Saturday, June 30, 2007

Dobby Socks Done

It is with much joy that I present to you a picture of this finished pair of Dobby Socks. It is unfortunate that there is still a month before I can send my Sockapalooza4 Pal her socks. She would surely have a couple of events to which she could wear them in July. Then again, she may be dressing as a hippogriff for a costume contest and these socks would be entirely inappropriate.

Monday, June 25, 2007

What a Week

With all that has happened, it seems like the last week must have had a few extra days. We had the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am doing my best to keep focus on the good, because there is little I can do about the other.

Friday, we had a wonderful, laid-back birthday celebration for my sweetheart. He thanks everyone for the birthday greetings. While the presents I purchased him did not arrive on time, most of them showed up the next day. The day was a busy and long one. It was so cute that he got excited about his birthday and could not sleep. That meant that he needed to sleep a bit during the day. This left me time to seek out medical attention for my ear infections. That is a story in itself. Add to this the fact that we kept the five-year-old nephew, and you see just how full the day was. Still, it was good.

I had packages arrive last week, too. One was expected, and one was a surprise. They both arrived on Thursday. I purchased some merino/mohair roving on eBay. I chose the purple, but they also included a small sample of a colorway they call mint julep. It is pretty stuff. My happy surprise was a package from my grandmother. She made it out to Estes with my aunt, and they picked out some cashmere, angora, pygora, alpaca/pygora blend, Regia Bamboo, and Crystal Palace Kid Merino. I am going to have a great time with this fiber and yarn. It should keep me busy for quite some time.

I've already given some of the mint julep a test spin. That was my first time working with merino or mohair, let alone, a blend. It went pretty well, but I just spun a few yards. I have some Corriedale singles ready to ply, and then I think I am ready to begin a spinning project. I think I want to have a planned project on one spindle, and I will use the other to try out different fibers. Of course, this may change. I have a couple of projects I would like to spin for now. Maybe that means I need another drop spindle. I am just kidding. I have so much, and I am thankful for it all.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Happy Birthday to my dear, darling, wonderful husband! I hope to celebrate many more birthdays with you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Feeling Special

Today started early with the arrival of wonderful children. We had a good time together, and their mom was back from her doctor's appointment before we knew it. I feel special and honored to know the brand of the baby in process. It is exciting, but I will not spill the beans. I was glad to be able to be a help to a friend. She is so very thoughtful that she gave me some yarn as a Thank You. She did not need to do that. Of course, I could not turn it down, because that would be rude and crazy. I now have this lovely pile of tweedy goodness, mohair magic, and quite a mound of Manos. I already have several ideas of what it might become. This is a good sign, as the other day I had to leave the Skanky Knitters early, and could barely pick up the needles.

When I had trouble knitting, but was able to get off the floor and move toward the fiber pile, I spun. I am trying out some Corriedale. I like it, but I like the BFL better. My husband thinks Blue Faced Leicester sounds like some sort of insult. He is funny. I hope that at least some of his birthday presents arrive on time. I know that some will arrive late, perhaps very late. I guess that will make the celebrations last longer.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Fun With Learning

I am still new to spinning. I have improved from when I began, but there is still much to learn. Friday night, I learned a lesson. It is not just about spinning. I learned to be sure that the yarn I use for ties on my skein need to be checked for colorfastness, especially if I am going to give the yarn a simmer bath. FYI, the bits of Magic Garden Cotton Candy DK that I tossed into the scrap drawer after I wove in all the ends from the last Shedir I knit, yeah, they are a poor choice for this process. I had spun and plied some Blue Faced Leicester. It is lovely fiber and a joy to spin. I liked what I had spun and thought that I would spin more just like this and knit a shawl. Well, this mini skein has some stained spots from the ties, and it is all lightly colored. I was disappointed, but it is not a big deal. I may knit a little swatch with my baby skein of lace. I just did a try at checking wpi, and I think it is about 38. It was my first time trying to check wpi, and I did not give it too much effort or attention. I think I have about 70 yards of the stuff. It should make a nice-sized swatch. I need only pick out a lovely, lacy, stitch pattern to try.

My learning experiences did not end with this stained skein. Some of the Skanky Knitters are taking a class to learn to spin on a spinning wheel. They are renting wheels to practice between classes. One ran out of fiber, so I volunteered to bring her some. She let me have a go on the Majacraft. It was my first time with a spinning wheel. I thought that I would fare decently because of my experiences with the drop spindle. I thought wrong. When I began on the drop spindle, there was some emphasis on the word "drop." How I managed to achieve this same effect with a spinning wheel is beyond me. The upside is that we were able to change the bobbin, as she had filled one, and did not know how to switch it out for an empty one. I did not do well with the wheel. Still, it was nice to try it out and it was even nicer to visit my friend. It was my first time to her home and it is lovely. She is doing pretty well with the wheel. Some of the fibers I brought for her to try out worked better for her than others. It was good that she got to sample a few varieties. Still, I wish that I had brought her more of the ones that spun more easily for her. I hope I brought enough to get her through until her next class on Tuesday. I can always bring more to her on Monday night if she needs it. I suppose it is just as well that I struggled with the wheel, because it will take awhile before I can buy one. I believe that I have decided on an Ashford Traveller. Before that happens, I think we may have to buy a new refrigerator, as ours might be dying. We are going to try and see if we can perhaps repair it. We shall see what happens. Being responsible feels boring compared to the fantasy of a spinning wheel. Everything in its time, eh? Until then, there is still much to do and learn. My lovely stash will keep me company and keep me entertained. I do have some projects I would like to begin.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Festivity Blocked

This started out to be a quick knit. Then the project and the knit intersected and progress ground to a halt. I needed to be able to accurately measure the garment for shaping, but we were on the go so much. I have nearly given up my bad habit of measuring gauge swatches and other knitting on my thigh, so Festive was set aside. When I picked it back up, my enthusiasm waned briefly, but then I was making good progress and I wanted my top done so that I could wear it. I went through several changes of water as it let loose some excess red dye. Now I wait for it to dry. All that remains then, is to seam, work the collar, and sew on the snaps and frog closures (once I buy them).

Throughout the knitting of this, progress photos would not be very interesting, nor is it a thriller as it dries on a towel on the living room floor, not to mention the fact that the red in this picture is way off. I decided to take this opportunity to share a shot of my most recent chemo cap. I used Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece and the pattern is the Vine Lace Baby Hat from Knitting Daily. The original pattern called for much smaller needles and fingering weight yarn. I think I could have gone down in needle size for this hat, and will probably do so for the next one I knit. This is a simple pattern and I think it makes a nice chemo cap. I think the combination of the heavier yarn and the openness of the lace will balance each other nicely.

Although I got the time wrong, tonight, I was still able to offer a little help to one of my Skanks who was conned into teaching a beginner’s knitting class. They said that they just needed her to walk around the kids and help if they had a problem while someone else taught. She thought she would sit in the back of the room with her current project and knit until someone dropped a stitch. Then a week before the class, she found a flyer listing her as the instructor. All of a sudden, she was on the spot, and asked the Skanky Knitters to help. Unfortunately, it did not work with most schedules. I had resisted signing up for a spinning class, or I would have been unable to assist. I was glad to be of some help.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

From Socks to Sweaters

I do like my Tap Dancing yarn from Knit Picks. I am sad to say that it is discontinued. I brought this yarn out of the stash for the third round of Sock Madness. Apparently, it was not meant to become that pair of socks. After it rested amongst some other sock yarns, I retrieved it so that it might be redeemed. I knit one sock toe up through the heel turn, unsure of what patterning I would use on the leg. I began the foot of the other sock and knit on it on a Monday night. One Skank asked if it was a cast sock. You know, a sock meant to warm the toes of a foot encased in a cast. I felt a bit worried as I looked down and saw how huge it was. I had the same number of stitches as the other sock and it fit. I carried on and hoped for the best. Once the foot of the second sock was knit and the heel turned, I began the patterning on the leg. I had decreased six stitches in the ankle to accommodate the pattern. I chose Chevron from Charlene Schurch’s Sensational Knitted Socks. It draws in the fabric quite a bit. I knew this from past experience on a pair of socks that did not work out for me. These socks look a bit lousy off the needles, but they fit my feet. They are my illusion socks, and I love them.

Not wanting to end my time with this lovely yarn, I immediately cast on for a miniature sock to fit my keen new sock-blocker key chain. Brittany sent one for each Skank along with the Shedir she knit. I enjoyed handing them out last Monday. I did not begin on mine until after I had delivered them to the other Skanky Knitters. That just seemed fair. Anyway, is it not too cute for words? Brittany is so kind. This makes me even happier to announce that she is the winner of the Shedir contest! I will be packaging up her prizes and sending them out as soon as I can.

The Festive is nearly finished. I have most of one sleeve completed. I am making the sleeves a bit longer than they are written in the pattern. Then it is on to blocking, sewing, and frog closures. I looked at the closures at the store today, but I was unsure of which size I want to use. I will take the top to the store with me when I am done to make my final decision.

Seeing as I am so close to having a garment completed, I have left it in a pile and begun something else. I am working on the Baby Sweater on Two Needles; Practically Seamless, from Elizabehth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac. This is my first EZ pattern, and it is written a bit differently than others that I have knit. I have completed the garter-stitch yoke and have begun working the gull lace patterning. I am almost to the arms, and think I might try something different to make it seamless. EZ always encouraged us to be thinking knitters and to make our knitting our own, so it seems even more apt that I attempt to change this sweater. We shall see what happens. It may be a total wash, but that is okay. I am more than a wee bit shaky, and I think experimenting might be the best thing for me.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Wrapping Up the Round

Look what arrived in the mail the other day! Brittany knit this beautiful Shedir. I was going to wait to show it off when I could also show you the lovely gifties she sent to me and the other Skanky Knitters. Problem is, I haven't gotten to deliver the thoughtful gifts, and I do not want to spoil the surprise. Anyway, I did pretty well knitting chemo caps this round. We had two places to donate hats this time--one for children, and one for adults. Including Brittany's, I shipped sixteen hats. I guess that means it is about time to draw for the prizewinner amongst those who knit and donated a Shedir. I am excited. I also looked into sponsoring the next round and found a local cancer treatment center that would like to receive caps.

Speaking of contests, be helpful and get in on fabulous drawings over at Mandy's. She is preparing to participate in a Relay for Life event.

The smoke from the fires in Georgia and Florida made it this way. This has my head all stuffed up and my ears and throat irritated. It has also kept me inside a bit more than I would have hoped. It has kept me from getting outside and trying to capture wild animals. Each spring I try to catch, tame, and find homes for new kittens. I am rarely successful.

I am close to finishing Festive, but a picture of it would not be very exciting. I have the back, left front, and most of the right front (midway through armhole shaping) finished. I guess I need to decide whether I am going to make changes to the sleeves. It might be more trouble than it is worth. On a happier note, I believe I purchased more than a sufficient quantity of Cotlin to make this top. I may use the leftovers to knit a baby sweater. I am itching to try the baby sweater from EZ's Knitter's Almanac. There is a crop of new babies growing, and I think I might like to knit this for some of them.