Friday, May 30, 2008

Last Eye Candy Friday for May...

...boy, this month flew by! Before you know it, the Daughter will be home for the summer (YAY!) and it will be time for vacation.

Today's pictures are from the garden. Remember the apple blossoms? Well, some have turned into apples! Maybe we'll get one before the squirrels beat us to them!

Little green apple

The blueberry bush has a lot more berries on it this year, but they are smaller:

Blueberries 2008

Our fennel plant continues to go crazy:

Fennel Forest

and the cactus has decided to bloom (although, when these cacti bloom, they look a bit bizarre...):

Cactus Flowers, from above

On the craft front, I did start another baby sweater. I am revisiting the crossover top (Debbie Bliss) that I recently frogged. Although I'm using the same brand of yarn, I'm using different colors and from a different source. I haven't gotten very far yet, but here you go:

Crossover Top, take 2

I also received my Rockin' Sock Club installment for May and I absolutely adore the color! It's in shades of my favorite color (if you know anything about me you know what that is!). The pattern looks a little complicated, so I want to read it a couple of times to see whether I want to attack it right now. (It's not like I don't have any other sock patterns or yarn in my stash...)

Here's the link to the spoiler picture:

Up this weekend, I'm going to go stash diving in my quilting fabric and see what I have on hand to make a simple baby quilt. Somewhere I know I have a couple of cute panels that I can use. Then theres the knitting and spinning I have in progress...I'll be plenty busy!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

no-WIP Wednesday cuz I'm done!

...well, with the current knitting project.

I finished the second Iris cardigan last night. It turned out very well:

Iris Baby Cardigan #2, done!

Started 5/17; Finished 5/25
Pattern: Iris Cardigan by Jennifer Carberry; free when you buy the yarn at Full Thread Ahead
Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Cotton in Blush, Peony, Phlox, Cosmos, and Aubergine (in order from the top)
Needles: Size 7 circulars and DPNs
Ravelers: Project link

As I mentioned yesterday, I finished the Copperhead 2 yarn over the weekend. I wound one skein from each bobbin:

Copperhead 2 Handspun yarn

...and the dime shot:

Copperhead 2 yarn, close-up

Finished: 5/25/2008
Yarn Wench Falkland Wool roving (4.4 oz) in Copperhead 2
Spun on Lendrum DT Folding wheel
Navajo-ply, yield: 320 yds.
Weight: 14 WPI average, Fingering

I need to take a breather from cotton yarn for a while. So I'm looking at the stuff in my queue to see what appeals to me. In the meantime, I have the Plumthorn fiber from Pigeonroof Studios to spin, so that will keep me occupied until I decide.

Gee, maybe it's time for socks again! Or a quilt...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

no time to blog much today...

...I have another draft of my work project due today and need to finish it up.

Quick Hits (picture-less):
  • Finished the Copperhead 2 yarn: about 320 yards, Navajo plied; Sport weight
  • Nearly finished the second Iris cardigan. This was my main obsession over the weekend (and does my elbow know it!).
Pictures tomorrow...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

in honor of my father...

...who would have been 92 today. We only had eleven years together, and I still miss him. I've probably sent you to this link before, but here's a memoir I wrote about him.

Happy birthday, Daddy.

Daddy and me

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sky Candy Friday, hazy days

...with the fire in Santa Cruz, the sky is hazy and all you can smell is smoke.

When I left for the gym at 6:30 this morning, we still had some blue skies:

Before the haze

By the time I left for work, there was nothing but smoky haze and the smell had gotten much worse. I'm glad that I don't have a bad allergy problem, but I feel for those who do. I'm going to try and stay out of it as much as I can.

I'm making progress on the second Iris sweater. I've just started color 4 of the 5 that this sweater needs. This sweater looks huge compared to the last one (12 months vs. 3 months sizes), but I like the colors. My left elbow has been bugging me for a while now--the cotton yarn seems to aggravate it. I'm now using Addi Turbos to knit this and I have some Knit Picks nickel-plated DPNs for the sleeves. They are quite a bit smoother than the previous needles I used, but it's still hard on my elbow.

Last night, my elbow had enough knitting, so I decided to break out my "new" spindle (I bought it at Stitches West in February, but haven't used it yet). I started spinning the Pigeonroof Studios Wensleydale fiber that Terry sent me in January. I didn't have a decent picture of the fiber at the time, so here you go:

Plumthorn top

This fiber is soft and yummy and is beautifully purple! I think it's very appropriate that I am using my purpleheart spindle (from Spindlewood) for it!

Up this weekend: sleep, knitting, spinning, and just enjoying being at home for 3 days! Have a good one!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

WIP-it Wednesday, again...

...and looking forward to the long weekend ahead. I don't plan on working any of the holiday weekend, so I'm staying pretty focused on my work projects.

The new Iris baby cardigan is coming along. I have finished the increases and am ready to divide it for the sleeves:

Iris Baby Cardigan #2

The picture shows the other colors I'll be using for this one—very definitely for a little girl! The two end skeins are more purple in real life. (Someday I'll learn how to take pictures of purple!) Last time I made the 6-month size; this time I'm making the 12-month size. The color sections are 2.5 inches instead of 2 inches and, of course, there are more stitches around. This sweater will take me longer to finish than the last one, but it's still moving along pretty well.

I'm using a left-over red yarn to hold the neck and sleeve stitches. I'm also using it to carry down the edges as I knit to see if it helps when I need to do the edging. So far, it's OK, but the red yarn gets in the way sometimes. We'll se how long I put up with it!

Monday, May 19, 2008

short weekend, long work week...

...I ended up working yesterday afternoon. I have a deliverable due today and I needed to spend more time on it than I had available during the week. It never fails...when my cohort goes on vacation, lots of work magically appears (where were they when she was twiddling her thumbs a week ago??) Anyway, I did manage to spend Friday night and Saturday doing crafty things.

Friday night, I finished the Feather and Fan Baby Sweater:

Feather & Fan Baby Sweater

Finished: 5/16/2008
Yarn: Koigu PPPM, color P410
Pattern: 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders
Needle size: 3 US and 4 US

A little steam-blocking and it looks pretty good! I love the lace band at the bottom. The heart buttons are perfect for it. They were originally purchased around 20 years ago when I was sewing Cabbage Patch kid clothes for my daughter's dolls. You can't tell from the picture, but there are tiny leaves embossed around the edge of each button.

On Saturday, I finished spinning the singles of the Copperhead 2 fiber. I now have two bobbins that are resting before I Navajo ply them. I immediately started a new one:

Mermaid handspun

This is a Falkland hand-painted top that I just purchased from the Yarn Wench, called "Mermaid." How appropriate! It's spinning up nicely, but I had to cut the spinning time a little short when my knee started bugging me.

Swapping back to knitting, I started another Iris sweater, this time in pinks and purples (definitely girly) and in the next larger size. I'm going to try a Cat Bordhi trick of carrying a extra piece of yarn down the edges to help me when it comes time to pick up stitches for the edging. We'll see how that goes...if it gets to be a pain, I'll just pull it out.

OK, I'm off to finish my deliverable!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Eye Candy Friday--hot, hot, hot!

...thank goodness it's air conditioned at work! I was fine during the day, but I melted when I got home at 7:45 last night! The new windows and the blinds help, but it was still icky-sticky! And, it's supposed to be in the 90's today...break out the iced tea!

No updated picture of the sweater because I'm nearly done—only one button band to go! I'll post a picture of the finished sweater on Monday.

From the garden today: a lone gladiola bulb has bloomed under the apricot tree. Some of the flowers are not quite open:

Gladiola, almost open

While others are completely open:


I love the delicate pink color with the dark pink edges. I hope it survives today's heat wave!

Up this weekend: finishing the Feather & Fan sweater, starting the next Iris cardigan, and spinning!! I plan on taking the wheel outside when it gets unbearable in the house. I really want to finish the Copperhead yarn and start spinning a blue or aqua yarn. Something that reminds me of a babbling brook, the Russian River, or the ocean...yeah, that's what I need to stay cool!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

a quick WIP-it Wednesday...

...working on deliverables for a work project and need to stay pretty focused on that. However, I couldn't resist showing you the sleeve I finished last night on the Feather & Fan baby sweater:

Feather & Fan Baby Sweater, sleeve 1

With these last two baby projects, I've learned a little about knitting sweaters. The Iris Cardigan was the first sweater I ever knit—I learned that I needed more practice with finishing and I learned about the value of a stretchy bind-off. With this sweater, I've learned about adding a sleeve to an armhole that has no live stitches; later I'll learn about button bands.

Aside from the obvious benefit of having some cute baby gifts to give, I chose baby sweaters to see whether I would enjoy the process of making a sweater. The idea being that I might make a sweater for myself.

So what do I think at this point? I think I would enjoy making sweater for myself, but not as the sole project in my queue. I think if I had long sections of stockinette or garter stitch, I might go nuts
without the relief of another project! Now I just need to find the perfect sweater pattern.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I just love knitting small things...

...they go so quickly! Here's where I am with the Feather and Fan Baby sweater after the weekend:

Feather & Fan Baby Sweater, 5/12

The colors are bright and cheery and I love working with the Koigu. Once I finish the left side, I need to do the sleeves, collar, and button band. This will be the first time I'll do a button band, so I plan on taking my time.

Other than knitting, I did some long-neglected dusting and a quick housecleaning on Saturday. The Husband's parents came over on Sunday before we took them to brunch...I thought it might be nice if they could actually sit in the living room and not be inundated with knitting or spinning supplies!

After a nice brunch on Sunday, I did a little spinning on the Copperhead 2 fiber. I've spun about 3 ounces out of 4.4, so I should finish the spinning in the next session. Then I'll Navajo-ply it and call it done! I think my next spinning will be in the aqua or blue shades. I've have enough earthy tones for a while!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Eye Candy Friday (lots of garden pix)...

...since my knitting doesn't look significantly different than Wednesday, I won't post another picture of that for a while. It's progressing, just not as fast as the previous project!

Instead, here are a collection of garden pictures that show what's going on in our backyard.

The first shot of apricots on the tree:

Blenheim apricots
Some of our future tomatoes:

Tomato seedling

Future tomato
Next, a study of strawberries:

Strawberry blossom

Baby strawberries

First strawberries of the season


And for those celebrating Mother's Day this weekend, a butterfly flower for you:

Butterfly flower

This just in...The Daughter sent me a gardenia plant for Mother's Day, which just arrived. Gardenias were my father's favorite flower and because of that, I love them. This plant has only one older flower on it right now, but lots of buds. The scent from the one flower is heavenly and brightens up my whole office! I'll post pictures of it when it blooms. (Thanks, sweetie! Heart you back!)

Up this weekend, more knitting and hopefully some spinning. I'd like to get the sewing machine in for a tuneup before I try to do any more quilting. It's way overdue!

Happy Mother's Day to all! Enjoy the day!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

moving right along...

...into the next project: Feather & Fan Baby Sweater. Here it is after two pattern repeats.

Feather & Fan Baby Sweater

I know it's not much right now, but at least you can see the pattern taking shape. This sweater will probably take longer to make than the Iris Cardigan, but it will be interesting to see how the colors flow with the pattern. Definitely a feminine sweater...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

OK, how cute is this?!

...I finished the Iris cardigan last night and I totally love it! It needs a bath and blocking before I give it away, but here it is:

Iris Baby Cardigan

The Specs:
Started 4/26 and finished on 5/5/2008
Pattern: Iris Cardigan by Jennifer ? (I don't have her name here); free when you buy the yarn at Full Thread Ahead
Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Cotton in Frost, Pebble, Fog, Sky, and Phlox
Needles: Size 7 circulars and DPNs
Ravelers: Project link

This was the first sweater I've attempted and I now know that I need to practice my edging to make it smoother. Still it's not terrible, so I'm pleased.

Of course, I cast on for the next thing right away. More about that for WIP-it Wednesday!

Monday, May 05, 2008

it's Cinco de Mayo...

...a perfect excuse for a margarita or Mexican food! I celebrated early and made enchiladas for dinner last night. Yum!!

I am nearly finished with the baby sweater. I used up every bit of the green yarn doing the finishing and didn't have any left over for the i-cord. So back to Full Thread Ahead for more yarn. And of course while I was there, I ended up buying yarn for another baby sweater (or two)!

More Mission Falls 1824 Cotton...

I also got some spinning in and finished the first bobbin of the Copperhead 2 roving from Yarn Wench.

Copperhead 2, Bobbin 1

I start a new work project this week, so I'm not sure how much time I'll have during the week for crafty stuff. I should be able to finish the i-cords and post a picture of the finished sweater. We'll see how much more I get done beyond that!

Friday, May 02, 2008

May Candy Friday...

...a hibiscus for you!

Hibiscus flower

Not much else to report. Tonight I'll bind off the first sleeve of the Iris Cardigan and start on the second sleeve; after that, it's just the finishing! The next picture I post of this sweater will be when it's done.

Next up, something more feminine. There are at least two girl babies on the way, so I want to do something lacy. Oh, yeah...there some spinning that needs to happen, too!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

and along come pretty little May...

...where did April go?? May snuck up on me; until I looked at the calendar this morning, I thought it was still April!

In honor of May Day, I bought myself some tulips for my office (purple, of course!).

May Day Tulips

...and here's a view from the top:

May Day Tulip, closeup

Happy May, everyone! My April recap is in a separate message.

April 2008 Recap

  • 4/3 Knitted bunny from "Last Minute Knitted Gifts"
  • 4/6 Hydrangea tote bag for Jane (sewing)
Worked on:
  • Spinning Copperhead 2 (Falkland) from Yarn Wench.
  • 4/3 Crossover top by Debbie Bliss (knitting)
  • 4/18 Saartje's Bootees (knitting)
  • 4/26 Iris Baby Cardigan (knitting)
Frogged/On Hiatus:
  • Crossover top by Debbie Bliss (knitting): Frogged and will start again in different yarn
  • Black leg warmers in Caron Simply Soft yarn (knitting): Waiting for cold weather
Works In Progress (did not work on):
  1. Montego Bay wrap in Walking on the Wild Tide yarn, using Montego Bay scarf pattern from Interweave Knits Summer issue (knitting)
  2. Spinning 4 oz of Angora Cottage 70% Merino and 30% Silk roving in purple
  3. Spinning 2 Chasing Rainbows rovings together in the Heather colorway: one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz)
  4. Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)
  1. Cascade Fixation anklets (knitting)
  2. Central Air socks (knitting)
  3. Hopi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  4. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  5. Paint it Black quilt
  6. Flower Power quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  7. Jungle Songs quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  8. Queen Mermaid by Mirabilia (cross stitch; still languishing in its stretcher bars)
  9. Sangria shawl (knitting)
  10. Twinkletoes slippers; just need to make one (knitting)

I still have 10 UFOs and 4 WIPs with no activity yet. However, I now have two thing on hiatus! Hmmm, two steps backward...

Eye Candy Friday...

...and I'm looking forward to the weekend! This week we harvested plums from one of our trees: Corncockles have sprouted up all o...