Jun 24, 2009

Oh So Sunny!

The weather here has turned off nice although it's definitely getting a little to warm for me to hang around outside. We went through almost 2 weeks of thunderstorms and cloudy days so great to finally have some sunshine again. Thanks to this lovely weather my tomato plants are doing well and I now have tiny little green tomatoes.

Got A Tomato!

Thankfully summer here in Montana is normally mild with low humidity. I can handle the higher temps but throw in the humidity and it makes you feel like you're melting. I spent 2 years in Biloxi, MS and the summers there are miserable but I sooooo miss the food!

As most of you probably remember, I've posted a few times on some of the things we've done as a family to be a little more "green". We're still chugging right along and sticking with the things we started. We were extremely happy to see that the plastic recycling has been started back up again here in town. My guilt level increased with each plastic bottle, container, and bowl I had to throw away in the trash.

I've also kept my eye out for new products to try. It's not that 7th Generations products aren't great but if I can find one that works just as good, is environmentally friendly, keeps the tons of chemicals off my kids, and saves me money then it's a great bonus. I noticed that Arm & Hammer makes a "green" line called Essentials which includes laundry soap. Now price wise for me (remember that I shop in a military commissary so prices are probably cheaper for me) the 7th Generations soap runs a little over $7 per 32 wash load bottle....kinda pricey I know but it worked, is environmentally friendly and the skin irritation we were experiencing with the other soaps have disappeared**. At 5-6 loads per week the bottle lasted me over a month so no to bad when you think about it. The Arm & Hammer is $5 per 78 load bottle. The only thing different is that Arm & Hammer doesn't say it's HE safe. Several years ago we replaced our dead top loading washer with an HE front loader. I didn't realize until after I washed 2 loads that the soap wasn't deemed HE safe. It suds a tiny amount which was the same amount of suds I've gotten with all the supposed HE safe soaps. The clothes came out clean and soap free. So even though it's not claiming to be HE safe I'm going to keep using it. Course these results could vary between the various brands of HE washers. I'm not an HE washer expert but it does work in my Kenmore HE machine.

** We've tried various regular laundry soaps to include different types of free and clear soap and the skin irritation was still there. We didn't notice the decrease until we swapped to the plant based soaps.

I've been up to a bit of knitting and spinning since my last post. You know me, just trying to stay busy so I don't go insane.

First up is the baby blanket I knit for my cousin who was due this month.

Colorful Stripey Baby Blanket

She had the baby several weeks ago. A healthy 8lb, 3oz (if I remember the ozs correctly I know he was 8lbs) baby boy. Very adorable I might add. So needless to say they haven't gotten the blanket yet. I have to wait till payday to send it off to them. I used the concept from the Grandma's Favorite cloth pattern. I knit until I thought the stripe was wide enough and then swapped colors. It took 1 ball of each color with the exception of the off white which took 2. I used Peaches & Creme worsted cotton but any yarn will work. The blanket is measuring in at 32"x32".

I've finally kicked it in to gear on Shawn's cabled hoodie (ravelry)(non ravelry).

Cabled Hoodie

Ignore the pink yarn on the bottom. It's just waist yarn. I used a provisional cast on so I could make sure the bottom of the hoodie was stretchy enough. I'm using Cascade 220 Heathers. I went with the XXL size since my gauge is slightly tighter because I'm using a thinner yarn then the pattern was written for. If Shawn I did my math right this should come out at about 50 inch finished chest size which would make it the same size as Shawn's favorite pullover hoodie. I want to finish this up so I can start a sweater for myself. I refuse to make something for myself until I finish this. If I don't, it will keep being thrown to the side and Shawn will never get his sweater. It ended up getting set aside awhile back to work on some test knits and I never picked it back up. I want to make sure he has it by this winter.

Another dishcloth. This one is from the 1 Jun Monthly Dishcloth KAL.

American Flag Dishcloth

I used the dark blue cotton I originally had set aside for this cloth for baby E's baby blanket. I'm working on the mid June KAL cloth right now. I don't care for the way it's turning out in the variegated yarn so I'm going to swap to one of the striping yarns.

I finished a Jane Austen dress for Bree.

Jane Austen Dress

The pattern is in the second Mason Dixon Knitting book. Cute pattern but I needed to adjust it because the armhole depth was way to small. I don't know many toddlers who have toothpicks for arms. I used 2 skeins for Rowan Cotton Glace. Obviously the dress isn't finished since there is no fabric sewn on to make the skirt portion. This payday I'll pick out some fabric to match. I'm in the process of making several of these type of dresses for the kiddos. They are a lot faster then a dress that is all knit.

I received my Wizard of Oz Over the Rainbow sock club kit.

Over the Rainbow Kit

I only signed up for 4 of the kits. I wished I could have signed up for all of them but it just wasn't in the budget. Woolgirl puts together such wonderful kits. The yarn was dyed by Zenstring and is even more gorgeous in person.

I also received my Lord of the Strings sock club shipment.

Lord of the Rings Sock Club

This time it's the gradiance yarn and a cabled pattern. Once again, another great shipment from The Unique Sheep. I think I'm going to sign up for next years club when it rolls around. The stitch markers were an extra goody this time and I love them.

I've also been spinning.

My Handspun

I finished up the purple BFL and the superwash merino dyed by Yarn Pirate. The two skeins on the left are spun from the Yarn Pirate merino Pretty Pirate colorway and the two purple skeins are BFL.

Here's the 2ozs of superwash merino roving dyed by Yarn Love I've spun so far.

My Handspun

I'm going to (hopefully) spin the other 2 ozs at a similar consistency and then try my hand at plying the two together. I'm really starting to get the hang of it. Merino is a dream to spin. It's a tad slippery but I think I've gotten the hang of it now.

I can post this now since my swap pal has received her package.

Boing! Scarf

This is progress shot of the scarf I knit for her. Stupid me, I forgot to take a picture before I sent her package off. The pattern is Boing! by Anne Hanson (ravelry)(non ravelry) and the yarn is Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere in the color Hydrangea. It's a lovely yarn to work with....very soft! It knits up beautifully and it blocked out without a problem. I really wished I would have taken a picture of this in better light.

I also finished up a test knit for Woolgirl and hope to show it off here soon actually I have two to show off. It should be safe to post in a few weeks. The packages have gone out but not everyone has received their packages yet.

I think I've pretty much covered everything for now. I'll be back soon with updates on my current sock projects and most likely some spinning.

Happy Crafting!

Jun 5, 2009

Spinnning Again!

I have to say I think I've found my forever soap. We discovered Windrift Hill's goat milk soaps and decided to give them a try. We've been in search of a new bar soap so when Hubby saw these in the main billeting office (billeting is a military hotel) he picked up a couple of bars. This soap smells good enough to eat but the fabulous thing about it is it lathers well and rinses leaving you feeling clean but yet when you dry off your skin feels so smooth and you have the lingering yummy scent of the soap. They're sold in generous 5oz for around $5 which is actually a pretty good deal. I have no affiliation with this company just a super happy customer who wants to share with friends. The bonus is this a small business based out of Conrad, MT so we're supporting a some what local business. I do believe that Conrad is about 2 hours from here. We are trying really hard to support more small and local business.

I've been spinning and here are the results so far.

BFL Handspun

BFL Handspun

This was the first attempt the other day. I had about 3oz of Sakina Needles BFL that I purchased from TLE. I can see I've made some good progress from my last spinning attempt.

This is attempt number two.

My Handspun

As you can see I'm still working on this one. It's some yummy BFL I purchase from Susan before she closed up her etsy shop. I really like BFL it's soft and easy to spin but I think it's time to branch out into some different fibers. Soooooo.......

I picked up this with my TLE credit.

Superwash Merino Roving

The one on the left is Yarn Love Marianne Dashwood roving, color is Bayfield Apple and the one on the right is Yarn Pirate Superwash Merino roving, color is Pretty Pirate. I can't wait to start spinning them.

I had some stickers here at the house so I decided to put a few on my wheel.

My Wheel

My wheel has a clear lacquered finish. I know some people like to stain or paint their wheel but frankly that's just not my thing. I'll stick with stickers since if I get sick of them I can peal them off and pick out some new ones.

I'll be back in a few days with a knitting post. I have a few progress photos to show.

Happy Crafting!