My Life in Knots

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Silk Socks

Yes Silk! They feel like a dream. I think it was more fun petting them then working on them!

Ok so a lot of people know the saga of the gray sock, but, in case you don't I'll share. The hubby whined I make everyone else things but him and he wanted socks. So I said ok and STUPIDLY let him chose the yarn and pattern. Not only was I that STUPID I let him chose the leg length as well. Yes yes he chose gray, all gray, not a moddled gray, not an ombre, solid frigin gray wool! Then he chose the worlds most boring pattern full of purls, THEN he wanted the legs a good 7in long. Keep in mind as well he wears a US Mens 11 so 7in leg, so thats at least 18inches of this horrible pattern all in gray and the toe and heal UGH!

The first sock took me 3 days, the second 2 months. He whined and complained but finally got them and loves them to death. I have no pictures I hated those socks so much by the time i got them done I threw them at him and grumble every time they hit the wash pile!

Now his birthday comes and Fathers day and he wants another pair of socks. This time I was SMART! I picked the yarn out and gifted him the skeins, because really the socks were hinted to he didn't outright ask. Then I told him this pretty silk/wool blend was too busy for any pattern that I would be doing them in a nice stockinette stitch to really highlight the yarn! I know smart right? Then I told him he'd be getting 4in legs because this yarn is pricey and I didn't want to risk having to buy more, and of course find the right dye lot (totally made up I had enough I still have 3/4 of a skein left)

So I made his socks, he loves them, I love them (tried to steal them but they look like wilted elf shoes on my feet) and I finished them in a week woohoo!

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Monday, June 23, 2008

The Worlds Perfect Sock Bag...almost

So all us crafters see these wonderful, and sometimes just really plain simple, bags for oh $30-$600! If I was going to spend $600 on anything it would NOT be a knitting bag or any other type of craft bag! So I asked around for ideas on what people would like to see in a knitting bag.

I don't sell my things for now, thinking about it, but, asking others for input is nice because I have made items in the past, shown them to people and they go "Oh thats great and if it had X it would be better" so why not just ask first then design and create?

So without further ado, here is my worlds almost perfect sock project bag!

(these are all clickable link photos so click to see a larger image of each)

This is the outside you can see the front view with a clear pocket for a project sheet and the side width. I like a nice structured bag and this is a very nice rectangular bag standing all on it's own!

The vinyl exterior pocket is the prefect place for either a pattern book, index cards or regular sheet of paper with your pattern printed onto it. This came from asking how people carry their projects around. Most seemed to do what I do, print off a pattern on regular paper or scan and print it off, but some liked having the book or index cards. Here it doesn't matter, the clear pocket will keep it well protected. Added bonuses are that the pockets large enough to hold a few more things and you can write on it with a dry erase marker and wipe off to keep track of where you are.

Again, taking suggestions and what I wanted in a bag, we have an attached scissor minder with a pocket to protect the tips of the scissors and your projects from the scissors themselves. This accommodates from a small pair of travel scissors up to a regular pair of seamstress scissors. On this same side a welted zippered pocket that can hold up to 9in dpns or circular needles, also a measuring tape, post it notes, pen, several sets of dpns or circs.

I also included an elasticized pouch. This way when you need to put that sock away it can go into the pouch staying neat with the needles right there and won't just get mangled bouncing around in the bag!

Then I added 3 yarn minder pouches. Each allows you to see how much yarn you have left on a skein, holds up to a larger skein of sock yarn (ie noro and sockatta pictured) or 2-3 skeins in 1 pouch of something like panda cotton, melody, even 2 cakes wound on a ball winder per pouch. So you could hold more then one sock project at a time if you chose (or even a few dish clothes, scarf, smaller projects).

Each pouch has a zippered top so your yarn won't fall out or be damaged, dirty etc. Then I added grommets to feed the yarn through. This way your yarn stays neat and tidy and would also be perfect for working 2 socks at a time and keeping that yarn from tangling all up.

Here it all is opened up! You can see the pouch to hold your WIP is right near the minded yarn. Because the bag is structured you can easily set it on a table to view the pattern and feed the yarn out the bag, or set it on the floor when you don't need to have the pattern in the bag or view it.

I'm excited to start using it, but, now I probably should finish the husbands socks you see pictured. I took a break to make a new bag to put them in!

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Begining Spinning

I received a kit last December to learn to spin. I have dabbled with it here and there but am very self conscious about it because, well, it's not good. But, I keep trying.

Here is the yummy Alpaca from the spin in:

Before it was plied with itself this is what most of it looked like. There were slubby spots though.

after plying this is some of it

all hanked up

constructive criticism is always helpful and well received. I only have a drop spindle and think a wheel would greatly help me as I get slubs a lot when rewinding onto the spindle to spin more. I also am lost on how far to draft out fiber. You tube has been no help because I'm not a visual person and the books I have fund mainly have pictures to help show you, and again, don't help.

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Craft Room

This is where all the greatness (and not so greatness) happens!

My craft room all for me. I have been known to growl at children when they approach the entrance way!


Bath and Body Treats

Here's a cute little set I made up. I'm not sure if I'll be doing another any time soon

The basket itself was made with gardening twine and acrylic yarn held together. It was a cool idea and the basket stands up alone, however, took about a week for my fingers to heal from rope burn.
Then I sewed the liner to fit and made a few extras: reusable cotton body poof and matching back washer, knit and crochet wash clothes, a therapeutic eye patch and neck/head wrap.
The wraps are designed with a special ingredient so you can soak them in either cold or hot water and they will absorb and hold the water and temperature. You can then use them to help with humidity, heat, hot flashes, colds, aches, pains, cramps etc.

I also did up some quick glycerin based soaps in lavender, added a lavender plant, some potpourri and such to finish off the whole lavender theme.

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I personally don't make ATC's but a lot of people I know do. I recently did a swap where you had to make and fill a bag and the recipient was into ATC's and opera. Thus the opera ATC bag was born with my first and probably last ATC's ever.

This was everything together. I made a clear vinyl bag with clear vinyl ATC holders so the cards can be changed out easily but protected during use. You could also insert photographs. Then there were 3 different liners with matching straps for each liner and a few things to fill the bag up.

I take crappy pictures but it was a HUGE hit now I have people wisting it and asking to purchase them.


Just Sharing

So, as is life, time slips by and I neglect my blog. I could go through and do a different post of everything thats been going on but that would take a long long long long time, so, I'm cramming my FO's onto one post.

This is one of my few knock offs of the (IMO) overpriced Nolita knitting bag. It's compact to carry but offers TONS of room. I currently have 3 WIP's living in there together an made another one for my daughter and one for a swap

This was my daughters I finished off last week

and one for a swap with a friend in Australia (Jen who received the cable knit afghan as well)

While I'm showing off bags here's a few more:

In progress pictures of quilted serving bags I made my sil for her wedding shower back in April. The plates inside were part of the set I purchased for her then made the bags to hold them.

I also made her a Bridal survival kit which held some basic toiletries, threaded needles int he wedding colors, hem tape, glues, mints, dryer sheets, wet wipes, band aids TONS of things one may possibly need at a wedding but wouldn't think to bring. However, the morning i was making it I sliced off the top of my thumb with my rotary cutter. Painful yes but I pushed through the blinding pain and finished the bag, however, I didn't have time to take pictures. I have made another for a friend that looks similar in style with just different fabric.

This ones for a camp councilor so holds toiletries, first aid items, bug spray, sunscreen and the like. These bags are small though about 8x10inches give or take. They hold a lot in a little area and the recipients have always loved them. I need one for myself if I could stop making everyone else things.

I know a lot right! Here's a HUGE bag I crocheted for aa crocheters swap. This bad boy is HUGE HUGE HUGE! I had 2 cones of cotton, 6 bulk skeins of yarn and 4 regular skeins of yarn in it to fill it to capacity (not pictured). I lined the whole thing with slots for scissors, 5 hooks and a nice zippered pocket to hold all of a crocheters needs and you could store a whole afghan in this thing.

Along with the bag I sent yarn, a Tunisian crochet book and hooks. The basket I made in sc and then did Tunisian crochet sample cloths to be used as face scrubbers. I made the row counting bracelet and matching stitch markers out of some beads and findings then decorated an altoid tin to hold them all in so they wouldn't get lost in that monster sized bag.

This I whipped up the other night for my foster sons 14th birthday. He moved in in garbage bags and has been borrowing a bag from my son for when he goes over night to friends houses. All he owns is his school book bag and that doesn't begin to fit his clothing. So a HUGE duffel bag was in order!

Let me just say the kid was beaming i made him something. He thinks its the coolest thing to have anyone hand make anything for you! He immediatly filled the bag up to see if it would work and was off later that night to a friends with his new bag. He loved it, didn't want to over pack it but found out he didn't have to. It's large enough to hold 2 days of clothes, shoes and his basketball.

So thats it for bags right now. I'm sure theres other photos in one of my web photo management sites but this is a long enough post now.

Happy looking I'm off to make a new bag now.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Spin In 2008 at Black Bear Winery Greene NY

We went to a local Spin in today at the Black Bear Winery. It wasn't a large event about 8-10 local farmers who raise anything from goats, different breeds of sheep and alpaca, but, they were a wealth of knowledge!

I had my drop spindle on me and my son and I started talking to a very nice woman named Amy who raises Angora rabbits and Fin sheep. I was asking about the bunnies as she had chosen not to bring them today because they were freshly plucked and looked like any normal bunnie right now, but, when she next breeds them she has my number so I may have one YAY!

Then we turned our attention to her fin sheep. They have a very soft coat much different in feel to a shetland sheep.

Here is Tony (the dark brown sheep) and Zinnia the light Tan in a little pen where we could pet and feed them. Both were born back in March of 2008 but in different litters and were bottle fed even though the rest of their litters were mother fed.

There were also 2 freshly sheered Alpacas there. You could pet them if they came close enough to allow you. Their head was still fluffy and so soft and their freshly sheered bodies felt like a chenille afghan.

The owners of all and the spinners were more then happy to talk to anyone about the animals, fleece, bats, roving you name it. Amy, the fin sheep owner, handed us some prepared roving from some of her sheep and started to help my youngest son spin this onto a drop spindle. She was having a ball teaching him and he was picking it up very fast! He ended up spinning about 10 1/2 yards in 15 min so she then taught him how to andean ply it with itself to make a yarn suitable for knitting and to help set the twist.

Here's His first spin off:

He now has a little over 5 yrds of plyed fin wool to knit with.

Amy was impressed with his interest and how fast he was picking this up and offered him some roving she had in her car. We walked up with her to find bags full of roving and out she pulls a blanket of brown fin wool and hands it to him, to play with, about 2 lbs.

We got her name and address and she took down ours for a bunny but we are invited to stop into her farm any time. She also has a spinning wheel shes willing to loan out for a month to get me totally addicted and drooling for my own lol

Then I spotted Sharron who is a local Alpaca farmer who blames me for getting her addicted to some online sites :) It's all in good fun. But, she just shoved some orange alpaca roving into the bag I was carrying and told me to take it. Then she handed Ben some White to card in with his wool and play with it more. She has a spinning group that meets at her farm and I am invited to come out and spin with them whenever I like! I was in heaven!

Amy also gave us a small sample of her angora rabbits last plucking

It started to rain a bit so we went inside for a wine tasting mmmm It's not bad either you get to taste 6 wines for $3, so the hubby and I each did our own tasting and shared so we sampled 12 of their wonderful berry wines. They don't use grapes at all so white/red doesn't make a difference because its not what you are use to with grape based wines. It was wonderful! I came home with a bottle of Strawberry Dream which is a desert wine and to me its desert in and of itself! It smells like Strawberry shortcake and tastes heavenly! The Hard cider is good as well and we were told by the owner is great mixed with beer too! I also fell in love with their Elderberry wine, Ruby, Starlight and Cranberry Zing. We will be going back for more!

We came home and Ben had to keep on spinning but he wanted to practice. So I gave him some commercial roving and he's been spinning away.

He now has about 15 yards of commercial roving spun up and wants to again practice plying it. He's very good at spinning and picked it up fast. So fast that Sharron saw his yarn Amy taght him to spun and jokingly showed him her's said "I've been spinning for 4 years now and yours is better...ok you go away now!" LOL

We had a great time though and I hope the event only gets larger each year. I know I will be looking for it next year and spreading the word as well as visiting these local farms and learning from them and buying (well bartering as many don't sell their roving or hand spun but will barter it for anything you have)

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