Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Turtle Hat

This hat was given to me by TurtleGirl while we were at SAFF last weekend. The cool thing about it that she knit the hat with some of her hand spun yarn. It is a very cool memento from a great weekend from a great new friend.

This is the first hand knit item I've been gifted since I became a knitter a few years ago. It is pretty cool to be given something hand knit by someone else.

Now that I knit, I appreciate hand knitted items a lot more than I did when my mom would knit for me. It does make me sad that I didn't fully appreciate it then.

The photo on the left is of the stitch detail of the hat. I love the colors and the stitch patterns she picked out for the hat. Everything came together really well.

Heck, I even stole the photos TurtleGirl took for this post. All I did was crop and change the coloring a little bit in the top picture. So a big thank you to her!

I do know that when she handed me this hat I decided I'd at have to at least try my hand at spinning yarn. I'm going to have to sit down with my new spindle for a little while this weekend and see what I can come up with.

SAFF = Friends + Fiber

I had a great time at SAFF this past weekend. There was the expected fiber, yarn, and animals all weekend. But there were several unexpected things that cropped up during the weekend too.

You might not be able to tell from this picture, but I didn't come home with a lot of stuff. The picture shows everything that me AND my roommates, Zonda, TurtleGirl, and Katydid Knits bought. I only ended up with one skein of sock yarn, two skeins of Brooks Farm Mas Acero, and a skein of worsted weight from Miss Babs. The Brooks Farm yarn will end up being a shrug - I bough the pattern while at SAFF, the sock yarn will eventually become socks, and the skein of worsted from Miss Babs will become a hat someday.

You may have noticed a spindle in the picture of all goodies we bought. That is mine too. I've never had a desire to spin before, but seeing everyone spinning and being all around that unspun fiber was putting ideas into my head. Now I think that I might really like to spin - or at least try.

I decided to try the spindle out and see if the spinning bug really has a hold on me or if it is a false alarm. So during a lull in the crowd, I bought a spindle and got a quick lesson.

I want to make sure I don't end up with a wheel that only sits in the corner but actually gets used. I spent the rest of my time looking around for roving to try out. I did end up with a little bit of roving. Now only time will tell if I spin or sit on the fiber. I figure I can always try felting if the spinning doesn't work out.

The other nice thing about SAFF was all the nice people I ended up meeting. That was probably the best part of SAFF overall. I had a great time seeing friends I already knew and meeting a few new ones too. I wish I had time to meet everyone. But, there is always next year.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fiber Friday - Zitron Unikat

I'm not sure what this yarn will end up being. Right now it's sitting in a plastic bag in the crap room. (The crap room is what my husband calls it; I prefer craft room or work room.) I really want to knit something up with this yarn to see how it turns out. I love the rich almost velvety look and feel of the colors.

I've been trying to decide if I should go with a scarf and hat type combo outfit, maybe even for the afore mentioned husband. Or maybe he'd like a pair of those felted clogs to wear around the house this winter. The colors seem manly enough I suppose.

I've also though about knitting him some mittens. He 's the one that walks the dog the most. In the winter time, he bundles up like we live in Minnesota when he goes out with the dog - so maybe he'd like some mittens. When my mom visited recently she had a pair of thrummed mittens with her that she knit and he was impressed with those. I could try that with this yarn; I'd just need a little fiber.

I've got four skeins of this yarn; that ends up being about 700 yards of a heavy worsted weight yarn. So I've got enough for a nice sized project or a couple of small ones. I'm leaning to the scarf and hat combo mainly because I can use it if he decides not to wear it. But I suppose the first thing I need to do is ask him if he even likes the colors. Cause if he doesn't; I'll make something for myself.

Yarn Details
Brand: Zitron
Yarn Name: Unikat
Color: #6
Fiber Content: Merino Wool
Skein Weight: 100g
Yardage: 175 yds
Care: Hand Wash & Dry Flat
Notes: single ply, feltable (4 skeins)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Quilted Kiwi Socks

I love how these socks turned out. The yarn, Sock Candy by Blue Moon Fiber Arts, turned out to be great. It is a nice thick cotton that knit up into a nice comfy pair of socks. This is the first pair of cotton socks I've knit and I love them. The cotton didn't wear on my hands while knitting and didn't seem splity at all.

Last year I ordered three colors of sock candy when Blue Moon was still taking custom orders. I haven't been watching too closely, but I haven't seen any on the website lately. I hope they get some soon. I really like the high cotton content of this yarn. It doesn't feel scratchy or woolly at all. I am in love with these socks.

I picked this stitch pattern for a couple reasons - it seemed easy to remember. It is only a four stitch pattern over eight rows. The pattern created kind of an embossed diamond shape that reminds me of an old quilt.

That seemed to perfect to pair with the cotton yarn. The diamond shape may be a little hard to see in the photos. I think the variegated color of the yarn has obscured the diamond pattern, but it is there.

Project Info
Project: Quilted Kiwi Socks
Stitch Pattern: Embossed Stitch
More Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Church
Yarn: 2 skeins; Blue Moon Fiber Arts - Sock Candy; color: Kiwi
96% cotton / 4% elite; 200 yards/2 oz
Needles: addi TURBO (Lace Needles)- US# 1 (2.5 mm)
Finished Size: 8 women
Date Started: October 14, 2007
Date Finished: October 21, 2007
Notes: socks were knit toe up using a short row toe and short row heel; 1.2 ounces leftover

State Fair Time

My husband and I went to the State Fair on Friday afternoon; we played hookie from work. It was nice to get out and spend the afternoon together. We did end up eating a lot. We ate our share of typical fair food; we got eclairs, apple cider, roasted corn, maple flavored cotton candy, fried green beans, and caramel apples.

My favorite are the caramel apples. The ones I like are dipped in caramel, then white chocolate and covered in cinnamon sugar. My husbands favorite is the eclairs. They are about as big as a your head. We always end up bringing home the eclairs and caramel apples for later.

There is more to do at the fair than eat, but it seems like there are more food carts every year and less of everything else. The whole place seemed overrun with fried dough stands.

We did visit the animals, the garden and flower show, and other assorted exhibits. This horse was painted by some high school students. I liked the American Gothic guy holding the cotton candy. I also liked the used paint brushes they used for the horse's mane. There is also a roller coaster running through the starry night background.

This little goat was asleep on top of a huge huge mound of hay. It is always amazing to me to see the contorted positions that animals can twist into and still sleep. If I tried this, I'd wake up with a huge crick in my neck.

We also stopped to watch the pig races. They usually race the pis as seen in the picture and ducks too. The winners get cheese doodles. I guess that is what they use to train the little guys to run around the track. We only got a chance to see one race - the rest were all rained out. It started to pour down rain during the first race.

To get out of the rain we did stop by to see some of the crafts that were entered. We weren't able to linger too long because everyone else decide to get in out of the rain too. It did stop raining pretty quickly, but by that time we were done. We had our fill of the fair for the year and had to go home.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fiber Friday - Purplexed

I've always loved purple for some reason so when I say this on vacation I decided to go ahead and buy it. I've always wanted to try some bamboo yarn. It is so soft and it feels like it will have a great drape to it as well.

I got this at a shop called Needles and Knobs in St. Petersburg. The interesting part was they sold knitting supplied and knobs - cabinet hardware. They really had some interesting knobs too. She had some more unusual yarn too, like yak, but it cost more than I was willing to spend. The shop wasn't as busy as the Tampa shop, but the owner was friendly and I would definitely visit again.

This yarn isn't plied like a typical wool yarn. It appears to be woven in a chain or something. I've never really knit with anything like this before. I've got two skeins and I'm hoping to get a generous sized scarf out of it. It will probably take me longer to pick a pattern than actually knit the darn thing.

Yarn Details
Brand: Southwest Trading Company
Yarn Name: Bamboo
Color: #138 Purplexed
Fiber Content: 100% bamboo
Skein Weight: 10 grams
Yardage: 250 yards

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

One Skein

When I finished my last pair of socks, I just couldn't put the yarn down. I had 74 grams leftover. I guess I never realized just how generous the yardage is on one skein of Wollmeise. I was only about 10 grams short of knitting another complete full size pair of socks for me.

I decided to knit these cute little booties. They were really easy to complete. I knit them in one evening while watching TV. The next night I seamed them up, wove in all the ends, and sewed on the buttons. I didn't worry about gauge. I just picked up needles and the yarn and knit. They did come out pretty small, so I don't know if they would actually fit much more than a doll.

Project Info
Pattern: Saartje's bootees (Version: May 22, 2007; by: Saartje de Bruijn
Yarn: Wollmeise Sockenwolle; color: rhubarar
Needles: addi TURBO (Lace Needles)- US# 1
Finished Length: 2.5 inches
Finished Width: 1.5 inches
Finished Weight: 12 grams (bootees with buttons)
Date Started: October 13, 2007
Date Finished: October 14, 2007
Notes: used scraps leftover from sock knitting, buttons came from box of old buttons

I also knit a square for the sock yarn blanket I've got going. I'm just knitting a square when I finish a pair of socks and there is enough leftover yarn. These squares usually don't take much yarn, this one only weighs about 14 grams.

I've still got 46 grams left from this skein. I haven't decided what to use it for yet. Maybe a little hat to go with the bootees or a couple more blanket squares.

The rest will have to wait though, I've set it aside for the time being. I'm using some Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sock Candy to knit a pair of socks. I'm close to finishing the first sock and hoping to finish the pair before I head out for SAFF next week.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fiber Friday - Souvenirs

It all started with patches my mom would buy when we visited a new place. She'd take the patch and sew it on a hooded sweatshirt for me. I remember that thing covered with patches. I think that started me thinking that I had to have a little trinket from every place I visited.

I moved on from patches to t-shirts and fridge magnets and then on to Christmas tree ornaments. I think that the time we visited Disney World we ended up with one of everything. But now, I've finally settled on yarn as the souvenir I seek when we travel. In fact, the first thing I do when I know I'm headed out of town is to map out the local yarn shops and see if I'll be able to work one into my trip.

I have put a few self imposed limitation on these out of town buys though. I try and keep the purchase small. Sock yarn is usually what I end up getting. It only takes one skein for a nice little project and it seems like there is always room for one more skein in the stash.

This trip to Florida I got to visit two shops, Knit 'n Knibble in Tampa and Needles and Knobs in St. Petersburg. This yarn is from the Tampa shop. It was a very friendly shop that seemed to draw a good crowd. My husband napped on the sofa while I shopped. It certainly was a comfortable place. I'd definitely go back if we are in the area again and I don't think he'd mind too much either.

Yarn Details
Brand: Colinette
Yarn Name: Jitterbug
Color: #77 Dusk
Fiber Content: 100% easy care merino wool
Skein Weight: 110 grams
Yardage: 291 meters

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Five Days and Four Nights

We just got back from a short trip to Florida. It is the first time in 4 years my husband and I have been on any trip kind of resembling a vacation. This trip was for my brother-in-law's wedding. We had a good time and the wedding was nice, but I was glad to get home too.

The photos are some that I took one afternoon at the hotel. The hotel was more like a resort. It is on the ocean and had 3-4 pools. There were all types of beach activities and bars and restaurants on the property. We spent a lot more money on a hotel than we usually do. We usually pick a simple (cheap) hotel and spend out money on other parts of the vacation. This time we splurged on the room. It was nice - but I don't think I'd want to do it again.

One of my favorite things at the hotel was the pair of swans that strolled around. They seemed to camp outside near our room all the time and they left a trail of feathers where ever they went. We saw the swans, an egret, a few ducks, and some very large koi fish. The wildlife was probably my favorite part of this hotel.

I did actually get in visits to two local yarn shops during my time there. I did end up bringing home some souvenir sock yarn. I'll get some pictures together for this Friday. I haven't been knitting much. I've been carry around some sock yarn and needles for a couple weeks, but somehow I haven't even been able to get complete a simple cast on. I haven't blogged much either; I've had a writing block too. I'm hoping the cool weather we are expecting this weekend will spur on a desire to pull out some wool and knit.