August 26, 2010

Mostly dead?

I just tried to view my blog to find an old entry to list to and nothing shows up! Hopefully adding a new post might revive it - it's been far too long since I've written a thing.

Life has been chugging along, though a new facet of my job has me spending all day, every day doing research online, and thus not spending as much time online at home. Ravelry has, as I feared. also taken up a lot of that online time, keeping me away from here for so many reasons. One of which was the Tour de Fleece - I committed fully to that for the first time this year. Tons o' fun, a lot of discipline, and a lot of photo taking, downloading, and posting to Ravelry. Here - look at all the yarn I made:
Laceweight 3-ply alpaca:
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Fingering-ish silk & merino singles:
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Fingering 2-ply mohair:
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I'm in the middle of fermenting an indigo dyepot - will hopefully dye that alpaca this weekend.

I'm not a good blogger - but I want to be, so no promises, but I'll try.

September 28, 2009

They call me....

Little Bunny Foo Foo!

We interrupt our tale of the epic adventure to bring you some everyday news. Saturday, while re-layering my compost bin, I discoverd a mouse had made her nest inside it. The momma mouse made it out alive, but as I kept digging out the bottom layer, baby mice kept dropping into it from the middle somewhere.

In a split-second conversation with myself, I knew we'd be buying mouse bait soon for the garage (which the composter is in front of), so as adorable as those little mice were, I decided they would probably prefer a quick, painless death to one by poison and I bopped two of them on the head. I was apologizing as I did it - it's completely against my nature to kill something, let alone a cute little baby mouse, but let's be real - they would have been in my house or garage as soon as the weather turns. More mde it out than I bopped.

Today, after feeling like I had disturbed the force in the universe, I was totally vindicated when I arrived home for lunch and Captain America told me Fishy was playing wtih a mouse. A live one, in the house. Specifically, my bedroom closet. I warned CA to watch where he walked for the rest of the day and went back to work, wondering if I'd be sleeping with the mousies tonight.

No - Fishy is a brilliant and determined huntress! Remember, Fishy found and alerted me to the baby opossum in the kitchen ealier this year. She got it, and CA found her this afternoon in the hall with Indigo (enjoying the spoils of Bluefish's hard work), tossing the little thing around. No more mouse. Death by bop on the head or by cat - I choose shovel bop!

Had a great class Saturday afternoon with Wendy Knits on toe-up socks from her new book. She's a LOT of fun and we decided to start a Ravelry group to celebrate her term "toe cuppage" - the moment of success and joy when you achieve it - we're up to 30 members on the first day!

I've started knitting the yarn haul from the trip - this is a Shetland Shawl from Wrap Style in Simply Shetland's silk noil/wool laceweight from Stix in Bozeman - mmmm. I forgot how long the rows get on these triangles - I'm almost through the first ball of yarn.

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September 24, 2009

Epic Adventure, Part I

Captain America started planning this trip to celebrate our tenth anniversary well over a year in advance, which started with an idea of a motorcycle trip out West that's been perking for many years. Given that neither of us owns a motorcycle, and that though the thought of driving or riding on one is thrilling to me I'm not interested in dying young, I killed that after a year or two of incessant motorcycle talk. Then CA started looking at canned Amtrak tours - which, his travel agent sister-in-law informed him were a lot like Denny's - the food looks really tasty in the photos on the menu but tastes pretty bland at best on the table.

He then embarked on the perfect project for his soon-to-be unemployed self - he planned it all on his own, researching and calling and booking National Park lodges at precisely the right moment 364 days ahead. He also talked about it non-stop and ordered lots and lots of hiking gear since we don't hike - or didn't, but that's getting ahead of myself.

I admit - I spent most of the past year with my fingers in my ears going "la la la I can't hear you," both because he wouldn't shut up and because I was just going along with his dream trip - I didn't have that mountains dream in me. Had I planned it, we'd have gone to Costa Rica to go fishing and get deeply tanned. I would NEVER have planned a trip to the Rockies - wasn't on my list. Silly me.

Packing was fun - we had to consider a wide range of temperatures and conditions, and by the time I had all my stuff out for review, I realized it was everything CA has been buying me over the 12 years we've been together - Gramicci climbing pants, great tie-dyes from REI - I was being prepared and neither of us knew it consciously. I passed his packing inspection handily. Of course yarn was the first priority, and as I imagined I'd have ample knitting time over the two weeks, I planned my small Christmas present project and packed a lot of yarn, thinking I would make neat little tags with the cities the presents were finished in. Hah.

I never ever go away for a full two weeks - ever. Getting ready for that, at home and during the most hellish 60 days in recent memory at work, was challenging and stressful. I'm a serious slave to my routine, and that works for me - two weeks of complete unknown was just a tad anxiety-producing. I managed.

My single contribution to the planning was a reservation at Frontera Grill in Chicago on our first night of the trip. We stayed at the Fairmont Millenium, right next door to the Art Institute and walked to Frontera. It was perfecto - CA had a tamale appetizer that he said was just like his neighbor Mrs. Rodriguez used to make in Dallas - go figure. He's a picky eater and I'm not - and I think he enjoyed his meal more than I did. Score!

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Saturday we boarded the Empire Builder train after a quick stop at the Art Institute, which I don't think I've ever been to and which blew me (us) away. I visit museums differently since I've worked at one for the last nine years, and it was amazing. No time to hit Loopy - drag, but I had many more LYSs on my list.

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The modern sleeper cars on Amtrak bear little resemblance to the ones in North by Northwest, but did provide reasonable accomodations for about 30 hours as we left Chicago and went through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and into Montana - in fact, right up to East Glacier Lodge, our first night's pit stop. All but Illinois are states I've never been to before - many tacks for my map. We had a submarine shower and bunk beds - Amtrak could work a little on the thin cloth they call a mattress - a thin NASA foam one would go a long way.

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We got in four meals on the ride, which meant we ate with four different couples. We're not the most social couple but we held our own and had fun meeting all of them (even the woman who was so drunk she excused herself halfway through the meal).

From the train we saw:
Proghorn antelope
Astonishingly happy and rich fields of sunflowers blooming
Amber waves of grain - lots and lots and lots of it
Many cows with their frolicking, kicking, happy calves
A gigantic wind farm - I find these beautiful

And, just like Captain America said, those mountains I had never seen, appearing first like clouds far, far away, and then growing and growing and looming and holy cow we're in the MOUNTAINS.

We stepped off the train and threw our bags on top of this:

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While we walked across this path to the lodge:

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Part II coming soon.

September 4, 2009

I had no idea

I'm writing from Bozeman, Montana, where Captain America and I are passing through on our way from Glacier National Park to Yellowstone and Teton National Parks on our 10th anniversary Epic Adventure.

Driving today, first along and then inside these great mountains, I realized I have simply never given much thought at all to mountains. Just never considered them - never gave them a thought. Being a born and bred beach girl, I've done coasts and islands, and a francophile, Paris twice, but oh, never this.

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I've been saying things like "I'm converted" about the mountains, but that's not really right. It's not like I'm switching from beaches, but shazam - add mountain girl to my bio. Captain America, who planned this magical tour, has had this in his soul since Boy Scouts at 12, and now it's in mine. Big sky country meant nothing to me before - but we drive into Yellowstone with my eyes wider and my heart bursting and I get it.

We kicked Glacier National Park's butt - these two total novice hikers decked out in all the very best gear did most of the Grinnel Glacier Hike Tuesday (before very responsibly turning back before the point of pain) and a good lot of the High Line Wednesday. We've seen big horn sheep and a lounging moose close up, mountain goats and a grizzly mom and cub from far, far away, and kayaked around the lake in front of Many Glacier Lodge where we stayed.

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I've made it to three great yarn shops now - Knit and Nosh in Helena, and Yarn Shop and Fiber Place and Stix in Bozeman. Bought me some Alchemy mohair laceweight that will remind me of the amber waves of grain we've seen for miles and miles, two ounces each of local Montana Lincoln wool to spin - some natural gray, some dyed barely processed salmon-y pink stuff, and two balls of Simply Shetland silk lambswool laceweight - mmmmmmm. Stix is, hands down, the most beautiful shop I've ever seen, and let me tell you, these Montana shops are BIG - one owner said of course - they have long, cold winters here! I've barely knit, even though yarn was the first thing I packed - there's just too much to see and do. This was on the Empire Builder train - the first part of the adventure in our sleeper car:

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In a word - Glacier National Park is a serious Bucket List item I didn't realize I had on mine, and I'm damned glad to make a check mark there, We'll go back, and I'll have more to say.

February 16, 2009

Obsess much?

It's actually February 18th, even though this post is probably dated the 16th - my blog keeps denying me permission to post words or pictures. My fabulous blog hostess fixed this problem in January, I was able to eke out a whole post, and then by the time I got around to this one, broken again. I've emailed my poor hostess, but in the meanwhile decided to dig and HERE I AM! Woot - I fixed my own chmod problem via ftp and I have no idea what it all really means, except I can get back on with it already!

This post was meant to be about a whole bunch of projects, FOs, and updates, but I've been completely sidetracked by Mel's new Interweave pattern Float. I mean sidetracked to the exclusion of just about anything else. Obsessed? Maniacal?

I cast on Saturday night when I rememberd I had a half-wound hank of Purled Llama alpaca lace that I bought in the last minutes of Knittapalooza 2006 I think. I had a slim memory of this yarn but didn't remember it was alpaca - perfecto. It's local - and Chestnut Plum may well have been the Knittapalooza colorway that year. It reminds me of my favorite bikini in the 70's - I might have been seven or eight. Anyway, I cast on - I used the cable cast on with a random size 3 circular with a looooong cord and shiny silver, pointier-than-Addis-but-not-so pointy needles. Took me a long while, but I was satisfied and well-counted.

Sunday mornng, very early, which is when I wake up to a couple of hours all to myself, I got the first row knit, and then, since I can’t be bothered to actually pay attention to the directions I just read, launched right into an eyelet row without bothering to knit rows 2-6! This is just so me - no bother, I pulled it out and started over.

I learned two things on try #1 - I will knit it on 4s because the only long 3s I have are shiny and my eyes can’t take the double whammy of shiny and little itty bitty stitches! Not to mention that my KnitPicks Options are pointier and grippier. I'll put off the little Custom Knits sweater I just swatched on my 4s - I want this Float!!

So, cast on #2 - I consulted my sister in fiber and she recommended the knitted, or lace, cast on - okay. I got in a couple of rows while trying very hard to ignore that cast on, but reason prevailed and I took this baby out too. Most of it - something got stuck at the edge of this cast on so I ripped it off and had to take a picture of it. Yes, I went overboard on the "cast on loosely" part, but it's at least even and the colors are so, so yummy.

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The third time apparently IS a charm, and I'm now happily through row eight. My eyes are pissed that I was so resistant to putting glasses on - it's not vanity, just laziness. It all is much better on the wood needles, but it's still fine lace yarn and I'm old. We have readers all over the house, so I'm wearing them!

Now please excuse me, I must go knit a few more rows - I think I have 15 rows until I start the first pleat. Thank god we're off today.

ETA - That was Monday - I've now reached the instructions to begin the first pleat - and I forgot to mention that I cast on 355 stitches to get a slightly shorter than written stole. I forgot how obsessive I get about lace - it's all I can think about. I wish it were speedier - I want more, faster - but it is what it is and will be lovely and wafty when I'm done. And I like knitting.

January 11, 2009

Happy New Year!

Egads - this post has been waiting patiently in the wings since January 2nd, when I was finishing up my almost two week break from work. I finally had some mojo for the blog, but when I attempted to upload photos, I was DENIED. Thanks to the super sleuthing and stick-to-it-ness of my fabulous blog host, pretty posies aka Skinny Rabbit aka Fluffa!, I'm back in business and ready to show you two of the final three FOs of 2008:

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I love this Henley Perfected – and I should, because I had to work extra hard on it. When this Sheep Shop yarn FINALLY spoke to me and told me it wanted to be this sweater, I completely forgot the 30 minutes I spent at Loop last year with all the hanks in this reddish/pinky/orange variegated yarn spread out on their ample and well lit couch, trying to pick four hanks that were all similarly pink or orange or red.

I forgot this fact for as long as it took to knit up the entire back of the sweater, and up to the boob line where the lace starts on the front piece of the sweater – which is when I realized, while knitting in the car on a bright sunshiny day, that the back was orange-y and the front was more pink – ugh. Took the whole damned thing out and started over, doing the alternating 2 rows from several hanks thing one must do with this sort of yarn. While I LOVE the colors and the subtle variegation, I don’t like knitting with multiple balls unless I’m doing colorwork.

The sleeves, while ending up the same dimensions, don't quite have the same lace repeat at the end, and I can't figure out why. The decreasing in lace was taxing - I always manage to combine hard knitting with complicated database stuff at work - just to make sure my brain is extra special full and fatigued.

In the end though, this sweater fits perfectly and I’m mad for it. I can wear it with a hippie-dippy bell-sleeved orange tee, or over a turtleneck, or plain (with a flesh colored bra, of course!). The merino/silk is already a bit pill-y on the arms where the rub against the body, but I have a sweater shaver – no worries.

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The Huntington Castle pullover is a sweater that I’ve wanted to make since it graced the cover of Interweave’s Winter 03/04 Knit. I even tore the pattern out of the magazine to have with me when I hit yarn shops, but never committed to it. When I realized recently that I have waaaay too much Cascade 220 leftover from sample knitting, a found some blues and went at it. I knit on 6s – I usually do Cascade on 7s and I got a lovely fabric. I didn’t do the hood – did a fold-in standup tab-like collar similar to the one on the Henley Perfected. I need to re-do the crochet edging and move my big crocheted button down a bit, but otherwise this is a perfect throw on with jeans all winter kind of sweater – woot! And an amazingly fast knit – amazingly fast.

I’m into Neiman now – after a false start or two there, I’m enjoying the Rowan Wool Cotton and the shiny lustrous Debbie Bliss Pure Silk. I’m on a kick here – knitting things I’ve had on the list for too long – this is certainly one of them.

(And last but not least, I’ve had to spin up more brown wool for Captain America’s vest – for the second time now… I chalked up another 375 yards finally and am SURE it will be plenty to finish the couple of inches on the back and the button band by Christmas morning – also his birthday.) **This is old news - the vest is finished, and I'll get a photo up with my next post - when the sun comes out... No promises - wouldn't want to break my once every three-month posting streak or anything.

September 22, 2008

Backwards

I'm a back-drafter. I'm a 100% self-taught spinner on my Lendrum DT wheel, and my natural inclination is to do a backwards draft. I've never figured out the inchworm trick, and when I try to do a forward draft I'm awkward and uncomfortable, so I do it backwards. I manage to turn out yarn, so it's not a bad thing, but one day, I'll manage to take a class or two and learn some new tricks.

Here's some merino tencel that I decided to spin from the fold, for no other reason than I heard it was a slippery fiber and I have wanted to try that trick.
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I pulled off sections a little longer than staple legnth, folded them around my fingers and did my usual backwards drafting. I did 3.8 oz of this stuff and ended up with 145 yards of three ply that I did navajo style - a technique I've been working on and feeling pretty darned good about. Close up:

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I have another 3.6oz of this same merino tencel which I'd like to try to make a decent sock yarn from - and will try to spin right from the roving instead of from the fold.

Then there's the lovely pink wool from three fluffy batts that I attempted to spin woolen with the long draw, and I'm pretty pleased with the results. I had overloaded two bobbins and wanted to cram the rest of the wool onto those two so I could do a two ply, so I, as advised in Aldon Amos' book, rewound the bobbins by running them back through the wheel. Before and after, aided by my trustee assistant, Bluefish:
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After the repacking of the bobbins, i was able to get the rest of the wool spun onto them and ended up with this:
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Which is 6oz turned into 376 yards of two-ply. Close up:

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I'm starting to build quite a stash of handspun with no plans for what I'll do with it, but I'm sure it will someday let me know what it wants to be.

I've just finished CeCe #2 from ChicKnits, and after the first disaster with the wrong yarn and the wrong size, I'm thrilled with the results of this one. I'm still not as enamored of Calmer yarn as some knitters seem to be, but it's growing on me. I must remember to wear a proper undergarment for photos, but since I don't wear one unless absolutely necessary, here's the model shot:
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I'm easily seduced by fabulous patterns but don't often take into account how I might wear them, and I feel like cropped things cut my short torso in half, and perhaps they're for the younger crowd, but this one is growing on me and I just have to learn how to wear it properly.

Just finished Charlene Schurch's corded ribbed socks too - these were a pretty quick knit and could have been even quicker if I was the sort that paid better attention to what I was doing.... I knit them both together from the cuff down and split them up to do the heels and feet. For the first sock, I managed to knit all the way to the start of the toe decreases before I realized I can't count and hadn't done enough gusset decreases so I ripped back and corrected that issue. Then on the second, I forgot to turn the heel before picking up stitches for the gusset, so I had to rip back and redo that too. And then since I can't possibly bothered to stop and check the pattern, and I can't possbly be bothered to remember which decrease slants which way, on the second sock I did half the toe decreases backward, but in the end can't tell a whole lot of difference, so I refused to rip back anymore! Absent minded knitter - that's me. But this Mountain colors yarn is soooo soft and squishy and comfortable - I think I'll get a lot of use out of these this winter.

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Next up - some merino/tussah silk/alpaca I've been spinning for a three ply sock yarn - almost done with the third bobbin now and hope to ply tomorrow night. It's undyed - gotta decide if I want to do that or make some nice natural colored socks for wear with khakis.
and now I've got the sock bug - next up are a pair for Captain America I'll cast on for tonght and will probably do in plain two by two rib since he's a pretty plain guy. But it's some lovely Knit Picks sage green yarn - good for his manly feet.

September 10, 2008

They call me....

The Possum Wrangler. Well, no one really calls me that but me - because that's exactly what I was doing Tuesday morning before I even had my coffee.

It all started Monday night, when my little guard cat Bluefish spent most of the evening eyeing a corner under the cabinets in the kitchen. Then, just before I went to bed, there was some sort of kerfluffle in there, went to investigate and decided maybe we had mice again, so I loaded up a trap with peanut butter and went to bed.

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I knew something was up when I woke up and my little Bluefish didn't, as always, zoom to meet me in the bathroom where she knows I'm stuck in one spot, and that she can vamp for some good tickling there with me. I proceeded to the kitchen, where I found her now staring down the other end of the kitchen, right under the coffee pot and the diswasher. I got my latte going as usual, and then decided to investigate. I started pulling the brown grocery bags out from where they're wedged in the crack between the fridge and the diswasher and heard a very, very strange growly sound - definitely NOT a mouse. Rrrrr, rrrrrrrrrrrrr - holy cow - what was under there? I went looking for a flashlight, which, living with Captain America, always prepared for emergecy, I expected to find easily. Nope, no flashlight. But I did grab my trusty battery operated Coleman lantern that we keep on the mantel for power outages and headed back to the kitchen. I pulled the side of the cabinet away from the dishwasher - it's been loose since we bought the house, and there, at the bottom, saw a ball of grey fluff. Which I studied more closely with the lantern, which is when I saw the loooong ungly pink tail. The thing was upside down and made more growly sounds when I opened the diswasher to see if his head was stuck in there. I grabbed a pair of tongs - yeah - great idea. I paced the kitchen. I considered calling Animal Control to come remove it, but then realized I'd have to clear the counter and wash the dishes in the sink before I could let anyone in the house, so that was out. It was going to have to be me.

I managed to have the presence of mind to get the door from the kitchen to the laundry room and then the door out to the backyard open so if I did manage to somehow get the baby possum out of the cabinetry, I could get straight out the door. Armed in CA's leather work gloves, I grabbed the tongs again and even put my hands on our hammer in case I needed to bonk it on the head, but I quickly put that down after remembering I'm an animal lover and couldn't possibly imagine creating any blood and gore, especially before I'd even had my coffee. I was seriously reconsidering calling Animal Control again when I noticed the possum was now stretching one of its little pink feet out of theat spot, trying apparently to find the floor. So I grabbed that little pink foot and then squealed and dropped the little guy on the kitchen floor where he stood, stunned, staring straight up at me with his pointy, evil little mouth open. We both hesitated and then I pounced, grabbed him behind his head, and bee-lined it out the doors to the back deck and flung the little bugger out into the yard. I saw him thunk, and he actually stood there staring at me again with his evil long, pointy mouth open - ew. By the time I ran back in the house for the camera and ran back out, he was gone.

I wish I wish I wish I had been calm enough to have taken a photo of his little leg stretching out, but I didn't think of that til it was all over. I wish I was brave enough to go down into our spider-filled basement to see if his whole family is living down there, but I'm not, so Captain America wil have to do that when he gets home tomorrow (as well as procuring many flashlights to have at the ready in every room!). I hope momma possum has cautioned her other little baby possums on the dangers of climbing up into our kitchen - "your little brother tried that and now he's disappeared!" Bluefish has been rewarded for her extraordinary powers of possum detection, and once it was gone, she passed out and slept deeply all day after a long night of keeping him under the cabinets.

So Possum Wrangler - that's me.

Since I'm actually typing a post, I'll take this opportunity to show a few completed knitting projects - I have in fact been knitting a lot. Two more sweaters for Melissa Leapman - a Malabrigo Worsted Tweed jacket number that came out great, if I do say so myself. If you ever actually see this pattern out there, let me know!
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And a Reynolds Saucy cotton cardigan - this is an awful picture, but it's proof of knitting anyway:

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And a Knitting Pure and Simple top down cardigan from some Berocco Zen I scored on deeep discount. I'm not a huge fan of ribbon yarn, and even though I knit this on size 6 needles and not the recommended size 9s, it still stretches like a mofo by the end of a day of wear. It was a fun and quick knit, but not one of my all time faves:

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And then there are all the swatches for Melissa's next book on color knitting - I think seventeen of them, all slip stitch patterns. Lovelovelove these - great colors, great bang for such a simple techinque:

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I've got a giant box of Cascade 220 she sent waiting to be knit into more of these little jewels.

I also just finished all the knitting and seaming on a pale pink Calmer CeCe with three quarter sleeves, and this one actually fits! Photos as soon as it's blocked and I find a button. Also finished all but sewing the buttons, in hand, on my Henley Perfected - that Sheep Shop wool/silk FINALLY decided what it wanted to be, and fits and will be great once the weather changes. Photos soon on that one too.

Oh - and hey - did you know my good pal Mel over at purling plans is doing the Breast Cancer 3 Day walk (for the FIFTH time!!) next month in DC and looking for sponsors? Beside the fact that this is tremendously important to her, and to all of us, she's collected an astounding number and range of prizes and will be giving them out by random drawing to folks who contribute to the cause on her behalf. Go see for yourself!

August 10, 2008

Why I started knitting

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Thanks, mom, for pulling out these sweaters on my visit last weekend - I'm thrilled to have gotten to finally bring one of these beauties home to call my own, and thrilled to have this piece of my knitting history.

When I was a young teen, my grandmother took up knitting these fabulous fair isle sweaters - but only for the grownups in the family. It wasn't worth all that knitting for kids who would grow out of them - a feeling I now share about knitting for kids. She made red/black/cream ones for the men.

I was insane with envy - I so wanted one of these sweaters! Instead, grandma showed me how to knit (thanks grandma!). I don't really remember learning, or what kind of yarn we used, or any details whatsoever. I do remember the first project I decided to make - a long, black, acrylic cardigan. I guess I've always been the "just do it" type - no hat or scarves for me. I started that sweater, made tons o' mistakes on the back - I recall holes. I'm sure I started one of the fronts, but I was, after all a teen, and it was black, and I had no idea what I was doing, and grandma lived hours away, so it got stuffed in a plastic bag. Where it live for many years, untouched but apparently important enough for me to cart around until I was 34, through many lives and many apartments. I finally pitched it in the big move of 2000. Right before my twin sis was pregnant and on bed rest and taking up knitting to pass the time.

Being a twin, it was imperative that I knit too, across the country but in some competitive sychronicity. For me - it took. For her - not so much. I made a horrible yellow cotton tank that I never ever wore, but I was hooked. Haven't put the needles down since.

And look where I am now - this sample cardigan I knit up for Melissa Leapman is in a pattern book! It's the green cardigan that comes up right after the godawful 80s sack sweater in yellow and red - please forgive me if that's your favorite one in the book. And know it looks much different on that long-waisted model with her belly hanging out than regular people like me!)
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August 8, 2008

You know how it goes when

When you put something off, and then put it off some more, and then keep putting it off, it becomes bigger and bigger and bigger and soon it’s larger than life and completely impossible and you just can’t figure out how you’ll ever get back to it and oh my god what’s the problem it’s just a blog? So yup, that’s where I’ve been since MARCH! Not to mention doing mad crazy mail merges that involve IF statements that go on for pages (really) and producing pages for an online membership system through a database designed for fundraising that makes it as hard as humanly possible to do so in a straightforward fashion.

I have spent a lot of time with many bits of fiber since March, and finished that 8 oz of plain purple wool (that I started in July of 07 - sheesh), which I consciously tried to put more spin than ever into, and thought I was twisting the bejeezus out of, until I plied it and set the twist and found lots and lots of underspun and underplied parts.

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I can’t be like most beginning super-twisty spinners – noooo – I have to go the opposite way. I did, however, figure out how to make my lazy kate work for me while plying, and had a much easier time of that than ever. I have no memory how much yardage I got on the two-plied yarn, but it’s a LOT of yarn.

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Then it was on to two Crazy Batts I got way back in October of 06 at the Virginia Fiber Festival. I really wanted to try long draw spinning, and understood that rolags or batts are the way to go with this method, so I made a stab at it. But, these bats were full of uncombed locks and a whole bunch of other varieties of weird wool, so I did what I could and turned out some very interesting yarn in the process.

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The colors match my orange dining room with a lovely Arts & Crafts rug called Tulip Light Festival with browns and greens and pretty red/orange tulips and I’d love to make it into some sort of interesting wall hanging, but then I’m not so good at that visual arts stuff, so it’s decorating my dining room table and fits in quite nicely there.

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My nephew, Flat Stanley Jack, helped with the spinning and we had a grand time together.

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I’m almost done spinning about 6 oz of pretty pink wool batts, also of an unknown variety, that I got at my first (and only so far) Maryland Sheep & Wool in 2007. My long draw went much, much better with these very well prepared batts, and I’m happy with this soft pink two ply. I started spinning with a backwards draw because that’s just what felt right, so long draw isn’t that far removed from what I’ve been doing, but it is fun to not worry about slubs or thick parts so much. It’s tricky to keep my forward hand from wanting to smooth the yarn – I guess I remain a worsted girl, and I must admit, if woolen yarn isn’t good for making garments, I’m not sure what it IS good for. ( I could have SWORN I had a photo of my sample skein, but will go without in the interest of getting this post UP.)

Phew. I wrote a post. So much more to say – so more soon. The garden has been a major adventure this year, and I have pictures to prove it! Here's a preview of the echineacea we put in:
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