Sunday, August 31, 2003

I like to update my blog when I finish a project or something is going well. Unfortunately, that is not the case at present. I've had "one of those weeks" where nothing seems to go right and I don't really LOVE anything on which I am working.

I ordered a set of smaller knitting needles to start my second COTR shawl. They arrived this week - and were the wrong size. So, back they went and I will have to wait at least another week to get started. In the meantime, the front of Gabrielle's "Bobble Hell" sweater has been the project to which I turn when I need to relax (imagine that!). I've accomplished quite a bit of it actually.

If things continue this way, Gabrielle may actually get this sweater BEFORE she outgrows it! I am really enjoying this sweater much better since I switched to Continental knitting! I am so grateful to Nannette Huber who got me started!

I've also been knitting a stranded sweater on my ISM for Gabrielle. I'm making up technique as I go so naturally, there have been lots of moments of frustration! But I sure am learning a great deal and for that, I am grateful!

I didn't have any patterns for stranded knits so I enlarged a small cross stitch design instead. I am not overjoyed with how it turned out, but 4 year old Gabrielle is delighted and that is good. With a trip to much colder Las Vegas planned for December, she will need some warm clothes.

I wanted to make a pair of socks for my husband and knew my stash of Merino wool wouldn't do, so I carded up some lovely brown Shetland I acquired in a trade. Unfortunately, lurking in the Shetland wool was enough vm to mulch my garden. And if that wasn't enough of a challenge, most of the wool was 1/2 inch long tufts. I assume this is what is called "second cuts". I did my best cleaning and spinning the stuff, but the yarn certainly didn't turn out to be the smooth, soft and evenly spun yarn I envisioned.

I might still try to knit some socks for Kurt from this. However, I think I have some Wensleydale top I can spin up and that might be better in the long run. Kurt may end up with two pairs of socks as a result and I am pricing mini-combs. I won't touch that Shetland again until I have a means to get rid of the junk!

Gregory saw some knit robot material in my fabric stash (he LOVES all things robot) and wanted some sweats made from it (I'm sewing winter clothes for the kids right now). I told him the sweats would probably come out looking like pajamas, but he doesn't care.

I finished the sweatshirt. I added a kangaroo pocket to try to make it look more like clothes. I still think it looks like pajamas, but Gregory is happy and for that, I am grateful. These will make nice play clothes and we don't go out very often anyway.

No pictures of the kids this week. My back and neck have been all out of whack again and this morning I woke up with ANOTHER migraine. The family went to church without me and the quiet has helped. I should probably go back to the chiropractor, but I'd rather get a set of mini-combs. An adjustment only lasts a few weeks, but the combs. . . I have a good Mary Kay check coming this month so we'll see where my priorities are then!

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

My first shawl is now only hours from being in a wearable state. I received my blocking wires over the weekend and blocked my COTR shawl this morning.

The shawl is 8 ft + across the widest edge and is one inch more than 4 ft down the center. It turned out bigger than I'd hoped, but not too big. I think it will fit on my 5'6" body okay and perhaps the extra length will give me wearing options of which I cannot even conceive at present.

I finished spinning for my next COTR.

The yarn is 30 wpi and much more consistantly spun than last time. I got 1,455 yards from 5 ounces of fiber, so I am right on track. (I aimed for 1,500 yards from 5 ounces.) Not bad from this beginner spinner!

My darling husband is a wonderful man, but I think he needs more "training". The man is a manager at a very large thrift store. Once, the store received a spinning wheel. Kurt never thought to mention it until AFTER someone else bought the wheel. Having learned from this experience, last week I asked if they ever got yarn donated. Well, he let me know they had just put out a large selection a few days earlier, but it was selling fast. The price? $ .10 to $ .25 apiece. You can be sure we packed up and headed over to the store fast. Fortunately, there was still a shopping cart FULL of yarn left.

Here is what I brought home! There were a couple skeins of wool yarn, more 100% cotton (better for Florida), some chenille and quite a bit of boucle. I took most of this yarn and left the acrylic, with a couple of exceptions. Can you believe so much yarn can be had for just a couple of dollars??? And with my husband's discount, we did very well!

I just fell in love with the colors of this boucle. I found 2 skeins of it. I just cannot figure out what to do with it. Any suggestions?

Sunday, August 17, 2003

I finished my first Incredible Sweater Machine sweater in less than a week!

I made it for Gregory with a wool/acrylic yarn I had in my stash. I bought it in Las Vegas, but have no idea why.

Gregory woke up just in time to slip the sweater over his pajamas to model it. It still needs to be washed and blocked. However, since winter is many months hence, we aren't in any big hurry.

Praise God Gregory likes to have his picture taken because he thought it crazy to wear a sweater in this heat!

But if this winter is anything like last, we'll all be happy for some nice warm sweaters!

Playing with my ISM has kept me from having to deal with the sweater I started hand knitting for Gabrielle in the Spring. It is "bobble hell" and hurts my hands to work. But she has been asking about it and I do need to make time for it.

This is the back panel. I've got about 2 inches of the front done as well. The sleeves are worked in the same pattern. I can do about 6 rows of pattern in about 2 hours and I just don't watch enough television to progress very fast. Most of what I finished thus far was done on a business trip with my husband to Jacksonville. But, for my daughter's sake, I will have to find a way.

Here is a close up of the pattern. It is from "Family Knits" by Debbie Bliss.

I am still spinning for my Grandmother's shawl. I started plying yesterday. This yarn in much thinner than the yarn I spun for my first COTR shawl so this one will look different I suspect. The adventure of it all is one of the reasons I like spinning and knitting as much as I do!

I also got out my patterns and prepared the patterns to make the kids some winter clothes. I took one of Gregory's robot drawings and digitized it into an embroidary design. I thought I'd make him a sweat shirt with his robot picture on the front.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

I was going to wait until I had my shawl blocked before posting any more pictures, but I still don't have my blocking wires. So I am going to go ahead and post a picture of my finished COTR shawl before blocking.

Here it is stretched across my California King size bed.

Kurt finished building a table for my Incredible Sweater Machine knitting machine so I've been playing with that the last few days.

Yesterday I got tired of "practicing" and decided to try to make a sweater for Gregory. The first piece is the sweater back which only took a couple of hours. I'm sure it will get faster as I figure out what I am doing.

I also finished Gabrielles sundress.

Here is a picture of the bodice.

I converted a puffed sleeve pattern into a sundress with only an adult sized french curve so I was pretty proud of myself.

Gabrielle got to wear her new dress to church on Sunday.

We tried to get a nice natural smile from Gabrielle, but. . .

She went for sultry.

Gregory got involved and I lost Gabrielle's attention.

But I still think she is a cutie!

Gregory couldn't stand it and wanted his picture taken too.

And since our families live so far away, I thought they might enjoy seeing pictures of the kids too.

And after all, most of my time is spent with them and schooling them anyway.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

We finished our first week of home school yesterday with a trip to the aquarium in Fort Walton Beach. The kids have done really well this week and I am very proud of them. Of course, home schooling takes a great deal of time so my hobbies must be squeezed into the few remaining hours reserved for house cleaning, cooking, etc. Which do you think gets most of my time???

Thus far I have managed to maintain my 6 rows per day on the COTR shawl. I am presently working on the first Sea Foam chart.

The shawl stretches across my couch before blocking so I think it might be a bit large. I am 5'5'' tall with a small frame, so I hope it is not too big after blocking.

A closer view shows there is quite a bit of stretch room left. At least I like oversized clothes for cold weather. . .

Gabrielle woke up cheerful as usual and agreed to do some modeling for me. (Her hippo is her constant evening, night time and morning companion.) She is wearing a nightgown I sewed for her last year. We have matching nightgowns in this fabric and one other.

Gabrielle just turned 4 a month ago and wears a child's size 5. The shawl does not look too big draped on her so perhaps all will be well.

Here is the back. I love how sheer it looks. It is so hard for me to believe I actually knitted lace!

I am also working on a sun dress for Gabrielle. I started smocking it last August when Gregory went to kindergarten and I had to sit in the car 45 minutes everyday waiting to pick him up. When we had to take him out of kindergarten a month later, the smocking progress slowed down considerably. However, I am determined to finish Gabrielle's sundress BEFORE summer is over!

I think it will be absolutely adorable and the anchor buttons are a perfect finish for the back!

I finally took the Incredible Sweater Machine out of the closet. It has occupied it's original box for many years.

I packed it away years ago because it needed to be clamped to a flat, rectangular table without a lip. I did not have a workable table so I never used it. I still don't have a workable table, but now I have a darling husband who is willing to build me one. He found all of the necessary parts at work (he is a manager at our local mission thrift store) and is waiting for a day off to assemble them. So at least the Incredible Sweater Machine remains out of the closet for now and is high up on my "to learn" list. I'd like to master it before my tri-loom is finished and competing for my time.

I'm still spinning the Rose Merino and Silk fiber for my grandmother's shawl. I am on my second bobbin full now.

I don't have too much left to go before I can ply it, but with such limited time available to me at present, I must be content to get 15 to 30 minutes of spinning time per day.

Friday, August 01, 2003

School starts Monday and we will be home schooling again. Home schooling an autistic 6 1/2 year old boy takes more patience than I have and can only be done with LOTS of God's grace. Time to pray! In the meantime, I am really enjoying my last few summer vacation days. I won't be able to knit, spin, sew or play as much come Monday so I am doing all I can now.

I hit row 100 of the COTR shawl!!! Wow! I just love this shawl.

Here is a close up of the sea creatures:

And the crabs and seahorses for Stasia:

I hit a new milestone last night. I knit for relaxation. Normally, I am such a "product" person, I stress myself out trying to accomplish as much as possible. Last night, after a terribly busy and stressful day, I sat down to get my "goal rows" done for the day. I found myself just enjoying the process and relaxing. Wow!

Toni from The Fold told me Ashland Bay has changed the colors in the Sea Mist fiber. I am sad because I really love the "old" fiber. She sent me a sample of the "new" colors.

The top part of the picture is the Sea Mist fiber I used for my COTR shawl. The lower half of the picture is the sample of the "new" Sea Mist from Toni.

I'm almost done spinning my first bobbin full of the Rose fiber for my grandmother's shawl.

So far I think its going to be another COTR shawl because I know I can do that one. Though lately, I've had my eye on that "Peacock" pattern from Fiddlesticks. In fact, I think I have the perfect fiber to spin for it.

It is the Ashland Bay MacKenzie, again from the Fold. Says "Peacock" to me!