Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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I took woefully few photos at Spa this weekend (New England Textile Arts annual weekend of fiber fun and relaxation). I was too busy having a good time! It was really wonderful to see old friends and make new ones.

I'm not up for a Spa post just yet, so I'll catch you up on a couple of things.

The night before Spa, not only did I finish Scott's Re-Grow sweater, I also blocked Diamond in the Rough:

Diamond in the Rough - blocking

Of course, I don't have any photos of me wearing it. Yet. Maybe this weekend?

Scott is SO happy with his sweater. The almost 2 years it sat partly done, he didn't have a favorite sweater. And now he has a favorite sweater again! It felt really good to be able to give thim that. I don't think he took it off all weekend. Good thing I was in Portland and didn't have to smell him. ;)

I finished off 2 oz of the Lagoon superfine merino:

Lagoon - halfway there!

and have started on bobbin #2. The second half seems to be more felted so it may be slower goings. But I'm determined to get this spun up (hopefully?) by the end of February so I can be knitting it into something during March before Twisted Knitters is over.

Did I mention I started a new project? It really pained me to do it. I never would have imagined starting a new project to be so ... conflicting! In the past, I would regularly get itchy for a new project and cast on 3 or 4 new projects in a day! That, my friends, is how I wound up with 67 WIP's in the first place. Now that I'm trying to control startitis and manage the number of WIP's, adding a new project without finishing an existing project doesn't feel right. I don't recognize myself.

I planned to start it soon anyway, and a 3 hour gestational diabetes test was the catalyst. I got to a sticky point on Trellis during the first hour and had to abandon that ship. Instead, I cast on for Clapotis with Noro Silk Garden Lite:

Clapotis - started!

I love this colorway. There are some purty greens and blues to come.

This is the 3rd Clapotis I've started; this time, I'm using a yarn I picked out specifically for this project, so I'm hopeful I'll actually finish this one. I like the lighter weight of the Silk Garden Lite for this project. And did I mention I love the colors?

PS  The diabetes test came out totally normal. It was a bit of a scare, though. On the 1 hour diabetes screen the week before, I got a very high score and was quite worried.

For Beth:

Diamond in the Rough - in progress

And again:

Diamond in the Rough - in progress

I love the subtle striping.

It's narrower than I expected, but blocking will take care of that. I'm not sure how much I want to block, probably just enough to make the pattern read. It's plenty big already, so no need to be aggressive.

There were 3 balls of yarn, and when switching to a new ball, I simply knit the two together for a few stitches, instead of doing a russian join. I figured the silk content might not felt so well. And I was lazy. I plan to either leave-as-is-and-snip-the-extra, or do-minor-weaving-in-of-ends post-blocking.

I weighed the shawl to determine when to begin decreasing. Good thing I went slightly conservative because this is all that's left:

Diamond in the Rough - in progress

There is one row with an unusual stitch that I just couldn't remember between sittings. Each time, I'd have to "think think think think think" and reverse engineer the stitch, only to forget it 1 or 2 weeks later. When I picked up the shawl again a couple of weeks ago, naturally I had forgotten again; after spending half an hour figuring it out again, I admitted how ridiculous the situation was. In lieu of carrying around a copy of the pattern, I tagged my shawl with the instructions:

Diamond in the Rough - in progress

And naturally, because I finished it in one breath, I didn't need it! The tag idea is super-handy, though, and I plan to use it. Again.

It felt really good to pick up Norwegian Hat after 9 months and finish it! Actually, re-start and finish it, if you want to get technical... and actually, if we're getting technical, it is technically done, but may possibly be re-finished to fix the fit. But who's getting technical???

For my February UFO Resurrection project, I picked up the sad and lonely handspun shawl that was started (and dropped) last August:

handspun shawl - in progress

While I really like the yarn (soft 2-ply rambouillet/silk handspun), and I think it works well with the pattern to make a cosy everyday shawl, it was kinda boring to knit. Not only that, because I'm working wing to wing, the rows get longer and longer and ...

The other reason I neglected it was because my website traffic stats showed that it was being looked at by a group of snarky knitters. And that really upset me.

It seems silly to be so thin-skinned about it, especially when I don't know what was said. But at the time it really bothered me that there was a group of people gathered in secret with the intent of ridiculing other people's knits. It's so easy to criticize, mock and laugh at others' creations, and so much harder to do the creating. Just as it's so much more work to create a blog post, but only takes a moment to leave a harsh comment on someone else's.

I suppose it wouldn't have bothered me so much if I knew what was being said and who was saying it. Maybe I would have agreed with some of the points. But to do it in secret while leaving a "traffic trail" so I knew I was being targeted ... not so cool.

Anyway, I got over it.

I made a lot of progress in the last week, especially during a day-long Microsoft event:

Diamond in the Rough - in progress

and now that I've hit the widest point and have started decreasing, it's going fairly quickly! My goal is to have it finished in time for Spa.

The weekend was kinda weird. A weekend of rain + plans that relied on sunshine + people you don't know well = well, I don't know. But it's a recipe for something.

The concert was, if I had thought about it, pretty much what I expected. But seeing as I didn't, it took me by surprise. Photos tomorrow will make it clearer. In the meantime, here's progress on That Cute Flirty Skirt:

That Cute Flirty Skirt - in progress

I'm into the next patterned section now, and while I'm glad to leave the first pattern behind (my own fault for screwing up and having to frog before), this next stretch has k3togtbl and p3togtbl. "tbl" means "through the back loop" and when purling or knitting 3 stitches together this way, requires a bit of needle gymnastics. And I'm lazy. Out of shape, shall we say. Another row or so and I'll be back into some kind of rhythm. Meanwhile, picture someone who has trouble walking across carpet, doing gymnastics. Or jazzercise in a cluttered living room.

The rambouillet/silk shawl is still nameless and still progressing:

handspun shawl - in progress

I'm almost a foot and a half in. Because of the easy pattern and being able to simply knit across every other row, it's perfect TiVo knitting.

Geez, instead of working on my post I got carried away creating this:

Two Left Needles

Whaddaya think? Hey, I'm no graphic designer, but I can hook up your page to a database and make it dynamic. ;)

I'd like to make it my banner. All suggestions welcome! (I do plan to shift that last photo so that "dye" is not right on top of the white.)

Also, I've decided to sell some of my handspun stuffs! Just a few skeins to start. I should have photos and details tomorrow.

Sand River is written up and on its way to Kate. As my first pattern it took disproportionately long (the scarf is a fairly simple knit) because I had no idea what I was doing. I compared a bunch of different patterns and amalgamated them into some semblance of ... something. I suppose once you've done it once you have an idea of what information to include and how to organize it. Otherwise, I don't know how some people can crank out a pattern in a day!

Speaking of Anne, the starts of Sangria:

Sangria - in progress

Not a lot to see, but it's a start. Still loving the Classic Silk. And if any of you find it on sale, you best let me know. I don't want to hear about some Classic Silk sale somewhere that I missed because my buds were too busy hoarding it all! Just sayin'.

And that nameless rambouillet/silk shawl:

rambouillet/silk shawl - in progress

Yep, there's some subtle striping going on. I like it.

And, I'm surprised the pattern is not getting to me. I'm still enjoying this knit.

I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking some communication is warranted. Heck, I'm easy going, even an automated email would have pleased me. Good thing there are puh-lenty of other vendors who dye amazing stuff.

I'm a cheapskate. Does that surprise you? Well, maybe it's not the best word. I hate buying stuff at full price. It started when I was a kid and bought 20 popsicles when they were on sale for 10 for $1, slowly ate them one or two a day until they ran out. Chocolate. Banana. Mmmm. Savored them all the more because of the bahgain, 15 cent savings. Per popsicle!

The flip side now, I find it VERY hard to resist a sale. If I'm in a yarn store, even if I can't justify spending $20 on Koigu for socks, I'll spend $25 on discounted yarns, even if I don't have a specific project in mind.

That's why going to Webs is VERY bad for me. Especially their sales. Bad. News.

Do I look like I have self control? (don't answer that)

Anyway, that's why I have a hard time buying some of the yarns or fibers I've been drooling over. Like Adrian's, Lisa's and Felicia's. To list a few at the top of my list. :) And I have to admit, the shipping gets to me, too. I have a hard time giving so much away to the post office.

Sigh. Meanwhile, I deprive myself of the joys of these fabulous fibers.

That was one of the weird things about MDSW. No shipping (but sales tax). And though there were some specials (especially at Little Barn), most of my purchases were full price.

There's something about being in that environment, and being able to see and touch what you're buying. There's always the "not paying for shipping" angle, too.

Anyway, I'm realizing that, sometimes, paying full price is okay. It hurts a little, true. So I just have to make sure it's worthwhile.

What's your name?

The rambouillet/silk shawl is a little over 12" long now. Thanks for the suggestions on names! I was leaning towards Diamond in the Rough, but then my niece suggested Raspberry Ice. I loved the Raspberry part. The Ice is a nice play on the diamond idea, as well as hinting at the shine from the silk. Ice makes me think of cold, though, and this shawl will be warm and cozy, so I'm still tossing that one around.

I know, it's just a name, right? :)

Becoming a better blogger

Thanks also for the comments lately, I truly appreciate them. I try to respond individually when I can find an email address, but I haven't been putting responses in the comments or on the blog very much. And sometimes that would be helpful! So I'm working on that, and will try to add a comment or update a post when warranted.

Eg, I've added the info on where the Zephyr was bought on that post, and some additional info on the CVM fleece post.

Sand River

I'm working on a pattern for Sand River. Yay! I'll be including info for both a scarf and a rectangular shawl. Kate will be test knitting (thanks, Kate!). Coolio!

Tomorrow: progress pictures on the shawl and flirty skirt!

And so I don't leave you with a pictureless post:

Sand river
(two wraps)

I took a lot of projects to Montreal. Well, more accurately, a lot of yarn. And needles. I brought Sand River:

Sand River - in progress

and worked on it in the car. A lot less than expected.

You know how I said it was a 6 hour drive to Montreal? Well, I thought I'd have 6 hours to knit. Each way. That's a lot!

Until you take into account the time that I'd be driving. Or sleeping. Or too hot to knit. Yep. I'd say I knit a good hour in the car. Maybe two. And not at all the rest of the trip.

Still, Sand River was almost done Sunday night:

Sand River - in progress

and magically completed Monday night!

Sand River - almost done!

I thought I still had a good foot to knit, but then I tried it on and it was good to go. And I was at the end of a repeat, too, so all I had to do was tink back a row and cast off. Nice. Just need to block her out.

With all that knitting I thought I'd have time for, at the last minute I wound that rambouillet/silk on my yarnwinder and threw it into my bag with the 3 skeins of sock yarn (that I didn't use). I had a pattern picked out and 4 different needles to test out the gauge.

rambouillet/silk - ready to go

Of course... I forgot the pattern.

It's just as well, it was better to finish knitting Sand River before starting the shawl:

rambouillet/silk shawl - in progress

The pattern is "A Beginner's Triangle" from A Gathering of Lace. I'm still thinking up a name for the project. Any suggestions?

I'm really enjoying knitting with this yarn. It feels really good and I think it's working nicely with the pattern. Which is hard to tell without a contrasting background or slight blocking. But trust me. Er, trust Scott. He's been reassuring me.