Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Wet Blocking a Knit

In the comments yesterday, Pat B. asked: 
Melody, would you share your blocking method?

1. I fill the bathroom sink with lukewarm water and a little Suave hair conditioner in Coconut. Not essential but I have it and I like the aroma. Wool is hair so a little creme rinse or any detangler helps with the softness factor. I gently squeeze the water through the knit, making sure the saturation is complete and then drain the sink. I may or may not put it throught a clear rinse, depending on if I overdid the amount of conditioner first time around. I squeeze out but I do not wring out the remaining water and then lay the item on a thick bath towel, wrap it up and squeeze on it with my whole upper torso body weight. The towel absorbs much of the remaining water.
2. Then I gently arrange the knit on the rubber tiles pictured above. I don't stretch, but just gently pat into place, straightening from the center out. Then I pin the edges so they more or less look even. With these cowls I have been knitting, I have used various weights of yarn so some parts are narrower than others, which I then try to make equal. 
3. Let dry completely, usually I do this overnight. It is a very simple process and really makes a huge difference in the finished product, especially one with textured stitches or multiple yarns.
My tiles are that awful gray, and cost about $20 for 4 and are 24" each. If I had thought ahead I could have ordered these prettier ones from Lowe's for $24

Or these for $15. 
But I was in the store looking for fencing so my mind wasn't considering beauty at the moment. 
Speaking of beauty, look what I got in the mail yesterday:

Image 21 - New-Lot-12-Pairs-Dozen-Womens-Solid-Assorted-Styles-Crew-Socks-Fashion-Size-9-11

I now have Happy Feet!

Monday, March 1, 2021

Dots and Dashes Cowl #7

 My instructions for this cowl were: 
"My sister loves color-anything bright would be great!" 
O boy! That really excited me and opened the door on my color choices.

 I chose one skein of Rios with multi-layers of color and found agreeable yarns to use with that theme.

This shows the full length on the drying tiles, wet and pinned. The center section is that theme yarn. Also included are Silky Merino, Rastita, Full of Sheep, Inca Gold,  Ice Merino, and three different colors of Rios. It is super soft and squishy. Just the way I like it. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

A room of one's own

I decided I wanted a tv in the knitting room, where we also have the guest bed/nap bed. Just a little tv to watch while I knit. So while I was at Walmart I looked for a small one and this 40" was the smallest. Seems to me that it is not very small. But the price was under $200, and I have been saving my knitting money, swearing to not buy any more yarn with it, so I figured why not? When I got it home I realised that it was too wide to fit any table or shelf in the house. Back to Walmart to find a solution. Why Walmart? Well, this was just supposed to be a quick little adjustment, and nothing important...heh heh, little did I know what this would lead to. 
As you can see it led to bookcases, two, which required assembly, something I am quite experienced at, having been a devotee of IKEA lo these many years. These are very similar to IKEA Billys and didn't require two hours there and back to buy them, since my closest IKEA is Atlanta. And of course I had to get a few of these nice fabric pop up boxes that were made to fill the cubbies. The assembly was aided by my purchase of a complete set of screwdrivers, which I have hidden in my knitting drawer so they are there when I look for them...and you can guess why. 
I put felt stick on pads on the bottom so I can move them around without scratching the floor, and you know they have been moved around already a couple of times, to find just the right place.

Since I have the tv, I moved my fave knitting chair out of the living room and into the knitting room, and now have the right lighting and a side table for my cuppa, and then I was happy. 

But wait, there's more...This room is adjacent to the bathroom, and just a few steps away from our master bedroom. Lately Dave has been having very weird nights. He talks out loud in his sleep, which then becomes a yelp or scream accompanied by lots of thrashing about. I tolerated it for a long while, but it really ruined me during the day because I would wake up and then try to go back to sleep only to be reawakened over and over again. He slept through it all and didn't know he was doing it. Crabby became my constant state and I would have to retreat to take a nap for hours almost every day. So as I looked at the nice room I had made for knitting and napping, I thought...why not clear it of everything that isn't mine, and call it my new bedroom. YES! So major closet and bookshelf, guitars and small chests of drawers moving took place over two days and now I have made it a perfectly Melody sanctuary. I slept so much better, even tho I still get up and dose him every two or three hours, but I can do that sorta without waking up. 
And I can't hear his vocalizing or yelling and that really makes a huge difference for my sleeping. And only one little dog sleeps with me here!

I am so much more my old self now and even Dave has noticed. Where is that short tempered complaining harridan? Gone!

And Dave now has the whole master bedroom for all his stuff, guitars, tools, etc. So we are both happy. Yay!!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Dots and Dashes Cowl #6

Keeping on with knitting these fun cowls. . . This one includes Rios, Silky Merino, Rastita, Chic Sheep, and Mochi Plus. I haven't lost interest, and thinkin' this may be my most fave thing I have knit in ages. It may be because I can use all the great yummy yarns in my stash, until the last little bits are left. 

A couple of variegated yarns make this look a bit more complex but the solids offer a clear look, and then the gradient yarns bring it all together. 

By the way, I got these rubber tiles to use for blocking. They make all the difference in the look of the final product.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Winter Fuel

It's been a while since I reminded you of the dish to get you through these terrible winters. Mom's Famous 3 Beans and Sausage Ragout. (the name changes everytime). This dish is so famous that it escaped notice of my little sister Brooke. By the time she was of age, Mom wasn't so poor and dishes like this rarely appeared. But THIS STILL WORKS. 

 Begin with a pound of Italian sausage, which you brown off, the darker the better. I like mine purchased as bulk so I don't have to take it out of the skins. I usually can't find Hot, but sweet works anyway because I add a liberal amount of crushed red pepper flakes. To the sausage, add large chunks of onion and bell pepper, a bay leaf and lots of chopped garlic. Top that off with an entire bottle of spaghetti sauce. We like Prego but anything will do, including chunky. 

Then add a can each of Northern Beans, Cannellini Beans and Garbanzo Beans, and just stir them into the mix. If you like, add a bit more oregano and if you're feeling gourmet, grind in some fennel seed. What an aroma!

Let simmer until you wake up from your nap. We escaped the bad wearhter here, and just had rain. Today the sun is blazing and it looks like Spring could arrive at any moment. Felicidades to y'all who are still shiverin' and shovelin'.
 To accompany this stickum to um-ribs meal bake up some crunchy bread and pour a tall glass of red. Forget Winter, and be glad your fat pants still fit.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Dots and Dashes Cowl #5

Who knew purple and green would be so popular? I have just finished #5 and taken an order for a similar version for #6. My enthusiasm has not diminished one bit. I love this combo too, and the knitting is wonderful since the yarns are sooooo soft. 

I am using Mochi Plus, Silky Merino, Rios, Boreal and Ice Merino. All yummy on the hands.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Dots and Dashes Cowl #4

Today's cowl uses one predominate yarn, Boreal by Premier yarns in the Tundra colorway. It is a gradient from purple to magenta to green, to gray green. I added some medium purple and some really deep dark purple to the mix to contrast. 

The camera doesn't show how truly deep these colors are. So here they have a pastel look which is not really the case. You just have to trust me. The darkest purple I used was almost black so the camera couldn't 'allow' that to register. I also added three ridges of garter between each set of dots and dashes and that added to the overall length of the cowl. 

I wish I had more of this kind of gradient yarn as it makes the whole thing so cohesive. I tried to get more from someone on Ravelry who was selling it, and then she changed her mind and decided to keep it. Of course it is a discontinued product.