Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Dyeing

I haven't dyed any yarn in a long time, close to a year. I got an itch to bring out the food coloring and kool-aid the other day, and this is what come of it:


KP Stroll Bare, dyed in the crockpot with food coloring. I absolutely love how it turned out.


2 hanks of KP WotA SW Bare, crockpot with food coloring.


1 hank of the WotA SW Bare, using kool-aid and a tiny bit of food coloring.

Overall, I'm pleased with the results. I need to start dyeing more often... I have a lot of bare yarn just waiting for color!

I also have a few WIPs and an FO to show off:


Newborn Vertebrae in KP Felici (Gummy Bear). This is turning out super cute. The cuffs and buttonband will be in Stroll (Rouge). I think I can get a hat out of the yarn, too.


The Hue Shift Afghan has been started! My plan is to do a square a day, then one round of border a day. That will make this take 120 days to complete, plenty of time before the October wedding without it being stressful. It's really fun and the squares go by quickly.


I finally got the woven scarf off the loom! It still needs a bath. This is 2 skeins gone from deep stash (KP Imagination).

For my stashdown challenges, I'm doing pretty well. I knit 525g this month (this is minus the 500g I purchased), 373g of which is fine yarn. I want to have 6000g gone by the end of the year, with 3000g of that being fine.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Bunny Show!

This weekend was the Augusta Masters of Rabbits and Cavies on the Green show in Grovetown, Georgia. It was a blast! My grandparents live in Augusta, right down the road from the show venue, so we got to stay with them for the weekend.

I showed 2 Jersey Woolies and a homebred Himalayan. Arthur took 2 Mini Lops and his cavy (guinea pig). We did well!





CCR's Perry, a ruby-eyed white senior buck, took Best of Breed in show A, and Best Opposite Sex of Breed in show C! I was so surprised by his wins. I knew he was a nice little buck, but WOW!



Hannah's Hop Hops Pine Lake, a ruby-eyed white senior doe, took Best Opposite Sex of Group in shows A and C, Best of Breed in show B! She's a gorgeous doe that I can't wait to show more over the next few months.



Arthur's cavy got good comments, and his Mini Lops did well. No big wins, but good comments in very competitive classes. It feels good when the judge says that there isn't an ugly rabbit on the table, he's just picking which is the prettiest. He likes the actual showing part, but not so much the waiting between breeds thing. He ate a lot of snacks, ha!


There was a costume contest. Of course, Sugar's Diggle, his Mini Lop buck, had to be Spiderman! Unfortunately, the judge didn't pick Diggle as the cutest, funniest, or the most original, but we had fun anyway. I personally think that he should've won something (the winners all had commercially made pet costumes; a duck, an energizer bunny, and a cowboy), but then again I am quite biased! There is another costume contest coming up in March so we will just have to try again!


My Himalayan doe, Knoll's Pink Lady, was the only Himi shown at all. They aren't very common down here, so there's usually just a few of us at most. I did get great comments on her, though! All 3 judges said that she's a great example of the breed, so at least I know that I'm going in the right direction with them.







We did come home with 3 new additions. Can't go to a show and not bring something new home! Arthur got a new little junior sow, which he named Daisy. She's an American Satin and such a cutie pie! She will be shown and eventually bred to Pete the Cat. Arthur really loves the cavies since they are so gentle and easy to handle. I have a feeling that he will eventually move away from his Mini Lops and get more focused on his cavies, which is fine by me. I'm letting his discover what he's truly interested in.






My new additions are Barron's Robbie (red) and GC Barron's Connie (castor). They are Rex, and are gorgeous. They are part of my foundation in this breed. Both have had major wins. Connie is now retired to the breeding pens and Robbie is still being shown.

Speaking of the breeding pens, I bred 6 does 2 weeks ago and I believe that all 6 are pregnant! There are 2 that I'm iffy on, but I'm leaning more yes than no. Another few days will tell, when the babies are bigger and easier felt.

Well, that was our weekend. It was full of fun, rabbits, and good friends. The next show is February 18th, so hopefully there will be more wins to report soon! Until then, we will be back to knitting news and updates :)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

FOs

 I've been cranking out the FOs lately. Since my momma and I do the craft show thing in fall, we really have to focus on knitting a lot during the rest of the year. I mostly do baby and kid knits, so have been working on them first:


Isn't this the cutest!? It's a Newborn Vertebrae with a matching hat. I used KP Stroll, the speckled being some that I dyed a few years ago. I had been hoarding it, but I'm trying to knit my too-precious-to-use yarn this year.


I went up a needle size to make it more 0-3 months. I added the stripes to add some visual interest and to break up the speckle yarn (I was afraid that it would look too muddy on its own). I'm really pleased with how it turned out.


Booties! I make a ton of these. They do well at the shows, and are the best shower gift so many go into the gift pile. I love using KP Chroma Fingering for these.


I recently made these, hoping that they are more masculine for little boys. I just kind of winged the leg portion and like how they came out.

I'm really trying to plow through the smaller quicker projects, so I have a lot more booties in my near future!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Notebooks

This is a post about notebooks, but first let's welcome these 8 cuties into the world:


These little ones were born this morning to Samantha, my sweet New Zealand doe. Their daddy is Julius (also NZ), who is leaving next week to live with another breeder. I'm happy to have a final litter out of him! These guys are part of my meat rabbit program, but they are all loved as much as possible until then. Samantha made a beautiful nest for her litter! In other bunny news, I have had a successful breeding week, which is a nice change for once. CCR Perry x Southern Fluff's Sollya (Jersey Woolies) and also Barron's Ollie x Barron's Octavia (Rex).

Now, on to the notebooks, which is what this post is really about:

I love stationery. Notebooks, paper, pens, pencils, pretty washi tape, anything to do with stationery and I love it. I wanted to start recording my knitting on paper as well as on Ravelry, so when I saw a fellow Raveler post about her knitting notebook, I actually did something about it. I looked at several different types and considered building my own, but finally settled on this one. I had a tiny amazon credit from a book settlement or something, so with that the final cost was just over 10.00, shipped. It was "used," which made it significantly cheaper.

It arrived today, just in time for me to cast on for my next project.


I really like how structure it is. There's no messing around or stressing about it being artsy/beautiful enough. It really does make me want one of those little polaroid-type cameras even more though.

I also started a bullet journal. I had heard the term thrown around here and there, but had no clue what it was. This Buzzfeed post really made it simple. I found a good notebook for it at Walgreens, and immediately got started.



I'm not being super creative with it. I know myself. I would get creative, then either mess up or get burnt out on it and never touch the notebook again. I have a few different "modules" for different things, like reading and knitting. I also have a monthly habit tracker like in the Buzzfeed post, but am not showing it since my habits aren't that great (I've walked at the track one day this month).

I really like this BuJo thing (see, I'm all up on the lingo and everything, ha!). It's easy and it really does keep me more accountable. In the daily sections, I write out things that I really ought to do. Seeing them there and wanting to X it off the list has made me cook more this week, keep up with the laundry, do yoga every day, and stop drinking soft drinks. The habit tracker is really great for this.

Does anyone else journal? A knitting notebook? A diary of secret crushes and sexual escapades?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Free At Last!

I've been swamped with commission knitting, and I am finally free!






This Little Coffee Bean Cardigan was my last deadline knit, yay! I still have to wash it, then it will be on its way to its new owner.

I immediately began working on some charity crochet. These teeny tiny little hats are going to be donated to Atlanta-area NICUs in memory of a friend's grandson that passed away recently. I will be making things to donate throughout the year, and encourage anyone looking for a good cause to do that same. I can provide some general guidelines for sizing, colors, etc if anyone needs it.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Wool Wash

I was inspired by KnitSpot's post on homemade wool wash, and decided give it a try since I've been making my own bath soap for a while anyway. I always order Eucalan from Knit Picks and while it isn't expensive, it is a pain when I realize that I'm getting low and must order it (and pay shipping if I don't want to make an order for 50.00). I had everything that I needed on hand, so gave it a go. I'm really pleased with the results.

I had a bar of homemade Castile soap (olive oil soap) that I had been hoarding for a few years, and it had gotten hard. I was saving it for something since I knew that I didn't want to use it for the bath due to how soft it is. I grated it and ended up with about 2 cups of it, so added it to 2 cups of boiling water. I whisked it to melt everything, and also added in some pure lanolin left over from my breastfeeding days. It was supposed to come to a thick caramel-like consistency, but I never got it there. It thickened, but for some reason it didn't thicken up quite that much. Maybe I had too much water, I'm not sure. Either way, it worked out fine.


 Next I added 1/2 cup of alcohol. I didn't have denatured, so just used 91% isopropyl. I did a lot of research and I think it's a fine substitution. I can't seem to throw away a glass jar, so had this one that fit the soap perfectly. A lot of the foam went down and what didn't was scooped out (there was some solidified soap that eventually rose and that was discarded as well).


I let it cool for a bit, then gave it a test run by adding about a half teaspoon to a gallon or so of water (I could've used even less, with the actual dilution being 1 tsp to 3 gallons). The alcohol smell is very noticeable, even after leaving the lid off of the jar for a while, but it does not transfer to the knitted item. A half ounce of essential oil can be added, but I chose to leave it scentless.



This is a no-rinse formula, so I didn't. I just pressed out the water with a towel, then lay flat to dry. Of course, it can be rinsed is desired (when I rinse, I add a splash of vinegar to help remove any residue).


I love it! I really wish that I could capture how the wool just glows after drying. I will not be buying any more Eucalan. The only downside is the alcohol smell right out of the jar, but I can live with it since it doesn't last. There are alcohol-free recipes, but they are slightly more complicated and require ingredients that I don't normally keep in the house. I'm going to be bottling this stuff up to give with handknit gifts.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Knitting Corner

Do you have a knitting spot? Somewhere designated just for that purpose, or just a favorite spot that you tend to settle down into while crafting? I'm lucky to have my little knitting corner in the living room, and I love it.



This is my chair. Charlie never sits in it, and even the kids know it's "Momma's knitting chair." I didn't make that rule, it just kind of evolved since it's where I always end up and it has my lamp and knitting library right there.

We are calling for a winter storm starting tonight (the rain has already come in), so I am looking forward to cozying down into my knitting corner all weekend. I spent most of today getting some general housework done and also getting the animals prepped for the storm. The rabbitry is clean and locked up, the outdoor rabbits and the chicken roosts have been checked and covered well and Autrie (our outdoor Lab puppy) has her dogloo stuff full of hay. There's been a lot of hype about this storm, so we will see what we get. My prediction is that we get an ice storm with no snow.

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017

The "New Year, New Me" post. I keep seeing posts on facebook about how time is a human construct, we can make a change at any time, blah blah blah. Ok, yeah, that's true. However, we humans need the time construct to function and I think that there is something real to having a day that signifies starting over and fresh possibilities. I happen to love the new year feeling.

To recap last year.. We flew down to Florida for a weekend to visit family, the month after that went on an awesome trip to Disney with my father-in-law's side, I got back into show rabbits, we fenced nearly the entire property, flew up to Michigan for a few days to spend time with more family, celebrated one year in our house, Arthur turned 4 and started public pre-K, Vidalia turned 2, we had to say goodbye to 2 dogs and 2 cats (a rough year), welcomed a new kitten, went to DragonCon, and enjoyed even more family time last week. Charlie and I grew together as a couple and are happier than ever. The kids are doing great; Arthur is in his second year of professional speech therapy and is making so much progress, and Vida is growing into a smart, funny, and sassy little princess. Momma and I had a very successful craft show season and I was kept very busy this holiday season with custom orders. It was a good year.

This year, I really want to focus on health, relationships, continuing to build our homestead, more financial stability, and, of course, knitting.

Non-Yarn Goals:

1. Get healthier. I know, I know. Everyone says this. Hey, if I don't say it, then I have zero chance of doing it, right? I no longer want to be the tiny girl I've always wanted to be (and have been before via very very unhealthy practices), and I've come to accept my natural body type. That said, I could definitely be fitter and healthier. I'm going to focus on watching my portions, walking the track more, and cutting back on Coke. For the kids, that are full of energy and thin like their daddy, I want to instill healthy habits in them.

2. Pay off a credit card. We were fortunate to have had very little debt in the way of student loans, so have that all paid off, and we paid my car off last year. We have 2 small-sh credit cards that need to go, though. I want to get one fully paid down and kept in the safe for emergencies only. Part two of this goal is that the extra money be sent straight to the other credit card so that it can be paid down in 2018.

3. Put back more money each month. Living paycheck to paycheck is not good.

4. Continue to build the homestead and start selling eggs at the farmers' market. Also focus on building a bigger customer base of people who raw feed their pets.

5. Accomplish a major home improvement. Either get the sliding glass door replaced with a real solid door, get the propane fireplace installed, or get the carport over the driveway.

6. Stop being such a hermit when it comes to friends. I'm horrible at real-life friendships. I get nervous about it, am awkward around people, and just tend to avoid social situations even though I long for close friends. This year I will build relationships and friendships!

Yarn Goals:

1. Keep the WIPs in check. I cannot stay monogamous to a project, but having 5 WIPs at once is ridiculous. This means includes finishing up a few things, like the feather and fan stole that's been hibernating for most of 2016:


2. Focus on knitting for craft shows. This year and last, I did not have nearly enough inventory going into the show season. I was frantically knitting between shows just to restock the basics.

3. Not do as many custom orders around Christmas. I always take on too much and am so stressed at a time that I really should be just enjoying things. I may do a few small things, but no more Dr. Who scarves, large sweaters/dresses, etc.

4. Start and finish a Hue Shift blanket! My SIL is getting married to her wonderful girlfriend in October, and I think they'll love this blanket. It's quite an undertaking (especially since I want to focus on craft show knitting), but they're worth it.

5. Keep up the good work with the stash! I sold about 150 skeins this year, which made space and also paid for my yarn storage. I knit almost entirely from stash and really didn't bring that much in. I did shop KP's Big Sale, but that's a given and I spent significantly less this year than in previous ones.

Speaking of the stash, wanna see the latest photo shoot? I didn't include fiber stash, handspun, and some that I just forgot about, so it's not the entire thing, but close. If I included everything, it would probably be another full picture's worth.

Fingering:


Sport and DK:



Worsted and bulky:


I'm pretty danged proud of myself! I moved out all of my laceweight, KP Felici, and my cotton blends that I just will never use.

Now, about that storage...


 We have a walk-in closet that had a cheap rack-type shelf across the back. I took that down and put up real shelves. The bins came from Home Depot and each will fit 36 100-gram balls of fingering weight. Of course, that isn't enough to hold everything, so I have plastic drawers lining both walls under our clothes. Fiber is stored under the bottom shelf, which holds sewing machines and fiber tools. I love this space. The top shelf has my small stash of fabric, embroidery supplies, button stash, and ribbon. Everything is organized, labelled, and easily accessed. To ward off bugs, I vacuum the closet at least twice a week, spray it for pests at twice a year, and keep lavender and cedar sachets everywhere. I haven't had any issues, knock on wood.

Any big plans for 2017, fiber or otherwise?