Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Teddy Gained a Sweater, I Lost 50 Pounds!



"Poor Teddy is so cold!", says my 6 year old. "He needs a sweater!"

So, in my mind, the ONLY thing to do in this situation is to whip out the laptop and check Ravelry. Wouldn't you? (he he)

Almost immediately, we found the pattern, "Monkster's Sweater" and we both thought it was adorable. We rushed out to the yarn store (which I'd just left at 1 pm) just before they closed to pick out yarn. Ben chose 3 skeins of Noro Kureyon in color 226 - a blend of dark greens, reds, dark orange, purple and blues. It wasn't a color I would usually pick, but Ben (and Teddy) loved it.

I was so psyched to make this (after knitting the baby cardigan on size 2s for so long, I wanted something quick and fun) that I ended up working on it all night and made it in 4 hours! I was so much fun to knit and I'm very glad that I ended up spending a little more on the yarn because the sweater came out FANTASTIC!! (I'm even thinking of making Ben a sweater in the same yarn to match)

You can find details of this project HERE on Ravelry...I also added some hints and things like that, too.

Hmmm...what else is new? Well, I finished my Fabulous Scarf (see pattern link on right or HERE on Ravelry) out of the remainder of the Ivy Brambles Superwash Worsted to go with the Amanda Hat - both shop samples.

What do you think?


I think it's pretty convenient that you can make both out of only 1 skein - would make a really cute gift for someone, I think. I just used the same size needle that I used for the hat to make the scarf and, although the yarn in thinner, the scarf comes out lacier and has a nicer drape. Plus, the colors of this yarn are sooo pretty!

I'm still working on the baby cardigan, which I need to finish in the next week or so...and I'm designing a new pattern, too, which is super fun to make (of course I'd say that, right! LOL)

I have a new FREE earth-friendly pattern coming out right before Earth Day in April, so keep an eye out for that, k?

Oh, and before I forget.....guess what???

I finally made my second goal of 50 POUNDS lost on WW!!!!!

I'm very happy and I'm crossing my fingers that I can keep it up until I reach my goal weight. (please, please)

Here are the things I do everyday to stay on track:

1. Exercise for at least 30-40 minutes (a mixture of aerobics, Wii Fit and yoga) 6 times a week or more
2. Be vigilant about keeping track of every single thing I put in my mouth in my WW journal
3. Eat one Flat Belly Diet food with every 8 point (approx. 400 calorie) meal - this TRULY keeps me fuller and more satisfied
4. Drink at least 64 oz of filtered water per day...or more
5. Knit or spin whenever I feel like I want to eat
6. Eat more veggies, fruit and protein than carbs (I love carbs) because carbs make me so much more hungry - and I eat one carb per meal, but it's whole grain and full of fiber.
7. Only eat out once a week at a restaurant, if possible. (sometimes, it's twice, but if I do go out again, I only order a salad and grilled chicken and bring my own dressing)
8. Journal!!! (I can't tell you how addicted I am to journaling - even my iPhone has a Gratitude Journal app!)
9. Take some nice, deep yoga breaths (with or without music) to make me feel calmer
10. Eat my favorite food once a week so I don't feel deprived - but I make sure to count the points.


And, finally, a picture of me from last week with my new haircut - you can't tell, but back is to my collar and the front angles towards my face and it's longer. Do you like it? (My oldest took the picture -he's so nice)



This week I lost just under 4 pounds to make my goal. I'm freezing all the time now, but it's sooo worth it to feel better and fit more easily in my clothes. AND, I'm actually looking forward to my yearly doctor's appointment this year. Go figure!

I wanted to thank everyone who posted supportive and loving words on my weight loss - I can't tell you how much it means to me. You're like my Blogging Cheering Section and I love you guys for it. Really : )

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I Spun, I Dyed...and I will Knit. (Sometime)

Look at what I made!!



After a year (off and on...mostly off...lol) of spinning this fiber, I'm finally DONE!!!

I bought this fiber at last year's NETA Spa Retreat in Freeport, ME from the Fresli Farm booth. I'd never spun either Icelandic Lambswool or mohair before and I was excited to try it. It had such a nice feeling - not soft - but interesting and touchable...and fuzzy.

One of my spinning goals is to try to spin a consistent, 2 ply laceweight yarn...I thought I'd done it this time...but, sadly, I was not quite in the laceweight catagory.



I was able to spin a 2 ply light fingering at 20 wpi (wraps per inch), though...and it came out really nice.



After it was all spun, plied and set, I thought that the yarn wasn't quite as white as I'd hoped and decided it would be fun to dye it as well. So....I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what color I wanted.



I took at look at that pattern that I'd like to use for this handspun, The Spinner's Lace Shawl (very appropriate I think!), and thought that the yarn was calling out for a light turquoise.

After some trial and error in mixing the dyes, I came up with this color. AND I LOVE IT!



Only thing is...the pattern calls for 600 yards of laceweight/light fingering and I've only got 520 yards of my handspun. I thought I'd have enough, but not quite>. So, what I think I'll do is...

1. Use a larger needle and hope that I can finish it close to the end (and hope it fits) or do I repeat less.

OR

2. Knit the edging in another of my handspun yarns in a coordinating color or use a yarn from my stash that matches.

Any other ideas??

Now, I'm not sure when I'll start this...I'm still working on the Golle Molle Baby Cardigan, some Lisha Lace Scarf samples for Heather and my Fabulous Scarf (see link on right) store sample using Ivy Brambles new yarn, "Superwash Worsted" in colorway "Tulips" (see below for matching hat). But...I WILL knit it soon...probably around my birthday in May.

Here are other FO's that I've worked on or finished since the last time I blogged (soooo long ago!! he he):

The Amanda Hat



I used the Ivy Brambles yarn I mentioned above (available HERE) and it came out very cute. I love the pooling and color pattern it made with my hat pattern. (I think Ben looks adorable in it, too)

Crocheted Dishsoap Aprons



I saw these and knew I had to make them ASAP...they were sooo much fun to make (and I'm really only a beginning level crocheter)...and I was able to finish 3 of them in under an hour! What awesome instant gratification.....

See HERE for more pics on my Ravelry project page.

Hoping to finish more handspun by the end of the month! (It's for a beautiful beret pattern...more details later...)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Spinning Made Me a Loser!



Finally, after many months of a spinning "dry spell", I got back on my *ss (literally) and started spinning a little on my Ashford Joy. The fact that I owed my friend, Donna, a skein of handspun for over a year now was also very good motivation! (he he)

For those of you that spin, you might have had that "nah, don't really feel like spinning right now..." turn quickly into "omg, do I have enough fiber to keep spinning through the weekend?!!??" feeling. Yup, that's what happened to me.

I not only finished this large handspun skein for my friend, but I'm also very close to finishing 7 oz of a beautiful blend of Icelandic lamb/mohair in an off-white color. Sooo pretty. I always hope for a 2 ply laceweight (which I've come close to, but not actually achieved yet) and I think this one might be the one!! I have a beautiful lace scarf or shawl in mind for this yarn, depending on how many yards I can get out of it after plying.

Anyway, here are the details of the very vibrant handspun I just finished...

DETAILS of HANDSPUN

Fiber: Sereknity's BFL (blue faced leicester, 100%) in colorway, "Blue Hawaii)
Weight: 4 ounces
WPI: (wraps per inch) 20-21, fingering weight yarn
Ply: 2 ply (singles spun with Z twist, plied with S twist)
Ratios: Singles (8:1), Plying (11:1)
Yardage: After plying, 355 yards
Fun Level: Absolutely awesome - not just because the fiber was a good quality, which it was, but also because the colorway was so interesting to look at and see how it transitioned from the bright blues to the turquoise to the purple. Lovely!

And, now, some more pics:

On the wraps per inch guide- (notice that I plied it loosely so that it would have extra softness and bounce- oh, it's SO soft!)


Finished yarn all wrapped up nicely-


I had a number of yards of singles left over from one of the bobbins, so I decided to use the navajo ply technique to make myself a little 3 ply to keep.



and, the wraps per inch for this was...about 14, which made it a DK weight-


I ended up getting only 9 yards of the 3 ply, but still enough to make a swatch!



I love this yarn so much that I'm having a hard time thinking I'll be giving it to Donna on Friday. But, she deserves it for waiting soo many months for it and I hope she likes it as much as I do! (if she doesn't, I can always keep it, right??!!??)

Now, how did spinning make me a loser?? Well, I did so much spinning this week (as well as my Wii fit, yoga and jogging some here and there), that I lost 4 pounds this week!!!! I can't tell you how happy I am about this!!!

So, now I'm up to 44 pounds in 16 weeks..woo-hoo!!! (I was wrong last week - I was only on my 15th week - I talked to the receptionist at WW today and I just finished my 16th)

I don't know if my back, shoulders, neck and wrists can keep up this level of knitting and spinning, but I'm going to try.

If you're a spinner, how is YOUR spinning coming along so far this year??