Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dolls all over!

On Wednesdays, I can usually be found spinning with a very talented group of women from all over the metroplex. We drive in, to a pretty much central location, from all over. Some drive an hour or more, and some drive 10 minutes down the road. This group has become a life-line of sorts. We tell new people that we solve all problems and help, with opinions about all things. LOL! Truly, it is a group of great and fun ladies. Lot's of ideas float around this group.

One day, Laurie saw my JoJo doll. JoJo is the doll that sits on my blog and you will see her in a lot of pictures. Sometimes, Mini Dee and Baa, will be with her. THEN Peggy made a couple of dolls like JoJo. Laurie couldn't take it anymore and the next thing we knew she was making a doll! Well, the Ravelympics are happening and Laurie thought, how many dolls can I make for the Olympics. So, she went to work. Here are the dolls, 10 of them, that she has made and clothed, since the Olympics started. Just a couple more days to go and I know there will be at least one more. :)

Some of their clothes were crocheted and some knitted. Some of the yarn was store bought and some was handspun. Aren't they gorgeous!?

The wonderful day was over. Time to go home. The dolls were carefully loaded into their traveling basket and made ready for their trip home.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sakiori II is Finished!

Here it is! Finished at last! Made from Noro Kureyon, it took almost exactly 6 balls of yarn. I have 2 golf ball size balls of yarn left over. Yes, I did cut it close, but remember I had the black standing in the wings to supplement if I thought I needed to. I made the medium size and I did shorten it about 1/2 inch. Don't know why, I don't remember why. In a way I wish is was 2 inches longer. But, other than that it fits and I like it. Each 50 gm ball of Noro Kuryeon has 100 meters in it, which translates to 108.33333333(yep, into infinity). So, 108 yards. It took 648 yards.

The back.

Ravelympics is done for me now. I am sad, but, like Shaun White I will move on. I will continue to watch my friends' progress on their remaining entries. Several of them have finished some of their projects.

Back to the projects that went into wait mode for this. A new pattern is in the works. :) Cordova Studios and I are working on this one together. It has been a fun project for both of us.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sakiori II Vest

With my other two Ravelympics Projects done, my last one is this vest. It comes from the book, Folk Vests by Cheryl Oberle. Technically, you are supposed to use many different colors and skeins of yarn for this vest. However, I am using Noro yarn. Noro yarn changes colors leaving large color blocks or stripes. The vest was worked with one ball of yarn at a time, when that one ended I started the next one. All the color changes are created by the yarn. Even the great stripes on the center front and around the back of the neck are the yarn changing colors.

This project is listed in the WIP dancing competition. WIP stands for Works In Progress. This means that this vest has been sitting in my stash unfinished for a while. I have had the yarn about 4 years, and the idea for about 3 years when Deb suggested I try this vest. I only had six ball of Noro yarn, so I wasn't sure. I started it near the end of 2009 and then stashed it away again, for Christmas knitting. I decided to bring it out for the Ravelympic knitting, so I would get it done.

So far it isn't done, but we are getting closer. There are tabs that get inserted on the sides, they are knitted, but not attached to the vest yet. Looks like I will have just enough yarn.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My First Ravelympics Projects

I cast on this hat on Friday night, during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. This hat is for a charity. So, the event I joined with it is the Charity Curling event. :) You do know that all this is for fun right? The charity that the hat will be going to is the local V-A Hospital, for the wounded soldiers.

On Sunday afternoon, Valentine's Day, I finished the hat during the Daytona 500. Yes, we digressed. No Olympics that afternoon, we love the NASCAR racing in our home and that was what we watched.

I cast on for this headband on Saturday afternoon. I wanted to give The UPS Store guy a headband for Valentine's Day. :) You see, he broke his earmuffs. I thought, the man needs something, so the headband was the answer.

The headband is made from my handspun yarn and is a wool/alpaca blend yarn. Hopefully it will be really warm. I finished it Saturday night, just in time. The man says it is really warm and we have had some pretty cold mornings lately. It was 23 F this morning and windy.


Friday, February 12, 2010

A Winter Wonderland and Socks

It kept snowing yesterday. All day. I ended up making a trip to the library and was able to knit with the library knitters. Unusual for us, is, that this morning the snow was still here and there was even more of it.

I love walking around outside in the snow. Everything is so quiet and peaceful. I donned my boots, jacket, wool hat and mittens grabbed the tools to help clean off the cars. I like to do that in the snow. Then I came back inside and grabbed the camera and placed Mini D, JoJo and Baa in a basket and off we went, for a walk. Here are some of my pictures from this morning.

Mini D, JoJo and Baa wanted you to see that they love the snow too. These planters are out at the mailbox. You can see the house in the background. The little yellow thing, with snow bubbling out of it, is the rain gauge.

Socks! I have turned the dreaded heel on my socks! I ended up doing a short row heel. Very easy and quick, on socks that are being knit from the toe up on one circular needle. I have even gone beyond the heel about an 1 1/2 inches. I am surprised, though, at the long length of the orangey color in this sock yarn. Who would've ever guessed that I would have orange for the entire foot? The pink section is short, in comparison. I am kind of disappointed in that. The skein looked more pink than orange. All in all, I like the socks. The yarn is a cotton/wool blend and feels very soft.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

More Snow

We are having more snow this morning! When we fell asleep we thought this wasn't going to hit until tonight. Surprise! We woke up to this. Soooo, pretty. Remember, please, that I live in north central Texas. We usually have ice, not snow. We have no snowplows, so our roads become terrible, quickly. Most people don't know how to drive on roads when they are icey and snowy. But, the snow is gorgeous around our house in the woods. I took these pictures this morning, just as the sun was rising. The sun was/is behind the clouds, giving this gorgeous blue look to the pictures. The top is the front yard, you can see the tire tracks of the UPS Store guy. He left immediately. :)

These next two photos are of the back yard. I don't often show you the back yard. But, it is just too pretty not to. In the top picture, you can see the pond/lake in the middle of the picture. It is the solid gray area.

A close-up toward another direction in the backyard.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ravelympics 2010

As the world gears up for the Olympics, we in the fiber community are gearing up too. On Ravelry, the wonderful world of Spinners, knitters, and crocheters, we are having the Ravelympics 2010. You start a project(s), in your time zone, when the actual opening cerremonies for the Olympics start, on Friday, February 12. The challenge is to have your project(s) done by the time the closing ceremonies end.

Teams have been formed and events are labeled, we are ready to go. All this is just for fun, of course.
The Wednesday hand spinners group, that I attend, has become a team. Liz made our Ravatar(avatar) for the team. So, instead of your normal Ravatar you can have this picture next to your name.

I have joined the WIP dancing event. That is the Works In Progress dancing event. Hahaha! My girls know, that that is funny. Mom, try to dance. :) Thankfully, I just have to knit for the event. I purchased some Noro yarn about 4 years ago. I only purchased 6 skeins. What to do with 6 skeins? My Mom's Work suggested the Sakiori II vest from Folk Vests, by Cheryl Oberle. I thought she made a great suggestion! I have some black Ashford Tekapo, to add in on the borders and edgings, should I need it.

Last winter, I started working on the vest. Put it away for another project. It is the perfect project for the WIP event. I have entered it there. What you see are the two back pieces and the fronts have a bit started on them.
I would like to join at least one more event. But, I haven't made the decision on that one yet.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fiber Retreat

All year long, Mary, of Fancy Fibers has been planning a retreat. It was held in Argyle, not too far from my home. The retreat center had wonderful hotel style rooms and a fabulous chef to prepare meals. There is a wonderful meeting room where 30+ people met. We had spinners, hand knitters, crocheters, machine knitters, beaders, felters, and dyers on sight. What a resource of knowledgeable and fun people! Classses were held and taught by volunteers, because we wanted people to be able to afford to attend the retreat.

I had time to take pictures in the dining hall on Saturday morning. Above is our fearless leader, Mary. If you look past her into the kitchen is our wonderful chef.

More ladies at breakfast, everyone is excited to be on a retreat for FIBER. Rita is waving, she makes great stitch markers and wonderful spinning batts. She taught a class on how to make fabulous spinning batts. The finished batts from her class were gorgeous.

This is Liz and she taught a class on knitting 2 socks at the same time. You could choose between using two circular needles or you could use the magic loop method(one really long circular needle). I helped Liz in this class, because it can be pretty fiddly while you are getting started. Fiddly became the new word for the weekend. The fiddly knitters actually had homework. Imagine that! On a retreat and they were given homework. LOL! :) What knitter minds having to knit for homework???? They were using worsted weight yarn and large needles(8 US), and had to knit 3 inches on their socks before the next morning's class. Some waited, took out their homework about 11pm, made a fresh pot of coffee and started knitting. But, our chef, had come over and built a wonderful fire in the fireplace, was it really homework? Knitting with friends, coffee, snacks and a warm fire in the fireplace. You be the judge of that one. When class started the next morning, they were ready.
On Saturday afternoon, I taught a special helps spinning class, where we helped spinners understand their spinning wheels a little bit better. I had two great helpers in my class. Liz and Cindy came over to help us out. We all gave hints to spinners who were confused or just puzzled about their wheels. I talked a bit about plying and tried to de-mystify it. I taught them about Wraps Per Inch, too. When I was a beginning spinner those two items had been mysteries to me.
On Sunday, I taught a magic loop knitting class, where we used my pattern for the Slouchy Hat. We discovered, if you want to get a room full of knitting women quiet, teach them a new technique. You could've heard a pin drop in this room. The word "fiddly" came up again, several times actually, while they were trying to figure out the technique. :)

So, you ask, Joanne what class did you take? Well, I decided to take one class. IF I had taken all the classes that I wanted to take, I would not have felt like I had been at a retreat. I took Peggy's 3 dimensional needle felting class. What fun! We made a flock of sheep. We had about 6 students in the class, but I only took pictures of three of the sheep and Peggy's bunny. We were supposed to get pictures of the whole flock, but I don't think that happened. My sheep, Flossie, is the sheep on the left. Saturday night, when we went back to our room, I worked a bit more on her.

Flossie is on the left. Her legs are stronger and her face is shaped a bit more like a sheep. On the right is Sharon's sheep and the yarn is Sharon's handspun yarn. In the background is Sharon's weaving from her cardboard weaving class, taught by Cindy. When done, Sharon will have a small woven bag.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Socks on the Brain or Feet?

At the beginning of 2010 several friends decided to use up stash sock yarn. You know that glorious yarn you purchased, that you thought would made a fabulous pair of socks? Then you gently placed the yarn in a closet or box, under the bed or even in a drawer. Wherever you hide, no store, your stash yarns.

So, several friends went about collecting the yarns and putting them in plastic bags, with the pattern intended for that yarn. The first day came and we all pulled out our surprise projects, to get started. Well, all except for me. My socks weren't a surprise. You see, before I could even start a new pair of socks, I had to finish an old new pair. I started these socks about 2 years ago. I am knitting them, 2 at a time and from the toe up. There is a lace pattern on there too. When I pulled out my non-surprise socks, I had only gotten the toes done. I was so excited, after the first week of the project because I had made great progress. Now a week, or is it two, later, I have another inch done. I think I slowed down because I am getting closer to the dreaded heel. Oh, I have made tons, well not really tons, but lots of socks. Usually from the ankle to the toe and I have that heel mastered. Going from the toe to the ankle, and two at a time, the heel is a different animal. I have my directions, but I need to get my courage up. I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.....

Well, I guess that I just had sock yarn on the brain. My friend, Liz, has knitting machines and she knitted up several sock blanks. Sock blanks are sock yarn, knitted in the shape of a rectangle and each rectangle has enough yarn for one pair of socks. The idea is to then dye the sock blanks and make your socks, starting at each end and having a coordinating pair, although not matching. Liz, being ever so talented, knows how to plate the yarn, basically to the novice machine knitter, she knit the yarn for each sock, together. So, we have two strands knitting the same rectangle. That way, we will have socks that almost match.

I decided to play with Easter egg dyes and dyed my 2 sock blanks, enough for 2 pairs of socks to almost match. BUT, before you think I have lost it, I am not planning to make socks. I am hoping to use this yarn to make a scarf.

No, the above picture is not a snake, but my rolled up blanks, with the Easter egg dye "painted" on them. After I had soaked the blanks overnight, I squeezed out all excess water and then I layed them out on top of plastic and sponge painted the dye onto the blanks. (I forgot to get a picture of that part, sorry) Then I placed the blanks on top of plastic wrap and rolled them up in jelly roll or cinnamon roll(yum) fashion. I pressed them slightly, wanting to make sure the dye covered most of the yarn. Next I carefully put them in my dye pot to steam for about 30 minutes.

I took them out, after they had cooled and unwrapped them and rinsed them out. The purple dye had separated and became a pink and blue color. The teal, became green, but the orange stayed orange! All in all, even though the dyes were different colors after the steaming, I still like my end product.