Archive for August, 2007|Monthly archive page

Wazzup Wednesday

…or, “I just got back from a great vacation and have nary a picture to show for it!”

DH and I took a trip to West Virginia to go horseback riding and rafting down the New River. We’re only about 4 hours away, and if you are anywhere close I highly recommend it! We went with the Rivermen outfit and had a simply fabulous time rafting the Lower New River. We are definitely going back to do the more intense Gauley sometime! It was an amazing time, but I have to say that (WARNING: SAP ALERT) the best part was being with the DH.

In other news, I finished the DH Notting Hill vest and I’m pretty happy with it. I’ll do a full write-up once I get my promised photo shoot…

If you come here for the spinning (heh) take a gander at these lovelies:

DSC05351.JPG

4 oz. bundles of merino & colonial blend from the CJ Kopec etsy store. You would not believe the self control I have displayed by not diving right in to these beauties. But alas, I have some knitting to do before I will let myself spin again. And I’ve also been hoarding the most amazing Cider Moon roving too. One of these days I’m going to go nuts and spin it all, and oh what a happy day that will be!

 

Abby's yarns- superwash lemon zest

Here is this week’s (I guess last week by now, sheesh) handspun: superwash in Lemon Zest from Abby again. Sock yarn, of course! I’m a bit puzzled with this one. I don’t feel like I did such a great job spinning it, but the final result is still rather pleasing. Granted, there are still Those Spots that make it my handspun, but overall I think it will work up ok.

 

As far as knitting is concerned, I’ve started a new sweater. Thanks to the drive time I’m a good way into Road to Golden from the last Knitscene, but again no pictures to show! What a slacker!

I did notice something rather interesting, though, that I’d like to hear from you all about. I noticed that Annie Modesitt’s Twisted Float Shrug was in the Vogue anniversary issue. I fell for that pattern when it first graced the cover a few falls ago (2005) and fell hard. It was the first sweater I ever made for myself.

 

I had this idea about a progression of color for the back. Being a non-spinner, I figured the only way to get it was to dye. Being a cheapskate of the first degree (aka, a grad student) I used Kool-Aid. This part actually turned out kind of cool.

kool aid dying

fall 2005 adventures in Kool Aid

 

What didn’t work was the shape of the garment. No matter which way I wore it, it looked huge and felt silly. Some have made it work for them, but it didn’t work for me. I still think it is a great pattern, and that the twisted floats are beautiful, so…

twisted float shrug in progress

(in progress, with only an inkling that something was amiss)

Finally one day after I’d tried to wear it several times I got brave–or angry, same effect–and sliced it. I cut away a piece at a right angle above each armhole, then crocheted the thing back together. Then I felted it. I know, I must have been really mad brave!

The end result is that now to my eye it looks like a fitted garment rather than a knitting experiment. I enjoy wearing it, and don’t feel like I need to fuss or readjust every minute. I need to find some kind of cool closure for it, as classy as the safety pin currently in use may be. I also eliminated the fuzzy edges. I’m warm & fuzzy enough on the inside (DH and Juli, two people who have watched movies with me and seen my cold heart firsthand, are laughing to themselves right now).

What do you think? Still a knitting freak show, or wearable? The pictures are all crazy, sorry about that!

 

modified twisted float shrug

twisted float shrug back

modified twisted float shrug

Three bags not yet full

The Christmas bags are going well. I’ve finished the knitting on two of them, and started the third. I’m sure the handles and finishing will be more work than I expect, but I’m feeling pretty good about the state of things for right now.

 

front view

texture

bags together

beginnings of bag #3

And finally, I couldn’t help but notice how pretty my bag yarn looked in my yarn bag!

bag yarn in my yarn bag

I finished my laceweight (ish) singles this weekend. I am anxious to swatch this one up as well–sometimes yarn speaks very loudly, and sometimes you have to coax it into beauty.

merino & tencel

merino & tencel- laceweightish singles

little things

I tend to be more on the self-conscious side of the spectrum (which can, at times, lead to an extraordinarily loud internal monologue), and thus when I encounter an opinion that is drastically different from my own my first instinct is usually to question myself. Such a reaction, I’ve learned, can be dangerous, but as I become more and more aware of it, I learn to use it to my advantage.

That said, it always surprises me when someone does have a bad reaction to something that I am very fond of–the knit/blog community for example. To combat this negativity, I am going to show you pictures of cute cats and handspun yarn and finished socks. Don’t worry, I am careful when wielding such powerful weapons.

 

Vince in a box
Yarnzombie said it best: what’s more fun than a cat in a box??

Vada sleeps

…maybe a cat sleeping?

Harry's spindle

This handmade travel spindle was a gift from a classmate whose wife is an accomplished spinner and weaver. Actually, you might recognize her. She is absolutely delightful, I promise! I am touched and delighted at the gift. It reclines oh-so-gracefully in my bowl-o’-homespun for the photo, but I’m sure will go with me many places. Anyone else think it is easier to spin extremely fine on a spindle?

 

DH Aslan socks

DH Aslan socks

 

DH socks- Lorna’s in Aslan on size 0, basically Wendy’s toe-ups with gussets. I was very happy with how little pooling there was, just a bit about the ankle, as shown in the second picture.

 

 

deluge blues

blue deluge- a study

 

Finally, more experimental handspun. These are both domestic wool in Deluge from Abby’s Yarns. You can probably tell just by looking that I’m still experimenting with the navajo ply. I wanted to experiment with the perfect ply, especially give the poof factor of this yarn, so I overplied the top yarn and underplied the bottom yarn. Then I decided that the underplied yarn was ugly, so I felted it a bit and I’m more happy with the filling out it did after the abuse. A bit rugged, I’d say. I’m anxious to swatch these up and see what kind of differences there are in the knitted fabric. Spinning could seriously take over my life.

 

 

so earnest

Have you ever seen such an earnest face? aka, the Ravelry trance

 

WIP Wednesday

I find myself currently embroiled in several projects, none of which have the potential to be completed any time in the near future. Unusual, but it is a great place to be.

 

Lorna's in aslan

You know, as much as I love hue, sometimes there is no color better than no color.

(DH socks in Lorna’s “Aslan.” Lorna tends to do strange things when I knit socks, so I was really happy that this sock is turning out to be randomly organized, and not too prone to pool or flash, which could have been a bit of a disaster in this non-colorway. Love it.)

 

 

 

Above: “The Bag”

Below: “The Bag”

Out of the whole “No Sheep” book, this pattern was the one to catch my eye. Hmm, or maybe it was that Hempathy was on sale at the yarn store and the colors are wonderful. There’s no telling, but the end result is that I bought enough Hempathy to make The Bag for me, and one each for my two SILs for Christmas. The top one is for me, the bottom one is for the just-married-into-the-family SIL, and the one for DH’s sister is reds and pinks (not yet started, I’m out of needles).

I’m also going to include some little lovely from Small Bird (the link is to her etsy shop) for each of them. Sorry to pull out Christmas already, but I love it and my favorite part is thinking about what the people I love will love. Last year I made my mom, dad, and brother each a cardigan, but this year I’m going to try to find beautiful handmade things for everyone–not necessarily handmade by me! I’m thinking something like this for my trendy BIL, and this for the FIL.

Any suggestions, from etsy or beyond??

 

 

 

Notting Hill Vest

Notting Hill Vest

And finally, it’s all about faith, my friends. I was shocked when DH pointed this pattern out in the fall Knitscene magazine as one he would like to have (?!?) and wear (???!!??). Why the surprise? This is a man who

a) never wears vests

b) thus, never wears sweater vests

c) heck, let’s be honest here: he never wears sweaters!

 

But after I purchased the magazine (only to make another note to self that it is a free pattern on the web–doh!) and the yarn, I’m realllllly glad to reinforce my opinion that he’s got good taste. I forgot how fun it is to make cables, and to knit with big needles (size 6, people! might as well be knitting on telephone poles!).

I also doubted Kathy Zimmerman, the designer, when I saw that the cabled sections are not all equal in size, but have since concluded that the little bit of unbalance is perfect. This woman knows her cables, and I am a believer.

The rest of the faith is because I hadn’t ever seriously considered the K’picks Shamrock that is recommended. In the skein it looks a little kitschy to me, but it makes a beautiful fabric. With the exception of the essentials sock yarn, I shall never again doubt my beloved Knitpicks.

I guess I gotta have a-faith-ah-faith-ah-faith-aaaaah!

(cheesy music quote of the day courtesy of George Michael. And Limp Bizkit, if that’s your thing.)

 

wanna see some really boring sock pictures?

 

not only that, they are unblocked! I’ve started knitting during my class, and the socks just keep coming! I’m trying to accumulate a stash so that I can send my grandparents a “Sock of the Month” this winter. (Okay, okay. It’ll be a “Pair of Socks a Month” club. If it were anyone but my grandparents, sending a single sock a month might be pretty funny though.)

 

grandpa socks

grandpa socks

more Grandma socks

 

specs: above- 2 sk. Stahl sche Wolle “Socka color” in gray on size 0 needles; below- 2 sk. Patons Kroy on size 0 needles with a 6 st. cable up each side of the leg (both yarns from the last days of the Destash blog, RIP)

the spinning post

Like other two-timers that we know and love, I also have a lust in my heart for more than knitting. I’m still very much in the learning process, and besides the many wonderful things I pick up from many of my fellow spinbloggers, my belief in regard to the acquisition of this skill is quite old school: practice makes perfect!

(of course it really doesn’t hurt that “practicing” begins with buying beautiful hand-dyed fibers and such, and ends in unique and thrilling yarn…)

My big summer spinning project: almost 2 lbs. of a mystery merino blend that I’ve mentioned a few times here and there. The subtleties of the colors in the chunky 2 ply are hard to portray photographically, but I’m pleased. Its destiny (at this moment) is the Diagonal Twist Princess Seam Jacket, from Loop-d-Loop. Can it really be true that only one other person has made this jacket? My gauge seems to be just a bit off, but the pattern is just a bit big so it could be good. I’ll let you know when I actually swatch…

pile o' handspun

handspun

handspun

Something I’ve noticed about spinning is that it can be so exciting when I’m not exactly sure what the finished yarn will look like. This is a 2-ply superwash, for socks. I noticed that the thicker spots are where the color is the most intense, also where I had the most trouble drafting. I wonder if the dye made that much of a difference on the fiber. See? Learning!

sock yarn

gourd-eous yarn (sorry, had to do it!)

This one is just a totally for fun: my first Falkland (got a great woolly feel to it) and my first navajo ply. Can I just say that this technique is absolutely addicting? I got up this morning and could not stop thinking about how much fun it is to ply with chained singles.

So I made this.

navajo plied

Don’t be impressed, really it is just this big:

penny for your skein?

Just a sample because I had to finish some homework. This is from a Louet pencil roving, and to be honest the color runs are really not long enough to justify a navajo ply, but it was fun! I spun as thin as I dared to get the most color, and the teeny swatch tells the rest of the story.

Toffee swatch

I love it. Wish I could spin all day, but I can’t and the backdrop for these photos is the reason why. Any other Vergil fans out there?