Monday, July 30, 2007

Award, Nominations, Beads, and Stuff ....

Hege nominated me for the Creative Blogger Award, and I thank her and I'm mighty pleased. It's like collecting trophies. This was big in our family. Everybody was collecting trophies with skiing, but I only got two in my teens. One was for 4th place, and one was 1st place. I'm not very competitive. One of my cousins was in the Austrian Ski Team for a few years. Anyway, it seems people are coming up more and more with awards in blog land. And why not? It's fun and it makes you feel good, so I'm passing on the ball.

Christy started it all. You can read up on what's it about and what other awards you can bestow on others.

My five nominees are:

As always it's hard to narrow it down to a few, but here you go.
Thanks , Hege for nominating me, I feel honoured!

Now, what else can I tell you?

See this wonderful cake of Hand Maiden Sea Silk? It doesn't look quite that crisp and fresh anymore. I've tried to knit Teresa's La Dentelle Belle Scarf, started it three times, but could not for the life of me get past the first pattern repeat without a mistake! I'm totally "lace retarded" at the moment. Or, it might not be the right time for this. It's a pity, because I think the yarn and the pattern are made for each other. I'll give it another try for sure in the future. It's just to nice to NOT make it.
In spinning news there is this. Natural brown BFL, as third and last part for this project. It's not colorful, but the process of spinning is so much fun, I don't care if it looks good or not. And, I happen to like natural fibers a lot. It doesn't have to be all funky colors all the time.
This is my attempt on bead work. I thought I could whip up some mini sock connections for the key chains. Turns out, that you are fast with the stringing, but it takes time for the beginning and the ends to be usable. I need loops on both ends for my purpose. I can tell you this: I'm not cut out for bead work. I really, truly, hate it! What am I going to do with the rest of the stuff? I sure hope, maybe Hannah would like to give it a try (but I don't think she's the gal to do that stuff either). Maybe I'll burrow it in a closet, and in the far, far, future I'll need more of these "connections", and will dig it out again. Just maybe. I would rather knit a hundred mini socks, than to make ten of those things again. Alright, one can not be good at everything. ;o)

And last but not least, I'm knitting a cardigan for MYSELF!!! Hold your breath! I'm done with the back. More about it when there's more to show you, or when it's done, whatever comes first! ;o) Oh, and I'm knitting from stash. It's an adventure to root around all the boxes and bags to find something suitable for the project you have in mind. I quite like it, because most of the stash is gorgeous stuff (some forgotten, but much appreciated), otherwise I wouldn't have bought it!
Hm, Elizabeth, you thought the yarn is Karaokee, but it's Patons SWS. I've used Karaokee once before, and I got the "lemon", I guess. It was awful, lots of knots, the yarn "guts" coming out of the ball, or I think they stuffed some length into the balls to get the right weight, because it was not attached to the rest of the ball. It was a right nightmare.

SWS on the other hand, is lovely to work with, so far. Only one knot in 4 balls.

This past weekend was mostly about spinning. I've got new roving from Pick Up Sticks. Connie is carrying spinning fiber now as well. I love the Fat Cat Knits roving I've got in three different colors. I've already pre-darfted my first merino and can't wait to get started. And because I'm a fiber addict, I've already ordered more roving from Ginny at her Fat Cat Knits Etsy store. To bad you are too late, because I've got all the best colors! ;o)

Last night I was reading blogs, nothing special there. But as it so often happens, you start reading one blog, and click a link and get from one place to another and end up somewhere totally new. I came across some blogs where while reading them, I felt like I was intruding. There were so personal, and yet, once you have a public blog, everybody can read them. Somehow it didn't feel right, I felt weird and got out of there. Very strange. Ever happen to you?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Chelsea Tote Bag!

I'm so in Lo-ha-ha-ve with this tote bag! A while ago I ordered the Amy Butler "Chelsea Bags" pattern, and now with my new found freedom to do whatever I please, I got the sewing machine out and got going. To tell you the truth, after I cut out the pattern and the fabric pieces, I had to step away from the project. Such was the aversion to sewing. After a couple of hours I went back, sucked it up and - voila! I'm glad I made the tote bag first, because for some reason, the sewing machine was backed away faster than you can say 'needle'. I wanted to make the handbag too, but I guess this is for another time. As I said, I love the finished bag. It looks quite simple, but came with an overwhelming sheet of instruction. I guessed that it was not as bad as it seemed, and I was right.
There was supposed to be an interface behind the exterior fabric, but since it's a very stiff linen kind of fabric, and I didn't find the one mentioned in the pattern, I just left it out. The bag will not stand up on its one like this, but it doesn't have to! ;o)
It's reversible, but I will use it only like this. A need feature is the false bottom, very cute.

My little pewter brooch sheep grassing all by itself.

I always wanted to use my winning swatch for an addition for a bag, and this seemed the perfect opportunity to use it. It was easy to sew it on with the sewing machine. I had my doubts about it, but just went for it. It's a bit of a rush rush work, but I didn't want to THINK, because I would have run away from the sewing machine again, so I had to get going and stick to it.

Very interesting and clever is the construction of the bottom. I loved it. I've never done this before, and it worked out so beautifully.

It could be a knitting bag, of course, but doesn't have to be. The cup is there for size reference. Oh, the bag is 4" deep, 10" wide, and 15" high. It's perfect! I got the pattern here: Cia's Palette. They have real nice fabric too, but I didn't buy any.

The back side is not very interesting. This linen fabric is so stiff, not even steam ironing helped get the creases out.
And what's that now? What's in the bag you ask? Why the yarn for my next knitting project of course! More about that later.

I'm very excited right now, and all over the place with projects I'd like to do, and have already done. Today, I've knit a hat with my hand spun yarn. But that's a different post. I made some connections for some more mini sock key chains. I tell you, bead work is NOT for me! I've been spinning as well, and knitting, and ... oh, you'll see! ;o)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Strawberry Parfait!

You people are amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm touched and happy reading all your comments about the magic mosaic blanket. It seems I did good. Once again, isn't the Internet great? Otherwise this blanket would only be seen by a handful of people, but this way it might inspire somebody else. But I tell you, I was so ready to move on, and I did. I've got lots to show you, but not all at once.
A couple of weeks ago, I finished spinning this roving. Some time ago Sophia sent me this 2 oz wool roving. I finally got to spin it and what a pleasure this turned out to be!

May I offer you some strawberry parfait with a dollop of merino?

I've got 296yds 2-ply lace weight yarn form this 2 oz. I'm very pleased. Of course this yarn had to go back to its rightful owner. So, I hope Sophia likes it too, and I'm looking forward to seeing what she's going to make with it!

I would have liked to keep it, but I think I did the right thing. I've got so much roving to spin, and I love it all.

this time all the pics are clickable

Monday, July 23, 2007

Magic Mosaic Blanket - DONE!

I can't quite believe it myself, but it's true, the blanket - c'est fini! It took me only about seven month to do so. ;o) What can I say, I can't stand looking at it for a while; have stared at it for too long. The colors - meh - not my thing. I hope Hannah likes it, because she choose the colors. At the beginning I thought I would do 63 squares, but around the 2oth square I decided that 4o squares would do just fine. And it really is big enough. It's heavy too, and very warm, which is good. She'll need a warm blanket out East, during winter time.

It was a nightmare to finish. Not because it was so difficult to do, but I had to drag myself to the dining room table, where it was waiting like a house guest long overstaying her welcome. I had to go by my lovely roving stash, and the gorgeous Hand Maiden Sea Silk, alluring sock yarn and whatnot, every time I sat down to work on it. I was dreaming what I would like to do instead, and I had to muster all my willpower to stick to it. No casting on for something to distract me, that was the HARDEST part!

Let's get the specifics right out of the way, because I'm sure someone will ask for any or all information:

yarn: Peruvian Collection Highland Wool, 100% wool, from colors # 100, 2117, 1112, 9165, 4144, and 401. I've used about 4,796yds or 44 balls (1 ball = 50g/109yds). Might have been a couple more.

needles: I've used straight US 7 (4.5mm) for knitting the individual squares, and two circular needles for the borders , same size.

pattern: from the book: Mosaic Knitting by Barbara G. Walker. In the back you'll find magic mosaic squares, over 100 designs to choose from.

For the border I've used the following designs: Band 9 and Band 29, which has the name "Watchdog".

size: after washing and letting it dry flat (on the roof of my mini van, banged my head on the garage door opener, still seeing stars) : 52" (~132cm) x 92" (~233cm)

start-finish: November 28th '06 - July 21st' 07

Since I made this especially for my daughter Hannah, I incorporated a square with an "H", also the "Watchdogs" border was chosen on purpose. She's an adult now, and I can't protect her anymore, but I sure wish I could. Knitting this blanket, I thought of her with Love and I hope she's feeling that, when she's cuddling under it, in upcoming cold winter month.

It makes me happy, that even my husband thought, that this is a wonderful blanket. He rarely voices any opinion on my knitting.

So, what do YOU think?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

RAIN! We've got some RAIN!

It finally rained, in fact it poured! Yippee! Everything is wet, and right now - steaming! Naturally I had to get out there. You could hear the "Ah!" from the vegetation, unfortunately for the poor apples the rain came to late. There are some left on the tree. These are all from one little apple tree!

These are like sponges, holding on to the wet goodness.

And this is my favorite picture of today: I've got this single droplet hanging from a thread of the big sun umbrella.

Oh, and after a lot of procrastinating and hair tearing, I've got the blanket all sewn up. Yeah, that's right! Now I've got to knit the borders on both shorter sides, and I'm done!!!

I'm sure all your good thoughts and sewing mojo sent my way, helped a lot! ;o)

And another favorite picture. Sam hates to be wet for any reason. Here he's shaking it off, and I hope the picture is "clickable" so you can see the drops fly in all directions! My little goofy! ;o)

Spirit Animal! O yeah!

Your Score: The Wolf

Here's your results! Your spirit animal has a Nobility ranking of 12 out of 18.

Your spirit animal is the wolf. It is a ferocious companion, and a loyal friend. It is both a respectable and noble creature; to have this spirit animal says good things about you, and that you are starting to figure things out. Wolves are pretty rare spirit animals.

Here's a link so you can find out what your spirit animal is : link

People, I'm p r o c r a s t i n a t i n g! ;o)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Nothing much going on, except for a nice surprise!

Remember when I was looking for the IK Fall 2004 issue? Now it's mine. Dear Bea was so generous and she sent me her copy! Thanks so much, Bea! ;o)

On the Magic Mosaic Blanket news: That's how far I got! Sewing makes me sleepy, makes me want to do laundry, makes me want to cook a five course meal, makes me want to read ten books, makes me want to clean toilets, .... Sigh. I'm getting there, and I'm NOT complaining, really. I made peace with this project, and now I'm just waiting for it to be done, hopefully soon.

See Sam? Just watching me doing the mattress stitch over and over, makes him sleepy too! That's what he looks like shortly before he falls asleep and snores like a bear in hibernation!

Monday, July 16, 2007

I knew I forgot something....

Did I forget to mention that I'm knitting a border around my blanket? Yeah, I did, and I do!

I don't want to have the whole blanket in my lap, when I'm tackling the border. I've decided to sew one stripe of squares, the whole length, which is 8 squares long. The blanket will be 5 squares wide.

I've got nearly 400 stitches to go back and forth on this border (one long side). Unfortunately I can't knit the design I would have liked, due to dwindling available yarn. Also, the design I DID knit was not what I wanted (not even second choice) either.

It went like this: I opened the Knitting Mosaic Book, where the "Bands" were located. There are black and white (or rather gray) pictures of the designs, followed by the charts. One sample picture has 13 designs on it. So, I opened to one page, looked at the picture, saw my second choice, counted down, looked up the design and started knitting. After the 4th row, there was this "Huh?" in my head, repeatedly, but I didn't get it. After the last row was knit, I looked at the design, and this time there was "WTF" in my head, it looked nothing like the design I'd chosen. I looked at the picture again, and NOW I read the small print beside it. I naturally counted from top to bottom to design 9, but for whatever reason, they counted from bottom up, which would have made the design I wanted to knit # 5. Was I going to rip out 26 rows of roughly 400 stitches? No way! Now I have to repeat the mistake on purpose on the other side. Of course the design is the ugliest on this page, but since you will not see the rest, it will be O.K. for everyone except for myself. But there's a good side too. Now I know how much yarn I'll need, and I will knit the top and bottom border (short side of the blanket) with my # 1 choice of designs. You'll see! So, I'm not only sewing squares, but also knitting, and this will take longer than I'd expected.

In the meantime I have to show you something, so you wont get bored. Look what I've got here. This is a metal box, painted somewhere in Russia (says so on the back). I've got it over 11 years ago, from someone from somewhere, don't remember. I've used it in my sewing days to keep the chalk for marking seams and so on. It's still in there.

I was looking for something else, when I saw it, and until a few days ago, I never really looked at the painting, it didn't mean anything until now. It shows two women spinning with bottom whirl drop spindles. Isn't that cool?

Ask and you shall receive, or something like that. I asked my son to please make me a WPI counting tool, and this is what he brought home for me. He's working in a wood workshop during the summer, until University starts up again. It's perfect. It sits in my hand so comfortably, I love it. He knew what I wanted to do with it, but he could not explain to his buddies, why one would want to wrap yarn around some piece of wood. People who have nothing to do with knitting or spinning, sure think that we are weird. ;o)

I haven't taken a lot of picture of the dogs lately. This one I made a couple of month ago. I like it. Biko looks a little like a Sphinx in this one. She was hoping to get a treat, for being good and letting me photograph her. ;o)

Friday, July 13, 2007

There we go again....

It's time for a little "whine fest", with lots of self pity, and teeth grinding. There are 40 squares, each has 4 ends to weave in = 160 ends. Not so bad, really, the bad thing is sewing those damn things together!!! Would somebody please shoot me? Why, why I ask you why?

This was my last square, it's not as nice looking as some of the squares, but it's personal. Since this blanket will belong to my DD Hannah, I thought this would be a nice touch. Thanks again, Sybille, for designing it for me. Saved me a lot of time.
To make me finish this project a.s.a.p. I wont allow myself to cast on for anything new. Aua, that hurts, but I must be firm with myself, otherwise it will never get done. So, please send me good sewing vibes, I really need them! Thanks!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Surprise from Switzerland!

Last night, when I went to get the mail, there was this mangled package. It felt like wool, but I hadn't ordered any. Hm. Quick look to the sender - CH! Who do I know in Switzerland? Closer look and all was revealed:
Manuela from Switzerland a fellow blogger, who I've been corresponding with for some time now, surprised me with no less than my favorite sock yarn - Trekking XXL - and such lovely colorway too!

There was a note on a sheet of a Diddl note pad (my daughter used to LOVE Diddly Mouse, when she was young and we still lived in Austria). Our mail box key has a Diddl key chain. ;o)

What can I say, but Thank you, Manuela!

Once again the kindness of another knitter amazes me. I'm speechless, dumbfounded, hugging those two balls to my chest! ;o)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Handspun yarn!

This yarn was spun from Amy's roving, color "Golden Rod" a while ago. It was 4 oz of BFL. The above is 37g or 193 yds of 2-ply yarn. I LOVE it. It's exactly like I envisioned it. I don't know the WPI but it's definitely lace weight.

edited: LEAH: I was not quite clear on that. I've used only 37g of the 4 oz of golden rod to get 193 yds, the rest of the "golden rod" went into the next stage, plied together with the natural brown, AND I have still some "golden rod" singles left on the bobbin!

This is 128g or 668 yds of "Golden rod" BFL plied with natural brown BFL. That's my personal best! I love this yarn. Somehow it looks different as I thought it would, but I love it, and it's quite soft, not at all like the coopworth or corriedale. This skein reminds me of something, can't put my finger on it, something from nature, maybe fur or feathers? What do you think? Help me out here! It's definitely animal in my mind (and I don't mean sheep)

Together that is 861 yds, but I'm not done yet ...

... because I'm going to spin natural brown/natural brown as third part of this lace project, of which I don't know yet what it will be. I can spin as much as I need for the brown part, I've got tons of it left. Any ideas of how to transform these yarns into something spectacular?

But before I'll continue to spin for this project, I want to spin something else to have a change of color, and fiber.

A last word to my last post. I think this LYS visit and the thing the Lady said touched me at all, because I felt a little guilty for buying more yarn (which I really don't need, but desperately wanted), but she couldn't have known how big my stash is. In any case, it was NOT a big deal, the store is quite nice, I liked it because it was not a dark hole, but airy, light and cheery. I'll be going there for my fiber fix again, I'm sure. Can't keep an addict from the source of his fix! Ha!

But I'll be buying online most of what I'll need in the future, as I did in the past already. I can do it anytime I have the urge, and change my mind before I let my clicker happy finger go. ;o)
Thank you all for your comments on this issue!