Wednesday, August 13, 2014

5 Weeks

I am less than 5 weeks away from my due date! I go to the doctor weekly now, though the updates there aren't very exciting. I'm at 1 cm and am just starting to efface, so it's regular on-schedule progress. That's good, I guess, though I'd like to hear that I'm a little farther along. It would be a bit early for her to arrive now, so it's good news even though I'm ready to give her an eviction notice!

Charlie and I are still going back and forth on names. He's dead set on Ruby or Ruth, but I'm not feeling those names at all. I finally just told him today that I like Vida Rose (full name Vidalia Rosalie) the most and since its the only name we've agreed we both like, I think we should go with it. He said he guesses that works. I don't want her to have a name that Charlie hates, but I also don't want to go with one of Charlie's picks and have me hate it. I think Vida (i like eye, not pronounced like Spanish for 'life') is a nice name. I know she may have issues growing up with kids picking on her for having the same name as a type of onion, but kids are mean and will find something to make fun of either way. I just plan on raising her to be strong and resilient, and maybe, like her name suggests, she can make a few cry if they won't let up ;)

Anyway, I am getting super excited about having two munchkins. It's going to be a pain at times (I'm not looking forward to getting up every few hours!), but I think our little family will be complete then and that Arthur is going to really like being a big brother.

I made something for baby Vida, my favorite baby FO so far...




I did a quick test for someone and made this adorable car seat canopy. I used a lot of leftover worsted weight wool scraps (handspun, WotA, Cascade 220, Patons, and LB Fisherman's Wool). I love love love how it came out and think that it'll be so useful this fall/winter.

I also finished up another test, not baby-related:


A pair of Penelope Fingerless Mitts in leftover KP Stroll Glimmer. These were a quick and easy knit and I love the results.

I'm currently working on another test pair of fingerless mitts (stranded, so they seem to go faster), my Sporto hoodie in handspun, Vida's chevron blankie, and a pair of tube socks for Arthur. I can't stop casting on for things, but there's a WIP KAL coming up soon so that's my excuse... I think it's really that I know I probably won't have as much knitting time once baby girl arrives, so I'm frantically trying to knit all the things before then :)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Wow

I have some serious paying it forward to do this year. I was down to my last little bit of fiber stash and was thinking that I'd only have the Club Spunky offering to spin each month. Then I received a big 6lb box in the mail...

A good friend from my old knitting group in college mailed me a surprise package last week. She is purging her spinning stash and put together the most wonderful gift... all sorts of roving, batts, and locks! Some of it had to have been quite expensive (like the 1 pound of superwash merino/Tussah silk blend). There was even an old 2009 Club Spunky colorway in there that I'd been coveting!

I couldn't get it all into one picture, so it'll slowly get shared here as I spin it. I've already started on 4 ounces of merino from Chameleon Colorworks in the Figgy Pudding colorway:


This is the finest I've ever spun. It's going to take forever to finish this top, but it'll be worth it in the end. When I saw how it was dyed, I just knew that it had to be spun into a lightweight Navajo-plied yarn to maintain the stripes. I'm aiming for fingering weight once it's all done.

I had some time to spin another gift fiber this week, this time the roving was from my parents old neighbor in Colorado. She had sent me a few 2 ounce samples while we were still in Michigan, including some natural white Polwarth wool. I spun it into a 3-ply DK weight yarn and made baby girl a hat:



It was a test knit for Taiga Hilliard. Came out a little big, but it's actually better that way since it'll be cold by the time she can wear it (the designer said that it's supposed to be a roomier hat). It only used about 70 yards and I still have at least that much left. Maybe I will make some little socks to go along with it.

I'm thinking that this might be an heirloom knit. I wasn't as sentimental before Arthur was born, so never made anything that I'd consider heirloom quality. Sure, I made some cute stuff for him, but heirloom to me means white, lacy, and special yarn. I wanted to make something like that for baby girl since I regret not having done it for Arthur. I know that this hat isn't some super intricate laceweight silk christening gown or something, but it does meet my requirements and I think that it'll make a beautiful little something to pass down to babies. It'll get worn this winter, then I will tuck it away, wrapped in tissue paper and surrounded by lavender sachets, into the hope chest. It may end up being unloved in the future, but I can hope that it will top the heads of future grand and great grandbabies.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Keeping Sane

Knitting has helped me to keep my sanity last week.

I love Georgia. Absolutely love it and there's nowhere else in the world that I'd rather live. However, I do not love the bugs that Georgia has. I had forgotten about the ticks, mean spiders, mosquitoes, and the FLEAS. We didn't have those problems living in a small apartment in San Antonio and they simply don't really exist in Michigan. Now that I'm back home, I'm being reminded of how friendly the Georgia weather is to those horrible creatures. Poor Charlie doesn't know what to think and poor Arthur was getting eaten alive. We tried a few small measures against the FLEAS, but being surrounded by homes with outdoor dogs, a week of rain, and tall grass in our yard and the neighbor's because of that rain... well, we had a problem. It got so bad that I sent Arthur to my parents for 4 days while I waged a war on fleas.

I tried a few rather costly and frustrating things, but they didn't really work. I spent my days treating the yard and house and my nights tucked into bed with my knitting, safe from the eight inches or so that a flea can jump. It's sad when you have to wear Off bug spray inside the house! My knitting kept me from having a breakdown each night when I realized that nothing was working.

Finally, after more than a week of trying a million different things, I think we've gotten the buggers under control. The magic combination seems to be triamizide yard granules, Ortho Home Defense spray (sprayed outside the house, along every indoor baseboard, and on every carpet/fabric surface inside... yeah, against the label directions, but we needed it), and Comfortis for the dogs. I'm retreating the house with the spray every other day to get rid of any fleas that hatch. I discovered the combo two days ago and we've seen a very dramatic reduction in the flea population. The dogs are happier, we are happier, and I can finally relax. We went from being covered in the nasty things just two days ago to only seeing 3 total in the house today. I'm paranoid and plan on treating the place for at least a week to be sure we've taken care of them all. Now that I know the solution, I'm going to stock up on all those things and start early next year.

Anyway, thank goodness for knitting! I was able to get quite a bit done in the 4 days that I was child-free, including finishing up Arthur's fall sweater:


It's Flax in KP Stroll HP, Hayride, to coordinate with the Sunnyside cardi I made for baby girl a while back. Aren't my babies going to look precious in their sweaters this fall?

I was also able to start on my Sporto hoodie in handspun mystery wool. I'm a bit farther than this now, but here's the start of the hood:


I'm a little concerned about yardage, but I can always leave the pocket off and shorten the sleeves a bit if needed. So far I've spun about 850 of the required 1200 yards, and I still have a good bit left to spin. I think I'll make it. It's not the softest fiber or the most beautiful dyejob, but I like it and think that it'll be nice to have this fall/winter. I love hoodies and this one should be comfy and hard wearing.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Spin, Knit, Repeat

I love my hobby. I feel so fortunate to have discovered it, picked it up so easily, and have the means to continue with it. I guess that can be said by anyone, of any hobby, but I really do feel this way.

I learned basic crochet stitches as a child. My grandmother (mom's mom) is an amazing crocheter and can design intricate filet crochet doilies on the fly. She taught me the basics and I made many cheap acrylic granny square baby blankets and scarves growing up, but never really did much more than that until I was 16. That's when I got my spinning wheel.

I raised and showed rabbits as a youth and was always so intrigued by the angora breeders spinning at shows. My parents bought me my Ashford Traditional for my sweet 16 and I took a quick lesson from a local French Angora breeder. I loved it, but even then didn't do much with it since I had limited fiber funds and time. I spun here and there and never really learned to knit well. I did make my dad a scarf that Christmas... purple Shetland, overspun singles that I then messed up plying by keeping the same twist direction... super hard and wiry yarn resulted! He loved it anyway.

In college a roommate was making a simple garter stitch scarf for her sister and I showed her some of my handspun and my wheel. Talking about it got me back into it. That was it from then on. 2007 was the year that I started spinning like mad and really started improving my knitting skils and learning about different yarn companies, different fibers, etc. I've had many short-lived craft endeavors, but none have stuck like spinning and knitting. It's a part of who I am and I can't imagine not toting my knitting bag around everywhere, checking ravelry obsessively, and dreaming up of more beautiful things to make.




(Esker Scarf in the Club Spunky fiber I got the other day.)

Friday, July 25, 2014

SSKAL

Two posts in one day? Yes indeedy. I'm bored.

I ran across this while trying to get caught up on blog reading (I'm horribly behind):

Summer Sweater KAL

(Hey, I linked from the kindle! Kind of a pain, but not too bad)

I joined. It seems fun and laidback, the only way I will ever actually participate in a KAL. I never really did much more than join them before finding the My Sister's Knitter group on Rav.. hers are the best. So fun, great community, etc. I'm always in her current KAL, but think it'd be neat to join in on others too. Since I have plans for at least two me-sized sweaters and a few mid-sized ones anyway, why not join in on the SSKAL, make some new friends, and maybe win a prize?

I will be entering Arthur's pullover (WIPs are allowed) for sure, then have to decide which adult sweater I want to make first. I'm planning on making a Paulie in the handspun merino and a Sporto hoodie in the handspun mystery wool (one link is all you get tonight, so search on Rav to see these). I think the Sporto might be best to do first since I know I'll get lots of wear from it and it's in a heavy worsted weight (versus the fingering/sport weight of Paulie), so it'll be faster. Then again, I'm dying to see how the merino looks all knit up. The swatch was gorgeous.

Anyway, I'm fixing to run off to join the KAL group on ravelry. If anyone is planning any sweaters this fall, consider joining us!

Seriously Obsessed

I love baby knitting! In particular, baby girl knitting. I always wanted boys and would've chose this new baby to be a boy if I could've, but the closer it gets to her arrival (less than 8 weeks!) the more excited I get about having a daughter. I finished up two little girl knits this week (both were tests, of course. I seem obsessed with those too):



This is the Ruffle Butt Diaper Cover in KP WotA, Papaya Heather. Isn't it the cutest?! It serves no real purpose other than to give baby girl a cute tushie (it won't work as a soaker over cloth diapers), but I'm loving the frilly girly goodness. I never thought that I'd want to dress my girl in ribbons, bows, and frills, but there you go.





The we have Smocked, a super adorable baby dress. This is 12 month sized. See the dyelot mismatch at the yoke? Yeah, annoying. It's really not that bad though and most people think it's an on-purpose design feature, so I'm not worrying over it. I used KP Swish DK in Marina for this one.

Currently OTN are a baby bib in KP Dishie, a pullover for Arthur in KP Stroll HP (to match the cardi I made for baby girl), and a crocheted sleep sack I'm testing for the gal that designed the diaper cover above. This baby will be covered in handknits!

Speaking of baby girl, we are thinking about names. We were going with Ruby Rosalie Knoll, but she doesn't feel like a Ruby to me. Plus, Arthur and Ruby were my great grandparents... Charlie didn't know that when he thought of the name Ruby, but it seems strange to have our kids have their names. So, we are going with something different. It's hard coming up with girl names! We have tons of things we like for a boy, but can't agree on much for a girl.

Charlie still likes Ruby, but also Ruth and Harper. Ruth is ok, but Harper is a no-go... I love that name, it's my maiden name, but it's too popular right now and we can't have Arthur and Harper. Can you imagine, I call them off the playground, "Arthur, Harper!" That's my brother's name. I just can't do it.

I love Tallulah, Tula for short. Tula Rose sounds so cute to me. Plus, it's distinctly Southern, which I love. Charlie doesn't like it though. I also like Roda. The only name I like that he agrees with is Vidalia. Yes, like the sweet onion grown in south Georgia. It might seem weird or mean to name your kid after a veggie that makes you cry, but we think Vidalia Rosalie is a pretty name, is Southern, is unique enough for us (there have been 5 Vidalias born in Georgia since 1990 and we doubt that there are many outside the state), and sounds nice as Vida Rose for a nickname. For those unfamiliar with a Vidalia, it is pronounced as Vi-DAY-yuh, Vi-DAY-lia, or Vi-DALL-yah (with dall like in Dallas). The first is usually from people with a stronger accent, but all three are right and are used interchangeably. Anyway, that's where we are right now on naming her. I'm getting stressed over it since I feel like she's going to come early like Arthur did and I want her to have a name before she arrives.

Ok, enough about that. I got some exciting mail today...


My first Club Spunky offering! Yay! It's "Happy Accidents" on BFL... to die for color and base! I really want to buy an extra helping, but it's not in the budget at all right now. I will be sampling with it when Arthur goes to be tonight to see how it wants to be spun. I originally thought I'd use it for socks when I saw the spoiler online, but seeing it in person has me not wanting to hide it in my shoes. Then I thought about a baby sweater, but that seems like a waste since it'd get such short use (plus, I'm selfish and want it for me). Now I'm thinking mitts since the fiber is hard wearing, yet still super soft. We'll see how the samples come up I guess.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dogs and Sewing

Great news... both dogs are ok! Neither is 100% yet, but both have their vision back to some extent and are moving well. Barrett is still having some issues with balance, seeing, and depression, but is definitely on her way back to being her old self again. Poppy is acting like normal, with only moments of in coordination here and there. We are so happy that our doggies are doing ok and are expected to make a full recovery!

I had a rough weekend, dealing with sick dogs and a sick baby (Arthur got the stomach bug Charlie had the week before), so didn't get to knit nearly as much as I'd planned. Arthur ended up staying with my parents tonight and Charlie is at work, so I took the alone time to get some housework done and enjoy some crafting. I got my small KP order in today and after transferring my knitting bag over to the new one, I realized that I wanted all my WIPs in their own individual project bags.




I dug through my small fabric stash and found some scraps from the handsewn soccer balls I made for Arthur and my nephew for Christmas last year. I'm no seamstress by any stretch of the imagination, but I am quite proud of the resulting project bag. It is now home to the test knit dress I'm working on (and sooo close to being finished with, finally).

Now it's time to finish up that dress and start on a few other baby knits.