Monday, June 25, 2007


I've been feeling the strong and gentle support of the knitting community recently, what with all my travails, so I'm joining a few more rings - see the sidebar. Besides, let's face it, I have definitely reached SABLE. I probably reached it a year or so ago, when I really was in the throes of a new and fully engaging obsession with fiber. Somehow, though, I have still to realize that every time I buy a sweater's worth of yarn, no matter how good the yarn and how cheap the cost, it means a month or two, at best, of my knitting time to knit it up. There are so many good yarn shops and fiber festivals around here that I can easily acquire two or three projects' worth of fiber a month, which means two to six months' worth of knitting, which means, yeah, I've definitely reached SABLE.

At least I'm in good company.

In other news, I've reached that point on the red and blue zigzag afghan where I'm so close to the end, I just want to keep knitting and knitting and knitting till it's done. All I have left is 24 rows of the red (plus binding off, weaving in the ends, and blocking, and maybe crocheting along the points if the blocking doesn't stabilize them, but never mind...). It's at the point where it's heavy enough that it's a pain to turn around. Being under the weather just enough that I can't garden or walk through rivers or even go visit my dad 6 hours away, means that I've gotten in quite a lot of knitting recently - and blogging, too. So, right now I'm obsessed with finishing that afghan. I predict that later on today it'll be finished, so if you'll pardon me for a couple hours while I go to the doctor's, again, and knit a bit.


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Well, lookee here! It's an afghan! It's finished! [Ignore the fact the ends aren't woven in and it isn't blocked, which it needs.] It's even finished more than a month before the wedding! I'm giving this to friends of mine who are getting married in mid-August - she's a weaver and knitter and he's a lover of all things luxurious, so I bet they love this.

Here are the details:

Pattern: Mesa Verde, from Knitter's, Summer 2005. I added another repeat, to widen the afghan a little. I also knit 24 rows of the red to start and finish off the afghan, rather than the 12 rows called for. I figured I had a lot of red to use up, and I wanted a slightly larger afghan than the pattern produced.

Yarn: S. Charles Baci in 11 balls of red (color #36) and 6 balls of blue (color #22), 62% wool/ 20% acrylic/ 18% viscose, bought from WEBS. They no longer have this up on their website, but they still have quite a bit of the red in the warehouse, if you find yourself in need of it. I also knit myself a Sally Melville Einstein Coat from this yarn; it's lovely to work with, although it's a bit soft and pilly for a coat. After I made the coat, I bought 20 balls of the red and 10 of the blue, because I enjoyed knitting with it so much. So this project is knit from my stash! (Ignore the fact I may have just bought 5 more balls of the red a couple days ago at WEBS, which is why I know they have it. That Sue is pining for this afghan; if she's good, she might get a similar one for Christmas. If she's really good.)

Needles: size 10 circulars, 29" length. These were cheap opaque white plastic ones that my mother gave me, but I have to say I like them quite a lot.

Finished Size: 33.5" by 56" (not yet blocked; I expect it'll grow a little)

Started: May, 2007, sometime.
Finished: June 25, 2007. Pretty quick time for this procrastinator.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Here's a close-up, with those mystery needles. Anybody know what they are? Also, note the double decrease, just to the left of where I'm knitting. It's the decrease specified in the pattern (SK2P), but it's not at all symmetrical - instead, the right loop is on top and gives the effect of a horizontal bar. I rather like it, because it shows off the yarn.

Hmm, so what's next?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A New Skill

Remember my new socks? My only pair of handknit socks? The ones that had a slight accident to one of the pair, the first time I wore them?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

All fixed now.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A helluva week

Well! I've had better weeks, let me tell you. My dad had a heart attack - he's home now and doing fine, but still...

And I've had a week-plus of pain and discomfort - a kidney stone? Gall bladder? Ovarian cancer? But it seems to have been none of the above, just a UTI that blocked my ureter and caused my kidney swell. Swollen kidneys are no fun, let me tell you. It's still bothering a good bit. I was supposed to be spinning at bryghtrose's today, and then that changed to I was supposed to go visit my dad, but frankly, after this post, I'm going to go have a lie-down.

And the hotwater heater crapped out again, for the fourth time in three months. Maybe it's fixed now, but we'll see. And I have still to deal with my cat's joint problems worsening and a boatload of work-work, all due by the end of the month and on and on...

You know, the usual nonsense that hits everyone sometime.

But at least all those doctor/ER/radiology visits have added up to a lot of knitting time. Here's the red-and-blue zigzag afghan, about 80% finished.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

That's Sophie, holding down one corner for me. She used to be a black cat, but in middle age, she's turning into a brown cat. This throw is turning out very nicely, so nicely that my friend Sue - yes, that Sue - has been hinting broadly, excessively, unashamedly, that she deserves this much more than the the couple who are getting this as a wedding present, that only she can appreciate the work and color sensibility, not to mention how well it would go in her living room, and so one. Piffle, I say .... but I might have a good bit of this yarn left over, so we'll see.

And do you remember that gorgeous blue BFL I was spinning up last time? Well, it has turned into 600 yards of the nicest, sproingingest, maybe a tad overspun but still lovely, DK-weight yarn I've ever made. I've started knitting myself a basic shell with it -

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

and it feels wonderful - sort of like a good-quality wool-cotton blend, very soft. On size 6 needles, I'm getting about 19 stitches/4 inches, and that's providing a nice drape, as well. I'm thinking of some sort of asymmetrical V-shaped opening at the neck - maybe a straight-line opening straight down from the right side of the neck opening, with an eyelet grid between the opening and the shoulder. Then, imagine how if the fabric is slashed straight down from the neck (not literally, of course, but I hope you get what I mean), the triangular piece of fabric directly in fron of the neck should hang open. I'm thinking I could encourage that triangular to curl back on itself and be weighted a bit in the corner by a heavy bead. Then, between the neck and the other shoulder, maybe the eyelet grid again, maybe a sinuous cable or two.

I'm hoping 600 yards is enough, but if not, I have another 4 ounces of BFL roving in a different, but related colorway, that I could spin up for additional yardage.

I'm sure that's all as clear as mud. If my drawing skills were worth mentioning, I'd draw it for you, but I don't think it'll help. You'll just have to wait and see how it turns out. That's what I'm doing, too.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Hey, I Missed You

It's been a while. I've been working like crazy, weeding like crazy, and cranky in between. I missed going to Cummington, to see the Harlot at WEBS, and to various other knitting extravaganzas. Harrumph....

But I've been knitting. And spinning, even.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

That's BFL from Cloverleaf Farms. I started spinning this back in the winter, and only just finished up the 12 ounces of singles. This bobbin is the first of the final two-ply. I suspect I'm over-plying, but I'm aiming to overply a little, because usually I underply way too much. Making this yarn is reminding me how much I love spinning.

I love spinning so much that, when I go to the Maine Fiber Frolic next weekend with Sue, I'm dropping off four fleeces to be processed. Two of them are white; when the roving comes back, I think I'll play with dyeing.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

As you may remember, everyone's getting married/having babies/turning 50 this summer, in my vicinity. This is the beginnings of an afghan, a wedding present for Dave and Shelley, out of S. Charles Baci, a merino/viscose blend. I bought this yarn from Webs a while ago, thinking I would knit my parents an afghan, since the red and blue would go nicely with their living room. Then Mom and Dad got Binky the Vicious, the Destructive, the Well-Equipped with Pointy Ends, the Cat of Doom, and I thought that an afghan out of a loosely spun merino single would not last long in their house. Dave and Shelley have no cats, just a love of soft comfort. Especially Shelley - they just bought a house for the two of them and there's finally room for Shelley's two big looms in it.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Remember that handspun lace shawl I wanted to finish for the Harlot event? Well, I finished the body of it, but I've only finished one repeat of the lacy border. Despite this photo, the border is the same color as the body of the shawl. Clearly, this border is not the sort of knitting one brings to knit at the weekly knit 'n' drink margaritas at my not-so-LYS.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

My co-worker Chloe is having the first of the four babies due this summer - she's expecting a girl around August 31st. Thus, I am knitting the kid a Shetland wool bonnet, blue with a green ruffle framing the face and green/red/pink/yellow Fair Isle flowers. Now, while I can cope with three colors in a row of Fair Isle, I draw the line at four colors - thus, this greenery will get duplicate-stitched flowers at some point soon.

Why am I making a blue wool hat for a baby girl? Well, I had all the colors specified in the pattern (Blue Belle, from Lesley Anne Price's Kids' Knits), despite the lamentable fact that I don't have much Shetland in my stash at all. I took the presence of six correct colors as a sign that I should knit the hat. Plus, the hat is adorable in blue! Especially the real blue, not the blue that's showing up so strongly on my monitor right now. And Chloe's Canadian and will be moving back to Canada shortly after the baby's born - so the kid will need a proper wool bonnet, eh?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Finally, every knitting blog needs the occasional obligatory cat photo - here we have George, patting himself on Earle's stationary hand. Note the lack of hand-knit socks on Earle's feet - there's something wrong with that boy, I tell you.