Monday, July 31, 2006

Sock Yarn!

So I've been working on this superwash Merino from Crown Mountain Farms in the Mustang Sally Colorway. I've spent the last few days spinning it into thin singles.

I finally got two bobbins full last night.

Now, before I go any further, I'll explain to you something about me. I'm never EVER going to be a Martha Stewart or a fabulous decorator or anything like that. It's not because I don't want to be, it's because I always have something go slightly off, making it mine. For example, growing up, we never had the perfect Christmas tree. It always had a crooked trunk, tipped over at least once, and usually got tied to the wall. That's what made it OUR family tree. So it should have come as no surprise that my beautiful wheel would turn out the same. :)

Meet my new plying head. :)

When I went to the Weaving Works to buy one, the only one they had in stock was the special edition one made of Walnut. I was told that the next time they'd have one in stock would me MONTHS away. I decided to get it anyway. Heck, it does the exact same thing! :)

Look how balanced the skein is! Barely any twist! (Sorry I forgot to rotate the picture!)

And here it is soaking in the sink to set the twist.

I ended up with about 360 yards in this skein. I still have roving left over, which I'll spin and have a second (smaller) skein. Then I'll make socks out of my own HANDSPUN! w00t!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Ah, to be back with my broadband internet. :) I love staying with my mom at her house, but I do get a bit of the withdrawls from my surfing of knitting blogs. :) Lots of things to report, so will try to post once a day until I go back to work on Wednesday.

Versailles socks are still chugging along. Now that the heat has broken, I've been able to knit with wool again. I must look into purchasing an AC (during a time that's not summer when they jack the prices up). I've been avoiding spinning and knitting because it's been so darn hot!

The socks should be done way before I get on the plane at 6:30 am on the 24th. Speaking of flying, after looking at the TSA's website, I may not want to bring my beloved Addi Turbos, as they may be confiscated for being a "weapon." (Only to create some kick ass socks if you ask me, but I may be biased) Any suggestions for alternates? I've grown to love circular knitting. Maybe I'll get a pair of the Knitpicks circular needles, or the DPNs. That way, if they decide to take them away, it's only $5 lost. Is the fact that I haven't thought about what clothes to pack, but have been debating about what YARN to pack for the trip evidence of my obsession with yarn? I have a 5 hour flight to Philadelphia, with a 3.5 hour layover, then an 8 hour flight to Paris. That's 16 hours of knitting time just one way! w00t!

Weaving class continues. We finally have moved away from the cotton practice warp, and homework this week was to warp our loom with some Shetland Wool, choose a pattern from the homework sheet, and weave it. After we're complete with that, we'll be doing different finishing techniques to it. I'm trying to finish by Tuesday so I can borrow a friend's sewing machine to sew it before I cut (!) it in pieces. I'm looking forward to staring a "real" project. I've decided to make either a scarf or shawl for my Mom. It will be out of cotton, as she's probably going to Florida, and won't need a wool scarf there. :)

I'm very proud of myself that I was able to remember how to set up the loom, and here's my bit of progress before going to Seattle's Torchlight Parade last night.

I had a bit of a snafu when I realized that I had two warp ends less than what I needed. Thankfully in my sleep deprived haze (I had to go to class after a night shift--the class is from 9:30-12) I had remembered to get some extra yarn in case there was breakage. I had enough to make the two 1-yard warp ends.

Then, Saturday morning, I finished up my beginning spinning class. In hindsight, I didn't really learn that much more than what I had already figured out on my own. I did get to play with a new toy:

Hand carders!

I got to play with them for the first time in class. I have to admit, that before this class, I was not interested in hand carding or preparing raw wool. But after getting a chance to play with these (and spin from my rolags) I am ready! I'm planning on purchasing small amounts of raw fleece until September, when I may get to go to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. If I do, I'll get a fleece then. :) I ended up getting the leather handcarders.

When I got home, I was inspired to spin up a bit of my Superwash Merino in the Mustang Sally colorway from Crown Mountain Farms. Here's my progress so far.

Hopefully tonight, I'll be able to ply it. And you'll get to see how my wheel is now TRULY my wheel. :) Will explain later.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The curse of dialup

The kitties and I are staying at my mom's this week to help keep her company. :) I've got so much progress to show you! But since she's still on dialup, it's going to have to wait a little longer. Here's what I've been doing.

Versailles #1 is finished. #2's cuff is about 5 inches long.

Weaving Class! Pick first project this week I'm going to make something for my mom in silk or cotton.

Spinning Class! I got to try out a Single treadle and double treadle Schacht Matchless. Since I learned on the double treadle, it was so hard to do the single treadle!! But Mmmmm.... The DT Matchless.... We've just been playing with Corriedale, nothing that exciting.

Seattle is H-O-T! Knitting with wool or spinning has been abandoned. I started an Orangina in Cotton Glace in blue. I've screwed up the pattern, and got off by a few stitches. Trying to decide if I should rip or keep going and call it the back. :) I'm leaning towards calling it the back. :)

My mom's sweater is started, but the stress is making her lose weight. I think I'd like for her weight to stablize before I keep going, otherwise it's going to be WAY TOO BIG!

I've got plane tickets and Hostel reservations for my trip. I leave a month from yesterday.

Will post pictures when I can--probably Friday.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Versailles, Oui, Oui!

Remember this yarn?

It's Sweet Georgia's Versailles!

I'm knitting it into a Jaywalker!

BEAUTIFUL! And I'm not even a pink person, but I LOVE THESE SOCKS!

Guess where I'm planning on wearing them? Paris. And London. Yup, I'm going to Paris and London next month. I'm planning on going to Versailles, and you can bet I'll be bugging my travel companions to take a picture of me and my socks there. :)

Guess I better brush up on my French. Anyone know of any good yarn stores in London and Paris? :)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Another FO!

But first, a FO in the wild!

My Simply Lovely Lace socks and I enjoyed an afternoon at the Golden Gardens park in Seattle. I'm simply in love with these socks. :)

But have been working on more! Working with Socks That Rock is a dream, and I finally finished a pair of Jaywalkers!

Jaywalker, by Grumperina
Knitted in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock in "Fire on the Mountain"
Small size (76 sts) on US2s, knitted with Magic Loop

Note: I RAN OUT OF YARN! You'll see I had to finish one of the toes in the leftover Spinel from the lace socks.

I love this pattern. I've started another pair using Sweet Georgia's Versailles!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Summer of....

Before this summer became the summer of my parent's divorce, it was going to be the "Summer of Fiber Arts." I'm taking the beginning spinning class at the weaving works at the end of the month, and last Friday, I started my WEAVING CLASS!

The weaving class is every Friday for eight weeks, for three hours apiece. This week we learned about warps, all the terms, and got our first homework assignment, warping up the table loom!

Warp threaded through the beater:

Looks like a comb, right?

Scout exploring the back of the loom , where the warp goes through the hettles.

I finished my homework, as we were supposed to put the warp through the hettles in a 4, 3, 2, 1 pattern. Next week, we'll hopefully start some actual weaving!

I can't wait. I'm trying to research some projects. I know I want to make something for my Mom.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A Knitter's Love

They say you can tell a knitter's love in the way they clothe their loved ones. I've been doing a lot of thinking about that in the past couple of days.

For example, this:

The Professor Vest, became this:

And this: (sorry for the blurry picture!)

Became this:

I'm designing a sweater for my Mother.

It will be in Classic Elite Premiere, in this lovely green (lighter than this bottom picture). I'm hoping to knit it in the round, and have a lovely pattern of eyelets around the hem of the sweater and the bottom of the slightly-above-elbow sleeves.

Why am I passionate about knitting my Mom this sweater as fast as I can? Because my father, her husband (of 33 years) asked her for a divorce on the 4th of July. He's gotten back into contact with his high school sweetheart, and has fallen in love with her. He's willing to give up his life as he knows it, and any type of healthy relationship with his children for her. He even lied to us about a trip to Las Vegas so they could meet up about 3 weeks ago. My mother is angry, and sad, and hurt. Frankly, I can't find any decent word to describe the complex emotions she's feeling now. I've spent the last two days with her giving her love and support. She's my Mom, and there's no fucking way I'm going to let anything bad happen to her. She's probably going to be leaving the Seattle area when this is all over with. So, the reason I moved out to Seattle will go with her. (I moved out here to be closer to my family.) I've developed roots here, though. I've made friends, have a good job. I don't want to leave. But I don't want to be here, especially if that woman comes out here to be with my father. I'm trying to be my Mom's rock, her safety net. It's hard, so hard. But there is no fucking way I'm going to let her fall.

So, in order for her to know how much I love her, I'm designing her a sweater that she can wear for when I can't be there to put my arms around her, to give her a big warm hug. I'm calling it the Mom Hug Sweater. I really don't know what the hell I'm doing, but it can't be any harder than keeping some of my sicker patients alive. At least I can rip it out if I mess up.

Thankfully, I've had a few friends extend support. Abi and Cat have been really nice to me. And Terence has been really great. I know I'm really going to need their help when this is all over. I'm sure I'll be a mess.

But I'll have my knitting. And my Mom will have another handmade sweater to remind her how much I love her. And that bastard won't ever get a handknitted garment from me.

Now, what to do with that gorgeous dark heathery green yarn. I think it wants to be something cabled.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Really BAD News

I got some really bad news Tuesday. Very devistating for my family. It's going to involve a lot of changes for everyone. I'll go into more detail when I can. Let's just say I'm going to have to change something on my 100 Things About Me list.

I'm going to be strong.

2006 SUCKS. Can't it be 2007 yet?

Here's an old cute kitty picture, because I need it right now.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Finally Fiber Photos and FO!

I've been busy this week trying to fight off illness (I think I'm winning) working, spinning and knitting.

Here's what I got at the Black Sheep Gathering, fiber wise.

First, white Baby Alpaca from The Bellwether.

I'm hoping to dye this up before spinning it.

Beautiful Angora Combed Top, 100% Angora rabbit, 4 oz, from Butternut Wollens

80% Merino, 20% Cashmere, 2 oz, from Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks

One of my favorite buys, Blue Faced Leicester Top, 5.2 oz, from Dicentra Designs

67% Kid Mohair, 33% Merino 4 oz, from Ewe To You

Fine Mohair Top, 4 oz, from Butternut Wollens

I've already dipped into a few of the purchases, like this one. 80% Merino, 20% Angora, from From Barn to Yarn. 8 oz. I'm hoping to make a three ply yarn out of this.

80% Merino, 20% Tussah Silk, 5.1 oz. from Dicentra Designs.

More Blue Faced Leicester Top, dyed by Blue Moon Fiber Arts

And the last purchases, two different colorways of Superwash Merino Roving from Crown Mountain Farms. I hope to use this for sock yarn.

Finally, my FO!

Pattern: Simply Lovely Lace Socks
Yarn: Socks that Rock Spinel
Needles: US2 Circular

Notes: Easy pattern to follow, I love the heel. And the pretty picot edge! They're a keeper, I just have to wait to wear them, it's so hot here!