Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sunny day loveliness

Buying all that fiber got me energized, and I finished up the silk I was spinning on the spindle:

It's not the best yarn in the universe, but it's kinda pretty, AND it's the first decent thing that's come off the spindle for me. Luckily, I seem to be on a roll:

The merino/tencel in Mahogany from Spunky Eclectic is spinning up gorgeously. I'm actually considering keeping it single-ply. Madness!

And a few progress shots of the shawl for my mom:

The first one gets the true colors of the Seasilk, and the sheen, but the second one is more of the pattern. I was worried that the color change in the yarn might be obscuring the pattern, but I don't think it is, after all. Or is it?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Victory and pretty things

Frost Flowers and Leaves (henceforth Claire's wedding shawl) is finished, and it's gorgeous! And big!

I used the Jaggerspun superfine merino from Halcyon Yarn for this, and it turned out really nicely. It's a pretty cheap as far as lace yarn goes, but very nice quality. I'm so proud of this shawl, as it's the biggest lace that I've done, and was a real learning experience - namely, I learned that I shouldn't try to knit lace after a martini!

And speaking of martinis: the ginger vodka infusion turned out really nicely - it manages to have the full flavor range of ginger, not only the bite, but the plantiness of it, if that makes any sense. The mint was gross and tasted like rotting leaves, and we have to wait a while to taste the lemon. Maybe when Claire gets her shawl we can celebrate with that!

Here's the Zen String Awaken roving I got last week. It matches the irises that are starting to come out:
I really loved the MA Sheep and Woolcrafts Fair. There were a lot of little kids showing and grooming their sheep, a lot of craftspeople with great things they were selling, and a lot of crazy sheep making hilarious noises. I love them so. I was having so much fun that I didn't take any pictures, alas, but I got some great stuff (mostly rovings). From Spunky Eclectic came these beauties. I love them all, but I'm especially pleased that that green lace yarn is in the color 'Soylent' so that I can make terrible jokes the whole time that I'm knitting it:

Unsuspecting curious person: What are you knitting?
Me: It's people!

It's a terrible joke, but I know I'll make it. Again, and again, and again.

These are a merino/silk and a merino roving from a lovely shop whose name I can't remember. Each one is about 8oz. and I'm thinking to spin one or both (together?!) as laceweight for a shawl. Should be fun to try, anyway:

On the left below is angora from Acker's Acres Angora. Their pamphlet says it takes an hour to comb out an ounce of angora, but since an ounce only costs $7, I'm guessing the bunny caressing might be part of the profit! The other one is a merino tencel from The Sheep Shed. I honestly can't believe I only bought one thing from them, they had so much loveliness! I think it may have been a hunger-related decision.

And the actual knitting? Well, on the way to the fair I made great progress on the Urban Boot Socks for the Bike Jerk, as anonymous husband decided to name himself. Just the foot of the second one left. But I'm a tad distracted by this:

Which is the beginning of the Hidcote Garden Shawl in Forest Seasilk for my mom. The pattern is delightfully complicated, and it's clear that the designer put a lot of energy into it. And the yarn is so scrumptious I can hardly stand it. It's a little thicker than most of the laceweight I've used before, and has a really lovely sheen that doesn't show up in the photo (mostly because the sun went away as soon as I snapped the picture).

I'm sort of embarrassed to go on. I'm usually a 2-3 items in progress sort of knitter - just one for paying-attention knitting, one for bus-riding, maybe another one for during a movie - and it feels weird to have so many things (5!) on the needles at once. How did it happen? These are socks for my friend Rebekah. They're a bit garish (Opal yarn, based on art by Hundertwasser), but in the best possible way:
And finally, the first one of the alpaca booties. One of the cutest things I've knit. Ridiculous. (Oh, and yes, that IS a duck with a ribbon around its beak in the background. Don't you have a pair of Korean wedding ducks?)

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Amazing things are going on around here, and my camera is off in D.C. jaunting around at a conference! Frost Flowers and Leaves is currently blocking (and perfect timing too, with it supposed to be in the 80s for a while), my lovely silk singles are plying up nicely, I've started several new things, AND I got a gorgeous roving from Zen String! And no pictures! Oh, the humanity!

Well, we're off to the MA Sheep and Woolcraft Fair on Saturday, but Sunday will bloom with so many pictures! Including some, I hope, from my husband (whose request to be referred to as 'Boozo the Clown' in these posts is still under consideration), of the Mall, the tourists, possibly our old home...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Otto, the nihilist

Meet Otto. He's a recent addition to the family, and clearly a nihilist:

I'm not sure that his original incarnation was a nihilist, but this guy definitely is. Look at his eyes:

He's all made from my own handspun yarn (his scarf is Kool-Aid dyed) except for the beige, which is something from the stash, long ago de-labelled.

These were the first things I made entirely from knit-blogger sources (can my legs really be that white? I know winter's just ending, but c'mon?!):

Jaywalkers, in Black Bunny Fibers sock yarn (there's nothing for sale right now, but Carol's blog is lovely as well) . Which is a delight to work with! I had to keep watching my hands, just to see what colors were coming next. Below, the Jaywalkers pose in romantic soft focus with my other skein of BBF yarn (merino).

The only thing in this posting still on needles:

It's Sarcelle, in Claudia Handpainted Yarns Silk Lace in Sea Dreams, and getting close to being done. I almost never knit in light colors, and I don't think I own anything white or even white-ish, but when I saw this yarn I had a flash of brilliance: Hey! If I knit lace in a light color, then when I wear my dark clothes under it, it'll look great. I may be a little slow, but you can see how nicely the coreopsis shows it off!

Stash enhancement from the friendly folks at The Knitting Studio in Montpelier, VT, where we roadtripped this rainy weekend. My husband wasn't going to come into the shop at first, but I'm glad he did: the Louet Gems was my idea, but he bought the angora. It's for baby booties for a couple of friends. Lucky kids!

And, finally, a non-fiber related photo:

These are vodka infusions my husband is making (L-R ginger, mint and lemon). It's a first try, inspired by a visit to a local Russian restaurant. I'm especially excited to try the ginger. Mmmm....

Friday, May 18, 2007

A breakthrough!

I know I already posted today, and one doesn't want to go overboard with this whole thing. BUT, I've been having a cruddy day involving banging my knee into things (HARD), spilling liquids on papers, and other minor disasters, along with frustrations in summer job searches and pre-dissertation work. So, being frustrated all around, I decided to do something else that's always frustrated me (because I'm a genius, and that makes perfect sense): spin on a drop spindle. I don't know why I can spin on a wheel, but drop spindling always makes me want to throw things. Anyway, inspired by Kristi over at Knitters Anonymous, armed with some of her advice and my own decision to stop using the cheap, learner's wool and go nuts with silk, I came up with this:

Yowza! I don't know what happened, except that maybe caring about what came of the fiber made me do better? It's so nice and even, I couldn't be happier. Yay!

Rain, Rain, go away...

..so that I can take some better pictures. Ok, maybe I do need a new camera - one that allows me to focus how I want to - but here's a rainy day picture anyway:

Which it's the plied yarn from the onionskin dyed singles. This shows the color pretty well, and at least you can see that it's pretty fine. Maybe when the sun comes out, I'll post a better picture of it, because I love it! Turned out to be about 450 yards, too, so socks aren't out of the question.

This is the beginning of the purply merino roving. I wish I had more of it than I do! It's turning out so nicely. I'm usually more of a greeny-bluey person, but this is cooooool!

And here's a pair of mittens that I finished just in time for it to get warm enough to not wear mittens:

Nancy Bush calls them Hilja's mittens in her Folk Knitting in Estonia, but I call them Super-virtuous mittens, because they're entirely from my stash AND I used up 3 of those tiny leftover balls that just don't seem big enough to finish anything. Which they weren't, of course: neither your monitor nor my lighting is wacky - they are two different colors. The one on the left is mostly Koigu that's been sitting around (the remnant of TWO pairs of socks) for several years, the other is something else entirely. I sort of like the contrast. And I think this is enough colorwork to last me long time.

Also, just for update's sake, the Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl is halfway edged, though I won't burden you with another shrivelled shawl picture. Suffice it to say that I've upgraded it to the status of "work," which means that it gets to supercede things that other people might think are more important, like, oh, research. I'm just trying desperately to get it done before it gets hot, and if that means I have to spend 6 hours on a miserable rainy day watching Pride and Prejudice (the BBC version, of course! I'll take Colin Firth over Keira Knightley any day.) and edging a shawl instead of schlepping to the library, so be it!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Not knitting, but it could be...

Pictures proving that the animals in this house have a drinking problem:

Where did they get beer boxes? (looking entirely innocent.)

I was going to post these eventually anyway, but was inspired to do so now after looking through the most recent Interweave Knits. Where I saw, hidden in the back ads, a place where you can send your animal hair sweepings and they'll spin them into yarn for you. Now, I'm sure that non-sheep animal fur of some sort makes its way into everything I knit or spin (since it seems to show up everywhere, even in food inside the fridge), but the thought of yarn made from what I sweep up on Saturday morning?! (shudder)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

It's Me!

I never even knew about knitting blogs until about a month ago, and now I have one. I couldn't resist once I saw all the great stuff going on and the sense of a knitting community. In real life I'm a graduate student, in something other than knitting, which means both that I have limited knitting time AND that I really need it when I get it. Hopefully I can figure out my camera and the intricacies of dealing with pictures on a Mac, so that this will work out!

Here are some of the things I'm working on:

Yes, it's Frost Flowers and Leaves from A Gathering of Lace, not that you can tell, of course. Oh the joys of circular lace, and its consistently looking like a tangled mess! Still, this one has 1/4 of its edging done, which is the real reason to show it. It's for my friend's wedding, and this photo shows it might be done before September (I've been working on it on and off for a year!).

Also, I dyed some purply rovings:

I'm just starting to explore dyeing, so I'm trying to stick within a colorway, but do it differently and see what happens. This is (L-R) merino, mystery wool, and silk. Both the silk and the mystery wool were supposed to have large white areas, but I didn't do as well with the mystery wool. It leaked.

This one is also mystery wool (I lost my labels for the undyed roving - I've had it for a while). You can't really tell from the picture, but it's rather violently orange in places, and sort of pinky in others. It was supposed to be for a scarf for my brother, but I don't think he'd approve of the color combo. Which is all for the best, as it means more yarn for my own evil purposes.

This is a singles spun with a roving I dyed with onionskin. I can't believe it came out so orange, but I love it. Also mystery wool! It's some of the thinnest yarn I've been able to spin, which is exciting. Maybe socks?

This is the beginning of a pair of Uptown Boot Socks from Favorite Socks (which I love! I have a total sock obsession, which is why I'm discreetly putting the sock last. That way no one will catch onto my sickness. It worked, right?) . It's using KnitPicks Gloss in Pumpkin, which feels great to work with, though we'll see how it wears. It's for my husband, which means a lot of foot to practice the very simple cable pattern!

That's it for now! I'll be back soon, with some more WIP and FOs...