Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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December 2005 - Posts

Best wishes for a safe and happy New Year!

Finn

Finn wool
arrived in my stash...

Dyeing fiber - rolled Food coloring dyed Finn
dyed with food coloring, prepped...

33: handdyed Finn
spun on a spindle...

33: handdyed Finn 33: handdyed Finn
plied.

Surprisingly soft, sunshiny goodness. Only 1 oz, wish I'd done more.

Merino-Silk

Silk/Merino fiber
joined the stash...

34: merino-silk
spun and plied...

34: merino-silk
from the fold...

34: merino-silk
to make yarn.

Not the yarn I would have expected from seeing the top in my pre-spun-from-the-fold days.

Spun with a lot more twist than I'm used to; realized the other day that it takes a lot more twist than I thought to make a ply, and I didn't want a loose twist. Plied to a state of balance, but I would have liked more twist.

Questions

If I add more twist when plying to get the look that I want, then set the twist, does this have any "long term" effects? Will the plied yarn remember how it was set and not try to untwist itself? Assuming, of course, that I'm not adding waaaay more twist in the plying.

Also, is it "better" to add the necessary twist when spinning, versus adding extra twist in the plying? It seems that lots of twist in the spinning might make the yarn more "rope"-like, whereas adding twist in the plying wouldn't do that. Does that make any sense?

Let me know your thoughts!

Ribbed Wristwarmer Ribbed Wristwarmer
These are knit for a man's hand so they're big on me, but you get the idea

2LN Wristwarmers
Started:
12/10/05
Finished: 12/23/05
Pattern: my own
Yarn: Danette Taylor superwash merino in Calypso (?), 2.2 oz
Needles: #5 circulars
Notes: I liked the wristwarmers in Last Minute Knitted Gifts, but wanted to keep the thumb warm. Design-wise, I wanted to maintain the vertical lines from the ribbing and have the thumb "grow" out of the ribbing. It took a lot of trial and error, but I'm happy with the results! This one is sized for a man's small; I plan to make pairs to fit me, and Scott.

I debated showing it all, since I'd only be documenting my stash enhancing, uh, addiction. (Yes, the first step is admitting your problem.) Then I thought, what the hell. So here it is!

Webs Sale - 501 Tweed
Filatura di Crosa 501 Tweed; only 10 balls so maybe a small sweater

Webs Sale - Debbie Bliss wool/cotton
Debbie Bliss wool/cotton in dark and light blue; one of these will become some kind of cabled sweater from one of her books. I keep buying her books but not her yarns; maybe for once I won't have to make endless calculations and adjustments?? (Please?)

Webs Sale - Rowunspun 4 ply
Rowan Rowanspun 4ply in Pumpkin, I think; it's bright, n'est ce pas? It's also thin, and I don't know if 10 balls x 25g is enough for anything? I was thinking that little cardi from Interweave Knits sometime in the last year or so, but maybe it wasn't 4ply...

Webs Sale - misc
Knit One Crochet Two Creme Brulee: superwash for baby things, hard to go wrong at $20 for 10 balls
Sparkly non-gauge-changing carryalong thread for knitting and spinning fun
Cascade Fixation for the wool-allergic hubby

Webs Sale - silk Webs Sale - silk closeup
Silk for the Sweater Scott Will Wear and Love, Dammit; to be knit with 2 strands

Spinning Wheel thoughts

Based on suggestions on Knitter's Review Forums, I'll try out both wheels again and then decide. Give them each another go, a fair shake, a run for their money, and any other cliche you can think of. I've waited this long, may as well make a decision I feel comfortable with.

Socky progress

Speaking of waiting, while at the doctor's office last week I got through another couple of repeats:

Grey Cabled Sock - sock 2

And a little Drugstore Cowboy (what a classic) last night got me through the last couple of cables:

Grey Cabled Sock - sock 2

Just some toe shaping and ends weaving to go!

New Year's travel

I'm heading to NC for New Year's, family fun and my last week of freedom before starting my new job. I'm looking forward to it! Both seeing them, and starting my job, actually. I've had my fun (knitting! spinning! sleeping in!), I've had my pain (job hunting... no yarn money...), I'm ready to to learn, earn, help, create, and otherwise be a productive member of society again. And family-wise, well, the older I get, the more I cherish what feels like ever more limited time with them. My nephew (6 mo!) is sitting on his own and ready to start crawling; my niece (almost 7!) is reading chapter books and a cool kid besides. They grow so fast, and i'm so far! My plans: introduce my niece to the wonders of dyeing yarn with food coloring; make my nephew giggle and smile; make my sister laugh and feel she can neglect her kids for at least a few hours here and there.

I'll prepare some posts ahead of time, but I probably won't be able to blog regularly until I get back.

And last... WIP Management

I'm officially putting any WIP Management updates on hold until January. Wait, that's next week...

Holiday knitting put me in a jumble and I'm not yet recovered. I did find it interesting that all projects begun post-WIP Management are currently complete. That's a first! I'm down from 67 to 42 projects (to be honest, I still can't see how I can have that many, but Excel spreadsheets do not lie), with 17 completed, 15 abandoned, and 7 new. I'm not feeling the creative soup joy from starting new projects (new project high, so much better than new car smell), but I have been getting some creative joices going designing (Buttercup and Ribbed Wristwarmers (which I'm renaming yet again)), and a good amount of satisfaction when they're done.

It's been a different kind of knitting, more goal oriented and focused. Not very Gemini, but a good learning experience. Balance, beginning and finishing. Letting go of projects that no longer inspire or that I've outgrown. Putting in that extra bit of effort to finish up an almost complete item, transforming it from an idea, good intentions, 22% perspiration, to something that can be used, gifted, warm some heart or spirit. In the last 6 weeks, I've been extra careful to start only necessary holiday gift projects, and that will have to change.

For the record, my original goal of 18-24 projects was set with a 6 month timeline. I think I'm well ahead of schedule. It won't do to coast; WIPs won't knit themselves! But I think it'll be a little more lowkey from here.

Week six:
Started with: 43
Abandoned: -0
Finished: -2
New: +1
(Number of projects I wanted to start: 3)
Current Projects: 42!
WIP list

Bought a little yarn at Webs' Year End sale:

Webs' Winter Sale

What a zoo. So much yarn, so little time. And by time, I mean "lifetime". I already have enough yarn for this lifetime (big time SABLE*), I guess I'm working on the Next One. Apparently, the Next One prefers luxury yarns and veers away from mohair, angora and over-novelties. Perhaps the Next One is developing allergies? Or is more sensitive to the hubby that has allergies...

We were in line for over an hour. And by "we" I mean Scott. I was busy browsing (what? what??) and trying to convince him that he would look good in Berroco Denim Silk. It was a nice color, really it was. The specks of light blue -- well, you wouldn't be able to see them from an armslength away. Well, I wouldn't. Then again, I'm practically blind... Needless to say, I was not convincing.

Novelty yarns were in (over-)abundance. When you've got big time SABLE, you have to be discriminating with the novelties. By the time you get around to knitting it, the novelty will have worn off. Know what I mean? No? Check eBay.

This lot is not high on luxury, though there is some silk in there for Scott. Still living down my personal worst knitted item for Scott and desperate to prove I can do better. And since he's allergic to wool (that's a whole other topic) and has a very limited palette of acceptable colors, he's very hard to knit for. You will be hearing more about this silk. And my tortured relationship to it.

And then the wheels. There were 3 floor models available for trial: DT Folding Lendrum, ST Louet S10 and ST Ashford Elizabeth. Couldn't try the latter, something was not right with the treadle. The S10 was actually really nice for a single treadle. Smooth and good momentum on the wheel. The one I tried at The Fiber Loft must have needed oil.

But I was really there to try the Folding Lendrum. And boy, did it disappoint. At first. Treadling was like treading water. I suck at treading water; I'm sluggish and feel like I'm not far from drowning. Then there was that awful squeeeeeak. It was easy enough to use, and when oiled, why, it treadled great! And away went that squeak! You were thinking oil, weren't you? Yep, you were right. Oiled, it ran nicely. I made yarn for 5, 10 minutes, and it felt pretty good. But I didn't get that joy feeling that the Ashford Joy gave me (I kid you not). I didn't hum classical music. I didn't feel like experimenting.

Thing is, I don't know if it had to do with some other fixable funkiness, like oiling a joint. I don't know if it just doesn't sing to me like the Ashford Joy. How do I decide?

I went to Webs hoping for more clarity, and instead, I'm in a pea soup fog (did you ever play Game of Life?). What should I do?

* SABLE - Stash Amassed Beyond Life Expectancy

For those that celebrate this time of year, Happy Holidays! We'll be spending the afternoon with Gram.

I'm off to Webs tomorrow for their sale and (I hope) to try out some wheels. I don't think I'll walk away with a wheel, but I hope to get closer to a decision. Right now the Folding Lendrum DT and the Ashford Joy DT seem to be the front runners. Everywhere I look, someone's buying a Lendrum! I've already tried the Joy and like it. I don't think I can try all the major makers before deciding; I don't think I have the patience.

Took a break from holiday knitting and spun up the rest of the merino-silk spinning from the fold. I'm getting better at the joins, but will need more practice. It's a nice worsted weight; I think it will become a hat.

Enjoy your day!

I've wanted to set this up for a little while but waited until I would have more than my own name on there. ;-)

TwoLeftNeedles Frappr Map

Stop by and say hi!

Nerd Test

The Stupid Quiz said I am "Pretty Smart!" How stupid are you? Click here to find out!

Hmm, I wonder what would have happened if I didn't say little hamsters make batteries work...

And Matching Hat is done. Awwww. Holiday knits are now 13 of 16!

And Matching Hat

And Matching Hat
Started:
12/21/05
Finished: 12/22/05
Pattern: my own, see below;
Yarn: Danette Taylor's superwash merino in Seaweed (I think), 1 oz
Needles: #5 circulars
Notes: Knit to match Satin Grape. Quick satisfying knit. I lied. I knit this one twice. Everything I've knit this week I've had to reknit at least once. What is up with my knitting mojo??? I didn't cast on the right number of stitches, and the stitches were coming out smaller than a previous project using similar yarn. Second time I counted, recounted and knit loosely. Phew.

Pattern: Cast on 80 sts, join; knit 36 rows, then begin decreases next and every other row:
(Knit 8, k2tog) across; knit 1 row even; (Knit 7, k2tog) across; knit 1 row even; ... ; (k2tog) across (8 sts remain); knit 1 row even; (k2tog) across (4 sts remain).
Knit I-cord over these 4 stitches for 2.5", cut yarn and pull through; secure ends; tie knot in I-cord.

Ribbed Wristwarmers

Wristwarmer one done!

Ribbed Wristwarmers - 1st warmer

Looks like a tree or cactus.

Ribbed Wristwarmers - 1st warmer

Ribbed Wristwarmer one was reknit twice: once because it was way too big on the recipient; and then again because the thumb gusset was waaaay too long. Took a lot of work to get the effect I was after, but I'm quite happy with it!

Ribbed Wristwarmer

And so is Dan! His fiance, Linda, wanted to claim it for herself. And I'll be making a pair for myself, too. Once the second one is done I'll take some closeups so you can see the details and fit.

Photo taken at Minado; mmmm, all-you-can-eat sushi.

(I took a photo of Linda wearing the Esther hat but it wasn't the greatest photo so I'll try again after the New Year. She loves the hat, though!)

Thanks for the nice comments about the job! It's the one that's 5 minutes away. 5 minute commute, baby!

I found this on my computer the other day.

Satin Grape

That's my nephew, wearing the "Satin Grape" cardigan I knit him with superwash from Danette Taylor. Ain't he the cutest? The pooling on this project was fantastic, I Loved it. The center front are the lighter colors, and the center back is dark purple, like he sat in... (Scott named it with specific spelling). Looks like the smallest size was maybe too small; I know he was eating good.

A matching hat was requested for the holidays. In progress and almost done:

And Matching Hat

I'm 12 for 16 gifts for the holidays, this will make 13! Another is in progress, and 2 yet to be started. We're a New Year's celebrating kinda folk, so I've still got time. So I keep telling myself.

I got a job

Did you read that right? I got a job. I got a job! I'm soon to be gainfully employed! I can stop job hunting! I can buy a wheel! I get back my Budget and can buy things (read: yarn and fiber) again! [does a little dance]

Thanks for your supportive comments on the most recent batch of ... abandonees.

And now, I present:

Argyle Caddie Argyle Caddie

 Argyle Caddie Argyle Caddie

Argyle Caddie
Started:
12/16/05
Finished: 12/19/05
Pattern: my own; I took inspiration from Lion Brand's and Knitty's versions, esp to get an idea of size. But went through the pain of making up my own pattern.
Yarn: Pingouin Coeur de Laine in green (0114), dk green (0074) and white (001); body is 1.8 oz total, pompom is 1.4 oz
Needles: #7 dpn
Notes: To be honest, I liked the argyle version on Lion Brand's website, but my google search brought me to the cabled version, and I didn't see links for the other 2. So I made up my own. Haha, too bad for me. I'm pretty happy with how it came out, though. I struggled with the argyle patterning, knit it 3 times before I got it right. It was worth it, and the Seamless Intarsia technique I used is nifty. It's pretty crazy looking with the pompom, but heck, so are the outfits they wear. The only change I would make: add an extra row or two between the ribbing and the argyle pattern. You can read more here and here.

Looking at it again, I have an unnatural attachment to it. Maybe it's a natural byproduct of the time and effort invested into making it right. Maybe it's the serendipitous joining of stash, idea and execution. Or maybe it's that "I made this" (same post-X-Files jingle) satisfaction of designing?

My first meme

Grumperina said: "How about you? Who knows about your knitting and your knitting blog, and what are your reasons for revealing (or not) its existence to these folks? Don’t just leave me a comment – rather consider this a meme and answer on your own blog ;)."

I've pointed family and friends here a few times to show them pictures of turkeys or non-knitting stuff; I don't know if they come back or visit only when I send an email. Most people I know don't knit so I think it's lost on them. Really, it's a lot of work keeping up a blog: the photos, thinking of what to say. It makes sense to knitters, spinners and fibery lovers, but to the rest of the world? I think it's a mystery. And not such an interesting read. Am I wrong?

I read the funnier entries to Scott but I'm pretty sure he doesn't frequent on his own; he already has to look at works in progress, every day, again and again... and he doesn't say things like "wow, that's a whole inch longer than the last time you showed me." He humors me, I humor him on Warcraft.

There are a couple of work buddies from my last job that I taught to knit, and I know Maria comes by regularly (hi Maria!). It's funny talking to her because she knows everything I'm working on and it catches me by surprise.

Because I assume most people I know don't come by, I feel free to post pics and talk about things I'm making for them. I'm paranoid, though, so for holiday gifts I haven't been naming names. I wonder if any of my family will see their gift and recognize it? That would be telling. :)

I've only been blogging for a couple of months, though, so I'm still finding my way. Like many people I want to keep separation between work and personal life so I will likely never go into work details. And since I'm a very private person, I probably will focus more on knitting and less on the ups and downs of every day life. I imagine that as I blog on and get to know other knitters in the blogosphere, I will share more. I've seen it happen, out there. The knitting community is, to oversimplify, a warm, generous, supportive one. We like to make things to warm ourselves and the ones we love; we make and give gifts of time, thought and effort; and we enable like no one's business. But that's not what I meant. ;)

In short, I tell people I knit, I tell them I blog, I'm happy to tell them where my blog is; but I don't think they're regulars.

If you haven't done this one, consider yourself tagged!

I tried to make you into something you couldn't be, Wildberry Basket Scarf. I knew you were only 100g, but you were so pretty and soft and I wanted to jump right in! It was folly to think you might be enough for a scarf. I found a great pattern to show off your colors and you were done in no time. But. A two foot scarf. Sigh. It was lovely while it lasted; I'll work on my expectations.

Wildberry Basket Scarf Wildberry Basket Scarf
12/13/04 - 12/20/05

I can't keep doing this, Striped Sweater. You were an experiment in color, an attempt to use up Colinette scraps and stash. I was excited about the mix, the unpredictable way your hint of colors played. But... I think it was just the wrong needles, and then so much time passed and I'm just not sure any more. Is there enough yarn? Would you be better on #9's? Can we make this work? I have to let you go.

Striped Sweater

Striped Sweater Striped Sweater
8/1/02 - 12/20/05

There just isn't a future for us, Spicy Fair Isle Sweater. I tried to be bold and substitute colors using stash. It was a good experience and I learned from it. You're bright and you hurt my eyes. I'm sorry, did I say that out loud??

Spicy Fair Isle Sweater
2/5/05 - 12/20/05

We just don't understand each other, Classic Elite Felted Booties. I followed your pattern to the T, and I just don't get it. You're supposed to be felted. You're supposed to fit me. How can you be smaller than my foot before felting? I can't take the stress, Booties. It's time to move on.

Classic Elite Felted Booties Classic Elite Felted Booties
12/25/03 - 12/20/05

White and Black Merino Sweater, I had a lot of growing up to do. I loved knitting you, even on tiny needles; your merino softness and simple contrast striping were a pleasure. Before long your pieces were done! I was elated! But then... Well... It's just... I didn't know about gauge. It was a long time ago... I tried to make it work. I pinned you to fit and basted, but look at all that extra fabric! I can't do it, can't subject you to the machine and scissors. It's just not right. I'll find a better way. We can start over again, find that loving feeling and make it work.

White and Black Merino Sweater White and Black Merino Sweater

White and Black Merino Sweater White and Black Merino Sweater

White and Black Merino Sweater
1/19/97 - 12/20/05

Week five:
Started with: 48
Abandoned: -5
Finished: -1
New: +1
(Number of projects I wanted to start: 1)
Current Projects: 43!
WIP list

Research

Break-up lines of the philosophers

Argyle Caddie is almost done:

Argyle Caddie - in progress Argyle Caddie - in progress

Two issues:

1. The diamonds are short and squat. Just as I finished the colorwork, I realized that argyles are usually tall and skinny. Instead of increasing or decreasing every row, I should have done so every other row. Oh well. I so am not knitting them a fourth time.

2. I'm not sure how tall the balloon part should be. I'm not a golfer and don't have any clubs to compare it to... I added a couple more rows of plain green after the argyle to make it a little longer, but it makes the argyle off-center. I'll add the white diamonds and pompon first to see how it all comes together. If it's still off-center after that, I'll add a few extra rows between the ribbing and argyle.

Here's the inside:

Argyle Caddie - inside

Yumm, no strands, few ends. Loverly.

The Seamless Intarsia method took getting used to, but is so elegant a solution that I would use it again, judiciously. It feels like a bit of magic, "ta-daaa", maybe the same way entrelac would feel. And, I suppose, with the same non-effect to non-knitters.

The original plan was to knit a couple of these. With all the re-knitting, I've done enough work to cover two covers. The new plan is that I'm almost done. :-)

On a separate note

Thank you for the lovely comments recently about my blog!

I tried. Really, I did. I know these holiday knits will not knit themselves. But. Somehow... Not enough brain power for argyle in the round. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Here are some in-progress pictures:

Argyle Caddie - in progress Argyle Caddie - closeup

and the inside:

Argyle Caddie - inside

Not the best pictures, but you get the idea.

Somehow this got spun up during a "break":

33: handdyed Finn 31: merino/silk

That's the Finn I dyed the other day; the merino/silk was spun from the fold before yesterday's panic and decision to focus. Really, it was.

I won't tell you how many programs I had to install just to add these few photos. Craziness, I say, sheer madness. 'Tis the season!

Gone. Gone is the cavalier, devil-may-care, no worries, plenty of time, delusional attitude. It's the 17th, just a week to go! What am I doing, dyeing fiber and plying like it's November? Finishing old WIPs, knocking off baby sweaters and socks started almost a decade ago?? It's crunch time! Time to focus, suck it up, get it done, crank out, produce, create, KNIT!

Anyone else feeling it? Anyone???

Last night, while installing software and watching Scott install my operating system, I worked on a golf club cover. Yep, a gift. I don't know how practical it is, but there are people making money doing it, and it's going to someone who already has everything they need, and I don't know what else I could make them. It'll have an argyle top, which will have been knit at least three times before being done. I can say this with certainty as it's already been knit and frogged twice. Argyle, in the round. Yeah.

Attempt 1: stranding. Blech. Bumps in the fabric.
Attempt 2: a technique new to me, "Seamless Intarsia" from Knitting Tips & Trade Secrets. Essentially, you knit back and forth but twist your yarns such that your fabric looks as if produced in the round. No seams, no stranding. It's quite cool, but takes some getting used to. Plus, attempt 1 convinced me to add an extra stitch in the pattern, which isn't needed in the Seamless Intarsia method. Hence, froggy frog frog.
Attempt 3: third time is the charm, right?

I'd love to show you a photo of it in progress, but I don't have any of that software installed yet. Kinda annoying, actually. I'd love to show you a photo of the Sapporo Imported Premium Beer that will surely make Attempt 3 the charm. 22 oz. Hmm, maybe beer and intarsia in the round is not such a great combination?

Job hunting is making me crazy. -er. Crazier. So glad it's the weekend.

Stopped in at The Fiber Loft in Harvard, MA after an interview today. Lots of nice yarns downstairs, but I spent my time and energies trying out 4 wheels upstairs: Ashford Traveller DT, Joy DT and Traditional ST, and Louet S10 ST (I'm pretty sure that's what it was). Reba, a non-spinner (or not-yet-spinner?), pointed me in the right direction with wool and a threader, but I was on my own to figure out how to make it all work.

Only one was "ready to spin"; with the rest it was varying degrees of: "hmm, the wheel's not turning... ahh, this tube thing is off"; "hmm, the bobbin's not moving... ahh, this springy thing must need to go somewhere"; and "man the take up is tight... maybe if I turned this knob..." I tinkered and poked around and learned a lot about how wheels work. And without someone over my shoulder I felt no performance anxiety. The "patting your head while rubbing your stomach" thing wasn't an issue; my hands and feet knew what they were supposed to do. They weren't great at it, but I didn't feel that schizophrenic pulling apart and twisting of my mind's attention. (Okay, I'm exaggerating, it wasn't quite so bad before.)

In the end I liked the Joy best. Liked the feel, easier to thread, liked that it has so many ratios, and overall felt most comfortable on it. By then (it was wheel #3) I was comfortable enough to do some experimenting so I made yarn with puffs:

32: First wheel spun 32: First wheel spun

Here are two puffs separated from the flock:

32: First wheel spun

It's hard to tell from the photo, but the puffs were not just thicker bits of fiber; I had to manipulate the fiber to get it to be a puff and not just a "thick" (of "thick and thin"). A bit of the puffiness was lost in the plying. Looking at the puffs now, I'm thinking, not so practical; but it was fun to make! (Man, I wish I could ply as fast with my spindle. PumpkinMama, you are so right, it's like lightning on a wheel.)

Speaking of spindles, yep, still lovin' my hi-lo:

31: merino/silk

That's merino-silk that I spun from the fold. Very different texture and look than spinning straight from the top (see a sample from a different color). I likes it, I likes it! I haven't figured out how to get a good join when adding the next bit of fiber. Fiber ends are easier to sneak in than folds; folds are thicker and produce a bulkier join. Any suggestions?

And finally plied the Winderwood Farms Wensleydale (here it is before plying). Had to add extra twist to get it the way I wanted; I have learned that more twist than I expect is required for plies.

28: Winderwood Farms Wensleydale

One last photo, the pre-drafted food coloring dyed Finn from yesterday:

Food coloring dyed Finn

I just got home from a long day, bombarded by Microsoft and vendor marketing messages, surrounded by a throng of programmers, hoping in vain for free prizes, trying not to ingest too much sugar or caffeine while battling the drowse-inducing dim lighting and technical presentations. Yes, I attended Microsoft's Launch of Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005, and, excuse my English, it was a long ass day. I went for my free copies (yay!) and info on what's new for web developers (that happened at 3:30 pm; keynote began at 9). My computer needs a rebuilding and new software is a good excuse for getting to it. Lots of knitting and spinning will accompany hours of "Click next to continue".

I bring this up because my brain is mush; I hope this post makes sense.

The dye fest

When I say "dye fest", realize it's all relative. I dyed 4 oz of fiber. Not much for some (most?), but 4 batches and a full night for me. I used those $2 packs of 4 bottle food coloring, plastic wrap and the trusty nuker. I couldn't find easy google guidance on mixing or amounts, so I tried some of the recipes on the back of the box, winged some, and basically used a ratio of 2 tsp of hot water with ~5 drops of dye.

Fiber: first 2 are 1 oz each of Finn; last 2 are 1 oz each of merino. Soaked for an hour or two in water with a glug of vinegar. Squeezed out the excess water before dyeing, but they were still pretty wet.

My first batch: red, "orange" and yellow (forgot to photograph before rolling). I used 2 tsp of each color, which was not nearly enough (it's easier to see in the later photos).

Dyeing fiber - wrapped Dyeing fiber - rolled

Batch 2: Greens and blues, 3 colors. Doubled my amounts, 4 tsp of each, but didn't use all of it.

Dyeing fiber - colored

Wrap and roll, baby.

Dyeing fiber - ready to nuke

While it was nuking (on for 2 mins, off for 2, repeat x 4), started batch 3. "Purple" and the leftovers of the previous batch:

Dyeing fiber - colored

And batch 4: whatever was left over. Nuked batch 3 and 4 for 3 sets of on/off instead of 4; the water looked pretty clear.

Dyeing fiber - colored

Here they are cooling. See the arrow? There was a small tear in the plastic and some of the red got in and made purple. :)

Dyeing fiber - post nuking Dyeing fiber - post nuking

Once (mostly) cool (I'm impatient!) I rinsed in similar temp water; the water was quite clear. Used a towel to remove excess water. Hung on a hangar to dry.

Dyeing fiber - rinsed

Next morning:

Dyeing fiber - dried

There are more patches of white on the reds and greens than expected. Also, though it may not show in the photos so well, the colors are more muted when they're cooked and dry. While they're wet and cooking, they look much more vibrant. Next time I'll use much more solution, though I think the ratio of water to dye is fine. Also, the purple wasn't very purple, more magenta, I think; and the "orange" could be less red. Obviously, need to tinker with mix ratios.

Still, I really like the reds and greens. I stripped and pre-drafted the reds this morning and it looks so purty. And the range of colors is much greater than with Kool Aid (can only get a few colors here). It was fun to mix and play. And knowing it was food-safe made it less stressful. I'm gonna get some acid dyes soon, though. I want more control over colors and saturation. I'm hooked!

PS I lurv my new spindle!

I'm so excited - look what came home with me today:

Schacht hi-lo spindle

That's a Schacht hi-lo spindle and she spins fast, she does. Sigh. My second spindle. She shall help me a-ply my pile o' stuffs. Mebbe even spin heavier than fingering and sport weights. 

I picked her up at Mind's Eye Yarns in Cambridge. Lucy demonstrated spinning from the fold and getting a good spin by rolling down the thigh. Wheeeeee! She also showed how to get a wicked fast spin by flicking with the feet. Man oh man. Between the faster, heavier spindle, spinning from the fold, and picking up speed on the spin, a whole new horizon just opened up for me. I had read about the fold and thigh thing but couldn't visual the latter or think of a reason to try the former. While I was gazing longingly at her merino/silk top, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe I could spin my merino/silk top from the fold. Might make it much more spinnable! It was so finicky I was waiting to get a wheel before going back to it. Enter demo and childish glee.

I could barely contain myself on the (long) drive home. And here I am, telling you about it rather than practicing. Laters!

PS: In the interests of full disclosure, I also picked up these:

My first Spin-Off magazines

PPS: I had a dye fest last night using food coloring. Tonight's goodies preempts the chronicling; details tomorrow.

The advantage of ancient WIPs that are socks:

If the first sock was completed years ago, you can't have second sock syndrome. It's like knitting a first sock all over again.

In the case of Grey Cabled Socks (thanks for the lovely comments!), I kept such detailed notes on the first sock (the extent shocks me) that I didn't have to refer back to the pattern at all. This compared to a blank page for the Brown Sock. (Oh yeah, I never knit the first Brown sock, so no notes...)

The disadvantage: gauge. My knitting has changed in 9 years (duh, really?), and if this sock is any indication, it's gotten tighter. The second sock is even harder to get on my foot than the first one. Once there, it's fine. Hmm... I can't imagine a life-threatening situation involving speed of removing socks. Can you?

Grey Cabled Scarf - in progress

Wait one moment, Monica. I thought that first sock was done. Did you frog it???

Sacre bleu, no mon dieu, and oo la la.

I couldn't stop worrying about the socks matching up so I dug up some 2 3/4 mm circular needles I didn't know I had and started from scratch. That's the larger sock-in-progress. The smaller sock-in-progress will be de-progressized. The new needles are great! They're bamboo and the cord is incredibly flexible. The length of the bamboo portion is a little longer than the typical 16" Addi's, so there's a little more to grip.

Grey Cabled Scarf, Needles Used in

Bloglines back

I'm so glad Bloglines found me again. I sent them an email a couple of days ago; that either did the trick, or it was very coincidental. Several blogs I watch were also 'MIA' for a bit there.

Weekly WIP Update

This week I finished a couple of holiday knits, resurrected and finished an old WIP (Brown Sock), and made some progress on an ancient WIP. I didn't have what it took to make cold hard decisions on abandoning further projects. Must be the holidays. Next week I should be able to axe a few more.

Week four:
Started with: 50
Abandoned: -0
Finished: -3
New: +1
(Number of projects I wanted to start: 5)
Current Projects: 48!
WIP list

After finishing Brown Socks, I picked up Grey Cabled Socks. (I swear, my older project names are entirely boring, yet succinctly descriptive.) The problems with Grey Cabled Socks: they were knit on #2 dpn's (that's 2 problems - tool type and size), and they ended up a bit snug in the putting on / getting off category. Pluses: once on, they're quite comfy, and they look beautiful.

Sock 1 was already finished:

Grey Cabled Socks - sock 1

Looks so much better on the foot:

Grey Cabled Socks - sock 1

Yes, yes, I have small feet.

Heel detail (don't know if you can see it, but I like the garter stitch edges on the heel flap):

Grey Cabled Socks - heel detail

Toe detail (you can't see it, but these socks gradually decrease to almost no stitches):

Grey Cabled Socks - toe detail

In the project baggie was my swatch. See what passed for a swatch back in '96?

Grey Cabled Socks - swatch Grey Cabled Socks - swatch

The second sock had about 1" of ribbing. Dpn's were 2 3/4 mm; I switched to my usual circs, but the closest I could find was 3 mm or 2.5 mm. I went with 3 mm and hoped for the best.

After a few rows, I could see the stitches were bigger, so I went with cabling every 9 rows instead of 10. They match up pretty closely, but I'm still worried.

Grey Cabled Socks - sock 2

Found beautiful handspun yarns and felted art at Spinning on the Edge. I especially liked the tentacle basket, Otto in the Water, the fishies, and this pile of handspun.

Also happened upon Maitri's Dragonfly Cottage Fiber Studio. The page layout had sent me running before, but this time I stopped to make sense of it and looked at the Wabi-Sabi Wooly Wonder Batts. If you scroll down, there are links to past batts that are just beautiful. If you make it all the way to the bottom, the "Word to the Wise" spoke to me. It's advice to follow your vision, your dream, even if it's crazy or unexpected or shocking to anyone else.

As a beginner spinner working in mostly isolation, I have felt the need to get feedback from the outside. Is what I'm doing okay? Does it look good? Is it right? Am I on the right track? What do you think? And it makes sense, to want feedback, especially when you're just starting out. But, I need to start looking from the inside out, to find what my vision is, what I want to make. And it doesn't have to be earth shattering or amazing, like those linked above.

And maybe it's really too soon to get anywhere without getting more experience. Hard to create what you want when you don't know materials, tools and techniques.

At the same time, I have been thinking about what I want to make, and making decisions along the way, even if it's not so "conscious" or "self-conscious". Every time you create, you make decisions, you decide.

Jumbled up thoughts. What do you think? ;)

How now, Brown Socks?

Brown Socks

Brown Socks
Started: 1/1/99
Finished: 12/10/05
Pattern: my own
Yarn: Cynthia Helene merino, just over 2 balls
Needles: #5
Notes: Most notes are in yesterday's post. The heel uses the same short row technique as on the Pom Squad Socks on Magknits. When I got to the toe, because of the foot decreases, I had an odd number of stitches on each needle. I simply decreased as usual and kept 1 stitch between decreases, instead of the usual 2. At the end of the last row, I moved the last (unknit) stitch to the opposite needle and kitchenered in the usual way.

Any tightness I was worried about is not noticeable. They're warm and sturdy, and best of all, done!

WIP count

Can you believe it, this brought my WIP count down to 47! Incredible! It didn't last, of course. I started a pair of wristwarmers, a holiday gift. And I'll soon start another couple of holiday gifts. I think 50 is my new threshold, though. No going above 50!

Can you tell I haven't been in a plying kind of mood?

Needs plying

These are the most recent additions to the collection:

29: Winderwood Farms Blue Faced Leicester

It's the last of the Winderwood Farms blue faced leicester, which I'm sure came out much thinner than the first 2 oz I spun a few weeks ago. What I said about this BFL not being as soft as Fleece Artist's BFL - not true. I pre-drafted a bit and suddenly it felt very soft. Pre-drafting has become my friend.

And the first of the Winderwood Farms merino:

30: Winderwood Farms Merino

This was tougher to spin; the weight of the spindle seemed to work against me. I wanted a looser single for a looser ply, but without more twist, the spindle wanted to fall to the ground (and did a couple of times). The merino is very soft and the colors are brilliant sunset; looking forward to seeing how it comes out.

WIP diving

Earlier this week I picked up an older WIP project, Brown Sock. Great name, eh? (Oh, the creativity.) In her abandoned state, all the ribbing for one cuff was done. Here's sock 1, finished a few days ago:

Brown Socks - sock 1

As I worked, the reason for abandonment became clear: boring pattern and color, dpn's, too many stitches for the foot. Can't do much about the first, switched to 2 circs (for socks, it's all circs all the time chez 2LN), and made some modifications for the third:

Brown Socks - sock 1

After turning the heel, I began a series of decreases for the foot so that it wasn't so balloon-like; the resulting fit is very snug (hopefully not too snug).

Brown socks - sock 1

Sock 2 cuff ribbing was done on the circs, and feels a heck of a lot tighter. I wonder if I was negligent in choosing the right needle size?? Bleh, it doesn't matter. They are not the prettiest socks, just good, sturdy, hard-wearing socks that will keep my feet warm on days like today.

Brown Socks - sock 2

Look, I made a mistake! See that little bump in the ribbing?

Brown Socks - sock 2

Didn't notice until 6" were done and couldn't bring myself to care enough to redo all that ribbing.

And now for something completely different

Came across this: Crock pot dyeing (she has a photo gallery of her projects which was inspirational to browse through). I may try this out, dye some more roving. Natasha has been enabling, er, encouraging me, so my near future will include more roving dyeing.

Not the best photo, and the next one will be of the recipient wearing it, but:

Esther Williams

Esther Williams
Started: 11/28/05
Finished: 12/8/05
Pattern: "Esther Williams" by Laura at Poor Miss Finch
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted in M-26 Medieval Red, 3.1 oz
Needles: #8; E crochet hook
Notes: Required a little more attention to knit because of the stitch pattern, but it's a relatively quick knit and the results are worth it! Pattern was clear and fun to knit. Next time I would probably use a softer yarn, and try to keep looser stitches in the crochet section. At one point I was worried the hat would be too small, but Laura said (and making confirmed) it stretches a little with wear and that the crochet border opens it up. Knock one off the gift list!

For all you designers out there

The Buttercup scarf uses a stitch pattern from a book of stitch patterns (though with slight modification). The scarf itself is more than just the stitch pattern. Are there any "rules" or guidelines for publishing a pattern that uses someone else's published stitch pattern?

On the non-knitting front

Recent (excess, unexplicable) sadness has been attributed to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Basically, I get bummed in the winter when there is less sunlight. I figured this out a couple of years ago, but I think it's been worse this year because I'm home unemployed, not in an office surrounded by artificial light and people and work to distract me. "Knowing is half the battle" so at least I feel better knowing why I get so sad.

Had a scare yesterday when the websites I manage, including this blog, wouldn't show up. Man, talk about stress. Was quickly fixed, but reminded me how helpless I feel when I can't just login to a server to see what's wrong. As webmaster in my last job I would still get stressed, but it would be active stress, looking through log files and event logs, testing database connections, pages, etc.

So... I had a couple of interviews in the last week, both of which went well. Not just that, but one of them is right in town. How cool would that be, a 5 minute commute??? I've done some phone screens as well, and been rudely woken by recruiters (what? they want to conduct business at 9 am???). I'm hopeful that the job search will soon end and that means a wheel will be in my near future. I shall valiantly refrain from whining about wanting a wheel until... Jan... 2. But that doesn't mean you won't hear me mention it oh-so-matter-of-factly.

Snow snow snow

And finally, some pics of the snow! We got mebbe 10-12":

Snow Day!
through the sliding glass door

Snow Day!
covered mini cooper

Half an hour after taking those, I noticed the sunset peaking through the trees. It was beautiful! Hard to photograph, but I wanted to share:

Hints of sunset

Hints of sunset

And I got to wear my yellow boots for the first time. I bought these while shopping for wedding shoes at DSW. They make me smile.

Yellow boots

Wow, thanks so much for the nice comments on Buttercup! I will figure out what I did and post a pattern soon.

You wouldn't know this, but I restrained myself yesterday on commenting on the toilet paper roll configuration of the Buttercup pic. I figured the reference of looking up noses was enough for one post.

BASD Meeting

Last night was my first BASD (Boston Area Spinners and Dyers) meeting. It happened to be their holiday potluck, so I made Japanese beef curry and brought rice in my awesome rice cooker (sings the first 2 bars of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star when the rice is done). I was worried about heating up the curry so I brought along a crock pot. I thought I was clever. I was wrong. Took waaaaaay too long to heat. Trust me to try something new in a pressure situation (I've never used a crock pot before; in fact, my usual potluck contribution is chips or soda). Lucky for me, they had a microwave; otherwise, it would have been, "anyone want some curry with their dessert? Anyone? It's got beef."

I caught a ride with Carol and Susanna. Carol lives in my town. Can you believe it?? She's been in BASD for, oh, 30 years. There used to be lots of Holliston spinners but they left one by one and she's been alone. Now she's got a new partner in crime [insert evil grin and hand wringing and raised eyebrow; oh, and a cackle]. 

Pre-dinner chitchat left me feeling like a wall flower. Some days I can deal, some days it's too much. Plus, I was worried about the durned curry. I was relieved when we sat down. The best part was after dinner, though, when we went around and introduced ourselves, really for my benefit, since I was the only newb. First of all, I can't believe some of these ladies have been spinning for 10, 20, 30 years! It's unfathomable to me! The wealth of knowledge and experience -- mind boggling. Second, I can't believe these ladies have been in this guild for 10, 20, 30 years! Truly incredible.

Post intros, we grabbed dessert (whoever made the pastry puff dessert, yummers) and they holiday swapped. Some of the cool gifts included dyed silk hankies, ingeo, felted art, woven scarf, etc.

I pulled out my spindle during the swap and started on some more Winderwood Farms blue faced leicester. My second time spinning in front of people and I was nervous. It's not rational, I know no one will actually gawk, point or laugh outright. Intellectually, I know that. I count on it. Hehe. I brought a skein of navajo plied Winderwood Farms BFL to give them an idea of what I was doing and got some nice compliments! And I confessed my fear that, once I get a wheel, I won't know what to do with it, that while the spindle comes naturally, the wheel will be alien and unintuitive, that we'll be cold strangers (but in plain speak). They reassured me, most of spinning is drafting. I chose to believe them, 10, 20, 30 years and all.

In short, I had a wonderful time. I can't wait to see them do some spinning. I want a wheel. I love spinning!

Thanks for the lovely comments about the baby sweaters! Tonight is the BASD meeting - I'm so excited!

Buttercup

Buttercup is a done deal. Here she is blocking:

Buttercup blocking

It's like looking up a bunch of noses.

And here she is finished:

Buttercup

Buttercup
Started:
11/17/05
Finished: 12/5/05
Pattern: my own
Yarn: 8 ply cashmere in yellow, 4 oz; purchased from Paul Moore (eBay: aggo64)
Needles: #10
Notes: After a while I really liked this pattern. Enough interest with the bobbles, and then some "plain" rows to zone out. Twisted stitches were a little more work but look great! Steam blocking worked nicely; the edges rolled slightly before. I stretched a bit width-wise to open up the pattern. Final size is 4" x 56", a good length and style for folding in half and looping the ends through (if that makes any sense). I wasn't sure if the pattern would be too much done all the way through; I had considered doing a few repeats at the ends and then an occasional bobble here and there. I like it, though. If there's any interest I will post the pattern.

Holiday Ideas

These scarves were knit earlier this year and are going out as gifts this holiday season. Maybe they're just the thing you were looking for! I included pattern info and notes.

Sideways Seaman's Scarf Sideways Seaman's Scarf

Sideways Seaman's Scarf
Started:
5/20/05
Finished: 5/21/05
Pattern: "Sideways Short-Row Seaman's Scarf" was originally posted at http://sssscarf.blogspot.com/, but isn't there now; the blog owner is http://ma2ut.blogspot.com/
Yarn: Noro Kochoran in color #21 (1 skein)
Needles: #10
Notes: An easy pattern that kept my interest with all the short rows, was quick because it's all garter stitch on #10 needles, soft to knit, pretty colors, and only 2 ends to sew in. Shed a little while knitting.

 

The Purl Scarf The Purl Scarf

The Purl Scarf
Started:
3/16/05
Finished: 3/31/05
Pattern: "The Purl Scarf" by Joelle Hoverson, Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: Steadfast Fibers' Wonderful Wool in Blue Moon (less than 1 skein), Koigu KPPPM in P866 (leftovers from socks), Ski Yarn's Ski Kid Mohair in col #110 (light blues; less than 1 skein)
Needles: #15
Notes: Ran out of Koigu first, and didn't want to buy more to make the scarf longer. Quick knit and fun to see how the colors interact.

 

Caribbean FLora Scarf Caribbean Flora Scarf

Caribbean Flora Scarf
Started:
11/01
Finished: 4/04
Pattern: simple garter stitch
Yarn: Trendsetter Yarns' Flora #202 (2 skeins)
Needles: #10
Notes: This scarf sat on the needles for 3 1/2 years simply because I was using the wrong needles (Inox metal); when I tried bamboo needles in '04, I finished it in no time.

Knitting with Flora was not so fun, felt very string-like. But, the finished fabric is soft and pliable, and the colors beautiful.

Pattern: Cast on 22 stitches; knit every row.

No goodbyes today. Instead, I present 4 WIPs that were picked up and finished this week!

IMG_3482-600x450

They were targeted for their cuteness and proximity to completion. Blueberry Fields needed sleeves and finishing; the three Flax Jax's just needed buttons (how lame is that?). This brings me down to 50 projects. I'm thrilled! I still need to halve that to reach my goal... [deep breaths] We'll get there.

Blueberry Fields Blueberry Fields

Blueberry Fields
Started:
1/26/05
Finished: 12/4/05
Pattern: "Raglan Sweater" by Debbie Bliss, The Baby Knits Book; size: 3-6 mos
Yarn: Mezzotint by Colinette (1 skein), Patons La Laine superwash merino #6246 (less than 1 skein)
Needles: #8
Notes: This pattern was my opportunity to use up an oddball of Mezzotint and make one of those raglan tops with different color sleeves. Choosing the sleeve color was the toughest part. The pattern is super easy and satisfying. When casting on, leave enough tail to sew sleeve/body the seam; when binding off each piece, leave enough yarn to sew up one raglan seam.

The only mod I made had to do with gauge. La Laine is thinner than the Mezzotint; knit with the same needles, it has the same row gauge but less stitches per inch. I added an extra increase for the sleeves (adding 2 stitches), and kept the rest the same.

Flax Jax notes

The next three are the Flax Jax baby cardi's. The pattern is easy; main mod was to leave out the seed stitch detail from the sides and back. I liked knitting the body in one piece to the armpits, and picking up the sleeve stitches from the armhole: less aggravation later. The top button didn't look quite so good for me; I might change the buttonhole placement on future versions to include a bottom button and lower the top button.

Striped Flax Jax Blueberry Fields

Striped Flax Jax
Started:
5/23/03
Finished: 12/5/05
Pattern: "Flax Jax" by Jil Eaton, Minnies; size: 3-6 mos
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride in M-72 (teal) and Colinette Prism in Blue Parrot (#16)
Needles: #9
Notes: One of my first attempts to combine a handdyed yarn with something else. I love this little sweater!

Prairie Silks Flax Jax Prairie Silks Flax Jax

Prairie Silks Flax Jax
Started:
5/27/03
Finished: 12/5/05
Pattern: "Flax Jax" by Jil Eaton, Minnies; size: 3-6 mos
Yarn: Brown Sheep Prairie Silks in Real Royal (PS600)
Needles: #8
Notes: Simple with a slight sheen from the silk. Soft hand.

Manos Flax Jax Manos Flax Jax

Manos Flax Jax
Started:
7/12/03
Finished: 12/5/05
Pattern: "Flax Jax" by Jil Eaton, Minnies; size: 2 years
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay (I forget the color), 3 skeins
Needles: #8
Notes: Love this yarn! Knits up fast. Soft. Beautiful. This cardi I'm stockpiling for when I have my own little bumble of joy.

Only mod: picked up an odd number of stitches for the sleeve, instead of even; I liked the way the seam looked better in seed stitch over an odd number.

Final tally

Week three:
Started with: 54
Abandoned: -0
Finished: -4
New: +0
(Number of projects I wanted to start: 24)
Current Projects: 50!

The treasure is this way:

Turkey Tracks

No, wait, this way:

Turkey Tracks

Dang, which way was it?

Turkey Tracks

Hahaha, these are turkey tracks in our front yard. Scott came in laughing and couldn't stop. I have to admit, cracks me up, too.

High traffic area under the bush:

Turkey Tracks

Turkey freeway:

Turkey Tracks

A lot of knitting can be done while watching The Wizard of Oz and Amadeus. With minimal amounts of frogging, Esther Williams:

Esther Williams - in progress

She's probably 2/3 done! It's snug on my head, so may not work well for the intended recipient...

Blueberry Fields

Here's one from the WIP list that I picked up. The front and back were done, just needed some sleeves:

Blueberry Fields

It didn't take long to figure out why this was in the WIP pile; those colors were HARD to match! I spent a good half hour trying to match up something that didn't clash or mute it or lie limply. In the end, I felt the particular dark blue I chose made the colors pop a bit.

Blueberry Fields

Two sleeves done:

Blueberry Fields - sleeves

Here's its twin, Strawberry Fields, started (and finished!) about the same time but with a much easier time with colors:

Strawberry Fields Strawberry Fields

Pattern is from Debbie Bliss' The Baby Knits Book. The body on both is knit with exactly 1 ball of Colinette mezzotint. I had a few balls and no idea what to do with them. On Strawberry Fields, the sleeves are knit with Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride, which made a bit too firm a fabric. Blueberry Fields sleeves are knit with Patons La Laine, knit on needles 2 sizes larger than the recommended size, which makes them very drapey.

No access to a baby so I don't know how they fit, but boy are they cute!

First, let me tell you how it used to work: I see yarn, I buy yarn; I see patterns, I buy patterns. Very simple. Very expensive.

And then we got a house. And a mortgage. And joined finances...

Here's how it works now:

Every month (except when I don't have a job, which is now), we get a bit of "mad money" which we can use for anything we want. What do I want? Yarn! Patterns! And now, Fiber! Spinning Wheel! And dyes!

Ahem, getting sidetracked.

The mad money goes into our personal Budgets, from which we justify personal unnecessary expenses (though I think it's harsh to call yarn unnecessary). We also have a "gifts budget", sort of. That is, we buy gifts for certain occasions, like New Year's, birthdays, thank you's, that kind of thing. (Why yes, it's just like you!) Except, because I often knit gifts, and we would have bought gifts, and gifts I knit came from yarn out of my mad money -- breathe -- when I complete gifts, I get reimbursed and get to add back money to my Budget.

It's an interesting arrangement. I don't buy yarn for "ideas" anymore... err, not so much. I try to knit from stash. I end up knitting many more gifts than I would have. Don't get me wrong -- I don't make gifts for "financial/yarn gain" only, it's just another incentive. And apparently, it's a pretty good one when it comes to finishing gifts on time. Because there's always something else I want. And I can't have it unless I finish something, more specifically, a gift. Or when the new month rolls around. (I also make gifts "just because" that don't get reimbursed. And I do a lot of "just because" knitting to try a yarn or pattern.)

It also means I don't buy many books, and hardly any CDs or DVDs. And with holiday knits, I get a bit more to spend!

All this to explain what came in the mail this week, and how precious it is to me right now! I will be slim on the Budget for a while... but it's a good thing. It's tough with so many sales going on (must. resist. sale.) but I'll do my best.

Paradise Fibers superwash merino Paradise Fibers Space-dyed BFL yarn

From Rachel at Paradise Fibers: 8 oz of lovely handpainted superwash merino in Winter Solstice, and space-dyed blue faced leicester yarn in Herb Garden and Bordeaux from their bargains page. I also ordered the handpainted roving color card. My first superwash roving, most likely to become socks!

Blue Ridge Silk Works alpaca Blue Ridge Silk Works alpaca

From Christina at Blue Ridge Silk Works: handdyed alpaca in Pasha and Las Vegas (14 oz total). Hmm, colors look familiar? Reds and Blue/Greens, my weaknesses!

Both were friendly and quick to ship!

Here are my first pictures of Esther Williams:

Esther Williams Esther Williams

The color is somewhere between the two, but closer to the first. I was going to trial the pattern and then make one for my friend, but when I went stashdiving I saw this color and went "oooooh, perfect" and got started. So much for the trial.

There is a lot of stranding involved, which requires my attention, which means it's a little hard to get going these days. But I know the finished hat will be worth it, so I'll buckle down.

In other knitting news

The Buttercup is all knitted up, just needs some blocking:

Buttercup

I know, it looks just like all the other photos, except there's more of it. What? Yes, there's more of it, that proves I did do some knitting on it! The edges curl so I'm wondering if a pinned steam blocking will take care of it.

On the spinning front

Spun up the rest of the Wensleydale! That makes just under 4 oz spun to the same weight! That's the most of any one batch I've made! I waited to ply them all (3 spindles full) because if it's not there unplied to look at, I forget what I did and spin thinner. It's hard (for me) to tell from yarn that's already plied and set what thickness and twist I had put in. Is that something you get better at figuring out? Or do you just wait to ply, like me?

28: Winderwood Farms wensleydale

A friend of mine told me how she cracked up about my abandoned projects (poor projects, they're laughing with you), so I thought she'd get a kick out this:

Wisdom Toothless Wisdom Toothless

This is me post-wisdom tooth extraction. 3 wisdom teeth, 2 impacted that later got dry sockets (ouch!). The towel is holding 2 ice packs in place and yes, it's binder-clipped in place. I think I've taken prescription painkillers at this point, I look pretty perky. In less than an hour I'll be asleep.

(Interesting choice for knitting under the influence, that's the lace shawl I just finished!)

Update: Thank you for the well wishes, you're so sweet! The photos are from July, though, so while it was a painful painful couple of weeks, I'm painlessly wisdom(tooth)less now. ;)

I stopped in at Woolcott & Co while I was "in town" yesterday. Yep, that's the one in Harvard Square. Picked up Ella Rae's book #1,

Ella Rae Designs

the one with the t-shirt sweater I've seen around. Well, that's the long sleeve version.

Ella Rae Designs Ella Rae Designs

And next to it, another sweater in the style I'm suddenly covetous of.

This was courtesy of a gift certificate from a trade. Free book!

While I was wandering (which describes my state of mind, not physical movements, that store is tiny), I heard spinning talk. My ears perked. I mosied over and was delighted to find 3 spinners chatting about starting up a spinning group at Woolcott. A bit far for me, but Paula (one of the three) asked if I had heard of the Boston Area Spinners and Dyers. I had seen their outdated website and figured they were defunct. Not so! They meet once a month in Sudbury, which is a bit far for Paula, but doable for me. There are something like 60 members, with about 20 showing up each week. Wahoo! Spindling with spinners! 20 questions with spinners! Oohing and aahing over spun yarn with spinners! (Can you tell I'm excited?)

Man, I don't miss driving in Harvard Square.

Self-regulation

When I eat too much sugar or salt, I get bumps on my tongue. For sweets, it's midway up; for salty, on the tip. I don't know if it's the tastebuds gone cuckoo, but it hurts and its sucks. It keeps me from eating more sweet or salty for a while. Anyone else get this?

I bring this up because I started getting the first tinglings in the middle of my tongue after eating french fries with ketchup. When I was a kid we'd have "my fire is bigger than your fire!" ketchup contests along with our "my french fry is bigger than your french fry!" competitions. Somewhere in high school I learned how much sugar is in ketchup and reduced ketchup intake drastically. Lately, I've been using just a little bit more here and there, but see, the tingles, that's my body's way of saying, "Yo, back away from the ketchup." Bizarre, isn't it?