A New Doll

Last fall I spotted this Scrappy Doll and little soxxy dress patterns on fpea’s blog. I was quite taken with both and thought that I would knit one up for Lorelai after the holidays. I am quite pleased to share that I followed through on that notion (January isn’t even done yet!) and the doll is 100% complete. Lorelai has really taken a turn towards playing with dolls in general and babies – she sits them in her old Bumbo seat, puts them on the potty, feeds them, and so on, so the timing is pretty good.

The actual knitting of the doll took only a few days. The felting worked out pretty well, however, I forgot that white yarn does not shrink all that much, so this doll has a large head (for her big brain of course!). I did ask Lorelai what color dress the doll should have as well as what color hair. Her answer for both was “Rainbow”. Hrm, well, a little stash diving brought up the perfect options for both. She is a bit Punky Brewster and a bit Rainbow Brite, just like Lorelai.
Scrappy Doll & Dress
Embroidering the face was the hardest part for me. Making the hair was probably the most fun. I followed the tutorial linked in the pattern, no problem!

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All my yarn details are part of the Ravelry project page.

When I gave her the doll I asked her what the doll’s name was – after a pause, she said “Clara, she’s a ballerina”. Possibly, she still has “The Nutcracker” on the brain or it could be from Brontorina. She said she liked the ballerina dress. That was unintentional – but I will take it. Everything else around here lately has been named Cinderella / Snow White / Sleeping Beauty.
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A giveaway! (non-knitting)

Aside from all the other projects I try to cram in on snow days is catching up on laundry. MyBlogSpark a while back offered me the opportunity to check out some laundry products from Seventh Generation. I was very excited about it – I try to do as little harm to the environment as possible and avoid unnecessary chemicals while I’m at it. But did you know that the laundry detergent you may be using could contain little-known chemicals called optical brighteners? According to scientific research, these can cause allergic reactions, are toxic to small fish and other aquatic life, and can pollute your waterways. That doesn’t sit so well with me – all 3 of us have quite sensitive skin anyway – especially in wintertime. And living in an area surrounded by wetlands, our house uses well water and we’re not far from the ocean, I don’t want to contribute to pollution.

When ultraviolet light hits optical brighteners coating your clothing, the brighteners convert UV rays into visible light to create an optical illusion. This tricks the eye into thinking the clothing is whiter and brighter, and therefore cleaner than it really is.

So how can you avoid these optical brighteners? Seventh Generation makes it easy because their laundry detergents are not only free of optical brighteners, but they´re also non-toxic . In addition, because Seventh Generation liquid laundry detergents are both hypo-allergenic and biodegradable, you can rest easy knowing you made a considerate choice for your family and the environment. MyBlogSpark allowed me to conduct my own experiment to see the difference between your current laundry detergent and Seventh Generation laundry detergent.

When washed in a conventional laundry detergent that contains optical brighteners, clothes appear to glow under a black light. When you use Seventh Generation liquid laundry products, you won´t see the same glow on your clothing.

Here are two identical organic cotton shirts before washing:
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Here are the two shirts after washing (one in a conventional laundry detergent and the other in Seventh Generation laundry detergent which does not use optical brighteners)
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Hm. They look the same to me…So apparently my regular laundry detergent doesn’t have the optical brighteners? I held the blacklight at all sorts of angles to get it even on both shirts. I don’t know for sure, but I would believe that it probably has more not so nice chemicals in it than Seventh Generation! For comparison – here’s the test photo that was sent to me from MyBlogSpark / Seventh Generation:

Interesting, huh? I have to say – I like that you really only need to use a little bit of the Seventh Generation detergent because it is concentrated. And the dryer sheets seemed to work just as well as the regular ones (even if they look a little different). My clothes are clean and soft, no perfume-y smell, and there’s been no skin sensitivity noticed.

Want to win your own prize pack of Seventh Generation products?

Leave me a comment about a laundry tip or your biggest laundry disaster by Friday, January 28, 2011 at 1:00 am – and I’ll have the random number generator pick a winner. (Yes, that says 1 am – I want to contact the winner first thing when I get up and get their info to BlogSpark / Seventh Generation!) Make sure there’s a way for me to contact you – I will need to submit your mailing address so you can get your prize. Also, if you click Here you should be able to get a $1 off coupon for Seventh Generation laundry products!

For more information about Seventh Generation laundry products, please visit http://www.seventhgeneration.com/no-glow, or sign up for their newsletter at http://www.seventhgeneration.com/community. Be sure to visit Seventh Generation on Facebook and on Twitter to “Like” and “Follow”, so that you can keep up with the latest news from Seventh Generation.

Full Disclosure: The prize packs and information were all given to you from Seventh Generation through MyBlogSpark. All opinions are my own.

A different sort of groan.

Way back, like in 2006, I participated in a KAL for “Fans of the Lime and Violet Podcast can show their colors with Lisa Souza Lime & Violet sock yarn. The projects are as varied as Lime & Violet’s audience — the common thread is the awesome yarn.” I remember that I worked on these socks on my way up to Maine for a friend’s wedding. What I don’t remember is what I was thinking when I finished up the second sock – it was about 4 inches too short on the foot! At the time it was only good for a dachshund nose-warmer.
I'm a doofus
I have size 9 feet. This was not my first pair of socks! I was so annoyed with myself that I stuck the socks in a drawer and let them sit there. One of my knitting goals for the year is to knit up socks. I took a deep breath, ripped out the toe, carefully got all the stitches back on to dpns and got back to it.

The pattern at one point was called “Blue Bonnet”, but I found it in Ravelry as Linen Toes. Linen stitch is quite awesome for those wildly colored sock yarns. I love how it worked with this particular hand-dyed yarn and striped. However, when I finished this one, I noticed something else that made me groan.
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The way the pooling happened here it looks like I spilled bleach on part of my foot. In the end it does not matter – no one is really going to see that part when I have my shoes on. I got into the rhythm of knitting and did not notice until the end. I really did not want to rip and redo again, so I will live with it. I have not worn handknit socks in a while and yesterday after I took that photo I did not take them off. I even slept in them, so cozy! It has given me back a bit of sock mojo and I am looking forward to working another pair soon.

Things I Can’t Stop Thinking About

(a.k.a. Brain Dump)
1. Pinterest – my newest online obsession. It’s a “social catalog to collect and share things you love” – so when you are blog surfing or catalog shopping and you come across a picture / color combo / project / whatever that you love and adore you “Pin it” to your pinboard. So much better for me than trying to keep track of bookmarks or even pages torn out of magazines. You can request an invite (or let me know your email I can invite you). No big surprise I am nutmegknitter on there as well and you can see the things I have pinned.

2. Single space or double space after a period? I was taught in typing class and college to have the double space following a period. After reading this article and finding out that the double space is wrong it is really messing with my head. I tend to write my blog without too much editing – it is how I talk / how I think / and it’s not being graded, so why should this bother me? I have no idea but I am trying to break the habit. (It’s hard!)

3. Thing-A-Day. I think I already have the hang of doing something creative each day, but this sort of challenge really intrigues me. Thanks to pinterest, I can see that I already have a handful of projects that would pretty much be ready to go. Many of them are likely to be one afternoon type projects, so it could work. I am trying to decide if I want to just be generally creative and better at documenting those creative acts for the thing-a-day (then I could fall back on a variety of projects: I could knit / crochet / cook / take a picture / etc) or if I want to narrow the focus: one week on photography / crochet / cooking / sewing? Decisions. No matter what it is way more fun than dedicating 30 minutes a day to cleaning or decluttering (which also needs doing. That is probably a whole other challenge.)

Flittens for the win!

Yesterday, even among the drips (which, thankfully, have slowed back down to one drip today), I finished my first true 2011 object. All the knitting was done this year. Matchgirl (Pattern #0706) by Dolce Handknits.
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I think I was most taken with the way the top and bottom cuffs echo each other – the bottom scalloping edge is achieved through knitting, the top uses crochet.
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(bottom)
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(top)

These flittens have a nice length to them – I think the final measurement is about 9 inches. Makes for a tricky self-photo.
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Ack! Creepy spider hand!

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My secret is….I’ve still haven’t taken down my Christmas cards!

These were a great, low-key, quick knit. I have not knit with a novelty yarn in a while and I expected more trouble from the sequins. It was only a minor issue when it came to weaving in ends really. I had purchased three balls of this yarn, Rozetti Yarns “Polaris” in “Cloud Dancer”. I used a whopping 0.61grams of one-skein. Color me impressed. I’m considering my options for what to do with the remaining 2.4 skeins! Currently I’m thinking about Chinook Scarf or Simple Things.

Distracted

Today started out as the perfect day for a new project. I’ve been toying around with something I spied online somewhere and wanted to look into it more today – as well as get the instructions for some other projects. The problem with everything being digital these days? When there is an internet outage (thanks, Comcast) I can’t do anything I wanted to do. Grr. Obviously I managed and the internet is connected once again. However, a second problem presented itself. Yesterday we noticed a leak in one of our windows – there is so much snow and ice the water has no place to go when it does melt a bit, and it’s coming inside. Today we’ve had awful (perfect-new-project) weather – a bit of snow, and a lot of freezing rain / sleet. So today I’ve had a constant drip drip drip soundtrack and pots to keep an eye on.
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Not good for projects. I have switched these pots out actually for a big ol true value 5-gallon bucket (I think, it might be 10-gallon) and the new water-canner I got for Christmas. Hoping to cut down on the splatter. This is beyond infuriating.

So, some levity is needed. A cousin gave the Lorax a box of princess dress-up clothes. The Princesses. Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.
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Another cousin gave her a microphone. Ladies and gentlemen, the princesses have landed.
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We have spent the last week or so rotating among the costumes – she wears them constantly. The dialogue (mostly one-sided, from her.) “Mommy what does Snow White say?” Um… I think she says someday my prince will come. “Ok”…. “Mommy I want to be Cinderella” Ok. “Mommy, sing the song *Cinderelly! Cinderelly! Clean the dishes! Sweep the floors!”
I’ve shown her only a handful of minutes of you tube video clips of cinderella (the mice singing) – gotta try and track down the dvd. More to come on the princesses and the “Thank-goodness-I-have-a-WIP-with-a-hard-copy-pattern-already-printed-out” project that I did finish today.