Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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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

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!

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:


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

I joined me a new knitalong over at Poor Miss Finch:

It's for a cute hat that she designed. First one will be a test run, and then I have the perfect recipient in mind!

Ahh, that's more like it!

The first time I spun some of the Winderwood Farms Wensleydale, it came out microscopic. That's what it wanted to be, so that's what I spun. But no way am I knitting that up. This time, I decided what I wanted it to be:

28: Winderwood Farms Wensleydale

Muahahahaha! To be plied.

She's checkered, she's done

Trimmed the fringe yesterday and she's now a done deal. No recipient in mind, just wanted to use the yarn. She's soft, and a quick knit. And for a handdyed cashmere blend, quite affordable!

Summer Rain Checkered Scarf

Summer Rain Checkered Scarf
Finished: 11/27/05
Pattern: my own
Yarn: Danette Taylor's 70% lambswool / 30% cashmere in Summer Rain, one 3.5 oz skein
Needles: #9
Notes: The dye came off on my hands and needles on this yarn. Same thing happened with another Summer Rain yarn, so it could be something specific to that colorway. Haven't had that problem with any of her other colorways, though. Also, the photo doesn't do the colors justice!

This yarn is crazy soft for only 30% cashmere. It's fluffy without bits fluffing off. The #9 needles give it good drape, but for a non-scarf item, I think 8's, or possibly 7's, would be more comfortable.

To knit:
Cast on 18 sts.
* k3p3 across x 4 rows
* p3k3 across x 4 rows
Repeat these 8 rows until desired length or out of yarn. Fringe.

Introducing... Buttercup

I mentioned her briefly one day, but I don't think her photo made it out. Here she be, in all her foot and a half glory:

Buttercup - in progress

Cashmere loverliness. I worked on her at the Knitsmithy yesterday. Lucky for me I didn't have to reknit everything, it's hard to follow three conversations and knit at the same time.

My own handspun

Muahahahaha. Think of that TV bit that followed X-Files episodes - "I made that". That's what runs through my head when I work on this:

Blue Biffle Wristwarmers

It's knit with yarn I spun! My first handspun handknit! It's Fleece Artist blue faced leicester, and the first half was spun much before the second half was spun and plied. This means the first wristwarmer is a little bulkier and the yarn less even and the twist not quite so nice. In the photo you can see the one on the right is just a little bit skinnier. But I don't care! It's soft, it's cozy, it's purty.

Blue Biffle Wristwarmers