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.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

new "storefront"

Attention shoppers! is beta-testing its new osCommerce storefront. It should be fully functional, but please let us know if it isn't!

The Full Catalog
The Sale Page

Much applause to Paula for getting this up and running!

(if you do decide to order something, and don't get a confirmation from us, please email us and let us know -- the website doesn't like to tell us when we get orders, and we're trying to work that out...)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

sweater, take 4

I've embarked on yet another sweater project. This will be the fourth sweater that I'm knitting for myself, and perhaps I'll wear this one, although I'm not banking on it.

Sweater #1 I knit two winters ago. I bought the yarn in Chicago in December 2003, I think, and finished the sweater while it was still vaguely chilly out, maybe. It's a great tweed yarn, bulky (the sweater's knit on 11s) with dropped shoulders. I think I was kinda sorta using a pattern in Hip to Knit. My seams are awful and I never wear the sweater. If I fixed the seams, I might wear it. And maybe took an inch or two out of the width, which is a little more problematic.

Sweater #2 is an acrylic blend, bulky yarn with one black ply and one brown. My shaping was off, the seams, again, less than stellar, and the bottom rolls. I don't wear it. I plan to frog it one of these days.

Sweater #3 is Berella Polar, and I've written about it here. The raglan shaping at the top makes it look wonky, and I think I should've gone up a needle size and regauged, because the fabric just doesn't feel right, plus . Or perhaps I should stop trying to use acrylic blends. This one, too, will likely be ripped up and recycled into hats or some such.

So, this new sweater has some lessons learned behind it:

1. I'm using a worsted weight, 100% wool yarn (Cherry Tree Hill potluck yarn in blues, greens, and purples, kinda like this.
2. I made a real, live, 4" gauge swatch. In fact, I made 1 1/2, 'cause I started on 8s and bumped down to 7s.
3. I'm creating a pattern from the Ann Budd Book of Sweater Patterns, but I'm doing all of the measurements extra-carefully, and basing them off of pre-existing sweaters that I like and wear.
4. I'm knitting a cardigan, because I'm more likely to wear it, especially since it's a variegated yarn and I think it needs something solid to offset it.

I'm doing seed stitch bands on the edges, 1 1/2" on the bottom and it had better not roll; crew neck; raglan shaping, although I might change my mind by the time I get to the top part; simple sleeves without bells or any other madness; no body shaping. We'll see what happens.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

miles and miles of fiber

So, 2006, eh? I guess it's time to clear the sidebar and start anew!

I added up the yardage I've documented in spun yarn for 2005 -- 5,862 yards. That's 3.3 miles of yarn. Neat. That also means 6.6 miles of singles, give or take, since all I've spun is two- and three-ply.

For this year, I have many fibery goals for myself:
1. learn how to spin reasonably balanced singles
2. use all three of the flyers for my wheel
3. take a spinning class, maybe, to work on these sorts of things
4. finish at least one lace shawl project
5. dye less felty merino (i.e., learn to exercise patience in dye process)
6. learn to dye blues more consistently (my colorways always eat blue)
7. keep track of mixed dye formulas for colors so that they can be replicated

Please excuse my lack of grammatical sense this morning. Not enough coffee yet, I guess, but I wanted to get these down.

And, if I can behave myself and budget it out, I hope to purchase a drum carder. I don't know if I can wait til post craft fair season. I will wait at least until Sheep and Wool, which I'm hoping that some local folks will want to trek down to (Anne? Jess? We can use my car, as long as someone else drives).

So, that's the beginning. The end of 2005 was a bit of gift knitting -- a couple of handspun hats, the completion of the Clapotis IV, and now I'm working on a scarf from my Brooks Farm yarn purchase (see picture above), all for me. I'm also spinning merino, and looking forward to creating a home for my yarn, which it'll have as soon as the new house is more put together.