Monday, December 31, 2012

Flash My Stash 2012

At the end of the year, I like to do a quick accounting of my yarn and fiber stash. This year, I went through and made sure everything was photographed and figured, why not, I'll take another Flash Your Stash picture. So here it is, year ending 2012. And it all fits on a queen size bed!

IMG_1556

Sunday, December 23, 2012

FO Friday

I keep forgetting to do my Friday post!

Last week's surprise project was a Baby Surprise Jacket (BSJ) with a matching hat. One of my friends is having a baby and I had never made a BSJ before and the construction technique has always intrigued me so I figured this was a great time to try my hand at it.

The yarn used is some Madelinetosh Vintage. It's a superwash worsted weight wool. I didn't want mom to have to worry about hand washing it if the kid threw up on it. I'm sure she'll have a lot more important things to worry about.

Baby Surprise Jacket

I found some cute buttons at the yarn store to put on this.

Baby Surprise Jacket

Finally, I had some leftover yarn so I decided to make a hat!

BSJ Matching Hat

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

WIP Wednesday - 12/19/2012

Along with the Melody's Shawl that I'm actively knitting on and will hopefully finish soon, I've got a few other projects in the works that you HAVEN'T seen yet.

The purple dress is making progress and is now down to my hips

WIP Wed - 12/19/2012 VKL dress
I cast on for my scrappy socks last week. I have so many sock yarn scraps lying around and I have keep having grand plans of making a scrap blanket. You know what? A sock is more realistic. I'll be knitting 1-2 inch sections with scraps. Sections of the foot and leg will not intermingle with the toe and heel so that if any part wears out, I can easily pull the yarn out and reknit. I'm using Judy's Magic Cast On to cast on at the toe and knitting a basic toe up sock. The heel will be short rows.

Start of scrappy socks

I also picked back up on a beading projects: Laura McCabe's Treasure Necklace. This was one of the classes I took with Northern VA Bead Society. It's many components which usually get easier as you make more of them. It does take some dedicated time though. It's called Treasure Necklace because these are individual vessels. The crystal rivoli acts as a lid to the little vessel underneath and you can actually put something in it once it's complete!

Treasure Necklace component

Monday, December 17, 2012

Yarn Swap Hangover

I went to a yarn swap with the intention of leaving with less yardage than I arrived with. That was unsuccessful. I also came back with a lot of lace weight. And so, I determined that 2013 will involve knitting a lot of shawls. I did give away four shawls last year to family and I'm personally running low on them.

I can't wait to get started. With the rest of December, I'll be working on finishing up some of the existing projects. I've got a few days in Vegas so Melody's Shawl will be the primary project. Five hours on the plane each way is a lot of knitting time!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Finishing things

I've heard from some of you that you're enjoying these weekly updates. I'm really glad to hear that so I'm going to try to keep them coming!

I'll show you the finished knitting thing next week. For now, this week, I made some pear cranberry jam.

Pear Cranberry Jam

I think took some of that jam and some raspberry jam that I had sitting around and made some jammy cookies for a yarn party today.

Jam cookies

In the last couple of years, I've found myself enjoying the jam making and canning process. It's too bad I can't eat through it quickly enough but I've been enjoying what I've made.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

WIP Wednesday - 12/12/2012

Another week, another Wednesday. I don't have that many projects going on right now. It's the holiday season and my dad will be visiting soon so I am busy running around getting my house all neat and orderly. I've been itching to cast on for a pair of socks since my socks are starting to get holes in them but so many projects!

Currently, in action, we have some fiber being spun:

WIP Wed - 12/12/2012 - spinning

The bobbin is being filled with white. Well, it's actually a very long color shift. It is a Bullseye Bump from Loop!. I've been fascinated with the long color changes. I had joined her monthly club so I get a surprise every month. I'm quickly trying to spin this up but I've been at it for a couple of months now. The fiber is being spun very thin in the hopes that when I navajo ply it into a 3 ply, I can get a fingering/sport weight yarn. A little bit every night and maybe I'll be done by the end of the year. I already have an idea of what I'll make with it.

On the needles, I'm still working on that dress. This is deadline knitting for Vogue Knitting Live! I've got 1 month!

WIP Wed -12/12/2012 - dress

And my current travel project is Melody's Shawl. You knit knit knit in the round with a section of stitches set apart by some twisted stitches. Then you bind off and drop that section of stitches and cut. That section becomes fringe and you have a scarf/shawl! The lace weight yarn was a set of 3 shades of purple, a light, medium, and dark. There was about 400 yards each. I've finally knit through the light and dark so there is an end in sight here as well.

IMG_1500

That's it for the WIPs this week! Hopefully there is more pro

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Visit to Iceland

After Thanksgiving, I visited Iceland for the first time. I went with a friend that I used to work with. We had shared and office for a couple of years and she had always talked about how much she wanted to visit Iceland. We found a good deal that included air fare, hotel, and a day tour and booked our passage.

Iceland is a beautiful country! It is the "youngest" landmass on the Earth made from the lava flow of volcanoes. It straddles the European and the North American continental plate.

We could have gone in the summer time when most other people decide to visit but we also wanted to see the Northern Lights so we had to go when it was cold.

We left DC Sunday evening and arrived bright and early Monday morning around 7:30. Well, it wasn't really bright, it was pitch black and we were exhausted. So we took a quick nap at the hotel first before wandering out to Reykjavik. We grabbed some food and then headed for the Hallgrimskirkja church. Their church is the highest point in the city.

2012-11-26 13.47.48

2012-11-26 14.02.14

2012-11-26 14.02.

The second day was our pre-arranged tour to go on a glacier hike, see a couple of waterfalls, learn about their volcanoes, and maybe hunt for some Northern Lights. The glacier hike was amazing. We had crampons to help dig into the ice. It wasn't very cold, especially since we were moving. By the time we got out to the first water fall, it was dark (only 5 hours of daylight!) so we couldn't really see anything. After dinner, we visited another waterfall. This one was lit up so that we could see it.

Unfortunately, the conditions were not optimal to see any lights. We were there during a full moon and there were too many clouds

2012-11-27 16.54.12

2012-11-27 22.06.26

The third day found us touring the "Golden Circle".

This involved seeing Geysir

2012-11-28 15.14.17

2012-11-28 15.29.26

The Gulfoss waterfalls, stacked one right on top of the other

2012-11-28 16.23.12

And ├×ingvellir National Park. It was too dark by the time we got here so we couldn't really see anything.

The fourth and final day was spent at the Blue Lagoon before heading to the air port. It was 32F outside and my bare feet were near frozen after a couple of minutes but the pool was a good 80-90F and felt really good!

2012-11-29 14.29.00

Iceland, known from their sheep and yarn, did you think I could get out of the country without buying any? The day in Reykjavik, we stopped into the Handknitting Association of Iceland's shop and I bought 29 skeins of worsted weight Lopi. I had originally thought to buy an Icelandic sweater as a souvenir but being a knitter, I decided to buy the yarn to make my own. I did pack light with the intention of filling half of my suitcase with yarn for the trip back.

29 skeins of Lett Lopi
The full flickr set can be found here.

Friday, December 07, 2012

FO Friday 12/7/2012

Some finished things!

First up, I took a couple of Laura McCabe classes through the Northern VA Bead Society a couple of weeks ago. Some of her stuff I find that I can whip through very quickly. Others take a lot more thought and brain power. The Stargazer Bracelet was the first of two classes I took with her and the component came together very quickly for me. I had most of it done by the end of class and had the whole bracelet together the next day.
Laura McCabe Stargazer Bracelet

Laura McCabe Stargazer Bracelet

Next up is the NVBS Bead Challenge project. Everyone who participates is given the same set of beads and we all have to create something with those beads. I wish I had taken a picture of the beads before I got started but I'll know better for next time! Mine ended up being a hair stick with fringe!

NVBS 2012 Bead Challenge

NVBS 2012 Bead Challenge

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

WIP Wednesday 12/5/2012

I'm trying hard to keep this blog regularly updated. Step one, the WIP Wednesday posts. It'll show you what I'm working on, keep me posting, and keep me accountable! Here we go!


WIP Wednesday 2012/12/5

Here are two of my big projects right now. In the lower left hand corner, I just cast on a small project. It's a gift for a friend and that is all I can say about it for now. The larger purple sweater is going to end up being a dress. I'm going to Vogue Knitting Live in NYC in January and I hope to be done with it then and can wear it!

I'm in between projects on the beading front but there are definitely a couple of recent finished projects to share in an upcoming post!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Double Amaryllis

Double Amaryllis

It's finally finished! I started it sometime last year? Or maybe it was earlier this year? It sat on haitus over the summer because I couldn't find some wire. Then I did find the wire and it still continued to sit. I decided to clear through some WIPs last week and this was on the top of the list because I knew how close I was to finishing. Of course, there was more search for wire (when I found it the first time, I stuck it in the box with everything else), then search for some 24 gauge green wire, and finally, search for my hack saw. This is what happens when I step away from this stuff for a while. But it's done! It's exciting!

I still have 1 more amaryllis bulb. The goal is to go for a total of 3 potted plants. It's crazy, I know!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

WIP Wednesday - a day late

I dug out my amaryllis in progress and kept working. I finally found the wire I needed to complete the centers. All that's left is the greenery. Here are all of the flower parts


Parts for amaryllis #2

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Wingspan

Wingspan

Something knitted and finished! This is Wingspan! The yarn is Kauni and this is all knit on size 4 needles. Kauni is known for their long color changes. I was easily fascinated watching the yarn change color as I knit this. I went beyond the number of triangles the pattern called for and just kept going until I was almost out of yarn. I think I may have actually knit double the number of triangles the pattern called for.

Friday, September 21, 2012

More fun with hydroponics

I'm still working on putting the second column of the window farm together. The problem I'm currently struggling with is that when I divide the air flow between the two columns, there's not enough pressure to push the water all the way up to the top.

In the mean time, I have some parsley and oregano that have sprouted. They didn't seem to be growing much more in the pellets and I knew that it was time to start feeding them some nutrient solution, but how? I'm still working on the second column. I remembered something I had seen and in fact had pinned on pinterest. It involved cutting a bottle in half to create a planter container with a wick that draws the water up. I also remembered seeing a version with 2 liter soda bottles and after having built my window farm, I know that plastic water bottles are easy to cut.

IMG_1261

The idea then became a reality. I started with the parsley because it had sprouted first. I cut the center section out of a water bottle and then inverted the top into the bottom water reservoir. Into the upper part of the bottle, I placed a small piece of paper towel and then a layer of the rock wool cubes. I then set my pellet on top the rock wool and filled out the sides with more rock wool. The paper towel is used to keep the rock wool from falling down into the reservoir but also to help draw water upwards. The water is more of the hydroponic nutrient solution. I keep the water level filled so that the paper towel is sitting in it so that it doesn't dry out.

Parsley

That new leaf on the right popped up once I planted it here.

As for the oregano, I only planted it a couple of days ago so I'm still waiting for it to grow a little more.

Oregano

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Window Farm Flourishing

It's been a couple of weeks since I've had the window farm in my window and all seems to be going well. The only real "problem" I've had is that the outlet in my kitchen periodically needs resetting. Thankfully, I tend to catch it after the pump has stopped running for a couple of hours so the plants haven't had a chance to dry out.

At the top of the column, I have some mint julep. I realized that having mint on hand is handy when you want to make mojitos. In the middle is the basil. At the bottom is some Thai basil. I had bought the mint from a vendor at my local farmer's market. I washed the dirt off of the roots and planted it in the rockwool cubes.
Window Farm Progress - 9/16/2012
The basil has been interesting. I planted it in only a couple of weeks ago but now, the roots have already grown out of the net pot it's sitting in and you can see it at the opening of the bottle and starting to stretch out of the cap!

Window Farm Progress - 9/16/2012

The Thai basil...well, I started this from seed in one of those little pellet things. Once I saw a couple of leaves pop up, I wanted to see what happens when I add it into the farm. I think it's been enjoying the constant nutrient drip. It's growing slowly but it is still growing and today, I just noticed that another seed had sprouted!

Window Farm Progress - 9/16/2012

There is some parsley and oregano in the works so this week, I need to start working on my second column.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pretty Pink Necklace

Last time, I gave you a quick preview of this necklace. Today, I finished it!

Crazy Lace Agate Necklace

The large stones are some crazy lace agate that I found at Bead Fest. The larger round stone is cut in a way that I didn't want to hide one of the sides. The grey portion is also slightly transparent so I wanted to be able to hold it up and see light through it. There is a strip of peyote stitch that goes around the edge and I used netting to capture the stone.

Crazy Lace Agate Necklace

There are some smaller faceted stones in the fringe and that connects the two pieces of crazy lace agate that are some left over tourmaline from a past project. The pink of the tourmaline fit right in.

Crazy Lace Agate Necklace

Finally, that is a straight peyote stitch bale. I did think about adding some fringe or other decoration to it but it seemed to be enough as it is once I put the necklace together. I made a twisted herringbone rope for the necklace along with a beaded toggle to complete the piece!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Pink! Fringe!

I picked up the crazy lace agate and the dagger beads at Bead Fest. I managed to find some of the other beads from my stash. It's a work in progress!
crazy lace agate

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Basil in the window

My friend had been rooting a couple of basil stalks for me and today, I picked them up and installed it in my window farm. I also poured out the water and started the nutrient solution flow. They have some little bitty roots so the nutrient solution is mixed currently for cuttings and seedlings. The Thai basil seeds I started has one little leafy growth so I'm going to let that stay in my little plastic green house for a little while longer. Today, it looks like one of the spinach seeds was sprouting as well so that is really exciting.

IMG_1226

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Unleaving

I had bought the fiber from Into the Whirled at Maryland Sheep and Wool this year.


Into the Whirled - Corriedale - Something or Other

I was on such a spinning high at that point that even though there were only a couple of days before I left for my trip to Taiwan and I had so many things to do, I proceeded to spin it all up.

Into the Whirled - Corriedale - Something or Other

Spun up

Right before the Olympics began, I was really itching to cast on something new and started with Unleaving. I didn't have the full yardage but since you start on one end, increase to the middle, then decrease to the other end, I could measure about where the mid point of my yarn is and adjust otherwise. Size 8 needles were used in this project.

Overall, I really enjoyed this fiber and I enjoyed watching the color changes in the yarn.


Unleaving from handspun


Unleaving from handspun

Friday, August 24, 2012

Starting Wingspan

I haven't been feeling so well the last couple of days. My nose has been congested so I've been light headed and feeling a bit muddled. I don't have enough brain power to do much beading and I have just enough brain power to do some simple knitting. I finished my last "simple" knitting project (write up to come, it's currently soaking) and wanted another "simple" knitting project. And so, "Wingspan"!

This pattern has been knit up by many many people and I loved how it looked with yarns that have LONG color gradients. I had picked up some Kauni a couple of years ago during the St. Paul Frozen Four trip and I thought this was a nice project for it. So, the first triangle, DONE!

Start of Wingspan with Kauni

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Not always about beads or yarn!

It's not always about the beads or yarn here!

My current project involves growing my own food. I live in an apartment in the city. I don't have land. I don't want land. I was never a fan of playing in the dirt. A couple of years ago, I heard about Window Farms. A woman in Brooklyn was learning about self sustaining agriculture and wanted to grow her own food in her little apartment. That idea has grown into a world wide crowd sourcing project. The website offers a DIY model from which people all over the world have build and modified and shared.

In my apartment, I have some floor to ceiling windows that face the east and south. There are two windows in my kitchen in particular that can let in a lot of heat if I don't have the curtains up. I figured, why not? I can grow edible plants in my windows and hope they help to keep the place cool AND I can get some herbs out of it. I hate paying for a bunch of herbs and I can only use a few leaves before they all go bad. Not only that, people have also grown lettuce and most leafy vegetables as well as peppers, green beans, and strawberries! I can't wait!

My test set up is currently hanging off of some eye hooks that the previous occupants had put up. I will probably add a bar to the window to permanently hang these. The lime green rope? I crocheted it with some Peaches and Cream.

IMG_1213

I plan on getting some basil from a friend and in the mean time, I'm starting from seed some sage, oregano, parsley, Thai basil, and spinach:

IMG_1214

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A swap project

Finally! I can share this with you! I was participating in a swap on ravelry and knit up this little shawl. I had been hiding it since I didn't want the recipient to know or for it to get back to her. Finally, the package arrived in its destination and I can post about it!

  Soleil Lace Shawlette

The pattern is the Soleil Lace Shawlette. I used Neighborhood Fiber Company sock yarn in the "Shaw" colorway on size 8 needles. For anyone not familiar with Neighborhood Fiber Company, each color is named after a neighborhood in Washington, DC. Shaw happens to be where I live.

  Soleil Lace Shawlette

The pattern called for size 6 needles but I found that the fabric was too tight so I switched to the size 8s. With the size 8 needles, I could only do 13 repeats for the small size instead of the 15 for the larger size that I originally wanted to do.


Soleil Lace Shawlette