Friday, March 30, 2007

Eye Candy Friday: in the spirit of equal time... is a picture of Tica:

Tica, hiding
I realized that I had posted Sombra's picture more often than Tica. I don't want Tica to feel left out!

Other than that, I have nothing...only a little spinning and knitting is happening right now. I'm just to wiped out when I get home.

This weekend we have a company party on Saturday nigh. It's pot luck, so I'll spend my morning cooking my contribution (my version of Buffalo Chicken Wings and something else TBD). Between that and my normal weekend errands (gotta get those groceries!) my weekend is pretty much taken up.

I'll try to post a month-end recap before Monday. We'll see how that goes!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

a quick pic or two...

...then it's back to work for me!

I spent a little time on the Here There Be Dragons (HTBD) socks last night. Since I'm still knitting on the first pattern repeat, it's hard to see where it's going right now. This picture shows a hint of the pattern (this is the garter stitch cuff and 6 rows of the first 8-row pattern):

Here There Be Dragons Socks
I originally cast on for the two socks, but after two rows of the pattern, I decided to work on one sock for now. Once I get through two repeats of the pattern, I'll revisit the two-socks-at-once thing.

I meant to share this picture yesterday. This is Sombra being disgruntled because she can't get into my lap. I was doing the Twisted German cast on (a new method for me) for the HTBD socks.

Why can't I get in your lap?
She kept inching her way up into my lap and I kept pushing her away. She was not very happy with me. And then, of all things, I took her picture! Bright light!! She gave up after that!

Monday, March 26, 2007

a little spinning, a little knitting...

This is a quick post and no pictures because work beckons...

It was a relaxing weekend (read: I was lazy and didn't do anything!).

I played with my fiber samples, trying to spin a ply as fine as I could without the fiber breaking somewhere. I can do it, I'm just not very consistent.

I cast-on a pair of socks in the BMFA Rockin' Sock club's
Monsoon yarn. (I was going to start the Marina Piccola socks from Scout's Indie Swag, but I think there's something missing in the pattern, so I'm going to wait until I get a correction.) After reading through the Inside Out pattern and reading the KAL comments about the various adjustments people made, I decided not to use this pattern for this pair of socks. I love the idea of reversible socks, but I'm just not ready for them. Instead I'm using Keyboard Biologist's Here There Be Dragons pattern. It's perfect for the mossy greens and grays in the yarn and it's a pattern that I can track easily.

I also worked on a birthday present for a friend. Hopefully, my cyber-order will come in this week so I can actually finish it!

I'll post pictures of the socks when they are further along.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Scout's Indie Swag and Eye Candy Friday...

Got my last installment of Scout's Indie Swag yesterday—very cool colors in the yarn and a great sock pattern by Kate Gilbert!

Scout's Indie Swag
It's called Marina Piccola after a place in Capri, Italy. Here's a close of of the yarn...yummy!

Marino Piccola Close-up
I plied my yarn last night and can see some improvement, but I still have a ways to go. Here's a picture of it before it's bath:

Purple Homespun Yarn
The modified Lazy Kate worked OK. I need to make some adjustments, but I need to play with it a bit more to figure out what's going to work.

This weekend I'm going to cast on a pair of socks. I have the Monsoon Rockin' Sock Club yarn ready to start, but I haven't decided whether I'm using the club pattern (which has cables). I feel like I need a simpler pattern after the fiasco with Hydrangea, but I do like the idea of reversible socks. We'll see!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

another finished Calorimetry...

I just finished binding off the second Calorimetry. I still need to sew a buton on it, but I don't have any with me at work. I'm not going to take a picture of it because it pretty much looks like the other one:

The Specs:
Finished: 3/22/2007
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft Shadows yarn in Opal Twist (black,
black, brown, and white); worsted weight
Needles: Size 8 US
Calorimetry; cast on 100
Variations: Cast on 20 stitches fewer than the pattern called specified to adjust the gauge

Last night, I finished spinning the roving that I had prepped over the weekend. I'll ply this on my modified Lazy Kate when I get a chance.

The next knitting project will be a new pair of socks. I'm putting the Hydrangea socks inthe UFO pile for now—I'm not ready to face unraveling and reknitting the bad sock.

Monday, March 19, 2007

spinning out on me...

We saw the Daughter off on Saturday. She's gone back to Baltimore for the rest of the school year. Then, she'll be home for the Summer.

Not a lot of knitting happened this weekend, although I did pass the halfway mark on the second Calorimetry. I also sewed some panels of fabric for work—we are recovering a partition and couldn't find fabric that we liked that was wide enough. I also wound my Monsoon yarn into two balls in preparation for knitting the socks from the Rockin' Sock Club and wound the Rio yarn for the Fauxbios Shawl.

Mostly, I played with my spinning, in one way or another. Several months ago I had purchased a wool roving from a closeout bin in a local yarn store. It was inexpensive and I figured it would be good to use for practice. I've gotten tired of spinning the sample-size rovings and wanted to try something larger. I pulled out my bargain and started spinning it.

My goal was to spin this thinner than my previous attempts. So far I've achieved a 2-ply bulky (5) weight yarn, something bordering on Medium (4), and I'd like to work my way to Light (3) weight, or finer. Over the course of the weekend, I spun half of the roving, and prepped the other half for spinning. Here are the results of my weekend:

Spin, span, spun
(Yes, that's a plastic straw. it was the perfect size to slip my spun fiber off the spindle without having to unwind it.)

In between, I researched various homemade "Lazy Kate"s on the web. I came across this entry that showed a Lazy Kate using a plastic basket. I already had the basket, the needles, and the point protectors. I rigged it up and plied the two singles that I had spun earlier in the week.

Spinning samples
Now, I don't have bobbins, just spun fiber on plastic straws, and it was not a great deal of yarn to ply. However, I could see why you want to tension stuff after plying the yarns. So, I went off to Michael's with my 40% off coupon in hand. A visit to the wood aisle got me four toy wheels and four candle cups; a visit to the knitting aisle got me two 14-inch size 3 needles that would fit though the holes of the toy wheels and the candle cups plus a set of larger point protectors.

Back home, I glued the wheels to the candle cups; cut off the tips of two point protectors; and found some elastic in my stash. Here is my assembled Lazy Kate:

My Lazy Kate
When I finish spinning the second half of the roving, I'll try it out!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Not-so-eye candy Friday...

...this is pretty much how I feel:

Sombra thinks about work
(That's Sombra being the soul of empathy.)

I'm glad it's Friday, because work is kicking my a$$ right now! Too many projects, all due around the same time. I seriously need a shoulder massage after all this mousing!

I'm making progress on the second
Calorimetry. I'm using the same yarn because I had extra. Since it's variegated, it will look slightly different than the other one.

I also finished spinning the two yarns that I had on the spindles. I need to make the shoe box Lazy Kate I saw on some one's blog so I can ply them.

The Daughter goes back to Baltimore tomorrow. Boy, that week went by fast! But it looks like she'll be here for most of the summer, so we have that to look forward to.

I'm hoping for a restful weekend; wishing you the same!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

S.O.L. (Sock Outta Luck)...

...socks are just not working right now.

I picked up the long neglected Central Air socks from the Rockin' Sock Club last year. Wouldn't you know, I had a problem with them, too. At least this time the problem was that the counter I had in the bag had gotten separated from the knitting and I had no idea where I was in the pattern. I spent a little time trying to figure it out, but that meant tinking back a bit...since I only had about 5 rows done, I just decided it would be safer to start again. I unraveled them, rewound the balls and put them aside.

I looked at the Hydrangea socks, and said "not now."

While I'm waiting for my knitting batteries to recharge, I did a little spinning. Now, this is more like it! I'm producing stuff that actually looks like yarn—not great yarn, but it's getting better. I'm using the Corriedale Fiber Paint Box I bought from Carolina Homespun a year ago. There are 24 different colors of fiber (8 ounces total), so if I mess one up, I can start on another.

Here's what I've spun in the last 3 days:

Spinning, March 2007
Here's a close-up of the brown yarn. It's a combination of a light brown and dark brown fiber. I alternated the two colors so I could practice changing fibers.

My brown yarn
Here's a closeup of the purple yarn. I need to work more on consistency, both in spin and in the thickness of the ply.

My purple yarn
The stuff on the spindles is more evenly spun than the two yarns, so I'm improving! I really enjoy the process of's soothing. I am so glad I took that class from Merike!

I'll get back to socks soon. But before then, I think I'll knit another
Calorimetry for the Daughter's roommate. It's a fast knit and I enjoyed doing it. Maybe that will recharge my knitting batteries!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Hydrangea socks are not blooming well...

...I'm just not feeling the love.

I started working on these socks weeks ago. I put them down many times in the interim, mostly because of other projects. This weekend, I was hoping to make a good deal of progress so I could cast on for my new Rockin' Sock Club socks. Well, that didn't happen.

If you recall, I had picked up the gussets for both socks and was starting the decreases. About 4 rows into that, I discovered a major problem with the pattern row for one of the socks. It was so bad that I had to unravel back to 4 rows before the heel flap. ACK!

[Deep, cleansing breath]

I got the pattern back on track, reknit the heel flap, turned the heel, picked up the gusset and got back to the same point as the other sock. OK, whew! Knit a couple of rows on each sock and resigned myself to the fact that they weren't going to get done as soon as I wanted them to.

[Wait for the other shoe to drop]

This morning as I got them ready for a picture, I noticed that the other sock has a problem in one of the pattern rows before the heel flap! WTF?! And, it's not the same problem!! ARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGG!

I need more than a deep, cleansing breath. I need full-on knitting meditation.

I don't know why I'm having so many problems with this pattern. I love the yarn; I love the way the sock looks when it's done. I don't think it's the pattern, because I have one sock that is fine (at least, it is now). Maybe it's because the pattern spirals around the leg—I've had problems with that kind of pattern before. My brain doesn't seem to handle spiral-ness well. [sigh]

So, instead of a picture of two partial socks, you get a picture of one partial sock. (At least it's an arty shot! LOL!)

The other will soon become mostly spaghetti. And I am seriously rethinking about casting on for the new socks. I think I need something a little simpler, and definitely not spiraled!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Another Eye Candy Friday...

...this week went by fast! The Daughter arrives today on her school break and we're looking forward to spending time with her.

This week's subtitle should be: Fun with Fireworks. As I was prepping these pictured for posting I did something (I have no idea what) and ended up with two different sizes of the same picture in one file. It looked so cool, I lightened the big one and made it a frame of sorts.

Here are hyacinth and apricot blossoms, Fireworks-style!

Apricot Blossoms
And, just because it's gorgeous, a close-up of the Monsoon yarn from the Rockin' Sock Club.

Blue Moon Monsoon yarn
I have now idea how much knitting I'll get to do this weekend. I'm hoping to get the Hydrangea socks done soon—so much sock yarn; so little time! I have turned the heels, picked up the gussets, and am starting the decreases down to the foot. I'm getting closer to the end!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Monday is mail day!

My Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club installment arrived today! We got a new binder, bumper stitcker, button, pattern, and emergency sock yarn, as well as yarn. I love the Monsoon colorway and the pattern looks interesting. I'm looking forward to working on these.

BMFA Sock Club: March
Also in the mail was my order from ABC Stitch Therapy. While I'm not doing a lot of cross stitch at the moment, my favorite ones to stitch are Just Nan and mermaids—both of which are in this order. These are all new releases from the Nashville market.

Stash: March
This weekend, I finished Calorimetry as planned. Unfortunately, neither of my favorite models (Teddy at home and Borg the Moose in the office) could wear this item properly. So the following pictures are the best I can do without a human model! One picture shows it buttoned; the other shows it completely open.

Opened up, it looks a little alien. LOL!

Calorimetry, open
The Specs:
Finished: 3/3/2007
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft Shadows yarn in Opal Twist (black,
black, brown, and white); worsted weight
Needles: Size 8 US
Calorimetry; cast on 100
Variations: Cast on 20 stitches fewer than the pattern called specified to adjust the gauge

After I finished that on Saturday, I picked up the long-ignored Hydrangea socks. (No picture) I've finished the cuffs and am half-way through the heel flaps. I want to finish these socks before I cast on another pair. We'll see how long that resolution lasts!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Looking for SolarCross? It's been renamed!

Welcome to Livin' La Needle Loca
Just me and my crazy needles working on being crafty!

For the last few months, I've been thinking about renaming the blog. When I started SolarCross, I was just getting into knitting seriously—cross stitch was my main focus. So I named my blog with that in mind.

Cross stitch is no longer my primary craft. I knit; I quilt; I sew; I do needlepoint; I cross stitch. These are all things with needles and some sort of fiber, whether it's yarn, thread, or floss. They are all very satisfying and creative endeavors. And they can also be crazy-making when things aren't working right!

I started thinking of different names that use fiber or needles. Most of the great ones were already taken. I also wanted to incorporate our family's love for puns in there somewhere. The new name is perfect and really expresses more about who I am.

So here I am in my new home.
I've moved all of the SolarCross postings here. Look in the archive list if there's something you wanted to see again.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Petals Collection: Received!

OK, so the Post Office took pity on me and delivered my Petals Collection installment. I have to admit I already looked on someone else's blog, so I knew what it was going to be.

Introducing Bird of Paradise:

Petals Collection: Feb 2007
Ready for it's close-up (Mr. DeMille. LOL!)

Bird of Paradise Close-upAs with all of Sundara's packages, it's beautifully put together and I can't wait to do the sock pattern. It's unfortunate that it uses two of my least favorite colors: orange and yellow. But, we'll see if the combination grows on me.

I'll stop whining now...

Eye Candy Friday...March style

The signs of Spring are popping up all over. Our apricot tree is starting to blossom and our bulbs and seeds have green shoots poking up through the ground. Our flowering plum is in full bloom and is just beautiful:

Plum Blossoms
I'm anxiously awaiting both the Sundara Petals Collection and BMFA Rockin' Sock Club installments; both have been shipped, but haven't arrived yet! Others have already received theirs...

I passed the halfway point on Calorimetry last night, but was just too tired to keep going. My yoga class kicked my @$$ and I ended up falling asleep on the couch. I plan on finishing Calorimetry this weekend and then swapping back to socks for a while. The leg warmers might get started this month, but the Daughter says that these are not as crucial now because the weather is warming up. So, I think I'll work on something for me now!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

February 2007 Recap

February in a nutshell: started some things; finished some things; shopped for stash...what more could you ask for?

Worked on:
  • C is for Kitty Cat (cross stitch)
  • Just Nan 2002 Christmas ornament (cross stitch)
  • Seahorses pillow (needlepoint)
  • Practicing my spinning
Started, but didn't finish:
In progress, but didn't work on:
  • Flip-top mittens (knitting)
  • Hydrangea socks (knitting)
  • Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  • Queen Mermaid (cross stitch)
  • Sangria shawl (knitting)
  • Twinkletoes slippers (knitting)
It's interesting that I actually finished three projects I started this month. That's a change for me; usually I start stuff and finish it weeks (or months) later!

I'm also working on a rename for my blog. I've picked the name and created it on Blogger. I'm trying to find a page layout and some images that I like. Eventually I'll move this blog over to the new name...stay tuned!

Not-quite Eye Candy Friday...

...we've experienced a week of poor air quality due to the fires north of us. So many people (and animals) have lost their homes, some...