Wednesday, June 23, 2004

So Much to Do, So Little Time

At work, I'm second-in-charge of getting all the med school candidates' application information together. The in-charge person is home in a cast, on bed rest, so work has suddenly gotten more stressful. I'm still finding a little time to knit and spin, but I'm just a little overworked, so I don't get around to writing about it. Until today, when it's rainy out, and I'm more than a little unmotivated.

I'm crocheting an edge on Charlotte. It's the most excruciating part of this process, because my crochet skills are practically non-existent, and also not very consistent, so I have to rip back simple chains more than I'd like. I'm 1/4 of the way through the final row that I plan to do, and also mostly out of yarn.

I restarted the Ritratto shawl. It's going better now that I'm anticipating the trouble that the multi-strand yarn will give me. I've also got 6" on the Sigma tank.

I finished a number of skeins of spun yarn this weekend, and will put the pics up soon. The wheel is starting to make more sense, and I'm getting better at intuitively fixing my tension, although my singles are still woefully overspun.

A yarn swift will be arriving at my house from Sweden some time soon. Woo!

Thursday, June 17, 2004


Erg. I can't believe it's been over a week since I updated. I think finishing Charlotte (mostly - she still has no edging) got me burned out on knitting for a bit, and I also got extra busy with work. I've gotten more used to the wheel, and finished a huge skein:

I don't think the wheel liked holding all that yarn on one bobbin.

I've skeined it into two half-skeins. Now, what should I make with it?

Monday, June 07, 2004

A Weekend in Fiber

Friday: worked from home, and spent some of my time blocking Charlotte. The pattern called for edging, then blocking, but my crochet is less-than-stellar, and I think it'll be easier to crochet now that everything's stretched, and then reblock after edging. I'm amazed at how much she stretches when wet. I decided to wet-block, because it's the easiest for me. I dunked her in a (really) big bowl, let some of the water run out, squeezed gently, then laid her on the floor over a bunch of towels. I pinned her directly into the carpeting under the towels, first lengthwise, then along her wingspan, and then back to touching up the length and trying to get things reasonably even. Here's the final result:

Saturday: went to the Textile Museum Celebration of Fiber. It's too bad it was raining, since that meant the sheep shearing was canceled, and everything was stuck under tents. It's a cute little museum, with much of the focus on weaving, which is still relatively foreign to me. Someone was spinning on an Ashford Traveler, and it was nice to watch someone using the wheel that I'm trying to learn. I also got a better idea what the material on the drive band and brake band should be. I was most enthralled by the drum carder. How fun to be able to mix your own colors with such a toy! Much easier and more effective than my current method of ripping rovings apart and mashing them back together by hand. That's one that I'll have to save up for -- I don't think I can build my own reasonable alternative like I have a Lazy Kate.

I also finished the cotton Bucket hat, tried it on, found it was way too big, tried shrinking it to no avail, and ripped it back to the brim. Boo.

Sunday: Did some kool-aid dyeing in the morning. 2 parts Pink Lemonade and 3 parts Ice Blue Raspberry make a much nicer purple than Grape does.

Hung out at Paula's for much of the afternoon, knitting and spindling. Ellen came over with 1250 yards of luxurious alpaca yarn, all in one giant skein. In hindsight, we probably should have taken it to a yarn store and asked them to wind it on a swift and ballwinder. Instead, we decided to try to tackle it by hand, and ended up with a large, tangley mess. We made it through maybe 200 yards of untangling in two hours. Ugh. At least it gives her enough to start knitting, and taking breaks to continue untangling.

Stopped at Home Depot on the way home and bought some picture-hanging wire to serve as a brake band, and nylon cord to use for a drive band for the wheel. This seemed to appease it a bit, and I managed to make my first solid amount of yarn:

It's all kool-aid dyed roving. I don't think that I rinsed it enough, because it left my fingers a little sticky after doing a couple of ounces. The wheel's current owner is coming over Tuesday, and then I'll get a real idea of what I'm doing well and not so well. I'm starting to fall in love with the wheel already. Maybe if I make enough money at the yard sale this weekend...

I also worked on the hat while watching the Tony Awards (hooray for Avenue Q!). I stayed on size 6 needles, went down to 100 stitches on the body, and have made it to the middle of the top of the hat. And it fits this time.

Friday, June 04, 2004

So here's what I did

I decided to try continuing in my last color. I threaded dental floss through the row I had just completed, to make picking up the stitches easier if I had to rip back. I made it through the two rows with about 1/2 yard to spare, and bound off in the light color, which I'm also going to use for the crocheted edge. I went to a size 8 needle to make sure my bind off was loose. Phew.

Finished, pre-edging and blocking.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

What's a Girl to Do?

I have two rows and the bind off left to knit on Charlotte. I probably have 1 1/2 rows' worth of yarn left on the color that I'm currently working. Herein lies the dilemma. I can:

a) Switch back to either the light blue/green/purple or the purple/grey/black yarn to finish the last two rows and bind off;
b) Rip back a couple of rows and shade in some of either of the above colors;
c) Add a completely new, but complementary color (specifically, colorway 317, which is dark blues, dark greys, and maybe a hint of purple and a hint of black);
d) Bind off now and skip the last two rows.

Anyone have suggestions? I will sleep on it, since my hands are about done for the night.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Charlotte, Continued

My camera work doesn't really do her justice, but here she is, in the middle of the fourth color:

And a more true-to-life sampling of the first four yarns:

I am now on row 144 -- in the home stretch! Being home sick from work helped my progress a bit. I also finished watching season 3 of The West Wing for the second time. I'm missing three or four episodes from the middle of the season. It's driving me crazy.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

NYC Yarning

I spent the long weekend in NYC with my sister, a fellow knitaholic, and there was much enabling on each of our parts. We visited three yarn shops - Stitches East, gotta knit, and Knit NYC (and went by Downtown Yarns, but alas, it was closed for Memorial Day). I purchased enough Ritratto (I think it's colorway 70) to make a lace shawl for someone's Christmas gift at Stitches, and some Classic Elite Provence in a green color to do a summer hat at gotta knit. I also found the circulars that I needed. I know it's cheaper to buy online most of the time, but there's something about the instant gratification that I can't pass up once in awhile.

I didn't do a lot of knitting or spinning this weekend. I started the christmas shawl, made it about 30 rows in, and ripped it all out because of a mistake three rows in that I thought I could ignore, but turns out I couldn't. Ritratto, with its 3 strands (one of which is mohair) wasn't thrilled about being ripped, and I don't know if it'll be salvageable. I will restart with one of the other balls, and let this one stretch out on my niddy noddy, and maybe use it later, if I end up needing it for length.

I was afraid to pick Charlotte up, because she never would have had my full attention, and that can only end badly.

I wish I had a fast Internet connection from home -- most of my pictures are on that computer, but then, I always want to post them here at work.