Thursday, June 29, 2006

Visit with the ManchVegas Knitters!

Welcome to a little peak into my knitting group. We're the ManchVegas Knitters....who get together EVERY Wed (rain or shine, snow or sleet, frisky or wounded...) at the Barnes and Noble cafe in Manchester, NH from 5:30 pm or so "until we can't knit no more". Yes, sometimes we meet in the front of the store (squished and huddled behind the magazines) for the Knot of Knitters group hosted by the store (and accompanied by the lovely Martha) and other times, we might meet at Joanne's store, A Knitter's Garden, but otherwise we're as regular as clockwork.

First, I'll introduce, the two lovebirds...our newly engaged couple...Chris and Ericka....Ericka created our online yahoo group and is our resident Links Master, Group Moderator, and Sock Mentor...if there's anything you need or can't find, ask Ericka. Here's she's working on two socks at once using the Magic Loop method and KnitPicks sock yarn. Chris is our Computer Guru, Metalworker, Working with Wood Guy (who REALLY follows through with projects), and overall Good Guy of the group. He's working on his very first sock!





Next, we have the EXPERTS of the group....when you're in any kind of knitting trouble (dropped stitches, extra stitches, what the H*LL did I DO??? situations), you find Donna and Denise. Donna is here on the left, seen hiding behind her beautiful basket weave knitted project...she is the Fixing Angel and, besides being super sweet, caring and talented, is a WHIZ with patterns helping you when you're ready to give up. Denise is the Master Knitter of the group and that's not just me talking....she's got her certificate! Not only that...she's a tough ass lawyer who is not only hilarious, friendly and extraordinarily talented, but you could just kill her for the gorgeous knitted items she churns out. Look at the Dale of Norway baby dress she knitted here....with lace, intarsia AND steeking!!!! EEEK!




Lucille is the only one besides me from our original group that started at B&N about 4 years ago this November. She quilts and crochets, as well as knits and makes some wonderful things for her grandson, her church and other charities. She's knitting a hat out of cool sock yarn at the moment. On the right is Sarah, who is training to be a massage therapist (oooh!) and has made some great knitted items (and crochet, too!) as well. Look at that beautiful pink baby blanket!




Here is one of our newer members, Rose, and her daughter Sara, who is just learning to knit. Rose is not only a super knitter and oh- so friendly, but has her own skincare business called Remembrance Botanicals. She makes the most AMAZING lotions, bath salts, sprays, soaps and lip balms. She made me a coconut lip balm that is so delicious smelling, I've almost eaten it (twice!)....she also offers scents like Raspberry Chocolate lotion, Island Breeze bath salts, Almond Joy soap and lots of Lavender as well : )





This is the ADORABLE Amanda who is wonderfully funny and super sweet. She brings the "sugar" and "spice" into our group. You always know when Amanda has arrived by the sound of her sexy heels clicking! In this pic, she's wearing the sweater that her grandmother made for her mother over 20 years ago. It's beyond awesome. You have to see it up close to appreciate the beauty of it. Lucky Amanda! Next to her is Melissa, who is knitting her very first Jaywalker sock. It's coming out terrific! You can always count on Melissa for a bright, friendly smile and a compliment on your knitting.




Finally, we have the two SPITFIRES of the group. On the left is Dan, who recently joined our group with his partner, Matt. He's just finishing the second sock of his very first pair! He's also knitting an Irish Clan sweater for his grandmother...can't wait to see how it comes out. Dan supplies us with hilarity (spelling?) and with the perfect comeback lines you wish you had said! And last, but most certainly not least, is our very own Lovely Laurin ....confidante, resident Speed Frogger of Knitting, "I-say-what-I-want-and-to-hell-with-everyone-else", super awesome Scrapbook Chick and "couldn't have the group without her" gal. She's seen (or not seen) here holding up her newly designed lace scarf using none other than my own hand-dyed 100% Duke silk yarn. Isn't that gorgeous??



And, to close, a picture of my modest little sample sock using my newest dyeing experiment...."Wild Watermelon" self striping sock yarn (which Laurin bought immediately and now I have to make MORE!). I used Trek's Little Rune free sock pattern, which was totally fun to knit and I very much recommend for your next sock. What'd ya think?



If you're ever in the area, there's no better knitting group to visit than ours...we're friendly, fun, loud, hilarious, and we SO ROCK with our knitting. Every one of us is special and interesting and I'm so lucky to be a part of this group : ) (Please help me wipe the tears away.....)

Monday, June 26, 2006

An Answer to a Question...KSKS buddy

Hmmm, I noticed that I forgot to answer this question for my KSKS buddy:

13. Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object?

The answer to this is here: Garden Party Socks.

These socks are knit in Cascade Fixation and also Elann Esprit...that white looks amazing.

I'm also dying for the book by Nancy Bush..."Knitting Vintage Socks"...not as a hint, but a general idea of what I like. (I'm really NOT greedy....well, I guess to some degree with yarns, right Donna!)

I promise more photos tomorrow and also recommendations for two super online places....one to get your knitting organized and another to find fantastic dyed fibers....(though I maintain my Utter Loyalty to Lisa of Yarn Botanika and her super sock yarns and delicious, beautiful fibers/spindle kits).

Have a super relaxing evening....(if you have kids home on summer break...I wish you a solitary hour of quiet, bliss, wine and a nice long bath) ; )

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Where Have All the Pictures Gone?

I promised pictures...and pictures are what you shall have!!! Grab your purses and follow me to the BBG! (not at all related to the BBC)

To start off the Bountiful Blogging Gallery, we have our own Julie, modeling super cute socks that she knit using my handpainted, varigated "Sleepy Sunrise" merino sock yarn. Can we have a round of applause here?



Next, we're featuring my absolutely awesome rainbow handspun singles yarn (1 ply) using a Blue Faced Leicester (BFL...not AT ALL in association with any big f***ing losers...you and your dirty minds!) batt that I bought from the amazing Shell at Rose Garden Fibers. Not only is this yarn sinfully soft, but it's also self striping! A close up, as well, to REALLY see the colors.



Let us proceed on the journey through my BBG and focus on some sexy, red hot yarn that I call "Luscious Lips". These are only two skeins in a set of 4 that I will be spinning up....they'll probably be put into my store within the next month, unless my knitting friend, Ericka, decides to scoop it all up. I'll include a scarf pattern to go with the 4 skeins (which will all be slightly different, but using the same fiber in some part of the yarn) and cute beads, as well. The handpainted fiber is one (of many) that I bought from our own Lisa of Yarn Botanika. If only I could kidnap her....and her fibers!



Here, we stop to have a quick laugh at the humorous display in my BB Gallery. I created a Mini Magnet Garden using new Interweave refrigerator magnets I bought last night from Joanne's shop, A Knitter's Garden...once she gets her website set up, I can link her name up for you!



Last, but very certainly not least, I present to you...my wonderful audience...and dear knitting friends....

KIRBY KIIRJU!!!!



Yes, he is totally adorable. Yes, I created him using the Spin Off magazine "Estonian Hand Puppet" pattern that I saw in the latest, most interesting issue this year. And, oh, yes, I used only my own handspun yarn to make him....!!!!

The white is a merino/angora blend that I grabbed lustily from the NH Sheep and Wool and the purple/periwinkle is made of a bfl/tussah silk blend that I got as a gift from Lisa. Bless her heart!!!

He is SOOOO soft...oh, I wish you could feel him. He's like butt-ah.

Come close and give him a little kiss....mwwwah!

(now seriously)

Thank you all for visiting my Bountiful Blogging Gallery and I wish you all a very good day...feel free to linger and feel a bit of greediness towards the new yarns...but, please, don't drool on the carpet : P

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Taupe Teddy Socks Pattern

Sorry...no pics today (though I have a blog entry in progress with many adorable pics, so wait and see!). Promised the toddler sock pattern, but now thinking that there may not be many of you who will have a toddler with size 10 feet to use this pattern for.

Oh, well, will share it with you anyway. (I'm sure there will be mistakes...my brain and nerves are currently going beserk and/or are on vacation, so please bear with me....if you find mistakes, I'd love to know so I can fix em')

SIZE: To fit a size 10 toddler foot, 7" circumference, 6.5 inch foot
GAUGE: 6.25 stitches per inch
YARN: 1 ball of your favorite color Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (I used color 340102). 55% merino wool, 35% microfiber, 12% cashmere. 125 yards. 50 grams.
NEEDLES: size 3 dpns

LEG:

-CO 44 stitches. Join in round, being careful not to twist stitches. Work in 2x2 ribbing (k2, p2) for 2 inches.
Place 22 stitches (half of stitches cast on) on a holder (yarn, actual holder or another needle). Turn the whole needle with the other 22 stitches in front of you, with yarn on left side, so you will be able to work the "wrong" or inside of the sock.

HEEL FLAP:

Row 1-*slip 1 stitch purlwise, k1,....,repeat from * across row. Row 2-slip 1 purlwise, purl across row. Repeat rows 1 and 2 (6) more times.

TURN HEEL:

-Slip1 pw, knit 14, k2tog, k1, turn.
-Slip 1 pw, p7, p2tog, p1, turn.
-For the rest of the heel, slip the first stitch pw, knit until 1 stitch before the "gap", knit (or purl) the two together and then knit (or purl) one more. Turn around and work the other side. Continue with these rows until all the stitches have been worked.

On the right side, knit across 8 stitches and put on a "temp" needle. Pick up 8 stitches along heel flap (where the slipped stitch "holes" are) on anther needle. This is needle 1.

Put instep stitches that were on a holder back onto one needle (this is needle 2) and continue the ribbing pattern across. Using a new needle (needle 3), pick up 8 stitches along the other side of the needle flap and, using this same needle, knit across the 8 stitches on the "temp" needle. Mark the end of this needle 3 as the beginning of the round. You should have 16 stitches on needles 1 and 3 and 22 on needle 2.

DECREASING:

Round 1-Knit to within 3 stitches of the end of needle 1, k2tog, k1. Rib along instep stitches on needle 2. K1, ssk, and then knit to the end of needle 3.

Round 2-Knit across needles 1 and 3. Ribbing along needle 2.

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until needles 1 and 3 each have 11 stitches (back to the 22 stitches total for heel)

FOOT:

-Knit across needle 1, rib across needle 2, knit across needle 3 until foot meaures 5 inches (or 1.5 inches less than desired length from back of heel).

TOE:

Round 1-Knit to within 3 stitches of end of needle 1, k2tog, k1. K1, ssk,...knit,....k2tog, k1 on needle 2. K1, ssk, knit...to the end of needle 3.

Round 2-Knit around all stitches.

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until there are 6 stitches each on needles 1 and 3 and 12 stitches on needle 2.

Kitchener Stitch these stitches together. Sew in all ends. Give to your toddler and watch them SMILE!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

For My KSKS Buddy!

Hi KSKS buddy! Before I list my favorite stuff, I want to show a couple pics...the first is some of the gorgeous, ruby jewel-like roses that I found in the yard yesterday...WOW! Aren't they fantastic?



Next, is the KSKS bag I knit for my own KSKS buddy....a Booga Bag out of the leftovers of 5 balls of Noro Kureyon of my other knitting friends' bags...thanks Donna, Amanda, Ericka, and Laurin!



Okey, dokey....here's my answers to the KSKS questionnaire:

1. What are your favorite colors? Pink, pastels of all colors, vibrant and soft blues and fushia, royal purple.

2. Are you a new sock knitter? Nope.  How long have you been knitting socks? I've been knitting socks for about 3 years.

3. Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn? I think I'd prefer a multicolor sock yarn, but if it's one of my favorite colors, I would also like solids...or semi-solids..even better.

4. What fibers do you prefer in sock yarn? I prefer superwash wool, tencel and/or silk. I really hate knitting with cotton or acrylic...kills my hands!

5. Where do you usually knit socks?  I knit my socks anywhere...with the kiddies, while cooking, waiting in lines and sitting down.

6. How do you usually carry/store small projects? I have cool sock bags from Trek and also my super friend, Jackie.

7. What are your favorite sock knitting patterns? I love Fiber Trends sock patterns and also Knitting Pure and Simple. I'm not too fussy about patterns...as long as they aren't for knee high socks!

8. What are your favorite sock knitting techniques? I use dpns, 2 circs and will sometime try the Magic Loop.

9. What new techniques would you like to try? Magic Loop

10. Do you prefer circulars or dpns for sock knitting? Well, I prefer dpns if it's something quick and easy but 2 circs if it's a more challenging pattern.

11. What are some of your favorite yarns? LOVE, LOVE Socks that Rock, Lorna's Laces, Cherry Tree Hill Supersock yarn and Yarn Botanika sock yarns.

12. What yarn do you totally covet? Socks that Rock...in any color.

13. Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object?

14. Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)? For dpns,, Clover Takumi bamboo or Crystal Palace bamboo or circs, I prefer Addi Turbos (silver is best, but naturals are good, too).

15. If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be? Probably I'd be La Gran Mohair in pale pink...something warm, soft, snuggly, slightly puffy (aka busty), strong on the inside and reliable. Also, rarely, somewhat clingy.

16. Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack? Chocolate!!! (milk with toffee or with nuts or anything) I also really like Pear JellyBelly Jelly Beans.

17. What’s your favorite animal? Dragonfly

18. Do you have pets? What are their species/names/ages? Two black cats (Mr. B and Jack, both male...9 and 7) and one white angora bunny (8 months) named Miss Tubbsie.

19. If you were a color what color would you be? Pale, fuzzy pink

20. Describe your favorite shirt (yours or someone else’s)....uh, I like a v-neck tshirt that's soft, a color I like and is feminine and pretty....Old Navyhas good stuff.

21. What is your most inspiring image, flower, or object in nature? Flowers and trees in New Hampshire.

22. Tell me the best quote you’ve ever heard or read: Well, I would if I could remember it...something about you can never have enough books or yarn, which is SO true.

23. Do you have a wishlist? Yes, it's on Amazon...look under Gina House...(did I really need to say that? duh)

**and yes, I PROMISE to put up my Toasty Teddy Toddler Socks pattern tomorrow!**

Have a SUPER day!!! G : )

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Spinning's Got a Hold On Me.....

What do you think of this???



Gorgeous, isn't it? It's a Rainbow Blue Faced Leicester wool batt (separated into each color "puff") to spin into a rainbow self striping yarn. I can't wait to see how it comes out!!! This is only HALF the amount I have....the other half is snuggled down deep in my closet, waiting patiently to see the light of day. I bought this fiber from Rose Garden Fibers....a wonderful e-shop for handspun yarn, spindles and fibers (when available).

Finally, FINALLY chained myself to a chair and finished my Jaywalker socks...didn't think I'd ever finish the second one. Only thing is...(shhh..don't tell anyone, okay?), the left sock is 1 inch taller than the right. Ooops. If you don't look too closely, you can't tell, but I realized it (a bit too late) after finishing sock #2. This pic gracefully disguises the top of the socks, though I wish it wasn't so dark in my living room.



Next, get ready for this....

Cute and adorable TOESIES!!!!



Yes, Ben's toes are almost good enough to eat...me, I like baby toes...they're like little carrots and I just HAVE to nibble on them and tickle them every chance I get. It's almost a disappointment to see Ben's foot in his sock and not out, all wiggly and woggly. (No, I don't think that's a word, but who cares? I make up my own, don't you?)

This sock is one of the first sock patterns I've made myself. Will be posting it later on in the week. Nothing fancy and it will only fit your child if she/he's got a size 10 toddler shoe and has a foot circumference of 7"... but, hey, it's a free pattern, right? I'm calling it the Teddy Toes Sock for Toddlers (or one toddler, anyway).

Oh, guess what? I got the new Spin-Off magazine in the mail (a Christmas gift from Lovely Laurin) and it has the cutest, most adorable pattern for spinning and knitting your own Estonian Hand Puppet. I totally freaked out with excitement while reading it (saying "oh, wow!" and "look at that!", until my husband had to leave the bedroom). I got a super, super gift from Lisa the other day...a silky, softy, periwinkly puff of bfl/tussah silk and I spun it into some 2 ply yarn....which, I will tell you, is ORGASMICALLY SOFT! Went right into the cleavage...which was okay, you know, because it's yarn for ME!

Next, I spun some white merino/angora that I got from the NH Sheep and wool and made another 2 ply yarn. This one is like cloud of heaven....wispy, soft, puffy and very light. Oh, I love it! Feast your eyes upon it....



Both of these yarns are being made into one of the Estonian Sheep Puppets and I will post updates..though it's a small project, it's not very simple...at least for a beginner like me.

Is that all? Hmm...oh, yeah, Laurin and I are planning a majorly cool trip to South Burlington, VT to knit, chat, shop, dine out and watch movies...and shop some more. And maybe have a little wine...and, my favorite, hot chocolate (I'm totally not opposed to cold chocolate, either). I cannot WAIT to go....packing my bags now...less than a month to go....the COUNTDOWN BEGINS!

Friday, June 09, 2006

No Treks for Trekking

Darn it...all week has been raining, raining, raining....the grass is super wet and is practically up to my knees...though I guess that's not saying much since I'm only a little over 5 feet tall. So, there have been no "Treks" with my Trekking socks and I'm bummed. Bummed. Bummed. Here is a pic of how far I was two days ago....by the way, I'm doing both socks at once, so I was this far on both socks, but only happened to have one with me at that moment:



As of today, I've got both heels turned and am working on the legs of both socks. They're coming along pretty quickly : )

Oh, guess what? I received an email from The Comfy Bev the other day, who was my DyeORama pal that I sent sock yarn to. She sent me a swatch pic of the self striping yarn! It was like seeing someone's baby...or even my baby! I was like, "AWWWW!"...so cute! You can see the "Marigolds at Twillight" yarn and swatch below. What do you think?



Finally, last but certainly not least, a couple of pics of the yarn that I made for Rose...who has a wonderful business making homemade soaps, lotions, lip balms, sprays, etc, which I will go into next week. Her business is called, "Remembrance Botanicals" and her business card, which I wish I'd taken pics of has colors of purple, hunter green and cream. She asked me to make her some sock yarn (out of this gorgeous, shiny merino/tencel fingering weight yarn I had) with these colors. Was VERY nervous, since I"m not quite comfortable with custom colors yet, but the results were wonderful!

I call this "Violets for Rose" colorway:




Although I love making self striping yarn, I just have to list the time it takes me to make it, just in case some of you were thinking of doing this. It's really a labor of love.

1. Wind skein of yarn onto board, usually 300-400 yards (40 minutes)
2. Soak yarn with 1 tsp. dishwashing liquid for superwash wools (overnight)
3. Gently squeeze out excess water and place on plastic bags on the counter for handpainting (10 minutes)
4. Get dyes, white vinegar and other supplies ready (20 minutes)
5. Hand paint yarn in striping pattern using sponge brushes (30 minutes or more)
6. Gently squeeze out excess water and wrap in plastic wrap for steaming (10 minutes)
7. Steam yarn (30 minutes)
8. Let yarn cool (20 minutes)
9. Soak cooled yarn in water/Euclan/Conditioner mixture (3 or more hours)
10. Squeeze out excess water and hang to dry (1-2 days, depending on weather)
11. Put yarn back on board, unwind and make into hanks on my niddy noddy (1 hour)

Whew! Even though it's such a pain to do, it's very fun (except the winding and unwinding part) and I just LOVE the way the yarn comes out in the end. I only need to make some for ME now!

Happy YarnOLicious Day!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Socks that DO Rock!

A totally picturesque blog today of socks...huge 16 skein sock yarn order from Blue Moon Fiber Arts' "Socks That Rock", socks knit by a friend and socks knit by ME! Enjoy!



Socks that Rock colorways: County Clare, Jade, Fire on the Mountain, Lapis, Red Rock Canyon, and Ruby Slippers



STR colorways: Queen Rock, Iolite, Azure Malachite, County Clare, Jade, Fire on the Mountain



STR colorways: Watermelon Tourmaline, Pebbles, Blue Moonstone, Queen Rock, Iolite



STR colorways: Fire on the Mountain, Prism, Ruby Slippers, Sapphire, Watermelon Tourmaline, Pebbles (very blurry)

(there were two Ruby Slippers and two Fire on the Mountains, just to clarify...the rest are just part of another picture)

*I must admit here that I did a little drooling over these yarns, wiping them off carefully afterwards, of course, and LOTS of rubbing on my cheek. I DID think about doing the "breast cleavage hug" also known as the BCH, but I know my fellow knitters would probably rather I NOT do this to their yarn, so I restrained myself. Barely.*

Now, on to the socks that I knitted for my sister, Kim. I used Opal Yarn and used my own "pattern"...I made the socks unmatched on purpose for fun and I think they look very unique like this. This yarn was very fun to work with and I liked being surprised at what striping came next....



Finally, last but not least, is my friend Dan's FIRST ever knitted socks! They look awesome and he did a great job on them. He worked so hard on them...I wish my first pair of socks had looked like this!



Have a super SockORiffic day.....more updates on my Trekking socks next time...it's been raining since the knitalong started, so no hiking or trekking for me...except to the mailbox or out to the store...not at all exciting.

G : )

Friday, June 02, 2006

Trekking...The First Days.

Thought I'd have finished my second Jaywalker sock by now....it was my goal to finish it before June 1st, so that I could freely start the Trek Along With Me knit along. But, I suck, so I've only got half the foot done and not the whole darn foot. Okay, maybe I don't really suck, but I was helping my friend Lucille with her sock at knitting Wed night and it completely messed up my brain....I don't think I can follow two different sock patterns at the same time. Maybe when I was younger..... ha ha : P

So, this is the progress I've made on my Trekking sock...I wasn't able to hike out anywhere fun today...it's wet and rainy and the farthest I walked was to the forsynthia bush next to my mailbox.



This was my gear yesterday, getting ready to start the sock:



(Funny story...before I forget...I had this BRILLIANT idea that taking pictures of the yarn on my really nice, weathered picket fence would look so cool..especially with the lilac bush in the background. Now, if you knew me, you'd know that I'm prone to random acts of spontaneous stupidity, which I think are the greatest ideas EVER...so anyway, I balanced the yarn on the top of the fence (yes, I know....why, why???) and, before I could even pick up the camera, it fell on the other side of the fence.

ugh.

Now, if you also knew that I had on my white lace (semi sheer) sleeveless nightgown at the time, you'd laugh even harder. Not only that, but I thought that since the fence was so high and I couldn't possibly reach over it to get my yarn, I'd go AROUND the fence and get it.

ugh.

Another bad idea. I didn't realize that hundreds of poison ivy plants live happily clustered against the other side of the fence (we've only been living here since August) and I walked through all of them to pick up my yarn. Then, I started to itch.

ugh.ugh.oh.god.

Luckily, my hubby had said a while ago that, if you do it quickly, rubbing soap and water on the places immediately will stop the rash from actually starting. I not only did that, but added an inch of hydrocortisone cream to my arms and legs. And, thank the Yarn Goddess, I was SAVED! yea!)

Before I close (and to give me a chance to find my dignity again), I'd like to show you two new yarns that I dyed...

This one is called "BeachComber" and is a self patterning yarn in stone grays, sand, creamy clouds and splashes of turquoise. It's a worsted weight merino sock yarn...sorry, gals, it's already been taken!



Next is a yarn called "Mother Earth's Garden" and is self striping in deep gray, dusty rose, light and medium olive green and tomato orange/red. It's a sportweight merino superwash...and, sorry...yes, that's been bought, too.



Before you leave for an enjoyable, hopefully knittingful weekend, I want to share a pic of a gorgeous flower outside the bay window of my living room. Isn't it the prettiest color PINK???

Thursday, June 01, 2006

See Where I KNIT and SIT

A short, but sweet entry today...busy packing and sending out the contest prizes (oh, how exciting!!!)....here are the places where I sit and knit. They're pretty self-explanatory....at least I think so. Don't be fooled by the neatness of the house....these pics were took very soon after we moved it, so it hadn't gotten a chance to be messy yet...which it frequently is! : P

The Kitchen:



The White Room/Playroom:



The White Chair by the Sliding Glass Doors and Woodstove:



The Bedroom:



The Living Room Chairs:



I have to admit here that I "stole" this idea from not only the Yarn Harlot's Blog, but also Scout's Blog. Shame Shame! But, in my defense, it IS a really cool idea and they inspired me (aka cast-their-wonderfully-evil-and-truly-interesting-blogging-ideas-and-think-I-won't-copy-them) to do it : P

So...the next question is....

Where do YOU sit and knit???