11 September 2011

Hi!

I know I've been gone wayyy too long. I've been spinning, knitting, crocheting and learning about becoming a speech-pathologist. I'm SO busy its hard to find time to update, I'm hoping to show off what I've been spinning very soon as I'm starting to get better at it and less ashamed of my finished products :)

This is what I'm getting ready to dive into. It is 4 pounds of awesome from the Sheep Shed Studio in Encampment, Wyoming.



And this is Annie, my Kromski Minstrel. I stained her myself with Danish Oil in Golden Oak. I'm hoping someday to make her a red head with the red mahogany Danish Oil, but the color is sort of difficult to come by and shipping for it is not cheap!


The wool here was dyed by me in my crockpot with Wilton's Black Food Color Paste

22 June 2011

Knitting Conquest!

I have never really done serious colorwork on a sweater. I saw this pattern hanging up at hobby lobby from Bernat Studio. It was cute. I needed it.  So I grabbed some super soft cotton (I love this cotton! is the brand) and got to work. I had also never made a sweater before. OR altered a pattern before.

As you may be assuming...this was quite a conquest for me. Sweater + colorwork + scaling 4T pattern down to newborn size=

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Sorry for the shoddy photo. My camera is on the fritz from being left in the rain last summer. Its never been the same :sigh:  I'm hoping that hat season will provide me with a new one!

I also want to show you guys my first ad purchase! I purchased ad space on this blog http://www.froggyandthemouse.com/  and I think it looks absolutely great!  My good friend over at Ruby Dorcas Designs did the work for me. She's great. Super great. She does my son's birthday invites every year and she did the graphics package for my etsy shop.

Next on my agenda is finishing my ripple scrapghan and perhaps starting a shawl for this fall. (shawl for fall....that rhymes!)

I'll be out of commission for a bit July 1-10th ish as we'll be camping in beautiful Wyoming. I am SO craving that mountain air!

15 June 2011

You all should know

I am a Harry Potter fanatic.

Golden Snitch Amigurumi

I made this and will be taking it with me to the midnight showing of Harry Potter!
I would love to make more http://www.etsy.com/listing/76079395/golden-snitch-amigurumi

I am also going to be stocked up on gear from my good friend at Quirk Shop

Mainly this:
The Weird Sisters Tee (love for Tonks)
http://www.etsy.com/listing/74915427/the-weird-sisters-tee-love-for-tonks

I'm so excited and yet sad that it is all going to be over soon.

Sorry I've been spacey lately--my little guy broke his arm yesterday and I've been applying for day jobs and getting ready for our big move next month (that is the move that will give me enough room for a spinning wheel!). Writing cover letters takes a lot of time. Time that I'd rather spend knitting/crocheting. Hope you're all having a great summer!  Vacay for me in a couple of weeks!

05 June 2011

November Socks!

I finally FINALLY finished these socks this weekend.

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The yarn is serenity sock weight yarn--I got it at Hobby Lobby and this colorway was on sale. Being a child who loves all things vintage--this colorway of gold, olive green and rust orange was right up my alley.

The pattern is easy to do if you are a learning knitter such as myself and I highly recommend it if you're still waiting to get your feet wet in knitting. (no pun intended)

I had made some simple socks before, but I used worsted weight yarn and it was a very simple pattern so the lace weight sock yarn was a challenge for me but well worth it. These socks will actually fit in my shoes!

Now it just needs to stop being 96 degrees outside....

Here is the link to the free pattern on ravelry. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/november-socks

 If you are not on ravelry.com, I highly recommend it if you are a fiber artist :) Its a website just for us!

02 June 2011

Summer fun! Off to Wyoming

What are you all doing for the summer? Big trips?  Projects?

We have a lot going on this summer. Over the 4th of July we are going up to see my inlaws in historic Fort Laramie

    

Although you may have seen it like this:



At the fort, we walk around and look at all the historic re-enacters, the Calvary, they cook bread in this giant stone oven that you can taste and you can go to the bar to get old timey drinks like Sarsaparilla and Root Beer and stick candy.

On the fourth, they have games for kids including a greased pole climb (hilarious to watch), a potato sack race for all ages (also hilarious), and a penny find where they dump a bunch of pennies on the ground and all the little kids run around like hooligans looking for pennies. Its a good time. The first time I went three or so years ago, I was majorly pregnant with my son (like 37 weeks) and it was HOT.



Then last two years it has been COLD! (yes we were roasting marshmallows on the 4th of July)

And stormy!



This year we are extending our stay and are going to bop up to Yellowstone National Park for some camping.  I have my sights set on a campground near Mammoth in Yellowstone:



Isn't it beautiful?  So needless to say, I will be in the car a lot. It is about 10 hours to the inlaws, and then maybe another 6-8 hours to Yellowstone.  I will be doing a lot of knitting and crocheting. I am going to start with a scrapghan for my new niece or nephew coming at the very beginning of August. If I get that done... I have some other things in mind that I will share in a new post :)

The scrapghan I'm thinking of doing is a ripple afghan like this http://crochetme.com/media/p/89937.aspx



But I will rotate offwhite with other colors in my stash. It is the time of year that I need to stash bust in preparation for my busy season this fall!

Sooo what are your plans for the summer?

15 May 2011

FINALS WEEK AHHH

So here at KU its finals week. Yay......um not. I have been a graduate student for three years and am finally graduating with my master's degree. Now, that is an accomplishment and I'm thrilled, BUT as a graduate student, finals week usually consists of turning in papers and projects that you've been working on the whole semester. Not one big exam that determines your whole semester's performance.

This semester, however, I started taking classes in Speech-Language and Hearing so I can pursue a second master's and a career in that field. All the courses are undergraduate courses and EVERY class has a final. I have FOUR finals. I haven't taken four finals in probably...ohhh....hmmm maybe 5 years when I was a sophomore in undergrad!

So with that said, wish me luck and then get ready for some super awesome new projects! I may even post some cooking stuff and some yarn reviews and stuff. I have lots of plans for the summer :) But first! Tackling exams.

09 May 2011

Adventures in Dyeing

I decided to try my hand at dyeing wool roving for spinning. You can really come up with endless color combinations when you're dyeing and spinning your own yarn. My husband chose the colors for this go round. Half the roving is purple and orange and it will be plied with yellow. I used Kool-aid to dye the yarn because it works, the color is bright and it is safe to have in the house around my son and I can use the same pots that I use for cooking.

Here we go, lots of pics!

So this was the final product, the splotches are unexpected, but appreciated. I call it In the Koi Pond


The first thing I had to set up was my music. I chose Ben Folds for this particular project


This is the 1 lb ball of roving I bought. It is mysterious wool top according to the shop lady. They didn't know what kind of lamb it was from! I was intrigued. Its very soft.


I set a big roaster on the stove to heat to about 200 degrees and in the meantime poured 5 or so packs of Kool-Aid into recycled Kimchi jars and a couple inches of water (If you're as fond of kimchi as I am you probably have many of these)


We've achieved the heat! You want it to be hot enough to make the dye stick to the fiber, but not boiling as the boil may agitate the wool enough to felt it.  Throughout the dyeing process I kept turning the burner on a bit to warm it up.


I added half a pound of yarn and turned the burner off.


Then I poured the dye in specific spots of the yarn--purple on the sides, orange in the middle.


TA-DA! I let it set for 45 minutes turning on the burner intermittently to keep the water above 150 degrees. You'll know its done when the water is clear after 45 minutes. If you have the time, let it chill overnight until it gets to room temperature. It can sit just fine.


For my second round, I decided to tie the yarn off. so it wasn't as hard to remove from the pot. It turned out much better.

The end result!


Things I would do differently:
  • Dye smaller amounts at a time
  • I want to try dyeing premade yarn, because I'm not sure how well the purple and yellow will hold once they are spun
  • Different colors!
  • Buy more kool-aid. I thought I was being generous, but apparently not!  Use lots and lots and turn the yarn lots.
  • I want to try this in the crockpot as well. 
  • Basically, I want to do more and more and more! :)
Even if you don't knit or crochet, I recommend giving this a shot! There are great tutorials out there and its just fun to mess with! You could even dye your own yarn and I will knit something out of it for you :)

04 May 2011

Wool Lover's anonymous







This was the kind I always had as a kid :


I loved the blues as well


Alpaca is WARMER than wool







And angora is beautiful







These are just some of the types of animal fibers available to make yarn from. Maybe I'll do a plant based post as well--but lets face it, plants are not nearly as cute.

02 May 2011

Going Green Part Deux

You all had such great ideas on my last post, that I wanted to compile those in their very own post.

Two things happened while I was reading the comments:
1. "Oh! I do that too, but totally forgot that I do it!"
2. "Oh! that's a really great idea, I should do that!"

So here is a compiled list of all of your green doings:

  • Recycling
  • Using cold water in the laundry
  • Using halogen or curly light bulbs
  • Reducing car usage--taking public transportation
  • Shopping the local farmer's market (I LOVE doing this one--have you ever had an emu burger? They're delightful)
  • Energy efficient appliances
  • Composting
  • Reusable shopping bags
  • Cloth Diapering
  • Using cloth wipes
  • Repurposing old items (another one of my faves--we got a great rocking chair for my first son this way)
  • Gardening (another thing I love--growing up on a farm, you learn a lot :)) 
  • Green cleaning products (I use vinegar and baking soda when I can)
  • Turning down the heater and water heater (I do this when I can stand it!)
I love it all! As I said in the last post, I have been making t-shirt yarn for quite a while and hope to crochet a rug from it very soon. I'm really excited for that project to be under way.   There are many many wonderful projects that anyone can do to repurpose old materials. Have you done a repurposing project lately? I'd love to hear about it!

27 April 2011

Blog Giveaway Winner!

The blog giveaway winner is blog commenter Jan!

She will get to choose three of my new dishcloths. Didn't win? I'm so very sorry. But hey, you can still get your very own dish cloths at my etsy shop! I am taking all of your facebook responses to heart and will make more to suit YOUR kitchen decor. So thanks for your input and I look forward to playing with color (after all, we have established that I love color right?)

The way I did the drawing, was I took all of the entries, many of you had the max number of entries (3), and lined them up in excel, then I went to random.org and generated a random number:

Blog commenter Jan's name was in row 39 so she is our lucky winner!

Thank you all for playing (it was a blast!) and I will do this again really soon. I'm also going to make another post about all the things we do to benefit the earth--many of you had really great ideas and I'd like to bring those into the spotlight in their very own post :)

23 April 2011

Earth Day

So I'm a little late to the party, but hey, you don't have to go "green" on any specific day. You can do it ANY time.  I do my part as much as I can--here are some of the simple things I do and I hope they inspire you as well!

  •  I don't use paper towels but on very rare occasions
  •  I use my washable plates and cups
  •  I bring coffee cups with me to school instead of buying a cup at the store.
  • I type notes for school on my netbook instead of in a notebook
  • I repurpose all old t-shirts
    • Some become rags
    • Some become underwear for my son
    • Some are made into yarn and crocheted into hot pads
    • No clothes go to waste! :)
  • We recycle plastic, paper, cardboard and metal

We keep a relatively modest household anyway--we use our stuff until its dead and then we recycle it or repurpose it. I don't really feel like its "on purpose" or a conscious decision, I just think it comes with being a poor college student and being raised in a farm country where you save everything because you might need it elsewhere. My dad has jars of assorted nails and screws "just in case" and sometimes they came in handy.

Don't misunderstand. I'm not a hoarder. I have no problem getting rid of stuff that I flat out will never use BUT the difference is I don't tend to accumulate a lot of stuff like that in the first place. At least I try not to. Probably someday that will change, once I begin my career and have my own home and not have to rent and move things from place-to-place every few years.

Now for the good part! In the spirit of Earth Day, I'm trying to build up my inventory of items for the home. Including my new reusable cotton dishcloths.  I have several other items in the works to decorate your place that I'm so excited to start on!  In the meantime, I'd love to do a giveaway of a set of my dishcloths to YOU.

Visit my facebook page for a full range of colors :)

I loved making these because some of them are knitted, some of them are crocheted, and I freestyled all the patterns. Each cloth is unique in its own way. The cotton allows them to be machine washed, although I would probably wash them in cold water alone the first few times as I am unsure of the colorfastness of this yarn. These can be used for facial cloths in the bath, or for washing dishes! They are very versatile. They are also quite large--each is 9" x 8" so they are a bit rectangular. Sizes vary slightly due to the different patterns of each cloth, but as you can see from these pictures they fold up nicely and the size difference is undetectable.


There are three ways to enter (and you can do all three)--

***Just leave one comment stating what all you have done to enter the drawing***


These are the three entry methods, then I will draw a winner at random.org next week and that lucky winner will get to choose three of my dishcloths for their very own!  Please share with your friends as we need to have lots of entries to make things interesting ;)

Have a great week!

20 April 2011

Squishies behbehs!


I looove squishy babies. I'm getting a new nephew or niece this summer and have been making a lot of items for newborns lately.

A new one is a newborn hammock. These are so great for newborn photoshoots

(Disclaimer: Hammocks should only be used for photo shoots and nothing more, babies should be supervised at all times and the hammock should not be suspended more than a few inches off the ground. I am not responsible for accidents!)

Had to get that out ^.  Of course it seems obvious, but then you've got the idiots that require the directions on the shampoo bottle. Now...I like to see how different companies mix up the shampoo bottle directions, but let's face it--they are there for a specific kind of person and that person may be the kind that would leave their kid hanging outside in their newborn hammock. <----that is not advised. again, I'm not responsible.

ANYWAY, back to the topic of hammocks and squishie babies. This was my first hammock, and as I got going on it I thought, "man, this is a quick and easy project that others should really try out!"  So I wrote a pattern.

Now I'm still working the kinks out, but I think it has actually turned out quite nice. My whole process is kind of agonizing. I sit there (usually in the middle of the night so I don't have to pull my yarn away from my 2-year old) and I have my netbook on one side of me, the yarn on the other and I go row by row or round by round writing down exactly what it is that I'm doing.  Sometimes what I'm doing is not quite symmetrical. When I make stuff for people, I don't typically count and pay attention to what I am doing as closely as I do when I'm writing a pattern. When I write patterns, I have to almost preplan each row or round ahead of time so that it will be symmetrical. Ultimately, I produce a better product that way and from then on, when I make that item its better than it ever was. That's a plus!

You can expect this pattern, plus another super special pattern, to come soon AND the baby hammock itself will make its appearance in the shop as well. I'm really excited for this, because it is a different direction with a lot of opportunity for growth.

Did I mention my hammock is modern and chunky and stripey (in pattern, not color)?  It is, and I'm really happy with how it turned out.  Pics will come once the sun is up, I promise!!

Cheers!

14 April 2011

Who?

Ok, so this is what I was using Vanna's Choice for:



How ridiculously cute did this turn out? Its  basically made by crocheting a tube, and then stitching it up straight across. No decreasing or increasing, you just make a tube big enough for your head circumference and then stitch 'er up!

13 April 2011

Oh Vanna White

That Vanna White makes a mean yarn, I'll tell you what. Now I've been using Vanna's Choice as a cheap acrylic for a long time. Her colors are really rich and some are completely unique. When looking across the yarn aisle, Vanna's Choice by Lionbrand really stands out.  Wow this sounds like an ad for Lion Brand--they really should be paying me for this.

Anyway,  I bought a particular skein this week and just started using it. IN LOVE.
Click to view detail of 860-401
Its called "Grey Marble" and is a little bit lighter in person. It has awesome black and fawn flecks in it, making your crocheting interesting. You never know what the next row will be like.  If you have a particularly tight gauge, as I do, then it just enhances those awesome stitches and brings them into focus moreso than just a plain solid yarn.

My brain is swirling with all the things I want to make with it. Its very earthy and has almost an art-yarn feel to it with all of the different flecks of color.

There are three others of this type available as well

Click to view detail of 860-400
oatmeal

Click to view detail of 860-402
Wheat (which I'm dying to get my hands on)

and

Click to view detail of 860-403
Barley

Even their names suggest the flecks of color spun into each strand. Pure perfection that we typically do not expect from an affordable retail store yarn.  Good job LB and Vanna!

10 April 2011

Its in your hands--or hair!

These super cute bows were made for a friend of mine who is opening up a shop soon. I can't wait to see what she comes up with!

Choose 5 bows

What I especially love about these bows are the colors and the fact that I put the color choices in the hands of my buyers. This batch was especially fun because it was such a large lot and I was given a bit of freedom in the color selection.

I hope someone uses these as a bowtie, or attaches them to headbands like this:

Choose 5 bows

These are so super easy to slide onto any old headband, its ridiculous. If you're like me and like to change it up, these bows are absolutely the best.  They are so fun to make. I can just chill out and make them and see immediate progress--unlike a lot of my bigger projects.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

02 April 2011

Supplies!

I have been trying to keep my business up during my "off" season and have decided to make appliqué flowers for my customers to use any way they choose. I have grand visions of them being placed on baby hats or headbands, affixed to adorable sweaters, maybe used in jewelry or even clipped onto some ballet flats. These are just the right size, so the possibilities are endless!

I'm going to give several listings of colors I match myself, as well as a DIY option where customers can choose a custom color combination. I'm really excited for this as the options are simply endless. It gives me the opportunity to work with lots and lots of colors as well as keeping my business moving throughout the summer.

Here is a preview of what the flowers look like. They are quite simple, 5 petal flowers. I'm going to make larger ones as well as roses and pansies!

Bahhhhhh Bahhhh

So the funnest thing I've done lately?  Taking a spinning class at the yarn barn, which is my local yarn store.  It was SO fun. Seriously. It makes me want to toss all my crocheting and knitting supplies and just spin yarn. What I like about it is the pulling motion and treadling with my feet. To get a feel for the pulling I'm talking about, try pulling apart a cotton ball. Its kind of like that. Easy, but good for the soul.

I have been spinning my own yarn on a drop spindle and hope to make some more soon. I am really interested in taking things in their barest form and turning them into something useful. When I cook, I like to do so from scratch and with home grown ingredients, when possible. With yarn, I want to do the same. My dream is to have a few sheep and an alpaca and get wool for spinning.  I've raised sheep in the past, so that part I know how to do, but the processing of raw wool is something I have been investigating via youtube.  The Yarn Barn also has more advanced classes I can take to learn more about this.

OK. With all of that, I have had sheep on the brain. Lucky for me, I was commissioned to make an adorable sheep for a great little boy. He will go up in the shop soon for your enjoyment!


30 March 2011

Knitting in the media

First, I love this song.
Second there is someone knitting here :)