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.