Monday, November 27, 2006

Felted Christmas Stocking

My first Christmas stocking is finished! I say my first, because I've started another with some more Kureyon that was hanging around. Overall the stocking turned out well. I did forget to add a little loop to hang it. When I felt stocking number two, I'm going to felt an extra i-cord to attach to this stocking.

Project Info
Pattern: based on Rainbow Stocking by Barbara Albright in
Christmas Stockings - 18 Holiday Treasures to Knit
Yarn: Noro Kureyon #80, just over 3 skeins
Needles: addi TURBO -US# 11 / 8.0 mm
Gauge: didn't check gauge
Pre-felting Measurements: 33" long, 10" wide
Final Measurements: 20" long, 7" wide

The main thing I changed on the pattern was the recommended needle size. The pattern suggested a US#8 and that just seemed too small to me. I always knit on larger needles for felted items, so I switched to a US#11. Otherwise the pattern is just a basic sock with a short foot. So I really didn't follow the pattern - but I did get the idea for a felted stocking from the pattern.

The more I look at this color, the more I like it. Although it seems that it is not a color that is available anymore. I only had four skeins. One skein became a square in my afghan and the other 3 became this stocking.

Tile Project Update: The good news is that the project is almost complete. We grouted the tile on Sunday. We are waiting until tomorrow to seal the stone tile and caulk around the edges and then we get to issue a big DONE! stamp to this project. I'll take pictures and post the finished results once we get the sealer finished.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

T is for Turtle

I took this picture this fall after a nice rain. Apparently that is the best time to find turtles. This picture is what I believe to be an adult male box turtle. I think he is a "he" because of his coloring and his red eyes. I've red different reports that these little guys can live between 30-100+ years. They also stay in one small area their entire lives. And in fact, if I removed him from his little comfort zone, he would spend all his time trying to find his way back. So here he will stay for as long as he wants. The other turtle fact I did not know is that the box turtle is the official state reptile for North Carolina. I knew about state birds and flowers, but I had no idea we had a state reptile.

He wouldn't come out of his shell while I was around. You can kind of get an idea of his size in this picture. My foot is a size seven.

Tonight makes the beginning of my kitchen tile project. My husband and I are hoping to have the project complete by Sunday. I'll post some updates when I can and of course pictures of the finished project will be up as soon as we finish.

Well this is the day before Thanksgiving - So I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving or if that doesn't apply, I just hope you have a great weekend.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Fiber Friday - More CTH

I got this skein of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Potluck in blues/purples when I go the Red Hot and Green I posted a several weeks ago. I'm going to knit socks with it of course, when is the question. I love the colors in this skein.

I'm finishing up my second Anastasia sock and have to decide on a pattern to start as soon as those are finished. Earlier this week I ordered Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks for some inspiration on what to knit. I also have a copy of Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting Patterns on the way just in case I'm inspired enough to figure out my own sock pattern.

Trying to write up a pattern would be an industrious use of some vacation time I have coming up. Between my vacation days and the days off I get for the holidays, I will be off work three weeks at the end of the year. At least one of those weeks will be filled with family commitments and holiday stuff - but the other two will be all mine and I'm hoping for a lot of knitting time.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

One Square at a Time

Well I've started another project. I used the rest of the Kureyon from the stocking project to knit a square for the Lizard Ridge Afghan. I've only done one square so far - but it was fun to knit. It was the first time I did short rows. I don't think I got all the wraps picked up correctly, but I don't see a bunch of holes all over the square. So I guess that is a good thing.

I haven't blocked the square either - I really like the bumpy lumpy texture as it is now. I don't think that will help when seaming blocks together though. I'm not sure how practical a wool afghan is that can't be washed. If it does get finished it will probably be hung on a chair or put in a drawer. It definitely will have to be kept away from Sherman. All his slobber would probably felt the entire thing.

I have no idea how long this will take to finish. I hope my log cabin afghan isn't an indication because I only have one square done for that. I've been thinking about not finishing the log cabin with individual squares, but just building on the one I have done. I'm hoping to work on that when I take some vacation over the holidays.

But back to this afghan... I'd like all the square to be different, so I think I'll just do one now and again when I have some Kureyon out for other projects.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Giant Sock

I decided to start a project for the Norovember KAL I signed up for and went looking through my stash for something to start. I had my mind set on a felted bag or starting a square for the Lizard Ridge afghan.

I found four skeins of Noro #80 that I got as part of a Kureyon grab bag I bought on the cheap. I figured I could use one ball for a square for Lizard Ridge - but what to do with the other three skeins. The colors really aren't something I'd want in a bag or anything. But I remembered I had a pattern book that had a felted Christmas stocking. So I decided to start with that.

The pattern I started with was in the Interweave Press book Christmas Stockings - 18 Holiday Treasures to Knit. The pattern itself was called Christmas Rainbow Surprise. The pattern calls for 265 yards - so I figured I had enough to give it a try.

The pattern called for knitting the stocking on US#8 needles,, which seems a little small to me for an item that is supposed to be felted. I decided to use US#11 needles instead. This thing came out BIG! Right now at the longest point it measures 33 inches. We'll have to see how much it shrinks in the washer though. I hope to get it felted this week. Hopefully it will look good enough to hand on the mantle this Christmas.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Fiber Friday - Socks That Rock

Here is the latest addition to the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rocking Sock Club. They are taking sign-ups for the 2007 Club now if you are interested. I've really enjoyed the club this year and plan to participate next year too. I love getting the surprise packages and working with the yarn.

This is a new color called Pink Granite and is the medium weight variety. So far, it is my favorite color of all the ones I have from the club. The pattern that was included is a faux cable design called Marble Arches with a short row heel. The skein is approximately 5.5 ounces/380 yards. Here are the requisite close-up shots.

The skein starts with a nice ivory white color and progresses to a soft dusty pink color.

The pink finally turns into a nice charcoal color.

I hope to cast on with this yarn soon. I'm starting to get that dreaded feeling of being overwhelmed that too many projects are waiting to be finished or even started. I'm going to have to get busy and start knitting.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

S is for Stepping Stone

When my relatives came for a visit in September, my grandfather brought some of the materials he used to make stained glass stepping stones for his yard. He wasn't going to make anymore and figured I'd be interested in another project. So, I've given it a shot.

The supplies included two molds, one was a small brick shaped stone and the other was a 14 inch round stone. I selected my patterns and the glass was cut out according to the patterns. My mom volunteered to cut the glass from pieces she had left over in her shop.

Once I had all the pieces, I laid them out on the pattern with the front side up. You cover the face of the pieces with contact paper and lay them front side down in the mold. The mold was coated with vaseline before putting the glass in to help ease the stone out once the concrete set up.

Then you mix up some concrete mix and pour it over the glass to fill up the mold. For the concrete mix that I had, you let it set for about an hour then turn the mold over and press the stone out of the mold.

Once the stone is out of the mold, you have to peel off the contact paper and clean up the stone. There is always a little excess cement that spills out onto the glass and needs to be scraped off. And sometime you end up with little spots between the glass that have to be filled in with a little extra concrete mix.

This first brick is in a fish scale pattern. The glass used was some my mom had left over from a frame she made for one of my wedding invitations. I love the look of the spots in the pattern of the glass. I will place this one on my porch steps that lead to the front door.

This brick has a daisy pattern and it will end up on our back porch steps that lead out into the backyard.

The bricks are about 8x4 inches. All the stones are supposed to cure 28 days before being placed outside and then it is recommend that you seal the cement with sealer to help prevent cracks and crumbling.

I think the idea is that you bring these inside during the winter to avoid the extreme cold and freezing temperatures. But we'll see how that goes. I'm not sure where to store them over the winter. I guess I'll have to find a spot for them in the garage.

I plan on placing the larger round stones in the flower beds around the yard. That way when the deer eat all my flowers again, I will still have something colorful.

This is the first of three 14 inch stones that I made and features a dragonfly and a big orange flower. There is a lot of iridized glass including the blue background. You can see a little of that color in the bottom part of the stone. It is kind of hard to get a photo to show it all, but you can get an idea. I'm sure it will really sparkle in the sun.

I also made a crescent moon out of white iridized glass and a deep blue background. There is a star in the same white glass too. And the moon has bright red lips.

And where there is a moon, you need a sun. It is hard to see in the picture, but the yellow glass is iridized. I bought the sheet of yellow glass to use in my kiln, but the high heat took away all the color the iridized coating creates. So it was nice to be able to use the glass in something that would keep the coating intact.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fiber Friday and Norovember

I joined the Norovember knit along after reading about it on Zonda's blog. I have so much Kureyon stashed away for felting projects and I've been looking to start one - this seemed like a good opportunity. So today, as part of Norovember and Fiber Friday, I'm offering up some shots of the Kureyon that I have stashed away. The photo above is of color #126. I have 6 skeins of this stashed away.

Up next is Kureyon color # 147. I have 13 skeins of this stashed away. I bought it to make a large felted tote bag.

This is color # 164 and I have four skeins stashed away, but no idea what I'm going to do with it.

This is Kureyon color #88 and I have nine skeins. I originally bought it to make a felted bag - but I've been thinking I can only carry so many bags. So maybe it is going to become a felted table runner. I bought all the Kureyon on sale last year after a couple of successful felting projects and I went a little nuts. The store had a good sale and walked out with a large shopping bag.

I'm hoping to start a Noro project this weekend. I also have several odd balls of Kureyon sitting around, so I'm thinking I might start a Lizard Ridge Afghan too. I love the colors of Kureyon and the way it stripes, but it is a little scratchy next to the skin - so I'm not sure how I'd like a whole afghan out of it. But If I made one and didn't like it I could always felt it into a throw rug.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A New DIY Project

My husband and I have done several projects around the house. We did all the interior painting in our house. I posted about the bathroom that I painted rectangles all over the walls. When we built the house my husband and I ran all the structured wiring for the entire house. That includes phone, video, network, security, really everything except the electrical. That was an involved project! A couple of years ago we installed a sprinkler system in the yard. Now we've decided to tile the backsplash in our kitchen.

Here are a couple before pictures of the area we are going to tile. There are two areas that we are going to attempt to tile and this is the largest. The metal piece against the wall on top of the cooktop comes off and will be replaced with a flush fitting piece. My pottery will have to find a new home too. There is a bowl and two plates hanging above the cooktop. I hung that just to add a little interest until we did the tile project. We've been planning on doing the tile since we moved in three years ago but are just getting around to it now.

This is the second area. The only problem here will be the two light switches, the phone jack, and the network jack. But otherwise it should be straight forward. I saw that, but we haven't ever done any tiling projects before. We have read several books and checked out things online and are pretty sure that we can handle it. I do have a wet saw from my glass work - so we shouldn't have any problem cutting tile after we purchase a fresh blade. We are planning on starting the tile work over the Thanksgiving weekend. We each have a couple days off so it seems like a good time to start. My husband thinks we can finish completely over that time. I'm guessing that it will take a little longer than that. Most of our projects do!

It did take us a while to decide on tile. We visited several tile show rooms and the choices are staggering. Not only are the choices staggering, but the prices can be too. It was kind of overwhelming walking in and trying to decide on something. It was a little like walking into a yarn shop for the first time.

But here is the tile we decide to get. The main tile will be a 4 inch square yellow tumbled travertine. It is a natural stone so there will be a lot of variation among the tiles. We picked out two molding pieces. The larger one is for a framed out area above the cooktop. The thinner molding piece will be used to edge out the tile on the larger area where the tile meets wall.

We also picked out a glass accent piece that will primarily be used in the framed area above the cooktop, but will also be scattered in the other areas of the backsplash. We are ordering the tile today and it should be here in a week to ten days.

I know this isn't a knitting project, but it is something that will definitely take away some knitting time, so I decided to include the process on the blog. Hopefully you'll find it interesting too.