Friday, July 29, 2005

Teaching Spinning

Yesterday our puppy went out on a play date. He and Angus, the other puppy, had lots of fun bounding around and bonding with each other.
The people had fun teaching (and learning) how to use a drop spindle. The friend that owns Angus does lots of crafty stuff and expressed an interest in learning to spin so we brought over some fiber and a handful of spindles. Her daughter also was interested; they both picked it up really quickly.
Angus' owner is shortly going to have a newly borrowed loom. At some point in the near future we will be heading over to visit to show her how to use it. This sounds like great fun, I'm really looking forward to it.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Mobius Puppy Bed II

Earlier this year I had the brilliant idea to knit a 1.5 twist mobius out of silk garden. It didn't work out the way I wanted for the scarf I'd imagined, but I loved the colors. So I ripped it out, started over (twice) and made it into a puppy bed.
My roomate wants a pomeranian, so when the small puppy comes here to live, there will be a puppy that will fit in the bed. The current puppy is much too large to use this as a bed; it almost fits him as a hat!
I didn't post about it when I finished it (in March) because I was being mad at Blogger. I'm posting about it now because it went on a field trip last night. It came with to EastsideStitchers so someone could see how Silk Garden Felts. She thought it was wonderfully soft and would work for the felted bag she had in mind.
Mine will definitely work for a puppy bed despite being a little floppy. I should have expected that silk garden would not felt into a particularly sturdy fabric, as a matter of fact, I did. The sides are plenty sturdy, they're made out of Cascade 220 which felts wonderfully. The bottom is a gorgeous pinwheel of the silk garden, it just tends to buckle...
I think this could have been worked around by using the Cascade for the first inch or two of the bottom. That should have been enough to lend it some of the stability that it is currently lacking.

Mobius Basket

The finished mobius basket came out of the loom room last night to have its glamour shots taken before it goes off to its new home. My sister's birthday has come and gone, but I called and got permission to give her present to her when she was in town for a math conference this month. Despite the extension of the due date, I only got one of the baskets finished. The other one has not actually been seen since early spring. This is particularly annoying since it has a pair of my Denise needles in it.

A note to the Mobius Basket:
I know you think I don't love you, but I do. I'm not just saying this so you'll give me my needles back (though I really do miss them). If you come back I'll finish you and send you off to live with your twin. I really do believe there's room in her heart for both of you and if you hadn't run off we'd all get to find out next week. However, since you've not poked your head out from under whatever pile you're hiding in lately, the darker basket gets a head start. Please come back.
-The knitter

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Secret Pal 5 - Package 3

I got a wonderful space themed package from my secret pal over the weekend. She sent a fabulous set of goodies, 2 skeins of recycled silk wool yarn in a fascinating olive green color, a CD of space themed music and a cd case that matches the yarn, a mini-DVD of the first Invader Zim episode, some entertaining glow-in-the-dark star and moon stickers, a needle case with a set of double points and a 40" denise extender cable in it, and last, but not least, a lovely glass topped metal tin filled with yummy chocolate chip cookies (that looked like the moon) and some fudge.
It was a fabulous package..
I've taken a picture of the contents and eaten almost all the cookies. Some day soon, I might even figure out how to use the GIMP and crop the pictures so I can post them.

Weaving the second fancy twill shawl

I am back at the loom again! I've had this project on the big loom (an 8 harness Macomber) since spring quarter 2003 when I did my last work at the UW. I've not made much time to work on it, mostly because the pattern as I was originally planning to weave it had a 400-some thread treadling repeat. Can you say ridiculous? It took me an excell sheet charted to each thread and a magnet board to keep track of it when I was doing the first portions during school and it just wasn't worth it to do it again.
So I decided not to do the second set of skirt panels at all. We hadn't been pleased with how the skirt worked up. It was gorgeous, but rather clunky due to the stabilizers we used to make sure the handwoven panels wouldn't fray. And the shawl with the complex twill panels was gorgeous, but not worth it.
So now, 2 years later, I've finally set myself down to weave just the center fancy twill for the entire length of this second shawl. I'll give the first one to my roomate as a reward for her never-ending patience. She's said more than once that if she didn't love me, she would have already mutinied and taken over the warp for another project. I'll keep this one for myself and everyone will be happy.
When this shawl is off the loom, she will have the rest of the warp, threaded as a simple pointed twill, to do whatever she wants with. Should be interesting. We were talking about making fabric for rennaisance faire garb or accessories. This may have changed, but I don't much care at the moment. I just want to conquer my second shawl.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Second Clapotis I

Since I'm not working on my feather and fan shawl in class any more, I started a Clapotis for my roomate. It's being made out of Mountain Colors' Mountain Goat in a lovely dark blue, I think the color is called Larkspur. It's winding up bigger and softer than mine did. This isn't much of a suprise since mine (knitted during winter quarter while listening to Nursing Assistant lectures) was done in Bearfoot, Mountain Colors' sock yarn. I used the 8's the pattern called for last time and liked the hand, so this time around with a slightly larger yarn, I'm using a size 9's. We'll see how it turns out. It already seems like it's going to be larger than the first one, I hope 3 skeins is enough.
Aside from that, there's not too much going on here. I'm at the fire department for another (hopefully) quiet day volunteering and I need to get an essay written. It's due tonight. Bad, procrastinating is not good for the stress levels...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Corkscrew Scarf II

The corkscrew scarf is finished. It took me one class longer than I thought it would, but it's still a nice quick project. All I have left to do is weave in the ends.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Feather and Fan III

So I'm still working on my "guage swatch." No real suprise there, it takes a whole lot of time to knit up an entire ball of Zephyr.
At any rate, I was working on it during my economics class and thought everything was going well. When I picked it up a day later waiting for lunch I noticed that about 16 rows back I'd worked a pattern row, a knit row and another pattern row. I was supposed to have had two more rows between the pattern rows. The row pattern is supposed to be pattern, knit, knit, purl, pattern. After a day I decided to pull it back to the problem and work it again. Whee, away goes about three hours of work.
(I meant to take a picture of it at the knitting group last night, but I forgot, and I've ripped it so I no longer have the mistake availiable to photograph.. bother!)
I put the live stitches onto a lifeline and then picked up the stitches a row below the problem with a tapestry needle to put in another lifeline. That went well and I got all the stitches picked up without incident. Just for fun I spread out the shawl to see how big it was. It's almost 2 yards across! I'm not going to get it to square... (I only have about 1/3 of the ball left and it's only 15 or so inches tall.
I want to keep going until I run out of yarn and I'll decide what to do after that. I'm thinking a double border, but will need to dig through the pattern books to figure out which patterns to use.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Corkscrew Scarf - Instant Gratification

At class last Thursday I started a Corkscrew Scarf from Teva Durham's Loop-d-Loop. I'm using the yarn she called for Berroco Quest in a lovely dark green. I had the forethought to photocopy the pattern and the instructions for short rows (as a reminder since it's been a while). What I didn't think to print out was the instructions for knitting backwards that I got from Southern Cross Knitting a couple months ago. With a row of just 10 stitches (less on the short rows), not having to turn the piece would have been very convenient.
But since I noticed this after I got to class, and I didn't bring an extra project, I just kept knitting turning it every couple of stitches. The yarn was not a dream to work with. It's a knitted tube of a fairly snaggy material, but the halo that it's supposed to have helps to hide the snags, but I found it best to be careful as I was forming each of the stitches.
Over the course of a 3 hour class, I got almost all of one ball finished. I'm pretty pleased, most of my projects aren't anywhere near this instant gratification. (for example I've been working for about a month on the feather and fan guage swatch that betrayed me in class on Tuesday, but more on that later)
On Friday I brought it with me to lunch with my parents and tried to work on it. Unfortunately my guage was off. I was quite a bit more relaxed and it showed in my guage. Since I can reasonably expect my next class to put me on edge I'll work on it on Tuesday and might even get it finished!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Berry Patch Shawl (or BSG IV)

I forgot to mention my most striking accomplishment from BSG.
I started my first major project from my own handspun yarn.
A while back, I purchased some custom blended fiber from Bountiful Spinning and Weaving when I bought my wheel from them. It's the color way called Berry Patch. In May or so, I spun it to a light worsted weight and planned to make a shawl, but hadn't quite gotten around to it.
I know worsted's a little heavy for a shawl, but it will be warm and cuddly. (In reality it wasn't so much a decision as the result of my not having much control with my wheel combined with wanting to do a project that didn't require sampling, so I took what I got and spun up the whole 4 ounce batch.
It is, as expected, rather heavy and so the yarn didn't cover as much ground as I wanted to, but in the weekend at BSG (and one ride to work the next week), I knit the entire ball of yarn into a triangle that barely covers my shoulders.
Since that's a bit small for a shawl, I'm going to be using purple cascade 220 to knit a lacy border to go around it and make it the size that I'd originally been hoping for. I have yet to decide what sort of a lace pattern I'm going to use, probably something simple as the main body of it is a simple horizontal rib.
Any suggestions?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Black Sheep Gathering III

Q: What did I get at Black Sheep?
A: Too much stuff!

But I love it all and am very happy about it.

I purchased 4 spindles, an assortment of fibers and 2 books from Galina Khmeleva at Skaska. The books were Gossamer Webs and Please to the Table. Please to the Table is the best Russian Cookbook I have seen and is only recently back in print.
I have 8 ounces of red wool dyed by Mountain Colors from Village Spinning and Weaving, the same table that had the niddy noddy and inkle shuttle with the woodburned stick figure on them. I've been looking for a full sized niddy noddy from that company for 2 years and now I have one! Huzzah!
I also found a number of miniature shuttles from the same company as we found at Lakeside Fibers in Madison, Wisconsin last summer. Those were bought from Carolina Handspun along with a 5-needle needle-felting-thingy, a crosspatch creations bat of fiber, a book on needle felting, and a skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Meadow.
From Blackberry Patch (farm?) I bought some lovely dyed locks of wool and both my roomate and I got treats for our secret pals.
From Simply Natural I bought pinky-purple natural dyed roving, one is bombyx/merino, the other tussah silk which I intend to ply with each other for a shawl.

That is the extent of my purchases. K's friend bought fleeces which she sent parts of home with us. We will be trading her something not yet specified for them. I am particularly looking forward to playing with the mohair that she sent with us. There are a couple naturally colored wool fleeces that should also be fun to play with.

The very first morning there (ie: Saturday) we watched the proprietor of DyeLots! give a presentation on spinning silk. She gave us a coccoon to attenuate and spin and I did, it's not much, but I spun it. She also gave us a layer of dyed hanky which I have not yet worked with, it's jumbled together and hopefully will still be useable when I get around to it. The presentation was very inspiring, I'd love to dye and spin some hankies or bells, the only question is when!

At noonish (whenever it opened) we went into the fleece sale to look at it during the viewing portion of things. T and I left before they started selling fleeces because we didn't need one to follow us home!

That evening we went to the potluck, it's always fun trying to feed K at a potluck, but there were things there he would eat so all was well. We sat in the winning portion of the tent for the raffle drawings, it's a shame we didn't buy any tickets, maybe we would have won something... oh wait, we stopped buying things because we were going to have to tie the dog to the roof rack, maybe winning something wouldn't have been such a red-hot idea!

Sunday we wandered some more, picked up some last purchases and got spinning advice from Galina (see earlier post). Then T went outside to knit and sort things and I listened to the presentation on German angora bunnies. The presenter was informative and very opinionated. She believes that the Germans are the best bunnies out there and given the information she presented I understand why. I'm not in the market for a fiber bunny at the moment, but I will seriously consider Germans if that ever changes. (I'll also do some more research as I'm sure the English, Satin and French bunns each have their own equally devoted fan clubs)

Then we headed home. We are blessed with a dog that loves car rides. He sat, perfectly contentedly at my feet in the front passenger footwell for 6 hours each way (more like 8 on the return trip due to weather and traffic). I will love him even if he doesn't get his double coat back this winter... he's wonderful (and puppyfishing is so much fun!)

I'm rambling and I'm supposed to be folding laundry. So off to work I go, and then to bed.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Secret Pal 5 - Package 2

I got a package from my Secret Pal yesterday... no, two days ago.
I've been busy... It is Saturday today, right? I'm not just skipping work because I hope it's the weekend?

She (I'm assuming) sent me Knit Lit 2. The stories in it are a lot of fun. I particularly like the Yarn Harlot's story about knitting and ice skating. (It's the first one in the book, but that's not why it's one of my favorites) I've often thought about bringing my knitting onto the ice with me. So far I've overridden this urge because I actually like ice skating. This not being Canada, skating is not required of all members of productive society. And besides, my coach would KILL me!
I also received a CD that I will be listening to on the bus into work, and a humongous grape lollipop.

MIT Blogging Survey

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Yes, folks, I did it. I'm a sucker for filling out a survey in the name of science (and besides, I think they need their sample to have people that don't do much blogging.... I'm expecting that given the nature of their recruiting methods, their sample will be heavily weighted towards people that do a lot of blogging)

At any rate, it would be neat if more people did it too. It took about 10 minutes to finish, though you will have to wait for them to email you a login before you can start.