Sunday, July 30, 2006

Knitting & Spinning & Lunch–Oh My

It was hot as hell again this weekend so I didn’t venture far from the comfort of the air-conditioned house. The upside of the miserable weather is that I finished knitting a scarf that I started eons ago. It’s a mystery to me why it took me so long to complete this simple project; I think it’s been on the needles for close to 3 weeks.

Picture 157

Picture 159

It’s a scribble lace scarf; a slight variation of this pattern. I got the ribbon yarn at Roberts (don’t worry, Teri, I used my 40% off coupon) and the Crystal Palace Kid Merino at Soul Spun. The ribbon yarn was surprisingly fun to knit with; the Kid Merino not so much. I had a problem with the mohair separating from the nylon core as I knit. Anyone else notice that?

I also manage to spin up 4oz of Amy’s roving in the Macaw colorway:

Picture 160

Not the colors I’m usually drawn to, but I think I bought up all the red-orange rovings she offered a couple weeks ago. I actually like the finished yarn and it may be destined for socks if I can free up my 3mm needles.

On Saturday I had the absolute pleasure of lunching with Margene and Kim at Café Normandie. Kim drove down to spend the weekend with Margene and they kindly allowed me to tag along for part of the day. Huge fun! Kim was such a doll. I’m hoping she returns in September for the Great Basin Fiber Arts Fair.

Oh My
We just finalized our summer vacation plans and the destination is Washington D.C. I’ll be there some time between the 15th and the 24th of August. Any shops or Stitch ‘n Bitch groups I shouldn’t miss?

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Thursday, July 27, 2006


I received several emails about the lace-weight singles in the photo I posted last Saturday. It seems easiest to answer all the questions here. I’m anything but an authority on the subject of spinning lace-weight singles, but I can tell you how I did it.

I had been thinking of trying to spin some singles and then I received these lovely hanks from Michelle.

Picture 153

That rekindled my interest so I rummaged through my fiber stash and came up with some hand-painted merino roving that I’d purchased from Amy King. The colorway is "Tahiti" but I think she may not have any more in her shop right now.

I split the roving lengthwise into smaller and smaller pieces until I had strips that were approximately ½" wide.

Picture 156

I predrafted each strip to the point where the fibers were barely held together. I then spun it on the Schacht using the whorl with the 9:1 ratio. Basically, I had predrafted to the point that it was really not necessary to draft any further as I spun; for the most part, I just let the wheel take up the fibers. I put just enough twist in the fiber to hold it together.

After the bobbin was full, I wound the singles onto my niddy noddy and left them there for about a week. I assume you could also leave them on the bobbin for a while to let them go stale and then wind them on the niddy noddy. After a week, I tied the hank in several places; at least 6, if I remember correctly. Then I let the hank sit in a Eucalan bath for about 15-20 minutes. I spun the extra water out in my washing machine, used my hands to stretch the hank in all directions, and then set the hank on my hammock to dry. I did not hang the hank or attach a weight to the end.

Surprisingly, after it dried, the hank hung perfectly straight so it must be pretty balanced. I’d show you a photo but I gave the yarn to Margene. Maybe she’ll post a photo on her blog or send me one if I ask her nicely.

That’s it.
Like I said, I’m no expert but this method worked for me. I think a common mistake when spinning singles is to put too much twist into the fiber. Although I didn’t have to do this, I would bet the spinning police will not arrest you if you run the singles through your wheel in the opposite direction to release some of the twist.

I’m just sayin’.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Have You Seen?

The preview of the Fall issue of Vogue is up. There are lots of sock patterns and an article by Meg Swanson on sock knitting. I especially love the black and white socks. Wonder if they could be adapted from knee socks to crew socks.

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Random Saturday

In the sky (from the backyard this week):
Picture 004

On the needles (a sock for Lion Brand)
Picture 001

Around the niddy noddy (675 yards of laceweight singles)
Picture 003

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

O is for . . . .

Opal Sockenwolle


10,900 grams of Opal to be exact. Enough for at least 109 pairs of socks with probably a few hundred grams left over.

I was a little apprehensive about posting a photo of most of my Opal stash. But after gathering it all together I realized it's not as large as I feared. I've been slowly either knitting it up or swapping it. But here are some of my "prized" skeins.

This skein is from the long-forgotten "Summer Sizzler" series. I *heart* this skein so much I don't think I could ever bring myself to knit with it. I searched in vain for another skein a year or two ago but had no success. Got one to trade??

Remember Opal Royal??? It was probably the first sock yarn with lurex added for sparkle. And it was unusual for Opal because it was put up in 50 gram skeins

Here's a skein of original Tiger, a prototype of the new Tiger, and the Tiger from the Rainforest Collection. I actually think I like the prototype skein the best.

And the best part about gathering up all the Opal for the photo shoot? I found two skeins of Trekking that I forgot all about.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Stick A Fork In It

The lace blob is done:


I think I set some kind of personal record knitting this shoulder shawl; 450 yards of laceweight merino in 2 days.

After I blocked the shawl, I got this inexplicable urge to knit something in worsted weight wool. Well, maybe it's not inexplicable given that in the last 4 weeks I've not knit with anything heavier than fingering weight yarn (i.e., 4 pairs of socks and a shoulder shawl). Because I need a baby gift, I grabbed a skein of wool I picked up at Jo-Ann out of curiosity and started a Star of the Day hat. I altered my own pattern by working only 5 points on the star instead of 7.


As I type this, the hat is almost ready to be bound off. Worsted weight yarn knits up fast! And, I have to say, this particular yarn was extremely nice to knit with. It's called Tesoro and I was a little surprised to see it at Jo-Ann, a store I normally associate with crappy novelty and acrylic yarns.

The pros: The yarn is extremely smooth and soft with a nice hand. Plus, if the reviews on the Jo-Ann site are accurate, it won't felt so it's perfect for a baby item.
The cons: Comes only in yucky pastel shades (hate the pastel shades) and it's a bit pricey. I can get a 100g skein of Nature Spun worsted for almost the same price I paid for this 50 gram skein.

I have to admit I was intrigued by some of the reviews of this yarn that were posted on the Jo-Ann site. Do you really think a manufacturer should be required to include information on the ball band that specifically says, "This Yarn Will Not Felt"??

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Saturday Sky

Here's my Saturday Sky, taken at 5:30 a.m. from the window of the infirmary bedroom.


Looks like another scorcher. Yesterday was our first 100+ degree day and it was miserable.

Speaking of miserable, you may wonder why I was up at 5:30 on a Saturday morning taking photos from the bedroom window. Well, the uncontrollable coughing fit might have had something to do with it. DD kindly passed on a nasty virus and it's just about knocked me out. I went into work yesterday for a few hours and it was clearly a mistake. I appear to have taken two steps back in my recovery effort.

I put at least part of my sick days to use, though, working on a piece of lace poop:


When I get some time, I'll write out the pattern. I'm just trying to decide how to finish off the border.

Back to bed.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Stuck At The Border

Taking photos of my Langsjal Jóhönnu for the 4th Amazing Lace challenge spurred me to the finish line. I've been working almost exclusively on socks lately (yes, you'll see the new designs soon) so it was refreshing to change course and knit real lace.

When I took the photo for the Amazing Lace challenge on Thursday, I had completed 14 repeats of the center pattern:

Picture 134

I just finished repeat #25.


The pattern calls for 28 repeats of the center pattern but I've decided to stop at 25. Aaah, the benefits of being short; less length to knit.

But here's why I'm "stuck at the border." I cast on fewer border stitches than the pattern called for and I vaguely remember doing something exceedingly clever after I knit the first border to get the number of stitches to work out properly for the center pattern. It was so clever I've now forgotten what I did. So, although I should be starting the second border, I'm now frantically looking through scraps of paper to see if I memorialized this on a scrap of parchment.

Please tell me I've written this down somewhere.

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

N is for . . .

Nature Spun Worsted by Brown Sheep Company.

Nature Spun is one of my favorite yarns for felting. I’ve found that it felts much faster than some other wools and it seems to throw off a little less fiber. Good for the washing machine, too, I guess. A double strand makes a nice, sturdy felted fabric.

I like Nature Spun so much that I have a bit of a collection of it. Every time I go to the LYS, I try to pick up a color that I don’t already own so I can "stash shop" when I get the urge to start a new felted project at 10:00 on a Sunday night.

My current Nature Spun stash resides in its own Rubbermaid bin. Should I be embarrassed to admit that?



Sunday Sky

Sunday’s sky from the driveway is not looking as promising as Saturday’s.


That big plume of smoke to the west can’t be good.

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Saturday Sky

After a deluge on the afternoon of the Fourth of July, the entire valley cooled down considerably. Temperatures barely made it into the 90s most of the week. Today's sky is a bit hazy and the air is a little heavy (19% humidity, which is pretty humid for SLC). Here's the photo I took from the bottom of my driveway as I left for a walk to the LYS:


I walked so I wouldn't be tempted to purchase too much. I passed on some nice yarn but then happened upon this great (but heavy) find at the local thrift store.


Stamps from Persia:


It's interesting to browse through, but the bag got pretty dang heavy about a half mile into the walk home.

And I just discovered that I missed this flippin' sweet event. *Dang*

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Amazing Lace - Challenge #4

True to form, I've been extremely lax at meeting the Amazing Lace challenges. I've also been lax at working on my teammate, the Langsjal Jóhönnu. The latest challenge, #4, is to answer the following question with a photo:
"If you bound off your lace RIGHT NOW - what could it be used for?"

Since I missed challenge #3, which was to compose a poem dedicated to your lace teammate, I've decided to combine challenges 3 & 4 with a haiku and a photo:

Picture 134

Icelandic beauty
held promise, now abandoned
dinner time; let’s eat

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I Love The Fourth of July

OK, I may not be a wear-it-on-your-sleeve-flag-waving patriot, but I soooooo love the Fourth of July. And the best part is the neighborhood parade held every year just a block from my house. Everyone gets into the act and the kids have a wonderful time. I've come to conclude that the kids participating in the parade enjoy throwing the candy more than the kids watching the parade enjoy catching it.



And look at this. Is this not the best use of spray painted bubble wrap you've ever seen:


And I know it's not time for a Saturday Sky photo, but take a look at the view of the sunset I had from my porch last night.



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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Public Service Announcement

In case you missed it, the new issue of MagKnits is up. And, in what could be a first for me, I love EVERY pattern.

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Saturday Sky

After a wild Friday evening of lightening-started fires and driving rain, we woke up to this wonderful Saturday sky:

Picture 132a

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Running commentary on my unending quest to knit up my stash.