Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Travel Knitting

I have less than two minutes before David is supposed to pick me up so we can be on our way. So in short this yarn (below) will be these socks.
And these skeins of wool goodness will become these mittens.
I HAD to cast these on over the weekend cause one was a new cast one for me so I am a little farther than I should be, but I took a few sweater patterns and my needles in case I need a new project.

He's here! bye!

Monday, December 15, 2008


Sorry, I've been knitting up a storm and there has been no time for typing - but now I can share the results, well the ones I have photographed.

Here we have one non-angry elephant. I figured out exactly where I went wrong on the pattern thanks to Ravelry I was able to figure out what my miss understanding was on the angry elephant. I finished it in two days, which is good because I wasn't feeling motivated to work on it much more. And now the angry elephant has a reason to be angry because it had to give up an arm and half a leg for this elephant.

I also completed Sheldon II. The only modification I made to the pattern was picking up the leg stitches rather than knitting the legs separately and sewing them on. I always have a hard time stuffing Sheldon because I don't want him over stuffed but his neck is a little floppy whether or not he is stuffed firmly. I think I found a happy medium

On Thursdays I ended up going to Pueblo, CO for a luncheon. Yes, for those of you who know where Alamosa, Colorado is you know that I spent four hours in the car for 2 hours of luncheon but I don't even care. It was wonderful to get out of the office, and the day before I had a request from a friend for a market bag, which I was able to start and complete on my journey to and from Pueblo. So it was a nice surpise.

I have cast on for my travel knitting projects - I'll try to get a photo tonight so I can share them with you before I get on the train tomorrow night. More about that later.

In other news David, myself, and our housemates went out to the mountains to cut down our Christmas tree this weekend. It was a bit chilly and snowy but fun. None of us were demanding about what kind of tree we wanted to it was a fairly quick pick.

Click any of the images for a lager view!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Angry Elephant

I can't stand it. The elephant still looks angry so I'm gonna make another one. I know, I know, rediculous. I will have enough yarn, but I might need to get a bit more stuffing.

Things I learned:
- apparently I put the body on the wrong side of the head (that is the only way I can figure for the angry eyes)

-that I need to stuff the the head/neck more firmly

- the legs are supposed to be a bit longer that the arms

So I'll correct those things with this next one - hopefully I'll get it done in just a couple days. I'm nearing half way done with my second Sheldon. Not second in a row, just the second one I have ever done. Once that is done I'll start my Ellie II (I have to use the same needles.).

Okay back to speed knitting.

Friday, December 5, 2008

May Your Coffee Always Be Hot

I completed two of my three French Press Cozy orders so I thought I'd share a few photos with you.
Prof. Plum and Coffee with Cream
I'm starting to get a little frustrated with the learning curve on this new camera - I'm finding all my photos to be yellowish.

Also I'm messing with new banner ideas... thoughts? I'm going to try to take some knitting related photos, but right now I don't have a good one.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Custom Work in Progress

This post has been three days in the making for no good reason so let's sum up.

My "yay" for today is that my refurbed Sansa mp3 player works on my office computer without installing software, which means I can listen to something other than Pandora at work (though Pandora is wonderful!). Previously my refubed Zen required installation of software which kept me from being able to listen to my own tunes.

Yesterday I turned on the Christmas music for the first time this season (other than singing by myself in the car). Also I decorated the office for Christmas, hence why I had to turn on the music, I certainly wasn't in the mood until listening to a little Bing Crosby.

So if you wandered around my Etsy shop lately you might be thinking, "hmm, she really hasn't done much with this for the holidays." And that is sorta true. I have been getting more custom requests than anything else. A few from friends and some from Etsy convos. I'm certainly not complaining- it is enough work to keep me busy and I enjoy designing specific items for customers. So all the photos on this post are from works in-progress or ones that I have finished, but were in progress when I took the photo (sorry, like I said I have been adding to this post for three days).

Note to self - tomorrow I must watch White Christmas!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Whoopie Pies

I volunteered to make the desserts for our Thanksgiving feast this past week. After spending an afternoon browsing Gourmet and Epicurious.com I finally decided I should make some traditional pumpkin pies and then I figured we had to have some chocolate so I settled on making Whoopie Pies.

I have never made pumpkin pies or crusts so I chose from the trusty recipes on Gourmet and was very please with both the pumpkin and the pastry. Even more exciting is that the crust on the left over pie is still crispy! Although it did remind me how much I hate my tiny oven.

I began searching the internet for the appropriate whoopie pie recipe. See, there are two kinds of filling for whoopie pies - crisco or marshmallow fluff. I find the crisco filling to be the more legit filling - though in normal life I avoid both crisco and marshmallow fluff.I couldn't find any recipe that I felt I could trust. You know that feeling? None of them were from website I had used in the past and after reading the recipes I wasn't sure it was what I was going for. So I called my mother-in-law, she is a good cook and has Amish heritage so her whoopie pie recipe is to be trusted. The result was success! They were husband and Goshen/Newton Mennonite persons approved!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Deciding to be Thankful

Last night I had a bit of a drive for a work presentation, and I was in the car by myself. I forget how rare it is to be in car by myself till it happens, and then I think... "wow, this is kinda nice". So I turned off the radio and sang with all my heart.

The song I started with was "For the Beauty of the Earth" because I had recently heard that it was a Thanksgiving based song, and I found it to be so true. It also reminded me of Little Women, when one of the sisters gets married, Amy I think.

Please follow me through on this little journey through my brain here, so thinking of Little Women brought me to Christmas and then to Christmas Carols. For the rest of my drive I sang Christmas carols, and I must say I was surprised at how many second verses I know and just how many songs I know! For that I must say a huge thanks to Lowell Birkey and Waldo Mennonite Church for the years and years of Christmas caroling as a child - I can still vividly remember some of the homes we caroled at and the hot chocolate that followed.

After singing the carols and thinking how thankful I was for Lowell I was reminded to consider all the things that I am truly thankful to God for this holiday...
I am thankful for my extended family that love and care about me.

I am thankful for my husband whose silliness and love I can fully depend on.

I am thankful that there are more sunny days than gray days, but I am also thankful that the gray days come to remind me of how good we have it.

I am thankful for hobbies that bring me and others joy.

I am thankful for friendships that remind me I am an unique individual in this community of volunteers.

I am thankful for the wonder of agriculture, that our food grows up from the ground and for the men and women that work to provide it.

I am thankful that I know what it means to be loved.

What are you finding yourself thankful for?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cotton Scarf

I realized I hadn't updated you on this wonderful cotton scarf I listed in my Etsy shop.

I had received some general request from folks her are allergic to wool to list some non-wool winter items. This scarf is made from 100% cotton and is a sort of neutral beige/peach.

It is knit with a seed stitch on one side and a woven stitch on the other, and the stitch patterns alternate on each knitted section. I also decided to add the extended stitch (I don't know it's technical name) to show the texture of the yarn and add a little more visual interest.

Lying flat this scarf measures 62 inches (157.5 cm) in length and 6.5 inches (16.5 cm)in width.

If you haven't wander through my shop in awhile come have a gander, and as always I am very open to custom orders.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My First Winter Sweater - DONE!

Can you believe it? Finally finished! I'm really glad that the generous knitter from New Hampshire sent me 25 yards instead of 20 because I was then able to lengthen both sleeves another inch or so, which I like much better. This picture is a little funny, but I think it nicely shows the fit of the sweater.

For those of you who are just joining me for this sweater journey here are the previous posts about the knitting and planning. And for those of you not on Ravelry, I'll post my knitting notes and modifications to the Wicked pattern at the end of this post.

The picture of all the little strings is all the left over yarn, ha ha.

My Knitting Notes - can also be found on my Project Page

11/3 - I tried it on last night and decided not to do the increases after the waist. I really thought I would, but hopefully it was the right choice - we’ll see.

11/5 - not doing the increasing was the right choice it fits great.
The pattern said to knit till it measured 11 inches, well I didn’t like how short that was so I knit till it measured 13 inches then I added my pocket, and then I knit the same ribbing as the collar for just over two inches and used the Elizabeth Zimmerman sewn bind off.
Now I’m starting my sleeves - yay! Oh and I did the seaming on my pocket cause I knew otherwise I would dred it when my sleeves were done

11/6 - measuring from the under arm I decrease 1 stitch when it measured 5.5 inches, 7.5 inches, 9.5 inches, 10.5 inches, 12 inches, and one last decrease before beginning the cuff at 16.5 inches - total sleeve decrease 6 stitches… total sleeve length 18 inches (2.5 rounds of 4 round ribbing repeat= 1.5 inches)

11/7 - for some reason my mind tells me that the faster I knit the more likely it is I’ll have enough yarn to finish the sleeve, weird, not true, still weird.

Yup - I have all my ends woven in, the entire sweater looks lovely, but I am out of yarn with 2.5 inches to complete on one sleeve - see bad photo. But a kind soul here on Ravelry, raggedknitter, has a bit extra of this color and is mail it off to me - hooray! I can’t wait!

11/18 finished, finished, finished. I even added length to both sleeves with the extra 25 yards that raggedknitter mailed to me, and I’m glad I did - I’ll have to check, but I believe my sleeves ended up being approx 19.5 inches.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Table Cloth

I live in a furnished apartment, no complaints about that. I appreciate that my previous apartment was furnished as well, it just means you have to get creative with what you have. I have talked about this before, but today my attention turns to my small dining area.

Yesterday I decided most normal households have at least one table cloth, especially if your table is ugly fake wood, so I bought one. Then I saw this $2 center piece mat that I thought would add a nice bit of contrast.

All this to say that this table cloth and simple center piece have made me much happier with the "style" of my kitchen. Then I got to wondering if the puke colored chairs would hold spray paint. No, I haven't tried.

David pointed out that a couple of the chair colors are the same as the art piece I purchased for the wall, and I had to kindly explain that it only looks like puke on chairs not on the wall - right? I mean that makes complete sense...?

This reminds me I never showed you what the completed green curtains look like, or my little side table covers, well I guess I'll have to do some practicing with the new camera.

Have a good one.

Monday, November 17, 2008

afgahns for Afghans and entrelac

Yippee, our area knitting group sent off 19 pairs of mittens to Afghanistan through afghans for Afghans. If you want to see which ones I knit you can see the notes on flickr.

In other news I am still awaiting yarn to finish my sweater, but I have begun a new project in the meantime.

I was recently generously gifted a bag of Noro Kureyon colorway 150 - thanks Sammie! So I very excitedly went through Ravelry looking at all the possibilities for this lovely wool and I jumped into this knitting project:

Entrelac Wrap.

I really like how it is coming together and it is a wonderful distraction while I wait for my bit of sweater yarn and the cotton for the last of Christmas knitting.

What are you all up to this Monday?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Question: Emmy, what the heck have you been doing since you haven't been blogging?

-Impatiently waiting for 20 yards of generously donated yarn to arrive from New Hampshire so I can finish my sweater. (didn't I tell you? I finished all but 2.5 inches on a sleeve and ran out of yarn)

- Knitting a ridiculous amount of wash cloths and tribbles for Christmas gifts

- Spinning flax into linen for a market bag

-Making mittens for afghans for Afghans

- Learning how to work our new sweet Nikon D80

- Figuring out which sweater to make next, since I am loving the result of my almost finished one

-For some reason feeling in a overall funk this week

- Looking forward to going home at Christmas

(yes, I realize the last two are most likely related)

In relation to offering my leg warmer pattern. I have been doing some research and reading about offering free patters. I have found that it may be in my best interest as a fiber artist, who hopes to one day have a decent income from fibering, to offer it at a small fee rather than free. This means I will need to do some substantial editing and find some test knitters so it may be awhile, thanks for understanding.

And about felting, well it seems I don't have it in me to write more about it, so sorry. I suppose I'll have to wait till it becomes a passion so here is a blog that explains the further details of hand felting, except I never used a sheet.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I know, I know

I made so many promises this week. I will make good, but I've been having a blogging set back - complete addiction to knitting my sweater. No worries though, I just have one sleeve left, please pray I have enough yarn - ahhh! But I will continue my chat on felting and much more, but first, this sleeve!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Magic of Felting

One of my faithful readers (I don't have hundreds, but I do have a few) requested that I share some about felting. Having recently learned about it myself the info is fresh in my mind so I'll do my best to share some tid-bits.

The type of felting I learned to do is called hand felting. This type of felting is done with wool that is not spun into yarn or knitted. I found that I prefer to do it with carded wool or roving. We did a bit with raw wool and mine didn't turn our very well.

The simplest way I can think to explain making a piece if felt with carded wool or roving is as follows: take some fluffed or loose roving and lay pieces so the fiber length is going left to right, then lay more on top of that going the opposite directions (top to bottom), and then a final and third layer left to right again.

Once all the fiber is laid out you press your hands down on the fiber and gently shake without moving your hands from the spot they are in and firmly press with your hands flat. I realize this sounds odd. What you are doing is getting the fibers to attach to one another. You'll notice the poof of your piece goes down. After doing that initial shake/rub then you get hot soapy water and poor some over the piece and continue to do the same motion.

To be continued.... oh the suspense

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sweater Progress and a Tribble

Happy Monday to all - I know those two things (happy + Monday) don't often go together, but today is warm and sunny here in the valley and there isn't much work to be done at the office so I am feeling a bit cheery.

I am also cheery because of my Wicked Sweater progress... are you ready for this? I cast on Friday night before going out to dinner and here it is folks - tah dah! Yes, I am so excited about this sweater that I have been knitting nearly non- stop. David was feeling especially goofy so it was difficult to get a photo. The goofiness is mostly because even though the time changed we found ourselves up at midnight last night - ridiculous.

Also I have been teaching my fellow volunteers how to knit - so far they have produced four and a half wash cloths and just cast on a hat and soon a scarf. They are doing really well and I am excited to share my addiction. David says I'm like a virus. Maw-ha-ha-ha. But because of their furious knitting I was able to try out this cool pattern with some scraps. For some reason it is called a Tribble, and I think they are very cute and a fabulous way to use up cotton rag scraps. Yes, I realize you can just make another rag with scraps, but why not have a little something else to wash dishes with.

Things to come this week... photos of my cotton scarf, leg warmer pattern with photos, and my lessons in learning to felt. Hope your Monday is sunny too!

Friday, October 31, 2008

So Close

Believe it or not I have completed three checks on my checklist.

- completed leg warmers
- spun and finished knitting convertible mittens
- completed hat

All I have left to do before I can cast on the sweater is finish about 14 inches of my cotton scarf! I even spent time this morning winding balls of yarn to organize my tiny stash - and to prep one skein to begin my sweater! Hooray! So I'm off to finish the scarf - oh and buy wooden buttons for the convertible mittens!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

To Do

My yarn for the Wicked sweater arrived today so I have written up my "to-do" list that must be completed before I am allowed to start knitting....

- knit second half of cotton scarf:
this should move quickly because it is a woven knit, very fast

- complete decreases on black and white hat:
this can only happen after I complete my leg warmers because I need my double point needles

- finish last half inch of leg warmers and bind off:
I just need to DO IT

- spin for and knit the last inch of convertible mittens:
again, this would probably take a total of a half hour

My hope is to complete this list before Saturday so I can begin knitting my sweater - yay! Also, I can then list the cotton scarf, the black and white hat, and the convertible mittens in my Esty shop for November. All very exciting - I'll keep you updated.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spinning Wheel Dreams

Lately I have been day dreaming about the Lendrum DT complete. I may have mentioned before that this is the wheel I hope to one day own, but it is currently on my mind because the question in my family is "what do you want for Christmas?". No, no, no, we do not buy each other gifts that cost $622 - this I know. But I am trying to decided if I want to start a Lendrum fund with Christmas gift money.

Truth is I'm leaning towards starting the fund after Christmas. Main reason - I really enjoy presents, even if I know what they are. And although I might be able to get a jump start on my Lendrum fund if it is all I ask for at Christmas, I know that I would be a little disappointed to have nothing to open.

So the result of all this typing babble is that I will save for the wheel starting in January and that I am probably a little selfish.

It's so pretty!

Back at it...

Today I'm jumping back into my second leg wamer. They sorta got put on hold for this house sitting gig. I have been enjoying house sitting, but there are so many chores for the animals and so many of them to play with that I really haven't gotten any knitting done at all. So this morning I spent time surfing Ravelry for some inspiration to finish my second leg warmer. I'm doing pretty well, I'm on row 56 out of 76 - then there will be 2.5 inches of ribbing.

The reason I must be inspired is that I have ordered some beautiful Cascade 220 Heathers in deep red to begin knitting my first "real" sweater. The sweater I'll be knitting is called Wicked and I'm planning to modify it by making it long sleeved and doing the collar ribbing on the bottom as well. I will also make it longer. So that is my upcoming project that means I must complete these leg warmers.

Oh I nearly forgot, I have some serious blocking to do for Christmas and two presents that I totally forgot about... time to go pattern surf.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Photos of Who I Am

So I was blog surfing and I came across this little mosaic creation and I thought I would enjoy trying it and I decided I should share it with you. David and I are house/pet sitting so I have no new knitting or spinning photos at the moment but there will be more to come this week.

So this is what I did for this mosaic...
* type your answer to each question below into Flickr Search
* using only the first page of results, pick an image
* copy and paste each URL into fd's mosaic maker
* blog it!
Photos of Who I Am

The Questions:

1. What is your first name? Emmy (but I typed Emmy Lou because that is what some people call me - and I like this photo the best)
2. What is your favorite food? stove top popcorn
3. What high school did you go to? Pensacola Christian Academy
4. What is your favorite color? Orange
5. Who is your celebrity crush? John Krasinski
6. What is your favorite drink? Chai
7. Dream vacation? Tour of Europe
8. Favorite dessert? Tiramisu
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? Mindful
10. What do you love most in life? Creativity
11. One word to describe you? Sensative
12. Your flickr name? emmylouhelmuth

1. Emmy Lou's Guitar, 2. popcorn, 3. Springfield Academy, 4. Green Tea Sunset, 5. John Krasinski, 6. Tea..., 7. Street sellers, 8. pick-me-up, 9. helping hand, 10. From above..., 11. Kevin Carter - Pulitzer 1994, 12. Etsy Front Page 8/25/08 utilemud

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

RMMC and Pike's Peak

As you can see here my weekend started with splitting wood. As a volunteer group whenever we want to go hike up around Colorado Springs area (near Divide) we spend a day volunteering at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp and then spend a day hiking. This way we get free lodging and food. Well, my task on Saturday was splitting wood. Myself and two other volunteers worked on this for the majority of our day and by the end we had split about two and a half truck beds of wood - and my back.

I was pretty sore the next day getting up at 5:45am to get some food, get packed up and start on the Peak. Hiking Pike's Peak was my second 14ner and I didn't quite know what to expect, but I was glad to find out that is was much simpler than hiking Mt. Blanca. As we reached the boulder field on Pike's the wind definately got more bitter, but we knew we were almost there. It was a little slow going, because of the lack of oxygen, but the boulder path was surprisingly clear. We reached the top in almost exactly five hours, and we were pretty proud of our hike when we saw all the driving and train riding tourists at the top of the mountain.

Tomorrow will be a knitting update - until then have a good one!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Listed Yarn

So the poll is closed and I took your advice - the fireball yarn has been listed in my Etsy shop. But never fear, those who voted for convertible mittens they are on their way.

I have one and a half mittens done with some super soft chocolate colored wool. Here you can see a photo of the wool before it was spun. Tomorrow maybe I'll have a work in progress photo of the mittens and I'll share some photos and details of my hike up Pike's Peak yesterday. So until then have a great evening!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Life Thoughts and Food

Where to begin... this morning I made my lovely cup of chai and sat down at my desk to read morning blogs as usual. One blog I read is indigirl and her post today was about the recession. Of course, this isn't the first time I have thought about the recession or buying local, but it did cause me to make a new decision.

I have always bought from our local farmer's market, and from our natural food co-op when I could. Recently I started purchasing my (and David's) groceries separate from the volunteer house shopping (for those of you who don't know David and I are full time volunteers with an organization called MVS). We are still on the joint budget with the house, but I was just realizing that though I only have $40 a week (which is for one meal for 7, three suppers and packed lunches all week) I can still choose to buy natural and support this small grocery co-op. I may have to spend a little more on some things, but since it will only be a portion of my groceries I think it is doable.

And so since today was so nice I took a little break from work and biked over to the co-op to get our snacks for climbing Pike's Peak this weekend - honey stix, fruit leather, and sesame cheddar sticks. Yup, we are heading up to RMMC, volunteering for a day and then hiking a day. Also, I am super excited to visit the "real world" and REI.

Anyhow, those are some of my thoughts and the photo shows some of the results from pickling hot peppers with onion, garlic, herbs, carrots, green beans, and cauliflower last Friday. Aren't they pretty?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Designer in Me - Leg Warmers

I had decided that though I have slouchy leg warmers I wanted some fitted ones. My reasons for this are comfort, warmth, and simply less adjusting. I really like slouchy ones because they are super warm llama and alpaca, but variety is the spice of life, right?

So I surfed around the internet and didn't find much in the way of unique leg warmers. A lot of patterns were simple ribbing, and most were slouchy.

Granted, most leg warmers go under pants so having them be cute is just a personal preference. I ran across a couple cabled patterns and stuck with this idea for warmth. From that point I decided, well heck, I guess I'll just design some of my own.

This decision may sound like an easy one, but there is something you must know - I HATE gauging/swatching (FYI for non-knitters - this means knitting a small piece and measuring to how many stitches you have per inch and how many rows per inch). Not only do I not enjoy swatching, but I always do it wrong anyhow.

Though this hate lays in my heart, I took up my needles and swatched anyhow. Not surprisingly part way up the leg of my first warmer it was clear that my row gauge was off by about two rows so I adjusted my plans and worked on.

I'm excited to say I really like the one completed leg warmer and it actually fits well, and I don't think it will slouch. The top, by my knee, is a little looser than I planned, but I think that is best for free movement without feeling constricted.

I am currently knitting the second leg warmer to double check my pattern that I wrote and then I will post a photo of modeled leg warmers, and maybe the pattern if folks are interested.

Don't forget the poll on the right is still open, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Snow and Fireball Yarn

Yup, that's right, it is Ocotober 14th and snowing. I'm not talking little dusty flakes either - big ol'wet ones. Snowing before halloween? I took a photo, but don't have it here at work. Last year our first snow was the day after Thanksgiving, which I think is perfect. I guess this year it IS the day after Canadian Thanksgiving - maybe God just got confused. Sigh. I just talked to my cousin in Virginia, they are wearing tank tops, and here I am sitting at my computer wearing my Endpaper Mitts. Truthfully I am more shocked than disgusted.

Okay, now to share with you my Fireball yarn, soon to be listed in my Etsy shop. I still need to weigh and count my niddy noddy wraps for length. I spun this yarn from the fireball fiber braid created on my crafty weekend. This yarn is two ply (that means there are two strands spun together) and is super wash wool. I really like how the textured turned out and I'm curious what it will look like knitted. My current debate with self is to knit something with it for my shop or to sell the yarn.

That brings us to my latest poll (vote on the right). What shall I do with this lovely yarn? Please vote!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Odd and Ends

I forgot to take a photo of my latest yarn so I decided to share some odds and ends. I went nuts with contact paper a week or so ago. This photo is of the poppies on the bottom of my bedroom door. Sadly the only available color was this powder blue. I also put an owl in the kitchen and some funky stars on our front door.

Last night I went to bed in sort of a funk. I can't quite identify where this said funk is coming from, but if I don't identify it soon I think I make take a "mental health" day on Wednesday. Sometimes you just need to be home alone for a whole day doing whatever you want. The ridiculous thing is that work isn't even busy it just isn't home - a place where I never seem to be anymore.

David and I went for a hike this past Saturday, it had been a while. Oh and we had to hike back in the pouring rain. I was sort of prepared for this, but not exactly. We had figured it would rain some and definately did on our hike out, but it didn't pour. As soon as we turned around to hike back it just POURED! So anyhow, after hikes like that a hot shower is incredible (notice the plural there, this isn't the first time I have been drenched after a hike).

Oh I thought I'd throw in a photo of the bunny from the wool festival because he was really cute.