Friday, March 30, 2007

Too Twisted for Words

We have reached the end of the Twisted Knitters Dye Spin Knitalong. It has been quite an adventure. I did not engage in the dyeing portion of the adventure. Instead, I used dyed roving to spin and knit a shawl. I began with a bag of fluff. Then I spun and plied and spun and plied. I ended up with my two skeins of yarn. It took me a long time to spin it all. I have read more about plying and color and how to achieve different yarn. Of course, I am a beginner. I have learned as I have gone along. This explains a bit why when I laid out my two skeins to photograph them I saw such different yarn. I admit that I was quite disheartened. I pressed on towards my goal of knitting a shawl from my handspun.

I decided to knit the Shetland Triangle. To compensate for the differences in the two skeins, I alternated rows from each ball of yarn. It worked. I knit two additional repeats of the main pattern before working the edging. I had nearly used every bit of my yarn. This is what I wanted, though I did have some stressful moments as I bound off the shawl. Then I looked at it in its unblocked state and felt a bit ill. I did not care for it one bit. My husband loved it. He especially liked the back with all of its bumpy texture. While it was nice that he could see beauty in what I had done, I was still disappointed. I told myself that no matter what I ended up with, it would be a special shawl. I put the shawl in the sudsy water and walked away. Then it was on to the clean water. I carefully lifted it out and pressed out the excess water. I spread out towels and got down on my hands and knees with the blocking wires, pins, and tape measure. Blocking really is magic.

Friday, March 23, 2007

It's Madtini Time

I made it to Round 3 of Sock Madness! Sorry to knock you out, Sandy. I had another fast finish. I barely slept, just enough so that I could knit again. If I had slept more than three hours the night before, I might have been able to knit straight through. Once I got up and began knitting again, I obsessively checked the Flickr group. I had to limit myself to refreshing the page no more than every five minutes. Therefore, I timed myself against the clock on the computer and kept making predictions as to the time I would finish. I had a small moment of panic when I realized I had gone straight from knitting the heel flap to picking up the gusset stitches without turning the heel. I remedied this error quickly and knit on as fast as I could. When I finished knitting, kitchenered, and wove in the ends, I grabbed the camera, went outside, leaned back, put my feet in the air, and took the picture. I rushed back inside with a promise to the cats that I would feed them once I posted my picture. I was so nervous as I uploaded and then sent my email.

I like this pattern and these socks. I knit them using some of my precious Wool Ease Sportweight (discontinued) in the Autumn colorway. It was odd to use these colors when spring is all around and the temperature reached the eighties. I will knit this pattern again, but I will not use sport weight yarn next time.

I need a few days to rest before the next round. I wonder whom I will go up against next. I also wonder what the next pattern will be.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Head to Toe

I am getting ready to box up the chemo caps for this round. I messed up and missed mailing deadlines for the furry caps, so some will go to Caps for a Cure. I will save more for other rounds. I knit a simple cap from some Bernat Handicrafter, but none of my pictures turned out well. Today I am showing off my seventh Odessa. This might be my favorite pattern for chemo caps. I have knit them both with and without beads. For this one, I used the new yarn, Cotlin, from Knit Picks in Fiesta Pink. I like this yarn. The only negative I can offer is that there were some linen bits I felt the need to pluck out as I knit, but they really were not a big deal. The yarn is soft, pleasant to knit with, and can be tossed in the washer and dryer. I believe it will be great for more chemo caps, especially in the summer months and when we donate to a group located in a warm climate. I want to knit at least one more chemo cap before I package up this round's contribution and go to the post office.

As promised, here are my Traveler's Stockings. I do love these socks. I wish this photo showed the color as well as my other progress photo did. I even waited for a nice, sunny day. I am in the midst of the Sock Madness, but perhaps after that ends, I will begin another pair of socks from Knitting on the Road. I do enjoy flipping through it just to look. I can hardly believe this is my first pair from the book.

One Round Down

I made it through the first round of Sock Madness. The pattern for Round One is called Mad Cow Socks. I knit this pair in less than twenty-four hours through stresses I gladly admit I am already beginning to forget. It is nothing worth mentioning, especially when I consider one of my fellow participants persevered through medical messes. Still, it was a stressful weekend for me, and I am glad to have had knitting to see me through it. It is also nice to have the self-imposed strain of a knitting competition. It is fun, and beats the real-life stuff. It reminds me of soap operas. There is no need to take it seriously. I am quite pleased with the pleasant way people are conducting themselves in this event. Helpfulness and encouragement abound.

I finished plying, skeined, and the new yarn is soaking. After it dries and I check my yardage, it will be time to decide on a pattern. I am trying to choose between the Swallowtail Shawl from Fall 06 IK and Shetland Triangle from Wrap Style. My yardage may be the determining factor. If you have any thoughts, please, feel free to share.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

It's a Ply, I Tell Ya

However, it's just a single ply. I finally wound the spun single from my drop spindle into a center-pull ball. I used my ball winder. I also used my super amazing shoebox creation. I cut some holes in a shoebox and used that to hold the drop spindle so I could wind. I need to make a small modification to the box, and then maybe I might even decorate it. I transferred the cake of wool to the nostepinne. I will ply from the nostepinne, just as if I did the first half of this project. Then I will wind, skein, tie, and wash. Maybe I'll skein straight from the drop spindle.

My latest Knit Picks order has arrived. I have such plans for much of the yarn. A niece will be spending a weekend with us for the sole purpose of knitting. She wants to knit a felted purse. She wants turquoise with lime green fun fur accents. We will have to carry her wool to a craft store to select the fun fur. The King of One Skein Knitting (of the Skanky Knitters) wanted some sheepy note cards and one skein each of Moroccan Red and Key Lime Cotlin, and I have set those aside for him. I think I'll also give him a new Chibi, as his has gone missing.

I also purchased some more sock yarn, just because. That is not completely true. I have the beginnings of Sock Madness on Saturday. We shall see how long I last in that adventure. There are already some people panicking and complaining. It would appear some did not read all of the information, or misunderstood what they had read. For the first round we need two, 50g balls of fingering weight yarn. It is recommended that one ball be solid and the other variegated. That being said, you can choose two different solid colors or two different variegated yarns. I believe I will be using a couple of lonely, lovely skeins of Lorna's Laces that have sat in the stash waiting for such an opportunity. I had picked up one variegated skein from a clearance bin, and a friend gave me the solid as part of her stash reduction. Now, I hate to think of knitters being upset and giving up, but if it increases my chances of winning the lovely prizes, well, perhaps they can soothe themselves with wool fumes. It's a game, kids; relax.

In preparation for the big event, I have finished my Traveler's Stockings. I'll show them off later. My husband thinks they are the best pair of socks I have knit so far. This means my sock needles are all empty. I think I will go ply, or knit on Arwen for a bit.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Travels with the Traveler's

The heels are turned on both of my Traveler's Stockings. I finished turning the heel on this one while my husband was test-driving cars. I had been knitting away, semi-conscious, when he asked if we had passed the Toyota dealership. We were on our way home and still had about two more hours to drive. I had no idea where the car lot he sought was located. We passed it, took the scenic route, and arrived. I stayed in the car hoping to get in some more knitting or a much needed nap. I require more sleep each night than the half-hour I had gotten the previous night. Sleep was not going to happen, so I knit. When the heel was turned, but I was not ready to put both socks on the circ together, I decided to stick my foot out the window and take pictures. I would like to finish the pair this week so that the needles are cleared for Sock Madness. This ought to be a good week. My Knit Picks order has shipped and they predict it will arrive by Friday. I won (their word, not mine, but don't get me started) a new drop spindle on eBay yesterday. I think it is reasonable to expect to receive it sometime this week, too. Also, on the spinning front, I finished spinning that last bit of fluff. Maybe I will get it plied this week.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Margene's third blogging birthday is here. I went to wish her well and saw that she is having a contest. I have enjoyed reading all the little and big secrets that people have shared. All day long, various secrets have been running through my head. It is another round of the familiar blogging-balancing act. The post also has that old Conan O'Brien Celebrity Secrets bit running through my head. It has provided comic relief for some of the blechy feelings I have when I think about other secrets.

My love of ice cream is not a secret. That means I will be one of those crazy pajama people pursuing free ice cream this weekend. I am spreading the word about this to everyone I can think to tell. If the predicted bad weather does not get us, we will be eating free ice cream in our jammies.

Just a little more fluff to go.