Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A New Trick

Not too much here to get excited about, but after four years of collecting dust (I know cuz I blogged about it when I bought the book in July 2007), I finally pulled a how-to-crochet book off my shelf and did it.  I crocheted an almost square.

We'll call it a dishcloth.

It was fun to use a different technique... a bit addicting even.  So, please, if you have a favorite dishcloth/hot pad pattern, let me know!  I may want to do a bit more of this.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Camping! No, really!

I haven't been camping in years... at least 6.  But in a moment of what I can only describe as profound forgetfulness, I exclaimed to one of my friends (who just got a new tent trailer), "Hey!  Let's take the boys camping next week!"  And within 24 hours she had managed to snag a spot at one of my favorite local beaches.  Favorite, in this case, meaning two things... very local and one of the only places I've ever camped.

So Monday morning we took her 4 boys and my 2 youngest on a grand 14 mile trek to the local beach campground.  It's actually a beautiful site because we camp nestled in the mountains.

 With lots of shade and oodles of kids.

Yet just a skip, hop and troll through this tunnel...

and you're at the beach!

The water was the most amazing blue!

And while some of us (my youngest and I) don't care much for the sand...

This little guy loved it!

It was also educational.  For example, we learned about Stinging Nettle...

which causes a stinging, itching rash upon contact.

I was reminded that cool breezes do not negate the need for sunscreen.

And my creative friend Keri showed me how to start a campfire using some Fire Starters she'd made using dryer lint, melted wax and an egg carton!  You simply stuff dryer lint in an empty egg carton, then cover with melted wax (she may have even used broken up crayons, I can't remember... but just google Egg Carton Fire Starter and you'll be set).  When they are dry, you just light a couple and stick them in the fire pit under the wood.  And voila...


you are ready for s'mores.  Which help them forget about the Stinging Nettle.

While the boys splashed and explored, I read Shanghai Girls on my Kindle (excellent read by the way), knit dishcloths and worked on my 2nd Camp Loopy project...

BFF socks from Cookie A's Knit. Sock. Love. for this month's cable theme.

So, overall, I'm glad I forgot that I'm not a camper at heart and enjoyed a couple days at the beach.  Who knows... maybe in about 6 years I'll do it again.  :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Knitting for Love (And using hair color on children)

Tonight's the night!  Harry Potter fans everywhere will participate in the insanity of forgoing normal resting hours in order to be among the first to see this last installment at a midnight showing.  Not me.  While there was a time, back in the day, when sleep was just a novelty with no real significance and midnight movies were all the rage... I am now much too old and am doubtful that any level of excitement could keep me awake for a 2+ hour movie at that time. 

D, however, is fortunate to have a friend whose parents faithfully take their children to such significant movie premieres.  They are either insomniacs or much younger than me... I'm not sure which... but I am so grateful that they are including D in their family outing tonight. 

D wanted to be Ron Weasley.  For those of you not familiar with HP, Ron often wears sweaters handknit by his devoted mother.  I'm thinking.... Yes!  I can do this. 

However, Ron is also a redhead.  D is blond (see above).  Enter Clairol Jazzing temporary hair color in "Red Hot".  In spite of the fact that I have never had anything better than a mildly disastrous experience in my many attempts to use beauty supply store products on my own hair, not to mention the whole trauma of possible outcomes of putting anything called "Red Hot" in his hair... I was determined to make this boy a redhead.  And, after an exhaustive search, this was the only option we could find. 

So, I started with a very small area in the back which was a good decision because boy did it turn red!  We left it in about 10 minutes, rinsed... and it was gone.  Completely.

Then I tried a larger section, rubbed it in real good, left it in for about 20 minutes, rinsed... and it vanished like Houdini.

With a pesky (and often dangerous) sense of determination creeping over me, I dumped half the bottle on his head, rubbed it in, covered it with a small plastic garbage bag, left it in for 25 minutes, rinsed and shampooed (according to the very vague you-should-probably-be-a-professional directions).  And...

in the right light he had a subtle strawberry blond tint to his hair.  Certainly no Ron Weasley and far from "Red Hot".  (Yes, he will hate me for that picture... but after all the knitting with acrylic yarn and hours spent playing hairdresser, I feel I'm within my motherly rights to post it.)

So this morning I woke up, got a Venti Iced Mocha, and stared down the bottle of Jazzing.  Once again, I attacked his hair.  Section by section, I coated it thoroughly... daring it mentally to betray me again.  Then I pulled out my hairdryer, got his hair nice and warm, covered it again with a plastic trash bag, and stood there for 25 minutes fanning the hair dryer over his head.  I then pulled the plastic off his stiff "Red Hot" hair and we headed once again to the kitchen sink.  I rinsed thoroughly and opted for conditioner only instead of shampoo.

The results....

Perfect!  We couldn't believe it!

The Weasley Sweater pattern can be found in Charmed Knits by Alison Hansel or, I believe, free on the internet.  (Try google.)  I was able to find the chart for the letter "R" here.  I knit the child's medium and adapted the pattern to knit in the round.  I used just over three skeins of Bernat Waverly in "Incense" for the body and a bit of one skein in "Gypsy Gold" for the "R".  Having become a total yarn snob, this 100% acrylic yarn wasn't my first choice but it met all the criteria for this project... right gauge, color, and price (apx $3.50/skein).

Regardless of my opinion of the yarn, D loves the sweater and swears it is the most comfortable thing he owns.  I bit my tongue and soaked up the gratitude. 

I could further reflect on the possible social influences that oddly provoke a sudden Harry Potter movie-going interest among older teenage boys, but I fear that might really land me in some trouble.  So for now, I will attempt to decide on a cabled pattern for my 2nd Camp Loopy project which I will start tomorrow.  What do you think?  Socks or gloves?

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Ready for Denim

I've developed a possible addiction to knitting with beads recently.  It took me a couple of projects to learn that if I buy beads that match my yarn perfectly... they will completely disappear into the pattern and offer no amusement beyond the sound they make when I lay the shawl on a table.  So when I started my latest project with some Malabrigo Sock yarn, I tried to pick something that would have a little more "pop"... but still work with the earthy tones of the yarn.

I've been relying on my 12 year old for photo shoots recently.  It's great because he takes lots of pictures... but we're still working on making sure that the garment I'm modeling is in focus, close enough, or even in the picture.  Assuming you don't want to see the pictures of my feet, I'll exclude those and share with you his pictures of my latest project...

The pattern was called Aase's Shawl, knit with one hank of Malabrigo Sock in "Playa" on size 3 and 5 needles and embellished with some size 6 beads in a matte brown. 

It is light and airy and will be go perfectly with jeans.  Just my style.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

This is SO Wrong!

The Unique Sheep creates amazing gradiance yarn collections for socks, scarves and shawls.  They dye the skeins in a series of complementing colors which, when knit in an overlapping series, create a beautiful gradation of color.

I got this sock set in the colorway Nox from Simply Sock Yarn.

The pattern pictured is from the book Sock Club which is a collection of different patterns from a variety of sock knitting clubs. 

I really enjoyed the yarn and the color changes kept me really amused.  So amused in fact that I ignored my gut need for symmetry and went with the mismatched concept.  It's a good thing that I really enjoyed knitting these...

because I would surely develop some sort of nervous tic if I were to ever actually wear them.