Wednesday, November 14, 2007

High Fibre Post

Oh blog, I do apologize for neglecting you. I'm sorry to say, I'm just not that interesting...

Ahem. Yeah.

I have been spinning. I have been LOVING spinning. I bought myself a Golding spindle at Rhinebeck, and it is my new favourite toy. I spun all the way home in the car (well, until it got too dark) (oh and thanks to fiberkat for the idea) (hey, are you allowed to use parentheses like this, one after the other?) (yeah, I don't know either...)


Le sigh.

I also got to spin on a Golding wheel. It was very nearly a religious experience. I have to add a picture I stole from my friend Erin's blog:

golding wheel

I look like an utter goof in the picture. Clearly I was high on yarn fumes.

Now look at some stuff I've spun!


50/50 mohair and merino. It was only an ounce, but I did it all on the drop spindle (in fact, I bought this fibre specifically at the last minute on Sunday so I could spin it in the car).

This lovely merino:


is currently on the drop spindle becoming this:


I'm actually trying to spin singles here. We'll see how it looks when it comes off the noddy.

Ooh, that reminds me, the spinning workshop was fabulous. I need to take pictures of the stuff we spun and post it. I'm just not that organized right now (hah- try ever!)

Lastly, I have finally finished spinning Nicandro (the sunburn alpaca fleece from the sheep dog trials). I was going for laceweight, I'm not sure I quite got that, but it is just lovely nonetheless.


If you need me, I'll be huffing fleece.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Home from Rhinebeck

There is so, so much I want to write about, but it is much too early in the morning, and I don't think my muscles have completely un-kinked from the camping. I will have to post in installments as I remember everything that happened. The whole weekend has blended into a fuzzy, fiber-y dream!

I do have to share a conversation I had with my 4-year-old in the washroom,
"Mummy, what is the toilet paper made of?"
"Paper. What else would it be made of?"
"I don't know. Maybe wool?"
(laughing) "Why would the toilet paper be made of wool?"
(said with a 'well duh' tone) "Because it's a wool festibal (sic)"

I love my little guy!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

feeling a little less dumb


We have a local Spinners/Handweavers guild. I rented a Lendrum folding wheel from them for $1/day.


(though still feeling a little dumb for not having thought of that sooner)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

How did I miss that?

I'm currently working on remedying an oversight that, frankly, is still baffling me. I don't know how I managed to overlook this particular detail, but then, here I am, clearly in this predicament because I wasn't thinking.

So we are going to Rhinebeck in two weeks (!) Myself, the husband, and the boys (nearly 3 and nearly 5). We are camping, and given the fairly pleasant weather, I'm optimistic that we will not all freeze to death. (I have also assured my husband that, should the weather become dangerously cold, there will be no shortage of warm woolyness with which to insulate the tent.)

Our campsite is reserved. We are slowly but surely assembling all the supplies we'll need for the 5 hour drive, the 3 nights camping, and the festival itself.

I have also signed up for a workshop. A spinning workshop, which I am thrilled about, which I signed up for months ago. I got the email yesterday with all the details, including the supplies/equipment I'll need to bring along.

Like a wheel.

Oh, yeah. A wheel. Of course I need a wheel. Why hadn't this occurred to me before now?

I do have a wheel. It's an Ashford traditional. Our car is a Honda Civic. We are camping, which means we're packing a tent, mats, sleeping bags, etc. We have two young boys, so we will necessarily have to pack the better part of their entire wardrobes, to allow for all manner of messes (food, water, mud, other...) and it would be prudent to pack plenty of clothes for ourselves too. Oh, and our smallish stroller.

Do you think I can fit the Ashford in the trunk too? Heh.

I'm checking out my local options to rent a travel-sized wheel. Failing that, I'm not sure what I'll do.

I'm still marveling at how I managed to overlook this issue until now.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Wartime Knitting

While on vacation in Muskoka (Bala, to be precise) we came across a small sign in town announcing that there would be a knitting exhibit at the Bala Museum. My cottage neighbour (also an avid knitter) and I went down to check it out.

It was all contained in one small room, but there was so much to see. Naturally, there were socks and hats, and patterns for the "Wartime Woolies" and such, but there were also several posters set up, that existed at the time to encourage everyone to participate in the wartime effort in any way they could.

There were also items I never would have imagined (and I suppose that fact shows how very naive I am about all this). The rifle mitts, with an open thumb and index finger for working the trigger. And there was a table full of hand knit medical bandages- bedsocks, bandage covers and leg and arm amputation covers (those last ones were both fascinating and disturbing).

For efficiency's sake, I have arranged the photos from the museum in a Flickr set:

Wartime Knitting Exhibit

p.s. I'm sorry I couldn't devote more time to this post. I am sick, and burnt out, but I really wanted to share these photos.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Ravelry Swap

So I participated in my first ever swap last month, just by stumbling upon it while browsing on Ravelry.

I got my package a few days ago, but with the insanity of getting the kids into school, and my house into order (hah!) I haven't had a spare moment to post pictures until now.

The swap specified sock yarn and roving, but it allowed for other goodies as well:


A calendar and notebook (that notebook is going to wreak havoc on my diet!)


A great little wooden box, with a set of super-cute stitch markers,


The sock yarn is just awesome- hand dyed, it has both autumny colours, and some gorgeous teal jewel tones. The picture doesn't really do it justice:


And last but not least, the fiber. Oh it's really something- it's from Crosspatch Creations, which I'd never even heard of before. They have three different colours of fleece: two hand dyed, blue and purplish, and one natural black, and all three are blended through with wisps of multicoloured silk.


It is going to be so much fun to spin, I can't wait. I am going to save it until I get back from Rhinebeck though, since I'm attending a workshop about spinning multicoloured fleece, and I want to put the knowledge to good use.

More of the fleece, close up, so you can see the silky bits:


Thanks so much Janet!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

If someone could kick my ass in a few weeks

I'd really appreciate it. I have a ton of stuff I need to get on this blog. Primarily, my trip to the War-Time Knitting exhibit at the Bala museum- absolutely fascinating, but I need more time, not to mention more brain cells, to compose a full post about it. But I have to get to it, because it's really neat.

I've knit a bunch of stuff this summer which hasn't made it on here yet because we've been out of town so much. I have had just enough time to upload my pics, update my ravelry account, and feel guilty about not blogging more.

Forgive the blitz picture posting. I just don't want to neglect these, because they're so damn cute.

Finished cotton stria baby surprise:

Finished baby surplice, with matching hat and booties:


Both of those sweaters went to the same person, one of my oldest friends who is having her first baby any second now!

I barely stopped to take a breath before casting on my second baby surprise, this time in Koigu with Fleece Artist sock yarn accents (also with socks and hat to match):


This is for another baby, due in November. I'm itching to give it to the mom right.this.second. Patience was never a quality I managed to achieve.

I should mention that all the buttons for the sweaters were from my mom's personal vintage stash. I don't think I'll ever need to buy buttons in my life. I might anyway, but not because I need to.

This hat for my nephew was just ridiculously easy and quick- Misti alpaca chunky, 2 days knitting time:


I also cast on, then frogged, then re-knit, then frogged again, one of my entrelac socks. That's an annoying story. I don't really feel like elaborating- it makes me cranky.

I got a big Knitpicks order right as we returned from our vacation, and so I began knitting Miles a sweater (per his request). It's not interesting enough for a picture yet.

And to soothe my sock-knitting pride, I've cast on a pair of Monkeys, in STR- autumn colourway. I'm doing them toe-up, but I'm leaving the pattern as-it, so they'll be upside down Monkeys. Meh, I figure Monkeys like being upside down, no?

I have decided to name them Reese's Monkeys. Get it? Like Rhesus Monkeys? I'm a sucker for a bad pun. I blame my dad. But I do have a good reason for the name. Just look:


Damn, hungry. Need candy. Grunt.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Where there's sheep dogs, there's sheep. Where there's sheep, there's me.

I went to the Kingston Sheep Dog trials today. We saw a ton of neat stuff (big cats, lizards, birds of prey) but somehow managed to almost completely overlook the actual sheep dogs. Whoops.

I had an embarrassingly good time checking out all the crafty tables, and watching the sheep-to-shawl competition, and I found a guy who makes his own wheels (and almost considered buying this one tiny one that was only $350- until I saw dh's face when I said the words "only" and "$350" in the same sentence). I did buy a hook for pulling the yarn through the orifice (I know there's a name for them, but I'm blanking). I actually need one too. My bent paperclip is really not cutting it these days.

But my big score was while Miles was on a pony ride, I saw two gorgeous alpacas standing next to a table full.of.yarn! And fleece! And I just couldn't resist taking a little something home. A souvenir, really.


It came from an alpaca named Nicandro (I'm absolutely giddy about the fact that my fleece has a name, and yes I know exactly how silly that is). It's 86% fawn alpaca and 14% 'merlot' silk (I don't know the names of the worms that provided the silk, but I suppose that would be asking too much, wouldn't it?).

Here's Miles cradling my fleece (that is only half of it) like it's a newborn child. I'm so proud. *sniff*


I suppose my joy at this new acquisition left me a little distracted, and I did come home with something else, far less desirable:


(Oh holy hell, my roving matches my back!)

The only explanation is that I must have neglected this area during re-application of sunscreen (I may have also neglected this area in my primary application. That was just dumb).

So the whole Sheep Dog trial event gets an A from me (though I can't comment on the dogs themselves), the Alpacas get an A++. I get a D, but the sun gets an F. It was, after all, entirely his fault.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Death to Smooshy

The following blog post contains foul language. Reader discretion is advised.

I am cursed. There is no other explanation for this situation. Fucking cursed.

I have finished several projects recently, and I am itching to cast on my entrelac socks. I have the yarn already- two skeins of Dream in Colour "Smooshy", one teal and one sort of coral-y, watermelony red. They are very large skeins, so I set myself up in front of the TV with my ball winder and swift, carefully placed the red skein on the swift, and began to wind.

Snag. Fuck.

I had made maybe three revolutions when the yarn stuck, a rogue piece of yarn looped around the (supposedly) free end. No big deal-

Wind the yarn off the ball winder.

Slip the end of the yarn through the offending loop.

Re-wind the yarn onto the ball winder.

Turn, turn, turn. Snag. FUCK!

Repeat a few more times, adjusting the yarn on the swift, turning the other direction, removing the whole skein and replacing it upside down.

Say fuck a few more times (this was surprisingly unhelpful).

Decide to take drastic measures, and start winding off by hand. I had a good sized ball going by the time things had worked themselves out, so I wound it back onto the ball winder. Turn, turn, turn.

I'm going along at a good clip, with only a few minor snags, but nothing that requires actually removing the ball again. Turn, turn, turn.

The yarn-winding gods will only let me be happy for so long, though. Turn, turn, whomp! Something hits me in the forehead, hard enough that it takes me a few moments to compose myself and figure out what the fuck that was about.

The tube dealie (yes, that's the official term, fuck off) on the centre of the winder had come loose, and the fucking thing flew right up and clocked me. To add insult to injury, this has also resulted in a fair bit more tangling. This isn't funny.

I spent the better part of 5 hours untangling this yarn (while watching TV, taking computer breaks, and of course eating and drinking) and I am still not done. I am not happy with this yarn, especially since this is one time I know that the tangling is not my fault.

Fuck once more, for good measure.

Update: I have now officially finished untangling the fucking yarn. I haven't forgiven it yet.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Not for lack of knitting...

This blog has been suspiciously empty. We spent a week at our cottage in Bala (the cranberry capital of Ontario, FYI). The ridiculously fresh air seems to have an odd effect on me. Quite frankly, it puts me to sleep- honestly, I just could not get enough sleep. Luckily, the cottage is the one place that I can pretty much lay down anywhere, anytime and take a nap (assuming the kids are with my husband- which they tend to be because he's much more fun on vacation than sleepy mum).

When I wasn't napping, but hadn't risen out of my fog enough to play in the river, I was knitting. I finished my Malabrigo Hourglass sweater- just in time for summer (grrrr). But it is absolutely glorious. I even got to wear it for a whole evening because it does occasionally get cold up there.


This photo was taken pre-blocking, in the dim cottage bathroom. It was the best I could do at the time.

Post blocking, on the bed-


hmm, still looks a little lumpy and wrinkly. I blame the futon.

I also finished my first Baby Surprise Jacket. I used Manos Cotton Stria, in aqua and tangerine. I started out with one skein of each, but at about this point:


I started to worry that maybe there wouldn't be quite enough yarn to finish. My LYS was out- they only had 2 skeins of purple, which I decided I could not work in to this already- erm- eclectic colour scheme. A two-day stopover in TO gave me the opportunity to hit up Romni- even there, I could only find one skein of the tangerine, and it seemed significantly duller than my original skein.

I carried on, hoping that the striping pattern would hide the irregularity. What do you think?


I have to admit that at this point in the sweater, I was more concerned about the fact that I could not for the life of me see how this was going to become a sweater. I worried that EZ knew something I didn't about sewing up seams, or that I had completely misread the pattern, or otherwise entirely fucked this pattern up. Ah, me of little faith...


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I love Ravelry

Really, I do. It is such a great concept, and I hope the developers do really really well with it. (If you haven't gotten your invite to Ravelry yet, then I'm sorry if this sounds like taunting or bragging. Trust me, your patience will be rewarded.)

The only downside (and I admit that the fault lies entirely with me) is that I now have so much less to blog about. I started blogging mainly as a way to keep my projects (current and future) organised, and to help keep my few online knitting friends up-to-date on my progress, without flooding our message board with FO posts. I did slowly become more accustomed to writing about knitting as lifestyle, almost approaching actual journaling levels (which is so bizarre to me, since every diary I've ever owned contains two to three very bland "introductory" entries before my interest waned and it became buried under stacks of "Seventeen" magazine).

So I'm going to give blogging-as-journaling a shot, please bear with me (and I'm going to need to learn how to spell "journaling", since this is 3 times now I've written it with two ls. Thank you little red line...)

So. Hmmm.


I'll be back...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

not so very long ago


I couldn't resist posting this. I found it buried in my crafty folder while adding projects to Ravelry.

This must have been taken around February or March 2004. I'm knitting my first sock ever, for Miles (out of Pingouin 100% cotton. Sigh. I've learned so much).

Miles is "helping".

The knitting bag behind me was hand-woven by my mother, for her mother.

There are so many things in this photo that make me so very very happy.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

I crawled with the Yarn Harlot...

Not to mention about 20 other fabulous knitters. I'm sure everyone has seen some version of this picture a thousand times, but I find it so farking hilarious that I have to share my own version.


The whole day was awesome. If you want details, go to the Yarn Harlot's blog. She tells it better than I could.

A few assorted photos from the Toronto Extravaganza, just for my entertainment:


This is actually the night before at the book release. Just before I was to give the hat I knit to the Harlot, I realised I didn't have a picture of it. This picture didn't show much of the hat, but it did manage to capture me in all my flushed-and-sweaty glory (In case anyone was wondering, it does get warm in a bookstore filled with hundreds of knitters, and donning a wool hat does nothing to relieve it, surprisingly)

Side note- this photo was taken by the lovely Erin, who I just happened to sit down next to in line, and ended up being my crawl buddy the next day as well. I got to make sure she didn't pass out at Romni. Hee!

First stop on the crawl was The Naked Sheep (again, I'm not going into major detail, I'm not linking to all the stores, it's all on Stephanie's blog, as well as about a dozen others). I convinced my wonderful friend/spare mum Gaye to pose for a "First Sock" photo. It's a dandy first sock.


At Americo, I bought some lovely handspun llama that matches my knitting bag. When I got home that evening, my 4 year old decided to wear it. On his face.


Yeah, kids are weird.

I also coveted this fantastic wooden ball winder:


Note to self: Find out if Sherri ever got a quote on that. Live vicariously through Sherri. Sigh.

Romni, Lettuce Knit, Big Fat Burritos. It's not that this wasn't all awesome, I just don't have anything to add that hasn't been said. That's what I get for procrastinating.

Alterknit was a great place to wind down. Yummy iced coffee. And their front window display still has me giggling:

What also got me giggling was someone's (I can't remember who, was it Barb?) comment that it looked like all the monkeys were knitting "peter heaters". Hee!

Long story short, I bought a lot of yarn, met a lot of cool people, and I got my picture taken with "The Yarn Harlot" aka "The Wool Pig" aka "Stephanie"


She's holding my socks. She even said they looked good. Speaking of which...


Ahhh, FO bliss...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My yarn nightmare

I am a tangler. There is no way around it. When I wind my yarn from a hank to a ball, it tangles. When I try to knit with more than one ball of yarn at a time, it tangles (don't ask how this has affected my two-socks-at-once habit). I especially tangle when I get a bug up my butt about something that many people would just ignore (stripy matchyness, for example). Still, I press on, hoping that next time will be different. Sigh.

Here is a little taste of my ridiculousness,

Last week at my knitting group, I sat happily knitting my Pomatomus socks:

(aren't they pretty? Fleece Artist Sea Wool, colourway unknown but gorgeous).

I start to notice that the yarn is being annoyingly splitty. It seems that the two plies of the yarn were coming un-twisted. It was kinking the yarn, making knitting with it a rather frustrating experience.

(Please note, I in no way hold the yarn itself responsible for what happened here. This was one skein that I split into two nearly equal balls, so that I could knit the two socks at once. That was a yarn disaster in itself, but it ended with two neatly wound balls. However, I can't rule out the possibility that the winding and re-winding of the balls may have been responsible for this.)

With the support and advice of many of my knitting group friends, I tried spinning the ball, twisting the ball, dangling the ball over the railing- all of this did nothing to correct the twist of the plies, nor did it do anything to stay my ever-increasing frustration:

As we wrapped up for the night, it became clear that this yarn was not going to respond to gentler encouragement. It was time to get tough with it:

It should have been easy. Cut out the offending section of yarn (really only a few inches) re-wind the rest of the ball, checking carefully for more twisty bits, and re-join to the sock. No big deal.

Until at some point during the winding, I was momentarily distracted, and my yarn snagged, and the partially-wound ball went flying off the winder in a great lump:

Once again, this shouldn't have posed a serious problem. I should have just collected myself, and very slowly, cautiously and gently pulled apart the tangled mess. Indeed, that is what I intended to do. But it was like some cruel Sisyphean torture- the more I untangled, the tighter the remaining tangles would get.

Understand that my children were asleep, and my husband was out for the evening. If there had been another human awake with me in the house, I hope they would've been able to extricate me from this mess before things got worse.

Two hours later, I found myself stuck with this:

This is the point where it stopped being funny. This is also the point where I stopped taking pictures.

Long story short (too late, I know), I got the yarn down to about 3 knots that were determined to be permanent. Another encounter with the scissors, and a few (very, very careful) winding sessions later, and I had an un-twisty, un-tangly (if slightly shorter) ball of yarn.

In retrospect, I don't really think it was worth the effort. If I ever think about doing something like this again, somebody smack me, okay?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Just for a little variety

Here is some of the spinning I've been doing. I'm not progressing all that quickly, simply because I need to lock myself away in a room away from cats and children in order to spin. The opportunity just doesn't arise that often.

These are some mystery fibres that I acquired at the end of my spinning classes in December. The oatmeal-coloured one was very wispy, with and it had a bit of darker, coarse hairs running through it. I have no idea what it is, but it was nice to spin.

The purple/green was actually just a bunch of dyed locks that I flick-carded and spun, mostly just to experiment with blending colours.

This is the espresso Shetland wool that I got for Christmas. I have spun two bobbins full like the one above, and I still have this much to go:

Yeah, I know it's a crappy picture and it's hard to see. It's sitting on my knees. For those who don't know how big a spinning wheel is for reference, the ball is more-or-less soccer ball sized.

I wanted to see how my spinning was shaping, so I plied the two bobbins together and got this:

Oh it is really pretty. I'm going to have a lot of it by the time I'm done, too. Hours and hours of fun-this was the best gift ever.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

still with the socks...

I haven't gotten totally bored of them yet. I suppose that's a good thing, since I still have a fair bit of sock yarn (not to mention several patterns I want to try).

Several FO:

M. has been bugging me to knit him something with the leftover yarn from my husband's socks. I decided to whip off a pair of teensy wrist-warmers, because I wasn't sure I'd have enough for socks.

My sister's socks became my mom's socks, because they fit her and so I worried they'd be too roomy on my sis. Plus I don't think I could've gotten them off my mom once she tried them on.

Forgive the carpet. It's my grandma's, so I think it gets a pass.

Then of course, M. wanted to know where his socks were, and I definitely had enough of this yarn left over.

And since my sister still had no birthday socks, I cast on these:

Lang Jawoll cotton jacquard in a mock cable pattern. Simple enough to work on anywhere, anytime. Fancy enough that I don't die from boredom.

And I know the stripes don't match. Believe me, I know. The twitch in my eye is just starting to go away.

Last but not least, I finished the boyfriend socks for me:

I made them pretty short more or less on purpose. If I'd done another cable pattern repeat, they would have been tall enough to reach past my bizarrely muscular calves, and I would've had to work an increase in there, and it was after easter dinner and frankly I was too stuffed and lazy to bother. It also leaves me with a bit more blue for a...something small and blue. Hmm.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

...and here are all the pictures

Lana Grossa Meilenweit cotton. Note the slightly crappy short-row heel. I find my gauge on this yarn is a little loose, but the resulting socks are coming out very very soft.

Fleece Artist merino socks. Pardon my stash in the background.

I did the afterthought heel on these ones. Nice finished look, but I'm not sure it's worth the trouble of getting the heel stitches on the needles.

Now these are my socks-to-be:

This is Lang Jawoll cotton. These will be for my mom, so they are going to be the plainest socks ever. She has issues with tightness, scratchiness, texture, etc. It's going to be pretty boring. She's lucky I love her.

Koigu KPPPM. I have no pattern ideas for this one. I'm waiting for it to tell me what it wants to be.

Fleece artist Sea Wool (in Cosmic Dawn, I think). Yes, it really is that shiny. I think this wants to be Pomatomus, don't you?