Merry Christmas to all and a blocking update

Here's wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and I hope you are enjoying the day. 
It is beautiful and sunny here and just a little chilly.  We survived the ice storms and the high winds from last weekend and all is well.

Did you receive some fibery presents?  spinning goodies?  Did you make time to spin or knit?

I've added to my fiber stash.  I finally purchased some Rambouillet. I keep hearing what a dream it is to spin, so I broke down and bought some.  I bought it in the natural color, so I have to decide if I want to try to dye it prior to spinning or after I've spun it. Decisions, decisions.  The other addition to the fiber stash is a merino/cashmere blend. yummmmm.  I pulled it out of the bag after I received it and OMG!!! it is yummy. I can't wait to spin this one.  It too is in the natural color.

I have been doing some knitting. I did finally frog the Love Me Tender cardi I mentioned in the previous post.  After casting back on last weekend, I have now knitted past the point of where I was when I frogged it.  I have found that the woven stitch hurts my hands.  Once I finish this project, I will probably not do that stitch again. I like the way it looks, but it's not worth the pain to the joints in my hands.  I'm also going to town on Claire, the stole/scarf.  It's looking beautiful so far.  I think once it's blocked, it will be stunning.

 I've also finally been blocking.  It's funny, once I finish a shawl, it sits in a basket until I get a chance to block.  I use that phrase "get a chance" very loosely.  I always have a chance to block, I just choose not to.  It's not like it's hard to do, it's just not one of my favorite things to do.  So, the first one to get blocked was the Summer Flies Again Shawl that I finished oh......earlier this year.  I originally started this late last year as a competition item, but then other things took priority and I didn't finish it in time for the competition.  (I just looked at my Ravelry page and I finished it in May and I'm just now blocking it.  Shame on me!)  It will be a retirement gift for Brenda who retires the last day of this year. 

 
 
Next up on the blocking stack is the Trousseau shawl.  Another shameful act, I finished knitting this one in December 2012. 1 year ago!!  Argh.  It's such a beautiful shawl and it's in an off-white color which I really needed in my wardrobe.  I'll get a pic of it later today.  The last one to block is the Multnomah shawlette.  I can't tell you how long this one has been finished but it's been a couple of years. I was bored with it after I finished it. Sad, I know.  I am turning over a new leaf in 2014 though. All this will be behind me. :-)
 
I've not thought about New Years resolutions.  I know I have goals for the new year and they are in my little red book I carry with me.  Speaking of my little red book. 
 
 It measures 3.5" x 5.5".  This has been a work in progress and I've gone from a letter size binder that I kept on my desk at home, to a junior size binder I carried in my large bag that I carry to work, then to a smaller binder notebook and finally to this little red book.  The red book is small enough to carry in my purse and the little post-it notes are perfect to keep me and my thoughts organized. 
Inside the binder cover are extra notes for a quick jot. 
 The thing I like best about the post-it notes method is that once something is done, you toss the note.  You don't have to keep re-writing To-Do lists because part of the items are done and scratched through and others items are left to do.  My knitting list is still with the old method and you can see that example.  It makes we want to re-write the list but I'm not going to. :-) 


This is just a sample of one of the pages, I won't show them all. :-)

My knitting list is still with the old method and you can see that example.  It makes we want to re-write the list but I'm not going to. :-)   

I also have a page where I keep track of my spindles and how much they weigh.  The weight of the spindles is very important to me as I really, really like the lighter weight ones.  I also have this information in my cell phone, but sometimes I like to look at paper while I sit somewhere.



 
Yes, I do utilize my phone to keep information close at hand and also to keep me  organized.  I love my calendar and use it religiously.  Is it duplication? In some ways yes.  But this book is something I peruse and update quite often. I don't have to re-write to-do lists, I don't have to remember where I wrote it down or what I did with the note.  I keep a running list of music I want to download, or an author I need to check out or a dish that I want to try.  Post-It notes are great. I use the larger ones when I need to write more and I've got those located on the back cover when I need one.  OK enough on that subject.
 
I hope you all have had a very happy holiday and I'll chat with you next week!

UPDATE ADDED:
I am blocking the Trousseau!!!  I am using my flexible blocking wires that I bought a year or two ago and they are fabulous.  The wires made blocking this lace shawl so much easier and my DH helped in eyeing it to make sure it was even.


 


Ice Storm

No, I have not named this winter storm, I'm sure the media will take care of that.  However, mid-Tenn did get an ice storm starting Friday afternoon.  I left work early and was home before I encountered any issues.  The trees were already glistening white with ice, it was very pretty.  Saturday continued to rain, which turned into more ice. Eventually, tree limbs broke and downed power lines early, early Sunday morning, which of course resulted in a lack of power. By this morning the house was very cold and there was no timeline for service.  So we packed up enough for 2 nights and we headed towards town for a nice warm shower, warm room and a hot meal.  In for the night now, well fed, toasty and warm.  I'm thankful to have funds to afford a room for the night.. More winter storm is on its way, so I'm praying that everyone is safe.

Spinning, Plying, Winding and playing catch-up

It seems that once I finish spinning the single it takes a while to ply.  The plying itself takes me all day so I have to plan for it because I really don't like stopping midway and have to pick it back up later. So, I try to forge ahead and get all the plying done at once.  Well, once I do that, then I don't have any time left to wind it on the niddy-noddy.  Then another weekend or two will pass by and I finally get time to wind it on and count the yards.  All that time just to say......I finally have some finished spinning.  They were both delightful to spin.

This first one is a result of spinning two 4 oz braids, each individually.  Then I plied them. I like 2 ply for several reasons, one is that the 4 oz braid goes farther, I like that I can get a lace-weight or light fingering weight from it and it suits my knitting purposes.  So a 2-ply with 8 ounces?  Yep, I was able to get some good yardage.  The fiber I purchased from The Sweet Sheep.  It's a BFL called Rosebush and I ended up with over 850 yards.  I've been thinking about what to knit with this yarn and I've about decided on the asymmetrical shawl, Imagine When.



This next one is a 4 oz braid of Polwarth and Silk (85/15).  At the time I spun the single I thought I would ply it with something else, but after I saw how beautiful and vibrant the colors were, I decided to ply it on itself.  I love the way it turned out.  This one hasn't had a bath yet, but it's still pretty.  This braid was purchased from Dragonfly Fibers and it's called Admiral Benbow.  I ended up with around 700 yards.



 
On the knitting front, I have been working on a second pair of Shlippers.  The first pair looked like they would be too small once I felted them, so I'm doing another pair one size larger.  The first slipper is finished and once I finished the 2nd, I will wash all four and felt them.  I'm excited to see the end result.
 
I also started the Love Me Tender cardigan. (not free)  It  was a little fiddly to start, had to frog it 4 times before I go smart and actually wrote out the pattern, line by line.  All good things come to an end though because the fourth time I cast on I decided to use the Chinese Waitress Cast-On which gives a beautiful edge, looks similar to an I-cord edge. This was good because the neck edge is what you cast on so it was a beautiful rounded edge.  The cardigan is knit with the I-cord edging built in and I like that.  Finally finished the yoke and separated for the sleeves and then started the woven basket pattern for the body.  Well 6 rows in to that I realize I've made a mistake 4 rows back.  How do you tink back a woven basket pattern as well as an I-cord edge?  Not only do I not know how to do that, I don't even know how to frog it back to a plain stockinette row. How do you do that with an I-cord edging?  So, it sits there now, untouched. I think I have come to the conclusion that I will have to start all over again, a complete frogging.  Maybe I'll do that today. :-(
Here are some pics before I frog it.
 
 The cast-on neck edge

Woven basket pattern

 
Weaving some Zoom Loom squares have slowed down considerably.  I've done maybe 5 over the last two weeks.  My Cricket sits there unwarped as well.  Where has all my time gone?  Well, we've been re-arranging the living room.  While we are almost there, we will definitely need to buy some new furniture in the spring.  We have a couch that has needed replacement for at least 10 years, we just haven't been ready. So we are making our list of items and starting to look.  We're working room-by-room.  First it was the bedroom with a new bed and new closets, then the office with new bookcases and a rearrangement of furniture to optimize the space, then the kitchen with a new refrigerator and freezer. Now, it's time for the living room. 
 
The Thanksgiving holiday was nice and relaxing.  I didn't even make turkey. It was just DH and I, so I cooked a regular meal. I had to go back to work on Friday and I didn't want to spend my day cooking for just 2 people.  I am always thankful for the day off in addition to being thankful for everyone and everything in my life. I am so blessed to have family and friends who love me, to have a job and a wonderful place to live. I have hobbies that I love and some extra funds to support the hobby.  Really, I don't want for anything and I have God to thank for all my good fortune.
 
I'm off to go make a cake........a yarn cake that is, with the Rosebush yarn above. :-)

Multiple Topics

This will be a Multiple Topic post as I'm still catching up from the knee replacements.  Update on that issue:  I am all done with PT, the xrays look fabulous (everything is all aligned) and the Doc has released me to go back to work on the 21st. I'm still not sleeping through the night and I have one more week before work starts to get that under control.  I have absolutely no pain in the knees whatsoever.  It still amazes me.  On Sunday, I cleaned house (dusted, vacuum), changed sheets, 3 loads of laundry, etc.  Normally, changing sheets alone would have made my knees hurt so bad that I couldn't do anything for an hour.  Vacuuming was even worse.  Yesterday, other than some residual fatigue, my knees did great, NO PAIN.  I still can't believe it and I'm ecstatic.  Fatigue is because I don't have my endurance back yet, but it will come.
 
New kittens.  Back in June we lost Maddux, one of our 4 yr olds. We came back from NYC and found her dead in the cat house.  I guess it was good that she came to a safe place to die and we never did figure out what killed her.  That left us one cat to keep the mice population down.  We knew we needed to get a couple new kittens soon, but with my impending surgery, we decided to put it off.  Well, we finally broke down on Wednesday (Oct 9) and picked up 2 neutered males from the local Humane Society.  They are so cute and friendly.  Both are approximately 4 months old. Supposedly brothers, but who knows.  They get along great.  Our 4 yr old cat is NOT HAPPY!!!  I don't know that she will get used to them, she won't come up to the house anymore. She is very mad at us.  She may even leave. Time will tell.
 
Meet Oscar. 



Meet Daniel

 


We have a new LYS and I went there on opening day. It wasn't their grand opening yet, but it was their first day open.  There was a sense of community upon entering.  I could tell that the knitters surrounding the nice big table all knew each other and that they had been knitting together for awhile.  I knew one person and caught up with her. Unfortunately, I couldn't stay to knit but there were a few fibery items that followed me home by jumping into my bag.
 
The first was this Berroco Boboli Lace. It's a Wool/Acrylic/Viscose blend (42%/35%/23%).  It's soft and comes in some beautiful colors.  350 yards per skein.



 
The other one that jumped in my bag was this gorgeous lace yarn from Juniper Moon.  It's called Findley Doppled and it's a 50/50 Merino/Silk blend.  It's very soft and comes with a whopping 798 yards in a skein.  The one I bought is kind of a taupe color, my mother would have loved it.  She LOVED taupe.  I may have to make something in her memory with this one.



 The next topic is a play/musical review.  We have season tickets to a local playhouse comprised of some very talented actors.  They are a young group (20's-30's mostly), most all have a Bachelors or higher degree in Theatre and Dance.  Again, very talented.  They do quite a few musicals and their voices will bring tears to your eyes.  They do well in all aspects of drama, comedy and music.  Anyway, this review is on Spamalot.  For any of you out there that are familiar with the Monty Python movies, this play is a spoof of all the movies put together.  This play has been on Broadway and in London. You can catch some pieces of the plays on YouTube. Just search Spamalot and you'll find some links.  I can't say enough good things about this play. We laughed.....ALOT.  Basically, what I'm saying is that if you get the chance to see this play, GO SEE IT. It's worth it.

As for knitting......I bound off the Mermaids Gift Shawl. It will be blocked this week and pics uploaded shortly thereafter. It was a great pattern, not social knitting for me, although it may be for some people.  The mink yarn is so very soft and I'm tempted to buy some more. We'll see.

Last night, I cast on for the Shlippers.  What a great pattern!  I'm using Galway Worsted that I purchased at 50% off and I already have one slipper knitted. I need to seam it, but the knitting is complete.  I would say it took a couple of hours to knit it. It's hard to say exactly because I was cooking dinner, eating and watching the baseball playoffs during that time too.  Once they are seamed, then they get felted.
 

I have Raggi socks on the needles and I have turned the heel for the first sock.

I'm still going strong on the Zoom Loom squares.  I'm up to 195 squares. They are just so much fun.  Yes, of course, I know I will need to seam them, but I like tedious hand work so I don't think it will be a problem.  I'll keep you updated on that issue.

I finished weaving my sample on the Cricket Loom and I'm ready to warp it with something I want for a scarf.  I'll do that this week.  I'm also spinning 8 oz of fiber called Rosebush.  I purchased it from Fiber Fancy on Etsy over a year ago. It's 85% mixed bfl (a blended version of white and brown blue faced leicester) and 15% tussah silk top. It's been a dream to spin.  I'm spinning two 4 oz bobbins and then will ply them together for a 2 ply.  This is a picture of the top.

I think I'm caught up for now.

Talk to you later!




Zoom, Zoom

No, this is not a Mazda commercial. :-)

I am still addicted to the Zoom Loom and have been going to town.  I am up to 126 squares now and still having fun!

Sometime last year I had found a website (or maybe someone directed me to it, not sure) called Eloomanation.  At that site, they had some old pattern books for the old Weavette and Loomette looms.  I downloaded them at that time and had no clue what all the codes meant. 

Well, now I know what they mean and have tried out quite a few. Some I really like, others....not so much.
Below are a few samples of the ones that I do like:







 My 126 squares in stacks of 10

 
As to my Mermaid's Gift Shawl.  I am 3 rows away from binding off and if I never see another SSK and YO (well, at least for a short time) I will be happy. 
I am REALLY tired of them at the moment.
 
My Raggi Dalmation socks??  Turned the heel today on the way to another brutal PT session.  3 more to go and I'm so ready for it to be over.  I'm still not quite ready to go up and down steps, but I'm a lot better than I was.  The knee joints are pain-free, it's the muscles that are so sore. OMG!! SORE!!!!  That just proves to me how weak they really were.
 
I've been ignoring the Yoked Cardigan.  Not really intentionally, I was just getting so close to the end on the Shawl that I couldn't resist working on it. Plus those darned Zoom squares above.  Great to work on while I'm sitting in my knitting corner in the office (our den) at home.
 
That's all for now and I hope to be chatting with you again soon!
 

Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom

Yep, I mentioned in my last post that the little woven squares have been so much fun that they were inspiring me to get my Cricket that I purchased at least 3 years ago and assemble it.  Well, I did it!  I also warped it with the sample yarn and then have been using different stash yarns for the weft so that I can see what the end effect is.  It's been quite a learning experience and have been having loads of fun.  This initial piece has just been for fun, it will not be a finished scarf, it's for practice. I am still working on the sides and making sure they are even. It seems to change with the different type of yarns.  I already have a Heddle for sock yarn (12 dent maybe?) and I'm eager to try it with the sock yarn stash that I have.  So much fun to have!
 
The green and blue is the sample yarn that came with it.
 The bright and very textured weave is using a ribbon yarn (close-up down below)
 
The more subdued orange and blue is a cotton/wool sock yarn


Zoom Loom by Schacht

On a whim, I decided to purchase the Zoom Loom and I have been having a blast!!  I bought it from my LYS on the way to PT a couple of weeks ago and the weaving began.  I have been busting through my stash of sock yarn leftovers and playing around with the warp and weft.  Playing with doubling the yarn throughout the 4 layers and doubling only through 2 layers, just so much fun.  As of today, I have 38 squares.  I will probably have these woven squares take over my small knitted squares sock yarn blanket project.  Here they are in all their glory!

Weaving these little squares has made me want to get my Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom out and warp it.