Sunday, August 27, 2006

Pre-Felted Bags and Clutches

I've been working on knitting up some bags and clutches to felt for holiday gifts. I want to use them like gift bags for my girlfriends and female family members. I plan on putting little items like lotion and shower gel from Bath and Body Works (doesn't their stuff smell great?) along with chocolates or something.

I've been using Cascade 220 for the zipper bags and Lamb's Pride Bulky for the clutches. The zipper bags are based on a pattern a woman at the Sunday morning brunch at HCW told me.

Basically you cast on 90 stitches on 10 1/2 needles and knit in the round till you get to the right height. Then you bind off. Once it is felted, you sew in a zipper. I try to get the bag felted down to a little bit longer then 9 inches so that I can use a 9 inch zipper.
The pattern for the clutch comes from Leigh Radford's One Skein book. I've made 4 of the clutches so far. Posted by Picasa

Got Them Eating Out of My Hand

Well, at least I have Caramel eating out of my hand. Coco is the more skittish one of the two alpaca. So he didn't.

I've been feeding them alfalfa the last week or so. So now when they see me they come to the fence as fast as they can, but not to close to the fence.

I've been putting the alfalfa closer and closer to the fence and me each time I feed them. Coco liked it the least and at the slightest movement would step back. Caramel was less afraid and would come up right next to the fence in front of me.

Today, however, instead of dropping the alfalfa on the ground, I held it through the fence at head height. Caramel was a little hesitant at first, but finally he started eating it. Right out of my hand! That is the closest I've been to either of them since they were sheared and I actually got to touch them. Of course, they were restrained that time.

Now Coco is still having nothing to do with eating out of my hand. He would come close and then step back. He still isn't trusting yet. But maybe I'll have him eating out of my hand by next weekend. I didn't expect Caramel to do it so quickly.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Podcast Up

Yeah! I got the 17th episode of the Knitting News Cast up. I spent a good part of the day getting it ready and recording it.

This morning though I worked out in my garden before it got to hot. I dug up some of the flower beds where the plants had died from the heat and drought. I covered up the beds with tank liner so nothing will grow until I'm ready to plant some flowers later this fall.

I have gotten one row of knitting done today. One row! Luckily, the 4400 is about to come on. So I will get to knit during the show and the one after it, The Dead Zone.

Now that I've finished the SWTC V-Neck Shell, I need to get started on another project. Need to look through my holiday knitting list as well as my knitting wish list.

I did find a cute rasta style baby hat in this weeks Knitting Pattern A Day calendar. It is adorable!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

South West Trading Company V-Neck Shell Finished

I finished sewing up the seams this morning on the V-Neck Shell for South West Trading Company. It was fun to knit up. I really enjoyed using the Phoenix yarn. The drape of the shell is just lovely.

I only wish I could actually try it on. But I'm an XL and the size they wanted me to do is a medium. I did sew the shoulder seams first so I could at least try it on over my head and see what it could look like on me if it was bigger around.

I really am going to have to get some of this yarn for myself so I can knit one of these up. It is the perfect summer top. It is cool and breathes well. Plus, I can wear it under a sweater or a jacket when it gets colder.

Now I'm off to Home Depot to buy some gardering stuff. We just inherited an orange tree from Amy's grandpa. The poor thing is root bound and needs a bigger pot. When I get back I'm going to transfer it and give it some more potting soil and fertilizer.

Then I need to finish up my notes for tomorrow's podcast. I've got a lot of material so it will probably take some time. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

SWTC V-Neck Shell Front And Back

I finished knitting the back of the V-Neck Shell I'm doing for South West Trading Company. It is knitted in their Phoenix yarn which is 100% Soy Silk. I've had a great time knitting this and can't wait to get it all sewn up. I should get to it by the weekend. Then off it goes back to SWTC.
I'm thinking of knitting one similar for myself, but I'll knit it in the round instead of knitting a front and a back. That way there is only two little seam to sew at the shoulders rather then that plus the two sides.

There is a color way in the Phoenix yarn called Imposter. It would be perferct for the fall. It is just the right colors. And it is colors I look good in. So I will have to be on the look out for some. I think I'll need around 5 balls. I need to knit an XL for myself and it took a little over 3 balls to knit the medium.

Of course, I have a lot of other projects I need to be knitting. I've started holiday knitting. And I guess that will be my main focus for knitting over the next few months. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Next Podcast - August 20, 2006

I plan on recording and publishing episode 17 of the Knitting News Cast next Sunday, August 20th, 2006. I had thought and hoped that I would do an episode every 2 weeks but it just seems that I run out of time to do the research and reviews I like to do for each episode within that time frame.

So for now, I'm going to publish an episode at least once a month. More if possible, but I don't want to make a bigger commitment to myself then that for now. Amy has started working full-time again so more of the housework has come my way. I don't mind but it does eat into my weekends. Next month I'm hoping to go to a 4 day work week, but I have to wait to see if my contract is renewed (they have told me it has been, but it is a state contract and anything can happen). Working 4 days a week will give me more time to focus on my podcast, knitting, and chores. Plus it will cut down the hour and 1/2 each way commute to 4 times a week instead of 5.

Yesterday, I went into Austin with my MIL to take a drop-spindle class at Hill Country Weavers. Carol H. Rhoades taught the class. She has been spinning for over 30 years and is a wonderful and patient teacher. She writes for Interweave's Spin-Off magazine and teaches all over the country. She is moving to Wisconsin next year so I'm glad I got the opportunity to take her class before she left.

After the class we went to Central Market. I bought healthy food (for once!) and ran into a woman I know and just think is wonderful, Kelly Iris. She is a red-headed goddess with a great sense of humor. And she always has something intersting going on in her life. I love listening to her stories and she is a great Tarot card reader. She is always on the mark with me. It was great to see her.

So now all my weekend chores need to been done today. I usually write a few reviews for each episode. I usually include a magazine, a book, and a yarn review. I haven't got any of those done yet. My plan is to do each of those over the course of this coming week so I'll have them for the podcast next weekend.

In the meantime, if you have any knitting news, let me know and I'll try to post it on the website on the knitting news page and get it in the next episode.

Making Sense Of My Stash

Here is a picture of my stash of one skein yarns. I organized it by color weight according to the book, The Yarn Stash Workbook: Great Ideas and Dozens of Projects by Laura Militzer Bryant. In this case weight is by saturation and intensity.

The book really helped me make sense of what I have in my stash. Before this stash was a jumble mess of colors that I didn't think I could make anything out of. Laura also suggests different ways to combine the various weights of yarns in projects. I now have several ideas about some projects I can work on using a couple or a few of the skeins together.

The first project I thought about is an open weave scarf using two of the bulky yarns I have. One skein is a pink alpaca yarn from Blue Sky that I've been holding out using because it is so soft. I wanted to do something special. But one skein of most things just don't seem to go far unless you are making baby stuff or things from Leigh Radford's One Skein book, which I have used to make a couple of things.

I'm hoping to use up some of my stash to make Christmas/Holiday/Birthday gifts. That way I don't have to spend a lot more money, yet I can make some really nice gifts. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 12, 2006

First Spinning Class Results

Here are my first two balls of spun yarn. I took a class today at Hill Country Weavers on drop-spindle spinning. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Back From Spa

Just got back from spending the weekend at The Crossings celebrating my birthday. Amy works there so she was able to get an employee priced room. She bought me a spa treatment that included a body polish and massage. It was very relaxing. We sat by the pool, swam, and ate really good healthy food.

I'm almost done with the V-neck Shell I'm knitting for South West Trading Company. But I ran out of yarn. I let them know that I need another ball.

I didn't do a podcast today. I'm going to do it next weekend after I take my drop-spindle class at Hill Country Weavers on Saturday.

I've started on some Breast Awareness socks in a pink Lorna's Lace Shephard sock yarn. This is one of those patterns that will require my full attention. So noknitting it in front of the tv.

Speaking of which, it is time for The 4400. Gotta go.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Chicks With Sticks

I went to Chicks With Sticks last night at Bluebonnet Yarn Shoppe in Cedar Park yesterday after work. The weekly knitting group meets every Wednesday from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM officially, but some people get there as early as 2 PM. I got there around 5:30 PM.

There was about 20 women that came and left while I was there. Each time someone left a new person quickly replaced them at the table. We even had the designated waiting chair where the new person seemed to move on to the table with in 10 or 15 minutes.

I loved meeting all the women and hanging out talking about knitting and our projects (current, WIPs, and FOs). I hadn't been to a knitting group in a while. I had been going to the Tuesday night SNB group at Book People but it doesn't start until around 7PM and I like to leave Austin between 7:30 and 8:00 so I'm not driving most of my 1 and 1/2 hour commute in the dark.

I worked on my V-Neck Shell that I'm test knitting for SWTC in Phoenix yarn. On experienced knitter was impressed a ribbon-like yarn had really good stitch definition. I got several more inches done on it and should be starting the armhole shaping soon. Hopefully, all the knitting will be done by the weekend. Maybe then I can sew it up and finish it off.