Tuesday, March 3, 2015
I used a pattern generator to figure out how many stitches to cast on and as a guideline on the yoke increases, but other than that, this pattern was pretty much done on the fly. As in, I wrote it as I did it. There was a little trial and error with it, but I'm really pleased with how it turned out.
It's nice and warm, too, which is great because today is cold! Yes, for once I've finished a sweater at just the right time to actually wear it!
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Three hundred grams of cotton yarn goes a surprisingly long way.
All that working with cotton yarn at a tight gauge was not fun but I'm quite pleased with the end product(s). And they were very well received, so yay! Don't think I'll be doing much in cotton for the near future though. Not until the memory of this experience has dulled!
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
I made these socks in four days. Four days! I didn't know I could actually make socks that fast. I knew it was theoretically possible - I could get half a sock done on a good knitting day - but I never managed to get four straight days of massive knitting time. But this time, I made it happen. I got it into my head that it was going to happen after day two and pretty much told Dan that days three and four would be devoted to knitting, not housework. Because this was important. Four days socks trump housework (at least this once).
Next up, finishing my sweater then a cuttlefish (no joke) and vanilla socks for Dan. Maybe a little boar or stork thrown in for fun.
Sunday, February 8, 2015
Now, I bought this teal yarn three years ago at a store in Fort Worth. I checked with the store on the off chance they still had some and no. So I knew I'd have to go elsewhere and end up getting yarn in a different dye lot. Which, okay, not ideal but I figured out I could rip back my sweater a tad to incorporate the new dye lot so the difference wouldn't be too jarring. It'd be extra work, but I could deal. So I ordered two new balls of teal from a place in Wyoming.
I got the yarn in on Friday evening and y'all. It's the same dye lot. Three years later and several states away and I managed to get perfectly matching yarn.
I'm still kinda amazed.
Friday, February 6, 2015
Angry Orchard Crisp Apple
3.5 out of 5
Taste isn't overly sweet. Overall, it's nicely tart without being pucker inducing. There's a bit of cloying sweetness at the end that builds to be unpleasant after drinking the whole thing coupled with a tartness that also builds.
It's not bad, but I prefer their Apple Ginger one hordes better.
Strongbow Gold Apple
1 out of 5
It's really rather plain Jane. Tartness like a Granny Smith apple, a little sharp on the end. The tartness of the apple is good but there is a different layer of sweetness on the top that doesn't seem to jive as much with it as sweetness does in other ciders. Honestly, not bad but overly sweet on the end. Very smooth though, if cloying.
ACE Apple Hard Cider
1 out of 5
The taste is... not great. It's super tart with the taste of green apple skins and dirty socks. I'm okay with green apple skins but not the dirty socks. The aftertaste is sticky and unpleasant.
I didn't finish this one. I have another one of this brand left to try and I'm a bit scared.
Woodchuck Limited Edition Winter
3.5 out of 5
The taste is mild and smooth with a bit of a wet white wine note. It's sweet but not overly so and has a hint dark spice - not quite cinnamon but similarly heavy and tingly. There's a little bit of gentle funk, too.
This one isn't quite as multi-faceted as some others, but it has a good, full flavor to it that is very enjoyable. (I drank two.) This one is very close to a 4 out of 5 for me.
Four more ciders down! This now catches me all up on the holiday cider revelry. (I told you, I had a good Christmas.) Hopefully as I start to feel better post-glutening, I will be able to sample a few more ciders. I need to make sure have some good options for pool-side drinking!
Monday, February 2, 2015
Sidra Natural El Gobernador
2 out of 5
Taste-wise, it's like drinking stinky cheese. With olives. And bandaids. I tasted no apples. At all. It's wet (not champagne-like dry) and not at smooth. And full of funk.
A bit too much funk for me, honestly, with the whole bandaid/lanolin aftertaste, but it sure is... uh, interesting.
Harpoon Pumpkin Cider
4 out of 5
The taste is much less in-your-face-apple than most ciders. Mild overall, but with a lot of flavors going on: a mild white grape taste on the front end, some plain pumpkin in the middle, and end notes that alternate between pumpkin pie spices and almost-graham-cracker. It's a touch drier than a lot of the sweater ciders but not to the point where it's actually dry.
This one is probably a bit busy for a daily drinker for me, but I really like it.
Crispin Artisanal Reserve The Saint
5 out of 5
Fortunately, the taste is lovely. Lots of yeast throughout with apple that is sweet, mild and dark. The sweet sharpness (it's not candy sweet but just enough sweet to nicely balance the tart) of the apple gives a great balance to the heavy, funky yeast. Probably one of the all-around most wonderfully balanced ciders I've had.
This is stronger than most of the ciders I've tried and it comes in a big bottle. Whee! Winner all around!
Woodchuck Fall Harvest
3 out of 5
The taste is very Jolly Rancher apple cinnamon. It's like Halloween in liquid form with a chaser of potpourri. It's crazy sweet and candied, which I can see some folks really getting behind.
For me, though, it's too sweet and spicy for me to get into it. I don't like Red Hots, either. This one isn't for me, but I think that someone with different cider desires could love it.
So this batch of ciders has probably my favorite so far, Crispin's The Saint. I really think it supplants my previous favorite of Woodchuck's Belgian White. However, the Belgian White comes in a normal sized bottle and The Saint comes in a big one. And is strong. Which means I don't think I'll be buying six-packs of The Saint any time soon. Singles though? Oh yeah.
Other ciders that remain front-runners in the "I'd buy it again" category are Crispin's Original, Angry Orchard's Apple Ginger, and Woodchuck's Farmhouse Original '91. Lots more still to try!
Friday, January 30, 2015
As is pretty obvious to anyone that ever reads this blog, peruses my Ravelry projects or, you know, talks to me, I like knitting socks. Probably one of the neatest sock-knitting-related things I've come across is the FLK heel. Specifically, the directions for making a personalized cardboard foot template. I can trace someone's foot, do a little math and then be able to make them custom-fitted hand knit socks. It's so awesome and why both my parents and my aunt received socks for their birthday last year.
The only negative of the cardboard template is... well, it's cardboard. I have made my templates with some sturdy cardboard, but then, I knit a lot of socks. Especially socks for myself and Dan. So our templates... they get a little rough. And that makes them harder to try the sock on to for measuring. Before, I've just made a new template to use until I bust up that one, too, but now... now I have something so much better.
Wooden foot templates.The Knitting Rose and made out of bubinga hardwood and utterly gorgeous. I'm so excited to get them. So now I have custom foot forms for both me and Dan that are made out of wood, not (ultimately) bendable cardboard.
A little interesting side note. These didn't come with the toe box, gusset and heel turn lines like mine have. I drew those on with a Sharpie. While I was drawing those lines on though, I accidentally got the heel turn line on my foot form a few centimeters off. Naturally, my (recovering-)perfectionist self freaked out at having messed up the lovely foot form with an improper mark. But thanks to the joy of the internet, I found out that you can actually remove permanent marker from wood by using a white eraser. Seriously. It actually worked. There's a faint bit of marker left from the wrong line from where the marker got into the grain a little and the eraser couldn't quite reach, but it is so faint that even my picky self isn't bothered. So now you know - marker on a wood table? Use an eraser!
And if you need a sturdier-than-cardboard foot form? Go to The Knitting Rose!
Thursday, January 29, 2015
The whole reaction thing was kind of interesting objectively - seeing exactly how I react to something cross-contaminated with gluten after having most of my celiac-related problems calm down. Of course, after going through the first week of flu-like symptoms and utter exhaustion, the second week full of pain and more exhaustion, and the third week of crazy digestion issues and being unable to eat without pain? Yeah, no longer so objectively interesting. More just really, really annoying. Stupid gluten. I'm not quite out of the reaction-woods yet but I hold out hope that it will be soon. I was able to eat a normal-sized dinner last night with only a little discomfort, so progress?
Anyway, there have been more positive happenings lately, but they've all been knitting related. I'm still working on my striped cardigan. I've currently got about 39-ish hours in it or so and the end is nigh. Kinda.
I'm also pretty much thinking I'm going to need to get some more yarn to finish this off because I think I want a big shawl collar. Maybe. I'll see how it goes when I get there, but I have already stalked the place I got the yarn from originally and they have more. No idea if it is in the same dye lot but eh. It'll be for the button band/collar so a slight mismatch shouldn't be too horrific.
As happy as I am with how my future cuddly cardi is going, I will admit to getting a tiny bit bored. I suppose not having a finished project after 30 hours makes me antsy. So I spent some of my Christmas money and got a cute little pattern book from Amazon, Mini Knitted Woodland. It arrived yesterday afternoon, so last night I made this little guy.
The book has a hippopotamus, which I think is next on my list, but I do have some yarn coming for a specific project, so if that comes in, Ms. Hippo might take a back seat to something (hopefully) even more awesome. Otherwise, I plan on continuing with my sweater and I will confess to having some yarn balled for my next pair of socks.
Other than that, not too much of note is going on here. We are still working on the guest bathroom. Demolition is done (though I need to get in there and clean up the remaining broken tiles, etc). Dan and I are planning on going bathtub and fixture shopping soon, then getting those things installed. (Pretty sure Dan's planning on getting someone to install the tub as we are leaning towards an enameled cast iron one and neither of us wants to have to try to lift it.) We've got the shower tile picked out but still have to pick a floor tile. And then, you know, put it all together. We need it all done before the end of May, but we are hoping to get it done before the end of March. No real rush, though. Plenty of time for more knitting!
Monday, January 12, 2015
Of course, I am trying to expand my knitting horizons a tad (as fun as knitting just socks would be, I'm trying to keep some variety in my projects), so my current project is a striped cardigan.
A variety of criteria played into what colors I chose for this sweater, not all of them aesthetic. (One important factor was what would give me enough yardage to actually make a sweater.) This resulted in a color selection that was... a bit outside my norm.
Hopefully I'll see in a couple of more weeks!
Saturday, January 3, 2015
Currently, I have 45 miles of stash yarn (if you don't count leftovers less than half a skein).
Yes, I have enough yarn to (theoretically) knit for the next five plus years without buying more. Yikes. Maybe I can work on that for 2015. (Though really only so I can free up some cabinet room for MORE YARN!)
Something else joyful (but not really ridiculous at all) is my first sock project for the new year. I am participating in the 12 Socks group again this year and my first pair is one I'm doing as a knit-along with a Ravelry friend.
So knitting 2015, off we go!
*John is named after WWE wrestler John Cena, whose catchphrase is "you can't see me". I find it hilarious. Don't judge me.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Yesterday was an uninspired kitty toy since I had previously promised Olive that I'd make her one. So far, Cocoa has been the only one to play with it, but she was enthusiastic in her biting and bunny-kicking, so I can't be upset about that.
I thought about making another kitty toy today but honestly, in the way of all cats, my cats are the type to prefer to sleep in the box instead of the expensive cat bed that came in it. So no kitty toy today. Well, except for the pattern I picked is supposed to be a kitty toy.
Instead of stuffing this with fiberfil, as directed by the pattern, I used some plastic canvas sheets. After all, it isn't to be a kitty toy so it doesn't need to be soft. Naturally, this means the kitties will most likely try to destroy it. But until then, I have a construction cone that is reinforced and sturdy, ready to denote any area in which caution should be taken!
Sunday, December 28, 2014
It's ironic that I've started to win yarn right about the time I banned myself from buying more. I don't plan for it to be a long ban, but getting the prize yarns has made it easier to stick to. That and the fact that I have a ton of awesome yarn and not too much room for more!
Must knit faster!
I did run out of yarn and have to finish the socks off with something else, which was a bit sad, but I think they turned out okay. Well, ugly but in a charming way maybe? The variegated yarn did end up pooling and it did it in a pretty cool way, I think.
These puppies are superwash wool though, so I'm thinking I'll put some Plasti-Dip on the bottom to keep the holes away - and to make them not so slippery. Because they are crazy slick on our laminate floors. But they have to finish drying first and I have to figure out the best way to paint them. Maybe with a foot form in them? Something. I'll figure it out.
And then I can start on my 12 socks for 2015!
Friday, December 26, 2014
Even if I hadn't run out of knitting steam just over half way through these, this pair would have taken a little bit longer than my norm because I had to reknit the toes. I'm still searching for the knitting merit badge that I believe this deserves.
Speaking of knitting accomplishments, I noticed that the repeating pattern would make it fairly easy for me to figure out how many stitches are in these socks. So I figured it out.
Each toe and heel had about 1,248 stitches and each block section was 720 stitches each... so short row toes (not including the first ones I had to frog), short row heels, plus 21 block sections... that's about 17,616 stitches per sock or 35,232 stitches total. Over 35,000 stitches. Okay, maybe I never need to calculate that again.
I have only a tiny amount of time before 2014 is over and honestly, I'd really like to make it to thirty pairs of socks. I see some worsted weight footies in my future.
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Of course, when gifting wool slippers to people, you do want to make sure you also haven't given them something that will make them slip and break their neck. (Newly made wool slippers are crazy slick - I've almost fallen more than once when my slippers were new or newly washed). So I put little non-stick bottoms on them!
Anyway, I've been working on these puppies since June and I'm so glad I finally get to include them in my yearly sock/slipper total. (Also, this is the project that broke my washing machine. Yes, felting all these slippers killed my old top loader. So thank you Christmas slippers, for buying me a new washer dryer set!)
Yay for 28 pairs! I have one more pair that I'm almost done with (more socks for Dan) so I'm really hoping to get my total up to 29 before the year ends. Of course, if I could I'd love to get to 30, which is a nice round number, but I don't think I can knit a pair of socks that quickly... unless it is a big fuzzy pair?