Friday, August 08, 2008

Fleece Study

I have joined a new Fleece Study. I plan on going to S.A.F.F. in October (on my birthday weekend) and I would like to purchase a fleece when I get there. The problem is, I have no clue what I'm doing when cleaning a fleece and I also don't know what kind I want. So, I joined the study.

It came with everything you see here (except for Widget the cat):

The box arrived damaged and I think one of the fleeces I was supposed to get fell out. I'll contact Linda and see if she can send it to me.

This is kinda spooky for me. I am an absolute newbie at this. I'm used to getting already prepared roving, not raw fleece that still has dirt, vegetable matter and poop in it. The smell isn't too bad. It reminds me of my granddad's farm. Of course if you're citified, you probably won't care for the smell.

I already started soaking one - the Columbia fleece. Right now it's doing an initial soak in some cool water and the water is becoming quite icky.

We'll see if I manage to get this thing clean or if I felt the bejeezus out of it.

I finished fixing the shawl. I'm not incredibly pleased with how it turned out. The tension is way too loose now and it's uneven. I'm hoping that careful blocking will alleviate the problem somewhat. Either way, I'm moving on. I'm already pushing my schedule out the window as it is. Sigh. At least it's a little better better.

I'm planning on going ice skating on Sunday, something that I haven't done in years and the hubby and the Eldest never have. It's a Cub Scout event at a local rink. I'll let you know if I break anything. :)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

When Knitting Goes Wrong - a Tutorial

Sometimes I'll be chugging along with my knitting thinking "Man, am I hot tonight! Just look how well this is going." and then I'll look down at my work and say "Oh no."

Yes, that's what happened last night. The edges of the wedding shawl are supposed to be seed stitch. That's where you work k,p,k,p on a row all the way across, then turn your work and then do p,k,p,k all the way across.

Sometime in the evening my seed stitch turned into a rib stitch. I don't have a clue how or when. But it affects a ton of rows that I was not willing to pull out and re-knit. So what was I to do? My first instinct was to fix it a row at a time by dropping the stitch down to where it was correct and then take a crochet hook and fix it. Yeah, well, that didn't work so well. The mohair kept grabbing onto anything and everything for dear life, so I had to find a different strategy.

The mohair was still difficult, but this method went much smoother for me:

1. I isolated the problem and gave it a good look over. As you can see from the pic below, the problem is a small square from the first stitch on the left to the marker and then down to the crochet hook. I ran a small crochet hook through one leg of the stitches that were correct, as a lifeline of sorts.

Once the evaluation of the problem was over, I decided to drop all the problem stitches off the needles. Yes, this is scary, but not as scary as taking the whole project off all of the needles and frogging back your lace. I don't like frogging lace. It's far too easy to never find your place again. You can see where I began:

Note that from the hook on down is seed stitch and from the hook on up is ribbing.

2. Continue pulling out the stitches until you get to the live stitches on your hook. You don't have to use a crochet hook for this part, it's just what I had handy. You could use other needles, cables, a stick, whatever is near you. When you get to the live stitches the problem should look like so:

3. Now you need the hook. I put all the live stitches but one on a holder and grabbed the loop with the hook.

4. Moving up, the stitches should alternate between knit and purl. Remember this is seed stitch. (This process works just as well for fixing other problems in stockinette, garter or rib, you just have to know what the next stitch up should look like.)

For the knit stitches, You put your hook through the loop from the front of your work. Then grab the first line of yarn above it and pull it through the loop, basically making a crochet chain.

Note that the lines are all long horizontal loops. Keep these horizontal and in order. You're going to move up from the loop using the lines of yarn as you go.

5. When you get to a stitch that needs to be purled, you have to go through the back of the work (loop) like shown below to grab the next line of yarn and pull it through.

Continue steps 4 and 5 until your loop is back up to your cable. Put it on the cable and then begin the whole process again by taking the next loop off the holder and start at step number 3.

I'm not finished with correcting the problem. I can't get a certain two year old to leave me alone long enough to fix it since he woke up from his nap. It won't take long. If I can just get a good solid 15 minutes I can be back chugging along. I'll have a progress report for you tomorrow.

I hope this mini tutorial will help others who have similar problems!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

10 Things You Didn't Know About Me

I saw this a while back and thought that now would be a good time to do this since the progress on my current WIP is going so slow. :)

1. Graduate of Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. War Eagle! Got a nice expensive degree in business/computers that I now use to play mind games with two children under eight in order to manipulate them into simulating normal sane and acceptable social behavior.

2. Met the hubby on a blind date setup by a mutual friend - don't badmouth blind dates, they occasionally work.

3. I'm a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Bookworm and wannabe Sci-Fi/Fantasy Author.

4. I want to have a small Alpaca Farm someday.

5. I loathe English Peas, Cherries and anything Cherry flavored. I do however, like to use cherry kool-aid to dye with. I just try to ignore the cherry smelling stench.

6. I've begun to secretly dislike two year olds, but you probably already guessed that one.

7. I'm a Genealogy/History geek - my minor in college was European history and I'm the genealogist for three different sides of the family.

8. I'm an internet addict. I admit it. Now I'm waiting for my 12 step program to commence once I find it through Google.

9. I often order stuff over the internet and hide the evidence so I don't get the third degree from the hubby.

10. I'm actually quite shy when meeting other people (though most people don't think so because I can talk a good game) and I have a hard time making long term friends because of it. Doesn't mean I don't have confidence, I'm definitely not a wall flower, just been burned by supposedly "close" friends too many times. Now you have to earn my trust the hard way. :)


I've confessed. It's supposed to be good for my soul right?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Lace Update

See this mess? Not my fault. My mom caused this. I showed her how much fun the hackle is today, and she agreed! See the two yellow bird nests of roving towards the bottom left of the pic, right next to the hackle? Yep, she made those. I'm so proud. :)

I promised an update on the Wedding Stole that I'm working on. It continues to grow. I'm still worried that it won't get done in time. The good thing is that even if I don't get in all 13 repeats of the pattern, I can block the heck out of it and it'll stretch to the appropriate size. It's killing me that I can't work on this more during the day. It is just about impossible to work on this while the Youngest is on the loose.

I really like how the beading is turning out. I had to create a different beading diagram from the one that I was given. Not because anything was wrong with it, but because I screwed it up. However, I think I like the way the beads are going now even better. You can see how the pearl beads accentuate the waves on the stole.

The wedding is going to be a seaside one which is why I chose this pattern. I love the waves in it. The lace pattern resembles the shape of the flower appliques on the brides wedding dress.

I think I may make myself one of these in a heavier weight yarn one day. This is going to be gorgeous.

Monday, August 04, 2008

I'm just a third rate citizen

First off, I have a post milestone. It's post number 301! Yeah!

And speaking of posts, I sort of went postal on the family yesterday. They were looking at me like I had horns growing out of my head.

Moms always seem to be the third rate citizen. All of the family comes first, then Mom. At least, that's the way it seems to me.

The hubby always has "important" things to do. The Mom? Nah, she just sits around eating bonbons and filing her nails all day right? God forbid if she wants to go to the grocery store occasionally without "baggage."

The children must always come first. They must be fed, watered, diapered, played with and put to bed (sometimes several times a night). All of this occurs over and over again ad nauseam. Then don't forget the temper tantrums, potty training, whining, schooling, etc that must occur between each of the aforementioned items.

The hubby made the mistake of going all "Woe is Me" about his lot in life while talking about how I did nothing. I work far harder at home than I ever did while I was a Manager at the Georgia Lottery. Much.

Is he on call 24/7 with his job? no. Can he leave his job when his day is done? yes. Can I? nope. Does he have to put up with whiny terrible behavior from his co-workers? Occasionally. Me? Hourly.

So. There I was, reading the riot act to the family and how things were going to be, dammit. Everything got really, really quiet and everyone's eyes were huge. I left the house at 2pm, got back around 5:30 (after having threatened to never return) and had the house to myself. Why? Because right before I left I told him if he and the kids should get hungry he could call his mother. And he did. They didn't get back 'til around 8:00pm. Pure Bliss.

I'm better today. I'll be even more better when school starts this Thursday. That'll be one down. On the 25th I'm going to be downright giddy. The Youngest will start his two year old Pre-Pre-Pre K class. Two down and 3 whole hours to myself twice a week. Ahh. It's the little things in life that count. really. :)

Today, the Youngest had his first gymnastics class. It was downright hysterical. There were 5 two year olds in the class and at any moment, one would take off like a rocket to disrupts someone else's class because what the big kids were doing looked a whole lot more fun that what they were doing. You could never really predict which one would take off when either. Too funny!
In The Ring Hanging around
Sorry for the poor pics. All I had was my cell phone and I was too far away.

Okay. I'm done venting, I'm going back to wedding shawl hell now. I'll give an update on that tomorrow. See ya!