Monday, April 20, 2009

Swaps and Scarves

I have two more swaps to document! Actually one and a half, because I'm mailing out a package later this evening after work.

These are so much fun :D

The first is the Journal Swap. I was paired with jennsa75 and we put together packages for each other. Jenny is really into the Lord of the Rings movies and sock knitting, so it was actually kind of easy to find things that I thought she'd like :) She also has a blog and posts a lot on the Ravelry forums, so it was easy stalking her ;) Here is the package I sent her:

  • a plain composition notebook that I decorated with tissue paper and her initials. We were also supposed to inscribe the journal with a writing prompt, but I couldn't make up my mind, so I included little cards with a few different prompts inside of the journal.
  • a cute little purple and silver notebook
  • post-it notes
  • a pack of ball-point pens, 2 mini gel pens, a mini pen that has 4 different colors
  • lots of chocolate and some strawberry chinese candy!
  • a skein of light fingering yarn that I dyed in yellow and 2 shades of purple in a self-striping pattern (It's the first time I've attempted to make self-striping yarn, so we'll see.)
  • a tin of little stitch markers
  • 2 tins of hand cream
  • a brown beaded candle (which I used mostly to fill up the space at the top of the box... I wasn't really sure if she needs/likes candles.)
  • 3 LOTR bookmarks, 2 of which have the One Ring tied at the top
  • used copies of the LOTR trilogy, which she hasn't read yet (these were my brother's who used to be obsessed with LOTR also - but I haven't read them.)
  • treats for her silly cat
This is the really really cool package Jenny sent me:

  • a really pretty red-velvet-y journal inscribed with a quote from Gertrude Stein that actually reflects a problem I often have when writing and a note with a very thought-provoking writing prompt :)
  • a b-e-a-utiful skein of Malabrigo Merino Worsted in the Glazed Carrot colorway, which I love!! This is my first skein of Malabrigo, and I love it!! It is perfect for A Better Bucket, which she also included (I was actually looking through the project gallery for this pattern a couple days before I got the package, so this was perfect!).
  • a mini-book called KnitKnacks, which includes a list of signs that indicate when knitting and yarn have taken over your life.
  • a pack of pens in a bunch of cool colors
  • a pack of cute sticky notes with a little chick on them
  • plain black stitch markers
  • yummy Dove milk chocolate
  • a box of TAZO Organic Chai tea
  • a cute vintage-y magnet

Here’s a close-up of the yarn, magnet, and journal (sorry for the weird color, these pictures were taken at night):

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Next up is the Other Hobby Swap, where we recognize and fuel each other's hobbies other than knitting/crocheting. And also suck other people into trying out our own hobbies... unintentionally ;) In this swap, our spoiler was different from our spoilee, but we all knew who they were.

My awesome spoiler was bradymom29, who is also the creator and moderator of the group. This is the package she sent me:

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Crystal included:

  • A beautiful skein of hand-dyed handspun BFL in autumn/earthy colors, which I love!!! Crystal also thought it was perfect because of the colorway name, “September,” I think because I first learned to knit last September :) The yarn also had a pin from the Twilight saga books, which is one of my current obsessions ;)

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  • A set of beautiful size 4 wooden DPNs from Darn Pretty Needles stained in “Original” colors.
  • White Knit Picks fingering weight yarn and Wilton’s food dyes for one of my hobbies - cool! I haven’t tried Wilton’s yet. These were in the pretty red heart box :)
  • Cute office supplies!!! In the blue pencil pouch, there were a mechanical pencil, a mini pen, 2 mini highlighters, a mini stapler, and 2 mini scotch tape dispensers. They’re so cute!! There was also an awesome super-highlighter star dubbed “Parasite Pals,” which appeals to my microbiology side as well as to the office supplies collector inside me ;) There was also a pack of pretty stationery paper and envelopes.
  • Two packets of beautiful origami paper for one of my other hobbies. Yay!

  • Hand-made blue/green beaded stitch markers from her hobby.

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  • She made a bag of doggy cookies, which smell good even to me ;)

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  • Human edibles: Coconut curry chocolate, which I have never had and am excited to taste! Three flavors of loose leaf tea - ginseng peppermint, tea of inquiry, and pomegranate and a tea infuser-contraption-thingy :)

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  • A cute pair of knee socks with pink robots on them! I don’t have very may pairs of knee socks, but these will fit in perfectly with my wardrobe because I only have maybe 4 pairs of white socks - the rest are all pretty colors!
  • A Washington post card and a card explaining the package :)
Since I haven't sent out the package for my spoilee yet, I'm not going to post it here, in case she looks.

And now for some actual knitting content (with pictures!).

I started the Yarn Harlot's One Row Handspun Scarf as my mindless-watching-TV project, but am using cheap acrylic instead (Red Heart Multi in Shaded Purples).

I like how the color patterning is working out, but the scarf is so scratchy!!! Yuck! I considered frogging it to make a hat or something, but I read online that acrylic can be softened up by washing and maybe some drying, so I'll try that.

Another project I'm working on is a purple lace-y scarf for another swap partner in the Color Swap, which is a secret swap, so I can't say who. I started with some undyed 100% mulberry silk yarn from Ebay and kettle-dyed it with Grape Cool Splashers, dried, then decided to overdye it with purple food coloring. I'm suprisingly really happy with the subtle color variations that I ended up with! (I'm not sure if you can see it in the photos.) The pattern is the Chevron Plus One scarf chart. This isn't my first lace project, but it will probably be the first one I finish (haha, remember that baby blanket from waaay back when?? I think I've knit 2 rows on that since I last blogged about it).

The scarf is developing this kinda cool folding pattern along the YOs, but I'm going to block it out when I'm done so it'll lie flat.

The yarn is very soft and a little thick and thin, averaging around a DK weight. To be honest, I was a little disappointed with the quality of the yarn when I first received it, but it was cheap, so I guess I can't complain. It has some leaf and plant fragments dispersed throughout, but I'm able to pick them out as I knit, so it's OK.

P.S. I used the Long Tail Cast-On for the lace scarf and... I like it!!! Everyone was right: it was so much faster than the other cast on methods I've used and I think I'll stick with it for most projects.


Life's a Stitch said...

The swaps look like fun and the scarves look wonderful.

lunaticraft said...

Looks like you got some super sweet swap packages there. Don't worry about the Red Heart scratchiness in the scarf. I have a few scarves I made out of Red Heart (I call them my Workhorse Scarves), and they really do soften up, even as you work. A run through the washer and dryer with double fabric softener makes them actually rather soft and squishy, and amazingly warm. And if you don't mind a more drapey scarf, steam-blocking (some people call it killing acrylic, I guess) really softens it up as well.

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