I am unofficially participating in the Ravellenics over on Ravelry. My knitting group is challenging ourselves individually, but we haven't formed an official team. This is Baktus, a simple triangle shaped shawl/scarf. I am using Crazy Zauberball in a the fun colorway called Blasser Schimmer, which means pale shimmer in German. In researching ways to knit this up using this yarn, I found a recommendation to divide the yarn ball in half by weight, then knit every two rows with alternate strands, giving this cool striped effect. So far I love how the colorway is knitting up. It's an easy, no think pattern. The only thing I'm not loving is that the yarn isn't very soft. I'm hoping a soak in some wool wash will help soften it up a bit. This is the first time I'm knitting with Crazy Zauberball and it is fun to see what color is next, since there are no color repeats.
Back in September of 2013, one of my dear knitting friends convinced me to join her in a mystery knit along (MKAL.) The project was a lace and beaded shawl from one of her favorite knitting pattern designers, Boo-Knits. I had knit exactly two shawls prior to this MKAL and one had been lightly beaded. I had no idea what I agreed to do!
The goal of the mystery knit along was to knit a portion of the pattern each week as it was revealed during the month of October. By Halloween I was to have a lovely beaded lace shawl completed. HA! By the end of October I had most of clue two complete. Then I pinched a nerve in my shoulder that set off my carpal tunnel in my left had and wrist. I had to stop knitting for over a week. When it started feeling better, I decided to catch up on some winter knitting, like knitting a hat for me and a scarf for my son. By the end of December, I decided to try working on the shawl again. It took anothe three weeks or so, but I finally finished it. It is HUGE! I have no idea where or when I'll use it, but it is pretty. I used Madeline Tosh lace yarn for this. (MadTosh)
It takes up half of my dining room table! The bind off was the worst part...a picot bind off of approximately 1500 stitches. It took me about five nights of working on it for at least two hours to finish. But, it's done and blocked and turned out better than imagined. Details on my Ravelry page.
See that little hexagon of yarn? That is the first of many hexipuffs that I'll be knitting for the next two years or so. In assessing the quantity of beautiful sock yarns that I've stashed (hoarded) I realized that I'll never have time to use all of them. I also have some sock yarn leftovers that needed a purpose.
I discovered the beekeeper's quilt a few months ago when another knitter from our group started working on it. The idea of using all of that beautiful yarn up kept pestering me to want to try knitting it. Since I already have the yarn it is not an expensive project. So, for my birthday I bought the pattern and went to work.
When I finish it the quilt will be wonderful. I imagine it will be great to use in the winter when I'm really old! It might take me that long to finish!
My addiction to Pinterst has led me to be more crafty lately, which is really a good thing. I have neglected my crafty side for too long. I saw a variety of different wreaths on Pinterest and came up with an idea to make a pompom wreath. Eventually I found one very similar, in different colors, on Pinterest too. I used to make wreaths all the time, and even sold some for a while at local craft shows. That was at least 18 years ago. More recently I made Christmas wreaths. I have not made any Valentine's decorations lately, so this project was overdue!
See, I have a love for the pompom. There isn't much use for them in daily life, especially when you are an adult. I'm not sure why I love making them so much, but as far back as I can remember, I always enjoyed wrapping yarn and snipping, snipping, snipping the ends until I had the perfect pompom ball.
So, after deciding my color theme for my wreath, I dug through my yarn stash and added a skein of very inexpensive yarn from the craft store. Then I dug out my Clover pompom makers....they are a great little tool for making various sized pompoms. It took about a week or so on and off in my spare time at night to make all of the pompoms. Sharp scissors are really important! I ended up with around 40 pompoms in various sizes and colors. I also had lots of yarn dust everywhere from all that snipping and shaping.
Starting to assemble the wreath
Using a styrofoam wreath form, I wrapped it with a single strand of red yarn until the entire wreath was covered. I tucked the end in, although I suppose it could have been glued too. At first I thought I would pin the pompoms on the wreath, but then decided to hot glue them instead. It was quick and easy to do and it turned out great. Before gluing, I decided on placement of the largest pompoms, then added more and more going from largest to smallest, filling in the gaps with the smallest ones.
Once all the pompoms I had made had been attached, mainly to just the front surface of the wreath form, I hung the wreath and decided it needed more pompoms. Seeing it on the door at a different angle helped me see the gaps where I needed to add more. It cost under $10 to make and looks great! My son has requested that I make him one for his room in rainbow colors. Time to search the yarn stash again!
I thinking about knitting a bunny, or more than one, for spring. I found the Jess Hutchinson pattern online and may do that one, or I may knit the bunny in Last minute knitted gifts. I need to dig through my stash of yarn, instead of buying the cashmere or angora I would like to use! This will be this afternoon's task while my monkey naps!
(And a small child's broom and two halloweenie gourds.)
So our Saturday to Rhinebeck started at 5:15 for me, in the am. Sadly, my Friday night ended at 2:30 am Saturday morning due to the wee one's tummy ache that kept us all up for HOURS. Somehow I didn't feel hungover during the day. Yarn excitement, I guess, cures all. I got picked up by the amazing T at 6:00am and off we went in search of coffee from Wawa and Babypop'shouse to catch a 6:45am bus to Rhinebeck, leaving from Philadelphia. The bus left late, the driver got lost trying to find the PA turnpike entrance, the driver insisted on stopping for a break at a half way point, and the line to get into the parking lot at the fairgrounds was really really LONG! So, by noon we actually got off the bus at the festival, after five hours! (I think it should have only taken about 3.5 hours, live and learn!)
It was a beautiful day and the ride along the Hudson River Valley was lovely.
We had exactly four hours to see everything and managed to see at least half of everything. We stopped by the Ravelry meetup and got our buttons. Then I found Julie to chat for a bit and fondle her hat which is the most gorgeous shade of blue. She gave me some amazing soap and a hand balm that she made--they smell great! (Thanks again!!) She also gave us some tips on where to go. We passed on lunch, since standing in line would waste shopping time and headed off to see some sheep, llamas, and alpacas, along with their byproducts. We pet a llama named Prince. The alpacas were really cute!
The sheep were fun to listen to and I love all the different breeds on display.
There was this one sheep that sounded fake with his baa-ing. It was funny.
I ran into Cara and got to see her beautiful daughter at the end of the day.
We had to catch the bus at four and didn't get home until nine. Ugh--what a long day. Overall we had a great time, despite the annoying bus ride. I think I still like the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival better, as the fairgrounds are laid out in an easier to navigate fashion. Seeing that part of NY in the fall was wonderful, though. Next time we go, it is by our own vehicle and for more than one day!! We didn't get to sample the wine this time!
Summer has hit with a blast. It is really hot out during the day and the nights aren't much better. It's supposed to be that way in July, though, right? I recall many past summers with hot days of temps in the mid to high 90s. Suddenly, though, this is a novelty for the weather forecasters and the news people and people in Philadelphia in general. Seriously--it's hot and humid in July. Deal with it! My office was in a panic today--the IT guy was freaking out and considering shutting down the agency servers because the server room was hot. That room has it's own air conditioning system that runs year round. My office is one floor down. The temperature in my office...64 degrees F. I wore a winter sweater all day---allllll day! It was like an ice box in there. Needless to say, mr. IT guy was able to keep the server running and not shut down the communication system agency wide! Drama--he lives for it.
In knitting, I finished baby boy's first sweater--the kimono style sweater knit from Tess' yarn. I do have to figure out how to fasten it. The pattern calls for ribbon ties, which I bought, but I think it is too girly looking with ribbon. I am currently knitting some i-cord in place of the ribbon. If that doesn't look right, I have a button in mind and will just add a button loop. Now I am going to work on the next sweater and his baby blanket.
My creative bug is back in full force. Maybe it is nesting, who knows. My friend Sherry and I went fabric shopping last Saturday. She is a fantastic seamstress and quilter and has decided to make unnamed baby boy a quilt. She let me pick out the fabric--I can't wait to see what she makes. While we were shopping I found some fabric that closely resembles Vera Bradley's Java Blue pattern (which is my baby bag fabric.) I bought some fabric, of course, and made this small pillow for the glider to give me lower back support. I have enough left to make one more, but I was too tired to finish the second pillow. I seamed the stripes on the ends of a small panel of fabric, and then used the striped fabric as the backing.
The flowers in the garden are in full bloom and probably loving this weather. The hydrangea bush out front has exploded in bloom with rich blue flowers. It is definitely my favorite in the garden. My sister gave me a gerbera daisy for my birthday. It just bloomed again.
Tonight I had a pre-natal massage--it was a combination of a relaxation massage with reiki energy work. The baby and I enjoyed it tremendously. He was moving all over during certain points. She balanced both of our energies and I feel great. My aches all over are gone for now. She used a special table that allowed me to lay belly-down--a position I haven't been able to sleep in for many months--it was so relaxing. I am scheduled to go back again in a few weeks. Hopefully with regular massages, I won't develop worse pain in my hips and legs. I never thought I would pay for a massage, but it really was worth it!
Unnamed baby boy was weighing in at 2lbs 1oz at his last ultra sound on Friday. He wiggled the entire time. Chris came with me this time and got to see all of the baby's various parts, including some interesting shots of his brain. Science is amazing! We got to see his little diaphram, which I assume is the cause for his hiccups. Very amusing!
Last Saturday I got on the bus tour from Rosie's with some of my favorite knitter friends and we headed to Maryland for the Sheep and Wool Festival. The weather was nice in general--a bit chilly, but that is better than hot. We hit the Tess' booth first. I controlled myself and only bought yarn for baby--which took great restraint. I bought some pink/gray baby/sock yarn in case I have a girl; some bright blue baby/sock yarn in case I have a boy; some multicolored baby/sock yarn for a fun colored sweater; and some cozy soft superwash merino in a bright multi color/rainbow for a blanket or toddler sweater (if it's a girl--there is a lot of pink in it.) I also bought the baby kimono pattern for the baby/sock yarn. On Friday I am having my next ultra sound and I am hoping to find out what color yarn I need!
We caught the sheep dog herding exibition--the border collies were adorable. We saw lots of angora bunnies--I resisted buying one. We tried spinning drop spindles and saw lots of beautiful wooden and designer ones. We saw some sheep shearing and sheep competitions. There were lots of great vendors, but I resisted buying anything else. The socks that rock display at the one vendor was absolutely comical. The yarn was flying off the wall--the line to pay was a mile long--and knitters were buying the yarn like it was the best deal in the world. It was the actual web price, so I don't get the fervor. The colors were beautful, but I wasn't about to spend an hour in line.
So this week a skein of homespun yarn was given to me, along with a crochet hook. It was from a co-worker who wanted to learn to knit once, bought a crochet hook instead of knitting needles and promptly gave up, blaming patience. So what to do with one skein of dark red yarn? Learn to crochet a scarf. It is not even because I haven't figured out how to keep count of the stitches, nor was I using a pattern. If I can even the scarf out, I will donate it to the red scarf project. I really love the color--a deep red with a strand of blue in it. In the photos it looks purple, but that is because of the bad lighting.
I still prefer knitting over crochet, despite how quickly it goes.
Lolly is hosting the next round of Socktoberfest. This is a fun fall project related to knitting socks. Since I have enough yarn to knit socks for everyone in Pennsylvania, I have to participate. I have a sock project that I just began but am going to save for October. I have enough to keep me going in September. I am also going to Florida for a bit in October, and socks are the perfect travel project.
My latest television fix is Nip/Tuck. Friends have told me about the show but I had only seen it once. I caught the first two episodes of the new season and was hooked. Turns out there are lots of fans of the show at work. A definite distraction from the stress! I found the previous seasons of the show on DVD on sale at Best Buy and have started a mini marathon this afternoon, a cold and rainy day. Good to knit by, despite the gory surgery scenes.