Sunday, May 19, 2013

How to De-Stress...

Or better yet.... how to avoid stress period and just have some fun!
It's moving time again here at Cupcake Land. Another move from one side of the country to the other is in the works. In fact... it starts 'working' in a mere two weeks. Gasp! OMG! That means an awful lot of prep-work for Schi-Schu and a whole lotta stress for the rest of the Cupcake Crew. Yikes. Today was supposed to be the first day in CRUNCH TIME... but...
How about a little spinning? Maybe a little plying? And then a little action with the knitty knotty and a whole lot of water! Woohoo!! What better way to spend the first day of CRUNCH TIME than just plain ol' NOT DO IT!
I hand dyed some roving last week with my favorite Aunt.  I don't know what kind exactly, but I do know that it came from a sheep, was already carded and clean(ish) and needed to be changed from white to a lovely green, blue, purple, teal combo! How fun! We used some acid dye, a little vinegar and warm water! Oh... this time we even used the rubber gloves!

 This is what I did today.... rather than a whole lot of *yawn* cleaning and getting ready for pre-inspection tomorrow. *sighing loudly* BUT this was way more fun! I finished up the roving, wound it into a center pull ball and then plied from each end of it to get this lovely stuff over here on my bobbin! **green really isn't one of my most favorite colors, but... I do like this yellow, green, turquoise, purple combo**
I decided that since I was having so much fun plying rather than cleaning I would go ahead and finish up two bobbins of the dark brown I had in my basket.  It's really soft but I can't remember what it is. I do know that I got it from Stonehedge Fiber Mill near my house in Michigan.  It worked up into approximately 96 yards of some.... let's just say 'funky' and let it go at that. My spinning skills are still in that 'novelty yarn' aka 'funky' stage!
Not a bad way to spend a Sunday huh? Now I'm off to put away our stuff from our trip home.... just so the pre-move inspection doesn't make me look like a total slob!!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Eeegads! More Socks!

I seem to have gone from, 'no. I don't make socks. Socks are dumb," to an overly obsessed, knitting nothing but socks kinda girl. Eeegads. Just how many pairs of socks does one person need anyhow?
It's all good though because I seem to be cruising through my stash of sock yarn.... or at least that's the impression I'm giving Big!!   Big doesn't seem to notice (maybe he pretends not to...?) the sock yarn that suddenly shows up and I'm hoping that he wouldn't guess that it came from someplace other than the stash bin upstairs.  Well.... that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!  We just won't talk about the other yarn I've bought had stashed. As long as every so often, a pair I'm knitting ends up on Big's feet. He's really happy when that happens!
When I sit and actually add up the numbers.... just since Christmas 2012... 3 pair for Big, 1 for me (another on the needles) and 2 pair for Boy.... that's only 6 pair. Ha! Seven. That's not so much I guess. I sort of lose track because I work on different pairs at different times, so it's a little hard to tell just how many I've made....  Another story I shall stick to I think, because what I didn't count is the travelling sock KAL I've recently joined AND the test knit of yet another pair that I'm doing as well.  Sigh. At least I've admitted that it's a recent obsession so cut me so slack huh?
 Honestly though, if I look into my knitting bag (and corners of the room(s) where I knit) there are only 3 on needles right now. One of those is the pair for the Travelling Sock Circle.  I work on a small part of each sock in the circle (8) and then send it on to the next person.  Every couple of weeks I should get another pair to do something on and then send it. Fuelling the obsession? Maybe. Also it could be a way for me to knit socks without really having to spend too much time (and probably money) on more socks! Winning!!  The other two pairs in that bag are a pair for me I started almost a month ago. It's the pair I work on while waiting or when I don't really have to think about what I'm doing. **Did you get that? ME saying that socks have become easy. Um... yeah. They are. I can work on a pair without really spending a whole lot of thought! My kind of stuff!!  The last pair in the bag is only one lonely sock right now ~ which sort of confirms my thought that some socks are dumb (in this case the method of knitting the sock). Top down, one at a time socks are kinda dumb, I think. I much prefer ~ and so does my attention span ~ knitting two at once! No second sock syndrome!  This most recent pair is a really lovely sock. It has cables and the self -striping yarn makes those babies really pop. I should be done with this pair sock in the next couple of days and maybe, just maybe, having to finish that second sock will ease my obsession for a while!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Yarn Dyeing with a Jr. Mad Scientist

A few weeks ago I went over to a friend's house to dye some yarn. Loads of fun and smelled great! *We used Koolaid* I came home with my two hanks of yarn and Boy was excited. Really. He looked at my yarn, looked at me and said (with a smirk of course) "I could do that." Oh yeah kiddo? Game on.
I ordered some blank yarn and bought all the Koolaid I could find, just for him! He was really excited. He kept coming up with colors that he needed... yellow/green for ****, purple/green for ****, cherry/red/purple for ****.    ***Can't put the names in there because he's worried about copyright infringements; Not that he is infringing upon anything, but 'what if someone steals my names Mom?' Sigh.... this kid is killing me. He does have awesome names for his yarn already!
I'm serious. My kid has been super stoked about this. He's watched YouTube videos on how to dye yarn, looked at yarn online, watched other tutorials and even tried to convince me to spend $100 on some cold water dye. Um. No. Let's start with the Koolaid. I'm going to need a coupon or something here soon........
Today was the day! We pre-soaked the yarn before he went to bed last night and soon as he got his math and science done this morning.... we were on it!

I let him do three 440 yard hanks of sock yarn and one of worsted weight... oh man was it fun!! I let him do one all by himself and although I kept telling him 'if you add too much, the colors will muddle...' His answer to that one.. "it's okay, I'll just name it Muddle something or other." Whatever dude.
Our hands are messy, our kitchen is a disaster zone ~ thank goodness for magic erasers!!
But.... when yarn is hanging in the tree outside to dry... who cares how messy it is! We sure had fun!
This one is something very special he made for our favorite Aunt at home in Michigan. **IF she sees this I know she won't tell him! It's a surprise so he says I can't even tell you what koolaid he used! Secret formula or something I guess!
The yarn to the left (fingering yarn) didn't turn out exactly how he wanted so he said I could tell you the name.... are you ready?  Unicorn Barf!
How cool is that? Yarn dangling in a tree? Such a nice wind today to dry these babies right up!
Off we go to the store for more Koolaid.
Sighing loudly....
maybe I should just suck it up and order him the dye.
A little word to the wise here...
wear some gloves!

**Mine look soooo much darker in real life. Purple to my knuckles!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Knitting on the Run

Even though I have at least two (more?) projects going at one time I still find myself grabbing the same little bag with the same little project in it every time I leave the house. My kid laughs and thinks I can't leave the house without yarn, but... guess what?! He's probably right! What if I get stuck in traffic? What if I find myself with a wait and gasp! Nothing to do? Better take that project with me when I leave the house... be prepared!
What is your go-to ~ or in this case, your 'go with' knitting projects? The one project that you take with you when you have to wait in the dentist office? The project that doesn't require a whole lot of concentration to work happily away on while you are waiting or just plain stuck? I don't know about you, but for me this has to be something I really don't have to think about and can just knit.  It just has to be something that will take my mind off of my wait and keep my fingers and brain happy.
Now is the part where you get to laugh at me. Yep. Laugh away......
My go-with project lately has been.......... socks. What?! Socks?! Um yeah.... socks. Not just any old socks, but two-at -a-time socks, hand knit by me. Yeah. Me. I know, I know... I did say it, I admit it. I said "socks were dumb and I wouldn't make them".  Laughing? I knew you would. I'm laughing too. Every time I need a new little project to keep me busy.....without a whole lot of thought and/or effort.... I pick up that 40 inch cable needle and some sock yarn. I make socks. I admit it. I do something I thought was dumb and guess what else? I like it. Yep. I do. I like making socks!
I've made socks for me, the kid and for Big. Guess what?! They like them! ! Guess what else?  They laughed  when I said that I was going to make them socks.  Big even said he thought I wasn't ever going to make socks.  Zip-it Big and enjoy those socks I see on your feet every night! 
I'm almost to the point where I don't have to look at the pattern (too much) when I make a pair of toe-up, two at a time socks, and I totally agree. Me making socks (without following a pattern line for line) is super funny considering where I was a year ago! They were dumb remember?
Here is a picture of my most recent socks... these are for ME!!
I'm also a bit of a yarn snob... but this 93% Acrylic, 7% Polyester(elasthane) yarn by Plymouth Yarn (Diversity) is super soft and slightly elastic. It's going to feel really nice on my tootsies!!  The price tag for 420 yards was less than $10 so it fits into Big's budget pretty well, but now I just have to figure out how to convince him that he isn't really seeing another skein of yarn and definitely isn't looking at yet another pair of socks being knit up by me!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Look What I Made!

Remember when you were a kid and you would bring your school papers home from school? Holding them tightly on the bus so they wouldn't get smooshed?  Then waving them in front of your parents faces while yelling (loudly of course!) "Hey! Look what I made!"
Remember that? That's what I'm doing right now......... so .....wiggle your computer around a bit and think (out loud please) Hey! Look what she made!  Thanks!   Now that that's out of the way.... LOOK WHAT I DID! *insert giggles here*  This is the link to the Ravelry page where you can see the actual sock pattern!
These are the Rowan Moon Socks (originally Rowan Tree socks) that I made for Big!   The designer for this pattern needed testers to test it and I thought I could. So I did!  The patterns I've been using are posted in a forum (Ravelry)  prior to being published to ensure no errors and that it works.   The bonus for the tester (ME!) is that you get to test yourself (time limits, and some other minor requirements) and then keep the pattern. Did I mention.. for free!?  The requirements on this one were fairly simple,  I just had to post updates of my progress, report any mistakes and then link my project to her pattern page when it was all done. Easy~peasy!  It just happens that I am super (duper) happy with the results AND the pattern AND the socks but....  the designer, well.......  **insert more computer wiggling here.....she liked my socks (or at least the picture of them) sooo much she asked if she could feature it on her page and in the pattern itself!!!Whoop! Go Me!! I thought the socks were pretty rockin' when I was done with them, but now......
I'm all jumpin' up and down' waving my computer and yellin' "Look what I did!"
I know, I know... this is a repost of something I already did... but hey! Did you see what I did??
Just in case you missed it....... I'm a tad bit stoked about this!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

I Like It!

I love how I can knit this kid anything and he'll not only wear it, but will usually wear it out!
He picked out the yarn for this hat...looking at the color swatch online it didn't look quite so purple, but... he loves it! He truly doesn't care that it turned out to be more purple than grey! I think he mostly loved the name...'Misty Morn,'  While I was knitting,  I kept asking to make sure he was going to wear it, and he insisted and kept saying 'yep. I like it."   In fact, he likes it so much that it's the first picked out of the basket when he goes outside.    Gotta love that!!
That's just one of the many interesting things about this kid. ~ other than his obvious love of handmade stuff made by Mom!!   He likes what he likes and it doesn't matter if someone else doesn't like it.  Just the other day, a friend laughed when he wore this hat outside, but Boy just shrugged and said... "my ears are warm and I like that."  
 His ears were warm and he had picked out the color himself so that was that!
I often let him choose colors of yarn for other people... he usually goes for the bright stuff and so far everyone has been happy (or at least they are smart and say they are happy!) with what the gift is!  He never seems to go for the obvious gender choices... blue for a boy, pink for a girl... he just goes for what he likes and what he thinks the other person will like.
Take for instance this....    it's 'Cartoon', a hand-painted sock yarn that we just recently bought. Boyo picked it out for himself (looking online) but when it got to our house...
"Hey mom! Let's make Dad socks out of this too!"  So... that's just what we did...
 Boyo wearing his socks~ aren't they huge? He loves his new sock and although I don't have a picture of Dad's Cartoon socks.. he does wear them and really likes them too! They really look a lot like Boy's socks. Just a bit bigger!
Obviously there are a million reasons why I love my kid... but... this need of his to wear what he wants AND wear something Mom knits for him.... just makes me love him more!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Happy Feet

All of a sudden, totally out of nowhere.... I've been hit by the Sock Bug!
 *Fair warning... Sock Bug may be contagious!!*
It seems that socks, socks and more socks are on my needles AND poking out of corners in the couch!  I think right now I have at least 3 pair on the needles and getting ready to start another. Yikes! And to think... *yes CS this one is totally for you*... I used to think that making socks was well... kinda dumb.  Maybe it still is, but I suddenly have this mad obsession with them and I like doing it.
My current obsession is getting blamed on my favorite Aunt Gaily.  THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT.  True story.  She made me sit down last year and make a pair for Big.  Made me.  Gee thanks Aunt G. Now I'm stuck! 
It became fun when I could do it all by myself (without running crying to Aunt G that I was stuck!) AND then even more fun when I realized that I don't have to follow the pattern.  **this may not be a good thing because if I have the pattern memorized it might mean I've been doing it too much**  Sigh..
Either way... I like socks. I do. I like knitting socks BUT only two-at-a-time!  I like the toe-up method the best too because it means I get to fit the socks to the feet I'm knitting them for and the toes feel really nice when I'm all done. I don't mind the Kitchener stitch toe, I just like this one better.
I've even been stretching myself a bit and (insert loud gasp!!) NOT sticking with the same pattern... (more gasping!) trying something new!! I made this pair last month for Big as part of a test knit over on Ravelry and guess what... I think I will make them again! They only took a week!
Big must be digging this new obsession because he seems to be the recipient of most of these socks! *It' been easier to find 'guy' colors of yarn too so that really helps! He's gotten three new pair in just the last few weeks!
Boyo is getting his second pair ~ hopefully I will finish them today! Just a few more inches, some ribbing and wa-la! Striped socks for the kiddo! Don't you love the bright rainbow color he picked out from Knitpicks? It's 'Cartoon' in Stroll hand painted fingering yarn.

  I'm also getting ready to start another pair for me!  Going to try this pattern next : and I'm using this yarn (I just got it today!)  Plymouth Yarn's Diversity in Deep Sea. It's 93% acrylic and 7% elasthane, but it feels really dreamy! My toes will be so happy!  I wonder what 'memory yarn' is....
 So.. wait... if I finished Big's Cartoon pair and am almost done with Boy's... that means I ONLY have one pair currently on needles... until of course I start mine and that makes two...
oh phew. That's not so bad is it! Not so much of an obsession after all!!  Any way you look at it.... my family and their feet certainly are happy with my latest craze!