Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Merry Making

We spent Thanksgiving with Jersey family. I finished the Lorna's Laces Monkeys over the holiday.
I gifted them to Jersey Mama. You could call them an unusual hostess gift, but they're really a belated birthday present :o). Afterwards, Thanksgiving in Jersey turned into an impromptu handknit sock reunion.
Of course I left my own handknit socks at home, so I'm the sad white cotton store bought sock in the lower left. I'm working on this sock now:
It's a Thuja from Knitty, made with Tess's Designer Yarns Supersock and Baby. It's a supereasy pattern -I just added a few multiples of four to make it a bit bigger- and I do love knitting with this yarn. It's got a lovely hand, but wears well.

Of course, post-Thanksgiving meant it was Crazy Baker time again.
The only new thing this year were the chocolate covered dulce de leche bars (center row, left side). The bake-a-thon wasn't nearly as exhausting as it usually is. Am I getting faster, or just picking easier recipes??

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Socks 'n Stuff

Finally, the Socks that Rocks Monkeys are done! Hooray!
I hadn't even bound off the second toe before I started this:
Now in case a certain doggie got in the way of the last shot, here's a close up:
Yes, yet another Monkey, only this time in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the colorway "Gold Hill." But I have also been knitting - and would you believe it, even finishing - non-monkey projects too. See, here's a scarf:

And here's a hat:
Sorry about the lighting. I was chasing daylight, as it were. The top is a Child's Rainbow Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. The yarn is Filtes King Karen and it's more adult-length than child-length. The bottom is the Yarn Harlot's Unoriginal Hat knit with some leftover yarn from my ISE3 spoilee's cabled scarf. Say what you will about Lion Brand, but a ball of their Fisherman's Wool is a hell of a lot of yarn. I've made a long cabled scarf and a cabled hat out of one skein, and I think there's enough for another hat!

I'm also finishing up another Knit Simple earflap hat:
These will all go into the Giant Ziploc Bag of Holiday Gifts, which is looking sadly empty for um... what's the date now... mid-November! Must. Knit. Faster.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Saw Three Ships

No, not those three ships, and no, it's not quite Christmas yet. We went to Jamestown last Saturday with a Smithsonian study tour. It was certainly more intense and educationally oriented than the average tour group, but still quite fun . We went first to Historic Jamestown, an active archeological site at the original landing and fort site. We got to stand literally inside the place where they were digging.
Check out the flint in the center of the photo. It was originally mined in Dover, England, and hauled onto the ships to be used for ballast during the voyage. Once in America, they were repurposed as wall-filler. Very frugal. I can dig that. (Hah! Archeology joke! Seriously, they were selling "I dig Jamestown" T-shirts.)

We then went to Jamestown Settlement, a life-sized living history recreation. They have full-size replicas of the Susan Constance, Godspeed, and Discovery too. The ships were much smaller than I thought. We went on board the Susan Constance and the living space they had for about 40 or so people is probably smaller than many American living rooms today. Can you imagine being trapped in your living room with 40 strangers for 4 months?

There was also a recreated Powhatan village. Unfortunately our tour went through after the dyeing-with-berries demo, but we got to see the results:
I think it's a plant fiber, and I don't think it's intended for clothing, since they seemed to wear mostly leather. On the whole, there wasn't much on textiles at either site. The original English settlers were all men, and even after the colony was more established (i.e. they weren't starving anymore and could start families), the colonists spent all their time on tobacco, using the profits to buy already prepared goods, like spun fiber and woven cloth from across the ocean. Though this was reflected in the exhibits, the gift shops had no problems with selling fiber related toys, like baby looms and drop spindles. I picked up a lucet.
It came with some ecru kitchen cotton, but I might try using some ribbon yarn instead. I don't like knitting with ribbon so much, though I've got a few skeins in my ever-growing stash.

Friday, November 02, 2007

A Bit of Color

I decided to squeeze in one last batch of dyeing this past weekend before it got cold.
These are six skeins of Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool, done with Koolaid and icing dye as usual. I'm starting to wonder if there is a way to get true black from food dyes. As with my last attempt, the black icing dye separated into purple and green. This time I tried applying the dye directly to the yarn, then chucking it into the pot. But the purple stuck first and the green stayed in solution, despite an overnight soak. Oh well, the search continues...

On a more neutral note, I made a couple of hats this week:
This is a little watchcap made with Lion Brand Vanna's Choice. It's acrylic with a sort of chenille-like feel to it and isn't at all bad to knit with at all, though having Vanna White's picture stare at you from the label makes you feel like you should really be crocheting, or no fabulous prizes for you!
This one's another earflap hat from the cover of the fall Knit Simple. The yarn is Classic Elite Alaska, a 50/50 alpaca/wool blend. It's very bulky and the skeins are quite short (25 yards), so the small size (19") took about 3 1/2 skeins. The label says it's got a nice hand, and it really does - very soft and loosely spun.

No sock photo today, because I still haven't finished the second Socks that Rock Monkey. I turned the heel over the weekend, but haven't touched it since. No worries though, because we're going on a family field trip tomorrow, so there'll be knitting time on the way. Yay roadtrips!