Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Games

Is anyone watching the Winter Games?  I am watching them, as well as the snow falling outside.  This is the third day - we have over 6" - which is huge for us.  Our last significant snowfall was over 5 years ago.

For many knitters, crocheters and spinners, this time also means the Ravellenic games are in full swing.  They used to be called the "Ravelympics", but Ravelry was called to the carpet by the International Olympic Committee two years ago for copyright infringement (can you believe that?!).  So many Ravelry members protested so vocally that it made the national nightly news and an article in the New York Times.  It was decided to change the name but the games go on.

Participating Ravelry members compete in various events in an attempt to finish projects and win medals.  Some take on serious challenges, like knitting a complete Fair Isle cardigan sweater in the 14 days.  Cast on starts at the beginning of the opening ceremonies and the object must be finished by midnight the day of the closing ceremonies.  Thousands of knitters, crocheters and spinners participate, and much fun is had by all.

I didn't take on a big challenge.  Instead I've taken on a bunch of small challenges.  Here is what I've done so far in the 24+ hours since opening ceremonies at 8:00 am Pacific Coast Time.

Finished spinning and plying 496 yards of DK 3-ply yarn.  90% wool (Polworth and BFL) and 10% silk.  The silk makes the yarn glow.  I think this is some of the most beautiful I've ever spun.  I have no idea what I'll make with it.  Medal #1 in WIP Dancing.

I finished the scarf you saw in my last post.  Now you can see where the color for the mitts came from.  I think it is fascinating how the colors change as the eye progresses across the scarf.  One of the very fun things about knitting with handspun.  Medal #2 in WIP Dancing.

I've also received two medals in the "Aerial Unwind" event.  I "frogged" socks that I started in a yarn that wouldn't wear well enough for socks in the pattern chosen.  I also "frogged a sweater that's been on the needles for over 3 years.  I'd lost interest in it and decided it wouldn't be very flattering to me unless I drop the 25+ pounds I've picked up since I started it.

Currently I'm working on my third medal in WIP Dancing - a pair of mitts I'm making for still another Starbucks barista.  I started them last week, so this is the only event they qualify for (works in progress).  Once I finish them I'm moving along two two entries in "Hat Halfpipe" - the last two gifts for my Starbucks friends.  Then on to two more unfinished projects - the second sock of a pair and some fingerless mitts for my daughter.

I love being so productive while I'm watching the "real" games!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Handspun yarn can be so mysterious!

Now that I'm knitting with my own handspun yarn, I've discovered how much fun it is.  I don't know why I waited to long to do this! Sometimes, as is the case with my current projects, it can be such a mystery!

Here is the fiber I spun - 8 oz. of Blue Faced Leicester, a long staple breed with considerable shine in the fiber.  It was hand painted by one of my favorite dyers - Crown Mountain Farms - who unfortunately has closed down due to a move back to Germany.  This colorway is called "Finding Rainbows".

I didn't try to do anything fancy with the colors.  I just split the long strip in thirds lengthwise and spun it onto three bobbins.  Then I plied the singles into a 3-ply

You can see in this picture that the skein had two different coloring throughout the yarn.  One is primarily a forest green and dark purple.  The other is yellow greens and a redder purple.  

I knit these fingerless mitts from yarn pulled from the center of the yarn cake.  They are the forest green/dark purple coloring for the most part.  The yellow green started creeping into the mix half way up the right glove.

I'm knitting this scarf from the outside end of the yarn cake.  Looks like an entirely different yarn, doesn't it!  As the scarf progresses the colors will move from one blend to the other.  I can hardly wait to see how it will look when it is done!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A little more knitting and some spinning

Cowl in Seahawks colors.  Go Hawks!

12 oz of fiber becomes two skeins of 3-ply for socks and one skein of 2-ply laceweight for a scarf or small shawl.  These are currently being "finished" - meaning they have been washed and are now drying to "fluff" the yarn and set the twist.

Friday, January 17, 2014

January knitting

Thank you for all the nice comments you readers sent.  I will strive to write a post here and there so if you are interested then don't take my blog off your blog reader.

Here's the knitting I've done in January.  Still going strong.  I'm filling a big basket of gifts - fingerless mitts and cowls - to take to my local Starbucks baristas who take such excellent care of all my coffee needs.  Quite a few of these are knit from my handspun yarn.

If you are interested in more details you can check the individual project pages in Ravelry for pattern names, yarns, etc.  I will create the pages in the next couple days.  My user name is hardenbrookgirl.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Distractions II

I see my last post was about distractions, and was written two months ago.  So it seems appropriate to address distractions in this post also.

Since the knitting retreat at the beginning of November I've done next to no quilting.  I've been knitting and spinning instead.  And reading.  And enjoying the holidays.  And spending very little time on the computer.

I thank those of you who sent an email to check up on me.  All is fine.  However, knitting and spinning do not generate any desire to write.  I don't know what the difference is, but they just don't inspire me in a verbal way.  So I have stopped writing.

Keeping a blog isn't what it used to be.  When I first started blogging there was so much give and take between the quilting bloggers.  I made so many friends all over the world who became very dear to me - and still are.  These days, however, there are so many people writing blogs, and with people busier than ever it seems that very little commenting goes on.  The comments and discussions were what kept me blogging, and I miss them so much.  These days it just isn't the same.

I thank you who have read my blog over the years.  I'm going to leave it in place as I know people still visit the tutorials regularly, but I'm not going to keep posting.  I wish all of you the best in both your quilty and your personal lives.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The same old story

Distractions . . . They always seem to lead me down a different path than the one I intended to travel.

I had a great time at the knitting retreat this past weekend.  We even had sunshine on Friday and mid-afternoon on Saturday.  Pouring down rain the rest of the time - loud enough to wake everyone that was sleeping upstairs.  That's one perk of being on the planning committee - I got there early enough Friday to claim a lower Swedish bed downstairs. (See the picture on the left half way down the page.)

By the time the retreat committee (me and three others) organized the Friday night potluck, had dinner and recruited people to clean up it was only a couple hours until bedtime.  So I decided to knit awhile on the sock I brought rather than quilt.  Yes - you guessed it.  I enjoyed the knitting so much that I kept at it on Saturday, resulting in a finished sock and a partially done mate.

(This picture makes my foot look HUGE!)
Yep - I didn't touch my quilting all weekend.  And thus I must change my completions for October.  It is definitely too far into November to call anything I do now an October finish - especially when I haven't finished anything yet! 

I did work on applique yesterday, and Donder and Blitzen is finished except for part of one star that  I'll finish today.  My son-in-law has laid claim to this quilt, so I think I'd better finish it so they can use it for decoration this Christmas time.

The first three blocks for the Farmer's Wife quilt have been chosen by our project leader, so I want to start - and finish - those.

I ordered a few more project boxes from Joann's - some are extra large - because I've run out of boxes for all the quilts I'm working on plus my BOM's which need to have all the "parts" kept together.  I'm eagerly awaiting their arrival so I can have an organized sewing room once again.

I also want to finish the mate of the above sock.  I knitted Tuesday, going back to the knitting group that I've not visited in almost two years.  It was really nice seeing people again - many of whom I'd just seen at the knitting retreat.

Lastly, I got up at the crack of dawn yesterday - 6:15 - and went back to Weight Watchers.  All I've done on my own is let the pounds gradually creep back on.  I really want to fit into the clothes I own, and want to return to looking like my profile picture.  So I'm making this public declaration of intentions and will report in every Wednesday after weigh-in.  Being accountable to my readers helped me a lot last time, and hopefully will again.

And now you know the rest of the story . . .  .

Thursday, October 31, 2013

October goals

At the beginning of the month I talked about the stretch goals I'd written.  One or two of you thought they might be a little too challenging.  You were right!  I finished five of the 10, though technically two are just "almost finished".  They'll be done by the end of retreat so I'm going to count them.  My goals, my rules LOL!

I will carry the rest into November.  Early next week I'll decide whether or not to add more.  Right now I'm thinking "No."

What's that you say? Knitting? What's that?

Back in February when I got back into blogging action I said I would need to find a way to spread my time over three hobbies.  Here is the post I wrote.

Obviously this has been a dismal failure.  The lure of quilting sucked me in no quickly that I wanted nothing to do with other hobbies.  People who have been following me for some time probably forgot completely that I was going to try to hand spin and knit in addition to quilting.

Last week I attended the Vancouver Handspinners meeting, and my fingers actually remembered what to do!  I spun all afternoon before the meeting so I wouldn't look like an idiot in front of the others.  That is the first time I've touched a spinning project since mid-April!

The retreat I'm attending tomorrow through Sunday is the Fort Vancouver Knitting Guild retreat.  I'm on the retreat committee so I figured I'd better spend at least part of the weekend knitting.  Today I got out my bin of partially finished projects - 11 of them!  I chose two different pairs of socks to work on.  I hope to come home with at least one completed sock.  I picked the two I thought took the least amount of thought - knitting and visiting is a recipe for disaster when knitting a complex pattern.  Here are the two I'm taking:

"Tidelines" by Anne Hanson

"Coquettish Clown" by Melissa Morgan-Oakes
Now that wool sock weather is back I feel the need to have some new socks.  It's a good thing that 10 of my 11 unfinished knitting projects are socks!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I did accomplish something today

It wasn't what I'd hoped - I didn't get any quilts basted - but I cut batting for every small quilt I've finished.  Here you see eight quilts rolled with their battings.  This eliminated the stack of batting pieces that have been filling corners in the sewing room, making it hard to organize them - hooray!
Next week I'll work on cutting backs and basting all of these.  Hopefully the last two will get the applique and embroidery finished this weekend so I can do the same with them.

It will be nice having all these ready to go.  In the meantime I've been quilting away on "Peace on Earth", which is closer and closer to being finished.