Monthly Archives: April 2007

FO: Elfine’s Socks

They’re done! And such perfectly appropriate socks to wear on May Eve.

Elfine's Socks - finished!

Another pair of socks completed (mostly during lunchtimes!). Again, I worked these socks on a single circular needle (Magic Loop method), having divided the skein into two roughly equal balls, and casting on both socks at once. (See my previous post for tips on how to do this.)

I’m quite pleased with the way these turned out. For all that it’s a lace pattern, there is a lot of stretch in it, so the’re fitting me quite snugly, without sagging. The short-row heel also came out well, and is fitting nicely.

Elfine's Socks

Doesn’t the colourway remind you of spring flowers? I’m quite taken with it worked in the leaf-lace:

Leaf Lace detail

Pattern: Elfine’s Socks, by Anna Bell
Yarn: Fleece Artist Sea Wool; purple/green/blue/pink colourway
Needles: 2mm 80cm-long circular
Modifications: 2×2 ribbed cuff worked instead of rolled stockinette brim. (I just didn’t want my socks to roll down!)
Project Timeline: March 19th? to April 28, 2007.



Filed under FOs, knitting

What Goes Around

Here’s a conversation I think Dru must be getting sick of hearing:

Me: “Hey Dru…”
Him: “Yes Em?”
Me: “There’s a SPINNING WHEEL in our livingroom!”

Spinning wheel

That’s right, folks, a spinning wheel in my very own living room! I barely can believe it, for all that I’ve had this lovely Ashford Elizabeth wheel since Saturday night.

I don’t know how to write about it and its acquisition. I want to tell you the details, and I want to make a (pseudophilosphical) point too. I suppose I haven’t yet found my authorial “voice” (but best leave that for another post, eh?).

Here’s how I came to have a spinning wheel in my livingroom (!):
On Saturday Dru and I went to an SCA event, a day of volunteer-run classes geared towards teaching the public various medieval knowledges/skills. There was a course on using hand-carders and combs, so I really wanted to go just for that, but otherwise just wanted to see some newly-joined young ladies to pass on some CDs of ballads to them. Now, for all that the flake-factor can be pretty high, there are some things about the SCA that I really love, most notably the “learning by doing” attitude, coupled with a great amount of willingness to teach/share. I slept in Sat. morning, and so missed the fiber-prep class; I ran into the instructor in the halls, and spent about 3 hours in the afternoon getting a recap/private lesson, sitting on the floor surrounded by sharp combs, handmade spindles, and bags of fleeces. (See: very open and encouraging folks here!)

That would have been enough to make my day a success, but after playing with fleeces to my heart’s content (read: got guilty about happily combing up lots of someone else’s fibre) I broke out my own spindle and went to talk with some people I know. Another woman I know peripherally was sitting with them, working on some stellar embroideries (period/natural/hand-dyed threads!). I didn’t notice it at first, being hidden behind a large embroidery frame, but this lady had a spinning wheel back there, and (of course) when I did see it I excitedly asked her to show me how it works (never having seen a wheel “in action” before). She said sure, and got it set up. She put some roving to the leader, and began spinning; I watched in fascination. After about half a minute she passed the roving over to me and treadled, and then asked, How did I get here? I confusedly answered, Our car. She asked, Was there room in it for this? I looked stupid, and maybe sputtered a bit before catching on and answering, Yes!

Now, we do have a good friend in common, and he does live nearby, about halfway between her and I. But I really do not know her, other than through the SCA. So her offer to loan me the wheel for the next two months or so really has taken me for surprise. I am amazed at her trust, at her willingness to share, at her ability to let something go to help someone who wants to learn. The rest of the day I just spewed “thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou” at her whenever I saw her: her reply was merely, “Don’t mention it.”

And the whole ride home, it was “Dru,there’s a SPINNING WHEEL in our car!”

Now the way I see things, there is a magic that surrounds fibercraft, something that encourages people to be open and free with their knowledges (and supplies!). To pass it on. Like a spinning Wheel, it turns and turns, and with each rotation helps to create something new. I want to learn; what I need comes to me. I want to teach, and so I try to put out what I can, here on this blog and in person. The Wheel of Fortune turns, bringing new experiences, granting things that are needed as they are needed, knowing that you will be its instrument in a future cycle. The fact that I have a spinning wheel on loan for the next few months from a woman that doesn’t really know me has confirmed these things for me. I hope that in some future turning I may do the same.


Filed under exchanges, SCA, spinning, spinning-wheel

1905 Knitting

Here’s a quaint little Knitting as Recreation article from McCall’s Magazine, June 1905. Turns out people have known that knitting is good for recovery and relaxation for a long time :)

I also just really like that the entire issue of the magazine is online; that’s just nifty. Does anyone else know of some truly vintage knitting patterns on the web?


Filed under knitting

5 Questions

Amelia (another sharerer of the Inescapable Name), aka The Bellwether, recently had a nifty meme up on her blog. I took the bait, and so here are my answers to the five questions she asked me:

1) Why do you like (or, dislike, should that be the case) chocolate?
First off, I do, very much so, like chocolate. I know that there’s lots of science that explains the happy-making tummy/brain chemistry of chocolate, but really I think the reason why I like it is that it is a sweet treat (I have a very sweet tooth!) with a warm and complex flavour. It is both exciting and comforting at the same time.

2) What’s your favorite knitting tool?
Odd question, this. Ignoring the scarcastic part of my brain that says “um, needles?”, I think first I have to confess one thing: I am a knitting cheapskate. (Actually, my drop spindle escapades should illustrate this full well!) I don’t really have a tonne of knitting tools, and even the basics that I have are pretty bottom-tier. So, while I’d like to be able to say something like “my Lantern Moon ebonys” or “my electric ballwinder”, I think my favorite tools are the things I can make on-hand as neeeded for the project: safety pins or twists of wire for stich-markers, a Swiffer handle “nostepinne”, a shoebox “lazy-kate”, what ever I need at the moment and can cobble for myself. Maybe that really makes my favorite knitting tool my odd brain?

Tell me about 3 Amelias that you know (historical, fictional, or real).
~ Amelia #1 (historical): Amelia Earhart, about whom I know little, but she springs to mind. I’ve often had it said that I’ve my head in the clouds; maybe this is a trait of Amelias…
~ Amelia #2 (fictional): Amelia Bedelia, that amusingly literal-minded maid from beloved children’s books. I think as a kid, I liked reading about her becuase she also had the Name, and was a bit sillier/scatterbrained than I was.
~ Amelia #3 (real): Amelia Coleman, my great-Grandmother. My Grandma was always telling me how I must have inherited my creativity from her: as a wife and mother, she taught piano to bring in extra pin money and apparently preferred handicrafts to housework; as a young woman she was once commissioned to sing before Queen Victoria. I wish I could have met her, across the ocean and the years, but I like to think that I have inhereited more than just her name.

4) What career path did you not take, and why?
Nearing 30 and barely having a career path at all, this is a touchy one! Most recently, however, I have chosen not to pursue a PhD, something I truly thought was “for me”. Last year, as I was completeing my MA, I was seeing sides to academia that I really didn’t like, things that made me hurt and angry. When autumn came (the time for applying to PhD programs), I let it pass, no applications, no contact with professors. There was still too much frustration inside when I thought about being a student again.
Lately, there is less anger, but I think that the distance has let me think about academics as a career choice with a broader perspective. There are still many things about it that lure me, teaching being the topmost (oh, how I would love to just speak to people about reading good books!), and I know that every job comes with its own set of stresses and sacrifices. I’m just not sure it is “for me” though, and until I do know, I’m going to see what else there is in the world for me to try. I do think that I will get a PhD someday, but it may be more to satisfy my ego than to reclaim that career path.

5) In what ways does your fiber habit make you a better person?
When I knit or spin, I am usually calmed, finding a peace in the rhythms of fibrecraft that I don’t get through music, embroidery, drawing, or whatnot. And even those times when I’m swearing like a sailor as I rip out sitches or drop the spindle again, these moments teach me to have patience, to believe in my ability to fix my own mistakes, to not give up.

So, want to play? Here’s the scoop:
1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone
else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five


Filed under memes, rambling

Pixel-Stained TechoPeasant Day Offering

For St. Jodi and International Pixel-Stained TechoPeasant Day, it it time to share art.

Before I was a “knitter” I was considered somewhat musical, and a “bard” within the SCA. The Bardic community at large has always been so open and inviting, so full of knowledge and always ready with words of encouragement, they seem to embody the ideals behind this commemorative day. So, here are some “bardic” mp3s for you!

In honour of peasants everywhere, first I give you The Poacher’s Song. Lyrics and music by myself, recording/backing vocals/many instruments by the lovely Heather Dale.

And for the heck of it, here’s Bedlam Boys, a fine trad/folk piece recorded at the “Bardic Kitchen Party” a few years back (backing vocals/percussion by many of the Ealdormere Bardic College). The recording is rough and live, but I’m sure you can tell we were having fun!

If you feel like investigating the original albums these tracks are from, check out . I personally don’t have a full CD recorded (just a few of these “cameos”), but I know many of the wonderful artists who participate in the Amphisbaena project. For now though, the tracks above are “mine”, and I give them to you freely and gladly!

1 Comment

Filed under music, oddities, rambling, SCA

Give it away

First posted by the lovely Kelly, aka She Who Measures (among other things):

pixel-stained techno-peasant

Post your Art on the net: April 23
Give something away. Draw a picture, write a poem, post a pattern, write a song.

This started as a protest among writers thanks to some… provoking comments from Howard V. Hendrix (outgoing vice pres. of the Science Fiction Writer’s Association).

But it applies to all art mediums, to bloggers (who the gentleman specifically criticizes, among others, apparently blogging makes us weak) to teachers and designers of crafts, and as far as I’m concerned, really a lot to the knitblog community, because sharing is such a big part of it all.

Post the button, share some work, and/or share your thoughts on what this guy had to say – and he does have some thought-provoking things to say, despite their being couched in fairly offensive terms. And spread the word, please!

P.S. The pretty button, which amuses me greatly, was designed by Leigh Dragoon, a friend of my husband’s, who is a talented artist with an online comic and an obvious interest in this issue!

As Nutella to toast, consider the word spread.

On a somewhat related note, I sent away my Knitters Treat Exchange package today. I really hope that the recipient likes it! I got a very intriguing and amusing card from my SP10 pal yesterday, so now I’m all buzzed to see what ever I might get next, myself. I really am digging this reciprocal exchange thing, so I’m also very interested to see what will arise in the blogosphere on “Pixel-Stained Techno-Peasant” Art on the Net Day. I trying to see if I can come up with a pattern in time (not bloody likely!), so you might get some folk-music out of me instead.


Filed under rambling, ranting

FO: The Great Gatsby

“Can’t repeat the past?” he cried incredulously. “Why of course you can!”
~ The Great Gatsby, F.Scott Fitzgerald

Gatsby Girl , for me, was certainly an excercise in repeating the past: multiple cast-ons for front, back, and sleeve-edges, and three sleeves knit in total! Regardless, I think that these acts of repetition redeemed themselves in the end…

Gastby Girl sweater completed!

I really like the texture of the various stitches employed by this pattern, the way the lace and cables play off of each other:

Gatsby Girl - stitch details

For the shoulder-closures I used some simple but pretty round glass beads as buttons. I may change them someday, but I’m happy with them right now:

Gatsby Girl - side view

Not bad, for the first sweater ever knitted for myself!

The Great Gatsby Girl

Pattern: “Gatsby Girl Pullover” byJodi Green, in Interweave Press, Fall 2005
Yarn: “Luxury” Superwash Merino in a Dusty Rose
Buttons: Art-glass beads
Needles: metal straights as required
Modifications: Some fiddling with the sleeves in order to achieve the required length.
Crochet: done by the MIL
Project timeline: Fall 2006 to April 2007.


Filed under FOs, knitting

A pox upon poverty!

I was in Lettuce Knit at lunchtime today, picking up goodies for my Knitters Treat Exchange package, when I discoverd that they are now carrying Socks That Rock! Curses upon the budget that constrains me!! Damnable self control: I left with not a thing for myself at all.

At least I still have my Elfine’s Socks to console me, and a not-busy afternoon. And I’m as entranced with spinning as ever, and have even made some more yarn! More on that later. For now, I’ll leave you with a picture of Arddu inspecting my weekend’s SCA-event spinning…

Arddu & handspun

1 Comment

Filed under exchanges, rambling, ranting, SCA, spinning

Write Night

…even for a catchy blog title, I can’t bring myself to misspell it “nite”…

Today my first letter from the Knitterly Letter Swap arrived! Check out the creativity of my letter pal:

Knitterly Letter Swap #1

Not just a letter on pretty note cards, but a bloggy-business card*, polaroids of pets and snippets of yarn and fabric! I was shamed by her creativity; for my first letter, I just wrote a letter. Not very simple, this letters-to-strangers thing, but I really like getting new mail!

Remembering that this thing should be about reciprocity, I sat down and wrote letters. To return to the KLS letter pal. To a friend who had mailed me a book, unexpectedly, a month or more ago. To a friend who deserved a reply letter months ago. (But not to you, Kelly or Laura or whatevertheheck, I just ran out of writing-steam! Soon, though, I promise; and I have sent you emails!)

I have discovered that I like to write letters, a lot, but I that I wish I had better pens and paper. And a proper chair to put at my writing desk, or a proper desk pad to put on the diningroom table. I also think that I suppress myself more in my handwritten letters than I do even in blogging, something I find odd. Perhaps the act of pen-to-paper is more intimate and deliberate than typing, and I shy away from it. I think I’d like that to change. I’d like to improve my letter-writing, both in resurrecting my penmanship and in polishing my epistolary honesty. In the meanwhile, I’ll try to be a bit more open here, too. I know I like to read knitblogs like the Harlot or Ms. Knitingale, writers who share bits of their lives as well as their progresses in their craft.

So tell me, is there something you’d like to know about me? (Not in a creepy stalker way, of course.) And, would you like a written letter? I’ll see what I can do to reply to either.

* I so want one for myself! But, am not entirely happy with my blog title. Am I stuck with it forever? Will I ever be able to think of anything better?


Filed under exchanges, rambling

Spinning Peevish

Peeve the First

I’ve noticed that there are a lot of people, whith more experience with a drop-spindle than I have by far, who identify themselves as “spindlers”. I infer that this is to provide a separate designation for those who handspin on an drop-spindle from those who spin their yarn on a spinning wheel.

This term really bugs me, though. I mean, how many thousands of years have people been spinning fibre with spindles? And how many hundreds of years have they been spinning with wheels? I’m pretty sure that the answer to both is “3-4”. Shouldn’t the drop-spindle spinners get “dibs” on the name “spinner”, as they had held for so many, many generations? I know it’d be ridiculous to call the others “wheelers”, so why is “spindlers” alright?

Arrgh. I just want to spin. Am I not a spinner? Or maybe that makes me a spinster? (No, wait, I’m married, so that can’t be right either…)

Peeve the Second

Why are there no resources for the drop spindle spinner beyond the most basic of basics?

I borrowed Lee Raven’s Spin It: Making Yarn From Scratch from my local library, and I’m certainly glad I didn’t but it. Though I haven’t read it fully yet, from a flip-through it appears to contain nothing that I haven’t already found on the internet (making a CD spindle; the basics of spinning; a few really easy knitting & weaving patterns for homespun).

I don’t know if the few other books are maybe better (P. G-R.; the Interweave “Spindle Tresury”; etc.); I’m certainly hoping they are! I can “get” the basics. (I bet pretty much anyone could figure out how to start, given a bit of roving and a spindle.) What I’d like is resource to help take me from beginner to intermediate. Why is this such an extreme request? I know that the wheel-spinnners get tons of books and such on various hand positions, how to prep the fibre, add/detract twist, etc. Surely, even if spindle-spinning is a more personal and intuitive endeavour, there must be more information that could be passed on?


Filed under drop-spindle, ranting, spinning