Monday, August 25, 2008

Finally Finished

I finally finished knitting these socks too. The yarn is Flat Feet from Conjoined Creations. They machine knit it into a flat piece of fabric and then dye it in fun and funky ways. Knitting it was no problem and I think I kinda liked having the flats to carry around instead of balls. Balls tend to roll all over the car and you have to keep the two balls from twisting and tangling. Rolling was absolutely no problem with these and twisting and tangling while I knit was a lot less of a problem.

There are two things that I discovered after I'd knit the socks. The first ws that the yarn bled dye pretty badly when I was blocking the socks. If I'd known it was going to do that, I would have reset the dye before I started knitting because that would have been the easiest time to do it. I could have done it after knitting and before blocking, but by then the sock blank had been cut off and was halfway unravelled.

The second thing I discovered was that the kink in the yarn messes up guage. I finally got the correct guage when I was knitting and thought everything was hunky dory. Then when I went to block the socks, they grew significantly as the yarn relaxed and let go the kink. I was a bit worried when I had wet socks that seemed to be growing faster than the kids. But I kinda squished them back into shape and then laid them flat on the drying blocks and hoped for the best. They dried and seem to fit just fine. Miss S is modeling them here and she said they were incredibly comfortable. They fit her tho they'd probably fall down and they fit me too. So all in all, it was fun and a good project. And I'll probably knit from a flat blank again sometime, but I'll remember what I learned.

One other thing that I learned . . . when you do the turned heel from the top down it does need some stockinette before you start turning.

More critters

I had lots of the Galway wool leftover from the first hedgehog. Miss M decided she really needed another, so I said we'd get some fun fur and I'd make her another. Well, then Miss S thought she should have one too. But Miss S didn't want one that was dull beige or brown, she wanted green. I tried to get her to let me put pink paws on it, but she didn't want to go there.
So, here are the two new hedgehogs - the green and the beige.
The Huggable Hedgehog pattern is pretty easy to follow - the back is all short rows, so you kinda have to pay a little attention. But other than that, it's simple and really quick. You can almost make one of these in an evening. One thing that I really like about the pattern is that there is absolutely no sewing. You knit the front of the body and then pick up stitches around it for the back. That's as hard as it gets - picking up stitches and then the short rows. There isn't even any purling in this little guy.

And here is the finished green hedgehog.

And the fun fur I got for Miss S has multiple colors in it - a nice beige with some copper and a touch of green. That way he won't clash with the Green Hedgehog.
A comparison of the finished hedgehog with the two unfelted bodies of the new hedgehogs.
And the finished beige hedgehog.

And of course, a group shot!
They are all very Huggable Hedgehogs.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ahem . . .

Look Mom! Do you wanna play?
This is a really great toy I have here! I promise it's fun.
No? I think I'm gonna go sit in a corner and eat worms . . . .

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I have turned a heel . . . .

And it was not that difficult. I've been experimenting with new ways to do heels and toes on socks. I have several books on socks and right now, I'm working my way thru Charlene Schurch's Sensational Socks. This heel was quick and easy - and I think I will use it again if it fits when I'm done with the socks.

Knitting with the sock flats is a little wierd - the kink in the yarn made it a bit difficult to figure out if I had guage or not. We'll have to see what happens when the socks are blocked. And I was shocked at how different the knitted socks looked from the knitted blank. Somehow I expected to see greater puddles of yellow than I actually see in the socks, and the orange has practically disappeared altogether. But I still like the socks and I like the pattern I knit into them. Not sure if I'll write it up as a pattern or not tho - may be more trouble than it's worth.

Someone planted a tomato plant this year and it has finally started to produce one tiny little fruit. Of course he wouldn't listen to me or let me touch it all summer. Funny, but that one little fruit started to grow just a couple of days after I pollinated one of the flowers with a paintbrush. And that flower appeared just about two weeks after I cut all the excess leaves off the plant. Of course I did all that when someone was at work because he would have killed me if I'd done it when he could see it.

Pretty Pretty . . . .

First come the buds - and sometimes they are as lovely as the flowers. The pink bud is passiflora violacea form #3 and the purple is passiflora pura vida purple.

Then come the lovely flowers . . . .
passiflora citrina
passiflora Jeanette
and passiflora Temptation (which smells just lovely)

and then you get the little passion flower eaters . . . . but they turn into pretty butterflies, so I share.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Not Knitting with Lemons . . . .

First, start with a pile of lovely lemons

then peel them all, but save the peels

takes a lot of wrist strength

peels go in a jar with a tight seal

then you add vodka (or grain alcohol)

cover peels completely and store in a safe place.

Then squeeze the lemons and make lemonade!

The actual recipe is 16 (or more - I use lots more) lemons two two half gallon jugs of vodka. What you don't see in these shots is that the jar with the peels gets completely filled with vodka. You also don't see that there are two more jars like that and when they are done, they are about half full of lemon peels. The vodka will quickly start to turn yellow. The vodka with lemon peels needs to sit for at least a week and as long as several weeks. When it's been sitting that long, I add a simple syrup made from 3 cups of water and 2 1/2 cups of sugar to the strained vodka. Then bottle up your limoncella and chill it in the freezer before drinking.

It's very yummny!! Careful tho - A little goes a looonnnnggggg way!

Seemed like a good idea at the time . . . . .

Hmmm . . . . . . seems to be just a little more difficult getting out than it was getting in . . . . .

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Presents and furry friends . . .

First, a lovely package arrived for me from Wales the other day. I had asked, on Ravelry, if someone would trade something for a copy of Mazzmatazz's Rebel Knitter's Guide from the Guardian newspaper there. Couldn't find anyone to trade, but one very kind soul offered to send me a copy for free. When the package arrived, imagine my surprise and delight when it also contained a package of Jelly Babies! Doctor Who cannot have any of these . . . .

I also got the books I ordered from the Interweave Hurt Book sale. I can see absolutely nothing wrong with any of these books - other than the fact that someone wrote on the ISBN numbers with a pen. I'm guessing they did that to show that the books were not for sale. The Socks from Spin off book has some wonderful sock patterns in it. Good thing I now have a lifetime supply of sock yarn. I guess I'll start knitting other people's patterns for a while.

Still another package arrived from Dena - it contained a bunch of name labels for the girls' school stuff (thank you!), a magazine that I never got to read and this book. I printed out the pages she had already sent me, cut them down to size and stuck them in the book. Miss S wants me to start knitting a farm immediately. But those girls want me to knit everything for them with no regard to the time it takes to do it. Maybe if they'd start cooking and cleaning, but that's not too likely to happen any time soon.

And here, for your viewing pleasure, are some pics of a few of the furry beasts who live in the house. They were all playing together in one room - well all three of these anyway, we cannot let the bully in that room or he beats everyone else up. So we currently have no picture of Billy the Bully - perhaps I'll take one and add it later . . . .

First, Casey. She's looking gorgeous with her newly fixed eyes and a fresh bath and a little growth on that short, short hair cut she had a while ago.

Next Cat - she's pretending to be regal here, but we all know she's just a crazy little imp. No sooner was the photo snapped than she got up and ran off at full speed across the room and up the furniture.

And last Jessica, who prefers the solitary, quiet space under the bed when there are goings on in the room. She's such a regal princess.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Busy Knitting

I've been a very busy girl this last ten days. I may have been on vacation, but well, that's a vacation from housework and motherhood, NOT ever a vacation from knitting. When we go on vacation, we go to relax and enjoy ourselves and do what we like, right? Well, I like to knit. I don't mind going to the beach as long as I don't have to drive. The long car ride is a pain in the butt if you're driving, but if you are a passenger . . . . well, it's lovely knitting time (provided you don't have issues with car sickness, which I don't). So I knit for six hours on the ride down and another six on the ride back (well, unless we run into darkness coming or going).

So, on the ride down there, I finished the green hedgehog but then had to rip it back out because the double stranded fun fur was too thick and I was sure it wouldn't ever felt properly. Then I reknit it. Lovely trip. Then while down there, I always get at least an hour in the morning while Hubby goes to the gym and works out - and sometimes it's two or more hours. Then he comes home and we go to the beach or pool which is good for another hour or two (sometimes even more). Then it's back to the shack for an afternoon rest - which is prime knitting time, usually two or more hours or as long as it takes to fall asleep - he usually goes to the pool and the kids play gameboy or read. Then out to a lovely dinner and as long as I haven't overindulged on wine, I'll get another two to three hours when I get home.

Needless to say, I like going to the beach and I like vacations. I carry a LOT of yarn with me - just in case. Funny, there's no local yarn shop at the beach - the lady who used to run the one and only in town told me that nobody that far south ever used wool, so she didn't carry it. Any wonder that her shop went belly up? There are a couple 30 minutes or more away, but I'm usually not interested in the drive in a town I am not familiar with, so don't bother.

Anyway, on this trip, I cast on and knit about 6" on the flat feet (shown above). I'm now ready to turn the heel. It's another new pattern that I made up and I kinda like it, so I just might write it down. I also turned the heel on the Austermann Step socks after knitting them to the turning point, ripping them back almost to the toe and then reknitting them to the turning point. Now it's up to the ribbing and then they are done - but it's lace and I need to move stitches and I can come up with ten more reasons to let them sit for a while. I also knit two hedgehogs on this trip - one green with green fur and one beige with brown paws and beige/brown/many colored fur. They are currently indisposed (read: in the washing machine) so cannot have their pictures made. I'll need to order eyes and noses as they cannot be found locally, so they'll be a few days in seclusion before they join their little brown & beige pal.

Numma Numma Toasty Socks

These are the Numma Numma Toasty Socks that I won the contest with - one pair in Sprinkles for Stella and the other pair in Pepper Jelly (which I really like). If they look too big on the models, it's because they are adult sized socks on my childrens' feet.

New Yarn - Yum, yum!

We were at the local yarn shop today and searching for a specific bag of yarn at the very bottom of the sale bin. That meant that we had to almost completely empty the bin of bags to find the ONE bag that had the yarn Miss S wanted to make little piggies with.

This lovely bamboo was in the sale bin and apparently calling Miss M's name. She saved it out when we were busy replacing all the 200 bags we had removed in the search for the pig yarn. Then she found the blue/green bamboo and apparently it was calling her name even louder. So she decided that this lovely purple/green/white bamboo could be for a sweater for Miss S and she gets the lovely blue/green bamboo.
Obviously, I get to knit these sweaters. I probably get to knit them according to some strange design that lives only in that little blonde head of hers . . . . and I probably need to have them done before the first day of school. A little more than a week, that's enough time to knit two sweaters, isn't it?

This lovely yarn is the yarn I won for my sock pattern. The green yarn was a substitute for a skein that was black and red self striping yarn. It was meant to be University of Georgia colors and I'm sure many people here in Georgia would absolutely LOVE it, but I'm going to start being a Georgia Tech fan since I'm sure that's where Miss M will end up. Now do you think I can get the lady who owns Numma Numma Yarns to dye me up a batch of yellow and black tech colored yarn?

Anyway, these are the Numma Numma Toasty for Needle Nook Exclusive Colors (except for the green). From left to right, meet: Pesto, Needle Nook Nosh (my favorite I think), Lou's Brew and Shirley's Breakfast Blues (really pretty in person).

I really like the Numma Numma yarn - it's smushy and nice to knit with. I might make Steve a pair of socks with the Lou's Brew colorway. Not sure about the rest, but with all my new sock books, I am sure I can find something to do with it.