Saturday, May 31, 2008

Good Evening


Today was one of those rainy, humid, oppressive days that are just so heavy that you fall asleep in the middle of the afternoon, unable to remain vertical for one moment longer.

It's about 8 PM, and the sun is peeking out a bit just before it sets. I peered outside my window, to check out the atmosphere out there, and noticed that I could see the reflection of a couple of downtown steeples in the window across the alleyway. I sometimes wonder if my alleyway neighbors have ever seen me taking pictures of things on my windowsill, or outside the window... do they think I'm a creepy peepy? Not sure, really.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hewwo

Many things to report. So, away we go!

Finished socks! I have no idea why the picture is so pixellated, but you get the point.


Project Details

Pattern: Diana's Knee Socks (ravelry link)
Yarn: Knit Picks Felici (striped color) and Essential (solid brown)
Needles: Knit Picks circs in size 0 US
Notes: I did a garter stitch short row toe and heel, and once I ran out of striped yarn, I made a big ol' ribbed cuff until the socks were as long as I wanted. I ended up using all but a couple of yards of the solid brown yarn! If someone shorter than I were to make these socks, they would probably not need the entire third ball, but I would still recommend 3 balls for knee highs.
I like this pattern - it fits very nicely, and the increases worked nicely. I started the increases one inch later than suggested, since my legs are so long and my calves start up higher than other people's!

Next up, the beginning of the Victoria Tank from Interweave Knits Summer 2004. I've actually made this tank before, but misestimated what size to make, and am making it a wee bit bigger (wider and longer) this time. I'm even using the same yarn, Elsebeth Lavold's Hempathy, but in a different color.


And next, another Clapotis! I'm making it full size this go around, with Kauni yarn I bought at a newly discovered yarn store up in NH, The Yarn & Fiber Company. They are moving a little further away soon... which I'm sad about, because it's a wonderful store! Bummer, dude.

The Kauni yarn has very wide bands of color, and the colorway I chose is all greeny blue colors... very nice and subtle. Plus, since the shawl is knitted on the diagonal, the wide swaths of color run perpendicular to the stitch drops, for a pretty cool effect. Here is a shot of the first couple of lines of dropped stitches:


Another project I've been dipping into is dyeing yarn with Kool Aid! First, I did a ton of test swatches, with straight up Kool Aid and some mixes. Here are the test swatches:


And, here is the first actual skein of yarn that I dyed:



I had fun, indeed!

Obviously, I have a lot of projects going on at the moment, which is not par for the course... usually, I finish one and move on to the next... but really, why do I need to do that if I don't feel like it? If I want to start a new project before finishing the last, well, why the heck not!

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Loot

Cece, Suzanne and I met up at Webs to do a leeeeeetle bit of yarn shopping at their annual tent sale. Here are the two of them with their loot:

I pre-shopped ahead of time online, so I knew what I wanted to get. It was a good thing, because it was utter mayhem in there! I would have gotten a picture, but someone probably would have stolen my yarn had I put it down. No, not really, but that would have made for a good story! The checkout lines were maybe 20 people deep, maybe more. And because people were buying so much, they moved along pretty darn slowly!

Enough of that, let's get to the loot flashing.

They had fiber vendors outdoors under tents. I bought very little fiber, but I did buy some "Angelina" fiber to add into things that I spin - it adds a little sparkle to the mix:

I also bought some Hempathy from Elizabeth Lavold. I plan to make the Victoria Tank with it (Ravelry link).

Next up, some Cotton Fleece by Brown Sheep. I am going to make Rusted Root (Ravelry link), which is a nice short sleeve springy sweater. The pink is not quite as bubble gummy in real life. Really.

Rowan Kidsilk Night. It was on quite the sale. Normally, I don't go for the Kidsilk, as it is a bit too halo-y and doesn't show the stitch definition as well as I'd like. However, at this price, I was willing to give it a chance. I have no idea what I am going to make out of it yet. There are some ideas floating around in my head, such as perhaps Ice Queen from Knitty.com. Who knows, really!

Kidsilk Spray. Ditto as for above.

And finally, some nice Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky. It was on super duper closeout, and was just right to make this cool cardigan from Garnstudio, elegantly named the 103-1 Jacket. Those Germans and their ueber practical names for things! And yes, it should be "ueber". I learned that from a German friend. When you don't have access to the umlaut, you add an 'e' afterwards. Now you know.

So, those are the yarns that I purchased. Now, I find myself in the enviable position of having a whooole lot of project- specific yarn - more than I am used to, really. I shall be knitting away, quite happily, for some time!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Howdy.

Various things are going on in my life today. I woke up and knew something was sorta... wrong... my throat was extra tickly, and when I tried to talk, I had pretty much no voice! The verdict? ALLERGIES! I never had regular seasonal allergies until a couple of years ago. I had been all smug, thinking I was out of the woods (pun intended), having reached my 30's without suffering from hay fever and whatnot. Not so. For the past couple of springs, I have been sneezly and watery for 2-3 weeks. Not really SO horrible, but still not unusually fantastic. I'm dosing up on Claritin... we'll see how that goes.

I received excellent news today; my supervisor called me on the phone and informed me that the superintendent (or her designee, according to my union contract) had approved my request to take a personal day on my last day of work before summer vacation. The contract states that I'm not allowed to take a personal day before or after any vacation, unless I receive special permission. I got it! Oddly, though, my supervisor received notification... but I never did! Thank goodness she let me know... I would have still been in the dark. That's bureaucracy for you! Whoa. Bureaucracy can be hard to spell if you're not paying attention!

I made yet another excellent meal from Vegan with a Vengeance... this time, it was Jerk Chicken served with Coconut Rice, with sweet potato and sauteed swiss chard on the side. It was great! Unfortunately, there was a bit of a chili powder snafu, and I ended up dumping a TON of it into the marinade, because I was expecting the sprinkle top to be on the jar, instead of NO sprinkle top. Ewps. I dug out as much as I could, but suffice it to say that it was QUITE spicy. Still really good and edible, though! Thank goodness.


Also, I'm sure you'll be surprised to know that I've been doing some more spinning! I spun my way through another batt by TerraBellaSpun - her colors are just lovely. Also, she was very friendly customer service - wise... I have bought from a few other people who sell fiber on Etsy, and she was the only one who wrote me a personal 'thanks for your purchase' note. It was very nice!


I received many votes regarding the knee socks... the consensus appears to be that a 3-4 inch cuff would not be out of place. Therefore, I will press on... and move on to sock #2.
I've been spinning! AND knitting!

I turned this fiber from Copperpot on Etsy:

into bulky thick and thin yarn plied with matching brown thread:


Here is some yarn I made with fiber from TerraBellaSpun on Etsy:


And here is another one from Copperpot:


And here is an unspun batt from TerraBellaSpun - isn't it delicious?


Here it is, sitting on the bobbin. I haven't decided how I want to ply it - either two ply, or Navajo ply.


I'm also doing some knitting. I have put the Noro knee socks on hold - I have decided that I would like them best if I actually used a contrasting yarn for the toe, heel and cuff, because that way, the color changes would not be broken up around the ankle. So, I have to gather up the courage to start reknitting them! In the meantime, I decided to test out that 'contrasting yarn' theory by knitting up some stripedy knee highs, inspired by Stacey... well, not so much inspired as directly copied, really...


I did contrasting toes and heels. I'm up to the cuff. However, once again, there really is not enough of the main yarn. The cuff will need to be like 3-4 inches high. I'm not sure yet whether this bothers me. At least with these socks, there are matching toes/ heels. Sigh...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

New Hampshire Sheep & Wool

This weekend was mother's day. My mother just so happens to live within 20 minutes of the Hopkinton Fairgrounds, which is where the festival was taking place... it really only made sense for me to check it out, wouldn't you say? Yes? Well, that is what I said, too! I brought caaaash money and an empty shopping bag, and left with LESS cash money and a full shopping bag. During lunch, one woman's husband noted that there was clearly enough room left in my bag for one or two skeins of sock yarn, but I resisted. (that was one lucky wife, with such an enabling husband! I wonder what her yarn/ fiber stash looks like!)

I liked this festival. It was a bit bigger than the CT show, but you could still see everything in a few hours of concerted effort. There were animals (sheep, goats, alpaca, a llama or two, and sheepdogs), raw fiber, processed fiber, yarn, spinning accessories, and so on... and all were well represented.

A nicely shorn alpaca:


Corriedale from The Sheep Shed:


Four different merino/ tencel blends from The Sheep Shed:


Merino from The Sheep Shed:


Merino/ Silk from Avi's Web:


Bamboo fro Avi's Web:



Merino and Merino/Tencel fiber from FiberFetish:


It was a nice show. I would definitely go again, especially now that I know about it, and because it is on Mother's Day weekend - very convenient!

I ought not to let this post go by without noting that I had a nice time visiting my parents and grandmother. It's always nice to see them! The card I got my mom was true - now that I'm older, she is a friend in addition to being my mother.... more of a 'frother'! haha.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Owls!

Finally. I had to upload the owl photos from emails from my dad, and they took FOREVER to load, and sometimes required me to shut my computer down. It was somewhat of an ordeal, actually!

I'm at my parents' house today, and my father mentioned that he was a bit sad that I had not posted the owl pictures. They have gotten quite a few comments on my Flickr page, because, let's face it, owls are cool. Plus, my father took some great pictures! And, here they are, in no particular order.
Winking owl:


3 ounce owl (with 4 ounce owl in the lower left corner):






Flappy owl:


Flappy snowy owl:

Barred Owl:


Sleepy Barred Owl:


Aside from the fact that the tiny ones were cute because they are tiny, I think that the barred owl was my favorite on the cuteness factor. the circles around his eyes are great.

It was a nice treat to get to check out these magnificent birds. We even got to see some pellets, and hear some real owl hooting! Plus, my parents came down to visit, and it was nice to see them.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Must! Resist!

Whenever I happen upon a new craft that I want to try out, I get all serious about it, read up on it, try to learn how to do things, and then buy a bunch of supplies that I will clearly need in order to MASTER this craft. This happened with knitting; that craft stuck. It happened with jewelry; that craft also stuck. It happened again with polymer clay; I haven't really found the time to work with polymer clay, which leads me to believe I don't love it as much as I thought, or perhaps that I just like yarn and knitting more.

Anyway, as I have been mentioning, I have been watching video after video, visiting website after website, learning as much as I can about spinning. I am fascinated, as well as completely enamored. I have created almost one skein of yarn per day since I got my wheel, even. AND, I have been window shopping online for all sorts of fiber. Currently, my fiber stash is quite small, but I am incredibly tempted by so many things!

Here are some links to things I think are pretty. I want to buy them, sniff them, pat them, stare at them, and eventually spin them. There are so many great fiber sellers on Etsy.
http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=10271136
http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=11497242
http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=11478390
http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=11465482

Okay, I'll stop after four. But for the time being, I MUST resist! I am definitely going to stop by the NH sheep and wool festival this coming weekend, and would prefer to buy something from local artisans rather than ordering something from far away and paying shipping.

But seriously. Those are some purdy fibers. How am I supposed to resist???
I might never actually knit again!

Seriously, I am enjoying spinning SO MUCH.

Observe:

First up, some fiber from Wicked Wool on Etsy. Her shop is currently on hiatus, as she is in school. I have informed her that I wish to be notified when she opens up again - the colors were nicely saturated throughout the fiber, and it spun up very nicely.


Next, some BFL fiber from Spunky Eclectic. It was in batt form, and I found it a bit stiff. The resulting yarn is kind of strange - the plies sort of stand apart from each other rather than snuggling together nicely. It hasn't been washed yet, so I'm hoping that a good washing will sort things out okay. I really like the colors.


Finally, my fave so far, I think - some Finn wool dyed by Witchypoo. She told me that Finn had a lovely sheen to it and that I'd really like it, and she was totally right. It spun up very nicely and easily, and I enjoyed the color changes. And wow, the resulting yarn is gorgeous! Soooooo soft, sproingy, pattable. If she made more of this, I would snatch it right up!


Anyway, I've currently started up on a fascinating merino/ bamboo blend. It is exceedingly soft. The bamboo wants to just fluff away from the rest of the fiber, which is causing a bit of an issue, but I don't care. It rules anyway. It is like a pewffy clowd. Misspelled purposefully, of course.

Here is what the fiber itself looks like; the green is a bit more greenish in real life. the description on Etsy mentions something about 1970's decor, actually.



Here it is in the midst of being spun. I am looking forward to seeing how it looks once it is plied!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Can't Stop Spinnin'!

It's true; I'm really enjoying myself. Here is a shot of my latest spinnage. It's fiber from Spunky Eclectic. I love the colors!

I have also plied the pink, purple, and blue fiber I spun the other day, and it is hanging to dry in my shower right now. I ended up with about 250 yards of yarn from that particular effort!

I have been spending a LOT of time online, trying to learn as much as I can about spinning techniques and the like. Just as with any various hobby, craft, or activity, there is an entirely new vocabulary to learn on top of the different techniques. A week ago, I did not know what a rolag was. Now, not only do I know what it is, I know how to make one (in theory), and how to use one (in practice). I know what Navajo plying is, and I think I might actually be able to do it, if I gave it a try! I saw a video of someone spinning on an antique 'walking wheel', which is totally cool... you walk away from and back toward the spinning wheel as you're drafting the fiber one handed, while spinning the wheel in one direction, then the next. It's pretty excellent.

Anyway, that's that for now.

Friday, May 02, 2008

More spinning, finished socks, sock dilemma

I went over to Cece's house the other evening so that we could spin together. I decided that her spinning wheel is more 'beautiful', while mine is more 'cool'. She didn't seem to like that, but I still think it is true. :) I haven't really seen someone else spinning since I have figured out what is going on, and I noticed that her wheel is a bigger diameter, which means she can pedal much slower for the same output. It's interesting. It's definitely possible that somewhere down the line, I'm going to want a 'faster' wheel. But for now, my beginner wheel is juuuust right!

Here is what I worked on that evening:



I'm still working on it. It's fiber I got from an Etsy seller, Wicked Wool. Her shop is currently closed, and her profile states that she is busy with school but may be back at the end of May. The colors are nicely saturated, and I would definitely buy from her again.

So, I finished my Noro Nutkin socks, like, 2 weeks ago, and never posted about it. Yeah, I suck. Anyway, here they are:



Here's a shot of the inside seam of the cuff - I like how tidily the little stitches sit next to each other along the seam!


I call this photo "Study of Picot and Leg Stubble":




Project Details:

Pattern: Nutkin by Beth LaPensee for Knitzi
Yarn: Noro Kureyon Sock in color S95
Needles: Addi Turbo size 0, circular, knit in magic loop method
Size: 9 1/2 inch foot, 6 inch leg
Pattern notes: The pattern is simple to memorize and is a satisfying knit. I slightly changed the cuff to add a picot edge. My socks tended to twist, and after I knit them, I noticed that there was a note on Ravelry on how to avoid that... if you joined the hem at the top even one stitch over, your sock would twist. I guess I did that. They recommended that you carefully mark the beginning of the row to avoid the twist. Rats! It doesn't really bother me all that much, fortunately.

What does bother me is this: I love the colors and the repeats in the Noro sock yarn. However, a 6 inch tall sock doesn't really show off these colors enough, in my opinion. So, I set off to make some Noro knee socks. I am almost done, actually, but am in a bit of a pickle. You see, I worked toe up, and made sure to weigh the yarn as I went along to leave enough yarn for sock #2... but, my legs are quite long. Someone else on Ravelry was able to get true knee highs out of a single ball of Noro Kureyon Sock yarn, but I am about 2 1/2 inches shy of a true knee high length. What's a girl to do? Here is what the socks currently look like:




I feel that I have three options:

1. Wear knee socks that I worked on for a long time, but are too short.
2. Knit a 2 1/2 inch cuff in a coordinating solid color (black, in this case
3. Rip them out. Knit the toe, heel, AND cuff in a coordinating solid color.

In all reality, I think I will like the socks the most if I go with option #3... but the thought of ripping ALL of that work out is nothing short of a travesty, in my mind. I WILL have the most wonderful socks ever that are the most aesthetically pleasing to me at the end of it all, but... no one else will see the toe and the heel and the cuff all at once... ugh. What should I doooooo!