want a job where I can say something that may or may not happen and still get paid whether I am right or not. Apologies to any weather forecasters who may be reading this, but come on. What a job!

4. I wish I could say that I've been busy knitting and spinning. Alas this is not so. I have been getting some grief lately on the amount of time that I spend knitting. My daughter hit the proverbial nail on the head when she said - "But Mommy, knitting makes you joyful". Yes indeed it does and needless to say, I have been quite grumpy lately. I wish everyone realized the truthfulness of the above statement.

5. Using the shawl progress calculator (link is on the sidebar), I am 30% done with my DFS shawl. Knitting with my handspun is awesome and I am still loving this pattern! But the question still looms - will it be done for Rhinebeck? For anyone that hasn't tried this shawl calculator - it's really cool. It didn't look like much until I put in the one piece of information it asks for. Then, voila, the percentage information appears.

6. Carole sent this link - what a good friend!!! I am also lusting after Handmaiden Sea Silk if anyone knows of any good suppliers of that particular fiber.

7. Risa found an Automat in NYC. I used to love going to the Automat with my parents and was just lamenting the fact that they were all closed.

8. By the way, Risa is not the last one to knit Clapotis. It has been on my list for a while and I even have some yarn I'm considering from the stash. I'm just not sure it is soft and cuddly enough. This may be the year I succumb to Brooks Farm yarn at Rhinebeck.

9. You know, I like the idea of being organized and sometimes make a feeble attempt at being organized. I even got to take the Franklin Covey training through work. I loved it - making all those lists. There's nothing more satisfying than crossing something off of that list! I haven't been so successful at this. A friend sent me this chart and in my current state, it describes me perfectly, but unfortunately Blogger (once again) won't let me post the picture. It's a pie chart with the largest section saying "Time I spend looking for things I had a minute ago".

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Wendy's Short Row Heel

Two words - LOVE IT!!! I made my first few pairs of socks with short row heels and wasn't all that fond of whatever method I had chosen so I switched to the heel flap. Slowly I perfected that to where I was happy with it. With my recent slump in sock knitting and all the ripping out I had been doing, I decided to try something different and settled on Wendy's Toe Up pattern. The sock on the left was done with that pattern and Sock Hop yarn - it fits like a dream. The Trekking sock on the right was started cuff down before the Sock Hop sock. When I reached the heel on that one I decided to do Wendy's short row heel again and it too fits wonderfully. Happiness.

On the spinning front - tada... 18 wpi. I think I'm ready to spin my own Sock Hop yarn. Now to just find the time.

As for the projects shown in the previous post - the knitting on the skirt is done and the elastic has been purchased. Knowing me, it will take me as long to sew the waistband down and put in the elastic as it did to knit it (which for those curious minds was slightly less than 3 weeks). And the Diamond Fantasy Shawl is moving along - slightly bigger than the picture.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Proof is in the Pictures

Here are the pictures from yesterday's post. I think I'm just about ready for the turning row at the top of the skirt. Just have to check it with the 6 year old fashion specialist to make sure it is the right length.

I am a little farther with the Diamond Fantasy Shawl and ended up putting a lifeline in just to be safe. I am enjoying the pattern and am even beginning to understand where a few of the stitches need to be on the pattern rows.

Dare I say it - could this shawl be done for Rhinebeck!?? Or maybe I can convince my daughter to wear the skirt. Last year she wore the One Skein Wonder made (yes, gasp) from my handspun from fiber purchased at Spirit Trail.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Some Knitting - No Pictures

Yes, there has been some knitting going on during the past few weeks. We have been taking a few trips over the past couple of weeks, taking advantage of the free time before school starts again. You've heard about the NJ/NY trip and the NH trip. Last week we traveled down to Williamsburg. The first two days we had a fun, although soggy, time at Busch Gardens. My daughter loves rollercoasters and was so excited to be able to go on her first upside down rollercoaster. You know, the ones that do a loop so you go upside down. We went on that one quite a few times. The third day we were either going to go to Colonial Williamsburg or to Water Country, but Tropical Storm Ernesto had other plans. The day was mostly spent in our hotel which was without power although we did drive around a bit just to get out. It was a shame that nothing was open since I discovered a nice looking yarn shop, a bead store, a needlepoint store and some other cute shops nearby to our hotel. But, I did get some knitting done. Although Blogger is beong uncooperative again so it looks like there will be no pictures.

I started the Diamond Fantasy Shawl using my handspun from some Grafton Fibers batts that I bought last year from Rhinebeck. I'm learning that I should have maybe plied these with a bit more twist since it is sometimes like knitting with two separate strands. And last night I think I knit one row too many and ended up making a mistake which resulted in a dropped stitch when I unknit that section. I don't think it's too bad and will look at it today after I've had some coffee. Added later - I'm semi back on track with the shawl. I say semi since there is a small mistake which I'm not sure how to correct. So, I'm asking anyone who may read this - do you use lifelines in your lace work? What makes you decide to use them if you do?

The other project that I have been working on is for my daughter. There are tons of patterns out there for babies and toddlers and then, on the opposite end, adults. But I have not found quite as many patterns for the older children so when I come across a book I like, I buy it. I picked up this book one of the last times I was at Modern Yarn. All the patterns use the same yarn, Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, which could be easily substituted (Cascade Sierra was one choice I've found). There are some cute tops, skirts, dresses and even shorts and pants. My daughter picked out a skirt (unfortunately not the short one I had originally showed her) - a three tiered below the knee skirt and three colors of Cotton Fleece (orange, light pink and dark pink). The pattern has you making the front and back separately but since I hate sewing things up, I decided to do it all together on circulars. The bottom is done with a picot edge (which, once again the pattern has you sew up at the end). Hey, I can do a provisional cast on and then knit it up when ready to avoid more sewing. The edge of the skirt has been the most complicated part to date and I've even made it through all that stockinette in the round. Actually, I'm nearing the top of the skirt. The only sewing I will have to do is when I put the elastic in at the top. And we are both quite happy with how the colors have come out.