Sunday, September 18, 2011

Well, maybe not as bad as all that...

Two weeks ago I was chain plying some singles made from Fat Cat Knits fiber. A beautiful merino/bamboo/nylon blend dyed in gradient colors that I wanted to preserve. It didn't go well. Some of the singles had so little twist in them that they fell apart. I had to knot things together far too often.

Boy was I mad! Beautiful fiber, well prepared in lovely colors and a significant investment in my time and money all ruined because I rushed things. I didn't let enough twist enter the fiber, and I didn't sample enough while spinning to make sure things were going well. I finished the plying anyway, but was so disappointed in myself that I didn't skein it up.

Then came the K-W fair and I started spinning up my new fiber. I went for the Gotland from Hubbart Farms first. I was attracted to it because the cloaks worn by the good guys in the Lord of the Rings were made from Gotland fiber. My yarn came out quite pretty and I'm thinking I'd like to make some color work fingerless gloves from it.

While I was at it I decided to skein up my despised chain-plyed yarn from before. Time healed my wounds because now I'm in love with it! I don't know that it would make good socks, being underspun, but who cares? Look how pretty it is:

Not nearly as bad as I thought. I couldn't even see the knots in it. The colorway is called Wizard Tower and I was thinking of it for Jim, since he's a D&D fan. Want a closer look?

Not too shabby. Possibly even usable. What's the moral of the story? I guess I'm too hard on myself.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Oh what a day!

Saturday was the annual knitter's pilgrimage to Kitchener for the K-W Knitter's Guild Fair. There didn't seem to be as many people there this year, but what was missing in quantity was more than made up for in quality. I met so many wonderful people that I know from the internet and this blog, plus yarn store owners and vendors from last year that I wanted to say hi to this year.

My first stop this year was to Ashley and Andy at All Strung Out.  I just had to get a picture for my mom of the yarn pots she made for them:
There were a few other vendor's selling yarn bowls this year, perhaps because of the article in Vogue Knitting a little while back.

I also made a stop at Hubbert Farms to visit Jody. We hit it off:
Get a load of these grand champion, hand-spun color work mittens she made:
They take my breath away. I aspire to this skill level.

Just over in the next booth, I spotted a fellow blogger and we had a spontaneous moment of bloggers blogging bloggers:

Can you guess who's behind the camera? It's Brenda Knits. Ain't she cute?

We also hit it off and had a lovely chat. Then we kept bumping into each other in the booths. She'd turn around and there I'd be. I wasn't stalking you Brenda, honest!

I even met Anne Hanson and stopped to say hello. I'll confess to being a little shy with her, but it was also weird because I felt like I know her. I wanted to ask how David was and if her garden was still producing. Surreal.

And now, what you've all been waiting for, the purchase report. It seemed to me that there wasn't an IT vendor this year. And having just purged the stash I was cautious about purchasing more yarn. You don't really go to the fair to buy a sweater's worth of yarn. It's more about what's new, or a treat, or finding a bargain.

I found myself buying fiber instead. From Hubbert Farms, I bought Jody's hand-prepared Gotland fiber:

From Wellington Fibers a lovely wool/mohair/silk blend that I think wants to be socks:
From Roving Winds Farm I bought 1oz of pure, cream cashmere. No picture because it just doesn't do it justice. I got sucked into buying it when I felt a sample scarf. I don't think you can actually touch cashmere. It's more like the fiber giving you a whisper of a caress. Lovely.

But the big item this year was almost 19oz of Shetland from Michelle at Hopeful Shetlands:

This should be enough to make me a shrug or a vest. I aspire to a hand spun sweater but decided it would be smart to start a bit smaller. I've worked with Michelle's Shetland fiber before and loved it.

So that's it. It was a great day, with great traveling companions, and beautiful weather. I don't think I could handle this much fun more than once a year.

The only downer was that I couldn't wear my newly completed Folklore because it was just too warm. I draped it over my arm and it started some conversation. The zipper installation is great on it, and I'm moderately pleased with the fit. If you'd like to see pictures, head on over to Ravelry.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Funny Feet

His feet sure look funny, but he's got cute knees:

The picture is really about his new socks, but I get distracted when Jim wears shorts. He loves long socks, but I don't love knitting them. I'm very happy that this pair is done. The stripes of the Kroy FX helped make them fun.

And in other news, here's a tip for casting on a lot of stitches. I like to put in stitch markers every 20 stitches to make counting easier and more accurate. One time I had to cast on over 400 stitches (it was for a bottom up shawl). Not being sure I even had that many stitch markers, I grabbed a contrasting ball of sock yarn and after casting on twenty stitches I put in a slip knot of the contrast yarn. Then, every twenty stitches I put in a backward loop of contrast yarn, making sure that there was plenty of extra contrast yarn in between. I didn't cut the contrast yarn, so it's not wasted and can be used again or even knit with. 

And here it is, my latest unvention:

Oh yeah, and that's no shawl on the needles. That's my Rowan sale yarn in the process of being knit up into an Eadon cardigan.