Friday, June 25, 2010

New Season - New Look

I spent some time re-designing my blog today. It is the first day I've actually been home for more than half an hour at a time, so I decided to take advantage of it. Hope the new design is as bright and happy for you as it is for me.

I started a new project this week, called the Drop St Pleated Tank. I figured that summer is the time to make and wear some summer tops. So TUSKAUFOFE notwithstanding, I decided to spend a little extra time revamping my wardrobe as well.

I'm using Ella Rae Silkience, which is a 41% cotton, 39% Modal, 12% silk and 8% rayon yarn. It has a silky hand and significant weight, so it should drape beautifully. The pattern is from the Early Fall 2010 Vogue Knitting magazine I just picked up. It was the back detail that really sold me on the pattern. I love little design surprises like this.

As usual, I'm a little nervous about the amount curl the bottom hem is exhibiting. However, I have a couple of redesign ideas to take care of that if strenuous blocking doesn't cure the curl. (Mwahaha - evil knitting genius laugh). I have also revised the pattern slightly by using a twisted knit stitch on the upper ribbing. This yarn has no memory, so I figured it would fit a little snugger and keep it's shape better if the ribbing included a little extra twist.

In other news, I'm just in one heck of a joining mood this summer. Not only am I in training for the Tour de Fleece on Ravelry (a group of teams who are spinning their way through the Tour de France in July), I also joined the Knitgirllls group and am participating in the 50 Skein Stash Down. The goal is to use up 50 skeins of yarn over the 3 months of summer. I joined a little late but am hoping to catch up with the group in a short hurry. The Ella Rae yarn has only 119 yards a skein and I'm using up a skein a day right now.

Well, I'm rather alone this morning, having 2 of my kids off at a camp, Hockeyman at hockey and Eldest Sister up in her room communing with all her friends via Facebook, so I'm going to head back out onto the deck to enjoy knitting, listening to a book on CD (Magyk by Angie Sage), and the temporary, blessed solitude I so seldom get to enjoy.

Ahhhhh! Bliss!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Still Drifting About

Life still seems very disjointed. First of all, with summer comes a total change in schedule. Kids have camps, lessons and fun activities galore, which keeps me hopping from place to place. So far this morning, I've dropped Peeps at drama camp, picked up Eldest Sister's best friend and dropped them both off at community center to exercise, driven Bubba to and from piano lessons, taken Hockeyman to and from hockey camp, as well as gone to the pool to do my own work out. All that before 1 pm. I still have to pick Peeps up from drama camp, take Bubba to swim team practice and hopefully make it to my knitting group this evening. Gah! And I thought summer would be more relaxing.

Anyway, knitting is still happening in the little snatches of time spent waiting for various and sundry kidlets. I managed to start and finish one of those spur-of-the-moment projects last week.

Meet Annis from After visiting The Yarn Garage and seeing a lovely shawlette, I was suffering from "Didn't Buy The Pattern, What Was I Thinking" remorse. So I did a little searching on Ravelry and came up with this pattern to knit instead. I used some Tofutsies sock yarn I had in my stash and whipped up this little baby in 5 days.

What is even better than an instant gratification project like this is the fact that I conquered my fear and/or aversion to nupps on this little beauty. I simply pulled each stitch of the nupp a little longer to make them slightly looser. This made purling all the stitches together on the following row much easier. SWEEEET!

Also, I am making gradual progress on carding the Coopworth wool. Granted, I have a long way to go, but every rolag I make is one rolag closer to finishing up the carding and getting to the spinning. Whilst I'd love to finish washing the entire fleece and have it all carded before the Tour de Fleece, that is beginning to look like a long shot at this point. But it is still moving forward, which is for the best. (I have a very pretty picture of the basket of fluffy rolags but Blogger is giving me a some difficulty posting pictures. So you'll just have to wait for that little photo.)
Also on the needles is the 6th installment of TUSKAUFOFE - The Diagonal Lace Socks. Still not totally burned out on socks yet but looking forward to some of the more complicated patterns. I'm in the mood for something more challenging.
On the UFO front, I'm trying to finish up Arwen for Peeps - still. It's just one of those "yawn" projects that I have a hard time getting the gumption up to work on it. Again, I'm itching to tackle something really intense.
Well, off to pick up Peeps at drama camp. Then I'll actually have a couple hours at home to do laundry and chores before the evening running begins.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rollin' along

Lots of little steps forward on multiple projects. Sometimes I feel a bit schizophrenic because I am working on so many disparate projects at the same time but it just seems to be part of my personality. It drives my loved ones crazy sometimes but I do eventually get things done.

Finished Objects:

The Go Green Sock Knitting Tote is finally finished. I had all the components done but it required a little hand sewing to finish, which I managed to put off until today. I'm nothing if not a champion procrastinator. But 'tis finished at last.

The Lacy Rib Socks are off the needles as well. These took a little longer than they should have, only because I've been working on so many other things at the same time. However, they were still finished in under 20 days. Again, the yarn pooled in a very annoying fashion at the gusset/ankle area. This tendency in hand-painted yarns ticks me off sometimes but they are still very soft and comfortable. They should be just fine under jeans or inside boots.

In Progress:

My big gardening project is actually a furniture refinishing project. I've been stripping and sanding our patio dining set. Once I started the project, I found that all four chairs were very wobbly and some of the joints were damaged. So what started as a simple refinishing process ended up being a reconstruction project. All four chairs had to be disassembled and rebuilt with new dowel joints and stronger glue. Hubby did most of the reconstruction (I'm better at destruction) and I finished painting all the furniture with primer and a base coat.

I'm trying to decide if I'm going to go for a crackle finish/distressed finish or just polyurethane the paint finish and leave it bright and light. The advantage of a distressed finish is that this furniture sits outside all year around and is likely to get distressed all by itself. If it starts out that way, the subsequent wear and tear will look intentional. But I have to admit, I like the buttery yellow color I concocted from two cans of leftover paint. I may just do a little stenciling, age it with a little tinted wax and let it weather from there.
Finally, I am still carding the Coopworth fleece, little by little. I took it with me to our homeschool beach day last week, and to our little knitting group at Dunn Brothers Coffee on Monday night, and it is always a conversation starter. Everyone who is new to this process is just fascinated by the carding process. I get lots of questions and even more requests to touch the finished rolags. I have a long way to go to finish all the wool but I feel good about the steady progress I am making.
Well, that's it for now.
Going to go work on the TUSKAUFOFE #6 intallment - Diagonal Lace Socks.