1.30.2014

Tub o' Wool


My good friend, and fellow designer, Renee Rodgers send me a bag of wool recently. She used to have a few sheep and this fleece was one she had left and did not have plans to use. It is a dark brown fleece.

Why is it in my bathtub? I washed it last night in my tub. She suggested that I soak it in warm water with some dish soap, then change the water several times to rinse it, until the rinse water was clear. I probably should have rinsed it another time or two, but I called it good enough when the water was mostly clear. I'm sure I'll get more dirt out when I card it. It will be be easier to wash after it's spun and I can soak it in a small wash tub in smaller quantities.

This was a lot of work! I had to gently turn and pick up the fleece while draining out the rinse water in order to let all of the dirty water behind and underneath escape. It is still drying in my tub with the window open, exhaust fan on, and box fan blowing on it.

I am so excited to spin this and make something lovely with it! What would you make with it if it were yours? Have you ever washed a fleece? Any suggestions or good ideas on making it easier?


Happy stitching and spinning!

April

1.23.2014

Knit Shawl Finished (after Crochet rescued it)


Here is my Framework shawl all finished! This design is by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark and is available in Free-Spirit Shawls which I reviewed here.

I also blogged recently about how I made an awful mistake while knitting this shawl a few weeks ago. You can find that post here.

I love the shape of this shawl! It is long enough that I can wrap it all the way around my shoulders and have it stay put without a shawl pin (unless my kids are climbing on me or I am outside in the Oklahoma wind).

I really enjoyed using this yarn! It is Cascade Ultra Pima Fine. It is nice and soft. I was given this yarn as a Valentine's gift a few years ago from my wonderful husband, who picked it out himself. Every time he goes into the yarn store to get me something they ask him if he wants a gift certificate. He doesn't though. He wants to pick it out, and he does a great job! I blogged about the gift here.


Happy stitching!
April

1.15.2014

New Ravelry Group


I have started a Ravelry Group called Banana Moon Studio! Isn't that name shocking?! I know, right.

I thought about calling it "Bananas in the Studio". What do you think? Should I give it that name instead?

So, you want to come be my groupie right? Here's where you'll find it:


So far there are 4 awesome ravelers in my group, and I have started a few threads, and my new favorite person, Anne from Virginia, was the first, besides myself, to introduce herself in the "Welcome" thread. Come join me...if you aren't tired of me yet ;)

Happy stitching!

April 

1.07.2014

Crochet to the Rescue!


Okay, so you've read the title of this post, and you're probably thinking, as you look at this picture, that is not crochet! You would be right. This is not a crochet project. I am knitting a lace shawl. Maybe you know, and maybe you don't, that knitting lace is a tad complicated. All those yarn overs and decreases and increases and such have to go in the right places to make the pattern look right. If you make a mistake, which is highly possible, since the pattern repeat is quite long, undoing it is a little like a nightmare, especially if you are someone who learned to love crochet first...like me.

No, you can't just grab the end and rip. You have to take it all off your needles to be able to do that, but then there's a big question whether or not you can get them all back on without losing any. You can un-knit it by working in reverse. This is probably the safest way to get back to your mistake because then you are only undoing one stitch at a time, without taking it off your needles. However, this makes for a very time-consuming ripping process. There is the option of putting in a "life line" and then grabbing the end and ripping back, but, anyway...

Last weekend I went to my LYS with my 2 older sisters. I totally blame them for my woes, because that's what older sisters are for, right? Right. I was trying to knit a RS row of this shawl while they were sitting across from me asking me for tape measures and being distracting amusing. It was during this situation that the mistakes you see below occurred. I even began to say to them "How is anyone supposed to knit lace with you two around?!" However, I totally messed it up by switching first sounds of words. Do you ever do that? I do on occasion, and of course, it's always funny. I said, "How is anyone supposed to lit knace..." and then it all dissolved into laughter and them trying to figure out what on earth I was saying.


I finished a RS row during this episode at the yarn store. The next time I got towards the end of a RS row I discovered my mistakes, circled in the pic above (you may have to click on it to see it well enough). I realized how severe it was -- 3 pattern repeats of every stitch and yarn over being one place to the right of where it should have been. I posted to Facebook and Twitter about my horrible mistake and said that I needed to put it down for awhile and cry. I was, afterall, only 13 rows from the end. Not only was I sad to be so close to finishing and hit a major bump, but being close to the end of this top down triangular shawl means that there are LOTS of stitches in each row now...somewhere around 400 of them. Now, I did not really cry, but I did put it down and ignore it for at least 24 hours. And I was upset.

A few of my good friends (who I converse with on Facebook), who have significantly more knitting awesomeness than myself, convinced me that I did not need rip back to the mistake to fix it. I had also come down with a cold somewhere in there, so trying to figure out complicated knitting maneuvers was even more challenging than usual at that point. My great friend Caren explained the whole thing to me of how to take the offending stitch off my needle, let the stitches undo themselves down to the mistake, then use a crochet hook to fix the stitches and then work them back up to the working row. (See, crochet hooks. Little super heroes, those things. I mean, seriously! Haven't you found a thousand great uses for them? I've even used them to tackle some of those complicated hairstyles you can find on blogs and youtube channels when I didn't have the official hair doo-dad they recommend. But, I digress...)

When I first read my friend's explanation, I was like, Wha... My sickness-fogged brain was totally clueless. So, I did the only reasonable thing a sick and confused yarn crafter can do. I went to sleep. Fortunately, my brain managed to work out what she was talking about during the time just before and after sleeping.

Renewed, I returned to my shawl and figured it out, one stitch at a time. It was complicated and slightly terrifying. Each time a finished a pattern repeat I took a break. Finally, it was finished! I fixed it, and then I could finish the row I had been on when I noticed the problem. Yay for increased knitting awesomeness! Yay for my friends with mad knitting skillz!

Hopefully, the shawl will be finished soon and I'll show it off then, since it's not my own design.

Until next time, may crochet save the day for you too!

April