Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I Must Be A Kitten Because I Love To Play With Yarn

It's been a tough week. I've been diligently editing comic pages, but am so very far away from being complete. In an effort to make it feel like I've made some progress, I've made a giant check list where I get to add lots of check marks. It has helped a bit.
As I've been slogging through the comics, it's become increasingly important to balance the work with play, and play I have. So much so, that I've managed to finish off another woven scarf.
Warp: Doespins sock in Paua. Weft: Verdant Gryphon Mithril in Green Water Snake.

I've also completed my latest pair of vanilla socks. It's amazing how the stitches add up when knitting in the car.
Opal's Der Kleine Prinz in Die Rose Der Kleine Prinzen color way

As a reward, I've cast on a new vanilla sock. This time I'm using the sock blank I bought a few posts back. I've never used a sock blank before, but I'm already addicted. Look how pretty the colors are!
Gale's Art Single Sock Blank in The Big O color way 

At the rate I'm going, I'll have another pair of socks off the needles in no time.

Has anyone else been playing with new-to-you yarn? Is there any I should try?

Friday, May 12, 2017

Little Bit Of Everything

It didn't take long for me to put a new project on the loom. I don't know when the spell will break, but weaving scarves has become quite addicting. I spent just one evening working on this particular scarf and found that I had woven half of it! 
Warp: Doespins sock in Paua. Weft: Verdant Gryphon Mithril in Green Water Snake.

Even though weaving is my new best friend, I haven't neglected my first love: knitting. I finally finished the test knit I was working on. I wish I could show the fantastic patterning that goes along the side of each sock, but for now I'll have to hide it until the pattern is released. Once that happens, I'll be happy to show off the socks in all their glory.
Yarn: Canon Hand Dyes Charles Sock in Etude 120

I'm also pleased to say that I am on the second sock in both my vanilla pair and my Haleakalas. Once these babies are done, I'll be out of projects on the needles. But with all sorts of fun new sock yarn to play with, it will be hard to choose what to cast on next! 
Left sock yarn: Der Kleine Prinz in Die Rose Der Kleine Prinzen. Right sock yarn: Malabrigo Sock in Pocion.

I have another project that I haven't been able to show much progress on, even though there is lots going on behind the scenes. I've finished up the embroidery sample for my USA travel patch quilt. There have been lots of decisions to make like: What kind of thread should I use? If I use the six-strand thread, how many of those six strands should I use? Which stitch would look best for the outline? Which stitch would work best for the numbers? And on and on and on. I've done the sample on linen, but the front of the quilt is going to be a cream-colored cotton, so the colors reflect what is going on the quilt. If I was doing it on linen, I would use colors that had higher contrast.

If that wasn't enough, I've signed up to take some classes at my local junior college in the fall. (Accounting and watercolors) I've also been working hard to format all my daily comics to put on the web. Connor has kindly been assisting me with the website side of things, so hopefully we will have the first few up soon.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Yarn Fumes Are Strong At The Black Squirrel

Sigh... so I can't even go one post without buying more yarn. Connor and I had a lovely day out and decided to swing by a new-to-me yarn shop called The Black Squirrel. (I know, I know... usually shops with yarn have a funny name in regards to wool. Don't be fooled: there is a significant amount of yarn to be had in this shop.) The proprietor, Chase, had been an indie dyer herself, so she has decided to stock indie dyers in her shop.
Do I have a picture of the shop? No. I was overcome by yarn fumes. You just get to see pictures of my new acquisitions instead.

I'm going to need a scapegoat for my lack of self-control around yarn, so Woollen Wild, this is your fault. You made those gorgeous Wheatly Socks, so I just had to get a skein of Spun Right Round's Bug Jar. They had it... but then there were so many other skeins that I was tempted by.

There were two skeins of Spun Right Round's Merino Worsted in Holy Crow. Normally I could resist worsted weight yarn, and I would have if they had a skein of Holy Crow in sock weight. But then I thought to myself.... I could weave it. Do you see what I did right there? I bought yarn for weaving. I took up weaving to get rid of stash... not to increase it!

Then there was a skein of Nox Yarn in the color way She's Filled With Secrets. Could I have walked  away from it? Maybe if it wasn't sock weight and didn't have such a cool name.

So there you have it, I just shouldn't be allowed to go into a yarn shop if I plan on not buying anymore yarn, especially a shop as neat as Black Squirrel Fabrics.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

All My Sock Yarn... Mostly

In my last post I talked about going through my stash for the annual moth check and to see what I had. While I do have a few sweater quantities, my stash is pretty much made up of sock yarn. It is my kryptonite. I love everything about it: the color, the fact that you can get a fancy skein because it is only one, the small amount of space it takes up. Well, about the small amount of space it takes up... when you multiply "one more sock skein" a bunch of times you get this.
Self striping and variegated on the left, solids on the right

What I've learned is that I really have equal love for all colors.... but I might want to knit up some of the orange island so the other colors don't start getting jealous. Also, I think I only have one pair of socks with orange in it.

In the interest of full disclosure, this is not all of my sock yarn. After I took the first picture, I found a few more skeins squirreled away here and there. But it really is the majority of it.
I hid this bin of sin inside my yarn trunk. I was wondering where the Regia had gone off to.

What was the real purpose of going through my sock yarn? Well, while the motivation should be to make sure I am moth free (I am!), or to destash some skeins that aren't "me" anymore (I did), what I really was trying to do was figure out what I might want to weave next. I had to commandeer Connor's yarn basket so that I could have a new weaving basket. Look at all that possibility! I'm excited.
Clearly all this yarn was just waiting for me to learn a new skill so I could make them look even more attractive in finished projects

Now the question is, what will I put on the loom first?

If anyone else has gone through/ goes through their stash, I'd love to see pictures. Does anyone else have a sock skein addiction like me? Do you find that your stash leans a certain way color-wise or do you have equal love for all colors?

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Iceland Sweater And First Woven Scarf

I think it is a tradition for me to finish a sweater just in time for the hot weather. I attached the last button on the last day of sweater weather we are going to have for awhile.
Pattern: Iceland from Rowan 42; Yarn: Naturally Harmony 10 Ply in color 803

I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out though. I made quite a few modifications to transform the sweater being shaped like an oversized bag to something a bit more flattering. Most of the modifications I made had to do with the ribbed body portion of the sweater; I added length and shaping. The details are more in depth on my ravelry page.

I'm also pleased to say that I have managed to complete goal #4 of this year's goal list: knitting sweater out of stash. 

I also finished my first woven project: a scarf!
Pattern: Made up by yours truly; Yarn: Little Wool Company 4-Ply 100% Pure Wool in White, Oatmeal, and Silver

Connor immediately swooped in and claimed it as his. I suppose that is fair; I claimed his first knitted scarf.

I'm really pleased to have finally finished some big projects.... but I'm already looking at what I can weave and knit next. I think it might be time to give the ole' stash a good tossing (like a salad, not to the garbage... as I explained to Connor) and see what treasures I might turn up.

Has anyone else finished something that has been on your list for a long time? And how many of you have given (or thought about giving) your stash a good tossing?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Almost There

"Almost there" is how I feel about all of my projects. I've put time in to each, but none are quite finished just yet. Still, I'd like to share what is almost done.

I'm nearing the finish line with the Iceland Sweater. I was undecided on how long to make the welts for the body, so after doing around 60 rows of the front, I started on the back. I got a little nervous about the width. The ribbing sucked in so much that I went ahead and blocked it. No need to keep knitting if I'm going to rip it all out again. Luckily it blocked out great. Now I just need to finish the length of it before weaving in the many ends and attaching the buttons.
I tucked all the ends into the sweater when taking the picture, but there are quite a number of ends to weave in

I've been putting quite a bit of time into my new woven scarf. Connor has started playing Fallout 4, so I've been using that as my weaving time.... you know, when I haven't stolen the controller to play a little myself. (It's such a small part of the game, but I'm obsessed with collecting the magazines and displaying them on the rack at our home base.)
I'm nearing the end of the scarf and I've already learned what I would do a bit differently next time, but all in all it is a good first project. The only problem I've really run across is how to show weaving progress. It sort of looks the same as you weave.... so here is the big roll of scarf that I've woven.
It looks so small all rolled up, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a long scarf when I'm done

The socks are all moving along, too. The Haleakala socks (top) got put aside again because I forgot how complicated the gusset is. The test sock (right) is almost at the toe. My plain vanilla pair (bottom) is also almost at the toe. I wish some of these were second socks, but alas, they are all the first in the pair. I'm hoping that once I get one sock done, the match will knit itself.

Of course all these projects are just my yarn-related ones. I've been continuing on with my comic and figuring out how to best scan and process them for online and print. (I have no current plans to print them, but if I ever changed my mind, I don't want to rescan 160+ pages.) I've also taken a step away from the embroidery sachet/ quilt project. It all became a bit too much to maintain.

Who else has a bunch of "almost there" projects? If you love them all, how do you choose which one to work on next?

Monday, April 17, 2017

I'm A Weaver

Do you know the feeling of having so much to do, but having no idea where to start? Ideas and projects swirl around in your head and leaves you too tired to cross anything off of the list? That was me yesterday. Luckily, when I get to that point, Connor sits me down and has me list all the things that are overwhelming me out loud while he writes them down. Usually at the end of the list he'll say, Wow! That is a lot of things." This time when we finished, he looked at me and said, I think you need to start weaving.

I've wanted to try out weaving for quite some time. I've even been borrowing a loom for over a year (sorry David) but kept being too intimidated to try. So yesterday Connor helped me... alongside a book, youtube, and an online tutorial.

Originally I was going to weave a plain white scarf. I have a ton of white from when I thought I'd knit my wedding dress. But after threading the the first two threads, I realized I'd be bored immediately, so we wound up the white and I started to sketch out possible patterns. A little while back, Wei Siew had kindly send me some other colors by Anna Gratton, who also spun up the white. They work together so harmoniously, it was clear they needed to be in a scarf together.

After a few false starts, I was able to get going. So now I am a weaver. I've already woven and unwoven parts of this scarf, but I'm learning quickly.

I have high hopes to be wearing a new scarf soon.... unless Connor steals it. He keeps telling me it's "great man colors."

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Captain Shiney's New Hat

I had been promising Connor to take him to see the tall ships that some times visit nearby; specifically the Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain. We had missed out the last time they were in town. By chance I looked to see where they currently were and it turned out I had looked just in time because we were able to go see them the last week that they were close by. So early on a Sunday, we headed to the nearby marina.
Does the ship look familiar? It played the Interceptor in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

My Mum had volunteered on the Lady Washington over a decade ago. Whenever the ships were in town, we would go and invite crew members to the house for a hot shower, dinner, and laundry. Life got in the way, people we knew moved to different places, and we slowly stopped visiting. When Connor and I headed out that Sunday, I wondered if we might bump into someone I knew. Luck was on our side and as it turned out, I knew the captain. Shiney (James' nickname) had started volunteering on the Lady Washington the at the same time my Mum had. We knew he had worked up to being a captain on other ships, but it was great fun to see him be the captain on the Lady Washington.

We had signed up to be part of a battle sail. On a battle sail, the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain go out and under sail power maneuver around and shoot off cannons (with blanks) at each other. The captains on each ship keep track to see who wiped the floor with who. (We totally won.)
Our gunner firing one of the swivel guns

There are different kinds of shots that can be taken. You can broadside a ship when it is alongside you. You can shoot through the whole ship when it is pointed directly at or away from you. Shiney's favorite, however, is to aim for the stern because that's where the other captain and his officers would have been.
The Hawaiian Chieftain had moved all of its cannons onto one side so it could get four shots in

While we took our time to line up shots and the strategy was discussed, if it were a true battle, the shots wouldn't have been lined up. The goal would have been to damage the other ship as much as possible as fast as possible.
Shiney is catching the other ship's cannonballs with his hat

While we were catching up, I learned that the hat I made Shiney years ago that had "Shiney" knitted into it had been lost to time. As a knitter, I had to ask, "Do you need a new one?" The giant smile on his face was all the answer I needed. I knit like the wind and on a different weekend, we drove to a port that was further away from us to deliver the hat. It was a big hit.
Shiney is much taller than me. He was obliging and leaned down so I wouldn't be so dwarfed.

If anyone is interested in visiting either tall ship, there is a schedule at historicalseaport.org . The ships sail up and down the west coast of the US regularly. Also, when we dropped off the hat, they were taking a wedding party out for a pirate-themed wedding on the bay. I didn't know that was possible, but it sounds like a lot of fun.

Friday, April 7, 2017

I've Run Out Of Sock Needles

I've jealously eyed Gale's Art sock blanks for awhile now. Friends coming back from Rhinebeck had them... and at the time it was really difficult to get one on Gale's etsy shop. A year ago, around my birthday, I finally decided I was going to take the plunge, stalk her shop, and finally get myself a single sock blank in The Big O color way. The only problem was that less than a month earlier she retired the color. Oh the agony! And no one on ravelry was giving their's up. I did have a little sliver of hope though. She said that after a year, she might un-retire it. Well.... while sitting in the bathroom with my phone (like you do), I decided to see if the color might have finally been un-retired. And what do you know, she had exactly the one I wanted in her shop. I came bursting forth from the loo and shouted to Connor, who was sitting on the couch, I HAVE TO BUY YARN NOW. IT'S IMPORTANT. And now it is mine. However, I have run into a problem. 

All my sock needles are full. I know that some people would solve that problem by buying another set of needles, but that is not my way. (Also, I haven't been able to make it to the yarn shop...) So instead I am knitting furiously on all my socks to clear the needles. It might make sense to just work on one at a time, but after feeling really inspired to work on the Haleakala socks, I ran into a part that required lots of concentration, so I moved to my plain pair. Of course then I figured out the problem I was having with the test knit I was doing, so I gave my attention to that... until the weather turned cold again and I worked on my sweater instead. This is why I shouldn't be allowed to have more than three projects going at once; it prevents me from knitting my new yarn.

Does anyone else have a tale of yarn woe... and perhaps eventual triumph? Or is there yarn that you knew you should have bought and will never get your hands on?

Friday, March 31, 2017

I've Run Out Of Row Counters

For those of you who have followed this blog for a bit, you may know that I rarely let my WIP (work in progress) pile go above three projects. That seems to be the magic number for me. Any more than that, and I find that progress gets slowed to a snails pace. The other reason, I have discovered, is because I don't have enough round counters to maintain more than that. Despite the lack of round counters, I have found myself with six projects going. Four of those projects are socks. The bottom two are for the same test knit that needed two socks to test properly. The top left was my usual stockinette sock I like to have for car knitting. The top right is the Haleakala sock that I stalled out on.
Starting in the top left and going clockwise: Opal's Little Prince in Die Rose, Malabrigo Sock in Pocion, Canon Hand Dyes in Etude 120 and Yoga For Elephants

Beyond the socks, I've continued on with my sweater, which is inching closer to completion. When I last posted about it, I had finished four repeats of the leaf pattern. Now I only need four more repeats before going to the next section.
The wide bit at the end was blocked. The rest of the sweater will match once I block it all out.

And finally, I have a hat. It's an important hat with a deadline. I bumped into a knit worthy friend I hadn't seen in a decade. He no longer has the last hat I made him, so I offered to make a new one. It's got some writing on the inside of the turned brim that required intarsia in the round. Turns out intarsia in the round is a bit fiddly, so it took me a couple goes to get it right. Luckily for him, he is an intarsia-in-the-round-worthy friend. Now it's just smooth sailing with nine out of ten rounds of the repeat being in stockinette.
However, there is a deadline to finish it up before he sails to the next city. It's rather hard to mail a hat to someone when they work on a ship.

Even though I am excited to make the hat, I really am itching to get back to my sweater... and maybe a sock as well.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Northern California Coast Pt.2

The next morning, Connor and I went to do the Trinidad Head hike. It is one of the ones you can do as a Redwood Edventure. The museum where you could get the brochure was closed, so I loaded it on my phone from the website instead. We followed the clues, one of which took us to this magnificent view. 
I have since filled out the form for the patch. We will see how long it takes to arrive.

From there we stopped by Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, but decided not to stay too long. I have been there before as that is where Fern Canyon is located. We also considered doing the Edventure that was located there, but time wasn't on our side. Besides, the spot I wanted to see most was still further north.
After another hour or so, we reached Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. There is an Edventure there too, but we took a recommendation from the ranger at the visitor center and walked the Simpson Reed Grove Trail instead.

There were a bunch of banana slugs out an about. I don't recall seeing ones with brown spots before, but this guy had them.

Most of the redwood state parks in the area are also associated with Redwood National Forest. I think the Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP just might be my favorite. It seemed wetter and greener to me. I especially like all the moss and that ferns that sometimes grow out of the trees. 

Connor and I then continued on to Oregon. As we passed from California to Oregon, Connor saw in the rearview mirror that the California state sign was back up. The last time we had passed through, it wasn't there.

How silly is it to live in a state and not have a picture by the state sign? Despite the heavy rain, we righted that obvious wrong and stopped for our obligatory jumping photos.

From there we went reached Oregon and had a jolly time seeing family and celebrating with Oma.

We did end up with quite a haul in terms of patches and magnets. The patches have been added to the souvenir patch map for those who are curious about where to find them. They were acquired from Leggett to just past Crescent City in Hiouchi while following highway 101, then turning onto highway 199.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Northern California Coast Pt.1

Connor and I just got back from a trip up to Oregon to celebrate my Oma's birthday. Usually when we go up to Oregon, it is a pretty direct trip up and back. We pass by all sorts of things that look interesting, but don't have time to stop for. This trip we stopped.

After spending a night in Willits, we got up bright and early-ish to see what we could see. First on the list was the Drive Thru Tree in Leggett. There are several drive thru trees, but after one got blown over in a recent storm, it seems like a good idea to take advantage of driving through this one. It's five bucks to drive through the park, which includes some really impressive redwood sculptures.

The next place we stopped was Confusion Hill. It was confusing to find, so we made all sorts of jokes about the origins of the name. Also worth noting is that there are long stretches of the coast where there is no cell phone signal. We relied on signage to find the confusing hill. It turned out to be very similar to the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot. I wondered if the same architect of the Mystery Spot sold their plans to all the different vortex spots.
Although Confusion Hill and the Mystery Spot are similar in architecture, the big difference is that Confusion Hill is a self-tour, which is great if you want to take pictures unhurried. The Mystery Spot is more fun if you want to watch well rehearsed demonstrations. 

After getting really dizzy at Confusion Hill we kept going up the road until we found the One Log House.

It really is made out of one hollowed-out log. For a dollar, you can go inside. I commented to Connor that it looked bigger than our first apartment together.

At this point, we were on the Avenue of the Giants, which Connor and I had been on before we were married. It was dark when we drove it, so it was nice to see it during the day. We stopped at the visitor center to see if we could find a Humboldt Redwoods State Park patch. They were out, but we learned about a great program that is going on in the parks in the area.
Although this is geared towards children, the volunteers told us anyone could do this. Each of the participating parks have a little brochure that has clues in it. You go to a certain trail in the area, follow the clues, and by the end you have to fill in the last clue to earn a patch. Even if the visitor center is closed it is possible to go onto http://www.redwood-edventures.org to get a brochure. Once you find the final clue, you can fill out a little form to have them send you a patch. Of course it is a bit more fun when the visitor center is open and you can just do it in person.

A treasure hunt that ends in earning a patch? I was hooked immediately. We went to the Rockerfeller Loop Trail and followed the clues. It turned out to be quite educational. We learned about burls and snags. We also came across a large downed redwood that must have not been able to withstand the last storm

We also spotted a few things that weren't in the brochure, like this Trillium.

Near the end of the hike, I dropped my lens cap. It turned out to be serendipitous because as we turned to pick it up, we saw a Rough-Skinned Newt. These guys are really hard to spot. Kudos if you can see it in the picture I took.

If we had more time, we would have hiked more. As it happened, we had a dinner date with some friends a bit further north, so we headed up and met up with them. We talked so long that we closed out the restaurant. All in all, it was a great day. Connor and I fell into bed absolutely exhausted from all the fun we had.
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