Sunday, June 29, 2008

Still in Love

On Friday evening, I decided it was time my wheel and I get reacquainted, so I pulled out some of my fiber and got to work. Remember this roving?

After a couple of hours on Friday evening and a couple more on Saturday morning, I had half of it spun up.

This is superwash merino from Kristin at All Spun Up, and it is a dream to spin. I also love how the colors are working together. This is not a colorway I'd normally go for -- orange is probably least favorite color -- but something about the burnt orange next to blues and creams and rich chocolate brown just made me have to have it. I'm definitely going to be buying more from Kristin in the future. Her color sense is amazing; click over to her store to see. (Just make sure you leave some fiber for me!)

The Mister and I spent a good part of the weekend running errands for the house, including an IKEA trip yesterday (always fun) and a stop at Bed Bath & Beyond today. We still need to find a few items of furniture, but we now have a rug in the living room; a shelf holding up our TV in the bedroom; and a caddy holding our shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc. in the bathroom, among other things. For those of you who are interested, I've put up a little virtual house tour over on my Flickr. Just remember that we're still getting things together and organized, so please excuse the mess!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Diet? High in Fiber

Two surprises were waiting for me when I got home this evening -- my orders from the Loopy Ewe and Sonny & Shear! (How's that for fast shipping?) Let's just say I have a lot of quality time with my wheel ahead.

First, from Kris at Sonny & Shear:

Lorna's Laces Wool Top, 8 oz., colorway Rainbow

DragonFibers BFL, 4 oz., colorway Rosehip

Miss Babs BFL, 4 oz., colorway Van Gogh

And from Sheri at the Loopy Ewe:

Dyeing Arts Dazzling Duo (without an errant apostrophe) superwash merino, 4 oz., colorway Sleepy Doormouse

Gale's Art BFL, 4 oz., colorway Deep Blue Sea

Sakina Needles BFL, 4 oz., colorway Smokestack

Let me tell you, these are two retailers who know how to run a business! Both orders were mailed within hours of being placed and got to me in two days. Both arrived neatly packaged, with each roving wrapped in plastic (the Sonny & Shear fiber was even tied up with bows, like a present). Both had small goodie bags with a few treats -- some yummy tea bags (from a company called Stash, natch) from Sonny & Shear and yarn sample cards and sample-sized Soak from the Loopy Ewe. Finally, both had handwritten notes thanking me for my business -- Sheri even reminded me to "take time to knit this week" (d'you think she's worried I'll be doing nothing but spinning?). I will definitely be purchasing from these fiber pushers, er, I mean, shop owners again. May I suggest you click over and do the same if you're in the market for some yarn, fiber, patterns, or notions?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Man Socks, with a Twist

Those of you who know The Mister, whether in real life or through my descriptions of him here, know that he's not very adventurous when it comes to wearing color. Sometimes I feel like I should call him Mister Shades of Gray.

While I'm happy to knit The Mister socks to fit his big feet, and I'm happy to knit them in nothing but stockinette or ribbing, it does get very boring very quickly to be knitting only in black or shades of gray. So, I decide to push the envelope this time, just a little bit. These socks aren't black or gray -- they're black and gray.

Pattern: Gentleman's Plain Winter Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush
Yarn: Knit Picks Essential (75% superwash wool, 25% nylon), colorway Carbon Twist, two skeins
Needles: two 12" US 1 (2.5 mm) Addi Turbo circs
Started/Completed: June 15/June 24
Mods: substituted ssks for k1 sl1 pssos

The subtle color-shifting quality of this yarn -- which makes the knitted fabric look a little like TV static to me -- is a result of how the yarn is composed. It's a four-ply yarn, with two plies of each color. The Mister seemed to really like how these were looking as I was knitting them up.

I think I'm now officially out of black and/or gray yarn. If The Mister wants more socks, I'll just have to go yarn shopping -- oh, darn!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gettin' There

Last night, I finally got the chance to pull out my knitting and relax for more than a few minutes. I'm making good progress on my February Lady Sweater; I've probably got only another couple of inches of the lace before I start the lower hem of the body.

I'm planning on getting out my wheel again soon, too, especially because I may have made some fiber purchases at a couple online retailers today -- I'm entitled to treat myself to a little housewarming present, right?

We are getting closer to making the house presentable, too. Last night my brother-in-law came over and helped us hang a few pieces of art, and this evening I put out nearly all the trash generated from unpacking. I walked home from work today -- it took me less time than it used to take to drive home -- and it was very pleasant except for the giant blister I got on my right foot. More comfortable shoes are planned for tomorrow.

Also tomorrow: a finished pair of man socks!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Oh hai!

And I'm back.

Just as Jen predicted, The Mister had our wireless network up and running long before the movers got all the furniture in. It wasn't until this morning, however, that I was finally able to get on my computer and got caught up on my e-mail and blog reading. (It's been a few days since I last logged in to Ravelry, however, so I'm going through some withdrawal in that respect.)

The move went relatively well. The movers did manage to lose some of our stuff and damage quite a few pieces, but they got everything in to the house in the minimum four hours and we bought extra insurance to cover those oopsies. After three days of cleaning, unpacking, reorganizing, and taking out trash and broken-down boxes, we are just about fully settled. We will need to do a little bit of furniture shopping (the one piece that the movers completely broke was our living room coffee table) and there's still "finishing" things to do like hang artwork, but the house is finally completely livable.

One room that's quite cozy is my new craft/fiber room, also known as our third floor guest room. Here is some photographic evidence that my stash arrived safely:

On the top shelf are my tools -- my scale, ball winder, and past issues of Interweave Knits. On the second shelf are my spinning supplies (though they're partially hidden by the two felted bags holding some WIPs): lazy kate with bobbins, spinning fiber, and some recent handspun. The yarn on the third shelf down had been living at my parents' since we put our old house on the market; there's enough there for at least five sweaters and a blanket as well as about three gallon bags full of leftover sock yarn (I see lots of baby socks in my future). On the bottom shelf, shoved toward the back, is a rather large bag of acrylic that's probably as old as my high school diploma that my mother thought I needed -- Jenn, are you still knitting squares for the animal shelter?

In the next section of the closet is the stash that I grabbed out of the old house at the last minute and brought with us to my parents', along with my drying racks and the plastic tub with my embroidery supplies. There's a shelf above this part of the closet, which you can't see, where I have my swift and blocking wires.

The stash and I are both very happy to be home, finally. It's been an incredibly exhausting weekend, but now that most of the work is done, I'm hoping to get back to normal with my knitting and blogging schedule. I promise I will take some other house photos just as soon as it's presentable!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Brief Hiatus

Tomorrow is moving day! We have Internet access at the house, but it may be a few days until The Mister gets a wireless network set up, so even if I do have the energy after all the cleaning and unpacking, it may be a few days until I'm online for any significant amount of time.

In the meantime, here's a little preview of the new house (The Mister took the picture during the inspection back in April, so there are actually leaves on the trees now):

See you on the flip side!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I Should Call Them My Debt Monkeys

Knit with the last of my non-sock club STR, these were completed shortly after I became a homeowner and acquired a massive amount of debt.

Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A. (winter '06 Knitty)
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock lightweight (100% superwash merino), colorway Stormy Weather, one skein
Needles: two 12" US 1 (2.5 mm) Addi Turbo circs
Started/Completed: June 5/June 15
Mods: my usual -- no purls and a slip-stitch heel flap -- and an accidental oopsie in the placement of the gusset decrease stitches that resulted from not having the pattern in front of me

I bought this yarn with a BMFA gift certificate that came as part of my final package from my Sockret Pal spoiler, Becky. I originally intended it for a pair of socks for The Mister, but I soon realized that the pooling would be way too busy for his taste, even if the colorway was squarely in his usual range of preferences.

Speaking of pooling, I'm quite pleased with how well the striping/spiraling worked out on these socks. They make me think of the old black-and-white jail uniforms, hence the moniker "Jailbird Monkeys" on my Ravelry projects page.

In a moment of almost-guilt for using yarn that was intended for The Mister, I cast on a pair of plain socks for him as soon as these were done. They're black and gray and extremely boring, but at least they'll knit up quickly.

* * * * *

Thank you all for your congratulations on the new house! I promise I will post some pictures eventually, once we're all moved and settled in. We've having a bunch of work done this week (new electrical service, some plumbing, new carpet, etc.), and the furniture and boxes arrive on Friday, so I'm hoping that by the end of the weekend we'll be reasonably unpacked and back to normal.

Finally, a reminder -- tomorrow is the third Wednesday of the month, so the Hurricane Knitters will be meeting starting at about 7 p.m. at the Waterworks Barnes & Noble. We'd love to see some new faces, so stop by if you can make it!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

How I Spent the Rest of My Week

I printed and knit the first clue of the Goddess Knits Anniversary Mystery Shawl, a day earlier than expected.

I got to the lace portion of my February Lady Sweater.

I knit a heel, gusset, and foot of a Monkey sock.

I did some spinning and gave it a lot of good thwacking.

I bought a house!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Knitting Priorities

With all of the craziness in my life these days, I've been inspired by Jess's post to really work out my knitting priorities for this summer and make a comprehensive list of my goals. As usual, I have a feeling that what I'd like to knit is going to be a lot more than I can actually knit, but it's good to have lofty goals, right? So let's see ...

1. Knit socks. Lots of 'em.
Some will be for me, some will be for babies, and some will be to go in the long-term planning box for holiday gifts. First up is the mate to this purl-less Monkey, finished last night:

As soon as we move in to the new house and I have access to my swift and ball winder again, I'm getting out my latest STR and going to town with it. And I am determined to finally get into my Cat Bordhi book and knit some new! exciting! and different! socks.

2. Keep up with the mystery shawl clues to complete it on time.
The first clue comes out this Saturday!

3. Finish my Icarus Shawl.
Eventually. It turns one in August, so maybe by then.

4. Finish my February Lady Sweater in a timely manner.
I am determined to be on the front end of the bandwagon on this one, for once. Last night I had to frog what I had done and cast on for a smaller size, so I'm back to where I was.

(I must add here that I am thoroughly enjoying knitting with the DIC Classy -- so smooshy!)

5. Knit another Sizzle.
I've had the yarn for about a year, and it's a fast pattern, so there's really no excuse. Plus, I want to wear it this summer!

Not really a knitting goal, but ...

6. Spin up enough of my fiber that I can justify buying more.
But not so much that it seriously interferes with my knitting time.

Looking at these, I don't think these goals are unreasonable, do you?

What are your summer knitting/crocheting/spinning goals?

Sunday, June 08, 2008


First of all, it's Sunday, which means spinning. Very little has gone on this week, given that it was a Hurricane Knitting week, the end of the hockey playoffs, and insanely hot.

I did clear the rest of the March Hare singles off the bobbin to free it up by Navajo plying it into a miniskein. It's not very much and my technique was a little sloppy, so I haven't even bothered to finish it yet and may not finish it at all. I just like looking at it as a pretty skein.

The only new spinning I managed to do all week was to spin singles from the first half of my other Dyeing Arts roving. This was the 2 oz. of pinks and reds; the other 2 oz. is greens and purples.

And that's all for the spinning content this week!

Yesterday I finally made it over to Natural Stitches to enter the sock contest and had the delightful surprise of meeting Lisa and Anna for the first time in person. They had both just cast on for the February Lady Sweater and were showing off the pattern, and the next thing I knew, I was winding the four skeins of Dream in Color Classy I'd just bought in a cheerful colorway called Go Go Grassy. As you can see, I've already printed out the pattern and swatched, so I'm ready to cast on tonight.

And you can't say I'm crazy for starting a wool sweater in the middle of June (when it's about 90 degrees outside), because Lisa and Anna are doing it, too! With any luck, you may see us in an upcoming Natural Stitches newsletter, modeling our fab new sweaters!

I know what you may be thinking -- why am I starting a sweater when I've been working so hard to finish Icarus? Well, let's face it: There is no way Icarus is going to be done in time for the start of the mystery shawl KAL next Saturday, and I think I'd start to resent the darn thing if I was avoiding starting my exciting new project because of it. I think I've just accepted the fact that Icarus is meant to be a long-term project that will get done, eventually. If I can make it before it turns into a year-old WIP, so much the better.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Walking on Shells

Finished these up last night:

Pattern: Charade (Ravelry link) by Sandra Park
Yarn: SWTC TOFUtsies (50% superwash wool, 25% soysilk, 22.5% cotton, 2.5% chitin), colorway 733/Get Your Feet Wet, one skein
Needles: two 12" US 1 (2.5 mm) Addi Turbo circs
Started/Completed: May 27/June 5
Mods: corrected an error in the heel turn and subbed my usual toe

I'm not sure this was the best yarn for the pattern; the colorway is just busy enough to obscure the stitch pattern. But I didn't want to do a boring old stockinette sock, so I guess this will have to do. If I knit this pattern again, I'll definitely do it in a solid yarn.

I have mixed feelings about this yarn. On the one hand, I love how the knitted fabric feels on -- light and silky. On the other hand, it can be a pain to work with because the twist in the ply doesn't stay put, if that makes any sense. I was also going to take a picture of the huge knot that I had to cut out of the skein, but it seems to have run away from me. From what I've heard, that seems to be a not uncommon experience.

So, these won't be my favorite socks in the world, but I like them just fine. I started another pair last night at the baseball game. Can you guess what they are?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Knitting at a Slow Pace

In the past few weeks, I've been making a concerted effort to work on my Icarus shawl, long dormant in my WIP pile. I started it last August (in fact, I can remember the movie I was watching when I cast on), but it got put down for the wedding and honeymoon, and then the lure of sweaters and socks and other wooly things distracted me for a long time.

Now that it's summer (in spirit if not in fact), I've been hearing the siren call of lace again. Lace is great for the summer because, even with a nearly complete shawl, the pile of wool in your lap is light and airy and entirly tolerable. I've been working on Icarus in part because I feel guilty for neglecting it for so long but also because I have it in my mind to finish it before the Goddess Knits Anniversary Mystery Shawl KAL starts up. That goal might be a tad bit too ambitious, as the first clue comes out a week from Saturday. At the moment I'm in the fourth of five repeats of rows 19-42 of chart 1 in Icarus. It looks bigger than the last time you saw it, but not by much (for scale, that's a 32" US 3 Knit Picks circular in there):

(I do realize that's a awful photo, but it was the best of several that I took. It's already difficult to capture bright red on camera, and as fate would have it, we're having an overcast, rainy day just when I want to do a photo shoot.)

The knitting on this shawl is going very slowly, even though the pattern isn't very tricky at the moment. This yarn, while labeled laceweight, is actually closer to cobweb weight, and added to that is its tendency to snag on rough spots on my fingers, so I have to be very careful and deliberate in my knitting movements.

I discovered last night that a really bad thing to do when you're trying to knit lace with what is essentially thread is to watch a playoff hockey game, particularly when the Cup is on the line. I had a couple of scary moments where I nearly dropped stitches, and I decided it would be best to put the knitting away after the second period. Fortunately the lace was fine, and the game ended for the best (and no, I didn't stay up until the end).

Depending on how brave I am, I may actually bring the shawl to Hurricane Knitting tomorrow night (7 p.m. at the Waterworks Barnes & Noble) -- but maybe I should be safe and just bring socks. You'll have to be there to see!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Spinning Sundays

I'm usually not one for theme blog posts, but in light of the fact that not all of you spin or even have an interest in spinning, I'm going to try something new: Spinning Sundays. I'm going to try to do all my spinning-related blogging on Sunday, so that those of you who aren't remotely interested can skim for knitting content or skip the entries entirely. I won't promise that I'll have some spinning to show you every Sunday, but I'll do my best (and I'm sure my wheel will like the extra attention).

This weekend I finished a yarn that I'd been looking forward to spinning for quite some time. I hadn't wanted to start it before we moved, so the wheel was dormant for a couple weeks until it and my fiber were moved in with my parents.

Here's how it looked in roving form, as a reminder. This is Dyeing Arts Dazzling Duos, a superwash merino, in the colorway March Hare:

And here it is as yarn, a two ply somewhere between a fingering and a sport weight:

In spite of the fact that the yardage I got with this 4 oz. was a little disappointing (only about 255 yards), I'm quite proud of this yarn because of the fact that I finally achieved the tight twist and barberpoling effects I was trying for. It was also my first time spinning pure merino (as opposed to a blend). It broke several times in the beginning, but by the end of the second bobbin, I was completely comfortable. I've already started spinning up the first half of the other Dyeing Arts roving.

Ahead of our move in with my parents, I sent myself a little housewarming gift. These will be seen in the weeks ahead; both are from All Spun Up.

4.4 ounces of superwash merino

4.3 ounces of merino