I needed to…

Finish something today!

I thought about my projects, guessed that I would not finish socks or lace today, and decided that Thursdays really are for spinning.  I’ve been spinning up this chameleon colorworks optim in colorway veridian.  I wanted laceweight singles.  I think optim deserves a little explination.  Optim is merino which has been mechanically stretched.  It is soft, and it has a drape and shine similar to silk.  It won’t felt and it spins more like silk than merino.  A lot of predrafting was necessary for this.  I can’t even tell you my yardage as I was so eager to get it done I took pictures and then sent it to its bath before counting.

Finishing helped me avoid casting on.  For that I am thankful!


So, the sweater did not fit J either, it was just too short. Currently it looks like this:

I did manage to fix the sleeves, but I need to add length to the front and back, and then put the collar back on.  This is a lot of hard work, and I just cannot get inspired about it quite yet.  It is scheduled for next weekend.  I’ve done a lot of obligatory knitting lately so I am taking this weekend to knit whatever my little heart desires.  And it seems that my heart desires lace.

I did finish up a navajo ply last evening.  250 yards of sock weight yarn.  There will be a second hank of another 250 yards, when I decide to finish it up.  Today was not the day.  I preserved the colors on this one because they were so rich.  It has long lines of color and I think they will make a very pretty sock.

That time if year…

When it is too dark by the time I get home to take a decent picture.  Oh well.

I’ve been spinning this merino top from Lorna’s Laces for awhile now.  I am having trouble getting it done as it is 5 oz. as opposed to my normal 4, and I have had other obligations.  I’ve half of it done now, and I will be navajo plying this in order to maintain long lines of color.  Colorway is circus, and the colors are absolutely brilliant!  The idea is to have two fairly matching skeins.

In other news, my first October sock down entry is done, even though I was fearful I wouldn’t finish until November.  The pattern is Lizzy, the yarn is knitpicks memories.  I’ve had the yarn for a long time now, and am attempting to clear my stash oldest first.

My goal was to finish them this weekend, so I’d say I am feeling ahead of schedule.

A Contest!

As many of you know, I don’t eat a lot of meat.  Most of the time I don’t eat any.  I choose to do this for my own health and because I believe that the large farming practices in the US are terribly far from what eating should be.  I believe this is a detriment to both the animals and to the health of humans.  And because these practices are pretty much unavoidable, I choose not to eat meat.

What I’d really like to see happen here in the US though, is a change in the large farming practices.  I mean, let’s be honest.  People are not going to stop eating meat.  People aren’t like me.  So the only way to touch this issue is at the large farming level.

And this brings me to the contest.  I am going to do a little fundraising here for the next 10 days.  I am offering up my own handspun yarn as incentive for donations.  The winner will receive their choice of;

382 yards sock weight wool 3 ply with angelina:

OR 432 yards silk laceweight, 2 ply, spun from silk hankies:

OR if you are a spinner and would prefer to spin your own, one of the 4 oz merino rovings that are listed in my etsy shop.

Please click on this link to donate.  I am including the text of the link page so you know what you are getting in to:

“As you know, we love animals. That’s why we’re asking you to join us in a critical effort to help reduce the suffering of 20 million — that’s right, 20 million — farm animals.

Basically, on Election Day in November, people in California will have the chance to vote on a commonsense measure that will help animals suffering inside factory farms. These animals are crammed into cages and crates so small that they can’t even turn around, lie down, or stretch their limbs. Proposition 2 will give them these basic freedoms.

If passed, Prop 2 is expected to have a huge impact on reforming factory farming practices nationwide — which is why you don’t need to live in California to help. It’s also why the agribusiness industry is spending millions to fight this reasonable reform, making it critical that animal protection advocates raise money needed to reach voters.

So…today we’re asking you to join us in reaching our goal of having 20 friends, family members, and colleagues donate $20 each to help 20 million animals. Will you join us, and help us reach our goal?

You do need to be a US citizen or resident alien to donate due to California law.  Please let me know what email you are donating under either here or at Ravelry.  Drawings will take place on Monday November 3.  They will be done via random number generator.  A $5 donation will get you a chance in the drawing.  $10 will get you 2 entries, $15 will get you 3 entries and so on.

For those of you who are not able to donate, I’d ask you to spread the word.

Where’s Shells?

Happily knitting of course!  And with what?  Well….you may wonder why…but I’ve good reason to be knitting with this:

I know I know, I got rid of some obscene amount last year, because I became a yarn snob.  But the project called for just such a perfect color combination.

You see, my mom asked me to make her a hat for her Halloween costume.  I gladly obliged and knit it in 2 days.  It turned out really well and it was a lot of fun to make.  Though I have been quick to remember why I do not knit with red heart.

I present to you the “Where’s Waldo?” hat!

First, the real waldo for comparison,

Big thanks to “crafty coworker” for modeling the hat with her very own Where’s Waldo? shirt.

Well that just made my evening!

So, the scarf posted below was done in a little barter with Nick, his intention is to give it to the gal he is seeing for her birthday.  Hence the need to get it done on a deadline.  Nick received the scarf in the mail today, along with some socks I had done for a similar barter, and I got this message from him, which amused me greatly and really made my evening.  Please understand that I did get his permission to post this.

“I walked in today to see a bubble package on the steps.  I ran upstairs and opened it.  Amazingly I pulled out the scarf and started to unfold it.  Every time I though I thought I was done unfolding it another layer was there.  And the pattern and texture became more and more amazing until finally is was completely unraveled.  To say it’s amazing would be the understatement of the decade.  You’ve outdone yourself x 100.  It is amazingly perfect yet it still flows as if it’s wild random pattern.  The repetition you archived here is something I strive for while woodworking.  You nailed it!  And I can’t tell you how AWESOME it feels.  Is it wrong that I want to sleep with it tonight while being naked?  LOL.  I’m even going to show it to my mom even though it’s going to spark a million questions I don’t feel like answering.  This is too awesome not to share.  After showing it mom I’m going to re-fold it and wrap it in tissue to be all safe until I give it to Payal on Friday.  I’m more excited about giving her this over the box I made.  I know she is going to love it.  And I personally think the tassels rock!

Oh and the socks,, I forgot all about the socks!  Of course they are awesome and fit perfect (see pics).  I can’t wait to wear them the next time I go out!  They are too special to just wear anytime!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

Thank you Nick, for being so ready for a barter situation, the lovely handcrafted woodworking I receive in return for my knitting is as absolutely special and wonderful to me as you see the scarf.  I now have pieces in my home I could only dream of, and tools for my chosen craft that I have personally put my wishes into, making unique and beautiful pieces that I absolutely treasure every time I look at them.

I haven’t deserted you…

I’ve just been sick, so not in the mood to knit or blog or do anything else.  Though I do have a finished project which is long overdue for a post.  I finished this one on Thursday but didn’t bother to post it.

I may not like knitting with kidsilk haze, but I really love the result.  It is soft, light, warm, and has a sheen to it.

This weekend I was completely spoiled by my J.  Once he realized I was sick, he went into care taking mode.  I will not ever be able to complain about caring for him after this weekend.  I had every meal made while I napped on the couch.  I had as much tea as my little heart desired.  He would ask what I wanted to eat, I’d tell him, he’d make it and then he would make another meal on top of that of what he thought I should eat.  He kept taking my temperature even though I told him I did not have a fever.  He kept saying “Feed a cold, starve a fever, that is what they say..”  I finally had to say “No where does it say to STUFF a cold!”  Also, I suspect his mother must have made him boiled eggs when he was sick, because boiled eggs kept appearing and I was urged to eat them to “Keep my strength up.”

I did go to work today, and left at 2.  Got home to take a long nap before I picked up the Bug.  I am wiped out, that was the longest I have stayed awake in one stretch for awhile.  Hopefully this is the ONE BIG cold of the season and I am mostly free and clear from here on out.

A scarf in a week

At least that is the attempt I am making.  I am halfway there, having officially started working on it on Sunday.  I’d like to get it in the mail on Saturday but I am not sure that will happen. If it is in the mail on Monday, it will still be ok.

To say that…

The Bug likes her hat would be the understatement of the year.

She put it on last evening and wore it all evening once it was done.  By the time she came inside for the night she had all manner of weeds and dead grass in it from rolling down the hill.

She wanted to wear it to school this morning, I told her she could.  At her cubby, I took it off her head and put it away.  She would have none of that!  She insisted on wearing it.  I suspect that she will still be wearing it when I get there this evening.

If she keeps this up, we will have to go back to the yarn shop to pick out more yarn!

3 FO’s in one day…

Life is good!

Bug’s Bug is done, and it is absolutely adorable!  I love the little pointy top of it.  This pattern is found in Debbie Bliss Junior Knits.  I made it out of a malabrigo worsted that Bug picked out herself.  The pattern was written for flat knitting and seamed, but I just didn’t see a need for that!  (I’ve had enough seaming for the next month at this point.)  So I knit it in the round.  And instead of the knitted on edge, I crocheted the edge.  I think it goes faster and looks neater for the same general knitted on and cast off border.

Another finishing weekend

Since I have vowed to get myself from 17 WIP’s down to 5, I am in full on finishing mode.  Which is a lot more satisfying than startitis.

This weekend I finished a rather large project which was hanging over my head.  The sweater is for J, and I made it for his holiday.  I did not finish before his holiday, but since I have not seen him since before the holiday, I can still consider it done in time right?

There is a lot about this sweater I don’t like, when I am wearing it.  I think the body of the sweater is way too short.  On me.  J is about 4 inches shorter than I am though, so my hope is that it fits him fine.  The shoulders are too loose and droopy, so I reinforced them with crochet on the inside, it does seem to help somewhat.  I am counting on his broad straight shoulders to look fine in this, whereas my droopy shoulders look goofy.  I usually let myself wear what I have knit once before giving it to the recipient, but I don’t think I will bother this time.  It is a rather smart looking sweater when all is said and done.

Thanks Ummeyusuf for the original idea!  I upsized this to fit an adult, changed the rib to a 1×1 so that I could use a tubular cast on, added cables to the colors, and changed the neckline dramatically.  These are some of J’s favorite color combinations, so I do rather think it will get worn.  I am secretly hoping he does NOT ask me to make one for his brother this time.  Oh, wool was cascade 220 except for the dark gray which was leftover lion brand woolease.  I have enough left for a yellow sweater for bug and even more for a larger gray sweater for her.  Though I won’t be starting those until the WIP list is tackled.

My first Angelina

382 yards 3 ply wool with some Angelina.  It has a somewhat rustic look to it as it was spun from batts and I used a long draw technique.  So there are little nuppy places in the yarn, but it is consistently nuppy which makes it the look of the overall yarn.  I am surprised at how pinkish it looks as the batts looked fairly red and purple to begin with.  It does have some sparkle to it!

The promised story

So at the conference, as I was knitting my sweater, I got lots of various comments.  Not all of them were from my group, some from other groups as well.  I’d often get someone who wanted updates or someone who would comment about their wife being a knitter.  Then there was the various stale jokes such as “I’ll take it in an XL, thanks!” but by far the most fun reaction was that of one of the attendee’s who was also at the original conference 2 years ago.  He came over to see what I was up to, mentioned that his wife was a quilter and that she had more recently taken up knitting and had successfully knit a pair of socks.  He also mentioned that she didn’t particularly care for using DPN’s as the stitches would slide off her needles in a frustrating fashion.  Being of the “sock on 2 circs” persuasion myself, I quickly let him know the benefits of such an endeavor, to which he asked if I knit one sock at a time or two at a time.  Realizing that he seemed to have some general knowledge about this technique and knitting in general, I explained the differences between magic loop and socks on 2 circs, as well as why I love socks on 2 circs.  We had some general discussion on knitting, quilting, and how totally obsessed fiber artsy people become, spending tons of money on their materials, going to conferences and classes, and finding that one craft is usually just a “gateway drug” for the next fiber related craft.  He also mentioned he was going to try to explain to his wife over the phone about socks on two circs.

He came back later on, after having spoken with his wife, and asked for additional explanation.  I mentioned that I’d be happy to bring in a pair of socks the next morning.  The next morning he came back for a demo, and took pictures with his cell phone, sending them off to his wife.  I had a distinct feeling that she was confused about the same thing that I was when I first thought about socks on 2 circs, just how is it that those needles are managed?  How would it posibly work?  I didn’t think that the pictures really were going to work.  And they didn’t, pretty soon I saw him walking my way with his phone.  He had me talk directly to her and I was then able to explain how each set of needles works independently from the other.  Even over the phone this is a somewhat difficult concept, but I could tell there was a lightbulb moment when she said “Wait!  So one needle is always going to be dangling as you work the other half of the sock on the other needle!”  Yep, that’s it, that is the trick to socks on two circs.  I then chatted a bit more with her and gave her the blog address and let her know I’d be happy to help any time.  (Read, happy to enable another knitter in their addiction!)

Later he came by to tell me that she thought that Bug was adorable, so I know she found me.  So Maggie, (sew Maggie heehee) if you are still reading, it was so nice to “meet” you!  I wish you the best of luck with those 2 circular needles, and do let me know if you need any more explanation!  The fact that your husband can talk knitting and quilting in such a detailed manner shows that he is not only fascinated by how things work (not unusual in a microbiologist) but also that he listens to what you have to say and perhaps has an artistic side himself.  I had to go find the 9 patch that he talked about hanging on your wall, and it is one of my favorites.  But I think my favorite of all is your brown log cabin with the tiny little strips!

And finally, one complete Lizzy sock for October Sock Down Challenge.  The second one is on the needles and paused until the yellow sweater is done.  I am not sure how well the patterning shows up in the yarn, but I did try to pick a relatively simple pattern for it.

A quick update…

A conference story to follow tomorrow.

I wanted to post the progress of the sweater that I so monogamously knitted on at the conference.

The first day I swore I’d cheat on that sweater.  Will power brought me to the second day.

The second day I realized I might finish the back, so I stayed faithful.  I did finish the back that day, so I knew I could again stay faithful in order to start the sleeves.

3 full days of conference knitting gave me an almost complete sweater.

I am working the sleeves at the same time.  I’ve never done such a thing before.  As I am knitting, I feel it is going so slowly for a sleeve.  And I keep marking down notes to remember for the second sleeve so they match.  I tend to forget, even though it is in my hands, that I am knitting the second sleeve as I am taking notes!

By yesterday evening, I didn’t want to do anything!   The conference was over, and I’ve been so focused on it that I needed a break, from everything.  All I did was lay on the couch with a blanket over me, while Bug put band aids on my blisters, then sat on me and played cars or read books.

I took today off, in order to take a bit less over time.  Bug and I woke up late, at 6 AM, and we had breakfast together.  I did take her in to school, because she didn’t want to miss gym day, but we were late to school too.  I ran some errands this morning and am back for some time to relax before work tomorrow.  I may keep working on the sweater, it is hard for me to put a project down when the end is in sight!


Conference is going swimmingly, and I have 9 more repeats to finish the back of the yellow and gray sweater.  Then on to the sleeves!!!  2 more full days of conference knitting should get me to the sleeves at least!

Project updates

In an effort to get my WIP’s under control, I am in the midst of documenting a few my readers haven’t seen yet.

There is the malabrigo worsted purple hat, yarn which Bug picked for herself.  Interestingly, Bug is also the name of the pattern being used.

And another scarf that NIck will be giving as a gift.

This is a montego bay done in black kidsilk haze.  I am not hating working with the kidsilk haze as much as I thought I might.  And frankly, the scarf looks fantastic!

Finally, this week in spinning, are the batts that I got from my HHHH swap partner.  I had never once tried to spin batts before this and had no idea how easy and wonderfully unpredictable it was!  This is the first bobbin sitting on a batt.

This is likely my last blog post until after “Le Grande Conference” on Wed. evening.  I will then be doing a blog post that will hopefully contain massive amounts of progress on the yellow and gray cabled sweater.

October Sock Challenge

This will be my second month in the Sock Knitters Anonymous monthly challenge, and again I am entering 2 socks.  This month the challenge is to work patterns from a specific designer, Stephanie van der Linden.  I have chosen to knit Lizzy:

And Escher’s Cube:

So far so good…stay tuned for an attempt to get my 17 WIP’s under control….again.

Moonlight Walk

I spun this merino/tencel blend from C*eye*ber fiber which has been sitting in my stash since I got my first wheel.  It is about time I spun it up!  As I was spinning it, I thought of steel and silver, with the lovely shine.  But as I was plying it, I thought of something else entirely.  As I plyed it together, it looked like a moonlight walk in the bitter cold with fresh snow on the ground, where it is silent all around and the snow glistens and crunches under foot.

I ended up with 295 yards of sockweight 2 ply yarn.  Can anyone tell me if tencel is heavier than merino?  I never seem to get the yardage I want with a tencel blend.  I have a few other tencel issues, I almost always overspin it somewhat, and struggle with evenness.  I suppose that comes with practice though.  I love the way the tencel slips through my fingers and I love the way it feels, but I struggle to spin it to my specifications.

I do have plans for this particular yarn, I don’t believe it will go in my shop.  Next months sock challenge is mosaic, or slip stitch knitting, and I want to use this yarn paired with a merino/tencel blend I spun last year to create some very pretty shiny socks.

In other news,

Our neighbor brought over a bunch of old childrens books for Bug to look at through the winter.  She plans to sell them in a garage sale in the spring, but wanted them to get used a bit.  I noticed the one on the top was very similar to one I had grown up with, so I got all excited about the books.  She indicated that there would be a bunch more in there that I would recognize from my childhood as well, and indeed there was!  Some of them were ones we read at my childhood best friends house, some at the farm,  and some we had.  She said to me “There is this one in there that is so sweet…about a squirrel with a little house and she gets shoved out of her house by a band of mean squirrels and goes to live in a doll house, I don’t remember what it is called…”  And both Bug and I said “Suzy Squirrel!!!”  And my neighbor was just floored that we both knew the book well.  The only trouble with the books is that they are very musty, which means if I so much as touch them my nose runs and my eyes itch and I start feeling wheezy.  Bug does not get that reaction, so they have been “spinning” books.  She holds them and turns the pages while I read from a relative distance.  This morning she got up at 5:30 AM, and couldn’t be torn away from the books at 7 when she needed to get ready for school.  I think they will be well loved throughout the winter, and if some of the mustiness goes away, we might just buy them ourselves.  (There was also a Bobsy Twins book in there that I wanted to buy…I LOVED my Bobsy Twins books!)