Thursday, September 20, 2012

HolyHell! (a post FINALLY)

I have not blogged in FOREVER!

So what's new?

Well I've moved. I left the city that I grew up in and decided to move to my favorite city (that I've been to) with Mauricio and Rocky since Mauricio has a good job out here.

It's been pretty awesome. We have a pretty good apartment and we've been enjoying our lives here. I definitely miss Sara & Ellie & my mom & my dad & my brothers, but other than that it's awesome. Well, we had a weekend with 100+ temperatures and that kinda sucked, but I stayed inside and saw a movie instead of dealing with that mess.

I had put off blogging because I actually wanted to get pictures of the apartment so everyone could see how much space I gave up in the move, but I'm not really happy with the lack of decorating and the fact that every time I turn around there's a mess, so I'm just not going to do that. Unless I get it put into order the way I want it. :)

But! Here are a few picture of the more put together areas:
(has been rearranged slightly)

The Bathroom

Built in Bookshelf
 And these shots are just for bragging purposes. We're up on a hill and when we take Rocky out there's a decent view of Mission Bay. We can even watch the Sea World fireworks from out here at nighttime. I love that I live so close to the beaches and the ocean!

We've had a few adventures since moving, but mostly we've enjoyed a lot of eating and trying new beers. I have a bunch of pictures of beers because I was sending Luke pictures every time I had a beer or saw the ocean. There's a fair amount of ocean pictures too. ;)

Here's some of my favorite pictures I snapped on my phone:
Loews Coronado Bay
Silver Strand Beach
Our Favorite Pub!
Near the Pier on Coronado
Ocean Beach
SO! Here's every knitting project I've finished since I've moved:
(Links will take you to my Ravelry Project pages for notes, yarn info, etc.)

I finally found my sock mojo. I hadn't knit a single pair of socks in over a year. Then I knit 5 in 3 months!

  • This ishbel got sent away in a swap. I miss it a little bit. It turned out so lovely. I do really love this pattern, like most other Ysolda patterns.
  • Island Time was super fun to knit while I "lived" in a hotel on Coronado Island. I died the gradience yarn myself too! So I'm super happy with how that came out!

  • I wish my mystery shawl had come out larger. I didn't do any extra repeats because I was worried about running out of yarn, but really I probably could have done some extra on it.
  • Luna Moth was a bday gift for Ronni

  • I LITERALLY though I would NEVER finish Earth & Sky. The final result was probably worth the headache though. It's a nice large shawl. And it is very pretty
  • Carson is the first pattern for Romi's 7 Small Shawls Year 3. I decided to knit these as they come out using my stashed yarns because I've got a really large stash. I loved Carson as a pattern. I'd probably even knit it again. There's a KAL now with a patten to make Carson into an afghan/blanket. I think I'm going to attempt that with some stashed yarns too.
  • I had some modifications with the Carson shawl to try and eat up as much yarn as possible. Essentially I added 16 additional rows to the garter stitch section and then did the shorter lace edging, and BO in my MC instead of the CC. For more info with the yarn weights as I went and my gauge check out the Ravelry project page.
(finally put the sleeves on this WIP)

I've had a lot of free time since I'm still job hunting, so I don't expect to continue to knit so much after I have a job. Hopefully I'll have a job soon. I'm starting to get a little stir crazy!

I also did some dying while I was moved in and here are the fruits of that adventure:
This was one of the major reasons that I wanted to start dying my own yarn and I am BEYOND thrilled that I got the color spot on! (Aren't I so lucky to have Tiffany & Co. boxes to do a comparison?)
This is 250 grams of DK weight that reminds me of mermaids.
I want to find a nice large-ish DK shawl pattern for it
These 3 yarns went to Ronni as part of her bday gift with the Luna Moth shawl

In other news we had a pretty serious scare with Rocky on Sunday night, and I ended up at the emergency vet hospital with my little baby. :( We had though he may have had a seizure but the emergency room vet said that it didn't seem to be a seizure and that he actually probably had a fainting spell due to a heart arrhythmia and that we needed to take him to a vet for an EKG and blood work. So a few phone calls and a couple of days later we find out he had to go to a specialist for those things so we made him and appt with a dog cardiologist. At that office we found out it's not heart disease, but the little guy apparently has a clot inside his heart and the vet thinks that part of it was dispelled Sunday night and that could have caused the fainting and the slight weaknesses he seems to be exhibiting on the left side. We got medication for the clots and the vets are supposed to call us and tell us if we should have more tests and what not done. So we still don't know what caused the clot in the first place. He is acting much better and I'm not nearly as scared about his health as I was, but I still wish that he was 100%. Also I wish that I could get it sorted so we could quit spending so much $$$$$$ on vet visits and tests and drugs.
Rocky's fondeness for HOOMANs doesn't extend to vets.
He hid under the chair when the vet was in the room.
My fingers are crossed that it all works out! He really does seem to have improved so much.

Here is what Rocky has been up to the past 3 months in San Diego. (Basically he's just super cute and I want to show him off.)

I'll be updating in a bajillion places about Rocky and his little pug heart.

I've also got a job interview tomorrow so wish me luck!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bright and Sunny

A couple of weeks ago I started the Budding Shawlette to knit with my bright sunny yarn that I dyed with kool aid last month. This project FLEW off my needles. Almost literally. I love the end result. 

Rocky didn't exactly appreciate the lack of attention he got during the knitting of the shawl, but he doesn't appreciate anything less than 110% of my attention focused on him, so that was to be expected. 

I actually ran out of yarn during the last chart and used some leftover Malabrigo sock to finish the shawl. The pink was a good match, so that worked out perfectly.

I used US7/4.5mm needles, and did 12 repeats total of chart #2, and repeated the last 4 rows of chart 3 an additional time. The shawl, with the added Malabrigo took ~502 yards total of yarn.

I used both beaded charts (the simple and the complex options) and also used three different colors of beads to add to the gradient effect of the yarn.

  • Repeats 1-2 of chart 2 had no beads
  • Repeats 3-6 of chart 2 had gold beads and used the simple beaded chart
  • Repeat 7 of chart 2 had topaz beads with pink lining and used the simple beaded chart
  • Repeats 8-10 of chart 2 had topaz beads with pink lining & used the COMPLEX beaded chart
  • Repeats 11-12 of chart 2 had pink and used the COMPLEX beaded chart
  • Chart 3 used pink beads, and the complex beaded chart. Rows 11-14  of chart 3 were repeated.

The only thing I wish that I had done better is my bind off. I bound off with larger needles, and used a stretchy bind off, but my bind off is still really tight. I must have been stressed/distracted/hurried/etc when I did my bind off. My points at the border are pretty much non-existent, but that's okay the end result is still so beautiful.

My end result is a shawl that measures 27" down the spine with a 63" wingspan

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My kool-aid experiment

Having nothing to do is slightly starting to get to me, so on Wednesday I went and bought a bunch of kool-aid packets (10 for $1), read a bunch of internet tutorials and did my own yarn dying experiment.

I have been obsessed with gradient yarns, so I used this tutorial and tried my hand at making a purpley gradient first.

My first step was to take the briggs & little sport weight that I had and make 10 mini-skeins that were 11-13 grams each. (The original skein was 113gr.)

I had the yarn on my swift and pulled amounts of it out while I used my scale to weight them. It took a lot longer than I expected to get through this step.

Then I got my big pot on the stove and started adding the kool-aid. I started off with 2 blues (I think it was the Ice Berry Raspberry Lemonade or whatever they're trying to pretend is that blue in nature) and 1 grape. (As a side I hate the smell of artificial grape, and I'm glad my yarn didn't come out smelling like it.) Once it was heated up (it was described in a different tutorial I read as "when the mix starts steaming") I added my 10 skeins of yarn.

I pulled out a skein using tongs every 5 minutes. I used my iPhone timer. I don't have an egg timer and the one on the stove would take to long to reset. iPhones are not water-proof though, I learned this from a different experiment so keep the phone out of the way!

After I took out my 2nd or 3rd skein, I realized that I needed more kool-aid and added more 2 grape/purple and 1 blue to the pot.

skeins 1, 2, 3, & 4
 The first four skeins did show subtle graduation between them.

After the 4th skein, came out of the dye pot I decided to add 1 packet of black cherry along with one more of the grape to the dye pot to get a reddish purple at the other end of the spectrum. I also took a spoonful of the mixture with the red and sprinkled it on skein #4 to make sure that skein 4 would flow into skein 5 without trouble. Skeins 9 & 10 sat in dye with an addition black cherry added to them.

Finished skeins laid out to dry
I cut open a wire danger from the dry cleaners and strung my mini skeins up to dry outside. (Until it got really windy and they were moved to the bathroom to dry.)

When I was finished with that experiment, I decided to try and make another gradient yarn, with fingering weight, without breaking the yarn, and using a different method. I was inspired by this tutorial/blog to try this method. Unfortunately, my impatience and hastiness resulted in my first 22grams breaking off because of a knot. Then, later when I wound it the final 19 grams broke off because of a knot as well.

My base yarn this time was Knitpicks bare fingering weight yarn.
I used the following kool aid packets:
  • 4 packets of lemonade (yellow)
  • 2 packets of peach mango
  • 2 packets of orange (and a third that was used partially)
  • 4 packets of pink lemonade
  • 1 packet of strawberry (was only partially used)
Since my first 22 grams, had broken off, I dyed these first while I separated the rest of the skeins for dying. Before starting the rest of the skein I soaked 2 or 3 yards of one end of the yellow in the peach mango dye bath.

My yellow ended up being a tangled mess from hell. I spent almost the entirety of a hockey game untangling the mess. There aren't any pictures of that.

The yellow was first soaked in 2 packets of lemonade and then the end was soaked with peach mango at the same time the portion of the intact skein.

With the larger skein each portioned off piece went into a different dye bath.
  • 1st was 2 packets of peach mango
  • 2nd was 2 packets of orange
  • 3rd was 2 packets of pink lemonade, with pinches of orange added until it became an orangey-pink
  • 4th was 2 packets of pink lemonade, with pinches of strawberry added to make a really bold pink
As one portion came out of the dye bath, I used different little tupperwares and moved them to keep all of the ends attached.

After the large skein was done, I rinsed it and took it outside to start to dry. I was super happy with how the colors all came out. I really didn't test the kool-aid colors before I went ahead and died... Maybe not the smartest thing to do, but it worked out. I figured if it wasn't a perfect gradient I'd have fun yarn to knit with anyways.

When my yellow was finally untangled I decided it was yellow enough and decided to soak it in 2 more packets of the lemonade, but this time I added a tent tiny pinch of orange to it's dye bath. The resulting yellow was much more vibrant than the first time around.

I hung the yellow up with the rest of the larger skein to dry.

The following day I got to wind the skein into balls, where as previously mentioned the pink bit broke off after some knots. I'm not a master at getting knots out of yarn.

I'm obsessed with dying yarns now. I've got one other bare fingering weight and 2 bulky weight yarns to experiment with on a later date, I'm think of trying food coloring next. Or a different dying technique.

I'm planning on knitting both of these yarns into shawls but I haven't decided which patterns to use yet. I'm on a crazy strict budget right now so I'm limited to FREE or already purchased patterns. 

For the fingering weight I've narrowed it down to (all links go to the Ravelry page):
For the sport weight I've looked at"
I'm undecided on either yarn/shawl combo though. I'm anxious to knit a gradient shawl though!