May 2008

I realize that there has not been a Wee Block Wednesday since the first one. The reason…I have been out of scraps for wee blocks! Yesterday, I got the scraps from the BlankieMania scrap swap for May!
The dark green is actually a ball I sent in. The two blue/black/grey balls in front are Regia Stretch in the same colorway that I am doing DH’s big old socks in. I am going to trade those three in the June swap. Other than that, these are all new. The yellow in the middle (the one with a pink slip of paper peeking out) is Louet Gems. The grey colored yarn next to is Regia in an unknown colorway. The rest are unidentified, mystery yarns! I will have to do some research to figure out what they are (oh the horror…time on Ravelry..I just can’t bear it)!

As you can see, the orange sherbet colored yarn has already made it into a wee block. The grey is on it’s way. It actually was nearly a whole block when I realized that the decreases weren’t lined up in the center (I was a little too tired last night). I had to frog back to the first decrease and start over. I should finish it (and maybe one or two more) tonight.

Total block count: 16 (and a piece of one)


This morning, DH said he would take LB so that I could take my time at Hanks. I was really excited to be able to go without worrying about him! He has always been very good at the store, but he has been a bit difficult the last couple of days. Of course, LB was disappointed that he didn’t get to go to the yarn store. DH told him, “We are going to go somewhere way better than the yarn store.” LB wouldn’t hear it. He told his daddy, “There is no place better than the yarn store!” It was so cute. DH told him that he would remind him that he said that someday (like when he is 15). I totally agree with LB though… I had quite a good time! I got lots of pretties, too!

I have been obsessively searching for baby knitting for my friend’s upcoming arrival. She is having a baby in July in California. Not exactly great timing for covering a baby in knitted gear! I finally decided on a cute dress and matching booties (in addition to the already knitted booties). I found the perfect yarn for it! It is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock DK in Spring Frost.

I was planning on getting some more Lorna’s Laces sock yarns, but when I got there I was drawn to the Colinette Jitterbug. It took me forever to decide what to get. I finally got two different colorways. The first is Raphael. It is peaches and purples. Purple is a pretty standard color choice for me, but not peaches and oranges. I normally don’t like orangy tones. This skein just kept calling me. I love, love, love it! I have nothing that will match it, but I am going to make myself socks and wear them anyway.

Finally, the Jitterbug in Slate. I love the other colors with the gray being dominant. It is just crazy enough without being too crazy (a bit like me, I guess). It will also make nice socks for the boys if I decide to make them socks too. DH even liked this skein (although, he decided it was too much color for him). I can’t wait to knit with these! The yarn feels great. When I first started knitting socks, I only liked the smooth yarns. I have come around to the bumpier yarns. They make such a nice fabric.

LB was excited to see so much new yarn. He keeps asking when we are going to be getting the “windy umbrella” out so that he can “help me knit.”

This week has been so busy! I have been swamped at work. I haven’t had any time to knit. I have been so exhausted at night, I can’t seem to concentrate. I have had no time for myself at all.

Since I don’t have much knitting to show for this week (none after the booties), I decided to post a picture taken with my new camera. I love this shot. These are the petunias that LB and I planted in the planters on either side of our front door. They have taken off. You can smell them when you come onto the front porch. My new camera does a good job with close ups like this! The colors are really true!

The only knitting thing that I have been working on is the Reducio Sock Swap. I have been putting together some information and new guidelines for the next swap. I have also been tracking down the few stragglers. I have made contact with all but one person. I will either be contacting an angel or putting together a package to cover that one this weekend. I will most likely just act as the angel for this round, especially since it is just for one person. Other than that, I plan to visit Hanks to spend my gift certificate, relax, and smell the flowers!

Hanks is really my downfall sometimes! On Friday, I got an email from my best friend from high school. She is having a girl! I immediately started thinking about little girly knits. Then I looked at the Hanks Friday Five. They had a link to Saartje’s Bootees. How I missed this pattern on Ravelry, I will never figure out! Everyone has knit them. Now I know why! They are easy and super quick. They are about the most darling things ever, too!

I had to finish the first monkey sock immediately, so that I could cast these on (silly self imposed rule…I already have two pairs of socks on the needles). Now that these are done, I can start on the second sock!

They are so tiny! I made the large size, but I think they are really a newborn size (now, I will admit that my babies were both around 8lbs, so they were larger newborns…). I used my blankie scraps. In total, it took about 25 yards of yarn (about 5g…a little more). I started the booties on Friday night. I knit about half of the green portion of the first before bed. I finished the rest of the knitting on the booties on Saturday and seamed them. I didn’t technically finish until Sunday because I had to go buy buttons (I didn’t have buttons tiny enough), but since the knitting portion was completed on Saturday I am considering them done on that day. The only changes that I made to the pattern were to use the cable cast on for the straps, to use a crochet bind off (coolest way to bind off ever!), and to crochet the button hole. Now I need for more people to have babies so that I can make more of these!! I just can’t help myself. I love wee tiny knits!

On Thursday, I got my Reducio Sock swap package from my pal! It had two little socks and a little mitten. LB has already claimed the large sock for himself and the small sock for his little brother (for the Christmas tree for “the next Christmas”…something he talks about all the time!). I loved doing this swap. I am currently gathering some information to plan the next swap!

I also got some great news! I won a gift certificate to my favorite yarn store, Hanks! I found a bug on their new site and emailed them. They put my name in a drawing for notifying them. My name got picked! I am trying to decide how to spend it (either on dyes or a sock book, I think).

On Friday, I got my Knit Picks order in. Three skeins of their bare sock yarn (it is not very expensive, so I feel ok about experimenting with it). I also got a 24″ circular in size 2.5mm. I use my 2.5 mm sock needles all the time. I wanted an extra set. I thought it would be handy to have circulars. I think they will work better in the blankie as I add more blocks. These needles will stay with the blankie scraps. I found another use for the little circs (and those scraps), but I will talk about that tomorrow (let’s just say that the Hank’s Friday Five combined with the news that my high school best friend is having a baby girl in July caused me to drop everything and knit something new)!

LB has been asking for a new baby gnome. He pulled the “tail” of the other one and unknit a good portion of it. He has been telling me that he “misses” his baby gnome. He loves Gnomie, but he just isn’t the same bedtime companion. I had been toying with the idea of dyeing some yarn, so I decided to dye enough to make a “custom gnome” for the little guy. I had some Paton’s Classic Wool in Aran that would make a good base. We bought some Kool-Aid and some Wilton’s icing dyes on Saturday (I also went to Hanks and bought some natural Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn that I will dye when I get braver).

Step one was to measure out some of the yarn into a skein. I didn’t want to use the whole ball, and I needed it in a longer skein. I used two chair backs to hold the yarn (no way could LB sit still that long, although he did offer). I tied it off with some random white acrylic I had.

Then, I put the yarn in to soak. I got a dishpan for this purpose ($1 at Wal-Mart…see how the dye supplies add up). I put some lukewarm water and a small amount of vinegar in. I then put the yarn in. I pushed it down to get all the air bubbles out. I then let it soak for about an hour (that is how long it took to get the baby to bed…otherwise, I doubt I would have been this patient). Sorry the picture is sideways. I just can’t get Flickr to cooperate right now (it took me all night to upload the photos).

Then, Little Bug and I mixed up some dye. He decided he wanted green and blue yarn. I didn’t have blue Kool-Aid, so we used the Wilton’s. I used a plastic knife. I got a smear of each color and added them to some hot water. It was about 3/4 of a cup of water (not measured, just a guess). I stirred until they dissolved. They looked very bright. LB kept saying he didn’t want his gnome to be too bright. I told him that it wouldn’t be that bright in the yarn.

Then, I put the yarn in a very small crockpot (there wasn’t much yarn…it is the one I use for dips). I put in just enough water to cover the yarn (lukewarm again). I then added the dyes (blue on one half and green on the other). I put on the lid and plugged it in.

After it had cooked for a bit (maybe an hour and a half or so), I added a glug (about a 1/4 cup) of vinegar to the water. That caused the yarn to suck up the dye very, very quickly. The dye exhausted in about 10 minutes after that (the water was clear).

I then shut off the crock pot and let the yarn cool. That took quite a while. I put it into a colander that I got (another $1 purchase just for this). I had to buy a new colander because the ones I use for food are all older than I am (more than 3o years old). They are cracked. They work for food, but would have caught the yarn for sure! I then rinsed the yarn in some room temperature water. The water was clear (that means the dye had set…yay!).

I then hung the yarn up to dry in the bathroom overnight! It actually took much of the next day too. I couldn’t hang it outside because of the wind. It just didn’t dry very quickly.

Here is what it looked like when it was dry. You don’t see much of the blue. It is very subtle. It almost looks like a darker green. LB was super excited about this. He thinks the blue is our little secret (don’t you love how 3 year olds think?). I think that you don’t see the blue much because I added the vinegar first on the green side. Next time, I may put a bit in with the dyes themselves. I also think that the blue was not as concentrated to begin with (it looked very dark in the cup, but there wasn’t as much dye to the same amount of water). LB is happy with the color, so I am not fussed about it. I just know what to do next time if I want the blue to be a bit darker.

Here is the final product all rolled into a ball and ready to become a gnome! So pretty! I asked LB what we should call the color. He dubbed it “Gnome Green”. How appropriate!

I absolutely loved dyeing! It was sooo much fun! I immediately went to KnitPicks and ordered some more bare sock yarn (I feel more comfortable playing with it since it is cheap). When I have had a little more practice, that Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn is going to have it’s turn! Eventually, I may get some acid dyes (Hanks has a whole bunch..and are opening a dye bar!!). Right now, I don’t really want to have anything around that is toxic for the kiddos. Maybe when I figure out where to store all the stuff that I am going to have to accumulate now (that scrapbooking cabinet may need to cleaned out a bit)!

On other news, I also got the May installment of the Nefarious Yarn Club! It is Madame DeFarge (so appropriate, don’t you think?). It is really pretty. I am not sure what it will become (socks, but I don’t know what kind…maybe just plain stockinette socks…seems practical, Mdme. DeFarge would have liked that).

This is why you should never leave yarn unattended around a toddler. This yarn is part mohair (it is Schaefer Anne). That means that it is a mess that will never, never be untangled. It was wound in a small hank. I unwound it and had it laid out ready to go on the swift. I was winding tiny 10g balls for a scrap swap. I stepped out of the living room to get the swift (why didn’t I have it set up ahead of time? no reason, really). I returned to this. LB (now also known as Naughty Monkey) said, “Mommy, I fixed your knitting for you.” Yup, it is fixed! Every attempt to detangle, just made it worse. Everywhere that mohair touches mohair, it sticks. It is almost like the yarn is spit spliced in several (very long) sections. I can’t bear to throw it out though. I just put it in a plastic baggie in my yarn drawer. I can’t imagine having knit with this yarn and having to frog! That would be terrible!

Ok, now for the good monkey. I am knitting Monkey socks with the Nefarious Club April selection. The pattern is sooo addictive. It is easy, quick, and knits so interestingly. The yarn is a merino/silk blend that was kettle dyed. It is gorgeous! The yarn and the pattern perfectly complement each other. I am really enjoying the socks! DH’s giant socks are on hold for a week or so while I wait for more yarn to arrive. It is nice to have a break from them (especially with these socks). I am on the heel now. The yarn is so soft and the pattern is so interesting….back to knitting on them!

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