Monday, September 24, 2007

Recent Stash Enhancements

I've been buying some yarn recently. I know, you're shocked!
Sock yarn, from Temptations in Sturgeon Bay. $1.50 each, because they were the last balls. Haven't these people ever heard of colorwork?

The last four balls of Merino et Soie by Naturally. I bought a bunch of these, and some lavender and teal colors too, back in January at my LYS's $3 a ball sale. When I got them home, I realized I probably didn't have quite enough of the grey for a sweater, but I resisted going back. I finally caved the other day and bought these at the exorbitant rate of $5.25 a ball. Originally marked $8.75.

Knit Picks Shadow, in three colors. I couldn't decide what color to make my Secret of the Stole, so I ordered three. I decided on the green. If it turns out I can't stand lace, I'll be swapping the other two colors away, I guess. But they are all lovely.

Knit Picks Gloss. I've been meaning to give this a try. I'm not completely sold on its wonderfulness in the skein. It just doesn't have any wow factor. That may change once I knit some up.

Knit Picks Harmony wood tips: LOVE THEM! They are lovely, sharp, smooth but not slick. They made my lace swatch a pleasure. I like them so much, I ordered two more in smaller sizes.

Harvest Moon batt and tussah silk top by Abby. Guess Abby was thinking the same thing as the flowers from my garden: Yellow and orange! The batt is a blend of super-fine merino, tussah silk, suri alpaca, and Mongolian cashmere! Soooo gorgeous and soft!

Here's something that merits a few less exclamation marks. My swatch for Secret of the Stole. It's a little floppy and open, I think I will go down one more needle size. On the tail on the left is my two bead choices. I think the bottom one (clear lined with gold) will get the green light. I like the brown one on top too, but I think it blends a little too much.

I'm half-way done with the second half of the front of Nantucket Jacket, which means I will soon have to sit down and refigure the arms to make them full length. Time to get out the graph paper.

Blogstalking: Assignment Two

What's in my purse? The answer is completely unremarkable:
The "purse" is an Eddie Bauer Touring Bag. I don't like purses, and I certainly don't spend any money on them. The idea of a $250 purse makes me clutch my chest in horror. I actually didn't carry a purse at all for many years. Wallet in one pocket, keys and sunglasses in another; that was my system, and it worked. Then I got a cell phone and I suddenly found I needed a purse. Of course, when you start carrying a purse, you start carrying a lot of junk. Here's the inventory, if you care: yarn requirement chart for sweaters, sunblock, sunglasses, glasses cleaners, assorted receipts, auto insurance info, comb, little pad of paper, random business card, contact solution, barrette, lip balm, pill box, wallet, band-aids, a handful of toothpicks I stole from a restaurant (my mother always wants one, and never has one), keys, cell phone, and Tide Stick (I am a slob and always spill on my shirt when eating.)

So there you have it. Now of these things, here's what I use often enough to justify carrying around: Wallet. Keys. Sunglasses. Tide Stick. That's it. Minus the Tide Stick, just what I carried around in my pockets in my pre-purse days. Not the cell phone, but it's there in case I need it. Last month, I logged 1 minute in calls not to my sister, which doesn't count because we share the account. Hmmm.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Knittyhead BlogStalking: Who am I?

In no particular order, just how Blogger decided to upload:

I'm a fan of I bought this set of buttons for the WTF? one.

I've wanted a horse all my life. This poster hangs on my bedroom wall. The horse in this portrait by Stubbs is called Whistlejacket, which I think is one of the kickass-est of names ever.

Chester is my cat. He is devoted to me and I am devoted to him. He's the best cat in the whole world, even right after he pukes in three different spots on the carpet. I would really like not to perpetuate the whole knitter/crazy cat lady stereotype, but I can't help it. Isn't he such a cute boy, yes he is, Chester's my sweety-pie, kiss, kiss, kiss. See? I can't help it.

I was a really cute kid in first grade. Weren't we all? When I was in first grade, I made my teacher a Tweedy-bird shrinky-dink Christmas ornament. It was the first of dozens of crafts I took up and failed at before I became a Knitter. Some other tried and failed crafts: pencil drawing, watercolor painting, counted cross-stitch, candle-making, plastic canvas needlepoint, stencilling, leatherworking, ceramics, and on, and on, and on. The jury is still out on dyeing and weaving, but I feel pretty safe in saying the knitting and the spinning will continue.

I love to camp and hike. Here I am, on the right, with my sister Laura at Copper Falls State Park earlier this summer. The things I like about camping are: being surrounded by nature, spotting birds and wildlife, identifying wildflowers, being challenged by cooking outside (and everything tastes better!), getting filthy and not caring, and messing with the campfire. The best part is coming home and taking a nice long shower and sleeping in your own bed that night.

I'm a bibliophile. This is one of my four bookshelves. The bottom two shelves are my knitting library. This particular bookcase holds all my childhood and sentimental favorites. I once placed a Yahoo! Personals Ad describing myself as a bibliophile and Packer fan and got several replies from men who thought the word bibliophile means you love the Bible. I am not a Bible-ophile, except as a somewhat interesting piece of historical fiction. I am not interested in dating anyone who can't be bothered to look up an unfamiliar word in a dictionary, but I don't mind tormenting them via e-mail with logic when they try to tell me God made the Packers win the Superbowl because Reggie White was a minister. I am a cross between a cynical heretic and a private humanist.

Speaking of Packer fans, I have not one, but two Packer schedules on my fridge. You know, in case I lose one. I have almost zero interest in any other sport, either as a spectator or a participant, but I'm a pretty rabid Cheesehead. I have never worn cheese on my head, however. I don't like to perpetuate stereotypes if I can help it. Sometimes I can't help it (see above.)

I am an IKEA devotee. At my computer desk right now, without turning my head, I can count five objects purchased at IKEA. The lampshade pictured above is not one of them--it's in my bedroom. I think the majority of the appeal, besides the cheap cheerfulness of the Swedish design, is the fact that I have to drive two hours to go there, so of course once I get there, I have to buy stuff to make it worthwhile. Psychology. It gets you every time.

So there you have it. A truly fascinating glimpse at the real me behind the avatar. One last tidbit: sarcasm is my most unbecoming trait, and the one I secretly like the most.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Nantucket Jacket Update

I have the back done and am almost done with the right front.
I really hope those seed-stitch panels block out even with the cable sections!

Fiber Stash Enhancement

Here's what I bought at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival last weekend:
4 oz. Merino/Mohair blend (80/20). Freeport colorway. Hoping to spin a Schaeffer Anne type sock yarn.
4 oz Organic cotton, in three natural colors. Just a taste--I don't know what kind of yarn this will make!

100 % silk top. So much prettier in real life. I bought this from my favorite kind-of-Local Yarn Shop, Bahr Creek Llamas and Fiber Shop.

Coopworth/llama blend, dyed with cochneal. From Handspun by Stephania.

Corriedale/silk dyed with osage orange and indigo, I think. Also by Handspun by Stephania.

Had a great time with Kathy, met up with Elizabeth and her bright son, Owen, and ran into Christy and her mom. A very enjoyable day.

I'm rapidly approaching SABLE with the fiber!


Recently found through Craig's List:
15" Four-shaft Schacht Table Loom with 12 dpi reed. Solid maple, in good condition, but I will replace tie-up strings and apron-rod strings, and maybe buy some more heddles. New, it costs about $500. I got it for $75. Whoo hoo! I love Craig's List!

Here's my first "project" on it. It's worsted-weight wool that I dyed with Kool-aid (the variegated red/green/orange) and leftover Easter egg dye (solid green). I'm just doing a plain or tabby weave right now to get a feel for it. I pretty much hated the Kool-aid yarn in the skein and couldn't stomach the thought of knitting it up. I am totally grooving on the plaid effect it is creating when weaving, though. I don't know why it's kinda wavy and I made a mistake going from one color to the next. It's obvious I'm a rank beginner!

Nellie loves weaving. She never left my side as I measured my warp and warped the loom. Last night after I came upstairs after weaving the bit you see here, she stayed downstairs calling me, and when I went down today to take pictures, she was sure I was going to start up again. Silly kitty.

Monday, September 03, 2007

New beginnings

Summer's almost over, and I couldn't be happier. I love fall, and I always think of it as a time to start new things. I'm motivated to organize (got all my fiber and spinning equipment tucked away on a shelf in my closet), exercise (nothing better than a long fall ramble in the woods), and experiment (I'm planning on a big dye day later this week). And I started something new:

Nantucket Jacket by Norah Gaughan from Fall 2006 Interweave Knits. I'm using Knit Picks Swish Superwash in Copper. Can I pause for a moment here and sing the praises of Swish? I loooooove it! Soft, squishy, sproingy, beautiful stitch definition, superwash and cheap! It's so wonderful, and now they have it in DK weight, too, which I much prefer to worsted. I could seriously knit for the rest of my life in only Knit Picks yarns.
Anyway, check out the stitch definition:

The last time I knit seed stitch, it didn't look anything like this. It might be that I've improved somewhat, but I also think the wonderful bounce of the yarn helps tremendously. And this is pre-blocked! See that cable there? It's a 6-stitch p1,k1,p1 cable. The purls blend in to the background of reverse stockinette and the knit stitch is the only visible part of the cable. Very nice effect. Now, that cable there gave me a bit of a headache. I crossed it the wrong way on the very first crossing and continued to cross it the wrong way. I got past the fourth crossing before I spotted it. I wrestled with myself for a long moment, trying to convince the O/C part of myself that it didn't matter, who cared which way the cable went, no one will know but me. But then I thought about what might happen when I seamed it up. Maybe it wouldn't make a difference, but maybe it would. So I dropped those six stitches at least 24 rows and reknit them, crossing the correct way. Only I had to do it three times because I kept screwing it up. But look at it now--still unblocked, and it is almost identical to all the other cables. I tell you, I love Swish! After all that acrylic baby sweater knitting, it is such a relief to be knitting in wool again.
So that's what I've been up to this weekend, along with working. Oh, and I might be buying a loom later today or tomorrow.