Thursday, August 30, 2007

Back to Normal

I seem to have regained my sock mojo with the new charade socks. I usually spend my lunch hour listening to an audiobook and knitting. It's been a while since I've had a pair of socks that I was excited to work on. Maybe it's fall but all the knitting seems to be coming together. There are my first Socks that Rock, heavyweight in Rose Quartz. The yarn is much thicker than I am used to and I am knitting them up on size 3s. They're going to be very cushy and warm. If I'd had my choice, I would have gone for the mid or lightweight but only heavyweight was left in this colourway. It's good for me to try new things and they are knitting up quickly.

An aside - I seem to be experiencing some operator error with my swift and ball winder. There is too much tension and the first pass balls are too tight. I need to rewind them from a center pull ball, tensioning between my fingers to get them right. Ideas anyone?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Random Wednesday

1. Today’s pictures are a little weak. I was hoping to have more of them to show you. Sophie’s cuteness transcends lousy photography so I thought we’d start with her. What a good puppy.

2. The dolly bag is finished! I’m really pleased with the way this project turned out. It’s just the right size for a wallet and keys and fits nicely at my elbow. Perfect for grocery shopping and other quick errands. I wish I had made the handles a little longer so I could have secured them a little farther in but otherwise I wouldn't change a thing. (Except perhaps the fact that she’s finished just in time for Labor Day and Autumn…)

3. I’ve started a new pair of charade socks. I’m pretty sure these are keepers.

4. I washed the yarn from the first charade attempt. It bled. Copious amounts of red dye. It looked like Kool-Aid running off the yarn. I am not happy. It’s going to be a while before this yarn makes it out of the stash again.

5. I am almost to the raglan shaping on the wispy jacket sleeves.

6. I did observe tuesdays are for spinning. The merino bamboo from MI fiber fest is spinning up nicely. Spinning bamboo is a different but pleasant.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lights Out

A big time nasty storm rolled through town last Thursday. While we were lucky enough to get our power back quite promptly, we'd been without phone, cable and *gasp* internet until today. I am definitely not complaining though. We were originally told we wouldn't have power back until Monday and I was so worried for my freezer full of Michigan blueberries. I have so much to show you but all in due time. I promise a proper post tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Change of Plans

Remember the charade socks? I kept stabbing my finger to help the stitches across the join in the short circular needle. It was unpleasant. I learned to knit socks on a 12 inch circular. As I tend toward obsessive compulsive, I like to do things the same way every time. DPNs, two circulars, magic loop. I found reasons to discredit them all and stick to what I know. I thought maybe that I hadn’t given two circulars a fair shake and decided to try again. I loved it. I was a convert. Then I noticed this.

See that? My gauge changed. And the dark bit that was pleasingly swirling around the leg now pools. The yarn is Schaefer Anne and while the colorway is not named on my label, it looks exactly like Clara Barton. Some people have been having trouble with bleeding and fading with the Clara Barton colorway. In other yarns, yes, but with my luck at the moment, I’m not taking any chances. I’m ripping out and washing. I must have offended the sock knitting gods because I am striking out big time. The monkey socks became jaywalkers which are also getting ripped out and returned to the stash. Boo.

(I did observe Tuesdays are for Spinning. I’ve started with the merino bamboo and it is coming along nicely.)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Michigan Fiber Festival 2007

Last year I went a little wild. This year, I had a plan. I went early and cased the whole joint before making my purchases. I only made two non spinning fiber purchases. Some Socks that Rock Silkie in Spring Fling from the Fold and two handwoven kitchen towels from Pat Tirrell at Centennial Farm Wools.

Angora/Silk/Merino in Summer Bunny (tell me that name isn’t cute) from Anne Tullett at Luxury Natural Fibers

Merino/Bamboo from Bonkers

Cormo/Mohair from Foxhill Farm

Lincoln/Corriedale from Victoria Station

Now I just need to decide what I want to spin up first!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Communication Breakdown

We’ve been doing some cleaning/purging around here. A couple weekends ago, Bill was sorting through the basement closet and we had this exchange…

Bill: What do you want me to do with your sewing machine?
Jenn: Put it somewhere accessible. I’m going to need it and when I am done, I will find a home for it in my craft room.

This evening I came home from the gym ready to tackle the Dolly Bag lining and faced this.

Do you see a sewing machine? I do not. That’s because it was accessibly placed at the absolute very back, behind all the tubs, underneath some shopping bags. I love you baby. Since Bill is at school this week, I get to revert to single girl mode and in retaliation I am leaving the kitchen table looking like this.

Lining, check! The dolly bag should be ready to go in time for fibre fest this weekend.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Peaceful Coexistence

Bill and I went to Chicago this weekend. It was a really packed, but very fun, visit. We had a lovely dinner with some good friends, scoped out a few hotels for the wedding reception and I got my Portillo’s fix.

And of course, Stitches Midwest. We reach the Rosemont Convention Center, I look out the window and I see a young lady with a stabby Wolverine (a la X-men) claw thing on her hand. I think to myself, that’s a little scary but fine. As we start circling around looking for the parking, I see lots of black, some capes, swords and wands. Finally “Welcome to Wizard World” scrolls across the marquis. I start to panic. How could I have botched this one? As it turns out, we were in the right place, just a shared right place. Bill enjoyed some seriously fun people watching. (He studied in the Hyatt lobby while I shopped.)

There were so many knitters and vendors, it was easy to get overwhelmed! I bought sock yarn and one very dear ball of Quiviut (okay, a blend with merino and silk – we have a wedding to save for people). I also picked up a few patterns but overall I was pretty well behaved. I had a near miss with a Tess’ Designer Yarn sweater but opted for the pattern only.

My first swatch for the Wispy Jacket was too big. I finished swatch two this afternoon and decided to wind some more of the yarn into balls. Its chock full of knots! How irritating! This is not cheap yarn, Rowan Summer Tweed. Of the 11 skeins I started with…

2 untouched, status unknown
4 knot free
5 with knots

Naturally the skein I grabbed for my swatches was knot-free. Had I know what I was in for, I’d have used up some of these lovely short lengths. (Not kidding here, all partial balls photographed below.)

Seriously Rowan, for $10, I think you could afford to give me 118 continuous yards. One ball with knots, okay fine, but we’re talking over 50% here. Here's hoping those last two are all in one piece.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Night Off

I know Tuesdays are supposed to be for spinning but I'm giving myself a reprieve to read Harry Potter. Just because I'm so proud, here's another picture of the pink yarn.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Before and After

I bought braid and lining for the Dolly bag this weekend. I have one handle yet to seam and then I am ready to bust out the sewing machine for the lining.

The pink yarn is finally finished! She’s perfect, a little finer than fingering weight. (Can you believe it?!) There is enough for a pair of socks but the yarn is too precious. I want the finished product to be seen and not to wear out quickly. I’m thinking fingerless gloves. For comparison, she’s photographed with some on the yarn I was spinning before this class. I was just hoping that someday I could generate a consistent worsted! See how far I’ve come?
Navajo-plyCable-ply tweed battMore navajo-ply

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Tuesdays are for spinning, yes. Apparently so are Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays. I have been plying this yarn for literally days. This is the first time I haven't plied in all one shot. I'm plying two full bobbins, spun very finely. It's taking a long time but the end product is very satisfying.