Celtic Cable

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

"SEE the ball ... BE the ball!"

One of my favorite movies from the 80s is "Caddyshack." I mention this because there is a scene in "Caddyshack" where Ty has blindfolded Danny, and is coaching him on how to golf: "Be the ball Danny ... be the ball, be the ball ... you're not being the ball, Danny!"

That's kind of how I feel about this lace pattern.

It is hard. I have only ripped back twice, but I keep going back to the user group and reading all the postings. Knitters keep posting things like "get into the pattern," and "once you figure out how to read it," and "It took me sixty bazillion times but I finally understood it." I keep hearing See the ball ... be the ball!

I have immersed myself in this pattern, read it back and forth, counted stitches endlessly. What it comes down to is it's hard and I'm a beginner. The graph doesn't reflect the actual pattern once you get past the first iteration. You have to just magically know how to read lace repeats. I am determined, though, and I put it aside once in disgust, only to pick it right back up again and try again. And I think I have finally figured it out. We'll see after about a dozen more rows, if the magical leaf patterns keep appearing. You do see them, right? You see the leaves, right? It's not just me imagining things, right? There are leaves, right? I think my yarn-overs are wrong. Do you knit through the front loop or back loop when you're on the wrong side, knitting a yarn over from the right side?

I shall persevere. I am determined!

I finished the Saturday Socks and was so pleased with them I started the Thursday socks.

I'd have posted sooner, but I twisted my left ankle (which made it really hard to drive my manual transmission car) and I wanted to wait for most the swelling to go down. Cute, aren't they?(The socks, not my big fat feet!) They aren't really warm, but they're really cozy. I messed up the heel, but I fixed that by just not photographing it.

The Thursday socks. It suddenly became 95 degrees in Baltimore, so I haven't been knitting much!

First skein of the denim merino. Pretty!


I love my garden! It's doing great now that it's warmed up. 

Dozens of itty bitty cucumbers...

A really big bloom on the heirloom tomato ...

Ripening strawberries ... I've eaten several from my older plants already, but they're usually misshapen. These look perfect!

And dozens of budding raspberries. 

And doggy Georgie Girl modeling her new haircut. You'd think it was 40 degrees in here, the way she curls up so tightly. She's just like that -- cute, huh? She loves to do the sad-doggy-no-friends routine when I take her picture. 

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Fruits of the Festival

Nightsongs Shawl

Had to start knitting with some of my new yarn! This is the Nightsongs shawl (link is to Ravelry), started off with the Manos del Uruguay yarn I bought at S&W.

The pattern isn't that difficult, but I have a problem with lace and I am determined to overcome this. I had to do one row four times, because of simple errors. I know that if I focus on the chart and don't watch TV while I knit, I can do it. I am determined to do it. Tawaaaaaanda!

 About the yarn ... I had heard of Manos del Uruguay and vaguely understood it to be some sort of free-trade yarn. The tag tells me that the "Hands of Uruguay" is a "non-profit ... which assembles over 400 artisans in cooperatives scattered throughout the countryside of Uruguay ... to bring economic and social opportunities to rural women." The yarn I purchased was made in the Cauva Cooperative by Lilian. Thanks, Lilian!

According to the CIA World Factbook, Uruguay is slightly smaller than the state of Washington and only has one major city, so I guess there is a lot of countryside. 


The Saturday footies continue ... but I made the first one way too big (I was knitting and not paying attention). So after finishing #2 here, I have to find all the knots in #1, untie them, and frog about half of it. A pain, but otherwise, it is way too big and won't stay on my feet!


A Bowl of Orange Fiber

I am pondering something to do with all this orange. It's three different fibers, two wools and the silk I got a while back. In one of my pattern books is a knitted shawl that, once completed, was woven through with a different yarn. It was done by simply taking a different shade of yarn on a tapestry needle, and weaving that yarn through the stitches. I'm wondering how that would look if I made something with the silk, then wove the orange yarn in the foreground through it.  Well ... it would certainly be bright and cheery!

Garden Stuff

I am loving my garden, now that it's all in the ground. I have two issues, though; the sun hasn't been out in days, and the *&$(% maple tree dropped about a hundred maple helicopter seeds in my yard, and I am pulling up about a dozen maple sprouts a day. 

I have Cucino cucumbers .... 

Tomatoes ... Supersweet 100s, one of my favorites. 

Strawberries ... I've eaten three, and am longing for more. I have to keep them far off the ground, because the slugs and roly poly bugs like strawberries as much as I do.

This is the sky from my backyard. It's raining now. Again. AGAIN. I haven't had to water the garden in days, which is great, but the sun hasn't shone on my vegetables in that long, which is not great! 

Oh, that's where I planted the catnip ...

Happy Fiber Arts Friday! 

Friday, May 13, 2011

After the Festival

Let the spinning begin!

The lovely green Meriboo by Frog Tree Yarns  on my spindle from zebisisdesigns. Even though I have about 8 spindles and a wheel, I seem to always grab the zebisis first.

(I know my garden would be prettier if I mulched it, but I'm so tired of hauling large gardening supplies in my little car!)

Stony Mountain Fiber merino, on a Kromski bobbin. Happily modeled by a snapdragon. I hope to combine this fiber with these two I spun a while back, and make a nice big wrap:

I think it would make a nice mosaic or mitered project.

An anklet from Knit Pick's anklet kit. This is the Friday anklet.

I will spare everyone more pictures of my garden, but I do want some assistance -- what the heck is this? It looks like the top of a carrot, but I swear I've never planted carrots, and it's not like they grow from dropped pieces of carrot. What is it? I don't want to pull it up if it's a vegetable!

Happy Fiber Arts Friday, everyone!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival 2011


Wow! It was great this year -- lots of vendors, cool sunny weather, and just a great day. I stayed about 4 hours -- that's a record for me, considering my low tolerance for crowds. It was packed! Maybe because tomorrow is Mother's Day, and supposed to be rainy ... maybe more people came out today. It was just jam-packed, especially in the barns. I had a small backpack and a big shoulder bag, but I saw people carrying wheeled trolleys. Hehee. Maybe next year.

Here I am ... arrived at 0900, and still parked waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out from the fairgrounds. You can't even see them from here! And yes, I got confused trying to find my car afterwards. A small VW Beetle just disappears in a big lot.

Main exhibition hall ... I went through this 2 1/2 times. On the first pass through, I saw a Russian spindle I wanted, but I didn't want to buy it right then. I had to circle 1 1/2 times more to find it when I went back to get it. I was frustrated, but determined to find it.

I chose one with a cap towards the end, so I wouldn't have too much trouble keeping the fiber on. Yeah, I'm a newb ;-) I've used Turkish, drop, turnip, and Trindle spindles, but I really wanted to try a Russian one.

Despite my protesting allergies, I went through and looked at all the sheep. There were soulful sheep ...

Sheared sheep ...

Rasta sheep .... ;-)

And psychedelic sheep.

And a curious alpaca.

A big loom-y thing was quite intriguing. Also in the sunlight, and I was getting a headache, so I didn't stop to ask about it. I'm afraid to learn too much about weaving. I'm worried I'll become intrigued and buy a loom. I saw a Cricket, and I was very tempted, but then I would have had to haul it around all day.

So, what did I buy?

"Meriboo Roving." 70-30 merino/bamboo, Frog Tree Yarns. The color is a gorgeous pine-y green. I really like merino-bamboo blends. I might spin this first.
Merino roving ... Stony Mountain Fibers. I'm thinking since this is just four ounces, I might spin it and then combine it in a knitting project with some silvery-blue merino I spun a while back. That will give me about 8 ounces all together, enough for a big project.

Manos del Uruguay laceweight yarn.

Mohair yarn ... even though mohair makes me sneeze ;-)

Made By Ewe wool yarn ... laceweight, or almost.

And from the store that nearly bankrupted me last year, Misty Mountain Farms ... tangerine corridale roving. I may have a weakness for merino-bamboo blends, but I loves me some corriedale! This stuff is gorgeous. I might spin this first.

A bit of an oddity for me, colorwise ... merino/bamboo, Made By Ewe again. I'll have to unbraid it to figure out how I might spin it. I don't want blocks of single colors, but a blend of both.

I don't remember what this is. It's not merino ... the label the vendor stuck in says "Coopworth," so if that's a sheep, then it's Coopworth. Otherwise, it came from a store called Coopworth. I love this shade of red ... I might spin this first.

Merino multicolor, Yarn Barn of Kansas. A full eight ounces. It's more purpley than in the photo. I absolutely love the color variations. I might spin this first.

Lastly, some Icelandic roving. I don't think I've ever spun Icelandic before; if I have, it was a small sample. This stuff looks hairy and rough, but it isn't. This might be good to spin on my new Russian spindle, it looks like it would hold together well.

A bit of bling ... a very lightweight spindle, and some stitch markers.

I tried to break my typical yarn habit of red, blue, purple ... you see that I didn't! I did actually buy yarn this year, though -- last year I bought nothing but roving. And this year I bought two laceweight yarns, despite my previous disastrous attempt to knit lace. I'll give it another shot, though. I don't like to say "I can't do xxx" when I probably could if I tried harder. For years I would say "I can't learn knitting, it's too hard." Now here I am knitting all sorts of things!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Finished Object Fiber Arts Friday!

This little guy came to appreciate my new fence and approve of my garden.

He also pooped on my rosemary.

I finished the Wisteria Arbor Shawl ...

Made from hand-spun merino that I purchased from Pacific Wool and Fiber.   I believe this is 8 oz. worth of fiber, color Mojave. Very soft and extremely warm! Makes me want to go order a pound or two in another color, but I shouldn't do that ... because in just 36 hours, I'll be dancing naked through the West Friendship Fairgrounds, waving alpaca and merino around like banners --

Uhhh ... never mind that. 

I need to block the shawl still, and I need to do a really really good job, because it needs to be a lot bigger. The neck curls, too. That seems to be my perpetual problem!

Here is a close up (inexplicably, this changes the color)

Some merino on the bobbin...I was on an Alpaca roll at the beginning of the year, then BFL, now I've switched to merino. I wonder what I'll be most attracted to at MS&W?

I don't think I ever blogged this incident, did I? It happened a month or so ago. I sat down at my wheel to finish some BFL and the brake band broke. It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was horrified ... but if you'll look at the picture above this one, I fixed it with some red cotton yarn. It's not a permanent fix, but it'll do till I find the spare, or buy a new one!

And for those of you who read my last post, from yesterday, and have noted that 24 hours ago I said I would be at MDS&W in 40 hours ... well, I warned you all I was bad with maths!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Come into My Garden!

There are now only 40 hours remaining until Maryland Sheep and Wool! The weather is supposed to be 70 degrees F and partly cloudy--perfect, to my way of thinking! I can wear one of my shawls. Last year it was pretty warm for wool.

I have been knitting and spinning a little, but mostly I have been focused on my garden, which is very nearly done. I didn't want to clutter my Fiber Arts Friday post with too many gardening photos, so I thought I'd add a post about the garden now, just to get it out of the way!

The new fence was up this past Friday, and I spent a few days getting everything in order before taking photos.

Before ...


The neighbor's half-demolished shed is still there, but this fence is higher so I don't see it as well. The fence is made from red cedar, so it smells nice, and it is all sorts of different yellows and reds. And, now I have a real gate with a real latch. I love it! I'm going to find a small lean-to kit to hide the garbage can and wheelbarrow.

Vegetables on the left, herbs on the right, cat enjoying some 'nip in the middle.

I planned to put brackets on the posts to hang plants from, but now I don't want to drill holes in my new fence.

I like it all so much, I might even take my spinning wheel out on calm days, and spin outside. I have a giant umbrella for the table, because the backyard is sunny about 10 hours a day. I need to get some wind chimes to help dampen the noise from the alley and other, louder neighbors. Other than that and a few more plants to put in the ground, it's about done!

Now, I'll have a lovely place to take pictures of my WIPs and spinning projects.

Remember Petunia? She was fixed a few months ago, and has gotten downright fat. I tried to measure her ... it took a few tries.

She appears to be giving me the Cat Stink Eye.

I am going to post my WIPs on Friday, then it's going to be all about the festival ... I'm going to stock up on sock yarn and silly, bling-y stitch markers, stitch holders .... oh, and I need a good set of sock blockers, and some shawl pins ... I'm getting giddy just thinking about it!