Friday, October 26, 2007

I have so much to do, so why am I blogging?

With the exception of finishing up my silk yarn, I've accomplished my knitting goals for this week.

Ooooo La La scarf? Check. Now, the question is, to fringe or not to fringe?

Felted bag? Check. The colors are pretty washed out, but the recipient likes pastels.

One Gentleman's Fancy Sock? Check! Dude, the boy's family is populated with sasquatches. I mean that in the nicest way, of course.

Shots so I don't get Hep A and typhoid? Check. That Snoopy bandage is misleading - the typhoid shot was so painful!

Dousing clothes in anti-mosquito juice? Check.

Travel knitting? Check. (Heh, like I can really finish 2 pairs of socks and a lace scarf in 3 weeks...)

I'm going to miss my critters and the comforts of home. But who can resist an adventure? See ya in a few weeks, blogosphere peeps!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

World's Cutest Baby

Remember the baby blanket I knit eons ago? Well, I finally had the pleasure of meeting the little guy it belongs to. Meet the Cutest Baby in the World.

"Go Bears! Cal is going to the Rose Bowl!"

"I rock the knitted goods!"

"What? You're going to knit me more things? I cannot wait!"

Monday, October 22, 2007

Winding up to wind down

This is the last week before our vacation extravaganza to Vietnam and Thailand. So far, the only preparation I've done has been to buy cheap but pointy plastic needles to take on the plane. I think I'm going to only bring sock yarn and lace weight yarn because there won't be space in my backpack for anything else!

Because I hate having UFOs, my plan is to finish spinning and plying the tussah silk roving, finish my Ooo La La Scarf, felt my MIL's purse, and finish up my FIL's first sock. Then, I want to cast on for the scroll socks in More Sensational Knitted socks and perhaps start another sock. Or two socks.

Of course, we still don't have places to stay in all of the cities we want to visit, but that will work itself out. From everything that I've read and from people I've talked with, it's easy to find cheap, clean places to stay. Years ago, having a bare bones travel itinerary would've kept me up all night, but I've learned that that the best trips are the ones that leave enough room wiggle room to follow a cool tip you learn from a random traveler or person on the street.

Hm, what sock yarn should I take? My Koigu? My Claudia's Handpainted? My Schaffer Anne?

Mingus is excited to stay at his grandma's house. He can hardily wait until he can romp around their giant, fenced backyard.

Scarlett was over last week and she has really begun to open up. She's such a smiley girl now! She and Mingus did get in a bit of trouble, though, when they decided to play tug of war with my new cardigan... However, all she has to do is bat her big, brown eyes at me and give me a cheeseball smile and I can't be upset.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Some fur and some knitting

I have the same old projects on the needles, but at least the Gentlemen's Fancy sock looks, well, fancier! Doesn't this sock match a certain dog well? I've renamed this Tofutsie colorway Mingus.

This sock is flying off the needles and I'm almost to the heel turn, so I'll have yet another chance to experiment with a toe up heel flap! I haven't been overjoyed with any of my heel flaps yet, so I'll be on this sock mission until I can figure out the perfect method. So, uh, yeah... This is why I have so much sock yarn.

If you take a closer look at the dog behind the sock, you can tell that he just had a bath. He ends up with the most ridiculous cowlicks since he likes to sleep smooshed up against various surfaces.

Since bouts of rain have been keeping me indoors, I've been restless. I taught Greaseball how to spin.

I forced the dogs to go outside (while I stayed nice and toasty inside).

I've spied on the animals. Greaseball and Mingus are seen here fighting for the boy's attention. FYI, the boy is the lump underneath Greaseball.

And, of course, I've been playing with my stash, trying to figure out what I can make. This yarn combination will make some baby a nice stocking cap.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Hat that Took Longer to Finish than Knit

I finished the knitting for this hat in about 3 hours, yet this hat sat in my project bag for about a month. Why? Well, because this little hat took longer to finish than to knit! I hate finishing work - I just want to knit, knit, and knit away like a little robot. Finishing? No thanks. Not interested. However, since this is a baby hat, I was afraid that the baby would outgrow this hat unless I finished it soon. The thought of just buying the baby earmarked for this hat another gift and waiting for another baby to come along (the phrase "breeding like rabbits" should be amended to "breeding like wildtomato's friends") flickered across my mind, but even I cannot be so lazy.

Today, I buckled down and assembled the bouquet atop of the hat. Look at these ends! Can you blame me for putting this off?

As soon as I was done, I had to admit that all the effort was worth it because this hat is heartbreakingly cute.

I just had to put it on Mingus. And for all of you who threaten to report me to Animal Control for abusing my animals (in knitted goods, of course), look how much he likes it! He loves it so much, that he was lulled to sleep.

Some gory details:
  • Pattern: Rosebud
  • Book: Itty-Bitty Hats by Susan B. Anderson
  • Yarn: Roses and leaves in Tahki Cotton Classic, and hat in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino
The best thing about this hat? It was knit entirely from my stash.

I'm a little worried that this hat is so top heavy that the poor baby will have even more trouble keeping her head up. But, she'll look cute! And I'll get a picture! That's all that matters, right?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Weekend Report from Casa de Wildtomato

Coffee. Lots of coffee. That's what makes this household go 'round and 'round. Without it, we are useless puddles. And, no, we don't have a problem. But thanks for your concern.

I picked up 26 pounds of green coffee beans from my favorite pusher, Sweet Maria's. Although I had many beans to choose from, I decided to roast La Esparanza from Nicaragua. I roasted it to Full City, so for tomorrow's brew, I should taste citrus, spice, bourbon vanilla notes. I love the tasting notes that come with these beans!

Here's a small sampling of my stash.

Luckily, it was a windy day, so it was easy to separate the chaff from the beans.

The finished product! I cannot wait to drink it tomorrow.

This is what Mingus does when he knows that we haven't had our coffee yet. This is his best Wicked Witch of the East impersonation.

Greaseball doesn't care if we have had our coffee or not. He just wants to be fed. Oh, and he wants the dogs' bed. He's always hogging their bed. (It looks like Greaseball could use some coffee, too.)

Fifty is also wary when we haven't had our coffee. She wishes we would lay off the beans, or at least lay off of taking pictures of her. Sorry, Fifty, but that's not going to happen.

Since I finished my last pair of socks, I cast one for two more. I'm a little worried that the Schaefer Anne yarn sock will be itchy, but boy are the colors gorgeous - I'll post pictures next time. The picture below is a toe-up version of the Gentleman's Fancy Sock that I'm making for the boy's dad. This Tofutsie colorway reminds me of Mingus.

The silk scarf is also coming along. The greatest thing about using a drop stitch pattern is that your work grows by leaps and bounds when those stitches come off of the needles. I still cannot decide of this scarf is going to get any fringe or not, but it will be at least a couple of weeks until this is done, so I have time to make up my mind.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

FO Saturday

The Tofutsie anklets ala Jaywalker are finally done. Each sock has a different type of toe-up heel flap - one is from More Sensational Knitted Socks, and the other is from this website. I'm not in love with either method, but they were worth trying since my previous socks have all sported short-row heels. The second method is worth investigating more since I did not have to rearrange the stitches on my needles (2 circular needles) when I got to the heel, and I did not have to pick up stitches. It was amazingly easy, but the end result isn't as clean as I would like.

Pattern: Tweaked Jaywalker (started with 28 stitches for the toe using Turkish cast-on, 94 stitches total, 28 stitchs for toe, 9 stitches between the k f/b and dd, 2x2 ribbing at top)
Needles: Size 0, 2 circulars

The cats, yet again, were not impressed. Short of dousing my knitted goods with fish oil and breading them with catnip, I don't know what would peak their interest.

I also finished spinning 4 oz of merino/tencel roving from Carolina Homespun. This time, I used my highest flyer to wheel ratio (15.5:1) and ended up 335 yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn. To make anything thinner, I'm going to have to buy the high speed and extra high speed whorls and bobbins for my wheel. Bummer, I'll have to buy more tools (insert evil laugh).

The dogs were not impressed.

What is it with these animals? Can't they see how cool my socks and yarn are? Sheesh.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Meet Scarlett

Mingus and Vespa have a new cousin, Scarlett! She's from BASH, the Bay Area Siberian Husky rescue organization. I think she's a GSD and husky mix since she looks a little bit like both of my dogs. Her estimated age is 8 months old. A puppy! We have a puppy in the family!

She's a little camera shy since she isn't used to being the focus of the paparazzi.

However, she does warm up if you give her something to chew on.

And, boy does she ever warm up around Mingus. Watching these two interact confirms my suspicions that Mingus is just an overgrown, 3-year-old puppy. They are infatuated with each other!

Welcome, Scarlett!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Following the Silk Road

I have a love/hate relationship with wool. Since I am mildly allergic to wool, I cannot wear most wool garments without feeling pricked all over by tiny needles. However, avoiding wool as a beginning knitter and spinner is hard - and who would want to? Wool is a joy to knit with and a joy to spin!

At last weekend's Knit and Crochet show, found my antidote to wool: silk. I can spin silk. I can knit silk. And best of all, I can wear silk. Red Fish Dyeworks was my pusher of choice, and I came away from their booth with two project ideas and silk laceweight yarn aplenty.

Two teasers for you (since I am about to get kicked off the computer):


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