Saturday, January 31, 2009

...and so it goes

Well. Got to Twist. Had my wheel. Spun four minutes. Tops.


Oh, well.

Let's talk about something wonderful, shall we?

A "Fearless Knitter"!

That's what I'm calling her, but her real name is Melissa. Even though I had no time to spin, at least another new knitter has gone home armed with new knowledge and more faith in her ability to do whatever she wants to do with needles and yarn. And that's so great! The regular teachers weren't there and the shop was swamped, so the poor girl got stuck with moi.

I love teaching (smart people, anyway) and this young gal was sharp as a tack. She only had to be shown most things once. Boy. Wish I could say that about myself when I was learning. She wasn't at all afraid to tackle big things. Things like a loooong skirt knitted in the round - gracious me! She'd just learned to garter, didn't know how to read knitting terms yet (!), couldn't read a pattern; yet, there she sat, determined to knit this lovely skirt!

When I got over the shock of realizing she meant to knit it right away, I realized she had something I never had as a new knitter: sheer guts.

She "knew" she was a "slow-learner" (I'd love to know who convinced her of that load of hooey) but she still wasn't afraid of anything that could be knitted. If she's "slow", then I'm dumber than a freakin' post.

If she keeps going like this, she's going to be a phenomenal knitter. She's really cool, too; I liked her a lot. I really hope we see more of her at the shop.

Withdrawal symptoms...

are getting much worse. I have GOT to have some serious spinning sessions for the next 2 weeks, or I'll just crack. I know I will.

I'm still working on mom's mittens - they're more boring than I realized they'd be and I just do NOT do well with 'boring', even if it's knitting.

Hopefully I can get to Twist and spin for awhile...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Oh - I almost forgot!

My mom LOVED her green Garterlac Leaf Scarf! She loved it!!! Aaaaand, that's not all! She's even asked me to knit her some wool mittens! I am so tickled that she wants me to knit for her! She even thinks fingerless mitts might help keep her little hands warm. She's so cold this Winter, especially after suffering from the stroke; it's just too hard for her to get warm and stay that way. Sure wish I had more time to knit: I'd have her smothered in hand spun, hand knitted wools and alpacas.

I've got one mitten done and the other well started. SO...if I can just get off the computer for most of tomorrow (er, today) I should be able to finish them up PDQ. I'm making them from some discontinued Classic Elite Waterspun merino that I've had stashed (and forgotten!) for years; a worsted-weight (more-or-less) single which is lightly felted (so it'll actually stay together).

The mitten is a plain-jane pattern, but I'm jazzing it up mildly. I used the Channel Islands Cast On - truly my favorite - and am knitting it up with some favorite Addi lace 3mm cable needles. Magic loop, of course - it's faster for me. I'm making it with the backs in a moss-stitch bordered with a simple gartered edge, from the wrist to just above the knuckles, and a 'swirled' closure for the fingers.

The only thing that is disappointing me is how the mittens are leaning to the left. It's crazy - I'm a spinner so you'd think I'd have remembered how singles behave when knitted! But noooo. *sigh* Well, other than the fact that the mittens look 'lean-y', they're lovely, feel great and now DD wants some, too. Of course. Pic will follow when I can get it taken.

FINALLY - some time to post!

Oh, boy - have I ever been busy! It's now been almost 2 weeks since I've sat at my wheel; I'm having the shakes from spinning-withdrawal. However, it's been a pretty fruitful 2 weeks of knitting time, so that helps. That was a lousy photo of my mom's scarf - I think I uploaded the wrong one (well, of course I would do something like that), so here's a slightly better one:
While it shows much paler in the photo than in reality, at least the details show up.

- AND! - I finally finished dd's Wedge-Head Tam that I 'unvented' last week. I have never seen anything made quite like it on the 'net (or anywhere else for that matter), but that isn't saying much. Until recently, I never knitted anything but socks :-)

It took me forever to shortrow a wedge shape that would actually work with the human head. You should've seen my earlier attempts. ::shudder:: They wouldn't have fit anything recognizable on Earth.

I made this from some of my hand-dyed Merino top (by April of The Gourmet Sheep), which I'd Navajo-plied several weeks ago. I loved the way the colors just melted one into the other. Some colors are very bright and clear, others are more subtly shaded, providing a wonderful foil for the brights which just 'pop'. A simple idiot cord and tassel finished it off just right. Now...if only she'd let me block the durned thing to give it some shape! Darn kid wears it 24/7, practically.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

So...when do I get to spin, eh?

Argh - it's been over a week since I've sat down to spin ANYTHING. It's killing me! However, I have been knitting in my "spare" time ::snort:: and at least I have two things to show for it. Once again (this should be a given by now), I have to apologize for the poor quality of photos. They're all either over-exposed, under-exposed or out of focus! First, I made a Slotted Neck Scarf for my mom from some Rowan Felted Tweed, #146 Herb. It took just a bit over 1 skein (191 yds), so I'm guessing somewhere between 200-250 yards? No, I am *not* going to rip it back and measure it for you. I kept messing up on that thing nearly every step of the way and I'm not about to re-do it! Anyway, it blocked beautifully - hurray! I don't know why, but I had this awful fear that it was going to s-t-r-e-t-c-h uncontrollably once I got it wet. I don't know why! I just did!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"Winter Sea" scarf c'èst finis!

I can't believe it - it's done! Xxxxxxxxx's Morning Surf Scarf (fourth one, for Pete's sake) is completely, totally done. Apparently, I'm almost as bad as the Harlot when it comes to obsessing about a specific pattern. Even blocking the fringe is done (body got blocked first b'c I didn't know how to do the fringe the way I wanted to - I figured I'd better finish what I could). I can't say who it's for (don't know if she reads the blog or not), so mum's the word for now. I hope she really, really likes it!

However, I can describe it (as if I haven't in a previous post - ha!). The moment I saw the fiber on Leah's Yarn Or A Tale site - I KNEW it was meant for X. They were her colors (mostly much paler than those colored words) and not anyone else's I knew. On impulse, I bought the only bag Leah had left, and it was a mere 4 oz. Hmmm - I wasn't sure what I could get from that, because it wasn't suitable for socks, being merino and short, cut silk fibers. Wouldn't hold together well enough for socks, I knew.

I could hear that lonely bag of fiber calling my name for months after I bought it, but I had so many other carding and spinning projects, I just shut my ears to its' plaintive cries. It would not be ignored, so in early December (I think!) I took it out of its' dark and (very crammed) drawer and began spinning it into a fairly thick single, wondering what it would become. I couldn't decide between two scarf patterns, both of which I loved, so I decided to knit a bit of both (see agonized odyssey).

Once I decided it had to be the Morning Surf pattern, I quickly knit it up, switching from one ball of color to the other (okay - so I was being picky - it was a gift!), trying to keep the integrity of the color changes intact. Fourteen freakin' ends later....

Anyway - I knew I wanted something special for the ends of this special scarf. All my other scarves, I just left 'as is' after casting off, but not this baby! So, I thunk and I thunk. For 3 days (at least) my brain overheated as I fingered the small leftover balls and pored over many books, mentally looking at - and discarding - everything I saw. Nothing 'fit' this scarf. hit me: just make some simple, varied-length, twisted fringe and hang shells 'n' crap off it! Eureka! It would be simple, in keeping with the scarf's design and whole theme-thing going on: the Sea! So...whaddya think?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ravelry's power is down - oh, my!

Well, phooey! I'm finally remembering to get onto Ravelry more than once every 2 months (literally), and look what happens: they lose power, or something. I hope everything's okay - I've not heard that there were any major storms this week - wonder what's going on?

SO - I'm here to brag report that the Winter's End Morning Surf Scarf is about 95% done. It's blocking right now, on towels on the bedroom floor. It's so cold back there it'll probably take forever to dry. Better that than the dogs ripping it to shreds, or tromping on it, though. Now all I have to do is the special fringe I'm planning (and hoping it turns out really well).

I've taken my green Golden Lace socks (designer Jeanie Townsend) out of hibernation - it's been well over a year since I started on them and put them away to obsess about learn how to spin. For the socks, I'm using Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino yarn in solids (my favorite). I think the name is "Pesto" for the shade of green I've got. It's certainly not Lime or Loden (which I've also got stashed. Well, no. Lime's all used up - rats!). They're lovely, but I've already made a couple of mistakes and had to tink ('knit' spelled backwards) what I did. Gee whiz - the pattern's not that hard! No, I haven't got a picture of the green ones yet, but will try to get one posted sometime this week. In the meantime, here's a pic of my dd's Golden Lace socks in turquoise, knitted with (what else?!) CTH Supersock, also.

I've been a tad busy, otherwise...

with a stupid virus. My computer's been sneezing, coughing and groaning for a week or longer, and now I know why! I'm just hoping it wasn't a keylogger-Trojan (is there such a thing??) - but it was certainly a Trojan, darn it. Can't remember the name and I can't imagine how it got on my computer considering I have every virus protection/firewall known to man! And they all work together very, very well. Until they encountered an irresistible force...


Of course, no one reading this could imagine what I mean by that...not at all. A foreign concept to most, I would imagine.

:::coff, choke:::

I've had to change all my passwords and cancel my debit card. Still need to go get another one, or I won't be able to buy squat online (no credit card, which is usually a blessing, right?!). All in all, it took me a mere 8 or 9 hours to - hopefully - get things straightened out. Heaven help that boy if I have to lose any more knitting and spinning time! Not to mention, I was supposed to be making more stitch markers for the store that evening. Now that we've started schooling back up - there IS no real time to devote to my relaxing, better-than-Prozac obse hobby.

Oh - I nearly forgot to make another brag (a small one). Ravelry asked me if they could use my photo example of the Golden Lace socks! Apparently, no one had entered a Project using that sock pattern, so ... no photo for anyone to see what it really looked like. That's sad; Jeanie is a very talented designer, long past-due for more public recognition. She has her devoted followers (like myself) who eagerly await the next pattern, but more people ought to know about them! She's good - really good - and picky about how well her patterns are written and work up.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Christmas stash acquisitions

Not to make you drool or anything, but here is some of my BFL Stash from Miss Babs. Chucked into the pile is some bright RED Fleece Artist...well, fleece. Roving, that is. I picked it up at I-forget-which-shop on the Yarn Crawl. No time to list all the colors - I'm yawning my head off and why I am still up?!? But I feel like I've been really behind on the blog - am trying to semi catch up.

Annnnd, these lovelies are from Ruth MacGregor, of course, of Spinning Forth (please see sidebar until I can put in all the links).

Again, I'm much too tired to list the colors, but I will, soon!

*** UPDATE 01-07-09 *** Silk colors, clockwise from bottom of left photo:
Silk spinning kit w/spindle - Garnet - 50g, Aubergine - 50g, Canard - 50g, Red - 50g, Sunspot - 50g, Coquelicot - 50g (middle)

Ruth told me, when I was enquiring about how much silk I might need to make a medium-sized project, that 50 grams of silk went much further than 50 g of wool. She said if you spin the silk fairly thin, it should get you a scarf that stretches from neck to waist (!). I'm assuming that means using large enough needles to get lace, but I didn't think to ask her.

Read blog post below for the Discussion Of The Scarves! You will probably have noticed that the poll has disappeared. There's a good reason for that...

Making a beginner's mistake

Well. No question about it - it won't be the Garterlac Scarf, for sure. This thing puts the 'ug' in ugly. I think I know why, too. The yarn is much sturdier and thicker than the yarn I used for the first Garterlac scarf, so I had to go up at least 2 needle sizes. I also had to spin and ply it quite tightly as the fibers were short and yet I was (stupidly) spinning them worsted. That's the beginner's mistake I mentioned in the title. Yup. Why I didn't think to card the roving and go woolen is beyond me. Yes, I'm stupid - so sue me.

When I tried to use the original sz 6, the fabric was so tight that the yarn had no room to 'breathe'. The silk ended up making the yarn feel like soft, crackly paper - yuck! It felt worse than the nastiest 70's acrylic you could find. We all fingered it (at the shop) and agreed: bigger needles! I switched to a sz 7 - same thing, just not quite as bad.

Got home and pulled out the big guns: my Kollage 8's. Ahhhhh! The poor yarn breathed a sigh of relief as it found room for itself to look and feel like actual yarn. In fact, it feels wonderful knitted at this gauge. Unfortunately, the stitches are so large, that the whole ensemble just looks...odd.

Beginning from the outer end of the ball (without frogging the Garterlac so ya'll could judge for yourselves), I cast on for a narrowish Morning Surf Scarf. Glory. I think that's what it wanted to be. Granted, both pieces could look better, but they're not blocked yet - give 'em a break! So tell me what you think of this one:

Even though a few more voted for the 'lac than the Surf...we're going with the Surf, unless someone has an even better idea.