Monday, May 26, 2008

My How Your Garden Grows

Last weekend I started this scarf, which I'm calling Alien Waves due to the color and I am just loving how it's knitting up. The yarn is KnitPicks "Gossamer" which they don't sell anymore and the color changes are perfectly matched to the width and pattern of this scarf. At least I think so, I mean look at it. I could not be happier with how it's moving along and S is excited for it to be finished. The nice thing is it's worked on 7s and the multiple wraps makes the pattern knit up really quickly so I don't think it will take too long to finish.

S and I have also decided to do our own little Knit-A-Long. She's decided she wants to join the world of sock knitters and I only need an excuse to start another pair of socks. We both got some Plymouth "Happy Feet" from Knitorious and we're working on the Roundabout Socks I found on Ravelry. The pattern is really simple but it makes the neatest effect. I'm really starting to get drawn into the sock thing. I just had a super generous friend bring me a copy of A Little Box of Socks and as I was flipping through the 40 possible patterns, I set aside about 10 I wanted to start right away. Oh boy. I'm really trying to restrict myself to one pair at a time in order to avoid the dreaded "Second Sock Syndrome." So far, so good but I've got a skein of some Araucania sock yarn calling my name. It's for the first pair of socks I plan to knit for me. Wow, crazy concept.

I don't know what it's been like in your neck of the woods, but we are having trouble moving into summer. Our weather this spring has just been dreary and rain. Yuck! Well, last weekend we got a minor break and S and I decided to work our butts off and get our modest little veggie patch finished. In the picture below you will see it just after everything was planted, but it really doesn't show how much work it truly was. First, we had to pull up the pond you see on the left of the photo which we did a couple of weeks ago. Next, we filled the hole in with dirt from the area, placed lots of weed barrier (a must here), set a fence to avoid the "Bunnies of Doom" who like nothing better than a new garden, and plant lots of yummies. So here it is...

We planted the following: 1 Cherry Tomato, 2 regular Tomatoes, 2 types of peppers, fennel, thyme, a watermelon plant, and Jasmine (because I thought it was pretty!). Basically, we planted what we could find at Lowe's and we could afford. :) I've also decided to chronicle the growth of the garden by taking a picture each week. So below is week two. Everything had rooted in and is growing up just swimmingly!
Lastly, S and I are always on the lookout for fire wood. We have a fire pit in the back yard and we spend a lot of time going camping and sitting around a fire. Therefore, the constant search for wood, cheap. Around the house, the nurseries are selling wood for about $1 a stick, which is just plan nuts!! Well, this week, a neighbor was having a tree cut down and so S ran out and convinced the tree guys to give us the logs. For the last two days, S and I dealt with this wood. She split it into large pieces in the front yard (where they had thrown all the huge logs) and I loaded it into the wheelbarrow and moved it to a stack in the back. All I can say is one, it's cheaper than Therapy and two, we are hooked up for fire wood once this stuff is cut up. Or course, I'm already sore and we've just started. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Can't Make Up My Mind

I've been working on a bunch of different things with little rhyme or reason. I've just been pulling out yarn that appeals to me and I start knitting. One of the things I am most pleased with at the moment is this really pretty "Easy Drop Stitch Scarf." I found this pattern on Ravelry while looking at what other had knitted with the Gossamer Lace yarn I bought from KnitPicks. I got this on clearance since I think the yarn has been discontinued. I saw a couple of pair of socks and I was thinking to use it for a pair for S as a thank you for the mocs. I decided to give two socks on one circular needle a try and after doing my gauge swatch, cast on per the formula found in Sensational Knitted Socks for a chevron pattern sock.
Simply put, this was just plain nuts. Per my gauge swatch I got 10 sts/inch and therefore had to cast on 110 sts. Nuts! After knitting about an inch of both socks, I realized they were HUGE and I would have to start over. I don't think so. This yarn just wanted to be something else and I think it wants to be this scarf. How cool does this look?!?! I saw a scarf (here) made with this yarn and I liked the way the colors pool. I like it even more in this colorway. So, it looks like S is getting a scarf instead. Well, not entirely true, I bought some Plymouth "Happy Feet" to make her some socks and I've got about 3 inches of the first sock finished. Oh, I also decided to just do the socks on DPNs as I got tired of the juggling act needed with both socks on one needle. Oh well, maybe next time.
Next I found an adorable little baby halter called Katja and off to my stash I went. Well, it turned out I actually had the yarn used in the pattern. That's got to be a first. I don't think I've ever knit anything in the actual yarn. Oh wait, I did knit all those baby bibs from Mason Dixon knits in the actual, but boy it is rare. So, when I saw I had the actual yarn, I knew I had to cast on RIGHT NOW. However, I can't leave well enough alone so I also pulled out some of the Peaches and Cream I have and added some stripes.

I quickly sent this in the mail and it too was well received. It makes me so happy to be able to knit for people and it makes me especially happy when they obviously like what I knit them. Eva's mama wrote me right away that she loved the halter and would send pictures soon. What more could I ask for?

The next picture here is a Market Bag of my own design. I love the market bags I've been making but I was getting frustrated when I would use them because small stuff falls out of the holes in the bottom. I had an idea bouncing around in my head about adding a solid bottom to a mesh bag and this is what I came up with when it was finished. I'm pretty pleased. I simply used Elizabeth Zimmerman's Pi shawl pattern formula for the bottom and when it got as big around as I wanted, I did a row of purl to turn it up and started knitting the tube portion.

After I got a couple of inches up, I knit two together all the way around with a size 15 needle and then started the lace pattern on the next row. I wasn't sure if the transition would work but it actually turned out really nice. I knit until I was out of yarn and then got some other solid cotton and added the handles. Next time, I'll adjust the handles, maybe just make one big handle or something. The opening of the bag is a little too tight and I think it's due to the handle configuration. Thankfully I have a couple more skeins of Cascade's Flash yarn to play with and see if I can make this even better.

Lastly, I am feeling the draw of another form of artistic expression. OK, that sounds a bit grave. But I have to admit, I've split some of my crafting time with another non-fiber-related hobby. What?!?! How could it be? I don't know but it is cool. As I mentioned previously, S is making leather goods and we are selling them on Etsy. Well, last weekend we had an order for three pair that were needed the following day. Therefore, I offered to help and I have to say I liked it much more than I would have thought. I went to the leather store with S the other day and discovered the "scrap bin" and I felt the itch. I needed to used these thrown away pieces for something and I just started playing with ideas on the mocs. I am having entirely too much fun coming up with design idea and just playing with suede collage. I hope other people like these too because I could really get used to spending my weekends making moccasins. So, check out the picture of the works in progress and then go to the shop and buy some. :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Little Things

So, like the title says, I've been working on little things. I guess I've been feeling the need to have a sense of accomplishment. Knitting tends to teach one patience but I haven't been a very good student lately. I just want everything finished already. And I have a variety of things almost finished. I think in the next week or two I will need to make a pledge to spend a weekend and just finish everything: add handles, sew on buttons, finish some stuff darn it! Well, below is something I finished! Ta Da!
I think this might end up holding some sunglasses or some such thing. I love this little guy. The colors are great and I found a perfect button in my "garage sale button" stash. Very Cool! It's already been gifted and I expect to see it worn around the recipients neck the next time we get together, she was so excited. :) I'm glad you like it! More will be on the way soon! I've also been playing with some yarn I got on clearance that has a little linen in it. I have been doing so reading about the virtues of linen for face towels and the like and so when I found this yarn on clearance, I figured it would give me some time to play and see what I think. I have never heard of the yarn I'm using and since it was on clearance, I probably won't be getting any more. Oh well. The yarn is Linbel by Phildar. It's made in France and is 52% Cotton, 37% Linen and "Viscose(Bambou)" which is also Rayon, I guess. The yarn is made of three plys that I am guessing are the three different fibers. I like knitting with this pretty well and the texture of the end fabric is pretty nice. It might be nice for a light summer tank in a really relaxed style. However, I didn't buy enough for something like that so I'm just making a variety of face towels. Well, the one you see below is the second one I've done and the ball is finished; two more to go. We've been using the first towel in the shower and it's nice since I love being able to use something I've made on a regular basis! This one I got bored in the middle and so I had a little fun and did a pattern in the middle. I'm sure there is a name for this pattern but I just sort of winged it. You can't really tell from the picture but it's got arrow like shapes moving across the middle section. Some nice texture to help with exfoliation. :)
Speaking on using something handmade on a regular basis, look what I got for a present when I came home from work the other night! I was really jealous of some custom purple mocs S made for a co-worker of mine and when I got home two days later, I had my own new pair to match my PJs. How cool are those?!?! I'll bet you all are jealous, as well you should be. They are awesome and will see a lot of wear. By the way, if you're really jealous, go to Buckaroo Leather and get your own pair. We've got lots of colors too!!