Sunday, February 22, 2009

New definition of HOT PANTS

I soaked the pants overnight in water with a dash of vinegar.

Into the crockpot: 5 cups water. 4 packages lemonade koolaid. 40 drops of yellow food colouring. Mix well, add wet pants. Cook on low until dye is exhausted, which took 2 hours.

Allow to cool in the crockpock. This took several hours. The results were a little splotchy, but that's okay.

Now, on the stove, in the top of a double broiler: 2 cups water. 2 packages strawberry koolaid. Using the gradated dying tutorial, slowly dye the pants bottom to top.

Cool. Rinse. Dry flat. Voila! Volcano pants!

52 books in 52 weeks

I wanted to blog each book I read for this challenge, but I'm having a hard time making time to write up reviews. I just want to knit and sew and read, in the few spare minutes I get.

So here's a quick note before I forget:

The Last Summer of You And Me by Ann Brashares. Bonus! Casual knitting content! I like it when books toss in knitters, without it being a knitter's book. The book followed a predictable emotional rollercoaster path, but I enjoyed it. It also provoked a lot of thought about life and quality of life.

The Third Angel by Alice Hoffman. More bonus knitting content! A twelve year old learns to knit and it's therapeutic. It's been years since I read Alice Hoffman and I'm enjoying rediscovering her.

The Book Thief
by Marcus Zusak. Oooh, I did enjoy this book, though it's certainly not an uplifting little tale or anything. Told from the point of view of Death Himself, this book takes us into the depths of Nazi Germany and shows us what life would be like during that dismal period. Naturally, we don't love the Nazis, because readers can't go there even in fiction, but it's an opportunity to contemplate life for every day people under Hitler.

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. A charming reread. Knitting content! There's a beloved knitted blankie that is indestructable. I had wondered if my daughter would like it, but there's some bad words and that's out of my comfort zone for her at this point in her life. A reviewer called it Yankee Magical Realism, which is an appropriate label. A couple things, totally minor little points not part of the plot, made me squirm: 1) Chocolate syrup in baby bottles, even if it wasn't condoned. OUCH. 2) A man was "bad" and "spoiled" because the women in his life loved him so much they indulged him too much. I didn't like that the women were at fault for his sloth and arrogance.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Finished! But not yet a finished object. Itchy fingers longies, made with bare Wool of the Andes. The remaining ball of yarn weighs 40 grams.

ETA Actually, 35 grams after I crocheted a waist tie.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I'm out of yarn.

Well. I used the 55 gram and the 45 gram ball pictured in the previous post. I'm 2.25 inches shy of finishing these longies and I'm out of yarn. I guess I'll be dipping into that third ball. Good thing I didn't try to make these with just one 100 gram skein!

Like I said, the previous pair of longies weighed 91 grams. The current pair is knitted at the same gauge, but is going flagrantly over 91 grams! This is me, learning that weights aren't comparable from yarn to yarn.

With the last set of longies, I knit each leg one at a time. This time I ventured into two at a time, since I do that with socks always, and have found it a very favourable process.

Tonight I talked to the new mama, and heard that the new baby is doing well, and is doing her business quite reliably on her new diapers. She's way too small right now for these longies, but we all know that will change way too fast.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Where the projects are at.

So I'm in my basement, kneeling on the carpet, taking a photo of my in-progress Ditzy socks. I hear the sound of little voices, and look up to see the face of a neighbourhood 3-year-old peering in through a tiny opening in the basement window. A moment later I hear a bang on the door because his big sister wants to play with my daughter. Not the most articulate kid, he tries, "Why were you in there?" Not the most helpful adult, I answer, "It's my basement. I go there sometimes."

Last week I balled up my new Orange Spice yarn. I have a pattern all picked out, but frankly, over the weekend, I just didn't do much knitting. I didn't do much of anything, except curl up in bed with a book, and some mandatory shopping with each kidlet. Stuff like soilless soil for a science project, repair parts for the drip in the dripless faucet, and fancy gowns that don't fit for an imagined future.

The recipient of the majority of my homemade diapers finally had her baby, a full 2 weeks after her due date. This got me thinking about longies again. It's possibly compulsive behavior. I don't care. I have failed to acquire the perfect yarn for these longies, which in my imagination was just like the previous mentioned Orange Spice yarn, only worsted and not superwash. Then I thought I might dye my own. Then I decided I would knit first, dye later. (Yes, I came up with this idea during a 3am migraine event. Yes, I know I'm not supposed to follow up on those ideas. But I've done some refining of it during waking, saner hours.)

I located my ball of undyed Wool of the Andes, which was used in my pirate mittens. The ball weighed 50 grams. The previous longies I made weighed 91 grams. My unwound skein of undyed Wool of the Andes weighed 100 grams. I decided that rather than graft in the middle, I would just use the 100 gram length, and wound it into a ball. While winding, I found a knot, and so I didn't have a complete 100 gram length, anyway. Now I have three balls of graduated sizes. I do need to break the yarn during the knitting progress, and that will probably come mid-ball anyway. What a pain.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The socks that carnival together...

On Friday, the carnival socks got together for a playdate.

Poor Ditzy

In the early hours of her existence, poor Ditzy broke a needle.

She recovered, though, and is coming along nicely.

The cake is (not) a lie

Ever had a cake of yarn so beautiful that you ran outside on the spot and took pictures of it in your winter garden? No? Oh. Huh.

photo of gothsocks yarn cake in the snow

photo of gothsocks yarn cake, with a cactus

Friday, February 06, 2009


OKay, I admit it, this winter I'm stashing faster than I can knit. I'm working on it, I am!

It's no secret that I'm a sucker for stripes, and that I'm fussy about my stripes. Through a well-placed Ravelry ad, I discovered Gothsocks on Etsy.(do you think they handpick their ad-victims? Or maybe "people who also have this yarn should see this ad?" I swear I was targeted.) Wow. I was so taken by their unique stripeageness. I adore dyers that take the extra care to make clean and beautiful stripes. As always when pondering a yarn purchase, I went into Ravelry to see how the yarn knits up. There was only one person other than the dyer who had a pair of socks to see, but I loved what I saw. Now I'm the proud owner of two new skeins of GothSocks.

PS This incoming yarn was the reason I got the last pair of striped socks off the needles in a hurry. I've got a free needle, just begging me to cast on...

Get off of my needles....

...and onto my feet.

This pair of socks was cast on sometime in November. I didn't enter it into Ravelry until this Tuesday, and the only time I blogged it was in a picture of all my recently started projects. Perhaps because I'd already knit a pair in this yarn, they generated less excitement and fervour.

I had initially planned to do a chevron pattern, but these socks were happy just to be stripes. They sat in my knitting bag, and were the pair I grabbed whenever I had a need of mindless knitting. I know I turned the heels in early December at a school holiday singalong. Most of December and January was filled with projects that demanded my love and attention, and these socks have been quiet and solid in the background.

As of Monday, I decided I needed them OFF THE NEEDLES and launched into a determined effort to finish them up. On Monday I was about an inch above the heels. I bound off these suckers last night, wove in the ends this morning, and yes, they feel absolutely lovely on my feet.

Let us once again admire these precise stripes. I can't say enough good things about sKnitches and the lovely dye efforts to bring me such beautiful stripes. Also? Two complete pairs out of one skein. One pair for my daughter, who needs slimmer socks, but still a great deal of length, plus a full sized pair for me.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

One Skein of Smooshy, All Gone

Last fall, while working on Jeanie, I had a moment of panic. I thought I might run out of yarn. I immediately ordered a spare skein of Smooshy. I knew that it might not match the ones I already had, but I figured it was a win-win-situation. If it matched, yay! it matched. If it didn't match, yay! I had a new skein of Smooshy for another project. It didn't match.

Last November, I grabbed that skein for a pair of Conwy socks from Knitting on the Road. I worked on it diligently while on the road, and then when I got home, I had them in my "on the go" knitting bag, and worked on them when I had time. I just finished them last weekend. Yay, another pair of Conwy!

The socks each weighed 41 grams. The remaining ball weighed 38 grams. I decided to make some fingerless gloves. Despite my previous troubles with a top-down mitten, these just had to be top-down, because I had no clue how long to make them with just this amount of yarn. I planned carefully, and for once my forethought paid off, and my ideas actually translated well into a finished project.

I knitted the thumbs singularly first, and then the bodies 2 at a time. I added the thumbs to the body, knitting them together, and then decreased down, making a "sore-thumb" style thumb. On Saturday I had to work, which really interfered with my knitting time, but today I spent lots of time working on it, very curious to see just how much I'd get out of this ball of yarn. The finished project isn't as long as I'd hoped, but adequate. And other than length, I love these gloves. But then, I love Smooshy. Have I mentioned it's my favourite yarn?