Friday, April 29, 2011

Out of Excuses

Yesterday I was able to finish my new bag! Just in time to dash off to the Naturopath.
It's huge. I've never packed a purse this big. Diaper bags, yes. I feel like this looks more like a diaper bag than anything else- but it carries all I need with me with room to spare. It is much easier than juggling my purse, my knitting bag, and occasionally adding a diaper bag to the mix. This is the inside:

I couldn't fill all the space. Which is cool, b/c it means when I have a slightly bigger knitting project, it will fit! And when I go to the yarn store..... you get the idea.;)

My current favorite feature of my new bag?

A false bottom in which to carry all the diaper bag stuff. I need to have them with me, but they don't have to be in my way!! And if I'm concerned, I can put my wallet in there and it's hard to get to.

It's a huge bag, but it's fun and will come in handy, I think. I'm not getting rid of my other bags. When the time comes that I don't have to carry all the extra stuff for the kids, I will probably want the option of a small bag again; and the bags I had I really really like.

Oh yeah- the other best feature of my new monster bag? It was totally free.

Now, I have no excuses. I must knit on the big scary sweater. It has to be done. My goal? The zipper band and the hood done this weekend. I may be over-estimating my abilities, but I've never been one to back down from a challenge. (Which may be why I opened my big mouth again and wound up with 2 more super secret projects.....shhhhh!!!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Productive Procrastination

I have been deliberately and admittedly procrastinating.
I should be knitting on the big sweater I'm working on.
I'm not.
And I have good reason.
On Sunday, that sweater gave me a scare. A very bad scare that I do not care to repeat anytime soon. And since I have to repeat the steps which caused that scare at least 5 more times- I'm avoiding it.
No, avoiding it is not going to solve the problem; but I'm doing it anyway.
What happened?
What took you so long to ask?! ;)

Sunday, I steeked the sweater. That means, for you non-knitters, I cut it. Yes, CUT it. A sweater body that took me 3 weeks to knit up. I CUT it. (Yes, that word requires capitalization.) I'm so very very glad that I asked Joel first if I should get the hard part out of the way first or start with the easy bit. He said easy bit, so that's where I went. Fortunately! Because as I was picking up the stitches to knit, the steek started to unravel!

I have no clue why it did that. I'm using a fairly sticky, non-treated wool yarn, and when I steeked a superwash yarn using the same method (Eunny Jang's crocheted steek) I had no such problems! I was finally able to salvage it by figuring out my sewing machine enough to machine stitch around the steek. Then yesterday, I machine stitched the tar out of the other 5 steeks I have yet to CUT, as a preemptive salvage. But I can't quite bring myself to pick it up and do the rest of the work on it yet.

So as an attempt at putting it off, I started doing some cleaning. Yesterday, my cleaning turned into an attempt at bag making. Not knitting, sewing.

There are a lot of reasons I knit rather than sew. But once in a while, I seem to need reminded of those reasons.

I've been wanting a specific knitting bag. This one, to be precise. But there hasn't been much work for Joel's employers this month- so it's gonna be a long time (if ever) that I can justify paying that much for a knitting bag/purse. So I got to thinking about it and thinking about all the things I'd like in a knitting bag/purse and wondering if I could do it myself. I have a sewing machine. I have thread. I have a lot of scrap fabric. I seem to be developing a bigger creative streak.
12 hours of figuring, cutting, sewing, pinning, and bleeding later:

A completely unfinished knitting bag/purse.

But it stands on it's own, and it has the terrible looking zipper in the right place. (putting a zipper into knitwear is 10x easier for me) I'll have you know that zipper alone took me 3 hours. I am not a seamstress. I am a knitwear designer.

The inside is utterly unimpressive.

But that's because it's not done.

Hey, I made the bag able to stand up. That took some time! And a lot of figuring. And even more fabric.

I'm gonna put a liner in it. Then. Oh, Then it will be impressive.

But first, I have to get the nice fabric away from the Roo.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wear and Tear

Yes, I am late blogging this week. It's been crazy around here. Last week, my Roo (18months) had to go to the Dr. twice. He had a double ear infection and bronchiolitis (the beginnings of pneumonia). He's much better now. It's so great to have my busy happy Roo back. :D

But then this week, my Bear (5 yrs) had to go to the Dr. He has sinusitis and walking pneumonia. I don't know what it is this year, but the sicknesses just won't leave us. It just cycles through. By the time the last one is getting well, the first one is getting sick again. I think it's just the season. The rain will not stop this year!

We did have some gorgeous sunshine this week, so I am hoping the end is near, and we can get everything dry so the germs will die out.

This week I had to throw away a garment I had knit several years ago.

These pants have been all over the place. I made them for my Buddy (now 7) when he was about 3. He outgrew them when Bear was 3, so they went to Bear. They instantly became Bear's favorite pants ever (isn't that the best feeling for a knitting mother?!), and he wore them constantly. Over the last year, they have been repaired at least 3 times. Well, this week, they became irreparable.

I could have fixed that. I've fixed similar several times. In fact, one of the similar repairs is right next to that hole. But then I started looking at them closely. If I had repaired that hole, the yarn was set to tear in at least 3 places next to it. So I looked at the other leg.

It's a bit blurry, but can you see it? That stitch that is held by a thread smaller than embroidery thread? And directly above a previous repair? I really can't complain. These pants lasted 4 years of being worn whenever they were clean and find-able. For going through 2 very active boys that wear out a pair of store-bought pant knees within 5 days(yes, literally), I'm pleased. In fact, I may need to knit a few more pairs of pants for these boys, they like them so much- and they really last well. But if they can go through Red Heart that fast, I'm not using my nice wool for the new pants!!

It's kinda funny that this should happen now. According to the 2nd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week (yeah, I know it was 3 weeks ago- like I said, I'm doing it to work with my time frame. ;D), this is what I would be blogging about:

Day Four: 31st March. Where are they now?

Whatever happened to your

Write about the fate of a past knitting project. Whether it
be something that you crocheted or knitted for yourself or to give to another
person. An item that lives with you or something which you sent off to charity.

There are a lot of different aspects to look at when looking back at a
knitting project and it can make for interesting blogging, as much of the time
we blog about items recently completed, new and freshly completed. It is not so
often that we look back at what has happened to these items after they have been
around for a while.

How has one of your past knits lived up to wear.
Maybe an item has become lost. Maybe you spent weeks knitting your giant-footed
dad a pair of socks in bright pink and green stripes which the then ‘lost’. If
you have knit items to donate to a good cause, you could reflect on the was in
which you hope that item is still doing good for it’s owner or the cause it was
made to support.

A long time ago...after I'd been knitting for about 2 or 3 yrs, I heard or read somewhere that you should keep track of your knitting projects- have a journal or something with pics of your FO's. I thought that was a cool idea, so I started doing that; and promptly realized that I'd already lost track of an unknown number of handknits. I was shocked at how much I had knit in a short time and it was so cool to go back and see the pictures of things I had made. I tried to get the pics of the FO's on the intended recipients too, so that was especially fun. Especially since I give away most of my knitting. Then Ravelry came along, and the project page performs the function of a journal. Either way, it's a great idea to keep track of your FO's.

I still journal my knits- but now it's a design journal. There's no pictures in it anymore, the pics end up on the finished pattern, but I still have a record of it in the journal. It's really cool to look back in occasionally. So far, I've filled one project/design journal and now I'm working on my second. I wonder how many I can fill? How many can you fill?

Also, have you seen? It's official. I am once again honored to be a part of the madness that is sock knitting gone viral.

I can hardly wait.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Yarn, Yarn, and Yup! More Yarn.

Today, I received some lovely Peruvian handspun, hand-dyed, lace-weight alpaca yarn from my parents; who just returned from a vacation in Peru. Over 800grams of gorgeous lace-weight. I love it. It's beautiful. I am very excited to use it. I just don't know what for, yet. (ideas?) I could do shawls. I could probably get 8 or more shawls from this. I could probably do a full-size tablecloth and still have enough left over for at least 2 shawls. Or a king-size lace comforter cover. I don't know. But that's ok, I have time. I have a huge list of things I'm working on for my book right now, so I have time to think about it. I'd love to fit something knit with this yarn into the book, but that might be a little bit too ambitious. I don't know. I'll find out, though. ;) In the meantime, I'll have to find a place to keep this gorgeous string. I've already used all the space on my bookshelves: The Rubbermaid's on my shelves next to my knitting chair are full of what is next in the book queue and of remnants of my most recent projects:
My footstool is crammed with a lot of yarn for book projects- as well as some extra that doesn't have an assigned project: The small Rubbermaid's in my closet have project remnants and hand-dyed yarns waiting for projects: The larger Rubbermaid's are also crammed- these are mostly remnants and non-specialty yarns such as Red Heart that were given to me several years ago. I do have plans for them, they are just kinda low on the totem pole, so to speak.And the Rubbermaid next to my bed has no more room to spare either; it's already full of yarn that has been assigned a project that I haven't gotten to yet. These are also mostly acrylics that were given to me. I love yarn. I admit I have a lot. And my yarn storage is scattered all over the house. (When things get desperate, I have a big desk drawer I can clear the bags out of and put yarn into. That may be where that gorgeous Peruvian alpaca is going to have to go.) Even with having that much yarn, I have to say in my defense, I really do intend to use it all. Even the rough Red Heart acrylics that I really don't like to use, I have plans for. And believe it or not, I am nowhere near SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy)- yet. But for those relatives and friends who read this, and think you need gift ideas for my birthday and next Christmas- I would love to reach SABLE, so, uh, don't hesitate to purchase more yarn for me. In case you hadn't noticed, I really love it and use it. A lot.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Unique Sheep Wonderland Sock Club- Spoiler!!

I love it when I get to unveil a design. :D
This is the latest installment in The Unique Sheep's Wonderland Sock Club.

Flamingo Croquet “Alice thought she had never seen such a curious croquet ground in her life: it was all ridges and furrows: the croquet balls were live hedgehogs, and the mallets live flamingos, and the soldiers had to double themselves up and stand on their hands and feet, to make the arches.

“The chief difficulty Alice found at first was in managing her flamingo: she succeeded in getting its body tucked away comfortably enough under her arm, with its legs hanging down, but generally, just as she had got its neck nicely straightened out and was going to give the hedgehog a blow with its head, it would twist itself round and look up in her face, with such a puzzled expression that she could not help bursting out laughing….” -L. Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland This sock is knit from the toe up. The foot is relatively simple, with a basic 2/2 cable on the center front of the foot. But when you get to the leg....

The detail is more intricate. The lace is meant to look like flamingos in flight. Wingstroke up, Wingstroke down. The cuff is a fun detail; with a flap that hangs down on the outside of your leg like a wing. The garter stitch of the flap matches the garter stitch of the heel; and the black beads are an elegant touch matching the black tips of the real flamingos' beaks and wings.

Once again, Kelly of The Unique Sheep got the colors absolutely perfect. The Gradiance goes from a very soft pink(the heads) to a darker pink (the wings) and it's gorgeous. You can see a photo of it here (Rav link).

This was one of the designs that just seemed to happen perfectly. I love it. What do you think?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

And Now for Something Completely Different

We just returned from a week of farmsitting for my parents. A wonderful time was had by all. :D The view is lovely. You get to see rolling hills and horizons instead of houses and cars.
Oh yeah, and animals. How about a donkey?
Or mothers and babies? The rest of the pictures speak for themselves.

It was an excellent vacation. The kids (all of them) had a wonderful time. And I had 3 hrs a day to knit while the baby took his nap. :D Bliss.