Monthly Archives: June 2007

FO and PSA

FO: Monkey Socks!!



Pattern: Monkey Socks
Yarn: handspun merino, hand-dyed with Kool-Aid
Needles: 2.25mm DIY birch dpns (see PSA below)
Project Timeline: June 17-22, 2007
Modifications: picot cuff; only 5 reps. of pattern for leg; “Eye of Partridge” heel.

Dudes, are these things ever addictive! The lace pattern is so easy to memorize, they just seem to knit themselves. What a satisfying knit!

I’ve already started a pair for Dru (a belated birthday present):
Monkey sock for Dru

PSA: DIY Birch dpns.

Ok, you see those dpns there on that sock? Perfectly normal looking needles, right? 100% birch. Nice and smooth, great for socks.

Well, my friends, if you have $3.20 in your pocket and a Lee Valley store near by, needles just like these can be yours. One pack actually contains 100 birch mini-dowels, 6″ long and 2.25mm (1/16″) in diameter. Yeah, sure, you have to file them to points by yourself, and a bit of sanding makes them guaranteed sliver-free, but still, you do the math: 100 needles for about $3.20. A bit better than what Brittany or Clover charges, eh? (They come in 50-packs of 1/8″ diameter, too!)

Want a close-up?
DIY dpns DIY dpns



Filed under crafting, FOs, how-to, knitting

Belatedly Blocked and Blogged

Remember that Shetland Diamond shawl?

I finally blocked it. (Last week, sorry!) And what a difference!

SD shawl - centre
Centre square

SD shawl - edging

SD shawl - corner

SD shawl - blocked
The shawl, fully blocked, hung up on my bookcase for scale. I love how airy and see-through it is!


Filed under FOs, knitting, lace

Totally Drinking the Kool-Aid

It started innocently enough, explaining the process to a friend. But that brought up the memories, the fun I’d had zapping yarn in the microwave, the slightly fruity wet-sheep smell, those candy colours….

Then I was off, rummaging through drawers for those tiny packets of concentrated, mordant-inclusive, food-grade dye. My most recent hand-spun was soaking in the sink — various reds were mixed: cherry, strawberry, red grape — plastic wrap on the counter — yarn in the microwave!

The result, while somewhat electric, is not as crazy as it could have been if the Ice Blue Raspberry had been involved:
kool-aid dyed yarn: reds

The true indoctrination into the cult came after.
red handspun

That’s right, my friends: Monkey Socks, mini-sized with picot hem. Blame Margene and Cara, and the scent of Kool-Aid fresh out of the microwave….


Filed under Uncategorized

Friends and Strangers

Let me tell you about my past week, and about two people who’ve made it special. One is a dear friend, someone I’ve known for years. The other is pretty much a stranger, only briefly met. Both have, through their words and actions, restored not only some faith in humankind to me, but managed to boost my self-value as well, and for that I thank them here and now.

About a week ago I opened up a bit here. The next day, on top of many kind comments in the blog, I had an email waiting for me in my inbox. Like the comments, it was from a knitter and blog-reader, someone who I had met briefly at the Yarn Harlot booksigning a few weeks back. But this knitter’s email offered me more than kind words: she offered my an opportunity for an interview at the publication company where she worked! I was thrilled, but also shocked: this doesn’t happen to real people, I thought. But it does, on occasion, and it had happened to me. I had written that all I wanted was to be able to prove myself, for someone to take a chance on me: this knitter offered me that chance*.

That same day, I received a letter from my good friend Kelly, something that always cheers me up (you know me and my love of Good Mail). This letter was full of encouragement, including a story about how 30m of pink satin put her on the path to her e-business, and how she was sure that I just needed to find my own “pink satin”. I took these words to heart, and was glad for them, never expecting anything more. Mid-week, however, there was some internet communication from her of a cryptic nature. She said she was having a good week (and mine had picked up a bit too); I asked her if her “good thing” was fibre-related and she said no. So, when on Friday she posted that “someone left something at her house” and included a close-up shot of a spinning-wheel on her LiveJournal, my first thought was “liar — that’s fibre-related!”…. I’m dense like that. I never thought to have such a friend as to find some “pink satin” for me; that if a free(!) spinning wheel was to fall into her hands, that she would pass it onwards. I am truly still in awe at her generosity and faith in me. And I can’t wait to “meet” my new wheel!

These two experiences have shown me that friends and strangers are often more aware of what you need than your are yourself. I needed to see that there was more to myself than my own low opinion, that people externally could believe in me even when I barely believed in myself. I needed to see that I was not alone. I have received all this, and more, from these friends and strangers. I wonder now if when I opened up in writing, if I was opening myself to new possibilities as well, making way for the good things to come in.

*I had the interview earlier this week, and am in communication with the company still. Since then, I’ve also received another interview elsewhere — two in one week!


Filed under rambling


Saturday was the Great TTC Knit-A-Long, in honour of international Knit In Public Day. What A blast!

I was on the “Central Committee”, so my team met up at silly o’clock at Alterknit, a fabulous knit-cafe. It’s really chic and spacious, and where else an you get yarn and waffles?
Alterknit cafe
The Central Committee assembles in Alterknit.

Mmmm, waffles…

I fully admit I chose this team because the meet-up was at a place that would be serving breakfast, but I’m glad for that: it gave us all some time to sit and chat. (And eat waffles. And buy yarn.)
Alterknit at breakfast
I shared my breakfast table with many knitbloggers: Marla, Melinda, and Andrea*

Once all were present, fed, and accounted for, we were off to Knit-O-Matic! In fact, we might have been just a little too enthusiastic, and we arrived early! Never to fear, though, for at least when knitters need to wait a while, we always have something to do.

Knit-O-Matic was a great store, once they let us in! Smaller in size, but big on yarn, and they even has some Fleece Artist Sea Wool roving!
Yarnivores in their natural habitat.

After that is was onwards to my favorite Lettuce Knit. Once the yarn-store mobbing was over, everyone scattered about Kensington Market for lunches, only to return for some relaxed knitting on the sunny patio.
Lettuce Knit
Sittin’ and Knittin’.

amy & me
Amy and I got closer…

amy & me - tickles
…maybe a little too close! (Frisky thing, she’s totally tickling me!)

Finally the knitters were getting restless, so it was a brief jaunt to Americo, some caffeination/hydration at a coffeeshop, and then back on the TTC to head towards the last stop, The Naked Sheep. (By this time I was pretty out of it, having sat in the sun and knitted for too long without sunscreen.)
Emily (not me!) spinning
Emily (not me, and sadly blogless) took out her spindle on the streetcar! (And I believe that’s half of Michelle of to the right.)

On the whole, I was overwhelmed, overheated, and exhausted (and then had a surprise birthday party to go to that evening!). I only bought food, and two braids of roving (not a skien of yarn!). I met tonnes more knitters, finished the “Socks from Fluff”, and got most of the way through a shrug. It was a great day!

As ever, if you’re in a photo and I haven’t got your name/blog, drop me a line! And likewise, if you do not want your photo online, just let me know.


Filed under knitting, out & about

Yarn from sheep!

Because I said I would in my last post, here’s the skein:
skein of homespun yarn

This is the first full skein I’ve spun up, full processed by hand by me from slightly-smelly sheep bits to real live yarn. This 45g. skein comes in at 11-12 WIP of chained 3-ply.

Now, you must excuse me: I have to go lie down on a fainting couch for a while, or go run around the block seven times, or quietly implode. I’ll tell you why later next week.


Filed under fibre, rambling, spinning, spinning-wheel, yarn

First forays with fleece

Here and there, this week, I’ve been making some first forays with Eshme (my Shetland fleece). I’ve taken a bit of a break from the wool washing (to commence again tomorrow evening), and have begun sampling it in a bit greater depth. Of course, I’ve been spinning teeny-weeny bits on the drop spindles since day one (when I washed a few locks in the event site’s ladies’ room!), just too see how the different preparations look and feel.

I think I’ve chosen my goal for the bulk of this fleece, and will get into the starry-eyed details a bit later, but I am pretty sure I’ll be giving most of it a very thorough washing. As a test, though, and because it’s really something you can’t get from commercial rovings, I washed up a few bags in cooler temperatures (to leave some lanolin in), to play with spinning “in the grease”.

I carded it up (with my “mini-carders”, aka. dollar-store pet brushes):
carding fleece

I rolled it into little mini-rolags:

I tried woolen-style spinning, on the wheel:

And of course, I’ve had some helpful supervision throughout the processes:
Arddu & wheel

Max & wheel

Tomorrow I’ll show you the results!


Filed under fibre, spinning, spinning-wheel

International Knit In Public Day / TTC Knit-A-Long

This Saturday, June 9, 2007, is International Knit In Public Day! No longer need you fear being the only knitter in a crowd! Grab your sticks and string and get out there!

And, for those of you in my neck of the woods, there’s the TTC Knit-A-Long, a day-long yarn crawl on the subways and streetcars of Toronto! This sounds like too much fun to pass up, so I’ll be coming out. Remember, there’s a registration fee of a measly $2, so follow the blog link above and sign up!

* * * * *
I hope the above PSA doen’t feel like a cop-out after my most recent post. I really and truly appreciate every comment that was given, from friends from “real life” and the blogging community. (And also the stats page, which hints that maybe there were a few more who heard my words and put me in their thoughts for a moment, even if they didn’t write a comment). Thanks guys. I’m going to perservere, to keep doing what I can, to trust that the rest will sort out in time, to knit in public and wash my fleece. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

And to lighten the mood again, here’s a cat photo:
Adrru Tummy
Arddu says, “That Chaos‘ got nothin’ on me!”


Filed under knitting, out & about, Uncategorized

Opening up

There was a blog contest a little while ago that wanted to know what one looks for in a ‘good’ blog. My answer was, a combination of useful info and a true author’s voice (be it humourous or sarcastic or scatterbained, whatever); someone who shares. Well, I’ve been trying to share what I can about the processes of learning to spin on a limited cash/high determination budget, with the usual quota of WIPs and FOs found in your average knitblog. Yet I realize I don’t really share the personal stuff.

It was this ability of bloggers to share their true feelings and frustrations that got me reading blogs in the first place. A few years back I spent an entire day reading the archives of Dooce, and back last fall (was it really only a few months ago?) it was the openness of the Yarn Harlot and Crazy Aunt Purl and January One (this post in particular) that got me well-and-truly hooked on knitblogs. These people out there — these women out there — aren’t all that different form anyone else, save that they can reflect upon the ordinary and bizarre and funny and tragic things that they are living through at any given moment, and still have the presense of mind to write it down and then publish it for all the world to see. That takes guts.

I’m not sure I have that kind of confidence. I know that I’ m still developing my blog-writing style, that I don’t come across as clearly as the narrator in my mind. Beside this Narrator stands the Editor, and behind her is also a bookish girl who never had many friends during school. Even as I write this the Editor says, “you sound cliche, don’t write that” and the girl warns, “don’t tell too much”. But I want to share. I want to develop a blog-voice of my own. I don’t care if I ever get the kind of readership that the women mentioned above have, but I do want to be heard, and I guess before that can happen I need to speak up.

So here it goes.

I am 29 years old. I have a BA in Classics, an Honours BA in Enligsh, and a MA in English as well. Throughout getting these various degrees I have taken time off to work random jobs (from bookstore clerk to dataentry to working with an indie record lable). I’ve been out of school for the better part of a year now, and this week will see the end of a 7-month temp job, the only work I’ve been able to land. And I have no idea what to do next.

[Here is where the Editor cut out a four-paragraph rant about “experience” and the current job-climate.] I know that my temp agency will ensure that we don’t starve, but I want so very much more. I want someone to take a chance on me, to see that my education means I am dedicated and adaptable and worthwhile. I want to have a career, and to start a family after holding off so long, and maybe someday be able to afford a spinning wheel. I want to stop feeling like despite a sucessful marriage and letters behind my name and nice boots on my feet and the ability to turn fluff into socks, that I am a failure.

I don’t know how to affect these changes. I don’t know “what I want to be when I grow up”. I just know that I am smart (so what if it is mostly “book smart”?), and can be hard-working, and want more from my life than this tenuousness.


Filed under meta-blogging, rambling

This? A knitblog?

What with all the self-examination and socialization and fleece-prep and spinning lately, my blog’s title is beginning to run the risk of losing it’s irony. So, just to prove that I do, in fact, still knit, here are some WIPS:

1)The Socks from Fluff(my first pair of handknit socks form handspun wool) are progressing nicely, with one down and another well begun. The first skein ran out, but the second has been spun, plied, and washed. All I need to do now is wind the yarn into a ball, and finish sock #2, and I will have the happiest husband EVER. Yep, this is the stuff of his dreams. Yep, more than anything else I could do (*ahem*) the man yearns for socks. That and for me to learn to make his mom’s apple pie (seriously, she’s some sort of pastry goddess!), but my stubbornness prevails (at least until the day when my desire to have that amazing pie-crust at my whim overcomes my desire to not get involved in the in-laws Traditional Family Christmas Pie-a-thon).

Socks from Fluff - 1 complete
One down…
Socks from Fluff WIP
…one to go!

2) Bayerische sock #1 has miraculously (and somewhat literally) turned a corner: the leg is done (!), the heel has been turned (!!), and the gusset-picking-uping is in progress. Otherwise,this is still a very long-term WIP. Maybe I should join the Slogalong?

Bayerische WIP

3) The unfortunately-named “Magical Earth” shawl (from A Gathering of Lace) is another slogalong candidate. It’s a Shetland-style square shawl, but knit edging-first with the stitches picked up. That’s how it’s written, anyway. Even though I’ve completed 3 pattern reps already, with 44 more to go (!) I’m still tempted to just cast-on the # of sts. instructed to pick up, so as to avoid picking up that many sts. later! I persevere, however, telling myself that after the million or so stitches are picked up it will be smooth sailing as each row decreases towards the shawl’s center. We’ll see. Will I have the thing finished in time for the recipient’s wedding, well, that’s another question altogether… For now, it’s a chance for me to knit lace with Sea Silk that I didn’t have to buy.
Shawl WIP


Filed under knitting, lace, yarn