My current work in progress:

1. Woodfords, designed by Elizabeth Doherty, knit from Madelinetosh Merino Light in the "paper" colorway on U.S. size 3, 5, and 7 needles.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Lots of Fun Stuff

I have a post full of lots of great, fun stuff to give away — all of it generously donated by firefly of I Live on a Farm.

firefly has been an online buddy of mine since she started her blog a few years ago. Yesterday I got a big box of goodies from her — some for me and Lucy, and a whole bunch to give away to my readers.

First up, a whole whack of patterns — a nice assortment of patterns to knit pretty Christmas stockings, a scarf, a hat, some very cute bags, and her biscuit blanket. You can check out her patterns for sale online here on her website or in her etsy shop. They are printed in full color with clear photos, and step-by-step instructions.

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And second, a kit to knit her biscuit blanket. Check out the link to read about it and see what’s included.

She very kindly send me a completed biscuit blanket as a gift.

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As you can see, this is lovely, but what you can’t see is how soft the cotton yarn is.

Would you like to be entered in the drawing for a chance to win a pattern, or for one lucky person, the Biscuit Blanket Kit? Leave a comment on THIS post by noon eastern time on Sunday, December 12, 2010 to be entered in the drawing. (Entries sent via the “Contact Me” link or emailed to me will not be included in the drawing.) If you are unsure of how to leave a comment, check out the tutorial on how to leave a comment in the right-hand sidebar of my blog.

Lucy sez:

“firefly sent me a present too but Momma told me I have to wait til Christmas to open it. I’m sulking.”

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Meanwhile, back at denim central, I am plugging along on my second sleeve. I have high hopes of finishing this sweater this weekend.

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Anyhow, if you would like to be entered in the drawing for the lovely items firefly has so generously donated, leave a comment!

One Down

I finished the first sleeve of my denim aran last night, and I attached it to the body.

As I mentioned earlier, I attached it using a three-needle bind-off. I left the live stitches of the sleeve on one needle and using another needle, picked up the same number of stitches along the body of the sweater, after measuring the width of the sleeve against the body so I’d know how far down each side to pick up.

Then I placed the sleeve against the body, right sides together and did the three-needle bind-off. I’m very pleased with the results.

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The color is way off — due to bad lighting. It’s dark when I get home from work and I don’t want to use a flash because it obscures the cabling.

And I’ve started the second sleeve.

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This photo was taken in better light!

At this point I am very ready for this to be done so I can throw the whole thing in the washer and dryer and then gaze upon the finished object.

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An Anniversary

Today marks one year since I embarked on my quest to eat natural and/or organic foods as much as possible. It has been a very successful year all told. I’ve lost weight, my skin is in great shape, and most of my respiratory issues are a thing of the past. (Unfortunately, my spine is still disintegrating, but I didn’t really expect clean eating to reverse that.)

In answer to a comments question, I am still henna-ing my hair (using body art quality henna purchased from Mehandi.com). With my hair’s rate of growth, I need to henna the roots every 4 or 5 weeks.

And lately I have been on a quest to find both personal care and home cleaning that are as free from harsh chemicals and toxins as possible.

Lucy sez:

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Momma turned the heat on! Momma turned the heat on!

Tune in tomorrow for a great giveaway . . .

(Comments are closed on this entry.)

Sleeve Report and Other News

I have managed some sleeve knitting this weekend and here is the state of the first sleeve:

Sleeve120510 180x240 Sleeve Report and Other News

The lighting is weird — it looks like the top half of the sleeve is a lighter color than the bottom half. It isn’t. It’s just a trick of the light. I was hoping to be further along on it by now but whaddya gonna do, eh? I’ve been having fatigue issues and didn’t feel up to any marathon knitting. I’ve got two more pattern repeats to go before this sleeve is done.

In great book news . . .

My publisher has told me that my two socks books, Socks From the Toe Up and Toe Up Socks for Every Body, will soon be available in e-book format. They will be available for all e-reading devices, including Kindle, Nook, Sony Readers, PCs, Macs, iPhones, etc. While Random House doesn’t currently sell through the iBookstore, you can use any of the other reader apps on the iPad. They are scheduled to be released at the end of January.

In shocking hair news . . .

Long time blog readers may recall that I have been washing my hair using Chaz Dean Wen Cleansing Conditioner exclusively for years. It worked well for me for a long time, but for the past couple of months I have become increasingly dissatisfied — I seemed to be getting a build-up on my hair and it was always limp and greasy looking. No matter how much I rinsed, I couldn’t get it all out.

So after some online research I purchased some products by Tate’s: their Natural Miracle Shampoo and Conditioner. I started using these products a couple of weeks ago and have been delighted with the results. I originally planned to alternate using it with the Wen product, but I have been using it exclusively for the past couple of weeks.

Speaking of hair, it’s been a while since my last haircut:

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In Lucy news . . .

I have turned on the heat, but I haven’t really turned the heat up, so Lucy is happy to snuggle down in a soft warm bed.

Lucy120510 240x160 Sleeve Report and Other News

A Sleeve is Born

Not much time for blogging tonight — I got home a lot later than usual because I stopped off at the airport on my way home to meet up with a friend who is in town just one night. (Hi, Aimee!)

I did join the front and back and knit the neckband last night. The band looks a little floppy at the moment — it will firm up once it is washed and dried. It is a fairly wide neck because I want this sweater loose and easy-fitting — there will always be a tee shirt under it when I wear it so I wanted a large opening at the neck. No photo, as it is too dark to get a decent one.

But I did take a photo of the sleeve progress at lunch today.

Sleeve120210 240x179 A Sleeve is Born

Floppy Cats!

Thank you to Jenny of Floppy Cats for leaving a comment, alerting me to the existence of her site. If you are a lover of Ragdoll cats, do check it out. There’s a lot of great information there, give-aways, and plenty of photos of adorable Ragdolls!

Lucy sez:

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“I’m a floppy cat!”

Am I Blue?

Well my hands sure are!

There was a question in the comments asking if I was having issues with dye from the denim yarn coming off on my hands and needles. That is one of the hazards of knitting with this yarn — they dye does indeed come off. It washes off my hands pretty easily, except for my fingernails. Try as I might, I can’t get the bluish tinge off them, even with copious scrubbing with a nail brush. If I wore nail polish, the blue would come off on the polish and my nails would be fine, but I loathe and detest nail polish so I never wear it.

So for the foreseeable future my nails will have a bluish tinge.

The dye is not staining my needles because I am using metal needles. To be specific, I am using one of my beloved precious Signature Needle Arts circular needles — a U.S. size 5 with the stiletto tip. I have previously waxed lyrical about my love for these needles so I will not go on and on again here. suffice it to say that my opinion of them has not changed. In fact, I find myself planning my projects around the sizes I have. (The circulars are currently only available in U.S. size 5, 6, and 7. I am eagerly awaiting the day when they announce more sizes.)

Speaking of needles . . .

Reader Catherine asked in the comments: I’m thinking of buying to myself a set of multi-sizes circular knitting needle. Which one would you suggest? Metal or wood/bamboo?

I am hesitant to make a suggestion because needle choice is very subjective. Personally, I like metal needles and the pointier the better. So I love my Signature Needle Arts Needles. I am also fond of the Addi Lace needles because they have lovely sharp tips too. I can’t remember the last time I used a wood needle.

But your mileage may vary.

Back to the sweater at hand, I did finish the neck shaping on the front last night. Here’s a photo of the front and back pieces, folded inside out, with my camera lens cap in the shot.

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I call it “Still Life With Lens Cap.”

And I cast on for a sleeve for commuter knitting. I finished the cuff.

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I may join the front and back and pick up stitches for the neckband tonight, but then again, I may wait until the weekend to do so. I won’t be using my Signature Needle Arts needle for the neckband for two reasons. One, I am using it to knit the sleeve, and two (more importantly) it is 32″ long and I am knitting the neckband in the round. I’ll be using a shorter Addi Lace needle for the neckband.

Lucy is still basking in a golden glow.

Lucy120110 240x160 Am I Blue?