Friday, August 31, 2007

Dyeing on Monday

I received the dye for my fingering weight wool on Wednesday.

The color is Bright Scarlet and the test swatch that we tried is just beautiful. I can hardly wait to have the 4 skeins dyed and get started on my Clessidra stockings.

I know I wanted to use natural dyes, but I really did not want to screw it up and the acid dyes are a bit more predictable. Maybe for another project.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good...

Stash update:
Cotton is no longer hanging in the bathroom to dry.
Stash has expanded to include a second drawer and a basket in the garb closet.

Knitting update:
1 baby sock complete and second started from leftover sock yarn.
Baby sweater out of leftover Cascade 220, second sleeve complete and joined to body, beginning raglan decreases.

Charmed Knits is a fabulous book, but it does make me want to knit more projects..................

Monday, August 27, 2007

IKEA Sunday

Really, I was just going to offer man-power to lift my friend's purchases into her truck. That and IKEA coffee and meatballs. Yummy.

This past weekend was all about organizing, purging and cleaning. P and I went through a mountain of mail, catelogs and phone books and we have 2 bags ready for the recycler. I have 2 bags of clothes and other household items that I'm going to take to the thrift shop (their proceeds help support an animal shelter). I purged through my stash and there is probably stuff that will wind up at the Yarnery for their charitable knitting. I also tried to clear out my garb, or at least find a better way to store it. I have a set of hanging shelves that I have owned for over a decade. The shelves are heavy cardboard and are suspended by a set of strings that hang from a bracket on top. The whole thing is covered with a zippered case. Well over the years the heavy cardboard shelves have warped pretty bad, the strings are stretched, the bracket is bent and the plastic case is ripped along the zipper. Time to replace.

At IKEA I found the Skubb Series and I purchased a hanging shelf and 2 drawers. I absolutely LOVE it and it is the perfect solution. All my foldable garb fits with room to spare and I can get to it so much easier. My friend picked up a set of the Komplement boxes. They are really nice, but I don't have a space that would work well for them, perhaps one, but not 3, and they only come in sets of 3.

I came home and replaced the light bulb in my wall lamp and set up my new hanging clothes system. I fixed a drawer in my dresser and vacumed my sewing room. It looks much better. The rest of the evening was spent watching Season 1 of the Dresden Files and knitting the baby sweater.

My KnitPicks order is here, time to fondle yarn.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I thought I was doing so well...

Ok so I only have 1 drawer for my yarn. Notice that the drawer is full and there is no space for the following or the new yarn that I am expecting.

I've collected my leftover sock yarn in my darning basket to make baby/ toddler socks. I've already made 2 pair. The basket sits in the Living Room.

Everyone needs dish cloths and market bags and I managed to get all of my cotton into another basket to place next to my bed. I can always cast on a dish cloth and work a few rows before going to sleep.

Oh this? Well I'm giving this away to my student to make a scarf.

I have enough yarn leftover for another pair of sock monkey socks. This yarn is also in my darning basket with the sock needles and self striping leftovers.

I need to make a new baby sweater for my friends first child. I can use my leftover Cascade. I knitted up to the armholes on the body and started one sleeve. This project is sitting in the sewing room.

I bought this to make clogs for my dad for Christmas. This yarn is currently sitting in a bag I bought it in on top of my dresser.

Oh the 9 skeins of cotton hanging to dry in the bathroom? Um... well they are dry, but I have no place to put them.

And the 4 skeins of fingering weight wool ready for dyeing? They are hanging in the closet until I get a chance to dye them. Once the yarn is prepared I will be knitting the Clessidra stockings from Knitty.

My KnitPicks order arrives this week containing yarn for a sweater, 2 pairs of socks and a knitting book, which will only cause me to buy more yarn to make more things. I don't have any place to put this order. Yeah...I thought I was doing pretty good. At this rate I can keep knitting for a year with the amount of stash that I currently own. I did go to 3 Kittens today and had some self control and did not buy anything (although the 100 gr of silk lace weight is calling to me something fierce......)

I do recognize that there are many of you who actually own a "REAL" stash who are currently falling out of your chairs over my "stash woes".

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Using up the stash

I'm trying to find uses for the leftover skeins of sock yarn. My solution is to knit baby and toddler socks. It takes longer than I would like, but you can't deny that they look pretty sweet.

This pattern is wicked easy for toddler socks, bonus I used up the remaining yarn from my Monkey Socks.

For the baby socks I'm using a pattern I adapted from a baby sock pattern by Skacel for use with Fortissima Fairisle yarn and leftovers from my Cascade Sassy Stripes yarn.

Size 0-6 months. Using size 1 US dp needles cast on 35 stitches.

K3 P2 for 1/2", change to stockinette and knit until the leg measures 1 1/2" from the beginning.
Divide the stitches for the heel flap thus: 16 stitches for the heel flap and 19 for the instep.

Work heel flap:
(RS) (Slip 1 K 1), repeat to end
(WS) Slip 1, purl 15
Repeat these 2 rows 7 times and then row 1 one more time.

Make heel cup.
(WS) Slip 1, P7, P2Tog, P1, turn
(RS) Slip 1, K1, K2Tog, K1, turn
(WS) Slip 1, P2, P2Tog, P1, turn
(RS) Slip 1, K3, K2Tog, K1, turn

Continue in this way until you have used up all of the stitches in the heel flap, you should have 8 stitches left. Finish on the right side and pick up 10 stitches on the heel flap. Work across 19 stitches of instep. Pick up 10 stitches on opposite side of heel flap and knit 4 stitches from heel cup. Your work will be divided on 3 needles. Needle 1: 14 stitches, Needle 2: 19 stitches, Needle 3: 14 stitches.

Make Gusset:
Row 1: K
Row 2: Knit to last 3 stitches on needle 1, K2Tog, K1, K 19, K1, SSK, K to end.
Repeat these 2 rows until you have 8 stitches left on needle 1 and 3.

Knit even on 35 stitches until the sock measures 3" from the base of the heel, then start the toe decrease.

Toe decrease:
K5, K2Tog, repeat to the end, then K one round even.
K4, K2tog, repeat to the end, then K one round even.
Continue in this manner until you K2tog around.

Cut yarn and fish through the remaining stitches and secure.

Now to tackle the rest of my leftovers before my KnitPicks order arrives.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Neither of my orders are going to reach me until the 28th/ 29th so that puts the kibosh on dyeing this weekend. It's probably for the best as I should focus on sewing new bags for the throne pieces and a coat for a friend. I also want to spend the weekend evaluating my stash.

Currently my stash involves very little full skeins of yarn. A lot of it consists of leftovers of sock yarn and small remains of finished projects. I always think it's a good idea to hang onto a small bit of yarn in case I need to make repairs. This weekend I'm going to be pretty harsh. I have supplies for my card weaving and inkle weaving that I need to put away. I'm going to weed out stuff that I'm simply never going to use and set aside stuff that I will use up. I'm currently knitting up toddler socks from my leftover sock yarn skeins. Currently I have friends with babies but they will grow up and need socks, or I could simply give the socks away to a shelter.

I'm thinking of hitting the Mid-town Global Market this weekend, or the Farmers market.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Dye and Yarn ordered

After careful consideration I have decided that the Dikinson pullover will turn out better if I use wool instead of cotton. Don't know what the heck I'm going to do with all that cotton, but at least it will be washed and wound and ready for the perfect project when it presents itself.

I placed an order from Knit Picks for 14 skeins of Wool of the Andes in Mulled Wine for the sweater. I also ordered a couple skeins each of Palette Heathers in Verdant and Navy. I'm going to flip through my Vintage Sock book for a couple patterns. I think my sister and mom both need hand knit socks for Christmas.

I also ordered Charmed Knits. I looked at this book at my LYS and it is filled with really sweet patterns. I am teaching a couple of kids to knit who are Harry Potter mad and I think the patterns will really inspire them.

The free shipping from Knit Picks for orders over $45 is sweet.

I ordered the acid dyes for the fingering weight wool, Bright Scarlet. Don't know how quickly I will receive it, but if I get it by this weekend I am totally going to do some dyeing. I can't wait to start the Clessidra stockings. They are just gorgeous!

Tonight I am meeting my student and her mom at the LYS and we are going to find yarn, a pattern and some needles to make a "purpley scarf". We might also pick up some Slytherin colors to make a hat/ scarf for her brother. His ultimate goal is to make a sweater and I think a hat is a step in the right direction.

I managed to take my tent down last night before the rain started in again. I get to haul it out again on 31st.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Washing yarn

Back when I was in High School I knit an Aran type sweater that I had seen in one of my magazines. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it was in Elle, since that was one of the magazines that I read with some regularity. I had just finished a project, a sweater for my dad, that had cabling and I was hooked on the process. When I saw this sweater I thought I could figure out the design and make it for myself. I bought a nice creamy cotton yarn, charted the design and proceeded to make a sweater that would fit 2 of me. I hadn't figured out the whole gauge thing, plus it was cotton so that just magnified the whole stretched out of control situation. It was the mid 80's so big sweaters were not that out of place, but still.

I wore this sweater for a few years until I finally unraveled the whole thing to use the yarn for something else. It has been sitting in balls ever since (my 20 year high school reunion was last summer). Last night I finally wound the balls into skeins and washed them. Once they are dry I will wind them into cakes and the plan is to knit the Dickinson Pullover from the Fall 07 Interweave Knits magazine.

It actually reminds me a lot of the original sweater I initially attempted so I feel confident that I would have enough yarn. However I am nervous that because I am using cotton I will have a sack hanging off me, again, even if I knit the sweater the proper size. It's a conundrum.

In other news I also skeined the fingering weight wool that I purchased at the Shepherd's Harvest Festival back in May in preparation for dyeing it a lovely Bright Scarlet. G2 and I dyed a test skein last night with an acid dye from Dharma Trading Co and it turned out absolutely beautiful! It was so nice that now I'm wondering if I should dye the cotton a different color with their Procion dyes, I'm thinking the Red Wine would totally set off the cabling. Pretty!

I'm also wondering if the cotton is simply the wrong material for this project. I wish I was on Ravelry already and then I could do a search for patterns that other people have knit with cotton. If I knit it on the snug side I'm thinking it will be OK, but I'm unsure.

I do need to make a decision soon so I can order one or both dyes. I'm so excited about dyeing my own yarn. I haven't done that for a while.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Out of the frying pan and into the.....lake

I think Fall is making an early appearance.

After several weeks of 90+ (100+ with heat index) temps this weekend we dipped into the 60's during the day (50's at night) and some places in the state received nearly a foot of rain and it is still raining....

We definitely needed the rain as the whole state was several inches behind and a good portion was in a severe drought. I think the folks in Winona and Rochester would argue that moderation would be preferred since they are experiencing flash floods.

I spent my weekend in West Concord, MN (near Rochester) on a women's retreat at a friend's farm. A number of us brought our tents and camped in her lawn and it started raining around 5 am on Saturday and hasn't stopped yet. The forecast says it will let up sometime around Wednesday. This leaves me with a wet canvas tent to pack up, bring home, and set up in my back yard for a couple days. Not a huge deal, but it does make me a bit nervous to have it up unattended. My wash basins were filled with 6 inches of water Sunday morning. The canvas tents (there were 2) were pros and those of us who used them were snug and dry. The nylon tents did not fare that well, one even had a small lake that was a few inches deep. Icky. I think we converted more than a few people to the superiority of canvas tents.

The whole weekend was filled with eating, talking, eating, laughing, eating, drinking, eating, knitting, and we also had food. It was a great time. The reason for our gathering was to discuss the SCA. Some of our discussions were focused on our individual groups, but a lot of it was on the SCA in general: what we like, what we don't like, what we would like to change, how can we accomplish this, what are people's issues/ pet peeves. We had women who had been in for over 20 years and people who had only played for 2 so it was a good cross section of gals. It was a very empowering weekend and I feel I benefited from listening to other people's experiences/ concerns. There were some issues brought up that I had not considered before and it was good for me to hear and take note of. I would really like to do a gathering like this again, although next time I think I will leave the tent at home and set up a bed roll in the 'crafty coop' or the hay loft instead....

Friday, August 17, 2007

Monkey socks done

I finished the second sock Wednesday night. That is a pair of socks completed in less than a week, which I think is pretty good, especially since this was a bit more fiddly than plain stockinette. The pattern is Monkey by Cookie A.

My yarn is a superwash merino wool that I purchased at Lilies. It's handpainted by the Dyeing Arts in Omaha NE. They have a website on the ball band ( ) but it doesn't appear to be functioning at present.

The color is Limey, and it is. I just love how it turned out and the fit is fantastic.

I think I have enough left on the skein to knit a hat.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sock Monkey Socks

I started with three colors and asked you to guess what I was making.

Fortissima Socka color #1048, #1075 and #1003

Did you guess?

This is my interpretation of the famous Rockford Red Heel Socks that are used for making Sock Monkeys. I think they turned out pretty good, even if my short row heel needs a lot of help (more practice). I think my friend who is crazy about sock monkeys will really like them.

The socks are knit on US size 1 (2.5 mm) and the gauge is roughly 8 stiches/ inch. I cast on 64 stitches and worked a K1 P1 ribbing for 3 1/2" before moving to the body. The heel is made using a short row method and adding in the slice of red towards the center. The toe decrease is the Flat Toe method (as illustrated in Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. This was a super easy and quick knit and I love how they turned out. The Fortissima Socka really makes a sturdy sock and I think these will hold up well for years.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Caponi Art Park Demo, Sept 29th

Following is an announcement about our demo at the Caponi Art Park in Eagan, MN.

The Barony of Nordskogen will be providing artisans, craftsmen, soldiers, musicians and dancers as part of our yearly

Medieval Weekend in the (art) Park

Saturday, September 29th 12-3pm
1205 Diffley Road, Eagan, MN 55123
(a donation of $2 to the park is requested)

Bring the whole family and spend an afternoon watching amateur historians demonstrate...

Rapier Combat

Armored combat

Archery and Warcraft

Music and Dancing



And many other crafts and activities from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

It's a great way to spend the day!


Well it's been a couple of weeks, but I can't get past a particular incident.

I really love all of my hobbies. I have such a good time with them that I assume that other people will also enjoy them, if they just give them a chance. (Personally I think that people who don't knit are people who simply have never tried and if they see how much fun it is they'd start.) I'm not delusional though, and I am perfectly able to realize that what I do isn't everyone's cup of tea. A simple "I don't think I would be interested in learning that" or "I don't really enjoy this" is fine with me. However, don't insult me, my (and my friend's) interests, or belittle me for having fun with what you may consider to be a waste of time. Onto to the story.

There I was, arriving with my fellow lovely knitters, at our appointed time on a beautiful summer evening a couple weeks ago at our regular gathering place (a coffee shop). A "gentleman" who also frequents the same place had parked himself in our usual spot. He announces that he is almost done and will get out of our way. We tell him to take his time, no big deal, plenty of room for all of us.

"Why don't you stay and we will teach you to knit?" I say.
"Well, I have a mortgage." he replies.

What the @#*! does that even mean? I was so struck sideways that the best response I could muster was "and?"

"Well I work full time." says he
"And?" says I
"Well I'm going to school." says he
"And?" says I
"Well, I'm not interested in learning how to knit." he says.
"Fine." I say
"But you could knit me something." he says
"Um, yeah, not so much." I say.
I have to paint my toes and eat bon bons so I'm swamped, which is what I should have said.

Feeling the daggers trained upon him he left quickly after that exchange, but I'm still pissed. This guy was my age, who the heck did he think he was? Every single woman in my group works to support their family (I consider caring for their children work, btw), and a couple are the soul bread winners in their home. Somehow we are not allowed to spend time with each other sharing a similar hobby? Somehow this means that we are obviously idle? WTF!

Having been in the SCA for 16 years I'm used to having people think that what I do in my spare time to be weird. I've also had people ask me if dressing up in medieval clothes was my job? I wish! That's fine if you don't share my interests or passions, god knows I don't share the interests and passions of everyone else, but allow me the right to enjoy them without you passing judgement or making erroneous conclusions about my character.

::big cleansing breath:::

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The weather tried to kill me...again

Saturday morning around 3 we were jolted into consciousness by wind traveling approx 80 mph and threatening to shatter the windows, a lightshow in the sky, deaffening thunder and a cat who was trying to dig his way to China via my armpit to get away from it all. Awesome!

LOTS of wind, some rain, a little hail, LOTS of thunder and lightning, which included a sonic BOOM that sat us bolt upright after we had drifted off. In the morning we found lots of branches scattered around the street, including a pretty sizeable branch still clinging to a tree one house away. No damage to our house, car, or yard and we still had electricity (unlike a large portion of folks in the metro area). All is good.

Last night I am waiting for a storm to blow over before leaving G2's. I head out on the road around 11 pm and the wind and rain hits when I am approximately 2 blocks from my house. I am talking inside a car wash, cannot see anything, rain. So I sit and work on my heel flap in the car while listening to WCCO for several minutes in hopes that it will ease up. It is obvious that it will not be happening anytime soon.

No umbrella in the car and a dead cell phone so I can't call for P to come out with one. Emergency rain poncho to the rescue! I knew there was a reason for my "oh shit" box to always be in my car. I slipped it on, grabbed my bag and ran to the door. We sat and watched a very fuzzy tv as the storms passed over us. Again, we did not loose power. Hopefully those who did from this weekend and last night will have their power restored by tonight.

I hope R made it across the river before the storm hit Hudson.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Monkey Socks

Ok, I am in love with this pattern. I started the first sock Friday afternoon and finished Sunday morning. This is exactly what the varigated green yarn was crying for....

I started the second sock at breakfast on Sunday. I can't wait to finish this pair and wear it. LOVE!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Some days....

I should just listen to the little voice in my head and stay in bed.

Oh well, at least the day has gone by quickly....

Monday, August 06, 2007

FO's in the works

I received an e-mail from my godmother to say that the Icarus shawl arrived and she loves it. She says the color is perfect and she loves blue, which I already knew, but it was nice to be right about that. She says the evenings in LA are cool enough that the shawl will be very useful, even in the summer, which is great.

I'm thinking S will have his socks by the end of the week and I have one finished and the other started of the Sock Monkey Socks for M.

I received the last bit of canvas for the second spoked round tent on Thursday so I can sew that this week. Tuesday is the demo for Palace for National Night Out, Thursday is knitting and Saturday is a regional practice up in Duluth.

The following weekend is the girls weekend down in Rochester and I'm in charge of food.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Egyptian stockings with blue bands

Complete and in the mail.

I'm really pleased with them.

The yarn used is Fortissima Socka (75% wool and 25% poly) in blue (1015) and natural (1048). I estimate that I used just under 458 yards of blue and 680 yards of natural. The stockings were knit from the toe up using a figure 8 cast on. I increased 4 stitches every other row until I reached 80 stitches total. The heel is made with the short row method. Once I was past the ankle band I increased the number of stitches every 5 rows until I had 120. The decorative bands were charted from extent socks dating from the 13th. century in Egypt and can be found in Richard Rutt's, A History of Hand Knitting. The stockings are bound off using a standard method. The garters were made using a crochet hook and are started through the back loops on the socks. The break in the pattern runs up the inside of each leg.

I knit the stockings on size 0 needles and the gauge was 9 stitches by 12 rows / square inch (approx).

I estimate that I spent close to 60 hours knitting this pair, but I can't be sure. It was actually pretty quick because of all the plain stockinette.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Back to reality

35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis. 6:05 pm Wednesday August 1.

I do not take this route, nor does anyone else in my family. As far as I know my friends have been accounted for, so I am grateful. I actually couldn't believe what I was hearing on the news yesterday and when I saw the pictures I really couldn't believe it.

I think these images will be with many people for many years, as will the tales or close calls, near misses and acts of heroism from officials and lay men alike.

There are times that I am really proud to call this state my home.

No knitting today folks, just hope that those who have lost people in this horrendous event are finding comfort at this time.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

"Have you ever fired two guns while leaping through the air?"

That was awesome!

I highly recommend picking up a copy of Hot Fuzz.....that is if you can find a widescreen version anywhere. Someone seriously screwed the pooch when estimating how many copies of the film was needed. I had to drive to 3 stores before I found 1, and the last store literally only had 1 widescreen version of the film.

I spent all of last night watching, and rewatching, the film and all the bonus features. (Highlight was the "Fuzzball Rally" and them going stircrazy in a conference room which ended in them giving several phone interviews in their underwear) I am officially in love with Nick Frost, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright.

I finished knitting the second sock and have started the super secret sock project.....