Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fat Baby Cables

I never thought I'd own a pair of cowboy boots. I was a sulky teenager stomping around in combat boots (even under my dresses.) I was never a country music fan. I've never ridden a horse.

Then I married David...

I know who Keith Urban is. I've been to two rodeos. I know the names of several professional bull riders and can recognize them on television. I also own two pairs of Fat Babies the coolest, comfiest boot ever! I have bad foot problems, but I love these boots. Fat Baby Cable Socks were knit to match my red/tan pair of boots. I used Wildfoote sock yarn on size 0 needles and used fly tying thread as a carrying yarn to get a heathered effect. I did a traditional heel flap to prevent wear and tear. I also did a row of purls along the toe to make them look a bit more like commercial socks.

I'm rural. It's not so bad.

Speaking of rural, my dad never tells me what he wants for Christmas. While shopping for a new rabbit hutch, we came across this product:

I'm not sure of its exact function, but it's a sportsman's necessity. Next time he'll request socks...I can just feel it!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

There is no light in Montana today

The lack of sunlight up here makes photo taking difficult. It also causes Seasonal Affective Disorder. I used to have a Happi Lite to stave off seasonal depression. The cats sat in front of it and watched it like television. Slightly creepy... For now, I'm taking Effexor.

I'm reworking a golfing vest for my grandfather. I had a lovely one almost done when I remembered that he is an avid sportsman and, therefore, not morbidly obese. I ripped it all out and began again without a pattern. I'll succeed this time.

I have a rare form of Oppositional Defiant Disorder when it comes to patterns. I must subconsciously will myself to fail whenever I follow another person's directions. When I fly by the seat of my pants, I usually make the best stuff.

Monday, October 29, 2007

More Spinning

I've been busy with the wheel. I spun 940 yards of bulky weight faded cloudy blues yarn. I'm swatching, but I'm not sure what to do with it. This is by far the largest amount of any lot I've ever spun, but not quite a full sweater's worth. I'm thinking of doing my old standby of a top-down raglan. I'm going to unravel the swatch and measure the yardage to see how far it may go first. Maybe I'll make a hooded vest...that sounds fun.

The pink is a handpainted roving I threw in the crockpot with the Lumberjack sock yarn. It's a navajo plied dk/sport-ish weight yarn that would make excellent socks or mittens. I might send it to my friend in KC. (The recipient of the blue yarn.) She shows off my handspun at her local knitting store and they all fondle it. That gives me chills. Validation--it's not easy for a rural housewife to find.

I ripped out my Icarus shawl. It felt so good.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Remember Lumberjack? He's now Lumberjill...

It worked! Isn't she lovely? I can't wait to get back to some real acid dyes, but for $1.48, I have some actual usable sock yarn. Sweet.

I'm a sewing fiend these days...I'm working on a hoodie for Christmas for my 14 year old step daughter. She's the opposite of my 4 year old, who cries when she is forced to wear jeans, but sometimes it's just more fun to sew for my oldest. She takes chances. She likes wild.

Corspe raiding, just in time for Halloween

My favorite purse was violated by my knitting project last week. (My emergency/waiting room sock wormed it's way through the side.) I want to sew something similar, so I decided to harvest the hardware in an attempt to reuse what I can. (Notions get expensive.)

First, I snipped out the lining. The toggles on the outside just cut out, no problems.

The magentic snap required the use of a screwdriver, but the flaps lifted up easily enough.

Now I have all of the guts required to sew my new purse!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fuzzy pink sweater

Today was one of those days that make me glad to be a stay at home mom. There are days when I'd love to kiss everyone goodbye and forget their problems and demands for eight hours...sometimes there are a lot of those days.

Today we took bread to the ducks in Paris Gibson Square and went shopping downtown. Izzy loves the sweater I made her, even though she's almost outgrown it now that it's actually cold enough to wear it. It's a pieced raglan (my first not knit from the top down.) I found out how much I love mattress stitch. I'm a natural born stitcher, but I have always dreaded seaming sweaters. I've knit everything in the round my whole life, but I didn't have enough Moda Dea Dream for the entire sweater. I knit the body fuzzy and the sleeves smooth. Mattress stitch is actually kind of fun and magic. Unlike fabric sewing, it's invisible. Neat.

We found a great quilt shop. They were charmed by Izzy and gave her a fat quarter. It took her 20 minutes to pick one out. Then she got a nail file with their business name on it and stood there gossiping and doing her nails and talking about all of the things she wanted to make. Wow. She does a great impression of a crazy craft lady. I wonder where she gets that.

The sign is hilarious -- and true. I love my life. I love my few true friends.

No knead bread

No knead bread, originally uploaded by alexcateye.

This bread is so good and so easy. I'm afraid I'll bloat up if I drink any water right now. I can't stop eating it. My four year old daughter pulls off the crust and makes me eat the squishy part. Mmm... I hope shopping burn carbs. We're off to the quilt shop.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I love these. I just knit a big anklet sock and threw it in the washer. Woo hoo. If you need a pattern, try Fireside Footies. I used a short, short-row heel. I may or may not have used my husband's clippers to give these a trim. I'm not talking. He shouldn't be the only one in the house with "new recruit" freshness. Slippers need love, too.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sometimes chicken soup is yarn...

I'm sending this yarn off to a friend who is recovering from a long illness. I only wish her the very best. I sewed the bag last week. It's a square bottomed skein-sized bag. I used one of my four-year-old's outgrown belts for a drawstring. The yarn is a few hundred yards of BFL I spun and dyed. I'm tucking goodies in the bag.

Sometimes it's just nice to have a friend who understands me. I love giving her things because I know she will get it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Yarn for dinner again?!?

I now have enough yarn spun and dyed to knit David a watch cap and a helmet liner. He actually requested the helmet liner for work. That's a first for him. He may actually start liking my little obsession.

I started knitting a sock with some leftover Magic Stripes. Why is it when I start linking a Lion Brand yarn they discontinue it? I hate this colorway - Lumberjack is more like Goth-icky. I'm going to overdye it.

Cheap yarn deserves cheap dye. I'm thinking the purple RIT with mellow out all of the grey, white, and red into a soft, dark violet/bruise-looking stripey thing. I'll see.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Norah, adapted

I attempted the cabeled pentagon bolero from Vogue Knitting, Winter 2006. I had fit and gauge issues. The motifs were easy to do, but the piece was awkward. I ended up leaving out several motifs and the collar. I edged the whole thing with i-cord and gave it to my mother. She likes it. I like getting rid of it. Win--win.

Why couldn't I get skinny genes?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

HJS Studio WWII Hat and Helmets

HJS Studio WWII Hat and Helmets

I can't wait to make this hat for David. There is something about "knitting your bit" for the boys in uniform that warms my heart. I really wanted a vintage pattern for his hat and I've found it. Even though he isn't deployed right now, I still send him off to defend the country every day. I am so proud of him and I try to show it whenever I can.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

3-ply yarn, 4-ply moron

I finally figured out how to Navajo ply! I'm pretty pleased with it. The only real drawback seems to be the little kinks where the thick spots triple themselves, but those are few and tend to work out after setting the twist. This finished targhee yarn had a nice, tight spin and is going to be a hat for my husband. He keeps his hair less than a fourth an inch long for work and loosely spun wools pill on his head. I tested the skein on his freshly buzzed scalp today and he has aproved this yarn. I'm thrilled.

It's a good thing I'm dyeing this skein black (the only color cap he's allowed to wear with BDU's) because I was stupid and tied up the skein with black scrap yarn and it bled onto the new yarn. That was dumb. The yarn is cooking away in the crockpot. I'll figure out a good beanie style cap pattern with folded brim and deep ribbing. I've already researched and found out that this type of hat is acceptable with the new Air Force uniform, the ABU. Sweet.

My 2-ply yarns are getting tighter and smaller in gauge each bobbin. I just spun enough sport weight to make a pair of socks and it is so bouncy and squishy. I love it. It's almost like elastic. It snaps instantly back into shape when stretched. I heart spinning.

The green strand is a commercial worsted weight yarn for comparison.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fuzzy feet are happy feet!

I finally have an acceptable pair of slippers for my grandmother!, you never let me down! I paid for patterns, followed convoluted directions, but the freebie, easy-peasy pattern on Knitty was just what I needed. I present to you...Fuzzy Feet
...and dressed up to go to Grandma's house.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

This movie is so amazing. You really have to watch it. You'll never look at your needle gauge the same way again. It's also a glimpse into my knitting teen years. So sweet, so sad, so lonely...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Altogether Ooky

Here are my Wednesday Addams socks. That was my nickname as a child. I was dark. I liked to brood. I love black and white striped stockings....

I used Wildfoote from Brown Sheep. I went down to zeros, but I was still knitting too loose. I hope these will bloom a bit with washing. I shifted the jog to the bottom of the foot, so it's a little more discreet. These were knit toe up on two Addi circulars with short row heels and toes. I didn't need a pattern, it's my usual sock.

My insoles make my feel look like they did the last trimester of my pregnancy. Dang plantar faciitis!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Steek--my hands have finally stopped shaking

I steeked my sweater. It was scary. I didn't think I would freak out like I did. I've sewn since I was 7 years old and my seams were crooked and shaky. I had to sew three lines to get a space wide enough to cut through. Whew. It's over.

I sewed both sides with a short, rather narrow zigzag stitch afterwards, just to make double-extra sure it wouldn't unravel. Instead of button bands, I'm sewing a 22 inch separating zipper, so I finished the edges of the steek with 4 stitch atatched I cords.

I am considering sewing a lining because my wedding ring is already wanting to catch on the floats.

I attempted another pair of the ballerina slippers from Fiber Trends. I tried the mary jane strap style this time. I didn't have any better luck. I sewed the straps down with cotton thread to make sure they didn't get twisted and gnarly. The straps weren't the problem. The toe box on the first pair were unusually short. The heels on this pair are unusually high and the sides are wide. I'm too ashamed to give these to anyone for Christmas. I'm going to try to shape them a little better, but I give up on this pattern. I'm going for fireside footies next.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Floats and Ends

I've been a busy bee. My four year old is at Grandma's this week. I got the carpets shampooed. (It was starting to look like a crime scene in here.) I'm also getting some serious knitting done. I'm using handspun yarn like someone is going to come take it away from me. I'm in the process of weaving in these ends, then I'm going to steek, baby. I'm not only going to slice the front of my sweater, but the front of a sweater made from my own yarn! Now I know why people need a stiff drink to do this. In fact, this end weaving business might just be procrastination. It sounds more my style to wait and weave in the ends after I've sewn in the zipper and worn it in the Christmas card photos.

This sweater is almost as precious to me as one of my childhood dogs. I can't wait to finish. I'll post an outside-out pic later. For now, it's just inside-out.

I will never felt with SWS again. The slippers turned out looking like they were made from a yetti/yak hybrid. (Like a Lyger, but furry in a very bad way.) They were a 1000 times worse than Lamb's Pride. Maybe it's because I knit continental style? I don't know. I have seen other felting pictures online that looked shiny and smooth. Not mine. Fortunately, my teenage stepdaughter thought they looked cool. Good for her. I think it's got to be child abuse in some states, but if it makes her happy...

Since I won't felt with SWS, I don't see the point in ever buying it again. It was scratchy and splitty. It seems best to just buy soy/bamboo/etc. online. The box stores try to get on the train, but they miss the mark. The whole point of soy in the SWTC line is that it's cool and silky, not rough and splintery. Such is life in the sticks.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Back from the dead...a little

I woke up a few days ago? when? I don't know. My stomach was a little upset. I got up and puked for hours. I slept for days, or maybe a day. I just know I feel a little better.

I ripped the sheets off the bed, took a shower, and shaved my tongue.

Reason #209 I love my husband: He kept all of the kids alive while I was dead. I love him.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Time to start holiday knitting

I found the Fiber Trends Ballet Slipper pattern I intended to knit for all my female family members last year. I hadn't even started a single slipper. My husband and I went trolling around the shopping center with Petco and Michael's last night. (He has a fish tank problem like my knitting problem, just ask our cichlids.) I picked up some SWS, Lion Wool, and Classic Merino and decided to start doing something ahead of time for a change. It'll give me a chance to have a box store yarn felting/fulling comparison.

The SWS yarn is very softly spun. It's almost a cotton candy of a yarn. It's shiny and fun. It's almost like knitting with something I would have spun myself. (I would never, ever shrink my own yarn - it hurts to think of it.) I'm afraid it will be hairy and awful, like fulled Lamb's Pride, but the sample hanging in the store was dense and lovely.
We'll see.

Monday, October 1, 2007

He's Actually Wearing Them

Happy Socktoberfest! I knit these socks for David on our honeymoon that we never got to take. Actually, we didn't get to take it this time, either. David's ex wife can sniff the air outside her trailer and detect any fun we might be planning. She immediately finds the quickest way to ruin it. Instead of our honeymoon that we never got to take, we went to my grandparents' cabin in Red Lodge, MT with all of the kids. It was lovely, but I spent the first few days pouting that my plans had been ruined again.

I sat in the recliner for hours at a time, knitting these socks and ignoring the children as they whined about how boring the cabin was.

They are Roza's Socks, by Grumperina. I increased the stitch count to 72 and used Reggia Tweed sock yarn.

Saturday was cold and rainy and I grabbed the forgotten socks and put them on David's feet. He wore them all day. I was pretty happy. This is the first time David has ever worn anything I've knit. Sometimes sour half-victories are still victories.