Saturday, March 27, 2010

New Hobby and Old Joints

I drove Charlie today. He had been ridden too much last week so I ended up driving Chaz. Chaz made me sit up and pay attention to what I was doing. It was still fun but he required more effort on my part than Molly did. Even so, my joints were in better shape after driving him than they were today when I drove Charlie.

I tried holding my arms up in front of me more and holding my wrists correctly but I think I am going to have to go with what is comfortable rather than what is correct. Anyway, I like Charlie and I think we may rock along well together as soon as the body makes a few adjustments.

I need to find a knitting project other than washcloths but in the meantime, I am knitting away on washcloth number 9 for this month. At this rate, I'll actually make a dent in my Peaches and Creme stash this year.

Speaking of the stash, I came across 2 cones of yarn that are ugly. Have you ever bought some yarn, put it away, and found it later only to wonder "What was I thinking buying that?" I can't even think of anyone who would like these colors. Skeining the yarn and dyeing it is too much trouble and it would take some powerful dye to counteract these colors. Maybe our local group needs to have a White elephant sale. Surely I can't be the only one who has yucky yarn hidden in the stash.


To me there is something so restful about knitting washcloths. The pattern can be as simple or as complex as you want. It is a project that won't go on forever and therefore is one that you won't get tired of knitting about halfway through it.

I enjoy using my knitted items and I enjoy knitting functional items so it's a win-win situation. The other plus side of washcloths is that most people really like to get some. Great hostess or thank you gifts and a wonderful treat for yourself are more reasons to take the time to knit some. I usually try to keep several on hand. Right now I need some for myself so that, combined with just finishing a shawl which took several weeks, is the reason for the washcloth knitting marathon.

Eight washcloths in a week are some kind of a record for me. I made up one of the patterns (the basketweave) but the others were the Friendship Chain Cloth designed by Vaunda Rae Giberson, The Cotton Dishcloth (Once Removed or Dressed Up)designed by Marion Torgerson, and Petal dishcloth designed by Hazel Schrock.

So, I encourage you to treat yourself to a knitted washcloth. You deserve the best.

No sock loom for me

Well, I finally tried to use the 64 peg sock loom that I bought last year (or year before). I had the Sock Looming Book, correct yarn, and the lovely loom. Folks, it's just not going to happen. It was very slow and frustrating. Although I can easily remember k2,p2 with circular needles, for some reason, if the phone rang or I got distracted, I just couldn't find out which stitch was next without going back and counting from the beginning. Talk about making haste slowly!

So, I ripped it out in the best froggy manner possible and I will sell the loom and the book as a set. I love the patterns in the book and the loom is beautifully made but it's just not for me.

Since the size 1 and 0 Addis hurt my hands, and the knitting loom didn't work out, I now have the perfect excuse to order some Harmony circular needles from Knit Picks. You saw that coming didn't you? Even if they don't work out, they are gorgeous to look at and I'll just put them somewhere highly visible.

I do use the plastic round looms with bigger yarn and will continue to make hats with them as it is a very quick process. I made some several years ago and it's a good way to keep knittting if holding the reins is causing some soreness the day after driving.

On a side note, I learned to use the whip (relax, you barely touch it to the horse's rear) to put Molly into a faster trot. This week I'll get to drive Charlie. He's bigger than Molly and with him I have to learn how to make him keep his head up and in the correct position. Oh, yeah, and not fall off that tiny little bench. Very important part of the whole process.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Molly and Finished Prayer Shawl

Had another lesson on driving with Molly yesterday. The trainer was really great and let me play for much longer than I probably should have, or Molly wanted me to do. I asked Marjorie (trainer) to take a picture of Molly and I and I managed to take one while driving so you could see her from my perspective.

Please notice the huge hat with a spf of 30. I've seen my dermatologist enough lately and this, hopefully, will help prevent another carving. I have a big shirt to wear when it is warmer. I figured this time the sun couldn't get through the heavy coat I was wearing.

I finally finished the prayer shawl done in the Feather and Fan pattern. I love the pattern but for some reason this shawl just seemed to go on forever. I really only took 5 weeks (and not steady knitting by any means) but it seemed longer than that. The yarn is Vanna's Choice so it will be washable and was done with size 8 circular needles. Next time I will use larger needles. It still needs to be blocked and then off to the family of the soldier.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sock Yarn hat

sock yarn hat 1 side
Originally uploaded by january spin
Just finished a fun and easy knit. Got the idea from my friend, Cheryl M, who got it from her friend, Judy, I think. Anyway, the hat uses scraps of sock yarn and you hold two strands together.. It's one of the beautys of working with 2 different variegated yarns at the same time. They blend beautifully through no extra effort on your part.

Now I am going to have to knit more socks (or use sock yarn more) so I can make more of these hats. Thanks, Cheryl for sharing.

I am still knitting on the current prayer shawl which for whatever reason, is taking much longer than previous ones. I am using smaller needles and this could be the reason but geez, I feel like I have been knitting on it forever. Once it's finished, I'm going to be doing some small projects for a while. Washcloths, where are my washcloth patterns? They sure seem to be my go to projects.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The iPod and fiber play

I enjoy listening to certain books. I particularly enjoy listen to books when I can knit or spin at the same time. I could probably clean house while listening but somehow, it's not nearly as much fun, or satisfying.

I just finished "Under Orders" by Dick Francis, one of my favorite mystery writers. His heroes are ordinary people who persevere and the stories are well written. All of his books touch, in some way, horses and usually horse racing. Growing up as a horse crazy girl, this just adds to the appeal of his writing. Even non horse people will enjoy his mysteries however as the main character usually explains his thinking and "horse terms" while not being boring about it. Before he became an author, Dick Francis was a steeplechase jockey and he brings a lot of knowledge to his writings.

I have now started listening to "Vision in White" by Nora Roberts and I am continuing to dye silk sliver while doing that. The silk dyeing consists of putting quart jars with Wilton cake dyes in them, water and previously wetted Bombyx silk sliver. I finished a batch on Sunday for the Ravelympics and decided to just keep dyeing the rest of the silk.

Has anyone ever figured out how to dye either cotton or silk sliver and keep the integrity of the sliver without using the microwave? I always end up with a flat squished sliver when I rinse the excess dye out and have to squeeze the sliver. After it is dry I can usually "pop" the silk and it regains some measure of it's former loveliness but cotton remains squished. I'm sure there's a secret out there somewhere but I have yet to discover it.

The Wilton dyes tend to have a somewhat pinkish red but I am trying to counteract that by putting in some brown. No particular reason for the brown, it just seemed like a good idea. Studying color charts would probably help but I love the playing and since I am usually happy with the results, this way is faster. (This carefree attitude probably comes from having as much silk as most spinning shops. You spend enough years developing a stash and you have extra to play with when you want.)

Note: I'll add pictures from the second batch of dyeing later. Just so you know, and I remember, the brown did make for a much richer red--who knew? Well, I suppose if you study those color charts you would know but I like to feel I have discovered something on my own.