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Wow I apparently forgot I had a blog for a while. Bear with me, this might be a big catch-up post with all sorts of randomness.
First up. Black Sheep Gathering. I had lots of fun. The event was smaller than I expected, maybe I heard one too many people talk about how big it was and how you HAVE to go. I’m not sure it was that much bigger than OFFF and that event has the perk of being a full 2 hours closer to Seattle.
There were some great booths though and as evidenced by my purchase of a drum carder from Woodland Woolworks at OFFF the WW booth was too much for me to resist. I would like to point out that I did actually set my future purchase down for about 15 seconds before picking it up again to buy.
I got myself the Very Fast Flyer!!!! Holy shit 44:1 ratio!!! This is something I will need to grow into but I’m loving it already. Thank god for Ravelry and the Lendrum group, a member there kindly posted a picture of how to thread the flyer because it is not at all like the standard flyer. Way trickier and boy oh boy if you ever needed motivation for not losing your end…this is it.
I managed to stay within my fiber budget for the rest of the festival (I don’t count gifts to friends as part of my budget). I would give you a breakdown of what I got but I think that might get a little boring. There are pictures of the haul in my flickr album though. The one item I’m most excited about is beyond heavenly.
2oz of 50/50 tussah silk/pygora batts in Spun Gold. Swoon!
I took a great color blending class from Jill of Ashland Bay that got my internal color wheel juiced up and ready to put my drum carder through a workout. With that in mind somehow I also came home with 10oz of raw black alpaca. I feel I can justify the alpaca by saying that the “no fleece” rule for BSG was not broken since I only bought 10oz out of 2-3lbs of fleece. I also know that what I just wrote is complete horseshit.
I do have an FO to show off though!
That is my very own Morning Surf Scarf from the Summer Spin Off. Made from 4oz of Dragonfibers Merino/Tencel in Free Range, navajo plied to keep the colors distinct. The yardage was low on this scarf due to the plying so it’s a little shorter than I prefer but with a nice little pin I should be able to wear this come fall.
I’m so pleased with how it turned out. This is all me, start to finish and I love it. The merino tencel blend is wonderful in the Free Range colorway and man was this one easy knit. I think I started it up late on a Tuesday night and cast off on Friday night. About 3/4 of the scarf was knit between Thursday and Friday night. I will definitely be making another one soon.
Since getting back from BSG it seems like I haven’t accomplished a whole lot, yet I haven’t had a free moment. There was the realization that I hadn’t given any thought to the brand new colorway for the June Fiber Club. Plus there has been a lot of behind the scenes work for a new wholesale account that I hope to tell you all about soon. Couple all of that with Nicki and Sammy’s inability to vacuum and do laundry/dishes while I’m at work and you can see how time has slipped away from me.
There has been knitting though.
A garter stitch dishcloth. Exciting stuff.
Progress has been made on the Blankie. Not much progress mind you. A garter stitch blanket takes a while no matter what way you look at it. It is marginally bigger though.
You may have noticed a trend. Garter stitch is about all I can muster at this point without my brains liquifiying and leaking out of my ears (nice visual huh?). That will soon change though.
My original plan of washing and spinning my Finn fleece for Tour de Fleece has been scrapped. I so don’t have time to think about washing a fleece right now. So instead I’ve set myself the challenge of spinning a true laceweight on the new flyer. It will make me slow down and think more about what I’m doing rather than how much of it I’m doing. If it takes me the entire TdF to finish 4oz of true laceweight yarn then so be it.
I hope to be in a completely different place emotionally/mentally after this weekend. I’ve been taking some time this last week to really reevaluate what I’m doing both with my personal knitting/spinning but also Dragonfibers. That is a blog post all on it’s own though.
As for sock knitting. Well some of you know more than others my volatile relationship with STR. I sometimes love the yarn base (ie when it doesn’t felt on me) and I find so many of their colorways appealing. STR for it’s part will call out to me “buy me, knit me, love me.” Yet it kind of reminds me of an ex-boyfriend from college. It could have been the great lifelong relationship but the timing was never right. Something was always a little off every time we tried to make it work.
STR and I are on a break. I hope one day our yarny desires can mesh well with each other but that day isn’t today.
So since we broke up I cast on for a new sock. In Sockotta because well it was 92F yesterday and this was the only sock yarn in my stash that had cotton in it. A cotton blend sock seemed like a good idea at the time.
I have visions of a Ross and Rachael breakup drama unfolding in my stash cabinet with me trying to weasel out of my sock knitting infidelity by pulling out the “We were on a Break!” card.
Think STR will ever forgive me?
As some of you may know I have never been particularly close to my Dad’s family. Some of it is because of personalities but most of it was because of geography. I never grew up knowing any of them with the exception of the occasional letter and a short visit every 5-10 years. We just never knew each other.
When my Grandpa died this past February I was torn, I felt bad about his passing but I felt worse because it truly didn’t feel like a loss to me. My Dad and his sisters decided to wait until summertime to get together to have a memorial (my youngest aunt has MS so traveling is a bit of a hardship for her).
Mom and Dad went back to Boise this last weekend to visit with the family and settle things. Apparently the ‘memorial’ was the family going to the pub my Grandpa was a regular at. Mom mentioned something about 1/2lb burgers. I remember Grandpa taking me there once for lunch, back before I knew how irresponsible it was for an adult to take a kid to a pub and then drive her around town for a while after having a couple beers with lunch.
They were also going to look at their storage unit (don’t get me started on the topic of paying for a storage unit for over a decade) so I asked for just one thing…my Grandmother’s rocking chair. It isn’t a fancy chair, in fact I remember it as being quite plain. I also don’t remember ever seeing her sit in it since by the time I saw them more often they had their recliners. Yet I wanted the chair.
It’s ugly isn’t it
Just look at the fabric! A cornucopia of pineapples, apples, squash and grapes. Ick.
Turns out this was my Greatgrandmother’s chair. My Dad says he remembers her sitting in it.
She was a knitter.
The knitting gene may have skipped a few generations on my Dad’s side of the family but now the chair has found a new home with me. I think it is only fitting it finds a new knitter to take care of it (once that awful fabric gets replaced of course).
And following the family themed blog post.
My mom in her early 20′s. I’m not sure where this was taken but it was in the mid to late 1960′s.
It seems like ages ago when I lost my sock mojo before but looking back it was only in January. In the past week I’ve started and frogged 2 different yarns. One was the languishing Scottish Highlands in STR that I failed to make into pretty socks last year. I loved the way the colors played with each other in the skein but no matter what gauge or pattern I used I couldn’t replecate that into a sock.
I ended up with this.
While I can live with a certain amount of pooling and flashing I draw the line at having only 2 of the colors visible at a time. Besides that alternating green and yellow striping was annoying me. So Bus Sock 3 was set aside.
I grabbed another STR lightweight skein that I had been eyeing in the stash for a while and Bus Sock 3.1 was cast on.
The following day it was frogged and cast on again. The toe was then partially frogged and reknit.
It was then frogged again.
Granted this time the yarn wasn’t the issue, it was the pattern (and me). I was getting 8.5st/inch gauge yet the pattern called for 84 stitches. So I did some ‘math’ and tried working the pattern over 72 stitches..no go.
I then tried the new ‘math’ of 76 stitches and still failed.
Finally I resorted to knitting with 84 stitches only to realize there was no way in hell 3 measly cable were going to create enough pull to make a 10″ circumference sock fit comfortably on my 9″ circumference foot.
Thankfully the majority of Bus Sock 3.1 was knit during a Mariners game. I’m not a baseball fan. I just don’t get the sport. However my Dad likes it and since it was his 64th birthday this week I took him to a game. If anyone is aware of how the Mariners are playing this season well you can see why I was glad I had knitting (even pointless going nowhere knitting) to do. To say they are not doing well is putting it nicely.
I’m debating hanging up the sock needles for a bit but part of me wants to knit the sock that gets me my mojo back.
I did notice that these 2 failed socks to be were both from printed patterns. I’ve also noticed I tend to enjoy my sock knitting the most when I am making up my own. I loved knitting the Sweet Georgia socks when all I did was insert a pattern from a Barbara Walker book into a basic toe-up pattern.
Maybe I’m not the kind of sock knitter that wants to follow a printed pattern. There are several I have enjoyed knitting but maybe for most of my sock knitting I should consider charting my own path.
In my quest to have fun yet simple sock knitting for the commute to work I have found out that stockingnette socks need a little oompf to keep them interesting. You may recall I picked this yarn for Bus Sock 2.
Lana Grossa Fantasy in a very bright color combo. The sock was cast on and made good progress until I realized I was spending most of my non-bus knitting time working on the bus knitting project. The sock was set aside for only commuting knitting while I started on projects that were less portable.
Time went by, vacation happened and I was only 1/3 of the way through the second sock. I knew I wanted to start June off with a different bus project so I chugged away at BS2.
Are they finished?
Hmm what is that little black line of stitches doing there?
Oh I get it. An Afterthought heel!
Woo hoo. Do they match?
I had a lot of fun knitting these socks, the colors were bright and cheery yet the knitting was mindless. The afterthought heel was one I have never tried before so only time will tell if I like the way they fit. One thing I did learn from the process…for your own sanity always use a wildly different colored yarn for your waste yarn.
Bus Sock 3 is already on the needles. I’ve decided to give my Scottish Highlands STR one last chance to become a happy sock and cast on for a modified toeup RPM last night. I even had to frog the toe and restart yet I’m not frustrated with it. Maybe the year it sat languishing in the back of the yarn closet taught it (and maybe me) a little patience.
I’m going to be copying Pam and also trying out the hybrid heel we learned at Seasocks. Hers turned out so well I can’t help but follow suit.