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.
calorimetry

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:
neon_remnants

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.
chocolatecherry2

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:
improvmitts

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
silkie

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

Lisa Souza Merino/Silk roving in Joseph’s Coat
silk-merino

A Star Alpacas hand painted Alpaca Roving
alpaca

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.
tilted

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)
cotswold

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

From SplitRockRanch
2 oz. of deeply dyed Mohair
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.
bamboo

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

Oh yes, I did start one other project in February. A Hemlock Ring Throw using some stash yarn, Nashua Wooly Stripes in Key West:
hemlockring1

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:
mysteryswatch

And here’s my prize:
swatchprize

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

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June 19, 2007

Self control is overrated anyway

Posted in Knitalongs, Secret Pal 10 at 4:43 pm by nephele

I couldn’t help myself. Okay, I admit it; I didn’t even try to stop myself. I joined another knit-a-long. The Mystery Stole #3 knit-a-long to be precise. It’s all Kay’s fault. If she hadn’t posted the link, I wouldn’t have clicked on it. I never would have seen the gorgeous designs two of which were previous Mystery Stoles. But she did and I did and that’s that. Personal responsibility, what’s that?

The way mystery patterns work (at least the ones I’ve seen) is that you get a piece of the pattern, usually one per week. What you don’t get is a picture of the finished item or any solid information on the theme or design inspiration. You take it all on trust. Since this is a lace stole, what we’ll get is a chart and any necessary notes.

Pre-blogging days I –mostly– did one of the mystery shawls and the designer really kept us guessing. I kept trying to figure out what part of the shawl we were on and what would come next. I got it wrong every time. I finished most of that shawl. I still have the bulk of the edging to do. One of these days it’ll rise to the top of the UFO pile…

The only real clues we’ve got about the theme of the stole is that black or white yarn would most closely express the theme and that even if you make it in white, you shouldn’t plan on it being a good bridal stole. I love a good mystery 🙂

I didn’t have enough white lace weight in my stash and no black at all, so I decide to use this:
Prism Lace Wool

It’s Prism Yarn Lace Wool in the color Fog. We’ve been told we need about 1,200 yards and this is 1,460.

The design calls for (optional) beads. I took my yarn to the bead store yesterday and picked these up:
Frosted Beads

If all of this sounds interesting to you, join the fun! It’s not a race or competition, you can save the clues and knit later if you like. The only time sensitive aspect is when we’ll find out what the design is (sometime in August). The first clue comes out on June 29th and sign ups are open until July 6th.

Speaking of races and competitions… The new round of Death by Socks did finally start up and sadly, my days are already numbered. The person knitting for me mailed my socks yesterday. She’s in Alaska so I might have a few days left but not many. Darn that midnight sun! I bet she knit around the clock. On the plus side I won’t have to worry about working on socks when I want to work on the Mystery Stole. Silver lining!

Unsurprisingly, my readership went down during my little unplanned hiatus. But I still get comments!

Mac’s Niece said:

Hi!

Wow! That did get there fast! Glad you liked this little assortment of things, and thanks for stopping by my blog. I kicked myself that I had not posted a recent kntting entry before your visit.

I have really enjoyed being your secret pal, and have loved hearing about all your projects… this blog is definitely on my list of those to pay a regular visit to.

Not to worry, I went back quite a bit and read several posts. I wanted to make sure your secret pal spoiled you as well as you spoiled me and it looks like she(?) did. I’ve added you to my list of blogs as well. I’ll be stopping by from time to time to see what you’re up to. 🙂

Once again, thanks for everything. It’s all marvelous. I had a lot of fun spoiling and getting spoiled.

June 14, 2007

Secret Pal 10

Posted in Secret Pal 10 at 4:52 pm by nephele

First let me say that British mail is very efficient. My no-longer-Secret Pal put the last package in the mail on the 11th and I got it on the 13th. Central England to the California coast in two days. I don’t think the US mail could manage that.

And what was in that package I hear you ask? Why goodies of course, see:
SP10 package #3

More yarn by the same hand dyer responsible for the wool/silk blends in the last package. I have the label handy so I can tell you the shop is The Yarn Gallery in Bury St. Edmunds (what a delightfully British name that is). The yarn this time is called Brazen and is 100% wool in a bulky, thick/thin, single ply. The color is Autumn Leaf – dye lot #1 – and boy did they nail that color. It’s very autumnal. It would be great in a loopy scarf. I’ll have to be on the look out for some coordinating mohair. I’ve got several colors in my stash but none of them work with this except for some orange that I’m already using for something else. A nice chocolate brown would be nice… or perhaps a golden color.

My pal went for the full sensory experience again. As soon as the envelope was open a scent wafted out. Not lavender this time but still something floral. It turned out to be the packet of Hyacinth potpouri. I’ve got some patterns that will make nice sachets and now I have something to put in them. One of the patterns is for a silly looking little sheep. I’ve already bought yarn for that one. So, Hyacinth the Sheep is now in my knitting queue.

There’s still more… the bundle was wrapped in a ribbon and topped with a hand knit rosette – I was too busy check it all out to get a before picture, sorry. On the lower left of the picture is a package of hand dyed ribbon. Pretty stuff. In the middle of the picture is a little gold bundle. It contained an assortment of beads and buttons, see:
buttons and beads

I love ’em all. The larger buttons already have me thinking about what I can make to put them on. Some of the beads may have to become stitch markers. I particularly like the orange bead in the middle. It’s got silver wire wrapped around it and is very pretty.

Oops, I’ll have to cut this short now. I’ve got to get to the post office and get my last SP10 package out to my spoilee.

Thanks again Pal! You did good. I love it all and I definitely plan to sign up again for SP11 when it becomes available.

June 12, 2007

Startitis

Posted in Knitalongs, knitting, Secret Pal 10 at 11:48 am by nephele

After surfacing from my crappy month-that-wasn’t, I caught a bad case of startitis. I wanted to cast on for dozens of different things. I managed to contain myself somewhat. You already know about the Lime & Violet socks. I’ve turned the heel on the first sock:
LV sock2

I also made good progress on the Half-circle Bag:
half circle bag

Actually, this one was surprising. Despite the stated yarn requirements, I got both of these done with only one ball (out of three) of the Freedom wool and about half a ball of the 220 Heather.  Given that, I decided to make a couple more changes. I’m going to make a gusset so that the bag will be bigger. I also decided to make the third panel longer. When I assemble everything this long panel:
half circle bag2
will become the front flap and the lining for an outside back pocket. I’m also planning a mini version as a cell phone bag if there’s enough yarn left. Should be cute.

The owner of my LYS asked me to make a sample pair of kids socks out of Zarina. So I started those:
zarina sock

Zarina is a sport weight merino. It should make nifty socks but no one seems to be noticing it. Hopefully the samples will help sell the yarn, that’s the intent after all.

I’m also working on a design for a child’s vest – again for the shop – using Samoa. It should be cute (fingers crossed) but I’m still at the swatching stage so no pictures yet.

I’m  fighting the urge to cast on even more new things but I know I’ll fall off the wagon tomorrow. The new round of Death by Socks got postponed due to some problems people had getting their yarn. We’re now scheduled to start tomorrow. I’ll have to cast on something new then. I won’t have a choice, darn. 😉

June is the final month for the Secret Pal 10 exchange. I see from the comments that my mystery friend is putting together her last batch of goodies. I can hardly wait! I’m also trying to decide what to put in my last package for my spoilee. I’ve already got some yarn set aside for her. I just need to decide what else to put in the box. I do have some ideas but I want to give it more thought. This is the big reveal package where we finally admit who we are to our giftees and I want to make sure it’s memorable.

This was my first Secret Pal exchange and it has been great.  I plan to sign up for the next one as soon as it becomes available. I know there are a lot of other exchanges going on in blogland. I may have to look in to some of the others but I don’t want to go nuts – something I’m easily capable of doing – so I probably won’t sign up for anything else just yet. We’ll see how long I manage to hold out. Bets anyone?

June 6, 2007

There is no May

Posted in Knitalongs, Secret Pal 10 at 9:52 am by nephele

Not this year, not for me – except for all the nifty goodies in my May secret pal package, that part I liked. There rest of the month, not so much. It’s probably just as well that I wasn’t blogging. It wouldn’t have been pretty. Fortunately for all of us, I was too tired to write anything. But now the month-that-wasn’t is over and I’m going to try to get back to normal. We’ll see how that goes.

I managed to drop by a couple of days ago and reset the theme to match the new Project Spectrum colors for June and July: red, black and metallic. WordPress added this theme about a month ago and was I thrilled to see it. They had some black and some red but no good black and red themes before. The timing on this was perfect.

I have been knitting, the only thing that preserved the remnants of my sanity. I finished up the two pairs of socks I was working on as in-class teaching examples. It’s been too warm to have any use for the bed-socks but I’ve worn the Regia silk socks a couple of times already. I must buy more Regia silk. The knitted fabric felt a bit softer than the usual stuff but the real difference was in the wearing. They felt great on. I think I’ll get some of the solid colors and use them with the Cookie A. sock pattens. It was nice having a couple of small mindless projects going so I decided to start another simple pair of socks. I’m using the Lisa Souza Lime&Violet sock yarn I got at stitches. It’s perfect for something simple since the yarn colors are so high contrast. I’m just doing 2×2 rib with a little detail band near the top. I’ll get pictures for next time.

I worked on another design prototype for my friend. Details on that when I’m allowed to post them.

I also finished up that white doll sweater. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture before I handed it off to my friends. The same friend asked if I’d make her a scarf out of a ball of yarn she’d picked up. I did, but didn’t take pictures of it either. I’m supposed to do a fall sweater for the doll too.  I’ll try to do better about the pictures with that one.

I do have one picture,  not of a finished item though. This is the progress I’ve made on the Leaf cardigan:
leaf progress

I decided to go with an i-cord bind off. Since I’m short waisted, I’m going to make it about two inches shorter than the pattern suggests. I want it to just reach my waist. If I went to the directed length it would be hovering over my hipbones. All of which means I’ve only got about two or three inches to go. Since I decided on the i-cord and won’t have the hemmed bit to stabilize the front opening edges, I’m doing an i-cord edging there too. With the i-cord neckband it should all work together nicely.

Since I clearly have too much time on my hands (as evidenced by all the blog posts I’ve been doing) I decided to sign up for Ravelry. I got my invite last weekend and have started putting up a few things. They’re still in beta and are swamped with invite requests. If you signed up for the waiting list, be patient. It took them about two and a half weeks to get an invite out to me. They have added some more info that you can look at with out signing in. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can get a better idea now of why you might want to. One thing it’s got me doing is going back through all of my UFOs. It’s reminding me of why I wanted to start blogging in the first place (besides the secret to desire to be the yarnharlot– or at least to be that popular. Reach for the stars, right?). I think Ravelry might actually help keep me blogging rather than take away from blogging time.

During the month-that-wasn’t I hit another little milestone in my blogging life. I got tagged with a meme. My Secret Pal was the tagger. She emailed me:

My sister has just tagged me with a meme to list 7 strange or unusual facts about yourself. The ideas is you put them on your blog, then tag 7 more people by leaving them a message on their blog.

This particular meme has pretty much made the rounds so I won’t tag anyone by name. If you haven’t done it and you have a blog, consider yourself tagged 🙂

  1. My internet user name Nephele comes from Greek mythology. When I first really started using the internet I got involved in Hercules TV show fandom. I even wrote some fan fiction. The convention in that group was to use Greek myths to pick a pen-name. It wasn’t compulsory but it seemed like a good idea. I’ve been using the name so long, it’s almost automatic now. It has the advantage of being much more likely to be available than Liz.
  2. I own 4 guitars, 1 mandoline, 1 viola, 1 violin, 7 recorders, 1 harp, 1 keyboard, 2 bagpipe chanters, 1 ocarina, 2 harmonicas. I can play all of them (with various degrees of skill)
  3. I do lots of creative/artistic type things but I only seem to be able to do one at a time. These days it’s knitting. Consequently, I haven’t written any stories for a long time and haven’t put in much practice on all those instruments I mentioned in number 2. I also draw and paint, but again, not lately. I’m sort of a serial Jack-of-all-trades.
  4. I have (off and on) been trying to learn Latin just for fun.
  5. I love it when it’s windy out. It messes with my allergies but I don’t care. I love blustery windy days.
  6. Speaking of weather, this is my favorite kind of sky:morning sky eastmorning sky looking up
  7. My other internet addiction is Neopets.

I’ve got a couple of comments to catch up on…

Nancy Ingram said

Wow!
I was at my LYS today and in walked Tib from your LYS. I told her that I sent you an email about a month ago and it bounced back. She gave me updates about Marilyn returning and Ingrid and Tracy leaving. I love your blog and the photos are quite impressive!!

There is no place like the LYS. I miss it and all of you.

Nancy! Hi!! Sorry about the email bouncing. Our provider was messing with things about that time and all kinds of stuff bounced. I saw Tib recently and she mentioned running in to you. Did she tell you that Ingrid has a blog too? It’s over here. I’m a lousy letter writer but I’ll try to send you an email soon.

Your UK secret pal said:

Hi! I am so pleased that you liked your package. I had a lot of fun searching out just the right kind of yarn to send you: something unusual, something natural but with a twist of luxury, the right kind of colours etc. It is also so much fun to put together all the other little bits and pieces that make the whole package (hopefully) a treat. I was pleased that you seemed to like them, and was thrilled to see my charm on your phone.

I agonised over the yarn… I was not sure whether the colourways were too similar or not… but I am pleased that you feel they could be used either separately or together for a larger project.

I got my first ever sock kit from my secret pal today so I am joining the ranks of sock knitters. I might have to come back and ask you for advice on the heel dividing and turning!

I hope that this week is turning out better for you than last week was. I know what it is like to have work take over everything for a while. Not only does it leave you drained, but I find it takes so long to get back into the swing of things once the rest of life’s patterns are disrupted.

Welcome to the sock side 😉 It’s like the dark side but our feet are warmer.

As you can probably tell, the month-that-wasn’t never really did get better but it did at least have the courtesy to end. I figure it’s just some sort of karmic balance. All those other knitters where having fun at their spring fiber festivals and I helped balance it out. Next year it’s someone else’s turn.

Trust me, you are doing a great job picking out yarn and goodies for me. I love it all. I think I mentioned last time that I found a project for the Freedom yarn. I finally picked out a contrast color. It’s a deep, heathered aubergine. The sort of color that changes from brown to purple depending on the light. I think it offsets the teal beautifully. I’m still looking for the perfect project for the Compass yarn but I’ve got some thoughts. I may just have to do some swatches and design something myself.

phoenix said:

Hmm.. I can’t imagine why anyone might think you would enjoy some silk/wool yarn. 

Yeah, wasn’t that silly. 😉

Okay, I think I’m more or less caught up. I’ll try and get some more pictures for next time (and I’ll try and make next time a LOT sooner).

May 9, 2007

Um, Hi!

Posted in Knitalongs, knitting, Secret Pal 10 at 10:41 am by nephele

Okay. That was the fortnight from heck (not hell, it actually could have been worse).

I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned it before but I’m basically the entire IT department were I work. Being the in-house geek my duties spill over into anything even slightly technical. I even get ‘help-line’ calls from co-workers with personal computer problems. Mostly, that’s all okay with me. These last couple of weeks though… Pretty much anything that could breakdown decided that now was the time to do it. Not fun. The whole mess was nicely capped off by our phone system literally burning out. I can still smell the pervasive stink of melted circuit boards. But that’s all in the past (please). Hopefully there won’t be anymore weeks like these in the near future. I don’t think I could take it.

Yes, I am trying to type and keep my fingers crossed at the same time. Not easy.

So, knitting stuff, that’s why were here right? Let me start off with the best of the bunch.

Monday afternoon I got something in the mail. Royal mail that is.
sp10 2

A new package from my Secret Pal! Just what I needed. As soon as I pulled the tape off I caught the scent of lavender. Let’s see what’s inside…
SP10 package2

Ooh. Lots of goodies. There’s two skeins of yarn (more on those later), some more of those nicely scented bath salts, a pretty list pad, a pair of purse handles, a pink iPod sock. A bar of Yardley’s Lavender soap (the source of the lovely fragrance), a cell phone charm and a card telling me about the things she’d sent.

The cell phone charm was handmade by my Pal. I wasted no time putting it in its place, so to speak. I have a very generic phone model. It needed a little dressing up and this does the job admirably. Here’s a close up so you can see it better (before and after being attached to my phone).
Phone charm phone charm on phone

 About that yarn. Oh my! So very pretty. Somehow my pal got the idea (the correct idea) that I’d enjoy some silk/wool blend yarn. Artisan spun and dyed in gorgeous colors that, while clearly different, do have some matching tones. Here’s a close up:
Dye Lot 1!

The brick red and rust orange appear in both hanks. This means that I have the option of using them together in something, a big something as there is about a 1100 yards in all. Another thing you may notice in that close up is the dyelot numbers on the tags. Winter Berry is dyelot number 1 and so is the Fruit Pie color. I think there is a very good chance that I’m the first person in the US to own any of this yummy yarn. The yarn is called Compass and is 55% silk, 45% lambswool. It’s about sport or fingering weight (the recommended needle size is 3.25mm) and there are 500m on each hank. I’m thinking they’ll make a very nice shawl,  but they’d also make a lovely top. Right now I’m leaning in the the lacey sleaveless top direction. Time will tell.

Thank you Secret Pal! Your timing was perfect and your choices even better! By the way, I’ve decide what I’m going to do with teal yarn you sent last time. The current issue of Knitters magazine has a cute little felted bag in it. I’m thinking I’ll use black for the second color but I’ll decide for sure by taking a ball of the freedom wool into the store with me. The yardage you sent will allow me to change the pattern slightly. It’s basically a pocket type bag but I’ll have enough to make a third module which I can then use as a flap. I like purses that close well. Knitting totes can gape open, in fact it’s usually better if they do, but purses should close. I’ve got a magnetic catch I can use on this. I’ll be sure and post pictures as it progresses.

Ah, I’m feeling so much better now.

Despite all the fun I’ve not been having I have managed to get some knitting in. I’ve put up a couple more swatches over at the Walker Treasury Project. I didn’t manage to get the most swatches in April by the way. I think I tied for third or something like that. Oh well. The important thing is that lots of swatches were added. We’ve got a long way to go but real progress is being made.

I’ve been working of a few different socks. I finished the first redo of the Sarah’s Handspun sock.
sarahsock2

That little twist of yarn is all I had left of the ball of yarn I’d split off for the first sock. When I divided the hank in two one ball ended up about 1 gram lighter than the other. I knit with the light ball first in the assumption that anything it could do, the heavier ball could do as well. We’ll see how that works out. Sock number two is on the needles.

I’m also working on two pairs of basic socks.
Basic socks

These are teaching aides. I’ve got a student right now making her first pair of socks. The big gauge sock (it will end up being a winter slippersock for me which is actually what I intended when I bought the yarn) makes it easy to see the structural details. The other sock (Regia Silk – nice!) allows me to knit at about the same gauge as my student so she can see things that way too. Teaching is one the reasons I still buy self patterning sock yarns despite my tendency to make socks with lots of stitch patterns in them. I’ve always got a few of these around for when I need to work a teaching sock. Both second socks are on the needles but I can’t work past the leg on them. My next class will cover the heel flap, turning and gussets so I need to leave those unworked until then. Class number three will see the toes finished off.

Gosh, so much to get caught up on. I’ve also been working on a doll sweater for some friends of mine. They have a home business making custom, stuffed animals. A good percentage of the critters Stuffe and Nonsense makes are anthropomorphic. These animal dolls are usually clothed. Recently they sold an animal to someone who wanted a series of seasonal sweaters. They had a teddybear Christmas sweater in stock which worked for winter but the needed spring and autumn. Enter me and my needles.

I’ve knitted for one of their dolls before. They’d made one of their highland sheep but she’d been around a while without selling. A redress was in order. We’d been talking about me knitting a sweater for one of the dolls so this is the one I worked on. I had so much fun with it, I actually ended up making her a complete outfit: a fitted, striped halter top, a matching solid skirt with a ruffled hem and the lace cardigan with fair-isle border that started the whole thing. She was eventually sold to a yarn shop owner in Santa Cruz, California.

This time the biggest challenge was the design. I needed to make a sweater for a male doll that said spring. I finially decided to go with a cotton, cabled, tennis sweater. Here’s what I have so far (ruler included for scale):
doll sweater

The fall will be much easier. I’m planning a tweedy wool with some fair isle bands. I think I need to get one of there dolls so I can make some more clothes. It really is fun and I have lots of thin yarn I can use. I just need to pick a species. They’ll try just about anything once.

So, what else. Oh yeah! I started a new piece for myself. I got the notice that the spring surprise patterns where up on Knitty. One of the designs from Stefanie Japel’s book was made available. I’ve seen the book but don’t have it (yet!) and this is one of the designs I loved. I went shopping in my stash and turned up some Artful Yarns Fable in the Goldilocks & the Three Bears color. I think this will do nicely.
Leaf

Fable is an 85% cotton/15% silk yarn and is consequently a bit heavy. For that reason, I won’t be doing the turned hems the pattern calls for. I’ll either do an i-cord bind off or a lace edging. It’s a top-down raglan so I’ve got time to decide. The yarn has great stitch definition so I’m leaning toward the lace border.
Leaf close up

How about some comment catch up to finish things off?

Your UK secret pal said:

Well done on finishing the skirt! Shame you had to pull the picture, it looked so interesting, so I look forward to seeing it when the official releases are out.

I just wanted to let you know that I am still thinking of you, and have just posted another SP10 package off to you, so look out for the post in 7-10 days’ time!

I hope that you enjoy the things I have chosen for you.

The weather is beautiful here at the moment, and everyone’s gardens are bursting into flower, so the wonderful colours in the handspun sock yarn are just right for the time of year.

As you can see the package arrived right on time and I love everthing in it! Thank you so much. The timing was just perfect. I’d just finished fixing all the problems at work and was ready to appreciate the treat.

I’m a little envious of your weather. It’s nice today but the last two days we had a mini heat wave – 90+ degrees Farenheit. Anyone in cold climate probably thinks that sounds wonderful but I’m happiest when it’s in the 60s. It was too hot to knit! Fortunately the winds have changed and our cooling coastal fog is back. The rest of the week should be lovely.

I’ll be sure and post skirt pictures as soon as Knit.1 puts out their own.

Sarah  said:

I love seeing your swatches pop up on the WT site — you’ve done some fun ones! I can’t wait to see how those socks turn out.

Well you can see sock number one right now. I love the yarn. I hope these wear well. I want to keep them for a long time. There’s just enought yarn left for a daring or two.

Emilee said:

You are a swatching SUPERSTAR!

Thanks! It really is fun making swatches that aren’t the start of a bigger piece but an end in themselves. It takes all the pressure off and lets me just play. I’m not even trying to make them all the same size. They’re between about six and nine inches but each one is a bit different. The throw I’m going to assemble when I’m through is definitely going to be of the ‘crazy quilt’ variety.

phoenix  said:

I’ve been enjoying your swatches as well.  They’re lovely!  I have a question for you about contributing to WTP.  When you joined, did your dashboard become flooded with updates for the site?  If so, did this bother you at all?

Yes I do see all the posts and comment posts on my dashboard. It annoyed me for about a day. I don’t really pay that much attention to that side of the dashboard. If the blog stats were merged it would be bad but they’re not so that’s okay. If you really use the left side of the dashboard it might be a problem for you. If that’s all that’s holding you up though, you might want to contact the moderators. I’m sure someone else would be willing to post swatches for you as long as you write everything up for them – heck, I’d be willing to do it. Let me know if you want to persue that idea.

Okay. I think I’m all caught up… for now. 😉

April 5, 2007

Goodies!

Posted in knitting, Secret Pal 10 at 9:09 am by nephele

The mail arrived a little late yesterday but when it finally showed up I found this:
sp10a

Interesting. What’s that label in the corner…
sp10b

Royal Mail… could it be? Why yes, yes it is, my first Secret Pal package! I could hardly wait to see what was inside. So I didn’t

All kinds of goodies. Once I unfolded the tissue paper and brushed aside the cute Easter confetti I found all of this inside:
sp10c

Looking at the non woolly items I foresee a very decadent soak in the bath in my near future. 
sp10d

There’s an assortment of regional chocolate, bath salts (how did you know I have hard water?) and jasmine insense.

My new Pal didn’t scrimp on the woolly goodness either!
sp10e

A ball of dark brown Donegal Tweed and three ballls of very pretty teal wool. In the card, my Pal explained why she’d chosen those particular yarns and mentioned that the Freedom wool felts beautifully. I’m already plotting what I’ll do with it.

Great job Secret Pal, I love it all. Thank you!

In other blog news… I’ve posted four new swatches to the Walker Treasure Project using the new colors for Project Spectrum 2.0.  You can see the details on the WTP site but here are thumbnails showing the colors:
Twin Leaf LacePersian LaceTraveling Ribbed EyeletKing Charles Brocade

I love these colors. They’re so fresh and spring-like. I’m getting the urge to start a lacey spring cardigan. Can I restrain myself? Not likely. I’ve got some hot pink Jaeger Trinity in my stash that would fit the bill nicely. Time to get out the graph paper.

jujuridl said:

The yarn is amazing. I would suggest wearing these socks on your hands, so you can get a better look at them throughout the day.

I was debating making armwarmers with this yarn for just that reason. But my feet deserve a treat too. Also, I think this was Sarah’s first attempt and sock yarn and I wanted to test it out. I’ll just have to put my feet up a lot so I can look at them.

Sarah said:

Love the new blog colors — I like this shade of green. And I am glad to see you’re enjoying the handspun!

Come on, tell the truth. Is there a shade of green you don’t like? This is a very cheerful green though isn’t it?

I am enjoying your handspun – a lot! It’s knitting up into a nice firm fabric which should wear well. The plies are staying plied – no splitting or other irritants and of course the color is fabulous. You’ve definitely got the knack.

Your UK secret pal said:

The Capecho is wonderful!!! It looks like a cross between shawl and shrug… is that about right? The patterning is gorgeous, and such a light coloured yarn really shows off all the countours. Fabulous! Well done.

I am looking forward to the pattern for the mesh bag… I would like to try to make one.

Thanks for the nice comments and thanks again for all the wonderful goodies!

The Capecho is more shrug than shawl. Vogue Knitting labelled it a bolero which is almost right. There’s a reason I took to calling it “the … garment.” It’s neither fish nor fowl but it is interesting and a fun knit.

You’ve probably already noticed but the mesh bag pattern is up. There’s a link in the free patterns section of the side bar.

I think I’m going to like this Secret Pal thing 🙂