Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Project 1: Pinwheel Sweater

Cost: Pattern - Free

Yarn - 15 balls Elann Highland Wool - $2.38/ball - $35.70 plus tax and shipping

Denise Interchangable Needles - abt. $22.00

I am currently working on the http://www.elann.com/ "pinwheel sweater". I chose some different colors than they advertise on their site, and went with a purple and green theme. So far so good. It's simplicity messes me up though and I am forgetting if I am on an overcast row or a straight knit row. This project made me breakdown and invest in a Denise interchangable knitting set. That way I can have one VERY large circular needle. Normally, I knit socks, but I try to make one or two sweaters each winter to get out of the small gauges.

I started this project right after Thanksgiving. I had to take a couple weeks off right before Christmas to knock out some last minute gifts for some people. Right now, one round on the sweater takes about 20 to 25 minutes to complete. With 14 rows left, that should take me about 5 hours to complete the body. I try to work on the sweater for an hour a day, so theoretically the body should be done by the 20th. HA! Realistically I think I have about a month or a month and a half before I finish.

Project 2: Socks from July (the knitter.com sock of the month club)

Cost: probably $16.95

Yarn: 2 balls Regia 4 ply wool Nations (red, white, and blue)

Socks from July, you say! Well, it's like this.... I keep a pair of socks going in my purse and pair on my bedside table. These are the bedside table socks. I don't actually keep up with my sock of the month club, but I do knit a pair of socks a month. I keep subscribing because they are a lovely monthly suprise. Now, I have a three year old who believes he is indeed the center of the universe. While he was a baby, I got into the habit of knitting before I went to sleep to help me relax. Kenny (my three year old) has decided in the last few months that I need to pay attention to him. I like him better, so, as you can see, I am still working on July's socks. I have about three inches left on the first sock. I am knitting them with one large circluar (Addi turbo). I love the one circular method. Since I started this sock I have learned to knit two socks at once. I'm sad I didn't do that on these because I have been looking at them for so long and I dread the second sock. Its a great pattern and a fairly easy lace with a solid sole. Estimated time to finish: at this rate forever.

Project 3: Bell Lace Wool Ease Socks

Cost: abt: $2.50

Yarn: One skeen Lion Brand Wool-Ease in variegated green and browns

Pattern: http://www.knitlist.com/96gift/giftbellsocks.htm

So I had this brilliant idea before Christmas that I could knit my mother my favorite pair of socks. I've knit this pattern and it is the most comfortable pair of socks I have. They go fast being worsted weight. I'm doing two at once on two circulars. What I realized after I had the cuffs done was that even though this is an acrylic wool blend, my mother would still not touch them because of the wool. She swears she is allergic to wool. Ah well. It's very sad that I will have another pair of my favorite socks soon. These are my current purse socks.

Project 4: Scarf

Cost: free sample wool from Jehovah Jireh Farm http://www.woolmill.com/ (I purchase through ebay)

Pattern: Feather Lace Scarf http://www.yarnmarket.com/yarn/Windy_Valley_Muskox_Free-Feather_Lace_Scarf_Free-2134.html

I buy too much wool from Jehovah Jireh Farm. I really enjoy their colorways and it is a very easy wool for me to spin. The sample I recieved was colorway Sangria. It has some very nice wine, red, and purple tones to it. I spun it fairly thin. It is most likely a DK weight after plying. Therefore, it looks nothing like the picture after knitting, but is still turning out nicely. I only had about 3 ounces, so I don't know how long it will get, but as it stands it is about 14 inches long. I haven't worked on it since October.

Project 5: Baby Socks

Cost: Yarn - Crystal Palace "Maizy Print" Springtime $6.25 per ball - 2 balls

Pattern: Maizy Ruffled Socks - http://www.straw.com/cpy/patterns2/socks/maizy-ruffled-socks.html

I started these when I was on jury duty in October. I started with the infant socks and decided to do two at one time. This is a really neat yarn made from corn fiber and nylon. It is very different in hand than wool to knit. I have trouble picking up every strand of the ply, but I'm honestly facinated by the yarn. I will definately use it again. The cuffs on this pattern have an incredible number of stitches. I'm to the point where I need to turn the heels and I haven't worked on these since October either. I should finish these soon, I just have to keep from getting distracted by something else new. This is an absolutely slow going pattern for me with the two at once. I may just switch over to double points and knock them out.

Project 6: Tippet Class Presentation

I have another hobby as a medieval recreator. I try to get presentations ready to teach amateur costumers. I just completed my presentations on Cotehardies and Houppelandes. Those are the classes I will teach in February in Kansas City. I always try to get one more knocked out while I have some momentum going and think a class on tippets might be just the thing. Tippets are narrow pieces of fabric that hang from the elbow in some 14th and 15th Century styles of male and female dress. There are many interpretations of the style. The two main groups seem to be separate cuff styles and tippet cut with the body of the sleeve styles. I was taught the main body style, but am working on exploring other options as well as supporting the main body style with pictorial evidence from the art of the period. Robin Neatherton (http://www.netherton.net/robin/) has apparently written an article on the tippet that I hope to be able to read by the end of the week. No time limit on this project. An example of a tippet can be seen at the top in a piece from the Romance of Alexander.

Project 7: College Accounting

Ack, never take accounting by correspondence. This would be so much easier if I had someone to show me how to do it. I'm doing well though. Currently struggling through Chapter 5. I may have to withdraw if I change jobs this month but we will see.

Project 8: Principles of Banking

Also a correspondence course. Very Easy. Very Informative. May try to pound this one out before I end my current employment. I'm really enjoying both of these courses, but this one has such a light work load that I don't believe it would be difficult to wrap it up quickly. I don't know that I am learning much that will apply to my life outside of banking, but the content is absolutely facinating. I wish I had taken it 5 years ago. Did you know the first paper money in North America was promissory notes written on the back of playing cards in what is now Canada?

Project 9: Complete 14th Century Noble Ladies Outfit/ Wardrobe
Cost: I hate to know

My current plan is to make hosen, chemise, cotehardie, surcote, houppeland, belt, hat and something with folley bells to wear in the SCA. I have all the fabric in varying degrees of "are you really going out in that?". Not really, but the linen is in chartreuse and a very bold pink. Those are under layers and linings though. The outer layers are quite nice eggplants, pinks, and a taupe print. Every time I try to work on this, my son throws a fit because I am in the way of his trains. The houppelande is cut out and will be in a style I have found in the Decamareon by Boccacio. I will tailor the other garments to fit this manuscript as well so they are cohesive. I've developed a cotehardie pattern using some exant finds with a close fit from the same time period. Mostly they are based on the Herjolfnes finds in Greenland. So, the pattern is done, the houppelande is cut, but I really need to get on getting the rest of it cut.

Project 10: Muppets
Cost: apx. $15 per puppet in supplies
Pattern: www.puppetproject.com the glorified sock puppet and the basic round.

My brother and I have been doing puppets for a few months now and they are really turning out well. They look great and I hope to offer some on ebay soon to recoupe some of the cost I have incurred. My neices, nephews, and son have been have a great time putting on puppet shows for us. These people at puppet project have great patterns that are clear and easy to follow. I highly recommend them.

Project 11: Bees
Cost: $200 round about

Last year my brother picked up on my enthusiastic desire for bees and started a hive on my parents farm out in the middle of nowhere. He invited me out several times to help, but seems to be trying to sucker my husband into caring now. We will see. My bees arrive the last week of March from The Walter T Kelley Company in Kentucky (http://www.kelleybees.com/). I cannot wait! I had zero sightings of bees in my garden last year and it was terribly depressing. I have my hives and all my equipment. Hopefully they will increase the production of my fruit trees and shrubs. Additionally I hope they won't completely freak out my neighbors. None of my neighbors are outside much though, so I don't think they will notice anything but more flowers in their yards. I live in the city of St. Louis so this should be a great adventure. Fortunately, I live really close to the Mississippi river, so I am hoping for some good tasting honey from all the wild plants nearby. I chose the Kelley company because we had such a good experience with their bees last year. They were incredibly easy to handle and wonderfully healthy.

My brother and I collected a wild hive from a barn at one point in the year and that was a competely different experience. They were angry, crazed, and aggressive bees. It was so much fun and a great learning experience. I definately learned what "she had a bee in her bonnet" meant.

Project 11: My Garden

So, last year I decided to plant Thai Bottle Gourds. This is a really fun plant that likes to have fun in your garden. If you decide to plant these, I've learned a couple of things.
1. The fruit hides and needs to be harvested young for eating.
2. If you miss the fruit and it gets big, paint them up for Halloween, they make great decorations.
3. Plant them far away from your garden with plenty of room to grow. Trellises are good! (50 ft high trellis)
I have a garden that is about 40 by 50 feet split up into 4x4 foot planting areas for square foot garndening. I did two plants in a 1x4 ft area with a 8 foot high trellis. They completely took over the ENTIRE garden. I would go out and prune every weekend to no avail. They loved my yard. One day I got out of the shower and looked over at my dining room window and they were on the ceiling of my house! It was crazy. After battling them all summer I let them win and decided to depend upon a good freeze to knock them out. Now I need to clean up the garden. I also need to plan what I will plant next year.

Next year, I am thinking staples. A ton of dry beans, some chick peas, okra, tomatoes, one section of melon, one section with squash, and some summer squash. Hopefully, the addition of bees will get me some good summer squash for a change.

Project 12: New Rabbit.
Cost: $100 with adoption fee and vet bills

Ok, so I have this terribly fercious bunny named Oreo. He is a siamese colored Jersey Wooley and is about 1 1/2 years old. I adore him. He believes me to be a necessary evil. He also believe he can take my 14 year old cat in a fair fight. Fortunately my cat believes this as well. I have collected about 2 gallon bags of his fur to make something out of, but alas, I am a little obsessive and want more. More importantly I would like to get him a friend so that he can stop bullying the cat. Hopefully, I can get signed up with the Missouri Houserabbit Society soon and find him a displaced buddy.

Sadly, I know there are more projects waiting patiently in my home. I know there are more costumes and sweaters and socks and crazed indoor citrus production ideas on the burner, but this is what I can think of for now. Maybe I can post again sooner than in the next year and a half and use this as my list to keep me on track. Maybe that is too much to ask.

I probably start a new job soon that will lead to additional classes in an effort to get licensing. Ah well.

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