Friday, April 20, 2012

Now what?

A couple of weeks ago, I started spinning some Masham.

 It is all spun up, has been for a soak, got thwacked and re-skeined.  
So, now what?  It is not super soft, in fact it is a little teeny bit scratchy, so not a good choice for something next to the skin.

I was thinking about a shawl that could be worn over a t-shirt and wrapped around my neck like a scarf.  
 It is a fingering weight and measures about 340 yards.  Here are my thoughts and I am asking you to pick for me.  My choices are:  Dragonfly Wings, Abyssal, The Sunlight Shawl for Sad People, and Hecate.  What do you think?  Tell me, please, I am itching to start something besides hexipuffs!

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ready to go home...

I think, perhaps, the UPS driver may not like me anymore...
61 cases.

It was a busy day.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Voodoo Bunny

It is very important in life to know your limitations.  Everyone has their talents and there are some things that are best left to others. Enter:  needle felting a free form 3D object.

The idea of needle felting has interested me for a while, so, when the opportunity arose to try it I was thrilled.  The basic premise of needle felting is to take blobs of fiber and jab it repeatedly with a lovely super pointy and barbed needle.  The barbs on the needle catch on the scales of the fiber and realigns it to make felt.  The more you jab the harder the fiber gets and you can do intricate shaping and create often very lifelike objects.  Some people can do this, and then there is me.

Sadly, there are no work-in-progress shots, but they were quite funny.  For a little bit,  my bunny's body looked like everything from a tampon to a seal to some unidentifiable being.  The plus side to this little craft is being able to pretend it really is a voodoo doll and you get to jab it with glee, the downside is sometimes in your gleeful jabbing you miss the blob and hit your finger!  That needle is SHARP!

I was unable to completely finish my little work of ?art? during the classtime, but did so as soon as I got home.  It really did not get much better.  When I showed it to Wes, his first comment was "what a cute little dog," great, thanks.

After a second look, he may be right:








Can you say demented Easter Doggy?  I think I will leave the really artsy stuff like sculpting and painting to my sister...now that girl's got talent!! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pick up Sticks

One of the many benefits of working with your husband and having a 45 minute commute each way is that I get some dedicated knitting time at least twice a day most days of the work week.

The down side...I have a tendency to drop literally everything.  Whether it be knitting related, food, money, books, papers, lipstick, you name it I drop it.  There is a Bermuda Triangle in my car.  Much in the same way that socks disappear in the dryer, stuff falls out of my hands and is not always ever seen again.  You would not think that the narrow space between the center console and the passenger seat would be such a grand destination for inanimate objects.
If I try realllllly hard sometimes I can get my hand in there, but what is the more typical result is that if you look (please don't, it's disgusting) carefully down there you will see french fries, crackers, money, enough stitch markers to open an exclusive marker store and often double point needles...ANOTHER of the reasons I do not like dpns!  Last weekend Wes took pity on me and played twister with the seats and long objects to retrieve items from the land of the lost.

As we left for lunch today, I prepared to do up a few more rows on another hexipuff.  And then, ^(*#^$(*^W(*&()*@&$ down went a dpn!  What follows is a highly intelligent tutorial on needle retrieval the "Dina Way".

First, go to lunch and have something yummy for a dessert to fortify yourself for the upcoming Needle Rescue.

While at lunch, gather your tools:
This is high tech stuff here people.

Scootch (that really is a word, even if Blogger doesn't recognize it and keeps putting red dots under it to tell me I am making up stuff) your seat back as far as it will go.  Peer down into the abyss and make visual contact with the needle escapee.  Slide the straw along the floorboard inching your way toward the needle.  Go slowly and quietly...don't want to spook it!  Ever so gently, slip the straw over the needle and start tipping the straw up from the front to encourage the needle to slide into the straw for easy removal.

At this point, it is vitally important that you decide to record this event with a picture on your phone.  Which is, of course, the perfect time for your phone to freeze and while you poke the home button repeatedly you forget what your other hand is doing and you DROP THE STRAW.  Not to be deterred, you wait until you arrive at your next errand stop and for you darling husband to go in to take care of the errand (by now his words are a little less than encouraging).  While he is out of the car, jump out and pull your seat as far forward as it will go, open the back door and try again with the straw.  This time, success is yours!  Return all seats to their previous positions and wait for Sweetie's return. 
Assuming the same position as when he left the car, when he gets in, hold up the Naughty Needle and declare yourself the Queen of Retrieval!  That's exactly what happened...I swear!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Hexipuff and the Pee...

If you were looking forward to a fairy tale, you will not encounter such a thing in this post.  It would be safe to say that "The Hexipuff and the Pee" could not be further in story from "The Princess and the Pea".

Having finished all the slippers I care to make and lacking the desire to start frogging things in "the pile," hexipuffs returned to my knitting fingers.  Yesterday, 3 more made it to the completed mound.  Digging around in my stash for unwanted sock yarn, I found several mini-skeins of lace weight handspun that I did up with some crap roving.  There are 6 colors which can be broken down into 3 subsets of coordinating colors to be held double thus creating a close to fingering weight.

On the way to work this morning, the first one got whipped up...only needs to have the ends tucked away.  It looks as if I may be able to get 2 puffs from each color subset.






That covers the Hexipuff portion of this tale, and now for the Pee.  

My frustration with certain feline residents' tendencies toward inappropriate incontinence has been documented...as well as my apparent acrimonious accusations.  SOMEONE is at it again.  Ya know how they make "nanny cams"?  Well, I think it is time for me to look for a "Kitty Cat Crapper Camera".  Upon entering the laundry room this morning, I was greeted by a nice big wet spot on the rug that had just been put back in place last night.  

THE spot...minus the rug (which was promptly thrown in the washer)...

This rug is by the door that they use to exit the laundry room (keep the rug inside the room to catch stray litter bits)...

Of course, these three wished to assure me that it was NOT them and they were most assuredly treat-worthy.
 
The only thing I can do at this point is to use a quote my Mother would use when frustrated..."well, piss on it!"

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Cooking with rocks

One of my favorite places to go is Findlay Market in Cincinnati.

A friend and I make a regular trip there to stock our freezers and pantries with an assortment of yummies.  It takes about an hour for us to get there, and while it may seem silly to drive that far for "groceries", it really is worth the trip.  Not to mention, we usually stop by Jungle Jim's and Main Street Yarns.  It is always a fun day out for the two of us.   

A hot spot to visit at Findlay is Colonel De's.  That bustling corner is THE place to go for any and every spice, spice blend, and tea imaginable.  If you can dream it, he can blend it.

The last couple of times visiting, I have been intrigued by Himalayan salt blocks.  They are beautiful and can be used to cook on, to serve on, or just to sit around because they are beautiful.  If you do any research on Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, you will find a lot of information, some of it seeming a bit far fetched and some seemingly contradictory.  Some will say that salt which is extracted from salt caves is a "full spectrum" salt that retains all the minerals along with the natural salt...unlike refined table salt to which only iodine has been added back.  There is a lot of controversy surrounding the use of this salt.  I picked up some chunks (it is quite pricey) and a microplaner to give it a whirl.  Couldn't hurt.







Wes tried some on some popcorn Saturday night and we both used it on corn on the cob Sunday.  A little teeny bit goes a lonnnnnng way.  The verdict...tastes like salt.  Will it be a part of our "fountain of youth"?   Don't know, but it sure is pretty to look at either way.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Kicked back...

Shhhhhhhhh...


It's Friday.  The Knotted Slippers are finished.  I am at work and very diligently getting stuff done.  You DO NOT notice the Ravelry screen on my computer.

Yarn used:  Three Irish Girls fingering weight.  Since the ball band has disappeared, all I can tell you is that it is a very pretty green.  Glad I could be so helpful.


TGIF, FOF and all that jazz!
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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Doin' the monster Masham...

The Knit Girllls have a group on Ravelry and host a series known as "Expand Your Horizon".  The fiber for April's SAL is Masham.  Never heard of it until joining this group.

According to Sheep 101 this breed of sheep is over a century old and is produced through the cross-breeding of a Teeswater ram and a Dalesbred or Swaledale ewe.  The staple length can vary from 6-7 inches on up to 8-10 inches long.  It typically has a nice lustre.  The staple length makes it a nice fiber for a beginning spinner. 

A week ago, I ordered some beautiful Herb Green Ombre batts.  When they arrived, I was happily surprised by the beauty of the colors and the lovely feel of the fiber.



There is a subtle barny/sheepy smell to the fiber that is really quite pleasant.

After fondling and sniffing, I decided to divide the batts to hone my abilities in the area of fractal spinning.  Fractal spinning, in simple terms, is the division of the fiber to create more precise color repeats/striping in the final knitted project.  Each color was split in half (yes, I broke out the scale for precision).  One half of each color was set aside and will be spun in the ombre progression.  For the other half of each batt, I further divided each into four more mini-batts.  This will allow me to spin (on a separate bobbin from the first division) four consecutive repeats.  When it is time to ply, this should allow for the creation of very long color repeats, with some barber poling, which when knitted up should re-create the original ombre color progression.


Bella approves...




Spinning has started and so far, so good.  Final product should be a two ply fingering weight.  
 As of last night, all 4 of the larger blobs have been spun and the first portion of small blobs is spun up on a new bobbin.  Darn it!...looks as if I need to do a little shopping for a Jumbo Flyer for Minerva to allow all of the singles to be plied onto one bobbin. 





Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Octoped

After this last round of baby things with a deadline, I have been ready for a bit of a knitting slowdown of sorts.  There are several sweaters in my mental queue that are begging to be started for the upcoming Fall/Winter (yes, that is what I said).  I don't tend to wear a lot of sweaters in the Spring/Summer, therefore, I would rather use my knitting energy working on things for cold weather, items for the house, spinning or even sewing.  A couple of items have jumped out of my closet and into the frog and be reborn as something else pile.

Slippers are the perfect in between project.  They are not the dreaded sock, but do still involve the second ______ syndrome.  Turkish Bed Socks have been my favorite for quite some time now.  The only problem, for me, has been my choice of yarn (Mini Mochi) which has impacted wear and tightness of the item.  Since the yarn is a single ply, it does not seem to hold up well against the roughness of my wood floors, and it seems to grow a tad bit too much.  The pattern is still a favorite, I just need to reconsider yarn choice.

During a recent visit to my LYS, I picked up a cute as a button pattern for Knotted Slippers.  The first one is done and the second is on needles.  Magic Loop has not yet made it into my skill-set, so I resorted to my least favorite---double points.  During the first slipper, it seemed to be very difficult to handle that many THICK stitches on only 4 needles and I did not wish to repeat that trauma.

My solution (maybe more of an avoidance of learning Magic Loop):

The OCTOPED:


That's right, there are 8, EIGHT, 4+4, 6+2, 5+3, get it...eight needles on one slipper.  Looks like a hot mess, but it worked for me.  PLUS, this little trick necessitated the purchase of more US6 needles since  I lost one of mine.  The new needles are super cute and feel nice in my hands...Knitter's Pride Symfonie Dreamz Double Points.

Don't judge...

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