Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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Wow, thanks so much for your kind words and well wishes! I feel like I got a bunch of virtual hugs all day long. What a great feeling. :)

Tomorrow I leave for Rhinebeck. This is a tough season to pack for, so I'm just bringing a little of everything, from shorts to sweaters and everything in between. Along with too much clothes, too much yarn, too much fiber, and hopefully enough water, I'll be taking this along:

Falling Leaves Shawl - blocking
3 blocking surfaces, baby!

It blocked out pretty big: 6 feet by almost 3 feet. After unpinning, it did shrink back just a bit, and the kite shape came back a hair, but not enough to be disconcerting. I stretched the sucker out, which I wasn't planning to do. I kinda liked the ruffled partial garterness of it all pre-blocking; but I also just wanted to see how far it would go. Pre-blocking it was about 2 feet to a side, so it stretched almost 50% more. Feel the Power!

So... how do I wear it???

I'm sick and running on 2 cylinders so I'll keep this short. (That's not the good news.)

A little motivation will get you a long way. All that wonderful foliage I saw after my last post motivated me to finish knitting the Falling Leaves shawl. I really wanted to have this shawl done while it matched those leaves:

Falling Leaves Shawl - in progress

Plus, I really want to wear this to Rhinebeck!

I was concerned about the smaller than expected size, and the non-flat top edge, and hoped blocking would take care of both. It's blocking now and seems fine!

The longer rows changed the striping behaviour drastically. Where before, a color spanned more than 1 row, towards the end, they didn't even cover a row. So the left and right edges don't match at all:

Falling Leaves Shawl - in progress  Falling Leaves Shawl - in progress

Not that I'm concerned. More amused.

As always, knitting with handspun trumps almost any other yarn. And knitting with dyed handspun that is forever changing color with complexity: delightful.

There's more good news. We (finally!) finished up season 2.5 of BSG (woowoo!) and (finally!) got to watch the first two episodes of the new season! The flip side: having to wait until Friday for a new episode. And with Rhinebeck and Scott's classes, it'll be more like next Tuesday... Ah, well. It's worth it.

The last good news is the best, of course:

and baby makes 3

Yup. Now you know the main reason I've been absent and so danged tired. We're due at the very end of April and we couldn't be more excited!

Thanks for all the nice comments on the shawl. I have to say, I had high hopes for the shawl because of the original colors in the fiber. However, how it plied together and is knitting up exceeds my expectations. I'm mesmerized by the play of colors and so far that has helped me keep knitting without hitting that (inevitable?) "going crazy" stage in the shawl. I have many yards to go, so it's early yet.

A few odds and ends, I'm not up for a proper post.

Tomorrow night is the first BASD meeting for the fall. It's open to new members so I hope you can go! I know, I know, such short notice, I suck. :-/  The meeting starts at 7:30 and is in Sudbury, MA (directions). The next meeting is October 25, so mark your calendar.

I'm destashing some yarns. You can see info here and photos here. Let me know if you're interested in anything.

I took photos today of the fiber I carded on the Supercard, so I'll have those tomorrow.

Today, talking to John, the UPS guy outside work (he delivers our packages too), I realized that I'm sad it's Fall. Sad! I love Fall! Fall is my favorite season! What's up with this sadness? And, not only am I sad, I'm expecting it not to last very long. I believe what I said was, "I hope we get at least a few good weeks before it goes."

[insert that funky "record being rewound" sound]

Around here, Fall foliage usually peaks mid-October. We're getting some foliage going now, and I've seen the starts of it since beginning of September. So unless this is an unusually cruel and bitter Winter ahead, we've got at least October for Fall weather, and maybe some November as well. Before it's really Winter. And since Fall usually only lasts, what, a month? this potentially 2 month Fall makes me sad how???

I think it's the short summer. The failing sunlight. I feel like End of Summer was pulled from underneath me like a fancy table cloth trick.

It's gotta be the sunlight. There's so much less of it now. It's dark in the house when I get home and I have to turn lights on right away to see anything.

Maybe the thing to do is mourn the loss now so I can make a quick transition to enjoying my favorite season. 'Cuz what good is an extended favorite season if I can't enjoy it?

I was a bad blogger yesterday. I went to the Boston Knit-Out and Crochet Too yesterday and took exactly one photo:

Boston Knit-Out lunch break

Clockwise from left, that's: my buddy Maria, me, Kathryn, Jenna, Carole, Kate, Heather, Adrian, and Blogless Sharon. We ate up a storm at Fajitas & Ritas (with this company, you can bet there were more than a few 'ritas, wink wink), swarmed into Windsor Button, and generally had a Good Time.

I was worried I'd get all weird and wonky as I sometimes do at these "there are masses of people and I have no clue what to say" type events. I managed not to pass out, not to offend anyone too much (sorry Carine ;) ), to convince Carole that I have at least 4 readers, to hear Kathy's lovely accent without going into a trance, and actually to save a few of us from being hit on by a strange man (it was an inspired moment).

I got to see Kate's version of Sand River and it looked so great. Of course, bad blogger, didn't take a photo. So soft and much drapier than I expected.

Carole was modeling her lovely shawl; I think I gave her a conniption when I pretended to "lift" it before she knew I was standing there. It's just beautiful.

There were vendors representing, though nobody selling. There were a few freebies being handed out, patterns and the odd skein of yarn. And for door prize I picked up some fluffy nylon eyelash yarn.

All in all I had a really great day; it makes me look forward to Rhinebeck all the more!

*     *     *

That would be a good place to end, but look at this:

Autumn Waves - in progress

(Last night: four BSG episodes down, leaving four left to watch in Season 1. Scott's loving the show; my plan is a success. Muahahaha.)

The last several repeats have been striping in the most interesting way:

Autumn Waves - in progress

The colors in the "valleys" are different than the ridges on several of the latest rows:

Autumn Waves - in progress

Yes, I'm easily amused. I thought knitting handdyed yarns was fun. Knitting handdyed handspun is even bettah.

The handspun shawl is progressing. This earlier pic gives a better idea of the colors:

Autumn Waves Shawl - started

The latest photos were taken at the end of the workday (and the last rays of bright sunlight) when I suddenly remembered:

Autumn Waves Shawl - in progress

Very fall harvest colors, no?

Autumn Waves Shawl - in progress

The pattern is a mix and match of the Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl inspired by Erin's handspun version, and the Feather and Fan Triangle Shawl from Folk Shawls. I liked the particular feather and fan stitch pattern from the Folk Shawls, but the bulk of the shawl is knit in garter stitch, with only the bottom portions in lace. So I looked at how the Comfort Shawl was structured, and made the necessary modifications. I also added in half-pattern repeats at the increase edges, instead of waiting until I had enough stitches for a full repeat (as its done in the Folk Shawls version). The Comfort Shawl version has eyelet rows every 6 rows, while the Folk Shawls has it every 4, so there's a little more work. But the Folk Shawls version is mostly stockinette with one garter ridge, so I'm less worried about losing shawl length to more garter stitch.

Yes, I actually put some thought into the choice. :)

I suppose this is the first lace shawl I'm "winging". If you can call it that. It's the second started with handspun, and the 4th lace shawl I've started. I hope it gets finished.

I played with the carder last night. Took deep breaths and threw on some of the CVM fleece I had washed before. Two words come to mind: Learning Curve. I ended up with a good sized batt (about 1.5 oz) that was pretty nice, though a little neppy. I wasn't quite happy with it. And though I wanted to spin with it just to Do something with it, I don't have much experience spinning from batts so I was stalled.

Today, I had an "a-ha" moment. I split up the batt into small strips and spread those out really thin and passed them through at a slower speed. (The Supercard has a dial to control speed, from 0 to 100. The drum moves pretty quickly; the dial controls how fast the two smaller drums rotate.) Speed setting 30, and fiber spread thin enough that I could easily see through it.

It took a while, but the resultant batt is wonderful. AND, I sorta figured out how to use the RoveGuide that came with the carder. It's basically a big diz that allows you to diz off roving straight from the carder! I haven't figured out how to get a continuous, consistently sized strip, but what I got is a good start, delightful little balls of softness.

When I walk by the yarn room and see the carder in my peripheral vision, I do a double take. It's so honking big and shiny.

drum carder in the yarn room

(you can see the little carded balls in the basket below the carder)