sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

on and off

One of the best things about coming home from a trip* is the mail that's been piling up while you've been away. Who wouldn't love to find this beauty waiting with open arms? :)

Bosworth Midi spindle, .98oz in Bird's Eye Maple

Amelia at The Bellwether was kind enough to give us who haunt her Ravelry forum a heads up-- there were not going to be any more Bossies available for purchase from retailers (direct buy only from Journey Wheel), so if we wanted one we should speak up NOW before she sells out her remaining inventory to classes she teaches :) I love the tiny red cedar one so much that I know I'll love this too.

I'm sure spinning this month's Verb ultra fiber club shipment on it won't hurt with that, either...

Roman Numeral

So pretty. The spaced out dyeing has me thinking I'll try for some striped yarn when I get to spinning it-- I love when colors work together like this.

Also love this...

Handdyed Banana fiber from Blonde Chicken Boutique, 4 oz in "Leaf"

I had *so* much fun handcarding the polwarth/silk that when I saw Tara's banana fiber for sale in her shop I immediately thought of the possibility of blending it with a little naturally grey wool for an artier, bulkier, Spring-has-Sprung type yarn. Her post on the "eco-worthiness" of bamboo and soy in spinning fiber/yarn is an interesting, related read too.

I did manage a little fiber time when I was away, thanks to Tactile's Superwash BFL and my 2 newest spindles...



I slid both cops off onto drinking straws like before and plied them on the wheel when I got back...


...ending up with 3.5oz and 400 yd of sock yarn. It looks bigger than it is against my new HP Mini--

(Bosworth Midi spindle, not coke zero for scale!)

The HP Mini is a really adorable machine, perfect for browsing the web around the way since *my other portable networking device has gone on the haywire.* I opted for the solid state drive, not the hdd since I plan to carry it around a lot and don't want any parts knocking about inside. I also found out that Jetflash's T3K media is the same as HP's "mini mobile drive"-- half off HP's pricing and I can increase the drivespace by 50% (more when I add in a SDHC card... both are flush with the machine when inserted in their respective slots-- nice and no breaking off.) I'm going to take it with on my next roadtrip-- that I'm leaving for in about 24 hours!! A lot of movement lately for a sedentary creature like me. When I get back in two weeks I expect to have some socks to share (with all the driving ahead)... and probably a fleece or two will be waiting as well :) Unboxing at its best.

Back soon!

*another plus of family trips-- old pics to share :)


Friday, March 06, 2009

last call

If you follow me on twitter, you've already heard that I'm heading out to my sister's for her baby shower tomorrow... part of the reason I've been cranking out so many projects and blogging every day for this past week (!!) Today was the day for my last hurrah with the wheel-- I finished plying the pygora from last month's ultra fiber club shipment from Verb.

pygora from "penzance" and "paper moon"
(twist not yet set)

This was the fiber I was spinning on my wee Jenkins Turkish Delight-- the Turkish spindles are SO fun since you end up with a center pull ball when you're done.


I admit I haven't even started packing for the trip yet-- day spent in front of the wheel and in trying to decide what spindles and fiber to bring with me. I narrowed it down...

Asciano cocobolo rosewood spindle with Tactile Fiber Arts superwash BFL in "lichen"

I promised some socks from this fiber, and am really anxious to start and finish :) Probably will use Marlowe's new arch sock pattern if I hit gauge. I'm also packing my new, ridiculously stunning Golding...

Seth Golding ebony twist with Blue Moon Fiber Arts merino/silk in "jubilation"

I was excited when I read that the Goldings' son, Seth, would be turning spindles and offering them on the site (just makes me happy, the passing on of the torch among artisans) but I had no idea I'd fall for one and so hard. It is an ebony whorl, 2.75" with a sterling silver ring that was tooled by Seth. It is also heavy-- 1.53 oz (Seth made a batch and some are over/under the 1.8 oz weight listed on the site), perfect for a worsted/aran weight 2-ply from the merino silk.


Also perfect for trying to learn how to ply on a spindle... eek! I don't know why it scares me so.

Alright! Tonite's agenda is sewing wee buttons on all of the nephew-to-be's sweaters, wrapping them in the Spongebob wrapping paper my son picked out... and actually packing the important stuff like clothes and kid :) I'll be away for a few weeks (don't know if I'll be blogging), miss you! :)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

all about aran afghan

...aK(a): grandma's 2008 holiday gift, finally done!

All About Aran afghan by Janet Szabo
Elann Superwash Worsted, 18 balls
Started: August 2008
Finished: March 4 2009
US 7 24" addi

This is the third year I've made gma an afghan (2006: Lizard Ridge, 2007: Totally Autumn Throw) for the winter holidays but the first I didn't have it done in time :( A little distracted with weaving, with baby nephew knitting... no matter. I'll be handing it over this weekend when I head off to my sister's baby shower and it'll be awesome. Grandma saw me working on it the last time I visited and made me feel like a rockstar for memorizing the (simple) cable patterns and not having to refer to a chart-- she said she never did patterned knitting (cables, lace) which surprised me because she did so much with color. I think she did a lot of feather and fan, but I can't remember and don't have any of her afghans left so I can't be sure.

All of the cables are really intuitive once you get going-- the pattern offers seven different blocks and I chose four.

rope cables

horseshoe cables

braided cable panel

moss diamond cables

I knit the afghan in strips-- 4 strips of 4-block squares each. I'm not a fan of the seaming although the garter st seaming of the panels was much easier than I imagined it would be. I *am* a fan of the fearful symmetry, so I staggered the positioning of the squares in the panels so they would alternate in a pleasing to me way :)

I will admit to not blocking the strips before seaming and not really blocking the blanket well at all-- just a onceover with my can'tholdacandletosteamy iron set to steam to try and get the edges to lay flat and get the braid panel to not pull in as much. No pinning, no measuring. It illuminated the only regret I had in not knitting the throw in squares-- it would have been far easier to coax the drawn in braid cable square out so it wouldn't pull its neighbors in as much if it had been blocked bdsm style on its lonesome instead of in a panel. Really though, I specifically chose superwash cos I know that if this gets any use (and I hope it will!), it'll be over a lap that is usually the sleeping pillow for a small dog and one of seven (!!) cats-- I'm not really worried about the blocking future of the afghan since it has washing machine written all over it anyways :)

I have no idea what next year's (this year's!!) blanket will look like... superwash again for sure, but otherwise? Maybe feather and fan, old school? I'll have to ask gma what patterns she did use in her 80million afghans served.

Just to give you an idea of the true color and lap-size...



Wednesday, March 04, 2009

simple patterns on the rigid heddle

As much as I loved using the pickup sticks for the float scarf, I think I like how mindless weaving is on the rigid heddle more right now. I set up the Flip with another longlongskinnyskinny scarf, direct warping just like usual but triplethreading random holes in the heddle (3 strands instead of one) for a slight textured effect.

A Verb for Keeping Warm alpaca/silk in Magic Bean

Another view of the overthreaded warp...


I like it so much, but am a little tired of taking pics of myself (even tho jen is rite and i should just get a proper tripod and be done with it :)) so there you go. I should try a little harder-- it is AMAZING how much length and just scarf I was able to get out of one alpaca/silk hank (4.5oz/422 yd). Even had a little golfball leftover!


It was fun (and mindless!) to add the little texture... the next time I try it, I'll also double or triple the weft threads at odd intervals, catching them on the ends and it'll look like a boxy, random plaid. (Textures and Patterns for the Rigid Heddle Loom has details on this.)

Another cheatsheet way for patterning is to use color-- I showed this miniblankie before but am chuffed to show off the satin blanket binding I sewed on it so here it is again, done-done and ready for giving.


Yay sewing!

I used 2 balls each of a lighter and darker blue, directwarped the loom with one peg pass of each color then alternated all the way across the length of the loom (so, one slot + one hole with one color then new color the same... it's terrible but I have no grasp on weaving terminology ;)). Then, the same with the weft in one up + one down shed in one color, then switch.


My sister and I both had satin lined baby blankets from when we were born-- hers was blue and I'm hoping she remembers when she sees this. I still sleep with mine :)

If you're thinking about weaving and you're in the bay area, Kathleen is teaching both a rigid heddle 101 class (where use of the schacht cricket loom is included!) and a textures for the RH class at the Verb for Keeping Warm Workshop this month. Bone up and get something entered into Schacht's anniversary contest! :)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Monday, March 02, 2009

stitches west 2009

...was awesome, as always :)
(almost as much as the company!)

Found myself buying silk blends again this year, weird since I never buy them online-- they must just not translate well across the computer screen because I jump at them in person.

l to r:
Blue Moon Fiber Arts 50/50 merino-silk in Jubilation
Pigeonroof Studios 80/20 merino-silk in Amazon
A Verb for Keeping Warm 50/50 merino-silk in No. 9

Also found a spindle I was hoping to find...

Greensleeves Damsel Monique in Masur Birch .85oz from Carolina Homespun
(I wanted a big Mjolinor in MB, but I think I may like this one more!)

...and a spindle I didn't know I was looking for.

Asciano Fiber Arts, "Mischa" in cocobolo rosewood 1.27oz
(website down?)

The style of spindle is not Mischa, instead the owner told me-- each spindle has a name. She was a real character, but I just couldn't walk away from that yellow/red combo (and that she knocked off $20 for the shaft having a warp-- don't mind a slight wobble for as beautiful as it is.) The yellow band is the wood closest to the bark side of the tree, alive where the red isn't. Neat.

Maybe not as much as the 'most interesting thing' on the market floor, as dubbed by my companion...

Tactile Fiber Arts Superwash BFL in Lichen

I can appreciate natural dyers staying as close to natural bases as they do for their dyes and superwashed fiber is just not it (you can't even make superwash wool in the US for the environmental hazards)... but I can't help but want a machine washable wool for socks. I'm really excited about this fiber base addition to Tactile's lineup.

I couldn't make it to the Knitmore Girls meetup at 2 at the Purlescence booth, but I stopped by early to say hi and Jasmin FORCED a swag bag on me ;)

(minus a KG button that went onto my now-vintage aVfKW/Tactile canvas bag)

I bought the Mini Mochi from Purlescence as a mini thank you for the shop sponsoring the Knitmore Girls podcast (I'm a fan! and won't the MM make an amazing woven scarf?)... but the rest was swag donated to the 'girls by Verena, Purlescence and others (!!) It even included a pleated scarf pattern by Chloe Sparkle/The Hundredth Monkey-- really nice and one of those 'great for handspun' options.

That was my favorite part of the market this year-- running into knitters and talking in person. Kristi's right that you kind of have to grab me because I am ridiculously shy, but it's great when it happens :)

Lots of awesome on and off of the floor this year. Thanks again :)

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