Friday, March 21, 2014

Catching Up - The Fiber-y Stuff

I'm not sure where to begin, actually.  My hands have not been idle during my absence from the blogging world.  I have fit stitches in while cooking, waiting in line, while my eyes are falling shut late at night, in the car, at work sometimes (during breaks and/or slow periods)...  During my absence I have also entered into the world of geeky cross stitch (which I love by the way!) and finished a small piece and am currently working on a Microbe Masterpiece - no pictures of that one yet but it will be epic!!!!!  Then I have a queue of Dr. Who, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, LOTR... 

I suppose I should start with what I was doing after the Holidays.  January and February were spent in a dye flurry as I was dyeing for my Fantastical Creatures Club - Part 1 and dyeing up an inventory to take to a vendor gig that I participated in in February.  I showed the first pattern for the Fantastical Creatures Club already -(the Pizke Hat) - so here is the second pattern, also known as the Nuggle Scarf.  This colorway/pattern was inspired by the mysterious Kelpie. 




Once upon a time, I accidently ordered a bunch of non-Superwash worsted weight yarn instead of Superwash worsted weight yarn and it has been sitting in my laundry room ever since.  I would snag a skein here and there for various projects, but for the Sticks and String 2014 event in February (my dye gig) I decided to come up with a way to dye and use some of them.  How fun would be fun to dye up the skeins in a bunch of bright colors and split them into little mini skeins that could be knit and felted into bowls or whatever else people's hearts desired. 



I made up a prototype bowl using leftover remnants from the stash and then set about making one from the yarn I dyed.



It's fun, it's quick, and it used up some of the yarn.  I have taken pictures of the yarn that I still have to list on Etsy but in case anyone is interested in the wee skeins, the pictured bowl takes 5 skeins (or approximately 250 yds) of worsted weight yarn.

February also marked the 4 year anniversary of my foray into stranded knitting/colorwork.  I made my first colorwork project while watching the 2010 Winter Olympics and decided that to commemorate the occasion, the minions and I needed a new Winter Olympics Hat.  I bought a skein of red, blue, white, and gray and set to work.  The minions decided what they wanted their beanies to look like and I used the leftover yarn for my hat.

Little man's hat:


Little miss' hat:


And mine:


I didn't have enough red/white/blue for an entire hat for myself so I opted to use gray instead.  It works.

While dyeing for my vendor gig, it occurred to me that I did not have items to display for some of my yarn bases so I set out and knit a few quick beanies using a skein of my Au Naturel Heavy Worsted (dark hat on the left), and a ribbed beanie using my Donegal Tweed Aran in the Highlander colorway.




I also made a cowl for little man using Superwash Merino Worsted in the Midnight Rider colorway.  I used my Subtle Signs Cowl pattern.  I love that pattern and it seems I'm the only one - too bad.  It's squishy and warm and it uses a very lovely brioche pattern.



Oh, the cross stitch.  I have never really cross stitched before.  My Mom used to when I was younger and she'd let me play around with it now and again but since this was my first project, I wanted it to be smaller.  I found a pattern for a Dr. Who Scarf Ribbon and got started.


In my head, I have visions of little geeky cross stitch items framed and hung in random places around the house.  I'm still waiting to find out what I owe the framer so this is the unframed picture of it.  Given the sizeable eye roll that I received when I handed it to said-framer (with a smile of course because I knew the eye roll was coming) I'm sure it will be epic.  I see it with something rustic and simple, what do you think?

Speaking of Dr. Who - I got little man watching the episodes when we catch them on TV!  I will be making him a Dr. Who creature for Easter.  Little miss isn't quite as enthusiastic about my geekery so she will be getting these cheerful socks for Easter instead.


The third pattern for the Fantastical Creatures Part 1 Club was initially going to be a pair of socks using my Leprechaun colorway.  The leprechaun colorway is a variegated one so I knew there would be pooling, but I liked this pattern so I forged ahead knowing that I will be making a pair for myself using a solid color instead to showcase the cables.  Midway through the leg of the sock I decided to switch it to a mitt pattern instead.  I am working on finishing that pattern so I can gift it to the Club participants as well but here's a preview of it. 

 
I didn't make these next items but I thought I would put them on the blog just the same.  For Spring Break, the hubby and I took the minions up to Minnesota for a day trip.  We hit the mall and then Cabela's on the way home.  Did you know that they had an Alpaca Connection Store in the Mall?  I didn't.  Little miss had her eyes set on the pink scarf, I liked the colorwork on the blue one, and I grabbed a pair of mittens for good measure.  All were made in Peru, the mittens are rather thin and shoddy in places, but I will use them as a template for a sturdier pair using some alpaca I have in my stash.  You know, one of those days.  I should really look at my queue - it may be getting ridiculously out of hand!
  
 
It feels like I should have more but maybe it's the queue I'm thinking of.  Not a bad haul for not having any real dedicated knitting time.  More to come - lots of plans and microbes and a few design ideas are floating around in my head.  Now to figure out how to rearrange the schedule in order to make it all happen.  I have started working out and am doing the P90X3 workouts with the hubby.  During that time I also decided that it was high time I have up pop/caffeine so that's been interesting but okay.  I avoided the caffeine headache by limiting the amount over the course of a week and voila!  All done.  I don't drink coffee and only drank pop in the mornings for caffeine so why not get rid of both?  The hubby has lost weight and gained muscle; I feel better/stronger and have gained muscle which means that now I look even bigger which is awesome but I trust that if I keep with it good things will happen.  I will complete the program twice before my 35th birthday later this year.  Wish me luck :)
 
The hubby is still doing his independent pitching consultant thing, little man is getting ready to start his baseball season and little miss will be playing soccer this Spring.  I'm still trying to plug away with everything while trying to ignore all the things that are left undone at the end of the day.  Who needs rest right?  Little man participated in the Iowa Children's Choice Award Program this year and they had a district-wide competition in February (February was a busy month!) and they tied for second place - only 1 point away from 1st place!  Now that I finished little miss' Easter socks I can start replenishing my own sock supply - I found holes in 2 pairs of my socks in the past few weeks and another 3 or 4 pairs are starting to look a little worn :/  At least I know where I can get more ;) 
 
Oh hell, I almost forgot the scarf I made for little miss!  See, I knew I was forgetting something!  She picked out this lovely, ahem, sparkly acrylic yarn at the store and asked me to "make her something with it".  What in the world was I going to do with acrylic yarn (acrylic yarn isn't known for its warmth and she wanted a Winter accessory)?  Stripey scarf coming up!
 
 
It does sparkle in person and as for it being made from acrylic yarn, it is soft and keeps the wind away from her neck which is good.  Of course now I have no idea what to do with the leftovers that I have.  I was trying to just use it all but it was getting rather lengthy so I bound it off.  Maybe a Barbie blanket or something, we'll see.....  


Thursday, March 20, 2014

SPRING!!!!!!!

Okay, I lied.  I know I said in my last post that the fiber-y stuff would be next but I still have to take some photos of that and these photos were already loaded onto Flickr...  Not that that helps me, since I have to upload them from the computer, but whatever. 

Today is the first day of Spring :)  It is also still the minions' Spring Break so we headed to the Botanical Center today.  It has become something of a tradition.  One of the reasons we go every year is that they have special activities for the kids during this week.   Plus, we had not been since they remodeled/renovated.  The orchid wall is gone now, and some of it is still under construction.  It didn't seem like they had as many cacti out and I didn't see my fig tree either.  Of course that doesn't mean that they didn't stick them somewhere else...  We didn't see the turtles or many fish either.  They did have a lot of cool leaves going on though. 

In no particular order, some photos of our trip today into the humidified 80-some degree dome of bliss.










One of the special activities this year was natural weaving.  I cannot tell you how much I love this idea and am a little irritated that I didn't think of it myself...  They had a larger loom set up in the center itself but the kids could weave their own "wands" as well to take home.  We will be making these again!

 
A few closer views of the work in progress.
 

 
 
 
Little miss made this wand.
 


Little man made this one.




I just like palm shots in black and white.  Don't know why, but you can see the green versions on my Flickr page.





 
 
I don't know what type of plant/tree this is, but tell me this isn't the Ood of the natural world.
 










 
 
Happy Spring, Everyone!
 
Next time, the Fiber-y stuff.  Promise!!!

Catching Up - The Thaw and Charlotte

The beauty of the Seasonal Cycle is that nothing lasts forever; at some point, water freezes and ice melts.

These past few weeks things have been really odd weather-wise.  A few warmer days followed by snow and then repeat.  It makes for a messy time of it!




 
 

Proof of extraterrestrial Ice Creatures???




I love how the minions have distinct ways of doing things.  For example, the weather was warm enough one day that the minions could not wait another second to get on their bikes.  Now envision that they are on their bikes and facing a giant puddle.  What to do, what to do.  Little miss, not wanting to get funky water all over her attire/bike is more cautious...


Then there's little man.  The bigger the splash the better.  Then he wonders how his shirts and pants get so muddy....


Charlotte (aka Aragog) has been acting all sorts of weird lately.  Perhaps it's the thaw.  Normally, as per her species, she is rather laid back and doesn't do a whole lot.  She would hang for days at a time under her little hidey log and we'd feed her and she wouldn't touch them. 


In the past few months, however,  she is devouring crickets, is walking all over the place (including the sides of the tank which she has not done before), and spends days at a time standing up with her body raised off her substrate.  I can't figure it out.  Nothing has changed in her tank, her food source is the same.... 


I don't know.  We'll see how things go - little man is still keeping a daily diary of her actions (or non-actions) so we can use that as a reference.  Perhaps she's a little miffed that we are looking at adding another tarantula or two to the mix.  Either way, with her being so active lately, I'm adding a few extra rocks to the top of her lid!


 
I am still having to upload the pictures directly from my computer which is more of a nuisance than anything, so as per usual, there are more photos on my Flickr page.
 
 
Next up, the fiber arts.  But not right now - I still have a few photos to take (I'm still behind on just about everything, which is just awesome.)