Saturday, January 29, 2011

I did it!

Just like a kid riding their first two-wheeler, I want to shout it to the world, "I did it!"  I learned to spin on a wheel.  It turns out that the reason the yarn wouldn't take up on the bobbin was because it was wrapped around the guide on the woolee winder.  Doh!  But you know, learning something like that the hard way means that next time I have a problem with take up, I'll double check that the yarn is flowing freely.

I was so happy, I got Jim to shoot a movie.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sparkle Fish: last of a rare breed

Hello, it's not Sunday, but I do have a fish to show to you.  This is sparkle fish going for a swim.  She's a winter fish you know.

I pray this be the last fish mitten I ever knit.  I'm quite over the thrill of working this pattern.  I'm delighted that so many people like the pattern. It was a joy to work the first coupla.  But I'm SOOOO done with it now.  It's because the working up is fiddly and perhaps because I've made six fish all told.

Oh, sparkle fish wants her close up now.  Prima donna.

Friday, January 21, 2011

All Strung Out in Guelph

It's been a whirlwind week, and I don't just mean the weather.

Tuesday night I was voted president of the Forest City Knit Club.  I had tried to take the position last year, but my out-of-town job intervened.  This year my work situation feels so stable, I thought I'd try again.  I'm so excited because I've got lots of great ideas and the people in the group are so excited and enthusiastic.  If you live in the London, Ontario area, come check us out.

Then I went to work on Wednesday in Waterloo and I also stayed overnight on Thursday because of a big meeting on Friday.  Well, Thursday night is the knit and chat evening at All Strung Out in Guelph and here was my chance to check it out. 

First off, All Strung Out just moved to a new location that has beautiful stone in the walls, a high antique tin ceiling, a wonderfully huge street-front window, and it's packed to the gills with yarn.  The place is Cascade heaven.  Just check out this gorgeous wall of color as rendered by Cascade 220 and Cascade sport:

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  Almost every weight and put-up of Cascade was represented.  Plus plenty of other yarns, some fiber, and a generous selection of needles and accessories.  They stocked up the new location plenty and I'm pretty sure they aren't done yet.

But I didn't get to all these delectable details until after the knit and chat.  When I first came in, the store was packed with happy knitters doing what we do best.  It was a little intimidating, I'll own, but they soon made me welcome with a hearty shout out and showing me a chair.  It didn't take long before I felt just like one of the gang.  There was a new knitter, just trying out her first sock.  There was lace knitters, a sweater design in progress, and one girl was using the store's ball winder and swift to turn her skeins into cakes.  A bunch of yarn was making the rounds for pats and smooshes. 

Of course I bought yarn.  I know you want to see, so here it is:

The red I'm going to swatch up and then get Paula to order me enough to make Kilronan for Jim.  The greeny-blue is Cascade hand paint sock yarn.  I just couldn't leave that color behind!  And that glittery Berroco is what I'll be working with tonight. I can hardly wait.  I'm going to make a store sample of my Fiber Fish mitten pattern.  I wonder if I can get it done to show you on Sunday evening? 

Saturday, January 15, 2011


So when I'm not knitting the endless sweater of tiny navy stitches, I've worked on socks and spinning.  Two pairs of socks have come off my needles.  One a pair of boot socks that I won't trouble you with further, the other pair are the sweet socks.

They're sweet, they're socks.  Not much more to say about them. 

I'm afraid that my spinning has exploded this week.  In much the same way that I have many, many projects on my needles, I now have multiple spinning projects in progress.  At first I was staying faithful to the Viola fiber and finished up a second skein:

Ruh roh! There's a little problem with consistency here.  Not within the skein but between the two skeins.  Lesson learned: one must spin with a reference.  These two skeins represent about one third of the fiber. 

Then I thought, I should practice my heavier spinning.  I don't really like that cheap merino I bought, so I've decided to use it for experiments.  Spinning it heavy seemed a good idea and it worked great for that, making a nice fat squishy yarn:

So happy results here.  I'm going to have to make more of this.  I also notice that I have less consistent yarn when I spin thicker. I need more practice at this weight.

And then I had a thought, I wonder if I can spin a laceweight?  Ahem. Apparently, I can.

This fiber is a merino cashmere blend that Paula gave me.  I hadn't felt worthy before this, but now.  Oh god, it's an obsession.  I want to spin this all the time.  What's with me and the fine gauge?!  I'm having dreams of knitting it up into an heirloom Shetland lace shawl. That will only take me a life time to finish, especially if I keep getting distracted, which seems inevitable because now look what has come for a visit:

The only thing that keeps me from playing with it all the time is that I'm such a noob.  It's another learning curve to surmount and I think I've retreated back to my spindles to remind myself of the fact that I CAN learn a new thing.

This wheel is on loan from the gracious, generous and oh so helpful Paula.  Paula is my hostess, who rents me a room to stay in when I'm working in Waterloo.  Next week, I have to stay two days and I'm going to get to see the new location of her yarn store. I promise, I'll bring my camera....

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Should I have my head examined?

My dog is staring at me with big brown eyes, heaving great sighs of impatience.  It's snowing outside and I don't want to go for a walk!  Now he's turned his back on me in disgust.  Why is it that dogs don't feel the cold?  They walk around in the snow in their bare feet and enjoy themselves while I have to wear a ridiculous the amount of layers just to feel comfortable.

There's no doubt about it, this is prime knitting season.  This is the time of year when a knitter's thoughts turn to sweaters.  I've got one on the needles, but I don't believe I will finish it in time to wear it before spring. 

This is Folklore, now progressing into the body which is a vortex, black-hole, mind numbing, finger wearing, time suck of knitting.  It constitutes cruelty to the knitter to have anything less than excellent conversation or an absorbing program on TV when working on this.  I love it still, I want to wear it madly, but the sweat equity may kill me before I get there.

Perhaps I'll start another yoked pull over. These days, I think top down yoked sweaters are the most perfect thing ever, because:
  • I can try it on as I go, ensuring perfect fit and perfect length.
  • Because I can try it on as I go, I can experiment in the yoke with the minimum investment of time and effort.
  • Knit in the round, they are seamless.
  • Knit in the round, they are speedy (unless you are working at a ridiculously fine gauge, in which case get your head examined).

Monday, January 03, 2011

How Not to Relax on a Day Off

First day for the kids to go back to school and Jim and I both have the day off work.  So what kind of fun shenanigans did we get up to?  Oh, just a little something called working on our budget.  Sure, we do know fun.

I hadn't made any New Year's resolutions, but I have a strong impulse to after a morning of number crunching.  It's not that there is a shortage of cash.  It's a question of how that cash is slipping through our fingers.  I think one of my biggest problems is wanting a little treat now and then.  Those treats add up.  And yet I feel I deserve something for all my hard work.

So how do you reward yourself when you deserve a treat?  What sorts of pats on the back do you give yourself?  

One idea I have is to stash dive to find treasured yarn and pack it up in bags with a nice pattern.  Then, when I want a treat, I can "open" a present and find some fun waiting for me.  Sort of like the Yarn Harlot's personal sock club. 

On the other hand, I may try to go cold turkey, and don't buy anything for a month.  I'd like to make it three months, but I don't know if I can go that long.  January is a horrible month anyway.  The weather is awful and there's nothing to look forward to.  But I've already taken January's measure and lined up a treat for a the whole family at the end of the month.  As a Christmas present I bought us all tickets to go see Ron James when he comes to London, January 30.  A dose of laughter is just the antidote to the gray days of winter.  Here, have some for yourself: