23 December 2007

It can't be bad if it involves wool, right?

Today I decided I maybe oughtn't wear hand-knit lace to church services. It's very hard to feel appropriately humble when you're wearing Alpaca Cloud around your shoulders that's been invited into a beautiful shape by one of Eunny's gorgeous patterns.

Surely it's not a sin if the pride is in the sheer amazingness of alpaca and wool, right? Heavenly creations and all that? I was exulting! I praised! And I wasn't thinking about how much better my shawl was than the store-bought sweaters all around me. ...much.

Please no lightning this close to Christmas.

09 December 2007

Success! ...and failure

You see, I successfully completed the Super Seekrit thing I was knitting before (huzzah!) and the gauge didn't go wonky with the needle-switch (double huzzah!), and they even arrived at the desired destination without exploding...but I completely forgot to take any pictures. I fail.

But: Super Seekrit Thing:
Mrs. Beetons!
Knit: from Rowan Kidsilk Haze, color Fern & Rowan Tapestry, color Lakeland. The small beads were the wee glass seed beads in a green like the Kidsilk, and the larger beads were a glazed blue-green, like the Tapestry. I think I would use all seed beads next time, since all of the beading is on the Kidsilk part, anyway.
Notes: Kidsilk is indeed a pain in the arse to frog, but is very satisfying to knit with because it is oh so prettyful. Also, Tapestry =
my new favorite yarn-crush. I have another ball of it in Rustic, and we have more Super Seekrit Big Plans. (Doesn't blogging about holiday knitting suck?)

I am also knitting washc
loths. I hate knitting with cotton. Especially cabling with cotton. And yes, why not have a cabled washcloth? But the quickness of finishing washcloths is a heady thing. Next task regarding washcloths? Charting designs! Cross your fingers for me on that one.

Aaaand: I am working on a cabled scarf for a friend, in Caron Simply Soft. It's acrylic, and I'd rather not use it
on principle, but it's really nice acrylic, shiny and silky and the color is a beautiful silvery grey. It is also wicked affordable (how else do you get a foot-wide cabled scarf & matching hat knit for something like $8 in yarn that is imminently pettable?). This is a very exciting project--friend and I sat down with Viking Knitting, and she pointed at cables and motifs that made her happy (the happiness knot on p. 32-33, and the three-bight happiness signs on cables, p. 33, if you're reading along), and we went to the yarn store. This is where we're at. It looks like a heart, but it's the beginning of the Happiness Knot.

Same friend also brought me a new adventure in spinning! A friend of hers has a Lop, and she's saved some of the shed fur. It's not long enough to spin on its own, of course, but I tried carding it together (because it's soft like angel-down) with some BFL and a smidge of those dyed Mohair locks I got at Rhinebeck. I'm spinning it on my wee Cascade, and you can still see the gray merino/silk that's been on the spindle for a while under the new bunny-mix. I'm spinning it fairly fine, and I have no idea what I'll do with it (possibly something for the bunny-owner, perhaps), nor do I know how it will hold up to the plying/setting process, but we'll see.

And, now a comment on the thing that actually made me open the update page: so, Vickie Howell's projects usually don't appeal to me. But, I've found a few things (the Kick Ass-cot, for one) that kind of appeal. Not high on the queue, really, but if I were bored (I'm not, at the moment) and wanted something to bash out in one skein from the stash, I might look there. BUT. How much do I love that she's named a color of yarn in her LOVE line "Ennis & Jack"? I'm not sure I agree that they're lavender, but the concept of it makes me happy. And there's a Westley and Buttercup one, too!

Now I have to stop blogging. I'm starting the first of my comprehensive Ph.D. exams tomorrow, and I still have texts to read.

25 November 2007

Wow. My bamboo-crush isn't any smaller.

It is so much easier to knit Kidsilk Haze on woodens. My Lord. I mean, I'm halfway through my Super Seekrit Thing #1 (second half) and haven't had a dpn go flying yet! It's...it's like knitting is fun again! Well. My only worry is that the other half of the Seekrit Thing might have to be reknit if my gauge has changed in conjunction with the joy of woodens. But we'll see. Cross your fingers for me? I don't really want to re-knit the whole thing, but the idea of frogging Kidsilk and it not looking like mange afterwards is...argh.

In other holiday knitting news: I think I'm going to be a ginormous dork and succumb to the lure of washcloth-knitting. But cool washcloths. Washcloths that kick ass. Because they will be full of nerdy emblems and such. Just have to find yarn in a color I don't hate for them. (My LYS doesn't carry Sugar-n-Cream, and I don't blame them, and the A.C. Moore only carries colors that fall in the cupcake-vomit category.) I'll check Michael's, I guess, too, because I don't know what other yarns would work well for such a project.

In the rare event that another knitter is reading this, any suggestions for a good washcloth yarn? Is cotton my only functional option? (I've heard tell that linen might be good, too, but linen is largely out of my budget for this.)

21 October 2007

Rhinebeck: We live.

Last night I got home from Rhinebeck with the best intention of watching some baseball and talking to some people, but when we got home at 10:00, I sat on the couch and wrapped in a blanket and was asleep in about 45 seconds. Not exaggerating.

Today, I managed to get to my target wordcount, and then spent the rest of the day playing with my new toys. I have pictures. Let me show them to you.

One of my favorite things about Rhinebeck? Maple sugar cotton candy. Can you pick which is the candy and which is the wool? It is so good.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And I spent too much:
Handcards.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Mohair locks to card on said hand-cards:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

For spinning:
50/50 Merino/Wool blend:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

100% Merino:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

For knitting:
Mohair/merino/silk boucle:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And then I organized a little.

Before:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Barely room for the cat in all this fiber madness:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

After (a little trip to Target for Storage Solutions):
The spinning corner (does not appear in above photos):
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The knitting corner:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And what my cat thinks that this is all for:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Of course, none of my grading is done. And I haven't read any books since Friday. And I've not kept up with internets properly. But my yarns, there be order (for now). I also declared war on some unfinished objects, too--I ripped and wound up a poorly-crocheted scarf, ripped 1/3 of a to-be-felted bag, and segregated the good stuff from the gross acrylic.

Good day. And no one who came along ran screaming from me.

18 October 2007

Rhinebeck!

I'm Rhinebeck-bound on Saturday with some excellent friends. I haven't really been thinking about much lately that isn't fiber-related (much to the detriment of some of my schoolwork, and actually to the advantage of one piece), and this is a particularly fraught excursion to New York Sheep and Wool because the ratio of knitters to Muggles in my group will be 2:3. I am one of those people who has trouble enjoying herself if her company is not enjoying themselves, so I'm hoping that the non-knitters will be entertained for at least several hours. (It's a 3-hour drive, one-way, from here, so I might cry if we're there 2 hours and everyone else wants to go home. But that shouldn't happen. Rhinebeck rules.)

Also, I'm going to be looking for fibery gifts this time around, so hopefully that will be fruitful. Or wool-ful. Or whatever. Can't spin grapes. I'm also thinking I might look at yarn this time. Last time, I kept myself from falling prey to yarn-attraction by shopping for spinning fiber, but there are a few people whom I'd like to knit things for, and Rhinebeck is one of those places that will probably have the perfect colorway, you know?

If anyone is looking for me (though most people who read this blog are not going to be at Rhinebeck), I'll be wearing my Under the Hoodie (silver, black, and brick-red) and my grey Newsboy cap. I'll be carrying (most likely) an AWP Atlanta black tote bag, or possibly a multi-colored tapestry bag patterned with cats. I may have 2-4 people with me, but they are all friendly, so do say hello!

I'll only be there on Saturday, probably noon-ish arrival time (because even the most wool-positive Muggles don't think that yarn's worth getting on the road at 6 a.m.).

Last year, I'd fantasized I'd have my Vigdis done in time for Rhinebeck, but such is not the case. I did actually do a gauge swatch for my button bands/collar over the weekend, and I re-seamed the shoulders with the right color yarn. And then I fell into the same massive panic as I had about the whole button band/collar issue before. The "Why do you have to make everything harder than it has to be?" panic. Because the way the pieces end, as shown, given my cardigan-mods, are all wonky and uneven. So I might end up unraveling some things and reknitting some things until I have a roughly rounded shape upon which to build my collar and button bands.

Spinning news: Just been puttering along on the midnight blue merino/Tencel blend. I want to get back to another spool-ful of the BlueFaced Leicester because Navajo plying is just too neat. Also, I want to knit a hat. And the urge to break out the drop spindle and play with a little of what I'd hoped would be laceweight but is too heavy merino-silk blend. I'll try to remember to do a picture for that. It's really pretty fiber.

04 October 2007

*tap tap*

Apparently, I might still live. My spot on the Ravelry queue came up! So, you can find me over there as Sheffiesheep.

I'm still stalling out on the Vigdis, waiting for some mental quiet-time for the Adamas shawl, have knit and frogged the same sock-toe four times because I keep forgetting where I am and how many decreases I've done--but I'm also doing some seekrit knitting that I quite love. Photos when I finish and the recipient receives it.

I've got some of that midnight blue fiber (from Sinclair's introductory post) on the wheel just now, and it's quite lovely.

I like the slipperyness of the tencel. I've been spinning up a spool of that, and then a spool of some beautiful HelloYarn Bluefaced Leicester--not to ply them together or anything, but because I love how different each of them is to spin. The BFL is so easy and solid and richly colored--I've been plying it up Navajo-ply so that the colors stay separate. I don't know what my final plans for the BFL will be. Maybe a hat, so I can take advantage of it's woolly goodness and the color changes. It might be something I can practice knitting a liner on, too, because I'm particular about my head and how much woollyness it can manage. We'll see. At the rate I'm going, this may not be an issue until I move somewhere too warm to have winter hats.

19 March 2007

Oh, bugger.

I did that thing where I don't update for 3 months again. Even after kindly prompting a month ago. Eeks.

But! I do have something to show you because the Wool Fairy visited me today, bringing with it some luscious, luscious stuff from HelloYarn.

The beautiful blue/green/black/brown fiber is hand-dyed Bluefaced Leicester. The colors are so saturated, so rich...it's amazing. I'd dye my house to match this stuff.

The lovely cream-colored goodness is undyed Merino/tussah silk blend, and they're both posed there with Adrian's lovely shop cards. If you have any interest in the yarny goodness, shop with her. The service is outstanding, the materials gorgeous.

So, I have no idea what these two lovelies are destined to be just yet, but there's an urge to combine the two. The BFL for color, the merino/silk for sheen (because it is so, so shiny and soft).

And ideas like that are why I really want a set of hand-cards. I think I could get some lovely heathery effects if I could card them together. Then again, I'd be messing with the perfect preparation of these fibers, and that seems a waste.

I've not been knitting as much as I'd like. I'm stalling out on the Vigdis because it scares me (it's seaming/collar/button band time, and I've only ever done seams on one other thing, have done zero collars, and zero button bands). And that's a thing that needs a lot of concentration and math for, and let's just say that the exact middle of the semester is not good for projects requiring "a lot of concentration." This is, I think, a much more spinny time, because I can do that without thinking too hard about it (which is probably what marks me as a spinning n00b, but oh well).

Mmm, wool.

08 January 2007

Obligatory New Year's Post

You know, why not do this now, when we're already a solid week in? (Note to self: resolving to procrastinate less will probably not work. Again.)

I am, of course, terrible at resolutions. You have seen me attempt to resolve to post here more often (which is working out well right now, but we'll see how things go once school starts again). And I always resolve to eat better and exercise more. The exercising part doesn't really work out for me so well, but in a general way, I'm eating better these days. Mostly because I've overcome my fear of rice (long story, but it's only been since November that I've eaten the food that sustains the majority of the world, and I've found it to be quite okay. No one told me that it doesn't really taste like anything, and so if you pair it with something tasty, it's quite awesome.) and I'm trying to cook new things. One can, in fact, get tired of cereal and pasta, and it helps that I'm trying to make sure that my husband gets his share of vegetables, too.

My biggest resolution every year, though, the one that really matters, is with regard to my writing. I always say I'm going to write more, but then life gets busy and that's the first thing to go. As a person getting my Ph.D. in, essentially, writing, this seems a bit peculiar, don't you think? And so that's my goal this year. I will not cut out my writing. I will cut out the other crap first. As my favorite teacher used to tell me, "You're a writer. You shouldn't care if you fail Biology." Well, that approach doesn't actually work (one can't get into the appropriate graduate programs without first graduating), but the sentiment behind it should. If there is a thing one is passionate about, one ought to allow oneself to be passionate about it. So, I'm going to try.

The writing has gone well so far. I've been doing it each weekday morning since the New Year's guests have gone, and today I think I got nearly 10 pages.

In other news, yarny news, I'm having problems finishing that Vigdis sleeve. I held it through most of the Jets/Patriots game yesterday, and then I knit one of those crazy novelty yarn scarves during the Eagles/Giants. (A Christmas gift for someone who had very poor luck in our Christmas bingo.) If I buckled down and knit that sleeve, it's probably only an hour's worth of solid knitting. But it's killing me. Beige stockinette. This afternoon, I'm actually planning on knitting myself a crazy novelty scarf to go with my new coat. (I got some ridiculously soft Patons Carmen--the local Michael's was having an obscene sale on their ridiculous novelty yarn--$1 and $2 a skein. In my defense, I'm now equipped to knit Christmas gifts for a passel of 12 year old cousins, so as to have gifts on the cheap.)

And you know my Newsboy cap in the sidebar? I wore that cap for the better part of 6 months, and it's disappeared. I can't find it anywhere, and I don't think I took it somewhere and left it, either. And so I need to make another one, but it's breaking my heart that I can't find the one that I lost. It was so perfect for my head! I've never lost a handknit before. It's terribly sad.

05 January 2007

Vigdis: I haven't forgotten you


I know it seems that Vigdis, in all of its snuggly, cabley glory, seems forgotten over there in the sidebar. Though I haven't written much about that project, I assure you, it isn't true. In fact, we're approaching the end. See? From left to right, it's sleeve island (1/2 to go!), the modified front panels (converted from pullover to jacket status), and the back. The difficult part will be figuring out the collar. Since I did something with the front that the pattern didn't call for, I'm not quite sure how to manage finishing up the front, but I suppose I'll figure it out. Cobbled-together is my specialty. I do have a mis-crossed cable on the right front to fix, which I'll do with Stephanie's "Desperate Measures" fix. I'm not fussy enough to drop the necessary ten stitches and undo a few feet of knitting and then manage to get them back up to the rest of the stitches without disaster.

Have some close-ups. The yarn is not as Dijon-mustard colored as my camera thinks. (Until the sun comes out in Binghamton--maybe for a week in July--I will have no naturally lit photos. I live in a house so cave-like
in its lack of natural light that I'm tempted to raise mushrooms in my living room. My husband's obsession with Batman takes on a whole new tenor.) It's actually a very pleasant camel color. Below is my modified front. I'll whack a button band on it as soon as I figure out that collar. It will be my first button band--I doubt I will so much "whack" it on as I will fret and pick up stitches like it's my first surgery, knit a button band that is too stretched, frog it, knit a button band that turns out to be a ruffle, frog that, and hopefully finally do something that looks a little less deformed.

The last thing that's on my mind with this project is the delicate wire of enough yarn/not enough yarn that I think I'm walking. I know I'll get my second sleeve out of its ball of yarn, but I don't know if I'll get my collar and button band out of what's left. The beauty of the situation is that Sirdar has discontinued their Nova Super Chunky line (as far as my research can tell me), and when I bought my yarn, it was in the close-out bin at Carodan Farms. They have an excellent close-out/discontinued bin. I did buy one more ball than the yardage indicated I would need, but this could get interesting. If anyone has a spare ball of color 890, name your price. And if that yarn has gone to the big basket in the sky, guess who's making a button band in handspun?