I love you, almost Fall!

This week, we had quite the cool front come through central Ohio to conclude the final week of August.  I awoke on Thursday to a balmy 46 degree weather.  When taking the dogs out in the morning, Stitch (the avatar to the right) looked back at me as if to say "WTF?". Classic!

Yes, I am one of "those" people that puts sweaters on her dogs in the winter!  The younger dog, Oscar, wants no part of it.  He's like wrestling a wild bull just to get it on.  Stitch, on the other hand, shivers in the winter - even in the house.  He sits quietly as you put it on and seems to be very thankful for his sweaters as he doesn't pull or tug to try to get them off.  He lets us put Halloween costumes on him as well.  Very cool dog. 

We also got the news that my brother-in-law's new wife gave birth to a baby girl this week!  When hubby told me as I walked in from work, I promptly asked the name.  He said "Daisy".  Daisy?  Seriously?  I had a neighbor with a dog named Daisy.  Pair it up with our last name, Ochoa, it didn't exactly roll off the tongue.  The kids were in on it as well...Daisy?  Mommy, are you sure?  Who names their kid Daisy?

Well, hubby misheard - it's Casey.

So I whipped out the pink Rowan Cashcotton I recently acquired from The Cucumber Patch (you have to check this place out - link to the right), and started the sweetest little sweater.  I found a free pattern on Ravelry called the Provence Baby Cardigan and it's supposed to look like this when it's done.

It's been soooo long since I have knit a baby garment that it brought back fond memories of all the sweaters, soakers and booties I made for my daughter years ago.  Hubby has laid down the challenge to have it in the mail by Tuesday (I'm only halfway up the back after two nights) so I have to find some serious knitting time.  Will post progress photos this weekend.

Before starting the cardigan, I had to finish yet another pair of fingerless gloves!  I used Adriafil Knitcol Trends sock yarn in the same colorway from the yarn giveaway in August.  I just love this yarn and it knits up very bright and cheery....Will be great on those gray winter days:

Did about two inches of 2 x 2 ribbing then a simple knit/purl pattern I found in my Vogue Stitchionary (love these books).  Finish it off with about an inch of the 2 x 2.  The mitts are a little snug but what I learned last year is they usually stretch a bit after a few wears.
Oh!  Did anyone see the margarita scarf on Ravelry?!?!  That is a total "me" project...immediately ordered the kit in the yarn color shown (although I gave serious consideration to the grasshopper color).   Got an email today that it shipped with the tracking number...EEeee!  Mail for me soon!

"New" was the theme of the week

For my son: A new school (middle school)
For me:   New routine (I went back to work this week)
For my daughter: A new necklace (we went to the Jonas Brothers concert this week and she scored a Nick Jonas necklace as a souvenir - everybody scream at once!)
For my husband: Solitude - for the first time in months, he had the house to himself
For the family: Live Jonas Brothers and the Columbus Zoo!!

Here's my son at the petting zoo last weekend.....he's such an animal lover...you would have to be to lay on the ground with the stinky goat. 

And our view at the Jonas concert.  We scored seriously great seats - floor level, ten rows back from the stage.  Here's a photo of Kevin Jonas (I think) taken on our iphone to give you some perspective on how close we were.  My daughter's eyes just about popped out of her head when she saw just how close her Disney channel idols were to her!  And, there is nothing like going to a concert with every 14 year old  teenage girl in the city of Columbus to make you really feel your age!

At one point in the show, the Jonas Brothers hose the crowd with soap bubbles.  Hubby didn't duck.  He got foamed. As did the dad behind him.  Hysterical.

But amongst all this new, I found time for the old. 

The days are already starting to cool off and it seems to have been perfectly timed to the kids going back to school.  Not that this was a particularly warm summer.  There were very few days over 90 degrees.  Not at any point did I want to knit summer wear as I have in years past.  Wasn't inspired into anything but fingerless gloves, socks, scarves, etc.  I am hoping this isn't some crazy women's intuition about the upcoming winter - like I have to stock up on warm woolen items lest we freeze.  My daughter feels it as well as she exclaims every morning that she can't wait to wear her winter boots - the men in the family just shake their heads.

So in preparation for the cold, this week I finished a scarf made from Jaeger Roma in a lovely fern green color.  I found the pattern in the Nicky Epstein embellishment book and just added a couple garter stitches on each side.  Definitely still in my "leaf" pattern mode.  Made some matching fingerless mitts as well in the same yummy Roma.  I'm feeling I ended the scarf a little too early, though, (was afraid I was going to run out of yarn), so I may rip back and add one more repeat of the leaf pattern.

Friday night, while watching the wonderful tribute to Ted Kennedy (was never really a fan of Teddy but can appreciate what a larger than life character he was), I cast on for Sweaterbabe's knitted cowl.  I scored some RYC cashmere tweed (see previous post) last month but at only 25 grams per ball, I was limited to an accessory versus an entire sweater.  Here is it on the needles.  Its wonderfully soft and I'm thinking it's deserving of some matching fingerless gloves as well.

Apparently, my intuition about the impending cold only goes so far as I don't feel compelled to knit an entire glove or mitten - only fingerless....and my daughter wants to wear her winter boots with a mini skirt so I wouldn't throw away your Farmer's Almanac just yet!

Oh, before I forget, I will be posting a free pattern soon for fingerless mitts!  Stay tuned!

The Big Pink

As promised, here are the photos of the rose-dyed yarn completed last week. I also have included a photo of the rose so you can compare the actual color of the flower versus the dyed yarn. Like the other natural dye attempts, this yarn ended up with high and low intensity of color, even with the vinegar soak before. Not minding it at all as it lends to the hand-dyed, made at home quality of it. A nice bonus is the yarn has a yummy rose-y smell to it.

Hoping, before the first frost, we will be lucky enough to get at least eight to ten more flowers. Not holding my breath but a girl can hope, eh?

Now, what to do with this small quantity (25 gm - approximately 100 yards) of yarn?

The Yarn Experiment Continues!

Hello and happy Monday! I'm still on my quest for finding natural items around the house to use as yarn dye. As luck would have it, we have a few rose bushes that were planted by the original owner of our house. Last year, the rose bushes rocked...I mean we had gorgeous light pinky-peachy roses almost weekly. This year, almost nothing. And rose bushes not in bloom have a serious case of the uglies.

You can imagine my surprise to round the corner of the garage last week to find eight or so perfect roses on our previously barren bush. Picture perfect.

So what did I do? Yep, chopped all their heads off! Fearing I wouldn't have enough dye color, I grabbed a few dark purple petunias, as well as some pinky-red Snapdragons (supposedly they are one of the best flowers to dye with? - Seriously, how do you dispute that?).

I soaked my yarn (about 100 yards) in 1/2 cup of vinegar and mildly hot water (read somewhere that helps the yarn "grab" the dye) for about an hour. I made sure just to set the yarn into the hot water and not agitate it as I was using my favorite Jaegar Extra Fine Merino and feared I would felt it. After about an hour, I squeezed the excess water/vinegar out and set aside.

I set the roses petals (removed the center), snapdragons and petunias in about three cups of water on the stove top and nearly brought it to a boil. Within 10 minutes, the flowers released all their color to the point that the petunias almost became translucent. I brought the dye off the stovetop and carefully lower the yarn into it.

Because I am a freak, I brought the steaming hot pot outside on the deck with me to watch. It was kinda an amazing process. Within 30 minutes the water was completely clear because the yarn with the vinegar bath actually acted as a dye magnet. It really does work! The yarn soaked up the dye from the water, leaving the water almost crystal clear again. The result is a beautiful pinky peachy yarn that I will post photos of this afternoon! This, by far, was the most successful dying adventure yet...partially because I love pink and was so very happy to finally be able to use roses from the garden!

For anyone wanting to try natural yarn dying, this website was awesome for information:


Fruit Flies and Fighting Back

Getting Rid of Fruit Flies - Summer gives us the opportunity to enjoy fruits in abundance and our family buy them by the dozen, our kids enjoy them, especially our daughter, Fruit Flies also appreciate the gesture, they will appear within a few weeks and will remain a problem for the rest of the summer.

I found and easy way to get rid of them and keep them in check, take a shallow dish about 9 inches in diameter or even bigger, pour about half of cup of Red Wine, covered the dish with clear Saran plastic wrap, make it tight and poke a few holes with a tip of steak knife a tad bigger than the size of their bodies and place the dish next to the source of the problem.

Alternatively, you could use used Tea Bags instead of Red Wine, make sure they are very moist.

The fermentation of the Red Wine or the moist Tea Bags is a magnet to them.

Winner, Yarn and more Yarn

Thank you everyone who popped over from Ravelry to offer comments about our new blog. I truly appreciate the Ravelry community - always willing to offer opinion, share and participate in this crazy knitting thing we are all addicted to. Ravelry members are rockstars!

Hubby and I are working hard on suggested revisions and will most likely have another contest shortly. Working hard, that is, between all the back to school shopping for the kids. This year my son is off to middle school (big sniff!) and the list of supplies he needs is pretty impressive. What happened to the days that we went off to school with a new pack of pens, a few folders and notebook paper? When did it become imperative to learning to have dry erase markers that have to be a specific brand?

My son also needed all new jeans....in size 16 slim. That's right, he's eleven years old and has to be in a 16 for the length. No slim in the world is slim enough for him and he usually looks like he's wearing his dad's pants. He's always been really slender and now, is almost as tall as I am (5'5"). With hubby only 5'8", we're not sure where he gets his height. Finding 16 slims is no easy task. Too many trips to too many stores this week. Not enough knitting. 90 degrees and humid. I get cranky.

I did, however, find time to block a scarf I finished two months or so ago. Really digging the leaf motifs on this after blocking.

In between all this, I have tried my hand at some "nature dying". I bumped into a website at the beginning of summer that listed what dye color could be derived using different plants. So we had a go with it and the photo above is the results! Using Jaeger Extra Fine Merino wound in 100 yard hanks, the light green yarn was dyed with fresh cut grass, the yellow with tumeric and the brown with Red Rose tea. Now, these are not any special color you couldn't buy at the store. Nor are they hand painted and fabulous....but they are kinda cool that you could go into the backyard, or open a drawer in your kitchen and dye your yarn. I found none of the yarn dyed evenly (meaning I have highs and lows of the color) but I kinda like that too.

Today, we attack the rose bushes for dye base! Also, if you are a snapdragon in my garden, you best hide as I hear you are the best flower to use for dying!

Portland, Oregon - Sock Summit, Alternatives and Free Yarn!

Did I mention we used to live in Portland, Oregon? We moved to Ohio roughly two years ago for a job opportunity. Imagine my dismay to hear the Sock Summit was in Portland! The agony! Knowing I could have simply taken a few vacation days, not have to travel, be in my own bed every night and go to the hottest sock gathering this year?!?! It seriously has been bumming me out. Every time I log onto Ravelry, I get more and more homesick for the Pacific Northwest. Yes - could I have booked a flight, flown across country, stayed with friends, had hubby watch the kids and attended. Of course. But who has an extra $800 laying around to get to Portland for three days?

Here's the strange part....I don't even knit socks. The farthest I have gotten is a two needle variety pattern written in the 1940's. DPN's are my worse enemy. Doesn't matter though. I am pouting about not going anyways. I feel like I am missing a great party because my Dad is not letting me go! Pout, pout, pout!

The upside for me is there are many projects to use all this yummy sock yarn on without actually knitting socks! With that being said, to celebrate opening day of the Sock Summit 2009, I am giving away two balls of Adriafil Knitcol Trends sock yarn! It's a self-striping/patterning yarn that knits up to almost a sport weight (kinda inbetween a true sock and at DK weight). I have a photo of some on the needles right now that are going to be awesome fingerless gloves for the Fall. The best part is there will be a tiny Hippo included (knit on Red Heart - Heart & Sole).

So what's the catch? Free yarn? Too good to be true, right? Nope! I just need a favor....Just post a comment, including your email so I can reach the random lucky winner, and tell me what you like about Herbie Dog Digs and what needs to change. All input is greatly appreciated (good or bad)!

Good luck to all and we will pick the lucky winner on Sunday!!!