Vacation Adventures and Such

So, we headed to Louisiana. The plan was, fly into New Orleans, rent a car, head to Baton Rouge for the weekend. We got in later than was expected, all our flights had been delayed. We found where we needed to go to rent a car. It was hot. I wondered “How do people work around here without sweating all day?” Turns out, they just accept that sweating when working outside is part of the deal. Both rental car people we worked with outdoors were just soaked, looked like they’d stepped out of the shower.

We’d ordered a perfectly normal and small car, assuming that wandering around with limited parking would be easier that way. But, what actually happened? They upgraded us to a Dodge Challenger.

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Look at Mr. Ink’s face! He did have some hesitation because of the size of the car, but in the end decided to do it. I am not sure it was the best decision. Here’s what happened. When we agreed to the upgrade, the car was in the dark garage, it’s black, and was covered in water as it had just been washed. Mr. Ink checked it over for cosmetic issues and noted a few. We then headed out to Baton Rouge. When we got to our hotel, the car was dry and in the sun. I noticed sizeable dents on it. And immediately I worried we’d been scammed and there was nothing we could do about it. I took photos right then and there. And then I tried not to worry too much about it. We parked the car in Baton Rouge and didn’t use it again until we left. Everything was in walking distance.

Baton Rouge was the first indication that food in Louisiana is out of this world. Everywhere we ate, despite doing no research on restaurants whatsoever, was so delicious! Mr. Ink said he’d never eaten in an area where there was so much spice, but that’s right up my alley. I love spicy and flavorful food.

On the last day, I was so enchanted with the food that I ended up just taking photos of Mr. Ink and Food.

That’s Mr. Ink with a “gutter punk” burrito at a place called Juan’s Flying Burritos. The food there-out of this world! Like usual. Then we stopped into Brocato’s, a long established and much loved italian pastry and gelato shop. Had to try their cannolis of course, as they are said to be “the best.” They were, indeed, extremely delicious. Mr. Ink had some gelato too, and that was wonderful.

We didn’t plan a ton of our trip. We planned some key things and then just decided to wander. In Baton Rouge, I saw this huge mural, I originally thought it was painted on the side of a building. But, when I looked closely, it seemed to be swaying in the breeze. So, I told Mr. Ink we’d need to get a closer look. It was crocheted! The entire thing. A very large Finished Object!

I’ve got more photos and stories I’ll save for another day. But, as a follow up to the car issue, which we had spent a great deal of time worrying over, when we turned in the car we told the guy checking us in immediately what had happened. I told him I’d taken photos as soon as we got parked. He asked to see them. He checked the date on our paperwork and he checked the date and time on my photo. He called it good and moved us on. So….if you ever run into a situation such as this, do that. Take the photo immediately as soon as you notice and offer it up when you turn your car in. And, in the future, we’ll be looking over the car much more carefully. It turned out it wasn’t a scam, but we worried the entire time.

 

2 More Sets

As of right now, I am supposed to be off on another bicycle adventure. Unfortunately, I have come down with a cold. So, my 2 day adventure will be starting late, and not involving much cycling. Instead, I am resting and getting prepared for it, and also taking pictures of my latest completed project.

I did another two sets of coasters. One set is in the same yarn as the first set, and the other is in a different yarn. I don’t know what either of these yarns are, as they have been in my stash for quite awhile, and, I don’t think I was the original purchaser either. Meaning, I got them out of a friends stash when she was downsizing.

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The middle ones are the different yarn. It doesn’t have long color transitions, but I admit that I almost like them better than the long transitioning yarn.

This week has been rough. Not only has work been insanely busy with projects that are completely new to me, I suspect I’ve been coming down with this cold for awhile, as I was struggling to stay awake in the evenings, despite having a full schedule of parent meetings and obligations. I am really glad the week is over, and thus had really been looking forward to getting out of town for our bike adventure. Until it could no longer be denied that a cold was taking me out.

That being said, I still plan to go, so look for fun pictures next week. In the meantime, I’ll post a few in progress shots of crafting throughout the weekend.

Coasters

The other day I made some easy crocheted coasters. As it turns out, they were a hot item. Mr. Ink’s brother wanted a set, so I asked him to trust me on yarn choices, and whipped him up a set of 8 coasters.

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I am not sure what the yarn was, but it was something that had long color changes, and it looked to be a single ply about sport weight. These turned out nice, I like how they aren’t all matching, but coordinate beautifully.

We all know I am not much of a crocheter, but I will admit that I’ve been seeing a number of crochet projects around the blogosphere that have appealed to me, so brushing up on my skills with a simple project is absolutely in order.

One Wasn’t Enough

I saw some cute, easy, crocheted flowers used as coasters on Instagram recently. When I got to thinking about them, I thought it might be a way to use up some of my all time favorite handspun, seeing as I couldn’t figure out any other project for it.

The yarn was from a chain ply 6 ply. Meaning, I held two strands of singles together while chain plying them. It was ridiculously fun, and it was a great way to blend a large variety of colors. In this case, it was colors from 4 different sets of rolags, all with different colors.

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So, I made one small coaster,

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And I liked it so well I had to make another immediately.

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And then, the yarn was gone and I was a little sad. But I do like my coasters!

Sock Yarn Rug

This weekend has been good for my soul. I’ve done very little crafting, very little biking, very little of anything blogworthy at all. Though there has been food, so much good food!

I finished my sock  yarn rug on Friday and just had time to soak it on the porch before leaving for an evening with my friends. It took all of Saturday and right into Sunday to dry, but this morning I was able to cut back the many many ends and snap a photo. I absolutely LOVE this thing! It is so pretty and I love how the colors change and chase each other. Most of all, I love that I can see my knitting history in it. There is handspun, and socks I knit for all my loved ones, and socks I knit for me, yarn from so many projects over the years.

I have more yarn I’ve saved aside because Bug wants one for her room. I told her she cannot have one for her room until the room gets cleaned out again. I am not sure if I have enough to make a very large one, but I did save the more girly colors for her so she can have what she wants.

In other crafty news, I picked up the sweater I am knitting from the yarn from my first fleece again yesterday. I hate that I am at a point where I am knitting such boring seed stitch sleeves. If I can power through that, the rest of the sweater should be fantastic.

While today will be predominately for cleaning up the yard and running errands, I may be able to get the last bit of my corriedale fleece flick carded. I plan to begin the drum carding process tomorrow, so it would be nice to start with an entire fleece rather than move back and forth between two projects for the same fleece.

In the end, my craft focus lately has been spinning related rather than knitting related. It doesn’t make for great blog posts. We will see what happens in this upcoming week.

3 Days!

Guess what? I just took 3 pictures. This means I can blog for 3 days! I find this very impressive at the moment.

The first picture is of my latest crocheted rug. This one is made holding 8 strands of scrap sock yarn together. Every time I run out of a strand, I just add a new one in. This is an interesting way to get a bright piece, and manipulate the color as well. I am very much enjoying it, and it is addicting. Bug has set aside the more girly colors, so she seems to think I will be making her a rug as well.

Completed Tshirt Project

You may remember that I was cutting up tshirts awhile back. Well, I finally got a good start on my project, which you actually may have seen over the weekend. Well, over the weekend I decided that my tshirts project shouldn’t have a ton of plain white tshirts, and I got to work dyeing them.

Had some good fun with that and was able to finish off my rug on Sunday evening. It was a ruffly mess, and I was worried it wouldn’t block out. There is also the problem of trying to block something that large and heavy. So I put it out on the porch, subjected it to the garden hose, and stepped on it until it was roughly the shape I thought it should be. Now I am ready to take bets on how long it will take for it to dry!

In the end, I am pretty happy with my result. I think I will be doing another of these, but with sock yarn scraps rather than cut up tshirts. I enjoy the colors and I enjoy that it just doesn’t matter in the least what colors are added.

Pay it Forward 2012

I’ve got so much to do this year for pay it forward! 11 projects. I am just not sure they will all be knit this year. I did manage to get one project done though, another headband. This one was done in cascade 220 I had about the house, the flower I made from noro silk garden.

 

These make such satisfying little projects! I really do love them. So much that it is tempting to keep this one for me!

Julie’s Wardrobe

I suspect Julie’s Wardrobe will become a regular post in the upcoming year. Bug immediately informed me that Julie was going to need a nightgown. We sifted through the stash of leftover yarn until we found some DK weight yarn, and I started on a crocheted project. It went quickly, I started it that evening, finished at lunchtime at work, and wove in the ends as soon as I got home that night. Bug kept checking in on me to see how far I had managed to get, so I knew that I could not work on other projects until Julie had sleepwear. There is a corresponding robe for this pattern and I will make it, but I don’t have the yarn for it right yet.

Bug doesn’t know this yet, but she still has a bed for Julie coming, and so I will be designing a missoni inspired blanket for the bed next. But I’ll keep that one secret. She really gets a giggle over secret knitting.

 

The Perfect Storm

There was a large storm out our way recently, one which kept Bug and I out of school and work for two days. While I am not sure being gone for two days was truly necessary, it was unavoidable.

During that time period, it seemed as if I managed to have “the perfect storm” of my own. A strange combination of manic, OCD, and the opportunity to make a little extra cash.

You see, I began crocheting food items at the request of a friend. Small food items which she intends to use in her daughter’s easter basket this year.  These are entirely done out of scrap yarn, leftovers I have around the house. Once I began, it got ugly quickly. I am talking yarn and yarn boxes all over the living room, crochet hooks being unearthed from the deepest depths of the house.  Dust bunnies stirred up from under the bed.  Yarn trailing all over the place. And my personal reaction was worse. I’d crochet until I was shaking, failing to eat a thing, or stop for a glass of water. Even when I realized just how ugly it was getting, I’d hurry up, make some food, do some dishes, and get back to it as fast as possible.  About midday I realized that I was grumpy, shaky, annoyed, etc. And then realized that I hadn’t even taken the time to shower. The obsession had a complete hold over me.

Fortunately I had the opportunity to get out of the house a bit, running a few errands and then spending some time with my knitting buddies. I didn’t even take my crochet hooks and yarn, I left it all in lieu of spinning. But that didn’t stop me from making “just one more” once I got home!!!

I didn’t blog until I had the entire collection done, and so now I will present it.

Sweets:

Breakfast items:

Veggies:

Fruit:

A few random things

I wanted to pull out a few things I made BK (before Knitting) and get them documented.  Because even though I did not create in myself the obsession that was created AK (after Knitting) I did very much enjoy my learning to crochet.  I specifically enjoyed filet crochet for awhile, and though I gave away most of what I created, I do have a few things floating around the house.  Specifically 3 doilies of which I used variegated cotton yarn in.

The other day I sorted and organized my stash.  I am finally at a point where I have no desire to give away yarn I do not like anymore, so the stash stays.  It is also abundantly clear that I should put myself on a yarn diet for awhile.  While sorting, I came across some roving that I had koolaide dyed but turned out quite ugly.  At stitches midwest, I had seen people felting wool over soap which while looking quite interesting, I wasn’t ready to do since I didn’t have any roaving that I was willing to felt!  So when I came across this stuff and refused to put it back in my stash, I realized that it would work perfectly for this project.  Bug and I tore up some roving and did a test soap.  It turned out quite nicely!  We learned to use a little less roving next time and that a cookie cooling rack does not a washboard make.  Since the felting worked fine without the washboard, we will skip that step entirely.  Bug was not happy to be using hot water on this project, but as the weather cools she just may get used to it.

Here is my first felted soap.  I think it is very cute and hope to do a few more in the near future.  The wool creates a felted loofah type case around the soap, and it shrinks as it is being used to fit the soap inside.

As I work on J’s sweater I realize that it is going quickly (for the amount of time I am spending on it).  Which, of course, leads me to think about my next sweater project.  I think that I should next work on a nice thick warm sweater rather than a cardigan, because the need for it will be soon enough.  I’ve 2 choices and would love to hear which my readers would like to see first!

I have this lambs pride wool in prairie fire.  This has been sitting in my stash forever!  Even BK!  I had bought it to work on a large crocheted afghan which I never got started on.  I still love it and would like to use it on the Urban Aran sweater.  I love the lines on this sweater, and I think they could look very flattering.  And it is a different take on cables than I am used to.

The second option is an Alice Starmore from her Aran Knitting.  Since I have already done Irish Moss and Na Craga, I’d like to do either St. Brigid or Aranmor.  I have this fantastic Black Water Abbey yarn I got at Stitches midwest.  An Irish import which isn’t overly soft but shows cables in the most lovely way.  I will also avoid the great felting disaster of 2007 with this yarn.

So the big question is, which sweater do my readers want to see next?

Wicked Alien Baby

I have just listed 2 more handspun yarns on my etsy site.  Wicked and Alien Baby.

I have to admit even though the colors were way out of my comfort zone, I had a serious obsession with them, and spinning them was a blast!  The color saturation is wonderful and the silk makes spinning this an absolute dream.

I can imagine Alien Baby made into socks with alternating black strips.  I’d do it myself but I just can’t find the time!

Saturday is for Spinning

I spent the day yesterday finishing up some half done spinning projects. I was on a roll from 4:18 AM to 11:30 PM. I got a 40 minute nap but that was it. Bug and I spent most of the day outside, her playing and me spinning. Or she read to me, or I read to her while I spun. I also taught her to use the niddy noddy.

After a day of spinning, my arms are really feeling it, so no spinning today. But I am terribly pleased with what I did accomplish.

First up is “stained glass” which is 80% merino 20% silk. It is shiny and super saturated color which was a breeze and a blast to spin! It is 2 ply and I have 387 yards

I also have what I have lovingly dubbed “easter in a blender.” 100% merino, I navajo plyed it (3 ply) to retain the color changes. I have 327 yards.

Both of these are fingering or sock weight yarns.

TVless

It occurred to me just now that I have not turned on the TV all weekend long! This was not a conscious effort on my part to go TVless, I just never got around to it, and always had other things to think about and do. I like that!

I finished spinning the orange koolaid/tea dyed roving. Navajo plyed.

Oh, did you want to see that again? Perhaps with the red that was done previously?

Yes, so pretty!

So since I have spun 2 of the colors for the lite lopi pullover, but none of the main gray color, I thought I would at least begin that.

Not the best picture, but you will see more soon enough.

It has been a beautiful weekend, pleasant, sunny, and lots of yard work was done here. Yes, you saw that correctly, I said yard work, not yarn work!

In fact, I am only halfway through clue 2 on Mystic Light! I hope to mess around with that a bit tonight, because I have much public speaking work to be done tomorrow and Tuesday.