Saturday, February 20, 2010

BIG news

After living in Texas for almost 10 years, my family and I are moving back to Michigan.  Hubby's company has several great job prospects for him all in the midwest, and we're homesick so after a lot of debate and discussion on it, we decided to go for it.  It is going to suck in some ways, my parents and brother are still going to be here, as are a lot of great friends, but overall it will be a good thing.  We haven't told my inlaws yet but most likely they'd move back up there too, and we still have a ton of friends up there.  Plus we can take the kids to all the places we went as children.  I'm already planning a vacation to Ludington, my favorite place on Earth.  Hubby is excited about seeing snow again, which is one of the cons in my book, but opposites attract, right?  We told the kids this morning and while I'm sure it hasn't sunk in completely, they're excited.  We're looking at a few houses on lakes, which is a dream of mine.  That's one good thing about a bad economy--houses in MI are CHEAP.  We can get a house right on the water for what we're paying now.  He'll have a dock for his boat and can fish as often as he likes, and I can sit by the water and knit peacefully.  I'm really looking forward to that!  I'm a water person, I can just sit and stare at the water all day and it just brings such a wonderful sense of peace to me. 

It's stressful and there's a lot of planning involved, and most likely we're going to have to pull our son out of school before the year is out, but it will all work out in the end.  I keep telling myself that.  He's a gregarious kid and adapts easily so I think he'll be fine. 

Knitting wise, this is good and bad.  My LYS here is closing (BOOOHOOOO!!!!) and the nearest one will be quite a distance away, so I'm losing that anyway.  Up there there's a lot more LYS's at least from what I can tell.  I'll also be able to make useful hats and scarves and mittens since it is cold a lot more.  Hubby actually said I could make him a hat and he'd wear it!  However, even though my LYS here is closing, all my knitting friends are still here and still planning on meeting, so I'm going to miss all of them horribly.  I'm hoping I can find a knitting group up there that is even half as good as my group down here. 

I will have to start knitting warm things to use.  I'm going to start a couple of shawls/stoles to use during the late spring/summer for chilly nights.  It will be nice to be able to go outside during the day without baking after 20 minutes, that's for sure.  We might be moving as soon as April, so I'll have to hurry up so I can get something done in time.  I have a couple stoles planned already, just have to get cracking.  :-)

Anyway, I will be keeping up my blog (I promise, CJ!) and I'm on facebook so I will be able to keep in touch with all my friends.  And of course when I come down to visit my folks I will have to get together with everyone. 

On other news, for Lent I decided to give up FB games (I'm hopelessly addicted to Farmville and Island Paradise!) and instead use the time for Charity knitting.  Actually I'm doing a lot of charity crochet, the newest Simply Knitting had an easy pattern for a granny square blanket so I'm using yarn scraps from my friend Dawn, who makes a ton of charity blankets on her knitting machine, and she's been combining the scraps into magic yarn balls.  They are perfect for preemie granny square blankets!  I've also been helping her finish the machine knit blankets with crocheted edging and weaving in ends.  (Dawn, if you're reading this, I have one of the big blankets completed for you already and should have a preemie blanket finished maybe today.)  in between those I'm working on my new mini mochi socks, just simple stockinette stitch.  VERY warm and soft, perfect for MI.  :-)


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

dyeing is so much fun!

Hello my dear readers, whoever you may be.  :-)  Last week I had about 3 times as many hits on my blog as I normally do, but still no comments so I really don't know why. Well, a couple of comments, but they were spam.  Unfortunately I've been getting a lot of those lately so I had to enable that weird "type this word out" security feature.  If they want you to decipher and type that word, why do they make it darn near impossible to read??  Anyway, sorry about that, but I hope it doesn't deter people from posting comments! 

I have been knitting quite a bit but not finishing much because I've had startitis lately. All the lovely yarns in my stash have been calling out to me!  I haven't made much progress on my Michigan socks, they're about halfway thru the instep.  The striping is turning out wonderfully though, they are beginning to switch to the opposite color but the color switch is going across in a diagonal pattern.  Very interesting looking.  Of course I don't have a photo, but I will take one for the next time I blog!  :-) 

These are the mittens I made for my daughter Meg.  I didn't follow a pattern, just made them like toe up socks and increased a bit for the palm.  Once I got to the point where the thumb starts I knit 2 sts, knit 7 sts onto scrap yarn, slipped them back and knit them again on the regular yarn and kept going.  I did the same for the other mitten but I started the thumb 9 sts before the end of the mitten and knit the last 2 sts.  Then I decreased the top when I got to that point the same way I do socks.  I picked up the thumb sts plus a stich on either side so that each thumb was 16 sts.  Since there is no thumb gusset, they don't fit perfectly but they're good enough for her since she rarely wears them and will outgrow them (or lose them!) by next winter.  :0)  She loves them, as you can see.  I think the yarn was berocco metalics.  A little itchy but not too bad.  Very sparkly!  Perfect for a little princess.

Now these are photos of some yummy yarn that I dyed.  My friend Kim is learning how to spin yarn and spun some very soft undyed wool.  She gave it to me so I measured it with a meter counter thingy (that I overpaid for, according to my husband.  He said it is a fishing line gauge and costs 1/4 of what I paid for it if you buy it at a sporting goods store.  However, mine came with a neat wooden thing to hold it to the table, so I don't care.  :-D ) 

Anyway, I used a mix of red and blue jaquard dyes and then added a bit more red to the mix halfway thru the dye process.  I think I used a bit too much dye because it didn't all absorb into the yarn, but it did create a very deep indigo color that I'm completely thrilled with.  There were also a couple spots on the hank that turned out more mauve than indigo, and it added a lovely effect.  Plus the 2 plys took the dye differently so you get a lot of verigation.

It is a bit darker here than in real life because it is still wet in the photograph.  In the last ohoto you can see the pink-y part in the middle of the hank near where it is gathered.  I've already started knitting this and it is turning into a very lovely, simple ribbed scarf.

You're never too young to start knitting!  Erin is 9 months old in this photo.  :-)  Of course, right after the photo was taken, she tried to eat the needles and I had to rescue my scarf before she pulled it off the needles.  LOL.

Do you see the needles?  My husband decided a few weeks ago that he wanted to start building custom electric guitars.  He loves to play and he is always tinkering with his own guitars, changing pickups etc, but he wanted to start his own from scratch.  He was talking about ways to test different wood finishes, using scrap boards etc, and I suggested knitting needles.  This developed into a whole brainstorm about ways to make knitting needles, should we sell them, how to combine knitting supplies and guitars etc.  Then I mentioned how much I love dyeing yarn, and how I wanted to make stitch markers, so now he's working on a website for me to sell hand dyed yarn and handmade stitch markers and needles.  The needles in the above photo are a prototype.  I also gave a pair, along with some stitch markers, to my friend Dawn as a birthday present and for her to test and review for me.  :-)  If it ever warms up and stops raining here, we will be able to make more needles.  He buit a spray booth out in the garage and now has all the tools etc to do different paint finishes, and he really wants to work on a paint dipping technique, but if he does them now the paint won't ever dry.  In the meantime I've been working on dyeing some more yarn (I have a lovely colorway done that I named "marigold", it is yellows and pinky-oranges, very pretty!) and making stitch markers.  I also made labels for the yarn and markers that turned out very nicely I think.  Once he gets my site up I'll put them there as well as post the link here.  I'm going to order more yarn to dye too, it is a lot of fun.  Messy, and time consuming, but a lot of fun!

OK off to do mommy stuff.  Happy knitting!