24 December 2014

Busy season

First off, I would like to wish folks out there a happy and safe holiday season ... whichever holiday is special to you between November and January.  Secondly, I have been busy these past seven-eight weeks, starting before sunrise on Halloween morning when I picked up my batch of chicks.  This month of December has been quite the roller coaster, with first a raccoon then the black bears killing some of my chicks ... yet in between those trials we finally closed the sale on our house up in Tennessee and are now completely debt free.  Triumph and tragedy, good and bad (and ugly, too) all one right after the other here.

With all my outside activities going on, I have not made much progress with fabric, and a small bit with yarn.  This morning, I finally turned the heels on the first pair of knee socks I am knitting.  At first I was annoyed when the 50g skeins ran out during the heel turn, then as I wove in the tails I realized that is actually the best spot to switch as weaving in ends strengthens the heel.
knee socks in progress
I have another pair of knee socks started, but I am not much past the cuff and have not yet finished the first motif.  Also on the needles are two pairs of midcalf (regular height) socks for me.  I have a pair for hubby that I took off the needles when I could not find my fifth set of circular sock needles.  Ah well, a box of splurge/celebration yarn is working its way down to me and also has three more sets of sock circs.

I really do need to sew in the waistband on that pair of cotton flannel pajama bottoms.  Then they will need a good wash before I can take pics, as the pink-nosed furry feline chaos demon decided they are the perfect napping spot.

Next time I take this long off from blogging here, do take a peek at my S&G Homesteade blog to see if we are just busy doing outdoor stuff - Florida is the Sunshine State, ya know.

30 October 2014

Knitting cables

While I have been doing a smidge of sewing (nothing completed yet) I have still been knitting up a storm here.  Back in January, after I finished son's wool sweater, I started my very first cable project.  I finished all the knitting and even started to sew it together when the heat hit, and it languished over the late spring-summer-early autumn.  We did get a cool front earlier this month, and I pulled out my unfinished sweater and sewed up the rest of the seams, then I even managed to get some pics in the morning when it was cool enough to wear a 100% wool knit sweater in worsted-weight yarn without sweating too badly.
scoop-neck cable sweater
It is nice and warm, yet still breathes well, and I am certain to appreciate it over the winter even if it looks/feels a bit big right now.  I am not sure if I have lost weight (neighbor up the dirt road thinks so), or if I cast on one size too big, or if the stitches stretched out as I haven't washed or blocked it yet.

Now, for my most recent finished cable project, and also the most complicated so far: socks, of course.
Treehouse sock, in sunlight, close to actual color

fuzzy unfocused pic of both socks on my feet ... before 2nd mug of coffee
The yarn is more grey, although any time I have tried to take a pic in shadow it looks bluer than it is.  I had a lot of fun doing all this cabling although it was slow going compared to non-cabled projects.

30 September 2014

Knitting my own sock design

I have been busy on a knitting adventure: I designed my own socks.  Well, this pair isn't for my feet, but a gift for hubby's grandmother ... but I was not able to find what I wanted even when using Ravelry's advanced pattern search, so I did a literal back-of-the-envelope sock design.  Seriously, this is the back of the envelope of my electric bill, so I am calling this pattern "electric cable rib socks."
the original electric bill envelope design scribbles

attempting to photograph the cabling

electric cable rib socks about 60% done
I had to put them on my hands since they are too small for my feet.  Grandma wears a US 5-1/2 wide, where I wear a US 8-1/2 regular.  I do hope the cabling shows up in the pics, because that is the main part of what I wanted and could not find.  I am looking forward to making a pair for myself and a pair for hubby, too.  There is nothing overtly feminine about the 1x1 cabling on the ribs ... although I have an idea percolating in my tiny brain about a lace sampler sock idea!

Me?  Designing my own socks now?  It hasn't even been a year since I made my very first pair of plain stockinette socks!  LOL

20 September 2014

Even more sock knitting

Oh wow, I've been remiss on posting.  Since I last posted an actual fiber-related update, I have since finished another FOUR pairs of socks.  I think I am starting to get faster!  Now, for the pic-bomb ...
lace "Bandwagon Socks" in solid black wool/silk

I even put a lace panel in the center back

comfy Openwork Ladders socks in wool/bamboo/nylon

these Maskerade Socks have cables and a lace design that I cannot get a decent pic of yet.  Made in wool/nylon

hubby asked for boot socks, so here they are!  Also wool/bamboo/nylon yarn

the boot socks without the boots, a random ribs pattern.  Hubby really likes them.
I have another three pairs on needles .... yes, thanks to a clearance sale at Jo-Ann's over the summer I now have enough sock needles to work on that many at a time.

27 August 2014

Meet hubby's Chaos Demon

Here is why my sewing lair is perpetually a mess:
Little Bit, aka "Chaos Demon" claiming the dog's quilt
For the record, that is the dog's blanket-quilt.  He was rather whiny and upset that she was not letting him on it that day.  My mom made that quilt for me originally, and up in Tennessee it adorned the back of the couch ... until the dog discovered he could wiggle on the couch and get it to fall over him so only his nose and tail were showing.  It is basically his Linus blankie and has been moved to the floor (when it's not being laundered) to encourage the dog to spend more time on the floor than the couch.

As for the Chaos Demon ... she was dumped at the public park next to our house up in Tennessee, and I tried for a week to coax he indoors without success.  We could hear her crying at night and especially when it rained, but I was lucky to even catch a glimpse of her.  Hubby made some remark about it, so I sent him out to try.  He came back in about five minutes, with a skinny but happily purring small cat in his hand.  He says all he did was sit down and tell her, "well, come on over here."

I know enough about cats to recognize a full feline claim on a person.  She has stayed, even though the other three didn't like her (and it was mutual).  Now, she is our only cat in the house, after Twilight the Terrorist Kitty died doing what she loved best: destroying something of ours while misbehaving.  She tore out a screen window to get outside (after hubby fixed it so she couldn't slide it open) and then apparently ate something poisonous.  We miss that stubborn, silly monster.

Oh, back to the Little Bit-Chaos Demon.  Every time hubby finds a dead frog or large bug under his chair, my sewing room is wrecked.  She is also fond of shredding paper, especially anything I have printed out on my computer.  Cleaning up that mess is on my to-do list, as soon as I get this most recent pair of socks finished (yes, I am still happily knitting socks), because I need new tops and so does my mother-in-law.

30 July 2014

More sock knitting

I finished up the Bridal lace socks about a week ago ... they're in the washing machine now but I do have some pics.
close-up of lace pattern

finished Bridal socks on my feet
They fit nicely, and the lace pattern with the slip-stitch rib is open enough to make great summer socks.  I need to remember to reinforce the heels and toes before I wear them too many times, and also the easy lace socks that I still do not have pics of yet.

Rolling along, I have sideways socks on my straight needles for hubby (need pic of those as well) and on my new small circular needles I am trying the "two-at-a-time" (2aat) idea for another lace pattern in a wool/bamboo/nylon blend.
start of "openwork ladders" socks done 2aat on circs
I am about 5 inches into the legs section now, with a couple road trips and appointments to work on them.  Hubby called the 2aat concept "bad(*donkey*) knitting" when he first saw it, then paused and asked, "Can knitting be bad(*donkey*)ed?"  Yes, my dear, it certainly can be.

I realize there are folks reading who are wondering just why I am bothering to knit my own socks.  For that matter, I am sure there are folks who wonder why we'd sew our own clothes too!  (Note: I will certainly be doing more of that, and soon.)  The socks I bought last year have been falling apart at the same rate as the ones I bought in '09 and '10 ... but at least the older ones have the excuse of being older and having given me my money's worth in use.  The ones I bought last year?  JUNK!!!!  It's not only socks, either.  I'll save the rant about underwear/panties for another post, but let's just say most of the recently-purchased ones are already in worse shape than the ones they were bought to replace.  So, I am at the point where I say "(*BLEEP!*) it!  I'll just make my own."  At least if these socks wear out quickly, I will know exactly whom to blame.

14 July 2014

Lace sock update: first one done

Plugging away at the second sock now, but here is the first one:
first lace "Bridal Socks" done
I am pleased there is hardly any gap at the top of the gusset!  The gapping is so hard to eliminate, you will even see it in machine-made commercial socks, so having one turn out so well is a big feather in my hat.

09 July 2014

Knitted tee shirt

While I have not been sewing much lately, I have been spending time laying on my bed propped up by three or four pillows and knitting.  Here is one such effort (too approximately three weeks to do up).
knitted tee shirt

stripe pattern on knitted tee
Hubby loves the stripe pattern on it, which according to the pattern notes is based on Fibonacci numbers.  Oh, the pattern is from a book I found at one of the local flea markets for two dollars: The Ultimate Knitted Tee by Laura Militzer Bryant and Barry Klein.  I used Ornaghi Filati United yarn, which is a 55% bamboo/45% cotton blend I had bought on bag sale from elann.com last year.  The yarn is AWESOME for down here!  It breathes so well, even in our humidity, that I kept the tee on all morning until I saw the storm clouds rolling in for our afternoon soaking.  Between the simple design and the wonderful yarn, I have a nice and comfy keeper here.

07 July 2014

Still on a sock kick

So I have spent the past several months knitting up socks ... just no pics really.  Some for me, some for hubby, and I even managed to finish a pair each for mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law for giftmas.  Everyone loves them and I am inundated with requests ... but I have also collected up quite a bunch of sock yarn skeins.

I have joined a KAL (knit-a-long) in a sock group over at Ravelry, and a big part of the KAL fun is progress pics ... something I have sorely neglected here.  So, with this KAL's theme being lace socks, I will be posting up some progress pics.  Here's my first:
start of lace "Bridal Socks" pattern

30 June 2014

Filet crochet tablecloth

So, I forgot to post this in between weather events (we are on our third or fourth week of daily storms).  In fact, this has been done for almost a month now!  It even has stains already - pickled beet brine and ice tea, to be exact.  Oh yeah ... this was made to be on our table, not as a gift.
Fleur-de-Lis filet crochet tablecloth
It may block out a bit larger.  I still have not blocked it for lack of a place to lay it out, much less pin it out ... but it is about time to clear the table again and give it a nice soak-wash in the dishwater.  My mom discovered early on with me that dish soap/detergent works best for getting food stains out of cotton.  For the record, ketchup, barbecue sauce, soy sauce, and any red juice or wine WILL end up on my shirt still.

05 June 2014

My dear kitty boys

I have been quiet for a few months, and this is one big reason:
Chester and Bourbon, early February
My dear kitty boys have left me after over a decade together.  I found this pic on my memory card this morning.  The digicam's date timestamp says early February, and Chester passed on at the end of February after never adjusting to the new house.  Bourbon seemed okay, until early May.  He had been greatly enjoying his senility, but when he missed a jump on a Friday evening we knew he was on his way out.  He died a few days after, while I was petting him and talking to him.  I had known Bourbon since he was a kitten - he originally belonged to a friend of mine whom I housesat for when I lived in the barracks.  Chester had been in my house up in Tennessee since he was a little ball of "mew" with too-big ears.  Chester was almost thirteen, and Bourbon had just passed his fifteenth birthday.

I am still trying to get used to life without my kitty boys, and seeing this on the memory card brought a wistful tear to my eyes.

22 February 2014

New crochet project

We've had a bit of a warm spell this past week or so, and along with putting seeds into the dirt I have also started a new crochet project after a winter of mostly knitting (still need to post about all that).

I have been promising my mom a super-duper doily, one that will be "worth the wait."  Umm ... she's been hearing this for over a year now, BUT I have finally gotten my hot little hands on the perfect pattern that just screams, "Make me for Mom!"  Mom admitted that she has not checked this blog for quite some time now, so I think I am safe in posting this pic:
Roses in Bloom filet crochet tablecloth
I have been wanting to make a spectacular filet crochet project for a while now.  Just making coasters has not scratched that itch, so perhaps a small tablecloth will.  So far, I am about 10 rows in, out of 120 rows.

16 January 2014


This picture is worth at least a thousand words:
new sewing room, finally usable!
Guess what I've been doing this morning!  Hint: I found my mending projects.

Can I get a "WooHOO!" from y'all?