Friday, December 17, 2010

Nothing doing

Yargh - I haven't finished anything this week! Plus, even after two trips through the washer and dryer, my sweater is still not felted correctly. I should have known that the accursed thing would stymie me :)

I'm hoping to finish a pair of fingerless gloves today...yesterday I fell asleep at 9:45, and I'm tired right now (2:30), but I really want to get some things done.

Plus, I need to go check on my sweater; it's going through another wash/dry cycle :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

The ever expanding list

I was certain that this year I'd finish all my Christmas presents before Christmas...and that's exactly what would have happened, had I not decided to expand my list. Now, instead of just a few ends to weave in (grin), I have several projects I've not even started! I think that, where Christmas and crafting is concerned, I am way too ambitious. If only I was so ambitious about everything else!

I wish I had some pictures for you, but - alas - I do not. It just seems that I can't take the time to take pictures during the weekend days, since I need to knit, and I can't take pictures when I come home from work, because there's no light left. Blargh!

I have finished 3 One Scarves and 2 Cabled Keyhole scarves. Still on the docket are several pairs of wristlets, one beret, a small quilt, two scarves and something else that I can't for the life of me remember. Eeeeek!

I think that I have solved one dad's mittens. I keep meaning to make him a pair, but I always leave it too long. I have a sweater I knit for myself that is so scratchy, it makes me want to die. I believe that I'll felt it, cut it into mittens, and sew him a pair! Anyway, that's my plan now. Perhaps in a few hours, I'll have come up with something equally insane :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wow - snow

It's very snowy outside - we may have to shovel the driveway three times when it's all said and done.

However, being snowbound leaves more time for knitting. In the past week, I've finished three scarves, and another is half done. The project season may end up all right after all. Later, I'll try to get some pictures in the snow, but you've got to believe me for now :)

I'm also going to make those Juerga fingerless gloves/wristlets, I think using Madelinetosh dk. I have two and a half skeins left, which should give me at least three pair.

I need to decide if I'm going to spin up some silk/cashmere for another scarf, or if I'm going to try and double or triple some stash yarn to get the correct weight. The problem is that a singles might not hold up well, but a two ply will 1)take longer and 2)be heavier. I want the scarf to be warm, but not weight a ton. We shall see.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Scarfing up time

I've finished my second One Scarf - I really enjoy this pattern!

Here's a crummy pic of the inside out fingerless gloves for my niece:

inside out mitts

Once I can get home with some sunlight left, I'll get a better picture. I still haven't gotten to try them out on her yet, but I have hope for this weekend.

Here's a picture also (finally) of my bonfire glade scarf:


I'm happy with how it turned out, though it's actually a bit long. If it were in darker colors, I might almost think of it as a gift for a man.

I think I might be going the scarf route as presents this year...we'll see. I'd really like to make some fingerless gloves or mittens, but I don't know if I'll have the time.

If only I didn't need to sleep, eat or shower, I'd get so much more done!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Oh no

I may have to knit these, Anne Hanson's latest. Considering my love of feather and fan and the fact that I'm working on Sprossling (which uses double eyelet rib), why wouldn't I make them?

This would be a good day to call in sick for a knitting health day. After all, there's only 2 1/2 weeks 'til Christmas!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Possible knitter?

I was at my sister's house yesterday, knitting on that One Scarf from KnitCircus, when my niece came over to me and asked if she could hold my knitting (she's 2 1/2). I gave it to her, and she started trying to knit! I was using big needles (US 15) and roving, so it was sized for her to manipulate. My sister joked that her daughter would end up knowing how to knit before she did :) It's been the story of our lives that I try to teach my sister a craft and she never takes to it. The only craft she really got into was card making, but chasing my niece around all day leaves little time for hand crafting anything.

I'm almost done with that scarf; I actually finished the 8 repeats of the cable pattern, but I think I might want to do a few more. I've gotta think about it. I also need to work on the lace fingerless gloves and the fingerless gloves for my niece. A few weeks ago, my sister and I were talking about the fact that her daughter runs warm and doesn't like wearing winter clothes (example: she's still in capri pants and shorts). I asked if she'd wear mittens, and my sister said no way, so I said, what about fingerless gloves? We thought it just might work, so I started fiddling around with different patterns. No final thing yet, but some options - the main thing is: tight or loose? I don't know what will be more hateful, and I haven't been able to put anything on her yet :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Couldn't resist

A few weeks ago, I broke down and bought a subscription to KnitCircus, since I seem to be singularly unable to win one, though I've entered a ton of contests :) I did not buy the gifts issue, because I figured I didn't need it and should save my money, blah, blah, blah. Well, I just bought it - I couldn't resist any longer.

I'm off to peruse it!

Done, and buttons

The socks are done! DP loves them, since he didn't realize I was making them for him.

I got the buttons from jennybuttons - they're gorgeous, and I think they'll be perfect with the sweater. Little bronze buttons with a hand hammered look...swoon :) I've got to get the back of the sweater finished so I can start on the sleeves. I'm just so excited!

We had a nice snowfall today (it's even better since we don't have to drive anywhere), and we're having a tree-trimming party with my sister and her family. I'm making a big pot of chili, some cornbread and a caramel nut tart for dessert. I have coffee and port, and I'm ready to go. Unfortunately, I have to shovel the driveway before they get here! I hurt my neck and shoulder yesterday - I was moving an upright piano and one of the casters came off, so I had to lift it up and push it on two wheels - but snow waits for no (wo)man, so I'll soon be off to the garage. I love shoveling, but it really cuts into my knitting and baking time.

DP lost the blue fingerless gloves I made for him last year, so I'll have to make him another pair as soon as I can. I have some of the terra cotta colored Madelinetosh DK left, which feels like it will make good glove material. It's soft and a bit bouncy, which I think he'll like. He's able to wear merino and other fine wools, so I'm going to make these and see what happens. It's too bad he's allergic to angora, because my brown angora mitts would fit him perfectly. Sigh!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Almost done

I just have the heel on that one sock, and then they're done. I didn't get as much done yesterday as I wanted to, even though I got home by 6. Tonight, I won't get home before 9, but I'm hoping to get something done between work and my class.

Life is sucking more than usual right now, and I don't know what to do about it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Snow and socks!

It snowed this morning! I was setting up for a meeting, watching the snow drift down, and wishing I could just be at home. Sigh.

I'm almost done with DP's plain stockinette socks. I have to finish the ribbing and do the afterthought heel, and finis. I'm pretty happy with how the striping worked out, since I didn't really plan for them to stripe at all. The yarn is STR mediumweight in Muddy Autumn Rainbow, and the heels are the same yarn in Bella Coola. The mediumweight gives a good springy sock that's not overly thick, but is nice and warm. I've discovered that DP needs at least some nylon or mohair in his socks, because he just ripped through the koigu autumny socks I made last year. Huge holes under the ball of each foot. I think I'm going to rip out the socks from the toe to the ball, and reknit them in something with some strength. I love making socks for him - he always appreciates and wears them, and he chooses his own colors. Something we can collaborate on :)

I ordered the buttons for my Uinen - little handmade brass ones from an Etsy store. I think they're going to be awesome. I'm tracking them on their journey to me, and they are currently in Coppel, TX. Maybe I'll get them by the weekend!

I'm still trying to work out the pattern for my handwarmers; the transition is tougher than I thought it would be, and I spent two hours screwing around with it to no avail. I think I have to tweak the lace to make the pattern run over fewer rows so the transition isn't as jarring, and possibly combine two transitions to make it work. If I ever finish the dang things, I'll let you know.

I don't know what to do about Christmas...maybe stockings with lotion bars or something? Is it better to give something that people might not like or give nothing, or just give everyone $25 and be done with it?

Monday, November 29, 2010

I've lost the camera

I took pictures on Thanksgiving and put the camera in a safe place while guests were here. Now it's missing! It can't have gone far, but I've looked in each room of this house and it's not here. I'd ask DP if he put it somewhere, but he's already asleep. Blargh!

I watched Aeon Flux this weekend (in Rifftrax format). Man, it was such a poser movie. It was way too self aware and tried too hard to be cool. it was funny with the Rifftrax guys though :)

Leslie Nielsen just died - in his memory, I plan to watch Forbidden Planet tonight and raise a toast.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Back to the grind

All is as it was. Thanksgiving is over - it was pretty fun - and I go back to work tomorrow. Sigh.

I just made these cranberry sauce muffins using the leftover cranberry-orange-ginger relish from Thursday. Super delicious! DP and I each had three in quick succession. I'm going to tell my mom and sister about them, though they'd have to make cranberry sauce in order to have it left over at this point :) I also made a turkey soup with the leftover turkey carcass and meat. It was pretty tasty, though we couldn't finish it all, so I put the leftovers in the freezer. That way, I'll be ready to make homemade turkey pot pie sometime this winter.

I'm plugging away at Uinen, my Sprossling. I'm about a third done with the back. I might finish the back this week, if I play my cards right, leaving me just the arms to finish before Christmas. I love the feel of the fabric.

I also want to swatch for that Thandie funnel neck from the latest Interweave Knits, but I have to wind the laceweight first, and that's about 1500 yards worth. Right now, I don't want to give up valuable knitting time for winding time. I was going to do it last night, but I was so tired I fell asleep at around 10:30.

I haven't really gone out this weekend, which is probably for the best, since crazy shoppers might be about. I'd like to go out and get a Christmas tree, but maybe I should wait until December...I'm just not sure. I don't know how long they last, and I don't want it to be completely dessicated by the 25th. We decorated the basement on Friday with lights and the mini tree, since we were trying to occupy my niece while my sister took a nap. It looks very cozy, and I think it will be even better once we get the tree. Maybe my sister et al will help us decorate!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What next?

Now that Thanksgiving is tomorrow, I'm going a bit crazy. There are only a few weeks left until Christmas, and I haven't really made or bought anything for anyone. I want to finish my fingerless gloves (turns out they weren't needed for the swap, so they're not done) and DP's socks, and start another pair of socks for DP that I just got the yarn for. But I still need to come up with something for my brothers, my sister, my parents, my niece and all of DP's family. Money's always good, right?

I really enjoyed writing up the two patterns I put on Ravelry, and I want to write up more of the things I make. It's actually fun :) But I need to focus, which has been difficult lately.

On the spinning front, I'm way behind in where I wanted to be. I'm getting better on the charkha, but I haven't had as much time to practice as I'd like, and I haven't been able to knit up any of my handspun that I made with projects in mind. I haven't even finished the weaving I started at the beginning of the summer.

As you can tell, my brain is all over the place...I feel like I can't get anything done, but all that does is make me too discouraged to even try. Help!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The future is now

I got the Winter 2010 Interweave Knits in the mail on Friday, and I'm dying to make a sweater or two out of it, and possibly use the argyle pattern in some armwarmers. However, it's so new that I can't find any of the patterns on Ravelry yet! I'd really like to see someone's interpretation of the Thandie funnelneck pullover before I make it.

Thanksgiving is almost here, and spent the morning cleaning the bathrooms. For the rest of the day, I make a deal with myself: between football quarters and at halftime, I have to clean something. It's worked out so far; I only have the kitchen floor and dining room table left, plus vacuuming the house. I can't vacuum when DP is napping, so it will just have to wait until he wakes up (or he could do it when I'm at work :) ).

I only have about 15 more edging repeats to do on Bonfire Glade, my Woodsmoke scarf. I'm loving the springy feeling of all the garter. My niece also seems to enjoy it; she tried to appropriate it last night!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I hate strife

Friday was such a horrible day - I was literally sobbing at my desk from about 9am to 11:30am. The worst thing is that nothing can be done about what made me so upset. "Oh God, that I were dead."

I got the extra skein of Madelinetosh for my woodsmoke scarf, so I should have enough to finish the edging. For scarves, that's my main issue when I don't check gauge. They'll always fit someone, but you might not have enough yarn to finish!

I finished one of DP's socks (I chucked the argyle for now and went with a straight stockinette sock with an afterthought heel). DP loved the afterthought heel, which makes it easy to keep the striping sequence in all these handpainted sock yarns I have running around. I'm also thinking of overdyeing the Schaefer Anne that I had gotten for his next pair of socks - it's a blend of bright oranges and pinks, but there's more orange than pink. I think I'll overdye orange...or maybe yellow? try to brighten the color up. He doesn't mind pink, but he asked for orange socks :)

Finally, I'm working on some wristwarmers/mitts for a swap. I bought the yarn without a plan for it, but I think I have something awesome now. It will be based on King Thingol's realm - he's the lord of beech and oak and elm - and it will be made of Malabrigo sock. I'm very excited!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sweaters - argh

I realized I have two sweaters "on the needles" right now (even though one is in pieces and not on any needles really). One is Sprossling by Anne Hanson - a great design, and made in pieces. The other is my cardigan made out of Rowan felted tweed - just a simple raglan I worked up. Sprossling I might just put off to the side until I get a few days off, because I can't work on it without checking my notes to make sure I do the shaping right (downside of working in pieces.

My raglan is another story. I've knit this yarn into 3 different sweaters, but never finished any of them. I keep making them too big! I'm not tiny, but for some reason I always make things so big that I can't even wear them. I had this iteration of the cardigan done to about 8 inches past the armscye, but when I tried it on it was about 4 inches too big around and the armscyes were huge! Rather than rip the whole thing out (I cant bear to do the raglan increasing again) I ripped back to the split for the arms and unraveled about an inch or two past. Then I laddered down and put an 8 stitch cable on each arm and on each front to pull in the excess. I tried it on again, and I think it's worked. I'm also casting on a steek and working it in the round, because my other sweater is back and forth and and I need a break :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

I have discovered

That I hate spinning unblended batts. I have a lovely batt, in rose and cream, which I'm trying to spin into a two ply laceweight. It's giving me the fits.

On the other hand, spinning the loverly camel down (unblended with anything) into a two ply laceweight is slow, but no trouble at all.

Sigh - there are so many pretty batts, but they're now pretty much off limits, at least until I improve my batt control.

I finished the slippers I was working on; I'll try to get a pic of them when the light's good. They went straight from my needles onto my feet - I didn't even weave in the ends. They're nice and warm and not too big.

I'm still trying to get the Dwimordene pattern written up, but I don't seem to have a nice chunk of time that I can sit at the computer and work. It's so simple, I think people might like to make it, but I have to get my buns in gear and just write the darn thing out.

My brother's visiting tonight. He has a wedding to go to a little ways away, and he needs somewhere to sleep. It'll be nice to see him.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Repairing vertical blinds, spinning Falkland

I had to fix my vertical blinds today; whenever I tried to pull them open, they would tilt closed, making it difficult to get them all the way open. I tried looking online, but I couldn't find anything useful to help me. I finally figured it out - the string to open and close the blinds had come off the pulley wheel on one side. So, every time I pulled the open side, that string would pull down on the closing mechanism and pull the shade closed. One crochet hook and two minutes, and it was fixed. Hooray!

I'm currently spinning up some falkland as a bulky two-ply to make some Malabrigo loafers. I have some green falkland that I spun as a 3-ply for the soles, and this will be for the uppers. I'm excited to have some warm slippers, now that fall is upon us!

Friday, September 10, 2010

In Dwimordene, in Lorien...

Now that I'm mailing the shawl off to my partner, I can finally post pictures about it! On the off chance she looks at this post, she should look away unless she wants spoilers.

So, the basis of the pattern was various descriptions of Lothlorien. I chose Dwimordene as the name because it's really a riff on Lorien from a human's point of view, and Dwimordene is what the Rohirrim call Lothlorien.

The leaves are easy - forest=leaves - but I wanted to include flowers as well. We read about Aragorn standing on a hill, holding flowers and remembering his meeting with Arwen, and Sam's daughter is named after a flower that grows only in Lorien. The Rohirrim also have special flowers that grow on the graves of their kings. I finished off with arrowhead lace because of Galadriel's words: "But do not think that only by singing amid the trees, nor even by the slender arrows of elven-bows, is this land of Lothlórien maintained and defended..." The wave edging was easy - we read about the Silverlode, Celebrant, Nimrodel and even Galadriel's fountain - so water had to be included.

I started with a miniature leaf motif in the center. I did a provisional cast on, then knit 12 repeats of the leaf motif up. From there, I transitioned to English Mesh, which works on the same amount of stitches and rows, and even has a row in common. This made making a transitional section a lot easier. I did 11 repeats of the mesh, which I consider to be flowery. From there, I ended with 2 repeats of the smallest arrowhead lace motif I could find. I then picked up my provisional cast on and knit the same repeats/motifs in the opposite direction. After that, I did not bind off, but cast on 13 stitches invisibly and began the wave edging. I didn't really miter the corners, but I did do multiple joins (2, 2, 3, 2, 2) to try to give the corners more ease and create a bit of a swirling effect. I picked up 2 stitches for every 3 rows down the long sides of the stole and joined the edging by knitting one picked up stitch every wrong side row, then starting out with a k2tog for the join. At the end of the last row, I grafted the live stitches to the invisibly cast on ones that I'd done at the beginning.

All in all, I'm happy with it. I could have blocked it out longer instead of wider, but what I did seems to look right. It would also be interesting to knit this in a heavier weight of yarn as a blanket or just a thick shawl. I might even convert it to a triangle shawl...I have some ideas floating around, but I need to take a bit of shawl/stole break :)

Now for the pictures:

dwimordene half edged

dwimordene blob


And the beauty shot:

dwimordene edge detail

I love it when a plan comes together.


Why is it that people who are not being trodden down have to make up stories about how they are, and then try to make you feel bad for not being sorry for them?

And why can't I just ignore it?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Long time comin'

Happy new year! I can finally take a breath, now that the holidays are here.

I've finished the Lembas & Lace swap shawl, and I'm just waiting to unpin it. It should ship out tomorrow - hallelujah! I so want to be able to work on something for myself again.

It turned out well, though I now wish I had more yarn to make it longer, or had blocked it differently. It looks good though, and I hope my partner likes it. These kind of things can be so scary!

I'm waiting for something that should have arrived before my birthday, but in reality still hasn't even shipped. Quite irritating, but what can you do? At least now I don't have to worry about whether I should give it away.

I'm really enjoying my Kindle wi-fi. I can basically read any classic that I want, since they're all either available from Amazon or from Project Gutenberg. Too cool. Patterns also look great on it, and since I'm not doing any colorwork right now, the lack of color on the screen is a non issue. The e-ink is so easy to read, and I can forget that I'm reading a screen and not a book. I'm reading Wuthering Heights to relax today, and it's just like reading my paperback copy! For $139 and free shipping, it's one of the best b-day presents I've gotten.

I'm currently waiting for my green tomato pie to cool enough for me to have a slice. DP thought it sounded too gross for words, but I figured it was worth a try :) I'll let you know.

I'm reading the Kalevala (on my kindle) and am constantly being struck by the things that remind me of Tolkien's work. The latest was when Wainamoinen is inside a sorcerer's stomach, building a forge and tormenting the guy. It reminds me of when Carcaroth swallowed the silmaril, and it was burning him up inside. The songs of enchantment are also similar, like when Finrod is having the contest with Sauron. Sigh - people weren't kidding when they said the Kalevala was a major influence.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Happy birthday, EZ!

In honor of Elizabeth Zimmerman's 100th birthday, I will knit on my shawl fearlessly!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Really, I did!

Sorry 'bout the radio silence! I did finish the Tour de Fleece, spinning every day - even if only a little bit. That's a big thing for me, so I'm very proud of myself for it.

I've been pretty busy at work these past couple of weeks, and I don't really want to do anything when I get home. This is making my progress on the swap shawl a bit slow, though at least I've figured out the ratio of the knitted edging to rows. This will make it go a lot faster once I've finished the body of the stole.

Barb from Foxfire Fibers sent me another four oz of the cormo blend, so I'll have enough to make the entire thing one color. I think I'd prefer it to be body one color/edging one color, but my swap partner likes neutral things, so I don't want to give her something she'll hate. I really hope she likes this; I've put a lot of work into it, but that means nothing.

In other news, I'm getting a Kindle for my birthday. I know - I said I'd never get one, but when the price went down and I found that the books whose copyright had expired are available for free, I couldn't resist. This birthday will also be my "coming of age" birthday (if I was a hobbit), so I think I should do something quasi-special. Anything to make the day something to look forward to, rather than dread, is welcome.

Right now I'm in the process of making some egg-free ice cream (NY Times link) for my brother's doctorate party. If this works out, my sister and I will be making iced-creams left and right...I'm planning on a maple-bacon-praline one for the fall.

Has anyone had any experience with Lush? I'm trying to decide if I want to buy some of their stuff; reading the reviews is only marginally helpful. I'm really wanting to buy these little sauna tabs, though I bet I could make them myself.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tour de Fleece - days 10-15

Buffalo down:

buffalo singles

buffalo singles2

buffalo singles3

Dyed tussah silk:

indian corn silk singles

Crown Mountain Farms superwash merino:

crown mountain1

crown mountain2

My goal was to spin every day that the tour rides...and I'm doing it! I think that I'm improving on the wheel, and I know I'm improving on the charkha. I also may be able to get more of the cormo blend, so I'll have that to spin up. Swoon :)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tour de Fleece - days 6, 7, 8, 9

Day 6 - Gotland:


Day 7 - Cormo silk alpaca blend from Foxfire fibers:


Day 8 - cormo blend, 2/3 done:


Day 9 - rest of the cormo blend:


I tried to spin the Gotland into a nice laceweight singles, but being combed top and a thicker fiber, I just couldn't get enough for what I want to do. I decided to go with the cormo blend because I know it's a good fiber for lace, plus it's just so beautiful. I have to wash it today and hopefully it will be dry by tomorrow so I can start knitting.

My allergies are going crazy with this warm weather - I'm having tons of sneeze attacks!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tour de Fleece - days 4 & 5

Day 4: The Jacob, plied:

jacob plied

Day 5: The Gotland, singles:


I think that all this charkha spinning is good for me - I'm getting a lot more comfortable with it.

On an utterly frustrating and irritating note, remember all that cashmere I spun up? About 800 yards of 2-ply laceweight? Well, I was knitting merrily along with it, when I realized a horrible thing: it has scurf. I don't know why I didn't see it when I was spinning...I must have just ignored it. But it really can't be given away to anyone in this state, and I'll actually have to throw it out. That's right, all those hours, now to become bird's nesting material.

I now have to figure out what to spin for the swap, spin it, and hope it works with the pattern. My current scheme is to spin the Gotland into a singles that I can knit with and use it in tandem with the Stansborough. I may end up having to buy more fiber so that I have enough to make the stole I'm planning, but I won't be able to buy a full stole's worth of fiber a third time. Argh!

Add to this that DP thinks I've been spinning too much and wants me to spend more time with him instead of crafting, and you've got one crazy spider on your hands. All I want to do is go home and spin, but once I get home I have to build a shelving unit for DP, since I promised him I'd do it tonight. Double argh!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tour de Fleece - day 3

I'm spinning up some black Jacob fleece:


I like it; it's combed top, so I can spin a fine singles easily with few slubs.

I finished the left front of Uinen, so I've started the right front. It's good bus knitting, so I probably won't do too much more of it today.

I'm casting on for my Lembas & Lace swap stole today. I'm so excited to be knitting with my first two-ply laceweight!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Tour de Fleece - day 2

I spun the rest of the Stansborough up:


I'm going to take a break from spinning for the rest of today and do some knitting. Here's the left front of the Sprossling, hereafter named Uinen:

uinen left front

That is, I'll start knitting as soon as I've finished folding the laundry!

Tour de Fleece - day 1

I spun this yesterday:


It's the Stansborough from International Fleeces. It's a bit coarse, but it will suit my purposes just fine! I have the light grey Stansborough, some darker grey Gotland and some almost black Jacob that I plan to make into a shawl. Who knows when I'll actually make the shawl, but using the Tour de Fleece to make me spin the yarn is perfect.

I'm still not getting the hang of the supported spindle, but I'm going to keep trying until I do.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sweaters and support

I cast on for Sprossling in Grandma's Blessing.  The two yarns I got (from Ravelry destashes) looked like they'd be the same-ish color on my monitor, but are (sadly) quite different in real life.  I decided to use the one I have less of to do all borders and button bands, to tie the whole thing together, and possibly use a bit more of it on the sleeves.  I'd prefer to have the body be all one color with any real interference on the sleeves - it seems less troublesome that way.

I also got my supported spindle from Gripping Yarns - it is so beautiful.  Now if only I could spin supported!  I'm working on it, but it's tricky, though I think my charkha spinning is serving me in good stead.  I'm able to spin consistently with only one hand, so the main trick is actually spinning the spindle and not having it fall down.  Sigh.

I'll probably be doing less spinning and knitting in the upcoming months - DP thinks I do too much, so I'm going to cut back and spend more time with him instead of holing myself up in my craft room.  I may also try to do my crafting early in the morning before he gets up so I have more time to spend with him.  We haven't played any board games for a long time.

The swimming is going pretty well.  I would not trust myself in the ocean or even a lake if there was no helper close by, but I'm getting the hang of the whole floating thing.  Now I just have to figure out how to do the backstroke without throwing my balance off and sinking!

I just made up my living will today.  Something that I found interesting in it is that if you are pregnant, it doesn't count.  Hmmm.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pics and bugs

Here she is:

elvish air 3

It is amazingly soft and comfortable. I love it!

In other news, I hate mosquitoes. I'm seriously thinking of luring some bats to my house to cut down on the vile beasts. I can't even weed my garden without being chomped.

I have a pic of the cashmere singles:

cashmere singles

Plied and washed, they are the softest, most delicate yarns I've ever made. I'm so excited to knit them up.

C'est fini!

My Zoe Cardi is done! I'm pretty happy with it, though I had forgotten that silk likes to grow when wet :) I should be able to get a picture of it tomorrow. I even had three buttons that fit with it!

It's warm, but the short sleeves keep it from being too steamy, and it's perfect for being in air conditioning on a hot day. I think it will go well with jeans too.

Now I'm need the Grandma's blessing so I can swatch for the Sprossling.

The yarn for the Lembas & Lace swap has now been spun, plied, washed and dried. I finally get to start working on the lace itself. I'm super excited for my scheme: a center of leaves with little openwork that moves to more openwork leaves, and (hopefully) a leaf border.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Almost there

I still have a spindle and a half to spin up - I haven't gotten a lot of spinning time recently. Then I need to ply and finish the yarn, and I'm off to the knitting. It can't be soon enough!

I'm plugging away at the Zoe cardi. I'm so excited for it to be finished! I have about 5 inches left of the body, and that's it. I don't have any buttons for it yet, but that won't stop me from considering it done.

For my next trick (!), I'm planning on the Sprossling sweater by Anne Hanson. I've seen so many beautiful ones, I can't resist any longer. Add to that a ravelry destash of enough yarn for a large sized one, and I'm there. I think I'll actually try to follow directions this time and knit the thing in pieces. This will only be the second sweater in pieces I've ever knit, and I'm a little nervous about the seaming up. I'll just have to take it nice and easy. At least knitting it in pieces will make it able to be brought on the bus!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I was able to float on my back yesterday! So, now I can float face up and face down, plus I can swim across the pool without touching the bottom. I can do freestyle and breaststroke (though not very well), and my newest thing is trying to swim down to the bottom of the pool and stay there. I find it interesting that I used to sink to the bottom when I was trying to float, and now I keep floating when I'm trying to go to the bottom. Sigh!

I called my dad for father's day and he told me the story of the tattoo he just got. I would like to get one, but I'm afraid I'll be allergic to the ink, since I have a nickle allergy. Who knows; maybe I'll be able to get one someday.

I only have 3 more spindles to spin up for the L&L swap on Ravelry. Then I'll need to ply them and wash them...hopefully nothing crazy happens when they get washed. I can't wait to get into the knitting part of this project. I'm so excited for it - I hope that it looks as good as I'm hoping!

DP's going to get me the audio book of Children of Hurin as a present; it's read by Christopher Lee, and I'm hoping that his reading of it makes it better than it was to read. I did not care for the way the story was put together. I had wanted the book so I could read the story without flipping through the Unfinished Tales and the Silmarillion, but I don't like how the language was dumbed down. The poetry was lost in the combined version, making it less sweeping and heartbreaking...or at least so I thought. We shall see how the audiobook sounds.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sweaters - proof

I was having a hard time getting good pics of Dunkle's cardi for some reason, but here it is:

dunkle deck

dunkle front

The color is a bit off, even though I took the pictures outside in natural light - ah well. My sister loved it, and so did everyone I showed it to :) I ended up using the buttons DP had chosen, and everyone seemed to think they fit with the rest of the sweater, so no problems there. For the steek, I decided that instead of tacking it down, I'd use stitch witchery (small strips of fusible interfacing) to keep the steeks from popping up. I had to cut it even thinner, but it worked like a charm. I tried to take pictures, but I couldn't get a good one, so you'll just have to imagine it :)

I'm about 7.5 inches into the body of the zoe cardi; here's a couple of process shots:

elvish air 1

elvish air 2

I love how it's knitting up, but I'm mostly using it as bus knitting, so it's slowed down quite a bit. I did the neck and sleeve edgings already so that I can use every bit of the yarn I have left for the body. I'm short waisted, so I think that I'll have enough. Webs doesn't have the same color anymore, and no one on Ravelry is destashing it. I could buy a skein or two from a couple of other places, but beside the dye lot being different, I'd have to pay an arm and a leg for shipping. Sigh.

On the book front, I'm waiting for Gates of Fire (it's supposed to be delivered today), a book about the Spartans at Thermopylae. That battle has been one of my favorites ever since I first heard about it (3rd grade?), and after reading this description of the battle on the Silver Key blog, I went to Amazon and ordered it. Yes, I realize that battle and war are horrible, but like generations of people for thousands of years, hearing the stories of brave men gives me goosebumps.

Reading The Silver Key and The Blog That Time Forgot makes me feel almost brave enough to post some of my essays on Tolkien, so you may see one or two in the future.

Speaking of TBtTF, read this entry on Howard and his views of women. As Sam would say, for a lot of people this is an eye opener, and no mistake.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Of course!

I just realized that I could spin up the Stansborough/Gotland/Jacob for the Tour de Fleece! This will keep me from doing things with it while I should be working on something else, and give me something to look forward to as well. Huzzah!

Year of the sweater?

So, I'm working on two sock monkeys for DP's sister's kids and spinning yarn for my Lembas and Lace partner, and Friday I decided to cast on for a short sleeved cardigan for myself. It's the Zoe Cardi and I've already finished the yoke. Now it's just 15 inches of body :) I'm using Cascade Pima Silk in a dark grey color. I bought it a couple of years ago for some project that I can't even remember, and I've tried to make various things with it, but nothing ever really stuck. I love its hand; it's soft and supple.

I realized that this will be the 5th sweater I've made this year - 2 Liesls, my Olympics v-neck, Dunkle's cardi, and now this. For a person who doesn't make sweaters, I'm making a lot!

On that note, I've finished Dunkle's cardi but still need to sew buttons on. I have some buttons that DP chose, but I'm not sure they're right - they may be too bright. DP also told me that he'd try to find an infusion for my button box, which would be wonderful. I'm getting low on fun buttons.

I'm spinning up the fiber for the L&L swap; I have 6 spindles spun up, and I need about 18 more. I'm using my charkha - it's the first time I've used it for a large scale project. It's definitely a different way to spin, especially since I'm used to spinning with the fiber supply in my right hand and the charkha pretty much requires you to spin with the fiber in your left hand. You need a very soft touch.

I also got some Stansborough and some Gotland from International Fleeces. I can't recommend them enough! Beautiful fibers, beautiful packaging and super fast shipping. The Stansborough is the fiber the cloaks were spun from in the LotR movies, and while I have gripes with the movies, I did like the cloaks :) Stansboroughs were bred down from Gotlands, I think, and so I also got some Gotland. I bought a little Jacob because I've never spun it, and when the fibers all got here, I realized they all go together! I have an idea for a shawl using all of them...but it will have to wait until I get this other fiber spun and plied!

So I started the weekend with one project on the needles and one on the spindle, and ended with double that. Not bad for a weekend's work ;)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Life's too short

To knit purl rows. I decided that I'll be steeking Dunkle's cardi, because my purling back rows on the stockinette were utterly slow. I'm 13 centimeters back into the plain knitting, so soon I'll be at the button bands.

I got my partner assignment for the Lembas and Lace swap on Ravelry. I'm pretty excited about it; I have a pattern kind of worked up, though I'll need to spin up the yarn first. It's more fun to spin the yarn than to buy it, the same way it's more fun to make up the pattern instead of following one. Huzzah!

We got a pool for the yard this year - it's actually deep enough to swim in, so DP is teaching me. I actually made my way across yesterday without touching the bottom!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Updates - two steps forward, one back

I finally uploaded pics of DP's purple and orange socks. I give you the socks of Dr. Caligari:

caligari socks side

I'm so glad they're done! Schaefer Anne is the best yarn for socks, but having to knit it on such small needles makes me insane. It's DP's fave though, so I'll be knitting several more pairs of it, I'm sure :)

I don't have a good picture of the waterfall socks, since I gave them to my sister before I had a photo shoot. But to prove they really existed:

waterfall sock

And cuff detail:

waterfall sock cuff detail

I love the feel of STR mediumweight for socks - but I enjoy thick, cushy socks. For the next version of those, I think I'm going to go with STR lightweight, if I have an oceany color.

And here's a process shot of the Hearts cardigan, or Dunkle's cardi, as it will now be called:

hearts yoke

It's the only shot I have, since I ripped the entire thing out yesterday. I was 10 centimeters into the stockinette section when I finally decided that my gauge was just too far off. I'm now two repeats into the yoke - sigh. The pattern is neat, and I don't mind knitting it again, but I could do with the instructions being a bit clearer. I think that's an issue when a pattern is in translation, just like when a book is in translation.

And finally, I was playing around with hairstyles and copied this from an LotR hair how-to:


It's Eowyn's hairstyle from Theoden's funeral. I don't prefer the movies, and I don't particularly like the funeral, but someone on Ravelry posted the style, so I had to try it. I think it would be even easier if I had my long hair, though I don't know if I could handle my four foot hair in this weather!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A quest, or an obsession?

I love bread. I know, it's totally un-cool to like any bread that's not fancy schmancy, made with all whole organic grains, but I just love a good loaf of french bread. Unfortunately, I can't make a loaf of it to save my life. Truly, if I was kidnapped by French bakers and had to make a loaf as a ransom or be cast into the Seine, I'd end up at the bottom of the river.

So, I've been trying to get better. For the past week, I've been making a loaf of french-ish bread every other day, trying to figure out how to make it taste good. A couple loaves were so bad they went from stove to counter to garbage can in short order. I just can't let it go - I have to figure it out.

Yesterday I made the dough and put it in the fridge to age (?) overnight. I took it out this morning and went through the 3 1/2 hour rising process, then baked it at 400 for about 35 minutes. It was better, but still not great. I just can't seem to get an open crumb, no matter how much or little I knead it, or what my hydration level is. Yargh!

In other news, I'm working on a cardigan for my niece - Hearts, by Tora Froseth. I'm about halfway through the yoke, and it seems like it'll be cute. The directions I have seem to have incorrect marker placement for the 4 year size, but I think I'm making it work.


Monday, May 10, 2010


I finished the STR mediumweight socks yesterday and gave them to my sister as a mother's day present. She loved them! The pattern didn't work out quite the way I wanted it to, so I'm counting those socks as a practice version that found a good home. On to mark 2.

I'm also almost finished with DP's orange and purple socks! I just have two more rows on each cuff and then the bind off. Hallelujah!

I'm currently trying my hand at french bread, yet again. I'm using a recipe with a lower hydration level - 60% - so we'll see how it works out. I usually feel like the crumb of my bread is too wet, no matter how long or short the cooking time is. This may remedy the situation.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Buffalo gal

The buffalo spun up pretty well - I love my charkha! - but the plying went less well. I'm going to have to figure out a better way to ply. I may end up using my Ashford, but we'll see. I got about 30 yards of 2 ply at about 18 wpi. I don't know that I can make anything out of it, but it's wonderfully soft. Maybe an accent yarn?

I'm almost done with the STR socks, and I'm going to give them to my sister as a mother's day present. I gave my mom a bottle of wine, but we all drank it last night :)

Mother's day is pretty depressing for me, because it's a day that I have trouble not thinking about motherhood. Man proposes, God disposes, I guess.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Still working on them

I still haven't finished those socks for DP! I only work on them on the bus, and the going is so slow. I really just have 15 more rows of ribbing on each sock, but it feels like an eternity.

I've been working up a new sock pattern and I'm a bit peeved. I'm using STR mediumweight in Bella Coola, and the striping is really, really pronounced. The colors are right, the weight is right, it's just that the bit of light blue in the yarn makes the other blues seem to stripe more. It hides the pattern (should have known!) making all the work meaningless. I guess the good thing is I'm getting to practice toe up gusset heels, which is something I don't have a lot of experience with. I think that if I write the pattern up, it will be with a short row heel, because that involves less fiddling, to my mind.

I'll probably make them in a solid yarn, after I finish the pair, just to see if the pattern is worth writing down at all.

In other news, I found two skeins of gold ribbon yarn - a shimmery gold bamboo! It's only 140 yards, so I'm not sure what to make of it :)

On the spinning front, I think I'm going to try to spin the buffalo down on my charka. I want to make a laceweight, and possibly ply it with some light brown cashmere. We'll see - the barber-pole effect might be too pronounced. I'm going to ask DP's advice, since he's good at helping me with color choices.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sock slump

I'm trying to finish a pair of socks for DP, and they just seem to be taking forever. I only have the legs left to do, but 74 stitches around on size 0 feels like running on a treadmill in front of a window - I never actually get anywhere!

I have a few other things lined up for when I finally finish these - I bought a mitten pattern which I'll hopefully make for my dad in time for Christmas, and I bought two skeins of sock yarn that I haven't tried yet: Malabrigo and Sundara. I found someone destashing the Sundara and jumped on it :) I'm not sure what patterns I'm going to do, but my plan is to make something up to go with the colors (green and red). I'm also planning on joining another LotR swap, so I may be spinning up some laceweight and inventing another shawl in the next few months. Basically, I'll be exploding after finishing these stockinette albatrosses.

That's the news!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Another one down

I finished another Liesl! Well...almost :) I still have to choose a button and sew it on, but it's finished blocking and everything. I love it - it feels just like a hug. I should probably learn to use my blog to keep track of progress, rather than just showing the finished projects, but it is what it is. I did take pictures along the way...

Fiber: Crown Mountain Farms superwash merino in Light My Fire.

cfm light my fire roving

I'm not even sure why I bought this a year ago, but it turned out to be just what I wanted. I ended up buying another 8 oz to round it out. I turned it into this:

light my fire 2

and this:

light my fire

Which became this, in short order:

flame yoke

and then this:

flame body

I ran out of Light My Fire halfway through the arms and had to improvise. I had some beautiful red cormo locks I was going to use, but when I opened up the bag...I saw a bug!!! I'm not sure what kind of beetle it was, but I chucked out the cormo and kept looking. I found the wool/mohair blend I'd spun up after the Sheep in the City festival last year:

wool mohair both skeins

I decided it went well enough, and plunged forward. Using it allowed me to make long sleeves (which I actually prefer to bracelet length), and I did one partial repeat at the body hem with the yarn doubled, just to pull everything together.

Here's a blocking pic:

flame blocking natural

I hope to get a better picture - maybe with me wearing it - once I have the button on and DP is awake to take it.

I'm so happy with this!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What the heck

I'm probably the only person to break a nail while casting on. I was sitting at my computer watching a movie with the pattern on my lap. I was casting on when the pattern started to slide - I tried to grab it, but caught my nail on the edge of my computer desk! At least it's on my left hand, so it won't cause too much trouble. Dang.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Couldn't resist

I went to Crown Mountain Farms' website to look at the colors and found that the superwash was on sale for $5.50 off! I bought another hunk of Light My Fire and one of Knockin' on Heaven's Door. You guessed it: I'm making another Liesl for myself out of Light My Fire, and I ran out of it last night. I'm not sure if I'll use the Knockin' on Heaven's Door for a b-day present for my niece or for something else, but it was so beautiful I just went for it.

I finally finished the green mitts. Yargh. I ended up going without buttons, though I may add buttons as a decoration later.

green mitts back

For such a small project, it gave me no end of trouble. The end result feels great though - extremely springy, and using US0 for the thumb was inspired :) Unfortunately, there were 10 yarn ends to weave in at the end on each mitt, since I kept doing surgery to make things work out. Ah well, I got some good practice in finishing. The little leaf shape worked out well:

green mitts palm

Since I can't really work on my Liesl until I get more yarn, I think I may start another pair of socks for DP. We're trying to figure out how to maximize the end of the bright orange yarn, but DP is not into stripes. We may use the grapevines Shaefer Anne, since it's the same base as the orange yarn and should hold up well. The orange socks (circa 2008) are his favorite, and they don't have any holes or runs yet. The addition of mohair and nylon was a stroke of genius by the company.

Friday, March 26, 2010


I finished the Liesl, and I love it! I may have to make one for myself. Here she is:


I ended up running out of the CMF superwash, so the cuffs and hem are cormo/alpaca from Foxfire. I figure the body is pipe-weed and the cuffs and hem are pipe-smoke! I love how the yarn looks knit up - all the colors and textures are delicious:

tobacco detail

I also started on a pair of fingerless gloves, which are almost finished (just need to sew on the buttons). Sadly, this is the only pic I have of them right now:

green mitts bottom

I promise I'll get pics of them tomorrow :)

I really enjoy them, but I found the small amount of cabling did a real number on my arm. I don't know why this is!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spin, spin, spin

I'm onto another swap project, and so have been spinning all weekend. Proof:


I had 8oz of Crown Mountain Fibers Tobacco Road colorway, and I spun 4 2oz skeins in a worsted-ish weight. I washed them and started knitting last night, so I only got a picture of two of them:

cmf tobacco road 1

(I had to hold them up to the window to get the last of the natural light.)

I'm making Liesl by Ysolda Teague...and loving it! I especially love that I'm making this for a person who's a smaller size than me. It's like knitting socks for people with small feet - heaven!

I may have to make this cardigan for one or two other people as well. I was a bit bummed that the instructions are very "knit this to fit you" without giving measurements of the item at various points. This is good for knitting for yourself, bad for knitting for someone else. Ah well, it should block to various sizes :)

I'm also very happy with the yarn itself. My last foray into Crown Mountain was the Big Yellow Taxi, which was more Big White Taxi, as there were large stretches of undyed fiber in each batch. The Tobacco Road is very saturated, and I'd love to buy more of it if it's still available when I have money to buy roving. Either that or buy another color :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Well, I'm back.

I've been MIA while finishing this puppy:

wwr folded

My first sweater just for me! It's as scratchy as a sack of cats, but I love it :)

I've had the yarn for more than a year - it was the Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm mohair/wool blend that I was so allergic to. I hadn't made anything with it because it was so scratchy and lanolin-filled, but when I saw the Yarn Harlot making a Dale sweater for the Knitting Olympics, I knew what I had to do. I can't believe it went from this:

mvff yarn

wwr start

to this:


in just 11 days. DP loved it, and he said I should make a short-sleeved version for spring/summer. The waist shaping is amazing - it fits perfectly, even though I didn't really tweak the pattern at all.

I also have both bohus wristlets finished:

brac finished

I ran out of one of the colors halfway through the second mitt. It was probably my gauge that was at fault...since I never swatched! I had enough yarn to finish them, even if the colors aren't quite right. They are so soft and warm that I had to wear them to bed a couple of times. Now I really want to make a bohus sweater!

I also got my Bosworth charkha. Zowie. It's an amazing piece of engineering, and I can't wait to show it to my dad. I haven't done too much spinning on it, mainly because I've been working on my sweater.

I'm also working on socks for DP:

rainbow sock

This is Mirasol Hacho in Northern Lights. The yarn is awesome - springy and soft. However the yardage is abysmal. I'm not even going to be able to get a pair out of two skeins of the stuff. I'm going toe up, and the ribbing at the top will have to be something else, once I figure out what will match. DP wants black at the tops, but I actually have no plain black yarn, much less black yarn in the same gauge. The fabric is nice though, and I think DP will enjoy them once they're done.

Back to it!