Celtic Cable

Celtic Cable

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Knitting in Public

New camera! A Sony something or another with an outstanding macro lens feature. Look at that detail! (Sock yarn from my LYS). I went a little happy crazy yesterday, wondering around my yard taking extreme close-up photos of my flowers.

Here is a photo of my handspun merino-bombyx silk (fiber by Misty Mountain Farms, I think).

One of the best reasons I can think of for taking extreme close-ups? It makes my yard/neighborhood look nicer. All you see is a pretty flower in front of a pretty wood fence. You don't see the overgrown weed patch that is my front lawn, or the sidewalks with the big pits in it from all the snow and rain. Or the derelict Ford Mustang with four flat tires in the parking lot. Look! Pretty flower!

Today, the kitten Petunia had her first vet visit. Petunia is the runt of a litter of five kittens a stray cat thoughtfully birthed on my front porch back in April. Petunia tested negative for the big stuff (FHIV, F. Leukemia) but is underweight. While I waited for the overbooked vet, I knitted on this:

This is will be an Entrelac baby blanket, no pattern, yarn by Vanna White (I know, it's acrylic, but it's easy to take care of and can be repeatedly vomited on with no worries). I had about a 30 minute wait in the waiting room, and a mother asked if her daughter could watch me knit. The daughter, who looked about 9, was a new knitter. I answered a few questions and then they moved on. I haven't had too many knitting-in-public freakouts, but I've read stories from other knitters where people act as if they're using an abacus, or scratching on a slate with a lump of charcoal. Sometimes I am mildly concerned people might think I'm weird for knitting when I could be playing an electronic game or fiddling with a complicated cell phone.

The vet had given me a free sample bag of kitty chow, and I'd opened it and given the kitten a snack (since she's so underweight). I thought it would be funny to hold the open bag out to the man sitting next to me and offer him some: "Kitty chow?" He thanked me gravely and declined.

I'm sure no one will think me odd for knitting in public.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Socks, merino-silk, and Sam Adams

The Spinster will be spending hard-earned Spinster Bucks at some lucky box store tomorrow ... any recommendations for a camera that does close-ups? I don't need a big behemoth or one that serves twenty functions, just a good camera that does good close-ups!

I have started a new WIP:

The beer is a work in progress, in a way (Sam Adams Black Lager), but let's focus on the knitting! The top cuff of a sock, and I didn't save the label from the yarn, but it's sock yarn from my LYS (All About Yarn, Columbia, MD). This sock pattern is from "Socks a la Carte."

A finished pile of yarn ... this is the BFL I purchased from MS&W this year, from Misty Mountain Farms, and plied with some corriedale I had laying around. Petunia likes it. The creepy glowing eyes in the background belong to Georgie Girl, who felt slighted that I didn't use her as a yarn prop. 15,912 inches, which I believe is 442 yards. Yes, I measure my yarn in inches. I think I do it because it makes it seem like I have more. If that stops making me feel happy inside, I'll start measuring it in centimeters.

And this is my latest spinning, despite my promise to myself to rest my thumbs. Merino-silk, colorway Golden Hibiscus, purchased at MS&W 2009 from louet north america. This started out on a spindle, but I really wanted something soft and buttery to spin. And it looks so pretty against the dark wood, doesn't it!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

You're Doing What?

Spindles by ZebisisDesigns from Etsy

     When you spindle in public people look at you funny, and when they find out what you're doing, they wonder why the heck you are making yarn when you could just buy it. If you follow that school of thought, next comes "Why knit sweaters or socks or scarves when you could just buy them?" Well, then, why make model cars or airplanes? Why scrapbook? Why create anything? Why not just spend your life in front of the TV watching the home shopping network?! You know who you are!

    I started out on a simple top-whorl spindle that came with a small kit. Needless to say my first attempts were too embarrassing to post a picture of. I even threw those first skeins out, which goes directly against my
pack-rat inclinations (pillow stuffing? A pet bed?)

      I bring this spindle to work when we have meetings, to keep my mind from wondering. My boss tolerates it about as well as he tolerates my knitting during meetings, which is to say he puts up with it so long as it doesn't distract everyone (swearing when I drop the spindle is apparently a distraction).

And anyway, this is far too big to carry in to work for a 20 minute meeting, even though I could get SO much spun in that time! (It's a Kromski Prelude with a walnut finish, if you're curious)

     I do recognize the irony of choosing to make something by hand, with a lot of effort and difficulty, considering our fore-mothers spun and knitted out of absolute necessity. Machine-made acrylic yarn must have been akin to an answered prayer. Nonetheless, I think that my slubbiest, most under-spun effort is far superior to a tidy skein of machine-made acrylic from a chain store!

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Day the Crab Grass Took Over

I wish I had something nice to post ... but the weather "cooled down" to 89 today, so I had to deal with the overgrown lawn. I didn't know crab grass grew as fast as Kudzu, and I was shocked -- shocked! -- to walk out back and see that I no longer had a back patio. And there are some eNORmous spiders in Maryland that like tall grass, I have discovered. Two hours dealing with that, and then reading for this week's homework assignment, left me with little time to knit (or spin, and I have a perfectly good bobbin of lovely BFL to ply). Here is another WIP:

Artfully posed on the new cat perch. This will hopefully be a multi-colored Entrelac blanket for a baby not yet born (I don't think I'm even supposed to know this friend is pregnant, but hey, people talk). I'm new to Entrelac, and I'm afraid it will be "gappy" if I only pick up the called-for 5 stitches each square ... any Entrelac experts out there? Anyway, if it doesn't work out, I'll frog it and start something more traditional for the baby. But, I'm rather fond of multi-colored, unique baby blankets ... right, Melissa? Here, I'll post another (it's crochet, don't kill me):

There's some newborn baby in the way, but you get the idea ;-).  It's a modified granny square pattern from a crocheted afghan magazine. The squares are entirely dbl, very easy and fast. It's supposed to look like a quilt. It's modified in that it was supposed to be the Around the World quilt pattern, and I changed it to diagonals, to match a beloved and tattered quilt from my grandma.

I suppose that's all for now, it's 9:50 and this spinster needs to get to bed. If you're here looking, I've added a guest book -- PLEASE sign it and give me some criticisms or encouragement! -- and a counter, which I think is not working properly.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Thank You Visitors!

Thank you everyone for visiting my blog! My counter shows me that I have had several visits from different countries and states. I have visited several knitting blogs to get an idea of what a good blog will look like, and I can tell I have much to learn. Comments and constructive criticism are welcome!

Thank you Melissa for the great picture of my wrap, which is such a perfect introduction to the blog. I also have added a less-than-pretty picture of some very basic, no-frills, not-historic Baltimore rowhouses. I vacillated over whether or not to post that one, which is my neighborhood, or a picture of some of the prettier ones downtown, the kind you'd see in a travel brochure. I decided it would be more honest to post the picture of where I live, rather than where the stuffy rich folk live ;-) ... no matter how much prettier their neighborhoods are.

I am really enjoying the creative process of building a blog. It has gotten too hot here to do anything outside (except sweat copiously), and my thumbs are begging for a rest from spinning and knitting. A blog will force me to give them a bit of a break (in theory).

Here are a few things I have knitted in the past, that I am pleased with:

A Fair Isle sweater for Mairwyn (Fair Isle Sweater by Sara Lucas)

A sweater that went to Melissa .... (Bunny Hop Cabled Cardigan, Barbara Breiter)

Turkish Socks that went to no one because I made them too narrow to fit anyone I know (From the magazine "Knitting Traditions)

A wrap, given to Renee for her birthday ... (Diamond Wrap, Maureen Mason Jamieson)

And for me, a Susie Hoodie from "More Big Girl Knits." I can't wait until it's cool enough to need this!

And if any Ravelry knitters should read this, I'd appreciate tips on how to get the progress bar and projects thumbnails from either Flickr or Ravelry onto my blog!

Thanks all!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

In Memory of Sally, and Today's Doings

My mother Sally passed away 9 years ago, on the 22nd of July. She was very artistic, and could knit, crochet, weave, and make ceramics. She was very talented and even ran her own ceramic shop for some time. I do not have any photos of her in digital form, so I will instead post a picture of some of her knitting:

This is a square of knitting that was in her arts and crafts stuff. I have it hanging on my wall behind the bed headboard. I don't know what the pattern is, but it is quite complicated! It's about the size of a lap blanket. I had to bind it off when I got it, because I had no idea what the pattern was or how to continue it.

And speaking of patterns, I did not give credit yesterday to the patternmaker of the lace wrap I posted ... it is a pattern from "The Best of Knitter's Magazine Shawls and Scarves," and was created by Eugen Beugler.

Today is hotter than yesterday, but I have managed some spinning ... corridale, spun finely, to ply with the BFL I have been working on. I have to sit directly in front of the fan to spin, which makes for flying fibers. The finished item, BFL-Corriedale, looks like this (only less blurry):

Excuse the piece of paper. It's marking how many niddy-noddy wraps are in the skein. I still haven't quite got the hang of counting yards.

Now I have to go look at my snow pictures to cool off ...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Inaugural Blog Post!

Hello! Welcome to my first blog and first blog posting! This will probably be all about knitting and spinning, so my non-knitting friends (which is most of them, unfortunately, poor misguided souls) will probably be bored with it, but I hope they'll still visit and give advice and compliments.

The weather in Baltimore is hot and humid, so I am choosing my knitting projects with lightness in mind; a laceweight wrap....click to make larger (click twice for even larger!)

...and my first attempt at Entrelac, using Knitpicks Peruvian Highland wool:

And even though it was so humid the wool stuck to my clothes and skin, I managed to spin two full skeins of this lovely BFL that I picked up at Maryland Sheep and Wool 2010, from the Misty Mountain Farm booth ....

It is light as air, and wonderful to spin.

Here are two singles of the BFL (on the bobbins) and one skein plied with plain white corriedale, spun as finely as I could manage:

It's unbelievably soft! Wish there were a link that allowed you to reach in and feel it.