June 29, 2010

You Knew It Was Coming

The Tour de Fleece is right around the corner (July 3rd, I think), and to that end I did some practice spinning.  Here's 4 ounces of fiber from Cloverleaf Farms, merino/tussah in a gray colorway:

This was the first fiber I'd spun in a long time and all I did was spin it and wash it.  No yardage facts yet because I like to do all of my spinning at once - before I lose momentum - or forget that I was spinning at all.

Then I spun another 4 ounces of fiber from Copper Moose in Chameleon colorway (BFL):

I love it!  Not only do I love the color, but I didn't draft it at all and it still came out even and the color (which looks gray) obviously has more character than I gave it credit for.  It's soft and wonderful and I'm going to have to readjust my thinking about spinning batts.  This was a joy.

Then I spun up a little more BFL from Desert Peach Farm & Fiber.  I didn't draft this fiber either, and once again, I love it!  It came out evenly, looks delicious, I love the colors and I'm going to keep it around on the spool just to look at: 

Hmm ... maybe if I leave it as a single instead of plying it, maybe I'll have 437 yards of it.  Or maybe I'll find just the right scarf pattern to make with it.  Not likely, but there might be a shawlette on this spool.

Lastly, I spun up a little Wensleydale from Lisa Souza.  I pre-drafted this fiber and I'm going to blame it on the heat because this fiber was hard to draft, hard to spin and all I kept thinking while spinning it was that it (like me) was having a very bad hair day!  I found myself saying out loud, "Gurl, what is UP with your hair?" 

Lovely colors, but I'm not touching this yarn until the temperature comes down!  Oy!  More of this fiber was stuck to me than what made it to the spindle!  That's when I knew I'd better take a rest because I was about to do some serious damage to another braid of fiber.

Now, because this is an alleged knitting blog, here's some knitting I did that finally did me in.  I spent 3 days making this sweater and it came out beautifully.  That is ... until I washed it in some Euclan:

The top of the sweater is green, the bottom is blue/green.  I know for sure that the Euclan didn't do this to the sweater. I'm thinking that it was 'fiber failure'.  Nobody's fault.  So, I have three choices.  I could wash it yet again and pray for the best (it didn't work the second or third time I washed it), dye it myself and hope to obtain the same lovely color (impossible!), or I could start over.

You know me - so you know what choice I made.  Right?

June 16, 2010

Oh! Gifts!

Yesterday during my lunch hour I took a short train ride to Purl Soho in Manhattan.  They have a wall of yarn which I couldn't even look at because I went to the shop with a purpose, and if I had touched even one skein of yarn my lunch hour would have been a 'ditching work' afternoon.  The shop has a little of everything for the crafter: they have bolts of fabric, squares of fabric, felting stuff, gadgets and what all.  I'll have to go back after work one day or on the weekend.

I went to their website and found a couple of patterns I want to make for the ladies in the cancer ward at a local  hospital.  My friend and fellow knitting circle 'angel' said the ladies often say their head, feet and hands are cold so while everyone in knitting class is making hats, I'm going to make socks.  Lucky me, I found these two patterns: 

The buttons are for the Presto Chango sweater (I settled), but the finding the patterns made me so happy. 

Why, you ask (or didn't ask)?  Because following the Yarn Harlot's example, I've offered the ladies in the knitting class a challenge.  I've asked them to knit one pair of socks per month for the year 2011.  There will be prizes, there will be competition, there will be fun.  Being the organizer, all I can do is find patterns for them to borrow that challenges their skills and gets them happy they entered the contest.  Woo hoo!

Then, when I get back to my desk there's a note and a bag from my friend Nancy.   She found some yarn that someone had 'put out' in the trash room at her building.  Whoever it was didn't have the heart to throw the yarn down the incinerator.  OK, I read the note and pulled the yarn out of the bag.  Drumroll, please ...

OK, why did I let myself get excited?  This yarn is older than Central Park dirt, but it'll come in handy for a new knitter.  So, I want to thank Nancy for doing the dumpster dive for me.  It's perfectly good yarn for the donation basket at the library so it won't go to waste.  Orlon AND acrylic, woo hoo!

Thanks Nancy!

June 14, 2010

Knitter's Delight

Bad weather equals good knitting, in my opinion.  I was the queen of multi-tasking today and I couldn't be happier.

I'd heard rumors and read online about folks who spin without preparing their fiber in advance.  I've never not prepped fiber before and it takes me hours - partly because I feel compelled to watch TV while doing it.   Anyway, I took some BFL I bought from Desert Peach Farm and Fiber and the only thing I did was split the fiber, then spin it up:

I learned that it's not faster with no prep, BUT for me, it made me pay attention.  Paying more attention meant I did a better job of spinning.  My singles aren't over spun (not one corkscrew), the yarn is more even and if this is the end result, I may never prep fiber again.  With the Tour de Fleece coming up (y'all are going to hate me again with nothing but spinning going on for the month of July!) practice makes perfect.

Yesterday, I finished the Cascata shawl and today it's blocking comfortably on the floor in the living room.  I'm happy that I made it in a solid color, but a tone on tone might have been prettier:

All I can show you are the points which were a pain in the neck!  I had to block the neck first because the collar of the shawl is a semi circle and figuring out where to place the blocking pins was a little problematic.  The shawl will make it's debut in about 2 weeks when I can post it as shawl #5 on the 10 Shawls in 2010 on Ravelry.

I finished Presto Chango today - yay! - and it's blocking comfortably on the floor in the living room too:

Buttons haven't yet been picked, but I have a couple of weeks before I have to go into panic mode.  I'm hoping to find the right yellow/green plastic shank buttons someplace, but if not, I'll use wooden ones.

Lastly, Tilia is done and I found her in the bag I took to knitting class.  I wish you could see the color of this shawl, it's lovely.  Schaefer Trenna in the Willa Cather colorway:

The bind off got kind to screwed up because apparently when most folks read instructions that say 'do not turn', they usually follow that direction.  Unless you are me.  I don't know which of the three words confused me, but the end result is that there are no 'points' on my shawl.  Oh well.  Thank goodness there's no knitting inspection officers!

My next mission is to find the perfect yarn for my next shawl in my stash.  I'm all about stash busting, so I guess I'm going to have to do some stash diving.  Wish me luck!

June 11, 2010

Things Don't Always Go

Dear Anonymous T,
Thank you for reminding me that I have an obligation to let you know what I've been up to.  It's been awhile, I know, but you know, stuff (like life) happens and I got sidetracked.  I will do better.

I have been knitting, though.  Here's my latest contribution to my 10 Shawls in 2010:

It's a pattern called Tilia from Oceanwind Knits and I made it with Schaefer Trenna in the Willa Cather colorway using size US #7 needles.  This is shawl #4 and it was crazy easy and fun to knit.  I'd give you the details about it all, but I lost the ball band all I can tell you about the yarn is that it's wool/silk and has a bit of a sheen to it.  Lovely, really.

Unfortnately, I put the shawl up while I think about who will get it, and now I can't find it.  Sheesh!

And I'm almost done with shawl with shawl #5, Cascata from The Twist Collective site.  The pattern was a gift from my friend Sojourn Knitter - thanks!  Look how far I got:

It's so lovely, made with Misti Alpaca Lace (437 yds/skein) in a blue/green color formerly known as silver sage.  I'm using US #7 needles and I'm on my seond skein which will see me to the end of the pattern.  Woo hoo!

This shawl is even faster than Tilia and it has a semi-circle shape and starts from the bottom hem up to the neck, so you start off with the maximum number of stitches and decrease as you go.  Love that!

Last, but not least by far, there's this sweater I've been working on that will scream 'little girl' when it's done, even if it doesn't look like much now.  I'm mostly done, but I'm going to go into button drama mode and I can only pray that I'll find buttons before you come back to work.  Pray for me!

This pattern is called Presto Chango from Jimmy Beans Wool.  I'm using Needful Yarns which was a gift from my friend Joyce.  Woo hoo!  When baby Remy comes to visit, she can thank us both!

I also made socks, which I ripped out.  I spun yarn which is waiting for it's debut, and I'm working on a second sweater for yet another baby.  But it's too late to get into it now.

Whew!  I'd better get back to my knitting now.  With all I'm doing now, I'm afraid I won't get to my holiday knitting until November!

Enjoy your time home with your new baby and I'll try to keep you entertained now that you have time to read my blog.  And really, thanks for stopping by - I love that you do.


P.S. Notice my blog's new look?  I pressed the save button my mistake.  Do you think anyone will notice that there are 0 purls of wisdom?

June 03, 2010

Pictures Pending

I know ... it's been awhile. 

I've been meaning to write - and I even wrote a draft of what I wanted to say today, but somehow I never seemed to get to it.  That. is. so. wrong.  because, in spite of the fact that I don't make a daily entry, I expect everyone else on my blogroll to have one, for my reading pleasure, of course.  Sheesh!  That's about the most selfish ...

Anyway ...

What I intended to do was show the shawl I finished, Tilia, but I can't find my memory card.  I know where to look, I just haven't had a moment to look.  Honestly. 

I can tell you that I screwed up the bind off because I didn't read the directions.  Doh!  Ya can't tell me anything because I know what I'm doing.  Yeh, right.

And there were the socks I finished and wasn't impressed with and so I ripped them out.  And the spinning I did and didn't talk about.  I have pictures of that.

It would have been nice, as well, to share pictures of the two baby sweaters I'm working on and thought I'd be finished with by now.  Just know this, any knitting to-do list that starts with "Finish", is a neon sign to the knitting gods that you want to be treated badly.

I did manage to work on my new shawl, Cascata.  It's going crazy fast, and even though I didn't take any pictures of it at the halfway mark (I'm past that now), I will have something to show ... as soon as I find my memory card.

Meanwhile, I won't talk you to death because a blog with no pictures is merely taking up your time.  So, I'll be back ...