Friday, December 21, 2007

I think I'm going to make it!

I am still suffering under the delusion that Christmas will still somehow come together. Despite the fact that I am nearly manic, I think this is normal.

The great Clog Capade of 2007 is finally over. I had the foresight to take a picture of all of them together before I started wrapping

Okay, technically they still aren't wrapped and this picture doesn't include my husband's since he was wearing them at the time and I try not to rip things off of people's feet for pictures. It so seems like there were more than 12 pairs. As you can see from the picture though, that's all there is. Wow, so glad that's over. Now if only I had a pair for myself.

I removed my mom's scarf from the list. Don't worry, she's getting other things instead, like the homemade sugar body scrub I made for her and my grandma this morning. While baking cookies. What? I think it's perfectly normal to have about 18 things going on in your kitchen at once. I am making dinner, blogging and baking right now. So what?

I think I must get that from my mother since I was at her house last week to help her get her baking done and we had about 6 different kinds of cookies and dinner going at once.

I did end up adding the other two flame hats but I don't want to spoil surprises so I won't post a picture of them but the second one is almost finished so I think that's gonna be okay. I also finished this:

What's that you say? Why would you go to all the trouble of making a purse for a gift when you could find one almost exactly like it at the store? Well, here's why.

The purses from the store don't have cute little piratesque skull and crossbone linings. The lovely young lady to whom this will be gifted is a teenager and going through a bit of a goth phase. I thought a purse that looks nice and "adult" on the outside and had a little bit of a "surprise" inside would be appreciated and her parents wouldn't object. Despite issues with my sewing machine in which it very nearly took a nice flight through the bedroom window since I couldn't get the tension right, I finished this and somehow managed to finish my niece's care bears blanket done as well.

I didn't take a picture of the dragon picture (which is finished, framed and wrapped) but I will try to remember to get a picture when it is opened.
So to recap; the only things left to knit are to finish the flame hat and finished my dad's socks. (I've barely started the second one) I still see glimmers of hope.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Things are looking up

So, things have vastly improved since my dismal Friday post. I have gotten better about almost everything. I have a nasty skritchy throat and I think it may be a cold trying desperately to get it's hooks into me, but I am fighting hard with a sock around my neck at night and some nice hot tea. (Don't tell me you've never heard of the sock/neck thing. You take a long, old sock and wrap it around your neck and pin it with a safety pin while you sleep. It helps to insulate your neck and makes me feel infinitely better in the morning. I sometimes put a little Mentholatum on my neck first but they don't recommend this.)

I have finished and felted my little niece's clogs
Shown here lounging on a standing and as-yet undecorated tree. My husband wants to help and he's off tomorrow so we will do it then. I had a little trouble getting the top to felt at the same rate as the bottom so I had to do a little hand-felting in the sink. I think they will be okay though. (The white sticking out is a plastic Wal-mart bag I stuffed inside to help keep their shape as they dried.)
With the completion of these, (for my older niece) I think I am done with this pattern for awhile. (I will not say for sure because I know what will happen if I do. I will be back at the needles with it.) I love this pattern. These are the Fiber Trends Felted Clogs but I have knit it about 12 times this year and I'm so burned out on it. These have a date with my washing machine later today. (I am felting the children's ahead of time so they don't have to wait to wear them and also so they can have a design of fabric paint painted onto the bottoms for non-skid reasons.)

I am apparently on a roll because these are done too.
They are for my mom's friend Teri who is like a second mom. I think she will really like them.
I am currently working on some yellow "daisy" colored dishcloths for my sister-in-law and when I have finished them, I will be using the needles for more flame hats. These are too boring for pictures though so I will spare you.
The fate of the branching out scarf has been decided. It's been frogged and I have a date with the yarn store on Friday to get more. It's last on my list though since I have other gifts for my mom and she would understand if she didn't get a scarf.
Back to the grind.

Friday, December 07, 2007

In Which, I try

So, I try to be a better, more organized person. I rarely succeed but I do try. The following are the ways in which I try.
1. I try not to be addicted to caffeine.
Success Rate: Snowball's chance in hell.
Why: My family is huge for coffee drinking. Like by the pot coffee drinking, I have never gotten big on this bandwagon. My mom will drink a cup of coffee directly before bed. I don't know how she does this except that maybe she has built up such a tolerance to it that it no longer affects her. Who knows. My issue is that I tend to have a little trouble sleeping. Okay, that's kind of an understatement. I have enough trouble right now when I can pretty much sleep whenever I want to. I hate being tired and try to get enough sleep each night. This means I will try to go to bed at a decent time and I have resorted to setting the sleep timer on the TV so it can play long enough for my brain to be distracted and let me relax. (Please don't lecture me on this, I know it's bad but I don't know what else to do.) So, this week, since I have been spending much time at home and I have been drinking some coffee. For me, this usually means a cup or two a day. I have a smallish kind of unique pot and I make a bit and drink it. Yesterday, I exceeded this "bit" by about 4 cups. I felt like I was flying yesterday afternoon. Luckily there were no illegal drugs involved or I'm sure I would have been one of those people that jumps off the roof because they think they can fly. I am now hopelessly in need of coffee, despite it being 2:00 in the afternoon. I need to stop, I know this, I have. (I only drank 3 cups today) I feel the need for caffeine. I'm hopeless

2. The scarf for my lovely mother.
Success Rate: Pfffft. I don't want to talk about it.
Why: The scarf I wanted to make was this one: Branching out I think it is lovely but the yarn was not cooperating with me. I knit about 5 repeats of the pattern and decided that the only way I should continue with a yarn that I wasn't particularly fond of was to block it and see if it was as gorgeous as it should have been. If it was, then I would continue and ignore the whiny part of my brain that says the yarn isn't nice. I blocked it on the needles. It didn't look good. Oh, the lacy part was fine but the bottom had this little swoop that didn't block out. I didn't like it. The only thing I could think that might hide it was fringe and I don't think fringe would look good on this scarf (I think it would cheapen a very nice lace pattern) So I frogged it. Sigh, back to the drawing board.

3. Knit Night
Success Rate: In the dumps
Why: I make these plans. "I should make more knitting friends. The lovely lady at the yarn store is getting to know me by name. I should go to knit night. It is this week after all and wouldn't it be nice to make some friends who knit (in real life)." I tell my husband I'm going to go. (He goes over to a friend's house on Thursdays so he doesn't care.) He encourages me to go. Then the day arrives. I think, I'll get these socks to a point where I don't have to pay attention to what I'm doing and I can visit. Then I don't get dressed very well (my ratty sweatpants and a comfy t-shirt that does not match.) So I would have to change in order to go (at least the pants) Then I get self-conscious because I don't know the people. Then I think about driving 20 miles one way for two hours of knitting and the fact that I want to buy yarn if I go to the yarn store (especially since the yarn for my mom's scarf is not making me happy.) I am trying to save money for Christmas gifts so I am trying to be better about buying things. This strategy will not work. I decide to stay home. I watch more Law & Order (still) until I'm pretty bored and kinda paranoid. Then I go to bed upset with myself that I didn't go. (I think the majority of it is that I don't know the people and I get totally shy.) Well, there's always the next knit night.

Enough with my dissapointments in myself for today. I drew a pretty nice dragon picture for my stepsister last night so all that remains is to color and frame it. we'll see how far that gets today, right now the socks are calling my name. Later.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Law & Order Overload

I don't have much to say today. Due to the recent snow and the money spent on Christmas gifts, I have been spending much time at home. This means that I am drinking more coffee than is probably wise and am getting a little bit stir crazy. Luckily, tonight is knit night at my LYS. Uniquely Knit. I am probably (my shyness sometimes prevents me from going to things like this where I don't know people) going to go. This means I should probably stop drinking coffee or I will be shaking too much to knit.
I would also like to thank the lovely people at USA Network for their Law & Order: SVU marathons yesterday and today, it's making for lovely knitting time. While I am enjoying it, I'm starting to think of everything in terms of criminal investigations. It might be time to change the channel. Probably not though.
I am trying to work on the radioactive pink scarf but I'm not thrilled with the yarn. It's absolutely not stretchy at all, worse than cotton. It also kinda flattens out on the needles, making it difficult to knit. I am still working on it, but I can tell I don't like it since I cleaned the spice rack instead of knitting it. This makes sense if you understand my unusual household cleaning style. I put off cleaning the bathroom for two weeks because I didn't feel like it. I knew no one else would do it and it had to be done. I finally did yesterday, I even washed the bath mat. I will suddenly get an itch to clean and will rip something completely apart to clean it. This is especially true if I am avoiding doing something else. Or I'm bored. With all the knitting, I usually don't get bored that often. That would explain the state of my home.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

What am I nuts?!

So, apparently I am hopped up on Merino because I am trouncing through the Christmas list. I have these to show for it

They are Rotating rib socks knit for my brother-in-law TJ. I am so thankful these wretched things are done. The yarn (2 skeins Knit Picks Essential in Terrain Twist) was lovely but the colors were not what I thought they were when I originally ordered and so I was kinda disappointed. I knit them anyway and I think he will like them as he's very outdoorsy and hunterish and these are fairly close to camoflage. I am sick, sick, sick of the colors though. Please also note how the rib rotates the opposite direction on the socks. So symmetrical.
I also knit the cutest thing ever:

These are both Fiber Trends Felted clogs in John Deere colors for a dad and son. The son is only two and after completely burning myself out on this lovely pattern, I have to say I love the child's size. It's so small and quick that you barely notice it and it's done. Super cute too. I know I am breaking several rules about what colors men wear and also what colors men wear on their feet, but since they are their favorite farm equipment's colors, I think they will accept. Only time will tell.

I am also over half done with the socks for my mom's friend Teri who is practically a second mom to me. Here is my proof.

The reason I only have one set of socks on the needles which is pretty unusual for me is to be explained by this:

Does this look like a happy set of dpns to you? Thanks dear hubby for sitting on it and breaking it. I could try knitting the other socks on 4 instead of 5 dpns but I don't really like to do that. It usually gets laddered for me so I will share one needle between the two or wait until this one pair is done to start the other. We'll see I guess. I think I will get impatient with only one pair on the needles.

What's that? I'm getting close to done you say?
No, I ran into town today for another skein of black to finish the endless parade of felted clogs and got this. I don't know why it looks radioactive in this picture but it's really a bright fuschia yarn that is supposed to be a scarf for my mother. (That's her favorite color) Now I'm adding projects? I don't get it. I am this close to Christmas and I'm getting cocky? Help me please.
I'm also thinking about adding another flame hat or maybe two to my list. What is wrong with me.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Pattern for the Flame Hat

It was requested of me to make a pattern for the Flame Hat so here goes.

Double-Knitted Flame Hat
Notes: You could just knit this as fair isle, but its intended recipient, works outside so I wanted it to be extra warm and double-knitted it. You could also use other colors if you are so inclined. I was thinking about knitting a Black and Blue one for my hubby who loves Blue.
Materials: 1 ball Patons Classic Wool Merino Black, 1 ball Patons Classic Wool Merino Red, 1 set of 5 dpns in US size 7.
Setup: Measure the intended recipient's head or guess. There are lots of resources out there for average head sizes. Then knit a swatch and determine what gauge you are getting. Do the match and figure out how many stitches you will need to cast on. (I needed a total of 70 stitches. Therefore I used the whole chart twice. You can use only part of the chart or more if needed.)
Cast on double your total number of stitches. I used the Long Tail cast on loosely, but you could use any loose cast on that you like. (The double is for the double-knitting, see below for double-knitting notes) Divide stitches evenly onto 4 needles. Join into a round, being careful not to twist. At this point I worked one complete round in black because I wanted it to start totally with black. Then I attached the red and continued, following the chart. (I did not include a folded brim on this hat so if you want that, you will have to work more plain rounds before starting the chart.)
Work the whole chart and then work in solid black on front and red on back until the work measures about the length of the recipient's hand from heel of hand to tip of middle finger. Then it should be long enough to do decreases. (If you made a folded brim, work until it is this length folded so it isn't too short.)
I was worried about the two sides pulling together too much so I did one round with red on the outside and then one back to black and then did the decreases.

Double-Knitting Notes: When double-knitting what you are essentially doing is creating stockinette stitch on both sides of your work. You have one side facing you and one side facing away. You have twice the number of stitches that are on the chart. (I actually had 4 times the number since I worked the chart twice on each round of the hat) One of them is the front of the work and one is the back.Therefore the first stitch will be knit and the second purled this is true throughout the whole work. With two colors like this when you begin you should have every other stitch black and the others red. This is because where you see black on the chart, you will have black on the front and red on the back. So you will knit a black stitch and then purl a red stitch for each stitch on the chart. For example: The first round is black so the first stitch is knit black and the second is purled red. Continue around. Then the next round, you want the outside of what you are working on to be red so you knit the first stitch in red and purl the second in black. (Essentially at this point you are changing all the stitches so if it's red, purl it black; if it's black, knit it red.) Then change them back for the third row which is black. Now it gets trickier. You have to follow the chart and change the stitches as shown on the chart. If you just remember that the knit is what is facing you and the purl is what is away and each stitch on the chart has two stitches on your needles, then you should be fine.

(I do not take credit for the double knitting ideas. I found resources online and that's how I learned to do it. If you are new to it, you may want to do a swatch to get used to it. It's pretty easy once you get going though.) One resource I found helpful was : Stitch Diva Studios go there to learn from a pro.
Decreases: Pick a number that divides equalling into your total. Since it is 70 stitches for me, I chose 10. I worked 8 (16 in the double-knitting) and then knit two together(Ten total used). Then purled two together for the inside.
Work one round plain then decrease the number worked plain by 1 (so work 7 plain and then knit/purl two together.) Continue doing this until you are knitting/purling two together all the way around.
Break yarn and thread through remaining stitches pull tight and weave in ends. (I did this twice. Once inside with red and once outside with black so that I could have a solid black top on one side and a solid red top on the other.
The Black/Red version

The Inside (When you are knitting it) Red/Black.
If you have questions please feel free to email me. It has not been test-knit from this pattern.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Birthday relive

Yes, I did have a great birthday, thanks for asking. Since my incomprable hubby was at work all day and my mom gets down if she doesn't get to see us for our birthdays, I went down to my mom's house in the morning. I went and ate large quantities of Chinese food for lunch with my mom and brother for which he insisted on paying even though we didn't expect him to. Then we went back to my mom's house and I assisted her in getting the Christmas gifts ready. Not my own of course. I frosted the cupcakes that my mom had baked for me. Then my dad came home from work and when he started driving us crazy we went to town to the store so I could help her plan how to make an air conditioner cover for a friend of hers. Overall, it was a pretty good day. Not much knitting accomplished though.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Working on Christmas

Do you think that when people originally planned to celebrate Christmas as a holiday that they expected all of us to work so hard at it? I don't think it was what they planned at all! They just thought it would be a nice time for families to get together. I have gone a bit overboard. I am not only knitting many, many gifts, I also have some other projects I'm working on. Here is my current list:
1. TJ's socks (these are more than halfway done. One sock is done and the other about halfway up the foot. They are toe-up obviously.)
2. Richard's Socks (The yarn is bought for these but they aren't started as they are waiting for the needles from TJ's socks.)
3. Teri's socks (These are started but are top and one is about halfway down the leg.)
4. Mike's Felted Clogs (These are nearly finished. I have one sole and sewing up to do on these. They are hideous to me but they are John Deere colors so he should love them.)
5. Gunner's Felted Clogs (These are for a two-year old so they should be fairly simple to do.)
6. Brianna's Felted Clogs (These are for my ten-year old niece and I haven't decided if they should be knit or not. We'll see where the time constraints lie.)
7. Emma's Felted Clogs (These are for my two-year old niece and again, I haven't decided if I will actually make them or not.)

Non-knitting but just as important projects:
1. Delia's blanket. This just needs to be quilted and it will be done.
2. Julia's purse. This is quite a project. When I sew purses, I design them too so I need to figure out how it's going to look and then execute it too. This should be interesting.
3. Shelly's Dragon Picture. This is for my step-sister. She bought a house this year and I noticed she has a small area with a bunch of dragon figurines so I am going to draw, color and frame a picture for her to hang above them.

I still have a wee bit of shopping left to do but I'm pretty sure that it will have to wait until hubby's bonus check comes in. We'll see I guess. If I can squeeze the budget tight enough, I might be able to finish sooner.
I have no pictures of any of this stuff so you will just have to wait. Meanwhile, I will be celebrating my 28th birthday tomorrow so I will be busy not knitting probably.

Also, great news. My cousin, who is the mother of the ever-cute Gunner, just gave birth to her second baby last night. She was 7 lbs. 15 oz. and 19 1/2 inches long. Her name is Hayden Elizabeth. I am so, so, so excited to go see her!!! I have to make something for her too. (I promised my cousin not to start anything because of the magical quality of knitting and she had some health issues with Gunner so she didn't want to have the baby early. I promised and have therefore only planned a few things. Now I have to finish Christmas projects first though. BLAST!!)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

More Finished Things

I just love getting to post things that are done. I finished another pair of felted clogs
These are New Denim Patons Classic Wool Merino on the bottom and Denim Marl Patons Classic Wool Merino on the top. These are meant for my father-in-law and now all the gifts for him are done!

I have since finished another pair of these but I am getting kinda sick of showing you the same things so I think I will forego posting them and just move on.
While brainstorming ideas for gifts for my three female cousins for Christmas, since we all always exchange a small gift, I came up with the idea for this Christmas ornament. I think it's really cute.
It's pretty small too. Here's my hand for scale.
It's knit with Knit Picks Palette in White and Ivy. I am thinking about making 3 or possibly 4 more. Maybe making it a yearly tradition where I make a different style each year with the year on it? We'll see if I get that ambitious though.
Since I have this parade of finished things, I do of course have something new. Here it is;
These are intended to be socks for my brother-on-law that will replace the unfinished socks from earlier this year. The others were scratchy and stiff. These will be better. These are Knit Picks Essential in Terrain Twist and despite the picture, they are actually on the needles.
I'm getting closer and closer.
Does anyone else have an unrealistic goal for the next 41 days?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

We Loves the noggin around here.

So lately I have been on this hat kick. It all started with my idea for a hat for my brother for Christmas.
It's a flame hat. Since it's double knitted, it also looks like this;
if you turn it inside out. So it's reversible. I think it turned out pretty well and it means I can cross another thing off my list for Christmas knitting.
Then I wanted a hat for myself so I started digging through magazines. I ended up knitting the Tweed Beret from Interweave Knits. I think it was the summer 06 issue but I will have to check. I have unfortunately lost the picture of that hat so I will have to take another one.
The need for hats was apparently rampant in the knitting universe because the Yarn Harlot was knitting a hat too. The Unoriginal Hat. I just happened to have some yarn in the stash that I knew would work well so I knit this one afternoon;
It's knit out of Lion Brand Landscapes yarn in Rose Garden. It's a little over one skein. I think it turned out really cute and it's snug on my head but I like it a lot. It was super quick too so I am thinking about making several for extra gifts for those people whom I don't know what to give for Christmas. We'll see though.

In other news; Judy asked for the pattern for my Father-in-law's socks so here goes:

Materials: 1 skein Zitron Trekking XXL Sock yarn (about 450 yards)
Size US 2 needles Set of 5 dpns.
Leg: Cast on 72 stitches and divide onto 4 needles as follows; needle 1: 20, needle 2: 16, needle 3: 20 needle 4: 16. It is broken up that way so that it will work out easier in the ribbed pattern.
Knit in K3, P1 rib for about 6 inches. On my own socks I go seven inches but the foot is longer as they are men's size 10 and I didn't want to run out of yarn so I made the leg just a bit shorter.
Heel Flap: Working with half of the stitches; 36 (they can all be moved onto one needle if it is easier that way) work the following 2 rows back and forth approximately 18 times or until the heel flap is square;
Row 1: (RS) *Slip 1, Knit 1, repeat from * across.
Row 2: (WS) Slip 1, purl across.

Heel Turn: Working with the same 36 stitches from the heel flap, work the following rows back and forth.
Row 1: (RS) Slip 1, k 20, ssk, k1, turn.
Row 2: slip 1, p 8, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 3: slip 1, k 9, ssk, k1, turn.
Row 4: slip 1, p 10, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 5: slip 1, k 11, ssk, k1, turn.
Row 6: slip 1, p 12, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 7: slip 1, k 13, ssk, k1, turn.
Row 8: slip 1, p 14, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 9: slip 1, k 15, ssk, k1, turn.
Row 10: slip 1, p 16, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 11: slip 1, k 17, ssk, k1, turn.
Row 12: slip 1, p 18, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 13: slip 1, k 19, ssk, k1.

This brings you to the end of the heel turn. You should now have 22 stitches on your needle. Pick up and knit approximately 18 stitches down the side of the heel flap (Use your best judgement. I usually end up with more like 20 because I don't like holes in the sides and I tend to make them with less than 20.)

Gusset Decreases: You should now be back to the front of the sock, where it is worked in ribbing. This is needle 1 and should have 20 stitches on it. Work them in k3, p1 rib. Work needle 2 in knit 3, p1 rib also. Now pick up and knit approximately 18 stitches on the other side of the heel flap. (It's up to you but I find it works best if you pick up the same number of stitches on both sides of the heel flap.)
Take the stitches from the heel turn and divide them evenly onto the two needles that hold the picked up stitches from the sides of the heel flap. There should be 11 added to each needle.
Work the following 2 rounds until you have 72 stitches again. They should be divided up as follows: Needle 1: 20, Needle 2: 16, Needle 3: 18, Needle 4: 18.

Round 1: Needles 1 & 2: *Knit 3, p1, repeat from * across.
Needle 3: K1, ssk, knit to end of needle.
Needle 4: Knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k 1.

Round 2: Needles 1 & 2: *Knit 3, p1, repeat from * across.
Needles 3& 4: Knit all stitches.

Foot: Now work the following round until foot measures between 1 1/2 to 2 inches shorter than total length of foot.
Needles 1 & 2: *Knit 3, p1, repeat from * across.
Needles 3 & 4: Knit all stitches.

Toe: At this point we will be changing to stockinette stitch to work the toe decreases so you will want to slip two stitches from needle 1 onto needle 2 so all needles begin with 18 stitches. Work the following 2 rounds until you have 4 stitches remaining on each needle.
Round 1:
Needle 1: Knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1.
Needle 2: K 1, ssk, knit to end of needle.
Needle 3: Knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k 1.
Needle 4: K 1, ssk, knit to end of needle.
Round 2: Knit to end of round.
Once you have a total of 16 stitches left (4 on each needle) close the toe with kitchener stitch or some other seam.
Repeat for the second sock and;
Voila! you have another Christmas gift finished. Please note that this pattern was pulled out of my head so if you have a problem please ask. I may have written something wrong.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Completing Things

I spent some time riding in a car this weekend and while it allowed me some knitting time, it wasn't a ton. I did manage to finish something though.

Are we sick of these yet? I sure am! These are a pair of felted clogs knit for my brother-in-law for Christmas. I don't remember why I wanted to knit so many of these this year. I must have gone completely crazy.

I have been working on these too;

These are a pair of socks for my father-in-law for Christmas. They are moving along and look pretty good so far. I am still thinking that I can get everything done in time for Christmas. Especially since I have been working on it so long already. Unfortunately I seem to be letting time slip by me.
Since today is the Fifth of November though, I'm going to go watch this and knit. That should move things along, huh?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Dyeing Adventure

The following is the account of kalkette's dyeing adventure. Plus a dinner recipe. We've got it all over here at Chez Kalkette. Some time ago a dinner-making kalkette noticed that the color of beets is the color that is the favorite of kalkette's mom. Kalkette's mom has put up with many things from kalkette over the years and it was determined that she deserved a nice gift for Christmas of her favorite color. Kalkette decided to try her hand at dyeing for her mom. This is the result. The plan was to make this I thought it would be beautiful in a nice magenta/fuschia color. So, I took a lesson from here and got started. I skeined up a ball of Patons Classic Wool Merino and soaked it with 3/4 cup vinegar:

It's supposed to soak overnight but I soaked it from the morning until it was time to start dinner. About the same amount of time.

I then took one bunch of beets and removed the stems and peeled them.
Then I julienned them and put them in a large (microwave safe) bowl.

Trust me, they are way more fuschia than this picture. Then I covered them with just enough water to completely cover them;
I put this bowl in the microwave for about 10 minutes, checked them and then another 10 minutes. This was to leach the color into the water and also to cook the beets. They are much denser than the other ingredients and I didn't want them coming out raw.

While it was cooking I peeled and julienned a sweet potato.
Now I took out the wok and added a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. (Please note that olive oil is not recommended for super hot cooking as it has a lower smoke point than other oils. I use it for the health and because my stove doesn't get super duper hot but if you are going to use an electric wok or an open flame or something hotter, then use another kind of oil.) I put the sweet potato in the wok and stir fryed it.

I added another tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and added this:
It's a bag of fresh veggies. Carrots, red cabbage and broccoli. They are raw and ready to be made into a broccoli slaw but I use them as a stir fry. Yum yum.
By the time you add the broccoli slaw mix, the beets should be done. I took out a metal colander and a large pot and set them up like this
I set it in the sink but I wanted to reserve the water for the yarn dyeing. Now add the beets to the stir fry and fry them up. This is more for texture than anything. This will make the other veggies turn sort of magenta too. That's okay. They still taste wonderful. I like to serve mine with some brown rice and a little soy sauce. It makes about 6 servings.
Now drain the yarn and squeeze out the extra water. Put the yarn in the bowl and pour the water over it. Add 1/2 cup vinegar. If there isn't enough liquid to cover the yarn, add more water. Otherwise, place the yarn in the microwave and microwave until the bowl is hot and almost boiling.
I microwaved it for ten minutes and the water was steaming so I knew it was quite hot. Then I left the yarn to sit in the microwave for 15 minutes (with the door closed to keep the heat in). You may want to reheat it at some point during this time. It depends. You want it to remain as hot as possible for that length of time, without boiling as that can felt the yarn. Once that time has passed, remove it from the microwave and allow it to cool. Then rinse it well and remove as much water as possible.
Here is the yarn ready to be hung to dry.
I hung the skeined yarn in the laundry room sink to dry and the following day I had this:
It didn't turn out at all the color that I wanted so I'm not sure what to do with it and it is very lightly variegated between a darker red and a lighter red. It was a very fun adventure though and I had a blast. :)
Back to the Christmas knitting, we have less than 8 weeks now you know. Anyone panicked yet?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Catching up

So, I had this intention of getting several blog posts in this week and somehow the whole week got away from me so here is the conglomeration of three short blog posts into one bigger blog post.
1. The birthday socks
These are the socks I was knitting for my brother Chris for his birthday. They were finished on time and gifted to him. He really liked them. Unfortunately this picture does not do them any type of justice. It is Trekking XXL sock yarn and it a strand of black or dark blue plied with a strand of changing color. It goes subtly from red to blue to orange and other colors. They are absolutely beautiful. I almost wish I had knit some for myself. I was a little bit concerned about the colors being too girly for him but he really liked them.

2. Dad's Christmas Felted clogs
Again, this is an AWFUL picture. Almost not worth even posting. But I wanted some proof that I am working on my Christmas project list. I have also started my brother-in-law's clogs and I should finish those next week. These are done and put to the side for Christmas though. Yum.
3. The sadness that is hubby's socks
Less than 72 hours after the Earl Grey/Brown socks were completed and given to hubby he was wearing them and this is what I see. A hole! I could have cried. Now normally, I am not one to fix a pair of socks but I think these things are cursed. I had so much frustration with them. I (in my own stupidity not by any fault of the pattern) messed up the pattern and had to tink back and fix. Then I would do it again, then I dropped a stitch. I finally finish the beasts and this is what happens?!?! What is wrong with the world?
I will be fixing these because I cannot stand the thought of working that hard on a pair of socks to have them ruined in less than 3 days.
Sigh, off to do more Christmas projects because I'm not ready to face the fixing.

Friday, October 19, 2007


So, while all those lucky knitters and spinners are either on their way to or are getting ready to be on their way to the fabulous (or so I have heard) New England Sheep and Wool Festival also known as Rhinebeck, I sit here at home.
I should be happy. I have finished the Earl Grey/Brown socks
The beautiful Earl Grey/Brown socks shown here on the feet of our reluctant model.
Meanwhile, the birthday deadline for my brother's socks fast approaches (Sunday) and I have a whole sock and the very end of the toe to knit.
Enough blogging. Get thee to work woman.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Whooee. I have been gone for awhile, sorry. I haven't been doing a whole lot of knitting. I had to (okay I was asked nicely and wanted to) go down to my mom's last weekend to help her friend's daughter who I am very close to; with a scrapbooking project. Did I mention I do a little scrapbooking? Plus I am working on quilt so I have been sewing on that lately too. I am not by any means an experienced quilter but I have always wanted to learn so I got this kit that is the Quilt Block of the Month. I bought the previous year's so I actually have all the blocks and it gives you hints and tips as you go along. It has all the fabric and it is already cut to the right sizes and tells you exactly how to sew it together. It is really helping me to learn. I have 5 of the squares sewn and so I have to finish the other 7 and decide how I am going to make it bigger. (It is for a full size bed and we have that now but we want to get a queen size so I want the quilt that big.)
So, excuses, excuses, I have been busy. Meanwhile, I did finish my Earl Grey/Brown socks and will post pictures as soon as I can get hubby to hold still long enough for him to model them (they are for him.) Meanwhile, I will be sitting under a quilt watching TV and knitting socks for my brother's birthday now.
It's been grey and drizzly here for over a week and I am SICK of it! It is especially brisk today so I am going to relax and knit.
Have a great day everyone.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I have no idea if that word is spelled right. It doesn't really look right and I don't feel like checking on it.
I have gotten very little knitting done because I went down to my mom's house last Wednesday and didn't come home until Friday, at which time, I came home with my two nieces for the weekend. This meant almost no knitting got done at all. I went down to my mom's house because a neighbor of my in-laws was kind enough to allow us to come out to his house and pick apples off his apple tree. We had a TON of apples and had to do something with them so we canned apple pie filling. It was a fun time and a lot of work. We finally got done on Friday and my brother stopped by and had fresh apple crisp with us. Then about ten minutes after he left, my grandpa and grandma stopped by. I left straight from my parents' house to go get my nieces and we had them until Sunday afternoon. It was a grand weekend and now I am trying to get caught up. I spent all day yesterday doing the laundry and now it is at reasonable levels and now today I need to get the dishes caught up. The men in this house just go kind of feral when you leave for a few days. You should have seen the state of our bed when I got home. The sheet and mattress pad were almost completely off the bed!
Oh well, back to getting things done and hopefully some knitting. (It's starting to get chilly outside and we haven't touched the furnace yet, but I think it may be time soon. This weekend it was actually hot though. We went to a local family farm with the girls to see animals and stuff and everyone was sweaty and hot when we left. Now it's starting to feel like October.)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

New Stuff

So, as you may have noticed, I have finished stuff lately. A sweater, a shawl and a pair of felted clog slippers for my mother-in-law for Christmas. What does that mean?
It means I can start some new stuff.
Please excuse the exceptionally bad pictures. The air has been gray and dismal for a week so I am having a hard time getting decent pictures.

Here are the felted clogs I started for my dad for Christmas

This picture is really just the sole of the first one and the yarn that will be used for the top. I was almost done with the top and realized that I wasn't going to have enough so now, this green/black swirl yarn will be knit with a strand of black (the pattern calls for double stranded yarn) but that meant frogging the whole top.

Also, these are on the needles

You cannot see anything in this picture but it's Trekking XXL sock yarn that's a black or deep, deep blue and it's plied with a strand of changing color. It goes from red to kinda orange and on. It is absolutely beautiful and keeps me from going absolutely nuts knitting something that's boring because the color changes keep me totally interested.

I swear I am making progress on my earl grey/brown socks but the solid brown color means that it's so boring, I can only work a few rounds before I am completely nuts and need to work on something else. I did finish one whole sock and am past the heel turn and gusset decreases on the second but my husband has size 13 feet so it will be awhile til they are done.

One more thing. Remember the mystery pink thing? Well, it has sadly been frogged. Here is a picture prefrogging

You can't really tell anything about it but it is pink. What I did was make the diamond pattern from the 365 days of knitting patterns calendar (can you tell that I just got it this last year and am finding all kinds of great patterns in it?) and made it increase on each side. I had two skeins of the same exact yarn that were in the stash. They are old, they came from my grandma and I knew I couldn't get more so I started with one stitch and increased to the almost end of the one skein and then modified it and decreased supposedly with enough yarn to finish the diamond shape. Get it, a big diamond made of little diamonds. The plan was that I would then use another color to make a border around it. I ran out of yarn with about 50 stitches left on the needle. I couldn't believe it. I was so sick of it and I so wanted to be done. I had been working on it for weeks almost solely to get it done. I was in denial and tried to find some yarn that was similar. I couldn't find anything anywhere and so, finally, I admitted defeat and frogged it. Sad but true. Oh well, back to the grind. I'm pretty sure I will survive.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Knitting News?!

Well, I have been on a project finishing roll apparently. I finished the Felted Clogs slippers I was making for my mother-in-law. They will be gifted (unfelted) for Christmas so she can felt them to fit her feet. Only about 12 pairs more planned for Christmas. Plus I started a pair of socks for my brother's birthday which is coming up later this month. Other than that, I haven't been doing a lot of knitting and nothing interesting at all.
I tried to start that sweater I was telling you about but I can't seem to get gauge and so, I set it aside for awhile to avoid throwing all the yarn and needles out the window and saying good riddance. I'm pretty sure that it will not be finished in time for the intended recipient's birthday. Oh well, he will be two, I don't think he'll notice if it's late.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sweater bliss

Well, last night while watching Heroes I finally finished my Sienna Cardigan
I am in love with it!
All that was left was to sew on the buttons so it was about time that I finished it. It's really soft and nice. The only thing I changed about the pattern (aside from the yarn used) was that I added ribbing to the end of the sleeves.

I also finished and blocked my Fir Cone Wrap
It's beautiful.

It did shrink a little, but it's still pretty much the length of my wingspan. (That's about 64")
It's made of JoAnn Sensations Dolcetto yarn. It's purple/pink colorway and it's very pretty. I washed it in the washer and then pinned it out to block it. Like I said, it did shrink a bit in the washer, but it's still nice.
I made up the pattern. It's based off of the Fir Cone Lace Pattern in the 365 Knitting Patterns calendar. I also knit each point individually so they would match the pattern and then crocheted an edge around it to help keep it flat.
These pictures don't do justice to the color (especially since it's another grey icky day today) but trust me, it's nice.
Tomorrow, I'll tell you about the little sweater I'm knitting

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sigh, am I ever going to feel better?

So, this day and the few previous days have been totally wretched. It's not like they are so bad that I can't survive but I have had this icky little cold for awhile now and since I don't seem to be too able to get a decent night's sleep, I can't seem to shake it. I have finally opted for taking some lovely cold medicine (which I usually try to avoid to allow my bodies natural cold-fighting abilities to kick int) that knocks me out for a good 8 hours. The flip side is that it gives me super duper weird dreams. I would just like to say thank you to a certain TV station for playing Resident Evil Apocalypse or some such last week instead of Law & Order which I watched and then had a really weird zombie dream last night. Gah! Glad I was able to wake up from that!!!
Meanwhile, my throat hurts like the dickens and nothing seems to help it and I have been knitting a bit but not a ton. I do have a happy little swatch getting cleaned right now and the full idea of what it's for will be revealed in the fullness of time since the deadline swiftly approaches for this project.
If you stop by from Ravelry hey. Welcome and make yourself at home. :)
I will post pictures of a finished object (waiting to be blocked and possibly that sweater I have been promising soon if the sky would not be grey and cloudy so I could take decent pictures!)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Avast Mateys!

Arrgh, today be talk like a pirate day and while I not be knitting pirated things, I be knitting and that be piratey in my book. I be drinking rum (or wine) with dinner and I be going over to Ravelry since I got my invitation there. My name be kalkette there too. Say ye hello if ye see me.
Not much else piratey to tell. Get ye scurvy dogs up to the deck and start swabbing.
I promise pictures soon.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Well, despite the exceptionally icky day previously and the fact that the cold I thought was on it's way out is taking me down slowly again, I am doing okay. Mostly planning Christmas knitting and not getting much done at all. I still totally think I can get all the knitting done though. We'll see. Meanwhile, I will just be sitting here drinking tea and wishing I hadn't made plans to go out to dinner tonight because I'm so totally not up to it, but I am also totally looking forward to a chance to get out of the house (aside from taking hubby to the doctor this morning because we thought he had pink eye)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

One, two, three, four...

Counting to ten isn't going to be enough. I may have to count to a million.
If you were looking for knitting, I'm sorry, but today you aren't getting it. I am normally not someone who gets upset about little things but today, today I am so angry I can barely see straight.
Let's start from the beginning. The day started fine with getting up and spending a few minutes snuggling with hubby on the couch watching TV until he had to get ready for work. (Two days a week he works an evening shift so this was one of those days) When he got up to get ready, I went into the kitchen to make myself some coffee. Disaster struck! I use an unusual coffee pot. It's handmade pottery and is a carafe with a lid and also a funnel. In the funnel, you put a cone filter and then the grounds and pour boiling water over it. It makes fabulous coffee and while, we do have a regular coffeemaker, this is better because it makes just the two cups that I drink. Usually, I use my hot pot to heat the water and pour it in slowly a bit at a time. Today, it was going really nice and quick and I poured all the water in, only to discover that it had ripped a hole in the bottom of the filter and leaked all the coffee grounds into the pot.
Mess ensued. While trying to refilter the coffee to get the grounds out, I managed to spill about a half a cup all over the kitchen counter. I should have known to just stay home and go lie in bed knitting because that was an excellent indication of how the rest of my day was going to go.
But no, I am apparently, a glutton for punishment because I decided to run some errands. Yup, that's right, might as well tattoo idiot across my forehead. I went to the yarn store and the grocery store for just a few things. I finally remembered to pick up the pictures that I ordered online and discovered that you HAVE to pay for them at the photo counter. So, even though I have a cart full of other stuff, I have to pay twice. Stupid, stupid store. Then, (it's a rather large supermarket) while I was in the back, trying to find Fat Free Half and Half which they are apparently out of and have decided to fill the spaces usually taken up by it with regular half and half, I realized that I needed to use the restroom. Badly and immediately. The only restrooms are at the front of the store. I was in the back. Of course, what else. So, I rush to the front of the store and get to the door, that I recently entered through and notice a large orange fence and a sign, these restrooms are closed. Yup, closed. You have to go all the way over to the deli to use the teeny tiny restroom over there. Where there was, of course, a line. It is only by the grace of God that I made it in time. I decide to head for home, having paid twice in one stupid store and stop at the post office to pick up our mail on the way home.
It should be noted here that we live in a small town about 6 miles away from a city. The city isn't huge but since I was working in that city, when we moved into my uncle's house, we have our Post Office Box (where we receive all of our mail) in the City. The Post office is currently being remodeled. You probably know where I'm going with this, but I am an optimist. I thought, I'll just nip in here and get our mail and be on my way. When I had to drive through the parking lot twice just to find a parking space that was about a 1/4 mile away from the freaking door, I should have known. (The parking lot is long and has only one row of spaces which are usually all but two or three, empty. Not today. I had to drive through, wait for 6 cars to pull ahead of me out onto the busy street to loop around and go through again.) I do this, park and grab my keys and run in. They have changed the layout completely. There is a line of (and I'm not exaggerating here) 20 people. Now, some of you are probably thinking, well, in my post office, it's not unusual for there to be more than 20 people waiting but this is a smallish city post office and I am used to seeing a max of 5 people in the place. This included the 3 older gentlemen who run the counter. They aren't particularly speedy but they do usually keep the line down to a minimum. I walk all along the new row, looking for our Post Office Box number. I finally find it and insert the key. It doesn't work. I am so angry by this point that I can't even wait in the line to find out what's wrong (I just paid the box fee like 2 months ago so it isn't that.) I storm out to the vehicle and head home. Just be glad I had to drive 6 miles or this post would be filled with the language I normally avoid!!!!
P.S. Note to the "gangsta" style teenager who ambled slowly across the busy intersection in front of me on the way home. Watch out for the lady in the little red van. At this point, I would have no qualms about driving over you and I would keep on going.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Finally, the things I brought home

Unexpected real life stuff has kept me away from the computer and blogging. Sorry, sometimes, that stuff happens.
I also lost the pictures of what I brought home and had to take new ones, so I finally got around to that today.
This is a handmade mug (that currently contains coffee) and two dragon picture prints from an artist. I got the prints because I thought that I could possibly color them myself (I did go to school for art.) and then mat and frame them to hang in my home. The prints that were colored in the shop were absolutely beautiful but out of my price range if I wanted to eat that day, so, I just settled for something I could use and afford. I would imagine that this is absolutely NOT what the artist had in mind but since they are simply for my own use, I think it is okay. The mug is a beautiful purple (my favorite color) with some blue on the top and while it doesn't have one of the beautiful Renaissance Festival logos on the side, I chose it because it is easier to wash out (I can fit my hand in it) and I can therefore use it for coffee. :)
This is a necklace that I bought myself which is a unicorn with a little jewel kind of thing and a present from my hubby. A Pewter castle. (He said he wanted to buy me something and I said that this would be good so, there you go.) The castle is very small.
Observe the mug added for scale. I find the fact that it is tiny very amusing. Since we will most likely never own a castle that we can live in, this will do for me. I love it and keep it on my nightstand where I can look at it every night and every morning.
I also bought my mother a Christmas ornament that was intended to be for Christmas and a slice of handmade paper (I always call it a slice, I think it's fun and weird) and an envelope that is coffee scented. My mom is a total coffee hound and so, I thought she would enjoy it. I am impatient though and have already given her both. (The ornament was meant to be a Christmas gift). You don't need to tell me how unbelievably stupid this was of me. I should have saved it for Christmas, that would have been one less thing I would have had to knit, but I love giving people gifts. What can I say. I am deluded.

What happened to the Earl Grey/Brown socks? Well, they have been cast aside temporarily because these
had a deadline. They are for my uncle (with whom we currently live) for his birthday which is coming up. I am pretty proud of myself that I have these finished. I bought the yarn at my LYS on Tuesday afternoon and finished them last night (Sunday). It's Trekking sock yarn and the ball band is downstairs so I will tell you the color later. It's a simple rib pattern knit on size US2 needles.

After going nuts on socks for awhile (The first of the Earl Grey/Brown is finished) I needed something to help me keep my sanity. That's where this comes in:
It's going to be a kind of shawl/wrap thingy and it's knit on size 11 needles. More about this later.
I would, however like to note that husbands can be taught to appreciate wives. This morning I was awakened to a plate of scrambled eggs being handed to me, in bed. Dude is totally going to get lucky.
Later, I will tell you about the best yarn purchases ever and my deluded Christmas project list that I totally think I can get done in time.
Note: Does anyone else out there watch the NBC series Heroes? We missed most of the end of the last season and so, purchased it on DVD. We just finished it yesterday. Wowie! I can't wait for the new season to start.