Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Halloween!

So this is the kind of fun a knitter (and spinner) gets up to! Spooky. Now, back to your regularly scheduled evening of knitting socks. Remember, candy coated chocolate doesn't get on your knitting!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Saturday songs - -

Today's Saturday Seven was easy - I heard a discussion on the radio about the amount of junk people have in their cupboards and drawers and felt inspired to clean. Wednesday, I went through my hall closet, the "party drawer" in my dining room sideboard and my kitchen drawers. I didn't find any money but I did get rid of a lot of junk and pared out some things to give away. The red coat is a favorite but about 10 years old and - to be frank - has a dry-cleaning kind of smell. My mother bought me the blue coat when I graduated from college - that's 20 years ago! It's still quite nice but I am never going to be a size 8 again. The plastic bag is full of holiday candle holders. The pink lightshade came off a lamp from Andy's mother. I haven't used the yoga blocks and belts in my practice for over a year. The party lights and the picture frame - I'm not even sure where they came from. . But everything is quite usable and ready for someone else. Off to St. John's Huge Sale.

I spent a great deal of today traveling to hear my Middle Daughter sing in the ACDA of MN (American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota) 17th annual combined Men's Choir and Women's Choir Festival. She spent all day rehearsing and listening to great choirs and then performing. I got to hear her sing in the Abbey Church of Saint John's University and it was lovely. Great acoustics and plenty of light to knit by! I've turned the heel and started the foot of Andy's second sock. Hopefully, I'll get most of the way to the toe this evening.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Calling all multi-colored ninjas! (Or, dyeing to get to Halloween!)

And just for your viewing pleasure - a little pre-Halloween fun with Youngest Child. He's wearing a fiber batt I put together for my Halloween Fiber Exchange and a "Ninja Hat" that he made today. Now, how can he wear that AND carry his candy bag?

Actually, we spent the day around Ye Olde Dyepot . . .

I decided to take a page from Cast On's Brenda Dayne and try my hand at natural dyeing with avocado pits and skins. Also, I've been buying a lot of avocados lately and it seemed a waste not to give them a whirl. So whirl I did with my little Oscar - first the pits and then the skins.

Each batch went into a separate canning jar, then I covered the material with water and simmered them on the stove. After a very stinky day - the stuff smelled like bad meat! - I strained out the dye materials and then put a small amount of wool in each to dye. Just like Brenda said, the pits had a very nice dye liquor. In fact, the materials seemed perfect. The chopped pits changed from a white, slivered-almond appearance into chopped carrots right before

my eyes. The skins looked like green soup.

Despite my best efforts and a long time in the dye pot, you can see the results were not inspiring. In fact, it looked suspiciously - poopy. Yup, I think I can post that word here. So, I dyed the whole thing purple with Grape Jello and right now, plan to use it with my final Halloween Fiber Exchange yarn. Purple covers a multitude of sins!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pumpkin Moonshine - just in time for Halloween!

I finally got around to spinning my fibers from the Halloween Themed Fiber Swap I participated in. I laid out all the colors and decided to break them into two colorways. The first utilized orange roving, lime green lamb locks and copper metallic (sent by Velma) as well as a brown wool/alpaca roving I had on hand and some indigo/overdyed green roving. I further subdivided the material into two groups - one utilized the lamb locks and the second the copper metallic - for two different bobbins worth.

Because I simply picked bits and pieces of rovings and and hand fed them into the spinning wheel orifice, my first bobbin was very bumpy and organic looking. I brought out my carding machine and carded the second metallic grouping all together into roving. Thus, the second bobbin was very sleek and shiny - very easy to spin. I plied the two bobbins, steamed the yarn to set the twist and, voila, my own Pumpkin Moonshine! Named after the classic children's book by Tasha Tudor, this skein has shine for moonlight, brown for the stems, light green slubs of lamb locks for leaves, bright orange roving for the pumpkins and the green roving for the vines. I couldn't really come up with a "bug" themed name for this skein (I did consider box elder bugs but the colors weren't quite right!) but the remaining fiber/skein should be very spooky.

This second half of the fiber contains more orange, purple and green as well as some mixed blue-black of my own. I think I'll call it "Monster Mash." I'll post pictures of it when I am finished.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Nice try, dear!

For this Saturday Seven, I moved into the basement and garage attic storage areas. Once again, I had the obligatory two bags of something - this week, it was books - a stock pot I was saving some reason, an extra dog tie-out leash, a large plastic pitcher I bought originally for camping and - a full container of plaster of paris. The last item is a lovely large plastic dough container. A neighbor who knew I like to make bread bought me this but it was too large for my storage cupboards. I ended up keeping it in the basement and "out of sight" did equal "out of mind." I rarely used it. I have no idea why I had a full container of Plaster of Paris! I was astonished to see how much stuff in out in the garage! I think Andy might just be taking things he told me he threw away and putting them out in the garage. I'll just have to keep a better eye on him.

Today was a school release day in Minnesota so I had time to run the whole load over to Saint John the Evangelist. They had their "Huge Sale" on October 14th and now they are collecting again for their spring sale. They are a really dedicated group.

Knitting wise, I am working on the second sock of Soctoberfest. I also spent part of yesterday dyeing roving and yarn with my leftover indigo "liquor." It was so-so. I ended up overdyeing the whole bunch with a light turquoise. That actually looks really nice. The indigo makes a darker undertone. If I was naming this color, I'd call it "Ocean." Once I've spun the fleece, I might make a scarf from "Scarf Style." Once it's dried and spun, I'll post a picture.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Several days later, she was found in a puddle of wool.

No, you didn't miss a post. I just haven't had the time or energy to write anything about knitting. To start the festivities, I was out of town this past weekend at my 20th year college reunion. I had a much better time than I expected - some classmates were just as kind and funny as I remembered (send me that photo, Wendy!), some were just as stuffy as I remembered and some I just didn't remember. Ah well.

I did get a chance to stop by a local yarn store, the Otter Creek Store in Mercer, Pa. I picked up some natural roving and some skeins of a wool/alpaca blend, Berroco Ultra Alpaca, to dye with the indigo "liquor" I mixed up last week. I planned on doing that today but the cold I developed this weekend is slowing me way down. I keep droping stitches and unravelling my ball of yarn. I have been working on Andy's socks for Soctoberfest - the first one finished and the second on the ribbing.

Lovely Youngest Daughter and her Gnome Lounging Pajamas served as sock model. She couldn't actually wear the sock - Andy has abnormally large feet! I had to buy some black yarn for the sock toes because this pair is using one skein per foot.

I did have a chance to collect the Saturday Seven - an old scale, some tablecloths, a small tape player, two bags of teen clothing, a bag of little girls' dress up clothes and some adult clothing. I've been starting to enjoy the feeling of space when I open my hall closet! I'm going to start looking into my downstairs closets next. If I could only get Andy to let me work on the garage attic. . .

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Welcome winter! (Just don't tell Annie Modesitt . . .)

This is a weblog about knitting, not the weather, but I just had to point this out. The weather this week in Minnesota veered from lovely warm autumn on Saturday to windy winter today. Last week? My roses were blooming again and the geraniums are full of flowers. This week? I am harvesting all my indigo and getting out the snow shovel.

Right now, it's 28 degrees F. outside. I was just running around pulling down storm windows and making sure all the radiators are warm. This is crazy! I thought I had until November at least to buy a new winter coat!

What's on my needles is helping to make my world a warmer place. I finally pulled out Puggy's lovely Shruggy and buckled down to finish it. I've had a row gauge problem so I had to adjust my increases and decreases to occur more quickly. I am going to try and chart out what I did and send the results off to Puggy. My alpaca blend is very stretchy and warm but also slippery. I plan to take it to my 20th college reunion Saturday. Just a parade and daytime activities - nothing fancy - but it will be chilly!

For Socktoberfest, I am on the foot of Andy's first sock and hope to get to the toe tonight. I organized my needles today and found a neglected felted pumpkin project to get worked on this week. I also have to work some rows on the Brown Aran sweater and that baby sweater. I really should work on some Christmas projects this month as well.

The best thing about this week (besides those Margaritas, Marti!) is that my Halloween themed Fiber Swap package arrived. I sent mine out a while ago and was very impatient. I'm a Bad Waiter. My box came from Velma from California and had every thing from chocolate to green dyed lamb locks and bright orange roving. I'm trying to decide which way to go with the fleece. Perhaps these Halloween M&Ms she sent me will help me decide . . .

Oh and knitting designer and teacher Annie Modesitt - please continue thinking of moving to Minnesota - despite the snow. It's simply a freak accident. Never happened before! Really.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Marti - today is your day to shine!

As I have mentioned before, I was out of town this weekend gallivanting off to Wisconsin with the Monday Night Book Club at its Annual Fall Retreat. Due to an unnatural amount of illness, family stress and dog maintenance (funny, all of those things make me want to leave town!) - we were down to three out of the possible nine. All that meant is that Miss Marti (and Miss Heidi) - TODAY IS YOUR DAY!

Here's picture of lovely Marti across the street from Northwind Book and Fiber and Book in metropolitan Spooner, Wisconsin. Saturday was a lovely day to shop but we really only had time for Yarn/Books and lunch. Inside, the book selection was really nice for such a small shop. I picked up two of the next book club selections ("Tilt" by Elizabeth Burns and "Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen" by Julie Powell) as well the fabulous "A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns" by Barbara Walker. I've been checking this out regularly from the public library and it is excellent! It makes me want to knit every pattern stitch - I'm not so keen on the two-color patterns, however. Those are definitely dated.

See the charming Miss Heidi confer with Miss Marti over the floral paintings on display. Heidi is a great watercolorist - but I don't think she knits. Heidi? Any comments on this? Marti, author and engineer, also does not knit. We shall not speak of this.

In the fiber section, I went a bit overboard and bought four skeins of Artful Yarns' "Heavenly" yarn - two skeins each of
"Clouds" and "Trumpets." I am planning to make "Mrs. Beeton" wrist warmers from Brenda Dayne's pattern in Knitty as Christmas gifts. This yarn will be perfect.

After an uneventful relaxing weekend - we napped, watched movies, enjoyed the scenery, drank margaritas and attempted to use the hot -no, wait - "warm" tub, we drove home on Sunday just in time to fit in a short trip to the outlet malls.

My photography skills leave much to be desired. I'm the one in the corner, lurking and holding the camera.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Busy days at Chez Lazy - an oxymoron? I think not!

Well, I was so busy relaxing at the Monday Night Book Club Fall Retreat that I wasn't able to post the Saturday Seven this week. Actually, it was a pretty easy group to get rid of. First, I "offered" a child's potty chair and a large clear plastic tote on Twin Cities Freecycle board. They were quickly snapped up. Who knew that so many people needed a good storage tote? Both were in great condition but just not needed here so off they went. They left so quickly that I didn't have time to take my own photos but these show the exact objects. I am glad they found good homes.

The other items are a little more "knitting" related - I send a box of fiber goodies out to Joanna in New Jersey as part of the Halloween-themed fiber swap organized YarnPunk at Spinning on the Edge. Some of the box items I purchased so they don't count towards the Saturday Seven but the knitting pattern, the shetland fleece, the angora locks, the llama fiber and the notebooks I already had on hand. I thought the colors all reminded me of shadows so I sent a scary paperback, dark chocolate and beads so Joanna, my fiber swap partner at Knittygirl2006, could knit herself a cobwebby shawl. I can't wait to find out what I got my own fiber partner! I'll have to post pictures tomorrow of the MNBC Fall Retreat. We were down to just three out of the original nine members but that means, we all got our own beds! Lovely, relaxing, entertaining - and a lot of knitting time for me! Thanks, Marti!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Inching my way through Soctoberfest

I cast on Dear Husband's ribbed crew socks with size 3 double point needles and Regia sock yarn on Monday night but didn't get anywhere until Tuesday. Then I got the 3 and 1/2 inches of ribbing - the amount called for before changing to one size smaller

needles. So, now I'm on size 2 needles and I'm up to 7 inches. At 8 and 1/2 inches, I'm going to start the heel.

I've been using a ribbed sock pattern from The knitter's handy book of patterns by Ann Budd for this sock but I think I'm going to use a German Heel from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting without Tears. The color way is okay - black, red, grey and burgandy - but HE picked it out a couple of summers ago. So it goes. I am still planning a pair of Retro Cable socks for myself - perhaps out of two stray skeins of Koigu that I have. I am also tempted by all the fabulous sock yarn discussed in Lime and Violet. Hmm. What to do, what to do.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Cool, man, cool - just "Knit Out" and "Knit on"!

Although I'll be out town with my Monday Night Book Club ("Books so good, we're takin' them on the road!" is our motto), my local knitting guild, the Minnesota Knitters Guild will be hosting the 3rd annual Twin Cities Knit-Out from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 8th at Brookdale Center.

It may seem nerdy to embrace a "celebration of knitting" but for a knitter, it's Fiber Nirvana. What's not to like about knitting lessons, a fastest knitter contest, hourly fashion shows, knitting experts, charity knitting opportunities and displays of the latest yarns, patterns and tools?

Instead of chanting "Purl, purl, purl" with the devotees of Elizabeth Zimmerman, I'll be with my book group, road-tripping to Wisconsin. Hopefully, we will stop at Northwind Book and Fiber in Spooner, Wisconsin, for a double dip of what's fun - yarn and books. Their mystery selection looked really interesting.

Don't worry, Heidi and Marti, I'll try to keep my chanting to a low hum. And I'll use the words of Saint Elizabeth herself, "Knit on, knit on, knit on . . ."

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Check it out - me! If I were Japanese manga character! Oh, how cute!