Monday, September 28, 2009

A Finish and a BSP

As of yesterday I should have had 17 projects done to be on track with my "52 Projects in 52 Weeks" plan. Unfortunately, I've only finished 11, but that's still not bad, considering how many UFOs I have stashed around the house. First up, the socks:

These are the "Gansey Socks" from Socks From the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson. You can see it at the bottom of the page in my Amazon linky thing. It's a great book, and if I could only recommend one sock book, this would be the one. She shows several different methods for casting on, heels, and casting off, so if toe-up socks are your thing, this is the book to get. I hate to cast on 64 stitches on DPNs and I hate to graft toes, so I can't imagine why anyone would want to do "cuff-down" socks, but to each her own, right? Even if you do like "cuff-down" socks, the patterns in Wendy's book would be easy to adapt to read the other way.

These socks were done in superwash yarn I bought from Knitting Notions a couple of years ago. The pattern was super-easy, but Wendy is correct in saying that the pattern will show up better in light-colored yarn. I was dying to use this yarn, though, so I ignored Wendy's advice and made them anyway. They still have a nice texture and feel wonderful on my feet, so I'm happy with them. I'm sure I'll make them again, only in the light color as directed.

This is one of my BSPs (or Big Stinkin' Project. I have a lot of those stashed away around here.)

This is The Weeping Tree Sampler designed by "The City Stitcher", Janet Miller. (It's the fifth one down on this page.) I started this in March of 2001. (See, I told you I had some really old UFOs, and that's not even the oldest!) This piece has given me fits, mainly because once again I didn't follow directions and chose to use a different color of linen than what's stated in the pattern, meaning that some of the floss colors should have been adapted. Did I adapt? What do you think?

Soooo, as I was stitching along a little tiny voice in my head kept saying, "That's not going to show up on this fabric. That's not going to show up on this fabric." Now, I have no idea why I thought that voice is going to turn out to be wrong just because I insisted on continuing to stitch with the wrong darn color of floss (another question would be why I would suddenly feel compelled to stitch with the exact color listed in the floss table, especially since I clearly have no problem with switching out the linen color, but that's a whole 'nother post.) It wasn't until I was three-quarters of the way through the border that I decided to start listening to that tiny little voice. Probably that would be because the tiny little voice was beginning to get a little abusive, with words like "idiot" and "moron" getting tossed around.

Not only did I have to rip out the whole border, but I also had started the outer border, which is totally satin-stitched and was also totally wrong. As were the eighteen letters of the alphabet that I had also already stitched. So a-ripping I did go, and a-restitching I began. I had the border half done again when I discovered that I was off by a couple of stitches. More ripping and restitching ensued. And again I was off far enough that it couldn't be fixed and had to be ripped again. Long story short: I've stitched the inner border on this stupid thing THREE TIMES!!!

But I'm beginning to feel hope that it will be done soon. I'm aiming for the last day of September, which means I have about 55 hours left. I'd better get busy. And I'd better learn to count.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Blogging by Proxy

Ok, I'm totally overwhelmed with yarn, fiber, and business stuff on top of my everyday stuff. I wanted to share a finished project (socks!), a couple of WIPs, and a new purchase, but I'm too busy to stop and take pictures. My nemesis, photos. So I'm going to direct you here. It's my daughter's blog, and since she's the one that totes a camera just about everywhere, you have much better chances of seeing pictures on her blog. You can see me there sniffing wool fumes and wheeling and dealing with fiber vendors.
It's kind of a shame she didn't have the camera in the car yesterday. We were tootling along together, with Rugrat in her car seat in the back. Suddenly we heard the most dreaded sound in the world--that awful "cough-splash" followed immediately by the most dreaded odor in the world. Yep, somebody in the back seat fwowed up. We got to a bathroom and wiped her off as best we could. I had some clothes destined for Goodwill in the trunk, so we wrapped her up in an old dress shirt of Pappy's, put more shirts over the soggy car seat cover, buckled her back in, and raced for home. We almost made it. Missy looked back at Rugrat and said, "Oh, she is sick--she's looking worse by the--"
"cough-splash cough-splash cough-splash"
It's a miracle I didn't get a ticket for speeding. And it's a shame we have no photographic record. And, as God is my witness, I'll never drink chocolate milk again.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Two Exciting Things

I had two new Etsy "conversations" waiting for me this morning. One was a notification that I was included in Sheepshape's Treasury. That's a collection of items with a common theme; hers is "Spinner's Paradise." Depending on how many people view the Treasury (as well as some other parameters I'm not sure about) it can be chosen for the "front page," which is what comes up when you go to I'm not entirely clear on all the details, but I do know that it's a desireable thing, according to Missy, who is the local Etsy expert, and publicity is good!

The other message was an invitation to submit samples for the Phat Fiber box. I managed to get one of the first ones that was put together some months back, and they have become a small phenomenon. It's a box of about 20 samples of fiber, stitch markers, patterns, yarn, and other assorted goodies. (My box had candied pecans in it, and although I'm not sure what that had to do with fiber, I wasn't complaining!) There's a mad rush to buy the boxes when they're released, and there's even a Phat Fiber group on Ravelry. When you get your own Rav group, you know you've arrived!

That means I really have to get cracking on the dyeing and photography. I ordered merino/bamboo yarn and roving a couple of days ago, and I'm looking forward to working with those because the blend takes the dye in a different way and comes out of the steamer in stunning shades. So I'm off to drink my bucket 'o coffee, then to dye!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Too Much to Do, Too Little Time

Now that would be my life's story! I'm constantly struggling to balance what I need and want to do, while trying to find the energy to do it. I have discovered something interesting, though. A couple of weeks ago I went to a new primary care physician. She took about a gallon quart pint of blood for numerous tests to see if we could find a reason for my never-ending fatigue. The tests came back last week. Everything is normal, except that my vitamin D level is way low. Hmmmm...never had that tested before. So I googled and found this article. Fatigue and chronic pain? Oh, yeah, I have those!

I'm not totally surprised, seeing as I do NOT go out in the sun. I hate being hot and I burn very easily, so I pretty much stay indoors all summer. And this summer I've done almost nothing in the yard, so I really was getting no sun at all. I'm still not comfortable with spending a lot of time in the sun, but I guess I'll have to get at least a few minutes in, along with taking supplements. I never even thought of a vitamin deficiency--or if I had thought of it, I suspected a low B-vitamin level--but apparently you can't always get enough Vitamin D from your diet. Who knew?

On to other important things. Nan was the winner of the Addi needles from the last post's giveaway, and those will be going in the mail to her just as soon as I get done with this post. I appreciate everyone's comments and suggestions, and I have plenty of ideas for the next dyeing session.

I made my first Etsy sale over the weekend, so I'm anxious to get more dyed and listed. I spent a while this morning making ads for Ravelry, so I hope those are approved and put in circulation soon. That was not a fun experience at all. I'm a complete digital doofus, and trying to get the ads the right size, then saved and uploaded to Ravelry had me shrieking in frustration. I never imagined what a steep learning curve there would be to doing all this!

I do have two new finished projects to show you. I finished my Fan-Stitch Half-Circle shawl a couple of weeks ago but hadn't had the chance to post the picture until now.

It's so hard to show details of such fine yarn, but you get an idea of how it turned out. I'm extremely happy with this shawl, though I thought the knitted-on border would never end. I had to add an extra increase row and about 40 extra pattern rows to make it big enough, and that's what made the border so long--probably about 1200 rows.

I didn't pin-block this, but steamed it with the iron as I stretched it on my padded sewing table. Pin-blocking would have made the border open up more, but I didn't have enough patience (or pins!) to do that, so iron-blocking was my best option. I doubt anyone will look at it and say, "Gee, it's okay, but you really should have pinned that border out and steamed it better." If they do they'll get a well-deserved poke in the eye!

I'll save the other finished project for a later post. Oh, okay. I'll admit it. I don't have pictures of it yet. Add that to the never-ending "To Do" list!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Whew! A Lotta Work!

The etsy shop is up and running! Finally! I'm hoping I didn't leave any details out, but I'm bound to find out if I did sooner or later. There's one tiny problem, though. I don't want to let these go:

The sock yarn is a slightly heavier weight than normal sock yarn, and it has a wonderful pearled look and soft, squishy feel. I reeeeaaaallly want to keep it, but it has to go to a new home. Same with the Pink Sunrise merino top. Sigh. It's not as if I don't have a bunch of sock yarn and roving already. But it's hard to part with what you've made all by your little self!

Now that the worst is over of getting the shop going, it should be easier every time I have to update. So the next thing on the agenda is more dyeing!! And to celebrate the grand opening, I'm giving away a 24-inch size 3 (3.25) Addi lace circular needle. I love the cable and the tips on this needle, but they're plated with something that makes my teeth itch when I hear them rub against each other. It's the fingernails-on-chalkboard effect.

So leave a comment with a suggestion of a color or fiber you'd like to see in the shop, and I'll pick a random number for that commenter to get the needle. I'll keep this open until midnight Eastern time on Tuesday. (EDIT: I forgot what day it was because of the holiday. The giveaway will stay open until midnight Wednesday.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Finally, Something Accomplished!

This is my Fan-Stitch Half-Circle shawl from Martha Waterman's book.  It's not difficult, but I had to add an extra increase section to make it as long as I wanted. That meant that the 4-row edging took absolutely for-stinkin'-ever!!

But, today I finished the edging. I could weep with joy. So all that remains is crocheting across the top edge to stabilize it, and then I have to block it. I must say that I'm not looking forward to blocking this, and I'm really not sure quite how I'm going to do it. I would have to buy a boatload of T-pins to be able to pin out each little point on the edging, so I suspect it will have to be done in sections. I'll play my Scarlett O'Hara card here: I'll think about it tomorrow.

Because of the s-l-o-w progress on the shawl, I'm way behind on my 52 in 52 plan. I did cast on a new pair of pretty socks, so maybe I can get those done fairly quickly and try to make up for lost time. I'm running into a little issue here though. I really need to make a couple of little girl items that are in the queue. If I don't get started soon, the Rugrat will be too big for what I'm planning to make her.

And that reminds me of a tidbit that I don't believe I've shared yet. We expect a grandson in January. How cool is that?? One of each. I couldn't be happier! Let's hope for a safe and easy arrival (and my son is hoping for a late December arrival. Tax break, you know.)

I'm still adjusting to being more-or-less unemployed. I say more-or-less because dyeing for the Etsy shop is going strong. I had to postpone the opening date from September 1st to the 8th because I simply couldn't get all the little details nailed down in time. Little details like PHOTOGRAPHS. If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that the photos are what drag me down. I hate to blog without any photos at all, and obviously the Etsy thing won't happen without pictures. So I either have to nag the husband to get them done soon or I'll have to tackle it myself. I probably had better learn sometime.

Off to crochet and plan the blocking strategy!