Saturday, May 31, 2008

Look! Look! Look!


Soysilk roving in the Rainbow Fleece by Earthly Hues.

It seriously is all of the colors of the rainbow from purple to pink. Tricia still has some merino in Rainbow Fleece if you hurry. . . .

Thursday, May 29, 2008


My friend was married last weekend and luckily it was the perfect weather for an outdoor wedding. We've been having unusually cold temperatures but on Saturday it was nice and warm with the sun shining. Isn't her wedding cake adorable?!

They got married on a farm (complete with a tractor ride down to the reception!) so all of the cookies surrounding the cake are farm animals and tractors. Adorable!

In knitting news, I've still been working on the Stash and Burn challenge of reducing my stash. Currently, I've been working on the Queen Anne's Lace shawl though I put it aside temporarily for another project. And that project is the Hemlock Ring Blanket by brooklyntweed. I had some 2400 yards of thick and thin Cherry Tree Hill in the color, Green Mountain Madness in the stash from a yard sale last year.

It has quickly knit up to this blob.

If you want a fast blanket pattern, I highly recommend this one. I started it on May 25th and am already close to being finished. I think though, I am going to add a number of plain knit rows to the bottom just to use up some more yarn. So far I've probably used 600 yards so I am definitely not going to run out anytime soon. It is a perfect mindless project but with a little bit of lace to keep it interesting. I'm expecting to be able to finish it in the next day or two.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Where does time go?

I can't believe it was the 12th when I last posted. Between then and now, I've a) cast on for a new pair of socks, b) put the socks aside because I fell in love with another lace shawl, c) blocked a different shawl which I haven't posted about here because it is a surprise, d) had tons of people stay in the house over the weekend, e) cast on for that new shawl, and f) rode the horse a bunch (he's thrilled about that one). Here is some pictures of the new shawl.

The pattern is called Queen Anne's Lace (ravelry link) and is by MMario. Now, I absolutely love the flower, Queen Anne's Lace (my horse loves it too but I think that is because the plant is a cousin of the wild carrot). The delicateness of the flower is so pretty and I like the legend of it. There is a red flower in the center of all of the white flowers and, supposedly, that red flower is a droplet of blood from when Queen Anne pricked her finger while making the lace.

This is the first circular shawl that I have made. Other than the fiddly-ness of the center and making sure that I didn't twist those stitches, I'm enjoying it. This pattern sometimes has things happening on both even and odd rows. Because it is in the round, you don't have to purl at all. It's definitely a different type of shawl for me and I'm definitely going to have to do more of this designer's patterns. Someday I'll get back to those socks. . . .

When I was taking pictures outside, Lily tried "helping" again. There is something about knitting that she really loves and, of course, she loves being in the way. She prefers any blankets made out of yarn (though polar fleece does have a strong appeal for her) to those made out of cloth. The little cat will also spend hours curled up on a shawl or, while I was organizing my stash, on top of skeins of yarn. She found that she REALLY liked alpaca yarn. I would come into the room and find her with each paw on a separate ball of alpaca, kneading it and looking very zoned out.

In closing, the Dame's Rocket are coming out! I love this time of year because the hedgerow and the woods behind the house are filled with it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I had no idea

So this weekend was spent cleaning desperately. Recently, my room has just been a depository for stuff and sleeping. That is it. Clean clothes were everywhere. The fiber/yarn corner kind of took over the room. The desk was completely covered with papers which were stacked precariously. The chairs were covered in laundry and general stuff. Basically it looked like someone set off a bomb of yarn and clothes in the middle of the room. It is still in the disaster stage of cleaning but it is a better disaster than it was before. The next major project is to switch out the winter and the summer clothes. This requires lifting the mattresses off my bed because there is storage under it. That, of course, couldn't be done before because there was no room for the mattress to be put anywhere.

One huge advantage of this cleaning is that I've now taken pictures of my yarn and fiber stash and added most of it to Ravelry. I've also finally taken out that crap yarn that you buy when you are a beginner and don't know any better. (Red Heart?! What was I thinking?) The plan is to donate 3 grocery bags stuffed full to the local thrift shop or Goodwill. It's freed up a little more space so that is definitely a good thing.

I didn't think I had that much yarn until I started taking pictures of it. Now I realized that was just denial. So far, with all but 6 skeins of yarn (2 50g balls of sock yarn and 4 small skeins of dishcloth cotton so it really isn't that much) entered into Ravelry, I've found out that I have 24,345.5 yards (approximately) of yarn. A few of those yards are being used in a project right now so the figure isn't entirely accurate but then again, I don't quite have everything entered. I guess it balances out. Before this massive cleaning and picture taking, I only had 15,000 yards worth entered. A 9,000 yard increase is slightly astounding. Then this morning I found another skein of sock yarn when I was putting something away in the closet. What they say is true, the stash breeds and produces little skeins!

This stash counting has definitely made me want to knit it down a little (read: a LOT). On the Stash 'n Burn Ravelry group, there is contest with the goal of knitting up (or getting rid of) at least 1,000 yards in the month of May. I haven't really signed up yet but I think it is a good personal goal for me. There are some really great yarns in the stash (I wouldn't have bought them if they weren't (don't judge me by the Red Heart)) and now I want to use them again. It's fun to dream up the projects you could make. I'm thinking some shawls/stoles with some of the sock yarn. I have one skein of Cidermoon that I LOVE and am not willing to make it into socks that no one else will see. I also am thinking of knitting up the DK yarn I bought in England last July for Basic Black.

Another advantage of all the cleaning is getting my knitting and spinning books all in one place. Within the last couple of months, I suddenly have a ton more of both of these types of books. Strange how that happens. I wonder if they are breeding too. . . .

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Some more spinning and lace

First off, awwwwwwww, isn't she cute?

Yesterday, I washed and set all of these skeins of yarn that I spun up. The brown yarn is from a gift of roving I received in November (or was it October?). It was a trash bag full of roving and I made approximately 858 yards of worsted weight yarn from it.

I'm trying to finish all of the spinning I started on my borrowed wheel. There was a bit of a time crunch because I'm returning it this week. I'm happy to say that everything is finally off of the bobbins, set, and stored in archival photo boxes on one of my shelves. I would have it hanging all over the place but the amount of yarn might scare my cousins and aunt who are coming to visit this week.

Next, instead of cleaning my room for the impending guests, I blocked a shawl. This is the Swallowtail Shawl from Interweave Knits. I made it out of fingering weight rather than laceweight so this shawl is HUGE.

I ended up having major problems with this simple pattern because I kept running out of yarn. On the last chart, I eliminated the first half of it so there would be enough yarn to make the ends into tips. Then, on the bind off, I ran out of yarn again so I ripped back a few rows and tried again. It was a fast knit but all of the issues I created made it take much longer to finish.

And finally, here is the fingering weight yarn I bought at Maryland Sheep and Wool. Isn't it pretty? Those colors are pretty true to life.

Yesterday, while closing the yarn store, I cast on and, by the end of the evening, had this much.

I can definitely understand why so many people have made this pattern. It is a completely thought-free knit which will look great when finished.

Friday, May 09, 2008

MSW, part 2

Be warned, this is a very picture-heavy post.

First thing that really struck me about Maryland Sheep and Wool was the sheer number of people everywhere! Saturday was crazy with all of the lines.

The next thing that strikes you are the animals. I loved looking at all of the different sheep breeds, the sheepdogs, llamas, alpacas, and rabbits. If you are every going to go, don't miss the parade of sheep breeds!

I didn't take any pictures of the various booths because there were just so many! How do you choose what to look at first? So I'll leave you to take a look around the blogsphere to see others' pictures which are a whole lot better than I could have taken.

I really enjoyed watching the Sheep to Shawl contest. No, I was not there to watch the sheep get shorn (that is 8 in the morning, people!) but I did watch the spinning, weaving and finishing of most of the groups.

This brightly colored shawl was the overall winner.

And then there were the purchases. I definitely was going through a green and blue period, wasn't I?

I ended up with a lot of fun stuff, mainly fiber with some yarn thrown in there, too. I bought a bag of completely non-natural, human-made fiber because it was sparkly :) Two different kinds of tencel/merino blends one of which was a purple-blue and the other which was called peacock and was a bluish-green. I couldn't wait and started spinning up the peacock tencel on Sunday night on the new wheel. I also got a silk hankie which was dyed in greens and blues.

I've never worked with Socks that Rock so I bought a skein of the medium weight sock yarn (of course in green). Then I couldn't wait to start knitting on it so I bought some DPNs and got some help winding the skein into a ball. Then I fell down and bought 3 skeins of sock yarn from Tess Designer Yarns (I think that is the name, it isn't in front of me). It is a really pretty mix of light and dark blues and grey. I also fell down and bought a cone of some silk to work up into another lace project.

Luckily, by the time we waited in line for the festival gear, it was way down. I picked up a canvas tote with brown edging and I really like it. The tote, I decided, was a better route than a T-shirt. I'll probably get more use out of the tote.

Of course, I didn't need another drop spindle but I found a really nicely carved one so that jumped in my bag. Speaking of spinning tools, I bought a wheel!

It is a Majacraft Little Gem and is so cute! I tried a lot of different wheels while at the festival and it was a tough decision between a couple. This one folds up very small and is really easy to transport. I'm smitten!

I'll leave you with the picture of my STR socks. I'll pick them back up after I've played with the wheel for a bit :)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Book Meme

I'll post the pictures from MSW in a bit but I came across this meme this morning and couldn't resist!

What we have here is the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing’s users. As in, they sit on the shelf to make you look smart or well-rounded. Bold the ones you've read, underline the ones you read for school, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods (I love this book)
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King (Read this when I was 11, I should probably read it again)
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
Angels & Demons
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
Neverwhere (Love, love, love this book)
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

MSW, part 1

Maryland Sheep and Wool was last weekend and, let me tell you, it was a lot of fun! I can't believe that it took me so long to finally go to one! I only went to school right up the road.

Anywho, I drove to Maryland this weekend by way of Gettysburg to meet the librarians for lunch. It was fun to quickly catch up and to see the changes that have been happening there. I also really liked the display they had up about knitting :) Some of the projects were really wonderful.

After Gettysburg, I drove to Baltimore where I was spending the weekend with friends. Learning how to play the drums/bongos on Rock Band was fun. (No, there aren't actually bongos in Rock Band. I just hit the drums with my hands because it was less dangerous for myself and others if I didn't use the drumsticks. What can I say? I shouldn't be trusted with sticks.) We also went out to dinner in the Inner Harbor Saturday night and out to a couple of bars (Spring = lots of bachlorette parties). When I was at the festival on Saturday, my friends went out sailing. It was a great day for it!

The festival was so much fun. I met up with some people (Hi, Janelle! Isn't it funny that we didn't see each other the rest of the weekend?) including my friend from Ohio and her friend. They drove past my car on their way to a parking space and we all happened to meet up while I was going back there to dump stuff off and grab my lunch. I spent a lot of money (perhaps too much but, hey, I will call it a graduation present to myself). I don't have my camera with me right now so I will post pictures tomorrow. And *drumroll* I bought a spinning wheel! I am absolutely in love!!!! More tomorrow.