Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Lace Progress

I have been flirting with this shawl for years, ever since I bought the Folk Shawls book. It is, of course, the Wool Peddler's shawl and is shown in the book in bright red. I kinda like purple, so mine is knit from Jaggerspun Maine Line 100% wool and I've added a center section for better fit. The center will not be growing any more - I made increases until it would fit my back and after starting the Horseshoe Lace section the middle will stay the same. I'm still increasing on the two sides (the original part of the shawl).
I'm using my KnitPicks Options needles and this is the 60" length with size 11 needle tips. I have far too many sts to spread the shawl out, but if you can see both photos at once, you can easily understand the way I've modified it. I haven't a clue how many sts I have on that needle, but it's a LOT. :)
This is the Syrian shoulder shawl from Victorian Lace Today. The bottom half looks a bit wonky cuz I had started on the Harebell fichu and then decided I just didn't like it. So the yarn has been frogged and I didn't steam it before reknitting. The yarn will look just fine after the whole thing is blocked. OK, yarn - my handspun NZ fine romney in a lovely warm grey. This photo doesn't show the true color of the yarn, but it does show the true color of the towel. Strange, huh? Anyway, I've just changed to the 40" cable on my KP Options needle (size 9). I think I have 12 Vs done and the pattern calls for 18. Then I'll start the edging. I need to spin some more of this yarn to finish the edging. I've got about 4 oz into it - the yarn is a 2ply about 16-17 wpi. I love endless garter stitch and that's what this little shawl is. Wonderful, mindless garter stitch. And so pretty... We wont talk about the place I forgot a YO and the "fix" is visible. I'm hoping it will disappear when I block.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I LOVE 3-Day Weekends!!

Why, you might ask? Because I can spend enough time spinning to actually accomplish something. This past weekend I finished off 4 huge (well, 2 huge, one large and one medium) skeins of yarn. Woo-hoo! The Spinderella thrums were already spun up and waiting to be plyed, one and one/half bobbins of the pale grey romney was spun and the other two rovings were snug in their bins in the wool room. I got out the bin of "Honey" (improved Eng. Leicester from Anne Grassham in NZ) and quickly spun up two bobbins and plyed them. I have already spun a skein of this fiber and it's a wonderful thing - so shiny and fluffy. :) After spinning two bobbins of Honey, I wandered around, trying to choose something for my secret skein pal. I decided upon this Fine NZ romney hogget in a silvery gray. The fiber is wondrously soft, but the roving was sticky and hard to draft! Boo!! This is one of the rovings from Wooly Knob and I can't tell if it's sticky because it's cold or because it got felted a bit in its travels. The good thing about a sticky roving is that it makes it so much easier to spin a thicker yarn. Heh heh - I took full advantage of that and made a lovely thick 2ply that will knit up quicky and felt easily. Overdyeing this light gray gives wonderful jeweltones, too, so my secret pal should like this a lot.
Honey, toffee colored Leicester from Anne Grassham's flock in New Zealand. Leicester is a longwool breed not known for softness, but this lofty and softly spun and plyed yarn has a wonderful hand. This photo does not do the yarn justice.
This fleece is also from NZ, purchased from Sue Cote way back in 2000. The sheep is simply identified as "E-106," but her wool is very soft and a glowing pearly pale grey. I got a whopping 568 yds from just under 6 oz. I'm thinking I might dye this wool - the pale grey would overdye marvelously.

This is another skein of the Spinderella Thrums that you have seen before. One ply light blue, the other a deeper blue and the result a richer, more interesting yarn. 210 yds.
And here is the skein for my Secret Skein Pal - Carissa. She knits for her kids and this wool is very fine NZ romney hogget. I think this will make snuggly warm caps for the whole family. I had trouble drafting this roving for whatever reason, so I chose to leave the singles very thick and to ply them softly. My magnetic winding counter failed to count when I was winding this off, so I don't know how many yards I got.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

What City?

You Belong in Dublin
Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.
You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.

Isn't this great?? I was blog-running today and stumbled across this. I don't know all the cities available, but I think I'd do well in Dublin. I'd certainly love to do some jumping on a well bred Irish Hunter.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

January 2007 Socks

I actually finished these socks a while back; the Fortissima pair about 2 wks ago and the KnitPicks Daffodil socks back in December. Just never got around to photographing them for you. Anyway, here they are - along with close-up views of my "new" method for avoiding the holes at gusset pickup.

This pretty pastel yarn is from the Fortissima Carnival collection that I got years ago and am just now getting around to knitting up. This is number 9078 and it's a 6ply. I cast on using the German Twisted Cast On and did about an inch in 3x1 ribbing before starting a long stockinette cuff. Garter stitch heel flap and plain stockinette foot finished with a wide toe. Soothing TV knitting at it's best.

These socks represent my 2nd attempt at this "new" heel flap method for me and it's so simple I can't believe I just recently thought of it! Ready for the no-brainer? All you have to do is wrap and turn before you split for the heel flap. And it looks even better than my previous pick-up-in-the-row-below-increase. (Check my Webshots gusset album if you don't believe me)

So very simple. When you are the point to start on the heel flap you normally just knit across X sts, then turn and purl back. The only difference is that this time you will slip the first st from the instep needle, wrap, turn, slip that st back to the instep needle, then (DON'T tug too hard here) purl back. Or in my case, knit back, since I've become enamoured of garter stitch heel flaps.

When you get to the other end of the heel flap, slip the first st from the instep needle, wrap, turn, slip that st back to its own needle, then proceed on with your flap knitting. when it comes time to pick up gusset sts, nothing special is done on the heel flap, but you must pick up the wrap and knit it with each of the "end" sts on the instep needle.

If you like to use the Magic Loop method, this should work easily for you. If you are doing the 2S2C, it could get really frustrating, so I'd recommend putting the extra sts on the "heel" needle on the round before and moving them back when you can. It's been quite a while since I did the 2S2C method and I can't even remember how I did the heels. I think I may have gone to DPs or separate needles at this point. (grin)

These socks were finished quite some time ago, but I kept forgetting to wash them so they would bloom and not look so "cardboardy." The yan is KnitPicks Parade (6ply) in Daffodil and the cuff pattern is Crest of the Wave. These are the first socks I tried the wrap and turn on the heel and this sock looks much better than the 1st - heh heh. It's important that you don't pull the wrap too tight when you turn and start to knit back cuz that will surely cause a hole - exactly what we are trying to avoid. Washing the sock a few times will probably make the hole less obvious, but aren't we in search of perfection the first time around?

I've written a pattern for this sock (2nd in my Not For Skinny Legs series) and until I can figure out how to post it here for dl, I'd be happy to email you a PDF file. You will need Acrobat Reader (or another pdf reader - there are a few out there) to open the file. Please put your email address in your comment, or click on the email me link and send me an email. I can't send you the pattern if I don't have your email address. And this pattern is Not For Skinny Legs - so if you have a normal sized leg/ankle/instep you will need to adjust it. It features a non-binding cast on, long heel flap to accommodate a high arch and a wide toe to minimize pinching in the shoe. In short - a close to perfect sock for the diabetic foot.

I am Pegasus

You Are a Pegasus

You are a perfectionist, with an eye for beauty.
You know how to live a good life - and you rarely deviate from your good taste.
While you aren't outgoing, you have excellent social skills.
People both admire you - and feel very comfortable around you.
My goodness, it's been a LONG time since I've posted here. I've been ill, had amazingly bad luck and been in a fog of depression. Perhaps things are looking up, tho - my MD put me on Prozac last week. Says it will take about 3 weeks to kick in, but maybe, just maybe, that light at the end of the tunnel is NOT a train.