only needed to twist it into a bun and secure with a few hairpins. Glasses & shoes? Don't look.
Monday, June 8, 2009
only needed to twist it into a bun and secure with a few hairpins. Glasses & shoes? Don't look.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Based on a traditional Shetland lace pattern, this shawl comes from Evelyn A. Clark's "Knitting Lace Triangles." You may recognize the yarn -- from a much earlier post -- as my handspun fingering weight. Nearly a year ago, I think.
I chose the leaf pattern because I thought it would compliment the yarn by showing off the colors while not losing pattern definition in the "stripeyness" of the yarn.
The shawl used about 650 yards knitted on size 6 needles. It measured 56 inches across and blocked to 72 inches across and 36 inches deep. Once again I am amazed at the magical transformation that blocking provides.
Overall I am pleased and a bit proud. I learned a great deal while working on this project, both spinning- and knitting-wise. The yarn is a pretty consistent fingering weight. A trifle underspun and underplied, I think, though it proved sturdy enough for lace and did not split while knitting. I did not wash the yarn after I spun it to set the twist; I wonder if it would have made a difference? As for the knitting itself, mistakes are there, though the pattern seems to swallow them up. I'm sure an experienced lace knitter would see them easily, but I'm able to live with them. On the other hand, I learned more about "reading" my knitting and not just blindly following a chart. I became more adept at seeing and correcting errors. I found rhythm in the pattern, and near the end was able to rely on my brain rather than the chart.
Thanks to Evelyn A. Clark for her wonderful little book, which left me wanting to come back to it in the future.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Later I was musing about the incident when it occurred to me that it's been said that domestic turkeys are so stupid that they have to be protected from the rain lest they look up and actually drown. Now maybe they aren't actually that stupid, but my move wasn't too intelligent either. DH suggested that perhaps it amounted to a self-waterboarding experiment.
Whatever it was, the force of the water up my nose left me in increasing discomfort for a few days and gradually turned into a miserable drippy, coughing cold. It really hit me Friday evening and resulted in my wimping out on a crafty weekend with friends. I was so disappointed not to have gone, but equally glad that I could be miserable in the comfort of my own home. Having a cold is no fun, and the weekend wouldn't have been fun for me or for my friends to deal with.
On a happier note: The DH's Sweater is nearly finished! I am done with the front, having knitted the last of it between coughing and sleeping over the last 2 days. Now I need to block everything, get the shoulders seamed and pick up the neckline stitches. A ribbed collar band, add the sleeves, seam the sides and it's done! Woo Hoo!
At this point I don't anticipate feeling well enough to go to work tomorrow; likewise not up to blocking a sweater either. It will have to wait.
Next project? No, not new. I am committed to finishing some of the things I have going before starting new. I began knitting an Einstein jacket a few years ago -- 2005 or '06. Same time as my "sensational shirttail" of Reynolds Lopi. The shirttail is long since finished and my jacket/coat of choice when temps hover around freezing. The Einstein needs finishing, so that will probably be next. It's lacking 1 1/4 sleeves and a collar. Not much if I get busy.
And then there's the spinning. I had planned on doing some this weekend. My wheel sits next to the basket packed with fibery goodness waiting patiently. It was ready to load in the car. It will have to join the queue.
No pix this post. It strikes me that Ms. Pixel was looking particularly evil in the previous post. Will have to do her justice with a kinder shot next time.
Until then . . .
Sunday, February 1, 2009
I did have one ambitious streak; I decided it was high time that I backed up my photo library to CDs before tragedy and an aging computer take control. I'd not backed up any of my pix except our trip to Scotland in 2005. Would you believe FIVE CDs of pictures??? I've got a 2GB card in my camera and recently had to erase that because it was full, so I guess it's not that surprising after all.
Yesterday I downloaded Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 as part of my latest (here we go again!) ADDventure. I'm fascinated by digital imaging and the computer manipulation of images. I picked up a magazine on the subject and decided to give it a try. The Adobe was cheap because it's "old" technology, and even if my experimenting is a failure, the program is an outstanding photo editing tool. The learning curve might be a bit steep, but lots of tutorials are available free or at very reasonable cost online. Sufficient time is the only thing I lack. I've not done any beading or jewelry lately, I have at least seven knitting projects on the needles, and I probably have enough fiber and fleece to bury my spinning wheel. Oh, and there's the sheep to shawl project that the spinning guild is doing and the 1860s costume that I need to come up with and the. . . . . Digital Art? Sure, no problem!
Oh, I did finish my squiggly scarf and wore it to work Friday. I have a photo of me with it wrapped round my head. It looks eerily like a fat and aging Baby Snooks. You will NOT see that photo here. Or it will be altered beyond recognition!
We all enjoyed the game tonight -- and several of the commercials (isn't that what the Superbowl is about?). Good food, as usual, was in abundance, and we ate 'til our tummies were hard and shiny. I'm not sure of the punctuation in that last sentence, but I had lots to eat and now it's time for bed.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
One more session should see my wool all clean. I've one more laundry bag of Amy to scour and four more merino batts to degrease.
So here's a goofy project I found on greatballsofyarn.com's free patterns. The scan is a bit wonky, but it's going to be a scarf. The center section is seed stitch and each side has squiggly bits made by casting on and then binding off. I've seen similar scarves before and thought they were cute. Anyway, my friend Jennifer gifted me this skein of yarn some time back and I've been trying to find a pattern the would show off the texture. The yarn is Shaeffer "Elaine" in the Diane Fosse colorway. I've started and frogged 3 different patterns so far, but this one's a keeper. The yarn is a delicious muddle of jungly greens and the texture is thick 'n' thin bulky spiral. Today marks the halfway point of the 300 yard skein. The scarf is looking to be 4 + feet long -- a nice manageable length -- and promises to be warm and cozy. I recently did a scarf search when the weather got really cold.
- One lovely lace (Docouer -?- et soie). Not exactly warm and cozy. Also too long and skinny.
- One I wove several years ago of ??? yarn. Probably a mix of whatever I had at the time, acrylic, wool, whatever. Scratchy to the max and stiff.
- And one nice velvety faux cashmere that's lovely but not an everyday scarf.
That's pretty sad for a fiber junkie. I've gifted several scarves, but don't have one for myself. This is gonna be mine, all mine! So now I'm gonna go knit and watch my wool dry.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
As I said, I began scouring the Amy fleece yesterday. Now it occured to me while I was filling the bathtub (where I do the majority of fiber cleaning) that the water didn't seem as hot as it ought to be. I went ahead and washed the first parts of the fleece anyway. I had changed from Dawn dish soap to Era laundry soap and thought it ought to do a good job on the fiber. Well, it DID do a wonderful job -- at getting the DIRT out -- but after spinning in the washing machine I put my hand in the fleece and found . . . lanolin! Considerably less than at first, but still a lot. To add to the fun, I noticed the water had been getting less and less warm as my wash/rinse sessions went on. On DH's suggestion I checked the water heater in the garage and found it to be on the "vacation" setting. We don't know why; perhaps it got bumped when the garbage or recycling containers were being shifted around since the water heater is right next to them. In retrospect I remembered my showers for the last few days and how I had to crank the hot water up higher than normal. At the time I thought it might have been due to the extremely cold weather we've had recently, though it had warmed up a bit by then. Anyway -- forgive my digression -- here I was with all my laundry and lingerie bags full of clean, greasy WET wool. I turned the water heater way up but hesitated to put the wool back in hot water while it was still wet for fear of shocking it into a felted mass. I know what happens when you put cold water on hot wet wool and didn't want to chance that it might work the other way, too, especially with a highly feltable fiber like merino. So I spread the damp wool out to dry and we went to a movie.
We saw "The Wrestler" starring Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei. Excellent and all too realistic.
Out for dinner also (County Grill & Smokehouse in Yorktown/Grafton. Outstanding BBQ ribs & chicken!) and by the time we got home scouring fleece was out of the question.
This morning I filled the tub and regathered the fleece into the bags. A capful of Era into the water and in with the wool.
The milky cloudiness in the water is -- LANOLIN! Yes, the screaming hot water did the trick. I screamed when I put my hand in the water to push the bags down. No, I'm kidding about that part. I used a plastic bin lid to submerge the bags. A brief soak produced the results you see above, then a final rinse and into the washing machine to spin out. Back to the drying table and now there is soft, clean and NOT greasy fiber!
The flash didn't do justice to the color or texture of this fleece. It is as black as natural wool gets and there is no white or grey in it as the photo seems to suggest. Although as I write this I am reminded of the indigo bunting, a miraculously bright blue bird whose individual feathers are perceived as black. Nature always has a few tricks up her sleeve. Do some of the hairs appear white because of a lack of pigment? In natural light do they reflect the black of the hairs surrounding them while the camera flash reveals what the human eye cannot perceive?
YAG! I scare myself sometimes with the random and abstract musings! I will give up for now and go fondle the dry bits of fleece while I decide how to prep it for spinning. Did I mention combs? Heh.
This was in the mailbox today. I was on Ravelry one day and the advertising graphic caught my eye for Fat Cat Knits, an etsy store. Who could resist cats-with-wings graphics? So I clicked on the ad and was transported to a world of fibery eye candy! It was a temptation to buy one of each, but my pocketbook shreiked audibly at the thought. Then I noticed the fiber club offering. 4 ounces a month for three months. Hmmm. Affordable. Two coordinating 2-ounce fibers each month. Variety of fibers. Variety of colors. Saves me the trouble of choosing, and by the looks of the fibers on site, I couodn't go wrong. Hmmmm. SOLD!
I am not disappointed; in fact I am delighted! The fiber is 60% merino and 40% bamboo and soft as a kitten. In addition, Ginny included some "Bling" (her description) to spin in with the yarn, a little packet of glitz fiber, dyed to match, of course! Forgive my scan;it's a bit darker than real life, but I was in a hurry to show you!
Oh, now the agony of choices again! How shall I spin it? Singles? Plyed? Bulky? Worsted? Fine? AAACCKKK!!! It might help if I had an idea of what I'd like to do with it, but I find my main interest is in spinning rather than making things from the yarn. It occurs to me that I might weave something on my RH loom. . .
And then there's the other project of the day -- Amy.
Amy is the latest sheep in my life --er ---stash. I found her a couple of weeks ago when I attended a weekend spinning retreat (another topic for discussion, coming soon). Actually I don't have the sheep, but I do have her hogget fleece. (Hogget is the term used for the first fleece shorn from the animal.) Amy's fleece is luscious, inky, sooty black superfine merino. It's a smallish fleece at 3 1/2 pounds, but hardly any trash. I'd been waiting for a nice day to take the fleece out on the deck and see what it looked like. Today's temperatures hit the 50's and I rolled a table out and went to work. I was pleased to find very little in the way of tags or VM and very few second-cuts. Amy was coated, resulting in no sun damage or VM for the vast majority of her fleece. There was some tipping around the edges of the fleece, but the fiber was of a decent length. I pulled off the edges and put them in some small zip-type mesh lingerie bags. They'll be separate from the yummy part, which I divided into quarters and will wash in bigger mesh laundry bags. The wool is squishy-soft and so full of lanolin it makes my hands feel dipped in lotion! Scouring the first batch of the wool proved to be an adventure. I'll elaborate next post, as it's getting late and I'm tired.
More stuff (and pics) next time. . . .