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Friday, July 29, 2005

Fridays are for Slacking


Well, as you have guessed by the picture and the title, there is nothing new going on around here. I've got about 47 more rows in the Peacock Feathers Shawl of Neverendingness. Its green, you've seen it. It is behaving, but at this point it has about 400 stitches in each row and will be almost 500 stitches per row by the time I'm done. I try not to think of that. It makes me woozy. I haven't touched the sleeves since you last saw them but hope to get them done this weekend. The soul-sucking, happiness quenching heat seems to be giving us a break here for a few days, so we're all in better spirits around here (except Ramius, he likes the heat and doesn't go outside anyway). Anyway, not much to report here. On Monday there will be Big News. Huge. Come back and see for yourself.

Just to make sure you don't feel that your time was wasted by coming over to Pink Lemon Twist today, I have a little something for you. If you haven't decided where to take your summer vacation yet, here is a map to someplace interesting. I don't know of any yarn stores on the way, but you might check with the locals. And just in case you were wondering, go here to get some travel tips and read the diaries of others who have gone there. Its always useful to find out what others have found interesting on a vacation you're planning isn't it? Well, get packing, you don't have much Summer left before the kids have to be back in school.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Knitting along on a sleeve with no name...


Still here, despite the fact that my Fiber Space only looks slightly better today than it did yesterday. I've been knitting on a new mindless stockinette sweater for myself - after all, you can't knit Peacock Feathers and watch TV. These are the sleeves to a Jaeger pattern (from JB34, if you're interested) they call Ronnie. For reasons involving a crazy neighbor we used to have who had a huge crush on Mickael, I won't be calling my sweater "Ronnie." So, I obviously need a name for my sweater because while "Sleeve with no name" works, you just can't sing about a "Sweater with no name." (You're all quite welcome to have that song in your head for the rest of the day - BWAH HA HA) I realized that the dark red and gold (colors are slightly lighter in the picture than they are in real life, but its pretty close) are Gryffindor colors (yep, another Harry Potter freak, that's me) and I thought about naming it Gryffindor Mourning (I won't say who Gryffindor is mourning for those that haven't read the book yet - Daddy, ahem - but I'm sure most everyone knows that someone dies in Book 6), but if anyone has a better idea for a name for this sweater, please feel free to let me know.

The knitting details for those that care: I'm using KnitPicks Merino Style yarn in Hollyberry, Honey, and Dusk on size 5's to get 5.5 stitches an inch. I'm loving the yarn, its very easy to knit and feels great. I think this sweater will be wonderful to wear. By the way, if you haven't heard yet, KnitPicks has introduced three new lace yarns to their lineup: a heathered solid, a multicolored, and a white for dyeing - all merino. I haven't ordered any of them yet and don't know how they feel, but there's quite a buzz about them on the Summer of Lace list right now.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A Transitional Stage

No pictures today. Yesterday Caleb and I started cleaning the Fiber Space AKA my half of the loft. When I set it up when we moved in I wasn't spinning, so there was no space for spinning fibers. I also didn't have a yarn stash - only leftovers from previous projects. So, I'm rearranging the space now so that I have a place for fibers and yarn. At this point, its in what Mickael calls a "Transitional Stage." This basically means the room is trashed. (Caleb is doing his best to keep his half of the loft in an equally trashed state so that no one can get through the room alive without a map.) Trashed in a way that even the cat was getting confused - he ended up jumping over the mess and going downstairs. I hope to get the room at least mostly finished today, but I have to go pick up some more organizer cubes. If you don't hear from me tomorrow, please send help!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Caleb's socks, Part I

This weekend, Caleb and I started a sock project for him. I thought it might be a good idea if he took some wool through the dying, spinning, and knitting to a pair of socks, so he understands how clothing used to be made all the time. I figured he might learn something and it would be something different to do together. So this weekend, we got started. He decided he wanted green and blue and white socks, so I pulled out some GCNI that I had had blended with mohair specifically for socks. I have a creamy white and a pale grey (does this sound familiar Denise?) and he agreed that we should dye the pale grey into the blue and green and use the white wool for the white in the socks. After weighing some wool socks of his to find out how much we would need, we pulled out 1 ounce of white and 2 ounces of the grey. This will be plenty for his little socks. You can just barely tell that the grey is darker than the white. So, we dyed half of the grey wool blue (Wilton's Royal Blue with a touch of Copper to tone it down) and the other half green (Wilton's Juniper Green with some Royal Blue added to make it a slightly bluer green - Juniper green is a very brown, olive green and the dye breaks into the olive and browns. It would do great camo yarn if that's what you're looking for.) Even with the Royal Blue added to the Juniper Green, the browns still broke out of the dye. I love how the green wool came out looking like trees. At this point I was a little afraid that the blue was still too bright, even with the added Copper dye (Copper dyes a bright orange, orange being the complement to blue will tone the color down). So, I took a little bit of each of the three colors, drafted them together - which is how I plan to spin this yarn - and look at what I got: This is just spun fast and dirty, not really paying attention to consistant yarn size. I was more concerned with how the colors worked together. Isn't it beautiful? It reminds me of a reflection of trees and a blue sky with fluffy clouds on a mountain lake (maybe I've been reading too many descriptions of hand dyed yarn colorways lately). I think it will make nice socks and most importantly, Caleb likes it. I've got to finish spinning the Falkland Top for the sweater before I spin his sock yarn up, but I can't wait to do it!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Peacock Update



I've been getting along pretty well on the Peacock Feathers Shawl lately. I thought I'd post a picture of my progress. This is the best picture yet of the color of the yarn. Its Zephyr WoolSilk in Peacock (yeah, I know, I'm really pushing the envelope on color here for this shawl). Hopefully, I can get more done this weekend. I'm down to under 65 rows to the end, which feels pretty good.

Something new around here, Caleb has been strong enough to pick up Ramius for a while, but he is now strong enough to carry him around. Can't you see how happy that makes Ramius? Have a great weekend!


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Stash Enhancement



I got some new laceweight yarn the other day! This is from Handpainted Yarn, its handspun and hand dyed in Uraguay. Aren't the colors wonderful? There are around 1700 yards of each color, enough for a triangle shawl or large stole from each. I really enjoy having a lace project on the needles so now I have a stash to choose from! I guess I need to join the Summer of Lace Knitalong group. I had put it off since I didn't need anymore emails coming in, what with the Mystery Stole Along, but now that has settled down quite a bit. Besides, they are renaming the group Lace for All Seasons, so it looks like it will still be going this fall.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Symbiotic Socks and Space


Remember these socks? Remember how everyone, including me, thought it would be a great idea to put some fuzz at the top and make them Dr. Suess socks? Well, I went to the store, not the LYS, but Michael's AKA Novelty Yarn World, and got two different kinds of eyelash yarn. I found a multicolored eyelash with almost the same colors as the socks, and a different kind of eyelash in white. I envisioned a fluffy embellishment to my sock tops that even the Grinch would smile at. What I got was a complete pain in the rear to knit. I persevered and got the first sock finished though. I set it on the dresser, so that I could look at it everytime I passed by. I decided I hate it. The multicolored yarn is just wrong for my socks. I decided to do it over with only the white yarn. I found the end of the yarns (this should get me some kind of knitting medal as we all know that finding ends in eyelash yarn is truly a feat). I picked them free so that I could quickly unravel the offending tops and redo them in a happier, fluffier way. Well, apparently if you leave eyelash yarn on socks for 24 hours, it forms an unholy union with itself and everything around it. I pulled. Nothing. I tugged. Nothing. I tried teasing it loose with a needle. It laughed at me. I was not to be thwarted by a cheap nylon yarn designed to drive new knitters insane. I cut off the bind off row with scissors. The yarn knew then that I meant business. It is still hanging on by its tacky little eyelashes for dear life. I realized then that the eyelash yarn had formed a symbiotic relationship with the Easter Egg sock. One of them can no longer survive without the other, so they cling together like the leads in a high school production of Romeo and Juliet. Somehow, I will get this fluff off of my sock, but I don't know what the result will be. I hope I can save the sock. The eyelash yarn? I hope it chokes whoever invented it.

Sometimes something happens in life that just must be documented. It is so important on a global level, so signifigant to all humanity, or just so ridiculous that it must be shared. This falls into that third category (what were you expecting? This is the Internet. Its made for ridiculous). Yesterday I got Caleb some new window clings. He loves window clings. They are fun for him and they keep the birds from crashing into the back door, so I support this love of window clings. I found some yesterday with transparent colors you could stack and make new colors with (color theory clings), a map of the USA complete with labels for all the states, and one with all the planets on them. I figured, if we're going to stick something on the windows, we might as well learn something, and besides, how many birds get to eat with space window clings. Its like a little outerspace vacation with sunflower seeds for them. So, we get home and of course he wants to put them up, so I'm telling him what each of the planets are (he does recognize Earf as he calls it - that's the planet we live on). The following is part of that conversation, undoctored, and recreated here for all blogkind.

Caleb: What's this one?

Me: Its Uranus.

Caleb: Oh, Anus.

Me: No, Uranus.

Caleb: Oh yes, my anus.

Me: (trying unsuccessfully not to start laughing) No baby, the name of the planet is "Uranus."

Caleb: (not understanding why I can't stop laughing) Well, its your anus too.

The best part? He had no idea why it was so funny. Someday he'll understand that the planet's name is an intergalactic punch line.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Parts is Parts



I finished the last sleeve to Caleb's sweater last night. I've got all the pieces blocking after I washed them. I'm going to rewash the sweater again after its finished just to make sure I got all of the spinning oil out of it and I think I'm going to skein the yarn still on the cone and wash it too. I don't really have yarn storage space for cones and I don't know how the oil might affect the yarn over the long run. I'm glad to finish this up. It was a nice brainless and quick project, perfect for summer.

It has been really hot and sticky here lately. We've had heat advisories during the day, its already 92 degrees at 9:00 and its been raining most nights. When we wake up in the morning, there is condensation all over the windows and you can't really see outside. Ramius finds that yelling at the top of his kitty lungs is the best way to deal with it since he really wants to look at birds. If the sun doesn't come out and he's cold (he's a cat, he's only happy at temps of 85 and above), he walks around yelling at the sky. If there are no birds at the feeder and he's awake to watch them, he walks back and forth at the back door yelling. (So far, the birds haven't really come flocking in at his command, but you have to give him points for persistence.) Naturally, seeing as how he deals with anything that doesn't quite work out to his plans, he feels that yelling at the windows will surely scare them into cleaning themselves up. So basically, every morning for about a week, once we wake up, the cat walks the floor hollering for 45 minutes to an hour before he gives up/gets tired/forgets what he's hollering about/realizes he needs a bath and goes to sleep. Caleb has been dealing with the heat in other ways. For the most part, he's been staying inside, which is fine as I don't really want to sit outside either, but the few times we've had to run errands (silly things like making groceries and other non essentials), the kid can go from sweet, happy little boy to fussy, sassy demon in training all in the space it takes to walk out of the store and walk to the car. Its an amazing transformation really. Once there is enough air conditioning applied to the child, which usually isn't until we get home since we live pretty close to the stores, he returns to his normal, sweet self.

I haven't decided what will replace Caleb's sweater on the needles yet, but what with everyone's issues around here, it probably will be pretty basic, straightforward knitting.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Zoom Sweater



Remember this little sweater I'm making for Caleb? Its just zipping along! Last night while I was watching James Bond, I sewed the shoulders together and did the neck band, then since it was only 8 o'clock, I did a sleeve too! Only one more sleeve to go and the sweater is done! I'm not going to sew it together until I have washed out the spinning oil, let the yarn full, and blocked the pieces. I couldn't do both sleeves at once in my usual way since the yarn is on one big cone instead of in little balls. It also looks like I'll have some left over so I might make him a hat out of it with some cream colored yarn I have for a stripe. On the other hand, that's kinda matchy matchy, so maybe I'll make Mickael a hat out of it. Also this weekend, I worked another 20+ rows of the Peacock Feathers Shawl, and I read the new Harry Potter. It was a pretty good weekend!

Friday, July 15, 2005

She's Back!


Look what got back from vacation last night? Yep, the Peacock Feathers Shawl. She had a lovely trip and if the 4 rows I got done on her last night are any indication, she is much better behaved now. I have less than 100 rows to go on her and I would love to finish up soon. Of course the rows get longer by 4 stitches on each right side row, so don't be expecting to see a finished Peacock on Monday. I mean, I don't knit as fast as Wendy. Anyway, I hope to be working on it more now and maybe I can finish up in time to wear to Caleb's college graduation. So that's all that's going on around here. I've got to go straighten up the house so I can ignore it tomorrow - Harry Potter Book 6 Day! Woo Hoo!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Easter Egg Socks


Remember way back, around Easter, I dyed and spun some Coopworth roving with Easter Egg dyes? Well, I finally started knitting the socks from it. As you can see, I Navajo plyed it to keep the colors in order. I'm doing a simple K2P2 rib on the instep and cuff which is cracking me up with how much its drawing in. These socks look so silly in the picture, but they really do fit! I'm thinking about using an eyelash yarn around the top of the cuff for a Dr. Suess kind of look. One thing I have learned and tried on these socks is "purl when you can." I learned it from a Meg Swanson book that I checked out from the library and its so cool! You know how when you change colors on a purl row, you get little dots of color instead of a clean break at the color change? Well, by knitting on a color change row - all the way across - you don't have this happening. You'd never know I did this without me telling you, but look how crisp the color changes are. Ok, maybe I'm getting a little more excited about this than I should, but its really, really cool...don't ya think?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Cake with a Twist



Remember the yarn I dyed last Friday? Here it is! Just to recap, I picked up some laceweight kid mohair and merino in ivory at my LYS. I wound the ball onto my niddy noddy and tied it off so it wouldn't get all crazy on me in the dye pot. Then I took a pot of cold water, dumped in a nice amount of white vinegar - several glugs worth - and added the dye. I used Wilton's cake decorating colors first in Delphinium Blue, then the Royal Blue. I had dropped a blob of dye into some water in a shaker and shook it up to dissolve it before dumping it into the pot. Then I dropped in the yarn, squashed it under the water and put the whole thing on the stove. I turned the stove on medium low and just let it cook. You don't want the water to boil or really even simmer because it could make the yarn felt. After about 20 minutes or so, the dye was exhausted from the water (the water was clear again), but I didn't like how purple the yarn was - I was going for more of a blue with some purple, not a purple with some blues. This is fairly common with blue colors as the dye molecule for blue is the largest and the red dye molecule is the smallest. Red strikes faster than blue, which needs extra time to strike properly. So anyway, I mixed up some Royal Blue with water and dumped that into the pot, gently stirring or moving the skein of yarn around to make sure that the dye could get all over the yarn. Then I left it on the heat for 45 minutes or so. The dye had again exhausted around 20 minutes, but its important to continue cooking the skein so that the dye molecules can actually bond with the yarn molecules.

Once it was done, I washed the skein in hot water and hung it to dry. Really cool side note: you can't see it on the computer, but the fuzzy halo of the yarn is purple while the core of the yarn is an ultramarine blue. It looks really cool and almost iridescent. When the skein was dry I wound it off on my ball winder and started knitting a mobius neck ring. I used the mobius cast on (I can't remember where it is, but if you Google mobius cast on, you'll find it) and started knitting using the English Mesh Lace pattern from the first Barbara G. Walker knit stitch patterns book. The really cool thing about this cast on is that as you look at the knitting, to the right of the cast on, you see the stockinette side of the pattern and to the left of the knitting you see the reverse stockinette side of the pattern, so you don't have to worry about the right or wrong side of your pattern at the mobius flip, it just works out that you see both of them.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A Front and a Back

From today's blog entry title, you might think I had finished a sweater. I actually finished a sweater and started another one! Here is the front to the Chevron Rib Tank AKA the Pink Peep Tank! Believe it or not, I actually started this at the end of April! I can't believe how long it took me to do this. Its a really simple sweater. I know I basically devoted all of May to the Mystery Stole but I just piddled around with this and didn't work on it. I'll sew the back to the front today and finish weaving in ends. I'm supposed to do a single crochet thing around the neck and armholes. I think if I get out a book and work very carefully, I might be able to do that - we'll see. I could also pick up stitches, work one round and cast off purlwise. That might be what I do.

Anyway, once I finished the Peep sweater front and got it pinned out and blocked, I realized that I had another hour and a half or so of good naptime. (Yes, I realize that it is amazing that my 4 year old still naps. He might be the only one on the planet that does.) So, I pulled out the big cone of yarn I got from WEBS in January to knit the Little Napper a Fall sweater. The yarn is a dark lichen green heathered lambswool from Hunter's of Brora. Its still in the spinning oil so it feels a little weird knitting with it , but once its washed the yarn fluffs up and gets really soft and beautiful. As you can see, I finished the back yesterday and I'm about 1/4 of the way up the front. Its knitting at 3 1/2 stitches per inch which is usually too big for me. I don't like uberthick sweaters, but I guess its because of the spinning oil thing, once its washed and allowed to fluff, it fluffs sideways, it doesn't get thicker. The finished fabric is no thicker than Aran weight so it should be quite comfortable for him to wear. I plan to finish the neck with more of the wide ribbing which is why the back neckline looks a little low. I'm going to go have a little lie down now and just be amazed at how much I got done yesterday!

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Mystery is Solved


Since the final set of directions for the Mystery Stole was released last Friday, I thought I'd show a picture of what it looks like. This is obviously one end of it (the other end looks remarkably the same). I just love it! I love the way the patterns look. I love the way the Alpaca Cloud drapes over my shoulders. I love the pale grey color of it and I love the little wave edging on it. As you can see its a pretty traditional looking design. All of the lace patterns I used are old, traditional patterns. Here's another picture with a closeup of the edging:

Can you tell how much I love this stole? I hung it over the footboard to our bed to get the picture (it has to have a dark background or it just doesn't show up) and its so lightweight I had to turn off the ceiling fan to get it to stop waving in the wind. There were almost 600 people in the Mystery Stole Along group last time I checked and I hope they like the stole as much as I do!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Yesterday

I'd like to go off topic a little this morning and just say that my prayers and thoughts are with those affected by yesterday's bombings in London. I don't understand why terrorists believe killing people is the best way to get their message across. I seriously doubt that yesterday's events caused an increase in the numbers of people trying to join Al Qaida. Why does this further their cause? Yes, they killed some of the "enemy" (if people going about their daily routines can be called the enemy), but the thing they mostly succeeded at was bringing together the country. Britain is and will be united in its grief in the aftermath of these killings. On this side of the pond, we feel a kinship and unity with all of those in the UK and as everyone knows, unity makes a group stronger, not weaker. So my question to terrorists is, doesn't this kind of murdering cowardice make your position weaker while strengthening the position of your enemy? Why do you believe that we will bow to your demands? I'm pretty sure that Pink Lemon Twist is not a must read of Al Qaida and I don't expect answers to my questions, but they are questions that I ask every time something like this happens.

Yesterday I went to the LYS and had a little fun. I picked up a ball of some kid mohair and merino laceweight in ivory. As you can see, I skeined the yarn and here is a before picture. This is about 225 yards of yarn here. Then I took a pot of water and vinegar, added some Wilton's food coloring paste (Delphinium Blue and a little Royal Blue), tossed in the skein and heated the thing for an hour or so. A washing, spinning, and drip dry later, here's what I have. In real life, the blue is a little darker, closer to an Ultramarine Blue color. Stay tuned next week to see what I make with it.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Seaweed Sayonara


One last shot of the finished Seaweed Socks swimming with a Virginia Carpet Dolphin. You know, with this kind of nature photography, I'm expecting to hear from National Geographic any day now. Where else can you view these dolphins in their natural habitat swimming with knitwear?

Anyway, I got the socks finished as you can see, and I started knitting on the Easter Egg sock yarn that I spun sometime around Easter. I also finished spinning the first bobbin of Falkland and I'm on the second one. I think I've decided to make the yarn 3 ply. After messing around with the singles and seeing what the sizes would be and how the yarn would look, I think I like the 3 ply best. Its a nice, bouncy yarn and will let me do anything I want to stitch wise. (Cables show up best in 3 or more plies.)

Yesterday was rainy and grey and perfect for getting spinning and knitting done. Last night we had a really big storm (as in, "Mickael the sky just turned green, we're going to die!" kind of storm) and the electricity went out for about 4 hours. Lightning struck really close to our house and set off the smoke detectors which is always fun too, so I'm off to find more caffeine this morning or I won't make it to lunchtime. Have fun today!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Loganberry Yarn


I plyed the Loganberry yarn and I just love it! There are about 550 yards of it which might be enough for 2 pairs of socks, or one pair of socks and one something else. The mohair adds just a little sheen to the yarn without making it obnoxious. Its one of the fluffiest yarns I've ever spun. There were some places in the roving that didn't want to draft evenly so its slightly thick and thin, but I still think it will make beautiful socks. I took this picture before I washed the yarn and now, after washing it, it has fluffed up and the mohair has bloomed a little and its even prettier.

I started spinning some Falkland top from Copper Moose, that I got in a trade. I have enough for a sweater so I'm going to spin it all at once, so I can hopefully keep it the same general size from beginning to end. I will fill all 6 of my regular bobbins with singles before I start plying it onto my plying bobbin. I think I'll just do a 2 ply, but I'll have to see how it looks, I might go for a 3 ply if I feel like I need a larger yarn. Right now it just looks like white singles, so no picture of it today.

The wedding on Saturday was wonderful and everything went smoothly. Mickael and I had a lot of fun. He even danced with me! (Awww, isn't he sweet?) Thanks for all the complements on the dress, I forgot to mention, the linen fabric was a gift from my Mother in Law, Carole, ages ago. I'm sure she thought I'd forgotten all about it and would never use it. I still have enough of the green to make a skirt or something and I've got this wonderful natural colored window pane/openweave gigantic check thing (can you tell I'm not a weaver) that I can do something with. Anyway, because she had bought the fabric, and I spun the yarn for my wrap, the shoes were the only thing I had to buy to complete the outfit. I may need to get some more yarn or fiber to celebrate that one!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy 4th of July!



Happy 4th of July!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Dress finished and more lipstick


All finished! This is the dress I'm wearing to the wedding tomorrow. Its made of linen, which is a wonderful fiber to use when you have to crank a dress out in under 48 hours. No slippery silliness here, thank you very much. Just in case you're interested, the pattern is Butterick 4386. I'll wear the ivory Feather and Fan wrap to keep the A/C chill off my shoulders. I also found some really cute ivory slingbacks ($16 at Nordstrom Rack - WOO HOO) that I'll wear.

I also finished plying the leftover Guardians of Lipstick singles (can Merino and Bombyx really be leftovers?) and I got 225 yards of two ply! I weighed the skein of Fluffy Lipstick and it weighs 3-3/8 ounces. I was curious and also, I'm pretty much weighing everything since I got the scale. We interrupt this blog message to make an important announcement: Melanie has just learned how to put more than one picture in a blog entry - double WOO HOO! Ok, anyway, the bottom skein is the one you saw yesterday (the color is better today) and the top skein is the Guardians of Lipstick plyed on itself that I finished yesterday afternoon. I love the way they look together, there is enough to do an edging on the larger skein, and I've already started designing for it!

One other note, 12 years ago tomorrow, my husband Mickael and I got married and I just want to say thank you! Thank you Mickael for being the best husband I could ever have, for being a wonderful father, for being supportive of my fibery ways even when you don't understand them, and for loving me, even when I tell you, "Just let me finish this row." I love you!