Saturday, December 30, 2006

HPY -- yum!

Doesn't it look yummy? I don't think I have enough to make a vest but I think I'll make a clapotis out of it to wear with my cape.

And the pretty roving. Unfortunately I think it's *too* nice for my spinning skills as it is a PITA to join and getting the intial bit going took a good twenty curse words. I'm halfway through the ball and am just hoping it doesn't all come apart when I take it from the bobbin to the niddy.

The red scarf is done. I just washed it (in the machine as it's superwash and I figure this is how its designated college student will treat it) and am hoping that I can get a few more inches out of it via blocking. 3 skeins only got me 44 inches which is a bit too short in my opinion.

Next up in the knitting front are *more* felted mocs and then some baby items. I had to put the HPY away so I wouldn't accidentaly cast on in a moment of weakness.

Obligatory cute kid pic.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What Happens in Baltimore, Stays in Baltimore

Well, knitting presents anyway. We were in MD for 12 days enjoying the normal holiday festivities. One of my lovely aunts bought the following for a $1 at an estate sale.

Yep, a handmade wheel and an unpictured spindle for one dollar! I made her a pair of felted slippers for a thank you but didn't manage to get pic. I did get a pic of another multidirectional scarf I made for a friend out of my last bit of blue/green/gray 100purewool. However the wheel has to stay in Bmore until my parents venture north in the spring. I had two children, a large suitcase, a large duffel and two carry on bags to drag through the airport yesterday and a wheel just wasn't in the cards.

Wee baby sweater, awaiting a baby to be born tomorrow! I am now DONE with this colorway -- one sweater for me, one baby sweater and a scarf is overkill.

Detail of the Irish Hiking Scarf I'm making for the red scarf project. It is turning out lovely but it does get a bit tedious.

While I was gone my HPY order arrived -- a much speedier turnaround than last time. The roving is BEAUTIFUL but my attempt at brown/blue yarn is just not what I wanted. Too much brown. Pics coming soon!

Friday, December 08, 2006


I started spinning last summer but got put off after I read an advanced spinning book that said the way I was taught was the wrong way to learn. Even though I had been quite happy with my spinning up until that point. This ended my spinning career until I picked up Shannon Okey's Spin to Knit and read about the same technique I had been taught. So I figured I might as well spin up all of the yummy fibers I bought at Stitches last summer. To make it a little easier on myself I bought another bobbin, the lazy kate rack missing from my wheel, a new brake strap (mine dry rotted) and a beautiful niddy noddy from Hello Yarn (who has some seriously rockin customer service -- same day shipping). I then spun up my purple and black bump from Grafton Fiber and knitted up Panta.

The batt was heaven to spin and I was happy to find that it was not horribly overspun as I was afraid. It is quite the thick and thin but worked up fine for the headband. Small children and I have been outside quite a bit in the snow and this is a nice replacement for my fleece earwarmer. The whole experience was so pleasant I'm going to spin up my black alpaca and then knit something for the little boy with it and the rest of the purple/back yarn from above.

He's been asking "When will it snow again since April?" He's a happy boy!

Little elf

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Friday, December 01, 2006

Hallelujah! They're done (but not photographed)

I've finished my two sweaters! The drop stitch cardigan turned out lovely (thanks to 100purewool) but I am determined to know how the hell a v-neck cardigan is supposed to have a collar. I looked through some books and can't find any pics of one and the pic in the magazine is a great example of Maggie Righetti's theory of knitting magazine subterfuge -- why oh why, is there not a front view of the sweater? Because the collar is ugly, that's why.

Anyway, the Lace Leaf pullover turned out well too. I thought I had really screwed up in using handspun (Malabrigo) to kitchner a sweater together right smack in the middle of my torso, but it blocked out great. This one took me 4 months to finish, but if I was a monogamous knitter it would have only been a couple of weeks -- it's a really easy and fun knit minus the honking needles that wore a hole in my finger. I'm one of those pusher people and that bulky wool and size 13 needles just don't work well for me.

Last night I cast on the MDS in another skein of 100purewool and I'm in heaven. It's such an easy, fun, thoughtless knit that looks so wonderful. This one is for Chris. Here it is posing by my favorite lamp.

In spinning news, I am awaiting an order from Hello Yarn -- a beautiful niddy noddy, two bobbins, a brake band and the missing lazy kate for my wheel. And then I joined another HPY co-op, still trying to get that elusive blue/brown merino I crave. I ordered some roving with it as well. Maybe that is what I'll spin up for my handspun secret pal.

And here are some garden pics, some beautiful late fall color and texture along with hunter kitty extraordinaire, Sophie.

This is Euphorbia dulcis 'Chameleon'. I love the range of colors -- right now the leaves range from dusty purple to tangerine orange. It seeds like crazy but it's hard to resent such a beautiful volunteer.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Swing Thing & Joseph Coat

Two finished objects to show! I also sewed the zipper in my Drop-Stitch Cardigan (after ripping out the collar) but it is uneven and I want to get a better zipper for it.

Pattern: Swing Thing from MagKnits by Theresa Belville
Yarn: Interlacements Worsted II Merino Wool. I LOVE this yarn. So nice and sproingy -- it would be good for something with cables.
Needles: Denise size 7 & 8 (sleeves)
Changes: I couldn't get the stinking super cute knot buttons to work for me so I subbed some boring buttons I had lying around.

Front View with goofy face

Back View

Pattern: Joseph from Knitty by Kerrie Rycroft
Yarn: Colinette Point 5 in the Tuscan colorway, donated by Nona
Needles: Denise size 13
Changes: I knit the smallest size because of my gauge issues

Just a cute pic!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Happy Anniversary!

Today we've been married for 7 years, together for 10.5 years. Amazing! We celebrated today with a pizza from Deweys after spending yesterday bumming around sans children. We spent our time drinking coffee, eating Italian food, looking at books and buying electronic equipment. This was commonplace pre-children behavior which we spent a considerable amount of time indulging in in our two-income, no kids world. Now it's a treat.

We bought an ipod holder/FM transmitter thingee for our car but it doesn't seem to be working. Chris is going to give it another try and then if it doesn't work I'm going to exchange it for a simpler creation and two iTunes card. I've decided that an iTunes card, an hour in peace to browse for music, a latte and a piece of chocolate cake is the perfect Melinda gift!! I did stumble upon a Roomba yesterday and I'm in love. (Chris says he's read hacks for them -- what the hell can you hack a vacuum to do???) I am asking for a vacuum for the holidays -- what a strange world I inhabit. I am lusting over this thing.

Before JCC I couldn't care less how our house looked but now that my world revolves around it I spend a considerable amount of time thinking I should vacuum. 3 times a week just doesn't cut it when you have one of these:

Please notice the tufts of fur hanging off of him. We think he is part German Shepherd part Chow Chow. The glory of this is that it means he both sheds constantly like a Shepherd and blows his coat twice a year like a Chow. Nice. And lately he's had a bad case of the itchies and the vet diagnosed him with allergies. So now we have to treat our dog for allergies in addition to the other family members.

And yes this is another post with no knitting content -- bwah ha ha. In fact I am procrastinating knitting by writing this. ;)

Friday, November 10, 2006

I'm Still Here

Just not in a blogging mood recently. Not in a photographing mood either -- both Halloween and ACC's first steps passed by without me taking any photos. I did take a couple today as the weather was wonderful and I finished JCC's Joseph Coat out of the Colinette Point 5 I received from Nona. I tried to get a pic of just JCC but he wouldn't stop jumping enough to get a good one.

I am in project finishing mode as my SnB is having a FO party Saturday a week. We will have yummy Thai and show off all of our projects. I will have JCC's coat, ACC's coat, my two sweaters and a pile of slippers. Not bad for a season of work. I'm trying very hard not to cast on anything else in the mean time.

Baby Girl is a walking fool. She also learned to scream. We are not so excited about the latter.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Carol Mackie is Mine!

At 8:45 Saturday morning instead of yarn crawling with the rest of my SnB the wee children and I hit the close-out sale at a local nursery. All perennials were $5 and under. And we're talking good stuff -- not just joe smoe hosta and his friends. At one point after scoring another Tree Peony I found some daphnes languishing in a corner and announced their location out loud as I only wanted one. Another freak woman asked what variety and I said "One Carol Mackie, one blah blah blah, but I want the Carol Mackie." She exclaimed "Carol Mackie!" and started walking quickly towards them. I actually ran a few feet to snatch it up exclaiming "The Carol Mackie is Mine." The competition is fierce amongst (cheap) plant snobs.

For my efforts I was rewarded with the following:

All that for $76! That's super cheap. I realize they look awful in the pic but they'll be beautiful in the spring. I actually squee'd when I saw the Tree Peony for $5. Only one thing of buyers remorse -- the sambucus. I love it but I didn't realize it needed full sun and I don't have any room for it. I put it in semi-shade and hope it will do ok.

We came home, I strapped the poor babe to my back and we planted all of them. My assistants:

Please note the cute new crocheted bonnet.

I have finished his Joseph coat but I still need to sew in a zipper.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Changing of the Guard

Heat's on, flannel sheets in place of percale and it's time to retire the sandles. Luckily I got these cool Think clogs for half price at the Birkenstock store. When the snow comes I'll break out the Timberland boots! (Yes, this is my joy with cool weather -- changing shoes. It's a dull life.)

Not too much fall color here, but the Burning Bush is starting to turn and the mum is beautiful.

We arrived in Cleveland Wednesday morning after a very nice Baltimore trip. JCC had a great time gardening with his Mommom and fishing with Pepaw. Little girl took her first steps, cut two more teeth, and became a stair climbing pro. I am currently shopping for baby gates for the bottom of the stairs. Little man never left my side so falling wasn't an issue with him.

I did do some knitting down there -- a Joseph coat for JCC. However I want the purl side to show so I didn't mattress stitch it but instead seamed it with crochet. No problem until I remembered that the downside to crochet is the lack of stretch. This is a problem around the armholes. While ripping it apart I unforunately ripped part of one of the front halves and now need to reknit. I've been told that one of our wonderful SnB attendees is a seaming pro and hopefully she'll have some good ideas for a nice non-wonky stretchy seam for reverse stockinette. (Google is letting me down, if you know any good references let me know.)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Knitting Porn

I'm addicted. I pore over my wrinkled copy of the latest Knit Picks catalogue with every bath and thumb the latest Interweave (either Knits or Crochet) until there are small tears in the pages. We won't even mention my blog reading. If I spent nearly the amount of time crafting as I do reading and dreaming I would make a ton more progress on my things-to-knit list. That said I just finished drooling over the Sapphire Stars Skirt in IC. It's even in cheap yarn (a rarity) but I just don't think I have much stamina lately. Maybe I just need to get over this pesky cold.

Which leads me to the axiom that friends shouldn't let friends knit sick. I currently feel that I'm on a sisyphisian odyssey with my drop-stitch cardigan. Actually I would have been fine if I was just knitting but I decided to work on the finishing bits of my sweater while battling a cold over the last week. 4 tries later at the collar and I freaking hate it. For my applied i-cord up the cardigan center I picked up stitches twice for one side and then managed to apply i-cord to the seam side of the other front. Grr. I did do a lovely job seaming the sides (that's when I figured out I hate the collar) but after pinning the sleeves in place I feel they're too long for my real life world of child rangling. So now it's sitting in time out on my desk.

I'm also trying to figure out what to pack for Baltimore. I always have at least two projects going -- something easy for car knitting or knitting in the presence of children and something for when the children go to sleep. None of my current projects are calling my name -- maybe it's time to get started on this years round of felted slippers (Chris and I wore ours out and there are a few family members who have requested them. People requesting knitted gifts -- bless them!)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Check Out This Blog

Chris sent me this and I am loving listening to all of these authors I have intent to read. So far I have listened to Dan Gilbert and Barry Schwartz.

In Feingold news, there is a reason raspberries are on the list. Thus going rasberry picking with your sensitive 4 year old is NOT a good idea. :(

Friday, September 22, 2006

Thanks SP 8!

I received my last secret pal package yesterday from Sara. Thanks Sara! I received some cotton yarn for whatever, some Reynolds Lopi, some note cards, candy!, a ruler and bubbles for JCC. Bubbles are already gone.

I have a friend who does tie-dye and sells at the local Farmers Market. These are my latest purchase. I just love them! Chris still shakes his head at his tie-dye children. He's in denial!

This was a fun secret pal summer. I'm going to skip SP9 but I do think I'm going to do the Spin to Knit SP.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Deer Gone Wild

Actually, the opposite -- Deer Gone Suburban. For some reason I thought deer lived out yonder away from the masses. Instead they like to trounce through the ravine that is our backyard. That would be fine if they would be contented with all of the lovely munchies in there but instead they chose to dine on the hostas and hydrangeas that occupy my back bed.

Close-up of what were lovely hostas and oakleaf hydrangeas

Close-up of lace-leaf maple in front island bed

We had a lovely Eastside SnB on Saturday. I finished the body of the lace leaf pullover. Now I need to graft it and make sleeves. Not much fiber stuff going on, I've been converted to an exercise freak and now a tiddlyWiki tweaker freak. Thanks Chris!

OH! Forgot to mention that the Ugly Bugs from last post have been identified by my Aunt as Milkweed Bugs. Who knew a plant would have its own bug?

Today we met up with a group of homeschoolers at the Lake Co. Farmpark. Tomorrow we're going raspberry picking -- the little farmer should be content. And two Tuesdays from now we are off to Baltimore! Yay!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ugly Bugs

Ug. All over this one milkweed pod. None of the others. Anyone know what they are? I checked out a couple of beetle sites but didn't see any like this.

Fall is my favorite time to buy plants -- they're all on sale and you don't have to worry about the stressors of watering/heat as much. Here are some of my new babies from Heights Garden Center.


JCC in his normal down in the dirt position by my new smokebush, russian sage and asters.

JCC by the new red-twig dogwood.

Part of my side shade bed. I ripped out a big grass that wasn't getting enough sun and was all floppy and moved some plants out of my path. Didn't even know I had a path until I was looking down from the upstairs window and observed that I had planted something right in the middle of where I usually cut through to the main side bed.

We had JCC's party. It did rain but only 2/3 of the expected people showed. This was fine with me as I didn't have to hide in the basement. I still have beer leftover. Just a few left at this point.

I've been stuck in a funk for a couple weeks now -- hopefully ending soon. I'll have more fiber related pics then.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Things I've been Meaning to Mention

We have another thing that pees (kefir.) I have a bunch of pics of the whole process but I can't seem to locate them thanks to Picasa. Your loss. Kefir is so exciting.

I am the crafty alter-ego of my can't-sit-still outdoorsman/pilot/gardener/wood worker father. I was diagnosed with ADD when I first dropped out of college. Maybe we're just busy people? Why does it have to be a disorder to not be able to sit still and focus on someone regurgitating a book?

The food we (collective we) eat is really messed up. (I'm reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.) I would like to go veg again but I'm too lazy with all of our other food issues. I think I'm just going to try and buy grass-fed beef to start.

We are starting the Feingold Program soon. All of us. I think I need it too. I ate my beloved Junior Mints yesterday and wanted to bite JCC. The only evil (Feingold evil) ingredient is vanillin. Nasty stuff. And I wonder why my 33 lb child has trouble processing these chemicals when my much larger body can't.

I love Nona Knits. She does techy stuff, such as which decrease is more pleasing to the eye, as well as just lovely knitting and an interesting style of writing. Recently she posted about clearing out her stash and I was able to get the Colinette. Pretty funny in that I'm stalking some on ebay in a different colorway.

I got my fleece. The box was ready to explode it was so full. In fact, it was torn along one side. Grrr. 3.5 lbs of the original 4.5 -- probably not a bad return considering I didn't go through it before sending it off. I won't be using the same processor again. Nothing spins me up like not getting my phone calls returned and I will hopefully find someone more responsible closer. Let me know if you know of anyone in the Midwest or even Northeast. I now have so much fleece I don't know what to do. I'm getting good enough at it that I don't just want to toss it. Hopefully it will felt well and I can make a bunch of holiday gifts out of it.

I made my mother a little wrap out of the Brooks Farm yarn for her birthday. It was supposed to be the Sweet Pea shawl from the SnB Crochet book but I only had half of the required yarn so it's just a little wrap. It was fun to make. If I had learned to crochet first I never would have proceeded to knitting.

53 people are supposed to be coming to our party on Saturday. If it rains I will be hiding in the basement with the kitties. Tomorrow we are hitting Trader Joe's for the beer and crab soup ingredients. If it rains, the beer will be in the basement. :)

My apologies for the lack of cohesion -- wee girl is teething, little boy can't sleep well due to hayfever which all means I am not sleeping. I told JCC that if they didn't sleep well tonight there would be a mama mutiny tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Week in Photos

We've been busy busy (do I say this every post?) Lots of crafting, gardening and running around enjoying the perfect summer weather. We had friends over for dinner last Friday and JCC took some photos:

I've been doing lots o'crafts -- plied my spun brown roving, cut out my apron pieces, finished knitting on the Drop-Stitch Cardigan, knit the bottom half of the Lace Leaf Pullover, swatched for both Sizzle (yarn is too fine) and the Glampyre V-Neck. I'm getting ready to do a crochet wrap out of some of the Chicago yarn and I got 2 big bags of roving to spin as well as a wonderful Jacob fleece.

I called about my fleece (it's been 2 months) and the guy swears it will be here by Friday.

Yesterday we weeded the garden.

Last week we did one of those 30 day cooking things. That was exhausting.

Today we went to the Natural History Museum and played in mud:

Tomorrow over some friends' new house for a garden appraisal. Then we have a pig roast on Saturday, JCC's birthday party the following Saturday (if you live in NE Ohio and want to come let me know) and then off to Toledo the following weekend. Geesh. I need a nap just thinking about it.