Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Still distracted...

They look like basic balls of yarn, right?
Actually, they're dryer balls. I had a bit of this pretty Lion Brand Yarn in my stash, and it wasn't really enough to knit anything with it, so I decided to make some dryer balls. From what I've read, they're great at reducing static cling in the dryer and softening fabrics, without those dryer sheet things. I figure I'll give it a try, and see how well it works.
Here's how I made them.... I used 100% non-superwash wool, and simply wound it into a tight ball, roughly the size of a golf ball. Then I carefully placed the ball inside a small sock, and used cotton yarn to tie the sock closed, so that it was tight all around the ball. Then I put it in the washer with a load of laundry with the water set on hot wash, cold rinse. (Note: don't wash them in a load with bleach; bleach dissolves wool.) I put them through two cycles like that, then removed them from the socks. The wool had felted somewhat, so the balls didn't come unrolled. I even threw one across the room to be sure. ☺ Then I wrapped more wool yarn around the balls, until they were about the size of baseballs, and repeated the washing-inside-socks process. I also put them through a cycle in the dryer before removing them from the socks. They shrunk a little with the felting process, so they ended up about the size of tennis balls. (The blue ones ended up a little bigger than the more colorful ones.) I have a front-loading washer, which is great for laundry but not as efficient for felting, so if I had used a top-loader, they might have shrunk more. I haven't tried them out yet, because in the process of making them, I finished my laundry! But I'm sure there'll be more laundry in a day or two and I can try them in the dryer. From what I've read, they continue to felt a little each time you use them in the dryer, which will make them more dense, and even less likely to come apart. I can hardly wait to see whether the hype is true. I'll try to remember to post an update after I've used them.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Because I'm easily distracted

You know those looms kids use to make potholders out of nylon loopy things? My oldest daughter has one of them, and doesn't have much interest in using it, since she knows that nylon isn't a great choice for potholders, because it can melt. I had the idea of weaving a potholder with a natural yarn, just to see how it would work. I'm glad I picked a feltable wool.

I used Lion Brand Wool, in the "Sunset" colorway(at least I think that was the name. It's been in my stash a while, without the label). I wove (weaved?) it on the loom...

then bound it off, using a crochet hook. A little tricky once I got to the third side, but do-able...
I made two of them. And tossed them in the washer...after which, they looked like this...It took a few minutes to wrestle them into a semblance of a square shape, but I did it.
They didn't shrink quite as much as I had expected, but that's alright. They would probably shrink a bit more if I washed them again, but I don't care that much. LOL. They're a bit bigger than the typical coaster, and smaller than the typical potholder. I figure I'll just give them to Angel and Princess, to use however they want.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Growing lace

Here's a picture of the white lace, yesterday afternoon. I've done another repeat and a half since I took the picture. This is just one end of the stole, but you can get the general idea. It'll look pretty much the same when it's done, except that the flowers will be tiny in comparison with the size of the stole. I'm still trying to decide whether I want to wear burgundy or teal with it. I like how it looks against this burgundy blanket...Next time I take a picture I'll put a teal towel in the background. ☺
And, because I haven't got enough projects on my needles at the moment... I started this shawl for Angel.
Actually, I started it because she wouldn't quit asking when I was going to. Now that I've done a little work on it, I set it aside, telling her that when she makes progress cleaning her pit of a bedroom, I'll make progress on her shawl. Haha...I'm such a mean mommy sometimes.
I considered working on the washcloths for the girls, but haven't done it yet today. I have four cloths done with the knit/purl butterfly design, and two done with the tiny butterfly lace, so I need to make two more lacy ones, and then use up the yarns in stripey ones. This afternoon I put the grommets on the top edge of the shower curtain I made, and it looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. It looks like a shower curtain that you'd buy in a store, only much cuter than any we found in stores.
My oven died. It's a gas oven with electric ignition, so I think it's just the ignitor. I hope it's just the ignitor. I'm having a guy come to fix it on Wednesday. Why is it, when my oven doesn't work, that I want to do a bunch of baking? I haven't done much baking lately, other than our Friday night pizza. Now, suddenly, I want to make bread, and cake, and pie, and cookies....

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy, Excited, Thrilled, Ecstatic

I got the email I've been waiting on pins and needles for! Knit Picks likes my design, and they're interested in seeing the whole pattern! Needless to say, I'm very excited. Haha, I did already say that, didn't I?

So now I need to finish writing the pattern, which is mostly done already, and knit a sample for them to see and photograph. I have to wait for the yarn to arrive for that; they're sending some. I told them they could pick out the color, so I have no idea what color it will be! Fun!

That's all I have time for right now, as the girls and I are getting ready to go on a day trip. I'll post more later.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Yes, I'm easily distracted.

Hey, I'm trying to get back in the habit of writing often, so....let's see...

The white lace hasn't progressed much. I've done three repeats of the pattern, and have about 57 to go, unless I change my mind on how long to make it. And the reason I haven't worked much on the white lace is that I found "I Love This Cotton" on sale at Hobby Lobby. I'm going to redecorate the girls' bathroom when Kitty is finally potty-trained; hopefully this fall. I've already made a shower curtain out of the cutest green and white gingham fabric. It has little tiny butterflies, and sparkles all over it. All three girls agreed it was perfect(which is a miracle in and of itself). So it's my inspiration point for the project. I used a scrap of the fabric to pick the perfect colors of yarn for washcloths. I've made four washcloths so far, using two butterfly washcloth patterns. I'm planning on making four more, so there'll be two in each color. There probably won't be enough for more solid-color cloths than that, but if there's enough scraps, maybe I'll make one or two striped ones, just to use up the yarn. Sorry, no pictures today. I'll post a picture of all the washcloths together when they're done.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Binding off and Casting on, and a small rant

Adamas is done! I'm very happy with how this shawl turned out. It's a gift for a dear friend, and I hope she'll be thrilled to receive it; she likes it, but doesn't yet know it's for her.

Okay, vital stats: 62 inches wide at the top, 31 1/2 inches long down the centerline. I used two hanks (but had a nice-sized ball left over) of Knit Picks Gloss Lace, in the colorway "Raisin".
I'm really glad I went ahead and bought the blocking wires; they made blocking this shawl quick and easy.
Since I finished Adamas yesterday, I gave myself permission to cast on something new...white lace!
The white lace doesn't have a name yet(though I have a few ideas), but it's going to be a diagonally-knit stole, and I already love it. I wish you could feel the yarn through the computer screen; the picture doesn't do justice to its incredible softness. I'm making this stole to wear to next year's West Point Founder's Day ball. No, the lace isn't Army-themed in any way. I just wanted something special to wear, and knitting a stole is simpler and quicker than knitting a ball gown. LOL. I haven't picked a dress, and I'm hoping none of my current dresses will fit by then, because I'm trying to lose weight. The ball is always in April, so I've got 10 months to lose. My ultimate goal is 50 pounds, but I'll settle for what I can get. At this point, I'm just sick of being the size I am. So I'll be happy with every lost pound. Anyway...I'm thinking I might go with burgundy. I was leaning toward navy blue, but so many women wear navy blue. I wore black this year, with a fuschia lace cardigan, but only because that's what I could find in a hurry in my size and for what I was willing to pay. If I lose a bunch of weight, I'll reward myself with a gorgeous dress next year.
And now, I want to air my opinion for a minute. Unless you live under a rock, you've heard in the news about Abby Sunderland, the 16-year-old girl who was attempting to sail solo around the world, but had to be rescued. So many people, especially in the media, have been quick to judge her mom and dad as bad parents. They say that 16 is too young to sail around the world. They say that the parents forced her into it for a tv show. (I don't know if the tv show thing is true, because the only place I've heard about it is in the "news". Time will tell.) They say that the parents are publicity-seekers, who don't care that their little girl's life was in danger.
In our society, a 16-year-old is only considered normal if she is sleeping around, doing drugs, wasting hours of her life playing meaningless video games or buying slutty clothes, and mouthing off to her parents. And her parents are "just doing the best they can".
But find a girl who is independent, competitive, mature, and adventurous, who wants to sail around the world just like her big brother did, and her parents let her? OMG, lock up those parents! They're endangering their little baby girl! (/sarcasm)
And why didn't I hear anything in the news about this amazing girl until she was missing? It reminds me of one of my favorite lines from Apollo 13: "If landing on the moon wasn't exciting enough for them, why should not landing on it be?" The media didn't care about Abby until something went wrong. If she had made it all the way around the world, she would have gotten one or two days of interviews on TV, just like her brother did, and then the next week, nobody but the readers of her blog( )would remember her name. If she was after publicity, there were easier ways to get it.
I wish more American teenagers were adventurous like Zac and Abby Sunderland. I'm not saying I'd let my kids sail around the world, but we're not a sailing family, and my kids are still, well, kids. Congratulations to Laurence and Marianne Sunderland for raising strong, independent, adventurous young people. Any "kid" who is able to sail even halfway around the world by herself, shouldn't be called a "kid" anymore.
This is just my opinion, and should be taken as such.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Blankets done!

I finished the blue blanket! And that's not all.....
(Excuse the sideways picture; I don't know why it uploaded that way.)
These two blankets are a baby shower gift for my friend Sarah, who is expecting twins; a boy and a girl. Hence the blue and the pink. Anyway, this is one of my designs, and I'm attempting to have it published by someone other than myself. Yesterday, I sent my design proposal to Knit Picks. If they like it, I'll send the actual pattern, and knit another blanket for them to see in person and photograph for the pattern. If they publish the pattern, it will be my first pattern published for sale, rather than free. I am very hopeful. I'm sure I'll be on pins and needles until I hear from them. I got the standard thanks-for-submitting-a-pattern email last night. But it could be up to 3 weeks before I hear whether they like my design.
In other knitting news, I'm back to working on Adamas, which is not my own design. ☺I have finished 12 repeats of the lace chart, so I need to do two more repeats, and it'll be ready for the border. Once I finish that, I have another design ready to cast on, in white merino laceweight. It doesn't have a name yet; I've got a few ideas, but haven't picked which one works the best. Maybe after I've gotten a little work done on the project, I'll know for sure. I have a few other projects that I want to start; a couple pairs of socks, and another baby blanket idea, but I need to finish some projects first. Two of my current projects are gifts, and I intended to have them done a while ago.

Friday, June 4, 2010

My fence is done!

As a reminder, here's what my fence looked like before...
Here it is after all the pickets were pulled off...
Here it is, with the bottom boards on, and the posts cut down to size(and the bushes cut down)...
Here it is with all the new pickets on...
And here it is, finished!

It's a little more than half the height of the old fence. I like being able to see out; it really makes our yard seem bigger. Oh, and I did most of the work myself! :D