Finish Line to Starting Line

I finished my spinning for the Tour de Fleece with a little time to spare.  I didn’t want to go too crazy with the spinning since I’m participating in what one of my online knitting groups (Friends of Abby’s Yarns) is calling the Masochism Tango where whatever you spun during the Tour de Fleece gets knit into something during the Ravelympics Ravellenic Games.  Since one of the things I spun was a skein of laceweight singles with a total of 864 yards, I knew I’d have my work cut out for me in the knitting department.

So, the final totals at my Tour de Fleece finish line are
1. (Top) Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club – August 2011 – Falkland – Change, 3-ply, sport weight, 234 yards
2. (Bottom) Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club – December 2012 – Superwash Corriedale – David’s Gift, singles, laceweight, 864 yards

Plans are still the same for the knitting up as I posted at the beginning of the Tour de Fleece: the 3-ply Falkland will become the Autumn Vines Beret, and the laceweight SW Corriedale will become a Citron shawl.

I cast on the beret Friday evening.  If I had been thinking ahead I would have had the yarn balled up and ready to go to cast on while riding the bus home from work that afternoon.  But I was totally unprepared for the start of the Ravellenic Games.  The yarn was balled up, the pattern pulled out, and a quickie gauge swatch knit up after dinner while watching the woefully time-delayed opening ceremony (probably the only thing except for the closing ceremony that I’ll actually watch during the whole thing, I think).  I am ready and willing to except that my gauge swatch might have been lying to me as I only knit about an inch or so before measuring and deeming the chosen needles good to go.  But the fabric I’m getting looks good, and the hat itself does not look overly small or large.

I’m hoping to have the beret done and the shawl cast on by Monday of next week, the sooner the better obviously.  I’m expecting that the shawl will go quickly since it doesn’t have the same amount of patterning as the hat; the hope is that I will be able to mostly memorize the shawl pattern and go at it like a speed demon rather than having to check the pattern every few minutes like I do with all the cables on the hat.

Searching for knitting satisfaction

Imagine photos of cute baby items here.  They are currently trapped on my camera while I wait for the battery to recharge.

My knitting has been experiencing some ennui recently.  i have been unable to get a decent pair of socks started, and have cast on and ripped out 2 different patterns.  Maybe it’s the yarn.  I did get my first Mean Girls Sock Yarn club shipment a couple weeks ago and am now contemplating what kinds of socks it wants to be.

I have also been chugging away on my Miss Lambert’s Shetland Pattern for a Shawl from Victorian Lace Today.  I actually started it over a year ago, did about 10 repeats and promptly got bored with it.  But, I am knitting it out of Jade Sapphire Silk/Cashmere 2-ply that is quite nice and will be a treat for me to finish.  The photo here is from it’s sadly 10 repeats done state.  I’ve got about 13 repeats of the center panel to go before I can begin the border.  Unfornately, the way the pattern is written leads me to believe that I may get to the border and put it down again for many months as the instructions seem to be written in gibberish.

Because of this, and because Purlescence Yarns had assorted lace yarns on sale at 25% this last weekend, I came home with a very pretty ball of Mountain Colors Winter Lace in Deep Blue.  I found the solid color reassuring.  I’ve been doing a lot of variegated projects of late (even Miss Lambert up there has some variegation to it).    I’ve settled on the Aeolian shawl from because I wanted something with nupps.  I’m also considering doing the beading on the edging to give it a little glitz.  Just need to decide on the needle size I want to use.  I swatched on size 3 needles last night, but I think it may still be too closed.  I do tend to use size 4 needles for my laceweight projects, so that may just be the way to go.


I cast on Gretel last weekend after picking up another ball of the Rowan Purelife British Breeds yarn from Purlescence Yarns.  I was just about to finish the first chart when I realized that I had missed the note 10 rows back that said that the beginning of the row moved by 6 stitches.  That would certainly explain why I thought the row after that looked a bit funny.  So, I ripped back and am now slowly making my way through the chart.

Meanwhile, I think I’m coming down with a cold.

Mystery OJ

A pair of socks finally done. May I present the Sock Knitters Anonymous September Mystery sock. Very fun pattern; it was the first time I did a toe-up with a heel flap rather than a short row heel. The sock had to be knit in orange yarn, so this gave me a reason to use some orange wool/mohair sock yarn that had been languishing in my stash (orange isn’t anywhere near my favorite color). First time making socks out of a wool/mohair blend, and they are quite warm, fuzzy, and squishy.

A new yarn love

Friday evening I hit Purlescence Yarns for Late Night Knits.  A large group of us sat around knitting and watching Bell, Book, and Candle.  There were cupcakes because Purlescence was celebrating their second birthday.  There was also a small yarn sale — Rowan yarns were 25% off for a few hours.  Normally, I would say that I don’t need any new yarn, but there was one Rowan yarn I was interested in — the new British breeds line.  Knitter’s Review had done a review of it recently, and it sounds quite nice.  I’m always interested in trying different breeds of sheep and thought it kind of cool that Rowan had decided to focus on a few specific British breeds.

I was completely sold when I plucked a ball of the BFL off the shelf.  Not only was it nice and soft, but it smelled slightly of sheep. I bought one ball thinking to make a quick hat (it’s a bulky yarn, with the label stating 13 sts = 10 cm). When I got home, I wound it into a ball by hand because it just felt so nice. Then, I started scanning Ravelry for a pattern. I settled on Gretel. I played around with a gauge swatch going through size 7, 8, 9 and 10 needles. The pattern calls for 4.5 sts/inch in stockinette stitch and 4 sts/in in k2p2 rib. I got about 4.5 sts/inch with the 10s, but I’m waffling on that because the patterns seems to be for a 24″ hat. I have a smallish head (21″), and don’t want the hat to come out too big. I’m thinking I’ll knit it on 9s, which, of course, means I have to buy a new set of needles because I don’t have any 16″ long 9s. *sigh* I don’t care though because it’s going to be a beautiful hat to wear.

Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday

Okay, I know I said socks… which is why I cast-on a felted kitty bed Monday night. I had the front and back of a sweater that was the second try at getting some Peace Fleece I bought back when I first started knitting a couple years ago into a sweater, but it just wasn’t happening… the front and back have been laying around for several months, and I had no compulsion to knit arms. So, I ripped the back out and started a felted kitty bed for my sister’s new kitten. I think the socks will come next.

This morning I made my way to the post office to send off a RAOK package, a Secret Pal package, and finally my best friend’s birthday and Christmas gifts (his birthday was at the beginnning of Nov., so I’m a little late). This is my first actual RAOK to go out; it was kind of fun to put together. I found a cute stuffed, floppy sheep on sale (sales are great), some candy, and some yarn from my stash that was languishing… all off to a new home. I hope it helps to cheer up the recipent.

I keep thinking about what kind of shawl I want to make out of my Brooks Farm acquisition… I’d love to do something top down, but I’ve only got 1000 yds; I’d hate to run out before I got to the bottom. I could do a basic triangle from the bottom up but I don’t know what sort of design I’d want to use. All of the patterns I’ve found that I like either use lace weight instead of worsted, or call for more yarn than I have. I will have to think on this more…


My tulips seem to have weathered the rainy winter much better than the iris bulbs I planted. My crocus bulbs seem to have been hit or miss. I’m afraid that for several of the bulbs the rain just made them rot. My bearded irises are starting to shoot up, too. Yeah, for spring flowers. I had to drive up to San Bruno to see my chiropractor this afternoon and the dandilions are blooming along the Palo Alto section of 280. Very pretty.

Meanwhile, there was yarn…

This is about 140 yards of a 60% silk/40% wool yarn. I haven’t measured the wpi, so I don’t know if it classifies as lace weight, or if it’s fingering weight. The silk is multi-colored: pink, yellow, green, blue… I got it from The Silk Worker. The blue ply is a 80% wool/20% silk that I got off eBay.

Okay, I’m going to go have soup now… soup is good.

Remember this?

I’d be amazed if you do… I started it in Oct. Here’s a sort of updated picture…

All but one side and arm stitched up. Well, it’s been finished since I took this picture a couple days ago, but I haven’t been able to get a picture of the finished product yet. Since Le Bete Noir has been finished, I casted on this…

The Wool Peddler’s Shawl

My Stitches West adventure

Oy! The humanity! The Stitches West market was insane when I went on Saturday. People everywhere, most of them not paying attention to what was going on around them and stopping right in the middle of a busy walkway. The worst part was the people with the stupid pull-along suitcases. The place was so packed there was no hope of seeing the floor… or the stupid suitcases being pulled along behind someone… perfect for tripping over. Geez. Amazingly enough I did the circuit in about 2 hours. How did I manage that? I avoid all the stores that are within driving distance of my apt (it’s not like I was going to get a discount buying from them at Stitches), and I avoid places like Webs and the Yarn Barn (both of which have websites). I went around and made notes of the things I liked… I only decided what I was buying for sure after I’d seen everything. (I went to a few conventions before I developed this strategy only to find something near the end I really wanted and have no money for it.) If something seems to be going quickly I might get it when I first see it, but usually my motto at these things tends to be “If it’s not there when I go back, I wasn’t meant to buy it.” The only place with a long line that I contemplated buying something from was Carolina Homespun cause their winter hours suck, I don’t drive up to SF all that often, and I’m not fond of the navigation of their website…. and they had glow-in-the-dark yarn. But, I had a budget.

So, I present “The Haul”:

Doesn’t look like much does it? But that represents all $100 of the budget I set for myself. The nifty item I picked up for my secret pal (not shown, obviously) went on the plastic card so that I could utilize all $100 for myself. *grin* So, what is it you’re looking at? On the left is 2 ounces of cashmere fiber…. mmmmmmm. On the right is 2 skeins of Brooks Farm Duet (55% mohair/45% wool) that is currently destined to be a shawl pour moi. (I think it is highly evil of Brooks Farm to have opened a website… because now I want more… so soft. Unfortunately, a quick perusal of their new website does not have that particular color of 100% mohair I was drooling over but was $5 short of being able to get. *sigh*)

Let there be pictures

Here you can see the baby alpaca and silk I spun up awhile ago. The dark bit is the alpaca, and the light bit is the silk. What was kind of weird about this one is the silk is more than just one color, but because the alpaca is so dark in comparison, the color changes don’t stand out. I only think this is funny cause I had spun up a different alpaca/silk set of rovings from the same person and the silk looked bland by itself, but once I plied it the color variations jumped right out.

Next, we have the roving a dyed at the dyeing class that wasn’t a few weeks ago. I know the picture looks a bit off but the camera was yelling at me about the battery being low, and using the flash made it look radioactive… probably shouldn’t have put it on a dark background either. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it yet… I’m thinking I might card each into rolags, throw them all in a bag, stir it up, and spin them in the order it comes out… or I might blend them together.

Norma was going on today about jinxed yarn and how she’s crap. But I’m inclined to say it’s not her… everything lately seems crappy. I’m sure Stephanie’s unmentionable problem is also part of the ensuing crapage. Things I have seen recently that support this theory are 1) I got paid last Monday, and they shorted me 16 hours, 2) A friend of a friend lost his daughter in a car accident on Jan 30th (thankfully, they have the alleged drunk driver in custody last I heard). So, see spectacular crap all around.