Knitting the Light Fantastic

Knitting, spinning, dyeing and other crafty goodness

Archive for June, 2007

Overcommitting

Posted by notthatkat on June 28, 2007

I’ve joined the Tour de Fleece (see button in sidebar).  I am in danger of overextending myself beyond even my usual craziness.  Since the goal is to spin at least a bit every day for the Tour (except two days off) with no specific amount or type, I am planning on rolling this together with my Spun Stitches spinning, which I want to get going on soon.  To that end, I’ve done a bit of spinning and plying the last couple days.

Grafton Corriedale

That’s the yarn I spun from the Grafton Corriedale batt, finally spun and plied last night.  It’s just shy of 300 yards and weighs in at three ounces.

Grafton Corriedale

The main colors in it are purple, yellow and aqua.  They shouldn’t work together, but they so do.  I tore strips off the batt (more blended/layered than graduated) and just spun them randomly.  I’m hoping it doesn’t turn into a muddy mess once it’s knit up, but in skeined yarn, I think it’s beauteous.  It’s still a bit damp, and I haven’t measured WPI, but it’s pretty darn fine.

I was still feeling the spinning urge last night once that was done (I am in training, after all), so I figured it was time to put my new hardware (high speed flyer and fat core bobbins) to the test.  I didn’t want to start with the merino/tencel I am planning to use for my shawl until I had a bit of practice with the new parts, just in case there was a learning curve.  I shopped my fiber stash, and came up with the roving I dyed a couple months ago.

Midnight Blues

I divided the roving in approximate halves and pre-drafted.  In case you’re new to spinning, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to pre-draft your roving.  It makes the spinning so much easier.  I spun a bit on this last night; some more during lunch today.

Midnight Blues

The love affair with this roving and colorway continues.  It is dark and mysterious and sublte, and I think will look fabulous as a small shawlette or scarf (again, I have about 3 ounces).  I am calling the colorway Midnight Blues for now.  Hopefully I’ll come up with a better name later.

And the new hardware?  LOVE it.  I was doing pretty good with my standard equipment, but the new flyer and bobbins make spinning fine so easy it’s practically effortless.

Pehuen Shell Back

The back of my Pehuén shell is off the needles.  I may have misread the instructions the software I’m test driving generated and knitted about 2 inches too much that needed to be ripped back when I realized that the armscythes would stretch nearly to my midriff, but we shall not speak of this.  It’s enough that this frogging did not have to be reknit, and I finished off this piece less than an hour later.  I didn’t knit from alternate skeins of yarn every few rows, and it shows a bit at the first ball change, but not so much at the second one (the back used ~2 1/2 balls).  I’ll do better with the front.

Embossed Leaves

The leaves have gotten a bit of progress as well.  I’ve done three repeats of the lace pattern.  The pattern calls for 3 1/2 before the heel, but I like a bit more leg to my socks than this will give me, so I’ll probably do 4 1/2.

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Posted in Pehuen Shell, spinning, Spun Stitches, summer of socks, Tour de Fleece | 1 Comment »

Dish Rag Tag

Posted by notthatkat on June 25, 2007

When I signed up for Dish Rag Tag, there was a box to click if you wanted to be a team captain. I clicked it, mostly because I know people willing to assume leadership roles in most any group activity can be hard to come by. Shortly before the teams were announced Friday, I found out that I have been named a team captain. I think this one will be a blast, and those members of my team who have shown up on the forum are already plotting strategies. Not everyone has shown up there, but it’s early yet. If you’re on my team, please stop by our team fourm (you should have gotten email with a link) and let us know you’re there and are still planning on racing with us.

My primary goal for this… exchange?… KAL?… race is to have fun with it. I will be test knitting a cloth to make sure my chosen pattern meets the required dimensions and to work out any glitches that might arise. Do you think my Sockapalooza pal might like a knitted wash/dish cloth as a wee extra giftie? If so, does her stated color preferences extend to housewares?

Pehuèn back

The back of my Pehuèn shell got a fair bit of attention last night. Soon I’ll be shaping the neck.

Embossed Leaves ribbing

The Embossed Leaves aren’t much further along than yesterday. One might assume they weren’t worked on at all. One would be wrong. In fact I finished the ribbing, started the lace pattern and got almost half way through the first repeat when I realized I had two extra stitches on one sock, hidden in what at that point was a stockinette section. As near as I figured, I must have cast on two extra stitches and not realized it. I could have continued on with the sock that had the right number of stitches and worked the other one later but… I didn’t like the cast on, which I now know was not what Mona used or intended. (She has a good tutorial for the correct tutorial on her blog. I was impatient and while I must learn it, now is not the time and these are not the socks. )

I had planned to pick out the tops of these socks and rework them after I was done. But since I had to frog one, I would be left with the choice of repeating the cast on that I knew was wrong and would have to be fixed later, casting on the second sock and hoping I could rig the first one to more or less match, or frog them both and start over. Guess which one I picked?

I am about 2/3 of the way through the ribbing for the second time. From what I got done of the lace before I frogged them, me like. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve counted stitches on both socks this time around.

New Knitting Bag

Shortly after Christmas, I bought myself a new knitting bag from a popular company who makes such bags. It was not a cheap bag, even on sale, but I was looking to treat myself, and hoping to get a good long life out of it. Imagine my disappointment when said bag started literally coming apart at the seams after less than 6 months usage. I’m not naming names, as I feel my dissatisfaction should be conveyed directly and privately. This is my new knitting bag. It was bought on clearance ($20) at the local craft store. It is made of heavy canvas and was manufactured by the same company that made the backpack/bookbag that got me through 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of veterinary school and countless craft shows, festivals, and conventions before finally being retired a few years ago. I’m hoping this one will last me a while.

Posted in Dish Rag Tag, Pehuen Shell, socks, summer of socks | 2 Comments »

FO – Math Whiz Socks

Posted by notthatkat on June 24, 2007

Math Whiz Socks

My Sockapalooza‘s Pal’s socks are done. I’ve modeled them on my own feet, since they look so much better that way (Not to worry, Pal, they’re enjoying a bath as we speak.) and her foot measurements were very close to my own. I love these socks! This will probably surprise no one who knows me well, as my love for Anne’s patterns is strong and frequently vocalized. The yarn and the pattern just work fabulously together, and even though they were Plan B, they came out as good as if not better than what I had in mind to start (although I will come back to the Plan A pattern just not with that yarn eventually).

Math Whiz Socks

There’s no ribbing on the cuff, you go straight to the pattern stitch; yet, they don’t curl or slouch, at least on me. I think there’s enough elasticity in the stitch pattern as well as an even enough distribution of knits and purls to make it work.

Math Whiz Socks

I also love how different the yarn looks in the knit and purl sections versus the stockinette. I’ll definitely be making this one again.

Specs:
Pattern: Math Whiz Sock by Anne Hanson
Yarn: Fleece Artist Merino in the colorway Mermaid
(procured from Simply Socks)
Needles: 2.75 mm (US2) 2 socks/2 circs per my usual
Modifications: No significant ones. I substituted the short row heel in the pattern for my preferred short row heel, as that’s the one I’m most comfortable with.

Since it is Summer of Socks, and since I am me, I have, of course cast on my next pair.

Embossed Leaves ribbing

While they are still at the ribbing stage, they will eventually become Embossed Leaves. The replacement for the Plan A yarn arrived a couple weeks ago. While there was one flaw in it, it was fairly close to one end, so I can work around it pretty easily. It’s still so much better than what I started with.

Pehuén back

The back of my Pehuén shell got a fair bit of love this weekend. When I took this picture earlier today(while I still had light) it was ready for the armscythe shaping. It’s a bit further now.

Pehuén Stockinette

When I got this yarn, I knew between the colors and the texture of the yarn, I needed a simple stitch pattern and clean lines, or it would be just too much and in conflict. But when I swatched, the stockinette side just didn’t do much for me. It still doesn’t. But flip it over:

Pehuén Reverse Stockinette

LOVE! Deep strong abiding love. I think reverse stockinette shows of the texture of the yarn to its best advantage.

Butch

Did you lose this dog? He was found running along the highway in front of my hospital a couple weeks ago. His owners have until the end of this week, then I’m heartworm testing him, vaccinating him, neutering him and finding him a good home (we have several leads already). He is young (a year give or take by my estimate), playful, friendly, and didn’t look like he’d been fending for himself for too long when we found him. We’ve named him Butch.

Posted in Pehuen Shell, sockapolooza, summer of socks | 5 Comments »

A Midsummer Day’s Socks

Posted by notthatkat on June 21, 2007

Not too much progress here. My Dad has been in town (staying with my sister) since Sunday, and yesterday we had lunch together. This was a last minute trip, and I only found out he was coming on Saturday. Monday and Tuesday he was on my end of town for an auction, and I tried to get him to come to lunch with me at Shealy’s, but it didn’t work out. Instead we ate at McAlister’s. He left for home this morning.

I am nearing the end on my Pal’s socks, and was hoping to have them done for this, the first day in the Summer of Socks 2007. I will probably finish them tonight, but right now, they look like this:

Math Whiz Socks

It isn’t really clear, but I am not quite to the middle of the toe shaping.

Since it is the first day of Summer of Socks, I spent a bit of time winding yarn and considering options. I am a bit undecided what my next sock should be, as I have several good ones lined up. The choices I have in mind include Anne’s Waterfall Sock pattern, which I think would look spectacular in CTH Wild Cherry (bonus – Project Spectrum color!), Embossed Leaves in CTH Loden, the Knee High to a Grasshopper socks from the Rockin’ Sock Club April kit that I haven’t started yet, my June Rockin’ Sock Club kit, which arrived in the mail yesterday (no spoilage here), my Hokies yarn from Scout that would look good either in plain stockinette or as Jaywalkers, Waving Lace in Lorna’s Laces Denim, Bluestocking socks (don’t remember the color name, but appropriately blue), or I could work on my idea for an original design, since I did enter the design competition. Too many choices. I’m leaning toward starting with Embossed Leaves, as I’ve wanted to make them for a while now. Let me know what you think.

I put a few more rows on my shell as well. I have just started the increase portion of my waist shaping.

Shell Back

Posted in Pehuen Shell, rockin' sock club, sockapolooza, socks, summer of socks | 2 Comments »

Sharp Pointy Things

Posted by notthatkat on June 19, 2007

The last several days have been full of sharp pointy things.

On Saturday, my nephew Patrick and I went to see Pirates 3, which is full long sharp pointy things. It was all right, not a bad way to spend three hours, but this series continues to suffer from sequel syndrome, where attempts to make each subsequent movie bigger and more spectacular only lead to making this movie somewhat disjointed and major subplots were left dangling all over the place. The first one is still my favorite.

On Sunday, we drove up to Charlotte to attend HeroesCon. This is an annual ritual we have done 4 out of the last 5 years. We had to miss it a couple years ago when Patrick had poison ivy all over including in a shall we say very delicate area. He is almost 14 now, and has come a long way from the shy 9 year old who wouldn’t even go up and talk to an artist without extreme prompting from me. He cleans up every year in the dollar comic bins. He also added a wee bit to his anime collection.

I bought a few things as well.

Cutlass

First and foremost, I got a long sharp pointy thing of my very own. This is a great addition for my pirate costume. I have quite a few swords already, but a pirate can never have too much steel, right?

Perfume oils

These are Black Phoenix perfume oil samples (Imp’s Ears) inspired by characters from Neil Gaiman‘s books. Mr Nancy and Spider are from Anansi Boys, while the other five are from American Gods. They are not available on the Black Phoenix as imps only as full sized vials.

All proceeds on the sales of these fragrances go to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting freedom of speech and fighting censorship in/against members of industry, including writers, artists, and store owners.

I spoke with Peter David, but had not had an opportunity to buy his new book. When I told him I would have to catch up with him at Dragon*Con to get it signed, he offered me his display copy at the end of the con. We didn’t want to stay that late, so a friend picked it up for me and I’ll get it when I see him next month (Thanks, Mike). Hopefully, Peter remembered to sign it for me.
We declared the outing a complete success, and returned home with our spoils.

Yesterday, I used sharp and pointy things of any entirely different kind.

Bladder Stone X-ray

Do I need to point out what’s wrong with this picture? In case there are any doubts, that largish, round white thing in the middle-bottom – yeah, that’s not supposed to be there. There was no doubt she needed surgery.

Bladder Stone

This is the stone I removed from her bladder. It is an aggregate stone formed when smaller stones fused together into one big mass. It is almost the size of a golf ball, and I took it out of a ~35 pound dog. Her improvement has been almost immediate.

What, you wanted knitting content? Not so much sharp, but definitely pointy:

Math Whiz Socks

Lest you think there was no knitting accomplished, my Pal’s socks are about half way down the foot. I’ll have these babies done by the end of the week. I’m still loving the yarn and the patten, and the way they work together.

Cotton Shell

I also started a new top. I plan this to be a shell/tank type top. The yarn is Araucania Pehuén, a cotton bouclé I’ve had marinating in my stash for about a year. I am planning on putting it together with the reverse stockinette side out, as I think that side shows the texture of the yarn off to its best advantage. I reserve the right to change my mind. I have a bit of Quellon, a cotton/viscose blend chenille in the same color that I plan to use for some kind of wrap or cover for cooler weather, but I haven’t gotten further than vague planning stages on that one.

Posted in cons, knitting, sockapolooza, work | 1 Comment »