Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Recent Spinning

This month, I had a lot of fun with my spinning projects. I decided to try something new and purchased 4 oz. of corriedale from my local yarn shop. There were two packages for sale: an off-white colored one, and one that was a slight variety of darker colors. I chose the darker fiber. While it has some off-white fiber in it, it is mostly a brownish gray. The color does give it a more rustic look, and it does not look as soft as it is. Especially after washing it, it should be soft enough to wear against the skin without a problem. 

Spinning the corriedale was wonderful. It drafted like butta'. Up until this point, I have not been able to spin a thicker yarn with much consistency, but my 2-ply finished yarn falls mostly within a worsted weight, with some thick and thin action happening. When I originally purchased it, I was debating whether to be listing the finished yarn on my Etsy shop. If it shows up and then disappears, it may be because Spike did take a liking to it and thought it would make a nice hat. :)

Would I spin corriedale again? Definitely. 

Another fun spinning-related thing that happened was the county fair. The kids and I have attended either the county or state fairs every year since we began homeschooling. Getting to go during non-busy hours and getting a nice discount on admission are a big part of that, but the kids have always enjoyed it. Normally, I leave the fair kicking myself for not submitting anything for the living arts competition. This year, I decided to change that. I submitted this shawl and my bamboo handspun yarn. My shawl got first place, and my yarn received best of division. The ribbons are currently hanging by my yarn stash, in all their kitschy glory.

I have learned over the years that many knitters, spinners, and crocheters have yarn distributed in many areas of their home. I am no exception. My kids jokingly kid me about it, and my husband does not mind it at all. I do, from time to time, make it attempt to corral all the yarn back to it's central location in our school/craft room. Our entertainment center has a shelf that was a temporary home to many small balls of handspun. These are mostly the leftovers after finished a full bobbin of 2-ply. I get excited to see it all strung upon my niddy-noddy and toss the remainders up upon the shelf. I decided to do something about that this week, and have been working a little each evening on plying together some of those lonely small balls of singles. The latest amount I finished is some of the remainder of some merino that I Kool-Aid dyed. I spun a large amount of the singles with a spindle before I got my wheel, and it was the first yarn I ever plyed. It does look nicer on the niddy-noddy than in a ball on a shelf, I must say.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Chore Charts

The school year is creeping in on us, and with it is coming the intense and undeniable draw to be more organized. It could be because of the back to school sales, where aisles of all sorts of organizational goodness like binders and file folders beckon, or because I know our life is about to lose the lazyness of summer, but the call of organization is hitting me bad.

I have had the same piece of paper with the kids' chores taped to the pantry door for quite some time. It has included a regular set of chores, which they have memorized by this time. As I sat and pondered deep household-running thoughts the other day, it did occur to me that having the same chores week after week does not teach the kids to clean more than those items. They also get really complacent after doing the same job so many times.

So tonight I sit here at my computer, while all my munchkins are tucked into their beds, working on blank chore charts, that can be filled in weekly with a variety of skill-building chores. And since I have gone to the trouble, might as well share them with you. They are listed below in a variety of colors. I am planning on letting each child pick a color, printing it out, and then laminating it so that I can use a dry erase marker to write the chores and reuse the chart each week. There is also a plain version that would use less ink if you would like tor reprint the chart each week.

There are two time slots per day for chores. Some things, like emptying the dishwasher need to be done in the morning in our household. The morning chores will be things that only take 10 minutes or less, although the complaining about it may be much longer. 

Chore Charts


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Recent Knitting

I realized yesterday that I never posted anything about the shawl that was destined for the cruise. When I picked out the dress that I wore for formal night, I thought it would be nice to have a shawl to go with it. Like many knitters out there, wanting a shawl did not mean going to the store to peruse the selection of shawls. Instead, it means going to the yarn store and perusing the selection of yarns. Even if the cruise is a mere few weeks away. With the blessing of my husband, I went to the local yarn shop and spent a good deal of time looking at every beautiful yarn that seemed like it would coordinate with the purple of my dress, as seen here. I rubbed them against the inside of my wrist to see how soft they were. I carried them around. I laid all my choices side by side and stared at them. I texted my husband pictures of the laid out yarns and asked his opinion. I ended up choosing a 50% merino, 50% silk fingering weight yarn by the Great Adirondack Yarn Co. The yarn name is Sirino, and the colorway is Peacock. The price tag for the yarn did make my breath catch, but it was just so pretty. This was, by far, the most expensive yarn I have ever purchased.

I chose the pattern Palessie. This is a paid pattern, and I felt it was well written and worth the cost. I purchased the ebook with has both a shawl and cowl pattern.

 I knit with all my might and free time on this shawl, trying to finish in time. My free time was not in a great abundance leading up the cruise and trying to get all of out preparations and packing in order. I was so close, and yet not quite there. By the time I went to bed on the first evening of the cruise I was a third of the way finished with the bind off. With formal night being on the second night, I really did not think I have time to finish and block the shawl, and made the decision not to let it overtake the other fun things I wanted to do with my family.

I did end up finishing it on the place ride home, and blocking it the following weekend. As far as I am concerned, it still is a souvenir from my trip, and I love wearing it. I still have yet to master the great shawl photograph, so you will have to take my word on just how much more beautiful the colors are in person.

The second project that I am working on is a simple pair of socks for myself. The yarn is Premier Yarns Serenity Sock Yarn in the Indigo colorway. But what is that you are thinking? That sock picture below looks nothing like Indigo. Well, you see, Joanns had a wonderful clearance of sock yarns going on a while ago so I purchased a number of skeins. I had enough for two pair of socks with this colorway, but I didn't actually want two pair of socks the same color. The color you see below is the result of me plopping the yarn into a pot filled with water and a number of Kool-Aid packets. There was grape and some sort of red one, but I can not get any more specific than that....since I can't remember.

The pattern for the sock is just from using the numbers provided in Silver's Sock Class, which I highly recommend for those wanting to learn to knit socks. I did change the heel flap for a regular stockinette and added the garter edging. The toe does look really weird in this photograph due to the fact that I still need to do the Kitchener stitch to close it up. Second sock syndrome hit me pretty bad on this one, and even before the first sock was done.
Lastly, I am working on a pair of socks for the little man. Squirt has been asking me who gets the socks I was working on for the last few pairs I have made, and was disappointed that none of them were for him. I had a single skein of Panda Cotton on my yarn shelf, so I decided to try to whip him up a quick pair. I had gotten to the arch of his foot when I made the conclusion that they were too big.

Two things bothered me about the socks being too large. First, I was pretty sure I would run out of yarn before I finished. Second, the whole idea of making something for him to grow into flies out the window as far as socks are concerned. I would bet my pinky toe that one is lost within two months of me completing them.