My mother and I have had the same conversation multiple times.
"I'm knitting dad socks. What do you want?" "I want socks too!" "What colour?" "Black!" "Black sucks." "Blaaaack." "Aw, c'mon, you're killing me." "Blaaaaaaaaaaaack. Maybe white." *nrgh*
So, because I love my mother, I am going to take a pair of lovely teal and purple and blue socks off the needles (I'll put 'em on a stitch holder for later) and knit my mother a pair of blaaaaaaack socks.
We interrupt these wool reviews with the following news flash:
This is an awesome pattern. It is just the right amount of fiddly to demand your full attention until you get the hang of it, and has a few bits that are quite clever. It's a chatty pattern, but I had a heckuva good time knitting this today. The end result is super cute and squooshy. Hopefully the little person it is intended for likes it, too, or at least said wee person's parents do.
...I might have to make one of these in a Wendi size. The pattern could be translated into socks, too, for extra warm socks...ponder ponder.
Anyway, back to wool soon enough. I've stalled out on the fleece processing, as I'm spinning up some stuff I dyed last spring. I need to get back into that before my time is no longer my own again.
Icelandic: This was an enjoyable chunk of fleece to process, but, hoo boy, is the reward limited. Half of the fleece is the hair, and the undercoat is very soft, but not much fun to spin. I wouldn't turn this down if it presented itself, but I don't think I'd actively seek it out again.
Welsh Mountain: Black and scritchy. This was ridiculously easy to process and it was begging to be spun. Pity about the scritchy aspect. This is also the sheddiest fleece I've worked with thus far. *shrug*
Romney: Oh, I am in love. I really enjoyed flick carding this long staple; taking something that looked ropey and tragic and making it giant and floofy was really fun! Once I figured out the trick of spinning this (which took a bit, and I finally broke out my drop spindle to get a better idea for how much spin vs. uptake was needed), I really enjoyed myself. The colour is shades of heather gray, and the end result of the yarn has a good squoosh to it. I will be on the lookout for a Romney fleece at MD S&W in May, as this would make a beautiful sweater.
Next in queue: Wensleydale. Curly, white, and somewhat filthy.
East Friesian: Nice dark colour, amazing amounts of crimp, but, ugh, so crunchy. This was not a pleasure to spin, and the end result is a resounding "meh". I think I can skip this in the future.
Icelandic: De-haired it pretty easily, which cut down the volume of the actual fleece by about half. Also, I need to pay better attention to doing a final skirt of fleeces before washing them...I missed a few organic bits that...uh...melted. Ew. I haven't spun this, but the undercoat is amazingly soft and floofy. As an aside, the tip about feeding fleece into the drum carder so that it is perpendicular to the teeth really does create amazingly fluffy batts. I'll spin this up soon and give a final opinion, but this has been pretty fun so far.
Currently on the drying rack: Romney
And in knitting news, I finally cast on a sweater for Daven that I started plotting out...uh...a long time ago. I've had this yarn for quite a long time, and it was just waiting for me to get the bug to knit it up. It'll be a gansey'esque thinger, and I'm swapping out the XOX's that ran up the front and centre with some knots that Daven preferred. Yay for cabling! It pleases me. I'm attempting to knit this in the round again, as I am full of hate for seams.
With that in mind, I finished knitting my black cardie a while ago, but it's been waiting on me to finish all of those ends. Poo. I've got the finishing about half done, with just the back and one more sleeve to sew in. Le sigh. Maybe I'll do that today, if I get the motivation.
These will be rather random updates as I review the process of cleaning and spinning samples of various sheep breeds that I got via The Spinning Loft wool sampler. (Disclaimer: the box I got has more varieties than the one that is currently offered. Oops.)
On to the reviews!
Finn: Two toned grey shades; a charcoal and a silver. It was very easy to separate the two colours so I could spin them individually. Washing was pretty straightforward, and though it took a bit to pick, it wasn't too terrible. Ran it through my drum carder to make two big fluffy batts, then had a really enjoyable time spinning the two tones. My always favourite navajo plying resulted in a yarn that is right around worsted weight. The yarn has a bit of a sheen to it, and a teeny bit of a halo; it is soft, but has a bit of a bite to it. It might be a little harsh for garments that are worn against the skin (sweaters and such) but hats and such would be quite lovely. I really enjoyed working with this, and would seek it out again.
Southdown Babydoll: Oh, I am so sad. This is also two toned, a light grey and almost-black. This was a simply filthy sample, and had so much lanolin that it was chunky and disgusting. I washed it repeatedly and still didn't have a workable fibre to use. The grey may possibly be usable with a lot of work, but the black had the texture of a brillo pad. This is really disappointing, as I find babydoll sheep to be adorable and was considering having a couple. Well, bucko, if you can't do anything but look cute, you're no good to me. I demand usefulness, dammit! I might look at a fleece in the future, but this sample was horrid.
By the way, this is mostly for my own records. I lose papers, but hopefully I won't forget how to access my own damn blog.
Currently in the sink: East Fresian. Nice dark colour, we'll see how she works out.
I decided to knit Amber for my cardigan. I knit the back and front together, and have one sleeve done. It is progressing reasonably well, though I still need to knit the little finishing part of the front. Knitting pure black things is a challenge. You can't see what the hell you're doing, and there's no pretty colour changes to distract you from the four hundredth row of stockinette stitch. I shall slog on, though, I'm nearly done! I think I'll block this bugger before seaming it up, as the cotton/bamboo blend seems to like curling in on itself and looking sullen.
I've got lots of ideas for hats for people, but I'm trying to behave and knit just the cardigan. I had a brief fling with a sock, but the gauge was off, so, back into the stash that yarn goes.
I also decided to pimp my loom a bit. I just bought a sectional warp beam and a new 15 dent reed (I have a 10 dent currently). For those who are blinking and going "huh?", that means that the string I put on the loom will be more easily corralled and I can have a finer weave result. Just smile and nod, ok? :)
Other exciting things are in the pipeline, though they have little to do with current projects, and more to do with long term plans. I'll talk more about 'em when they're more solidified.
I've been thinking about my knitting, as I am wont to do.
I realized that once I knew someone else knit, I haven't really given any handmade gifts to them (aside from the handspun to Laura).
I think this is the wrong approach. After all, who better to appreciate a well-made item than someone who actually understands what goes into making it? My reasoning has always been that "they can probably make it themselves, and probably would want to."
Well, everyone is good at different aspects of the craft. Personally, I love cables, socks and two-strand colourwork really seems to blow my skirts up. I can do lace, and can enjoy it, but I'm not totally in love with it, as evidenced by my half-finished shawl that I wandered off from sometime in May. Since that time, I've tended towards comfort-based projects; things I can knit on in the dark, or without being glued to a pattern. I tend to knit as a means to keep my hands busy whilst being social, when I'm on the road, or with my yarn shoved into my bag as I wait for someting. You know, activities that involve being distracted and interrupted a lot, which lace has no patience for.
Maybe this winter I'll have some time at home where I'm sufficiently relaxed to be reabsorbed into fiddly projects.
And in the meantime, maybe I could think about actually making gifts for my crafty friends. Just because you can do it yourself probably doesn't mean you wouldn't enjoy the occasional pressie. Just a thought.
For I've just finished knitting the third Baby Surprise Jacket.
I'm a woman obsessed.
But who is about to be distracted. My sister and brother in law both have this hat. Jen has it in purple, Brian has it in black. They've requested it for Gavin in navy. What kind of a doting aunt would I be if I were to ignore this request?
(Never you mind how I heartlessly gave up on the duckie blanket. I just haven't felt like crocheting for the last couple...years.)
I'll be modifying the pattern a little bit, to make it a little less...tall. Just trust me on this. Unless you happen to be a conehead, there is no call for having that third layer so damn tall. Maybe I'll even remember to take a picture, though I'm not holding my breath on it. I suck at remembering to actually photograph things before sending them off into the wild.
So, I know that we are all loath to comment, but I'm looking for input. As I said yesterday, I am not in love with my knitting project. Maybe if it wasn't in black, it wouldn't be so damn boring, but I want a black cardigan.
Thus, I have found options. Please to be making with the voting.
Nifty circle cardigan. It would be fiddly as hell, and I'd have to mess with gauge a little, but it's interesting. Honeycomb cardigan. The sample colour is quite dark, so hopefully it'd work in black. I like the shaping. POCKETS! I friggin' love pockets. I have a rant about how corporate America is actually trying to kill off all female workers by not enabling them to have pockets to carry cell phones in, so we'd never get those nifty "the world is ending, duck and cover!" messages that get sent out. ...Maybe this comes from me working with the gov't too long. Anyway. Pockets are good. Lace. Would work with black, though it would still be fiddly, as, well, LACE. Cross-hatch cardigan. Similar to the honeycomb, but no pockets. Feather and fan. I'd make the sleeves longer, as I do not want 3/4 sleeves for my cardigan, dammit. More lace. This is actually the correct gauge, and intended for cotton, so there are two points in favour of it. I'd have to make it shorter, as I don't have as much yarn as they want me to have. Pointy lace. It'd work in black. Amber. This is pretty much exactly the shape I'm looking for, though I don't know if I'd dig out beads for it or not. Beads are fiddly, but...shiny!
Between a flurry of hats, and the third incarnation of the Baby Surprise Jacket that I've made in the last month or two; I've been trying to work on a cardigan.
It is a very practical cardigan. Because my prior work cardigan finally gave up the ghost, I decided to replace it with a handmade version. Thus, it is black. Cotton/bamboo blend, which is nice and soft, and not too oppressively warm for the workplace. As I know myself pretty darn well, I know that where my creative impulse dies is when I have to actually hem up projects. Thus, I've decided that knitting the thing with as few seams as possible is a good idea. And it is a good idea.
The problem is that it's deadly boring. I knit one impossibly long row, sigh, and put it down. There is a bit of lace, which means that I'm failing to memorize the pattern entirely, and it necessitates actually looking at my work. It isn't as fiddly as cabling, nor a totally lacey pattern, and it has a lot of working through the back of stitches. It isn't hard, but it isn't really fun, either. Again, practical.
Either this will be a long-term project, or I need to find a different pattern that grabs me a bit more. This has the finished look that I want, but dear gods. Just shoot me.
Yes, I've been spending a lot of quality time with my loom lately. I've managed to strain the tendon in my left elbow, so whilst letting the darn thing rest, I've found that having my elbow constantly bent doesn't feel good. You know, like when one is, oh, knitting.
Fie on you, gimpy elbow. Fie.
In the meantime, I'll be over here, with my wheel and my loom, bein' all old fashioned and such. Just as soon as I utilize the interwebs a little more. Lack of advanced technology can only go so far, you know.
So. I've gotten to the point in the knitting process where I was finally able to try the cardigan on yesterday. I'd finished knitting the yoke and shoulders and lo, when I put the sweater on...the arms are too long. Like, way too long. I don't have palms when I have this sweater on.
Unfortunately, due to the Clever As Hell (tm) nature of the pattern, in order to fix this...uh...I'd have to pull out about 1/4 of my work. I'd have to tear back to before I had joined the arms, then shorten the arms individually, then do all of the work of the join/yoke/shoulders/half of hood that I already have knit.
I don't know if I have it in me to do this.
I also don't know if I will want to wear a sweater that doesn't fit. The sleeves have a fancypants flare to them at the bottom, so if I tore back that way, it'd take away that part. Also, I'm not sure if I can do that or not. (Oh, I know I could, I'm just being wibbly.)
So, I need input.
Continue to knit, knowing that I will hate the end result?
Tear back a week's worth of work, with the concern that after I do that, the will to knit this sweater will likely be sucked right out of me and it'll end up on the UFO pile indefinitely?
Or try to mess with the bottom of the sleeves to make them a more acceptable length, cute flared sleeve be damned?
Or is there another option that I'm not thinking of?
Edit: After knitting a quick test swatch, I can tear back the sleeves from the bottom. It'll be fiddly and tedious but hey, I knit. Fiddly and tedious is what I do. It's *repeating myself* (be it via speech or re-doing work that I already did once) that is so disheartening to me. I can deal with a little less fancy sleeve bottoms.
I wonder why nearly every pattern for monkey toys I can find to knit ends up being terrifying.
I'm quietly relieved that this pattern is no longer available for download, as the one on the right has...well...apparently Lovecraft designed that monkey. Monkey faces should not resemble lady bits quite so closely.
This isn't too bad, though the finished objects that people posted pictures looked NOTHING like this.
This appears to be a monkey/pig crossbreed. At least it isn't nightmare inducing.
Apparently this monkey is also a vampire, judging by that widow's peak.
This has potential, but only if you apparently figure out some short row deal on the face. The third monkey isn't too bad, but the one with the hat on it seems to be posed like it's trying to be sexy, which is disturbing to me.
DEAD MONKEYS! They'd be cute, if their little eyes weren't x's.
I found a dog pattern in a book that I think could be converted relatively easily. It'll be a gift, so I'm not really aiming for that kind of mental scarring.
Oh, and as an update on the blue cardigan; I'm up to nearly the top of the yoke, and will be working on the shoulders soon. I love this sweater, for it requires no seaming up. The body is knit in one bit to a point, you knit the sleeves, then join the whole shebang together and continue on up. Admittedly, it now weighs approximately a ton of wool/alpaca blend, but I think the stitch definition and drape is going to be quite lovely. It will be perfect for cold days. I'm debating if I should make the hood or not...I'll probably try it on and figure out once I've finished the shoulders. This thing knit up stupidly fast, considering I cast on less than a month ago. Ah, the joys of projects!
I've got two different sock patterns on the needles, (this and this) and really just want to knit another pair of these. (I've knit two pairs. I'm in love with this pattern.) It's not anything against these two patterns; it simply is the fact that neither of them are blind knitting, and that's what I need. That leads me to...
I splurged and bought some of this (in the quenko sky colour; the actual colour is darker than the photo) for this. Now, you know how sometimes projects just flow from one's fingers as smooth and easily as breathing? This didn't start out that way. Not even a little bit. I had to tear back twice due to inability to read the chart, and I still had to fudge it a bit after I figured out that I still couldn't read, but no longer gave a darn. Once I got the pattern established, it knits up like nobody's business. It has been a long darn time since I've knit with chunky weight yarn; it is so satisfyingly zippy!
After sitting down and forcing myself to spin a yarn that is somewhere between aran and chunky (and really not enjoying it very much, but there was a lot of wool and I wanted to BE DONE with it), I've returned to spinning nice and fine. I'm spinning up some of my hand-dyed rambouillet, which, when properly rinsed out, is glorious. It requires quite a bit of twist, as it's a very sproingy fibre, but I should be getting a decent amount of yardage out of the 100g I have. I split it into 50g hanks so I can ply it against itself. (OMG! 2 ply! Not Navajo! Will wonders never cease?!) As much as I love Navajo plying, I want a finer finished product, so 2 ply is the way to go.
I bet you have missed these posts, haven't you? :p
Enough with the Fibre! On to the Wonder! To liven things up, I'll tell you a few horrifying Things Wot Have Happened To Me at Ren Faire This Season.
In the "Oh dear, I'm going to go crawl into a hole and die now" Category: I was tying a woman into a corset, and had just finished doing up the busk. Now, there's a lot of Nature in our tent. Lots of wiggly Nature. Sometimes that wiggly Nature gets to where it shouldn't be. As I look down to inspect my work, I'm horrified to observe that it appears that this lovely lady has a bit of Nature that is in her cleavage. I make a non-committal "Ah, my dear, I think you've got a..." and gesture towards her chest. "No. That's a mole." Oh. Oh dear. I've just tried to pluck a mole off of a woman. *facepalm*
In the "Let's horrify the customers" Category: Speaking with another woman about the glories of our corsets vs. other corsets, and the following phrase comes from my lips. "Ah, you see, our corsets are different! Our corsets are...COVERED IN SPIDERS!" *brushed spider off of hand, unfortunately directly at the woman, who screeched and backed away* (It was a Daddy Longlegs, we've got an army of them, and are nearly immune to their constant creepy crawliness.)
There was also a woman with a certain...let's just say "aura" around her. It was nearly palpable. An impression that is not soon forgotten. She was...interesting. *twitch*
Let's just say is quickly now: ThankgodsforFebreeze.
2 more weekends to go! I've had a lot of fun so far, and even if some days I'd rather be knitting, at least I still get to play with string *somehow*. :)
This last weekend brought the most wonderful time of the year again. That's right; Maryland Sheep and Wool. I don't celebrate holidays, and I'm not much of a shopper. I think the amount of glee that I get out this event is why; I use up all of my shopping in one fell swoop and I'm done for another year. (Unless I could get to another fluff festival, where I'd totally do it all over again.)
Laura and Jennie came up from Atlanta to join us for my annual pilgrimage to Mecca...er...West Friendship, MD. We also met Dave and Brittany at the show, and I had a lovely time with my fluff posse.
Unlike previous years, I had a budget. A nice budget. A budget containing the money that I've been earning by working my fingers to the bone tying women into corsets. Even better, it was a cash budget. When there was no more cash, there were no more purchases. It was a lovely way to operate. The credit card never had to leave the wallet, and I loved it.
Of course, there were a few hiccups...we ran into some intensely retarded traffic going through Tyson's Corner, and ended up missing out on introducing the girls to Colleen (and seeing her myself, pout pout). And when leaving the show, the cops wouldn't let us go left, claiming there was a horrific backup that way. So, we went right; the way we didn't know. The way that a certain sugar-crashing amazonian type insisted would take us to places that we would never go to. Jennie was trying to be helpful with her GPS, but by that point, Daven and I had both reached the "No, we are large and dumb and we will FIGURE THIS SHIT OUT, DAMMIT." point of the day. We eventually got on the correct road and ended up at the same "hideously backed up" intersection. ... So, either these cops had never seen traffic in their lives, or 20 cars was a big backup that necessitated our going way the hell out of the way for. So much hate. So much. Grr. We eventually escaped the "terrible" traffic and got some food at our favoured Mexican joint in Vienna. Food and drinks. Mm. Drinks.
Anyway! The actual festival part!
We got there around 12:30, and Daven kindly offered to park the car whilst we scampered out to start the perusal 'o stuff. As there really was horrible traffic at that point, we went for it. Some 20-30 minutes later he finally rejoined us, after parking waaaaaay off in BFE. I must say, this is the fourth year I've been, and it was the most packed I've seen it. This, with the threat of rain looming over us all day! I can't imagine what madness would have occurred if it'd been sunny.
We saw many lovely things. Highlights include: jewelry made out of antique cutlery, a beautiful spinning wheel that was going up for auction that I valiantly resisted, a felted yurt with incredible wet-felting going on inside (this was Art, man), giant sheep that looked like small cows and bellowed like death metal singers, and, of course, an incredible amount of gorgeous fluff and string.
We hit a few standards; the giant eclairs (shared between Jennie, Laura and myself; Dave and Britt each got one on their own, and Daven stood watch to make sure no ninjas attacked us and took our fried sweets), the funnel cake, and the corn dogs. Because I love me some fried fair food, y0.
I've got a picture of most of what I've bought, which I'll try to upload at some point. For now, the list: Sock yarn: 2 Skeins from Creatively Dyed Yarn, one that is bright orange/red and one that is bright red/black variegated. 2 skeins from Tess, one deep forest green tonal and one chestnut tonal. (Surprise! That's all of the yarn I bought all day!) Fluff: 2 oz baby camel down. 2 oz yak (softer than anything I could possibly imagine). 2 oz cashmere/silk blend that is to die for. 3lb 9oz of unprocessed black/dark brown alpaca fleece. 4 undyed silk hankies. (Actually, all of the fiber that I bought was all natural coloured; I can dye my own now, thanks.) Spinning: I got another drop spindle, made out of some beautiful wood with an incredible grain to it, as well as a little ebony. It spins like a dream, and I was trying out all of my delicate fibres that I'd picked up over the course of the day with it. Jewelry: (This was a surprise category.) 1 pair of spinning wheel dangly earrings that I couldn't resist, and a ram's head necklace for Daven. Food: In addition to the fried delights, we also picked up a metric buttload of jam (6 jars) from the Lion Potter, who does wonderful things with jam. Also, apple butter. Household: Art! I bought 3 prints from the sheep artist that I'd been admiring for years. (Not that we can hang artwork in our current house, but when we move, stuff is going back up on our walls.) We picked up two sheepskins, as after spending an evening wrapped up in a sheepskin many moons ago, I decided I wanted one. There's one incredibly soft "cheapie sheepie" chestnut coloured skin that we're not sure what we'll do with, but it was too soft and too cheap to turn down. (We were a bad influence; almost everyone we were with bought a skin from that place.) Then there's the luxurious long, fluffy black sheepskin that I want to poke a hole in and attach a button to and have a really ridiculous (but warm) shawl.
All in all, this was a totally different shopping experience than what I've done in the past. The first two years were all about the yarn. Last year was mostly about the yarn, but also turned out to be about the spinning wheel, and buying a lot of lower-quality fluff that I felt like I could handle. This year was more about high quality items that I'd lusted after last year, but didn't feel like a good enough spinner to buy. To quote the Yarn Harlot in her Sheep and Wool Festival guide on Knitty: "Buy the best that you can afford." This year I did, and I don't regret a single bit of it. :)
With my recent obsessive reading up on Vikings, it was only a matter of time before I tried my hand at naalbinding. (Vikings did not knit. They tied extremely complicated knots with the assistance of one large needle. Totally different.)
Luckily, I came across this handy website, which pretty much spells out how to do it in very easy terms. Once you get going, it goes pretty quickly, though I've not made anything more than something the size of a quarter. It is fun, though I'm not sure what I'll do with it.
I learned last night/this morning that there is such a thing as too much knitting, as evidenced by the pain I had in the top of my left hand when pinching. I've been a good girl and laid off the knitting today. Which means, of course, that I spent an hour or two spinning the random bits of fluff I'd dyed as samples, and have returned to the kitchen for more Adventures in Dyeing(TM).
This has been a spectacularly underwhelming week, so I decided that coping was best achieved by knitting like a mad woman (ok, there was a lot of WoW, too), thus the hurty hand.
Due to some contractual issues last Friday, I got sent home from work, and didn't receive word to return until Thursday. This of course came when I've been having some nuclear powered PMS and am generally an unpleasant person to be around. Stress and unhappiness caused me to lash out/vent at someone who didn't deserve it, and though I hope I've smoothed over the ruffled feathers, it was quite the indicator that I was on the edge and lacking in control.
When I'm lacking in control, I take what I can get. In this case, I cast on this in this. (No beads, as I didn't have any on hand and wasn't willing to wait to get some.) The gauge is all wonky, since the handspun isn't very even, but I'm still enjoying the hell out of knitting something somewhat complicated with yarn I spun myself.
Since the last post (dear gods, it's been a while), I've knit a pair of 2x2 stripey socks for a friend of mine, another fish hat for Dave (stripey, because I'm a little obsessive with stripes just now), a single black/flamey stripey sock for myself, another sock and a half in some hand painted yarn that Darcy and I dyed a while back, re-finished the sock for Daven that I'd had a fit and torn out the foot on, knit a kerchief for my friend 'drea and spun a few batts of fluff that I'd made more reasonable on my drum carder a while back. (I have a plan for this yarn, assuming it turns out reasonably.)
I've got a backlog of stuff to make for people (that craft meme thing where I owe 4 more folks crafty things, in addition to agreeing to knitting a couple of hats for another friend and and and... gah!), it is of course totally reasonable to start working on a shawl. Honest.
And back to the dyeing. I've got plans involving playing with blending, we'll see how those go. Oh, and I've got the saga of taking my first raw fleece from bag 'o goat to something reasonable to look at, but that's a story for another post.
I don't know why, but I suck at baby hats. Invariably, they either fit me or are so incredibly tiny that they'd cause an orange brain damage via compression.
Just because the gift I've been working on somewhat revolves around a baby hat, I was very confident in achieving my goals.
Oops. Too small. *frog*
Too big. *frog*
This one seems to have the shaping right, but it fits me, and I have no need of it. *frog*
*contemplates, decides to simply knit a beanie, and then add on from there*
Amazingly, the beanie works. It doesn't fit my wee head, but won't turn the recipient into a conehead.
Now, to add the shaping. Short rows sound good...look good for quite a while, until the last few steps, at which point it all looks like hell and I'm frustrated and pissed off again. I have one more idea left in me, and then I'm just going to rip all of the shaping out and simply send a plain beanie and no explanation why it doesn't look right.
Nothing like wasting most of a day working on something (really, I was very single minded in it) and having it Not. Work.
I was reminded by my darling husband that the sweater I had knit him oh so many moons ago had no collar. This came up because there was this cold snap, ya'see, and a huge heating bill and, well, we're trying to remedy the one of those that we can control. Our (rented) house is huge, and though all of the other levels stay nice and toasty, the one that we actually spend most of our time in is bloody Baltic. So, abruptly, a sweater was a very desirable thing for him to wear. Without the collar, it looked like he'd escaped from an ill-conceived 80's flick, so collar it was.
Of course, I forgot one important thing about collars: stretchy bind-offs. What had previously slipped effortlessly over his head abruptly stopped at his temples and he made sad, muffled noises about being trapped forever in a sweater. Fiiiine, whiner. Tear back bind off. Try same bind off on bigger needles. Now it got to his ears. Swear excessively about not learning from my own mistakes. Knit a swatch and try a different bind off, as the yarn was getting to that point where I really only had one more knit left in it before it started being problematic. Success, albeit somewhat frilly success. I decided I did not care. I queried the husband as to his state of caring, he seconded that he did not care, was simply cold and would like his sweater now. I slipped it over his head to make sure it fit, and lo, I was pleased to see it went over his head. I asked "Does it come off easily? No, nevermind, I don't care. You're wearing it forever." More whining, and we figured out that yes, it fit, came off and on easily, and no, it didn't look frilly when being worn. Hooray!
Continuing in the "finished" vein, I finally used up all of the warp on the loom. This was a goal prior to having many people in my home, as the loom has been transported up to the craft room, instead of hanging out in the middle of the living room where it had become accustomed to residing. Now, I have many, many tiny knots in my near future, but I have more options on how to make the tiny knots look awesome due to (of course) my faboo SiL and her imparting a crapload of fantastic info sources to me over Christmas. (And our visit, too. She gave me a great book that she knit swatches for, and can't wait to try some of the techniques in it out!)
So, yay! Finished a few things (including the fun stripey socks that I bestowed on Heather, as when we'd visited she showed off her stripey socks and noted that they were already wearing out. This was Unacceptable as a knitter and friend, so socks had to be made!), and haven't cast anything new on as of yet. We'll see how long that lasts...
Things that I do not love: Short row heels on socks. They leave this weird little nubbin of loose fabric at the very bottom of the heel that drives me insane. Short row toes. I actually like the technique, but I don't like the look or fit. Socks that call for both a short row heel and short row toe that leave a big weird seam to kitchener on the bottom of the foot of the sock. I don't care how good of a kitchener it is. It feels weird and looks bad to me. Tearing out a sock after hating it quietly for the better part of a year and refusing to knit its mate out of sheer stubbornness. The fact that I cannot get 2 matching socks made for Daven out of 100g of yarn. Grr. Finally getting all of the peices in place to start dyeing like a madwoman, and feeling singularly uninspired. Meh. When a simple plying project goes well 75% of the way through, then turns into a mess.
Things I do love: My new toy. Last weekend I picked up a Strauch "Finest" drum carder, and it is oodles of fun. I was cheerfully blending random things from my stash, and I'm loving the batts I'm getting. "Well, there isn't enough of this superwash fluff to do anything with, and it's the same colour family as this crappy roving that I bought off of etsy, but when their powers combine, I get fluffy batt of super improvedness!" My sister-in-law, who is a fabulous crafter buddy and an all-around awesome person. My husband, who dragged his laptop up into the fluff room so he could sit with me as I used my drum carder and listened as I squee'd about the results a lot. He also attacked the bathtubs with bleach this morning, so that's good, too. (Mostly. Bleach hurts mah brains.) Pretty much getting over the fear of altering patterns. If I don't like an aspect of a pattern, and I can adjust it without changing the entire nature of the project, I can bloody well change it so that I actually enjoy working it. These totally simple, yet intensely satisfying and fun, socks that I'm knitting. The new 1x1 rib/2 row stripe scarf that I'm making to use up the fiery yarn I bought at MD Sheep and Wool a couple of years back. This will match my floompy brioche beret. Waterbears. Just 'cuz.
Navajo plying. I just love it to bits. I love the roundness of the finished yarn, I love the trickiness of doing it, and I love only needing two bobbins to get finished yarn. As someone with a whole whack of bobbins that were (until last weekend) full of lots of lonely singles that didn't go with each other, navajo plying is the awesome answer.
How bad was it? I plied until I reclaimed 6 of my 8 bobbins. I have a short attention span when it comes to crafts, so I kept trying Neat New Fluff (tm), and then not making anything that corresponded with it. This ranged from some relatively heavy teal/purple mystery fibre, to a super-fine spun natural mohair/jacob blend, and the first of the fibre sent from the fluff of the month club I joined. (Mohair/alpaca/tussah/tencel blend that is just lovely and soft. Can we say "yum"?) I'm most impressed with the results of the latter; it is the first handspun that I've made that if I came across in a store, I'd contemplate buying. It's still not perfect, but I'm getting a helluva lot better. Squee!
On the "bitch bitch bitch" front, the huge bump of fluff I bought on Dec 22nd is still not here. *twitch* I really prefer not to misplace very large, expensive packages that certain expecations hinge on. USPS is non-helpful, as their last update was on Dec 27th as "Acceptance", and then it was eaten by their system. I did send an email to the woman I bought it from to see if she had any experience in terms of how long it normally took for stuff to get from Washington state to Virginia, but I've not heard back from her yet. Even taking the holiday into account, there has been 10 USPS business days from then until now and unless they are shipping it via donkey, it should bloody well be here by now. *fume* I am stymied, and I do not like it one bit.
Continuing in the irritation, I started spinning the red/dark red fluff I dyed, and it is sticky. Really sticky. And did I mention that my hands go all red after I spin with it? Insufficient rinsing. Meh. So, I'm re-rinsing (with the goo I forgot to use last time) to get the rest of the dyed fluff into a reasonable state. An astonishing amount of dye remained. It'll take some trial and error on my part to make sure things are better in the future. Of course, I'll do the chemical'y rinse right after the fluff comes out and has cooled down, so I don't have to keep re-drying it in my middle floor bathroom. I'm learning, but without new supplies, it makes things a little more difficult.
Back on the "yay" front, Daven and I head down to visit Darcy tomorrow, which I'm really looking forward to. Geeking and big new toy and wine tasting and a yarn store visit. It should be a lovely weekend. :)
Way back in November, I was weaving away, and I screwed up my pattern. I went "feh, I'll get around to it later." Since I've returned, "later" continued to be "not now". Weeks passed. Visitors came to the house, ooh'ed at the loom and asked if I'd been working on it recently. I'd hem and haw and mumble about the pattern screw-up, then mention it'd be very tedious to tear back the 5" or so of the pattern to make it weavable again.
Eventually, after the third round of guests to ask about it, there was a firmly planted seed of discord in the back of my mind. Today was finally "later". It was tedious, I assure you, even though it wasn't as bad as, say, warping the loom will be.
So, I've finally got a loom that is useful again! I celebrated by weaving a foot or so of the pattern, and accepting that it ain't perfect, but it doesn't have to be. I'm just glad that I can make progress on it again. :)
This fits the person wearing it (I refuse to call her a model) like a feedbag. She's doing some sort of wringing thing with her hands along the bottom hem and...GAH! BAD KNITTER! NO COOKIE!
In other news, I have organized my Stash. This was...humbling. I have a lot of yarn. A lot of it is bad yarn. I need to work on getting what no longer appeals to me out of it. But, it's now organized in such a fashion that I can see damn near all of it. (I have two plastic tubs full of yarn that you can't quite see, but I know what's in there.) I even organized my weaving baskets AND my fibre stash. I feel quite pleased with myself, and inspired to do stuff every time I walk into the stash room. Mostly that stuff has been "clean up", but eventually it should be "make things". It's embarrassing how many projects I've got in my stash, needles and all. I WILL DEFEAT YOU, BENCHED UFOs! Someday. :)