Wednesday, February 28, 2007

FO: Fiber Trend Clogs

Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted Weight in Jeweled Emerald (discontinued color)
Fiber Content: 100% wool
Pattern: Fiber Trends Felted Clogs
Modifications: none

And because everyone loves before and after felting photos I couldn't leave out these either, although part of the reason I really wanted this pattern is the beautiful profile you see above.

Digging around in my stash for some feltable wool, I found this wonderful green that I had used when I made my Rogue. For some reason I thought I would need a lot more for the sweater than I ultimately did, so I had several skeins left. This pair of clogs took less than 2 of them.

These went amazingly fast! I would have shared WIP photos with except for the fact that I did all the knitting other than the last cuff and sole over the course of one day. This is one of those patterns that you just have to trust the pattern and do as instructed. Now that I have finished a pair I might be able to adapt them, but I wouldn't recommend fudging with the shaping the first time through.

Verdict? I absolutely love the finished result, and these were a fast, fun knit. I don't seem to be the only one who really likes them either. Already I have no so subtle requests from both my daughter and my partner that they would like pairs too.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sock Madness

Am I crazy? Just maybe... well definately, but specifically I might be crazy for signing up for Sock Madness

Although I am not a huge basketball fan (or any sport really), I do love sock knitting. Plus working exclusively on that crochet baby blanket means that I haven't gotten much knitting time, and I am raring to go.

I am worried about the colorwork that I know is coming, though. It is something I really haven't worked with before, and I don't have a ton of time left to train. Do any of you have suggestions for some small simple colorwork projects that I can work on in the next few days before March 10th?

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Monday, February 26, 2007

FO: Baby Penguin

Remember the Baby Duck pattern I posted about at the beginning of the month? Well as I mentioned, a friend of the family was having a baby shower , and the theme was penguins. So I thought I would whip up a penguin-y version. After a quick color change and an adaption for gauge in the beak (I was stash-busting) we were good to go.

Yarn: Cotton Classic (bonnet) and Debbie Bliss Cotton DK (beak)
Fiber: 100% cotton
Needles: KP US Size 2 circulars for bonnet, US Size 3 DPNs for beak
Pattern: Baby Duck by Melissa

Although the original pattern called for Baby Ull, I found the Cotton Classic to be an okay substitute. A suggested gauge would have been handy though. Other than the yarn/fiber substitution the bonnet was knit as directed.

The beak, on the other hand I did a bunch of mods on. I wanted it shorter than the pattern calls for. The yarn I had was too heavy, so when I attached it, I did 1 beak st for every 2 bonnet sts, centered on the bonnet.

Also the original pattern called for krazy gluing googly eyes on, but this just didn't seem baby safe to me. So instead I embroidered "anime" eyes on. Given more time I might have worked out an eye shape using duplicate stitch though.

In the end I am really happy with this, and it was a huge hit at the baby shower. The parts of the bonnet that I actually followed were really simple, and I might have been able to figure them out on my own. I don't mind having paid for the inspiration and simple math though, especially as I ended up making this on a bit of a time crunch.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

FO: Crocheted Baby Blanket

Yarn: Lion Brand Pound of Love
Fiber: 100% Acrylic
Hook: Size H (5.00 mm)
Center Panel Pattern: Lacy Afghan Pattern For Lapghan or Baby Blanket

This is my very first real crocheted project, and as such I don't think that it came out too badly. Originally I crocheted this to be a square 36" blanket. I would have loved to have made it 36" by 48", but ultimately the deadline of the baby shower this weekend was just looming too close and I opted to finishing quickly. After washing and drying, however, I found that the dimensions had changed. The final dimensions ended up being 32" by 37". Hmmm... interesting.

Here is a closeup on the central stitch pattern (see link above). At first I was worried that it would be too delicate and girly considering this was for a little boy, but in the end I decided that I like it quite a bit. And after washing and drying it is very snuggly and soft.

Sorry for the flash here, but I wanted to show a close up of what I did with the corner. The blanket looked a little unfinished to me so I added 3 rows of a dc border, finishing with a sc row. Since I have never added a border, I wasn't sure about the "right way" to do the corners. Despite the fact that I sort of winged it, it turned out fairly well I think. Ok, time to rush off to the baby shower!

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

February CMP ATC

The prompt for this round of the Creative Mom Podcast ATC Exchange was "alphabet soup". I had played with a bunch of different ideas for this card, but sometimes it is best just to keep it simple.

This was made with just a piece of card stock, acrylic paint, and some mini letter stamps.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

WIP: Baby Sandals

Not only was it Valentine's Day, but it was also a snow day. I still had to work from home, but I could at least do so in front of my computer at home while my daughter worked on some school work.

Since I finished the socks I had been working on, I had no "internet is loading" project on the needles. Ha! Easily solved. I had a single ball red Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in my stash, so I couldn't resist casting on for Sandals from the Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino book. (Sheep is for scale, and the darning needle is in place of a button for the moment.)

What do you all think? Do you consider these to be unisex enough, both in color and style?

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

FO: LJ Secret Pal Swap Socks

Yarn: Fortissimo Colori Socka Color 9094 (Blue Denim)
Fiber Content: 75% wool 25% nylon
Supplier: Lakeside Fibers, Madison, WI
Needles: Knit Picks US Size 2 Circular Needles (magic loop, 2 at once)
Yardage: 458 yd
Marathon Yardage: 1665
Pattern: see below

Um so, yeah, pattern. I'll describe what I did, but this isn't really instructions except for those who have a fair bit of experience with socks. I did these toe-up. Instead of a crocheted provisional cast-on for half the stitches, like I usually do though to make a short row toe, I did the cast on for the full number (72 sts), and then did a wedge toe. Then I went back with all the stitches and knit the foot in stockinette. The heel was done as a peasant heel, and the leg was a 2X2 rib (1X1 cuff).

This was the first time that I have made socks for someone without a firm idea about the size (well I did have foot circumference and length), shape and preferences of their destined feet. Actually usually the people I knit for are harassed for fittings several times before they are done. These socks were a lot of fun to make, as they were really laissez-faire. I just let the yarn do what it wanted. They were bigger than I would have made for me, but happily my secret pal haplessknitter has feet very close in size to my SO. (Thanks love for being my slightly fuzzy model.) Yes these will be washed before gifting. Since I knit on the bus, that was a given anyways.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Stormy Winter Sky

My last few rovings that I have done have been a bit on the bright side, so I wanted to try for something a bit more subdued. Ahah, I thought. This month's project spectrum colors includes grey. What if I use some to tone down the brights I get from the Wilton's dyes? And so I did this roving using Jaquard acid dye (in black), citric acid, Wilton's icing dye (in aqua), and some more Correidale roving from Misty of Three Elms Farm.

I really like how this turned out, and I think that it will spin up with some nice bright flashes balanced with some darker brooding ones. Now I just need to poke the love of my life to get working on my wheel. (No it is still not fixed.) I have 54g, so I am not sure what weight I want to spin it, but I definitely want to make it into a plied yarn.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Open House Raffle Prize

Yesterday at Laura's Sewing Shop's open house I was surprised to win something in the raffle they were having. I got a magnetic pin cushion and nice glass headed pins, only a fraction of which are shown here. The whole thing is even in Project Spectra colors!

I can't be the only one who often loses pins to the carpet (and occasionally find them again the hard way). The idea of this pin cushion is brilliant. Why didn't I get one sooner?

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Little Knits

Do you have any idea what this image means? Nope I am not pro-creating, but my sister is!

Actually a bunch of people in my life are pregnant or trying right now. So many opportunities for cute baby things! I have been having issues finding unisex baby patterns that absolutely thrill me, but between these two books and the Pure and Simple Pattern I have the basic measurements to get creative on my own.

I picked a few other individual patterns too. My daughter picked out the duck hat and booties, which was totally worth picking up when we were at The Knitting Room's Superb0wl sale. Also I love the fact that you can pick up Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Sweater pattern by itself, and Jackie at The Knitting Room was fabulous enough to print a "cheat sheet" available online for my convenience.

I have already started digging through my stash to figure out what I have and what I don't. Knitting baby stuff is so fun, and I can't wait to get started. I just need to finish up the pair of socks I am working on, and then I will be casting on for my new niece or nephew shortly.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sewing Open House

I just wanted to make a quick shout out to the locals. For any of you who are in the area and interested in learning the basics or more advanced aspects of sewing, Laura's Sewing School is having an open house Friday, February 9th from 4 to 8 pm. The shop is located on Broadway, right on the 87 route or within walking distance of the 77, 79 and 350 routes for you commuting types.

I have known Laura since I moved to the area as our daughters are the same age and go to the same school. It has been really exciting to watch her grow first from her home to the new store front location. Not only does she offer adult classes, but with the new space has been able to start offering children's and young adult classes too.

Not only that, but Laura is a really overall creative-type who is a great inspiration. She has amazing ideas about combining color and texture, as evidenced in the pieces she has created that fill her home. And not only does she do fabric, but I know that she is a fiber person too. She personally spins and knits. (In fact we have the same spinning wheel.)

I will be there, so if you stop by and see a woman with longish dark hair and a knitting tee-shirt feel free to say hi.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Why Wheat?

I was somewhat of mixed feelings when I read knitgrrl's post on wheat fiber. I can totally get behind bamboo, tencel, soy or rayon. All of these plant based synthesized fibers had earth-friendliness on their side.

Bamboo is so fast growing that it is a reasonable plant resource. Because you can harvest often due to its high growth rate, you don't need to use as much land to produce the same amount of biomass. In turn that means that you can use more arable land for other agriculture.

Soy, which is already grown in large quantities, can be made into fiber that is made from the waste products of the soy food industry. So planting soy can be a good market decision by farmers for selling to the food industry. And in turn it is good for the food industry to sell their waste to the fiber industry.

Tencel and rayon are also good in that they are made out of waste products of other current industries. No extra land is needed! Tencel is specifically made from wood pulp, such as left over from paper manufacturing, and rayon can be made from any cellulosic material.

But what is the advantage of wheat? Sure it is neat that you can made a gluten based fiber (I wonder if people with gluten sensitivities would have skin sensitivities when they wore a garment made of this.), but when there are so many people already hungry in the world it seems almost criminal to be growing food specifically to replace fibers that we can make in a more earth conscious way.

According the article by the ACS the wheat fiber is made from gluten, which as far as I can see means that you would not be left with something normally seen as a food product (though perhaps edible, who knows). This seems like yet another field of science funded by the US government to support Midwestern farmers, similar to the many corn programs.

Now I am definitely not in favor of making these farmers suffer, but it seems like giving incentives to farmers to grow crops that we don't necessarily want just doesn't make sense. Do we want to develop alternative energy sources? Lets talk about incentives for switchgrass rather than corn for ethanol. Do we want to be talking about fiber? I don't think wheat is the answer.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Creative Destashing

Something in Flash Bang Fiber's New Years post that I read a bit ago really resonated with me. (This post has been marinating as a "draft" for a bit now while I thought about what I wanted to say.)

I will stash dive as much as possible, since it thrills me to no end to "make due" when I'm sewing or scrapping or making cards. I'm way more inventive when I "have" to use stash to make something work or get across an idea.

That describes me well too. I love the challenge of putting together the things I have to create something new. It is true for not just my crafting stash but also in cooking. It forces you to think outside the box, and I am always gratified with what I can come up with.

I think that is the reason I like to "destash". It isn't really to "diet" so much as to challenge myself. It is really easy to just go out and buy what ever it occurs to me for a project. But I find the projects that excite me the most, that I want to just sit and work on most, are usually the ones when I am working from my stash.

This is the reason, I can't really see myself as ever being the type of person who buys materials just for the project at hand. I know a couple of people who do not stash to any real extent, but at least some. The expression "marinating in [one's] stash" is perhaps overly popular one, but it is also quite apt.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

FO: Wild N Crazy Man Socks

Last night was fairly productive. I baked an amazingly aromatic loaf of cinnamon swirl bread and worked to finish these socks up. That meant I just needed to convince Salvbard to let me do a quick photo shoot of the socks in action. Despite the more wild color scheme than anticipated he seems to like them.
Yarn: Mega Boots Stretch, Color 714
Fiber Content: 70% Superwash, 23% Polyamide, 7% PBT
Supplier: Carodan Farm
Pattern: magic loop cuff down 2X2 leg, peasant heel and wedge toe
Needles: US Size 0 Inox Circulars for ribbing & US Size 1 Addi circulars
Yardage: 440 yards
Marathon Yardage: 1207 yards

This wasn't my favorite yarn to work with. I had heard that it was a bit splitty, and indeed it was. It also seems like it will get a bit fuzzy as it wears. My SO had asked as I was knitting if it had any mohair in it (isn't he trained well?) because of the slight halo. There isn't, but the fuzziness makes it seem that way. These will be handwashed to be as gentle on them as possible.

Unlike the grey pair I finished recently, these socks were knit with a 72 st circumference rather than 80 sts, even though the Mega Boot Stretch and Trekking XXL were very similar in weight. The grey pair got an enthusiastic thumbs up for not having any negative ease lengthwise, but after wearing them for a bit he felt that they were a bit "loose". Not enough to keep him from wearing them at all, but there was room for improvement. After slipping on the Wild n Crazy socks, he immediately dubbed them really comfortable in terms of snugness around his foot and ankle.

The smaller circumference, however, had other implications.Without any calf shaping the leg had to be noticeably shorter than the Trekking pair. So for the next (4th) pair I make for him, I think that will be my next improvement to tackle.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Clam Chowder

I know I promised this wouldn't become a food blog, but I was so amused by the fact that part of dinner fit our new Project Spectrum color scheme that I had to share. Yesterday while I was out with my sister, she mentioned her super easy corn chowder recipe*. I didn't have the corn to make that, but I did have chopped clams in the pantry so...

Clam Chowder
  • 8 oz can evaporated milk
  • 4-5 baby red bliss potatoes
  • 4-5 baby carrots
  • 1/3 c frozen corn kernels
  • 3 oz can chopped clams in clam juice
  1. Scrub potatoes and chop small (~1 cm^3), leaving skins on. Chop carrots in small rounds (~0.5 cm thick).
  2. Heat potatoes and carrots in a pan with evaporated milk. Add clam juice reserving clams for later. Stir occasionally to prevent scalding, keeping heat from being too high.
  3. Cook until potatoes are done. Then add corn, clams, and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve when heated through.
* Take 2-10.5 oz cans creamed corn and mix with 2-8 oz cans of evaporated milk. Cook on a low heat until thickened slightly to desired consistency. Stir occasionally to prevent scalding.


6 Weird Things

Pigbook tagged me with this meme

6 Weird Things About Me

1. Our only pet is a reptile (an african fat-tailed gecko).
2. I am my most productive first thing in the morning, but I hate waking early.
3. I don't like sweet that much, and even when I have sweet things I prefer them in small quantities. This extends to everything from desserts to juice.
4. I have a sister that is younger than my daughter.
5. Almost everyone who met my partner and I after we were together has thought that we were married. I guess we give off "old married couple" vibe.
6.I really like the flavor that onions and mushrooms add when I cook with them, but I don't like the texture. So I end up picking them all out again on my plate when I eat.

Now the rules say I must choose 6 people to tag. Who wants to play tag? I don't like to tag others, but feel free to tag yourself.

The "Rules"
Each player of this game starts with the 6 weird things about you. People who get tagged need to write a blog post of their own of 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says you are tagged in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

White for Feb/March

What better way to kick of Project Spectrum than by pulling out my sisters shawl?
This photo is after 11 repeats, but I am on working on 12 now. At 14 I will be halfway through the center panel. Then comes picking up a million stitches... but we won't discuss that.

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