Ubiquitous Sissy

No, that isn’t the project name, but I’m sure Sissy would like to think she’s ubiquitous… and she’s almost always a cooperative model.  Granted, she was sight-hunting (no, I’m not at all sure she realizes she’s a SCENT hound) at the time, but nevertheless, she stood still for the photo shoot.

August 2011 005

Project:  Solidarity Knitting  Why yes, I guess that is a crazy name, but I cast on for this project because several of us on Facebook rather pressured Kathy into knitting a “Kate Shawl” for the bride to be in her house.  So, it seemed only fair that at least a couple of us cast on… as a show of solidarity. 

photoPattern:  Well, since Kathy’s daughter made her request precious close to her bridal shower, Kathy got to choose the pattern.  We went with Ubiquitous Kate.   (Get it?  Kate shawl knock-offs have been everywhere this summer.)  It was fine for a free pattern, which is to say I had to email gMarie for clarification.  If you’re on Ravelry, gMarie’s notes are spot-on, and I copied them into my own comments there as well.

To be clear, I used Chart A, which is to say I did the pattern on the knit side and then purled on my resting rows.  I also did the full ruffle, not to be confused with the extreme ruffle.  That just means I did the ruffle all the way around, as written.

Yarn:  Knitpicks Gloss in Guava.  I wanted pink… not necessarily PANK, not coral, not… guava.  Still, I like the color, and the yarn was okay.  It was a bit splitty at times and the silk in it definitely wasn’t the silky-smooth kind of silk, but considering what it cost me, I have no complaints.  I also had almost no yarn left after six skeins.

August 2011 002

Needles:  I did the body on my Addi Clicks, #4 tips with the longest cable in the standard pack.  I then used two Knitpicks Options #4s to pick up each side’s stitches for the ruffles.  I don’t understand why my KPO wood tips had one side that just wouldn’t stay tightened.  I like the KPO interchangeables just fine, but sometimes you get what you pay for; they do seem to have a quality control problem (and in full disclosure, Knitpicks is AWESOME about sending replacements, even out of warranty… which to me implies they know they have a problem but it’s cheaper to send parts than to FIX it).

Verdict:  It wasn’t as painful as I feared it would be.  It’s been a long, long time since I’ve done a 1300 yd. project, and I’m not sure I’ve ever done one that size in fingering yarn.  I never once considered poking my eyes out instead of finishing the ruffle, so I never had to regret doing the full ruffle, but no, I don’t think I’ll knit this precise one again.

Feelin’ Fruity

Whoooohoooo!  It’s Friday and the sun is shining! 

My favorite Knit Picks photo of Carmen

A couple of weeks ago, Knitting It Out had a contest.   The prize was a Knit Picks kit for Carmen Bananas.   I won!  The sock monkey from my childhood disappeared, and I’ve thought about ordering Carmen’s kit more than once, so I’m delighted to have her in my home, waiting for me to take her on.  She’s going to be a challenge…  I don’t like seams, and my stranded knitting needs practicing…  Thank you, Knitting It Out!  I’m looking forward to working on Carmen and letting her walk me through some knitting hurdles.

Long ago – last Thursday – I finally finished another pair of socks.  Yes, they’re baby socks, but they are socks!

September 2010 001

Project:  Sweet Baby Kiwi

Pattern:  Sweet Baby Kate by Irishgirlieknits is my new go-to baby sock pattern.  It’s really a baby Cotty sock pattern with a matching hat thrown in for good measure.  I just can’t telly you how much I like this/Cotty pattern!  The cuff is a tiny bit fiddly the first time you do it, but since I’ve done four of them now (don’t ask – this is indeed the first pair of Cottys I’ve finished), I can almost do it in my sleep.

September 2010 004Yarn:  Leftover Plymouth Sockotta.  I love the colors, and it will go well with the blanket gMarie made for me for the same baby.  I think it’s just about perfect baby boy yarn.  He might get a bigger boy pair for Christmas or something…

Needles:  US #2 dpns.  For baby socks, I love my shorty bamboo dpns.  It’s just easier for me to do wee socks on the little dpns, rather than manipulating all the cord it would take for my usual magic loop.

Verdict:  I think I’ve already said this, but this will be my new go-to baby sock pattern.  When I’m not knitting for a baby whose climate is headed into summer, I’ll give the hat a try too.

Can’t wait for tomorrow and the Fall Fiber Festival at Montpelier.  Anyone else going to be there?  In case you’re wondering, I do anticipate mud.  I don’t know that it’s going to be as bad as the mud-fest a few years back, but I do think the parking field will be soft and slippery, and I won’t be shocked if the same is true of the vendor area as well.

Oh – and if you’re making the trek, Dog House Yarns is only about 20 miles away from the festival…  It’s guaranteed to be climate-controlled, bug-free, no direct sun, and no mud!

What’s on your weekend agenda?

Copper Mystery

Happy Monday!  I had a very productive weekend, and if I EVER get my hands on the Knight’s thumb drive (that just sounds dirty, doesn’t it?!) I’ll share some photos from the firehouse open house, but for now, meet my first handspun off of my Bellus wheel.  This is the skein with the first (and worst) of it, so it does range from about sport weight to bulky, with the most of it being light worsted.

This was plied from the left-overs on the second bobbin, so it’s much more consistent, and is almost uniformly DK weight.   I can’t tell you much about the fiber; it was a gift from Anita, to replace the fiber Gretchen destroyed as a wee pup (which led me to decide not to try to spin again until she was older).  Anita even consulted with Jan of Heavenly Handspinning to find out where Jan got the free fiber she sends out with her wheels, so ‘Nita could send me the very same thing Gretchie ruined…   Mr. Bettis has his own lawyer, but my girls have a fairy dogmother who just goes around making everything they destroy new again…)

From the second I unpacked my new wheel, I was smitten with this fiber.  I couldn’t explain why, but I REALLY loved this fiber.  It was great to re-learn to spin with, because with the two colors, I could watch the twist happening.  (And STILL over-spin it, but…)  It wasn’t until Alison pointed out that the yarn looked like the fur-girls that I realized WHY I am so fond of this yarn.  Sissy was tired enough  gracious enough to pose with the yarn to illustrate the point.

The left bobbin is displaying the remaining yarn after I’d plied the two bobbins together.  I wound that into a ball and then plied from both ends of the ball and made that whole second skein.

That’s the plied yarn – the first skein – on the bobbin.   Yes, there was a streak of VERY dark brown in the fiber, but just a small bit, maybe in one or two sections.

And that’s the second bobbin, the end of the fiber, before I plied them together.  There at the end, I was really in a groove and spun so very nicely, if I may say so myself.

I wish I had more information on the fiber for you, but I don’t.  I have decided I need a yarn meter.   The Knight made me a niddy noddy out of Pex pipe, but I have no idea how long each wrap is.  I think it would be easier to just measure the yarn when I wind it into a ball…

I also did a pile of knitting, but no finished objects, not yet.  Gretchen and I enjoyed piling up under the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky while it was growing, as it was rather chilly in our neck of the woods this weekend.

How was your weekend?

News at Noon!

Well, that’s what I’m watching anyway…

Here are a couple of little tidbits I couldn’t wait to share.

KnitPicks Harmony Straights are available.  I’ve actually decided I don’t want any, because while they’re great needle p0rn, they are not what I need right now.  I don’t need more slick straights, and let’s face it, laminated wood is closer to slick than not.   They do have that take an eye out point I want for lace (yes folks, I like to do stoles and smaller lace projects on straights), but they don’t have the hold on to the slippery yarn grip that I am missing with the needles in my supplies on hand.  (I’m learning that if I equate my hobbies’ expenses to something the Knight understands, there are no discussions, no rolled eyes.  Needles, hooks and notions are tools.  Bags are storage containers and/or make my project portable so I can use more of the yarn I have in the house containers.   See?)

Next, Michelle forwarded me a little link that has taken up most of my morning.  Twist Collective is a great site that reminds me of Knitty, only without any “easy” patterns.   Jaali makes my heart skip a beat, and Lily makes me swoon.  Honestly, there are only a couple of patterns on the e-mag’s autumn edition that I wouldn’t like to own.

So, you lace knitters out there…  Help me.  What do you knit your alpaca silk, bamboo and rayon with?  Am I the only knitter in the world who reaches for her straights on  lace or a narrow scarf of any type?

Now, I’m off to have a mater sammy.  If you’re local, I think next week is the week where we’ll literally be trying to give the tomatoes away.

Needled

See that really pretty Confederate Blue cable and those stainless tips?  Sigh.  Those are my new favorite needles.  Susan Bates Velocity.   Ubber flexible cord, and nice, nickle-plated points.  Not too sharp, not too dull.  The drawbacks are that I can’t find them locally (this one was purchased in a Michael’s about 40 miles from here last week) and the smallest size is this #6.  The cord only comes in a strange, 29″ length, but I can overlook that.  It Magic Loops well enough for at hat, and if it doesn’t come smaller than that, it’s no sock needle.

KnitPicks would be in trouble, if not for their stellar customer service.  Last night, while glaring at the topless cable, I emailed them.  I couldn’t find my receipt, couldn’t find the order online (but knew I’d just replaced my 40″ cable in December or January because Sissy ate the original).  I didn’t have much hope, but I felt better for trying. 

Imagine my surprise when this morning, before it was even really dawn on the west coast, KnitPicks had replied and there’s another cable on its way to me!

Good thing, because I wouldn’t be able to stay mad long.   Somewhere on Ravelry, I found a link that took me to a place I can’t find again, but there are some HOT Harmony Straights to be available sometime in August!  I want to order one of each and every single size.  (Who am I kidding?!  I will likely do just that.)

I do still have the HiyaHiyas to try, but socks are on hold for the season of chemo caps.  I’m quite certain they will be my sock needles of choice, as I’ve handled them before.

I still need a good bamboo straight.  I like a  rather sharp point, as lace has become a way of life for me.  I like my Bryspuns, but sometimes they’re too slick too.  I want a pretty (read: not looking and feeling like a compressed manila folder) bamboo needle with a nice point, in a 10″ or so length.  Any suggestions?  We’re talking sizes #3-11 here, and the kicker is I want nice points on the larger sizes too. 

I have an operational plan and a board report to do, but they can wait.  Sissy’s obedience class starts in about three hours.  The Knight doesn’t think he’ll be able to be there because he’s still tied up on a job site.  Argh!  I want him to hear what the trainer says too, so we can both be consistent with Sissy, assuming we’re allowed to go back again.

This week is flying by!

Coffee, Tea and Holly

It’s great when two of your dearest friends co-host a swap.  I simply announced before sign-ups that I did want to do the coffee swap, but then pre-arranged that Holly and I would spoil each other – knowingly – because both of us really are more into tea right now than coffee. 

You’d best grab a cuppa’ (or if you’re in the already hot and humid Southeast, a tumbler with ice and…) and a snack, because this is going to take a while.  There’s just too much here that I don’t want you to miss!  This box was packed FULL of goodies, just for me, the Knight and the world’s two most rotten pooches.  Good thing Holly treated the pups, because I must confess that I got carried away with opening my package, and I left them outside and their supper was more than 30 minutes late, because it took me that long to open everything! 

Firstly, there was the ubber lovely card.  It’s from New Civilitea, and I’m sorry to report that the design is copyright protected.  Since my photo is a bit shaky, you’ll have to trust me that everything tea is written in the design. 

For instance, the tiptop of the lid says scones, and the bottom base says cream and sugar.  See??

That’s the everything shot.  There’s so much there that I just can’t share EVERYTHING with you, but we will hit the high points, and boy, there are plenty of ’em.  But first, a quick roll call, from leftish to rightish.  There’s an assortment of bee-themed notepads and such, a darling bee hotpad that is sure to become the Knight’s favorite (and he’s hotpad picky, as Holly recalled!), a copy of Tea Time magazine, my favorite Lindt bar, my all-time favorite snack – candy coated sunflower seeds (think M&Ms meets sunflower seeds!), THREE scone mixes, my very special treasure of a tape measure, the adorable bee stitch markers, Icarus pattern AND yarn, the Knight’s dye kit and yarn, my first braid of roving, my own pink needles with pink custom tops and point protectors, doggy treats (which closely resemble human sticky buns and could trick the Knight, very easily…), the prettiest little tea for one ever, two lovely mugs, four teas, and last but not least, perched upon the very top, the coffee, because it is, after all, a coffee swap. 

A word about said coffee.  It’s from my most favorite grocer in the world, Fresh Market.  I have it on GREAT authority that they’ve secured a site here in my city, but I’ve yet to see the store.  I’m getting impatient.  Anyhoo, dear Holly sent me some of their limited edition, Honduran Yaruchel coffee.  From the package:  …coffee with notes of brown sugar and subtle fruit tones.  Need I say that tomorrow morning, I shall press a cup in my adorable coffee press?  SIGH.

The teas are stellar too.  There’s Stash Chai sampler and Jasmine Blossom Green Tea, which are two of Holly’s favorites.  She also sent me my favorite tea to brew for iced tea and a new to me green tea, along with a tin of Snowflakes by Teaspot, which is ironic, because I sent her a Teaspot loose tea too!

Then, there’s that refined, but generously cupped tea for one. 

Isn’t it lovely?  I think I’m going to have to have a cup of chai in it, just as soon as the humidity and the temperature drop a bit more. 

There’s also a pair of these lovelies.  I love embossed, bone china, another tidbit Holly couldn’t have possibly known. 

The pupster sticky buns.  Don’t they look good enough to plate up and serve with tea?  Tsk, tsk…  No, I’m not going to let the Knight bite into one before I tell him they’re for the dogs.  Besides, the dogs have already earned them by waiting patiently for their kibbles.  (We’re going to ration them out though.  One, per dog, per night.  Mugsy’s watching his figure, and we’re trying to teach Sissy the concept of moderation.)

There’s so much fibery goodness.  I didn’t do a close-up of the Knitpicks Bare laceweight with the Knight’s dyeing kit, but you can see it in the “group photo.”  Holly caught on one blog post, quite a while back, that the Knight seemed curious about dyeing yarn in the microwave, so now, he can.  (Right after he makes me the PVC niddy noddy I’ve asked for!)

Then, there’s this incredible roving from SakinaNeedles.  I do believe my lovely Bluefaced Leicester in “Concord” is the same yarn on their banner.  I want a wheel NOW!!!  This stuff just BEGS to be spun.  (Yes, my roving stash is growing too, but I’m proud to point out that I only bought about 7 oz. for myself.  The rest has been gifted to me, thank you very much!)  Maybe this weekend, I’ll go wheel shopping again.

 

Then, there’s the Icaruskit Holly assembled for me.  I swear this woman has figured out how to get into my cart at a couple of different online shops!  I’ve admired that pattern for a while, and interestingly enough, the very yarn she included, Knitpick Shadows in Oregon Coast Heather, has been in my cart more than once, but I just never checked out!  (See the link for a true representation of this soft, yummy colorway.) 

 

 

 

Holly had some help with several items in this package.  The fink My good friend Anita worked her fingers to the bone so Holly could give me some truly unique, precious gifts!  The sneak even asked me one day while we were chatting how she might make a tulip tape measure.  Me, the not so-visual lover of tulips…  I tried to help, and now, I know why she asked.  I never thought for a moment that it was for me!  I’ve pulled the petals open here, so you can see the full effect.  The tape comes out there at the green stem.  You can also see closed version in the “group photo” at the top of the post.  You can look, but you can’t touch.  Long before this came to live with me, Anita told me she’d never do another of these beasts.  I’m sorry I was so much trouble girl, but I promise it was worth it! 

 

Then, there was a pair of Anita’s special needle toppers.  She’d also told me that she wasn’t doing these anymore, except for swap pals or personal gifts.  I’d hoped that I might one day get a pair just the same, again, never sensing that the pair she just struggled through was indeed for me!  I had difficulty photographing these beauties, but you get the idea. 

 

 

There was even a pair of tip protectors too, which conveniently enough match a lone stitch marker Anita sent me with the last order I placed.  Ha!  The joke’s on me, evidently. 

 

 

 

Anita was a busy bee, filling Holly’s special order for me.  Aren’t these guys cute?!  In case you’re wondering, there was a bee theme to this package.  Holly had sent me the Lantern Moon bee tape measure in a Valentine package too.  I don’t remember when I shared with Holly that I like bumblebees.  It’s kind of weird to like a creature that my father was deathly allergic to, and Mugsy has his own allergies, which thankfully, he hasn’t tested in many years.  However, there’s story about the bees that inspires me.  I heard it not long after coming to grips with my own, new and permanent physical limitations, about ten years ago.  Evidently, some engineers decided that bumblebees shouldn’t be able to fly.  There are several variations on story, but the point is that the bee doesn’t know it shouldn’t be able to fly, so it just beats its wings as fast as necessary to fly.  It does what it must to do what it wants to/needs to do…

Well, I’ve run on long enough.  While I pandered here, the Knight took Sissy out for her first run within the confines of the invisible fence.  He and Mugsy played fetch, and she ran and ran.  They’re all sacked out around my living room, so it’s time to go make dinner.

Thanks again, Holly dear.  I look forward to having tea and/or coffee with you in person one day soon!

 

Spin and Learn

We had an overnight guest at our house last night.  This Ashford Traveller came to visit.  It’s a used, single treadle that Barbara kindly let me try overnight.  (Yes, that’s a suitcase from the beach trip that hasn’t found its way back to the guest room, and a wad of new work tee shirts the Knight deposited there too…)

The short version is, I cannot treadle consistently enough with a single treadle to make yarn.  It helps none at all that my right leg is currently the one affected by my back problems.  I also STRONGLY prefer a delta orifice (the wide-open one that doesn’t require a special tool to fish out the end of the yarn when it breaks, which happens a lot when you can’t keep the wheel spinning in the same direction).  That’s actually exceptionally helpful, because as far as I can tell, it limits my shopping to Majacrafts and Frickes.  (And I’m betting that if Barbara still has the two double treadle Frickes, they’ll sell at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.) 

So, here’s a shot of Sissy’s damage to the one Bryspun.  The one on the top/left is unharmed, and I used it for the knit/lace row, while using a wooden #6 for the purl rows.  That got me through the weekend, and yesterday, I was able to pick up some bamboo needles.  They’re working fine. 

It was also a good mail day.  The bags I ordered from Stuck in Illinois arrived.  The pink one is for MJ, and she liked them enough to have me order one for her best friend too.  They plan to use them for non-knitting items.

Then, fortuitously, my spinning bag arrived from GypsyKnitsKathy sweetly included some lovely roving for me to sample, but given my spinning difficulties last night, I put it back in the bag for a better day. 

The other thing I realized is that when I spin at a wheel, I pinch with my left hand, have the fiber on my right leg, and draft with my right hand.  When I’ve ATTEMPTED to spin with a spindle, I do the exact opposite.  I roll the spindle UP my right thigh, wrap the fiber around my left arm, draft with my left hand, and pinch with my right.  I need to switch that around, don’t I, since what I do at the wheel is so comfortable and the spindle feels awkward??

In other news, the Prince and Princess are at work today, and will be all week.  Shadow was very happy to see them, and all three are resting quietly right now.

I keep forgetting to mention that Knitpicks has a Wrapped In Comfort KAL.  Of course, Fredfoot and I have joined…  I hope that I’ll return to him soon enough, but the Butterfly Stole didn’t see much progress last night. 

And since many of you are asking, we’re fine.  We were quite a bit west and a north of the tornados.  My brother inlaw was only 12 miles from the worst of them, but they’re safe and sound, as is his girlfriend’s family, which is good, as they have a funeral today for her maternal grandmother.