Saturday, February 26, 2011

When Life Gives you Lemons...

When life gives you lemons, you cast on a cashmere project. It's guaranteed to make things 1000% better.

This past week, I had a small 'incident' during a sports activity, and managed to rip my achilles tendon...completely. It hurt like a SOB. I went to Urgent Care and they put me in a molded splint.

Of course, it was cold today, and as a knitter, we have warm things. DH took one of his house socks and it fit neatly over the HUUUGGEEE boot/splint. But at least my toes were now warm.

Unfortunately, after this happened, one of the first things I thought about (besides being in pain) was not being able to SPIN! I had plans this coming up weekend to be spinning at a craft night with friends! Plus Frank was going to fall farther and farther behind! So I tried to console myself as any knitter would do.

I cast on a cashmere project.

I usually try not to have too many things on the needles. However, as this was a major thing that means that I will be laid up with minimal movement for a while (as there is surgery involved) AND no spinning, I decided that I need to cast on something "soothing" and something that will make me smile.

So, I grabbed my Tess Kitten yarn that I got at Stitches this year, and cast on a Twisted Rib cowl, because knitter needs a little cashmere in their lives just to make yourself smile.

And this stuff? 50% cashmere/50% soooo wonderfully soft, I have to refrain from burying my face in it so I can knit it up into a wonderful cowl that I can bury my face in on those cold days. I am also planning on leaving enough to cast on some handwarmers as well...just coz.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Coming out of Hibernation and into the Frog Pool

This year, I thought to finish off some of my FOs from last year. One UFO was a flat-knit seamed cardigan out of alpaca that I started back in January 2010. I had made all of the body pieces, and just needed to finish the sleeves.

So, I blocked all of the body pieces, and started in on the sleeves in-the-round. I was good and went on Ravelry to check out all of the user found errors and fixes that they made.

After blocking, I seamed the body pieces together and put on the first sleeve. Then I tried it on....

Only to find that it doesn't fit. Despite blocking to the prescribed size, the shoulder cap/shoulder seam doesn't lie where it's supposed to lie and it fits all wonky. I'm very disappointed, but not surprised.

This was one of the first sweaters I attempted to knit, and unbeknownst to me, the pattern had all sorts of issues found by other Ravelry users. Many did their own modifications to make it fit, but I hadn't done that for the body as I was still new to knitting and didn't know about things like errata, Ravelry user modications/comments, and the ilk. There might also be issues about my own gauge which has changed over the past year since I started knitting I don't think the alpaca was a good choice yarn for me to use for one of my first sweaters.

I'm afraid this one is coming right out of hibernation and into the frog pool. The alpaca is very lovely, and I will have to pick out all of the seams and frog to salvage the oh-so-lovely yarn ...which is going to be a chore in of itself.

I still love how the sweater looks, and will have to make it much later with different yarn and after resizing it to fit ME.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Stitches West -- came and went

This past weekend was Stitches West. Last year, I went a wee bit hog-wild in the market place, so I promised myself that I would be more restrained in my shopping.

I had "rules"
1) I would not buy anything I couldn't already purchase at my LYS
2) I would buy quality versus quantity...and maybe splurge on some more luxury items.
3) I wanted sock yarn -- specifically Blue Moon sock yarn for more boot socks (I love their stuff). If I could only get a few skeins and nothing else, I would be good.

Since DH had given me V-day money to spend, my budget had grown considerably, and I wanted to stay in budget.

So I went on Friday, as it would be far less crowded than the weekend, and with far more quantities of goods available. After a hearty breakfast, I got there an hour after opening, and wandered the marketplace looking at this year's new yarn samples, patterns, and whatnought. I ran into many friends and acquaintences, so we talked knitting & fiber (of course).

Bijou fibers had a "yarn tasting" where you could try Signature Needles and some lovely yarns. (The yarns were lovely, and I didn't quite "take" to the Signature needles)

And all around me, the spending sprees had already begun. I picked up quite a few things here and there following my general "rules"

- the aforementioned sock yarn
- one ball of quivit / silk blend -- Oh so decadent! (and they had a show special)
- 1/2 ounce of quivit fiber to spin -- I know that it's *not* enough to really do "anything" with, but I wanted to at least *TRY * and spin with it.
- a pair of beautiful glass circular knitting needles that I tested at the dealer,
and they're LOVELY to work with AND she has a lifetime guarantee.

(This is Gigi Knitmore's fault, really. She recommended that I go over to a specific vendor and look at her glass work. I did, and the vendor had these lovely knitting needles to try...which I did...and fell in love.... Apparently, the Knitmore "enabler" tendencies are genetic.)

- some blank silk hankies to dye and dyed silk hankies to knit with
- a beautiful 400 yard skein of cashmere and silk
- some beautiful mixed shetland fiber to spin (moorit, white, and black)
- sampler bumps of yak / yak-silk fiber to play with (as practice for the quivit)
- a small alpaca teddy bear (OMG so soft!)
- a replacement for my turkish spindle that I lost at the SLO ren faire last year.

There were a lot of other things that I looked at, picked up, and even got in line to purchase, but decided that they did not fall into my 3-rule set that I set for myself.

Overall, I stayed quite under my budget, so much so that I came back on Sunday for the last two hours of the marketplace to pick up 2 sweaters worth of cashmere/wool blends during the "last day specials" and ended up spending less than half of retail for one sweater.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stitches West

Stitches West starts tomorrow (or at least I'm going there tomorrow)....and I'm a little bit excited.....



DH was kind enough to give me pocket money for Stitches as his V-day gift to me, because he knows I'm going shopping. so I'll be picking up a few additional things here and there. And yes, I do have a list to try and keep myself in check. :-)

Polyamorous Relationships

In regards to my last entry about spinning Frank on Nona (my Ashford Kiwi), I haven't been completely honest.

I haven't exactly been monogamous with Frank & Nona this entire time but taking some time to spend with DH's Xmas gift, Joy.

Ashford Joy

and working through some lovely mixed BFL (1 pound).

Mixed BFL

However, I'm planning on Navajo plying these singles, so I'm not even bothering splitting them into 1 ounce quills. And I'm currently 5 ounces into the full pound.

Mixed BFL

This is a totally polyamorous relationship between myself, Nona, and Joy....not to mention Frank and the nameless mixed BFL. I'm trying to split my time evenly between all of them (which doesn't always work) but I do feel guilt twinges here and there.

I wish I had more time to spend with all of them.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Frankie Baby

Currently, I'm still spinning away on Frank. Per Jasmin's spinning lessons & suggestions, I'm only spinning an ounce of fiber and transferring them to quills before spinning another ounce.

This technique works well for me, as I can easily get through an ounce in one long sitting, or 2 spinning sessions if I only have a short amount of time. However, the downside to only spinning 1 ounce at a time is seeing the HUGE PILE that is left of Frank. I am not a production spinner by any means. (Currently, I only have 12 quills (12 ounces) of Frank spun up as singles. My half of Frank is 3.25 pounds.


Tangent Math Time!
16 ounces / lb = 52 ounces = 52 quills.
I still have 40 quills left to finish before I can really start plying. (OOFDA!)

The sheer number of what I have left to finish is daunting, to say the least, but currently, I'm looking at it one quill/ounce at a time. EVENTUALLY, I'll get through Frank. And then it's a matter of plying, THEN knitting. I hope to finish my Frankie Sweater by the end of the year. Ooof.

I know that if I just plow through Frank that I could be done within a shorter amount of time, but it's a matter of having that much dedicated time. Sometimes I fear that Frank feels neglected, although I know he is a very patient ram and doesn't mind at all. He just sits there and taunts me silently with his lovely chocolately brown goodness....whispering, "spin me....."

And he is ever-so-lovely to spin.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

FO: Socks & Mitts

So, as mentioned previously, I've been getting a lot of knitting done on my commute to work. I knitted myself a new pair of socks that I made
out of skein I picked up at my LYS (Cascade Heritage Paints). It's a generous skein with nearly 500 yards in the skein. And I really like how well it knits up.


In addition, I designed my own hand warmer using the same skein as the socks and the same design elements. It's cute. I like it. The increases are incorporated into the design.

I made the right hand first, and it fits like a glove (pun intended). It's easy knitting with enough 'interest' to keep it from getting too boring.

LeyLines Mitts

Unfortunately, when I made the matched pair, it's not fitting as well as I would like (unlike the right one). I only made cursory notes when making the first and I tried to knit to match the glove and not my hand. I made the thumb portion too big, and the part around the fingers a bit too tight. But I know what I did wrong and will make corrections as I want to reknit the left hand.

Luckily, I have MORE than enough of the Cascade Heritage so I can easily make the 3rd glove, and I'll probably have enough left over for a baby hat or two.

Then, eventually, I'll write it up as the handwarmers as actual pattern!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Commute Knitting

Currently, I'm back working up North again, which means taking the train to work. The train ride (each way) is about 30-50 minutes (depending on whether or not I get the bullet train).

Either way, I'm guaranteed at least 1 hour per day of dedicated knitting time. The commute isn't the greatest, but at least I'm getting lots of knitting done in the meantime.

This meant I finished a new pair of socks in under a week. And I designed, cast on, and finished the first of a pair of fingerless mitts.