Monday, October 31, 2011

Knitting progress October 2011

This is Rob's sweater so far. I finally got the shoulder and side seams sewn and am ready to pick up stitches for the sleeves, which I plan to knit down from the shoulder to the cuff. Rob decided on plain sleeves (no cable) so that simplifies things. I hope to get sleeves (one, at least) going this week.

Here's a closer view of the cables. The color of this yarn is champagne. It looks much nicer in real life than it does in this photo.

Sock progress: One SKYP sock complete (the second has been started) and one Riff complete. I wanted to add length past where my original yarn would take me because my son likes longer cuffs. I found the darker yarn at my LYS and it really works. I am happy and so is he.

This is the fiber I purchased at Fancy tiger in Denver, CO last week. These colors are actually pretty accurate. It's shades of purple and some grey and a bit of white as well, and it's a merino/silk blend. 5 oz should let me do something nice, I think.

This is the hat I started when I needed another boat knitting project last week. It's called the Marsan Watchcap. I hope to get to the swirly decreases soon - that's what really attracted me to the pattern.
I am using a grey and white alpaca yarn and it feels really soft and warm. DH tried it on last night and it's a bit snug on him, so it may be a donation hat. I didn't care. I wanted to use the yarn in a simple project and this worked for me.

This is the Canaletto cowl in Araucania Rinihue. I love this project.

Well, that's the knitting progress. I spent some time combing (with my new, handmade by my brother combs) some Black Welsh Mountain that I washed earlier this year. I want to spin, ply and wash a sample or two so I can figure out what to do with this fiber. It's rather coarse and hairy, even combed. We'll see.

I finished knitting Rob's afghan last night. I have a lot of seaming in store despite having done some as I went along. The end is in sight, though, and I am proud of my self for persisting on this project rather than giving up because it took "a while" (like several years!!) It will be seamed in the next month or so and I will give it to him at Christmas, most likely. I suppose this means that I should pick up the Great American Aran Afghan that I started many years ago and finish that ......

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Knitting projects progress

One thing that traveling by plane does for a knitter (assuming that TSA does not have a problem with knitting needles. The ones I encountered, did not, thank goodness) is provide lots of knitting time. Waiting at the airport for the plane, waiting on the plane, during the flight are all good knitting times. Waiting to exit the plane doesn't work well - everyone is too anxious to get off and moving and bumping and things like that for knitting to be a safe activity.

While I was away (Sunday afternoon to Wednesday morning at about 1:30) I knitted on my Canaletto Cowl during the meetings and in my hotel room at night. I am just a bit over half way across and very happy with how it looks. I hope to get pictures over the weekend. I have been working on Rob's Riff socks. I felt that the yarn was going to run out before the sock was as long as I wanted it for his legs, so I looked for and found a sock yarn in a color that blends beautifully with the original yarn. I used that for the ribbed cuff so that I could knit the patterned section as long as I wanted it in the original yarn. It's a go. :  )
The ribbing is complete except that I have to bind off. I didn't have a needle with me (TSA worries) so I just left the sewing of the cuff for home. I cast on and knitted a few inches of the second SKYP sock, too, and did some knitting on the hat I started last weekend as a boat knitting project. It's a simple K1tbl, P1 pattern in what feels like a very soft alpaca yarn. More info and pictures to come.

I hope to get pictures of the new fiber I purchased while in Colorado at the Fancy Tiger Yarn Store. It was 80 degrees that day! Two days later it snowed. More than 6 inches in Denver. I am glad that I got home before the storm hit.

My friend Cheryl has a birthday coming up. It's her 65th.  I am not sure how she feels about that, but we will head down to Silver Springs to help her celebrate on Saturday. Now to find a gift .....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I feel like the Yarn Harlot

Not that there are a lot of people reading my blog, but I am sitting at the airport (in Denver) waiting for my plane. ; )

I was in Denver for two days for a meeting/conference and am now heading home. I managed to fit in a yarn store stop whiloe I was there. I have 5 oz. of purple merino/silk fiber as a reminder of my trip back to the Mile High City (for the first time in about 28 years).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In person

She's just as funny. Adding the facial expressions, tone of voice and laughter, listening to the Yarn Harlot read excerpts from her newest book was a great way to spend an evening. I had a great time. As usual, I got tongue tied in front of someone famous and didn't say half the things I meant to say. (that NEVER happens when I am with "regular" people. Just ask. If you can get a word in.) I did manage to remember to give Stephanie the little sheep pin I had brought for her. I and my autographed book are going to settle into bed tonight for a little reading. ; )

I am near the end of the Imperial Ranch Columbia yarn. (Shaelyn Shawl) I am near enough to the end of the yarn that I am in trouble, since I didn't bind off at the end of the last lace section and now I think know that I won't have enough yarn to do another stockinette and lace repeat plus the bind off.  Decision time - do I buy another skein and finish it up after this last repeat (leaving me with lots of extra yarn) or do I rip back and bind off after the last lace repeat, wasting the yarn that's left. What do you advise?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Awesome stash enhancement

Written last Friday:

I don't have much new, but what there is is great! A friend went back home to England for a visit with family. She did some checking and discovered that she wouldn't be all that far from the Collinette factory store in Wales and would be willing to make some purchases for others while on her day trip. Yippee! I love the colors of Jitterbug sock yarn. They are so awesome - deep and dramatic. I made a list with lots of alternatives and, due to the price difference there, was able to get more of it than I can afford here. So, I have 4 new skeins of Jitterbug in some really great colors. I'll post photos soon.

I haven't made a lot of knitting progress this week and no spinning progress at all. Shaelyn is the only project that has gotten any attention. I hope to change that over the weekend, which begins this afternoon at about 4 PM. Can you tell that I am ready for the work week to end?  ; )

Goals for the weekend (since the weather does not look boating friendly):
Clean up the yard (the last of the garden stuff, rake leaves, put some outside furniture away)
Laundry (to be dried outside if the meteorologists aren't lying to us and we'll see sun again)
Dust and vacuum (it's getting bad)
Spin the rest (I hope) of the grafton batt
Spin more yak (drop spindle)
Seaming of Rob's afghan
Knitting on Rob's sweater. I am pretty sure I can finish the body and maybe even start one sleeve.

My tooth (root canal) has stopped hurting and I go to the dentist on Tuesday to get that finished up.

Bob has been busy downstairs. We had to replace the water heater, and as long as he was doing that, he decided to move it to a more convenient location. That involved taking down shelves, putting up sheetrock (he decided that he wanted real walls in the basement), taping, priming and painting, and then painting the floor under where the water heart will go. That corner is complete and he is now erecting the wall where the water heater was, and where the storage shelves will go. Soon that part of the basement will have to be emptied of everything not attached, swept and then painted. That has to be timed with laundry washing. Once that area is complete, we do the same thing on the other side of the room to complete the "makeover". All of this involves much grunting, some back pain and lots of organization and throwing things away, so it takes a while. It will be great .... if it ever gets done.

Edited on Wednesday morning:

I did get the laundry done and the garden cleaned out. That took most of Saturday. Sunday was a total loss as far as getting my list completed because I was woken up by a headache that made my head pound. I tried sinus meds, headache meds, resting in the sun, a hot, steamy shower - everything I could think of and ended up being in pain for most of the day. I was able to knit some and finished the body of Rob's sweater. I didn't attmept the seaming - that requires much concentration.

I also did some dyeing. There is no bending down or forceful work involved there (that kind of activity really increased the pounding in the head). I pulled out my Gulf Coast native fiber with the yolk stain, chose a blue (navy) and a green (resdada, I think) dye and dyed about half and half. I love the color combo. I haven't decided whether to spin each and then ply together or to just spin the colors together. It's finally dry and put away until I finish some of my other spinning projects in the works. I didn't do much spinning on the grafton batt but did get a bit done on Saturday night.

Those of you who know me know that I am a Ravens football fan and I usually yell, clap, stomp my feet and really get into the game. About a half hour into the game on Sunday I gave in and took good pain meds for the headache. I was finally pain free and able to enjoy the rest of the game. ; )

Since the weekend I have managed to finish the first sock of the SKYP socks. I hope to cast on the second sock later today. I also finished the Burberry cowl and grafted that together. The Shaelyn shawl is nearing completion (because I am nearing the end of the skein) and should be bound off over the weekend.

The root canal is finished. Now I have to go back to the regular dentist to have the tooth filled. WHY does it take 4 appointments with 2 dentists to get one problem fixed??? Don't they know or care that I have to work and these appointments force me to take time off? Grrrr

I have big plans for today, after work. I am going to B & N to the Yarn Harlot's book signing!!!! I'll be knitting on the second SKYP sock while I wait.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Spinning weekend

The spinning retreat begins on Friday afternoon and ends on Sunday afternoon. It's not long enough. I had a great time.

I decided to stop at The Mannings on the way to Wilson College for the spinning weekend. I called ahead to verify that they had Lendrum bobbins in stock and when they said yes, I set up my route to take me past the store and then on to the college. I am proud of myself for thinking of a way to save the shipping on the bobbin purchase and still not make a special trip to the store (which is not in my neighborhood) to get the replacement bobbin. I usually don't plan that far ahead. I picked up some dyes and a bobbin for someone else who needed it and then got back on the road to the college.

Wilson College has a beautiful campus and at this time of year, with the trees turning red and brown and orange, it can be breathtaking.  The drive went well and the trees all around provided me with lots to look at. I arrived, unpacked spinning and knitting stuff in the gathering room and then carted my personal belongings to the room. It's a basic dorm room, bathroom down the hall, and basic dorm food. Facilities are not why we go there.

We gathered and spun and chatted, catching up on events and families and whatever else we wanted to talk about. I don't see most of these people during the year - just at the retreat - so there is a lot for me to catch up on. The theme this year was silk, and we received our bag of goodies on Friday night. It included some tussah silk, some silk hankies, some silk noil and a few cocoons. All of the fiber was natural in color. On Saturday some of us tried dyeing the silk with Koolaid. I brought my tussah and hankies home to try my new Mother MacKenzie dyes on them but tried the koolaid on the silk noil. The colors are fine but I didn't have enough room in the bowls to get good coverage with the dye powder, so I will have to go back and add more koolaide now that I am home. There is way too much white on that fiber still. I hope to be able to blend it with some wool and get an interesting effect.

Everyone brings a snack for the goodie table, and one of the attractions of the weekend is to sample some of everything. More and more people are bringing healthy foods rather than just cakes and cookies, so it's not as bad as it sounds. ; )  There were some very yummy goodies on that table .....

The weather was so nice that many of us took our spinning and/or knitting outdoors on Saturday. There is a nice patio there that we made use of for a couple of hours, soaking up the sunshine and vitamin D. It was actually heat that drove me back inside after a while!

Show and tell was fun - people bring and talk about different projects they worked on over the last year. I am awed by the talent and interest in learning new things that is apparent in that group of experienced fiber people. Each person walked around for a while, checking out other people's projects and asking questions or asking for instructions. Everyone was free with help and information.

Sunday is always bittersweet - one more morning to spin and chat, have brunch, but then it's time to pack up and go home. : (

The drive home was great, too. No traffic hangups and great scenery to entertain my eyes while I listened to my audio book. I am sorry - I took absolutely no pictures while I was there despite having brought my camera.

What did I accomplish while I was there? It was a spinning weekend, after all. I finished spinning my first Grafton Batt and started the second. I sampled some other fibers that were there for us to play with, but none of them really did anything for me. I spun some silk hankies (that I had brought from home), switching from spindle to wheel spinning,  and instructed others on how to draft silk hankies for spinning or knitting. I spun my silk (from home that I have been working on for a while) on the spindle outside on Saturday. I did some knitting on the new shawl and a bit on Rob's sweater, too. All in all, it was a great weekend. To top it off, Monday was a holiday!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rob's cabled sweater

I am very excited - I completed the arm scye shaping last night! I knit even to the shoulder now. The cables look good and the shaping didn't interfere with the cables at all. Yippee! I'll bring the sweater with me on the spinning retreat this weekend and hopefully get the front and back completed and maybe even pick up stitches for the sleeves. I have to decide which cable to put on the sleeve, though. I think a new one, not one from the front, but I am not sure sure yet.

I started yet another new project.  The new shawl is Shaelyn (Rav link found here - better picture) . The match of yarn (Imperial Stock Ranch Tracie ) and the pattern please me a lot. The pattern is clear and easy, the yarn is an airy, woolly pleasure to knit. There will be warmth but little weight or bulk in this shawlette. The color is a soft, heathered blue.

This new project is the final new project for a while, though. No more casting on until I have a few FOs. I have apparently reached my internal limit on the number of WIPs I want to deal with. Before I start anything new, I want to finish knitting Rob's afghan, Rob's sweater and the first of two pairs of socks. I'd like to finish another project, too, but my goals have to be realistic and I'm not sure I can finish more than that without casting on something else. ; ) BTW, I specified the knitting of Rob's afghan, not the completion. There is still a good amount of seaming to be done there, despite having done quite a bit as I went along.

My cold is just about gone.  My mouth is aching a bit after my root canal procedure (done yesterday). Ibuprofen is taking care of the discomfort for the most part. I actually have energy again! I have plans. House cleaning (the big, seasonal kind), rearranging the furniture, yard clean up and, of course, fiber plans. I've even done a little Christmas shopping already!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Spinning and knitting progress

I am interspersing more Montauk photos as I go along with other news. Hope you don't mind.

I am feeling a bit better today. I got some spinning done tonight even after working my longest day this week. Early to bed again tonight, hoping to keep up the progress on shedding the cold.

This is my spinning status on the Grafton Batt. I have a bit more to spin from this first batt. It's lovely to spin.
I acquired more fiber recently. Bad girl. I couldn't resist, though. Erica at Designknit worked from a few photographs I sent her to come up with some pansy colorways. I just loved two of them, so .....

The colorways have been painted on Polwarth, which I have not spun yet. I just love these colors. I haven't decided yet how to spin them and whether to ply or make singles. I'll daydream and plan a bit more. It adds to the enjoyment, I think.

This is another bit of fiber waiting for me to get to it. This one is Falkland fiber.
Working on seaming my sweater, still. I have no idea why the picture loaded upside down.
One sleeve installed, the other one is halfway there.
I finally remembered to take a picture of Rob's afghan. There are two more stripes to be added to what is there now. I might do some seaming this weekend. I need to spread that chore out over time.

This is my first attempt as spinning yak. I spun it on my akha spindles, then plied it last night. Today I looked at it again and added more twist. It is still over spun, but better. I am spinning more of it and trying to add less twist to the singles. It is very soft even though it is over spun.

ooohhh I am so excited!

I participated in a swap within the Ravelry Spinners Study group recently. I have been burned in swaps before, so I hesitated, but decided to give this one a try. Now I am very glad I did.

WOW! I really lucked out with my partner. Even the packaging was awesome, with coordinating ribbons. She sent some raw shetland and some shetland roving from her farm. I have never spun shetland before so this will be great fun for me.

I am already washing the raw shetland. giggle. I couldn't wait!

I got some notions and goodies - Godiva chocolates, highlighter tape in a color I hadn't seen before (I love this stuff and go through it a lot) soak wash samples and ChiaGoo Stainless Lace needles.

The fiber selection is great! Look at this green color - what a splash that silk will make with something deep and saturated.

Then we have the *so soft that I want to curl up in it* fiber in blue merino (the color is not accurate- it's a bit more teal than what I got despite several attempts in different lights to get it right) and white cria alpaca.

Look at this yarn - it's merino, silk and bamboo.
Here's a look at the fiber stash additions and
a look at the other goodies that added to my happiness. Thank you so much Nancy.