Saturday, August 26, 2006

Lisa's gorgeous yarn

I got a package this morning from Lisa Souza, with four skeins of beautiful yarn. I met Lisa at Convergence earlier this year, where I discovered that she and her husband grew up in the same city in California. She is a gem, warm and lively, and I am red-faced to tell you yhat I proceeded to tell her my life story. Even after suffering that, she STILL sends me yarn!

This is special stuff. Not only is it a treat for the senses, the Fatima (the two rayon/cotton multi skeins) were dyed especially for me on Tuesday. How's that for making a person feel privileged? The Garnet and Peacock "Sock!" Merino really are for socks this time. My friend Opal, the famous
Akamai Knitter, has been making socks lately and has inspired me to get a pair or two on the dpns. I have lots of appointments coming up in the next few weeks, and it's always good to have those portable waiting-room projects stashed around under vehicle seats and glove boxes, and in one's handbag, too.

I did haul my sideways sweater project to report for jury duty this week. Happy to have it pass the guards at the entrance to the courthouse, I reported to a windowless room in the basement ringed with pews. Not a single other person in the 40-odd person cattle call had brought something to do or read. All eyes during our loooong wait seemed focused on my Addi's as I plugged away at the sweater. I discovered that Addi's are pretty loud in the utter silence of that dismal waiting room. Even when we were ushered in groups to conference rooms stacked with reading material, everybody just sat and stared at the Addi's. Odd, don't you think?

BTW, I would happily have served as a juror. I am told that I'm a bit of a rarity, like those who really like to eat liver or don't mind the smell of skunk (at a distance). I consider it an honorable duty of citizenship rather than a PITA, and was disappointed to have been dismissed. Turns out that the defendant was being tried for identity theft, and I was a victim of that crime a few years back. Or maybe they just didn't like the knitting...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

One story from the Michigan Fiber Festival

Happily poking around the vendor barns at the Michigan Fiber Festival last Saturday, I found some winsome boucle yarn in a booth with an attractive display. It called to me, and as I admired it, it began to dawn on me that I had seen it somewhere before....... where........ where?

Well, in my darn knitting bag on my shoulder, THAT"S where! I had begun knitting a sideways cardi in that very same yarn. Not only that, dear Knitterati, I had bought the pattern along with the yarn from the very same vendor at Convergence just a couple of months ago. This was to be a supremely lazy project after all my lace knitting - yarn and pattern with no changes, mindless, all in stockinette, and without a single conversion or YO in sight.

I unfurled my nearly completed sweater back and proudly showed it to the vendor. "My dear!", she exclaimed. "That's way too tight! Whatever needle size are you using?"

"Well, sevens...", I replied hesitantly.

Briskly, the vendor said, "That pattern calls for a nine." ("You idiot!" inferred here.)

"A NINE?! My mouth dropped open. "I was pretty sure it said a seven. I really do think I'm using a seven, too."

Vendor digs under the sheet covering her table, rummages around, and pulls out a copy of her pattern.

Yup, the pattern calls for a seven.

"Thank you!", the vendor says. "I'll need to correct these right away! Use a nine - or a ten!"

Now, I usually dutifully do a swatch, but this being a sideways sweater starting at the back, I held up the needle with the first few rows completed and judged it to be long enough. The rest of the knitting is measures in inches, not rows. so I had just plugged away....

Shew-eee! Wasn't it nice to have run into her? Coulda been a disaster, as I would have run out of yarn waaaaaaaay sooner than I planned.

Ribbit, ribbit....


We are sad and we miss you, Mr. E.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Michigan Fiber Festival

Has it been THAT long since I posted? Yikes! We have been a very busy household during the past few weeks. I've been getting DD ready for her new school school and tending to Mr. E, among a gazillion other things.

I did get a break this weekend. I got to go to the Michigan Fiber Fest in Allegan both Saturday and Sunday! Saturday was rainy and then turned hot and muggy, plus it was so crowded for most of the day that some booths were impossible to explore. Sunday, however, turned out to be perfect. The weather was gorgeous, and it was not nearly as packed. Merchandise was still as plentiful, too, so I needn't have crammed my serious shopping into Saturday. I have all the fiber I can spin now until Greencastle in the early Spring of next year.

Did I remember to bring the camera? Of course not. Not on either day. But then, when I had the gumption to bring it to Greencastle last spring, I was so absorbed by looking at everything that I forgot to take a single shot. This was worse, because a lot of my guild friends were there, and it would have been nice to have some shots of them enjoying themselves. I can share only what I brought home. I cropped shots pretty closely, because I imagine that you're sick of seeing my kitchen counter.

Not having a great local yarn shop nearby, I tend to go wild during these events. I bought some gorgeous fiber, and I bought a few skeins, too, as if I didn't already have enough lace yarn. Be glad you don't have smell-a-vision. The skein with yak smells like the south end of one - something I didn't notice until after I got home. A friend called it "earthy" and another said it smelled like moth repellant. Hey - If I were a moth, I certainly wouldn't go near it, either. Peee-yoo!

I also came home with a woven jacket on Saturday. On Sunday, I found a lonely skein of Suri Alpaca for a steal that I thought might go. I'm elated (and just short of smug) with such a great match!

Note to self - next time, remember to bring the camera - and lunch. Food inside the gates is, to put it politely, limited.

Top photo: Roving, Romney/tencel from Annie Jackson of Annie's Fiber Expressions
2nd Photo: Roving, wool/mohair/llama from Tintagel Farm
3rd photo: 4 colors - silk hankies to spin
4th photo: Picked gray Romney, overdyed
5th photo: Lace yarns. Pink skein of merino/silk; center skein of yak/silk; bottom skein of cashmere.
6th photo: woven jacket with serendipituous Suri alpaca skein. (Two great finds - one not-so-great-photo.)

Friday, August 11, 2006


Look what came in the mail! From Sharon Miller's Heirloom Knitting shop in Devon, England, are two new lace patterns. I now officially have more lace patterns than I can knit in a long lifetime. Times two.

The Cameron, left, is definitely in the queue. I want to start it just as soon as I have (a) finished my current lace project, the MS2 (last clue out today); and (b) I have no other project rudely shoving it's way to the front of the line; and (c) I get up the nerve to handle the yarn.

Just look at this skinny stuff for the Cameron! Looks like it would come apart if you look at it cross-eyed. And judging by the complexity of the pattern, I expect to have a number of cross-eyed moments.

But that's no sweat compared with the Wedding Ring Shawl. Of course, it's named because you will be able to draw the six-foot square finished gossamer piece through your wedding ring.
I only bought the pattern for the sheer (!) pleasure of looking at it, but I do hope to knit it one of these days when I am a lot better knitter. The yarn I'm dreaming about for the Wedding Ring is a gossamer silk. (I'm nuts to be even thinking about it. Stop, already!) It makes the Jamieson Cobweb Ultra for the Cameron look like rope. Sigh. Someday...

Do you think I could snap out of it? I really have to stop this obsession with lace knitting for a while and get on with knitting some practical, relatively speedy, down-to-earth sweaters. And socks. And other wintery things. It's just so hard to think about right now. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 10, 2006

On the edge

Here's the edging of the Lily of the Valley shawl (very roughly pinned out) I've been attempting. I like the color for this shawl, but I'm not so sure it's going to go much further.


Well, do you see those little bumps between the YO columns? They're called "nupps", I've discovered, and to make one, you have to do a knit-into-the-stitch/YO combination seven times, and then purl all seven of the little suckers into one stitch in the next row. 7. Into 1. Purling. It is, as the Yarn Harlot would say, a pain in the arse. A whole bunch of less polite phrases come to mind, too.

I've since removed the provisional cast-on (the blue) and worked a few rows the other direction. "Worked" is definitely the right word. I'm going to have to get a lot better at making those, er, nupps , or it's nuts on the nupps. This cone of Zephyr may be bound for another destiny.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

New Family Member

DH nearly ran over this little guy on a busy downtown street yesterday. He was covered with fleas and really, really hungry. He made a quick trip to the vet before he came home to live with us. DD named him Oliver.

He looks a little perturbed in this photo - that because he was becoming not so fond of getting his picture taken - again.

Welcome to our family, Oliver! The more, the merrier!
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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Stash

Since DD took over my office upstairs, I had to carve out another spot in the basement for fiber adventures. Formerly known as the "Freezer Room", this space is hereby dubbed "The Studio" (w/freezer).

The Stash is semi-neatly tucked into wine storage crates at the back of my sewing table. There's room on top for some magazine cases for all those back issues and catalogs, plus a Hanne Falkenburg sweater kit (I really have to get that OTN!), and some cones for lace knitting.

It still needs some serious tweaking (color arrangement, mainly), but I can again see all my yarn.

And here are the books. I used to have them arranged alphabetically by author, but it drove me nuts because I can't always remember my own phone number, let alone the author of that book with a pattern that think I remember, but I'm not sure was even in a book.

So now they are stuffed in the bookcase by these preliminary categories: Reference, General Patterns including Sweaters, Not (sweaters), Kids, Lace, Felting, Reads (knitting related literature), Other Than (weaving, crochet). None are arranged within categories (by title or author, or hats and then mittens and then socks), and they may never get more organized than that. I'd rather use the time knitting...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

MS2 -Clue 4, and more

It's yet another hasty, wonky shot, but at least I got a picture of the Mystery Stole progress up before the next clue is out on Friday. I admit it looks pretty dull and nasty in this shot, but it's very nice in person. I'll take some good shots at the end.

This is through clue 4. It clearly is barely even smoothed out, let alone stretched at this point. It measures about 18 inches wide and 50 inches long so far.

It has been an easy knit so far, but a little hard on the old eyes. I took a wise knitter's advice and put a white cloth behind it while I'm knitting. WOW - I'm astonished at what a difference that makes!


I'm getting a bit weary of navy blue, so I've been thinking about starting a new project in this while I wait for Clue 5:

It's yet another cone of fabulous Zephyr (50/50 merino/silk). After Frost Flowers and Leaves, which took (according to the pattern) a whopping 3600 yards, you'd think I would want to knit with something else. The MS2 is a sensuous knit in Kidsilk Haze (70/30 mohair silk), but gimme Zephyr!

Yet another shawl? Yep. I think so. At 89 degrees this morning, you'd think the only cone I'd be looking at is one with some ice cream in it. I was planning to start something other than another lace shawl, but somehow I keep putting off knitting those wool sweaters right now.

Off to dig up a suitable pattern...