Thursday, August 31, 2006


OK, I admit it: I do not knit socks. Well, truthfully, I have knit one pair of worsted-weight socks, way back in my distant past, and there is one-half of one sock out of fingering weight currently hidden somewhere in my house. But that's it.

Which isn't to say that I don't have sock yarn around. Not much, really, maybe a total of eight or ten skeins' worth. And finally, just this week, I have found a real use for sock yarn - plying it with my handspun!

Behold! Here we have some multicolor roving (probably Ashland Bay merino, but I don't really know), perched atop a cake of pencil roving.

Here we have the roving in its awkward-yet-oddly-graceful floofed-out state - its teenage years, so to speak.

And here we have the floofiness in its adult stage - a single plied with some pink Patons Kroy sock yarn, at least until the pink ran out, whereupon I switched to a heathery medium purple Kroy.

I love it. I love it so much I couldn't wait for it to dry before I showed it off - this is still wet from the post-spinning bath.

I see more sock yarn in my future.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Done and Done

Item #1: An Einstein Coat, sized for a ten- to twelve-year-old, destined for Afghans for Afghans. The purple yarn is a bulky single from Colorado Yarns; the red is Lambs Pride Bulky. As with the women's medium I made for myself a year or so ago, this kid's coat took more yarn that what the patterns called for. Otherwise, it's a fun and simple knit. I love those buttons.

Item #2: About 320 yards of my handspun, from a dyed Corriedale Cross batt from Grafton Fibers, plied with Jaggerspun Zephyr. Destined to be Mom's Christmas scarf, probably via a Feather and Fan lace pattern. I'm getting there with my spinning.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

My Whirly Gig

Whee, obsession! It's spinning all the time, all channels, in these parts! Let's see, what's happened since last we spoke:

1) Look over to your lower right. No, a little further down. See - a SpinKnitties ring code! My first ring! My first figuring-out-where-to-add-things-on-my-sidebar! I may even get a Flickr or Photobucket account [hey! I just did, because good old Blogger wouldn't let me add more than 3 photos. So there, Mr. B.] and then we can look at pics of my yarn all day, all night - aren't you thrilled?!?

2) I joined in on the Knittyboard's Spinning Secret Pal round. My first secret pal round! I've been shopping for my secret pal downstream, but nothing's gotten here yet, so I can't spill the beans. Although I will admit I ate the chocolate that was intended for giving away. That can be replaced, but this time I'll buy it on my way to the post office - I simply cannot resist temptation.

3) It occurred to me that I could spin yarn with which to make Christmas presents this year. (Next year, I guess I'll have to take up raising sheep in the backyard.) Aren't I generous...creative...nuts? Anyhoo, here's the plan: I've never knit my mom or dad anything, so this year I'm going to spin some yarn and knit them each a scarf. Mom's scarf is a-spinning as we speak - see the pretty single below? That's a gorgeous blue-green batt from Grafton Fibers (I think) that I got at the Wool Pak this week. I'm thinking of plying my single with the Zephyr you see perched on top of my wheel - a perfect match! This idea comes courtesy of Etherknitter, as a great way to stretch your homespun. (Plus, in my case, it'll alleviate the guilt about not even starting the lace shawl I had planned for the Zephyr - a present for Mom trumps a shawl for me, right?)

Dad will get a tweedy black scarf, out of Ashland Bay Black Granite merino/silk, as will a certain friend of mine, who ought to be reading this blog now and then, and who just loved the yarn I had spun out of a few ounces of the fiber I had picked up somewhere in my rovings [heh. get it?] around the fiber shops of New England in the past month. Here's what that yarn looks like - it feels wonderful, very smooth and heavy.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Patty-cakes will get a scarf out of yarn from this Grafton Fibers batt:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

A strong-minded color, just like Pat.

4) A textured yarn, from roving from Crosspatch Creations. This roving is a mix of several breeds of wool, viscose, tussah silk, and silk noils. Since my skill level is such that textured yarns are all I'm producing, spinning this yarn made me feel as though I'm productive. Here's the roving, followed by the finished two-ply yarn. Interestingly, to me at least, my singles are highly overspun, but the plied yarn turns out just fine. That goes for most of the yarn I've turned out in the past two weeks or so.

5) I might very well end up going to both the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival (probably on Sunday) and the New York Sheep and Wool Festival (probably on Saturday). If I'm going to be obsessed, I might as well do it up right.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

It's OK to Say No

Every August, I get the same problem - I'm exhausted from trying to do too much. And my allergies kick in, in a major way. I often spend much of August being grouchy, burdened with guilt over unweeded gardens and unpainted houses and un-searched-for rare plants and un-lost poundage and un-found world peace, not to mention inner peace.

I have to learn to foresee the consequences of my decisions and to say no when those consequences are undesired. [Editor's Note: You'd think the Linnet would have learned this much earlier in life, but remember that our Linnet has always been a tad ... slow in these matters, shall we say.]

So I'm trying very hard to resist Afghans for Afghans' call for 900 kids' sweaters and vests, due the end of September. My purple Einstein Coat, above, will be perfect for this; I don't need to organize relays of knitters to turn out backs and fronts and sleeves, with a big seaming party at the end - right? Right?

So why was there an enormous pile of bulky and worsted-weight yarns on my bed last evening? All leftovers or random single-ball purchases, perfect for knitting a multi-colored sweater or vest for 10- to 12-year-olds. I stuffed them all into bags last night so I could sleep - help me resist casting on yet another garment.

Although my friend Jess said she'd help. And I'm further along with the purple coat than the picture shows; I'm about 3/4 done the first sleeve.

In Other News...
I'm trying to distract myself here, so humor me.

Here's some purple wool I spun up and plied, shortly after finishing up the pencil roving. I'm reasonably pleased with how this turned out. There's only about 37 yards of this, though. I don't remember what kind of roving this was, or even where I got it - I have to learn to label the roving when I buy it. [one more damn thing to remember...]
Let's see, what else?

My copy of the fall Interweave Knits has yet to arrive. Annoying.

I did just get a mailing from WEBS, listing their fall classess - they have Spinning I and Spinning II (plus some other spinning classes) - yay! But the classes are on Monday nights, when I often have a conflict - boo!

I just heard about the Knitters' Retreat in November, in New York State. Now that is tempting - have any of my loyal readers ever been? Is it worth all the money? Let's see: that would be the Vermont sheep and wool fair and the Boston Knit Out in September, Rhinebeck in October, and this retreat in November - sounds about right to me.

Enough chatting - Earle just brought me coffee; I'm going to go sit in the sun somewhere and knit.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Forward Movement

Some of you may wonder if I ever DO anything with all the yarn and fiber I buy (sometimes I wonder that myself).

Why, of course, I do!

Recent progress on several fronts:

First, spinning. Here you have a perfectly lovely bobbin half-full of a single spun from pencil roving I bought at the Elegant Ewe just last week. (No, I don't remember what kind of fiber - basic wool, I think.) I'm in loooove with pencil roving!!

I'll have you know that I now have two such lovely bobbins' full, and shortly plying will commence. Anybody got any hints on how to ply correctly, other than ply in the opposite direction than the singles were spun? I'd like to know how much twist I should be putting into the plying.

Second, felting for my footsies. No, not fuzzy feet sorts of things - I've started a felted rug. Well, technically, I've started a rug that will be felted, supposing it turns out OK and that I can figure out how to felt a small rug. Anybody up for stomping on wet wool come the next heat wave, a la wine-making?

Anyway, I made up the design for the rug, based on a black-and-white photo of a quilt I love, from the book Quilts of Illusion by Laura Fisher. Here's a photo of the quilt in the book:

[Blogger won't let me post this photo; I'll try again tomorrow]

This quilt was made in Ohio in about 1925; the maker is unknown. The pattern is called Roman Square (Basketweave variation).

Here's my sketch of the rug as I envision it. I don't intend to follow this color placement exactly; these colors just reflect what colors of markers I had handy. I do intend to use dark colors as the outside stripes of each block, which I think enhances the hoped-for three-dimensional quality. I'm using various colors of Cascade 220, bought on sale at WEBS, and the rug will be garter-stitch throughout, with two strands of yarn held together on size 13 needles.

And here are the first two blocks of the rug, plus a tad. I'm picking up for the second block along the side of the first block, and so on. It'll be interesting to see what happens when I go to knit the fourth block - picking up from the third block will be easy, but I'm hoping to attach the side of the fourth block to the side of the first block as I knit, so I don't have to seam the sides together. After that challenge, then I get to figure out how to create triangles of several sizes in garter stitch.

Finally, I've made considerable progress on the Einstein Coat, kid size, that I'm making to give to Afghans for Afghans. The body is done (minus buttons and end-weaving-in), and I've started the first sleeve.

[Yet another photo censored or, more likely, ignored, by Blogger; anybody want to suggest a better blogging platform?]


Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Fiberous Trip

Ah, vacation! Yet another short one these past few days - I visited my (non-knitting, can you imagine?) friend Nancy up on Lake Winipesaukee in New Hampshire. Lots of laughing, lots of food (Nancy actually cooks!), wandering around here and there, a good time was had by all. A representative pic by Nancy:

The Linnet investigating the supply of highbush blueberries along Heron Pond, also known for its view of Mt. Chocorua in the background and the hundreds of damselflies along its shores.

But you didn't come here to hear about the luscious steaks and the wanderings after rare plants, you came for the fiber. Well, be assured, there was fiber indeed.

First, a boast: I am probably the only knitter who has ever perused Patternworks in Center Harbor without buying a thing.

As for the other three fiber shops I managed to pack into a three day trip, let's just say I can boast all right, but not about my self-restraint.

First, on the way up, I hit the Elegant Ewe in Concord, just before a killer thunderstorm let loose. I couldn't drive in that kind of rain, so I shopped, coming away with some pencil roving and some multicolor Ashland Bay merino roving, plus Deb Menz's Color in Spinning.

On the way home, I spotted by the Fiber Studio in Henniker and somehow acquired a couple of silk hankies, some hand-dyed rayon boucle, an enormous hank of laceweight hand-dyed rayon/silk, which I could not resist winding into balls the evening I came home, and various and sundry rovings. And I was utterly charmed by the Wool Room in Antrim (no website), where I chatted with the lovely owner and bought yet more rovings. Alas, Blogger won't let me load those photos - maybe tomorrow.

Finally, when I got home, look what was waiting for me. Three different rovings from Spunky Eclectic, on sale, no less.

I think I'd better go on a low-fiber diet for a month or two. The stuff is beginning to impede walking through this house, not to mention what it's doing to my bank account.