Let’s Talk

About one of my absolute favorite independent business owners. Dyeabolical Yarns. I would say that at this point, 80% of what I purchase (Which, sadly, is NOT a lot, due to having really overdone it in the yarn buying department in the past) is from Rachel’s shop.

You can find her here or here.

I’ve been following this shop since the very beginning of 2009. In fact, I can show you my first project. I’d picked the fiber up from a destash, and that’s the fiber that sold me completely. Here’s the in progress photo. And the finished photo.

At some point, I struck up somewhat of an online friendship with Rachel that I feel has benefitted me so greatly. I’ve been able to do sample knitting for her in the past, and try a new yarn or fiber from time to time. These are absolutely wonderful fun things for a person like me who really enjoys trying something new. There’s one shawl in particular I never would have tried without it being requested as a sample knit. It had linen stitch, no problem, and it had dropped stitches, again no problem, and then these weird stitches where you passed a whole bunch over another whole bunch, and I can’t even remember how that worked now. I just remember knowing I wouldn’t have even tried them without the request, and they were indeed fun.

My current spin project is, again, a dyeabolical fibers project. I have taken Fate, PhD and Steampumpkin colorways and combined them. I just finished the first bobbin.

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These are now retired colorways. I have to say that it’s always my goal to own every single one of her colorways at some point, though I don’t actually achieve that. However, if something is getting retired, I HAVE to pick it up lest I miss out completely and regret it for the rest of time. These were the two I chose from the latest retirement, though I could have filled my cart to the brim.

Since this is an 8 oz. project, it’s going a bit slow right now. Plus, you know, the whole weird and unexpectedly extra long sweater project.

But, another thing happened that involves Rachel this week. Way back when, she had this cotton slub yarn. When dyed in her wonderfully saturated colors, it made yarn that I loved so much!

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Here’s an example in action, with a close up of a young Miss Bug.She wore this all the time.

This yarn felt great to knit, and had such an interesting texture. I loved it so much. But sadly, the mill Rachel was using quit making the yarn, and that was the end of the cotton slub yarn opportunity. I still wax poetic about that yarn on the regular.

And look what arrived in the mail for me yesterday!

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That is…an incredibly generous gift from Rachel. It’s the last of her cotton slub yarn. I had originally thought maybe I could get a nice slubby stripy cotton sweater out of it. But, I think I’ve changed my mind. I want a nice big slubby stripy shawl instead. I just want to be able to wrap myself in it. I haven’t yet chosen a pattern, but I will! I think I’ll try to get a good handle on the yardage and then go from there. I have some ideas in mind, but such a sought after yarn should get a perfect pattern, so I don’t want to rush it.

I might also add the super cool knitting row counters she slipped into that package! You can get them here and I cannot WAIT to give mine a try!

Another thing Rachel is responsible for in my knitting career:

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Inspiration. My epic queen sized Lizard Ridge blanket. I saw the beginning of her Lizard Ridge way back when. And I HAD to knit it. I began collecting colors, and I began knitting it. She set hers aside for ages. I set mine aside for ages. It was only when she finished hers and posted about it that I HAD to finish mine too. I am so happy I did! It’s beautiful, and it’s the one we use daily, and it always gets compliments when we have company over who haven’t seen the house before.

Suffice it to say, Rachel has been a huge influence in my knitting and spinning over the years, and if you aren’t paying attention to her, you absolutely SHOULD be. She’s a fantastic person, in addition to being a consistently kind, fair, and honorable business woman. And, in a world of yarn and fiber small business owner drama, she’s a person you can trust. Not a hint of drama in all the years I’ve been following along. Simply amazing artistry combined with the ability to run a solid business.

In addition to all of this, she’s got a ravelry group, a podcast, and recently began a facebook group called Wool Ewe Please? where you can join and post whatever lovely knitting or spinning you want, and enjoy the posts of other like minded crafters. Go find her, follow her, and be inspired!

 

No Photos

This is a no photo post. I’ve got nothing new to take pictures of! I am plugging away at my sweater, working on the body of the sweater ribbing now so it’s getting close to button band time. I hope to have it done this weekend. Again.

But, there’s stuff to blog about. The new nephew has arrived! A bit early due to unexpected pregnancy related medical issues on the part of my sister in law. She’s now got the opportunity to recover, and little nephew is not very little at all despite being about a month early. So that was exciting news!

We got a call from Mr. Ink’s stepdaughter last night. She was hoping we’d be able to help her move a truck cab from a storage unit onto the trailer bed of a guy who had purchased it. You see, when she was a few years younger she bought a mid 70s era truck. It was old and brown and full of rust, and she had big dreams of fixing it up. So, she’d purchased the cab to go on the old rusty truck. But, she really didn’t understand what she was getting herself into, and got rid of the old truck soon after. Turns out with a wife and a job and a home to fix up, and a new car and so on, it doesn’t really leave much time for fixing up really old trucks.

So, we met her out at the storage unit, and waited on the arrival of the guy purchasing the cab. And when he arrived, we were subjected to one of the most absurd sights. Except it didn’t even hit us until after. This guy shows up in a mid 80s ford escort with over 500K miles on it, pulling a very small trailer. I honestly wasn’t sure that cab was going to fit on that trailer! But, we were successful on lifting the cab onto the trailer where it did actually fit. This guy had come from 6 hours away! And he was going to haul that truck cab on that little trailer with that more than 30 year old car back 6 hours? Insane. And also hilarious. Truly. We laughed about it the rest of the evening.

The other thing that struck me last evening was about Mr. Ink’s stepdaughter. He’s always described her as ridiculously nice. And she is. Truly. But it’s always fun to realize new things about a person you’ve known for awhile. What I realized last night is that she’s not just nice, she’s downright chivalrous. She is the most chivalrous person I’ve ever met. Let me describe last evening. We got to the storage unit, which we couldn’t get into due to it being locked up. So she came out and opened the gate for us. We headed back toward the unit, and she realized that Miss Butterfly was very cold, having not worn a coat. Again. So, she quickly herded us back to the unit, where she had her car running and heat turned up for her wife who has some chronic health issues. She promptly puts Miss Butterfly in the car with her wife so she can get warmed up. Then, we head over to the unit to lift the cab on the trailer. Mr. Ink and I hadn’t thought to bring gloves, but she had gloves on. The edges were indeed rather sharp. So, I just pulled my jacket sleeves over my hands and went to lift. But, of course, she noticed this immediately, stopped everything, and insisted I wear her gloves, the only pair of gloves available.

And then I reflected over all my time knowing her. Every single time we’ve ever spent time together she’s just the most helpful, kind, chivalrous person. The first one to jump to doing something for another person, never sitting back and letting someone else do the work. But also just plain care taking toward everyone around her. Courteous, considerate, gracious, loyal, all those words associated with chivalry, this young woman embodies. She’d have made a great knight. A Brienne of Tarth.

In any case, it was a rather unexpected and fun valentine’s day. We had no plans prior to the call to come help with the truck cab, and it got us out of the house. So we went to dinner after and had a lovely evening. Amidst giggles over 80s ford escort dude.

 

 

If you want to destroy my sweater…

Remember that weezer song? It’s a total earworm for me.

Well, you don’t have to  destroy my sweater because I already did. I posted my finished sweater yesterday, and it wasn’t even an hour later before I was cutting it all to pieces again. Maybe that’s dramatic. I removed the buttons and collar/button band, and then removed the bottom part of the sweater back to where I’d add another handspun stripe.

The thing is, I just couldn’t manage to imagine myself wearing the thing as it was. I mean, 2 years have gone by, and while I followed the instructions in how long to make the sweater, I didn’t take into account my personal preferences for fit. And, well, I am getting older and I like a longer cardigan. Trendy isn’t really me. I guess it never has been. On the upside, I have knit an additional 3.5 inches onto the body of the sweater, so it’s going ok.

And this time? I am NOT doing afterthought button holes. I appreciate that I was able to create them. I appreciate that I learned something new. But, I’ve little interest in doing it again unless I absolutely HAVE to.

Between the time of the sweater finish and the sweater destruction, I knit two baby hats.

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Mr. Ink’s stepson just had twin boys. So I knit hats. I chose hats simply because they are small and I had the yarn in stash and they knit quickly. Additionally, I am not entirely sure that dad has access to the babies at the moment for reasons I don’t really know. Lives are complicated. So, being unsure if the hats would even make it to the babies, I figured I wasn’t going to spend a bunch of time on them. The gesture, acknowledging this for Mr. Ink’s stepson is more important to me than the hats getting to the babies. The babies don’t care. So, I’ll send out hats today, and release them into the world. Where ever they end up is ok by me.

That’s it from me! Unless I lose focus, I’ll probably be forced into some sweater knitting quiet time again. I mean, I really WOULD like to wear the thing now! And preferably this season. And with a bunch of weather in the 50s and 60s, that time seems short. Though, with our luck, March will bring on the actual freeze.

A Finished Sweater!

After more than 2 years on the needles, and about 2 years in hibernation, I finished my funky grandpa sweater.

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The buttons are on, the afterthought button holes are created, and it’s a done deal.

BUT, if I could have a do over, I’d make it longer. I knit it according to the instructions, but I should have known that I don’t love shorter garments. At this point, to change it I’d have to remove the ribbing and the icord, and reknit the bottom of the garment. I am not entirely opposed to that idea, and I do have plenty of yarn for it. But, for now I’d like to give it a try as is and see how it goes. To be honest, I often have to reknit a portion of a sweater to make it something I would really wear, so it wouldn’t be out of the question or even particularly strange. But I do need a bit of a break! (At least I wouldn’t have to reknit the sleeves, THOSE are absolutely perfectly extra long and I love them.

Yesterday was fairly low key. Mr. Ink had to work in the morning, so Miss Butterfly and I went shopping and then for a pokewalk. Except that as so often happens with a 12 year old, she was so moody that we didn’t walk much. She’s talking about a walk again today, so I think we’ll get a do over. Mr. Ink came home with a couple new fish for the fish tank, and then we realized that one of our newer swordtails had a baby. I don’t know if it’ll survive, but it seemed to be doing a good job hiding out in the plants and was eating quite well. Mr. Ink got more gardening done, and I got some knitting and spinning done. Then we made dinner and I grabbed a dirty cookie sheet that was unused in order to wash it, except it had been sitting on the stove and heating up without my knowledge so I ended up burning my hand. That pretty much set me back for the evening, no more crafting. We played board games instead. thankfully, the hand is much better this morning, and I can avoid the burned areas while spinning, much to my delight.

In any case, rather a quiet sort of normal day. Nothing particularly amazing or interesting happening. And sometimes that’s just the nicest thing. Enjoy your Sunday friends!

What’s Next?

This is a question I have been asking myself since I finished the sweater. I have been struggling to settle on anything really. And then I realized, maybe some spinning is in order?

So, I began a project I’d thought through and prepped prior to pulling out and becoming obsessed with finishing the sweater. Dyeabolical was retiring two of her colorways that I’d been admiring for awhile but never spun a few months ago. So I decided to pick one of each up, and then once I got them, I also thought they might make a fun mash up.

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So, I’ve been spinning Fate, PhD and Steampumpkin together. I’ve got fun plans for this project and I am looking forward to seeing it through to completion. I started last evening.

I also knit a baby hat, but haven’t gotten a chance to weave in the ends. I plan to do one more in the very near future, before figuring out my next knitting project.

Today however, is for buttons and afterthought buttonholes. And for Miss Butterfly. We will be headed out together to get buttons and then go for a pokewalk together. The weather is quite pleasant, and we figured we’d take advantage of that.

On Wednesday we had a snowstorm here. Now, it wasn’t all that much snow, but our current city mayor has been perfectly abysmal about snow removal. And she just doesn’t learn from past mistakes. I’ve lived here for 12 years and in past years we’ve had far more snow, and still far fewer on the road problems. Wednesday morning I had to take Miss Butterfly to the orthodontist, then get her back to school and go to work. Seeing the snow in the morning made me double the amount of time it takes to get to the orthodontist. And so we set out. Except, since no snow was removed from the roads prior to rush hour (because it didn’t QUITE meet her required 2 inches of snow before plows go out) and the bulk of the snow HIT during rush hour, the entire city roads were basically a very large parking lot. And since they were a parking lot, there was no way for the plows to actually get through. We never went above 10 mph all the way to the orthodontist. Miss Butterfly played both our pokemon games the whole way, since at that speed you can do everything in the game. I bit my nails and ground my teeth and tried to tamp down the anger. The reality was that my new car was doing quite well in the snow, but with that many on the road, and many other cars doing poorly, there just was no way to speed up the process. It takes 10  minutes to get to the orthodontist. It took us 50 minutes. But once we got there, ridiculously late, we found out that all the other appointments had been late and the assistant hadn’t been able to get in yet either. So, in this case, late wasn’t actually a problem.

Yesterday, we hit 60F! So, it was so odd to walk in to work with snow on the ground, and out of work with no sign of snow whatsoever. The forecast for the foreseeable future is quite mild so we’ll just keep taking advantage of it. It’s really too bad Mr. Ink works today, as I suspect he’d be out gardening all day otherwise.

In any case, hopefully I’ll have finished sweater photos tomorrow. Have a great weekend all!

icording along

Yep, I am still working hard on the funky grandpa cardigan. I finished the sleeves this week, and started on the button band. That’s knit as well, and all I have left now is a tiny bit of icord bind off on it.

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So, I’ll be able to soak and block tonight, and then by this weekend I should be able to search out buttons. The pattern calls for afterthought buttonholes, so that’ll be a new to me trick! However, I think I am up for the challenge. I decided that I probably had enough of the handspun for the icord bind off, and that would probably also draw everything together. I am happy to report that I really do have more than enough of the handspun, it’s now quite clear.

That’s about it for me, it’s all sweaters and grants around here, but no more sweater grant dreams thankfully. I am so close to being done with both! I really need to do some spinning for interest!

 

Circles

I don’t have a photo of a second sweater sleeve yet. But, I am CLOSE. I’ve finished the striping and am knitting with the handspun exclusively. I’ve 5 more decreases to complete, and then the ribbing and the icord bind off. I plan to be done with that tonight. I even brought it to work today. I am knitting in circles. Round and round on that sleeve. Stopping after each round to untwist my knitting. I think that’s the major thing I hate about sleeves. I’d rather knit them flat and seam them than have to untwist a sleeve after each row. No sense complaining about that now though, as I am so close to being done!

I took a photo, instead, of the circles of lace scarf I am knitting out of Marja’s handspun. It’s been getting some time during lunch time at work. Even though my lunches are desperately broken up right now, progress is still being made. So, I guess you could say, I am knitting in circles for a sleeve, and I am knitting circles in a scarf as well.

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This is certainly not mindless knitting, and so when trying to find a netflix show to watch while knitting, I keep thinking a particular one looks good, click on it, and realize it requires I read subtitles. Now, I have NO ISSUE with subtitles, and I rather enjoy listening to another language while watching a movie and reading them. However, I can’t do that with this scarf. This has made me wonder just why I can’t figure out before I click on the show that it’s a foreign one. I guess I should look more carefully.

Yesterday we pushed a grant deadline right to the limit yet again. I stayed late to make sure it went in ok. It was another very busy day. That being said, I went home less stressed than usual, and I am not sure why. In could be, in part, my least favorite coworker had the day off, and so I didn’t have to deal with petty and constant irritations in addition to the grant deadline. The good news? One of the grants on my list has dropped off, to be submitted sometime in the future. That leaves me only two more to go, and a completion date of Monday next week. I can handle that!

The evening was spent knitting a sweater sleeve and being a bit pampered. The pampering is pretty much the usual situation on a grant deadline that goes late. Thank goodness! I am thankful that my family seems to be able to roll with the punches and realize that my irritation and unwillingness to deal passes quickly with a little TLC. I did come home to a kid with SO MANY words though. It’s probably actually the usual amount, it’s just that I feel bombarded after a particularly busy work day. Miss Butterfly did, however, acknowledge that I was far less grumpy than would normally be expected. She also went about entertaining herself quite well, even if she WAS talking the entire time.

That’s all from me, since grant deadlines leave little other stories to tell. I think I am leaving work early today, so perhaps today will be a little better in that respect. I am hoping to take Miss Butterfly on a walk!