Monthly Archives: March 2008

Blankets and some other stuff

May I present you with my finished Hemlock Ring Blanket

These photos were taken in the early morning sun just before I took the blocking pins out.

Here are some shots out in full daylight

Plymouth Yarn Co., Boku, 6 skeins from stash (Yay for stash busting!)

Size 9 needles

Used the chart and pattern (different from Jared’s) that is posted in the files sections of the HemlockRing KAL on yahoogroups. If anyone is going to make this blanket, I think it’s a great idea to sign up for this group. You don’t need to get the emails delivered to your inbox and you can always unsubscribe when you’re done.

In other blanket news… I posted pictures to my Flickr of the Culver City Crafter’s group baby log cabin blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting made for Melissa’s beautiful new baby boy. (Those CCCer’s who want to rip photos for their Ravelry project page, may have to scroll through since I haven’t been organized enough to create a folder for it.) I’m really please with how it came out and loved being a part the shared project. Thanks to eveyone who contributed. Let’s do another group project soon!! I think Melissa really liked it and it came in handy since The Spot Cafe was closed and we were knitting out outside at that Starbucks this past week.

Blue Sky Alpaca’s Dyed Cotton, 6 skeins in all different colors

Needle sizes 7,8 and 9 based on gauge of the individual knitter (there were six of us!)

With some of the leftover yarn I made a little baby hat from the Morehouse Farm Merino Knits book and used TECHKnitting’s method for jogless stripes. It was a quick and enjoyable way to learn something new. The little hat fits perfectly on Benjamin. Isn’t he a cutie!

But I also took this kinda goofy one on the cat statue in my yard.

(The pink jasmine has been blooming over the last few weeks and smells amazing! I’ve been wishing, in vain, for warm nights so I can keep the door and windows open to make the most of the sweet evening air.)

I have another small project in the works with some of the other left over scraps, but I wanted it to be a surprise. I’m a little stuck on the last part of the directions and have to get up the courage to just do it. Maybe I’ll get it done this weekend and be able to bring it along with me this Monday. We’ll see…

Everything else is just the same boring WIP’s that I think I’ll wait to blog about until they are either much further along or finished. I got my March installment of the Rockin’ Sock Club this week, so I have some great motivation!

Busy weekend ahead.. have a good one!!

xo, Jill P.

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Food, food, and some knitting

Jill P.,

I was super excited when Easter rolled around, for a few reasons.  Since high school, with some exceptions, I’ve given up something for Lent.  I’m not religious at all, but I’m interested in religions and I like to give myself a personal challenge.  Forty-plus days is a good amount of time to test your will power.  It’s usually food items, but I have in the past given up TV and making personal purchases.  This year I gave up deep-fried foods and soda.  I thought it would be a super easy challenge, but it did have its difficulties.  The most surprising was Japanese food.  All my favorites are fried, like chicken katsu, tempura, crunch rolls…  I also missed french fries and doughnuts quite a bit.  When I went to the Chinese New Year party I was so picky and difficult.  I kept asking my Mom if she thought such and such was fried, or if it had meat in it, or if I should count sparkling apple cider as soda.  So, on Sunday I finally drank a Coke.  It was slightly disappointing.  I think it was too hot out.  Sometimes it seems like the soda’s too cold and your mouth is too hot and it gets all foamy or something.  Yesterday I went to Chinese food and had Sweet and Sour Chicken and wontons and an eggroll.  I can’t wait for some fries and some Arby’s mozzarella sticks.  The main problem with giving up fried foods was that I didn’t eat any better.  I just ate a lot more non-fried desserts. 

Another reason I wait for Easter to roll around?  The day after Easter candy sales!

Yum, cadbury eggs and Peeps!  I used to belong to the Peeps fanclub.  They’d send me a Newspeeper every holiday or something.  I still love them, but I don’t eat as many as I used to.  I bought all that candy at Ralph’s last night around 11pm.  The only other things in my basket were Kettle chips and asparagus.  I love seeing what other people buy at the grocery store at night. 

I’m toying with the idea of coming up with my own personal “diet” system.  Like Weight Watchers points.  But mine will be something like Gluttony Points.  Stuff that’s good for me, like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, etc. won’t count for any points.  But then I’ll create point values for junk food, desserts and fatty foods.  Then I have to set a point level for the week that’s allowable.  And then maybe slowly move the allotted points down over time.  I’m good at completely cutting things out, but it’s the moderation that’s the problem.  Maybe I’ll start the point system after I eat all those Cadbury eggs. 

Okay, that’s enough about my eating habits.  Here’s the knitting that you’ve been waiting for.  I finished the Retro Redux Shrug on Sunday night. 

The shrug is by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark from Lace Style.  I used almost exactly two skeins of Malabrigo in Holly Hock.  I made the medium size.  This is my first foray into Malabrigo.  I’m not entirely sure what the hype’s all about.  Yeah, it feels good and everything.  But it was hard to wind into a ball, because the yarn was kind of felted to itself in the skein.  And I don’t have a swift and just use the back of a chair.  Very difficult.  But I did recently buy enough Malabrigo to make a sweater with…

I spent all of our SnB last night working on a swatch for a skirt.  I’m planning on making ZsZu from Berrocco.  I have the same yarn the pattern calls for (Boho Colors), but am having a hard time getting gauge.  They call for 20st/4 in. on size 9s.  I started on 8s, then have slowly moved down to 6s.  I finally got gauge, but it seems so tight.  So I’m actually washing my swatch to see if it changes at all.  It is taking a really long time to dry though.  Hopefully it’ll be ready to measure when I get home tonight.  Here’s my wet swatch:

This morning I also started swatching for some socks.  I’m going to use my handspun 3-ply aqua sock yarn.  It’s thicker than fingering weight.  I’m going to make a sock out of the Cat Bordhi book, but haven’t decided which one yet.  Whatever I get gauge for.  But definitely toe-up since I don’t have a lot of yarn.

But with either the skirt or the socks, the likelihood of sticking to my project-a-week pace is close to nil.  I’ll keep you updated though!

 Jill B.

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While I was at home

Hey Jill P.,

I had a lot of crafting time the last couple of weekends.  The tooth extraction went pretty smoothly.  Because the Vicodin made me sick I just took Advil.  I didn’t even get very puffy.  I just looked like I did in high school, little round baby fat face.  The main downside was that I was getting a lot of headaches, which made watching TV and knitting at the same time difficult.  I still tried to do it a bit.  It was easier to do with movies I’d seen before than something I needed to concentrate on, like season one of The Wire.  I was still pretty productive.  I read an entire book, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, knit a lace shawl (a baby one) and did quite a bit of spinning!  I finished the Ostrich Plume Shawl.  I couldn’t tell how big it was, and I didn’t want to crack into a second skein of yarn.  In hindsight I would have gone a little longer on it.  It’s done but it’s tiny!  Just a little shoulder shawl I guess. 

I don’t have any pictures of me wearing it.  It’s goes down a little past my waist and I would just barely be able to tie it in the front. 

On the spinning front, I pulled out the alpaca fleece that my Mom got me at OFFF.  I had drumcarded a bit at your house before, but the rest was still chilling out.  So I handcarded (my first time!) maybe an ounce.  I then spun singles, using a worsted type draw, but allowing the twist to travel into the fiber.  So maybe a woolen draw but inching along…?  I then plied the singles, making a 2-ply yarn.  So now I have two skeins of yarn (counting one from another time), and about 10 ounces more fiber!  It’s a little daunting.  Here’s one of the finished skeins:

I also finished the Merino/Tencel yarn.  I bought the fiber from The Dizzy Ewe.  I had a lot of trouble getting an even thread.  It was a lot easier with the stickier alpaca.

Right after taking these pictures, Paquito darted out of the apartment and scared the crap out of me.  I was able to sneak up on him and grab him.  Then I yelled at him and he was still pouting when I got home nine hours later.

This last weekend I just had nothing to do, so knit quite a bit.  I finished the Clapotis.  I used Brooks Farm Yarn Duet.  I went about two repeats shorter than the pattern.  I somehow made a good guess about when to start decreasing and used almost all of my yarn without running out. 

Double chin alert!:

The yarn is mohair and wool, and the one ply wraps around the other.  The mohair does shed quite a bit. 

I’m working on a shrug right now.  I finished the side to side part but now need to pick up for ribbing all around the outside of it.  Should be done this weekend.  I’ll post pictures then. 

Here’s a full picture of me wearing the Cross Strap Tank.  I was hoping for outside pictures, but beggars can’t be choosers.

I think it looks better in real life.  At least I hope so!

Okay I’m late for work!  I’ve been pretty busy with a rush Bette Davis project at work and haven’t had time for blogging or blog reading.  But hopefully I’ll get a handle on the work soon.  See you tomorrow at the GLASG meeting!

Jill B.

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green!!!

I took these pics on Feb 12 this year, hiking up north of Malibu…

Abundant rainfall this year brought out all the green. Boy, do I love me some So. Cal winter!

Happy St. Patty’s Day folks! Hope you’ve got your Irish on… you know this freckle-faced girl does!

xo, Jill P.

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For the love of spinning

Hi JillB. !

I feel like I’ve passed initiation into some sort of special club. I actually, finally finished spinning the Loch Ness Sheep to Shoe kit you got me from Blue Moon Fiber Arts at Oregon Flock and Fiber last year. And when I say finished, I mean finished, like I soaked it and gave it a good harsh beating too.  Tah Dah!…

Sheep to Shoe Kit - Lagoon

I’m so glad I did because it really bloomed nicely. You know how I was worried that I was spinning too finely and that I was thinking that I might only be able to use the yarn for a lace project even though I really was trying so hard to spin for socks. Well, by sight, the yarn still falls into the arena of light fingering, but my best guess is that I’ll get something in the area of 9sts/inch on size 0 needles without too much fuss. (Why is gauge such a mystery? I can’t fathom how people get 8 sts/inch on size 1 needles and I can barely get it on zeros knitting as tight as I can! But I digress…) Let’s just look at the pretty process pictures, shall we…

In roving form

Lagoon Roving

On the wheel

Lagoon Sheep to Shoe

Finished singles (with my friend AJ’s Lab/Rott mix, Bella. What A Sweetie Pie!)

Bella and finished singles

Plying (Don’t you love the spice jar shaker cap trick?  It makes the plies line up together in a nice orderly manner!)

Plying

Sooo skinny!

Skinny three ply

The niddy-noddy nearly killed me. I actually screwed it up and had to start over three times and narrowly avoided loosing my mind in a giant tangled mess!

Niddy Noddy

The tamed beast… all 750 yards of her.

Sheep to Shoe Kit - Lagoon

Sheep to Shoe Kit - Lagoon

I’m hoping I can get two pairs of socks out of this, but I’m not married to the idea. I think the first 100 yards or so has fairly regular color repeats, but then switches to barber pole the rest of the way. I’d be pretty impressed if someone could actually spin up this whole kit and get the colors to stay together. I might have to put aside the non-barber pole section for heels and toes or something like that otherwise I’ll get completely unmatched pairs. I must say, I’m quite pleased with myself. It was a big accomplishment in my book to conqueror this mountain of fiber. I am happy with the results.

In other spinning news.. I was taken by the impulse a few weeks ago to dye up some superwash merino for a simple hat. It might have had something to do with the six, totally full bottles of newly prepared dye solution in my fridge (Darn, where’s that pic!) In less than two hours, between work and dinnertime, I had two ounces of richly variegated dark blue/navy roving.

Handyed roving

I thought that would be enough to spin up a worsted weight two-ply for a simple but interesting pattern like this one, but let me tell you something. If you eve want to spin bulky, just spin 750 yards of laceweight three-ply and then jump right in to eagerly spinning worsted weight using long draw. I was so afraid of spinning too thin that I ended up with some pretty lofty yarn. I think if I had just stuck with short draw, I would have ended up with something with a tighter twist and less poof and hopefully more yardage.

Handdyed/Handspun Blues

What I do have here is 90ish yards that represents my pure unadulterated excitement about spinning bigger yarn. Which is O.K.  I just need to find a pattern for it and probably some more yarn to make up the the additional needed yardage. Any thoughts? I could dye up some more fiber to compliment it… Also I do have some nice greenish handspun that’s almost the same weight that looks good with it. My only concern is that it’s not superwash. Do you think that matters? I don’t have an individual photo of it, but you can see a fairly good representation of it on the bottom rung of this drying rack.

Lot's O' Handspun

I’m playing with the Brentwood Symphony this weekend,  (3pm on Sunday at Paul Revere Middle School on Allenford just north of San Vicente in Brentwood. It’s free!)  We’re doing a bunch of Leroy Anderson pieces and the Grieg Piano Concerto.  It’s actually a nice program and Richard Kaufman is conducting.  He’s a great guy and has worked with groups like Chicago Symphony and Dallas Symphony.  Ooh, I also just found out that David Shostac is going to be sitting in on principal flute.  I love playing with him! It should be fun.  Must go dig out some good reeds!

Have a great weekend all!

xo, Jill P.

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for the love of socks

Hi Jill B.

So I finally finished the socks that I intended to finish before the January installment of the Socks That Rock Club arrived.

Pattern: Combination of Monkey Socks by Cookie A., Los Monos Locos from Knitting Sutra and Cat Bordhi Riverbed Architecture, from New Pathways for Sock Knitters with her standard toe and reinforced heel.

Yarn: Socks That Rock Lightweight, Alina Colorway (Purchased at A Mano Yarn Center a few years ago)

Amount: 1 skein with some leftovers

Needles: Size 0, 32 inch circular, magic loop

Gauge: 8.5 sts/inch

Started: Mid-Jan 2008 Finished: March 12, 2008

Finished size: Snug on my size 7 1/2 foot and 8.5 instep

See it on Ravelry!

Since I used the Riverbed architecture to expand for the instep, there was some slight pooling. I like it, especially the pools of turquoise. I didn’t end up being a huge fan of the standard toe. I think maybe I should have made it a bit wider by casting on more stitches to start.

As soon as I finished, I cast on for the STR Club Serendipity Socks. I haven’t gotten very far, as you can see below, but I’m already really enjoying them. After my failed attempt at Cat Bordhi’s Bartholomew’s Tantalizing Socks, I was convinced that I was going to be a die hard toe-up sock knitter.  But I joined this club as a way to entice myself to try new techniques. Now that I have the hard earned experience and know that I can knit a pair of socks without running out of yarn, I can tell I’m going to enjoy knitting these…

I’m sort of hope that there is some pooling, but will be pleased with whatever they want to be.

BTW, you’d be so proud of me… I had about 2 hours to kill yesterday between work and orchestra rehearsal in Brentwood. I remembered about the huge sale at A Mano and was insanely tempted, as it was the first day of the sale and all. But I was strong. I went to Compatto (they were in the middle of working on updating their new online store.) and sat at the table and didn’t buy anything at all. Grace did try to tease me with the new soya cotton and hemp yarns, but I resisted. How can I blame her… it’s her job. Small victories for the yarn diet though! Speaking of diet. I am determined to get back to my regular YMCA routine. I’m aiming to go ride the elliptical machine today for a bit while catching up with the three ring circus that is our mainstream media news.

xo, Jill P.

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Pre-surgery preparation

Jill P.,

I think I have everything ready for tomorrow.  I was scheduled to get my wisdom teeth out on the 20th, but the oral surgeon called yesterday and asked if I wanted to move it up by a week.  The last couple of days I’ve been kind of busy trying to get everything lined up.  I went through my checklist and I think I have everything.

Soft food for the next few days:

Check.  I wish I had gotten pudding or jello or something.  Most of what I have is dairy products.

Entertainment:

Check and check.  That second picture was just way too blurry to see full size.  I also have my Wii and some books. 

Pain medication:

Check!  Same photo situation.  It took two trips to Kaiser at 10pm to get these babies.  That pharmacy is always packed.

Yarn wound into balls for a simple medicated-state-of-mind project:

Check!  That’s Brooks Farm Yarn Duet for a Clapotis.  Decided to finally tackle the world’s most knit project ever.  I then started to worry that it’s not mindless enough and decided to get it started a little early.

I think that’s all I need.  I have kind of found myself looking forward to the surgery.  It’s kind of messed up.  I haven’t been having much problem with my teeth, but I do like to imagine that their removal will change my life in a drastically better way.  Even though I had hoped to be able to have room in my mouth.  I would have liked to be able to harness the chewing power of two sets of third molars.  I am looking forward to the new experience of being under anesthesia and also of being under pain medication.  I also think it will be nice to have a four day weekend free of any obligations at all.  I don’t even need to feel bad if I don’t do any work on my hobbies at all. 

I think all this positive thinking is just setting myself up for a big disappointment.  I’m probably going to be in horrible pain all weekend and not able to do any of the fun things I imagine myself doing.  I’ll try to take a picture of my face all swollen and bruised up. 

I’ve been spending my last hard-food-chewing lucid moments on fun stuff.

You know, the Ostrich Plume Shawl and hard sticky foods.  Oh yeah, and an entire Trader Joes pizza I ate for dinner tonight.  I couldn’t eat left overs so I just crammed down the whole thing.  Right before a cupcake and a Rice Krispie square. 

Okay, time for bed.  Thanks again for driving me to and from my appointment!

Jill B.

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