Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another sad Sunday evening

I'll never know how vacations slip by so quickly. And then it's Sunday evening again! I'm scrambling trying to get the laundry caught up, fiber pursuits put away where I can find them when I have a few stolen moments.

And another thing I'll never understand is why my mind registers no fiber progress, when evidence says otherwise. I have photos that show a few things I worked on over Thanksgiving in addition to cooking a gargantuan meal and a few other time eaters. These are good things. Maybe the only things that count are those that are finished. These do tend to be few, but I need to start considering work done progress. Look at these:

Socks from a sock blank that are past the heel area, even if they aren't finished by the end of the month as I had hoped.

A hat/cowl (Gryla's Howl from Berroco - a free pattern!) I'm making for a secret Santa gift. This is handspun from this wonderful bond fleece:

Here it is on the wheel, single ply:

Another few spinning projects:

A white cross fleece I'm handpicking and spinning from the cloud on my antique Canadian production wheel.

A Spunky Eclectic hand dyed roving in the Lame Duck colorway. This is destined to become a pair of socks for my dad.

Another Spunky roving in Rosebud. Luscious and my mom is lusting after it. We'll see!

It's nice to see things lined up here...some progress made. Finishing is nice, but working toward is necessary to get to the finished stage. Must learn this in my heart!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Springside Farms Shearing Festival

We got in a fiber event after all for my birthday! Earlier plans to attend the Massachusetts Sheep and Wool were thwarted, but I saw a small listing for an event much closer to home and one that seemed to cater to kids. Although not as much fiber as at the more mainstream events, we totally enjoyed our day at Springside Farms.

For the children, there were slingshots where you could loft apples across pastures or try to hit targets, a 150' zipline, a slide, hay jump, a hay ride, petting zoo, and reasonably priced snacks. They also enjoyed the chainsaw carver and small children had pools full of corn kernels to play in. The larger fleece festivals could learn from this event: if you keep children occupied and happy, moms and dads have more time to look and shop. Although on the outside edge of the targeted audience, my 11 year old son, his 15 year old sister and her boyfriend seemed to enjoy themselves for the morning.

So did we. I talked to a fellow about llamas, a nice lady about Icelandic sheep, and bought 1# of black heavenly alpaca roving as well as a 100 gram skein of alpaca sock yarn. Hand dyed in blue and brown. There were handspinners there and the animals were a pleasure to see. A very pleasant birthday for me!

As a bonus of the riding time, I finished As Simple As Snow and my first pretty petals sock.

And here's the added stash. Gotta go spin!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A study in sock knitting


I thought I had only knit a couple pairs of socks. My first pair was shorties knit in an acrylic I had remaining from a vest I knit 25 years ago. Lovely color, but it was acrylic. I tried it out to help a friend with the pattern and loved the power of shaping those heels and toes.

Next I came across a group on Yahoo devoted to knitting the socks of Jeanie Townsend. What great patterns she has. So I started Maple Leaf socks. I had just the yarn from KnitPicks in a wonderful fall colorway. My spinning obsession provided the leaf yarn, a bit bulkier than the rest, but that only made the leaves stand out. I loved making those little leaves appear as if by magic. The red/yellow color was perfect! I've worn these many times and the yarn has developed this wonderful haze after delicate machine washing in cold and line drying.

Then there was the love affair with Fleece Artist. I bought a skein in my favorite red range of colors and tried to follow the terse pattern presented on the back of the label. Not so successful, but soft and lovely socks. I should give them to someone with much bigger feet than I have, but they make great bedsocks.

I made a pair of socks for my dad. A spotted affair in bulkier yarn. His taste in socks is less than sedate! And I tried to entice daughter #2 to fall in love with my knitting by making her a pair of fraternal twin socks from Fixation (no wool) in lime green and tropical blue. It didn't work, but the socks are darling. She keeps them balled up in a special place in the back of her sock drawer.

And then, I decided to go crazy and knit a pair of socks from the book Fair Isling on Blue Moon. I picked 2 wild multicolor yarns, because of course I've been madly stashing since I discovered sock knitting, and put them together with bobbles and patterns and stripes. I wear these on days I anticipate I will need mad cheering up! Can you see why? Yarn by KnitPicks and Koigu. Yes, I know, strange bedfellows!


And now, I'm working on 4 pairs. One is a simple pair for my son. Almost done with sock #1 (far left). KnitPicks yarn. I don't really believe he will wear them, he's 11, so I can't make myself finish! Plus, I don't care for the ribbing. But finish I will.

Next from left is another Jeanie Townsend pattern called Pretty Petals knit in some lovely Brown Sheep sock yarn. I'm nearly done with sock #1 and am intrigued by the pattern. Jeanie makes me challenge myself a bit and I wind up knitting faster that way. Challenge may be the ticket for me.

I had an accident in our LYS when they were having a sale on Fleece Artist Thrum Sock Kits. Ooops. I bought 5 and am sure they will make fine Christmas gifts for those who live here with me in the frozen North. Hell, it snowed yesterday where I work - on May 19!

And on the far right side is a beginning only. My first attempt at handspun socks. The yarn is spindle spun, wheel plied (2), Oatmeal colored with a black design at the cuff. I think I'm designing as I go on this pair that is to be a thank you gift for a lady who gifted me with several fleeces. Note to self...don't get fleeces this way again! The fleeces were not designated for handspinners' baskets. They are chuck full of dirt, hay and other questionable items. And I have so much! I washed the single black fleece and combed a bit to make some fine yarn. But the white -Yikes! I have several of those, have washed one and must comb the yuck out. I like to comb, luckily, but the payoff may not be with finishing these fleeces. I'm near the end of the ball I made and must decide if I should frog the whole thing, or go back to the dirty fleece.


Here is the stash as it stands, sock yarn only. Normal is a hard concept to define...especially when it comes to stash. I only know that I will feel better if I get some of the 20 pairs I have yarn to knit finished to give as gifts by Christmas. Any takers? Some of this is not yet spoken for!

I guess that makes more than a couple!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

No, I swear I'm not weaving...

...well, maybe just a little. How could I resist the class at the St. Lawrence County Arts Council taught by a local weaver who had a project we could finish between the hours of 10:00 and 5:00 on a Saturday? And how could I resist cutting my handspun into 89" lengths or buying the triloom I worked at all day? And the scarves? Well, see for yourself:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Knitting for Project Spectrum

I've thought about this one long and hard. How I don't want to add to my burgeoning stash, how I want to finish projects before starting new ones this year and how I really should start knitting up all of my lovely handspun. So here is what I came up with and started last week.

I will finish WIPs for each cycle of Project Spectrum. It turns out that for February and March I'm in great shape. Several of my languishing projects are in the colors selected to represent fire: pink, red and orange. Many others are waiting in the wings as well, but FOCUS. (See how I'm always trying to start something new?)

I'll work on each one for one week, having chosen 8 for the 2 months. I actually finished the scarf below in my first week.

For week #2, I've returned to this ruana I've been working on for awhile. I don't think I'll finish in one week - lots of garter stitch - but progress will be shown.

Week #3 is vacation from school week, so I'll be picking one that needs more attention and knitting as I'll have a bit more time to work on it - probably one of the sweaters.

I love the way just lining up these projects and setting a time limit provides a focus I didn't have before. I abandon projects from boredom or interest in something else, but never really intend to let them go. The spark is always there and this online spectrum is the fan that will fuel the motivation to complete each one. I won't have as many WIPs in other colorways for future months, instead will divide the 2 months into larger segments of time. This surely will make a large dent in my WIPs pile!