Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Well the past couple of weeks have been busy, but that sounds like the rest of my summer vacation. The last week of July was spent signing a lease for a new apartment, packing last minute, moving (hired help-yay!), cleaning the old place, unpacking the new place, applying for the master’s program at CSU-Pueblo, knitting, visiting, and so much more. I really don’t know how I’m still going. One thing that has kinda kept me going are my projects. They are a nice way of getting the mind off unpacking, but a temporary getaway can be dangerous when it comes to unpacking. I want to say about 50% of the boxes are unpacked. All I need to work on is the extra room which has most of my school, scrapbooking, yarn, and fiber.

A few days after being in my new place I finished my Pinwheel Rug. I was so happy to get it done. I started on it in March while CSAP testing, so that’s about 4.5 months. I had a few people who tried to talk me into not felting it; that I should use it as a blanket instead. Last Saturday I felted it at home and laid it out to dry at the LYS, since I didn’t have room at the new place. I was really shocked at how fast it took to felt, but I am very happy at the outcome. I think my wheel looks awesome on it. :D

I have been working on my first sweater since a few women at the shop have finished a couple of sweaters. Some of them being felted sweaters, which means they were bigger projects than mine to begin with. Pretty bad, I know. I finished with a seed stitch and picot bind off. It looks really nice. Then I started to work on the sleeves and noticed that they were HUGE! The pattern I’m using is for a guy, so the size I was using was for a bigger guy…therefore big sleeves. With discussion from a few friends, I’ve decided to do something I didn’t want to do…I must cut it. I guess it’s called steeking. When I cut it I will be sewing up a seam. This will close up the armholes creating a tighter sleeve; one that will fit just one of my arms. I was hoping to do the sweater all in the round without seams, but I gotta do what I gotta do. The lesson that was learned: Stick with patterns for the correct sex unless you have experience knitting that type of garment.

Since I am in no hurry to finish the sweater by cutting and sewing it back together I had to find a new project. You’d think that I’d be able to choose something from the tons of books and my large stash, but noooo! I instead used the internet (Ravelry) and bought new yarn. Lol I’ve always wanted to wear the slouchy, rasta style hats/berets. I knew the Alpaca would hang nicely, and would be like heaven to work with. It took me about an afternoon, early evening, and morning to finish it. Once I tried it on I decided it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. It wasn’t slouchy enough. So I plan on giving it to my sister for her Christmas present. It’s in a color she would like. I’m going to try to alter the pattern so that it fits the way I’d like.

I’m working on a new slouchy beret. I started it today. I have the brim and the beginning of the lace pattern started for the first round. So far, it’s not too bad. I just don’t like that there’s a YO at the end of the stitch grouping. It’s hard to do a YO doing magic loop. Well I think so anyways.

Well that’s it for me. I better be getting to bed. I have training tomorrow and Friday.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Crafty Update

It has been way too long since I’ve written. I have been meaning to, but just haven’t had the time to do so. When I first started writing on here I had just started my job. Right now I’m about a week away from finishing summer school. Crazy!

Where to start…I guess I’ll start with my spinning. I currently have 2 projects on my wheel. Actually I have 3. Extra bobbins are both good and bad. Every time you find something new you look at those empty bobbins and think, “I could work with something different.” I still have the Cranberry Merino on one bobbin. I have tried to find a nice brown or beige fiber to ply it with, but hadn’t found a good combination. Nothing was ever the right shade until about 6 weeks ago. I started spinning a Merino/Angora/Silk blend at a spin night at Green Valley Weavers in Old Colorado City. I started passing around the Cranberry for the show ‘n tell and I was told that it would go perfectly with the blend I was working on. I looked and the colors would go well together. So that’s the plan with that. (Pictures coming soon.)

While at this month’s spin group I had only brought materials for a spin technique. I had a full day at work, and had taken off the Angora blend from my wheel before making the drive up north. The instructor of the technique couldn’t make it that night, so I didn’t really have anything to work on. So the good and bad thing about being at a yarn and fiber store is that they had a way of fixing my problem. I got 4 oz of a Merion/Yak blend. It’s soooooo soft! I can’t wait to finish it!

As in spun projects that are finished, I have 3. In December and January I started to spin some of Allie’s alpaca that I had bought from her last year. Her stuff is so nice. When I went to Distaff Day, I decided to get more of it. By February of this year, I had two full bobbins full of white and brown alpaca. Once plied, I had one and half of my Traditional bobbins full. All together, I have about 400 or so yards of 2-plied alpaca. It’s like a dream cloud of softness! Almost nice enough that I want to use it as a pillow. Hehe I have seen a pattern in Interweave that I would like to use it for. It’s a nice lacy cowl.

I think that makes for one finished spun project that I actually have a knitting project in mind. I think that same month I learned how to “cage spin” while going to the spin group up north. It’s the process of “caging” something in between two singles during the plying process. So I decided to use some wool from the shop since it was my first time. I think that I’ll have to knit something like a hat or thin scarf for St. Patrick’s Day next year.

My recent finished spun project was completed about 6 weeks ago. I decided that I wanted to spin something with color after I had done the two-tone alpaca. I bought the Interlacements wool braid at Taos, NM last fall at the Taos Wool Festival. This is the first purchase of the festival that I’ve touched/spun. I tried Navajo-plying it, but it didn’t look good, so I plied it on itself. Since the two bobbins were a little uneven I had to wrap the rest of the last bobbin on my hand. OMG! My hand cramped up through the whole process, but it was totally worth it! It came out so nice! The combination of the different colors is awesome! I like it! I just got to find something to do with it. Winnie from the shop spun something like my color combination and used it with some purples for a pair of fingerless gloves. I’m thinking that maybe something like that will work. Just got to find the right pattern. (Pictures coming soon.)

Now onto knitting…there are quite a few. I was pretty busy for the past few months when it came to knitting. Last winter I worked on all of my X-Mas presents. Normally, I make all of my X-Mas cards, but this year I made my own gifts. Each ornament was hand knitted with Elle Rae and size 6 beads. They were very easy to make. I made over 2 dozen of them. Most of them went out to friends and family, except there a few that I haven’t gotten out yet due to the fact that I’m afraid they’ll break.

In December I house sat for my friend Emily. She used to own the knitting shop and had just recently sold it. So I can say that the house was pretty well stocked with yarn. It was hard to keep my hands off her stuff and stuff it all in my bag, especially her cashmere, but I withheld. While there I did knit an Alpaca Cloche. It’s so freakin cute! I had to alter the number of rows a little, but it fits perfectly!

In January or February, I started a cashmere blend scarf at a luxury knit nite and started a hat for my dad. The cashmere scarf was a bright blue and so soft! I decided that I didn’t really care for the color myself and gave it to my aunt for her birthday. She loved it!

The hat for my dad was kinda designed color wise by himself. He wanted a yellow and black striped hat. He’s a Matt Kenseth fan and his pit crew is called the Killer Bees. So, I used Jared Flood’s Turn a Sq pattern. Every one at the shop had been using the pattern, so I figured that I should try it too. The problem was that the hat was too short and a little too narrow for his big head. Instead of ripping out the decreases and re-knitting it, I gave it to the niece. It looks good on both of them.

I also worked on a scarf for my supervisor, Kolleen. She’s been very helpful this year and has taken me out to eat many times. I thought that she deserved a little gift. She had admired my knitted scarves that I wore to school, so I picked out some nice thick ‘n thin wool that is totally her color. She really liked it.

A little after that I finished my first felted project. It was weird knitting a hat pattern that could’ve fitted a head about 3x the size of mine. I did enjoy doing the flowers. That was first type of embellishment that I had knitted. The author said something about being comfortable with a wet head. Every 30 minutes, I would take it out of the washer, ring it out and try it on. A wet head indeed! I have to admit that I made it towards the end of the cold weather and didn’t get to wear it out too much. Next year for sure!

Somewhere in between all of this I finished my last Monkey sock. The problem is that I don’t know where the first one is. I thought that I had put it in a safe spot…a spot that I don’t remember. Since I’ve been busy with work and everything else I haven’t found it. I hope to soon. I want to be able to wear it. I really don’t want to make another one with the leftovers.

About mid-March I started on the felted pinwheel rug that I wanted to start in the winter because of how big it gets. It would’ve been a great lap blanket. I started it while doing the CSAP at school. It was nice to start it there since I had to walk around the classroom and watch my students test for 2-3 hrs a day for a few weeks. It took about a little over an hour to get one panel done. The hard part about the project is that it takes about one skein of Cascade for each panel. As the yarn added up, it got pretty heavy and I couldn’t work on it anymore while at work. Currently, I have about 10 of the 18 panels done. It looks pretty good. It’s just too hot to work on it right now. We’ve been having 80-90 degree weather recently.

For Mother’s Day I made my mom a pair of socks. I decided that I had made everyone a pair of socks (friends and my sister), except my parents. I had some Encore that had my mom’s favorite colors in it, so it worked out perfectly. I didn’t even have to buy it. It was already in my large stash! Score! What was even cooler is that I made them in about 4 days. It helped that the yarn is worsted and that I used size 7 needles…and that I’m that good! Haha I made her try them on so that I knew I had gotten the sizing correct. Perfect fit!