Tuesday, December 05, 2006

What's in a name?

I got crazy tonight and named all of my yarns at woolarina. I've learned that I'm not that good at it. I'm a tournament Scrabble player, I'm a writer, I know a lot of words, so why aren't names easier to come up with? I'm going to start using arcane stuff that I learn in my Scrabble study, like EARSTONE and GODETIA.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

cash cable

This is one of my many holiday knitting projects, and I've just finished the first ball of yarn, so I thought I'd show it off. It's the reversible cable pattern from Scarf Style, which I'm knitting in debbie bliss cashmerino aran on size 9 needles. It's a wonderfully soft yarn to work with, and the colors is good and neutral (it's more khaki than the greenish that this picture captured), which its recipient should appreciate. One 90m (98 yd) ball of yarn resulted in about 16" of scarf, about 4.5" wide.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Just say baa...

MADRID, Spain - Farmers led a flock of hundreds of bleating sheep through downtown Madrid on Sunday in an pungent protest urging the protection of ancient grazing routes threatened by urban sprawl...Smiling crowds lined Sunday's route past McDonald's, Starbucks and august buildings like the Bank of Spain. Small children squealed with delight as they petted the thick, matted wool of the marchers, a sea of white with the odd black sheep mixed in.

My favorite thing is that the article was written by Daniel Woolls. Perfect.

Read the full article on yahoo news here.

prayer shawl

My grandmother has been sick for awhile, and has thus been on my mind a lot recently. That has finally inspired me to use some of the Schaefer yarn that I've been hoarding for a long time now. While I'm not at all religious, my grandmother is, and will hopefully appreciate the thought behind a prayer shawl:

The yarn is Miss Priss, and the colorway is Eleanor Roosevelt. I love most of it, but the light blue pops a little too much. I might overdye it once I'm done, or I might just try to get used to it. The yarn is incredible to work with. Soooo soft, with a nice loftiness for a two ply yarn. The k3 p3 pattern is also really comfortable to knit.

(oh, I also switched to blogger's new beta layout thingie. I have no real idea what it means).

Monday, November 06, 2006

Studio Envy

I dyed the last of my merino roving this weekend. I haven't spun in weeks, and I was itching to do so. I thought I was dyeing things in colors that made vague sense together, but as it turns out, since I did the painting of the roving in my basement with not enough light, they weren't quite what I expected. Luckily with roving, everything tends to spin into a yarn that makes sense, color-wise, since all of my dyes are fairly similar in terms of saturation, tones, etc. I toured some local studios this weekend and coveted their high-ceilinged, naturally lit, beautiful space.

So, since Saturday, I've spun up 140 yards of a magenta/purpley batt that Paula bought me at the last Sheep & Wool, and 90 yards of a three-ply merino that I dyed Sunday, which is, unsurprisingly, purple.

I also learned the my new cat, Harriet Scampi, is enamored of watching the plies fly by as I make yarn. Watching the dog watch the cat watch the yarn is good entertainment.

Monday, October 16, 2006

giant balls!

Originally uploaded by kismet09.
There's a store in the Prudential Mall that uses these balls as a display item. Some of them were a good foot and a half across. I covet them.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Mistake Rib Goodness

I forgot to put this up before! This is that scarf I was working on in NYC. Doubled Noro Silk Garden, alternating every two rows with some handspun that I navajo-plyed, thus allowing the colors to stay together. The bright green isn't as bright as it looks in this picture -- I just took it and it's getting dark, and I had to play with the exposure a bit to make it look even vaguely true-to-life. You also get a nice shot of my purple door, which we painted this summer.

Yarn found

My knitting life revolves around hats and wrist warmers, in prep for a fair in Pittsburgh. I'm not making the fastest progress, but I'm getting there. I finally corralled my yarn into bins so I could take a real stock in what I have. These are the three most recently finished (or mostly finished):

left to right: hand-dyed BFL; Plymouth Encore (I swear it isn't that big in real life); hand-dyed merino, kid sized
left to right: superchunky hand-dyed merino; a woolarina handpaints worsted; some Classic Elite Wings that I dyed (mmm alpaca blend - this is a great use for it); Brooks Farm, for me!

That last pair on the right is the first pair I've actually made with plans to keep them for myself, and I've probably done at least a dozen other pairs before these, given as gifts or sold at fairs. I thought I had run out of yarn about 5 rows shy of having a matching set, but thankfully managed to dig up a small ball at the very bottom of the last bin that I rummaged through frantically today. Phew. So, this pair will be for me to wear with my brownish side of my wardrobe, and I'm sure I'll have a purplish pair soon enough. But maybe not before the next fair.

Friday, October 06, 2006

yay! new camera! and new spinning!

I haven't really learned to use it well yet, but I just bought a new camera so that I could load more pics to woolarina.com, and my old camera was taking three pictures before draining the battery. Just so you know that I haven't been slacking, here's stuff I've spun in the last month or so:

I've taken to dyeing four ounces at a time (a good amount to wrap in plastic wrap and steam on the stovetop) and then spinning it. Four ounces gives me enough yarn to do something with it, but not so much that I get bored with the colors. Now I just have to decide which ones to keep as yarn, and which ones become hats and other things.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

trains are perfect for knitting

I had a work meeting in NYC, and took the train to and from, since it's much easier than flying (and also, my brain hates flying). I had packed one knitting project, which was the mistake rib scarf yarns, not even casted on yet. As it turned out, the yarns weren't quite as compatible as I had hoped. The weights were good, but the black's silk content gave it a really different feel than the merino, and the black was a little too stark of a contrast. So, I tromped around the city, checking out options at various yarn stores. With the help of a lovely salesperson at The Point, I decided on doubling Noro Silk Garden against my multi-color spun yarn (other options considered included a couple of Uruguayan handpaints, and some tweedy yarns, but I loved the idea of the two yarns with fairly long color repeats).

I had to wrestle quite a bit with the Noro -- since I had to double it, that meant buying two skeins, and trying to get the colorways on both to line up exactly. Luckily, I had the help of a friend who has more spatial sense than I do, and with some minor cutting and reballing multiple times, we had it worked out. I knew I wouldn't have quite enough yarn, but still only bought two balls. I'm not sure what my logic was there -- probably that I was already spending quite a lot of money (since I also felt compelled to pick up a skein of Lorna's Laces Worsted in Mineshaft -- so pretty). I ended up buying two more skeins of Silk Garden at Downtown Yarns, in a different colorway, again wrestling them to match up, color by color.

I knitted the whole scarf, starting Friday at the yarn store, finishing up on the train on the way home yesterday. Sadly, my new camera won't be here until Tuesday, so no finished object picture -- just a less-than-great quality camera shot pic of the tasty cupcake at Point, and my SG, mid-re-skeining.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Scarf Plans

Okay, back in March, I had decided to knit the Child's Rainbow Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, which is basically just a mistake rib scarf alternating two yarns. My yarns are handspuns, one black, one multi. I love that I can type "Child's Rainbow Scarf" into google and see so many pics of others' scarves. Looking at this one, I think I can get away with doing black against rainbow stripes, and not have it look too dramatic...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

time for some substance

I've been knitting lots of hats and wrist warmers, and I think I need some bigger projects that aren't quite as big as the flower basket shawl (which I screwed up awhile ago and have let languish in my knitting basket ever since).

So, if any of you have favorite man scarf patterns to share or link to here, particularly some that might work well with variegated worsted to bulky weight yarns, please share! I've done basketweave for the last two, but I think I want to try something different, and would rather not fall back on 2x2 rib or mistake rib, even though that's the direction I'm currently headed in.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


My back gets stupid amounts of tired when I have dyefests these days. Tim says he felt it in the weeks after turning thirty (which I just did, less than two weeks ago), and I can't disagree that the pains feel more pronounced, annoying as it is.

Anyway, I got a bunch of dyeing done this weekend. I admit that I fell back, largely, on my favorite color combos, which means more purple than you can shake a stick at (unless you really want to shake one, but really, it'll look pretty silly):

September Colorways

I also had a special order request from Maia for some yarn similar to one that I've dyed before, but in a larger batch. It was fun to work from someone else's inspiration, and hopefully the yarn will do it justice:


I have a fan full-blast on the yarn right now, so hopefully it'll be dry in time to send off to Crafty Bastards. I think if it goes out tomorrow, priority mail, it'll work out...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I would dye more if...

I've been putting off a dye day for a long time, both because it's lonely to do it by myself now that I've moved so far from my counterpart, and because my new house is not at all conducive to the dye process.

First, I have to mix the dyes from powder. Dyes are extra-toxic in powder form, so I do this in my basement. This involves hauling super-hot water down to the basement from the kitchen, since there's no sink/faucet in the basement, and then propping everything on top of the washing machine, because there's no table. Then, I have to clean the washine machine, because I inevitably splash dye about. I put my dye containers (which are 32oz and plastic) in a big box, and haul them upstairs, along with my squeeze bottles. I now have two boxes of containers, and more squeeze bottles than fit in the carrier I use (which I call a grooming box, 'cause that's what they're used for in the horse world, where I used to live).

I mix my colors over the sink, because it's too dark in the basement, and there's no drainage, so again, more mess, at least this part's in the sink. I have one small piece of counter on to which I can lay rovings to prep them for steam-dyeing, which isn't really enough space. Plus, I have to clear off the counter, since it's usually full of my cutting board, knives, and other kitchen ephemera.

After the yarn/roving is dyed, I haul it back down to the basement so that I can whirl it about in the washing machine on spin cycle to pull some water out. Then back upstairs, where I hang it in my bathtub to dry.

Oh, for a studio. I'd make so much more yarn in a studio. I guess I get more exercise this way, but it's awfully high-maintenance.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Craft Fair Alert

This weekend is stART on the Street '06!

I'll be there! Dharia will be there! Spinning, selling, and other merriment will ensue! Come and visit. Check out my bright burgundy hair.

Monday, August 14, 2006


I'm thinking about taking this show over to vox.com, but haven't decided yet, so I'll just doublepost for awhile until I do, I guess...

I've been doing a lot of spinning recently, prepping for craft fairs, and the weather finally broke, so I threw some dyeing in there as well. You'll have to excuse the lame composite picture, which I threw together with my graphics program, which I don't know how to use. I've had fun experimenting with various fibers recently -- the middle left is a silk/merino, and the bottom left is some random fiber I bought at NH Sheep and Wool. I'm always glad to return to merino, though, and everything else in that picture is merino. The green is from Dharia at skeintily clad, who lent me roving to spin at the Lowell Folk Fest. The jewel tone roving at top and middle right is what I'm working on right now -- dyed by steaming in a saran wrap packet on the stovetop, which is my favorite way to do 4oz packets of roving. I think it'll become hat kits. The bottom right is way prettier than that photo makes it look. Must work on photo and photo shopping skills.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

is this thing on?

I haven't been knitting much, hence lack of posts, but I have finished almost-one and the beginning of a second jaywalker, plus 9 repeats of a flower basket shawl. I didn't finish the jaywalker because I'm paranoid about running out of yarn, so left the toe and started the second, so I can use a different yarn for both toes if need be.

I'm also trying to gear back up into craft fair mode. I spun 300 yards of a wonderful merino/silk blend from Bonkers Fiber that will probably be too pricey for anyone to want, but it'll go in the for sale pile for awhile at least. I'm trying to figure out what I dyed last time I dyed, as very little of it is labelled and it's from, oh, May or so. Argh.

My yarns will be at the Lowell Folk Fest on Saturday and Sunday of this week, and I'll be joining them there on Sunday. I'm playing in a Scrabble tournament on Saturday, so the lovely Dharia will be wool-sitting for me. Exciting stuff! Hopefully everything will be accounted for by then.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

it looks so innocent...

This is the bag that we took to Paula's wedding. I'd unloaded all of the clothes and such, so all that was left was the one side pocket, which didn't look like it could hold so much. Somehow, Paula had remembered to bring some roving for me to the wedding, so that's what was in that pocket... Posted by Picasa

This is the roving that I managed to squeeze into that pocket. It's probably about 5 pounds worth. The pretty blue one on the bottom left is a silk/merino blend, and the mulberry on the right is also wool/silk/something all blended into batts (which is fun, because I rarely spin from batts). Up top is cormo. MMmmmm cormo. Should keep me busy for awhile. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Since I live in Boston (okay, 9 miles west of Boston), I am compelled to knit some Jaywalkers, and so I am. The yarn is from the Dye o Rama, and I love the colors. I haven't decided how I feel about Knitpicks sock yarn, though. It might be that I'm knitting on size 1 needles, and I feel no love for anything that takes as long as something on size 1 needles does. At least I've only had to rip back once, and only three rows, but even that almost made me throw the sock back in my tupperware and abandon it. Oh well. It kept me entertained on the plane to and from the much more blogworthy event:

The woolarina wedding was beautiful, just like I knew it would be. If it takes Paula a few days to respond to any comments or questions you might leave about woolarina, you'll just have to forgive her for being on her honeymoon :)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

79 stitches, but who's counting

I'm starting my way into a Flower Basket Shawl. I'm still not 100% sure that size 6 needles and sock weight yarn are the perfect match, but I'm sure it'll be fine in the end. I had to make myself a spreadsheet, just like I did for charlotte, to remind myself how many stitches I'll have at the end of each repeat. I have serious short term memory problems with lace knitting. For example, tonight, after knitting row 3 of the repeat, I did my purl row, and dutifully restarted row 3 as if I hadn't just finished it (and I really had forgotten that I'd just finished it). I'm pretty obsessive about checking my progress as I go, plus with a symmetrical piece, it's fairly easy to tell when you've messed up, as you either knit right past your middle stitch, or you haven't quite gotten to it, as you think you've finished one side. So, I now have an excel that has computed how many stitches I'll have at the end of each row, so as I count back as I purl, I'll know exactly which row of which repeat I'm on. This should be easier than it is, but for me, it just isn't. It is a nice pattern, though.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Whee Dye-o-Rama

Happily, it has been a successful swap experience in the world of yarn. Yay! Thanks, Karen! Aside from a lovely yarn, I also received a translucent Chibi (I have been coveting one), very cute stitch markers in colors I love, and a set of notecards (I even got to send one of these cards to the person I'm dyeing for)!

The Dye-O-Rama, while possibly decreasing my audience for purchasing handpainted yarn, was tons of fun, and folks seemed to learn a lot and enjoy themselves. I got a lovely yarn that has a much nicer color than I ever got Kool-Aid dyeing. Plus, it's self-striping, and I don't have the patience to make my own self-striping yarn, so it'll be fun to play with. Sadly, the yarn store was closed yesterday so I don't yet have two circular size 1 needles, but as soon as I do, socks will begin. I think I'll do Jaywalkers - I think the pattern will keep me entertained. It's about killing me to work the second 2x2 rib sock that I'm currently doing, and I'm working on 48 stitches rather than the 80ish it'll take me to work on size 1 needles.

These are the yarns I sent my dye pal, plus a little skein of handpainted, handspun merino, of which I have no picture. Hopefully it'll make it to her - I accidentally sent it to the wrong city, but the right zip code, so it may take an extra couple of days:

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

NHS&W - Vicarious Shopping

A couple of weekends ago now (I'm slow to post), my sister was in town from Chicago. Since she lives in the Big City, she doesn't often have a chance to see things like a small town fiber fest, so we slogged out in nasty, rainy weather, an hour and a half north to the NH Sheep & Wool Festival. She finally has a break from school, so she'll have time to get back to spinning and knitting, and has little access to roving. Despite the rain, she seemed to love the experience, and came back with at least a couple pounds of various handpaints, including a Totally Tubular from Carolina Handspun, which is the first thing I spun on the wheel she now owns. Unfortunately, the rain was too awful to stay for sheepdog trials or see much outside the vendor barns (aside from some rather beleaguered alpacas). I've apparently gotten pickier as a fiberfest veteran and hand-dyer -- I only picked up a 4 oz ball of red/black roving, and some wedding gifties for Paula. I think I got more out of watching her shop and enjoy herself than anything else, and that was fine with me.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Oh, the choices

I've taken quite the hiatus from knitting. ALl I've been doing are hats. I figure I should get some more substantial projects moving, as the stash is piling up. So, here's what's on the agenda:

the Evening in Eden shawl pattern forced me to purchase it at Wild & Wooly today. It's a 16 stitch repeat, which is manageable, it'a a rectangular shawl, and it's written for three gauges, which makes the pattern more flexible (or at least allows me to have to think less). This may finally be what I use the giant skein of handpaint for.

Bonnie's Brooks Farm scarf is inspiring me to do something lacy and scarflike with some merino/mohair that I just dyed. It's very mother-of-pearly yarn, all shimmery and barely colored, and I think it was look great in this kind of lace.

Jessica has convinced me to revisit socks using two circs to the point that I managed to buy the circs and load some languishing sock (well, at least languising small piece of sock) that I started a year ago on to them. They're size 5s, so at least they move quickly. I had to laugh when reading the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules book, at the mention of toes being on average about 1.5" long as you estimate sock knitting. I just measured my longest toe and it's a good inch longer than that. If anyone out there has evidence that they have a toe longer than 2.5", send it to me [the evidence, not the toe] and first person who does, I'll send you a prize.

Not that I'm giving up my bulky, handdyed, handspun merino hats. They're just too perfect for travel and a great party trick, since I tend to start them when I arrive somewhere and nearly finish them once I'm ready to leave. In fact, sometimes I use not having my double points to decrease as an excuse to go home when I'm feeling antisocial. Knitting is good for that sort of subterfuge.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

for my dye - o - rama pal

Your favorite colors? Eggplant, Periwinkle, Sage, Merlot, Khaki, Chestnut, Midnight Blue, and I can't think of a descriptive name, but denim-y, medium blue and super-dark, almost black versions of most colors are some of my favorites. I could spend hours in the paint chip section of Home Depot.
Preferred yarn weight (Fingering, Sport, DK, maybe even Worsted)? Sport and thicker, unless I have a ton of yardage and am doing a scarf. I'm too impatient for size 0-1 needles when sock knitting.
Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn? I like variegateds that have short bursts of color.
If your buddy is able to do so, would you like a variegated, self-striping, or self-patterning yarn? Whatever makes her happiest!
Would you be interested in a wool blend sock yarn (nylon, tencel, silk, acrylic, alpaca, etc.)? Sure!
Imagine the perfect colorway. What would you name it? Probably something cheesy like "night skies over evergreen trees in vermont."
What was the biggest appeal to you for joining this dye-along? A chance to share my yarn, and maybe knit my second ever pair of socks.
Have you dyed yarn/fiber before? Yup!
If so, what’s your favorite dye and method? Painting on immersed yarn on the stovetop. I'm sure there's a more technical name. I should do a photo documentary of it again soon. I haven't done that since back in my kool aid dyeing days. In fact, I'll add a dyebath shot here!

Do you spin? I do!
Have you knit socks before? Once, but I keep meaning to try it again.
Do you use sock yarn for just socks or in other patterns too? I use sock-weight variegateds for a lot of things.
What are some of your favorite yarns? Koigu, Reynolds Odyssey... gosh, I've been spinning a lot more than knitting recently... I haven't worked with much I'm in love with in awhile!
What yarn do you totally covet? Blue Moon Fibers - I especially love Lucy in the Sky; Iolite; and Seal Rock. Mmmm.
Favorite patterns? I had fun with Clapotis. I like quick things like wrist warmers. Anything that I can mostly memorize is good.
Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object? Hmm... I wish I had more patience for lacy shawls.
Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)? I've been considering short Addys for socks on 2 circs. I knit mostly on circulars, mostly on bamboo.
If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be? Something soft and useful, but somewhat unassuming... maybe Manos in a single color, or a subtle colorway like Coffee.
Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack? Snobby chocolates, like Vosges and Lake Champlain.
What’s your favorite animal? I like dragons. And lemurs.
Do you have pets? What are their species/names/ages? Cassie, a Dalmatian/Terrier thingie (6) and Jasper, a Border Collie (7).
Do you have a wishlist? I do!
Anything else you’d like to share with the group today? Yes, but I gotta get back to work!

Monday, May 08, 2006


The Dye-O-Rama goodness has begun! I've received email from both the giver and receiver of the yarns, which means I may actually end up in a happy secret swapping scenario, unlike my single attempt at secret palling.

Also, I just learned that NH Sheep & Wool is this weekend, and only an hour and a half from home! I don't know if I can pass it up. Mmmm fiber. Plus, it's going to be AlpacaFest, and who can pass up an AlpacaFest? My sister and fellow fiber-type will be visiting, so it'd be a fun chance to show her a new dimension to the madness.

Not a lot else to report. I'm in a knitting rut, although I just dyed a bunch of merino, so at least I have some spinning to keep me going. Jess has me intrigued with socks on 2 circs, so maybe that'll be the next endeavor. Right now, I'm just trying to catch up with work after an Air Force-sponsored trip to Texas. No yarn to be had, but i got to see the Alamo!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

my pictures are kinda crummy...

I'm in the process of loading new sock yarns into the store. All superwash, all dyed this weekend -- check em out!

Friday, April 21, 2006


One more day to sign up for this dyed yarn swap!

last minute yarn selling endeavor

A bunch of woolarina handpainted and handspun yarn will be making its Waltham debut at the Gore Place Sheepshearing fest. The website says...

April 22, 2006
10 am to 4pm (rain or shine)

"Gore Place, the historic Governor Gore estate in Waltham, MA, presents its 19th annual Sheepshearing Festival on Saturday, April 22, 2006 from 10am to 4pm (rain or shine). This popular outdoor event takes place over several acres of this beautiful 45-acre estate." There's a map here.

Check out the booth in the craft fair, where I'll be hanging out alongside Skeintily Clad & 3 Cat Nite.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

raiding the warehouse

Classic Elite's warehouse is located about half an hour from my house. My blogless friend Jenn tipped me off to a big sale this Friday and Saturday, and I managed to find time to go. I wanted to spend $200 or less. It's amazing what you can get for that:

10 balls of Phoenix in Black Ash, to make a shawl for my grandmother.

10 skeins of Premier (pima cotton blended with Tencel, 50 grams/108 yards, Gauge: 5.25 sts = 1", #6 needle) for summer shell.

10 skeins of Wings in deep blue ("The hollow core technology of Wings makes this yarn perfect for lightweight but warm garments, and intricately cabled designs that would be heavy if knit in conventional yarns. In addition, the alpacas/silk/wool blend gives it a cashmere-like hand. This yarn is 15% hollow; each ply has a hollow center that holds a layer of air, like goose down, for warmth without weight." 55% Alpaca/23% Silk/22% Wool, 109 yards/skein, Gauge: 4 1/2 sts. = 1" on #7 needles) for a sweater, plus 20 skeins undyed Wings to make sure that I have enough for a sweater, and to sell in the store.

And 12 skeins of Imagine, which is the yarn I used to make my summer tank a couple of years ago that I love.

So, that's 62 skeins of yarn, for right around $200 -- definitely worth the drive to Lowell.

Friday, March 24, 2006


i have so many projects that are so close to done:

1) sweater - need to buy buttons so I know how big to make buttonholes and where to put them. plan to buy buttons this weekend.

2) wrist warmers - the Weekend Knitting pattern; I've made one pair and the thumb hole was too constricting, so I made another with two extra stitches of thumb hole, still no good. Thus, I am unmotivated to finish them (although I will soon, since I want to send them to my mother for her birthday in two weeks).

3) brooks farm scarf - just another two feet and it'll be done. argh.

I have been spinning, though. I just finished 160 yards/2 ounces of fabulous merino from Skeintily Clad. The merino is lusciously soft, and it spun up easily (I did the whole thing while watching the Great Garlic Cookoff and an ep of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations via my Tivo).

I also just finished a hunk of roving from Rhinebeck:

I'm not sure how many yards it is, but it's shiny and soft and lovely. Maybe tomorrow will be sunny and allow for some pictures.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

sweater finishing

okay, so I still haven't finished my raglan cardigan, mostly because I'm now torn on how to do the button band. I've knit the top and bottom and sleeve edges in seed stitch. I've picked up the stitches to knit the band to which I'll sew the buttons. My question is, should I:

a) just knit the bottoms and tops in seed, and 5 or so rows in stockinette, and end with two rows of seed stitch;
b) knit the bottoms and tops in seed stitch, and the rest in rib;
c) knit the whole thing in seed stitch

I'm leaning towards (a), because I think it'll reduce the bulkiness of the band (since I'll have the one with the buttonholes overlapping, and I plan to do that one in seed, I think) but I can't seem to find other sweater patterns that show the button band in stockinette. Will some kind of horrible rolling occur? Will the gauge of st st be so far off from the seed stitch that it'll look funny? Am I being silly about the bulkiness, and ignore it in favor of doing the whole thing in seed stitch?

spinning at dizzying speeds

I just purchased a bunch of corriedale x rambouillet roving from eBay (specifically this seller), and it's turned out to be so great to spin that I can't stop spinning it.

I dyed this roving by painting colors on in a rainbowy order, spritzing it with vinegar, wrapping the roving in saran wrap, and steaming it over water on the stovetop. I let it steam for about 45 minutes as I was dyeing yarns, and was patient enough, for a change, to let it cool before I rinsed it, which meant less felting.

This is what it became -- about 200 yards of navajo plied, rainbowy goodness. It's not as soft as merino, but it's still against-the-skin soft (I wore the skein around my neck for awhile yesterday to test it).

My current plan is to knit the Child's Rainbow Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, which is essentially a mistake rib scarf that alternates two self-striping yarns. I'm thinking I'll knit two rows of this handspun against two rows of a black wool with rainbowy silk noils that I spun:

I'm hoping that that works out. I'm on a handspun scarf kick right now. I have one in process (my cormo roving that I spun forever ago, in a farrow rib), and this one and another about to hit the needles. Mmm handspun.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

harnessing the website

I'm finally learning how to update the catalog. New yarns should appear throughout the weekend, starting with worsted weight!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

16 skeins

Sixteen was a lot to tackle in a weekend, especially since finishing them means counting out large skeins into smaller sizes to sell. I'm very tired of counting to 90 and 100, which I did multiple times as I skeined my yarns to size. Oy. But! They're pretty. And I'm hoping to actually sell some in real life tomorrow, to a knitting group at the Somerville library. And if I don't, then to the website they'll go. I'm reasonably happy with the colors, and even managed to custom-dye some for a friend from work. The little guys in the picture are leftovers from the fingering weight skeins. The pic is bad, since it was taken in the dark with flash, instead of in real light, but I think they're cute anyway.

Monday, February 20, 2006

almost there...

After much frogging and gnashing of teeth, here is my sweater, lounging on the carpet, after an initial blocking. As feared, it's a little small around, so it'll have an extra-wide button band, and we'll call it an artistic element. I ripped down to the armpits after almost finishing the decreases the first time, and knitted back up a la: slip two stitches, knit 1, pass the two slipped stitches over. I like the pretty line that this creates.

Since I added 16 stitches to each sleeve to make up for my poor gauging, I also had to figure out how to account for that as I decreased down. I ended up decreasing two sleeve stitches on each sleeve twice, both toward the top of the sweater, which seems to have taken care of enough of the extra fabric around the top to make it fit me reasonably well. I'll take in a little extra at the armpits as well. Now it's just the bands, and it'll be done!

But, knitting will be set aside briefly, as I've gotten an invitation to bring some of my sale yarns to a knitting group event next Monday, and I have so much white yarn still here, I figure I should dye at least some of it before then... time to clear the kitchen counters!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

sweater again

Okay, maybe this pic shows it off better. Tim has agreed that it will probably make me crazy, so I was be frogging tomorrow, in the car, on the way to visit Brown. Or maybe during my lunch break. Either way, I guess it's better to get it right than to never wear the thing.

Monday, February 13, 2006

gored decreases

I have been speeding along like a good little knitter on my raglan sweater (designed from Ann Budd's sweater pattern book). By the time I reached the sleeves, I was half a stitch off of gauge (oops), which I didn't notice when I swatched (and I swear, I swear I swatched). In any case, it didn't affect the body too much, I don't think -- I was knitting it to be larger and roomier, and now, well, it isn't. It should still fit. The sleeves, however, needed to be made larger, so I added 8 stitches to each. I still don't know how it has affected the outcome of the sweater, but I've put it on, more or less, a couple of times, and it seems to be fine and good.

Except! Except I have been doing my decreases backwards from how I meant to do them. They should have slanted toward the seam, and they are slanting the opposite way, thus creating a fairly pronounced gore between sleeve and not-sleeve. So now I'm left trying to decide whether this will become a decorative element, or whether I have to rip all the way back to the armpits (about 7" at this point) and redo the decreases so that they slant towards the seam instead of away. Sigh. My sweater knitting is cursed. Thoughts, comments?

Monday, February 06, 2006

a few pictures...

I used way too much soap this time around... much rinsing ensued. These are a couple of the six skeins. I'll post pics of all of them once they're reskeined. They're much more attractive after they're reskeined, in my opinion. I also learned my lesson and dyed only one weight of yarn for a change. I won't have to stare at them and try to determine which are sock weight and which are light worsted. I do have two purple/blue/yellow/green skeins, though, so I'll have to devise a system to keep track of which smaller skeins I make from each big one.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

paint & dye (but no pictures)

This weekend was a good one for home improvements, especially if you count changing white yarn into prettily colored yarn a home improvement, which I do. Tim finished painting the downstairs bathroom to a lovely blue with grey undertones, and I took down most of the hideous accoutrements (shiny gold accessories just aren't us). Now it just needs a new light fixture and towel bar and it'll be done!

I spent a few hours this morning becoming reacquainted with my dye equipment. I'm now up to an even dozen powder dyes, which means I may have to get some more squeeze bottles soon, since handpainting is a much more exact process with the squeeze bottles than it is trying to dribble dye out of spaghetti sauce jars. I seem to have managed nonetheless, and have six skeins drying above a heating vent. I'll try to have some pictures soon -- most are deep/dark colors, with a couple of rainbowy skeins, and one orange/yellow/red thrown in. I really should work up a pattern to use with these things. I don't really know what 560 yds of worsted would be best used for.

I'm plugging along on my sweater, but my gauge is 1/2 a stitch off, which I think will be okay in the body, because I'd planned a bigger size than I needed to anyway, but I think the sleeves are going to come out too tight. So, I'm planning on knitting 66 stitches instead of 60 around, but then will it get all wonky when I join the sleeves to the body and do the raglan decreases? I've tried to dissect the pattern, but haven't gotten too far.

I know that I knit half the front of the body (it's a cardigan), then knit all but 8 of one sleeve, then the back, then all but 8 of the other, then the other half of the front... so, when I join everything together, I'll have 12 more stitches than my pattern calls for... so I guess I haven't figured out how to adjust my decreases to make it make sense because I've never knitted a raglan before. Hopefully someone at knitting group tomorrow may be able to parse this out with/for me.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

closet solutions

The new closet where I plan to keep my yarn is in an ideal location. It's embedded in a little nook between my living room and the guest room/tv/spinning/music room. Across from the closet are built-ins that include bookshelves that hold all of my fiber-related books, a drawer for loose patterns and extra-large needles, and a cabinet for various projects, my ball winder, and other paraphernalia.

Unfortunately, my giant Tupperwares of doom yarn don't fit in this closet, so I'm trying to update my storage solutions, and these ornament boxes are coming to the rescue. They're collapsible, you can compartmentalize them with the inserts if you want, and they're two-layered. This is one of the ones that I've filled, and I have another that holds the yarn for my ab-fabbish afghan in the bottom compartment, and my afghan itself (in all of its long-unfinished glory) in the top half. As an added bonus, the organizers were on sale at Home Depot for $2.50, so I was feeling economical enough to buy some more undyed yarn for an upcoming dyefest, whenever I get around to that. Today, I spent a couple of hours organizing the basement, and will probably spend another hour on the bookshelves, now that I've dug my book boxes out of the basement. Mmmm alliteration.

Also, I have other things to say, but I think I'm going to try to post here more often, which means I'll save them so that I can use them in new entries, sooner rather than later. The topics include: paradise fibers rhapsodies demystified; newly-spun yarns; my sweater.