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Random Wooly Thoughts

Knitting towards sanity

1/14/07 09:28 am - A New Home

Ladyknits and I have started a team blogging exploit.  Please join us over at Friends Knit Together.

My finished objects will reside here, in my own blog:  Socksforphlox.

This journal will from now on be updated rarely, if ever.

I hope to see you!

12/23/06 06:46 pm

Guess what I have in my hot little hands!!



I think the words I am searching for are: Mwa ha ha ha!  This is a SPECTACULAR book, and it is just flying off our shelves.  Amazon apparently won't have it until the end of January, either!

Finishing School: ha ha ha... surprisingly I have been somewhat busy this week, ergo very little progress has been made.  Birch is down to 17 or 16 repeats left, though!

12/19/06 09:45 am - Finishing School

ladyknits and I hatched a plan last week to start fresh in the new year. We decided it would be cathartic to finish up those lingering projects that prey upon our consciences. She is already making mad progress of course, while I am plodding along. The projects in question for me are:

  • Silky Wool Birch! I have 20 repeats or so left on the needles, but it is moving along with pleasing progress. I am grateful anew that the project starts with 299 sts and ends with only 3. If it was the other way around I think I would be gibbering.
  • The Boring Grey Sock! Almost at the toe. I am not expecting myself to get the second done, but it would be nice to have those needles freed up at least.
  • The Trekking Sock! Again, almost at the toe. I stopped because it doesn't fit me, but since it fits Dee, we are enacting a swap. Therefore I only have to finish the one sock. We may be on to something here.
  • York! I have two sleeves to go. And some seaming, and zippers. *Ahem*

Hmm... What am I doing blogging? MUST KNIT FASTER!

12/15/06 08:46 am

Look what WendyKnits is doing!

Knit From Your Stash 2007!

1. The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start January 1, 2007 and run through September 30, 2007 -- a period of nine months.

2. We will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:

2.a. Sock yarn does not count. What? You think we are made of stone?

2.b. If someone asks for a specific knitted gift that we really and truly do not have the yarn for, we may buy yarn to knit that gift.

2.c. If we are knitting something and run out of yarn, we may purchase enough to complete the project.

2.d. We each get one "Get Out of Jail Free" card -- we are each allowed to fall off the wagon one time.

3. We are allowed to receive gifts of yarn.

4. Spinning fiber of any sort is exempt.

Now, I have a few personal qualms (some of which start with WHAAAT! ARE YOU CRAZY?) such as the nine month stretch. Wendy and her friend are planning to go to Stitches East, so that is the reason for the time period. I am not going to Stitches East. I am, however, planning on going to both the Knitter's Frolic in April, and the Knitter's Fair in September.

Next qualm, sock yarn (2.a). I have a lot of sock yarn. A LOT of sock yarn. Really NICE sock yarn. I would personally include sock yarn in my rules, in the interest that I actually use some up. I will replace sock yarn with deeply discounted quality yarn. If Elsebeth Lavold suddenly discontinues Silky Wool (gasp!) I will not be stopped from hoarding.

I am keeping the spinning fibre clause, of course, because my stash of that is completely under control. I am only one project ahead with a wee box of plain fibre for testing techniques and teaching others (what, you think I am letting others touch the Fleece Artist? Ha.)

So, any suggestions, all you knitters out there? I know that most of my readers do not have a monster-stash like I do, but any comments would be appreciated. I will post a revision of these rules when we have hammered out the details. So go on, hammer!

12/6/06 12:35 pm - A quickie

We are about to set off for the snowy wilds of London/Dashwood, but I wanted to post before I left since I will be gone for a few days and won't have camera access. I imagine I will able to access the internet, though, so comment/email/post away!

I filled another spindlefull of the Wensleydale, and have washed and hung the singles. I have a bit, maybe a third left of the original 50g:

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I imagine I will spin it next week. I am very excited about the singles this is producing! I went back to Romni to get another sliver, but they were sold out of this colourway. The alarmist behind the counter told us how it just flies out the door, and that he was surprised that there was ANY left, and that if there were any other colourways I wanted, I had better jump on them.

Ahem.

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I am such a pansy. More Fleece Artist Wensleydale-Teeswater sliver. This time I got two in the sameish colourway. Fleece Artist is a bit easygoing on colour ways, so this is as close as they come. 100g should be enough for socks! (I know, obsessed)

I do still knit! I knocked out a pair of tiny mittens the other day to keep some wee hands warm. These are made from the same ball of yarn as the larger green mittens, which makes for some great mitten value! I only have a teensy ball left. I was getting a little antsy towards the end.

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And, since we had the first sticky snowfall (ie: it hung around for more then five minutes) the other day (it's all gone now, but outdoors is still pretty chilly) I started a hat.

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Hats are my nemesis, so we shall see what interesting problems crop up during the course of this very unassuming Manos cap.

That's all for me, keep warm everybody!

12/5/06 09:48 am - Ride a painted pony...

I am blogging on a delay, about a day or two, but at least that gives me time to download and tweak pictures*.

I finished spinning the BFL right after I posted about it, and after it dried I plied!

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I love the bird's nest that is the skein fresh off the chair back. After a good soak and a night on the chair legs, the skein looks much more happy and relaxed.

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That's a dime for reference. This turned out a little thicker than I had expected. I had read in Spinoff that plying adds more volume than the sum of the singles combined, but I only believe it now! It is a DKish weight, and there ended up being 133 yards. Enough for me to have a little fun! I am excited to actually knit with my handspun, but I need to mull over some projects. And it really poofed out after plying, in a nice way, releasing some of the excess twist.

Since my spindle was now free, I did a little spinning on the weekend, and dove right into my last roving: a Fleece Artist Wensleydale sliver in harvest colours. It is not fuzzy, the hairs (staple) are very long, but not especially clingy like the BFL.

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I thought it would be really hard to spin, but it was nice and slippery like merino, but with the much longer hair length, it was much easier to draft a nice long piece. Adding on new fuzz is interesting. Since the BFL plied turned out thicker than its parts combined, I aimed for a very thin tight single that would hold up for socks. Just for kicks :)

Here is a whack of singles spun the first day. I love how the hairs curl out when you look close.

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I love this even more than I loved the BFL... I don't think I will ever get tired of these colours! So deep and bright and delicious. Since it is turning out so well, I might be convinced to buy another hank at Romni today wtih Gen.

Problem with this yarn is that I would like to navajo-ply it, but judging from the instructions, it might be insane to try and navajo ply on the spindle. Looks like an awful lot going on, there. Maybe this is the weekend to find out whether or not Aunt Ruth Anne's wheel works?

*only for size and shape of course... the default pics on our camera are 23 inches wide!

12/3/06 11:27 am - Fancy!

While visiting my old haunt in London, I came across a new yarn by Koigu: Fancy Merino. It is a nice soft boucle with the handpainted colouring of koigu, and it is very reasonably priced.

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I bought a scarf kit which contained 150g (approx. 300 yards) of Fancy. The kit suggested a wide curling stockinette scarf knit on the short edge. Since I tire easily of scarves, I decided to do a garter stitch scarf knit on the long edge. I decided a shorter scarf was in order, with a nice long fringe, so I checked my gauge and cast on 150 sts. It was a really quick knit!

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Unfortunately, I did so much knitting that day (I finished the socks of doom!) that a consequence of continental knitting reared its head:

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See my pointer finger? That is where I wrap the yarn to keep it tensioned. Between the nylon in the sock yarn and the binder of the boucle, I had a sore finger! I put the scarf away for a few days, and pulled it out to finish it Friday night. I didn't want it to be too long, just enough to tuck in a coat, and I will add a nice thick fringe. I have quite a bit of yarn left... even after the fringe I will have half the kit leftover. The colours are really quite lovely, the orange just pops out while you are knitting. The boucle, as always, takes a little attention, but for the most part it flew along.

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It is a very cushy garter stitch, so I think I will block it long. It ended up about 50 inches long before fringe. I don't like a wide scarf.

I did some plying and spinning as well, but I will save those for another day. Still working through the backlog!

All that is left on the Christmas list is a few mittens, and small ones at that.

12/1/06 12:45 pm - Shutterbug (Take Two)

(I just wrote this post, in its entirety, and when I clicked on 'submit' the entire post disappeared. Nowhere to be found. I will now emerge from my cloud of blue smoke and attempt to reproduce it.)

I've been composing so many imaginary blog posts in my head the last week that I have accumulated quite a pile of (non-imaginary) pictures. After downloaded and uploading them today, I realized that there were too many for one post. Gotta spread out the love!

Due to my spectacular packing efforts in preparation for our move to the Big Smoke, I only found my spindle last week (after unpacking the final box). During fibreartfan's visit I pulled it out and gave it a whorl (hee). Because you know that the knitting obsession wasn't enough...

This is my first handspun single. The roving came from knittinggoof with the spindle. The dye-job is mine.

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A little... rustic. During the course of spinning this I got a lot better at controlling the spindle and drafting the fibre. I plied it for practice:

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It is more than a little gaudy, but it served its purpose well! Now that I had been well and bitten, we headed out on a tour of the city, and having stopped at Lettuce Knit, I picked up a hand-dyed Fleece Artist merino roving. I was aiming to make a light worsted single that I could knit with directly. Something along the lines of Manos or Malabrigo. This is what I got:

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There are about 70 yards/50g there. (as much as it pains me to measure in yards, the distance around the top of my kitchen chairs is exactly one yard. Can't argue with that) I was pretty happy with those results, though I suppose I should have got more yardage for the quantity. I like the texture of it, there are very few super-thin parts, it is much more consistent than my first attempt!

While at Romni Wools, I stumbled upon a basket of FA rovings... I couldn't resist taking home a Blue Faced Leicester roving. It was very different to spin than the merino, it was much loftier and fluffy. It was also easier to get a thinner thread. I aimed for something thin that I could ply, but not so thin that it would drive me crazy:

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This is 144 yards of sock weight. More consistent than the merino, but still some variation. I am planning on plying this when I am finished spinning. I have at least another 40 yards between what is on the spindle and the roving that is left. I am not sure whether to buy another roving and try and make socks, or just use what I have. I had put the spindle down since Monday, but picked it up again last night:

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I love the way it looks with fresh yarn wound around. Mike pointed out that now the inscription is correct:

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Those are the Latin principal* parts of the verb 'to spin': I spin, to spin, I HAVE spun, it has been SPUN! (by me!!) Very fitting now. Ah, the geekiness!

I haven't given up on Christmas knitting, just saving that for another post. This post seems a lot shorter than the original it replaces. I suppose that is for the better!


*I never can remember whether it should be principal or principle. I asked Mike, and he went to look it up just in case, whereupon we discovered that we do not have an English dictionary! Latin, Greek, Hebrew, German, and French, yes. English? No. What does that say??

11/29/06 02:27 pm - Mmmm! Tastes like Science!

Because I know the pain of graduate students...

This dude is measuring the speed of memes on the internet.  All you have to do to help him (and prove the power of the knitblogger) is to link to his page in your blog asking your readers to do the same, then Ping technorati.  Whatever that might mean.  Annnnnd!  Then you will be part of data presented to the MLA conference, which is cool in itself, even if you do hate those silly formatting rules.  The wonder of Classics was that we didn't have to use MLA, or Turabian or even Chicago for that matter...  I made up my own style that was part Chicago, part what-I-saw-in-really-old-journals.  But I may have digressed.

There are other things to post, but not at this moment, as I have not downloaded my camera, and have only had one cuppa tea.

11/22/06 03:29 pm - Oops!

Oh, I guess it has been awhile.  So much for turning over a new leaf.

Haven't gotten a huge amount of knitting done this week, been cleaning instead.  The cat after whom my blog is named seems to alocate a great deal of his kibble consumption to hair production and leaves little decoy-Phloxes around the apartment.  Cleaning properly involves moving everything to vacuum behind in order to prevent further drifting :)  The downside of hardwood, I suppose, and yet now that I see the amount of hair Phlox leaves behind, I marvel at the state in which the carpets at our old place must have been.  The upside is that by Friday this place will be as allergy-friendly as it is possible for my home to be!

Really, it is a good thing that visitors come.  Otherwise I would be content to live in squalor.

My shoddy housekeeping aside, I did manage to finish Odessa!



Molly thinks the colour is 'her', but unfortunately for her, it is intended for someone else.

The only other thing I have managed to churn out is this:



I've been on a mini kick lately.  Mini-socks, mini-cupcakes... 

Other than that, I am working on the sock that never ever ever ends.  Think Second Sock Syndrome is bad?  Try knitting the second sock the night before Christmas, madly grafting and wrapping, only to find out that you knit it on smaller needles than the first, and as a result it DOESN'T FIT!  I am now knitting this second sock a second time.  And the last time.  At least I am not knitting eight identical socks.  Small blessings.

A plus side on the endless Christmas knitting is that I am filled with previously unknown anticipation of projects for ME!  I guess a little will-powered deprivation is just what the doctor ordered.  Before that, though, I have a non-yarny project to turn my hands to...
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