Up to Speed

It’s been busy, friends. Very busy. This weekend I went to the local weaver’s and spinner’s guild show, then to our local Cranksgiving. This is a bike race/scavenger hunt which brings in food for the local food bank. Each rider got a list of 10 items the food bank needs this time of year, and then they go out and purchase each item from different stores. I volunteered this year which was great fun in and of itself. There was quite a bit of downtime, so I knit and hung out with friends while waiting for the participants to return.

I took this week off work even though Bug goes to school for the first two days this week. Because of this, I got up early, got dressed, and headed off as if I were going to work. Why? Because Miss Bug likes to argue with me about how she should stay home from school if I am staying home from work.

IMG_2622

My morning started at a coffeeshop, knitting and drinking coffee and waiting for shops to open. I then went to half price books and goodwill to drop off stuff from my crazy basement, office depot for tape for gifts, and then I came home to make breakfast, start dinner, start washing fleece, and wrap as many gifts as I could find boxes for.

Speaking of gifts, I also had an opportunity to photograph a couple of the Julie knits. The first being a tiny pair of underwear for the doll.

IMG_2624

These were kind of a ridiculous endeavor but I think they’ll be appreciated even so. And they turned out pretty good. I didn’t bother to block them, it seemed a bit like overkill.

I also made a pair of legwarmers

IMG_2625

Quite simple, and very pretty out of Blue Moon Fiber Arts socks that rock.

And finally, I made another christmas ornament. This one doesn’t have high contrast so it isn’t my favorite. I’ll try to remember not to pair these two colors again.

IMG_2623

I am working on another ornament when Bug is home, this one quite different from the others. But, it’s slow going as it is almost all colorwork, and I am using yarn that isn’t exactly fit for the job.

I am also almost done with Bug’s christmas tunic, which I hope to show off soon. That’s my knitting project for today since I can knit without her figuring out it’s hers.

More tomorrow, for sure! Including a gradient vest I finally completed!

Christmas Ornaments

I’ve been a tad bit obsessive about knitting Christmas ornaments this year. I’ve completed 3 out of the 55 Christmas Balls to Knit book. And, I’ve got another on the needles.

The first one I did using the two handed colorwork technique. Basically, I knit with the main color in my left hand and the contrast color in my right hand.

IMG_2602

I wasn’t thrilled with my result. Meaning, it makes a perfectly lovely ornament, but I felt I could do better. So, I pulled out my colorwork thimble, and started another one.

IMG_2605 IMG_2604

I am particularly fond of the colors on this one. And, the resulting ornament is better as well. More pleasing to my eye.

Then I ran out of stuffing, so I was forced to do some more flick carding for scraps to fill the ornaments with. And then I knit another. This one I did with the colorwork thimble, but I was also very careful to secure my carried yarn as well.

IMG_2603

I’ve done more flick carding and I have another ornament on the needles. I think this one will be even better than the ones before. And then Miss Bug has requested a rocking horse ornament so I’ll probably do that one for her stocking.

Again, with the little things. Little things are exactly what I want to be knitting at the moment.

Small Things

As of right now, it feels like all I am knitting are small things. Just…little bits of business that knit up relatively quickly and provide slight satisfaction of the more immediate gratification type. I have repeatedly tried to get pictures taken and blog posts up, but between having Bug around and not wanting to take pictures of gifts while she’s around, and the seemingly continuous darkness when I am at home, it just hasn’t been favorable.

If you’ve been following along, you may remember that I knit dog booties for Mr. Ink’s old dog. He has trouble walking in the snow, as he’s 17 yrs old. The booties I knit him gave him renewed interest in the outdoors. If you put them on him while he’s inside, he prances around the house all proud. When he’s outside, he plays like a puppy in them. When he comes back inside, and you go to take them off, he sits on them in hopes you’ll leave them on. It’s ridiculously adorable.

However, after repeated use and washing, two of them have developed holes. So, I knit two to replace them. IMG_2600

I threw out the majority of my worsted weight scraps this summer, but I happened to have this Dream in Color Classy left in stash, so he gets some very fine booties this time around.

Mr. Ink will next paint the undersides with puffy paint for traction, as well as puffy paint on the inside of the ribbing so they stay on his legs better. And then he should be all set for this season.

Stay tuned for more Julie accessories and some lovely christmas ornaments. ‘Tis the season!

The Flaw in the Plan

I am taking a bit of a break from Julie’s clothing. I had a ran out of yarn situation, and I couldn’t bear to keep going once I ripped that pretty little shirt out. So, I decided to work on my gradient vest a bit more.

IMG_2599

I am no longer fearful I’ll run out of yarn, so that’s a relief. Both armholes are done, and now it’s just a matter of knitting the second front long enough to match the first front.

And then there’s the seaming. Which is where the flaw in the plan comes in. I failed to realize, as I was knitting along, that once I was done with a gradient piece, I would no longer have the appropriate yarn color to seam the shoulders. I’ve got one shoulder that’s orange toned, and the other shoulder that’s yellow toned, and by the time I am done I’ll be in green tones.

Lesson learned. If you are knitting a gradient garment, save some of the yarn color needed for the seams.

I am not sure what I’ll do about this issue. I’ve got some loop scraps in my bin, I could check them for color. Or, I could just use the green on both shoulders and hope for the best. At least the shoulders will match? I’ve no clue what I’ll do once I am done. But, I won’t make that mistake again, at least there’s that.

A Quiet Weekend

Miss Bug headed to her dad’s for the weekend last night. I spent the evening finishing up my creepy basement clean out project so that I could get the car in the garage. While the project is done, I still need a trip to the dump. But, it’s snowing today and Mr. Ink has to work so the trip to the dump has to wait for another weekend.

I worked hard to finish the basement project yesterday so that I could devote my time today to knitting Bug’s Christmas gifts. Being that she is gone, I don’t have to hide them. So I am just working as fast as I can on them.

I found an etsy shop that sold some stockings for American Girl dolls, and I purchased 3 pairs as gifts. This is fabulous since right now, Julie’s only stockings are red. I grabbed grey stockings and white stockings. Then, on a whim, I decided to also get a pair of stockings with bright peace signs on them. They were too cute to resist.

Then, I took some leftover handspun of Marja’s and knit a 3 tiered skirt. It matches the fabulous stockings perfectly, so I am quite excited about it. And, it was a quick knit!

IMG_2598

I have more of that yarn, so I am not entirely positive I am done with that colorway yet. So cute!

The Christmas Sweater

I decided to knit one Christmas Sweater for Miss Bug this holiday. I chose the Bulle pattern because it’s more like a tunic, which is something she’ll enjoy, and it is designed to be worn with something under it, which seems wise for Miss Bug. The yarn I chose is Brooks Farms Mas Acero. I purchased it in 2008 or 2009 at Stitches Midwest and it’s been in my stash ever since. It’s lovely stuff, and I haven’t been able to figure out what to do with it, since I don’t want it to be gone from my stash.

While I realize that’s just crazy talk, it DOES happen. But, these days it happens far less, because I have yummy handspun in stash, and that takes the edge off getting rid of nice commercial yarns.

I love the little bit of added extra fabric at the back and front of this tunic, making it look so very sweet. It will be fun to put some great buttons on this for added detail, and even better? There’s alternating colored pockets to add. So sweet!  The pattern is translated from french, and some of the terminology is unusual, but since it’s also intuitive, it’s easy to figure out.

I did, however, not read the pattern well enough to figure out where to stop making it garter stitch and join it in the round. By the time I figured that out, it was farther back than I was willing to rip. So, it’s not a bug, it’s a feature. It’ll look great even so.

IMG_2597

It’s entirely possible I’ll make different sleeves. I’ve got a kid who gets very odd about her socks and shoes and the feeling of her pants, and I don’t think tighter sleeves on a tunic meant to be worn over something is going to fly with her.

This project is currently residing at work. It’s just boring stockinette at the moment and I have little doll knits to work on at home and keep me interested. I can manage an hour a day 5 days a week, and I am sure it will be done well before Christmas.

How about you? Do you have holiday knitting? If so, how’s it going?

In Spinning

With all the Christmas knitting, my spinning has taken a terrible hit. But, last evening I had some friends over and realized I’d need to find a project for my wheel. While I really wanted to spin something completely new, interesting, and not thought of before, I realized that I had fiber I wanted to make into a 2 ply fingering weight yarn for the stripes of a particular sweater. While I very much want to start the sweater, I cannot, until the handspun portion is done. What better time to work on it? My knitting itself is completely taken over by knitting for Bug, but I could technically have the 2 ply handspun done in time to start a new sweater after Christmas. Works out perfectly.

The fiber is Enchanted Knolls superwash merino. The colorway is Sunshiney Day. I am doing a fractal spin on this one with shorter color changes because the stripes on the anticipated sweater are pretty small and I don’t want 10 stripes of one color and 2 of another. I want it all mixed up.

IMG_2596

I got a pretty significant amount done last evening, pretty close to half. It’s spinning up beautifully as Enchanted Knoll fiber always does.

It was convenient to have people over for the spinning reason, but also for the clean up the house reason. After all, with the Great Basement Clean Out, I’ve neglected the rest of the house. But, this forced me to really get things cleaned up and organized around the main part of the house, and that really made me a calmer and more content person. I hope to do a bit more work on the main part of the house tonight in order to work on the basement on Friday. And then it’s just a matter of hauling away the junk! I am so close to being finished there as well.