Monthly Archives: November 2007

Bulkiness

Fleece Artist handspun

You’re looking at one 4 oz skein of Fleece Artist merino that I spun on a drop spindle. Pretty, but it’s not what I want.

I want worsted, or sport, or fingering. These one skein, 100 yards or so of bulky/worsted/sport/bulky were fun for awhile, but that’s all I can manage to do, whether I’m on my wheel or my drop spindle. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Granted, the Fleece Artist was tricky to draft. It seemed rather sticky no matter which end I spun from. My process has always been to split up the top, draft, then draft again while I spin. But apparently that’s just not working for me. I know a lot of this comes with practice, and I don’t spin as regularly as I should. But still, I’ve got at least 10 skeins under my belt now, shouldn’t I be a little better at this?

What I’d really like to do is take another class, but all I can find lately is more of an introductory class.

So, if you spin, how long did it take you to be able to spin a consistent weight, and the weight that you wanted to spin? Any big revelations? Maybe it’s time I actually figured out what all those ratios and numbers really mean, but my eyes just glaze over and I start thinking “math alert, math alert!!!”

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Sneaking in a post

I’m supposed to be getting the house cleaned up while the Skeptic is out with the boys but thought I’d take a few minutes to post.

Tam

I dove right into my Posh Yarn from Mrs. Pao and I wasn’t disappointed. This stuff is a dream to work with and gave me one of the most lovely FO’s in a long time.

The pattern is a blend of the basic tam pattern from Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Patterns. I was just going to knit a plain old tam and let the yarn speak for itself, but at soon as I got to the decrease part realized that I wanted to add something extra. So in came the Aran Tam pattern from One Skein Wonders.

I was short stitches for the aran pattern, so I just cut out one cable repeat, added a few extra stitches for the right number and finished the hat from there. It’s a perfect fit!

Tam

I’m thrilled with how this hat turned out and rather proud of myself for taking the time to do it right. I messed up the cables majorly a couple of times and actually made myself drop the stitches down and fix them. But I’m glad I did because I love this hat.

Tam

The hat also has a sense of humor and doesn’t mind a good joke.

I love this hat so much that when we were out to eat last night and the owner commented on how lovely it was, I gleefully said, “Yes! I just finished it a few days ago, I made it myself!” I was probably a bit too excited, but after wearing it at bus duty two days in a row with no one saying, “Wow, amazing hat!” I was excited to have someone notice. (I know, first graders do not care about their music teacher’s hat unless it says “High School Musical” or “Spiderman” but I can dream, right?)

So later in the car, I asked the Skeptic, “Did you hear, she liked my hat!”

“Yup, it’s a great hat. You were a little excited about it, though, huh?”

“Okay, maybe I was a bit of a geek, but I’ve been wearing this hat for days wishing I could just say to everyone, “See my hat? I just finished it. Don’t you love it? I made it myself, see those cables?” But that would be weird and socially unacceptable. So I have to just wait for someone to notice and try not to be a bit too excited about it.”

The Skeptic, totally deadpan, replied, “But isn’t knitting weird and socially unacceptable?”*

Maybe you had to be there, but the Skeptic says things in a way that only he can, and both the hat and I nearly fell off the seat from laughter. If there is one thing I love about my husband, it’s his sense of humor.

To all my US friends, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

*We had just been at a dinner where a friend was going on about someone at a meeting who was knitting, and that it was weird and well, a bit unacceptable.

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Filed under family, finished objects, hats

Come On, Get Happy

Wow, a week since my last post. That’s what happens when you go home from work with a sinus infection and forget your laptop there. Seriously, the pain was so bad I could barely drive home on Monday. Anyone have success in dealing with chronic sinus issues? I’m getting so tired of these flare ups.

So what’s happened while I was suffering all week? Growth, for one. I’m always amazed when my kids hit a new spurt. This time it’s all about the words.

Knittybaby is talking, and talking, and talking. All day long I hear:

“I do! ”

“Happening?”

“CD! CD!”

“Why?”

“Crackers!”

Of course, the knowledge that he can now really communicate makes it even more frustrating for him when he tries but we don’t get it. When I can’t decipher his babyspeak I’m met with massive screaming, pushing and “No!” every time I make a suggestion as to what he is talking about. Frustrating at times, exciting to see, and even a bit weird occasionally when he surprises me with what he says and understands. I keep thinking, “this is my baby, he’s not supposed to do that yet, is he?” But he does. Every day I think how incredible it really is.

Little Man has his head exploding with letters. Suddenly he’s realized that these letters make sounds, and sounds make words, and if he can figure it all out he’ll be able to read. It’s an amazing process to watch, and I’m so happy that he has come to this on his own interests rather than being pushed into it before he was ready.

He’s got about ten random letters figured out, and he spends his day asking me what this words is, and that letter, and this sound, trying so hard to spell something other than his name. I’m loving all this growth and I’m so excited to see how thrilled he is about all of this.

I also feel like my head might explode a bit, when I’ve got one kid yelling “Mimi! mimi! mimi” and another one yelling, “Mom, now what does it spell?” (“Rxbdft!!! Almost the same as rxbtt!” We need to work on some vowels.) All with a very sweet beagle under my feet while I’m cooking dinner with a sinus infection. But still fun most of the time!

Little Man also decided to restyle his hair this week. For the last two weeks he’s been asking me to cut it, “Short on the top and sides and long in the back.”

“No, that’s a mullet. That is the only haircut I won’t let you have.”

“But I LIKE mullets!!”

Before you get too afraid, he did not give himself a mullet. He did however cut his hair in a way that makes him look like David Cassidy in the Partridge Family years. I’ve got to take him in now to have it fixed, and I’m trying to decide if I let him keep his Cassidy look or opt for something a little more trimmed, but still with his shaggy boy hair that I love so much.

My artist

He still looks a lot like the above picture, only with a feathered look. Hmmmm…..

And just to show her off a bit, here is a pic of Bailey. She is ALL beagle, but we’re loving her. As you can tell, she is a very serious girl!

Miss Bea

Where’s that kid who keeps dropping his food?

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I Love This

I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org

I’ll amend this a bit to be buy handmade or local, as there are a few items I want for the boys that I can’t make. But, I’m thinking that about 75% of my gifts will be handmade items and the rest from small local shops. I may have to order this crane if my local toy shop can’t order it for me, but that should be the only non-locally purchased item.

Since I’m trying not to be crazy, I won’t be making everything myself. But, with Etsy as an online option that makes life much easier. And for you locals who might be wondering where you can get great handmade items, here’s a quick Twin Cities rundown of where I’ll be shopping for handmade goods:

I Like You at 42nd and Nicollet in Minneapolis. Seriously, this is an awesome, awesome shop. It’s like having my own personal Etsy shop to visit whenever I want.

Edited to add: I Like You is sponsoring the Handmaiden Minneapolis Craftmas: Indie Art and Craft Show on December 9th. I’m quite psyched about this and now need to save even more money!

Gift Shop Co-op at 3023 E 35th Street. I haven’t been here yet but it looks intriguing.

No Coast Craftorama!!!! ‘Nuff said.

Textile Center at 3000 UniversityAve SE. They have an ongoing holiday sale with the grand opening being this weekend. They even have a family day on December 2nd, where you can shop while the kiddos have fun. I’ll be teaching the pre-school activitiy that day, so if you come stop by to say hi!

Re-Gifts at 1842 E. 42nd St in Minneapolis. Awesome shop, and I just noticed they have an online shop too, if you’re not a local.

I’m going to try to do my top ten Etsy shops another day. Have a great weekend!

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I’m Better Than A Sweater

Little Man has had the kind of week where he just needed a lot of extra cuddles and love. He’s pretty much been glued to me, to the point that he even cried when I went to knitting on Tuesday. I can’t remember the last time when he cried when I left the house. So it’s been a lot of snuggles this week, reading books, doing puzzles, a lot of general togetherness.

Tonight during supper, as he slid his dining room chair as close to mine as possible, I commented, “You’ve really needed a lot of extra Mommy time this week, haven’t you?” He nodded and dove into his sandwich.

Later, when I was getting the boys ready for bed, Little Man  picked out his books and crawled into bed and said,  “You know why I need extra Mommy time this week?”

“Why’s that?” I replied.

“It’s because you’re so warm. And it’s really cold now.”

Must be all that wool I’m wearing.
The beagle, as I’m sure you’re all wondering, is coming to live with us!

She was a stray we found last weekend, who stayed with us until the vet’s office opened on Monday and we were able to find her people from her rabies tag info. She is the sweetest girl ever, and ironically, her family was in the process of looking for a new home for her as she escaped this weekend for her little neighborhood jaunt. They have another baby coming  and feel they can’t give her the attention she deserves.

I had hoped my parents would take her. My Mom said yes but my Dad is not quite sold on the idea. The Skeptic at first said “no way” when I brought up the idea of us keeping her if my parents couldn’t. But, he’s a softie, and when he came home from work today he told us all, “I have good news. Bailey the beagle has found a new home… with us!”

So we now have two dogs, two cats, and two kids. Wish us luck:-)

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So what did I knit?

Wow, didn’t mean to go a whole week with no post. It’s been a long week. Some parts great, some parts not so great, and I could write for an hour and still not get into it all. So I’m going directly to the knitting. (I will say, however, that the Skeptic and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary on November 1st. Because that’s very happy news, too happy to leave out!:-)

So first, you’re all wondering what skein did I order? I’m taking my time, but right now I’m torn between Wollmeise (color!! yardage!!!) and Yarn Love (color! bamboo! silk!). Handmaiden had become my first choice, but my dear mom asked me to knit a hat for her, which means she’s buying. So I still get to knit up some beautiful Handmaiden Mini Maiden for my mom. (She picked out the Webs Tam).

What did I knit to hit ten?

Superhero Socks!!!
Picture 002

Little Man requested “superhero” socks in the colors of red, white and blue. I had some Lion Brand Magic Stripes sitting around that was perfect for the job. Both boys are extremely pleased I’m finally done. So am I, as I have to say Magic Stripes was not my favorite to knit with. There was just a feeling to the yarn that I didn’t like, too nylon-ish, maybe. But it did the job, the socks are comfy and the boys are happy.

Picture 007

Yes, that’s an end sticking out. Knittybaby doesn’t seem to mind. When asked, “Do you like your socks he says, “I do!” However, he also answers “I do” to every question asked these days, so who knows. He seems happy.
Picture 002

Just don’t tell Little Man I posted them on the blog. He informed me halfway through our photo shoot that these are “secret socks” and bailed as soon as he realized I planned to reveal them to the world.

Skeptic Socks!!!!
Skeptic socks

He refused to take off the sandals but I think you get the idea:
Skeptic socks 2
(Note to self, dining room with crappy need-to-be-refinished floors and crummy old table not the best place to take pictures, especially with a flash.)

Out of yarn!

The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock (unknown colorway) and Lucy Neatby Celestial Merino for the cuffs and parts of the leg on one sock.

It’s interesting, I started with two pretty evenly divided balls of the Cherry Tree Hill. I knit the first sock with the smaller ball and added the brown cuff for a bit more length. The second sock was knit with the bigger ball, and I was nearly out of yarn soon after turning the heel. I blended in the brown Lucy Neatby in with the Cherry Tree Hill, which worked out okay. But clearly one needs two skeins of Cherry Tree for a pair of man’s socks.

And the Skeptic??? He is coming around to hand knit socks. As for these, he says the fit is great and they are quite comfortable. The only problem? His feet got too hot. Now, it was only in the 50’s this weekend, so we’ll see now that it’s cooler out. But his next pair (yes, he loves them enough to get a second pair) will be in a cotton or bamboo blend.

After the knitting, we have goodies!!!! My Coffeeswap package arrived this week. I uncovered my batteries yesterday so I could finally take pictures. Look what Mrs. Pao sent!!!

Picture 021

This is such a gorgeous package. Chocolates, cookies, coffee, yarn and adorable stitch markers! I’m so happy with it all. Mrs. Pao will notice that some items are missing as we could not wait for the batteries to devour the treats. The coffee was quickly brewed up and the treats opened. I had two other smaller packets of coffee and a bunch of the 1 Euro white chocolate coins. Too yummy to wait! (Wow, my photography skills are not too hot here.)

Let’s try a yarn picture with the flash. This is much more true to the color (if I only had sunlight!)
Picture 022

She sent Posh Yarn and it is just gorgeous. I am so in love with this yarn that I cast on for a tam already. The color is to die for. (I’m crazy for green lately).

Thank you Mrs. Pao for such a wonderful package!!! I hope you love yours as much!!!

This last picture is for my mom.

A guest

The sweetest stray beagle in the world, as well as perfect houseguest. She totally wants to go home to you. Little Man says you’d better talk Grandpa into it. 🙂

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