A blog about my life, knitting, and other stuff.

June 29, 2007

Dear Jane

My second Dear Jane block, hand-pieced, is a vast improvement over my first.

Friday Night Video

A heartbreakingly cute commercial for a Friday night.


I was at the mall with the kids and my son said, "What are all those people doing?"

It was very hard to explain why these people were camping out in a mall to get a phone. Especially since they were all sitting there text-messaging or talking on the phones they currently own. That is if they could put their PSPs, laptops or DSs down for long enough. Seriously, every one of the people waiting had their noses glued to some sort of screen. (Okay, the guy in the front left seems to have momentarily put down his laptop.)

But it makes a nice lead in to this video.

Baby Surprise Jacket

Sorry for the crap photo

Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket from The Opinionated Knitter by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn: Fleece Artist Sea Wool
Needles: US3 Addi Turbos
Notes: I didn't seam the shoulders. This is a shop model and I thought customers might like to be able to open the sweater up to see its construction. It came out as a newborn size, maybe 0-3 months. The yarn is glor-i-ous to knit with.

June 28, 2007

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

You are breaking my heart. Just because the other kids are doing it doesn't mean you should.

"Why can't I wear a pretty sweater like her?"

Sadly, the big ass knits epidemic of '07 continues. It appears to be worse than the brain sucker invasion of '05. Please, for the safety of your knits, take precautions.

June 27, 2007

Photo Request

Attention all Madrona 2007 attendees.
I am looking for a photo of the booth from Madrona that had the huge tower of red top. I know I saw many photos on blogs right after Madrona. I was speaking with the owner at BSG and mentioned it. She asked me to send her links to any photos. Just leave me a comment or send me an email. Thanks.

Geez, That Took Long Enough

After another night of plying, plying, plying the Artful Ewe merino is finally done.

It's about 470 yards of fingering weight yarn.

While I had the camera out I thought I'd take an update shot of the sock yarn blanket. I worked on it quite a bit this weekend. It's perfect car knitting.

June 26, 2007

Still on a Fiber High

Plying takes time. I always forget that. I spin singles and think, "Now I just have to ply it." Last night I sat down at my wheel at 11:30 with my poor attempt at Navajo plying from this weekend and the two full bobbins of merino. I plied and plied and plied. I finished the first bobbin at 2 am. I have no idea why I didn't just stop at a more resonable time.

I got my fleece last night.

First prize for variegated medium wool. Mmmmm. (I forgot to mention it's a Corriedale.)

I spread it out on a sheet on the deck and pulled out any short cuts, globs of poop (hardly any!) and bits of veg. This is a very clean fleece. Of course, once I put it in the washer the water immediately went to that sickly green-brown. Blech. I let it sit in the sun and heat up before washing. I thought it might help soften up the grease. The first batch is in its second soak right now.

I got some more little bundles of wool/mohair roving from Dawn's Custom Carding. I love these. They're quick and fun to spin and really inexpensive.

I bought, spun and plied this one on Saturday.

I also picked up these two skeins of Corriedale 3-ply fingering weight yarn.

I might use them for Anemoi Mittens or Endpaper Mitts. Or they may be socks.

June 24, 2007

Wool Fumes

What a great time. I learned so much about fleece on this trip to Black Sheep. Judith Mackenzie is a born teacher and a wool goddess. I can't say enough wonderful things about her. If you didn't already know, she has a new book
out about handspinning. It is excellent.

I remembered to take out my camera. On the first day I walked past a car in the parking lot and noticed something funny. It was a small four door sedan. With a picnic blanket in the backseat. And lots of hay.

I guess someone wanted to bring a sheep (or goat or alpaca???) with them to BSG and didn't have a truck. I guess it wasn't a goat since the seats are still there.

You'd think goat owners would know to keep yummy things like paper away from their animals.

But this show goat's owner didn't. I can't tell you anything about the goat because he ate his own sign. Last year I saw a goat that had eaten its own ribbon!
Good thing they're cute.

That's one sweet looking angora goat.

On Saturday I went to the fleece viewing after the judging ended. During the judging I fell passionately in love with a milk chocolate brown merino fleece. From 20 feet away I knew I loved it. It won third place in its class.

Drop dead gorgeous.
And the most expensive, yet smallest, merino fleece I saw in the entire show. A whopping $18/pound! Well worth it, I'm sure, but too rich for my blood nonetheless.

Folks start lining up early for the fleece sale.

These people mean business. I wasn't planning on buying a fleece so I let them have at it. About an hour later I went back and did buy a fleece. You'll need to wait until Tuesday to see a picture since Sarah was kind enough to schlep it home for me. (I was worried we wouldn't have room in our car).

This morning there was lots of sheep shearing going on. This Lincoln was not being all that cooperative.

But the fleece was so beautiful. I have a lot of admiration for the shearers.

And I'll leave you with one parting shot of a Shetland was really into his hay.

June 23, 2007

Fleece Lessons

Day one of Black Sheep was amazing. We left Seattle at 6:30, stopped for a nice breakfast along the way and made it to the fairgrounds at 12:30. After a quick tour of the vendors (and seeing lots of familiar faces) I found out that Judith Mackenzie-McCuin was the fleece judge. I ran over to the fleece judging. Unlike last year's judge, who would look through the fleeces and rank them, Judith shared as much information as possible. She discussed class standards, what makes a healthy fleece, how certain fleeces should be prepared, what garments would best be made from them, etc. I stayed for several hours taking in all the great information. I fell in love with a few fleeces too.

I finally finished spinnign the merino top I got from The Artful Ewe last November. I attempted to Navajo-ply it. My samples skeins were horrible. One dreadfully over-plied. One pitifully under-plied. I also finished my first Welsh sock and got loads done on my sock yarn blanket.

I believe I have managed to take one photo.

More later.

June 21, 2007

Road Trip!

Off to Eugene for the Black Sheep Gathering. Janine and her sister are picking me up early tomorrow. I am overjoyed that I don't have to do the driving this time. I'm trying to pack lightly. I already took out one knitting project. I'll just have to work on the two that I'd already packed.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

So many questions.

Have you been reading Katy No-Pocket?

What's that opening for? On second thought, don't tell me.

Have you lost your mind? And my, that camel toe looks painful.

How much does Rick Mondragon hate women?

June 19, 2007

The Tale Continues

Jessica decided to ignore her little voice and pushed on knitting the second wrist warmer. "Screw you," she said to the yarn. "You're not going to make me quit." She ripped back the first one to match the second. The wrist warmers are, as the book promises, a very quick knit. Just a few hours passed and Jessica had her second wrist warmer completed.

And the yarn said, "Screw you right back."*

*Over 5 grams left over. How?

A Sad Tale of Loss and Redemption (and then loss and then more redemption)

Once there was a skein of Cash Iroha. It must have been a very bad skein because its owner attacked it with a pair of scissors and cut it into very short pieces. Then she wadded it all up, put it in a plastic bag and left it in the "free" box at the November retreat. Along came Jessica who discovered the poor abused skein and took it home. One day Jessica was teaching a class on the Hand/Wrist Warmer pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. A one skein project that calls for Cash Iroha! A love match! She retrieved the poor unloved skein and cast on. She knit the first hand warmer, having to stop often to spit splice the yarn where it had been rent in two (then three then four then...you get the idea). The class ended and Jessica put her hand warmer away. And then it was forgotten. Many months passed as the half-knit hand warmer sat alone in its bag. Then, while looking for her button box, Jessica discovered the long forgotten project. She rescued it and spent a weekend evening finishing the first hand warmer. It was love and it was lovely.

Then a small voice deep inside Jessica said, "Weigh the rest of the yarn." And she did. And lo! There were 16 grams of yarn. So the little voice said, "Weigh the hand warmer." And she did. And woe! It weighed 21 grams. So with a sad heart Jessica put the hand warmer in its plastic bag and retreated to her sleeping chamber.

The next night Jessica retrieved her hand warmer and her trusty scissors and cut off the first 7 rounds. She unpicked a round and put the live stitches back on the needles. She cast off. Then she started the second hand warmer. After several rounds she realized that she had started on the wrong round.

She looked deep inside herself and thought.

"Fuck it."

June 17, 2007

Thank You

You all are the best. Thank you so much for all the kind comments and support.
We had a very busy weekend and there's not much knitting to share. I knit the heel for my first Welsh sock last night then ripped it out and reknit it tonight. I made a run to the craft store for some plain buttons for the Baby Surprise Jacket. It's been done for a long time. I didn't want to sew it up until my class ended. You can see it resting below on the first six strips of my hexagon quilt. I did a preliminary pass through the quilting shop to pick out fabric for the borders. I don't have a clue what I'm doing.

Baby Surprise Jacket

Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket from The Opinionated Knitter by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn: Peruvian Highland Wool
Needles: US6 Addi Turbos
Notes: This was a class sample. I didn't change a thing. I knit it exactly as written. I was using up oddballs with no planning. I just picked up a ball and knit until I ran out.

June 15, 2007

Trying to Breathe

I'm having a bit of a rough week. I've had a death in the family which has made lots of other little things, that normally would be merely irritating, seem like hugely horrible things. Little things like school ending--I like the children going away for six hours a day for free--, Wes going on a business trip, blackberries overtaking the house, dirty dishes. I'm this close to losing it.

Ravelry seems to be sending out more and more invitations each day. If you're still waiting, just hang in there. Among the truly cool things on the site is a new feature that allows you to search your needle inventory for a particular size via text message (sorry, this link will only work for current Ravelry users).

Let's see, what else?
The Good German was a huge disappointment. I knew the reviews had been luke-warm but since I'm one of about 32 people in the world who really loved Bubble I thought it might work for me. The most--or only--interesting thing about the film is how it was made. The film looks great. The score is great. But how is it possible to make George Clooney seems dull and unappealing. That is a trick. Maybe I need to go see Ocean's Thirteen this weekend. That should cheer me up.

June 14, 2007

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

Big Ass Knits! They're unstoppable.

And they seem to repel pants.

I've tried warning you all in the past. If this trend continues I'll be forced to move to Phase II. Confinement.

June 13, 2007

Fake Isle Hat

Pattern: Fake Isle Hat by Amy King
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Worsted (assorted colors) and Knitaly
Needles: US7 Crystal Palace Circulars
Notes: A fast, fun project and a good stashbuster. Next time I would knit the ribbing on smaller needles and/or fewer stitches.

Yes, Sir. Yes, Sir. Five Bags Full.

Of yard waste.

I discovered the key to getting the kids to help me with the yard. I bought them their own work gloves. They helped me pull weeds and put yard waste in bags for a while. Then I went back to work on the blackberries. I cleared a pretty good area yesterday and spent a lot of time digging up roots. My older son came back outside and begged me to let him help more with the yard. So I got him pulling vines off the deck and the trees. There is still much, much more work to do. We haven't even approached the mega-blackberry patch. The 20 foot high one. When I woke up this morning I could barely life my arms. I actually woke up during the night because I was so sore. I feel like I'm in slow-motion today.

I worked on the Welsh sock last night while watching The Good German. I didn't get to finish it (the movie. Or the sock.).

I also did a bit more on my Fake Isle hat. I'm just using random odds and ends of Lamb's Pride so the colorway *ahem* leaves a bit to be desired.

I've finished sewing the strips for the hexagon quilt and I have sewn four strips together. I tried out my new walking foot and it kept slipping out of place. Then it popped off and snapped my needle in two. It was pretty dramatic. I put the old foot back on and got out a new needle. Whoa. Sewing with a new needle is like sewing with a whole new machine. Smoooooth. It's like oiling your spinning wheel. I always forget what a difference it makes until I do it.

But now I just feel tired and my motivation is waning. I keep checking over my shoulder and the quilt has still not started to assemble itself.

June 12, 2007

When You're Good to Mama

I'm still deep in a Dulaan kick. I finished teaching my class which means I can finally finish the Baby Surprise Jacket I started the first week of May. I sewed it up and wove in all the ends. Now I need to find my button box and sew on some buttons. I also started a Fake Isle hat with a bunch of odds and ends of Lamb's Pride Worsted and a skein of Knitaly I got at a Dulaan Knit In.

I had a goal in mind of finishing my hexagon quilt top (or at least finishing sewing the strips then sewing the strips together by the end of Sunday night. Instead Wes and I decide to start attacking the blackberry forest that is our yard. Have you ever gotten smacked in the face with a blackberry cane? I don't recommend it. It still stings. After all the chopping, hacking and pulling (only a few square feet cleared) my arms were so weak I couldn't sew. My hands were shaking so violently I couldn't hold the pieces of fabric.

Last night I cut out of Purlygirls early for a night of Cineoke. It was an amazing night. By all accounts it was the greatest night in Cineoke history. We had guitar playing, Bollywood dancing, a Little Mermaid in full costume with props, Neil Diamond ("Today!"), A Chorus Line, Grease 2. Awesome. I sang "When You're Good to Mama" from Chicago and dedicated it to Paris Hilton. I also got to sing "Les Poissons" from The Little Mermaid which was incredibly fun because the whole audience was singing it with me. Wes brought two co-workers. One did the most heartfelt rendition of "Something's Coming" from West Side Story ever. The other did " All I Do is Dream of You" from Singin' In the Rain with full choreography. We all had a great time. If you're in Seattle and free on July 9th, I highly recommend checking out Cineoke. And it benefits the Seattle Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

June 10, 2007

Comfy Socks

Pattern: Comfy Socks
Yarn: Ara from Dale of Norway
Needles: US11s
Notes: These are super-fast socks to knit. They are very thick and warm. I knit these in the largest size for the Dulaan Project. I'm modeling them with another pair of socks underneath.

Sock's Up

After a week or so with no socks on the needles I cast on for the Welsh Country Socks from Folk Socks.

I'm using some Knitpicks Essential from my stash and can I just say that so far I am unimpressed. Or rather, you get what you pay for.

I knew I was going to see Surf's Up on Saturday with my older son (younger didn't want to go) and that I wouldn't be able to knit the patterning or calf shaping from the Welsh Socks in the dark. I needed a simple knit. In one of those perfect convergence moments I got an email from Knitting Daily with survey results on why no one was knitting the socks from their free Comfy Socks pattern. The reason was mainly that the socks are super-thick. They're knit in bulky yarn at 3 sts/inch. I knew these would be great for Dulaan. I've been feeling a little guilty that I haven't been knitting more for adults. Kids' knits are so much faster, easier and cuter to knit. I also had several skeins of Dale of Norway Ara sitting unloved and abandoned in my stash. So I knew what I would knit at the movies. I cast on the first sock on Friday night. I knit the leg during the movie. But the sock went so quickly I was at the heel before the movie ended. I pulled the first sock right off the needles (got to love wool for all its stickiness) and I cast on the second sock in the dark. I was able to knit most of the second leg during the movie too. I didn't quite finish them at home last night so I took them out with me today. They are thick, plush and incredibly warm. I hope they find a happy owner in Mongolia.

The movie, by the way, was really very cute. It's done as a mockumentary about a famous surfing penguin. There's a lot of good business in there referencing reality shows and documentaries. I was glad my older son and I had started to watch March of the Penguins the night before. If you're kids are interested in going to this one you will be pleasantly amused for 85 minutes.

I also finished watching The Lost Room. Like my previous experiment with Battlestar Gallactica, I was trying to stretch myself a little. I really like Peter Krause, from Six Feet Under. But this thing was so low-rent I could not believe. And they didn't even attempt to make anything pull together, make any sense or resolve in any way. Terrible writing, terrible effects and frankly the actors looked like they had to do their own make-up.

June 8, 2007

Simple Shoes

Elegantly stuffed with scrap yarn and a washcloth

Pattern: Simple Shoes from Uniform Studio
Yarn: Donated Handspun
Needles: US10.5 Brittany dpns
Notes: These are for Dulaan. They are, as the name suggests, simple to knit and darn quick to boot.

Baby Leggings

Pattern: Baby Leggings from The Opinionated Knitter
Yarn: Peruvian Highland Wool
Needles: US7 Addi Turbos
Ugh. So you know how I was so tickled by the extra tush space knit into these leggings using short rows? Apparently that wasn't on my mind when I started the calf decreases, which I started on the front of the legs. Which I didn't notice until I had completed both feet and woven in all my ends. So now these will be the perfect leggings for a small child with a big belly and no butt. I knit the bootee foot option instead of the sock foot.
Thanks to Sarah who came through with the extra skein of Allspice to knit the feet.

June 7, 2007

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

I don't know about you but when I think about formal wear I think of felt.
Stiff, heavy, wool felt.

Now why does this one remind me of Bill Nighy?

Oh. Right.

For that little coral reef in all of us.

And this one is just the thing if you want something that says, "I perished in a watery grave."

Thanks so much to the reader who sent this in. I forgot your name! Damn, I have got to start writing these things down.

June 5, 2007

Not So Longies

Dang, I just ran out of yarn. I still have 5 rounds left on each leg and the feet to go. If you've got any leftovers of Peruvian Highland Wool in Butter, Allspice, Spring Green or Blue Vista laying around, let me know.

***Update: I got some more yarn tonight. I should be okay. Thanks for all the offers!***

There's been more sewing. The hexagon quilt has three strips sewn and 13 to go. But last night I went off on a tangent. I was reading about the Disappearing 9 Patch quilt technique. I wanted to try it myself so I dug out some ancient fabric that only kind of goes together and started cutting.

This morning I started sewing.

Then I cut.

Then rearranged.


I'm going to use these blocks to make a mini quilt to practice my machine quilting on. That should be interesting...

ETA: Itty bitty Disappearing 9 Patch quilt top is done.

June 3, 2007

Got My Dulaan Mojo

In anticipation of Saturday's Dulaan-a-Thaan I had starting knitting hats again for the Dulaan Project. Friday night and Saturday during the day I knit these.

The one on the left is Lamb's Pride Bulky held together with some mystery boucle and the one on the right is Rowan Big Wool. This is still all the odds and ends that a customer gave to me. I also cast on another hat at lunch with three strands of Cascade 220 (also from the same customer--Thanks Amy!).

I arrived ridiculously early. Ryan had cautioned about the limited parking. I got to the shop at 4:45. The event started at 6. I felt like a dork. It gave me time to keep working on my hat and prepare my yarn. I planned to knit an entire sweater before I left.

By 6 Ryan and TMK had arrived. I started my sweater. Slowly knitters came. All of them had food and armloads of hats and sweaters to donate. We knit. We ate. We talked. We laughed.

Around 10ish my knitting looked like this.

More knitting, talking, eating and laughing. Fatigue started to set in a bit. There was a certain air of giddiness. We all got the giggles. After 1 am our numbers were thinning.

Finally at 3:30 I finished the sweater.

I stuck around until a little after 4 am to finish my hat.

We collected 100 items for Dulaan.

I headed home. The wrong way on I-5. I turned around and actually headed home. I was thwarted by an endless repaving project that had all the streets leading to my house blocked. I finally found my way to my house. The sun was coming up. I collapsed into bed and surprisingly lay awake for a while thinking about what I would knit next for Dulaan.