What if?

Do you ever play the what if I won the lottery game at home? My husband and I like to play this (probably a little too often.) There are the obvious choices of buying a nice house, getting new (and working???) cars, going on vacation, etc. I had always thought that I’d want to go get my Master’s in creative writing. I always thought I’d wind up writing and am still surprised that I wound up in the accounting field. Lately, I think I’d like to study folk arts. Knitting, spinning and other crafts interest me. Unfortunately, money is still a factor so I will have to be satisfied with just having hobbies but I’d truly love to study the crafts of cultures around the world. These were and still are more than the hobbies that keep them busy but instead kept them clothed and warm.
Oh and if we won the lottery, I want a huge RV and to travel the country while knitting, spinning, and doing what ever makes me happy!

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Flying

I’m running around getting ready to fly to NY on short notice thanks to a death in the family. I’m in the middle of knitting a skirt, which unfortunately thanks my not so tiny waist is a big project. I find some lacy yarn and decide that my backup project will be a lacy shawl/scarf. I need something that I can hide in my purse.

Now it’s time to get my bag ready. No scissors, the TSA doesn’t like those. How many knitting needles are too many to take on a carry on? I am to bring my knitpicks stash but what if they say I can’t bring it on the plane. Better to lose one or two needles than my whole set. I have to go through the stitch holders and make sure nothing looks dangerous.

Now I’m also worrying that the pattern I picked out for the scarf/shawl is too complicated. I don’t think I’ll be able to pull off knitting during the wake, but I want to be able to bring it out at other times. What if my flight is delayed twelve hours like the last time I flew home from NY? I know, I am overreacting. Is this knitting a hobby or an addiction? I am getting anxious trying to decide what I’m bringing.

I’ll figure it out somehow and will write more later.

Exhibitionistic Spinning

Unfortunately the knit bunny is still not done. Time is precious and in short supply. Every year my Mom and her boyfriend set up at an antique engine show/flea market in Zolfo Springs, Florida. I drive up and visit every year. Usually I walk through the show and flea market looking for odds and ends. Two years earlier I was looking for a spinning wheel and found one on the drive home at an antique store. Unfortunately it was missing quite a few pieces and it never did work. However, it inspired research and knowledge of spinning that I am still gathering.

This year I brought my very own Kromski Sonata spinning wheel. In the beginning, I set it up behind the tables of stuff for sale and people were coming right up to the tables and watching me. I had a man who owned alpacas in North Carolina tell me they spin the fibers all the time and he has fiber for sale as high as $130 an ounce. I also had a mechanical engineer come up to me and just watch analyzing the movements from the treadle on up.

The best part of the experience was when two young children who didn’t speak English came up to me. First they were standing back, fascinated. Some one guided them closer and I pulled out the bunch of wool roving from my bag and had them touch it. Then I tore off small bits of drafted fiber which is looser and easier to spin. Finally I pointed to my handmade niddy noddy with the twisted yarn. I can only hope that some day they’ll remember the day they saw the lady using the spinning wheel and will try their hands at crafts themselves.

2 Weeks

Two weeks have gone by and I haven’t knit a thing. My newest issue of Interweave Knits is sitting on the kitchen table waiting for me for a little over two weeks. Time is precious and in short supply. I was hoping to knit a rabbit stuffed animal for my mother’s boyfriend’s birthday. He talks about the neighborhood bunnies like they are his friends but I have less than two weeks before I see him. I think I might try to make mini-bunnies from a library book instead but I’m still not sure about time. The full size rabbit stuffed animal is so cute though!

There is a definite difference in my mood between being able to knit and not having enough time. Crafting activities are great stress relievers. As of now, I am not getting any relief from this stress!

Hopefully I’ll have more to post soon.

Sticks and Socks

Misti Alpaca Socks

 

Most knitters have at least tried to knit socks but many of us have a love of creating those unique pair of toasty warm socks. It is a bit crazy, considering that you can buy a three pack in Wal-Mart for a few bucks but many of us will go out and spend ten to twenty dollars on yarn and a week or longer of our blood, sweat and tears. Blood because of the small sharp pointy needles, sweat due to trying to follow intricate patterns while using small sharp pointy needles and tears when one of those needles fall out and you lose your place in the pattern.

There are several ways to knit socks.

1- Toe up. This is what I’m working on. It is easier because you can try it on as you knit and don’t have to worry about running out of yarn.

2- Double pointed needles. Take 4-5, five to seven inch long needles and spread the stitches out between them. Work in the round and try very hard not to allow the needle to fall out.

3- Two circular needles. The stitches are split between the working points of two circular needles.

4- Magic Loop. This uses one circular needle that is at least 40 inches in length. The stitches are split between the cable and the working needle point. One side is worked, moved and the next side is worked.

5- Two socks on two circular needles. I haven’t figured out how to do this, but there are many books and websites willing to explain further. Someday I will conquer this too.

6- Cuff down. This is the classic method that most patterns refer to. You work on dpns, knitting from the cuff down to the toe.

Niddy Noddy

Homemade Niddy Noddy

 

For anyone who begins spinning, you will soon realize that you need more tools than just a spinning wheel. Once you have spun your initial wool into yarn, most will then ply it with another length of yarn to create a stronger and better looking yarn. After that you will want to create a hank by winding your yarn onto a niddy noddy. These can be made of wood or pvc and are found online in many spinning/knitting related stores. I decided to make my own out of hardward store pvc and this is how I did it. 

Things you’ll need. 

4 – 4 1/2 inch piece of 1/2 inch pvc 

1- 12 inch piece of 1/2 inch pvc 

2- 1/2 inch pvc tee connectors 

4- 1/2 inch pvc end caps 

optional- pvc cement 

Either request that your pvc is cut into these pieces at the hardware store or cut them at home using an ordinary hand held saw. 

Fit 12 inch piece of pvc with tee connectors at either end. Use cement to hold in place (I found that my niddy noddy stayed together pretty well without it.) 

Place end caps on all four ends. 

Wind skein around niddy noddy and be happy! 

Niddy Noddy Pieces Uncut

 

Cutting the pvc
Attach the tee connectors

 

Spinning in the New Year

Kromski Sonata Spinning Wheel

My mother gave me a Kromski Sonata spinning wheel for Christmas and it has been keeping me happily busy. After managing to put it together, then reading through the instructions, oiling everything up and then finding my stash of wool I had bought at the Fiber In two years ago, I began my new adventure of spinnning.

Things you should know about spinning wheels and spinning:

1- you have to oil it. My spinning wheel came with oil but I noticed online that people recommend using non additive motor oil as the cheap method. I also read online that the piece of leather on the flyer should be oiled every 15-30 minutes of use.

2- There is pencil roving available that is easier on newbies. It is predrafted so that you only have to draft minimally while becoming comfortable with spinning.

3- You will overtwist the yarn. The best way to slow down the twist while learning is to slow down the treadling. I want to immediately treadle like crazy because it’s what I’ve seen experienced spinners do. Slow down.

4- It is incredibly addicting and relaxing it. I’m enjoying my new spinning wheel and playing with yarn. I’ve already made a ball of yarn out of it and knit a pair of socks.

Merry Christmas

I just wanted to wish all my reader’s a very Merry Christmas. I’m sure by now you are surrounded by hand knit Christmas goodies to enjoy today and next year. Have fun and I hope Santa brings lots of yarn and fiber.

Christmas Gift Ideas Pickle Ornament

Gift Idea #23

It is said that there is an old German tradition to hide a pickle ornament on the Christmas tree. The first person to find it will receive good luck the rest of the year. There are American versions of the story as well although I hadn’t heard of the tradition until last year when all these pickle patterns began popping up. This is knitpick’s free downloadable pattern and maybe you’ll start a new tradition in your own house.

http://www.knitpicks.com/patterns/Christmas_Pickle_Ornament_Pattern__D50801220.html

Christmas Gift Ideas Celestine Star

Gift Idea #22

I was looking for an ornament to post because chances are if you are looking for ideas at this point, you need a quick knit object. Then I came across this dodecahedron star (please don’t ever make me pronounce that). This does not appear to be a quick knit object, but it is truly unique. It doubles either as a tree topper or a stuffed animal. If you use different colors for each point, it would make a great baby toy!

Have Fun.

http://berroco.com/exclusives/celestine/celestine.html

Christmas Gift Ideas Snowman Ornament

Gift Idea #21

If you are still looking for knit ideas at this point, you are nearly out of time. Your best bet would be to stick with the ornaments because they are quick knit and often can be made out of small amounts of yarn already in your stash. Below is a cute little snowman. With short simple instructions, this can be whipped up in no time and will appear to have taken much more effort and time.

http://knitting.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=knitting&cdn=hobbies&tm=4&gps=127_91_1021_492&f=21&tt=14&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//www.knitlist.com/01gift/snowman-ornament.htm

Christmas Gift Idea Knit Garland

Gift Idea #19

This is truly unique. There is a pattern for a quick knit holiday garland made out of a fun fur like yarn. Personally, I think this would look better with a more metallic fun fur, like silver with a little dark green thrown in, but it still looks remarkably good. I’m not sure how long it would hold up outdoors but it would be used indefinitely inside.

http://www.straw.com/cpy/patterns/xmas_garland.html

Christmas Gift Ideas Knitted Mice

Gift Idea #17

These knitted holiday mice are adorable and made out of worsted weight yarn.  This is a great use for left over balls of yarn from other projects. The author gives instructions for knitting them flat or in the round, with worsted or sport weight yarn. The pattern is fairly easy to read and these could me made pretty quickly.

http://blog.fuzzymitten.com/2009/11/holiday-mice.html