Sunday, September 19, 2010

One year later...

my life has gotten even whackier since I last posted in October '09. I can't believe it's been that long, yet the time seems to've flown by. We 3 girls were so busy, last year and this, taking Mom from one Dr. appt. to another, sometimes 5 times a week. There was so little time for any of us to get much done. Knitting and spinning took a serious backseat to everything else - and is still there, sadly.

We were so busy, it even put our schooling behind a full month this year, so we had a greatly shortened Summer break, much to the kids' (and my) disgust. Not to mention it was a very hot, nasty Summer - ugh!

Well, things got vastly worse for Mom when she fell Aug. 1st and ended up with a very severe concussion, a broken upper arm, sprained wrist and ankle, and bruises from head to toe, literally :-(. She's still in rehab and not making much progress. She's so frustrated, and so are we, not being able to make things better. Taking life one day at a time is not the easiest thing to do for us - we "do" rather than talk about stuff. Well, most of the time. Getting older, I've discovered I "do" a lot less than I used to! But poor Mom can hardly do anything for herself at all, which is so disheartening for her. Our hearts break for her, for she is such a proud and independent woman. Now, she must depend on others for absolutely everything. Truly, being old and infirm is a great suffering; like no other, really.
I tried hard to spin a good quantity of my fibers, really pouring it on during the 2010 Ravelympics. I managed to get a lot done,...

but precious little serious knitting has happened at all this year. I managed to produce a few shaped hip wraps/neck "throws", plus a few hemp hand towels and wash cloths. (I designed something I named 'The Slink', but Shelly, Twist yarn shop owner, had to put it into a pattern form that people could actually understand...). I think she's got the pattern for sale on Ravelry, but I haven't gone to look yet. Maybe I should do that. One of these days...

I *did* manage to finish two pair of socks that had been on the needles for over a year, each. All they needed was binding off...good grief. No, no pics (yet) of the socks or The Slink and its variants. Maybe I can talk dd into taking some for me.
. The first sock is of Noro Kureyon sock yarn, S182. I started it sometime in '09, using the Crosshatch Lace from Charlene Schurch's More Sensational Knitted Socks book. Doubled the yarn for the Kitchener (sewn) bind-off, as the yarn seems SO fragile and inadequate for all that pulling through innumerable, tiny stitches.

The second pair is of Austermann Step (I think) yarn, and my dd calls them my Breakfast Socks - LOL. Well, I guess the colors DO look a lot like breakfast food: eggs, bacon, toast and coffee - LOL. The design is partly my own, but I used Cat Bordhi's top-of-the-foot increase found in "New Pathways For Socks" for the gusset (a 'V' with point closest to the toes). I 'closed' the gusset, after the heel flap, in another 'V' pointing upwards to the back of my knee. I really will try to get photos of that. This sock, as ugly as it is (I've never made such ugly socks in my life!) fits FABulously. They are, feet down, the best-fitting socks I've EVER made.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

An eclectic assortment

of pics. I finally got part of my act together and assembled various and sundry items for photographing. I'm so pleased with myself. I really, really hate taking pics. Mostly because I haven't got a clue what I'm doing...

On the left is some Merino superwash I spun up for sock yarn (Navajo-plied). It's the Rosetta colorway by FiberOptic on Etsy. They're supposed to be socks for my dd, but I have to take them to the frog pond and start over. The garter stitch was the latest attempt in a(n) endless series of attempts to create The Perfect Wide Toe. Take my word for it, garter stitch ain't it; it's way too thick for anything but work boots. To the right is a shot of my gorgeous birthday present from my sis (clear back in May), of the Koigu KPPPM sock yarn she got me. This is my FIRST KOIGU! I love it, but can't decide what pattern to use, so I'll hoard it 'til I know what it wants to be.

Next are pics of a couple of handspun yarns and the half-finished projects they're turning into. One is a thick-and-thin 2-ply heavy worsted from a scrumptious batt by Margaret of CrystalCreekFibers on Etsy. I guess they have color-issues in their photos, too, because their's shows a very green batt. When it came in it was a beautiful teal blue with tiny bits of green and deep blue Merino, and white and green bombyx silk streaks. So this is going to be a Christmas Present for a Very Special Person. Ditto the scarf/hat from the other bit of handspun.
The tweedy brown stuff in the pic has a very weird story. See, I have had this commercial top (combed fibers) from Ashford for just about forever. It's multi-colored and, in the top form, it's really quite pretty. Spun up, though... butt-ugly. The complementary colors in the top simply turned to mud, especially when I tried to spin it thinly enough for sock yarn. Major bummer for a (then) new spinner. I couldn't even give this stuff away it was so ugly. No one wanted it, including me. I knew I had to spin it if only to get rid of the stuff. Deciding to spin it thick enough to make a worsted-weight 2-ply, I figured I could at least make tweedy mud. Maybe it would be useable then. So, filling up a whole (Babe) bobbin with it, I sampled a bit twisted back on itself. Still ugly. Worse than that, it was blah. Dead. Boy, was I discouraged. Walking by one of my (many) bags and boxes full of spinning stuff one day, I spied a bag filled with full-but-as-yet-unused bobbins. One-offs, really, of singles I didn't know what to use for. I saw 2 bobbins filled with plain, deep chocolate alpaca just sitting there. A light bulb turned on somewhere in the deep recesses of what passes for the creative area of my brain and...grab! Hardly daring to hope, I ran into the living room, twisted both blah and plain together and...incredible. Beauty! Together, those 2 blah singles made the coolest, tweediest, warmest, yummiest yarn I have ever accidently created. It's subtle, but really nice. Craziest of all: it completely, totally matches my yarn/project bag/purse from Yo2 Bags (my sis makes 'em). Go figure.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Raindrop Shawl - DONE!

Ta-DA! My first.ever.REAL.lace.shawl! With beads, even! I am so impressed with myself. Bless Shelly, owner of Twist Yarn Shop, for blocking it - I am NOT very good at blocking stuff.

This is the Raindrop Shawl, stitch pattern invented and shawl pattern written by Renee Strouts. And it's free!

Thanks to Becca, I got enough confidence to put beads at least on the edge, once she reminded me that I could use a crochet hook instead of stringing the damn things onto the yarn (which I refuse to do). Well, it was too late to put them on the body of the shawl (wah!), so I settled for just the bottom, but the next out! Beads up the wahzoo for me!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Introducing...Anabelle Marie!

I'm so glad I remembered to do this. Not having blogged all Summer, since May in fact, I never got the chance to introduce a very awesome, cute Somebody. Her name is Anabelle Marie, my First.Ever.Dolly!

I hated dolls as a kid - couldn't stand 'em. Thought they were for "sissies", I guess - and there was no way I was ever going to be One Of Those.

My toys were trucks, capguns/pistols, ropes hanging from our backyard trees (I was Tarzan), the crazy swingset Dad made for us (on which I frequently soared into outerspace), crayons and books for rainy days.

No, sirree! No dolls for me, thank-you-not-at-all. magical day at Twist, a very dear (and totally awesome) lady named Diane (it's a real privilege to call her friend) started pulling these...dolls, for pete's sake!...out of her massively capacious knitting bag. One of several, I believe. Doll, after wild-looking doll, came out of her bag. They were each a different, colors. They were crazy. They were beautiful.

They were so cool.

They had bright-colored dreds! They had rasta hats! They had fabulous clothes! They were so different from anything I'd ever seen, that they didn't seem like doll-dolls. They were more like...doll-people. Yeah. Even though they didn't have faces, they seemed so person-like to me.

I don't know what came over me then. Instant Doll-Lust, I guess. I had to have one - now!

Well, it took some time after that before I could get the money together (not to mention my courage) and ask her if she could/would make me one that was allll me. I got together some cool yarns that I liked (mostly greens and browns, my faves) and before I knew it...

Anabelle Marie was born!

That's some gorgeous sock yarn dreds she's got, eh? And socks! Matching socks!!! Diane knitted those wonderful, itty-bitty socks! Aren't they fab?! They EVEN contrasting heels and toes - LOL! Diane knew I was The Socknut and looooved socks (well, still do). And that drop-dead, totally awesome rasta hat! OH yeah! [fist pump] A tiny, perfectly knitted, very full rasta to fit over those awesome dreds! Do you see that tiny orange flower in her hair? tee-hee. Diane didn't know it at the time, but I used to wear flowers in my hair :-) And I always wear skirts - so Anabelle Marie does, too.

Anyway...just braggin'. It's a Momma's right.

Can you autograph DVDs?

I'm so anxious to get Abby Franquemont's new spinning DVD: Drafting: The Long and Short Of It. Interweave is allowing pre-orders, but it looks like it was available by the 14th of this month. I can't quite decide if I'm reading that right, or not - I hope so. If it's true, I might be getting it soon. Maybe this coming week (fingers crossed). Sure wish it was possible to get Abby to sign mine. That would be just SO totally cool!

Even cooler yet, I might be able to learn how to do REAL long draw! Woo-hoo!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Just to keep my oar in...

and to have at least ONE more post done before the end of year... Okay, it'll probably not be the last post of the year, but just in case. Couldn't hurt. After all, my last post was in May, for pity's sake. Five months and one day ago! Geez lah-weeze!

So much to tell and so little time (not to mention so little inclination on my part to endlessly type). I've spun and knitted my fingers nearly off. But I never, ever feel as if I get enough spinning time, no matter how much time I spend doing it.

As is usual, though, I've hardly taken any pics of all the stuff I've made, or at least started. This Summer was a weird one, with weird and distinctly *un*Summer-like weather. It felt like it was 3 weeks' worth rather than 3 months. I think we were cheated!

I got several BSJs done, with 2 more needing to be completed. Started 3 shawls (finished one). It's not blocked yet, but I beaded it, using the crochet-hook to great effect. That's about the only thing I use those hook-things for. I WILL get a photo of that one - I promise. It's the Raindrop Shawl. I don't have the url handy, but it's a free pattern - and very well thought-out in terms of stitch design placement. Google it if you want it; otherwise, you might be waiting 'til a Really Hot Place freezes over before I get around to hunting it up for you (sorry).

I've started more than a dozen other projects (at least) but laid them down one by one as I became bored with it and went on to another project. I am totally not monogamous when it comes to knitting. Faithless is thy name, O Fickle One!

I've done a lot more knitting than what I mentioned, but mostly in the realm of playing around and then frogging the - at times - strange results. I don't think I got done but one pair of socks this whole Summer. Must be some kind of record or something.

Let's see...I've made a good start (with the kids' big help) on my Fiber Room. Of course, I have to share it with my son's Really Big Drum Set (cymbal stands up the wazoo), so I just kind of ooch around the perimeter to get to my shelves and drawers. One of these days, I'm going to ditch all the clothing in the room's closet - and the pile of wrapping paper and bows - and put in some organizers for the rest of my yarn still squirreled away in every room but the kitchen and bathrooms. I haven't rescued all of it from Durance Vile, yet. However, at least I haven't got any more shoved down coat sleeves and in my big canners. I gotta get more bins, too. Waaay more.

I had no idea I had that many knitting and spinning magazines! I've got TONS - you should see the stacks! One fell on me (a stack) and I nearly got buried. I thought my son was going to have to excavate to find me. No one warned me that magazines reproduced themselves...

Anyway - photos to follow (I hope) covering all sorts of things I've done, wish I'd done, started-but-not-yet-finished, started-but-decided-to-frog, AND ... one really awesome, cool thing made for me!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Yet Another Three Weeks!

Well. From yakking it up nearly every day to just barely putting in a post-a-month. Must be some kind of record. I should get a reward for being so quiet. Didn't help that we all came down with walking pneumonia 2 weeks ago; we're still choking and coughing our way back to life. yuck.

In the meantime, I've knitted up what feels like tons of baby things (very simple things, mind), but I don't have photos of them yet. I've done a lot more frogging than I like - too much experimenting with my own patterns, I guess. I feel like I really haven't gotten all that much accomplished except to find out What Doesn't Actually Work. :::sigh:::

Still working on my Forest Canopy shawl, and trying to figure out how to make those color runs stay the same depth, even though the shawl gets wider and wider. So far, those runs aren't getting any longer, no matter how much wishing I do. Pretty soon, the rows are going to be so long the colors will change 4 times before a row is done! I keep wondering if there isn't a way to wrap-and-turn at the center stitch and work back. You only 1/2 the shawl at a time to eke out the color runs for a bit longer? Without making the middle stitch of the shawl look really, really strange, of course. If anyone knows of a way...

Come to think of it, even if you do know of a way, I don't think I can frog THIS yarn. It thinks it's mohair - it has more more hooks than velcro ever thought of having. I took out 3 rows once. Never again. Ever. It's staying knitted, no matter what errors creep in...