Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Everything Rolled into One


I left you in the lurch, didn't I? Here you were, waiting for days to see how my sock-on-2-circs turned out, while I was blithely wandering here and there, not even trying the circs at all. I have been busy, though - note my knitting/spinning corner in the living room, above.

Without ado then, here:


That's the sock, on size 1 bamboo dpns. It's much better. I think it'll fit.

And there:


That's one repeat of the Kangaroo Dyer kid mohair scarf (plus a boo-boo, visible towards the top). Beautiful. Inspiring. Working working on for months.

And, um, here:


I did mention, didn't I, that I cast on for a hat, too, from A Fine Fleece? This is the Nantucket Cap, in my handspun alpaca/silk, left over from knitting my dad a scarf for Christmas before last. I'm kind of ... meh ... about this. I want a warm winter hat for me, one that will cover my ears, and I think that this yarn is a little too thin to be warm, even if it is alpaca and silk. The edge of the hat is moss stitch (but I did seed stitch, because I'm an idiot), which is not snug enough, unlike ribbing, to keep my ears warm, I think. So this'll get frogged. It's nice yarn, though.


I do deserve some credit, though - I'm almost done the zigzag afghan for my parents, maybe only 15 rows to go. I would have finished last night, if my hands hadn't protested. My father's 80th birthday is this Saturday, so we're all converging on southeastern Pennsylvania to celebrate (well, not my sister in Australia, but that's understandable). I won't have finished and blocked the afghan by then, but that's fine with me. We kids are getting him a commemorative bench at the nearby state park he likes, and I don't want to make my siblings feel awkward if I bring along a giant handknit afghan as well (It was supposed to be a Christmas present). Which reminds me: I have to decide what I'm bringing for knitting. I'm taking the train (for the first time!), so I might need two or three projects. Or four?


And I'm still weaving - here are three repeats of the 8-harness runner. I have learned that my "gauge," or whatever you call it in weaving (evenness of beat, maybe?), is uneven in the beginning of a project. See how, in the blue stripe, the first square-ish pattern is elongated, while the second and third are much squarer? That's the learning process in action. Next time, I'll swatch (or sample, in weaver-ese) before I launch right into something.

A confession: I'm a foolish groupie. I went to see the Yarn Harlot at WEBS this past Sunday - great fun, as always (and you can see me looking supremely fat and dorky showing Stephanie my first socks on her blog). I must really suffer from poor self-esteem, because I have this vision of myself at these events, being cool and creative and chatty with everyone. I'm not, in reality. I'm a delusional groupie. Sigh...

I may also be a groupie in yarn purchases, too.


I have no idea what I'm going to do with this - any suggestions?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Day 3: In Which We Learn the Importance of Numbers


Does that look big enough to fit me?

Damn. I didn't think so either.

Of course, if I'd used size 1 needles like the pattern called for, rather than the size O I grabbed, it might have fit. I might have to go buy me some size 1 dpns. Oddly, I don't have any, although I do have two size 1 circulars. Tune in tomorrow to see if the Linnet can cope with knitting socks on two circs.

In the meantime, since I know you want the details: This is Spunky Eclectic's Skinny Sock yarn, superwash merino in the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes colorway. I think I bought this at SPA in Portland in 2007. Or maybe not. I'm casting on (and on and on) for Lisa Lloyd's Saxony Socks in A Fine Fleece. There are probably thousands of sock patterns in the world today and I've resisted all of them, till now.

Or maybe I just have a really bad case of spring startitus.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Day 2: Doubt Sets In

Do I really have enough yarn?


Is a size 42 big enough?




Why am I casting on for an Aran sweater when an unfinished Celtic Dreams lies moldering away not three feet from me?


Answer: Cast on, my child. In fact, cast on for socks.


Monday, April 21, 2008

More is Better, Right?

Since casting on for an ethereal scarf made me happy, I thought I'd take more of that medicine.

I decided I'd cast on for another pattern from A Fine Fleece.

I consulted the Table of SABLE. The first yarn I came to that was a suitable weight and yardage for a sweater was four enormous (1560 yards total!) skeins of off-white Chuckanut Bay wool, acquired in December of 2006 at my LYS, Emily's Needlework.

I went looking for it in the stash. My stash is not particularly organized, so I was surprised to find it in the first bin I opened, right there on top. Already wound into balls, interestingly.

I opened A Fine Fleece and went looking for a pattern that takes 1560 yards of aran-weight (18 stitches to four inches) yarn. Now, the pattern I like best, of all the cabled sweater patterns in this book, is Halcyon.


Halcyon calls for 1,550 yards of 18-stitches-to-4-inches yarn, in my size. And I have short arms and a short torso, so I'm willing to take the risk that I'll need more than the pattern calls for.


It's fate, I tell you. Fate indeed.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Better Now

Apparently, I needed some fun. To do what I wanted to do (heh. I just typed "needed to do,' even as I thought 'wanted to do.' Talk about your Freudian slips!).

So late last night - I was already snuggled into bed - I cast on for something new. Yes, there are maybe 15 knitting projects (maybe more) lying around in various states of disrepair; yes, there are piles of roving, top and fleeces waiting to be spun; yes, the rigid heddle is not yet warped, I've only done one more repeat on the 8-harness runner, and that shawl still needs its fringe twisted and beaded, but screw it.

I cast on.


I cannot do this yarn justice with my lousy photography skills, and the breeziness today is not helping to bring natural light to bear on this exceptional yarn. I'm sorry.


This is kid mohair, with a touch of nylon, dyed by the Kangaroo Dyer, Gail Callahan. This is ethereal mist made incarnate, the fragility of life held in one's hands, hope become yarn. Good stuff, in other words. I bought this at Metaphor Yarns in Shelburne Falls a month or so ago. I cast on for the Road Not Taken scarf from Lisa Lloyd's new book, A Fine Fleece. It's a simple pattern, essentially just yarnovers leading right, then left, but simplicity becomes this yarn.

Somehow, it is doing my soul good to start something new. Knitting, like gardening or spinning or weaving or raising kids, or life itself, I suppose, is the triumph of hope over experience, as somebody notable once said. I cast on, with beautiful yarn colored by someone worth supporting, bought from a new yarn store worth supporting, for a pattern offered by someone worth supporting, and I'm hoping for joy and beauty. I might just find it.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Despite All This

Despite the fact it's a beautiful warm weekend...

Despite the fact I bought the new book A Fine Fleece this week, and it has brought back my enthusiam for casting on something new... I don't know what yet, but there are a few piles on my bed, dug out of the stash, which is a good thing. Go buy the book, it's worth the $30.

Despite seeing Pat's lambs last night...






I'm cranky. Out of sorts. Questioning my role in the universe. Not Happy. The fact I just jammed something sharp under my left thumbnail whilst cleaning around the microwave didn't help. Nor does the fact that I really, really need to cut my hair - it's down to my shoulder blades and doesn't look good - and I hate getting my hair cut, it makes me feel as though I'm incapable of keeping up with the female standards in this society, which is true, but also beside the point. Work is still a slog of unbearably boring proportions. I need more people time - anybody wanna get together and knit? Spin? (assuming my frigging thumb heals) (oh! I forgot! I've applied to go to SOAR, I really hope I get in, I need a fiberish vacation) Weave?


I'm really tired of being this out of sorts constantly.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

In Progress...

I'm in the middle of everything. I still haven't dealt with the fringe on the overshot shawl.


I haven't quite finished warping the rigid heddle loom for the first of two edging strips for the leftover-knitting-yarn blanket.


I've started on the fancy twill runner on the 8-harness table loom. I'm not so sure I'll be thrilled with this when it's done, as the diamonds and v-shapes in the yellow stripes are not at all distinct, so all you'll see will be those blue shapes down the runner, with semi-random mishmash (as called for in the pattern) separating them. I put on enough warp for two runners, so maybe I'll try a different weft color for the second runner. This is a pattern from Handwoven, by the way; all I've changed is the colors - another in a series of my following published patterns till I think I know enough to design on my own.


My tennis elbow has let up enough that I can return to spinning up the fleece's worth of brown wool I started in January. I've completed two big skeins' worth, plus another half skein, but I'm afraid I've been over-plying. I may need to run these back through the wheel to take out some of the excessive twist.


I still have plenty of this fleece yet to go. I'm thinking of using the yarn as weft in a big woven blanket - we'll see.


Lastly, I do still knit, you know. This is a twin to the afghan I knit for a wedding present last summer. This one is for my parents. I had planned on giving the first one to my parents, but then I met their cat, Binky the Vicious, who quite clearly would have clawed this loosely spun merino into shreds in short order. Alas, Binky met an untimely end, and luckily, WEBS still had more of the yarn, so now I'm knitting a second one.


That's all the excitement around here for now.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

What is Wrong with Me?

So, I live an hour from WEBS, I'm there all the time (at least once a month) - what is wrong with me that I have not the slightest interest in buying any of the lovely stuff they have on sale right now? Normally, I'd be making lists of what patterns take how much yarn and dreaming up new patterns to buy yarn for, and they even have some weaving yarns on sale - you'd think since I just started weaving, I'd want to buy lots of coned yarn, but no. I'm not interested. There are no lists and charts and graphs scattered about. Do I need drugs?

Or is it that I already have waaay too much yarn already? And thank the gourds nobody's pregnant this year to knit for (5 or 6 babies last year, I've lost track). Or is it just that it's been a long hard winter and I've had too much work to do and my elbow hurts from spinning and when I knit (yes, I still knit), my fingertips start tingling, and all three of my looms have something going on, and I'm just sated? Is this what contentment is?

It sure doesn't feel like contentment.

Here's a pic of what's being threaded on the 8-harness loom:


It'll be a fancy twill runner - blue and yellow stripes in the warp, with a white weft, I think. It'll go with my dishes. It's bright and spring-like and cheery.

Back to mal-contentedness... I am so restless. I want sunny days - it's sooo gray here right now. I want warmth - it's raw out. I want a cleaned-up and cleaned-out household. I want, I want, I want.

I want to be a grown-up and know what I want.

While I'm at it, I don't want to be getting old either (I'm 54).

I think I need to go play with my friends - not my friend-substitutes (yarn, fiber), but real friends. Enough whining on the blog for today.