Sunday, October 29, 2006
Next up: A mistake rib scarf from brother #2, from my handspun Ashlands Bay merino/silk roving. This is about half-done and it, too, is turning out very nicely. Suitably masculine, yet soft and warm against the neck.
Have I shown these off? Here are 167 yards of bulky weight yarn, from 5.8 ounces of superwash merino roving. I'm afraid I have lost track of the etsy artist from whom I bought this.
And here are 102 yards of gorgeous bulky yarn, spun from 3.5 ounces of merino roving from handpaintedyarn.com, given to me in the recent Knittyboard swap by the generous and thoughtful merlinthecat. I think I might make myself a Madge hat from this, and any leftovers can go into my Lizard Ridge afghan.
That is the end of today's good news.
This morning I was skeining up a nifty two-ply - half fiery Grafton Fibers batt, half Sheep Shed Fire colorway Corriedale roving - and the inevitable happened.
My swift broke, in a totally unmendable spot - the little plastic doo-hickey that actually holds up the swift cracked in half. I guess you really can't expect more than 15 or so years out of a basically cheaply made yet complex tool. I think I'll get another just like it, if possible, so I'll have spare parts. In the meantime, I'm already suffering from swift withdrawal - life just ain't the same if you have to spend it skeining up new yarn around chairs and elbows and stray protruding parts around the household.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Oh my gourd. That was one incredible joy of a weekend. My friend Sue and I went and tented quite successfully (but boy, did I enjoy the hot shower when I got home last night) (the electricity was out at the park, for those who didn't know) (that's Sue above, setting up the tent in an absolute flurry) (had enough of my parentheses yet?), waking to this sight, across the Hudson. Plus three does lilting out of the vicinity.
We found an exceptional restaurant for dinner (Portofino in Staatsburg, near the campground), an exceptional breakfast spot (Famous Pete's in downtown Rhinebeck), and only got lost three or four times in one very small area. And we went to the fair.
I didn't buy any yarn. I didn't buy a wheel nor a drum carder nor a single pattern nor even anything to eat at the fair, except a cup of coffee. But, yep, I bought fiber, including a little 4.25-pound Netherlands Modern Texel x Friesan fleece (anybody know anything about this? At $17, I couldn't resist). And 3 pounds of Romney roving - I want an Irish fisherman's sweater - and bunches and bunches of dyed roving and various exotic fibers to try. About 12.5 pounds of fiber, wool, silk, angora, mohair, Tencel, alpaca, at least seven different breeds of sheep. At least it all fit in the car. And on my couch.
Oh, and Amy Singer - yes, THE Amy of Knitty.com! - pinned me! Yep, Amy and I are going steady now, so the rest of you can just back off. I get all the wool in the world; she can have all the other fibers, we're a perfect pair. OK, in reality, I ran into Amy in one of the barns, rudely pointed right at her and said, "You!", and she graciously laughed, accepted my adulation, and gave me - put it on my sweater herself - a little pin that says I heart Knitty. So, like I said, we're going steady.
And then I managed to slobber obnoxiously all over the Yarn Harlot in another barn, who only by the grace of a proper upbringing resisted smacking me down. I fondled her newly blocked wedding shawl without permission, fer gourds' sake. I really should write a note of apology.
And then at Morehouse, THEY were all there. Amy and Jillian Moreno and Debbie Stoller and Melanie Falick and Tara Jon Manning and for all I know, more stellar authoresses. See that little yellow bag on the right end of the table. That's Amy Singer's bag. Before I got up to take the photo, I was sitting right there in the sheepskin chair in front. Again, I was terribly rude, I didn't buy a single book. I have them all. Or damn near all.
Wow, I am SO going back next year. I am SO wearing something I knit. I could not believe all the extraordinary clothing I saw. Including Sue's scarf. Here she is in the breakfast spot parking lot, tinking back after running out of yarn during the bind-off.
And showing off the bound-off scarf an hour later at the fair.
My thoughts exactly, Sue! And I hereby vow to spin up some of the fiber I bought this year, knit it into something swoon-worthy, and wear it to Rhinebeck next year. You can hold me to that!
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Yarner prepares to take on the warehouse.
Checking for obstacles before starting the assault....
Struggling to make her escape, while her partner in crime lurks outside to whisk her away.
Friday, October 13, 2006
In other news, Lizard Ridge is addictive. Here are three squares, each of them the same Kureyon colorway alternated with one of my handspun yarns. I just love knitting these up, even those I'm not exactly sure I like how the colors are working together amongst all the squares.
So there has been lots of washing, some in the dark, because I couldn't wait till morning, and lots of vm picking, especially from the black fleece, which is pretty filthy. The white fleece is basically clean and dry now, but I've only done a little bit of the dark gray. Goal: two clean fleeces, ready to be dropped off at Rhinebeck to be processed into roving.
I bought these from a former shepherdess in the next town over. They are Border Leicester/Dorset/Finn mongrels. The white fleece has about a four-inch staple, with lots of crimp, and the dark gray has about a six-inch staple, with those little curly tips that are supposed to be characteristic of Border Leicester. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this experiment turns out, as I really haven't the foggiest idea of how to deal with raw fleece. I need a spinning mentor!
My mom's Christmas scarf is coming along. It's about 32 inches long, unblocked, and I have about half the yarn left. Looks like that gift will work out.
However - and the easily scared among you may wish to look away for a moment here - there are only ten weeks left till Christmas. I don't know about you, but I have to get cracking. No lollygaggling around playing with Lizard Ridge blocks - I have to finish my mom's scarf. And knit the hat for Earle out of my handspun. And etc., etc., as you can see here in this purely hypothetical knitting/spinning schedule:
Week One: finish knitting Mom's scarf
Week Two: knit Earle's hat; the yarn's already spun
Week Three: spin up the black alpaca/silk for two presents
Week Four: knit the alpaca/silk into a scarf for Dad
Week Five: and into a scarf for Friend #1
Week Six: spin up the red Grafton Fibers batt
Week Seven: knit the resulting red thread into a scarf for Friend # 2
Week Eight: spin up yet-to-be-acquired navy blue wool
Week Nine: knit navy yarn into scarf for Brother #2 (Brother #1 got a scarf last Christmas)
Week Ten: finish up any straggling projects, wrap, mail, and decorate the Christmas tree.
Well, you know how this will turn out. Probably more like this:
Week One: get most of Mom's scarf done; buy fiber at WEBS tomorrow for Brother #2's scarf. Finish the baby hats I promised someone completely heretofore unmentioned. So far, so good, really.
Week Two: knit Earle's hat; the yarn's already spun. Finish and block Mom's scarf. Feel virtuous and invincible. Go to Rhinebeck and spend all of the rather large mileage reimbursement check I'm expecting, and then some, on gorgeous fiber. I deserve it, right? I'm on schedule for my Christmas knitting.
Week Three: spin up the black alpaca/silk for two presents. Well, start this, at any rate. Did I mention I bought a pound? Give in to Lizard Ridge temptation and knit another block. Feel exceedingly guilty about not finishing spinning the alpaca/silk. Also guilty about not even starting the hat I promised Noah months and months ago. Especially now that it's actually cold outside. Helping Sue pack and move alleviates some of the guilt, but takes up an entire day that could have been devoted to knitting and spinning.
Week Four: Finish spinning the alpaca/silk. Start knitting the alpaca/silk into a scarf for Dad, probably some variant of the cabled Irish Hiking Scarf. Get about four repeats into it, and realize that the cabling is lost against the black, not to mention amongst my uneven spinning. Frog the scarf, and spend most of two evenings browsing through patterns, trying to find something appropriate. Finally decide on something and get about a quarter of the scarf done.
Week Five: and into a scarf for Friend #1. Yeah, right. Finish Dad's scarf, if I'm lucky. Oh, and the monthly spinning group at WEBS meets this week, so I really should be spinning rather than knitting, because I want to ask these helpful spinners how to improve. Decide to treat myself and bring along four ounces of hand-dyed BFL I bought at Rhinebeck; get maybe one ounce spun.
Week Six: spin up the red Grafton Fibers batt, supposedly - I don't think so. In reality: Spend two nights finishing spinning the BFL and plying it. It's gorgeous, but it has nothing to do with Christmas presents, so I tuck it away. Start knitting the scarf for Friend #1. Finish knitting Noah's hat. Start panicking. (oh, and this week is Thanksgiving, too, which may help. Or not.)
Week Seven: Finish knitting the scarf for Friend #1. It's gorgeous, if I do say so myself.
Week Eight: Debate whether I should work on the scarf for Brother # 2 or Friend #2. Do some other Christmas shopping. Let my sore wrist and elbow rest. In short: not accomplish a thing.
Week Nine: Okay. I won't see Brother #2 till after Christmas, so put that off a while. Like maybe till next year. Spin up the red Grafton Fibers batt. Start Friend #2's scarf with it.
Week Ten: Knitknitknitknitknitknit. I am so sick of knitting. Finish the red scarf, barely.
Christmas and thereabouts: Give everyone their handpun, handknit presents. They are all ecstatic with happiness. Feel guilty anyway about not finishing Brother #2's scarf.
I bet we all know which scenario I'm going to follow...
Sunday, October 01, 2006
But I was re-inspired when my Spinning Secret Pal, Cortney (aka Merlinthecat), sent me this wonderful second course - 4 ounces of alpaca/merino/tussah silk, 3.5 ounces of gorgeous multi-colored merino from handpaintedyarns.com, an adorable dragonfly tile, and an iridescent beaded dragonfly that Merlin made herself! And wonderful BFL roving in purples...
Which I loved so much I immediately started spinning it up! Here are the results - about 114 yards of two-ply taking its first beauty bath. Beautiful stuff, yes? Thank you, Cortney!!
In other news, I finished my first Lizard Ridge block, half Kureyon (the darker colors) and half my handspun (a pale blue merino single plied with a commercial blue/pink rayon/silk). I'm not sure I like the way these colors work together in this one block, but I'm pretty sure that over the course of an entire afghan, it'll all work out. As will the different gauges of Kureyon and my, ahem, variable homespun.
And I'm maybe a quarter done my mom's Christmas scarf, knitted in feather-and-fan from my homespun.
Here's hoping my fiber mojo is back on track. Cuz if not, there's a helluva lot of fiber in various forms around this house....