Archive for September, 2007

My New Friend

September 28, 2007

Just got this from the local antique store:

I found her when shopping for a new watering can, since I let Ingi use mine for sprinkling vinegar on the weeds. She’s pretty cool, huh? Her fabric is a little tattered, but the price was amazing ($30) and the dressform is adjustable to my measurements on up. I can even adjust it to height. She’ll be my new sewing helper. I’ve been wanting one of these for YEARS. (I also got a great new metal watering can for my garden that is way better than my old one.)

I stumbled upon this site about safe cosmetics and it fascinates me. Now I am searching for all my favourite brands in the Skin Deep cosmetic safety database and it kind of freaks me out. Makes me want to make my own, or buy makeup from Honeybee Gardens.

I just picked back up a book (The Bonesetter’s Daughter) that had been sitting on my bedside table unfinished, and finished it in something like a day. It was amazing, I can’t figure out why I had set it down. It is a beautiful story about family and being a girl.

We also watched Brokeback Mountain last night. Beautiful scenery (then again, what does one expect from Ang Lee), and poignant. I’m very happy to have a husband who is secure enough in his masculinity to watch a movie about gay cowboys.


Six Sox KAL

September 21, 2007

I’ve been a member of the Six Sox KAL for a little while, so I figured I’d review some of the projects I made, and ask for some advice.

First I made the Horcrux socks for my sister. If I did them again, I’d use a less busy yarn. I have no idea how you Sockapalooza-ites photograph your pals’ socks. My sister’s feet are way bigger than mine, so it’s a bit challenging to photograph them without it looking silly.

Then I made the Victorian Lace socks. I am pretty happy with how they came out. The toe is pretty clever, you do a short row and then join at the top. Now, here is my dilemma. If you look closely, I did the 3-needle bindoff wrong on the first sock (inside out), because I am used to kitchenering. The second sock I did correctly. Note how little yarn I have left. So. Do I take apart the toe on the “wrong” sock, or is it not that bad? There is a little ridge on that one. I’ll probably mostly wear them inside shoes with toes (I’m not a big sock+sandal wearer). What do you think?

Then there is the latest sock in the KAL, I ❤ Gansey. I tried it with my Queen Anne’s lace yarn (Trekking Pro Natura base). This is very thin yarn, and so these needles are too big for it. It’s not getting a very tight gauge. So I think I need to add a few purl stitches here and there and make the socks on smaller needles. Kind of sad to rip, but I think they will be better for it. So I think I will put them aside for now and work on some of the other projects I have going on, and revisit this later.

UFO Fimmtadagur

September 21, 2007

Well, there isn’t much left of Thursday, and I think WordPress thinks it’s Friday, but I figured I’d review some UFOs/WIPs, as I think about the weather changing and longing to wrap things up so I can start new ones:
Felted lunch bag – I was sketching out a design to do on the top of the bag. Have to find the sketch and dig up my lopi odds and ends and finish the darn thing

“Yellow” sweater from Rebecca magazine – Need to find/make swatch and check out how this yarn behaves once washed, and figure out if I am frogging the front of the sweater or not.

Bavarian Rockstar socks – Need to find the finished sock, the yarn, and the now 9 Pony Pearl needles that I have.

Dinosaur lopapeysa (no in process pictures) – Need to buy one more colour of yarn for the yoke and I can’t recall if I need to make the sleeves or if I’ve already done them.

Then of course there is MS3, the corn socks, and the Bergere de France sweater. I worked on the socks on the bus this morning and I am now going to see how much progress I can make on the stole.

Bramble On

September 20, 2007

In olden days, people would make a solution for mordanting yarn called “copperas”. Often it was just a jar of rusty nails in vinegar. My house came with an extensive collection of rusty nails in the basement, so it was easy to whip some up. Sure looks yucky, doesn’t it?

I’ve been trying to find some cashmere-blend yarn that is good for making guy socks, since Ingi can tolerate cashmere. It seems like the yarns that are sturdy enough for socks come in lovely colours, which aren’t so great for guy socks. I ordered some undyed cashmere-silk blend yarn from Colourmart and figured I’d try dyeing it. I found a recipe for yarn dyed with brambles that can range to greys and blacks, so I decided to try that. I took a big pot full of wild raspberry plants (stems and leaves) and boiled it for 2 hours. Then I let it sit on the stove overnight and part of the next day. Then I strained out the plant matter and put the liquid back in the pot. The recipe has you add as much water as needed and then bring the yarn up to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes. Next you add the iron and cream of tartar and cook it for 10 more minutes, then let the yarn sit overnight. It was a long day, so I accidentally added the iron before I added the yarn, and cooked it in that solution for an hour instead. I erred on the side of too little iron, because cashmere and silk are delicate fibres and I was afraid to damage them. The yarn looked kind of blackish grey before I rinsed it, but it is more of a greyish-green now. It’s actually a pretty nice colour, and still guy-friendly.

It’s a little more green in real life, it seemed to liven up more as it dried. I look forward to trying this recipe out some more next year, since I have wild raspberries all over the place, and there are some that keep trying to grow in my flower bed. Now at least I don’t feel as guilty to pull them out as I used to, since I am using them for good.

Various and Sundried Tomatoes

September 19, 2007

This weekend I went to the farmer’s market and they had Italian tomatoes, so I bought a kilo of them and decided to try making my own “sun”-dried (really oven-dried) tomatoes. Most of the instructions I found were pretty easy: slice them in quarter-inch pieces and spread out on a baking sheet, and let set in a low temperature oven (200F/93C) for 6-10 hours. I learned two important lessons: do not slice the tomatoes too thin (I guess a quarter inch is bigger than I estimated), and do not forget they are in the oven and leave them in with it on overnight (luckily, I did not burn down the house). My tomatoes are a little crisp, but I think they will be OK. I don’t look forward to scrubbing the pans they were on.

It’s been chilly enough to wear wool socks and even sweaters in the morning, but we are supposed to get warm weather again before it’s all done. Still, I am not so sure that I should keep working on this sweater much longer this year, I may put it back aside and pick it up in the spring. I started it in 2004, but then this smocking was driving me crazy and I put it aside until last month. I have the back and almost one of the fronts done. The smocking is still really annoying, it requires an extra needle and it breaks up the flow. But it’s not as bad as I remember, I think I had a decent break. I think it will be very pretty, whenever I do finish it, but I long to be working with wool.

Cats like swans

September 15, 2007

(I love sentences like that.)

Cats love birds like I love chocolate-covered licorice, and my bird-hunter is no exception, as much as I’d like him to leave those pretty birds along and just go after the mice. Maybe he can sense the Swan Lake theme in Mystery Stole 3:

Or maybe he just wanted to snuggle up after watching the slightly disturbing Perfume, A Story of a Murderer. I was surprised that the movie was just as good as the book. It was incredible how they managed to translate it to screen so well. We were disappointed to not be able to see it in the theatre here (never made it to any of the ones near me). But now we finally got around to seeing it.

I came upon The Tasha Tudor Cookbook in the library the other day, and we tried a few recipes from it last night. Classic New England cooking. I first knew of Tasha Tudor when I had a very cool Christmas book full of songs as a child that she wrote. When I became an adult, I read more about her life and I find her just a fascinating woman. She is the ultimate self-sufficient woman, living alone for a lot of her life, keeping an 1830’s lifestyle as much as possible, making her own cheese and so on. She definitely is a role model of mine. And so far, it’s a pretty good cookbook.


September 12, 2007

I haven’t posted in a while because things have been insane busy at work.

I have been on the lookout for good non-wool sock yarns that don’t come in fancy pretty colours. Kind of a difficult search, isn’t it? Then the other week when I was getting a replacement needle for a sweater that I abandoned a long time ago, I found Crystal Palace Maizy, 82% corn fiber, 18% elastic nylon, per the label. It’s an interesting yarn to work with. It’s a little bit annoying, because the fibers are kind of loosely plied and they keep separating as I knit. And then, I am working on the apparent Cursed Sock which I have had to frog twice, and this yarn is not so forgiving about frogged and re-knit repeatedly.

But it does have kind of an interesting texture knit up. I think it would be very nice yarn for a baby garment; it has a slightly bumpy texture and it is very soft. So here is the sock in its first incarnation (now I have not quite re-knit to where it was at this point):

(If anyone notices, a lot of my pictures seem to have the same backdrop. That is because my house is surrounded by trees and there are only like 3 spots in my house where I can get decent enough natural light to take a decent photo.)

Rockin’ Girl Blogger

September 3, 2007

Maggan nominated me the other day for Rockin’ Girl Blogger
and then I was unable to post for a while to nominate 5 ladies of my own. So here they are, better late then never.
Sigga Sif

This weekend I made an Angel baby onesie:

Ingi’s friends had a baby a little while ago, and we were going to send the booties I made but hadn’t gotten around to mailing them. Then the other day we were talking about how they were huge Buffy fans and I thought it would be fun to make a shirt for the baby. Ingi thought Buffy was too girlie for a baby boy to wear, so we settled on Angel.

I followed Amy Karol’s tutorial along with the one at Craftster that she followed. I dyed the white cotton baby shirt with black RIT dye, which I don’t really recommend. I had to dye it a few times and rinse it forever. Next time I will buy Jacquard dye. I made a freezer paper stencil, ironed it on, and then painted it with Jacquard fabric paint. I haven’t heat sealed it yet, but I will do it before we send it off.