A Better Picture

Between work lunches, and a trip to the car dealership, and a trip to the orthodontist, Miss Marja’s Lintilla has gotten a little more work, and since it came home with me, it also got a decent photo.

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One where you can actually see the colors as they are. If this shawl were at home, I’d probably never stop working on it. I love it. The color blending is fantastic, and it never ceases to interest me.

Plus, I just REALLY LOVE knitting the Lintilla pattern.

As mentioned previously, the small skein of chain plied yarn that matches this shawl is going into my crazy marled mystery shawl. New clue out tomorrow! All I have to do is choose which yarn to pair with it, which I don’t think I’ll bother to do until I actually get the clue and see what I am up against. For the clue that particular yarn goes into, for consistency, I won’t be counting yardage, because it’s “New Yarn.” I only get to count the yards from the yarn paired with it. Can you tell I am really enjoying making up pointless rules for my pointless game? Hah.

In the meantime, I worked my way into the 5th color on the Find Your Fade shawl. It’s not completely worked in yet, I am still alternating with the 4th color. But, I am close, as was my hope!

There’s a pokemon go event going on right now as well, plus a nests change, which should seriously inspire Miss Butterfly and I to get outdoors and walking around. We’ll have to do so tonight, as it’s going to rain all day Friday, according to forecasts.

Are you looking forward to the weekend as much as I am?

Fade Finding

I almost wrote the title as “fad finding” which would be entirely appropriate when speaking of the Find Your Fade shawl. I am well into the second skein of the fourth color now, and just completed the lace section last evening. The rows are very long. Thankfully, they are as long as they are going to get, I am no longer increasing stitches. But, I’ve 3 more colors to go after this one, so I’d better well get accustomed to these long rows!

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My coworker, who is originally Finnish, and knows how to knit and crochet, but hasn’t made a habit of it over the years, has recently had a resurgence in her crafting desire. Last year I gave her some handspun yarn she had her eye on, and she was thrilled to bits. She crocheted it into a hat that I see her wearing almost daily.

IMG_3607After she made the hat, she decided she needed to crochet more things. Now, this is a woman who is a huge advocate for wildlife. And, she found some bird rehab/rescue places that were requesting various bird houses made out of yarn. She ordered some yarn from knitpicks, and set out to create birdhouses. She brought them in to me before sending them out, they were great! She soon ran out of yarn, but she says the itch to craft hasn’t disappeared and she was going to need to make another order. Well, knowing that I’ve got a bunch of one off balls of knitpicks hanging around from projects completed or gone by the wayside, I told her I’d donate to her cause. This means that 7 odd skeins of knitpicks yarn went to her this morning. She was thrilled, and I think that means I get to add 770 yards of “knit” yarn to my yearly total. Meaning  I haven’t been counting the knitting I am doing for Miss Marja, or the knitting I am doing with yarn that has arrived in my stash this year due to that not being “destash” yarn. I’ve knit far more than 770 yards that would fall under that category. But, in this case I destashed the yarn, so I get to add it as “knit.” Current totals, 3.88 miles knit, 1.75 miles spun. At the moment, what is leaving my stash is double what is going back in. That’s sort of where I’d like to be, overall. Can’t say I’ll be able to maintain that throughout spinning “season” but it’s a great start!

Miss Butterfly is getting braces again next week. We were in this morning for small spacers for her to wear this week, in order that she has the appropriate room for the mouth gear being installed next week. Also of note, she gets to throw out her retainer. Which is great, because it’s been used and abused so hard at this point that there’ve been bits falling off it for the last 6 months. The orthodontist didn’t want to replace it, as we were too close to phase 2 braces, so he’s been piecing the thing back together just to get us through those 6 months. If he could have used duct tape, I swear he would have. This is the second retainer she’s had, and amazingly enough we managed to get through both of them without losing one completely, or throwing one out completely, or breaking one beyond usability. I feel very fortunate. Then again, I told her from the start she has to buy the next one of she loses one. So, it might have been the correct incentive for her. In any case, I am as glad to be rid of the thing as she is at this point I think!

Tonight if it hasn’t rained too much (and it’s currently raining) we may try to get a dirt bike ride in. I have to admit, I’ve been less than inspired to ride dirt lately, so I am waffling back and forth between wanting it to rain hard, and wanting it to dry up so a dirt ride is possible. That being said, if I am not feeling it, I figure I’ll just take a nice dirt walk, and grab my step goal. That could easily make for a win win situation. It’s cold today, in fact the rain that happened this morning was really ice pellets at first. But tomorrow we are looking at 73? It’s so nutty out here in March!

 

Tangent

Boy did I go off on a tangent this weekend!

On Saturday evening, when Mr. Ink was preparing to head out for his night of live music, I had wandered into my craft room, looked at the boxes of dyed wool, and the large box of add in bits and bobs for the drum carder, and decided I wanted to pull some wool out and prep, JUST PREP, for the next set of batts. I pulled out 4 ounces total of two colors of brown, one lighter and one darker. Then grabbed my add ins, and got started. The goal was to take the browns and make them relatively similar by using mostly the same add ins on each batt. Just a few differences of color, but nothing major. As I went about it though, I realized that I was putting quite a lot of luxury fibers in there, so these batts would turn out amazingly soft.

I set the fiber piles back in my craft room for future drum carding. And went back to knitting and TV watching while Mr. Ink was out. But, as the evening wore on and I tired of TV watching, I couldn’t resist putting one, just one batt together out of my 6 piles of fiber. It was awesome. The next morning, before Mr. Ink woke up, I thought “Let me just do one more” and then by the time he woke up I’d done 3 more. And after breakfast I finished them up.

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These started with BFL/silk top. I added some firestar, some very soft alpaca, cashmere, camel, bamboo, and tons of silk. There are silk noils, mulberry silk, tussah silk, and then I also added a huge amount of my current obsession, silk throwsters waste. Last year, all my batts had large amounts of recycled sari silk. This year it’s throwsters waste. I can’t get enough of it. I love the texture. I love how some of it is like regular silk, almost like in mawata silk form, and then some is like long silk threads, which make for extremely interesting spinning.

Well, here’s the thing. Now I had almost 9 ounces of freshly created batts, and that’s something quite irresistible to me. But, I also had a braid already on the wheel, so I figured “let me just finish that up” and so I did.

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Of course, I didn’t ply because I wanted to, you know, just TEST the new batts. And so I “tested” them, by spinning them. For a really long time.

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At lunchtime, Mr. Ink asked if I wanted to go for a bike ride. It was an exceedingly lovely day so naturally I said yes to that idea, and we went for a lovely bike ride. I asked Mr. Ink if he’d mind if I took the fat bike, since I know I can be a little slow on that bike. He said he didn’t mind, so I took it. We did a nice long loop from the house, as the wind was nothing to sneeze at, and we started out going into the wind. But when we turned and had the wind at our backs, I got that fat bike moving over 20 mph on a flat! I was really flying. It was great fun, the sound of those tires is like a tractor, so everyone knows you are coming up behind them and just moves out of the way. And other cyclists see that silly pink fat bike moving that fast and just grin ear to ear. I even left Mr. Ink in the dust for quite awhile. I had been a bit worried about trying to get that bike up the very large and long hill back to our house, it’s a tough hill even on my regular bike and I’d never tried that hill before. But the fat bike is geared appropriately for such things, and I actually had no trouble at all. It took TIME, but at no point did I think “I won’t be able to make it.”  I think I’ll stop asking Mr. Ink if he minds if I take that bike now, it’s clear that I am almost as fast with it now, and I keep up just fine. And I do so with comfort and a great deal of fun.

Once home, I decided it was time to drag out the table and a couple chairs for the back patio. And then my afternoon looked like this:

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Yep, with 83F weather, it was time for a little outdoor spinning! And flower watching. They were visibly growing yesterday, I gained about 3 inches on my hyacinths throughout the day. And take a look at these daffodils!

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Mr. Ink continued digging up sod, replanting it by the road, digging up soil, amending it, and placing it back where he wanted it to be. He’s got a bunch of trees coming in the next few weeks and is prepping the yard for that. I am glad he got quite a bit done, as it is to rain all week, and he’d have gone stir crazy otherwise.

He also mentioned the crocuses again, saying that he thought they’d look great in a rock garden. I suspect my vision of crocuses all over the front hill just may work!

In any case, I went off on quite a spinning tangent this weekend, and it was lovely, and we had a beautiful day. I need to stop just enjoying these beautiful days, and get something done, like scraping, sanding, and painting the door frame and window frames of the shop. At least then I’ll feel more productive while Mr. Ink is madly working in the yard!

Wishing everyone a great week!

Completed Clue Three

It was a pleasantly knitting filled morning for me yesterday, and I finished my clue 3.

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I am back to being quite enchanted with the crazy thing, and will be truly looking forward to Friday so I have what I need to compete it. At this point, I have run out of loads of colors. Not that I am hurting for color to add, it’s just that all the smaller balls of color are gone, having been knit into the 4 sections where color changes were fast and furious. That’s ok, if I am guessing correctly, and I could easily not be, the next sections will be quite large and I’ll need the back up of bigger skeins of color. Since two of the “colors” I’ve been using are actually large loop batt handspun with multiple colors in them, there’s no danger whatsoever of running out of yarn.

While yesterday began quite cold, by the end of the day it was sunny and in the 50s. Mr. Ink spent all day digging. This weekend’s project seems to be digging out sod, moving it and laying it in new areas, and then digging up soil and amending that soil in anticipation of all the trees that should start arriving any minute now. He had mentioned to me that the soil is just perfect for this job, it’s easy to dig and easy to work with. Plus, it’s supposed to rain all week starting tomorrow or Tuesday. Well, I decided if the soil is perfect, I’d get my propagated lilies that went dormant into the ground. I’ve got more lilies, but they never did go dormant and are going nuts in our living room. I’ll wait until the end of April to put those outdoors.

I got a pretty pleasant walk in. Mr. Ink decided to go see some live music, it’s not a band I like so I stayed home. I pulled out wool and add ins for some new batts, and got started on those instead. All in all an extremely lovely day.

Now I am back to knitting on find your fade, but I am at a point where the rows are super long! So, I keep knitting a row and then wandering off to do something else. Not the most efficient way of getting a shawl done, but it does help keep my interest.

Talk soon!

What a Mystery!

Clue 3 came out on the mystery shawl, and I got right home and got started! I was so excited!

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That blue triangle was the first section in this clue, and the seed stitch to the right of it is the second section of this clue, though far from finished. I mimicked the color progression in the previous seed stitch section so far. I am about to veer off course though, since I have run out of the next yarn color. I’ll get back on course for a bit, and then I’ll be choosing new color combos again, as I’ll have far more seed stitch in this section than there was in the previous one.

This is also the clue in which I got to find out if my original first section mistake was going to be a problem or not. It looks ok, which is a great relief after ALL this knitting! Here’s the whole thing as it currently is.

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This shawl really is ridiculous, but it’s also growing on me. I will be making the biggest size, and it really may be used mostly as a blanket. It’s kind of a memory blanket, in the sense that all of those yarns have knitting or spinning memories attached to them. And really, it’s a cool way to preserve that.

In garden news, the flood gates have opened, and we’ve got flowers opening all over the yard.

Knowing Mr. Ink isn’t as big a fan of flowers as I am, I asked him how he felt about all the pops of spring color in the yard. I asked him this because I secretly wanted to plant crocuses all over the front banks, as it looks SO BARE this time of year. Mr. Ink’s response was extremely positive, “My only complaint” he says “Is that there just isn’t ENOUGH of them!” I don’t think he quite realizes that I planted 50 bulbs. And that there are more on the way all the time. And that those 50 bulbs, providing they survive, will create more and more each year. But, I do think there may be a good case for planting them all over the front bank now, since the response was so positive.

We did also spend a little time on yard work yesterday evening. The weather was pleasant though windy. Can you believe we are already having to pull weeds as well? It’s a bit demoralizing to realize that already has to start. But any time in the yard is a good time in the yard I think.

I’ve been on a low carb diet for a solid 3 weeks now, and not feeling too overly annoyed by it. This morning I decided that I really needed to try something new, as I am so sick of eggs for breakfast! I tried soy flour pancakes, assuming I wouldn’t like them at all. I don’t like syrup, so I am not even remotely tempted to add carbs to my low carb pancakes. Well, they weren’t bad at all! They exceeded my expectations immensely. But they are extremely filling, so I’ll be saving that as a treat. It does leave me eager to try a soy flour flat bread recipe I found, so that might become tomorrow’s project.

I hope everyone is having a good weekend, that the east coast snow is beginning to melt, and that you, too, are subjected to signs of season change all around you.

Lintilla Again

Last Christmas I made black alpaca batts with pops of colored silk in them for Miss Marja’s christmas gift.

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I think there ended up being over 7 ounces or something, but I admit I didn’t pay too much attention. Since alpaca turns out not to be my favorite thing to spin, and I really can’t wear it too easily either, I was happy to make my stash of black alpaca fiber into something pretty to pass on. Miss Marja spun it into a traditional 3 ply yarn. And then I got it back, in order to knit it into a large Lintilla scarf for her.

Thing is, there were actually two skeins. One of the traditional 3 ply, and the other the remainder of the singles chain plied. Well, I really wanted to use up ALL the yarn. So I weighed my skein, and then began with the chain plied yarn. Here’s how far I got:

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And that’s when I stopped. Because I could tell that the pops of color were not going to mimic the rest of the shawl in any way. So we’d have this start with these large pops of color, and then the rest of the shawl would have well blended silk colors. I hated it. And, really, I didn’t think Miss Marja would love it either. So, I put it down and knit her reversible circles of lace, because I needed Lintilla to have a time out.

Over the weekend I yanked out this bit of knitting, balled it up, and added to it the rest of the chain plied yarn. I then asked Miss Marja if I could add the chain plied bits to my crazy mystery shawl, which she quickly said yes to. Then I got started on the latest lintilla, which looks exactly as I’d envisioned, and I am very well pleased with the project now. The photo is not the greatest due to the lack of decent light at work. But, I think you can get the idea of the blending and much more subtle color shifting that is happening now.

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In other news, Mr. Ink purchased tickets for Miss Butterfly to go see Panic at the Disco for a christmas gift. The tickets were for the three of us to go as a family. But, as the date of the concert drew closer, she decided she’d much prefer to bring a friend, and so she asked Mr. Ink if he’d be willing to take her and Bestie, rather than her and me. He thought about it for about 24 hours, and decided indeed he could do that if it would make her happy. So, I got an evening at home alone, which I promptly used to take a long, hot, relaxing bath and Miss Butterfly got to see her band the way she wanted.

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First of all, I love these two lovely, excitable, screeching, intelligent, fun girls so much. For real. They are amazing children. And the man who would take those screeching girls to see a band he doesn’t even like is pretty fantastic too. I mean, I would totally be rolling my eyes if I had to do it, but I said to him “Have fun!” a bit sarcastically, as the girls were bouncing all over the house and being loud. And his extremely genuine response was “You know I will!”

I was asleep by the time they got home, so I’ll have to hear how it went today.

I am into the third color on the find your fade shawl, so I’ll be able to grab photos of that tonight. And then tomorrow? The next clue of the marled mystery will be revealed, so you know what my weekend will consist of! I know me, and I know that I am going to be just giddy to get home on Friday to work on it! In part because it’s a Friday, and in part because the shawl has been way too much fun. Happy Thursday Friends!

Beginning to Fade

I got home a bit late yesterday, but I was definitely looking forward to it as I knew my family wouldn’t be home at that time. I needed 2 more rows to complete the lace section I was working on in Find Your Fade, and I really wanted to get that section done prior to grabbing a photo. Unfortunately, I also fell asleep on the couch in the sun. Sometimes that’s just irresistible. After a quick nap, and thanks to the fact that it’s light later now, I grabbed a photo.

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I am so pleased with this so far! I worked my way into the third color last night. Surprisingly, I really don’t love knitting the lace sections. I think it’s because they aren’t charted, and I really love to be able to “see” my lace and how everything should line up. But, thankfully, after two sections I am pretty sure I can see if I am going wrong quite a bit earlier than I could in the first section.

Other thoughts of note. I began this one with the size needles called for in the pattern. I hate how it looked, my stitches were loose and sloppy, the garter stitch looking so messy. I went down one needle size and got the above gauge, which is entirely appropriate, tidy, and pleasant. It’s so amazing to me that such a tiny difference in needle sizes could make such a dramatic difference in end product.

How did I end up with this yarn? Well, for the first time ever, a facebook ad got to me. Somehow it popped up in my feed, I fell head over heels for the color combo, researched the company Expression Fiber Arts, and found the color combo on their site. It was a pre order, it had a date listed about a month in the future as to when my yarn would be ready. It was indeed ready and shipped on the very date listed. The yarn is merino and tencel. It’s super shiny, soft, and slippery. Mr. Ink says it almost looks metallic, but that’s just the high shine of tencel. I can just tell already that this is a shawl I am going to get a ton of use out of.

My additional story of the day is about work. My boss has rheumatoid arthritis. Her shoulders often hurt. I can always tell when she’s having quite a bit of pain, though she always hides it so well. Yesterday it was cold in the office. She was out talking to us, with her suit jacket thrown over her front, holding it up to her neck with her hands. She mentioned she was cold, and I gave her a bit of a funny look, she immediately knew I knew, and she said “I am in so much pain I can’t even stand to wear my jacket, it hurts too much.” So, I pulled my insanely HUGE handspun shawl I keep at work off my chair and handed it to her. She immediately looked relieved, put it over her shoulders, and went and sat at her desk. She quickly looked so much more relaxed. The power of a hand knit, I am telling you! It’s a big deal. I told her to borrow it any time, as it just sits over the back of my chair and I rarely use it. But, now that I am thinking it through, I may eventually just make her one of her own. We’ve worked together for a good 10 years now, and have always been friends. Furthermore, her mother is a knitter and she wears her mother’s  handknits frequently, she’s certainly knit worthy.

The shawl in question:

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In any case, it felt great to be able to provide someone with a little bit of comfort during her long day. I guess that, as a knitter, is something I hope for when I give handknits away.