Celtic Cable

Celtic Cable

Guest Book


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pretending it's Spring

     Oh, if only ... this picture was taken on my birthday last year, in August. A crepe myrtle in Ellicott City, behind a little coffee shop. We had iced coffee that day, it was hot and sunny and, in retrospect, perfect. I clearly recall blogging how much I look forward to Autumn every year. Well, it's January, and now I am looking forward to Summer!

     I have been on a blog-a-thon for the last two days, looking at dozens of other knitting blogs and scooping up widgets and such for my own use, and leaving comments here and there. I have made a few changes to my own blog, re-arranging and adding things and making note of where I could be improving (such as setting up pictures a little better). I know I have about 3 more months of cold weather before I'll start wanting to garden rather than knit (and I still want to try to move out of the city, but the reality of the housing market smacked that dream down) ... and now that I don't have classwork to do, I can devote even MORE time to knitting and spinning!

     Since I have been on a big hand-spinning kick lately, I wanted to show off my small collection of spindles. The lightest one is the Trindle, in the center. The heaviest is the bottom-whorl, on the table next to the Turkish spindle and above the Turnip spindle. Looking at it this way, I see it is a very small collection and I really should add to it ;-)

The Turnip spindle spins upright in its bowl, and is perfect for fragile fibers such as camelids or silks. Out of all of them, I have probably used the plain unvarnished one on the top left the most, but I've had it the longest and it spins forever.

Currently I am working on alpaca from Wonder Why Alpaca Farm. I have a lot of merino and exotic fibers still to spin, but I am on a roll with these guys. I'm thinking of a shawl, but I'll have to see how much I get from all of this.

Socks ... I abandoned the blue-and-purple colorwork socks in favor of a new, easier pair. These are Interlochen from "Think Outside the Sox" and they are very simple. This yarn is great, too -- it's supposed to be a "1" but I think it's more like a "2." Who am I to argue with "Sensations" brand, though.

The three-cable scarf, with beads. Wonder Why Farm alpaca, again, the stuff I spun up last summer (summer ... sigh). Why is that ball of yarn sitting right there? Because I forgot a cable twist right there, and I didn't feel like pulling back 20 rows to correct it! I messed it up, so it will have to be for me.

Another brown scarf. This is the yarn I dyed myself a while back.

The knitting needles for this and the other scarf are Clovers, the only kind I use (except for a half dozen Addi circs). I glue beads on the top of them because the print usually gets worn off, and it makes it easier to match them up. Though the cats like to try to bite the beads off. What is up with cats?!

Not only does she have to be in the picture, she has to be MOVING and making a blur!

This is how I keep my WIPs in place ...  wine bottle gift tubes. The cloth and plastic carrier on the bottom was a Christmas gift from a co-worker. That's my current project while attending meetings.

Well, I guess I am off to Etsy to see about some spindles ... I could use some sock-blockers, too ...

...and a computer program that blocks me from Etsy except for once or twice a month ...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lots of Opportunities to Wear my Knits . . .

I suppose I shouldn't complain about the snow. It does, after all, give me the chance to wear all the stuff I spend so much time knitting.

I know by other standards (Michigan, or Norway) this isn't a lot of snow, but as I have noted before, Baltimore does not deal well with snow. Despite the fact that it snows every year, there are no snowplows or salt trucks roaming around to take care of the roads. The guy on the local news was boasting about having "2,000 pieces of snow equipment" out, but I think he meant snow shovels. Perhaps at the governor's mansion. They sure as **** weren't (and aren't) in my neighborhood!

The above photo is what slid off my awning last night. I have aluminum awnings front and back, and yesterday, it sleeted for an hour, then snowed for five hours. I guess it wasn't cold enough for the ice to adhere, because it all slid off all at once -- whatever six inches of precipitation on a 16 x 8 awning equals, that's how much snow and ice came rattling off the awning last night. It was ferociously loud! Then it slid off the back awning, and I think this is a good time to point out that five or six stray cats shelter under my awnings. "Freaked out" doesn't begin to describe their reaction.

I went out and shoveled my walk and a path to my car, and about 1/4 of the way around my car, then gave up. It is just too heavy, too wet. The temperature is above freezing, and the sun is coming in and out, so I am hoping it will just melt. I can hear it falling off the roof and rolling off the awnings every few minutes.

On to the knitting -- NaKniMitMo accomplished!

These aren't meant to look like the USMC colors, but they sorta do. And I know it's not in the spirit of NaKniMitMo, but I didn't follow a complicated pattern or make a lovely Norwegian pair, I just bashed out some mittens with some KnitPicks yarn (I have three dozen skeins of this yarn, I bought a sample pack). I think they're 50 degree mittens, so I won't be wearing them for a while. (I haven't blocked them yet, which is why they look a little off in the photo). If anyone is wondering, the easiest way to block mittens is to put them on, stretch your fingers out a little, and hold your hands over a vaporizer.

A hat, modeled on my wall light fixture. This is the merino I spun on my spinning wheel a few weeks ago. The picture doesn't do it justice, but I haven't even brushed my hair yet today, so I'm not about to model anything. Trust me, it's a really pretty hat, very soft and so light I don't even feel it.

Some lovely, fun to spin alpaca from my favorite supplier of well-processed alpaca rovings, the Wonder Why farm. I ordered another bundle the other day, in a similar color. It's so much fun to spin, and the way WWF skeins it makes it so easy to get started. No pulling apart, no pre-drafting, just spin it straight from the "ribbon." (Miranda, if you read this, keep it in mind for when you want to start spinning!)

Well, I am going to find some way of occupying myself while waiting for the snow to melt. If someone could send a few hours of sunshine this way, I'd sure appreciate it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

And Me Without Any Mittens On My Needles!

Oh noes! It's NaKniMitMo, and I didn't know it! NaKniMitMo stands for "National Knitting Mitten Month." Apparently, it is mandatory for all knitters to knit mittens for NaKniMitMo!

Okay, I made that last part up. And since I got the information about NaKniMitMo from a Norwegian blog, Cloudberry, it might only be a mandatory-in-Norway thing. Regardless, I feel I must participate! Here it is the seventeenth and I haven't any mittens on any needles! I best get started.

But before I go rushing off to do that, here are the WIPs destined to be neglected whilst I rush off and knit mittens:

A Starfish Hat, from 60 Quick Knits. The yarn is the Merino I spun a couple weeks ago. It is much brighter blue, but I took these photos under one of those goshawful twisty bulbs, which saps all the pretty colors out of everything.

A Triple Cabled Scarf, from the same book. The fiber is alpaca, from the Wonder Why farm. 

I am experimenting with beads in my knitting. Not sure if I will like it or not.

Some camel-silk, on my new Trindle . . .
And here it is, spun up. See the difference in color? This photo was under a twisty-bulb. The above picture was taken under a nice normal incandescent bulb. I might stockpile incandescent bulbs. I hate the twisty ones!

Speaking of stockpiles, I am really glad I have a good yarn stash. See that black cat in the middle? That's Edgar Allen Poe cat. Edgar needs to have some teeth removed, and will cost a lot. I told him to brush after meals, but he just didn't listen. Now he is going to cost me the equivalent of scores of dozens of skeins of yarn, or unimaginable pounds of wool. And this is a cat that has never earned his keep -- he was such a lazy mouser, I had to get the second cat, the one curled up on my robe. And the cute little calico in the foreground? She is in heat. She occasionally lets out the most hair-raising caterwaul, causing me to leap up and run around the house trying to find which cat is being sucked into a lawnmower, or whatever.

I really don't like cats, but I don't like mice even more.

Damn cats.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Finished Objects Friday!

Look out! Woman on fire! I made these this week:

The Textured Tam . . .

And the Mock Cable Wristers.

They are both from my new best friend, a book called "60 Quick Knits" that is written especially for Cascade 220. I saw it at Joanne's and snapped it up without letting myself think about how many dozens of knitting books I already own that I should be paying attention to. But, the only Cascade 220 I had in the house was the leftovers from my Bountiful Bohus . . . I have enough to knit a couple more small projects.

Oh -- to get that Cascade, I had to frog this:

 Sad, but I needed that yarn, and since it was 10 o'clock at night, I couldn't just run down to my LYS.

What -- you've never had a yarn emergency?!

I'm not ashamed!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Finished Object Sunday!

I finished the Multnomah shawl, and pinned and blocked it Saturday, after a warm water soak. 

The only trouble I encountered was when I wanted to take it off the blocking boards, and the Blocking Board Monster made an appearance.

But I persevered, and here it is! Much bigger than the shawlette it is supposed to be, but I actually ran out of yarn at row 42, and I needed to go to row 44. I was binding off when I realized I didn't have enough yarn . . . I had to unbind half the row -- really really really difficult when it is grabby rambouillet -- and then tink (un-knit) an entire row, then bind off again. I am going to wear it to work tomorrow. My co-workers are always gratifyingly impressed when I wear something I hand-knit, and it's quite an ego boost.

Here it is gracing the banister . . . looking much bluer.

And a  close up of the fan pattern on the bottom.

     I am very pleased with the results. The Multnomah is not a difficult pattern, but if I had messed up anywhere, the lines wouldn't have flowed and the mistakes would have been obvious. I used every scrap of rambouillet, too, so no leftovers. By the time I binded off, I think I had about 300 stitches on the needles. I thought I would never get to the end!

On to the next project! No idea what it will be, but I have a lot of handspun I want to get knitted up, before the next Sheep and Wool Festival in May. Wait, May? That's only five months away! I'd better get knitting ...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Spinning in the New Year

 Happy New Year!

This year, I was actually awake for the turning of the year. I was leaving my friends' house at midnight exactly, just in time for the class-c neighborhood firework show (even those puny little class-c ones are illegal in the city). I don't really have any special feeling for New Year's as a holiday; for me, it's just an arbitrary marking on the calendar. But I might be feeling that way because I maybe feel a bit of a wincing need for repentance, seeing as how I spent some New Year's Eves in my youth ... egads. What fun, though. You can't learn from your mistakes if you don't make any, right?

I didn't make any knitting/spinning resolutions. I have discovered that if I swear off buying more fiber, it means I will be online at Etsy within hours, ordering merino or alpaca or a pound of Corriedale "just in case." I LOVE Corriedale. It's like the workhorse of the sheep world, sturdy, easy to ply, and easy to dye. I can spin it as finely as a thread and it holds together, but it's not rough or wiry like other wools that bind well (Rambouillet, Polworth, Lincoln). 

I won't say this is a resolution, but I might try to be a bit more vigilant about finishing WIPs and ignoring start-itis ... and speaking of WIPs, here is what I have been solely working on since right after Christmas:

The Multnomah, named for a county in Oregon. Here  is the link to the pattern. I am 100% certain mine will not turn out that perfectly! I am running low on this yarn, and since I spun it myself, it is going to be a pain if I run out before it's done. It wasn't difficult to spin, I just don't want to have to order 4 more ounces of it when I need only about a half ounce to finish.

Aside from knitting on Ms. Multnomah, I have been spinning some nice merino I bought at last years' MS&W. The label did not include the vendor, so I cannot provide that. Here it is after I pulled half of the bump apart:

Spun into singles ...

On the lazy kate, getting tangled up while I prepare to ply ... 

And, a finished skein. I counted twice -- it comes in at about 5,810 inches, or 161 yards. I'm not sure that the final yardage is correct, but I counted twice, and came out with 83 loops on the niddy noddy. I've never managed to spin that much on one bobbin before. I still think I somehow added twenty loops while counting.  Twice.

I'm not really happy with the way this skein came out. Merino is so fragile, I didn't want to handle it much, so I didn't draft it well, and it came out poorly. It drifted apart many times when I plied. I need more practice with the finer fibers, but they frustrate me when spinning. 

Well, happy new year to everyone!