Tuesday, July 29, 2008

2 New Yarns to DYE For!



I recently acquired TWO new yarns that I have to share. Both are by sponsors of my podcast (fancy that!) and both are created by fabulously talented yarn dyers....and I am so lucky to know them!

First, Valerie of Actual Size Creations sent me a skein of her new superwash merino sock yarn in colorway, "Serendipity". And, man...is this color perfect for me or what??? As soon as I opened up the package, I was drooling. I immediately brought it to show Jackie. Then, SHE drooled over it.

This colorway has dark gray, pinks, baby blues and some hints of purple and tiny hints of green. But, what MOST impressive is the way that it "mini-stripes"! I was amazed at how it could have this effect!



I spent most of the weekend making swatches and decided on just starting a sock with it. Not only is it very soft and wonderful to knit with, but it has a nice texture due to its firm twist.

YUM.

Next, I just bought another yarn from Heather of Sereknity.com (yes, another skein!) on Friday. She was at the Yarn and Fiber Co. store (where I work, of course) on Friday night....skeining and tagging her new yarns. As soon as I saw this, I begged her to let me buy it.



She was super, super nice about it and let me buy it right then. It's a huge skein of her merino/tussah silk laceweight, colorway, "Beach Glass". When you look at it, you automatically think...yeah, that's just what beach glass would look like.

HEAVEN.

And the yarn is just obscenely soft and shiny. I balled it up right away and can't wait to see what it looks like knit up. If only I could find the perfect pattern for it. Any ideas???

So, I think it's the perfect time to go and buy some of these yarns....what do you think?

P.S. Next time, a new FO and new pictures of the yarn store since it moved from Windham to Derry, NH! And, before I go, a couple of pics from our trip to VT this weekend....

1. Ian, Ben and Tim at a rest stop "playground" in Williston, VT:



2. Ian, Ben, Tim and Ian's sister, Felice...in mid jump at the hotel pool:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Meta Knight!


Am I getting a little obsessive?

I don't think I would have made another Super Smash Bros Brawl toy, but....after making Tim the Kirby doll, I couldn't very well not make a doll for Ben. Luckily, this was another round-ish toy, so I could use the same basic template as last time.

Look at how happy Ben is with his new guy....



And, I think, it came out pretty cool.

What do you think?

DETAILS:

Pattern: A modified version of Jess Hutchinson's "Spherey" doll from the booklet, "Unusual Toys For You to Knit and Enjoy". (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in White and Blue/Gray and Lamb's Pride Worsted in Royal Purple.
Needle: Size 5 dpns or Magic Loop
Time: Friday to Monday (with a day off to find more felt) - 3 days total
Extra Materials: Tapestry needle, scissors, felt (yellow, black, white and gray), blue material, gold pipe cleaners, needle and matching thread

Please click HERE for more pictures/angles and details on my Ravelry page.

Here are the modifications that I made to the "Spherey" pattern....

1. I only used the body portion of the pattern (not the arms and legs)
2. I left out rounds 25-29 of the body pattern, but left the rest the same.
3. I used a smaller needle size....and if you want to make one even smaller than mine, use a size 3 or 4 needle and thinner yarn...like sportweight.

After knitting up the body and stuffing it moderately full with polystuff, I designed some arms and feet, same as I used with the Kirby doll. I used the same size needle for all.



ARMS: (make 2)

CO 18 with WHITE yarn, join in the round, being careful not to twist, leaving a 12" or so tail for sewing to body.
Round 1-4: Knit
Round 5: (ssk, k5, k2tog)2x
Round 6: knit
Round 7: (ssk, k3, k2tog)2x
Round 8: knit
Round 9: (ssk, k1, k2tog)2x
Round 10: knit
Kitchener stitch top of hand closed. Stuff lightly and use tail to sew larger opening to the side of Meta Knight's body.

FEET: (make 2)

CO 18 with PURPLE yarn, join in the round, being careful not to twist, leaving a 12" or so tail for sewing to body.
Round 1-15: Knit
Round 16: (ssk, k5, k2tog)2x
Round 17: knit
Round 18: (ssk, k3, k2tog)2x
Round 19: knit
Round 20: (ssk, k1, k2tog)2x
Round 21: knit
Round 22: (sl1, k2tog, psso)2x
Round 23: knit
Kitchener stitch top of foot closed. Stuff lightly and use tails to sew larger openings to the underside of Meta Knight's body. Sew feet somewhat close together.

HINT: I like using Jess Hutchinson's sewing up technique...check out her book for more details. It makes a nice finish to the doll, with little "sewing up- look".



Well, like a sucker that I am, I'm in the process of making yet ONE MORE knitted toy before I go on to finishing up more half-knit pairs of socks. This time, it's the Elephante pattern...and, thank goodness, it's already fully written!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

KIRBY!

Look at what I made!!!



DETAILS:

Pattern: A modified version of Jess Hutchinson's "Spherey" doll from the booklet, "Unusual Toys For You to Knit and Enjoy". (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Superwash(worsted) in Ballerina pink and Red Pepper
Needle: Size 5 dpns (though Magic Loop would work just as well)
Size: 14" circumference, 5.5" tall
Time: Less than 24 hours...I started last night at knitting and finished this afternoon.
Extra Materials: Reddish purple colored pencil, felt (red, dark blue, light blue, and white), scissors, tapestry needle

Yup...it's a knitted Kirby doll...I'm so happy with the way it came out! After seeing Jackie's "Super Mario" doll (Ravelry link), Tim started begging me to make him a Kirby doll from his favorite Wii game, Super SmashBros Brawl.



I wasn't sure how I would go about making one...but then...seeing the "Spherey" doll that I made for Tim on his bed the other morning, I thought, "Hey, that body shape would look great for Kirby!"

Jackie gave me some of her leftover Swish yarn in pink and red and I started last night...right after I finished my pair of socks (more on that much later). Thank goodness for friends' stashes!

Man, we had SO much fun doing "photo shoots" with Kirby.....!



Here are the modifications that I made to the "Spherey" pattern....

1. I only used the body portion of the pattern (not the arms and legs)
2. I left out rounds 25-29 of the body pattern, but left the rest the same.
3. I used a smaller needle size....and if you want to make one even smaller than mine, use a size 3 or 4 needle and thinner yarn...like sportweight.

After knitting up the body and stuffing it moderately full with polystuff, I designed some arms and feet. I used the same size needle for all.

ARMS: (make 2)

CO 18 with PINK yarn, join in the round, being careful not to twist, leaving a 12" or so tail for sewing to body.
Round 1-4: Knit
Round 5: (ssk, k5, k2tog)2x
Round 6: knit
Round 7: (ssk, k3, k2tog)2x
Round 8: knit
Round 9: (ssk, k1, k2tog)2x
Round 10: knit
Kitchener stitch top of hand closed. Stuff lightly and use tail to sew larger opening to the side of Kirby's body.

FEET: (make 2)

CO 18 with RED yarn, join in the round, being careful not to twist, leaving a 12" or so tail for sewing to body.
Round 1-15: Knit
Round 16: (ssk, k5, k2tog)2x
Round 17: knit
Kitchener stitch top of foot closed. Stuff lightly and use tail to sew larger opening to the underside of Kirby's body. Sew feet somewhat close together (I left the butthole round, bottom opening in the middle of the feet).

HINT: I like using Jess Hutchinson's sewing up technique...check out her book for more details. It makes a nice finish to the doll, with little "sewing up- look".



FACE:

I used dark blue felt to cut 2 long, narrow ovals for the background of the eyes...then added lighter blue felt "shadows" and white felt circles for the pupils. I glued them together, let them dry and then sewed them onto the Kirby body...using matching thread, so that the stitches wouldn't show.

Then, I cut up a red half circle and sewed that to the face for the mouth.

Last, I used a reddish purple colored pencil to shade the oval/rectangular areas for the blushing cheeks.

Voila! A Kirby doll! (click HERE for my Ravelry link to this doll and more details)



Now...on to knitting.....META KNIGHT!!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Is My Son Deranged?



Again...no pictures of knitting OR spinning, but something very odd that I encountered in my house today.

BACKGROUND: Ben's been learning how to read and has started to recognize small words...which is great. But, now, he's very interested in "writing" his own stories...if you can call them that. I'm not trying to put down his abilities...not at all...but, well...these aren't quite stories....I'm afraid that they're more like thoughts of a perhaps alien silly boy.

Here is an example.

SET-UP: We were all sitting in the living room....Ian and I were taking turns reading with Ben on the couch and Tim was practicing on the keyboard (which he's getting very good at, by the way).

Ben decided to dictate a "nursery rhyme" (and I use the term VERY loosely here) to us that he'd thought up himself. Ian and I were very impressed that he had this idea in mind and were excited to help him write it down.

As we wrote, we could barely keep from falling on the floor with tears in our eyes. O-M-G!

As soon as we were done transcribing the alleged (again....a highly suspect term here) "nursery rhyme", Ben asked me to read it out loud to him.

As I soon as I was done reading it, Tim comes into the room and says, "That's NOT a nursery rhyme! That's the ravings of a deranged mind!" , then sadly shook his head and went to his room.

And here is how it goes...

Ben-X Nursery Rhyme

I'm Ben-X, ta-ta and I'm caso-caso. Hello, you're cool.
You're a poopy-head. I need poopyheads, tox 2!
I need some brother to fill my brain.
Yeah, I'm purpey, but there's X on the clouds.
I need a brain, Man!
I'm highly toxic.
I need some blobbies.
I need Ben-Black!

The end.


So, for all of you who have children, feel free to lovingly read this nursery rhyme to them before bed tonight...though I take NO responsiblity for any children turning into poopyheads.

Good night.

And, yes, I WILL be blogging about knitting and/or spinning again. Sometime. I hope soon.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Whew...done!

Jeez....it's been FOR-E-VER since I posted. Is anyone still out there??? (tap tap tap) Helllloooooo!

I'm happy (and truly relieved) to say that I finally finished up the projects I was working on and made my deadline....woo-hoo! I have to say, though...that, right now, I've lost some of my will to knit. Because of the frantic non-stop knitting and pattern designing over the past month, knitting became more like work than fun, which is horribly sad, if you think about it. I guess anything can lose it's dazzle if there's a pressured feeling behind it.

Not that I don't like designing things....because I really do! I have so many ideas in my head just floating around and, while most of them are crap, some of them are actually friggin awesome kinda nice. It's disappointing when a good idea doesn't translate well from mind to paper to yarn, but maybe someday I'll have some sort of brain surgery epiphany and things will come together. (can you tell I like the striking feature?)

So, have you ever designed something? Or had an idea for a garment or knitted/crocheted item? Have you made a swatch and tried it out? If so, share! If I can do it, anyone can!

Anyway, now that everything's knit, blocked, mailed out, signed, and photographed....it's a tiny bit of a letdown, but now I can concentrate on the one thousand couple of other projects I want to get to....love those strikes. If I can get my "spark" back. I'll spare all of you by not listing all of them...it's summer, after all, and time for everyone to find a pool, ocean or air conditioning! (and, of course, your knitting!)

Happy Summer Day!

P.S. Ben says, "Want some ice cream?"

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

New Podcast! Episode 15: Pattern Palooza


After braving a broken power source on my laptop, a podcast script outline that completely disappeared, slightly cranky kiddies and many weekend visitors, I finally, finally finished up the new podcast! Woo-hoo!

I think I was a bit rusty with recording and had a few sound "blips" here and there but, overall, I think it went o-kay. You'll have to let me know. I was feeling a bit silly last night, so I added a couple of funny songs to the podcast...hope they bring a smile to your face.

I haven't got much new to show you in terms of photos of knitted or spun projects at the moment, but I'm sure I'll have more after my deadline is past.

I do have one AWESOME piece of news, though. Got an email last night from Tasha asking if it was okay to talk about my Lisha Lace Scarf on Lime and Violet's Daily Chum. I mean....ahhhhhh! Is it possible for anyone to actually say the word "no"?

First, I screamed and made Ian drop the carton of milk he was holding. Then, I had to explain why this was so super fantastic (for which his response was something like, "I didn't understand a word you just said. Calm down and talk to me in a voice that doesn't hurt dogs' ears.") and, THEN, I called Jackie and to tell her the news but not sure now that she actually understood my loud babbling....maybe because I told her the news and then said I had to put Ben to bed now and hung up. I can just picture her sitting with the phone to her ear saying, "Huh?"

Before I end, I'll leave you with all necessary podcast links:

PODCAST

You can download it on iTunes under "Sleepy Eyes Knits", HERE or from the right sidebar.

"Lisha Lace Scarf" CONTEST Rules

Listen to the near end of the podcast for more information, but here is the general info:

-Buy ANY Sleepy Eyes Pattern from July 1st to August 1st to be entered into a drawing for your very own skein of Sereknity's "Luxe", 100% cashmere, fingering weight yarn! (perfect for the Lisha Lace Scarf!)

Patterns are available for purchase on my blog home page, Ravelry and also One Planet Yarn and Fiber under Black Pearl patterns (Haiku Flower Socks) or Yarn Botanika patterns, (Radiance Lace Headbands, Lovely Waters Tablerunner).

-The more patterns you buy, the more chances you have to win.

-EMAIL ME (very important) when you've bought a pattern, just in case I don't receive the notification from Paypal...and I'll add your name to the list of entries.

-Second and third place winners will also be chosen...with luscious yarns or other goodies...as prizes.

-Winners drawn on August 2nd and blogged/notified that week.


SPONSORS

Sereknity and Sereknity Boutique

Actual Size Creations

Lora's Keyhole

Down To Hearth Soap by Ericka

Wow....NEW STUFF!

1. Keychains from Lora's Keyhole

2. Debra's Garden Needle Gauge Pendants

3. Kamibashi String Doll Gang

SONGS

Oland with "I Heard Boobs on Howard Stern"

The Fump with Robert Lund, "50 Ways to Lose Your Luggage"

Let me know what you think of the new podcast or if you have any suggestions or comments!

Gina ; )