Celtic Cable

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Stitch it or RIP it!

How many of you have made New Year's resolutions to finish your WIPs? Or destash? Well, I never make NY resolutions -- I think it's just setting myself up for failure -- but this year, I'm making TWO.

1. Finish or frog WIPS.
2. Destash by knitting and not buy any more yarn until I've used up at least 1/3 of the stash.

Ta-da! Simple, right? Argh. Not so fast. I hate frogging, which stymies #1. #2 is going to be hard because ... well, my lovely co-workers gave me a generous Amex gift card, and I can think of no other use for it than purchasing yarn. Unfortunately, sadly, devastatingly ... All About Yarn does not accept American Express. Otherwise, I'd have a whole pile of Cascade 220 in my stash right now. I have to check a few other places, before giving up and going to Joanne's with it. I'd really rather give that business to a small business owner, but I know not everyone takes Amex.

I don't think my WIP count is too horrendous.

1. One scarf, heavily cabled, complicated item using a chart ... and I lost my place in the chart.
2. One scarf, made from handspun/hand-dyed corriedale, my first attempt at dyeing, and it's not exactly a pleasure to work with. But it's already very long, so finish it I shall.
3. One scarf, the lovely Malabrigo scarf, which I have a mistake in and must find and fix.
4. One alpaca mitten, no mate yet knitted.
5. Slippers for felting, one is done, the other half done.
6. The lovely morningstar shawl, blue Manos del Uruguay yarn ... Big mistakes, must frog, very painful to consider.
7. A bunting I meant to knit for a baby already too big for it. Must be frogged ... might have to have a friend do it for me ;-).

I think that's it. Aside from the monstrous Brown Sweater of Perpetual Seaming, which I'm finally, gloriously, happily ... seaming.

Here it is a few days ago. The arms are on it now, and I did an excellent job with them, I think. I'm not happy with the shoulder seams, so even though I've got the neck and arms done ... I might pull the shoulder seams apart and re-do them. I might re-do stitching up one of the arms, I think it was a bit crooked. I need to take a fresh look at it.

So I hope to have the enormous brown sweater finished by Friday night, and then I'll post pictures of the recipient in it over the weekend. Hopefully. If all goes well. It'll be so nice to be done with it, and relax with some mind-numbing garter stitch for a while!

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope it brings us all peace and prosperity!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

More Stuff That Is Not Brown

A felted slipper.

Bernat Felting Natural Wool, "Gardenia," one cold wash and dry. Slightly smaller than before.
A Crazy Zauberball.

A Berroco Boboli scarf.

This yarn is my precious (for now). If it were less expensive, I'd have bought enough for a sweater. It's only 42% wool, the rest is acrylic and viscose (?!). The strand isn't plied, so it's like knitting with tough roving. But I loves it! It's heavy and dense and randomly multicolored and when I saw it as a skein, I wasn't interested. It just looked odd. But the ladies at All About Yarn know their stuff -- they had a display sweater laying over the basket, so you could see how the yarn knitted up.

1x1 rib. Very heavy. Can't wait to wear it!

Knit Picks needles from India (oops they have some dark reddish brown in them). Now, I want you all to note something -- these are not Clover brand. Yep -- after 7 years of knitting, I have finally branched out and purchased something other than Clover bamboo needles.

And I have to be honest, these are nice, but I like Clover better. They're smoother. These are a bit grabby, but that might be the yarn I'm using, since it's got "viscose" in it. I don't know what that is ... but it sounds grabby.


A billion more rows and increases to go. Sorry, Jeff, it won't be done by Christmas! By New Year's, hopefully.

Don't forget to stop by Andrea's and see what's going on!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Purple Waves of Merino

Well, that's sort of what I had in mind.

Cotton crochet thread, meet merino.

Molly, meet cotton crochet thread.

Looser than I meant it to be, so I have to try again. I was just curious how it would work out. It's a bit trickier than I thought, plying something thick with something thin!

Here is a sweater sleeve ... inching along, I am.

Oh, and a new thing. An experiment. An adult-sized slipper that I'm going to attempt to felt. It's Bernat wool roving. The top is too big, but we'll see what happens.

I was at Joanne's this past weekend, looking for the roving to make the slipper. I picked up some nice roving, not the stuff above (I can't remember the name of it) and I was almost to the register when I happened to look down at the label.

It was 80% acrylic. Some company had the nerve to produce acrylic roving. I stomped around the yarn section for a while, found some proper roving -- 100% wool -- and purchased that.

Acrylic roving! The nerve!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Opposite of Brown Cables

A pink and purple flashy sparkly hat. 

M. seemed quite pleased with it. Happy 3rd birthday!

It was such a relief not knitting the brown cabled sweater of eternity, even for just a couple of days!

(I know ... the hat is nowhere near as cute as the child, right?)

The rest of the post is not about knitting ...

Georgie Girl and I took a walk to our favorite place, the duck pond.

I forgot about the torrential rain just a few days before.

It was just a muddy, impenetrable mess. Trees were down, and the water much higher than normal.

Georgie was quite baffled about it all.

The trail was underwater in so many places. Just muck and leaves.

We couldn't even walk around the other side, it was so soggy. Bummer! We were really looking forward to a ducky walk.

So I went home and decided to do some knitting. See Molly cat here? All innocent, looking away, paying me no attention?


Durn it, leave me alone to knit!

She finally left ....

And it was Georgie Girl's turn to get in the way.

One of these days, I'm going to find a schedule hidden away somewhere, written entirely in dog and cat paw prints ... a schedule that gives all the details of whose turn it is to impede my knitting.
Oh, one more thing ... see the ducky in the foreground? His whole body was dark iridescent green. It was lovely! I've never seen a duck like that before.

Well I am off to try to wrap cotton thread around a merino single ... wish me luck!

Monday, December 5, 2011

I May Have Snapped

And I blame the brown sweater. It was just so much brown ... nonstop, unrelenting, from start to 2/3-finish, brown.

I was compelled to cast on something that could be the opposite of the perpetual brown.

This ...  is so not brown.

This is also not something I would not normally knit with, but back when I was first starting out, I bought a lot of novelty yarn and Red Heart. This is one of the skeins of fun fur I've had for six years. It's been in the bin with the other acrylics, giggling maniacally, waiting its turn.

This is meant to be a child's hat. We'll see if I actually finish it or not ... mostly, I just needed to knit something that wasn't sedate brown cables (I'm starting the sleeves tonight, by the way).

The other test-my-patience chore was turning this:

(Textured bedroom ceiling falling down in spots, cracking, generally looking like crap)

Into this (Paint is not yet dry ... it's smooth and uniform now).

It was an awful chore. My friend S. ('Slick' from my other shared blog, ThreeFriendsFitness) came over and helped me scrape the old ceiling. Here are some in-between, on-the-way shots:

It was Not Fun.

It was a literal pain in the neck, and my hands hurt for hours afterwards.

Water damage. I've had the roof redone, but the water damage was from previous (lazy uncaring stupid sitonassesallthetime) owners, who let things remain in a state of disrepair.

The mess from scraping the textured ceiling was horrendous. It left this behind...

This is a tiny sample of the amount of debris. I estimate 45 pounds of plaster was scraped off and swept up. There is dust all over the house. I don't think I'll ever get it all up! (Note the heating pad. Very necessary the night after the scraping)

And the worst of it (for me) was having everything out of place for two days. This is a 1,000 sq foot rowhouse, and there just isn't a lot of room to maneuver if things are out of place.

This clutter drove me crazy. It made my doggie anxious (not hard to do, she is very paranoid and neurotic) and my cats curious and I couldn't wait to get it all back in place again. I'm far from being a neat freak, but I really don't like the disarray that comes with big projects.

This drove me crazy too:

The drop clothes caught about 2/3 of the debris. We picked them up, shuffled them around so all the dust and debris was in the center, then scooped it into bags. I can't describe the dust ... I really can't. It was everywhere, light as air, coating everything. I had it in my eyes (I couldn't find my eye protection, but I suspect it wouldn't have mattered .. the dust was that fine).

But it's over. It took all weekend. The final product is so-so ... I got paint on the walls, and I don't remember what color paint, or brand, I used, but I need to touch it up. Perhaps I can just go browse the paint chips at Lowe's and Home Depot and maybe a familiar name will jump out.

While S. and I were working away, scraping over our heads and sweeping and vacuuming and painting over our heads ... Momma Girl and Coraline spend a pleasant day basking in the sun on my car roof.

Oh, to be a cat.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It Never Ends




That is how I'm feeling about the lovely brown cabled sweater. The intended recipient is about 5'11 or 6' and a size extra-large, just to be sure it fits. I held it up to him and it might be just a bit baggy, but otherwise okay. I still have to sew the side seams ... that makes it a little adjustable, right?

I've gotten to the point on the front panel (under the mitten) where I'm about to decrease for shoulder. Do you know what that means? I get to bind off about 1/4 or 1/3 of the stitches. That makes me VERY HAPPY. The arms will go pretty quick ... so I tell myself. In truth, the arms will be just like doing the back panel, twice more.

Anyway, I want to be finished so that I can start this project. I have no rule about the number of WIPs laying around (currently ... 4, if I don't count all of them), but I do have a rule about large WIPs. Only one at a time! So once the brown sweater of death is done, I'm going to start knitting a vest, for me.

You see, I have an agreement with Joanne's, the craft store. They stock a lot of yarn, and I keep them solvent. I can't help it. I saw in an email flyer that they were selling Paton's, one of my favorite yarns ... buy one skein, get another 50% off.

Well, if you do the math ... that's really not a great discount. The skeins are roughly $6 a skein. I'm saving $3 by buying two. Be still my heart. But when I see the yarn in the bin, and that lovely red and white discount sign, all I think is buybuybuybuybuy. Luckily -- ha ha -- Joanne's has big variety but not big volume. I couldn't have bought more than 6 skeins of any one color. I agonized over the four choices that left me, believe me. Natural? Blue? Green? Brick? I love dark reds, but anyone who knows me can roll their eyes and attest that I have a lot of red and maroon clothing. I don't wear green except as a knitted accessory (in high school, girls who wore green were teased by the idiot slobbering neanderthal boys ... most of you probably remember why. There was even an M&M commercial about "you know what they say about the green ones" or something like that.)

Anyway, I had it in my head I wanted to knit myself a vest. I've never really worn vests, so it would be novel. Oh -- here's the other thing. I've been running, as readers of my threefriendsfitness blog know, and I've lost 18 pounds and nearly two sizes. So now I'm all about clothes fitting me properly, now that I am transforming my body into a better shape!) I think a vest would fit the new me nicely, and it's a way to knit something larger for myself, but not commit to sleeves or anything like that.

I chose a Paton's pattern, and Paton's yarn in a lovely blue that will hopefully match my eyes. Soon as Brown Monster of Boredom is over, I'm casting on the vest. It was just the incentive I needed to hurry the sweater along.

In other news ... spinning pretty purple Merino:

Spinning thickly, and I mean for it to be singles. It's fabulous. Just everything I thought it'd be.

I leave you with a photo of my cute little muttlett, Georgie Girl. This l'il bed is juuuuust right ....

She always curls up into a tight little ball. Cute, isn't she? I think she's been jealous because I always post cat pictures.

Be sure to head over to Andrea's  and see what everyone else is up to!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Stop Me Before I Cast On Again...

My case of start-itis has developed into full blown WIP addiction.

I started (and finished!) this...

It was meant to be a hat. I was going to pick up and knit around the top edge and make a full hat out of it, but I think the cable is too wide for that to look good. So it's probably going to be an ear warmer.

The fiber is the Wonder Why alpaca from Wonder Why.  It's super warm, and as always, soft and squishy and comfortable. I might make a version out of less chunky yarn to put in my imaginary Etsy shop.

This is my first serious effort to spin a sort-of bulky yarn. I normally go for thin (because it's easiest and because I get more yarn that way) but lately I've been wanting to make heavier yarn for warmer items. Hats, mittens, etc. I did all right, still had some slubs in spots ... I personally don't like thick-and-thin yarn, so I tried real hard to pull the slubs out! I wanted it to be thick, though, so I wouldn't lose the amazing color changes.

Here is another WIP:

This is one of the rare times I'm using alpaca yarn that I *didn't* spin myself. This is Paca-Paints, manufactured in Peru and dyed in the US, by The Alpaca Yarn Company. Purchased at Shepherd's Purse Alpaca farm in Mt. Airy, MD.

This yarn is fabulous. I love it. I can't get enough of knitting with it. I even stayed up late working on it.

It's soft, and the colors are just wonderful. I think it makes a fabulous mitten. The mittens might go in my imaginary Etsy store, too, but I'm not sure ... I knit part of them on dpns, and there are noticeable ladders in a few spots. I will try to fix it with gentle blocking, but if I can't, I won't try to sell them.

I got the pattern from "One Skein Wonders" but I modified it (added ribbed hem). It's a very basic and super-easy bottom-up mitten. Normally I make top-down mittens, so I know exactly how wide it needs to be, but I don't like the pointy tip on those!

The sweater continues. I held the two sides up to the recipient on Thanksgiving Day, and I think it will be just slightly baggy on him. I am nervous about doing a good job with the seams ... I really want them to look professional.

In spinning news ... I'm going to start spinning this lovely lady today. I'm not sure yet what approach I'll take with the colors, but I'm going to try for a light and lofty yarn. It's so pretty ... makes me think of the planet Neptune

(Fun fact: Neptune is often included in category with the gas giants, but is really an ice giant. Also, it's orbit is "perturbed." I often feel "perturbed" so I like this fact :-)

And of course ... the obligatory Turkey Shot.

We had Tofurkey ....

And Turkey.

Much fun was had by all.

Now, that horrible, hurried, not-peaceful frenzy known as the Christmas Shopping Season is upon us, and I am hunkering down and ignoring all of it. The horror stories have already started (adults behaving like spoiled brats in retails stores), so I am going to focus on faith and hope, and try to tune out the madness.

Peace and goodwill!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Don't Look at the Messy Room

Look at the pretty cables instead!

I've started the armhole decreases. Whoo hoo! I feel like maybe I'm starting to perhaps see the end of this sweater!

I've also been spinning ... the fabulous purpleness was bumped in favor of Wonder Why's  fabulous greenness!

Which I won not long ago, and couldn't wait to spin. This is going to be a hat for ME. And since I am stubbornly not turning on the furnace yet, I might need to wear it inside.

And I've also finally plied that green meriboo with purple beads, that I put together back during Tour de Fleece.

Oooohhhh that's purty stuff.

Not as beady as I'd like, but beady enough.

And that is all for me this week!  Be sure to stop by and visit all the fabulous bloggers at Andrea's, for Fiber Arts Friday!