May 2005 Archives

Pink, Spongy and Finished!

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I got my wish this weekend -- yesterday was all about seaming up my pink and spongy Eponge sweater. I had the body complete by late afternoon and then spent the better part of the rest of the evening fiddling with the neckline. While I have to give the Phildar designers a great deal of credit for exploring very elegant and technically sophisticated finishing techniques, let's just say that they don't always combine well with the yarn . Put another way: clever backstitching techques involving provisional cast ons and free loops would probably have been exciting and fascinating for me had I been working with some beautiful and simple merino yarn. But elasticky, fussy boucle yarn at a tiny gauge that likse to snag on itself?

I tried. Really I did.

But in the end, I resorted to using regular old backstitch to attach the neckline to the body of the sweater. This is probably the first time I've backstitched anything since I learned how to mattress stitch a couple of years ago. I just couldn't figure out any other way to make sure that the neckline was neatly attached, short of ripping everything out, picking up stitches and knitting from the neck.

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Theresa Attempts to Do the Rachael

I'm mostly pleased with the result. I say mostly, because looking at the sweater through the lens of the camera, I realize that I really shouldn't have blocked it -- it's a little too loosey-goosey. But a quick trip through the washing machine should resolve that (that's one of the things I adore about Phildar yarns -- most are quite washing machine tolerant, if not down-right washing machine friendly).

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Pink and Spongy from the Side

Even with the slightly-too-much blocking, I'm pleased with how the sweater hangs. Loose and comfy without being too sloppy. Want to see it from one more angle? click here see Pink and Spongy from the back

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The Pink and Spongy Neckline: My Best Button Affixation to Date*

I think the brute-force backstitching that I did gives the neckline a little harder edge than you see for the magazine model, but I'm happy with the neckline over all. And the husband's first comment about the sweater? I like the neckline. So if my most serious critic is cool with it, so am I.

So what did I learn?

  • Phil Eponge is a love it and hate it sort of yarn. It creates an excellent fabric (a bit like sophisticated terry cloth, if terry cloth can ever be considered sophisticated). But it is fussy to work with. It likes to catch on itself a little bit and stitch definition is non-existant. I would not recommend this yarn or this sweater to a new knitter.
  • I think Phildar may underestimate the yarn requirements for this project. I used a little over 10 skeins for my size, including a swatch or two. That said, given the stretchiness of this yarn combined with the ribbing, it's not completely trivial to figure out what getting gauge means. Makes me glad I ordered that 11th skein!
  • I'd really like to try the free-loop backstitch neckline attachment process. But it's going to have to be with a more user friendly yarn at a larger gauge. If this had been Calmer, it would have been a piece of cake. If you want to see what this process is all about, you can find it in Katharina Buss' Big Book of Knitting or Montse Stanley's Knitter's Handbook.
  • Phildar suggests a very clever way of making the button loops that involves creating a simple loop of yarn at the edge of the band and then doing the buttonhole stitch along it.
  • I can completely understand while French knitters might never need to go beyond Phildar for patterns and knitted garments. This is my 3rd Phildar garment and I am once again impressed with the styling, construction and fashion-forward feel. Even if I couldn't get the English translations of the patterns, it would be worth learning French terms just to work with their patterns. Most of what makes a garment special are the little details and Phildar patterns always pay special attention to these and rarely leave you guessing as to how to execute them.
  • I need to work on my tensioning when it comes to ribbing. The edges of my ribbing are definitely getting a little wonky. Perhaps it's time to explore combined knitting...
  • My next project needs to be at a bigger row gauge than 10 rows/inch...

So now I have a new sweater in hand and I am all ready to head for Maryland! If it's cool enough, you know what I'll be wearing while cruising the barns looking for my first spinning paraphanalia...

*Phildar actually has a fairly neat trick for the button loops, and I would normally give you more technical details about this, but the Eponge doesn't really lend itself to showing off details...you'll just have to trust me that the button loops are clever.

What's Next

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While I was busy being a little frustrated with the pink spongy sweater's neckline, I decided to soothe my frustrated finshing nerves with the promise of an exciting new beginning: a swatch for my next project. This was really actually a tough call. I have yarn for two projects that I am very excited about. The decision I made had more to do with my late night state of mind than anything else. For the lovely Phildar Chanel-inspired jacket, the only pattern I've got is in French. For Liberty, I've got a somewhat complicated Rowan pattern in English. I'd been trying to puzzle out what I needed to do for the Phildar swatch, but without a close-up picture, it was just too much of a challege for me. So while I'm waiting for a bona fide copy of the Phildar magazine containing the jacket (along with it's potentially useful English translation), Liberty gets the nod.

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The Liberty Swatch

This looks complicated, but it really isn't. It will mean a lot of weaving in of ends (and gnashing of teeth, no doubt), but otherwise it's pretty easy and quick to knit. (I never thought I would call knitting with DK weight yarn a quick knit, but compared to the Eponge, it's like lightening).

I really love these colors together. And I have no idea why. Normally, I avoid all these colors. However, somehow, when they are all combined together, the grey looks like pale blue to me, and the orange has more pink tones. It, of course, remains to be seen how it will look when I am wearing it, but I am helpful. I've been so jealous of my friends who can wear acid green and orange, I'm hoping that the way for me to carry them off is to combine them with a third color.

Another bonus? The Cashcotton DK and Cashsoft DK are nothing short of seductive to knit with. I mean hold the phone and just send my paycheck to the UK, this stuff is just incredible. I almost can't put it down. With just a partial swatch in my hands, I was already deciding what sweater out of ClassicCafe would be next. If I could only take two yarns with me to a desert island, it would probably be these. Especially if my desert island wasn't a tropical one.

The Blog of the Day
Today I wandered around the world to Melbourne, Australia to visit Lisa's Blog. I have to admit to a secret love for the Australian continent -- or at least what little I've seen of it (Sydney, Cairns, Port Douglas, the surrounding rain forest and the Great Barrier Reef), so I was pretty psyched to get mail from folks in the land down under. Lisa is, indeed, a Sock Monster as her blog name implies. Scroll down the page to see an impressive collection (my favorite are the little socks that match the Zebra jumper), especially compared against my paltry sock knitting output these days.

Liberty Rising

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Liberty Back, Just Past the Decreasing

I guess you can tell that I like knitting with the CashCotton and Cashsoft yarn. It's been giving me the heebeegeebees snipping that yarn at the sides. It just seems so wrong! But carrying it up the sides wouldn't be so great either, so I clipped. I'm sure I'll be looking for sympathy when I have to deal with the weaving in of all those ends.

But my favorite thing about this sweater so far? Something I like almost more than the yarn?

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Tubular Cast On in Grey

The tubular cast on. Is this a pretty edge or what? It's not a fast cast on method, but the results are absolutely fabulous in my estimation. Anyone out there ever tried it for a sock top? Looks like it could have lots of potential there.

Tubular cast-ons are ideally suited for K1 P1 ribbing where you need a good stretchy edge. Exactly what I wanted for Liberty. You can find instructions for this cast on in a number of books, but I think the best instructions can be found in Nancie Wiseman's The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques. Originally, when I bought this book, I thought it was a little basic. More and more, however, I find that it gives an easy to understand explanation for many complicated techniques that I have wanted to try.

Blog of the Day
Want to see two beautiful shawls and a very clever blocking board idea? Go take a look at Chery's blog. Absolutely gorgeous work! Everytime I see things like that I want to go knit through as much lace as I can find!

Getting Ready for Maryland

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I'm studying up for my big trip...

If I want to learn to spin, I figure I have to learn more about the medium I'm going to work in. I do wish there were more pictures of actual sheep (as opposed to pictures of just locks of wool), but other than that, the book seems to me to be a good, simple reference guide to types of wool. A nice starting place for a beginner that leaves me wanting to start investigating the different types of wool that come from different types of sheep. A nice place on the web to find out more information on sheepy creatures (scientifically known as Ovis aries) is this lovely directory provided by Oklahoma State University. They have nice pictures of most of the breeds to go with information about breed history and wool characteristics.

Feeling Sheepish

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Most of the time I come back from trips where I get little sleep and lots of activity exhausted. Tonight, I am feeling energized. Who knew that sheep could be the livestock version of caffeine for a city girl like me?

Friday morning, Julie and I got on the Blue Line with our suitcases and a lot of positive energy and headed off to O'hare on our way to see this:

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The Actual View Out of Our Hotel Room Window in Columbia

Maryland is very green and lush compared to Chicago. And while the weather was a bit dodgy in Chicagoland all weekend, it was absolutely perfect in the area around New Friendship, home to the annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. And my second trip to this focal point in the fiber universe was every bit as good as my first. Maybe even better. How could I not have a good time surrounded by Claudia, Silvia, Norma, Stephanie, Wendy, Leigh, Carolyn, Maggie and everyone else I got the chance to meet? I have to admit that I met many more people whose names I just can't remember right at the moment (I've never been good with names, but it seems to get worse in places like MS&W). Some parts of the weekend just became a colorful blur. But perhaps that's no surprise when images like this abound:

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Colorful Curly Locks

It will come as no surprise to anyone that I did a great deal of shopping. There will be more demonstration of me expanding my stash's horizons tomorrow when the light is better for pictures. In the meantime, I'll share my biggest revelation: there are a mindbogglingly amazing number of types of sheep, all of whose breeds I cannot remember. These are just the few that I was able to photograph (not only do I have a difficult time remembering names in Maryland, I also have a hard time remembering to use my camera).


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How Now Black Sheep?

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A Little Herding Instinct
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A Karakul: a Long Wool Sheep used mostly for Carpet

(I have a strange attraction to these sheep. They look soft and lovely to me. In fact, their wool is long and coarse and not so good for anything but carpets. But I still think they are pretty neat.)

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Curly Lamb

(I think this may be some kind of Leicester sheep... all that I can remember is thinking she looked like a rasta sheep. Very pretty curly wool with a subtle sheen).

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Sheep Settling In

(While looking through my sheep book, I kept seeing references to sheep with "Roman noses". I think these guys probably arewhat they were describing.)

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Red Rams Resting

This is probably my favorite picture from the whole show. These lovely red rams were definitely getting in some quality nap time.

Which seems like quite a good idea right about now....

The Yarn Haul

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If I told you that I didn't buy any yarn, would you believe me?

I didn't think so.

What if I said I was reserved and conservative in my yarn purchases?

Okay, I didn't think I had much chance of success there, either.

So how much am I going to 'fess up to?

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The Stash Expansion from Maryland

Starting with the top center, you can see two skeins of Harmony from Brooks Farm. Both the red and purple skein are 500 yards of subtle beauty in the shape of a 55% mohair, 22.5% wool, 22.5% silk blend. Really delicious stuff. Only one is for me, or should I say, is a going to become a gift for someone special. The other skein will be taking a trip, but it's destiny will be in the hands of another.

Moving clockwise, the first thing you come from is a wildly colored sock yarn from Tess' Designer Yarn. I decided to stay away from the brightly colored variagated yarns for big garments, but I decided that for socks it's okay to go a little wild.

Continuing clockwise, is a little batch of yarn from the Morehouse Merino people. After a very positive experience with their laceweight last year, I knew I needed to add a little more to my collection. The deep berry colored skein is a worsted-weight destined to be a headband for my dear sweet husband. The three lace weight skeins are for a couple of scarfy projects. The skein with the orange and green isn't quite as vivid as it appears, but it's still pretty out there and happy. It had to come home with me.

Moving right along is my purchase from the Cormo Association booth. Never heard of Cormo sheep? This fiber is definitely worth feeling up if you get a chance. The lace-weight white skein is Running Wild Yarn's "Corpacamere" -- a blend of Cormo wool, Alpaca and Cashmere that you just have to feel to believe. 900 yards of incredible softness is what that skein amounts to. I think a pretty shawl may be in order.

More yarn from Tess' Designer Yarns as we round the corner. Three skeins of the microfiber ribbon yarn to make a ribbed tank top (notice that I avoided those rainbow colors in favor of something that could comfortably go to work) and two skein of the Cultivated Silk and Wool blend. The black is just sublty variagated and is destined to be a Christmas gift for my sister-in-law. The other is just me indulging both my love of blue and of silk wool blends.

And last, but not least, in the top left corner, a little hank of laceweight cashmere for a small neck scarf from Hunt Valley Cashmere (she doesn't have a website, unfortunately, but she does have lovely cashmere yarn in a variety of natural and dyed colors).

Some of the colors didn't come out very well in the pictures, so I thought I'd try see if I could get a little more fidelity in a couple of closeups.

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Brooks Farm Harmony
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Morehouse Merino Laceweight

See, I wasn't too bad.

Okay, okay. I was a little bad. But I don't think I've added more than a year's worth of knitting to my stash...

Of course... that's not quite all I got.

AWOB

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Absent Without Blogging

All I gotta say about this week is who died and made me an adult?

When I was in junior high and high school, I just couldn't wait to be an adult. It looked to me like adults got to run the show. And if you know me, you know that I very much like to run the show. So by that token, it should make sense that being an adult had a great deal of appeal to me.

Which is another way of saying that you should always be careful what you wish for, even if what you are wishing for is inevitable.

In spite of this desire to be an adult, as I grew up, I never really had this perception that I was changing too much. I always felt like me. Sometimes I was a more confident me, sometimes less so. I made good and bad decisions. I had my fair share of things I would do over and things that I impressed myself with. But I never really sat down and thought to myself, "Now I am a responsible adult". Even when John and I bought our house, I was just kind of amazed that I had gotten to the point in my life when I could deal with going into a small room at a title company with a couple of lawyers and some papers from the mortgage company and come out a home owner.

Of course, that said, you don't get to your mid-thirties without having a few life defining experiences. Mine include heading off to Texas for college, a PhD, an ex-fiance, marrying an extraordinary person, working for an extraordinarily awful person and getting a real job.

Lately I've been coming up against life-defining experiences in much more rapid succession than I was expecting. They usually leave my head spinning for a while, and it's hard to knit or blog too much when the world is rotating rapidly around me. The process of getting back to equillibrium requires my full attention and evaluation.

I'll be back in full force next week. After all, I still haven't shown off my favorite Maryland purchases yet...

Spindly

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In the spirit of Anything worth doing is worth overdoing, the Keyboard Biologist has jumped into spinning with both feet. If you have been following along at Claudia's Blog you got some forewarning of what could be coming. Now, finally, all will be revealed.

First off, it's a little hard to spin anything without any spinning equipment. I think I showed an enormous amount of restraint by not buying a wheel to get started on (okay, maybe not so much restraint, as anyone who has been reading along for a while might remember that my mother's Ashford Traditional is still taking up residence in my house). Instead, it seemed like the best way to get started might be to invest in something a bit more modest, like a handspindle.

Of course, as I would learn later, and as those of you who have them and love them already know, spindles are a little bit like potato chips, it's hard to have just one. Hand spindles come in different weights, sizes and woods; the shaping of the whorls gives them different properties. Knowing which one to select would have been close to impossible without good advice. The first of which was: make sure it spins without wobbiling. The second bit of which was: your first spindle should be relatively heavy and be able to spin relatively slowly.

The thing I learned on my own: spindles, like yarn, will talk to you. They know who they are meant to be for, and they will call out to you and make sure you know that. Even if you don't realy know what you are doing yet, when they are in your hands, you will have this feeling that you and this spindle are meant to be. At least that was the case for the two that left the Journey Wheel booth with me.

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Two Beautiful Bosworth Spindles and Some Fiber from Stefania
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The spindle on the left has a what I think is a Grenadilla whorl (unfortunately I have misplaced the tag)combined with a rosewood shaft. It's considered a midi, but is pretty close in weight to the tulipwood maxi spindle on the right because of the weight of the wood in the whorl. The midi spindle is probably a tool above what I am ready for, but once I picked it up, I simply couldn't put it down. The tulipwood maxi is likely to be my major working spindle for a while. And it should also be able to do double duty as a plying spindle. Both are extremely gorgeous in person. It is awfully nice to have tools that are both beautiful and functional at the same time.

The two rovings that are below the spindles come from Handspun by Stefania. Both these rovings are colored with natural dyes. The blue Coopworth is dyed with Indigo and the 3 pink striped Corriedale is dyed with cochineal. These rovings were, of course, selected for their beautiful colors, but also so that I could have two relatively good rovings to begin learning on. The Coopworth is longer staple than the Corriedale, but both are long enough to provide a good starting for a beginner. (The colors are a little bit better in the thumbnail chips than in the photo with the spindles. You can click on the thumbnails if you want a better look.)

Is there more? Of course there's more! But if I spend all morning writing about it, I won't get to play with those lovely spindles.

P.S. Thank you to everyone who sent me good wishes on Friday. It's much appreciated. Being a grown up isn't all it's cracked up to be, but every challenging experience is a means to becoming a stronger, wiser person.
P.P.S. The Blog of the Day isn't gone, just temporarily suspended while I work through my MS&W posts.

My Fibery Future

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You might have left yesterday's post thinking about how reserved my purchases were. Just two spindles and two small balls of roving.

-ahem-

I'm far better at rationalizing the need to buy more fibe than that! I decided that a) if I was going to spin, I wanted to see what spinning different fibers was like and b) I don't regularly encounter a lot of different fibers, so it was very important to make sure that I had at least a years supply to go home with. After all, what if sheep suddenly went extinct between now and Rhinebeck?

Once you master the art of rationalization, nothing you want is too far out of your grasp.

Claudia had several words of wisdom with regards to a beginner purchasing fiber, and they guided some of my selections.

  • Spin what you love. In other words, don't buy something you don't like just because you are still learning. If you don't love it, you won't want to spin it, and you won't spin. Conversely, if you do love it, you will want to spin all the time, and you might, over time, get good at it.
  • Try to select longer staple fiber. That will be easier to work with when you get started, when your hands are still learning the motions and need more time to do so.
  • Feel the roving or batt. Make sure that the fibers separate easily, otherwise you will be fighting the fiber. No matter how pretty it is, it's no fun to fight with your fiber while you're still learning the basic motions.
  • Stay away from inelastic fibers that are likely to be difficult to work with and control and may break easily while spinning.

Keeping this in mind, I decided to create my own personal little grab-bag of goodies and fiber types to go home with. That last rule helped to keep me away from cottons and 100% silks and angora, and the second rule made me avoid anything that was strictly merino. But it was pretty much open season on anything else.

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Fiber To Try: Mohair from Stone Mountain Farm, a Wool/Silk Blend Batt from Spinnner's Hill, and three bags of of Cormo/Silk rovings from Foxhill Farm
Click on the Chips to See a Close up of the Fibers

Since I'd more or less met the "long wool for practicing" requirement by hitting the Handspun by Stefania booth, I decided to let color and texture rule my remaining choices. From left to right...

1) I had purchased some of the Stone Mountain Farm (no website to link to) mohair roving for Emma last year. I was so entranced by the rich colors that I knew I wanted a little of that this year. This is likely something that I will admire for a while before I do anything with it. It seems to have a fairly reasonable staple length, but it doesn't seem to have a great attraction to itself like wool does.

2) If I were to have my colors done, the color of this batt from Spinner's Hill (no website) would without a doubt be one of mine, and pretty close to the top. This is a wool, silk blend (I think there's either alpaca or mohair in it, too, but my notes aren't as good as they should be). The batt is beautiful, light and fluffy. When I stuck my hand into it, it was clear that it was meant to be mine. I have enough (1/2 pound) so that I can try to reach my first spinning goal: a scarf out of my own hand spun. The staple is short, but not dramatically so, so it should be a project I can tackle. It has been suggested that this goal might best be met with the help of a wheel...

3) Foxhill Farms Cormo/Silk blends. The last three bags of roving are all cormo/silk (90/10). The red and purple/blue rovings is a cormo/bombyx, the blue/green roving is cormo/tussah. You only have to feel cormo wool a few times to know how wonderful it is. Cormo is closely related to Merino, and thus on the shorter staple side of things. So as I get a little more confident, this stuff will probably get to see some time on my midi-Bosworth.

Given my relatively low amount of free time right now, this fiber is likely to last me quite some time. I have a feeling that it will also get me to start thinking long and hard about getting my mom's spinning wheel back in working order. I know it's already got me digging around the internet, pulling out my old Spin Offs and thinking about distaffs, and wondering how plying works.

And who knows, I might even get to the point of having some of my own yarn.

Spun

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Just a little handspun and a beautiful niddy noddy.

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My Very First Yarn Ever and A Gorgeous Niddy Noddy

It probably doesn't come as much surprise, given my current pink binge, that that multi-striped pink roving from Handspun by Stefania would be hard for me to put down. This was a roving that Claudia placed in my hands and told me that I really needed to have. How could I argue with that? As it turns out, this corriedale blend is pretty easy fiber for me to draft, and it makes a very pretty yarn. I plied the single I spun more or less by the seat of my pants. It took me a little while to figure out that not enough twist leads to yarn that won't hold together and too much twist while plying leads to something of a knotted mess.

I though this picture was the nicest way to show off the very pretty little niddy noddy that I purchased from Bill Hardy of Turnstyles. Like Leigh, I find myself drawn to niddy noddies. This one is beautful and smooth and and intricate...and I hope perhaps that it will be inspirational to another wood tuner I know. (Would be an awfully nice little project for a guy who just got a great little mini-lathe for his birthday...)

And just because I am inordinantly proud of this little spinning expierment, a closeup of my very first and spun and plied yarn:

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Closer Look

I really didn't think I would like this stuff so much. Now I'm wishing I'd gotten more.

P.S. Looking for a good cause to support? My spinning guide, Claudia is planning on embarking on a very big bike ride to help fight Multiple Sclerosis -- a degenerative autoimmune disease that affects the neurological system. The disease, which affects most of it's victims as young adults, is really a terrible thing. Imagine being subject to spontaneous attacks of blindness or a growing lack of co-ordination or just being fatigued all the time. The MS society spends a lot of it's money supporting research to help find a way to cure or fight this debilitating disease -- a long time ago, I was involved with some MS research. So if you've got a little money to spare, go support a great person who's riding for a great cause. Good Luck, Claudia!

Liberty Continues

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Just A Little More to Go

In the midst of all the Maryland excitement, I've still been working on Liberty. I'm not looking forward to weaving in all the ends, but I have nothing to complain about at all when it comes to the knitting. I love both the yarn and the project, even if I've had to do a little ripping to accomodate for the fact that I don't read instructions very well.

By the way, if you're interested in this pattern, but don't want to buy the whole book, Rowan is giving away the pattern for Liberty. You've got to give them some personal information before you get to download the file. I did it just to get an easy to print out copy of the pattern.

Chanel-Inspired Swatch

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What do you get when you mix the following component yarns together?

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Phildar Building Blocks: Clapotis, Eponge and Sunset

Something that looks like this:

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Chanel-Inspired Swatch

Which, when you get very up close and personal, looks like this:

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Chanel-Inspired Close-up

I know that I really need to get farther on Liberty before I get started on this project, but I just couldn't resist seeing what this yarn would look like when all knit up. The general texture is very similar to a project Becky just finished -- albeit in radically different colors. I like this swatch in small form, but I am still trying to get my mind around what it might look in the large scale of a sweater. One good omen, and a definite first for me for a Phildar experience: I got gauge on the recommended size needles. I've had to go up several sizes on my previous projects.

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Getting My Back Up: The Back of Liberty In Blocking Mode

Finally I have accomplished something significant. The back of Liberty is complete. Funny, isn't it, how even though I have definitely used more grey yarn, that it appears that the orange is the predominant color?

So far, I've had no issues with the pattern, though there are some places (especially in the body shaping) that you need to pay close attention to the instructions, otherwise you end up ripping and redoing, since the shaping doesn't occur at completely even intervals. And even though I am going to have a lot of ends to weave in and the edges of the garment so far aren't terribly pretty, I will say one thing about stripes -- it's definitely easy to keep track of where you are in the garment, and if you have to rip back, that makes it a lot easier to know where to rip back to.

The cool weather tonight is driving me to think about casting on for the first of the front pieces. But casting on is competing a bit with practicing a bit with my spindle. A girl can hardly complain about having too many fibery options consider, though.

Kim Hargreaves Winter Blooms

I like this set a good deal better than the first set of offerings. Particularly Dew and Hawthorn.

Such a shame they only come in kit form.

A Little Spinning

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A Niddy Noddy Wrapped in Indigo Yarn

I haven't been doing a whole lot of knitting for the past couple of days. Instead, I've been playing around with some more of my Handspun by Stefania roving, this one dyed with indigo. In spite of the recent influx of pink on this blog, blue is really my favorite color.

This roving (I wish I could remember what type of sheep it is from) has a relatively long staple -- 3-5" and makes for a nice learning fiber -- especially after I realized that I should work with it on my heavier drop spindle. Rather than trying to co-ordinate too much as I understand how the spinning process works, I am doing the spin and park method and drafting out the fiber while the spindle is parked. This has helped me understand the drafting process a little bit better, as well as to get a sense of how much twist is a good amount of twist.

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Relatively Even

I'm relatively pleased with how even this yarn came out. I feel like I am finally getting the handle on the drafting process, and how to do it in an even manner. What I am not so pleased about is how fuzzy this yarn is. I think this has to do with not catching all the fibers in the twist. Perhaps it's also a property of this fiber and it's just meant to make a slightly fuzzy yarn. In any event, it will soon be time to ply. I'm thinking of trying out plying via an Andean plying bracelet so that I can avoid having to figure out how to spin a second, equal length single to ply with.

Even though I haven't mastered drop-spindling by any stretch of the imagination, I am beginning to understand the addictive quality of spinning. It really is soothing and does help me clear my mind of things I'd prefer would leave my head. I'm beginning to think more and more about that Ashford Traditional that's waiting for a few simple repairs...

Tubular Sock

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Opal Rodeo 1153 Sock

Socks are really the ultimate in comfort knitting for me, especially when I am working with self-patterning sock yarn and all I have to do is knit in the round without worrying too much about anything complicated. Emma sent me this lovely sock yarn and it's bright happy colors have been calling my name since they arrived on my doorstep(it's Opal Rodeo 1153, you can see the other Rodeo colors here, if you're interested). I know I already have a couple of other sock projects started, but those socks are either not for me or have some pattern that I have to pay attention to. So I decided to go back to my old favorite top-down sock orientation.

Where I got a little "wild and crazy" was to not only do these top down socks on double pointed needles (a first chez Keyboard Biologist), but also to try a new cast-on: a tubular cast-on followed by K1P1 ribbing.

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The Tubular Top Up Close

I have to say, that I like this cast on quite a lot. It's a lovely stretchy edge and quite neat and polished looking. As with so many my diversions from my standard sock, I got a lot of help doing this from Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks Warm Feet. I know that I talk about this book a lot, but it really is a good book. If I could only own one sock book, this one would definitely be my choice.

This little sock project is going to be getting onto the airplane with me when I take a vacation to San Diego next week. I'm thinking a lace scarf project might also need to come along. Anybody got any recommendations for good places for a knitter to go in the San Diego area? I've heard good things about Knitting La Jolla...

Vacation Ahead

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Soon I will be winging my way to San Diego. I have a few things that I want to show off, but getting ready to travel is overwhelming my ability to put a good post together.

If you want to see a little bit of what I was up to this weekend, I leave you with this picture...

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Friends that Dye Together Should Probably Wear Gloves


...and encourage you to click on over to Julie's blog to see her post on our little adventure this weekend.

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