Sunday, June 29, 2008

KALs

I thought it'd be fun to try a KAL (Knit-A-Long). For the uninitiated, it's a group that knits a project together through an on-line forum with a moderator (usually the designer) who posts patterns and gives assistance when needed. In this case it was a Mystery KAL; we knew we were to be knitting a lace stole, but not what it would look like. Pattern sections are given out as "clues" and knitted to solve the mystery. Several friends had done KALs before, and it sounded like fun.

Well. Let me tell you. The first KAL I decided to try turned out to be a bust. It was the first KAL for the designer, too, and I've a feeling she bit off just a bit more than she could chew. Well, at least it wasn't my fault. I growled and whined a few days -- had purchased 1200 yards of Zephyr and a new Addi Turbo Lace circ just for the KAL -- until my good buddies at Stitch 'n' Bitch told me about Goddess Knits KALs. Checked it out, signed up for not one, but TWO of them. The first, coincidentally, called for the same amount of yarn I'd already bought, so life was good. Wow. At least I thought it was. This lace knitting is a whole new thing. Now I knitted Jarred's Hemlock Ring, which was lace on a grand scale (heavy worsted & size 10 needles). I've also done a couple of scarves and a smoke ring with lace weight yarn. And charts, too. So I wasn't a total novice. Now I admit to not being the fastest knitter in the world, by a looonng shot. But this gives slow a whole new meaning. I have also learned the value of lifelines. Never mind it took me three or four attempts to get enough knitted to put in a lifeline!

I was late getting started with the KAL; it had been going a couple of weeks before I joined. Silly me for joining the second one! I figured I'd whip through this one and be ready for the second, which was scheduled to start the week following this one's completion. Hah! Clue 6, the final pattern, was published today. I am two rows shy of completing clue 2 !

Meanwhile, the overachievers (what I call anyone who's faster than I) have been chomping at the bit for the last clue. Here's what I've knitted so far:

Okay, I'll get there. Somewhere along the way a light has come on, and things aren't quite as hopeless as they once seemed. I was determined to conquer this challenge, and I'm too much of a tightwad to not use thirty-five bucks' worth of yarn and needles! (we won't speak of the stash. . . )

So now we are Three Clues into the second KAL. It's a circular shawl, and going to be a lot of fun. Yes, I promised myself I wouldn't start this one until the first was done, but seeing online pictures of others' shawls was more than I could bear. Combined with not a little bit of urging from a certain individual (I won't mention any names, but her first initial is Bereni), I relented and cast on. Since it's a circular shawl, the stitches and rows increase with each group of clues, so the first two clues went really fast. I did clue 1 on Wednesday and clue 2 on Friday. They were quick and easy. Yesterday I downloaded the third clue. Didn't get to it right away, and later found out there was an error in the pattern. The corrected clue was posted today, and it awaits my attention, as well as the last 2 rows of the Other Shawl.
That being said, I should go and tend to my knitting!
I did go to Colonial Fiber Arts in Yorktown this afternoon for Nettie's Sunday Spin-In. We got laughing so hard we nearly peed on ourselves! It was a wonderful time; three of the four of us are "biker babes," quite a coincidence. We need to start some sort of fiber/biker guild.
Now I really am going back to my knitting.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

& Spins . . .





I've finally finished spinning some Louet pencil roving I got at Colonial Fiber Arts in Yorktown last winter. The name of the colorway escapes me at the moment, and I can't find the bag, but it looks like this:



On the bobbin:






And finally, a delightful 725 yards (5.25 ounces) of 2-ply SKINNY yarn! Ask me why I didn't measure WPI? Duh.



I am just happy with it. IMHO, it's the best yarn I've spun yet in terms of consistent thickness and twist. The colors are yummy. I had passed on buying this roving before, but was at Colonial Fiber for a Sunday Sit-n-spin session and decided to chance it. Spun a bit in the shop on my drop spindle and decided it was a keeper. Put it aside for a while to finish other spinning projects. Finally got to it.


Now I don't know what to knit with it, but am toying with a Leaf Lace shawl from Evelyn A. Clark's "Knitting Lace Triangles." I think the yarn and pattern would both be shown to advantage.


If only I could finish the other 42 things(at least) I have going. Let's see -- a pair of socks, three lace shawls, a hat, a sweater for DH, an Einstein jacket, 2 or 3 bags to finish & felt, a vest of sari silk yarn I'm committed to. That's knitting. Spinning-- 2 partial fleeces to finish carding, a pound or so of llama to card and spin, alpaca, bamboo, soy silk, angora, a bunch of icelandic pencil roving to spin & dye (or an EZ Adult Surprise Jacket??), targhee, rambouillet, some hemp tow (toe?) and an ounce or so of hair from a friend's cat. There's more, just can't remember. Then beadwork -- 2 major projects going that need finishing soon, a host of smaller things, and stock to replenish for the fall craft show. Oh -- Weaving--TriLoom shawls to be done for the show as well, and I've got an old rigid heddle loom that's been calling out to be warped for a couple of things. And let us not forget the remains of the skinny yarn roving -- I've spun that quickly and rather texturally with the thoughts of trying my hand at coil yarn or something else artsy to use on the RH loom.


So what are YOU doing to keep off the streets?

Ms. Pixel is feeling a bit more sociable this evening:

. . . And on the Alien Crystal front, the local fauna are not impressed. They continue to enjoy the imported flora during the dark hours, in spite of the glow. And we've observed it blinking/pulsating in the early pre-dawn hours. We figure it's signaling the Mother Ship. . .

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

in the light of day . . .



All has been revealed! The glowing alien crystal has surrendered to daylight and taken refuge among its fellow plastique allies to recharge its solar cell and await the darkness.

Fergus and Fiona (our two resident pond frogs) don't seem impressed by the new additions, nor has the glowing orb served to dissuade the deer population. They continue to devour most of the things we plant, and one went so far as to leave a donation between the pond and the bluebird house this morning. And speaking of bluebirds, our latest batch fledged Monday morning. As usual, I didn't see them; I believe you have to be watching at daybreak. I don't watch anything at daybreak. This is the second batch of young for the bluebird couple this year. It will be interesting to see if they go for a third.

We took a bike trip over the weekend to attend a rally in North Carolina. It's one we try to attend annually, held at High Country Motorcycle Camp near Wilkesboro. The rally is put on by the Airhead Beemer Club, who are BMW riders of Airheads (air-cooled engines as opposed to liquid- or oil-cooled). Anyway, the weekend always makes for some nice riding as well as good beer and great comeraderie. This year was no exception. As always, it was over too soon and we had to head home.
On the knitting front, I am proud to say that I did Knit In Public on Saturday. As publicly (is that a word?) as I could, that is, while at the rally. There were many comments, all positive, and lots of encouragement. It was also brought to my attention that I was using awfully small "string," and that I'd be done faster if I'd use heavier. I guess sock yarn on size 0 needles does pretty much look like string to a non-knitter. The Jaywalkers are progressing. Not as quickly as I'd like, but then I have to keep reminding myself that there will be no second sock!
My Goddess Spring Mystery Shawl is chugging along. Meanwhile, more clues are posted, and [ACK!] the Anniversary Shawl KAL has begun! I have yarn and needles, but am fighting the urge to begin until I've got the Spring one done. That's gonna be hard. It will be easier if I stop now and go knit!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

. . . an eerie glow

We returned from a weekend bike trip this evening to find this floating in our little pond:

video

The frogs defended me loudly while I prodded the thing with a stick.

Whatzit? The basic solar-batteryoperated floating glowing plastique waterlily thingy.

You just can't trust cat-sitters these days.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

S. S. S.

Well, then.

As I've suggested in the previous post, I am now knitting a third pair of socks. Yes, third, and yes, PAIR. The common sense and good advice of my SnB buddies has prevailed. I am now immune to SSS, the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome. Yeah, you guessed it -- I'm knitting two at the same time. And magic looping on 1 circular needle.

Now I have conjoined socks.

Or would that be sock? Imagine my surprise when I looked for the yarn to change and discovered I had been knitting with it. Tink.

I had this sock yarn in my stash from several years ago. It's Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the Rainbow colorway. A bit bright perhaps. I chose the Jaywalker pattern (from Grumperina). I thought the zigzag look would go well with the rainbow striping. So far I like it.

These are also the first time I've tried top down. Somehow toe ups are safer feeling; knit until you run out of yarn, then stop. Top down leaves me wondering if I'll have enough yarn to cover my fat legs and feet. I guess I can always make the toes purple or something.

Now I have to figure out what pattern for the Trekking I bought. Pomattomus? Monkeys? Widdershins? Probably one of the three. But I got a sock book from the Library, too. Let's see, I think I have some more sock yarn stashed somewhere. . .

HELP!!! I may be addicted!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

More Socks????

My sock knitting history is long, but brief. Huh? Long because I started knitting socks about 10 years ago. Brief because in those 10 years, I have managed to make two pairs of socks. Yep, 2 pairs. The first pair took six years. They are stuffed away in my knitting somewhere. They ended up being two different sizes; my knitting tension changed over the years. Imagine that! Then I wore them twice and ended up with a big hole in the heel of one. I'm very hard on sock heels plus the socks were knitted of sportweight wool on size 6 needles! Well, that's what the woman at the store said would be a good choice. What did I know??


So, a few years went by, and I was caught up in the craze of self-striping sock yarn. Got two different colorways from Knit Picks (both have since been discontinued), and put them away for safekeeping. No such thing as too much stash!


Eventually I forgot about the tension issues and the heel hole and just over a year ago I started a pair. Got the first one done quite quickly, and was pleased with it. Began the second one and got halfway through turning the heel. . . . . and picked it up eleven months later. It finished up in short order, and two weeks ago I had my second pair of socks!Luckily they ended up the same size, and through a bit of planning they are symmetrically striped. Nonetheless, I publicly swore off socks. It's clear I am a victim of SSS (second sock syndrome).
The cat butt belongs to Ms. Pixel. Her more attractive side will premiere at a later date.
The clothes dryer just finished. That means I have clean underwear for work tomorrow. It's late and now I'm going to bed as soon as I plug in the iPod to charge.
Now I'm aware the title of this post is More Socks. The explanation of that is yet to come. Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Now What Have I Done ? ? ?

Yep, here it is. Just one more thing to keep me from constructive activities.
Now I have a blog.
More will follow.