Monthly Archives: August 2007

FOs: Speaking of socks…

FO: “Sea Socks” — Purple Pomatomi

pomotomus sock detail

pair of purple pomatomus socks

Details
Pattern: Pomatomus (from Knitty)
Yarn: Fleece Artist SeaWool
Needles: 2.25mm DIY birch dpns
Project Timeline: July – August 27, 2007
Modifications: none

FO: “Sea Monkeys” — more manly Monkey socks

manly monkey socks

Details
Pattern: Monkey (from Knitty)
Yarn: Fleece Artist SeaWool
Needles: 2.25mm DIY birch dpns
Project Timeline: July-August 29, 2007
Modifications: To make these monkeys ideal for the Dru, I knit a wide twisted-stitch rib cuff, 8 pattern reps. for the leg (+ 6 for the foot),with a reinforced slipped-stitch heel flap.

It should be noted that (for my gauge,at least), one can make a pretty large pair of socks out of one skein of Sea Wool. I had originally begun a different sock with this yarn (unimpressive, therefore frogged in favour of Monkey), and but the end of the 2nd monkey sock, I have only about 1″ of a ribbed cuff remaining unfrogged (maybe .5g?)! Very good value, those Fleece Artist skeins :)

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Filed under FOs, knitting, socks

SP11 contest #2

1. What is the one knitting accessory you could not live without?
I actually don’t use very many ‘accessories’. I’d probably be most out-of-luck without a good darning needle — most everything else can be cobbled together from other stuff, like or scrap-yarn stitch-markers, or post-its on charts, but you just can’t cobble up a good darning needle. (Trust me: a paperclip does not work very well. Ask me how I know.)

2. If you’re heading on vacation, do you take knitting with you? If so, how much and what type of project?
Of course I take knitting with me! What would I do while travelling? I probably bring more than I need to, but f many simpler projects. Socks are now almost essential.

3. Where have you travelled to that you’d consider your favorite spot?
I don’t think I’ve found my favourite spot yet. The balcony facing the ocean in Cancun was particularly good for knitting, but I also love walking through the lush forests of the Bruce Peninsula. I dream of the British Isles.

4. What is your favorite knitting book at the moment? Do you own it?
Again, I don’t think I’ve found my ‘favourite’ yet: I love Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s Knitting Rules for its combination of good advice and humour (which I own); I’ve borrowed Debbie New’s Unexpected Knitting from the local library and it was tremendously inspiring for showing the boundaries (limitless!) of knitting; but I haven’t even got any EZ or other ‘big names’ yet!

5. Do you listen to podcasts? Which is your favorite(s)?

Not yet. Recommend one to me?

6. If you could only knit with 1 color for the rest of your life, what color would that be?
Does ‘natural’ count? I think if I were barred from knitting with all other dyed colours, I would just want to see the inherent natural beauty of the yarn, unbleached and unmodified. (If it had to be a dyed colour, I could probably knit a lovely wine-red for many years without being bored!)

7. If you were far into a project and then noticed a mistake near the beginning what would you do?
Agonize for a long time, try to live with it, realize I can’t, try to cobble a cheapskate quick-fix, realize I can’t, then spot-rip all the way down to fix the mistakes and set myself three hours of picking up stitches with a crochet hook…. (Again, ask me how I know!)

8. Where is the most unusual spot you’ve ever knit?
After reading blogs, answers like “on the TTC with twenty other knitters” or “in line for the Harry Potter movie” just don’t sound very unusual… but I will, if given the chance, knit just about anywhere!

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Fare thee well, Elizabeth

O fair Elizabeth! How I have proseper’d, knowing thy joys for lo these many months! But, alas, our parting has come, and my heart doth sorrow…

Elizabeth wheel
Even Arddu will miss her!

On Sunday evening I returned the Ashford Elizabeth spinning wheel to her rightful home, care of a mutual friend with a pickup. Like most of my spinning-love, I can’t properly express the depths of my gratitude for being loaned her, or how much I have enjoyed leaning how to spin on a wheel, or how much a part of my life it has become. I’ve been a bit mopey ever since she’s been gone.

Also, I really need to make myself some new spindles, because I’ve given all my good ones away! (Hey Jodi, how’s that little jade one doing for you?)

Without spinning, I’ve had to find other ways of occupying my time. Like, say, organizing all the knitting patterns I’ve ever printed out of photocopied. Y’know, something “simple” and “mindless” (more like, something one has to be simple-minded to begin!)

Anyway, most of the way through Shaun of the Dead, I’ve managed to surround myself with this:

patterns in piles

There’s a pile for hats/gloves/scarves, for sweaters (pullover, cardigan, jacket and short-sleeve), for skirts, for toys, for lace, and of course, for socks….

pattern stacks for comparison

That pile on the left? That’s the pile with the hats and sweaters and bags and all. That one on the right? Socks. Just SOCKS. I think I may need some help…

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Send us your baked goods…

Wow! It’s amazing the offers one gets just by flashing some fibre photos! (Maybe it’s virtual wool-fumes?)

While I’d be happy to receive your various baked goodies, I’m not sure my conscience will allow me to take you up on the baking-for-spinning-lessons offers. Now, if we happened to be in the same room with a spindle/wheel and fibre and baked goods all the same time, well then…

But seriously, I’m not sure that I’m the one you want for “spinning lessons”. Remember folks, I’ve only been doing this for a few months now, and am doing this entirely by trial and error and force of will. I do this because it seems I’m meant to, because I have to, because I love it in a way that I can’t rightly describe or entirely comprehend.

I can — am actively trying to — do my best to get my friends (and some strangers!) to join me in this, to introduce others to it’s joys and charms, to share this love of spinning. I’ve had some moderate success in this — Kelly is totally hooked, finding fibre left and right, and is even now building her own wheel (!); Krista’s now begun her own knit/spin blog and has bought a new wheel the day after returning the 2-week rental; Mel (who has been knitting since forever and drop-spindle spinning for a quite some time) stayed with us a few nights back, and got to play at the wheel a bit — she’s a natural, no problems at all with treadling & drafting, and I’m sure her own wheel will find it’s way to her soon enough now.

Mel's wheel-spun single
Look at how even her singles are already!

Mel Spinning
Mel, spinning like a pro.

Y’know , though, as I read what I’ve just written above, maybe there’s a point buried up there. Maybe you don’t care that I’m not a master spinner. Maybe what matters is that I’ve got the spark, something that drives me to read what I can on the subject so I can ‘talk the talk”, and that drives me to spin almost daily in hopes that someday I will feel confident in saying “I know what I’m doing here”. Maybe you’d like to walk along with me on this path for a while.

So sure, send in your baked goods! I’ll make tea while you play with my best DYI spindle, or sit down at the wheel. We’ll compare our experiences: cuss out the frustrations, suss out our problems, admire our successes. Yarns will be spun: tales and fibre both. I can think of no finer way to pass an afternoon than with friends, spinning, and of course a baked treat or two!

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Filed under DIY, drop-spindle, rambling, spinning, spinning-wheel

To Spin (v)

Spin
spinning fibre wave

spinning fibre coil
Merino roving, “Rose Quartz” colourway (a hackle-blend, so interesting!) from The Drafting Zone, via my FibreSwap Pal.

Span
Rose Quartz - bobbin
Rose Quartz, spun slightly heavy (but not bulky).

Spun
oatmeal BFL close-up

oatmeal BFL skein

“Oatmeal” BFL: the first skein, 2-ply.

FA merino - blues - closeup

FA merino - blues - skein
Fleece Artist Merino in shades of blue: one big skein, 2-ply.

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UFO Sightings

I’ve been looking around my place recently, really looking, spotting details that I have allowed to drift into the murky background of everyday living. Perhaps it passing the one-year-here mark (a rarity for us indeed, who have been moving about every 12 months for ages); since we’ve not needed to do the usual pack/cull, some sort of reorganization should happen nonetheless. Perhaps it’s the chill in the air, triggering that good ol’ nesting instinct. Perhaps it is the need to squirrel away as much fibre as possible, having just realized that autumn = harvesttide = county fairs = fleeces!for!sale! Who knows what it is, really?

In any case, I’ve been de-cluttering the living room (and there’s a lot of living that goes on there, from Dru’s studying to my spinning, dinner-eating to tv-watching, and everything in between), and even I have to admit that knitstuff and spinstuff contribute to a great amount of living room clutter. Of course, de-cluttering anywhere means that you have to find the place where the things are actually supposed to live, which can lead to needing to de-clutter somewhere else… (I’m sure you see where this is going).

So that the spinning fibre has a neat place to stay out in the living room (where the wheel & spindles are), all yarn needs to return to the office (where the stash is). So that the new-spun yarns can join the stash, some UFOs need to find new places to be. Some are friendly things, easy to deal with. Others, not so much…

Worst Things First
UFO #1: The Cabled Shrug. aka the Cabled Fug. aka my Acrylic Nightmare.
ugly shrugly

Also aka Someone Else’s Problem, as of last night. I just hate this thing. The concept’s still not bad (it’s a highly modified version of the Blackberry shrug: stockinette rightside-out, with a large generic Celtic cable instead of beastly bobbles), but the execution, well, just needs to be executed (in the Marie Antoinette sense!). The back and front panels are too big, with the original sleeve ribbing being huge. The one reknit sleeve cuff’s ok, but unraveling them is a bitch, which is why the other cuff is just tangled yarny mess.

And then I ran out of needles (how can you lose a 9mm circular??) and yarn, so the edging is knit too tight (on 6mms), and even if it weren’t too tight there is not enough of it. However, this is already a salvaging project — the yarn was gifted to me several years back now by the MIL along with a poncho pattern I’d really liked, yet the yarn wasn’t even enough to make 1/2 the poncho — and since it’s not-great Mary Maxim bulky acrylic yarn in a colour I don’t particularly love, there’s no way I’m buying more. I don’t even care enough about this yarn to frog the thing, but if anyone wants it (either as a wonky, lady’s L/XL shrug, or as yarn), then my dear, you are welcome to it!

Best of the Rest
UFO#2: Endpaper Mitts
endpaper mitts

Ok, so I’ve done nothing at all with these since I photographed them to enter into Ravelry quite some time back. But now I know they’re there, and it’s looking like it’ll be a chilly fall: hopefully this is one UFO that, now sighted, will not drop off the radar again.

UFO #3:Thrummed Llama Mittens
thrummed mitts in progress

Poor llama mitts. All they want is to be snuggled, and to help keep someone warm. Unfortunately, until I get more llama roving to thrum them with, they’re just going to have to stay UFOs, because why bother thrumming at all if you have to be stingy with the fibre? (I also just realized, right as I typed this, that this means I have a legitimate reason for shopping for llama roving. Oh deary me…)

Transformers!
UFO #4: Twinkletoes
Twinkletoes ballet slipper

These things have been knit, ripped, re-knit in a better gauge, ripped again when I ran out of yarn midway through slipper #2 (not enough for knitted ties), and re-knit again. (Funny enough, I actually enjoyed the knitting part.) Then they got relegated to the UFO pile when a) I couldn’t be bothered picking up the stitches for the ribbing edging, and b) Christmas passed, and the person they were originally intended for was gifted with something else instead. But a few episodes of ROME s.II, stitches were picked up, ties were crocheted (me! crochet!!), and now I have a cute pair of slippers. La la la, ballet slippers for me! (No, I have not pirouetted in them. yet. There may have been some slight prancing, however.)

red twinkletoes slippers red twinkletoes slippers
From UFO to FO, just like that!

I’d better be careful, or else all this nesting might just develop into a bad case of finishitis! There are still some WIPs, of course, but I think I’ve got my UFOs well documented now. Have you been sighting any UFOs around your place recently?

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Yukon Expedition

This past weekend saw a farewell dinner for my brother and his girlfriend, who are embarking on a grand adventure. After disappointments with the job climate here in Southwestern Ontario, they began looking farther afield — a lot farther! — and found a warmer reception in cooler climes. They’re now moving to Whitehorse, in the Yukon Territories (!) and a four-day, cross-country bus trip will soon see them in their new home (the cat, of course, gets to fly out after them, much more civilized!). I’m proud of them for having the guts to take such a big leap of faith, and to show each other such a great amount of trust as they start this new phase of life together.

I wish them all the best, though of course there’s a little part of my brain that hopes my ‘little’ brother comes home again, someday sooner rather than later. Then again, if the frontier spirit takes them, then at least I’ll have me a direct line on qiviut. :)

Another bright side to this Northern expedition is that I can knit all the warm-and-woolies I like, and know that when a care package gets shipped out, I’ll be helping keep my family toasty warm. This weekend I started, and finished, a pair or thick socks*, slightly big for me but just about perfect for my brother’s girlfriend. She seemed so happy when I handed them to her, fresh off the needles in all their lavender wool & silk glory. I’m usually a very selfish knitter (in that I mostly knit just for me), but it felt really good to see how happy it made someone else to get a hand-knit gift. I’m already planning projects, like socks and thrummed mitts, for the near future.

*must get a picture! If I do, I’ll post a pseudo-pattern too.

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