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


November 5, 2007

Back in Blue

Posted in knitting, Yarn Stash tagged at 10:30 am by nephele

As promised, I didn’t keep the Halloween colored theme. I’ve gone back to the one I originally selected when I set the blog up a year ago. There are more interesting options but this one seems to me to be one of the easiest to read. It also has a fairly wide post column which allows for larger photos. WordPress comes up with new themes fairly regularly though so who knows?

I managed to get a little over halfway through the second chart on my Mystic Waters shawl but that’s is so far. The second chart is still part of the first clue. The second clue came out last Wednesday so now I’m definitely behind. I could have gotten caught up if I’d tried but instead I was working on…

My Capecho is almost done. If I wasn’t lengthening the sleeves it would be done now. I expect to finish it up this week.

I mentioned before about the collar being crucial to the fit of the thing. Here’s what I did.


The unworked sides of the pentagons are about 7 inches long. The sides that have been picked up and worked are only 5 inches. So I used 5 inches as my guide. There are seven pentagons that join to collar so I knit the collar (5×7) 35 inches long. As you can see it looks a lot shorter than the piece it’s getting attached to.


I measured out 5 inch segments on the collar and put in markers. I then pinned those same markers to the point where the pentagons join up. When it came time to sew it up, there were more pins to keep me on track. It’s a lot like easing a sleeve into and armhole.


When I finished sewing the entire length everything looked good – no rippling of other oddness.


I was double checking the pattern and saw that it said to work the collar stitch for stitch to match the body. If I’d done that my collar would have been about twice as long as it is. In fact it would have been longer than stretched out edge of the pentagons! I think someone made an editing error there.

I’m adding about 8 inches to the sleeves to make them full length. I’m a little over halfway on the first sleeve. I should be wearing this soon.

Speaking of adding things, I may have added to the stash again this weekend.


11 balls of Rowan Tapestry in color 172. I’m a sucker for raspberry and brown. I haven’t decided what I’ll do with it yet. Since Tapestry stripes, I’ll either do something to break up the stripes or knit it sideways. I’m large and short-waisted. Horizontal stripes are not usually a good idea for me though they do occasionally, inexplicably work, not with this yarn though I think. It’ll let me know what it wants to be eventually. Until it decides to talk it join all its friends in my large yarn colony.

October 21, 2007

It’s been a busy week…

Posted in knitting, Spinning, Yarn Stash at 1:33 pm by nephele

…but not in the fun way. Just busy with work (and work emergency on my day off – joy). I knew I would be busy so that part was okay. The emergencies I could have lived without. I guess that’s the risk you take when you’re the entire computer department for a retailer with computerized cash registers. They do appreciate me which makes all the difference.

I did find time to do some knitting. When last photographed the Capecho looked like this:


I’ve since completed three more pentagons and I’m on number 11 which is that last one. After I finish it, I’ll have the sleeves and collar left to do. The mornings have been just chilly enough lately that I’m really motivated to finish this.

I finished knitting those Christmas stockings a couple of weeks ago. Now they are done done. I’ve added beads and sequins and duplicate stitched the names on the four that got names (the two blanks are spares for future need).


I’ll try to get the designs charted up this week. They’re all about 30 rows high so they’d be cute on baby sweaters too. Just a thought.

I’ve already set up a page in the free patterns section for charted designs. It’s even got a chart on it (couldn’t have a blank page after all). The chart is for a version of the San Jose Sharks new logo. Why? No, not a big hockey fan though they would be the local team if I was. I’m knitting a sweater for a friend (who is a fan) in Sharks colors and I’ve noticed quite a few people finding blog by search for San Jose Sharks knitting patterns. I figured I might as well give them something for their efforts.

In addition to a bit of knitting and charting and finishing, I’ve also managed a little stash enhancing – though I did have help.

The lovely ladies over at Romancing the Yarnare giving away sock yarn every day for the month of Socktober. I won on my lucky day (the 13th – I’m just contrary that way). My prize arrived and it couldn’t be more perfect:


The colors are right up my alley and the yarn is 45% cotton which, despite my tendency to buy wool, is actually better for the climate here. With those bright, candy colors I’ll have to do something lacey for spring wear. And yes, the candy was in the package too. Mint taffy, it was yummy; now it’s gone 😉

Another stash assist came in the form a ‘just because’ gift from my friend Sarah. She and Measure stopped by the yarn shop and dropped off a little wheel warming present.


Apparently she’s had this since Stitches West and was planning to spin it up for me but what with giving birth and all… I guess she’s been a tad busy. It all worked out though because now I get to spin it up. It’s 55% Merino/45% Tencel from Fiber Fiend in the color Flame. Now do I spin this first for me or do I spin the pink and green roving that’s earmarked for my mother’s Christmas present? Time is short so I should work on my Mom’s but I just got the wheel last month so I should practice on my own stuff. Oh what a dilemma!

Here’s the one stash addition that’s entirely my own fault. I was at my LYS when they were checking in a shipment of Diakeito yarns. I didn’t even let them tag these:

Diakeito Diarufran

I bought the entire bag. It’s Diarufran which is worsted weight, 100% wool with a light weight chain construction. Each 40g ball has 161 yards on it. I bought all ten so I have 1610 yards of this pretty stuff. Now what to make… Nope, not yet. I have to finish the Capecho first but hey, maybe another Norah Gaughan pattern. The colors would be very pretty in one of here hexagon designs like the one in the new issue of VK. File that under soon.

October 7, 2007

Xmas stockings are like socks

Posted in Spinning, Yarn Stash tagged at 12:50 pm by nephele


I hope so, because Socktober just started and this is what I was finishing up:

They’re all knit now. I spent a good portion of Friday sewing beads and sequins on to the motifs – ’cause it ain’t Christmas if it isn’t at least a little tacky. On Saturday I started duplicate stitching the names, putting in all the yarn ends, seaming and adding crochet chain hanging loops. I’ve got one left to do. As soon as I finish it this project can be sent off to the customer with plenty of time left before Christmas too.

Since it is Socktober (I’ll grab any excuse, just watch me) I bought some more sock yarn yesterday.

Those are all Prism Yarns Saki. The colors are (clockwise from top left) Garden, Embers, Jelly Bean and Carnation. The Embers and Carnation are tone-on-tone enough to take some pretty significant pattern stitches. Knowing me, they’ll end up lacy. The other two color will be best as simple socks though the Jelly Bean is arguing that it’d look great in feather and fan. The Garden may just end up in a basic ribbed sock. I don’t want anything to interfere with it’s gorgeous, heathery colors.

Sarah said:

Gorgeous wheel! Definitely worth a few bruises. I do like those Carolina Homespun people, I always buy some fiber from them at Stitches.

You’re right about it being worth it! I’ve spent an hour or two every day spinning. The first day I didn’t produce anything worth keeping but since then I’ve been filling up bobbins. I finished up the second bobbin last night. Tonight I’m going to try to ply for the first time. Wish me luck.

I’m itching to move on to the Merino/Tencel roving I bought last week but I don’t want to waste it. If I manage a passable job of plying the BFL I may just have to jump in. I’ve already got plans about what I’ll knit with it when it is spun up. Nothing like putting the cart before the horse, eh?

No new photo, ’cause it really doesn’t look all that different yet, but I’m continuing to work on my Tweedy Cashmere Capecho. I’m on Pentagon number 5. There are 7 in the first row, I’ll take another picture when those are done. The last couple of mornings have been a bit chilly which is great encouragement to keep knitting. I’m toying with making mine with long sleeves. My torso doesn’t get cold nearly as quickly as my arms do. That would be why I have a pretty good collection of arm warmers and plans to add more to the pile. I think that long sleeves would make the Capecho a lot more useful to me. Plus, more soft cashmere blend on my arms where I’ll be able to appreciate it – not a bad thing 😉

Off to think more about what I’m going to knit from all the yarn I haven’t made yet…

October 4, 2007

The bruises have almost healed

Posted in Spinning, Yarn Stash at 10:37 am by nephele

What bruises? We’ll get to that, promise.

So last Friday I was scheduled to help out at my LYS’s booth at the Knitting and Crochet show in Oakland. One of the ladies from the shop was also working there that day and she was going to give me a ride. I think I’ve mentioned my car-less state in the past (yes, it is possible to live in California without a car – just). Anyway… I got a call on Wednesday telling me that she wouldn’t be able to make it so I was on my own. At least it was a weekday so all the commute transit was running. I made it there okay – in fact I was the first person at the booth that morning. I had plenty of time to wander around and check out all the other booths before the show opened.

I had a pretty long commute (across 3 transit agency) to get there so I needed to bring some knitting to work on. I finished knitting the last of the six stockings on Thursday so that was out. I thought about just grabbing one of my socks-in-progress but I wanted something a little bigger. I was reminded recently about the Capecho that I’d just barely started for myself last spring so I dug that out. It was perfect, enough pattern to keep me entertained but not so much that I had to constantly refer to the chart plus it was a design I’d knit before so there wouldn’t be any unpleasant surprises out on the bridge in the middle of the bay. Now it finally looks like more that a cast on:

The yarn isn’t really as red as it looks here. It’s Tweedy Cashmere by Filatura Di Crosa (now, sadly discontinued) which is a four ply yarn. Three of those plies are navy blue and only one is red but for whatever reason the red was more photogenic. I’ve added another two pentagons since taking that picture. It really does make for good bus knitting so that’s what I’ve been carrying around this week.  At home I’ve been working on something else.

I’ve been wanting to get a spinning wheel for a couple of years now. I’ve been playing around with drop spindles but I never seem to get much done with them. I spindle best standing up and about the only time I do much standing around is when I’m waiting for the bus. Once I’m on the bus I can spindle spin so it’s easier to just knit the whole time. So my plan was to look for a wheel at the show. I’d be able (hopefully) to try some out and take one home with me that day. So while I was wandering around the hall before it opened I kept my eyes peeled for wheels (and roving, ’cause you know…). There were two booths with wheels but one of them had several display models set up so that’s where I went later in the day. Results?

And now we get to the bruises. It’s not a heavy wheel but the box is a bit too large to be easy to handle. Having to carry it up and down stairs, in and out of buses and trains and down the sidewalk all resulted in some pressure bruises on my forearms where the corner of the box rested. The original plan was to have a ride home of course and the shop owners did offer to take custody of the wheel for me and get it to me later. But… then I wouldn’t have it until later! Totally worth the bruises. I did have a soak in the tub before I opened the box though.

The folks I bought her from (Carolina Homespun) threw in 2 pounds of BFL to get me started so I got started.

Total crap beginner yarn but I don’t care. I’m having fun and the only way to get better is to keep on spinning right?

It’s a Lendrum Folding Wheel – not because I plan to carry it around to a lot of places, but rather because I have a small apartment and it takes up less floor space than the traditional type. I treated myself to the complete version so my box included:

From the left: a jumbo (plying) flyer assembly, a fast (lace) flyer and a lazy kate with three more standard bobbins (for a total of 4 standard and 1 jumbo). I should be set for a while.

Thanks to that big bag of BFL I ended up not buying anymore roving – that day. I do have a small fiber stash huddled in amongst the enormous yarn stash so I’ve got a few things to play with anyway. I’ll practice with the BFL first.

I finished with that bobbin last night and started a second. As soon as I fill up number two I’ll try my hand at plying them together. The finished yarn will go off to a friend of mine who has been playing with natural dyes. She came up with one recently that made a really nice plum. I’ve asked her to same me some of that. Once it’s dyed up I’ll see what I can knit with it – always assuming I don’t completely screw up the yarn first.

When I tried out the display wheel at the booth they had some merino/tencel that I got to  play with. Yummy stuff and so easy to draft. I didn’t buy any roving at the show but I may have had a little accident over at Etsy. I’ve been trying to collect a variety of fibers/sheep breeds to play with so I could learn the differences and just get to know them better. In addition to the Bluefaced Leicester, I have Merino, Corriedale, Romney and about and ounce of Zwartble. I also have some silk hankies that I want to play with dying. Now, thanks to this shop, I have:

From left: Falkland, the Merino/Tencel I went looking for in the first play and a little sample of Merino superwash. I’m already plotting what I could knit with that Tencel blend. I think I’m going to like this spinning stuff.

Lest you get the impression that the wheel is all I got at the show…
addi hook
TKS yarnTKS yarn2
malabrigo lace

The magazines were freebies – though by the time I made it home there extra weight was starting to cost me. The ivory colored stick is actually an Addi crochet hook in 0.60mm. I got it for putting beads on yarn. It’s a little finer than the one I used on the Mystery Stole and the cover means I probably won’t destroy it when I toss it in my knitting bag.

I really hadn’t planned to buy any (much) yarn but I was wearing my Clapotis that day and the wool/bamboo/nylon sock yarn was an almost perfect match. Clearly, I had to have it. I had planned to look for some heavier lace yarn for one of the new mystery knit-a-longs I joined last week. This malabrigo lace is perfect. Enough variegation to please me but not so much that it’ll fight with the stitch patterns. I’m currently planning to use it for the Secret of Chrysopolis stole. I’m still swatching though so that could change. The crazy thing is that both of these yarns came from the booth I was working. Technically they came from my LYS but if I hadn’t bought them there, they probably wouldn’t have made it back to the store and I’d never have got them. At least the yarn wasn’t heavy.

Well I think I’ve gone on long enough. Next time: plying (maybe).

September 26, 2007

I may have a bit of yarn.

Posted in Knitalongs, Yarn Stash at 4:50 pm by nephele

I’ve been on Ravelry for a few months now (username: nephele if anyone wants to friend me or just check out what I have there) but I’m only just now starting to add my stash into the database. I think I may have a bit of yarn.

I store most of the yarn in these pop-up mesh hampers that the local big chain drug store sells at 2 for $5. I spent an hour the other night photographing the contents of one of those hampers. I also took notes on yarn names, colors, dye lots and quantities for entry on Ravelry. Here’s the photos:
Stash Bin A 01Stash Bin A 02Stash Bin A 03Stash Bin A 04Stash Bin A 05
Stash Bin A 06Stash Bin A 07Stash Bin A 08Stash Bin A 09Stash Bin A 10
Stash Bin A 11Stash Bin A 12Stash Bin A 13Stash Bin A 14Stash Bin A 15
Stash Bin A 16Stash Bin A 17Stash Bin A 18Stash Bin A 19Stash Bin A 20

Most of these are in pretty good quantities, 19 of one, 14 of another, several 10s, some 4s and only one that’s a singleton.

I have 7 more or those hampers, all full to overflowing. I also have several other containers, some larger than the hampers, full of yarn. I think it’s safe to say I’ve reached SABLE status.

At least my timing is good. I’m going to be at the Knit and Crochet Show this Friday and this served as a timely reminder that I don’t need to buy anymore yarn, really! There is that small matter of my plan to buy a Spinning Wheel of course. I have a small roving stash, I’m sure I can fix that. That should curb any yarn buying urges. I’ll end up spending more money than I usually do at these shows for just the wheel (assuming they have one I like there).

In other yarn news, I finished knitting stocking number 5 and I’m up to the foot of number 6. I should have the last one finished by tomorrow. I still need to embroider the names, add beads and sequins and sew them up but I should be done with that fairly quickly. My goal was to finish them by the beginning of October and that looks do-able.

My concentration on the stockings means I haven’t done any more work on the Modern Quilt Wrap or anything else for that matter.  The little bit I did do was enough of a break to satisfy my itchy fingers it seems. Once the stockings are out of the way I’ll get back to it, probably.

Filed under: Yes, I nuts. I joined to new mystery knit-a-longs. Secret of the Stole and Secret of Chrysopolis. Both are lace the SotS is a stole with beads, SoC is a shawl of as yet unknown shape. I enjoyed the Mystery Stole, so now I’ll get a double dose. The SoC shawl starts this week and the stole starts a week later. You know, I may need to shop for yarn at the Show after all. I’ve got lots of really fine lace yarn in my stash but I’d like at least one of these to be on the heavier end of the the lace spectrum, maybe some Malabrigo.

Speaking of spectrum, did you notice how well those yarns I photographed work for the current – orange, brown, purple – colors of Project Spectrum 2.0? I know I haven’t mentioned that lately but that’s because all of my knitting was in colors that didn’t apply. I do have other colors in my stash but there is a definite orange bias. Hmm, orange Malabrigo Lace…

Well, I think I better stop before I talk myself into looking for even more yarn to buy.

July 8, 2007

Help Wanted – Summer Tweed

Posted in Yarn Stash at 11:51 am by nephele

Posting on behalf of a friend this time…

She’s knitting up a jacket in Rowan Summer Tweed from an old kit. The trouble is her gauge is tight but she likes the fabric she’s getting and doesn’t want to change needles (besides, she half done and it’s all intarsia). So I’m putting out a call for help. If you’ve got a stray hank of Summer Tweed floating around in your stash that you’d be willing to trade (for a different color or a different yarn or even the same color in a different dyelot)… Please help!

She needs one more skein of each of these:

#500 Powder (lt. blue) dyelot 30I2
#513 Dew (lt. green) dyelot 15K1
#526 Angel (lt. pink) dyelot 21J2
#515 Raffia (tan) dyelot 23D2
#507 Rush (khaki) dyelot 23D2
#525 Blueberry (lt. purple) dyelot 21J2
#528 Brilliant (fushia) dyelot 21J2
#506 Ghost (lt. grey) dyelot 29E2

If you find some of these lurking in your stash, please send me an email at nephelebATgmailDOTcom (replace AT with @ and DOT with . )

Thanks for checking and fingers crossed!