Catching Up

Lately I feel like I’m continually having to catch up.  I have to catch up on blogging, catch up on house organization, catch up at work, catch up with sleep, running, and just plain catch up with myself!  This is not a healthy way of living and I’ve got to give this some serious thought.  What things can I drop so that I can just BE caught up?

Well, for this singular moment in time, I will catch up with blogging and show you some fun things I’ve been doing (which means catching up with the fun things I planned to do and check them off my list; I start to worry about myself and my lists….)

Last weekend I did some yarn dyeing.  Yes, along with everything else on my to-do list, I made time for this.  I really enjoy dyeing yarn, even in my little kitchen, on a cold day when rinsing outside turns my hands blue (in more ways than one).  Dyeing makes me feel like a little kid again, mixing potions and seeing what will come out.

I dyed some 100% silk that I had on hand (and soaked overnight in acid-water), and at the last minute, unplanned, dyed some merino/cashmere/silk blend that I bought at Dharma Trading back in December.  That is also where I bought the acid dyes I used.  I’m really happy with how all of it turned out, except for the black silk, which isn’t deep enough for me, and which I will do again to get it really black.  Here are the results:

I also dyed my yellow socks black.  REALLY black.  Now THIS is how to knit black socks.  Just make them in a light color that is easy to see and work with, then dye them black.  Perfect.  I used black acid dye instead of mixing other colors to get black.  Super easy.

I’ve also been busy working on my Nerd Wars project for February.  I finished it today.  Yea!!  I made an iPad cover, using Noro Iro yarn and lined it with a boys t-shirt that I bought and cut up just for this project.  It took a lot more time than I expected and I have lots of trial and error with the lining and buttonhole.  When I got the whole thing put together I discovered that the button hold was far too low so I had to open the knitting back up and knit an extra 3 inches.  Luckily I had enough yarn at just the right color change so you can’t tell at all that I had to do this.  I’m sure to get some good points for the Bazinga team with this!

Before assembly:

Lining material (even though you can’t really see the whole picture once it’s sewn into the sleeve; I know it’s there):

Finished!

I also have a new train project, which I’m really happy about.  Socks are the perfect project for train rides to and from work.  They are so small and portable that even if the train is packed and you have to stand in the aisles, you can get out your sock and knit standing up.  I did just that last week.  Twice.

The Monday night group is doing another KAL, although this is a very small one with only 5 people participating.  We’re making Skew socks.  I’ve been wanting to make these for a very long time and now I’m finally doing it.  I also dyed this yarn, last summer, mostly with acid dye but the bright blue is Kool-Aid dye.

And now I’m caught up with the knitting news!  Well, mostly.  I’m also working on an amazing brioche swatch that I will show you much later.  And a little short sleeved sweater to wear while working my table at the Breidag (Knitting Day) in April.  I’ll try not to get behind on that project so that I don’t have to catch up later.

Sweet and Strange

A friend got back from a business trip to Japan a few weeks ago.  She came to Monday night knitting and brought a box full of Japanese KitKats.  Check these out.

Isn’t is cute?  On the back you can make a gift of them by filling in the “From” and “To” sections.

Inside, you find two plastic wrapped candies, just like the KitKats we know and love, except that these are green.

They are green tea KitKats.  They taste like a combination of white chocolate and green tea.  The tea flavor is not very strong at all.  They are just as super sweet as the Western variety.  They were delicious actually.  I’d eat more!

First FOs

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post hasn’t it!  I’ll start up again with some happy news about finished objects, namely mittens for DB and a birthday shawl for my mom.

The first FO for 2011 was DB mittens.  He wanted black.  Do you know how hard it is to knit anything black in the winter?  It’s hard, let me tell you.  But, anything for my baby, eh?  Here they are:

It’s also difficult, by the way, to photograph anything black in the winter.  I took these under my wonderful daylight crafting light, and this is as good as it gets.

They fit!

And they are fliptops like my other mittens and they are my own design.  You can get the pattern here (Ravelry link – sorry non-members!  Sign up!)  And you can buy the lovely warm soft Possum Merino yarn here.

Now on to the second FO of the year (and it’s only the 6th of Feb!), Mom’s shawl.

The pattern is Annis (free from Knitty) and the yarn is Madelinetosh Lace in color Mourning Dove.  There are two things I changed from the original pattern:  I added nupps (little bobbles) in the main plain knit section, and I added an eyelet edge at the top.

I learned how to make “nupps” while making this shawl.  They are the little bobbles and this is an Estonian knitting technique.  They are made by making 7 stitches into one stitch on the right side, then on the wrong side you purl those 7 loops together again.  It’s not easy.  I ended up using a size 0 (2mm) sock needle on the purl side to work them.  Some people in our KAL used a crochet hook.  Other people managed to use just their same needles to work them off.  You have to use a little trial and error and see what works for you.  It’s a nice effect though!

I’ll put this shawl in the mail tomorrow for Mom.  I hope she likes it!

And that’s it so far for finished objects.  I’m really itching to make a sweater, but I end up making small quick projects instead.  What’s up with that?  I think it has to do with my busy hectic life outside of knitting and my attention span just isn’t up to long projects, even if I wish otherwise.

I’ve just signed up for NerdWars (oh god, please don’t ask me why) and I’ve already started my first small project for that.  You have to make a project a month for 3 months to add points to your team.  I’m on team Bazinga of course. 🙂  I’ll post photos of that amazing nerdy thing in a week or two when it’s done.

I’m also going to start Skew socks on 14/2, with the rest of the Amsterdam Stitch ‘n Bitch group.  It will be our second KAL this year, and as far as I know, our second one ever!  We’re on a roll!