Monday, March 30, 2009

Some Progress

Hello Yarn Thrive 1

It's a learning curve to be sure. This yarn was made entirely on the new wheel. Oh, did I forget to mention? I have a spinning wheel, a birthday present in January. Here it is, the end of March and I finally got up the gumption to spin yarn on it.

More on the wheel some other time, when I have a chance to photograph it and get into all the details. For now I will just show you the first completed yarn on it. This is Hello Yarn Thrive. I love the colors. It's cheerful and makes me want sunny days and blue skies.

Hello Yarn Thrive 2

As with all the spinning, there's alot to learn and in this case, the plying needs practice. I found out yesterday the unintentional method I achieved was spiral plying. Which is okay, but not what I really wanted! I love this yarn anyway and someday it will be a hat.

Hello Yarn Thrive 4

It's a busy time round here, so little blogging of late. Back to you all later...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Performance Art with Sheep

This is simply amazing. Take a moment to watch, you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sign of Spring

Tonight on my way home from the subway I looked up to see three Canada geese flying in formation, heading north. And it was still light out. Ah, Spring.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Handspun Introduction

Cormo Handspun 2

Hello, I am Knithound's first handspun yarn. I am made of Cormo, which is a lovely breed of sheep that makes a wonderfully soft and fluffy/fuzzy wool. I was spun and plied entirely on a Bosworth midi spindle.

Knithound bought that spindle and the roving at Rhinebeck in October. But she was so intimidated by the spinning process it took her awhile to get the courage up to spin me. I'm glad she did it because I like being yarn.

Cormo Handspun 3

Cormo Handspun 5
I am thick, I am thin. I am overspun and I am underspun. I am all over the place. But I am yarn! And I will soon be something squooshy and warm and I will wrap around Knithound's head or neck and I will make her proud and I will keep her warm and I will be loved forever.

Cormo Handspun 1

Lace Sock Wrap Up

Green Lace Socks 8

FINISHED! Finally, these are done. A bit of a slog given that I had to make those changes mentioned a couple of weeks ago. That slog gave me enough time to think that this may be the last pair of socks for a short while. There are so many other things I want/need/want to do, for the first time since this journey began it felt like I was wasting my time. And that made me restless and anxious. But knitting is supposed to be relaxing! Ha. As if.

Maybe the yarn, a disappointment, contributed some anxiety. I wanted a solid color yarn to show off the lace pattern with no distraction. Unfortunately, this stuff is a bit splitty, doesn't have the sproingyness I like, and started to show a fuzzy wear after all the ripping and reknitting. It just didn't feel that great going through my hands. It better soften up in the wash or I will be thoroughly pissed.

Green Lace Socks 6

Decision #1 involved the cuff and yes, I DID add the missing 4 rows. The perfectionist in me just couldn't let that one go. Besides, they felt a bit funny when I put them on - like one was shorter than the other? Or maybe I was imagining that just to satisfy myself that the correction needed to be made. Not that it was easy, by the way. Ripping out a cast on is NO fun and it made my blood pressure rise on several occasions. The bind off is a very loose, purl bind off and it seems to match the first sock well enough.

Green Lace Socks 10

Decision #2 was all about the toes. Since I knew I had to rip back sock #1 to add a lace repeat, I had the opportunity to reconsider the shaping. In the end, I decided to go with the toe as written in the pattern. Even though it looks a bit weird. I am one willing to try anything at least once. In that spirit I have eaten some mighty strange things, altered my mind more than once, gone places considered a bit dodgy...I mean, that's how I roll. Odd looking toes? Camel toes? Okay, why not?

Green Lace Socks 9

From covering feet to covering hands, I am on to the next project, a pair of fingerless mittens, wherein I get to play with stranded colorwork. Colorwork is one of the 2009 goals, so maybe it won't feel like such a burden.

Green Lace Socks 7

The Specs:
Pattern: Socks for Veronik, by Mona Schmidt
Source: Interweave Knits, Holiday 2007
Yarn: KnitPicks Essentials, Granny Smith - most accurately depicted in the first photograph.
Needles: size 1 US dpns
Started: 1/30/2009
Finished: 3/8/2009

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Charity / Sanity

Swirled stripes

Times are tough. Everyone, I mean, everyone is feeling the strains these days. Last night DH photographed a Boys Club Benefit dinner and auction. The event was well attended but NO ONE bid on the silent auction. Not one thing sold! He said it was a bit embarrassing, and I imagine it was a huge disappointment for the organizers, because they did not raise the funds they hoped for. It will have the effect of hurting the Boys Club and all the kids who attend.

It hit home when I heard this story. There will be more stories like this in the days to come. And so, the entropy continues. Not good.

When the call out for charity arises, I am lucky to have a skill and a ready supply of materials. While I might not be able to bid on an auction either, I can dive into my treasure trove, apply basic knowledge and a little time to yield some decent results. It's small, but it's something.

Stripe corners and edges

These squares, eight of them, were knit up in the last week. They are destined to become a blanket, part of a Knit-Along involving a community of knitters here in Brooklyn, and our winter contribution to the charity Afghans for Afghans. Life in Afghanistan is harsh for kids. Their winters are long, resources are few. These striped squares are filled with as much color as I could inject. They are my way to hopefully brighten the lives of kids living in war torn poverty and strife, halfway around the world.

(eta: In reading the above sentences, I am suddenly hyperaware that I may be construed as some sort of bourgeois dilettante for thinking the Afghan kids are suffering and living lives of bleakness. With all the politicizing that goes on these days, I suddenly feel the urge to delete what I wrote just to avoid the controversy. Gosh, it's terrible to feel so paranoid about expressing thoughts for fear of being politically incorrect. What is correct these days anyway? Oh, crap, I will carry on. Internal dialog concluded.)

Not having seen the other squares from other knitters, I have no idea how this blanket will look when it's all done. Being a bit of a control freak I thought about knitting all 20 squares, but decided to let that go, it will be okay however it turns out.

Stripe Mosaic

These are really easy to make. Fast, fun, amusing, very pleasing to make and to look at. The yarn was a sale purchase from Webs last year. At the time I ordered, I had no idea what I would do with all these bright colors and kind of regretted my impule buy. Rather than go through the hassle of returning, I figured they would come in handy for kid knits and so far, it's worked out. I've made some toys and a Baby Surprise Jacket with it. And now these squares. There's plenty more of this stuff in the stash closet, so future toys and blankets are certainly possible.

The simplicity of knitting garter stitch squares is a blessing. The day job grinds on and it takes so much stamina and time that by the end of the day, garter squares are all I can handle! These helped me keep sane all week, where other projects were downright hateful. (The yarn is hateful to work with, the socks are lovely otherwise. Nearly done, decisions were made, more on this later).

Fanned stripes

Do you really want to know the specs on these squares? Oh, okay.

Pattern: Oblique Blanket Squares by Tony Limuaco
Yarn: diVe Zenith, lots of colors
Needle: size US6
Time spent: one week off and on.

Fiber Clubs


The spinning fixation is starting to get very real around here. I joined two Fiber Clubs so I may be assured of a regular dose of fuel for the wheel and spindle. The first shipment arrived yesterday. The second club comes all the way from Australia so it may take a couple of weeks.

All week long I raced home to see if the box arrived. When it got here, I was so thrilled I could barely open the box, my hands were moving too fast. Oh! What a squeal of delight to see this inside! I can't tell you how completely giddy I was, wish you were here to see it.

This fiber is Corriedale Wool Top, hand dyed by Adrian of Hello Yarn. It's called Thrive. And these colors are just beyond wonderful. They are vibrant, rich, explosive, joyous. Which is how I feel when I look at it.

I can't wait to get this stuff spun up. And being a beginner, this fiber is pure motivation to become better. Stay tuned, I promise to show you the results.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sock Decisions

Green Lace Socks 5

Halfway through the second of these socks, I noticed an odd thing about the cuff. It was wavier than the first one. I couldn't figure it out at first, but after comparing it several times, it finally dawned on me. I didn't follow the pattern instructions in the second sock, and only knitted the purl one row, knit one row one repeat rather than repeating two more times. So I am four rows short on the second sock.

Green Lace Socks 1

I knew right then and there I would not rip out what I'd already knit. Not a chance. Mainly because the lace pattern calls for P3tog (purl 3 together) at every center of the scallop pattern and I am hating that part. So, I am faced with several decisions on what to do about the cuff:

1. Do nothing and let it go, no one will see the cuff since I wear most socks with pants.
2. Rip out the mistake and add the four rows and then cast off.
3. Rip out the mistake, put the live stitches on a holder, then cast on a new set of stitches, knit down the rows I need and then graft onto the live stitches,
4. Rip out both socks, correct the row mistakes on sock #2, and then incorporate some new cast off solution, maybe using Nicki Epstein's Knitting on the Edge for ideas.

What do you guys think? I haven't made any final decisions yet and I am still working through the foot on sock #2.

Green Lace Socks 4
Meanwhile, on Sock #1, I already know I have to rip back the toe and add one more lace repeat because the socks are a bit short. Which leaves me with the option to reconsider the toe shaping.
I'm not sure I really like how the pattern is written here. In keeping with the P3tog theme, there is a center line using that stitch all the way down to the end. It looks a bit weird on the foot and because of the double stitch decrease happening here, the side decreases are not mirrored in the traditional way. It makes the overall shape odd. It fits fine, but I just don't know if I like it that much. Again, what do you think? Should I just go with the pattern and have one pair of socks with a twist on the traditional? Or do you think it would look better using a standard mirrored decrease?