Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I swear I'm not dead

Sorry it's been soooooo long since I last posted. There has been a lot of upheaval at work and it made me not want to blog for a long time. I've been knitting tons and spinning, too. This post was just to say "hi" again and to let you know something more will be coming in the next couple of days (with pictures, too!).

Thursday, November 06, 2008


You know NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? Yeah, I'm not doing that. It amazes me that people can have an entire novel inside them. I definitely don't. No, I have a sweater inside me. Yes, that's right, it's also NaKniSweMo (National Knit a Sweater Month)! I'm planning on knitting (even though I should be finishing sweaters instead of starting more) a top-down raglan for the barn. I have a barn sweater already but I think this winter will call for something warmer than a store-bought cotton sweater.

My NaKniSweMo sweater is based off of the. . . OK, ignore that. I started on a raglan sweater pattern where you do the measurements, gague swatch and the math to get a customized sweater. I even had someone else check that my math was right (it wasn't). Once everything was correct, I merrily started my sweater. I knit on it a little the night before the election and all through waiting in line (one hour). Of course, I should have taken into account that I apparently can't measure while ill. I came down with a head cold on Monday night and had to take Tuesday off of work. Standing in line for an hour to vote wasn't any kind of picnic and, once we got home, I took a nap (later in the evening I went to bed at 7:30 and got up at 7:15 the next morning). Then I knit while snuggled in a blanket, surrounded by mugs of tea and tissues. I knit a lot. 7 inches worth (it was a stockinette pattern from the top down). I didn't at any point think, however, "Hey, that neck looks a little big." On Wednesday, I put it on a piece of waste yarn and tried it on because things just didn't look right. Let's just say, 3 of me could have fit in that neck. The math was correct. The measurements were not.

So I've started on another pattern. Rather than me trying to do more math fun (though I am going to be modifying this pattern, too. This should be interesting), I'm going to knit a pattern that lots of people have already made. I'm going to use the same yarn (Eco wool in a very nice dark brown) but go up one size (to US 10s) and knit a Cobblestone Pullover. A men's pattern you say? I'm going to modify it somewhat and can only hope I have recovered enough to make sense of every thing. We shall see. I frogged the raglan this morning, wound the yarn back up and cast on for the sweater this afternoon.

I'm headed to Pittsburgh this weekend to visit a friend and see a relative. I'll be taking some of the sheep fleece to show my relative how the process has been going. (Have I told you that I started spinning some of the fiber up? Well, I have though I haven't plied anything yet.) She was there when the fleece was handed over and saw it in its raw state. It should be a really fun time and a nice, short break from everything.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sock slacker

Something is very odd with Blogger right now and I can't compose things normally. Does anyone know how to get the rich text formatting back? The Blogger help is no help at all.

I've been a slacker this last week. I confess that I haven't worked on my Clessidra socks at all. What can I say, there was an error (I lost count and the magnet showing where I was fell off the chart) and I haven't had the energy to figure out where I was. Hopefully I'll overcome that since all I have to do is turn the heel and knit the foot.

Other than that I've been productive on other sock yarn projects. These are the two pairs of socks I've finished this October. The first pair is an early Christmas present. I saw the recipient over the weekend and decided to give them to her then rather than mailing them later. They were very well received :)

This next pair is a set of scrap socks for me. I used left over bamboo yarn from 2 other pairs. I did end up buying the last lone blue ball from the shop in order to finish up the socks using the same color.

I did a garter stitch toe and an afterthought garter stitch heel. I liked the toe but not the heel so much. I think it would have been different if I had done the heel not as an afterthought.

These socks have been on the needles longer than I care to admit. The stockinette stitch-ness of them made them perfect for a traveling sock and one I could work on without thinking. The only problem with that is I don't want to work on those sort of projects because they are so boring unless I am doing something else. This past weekend I took them to the Quarter Horse Congress over in Columbus and knit while we walked around. Basically the entire leg later, I was ready to do the ribbing and bind off. Good thing Congress came around or I would never have finished them!

Other sock yarn projects have also been on the needles. I made some Princess Mitts out of sock yarn (apparently this is my cable phase) in August but just hadn't finished the thumbs. It seriously took me 2 months to knit 26 rows of 20 stitches. That is something that could be done in an hour, tops! I finally, finally knit the thumbs yesterday and the fingerless gloves are ready for Christmas. There is still plenty of yarn left and I'm tempted to make another pair for myself. Maybe not the same pattern but I love the way the yarn stripes and the colors.

The other project I just started is a pair of Knotty gloves. I saw these gloves on the Stash n Burn Ravelry group and absolutely fell in love. Digging through my stash, I came up with the perfect yarn. A little while ago, the shop got in some Alpaca fingering weight yarn from Cherry Tree Hill. I absolutely loved the one colorway. It was blues, greens, pinks, purples, golds in lovely alpaca goodness. When I looked at the name, I really shouldn't have been surprised. It's name was "Peacock." It seems like I will like anything called peacock even if I don't know that is the name before I see it. I've made a sweater out of a green called Persian Peacock, have stashed a skein of peacock sock yarn, bought roving called peacock, and fell in love with the Peacock Feathers shawl pattern. Slap a peacock on it and apparently I will buy. I can't wait until I can post pictures here again to show you the yarn and gloves.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Socktober continues!

I've been steadily working on socks this month. Though this project took me away from it for a day. It's a pumpkin hat!

My work is having a pumpkin carving contest. Because my carving skills are more likely to result me being in the hospital, I decided to put my own spin on things. You know that means something knit. I made a pumpkin hat (with a leaf and vine addition) and drew his face on with a permanent marker. :)

The Clessidra stockings have been sucking up most of my time. I'm so close to being able to turn the heel that I can almost taste it. So far the legs have used up 100 grams of yarn which means, in theory, I've already knit an entire pair of socks and not just the never-ending legs. Don't get me wrong, I love the pattern. It just feels like I should be doing something new any time now.

All of the cables have given me a chance to work on my cabling skills and repairing miscrossed cable skills. I'm going to jinx myself but I've only had to fix 3 cable mistakes so far. Most of them have been easy fixes with the mistake only a couple of rows down. This one (sorry for the picture clarity. Dark navy is extrememly difficult to take pictures of!) was a bit more complicated. I had made the mistake 2 cable rows down so it meant laddering down much futher to fix everything.

Then my trusty crochet hook and I fixed the problems. Before this sock, I didn't really have the confidence to even think of repairing complicated cable problems. I'm hoping all of that has been changed.

Shield your eyes from my pale, pale legs and you will be able to see how far I've gotten on the socks.

I've knit a little bit more since the picture but not much.

In spinning news, I've been saving up for one of these babies.

It is a very lightweight Golding ring spindle. I've already given it a test spin with some tussah silk and am really enjoying it!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A good random occurance

Something absolutely random happened this afternoon that I forgot to write about. I got a copy of this book in the mail!

Apparently, I had signed up to get a copy on a blog (I hate to say that I can't remember which one) contest. Or maybe they were giving away a copy. All I know it that it made a strange day much better!

Full Moon

You know what they say about full moons? That everything crazy happens then? That is definitely true in libraries. It always seems like a day or two before and after are the zone of insanity. Strange patrons and even stranger problems come up. If someone has fines, they throw a hissy fit to end all hissy fits. Strange requests are made for things like tax forms from 2006. Strange things happens to people's common sense. (And if this kid doesn't leave the desk I'm going to start screaming) People get stuck in the elevator prompting calls to the front desk like "Hi, it's the elevator. I have people stuck in me." In short, it's always a "fun" time to work. I've just about reached my limit for it tonight (and my limit for the video on a loop promoting a program in November with Amazing Grace-like music playing ad nauseum). I'll just think about knitting (and mentally scream) until all of this is over.

I finished the pair of socks I mentioned last post. They are a Riverbed sockitechture from Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters. Have I mentioned how much I like that pattern? It really fits your foot well. The garter stitch toe worked out nicely. It's funny though, without classes, it takes me longer to finish a pair of socks. With class, I could finish a pair in a week. Now, it took me 12 days to do it. This was even a plain vanilla pair!

Right after binding off, I started another pair, Clessidra from Knitty. This pair of knee-highs have been on my to-knit list ever since it came out in the Spring 07 issue. I went out and bought the yarn (actually the same brand as the pattern used! that never happens) right after I first saw those socks. I'm using Regia Silk Shine in navy. The shine is extremely subtle and catches the light every so often. It should be really interesting to see how it highlights the cables.

The pattern is clearly written but last night I just couldn't get it to work in my head. You work these from the top down (not my preferred way of doing socks) and have 4 different cables as well as seed stitch and stockinette stitch panels all going on at the same time. So I did something which is probably just making it more complicated. I charted everything. All of the different cables and panels are now next to each other in the correct order. I think this probably says something about how comfortable I am using charts versus written instructions.

Another thing I'm doing with these which is probably complicating the process is I'm working them 2 at a time on circs. The pattern was written for DPNs so there are instructions for how many stitches should be on each needle. I'll just ignore all of that. It will probably take me longer working them at the same time but it is more likely that I will actually have a finished pair in the end. If I did them one at a time, there would only be a small, small chance. Here's hoping I can finish them by the end of October. . .

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Did you know it is Socktober already? Contests and whatnot have been popping up all over ravelry and the blog world. On the Stash and Burn group, people have been setting goals for using their abundance of sock yarn. My goals are hopefully attainable. I want to use up at least 2 pairs worth or about 800 yards. I've put aside some of the projects I was working on (a sweater for me, some shawls, some socks (oh, wait, maybe shouldn't have put those down)) and started on a pair of socks for my friend for Christmas. These aren't a surprise (she bought the wool and told me her shoe size) so I'll post pictures here.

I'm doing a garter stitch toe which is definitely interesting. I wasn't sure if my friend needed pointy toes or blunt toes so this garter stitch square will hopefully solve that problem. It was a really easy way of starting a toe-up sock. You cast on 1/4 of the total stitches (so, if the sock is 60 stitches, you cast on 15) using some sort of provisional cast on so you can easily pick up stitches. I used Judy's Magic Cast-on. Then you knit garter until you have the same number of garter ridges (15 garter ridges in this case) and you have a little square. You pick up the stitches along each side and *poof* you have 60 stitches on your needles.

The rest of this pattern is a Riverbed sockitecture from Cat Bordhi's book. The increases are all along the sole of the sock. You would think that wouldn't feel comfortable on your sock but they really are. I made one of these Riverbed socks for myself already and like the way it fits. I just hope my friend will like it as much.

Another project I'm working on with sock yarn is my OSUtrich Plume Shawl, my name for the Ostrich Plume Shawl because I'm working with OSU (scarlet and grey) colored sock yarn. This shawl is very repetitive so I've found myself not drawn to working on it. It is definitely a "knit while watching TV project) because the same pattern is repeated over and over. I'm probably halfway finished by this point but it isn't a compelling knit for me. This picture of it is from a while ago but it pretty much looks the same, like a blob of scarlet and grey lace.

Friday, October 03, 2008

playing with videos

Originally uploaded by bookworm knitting
I took this video of the boys playing last night. All of the horses have been enjoying the cooler weather. Whenever the first cold snap happens, they all run around like idiots/young things. The night before no one came in for dinner because they were enjoying the temperatures too much. My horse, Java, is the dark one playing face tag. Sorry for the jerky-ness of the video!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I promised pictures for you from a Wool Gathering and here they be! (I have no idea. I blame it on a caffeine rush.)

Look at these needle felted paintings. That's really the best word for them. The gentleman to the left of the circular one creates these for fun. He doesn't sell them but displays them in order to inspire others. He said that he loves to come to fiber festivals to pick up more wool for his projects. You should click on this picture so you can see a larger image. I love that one of the mare and her foal. Astounding.

These are those different fiber braids that I was talking about last time. If it hadn't been so warm, I probably would have wandered around with one of them around my neck as a scarf.

I'm playing with Picasa and thought I would throw the pictures together in a collage. The two pictures in the upper right corner are the llama and alpaca rovings which bear a striking resemblance to each other.

I realized I forgot to mention the sock yarn, Berroco Sox Yarn. It wasn't included in the run-down mainly because I didn't buy it myself. My friend doesn't knit or spin but her mother does (she was the one who gave me the lovely, lovely llama). We met up because she was visiting her mother (and the ice cream at Young's). I volunteered to knit her some socks if she would buy the yarn. Ironically, this yarn is a part of a series named after English towns and this color is Lancaster, the town in which I studied for a semester in 2003. After I finish the OSUstrich Plume Shawl, I should cast on for these and I will be almost finished with my Christmas gifts. (Though saying so will probably jinx me. Darn it.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

stupid USB cable

I was going to load pictures of my purchases from A Wool Gathering in Yellow Springs, OH but apparently my USB cable is no longer working. :( I'm definitely going to have to fix this situation!

Over the weekend I went to the fiber fest in Yellow Springs and had a great time meeting up with friends. I went with the intent to buy wool combs but didn't see any at all. So I used the money I was going to spend buying combs and bought lots and lots of fiber from Creatively Dyed Yarn instead (she doesn't have a lot in the site right now because it is all on the road with her right now). It's my goal to buy different kinds of fibers at festivals (the whopping two I've gone to(wait! I just realized I've been to a third fiber festival but I didn't spin then)) and, let me tell you, she had the most interesting combinations. And her presentation and color sense was wonderful! My favorite braid of roving is what I'm calling silk milk. It's a combination of wool, milk protein, and silk. It feels glorious. Another combination is bamboo and wool. The third blend is wool and seacell which, simply put, is another name for seaweed. The color combinations are a lot of fun.

I also bought some llama and alpaca roving. By random chance, both of these purchases ended up being almost the exact same color. They both are a red-brown color almost the same color as my hair. That could be why both of them appealed to me. :)

Another purchase was soap, lotion and solid purfume from a seller I bought lotions from last year at a new fiber festival south of me. Come to think of it, I don't know if that festival is happening this year. I should find that out. Anyway, I bought an aloe/olive oil soap and an apple crisp (best smell EVER) soap both in the shape of a sheep. She had solid purfumes this year and I fell in love with one called Butterfly Kisses. I don't know how to explain the scent but it just smells fresh to me. It reminds me of summer but not in a floral sort of way. She threw in another purfume as a bonus so I chose Honey Almond. Have I mentioned my slight obsession with shampoo bars here before? They are great for traveling especially when you are limited by ounces and they pack easily in soap containers. What does this have to do with anything? Well, this vendor is going to be carrying them! I like all of her scents so I'm definitely going to have to keep my eye out. Yummm, Peach Sorbet.

Oh, I fell down the rabbit hole and bought a small wooden hand loom. It made the cutest little rug from some self-striping sock yarn. Great another hobby! That was another one of the pictures I was going to load. Oh, well.

Finally, on the way home, I drove through Columbus and thought, "Hey, I'm passing right by why don't I stop by Byzantium?" Sooner or later I was going to have to go there to get beads for the Mystery Stole 4 because I didn't have enough. This was one way of killing two birds with one stone. That place is definitely interesting. I'm glad it was still open when I drove by.

I'll try to post pictures of everything once I get a new cable!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Knitting up a storm (get it?)

I had work today because the power came back on at the library last night. Home, however, is a different matter. As of noon, we didn't have any power so I'm staying a little late at work to use their electricity and running water. I think I should flip the light switches a couple of times just for the fun of it.

I'll first talk about my recent knitting and then show you a few storm-aftermath pictures (not many because I mostly forgot to take my camera with me when I was out and about). I can't remember if I talked about this project last time (probably not because I am lazy!). The new knitty came out last week and it was full of really nice patterns. Two of those really grabbed me and, even though I have a ton of stuff already going, I had to start them immediately. Waves of Grain was the perfect pattern for the merino/tencel lace I had just spun up and my yardage was close. The pattern has been a lot of fun and it has become my travelling project.

I've gotten through the part with the beads at the end (you can't see them in the picture) and into the 75 repeats of 2 rows. Once I'm finished with those repeats, I'll break the yarn and start it over again.

The other pattern that really grabbed me was Maple.

I LOVED making this bag. It was a really interesting construction. You knit the brown handle/bottom/side part first in a giant loop and then you pick up the stitches for the light brown section. I also really liked the small intarsia of the leaf though wasn't thrilled about the number of ends to weave in. The veins of the leaf were needle felted in rather than embroidering them on afterwards. This is off to be a Christmas present for my cousin. I wasn't planning on this bag (obviously because the pattern wasn't out there) but I think it will be perfect. The leaf color looks a lot like the mittens I made for her present last year (which *cough* aren't finished yet *cough* but will be after tomorrow!)

I've also been making hats because you can make them in the dark or by candlelight. I could work on socks but don't feel like working with fingering weight yarn by candlelight. This is one hat that I'm going to keep for myself. The rest are going to be Christmas presents.

Next up, tree pictures. This first one is a picture of the backyard. As you can see, we hardly had any damage which is really surprising for living in the middle(ish) of woods.

This is the tree which is going to have to come down. The inside is all rotted out so it is just a matter of time before it falls down. You can't really see the branch which is poised to fall in this picture. It is on the left of the tree on the other side.

These next two pictures are from my aborted trip to work yesterday. The first picture is taken out of my righthand window and the second is out of the lefthand one. Me thinks it will take a bit of time to remove them.

This last picture is our backyard after everything was picked up. Isn't it nice and pretty?

Well, back to the power-less house!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Quick update

I only have a short while because I'm borrowing power, internet and computer. On Sunday, we got hit by Ike's winds and had a 4 hour wind storm which knocked out the power in most of my county (as well as IN and the rest of the state). Lots of trees and branches came down (along with electric, phone and cable lines) but, from what I've seen around, not too much damage to cars and houses. One tree was ripped out of the ground after being twisted around 360 degrees. We only had a couple of large branches come down, none of which hit the house. One tree in the front yard is going to have to be torn down because most of its limbs fell off including one which might block the road if it falls. At least it won't hit the house. Dad told me to pull out of the driveway really, really fast. Hmmm. . . .

We haven't had power since Sunday and probably won't have it for another couple of days. My house it at the end of a power line and, because most of the houses on the line have gotten electric back, we will probably be put far down on the priority list. At least our power company didn't send most of their people down to TX to work on hurricane damage like AEP did.

The library has been closed 3 days so far. I didn't hear that the library was closed on the radio this morning so I went into work. (It was closed.) The normal way I go in had 2 huge trees blocking the road. My little town is doing much better on the clean-up than the town where I work. I was hoping the library would be open today so I could charge my phone and iPod but that was not to be. We'll have to see about tomorrow.

I've been knitting a little (once the sun goes down I go to bed and it gets hard to see to knit) and will have to tell you about it later!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sock Meme

Hello All! I've been so lazy recently that I haven't really looked for my camera to take pictures of anything on which I've been working. I haven't processed any more sheep fuzz recently because I've been working on some gifts.

One of my coworkers is a little depressed right now so I wanted to do something to help her. When in doubt, I say, knit. I was trying to look through my stash and see what yarn I had on hand and what could be made. I settled on using some Buckeye Blast sock yarn I bought a while back and a shawl pattern called the Ostrich Plume Shawl (Rav link). Hopefully Sue is a fan of the Buckeyes! It is pooling a bit around the shoulders but I think there will be a nice chevron pattern further down the triangle. The pattern is SUPER easy and can be made with any weight yarn.

The only problem with the project is that I usually work on the project when I'm at lunch and Sue is usually there, too. I want to surprise her completely so I had to find a different project for lunchtime. This means I've cast on for another project because I'm nothing if not fickle. This one is a Chickadee Cowl with some of my own handspun. The linen stitch of the cowl makes it absolutely fly. I've already got a couple of inches in and will probably be finished next week (saying so will jinx the project though). I started using the handspun (100% merino in an aran weight in the Broken Hearts colorway) for a 1 row scarf but didn't have enough yardage for a good scarf. This cowl is a perfect solution and I really like the way the stitch highlights the handspun.

And now, for some more fun, a meme for you. I've seen this one making the rounds and thought it would be fun to do.

Sock Meme

When did you first learn to knit socks? Probably 2005 (all of the years run together)

What's the first sock you ever knit? A bed sock top-down pattern from one of those weekend knitting sort of books. All I remember about the pattern was that the designer had you do 3 rows (not all together) of purling at the top of the ribbing on the outside of the sock. It was very strange. I think the purling was to "help keep the sock up." That was definitely not something I continued doing after that first sock.

Favorite Sock Pattern? My plain vanilla toe-up stockinette socks though I've really fallen in love with Cat Bordhi's sockitectures especially the Riverbed one.

Favorite needle method? 2 circs

Favorite sock needles? Anything with sharp tips

Who do you knit socks for? Mostly me.

How many pairs have you knitted to date? No idea because I usually forget to count the ones I've given away.

What is on your sock knitting to-do list? Play with the Flat Feet I just bought at the yarn shop.

What kind of socks to you like to knit-
Striped? only if is self-striping
Colorwork? not as enthused but willing to try at least once
Plain Stockinette? definitely
Cabled? cables = addictive substance
Lace? lace = more addictive that cables
Anklets? not a first choice
Knee Socks? I've made one pair and keep dreaming of all the others I'm going to make but never seem to get around to it.
Solid colors? only if I use an interesting pattern
Bright and crazy? of course! In fact I'm wearing a pair right now that is bright orange, red, pink and yellow.
Faux Fair Isle (the yarn doing all of the work)? yup though I don't really have any in my stash anymore

I'm not going to tag anyone but, if you are interested, let me know if you fill this one out!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


A couple of weekends ago one of my relatives gave me one of his sheep fleeces. I knew that he had sheep but I didn't know he had sheep, you know? Right now, Patrick has 2 Jacob sheep both of whom have been dehorned. That is a real shame because Jacob sheep are known for their crazy horns (some of them can have 6 horns!). One of the ladies was a petting zoo inmate and is not a fan of people at all. The breed is standoffish but I think being in a petting zoo could make anyone bitter. They had to be dehorned just in case so kids wouldn't be hurt by the horns.

Anyway, back to the fleece. I'm amazed that Patrick was able to pack all of this into a relatively small box. He checked the fleece as his checked baggage. I think it would have been hysterical if the airport officials had gone through this box. Talk about the smell of a farmyard! Here the fleece is in its raw form spread out in the middle of the back yard.

I didn't have any equipment for washing a fleece so I quickly ran out and bought some rubbermaid containers, additional dishwashing liquid (mom wouldn't appreciate me using all of her's!), some light brown cheap towels (I think light brown was very important color for this process) and a laundry bag because this one is NOT going to be used for clothes. Then I heated up some water and split the fleece into three different parts. (No reason for this other than the containers wouldn't hold much.) The dishwashing liquid has a strong scent of eucalpytus which makes me very excited. I figure bugs probably don't care but it makes me feel like there is an additional chance of making them leave my sheep fur alone!

The first bath was very . . . um . . . brown.

The next wash, not as much.

The third bath was much clearer so I didn't take pictures of it. I followed the recommendations found here of how to wash a fleece. Prepping two batches of hot water at the same time was a little crazy (lots of carrying big pots of water = tired arm muscles) but was very nice to have it all done at once.

After pulling the wool out of the third bath, I dumped it on a towel and took a picture before rolling out the excess water. Doesn't it kind of look like a brain?!

Then I hang it out to try on our drying rack in the back yard. It seriously looked like I had slaughtered something in the back yard and had skinned it. I bet, if we had close neighbors, they would think I am completely nuts by this point.

I had enough time before going to work to start the whole process over again once more. Even after messing around with this much water, thanks to all of the lanolin, my hands weren't dried out at all! Unfortunately, I didn't have quite enough time to finish the whole fleece because I definitely wanted to take a shower before going to work. That evening, I had to bring everything in even though it wasn't dry because we were supposed to get rain. I think I found a new way of drying out a fleece. Put it in your basement where there are 3 dehumidifers running and that sucker will be dry in no time at all! I wasn't able to wash the final third of the fleece until a couple of days later. Now, everything is washed and I've started flick carding it (pdf link). I'll edit this post later to add some pictures of that.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

delayed post

**This post was written last week but for some reason I never posted it. Enjoyed the belated fun!

I've been knitting pretty steadily since last weekend but most of it has been Christmas gifts so you'll have to wait a couple of months to see the pictures. I'll just say that I absolutely love the one gift though I've made 1.5 extras of it because my gague was way off the first time around (and then the third time around which was just plain annoying). Then I started knitting some things which could be pictured because they are not gifts for anyone. Dishcloths!

My work has a silent auction (usually) twice a year. I knit these up the past couple of nights and am going to put them in the auction. Someone's daughter already knit up a bunch for the staff breakroom and I know people really like them. They are so super easy, fun and addictive. Must stop knitting dishcloths. . .

I've also picked up my February Lady Sweater again. It started languishing at the end of July for no good reason. If I had kept at it, this sweater would have been done in 8 days. Now, however, it will be done in a month + a few. Recently, I've been having a bought with startitis which results in many, many works in progress. It also produces many knits which sit in the corner being neglected. I'm hoping to put the finishing touches on this one in the next couple of days.

I love this lace pattern! It is so simple that I don't have to look at it at all and I don't have to follow a pattern which is really good for knitting during the Olympics. Chart knitting and/or counting while watching engrossing TV is usually a bad combination.

The morning light made the yarn look much more purple than it actually is. The earlier pictures of my project page show it much more accurately. I love working with this yarn! It is O-Wool Balance, a mix of cotton and wool. Apparently, I'm not the only one who loves it. . . .
Knitted items on the ground/me/the couch/any flat surface seem to be kitty bait. You put it down and *poof* kitty appears. I swear that she was nowhere near me before I put the sweater in the grass to take a picture of it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympics = spinning for me

Thanks for all of your suggestions with plying the rainbow soysilk. I'm leaning toward plying it with a white or cream. I don't want to lose the rainbow color changes but REALLY don't want to navajo ply that many yards. Now my next decision has to be if I'm going to buy undyed soysilk or, because soysilk has no memory to it, undyed wool. Decisions, decisions. I'll just shelve that one for a while.

While most people on Ravelry are participating in the Ravelympics, I've apparently been having my own spinning marathon for the Olympics. I'm also knitting but you aren't allowed to see those pictures/projects because they are Christmas gifts. Christmas, already?! Yes, I know it is multiple months away but, in the life of a crafter, it isn't that far away. I am really excited about one of the gifts and can't wait until December gets here just to see how the recipient likes it. I'll just have to content myself with taking pictures of it and waiting until December.

Let's talk about the spinning so I'm not tempted to spill the Christmas gift beans. In the middle of the Tour de Fleece, I had a small spending spree (oops) during which I bought a beautiful rose quartz little spindle and this 4 oz of roving.

This is Chocolate Toffee Cream from CJ Kopec Creations. I've bought lots of roving off of her before but let me tell you this is my absolute favorite. I thought the alpaca/merino blend was nice but compared to this stuff, it was like spinning straw! This is a blend of merino, alpaca, silk, and bamboo. It absolutely flies through your fingers and feels magnificent.

Right now, if I did a 2 ply with the singles I'm spinning, I would definitely have laceweight. But I'm thinking something different for it. In one of the last couple of issues of SpinOff, an article was talking about cabled yarns. Those are created when you 2 ply and then ply it again. That would probably bring me up to a fingering weight yarn. I can already imagine those beautiful socks. Magnificent singles = magnificent yarn = magnificent socks. Yummm. . .

I should be finished with the 4 oz tonight at spinning guild. I can't decide if I want to start plying it right away or if I want to start up on some different fiber. Guess it will just depend on how quickly I make it through the rest of this fiber. I probably would have gotten through it sooner if I hadn't paused to ply up this fun stuff.

It is Wisp from Gaslight Dyeworks. This yarn was so much fun to spin. It has wool, alpaca, and sparkly nylon in it. The nylon was a range of fun sparkles from blue to pink to purple to silver. The wool/alpaca was dyed a light yellow and makes for a nice background. I wish the pictures showed the sparkle more so you will just have to trust me that it is there.

I was trying to spin this into a heavier weight which can be difficult after spinning so much fine stuff. It ended up being somewhere between worsted and bulky. I haven't done a WPI (wraps per inch) measurement yet to find out the actual weight. The total yardage on it ended up being 216 yards and the skein was absolutely massive. For some idea of scale, the cat in this picture is 6 pounds. In her "kitty log" bundle, she and the skein are the same length.

I swear I'll get back to knitting (that I can show you) sometime soon!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Different fibers

I have to say that I was really happy about my participation in the Tour de Fleece. Most of the time I sign up for something and then don't do anything about it. Either I lose interest or get so insanely busy that I don't have time to participate. This time, I spun everyday at least 10 minutes though it usually turned into much longer. I used lots of roving from my stash. In fact I hardly have a stash any more. Just some unskirted alpaca (4 oz black and 4 oz light brown), 8 oz of 100% merino, 4 oz merino/tencel, 4 oz (I think, it might be 8 oz though) black Corriedale, a little bit of silk, a little bit of merino, and some roving I've been using to make cat toys and other felted objects. Oh, and 4 oz of merino, silk, alpaca, and bamboo I bought after the Tour ended. This slight falling down is sooooo pretty. It is like air and so warm!

Anyway, back to the last of my Tour spinning. I bought a couple of ounces of dyed soysilk at the beginning of the summer. Originally it seemed like this would be one of those things of roving you just look at and pet but not actually use.

One of my goals for the Tour was to use many different types of fiber. So far I've used alpaca, silk, merino, Finn, llama (technically this was used the day before the Tour started), and tencel (also right before the Tour but the Tour was the inspiration for using it). I had a lace bobbin open (note to self: buy many more lace bobbins!) and rummaged through the stash to see what I should use next. That soysilk roving came bobbing to the top so I started spinning.

Someone said that spinning soysilk was like spinning cobwebs. Let me tell you, they couldn't be more right! People recommended spinning it with a high twist so it holds itself together. I thought that the alpaca I spun up a while ago was thin but I was wrong. This stuff sticks together so much that I don't have to work hard at making it thin. This yarn, once I ply it, will definitely be laceweight. I spun for hours and hours but I only made it through 2 color changes (the ball of roving goes through all of the colors of the rainbow starting with purple).

The next morning I started on the green section. I spun during my lunch break down in the staff breakroom. It definitely confused some people :)

That night I made it through the green section and into a little bit of the yellow.

Now, as you can see by the pictures, the bobbin was getting a little full. Well, I just kept going because my other lace bobbin was full still. This Tour definitely made me think of getting some more bobbins! The following day, I got through the rest of the roving (the rest of the yellow, the orange, and the pink). Let's just say by the end of the orange I was getting a little nervous about getting everything on this bobbin.

It was a tad bit packed! Everything made it but just barely. If I had had even 1/16 oz more, it would definitely not have happened.

When I wound all of the soysilk up on the ball winder, it definitely made a statement! Talk about all of the colors of the rainbow.

What do you think, should I ply it back on itself or should I ply this with a completely different color? A different color would definitely make the yardage better and make the color transitions very apparent. But I have no idea what other color would look good. White? Black? Any suggestions?