Wednesday, December 28, 2011

End of Year Rush

The end of the year is always busy for us. The first week of November is Abigail's birthday, then Thanksgiving, several other family birthdays, then it's time to countdown to Christmas. Now that is done I have a couple of weeks to get ready for Jacob's Birthday, hence my lack of posting or even reading of other blogs. Also there is the fact that my phone is being a brat thanks to the latest update (Gingerbread I think) and getting photo's onto my computer is an ordeal. I guess I could start taking them with the camera again and have halfway decent resolution again.
I have completed many projects and am looking forward to posting pictures of those and a few in the works also. For now I am on a kick to get my house cleaned up to have a fresh start for the new year and I have an appointment to play Transformers with Jake, so TTFN.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Wooly Jack O'Lantern

I really wanted a sheep image to carve into a pumpkin this year but found nothing (shocking right?), so I got out a pencil and some paper and after a little brain storming came up with my own. This is the result (Took 3 hours to gut and carve).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Weaving, knitting, spinning, oh my!

The scarf I had on the loom which had some issues that seemed to resolve themselves in the fulling.
Some felted slippers I test knit the pattern for. 
A poncho for Abigail. It's a bit big but should fit her for longer that way right? 

A bit of spinning on the drying rack destined for my first tapestry attempt.

And the ribbon for our Sheep to Shawl entry.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Woolly Distractions

Abigail is trying to adjust to her brother going to Preschool without her so she and I have been doing lots of focused one on one time during his school hours. I think it has been really nice for us to have this time together just her and me. On Thursday we did some Kool-Aid wool dying of the Romney fleece that I bought at the Spring Fair last year. First we mixed the Kool-Aid and then put in the wool.
Abby pushed it down into the water and I put it in the microwave. After it was all 'cooked' I rinsed it and drained it in the 'wool spinner' (a salad spinner dedicated to my woolly things). Then Abby helped me spread it out to dry.
We were having so much fun that rather than just the two colors I was planning we ended up with 6 or seven and had to get out the drying racks. After they were dry (That evening) I started combing out the colors one by one. I was hoping to get a heathered look but the color saturated too well for that so I may go back and comb in some undyed wool  to get the effect I am looking for.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Keeping Busy

 On Monday morning I took our shawl and placed it in the bathtub with some warm water and soap and set to fulling it by hand. It was hard work but I wanted to be sure and not take any chances by doing it in the washing machine. For the rest of the day I took it easy and hung out with the kids. Jake and I picked out his clothes for his first day at school and set everything aside for in the morning - he was so excited it was like Christmas Eve.
By the time the kids were napping I decided to make myself a quill attachment for my spinning wheel (I could buy one for about $50 but my homemade model was free (an extra chopstick from take out, sharpened and sanded and a rubber band that I think came off of a bunch of asparagus). It took a little fiddling to get it to stay put but it works great! I think I will add a whorl of sorts to keep the cop from getting into the orifice of the wheel. Also just a note that I always slide a protective cover over it and turn it to face a wall so no one gets all sleeping beauty on that thing.

I was in the mood to do something fiddly and intricate so I started planning a project which led me to a skein of yarn I had spun from my first fleece. I wound off skeins in small yardages (specified by the pattern I chose). I got the kids to bed and watched some TV with Brian then I got the dye baths set up:

This wool is going to be awesome for several reasons, one of those reason is that repels water like I have never seen before. This skein had been sitting on top of the water for about 6 minutes before I started to push it down and even after holding it under for some time it popped back up and the dye bath just beaded up on the surface.

Here they are all hanging to dry....I'll show you more when I have more to show:)

Tuesday was a VERY busy day. I woke up to Jake bringing me his clothes with a big smile on his face. Everyone got dressed and Brian even took the morning off of work so he could be there for his little boy on his first day of school.

After we got Jake settled at school, Abby and I went to Target and did some shopping. We spent a few extra dollars on a coffee for me, a smoothie for her and a dress up witch's hat.
After a few more stops we picked Jake up and grabbed some lunch. Then home for rests and an afternoon together. After dinner I took the kids to my neighbors house so she could watch them for that period in between my having to leave and Brian getting home. Then I headed out to my spinning guild meeting to face the music with the did not full very nicely and I am hoping I didn't ruin it. I was given a lot of encouragement and I feel slightly better. After the meeting it was home to my sleeping children and finding that Brian had purchased the new Spartacus season and we decided to watch an episode before bed. Needless to say the day felt like a week and we are going to take it easy today with some crafting for me (knitting), crafting for the kids (stage for the puppet show) our usual learning time and with any luck, naps for everyone.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sheep to Shawl

This year the sheep to shawl competition was a lot more work for me than usual. Primarily because I was a lot more involved than usual. This year I carded, spun and wove the sample, helped with the dying of the warp and I was the weaver of the shawl. I had so much fun with this and think it turned out really great. I love the colors we ended up with and really hope I end up winning the raffle for this shawl.
Above is the weaving in progress (after 4+hours of warping the loom the weaving was a breeze!). Below is the finished shawl layed out on the table so we could twist the fringe.
And here is the fringe all twisted up:
I brought the shawl home with me and this morning I tossed it into a bathtub with some soap and about an inch of water and roughed it up for about a half an hour or so until it became fulled. Then I layed it out on some bathtowels in a safe spot (to keep the kids and the cat away from it) and blocked it out and left it to dry. That process took about an hour and a half and my arms are killing me! (wool is very heavy when it's wet).

Another project I worked on a few days ago were some puppets for Jacob and Abby. I think they turned out pretty well and the kids seem to like them.
 Girl monkey:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Settle In - It's A Long One Today

I have been a bit (completely) absent from my blog for a while as I have been rather busy with things. Life things like going on a vacation for our ten year anniversary, going to see Les Miserables, and visiting my parents; as well as crafty things like the sweater I showed you a peek of in my last post, a couple of quick projects for the kids and a couple of teddy bears. Now that I am back to blog world I can show you some of the things I have been up to.Let's see first up is the sweater. The pattern is Wish Me Luck and I was one of the test knitters for the pattern. I finished it and my cousin Melanie took a few photo's for me (it was in the 90's so I did not keep it on very long). I worked on this thing pretty much every spare minute I had during the testing period and barely made it. It was definitely the most challenging thing I have completed so far in my knitting adventures. I even took it with me on our anniversary trip to wine country. That was spectacular let me tell you! We stayed at The Cozy Rose bed and breakfast in Grandview and love the place. I think this was our 5th time staying there and we look forward to going back. You can't beat a gorgeous room with a private entrance, a huge shower, a soaking tub and delicious breakfast brought to your door. We tried wine and had great food and it was a really nice little getaway for us. Here is a view from one of the wineries where we had a ton of wine and some lunch.I also met up with my spinning guild and we hand dyed the warp for our upcoming sheep to shawl competition for which I will be the weaver this year. We went round and round about the color choice (nothing gets decided quickly when doing it via committee) but ultimately decided on fall colors. I think it will turn out beautifully with the combination of color and weave structure that we have chosen. We will be weaving it at the Puyallup Fair on Sept. 11th somewhere under the grandstands...I think near the Artists in Action area.Near the end of the sweater making I was getting a little bit over it as happens at some point in all of my knitting projects...the point where your eyes start to wander and you start to think about the next thing you want to knit. I resisted this with much difficulty and only succeeded because I was on a deadline and didn't want to be the one holding up the bus. That was until I had to wait for the sleeves and button bands to dry while blocking. At that point I allowed myself to knit a little something for Abby. A while back Abigail really wanted to spin 'for real' (not just treadle an empty bobbin). So I made up some rolags of the Romney fleece I have and had her sit on my lap. I treadled and she helped me draft. I was very impressed with how Abby stayed focused and actually listened to what I told her to do. I would hold the fiber in my left hand and put her hands on the single we were making. Then I guided her through the 'pinch, pull, slide-back' motion of drafting out fiber. She had the hang of it rather quickly and together we were able to make a pretty consistent yarn. Then I plied it back on itself to make a 2 ply bulky yarn. Then the real fun began. She really wanted purple yarn so I soaked the yarn in some warm water and a dash of vinegar while we mixed up the grape Kool-Aid. Then we laid out the yarn in a 9x13in casserole dish and poured the Kool-Aid over it and mixed it up thoroughly so the color would take evenly. Then a cover of plastic wrap and some time in the microwave and it was done. But something interesting happened. The color went onto the yarn evenly but they dye took unevenly. It worked out that the red pigment sunk to the bottom and the blue floated to the top so we ended up with a range of purples from 'starting to be reddish' to 'that's a bit blue' and the yarn is gorgeous. I could not have hoped for anything more beautiful even if I had done it on purpose (Or I guess I should say Abby since she was the one driving this train.)Anyway it was this yarn that I used for her little project. She has been asking me to make her a 'snuggle bug' for a while and so I got online to look for a pattern but couldn't find one I liked so I ended up making one up and it turned out pretty good. The face could be better but embroidery is not my strong suit.After the sweater was done I made a beret for my cousin Melanie but it only turned out so-so. I did not get a picture of the one I made but you can see what it was supposed to look like here. After that Jacob really wanted me to knit him a 'snuggle worm' so after I finished the beret I got back online to find a suitable pattern and alas, nothing fit the bill so I Frankensteined a few patterns together to make Wordsworth the Worm. And finally fresh from the bear nursery (my sewing machine) I have two new teddies for my friend Lee. I finished these up yesterday afternoon and they will be cared for lovingly (set on a shelf far out of the reach of my children) until they can be handed over for adoption.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Another Test Knit

I am currently working on another test knit of a pattern from a designer on Ravelry. So far it's coming out well and I am eager to wear it - this one is eventually going to be a cardigan. So far I have the bottom of the body and the waist shaping done:Here is a close up of the lace pattern:

The pattern will of course show up much better once it has been blocked.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Weaving: Wool and Flowers

I finally finished my Sheep to Shawl sample scarf after some serious down time and here it is before fulling:

I took it to Toni's and she helped me full it and block it so we could get accurate measurements for shrinkage and needed fiber for the actual shawl. It looks like we have plenty of fiber but decided to toss a little silk into the batts for the warp to add a little luster and drape.
Here it is after fulling:

The pattern is a bit clearer and I think that once we dye the warp it will really pop out. I am so looking forward to having some color in this pattern!
After a walk in Toni's beautiful garden we took some inspiration from her coffee roses and decided on our colors.
Speaking of gardens, I noticed that my lavender is in bloom and decided to try making a lavender wand:Lavender wands were in fashion with the Victorian ladies and are still used as a wonderful way to scent the air. You can keep them in your dresser or anywhere you would like to repel moths, place them in a flower arrangement (a great way to scent a silk flower arrangement) or pop them in a vase in your bathroom. If you don't want to make a wand, you can collect and dry the buds and sprinkle them in your tub, put them in a sachet or an eye pillow. On a side note you should keep fresh lavender away from boys as there are natural hormones in the plant that can affect them in negative ways.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

All Done and Dissapointed

Well, I finished the thing I was knitting.

I was working on a test knit of a shawl and I LOVE the look of it and I was really excited to wear it, however it is too small.

I have always heard about the 'gauge lies' phenomenon but have never experienced it myself to this degree. I did a gauge swatch before beginning the project and got just a smidge over 4 stitches per inch(spi). The gauge that was called for was 4spi and I figured if I did the large size shawl that smidge would not matter as the large would be too big for me so that little bit would help it become just the right size. After finishing the shawl and laying it out I see that is WAY to is supposed to be 54in across for the small size and 74 for the large. Mine is 44. yeah. not great. So I measured the gauge and it's 6spi. Waayyyy off.

Hopefully it will block out a bit larger, but it feels is very inelastic on one side from where the colors traveled up the side so I will be limited to stretching it to whatever that side will allow. I am definitely doing a 'hard block' on this one though.
I am a bit bummed about it since I was so eager to wear it, however worst case it will fit Abby nicely.
Here it is, unblocked for now:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Working on something....

The colors in this photo are horrible to the point that it almost looks like a b&w photo but that's ok because it will be that much prettier when I show it too you all done.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Just a quick fly by to show you a couple of things.
Before our camping trip I used some of the leftovers from Abby's Coat to make a coat for my teapot:Yesterday I finally finished these socks! It only took me a year and a half. They were nice and simple enough that I got the majority of the fishishitup knitting done by the campfire on our trip.
And I don't know how I failed to start a Ravelry page or blog about it but a while ago I started this:
and have been plugging away at it a little here and there for several months now. The pattern is Triinu from Knitted Lace of Estonia.
Also the weaving on the Sheep to Shawl sample scarf is almost done!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

We're Back

Our camping trip was pretty darned good but a bit too long. Next time we'll go for 4 or 5 days - not 8.
Decided not to take Abby's new handknit coat on the trip - very pleased about that decision since her most beloved activity while we were there was 'dirt baths' (her words) and that is pretty much what she did most of the day, everyday when we were not doing a structured activity.
The kids got to play on the playground, go swimming, go fishing, do some sightseeing, have fire roasted hot dogs, sleep in a tent and of course play in dirt and only get yelled at it when they threw it.
I'll try to get some blogging done in a day or two, for now I am off to do more laundry and clean up the house that managed to get trashed within 10 minutes of walking in the door yesterday.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Abby's Coat

Here is the coat on the girl. We should get some good breaking in of it on our upcoming camping trip.

And I just love what this yarn did on the sorta striped in a diagonal neat!