Thursday, February 21, 2008

I hear patience is a virtue...

...but I'm having a very hard time being virtuous!

I subscribed, I paid online, and I'm trying to be patient, but I STILL haven't received my Spring '08 Interweave Knits! It's been below zero for days on end and I need my dose of spring, people!

I'm slowly making my way through the sleeves for Oblique. She isn't making quite the progress I'd hoped for, but my distractions have been many. I've had this rotten flu, which sank in my lungs over the weekend. Luckily my most excellent asthma doc is kind enough to give me an emergency course of prednisone to keep on hand for these very situations. I'm finally starting to feel like myself again.

Another distraction, in a good way, is my girlfriend's baby boy due in April. I had the gift-knitting withdrawals so I'm very pleased to be making things for little Will. Not to mention the serious stash-busting potential. I have enough 100% cotton to make several burp cloths and bibs without ever setting foot in a store. So far I've finished one of each.

I really like this color combo. My next set is going to be even better. I started this one late last night so I haven't had much time with it, but it's looking so great!

I also found out that a cousin of mine is expecting in July...yay! Another baby to knit for - and it's even spaced out enough so that I won't have to knit for two babies at the same time! How thoughtful of them!

Remember I mentioned the mindless knitting I started while watching Lord of the Rings over the weekend? Here's my progress on it. Yep, it's another Mr. Greenjeans.

This time I'm using Patons Decor in First Spring from my stash (there's a theme here...). I had bought 4 skeins for a Clapotis, but made a pair of socks instead and the rest has been sitting here. After seeing a couple Greenjeans in variegated Patons, I got going. I think I will need one more skein to make it all the way through, but that's not so bad.

Lastly, along the same vein of trying to create spring when spring is not even remotely in sight, I've begun my semi-annual kitchen overhaul. The cupboards with dishes were the easy part. I loaded a box full of stuff that I haven't used in at least a year, wiped them down, replaced everything and that was that. The pantry cupboard is another story.

We all know I have a boy with autism. One of the ways we treat this is with the gluten-free/casein-free diet (GFCF diet). I'm also allergic to dairy. We've been doing the diet now for almost 5 years so the cooking part isn't the's the sheer number of products I need to have on hand. Check out the upper half of my pantry cupboard, which is devoted to all things flour, plus a few cans of chips. It's a deep cabinet, and it's stuffed.

In my former life, these shelves would have been nearly empty. Canisters of white sugar, brown sugar, and wheat flour would have been the only things there. Ok, perhaps also whole wheat flour and bread flour, but big deal.

Now, however, I have the who's who of alternative flours: white rice, brown rice, sweet rice, potato, sorghum, garbanzo, garfava, potato/corn/tapioca starches, and don't forget xanthan and guar gums. Then there's the larger canisters of premixed (by me) Featherlight Flour Blend (Bette Hagman), GF Flour Blend (Carol Fenster), and Quickie Baking Mix (Special Diets for Special Kids 2). Oh yeah, and two kinds of pasta two: rice and wheat.

Yesterday, my kitchen was a cloud of fine GF flour powder as I mixed up fresh batches of all these mixes and tried to make some sense of what I already have. Oye! I gladly put up with the powdery mess of some of these flours, though, because the ladies who developed them have made my life so much easier. These are my favorite flour blends and they are perfect for all my baking. Casein (dairy) free is like tiddly winks compared to the transition to gluten-free, and these flours are fantastic.

I'd love to go more into the GFCF diet, but that will be for another day. Work is beckoning and this post is already far longer than I'd expected. I like doing it though, even if nobody is reading it! Stay warm everyone and have a great day!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Ahh, nice weekend!

Nice long weekend too! The kids had Friday and today off. I'd hoped to do something fun with them on Friday but I was stuck working most of the day. Luckily, A. was invited to the community center to swim and play basketball with her best friend, so I didn't feel quite so guilty.

L. and B. spent their day much like they do every other: reading, playing trains, doing puzzles, wrestling, watching TV, and the like. I took a few breaks here and there to spend some time playing with them and that worked out well.

The kids came home with a flyer from the school nurse about influenza and the news was reporting that a different strain than that which was covered in the vaccine was going around. Ya think? At that moment I knew that we all have been battling influenza. I'm still trying to get over it, but everyone else is better and that's good.

On Saturday, we decided to go out for dinner at a new local restaurant. Going out as a family has been something I've wanted to do regularly but we've been reluctant because L. has autism and B. is Mr. Instigator Extraordinaire. Well, we decided to take the plunge. The restaurant is a grill/bar so it's naturally noisy and a perfect environment for our boys. We could go and be ourselves and talk and laugh and we all had a great time. The boys even ate well which is usually tricky. It's definitely something we all look forward to doing again. Not only is it nice to just get out, it's a great way for our kids to learn acceptable social behavior - which is especially important to L. because he has autism and social interactions are not as natural for him.

Sunday was another all-day basketball tournament. The girls played as hard as they could, but ended up with 3rd (out of 4 teams). It was a "B" tournament though which has tougher teams and even though they played their hearts out, they just couldn't match up. They had a great chance for 2nd place, but ran out of gas in their 3rd game. Oh well, fun was still had by all and they got a trophy out of the deal.

Not as much knitting this weekend. We popped The Two Towers in the Blu-Ray on Friday night and Oblique isn't mindless enough to be able to watch the movie at the same time. My solution? Cast on another Mr. Greenjeans in some stash yarn: Patons Decor in First Spring. I know I won't quite have enough from my stash to finish it completely, but there's enough to get probably 3/4 of the way through. Doesn't get much more mindless than that. Return of the King went in on Saturday so I was able to make excellent progress on that.

Oblique is on the docket for TV time tonight. Of course I haven't forgotten about her!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Freaky Friday

It's Friday once again and I'm STILL sick! Tea and Puffs, baby - now that's my idea of a great day! I'm not sure how much more of this my nose can handle. Or my throat. Or my chapped lips. This is getting too darn old, folks. I'm buying stock in TheraFlu.

I'm also a little bitter because this weekend is the big Knit Out & Crochet Too at the Mall of America - a mere hour away from my home - and I can't go! Many things are conspiring against me with this one. I am still sick, but also my niece's birthday is tomorrow and knitting would not be an acceptable excuse to miss that. A. has a Girl Scout meeting in the a.m. and a big report on Coronado with which I promised to help (that would be the Miracle Worker part of my tea mug up there). On Sunday, A.'s basketball team is playing in another tournament because the organizers needed another team to round out the playing field. Three games spanning from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It's fun to watch basketball and the homework help isn't so bad, but I do wish I could go drown in yarn and people for a few hours.

My consolation is that Oblique is getting closer and closer! I did end up ripping back on one of the fronts and redoing the raglan decreases and I'm much happier with it now. The other front was good as is so I was saved that extra work. When the fronts were ready, I already had the back pinned out and it was nearly dry (thank you lace!) so I pinned the fronts right on top of the back so that I had a good template to follow to get it all lined up right. I'll be blocking it again when finished (probably) so my only real goal here is to get everything behaving better for seaming. Love it!

Can you see the fronts better this way? I like it. I LOVE IT! I can't wait to finish it!

The sleeves are on their way also. Last night I got through the cuffs - felt like it took forever, but I think it was because I knit both cuffs at the same time. This morning while watching Angel from 5-7 a.m. (I'm hooked now and it's totally killing my committment to my morning workout!), I got to the point of starting the sleeve increases.

The photo is kind of dark, but you get the idea. My kids probably can't wait for me to get this finished because it's nearly impossible to keep them off my side of the couch and I just have to have my pattern and my notebook and my pens and my markers and all my assorted garbage set out just so. They don't like it. Even though the chaise end of the sofa is Mom's Spot, they see fit to make me feel like I'm inconveniencing their lives by covering it in knitting paraphernalia. When you have your own house, you too can put your knitting stuff any where you want!

My final note for today regards Valentine's Day. After reviewing our tax situation, Mr. T. and I decided that we wouldn't be giving gifts to each other. However, on Wednesday, he mentioned that he was going shopping for my gift. WHAT??? After we decided not to give gifts, I'd not given one single thought to what I would give him. Frankly I was relieved. He always knows what he's getting me and it ticks me off to no end because I agonize over any gift giving occasion for weeks on end.

I did end up having a pretty good idea and I think he likes it. I bought him some noise-cancelling earbuds for his iPod because he flies a lot for work and will be doing a lot of flying here over the next few weeks. He got me one of those radio transmitter thingys to use to play my iPod over my car radio. I'm very excited about that! Podcasts and audiobooks, hooray!
Okay, back to work people! Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

6th Avenue Heartache

I realize I'm probably dating myself here by quoting The Wallflowers, but if you don't know them and are into hip acousitc-y alternative-y Bob Dylan-y sound, check them out. In the meantime, we have a real heartache going on here.

This morning, L's county case manager stopped in for the annual signing of the paperwork fun fest. Prior to her arrival, I took the dog out and put him in his crate so he wouldn't be all bothersome and hairy. About 20 minutes into the visit, Sam starts to stir upstairs. I told her it was the dog just wishing he was down here. Sam starts to bark - and bark repeatedly. I laugh - ha ha! - he just hates knowing there are people down here when he's not. Ha ha ha!

After she left, I went upstairs to release Sam from prison only to find that he'd somehow pulled THREE skeins of my lovely Delphinium Blue hand dyed yarn into his crate. He'd peed a little on two of them (when he saw me and got an incredibly guilty look on his face) so those got a soaking in the sink and are drying (again). The third skein got the worst of it. What used to be 223 continuous yards of bluish-purple dream fiber - is now what you see below:

Rotton dog. Oh well. I guess I can designate this as the swatch and seam skein, though I had a completely different and unscathed skein all set aside for that purpose.

On a happier note, the back is done for Oblique and it's blocking to what I think are the correct measurements. I followed the directions for the medium size but I was knitting it at a tighter gauge than called for so I hope to have it more close to the small size. I'll probably block it again after assembly so I'm not too worried.

I started the sleeves and once I get through this tedious twisted rib, I'll be off and running on those. I'm fighting off the urge to buy another skein of yarn. I *think* I'll have enough, so I'm going to take a leap of faith and see how far I get with what I have. I've impressed myself with this project - I've stuck to it and never strayed once except for the staff meeting, which called for mindless knitting. I'll redo the raglan decreases on the fronts tonight and have the whole thing blocking before bed. Yay!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Work and knitting

Yesterday's post was actually posted this morning, so I thought I'd clarify a few things. Sunday was when the ripping happened and I finished the back this morning - not yesterday morning. I made sure to only knit yesterday when I felt perfectly alert and at the height of my TheraFlu relief; all was well. Does it all really matter? Heck no! It's only knitting!

Today I'm still feeling sub-par, but my body doesn't ache quite so much and the mercury has risen to a whopping 12 F ABOVE ZERO! It's unbelievable! I've been half expecting to see my neighbor run around in a halter top and shorts. We be hardy folk here in Minnesota!

Alas, with health comes getting back to work - home and otherwise. Laundry is in motion, dishes are done, and I'm back at my piano room desk doing my real job. We had a staff meeting today - translate: set cell phone to speaker AND mute and commence knitting on the Baby Genius Burp Cloth from Mason Dixon Knitting.

My friend, Kathy (the one in light blue from the picture in the previous post), is having a baby boy in April so yay! - I get to knit for someone other than myself! I have great hopes of completing several of these burp cloths and bibs to give to little Will. Perhaps even a Moderne Baby Blanket, if I have the guts for that much garter stitch.

If you're familiar with this pattern - and have really good eyes - you'll notice right away that I started the stripes on the wrong row. I'm not interested in re-casting on cotton yarn so it's gonna stay exactly the way it is. Plus, the so-called "wrong" side is very neat and tidy stripes so the burp cloth will look good no matter which side the spit up lands. What more could a mom want?

Don't get me wrong - I'm done having kids and want another baby like I want a home invasion. However I really love knitting baby things and it makes me nostagic for the time when I was pregnant, especially the first time. I'd been crocheting doilies and other such crap for many years already but I started making more productive use of my time by crocheting little blankets. My mom let me loose on her Hefty Tall Kitchen Garbage Bag stash of Jamie Baby and I made blankets, sweaters, a cardigan/pants set, a bunting, and a whole bunch of booties. I used a bunch of vintage patterns and a couple new ones.

It was so much fun to drag it all along with me to work each day and crochet before work and at my lunch hour. There I was, 22 years old, crocheting around all ages and types of sophisticated business people. I don't think anyone ever said a word to me about what I was working on...oh wait, there was one woman who commented on a blanket I was making, but nobody else. I think people either didn't know what I was doing, or they thought it a major faux pas to actually call attention to it. I think times have changed a little! For one, I don't think I'd be the only one I ever saw making something during her lunch hour and two, I'm sure I'd be chatting away with someone within 5 minutes. It's nice that this whole yarn crafting gig has gained more popularity. I'll have to drag all those old blankies out and photograph them sometime.

Anyway, only a few minutes separate me from relative peace to the chaos that is children coming home from school, so I'd best be away!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Never try to knit when you have a fever!

Especially not lace!

I had gotten better and went out with my friends Friday night. We went out to eat at Buca di Beppo and we got our pictures back from the photo session we did the last time we went out. Aren't we cute? Not bad for a bunch of 30-somethings! Even though it's been 16 years, a few pounds, and (in my case) several more gray hairs since high school, we pretty much look the same.

So I had a great time, then woke on Saturday to a fever, headache, chills, body aches, sore throat, and runny/stuffy nose. Yippee!

Saturday morning I was bound and determined to pound through my laundry and some housework and while I did get it done, I was completely sapped by midday. I couldn't do much knitting because everything hurt so much, but by gosh I tried.

I was trying to get through the raglan decreases on the back of Oblique. It's not hard, but you really do need to pay close attention and I should have known better than to attempt it while feverish, sleepy, and under the influence of TheraFlu. I kept messing up the diagonal lace patterns. I did a fine job of fixing all the mistakes, but you'd think that after the 6th time of doing so I'd just give up and quit while I was ahead. The raglan decreases seemed to be going well.

Oh no, I wanted to get through that back. On Sunday my fever was a little worse and more persistant, yet as soon as TheraFlu kicked in, I wanted to try to work on Oblique again. When I reached the point of only a couple more raglan decreases before binding off, it was clear that I had way too many stitches on the needles.

The one irritation in the pattern for me - and it probably is just for me - is that I had a little trouble figuring out how to incorporate the diagonal lace patterns into the raglan decreases in such a manner that I actually am decreasing every time. I had to rip the back all the way back to the start of the raglan decreases for good measure.

This time, I carefully counted my stitches and worked the lace pattern such that when I worked a decrease row, I actually was decreasing one stitch from each side every time. This meant that sometimes I actually had to do an sssk or a k3tog in order to keep everything decreasing correctly. When I did it the first time, the way I was working the patterns after the decreases was actually adding a stitch back in and cancelling out the decreases on many of the rows. All was made right however and I bound off the back this morning.

Now I'm faced with another dilemma. Silly me thought that the raglan decrease stitches on the fronts should be kept partially in moss stitch. That's what I thought Veronik meant when she said "work in pattern". Dummy. One look at the picture would have told me that ALL the raglan decrease stitches should stay as stockinette. Arghh! What to do? I could rip back both sleeves to the start of the raglan decreases and do them yet AGAIN!!! Did I tell you that I had already ripped back each one and redid for the same reason that I did the back? Will I ever learn?

Oh well. I'll probably end up ripping back since lately I'm so hell-bent on having everything perfect. I did already cast on for the sleeves though so by the time I finish them, I may no longer care enough. Who am I kidding...I'm sure I'll rip back.

In spite of my own difficulties, I really enjoy knitting Oblique. I love Veronik's patterns because she pays so much attention to detail. I've been drooling over the Strawberry Lace Wrap Cardigan from her book Knitting Classic Style. That might just be the perfect match for my pile of hand dyed Delphinium Blue merino heaven!

For now, I must try to get back to work since I've missed 3 days now due to this illness. Anybody know of a good disinfectant bomb?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Is it really Friday?

Whoa, what a week! L. is the only one who's been healthy all week. A. didn't make it through yesterday but she's bound and determined to make it today since the entire 5th grade class (those with fewer than 7 late assignments, that is) is going roller skating for this trimester's reward party. B. had to miss out on sledding today at preschool because that darn cough and slight fever haven't quite left him yet. Mr. T. is back at work and I'm doing better as well. I'm going out again with my high school friends tonight so yes indeed-y, I AM better!

Sam made it through surgery just fine. He was just as happy as ever to see A. and me waiting for him. We got a chuckle over the post-op instruction of "restricting his activity for 7-10 days." A. looked at me and said "restrict what?" Precisely. The photo is his typical posture, just picture him in different rooms and you're all set!

That's the blanket A. is making for a school arts and academics awards competition - she'll be really thrilled when she sees it covered in dog hair. That's what you get for leaving it spread out like that!

I got around to taking some better pictures of a couple of FO's. Here's a new pic of the Rustic Love Pullover. I tried for full length, but my arms are only so long.

Next is a modeled picture (finally!) of Teva Durham's Assymetrical Cable Vest from Loop d Loop. I love this and wear this all the time, but Mr. T thinks I should be running around the house saying "it needs more cowbell." SNL, anyone? A. made me swear I'd never wear this to any sporting event of hers. Come ON, people!!

And finally, the piece de resistance...Mr. Greenjeans! I realy love how this turned out. It blocked out perfectly and fits so well! I'm going to wear it with a black short-sleeved t-shirt and jeans tonight for dinner with my friends.

Please excuse the horribly spotty mirror, but this was the best I could do for a full length shot. Eek!

Oblique is moving along nicely. I'm about halfway through the back. I have six balls of yarn, which in theory should be enough, but I'm considering picking up another ball tonight just in case. I hate having to use partial balls but after doing our taxes, perhaps I should see how it all goes before I spend more money!

While I do so love my evenings stretched out on the chaise end of our sectional, tonight I am very willingly sacrificing a night of knitting for a night out with friends. It will be 5 of us who went to high school together, but I've known a few of them longer than that. I met Lynn the summer before 6th grade and we played softball together. I met Kathy on the first day of 6th grade when I was the new kid at school. Katie joined us a few weeks later. We were separated through junior high and we all met up again in high school when Kathy and I joined the poms dance squad. Kathy, Lynn and I cheered hockey all through high school and Katie and Allison joined us our junior year. We've been all over the place since then, but we've remained friends. It's pretty cool. Eating out at an Italian restaurant might be a little challenging since I'm allergic to dairy, but I'm ready for it so I can have a great time with my buds! And it's Kathy's birthday so I'm bringing her a couple Mason-Dixon washcloths with some bath goodies tied inside. Boy is it nice to keep some of those on hand!
Have a great weekend everybody!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Quarantine me, please!

It's been a rough several days at JRo's House of Knitty. Colds swept through us last week and into the weekend causing a mad Walmart dash for warm mist humidifiers and Vicks VapoSteam. Saturday morning, a mysterious tummy bug hit little Mr. L. causing throwing up, fever, and a general cease to all movement that is always indicative of something not quite right.

Yesterday, I actually called in sick to my job - kind of funny since I work at home - but it had to be done. I felt like crap and knew that this weird tummy thing had hit me too. Miss A. complained of a tummy ache after school and didn't eat dinner. Mr. B. ate like crazy, living up to his "Pig Boy" moniker.

2 a.m. this morning I was awakened by A. throwing up at my bedside. She said it took a while to wake me up. I felt horrible, but what can I say? After my kids hit the sleeping-through-the-night milestone, I was dead to the world. I collapse into bed each night and generally sleep like a stone till the local hard rock radio station hits me in the face at 4:40 a.m.

I took care of her and got her back to bed, but then I couldn't sleep. Luckily I had Oblique to keep me company. I had finished the right front last night but messed up somewhere in the middle of yarn overs and raglan shaping and my stitch count was off. So I'd ripped back last night and got it all taken care of this morning. Both fronts are done and I'm halfway through the back ribbing. This really is a fabulous project. I'm using Patons Classic Wool in Dark Gray Mix and it looks fantastic. Each front took under one ball of yarn, leaving me with not enough for any real project but plenty to add to the feltable wool remnant bin in my closet. I feel a Big Bag comin' on! Or perhaps the stripey felted bag from One Skein. But I digress.

I'm sure today will be another sick day for me. I'm still feeling a little off-kilter, A. is still throwing up, and B. will probably have something going on with him. Sam, the ferocious Golden Retriever has an appointment with the scalpel, for which we need to leave in about 5 minutes. We'll miss him (until tomorrow) but it will be nice not to have to deal with a dog in addition to sicky kids.

Gotta go, but I'll post some pics of Oblique later. Oh, and Mr. Greenjeans is blocked and wonderful! I love love love it!

Monday, February 4, 2008

I cheated on my yarn!

Don't worry, I'll get to that. It involves my pile of yarn and my infatuation with a certain pattern called Oblique.

Mr. Greenjeans is done! On Friday, I went off to Michael's for another ball of yarn - something I should have done back when I first switched to that other dye lot - but I won't dwell on that. I found the perfect match and promptly knit the ribbed border. I think my favorite thing about this pattern is that it tells you exactly how to pick up the stitches (2 stitches per 3 rows). I hate seeing "pick up 68 stitches evenly across the front edge, blah, blah" because I always end up tearing my hair out trying to figure out how to actually pick up these stitches evenly. It's great! I also found a button that morning at JoAnn. I finished on Saturday morning but only got to blocking today. I think this one will make me very happy!

Now to the cheating. So I've had this pile of Patons Classic Wool in Natural Mix for a while. I chose my dye color and I knew that this yarn would be perfect for Oblique. I dyed it intentionally for Oblique. I dyed it Friday and it was drying by Friday evening.
I'd finished Mr. Greenjeans. I could have cast on for a teacher blanket. I could have cast on for a washcloth. I could have continued on the Jaywalkers or Ben's Sweater. But noooooooo, I had to cast on for Oblique. I had 6 balls of Patons Classic in Dark Gray Mix staring me in the face - what was I to do? I flinched, that's what.
I totally caved and started Oblique without my pretty new hand dyed yarn. I could almost hear it calling to me from the coat hangers in my bathroom "wait, wait for us...just a few more hours...wait!" But I couldn't wait. I started the left front on Saturday and finished it Sunday night. I briefly thought about knitting this in one piece to the armholes, but quickly abandoned that thought. With right leaning and left leaning lace patterns and shaping and moss stitch and textured lace stitch I thought it best to work one section at a time. It went along very nicely and quickly too. I have a feeling that if I were to leave this for any length of time, I might lose my place and never finish...much like my poor Breezy Cables.
This sweater is right up my alley - feminine lace done in a rustic yarn. I'm using size 7 needles and knitting the medium size so I hope it will end up a little in between the small and medium. I'm sure it will be wonderful no matter which size it ends up being. I'll keep knitting and searching for the perfect pattern for my dyed yarn.

What I did last Friday...

What’s for dinner, honey? Oh, just some nice purple yarn, dear!

Yes, as Mr. T would say – I’m cooking more yarn.

The Great Sweater’s Worth of Hand-dyed Yarn Experiment took place today in my kitchen. The canning pot came out of basement hibernation (only had one dead spider in it!) and the lovingly handcrafted PVC niddy noddy was put to work immediately. Six balls of Patons Classic Wool in Natural Mix were wound into skeins last night and one more ball this morning. I decided that I might want to make Cardigan for Arwen and if that actually happened, I would need that one more ball.

First, the yarn soaked in my kitchen sink. That was the only vessel large enough for that much yarn.

Then I prepared my dye. I used Pieknits directions for dyeing with Wilton Icing Dyes. I used about 3.5 tsp. of dye based on my 24.5 oz. of yarn. I ended up using all that was left in the bottle. The canning pot is large enough for all the yarn, though it takes a little wrangling to stir it around sufficiently. I tried to stir it often to ensure even color distribution.

I added the vinegar after 10 minutes of simmering (this means lots of steam but NO bubbles!). I was a little uneasy with only one glug of vinegar, so I added 3. Probably about ¾ cup in all. It won’t hurt anything.

The next direction was to let it simmer for 30 minutes until the dye has exhausted. After 10 minutes there wasn’t much change. I stirred thoroughly (I think) every 5 minutes. This color is very interesting. As it cooked, the yarn itself looked more purple, while the water looked blue. After the full 30 minutes though, the color was still pretty strong in the water.

I kept it going for some time further - close to another 30 minutes. The dye still had not completely exhausted, but by this time I was ready to say good enough. By the time the yarn was cool and ready to rinse, it had indeed exhausted all the dye. Yay!

Back to the sink for more rinsing. After two days of drying, here's what I ended up with:

One skein is considerably more purple than the others, but overall, I think they are similar enough to be used in a project together and have it turn out well. Cardigan for Arwen might not be the best choice after all, what with all that stockinette. Oblique would have been perfect, had I been patient, but that's never been my strong suit. There's a cabled cardigan in the Winter Vogue that might just be good - we'll see.
When I look at these pictures, the only thing I have to say is...I gotta get me a swift!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Giddy Biddy?

No no noooo! Niddy Noddy!

Until a few months ago, I'd never even heard of a niddy noddy, let alone knew what it was supposed to do. Thus, I obviously never would have thought I needed something I didn't know existed.

Recently I've sold several knitting books that I no longer use on eBay and now have a small stash of cash in Paypal waiting for some unsuspecting knitting object to catch my fancy. I was browsing the swifts when I happened upon some niddy noddies. They were very pretty and I even found one for under $15 with shipping. I instantly knew that this could be my alternative to winding my yarn around the overhang of my kitchen island to create skeins for hand-dyeing. But I wanted one now!

Through the magic of Google, I stumbled upon Doctor Dirt's instructions on how to make your own niddy noddy out of PVC pipe. Score! I had to do it! I bought a mini hacksaw at Walmart while L. was at occupational therapy and after dinner , went to Home Depot for the rest of my supplies. 10 feet of 1/2" PVC was only $1.29 so what the heck, I'll have extra. Two T-connectors totaled $.54 and my own contribution to the design - rubber chair leg tips - were $1.98. Whee!

I cut four 6" lengths and one 18" length of the pipe. The mini hacksaw worked great and the stuff cuts super easily. I connected them all to the T-connectors and voila! A little sandpaper to get rid of the printing and I was in business.

It was not difficult for me to figure out how to wind it, but I felt somewhat like an overgrown majorette while winding the yarn. One ball (223 yards) of Patons Classic Merino was on the contraption completely in 2 minutes (I took baton twirling lessons as a kid - muscle memory, baby!). Another couple minutes to tie it off and that was that! So much nicer than winding the yarn around my island!

The little rubber chair leg tips were my little flash of genius. The 7/8" size fit perfectly over the ends of the 1/2" PVC. When I'm ready to remove the yarn, I just remove one tip, slide the yarn off and it will fall off the other ends very easily. No snags, no yarn slipping while you're twirling around like a flag girl, and no difficulty getting it off in the end. Perfect! Another great thing about this PVC version is that it can be completely disassembled if you want or twisted so it will lay flat for storage. Yay!

I wound all six of my balls of Natural Mix last night during the Lost recap show and season premiere. I let my arm rest a few minutes between each because it is a little bit of work to coordinate all your movements just right. And, duh, I had to pay attention to the show?!?!?!?!

I bought another ball this morning just to be safe and wound it while my lunch heated in the microwave. Everything is soaking in the sink right now as I get ready for the Great Sweater's Worth Dye Experiment. Let's just hope it all fits in my canning pot!