From Sweater to Clogs (almost)

What a productive 24 hours! I went from here to there in this short amount of time...

Quite a long time ago, my local thrift store ran a special sale on sweaters - 12 for a dollar, if you can believe it. Of course, I stocked up! Last night, I decided to rip one of these sweaters, and make a pair of felted clogs-slippers for my dear, darling husband.
This is a really thick, really bulky sweater. I hope that it felts OK. It's odd - even though it is a wonderfully thick sweater, it is made from really fine yarn. I mean really REALLY fine. The trick is that there are 5 of them held together. Each strand of yarn is two ply - one ply is brown and the other ply is cream, so the result is this wonderful heathery brown (not grey as it looks in the photo). Doesn't that sound like a ridiculous amount of spinning for one strand of knitting yarn? Each ply is just a little bit thicker than sewing thread. Gosh, I hope it felts!
Well, last night, I began knitting on my old, home-made circs, which are made of wood. Oooch! Even though the needles are perfectly smooth, from miles and miles of knitting, the yarn really dragged on these wooden needles. I was seeing a headache in my future. While running errands this morning, I came across this set of plastic needles, on the *clearance rack!* Yippee, life is good. I came home, and I didn't even put the perishables in the fridge - I raced out to my garage, and whipped up a pair of circs. Here is a photo at the half way mark. Nifty, eh? They made up really easily - much more easily than I had imagined. These needles are so very smooth, and very lightweight. Yes, this is a good day

I'm almost done with the first part of the first slipper - as I sit to write this, I'm much farther along on the slipper than the photo indicates. I'm now to the point where I have to knit another sole. I'm really going to run out of yarn!!! Oh well... hubby and I discussed it and we came to the conclusion that slippers *really* don't need to match each other, do they? I'll just make the mate out of another sweater, and hope for a match weight-wise. I think that it would be unpleasant to wear slippers of different weights, don't you?

If you haven't tried the felted clogs pattern from Fiber Trends - well, what are you waiting for? It's relatively easy, once you understand the rhythm of the pattern. What came as a Eureka! moment is when I realized that I don't need to count every row. Simply read ahead, and see what the author tells you what to do *after* the counting - maybe it's to m1k2 2 times, at which point you'll be at the middle stitch. Well, I put a piece of contrasting yarn across the knitting (on top of the knitting, between the stitches, but under the needle - it'll stay there for a little while) at 4 stitches from the middle stitch, which I also have marked, and when I get to the yarn, then I do as I'm told. No counting. Mind you - the knitter doesn't have to count to say... 10. The knitter is asked to count to 79, or 68 or whatever. It's much easier to place the temporary marker.

I’ve knitted this pattern over and over again. It’s great fun.

Felted, Fibery, Fun.

Look what I found while cleaning out my junk-basket! My cell phone case! I made this in about July of 2005, during a fun afternoon of felting with my children, a close friend, and her children. Have you ever wet-felted? Your hands have never been this clean before! It’s great fun, and I just wanted to share these photos. The pink one is my first try. Who knew that felted wool shrinks so very much!

Both projects were made with merino roving, and dyed with Koolaid. I used the method outlined in this book, Feltmaking: Fabulous Wearables, Jewelry & Home Accents , which is a great book, by the way, with very easy to follow directions.

No, I don't ever use it, as my little cell phone is quite sturdy and doesn't need any protection, so this case turned out to be not-as-handy-as-I-had-hoped, and it's relegated to my junk basket. Still, it was a great project!

By the way - I am the proud owner of the World's Most Spoiled Dog, and yes, I have proof. See below. Spoiled dog.

The little brat has his Nylabone in there - what a brat.

It was blowing rain and snow most of the day, and this spoiled dog spent the whole time on the sofa, under a down comforter. See? What did I tell you? The World's Most Spoiled Dog.

Three more blocks

Three down, 9 million more to go. Not really, but it sure seems this way.

Take a look at the one in the upper left - what was I thinking? I'll use it, but... umm... yuck.

The one on the upper right is a garter stitch entrelac. What's the point of this? Entrelac is supremely annoying to do, whether you knit backwards or not, but the payoff is that you get that wonderful woven appearance, right? In this garter stich variation, there is no woven appearance possible as it is completely flat, so this means that you get all of the annoyance of knitting entrelac with none of the payoff. Plus, as you can see, I lost count of my rows quite often - yes, counting to "6" really throws me at times - and my tension is not regular at all, so basically, the whole block stinks.

I like the one on the bottom, though. I left my chopstick circulars in place so that you can see how handy is is to have then ready to pick up that side and resume knitting. I'll continue in this pattern for another round, and see how it turns out. Then, I'll thread it onto a length of yarn for washing and blocking while I continue to try to figure out some clever way of hitching these blocks together.

Stay Tuned!

The Red Roving is spun! All of it!

You know, when you get it all lined out like this, spinning is really an extraordinarily work intensive hobby! I started out with the dyed roving. There are many steps between the shearing of the sheep and the dyeing of the roving, too. It kind of makes me dizzy to think of it all.

I’m completely finished spinning the red roving that my friend Peggy D. gave to me – take a look -

Two spindles full.

Andean Plying Paperbacks. Y’all, this method is the best! You really need to give it a try. For the record, these paperbacks are the same size, 11.25 inches around, and this is the perfect size for an Andean Plying Bracelet. I couldn't find any popsicle sticks, but pencils work perfectly well. A Double point knitting needle would be even better, and it wouldn't make marks in your book, either. Can't make this claim with the pencils. Oops.

I thought that I’d try a heavier plying spindle, so I dug out two old baby stroller wheels to use as whorls. I cut the rubberband and the toothpick off in order to use this contraption – I leave then in place to give you some ideas on how to wedge whorls onto spindles.

As you can see, it worked, but it was no fun. This arrangement was just too heavy. It hurt my wrist to wind up the plied yarn. I’m a CD spindle kind of gal, I suppose. This is the first time that I tried the 2-whorl idea, and let me tell you, the second whorl really makes the spindle spin very well. I’m certainly going to continue to experiment with this idea.

The CD Spindle, in all of its symmetrical, balanced, not-too-heavy glory. The second whorl makes a world of difference! It spins so very smoothly with no wobbling at all. It’s cumbersome to wind the yarn onto the shaft, however. It’s hard to get my hand around the bottom whorl, but I'm going to work on this. Maybe I can use those odd, small, CDs for the bottom whorl? Hmmmm…. Gotta ask hubby if he has any lying around his office.

I pulled off the top whorl, in order to wind the yarn off of the spindle, and the beauty of it made me catch my breath! Check it out! You can see where the grommet was – I don’t know why this amuses me so, but it does. I also unscrewed the hook, and then the yarn spooled off and onto my niddy noddy quite easily.

Next step – Niddy Noddy.

Then, wash, hang to dry…

…and then, admire!

Thank you so much, Peggy! Look! I have 4 lovely skeins of wonderful, faintly variegated, red yarn. What am I going to make? I am amused by the fact that they are all so close in yardage. Two skeins measure 129 yards, and one measures 119, and the last one 114 yards. (The last little tiny skein is the one that I made with my Brio Mec Turkish Spindle.)

What to knit? What to knit? Decisions... decisions...

Log Cabin afghan, continued

I’ll get to the Log Cabins in a minute. First, let’s consider the completion of my mitered square –

Finished! I like it! If I ever say that I want to do an entire mitered square blanket, with no cast ons and no cast offs - - would one of you please run to my house and put a cold wet rag on my forehead and hold my hand until the fever passes? I’m sure that I would lose what’s left of my mind, but here’s proof that it can be done!

You know…

On second thought…

Imagine if the stripes were asymmetric with respect to each other – you know, that they didn’t line up with each other - and maybe some wide stripes, set off by single-ridge stripes… hmmm… maybe so... What do you think? Oh no – wait – wait – Imagine if the stripes were of different widths, and some were stockinette and some garter and maybe even some in different seed stitch patterns. Oh, yes, it’s all coming together now.

I should have taken a picture of all of those yarn strands all in a big huge scrambled tangle and then I would have NO second thoughts, eh? Let me tell you – this square was a pain in the neck! But…

Another Log Cabin Square, in a similar design to my favorite square, which is seen in the photo below.

Now… an entire blanket in this style is a definite possibility! Just imagine the possibilities! I have a few other squares waiting to be washed, blocked, photoed and blogged, but I think that all subsequent blocks will be on this square-bullseye design. I love the crisp corners most of all! Yes, more of these to come!

Once again, I interrupt the knitting to bring you... the last blooms of summer.

As I sat here last night, surfing the Internet, my little weather bug alerted me to the notion that summer is actually completely over, and that a frost was on the way. The first frost always makes me sad, as it means "No more flowers!"

I was granted a reprieve! We didn’t have a frost! I had a few moments today to snap some pictures of the very last of my summer flowers. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry! I love winter and the cold and most especially, the SNOW, but I’ll miss my flowers. Enjoy my last blooms of summer –

Morning Glories! Here are some of the “standard” variety –

And, here is Emma’s “Blue Heaven” Morning Glories. The blooms of this beautiful variety of Morning Glory are much larger than the standard variety – they are about 5 inches across! Yes, they are this blue in the early part of the day, and they fade to lavendar as the day progresses. This is one of my most favorite flowers!

Another favorite is the simple Hollyhock. Ahhh… I have hollyhocks in every imaginable hue, and I have them by the HUNDREDS. They are sooo pretty!

Calendulas are such happy little flowers!

Even though I’ve grown these every year for about 10 years, I still don’t know the name of this plant. It makes these huge beans, so my kids call it – “Jack and the Beanstalk Bean.” The blossoms were a bright, cardinal red, but they are long gone. Time to harvest the beans!

Every part of this plant is purple – notice the stems. There are lovely pods developing and I hope that the seeds develop before they freeze. It’s a beautiful plant, and the blooms are very long-lasting, too. Look at them! Blooming like crazy in October!

I forgot all about this plant! I call it, “Grow your own good luck,” for obvious reasons. It is a very pretty little plant, but since it was lost in the Calendula Jungle, I sort of forgot about it until today. My girls will enjoy pressing these leaves.

I’m cheating – I snapped this photo about a week and a half ago, not today, but it was still October, lol. This bloom was the diameter of a dinner plate, and I was *really* looking forward to hanging it outside of my kitchen window, to watch the birds eat the seeds. However, a squirrel chewed it off, and dragged it away. Grrrr….

Jack Frost – you can come now. I’m emotionally prepared.