Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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Did you know about CRAFTBOSTON? If you're not in Boston, check out the website anyway for inspiration. Click on Artists, then "Search for Artists". Choose a media, like Fiber Wearable, and then click on the artist name or image. Each artist has 5 photos of their work. Beautiful stuff.

Pixie's started a podcast, go listen! She featured my blog this week and said some wonderful things, thanks so much, Pixie!

I have a wheel on the way, did I mention? Hmm? What? Why are you looking at me like that?

Well, I dunno, I didn't want to jinx it, ya know? And I wanted to get some sleep at night. And if I mention these kinds of things here, they seem more real, ya know? I need my sleep. Oops. I can feel the adrenaline rushing. See what's happening?

Okay, okay, details.

Background first. :P

When I decided on the Joy, it was with the understanding that this would be my first and traveling wheel, and that I would get a second one after several months. I knew I would outgrow the Joy. The plan was to try a Schacht Matchless at Webs' May tent sale and if I liked it (which I'm pretty sure I would), buy it on sale. But, I've been keeping my eyes open just in case a used wheel were to sell for less. And it did! So we're, what, 2 months ahead of schedule, but there you go. Things happen. ;)

So yep, a Schacht Matchless, and if you've been paying attention, nope, haven't tried one yet. Ahem. Yeah, I know. Felicia says I'll love it, right, Felicia? It comes with the exceptionally high speed whorl, which will be great for spinning lace. I wanna try lace. Did you see the lace shawl Felicia knit with her handspun? And I found this amazing post on spinning lace last week at FiberLife. Yep, gonna try the lace.

If all goes well, it will ship tomorrow. And as each day passes, I will get less and less sleep and feel more and more pumped. Boy, it's already starting. Literally. The adrenaline, coursing through the veins. Heart fluttering. I gots da jittery leg, too. See? This is why I didn't mention it! I've squeezed in an extra few nights' sleep already!

The back of Creamsicle T is done. I took a photo this morning but it came out very weird, part of the right side of the photo was on the left side and except for the very top it was all dark, dunno what happened, technology glitch.

Instead, I bring you photos of some holiday knits! Below are Scott's parents with Caribbean Flora Scarf, and Argyle Caddy on the special club:

Caribbean Flora Scarf Argyle Caddie

In other holiday knitting news, Linda's family absolutely LOVED the Esther Williams hat! She has some crafters in her family, and they were inspecting the construction, trying to reverse engineer it. I love that.

I miss my family. [sniff sniff]. When I was home over the holidays I found out my sister and niece both get tongue bumps like I do. It's genetic!

Special white dress shopping this weekend was productive, if exhausting. How can it be so tiring? I suppose there's a lot of emotional investment. I was amazed when I was shopping for my dress and again this weekend how different dresses look on the hangar and on a body. Some dresses that look boring or flat can look stunning and just pop when worn. It's also amazing how darned expensive they are. What the heck?? Shopping is not my forte to begin with so I struggled to find words to describe why this dress was not quite right, or what was good about that one. Mostly it was facial expressions and hand gestures accompanying words like "something about this part..." The front runner was simple, elegant, dreamy and flattering. Sometimes I can find the words. ;)

dumbest dog you'll ever see

I best post before the beer goes too far to my head.

Dyeing yarn with food coloring

As I mentioned yesterday, my niece and I had fun dyeing yarn with food coloring. We mixed about 15-20 drops per 50 mL, 3 colors each. Mine were red, yellow and blue with a bit of green; hers were purple, green with a bit of blue, and green made mixing blue and yellow. We skeined 4 sample sizes to get the hang of it, with the intention of dyeing a much larger skein for a small scarf; alas, the best laid plans...

Fool that I was, I didn't take pictures of us dyeing, just a few here and there of the yarns. We each did 2 mini skeins, and the first was a joint effort:

Food coloring dyed wool

Solid sections of red first, drops of yellow between, and blue over the yellow. I added too much yellow so it's mostly greens and yellow greens; but the variations are cool.

Food coloring dyed wool

This is one of her creations. She used lots of her greens and added in reds and just kept adding more drops of this and that, this and that. Square that I am, I tried to warn her that the colors would bleed, that she was using too much dye, without actually saying, "stop, you're using too much dye". Don't want to spoil the fun, after all. In the end, I was right, the colors did bleed; but my sister and I both really liked the effect, while my niece was "eh" about it. I love how adventurous kids are.

Here's her second mini skein, solid bands of red, green and yellow:

Food coloring dyed wool

And the mini skeins ready to be nuked:

Food coloring dyed wool

Their nuke was much more powerful than ours, ended up doing 1:45 on, 2 min off, 1:45 on, 2 min off, 1:45 on, then cool and rinse. Results:

Food coloring dyed wool
First skein, reds with yellow dots and blue over top

Food coloring dyed wool
Her skein, lots of reds and greens that blended into very earthy hues

Food coloring dyed wool
My second attempt, sections of red, blue and yellow, allowing room for bleeding and overlaying red over the blue (so methodical)

Food coloring dyed wool
Her second attempt, solid reds, greens and yellows

I knit up the first mini skein, since it was her favorite, into a little belt:

Belt tie

Belt tie Belt tie

and took it with me to her birthday lunch. Just traveling knits and purls.

Off to get more beer! Yay, weekend! (spoken like a true working stiff)

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!

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?