April 24, 2008

And now we proudly present…

Posted in knitting tagged at 12:37 pm by nephele

…the current month!

You read that right. I’m doing the April catch-up post in –gasp- April. Try to contain you excitement.

I started off the month with an exciting round of cat sitting. My friends got to go the England and Scotland and I got to clean litterboxes. They did bring me back some yarn though and the had to work for it. When they asked about yarn shops they got told “oh, nobody knits anymore!” Luckily for me they persevered and lurking near the Waterloo Tube station they found I Knit London.

Knowing I like bright colors, they took a look around and here’s what they came up with:

More details? Sure. First up is two skeins of Wensleydale Longwool

At first glance they look the same but look closer. The one on the left is a little thicker. The right skein is Aran (174yds/100gm) and the one on the left is labeled Aran+ (116yds/100gm). The color numbers are different but the actual colors are identical. My first thought for this is a hat from the heavier yarn and wristwarmers with the lighter. I reserve the right to completely change my mind about that though.

Next up is some lovely lace yarn from Fyperspates.

It’s the 100% silk stuff and runs 400m to the hank. The label didn’t list a color but from a look through the website I’m guessing it’s Blue Lagoon.

Finally we come to this pretty skein:

This is Dazzle BFL 4ply/sock yarn from the Natural Dye Studio. I took a look through the colors currently on offer and I couldn’t find a match for this cheerful stuff. The amazing thing about these colors is that they were all created with natural plant dyes.

Hmm, I think that was worth cleaning a few cat pans, don’t you?

Another addition to my stash was a book. When I heard that More Big Girl Knits was coming out I went over to Amazon and pre-ordered it. As soon as it arrived I found three sweaters I want to make. I’ve bought yarn for two already and I’ve started one.

The one I started is the Summer Chevron. The pattern called for Rowan Summer Tweed and that’s what I got but I changed all the colors.

The ball of red on the right is the final color. This is a reasonably quick knit item and I think the end result is cute but the gauge called for by the pattern is, in my opinion, unworkable.  The pattern called for 16 rows per 4 inches. Now four stitches per inch sounds good but four rows? In case you’ve never worked with Summer Tweed, it’s a raw silk/cotton blend and is fairly delicate. Once knit up the fabric wears well enough but the yarn itself is easy to break. Also, having worked with this yarn before I know that (unlike a lot of cottons) it doesn’t grow in length with wear. What you knit is what you get length-wise. Given all that, I don’t think that knitting it that loosely is a good idea so I’m not doing it. I’m going with 6 rows per inch. I did have to do a little math because the pattern tells you how many rows to make each stripe instead of how many inches to knit, but that was easy enough.

The other odd thing about the pattern as published is the yarn requirements. The pattern in the largest size called for 3 skeins of colors 1 & 3 (brown & red in my version) and 4 skeins of color 2 (orange). Even though I did more rows I still finished the entire brown stripe with one skein. I’m almost done with the orange stripe and I’m on the second skein. At this rate I’ll have enought yarn left to make another entire top. Admittedly I may not have much red left. I’ll have a higher stitch count that the pattern expects but I still don’t think I’ll run out. Maybe I’ll do a second one reversing the stripe order.

In fairness to the designer, she did originally design this top with a different yarn and that may be where these errors stem from. In any case it’s still a cute top and I’m still knitting it. The problems aren’t enough to change my mind on making it.

The other two patterns I plan to make from this book are the Susie Hoodie and the Twisted pullover. I’ve got some Cascade 220 Superwash that I’ll use for the Twisted (it’s the sweater on the cover of the book). The pattern called for a more luxurious yarn but I’m planning this as an everyday sort of sweater and the Superwash is better for that purpose. I’ve been needing a garment like this and Twisted doesn’t look boring to knit unlike some of the other options I was mulling over.

I haven’t figured out which yarn I’ll use for the Susie Hoodie yet. The pattern calls for Donegal Tweed and I do like the tweedy look but I’d rather opt for something a little more next to the skin soft. Yes, this is more of a sweater-coat but odds are I’ll have short sleeves on underneath it most of the time (yay, Califonia weather). One possibility is the Jo Sharp tweed. I’m sure there are others and I’m not in a rush. It takes a lot of yarn to make a hoodie in my size. I don’t want to race to any decisions and end up disappointed later.

Other than the Summer Chevron I’ve been knitting on the Mystic Light Shawl. I’m a few rows into clue 4. Clue 5 was released yesterday and it’s the last one. Hopefully I’ll be blocking this in a week or two. The pattern is available now through the designer’s blog. It’s a pretty quick knit as lace knitting goes and the end result is beautiful.

I’ve been working on two other projects but one is a design prototype and the other is test knitting an as yet unpublished pattern. I’ll take pictures but it may be a while before I can post them.

And… I think that’s it. I’ve probably forgotten things but if so, they’ll turn up eventually. Now the challenge it keep posting. Wish me luck.


April 21, 2008

We interrupt this recap…

Posted in Miscellany tagged at 10:01 am by nephele

Now that I’ve finally made it to the current month I’m going to get sidetracked for one post. It’s just a delaying tactic as I still have to take photos for the “April so far” post.

Knitterboy posted this list (found elsewhere) and invited all and sundry to give it a go.

The idea is to put all the things that you have done in bold. 

Life’s To Do List

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said ‘I love you’ and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer

40. Visited all 10 provinces
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your cds
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day

60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater

66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight (actually it was Runequest not D&D but I think it still counts. I still play too)
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo (This is a qualified yes. I have an accidental tattoo. I was doing a pen & ink drawing and dropped a very sharp crow quill dip pen. It stabbed me in the knee. That was more than 20 years ago and I still have a blue black dot on my knee.)
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music

87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror.
96. Raised children.
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named your own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking

103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an illness that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad – and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146: Dyed your hair
147: Been a DJ
148: Shaved your head
149: Caused a car accident
150: Saved someone’s life

A quick count says I’ve done about a third of the things on the list which is okay. There are some items there that I wouldn’t want to do. I’m not talking bout obvious negatives like the car accident or burying a parent – I don’t want to do any of that, but that’s the sort of thing that can just happen. I’m referring instead to the things you have more control over.

For instance, I don’t like alcohol. Nothing moral about it, I just can’t stand the taste. I’ve given it a fair chance. I’ve tried beer, a variety of wines, mixed drinks, liquers even mead and I hated it al. I’ve tried de-alcoholized wine and found it drinkable so it really is the taste of alcohol itself that I don’t like. Yes I know most people think pure alcohol is tasteless, trust me, I can taste it. Stranger things have been known to happen. Did you know there are people in this world who don’t like chocolate! Shocking but true. Anyway, my dislike of alcohol means I won’t ever drink enough champaigne to get drunk nor am I likely to buy a round for the bar I wouldn’t be hanging around in in the first place. I also have absolutely no desire to be anyone’s mother so raising children is out and so is changing diapers if I have anything to say about it!

There are a lot of things left on that list that I’d like to do though. Pretty much all of the travel related stuff is appealing (I’d rather skip the combat zone). Some of the adventure sports type items are interesting but only some. Bungee jumping is something I might have tried when I was 20 but I’m feeling far less immortal these days so I’ll have to give it a miss. That still leaves quite a few things I’d like to try. I’ll get right on that 😉

April 17, 2008

Marching Onward!

Posted in Knitalongs, knitting, Spinning at 5:48 pm by nephele

Yup, it’s time for the March recap. This wasn’t as busy a month as April so the list will be shorter.

I picked up some close out yarn from Webs. It was Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy in a nice berry color. I bought 10 balls figuring I’d make a tank top or some such. Then I found a pattern in the spring Knit Simple which match yardage-wise and was cute. It’s the Scallop Edge Pullover. I’ve only just started though so there’s not much to see, just a picot hem:

It’s a lot of stockinette in the round at a fairly small gauge. I’ll be lucky if I finish this one by summer 2009. It’ll make a great travel project though. Maybe I should go somewhere…

I signed up for another couple of mystery knit a longs. I’m trying to keep up with one of them though I’m about a week behind right now. It’s the Mystic Light Shawl. It has the advantage of using finger yarn instead of lace weight. I bought some Koigu a couple of years ago that fit the bill nicely. Here’s the shawl at about halfway through clue 2 of 5:

I actually managed to finish something in March too. A freind is pregnant and I wanted to make a sweater for the new baby. I used some Rowan Wool Cotton from my stash and did a variation on the Fair Isle Cardigan from Vogue Knitting On the Go: Baby Knits Two. Here’s the finished sweater:
baby jacket
baby jacket back

I like it and even better, my friend liked it too.

Speaking of gifts… You might remember way back in October I picked up some roving to spin up and knit something for my Mom. Well her birthday is in May so I finally got to work on it in March.

I spun up the yarn (merino/tencel)
Grape Goddess1
Grape Goddess2
And knitted a simple scarf

The scarf is a bit short but my mother doesn’t like things that wrap around her neck so this length is perfect for her. By the way, sorry about the fuzzy picture. I used this one because it shows the colors better than the flash photos of the yarn itself. That Tencel sure is shiny.

Kind of short but the that was about it for March. Next time I’ll be posting about the month it actually is!

April 9, 2008

Did you think it was an April fools joke?

Posted in knitting, Secret Pal 10, Spinning, Yarn Stash tagged at 3:54 pm by nephele

I thought about that when I finally wrote my last post on April 1st. Will people think I’m joking? Well, I don’t know if anyone thought that or not, but I wasn’t joking. To prove it I’ve got a nice long February wrap up for you.

February was Stitches West month.

I’ve been going to Stitches the last couple of years to work the booth for my LYS and do a little shopping. I’ve never yet taken a class there. That’s basically because the ones that sound interesting are often the ones that fill up quickly and I seldom have much in the way of extra money around November. One of these days I’ll plan and save ahead and do the full Stitches experience. For now though, I’m pretty happy with the shopping.

The most important thing to do before Stitches is to decide what knitted items I’m going to wear of course. I had hoped to get something new finished and debut at the convention but that didn’t happen. Oh well. I did manage to finish a couple of quick project though and I had one of them with me at the show.

I finally got around to making a Calormetry. My LYS got in a new shipment of 127 Print and the dark brown is almost exactly the same color as my hair. I’ll be able to wear this with anything since it matches me.

The button may not stay on it – not because I don’t like it. On the contrary, I like it it a lot but I have another one and someday they may both need to go on the same garment. The buttons were part of the goodies sent to me by my Secret Pal 10 partner. There were a couple of lime green buttons in there that I’m dying to use too. I’m sure I’ll come up with something eventually.

The other little project I managed to finish was my first attempt at using my own handspun. Remember that neon pink yarn I spun in October? I wanted to use it but was having trouble figuring out what to do with one skein of scratchy wool. Knitty to the rescue! I decided to make Square Cake in the smaller size. The size was a good decision. I was starting to worry, toward the end, if I’d have enough yarn to finish. I did, but just barely. Here’s the every scrap of leftover yarn:

And here’s the finished bag:
squarecake_blocked squarecake3

As you can see, I opted for a subdued lining fabric. 😉 The bag is the perfect size for carrying around a small project (hat or socks for instance). Hung from the wrist, I can knit while walking around. Plus this is one bag I’ll be able to find in the dark.

Square Cake did go to Stitches with me. It was holding the first of my Chocolate Cherries socks.

The yarn is Claudia Hand Painted Fingering in… Chocolate Cherry. The pins are in there because I was making up the pattern as I went and, ideally, I’d like the second one to match. Every bit of shaping got a pin. As I work the second sock (eventually) I’ll transfer the pins to the new sock to keep things lined up.

So, back to what I wore at Stitches… From past experience, I know the convention center warms up quickly once it’s full of eagerly shopping knitters. On Thursday – the market preview day – I knew I’d be spending the afternoon stocking the shelves in the booth so comfort was also important. I decided to go with my Lutea Lace-shoulder shell. I also brought along my Birch Shawl (pre-blog) just in case. The shawl got removed almost immediately and didn’t get pulled out again until I left around 10:30 that night. Thursday was pretty much all work. My schedule had me working just the first 2 hours on Friday so I could shop after that. I did manage to scout out a few places and get my Ravelry passport on Thurday but that was about it.

Once the market opened my job was to manage the demo area. We had some yarn, hooks and needles set up so that I could demonstrate various techniques and people could try them out for themselves. One of the things the owner wanted to demo was 2 socks on 1 circular but she didn’t have anything set up for that so…when I got home that night I grabbed a long needle and some stash yarn and started these:

They’re mittens, not socks but the principal is the same. The other demos were for continental style knitting, tunisian crochet and crochet around a gimp or core yarn. One of these days I’ll have to rig something so I can photograph my own hands. Then I can put up tutorials on some of these things. A small tripod would probably be a good start, huh?

After demo-ing for a few hours on Friday I finally got down to shopping (and filling out my Ravelry passport). I wasn’t actually looking for much. Mostly, I wanted more, different fibers for spinning. I was thinking about picking up so more Brooks Farm yarn, though I ended up not doing so. I also wanted some Silkie Socks that Rock – that I did get. Here’s my modest collection:

Silkie Socks that Rock from Blue Moon Fiber Arts in the color Valkyrie

Also from Blue Moon, A Sheep 2 Shoe kit in Rooster Rock
sheep2shoe sheep2shoe2

Lisa Souza Merino/Silk roving in Joseph’s Coat

A Star Alpacas hand painted Alpaca Roving

And… That’s it. I really didn’t buy much. I would have bought more but most of the spinning fiber was types I already had. There was one booth that had a lot of sheep breed variety but I didn’t like the colors they had with them in the breeds I didn’t have yet so I passed.

Saturday was another work day but not at Stitches this time. Lots of the shop’s employees wanted to work Stitches over the weekend so instead I worked in the shop itself. That turned out to be almost as dangerous as the Marketplace itself. The store had recently received a new shipment of Malabrigo Worsted and there was one color that jumped off the shelf and insisted I take it home. I was helpless to resist. I’ve already turned most of it to parts for a Tilted Duster.

The sleeves aren’t pictured, but they’re done too. I just have half the skirt and the collar to go. I should be finished just in time for it to be way to warm to wear it. Oh well, I’ll be ready for next winter anyway.

Sunday I work at my ‘real’ job – the one that pays the rent. So that’s the end of Stitches for 2008. Now since I didn’t get very much roving at Stitches I decided to look around on Etsy for some. Heh. So… here’s how that turned out:

From seller millennialway
Cotswold wool (my maternal Grandfather’s family came from that area so I couldn’t resist)

From contentedbutterfly
Some undyed brown Llama that I completely forgot to photograph and this Shetland wool from a sheep named Sylph

From SplitRockRanch
2 oz. of deeply dyed Mohair

From loop
A batt of rainbow dyed Bamboo. I’ve never spun from a batt so this will be interesting. Maybe I should pick up a wool batt to practice with first since bamboo is slippery.

CrashIntoEwe sent me this Merino/Targhee/Ramboulet blend which I started spinning last night.

Oh yes, I did start one other project in February. A Hemlock Ring Throw using some stash yarn, Nashua Wooly Stripes in Key West:

Oh and I co-won a little contest. Another blogger was trying to figure out the stitch in a commercial sweater. Tsock Tsarina figured it out first, but I got a prize for coming up with a simpler way of accomplishing it. Here’s the swatch:

And here’s my prize:

The yarn is silk – I’m thinking a lacy scarf would be nice. The stuff at the bottom is dyed mohair locks. I’ve never spun from locks so something else to try.

 I think that’s everything for February – at least I hope so. Next up: March

April 1, 2008

So, where was I?

Posted in knitting tagged , at 4:02 pm by nephele

Um, hi!

Wow, that was a long, totally unplanned break. Nothing horrible happened, I just didn’t blog for a bit and inertia kicked in.

I’m back now…hopefully. Maybe I need another resolution. That worked for several months last year.

So… What have I been up to? At a friend’s suggestion, I’m going to try recapping those silent 2.5 months, one month per post. That means today’s post is all about January, or at least the last half of January.

January was (mostly) about TNNA. No, I didn’t go but my friend did. She made a lot of useful connections at the show and I’m going to be very busy this summer knitting prototypes for her. She pays me, at least in part, in yarn. I may have mentioned that I love yarn – or perhaps you figured it out for yourselves? Yes? So, good for me. The downside of the this is it isn’t very good for the blog. I can’t put up pictures of unpublished designs. I’ll take photos as I work but until the designs come out I won’t be able to give out any details.

January was also about the flu, which in no way helped me get back into blogging. I missed getting my flu shots two years in a row. Never again! I always get some sort of secondary infection when I get the flu. This time it was an inner ear infection with a side of mild sinusitis. Pretty annoying, although my office seemed quieter for a while there.

Remember the Fyne vest? My friend wore it to TNNA she liked it that much. I managed to get a couple of shots of her modelling it:
fyne3 fyne4

She’s since bought a couple more white shirts to wear with it. The last time she wore it at the store someone (hi Carel!) ended up buying all the yarn to make their own. Since that’s kind of the point behind shop samples I’d call that a success. I haven’t started my cardigan yet but I haven’t abandoned it either. It’s in the queue.

Death by Socks game #3 has come to an end. I only managed one kill this time out. Here’s one of my weapons (make from Koigu KPPPM):

And here are the socks that did me in:

I’d recently walked holes into the only pair of blue socks I had so these couldn’t have been more perfect. I’ve worn them several times already. The yarn is Regia which is, so far, my favorite commercial yarn. Other brands may be pretty but I’ve never yet worn out a sock made of Regia and I make my second ever pair of socks from the stuff! That’s a pretty good survival rate for a sock. Let me just point out here that I don’t own a car so my socks get plenty of milage on them. I’ve worn out several pairs of Koigu socks, a pair of Colinette Jitterbug and even a pair made with Trekking XXL, but not one hole in any of my Regia socks.

Think they’ll pay me for that endorsement? I’d settle for some more Regia. No? Well, can’t blame a girl for trying.

I can’t think of anything else for January so I’ll wrap it up for now.

Next time: February.