Friday, August 26, 2011

Fiberlicious Friday: Madelinetosh Tosh DK

So, I started a new and fun project and it's actually for me!!!  Yeay :D  I picked up some gloriously squishy Madelinetosh Tosh DK when I was up in Maine back in July and really had no ideas of what to make with it until I came across the Elegant Alpaca Fingerless Gloves pattern on Ravelry (link to pattern below).  You can also download the pattern at the Cascade Yarns webpage if you don't have access to Ravelry.

I had a bit of time to myself last night, so I decided to cast these babies on.  For one night's work I actually got pretty far. I did make some changes to the pattern to ensure that the gloves fit me properly.  This patten makes gloves that go up to the upper arm and since I have a lovely pair of chunky upper arms (grrrr), I decided to increase the starting stitch count to 68 from the original 56.  I just had a feeling that casting on only 56 stitches would cause me much misery and frogging...  Because of this alteration I will most likely have to do more decreasing as I work down the arm since in comparison to my large upper arms, my wrists are decidedly tiny (again, grrr).  I'm going to have to just make alterations as I go to make sure of a good fit.  It should be a nice little challege withou being too difficult.  I think I can handle it :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

So Very Soon!

Lol, is it wrong to be so excited about my tomatoes finally starting to ripen?  Cause that's what's happening!  I snuck out and took a peek to see how the big guys were faring and I saw a hint of red!  YIPPEE!!

Ok, I know it's silly, but really, stuff like this just puts a smile on my face.  Since I've mostly focused on growing herbs for the past 5+ years, the concept of growing produce is just cool.  Since I seem to be able to grow tomatoes AND finally managed not to kill my basil this year, I think I'm going to try cucumbers next summer.  That is if I can find baby cucumber plants... I don't start from seed because it takes too long and I don't have the space to let them grow inside before the frost stops.  Maybe I'll try growing from seed once I have a house, but I make no promises!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The "I Must Be Crazy" Lacy Simple Scarf Update

So, after working on this scarf for about two weeks now, I am happy to report that I have not yet gone crazy and I have actually made some very good progress!  Through the prodigious use of lifelines at the beginning of each panel of lace (and in some cases, many, many more) I am almost complete with the first half of the scarf and very happy with how it is turning out.  I just have the last lace section to go before binding off.  Then I get to do the whole thing over again. Sigh... did I mention how much I hate knitting the same thing twice?

I've mostly been knitting the scarf during lunch breaks or before work with the occasional long stretch at knit night or at home on a weekend.  I find I can listen to tv when I work on it, but not very closely, so Food Network or HGTV is my background noise of choice.  I'm making this scarf for charity, so I do have a bit of a deadline and some stress about doing a good job knitting it.  I think I can get it done in time though... as long as I don't get distracted by something else for too long.  I think you might know just how easily I can get distracted by other projects.

In a frenzy to take a nice picture of my progress when it's been raining pretty much for two days, I went to a local coffee shop after work today and plunked myself down in a chair to knit and enjoy an iced coffee.   Ok... I got some quiche too, but don't tell anyone ok?  It's a secret!  I'm supposed to be behaving myself :)   On that note, I think it might be time to make some dinner, so I guess I'll finally stop chattering and show you what the completed section of the scarf looks like.  Until next time!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

How Does My Garden Grow?

Well, I would have to say, pretty darn well! :D

All of my herbs are flourishing (even the BASIL!!!!) in all this sunshine and heat, although I do have to be careful about watering them every day so they don't get droopy and sad looking.  The only one I barely pay attention to is the basil.  It almost never needs to be watered and likes it that way thank you very much!  So, after 4 years of horrible basil death, I have finally been able to get 1, just one, measly plant to survive and do well.  But, I'll take it!  We used our first harvest of the herbs in some burgers and meatloaf this wek, so I think it's safe to say that my victory is complete...

Come to think of it, I've been able to harvest quite a lot from all of my lovely plants so far, with the exception of my tomatoes.  Don't get me wrong, they are doing just fine.  It's just that the cherries haven't quite ripened yet and the larger ones (I have no idea what they are called) are still in the growing stages and haven't even started turning anything resembling reddish in color.  

My cute cherry tomatoes just after a watering.  This plant has been producing so many flowers and then fruit, it's just amazing!  I think there are over 20 little guys developing right now and it just keeps growing!

These are my big fellas.  I have two plants of these and while there aren't as many of them in process, they look very healthy and started producing fruit much later than the cherry plant.  I have 3-4 clusters of 2-3 tomatoes each on these plants.

While it is getting late in the season for my lilies, I have been able to take some nice pictures of the two varieties I have.  I love this ivory one especially.  The other one, picture below, oddly enough matches a yarn I made for Tour de Fleece almost exactly.  Strange huh?

Speaking of Tour de Fleece, I was actually not so good about it this year.  I did make some nice yarns, but I kind of got bored and moved on to other things for the last two weeks of the tour.  I'm ok with that and I did get some nice yarn spun up in the first couple weeks, so while I wasn't a real competitor, I did participate and I think the two weeks has really helped my spinning skills.  I even learned to long draw during the tour, which is one of the methods of drafting fiber that I had never done before.  

Long draw basically means allowing the wheel and the twist you are putting into the yarn to draft out the fibers for you rather than strictly controlling the supply of fiber by using both hands and pinching the fiber at the point where the twist comes into it.  Long draw generally makes less dense yarns because there is more air trapped in between then fibers.  It's still not easy for me, but I CAN do it with some concentration now, so I've very happy about that.  The video below is a good demo of what long draw or woolen spinning looks like.  As an added bonus, the music is pretty good too :)

And finally, the hyper rose has slowed down pushing out its usual riot of pink flowers.  So, the whole plant looks pretty boring right now.  But, I did see a few new flowers and buds poking out, so maybe we're in store for yet another set of blooms.