Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fiber Fest Recap

Saturday was a wonderful day. My mom and I enjoyed a beautiful drive and wonderful weather. I wore my Arwen. It kept the chill off when I needed it to, and provoked the sun to shine so I did not need it for long.

These guys were some of my first critterly greeters. Later on, they had a bag of food, and the guy on the left did his best to butt the others out of what he clearly thought was meant only for him.

I began my purchases with a bargain score. I picked up a gently used copy of Folk Knitting in Estonia by Nancy Bush for seven dollars. I rounded out the transaction with four magazines priced at fifty cents each. I grabbed the Spring 2000 IK, the Fall 1996 Spin Off, and Fall 1996 and 1999 Knitters. I saw that the Spin Off has an article with thirteen exercises to teach color stuff. I need the help.

While many Skanky Knitters (including one I had not seen for a while) attended the event, we did not spend too much time together. We were Free-Range Skanks, crossing paths to show off purchases and point out great vendors. I agreed to give my best efforts at teaching Beth how to spin on a drop spindle. I talked her out of an overpriced cd-drop spindle kit containing a small, questionable fiber blob. Instead, she chose some nice wool (BFL, I think) in colors she loves. I am already thinking of how I might help her to learn. I should lend her my copy of Spinning in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. I found it to be full of great information. Still, I think the best advice I can offer is to put in a bit of spinning time each day.

I wandered about and enjoyed watching people spin. I need to spend more time watching people spin. I might need to spend some time spinning around other spinners, too. There is always so
much to learn. Speaking of learning, I saw a different short-row heel construction that I want to try.

My fiber stash did not have a huge increase, but I added a new fiber. I have never spun silk. I saw
some gorgeous100% silk calling out to me with its brilliant colors, but I left them there. Instead, I picked up some beautiful 50/50 merino/silk, and some gorgeous 80/20 alpaca/silk. The lady who prepared and sold the alpaca/silk blend called it Purple Haze. My picture does not capture the color. The purple is just barely there, and I love it.

I encountered more than one Raveler. Pat promised to send a prize to anyone who stopped by her tent and mentioned Ravelry. It was too bad that I had already depleted my budget for the event when I found her and figured out who she was. She had some gorgeous fiber in brilliant colors that caught my eye. Maybe a road trip will be in order to visit her store.

I meant to pick up a small lavender plant. They were only two dollars, and my attempts at growing lavender from seeds have not been successful. I planned to make it my last purchase so that I would not have to carry them around, but I forgot. I guess it was not meant to be, and those little plants can heave a collective sigh knowing that they have a chance to live.

I hope to make it back next year. It is a wonderful way to spend the day.

p.s. Thanks for the birthday greetings! I had a fabulous day!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Can't Blog, Busy Partying

It's my birthday! This year I am going to celebrate instead of ignoring it. I will share my fiber festival adventures later. Now I am off to enjoy my day.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


It could be the full moon, but I am not sleeping. I have a big day ahead. I am going to the Harvest Days and Fiber Festival in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. It is a nice, little event. Many of the Skanky Knitters will attend. My mom is going with me, too. I think it will be a fun day. I do not know whether I will buy a little or a lot, or nothing at all.

If I do not find anything that calls to me at the fiber festival, I will have a somewhat larger Knit Picks order. I have been filling my online cart and emptying it as I make decisions. I think I will get yarn for the Tangled Yoke Cardigan, some mittens (colorwork), some socks, and the Halloween vest from my out-of-print Seasonal Fair Isle Vests, more Palette yarn for various colorwork adventures, and maybe one of the Harmony needles (Who said, "Budget"?). I may change my mind again. I am having fun shopping. That cart will hold more than my finances allow.

For someone who flips through EZ books and is not so impressed (blasphemy, I know; I like her stuff, but am underwhelmed by her books), I sure am interested in knitting some of her designs. The BSJ is in time-out due to user error. I have been thinking about knitting her Fair Isle Yoke Sweater, but adding a steek to make it a cardigan. I do not own the book containing the pattern, so I will probably put this off for a while. Still, it speaks to me. I have even considered putting back the yarn for the Tangled Yoke and buying the yarn for this sweater now, and getting the pattern later. Maybe the library has the book. I will go check. Nope. Decisions, eh? Maybe I will find such wonderful stuff at the fiber festival that there will be no room in the budget to order yarn.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Nuppin' to Show

I thought that I would make it through at least one nupp-filled chart over the weekend, but I spent more time spinning than knitting. I spun up more superwash, navajo-plyed my Kool-Aid singles, and spun some warm wine Corriedale. I like the way my Kool-Aid yarn turned out after washing. It still has plenty of imperfections and irregularities, but it is the softest yarn I have spun. I did not tell you about running the singles back through to remove some twist. I think that made a huge difference. Anyway, I think I have about 150 yards. I do not know what I am going to knit from it, but I want to knit it soon. Maybe it will be enough to knit the Koolhaas Hat from the IK Holiday 2007 issue.

My nupp-knitting was painfully slow on Monday.
After a couple of rows, I stuffed it back in its bag in favor of some socks. The jury is still out on the socks. I will give them about twenty more rounds before I make a decision. They look like they will not work out without making some changes, but in the end, that may make them work out better than ever. I really need to keep notes in case this works out so that I can knit a matching second sock. Optimism abounds.

I feel like I could be overcome with startitis at any moment. I also feel like I could have the beginnings of an ear infection. The two may be connected. In the meantime, I am struggling to catch up on all of my blog reading. It would seem that many people attended some sheepy shindig over the weekend. I am enjoying all of the accounts. I hope to attend a much smaller one this weekend. I should probably head to bed. A possible early day calls.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Feeding Frenzy

Thursday was not such a good day. Not that anything bad happened, but the threat of nasty weather lingered about disrupting things, and I think making me feel a wee bit sick. Now that the weather has passed (I am thankful it was not bad), I do not feel sick. Go figure, eh? This meant that I put off much of my computer stuff off until the middle of the night.

I have been having a spinning adventure. I spent some extra time oiling the wheel. That was nice. I like taking care of my wheel. I have also spent time with some superwash wool. It is a different experience. More time spent at the wheel with this fiber has greatly increased my enjoyment. Maybe I will have some knit-worthy yarn at the end of this. Of course, I am thinking socks. I plan to Navajo-ply the singles. Speaking of Navajo-plying, I think my Kool-Aid bobbin of singles is ready. I also have another possible spinning project planned.

The Swallowtail Shawl is coming along nicely. With one repeat of the Budding Lace 2 Chart left to
LaceOnCatsknit, I decided it was time to get out the scale and work some calculations. I put my math skills to the test. I knit the fourteenth repeat. I weighed and mathed some more (wishful thinking). I will not be knitting extra repeats. That is okay; I really knew this from the beginning. To further heal my disappointment at not being able to make this shawl larger using this yarn, I have taken a picture of the lace in process on the stray cats I feed. I am brave. I think I might this to my grandma, and she is a tiny lady. I am already thinking of my next lace project, but first I have nupps.

Speaking of my next lace project, I have nominated some lace patterns for The Best of Interweave Knits: The Reader's Choice Awards Collection. In fact, I think I only nominated lace shawl patterns. C'mon, you know you want the Orenburg Lace Triangle, Irish Diamonds Shawl, Paisley Lace Shawl, Flower Basket Shawl, and the Cherry Blossom Shawl. We will vote on the ten finalists in January and be rewarded with a free e-book of the top five patterns come Spring 2008.

Speaking of IK, I picked up the Holiday Gifts 2007 issue. I think there are some patterns in there that I would like to knit. A big surprise to me is that I think that I might want to knit the Sugarplum Shrug for myself. Usually I see a shrug, and shrug, because I just do not get them, nor do they usually appeal to me. However, this one just might. I know that I am crazy and that my judgment is often way off. Therefore, I need help. Do you think this one might be right for me? I even think I have the right yarn (not the one called for) in my stash. I have only looked at the pictures and the yarn requirements. I guess I should check out the pattern itself. No charts, but I can chart it myself. I think I would also see if I could change how she has you knit the edging separately and sew it on. I guess I have more to think over.

Have a nupp-tastic weekend!

Monday, October 15, 2007


I followed the advice, and it is good. She may need socks to make it through a lace project, but I just plain need lace. I thought that perhaps lace socks could qualify, and while I need to cast on for another pair of socks, this was not what I needed to do tonight. I purchased this lone skein of discontinued yarn long ago, and it has sat in the stash ever since. I have thought of it often and sometimes taken it out to pet and sniff. Then as I mentally (be nice) prepared for Monday Night Knitting, I knew that the BSJ was not what I wanted to knit. My mind returned to my nearly lace-free needles. My MS3 almost made it out of the drawer, but the time is not right. The large charts and beads make it less than ideal for knitting with everyone else. Then it hit me. SwallowtailBeginningSwallowtail Shawl + Cherry Tree Hill Possum Laceweight. I grabbed my pattern, yarn, and magnetic board and shoved them in the knitting bag. I sat down to knit tonight, and knew I had a match. Freda kept saying that you cannot knit that kind of lace and from charts when you are with all of your friends. However, at the end of the night, I had made it through four repeats of the Budding Lace 2 chart and had a wonderful time talking with everyone. No, it is not huge progress, but it was right for the night.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Gift of Angels

I am sure you remember me writing about accepting a request to knit a particular baby blanket. It is not what I would have chosen, but I knit it well, and some people have really liked it. That has helped me to feel better about the project. My friends who know that it is not quite my style have nodded, smiled, and said, "It sure is pink." Well, it certainly is pink, and it is finished. The fact that I have completed it has improved my attitude towards it. The large, warm, mass of yarn is much nicer off my lap and spread out where I can see all of my work. Finishing it yesterday was great. It was another day in the nineties, and those last bits of finishing seemed to take forever because of the heat. There are bonus details that add to my joy. I agreed to complete the blanket by November. The baby shower is Friday. I beat both deadlines!
Pattern: Gift of Angels Blanket by Pauline Bilodeau
Yarn: Mary Maxim Starlette, 7 Balls
Needles: Denise Interchangeables US9 (5.5mm)
Finished Size: Approximately 42"X42"

Thursday, October 04, 2007


I am glad that I grabbed up more yarn before we left on Tuesday. What was supposed to be a day surgery kept us overnight at the hospital. Knitting the mate to a pair of socks only took me through his surgery. Several people were interested in what I was doing. One lady reached out and touched not the socks I was knitting, but instead, the ones I was wearing. Because I was knitting socks and wearing handknit socks, more than one person felt compelled to ask if socks were all that I knit. Because I was more than a little sleep-deprived and stressed, I am sure they did not ask it in the way it came across to my frazzled mind.

Tired as I was, and with the thought that I had the long drive home to prepare for, I made my way to the ground floor for some coffee. There is a little coffee counter where they serve up a bit of Starbucks. On the menu board, it states that the drinks are also available iced. Apparently, this is not something conveyed to the employees. The cashier was bewildered on how to ring up the sale, but the drink preparation specialist recovered well enough to prepare a regular caramel macchiato, and dump a scoop of ice in it. Although it was not what I was trying to order, it was still pretty good.

After venturing out and exploring the exciting Chinese cuisine within walking distance of the hospital (greatly resembles that which you might encounter at the mall, by the way), I returned to the seemingly endless wait between the five o'clock visit, and last of the day, nine o'clock visit. The socks completed, I reached for some wool and the Baby Surprise Jacket pattern. While I have not finished the blanket, it is not good for waiting room knitting, and I was in need of a treat. I cast on and knit away. My husband was out of it when I looked in on him at nine, so I returned to the hot, stuffy waiting room. My progress was slow, and my mind even slower. By the time we turned off the lights and locked the door, I did not have much to show for all of my work. My mind kept puzzling through the numbers. I could not knit another stitch, and I was so tired. I drifted off into a restless sleep, where I would wake to the numbers in the pattern, roll over, and sleep more. Finally, I awoke and the numbers made sense. It is really just simple math, and not complicated at all. I was sure that I must have gotten a good chunk of sleep despite the way I felt. I looked at my watch, and it was just 11:30. I wanted to cry, or curse. Also, the Old Navy commercials inspire me to blurt out bad words when they announce their offering of fair isle starting at twenty-four fifty. But that is a rant for another day. Anyway, we are glad to be home.

Earlier today, I joked that I had reduced my husband's post-surgical care routine to knitting pattern format. I had written it out to read: *soup or mashed potatoes, sugar-free popsicle, pain meds, repeat from * every six hours. Of course, this is life, so it is a bit more complicated. I needed to include those words so often missed, at the same time. There are so many things that must be done, both related to his recuperation, and the life and world that goes on outside. I was rewarded for making my way out into that world with a fabulous offering of samples at Costco today. The Ghirardelli brownies, turtle cheesecake, and Cinnabon were my favorites.

Now, it is time for sinus medicine for me. They have been spraying the cotton fields with defoliants. It stinks so many ways. I like that they do not spray the field next to my mom's house. Anyway, I also must set up the vcr to tape, because if I do not, the phone will ring endlessly, and I will be needlessly annoyed. Yes, I am old with my vcr and no cell phone. I need to knit and spin.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Celebrating the Week

I have spent as much time as possible at the wheel for Spinning and Weaving Week. I have missed time with my Kiwi over the past couple of weeks as I have worked to complete other projects. While I still have several things I would like to finish knitting, it has been so great to sit down and spin. I am pleased to report some improvements. First, I had a much more successful Navajo Plying session yesterday. I had spun the singles on Monday and let them rest. I had some older singles that I used to practice, and was much more comfortable when I sat down with my peachy singles. I think it is about fifty yards of worsted weight yarn, but I have not done wpi or anything else besides feel and look. There are still plenty of imperfections and problems with it, but it is a vast improvement over previous attempts. My other progress is increased production, I suppose. I am not spinning faster, but I am getting more spun in less time. I think what this means is that I am improving on my over spinning issue. I spun up the rest of my purple and green Polypay and all of my apricot/peachy Shetland (or is it Shetland and Angora, I cannot remember). After the singles have had time to rest, I am going to Navajo ply. I hope I will match what I have created with the peachy stuff earlier, and that I can get some good results to keep the colors separated with the Polypay. I am back to having three of my four bobbins full, so I have to ply before I can spin any more. I have ample knitting projects to complete while the singles rest. So, did you do anything extra to commemorate this week? My other happy moment of the week was to enable the purchase of a Kromski loom by passing on information of a used one for sale. My friend had hoped to buy another loom at holiday time, but he was able to get this one now, and with many extras at a price that works for him. I love seeing what he creates, and hearing of his experiences and impressions of different yarns and fibers through weaving. It is sometimes quite different from what I encounter with the same yarns when I use them for knitting. Learning is good.