Sunday, December 30, 2007

Well isn't that *lovely*. Not.

Had a rather unpleasant experience on a fiber e-mail list today. You see, I asked what I thought was a simple question about weaving with rayon chenille. One of the more experienced weavers on the list said it took "special handling". I asked what "special handling" meant, thinking that the answer might be fairly simple or that multiple weavers would chime in with their experiences/advice. It would seem that the question may be simple but the answer takes up about four book chapters, which is fine. I was referred to said weaver's book on the subject of rayon chenille, which she also stated was no longer available. I thanked the weaver for her response, replied that I wasn't asking for the book to be reprinted in e-mail and explained that I had thought there might be some sort of general guideline like "always/never wash in the machine, use a tighter/looser sett than for a similar weight non-chenille yarn, or always avoid/use a particular weave structure". The author replied that she understood what I was looking for, but was unable to provide it, which I understand. Others on the list were not so understanding, which led to a nasty discussion of how newbies are too lazy to look up their own answers and expect the experts to tell them everything even in violation of copyright law. ?!?!?

The part that really irked me was that I was advised by a list member to consult with my "weaving buddies" about this question. You see, I thought I was consulting my weaving buddies. I don't have fiber friends in real life, just on the internet. Heck, after moving eighteen months ago, I don't have *any* friends in real life, just on the internet or on the phone. Being ignorant and new to weaving, I thought I was asking a simple question. Apparently I was instead being offensive and an extreme burden to the "experts" who are forced to answer repetitive questions from idiots such as myself.

To top it all off, the list owner says she's tired of it all and is considering closing down the list. Mind you, the person who initially responded to my question doesn't think there was a problem with either my question or my reply back to her thanking her for her explanation of why she couldn't give a simple answer, because there isn't a simple answer to that question. I'm not quite sure why others have gotten their knickers in knots or why the listmom took this as the reason to consider pulling the plug.

Yay. This is the sort of thing that has resulted in my *rarely* ever asking for help with anything and also rarely answering questions on list. I ask one question and the universe blows up. I guess it's my fault that other people on the weaving list have overextended themselves and feel burdened by answering questions. I guess I'm responsible for taking care of people I have never met and making sure everything is ok for them before I say or do anything. I can't manage that for people I see at work or in real life, never mind people on the internet. Grrrrrrrrrr.

Update: apparently the listowner decided against shutting down the list. Now someone else has stirred things up, so perhaps people will forget about me. :-) I did, by the way, get several kind messages from list members who pointed out that I didn't actually start the flamewar, pinning the blame instead, on someone who protested unpleasantly about what she thought was a non-answer from the book author. Anyway, I'm still on the list, but in deep lurk mode, and may drop off in the next few weeks.

Friday, December 28, 2007

More Hat Madness

I am apparently on a hat binge. I have started another hat for the chemo cap recipient. This one should be a bit smaller than the first one, so should fit better after the hair hiatus starts. The yarn is Yarn Bee Mosaic Twist in the color Terra Rosa. I'm following Yarn Harlot's Unoriginal Hat Pattern and using size 10.5 needles. I got the idea by trolling Ravelry to see what others had made with this yarn. Threadbndr made this very hat with this yarn (different color) and it looked pretty good, so I figured I'd give it a go too. It's a cabled hat, so it will take a bit more work than a plain stockinette or garter stitch hat. I have not yet figured out how to do cables without a needle, so I have to fiddle with it, which slow things down. With any luck, I might get it finished by the end of the weekend.

Knitting Journal/Record
I found my knitting notebook last night. Well, technically I found it a couple of weeks ago when I was putting my knitting magazines back in order, but I actually looked at it last night. I have found the address of the hospital to which I used to send preemie hats and sweaters. One year I knit over a dozen hats for charity, using up yarn I wouldn't otherwise have used. I also donated a couple dozen skeins of acrylic yarn to a local retirement home for their craft program. Of course, said home was closed that same year so I have no idea if they ever had a chance to use the yarn. I really miss not being able to shop at the Garson Home's craft bazaar every fall.

I have dutifully recorded the current works in progress as well as all the finished projects that I can remember. Now that I think about it, I can remember more works in progress that I forgot to list. I also made a list of projects that I'd like to work on in the near future.

Knitting Weekend
I have four days off from work. I intend to spend a good chunk of it knitting. New Year's Day I'll be watching at least two football games, so ought to be able to crank out a good bit on my 2nd sock.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Holiday Hatness!

I am pleased to report that both hats were a big success. I have photos of the hats. I do not have photos of the hats on the recipients. Dude and Dudette were not interested in slowing down long enough to have pictures taken.

Dudette squeed loudly when she pulled her hat out of the gift bag and waved it around. "Look Mommy what Aunt M made me!" She also declared that she *loved* it and that it was very soft. I think she put it on for about 2 seconds before she got too excited and had to charge back into the rest of the stack of presents awaiting her.

The pink fluffy hat was knit with Yarn Bee Frosting in the color Candy Dots on size 10 needles using the Zebedee Hat Pattern. I decided against threading the ribbon through the eyelets as the pattern directed when I discovered that I couldn't actually find the eyelets. I laced the thread through what I thought were eyelets, but then the ribbon didn't really show up in the furry yarn, so I used yarn and both pink and purple ribbon to make the pompom. Technically the pompom isn't quite on the top of the hat. Apparently where I thought the top of the hat was wasn't really the top, but it's close and nobody but me is ever going to notice. Dudette loves it and that's good enough for me.

Dude's hat wasn't quite finished in time for the official present opening session. I very nearly made the deadline, but hadn't gotten the plain facing tacked down on the inside. That was accomplished just before lunch and Dude said it was cool, though he was way more interested in the new Play-Doh and definitely didn't want to wear it at the time. And who can blame him!? He did say there were spiders on it. I don't think the hat was quite as cool as the Spider Man pajamas that I gave him, but he did say it was good, it fits and he knows that Auntie made it for him.

The hat was knit in Wendy Peter Pan on size 3 needles using the Spidey Hat pattern found here. By the end of the top of the hat, I had a good handle on the two-handed, two-color knitting thing. I can't decide if I need to practice it more right now or take a break for a little bit and finish some existing projects. I feel a whole lot more comfortable with keeping my tension even between my two hands.

New Aquisitions
While visiting family, I picked up a bunch of Patons Classic Wool at Michael's, of all places. It was on sale, so I picked up enough of the cream/natural color to knit myself a cardigan. I saw the perfect cabled cardigan pattern a few weeks ago in the Patternworks catalog and conveniently I have a gift certificate I should use soon, since it's a couple years old.

Also acquired were: Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Patterns for Knitters and The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd. Last, but not least, I was given two skeins of Unique Sheep's Verve sock yarn in Brookside and Lights. I didn't actually remember picking either of these colors, but I like them both very much, especially since I could use some green-based socks like Brookside will produce.

On the Needles....
Another chemo cap for the same recipient as hat number one. The first hat fits perfectly now, but we're not sure how well it will fit once the hair hiatus begins, so I'm going to knit another one a bit smaller. I have already cast on one hat using Yarn Bee Mosaic Twist from Hobby Lobby. This yarn is normally $6.50 a skein, but was on sale for $0.99/skein. I have two skeins in each of two colors, which ought to be plenty for a hat or four. I also have plenty of Lion Brand Homespun (the yarn from which I knit the first hat) in four different colors.

The Swan Lake Shawl is sitting in its little basket waiting patiently for its wing to be finished. I'm not purposefully avoiding it, but I'm not overly excited to work on it either.

On the sock front, I have started the second of the braided toeholder socks while I was traveling. I'm about halfway through the ribbing now. The Arrowhead Lace sock is still waiting to be finished. I didn't take it with me on my trip this year. I worked on it a year ago and ended up having to rip out about an inch of it. The pattern is just complex enough that I can't follow it accurately and carry a conversation, so I didn't even try this time. (See! I can learn!) I might get a big chunk of knitting done this next weekend since I have four days off. Then again I might get distracted by something else.

There are two knitalongs starting that I will probably do. One is the Spring Shawl Surprice and the other is the Secret of the Stole 2. SOTS2 has already started, if I recall correctly, and Spring Shawl starts in January. Or vice versa. I'm also a member of the Mystic Waters knitalong, but didn't actually start the shawl. I can't decide if I really like the pattern, now that I'm seeing it knit up.

I will haul out my Freedom Sweater as soon as I finish one of my socks and see if I can't get the sweater finished before the end of the winter. That's my winter knitting goal: finish the Freedom Sweater.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Spidey Hat, Update 2

I'm not quite halfway through the body of the spider at the beginning of the evening....

The color work is going ok. I'm starting to get the hang of the left hand tension. I will block the had hard to even out the knitting. The black stitches are a bit looser than the colors since they have more floats. This makes them look funny, but I think it will even out just fine in the wash. Now that I'm having my colorwork practice, I'm gaining confidence in tacking my sister's sweater again. (I started knitting her Alice Starmore's Armagh over ten years ago, but kept stranding too tightly so the knitting wouldn't lay flat. And no, that's not a picture of my sweater.)

Chemo Hat Update
The chemo hat should have arrived at its destination today. Today, coincidentally, is also the day of its owner's first chemo treatment. I included a note telling the recipient to let me know how the hat fits and that I'll be happy to send along additional hats so she doesn't have to wear the same one all the time.

Sock Knitting Plans
I discovered yesterday that my black socks are wearing out. They're really soft, fuzzy commercially made socks. I'll have to knit myself some new ones. Of course, I have no black sock yarn. I also need some dark green socks (and have no dark green sock yarn either). Sigh. I have plenty of bright spring-y/summery colors, but few darker, solid colors. Part of me says to quickly knit up the wool sock yarns I have and get them out of the way before getting new black or charcoal yarn. I think the cotton-blend yarns can wait until closer to spring.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hat Pics

No, I still haven't put the ribbon into the Zebedee yet or the pom-pom onto the top of it. The ribbon is sitting on Pooh's feet though, ready to go. I'm mulling over how to secure the ends of the ribbon inside the hat. I might loop it around a purl bar and then sew it to itself. Hopefully the ends of the ribbon won't fray or else I'll have to find my Fray Check.

I'm just ready to start the red section of the Spider Man hat. I'm very glad that there is a facing/lining to the hat because some of the floats in the blue section are very long and would probably be played with by a 2-3 year old child. I know I'd have fussed with them if it was my hat. This hat may be a bit large for Dude too, though the gauge is spot on, so a lining would help it fit better as well as be warmer. With any luck, I'll get halfway through the spider chart this evening. Tomb Raider 2 is on....

Post-Movie Update: I got 5 rounds of the red chart done before bed time. I'll start earlier tomorrow evening, instead of surfing the web aimlessly, and make up for lost time.

In Other News....
The Spinners', Weavers' and Knitters' Housecleaning Pages website is shutting down in February. The owner of the site is burned out and didn't get the financial assistance she needed to keep the site running. A member of one of the Yahoogroups weaving lists is hoping to keep it going at a different site and I've volunteered to help with the technical end. With any luck, the site owner will share her files and we can just migrate and redesign the site before relaunching it on a new server. We could start from scratch, but that would make things more difficult and time consuming. So, if things go well, I could end up providing website support for both the Antique Pattern Library and the Housecleaning Pages.

Next step: to start bringing in some paying webdev/maintenance jobs. :o)

Update: The owner of the Housecleaning Pages has decided to keep them running, but to charge a fee to post an ad. Yay!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Who Knew Ribbon Was Hard To Find?!

It took me three tries, but I finally found some purple satin ribbon. Apparently nobody stocks satin or grosgrain ribbon, unless it's 2 inches wide and wired. I found plenty of organza ribbon in 3/8 to 5/8 inch widths and printed or striped ribbon, but not just the plain stuff. I finally tracked down what I needed at Wal-Mart where 5/8 inch satin ribbon is sold for $0.36/yard. The fabric department ladies were having a good time and enjoying themselves, which was fun too.

Now that I've got most of my household chores done for the day, I need to get a move on with the Spidey Hat. Or else finish the top of Zebedee. Time's a wasting!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

One Hat Down, One To Go....

The Zebedee Hat is finished. Well, the knitting is finished. It turns out the ribbon I bought isn't satin ribbon, but organza ribbon, so it vanishes when set against the hat. I'll have to get to the fabric store in the morning and get some 3/8" satin ribbon. Once I have the ribbon I can finish things up and make a pom-pom for the hat. I suppose I could use some of the organza ribbon in the pom-pom.

Spidey is Underway
I have started the Spider Man hat. So far I'm about 4 rows into it. I'm working on my two-handed color work and have discovered that I am basically unable to tension the yarn in my left hand. It's the pattern color, so I think it'll be ok if it's a bit loose tension-wise. I'm getting 7 stitches to the inch on the tension, so had to do a bit of last minute adjusting. I had initially planned on getting 6 stitches to the inch. With seven stitches per inch, I am able to work 4 repeats of the spider pattern in the hat, instead of three. I think it will look nicer with four repeats.

There are 58 rows in the spider chart, plus there is a facing for the inside of the hat to be knit (so another 58 rows in a single color). There are 11 days until Christmas, so I need to knit about 11 rows a day between now and then. I may end up knitting at my lunch hour and listening to podcasts. I've decided to NOT put a pom-pom on this hat. I think it would take away from the pattern design. Once I get past the blue stripe at the bottom of the hat, I'll post a picture.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Hat Progress

Thanks for the cheering and encouragement in getting this done!!

The Zebedee hat is moving right along. I'm done with the first repeat of the eyelet pattern. I don't know that I'll be able to find the eyelets in this yarn, but I'll lace through the purple ribbon anyway. I'll be the only person who will know that there are eyelets in there that may or may not have gotten ribboned. With any luck, I might get this hat finished this evening! My niece is going to look like she's wearing Muppet fur, but I think it looks really cute and it's definitely in her favorite colors.

The Spidey hat will take a bit longer since it's not only at a tighter gauge, it's also colorwork. On the other hand, I will get to practice my two-handed colorwork for the first time in a long while.

Here's a pic of the first chemo cap. It's a simple roll brim hat made from Lion Brand Homespun. It's not my favorite yarn, but it's soft and washable and it will wear well enough for the duration the hat is needed. I used size 10 needles and cast on 62 stitches.

As I mentioned yesterday, I also cast on a chemo cap in black and white Bernat Boa. I'm not thrilled about this one. I think it's a bit harsh looking in terms of colors and it doesn't feel as soft as I'd like it to be. I have pretty much decided that it needs to be frogged and turned into a scarf of some sort. I only paid $3 for both balls of the yarn, so I'm not terribly upset that it didn't work out quite how I wanted.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

I have gone insane.

Ok, so remember a couple of days ago when I said I don't do holiday knitting? This morning, a scant 3 weeks before Christmas, I had the crazy idea that I might knit hats for my niece and nephew. This insanity was brought on by finding a pattern for a Spidey Hat. You see, my nephew really likes Spiderman. I've picked him up some Spiderman shoes and pajamas. The little dude likes knitted hats too, if last year is any indication. I had been working on charity hats last year. He had been looking at the stack of hats and when it was time to put is coat on to leave, he found a hat that fit him before going to get his coat. I thought that was a pretty favorable review for the hat, myself.

Since I can't knit Dude a hat without knitting one for Dudette, his big sister, I picked up some pink and purple novelty yarn and some purple ribbon. I'm going to follow the Zebedee pattern for her hat. She's quite the fan of the Disney princesses and all things pink/purple, so this yarn ought to be right up her alley.

Now, here's how I retain my sanity: nobody knows that I'm knitting these hats, so if they aren't finished by Christmas, that's ok. There will be plenty of winter weather in northern Illinois after Christmas, so even if I don't finish the hats until after New Years Day it'll still be ok.

Chemo Caps

I have one cap finished. I'm trying to decide if I want to make a couple more or not. I have some black/gray variegated Bernat Boa but I'm not sure I like how it looks in a hat. I did get some cheerier wool/cotton/acrylic today that's more of a mix of Lifesaver fruit colors. I don't know if that will be quite sof enough though I also had the notion that I could send the Kiri Shawl along with the chemo hat as an extra surprise.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Promised Pictures

The blue Trekking sock. I have even woven in the ends so they're ready to wear!
Size 2 needles over 60 stitches in beaded rib.

The Mountain Colors Braided Toeholder Sock, up close.
I can't remember the name of the color. Also knit on size 2 needles over 60 stitches. I have cast on the second sock of the pair, but have only knit a few rows.

I haven't done any knitting in the past few days. I need to find DPNs for the chemo cap. Otherwise I've been baking cookies or too tired/fuzzy headed to knit. Perhaps on Thursday night if there is a new CSI episode....

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Trekking Sock Finished!

That's right! That's *two* things I've finished this week. To make it even better, the Trekking sock is the second of the pair, so I have a new pair of socks to wear!

The pattern is my default "generic" sock pattern. It's beaded rib done over 60 stitches. The ribbing continues down the instep. If I were to guess, I'd say about half of my handknit socks followed this pattern. The rest are either plain 2x2 rib or are the Braided Toeholder pattern from 3Trails Designs (now defunct).

I have already cast on the second sock of the most recent pair of Braided Toeholder socks in Mountain Colors Bear Foot. I can't remember the name of the color for these socks.

Also on the needles now is a chemo cap. A friend's mom has been diagnosed with stage 2/stage 3 breast cancer. I offered to knit her a hat since she's starting chemo soon and her hair will be going on hiatus. It turns out that one of the first things she asked my friend was if I'd knit her a hat. It's a simple roll brim hat knit in Lion Brand Homespun. Not my favorite yarn to work with, but it's soft and it's in a nice blue color. I may pick up some Bernat Boa tomorrow and work on a 2nd hat for her. Perhaps I'll try knitting a hat when I'm at the movies this week, instead of a dishcloth.

Winter Holiday Knitting
For various reasons I don't knit people things for the holidays. That's not to say I don't give out holiday gifts which are hand knit, but I don't set specific goals of knitting X things for Y people. It's too hard to knit to deadline and, for me, it takes all the fun out of the knitting. If I'm going to spend my time knitting something for someone, I want it to be fun. Personally, I'd much rather knit something and just give it to them at random when it's finished. That also adds an extra element of surprise/delight since the recipient has absolutely no idea that the gift is coming. I do give away dishcloths at the winter holidays, but those get knit when I'm at the movies throughout the year. I give away as many as I get done and divide them up even among the folks who I know like them and use them. No pressure. No muss. No fuss.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Kiri Completed!

And I even blocked it! Here's a pic of it hanging out on my bed. I think the re-knitted section was done on a needle that was 1mm smaller than the original. Not enough of a difference to be particularly visible unless you look really closely for a long time.

Today I'm leaning toward working on my blue Trekking sock. I got to the start of the heel flap yesterday evening. The heel always seems to go pretty quickly. There are a couple of football games today I'd like to watch so that might be good timing. I really need to do a bit more work on my house too (patching holes in duct insulation), so the knitting might be a good break. By the end of the weekend, I might have a finished pair of socks!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Kiri Kiri!

Ok, so I'm focused again on the Kiri. I am on repeat number 3 of the four that I was going to re-knit. I ought to be able to finish that up this weekend, barring any difficulties or distractions. I promise to post pictures. (Sorry I haven't had many photos lately. There just hasn't been much to photograph.)

______________ While Knitting
Lately there hasn't been anything worth watching on TV while I knit, not even on my favorite Turner Classic Movies. So I have been using audiobooks from my library to keep my brain occupied while I knit. I can check out 10 books at a time for two weeks. The downloadable books are just *awesome*! This past week I listened to The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson (and read by the author). It was quite entertaining. If you like humorous essays, this might strike your fancy. Next up, Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card.

For some reason I need to be doing something while I knit. I can't just sit and knit. My mind starts to wander and then I make mistakes in my knitting. I also get distracted and end up not knitting for more than ten or fifteen minutes at a time. So I need to read, watch TV/movie or listen to talk radio or an audiobook. Just enough to keep me occupied so I can knit. I know I'm missing details on the movie or the book, but I'm able to knit for a couple hours at a time, so I'm ok with that.

What do you do while you knit?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"Stay on target! Stay on target!"

I am having all sorts of difficulties deciding between working on the Kiri or the Swan Lake/Mystery Stole. I'm sort of alternating between the two. I probably ought to just focus on the Kiri and get it done, then focus on the Mystery Stole. At the rate I'm going I could drag out the two of them for another month or two. It's starting to get cold out so I ought to finish one of the silly things before too long. And I have another five skeins of alpaca laceweight on the way too, which will, no doubt, get me thinking about starting a new project.

Just two more repeats and the border left on the Kiri. I've just started Chart H on the Swan Lake. I'm a member of the Mystic Waters shawl knitalong, but I haven't even started that yet. I'm curious to see how big it will be and what it looks like before I start. What I've seen so far doesn't have me completely enamored, but that could just be me being grumpy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The New and Improved Fiber Room

The fiber room got put back together last night in good time. I have managed to gain quite a bit of space and will gain another 9 square feet when I get rid of my extra computer monitor (and box). I don't quite have enough room to set up my loom, but it's really close and I could rearrange a few bins to gain that space pretty easily if I wanted to weave.

Tonight I'm taking it easy and knitting the Kiri. I am fighting the urge to knit some baby sweaters for charity this Christmas season. This urge is probably being driven by finding my bins of miscellaneous acrylic and odd ball wool yarns. They'd be perfect for making baby surprise jackets or even wallaby sweaters, as well as hats. I feel the need to do something that would be appreciated by someone, even if just by a random baby. Of course, I cannot find the address of the hospital to which I used to send preemie hats. *sigh*

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Oh Dear....

I am taking advantage of the long weekend to rearrange my fiber studio. I had initially intended to empty several boxes and then assemble the sewing table my Mom gave me when I moved. The former was accomplished successfully. The latter was not. You see, my evil plan included assembling the table and then placing my stash of storage bins under and on top of said table. Except that the table would actually obstruct more or the room than the bins by themselves. So I shampooed the carpet under the bins and will put them back in their places in the morning.

While I was at this mass reorganization, I happened to inventory my fleece stash. I had always thought I had seven fleeces. It would seem I was mistaken. I have thirteen fleeces and that doesn't count the two fleeces that I have put in the garden as mulch/compost. This includes four fantastic Coopworth fleeces from Hidden Valley Farm. I started collected the gray fleeces (one dark, one light and one medium) when I had considered weaving myself a Lord of the Rings replica cloak. Soon after purchasing the first two gray fleeces, I changed my mind about this but didn't let that get in the way of purchasing additional fleeces.

The rest of the fleece collection includes two dark gray Shetland fleeces, one white Shetland fleece, a dark gray fleece labelled "Munchkin", two fine wool crossbred fleeces (at least part Border Leicester)from Cascade Sheep and Wool, one medium cream colored fleece with some veggie matter in it, one steel gray coarse and curly fleece and two Romney cross fleeces I bought from some 4-H kids (mild to moderate veggie matter and possibly slightly felted from storage). I really ought to send some of these things out for processing, though what I'd be most likely to send are the very fleeces that I'd rather play with myself--the Coopworths.

So here's my question: why is it that the sheep's fleeces apparently multiplied but I still have the same 4 ounces of angora rabbit fur that I started with? Shouldn't it be the bunny that reproduced?

Spinning Progress

I plied up a bobbin of worsted weight merino three-ply on Friday night. I could probably get another bobbin plied tomorrow after work. Once the singles are all plied, I will start in on the Autumn Leaves roving for a change from the plain white merino. I might get enough yarn from the Autumn Leaves to make a vest. If I could remember which issue of Knitters' magazine the On the Point vest was in, I might consider adapting that pattern to use this yarn.

Speaking of yarn, I found where I'd stored all my handspun. I have enough gray Romney worsted weight to make a aran vest. I don't know if I have enough of the merino worsted weight to do much with yet. There are also the two skeins of lumpy bumpy stuff I made when I first started spinning. It might make a good hat, but I haven't even tried yet.

Knitting Progress
I re-knit the toes of a pair of Socka socks this weekend. It's getting chilly enough in the mornings that I like to wear socks to work now. This makes for marvelous motivation to get one's holey socks darned. I also fixed the toe from the turquoise JaWoll socks I made ten years ago. I was surprised to see how much they had faded, until I thought about how old the socks actually are. I suppose it's to be expected that they might fade after that long, even with handwashing. Of course, it's also to be expected that there might have been some wear in the toe area too.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Washing of the Sweaters

It's the end of daylight savings time and the weather has gotten cooler. I have begun the fall edition of washing all my sweaters. This house and the last house I lived in both have carpet beetles, so I try to keep a close eye on things. Although I escort nearly all bugs and spiders out of the house, these little critters I squish. Mostly what I find are the larvae or larval skins. I rarely find adults. The larvae are voracious eaters of wool, skin, hair and even leather. The adults just hang out on the window sill, as far as I can tell. I have found larvae on the bathroom counter, on sweaters (next to holes they ate), on the carpet, on the bedspread and on the walls. I have, of course, found them occasionally in my yarn and fiber stash. That's part of the reason why I keep it sealed in big plastic bins rather than on shelves out in the open. I try as much as I can to deny access to the munchies.

So the cotton sweaters went in the washing machine yesterday and I handwashed about half of the wool and mohair sweaters. Later this week I'll wash the other half of the sweaters, then put them all back. It also gives me a chance to go over everything and check for pulled threads, missing buttons, and other minor repair issues.

Minor Knitting Action
I did finish a repeat of the Kiri yesterday (three and a half rows). I will knit three more repeats and call it quits. I keep thinking I can knit a whole repeat in an evening, but at the bottom edge of the shawl it takes a while to knit a row. I haven't gotten around to counting the stitches yet. Part of me wants to know and part of me doesn't want to know. I thought about knitting away the day today, but I brought some work home with me and really need to do that instead. I also need to finish baking cookies for Twitchh and the SCinet fiber team. Set-up for the SuperComputing conference, SC07, starts tomorrow morning.

Maybe this evening I can get back to the Kiri....

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Horror Films and Fiber Fun!

I *love* October. Both TCM and AMC show scary movies. AMC is going all out and showing horror flicks 24 hours a day between Oct 22nd and Oct 31st. They're not always flicks I'm interested in watching, like the Scream series or Dracula 2000, but it's hard to resist the quality movies, like The Exorcist, The Howling and The Fog. I suppose, when you think about it, Halloween, being made in 1978 and being nearly 30 years old, probably qualifies for "vintage" status now. It's hard to believe it's been that long. On Halloween day, all five Halloween movies will be shown in order starting at 10am EDT. By the time I get home, they'll be showing the later ones, which aren't nearly as good as the first one.

For some reason I like to spin while I watch horror movies. I spun up half a bobbin of merino lace-weight yesterday. This is from my stash of merino roving that I pick up at the Amana woolen mill factory store at the Amana Colonies in Iowa. I have probably seven pounds of this stuff. I've been turning it into a light worsted weight 3-ply. I have no idea what I'll do with it, though it would make for a nice Aran sweater. I suppose I should go through my stash and find out how much I've already spun up.

The Spinning Queue
Next will either be the alpaca roving I bought three years ago at the Fleece Fair or the red/gold striped roving called "Autumn Leaves" also purchased at the fleece fair. The alpaca is eight ounces of jet black roving from the Oak Meadow Alpaca Farm. I think it would like to be a lace-weight 2-ply for a shawl or stole. It would certainly make a beautiful Leda's Dream or Moon Dance. I'm leaning toward Moon Dance at the moment.

The Autumn Leaves roving is 70% dyed Border Leicester and 30% natural colored Border Leicester and was produced by Maple Row Stock Farm. It's more of a red-orange than the picture shows. The natural colored wool adds a bit of brown to the mix. I have 8 ounces of this wool. I had purchased a similar colorway the previous year, but it had more brown in it. I actually removed the brown from the roving because I thought it muddied up the color too much. I think I spun a 2-ply DK weight from the previous roving. If I can find that yarn, I'll spin this to match and double my yield.

I also have some red, purple and yellow roving that I really think is quite unattractive. I'm sure at the time I thought it was quite pretty and I had some sort of plan for it, but now I'm not sure what I was thinking. I haven't decided if I'm going to re-card it so the colors are all blended together or even add some cream-colored or gray wool. I'll have to experiment with the drum carder.

Fiber Stash Inventory
Yep, I really need to get the fleeces and roving cataloged and then re-arranged the fiber room. It's time to get it organized so I can use it more readily. There's too much to keep track of in my head. I had started preparing one of the Coopworth fleeces, but I can't remember how much of it was washed or which bins are just picked fleece or washed fleece.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Travel Knitting, Part 2

I am again comfortably ensconced in my hotel room with a belly full of food--this time it's good home cooking from Monell's. The menu tonight was fried chicken, baked chicken with stuffing, fried porkchops, greens, coleslaw, Italian green beans, corn pudding, biscuits, fried green tomatoes, broccoli salad, mashed potatoes, fried apples and strawberry shortcake. The food is served family style and everybody sits at big tables. Although I was a solo diner this evening, I sat with four other people, which was nice. The food is superb, which you might expect from a restaurant that's been in business since the 1880s. If they didn't have good cooking figure out by now they'd have gone out of business by now, don't you think?

I got three pattern rows on the Kiri done last night. I got another pattern row done this evening before dinner and hope to get two more pattern rows done before bedtime. Right now I think I'll do two more pattern repeats after this one, then the border. That will add one pattern repeat more than the original, if I recall things correctly. I might go with three more repeats to make it even larger.

The few times I wore the shawl before its unfortunate accident, I really wanted it to be a bit larger than it was. Not so much longer, as deeper across the shoulders. I suppose I ought to design a shawl/stole hybrid. No pointy bit pointing at one's behind (which makes me think of my friend Dr. Pete who refers to men's ties as "dick pointers") and a nice wide covering for the shoulders/upper arms before tapering to the traditional pointy ends. I expect this trapezoidal shape has already been developed and I might even have a pattern or three in that shape. Will have to do some research.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Travel Knitting Again!

I am comfortably ensconced in a hotel room with a belly full of good Japanese food and some mindless entertainment on the television (Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe). I have brought the Kiri and the blue sock for my knitting. I'll see how far I get with the Kiri in the next hour. I'm going to bed at 10pm so I can get up early to workout and have breakfast. If the weather cooperates, I'd like to walk to the training session tomorrow (about 5 blocks) and maybe pick up a latte at the library coffee shop while en route.

With any luck I'll get an uninterrupted evening of knitting tomorrow night too. w00t! Of course, I'll have to also consider what I want to eat tomorrow evening. Decisions, decisions.....

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Becoming a Smarter Knitter

I have achieved a new level of knitting intelligence. I figured out that during the 4th quarter of the Illinois-Michigan football game I needed to knit something truly mindless, like ribbing, instead of trying to knit either the Kiri or the Mystery Stole.

Apparently I do learn eventually from having to rip back after making mistakes when distracted by a close game or other equally engaging activity. I did get one repeat of the Kiri knit before the game captured too much of my attention. I might get another repeat done tonight. I think I'll watch one of the Lord of the Rings movies, one of the Thin Man movies or Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

More Knitting!

I have just finished picking up the live stitches on the Kiri (having had to rip back three repeats plus the border to fix the tear in it). I have no idea where in the pattern I'm at now. I'll have a look at that shortly. The working yarn is in the middle of a pattern row.

Fledgling Wing
I haven't quite finished the first repeat on the wing. I dislike having to keep a stitch marker at the end of the row where I turn and knit back. It gets in my way, but I have discovered with this particular pattern it's easier to use the stitch marker than to have to count or examine the knitting and see where the P2tog goes before the turn. Oh well, I'll live.

When I pinned out the stole last week for the picture, I discovered that it will block out larger than I thought. It might actually qualify as a stole, instead of a scarf. Of course, there's no telling how well it will stay blocked once I wear it. Once it's finished and blocked for real, we'll see how big it gets.

I have been slowly building up my Ravelry entries. I'm listed there as morenna if you want to look. I don't have any photos posted and I'm not likely to do so any time soon. I am not really keen on having to start a Flickr account in order to post photos. It would be nice if I could use them off my server instead of having to put them up somewhere else. Oh well.... I'm not sure how much time I'll be spending there anyway since it will, once again, cut into my knitting time.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I did manage to get some knitting done while I was in Chicago for Marathon weekend. I ripped back the red sock repeat that I'd goofed up the previous week. I even managed to knit a repeat and a half correctly before setting the sock down. I might get the first sock done some time this fall. With any luck the second sock won't take me two years and I can have a complete pair by the spring....

No progress on the Mystery Stole's wing. I thought I had printed out the chart for the wing, but I'm not sure where I put it. If nothing else, I'll put the chart together tonight and perhaps get some knitting done on it tomorrow.

Kiri has not yet been put on the needles for it's re-knitting. That might be a Sunday afternoon job.

More Travel Knitting Coming Soon!
I have two nights of travel next week for work. I hope to spend at least one night just hanging out in my hotel room relaxing and knitting. I don't mean to be antisocial, but after a long day at a meeting it's nice to just drool on myself and do something therapeutic.

Friday, October 05, 2007

No knitting. :-(

I got really busy at work this week and now I'm on the road again (Iit's marathon weekend in Chicago, even though I'm not actually running waddling this year). I do have knitting with me, but I will be really surprised if I get any done. I brought the red lace sock to rip back and the blue trekking socks for actual knitting.
The MS3 stole is still hanging out on the couch after posing for its photo. It really wouldn't have been a good choice anyway, given that it requires concentration and attention to detail, which I'm unlikely to have hanging out with my family and participating in conversation.

Although I'll be in the Chicago area for the next three days, I will not actually be going to any yarn/fiber shops. I just don't have the time or the budget for that. I did buy yarn at Needleworks last weekend though and in Memphis a few weeks before that. I think that will get me by just fine. It's not like I have any shortage of yarn or spinning fiber or fleece. Anybody want to buy part of my 25 pound stash of plain white cotton roving? :-) (seriously, if you'd like some, let me know and we can work out a deal)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Clue 4 Finished! The Wing Awaits!

After knitting, ripping, knitting and ripping rows 405-407 about three times, I have finally finished Clue 4. I used my friend Beading Banshee's modification to carry the border pattern around the top of the stole before the wing starts. I am *not* going to start the wing tonight. It's nearly past my bedtime and I think I'll have to pay a bit of attention to what I'm doing at least for the beginning of the wing area.

Next I'll need to get the Kiri back on the needles, so I can finish knitting it again.

The Cursed Red Lace Sock
Remember the red lace socks? They're knit from red Nylamb using the Lacy Arrow Sock pattern from the Spin-Off Sock Book that came out several years ago. I took them with me to Champaign over the weekend so I could knit on them at Needleworks. I had marked the row I was ready to knit in the pattern, so I merrily knitted away for about 8 rows. And then discovered that I had not apparently marked the starting row correctly. I'll be ripping out the inch of progress I made. It seems like this happens whenever I make significant progress on that sock. I must have knit the gusset area four times. Once I got halfway down the foot before noticing an obvious error in the lace right in the middle of the instep.

Part of me wants to give up since I can't manage to finish even the first sock of the pair. The other part of me wants to beat this darned thing into submission. The sock is beautiful. It's just not cooperating particularly well at the moment.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Yarn Crawl!

I was able to visit my favorite "local" yarn shop yesterday. Needleworks is located in Champaign. I've been a customer of Sharon's since 1986, when I purchased a couple of cross-stitch patterns. Needleworks was primarily a needlepoint/cross-stitch shop then. Now it's mostly a knitting shop. Completely coincidentally they're having an anniversary party and giving discounts on purchases. W00t!

I hadn't intended to purchase any yarn at all, but then I found the stash of Mountain Colors yarns and saw a skein of Weaver's Wool Quarters in the Bitterroot Rainbow colorway that really wants to become my favorite pair of socks this winter. I'll probably use my usual pattern for this yarn--Braided Toeholder by 3 Trails Knitting Designs. There was a similar colorway in another yarn, but it would have ended up requiring three skeins to get a pair of socks and I didn't want to mess with that hassle.

That was going to be the end of the purchases, until I saw a lovely skein of lace weight yarn. It's 1200 yards of superfine alpaca from J. Knits in a pale sage green color called Pueblo. I tried to resist it, but it told me it wants to become the Print O' the Wave shawl.

I'll head back over there today so I can hang out and knit with my yarn buddies. W00t!

Friday, September 21, 2007

An Argument in Favor of a Knitting Journal

Remember the rip in the Kiri? I attempted to mend it today. I decided it was beyond my abilities. Part of the problem is that part of one row was ripped out and while I could fix a simple rip, I don't know how to recreate the missing row from nothing. So I ripped back about six repeats of the Kiri pattern. What does this have to do with a knitting journal? I don't know what needle size I used for the silly shawl. I think it was a size 3. The pattern calls for a 5mm needle, but I'm certain I used a smaller one than that. I have a size 4 out right now, but that seems too big. I'll pick up the stitches in the morning with a size 3 and see how that goes.

This weekend I will work on the Mystery Stole and see if I can get up to the wing section. I haven't got too much house/yard work to do this weekend so I should be able to manage some serious knitting (unless I get bored and too fussy to sit still).

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Knitting Night!

I cleaned data until I was brain dead at work today. Now I'm going to brew a pot of lime-ginger tea, plant myself in the comfy chair and knit the night away. If there's nothing good on TV this evening, I have several audio books on my computer to keep me company.

I cannot think of anything I have to do this coming weekend, except mow the lawn and perhaps wash my car. Perhaps I can get the Mystery Stole up to the beginning of the wing....

Re-starting the charity knitting
While the Dulaan Project was running I spent at least a couple of hours every other Sunday knitting on charity items. I haven't done that in a while. I think it's time to resurrect that custom. I have plenty of yarn which would be suitable for hats, mittens, sweaters, scarves and socks. I just need to pick a charity and the relevant projects, then get started!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bad Gauge

Well, I have unraveled Fawkes. They were going to be huge. Way too big for me. I could probably make them in Claudia's Handpaint if I went down a needle size. (I had started them on size 2 needles.) I might try them again on size 1s. Or I might make myself some ribbed lace socks from Sensational Knitted Socks instead.

So I spent last night with the blue Trekking socks. I don't know if I'll work on them again tonight or if I'll go back to the Mystery Stole. Decisions, decisions....

Sunday, September 16, 2007

It's almost border time!

The Mystery Stole is presently at Row 327. The end of Melanie's cat's paw section is at Row 329. Beading Banshee's pattern adds some extra cat's paw sections (she estimates an extra 11 inches, but I suspect that will be shorter at my gauge). I'm printing out the modification now. I don't think I'll be ready to knit the wing by the end of today, but I should be fairly close.

I have found an extra yarn over in one of the cat's paws at the edge of the body, but I'm not going to drop the two involved stitches back and fix it. I might notice the error, but nobody else will. Ordinarily this sort of thing would bug me (I always have to fix lace errors in socks, for example), but apparently it's not an issue with a scarf/stole.

Which brings me to the size of the stole. Unblocked, I have a gauge of about 10 sts per inch in stockinette stitch. I don't think this will be so much as stole as a scarf, which is just fine with me. I seem to be developing a collection of knitted scarves. When I get enough of them, I'll start giving them away.

New Yarn
I decided a road trip was in order and visited a couple of yarn shops yesterday. I almost bought some Mountain Colors yarn at the first shop, but the colorways they had I already own or wasn't thrilled with. The next shop was crowded, but didn't have much in the way of anything in which I was interested. There was a bit of Koigu and some self-striping sock yarn, but I'm not a huge fan of self-striping and never have been bitten by the Koigu bug. I think the Koigu colors are wonderful, but it holds no magic for me. Had I been interested in sweaters of DK to worsted weight yarn, I would have found many things to buy, but that's not what I wanted.

At the third yarn shop, I did pick up a skein of cobweb weight wool (FaRe by Baruffa 1350 meters in 100 grams). I have already picked the project for this yarn--the Cheshire Cat Stole. I won't start it soon, but it's on the list now and the skein is labeled with its intended project.

Today's Knitting

I'd like to get the Mystery Stole done to the wing, but I'll settle for getting the cat's paw section finished and be ready to start the border. I could probably get more done, but yard work and housework need to be done. Much as I hate to do it, I will have to do some laundry and FOLD it today. The pile of clean clothes at the end of the bed just needs to go away.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ahhhh, the soothing rhythm of the knitting....

Despite being frazzled the past couple of days, I managed to work on the MS3 without making mistakes. I am now about to start Row 303. At Row 335 I start the border that Beading Banshee designed to go between the wing and the body of the stole. I'm getting closer!!!!

Yeah, still haven't frogged that one back. I have, however, printed out the pattern so I can keep track of what row I'm on. Checking things off on the laptop screen just doesn't work very well.

New Shawl Pattern!
My mom e-mailed me a free shawl pattern today. A friend or co-worker of hers knits and had mentioned this freebie yarn company pattern. So she gave Mom a copy, Mom scanned it and sent me the .jpg. I haven't looked at it terribly closely. I don't want to risk becoming distracted.

Last winter's lace scarf
Remember this? It's one of the Elizabethan Scarves from KnitPicks that I knit in their laceweight alpaca yarn. It's a heathered green color. Anyway, the scarf is about two feet too long, a couple inches too narrow and a bit floppy in gauge. The loose gauge actually helps the scarf grow in length and shrink in width as I wear it. I absolutely love the color, but cannot stand the execution of the pattern.

So I am seriously considering frogging the whole thing and re-knitting it at a tighter gauge and adding another repeat to the width. I'll keep pondering that for a while. I have another ball of KnitPicks lace weight yarn in my stash, so I could even knit a new scarf before frogging this one, not that I expect it to be scarf weather before February and possibly not even then. (Let's remember that I've spent the past 20 years living in a place where the high temperature doesn't get above freezing for days to weeks at a time and snow lasts longer than a few hours.)

But first I need to get my current socks in progress done. No new projects started until the Trekking socks, the red lace socks and the Mountain Colors socks are done. But I can plan while I knit. Oh boy, can I plan. :-)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Well, that worked out well


So, the Fawkes socks were started. I got up to Row 10 fairly quickly. Probably because I completely skipped Row 5 (and corresponding plain row 6). I *swear* there was no Row 5 in the chart when I was knitting. Sigh.

I finished the night with a couple of rounds on the blue Trekking socks, then two rows of the Mystery Stole (now on Row 278).

So I'll rip out the Fawkes socks to Row 4 and start again. I will print out the pattern too so I can mark rows off instead of knitting from the computer screen.

Maybe working on the Mystery Stole isn't such a bad idea after all. I certainly don't seem to be less prone to mistakes working on other projects!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I couldn't help myself

I started a new pair of socks. It's the Fawkes socks from Socktopia using my Poppy yarn from Claudia Handpaints. This was part of my purchase from the Garden District Needlework Shop in New Orleans. I'm not entirely certain that I have quite enough yarn for the full pair, but fortunately I have some plain orange sock yarn that can be used for heels and toes. I did change the cuff to K2, P2 from K1, P1, but I'm debating changing it back. I'm not a big fan of K1, P1 cuffs, but that will blend more smoothly into the pattern than K2, P2.

As for the Mystery Stole....
I'm still early on Chart F. The reason I set it aside yesterday is that I ended up knitting the first row of Chart F twice. I had failed to mark it off the list, so I knit it again. I noticed this two rows later. Sigh. I carefully tinked back to the first Row 271 and set it down. I wasn't interested in starting up again and making another mistake, so I started Fawkes.

Of course, I ended up talking in the phone and unable to concentrate on the unfamiliar stitch pattern, so I knit the blue Trekking socks while I was on the phone. It's my usual beaded rib sock and essentially mindless.

I'll see about getting back to the stole in the next few days. I'd like to think I can finish Chart F in a week, but suspect that real life might intrude if I definitely set that goal.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Still Starting Chart F!!!

Yeah, so I haven't done any knitting since I finished Chart E. I got busy and then I got hooked on a book (A Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez) and then people kept calling me on the phone and this stole is NOT something I can knit while talking.

But tonight. Tonight I'm going to knit two rows on my stole. Really. I am.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Starting Chart F!!!

Yay! I'm currently on Row 270. Clue 4 ends with row 335 with the pattern as written. I'm not a big fan of the transition between the main body of the stole and the wing portion as the pattern was originally written. A friend of mine, The Beading Banshee, wrote a different transition that brings the border of the rest of the shawl around the end of the cat's paw area before the wing is started. I think this makes for a more elegant join and I've chosen to use BB's modification for my stole.

I need to pin out the stole soon and figure out if I want to add more length to it or not. Right now, the stole appears to be more of a scarf than a shawl. This is perfectly ok with me, but it would be good to know what sort of finished size I might expect.

The Next Project
Now I'll have to figure out what to do next. Several weeks ago I proposed using a calendar system to get projects finished. Then I started the Mystery Stole where the clues were given out once a week and there was some pressure to get things done on schedule so as to not get too far behind everybody else. I discovered that by working regularly on a SINGLE project I can make visible progress over the course of a week and thus stay motivated. The more motivated I stay, the more progress I make. I also made a point of limiting my other evening activities (excessive web surfing and blogging) so that I can have 30 minutes or more of knitting time.

With the Mystery Stole, the wing section will go fairly quickly since the rows are short. I could have the stole finished in the next two weeks. I have some socks awaiting me. The red lace sock has been hanging out either abandoned or ignored for several years now. There are two second socks I need to start: the blue Trekking socks and the red Mountain colors socks. And then there are the toes which need to be re-knit due to wear or being too short.

Right now I have chosen the blue Trekking sock as the next target. Once the blue sock is done, I'll finish the toes to a pair of socks. Then I'll go back to the red lace sock and another pair of toes. Perhaps by the end of October I'll have one pair of new socks and one pair of mended socks. The red lace will take a bit longer.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Holiday Knitting

Oddly enough, I haven't done much knitting. Isn't that funny? I have an extra day to get things done and/or to knit or otherwise goof-off, but I get even less done. This isn't doing much to improve my mood or attitude. It seems like a colossal waste of the weekend to me.

Anyway, I'm up to Row 259 now. I did get a bit of knitting done while on travel. Maybe I'll do more this evening. Maybe I won't. blah.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Progress Continues....

I'm up to row 243 now. That's halfway through Chart E or 1/4 way through Clue 4. I am away at a meeting part of this week, so I don't know how much I'll get done. I ought to get some progress made though, perhaps even to Row 260.

I ended up driving the corporate vehicle today, but I did pack a sock as car knitting. I'll be driving back at the end of the trip too, so it's highly unlikely there will be sock knitting this week.

Now I just need to work on not overeating and on getting up in the morning to use the fitness center. I have all of the Lord of the Rings DVDs with me in case there isn't anything fun on the TV, although Mr. and Mrs. Smith just ended, so perhaps TV will be entertaining afterall.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Slow Going

I did get in a good bit of knitting last night. I don't feel like I'm making much progress though, even though I am still checking off rows in the pattern. I think it's because this is the section where there's a 4 row repeat and nothing new is introduced. I'm up to row 237 now, which is 1/4 of the way through Clue 4. I have just a few non-knitting things to accomplish today, so I might get to row 265 today.

I'm looking for a new charity to send knitted things to. I got used to knitting a hat every couple of weekends for The Dulaan Project. I came across a link to the Friends of the Pine Ridge Reservation in the past week. The site lists various organizations which take donations of clothing, school supplies, knitted or sewn items and craft supplies. Today there were three sewing circles listed which accept donations of fabric, notions, yarn and knitting needles. I do believe I'll be able to clear out some of the yarn I am unlikely to use any time soon as well as some of the fabric I've been hoarding. It's all new fabric and yarn, just not items that I'll actually use because my tastes have changed or because I'm just not going to accomplish all the projects I had in mind when I bought it. Donating these things will help me clean out my fabric closet *and* do something useful with the items at the same time. Yay!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Knitting Night!

The Fellowship of the Ring is on TNT tonight. Of course it's got commercials and it's full screen and it's not the extended version, so I'll put the "real" DVD on in a little bit. But I'll knit my way through the whole movie this evening. That should enable me to add an inch or two to the stole's length. I haven't touched the thing at all this week.

MS4 Announcement
Melanie said that next year's project will start in August instead of June/July so that it won't interfere with the Knitting Olympics. Her mom will actually be the designer. I have seen some of Georgia's other work and I might have to buy a new pattern or two.

Sock Cravings
For some reason I'm starting to angst for a bit of sock knitting. It's certainly not the weather bringing this on. Perhaps I can sense that fall is around the corner. I don't know. I really want to finish the 2nd sock of the Mountain Colors pair. Of course last week I really wanted to work on the Trekking sock. Who knows what I'll want to work on next week.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Miniscule Progress

Just four rows accomplished yesterday on MS3. The good news is that I'm watching My Sister Ilene on TCM tonight, so will have plenty of knitting time. I figure I can get a dozen rows done with any luck. I'm in the middle of the less interesting honeycomb section. In looking at the pictures of finished stoles others have done, I'm not entirely keen on the transition to the wing section, but I don't know that I want to make the symmetrical version either. I think I'll keep on with the pattern as originally designed. I don't have to like it or wear it. I can always give it away. It's still been fun.

I very nearly cast on the second blue Trekking sock tonight while I was cycling on the trainer, but I got distracted by the sweating. I'm looking forward to working on socks when the stole is finished.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Clue 3 Finis!

I was, however, too lazy to pin it out for you. I'd rather get started on Clue 4, which is twice as long as the preceding clues. I'm on row 200 now. I'll be on row 335 at the end of Clue 4. It'll take me more than a week to get there, I suspect.

On the reading front, I've started Debbie MacComber's third book about the Blossom Street knit shop. I can't remember the name of it. I've read fewer than ten pages of it. I hope that it doesn't assume that I've read the first two books. The library here doesn't have the first two books, just the third one. For some reason that seems to be how book series work at this library.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Clue 2 Done!

I stayed up a bit later than I intended, but I did manage to get through the last twenty rows of Clue 2 this evening! Yay for me!!!

Now I'll have to find my copy of Clue 3. I think I printed it out, but I could be confusing things. I have a good couple of audio books on my laptop. I could get most of the way through Clue 3 by Friday night. If I don't get distracted or knit myself some errors.

Three Bags Full finished!
I've finished the sheep mystery. I know who killed the shepherd. The sheep didn't quite get it right, but it all ended well. And their new shepherd reads them stories just like George did. It's quite a good book and I'd recommend it if you like mysteries. There were a few parts that were a bit slow and I skipped ahead a bit, but I found the characters to be well-rounded and interesting. The fact that most of them were also sheep just made it more fun. Mopple the Memory Sheep ate a bag of marijuana and slept for two days which really confused his flockmates. The flock also entered itself in the Smartest Sheep in Glennkill Contest. They lost, but they put on a good show.

Hurt Shawl Pic

It's really not all the bad if you look at it from a distance. The rip is about 3 pattern repeats (plus the border) from the bottom of the shawl. I did recall correctly that it's 4-6 stitches wide. That's the three stitch garter border, plus the edge yarn over and one or two stitches from the first leaf. What I can't quite tell is if I'm missing a row of stitches in the middle. If I am, it's just one row, but it doesn't look like it.

I think I can do the garter grafting without much trouble. The only thing that worries me is the end of that leaf motif and getting that picked up/grafted neatly. Of course this rip is right on the edge where I'll be looking at it just about every time I wear it. On the other hand, at least it's not in the middle of the back of the shawl where everybody else will look at it. Heck, I'm just glad that it's not smack in the middle of a lace motif.

And on that note, I'll be letting the Kiri rest on the couch tonight while I keep going on the MS3. I really do think that I can finish Clue 2 tonight if I get started soon and stop being distracted by my blogs. Remember, another clue comes out Friday. I am at least not losing ground against

Shawl Shapes
I've been considering the various shawl shapes and which would be easiest mentally to knit. Not such much the technical part of things but which shape would be least likely to result in loss of motivation. I'd like some day to knit a circular shawl from the center out, but can't imagine the seemingly endless rounds once the shawl gets big. I remember talking ot a knitter once who said they had over a thousand stitches. Wow. It'd take a week to get around once. A square shawl from the center out would at least give you four sides to work on and break it down into more manageable pieces, even if the total number of stitches were the same.

Triangles are either slow to start or slow to finish. Casting on hundreds and hundreds of stitches could be a disaster, but you'd be accelerating as you approach the finish. Or you could cast on a few stitches and end slowly. I don't think I've seen any side-to-side triangle shawls.

Stoles are typically the same width all the way across though the ends may be pointed or irregularly shaped. Somehow that seems like it would be boring unless the pattern were challenging. Having knit an afghan in four panels, I know that it can seem interminable. I like the MS3 with the pattern coming in manageable chunks. I may have to divide all my knitting projects in to smaller chunks like that so that I can mark my progress more easily. Even if it's just ten rows at a time. I might have the big solution to my loss of interest in a large project!! Gold stars (or even just check marks) for finishing sections.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I am a bad shawl mommy!

It's true. I am. I discovered today that I apparently wheeled my desk chair over the edge of my Kiri Shawl last week at work. And put a 1 inch rip in the top edge. It's a pretty neat rip as far as rips go. The stitches aren't distorted or fraying at all. Just no longer connected. I think I can graft it back together. I hope I can graft it back together. I won't rip out half the shawl to fix this. If I rip that much, I might as well rip the whole thing out and I'm not going to do that.

Of course, I failed to bring said shawl home with me tonight, so I can't even ponder the repair process. I'll put it in my bag first thing in the morning when I get to work. I hope I won't need to wear it at the staff meeting. The conference room tends to be absolutely frigid in temperature. I'll post pictures of my poor little Kiri tomorrow. I know the garter stitch edge is torn and I think the rip goes in a few stitches into the pattern as well. I hope it's not too hard to make it whole again. I'm really not very good at grafting things. :-(

On a happier note, I am on Row 133 of MS3. Clue 2 ends at Row 150. I might actually get Clue 3 started this week! I hope I didn't just jinx myself.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Clue 1 Picture!

Here it is! I can see a few places which might be errors, but might not be errors. In any event, I'm going to ignore them. It would most definitely pass the galloping horse test and that's good enough for me.

Speaking of Lacy Things...
Here's a vintage WIP. It's a back buttoning tank top from a Samuel Charis kit.
I think I probably started it 7 years ago. I did knit the front, but frogged it since my gauge was too tight. This is as far as I got on one of the backs and if I recall correctly, my gauge might have been a bit too tight again and that was why I set it aside. It would be a great summer top if I'd finish it. Perhaps about January I'll start working on it so that I'll have it for next summer!

Knitting Weekend Plan!
The temperature this weekend is expected to be around 100 degrees for a high. This will rather limit what I'll be doing outdoors. There is a Vincent Price movie marathon on Turner Classic Movies tonight. Tomorrow is Doris Day Day. I can think of nothing more fun than to park myself in my comfy chair or on the couch and knit away. I wonder how far I could get on MS3 Clue 2! Clue 6 came out today.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Clue 1 Done!!!

I finally finished it last night. Only 4 clues left to go and I'm caught up! Of course, I'm entirely too tired to knit tonight.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I Have 96 Stitches.

I am not supposed to have 96 stitches. I'm supposed to have either 95 or 97 stitches. I've ripped back two rows and I think I am about to rip back row 93 to check it for errors. Sooooo close to finishing the first clue too. *pout*

This silly stole will *not* beat me. I will finish it!!! Then I'm going to nail the silly thing to the wall like a trophy. Or something.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Good News!!

No mistake in the knitting afterall! It would seem that I failed to check off the last row on the chart that I had knitted. I kept thinking about it after I went to bed last night and finally had to get up to see if I had perhaps just ended up one row past where the chart was marked. I tried to wait until morning, but my brain just wouldn't let me. I was far too tired to keep knitting after I figured out the problem however. So now I'm four full clues and 14 rows behind things. Oh well....

Apparently Yahoo Groups has decided to quit sending my Mystery Stole mail. I'm set up to receive digests, but alas nothing appeared the past few days. It's not in the spam folder. It's not in the inbox. It's AWOL. Of course, given the fuss today, I'm not sure I'm terribly upset. It would seem that the stole will not be symmetrical. This has disappointed some folks. When said disappointed folks shared their opinions about said disappointment, they were called rude. This of course started the de rigeur battle about whether or not differing opinions were allowed or could be considered rude. I guess if you're needing to get your panties in a knot about something, that's as good as anything else. Melanie chimed in and said it was perfectly fine for people to be disappointed with the design and that she had expected that given that you can't please everybody. This might have had a calming effect on the group. I'm not really sure. I had given up following the disappointment thread.

The beginning of the stole is pointed. The end of the stole will be rounded. The theme is Swan Lake. The rounded section is meant to be a wing. I think it'll be fine. I'm not normally a fan of the asymmetrical, but I see no reason to not try it and see what I think. If I don't like it, I'll give it away to someone or even to charity. It'll be fine.

Movie Knitting
It appears to be Mel Gibson war movie night on TNT. The Patriot is on now and We Were Soldiers is on next. Oddly enough both movies feature guerilla warfare, though the firepower in The Patriot isn't quite equal to that see in the Vietnam War.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Progress Halted

I found a boo-boo. The center stitch isn't in the center any more. It looks like I'll have to rip back 3-5 rows. I might get back to where I was yesterday by they end of the night. Here's how things looked yesterday....
Looking more closely at the center of the stole, I'm now not convinced that I goofed. The center yarn over might be where it should be. I wonder if I failed to mark off a row of the pattern and that is why I had "extra" stitches at the end of row 81. I'll have to count and see if that's what I did. I'd be way happier about that than having to rip and redo a couple of rows. Depending upon how I look at things the yarnovers are symmetrical and non-symmetrical. Sigh. Perhaps I just need a glass of wine....

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Ready to start Row 81

I'm just not making rapid progress on this silly stole. It's not that I'm having trouble with it. I seem to be lacking knitting time or, if I *do* get knitting time, I seem to be easily distracted by other things like cleaning the kitchen, cooking dinner or reading a book.

On the other hand, I *am* making progress, so that's a good thing and I don't know that I can really complain too much. I still want to finish Clue #1 by the end of the week.

The Knitting Schedule
I had proposed rotating projects pretty regularly so that I would actually get projects finished. I have decided to suspend that plan until I get the Mystery Stole done. Once the stole is done I'll put the red lace sock, the Freedom Sweater and maybe the newly chosen Fawkes socks into rotation.

Holiday Knitting Plan
I haven't decided if I'm going to knit presents this year or not. I might knit toys for my niece and nephew. I haven't a clue which ones. I could make them different animals/toys or I could make the same animals/toys in different colors. I'm not sure which approach would result in the least amount of strife. I've also been thinking that it's time to start the gift sock rotation again. I've knit socks for all the female members of my family, but it's been a number of years. I could knit a pair for each of the four of them again. Not for any particular holiday, just because. It went over quite well the last time and the socks are still being worn! I still owe my sister an Alice Starmore sweater (started it over ten years ago). Perhaps that will enter the knitting rotation after the Freedom Sweater is completed.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Row 77 and counting!

I didn't quite get as far as the end of Clue #1. That would be row 100. But I did get four to six rows knitted. I'll get in another four to six rows tonight and sooner or later we'll get it done. With that said, I still want to get this clue finished this week and start catching up. I'd like to not be four weeks behind at the end of the knitalong. Remember, the next clue appears on Friday!

New Book!
Well, new library book at least. It's called Three Bags Full by Leoni Swann. It's a murder mystery. A shepherd is found dead in the pasture with a spade stuck in his chest. The detectives solving the mystery are the 19 sheep in the flock. I'm only on page 41 and must say that it's pretty entertaining so far. It reminds me a bit of Watership Down in that the sheep look at things quite differently than humans do, as did the rabbits of Watership Down. There is also a cute drawing in the bottom right corner of each page so that if you flip the pages quickly, the sheep appears to be leaping about. So far "God" seems to be a very suspicious character. We'll see how the plot continues to develop.

I've joined two blog rings, but haven't yet figured out how to add the actual buttons to the side bar. I've got the ring links there, but no images. I may just have to break down and read the directions. Sigh.

In the meantime, I'm off to add a couple more rows to my Mystery Stole!!! And perhaps pondering what Christmas presents to knit this year.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Still chugging away on Clue #1

Yeah, so I got a couple of rows done, then got too tired/unfocused to get it done. I may be the last person to finish Clue #1 for the first time. Yesterday I got sidetracked building a couple of websites. They aren't completely finished yet, but I've got Three Fates Fibers and Desserted Islands launched. I've got some sock patterns on the drawing board too.

Anyways, I'm working on the stole tonight. I've got my schedule cleared and it's past time for a knitting evening!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Back to the Knitting!

I just finished the last Harry Potter book about 30 minutes ago. No, I'm not going to tell you how it ends. I thought it was good and I'll probably re-read it in the next couple of months.

However, now that I'm done with the book, I'm ready to get back to the knitting. I *still* have not finished the first clue of MS3. Clue #5 is due out in exactly a week. I've got my work cut out for me if I want to stay just 4 clues behind everybody else. Fortunately, it's Friday, the moon is full and there's a darned good movie on the TV. (The Dirty Dozen, if you're interested, and we're just about to start the little war game. Improvise, adapt and overcome!!) I might just get the first clue finished tonight and a good chunk of Clue Two as well! Then again, I might get really sleepy in 45 minutes and quit early. And you know what? That's ok too.

Future Knitting....

Remember the new Poppy colored sock yarn I bought in New Orleans? It's decided that it wants to be a pair of Fawkes Socks from Socktopia. I think the orange color of the yarn will reflect the plumage of Fawkes the phoenix and also the flames that consume and rebirth him.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Fiber for the Birds!

This spring I put some bits and pieces of trashy fleece outside for the birds or other wildlife to use. I never was sure how much of it blew away or was picked up. A month or so ago I discovered that some bird(s) had built a nest in one of the potted ferns hanging at the front of the house. The nest was later abandoned, but you can see that there is indeed quite a bit of wool included in the nest. I'll leave more fiber out this fall, since I certainly will have some leftover "trash" from carding and combing.

MS3 Progress Pic
This is what it looks like after the first chart of Clue 1. Yes, I was lazy. I didn't pin it out so you can see the lace. You'll just have to be patient. Right now, I'm about four or five rows into the second chart of Clue 1 (Row 59 or so). I'll post another picture (pinned out properly) at the end of Clue 1 (Row 99).

There are quite a few people who have finished Clue 4 and are in the row 300+ area. These must be people who have household staff, family to cook/clean and are retired. I have no idea how else they could have gotten that far, unless they also don't sleep. I don't know about you, but when the rest of life gets to be overwhelmingly busy and hectic I often don't feel much like knitting or doing anything else fun. I suppose that's the years of being told that I can't do "fun" stuff until all my homework or chores are done. Imagine my surprise when I got to be a grownup and discovered that there is *always* work to be done. I'm working on allowing myself to have fun despite there being work to be done. And on that note, I'm going to go knit a bit.

Friday, July 20, 2007

MS3 Clue 4!

The fourth clue was posted today. I won't be starting it any time soon. I'm not even finished with the first clue, though I at least started the second set of charts last night. Unfortunately, I think I made an error in the next to last row I knit. I'll be tinking back this evening. Hopefully I don't have to go back more than one or two rows. I have finally printed out the charts, which will help. It's hard to follow along on the computer screen. Goal? To finish the first clue by the end of the weekend.

I'm actually learning quite a bit from this project but none of it has to do with knitting. It has to do with taking large projects and breaking them down into manageable pieces so that progress can be observed. Observable progress seems to be linked to greater motivation to keep working and thus the project gets finished. It occurs to me that I need to break down the larger projects in my life into smaller pieces, write down intermediate goals and have measurable progress toward those goals and the end goal. Looks like I'll be making myself some progress charts this weekend!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

No Longer Unique :o(

I thought I was being clever, but it would seem that great minds think alike. It turns out that another person has opened an Etsy shop called Three Fates Fiber. Pooh. Looks like I'll be only selling through my website and blog, not on Etsy. Sigh. At least I had the foresight to register the domain years ago. Of course, I only registered the commercial domains, not the .net versions. Double sigh.

MS3 Progress
I'm starting Charts B and C tonight (the second half of the first clue). I will be a good girl and pay my bills first, then sit down to knit. I've got some conundrums to work out in my head and knitting is a fine backdrop to that.

I'm going to have to put away my new yarn purchases though. The Poppy sock yarn is calling my name. It doesn't know what it wants to be, but it wants me to play with it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Knitting Happened!

So did yarn shopping!

I'm back from a week in New Orleans with four skeins of yarn and chart A of the first MS3 clue finished. W00t!

I stopped by the Garden District Needlework Shop and had a lovely time. I picked up a skein of Schaefer Anne sock yarn in the Babe Didrickson colorway (dark greens, blue and purple), a skein of Claudia Handpainted Yarn Silk Lace in Purple Earth, which is purples, pale blues, yellows and two skeins of Claudia Handpainted Yarn fingering weight yarn in Poppy. The Poppy is destined to be socks. The lace yarn will be a shawl eventually, possibly even Print O' the Wave.

Despite being busy all week, I did get some knitting done. I had taken the MS3 stole and a fairly plain sock in case I needed some simple knitting. I didn't touch the sock. I did get most of chart A done from the first MS3 clue though, so that was good. I might get the rest of Clue 1 finished this week, just in time to download the 3rd and 4th clues (clue 4 comes out on Friday). I haven't really stretched out the bit of the stole that I have finished, but so far I think it looks pretty good. I'll try to take a picture later this week.

Design Plans
I have been having a creative streak lately. I have had several design ideas for shawls and for socks in the past couple of weeks. I have dutifully been writing them in my little red idea book. Flipping through the book and the ideas which have been collecting there for the past several years, I should make the time in the next few weeks to start working up a few of these into actual patterns.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Experiment Aborted

I decided that I needed to work on my conference presentation for next week. I also had to start the laundry so I could pack for my trip. So no sock knitting happened on the 4th.

But I Have Travel Knitting Planned!
I will be taking the blue Trekking sock and the red lace sock with me. I'm also taking the Mystery Stole along. I downloaded the 2nd clue this morning. Then of course, I had to print Clue #1 again since the previously printed copy had vanished. I'll pack it all up and take it along with me, just in case I can get started.

New Orleans LYS!

The Quarter Stitch is within walking distance of my hotel, near Jackson Square. The Garden District Needlework Shop is on Magazine Street and is apparently one of the largest needle shops in the southeastern US. I wanted to stop by the Magazine Street fire station anyway, so that works out just fine. I spent two nights at the Magazine Street station the week after Katrina. The ambulance company I worked for sent units down to help with the rescue/recovery effort. It will be weird to see the place without a national guard unit and snipers.

I don't have any particular purchase in mind, but I might pick up another skein of lace-weight yarn. Something besides red. I already have two skeins of red lace weight. Perhaps a pale blue or black.

Knitting Organization Progress:

Well, after deciding upon my completion "schedule", I haven't actually knit anything. How's that for a bad bit of luck? I hope to get some practice in on the whole knitting schedule thing while on my trip. That's part of the reason why I'm taking three projects.

I have been going through my yarn and fiber stash in my head, however, and trying to think of what each yarn, roving and fleece wants to be. I had already started this to some extent with the sock yarn. I have pattern names written on several of the labels already. With the stash database, this process could be fairly simple. I just have to remember to write down what I decide upon or I'll never remember any of it.

The Fresian Fleece
Is now mulch in the garden. Because it got rained on so much and didn't ever get a chance to dry out, it started to smell pretty funky. Really ripe, actually. I decided that there wasn't likely to be any way that the smell would ever come out of it, so I threw it in the garden. I didn't pay that much for it and it wasn't particularly clean and had certainly not been skirted. I had a total of three fleeces, which ended up being about 2 fleeces of wool clean enough to be usable. Even then there was considerable veggie matter (mostly straw/chaff). It came out easily enough when being flicked and carded, but having been spoiled by completely veggie matter-free fleeces, I can't say I was particularly interested in fighting with it. Anyway, I got enough usable (and non-stinky fleece out of the boxload to make it worth what I paid for it. The rest of it is a learning experience and mulch. I'm completely ok with that.

The Gray Curly Fleece

I have come up with a great idea for this fleece. I had considered turning it into lace weight yarn for a shawl. I've decided that this is indeed what it wants to be. I think I will try dyeing it a pale lavender color, then knit a shawl or stole in memory of my recently departed friend, DZD. She had gray hair and loved purple. Her hair may have been considerably darker than this fleece, but I have always associated silvery gray and purple with her. Pattern/design to be determined later. I can work on that part of it during the carding and spinning process.