Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ummmm.....

I wasn't seeing eye to eye with Alice on.......well, any of the 19 colors. Oops.



Did I mention that this is all Marina's fault? OK, as long as everyone understands that I'm supposed to be packing - see that ticker up there at the top that says "NINE days" - and that all this distraction? Yep, I'm blaming it all on her. Uh, huh, sure am! ;)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Happy Knit-Spin-versary!

OK, so I am a little behind, what is new? :) July last year I learned to spin and August I learned to knit. The first yarn I spun that was usable for a project was a crazy kool-aid dyed orange sock yarn. Well, some of it was sock yarn and some of it was "fluffy" sock yarn but eh, it was working for me. I had practiced stitches, increases, decreases etc. etc. and then I found the Sock 101 tutorial on Knitty.com that shows you how to make a mini-sock. I loved spinning but I wasn't sure if this knitting thing was going to be something I would stick with so I didn't want to buy expensive needles or anything and the big aluminum size 8's from my grandmother probably weren't going to be much use for this project. Being of an enterprising nature, I picked up some 3/8's dowel rods for 39 cents and made myself a set of dpns and sat down and knit that little mini sock. It turned out quite cute and after working with it, the construction of a sock made sense so I whipped up another set of dpns from the second dowel and proceeded to spend the month working on my very first knitted items, socks!

From the very beginning, I had to knit things that come in pairs, at the same time. I am completely incapable of knitting socks sequentially. I did it once and it just bothers my brain. I have to do sleeves at the same time too. I mean ok, it is possible, but I really don't like it. The bright side to this issue is that it is easier for a beginner to make sure things are matching up between the two.

I can't explain how nutty I felt that they actually fit and were 'real'. I was in love with all of the crazy color shifts in that yarn. I wore those socks every other day for the rest of the year, wore them, washed them, gave them one day to dry and started over. This was the first time I had a pair of socks where the heel wasn't hanging out the back of my shoe and I was amazed. I was pretty much hooked after that :)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sweet!!

Remember the Knit Sock Kit Swap I mentioned awhile back? Well I was blessed with really terrific swap partners. I ran into some big troubles with the bag I was putting together and it was giving my machine a thrashing. I called in backup and Amy helped me out by delivering an adorable bag and a bonus skein of her handdyed sock yarn and I shipped out the goodies I had been collecting. It all worked out in the end and the recipient was very happy.

During the hub-bub I received a wonderous package from my other swap partner but couldn't truely dive in until I had everything else settled. So diving and photographing got to happen today. Check it out!




Kerry over at Hank the Llama (excellent blog name!) sent me some great gifts that I'm really looking forward too. The drawstring style bags are working out great with the numerous socks I have on the needles - I love the fabrics she chose. And new projects to plan? How about the fair isle socks kit from KnitWits and the lovely Lornas in that scrumptious shade of merlot? I will definitely be curled up in front of the fire this winter with some really beautiful sock projects. Did I mention the needles? She put in two pairs of those funky elastic circs so I can do both socks at the same time like I love to do! How sweet is that?! and a good indication that you have snagged one of the best swap partners ever is that she sent goodies for the girls too - scented tennis balls and greenies, high favorites around here. Kerry is multitalented and obviously knows how to show her machine who's boss. She can also lounge on beach, fly a kite and knit all at the same time! I take inspiration from that :) Thanks Kerry!!



....and this stuff?? I received a call this week from my LYSO. I had been in weeks ago and they have a new yarn from a local mill that she was helping them with. It's a blend of fine wools like merino, rambouillet, targhee, etc and is the softest yarn I've encountered yet. At the time she only had a few samples in primary colors and I had made a comment that it would be so great if they had something like a deep wine heather - I'd be all over it. Well look what they made just for me!! A deep wine heathered with the darkest darkest blue. They made the first batch at my request and named the colorway 'Berries'. It will now be included it in their line as a standard color. How sweet is that?!? It's a light worsted weight and the only sad thing is that I have no idea what to make with it! I need suggestions - what kind of thing works well with darkly heathered yarns?

It is shaping up to be a very fine fall knitting season!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Bright Side

Thanks for all the get well wishes, made me feel much better they did! I'm on the mend but doc says it's a little bit more than the flu. Seems I've managed to get stomach ulcerations! How exactly one does this I'm not real sure but she gave me some meds and I have to go back in a few weeks. I figure this means I just need more knitting time right? And apparently the sinus issues - they're just a bonus. So what did I do since I couldn't work on Queen Anne? Remember this?

Inspired by this:


It is now this:



Project: Kiri Shawl, free pattern from Polly Outhwaite at All Tangled Up
Yarn: Hand dyed Henry's Attic Fingering Weight Kona Superwash. Dyed by me in the Frittillaries colorway.
Needles: Inox greys size 7US
Inspiration: Yarn from Marina and VanGogh's painting - "Frittillaries, Crown Imperials in a Copper Vase" and the view from my kitchen


This one was a very interesting project. It is the first shawl I have done and the first lace I have finished and blocked. There is always much discussion on "process vs project" around the knitting blogs but this project for me begs the question - which process? The process of looking at a huge hunk of naked fingering weight yarn that was deliciously soft and dreaming of what it could be? The process of finding inspiration in a famous painter and your everyday surroundings driving you to mix up dozens of shades of dye to get the right nuances of color? The process of selecting just the right pattern to show off this gorgeous new yarn that fills you with delight? The process of learning this form of shawl construction and marveling at it's ingenious simplicity? The process of making stitches in endless rhythm as the rows never seemed to end? The process of the victorious cast off and the declaration of 'done'!? The process of crawling about on hands and knees with a box of 250 pins and wet wool wondering what you were thinking? The process of picking it up the next day and holding it to the light in wonderment that it really stayed that way, forever freed from it's rumpled beginnings and the feeling of awe in the thought 'I made this'? Or the process of growing comprehension of the seduction of lace and the feeling that something changed in you as an artist and creator as a project was brought forth to completion? Hmmmm I think I loved them all.....

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Thing Two



This is the colorway for the second original fair isle sweater that I want to do. I would love to capture some of the detail stonework or grillwork from the buildings I pass everyday downtown. I figure if they say to start writing a book you should write what you know, then the sweater thing is probably the same. In my case, I know the midwest and I know my city. If I ever wrote a knitting book, instead of titles like "In the Hebrides" or "Pacific Coast Highway" I'd have "Commuting in Detroit" Heh, yeah, these are the thoughts that amuse me dearly. I don't know when I am going to get to this one but I had to capture the colors. They had become a nagging, persistent vision in my mind, reminding me not to forget, so now they are in a bowl where they can be quiet. Although with my color choices, quiet is not usually a word that comes to mind.

I was really looking forward to the 3 day weekend and making some progress on a few things. Unfortunately for me, I woke up feeling lousy on Saturday and by night I felt a bit feverish and the sinuses started going. I curled up in front of the fireplace for awhile, it was actually chilly here. I can't work on Anne Boleyn much because with the ultra sensitive nose the shetland sends me into fits of sneezes. So I'm working on socks and stuff and admiring Queen Anne across the room. I need to finish up this repeat and I will be almost there for the neck and sleeve steeks, the first milestone.



Check out the stitch markers Lorraine, crystal quartz & sterling, fair isle size - they match everything! And I thought jewels went perfectly with a royal cardi :)