Snow Day No. 2

We got 13 inches of snow yesterday. I didn’t take a picture, but you can’t even see our car, let alone where the drive way is. The street in front of our house, just a guess at where you should actually drive….

So we’re home again today! I’m not going to lie, this is exactly what I have been needing–a couple of extra days off work that aren’t full of weekend chores and errands and where I am not sick. Thank you, Snow.

I worked on my Snow Day Shawl all afternoon, and a good portion of the evening.

snowdayshawl

I got about 18 inches into it, so while it isn’t a shawl yet, it very well could be in a few days time. Aren’t the colors fantastic? I’m glad I decided to stripe it to make the handspun last longer. It really underplays the yarn nicely.

Speaking of stripes, I had so much fun printing stripes on to the baby blanket yesterday, that I got the paint back out today and did stripes on the fabric that’s going to become my ring sling.
stripey baby wrap fabric

The fabric took quite a bit longer than the blanket, as it’s about twice as big and I used 5 colors instead of 3, but I think it turned out fantastic, and I somehow managed to include all of my favorite colors.

fabric printing stations

Here’s some perspective on how large the fabric is. It’s set out on my six foot table I use for craft shows and the farmer’s market. The blanket is behind on the ironing board.I can’t wait until the fabric is dried and fixed so I can sew my ring sling with it. That will feel like such a grand accomplishment, even if it does turn out unusable.

But I better get busy, I am certain we won’t have a snow day tomorrow, and I have a shawl to finish.

Snow Day

Like many folks across the midwest today, I am sitting inside my house, watching the snow pile on the ground fast and furious, and enjoying a quiet day off work. The longer it snows, the harder it seems to snow. It seemed like a good time to take stock of all of my works in progress.

Brocks Aran
Brock’s sweater has continued apace, but I set it aside about a week ago because I was jonesing for something with a little bit more color and a little bit less mental involvement.

garter stitch baby kimono
Insert the Garter Stitch Baby Kimono. I’ve been working on this sweater a stitch here and a stitch there for the last couple of months, but this past week I decided it was time to finish it. (This has nothing to do with feeling like my due date is suddenly much closer than it was two weeks ago.) This is my kind of dye job. Bold. Bright. A little garish, perhaps, but completely adorable at the same time. (Yarn is Vice Yarns Paradigm in Plain Jane.)

baby hat
The sweater used most of the skein of yarn, but I wanted to make matching accessories anyway, and I just happened to have an undyed skein of yarn that is, if not the same base, a very similar one. I cast on a little hat and am planning on making a pair of Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s Cutest Booties in the undyed yarn with the bright yarn as the ties and the pom poms…I should have just enough yarn left for that.

latest handspun
Last time, I showed you some singles on the bobbin of the yarn I was currently spinning. The photo above shows what those singles became. It’s a squishy worsted weight two-ply yarn that I think needs to become a great big, warm, squishy shawl.

shawl ingredients
Pairing it with this undyed skein of merino yarn should help stretch to make the handspun into a great big shawl. This will be my snow day project–seeing how much of it I can get done before the snow clears up.

wensleydale
And if I need a break from knitting, I’ve got this lovely little ball of Wensleydale that needs to be spun up as well.

Stripey Baby Blanket
Or I could try my hand and decorating some more fabrics.

Stay safe and warm everyone!

My Weekend in Pictures

It feels like I have a million different projects going on, but none of them are finished enough for a real post. I am still working on Brock’s sweater, and I am still working on various sewing projects for the baby. In the past few days I’ve knit my sister a pair of mittens and spun a skein of yarn off a gorgeous batt I made, and I’m still sick enough to not have a voice and to feel pretty crappy in the morning and the evening.

So today, I mostly just have pictures.
sheep on a blanket
Printing sheep on a baby blanket

baby blankets
Still need some practice. (That yellow in the background is another baby blanket that I dyed yesterday. First time dyeing plant fibers!)

half a ginat batt
A really horrible picture of half of my giant batt. I forgot I hadn’t taken any pcitures until I had half of it spun already. Yes, I was that anxious to spin it.

spinningfromabatt
The other half of the batt, already on the bobbin. I got about a 200 yard worsted-ish weight skein out of it that is currently drying.

What have you been up to?

23 Weeks

A while ago I mentioned that I was pregnant, but since I haven’t said much more about it other than I’ve been working on a couple of baby sweaters, I thought maybe I’d take some time to answer some questions about my pregnancy, just so we can get it out there. I get asked the following questions just about every single day, so here goes.

1. When are you due?
Mid to late April, though I’m leaning more toward late. My actual due date is in there somewhere, but I try not to put too much stock in it. My son was a week late, so I’m expecting this little one to follow suit. Last time around, I remember getting a lot of “No baby yet!” type comments, which let me tell you, no one appreciates. So I’m already a little on the offensive about it. I apologize if I sound cranky, I don’t mean to.

2.Do you know what you’re having?
Nope. We decided not to find out this time. We’ll know when the little one is born.

3.Do you have any names picked out?
Yes, for both a boy and a girl, but we’re keeping them under wraps for just a little bit longer.

4. Cloth or Disposable?
Cloth, which will be a new adventure.

5. What hospital are you going to?
Fun story, I’m not going to one. We have an amazing free standing birthing center in our town. It’s where my son was born, and that’s the way we’re planning on doing it again. I had a great experience the first time around, and I can’t imagine doing it any other way.

capitol belly shot

Now, just for fun, what I wish people were asking me.

What are you knitting for the baby?

I’m so glad you asked!

Despite my showing you a couple of pictures of some sweaters in progress, I have only finished one project so far.

green stay on booties 2
Booties!

Which I think are just about the most adorable knitwear in the world.

green stay on booties

That other cloth you see in the background is the blanket I’m working on. It’s 2/3 of the way done, and I’m trying not to think about it. I do however, find it amusing that it is almost exactly the same shade of green as the booties, when I dyed the yarn for the booties, and the blanket is Cascade 220 superwash.

matching blanket and booties
I keep unconsciously choosing lime green to include in baby projects, though I will admit being partial to the color.

Here’s a better photo of the blanket, which I love, but would possibly love more if I woke up tomorrow and it was magically finished.
cable and lace baby blanket

Sunday Afternoons

Sunday afternoons are my favorite times of the week. The house is quiet. Athrun is usually with his Dad, Brock is working on whatever his project for the day is, and I am able to pretty much do whatever I want. Turns out, whatever I want is usually pretty simple: knit, read a book, take a nap, cook. Usually it’s a good mix of all four.

Today I have a pot of chicken broth in the works while casting on Brock’s yearly sweater, which is difficult enough that I can’t read while I knit. This year I am knitting him an Aran because the man looks good in cables. I’ve been admiring this pattern for a good year now, and finally got the yarn to cast on this week, as part of his Christmas present.

An Aran For Brock Cast On

I am using Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool in Oatmeal. I don’t tend to pay a lot of attention to Lion Brand yarn, because they are often acrylic blends or just straight up acrylic, but I really like this wool. I made Brock’s Ishmael Sweater out of it last year, and it’s held up really well. He wears this sweater every day, so he’s really put it through the ringer.

Otherwise I’ve been working on Christmas presents non-stop.

Christmas Work
It doesn’t look like much, but 99% of the presents under that tree are handmade. (I also have a cat and a kid, and they both like the tree. I didn’t feel the need to tidy the tree skirt or bring the other half of the presents out of hiding.) Also, wrapping presents at 6 months pregnant is hard work, but at least we have plenty of floor space now to do it on!

I am really excited about Athrun’s present this year, even though it’s just about the only I didn’t make, but more on that after Christmas.

What are you looking forward to this year?

Baby Knitting and Webcam Photos

The problem with trying to blog near the winter solstice and working an 8 to 5 is that there isn’t much time to take pictures. And these days, blogs need pictures, but since I don’t have currently have a personal life during daylight hours, tonight we’re having fun with webcam photos!

heatingpad
Yes, I’m even wearing a heating pad, because my neck has a couple of giant knots in it hurts like the dickens.

highshot
Here’s a shot with with better light, where I just look tired. Growing a person is hard work. Did I mention I’m pregnant? I can’t remember, but if not, I’m almost 21 weeks! To celebrate, let’s talk about knitting baby things.

garterstitchvice
This is a Garter Stitch Baby Kimono in progress, knit in Vice Yarns Plain Jane. Click the link, because my webcam is not doing the colors justice. This sweater is going to be bright. I’ll never lose my baby when he or she is wearing this sweater. We’ll all be so distracted by this sweater, we won’t be able to divert our eyes.

Not everything I’m knitting for the baby is quite so loud. I’m working on a blanket, which I feel is an obligatory project for a baby, even though I’m not really the biggest blanket-knitting fan. It’ll be cute and totally worth it once it’s finished, but I am certainly not going to be the kind of knitting mother than knits her child many or large blankets.

The only other thing I’ve knit for the baby is a cabled Sunnyside Cardigan out of cormo yarn that I spun. The roving was my Juniper Moon Farm Spinner’s Share that I spun way before there was any thought of a baby. (This picture is also form October, hence the absence of webcam-ness.)

sunnyside
The sweater is still in this state, ends not woven in, buttons in a ziplock back next to it in a drawer. I still have 4+ months to finish it, right?

I’m trying to add to my list of baby things to make. Since this little one is due midspring, I am thinking I’ll need some hats and booties for cold mornings and evenings, but nothing too heavy. Is there anything else I should plan on making? I have to confess I love making sweaters, especially wee ones, but I realize that an April baby only needs so many sweaters. What are your favorite baby knits?

Alecia Beth

Have you seen the new pattern highlights feature on the pattern page on Ravelry?

It has been very bad for my formally well-organized queuing habits.

Very rarely do I see a project I must cast-on the second I see it. Normally I favorite it, and if I keep coming back to my favorites to look at it, I queue it. If I really like it, I queue it right away. When Alecia Beth by Justyna Lorkowska popped up on my highlights page, I bought it immediately, printed it out at work, saved it on my tablet, and cast it on the second I got home.

tiedyeyarn
In this yarn.

If you notice, everyone else has knit their projects out of solid yarns, or semi-solid at the very most. Me? I go for the brightest food color tie dye I have done yet. I call it “Fruity Pebbles”.

I quite like the effect so far.
AB Cardigan Yoke Fruity Pebbles
I am 3/4 of the way done with the yoke. I am loving the contiguous sleeve construction.

fruity pebble mock cables
Those mock cables get me every time. I just can’t say no to them.

What I did on my Summer Vacation

Last week, I was on vacation. The week before that I kind of took a vacation from the blog as well, and I have been kind of slow getting back to it. I have been thinking of you all, but things like farmers markets and Harry Potter movie marathon have got in the way. (Did I mention I made an Athrun-friendly version of Butterbeer?) Since we have no extra money to speak of, and I generally find travelling stressful enough to need a second vacation, I stayed home, slept in, probably drank too much wine, and made things.

catinasweater
Minerva in a baby Sweater

As mentioned in the previous post, I knit a baby sweater, and as promised, Brock put it on the cat. She is asleep in this picture, so deeply so that she allowed herself to be posed.

catinababysweater
I do think magenta and orange are her colors, don’t you?

While that was a fun little lark and it kept my hands busy in the evenings, in reality, I really spent the better part of three days sewing. The first project was the cute little tote bag in the previous post. The second was another handbag, for me to actually use.

reversiblebucketbag
The Reversible Bucket Bag

This is the second pattern in The Bag Making Bible and the bag featured on the cover–a big part of the reason I wanted to buy the book. I am very smug with myself that I finally managed to sew it. It’s not perfect. The seams are a little more crooked than I used to sew, and I pretty much made up how to attach the bias tape because the instructions in the book were too dense, but I really like how it came out. I especially like the fabric–the perfect mood and combination of patterns. I generally find pattern combinations (like the one on the cover-ay yi yi yi) in books like these to be a bit to bold for my taste, but I was able to find some patterns that I though complimented each other instead of fought for space. (They were all quilting cotton from JoAnn.)

insidethereversiblebucketbag

I am especially in love with the silver calico I chose for the lining. It’s so special, it’s only for me. (Yes, while the bag is technically reversible, I don’t plan to use it that way.)

Spending some time sewing this past week, I learned something important about myself. While knitting and spinning are productive, enjoyable ways to spend my time, I can perform them while doing other things: listening to an audio book, watching tv, socializing. Those fiber arts don’t take my full attention (most of the time). When I sew, however, I jump head first into a deep, dark tunnel from which I may not emerge hours, days, or weeks, and if anyone comes in looking to find me, they are likely to get bitten. Seriously, hours passed in what seemed like minutes, and I had no idea. As I shake the rust off my old sewing hinges, I think it unlikely that this mindset will change. Hopefully it will take me fewer hours overall, but I seem to be capable of sewing with a single-mindedness I seldom spare for any other activity–and it scares me enough that I realize I won’t be allowing myself to descend into that sort of madness too often. But don’t expect this handbag to the last sewing project you see on this blog.

And a teaser:

weddinginvitationenvelope
Wedding invitations have been produced, assembled, and mailed. Next time, what’s in the envelope and how we made them.