Celtic Cable

Celtic Cable

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

An Odd Case of Fidelity

     Perhaps I am having a mature moment of stick-to-itiveness, or maybe it's thoughts of Spring, gardens, and sprouting seeds distracting me from thoughts of knitting projects. For maybe the second time in my knitting life, I am only working on one knitting project at a time.

     The socks from last week. I love this "Bamboo and Ewe" yarn, the color and the texture. It makes a sock that is almost too warm for me to wear!

     I like to start one sock, work it through the heel flap, then start the second one. I go back and forth like that to keep from getting SSS, and to keep the pattern in mind. I know how to knit two pair on one set of circs, but I don't like to do that when there is a pattern involved. I work the gusset through the decreases, then switch to the other one. I really hope I have better luck closing the toes on this pair ... I still wince when I put on the Interlochen Socks with the awful toes.

     I have also been spinning madly.

The rust BFL, on a bed of unspun Golden Harvest BFL:

Other FOs:

     Bottom right is the Falkland-bamboo-Angelina mix, single-ply. In the middle is more BFL, "Golden Harvest" by skeinweinder123 on Etsy. I'm in the middle of spinning this up, it's about half done. And on the left is the Rust BFL.

     My roving basket, full of wooly goodness ... white Corriedale, purple, brown, pink merino, the Golden Harvest BFL, yellow merino, and Rust BFL. I still have alpaca and baby camel to spin, not in the picture. They stick to everything, so I segregate them.

Merino from Lunabudknits. Not started yet, but it's calling to me ....

     As I posted last week, I was home sick for a few days. For most of 6 days, as it turned out, and I had no desire to move off of my couch. I knitted, I spun, I spindled ... and after about day four, I grew tired of even that, but my head hurt too much to try to read or do crossword puzzles. So ... I started another hobby.


Specifically, scrapbooking my hand-spun knitted projects. This is the Arachne Cowl, which was a gift to a co-worker. I noted the yarn used, the book and project, how spun, etc.

The Multnomah shawl ...

The Wonder Why Alpaca Wrap.


     A few years ago I bought scrapbooking stuff, but lost interest very quickly. Luckily, I bought just enough to get a good start without having to run out to the store for more. It was just complicated enough to keep me occupied, but not so gripping that I felt like I would do this obsessively (as I do with knitting and spinning).  I hope to record each of my handspun knitting projects, or my large projects such as sweaters, etc. So now I have record of my knitting projects on Ravelry, on this blog, photos in Flickr and Snapfish ... and now in an album. Redundant much?

     Happy Fiber Arts Friday, everyone!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Two Sick Days and Two Thousand Yards Later ...

     There is nothing like a couple of sick days to make a dent in a WIP! The Socks of Eternity (Or, the Interlochen Socks with the Toe of the Damned) are finally finished.

    They are two different colors because I bought these colors intending to make a colorwork sock. I soon realized colorwork socks would become 3-Year-Socks, so I frogged them and remade them into the Interlochen socks.

     I couldn't wait to cast these on:

"Hopscotch" from "Think Outside the Sox." I really like this sock yarn, Bamboo and Ewe. It's soft and thick and very warm and sturdy. It's labeled #1. I used a 2.25mm with the Interlochen, but with these, I'm using a 3mm. They're meant to be open and lacy.


     Aside from all the knitting, I've been busy spinning ....

     The "Rust" BFL. This is almost all of it. I ordered another 4 oz from a different vendor, in a different colorway, to ply it with.

    Chives are the first thing up in my garden every year; they also go to seed before I even get the garden planted. You know that purple flower they get on the head of the stalk, once it's matured? Those are great tossed in a homemade oil-and-vinegar dressing.

     Here is the Falkland-bamboo-Angelina mix I got a few weeks back. It's about half spun. It's really easy to spin, very smooth and well carded. I have no idea what I'll do with it once it's finished, I bought it mainly for the Pretty Factor.  My friends' 2-year-old was fascinated by it, and tried to dance around the living room with it. I completely understood.

     And my latest, some Mmmmmmmmmmerino! I bought 8 oz of this, so I'll have enough, hopefully, to make a shawl. You all know how I love shawls! Something light and airy, maybe with beads.

     I have more fiber coming; BFL, and 6 ounces of 3 different colored Merinos (2 oz each), red, purple, and burgundy. I have just been wanting to spin lately, without much thought to what I'll be doing with the finished product!

     Just a random kitty shot ... one of the kitties that lives on my porch, Petunia's sister. She was born almost entirely black, but now she is starting to turn orange under the black. It looks really odd, but I couldn't get her to sit still for a picture. One of her paws is completely orange. I call her "Coraline," after the girl in the cartoon.

     Well, I am going to go combine hot water, a lemon tea bag, brandy, and honey into a large mug, and see how that makes me feel. Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

In the Mood to Spin

     I finished several projects over the last few weeks ... three shawls, socks, bootikins. Now, I seem to be in the mood to spin for a while. I somehow -- don't know how -- found myself on Etsy last week, buying some more fiber. 

     The BFL on my Kromski. Spinning up very quickly, but since I only bought six ounces, I might try to use it as a single.

The Falkland/bamboo/Angelina, in a lovely batt. Holds together quite nicely, and this shade of red is my favorite (more red, less pink, in real life). Both purchased from SpinFusion on Etsy.

     As you can see, there really isn't enough of either roving to do a project by itself, unless it's really small. But I find that the process of spinning yarn is often what I'm after -- sitting at the wheel or spindle for a while, watching the pile of roving dwindle, having a nice sense of accomplishment when it's done.

    Question for all my fellow spinners: What is your favorite fiber or blend? What fibers have you spun before? I have spun the following: Corriedale, Merino, bamboo, silk, alpaca, camel, yak, bunny, qiviut, BFL, Shetland, Swalesdale (very hairy!), Jacob (very nice), English Herdwick, Welsh, Polworth, Ramboullet, and Lincolnsomething, a crossbreed of some sort. My favorite is Merino-Bombyx silk. Absolutely fabulous! I like alpaca, but I prefer the way Wonder Why Gal has it processed, because it doesn't float around and get in my eyes. I have 4 oz of baby camel that I don't enjoy too much, I can't seem to get a smooth yarn out of it and I hate slubby yarn.

     A good way to experience many different fibers is to purchase sample packs -- I've done that twice, once with wools, and once with exotics. It really gave me a good idea of what's out there. Oh, and 51 days to MD Sheep and Wool!  SWOON!

     This is the shawl that is featured at the top of my blog. I honestly don't remember when I started it; maybe late summer 2009. It is my first attempt at lace, and I did not do a good job. I kept winding up with one too many stitches, always in the exact same spot, or I would drop them. It looks okay, but nowhere near as good as the one in the book! I had a terrible time following the pattern. I will try something easier, next time. Perhaps a little cowl. The yarn is fabulous (It's called "Whisper" and it's laceweight).

     And as I blogged this past Monday, Edgar Allen Poe cat seems to be okay -- it looks like it was a severe infection, and not bone cancer. Now, he's very playful and -- well, irritating, wanting a lot of attention and petting. He gallops around the house in the early morning, meowing at who knows what. Whoever started that rumor about cats being graceful? Mine sound like bowling balls coming down the stairs.

     If fog really does creep in on little cat feet, then the cat must have tin cans tied to its feet.

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

"Fog" by Carl Sandburg

Monday, March 14, 2011

I Fell Off the Wagon

"No more fiber purchases till Maryland Sheep and Wool," I told myself. "This time I mean it!"

Anyone want a peanut? 

As you can see, I fell of the no-fiber wagon, but at least I did fulfill part of my not-really-a-resolution...I did spin most of what I had at home before buying more.

It's Etsy, you see. It's my weakness. I clicked on an ad at the bottom of a Ravelry page, and it took me to Spin Fusion, which
 led to these purchases.

The pink one is a blend of Falkland, Bamboo, and Angelina. I don't know what Angelina is, but the batt has a sparkly glitter in it, so I'm guessing Angelina is a synthetic. This batt is called "Adina," which (according to the tag) is Hebrew for "delicate."

 The orange one is straight BFL. It's called "Helah," which is Hebrew for "rust."

So, a half hour after opening the package, I pulled the BFL apart, tucked some in a bag, grabbed the cat and a spindle, and went to the vet's office.

I don't believe I need to caption the above photo. 

Anyhow, Edgar settled down and wandered the office, while I did this: 

    While I was in the waiting room spinning, a woman walked into the lobby from the exam rooms and said, "Oh, you're a spinner!" and then told me all about the twice-monthly Friday knit nights at a yarn store not two minutes from the vet's office. Unlike most the area knitting get-togethers (I refuse to use the "b" word), this one is actually held in the evening, not smack in the middle of the day! I just missed the last one, I'll have to wait till next week to attend. Being a spinster, I am of course available on Friday nights. 

     The vet was fascinated by my spinning as well, and I had to give her a demonstration. She admired my purple alpaca beaded wrap, too. And, best of all, she told me Edgar was healing nicely, probably doesn't have cancer, and I can -- happy day -- do this again: 

     Return the cats to their dry food diet. They were eating six 5-ounce cans of wet food per day, and I couldn't get the stink of cat food out of the kitchen. Now they're back to 1 can a day, and all the crunchy food they want. 


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Finished Object Fiber Arts Friday! With Fotos!

     The colors are most accurate in the top right photo and the photo directly above. Yucky Baltimore weather prevents me from getting a good outdoor photo, which would show off the colors better. Right now, it is raining so hard I feel like I'm back in southern Louisiana (where it rains like upended buckets)!

     The wrap is warm, and heavy enough to stay in place (part of that is from the beads), and is just snuggly perfect. The unspun fiber is from Wonder Why alpaca farms. The beads from Joanne's. The pattern is Clover Honey Shawlette from "One Skein Sock Yarn Wonders," and the only alteration I made aside from making it longer, was to crochet two rows along the top for stability. It was a little feeble, and tended to curl. It still curls, but in a more becoming fashion! Honestly, I feel like I could knit a fur lining around the inner edge, and it would be even more awesome!

And here is the mystery WIP from a week or so ago. Bootikins! Pattern from the absolutely wonderful Knitting Traditions inaugural edition, the one with the Turkish socks on the cover.

The bootikins pattern is from "Victorian England's Weldon's Practical Needlework, Vol 3." They're really big, and they're meant to be put on over the baby's shoes and socks, while traveling or out in the cold. I believe they would fit a 2-year-old as socks. The wool is Knit Picks. I am having a deju vu moment, as if I've already blogged all this ...
     The finished bootikin with Edgar for scale.

Edgar seems to be recovering from his surgery quite well. He hasn't gone back to the vet yet, so no word on whether cancer is still an possibility, but he seems to be healing. That should be a sign that his ailment was a severe infection, and not cancer. He has become super-friendly since the teeth were pulled, and very affectionate; always in my lap, wanting to sit on the laptop, even nipping me if I don't pet him. He's a bit more playful now, too. All good signs, I hope!

Happy fibers! Have a great weekend, all!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Caturday Night at the Spinster's House

     Hello, everyone in happy fiber land! It's March fifth -- 56 days until May first, when Baltimoreans can safely put plants in the ground. I started 38 seeds today, all vegetables and a few herbs. I plant as much as my tiny yard can handle. Last year, I planted cats. 

      They grew nicely.

     I always get anxious in March. I feel like it's been winter for months, and I've knitted and spun everything and I just want to get out and get my hands in the dirt (Maryland clay, actually, but I've augmented it). But it can still snow, and freeze, and sleet, all the way into May -- so the best I can do now is put up seeds, and keep knitting and spinning.
      There are times when I like to spin more than I like to knit. Then there are times when I go months without going near my spinning wheel, except to re-hang the orifice hook when the cats knock it off. I have a Kromski Prelude, as I've said before, and a nice variety of hand spindles (that I hope to expand even more, after the 2011 MD Sheep and Wool).


     I have been thinking about a handspun swap for some time now, and I never seem to catch a live one on Ravelry. Does anyone know if there is a blog ring for fiber swapping, something along the lines of Finished Object Friday, or Fiber Arts Friday? Now that I'm not in school anymore, I -- oh, I forgot to blog about that, didn't I? Well, as of 15 February 2011, this is my major accomplishment:

     The degree that was 24 years in the making! Long story short, I started taking college classes in 1987, and last month, I finally finished a degree. I have been to two brick-and-mortar schools and one online university. I had the GI Bill and a fondness for literature, and now I have a degree. It took a long time to get it, but it was in my own time and at my own pace (except for those goshawful 8 week condensed classes, which necessitated long hours studying and writing every day after work).

     In fiber news, I have bound off and blocked the honey clover shawlette made with Wonder Why alpaca. I went to Joanne's today and spent a lovely half hour searching for beads to match. I selected and discarded a few options, keeping them all in my hand, until I found the perfect beads. Glass, purple, with wire around them, and big holes for threading. Want to see them? Here they are! 

     Oh, you can't see them? That's because there is a CAT SITTING ON THEM.

     Here is the shawl. I almost don't want to show this photo, because it's such an un-pretty setup ... but I have a terrible time blocking. I hate crawling around the floor, and bending over my craft table makes my back hurt.  I fantasize about a wall made entirely of cork (that's an odd fantasy, I know, but now you understand why I'm a spinster). Then I could spread my goodies out and block them at standing-up level. Lacking that magical wall, I rigged up an awful hanging setup in the spare room. I fully expect this to come crashing down tonight while I'm sleeping, scaring me awake and freaking out the cats.

     But if it stays up, and I can just be patient, I will have a lovely alpaca wrap to wear to work Monday. And my colleagues shall look upon it and weep with envy.

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
  --Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Ozymandias"

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Can't Math

I've seen a lot of funny on the the internet, but one thing that really tickled my fancy was a picture of a restaurant receipt with I can't math  written on the line where the tip was supposed to be added. I can commiserate; I calculate tips by figuring ten percent, then splitting ten percent in half and adding that half to the whole, then haphazardly rounding up just in case. I can't estimate volume or height (if snow is up to my mid-shin, it is not two feet). With knitting, if I'm casting on a large number of stitches I have to place markers at carefully calculated intervals. And sometimes, I just don't think. Cases in point:

One of these socks is much tighter than the other, because the first one was 36 stitches, but the second one was 32. I thought 36 = 16 + 16 (I knit on circs, so everything is divided by two). One sock is 18 and 18,the other is 16 and 16. That's about an inch difference.36 stitches is just about too tight, 32 is like an ace bandage.

I've been trying to finish this sock for quite a while
now. I cannot get the toe to finish. This is the fourth attempt -- you can see how terribly awry it has gone. The funny part is, I stopped working in pattern for the toe, so as not to confuse myself.  So much for that.

On to happier things. Silk! 

This stuff sticks to my hands as if I were dipped in glue. Every tiny little flake of dry skin is a silk magnet. It's maddening!

Here is some unspun, wrapped around the mini niddy. It's so pretty and shiny, but it has big slubs in it, from the edges of the hanky, which are thick.

I gave up on knitting it unspun, and started spinning it. I haven't knitted anything with it yet, though I have pulled apart several layers of silk. That is very therapeutic, despite the sticking to hands.

I thought I'd measure up the clover honey shawlette, so I put it on two circs and spread it out best I could. I think once blocked, it would be about 4 feet across. I have a baseball-sized ball of yarn left, still, so I think I'll keep going. The bottom edge is the edge with the needle, and it is meant to be beaded. I have to find beads big enough to go over the wonder why alpaca. What color beads do you all think would be best? Should I go for wooden or acrylic?The grayish appearing yarn is actually a purply-gray.

And, despite having ... hold on, have to do maths here ... despite having five knitting WIPs and three spinning WIPs already started, I have cast on a fifth sixth project. I won't say what this is, except that it is baby apparel. It's on Knit Picks yarn, fingering or something like it. And it looks ribbed, but it's not really -- it's k2 p2 one row, then k (on the wrong side) next row, alternating back and forth. It makes a very pleasing sort of rolling ribbing.

I leave you with a spring harbinger (snowdrops or crocus?) and a post-dental surgery cat:


Edgar Allen Poe Cat had 6 teeth pulled, among other horrors. He might have bone cancer, or he might just have a severe infection. I really hope it's the infection. He was still stoned from the surgery in this photo, and couldn't quite control his tongue. He is on a rather expensive diet of canned food only, into which I mix crushed dry cat food, and antibiotics. If he loses weight, I'll have to give him tuna and canned chicken.

The things we do for our pets, eh?

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!