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Archive for August, 2007

Well…

Where have I been?

I don’t really know.

Kids went back to school last Monday which is always a fun routine to get back into and then there has been the shop-

some of you know what this is, for other’s, I will update tomorrow.

Sorry about the blog break.

But I’m ready to kick things into high gear again –

I have been knitting 🙂

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Would you believe that 2 days after my initial post I’m still cooking the same dish on the porch?

Maybe I’m just a fussy chef?

Naaaa – I’m a knitter, silly! Who has time for fancy cooking?!?

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It’s yarn baking in the sun for another Tosca pumpkin. This time it’s going to be bigger. My daughter hopes it will be pillow sized. Probably not that big, silly girl 🙂 Although you never can tell….

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It was natural Bartlett’s wool yarn, worsted weight so I’ll double strand, which is fine, since that takes some pressure off of the yarn dying that I am still quite a novice at.

But it’s so fun, I feel like a kid with a new pack of white construction paper and tray of water colors. And a new paint brush! Have you ever dyed yarn? It’s a blast!

Step one…

Find a poor unsuspecting skein from the back of the knitting shelf then find something guarenteed to stain it.
I actually used a yarn dye this time.

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Wet it, soak it, toss it in something you won’t eat from again (unless you’re Kool-Aid dyeing)

Toss colors on and see what happens.

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I know there is a science to this and I’ve played with some techniques, but you can have non-stressed-out fun and still get a great result.

Usually you plop this in a microwave or oven at some point but we don’t own a microwave (by choice) and this is stinky stuff in the oven (which makes me question it’s safety)

So to the back porch sun shine we go to ‘bake’ for a few days.

When I checked this morning it didn’t quite have the depth and warmth I wanted so I tossed on a bit more burgandy, then dabbed on some burgandy mixed with a touch of Charcoal color.

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Tomorrow is supposed to hit 86 degrees, which is hot here this summer, so I’ll let it sit one more day then rinse and dry Thursday and Friday.

Can’t wait to wind the ball – that’s where you really start to see an end product.

And…..

Did you see?

On the right?

It’s the pattern for the first pumpkin I made! Free for you, my amazing knitting friends.

I named it Tosca.

This was the name of the Lang Yarn I used but when I Googled the word Tosca I found that it is also an old Italian opera. It begins on a “quasi-tragic note” as did my Tosca sweater-not-to-be. In spite of this, the composer (me 🙂 ) decides to introduce a “comic relief”. Yeah, that’s my little pumpkin all right!

I stop the analogy here; something good from a bad start, something that makes us smile and forget the wrong and the bad.

And in a state of total bliss I am ignoring the fact that the opera ends on a “violent” note.

No smashed pumpkins here, thank you very much.

Enjoy the pattern and thanks for the kind comments and e-mails. I may not respond right away but I’ll get to each of you soon.
Less than a week until school starts again for the girls and we’re trying to take advantage of our last lazy days.

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Reloaded

How appropriate is it that we popped in the movie Matrix Reloaded as I cast on this yarn for the 5th time?

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Guess my yarn got a reloading, too!

Amazing yarn! My husband got it for me years ago on a trip out to California, and I just haven’t found the perfect project for it. It’s 100% alpaca, undyed, unfussed with, just beautifuly and lightly spun. Aside from cashmere I don’t think I have ever worked with a softer yarn.

I tried making a sweater first, but it was too light weight to have a nice drape or look. So out it came.

Then I tried a shawl, but the needles I used were too big and it just looked like I did a crappy job knitting it. Rip!

A scarf with a fancy lace stitch pattern followed a year or so later but the range and depth of colors in the yarn combined with the lace just didn’t work. I should have known not to combine the 2 things into one project. R-i-p!

I even went so far as to strand the alpaca with the Rapture yarn in my Venus sweater.

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Looked pretty in the swatch but after 13″ (yes, it took 13″) I had to admit to failure once again. The Rapture is a silk & wool blend, very soft, and with a subtle sheen but all of that got lost when knit with my alpaca. There was no silky shine and the alpaca lost it’s color.
R—i—p!

Uh, this was by far the worst one to rip out. I had a single strand of Rapture along with 2 strands of alpaca so that was 3 balls to rip and wind. What a mess. It’s still not all untangled but getting closer.

I would now like to introduce exhibit 5 for your viewing pleasure.

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Yep, it’s a scarf. A no frills, 2 x 2 ribbed scarf taking shape on size 6 needles and you know what? It’s perfect! Just what this yarn needed! I wish you could feel the yarn, it’s lovely and I can’t wait to finish it and wear it.

Off to untangle another section:)

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And to check on what’s cooking on the back porch today!

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A Much Better Day

Not the weather, but today I decided that the drearyness wasn’t going to get the best of me 🙂

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At the suggestion of my friend Carolyn, I made a cup of tea and enjoyed the cool, rainy day.

This helped – love these! It’s an electric water kettle and with the 220 power over here it will boil enough for 4 cups of tea in under a minute.

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Then my day got even sunnier with this

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A gift from my friend Jill. So adorable and she did such a fantastic job crocheting it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The brim is being starched for the second time as we speak. I noticed I have ‘light’ starch so not sure if that will do the trick to get it to stay up. I may need to look for something stronger.

By the way, check out the hat Jill made for herself and to see where you can find the pattern.

We did a bit of back to school shoe and clothes shopping this afternoon.

There is soup on the stove for dinner.

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Not homemade, but being seasoned with homegrown basil and thyme which, I might add, have grown considerably in the past few weeks 😉

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And one last thing . . .

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I really do love pumpkins!

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522

A while back, maybe two months ago, my youngest daughter came across this at a local yarn store.

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She wants a sweater knit from it but I was able to talk her down to ‘one ball for now’ until we see how it knits up.

I set it aside because, quite honestly, I didn’t need another warm sweater project for the summer. Plus, I really thought the yarn color quite hideous at the time. Nothing against orange usually, it just clashed with the pale pink yarn I was there to buy and seemed harsh and cold next to my soft fluffy pastels.

Well, imagine my surprise when I opened my drawer yesterday and found this same ball of orange yarn in there calling to me! I totally blame the weather for this. Suddenly rich, deep, blended colors and chunky yarn are just what I need.

So I whipped up a swatch

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Loved it, and it’s on size 9 (5.5mm) needles so it will be a quick knit.

Great!

Ok, back to the yarn shop later in the day to buy more yarn.

Quickly found it on the shelf, picked it up, and couldn’t believe my eyes – the yarn looked totally different! I wish I had a picture of it to show you just how drastic we’re talking here.

Always prepared, as usual, I didn’t have the ball band with me so I called home. Oldest daughter answered.

“See the ball of orange yarn on my desk”

“Ya.”

“Do you see a lable next to it?”

“Uh-huh”

“What exactly does the lable say, on the white stripe under the name?”

“1762”

“1762??”

“Ya, 1762”

“Are you sure it doesn’t say 1766?”

“It says 1762. Can I watch the rest of my movie now?”

“Ok sure, thanks…..”

OMG, it’s a different Dye Lot! And this is one of those times where you can not sneak in another dye lot, we’re talking night and day!

See the areas of the ball that are more reddish/maroon in color?

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Well, in this different dye lot there was no hint of red at all, but instead a dark brown. Yuck, it looked terrible with the orange and pinks in there.

So no sweater from this yarn because, to put it midly, I’m a bit short on yardage, ok, 522 meters short to be exact.

Maybe a hat? It’s only 92 meters, so maybe the brim of a hat. I don’t know.

I had myself so excited about this project and now I’m so totally let down.

Maybe I’ll make a pumpkin, I like those. Wonder if they’re into pumpkins at halloween here?

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This weather…

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It’s for the birds!

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Then again, I’m not sure even the birds like it, we sure don’t.

I just realized that in less than 2 weeks my girls are back to school so today was their day, and what did they want to do? Hit a big toy store in Zurich, of course! Can’t blame them, the place is 4 stories chock full of everything a kid could ever want.

Except a Power Pals Mega Store. That was the one thing they didn’t have, and of course the one thing we wanted.

But it was still a fun day. The train ride up took about 25 minutes, the boat ride back, just over and hour.

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Rain or not it’s still the best way to travel around here.

While waiting for the boat we had a snack and the birds enjoyed some too.

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I love birds, really love them! as long as they don’t get in my house, then for some unexplicable reason they scare the crap out of me, just ask my husband.

The girls and I got back home after 5 hours of uneventful shopping but still a fun day in all.

Oh yeah, I did knit on the boat ride back but realized I messed up so I’ll be ripping that back soon.

And I swatched something, only to find out that I am a bit (understatement of the year) short on yarn.

More on that sad story tomorrow.

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I have always had a thing for her styling, her designs, her yarns, her fitting of garments, her patterns in general so against my better judgement I have decided to start this for the IK Best of KAL.

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I love the pattern, the cable, the shoulders, the yarn, I’m just not sure it’s me or will look right on me. I have wider shoulders by nature and as of late my waist and hips don’t do much for the rest of my body but damn I love this sweater.

So much that I look forward to fall and cool weather again.

(BTW, this pattern originally appeared in Interweave Knits Magazine
Spring 2004)

Damn that (talented) Debbie Bliss!

Hmmmm……Now to find the yarn. Not a much of a pale pink girl here, hopefully I’ll get a chance to look this week!

And BTW, don’t even get me started on the other stuff of her’s I would like to knit right now:)

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