Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Frozen Over Frog Pond

First the frogging:

Poor little Entrelac scarf. I had the brilliant idea that I should measure the scarf and make sure that it was actually 12" wide. It was actually 16" wide!!! Not exactly something I could hide in the blocking. Besides, it would also mean that I really wouldn't have enough yarn. The good thing though is that I can now keep even more careful notes as to how I am knitting this scarf. I was wondering if you guys would like the pattern written up as far as I have gotten, which is everything but the top triangles. I probably won't be to the top triangles until January, when the scarf is actually due. That means that the full pattern won't be up until then. If you want it sooner I can post the partial. So, let me know what you think: partial now or whole pattern later?

Now the frozen part of my Frog Pond. It is currently a toasty 25 degrees out here. Sad thing though, my dye pot has frozen over!!! No more dyeing for awhile. Actually it isn't my dye pot that is keeping me from dyeing. I'm just waiting for a yarn order. It should be here either today or tomorrow then I'll be back to my dyeing goodness.

Though the reason why I had to order more yarn is because I dyed up a whole bunch of yarn for my etsy shop. This is my new colorway, inspired by Destiny, called Truffle. It reminds me of decadent chocolates. It is so pretty and I love it.

Remember back when I first got my electric skein winder (click the link if you don't)? I said something about technical difficulties. Well those difficulties came in the form of two large skeins of yarn. So, I decided to dye them in two of my most popular colorways, Mountain Sunset and Blue Raspberry. There is enough in each skein to make a pair of knee socks for a regular foot, or two pairs of ankle socks, or a regular pair and a kids pair. The possibilities are endless!

Coming soon: Men Mitt Kitts

Sunday, November 26, 2006

First Snow

Is winter really here? It just might be:

We have snow. Actually I think most of the Northwest has snow. So far we are good. My husband put chains on the car and we headed out and even opened up Knot Another Hat. Apparently yarn shops are the place to be when there is a snow storm, just in case you are wondering. I was surprised that anybody ventured out in this snow, but they did! (Btw the grey bit at the top is the snow cloud that hung around all day!)

Here is my husband shoveling off the walk. Check out his blog for more photos of the snow. He had to get the walk swept and everything prepared for him to go off to work tomorrow (and for me to go off to work today). It is very important! He love his job, and for those of you that I haven't already told, he is working for Google making sure that the internet still works. Actually I have no idea what he really does, but making the internet work sounds good.

I really love this picture of the snow on trees. I can almost imagine that I am in the middle of nowhere except for the power lines that are on the left side. Please ignore those and bask in the beauty of freshly fallen snow encrusting each twig.

Oh, yes, and the knitting content. Like I said I needed to knit something in front of the family. I got a bunch of progress done over Thanksgiving on the Entrelac Scarf. I really love how it is coming together. I got a lot of compliments on it while working at the shop. My goal is to convert the masses to entrelac. The pattern is just about any entrelac pattern. It is 6 sts by 12 rows, which should make sense if you look at an entrelac pattern. I must admit that I just changed Criminy Jickets Garterlac pattern (on the sidebar) back into entrelac because it was the first entrelac pattern I could find. This scarf is knit on size 5s. The yarn is Miner Creek Alpaca color Fiesta #112. I might write the pattern out and offer it for free if enough people are interested.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Yardage Meter

When I bought my Electric Skein Winder I said that I would probably sell my yardage meter and that I would give you a review. Well, I finally got the pictures taken and I have now listed it up on Ebay. You can check out the listing here.

Now for my review of the yardage meter. This yardage meter is made by Nancy's Knit Knacks, a very good company that makes quality products. I know that because I am selling this item that you are expecting that I will give a good review to it. For the most part that is true. This is a good quality product, but it just didn't totally fit my needs. I bought it with the intention of measuring my handspun yarn. Unfortunately, even though NKK says that this meter can be used for handspun, it probably shouldn't be used for it if you want a completely accurate measurement. The trouble comes, and NKK does say this too, is that the yarn, like most handspun, is uneven. Uneven yarns make the meter inaccurate by up to 10%. For me that is a big deal, because I want people to be able to buy my yarn and be able to use it in a project with completely accurate yardage, not an approximation. So, I the way that I find yardage is by using my Niddy Noddy and multiplying by how many times it wraps around.

This meter is, however, very good for things like commercial yarns that are even. Have a partial ball of yarn that you want to know how much is in it? This meter is perfect! I was using this for my sock yarn because it was very accurate for finding the 460 yards that is in each skein. The trouble came when I then needed to wind those 460 yards around my niddy noddy then dye them, then wind them again into a ball and then wind them again onto the niddy noddy. My electric skein winder, which is a dream, takes out the most strenuous of those steps. Yay! The yardage meter is ideal for someone who is measuring yarn periodically and not a high volume of yarn, like I am. It is a very useful tool for commercial yarn and can also measure ribbon yarn accurately. If you are interested in my yarn meter you can check out my listing on ebay where I am selling it at a highly reduced price. Also, you can ask me any questions here or through ebay! Thank you and have a very nice day after Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am just so happy that it is Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving, even if it means lots and lots of cooking. In my family we have so many dietary restraints that we have to make everything from scratch. My mother is terribly allergic to MSG and to anything with soy in it. My uncle is the same and also can't have any nitrites or he gets massive migraine headaches. I have Crohn's disease, which means that I can't eat anything with nuts, whole wheat, chocolate, or a whole long list of other things. I can eat pumpkin though, so I have been cooking up a load of pumpkin goodies!

I got most of my recipes from the Nestle site, they also make Libby's pumpkin. These are the Old Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies. Thay are really good. My husband and I had to sample them last night for, um, safety. That's right. Just to make sure that they were suitable for the rest of the family to eat.

This is my most favorite thing that I made. It is the Sour Cream Pumpkin Bundt Cake. I really love bundt cake. More to the point I love bundt cake pans. Especially ones like this! I also made the Libby's Pumpkin Roll, but haven't taken a picture of it yet. I didn't make a pumpkin pie because I'm not very good at making pie crusts yet, I'm working on it. It also doesn't help that my parents have cut out hydrogenated oils and other oils like soy bean and vegetable, so shortening it out. We use a product called Rice Bran Oil, which is really good and good for you. So I am going to have to experiment with it some more to see if I can make a decent crust.

I went and shook out some of the powdered sugar outside and it landed on our hedge. I just thought it was pretty so I thought I would post it up.

Just in case you were starting to think this was turning into a cooking blog, here is some pretty handspun yarn to sooth your knitting soul. This is sock weight yarn. It is 80% Superwash Wool and 20% Tencel. You can see the tencel gives it shine that looks almost like silk. It is really pretty and I am really proud of it. I named it Dazzling Sunrise. It should be down at Knot Another Hat soon and up on my page. I forgot to take it in on Tuesday, so it probably won't be down there until next Tuesday. I am working this weekend (Saturday & Sunday) down at KAH, so come drop by and say hi if you are in the area.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

This & That

I have been knitting, but mostly for Christmas, so can't show any pictures. I will, hopefully, have a pattern up soon that I have designed for Christmas, but no pictures. I will put pictures on my Etsy shop though, so we shall see. I really want to have this pattern up, because I am rather proud of it. I'm also thinking kits, which will be so much fun.

This is a project that I can show. I have a commission for a scarf that is 12" x 90". The upside being that she doesn't want it until January 5th, so I have plenty of time. The downside being that it is 12" x 90"!!! I decided to knit it in entrelac, because I love entrelac. Also because she wanted to preserve the fabulous colors that are in this yarn. The yarn is Miner Creek Alpaca color Fiesta #112 from Miner Creek Alpaca in White Salmon, Washington (right across the Columbia River from here). Marina, who owns Miner Creek Alpaca has the yarn processed from the alpacas she raises right there. Some of it is dyed at the mill and some of it she dyes herself. It is sold exclusively through Knot Another Hat. This is how far I got yesterday, so I think there is a pretty good chance that I will get it done before it is due. It is now my project that I knit around my family so that they don't know about their Christmas goodies.

I thought I would share these with you: Stitchionary 1, Stitchionary 2, Stitchionary 3. I got this set because I have been working pretty hard and I thought I would treat myself. They are really really pretty books. I love all the different stitch patterns. I don't remember where I heard it from, but somebody said that every designer should have a good pattern book (Knitters Handy guide to sweaters & patterns - check) and a good stitch dictionary. This completes that list. I just looked through all of them and I got so many ideas for sweaters and all sorts of projects it just made my head swim. I really love them. The only downside to them is they are a bit on the spendy side for knitting books. Still, though, if you are looking for a good set of stitch dictionaries with beautiful images and great descriptions check out these books.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Etsy v2 - An Update

I am very happy so far with the new Etsy. I know they are still working out some bugs, which I will list at the end, but it is definately worth checking out. If you want to see the whole walk-through check it out here. I am going to talk about some of my new favorite features, but probably won't touch on everything that is new.

I am very happy because I put up a brand new banner. A very pretty banner at that. It was designed by yours truly, of which I am quite proud, using a product called The Gimp. The Gimp is an open software (and is a free download) that mimics Photoshop. It does a lot of the same things as Photshop, but not always in the same way. It works for me though because I pretty much needed a program that would make an image an exact size for my new banner and it can definately do that. I think I might even pick up a book or something on The Gimp and figure out more of what it can do. I must say that my banner was partially an accident and partially inspired design. I'm just happy that it has a little more depth to it and really stands out. You can check it out in my new Etsy Shop.

One of the neat new things in Etsy is the shopping cart. You can even shop all over Etsy and then check out at the end. It does mean multiple checkouts, but I still think it is really cool. Especially since a shopping cart now means that Etsy will now to multiple purchases and combined shipping automatically. I am currently going through each of my listings and editing them to accomodate the new abilities. It also means that not only can I put in a shipping price for the US, I can put in a combined shipping price. Also, I can put in seperate shipping prices for the US, Canada, and Everywhere Else, with combined shipping. That means no more having to message me and banter back and forth about shipping price. It is what it is listed and that is that. I hope this will make everyone else as happy as I am. It also means that I will have more time for dyeing and designing, instead of having to answer email. Yay!

So far the only downsides I have seen are minor things that will probably be fixed in the near future. One of them being Alchemy. I really miss having Alchemy, because I liked to peruse the listings everyday and see if there was anything interesting. It really was a great way to get my name out there and make some custom items for people. Etsy people say that it will be back soon, but haven't mentioned a date yet. If you would like a custom item through my Etsy shop make sure to leave me either a message there or a comment here on the blog and I will make sure to get back to you. I have been doing custom items this way lately, but I will be much happier when Alchemy is back. The other things that have gone wrong are minor, like the fact that it will not let me put apostrophes in my titles, so please do not think that I am illiterate because don't is now spelled dont. I don't feel like bugging the admins with this quite yet, because there is a lot of stuff that they are dealing with right now. You can read the forums to see what is going on.

So, really truly, you should go and take a look around Etsy and see what you think. I am really impressed with this update. They really have improved the look and capabilities of Etsy.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Etsy v2

I have been waiting all day and it is finally up! Go and check out Etsy v2 and more importantly, my Etsy shop with all the whole new look!

I still need to spiff it up to their new specifications and get use to everything is new. So, bear with me. I am just so happy that it is up, all new and improved.

I don't have much else. I'm working on Christmas goodies, so nothing new to show. I worked Friday, Saturday, and Sunday down at Knot Another Hat. It wasn't too bad. The place is still standing, so Sarah should be pleased.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Wild and Wooly

If you have seen the news recently you probably have heard that we have been having some pretty wild weather out here in the Northwest. The water was really high, which is unusual for this time of year. So, I went out and took some photos with my mom and her twin sister.

Here is a view of the railroad bridge nearly underwater. We kept hearing rumors on Tuesday that it was underwater. The train most certainly wasn't running that day either. I don't know one way or the other, since these were taken on Wednesday.

Here's another view where you can see that all of those lovely trees were once on an island and are now partially underwater.

This is a picture from our deck, compare it to this earlier picture taken of the lovely foliage. I think it has totally reformed the land where people would fish or swim. Not to mention that that lovely substation is now underwater. Thankfully it really isn't used to power anyone in town.

Ok, onto the wooly! These skeins are all 100 grams for each pair. I just hate skeins that have knots in the middle of them so I break them up and come up with 100 gram pairs. I'm going to sell them at a discount in my etsy shop, because they are in 2 skeins. It does take me awhile to come up with groups of them, because for the most part my yarn comes in perfect 100 gram skeins. (There are also some of those in my shop too).

Finally, here is the little Debbie Bliss Baby Hoody. It is made out of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran Color #207 and is from the Debbie Bliss Special Knits book. I love this hoodie. It was really fun and fast. It had a lot of plain mindless knitting combined with more complicated techniques to keep me interested.
The only little thing that bothered me, which should hopefully help others trying to make this pattern, is the hood. There are approximately twice as many hood stitches to sew than there are back sts. This makes the hood poof out for the babies head. I just wish there had been a picture of the back of the hood in the book. So I thought I would put one here. I had to ease the hood in, which wasn't so bad, but was a bit of a surprise. (The more accurate color is in the first picture). I'm just pretty happy to have this one finished and I could totally see myself making another one. This is a store model that will be down at Knot Another Hat.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I'm a Knitter and I vote!

As everyone else out there ought to be. Today is the day to get out and vote! Get your voice heard! If you are a knitter and you vote and you like a nice yarn related prize, make sure to check out Chrissy's blog I'm a Knitter and I vote! Everyone who emails Chrissy letting her know that they voted will be entered for a very nice patriotic prize. So even more reason to get out there and vote.
My husband, mother, father, brother, and myself all voted last week thanks to the wonder of mail in voting. It was really great to hash out all the issues as a family. That doesn't mean that we all agree on everything, but we do get to look at it from different angles. So, if you haven't already, get out there and vote, I can't stress this enough!

Monday, November 06, 2006

I Got a New Toy!!!

I am so happy. Thanks to everyone who has bought yarn lately, I have been able to save up to buy this labor saving device:

It is an Electric Skein Winder by Fricke. I went on Saturday, which means I didn't get any dyeing done that day, to Woodland Woolworks and they had one. They actually had one assembled and everything sitting there waiting for me. For those curious as to what I did before, I would measure out my yarn using my yarn meter then I would wind and wind and wind on my Niddy Noddy (by ashford). Then I would dye and then I would wind and wind and wind them all again. I must say that with how popular my yarn has been lately that my arm was about to fall off. So, this new skein winder is going to save my arm and it will save lots and lots of time. Now I can use more time to dye and less processing! Yay! As a final note, I may be selling my yarn meter, probably on Ebay, and I will let you guys know when/if I do with a bit of a review about using it (if you are going to buy one and want a review early, just email me or leave a comment). I still am going to use my niddy noddy for my handspun yarn, so it will not be parting from me anytime soon.

Also, new to the scene is this. I just reorganized my "studio." I know I said that I wouldn't dye inside, but with how popular my yarn has been lately I decided something needed to be done. So, I moved my table inside and reorganized my stash. It only needs a new cheap vinyl tablecloth to make it complete (the last one cost $3 and is now full of holes). By the way, this is the closest I will ever come to flashing my stash. This is only part of it. The dresser is filled with yarn, in case you wondered. I still have a couple of bins in the back room that are filled with yarn that I am sure that I will do something with someday, but I don't want to look at it right now. Someday it will probably be purged. You can also see part of my fiber stash in the bin on top of the table. There is also a bin under the table that is overflowing and a huge bowl full of yarn on my coffee table in my living room. I really need to sit down and spin.

In shop news I have two new yarns. This is superwash in dk weight. This is ideal for people who want to knit socks on bigger needles (5-6US). It is also really nice for scarves and hats. Pretty much anything that calls for dk weight superwash wool. It will not felt and is machine washable. Each skein is 4 oz and 280 yards. They will be posted up in my etsy shop very soon.

The second new yarn is a twisted yarn. One of the three plies soaks up more dye than the others, so it gives this kinda tweedy look. It is worsted weight, so slightly heavier than the superwash (needles 7-9). It is handwash only, though I'm not sure if it would actually felt. I'll let you know if I find out. It would be ideal for hats and scarves, or anything that calls for a worsted weight yarn. Each skein is 4 oz and 280 yards. I can dye either of these in any amount, so if someone out there wants sweater quantity, I can do that as well.

Finally I have a picture of the Mine Sock in progress. I had meant to put up a picture of the Debbie Bliss Baby Hoodie blocking, but somehow I managed to take only blurry pictures of it. I only have two seams left to sew up and then I will show it to you all finished and adorable. I do really love these socks, they at least photograph well. I just love how they are so pretty and rainbowy. I just love knitting them. I do have to say that having an electric skein winder may change the repeats in my yarn. This is mainly because my niddy noddy is 64" around and the skein winder is 72" around. We shall see what happens, either way I am very excited about it all.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Socktoberfest in Review

I know I am a bit late with this, so bare with me.

My four goals for Socktober were:
  1. Finish My Traveling Socks (Trekking socks in the sidebar)
  2. Finish the Sock for KAH
  3. Work at least a bit on My Husband's Skull Socks
  4. Cast on a new pair of socks
I think I did pretty well, you can click on each of the links for a recap. Links 1, 3 & 4 are all the same post. I do feel pretty proud that I got all of my goals accomplished. Now to work on all that Christmas Knitting.

In other news: Wendy finished her socks out of Blue Raspberry (see my etsy shop for details on the yarn). So go and check them out. As an additional note, she actually purchased one of my mini skeins (80 grams) to make those socks, which gives me hope for my toe ups. The toe ups are doing quite well, I am almost through the foot and then I need to work up the heel.

I do have an almost finished project too. I have all the pieces knit for the baby hoody from Debbie Bliss Special Knits. I just need to sew them up. I actually managed the smallest size (0-3 months) with only 3 balls of Cashmerino Aran, when it called for 4. I think it is because I am conservative with my yarn. There is just enough to sew everything up. I think I will have pictures next time and leave this as a pictureless post. Sorry!