Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I thought our last huskies had the softest fur. I remember hearing people talk about making sweaters and scarves out of their fur. At first I thought they were a little crazy, but later I did think it would be neat to have a husky hat. I didn't really know the whole process. Over 15 years and two huskies I'm sure I they shed pounds of fur. Now that I am a knitter I feel like we wasted a very valuable commodity. Two times a year a husky blows their coat. In the summer they blow their dense winter undercoat, in the winter it's their fluffy summer coat. You'd know it was time when you'd see what looked like cotton balls growing out of their fur and dropping on the floor. We would to take them to a park or the woods and use a horse shedder and rake out clumps and clumps of downy fiber and let it blow away. I never wanted to throw it in the trash because I knew small animals and birds would use it for their nests and burrows. I guess I really wouldn't have known what to do with it back then.
But now, what do I do? I don't know how to spin, and I don't own a wheel. I don't even know how husky fiber compares to others on the ease of spinning scale. Is it a difficult fiber to spin? Are the hairs too short? Too slippery? Now that the long puppy fur has dropped and his thick winter coat is coming in I've started collecting the fiber from his brushes and keeping it. I know that I don't want to loose it, and his fur is so much softer than any other husky that I have ever felt. I know I can find a place to send it out to be spun into yarn. But there is a certain part of me calling out, not wanting to pass on the biggest step of the fiber process. I don't know how long it will take me to get enough fiber to start with. But I'm thinking I need to start looking into learning. I'm wondering about the whole washing and carding process too. He doesn't have oily fur. I know for sure that I would not dye this fiber it would be just natural. It just seems wrong to mess with a coat as beautiful as this.
|Your Stress Level is: 78%|
Things have been tense in paradise. It doesn't feel much like paradise these days. My sink has litterally been full of dishes for a month. I finally did a load last night, I will get caught up tonight. But they aren't the problem. They are just a side effect of my stress/depression. The husband and I are sludging through some tough times. I can't even concentrate on knitting. Which is a whole other stress since I do have a couple Christmas gifts I'm working on!
Monday, November 27, 2006
This is what I see outside my front door. My ocean view. I look out often. I can also stand in the kitchen at the stove and look out and see the sunset through the French doors. It's funny because as I look at this picture, I realize that I don't really see the houses on the sides or that ugly telephone pole and wires. I just look past them or through them. Like I mentally block their existence. Looking at the picture they kind of irritate me. Maybe it's the intoxicating briny air that I inhale deeply as I search for peace and calm in those fluffy white clouds and the deep blue sea that erases the obstructions.
When we lived in Arizona I was tormented by the fact that there were no large bodies of water near me. Like I was out of balance. When ever I really needed to think or relax I used to go for a walk on the beach, find a quite spot to listen to the waves, and feel the ocean breeze on my face, basically meditate. We've lived near the beach for a long time. But until we moved here we had never lived so close. I feel so grounded here. It's so comforting to know that I am literally less than a tenth of a mile from dashing down to the waters edge and digging my toes in the sand.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
There is something so liberating yet so intensely nerve wracking about purposely dropping a stitch. When I saw Clapotis, I recognized the dropped stitches, then I read the entire pattern before I cast on. I knew they were coming, but it was so hard to do it. Cast On. Set Up Rows. Increase Rows. Straight Rows. Row 8 ... I stopped, re-read the entire pattern...just to confirm. I didn't want to try and fix that kind of a mistake! Then I did it, and was afraid, but it did what it was supposed to. It stopped at the bottom, it didn't completely unravel. I was worried. I kept knitting, I got to the second dropped stitch. This time not so afraid, but still apprehensive. I didn't re-read the pattern, I'm making progress. I figured by the time I was finished I would be comfortable with the drop stitch, but suddenly I find myself knitting faster and faster, to get to that next one. I have to slow down, I'm making mistakes. I just have to take it easy. But I want to do it again, I want to drop another stitch and another on PURPOSE! Is there something wrong with me??
This is a Christmas present for some one on my list. I don't think that person reads the blog so I will post an updated picture, or at least and FO. The yarn is Andean Silk in Hyacinth. I like the variegated colors, but this yarn is amazing and will look lovely knit as Clapotis. Very elegant, yet warm.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I've always wondered why people always feel like its a burden to go vote. Have we forgotten that it is a right and a privilege? That our ancestors fought for it, they came to this country to start a new society where they had choices and impact on how they lived. That today soldiers are still fighting and dying in the name of freedom. That freedom is a right to be heard to have your say. Even if you have to stand in line, maybe it's an hour or two out of your life. But at least it's for the greater good. Who hasn't stood in line for hours for concert tickets? Or even to go to opening night of a movie?
I've never understood why it is a burden. When I was young my grandparents used to host polling for their neighborhood. So we'd spend all day there watching people vote. Watching the whole process at work. Later I remember my grandfather telling a story about why he is a democrat. It was Roosevelt that allowed him to save his farm and his family. They literally didn't have food on the table, and had told us how ashamed he felt when he had to accept charity from a neighbor just to feed his family. Soon after a bill was passed that funded farming. My grandfather was able to buy the equipment and live stock he needed to run a successful dairy farm. I was already registered democrat at the time, but that sealed the deal for me. Today when I went to the polls, as always, it brought back fond memories of my grandparents and sitting in there garage running the polls. I miss them so much, and I am so proud of them and their contribution to society. And they put in the time and effort to make this a great place to live for me and our future generations.
I'll get off my soap box, after one last comment. I hope that you vote in support of the same candidates and issues as I. However, it is most important that you just get out there and vote, even if it opposes my views.
God Bless America.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
First let me say HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Now onto the important things... So you know I made that huge cake for my mom and dads anniversary. And I made the Mexican Hot chocolate Buttercream for the frosting on the top and bottom cakes. When I read the reviews it said the recipe made "twice as much" frosting as needed. So instead of doubling the recipe like I did for the cake, I just made an normal batch of the frosting thinking it would work out perfect. Oh boy, "twice as much" was a understatement to say the least! Upon frosting a six and ten inch layer cake, I piled the left over buttercream into a gallon sized zip lock baggy...and it filled it more than half way, that is a 1/2 gallon of frosting. But, I thought, "no big deal, Mike's birthday is this week. He wanted a yellow cake with chocolate frosting so I'll just use this, perfect". NOT. Mike decided that he didn't want a homemade fancy from scratch cake, he wanted a plain old, out of the box cake with package frosting. Mike loves my cooking, he hates package food like casseroles, etc. But he said he just didn't want anything "fancy". I started to explain that nothing was fancy, I'd make a basic yellow cake out of the BHG Cookbook, and he had already said the frosting made with fine chocolate was good. So what's the deal? Anyway, I dropped it, it was his birthday.
So now I'm left with roughly $10 worth of frosting. Yes, that is right, the entire batch was easily $20 worth of fine organic ingredients. Metric is deceiving, 500 militers of Egg whites = roughly 1 dozen egg whites (you read that right, I separated 12 eggs in one sitting). 900 grams of butter = approximately 1 lb. of butter. You get the idea. Not that I minded spending the money, that's not the point. I just don't feel good about throwing it out. I already 86ed the yolks and felt bad about it. So what do I do with all this frosting? Will it freeze? I used about 1/2 a cup of it to frost the boy's Halloween cookies, but I don't have any other cake-warranting events in the near future. Should I just make dozens and dozens of cupcakes for the office? Really, any ideas, I'll take 'em!!
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Of course my first instinct was to go buy another ball. I know there is no chance of getting the same dye lot. But, I was hoping it would be close enough. Particularly since the alpaca has a nice halo, maybe it wouldn't be too noticeable. And if it was only around the cuffs, would you really notice the contrast since it was rib stitch? You can probably guess they don't have anymore of the colorway I chose, Cedar. And I checked the swap boards and no one has any Cedar 100% Alpaca to swap.
Now that I am looking at the picture of the sweater laid out. I'm not sure I like those increases anyway. I think I might rip back to before the increases. I don't know how much more it will give me, but maybe, just maybe, it will be enough.
Wish me luck!
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Last night my parents celebrated their 40th Wedding Anniversary. It was a pleasure to make this cake for them. I would highly recommend the recipes I used, both were decadent. The cake was beautiful. I used fondant again with edible sparkles and I used Wilton tiers that I purchased at Michael's. Many old friends were there to celebrate with us. Even the man who introduced my parents in 1965!
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
I can't. But I decided if I was going to make stockings for us this year than I better start now. I couldn't find a pattern that was exactly what I wanted, so I just made up my own, and I think it turned out pretty good. It still needs some serious blocking, but I'll wait until I'm done with all of ours before I get to that.
Still 3 more to complete, and 2+ months to do it. I think I can, this one only took me a little over a week. And that was me trying to work the pattern out.
Monday, September 25, 2006
First I spent a lot of time creating his birthday party invitation to be printed and sent out by Shutterfly. I'm pleased, I couldn't get it just perfect, hopefully I'm the only one that notices the few flaws. I love Photoshop and the web! As you can see the theme was Cars the movie. I downloaded images from the official website. Shifted them around a bit. Then I took a picture that I had taken of Jack at Legoland, used the magic tool and erased all the background, so I just had Jack in the car. Pasted Jack's image over the Cars image and Viola! It's a birthday invitation!
I ordered all the decorations and goodies from Birthday Express and Oriental Trading Company. Instead of birthday hats, each child got this hat, and made each child a pit pass with the checkered laynard. The we painted wooden race cars at Ramone's Paint shop, and had races with balloon race cars.
The big finale was the race track cake I made. Now, when I got the idea I had NO idea what I was getting into. And once I started I could not turn back. But my hard work was well worth it because I think the cake turned out awesome. Everybody raved about it and most of all Jack loved it.
I used Fondant, which I have never used before. It was fun to work with, once I got started, and most of all it allows you to be pretty creative. I can only imagine what someone with real artistic talent could do with this stuff.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Here's a close up. This will go great with that little black dress I've got hanging in the closet. Just need to loose 15 more lbs... Anyway, I love it. I can't wait for it to dry. Thanks Carol! Your dye work is amazing!!! ~Gina
Sunday, August 27, 2006
I knit this little cardigan up for my friend Danielle's new baby. I started it the weekend before the shower and I finished 42 minutes before I had to leave. I really don't like knitting with a deadline, but this was my own fault so I'm not going to complain too much. I'm proud of myself for thinking the project through and choosing a pattern that required very little finishing. Since this was knitted top down there were no seams to sew. Instead of little buttons which would be a chocking hazard I knitted bobbles that worked quite well. I don't know that this alternative would work for a more functional sweater for an older child, but it certainly works well for a newborn.
The pooling, yeah I figured you'd notice, how could you not?! It's awful, I only had one hank of yarn so I didn't have a lot of options. I used Knit Picks, Sock Memories in Yukon. I actually thought it worked out really well. I mean, and hand made gift for $3.99...I can't complain about that.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
We gave it to Arliegh for her fifth birthday. She really liked it. I'll have to get a picture of her wearing it, the color should look great with here eyes!
This is a close up of the stitch pattern. The color and lighting are awful, but you can see the bows better.
The pattern was real simple:
Row 1&3: K5, *P2, S1 knitwise, P2, K5. *Repeat to end.
Row 2: K7, S1 knitwise. Repeat to end
Row 4: K
Row 5&7: K10, *P2, S1 knitwise, P2, K5. *Repeat to end.
Row 6: K12, *S1 knitwise, K7. *Repeat to end
Row 8: K
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Saturday, July 15, 2006
As usual, our house is an oven in the summer, so we spend most of our time on the front patio. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. We have a beautiful view, and the ocean breeze is delightful, we live in paradise and I know it. It's just that somewhere along the way they said that when you live in paradise you don't need a/c. Well they are wrong. See with the spectacular sunset view through the 9 windows that allow us this luxury they not only let us see out, but also let the sunset in. From about 2pm until 8pm the house is pretty much unbearable. When it's a breezey 78 on the patio, it's a stifling 88 in the house. The thing is, of the windows that afford us this spectacular view, only 5 of them open, and they are the small ones. You combine that with the fact our little flat roofed house was built in 1952 and has a lot of Ole Hanson touches, it all adds up to very little circulation inside. I know, I know, no complaining, I live a block from the beach. Really life is good.
So anyway, most of my summer time knitting is conducted out front, which isn't too shabby. Jack has one of those sand and water tables and a pool out there, so I really only have to contend with an occasional splash of water or a few grains of sand. This is how I spent the 4th of July. I sat here knitting, gazing out at the beautiful sky, the briny breeze also carried traces of the roses I picked from our rose bush below. I really enjoy the time I get to sit and knit outside. We have very little street noise so it is quite peaceful up here.
The dreadful heat of summer demands lace knitting that's for sure. Good thing I caught the lace bug and am not sweltering under Mike's Aran ... that will wait for cooler temperatures! I finally understand the need for a safety line. Yeah, tinking back 5 rows of lace was no fun at all! But there is no way I'm experienced enough to pull of something like this. So it's a safety line for me all the way! This is the Candle Flame Shawl from Knit Picks, I'm using Shimmer in Morning Mist. In my book it's a pretty complex pattern with a 36 row repeat. I'm really enjoying it and can't wait to make a shawl for myself.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
My grandmother on my dad's side was a seamstress. She taught me to sew so long ago that I don't even remember actually learning, my early memories of sewing are of sitting at her machine and making diapers for our dolls with her scrap fabric. She would show me how to make decorative edges or sew on lace. The funny thing is I don't actually remember putting my dolls in the diapers, only making them. Maybe Steph did, I don't know. I was too busy absorbing what Grandma was telling me. She never taught me about stash, but she had a stash! I guess that was one of those things you used to keep to yourself. I don't think anybody new the extent of it, except me, until after she died last year and my mom and sister packed up her room and set aside all her sewing related things for me, including her stash :)
I haven't sewn much in the last 4 years. I've had her machine in my home for about a year and only used it one or two times. Tonight I finished the Duvet Cover for our new Bed. I was getting quite frustrated as my thread kept breaking. The Huskavarna is a temperamental bitch, if you accidentally brush the tension knob or look at her wrong she'll mess with you for the rest of the day. As I kept re-threading the needle I thought a lot about Grandma, thinking about the last few times she used the machine she had asked me to thread it for her. I kept wondering what the heck was wrong I KNOW I hadn't touched anything, I know better! I finally decided maybe I should change the needle, and wouldn't you know that did the trick! Amazing, so I'm sitting there thinking about all those hours sitting at this table and machine with Grandma and I never remember having to change a needle because it was dull, I've broke plenty, but never just wore one out. Grandma must have always changed them, I was just never around. Then I realized that needle I had just set aside, was put in there by my Grandma. I don't know why it affected me so much, but it brought me to tears. I feel so close to her when I'm sewing, like she's looking just over my shoulder like she always used to, I can almost smell the coffee on her breath. I just miss her so much, so many fun and silly memories. She had such an influence in my life. I never would have thought those hours spent sewing my prom dress or that orange bikini would have moved me so much right now.
Last week I finished the window and shower curtains for our bathroom ... Also in Aloha. I found a great online resource here for Hawaiian prints. They have a great selection, the fabric is great quality and the prices are awesome! In the bathroom I will also sew a border on white towels with this same fabric.
In our bedroom, the final touch will be a headboard that I'm making, I'll post a picture of our completed rooms and bathroom.
Jack's room is also getting an update. He chose a cool fabric with Woody's and Surf boards. There are also a few more accent pieces I'm going to pick up to go along with our aloha beach theme. I found the pattern for the duvet's here.
Oh and the sewing machine needle. I put it in my jewelry box, for some reason I just can't bear to throw it in the trash. I'm sure in 50 years when my kids are cleaning out my room they'll come across it and think I was sure a batty old lady with one heck of a fiber addiction! Hopefully I'll have a grand daughter that won't judge me like I didn't judge my grandma, and she feel honored to be inheriting all of my fiber related items.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
This is It's a Wrap Take 2 from The Garter Belt. I've been thinking about trying out lace for a while, and frankly it just scares me. I was looking for something to knit my Mom for Mother's Day, when I came across this pattern and thought I'd give it a try. I'm very happy with the results and found this basic lace pattern fun. I used some left over Endless Summer Sonata that I got from Elann last year. It's 100% Mercercized Cotton, so it was a perfect substitution for linen yarn that the pattern recommended. Since I didn't have quite enough yarn left over to work it to the length in the pattern I decided to steam block it and get a few inches. It worked beautifully. And that was just with my little travel steamer, I'll have to add one of these to my knitting tools wish list!
I really enjoyed knitting with this yarn for this project. I'm about 90% complete on the Little Bows sweater, and still can't bring myself to finish it because the yarn is just so stiff and hurts my hands to knit with it for very long. I suppose it's the larger needles that this pattern calls for that helps. I'll have to remember that if I ever decided to knit with Cotton again :)
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
The stitch pattern is fairly easy to memorize, I just have to keep track of the number of rows for the cables, everything else works itself out. I am amazed and in awe of the talent and attention to detail it must take to design; I don't think I'll ever design.
I won't bore you with endless updates of each inch. This is going to be a long project; I'm only 5 or so inches into the back and have a long, long way to go. Mike is 6'5", 225lbs ... that adds up to one heck of a lot of blackberries! I do hope I enjoy knitting every last inch as much as I have loved knitting the first 5! This isn't mindless knitting that is for sure. I have to pay attention, but I enjoy the rhythm. I enjoy see it grow and develop. The only thing I wish I could do differently with this sweater is to knit it in the round, but the blackberries don't allow you to do that since they are worked on the wrong side. Well maybe they can, but I'm certainly not advanced or experienced enough to do it!
Saturday, February 04, 2006
...Then I hear about The Great Aran Sweater Myth over at The Knitting Curmudgeon's blog. Oh boy, I had been had, or so I thought. Fortunately Marylin did all the research for me (thanks!) and I was quickly relieved to figure out that I hadn't been swindled. I knew that The O'Sheahan's hadn't been fishermen ... so why would they have a family sweater?? Of course they didn't, well not to identify their washed up dead bodies anyway. You can read more about the history of aran knitting at the link above, but basically each stich pattern represents the different motto's of each family. The Shean's (or O'Sheahan, O'Shea, and O'Sheehan) stand for. Cables symbolize luck, Diamonds: wealth, Tree of Life: Family, Ladder of Life: Health and Happiness, Honeycomb: Work, Trellis: Success, ZigZag: Love, Irish Moss: Holy Trinity, etc.
I was pleased when it all showed up, then suddenly very afraid. I have never worked on a pattern so complex. And the site of all that báinín yarn (did you notice how huge that 1 ball of yarn is??), well, it's just a bit overwhelming. I have several projects on the needles right now, but this has been calling my name. So I worked a swatch to check my guage and practice the different stitch techniques. I honestly thought I'd try it out and decide that I was indeed over my head and put it away for awhile ... until I was more experienced. I mean I have ONLY been knitting for just over a year! Instead I'm hooked, I LOVE it!!! The Irish Moss, the blackberries!!! It is so cool to see them come to life. So I bound off my swatch and just casted on for the back. I'm still on the ribbing and have to write out the entire pattern, but I'm not worried, I'm excited and can't wait to see it come to life.
...More to come!
I was rumaging throught this yarn store that I heard about near my work. And when I say rumage I mean RUMAGE! I'm sure there are many more treasures than this Mano's to be found ... good luck finding it! This LYS has yarn from floor to ceiling ... all shoved into plastic bags and cubbys. Now I do appreciate the bags, keeps the yarn clean and all. But it makes it real hard to browse the store and get the feel effect, which to me is one of the few perks of going to a LYS. I will go back there, but it will be with much more time to search and browse.
So back to the Manos, I will be making it into a throw for Mike. You can see I grabbed up the entire lot of this yarn, there are 12 hanks, which should be enough for a small throw. I was going to do a basket weave stitch, but I think I'm going to look for a different pattern as the variations in guage don't allow the pattern to really show up. I'll post my progress.