Sunday, April 15, 2007

Reclaiming a Sweater

I've just realized I probably should have taken a picture of the sweater when it was whole. Oh well. It was from the Goodwill, and while a designer sweater, was made of tomato-red mohair, so there was no way I could resist. It was very bulky, and probably could have fit me, but as we all know, a chunky sweater on a fat girl is a recipe for disaster. I thought the yarn was a Lamb's Pride- like wool/mohair single, but in reality it's two strands of fingering weight brushed mohair (with some wool as a stabilizer). So the yarn has been ripped and caked, and will probably become some kind of entrelac, because that's what it's telling me.*

Also, I've finished the rainbow cowl. It's quite nice; I've made it into a moebius cowl, because that kind of design element is so easy and yet quite classy.

Each color in the yarn somehow lasted exactly the width of the project, so there isn't an abrupt change mid-pattern. Also, the project had exactly enough yarn. Seriously, the blue repeat ended, I bound off, and sewed the seam, and I now have about a foot left of handspun. If I kept a project journal (which I undoubtedly never will, because I know how I start things and don't finish them**), I'd put it in there with a note on how surprisingly successful this project was, considering I was just trying to use up the mohair locks. Now, I think it'll go into my fancy-additives for when I finally spin an art yarn.

*The yarn is, of course, not actually speaking to me. ...Just wanted to clear that up.

** As evidenced, of course, by my long blogging absences.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I've been spinning some of Krista's roving in the Poison colorway. It's maybe not what I'd describe as my first color choice, but there's something about it that really just works. Shades of warm and cool purple, with some very dark and very light areas. I'm adding irridescent Angelina as I go. The Angelina comes out kind of hairy if you're not careful; I'm sure blending it with a drum carder would have a different result, but I'm not about to mess up the color definition in this roving by blending it away. This is undoubtedly going to be a DK-weight 2-ply in the style of Sock Hop Yarn.

I've been knitting a bit as well. Mostly, I've been working on a cowl made from the rainbow mohair locks my dad got me in Ashland, OR. They were hanging around, and while I liked the colors, seemed way more effort that they were worth. They nearly were. I tried to fit all 4 oz. on my Bosworth (my arm got tired, let me tell you! 5oz. is heavy when you've been holding it aloft for hours), but had to spin the last bit separately. When I Andean-plyed it, the colors didn't line up exactly, but I'm pretty mellow when it comes to this yarn. The pattern I'm using is the Seafoam pattern from Barbara Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting. It's really, really simple, but looks fabulous, and is perfect to display my lace mohair yarn. We'll see whether or not 4oz. was enough to make the dimensions I want, or if I have to rip it all out to make it narrower.
Yarn: Handspun from kid mohair locks.
Weight: 4 oz. 19 WPI. Dunno what yardage.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Swap update

This is just a quick post to thank my upstream swap pals. Thanks, ladies!

The three swaps I'm participating in are MellowSP3 on the KnittyBoard, Favorite Color Swap 2, and the Handspun SP, hosted by Interweave.

I'm terrible about posting, so I figured I'd say thanks now, so y'all wouldn't freak out that I didn't get your packages. Thankyouthankyouthankyou! I love all this yarn and fiber, and I'm always so impressed with the way people package things. There aren't any pictures because I am having the darndest time with Blogger (I'm sure it's just me).

So, once again, thank you for sending me some gorgeous stuff to work with.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

47 Days- from Feb27

That's right; it's been 47 days since I decided to work from my massive stash. Now, I have bought stuff, but it all falls into the exceptions in the Stash-a-Thon guidelines.
Firstly, I went to Stitches West last Saturday. It was ultra-busy. We got there at about 10:30am, and I immediately made a beeline for the Bay Area Knit Co-Op (aka Cookie A's booth). They had a pack of all 8 of Cookie's sock patterns. Seriously, I'll probably never make half of these, but they're too wonderful to pass up. Also, out of a couple dozen hand-painted hanks of sock yarn- made specifically for Stitches- there were only 4 left Saturday morning. I bought 2, and in retrospect, I should have bought all 4. You know, as an investment.
This picture shows which two it is I think I bought. It's hard to tell, but you get the general color idea. Also, this pic is from Cookie's blog, I don't own it, I just love it.
I also bought a whole bunch of fiber. Even if fiber wasn't an exception to the Stash-A-Thon rules, I'm already counting Stitches as my one fall-off-the-bandwagon moment, because... well, c'mon... it's Stitches. And there was no way I was not going to buy Cookie's patterns.
That reminds me. The fangirl issue. Yeah. Cookie was there, and her boothmate Lynn (got one of her patterns, too), and her blogmate Kristi (who rung me up). I didn't giggle wierdly, but I did blather a bit incoherently for a moment there. I didn't gush in true fangirl style, "OMG you are so cool! lol!! I love everything you do! This rox!!1! I'm so excited, can you tell?!?! I took three caffeine pills so I'd be fully awake when i met u! XD XD" because I have more decorum than that. Right.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Just Call Me Screaming Fangirl

I am not one of those girls who goes to a movie just because there's a cute actor in it that I like(though that doesn't hurt), or changes the lyrics to songs by a favorite singer to "personalize" it, and I don't sit in the comic book section of my local bookstore reading Japanese comics all day because a character is hot.

Maybe a more... universal example should be given: you know those girls at Beatles or Elvis concerts in the 60's who literally fainted from excitement? That is a fangirl. Fangirls use (and overuse) expressions like OMG, squealing with delight, *I'm descriptive asterisking,* O.o (an expression of confusion), XD (an expression of excitement), and the plethora of emoticons.

Let me give you Wikipedia's definition of fangirl:

The term fangirl can be used to describe a female member of a fandom community (counterpart to the masculine "fanboy"). Fangirls tend to be more devoted to emotional and romantic aspects of their fandom (...). However, it is commonly used in a derogatory sense to describe a girl's obsession with something.

What has brought on this definition, you ask? I was thinking about yarn.

I was thinking about yarn, and how, while I love it, I don't ever say, "I have to have that skein of Prism, and damn the expense!" or "I know you're allergic to rabbits, but I got you this LL Angel because it's so fluffy." or "That yarn show is going to be packed, but I will fight anyone who gets in the way of my Koigu!"*

I was also thinking about patterns. When I finished my Jaywalkers, I thought, "Yeah, that was a neat pattern," not "I have got to blog about my love for this right now!" (In fact, I haven't posted any pictures or talked about it at all.) I don't look at Alice Starmore patterns, and think that they're way cool because Alice Starmore designed them. I don't ever insist that Clapotis is the new poncho (or whatever), or that people who haven't made it are "missing out" (I'd be one of those people, anyway).

My point? Uh... Oh yeah! My point is that I am not one to exclaim exuberantly and at length about an item, in general. I am not, in most cases, a fangirl.

For Cookie A of Pomatomus fame, I am.

I occasionally write comments on her blog- and I do that for almost no one- I've visually fondled the different patterns she creates, and her love of Louet Gems has me convinced of the yarn's excellence. I hope to eventually create as cool patterns as she does, and keep enough patience to knit complicated cable & lace socks. Like a good fangirl, I enthuse about these things to people who a) have no idea what I'm talking about, and b) don't care. I also squee quietly to myself when she posts about a new pattern.

At Stitches West, where Cookie has a booth, I will buy all her patterns (and I never buy individual patterns- I'm too cheap), some of her handpainted yarn (oh my god- I'm squee-ing this very moment), and I will be too nervous to talk to her unless spoken to first. (In the event of conversation, I will half-mumble polite answers, but not strike up a conversation, and then kick myself later.)

I do and feel all this for no one. Seriously, I've been too miserly to even buy Eunny's patterns off her blog. And I love Eunny.

So you see? I am a fangirl for a sock designer.

*This gave me a humorous mental image of "Two men enter, one man leaves" from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


First, I'd like to post my answers to the Favorite Color Swap 2 questionnaire.
Favorite Color Swap Questionnaire

1. What are your top three favorite colors? Red (omg I love red!), green, yellow. One caveat, though for green and yellow: I generally only go for warm colors, so when I refer to green, I mean more olive than teal, and when I say "yellow" I mean more gold than canary.
2. What crafts do you really enjoy? Knitting and spinning. There is a little room in my heart for bead-related crafts, but that's mostly because they're shiny, and I am a total magpie.
3. What products do you really covet? Handdyed/handspun. I like silk and wool; there's something about animal by-products that I love.
4. What other activities do you enjoy besides your favorite crafty things? Reading, piddling around with writing, daydreaming about how cool I could make our garden or the fabulous clothes I could make if I even liked gardening or sewing.
5. Is there anything you collect? Yarn. DVDs (you laugh, but sometimes I think I've gone crazy). Funky keychains, which I actually collected in high school, but hey, they're still displayed, and I can't say no to the jillions of sassy, entertaining or downright nasty ones out there.
6. What is your zodiac sign and/or Chinese zodiac symbol? Aquarius, Ox.
7.What are your favorite…
…scents/smells? Baking smells, jasmine tea, honeysuckle, the smell of a wet garden.
…types of music and/or bands? Soundtracks, rock of various kinds (I can't say that I like a particular type because the names always change, and it's not as if I like every band in the category), celtic.
…authors? No question: Terry Pratchett and Garth Nix.
…animals? Cats (I have 2), and I generally like dogs, though I could never own one, and horses. And goats are pretty cool, and if I ever went into farming, I'd totally want alpacas.
…places to shop? Bookstores, fiber fair vendors, cheap shoe stores (Payless, Shoe Pavillion), and I have a secret love of Old Navy, which I visit in the Fall once or twice, and then disdain it as usual. I utterly adore Target, but there isn't one close to my house (not even in the same city), so I rarely go there.
…season? Winter and Autumn, although I think that's mainly because those two seasons can be about the same in San Francisco. I like the rain, and being snuggled inside, and the rich colors, and the holidays.
…yarn/fabric/paper/other craft supplies? I love wool; it doesn't even have to be a really fine wool. Since I'm not into fabric or paper crafts I'll just let those go; I do like beads for some strange reason (it's not as though I do any beading), and little fibery things that could possibly be used in ultrafunky yarn (sequins, novelty scraps, interesting fabric strips, feathers, whatever).
…candies or goodies? yes. I don't think there's anything really in particular. Except maybe Ferrero Rocher (mmm!)
8. Do you have any wish lists? Not for yarn, no. I do have one for craft books, but those are so pricy; I'd rather get fiber or yarn.
9. Are you allergic to anything? NO. (woo!)
10. Do you have any pets? What are they? 2 cats. They are secretly evil.
11. Please include anything else you would like your secret pal to know about you- anything that would be helpful in finding you little gifts that you will really enjoy. I have absolutely no stitch markers. Seriously. I could probably make some, but that takes both time and motivation.
OK, I was going to have a second, but it took forever to fill out this questionnaire, so I've forgotten what I wanted to say.
The flyer shot is what was on there a few days ago: oatmeal-colored wool from Sheepshed Studio that has not only been a dream to spin after a) royally messing up my wheel for some reason, b) then trying to spin finer fibers on it and c) finally giving up and spinning on drop spindles for more than a month, but also because it enabled me a) to fix the wheel, b) spin fiber that doesn't require hand lotion or carding before spinning, and c) giving me a break from spindles (which I still love).
This fiber is destined to be a 3-ply of worsted/light chunky weight. It may end up as a sweater, or something like that.
The wheel shot shows how I have recently discovered which is the best way to transport this sucker. When I first strapped it on (it's a rolling cart-type thing that business people use to move boxes around), it was really unbalanced and unpleasant to cart about. I dragged this thing around with me all day last Thursday while I did some errands, because I was going to Carolina Homespun for the monthly Thursday spin-in. So, not only did I travel on about 5 buses with this, over the course of about 6 hours, I had to mess with the configuration of the elastic straps and whatnot. To make matters worse, Morgaine had cancelled the spin-in due to their roof being repaired and a dental appointment I had not been aware of because I wasn't on the mailing list. Last Thursday was a bad day.
That Saturday, I took the wheel (perfectly balanced now) to a Girl Scout event called Discoveree, which is a day of training/craft classes aimed towards adult scouts & new leaders and older girls. I was helping a friend of mine and her daughters (along with a dozen other members of the troop) sell food at their concession stand. This is what I did on Saturday: woke up at 5am, went to Alameda, helped set up the booth (which took a couple of hours, all told), spun, ate, spun, chatted, spun, helped take down the booth, went home. A bunch of people stopped to ask me questions about spinning, which was gratifying because a) I know stuff about spinning, and b) I'm always glad to help people convert themselves to the Fiber Side. A few asked if there was a class on spinning at the event, which there had used to be, but wasn't this year. Saturday was a good day.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Still on the Wagon

That's right; it's been 18 days, and I haven't bought any yarn, except some Cascade 220 for my shrug, which, if you check the guidelines, doesn't count.

My solution to the ache to buy yarn that I don't really need? I asked for three sweaters-worth of yarn, needles, and notions for my 21st birthday. I couldn't think of anything I desperately wanted (except a computer, which my parents are unwilling to pay for), so after thinking wistfully of Bianca's Jacket from IK Fall '06, which I promised to make my mother, a simple cabled cardigan for my dad, and the Brae Cardigan from The Art of Fair Isle Knitting by Ann Feitelson, which will be my first truely Fair Isle project, I decided I would ask for specific yarn. I did all the calculations for size changes, and searched online for buttons and needles, and I compiled all of it together in a list I have just sent my mother, so she can purchase all the stuff at her leisure.

I should say here, before you choke on the price (cuz this isn't a cheap present), that my parents wanted to buy me jewelry. I'm a Target girl, so, beyond heirlooms, and the occasional silver from eBay, I have no problem wearing pot metal and glass gems. I wanted something I wouldn't feel awkward about wearing or making, and my parents didn't want to just give me money.

I was going to ask for a drum carder for my birthday, but I was preempted. I received one from St. Nick. Blogger's being unreasonable, so here's the official Strauch Standard page.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Knitting software & pattern writing

I'm cheap.

I will pretty much always go for the cheap item (yarn or fiber) over the delicious, but expensive merino/silk handpaint (of which I know I've bought, but it's my one weakness, I swear). Within reason- I won't buy Ingeo or polyester no matter how cheap- I aim less for quantity over quality (unless- miracle of miracles- there's both at a good price). I'm a bargain whore.

What am I getting at? No, no; it's not just that I like talking about myself (though I do).

I've found Fleegle's Blog, where she is currently summing up all the knitting software and pattern-writing programs, and discussing the pros and cons of each, and a basic rundown of how they work and are used. Someone in the market for good software would be able to determine which to choose, depending on their needs.

Back to me being cheap: Fleegle is on entry #3, and I have to say, I was totally won over by the free knitting symbol fonts that you can use in Excel. See? Cheap and good quality.

Oh yeah, baby!

This Monday will see a full two weeks' work on my shrug. I feel like I'm really chugging along and getting a lot done (after all, I am working on this to the exclusion of all my other projects), and then I try it on.

Seriously? An inch, while representing about an hour's worth of work (distracted, I'd like to clarify), doesn't seem like much when the project is more than 60" long (which, according to my calculations, is, um, 60 hours, about). At this point, I'm about 4" into the body, so I guess I'm 5/12ths done (25" out of 60).

Sorry about the pic. I decided against flash (hence the blurriness and the yellow tones), and I was taking the picture with my other hand (hence the wierd angle).

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Tower of Yarn

I have made progress on my shrug, of course, and I'm getting close to knitting the back. I've heard such bad things about trying to purl and strand at the same time, that it's really putting a crimp in my confidence. Should I go ahead anyway? Or should I make a note of where the hole starts and ends, and then steek the body (using this technique)? This will require some thought.

In other knitting news, my mother has now become an enabler. Temporarily. Because it involves making her a sweater. The sweater? Bianca's jacket from Interweave Knits Fall '06. The yarn? Sir Galli, the 100% silk tweed that is on deep discount at Little Knits. Yeah, we'll have to see if I can even size up the darn thing, and if I can get the same dyelot when I buy a bag and individual balls.

Lately (as in since Monday), I've been listening to Cast On, the knitting podcast. I just finished the first season, and will be starting #2 today. I know everyone else has already been listening, no doubt since the very first episode, and that I'm so far behind, the dust has settled, and I'm following fossilized footprints. It's very fun to listen to Brenda, and I occasionally find myself zoning out because her voice is so calm and relaxing. In truth, I'm not really interested in sweaters, but those entries are more storytelling than description. I also particularly enjoy the essays- Brenda's are so eloquent, and the guest essayists are often engaging in a humorous way that I find refreshing.

No progress to be reported on Cable Net. (I'm being a bad girl.) I hope I don't allow this to become a UFO, because I like the pattern, and I like the challenge, but my heart has been captured by my tapestry shrug.

I leave you with a tower of yarn cakes that I rigged up when I was making all my skeins and balls into cakes. I checked, and none of this has been dyed or spun by me (I did make a tower of my own handspun, but I guess I failed to capture the rickety glory).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Two-Handed Fair Isle

I was browsing Philosopher's Wool, and decided to watch the Two-Handed Fair Idle Technique clip (it is streaming, so if your modem is slow, it may take a while to download). I didn't realize how close I was to knitting efficiently. Of course, I strand with one hand, and use two fingers, because I always have trouble holding the left hand properly. The way she explains the technique is very clear and easy to follow along with. I am no longer afraid of knitting stranded with two hands, even if I will be crappy at it at first.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Bread and Progress

This has to be a short post, because I'm sleepy. First, I made bread today. It was the first time I've ever made bread, and it was a fun experience. I've made pie crust before (very involved kneading), and I've always wanted to make bread. The recipe I used was Honey Wheat, and it made two 9x5 loaves, which was nice, as my parents got one, and I took the other to a friend's house, where she almost didn't get any because her daughters liked it so much. Now for the critique: I thought it was a little dense and heavy, but no one else seemed to think so, and it's probably because it's so cold that the yeast didn't rise properly until I baked it. Meh. I'm so making this again as it's delicious with butter, and apparently good toasted and/or with jam. I conclude that it was a success, and that I will learn from my mistakes. Booyah!

The other thing I wanted to mention was my progress on my tapestry-like colorwork shrug. I'm not that fast a knitter, and I've been trying to work out the official pattern as I go, so I've gotten a few inches past the elbow. I'm enjoying this so much that I've pretty much abandoned my other knitting. Hopefully I won't get distracted before I finish this project. As it stands, I'm going to need more yarn to finish this. Good thing there's an exception for that in the Stash-a-thon, because I'd use up my one splurge on that, otherwise!

The last of the bread:

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Wow. I couldn't have thought of something better myself!

I have just joined (or whatever) Knit From Your Stash 2007!

What a great idea. Plus, the rules are adjustable. However, as I read over the rules, I realized I don't need to modify them at all.
Knit From Your Stash 2007: Guidelines for L-B and Wendy
1. The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start January 1, 2007 and run through September 30, 2007 -- a period of nine months.
2. We will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:
2.a. Sock yarn does not count. What? You think we are made of stone?
2.b. If someone asks for a specific knitted gift that we really and truly do not have
the yarn for, we may buy yarn to knit that gift.
2.c. If we are knitting something and run out of yarn, we may purchase enough to
complete the project.
2.d. We each get one "Get Out of Jail Free" card -- we are each allowed to fall off the wagon one time.
3. We are allowed to receive gifts of yarn.
4. Trading stash is allowed.
5. Spinning fiber of any sort is exempt.

In response to each rule, I have found the following: first, nine months isn't quite as freaky as a whole year, for some reason, second (a), I don't need to buy sock yarn, because I have more than I know what to do with, but if I somehow make about a score of socks before the Stashathon is over, I'm covered, second (b), I probably won't need to make anyone gifts, but if I do, it's probably all in my stash anyway, so I'm good there too, second (c), I'm the most thankful for this, because I already know I'm going to need more yarn for the shrug, and I am absolutely determined to finish that ASAP, because it's so freaking cool, second (d), I may use this, but hopefully not until the summer (oh, Stitches West, I will resist you!), third, I am sure I will get some yarn as a gift at some point, fourth, I know almost no one well enough to have a stash-trading party or even a basic exchange, so this is moot (I wouldn't know what my fellow Chickies had in their stashes anyway), fifth and lastly, I'm glad to hear fiber of all kinds is exempt, but I will endeavor to be strong, and spin from my extensive stash.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Pigeon Roof Studio

Around the holidays, I ordered some yarn & fiber on Etsy (my first purchase there), and have only now gotten around to taking pictures of it. There is one thing missing, because I couldn't not spin some, but I haven't taken any pics because it's going to be a gift for my Spin to Knit SP pal.

So, I ordered all these goodies from one seller: Pigeon Roof Studio. She hand paints roving in one-shot batches of a few ounces, and she also handpaints yarn (and occasionally sells handspun). The prices are quite reasonable, and she has free shipping. She's located in Oakland, actually, so she's pretty close to me. Check her out; there's always something gorgeous.
Here are the things I bought (total cost: about $85):

Thing one (on the left): Purple with olive, brown, and white sock yarn (Schaefer Anne weight or a little heavier). You know, one thing I love about handmade socks is that they don't have to be subtle, or match your pants- pick electric pink and yellow; it's OK, thry're handmade. (In fact, I am wearing my own handmade socks which are red, purple and orange.) Handmade socks don't even have to be in colors you'd normally wear. I certainly wouldn't wear an entirely bright green outfit, but I have no qualms about green socks. I'm looking forward to knitting these up.

Thing two (on the right): 220 yards of "Celadon" (celery greens- both warm and cool shades) handspun in about the same weight as above, or a little lighter. So, not enough to make a pair of socks, but perhaps anklets or a lace shoulderette or something. There is something decadent about buying someone else's handspun because it's that perfect amount of unevenness that screams handspun, but you didn't spin it yourself, so it's almost like a gift.

Thing three: 4 oz. of pale blue-green with white, medium warm green, and touches of gold superwash. I have no idea what I'll make of this, as usual with fiber. But it's really, really pretty, and I wonder how I'll get the gold to stay it little splotches, and not blend too much (although that would look good, too). And on the other side, I do want the greens to blend into subtlety. It makes me think about that whole "boyfriend's sweater curse" and how you shouldn't give a knit item to someone who has no appreciation for the effort put into it. There should be a rule about spinning, too. Don't give handspun to someone who won't understand what you went through to make it just so.

Thing five: 3 oz. of roving in reds with some pink and brown. It's surprisingly mellow, probably because there aren't very many colors, so this yarn will end up having subtle color shifts in a way that would probably please Eunny.

Thing four: 3 oz. of roving in Autumnal colors (mainly red, with yellow, orange, brown and olive). The fiber content is that of Lamb's Pride: 85% wool, 15% mohair. This is the only roving that might have color-blend issues. I don't want it to become too muddy, and the olive and brown could really drag down the vibrancy of the colors if I do it wrong. (Sorry for the flash shot, but the daylight one was ultra blurry, and the colors are darn close here anyway. I've got to learn more about my camera.)
I leave you with a slightly blurry, but still gorgeous closeup of the superwash.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

New project in progress

On Monday, as I was travelling to my knitting group, I decided to take a break from knitting some crazy socks (1x1 cables on size 0s are not condusive to relaxed hands) (pics to come when I've got a little more done), and stepped into Noe Knit to pick up some yarn and needles for a hand-friendly project. I bought some Cascade 220 (a yarn I was reticent to try, but it's turned out to be one of my favorite yarns) in dark plum, beige, gold, and mauve. Naturally, I was intending to make some sort of Fair Isle hat.

As it turns out, the size 7 circulars were too long, so I cast on way more than was necessary for a hat (I'll just felt it, right?), and was winging a design. In which I offset an entire row by one stitch. No problem, I'll just design past it, right? So I get home, do a little Internet browsing, see the whole "multiyarn shrug" thing, which made me browse the free shrug patterns, where I found a simple pattern that I decided to modify to suit my current purposes: Fair Isle.

So, I ripped the work I'd done at knitting (no problem for me- I've had to rip Fair Isle before, and Cascade 220 is very forgiving), and started a new project. Behold: a tapestry-like Fair Isle shrug. (OK, it's the sleeve, which I've worked on since I took the picture earlier today.)

In the first pic (sorry for the headache-inducing angle), you can see how the design is turning out- the cream is more prominent than the purple, but the purple is going to be all the edging. Also, this pattern is great because it's not directional, so I don't have to make two sleeves and graft them together to keep the visual flow. In the second picture, you can see how it sits on my arm. The wrist is pretty tight, but not so tight I needed to rip it. One interesting thing about having a totally basic pattern and running with it is figuring out what kind of increases and where. So far, it looks OK, but I'm not looking forward to the decreases- I'll have to learn, finally, which ones do what, and in what direction.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I am so freaking behind!

...and to prove it to you: A mohair shawl I finished in the summer that you didn't even know I was working on until I put it in the FO sidebar (which is, of course, not up to date). Pattern and yarn from Royale Hare. I ordered this yarn specially (for color continuity, you know) before I even knew what a yarn over was, let alone how to read a pattern. And it's a simple pattern. I really like this shawl, even though a) my mother questions my color choice every time she sees it, b) I don't really do orange, c) it's sort of longer than it needs to be.
BONUS: the crown I'm wearing was a GS Women's Weekend craft. I based it on this designer's work.

Mmm... more SOAR haul:

Ah! Another drop spindle added to my small group. It's an ultralight, and I find that I've only been spinning on this lately, and I've been making 2-ply sock yarn (possibly Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock weight). Seriously in love. This spindle gets banged up pretty easily, though. (Note to self: try not to drop things so often.) I don't know what it's made of (and I've of course forgotten who I bought it from), but it's lovely and dark and the shaft has these little rings that add a nice touch and that I use to regulate my singles placement. The fiber on there was a 0.5 oz. sample of superwash merino from Royale Hare (man, the goodie bag at that thing was big); it's a true violet- I think it looks purple, but there was no way I was getting my camera to show anything but blue. I don't know why people get so freaked out about spinning superwash; I haven't had any bad experiences.

Those two 2 oz. Merino/silk rovings are from Carolina Homespun. I know CH is in my city, and Morgaine has always got this kind of thing to buy, but how could I possibly resist those colors? Seriously? Reds and yellows that a poetic person might call Sunset, or possibly Magma, and greens with yellow and blue touches that could be called anything from Jungle to Margarita or some such. I haven't started spinning this yet, and I'm eager to do so when my wheel stops being fussy and slow. In fact, not only did I just recently buy more merino/silk handpainted from Morgaine, but I still haven't finished the first 2 oz. hank I'd bought from her months ago; I spun about half of it on the wheel, then Andean plyed it on a plying spindle (because I was way too impatient to fill another bobbin).

Lastly, the last of the yarn I bought at SOAR, destined for greatness as a Fair Isle hat (and probably mittens and/or scarf, seeing as there's a ton of yardage). The big skein is 100% Polwarth in a not-quite-chocolate brown, which I would love to work with even without the smaller skeins, which are a very tightly spun Polwarth-silk, and handdyed (pink, purples and peach, all very mellow- not overwhelming at all). Speaking of handdyed, as I wound the yarn into cakes, I discovered that while they're from the same dyelot (as far as I know), the colors are pretty different. As I expected color changes in any Fair Isle I did, this isn't an issue, but it was pretty wierd to see.

I did buy other things as SOAR: silk caps in purples and also in greens from the same people I got my buttons from, a kumihimo kit (and a ton of cotton thread for that purpose) that I worked on while listening to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, some small bits of fiber (baby camel/silk, peacock sparkle), alpaca/silk roving, 4 oz. of BFL roving from our Socks that Rock buddies in Rooster Rock, and tiny stick shuttles for cardweaving (which I forgot to take to the class, and the thin air at Granlibakken was a major factor in whether or not I was willing to walk down to our townhouse to get something that small).

Monday, January 08, 2007

Cool new idea!

I was just browsing the "Recent Keyword Activity" on my blog tracker and noticed someone had searched for "unique multiyarn shrug." What a freaking cool idea! I already have tons of novelty yarn in single-ball increments, and I make multiyarn scarves. The next step in my evolution as a knitter: multiyarn shrugs. We'll see how it works out.

Maybe I'll use this pattern, or this or this with short sleeves or this. Man, I love shrugs.

Here's a couple of pics from my SOAR haul.

This here is some natural chocolate alpaca destined to be a 1/2 sleeve, fitted, possibly cropped, shawl-collared cardigan. This stuff is seriously soft. I went on a total rampage. I told myself, "This is a spinning event. No yarn." In the end, I probably bought as much yarn as fiber.

...and here are the buttons that will grace my chocolate alpaca cardi. The Perfect Buttons booth didn't have very many brown buttons, but I did find some. Brown dichroic glass with green iridescence- yummy! They sort of look like animal eyes, but not in a creepy way. I hope the buttons are an OK size, because they seem a little small for the project.

*Drool drool drool* This unremarkable natural grey yarn is polwarth wool and silk. It is destined not only for greatness, as it is one of the most luscious yarns I've ever handled, but also some sort of cabled scarf, which I may or may not be able to give to my dad (it's so delicious, I don't know if he'll be able to appreciate it fully). Polwarth, by the way, is a very soft wool (yes, like Merino), and not a very common breed, so it was a treat to buy some.


My first reason for posting is to assure my upstream Handspun SP that I do exist. Hey there person I don't know!

Second is to present some pictures, because I so owe you.

The first is the group of women I hung out with at SOAR (Tahoe City, CA). I'm in the back, second from the left (yeah. Not very clear, I know); the woman on the left in front is Nancy Alegria, who is not only the president of my spinning guild, and in my weaving class, she's also a Girl Scout troop leader in SF, and her daughter goes to the Summer camp I work at. It's seriously bizarre how often we run into each other. She's like me, but way better, and with more experience.
The second picture is my nervous fandom making itself known. That, my friends is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the SOAR guest speaker (squee!). I know, I know- it's not like she's Brad Pitt or Paris Hilton, who have paparazzi following them everywhere, and rabid fans asking for their signatures, but I was close enough to touch her hair. No, I restrained myself (I was too reticent to say hello or anything, cuz I didn't want to be scary and she seemed so calm and normal). That white blur on the right is my SOAR roomie Heidi spinning. I was afraid it'd be wierd between us, as I've had bad roommate experiences, but she's really nice (and she has a Majacraft Rose- *drool*). Too bad she lives in Reno.

SOAR was great otherwise. Took some fun classes: Felt Soap, Synthetic Dyeing with Deb Menz (oh man, that was awesome), New Wave Fibers (I officially hate Ingeo), and Card Weaving.

More pictures and recountings to come soon. I'm off to knitting!