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Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

It’s been a busy summer. So busy that I haven’t even thought about updating this blog until my friend Pixie mentioned that I should a few days ago. And she’s right, so here I am typing nonsense because the problem is, so much has been going on and happening in my world that I don’t know where to start. Hmm, what is blogworthy…

blueyarn_inpotWell, let me begin by showing you this sock yarn I was kettle-dyeing yesterday in a few different shades of beautiful blue. Right now, I’m dyeing about one or two skeins each dyeing session, maybe three times per week, so roughly three to six skeins are done per week. I honestly don’t think I could do any more than that and still keep the same quality in each dye job because sometimes a single skein will take me four hours to finish. Each skein of yarn that I dye is uniquely and meticulously handpainted or kettle-dyed to my own personal satisfaction. I’ve seen some people on some blogs that output a large amount of handpainted yarn at one time (over ten skeins) and I just don’t understand how they do it, unless they have a small army helping them.

skein_wndr1The reason I’m dyeing all this yarn is because I’m going to be a vendor at the 2009 Fiber Festival in Snow Hill, Maryland, coming up on October 10. I have to build my inventory so I have quite a bit to sell there. Of course, teen had a small fit when I told him I needed him to wind up all this yarn on the niddy noddy (right now I’m looking at 24 skeins that need winding and the niddy noddy makes my arms ache), so I invested in a new knitting tool. This is my new maple Will Taylor Clamp-On Skeinwinder/Swift, which I ordered from Carolina Homespun, and it’s wonderful! The teen is off the hook, at least for now.

1stsock2Thanks to Pixie, I’ve also gotten back into my knitting. I finally finished those Nightmare Socks with her encouragement, and they fit although I loathe them now because they took two years to complete! I think I got tired of looking at them, the pattern wasn’t the easiest to follow, and the yarn wasn’t as soft as I would have liked, but Plymouth Sockotta was the first sock yarn I ever bought for myself. That was before I learned how to dye yarn and now I’ll never buy any commercial brands again. Unless I absolutely have to. Not to mention the fact that I have approximately two bins full of my own handpainted yarn already.

toeup2On to the next project: Two-at-a-Time Toe-Up Socks on Two Circulars, from the book, β€œKnitting More Circles Around Socks” by Antje Gillingham. I have her first book too, and both include very nice patterns that are easy to understand. These are only my second pair of socks, and I’m knitting them with my own kettle-dyed yarn, Sand in my Stitches Pure Merino SW. I’m a little further than the image shows and so far, so good. These will be a demo project for my yarn at the festival, and I’ve given a skein of my Kona Sock yarn to Pixie to knit up in some kind of amazing lacy project. Many, many thanks to Pixie for the motivation and help. πŸ™‚

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Since Thanksgiving, we haven’t really had any adventures to speak of, and since I finished my Clapotis, I don’t have any really good knitting news, either. There is the second scarf I made for my Ravelry Scarf Exchange pal, Rae, which was mailed to her over a week ago. I know that she probably received it by now, although she hasn’t emailed to say so.Diagonal Knot Stitch Scarf

Completed and blocked, this is the Diagonal Knot Stitch scarf which I knit out of Malabrigo Merino, colorway Violetas. The pattern really opened up once I blocked it, but I do need to find my iron because I could have done a much better job with it. Once I find it, I will be able to block my Clapotis, and finally be able to wear it, hopefully in time for Christmas. (I don’t know what it is about that project, but I’m itching to make another!)

The second nightmare sock of the pair I started eons ago is getting additional rows added to it here and there when I have time at night, which is the only time I get to knit anything anymore. There is just too much to do during a day with homeschooling and housecleaning and cooking and now decorating and Christmas shopping. Phooey! I’d love to just sit and knit all day!

My perfect day would include everyone going out so that I was left alone in the house. The first part of my day alone would beCorey practicing his typing skills. spent in the kitchen dyeing yarn, and the second half of it would be spent in the living room knitting in silence. In fact, that’s not even a day, but about eight hours. Eight hours that I could spend doing the laundry or vacuuming or cleaning the house. Eight hours that I could spend teaching long division to my 6-year-old. Did I mention he’s learning to type, too? In the image at right, he’s practicing his typing skills! πŸ™‚Stitch markers!

Congratulations to my good friend, Anita, who’s handmade polymer clay stitch markers are featured in the current issue of Knit Simple magazine! You can get a set of these adorable stitch markers for yourself by visiting her etsy shop, Yarndemon Designs. I have a set of those sweet peas, and I’ve gotta tell ya, the real thing is soooo much cuter than the images, by FAR. Her shop also features the perfect accessory that every fiber crafter needs: little tape measures with very nice hand-crocheted covers on them. When Anita sent my stitch markers, she also include one of these tape measures which I keep in my little accessory bag and gets frequent use when I’m knitting! Wouldn’t you know it’s that time of year — the season for gift giving, and these stitch markers and tape measures would make PERFECT stocking stuffers!

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Today I received my Ravelry Scarf Exchange package from Emily and I couldn’t be happier with the scarf she made for me — it is really nice! It’s soft and squishy when you bunch it all up and squeeze it… and the color is a beautiful bold green that I just love! She went above and beyond my expectations with all the other little goodies she sent too, and I feel well and truly spoiled.

Ravelry Scarf Exchange goodies

My boys were just as excited as I was that the package came today. In fact, it wasn’t easy to get my youngest to keep his mitts off my stuff! It seemed to be the endless package, as he kept reaching in and pulling items out for me, one after the other!Ravelry Scarf Exchange scarf

Along with that beautiful green scarf that she knit for me was the leftover yarn she had, wound up with the yarn band. She used Brooks Farm Yarn Acero, and I’m going to use the rest of it to make something special. I don’t know what yet, but with the help of Ravelry, I’m sure I’ll figure it out soon!

Some knitting accessories that I will definitely use — sock-shaped point protectors, yarn needles and a cable stitch holder — which are going into my little accessory bag right after I finish this post. A rose, sandalwood, and vanilla-scented glycerin soap and spice-scented fizzing bath bombs are going to drive my DH crazy because he can’t stand scented soaps and candles, but I love them. Therefore, I do believe I’ve figured out that I have a secret weapon if I want to be left alone! LOL! Hmmm, that idea has a lot of potential and I could have a lot of fun with it… I’ll keep you posted! πŸ˜‰

Then Corey saw a CD in the package and snagged it right away and put it in the CD player — Let It Snow by the Chanticleer Holiday Orchestra, which was a very nice surprise! Every year, we get one or two new Christmas music CDs to add to our collection. This year, Corey has been the super Christmas boy, spreading the Christmas cheer since about August when he started playing our Christmas CDs on a daily basis, starting as soon as he woke up, and ending when his dad wanted to watch TV after dinner each night. You can probably imagine that I’m SUPER GRATEFUL that she sent this CD, as we really needed to hear something new. How many times can a person listen to “Christmas is Love” by Alabama, or “Hard Candy Christmas” by Dolly Parton before they lose their mind? Really!

Emily also sent a nice journal that I can use to record knitting notes, a skein of Atacama by Araucania Yarns in this sweet tealy-blue colorway (potentially to be a pair of knucks), and chocolate galore — a bar of milk chocolate, one of dark chocolate, and a peppermint bark white chocolate bar (can’t WAIT to taste this) — and some maple candy which I’ve never had before. Looks yummy… let’s see… YUP! Yummy! And they’re pure sugar! WOOOOOO!!! Wow! I’m going to be wired now!!! I see a long night of speed knitting coming up! πŸ˜‰ Am I supposed to put them in my coffee or something? They’re very potent….

Ravelry Scarf Exchange scarf

Thanks a ton, Emily… you’re an awesome spoiler! I’m wearing the scarf now and my neck is nice and toasty! πŸ™‚

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Yellow leavesWhat a sense of accomplishment! For the past few days, I’ve been knitting on my Clapotis like a maniac, trying to get it completed, and now it’s done! Honestly, I didn’t think it would ever get finished because I have a horrible track record with larger projects. To say I’m pleased with myself is an understatement. Now it just needs to be blocked. Pictures to come when I can get a really good one outside in natural light.

Today I mailed out the angel package to my extra Fall Into Autumn Dishcloth Exchange pal, and sheOrange leaves should get that in a week or so. That’s another swap down! Once I send out the scarf I made for the Ravelry Scarf Exchange (it’s blocking now) and then the final package for my SP11 pal (everything’s ready for it), I’m done with swaps for awhile. There are so many other things I want to knit, and I can’t get to any of it if I’m always making items for swaps, so I’m going to take a break.

Now that the Clapotis is finished, I can concentrate on those nightmare socks I started way back when. The first sock is done, but I might need to reknit the toe, and the second sock has it’s leg, heel flap and heel turn, but the gusset is giving me some problems. Although I have the pattern directions in front of me from “Knitting Socks on Two Circulars” by Cat Bordhi, I am completely lost and can’t figure out what the directions are telling me to do. I may need to enlist the help of my knitting friends in this one. I’m determined to master socks before I start another single project!

Holly

The boys and I went outside last weekend and had a great surprise when we saw that fall had finally snuck in, almost overnight. The fall foliage is so beautiful right now; all I have to do is peek out my front window to see all the pretty colors. πŸ™‚

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This post is a bit overdue, because each time I found time to sit down and type something, I ended up getting involved in other things on this computer. Games, which are a complete time-waster, take up some of my time when I’m on the computer. I play Age of Empires III with two of my real life friends (games are about an hour each for us), and then when I don’t feel like playing that one, I get sucked in to spending a large chunk of time playing The Sims 2 Pets. It’s only been a couple weeks since I found out my male Sims can get abducted by aliens and come back pregnant, so I’ve been having LOTS of fun with that! πŸ˜‰ Of course, that’s not all that I’ve been doing though.

Cape Henlopen

A few weeks ago, my sister and I got together for “Sister’s Day Out” and headed to the beach. We visited Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, DE (the first town in the first state!), and walked along the shoreline of the safe harbor which was built in World War II at the mouth of the Delaware Bay. Since all the tourists were gone for the season, it was a very peaceful and enjoyable walk.

Breakwater light station

Once you start walking on this stretch of beach, one of the first things you notice is the Breakwater East End Lighthouse, built in 1885 to replace the Cape Henlopen Beacon. It was operable until 1996 when it was finally deactivated from lack of necessity.Horseshoe crab

I was stunned by the amount of dead baby crabs all along the shoreline and all over the beach. Some were as tiny as 1/2″ across! We saw a lot of young dead horseshoe crabs, spider crabs, calico crabs and even blue crabs. Among all these dead crabs were broken shells and bits of seaweed, along with an occasional lost fishing line and pieces of plastic; plastic Walmart bags, garbage bags and packaging from fishing rigs and hooks, rubbery fishing lures and also plastic gallon jugs. I dare say that beaches everywhere are polluted this way, and it’s frustrating to know that people are the culprit. If people would just throw their trash away properly in the garbage cans that are provided, the beaches (and the whole world, for that matter) would be so much safer.

Atlantic ghost crab

I spy… with my little eye… an Atlantic Ghost Crab (can you find him?), and this one was about an inch across total, and FAST! They skittered quickly away when we walked near, and some went right down their ghost crab holes. And of course, I was completely fascinated by them. (Click on any of the thumbnails to enlarge them.)

World War II tower

During World War II, Cape Henlopen was home to a military base called Fort Miles. In 1941, the U.S. Army built these concrete observation towers along the coast to spot any enemy ships or submarines. If you’re interested in learning more of this interesting bit of history, you can read it here:DNREC.

Pier

The Cape Henlopen fishing pier stretches out into the Delaware Bay for a quarter mile, and many people fish and crab off the pier all year long.

While we were walking, we saw the past meet present day when the Cape May-Lewes Ferry passed the Kalmar-Nyckel beyond the rock jetty of the Breakwater East End Lighthouse.

Cape May-Lewes Ferry & Kalmar Nyckel

Kalmar NyckelThe Kalmar-Nyckel is “Delaware’s Tall Ship”, and has quite a history behind it. The original ship came from Sweden in 1683, and brought settlers that established what is now Wilmington, Delaware. The current ship is owned by the Kalmar-Nyckel Foundation, and they offer tours and sailing trips for educational purposes. Very fascinating history, and you can read all about it here:Kalmar-Nyckel: The Tall Ship of Delaware.

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Last weekend, I spent a good bit of time dyeing yarn in my kitchen, and I had this great idea — sock sets. Have you ever seen socks that have different-colored toes and heels? I’ve seen a few and I really like the effect, as long as the colors match. So I decided to dye yarn to make a sock set. I’m curious what sort of response these will generate. I’ve only done one set, and they are listed in my Etsy shop for sale as one item.

Sand in my Stitches Kona Sock Set

Sand in my Stitches Kona Sock Set – Indigo and Jewels TooSand in my Stitches Pure Merino DK

Then I found a couple of skeins that I forgot to list that have been done for awhile. After I got off the phone with my DH today, I immediately knew what to name the colorway. At right is Sand in my Stitches Pure Merino DK – Clueless.

Sand in my Stitches Pure Merino DKAt left is the same yarn in the colorway Chartreuse. This yarn is so crazy bright, you may need to wear shades to knit with it, and I love it!

In my stash were a couple of skeins of KnitPicks Simple Stripes, and since I didn’t like the colors of it, I overdyed it and now it’s wonderful. Two skeins makes an average-sized pair of socks, and I’ve got another couple of skeins overdyed in red drying in my bathroom right now. Tomorrow I’m planning on overdyeing the final two skeins in another color.

Sand in My Stitches Sock String

Sand in my Stitches Sock String – Darkness

Sand in my Stitches Baby Sock

This final image is of Sand in my Stitches Baby Sock – Turquoise and Lime.

The base yarn is Dale of Norway Baby Ull and is so very soft; very similar to Sand in my Stitches SoftSock. Of course it would make great adult socks, but it would also make a super baby set — hats, mittens and socks — know anyone who’s expecting? πŸ˜‰

All of these yarns have been listed in my Etsy shop for sale. Now I would like to add a huge thank you to everyone who’s given me the confidence to do this, and to all of you who knit and crochet because I truly am inspired by you. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder what would make a good yarn and color combination for a certain project or pattern, and if I could make it (which, in turn, keeps me creative), and I really appreciate that!

Knitting-related, I’m working on a secret scarf for a swap. Once I get that secret scarf done, I’m going to (hopefully) knit a pair of mittens for my SP11 pal and then I can ship her final package to her. I’ve never knit mittens before, so we’ll see about that one. And I’ve got everything ready to go into an “angel” package for my second pal in the dishcloth exchange.

Whew! When these three swaps are done, I’m planning on finishing all my WIPs (entrelac scarf, nightmare socks, Clapotis, log cabin baby blanket) and concentrating on mastering the art of knitting socks. Will that day ever come? Only time will tell!

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As a knitter, I love anything that has to do with knitting — knitting needles, knitting patterns, knitting stitch markers, knitting row counters — but I especially love these really cute clay stitch markers that I just received from Anita! Look at these cute little peas!!!

Gifts

Really, the photo I took doesn’t do them justice. You’ll have to see an actual product shot over at Anita’s etsy shop, Yarndemon Designs. She also sent me another lovely pair of beaded stitch markers, and a very cool retractable tape measure which has a crocheted cover on it that fits like a glove! I couldn’t figure out how she did it, so I had to ask, and it’s genius! I never would have thought of it, but it’s perfect for any crafter, and she crochets these in many different color combos. These will be living in my accessory case and I’m going to show them off every time I’m knitting in public, that’s for sure!

Malabrigo worsted in Violetas colorwayBut wait, there’s more! I made an order from WEBS a few days ago and it just came in today. At left is Malabrigo worsted merino in the colorway “Violetas”, which is full of varying shades of purple with some splashes of navy blue. I actually bought this for a particular project, but now I’m not positive what it was pegged for is going to get knitted. Details on this later. For now, it will remain in my stash. If you ever wondered about all the hype concerning this yarn, it really is super soft and squishy, and does not have the least bit of scratchiness to it.SWTC Gianna yarn

And this beautiful, chunky red yarn (SWTC Gianna) came in with the Malabrigo order today, and it’s pegged for a pair of soft mittens for my SP11 pal. Hopefully I’ll get them done, but if not, I will just be sending the yarn, which was on sale, by the way! Free time is rarely found around here, but mittens are smallish, so it shouldn’t take too long to knit them. Once I find a good pattern for them, that is. I want to knit them in the round on circulars, not DPNs. Anyone out there in blogland know of a good pattern?

cupcake charmLast but not least, another little gift came in that I ordered for my SP11 pal, and I just have to show everyone. This necklace charm is from the etsy store, Popalicious, and I’m pretty sure she’s going to like it. The last package I’m sending her is going to be themed around that object which is painted on that charm. (I’m not typing the actual word, in case she does an Internet search for that word and finds me! I must remain anonymous!) πŸ˜‰

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