Sunday, December 2, 2007


At the beginning of November, I decided that November would be the month of finishing things, that I would start no new projects for a whole month, but just finish so many of those projects that only needed a little more knitting, or just another sock etc. So by the end of the month, here is what I had finished:

These are Elizabeth's Christmas socks. I had to reknit the first one after E couldn't get it on her foot (OOPs, 4-year-olds have rapidly changing feet). Consequently, since she had to try them on to see if they did fit, she has already worn them even though I tried to tell her they were intended to go in her Christmas stocking. She generously told me that I could still put them in her stocking and she would wear them again on Christmas day.

The next picture is Elizabeth wearing her China Flower sweater. I finished the last sleeve and the button band. In the picture she is wearing it without buttons, but I have since put them on. It looks great on her, and just in time because this will be the only winter she can wear it!.

This is the stole-that became a table runner. This is my project for the spinning exchange. I originally thought it would be a great stole, but when I wove the border parts, it was clear that it would not have enough drape to be appealing. Although, once I had it off the loom, I realized it might have worked fine as a thin scarf. The warp is navy shetland, with two bands of white shetland/pale green handspun in a "random" arrangement. I did not like the effect here, as they were not as random as I wanted, and just look like threading errors. I ran out of the navy shetland right at the end of the warp and had a knot in the last warp end that I naively thought I could coax through the heddles, and indeed I did. The reed was the end of it though, and I ended up with a broken warp, and nothing left to fix it. So my selvedge is pretty uneven. UGH!
The main weft is Jagger-spun Zephyr wool and silk, used double. I love this but even with some wet finishing, it did not really lock in place and there was some shifting of the pattern (by the way, a twill). I have a couple of threads to weave in today and this will be done!. The deadline for this project was two days ago but fortunately, the meeting was canceled due to bad weather.

I finished several other things that I will post later. I also frogged and reclaimed the yarn on several projects, and decided that several more will never get done (I don't like them anymore). The sum of all of this activity is that I am down to 13 knitting WIP, four weaving WIP and two spinning WIP. Very successful. So successful, in fact, that I am going to limit my 'new starts' this month to small, one-skein projects, and try to tick off a couple more items.

Other "finishings" occurred in November, namely Charlie died. It happened quite suddenly. He bled a lot from his bladder, and this may have precipitated a cardiac, or neurologic injury, but within one week he died. We were able to keep him at home, with the aid of Hospice during the last few days. The aftermath has been surprisingly calm, with everyone doing remarkably well. We have been bringing Wendy with us on many of our excursions and she is enjoying this. She is really too demented to leave alone, except for short periods of time. This morning, Mike reported she really didn't understand how to use silverware to eat breakfast, so she may be rapidly deteriorating as well. I am taking her in to see her doctor tomorrow.

I spent the last two days attending my first weaving class, towels with Louise French. I missed the first day due to chaos at home (jewelry and identity theft perpetrated by one of the cleaning ladies from Molly Maid). All I really accomplished was making two warps, on 6 yards, and one 2.5 yards. I decided not to warp a loom at the guild because things have gotten so crazy, I am not sure I could get the weaving done by the January 7 deadline. I managed to beam the 6 yard warp on my mightly wolf last night. I may be able to find a block of time tomorrow to thread the heddles and, who knows, I may be weaving by next week.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Catching up part 2

100_0957, originally uploaded by drlafall.

I HAVE been busy, just not with posts. The yarns above are part of my current learning exchange (HGA), Alpaca. The yarn on the right is a three-ply, woolen spun. When I was spinning the singles, I thought it was going to be too fuzzy, but the final yarn is quite soft and the fuzz is not overwhelming. The yarn on the left is a four-strand cabled yarn, worsted spun. It has a harsher feel to it but I want to knit up samples to see what they feel like in an actual swatch.

This is the up-close pic of the two different yarns, but I had a hard time with the focus. I wanted to show the difference between the cabled yarn and the 3-ply. I bought the alpaca as a box of sample blends, back in 2001 when I first started spinning, from, Stony Mountain Fibers in Virginia. (As you see, I continue to be technically challenged!) I still have the rust top to use for the actual samples for the exchange.

The China Flower sweater is done! with the exception of buttons and blocking. In this pic I have yet to sew the hems etc but I completed all of that work yesterday. Yippee! And just in time, as Elizabeth is just the right size for it. I started this two years ago, and am now on a fairisle jag, so I might be able to make substantial progress on the Grant Ave vest before I get the urge to pick up big needles.

All this leads up to the idea that November is going to be a month of finishing things. There has been so much talk on Knitting Daily about unfinished projects that I actually have the urge to pull a few of them out. Next up will be the Grant Avenue vest!

This is Belle's fleece, along with some mohair top, ready to be carded. The spools are the spun singles. I am spinning this with a worsted draw, planning a three ply yarn for mittens. With the addition of the mohair, I should have about 8 oz of yarn, plenty for mittens. I am concerned the yarn will dirty fairly quickly and become a dismal white with use, but I am also considering dying small samples and doing a fairisle design. I plan to finish the carding on Friday, as I have to go to the Textile Center to use the carder.

These last two pictures are what I plan to use for a wrap/scarf as my spinning group's exchange project. The top pics are the weft yarns, the balls are the yarns I drew in the exchange. The green is a mohair/merino/silk roving I bought from Huacaya Moon in 2006, at Shepherd's Harvest. I spun some light sport weight, 2-ply. The white is shetland, again a 2-ply light sport weight yarn. This is part of the original shetland I bought, planning to do a shetland sweater in natural colors. The yarn is not my best spinning, it is under-plied and not very consistent, but it should be fine for weft.

The second pic is the warp yarns. Two mill-spun shetlands and some of the Huacaya Moon roving spun as a two-ply fingering weight yarn. The pattern will be based on Sharon Alderman's Grand Canyon Throw that was in a recent issue of Handwoven. She used a simple twill weave. I am determined not to overthink this, and just let it happen. Otherwise, I will never finish it. It must be completed by our December meeting!

But, before I can put the shawl on the loom, I have to finish this:

It is the second of three towels from my waffle weave towel kit from Halcyon Yarns. This was purchased quite some time ago. The weaving goes quite quickly so I should be able to finish the weaving this weekend (GULP!). If only I wasn't on call on Saturday! I may take my warping board to work with me so I can make the warp for the shawl. There is usually some down-time on Saturdays. EEK, that would be a first, making a warp while on call.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Catching up

Emailing: Max Pumpkins (1).jpg, originally uploaded by drlafall.

My beautiful nephew Max!

Monday, October 8, 2007


The first day of the workshop is coming to a close. I am taking a class with Judith MacKenzie-McCuin called Primative Breeds. It is similar to the Retreat Class I took last year in that it is all about sampling various fibers. The real meat of this workshop is gleaning all of the spinning and fiber tips from Judith. She has a wealth of knowledge as she has spent her life with her hands in fiber. The history of sheep breeds is very interesting though, but I doubt I will seek out fleeces from these primative breeds.
I am now relaxing in my room with a glass of wine. I will head to dinner and the after-dinner talk in the next few minutes. I am still frustrated by my inability to post pictures while I am here!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Yesterday--Driving home from Breezy Point, the light is golden and the trees are amazing. Tomorrow I leave for Michigan, for SOAR. In the meantime, I have been trying to finish up a few projects, in part to free up some bobbins to take to SOAR with my spinning wheel! I just finished spinning some roving I bought at Shepherd's Harvest in 2006. It is navajo plied and I am very happy with the resulting yarn. It is a 50/50 Merino/Tencel blend, and it feels very much like silk. I may take some with me to swatch on the plane, if it dries in time! I am curious to see what kind of drape the fabric will have. I just bought a pattern for a sleeveless sweater in silk, and this may work for that pattern.
I have finished all of the pieces of the Central Park hoodie and have only the button bands to do. I can't decide whether I want to do buttons, or want to stick with my original plan to put in a zipper. I may need to completely assemble the sweater to decide. That will have to wait until after SOAR, it is too bulky to take with me. I am half way through a pair of socks for Wendy for Christmas. I unfortunately misplaced the first sock and cannot proceed with the second until I find it. I just rearranged my yarn room and it's in there somewhere! So much for getting organized!
I am still ploughing through the variegated Merino and I love the resulting three-ply, sock-weight yarn. I dont know how the stripes will look though because the length of each color block varies quite a bit. I dont know if I want to use this yarn knitting socks, it seems too fragile. Perhaps a triangular shawl.
Finally, I am working on the second sleeve of Elizabeth's Starmore cardigan. Yippee! The sleeves are torture because the transition point between yarns has no steek, any uneveness in the stitches surrounding the transition shows up quite well. I am knitting on two circular needles so that I have fewer transitions. We'll see. I am going to have to do a lot of adjusting of stitches during the finishing and weaving in of the ends. I'm just glad to be close to completing the sweater. I have been thinking about what I want to do with the Autumn Rose Cardigan. I think I will stick with the idea of a turned hem instead of ribbing, but I still can't decide whether I should change the shape and make a cardigan instead.

Today--A day of travel to get to Shanty Creek Resort for SOAR. I am tired and cranky. I cannot locate a picture card port on this @@!! computer. Nor can I get my Sprint broadband to work. Fortunately, there is a LAN here. But no pictures to go with the post. I am looking forward to the workshop tomorrow, but I think I will skip the dinner tonight and just go to the opening presentation this evening.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Every fall, as the weather gets cool at night, I am overcome by the desire to knit the perfect, knock-around cardi. The cardi that can be worn everywhere, and sturdy enough to throw in a corner of the car if it gets too hot. I envision something with cables, maybe something with a hood. I see tweedy yarn, a classic fabric with a more modern fit. Last year, I just couldn't find the right pattern. I did find a yarn that I fell in love with, well I fell in love with the color. The yarn is really a marine blue with flecks of green and purple with the overall effect being a bluish-teal. I snapped up eight skeins, hoping it would be enough to make a cardigan, and stowed it in a stash box.

So this fall, when the desire to knit that great cardi came again, I pulled out the yarn and got on and searched the data base looking at what other people were making with this yarn. I kept seeing CPH, central park hoodie. Upon more investigation, I realized the pattern was in a back issue of Knitscene, conveniently filed with my other back issues of knitting mags. Amazing--pulling a new project, yarn AND pattern, from stash, no $$$ spent.

I started a front last night and it is such a quick knit that the one side is now done, and I would have started the back except I was stuck at work and didn't bring the smaller needles to do the ribbing. So on Friday, while waiting to have my LASIK surgery, I was able to start the back, and by the next morning, had this much done: Clearly, the LASIK didn't help me pay more attention to my knitting, as I screwed up two of the cables. I am almost up to the armhole shaping today. I also finished the second Papa sock, except for grafting the toe, that should go quickly. Here is the intended recipient

He doesn't usually look this stern, and I swear my house is not crooked, but I was in a hurry to snap the picture.

Elizabeth has abandoned her idea of being Darth Vader for Halloween. She saw a witch costume at Gymboree and had to model it for us when we got home.

Lastly, I started the Nanny socks for Christmas. I was going to make a pattern from Knitty, but forgot to take the pattern home with me after I printed it at work, so I am making it up as I go. The eyelet pattern is a little tedious to knit and I may not keep it up for the foot of the sock, we'll see. The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill Sockittome. I've never used this yarn before and I used my typical needles, 2.00mm. It is a bouncy yarn that is slightly thicker than the usual sock yarn. So far I am enjoying these. As you can see, I have had a flurry of starteritis, and keep burying the UFOs under the new projects. I am starting to feel as though I need to come up with a schedule to finish the UFOs!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Smooth sailing

This will be my third attempt at completing this posting. The program crashes every time I try to add a pic. Of course, this is usually after a bit of typing, so I lose the typing every time. I am therefore going to add the pic first:

This is the yarn I drew at the last Whorling Spinster's meeting on Tues night. I am to make something from it, to be exchanged at the December meeting. The cream yarn underneath is from my stash. I have been poring through books this am looking for ideas. The yarn is a springy, 2-ply yarn, about 8-9 WPI. I will likely make a hat or mittens out of it--WARM for the Minnesota winter.

Another interesting thing that came out of the meeting is that I met a woman who was looking for a triangle loom. After emailing pics of my loom to her, she and her partner picked it up today, leaving me with a check and a smug feeling. I no longer feel guilty every time I go to my yarn closet as the unused loom is GONE!

I also posted some of my stash yarn 0n E-bay and within 24 hours made my first sale! A box of Noro Cash Iroha in a disgusting grey was mailed out this am! Hurray! I bought this yarn years ago on sale and was disappointed when the box arrived. I thought of overdying the yarn, but I have had this thought for over a year now and was still sitting there in all of its disgusting greyness. Two other items on E-bay haven't seen much action.

I have been knitting along on the baby sweater and have finally gotten back to the part where I discovered my original mistake and had to rip back. Here is the progress:

I still have my doubts about this sweater, and am putting all of my faith into the blocking. We shall see.

Now that the nights are getting cooler, I am getting excited about large wooly items that will provide lots of warmth and comfort this winter. I have pulled out another WIP, my Noro version of the Mason-Dixon Moderne Log Cabin Blanket. This is a project that is hard to love up close but I fell in love with it after taking the picture and getting a distance view. Here it is draped over the couch in my bedroom:

I am working on panel 7 (ten panels in all) and figure I am maybe 1/2 way through. It should keep me busy through much of the winter.

I also decided that it was time for me to establish a schedule and work through the samples for the Master Knitting Program through The Knitters Guild of America. I started, and then abandoned, this program years ago because it was tedious to knit the samples. I have since realized that it is the idea of being a 'master knitter' that I like and if I work through this in a scheduled fashion, perhaps it won't seem too tedious. Here is my first sample, my assignment for this week. The second sample is started, but I intend to do the paperwork stuff as I go along, not leaving it all for the end. My "Papa" socks are rolling right along, as is Papa. I have turned the second heel and working down the length of the foot. Unfortunately, when I started the heel flap, I used the stitches originally designated for the instep, so the rib pattern over the instep of the foot doesn't quite match the other sock, but I don't think it will be very noticable. I happen to be a knitter who thinks that mistakes are a part of the charm of a handknit item (this may just be because I am LAZY!). The second sock looks like this:
Lastly, I finished blocking the Tomato sweater. Here it is draped over the now-sold triangle loom. Not bad eh...?
We are off to the lake this evening. The weather is cool and pleasant. Hopefully this will continue. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

knitting as fast as I can

Every so often, I start feeling as though I am somehow falling behind. All of my current projects start crying out to be finished, and a dozen ideas for new projects are clammoring to be cast on, written down or researched. That is the way I have been feeling for the last few days. My knitting bag/work bag/purse is crammed with at least five projects all in various stages of completion. Today I thought that finishing a few things would somehow make me feel better. Accordingly, this is what I have done today:
I have finished one wide-whale sock (my own pattern). Trekking XXL, for my father-in-law for Christmas, should he live that long. ( I have a backup recipient if he does not. Afterall, he is 92 years old...then again, he may be too crusty to ever die.)

This is the Scotch Thistle Lace Stole I started in May. (Pattern is by Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer.) All I had left to do is the pull-over bind off. It is supposed to be invisible. Hum...maybe it will be once it is blocked. The stole now joins the pile of things to be washed and blocked (along with my tomato sweater, the baby bolero and so on...).

Here is my layette sweater, ironically from Knit Simple. As you can see by the balls of wrinkled yarn, I had to frog back quit a lot when I realized that I had incorrectly cast off the stitches for the neck. Unfortunately, I was 2/3 of the way through the sweater when I figured this out.

Lastly--here is the Autumn Rose Sweater (Eunny Jang, from the new Simply Shetland book). As you can see, it looks nothing like the pictures in the book. That is because, after finishing the ribbing (torture ribbing in two colors) and completing 1/3 of the first pattern repeat, I realized that 1) I was making the wrong size (a VERY fitted sweater) and 2) who wanted to wear a fitted shetland sweater anyway. I decided to use the yarn and a modification of the fairisle pattern to make the sweater I have been imagining for several years. The sweater will be based on my favorite cropped, fitted sweatshirt measurements, with a wide fairisle border and a textured, solid color body. As you can see, I am working on the stocking stitch hem right now. I have some swatching to do to see if I want to combine dk weight shetland (for the main body) and the spindrift (fairisle part)