You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2007.

I think I have this weird compulsion to join KAL’s. It seems like almost all of them sound interesting to me. While some are as easy as the Stranded Colorwork KAL where all you have to do is knit one thing at some point during the year there are just as many (if not more) that seem designed to drive you mad.

nokniswemo

Am I insane to even be considering a Knit a 50k stitch sweater in Nov? Seriously why would I do this to myself right before Christmas, right when I need to be churning out last minute knitted gifts like…well I don’t know else gets churned besides butter and that analogy doesn’t seem to fit here.

One consolation is that Ginger and Betty will be sitting on the crazy bench right next to me.

In other fiber related news the bedroom clean sweep is underway with the main work scheduled to be finished on Halloween. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is quite pathetic that I need to take a day off work in order to clean 1 room but that 1 day is a sacrifice that is well worth it. The plan is to get everything out, steam clean the carpets and slowly bring things back in-after they have been sorted through of course.

How is a bedroom clean sweep fiber related? Well there is a lot of wasted space in the furniture arrangement right now so with the new plan there will be room for a chair and footstool just for knitting and spinning. Right now when I feel like knitting at night I do so in bed while watching tv. Not only does this go against what the sleep experts tell you about not hanging out in your bed unless you are going to sleep but it also means I’m making one serious butt-shaped dent in my mattress. I can only flip the mattress so many times before I have to acknowledge that the thing needs to get replaced.

I’m still debating taking before and after pictures because quite frankly the before shot would be incredibly humiliating to reveal. I swear I’m not a pig but if you saw the bedroom right now you would seriously question my honesty.

I also spent a good portion of my day yesterday browsing equilter.com. It’s an online fabric store that momma-monkey showed me and damn it made me wish I could sew. However I think I’m lacking the sewing gene. I still remember taking Home Ec when I was 10 or 11 and in the sewing class we had to make felt bags. Well actually I think they were cotton tote bags with felt designs cutout and sew on them. I made a cat (go figure) and then spent the entire length of the project constantly reminding my teacher that it wasn’t a bird, it was a cat. I’m not quite sure why she thought I would sew a bird lying down on it’s back but she kept thinking the ears was a beak.

Come to think of it maybe that wasn’t so much a comment on my sewing skills as it was a comment on my ability to use scissors. Hmmm. I think it is best I continue to believe it was my lack of talent for sewing otherwise I would be tempted to take on another hobby (and stash).

The spinning seems to have stalled so I still have 2oz of optim waiting for some attention yet right now I’m elbow deep in garter stitch hell. I swear I used to think garter stitch was quick and easy yet now all I can think of is how boring it is. Why can’t I enjoy this little piece of mindless knitting? It really is a pretty little knit but at the rate I’m going you would think it was intricate fair isle or cabling. I did make good progress on it last night so maybe what I need is one heck of a potent lemondrop martini to get through those mindless knits from now on.

At the end of 2006 I had set myself two knitting goals for 2007. While I know goals seem kind of silly and perhaps a little too rigid I like them because I want to keep pushing myself as a knitter. I want to learn new things and step out of my comfort zone so goals are perfect for that.

The first was a lace shawl and Icarus was born from that goal in early January. The second was a sweater. It didn’t have to be a fancy sweater, just something bigger than a pair of socks or felted bag. I needed to know if I had the stick-to-it-ness that was needed for a sweater. I’ve had a somewhat spotty past in following through on large craft projects (I don’t think I have ever finished a cross-stitch pattern).

Thanks to Terri and a great sale on Peru DK at Little Knits a sweater pattern and yarn were matched up. The top down wrap cardigan was simple for mindless knitting while still keeping it interesting. Actual knitting time wasn’t that bad, the only reason it took so long to complete was because I kept putting it down for other projects. Besides who wants to knit a wool/alpaca/silk sweater in July? Even after it was finished it was set aside for several weeks before the ends were woven in and I could officially call it complete.

Well almost.

Somehow one of my icords mysteriously grew about 20inches after washing so unless I want to walk around with a tie dangling down by my shins I needed to fix it. And as a reminder for why you should not only swatch but PAY ATTENTION to what that swatch tells you I also had to fix the sleeves. I was so good to knit the body according to the swatch because I knew the length would grow a little. I apparently forgot that key detail when I went to go knit the sleeves and knit them to actual length. As you can imagine the sleeves are a bit long and while some people might like that sleeve covering all but the tips of your fingers look I do not.

Both of these were easy fixes and something I knew I could do in one easy evening yet it still languished for another 3 to 4 weeks. Tonight I finally I broke down and channeled my energies into getting this sweater completed.

It took less than 5 minutes to snip and unravel the icord to the proper length and weave in the ends. In what I’m chalking up to my freakish body the sleeves that were almost to my fingertips a month ago are now just covering part of my hands. It’s a length I like well enough that I’m not frogging both sleeves so just they can be 1 inch shorter. Perhaps I have telescoping arms.

Want to see more?

New icord ties at a much more reasonable length. (one tie does still look long but it is actually only at mid thigh at the most)

And a closeup of the sleeve length.

Go me!!! 🙂

BTW, do you have any idea how hard it is to take a picture of yourself wearing a sweater without getting serious cleavage? I’m posting the most modest shot I got.

It’s official. I have finally updated my etsy shop. Feel free to browse and shop, I promise I won’t mind if you buy everything 🙂

I admit it is a little nerve-wracking everytime I do a shop update. Thoughts of “will anyone like it?” and even “does anyone like me?” run through my head even though I know my worth as a person isn’t calculated by how much fiber I sell. My only way of ignoring those thoughts is to dye stuff I like so worst case scenario I have more fiber to spin myself. Not that horrible if you ask me.

I had promised you a skeiner pic and here it is in all it’s glory amongst the clutter on the coffee table.

It works great and good old Dad even used brass screws so I wouldn’t have any issues with corrosion. It won’t win awards for being a sleek sexy design but damn it works well.

Since the skeiner was up and running I decided to tackle a little yarn.

A cat sized cone of yarn. That is just over 5lbs of superwash merino sock yarn that I’m doing to be dyeing up in an experiment. Nicki looks a little unsure doesn’t he? Poor guy just wanted dinner and he had to put up with being chased and carried around just so I could get a picture that referenced the size of the cone. Nicki is about 13lbs and a little bigger than the cone but Sammy who weighs in at a dainty 8lbs was nowhere to be found. 

As for knitting, the Fetching gloves were cast on yesterday and should be finished shortly. As always there is a modification because I was halfway through the first glove before I realized I hadn’t continued the 4×1 ribbing past the cable section. So my Fetching gloves will be a little simpler than the original but still soft and comfy.

The Selbu mittens are next on the list. The plan is to cast on as soon as Fetching is finished this afternoon and with the help of my handy mini Entrelac stitch markers I will hopefully be able to keep track of what I’m doing.

My attention to detail really varies depending on the project so last year when I built myself a wooden swift from some DIY instructions I found online it was no surprise that my swift wobbled and squeaked. It worked but it had issues. It didn’t spin smoothly enough to not drag on yarn so whenever I wound skeins into yarn cakes I would do it twice to release some of the stress on the yarn. I have no idea if that even mattered but in my mind if I knit with stretched out yarn my gauge would really get funky once it was washed. 

A few weeks ago I showed my Dad a picture of a vertical skeinwinder that I liked and asked him if he could make me one. I am way too cheap to pay $150 for one. I had finally gotten fed-up of the tilting and squeaking, nevermind the fact that whenever I wanted to wind hand-spun into skeins I would have to sit there and keep smacking the arms to keep the swift from going around. Tedious and time consuming.

$28.11 later I have a new swift! (pic will come later once I set it up for the inaugural run)

It has adjustable pegs for different sized skeins, a handle for easy winding of hand-spun and a handy little nook for my yardage counter to fit into once I get it. Oh and it spins so well. Well enough in fact that I don’t even care that he went over budget. He had figured he could do it for under $20 but definitely “not more than $25” 🙂

I need to seriously look into clearing out the garage and buying him tools for a real workshop. Dad got excited when he talked about how the wood store he visited had all sorts of pretty wood like mahogany and walnut. The bunk-bed that my sister and I shared when we were kids was one my Dad built. I loved that thing even though I was prone to falling out of it-from the top bunk.

Think Dad deserves a workshop for Christmas?

The knitting came to a grinding halt this week once the Highlighter socks were completed. I swear I didn’t spend a whole week goofing off and doing nothing. I was at the dyepot working furiously to restock the etsy shop. I hate that it has sat empty for so long and now that I have a slightly less hectic work schedule I actually feel in the mood to dye again.

See! Proof I did something this week. There is still so much more roving to dye and I really wanted the stocking to be seriously impressive but after realizing that it wasn’t worth exhausting myself over I trimmed back the update just a little. There is still a lot of stuff going up soon.

Now that the weather has officially changed there are 2 projects I feel the need to cast on asap. I’ve had some KnitPicks Andean Treasure that I bought last year for a scarf but I never could find a stitch pattern I liked with it. I think Fetching is in order. Also I’ve been dying to cast on for my Selbu mittens ever since I bought the yarn last Saturday. Since the old swift was dismantled and the new one wasn’t built yet I had to wait but now I’m free to cast that on as well.

Now here is a question for any Ravelry folks. Did taking pictures of your entire stash to put on Ravelry frighten you? I’m of two thoughts here; one says don’t do it you don’t want to know how much you have while the other thought tells me that knowing what I have will help me use my stash effectively. Plus the potential to find yarns that just don’t need to be in stash and can be destashed is a serious possibility.

Is it lunacy to want to believe that any smidgen of good can come from photographing your entire stash?

I wish I could wow you with the pictures of all the delicious loaves of bread that I made but sadly my first year of honoring World Bread Day was an understated one. I decided that taking a day off to bake bread was probably not the best use of my PTO so instead I thought I would bring in treats for the department instead.

Cinnamon rolls count as bread right?

Made a double batch of the Cinna-buns recipe from King Arthur Flour because it labeled itself as a good copy of a certain mall food court chain. I’d say it was pretty damn close but I like the homemade version better because well quite frankly who wouldn’t. I left this picture big so you would be tempted to lick the monitor. Did it work?

In other news I finished the highlighter socks! The second sock cuff is maybe 1/4inch longer than the first but do I care? Hell no. Take a look at these and tell me if you would care.

I love them. The colors are bright without being obnoxious and the yarn knit up how I expected it to with the fractal stripe spinning. The cocoa Swish from Knit Picks was an almost perfect match to the brown in the handspun and really make the handspun shine (IMO). My only regret is they are house socks and not socks I can wear with regular shoes. However now that I have caught the handspun sock bug you can bet another pair will be on the needles soon.

Now I’m at a loss for what to knit next, continue with the Pomatomus for Socktoberfest, cast on for Stacy or bite the bullet and make my own Selbu mittens?

Although I’ve been spinning since February I have never actually knit with my handspun…until today.

You might remember my highlighter yarn? That blend of obnoxious chartreuse, turquoise and chocolate brown actually spun up into a really pretty yarn.

My yardage was sadly small so I waited until my Swish in Cocoa came in. The brown was a perfect match so today at VY&T a sock was cast on. Not only am I knitting my first handspun sock but it is my first handspun knit ever. The first handspun sock knit during Socktoberfest no less.

Yes I’m goofy enough to get this excited over a sock. What makes it even better is that it was roving I dyed myself, with a very specific spinning approach in mind. The 3ply fractal stripe effect was better than I could have expected.

Nicki was kind enough (too lazy to move) to model a half knit sock this afternoon. Doesn’t he look pleased 🙂

I had forgotten how much fun knitting a worsted weight sock could be, thicker yarn and size 3 needles make for a quick knit. How quick?

 

I love how the colors knit up, each one has patches of dominance without being overwhelming. The randomness of the color changes is just wonderful. I cannot express how fucking pleased I am with how this turned out.

Now don’t mind me while I go celebrate with some Ben & Jerry’s Creme Brulee icecream.

This Friday I managed to tear myself away from the impending pie extravaganza for an evening at VY&T and their monthly Knit Nite. I don’t get to go to many because quite frankly come Friday night all I typically want to do is go home and decompress.

It was a particularly brutal day at work that was compounded by the dreaded feeling of getting sick. Made a quick trip to the drugstore for some vitamins and meds which when combined gave me a rather unsettling woozy warm fuzzy feeling for a few hours. Feeling fuzzy and loopy does not do wonders for productivity on a busy work day. I made it through with a sprint towards the end in order to leave a little early.  By then I was determined to go to Knit Nite damn it!

Why so eager? Because they had the Fleece Artist dyer there! And her daughter the Handmaiden dyer! OMG there were so many nice yarns…I really wanted a skein of Great Big Sea because I’m a big fan of the band (and yes it was named after them) but I resisted. The huge Knitpicks order I placed this morning might have been a good deterrent.

There was knitting, there was wine and there was cheese. All very good things IMO. Then there was a contest. They had 5 undyed skeins of yarn we needed to match up to the tags and 2 bonus skeins to compare. I was one of the 5 who guessed all 7 skeins correctly. I got the neatest stitch marker set as a prize.

I’m lucky they didn’t have any roving at the trunk show or I would have been a goner.

I got a great mystery package in the mail this past week. I had apparently won a contest on Momma Monkey’s blog (yes silly me didn’t even realize I had entered one) and she sent me some seriously squishy batts.

She calls it Waikiki Beach and if I remember correctly it is merino, firestar and silk noils that she dyed and carded up. I had 2 people request knitted items from it but I think it might have to be saved for myself. Thanks MM!

This year we had a very successful pie fundraiser, 118 pies and over $1100 raised for our community garden! I love the pie baking but damn every year it reminds me why I don’t do this for a living anymore. I made the mistake of lying down for 5-10 minutes after getting home and I’m ashamed to admit I almost couldn’t get out of bed. Maybe I’ve been working a desk job for too long but I wanted to cry from the pain of getting up and down stairs. I’m not that old damn it!

I have some big plans on the fiber front though. This weekend is all about fiber because I’ve been neglecting my etsy shop and I am finally at a point where I can get back into the swing of things. I’ve got so much fiber I’m really starting to get scared.

Now I’m off to go knit because the massive KnitPicks order is on it’s way and I have certain projects that must be completed before it’s arrival. Let the madness begin! (again)

I’m going to go off on a tangent here and talk about another obsession of mine…baking.

Many years ago back when I was just a fresh young kid of 24 I decided I would quit my stock photography job and go to culinary school. It has always been a dream of mine to open a bakery and I figured what the hell why not try it out. So one year later I had my shiny new pastry certification in hand and was already in my second job as a baker/pastry chef. Fast forward a few years and after getting fed up with the low pay and shitty hours I left that industry to go back to stock photography. Eventually I made my way into the job I have now where I don’t get to bake or look at pretty pictures all day.

While the dream of owning my own bakery hasn’t been realized yet despite getting oh so close once or twice I still love to bake. I don’t get as much done as I used to mostly because of my job, other hobbies and the inability to eat that many baked goods. Every once in a while I get the urge to bake again and thanks to Sharon who directed me to a spinning/bread blog today I am feeling the urge again.

I am seriously debating taking Oct 16th off of work to celebrate World Bread Day which might not go over well with the boss if I fess up to the reason. Ginger said I could call it a religious holiday and then the debate started on what kind of Bakerist I am. Am I a Fundamentalist , a Conservative, or a Reformist? Ginger says a fundamentalist would always grind their own flour, a reformist never would. Does using that flour mill in Central Market once make me a conservative?

Obviously I have way too much time on my hands if these are the issues I debate while at work. I did manage to sneak over to the bookstore across the street while wandering around for lunch and snagged a copy of Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll. It is from the people at New England Cheesemaking Company and I plan on ordering a kit from them soon.

Why cheese? Well because if I’m going to make bread it makes sense to make cheese too right? Actually I just love cheese and while I have made mozzarella once before I like the idea of making other cheeses too. I’m getting visions of fresh homemade goat cheese with warm hunks of homemade bread. How can I not try it out?

Who wants to be a guinea pig?

Now if only I had time to knit a sock 😦

Sammy was kind enough to check out the Smooshy Pomatomus to make sure it was worthy of Socktoberfest knitting.

Now let there be sock knitting!

Flickr Photos

blackwork sampler

More Photos

Dragonfibers

On the needles

February Fitted Pullover

Sapphire Waves of Grain

On the Bedside Table

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan (ok not really since I can't find the book anymore)

on the wheel

Absolutely Nothing.

Stashdown 2009

January 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins of Yarn: 233 Total Weight:33.13lbs Total Miles: 27

February 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins of Yarn: 213 Total Weight:30.09lbs Total Miles: 26

March 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins of Yarn: 218 Total Weight:31.95lbs Total Miles: 27

April 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins of Yarn: 217 Total Weight:31.45lbs Total Miles: 26.5

May 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 229 Total Weight: 33.8 Total Miles: 28.4

June 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 210 Total Weight: 31.9 Total Miles: 27.7

July 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 201 Total Weight: 30.5 Total Miles: 26.5

August 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 228 Total Weight: 34.0 Total Miles: 28.8

October 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 254 Total Weight: 38.2 Total Miles: 31.8

November1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 224 Total Weight: 34.9 Total Miles: 29.9

December 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 206 Total Weight: 31.9 Total Miles: 27.1

KAL

World Bread Day '07

October 2007
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