Friday, March 30, 2007

Eye Candy Friday: Lilac Buds Progress

20070330 lilac bud
I love lilacs so much that even the hope of blooms on this plant for the first time since we planted it several years ago is eye candy for me

Red Flowers
What are these? They're on a fence across from our office and I have no idea what they are. Click for larger.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Much Happier Now

Mad-Tini Started
Sock Madness Sock #2, Mad-Tini, as always, click for larger

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, Forest, US 0 / 2.0mm
I'm out of the competition but knitting this one for fun.

I've learned something very useful. For me, I like the Lorna's Laces sock weight much better in a stockinette based pattern on US 0's. I've still got to finish one Jaywalker that's on US 1's because it's so un-stretchy. But, I really like the feel of this fabric better. It goes without saying, YMMV.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Not Feeling the Pomatomus Love

RIP Pomatomus
Pomatomus v1.01 RIP
Click for larger

Pomatomous Sock from Knitty, Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, Forest. Started 3/26/2007. Ripped 3/27/2007.

The more I knit, the more I didn't want to knit it. The pattern is really quite easy to read despite the complicated looking chart. Lorna's Laces is quite nice sock yarn. The two together were just not making me happy. I saw a Pomatomus knit in Lorna's at the Knitting Guild meeting in Gloucester, and it seemed tight and stiff. This combination of yarn and pattern just wasn't feeling good for me.

I will very likely try this pattern again with one of my softer, tight-twist yarns in stash. But for now, though I am out of competition, in relaxed fashion I have moved on to Sock Madness' Pattern Two, "Mad-Tini", with a slip-stitch spiral rib.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Monkey Socks Done!

Monkey Socks Done
Click for larger

Monkey Sock, in Claudia Hand Painted Yarn, Plumicious. Details HERE.

Monkey Socks Done 2
Click for larger

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Saturday Sky: March 24, 2007

Saturday Sky 20070324-1
Jackson Park, Charlottesville, VA

Saturday Sky 20070324-2
Downtown Sky, Charlottesville, VA

Friday, March 23, 2007

Eye Candy Friday: Lilac Bud Update

Lilac Buds 20070323
Progress photo, without crazy dog this time

Daffodils 20070323
Gratuitous Daffodil shot

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Evolution of a Yarn Collector

Thoughts on a Stash.

I’m deliberately making this an image-free post so you will think about your own collection rather than mine, and whether any of this resonates, and so you can answer my question at the end.

One thing I've learned in the exhaustive tour of my stash is that I still like most of what's in there. It’s hard for me to get rid of yarn that I haven’t had time to knit, but that I still like. I do have plans to de-stash five big bags, at least, but the rest either has a purpose or will. Clearly I am able to get interested in knitting things much faster than I can actually knit, but that's a whole 'nother blog post. Two more things occurred to me after the Great Stash Exposition of 2007: the stash is consistent; and the stash has evolved.

Consistently, I am drawn to rich colors, jewel tones, woodland greens, sky colors, blacks, grays, and natural wools. The light colors I buy tend to be light shades of a complex color rather than a bland pastel. I'm fascinated with Sundara's overdyed somewhat-solid yarns, and have been buying quite a few hand-dyed yarns, both from indie’s and the big names, to see how different colorways are put together with a view to dyeing my own. Spinning will add even more to the exploration of how color and fiber can be manipulated on the way to useable yarn (and heaven help me it will add fiber to the stash).

Setting aside the antique stash, the yarns I have bought in the past three or four years have followed right along with the popular knitting craze evolving from novelty yarns (including, I admit it, some fun fur scarves for Xmas a few years back, but it was Classic Elite Ibis, not like, actual Fun Fur) and self-striping sock yarns, to my current focus on alpaca, cashmere, qiviut and unusual wools. I’ve gone from Zodiac to (Blue Sky) Alpaca.

Some of my big yarn errors, and most of the de-stash, will be perfect yarns for someone else. I’ve learned about fibers and yarns that I love knitting, and others that because of my unique hand/arm issues I just can not enjoy and should not knit no matter how much I like or appreciate the yarn.

I sent some Patons Cotton Top off to someone who was thrilled to get it, but it was torture for me to swatch it. I’ve already had comments on not de-stashing my Kureyon, and yes I did try to knit a Lizard Ridge square, and it hurt my arm. Not worth it. Someday, the wavy short-rows, maybe. As a scarf or wrap, in some soft Diakeito, or handspun, I could do that. The huge cone of cotton/wool/microfiber/silk will make some weaver very happy. These days, I won’t even look at ribbon yarn.

So, I’m still a sucker for sock yarn, but I’m trying to be more thoughtful in my yarn purchases, and more ruthless in my de-stash. Good news came in my acceptance to the de-stash blog. Now I can get some items ready and posted for sale and send them off to good homes.

So, tell me about your stash, and your stash lessons learned.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Spinning: March 19, 2007

Spinning 20070319-1

Drop spindle spun, 157yds, 2-ply worsted weight, mystery roving from The Needle Lady.

I stayed up until all hours last night plying this because I just wanted so much to see how it would turn out. Spinning is all about the process. While the product I was aiming for was fingering weight, I have a nice worsted weight instead. It's squooshy and soft.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Then I found my husband lying on the furnace room floor

Sorry, that was mean. I found this on the furnace room floor a few years ago. Why it was there, I don't know. I also found his UVa diploma in the furnace room, courtesy of the ex. But isn't this priceless?
PHB bowtie
He was known to get into some mischief according to his older siblings.

I have been taking breaks from the massive stash/office reorganization project. In fact, I've been staying up late working on this project.
Spinning 20070318
Please note the fancy toilet-paper roll spinning equipment.

It is hoping to be about 250yds of 2-ply to make a little lacy scarf. I'm gradually getting more even and consistent. Yes, spinning is nothing if not a process. I'll defintely be looking for fiber and maybe a lighter spindle at Sedalia.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Last of the Stash Flashed

There may yet be yarn hiding from me. But all that I know of has been brought out, sorted, inventoried, and organized. I’m exhausted. There will be de-stashing.

Let’s start with an easy one, shall we.
Lambs Pride Bulky
Well behaved rainbow of Lamb’s Pride Bulky, it was already in a bin, waiting for happy felting projects.

Here’s some Noro.
Noro Kureyon & Silk Garden
All the Kureyon will be de-stashed, the Silk Garden stays for a vest.

I’m torn about the Peace Fleece. I bought it for a Husband vest, but it was just too stiff for the gauge I needed. This would make wonderful felted projects. In fact I can see it as a small rug. But I just don’t do that much felting as it hurts my hands to knit with big needles anymore.
Peace Fleece
Peace Fleece. May be de-stashed.

Here’s the bulk of the Random Stash. The Flickr image has notes on it all.
Random Stash Before
Before de-stashing.

Random Stash After
After. Aren’t you proud of me!

When I was a baby, my mother got me a knitted Christmas stocking. A couple of years ago, I found a pattern that is almost the same, to make one for the Husband, who doesn’t have a stocking. His ex got his stocking I guess.
Xmas Stocking
I even have the little ball of super fuzzy angora for the beard and eyebrows.

We’re almost done.

I have cotton yarn too. Does that surprise you at all? Didn’t think so.
Cotton Stash
No after photo, because I forgot, but there are notes. Most of this will eventually become some cute summer sweaters.

Need warshcloths? Then you need warshcloth yarn.
Warshcloth Stash

Now, if there were a soundtrack to this blog, we would hear some ominous, tension-inducing minor chords. We are coming to the stash that has truly dogged me for years.
Antique Stash, hiding
Don’t let that innocent organic cotton tote fool you.

See in this next photo, up in the top corner, there’s a receipt, for some Bartlettyarns I bought in a shop in Portland, Maine.
Antique Stash revealed
Antique Stash, notes on Flickr

In 1986.

The Pingouin, of course doesn’t exist anymore. The Galway, I think was being discontinued at TNL, ‘cause otherwise I have no idea why I bought it.

But, the Jewel in my Stash Crown, in the bottom left corner, is the black tweedy yarn I bought in Ireland, in the Summer of 1984. Yes, that’s right, this yarn has been in my stash for almost 23 years!

Wanna see the De-stash pile?
De-stash planned

And today besides this, I did our corporate taxes and have not knit a stitch.

Eye Candy Friday: Lilac Buds

Now, with more crazy dog.

Lilac Buds
Tracy, my Husband's ex-wife's dog. Who lives with us. She's on her way to the next-door-neighbor's house to get her daily dog treat. She has them trained.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Area 51

Today we turn our attention to UFO’s. Some people say they don’t believe in UFO’s.

They’re real. I have proof. The sensitive and project-monogamous among you really should look away now.
UFO's Before
Be sure to click for larger and see the notes on Flickr.

You know, that really wasn’t as bad as I was dreading it was going to be. Partly because I have already taken care of some projects that had been nagging me to death. I still need to felt the Fuzzy Feet, but I attached the hated Birches single sock to the ball winder a few minutes ago and I feel much better now. The Log Cabin Blanket lives at the Bay and is a long-term project. Some of these desperately needed to be abandoned, so here’s what it looked like a minute later.
UFO's After
Click for the notes on what stayed - some socks, a sweater, felted tote, a scarf, a wrap, one big mitered square.

On a serious note, I tell people when I got back into knitting – a few years ago, but I usually don’t tell them why. I got married late. I thought there was still time to get pregnant and have a child of my/our own (the Husband has four more or less grown). With some significant obstacles to overcome, we tried. Very Hard. During that time I started knitting the blanket as a positive-attitude thing. And I finished several baby sweaters. But, I couldn’t make a baby and the now unfinished blanket just makes me sad. I think it’s time for it to go.

Here’s something that is a bit troubling. The Queue Stash.
Queue Stash
Some of these have projects in mind, some were just collected. Notes attached.

There is still more stash to come. We haven’t gotten to cottons, Lamb’s Pride Bulky, and odd balls yet.

The office is looking better. All my bead stuff is in one tote and I can see a lot more of the floor.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Lace/Fingering Yarn Stash of Delicate and Ladylike Proportions

So, see that item on the sidebar under To Do, “Organize Yarn & Pattern Collections”. That’s what all this stash-flashing is about – a long overdue spring cleaning. My office looks like rednecks live there and I’m half expecting to find an old truck up on blocks in there soon.
Pig Pen
It’s starting to drive me crazy, and while the Husband is away, it’s easier to tear whole rooms apart to reorganize them.

So, today’s project is the lace yarn stash. This group includes some yarns I’ve been stashing in anticipation of taking on some really big lace projects, as well as future small wraps and scarves that will be gifts. I've got a range of yarns from true cobweb weight to almost DK, but all are planned for lace or lacy knitting. Enough stalling.
Lace/Fingering Yarn Stash Before
Obligatory Before Shot. The lace yarns are pretty much already bagged to protect them so not as much craziness here as the sock yarns.

Lace/Fingering Yarn Stash After
Click on the image and check out the notes on Flickr, I’ve got everything labeled.

A little de-stashing is planned here, but not much as these have always been intended for long-term storage. The cool thing for me is that I have been making detailed inventory sheets of all the yarns so far. Even though they will be put away, I'll be able to look up yardage for project planning.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Containment = Contentment

Sock Yarn Stash Organized!

Sock Yarn Stash Contained!
Contained: Solids and Undyed / DK and Sportweight / Variegated / De-Stash

Sock Yarn Stash of Epic Proportions

To those (Mary) who are concerned because they may have a shopping bag full of sock yarn I say:
HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHaHAhAHahahahahahahahahahaha . . . cough.

Step One: Admit I am powerless over sock yarn and that my sock yarn has become unmanageable.
Sock Yarn Stash Before
A shopping bag. One single solitary bag. Chortle. Chuckle. Wry smile.

Step Two: Believe that Giant ZipLoc bags can restore me to Sanity.
Sock Yarn Stash Containment?

Step Three: FSM help me.
Sock Yarn Stash Exposed = 92 pairs worth
Lots of Sock Yarn. 92 pairs worth. Queen-size bed included for scale.
It may be worse than I thought, and I may have to leave it here until I can figure out how to organize it – by weight? by type? by color? I counted. It's 22.9 miles. Twenty Two point Nine.

Skip to Step Four: Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of sock yarn stash.
Note, I AM NOT linking to all of these. Let me know if you want to know where they came from.

Limbo Mexiko
Regia 6 fadig
Idena 6 fadig
Happy Trails sportweight from Wooly West
Fortissima Colori
Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport
Cascade Fixation
Storytellers (Lime & Violet’s Violet) from Etsy
Zitron DK-ish
Moda Dea washable worsted weight

Lime & Violet squooshy merino
Claudia Hand Painted Yarn sportweight, John B
Lornas Laces Shepherd Sport, Black Purl
Regia Bamboo
Lion Brand Magic Stripes
Undyed Louet Gems Pearl, Kraemer Jeannie, Gems Opal, and unknown superwash merino

Ellen’s Half Pint merino/tencel from Stitches
Fleece Artist
Interlacements Tiny Toes
Schaefer Anne
Fearless Fibers, Autumn
Kid Hollow Farm mohair/merino/nylon
Sophie’s Toes from Etsy
Tess’ Designer Yarns from Stitches
GypsyKnits from Etsy
SavvyMinx from Etsy
Footpath from Wooly West
Brown Sheep Wildfoote
Trekking XXL
Shelridge Farm Soft Touch Heather

Socks That Rock, some Sock Club, some from Stitches
Claudia Hand Painted Yarn
Mountain Colors Bearfoot
Valley Yarns Franklin
Louet Gems Pearl
Sundara Yarns
Regia Silk
Sophie’s Toes
KnitPicks Essential Solid

Socks That Rock
Cherry Tree Hill
Colinette Jitterbug
Spirit Trail Fiberworks
The Yarn Yard
Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock
Black Bunny Fibers from Etsy

Cider Moon

So, my new hobby, I’m learning how to MAKE yarn.

Important Note: I am making fun of myself, not of Twelve Step programs.

Up Next: Lace Yarn Stash of not epic but still significant proportions.

Sock Madness indeed!

Sock One Done.
Mad Cow

This the first round sock for Sock Madness 2007, which will be a single elimination sock knitting tournament. It's called Mad Cow and is knit in KnitPicks Essential Solid in Dusk and Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Birches on US1 / 2.5 mm. Started Saturday, slacked off and spun on Sunday, worked on Monday, finished Tuesday AM. Hope I have finished in time to make it to Round Two!

Drat, just checked the website and it looks like I've just missed it as the last two slots have been taken for my division. I'll keep knitting along though.

Hey, I just realized these make pretty good Project Spectrum socks! And they were stash yarn!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

When Bloggers Blog Bloggers Blogging

The Yarn Lounge - Krista

Krista of Naked Sheep and I went to Richmond’s Carytown yesterday to check out The Yarn Lounge, where “It’s Hip to Knit”. I don’t know if I’m any hipper than when I left, but I loved the shop. What a wonderful selection of natural fibers. So many alpacas, silks, cashmeres, organic wools, handspuns, hand-dyes, cottons!
The Yarn Lounge

Melanie and Cate were so helpful and welcoming. We spent quite a bit of time browsing and sitting and knitting at the big front table. We never even made it back to the comfy-chair-filled lounge. Saturday was a wonderfully warm break from the late-wintry weather we’ve been having. The sun was out, the door was open, the yarn was soft, what more could you want?

I got to meet Mary of Virgin Wool (hope you’re feeling better!) and later Liz (ETA her blog is Poke You with My Sticks). We all had a wonderful lunch at the Can Can Brasserie, then some antiques, the toy store, and back to the yarn shop.

I am here to state for the Good Man (it’s here on the internet, it must be true) that Krista stuck to her budget, despite my best efforts to enable! Yay Krista!

I was doing quite well, had no plans to really buy much – selected a couple of patterns (the full version of Flower Basket Shawl, and Gene Beugler’s Fuschia Lace Scarves), a couple of skeins of plain vanilla Gems Opal for dyeing some sportweight sock yarn,
Louet Gems Opal white

and three skeins of some lovely Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca & Silk sportweight for a small shawl.
Blue Sky Alpaca/Silk, pale green

Doing so well. Waiting by the register. Basket of qiviut. I’m weak. Two balls for a very warm husband scarf in a color that matches his eyes. You know what? You cannot regret buying qiviut.
Qiviuk moss

So, um, Lots of Yarn.

Because, when I got home, my first package from The Yarn Yard Sock Yarn Club had arrived from Scotland! Each club yarn comes with a small coordinating skein for heels and toes. March’s yarn is Iris with eight shades from a spring iris garden. The colors are much more subtle in person, but here it is with added cat nose.
Yarn Yard Club March 2007

Friday night, bored and with the husband away, I stayed up late and finished spinning and plying my first real skein of yarn. It’s about 44yds of light bulky weight. Forty-four yards might not seem like much to you, but considering that I first touched a drop spindle four days ago, I'm proud of myself. I want to spin finer yarns since that's what I use, but right now I’m working on not wildly over-spinning the plies. So, I thought I would go for softer and more even first, then thinner. Spinners out there, tell me if I should go about it differently. I like the texture of this roving better than the pure merino I’m also trying, but still just do not like the colors.
Handspun 20070309

Thursday, March 8, 2007

ECF: Peaceful

Sophies Toes Peaceful
Sophie's Toes, fingering weight, superwash merino, color Peaceful, from Emily Parsons' Etsy shop. Lovely.

Sophies Toes Label
Isn't this label just wonderful!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Another one into the vortex*

*Thanks Margene for the title.

Today I made yarn.
Tiny Skein

Yes, that is the world’s tiniest skein, but parts of it are really quite yarn-like. Not bad for an hour and a half’s work and the first time I’ve ever tried spinning!

On the way HOME from Mathews, I stopped well off the beaten path in Powhatan, Virginia, for a drop spindle lesson with Kathy Oliver at Holly Spring Handspun. Kathy raises her own cashmere goats and has her own line of handspun yarns, and now under the Scarlet Fleece label, hand-dyed yarns.

Coincidentally, yesterday, two knitters brought wheels to the Knitting Guild of Tidewater’s Tuesday afternoon Sit ‘n’ Knit at the Gloucester Public Library. I watched and asked many, many questions. Thanks Cathy and Dee!

I came home with (two) Grafton Fibers Nina spindle(s). I know, but I couldn’t decide which I liked best. Nina One, Birdseye Maple 1.9oz. Nina Two, Something-illegible-scribbled-on-the-tag-but-the-wood looks-like-mahogany 1.6oz. Half a pound of Australian merino-corriedale hand-dyed roving and 4oz of merino top.

Grafton Fibers Nina 1

Grafton Fibers Nina 2

Australian Wool Roving

Merino Top