Saturday, August 6, 2011

I've caught the spinning bug!

I always knew i wanted to learn to spin someday. The complete process from animal to yarn to finished project has always intrigued me. I guess I didn't realize that spinning could be portable and really inexpensive to start.
I stopped in at a well-hidden LYS recently that specializes in spinning and weaving. I picked up a drop-spindle and fiber for less than $40!
Thanks to youtube and video podcasters I was able to get going on my own. Here is what I accomplished so far..
My first handspun!
From left to right, my spinning has progressed significantly.

spin 1 is not very consistent with varying degrees of thickness from fingering to bulky.

Spin 2 is more consistent but still has some thick, thin areas. Seems to be sport to worsted weight.

Spin 3 became thinner towards the end.

The fiber is corridale wool and it was white but i had to start with color so before spinning i used wilton cake dyes in the microwave so the colors may be unusual but this was my first try at that, as well.

The undyed wool seemed to spin the easiest, maybe i overcooked the fiiber somewhat when dying...

I think I'm getting the hang of it now. Not having to park and draft as much... it seems easier if i pre-draft somewhat. I'm working on my last batch of fiber now and I'm really proud of how it's turning out. It's becoming easier to draft, i just gotta work on getting an even twist.
I would say this is a lace to heavy fingering weight.

These are all singles, now I just need to learn how to ply!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Marina

I have a new finished object and I can't wait to show it off!

Here is my Marina.

I was looking for a quick project to knit and while trolling the Ravelry boards I noticed  the June KAL for the WoollyWormhead hats group. Tebe Slouch. Cute pattern. I love Woolly's designs so I decided to purchase the pattern. Then I noticed the sale - buy 2 patterns and get one free. Well, I couldn't pass that up so I also got the Mayrose and Marina patterns.

The marina appealed to me right away. I like the sideways construction. I had previously made the Abalone hat from Woolly Wormhead's "Going Straight" book with a Noro Taiyo, a 40% Cotton, 30% Silk, 15% Nylon, 15% Wool blend. I just bought a similar yarn over the weekend - Noro Chirimen - 60% Cotton, 24% Silk, 16% Wool. This kind of blend works really well for hats for me because I'm sensitive to wool. This yarn is very comfortable to wear against my skin.

Loved knitting this hat. Love how it came out. So simple. So cute. One skein. Super quick.

Now that it's summer I'm already dreaming of cooler weather so I can wear it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Keeping Myself In Check

I used to blog more regularly but life has been crazy and it didn't seem like a priority to me so I've been seriously slacking. Life seems to be evening out some lately. My husband is nearly healed from his spine injury from New Years 2010 and we are gradually coming to terms with our son's diagnosis of  an Autism Sprectrum disorder. I'm a full-time nanny so I really value the time I have at home and with my family.

I'm trying to get the knitting part of my life a little more organized and I was realizing that blogging would be a good way to keep myself in check. I have so many Wips hibernating because i forget about them or get uninspired... I don't have anyone to show them to so the joy of finishing something is sometimes deflated.

Ifind many patterns that are intriguing and decide to cast on right away but I have no intention of actually knitting them, i just want to play. Patterns that i would like to knit are forgotten about before casting on. What I really need is a knitting journal and this blogs eems to be the best place to do that. Plus, i can feel like I am sharing my passion of knitting with someone.

You will occasionally see some FOs from me but be warned, i may not continue with every project i talk about, or even start.

Even with my crazy busy life I have been making time for quite a bit of  knitting lately and i treat myself regularly to some yarny goodness. I don't think i'm ready to reveal all of my recent stash enhancements :/

My most recent FO is the Coquille Shawl by Mary Lou Egan
The pattern can be found at
Here is my ravelry project page.

I made the bigger version and used Noro Silk Garden Sock. I'm not super impressed with the colorway of this yarn but it was half price at Jimmy Beans Wool. I do like how it's so colorful and I just got the black shawl pin to wear with it.

LOVE the pattern. Super easy take along project as it is easy to memorize. I'd love to make a couple more of these, maybe the smaller version in a softer yarn that would be cozy around my neck.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Simplicity Mitts

I have a free pattern available for fingerless mitts. I used hand-spun alpaca for these but you could use any worsted weight yarn. A simple 3x1 rib pattern is easy enough for a beginner. Click the link below to view the pattern.

Simplicity Gauntlets
pattern revised for clarity

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hospital Hat

When my son first saw this hat finished he named it the "Hive Hat" but I will always remember it as the "Hospital Hat" because this is the project I worked on as I sat vigil by my husband's bedside in the hospital.
Gary had a terrible accident on New Year's Day, falling more than 35 feet, and fracturing his spine, the L1 vertebrae. He had surgery the following day to stabilize his back with metal rods and screws. Thankfully, the surgery was a success and the prognosis is very good. Gary should recover within a year or two.
It's been a scary and unsettling time for all of us but we are trying to focus on being positive and being grateful for what we have and that things aren't worse. We've had a lot of support from family, friends and the community which has been really a rewarding experience. Right now we are enjoying the time we have together as a family.
In the beginning I spent 10 days commuting back and forth from the hospital, sometimes staying for a few days at a time because I wasn't comfortable leaving my husband without a family member there to care for him. It seemed he needed so much more than the hospital staff was willing to provide so I'm glad he always had someone there to advocate for him and to tend to his basic needs. I felt as though I was caring for a newborn babe, jumping up at every whimper or cry, with very little sleep or energy.
This hat seemed to be the perfect knitting project to have with me. I had started it just a couple of days earlier when I was anxious to cast on something new and try out this yarn, "Spa" which is a bamboo and acrylic blend. I really liked the pattern for the hat "Wurm" which is very easy and repetitious, especially after getting past the brim part. It was easily fixed too, after dropping stitches, which I did several times when I threw down my knitting to tend to my husband or speak to a nurse, etc. Of course there was a lot of time that I didn't feel like knitting when I was there but when I did it was soothing to my soul, relaxing, and a distraction. I got quite a bit accomplished but didn't quite complete the hat while there at the hospital because it is meant to be a slouchy hat, and therefore very long.
Gary was placed in a physical rehabilitation facility for 20 days after he left the hospital and I went back to my life, except for feeling like a single mother (with added responsibilities.) I didn't have much time for knitting and I didn't want to work on the hat. I wasn't sure how I felt about this hat now. Would I ever be able to wear it without the memories of the hospital? Would I even be able to knit it without being flooded with those terrible memories? I avoided that hat for several weeks. I only occasionally worked on other projects, telling myself I didn't have time to knit, but in reality just not making the time for myself.
Gary's been home a few weeks now and I'm starting to see little glimpses of how he used to be. Sometimes I can forget he's wearing that brace under his shirt. I can forget how uncertain the future is and just focus on NOW. Now is all we have. I'm enjoying this time I have with my husband and my son. Gary was always so busy working and now we have this time together and it's something to rejoice. He may not be able to do all the things he used to but he's getting better day by day, bit by bit. He's walking more, even driving short distances, cooking and doing dishes...
So I picked up that hat again and I finished it. And no, it didn't bring me bad memories, because I'm thinking about NOW and how happy we are to be together and grateful for all that we have. Mostly grateful for each other.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My First Taste of Dyeing with Kool-Aid

I've been knitting away on some holiday scarves. One of the patterns I was curious too see in a lighter weight yarn so I did a swatch with Knitpicks "Palette" - a fingering weight wool. I then had a chance to use my new blocking mats from Knitpicks. The result was beautiful. Well, I don't usually knit with white, and was itching to play with some color. For some strange reason, we had some orange Kool-Aid packages - even though we don't drink Kool-Aid... So I wound up two balls loosely and threw them in the microwave. The effect was vary ... variegated. I let them dry a bit and then rewound them and redyed them. I love how it came out the second time.

I'm going to enjoy knitting a lightweight scarf with this variegated Oranges & Cream color. Of course I couldn't wait to knit with it so I started off the same as the white swatch, and you can really see the difference blocking can make. Now it's back to holiday gift knitting...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Too Busy to Blog

I've been a bad blogger. But that just means now I have more to share! I haven't been keeping up with my photos either... Our trip to California in May consumed my two cameras and it's hard to sift through over 2,000 pictures!!! (And of course I've been just adding more. I can't believe my memory cards can hold that much!) Above you'll see a picture from our vacation. Zady was very excited to visit the Lego Store in Anaheim (Downtown Disney.)
He lost his first tooth while visiting Disneyland and the tooth fairy left him $20!!! (She must have known how expensive Disneyland is...) We went straight to the Lego store the next morning to purchase the Crystal King set.
Look at him checking out the $400 Death Star Set.

We just went to the Lego Kidsfest a little over a week ago here in CT at the Hartford Convention Center - so that's why I've been revisiting these photos. It was a major hit and super busy!!! We weren't as surprised as most to see the lifesize lego creations because we had seen a lot of them already at the lego store. Here is Darth Vader...
We'll have to make a special trip to find a Lego store here on the east coast because it was one of Zady's favorite things about our vacation.

Look for more blog updates (with knitting) coming soon!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

FO - The Wonderful Wallaby

I recetntly finished my a seamless sweater for my son. Because of the unusual weather in Connecticut this summer, he's actually been able to wear it a few times already! I finished it on Tuesday and tried it on my little man right away. All the ends were not sewn in yet, but he wouldn't take it off!

Here is a link to my Ravelry Project Page.
pattern - "The Wonderful Wallaby" by Cottoage Creations.
Yarn - Knitpicks "Comfy" cotton/acrylic, machine washable and dryable.
MC Planetarium (Navy Blue), CC Siver Sage (silvery light green), CC Ivory
Needles - size 6 and 8 24" knitpicks Harmony circulars. size 6 clover dpns
One of the tips on my size 6 broke but I called knitpicks and they shipped a new set of tips out right away - I think I got them 2 days later.
Size 8 - Warren Wallaby - for my almost-7-year-old

Mods - I added 2 inches to the length of the body and sleeves.
For the body I cast on the total number of body stitches and did not do increases after ribbing.
For the sleeves I did gradual increases instead of all at once after ribbing.
Sleeve ribbing is 2" instead of 3"
I did the k1,yo method for picking up stitches for the pocket but wasn't happy with it so ripped back and did kfb, placing extra sts on holder.
I added an R2D2 intarsia motif to to the pocket.
For the placket I made sure the garter ridges matched up.
For the hood - I did the "Less pointy" version by decreasing 2 sts every other row (with 2 sts between decreases) starting 2 1/2" before the end of hood.

The pictures of Zady wearing the sweater are after it was machine washed and dried. It washed really well and overall I think it came out great!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Working the Wallaby

Lately I've been working on the Wonderful Wallaby. It's a sweater pattern by Cottage Creations with sizes ranging from 2 to adult xxl? I'm making one for my son and then I plan on making one for myself! I'm doing a mini knitalong with a knitter that lives fairly close by whom I met on Ravelry.

I'm using Knitpicks comfy - my new fave cotton/acrylic yarn. My son is a bit sensitve to wool and I inteded this to be a summery pullover so cotton is the best choice for his. Because it's for my son, of course I had to add a little something special so I added a R2D2 motif to the pocket.

I wasn't sure if I was going to do a different bottom band and cuff but ultimately went with the directins, calling for a 1x1 rib. I added the pocket using the k1, yo method - then ripped it out and did kfb. That first row of the pocket is a little loose for my liking but I'll live with it. I guess I'll just try to follow the directions next time - picking up stitches for the pouch afterwards. I also ripped back the pocket to center the motif better.

I'm at the armholes now... I added an extra inch to the length. Now I just have to knit the sleeves and join them to the body. I will add an extra inch to the sleeves as well, and do an inch less ribbing. The directions say to increase all stitches right after ribbing but I will be doing a gradual increase.

I'll have to put the Wallaby on hold while on Vacation next week. My first real Vacation in 15 years... After reading the airline restrictions on knitting needles I realized I would need a portable project that didn't require dpns or long circulars. So, for my vacation knitting- I'll be making a Noro Striped Scarf. I just purchased the yarn for this the other day and I'm having a really hard time not casting on. I'm anxious to see how the colors play out. I really splurged on the yarn for this and now I'm thinking of going back to the shop to get more! The colors I picked are looking a little too similar so I may need a different colorway. Something I wouldn't normally think would go together. Then I'll just keep the other color and make Noro mitts for Christmas gifts.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Cookie Craziness

I hope all of you had a wonderful Easter holiday!
Last week was pretty crazy around here. The little guy was home on spring break so I was busy entertaining him and I even took him to work with me a couple of days. There was a lot of last-minute Easter shopping and preparations to get done. We spent all day Saturday baking and decorating Easter cookies. i had actually whipped up a batch of cookie dough Friday night after work (midnight) but as I was reviewing the recipe (figuring out how it was different than the recipe that didn't need refrigeration before rolling and cutting out,) I realized I had goofed and only used half the butter I was supposed to. So, I just started over Saturday morning with the other recipe. I also made my own icing this time after discovering I could use meringue powder which makes good cookie icing because it sets up quick and you can stack them. We used Easter shaped cookie cutters and had lots of fun decorating with special Easter sprinkles, colored sugar, and coconut. Too bad we completely forgot to bring them when we traveled to RI for Easter brunch with family on Sunday!!!

I did remember to bring these mitts I made to my Mom. I meant to give her them for Christmas but I haven't seen her since early December at Thanxmas ( a combination celebration of Thanksgiving and Christmas.) The pattern is "Maine Morning Mitts" from the Knitters Book of Yarn. (You can find the pattern free on Ravelry.) I used Noro silk garden in colorway 279. I really love these mitts and plan on making some for myself. I may take someone else's suggestion of using 2 skeins of yarn, to match up the colors. These mitts look as though they could have been 2 different colorways.

My blog has a new look! I haven't really played around with it much, but it could definately use some tweaking. You would never guess I have a degree in Graphic Design...