Thursday, August 27, 2009

You are here:

So I'm now done with the heel on sock two, and am merrily working my way through the foot again, after the frogging all the way back to the ankle because of missing two stitches. *shakes head*

However, other projects are well on the way! I completed a new bodice for one of the bumblebees at faire (otherwise known as the Guild of St George, their livery is all gold and black), a bodice and skirt combination, plus I'm currently doing some hand work on my latest bodice.

Since January I've lost 28 pounds. While this is a wonderful thing, it means most of my garb just doesn't fit, and the renaissance festival begins this weekend! So I'm currently having to do a little work to get things done! I've put together a bodice for myself that's got a separate stomacher, and I'm hand-sewing the eyelets, so it's slow going... Stick the awl in, stitch around 8 times, stick it back in, stitch around another 8 times... It's stronger than using grommets and looks far more period, but that doesn't mean it isn't a bit annoying. :)

I've also got someone else's bodice begun. It's going to be made somewhat similar to a Moresca, in that I'll have side lacing as well as front/back lacing, so my friend can adjust it at will. *whew* :)

So while I have no pix (I've been bad this week), I've got a bunch of projects in UFO state... And next week, even more! I'll be handspinning flax at the festival, plus finishing off that sock, plus a touch of silk spinning, plus more garb, plus... Oh heck. I've got a lot of stuff. ;)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Two steps forward, two steps back...

So I was doing really well on that sock... I had gotten all the way through the heel, short-row garter stitch, and I was just starting on the instep when... I realized that I'd left two extra stitches on the instep, meaning I just had to frog the entire heel back. *headdesk*. Alas, I heard them going rip-it, rip-it, as I frogged back all the way to the ankle again. So I literally took two steps forward and two back, and we're now back to the point that I showed the other day. *sigh*

However, I've got another project I've been working on (as well as garb for the festival that I was a silly goober who forgot to take pictures of), and my living room looks so much better for it!

That, my friends, is new dressing for my day-bed/couch! My couch in my living room is actually a day-bed I've had since I was a teen. Like a goober, I once more forgot to take before pictures, but for those of you who have seen my living room before, it's a real change!

Oh wait. I *do* have a before picture, just not of the couch itself, but of an entrelac shawl I made last year. But you'll get the idea from looking at the couch behind me at the time:

So you can see, I've not only made the new futon cover itself, but also recovered all of the pillows! This is the same fabric I used for my curtains that I put up a few months ago... Or you could say that the curtains were used for this! Last year there was a store that discontinued this pattern of curtains, so I bought as many as I could at the time, and three curtains were sacrificed to the scissors for the purpose of covering my couch! :)

Well, the main red section matches my curtains. The gold lattice pattern is a decorator fabric that Jo-Anns had in the remnant section.

Quite frankly, my couch was back in the 80's and needed an update. So several pillows and a couch cover later, I've got a new look in my living room! :)

Seriously, I need to get back to taking more before and after pix. :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

I laugh in the face of progress...

Well, with how things have been at work (staying really late every night), progress has been slow and I've not gotten any pix lately.

However, I'm amused. I'm at the exact same spot I was when I took this picture:

So that's what you're getting today. :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Not posted in too many days...

Okay, so I actually finished the sock last week and started on sock #2... But haven't had time to take many pix!

But for the first sock, I did a little pattern-munging. Instead of doing a smooth toe, I decided to continue the pattern all the way through the toe!

Yeah, this will not be a sock I go walking around with for long walks, as the pattern might cause my toe to go ape... But I love how it looks! :)

Sock number 2 is duly started... Although somewhere in here I need to work on my spinning for the "travel" theme... But Sock 2 is actually about double the length it is in the picture now:

However, I also need to put both the knitting and the spinning down for a little while at home... I can keep working on it at work, but at home I need to work on garb! I am performing at the Maryland Renaissance Festival in less than a month, and I've been so good at losing weight this year (26 pounds since January) that I'm falling into my garb! Renaissance Bodices are supposed to be able to support you without a bra, and I'm getting to the point where I'm going to need one! So that's something I've got to work on, along with a bodice for a friend of mine who's also at least going to be a patron, along with the garb I'm sewing for Hengrave Hall... Although at least i'm getting paid for that last one. :)

I'm sure I'll have some pictures of that last one in a few days, but in the meantime I also created not only garb but pillow covers over the weekend for the pillows in my living room. I need to re-vamp my living room with the new covers for the couch and pillows. At least two of the pillows were done over the weekend, but I've still got plenty to go! Regular pillowcases, shams, and the like! And then there's the papasan cover... :)

Okay, so I've got a lot to do! :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

One sock almost done!

Unfortunately, I've completely neglected to take pictures lately.

Only thing left to do on the one sock is a kitchner graft to the sole. Everything else is done. I even modified the pattern so that the gumdrops continue down the top of the toe and taper the way they do at the top of the sock. I've cast on the second sock at this point, but haven't gotten much farther than that yet.

I've actually been getting more silk spinning done lately on my bosworth spindle... Namely because we've been having more meetings at work lately, and spinning is more palatable to some of the higher-ups in my company than knitting. Spinning just looks like I'm fidgeting (which I am, but more productive), while knitting looks like I'm not paying attention (which I am, but try telling that to someone who's never done it).

I'm going to have to work on other things soon, though. Like garb. I've lost a lot of weight recently, and what that means is lots of garb doesn't fit anymore. I've got a few choice pieces that kinda fit (I might need to wear a bra underneath some of them, because the bodice isn't enough support anymore), and skirts aren't necessary, but the vast majority of my outfits are a little on the big side right now...

I've also got to finish a bodice for a friend of mine... I duct taped her last month for a bodice pattern (google duct tape bodice pattern for an explanation), and I should actually finish it before faire starts, don't you think? :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bowstrings shall commence!

Okay, so I finished up enough flax spinning that I can now go into creating bowstrings:

That's 115 of laceweight single in water-retted flax. I'm hoping it's enough for two bowstrings or more, and then do some serving on it to make it shoot-worthy. :)

And on the sock front, I've got a respectable amount of gumdrop sock done at this point!

It's going slower than I'd like... Namely because I've been at work so late lately that I haven't had much time to work on it. But it's looking very nice! I'm about an inch short of starting the toe, so we'll see how it turns out!

Anything leftover is going towards... You guessed it... Booties! :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

One small problem with booties...

Remember the little blue booties?

One small problem with them. Actually, there's the giveaway right there. Went to go see my brandy-new niece this last weekend, and they tried to put the blue ones on her... She's so big already they popped right back off! So the blue ones will not be used by her, but the pink ones are just the right size to be used right now! So the little bambina shall not have cold toes, and by the time her feet grow enough for the camel booties to fit, it'll be cold enough to use them! :)

Well, she came out at 8 pounds 10 ounces, so yeah, the standard booties weren't going to fit! :)

I'm currently most of the way down the toe of the gumdrop socks, so the leftover yarn shall also become socks... And her mother has given me permission to work on yak down socks! :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I feel like such a heel...

If you couldn't guess, that's the heel of the Gumdrops sock... I'm actually very happy with how it's turning out, without knowing the theme of what it was, my husband said "looks like sweettarts". :)

This heel's a little different than most of the short-row I've done. It's a garter-stitch short-row instead of a stockinette short-row. The result is a much thicker heel than I'd normally be making. We'll see how it turns out!

And of course, the flax is proceeding apace... But I'm not sure I'm thrilled with it:

It's a little rough. It's also the first time I've ever done this, so I think it's not bad... Just not quite what I wanted out of it. Even wet spinning is producing some rough edges.

But when I'm done, I'm gonna have some damned authentic bowstrings. :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

So a little more renaissance, and a little more sock...

So I've been working on that flax spinning.

WOW. This is probably the hardest thing I've ever spun. I spun for an hour last night and had to put it down because it was killing me:

I've got a nice chunk of yardage, but it's not as fun to spin as wool is. Wonder what I'm going to wind up doing at faire if I don't decide to keep doing this? :)

On the gumdrop sock front, I've gotten much farther:

Mind you, I've actually gotten further than that at this point... I'm halfway through turning the heel. It's really looking interesting!

I won't get the sock done before going to see my new niece, but I *am* hoping to get some nice booties out of the leftovers! :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Projects long overdue...

So, with the recent rash of baby booties being done with leftover yarn from last year's sock club, I decided that I need to make more of last year's sock club socks. :) The last three pair of the sock club never made it to needles, so it was about time!

So I'm starting to work on "Gumdrops"... And it doesn't hurt that the leftovers will be perfect baby bootie colors. :)

And of course, the flax spinning is proceeding apace... But it's a lot slower pace than I'd like. That's what I get for not being able to take it with me everywhere...

I need to sit down and focus more on projects now that the yardsale is over!

Monday, July 13, 2009

She's here!!!

And as of 9:32 this morning, I am the proud aunt to a beautiful baby girl, 8lb 10oz!

And her mother LOVES the baby booties! So these booties/socks sound like they're going to get a good workout!

So I didn't have much time for crafting...

But over the weekend I organized a yardsale that raised over $2000 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, so I think I can feel good about that! :)

In the meantime, I did actually finish the baby booties the other day:

I'm getting to know too many people with babies lately! :) Now twins!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Booties and more booties!

No, really.

So earlier this week, the package with the English Rose booties, the Robin's Egg Blue booties, and the Camel booties went down to my brother's house (the SIL has now been put on bedrest, so the baby is due any day now!).

Last month, I knit a new pair of booties for a friend's three month old. Pattern is not published, so pictures have not been posted.

And a couple of weeks ago, I found out another friend is having... Twins. So, I'm taking the leftover "lucky" yarn from last year's Rockin' Sock Club and making... More booties!!!

Number three is almost done, and four is soon to be on the needles...

I swear, this is the year of the baby... Although I'm wondering if this is because with the failing economy, people are finding cheaper (temporarily!) ways of keeping themselves entertained... :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The challenges of flax...

So things have actually been going kind of well with the flax. I say kind of because I'm discovering all kinds of interesting little things about working with it... Like I need the right seat to use a distaff!

I forgot to take pictures while I was putting the flax on the distaff, but I can at least show part of the process...

First, we have the unhackled strick:

I'm working with the one on the left right now. Once I get this mastered, I'll switch to the right one. In the meantime, I'll get some good practice. :)

One of the things you have to do to flax is known as "hackling" it... Otherwise known as getting all the knots out and having just plain flax to work with. I started hackling the flax, and lost more of it than I had to begin with!

That's the flax that got pulled out on the first combing. You don't want to see what I got with successive combings. *smirk*

That's with only one side hackled. You can see the difference from the left to the right, the left is still unhackled. The whole thing started looking like a horse tail!

And, with both sides hackled:

This is what's left of the original stuff:

Then there's the smooth but lots shorter stuff I pulled out:

And then there's the rolags I created out of the leftover schmutz. Seriously, the processing of flax has a *lot* of waste product! No wonder it gets so expensive! I'm wondering if I should spin this in combination with wool, make a strong wool. The rolags are just too short to make a reasonable linen with.

I took the horse tail and then spread it out in thin layers on butcher paper, criss-crossing the layers, and when I had a bunch of thin layers, I then wrapped fabric around a walking staff (so the flax won't stick to the wood), then gently wrapped the flax "sheet" layer around the fabric, and finally took some ribbon and criss-crossed that over the flax to make a walking distaff.

This is the point where I started trying to spin and discovered the hard way that you need to either be standing or sitting in a bar stool in order to spin off a distaff. *smirk* My husband was amused by this, so of course he had to take pictures:

The fact that I'm wearing linen is amusing me. :)

So far, I've probably spun about ten yards. The current "witch's broom" of flax plus my spinning is looking good so far! I am wet spinning,so I've got a sponge in a dish sitting next to me. The cat is pissed that I've stolen her chair. :)

However, using a distaff does have its drawbacks, like not being able to spin wherever I want. So I'm currently working on another set of baby booties, this time for a friend who's due in october. No pix yet. :)

So fiber projects are back in progress!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Working with flax...

I've never done flax before. I'm practicing to spin bowstrings for the renaissance festival this season, and the monthly challenge this month is "renaissance".

Hackling flax means you literally lose half the fiber. Seriously. Looks like a horse's tail though. :)

I'm currently experimenting with wet spinning on a spindle as well... While I'd like to post more now, it's kind of boring until I get working on it... :)

Monday, June 29, 2009

The collection of stuff I haven't posted...

Okay, I've been trying to work out a pattern recently, and unfortunately that tends to mean I can't post it... But to give you an idea of the kind of stuff I'd like to be working on soon, we have the collection of things I purchased while on vacation, and the stuff I found in my house recently!

First, the stuff I found. Yes, 9 year old shetland wool!

I can't believe it took me so long to find it!

And then there's the glow in the dark yarn I found recently at a craft store:

ANd I admit... I bought some sock yarn recently that are from the "cheap yarn" guys, but they seem to be getting a higher quality lately... So I decided to give them a try. Red Heart came out with an aloe-infused one, and Lion Brand came out with its own sock yarn with aloe:

I also picked up something my husband might actually wear! A peruvian spun sock yarn, Happy Feet!

I also have absolutely no idea what this is:

On top of all of this I've been periodically spinning silk (which just doesn't look like much when you're spinning at more than 100 WPI), and knitting booties (not been photographed yet, plus one set is a pattern Iv'e worked on).

It's been somewhat lacksidasical the last few weeks... Too much to do at work, really. Hope to change that up soon, I've got a crafter's weekend coming up this week at my house, all for the 4th!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The things you find...

Okay, we're having a yardsale at our house on July 12 to sponsor the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (details can be found at ). So, my husband and I are cleaning out the garage...

Let me back up about 9 years. Nine years ago I was still living in Jersey, and I went to Scotland with my then-boyfriend (now husband)... While we were there, I bought this beautiful shetland yarn, four skeins of natural white, one skein of natural "black" (dark brown), so I was going to use the white on the body of a sweater, and the "black" for the cuffs and collar. Well, shortly after we came back, I moved to VA, and so of course everything was in boxes. For YEARS, I couldn't find the yarn. Nine years to be exact. Could not find that, or the sporran that my husband was supposed to wear to the wedding.

Cut back to yesterday, as I'm going through a bunch of boxes in the garage. I stumbled across a few boxes I hadn't seen in a while... While I never did find the sporran, I found a bag that contained... My shetland wool! :)

Yum... Now I have to figure out a good sweater pattern to work with here... Any suggestions? :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Going backwards...

Okay, so I decided to make booties for the son of a friend of mine recently. I am making this pattern up off the top of my head, so I'm thinking I might actually want to publish it out there under one of the pattern websites, not just here. However, over the weekend I ran into a dilemna.

A YO, K2tog is not the exact reverse of a SSK, YO.

I wanted to do a reversed pattern for left and right booties... And while both booties are cute, the stitch patterns do not look exactly the same.

So since I appear to have enough yarn, I am knitting a third bootie.... BACKWARDS.

I picked up reverse knitting back when I was doing an Entrelac Shawl for my grandmother... And I actually discovered I like it! Most people don't, but I do because I'm able to use the strong right hand to hold the tension on a continental stitch (reverse knitting for me seems to be doing continental style from the left hand instead of English from the right hand).

So now, I'm knitting the second (well, third) bootie entirely backwards to see what the pattern winds up looking like!

If the third bootie turns out horrible, I may just frog bootie number two and have two booties in the same direction instead of reversed. But it would be *really cool* if I could get a bootie done entirely in reverse!

Wish me luck! You won't be seeing it here, not if I want to actually get paid for it. But Lori, you may have given me a dickens of an idea for this... :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Honeycomb booties!

So the camel booties are complete!

Lemme tell ya though, they are a *royal* PITA to photograph... Flash photography does not work well when the flash washes out the shadows that are half the point of cabling... And photographing without a flash gives you crappy pix.

However, 60-some-odd pix later, I think I got a few good shots:

(see what I mean about washed out by the flash?)

It's a honeycomb booty pattern that I thought up on the fly.

Maybe I should write this one down? :)

Okay, the pattern (done using fingering weight camel handspun on size 2 (2.75) DPNs. Gauge doesn't really matter, babies grow fast, so no matter what gauge you make them, they'll fit for a few weeks and the baby will outgrow them. If the baby is a newborn, this will be fine. Otherwise you may want to go with larger yarn/needles.):

K - knit
P - purl
K2tog - knit two together
K3tog - knit three together
SSP - slip, slip, purl
SSK - slip, slip, knit
SSSP - slip, slip, slip, purl
C4B - Cable stitch for four stitches, with the first two stitches on the cable needle going to the back
C4F - Cable stitch for four stitches, with the first two stitches on the cable needle going to the front
YO - Yarn over
W&T - Wrap and turn. Not used in this pattern
st - stitch
RS - right side
WS - wrong side

Cast on 32 stitches, long tail cast on (very stretchy), separate onto 4 DPNs and join, being careful not to create a mobius when you join.

Knit 4 rounds in garter, beginning with purl, then knit, then purl, then knit.

The next 8 rounds are in a honeycomb pattern, on all sides of the sock:

Row 5: *, C4B, C4F, repeat from *
Rows 6-8: K all
Row 9: *, C4F, C4B, repeat from *
Rows 10-12: K all

You've now completed the full cuff/ankle. The next rows are a version of the short-row heel (if you can't do W&T style short-rows, don't fret, this isn't that):

The short row heel is worked on needles 1 and 4.

Row 1 (needle 1, RS): K all until one stitch remaining. Turn.
Row 2 (needle 1 and needle 4, WS): YO and P all until one stitch remaining. Turn.
Row 3 (RS): YO and K up to the first st/YO pair. Turn.
Row 4 (WS): YO and P up to the first st/YO pair. Turn.
5: Repeat 3 and 4 until 6 stitches remain. Each needle will have a YO, 4 st/YO pairs, and 3 sts towards the center. This is a RS row, needle 4.
6 (RS, needle 1): K to the first st/YO pair. K1 from the pair, K2tog (uses one from the next pair with the remaining one from the first pair). Turn.
7 (WS, needle 1 and needle 4): YO and P to the first st/YO pair. P1 from the pair, SSP (uses one from the next pair with the remaining one from the first pair). Turn.
8 (RS): YO and K to the first YO and K3tog (K 2 YO's and one K from the next pair together). Turn.
9 (WS): YO and P to the first YO and SSSP (P 2 YO's and one P from the next pair together). Turn.
10: Repeat 8 and 9 until the last stitch on each end is used up. You will have 1 YO and 8 P's, and will be on needle 4.
11 (RS): YO and K to finish needle 4. You will now start the instep, and continue to knit in the round until the bootie is finished.

1st row of instep (RS): K to the last remaining YO on needle 1. Slip this stitch to needle 2, then do a C4B, but with three stitches on the cable needle (K2tog from the cable, then K to make it 2 stitches), C4F, C4B, then C4F with a stitch slipped back from needle 4 (that leftover YO from your previous row), with 3 stitches on the back needle (K2tog then K to make it two stitches), K8.
2-4: K all.
5: K8, 2x(C4F, C4B), K8.
6-8: K all.
9: K8, 2x(C4B, C4F), K8.
10-12: K all.
13: K8, 2x(C4F, C4B), K8.
14-16: K all.
17: K8, 2x(C4B, C4F), K8.
18-20: K all.
21: K8, 2x(C4F, C4B), K8.

The last ten rows are all two decreases per row.
1: K7, K2tog, K14, SSK, K7.
2: K7, K2tog, K12, SSK, K7.
3: K6, K2tog, K12, SSK, K6.
4: K6, K2tog, K10, SSK, K6.
5: K5, K2tog, K10, SSK, K5.
6: K5, K2tog, K8, SSK, K5.
7: K4, K2tog, K8, SSK, K4.
8: K4, K2tog, K6, SSK, K4.
9: K3, K2tog, K6, SSK, K3.
10: K3, K2tog, K4, SSK, K3.

You should now have 12 stitches total, 3 on each needle. Knit 3 stitches to the end of needle 1. Kitchner Stitch the toes closed.

Voila! Honeycomb booties!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Booties and more booties!

The English Rose and Robin's Egg Booties are ready to go!

OMG they're so tiny! They aren't "properly" blocked, I finger stretched them, since they really don't make sock blockers that small (I need to make a pair), but they are the perfect size for little tiny newborn feet!

And that camel I finished yesterday is already becoming a set of booties as we speak:

They're SOOOO soft! I didn't think camel would be this soft, but it's incredible! I just hope they hold up to baby usage!