Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How I pack to move.

Step one goes without saying: Find out I have less than a month to move.  Panic.

Step two: round up every WIP I've worked on in the last three months or so, and put them in a basket.  Do not attempt to move basket, or it will over flow all over the floor.  It will over flow about three times anyway.

Step three: round up all work yarn.  Worry that it isn't enough yarn.

Step four: decide that my WIP basket will clearly not be enough to keep me in projects until I get my stash back.   Since socks are a perfect on the go project, select about six balls of my favorite sock yarn.  Then decide that that's not enough and grab a couple balls of laceweight, just to be safe.  Put in a basket.  The stack leans against the pile in the  WIP basket, so it doesn't spill all over the floor.  Feel confident that this is definitely not too much yarn.

Step five: tape shut stash bins.  Panic.  Buy yarn.

Step six: realize that in Virginia they have clothes moths.  Panic again, because while the stash bins are reasonably beetle-proof, moths fly.  Apply more tape to stash bins.

Step seven: Pack all the clothes, toiletries, etc. we'll need while in transit.  This takes like three hours.  Obsess about yarn selections again.

Step eight: decide to participate in a CAL.  Realize the yarn I want for it is in a taped bin.  Attempt to open bin.  Realize that even if it is not moth proof, it is human proof.  Weep.

Step nine: get ready to load the car.  Realize that the whole towering piles in baskets thing is not going to work.  Throw everything into a giant rubbermaid bin.  Yarn bin ends up having to go in my dad's truck to get to my family's house, since the children have to fit in the car.

Step ten: arrive at family's house for Christmas.  Realize that I didn't pack my ballwinder and swift, yet have a giant number of skeins that need winding if I'm going to use them.  Panic some more.  Realize I'm at my mom's house.  Borrow her ballwinder and swift.

Step eleven: realize that I'm going to have to get all this stuff into my van.  Plus Christmas stuff.  Put all yarn in gallon size zip top bags.  Christmas yarn takes up two bags (my family clearly knows me).  Cram bags of yarn into small nooks and crannies around the suitcases.  Drive to Virginia.

Step twelve: moving truck arrives in Virginia.  Decide I need my stash and bring it to our temporary housing.  Requires two trips.

Time without stash: six weeks.

Unused yarn that I packed in the car: one less than half finished sweater, two balls lace weight, seven balls sock yarn, the Christmas yarn, two gallon bags of spinning fiber, and a (now broken) spindle.

Conclusion: I am either insane or think I knit/crochet a lot faster than I actually do.  Possibly both.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate Sweater

Chocolate Sweater!  This is the last pattern in my ebook, except for a super special surprise just for ebook customers.  Chocolate is about my favorite thing ever, because to me, chocolate means comfort. This sweater is worked in a super stretchy ribbed pattern with fancy cabling at the hem and cuffs. Tunic length with kimono sleeves, the arm shaping is generous to accommodate sleeves underneath. Sweater is worked in one piece sideways from the center back. Sleeves are worked join as you go sideways from the center underarm. Cabled collar is added join as you go, as well, for a bare minimum of seaming.

 This one is going to be a little bit different from usual, because my tech editor Carmel is awesome.  Pattern is available at the discounted price of $3.99 for the first week (until 12/7). At that time, the price will revert to $4.99.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Review: ThermoMorph

So something magical happened.  A company contacted me about reviewing their product.  Usually it's the other way around.  So here it is: ThermoMorph!

It is apparently made out of polymorph granules and is available on Amazon, for $19.95 per 500g.  Basically, it is a bottle of little plastic beads that melt in hot water.  They are about this big:
You dump them in hot water (I poured water from the kettle in a bowl, and dumped the beads in), and they quickly go clear and start to stick together, like so:
It's also quite sticky when you first pull it out, which solves the first worry I had about it, that it would be hard to get out of the boiling hot water.  It says on the bottle that it takes two minutes, but it never took that long for me.  It cools down pretty quickly to just pleasantly warm, but is really hot when it first comes out.  It is then surprisingly pliable:
My camera isn't good enough to pick it up, but when it's nice and hot, you can actually get a fingerprint in this stuff, which is cool.  The bottle says you can color it, which turned out ok, but don't be a dummy like me and use liquid food coloring, because it makes a big mess and is almost impossible to get evenly distributed.  I think a powder would work better.  Here is my best effort, at any rate:
That's going to be the handle of a beading tool, eventually.  It adheres to the wire really nicely.  It also adheres nicely to my crochet hook, that I made a nice ergonomic handle for:
You can also see how very badly I stained my hands making that beader handle pink.  It was everywhere, I tell you!  We also tried to make some buttons:
But I got super frustrated trying to get them all the same size and gave up.  The stuff is definitely hard enough to drill though, and should take paint well.  I don't keep any paint other than water colors on hand though, so I haven't tried that yet.

The one downside of this stuff is part of the whole reusable thing... once it's in a lump, it takes forever to warm back up again enough to be pliable.  We did get some interesting flower shapes, working with pieces that were warm and bendy on the outside and hard in the middle.  But, if you have leftover pieces, and you want to use them again later, I highly suggest rolling them out into a thin piece, and maybe snipping it into little bits before putting it back in the jar.  Also, a thing to keep in mind is that it's kind of boingy.  It springs back when you press on it, know what I mean?  But it is really neat, over all, and I'm looking forward to playing with it some more.

Full disclosure: I did get some free ThermoMorph to play with.  I was not however compensated in any other way for this review.

Just a reminder that my moving sale is still going on.  Get 20% off all the patterns in my Ravelry Store!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Yarn Review: Mountain Colors Weaver's Wool

If I have been quiet, and continue to be, I apologize, but Casa Driggs in in the midst of major upheaval.  We are quite suddenly moving to Virginia!  It is a move for the best of reasons (hello, shiny new job for my husband!), but as moves are expensive at best, I am having a big sale to try and raise some extra money.  All patterns in my Ravelry store are 20% off until we land, or January 15, whichever is later!

But the thing I'm really falling behind on is reviewing yarn and giving you cool previews of the next pattern in my book.  It will be a Chocolate Sweater, worked in this lovely yarn:
Mountain Colors Weaver's Wool.  This stuff actually comes in two put ups, a one pound skein, and Weavers Wool Quarters, which as the name implies is a mere quarter pound (4 oz).  I got the big skein, if you will remember, which was really cool because I geeked out on the idea of making a sweater without ever having to join a new piece of yarn.  But it was really NOT COOL because, even with extreme modifications, my ball winder won't hold nearly that much yarn.  If you also remember the cocoon-shaped, paper towel tube centered monstrosity of a ball I got that first skein into, let me tell you, it is not fun to work with.  Seriously, yarn popping off all over the place!  So in all honesty, if you get the big put up, just cut the dang yarn.  If I was really careful I could get half of a skein onto my ball winder at a time, and that isn't bad at all.  Or just buy the smaller put up.  The cost seems to be about the same per yard.

Weaver's Wool is, as the name implies, 100% wool, at about a DK weight.  It is the same as Mountain Colors 4/8's Wool, but a lighter weight.  It is smooth, round, and easy to work with (no splitting here!).  Of course, as with most small company yarn, the real draw is the colors, which are all beautiful.  Most LYS around here carry at least some Mountain Colors yarn, and I've yet to see a colorway that I didn't like.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Yarn Review - Knit Picks Comfy Sport

Suddenly I realize I've been neglecting to blog, for which I kick myself, but only a little bit.  I have been very busy, with all kinds of things.  But at any rate, I owe you a review of this lovely stuff:
Which I have been using to make this lovely thing:
Which is in fact available for preorder right here.  But at back to the yarn: Knit Picks Comfy Sport.  I've talked about the mixed feelings much of the knitting world has for Knit Picks in another post, and won't get into it again.  This one is 75% Pima cotton, 25% acrylic, and actually also comes in fingering and worsted weights, which is super convenient.  Also, six bazillion solid colors, so there's at least one color for everyone.  Also?  Soft and fluffy like a cloud.  All this combines to make Comfy my first pick for a workhorse cotton yarn.

Downsides?  You do have to remember that it is cotton, and it behaves like cotton (although the acrylic content does mitigate it a bit).  If you expect it to behave like a wool yarn, you will be disappointed.  Also, when I frog it, it tends to send tiny cotton fibers into the air, which makes me sneeze.  The yarn is none worse for the wear though, so I'll take it.  Most fluffy soft cotton yarns pill like a monster, especially if you frog them, and this does not.

So really, I'll probably keep using this stuff as long as Knit Picks makes it.  It's nice, and the price is right.  Can't argue with that.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Yarn Along the Rockies, Part 4 and Part 5

This week I have learned that there is in fact such a thing as too many yarn stores.  We did three on Friday, and three on Saturday, which was nearly too much because a) they were the far away stores, and b) we had to work around me and the kids' belt tests.  I have completely lost track of what I got on those days, however here is a picture of all the swag:

I think I lost something, but can't figure what.  Here's a picture of all the things I bought:
There was also actually a shawl pin, but I discovered this morning that I could also use it to pin up my hair, and forgot that it was attached to my head when I was taking pictures.  So, yarn stores visited on Friday:

Knit Knook:  I got the shawl pin here.  Another yarn store with a little coffee shop inside, except this one actually has muffins and stuff, not just drinks, which was a nice surprise.  Nice big open space in the middle to sit and knit in too.  They also have a restroom, which turned out to be very important to my cute little girls.

Yarn West:  They have a yarn bombed bicycle in front!  This one is kind of hidden in a shopping center - you have to walk down a little path from the parking lot.

The Recycled Lamb:  Happy thirtieth anniversary, Recycled Lamb!  Nice shop, I can see why they would be able to stick around so long.  They were having a yarn tasting that evening that we couldn't stay for, but it looked really cool.  Also, they have coned yarn for weaving.

And on Saturday, we went up to Boulder:

Mew Mew's Yarn Shop:  Cute little shop.  Oldest girl found something called "dragon scales," which are basically aluminum scales you can work into your knitting.  They look extremely cool.

Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins: This is another one you have to walk down a bath through the shopping center to find, at least the way my cell phone told us to go to get there.  This is a BIG shop, which has an adjoining store that is basically all weaving stuff.  So if you weave, go here.  I also found a really clever DPN holder, that I can use over my needles when there's a project on them, which I'll probably talk about some more once I've tried it out.

Gypsy Wools: These guys dye most of the yarn in their shop, it seems.  And it is very nice stuff!  They also carry a wide selection of hand dyed embroidery thread, of which oldest girl got some for her tatting (it's linen!).  Be careful parking around here, most of the roads are one way and it was quite possibly more confusing than down town Denver.  There were fewer places to park, least ways.

So that was the yarn crawl, all twenty and three yarn stores, from Colorado Springs in the South to Boulder in the North.  If I had it to do again, I would figure out how to do in fewer days, because honestly, by the end I was ready to be DONE.  But we pulled it off with an assortment of small children in tow, so I think we did well enough!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Yarn Along the Rockies, part 3

Yarn Along the Rockies!  We went to five yarn stores yesterday, and had lots of fun.  Also got lost.  But fun!  So, acquired:

Swag: just buttons for my bag.

Purchased: 1 skein Dizzy Blond Superwash Sock (it comes with a stitch marker!), 1 skein Skeindalous Eartha Sock

Stores visited:

Bags by CAB: If you want to go here, make sure you have the right address, then google map the *address.*  If you just search for the store name, it will take you to a place that was, apparently, two locations ago.  We ended up at the two locations ago place first, which was annoying, but not the store's fault.  There was however a nice restaurant there, so we had snazzy lunch.  When we finally got there, the store is at least half bag store.  But what yarn they do carry is nice.

Wild Yarns: I like this store.  :)  They specialize in local hand dyed yarns, which is about my favorite thing ever, and have their shelves labeled as "dyed in (place)."  They also have other nifty local hand made things.  Easy to find, to boot, which was nice after the fiasco with the first store.  I wish they were closer to my house!  This is where I got the Dizzy Blond (dyed in California).

Lamb Shoppe: Big yarn store!  They also have a little cafe inside that has coffee and tea and stuff.  Also, a corner with toys for the kiddos, which I always appreciate.  We didn't get to linger here because the children were getting hungry again, but there is a place next door that has super tasty frozen custard treats.

Fabric Bliss: This was my favorite yarn store until I went to Stash this weekend, and it is still a close second. They carry nice quilting stuff as well as yarn, and it is nice yarn!  This is where I got the Skeindalous - it is a special limited edition colorway for the yarn crawl.  They do that every year.  Last year the special yarn was from Pigeonroof Studios, one of my favorite dyers.  I wish they were closer to my house too!

Knit Knack: These guys are all the way in Arvada!  That is much further away than I initially believed!  They are a nice store though, right in the downtown.  They have a little cafe with drinks in the yarn store, too, which I always like.  Little girl tried to take some yarn home from here, so I had to take her back.  She had to give it a good-bye hug, which was very cute.

We're taking a break until Friday, when we are going to do the rest of the Denver area stores (what we have been calling the "outer loop"), then on Saturday we will go up to Boulder for the last three stores.  We are almost done!