Wednesday, May 26, 2004

charlotte chart

Oh, I should also mention that I put together a chart, based on the charts from Jenny and Uli, pulling together elements of both that have facilitated my Charlotte progress. The chart lists row numbers, colors, pattern rows, how many stitches you have to knit before starting the lace repeats, the number of lace repeats on each side, total stitches within the repeats, and total stitches overall. It also has the lace repeats along the bottom.

I added the number of stitches within the lace repeats column because I found that rather than count all stitches at the ends of rows, I was counting the ones before, after, and in between the lace repeats, and then making sure that everything added up. I added the stitches to knit before the repeats because that's one of the main pieces I was using Jenny's chart to double-check. And, I'm less inclined to learn the symbols on the chart, so it was easier to just write out in abbreviations each lace repeat pattern (there are only three, after all), and to write out both sides, mirrored, rather than try to transpose in my head. Of course, at this point, I have most of the thing memorized anyway.

The thing is made in Word and fits on a legal-sized sheet of paper (that's the big size, right)? If anyone wants a copy to complement the Koigu original, let me know. I don't think I have much of a readership on this thing :) but there's the offer, anyway.

Charlotte's Web Progress

My final skein of Koigu arrived yesterday, and it inspired me to work on Charlotte's Web for a little over two hours.

First of all, color 436 is gorgeous -- much better than it is in any of the pictures that I've found online. The Monet-like blues, greens and purples are lovely. Mmm.

I'm on row 103 of the pattern -- 211 stitches on the needles. It took me a little over 2 hours to knit from 91-103. That's 2,575 stitches, which means I'm knitting an average of about 21 stitches per minute. Woohoo. I have nothing to compare that to, so I'm not sure what it means, but it makes me happy to compute it. Obviously, that doesn't take into account the counting and the color changing and the weaving in ends, and the occasional frogging. I haven't had to rip back in awhile (knocking on desk). I've mostly realized that my mistakes, when I make them, are forgetting to yarn over after doing a SKP or S-k2tog-P. I've been counting each lace repeat as I purl back, so if I end up with 7 instead of 8 stitches, I can usually pick up the yarn where the yarn over should've been, and it's working itself out.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Cameratic Success

I finally remembered to bring the Olympus home from work, but then I didn't have time to take pics until this morning before work, so I apologize for my semi-conscious shots. Anyway, this is visiting my house right now:

A friend of mine is thinking of selling it, and I'm thinking of buying it, although from what I've read, a lot of people grow out of the Traveller quickly, and recommend it as a second wheel, for its portability, but not as your primary wheel. I'm just excited to get to spin on a wheel for the first time. Said friend also provided some roving to practice with.

Monday, May 24, 2004

81 rows and a finished Fiona

I'm now waiting for my last color of Koigu to arrive. I decided that it was too dark, after all, and ordered a skein of color 436 (lighter purple with some greens) for some contrast. I have used 3 colors so far, then this light one, and my fifth colorway will likely combine two or three different yarns. My other big projects (a shawl and an afghan) are also purple colorways. I think I may actually get tired of working in purples soon.

Finished Fiona this weekend, and even managed to sew up an inner lining. She is currently holding my lunch:

As one project finishes, another restarts. I was halfway through the Lace Lopi scarf from Weekend Knits, and started my second skein. The skeins were purchased at the Dupont Circle Farmer's Market, with the same dye lot number, but also handspun and hand dyed, and apparently the dye wasn't so uniform. The second skein was noticeably greener than the first, to the degree that I couldn't justify finishing it up and having a two-tone scarf. So, I ripped out the first half (I don't think I even took a picture to chronicle the original progress), and am now reknitting it in mistake rib (CO an odd number, then every row: k2, p1 to last st, k1), alternating each color every two rows. Bah. I definitely want to knit up the lace lopi though -- I really liked the way it looked.

Final project of the weekend: Circular Needle Holder. Sewed up with the help of a friend, and now hanging happily in my craft/guest room. Hooray!

Friday, May 21, 2004


Went out to dinner, then to the theater. Dinner didn't like me, so we left at intermission, and stopped for bubble tea, which soothes my stomach, or at least makes me forget that it hurts for awhile. Unfortunately, I chose a coffee/black tea combo bubble tea, so now I'm sleepy and caffeinated, which means just a little too much awakeness to get to bed. I am resisting all urges to pick Charlotte up and work on her, because I know I'm not alert enough for that right now.

Really, though, the shawl is coming along very nicely. I'm in the 60s, which means about half the stitches are now on the needles. Many thanks go out to Jenny and Uli, whose charts have helped me stay on track. Uli also notes that, "By the time you are done with Charlotte you will have knitted 24,486 stitches. (obviously not counting and frogging, ripping, knitting backwards or re-knitting)." Whee! In terms of percentages, I'm barely at 15, if that. I am marking on my chart how far I knit each day, to keep a running log, of sorts.

I also just found the pant-along -- this blogging world is dangerous. I'm holding off on my pants since I won't want to wear them until the weather cools down anyway, but looking at everyone else's makes me want to pick them back up again (I've done all of 2" of legs so far, knitting both legs at once to try to keep them an equal length).

Camera still stranded at work. Feeling the need to post pictures, here is a composite of my latest Kool-Aid Dyeing:

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Mayorga Madness

I had fun at the knitting meetup last night, even if Tim did order me the wrong Italian soda (when I said green, I meant lime or kiwi, not mouthwashesque mint. Oh well. Got a coconut milk bubble tea on the way home to make up for it). There were 10-ish people, many of whom had been there last month, and it's a good little group. Very friendly and talkative, and my general age group. Chatted about projects, patterns, Interweave knits, changing style preferences, cicadas, Mormons, and the like. Makes me happy. Now if only the knit n' wine group would pick up a bit, I'd have plenty of social knitting outlets.

I took Charlotte along to the meetup, largely because I had been knitting more mindless projects (socks and lace lopi scarf) all day at jury duty. I also brought along Fiona, who just needs her i-cords applied, and a lining added. I also have my sewing-friendly friend coming over on Saturday to help put together a circular holder. Time for another run to Joann's, which is just a few blocks away, happily. Charlotte is coming along a lot better this time -- I ripped her all the way back to nothing at row 33ish, after being two stitches short, not really understanding the pattern, and deciding that starting over may be the easiest way to get more acquainted with the mechanics. This time around, I'm up to 90something stitches, and have done some error correction without going insane, so this seems promising. I don't think I'm going to stick with the color directives, though.

I also have a new houseguest accomplice to my fibery exploits, but that will be better described with pictures, and my digital camera was at work while I was at home yesterday, so that will have to wait.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004


I've never worked in lace, but Koigu was on such a sale at MS&W, and Charlotte is so beautiful, that I'm embarking on the challenge. All of my yarns are very purpley -- we'll see how they all work together. I also don't have five full skeins, but rather six or seven part-skeins, so my colorway will definitely be unique! Here are some of the colors that'll be involved:

I went through the pattern last night and rewrote it into a word doc table, so that I could visualize how everything worked out (it's written all squished together, and I wanted everything on separate lines, centered around the center stitch). Once I did that, it made pretty decent sense, so I casted on and have done all of 20 rows. Quite a ways to go, but it's fun so far, and I love watching the colors change!

Monday, May 17, 2004

Almost glad the weekend is over

I had a not good Scrabble tournament (yes, I play competitive Scrabble), and a rather unfocused choir concert (I sing second soprano in a community choir), all in the space of 24 hours. I'm glad that choir is on summer break, and I'm not playing in another tourney til October or so. I think it was a little too much to do in not enough time.

I did a little bit of knitting and spinning to distract myself:

The Fiona Knit-Along bag is coming along. I substituted the yarn, and some of the stitches, and added this little pocket on the side opposite the tall pocket.

I made this little skein of yarn, only about 25 yards. I think it looks like an inchworm in this picture. Much cuter insect imagery than the cicadas that abound in my neighborhood.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

My Second Yarn

It's about 50 yards' worth, and around worsted weight.

Clockwise from top left: my dog, Cassie, checking out one of my singles; plying the yarn on the contraption that Tim built me out of scrap wood, dowels, and PVC pipe; close-up of yarn drying in the shower; washing/finishing the yarn; me with yarn.

That's what $1.45 bought me at Maryland Sheep and Wool!

Monday, May 10, 2004

Addi Admiration

Ahhh... day off. How I needed thee, and am enjoying thee while sitting about in a t-shirt, in my always-cool basement at my sad computer with only dial-up service. Hence, no pictures in my update today, but plenty of time to write.

Last Friday, I convinced my friend Heather to leave work early and accompany me to Cloverhill - I had never been there, and it's only a 5 minute drive from work, so I thought I should check it out. Plus, I was still having a fiber hangover from Sheep and Wool, and figured I'd be safe from buying anything. Silly me.

Turns out, Tim was supposed to pick me up there and drive me home around 4:15 or 4:30 (we arrived at Cloverhill at 4ish). A call to my cell phone told me he wouldn't be in Catonsville until closer to 5 (which actually turned out to be 6, thanks to Beltway and airport traffic -- he had to drop someone off at BWI). Of course, it was the one day thta I had no knitting projects in my work bag. I did, however, have the Fiona pattern in my bag, which I printed off, thinking I might knit-along if I had yarn at home that I could use. His running late plus my lack of projects plus Cotton Fleece at 20% off told me that I was meant to knit Fiona, with the lovely Rug Red, which is a darker, almost maroon red. I also had no needles, so I picked up my first set of Addi turbo circulars.

And how I'm enjoying the Addis! I love the resilience and flexibility of the cable that joins the needles! It's the only one that doesn't get annoyed at the ways that I try to make it flex. Working with cotton-blend yarn is new and not-too-fun so far, but the Addis are making it a little easier. I'm about 6" into the bag, and, aside from the mini-cables at the edges, it's going pretty well. I think I'm knitting a little too undergauge, since the thing has no structure, but I can always sew in a lining to make it stand up a little better.

Much other knitting and spinning went on this weekend -- I finished up the sweater-in-the-round sleeves and everything is blocking on my new blocking boards; yarns were sorted into the correct bins; 50 yards of variegated blue-green-purple has been plied and is drying happily. It'll be much more interesting once I'm back at work and can post pictures from my ethernet-enabled connection!

Friday, May 07, 2004

Why Spinning?

Okay, so I’ve been knitting for a few years, and have only been spinning for three weeks. Here’s why I’m already enjoying it so much.

  1. It’s economical. Spinning my own yarn will stretch my fiber budget, as well as the amount of time that I can enjoy any given fiber that I have., since I spend the time spinning it as well as knitting it. For $20 on eBay, I bought a spindle, Lee Raven’s wonderful Spin It! book, and enough roving to create a hat’s worth of yarn, if not more. At the MD Sheep and Wool Fest, I spent about $15 on over a pound of roving - how else can you get a pound of wonderful, wooly, hand-painted, handspun yarn for only $15?

  2. It’s portable. Portability is one of my favorite things about knitting, and while spinning isn’t quite as handy, it’s easy to carry along a spindle and some wool.

  3. It increases my appreciation for the diversity of yarn. If you’re like me, you get annoyed when people ask you why you don’t just buy a sweater instead of “wasting” the time and effort to knit your own. There’s so much design and individuality and creative energy that goes into producing your own piece. There are so many choices to be made, just in the yarn: color, fiber, weight, not to mention stitch patterns and construction… spinning wool into yarn myself has made me more aware of further dimensions involved in the process of creating a finished product.

  4. It’s relaxing. Not that knitting isn’t relaxing, but there’s something even more zen about spinning - the concentration it requires, the attention that you to your hands, the repetitive motion. When I get frustrated with my life, I recenter by knitting, and when I get frustrated with my knitting, I can recenter by spinning.

  5. It’s gratifying. After three weeks and a little frustration, I can create yarn without too much trouble, and I can pick it up and have enough yarn to wind some onto the spindle in just a few minutes. I’ve spun over 100 yards, which is enough for a hat, in the space of a few hours, and now I have all that knitting to look forward to!

Here's the yarn I'm currently spinning, from some fleece bought at MD Sheep and Wool. I'm mixing the colors by hand, mostly by taking pieces of a bunch of different colors, separating them, and mixing them back together. I'm sure this would be easier with some sort of tools, but I've really just learned, and figure I should do some trial and error experimentation before spending more money on toys (although a friend of mine is selling her wheel, and it's very tempting).


Thursday, May 06, 2004

Bowie Folk Art Studio: A Mini-Review
On Wednesday nights from 6-9, the former Year of the Rabbit Cafe, now Folk Art Studio addition (6700 Race Track Rd in Bowie, MD), stays open from 6-9pm for free knitting lessons. Since it's only about 20 minutes from home, and an opportunity to knit with other knitters, Tim drove me out to check out the environment.

The Folk Art Studio was the pottery place next to YOTR, and now encompasses both spaces, for a lovely, large creative space, wtih built-in coffeebar/deli setup. Creativity oozes out of every space, with most surfaces either hand painted, decoupaged, or both. The furniture is partly leftovers from the cafe (small tables, boring restaurant-type chair) and partly flea market makeovers. Lots of goddesses and earth tones abound, showing off the creativity of those involved with the store -- I'm pretty sure that most of the artwork was done by owners/stakeholders in the cafe, who also do commissioned pieces.

I had run into owner (?) Kathy at MD Sheep and Wool Fest, as she chatted with the Koigu distributors at their booth. I recognized her Folk Art Studio shirt and introduced myself. When I arrived yesterday, she recognized me and remembered my name. Very impressive, considering the craziness of the fest. She exudes a friendly business owner aura, and was patiently teaching a couple of new knitters how to start their first projects, while also answering questions of her staff (mostly enthusiastic young adult types, who are likely working in exchange for food and fiber), warning teenaged boys that the bathrooms were for paying customers only, chatting with everyone who came in, and otherwise multitasking in the way that I'm sure any new business owner has to. She mentioned that they were working on getting a webpage up, as well as getting wireless internet, and booking bands to play on weekends. Ambitious stuff.

The yarns are all pretty high end, and largely novelty type stuff -- lots of Colinette, Fiesta, and more eyelash yarns, handpaints, chenilles, etc. Standby Lamb's Pride Bulky was displayed in lots of colors, at $7/skein. The yarn selection is small, but displayed fancifully in cupboards and other household-seeming spaces. I wouldn't be surprised if I returned someday to find a decoupaged claw foot bathtub full of yarns (one of my favorite displays in the Knitter's Stash book). There were a few patterns, a few finished pieces for sale, some needles (mostly Brittany, and Susan Bates, I think). I didn't get too close of a look, since I'm on a yarn diet after last weekend, but it's very pretty and inspiring. The beverages were lovely - I had a bubble tea and Tim had a chai. No complaints there. We'll see how their mochas stack up some time later. Desserts looked good, but I'm also on a food diet of sorts after the two huge orders of fries and bag of kettle corn, also courtesy of Sheep and Wool.

Overall, I think it may be trying to be too many things at once and that makes me nervous for it, but it's a nice place to hang out, and I'll probably keep visiting. I think the posted hours were Monday-Friday 10-8, and Saturday/Sunday 10-6. They're planning to host a grand opening of sorts and do more advertising by Memorial Day weekend, but they're there already, so check it out!

(Incidentally, this was also the most recent post in my livejournal knitspace. I'm still deciding whether I'd rather post here or there or both, so bear with me).
I give in. I want my own, non-livejournal knitwebspace.