June 29, 2009

I Forgot

Oh boy - my bad!

Anonymous T, I was working on the sleeves of the fair isle sweater and got to the part where the instructions said to 'decrease every third row' and realized that I couldn't decrease because the circulars I was using were too long. I ran to School Products, bought the 16" needles so I could get the job done, and when I got home I 'put them up' until such time as I could switch out the long needles for the shorter ones. Well, at my age, "put them up" means I lost them. As soon as I remember where they are, I'll get right back to the sweater.

I spun some lace weight yarn on the Golding spindle that was gifted to me by my friend Sojourn Knitter, but I forgot that the yarn was supposed to go from the spindle to the spool so I could ply it. So now I don't know how to wind it the right way onto the spool so I don't unwind the yarn. I mean, I knew when I started, but in my rush to get to the 'bragging' part, I goofed. My bad.

No mistakes here. I finished half of the second sock and it's breezing right along. No mistakes on this sock. That's the only good news.

And then there was my biggest 'oops'. I spun this Falkland and hated everything about it. I decided it was only good enough for two things, dermabrasion or a pair of felted slippers. Mind you, I spun this up during spinning classes at Downtown Yarns and took it with me to class for show and tell.

My teacher, Julie, genuinely liked it (or so she said and I believe her) and she asked if she could have it. Mind you, I have one slipper done, but I had more yarn at home. So, I gave her the skein.

Oops! When I got home, all I had enough yarn for was half of another slipper! It's OK because Julie liked the yarn and I didn't. So, I ended up with this:

I could go on about all the things I forgot, but I forgot what they were.

There is good news though. While I was looking for the 16" needles, I found my GPS system in one of my knitting bags. It wasn't much help to me when I got lost coming home from a baby shower. Great.

It's pretty clear I need help.

June 27, 2009


This sock is so cute! The circular needle in the size US #2 made all the difference.

The toe doesn't thrill me, I should have ended it when there were more stitches so the toe wouldn't be so pointy. Oh well.

The snowflake is in the right place, that's good.

And the bottom of the sock is as interesting as the top. I'm impressed. I love the way the Trekking XXL changes color all by itself.

Now I've got to get going. I need to start soon so I can stave off the second sock syndrome!

June 25, 2009

Nordic Lights

These socks and I had a rough start, but we worked out our problem. The needles I was using (US #1) were too small and this sock was hard to make with the double points. I frogged it, switched to circular US #2 and the progress was quicker and less painful on my hands.

The front of the sock came out perfect, so far, anyway.

There was a goof up on the heel, but instead of obsess over it and since it will be inside of my shoe, I decided to forget it and move on. It's a glaring error to me and the urge to go back and fix it is overwhelming, but I'm moving on.

The pattern is from Janel Laidman's The Eclectic Sole. If you're a sock knitter, you really should have this book. The patterns are wonderful, the charts are easy to read (and I hate working from charts so that's quite an endorsement) and every sock is pretty. This is the first sock book I've gotten that I want to make almost every sock in it. If you knit socks and you don't have it - get it. If you have it already, get to work!

Moving right along, I'm sure you know about my desire to spin lace weight yarn and I gave it an honest go with a yarn which I shall not name (Dried Flowers). I failed to make lace weight with that, but my friend Sojourn Knitter gifted me a drop spindle and some fiber:

And during a 15 minute break at work today, I spun lace weight! Yay! I'm so tickled that I've been spinning every time I put the sock down. Everyone on Ravelry told me that nothing spins lace weight like a drop spindle, and they were right!

The spindle is so pretty. I'm going to spin lace with this until my arm falls off!

Well OK, I'm going to work on the socks before my arm falls off. But you should use your arm to buy Janel Laidman's book!

June 21, 2009

Socks, My Heroes!

Whenever I hit the knitting 'wall', I find that knitting socks always helps. Maybe because they're small and because I can knit a pair in a week or less, but they inspire me to move on to bigger things.

Regardless of the reason, I've managed to finish these basic booties which are just a plain vanilla sock with a shortened leg. They're going to my next door neighbor's daughter who recently joined the knitting group. One pair down.

Then, when I was trying to do a little stash reorganization, I came across some Yarn Tree Luster Alpaca which I had and some Trekking XXL which was gifted to me:

And the first book I reached for was The Eclectic Sole, and my eye immediately went for the Nordic Lights pattern:

Nordic Lights

I started it last night and as of right now I'm up to the heel flap. These are short socks too, so outside of the extra time it takes me to do stranded knitting on the heel flap, these socks should go quick and give me time enough to think about what I'm going to do next.

It's a very pretty sock and if you ask me, the book is absolutely worth having. I've already made three pairs of socks from the book and I'm going to get to all of them sooner or later.

Now that I'm out of the knitting doldrums, I just wish it would stop raining! Really, it's been like 40 days and 40 nights of rain here in NYC. Seems to me that I should start buying materials to make an ark.

Instead of animals 2 by 2, I'll take socks since they come in pairs. Or, I could just pray for sunshine and the end of bad hair days.

June 18, 2009

OK, I'm Done Sulking Now

If anything could bring me back from the brink after suffering at the hands of Dried Flowers, the two bit tramp that now can't get a job as a shawl to save it's inanimate life, it's a birthday party.

On Saturday Maria celebrated another year of being a wife, mother and knitter in the sisterhood of Soundview Stitchers.

Her husband snuck into class early and surprised her (and us) with a big delicious cake. He's a wonderful and very nice man! Here they are with their little angel, Mia (I call her "Mia, Mia, cupcake eater", but she was a cake eater on Saturday).

And then, when I got home and decided that since Dried Flowers was meditating on it's mistreatment of me at the frog pond, that the best revenge against a pancake of my own hand spinning that did me wrong is to knit in its face. Hence, basic booties:

And just in case Dried Flowers isn't feeling duly punished, I got some Malabrigo Lace in Peach Tree to wave in it's yarny face:

And la piece de resistance: meet the new Dianna!

Schaefer Trenna lace weight in Willa Cather.

Revenge against an inanimate object is sweet, but only a crazy person goes after a skein of yarn with such gusto.

(If Dried Flowers ever becomes anything, I'm going to have to take it to church first because the bad mojo in that yarn is gonna hurt somebody! Yikes!)

June 09, 2009

438 Yards

That's what I needed to be able to use this yarn for my Dianna Shawl. Maybe I don't know math, but I went online and used a conversion chart that said 400m = 437 yards.

Here are the stats for Dried Flowers:

Material: 100% superfine merino
WPI: 16 stitches (fingering weight)
Yards: 300

I was so close! All that work and it's not lace weight. If it had been, I'd have more than enough yarn. But it's not. Still, I've never gotten 300 yards of yarn out of any fiber I've ever spun, and fingering weight is closer to lace than DK weight, so I'm pretty proud of myself.

Still, it's prettier now that it's dry. Looks a lot less like liver color than I originally thought. But it is fingering weight. And the yardage is enough to make a pair of socks - almost. Maybe really short socks.

My choices boil down to: a short shawl, a short pair of socks, or I can use this:

It just so happens to be the only other lace weight yarn I have in my stash. Knit Picks merino wool, 440 yards and I have two skeins (in case I make a mistake) more than enough to make the shawl - even if it is darker than I planned (like night and day).

Still, it is pretty. And already spun.

Can you feel my pain?

June 07, 2009

More Dianna

OK, so I was up plying in the middle of the night and now it's done. Thank goodness because I thought I was going to burn my fingertips off.

Next step is getting it wound into a skein. Things were moving right along, I hooked up the skein winder and started to rock and roll! I'm winding and winding and it's getting harder to do. I'm watching the winder and wondering why it's starting to close up. I look at the spool (while still trying to turn the skein winder) and when I look back I saw this:

Well what in the name of shiny pants?! What did I do?! What in the heck happened? Who can't use a skein winder? Anyone out there, please tell me what I did wrong! The yarn just fell off the winder!

Anyway, not to obsess, it took me hours to do, but I finally got the alleged lace weight onto the niddy noddy. I know how to use that, thank goodness.

Now my only dilemma now is: what color to call this? Cherry splat? Liver?

Maybe it'll look better worked up. But just in case, some I real yarn will arrive any day now.

What I Learned

Right now my alleged lace weight yarn is plied and resting comfortably on a jumbo bobbin. I took a picture of it next to a regular one so you can see the difference. The smaller bobbin contains some merino yarn donated by my friend Sojourn Knitter ("real" lace weight that was my practice piece).

So, after days of plying I finally filled the bobbin and I was proud that I managed to fill both bobbins almost equally. That little scrub of yarn in the picture is all that was left after plying. I was pretty pleased about that.

Spinning is always such a joy for me, I love it like crazy. It gives me time to think, and the rhythmic motion of it give me peace, not a thought in the world other than what I'm doing at that moment.

However, I was spinning this time so that I'd have the lace weight yarn I need to make the Dianna shawl. Spinning a specific yarn weight it hard enough, and spinning lace weight - for me - was darn near impossible. That said, here's what I learned about me while spinning:

  1. Desire and enthusiasm does not make it a done deal. Seems to me that if I say I'm going to spin lace weight, it should have been that easy. I didn't know I'd need nerves of steel, the patience of a saint and the hands of a surgeon.

  2. The next time I think I want to spin lace weight, I'd better give myself a huge chunk of time. Even the plying took a long time.

  3. No matter how hard I tried, spinning for hours for something specific is not as much fun as spinning and taking what I get, which is my usual method of operation.

  4. Sometimes my spinning is done with me before I'm done with it. There were clear and distinct "flubs" where I should have KNOWN to take a break!

  5. After the dip, whip and dry is done, if I don't have lace weight yarn there will be no second attempt to spin lace weight again in my immediate future.

That said, tomorrow I'll finish preparing this yarn and maybe by Tuesday or Wednesday it'll be ready for use.

All I have to do is teach myself reverse knitting by then and I'm good. The designer of the entrelac pattern is left handed and knits in reverse.

This is going to be quite an experience.

June 05, 2009

Donating Time

I would say that 99% of everything I knit is given away, mostly to charity, some as gifts. It's nice to give 'things', but sometimes it's better to give time. That's what I did today, along with a few of my co-workers and the staff at Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club.

The firm I work for is huge on philanthropic endeavors, and one of the recipients of their grants is Kips Bay, where I went instead of going to work today. But I really did work!

Below is one of our hosts for the day, Al Rodriguez, a very nice man, who gave us an orientation of sorts and told us all about what Kips Bay has to offer. (Pardon the picture, my battery was low so the shot was delayed and then moved). They have quite a few programs and judging by the things I was cleaning, they have everything to keep the children entertained - everything.

Rachel Bayron was there taking pictures and she was the first person I met when I got there, and she's taking pictures for their web page. As I understand it, our faces are going to be on their website.

I helped to clean the computer room, washed windows and shelves in the recreation room, and then attempted to paint a mural, but I have to say, it was frustrating that I can't paint inside the lines, so I have to limit my creativity to fiber related things.

And just when I was sure I couldn't climb up or bend over one more time, it was time for lunch.


The hours I spent there working is the very rewarding. I feel like I made a difference by helping to clean up for the children that would be arriving later in the day. I think we all felt good about it. Can't you tell by our smiles?

I have to thank Janette for inviting me, my managers for letting me go, and my firm for providing us with the free tee shirts. It's safe to say I'd do it again.

Janette, call me when it's time to go back!