Saturday, May 30, 2009


I just made a batch of black bottomed cheesecake cupcakes - they are delectable and extremely easy to make. DP gave the recipe a thumbs-up, so it gets onto the he actually wants me to make again :)

Friday, May 29, 2009

C-Ks Unite

While waiting at the bus stop and working on my sock yesterday, a woman came up and started a conversation. It turned out that she was a crocheter turned knitter also! We both stood at the stop for about 30 minutes, knitting socks (hers was fair isle) and wondering what all the people driving past were thinking :) Another lady came, right before the bus drove up, and it turned out that she was a crocheter too! We all sat together on the bus and talked was such a nice change from waiting at the bus stop with rowdy teens and sitting on the bus alone, afraid of getting assaulted. A perfect end to the day.

I finished the pink lemonade socks last night! They're super comfy, and you can really tell the difference between the two socks, skein-wise. The first skein I spun was not done very mindfully, so it was thicker. I also split the roving for that skein, rather than predrafting it, so the color changes are much more differentiated. They're both navajo plied, but the second skein is plied tighter, so it had more of a sock yarn feel - bouncy. The second skein was 18 wpi, and my guess is that the first skein was about 14 wpi. This was a great self study project, and I learned that I need to spin mindfully if I want to get reproducible results. Not that such a thing should surprise me, but a change from my standard willy-nilly way. I'm not going to stop spinning just for fun, but it's good also to know that I can make something to specs if I concentrate.

Quick note: the toes on these socks are what I call "potholder toes" - I cast on one stitch, increase up to half the circumference stitches of the sock, then decrease down back to one stitch, working knit on both sides. I pick up all around the square and start knitting the foot. I much prefer this to the other garter stitch square toe where you cast on one side of the square. I won't say I invented this toe, but I've not seen it in any of my books. Try it - anything that cuts down on steps is worth trying once!

My next project is a Danish tie shawl - I saw it in Spin-Off and have been waiting for the perfect yarn to present itself to me. I decided that I'd make it of handspun, using the Foxfire mohair/wool spun as a singles, supported long draw. I skeined and washed it, fulling it a little to make it bloom and try to stop the shedding. Then I realized that there is no way in the world that I want THAT fiber on my neck - it's just way too hairy.

On that note, I decided that I'd use handspun all right...just various different versions of it :) I spindled up some caramel colored alpaca from Alpacas d'Auxvasse - if you've not tried alpaca (or frankly, even if you have) I suggest you buy some of her fiber. It is the most amazing fiber I've ever spun, and I've spun silk, cashmere, bison and angora :) I have about a pound of washed fleece, still in lock form, that I bought a few years ago. It's so clean and orderly that I finger tease it and spin directly from the locks. It's navajo plied, because my singles was too thin and my andean plying bracelet came undone (never try to Andean ply while watching your favorite MST3K episode). I also navajo plied the end of a silk/cashmere blend and dug up the ends of the Smooshy yarn in Orchard and my attempt at Loet Mooi. All these fellows will be the ones hanging around my neck, and we'll be well past my delicate decolletage before I start in on the mohair.

Once I run out of the Foxfire, I'm going to jump into that Icelandic. I figure this will be a true viking shawl, inasmuch as it will have bits and bobs from as far away as Byzantium on the one hand and the New World on the other. Onwards!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I'm almost done with the pink lemonade socks! I just have the cuff on the second sock to finish - the difference between the two is interesting...I really tried to keep the second skein to fingering weight, and so the second sock is smaller than the first, though it's over the same number of stitches and on the same needles. The proof will be in the wearing.

Next up...I'm thinking a shawl. I have this silk yarn from the 2008 year of lace club that I never got around to knitting, and I think it might make a nice faroese style shawl. I'd like to get some gold seed beads, but with all the road construction I'm not sure when I'll get to the fabric store.

I painted my craft room over the weekend! I used "golden glow", a sort of buttery gold color, and the room feels so much more inviting. The curtains are a dark chocolate brown for the curtain pocket and a lime green for the actual curtain. When the sun shines through, the whole room is suffused in a green glow. I LOVE it!! I kept wandering into my room, just to look at the light shining through the drapes :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pink Lemonade

The pink lemonade socks are going well...I finished spinning up the rest of the fiber and navajo-plied it. My navajo plying is improving, but I still have sections that are less spun, making them much poofier than the rest. Overall I'm pretty happy with it though, and it means I can immediately cast on the second sock once I'm done with this one.

Knitting socks one at a time has its advantages, but I think I'm going to go back to two at a time. It may seem to take longer, but then I have a pair at the end, and I don't have to try to reverse engineer anything that I tweaked on the first sock. Since I hadn't spun up all of the fiber when I wanted to start these socks, I had to just make one - there was no way one skein would make two socks, and I hate weaving in ends on socks. Ah well.

So, I have to figure out how I'm going to spin that Icelandic. I keep going back and forth between a single and a two ply, so I guess I should just sample the stuff and quit my waffling. I'd like to get a shawl out of it, and maybe incorporate some of the Foxfire wool/mohair. Of course, ask me tomorrow and I may have a different idea.

My little garden is growing! I have beans, cucumbers, sage, asparagus and flax! I don't know if the flax seeds I had will give me anything that is worth spinning, but I figured it was worth a try. The blackberry and raspberry canes haven't died yet, despite the accursed peonies horning in on their territory.

Off to make myself a buttermilk cake!

Friday, May 15, 2009


I think I'm going to get a spinner's control card - I'd love to figure out the wpi without having to actually do the wrapping. (Lazy, yes, but still...) I found out that the yarn I spun for the pink lemonade socks is mostly sock weight, but there are stretches of thicker yarn that I think might have been avoided had I been paying attention to what I was spinning. Maybe hanging the control card off my wheel would help keep me on task.

I just had a guy give me an estimate on replacing the windows in the living room. The seals are gone on two of them, and one of them doesn't open. He thought that replacing them with one large picture window with roller windows on each side would be a nice option, and I agreed...especially because that was the least expensive of all the options :) I don't know if I'm actually going to do it, since we need a new car more than we need new windows, but I'm glad I got the estimate.

I really, really want to weave a baby blanket. I'm not sure what to use for weft though, because I don't want to buy yarn specifically for weaving and open up a whole new realm of insanity. I'm going with the white silk/wool for the warp (since that's what I already warped up), so just about anything would match. I have a lot of sock yarn, but I'm not sure which skeins I want to part with. Argh! I've also misplaced my stick shuttles, so I'll have to make some new ones.

We'll soon be off to my sister's house for dinner and to watch the baseball game. It's a lot of fun to hang out with her and my niece, but at the end of the evening I'll be dying because of their cat. No amount of drugs can tame my cat allergy :)

Monday, May 11, 2009


I decided to go ahead and start a sock with the spindlicity sock yarn. The toe is Mountain Colors Bearfoot in a hot pink color, and the handspun is yellow/chartreuse, so I'm calling these pink lemonade socks. Creative, eh?

I spun up a mini skein of the foxfiber mohair/wool, and I think it will work perfectly for sock heels. It's a bit itchy (it is part mohair, after all) but it seems like it will be hard wearing. I'm pretty sure it's a batt, not roving, so I decided to spin it long draw, pretty thin, and navajo-ply it. I just have to decide if I'm going to dye it or leave it white. Hmmm...

I found some amazing tutorials: one for a quilt pattern and one for house shoes. I wish I could have a month off to work these up!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Gettting closer

I'm finally working on the sleeves of my Juno-esque cardigan. My hope is to get it done by October so I can wear it in the fall. Once I finish the sleeves, I'll need to decide what I'm doing about the collar - am I going to attach it as I go along or make the whole thing and sew it to the neck? I'm leaning toward the first option because I think it will look neater and be more flexible, but I'm not sure.

I also need to get a pair of socks on the needles, pronto. This being without a little project for traveling is quite troublesome.

Of course, my problem now is should I work on my sleeves or start up a sock - I don't like to fiddle around with starting up a project on the bus, but I'd like to get some sleeve time in. Argh. I guess I should be knitting now instead of musing on what to do about it :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I just realized today that, while I love reading other people's patterns, I don't actually like working from them. This is not because I'm a super designer genius, but because I have a little rebellious streak :) I need to have a sense of control, so I tweak patterns. It definitely makes for interesting knitting!

I think that I need to write up some of my patterns, if only so I can show myself what I do. I have two pretty good ideas in the wings, but I need a good stretch of knitting time to work them out. I wish I was like certain knitters who can hammer out a sweater every few weeks...

On the progress front, I'm almost done with the boteh scarf - I only work on it on the bus, and I've been doing a lot of bus reading, so it didn't get tons of attention. I think I'm actually going to finish it tonight so I can bring something new along tomorrow.

It's starting to thunder, but no rain has fallen yet. I'd better hop into the shower so I can bathe without fear of electrocution!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Sheepy smell

Even though I'm allergic to it, I enjoy the sheepy smell of minimally processed wool.'s like the farm, only without the dirt and chores :)

I just got my sheep shares shipment from Foxfire Fibers. This installment is a border leicester and mohair blend. It's very soft and springy. I'm thinking of spinning it into a 2 or 3 ply to make mittens with, since I have some brown border leicester I can use for contrast. Decisions, decisions.

On the crochet front, I'm working on the boteh scarf from Interweave Knits Spring 2007. It's fast crocheting, and I'm using a yarn that I've had in my stash forever, so I feel virtuous. It's a skein of cherry tree hill yarn in the northern lights colorway. What's funny is that when it's crocheted up, it just looks like the standard variegated that I used to crochet with all the time.

I still haven't decided on the socks for the fiance-in-law yet. I need to find someone with large feet who's willing to have half-made socks put on them. That really narrows the pool down.