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Friday, April 29, 2005

Its a wrap! A finished wrap!

Its finished! I thought it only fitting that Caleb model it, since it was mostly made at his swimming lessons. Who knew it would look so good over an orange Corvette shirt? Below is a closer shot.

A more detailed shot so you can see the lace pattern. I am so happy with this wrap. It measures 26 inches wide by 77 inches long so its big enough to not fall off my shoulders and long enough to drape nicely. We have a friend getting married this summer and I plan to wear it to the wedding (over a green dress). I'm also excited because in this wrap is the first yarn I ever spun on Arwen when I got her for Christmas. If I did it again, I might go down a size in needles but otherwise I wouldn't change a thing. Feather and Fan is the ultimate pattern for portability, just four rows in a repeat and only one of them is the kind you really have to pay attention to. I've got another shawl in mind to start but this is my own design so I need to make sure that I've got it all figured out before I start. Enjoy your weekend. I'm counting down the days to Maryland. I actually had a dream about it last night already!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Stash Enhancement

I got my order from Knit Happens yesterday and the online store is officially open for business. I got the new Jaeger book for the DK weight yarns (I can't remember the yarn names) and I got the Debbie Bliss Cotton Angora book, which has been out for a while. Also I picked up some Blue Sky Cotton to do this top with. In real life, the pink is softer than the 1980's fluorescent pink you see in the picture. I really like the feel of this yarn and I will probably cast on for the top this weekend. If the weather is warm, I might wear it to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival next weekend. If its not warm, I don't really know what I'll wear. Decisions, decisions. Caleb is very excited to go to the "Sheep Show." He had a blast last year. My mother in law is coming into town this year to go with us so it should be a lot of fun (of course its going to be fun, there are sheep, wool, yarn, and everything you could ever need for spinning or knitting and even stuff for something called weaving? I don't know, I don't weave, but I do love the little baa baa baas.)

Stay tuned: coming tomorrow...A FINISHED OBJECT! Woo hoo...

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Where no yarn has gone before...

At the first of the year, I participated in a swap on the Spindler's list. As part of the swap, I got some raw Cotswold fleece from two different sheep. I have never carded anything in my life. I know I prefer combed tops to carded roving so I don't own any hand cards. Since I wasn't sure that I would enjoy it, I just picked up two big slicker brushes for dogs. Yesterday, I sat down and started messing around with the fleece. I started carding or something similar to it - I don't have any books that cover carding so I was basically just making it up as I went along. As I was working, Bear, our Golden Retriever was watching and obviously interested. His brush was sitting next to me, so I figured, why not? I brushed out some of his "fleece" and put it on my "cards" with the Cotswold and mixed it together. I made 3 rolags (has anyone else noticed that rolags look like giant, fluffy hairballs? ) and couldn't stand it anymore, I had to spin it. So, I started spinning it into a medium weight single, and after I plied it, I had about 10 yards. You can see the little skein I made above. The reddish, apricot colored parts are from Bear and the grays and browns are courtesy of T'Pring, the Cotswold ewe. I have no idea what I'll do with the yarn, but I definitely had fun making it. I think Cotswold is usually combed because of its long staple length (it was easily 7-8 inches long) and there were some parts where the fibers seemed to double back on each other, probably because of this and the fact that the dog brushes just aren't as big as really hand cards anyway.

The other bit of fleece I got is white from a sheep named McCoy (I don't know if he's a ram or wether, so we'll just call him a sheep). If you're wondering, yes T'Pring and McCoy were named after T'Pring and McCoy. The same farm that they live on also has James T. Kirk, Jean Luc Picard and the rest of the gang. For some reason this makes sense to me. After all, you have to admit that Angora bunnies definitely look like this.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

I'm a yarn store guinea pig!

Hi! I just got to be one of the site testers for the Knit Happens online store and its going to be a great one! The site is supposed to launch to the public tomorrow or Thursday if everything works well today. Kristine really deserves congratulations on making the site so easy to use and pretty (its all pink and green, of course, but they do carry yarns in different colors too) I'll do show and tell when I get my order in and show you all the great things I picked up. I've only gotten to go the Knit Happens store once since its an hour and a half away, but if you're ever in Washington DC (the shop's in Alexandria), make sure you stop by. By the way, I know the link to Knit Happens won't work today, but it will be working in a day or so once the online store is open.

Since there's no real knitting or spinning content today (just shopping for knitting), I give you this. Trashy romance cover art gone bad. Very, very bad.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Little Boy Blue

This weekend I redid the neck for a sweater I made for Caleb this winter. The first time I did it, the neck was way too big and I had picked up fewer stitches than the pattern called for! So, I unraveled the neck (there's something really fun about unraveling, don't you think?) and redid it, but I decreased in the cable areas (something the pattern didn't say to do, but I recently learned somewhere - I don't know where) and now the neck doesn't look like its made to go over the head of a baby hippopotamus. The sweater pattern is Jack's Aran Pullover from Men in Knits and I made it from Lamb's Pride Bulky, the Blue Flannel color. Of course, its too warm for him to wear now (and will be until we get clobbered with a blizzard next winter) but at least now its ready. He picked out the pattern and the yarn color and would love to wear it more, but some maternal instinct of mine tries to keep him from overheating and wearing clothes that might cause him to pass out from heat exhaustion (yes, Lamb's Pride Bulky is that warm). I'll have to knit him an aran in a lighter weight yarn so he can wear it more.

I also took apart a sweater of mine that I won't wear because the sleeves are goofy. They are too small at the cuff for how big they get at the tops and they don't fit into the armsceyes of the body of the sweater at all. So, its either redo the sleeves or never wear the sweater. It would be nice if pattern writers would write their patterns so that the sleeves fit into the body of the sweater. I've checked for corrections for this sweater, but there are none. Now I get to rewrite the sleeve pattern. Oh well, its good practice, and I've done set in sleeves on my own before.

One last thing I did this weekend, which you may have noticed, I learned how to get paragraphs! No more long runon thoughts on the blog. Yippee! I feel so liberated now, and this should make it easier to read. Obviously I'm not exactly fluent in HTML, but I'm learning.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

See? I really am spinning on the Merino/Tencel blend you guys voted for. I'm just taking a while doing it. I was originally going to go for a sport weight yarn, but once I got started, the fiber told me it wanted to be lighter weight so its kind of a heavy laceweight (but not really fingering). Confused? Me too, but I'll keep on spinning it until its done. Its actually a little bit darker than what you see here, but it is a silvery blue green color. I'm really loving the color and I know the yarn will have a beautiful drape to it from the Tencel. I can't blog for very long today, the cat is in a snit so I have to go help him deal with his crisis. I'm sure its life threatening, like he can see the bottom of his food bowl, or he wants a glass of ice water.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Marching on, and on, and on...

Feather and Fan wrap update: Its now 20 inches long! I can't get a great measurement without pinning it out and blocking it a little and now its big enough to do that. I'm really happy with the way its looking. I've done this wrap once before in linen yarn but this is the first time I've done it in wool and there is a huge difference in the way it looks while I'm knitting it. The linen has enough weight and drape to hang nicely while I was knitting it. The wool is so lightweight and bouncy, it just fluffs into a little ball of a mess and its impossible to see what it looks like or tell how long it is. I feel better now since I've pinned it out and can see the pattern clearly. I was beginning to wonder if I should restart it with smaller needles - obviously not what I wanted to do this far into the thing. I'm actually pretty impressed with how far I've gotten on it considering I've mostly been knitting it during Caleb's swimming lessons. Now that I'm done with Oasis, I will have more time to devote to it and it should really start moving along. I'm definitely going to get some spinning done today while the little guy is at school and I promise I'll show you what it looks like. I'm sure you're all thinking I've just totally forgotten about the poor merino and tencel, but I promise I've been working on it, really I have.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Oasis Finale!

Here it is. The shot made famous by knit bloggers everywhere, The Headless Bathroom Mirror Self Portrait! Oasis is finished and I'm thrilled with the way she looks. Someday in a thousand years or so, anthropologists will be trying to explain the cultural significance of the Headless Bathroom Mirror Self Portrait (I mean as many of us that use it, it must mean something!) and it will be interesting what they say about it. Personally, I've found that when I give Caleb the camera, I tend to look like I have a double chin looking down at the camera at his level and Mickael is at work. Until the cat or dog learn to use digital cameras, I'll get my own shots in the bathroom mirror, thank you very much. OK, I promised the mods to the original pattern when it was done and its designer, Joan McGowan- Michael has generously agreed to let me share with you. First, you have to go get the original pattern here. Go ahead, I'll still be here when you get back. Got it? Great. Next you need to know that the mods, exactly as I've written them are for the smallest size, the 36" finished bust. Personally, my own front porch is 33" so there is a nice amount of ease here. The top in this size could easily accommodate a larger front porch area and still look great. Those of you that are more boobalicious, will have to adjust the mods according to the size you are making. OK, here goes: Cast on the number of stitches called for in the pattern and work 6 rows in seed stitch. On row 7, work the first 4 stitches and the last 4 stitches in seed stitch and everything in between in stockinette stitch. Continue like this until the piece measures 3". Notice that I did not follow the short row shaping for the curved hem as called for in the original pattern (very cute, just not what I want here). When you have worked 3" total, switch to stockinette stitch all the way across the row. When work measures 3 1/2" from cast on edge, begin side decreases as called for in pattern. Continue following pattern through all the decreases and the increases. Work evenly until piece measures 14" from cast on edge. Start armhole bind off and decrease as called for in pattern. After final armhole decrease, work evenly for 1", ending with a WS row. Next row: K33, P1,K1,P1, join another ball of yarn, P1, K1, P1, K33. Continue working evenly, both halves of the neckline, keeping the 3 stitches at the center on each side in seed stitch and the rest in stockinette, until piece measures 6" from armhole bind off. From each neck edge, bind off 12 stitches on the next two rows, then 6 stitches on the following two rows. Bind off 3 stitches on the next two rows and 2 stitches on the following two rows (8 rows worked with bind offs at the neck edge). On the next right side row, decrease 1 stitch each side at neck edge - 12 stitches each side. Continue evenly until armhole measures 8" from first armhole bind off and bind off shoulders. For the back: Follow the directions for the front exactly through the armhole shaping. Instead of dividing work for split front, continue knitting evenly (72 stitches) until piece measures 6 1/2" from first armhole bind off, ending with a WS row. Next row, K18, join a new ball of yarn, BO 36 sts, K18. Then, at neck edge, bind off 4 stitches each side on next two rows, and then bind off 2 stitches each side on following two rows (12 stitches each side). Continue evenly until back measures the same as the front. Sew shoulders and side seams. Then, using a smaller needle than the one you used for the body, pick up stitches along armholes and neck (not all at once, of course) and work 4 rows/rounds of seed stitch, then bind off purlwise. When I pick up stitches, I pick up 3 stitches for every 4 when the stitches I'm picking up are perpendicular the ones I'm picking up from. I hope all of this makes sense. If you have any questions, just leave a comment and I'll get back to you. ENJOY!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Around the whorl

The Yahoo Spindler's group had a spindle swap and this is the one I made. Its done out of polymer clay and it was actually kind of an accident. I had made several whorls with some Skinner blends (color blends that go from one color to another - they're gorgeous) and had some leftovers, so I thought I'd find out what happened if I mixed them together and look what I got! It really looks like the sunset or something. I hope the person I'm sending it to likes it. Its going to Australia. I'll be getting another spindle that someone else made just for me. I'll be sure to share when I get it.
In knitting news, I finished the back of Oasis last night and did a three needle bind off on the shoulders so today I'll sew the side seams and do neck and armhole bands. She should be ready for a photo op tomorrow. I got some spinning done on the cashmere (almost done) and a little bit on the merino/tencel but I haven't really sat down at the wheel for very long. When I have had time the phone starts ringing and Caleb needs me so not much is getting done. I hope to get a little bit done today while he's at school though!
Also, my mom is looking for a simple, loosely fitted t-shirt type of sweater knit at around worsted weight. I suggested the Shapely Tank with the optional sleeve (you're shocked aren't you, you had no idea I'd suggest the Shapely Tank, its not like its my favorite tank pattern of all time or anything) but I thought I'd bounce the question around out here in blog land and see what you could come up with. Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite summer top is.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Oasis Front

Here's a shot of the finished front of Oasis. Of course you could probably guess that from my witty post title couldn't you? You can see the mods I've made to the original Shapely Tank pattern. I've done a seed stitch border instead of the garter stitch one, and I've made the border go partway up the sides - it will have little side slits. I also didn't do the short row shaping for the curved hem. Then, instead of a scooped neck I did a split neck (hopefully). I'll know more once I finish the back of it and get the neck finished. I plan on doing about 4 rows of seed stitch on the neck and arm edges to finish them off. I've obviously also changed the back neck shape so it should be fun to see if it actually works once its done. This little top is just sailing along so I'm kinda waiting for something stupid to happen (something dumber than the cord incident). I have way more balls of yarn than I need so that's not going to be the problem. The most obvious thing I can come up with is that the neckline is going to be wonky. I mean, the wrap is going great, everything I'm spinning is just zipping along, so what's going on? Its only a matter of time before the Knitting Goddess realizes that I didn't do a gauge swatch.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Spinning and Knitting and Spinning and Knitting...

I've been busy, busy, but not much that's interesting for blog pictures. Here is about 1/4 ounce of the Combed Mongolian Cashmere Top I got a few weeks ago. Its just wonderful to spin and it has a gorgeous sheen to it that doesn't really show up here. I don't know what kind of yardage I'm getting, but it does seem to be a lot. I'll know more once I ply it. I've also been spinning the Jewel toned Merino/Tencel blend on my wheel and that is also really great to spin. It just zips through my fingers and leaps onto the bobbin. I'll show you a picture once I get a bobbin full. I've been knitting on Oasis and have finished the front and started the back last night. So far there have been no more technological mishaps (I've been putting the earphone cords over my shoulder). I'm also working along on the Feather and Fan wrap. It looks the same as it did in the last picture, only bigger. I'm going to get some work done outside today on the yard. I've got to add some stepping stones to our front garden. Its right next to the driveway and we tend to tromp through it, so its either stepping stones or an electric fence. Somehow, I think the Homeowner's Association might get into a snit about an electric fence, so stepping stones it is!

Monday, April 11, 2005


I started this little shell this weekend. Its loosely based on my favorite shell pattern, available free here. I've changed it up some though and if it works, I'll post the mods here on the blog. As you can see, I've made it past the waist shaping and the underarm bind off and I'm fixing to start the neckline. The yarn I'm using is Jaeger's Albany which is a cotton ribbon yarn (actually more of a flat tube, so you don't have to worry about it twisting like you do real ribbon yarns). Albany is discontinued but I found it here, and she still has some more. One thing I did learn from this, when you're knitting Stockinette Stitch on autopilot (is there any other way?) and listening to your mini iPod, look down periodically, just to make sure you haven't knit the cords to the headphones along with your yarn. Although it would be cool to have clothes that are plug and play, I don't think they'll be easy to wash. Just wanted to share that as a friendly reminder so that you wouldn't have to rip back several rows to liberate your music from your knitting. Its no fun!

Friday, April 08, 2005

Wrap it up

I'm moving right along with the Feather and Fan wrap. I'm really liking the way it looks in the Coopworth laceweight. I've been working on it at Caleb's swimming lessons - great knitting time. If you're curious about the pattern, just Google "Feather and Fan" or "Old Shale" (both names for the same pattern). This is an eighteen stitch repeat I'm using and I'm doing six repeats across the width of the wrap. I love this pattern because its pretty and you only have to memorize four rows to get the pattern.
By the way the new Knitty is up and it has some really cute things for Spring and Summer. I'm definitely going to be making Soleil.
Thanks for voting to help me decide what to spin next. I'll spin the Jewel colored Merino and Tencel, starting this weekend. I've heard Merino and Tencel is wonderful to spin so I'll let you know how it goes.
Spring is definitely here, the Cherry trees, Bradford pears, Magnolias, and Forsythia are all blooming. The funny thing is, I don't think they're all supposed to be going at once, maybe because Spring was a little late getting here, they are all blooming at once. Oh well, I'll just enjoy how beautiful everything is. I hope its warm wherever you are, enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Vote, Vote, Vote!

Today, we are going to have a Blog Vote! I can't decide what to spin next so I thought I'd ask you, my lovely blog readers. On the left we have "Rendezvous at Dusk" lovely smokey violet colored batts from Kary of The Knotty Sheep and on the right is a Jewel colored Merino and Tencel roving that I think is by Ashland Bay, but I can't really remember. There is 4.4 ounces of the violet and 8 ounces of the teal/multi. I don't know for sure what I'll make out of either of them, but I'm planning on spinning to around a finished sport weight (approximately 6 stitches per inch) two ply, unless they tell me otherwise. So, scroll down the sidebar to find the ballot, place your vote and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

A New Addition

I got a brand new spindle! I got a brand new spindle! This is my Mini Bossie from Sheila and Jonathan Bosworth. It's Tasmanian Tiger Myrtle and it weighs 0.64 ounces or 18 grams. Its just beautiful! The wood has some apricot colors in it and in daylight it looks almost iridescent. This is my first Bossie, but it won't be my last. I'm also on the wait list for a Moosie: the spindles they make from Moose antlers (moose, or meese, naturally shed their antlers and the Bosworths make gorgeous spindle whorls from them). The mini hank sitting next to it is the puff of fiber they sent with it. Its a great little spinner and should be perfect for spinning the Mongolian Cashmere Top I got a few weeks ago when I was in Colorado. I have a question for any other spindle spinners out there, do you try to coordinate your fiber to your spindle or am I the only crazy one? Inquiring minds want to know.

Monday, April 04, 2005

It goes on and on and on...

Finally finished Navajo plying my Easter Egg sock yarn. I couldn't figure out why it was taking so long to ply, then I wound it off on the niddy noddy...there are almost 200 yards in each skein! I guess that means I spun around 12oo yards of this silly stuff. No wonder it just kept going on and on! I didn't get too much knitting done this weekend. It was pouring rain all weekend and I just couldn't really get into a project. I guess I just had a short attention span. I mostly read, but it was still a great weekend. Mickael had the weekend off so we just sat around with Caleb like a family of slugs, sometimes its important to be a slug though, you know? I did join some blog rings (I'm still in queue for one of them) which you can see on my sidebar and I thought I'd put up a Terror Alert button as a public service (and the Sesame Street guys just cracked me up). The sun is shining today and the trees are starting to bloom so it feels like Spring is really here finally. I'm going to go open up some windows and enjoy it. Hope it comes to your neighborhood soon, if its not there already!

Friday, April 01, 2005

What is this?

Caleb says this is an Effalunt. I was wandering around blogland over the weekend and someone linked to this pattern (I'm sorry, whoever's blog linked to them, I forgot to write it down). I thought this was so cute. And its the easiest little pattern to do. I made it in a day. I think you could knit it out of any weight yarn since the pattern tells you how many ridges to knit, not measurements, just pick the size needles appropriate for your yarn. I used the Peruvian Highland Wool from Elann that I had left over from the ChicKnits Ribby Cardi. If you're curious, the color is Dusty Teal. I made his little blanket from some left over Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock in Watercolor. The pattern actually calls for a knitted tail but I decided to braid his tail. I-cord would also work here. Hope you enjoy a little Effalunt for your Friday!