Sunday, March 30, 2008

Still spinning


This is 50 grams of Optim (poor picture.. the colour is off wack). I'm stuck right now, until I ply some Merino to free up a couple of bobbins. So I'm done spinning for a day or two. I really quite enjoyed the spin so far! Thank you Mandie!

As well as spinning, today I was sewing, doing hair, and you name it. Everything but knitting!

We had to come up with a 50's costume for Mug for her school play... including false eyelashes and 2 different hairdos. I just loved this picture, but it was not the 'winning' hairdo.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

It j-j-j-jiggled

The Lendrum that is. All I wanted was a solid, quiet wheel. And what I had was this mad shaky thing that would just go bonkers... Seemed like it had a harmonic shiver. Anyway, it turns out that the flier needed 2.1 grams of weight on the non-clip side. It was unbalanced. Cal gave me another flier to use while he was working with mine, and so I spun all night tonight. It's like a different wheel, completely. I'm happy now and soon I'll turn into one of those people who swear up and down that the Lendrum is the *only* wheel.

Mandie (Ewe Give Me The Knits) sent me a 100 gram sample of Optim that she'd dyed; a glorious 'Aquatic' (the perfect name for it, none other would do). I'd never spun it before, and had heard both positive and negative feedback on Optim (in general). Before I put it on the wheel, I finished up spinning the 100 grams of Merino that I had dyed and slightly felted. It was the perfect preamble for spinning Optim. I actually like its tendencies, and I was really comfortable spinning it. At first I thought I'd ply it with some black Suri Merino single that I spun a while ago, but I've got it so thin that I think I'll self-ply. It looks exactly like silk...

Ok, tonight was really special. Did you know that it was Earth Hour between 8 and 9pm? BF told me about it a while ago, and we decided that we were going to do it (turn out the lights). What we ended up doing was shutting everything in the house off for that hour, and we had a family snuggle and a big talk in the twilight. It was great, and we're going to have Earth Hour monthly.

Some great ideas come from Australia, don't you think?

Yo. Bison.

I got me some Buffalo Gold from far, far away!... Australia to be exact, from my friend Mandie. It's another post altogether, one I can't do justice to at 1:30am on Saturday morning.

So.. Introducing my bison version of the Heartland Lace Shawl, which I am knitting specifically to enter into the Calgary Stampede this summer. It's going well so far. I've already frogged 1/2 of chart 2 because I saw a missing y/o. So, all's well, right?


And we'll say goodbye for now, to:

Fiddlehead mittens (I so love you, mittens, but you have to wait for a little while); they are all silky, alpaca'ish goodness. Soft like you would not believe.


And, Fugly Mo, who i really have fallen in some kind of sick love with. Looks like a fuzzy, moldy stingray, huh?


I am so serious about the Heartland that alas, even SHE WHO SHALL REMAIN NAMELESS is in brief hybernation (a small dark picture for your confusion). Ah... knitting. She's a harsh mistress at times.


Clearly I need to go to bed. I'm getting punchy.

OH.. Hela should have been ready today. I'm so going to that seamstress tomorrow to grab my sweater back.

Jackyll and Hide

Because he didn't want a balaclava with a 'face hole'; he wanted one with 'eye holes'... Jim thought that Aidan would really get excited about the Jackyll and Hide. I had spun some natural 3-ply BFL at Christmas (with my new Lendrum) so I decided to put it to good use...

Jim was right.. Aidan thinks it rocks. Which, I understand, is high praise.

Because it's finished and he loves it, I can guarantee that we will have weather no colder than -5 until next year.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Today I'm knitting mittens

The fiddlehead mittens that Dida is knitting are now on my needles too. Mine are eggplant Blue Sky Alpaca with Noro Silk Garden Lite which is starting out grey and running to burgundy. I hope that it works out, but we'll see. I was thinking of knitting on fugly mo, but it's still in the project bag; you know... I'm starting to love that fugly thing. It's growing on me. It could be a fungus.

Tonight I received an invite to a new Ravelry group called 'Year of Lace Unchained'. I'm gonna see how that goes. Unchained doesn't sound too bad sometimes.

Think I can get away with mixing my mittens? Asked by a woman who wears mismatched socks...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

YOL - Hint 4

Short post.

IF you think that it would be a good idea to make a working copy of your pattern, please have the sense to check that the copy is a good one. Lets just say that you DON'T do that, then it's possible that the shaded purl stitches don't show up, and you knit every f'ing one of them. It makes quite a bit of difference in the center panel of the shawl.

To frog, or not to frog. That is the question.

I am officially grouchy.

Monday, March 24, 2008

YOL - Hint 3

When it looks totally fine, but you are looking at the chart, and it just isn't making sense; what this means is: Put down the lace and walk away.

Don't tink. Not yet.

Have a cup of tea. Perhaps decide that you are, in fact, reallllllly tired, and that it would be best to try again tomorrow.

You'll be amazed to find that when you look at everything again, your problem wasn't knitting the lace, but that charts look strange through crossed eyes.

I know this. Happened to me tonight.

Tomorrow is another day, right?

PS: I'm photo-journaling my knitting on flickr. So if you want to spoil anything for yourself (or not), then I warn you/invite you to find images there. I won't make a photographer, but you'll get the general idea.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

YOL - Hint 2

If you perchance have an original copy of the pattern (pre-saturday that is), and if you knit it and discover that row 7 really seems to need a decrease, you are in fact, not crazy.

If you are like me, then you'll have just done the darned decreases anyway to fudge the stitch count back to nirvana; & at a strategic point, looked it over, and decided that it's a pretty weird coincidence that you had the same issue in two spots. then.kept.knitting.

Well, turns out that the repeat box on rows 7 & 8 need to be moved 2 stitches to the left.

I haven't made it to rows 7 & 8 again recently, but I would imagine that things are going to be even easier after I do!

Am I going to frog? No darned way. Looks just fine as is.

My car is gone

A few years ago my car (1985 Volvo Stationwagon) started acting very strangely and I neglected to fix it... just parked it on the side of the road where it sat for more than 2 years, gathering dust. Every month I paid insurance on it. I kept it plated until very recently. The tires went flat; we pumped them back up. Eventually I calculated what it was costing me to NOT drive the car, so I put a for sale sign on the dash. I got a few calls, but who really wants a beached 1985 Volvo that needs undetermined repairs?

Several months ago I had to move the car because the streets were being cleaned. We called the motor association to have it boosted.. but no way would that car start. In the end we had to tow it onto the boulevard, and it ended up costing me a $70.00 parking ticket. Ca chinnnnnng.

Well, recently there was a knock at the door, and there stood an older man; short, battered.. a sketchy looking fellow to say the least. He said he wanted the car, and didn't seem in the least bit worried when I told him that it WOULD NOT START.. hadn't run in years. He told me what he could pay, and it wasn't too darned much, I'll tell you that.

Did I have an extra battery? Yes. Flat, but worth a try.

Did I have a quart of oil? Yes... And here, have these new headlights and spark plugs and fuses.

Did I have a repair manual? Yes; strangely, right beside the front door.

Bill of sale? Yes.

Original documentation? Yes.

Registration? Yes. All of that.

So.. He somehow charged the dead battery, and exchanged it for the one in the car. Jim pumped up a flat tire for him. He turned the key... and the car started. I could not believe my eyes as I watched him drive it away. WTH???? It's been sitting there all this time, and I would have sworn on a bible that it was completely dead.

I cleaned out all of the stuff and junk that had been stored in the car, and the very last thing that caught my eye was a small silver star. If you know me well, you know that these stars have been appearing since my son died. I wasn't surprised to see it; it's in my pants pocket, as we speak.

It drove away; dirty, a bit creaky, and I wasn't in the least bit sad... I felt really happy actually, because it struck me that it hasn't been my car for a long, long time. It's just been sitting there waiting for Walter.

I think they'll be good together.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter to you and yours...

I hope that it is a wonderful weekend and that you are able to spend it with your loved ones.

I've been doing that so far. Dida and I have been working on this:


They are her mittens, but I have been showing her how to knit continental and english methods at the same time in order to simplify (and speed up) stranded knitting. It's going well I think, and I love those mittens so much that I'm going to buy the pattern myself.

Nini is so darned cute that it's hard to get much knitting done, even if you TRY very hard.

I made Mug a hat:


It's Norah Gaughn's Sunflower Tam from Knitting Nature. I LOVE this hat, and this pattern. I've knit it once for myself, and this time I made it small for Mug. It fits her more like a pillbox toque than a tam, but it's so great, and she loves it. What more can you ask for a few hours' work and less than one ball of yarn?

I have started a very special lace project; that being the initial Year of Lace kit. It is amazing in every way, and the knitting is going very well for me so far (well.. until I dropped a number of stitches right off the needles). I have decided not to post much on Ravelry or my blog until the kit has arrived in the hands of members outside of Calgary. If I come up with any hints or suggestions, I'll post them, but I'll try to avoid spoilers and details. I can say that when one member picked up her kit she was reduced to tears of joy, and another ... well, she suggested that she might become sexually involved with the lace sample because of it's intoxicating beauty. Believe me, I thought long and hard in order to find suitable phrasing; that's not an exact quote!

So.. hint one: If you're going to put your knitting down, push it down the needles somewhat before picking it back up. D'oh.

Tonight is the second Formula One race, and we'll be watching that (if we can stay awake, that is) only to be woken up early for Aidan's easter egg hunt. There's enough sugar stashed at eye level or lower to ramp him up for at least the day. Phew...

Pray for us.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Washing Cormo

My friend Sherry brought me some raw fleece; Cormo and Alpaca. I've been so excited about cleaning and spinning it, and today was the day. I decided to go with the Yarn Harlot's method. It took most of the day, and seemed to be pretty close to her pictures. At the end of the day, the fleece was a lot cleaner, but still feels greasy to me, and smells quite strongly.. so I think that I'll do it again with a lingerie bag instead of the pillowcase, and more soap. I'm positive that I didn't use enough soap. The end product is a much whiter fleece, but just full of what looks like grains of sand and vegetable matter. It's all a learning process, right?

Here's the first rinse, in clear, cool water:


Wrapped fleece simmering in soapy water. Lots of dirt in this batch too.


I was test dying some silk and some lace weight while I waited for the fleece to simmer.


Damp Cormo... back to the drawing board I think.


A sneak peak of the Mohair shawl I'm working on.


And.. I also did some spinning tonight. Kathleen has named this Merino 'Green Goddess'. I dyed it for myself, and in my haste I felted it slightly. I actually think that I like it that way, and I'm enjoying spinning it. If only the Lendum wasn't wobbling... I think it has to go back.


And now, I rest. It was a busy day.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Here it is friday


And it turned into a pretty good Friday, overall, after a rough start. Seems like a lot of people, including me, needed the day to realign. Anyway, lots of great people came by the shop for TGIF, and there were loads of customers as well; the place was hoppin.

I wore my new Rangoli hat, and it's just too groovy. Later I'll take a pic.. it was an easy knit and turned into a really fun hat. That's what I was hoping. I wore my gum boots too... Started a new fuzzy mohair triangle shawl. It's looking a bit strange to me, but I want it for warmth, so I figure it'll cooperate in the long run.

So... because this is one super boring (read: tired) blog... I'll post a Dida and Nini pic to spice things up. She's loving her Tentoes hand painted sling (it has a mendhi style painting on the back.. beautiful).


Monday, March 10, 2008

Blocking the Swallowtail.

Blocking Gallery

Click on 'Blocking Gallery' to see the Swallowtail in the process of being blocked. This is the first time I've used foam mats, and I think it is one of the most useful blocking tools ever. The wires I'm using are quite sturdy... I don't want flex on this project, so I'm using 1/8" blocking wires as opposed to the standard (1/16"). The finished blocked shawl measures approximately 60" x 32" as is. I think that's a pretty nice size really. I didn't modify the pattern in any way other than using beads instead of nups.

I think that Evelyn Clark shawls are a HUGE bang for your buck. Not massive projects, not too difficult, short pattern repeats, you don't need miles and miles of yarn, great instructions, and they can be blocked into a very nice size. This shawl ran about $40. The last one I did was about $20 of sock yarn. The next will be less than $200 in bison. The range is only limited by your imagination, since her instructions often include options for different weights of yarn.

I love this shawl so much that I am tempted to cast on another. However... I have that bison on the way, and the first Year of Lace kit is scheduled to arrive shortly. I'm gonna be really busy, really soon.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I'm not a stalker, Sandra, I'm a FAN

Have you, amazingly, NOT heard of Denny? My friend Mandie has, and she lives in Australia.

Denny of SOAR fame? (Scroll to October 15th)

Denny who lit up the Knitting Olympics?

Denny who created the knitting rule 'no knitting gray in the winter'?

Denny, who makes everything just a little brighter? Well, you cannot even imagine how thrilled I was to find out that she is a friend of Amy and Sandra's and that she'd be visiting the shop this past Friday. I think I might have jumped up and down when I found out.

Arrive she did, complete with knitting and a Louet Victoria. She joined a big group of us in wine and cupcakes and just a few surprising and unexpected events. Initially, Amy looked out the window and caught the 'tail end' of a bottle picker having a poop in the alley across the street. Believe me when I tell you, this isn't a common occurrence, but buddy did become the 'butt' (sorry, I just had to) of about 50,000 jokes. Later in the afternoon the fire alarm went off and caused Pumper #1 to arrive, complete with a number of super hot (apology #2.. which automatically becomes #3 because of the #2 comment) firemen. I've never had so much fun at a fire alarm in my entire life. It works really, really well, I might add. I'm sure that people downtown knew that our alarm was going off. I hope to be able to hear again one day soon.

And by the way... I was right about Denny. She is fun. She is kind. She is an amazing knitter and spinner as well. She is everything you ever imagined and more.

Here's a picture of Denny and Amy, where Denny is holding some fiber that I dyed. I will grin when I think of that for the rest of my life.


Swallowtail, and half a monkey


Kathleen and I started a little KAL featuring the Swallowtail shawl pattern and one lone skein of Curious Creek Wasonga sock yarn (the KAL is on the Ravelry Make One Yarnies, if you're interested in joining). It's really a fabulous yarn choice; knits up soft with lovely stitch definition. We both chose the Autumn in New England colourway. Kathleen is working on 3.25mm needles, and I'm way up there at 4.5mm.

When I knit the nup section of the pattern I noticed that my needles were too blunt, even with very loose yarn overs. I had to resort to knitting them off with 0's, and using sewing thread, tacked down a few loose loops. Almost instantly, I fell out of love with my Swallowtail, and felt like it wasn't good enough to be a gift.. that I'd keep it for myself.

After a day or so or ruminating on the darned thing, I decided to rip it back to the main chart, and use beads. I actually had the right colour at home; enough to get started anyway. Phew.. what a relief. It was the right decision, and I'm really pleased with the results. I should be finished knitting later this evening.

It's all about blocking baby. I can hardly wait.

Last night I cast off one Cookie A. Monkey sock. It's been hibernating for months, and I'm glad it's done. As soon as I recover from single sock syndrome, I'll knit the other. I'm wearing it anyway.. with whatever the heck strikes my fancy. This is how women with purple glasses and tiaras do things.


Fearless. I steek, therefore I am.

Fearless, that is.

I LOVE this sweater for about a million reasons, and I have been putting off cutting it for I don't know how long. Today everyone has left the house for various reasons, and I thought ... the time is now. So here you go.

Hela, resting on my near vintage Janome. It sews forwards, and that's about it.


Here we go:


And the cutting part. Where's the bartender when you need him?



Almost done; no going back:


There she is... A CARDI.



Now. Anybody out there have the foggiest idea on how I put a zipper in her? As soon as my heart rate returns to normal I'll be trying to figure that one out.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

So I was talking to Amy Singer the other day...

I'll bet you think i'm joshing ya... It went like this:

Amy: Is Amy available?
Annie: I'm sorry, she's with a client right now, can I help you?
Amy: No, I'll call her back later.

I know. You're wishing you were me, aren't you?

My whole weekend went upside down in a big way. I've worked 12 days in a row at one thing or another, and my dream was to go to the farmers market to get Grizzly Gouda (if you don't know about this, you ought to be begging me for directions. It will be the best thing you've ever tried).

Instead... I spent all day Saturday doing housework. Today Mug was sick, so I spent the day inside doing laundry, cooking, and dyeing. I also knitted on the Swallowtail and it is complete up to the end of the third chart. I think I'll have it finished by the end of the week, and hopefully I'll take Mr.G out of time out.

A few great things happened lately. One is that Mandie of EGMTK sold me enough 100% Bison to knit the Heartland Lace Shawl again. It's hard to find this yarn.. it sells super fast. I would have liked to spin it, but the fiber is out of reach at the moment. Anyway, I'm super happy to have found such an amazing vendor and I think her prices are great too.

On Friday evening Make One had a leap year/mini-sock exchange party. Dida came, and we had a ball. I 'managed' to get Dida's mini-sock. I REALLY wanted it because she gave me the full size matching socks for Christmas. It was her very first pair and I'm so pleased to have them. Ok.. I might have peeked; I admit it.. but I don't imagine anybody was too annoyed. At least I hope not. It was the first time I've ever knit at Make One! I've spun, I've visited, I've worked; but never knitted until that night. The very best part was Kathleen's shrimp shooters. When I get the recipe I'll share it, because they really are delicious (and healthy too).

BF's sister Donna visited on Saturday night (hence the flurry of housework), so that was really great. She's someone special.

Somewhere in the desk organizing I knocked a very special Willow Tree 'Sisters by Heart' off of my shelf. She lost both hands. I have found one, and I'm sure I'll find the other, and she'll be as good as new, but right now the both of us are feeling broken up over it. Why couldn't it have been Gumby? He'd have bounced.

The yarn? I dyed and spun it.. it's called Ellie Mae. I think it is my single favorite colourway (hence, I kept it!).