Friday, December 31, 2010

Swatching and ideas...

So last night I couldn't sleep. I spent a crazy amount of time before bed looking at information on blocking and that got me to thinking on swatching.
One of the articles I had stumbled upon after reading through TKGA Forum on Ravelry was this one - called " The Swatcher's Manifesto".
This got me to some thinking. When I knit socks, I get hit or miss results. This is because, I never think to swatch for socks!
Now, swatching has been given a bad name. Not many will admit to liking to swatch, and even less actually take the time to wash and finish the swatch to see how the yarn really reacts.
But I have grown very tired of misfitting socks, sweaters, tops and other items.
Now, to get a true reading from the swatch itself, you need to actually not knit one but two swatches. One is washed and finished as it would be during use, the other is a control swatch.
Some people advocate only swatching in plain stockinette, but I tend to go with the other opinion and do a pattern repeat, as yarn will react differently in different patterns.

This year I intend to do the 12 socks in 12 mos.
My plan is to use 12 different patterns for these.

Which means, I need to do 24 different swatches at least. Also, taking into account that knitting in the round gives a different tension than flat knitting does, how do I make the time involved in this count?

So, I have devised a plan.

I will find my bag of leftover sock yarn, and shall use it to do the cuffs for 2 socks. I will then use each as a place to swatch the pattern and yarn for the 12 pairs. One will be washed, the other will be a control.
Once the normal length for my socks is reached, I shall do the heel and foot for them in another yarn. If I am figuring this correctly, I should have about 1-2 inches for each pattern repeat. So I will have a few extra pairs thrown in and will also have a great way to see how the yarn reacts.

Any suggestions or comments about the plan?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Almost finished

So work has been taking time out of things. I finally had to admit, after reading The Yarn Harlots blog, that I needed to relax and enjoy Christmas.
This means I had a few projects yet to finish. Today, almost a week later, I am down to 3 more projects to finish or do. I am patting myself on my back as I type this. Its an amazing feat for me to do.
Part of the reason I am still not finished, is I have been working for my sister. Most of my days are spent there at this desk:I have to admit although it looks messy, I know where everything is. Also - for those curious - That is one of Connie Togel's beautiful artwork as the background of the computer. I change it every week.
The business I work for is the brain child of my little sister Mary - shown here:

The decorations around her window were added while she was on Safari in South Africa this year - she loves Dr Seus! Just for the record - she is an awesome shot and managed to bag more than a few animals in South Africa. She is having some of them mounted, and I will get photos later.
She is an amazing gal ( no I am not in any way biased) who is so full of energy. I am proud to have her as my sister. The business is called - SMart ReSale LLC. We get in off lease laptops, and after they are wiped, and the operating system reinstalled, we check them over and list them on eBay.
Then they get put into the boxes, and ready to be shipped.

But even with work, I did manage to get a few things done. The 2 Santa hats I made for my young nieces turned out to be a hit. Maddie got the red one with white trim and was happy to pose with her mom Janet here:
Sophia, the youngest niece, was not into posing with her hat, so Maddie jumped to the rescue with the help of her dad, Jonathan, and her Uncle Roy in background.
Instead of making New Years Resolutions this year, I have decided to make Christmas Resolutions.
1. Get Christmas Presents started now for next year,
2. Follow the 12 pair of socks in 12 mos like The Harlot.
3. Get exercise
4. Stay positive.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

On The 2nd Day BEFORE Christmas.....

I was feeling good, and thought I had everything done for Christmas. So good, I had thought about working on the Master Knitter Level 1 swatches.

Then it hit me....

It is 2 days before Christmas, and I have 4 pair of fingerless gloves to make, one hat, a blanket to put together and oh, one pair of regular gloves to finish.

Right now, this is what the knitting looks like:So for now, I am knitting, probably the next 24 hours or so straight.
Wish me luck

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas is coming......

I have been working hard on knitting and trying to be good. Except when I get angry and forget the restriction of not to lift more than 10 lbs.
So far I have learned that crawling on the floor is not a good idea 2 weeks after surgery, neither is picking up the loom bench you have smacked your toes on the 4th time.
Needless to say, remembering restrictions is not one of my strong points.

The good thing - on the 8th of December the packet for the Level 1 of the Master Knitter program arrived. Perusal has begun as has the work on the swatches. One swatch is done at least for now, that is if it continues to pass muster here. The amount of information and learning is so exciting.

The one thing that seems to be a bit hard now, is not tearing out and re-knitting all of the projects that are on the needles. Where once the knitting looked good, now there appear glaring issues.

Healing is going slow, but Saturday I talked DH into driving me to work. Once there, I managed to work about 5 hours before we headed home. Originally I had planned on heading to work today, but the threat of white outs and the snow storm have me staying home.

Snow is coming down now, and knitting is occurring. Slowly the house is beginning to look like Christmas. Will get some pictures of all the completed projects later today, and will post them tomorrow.

Knit Happy!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Trying to be a good patient.....

So the Surgery went well, and I am home recovering. I am to take it easy and not lift anything over 10 lbs. No driving until 3 weeks after surgery.
So I am working on some knitting. How come, when you have lots of time that you have to rest, you want to do other things? I can see all sorts of things I could be doing while home, but I can't do them at moment.... but I digress...
Anyhow, I have gotten some knitting done. I have the left front of the Winter Wonderland Coat, and have the right side cast on. I finished the back of the sweater for Liz, and have started the front. I actually knit the Brambles Hat from Knitty. I still need to block it. Its beautiful and I really enjoyed the pattern.
Speaking of blocking. I am so excited, I have been awarded the TKGA Memorial Fund Scholarship!! I can't begin to say how excited I am about this. The award will be used to pay for TKGA Master Hand Knitting Program Level 1. This is a 3 part correspondence program to help knitters to become the best they can be. Since the beginning of the program in 1987, there have been less than 230 people who have completed this successfully.
I have spent some time in the past days since surgery reading up on TKGA Group on Ravelry (if you are a knitter and have not yet been to this site - I urge you to check it out! Its free and amazing). I am realizing I have so much yet to learn about knitting. I am waiting for the program information to be sent, so I have not officially started, but reading everything I can to prepare for it.
After doing a Inter-library loan, the book "Principles of Knitting" arrived for me to peruse. This book should be listed as a text book! The amount of information in it is amazing. The one problem in purchasing this, is it is out of print. Supposedly it is to be reprinted, at least that is what several press releases from Simon & Shuster in the past years has said. The last one stated the book would be released in Fall of 2009. I hate to tell them it is now almost the end of 2010. If one finds a copy for sale on eBay it is going for at least 150 and up, Amazon is the same or more.
I would love to own a copy of this, but I am afraid it is going on my wish list. At least until some one decides to reprint it and the cost comes down.
So for now, I shall spend some time with it until it is due back at the library.
Time to get back to knitting, and enjoying the Christmas Movies on Hallmark channel.
Knit Happy!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Finding my way back to blogging....

In case you have been wondering where I have disappeared to let me solve that mystery. A few months ago I started working for my sister three days a week.
She has a awesome business called SMart Resale LLC. She has a shop on eBay here. I spend most of my time there listing the laptops on eBay. I get to spend time with 2 of my sisters while I work.
Family has become the most important thing to me after last winter, when DH had the heart valve replaced and I nearly became a widow, it really drove that home. Then my dear cousin Amy lost her DH to cancer. So I figured, before I get a third reminder of how important family is, I am listening up and taking stock.
So focusing on family and helping them has become a priority to me. I am spending more time with family and dear friends.
Working has been fun, and I get time to spend with my sisters. But, it has put a huge dent in my knitting time. I have been trying to get a bunch of projects done. So far not getting them done fast enough. I started to knit the Winter Wonderland Coat. (Ravelry Link) I have the back done, and I am almost done with the skirt on the left front.
I also have a baby blanket on the needles. It is for my first Grandchild who is due in March. We are expecting a Grandson on St Patrick's Day. So the knitting of baby items has begun.
This coming week I am having some surgery on Wednesday. Finally after struggling for over 10 years with issues, I am having a total hysterectomy done. I am very ready for it. I am still slightly worried about pain I will have after. After having a high tolerance of pain for most of my life - this past year I have lost that tolerance and now have Fibromyalgia. The pain is now a constant in my life, the exhaustion is terrible. Problem is I don't look any different from last year. If you have someone in your life who has a chronic illness please check out the Spoon Theory.
The great thing about this -- I get a few weeks of recovery that will require me to take it easy. For those of you who are knitters - this is code that means LOTS of KNITTING TIME!
So I am hoping to get back to blogging some too. At least I am going to give it a good try. Of course, the end of this coming week may be a bit slow going. I am planning on taking the laptop with me, but it will depend on the pain and drug levels.

Knit Happy!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

busy busy busy.....

Yes I am still alive.
Yes I am still spinning and knitting.
But I have been so busy I have not had time to sit let alone do anything else.

Will update soon---- Promise!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

A few weeks back I took a trip to Tennessee and had the opportunity to visit Smoky Mountain National Park.
Today on the Day we celebrate the founding of our country I give you some pictures of the way the beautiful land we live in must have looked to our founding fathers...

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Rovings

It has been a bit, but I am trying to catch up with everything now my toe is finally mended enough. I did manage to dye up a bunch of roving, unfortunately I have not managed to get pics of everything yet.
Two of the rovings are now up for grabs in the shop:

Crayonbox :
4 oz of Shetland roving

Peach Sunrise
4 ounces of Shetland roving
Keep an eye out - more to be posted soon!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I'm Up and Moving, Honest I am!!

Well, at least I am trying to. This dang toe is really beating me up some. For the record, on March 2 of this year I had a cyst removed for the 2nd time from a toe. To try to keep it from coming back again (this last time it only stayed away for 6 mos), the doctor this time scraped out the joint to fuse the bones. It also has a pin now in it.
This has been very painful, and is limiting my movements around the house, as it is my right foot, driving is out of the question. Thankfully next Monday I *should* get the pin removed.

I did however do some dyeing of roving this past weekend. I had been asked to do a special dye job for a friend, and that was the first one I worked on.I was enjoying the day and had an idea to dye one of the rovings from a deep mauve/red to a very light pink.
This is the result:

4 Ounces of shetland roving in a colorway I am going to call Rosebud I think.

I listed some new hand dyed sock yarns in the shop this past week, and this one has to be my favorite of all at moment.

I keep hoping someone will buy it before I cave in and wind it up to use myself.I am hoping I will be much more mobile next week!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Flowers are blooming

Maybe not everywhere, but the signs of spring are slowly making their way to us. This week we have had several days over freezing. This is cause for some celebrations.
I decided that I would name some new sock yarns in honor of the breaking spring weather, so I listed Crocus in the shop today.
Just like the first flowers seen here, it went very fast. Don't miss out on the other offerings.

There is a beautiful 2 tone rose with green that is listed as Wistful Roses.

Sticking with a rose theme I love the Rosemary Harkness rose coloring, so tried to dye up that too.

Finally for the day I listed Midsummers Night Dream.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Miss me?

So I have been trying hard to get things done, but somehow I have been laid up for the past week. Last Tues I had some surgery on my right foot. Which now looks like this:
Needless to say, this has put a huge damper in my daily activities. Keeping the foot elevated is the most important part. That and keeping the pain meds close.

Who knew that a silly toe would be this painful. I am however hoping this is the last time I have to be off my feet due to this.
The cyst that has been bothering me for the past few years has been totally removed, and we are fusing the bone to keep it from coming back.

Needless to say, I have not been up to doing much at all. Being fiberless is really not a good thing for a fiber fanatic.
Knitting can be massively messed up if knit under certain medications. Especially intricate lace knitting. So working on my Queen Susan Shawl is out.
So what to do?
Thank goodness for drop spindles. Its not something that one can hurt themselves on when in a medicated state.

I pulled out a beautiful Bossie from my collection and began to spin a wonderful batt I won from Abby Franquemont. Of course, reading her new book is also to blame too.

I will just say it is AMAZING. If you have not seen it, find it. Search it out.
You will not be disappointed at all.

However your wallet may be a bit lighter at the end when you discover you are missing some interesting spindles in your collection. You have been warned.

On the Yarn front - the new yarns are dyed up and I hope to be listing them very soon. Till then, I shall leave you with some eye candy.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Snowicane has hit, and so have the yarns!

The storm has settled in here, and there is no reason for me to leave the house. Instead, I spent the day taking pictures of the yarns I dyed up on Weds.
I started taking pictures of the various yarns, and I had a hard time deciding on names. Thankfully some dear friends came to my rescue and helped.
I give you: Snapdragons
All of the yarns have the same
Yarn Vitals:
Yardage :306 yards
Weight: 3 ounces 100 grams
Yarn Size: sock weight
Fiber Content: 92% superwash wool, 8% acrylic

This is Parrot Tulip,

Then there is Cornflower, which is a nice 2 tone blue, but somehow it managed to obtain a few stray red flecks. See them in the pic?

Sweetheart Roses turned out so pretty, I can see it becoming a beautiful pair of socks, or even the main design coloring of a pair of warm mittens.

Finally I leave you with Hydrangea.

The first two are listed in my shop now, the others will be going up soon.
Stay warm this weekend!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Colors Spring to Life

Today was a dye day for me. Yarns arrived and skeins were tied.

Then the magical dyes were opened and colors began to scamper across the skeins.

There is a storm that is to be moving in, and I was thinking about that as I started. But soon the spring that will come came sweeping into the dye pots, and beautiful flowers began to jump into the skeins. While some of the skeins may look similar in the above picture, they truly are each one of a kind skeins.

Waiting for them to dry tonight, and tomorrow I will get pictures. I am thinking of re-skeining them, but I may leave them in the skeins as they are now.

Keep an eye on the shop - the beautiful spring sock yarns will begin blooming soon!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

From Roving to Yarns.....

In keeping with the earlier post this week on habits, I pulled a roving from my shop and decided to spin it up. The first colorway I pulled was the Portulaca colorway of handpainted Superwash BFL.
I decided since I am going to be refeshing the shop with new fibers soon, I was going to play with the various techniques of spinning the rovings.
For this one, I divided the roving in half length - wise and weighed it. Then I divided each half into 4 smaller lengths.
I spun trying to keep the color stripes in order, but there was some variation in each length. The resulting yarn is soft, lofty and has some thick and thin sections that vary from sport to worsted weight in spots.

The colors softened nicely once spun and plyed giving me a wonderful marled effect.

The variations and flow is so nice, I can see this being used in scarfs, hats, or even a very nice pair of thick fair isle mittens. Especially if paired with a solid cream color to allow this yarn to take center stage.
I almost decided to keep it for myself, but decided to offer it instead. Its listed here and here. Another beauty shot:

So now I have pulled another colorway, this time I chose Firecracker, another Superwash BFL roving.

Once again I split it length wise and weighed it.

Then divided each half into two sections. I am going to try to keep the colors a bit more defined.

The first bobbin is done:

This yarn should turn out about fingering, but it really puffed up when washed, so since the last skein did that, I am spinning it thinner.

I hope to finish the 2nd bobbin and ply it tonight.

Its turning out really cool, don't you think?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Habits in Business

Habits -
defined in Websters Online Dictionary definition
6 : a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior
7 a : a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance b : an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary

What habits do you have? Most times I hear the word habit I think of negative connotations. But habits can also be very beneficial. When we try to make new habits, we often refer to them as resolutions.Sad that we only are encouraged to make new resolutions on New Years. I came up with a whole list of new habits or resolutions yesterday, a bit late for it to be a New Years resolution right?

I pondered this a bit then realized - Yesterday was Chinese New Years! I was right on time.
So I give you my resolutions of new habits for this year:

1. Blog 2 times a week minimum. This might be the hard one to get into. But I intend to do this. You are warned that some posts may be lame.

2. Work on promotion of Shop. Look into more ways to do advertising, and do it daily!

3. Get your packaging items in all one place, keep them stocked and be prepared.

4. Make a to do list weekly for the shop. Do not put this off.

5. Work on a new business plan. Set reasonable goals. Put it into action.

What new habits are you going to do? Feel free to let me know of other habits you find helpful in your business!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Shop Update!

Wow, this month is just running away. I have finally managed to get a picture of the last project of 2009.

This is the 2nd Whisper Scarf pattern in the Fiddlesticks knitting pattern packet.

I did a bit of modification on it - as I only did the required 2 repeats of chart B. But when I got to chart C I realized that it was going to be shorter than I expected.

So I added 2 more repeats of Chart C, which has a rose in the edge detail.
Pattern: Whisper Scarves from Fiddlesticks Knitting (this was #2)
Yarn : Schulana Kid Seta Melange in a dusty rose colorway.
Needles : size US 4

I have to say, I really like this pattern. It is well written and the charts are wonderful. I may have to make these scarves again.

I did do an update in my shop this week, make sure you take a peek at Sparkling Roses.

This is some yarn I really love, so much I have gotten 2 more lbs of the roving from the breeder/seller of this mohair blend.

I originally purchased this fiber at MD Sheep & Wool. Somehow I lost the contact info on it, and spent some time looking for the seller.

I finally found her - however she had just gotten a new batch of this blend. So its just a bit different from this one, as the dyeing of the fiber is very hard to match from batch to batch.

So I am offering this yarn for sale.
Its a wonderful blend of colors - gold, yellow, purple, green, blue and some firestar gold glitz to add sparkle. This is a mohair blend with over 700 yrds in total!
Some lucky knitter will enjoy knitting with this luscious yarn. Hurry and check it out here. It may not last long and you don't want to miss this for that special project.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

January - the time to stay in and knit.

The whole country seems to be in the deep freezer at the moment. This is the perfect time to stay in and knit.

I was just checking my previous posts, and saw I had not posted a picture of the finished whisper scarf #1.
So without any delay - here is the picture I took when the blocking was done.

I did manage to get the #2 whisper scarf done on New Years Eve. Just in time to allow me to cast on the Queen Susan shawl at about 20 after midnight on New Years Day.

I got the yarn on New years eve, promptly wound and got ready to cast on.
While working with yarn that is the size of sewing thread at first scared me a bit, I have found it very relaxing to work on.
So much so that I now consider it my reward in the evening for working on other projects during the day. This will be a project that will take a bit- if my calculations are correct ( I do not even attempt to say I am good at math), it looks like the center section is going to take me around 3 mos or so.

Once the project gets a repeat done ( 38 rows) I will get a picture of it to show.

Last evening Chey came in the house - minus her collar. She some how has figured out how to throw it off her head every now and then.
So we headed out to look for it, unfortunately finding the chain collar in the snow pack is a bit of an adventure.

So I enlisted her help.

(picture is her with it on a few weeks ago)

So far, no luck. But she is enjoying digging the snow when I throw a snowball in a spot and let her dig.

Guess who is getting a new collar this week?