Thursday, December 31, 2009

So Long, 2009

2009 was both the best and the worst year that I've ever had. I have been pregnant for 9 out of 12 months. My daughter's brief existence was entirely encapsuled in 2009. I miss her terribly. Most of my pregnancy with my son will have been in 2009. I had my lowest lows in the days after losing my first pregnancy, and some of my highest highs as I felt my son kick for the first time, saw his profile on the ultrasound.

This year I was a crafting maniac. I knit two sweaters and half a shawl on top of dozens of smaller projects, I designed my first pattern (three in one year!), I learned fair isle, I participated in Tour de Fleece and spun more yarn in a month than I'd previously spun at all. I upgraded to a fancier spinning wheel. I got my sewing machine repaired and made an entire purse myself, the first project from it that I'm incredibly proud of. I crafted for Christmas and strung my first necklace. I dyed yarn.

This year I was a traveler. I started off the year in San Diego, I visited DC for the inauguration, I visited dear friends in Switzerland. I was back in DC for girl's weekend, I organized a knitting retreat in the mountains of NC, I went to the NC beach and Lake Superior in MN.

So long, 2009. Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. Let 2010 begin a new chapter.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Update on the Machine

So, the sewing machine guy is fixing it for free! And it'll be done tomorrow!

Apparently, the problem is the capacitor, which has something to do with the motor. (And is apparently NOT a flux capacitator, surprise surprise?) My repair guy said that Husqvarnas of this era tend to have problems with them at some point in their life. When the capacitor goes out, it causes one of two things to happen: the Husqvarna starts smoking while not being used, or the machine starts to sew and won't stop, even when the peddle isn't being pressed. Which sort of sounds funny (runaway sewing machine!) but I'm sure would've made me just as upset as the whole smoke bit.

So, long story short, that purse will still get made. Tomorrow.

Monday, December 28, 2009

So Much for the Sewing Machine

I was working on a new purse when poof. My sewing machine, a 1972 Viking Husqvarna that I inherited from my grandmother, started smoking. This is the first time I've used it since getting it repaired. To say I'm pissed is an understatement.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Loot

Christmas brought me a lot of fabulous knitting and crafting goodies! I'm looking forward to diving into the Knitters Book of Yarn and the Knitters Book of Wool, care of my mother in law, as well as some lovely fiber that she brought me from Australia. I also have a great reason to dig out the sewing machine - hubby got me a book of knitting patterns that use only a yard of fabric each! I went out to the store and picked up a yard of fabric to start on a purse. Now I just have to get hubby to haul the 40 lbs of sewing machine downstairs.

I also need to get some twine. One of my cats chewed through the drive bands on my spinning wheel. Guess I'll be spending time with the sewing machine instead!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Can't See My Feet!

Along those lines, I've finally gotten around to starting a sweater for the little man to wear. While I've done a couple of small projects - booties and a couple pairs of socks - it was hard for me to believe that he would actually be joining us any time soon. Each day ahead seemed like ages before his birth. Now, however, I flip through the calendar, and he's almost here! I have so many things I was planning to make for him, and now I really have to hustle to get it all done.

I finally managed to finish up my February Lady Sweater, too. It's in burgundy Malabrigo, and I altered the pattern to add a collar, changed the yoke to seed stitch from garter, and used only a single button rather than the three called for in the pattern. Here's a half-assed picture of me wearing it, at 25 weeks:


I should've worn it with a white shirt to show off just how big my little man is getting!

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Sweater for the Bump

Wo, hello December. Time's just flying by. It's only 4 months until we meet mini-me! He needs a name. It's continuously surprising to me just how hard it is to find one for him. Apparently my husband and I have absolutely opposite taste in names. Every time one of us comes up with something, the other goes "ugh. No, I can't possibly name my son that."

And isn't that crazy? Getting to say "my son." My son just kicked me. Wild.

As the little peanut gets bigger and less peanut shaped, so my body requires a sweater to keep him warm. I've been plugging away at a February Lady Sweater since I found out I was pregnant. My first attempt at the pattern ended in a tragic two-sizes-too-large surprise in April. For further note: do not use cotton or cotton blends on the FLS. It grows down to one's knees.

This has been a fun exercise in changing the pattern to make it more fun. The yoke of the original is garter stitch. Nope, I'm doing seed stitch! Garter stretches too much! I'm skipping button holes and planning for crocheted loops over some lovely post-consumer material buttons that I scored at JoAnn's. I'm reducing the size of the arms by one pattern repeat so they don't hang down so big and make me look even more giant than the Peanut is causing. And for the yarn... Mmmmmalabrigo. Lovely, soft, squishy wine-colored Malabrigo. I want to sit and pet my skeins instead of knitting.

So I have a sleeve and a half, and a bit more body, to go. And then, with any luck, a sweater that will finally fit me and that I'll want to wear. It will have taken a long time to get there. Now, if I can only ignore the fact that I messed up a repeat halfway through the body, but refuse to go back and fix it...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

their child existed, is loved, and will be dearly missed.

On October 15, take a moment to think of families missing children who we never held or watched grow up. We might be closer than you think.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

End of Tour de Fleece 2009

It's over! And I've officially spun more in the past few weeks than I have in the 6 months previous!

And, here's my final total...


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Spinning Like the Wind

I've been busy as a bee, playing with my BRAND NEW spinning wheel! She's a Kromski Minstrel purchased from the Woolery, and she spins like a dream. Of course, since she's a Polish wheel, she needs a good Polish name.

Magda, in all her (slightly blurry iphone picture) glory:


And now, gratuitous yarn pictures. They are, unfortunately, slightly yellow thanks to the iphone pictures. At some point I'll get a nice place to snap photos of my yarns.

Hoobody fiber, South American Punta colorway, 2 oz., ~66 yards.

South American Punta

Superwash Merino, Ocean colorway, 2.1 oz., 2 skeins of ~180 yards each, plied with pale blue thread.


Alpaca/Merino/Nylon blend, Green Tweed, 2.3 oz, ~180 yards in light fingering/sport weight.

Green tweed

And finally, on my wheel now... England Alpaca from a local source, 50g of it in a laceweight single, to be plied on itself:

England Alpaca

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tweedy Teal

I just love seeing the change from fiber to yarn. Last year, I kettle dyed some white merino/nylon fiber in vibrant emerald and sapphire tones during a dye day at a friend's house. I ended up with this:


It took me a while to get around to spinning it, but when I finally picked it up, I decided I wanted to try something a little bit different. I wanted to spin it up without carding it much to create a tweedy-looking, very squishy yarn. From bag 'o fiber to wheel:


And finally, the finish product, all caked up:


I just love seeing how different it looks!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Gauge is Important

Everyone has their stories about gauge swatches. This is mine.

(Assume that the Law and Order scene change noise is inserted here.)

I don't swatch for socks anymore. I've knit oodles of socks, and the majority of those socks have been with a fingering weight yarn. I can order yarn and just knit it right up, no issues, and have it fit. I cast on 60 stitches, always, with fingering weight yarns.

I have some lovely Sockina Cotton, which is nice and soft cotton with a little nylon and stretch to it. Ravelry claims it's fingering weight. I cast on 60 stitches. Knit half a dozen rows in ribbing. And proceeded to put two feet into the opening. I should've taken a picture!

I then cast on 54. Knit half a dozen rows. Still too big.

48 ended up being the magic number. There's no way this yarn is "fingering weight"!