Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A long and wooly journey

Baa, baa, white sheep has the softest wool

trots into the shearing pen unaware.

Snip, snip, the fleece is off

on its way to me.

Wash, wash, must get out the dirt and twigs

and other sheepy little things.

Comb, comb, set the fibers straight

untangled now and ready for the wheel.

Treadle, treadle, push the pedals,

round and round the wheel now turns.

Whirr, whirr, the fibers drawn out

in a line, so soft and white.

Spin, spin, twist it up to

make it strong and not too thin.

Dunk, dunk, in the pot of dye

to turn my white yarn berry red.

Hang, hang it up to dry and wait,

its journey is not over yet.

Knit, knit, round and round

and round some more to make a sweater

Warm, warm enough to block

the winter's chill.

Wrote this poem in English a few weeks ago, and just knew I had to post it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A field trip (in which my knitting gets out and sees the world)

Saturday was Steeplechase, a day of horse races that's a really huge deal around here. Our local newspaper says there were around 35,000 people there this year. Of course, the point of going is not to watch the horses, but to hang out and show off your fancy clothes. Kind of like high-class tailgating.

We got there around 10:00 and set up our tent and table with chips, cheesecake, baked beans, and the usual tailgating munchies (plus some wierd pasta salad that Tita made). We brought along my three best boys Patrick, Tyler, and Jeremy, and had a grand old time walking around and people-watching. I knit a little bit...
...during the few dull moments, on a sock in hand-dyed KnitPicks Bare Essentials. The astute among you may notice that I'm shaking things up a bit with a waffle rib instead of my usual stockinette.

Funny story: Last year at Steeplechase, there was a huge group of drunken college kids in the spot next to us. Now we have a railside spot which is bigger than most, but not big enough for 30-40 drunken college kids. All day they were slowly creeping over to our space and we were getting pretty fed up. Eventually we had the fantastically genius idea to use some of my yarn (black acrylic) to make a barrier and discourage potential invaders. The funny part?

It was still there this year.

In other news, I finally got my package of leftover sock yarn from Shelly!
(Darling that she is threw in some little chocolates.) I got right to work, and now all the squares at the bottom edge of the Blankie are joined together.
This blankie is kinda sorta maybe a little huge. Well, not exactly huge in blankie terms, but bigger than I thought it was going to be. I'm okay with that, though, because I always did want it to be big enough to cover a bed.

First time posting a video, took forever but I knew you guys would love it!


video

(Tyler and Patrick doing a Man Hug)

video

Monday, March 17, 2008

Auntie Em, Auntie Em!

Well we have survived the crazy weather we've had down here in SC and GA this weekend. Saturday night there was a huge storm and a bunch of tornados touched down and did a lot of damage. Our house had zero damage, while many not far from us had trees through their roofs. It's amazing how powerful and how precise wind can be. Gail had a small tornado touch down right next to her house and tore down part of the fence, but didn't even loosen the vinyl siding on the outside walls.

But that's over and done with, moving on to wooly things!

All but one of my awaited packages have arrived, and I've already gotten started on them.
Behold, the wonder that is pure undyed merino top from Hello Yarn. A whole pound of it (with my average-sized spindle thrown in for reference). I actually spread it out on the floor and layed down on it. Well, I was mostly letting it air out, but I really wanted to lay on it.

I started spinning some up for Urchin, a hat from Knitty.com, but I've stalled on that since it turns out that spinning a lumpy yarn on purpose (at least for me) is harder than you'd think. Also, most of my practice yarns have been on the thin side, and I'm not used to letting a lot of fiber in at once. Oh well. Need more practice.

I also got 5 skeins from KnitPicks! The 2 on the right are undyed sock yarn, and the 2 on the left are undyed laceweight.

There's another skein of laceweight that I've already wound up and cast on for the Forest Path Stole. 10 rows of seed stitch take kind of a long time in laceweight.
Last week, Tita and I went to our LYS to cash in our store credit, and I used mine on 7 balls of Elsebeth Lavold Cotton Patine` for Blissful, a halter top from Stitch n Bitch Crochet.

While I was waiting for my packages, I didn't have a whole lot of knitting to do, but one thing I did do was a lot of swatching and experimenting. I decided to knit up the little bit of yarn I spun from the surprise Christmas fiber. I'm really digging the brown/grey/yellow portion, it reminds me of birds. I think I would name a colorway like that "Falcon."

Gail's computer was dead when I went over there today, so I didnt' get my fix of blogs and podcasts. Off to remedy that now!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

*insert obscenities here*

Trying to blog, at a reasonable hour no less, and Blogger decides to not let me upload pictures right now. (*&%^#$*

Monday, March 3, 2008

Spring in My Step

Finished the socks with my hand-dyed self-striping yarn!
I luvs them to death. I just can't get over the stripes, it's like a magic trick. I decided that for this pair, I really did care if they matched. Only had to give up a couple yards of yarn, and the stripes are perfectly aligned.

One thing that was rather aggravating, though, was the heels. I didn't want to interrupt the striping sequence, so I originally planned to do Elizabeth Zimmermann's Afterthought Heel. Started at the toe of the first socks, knit my way merrily up the foot until the place I'd usually start the short-row heel, but instead knitted in a bit of waste yarn that I could take out later and have live stitches for the heel.

Halfway up the leg, however, I decided that I really didn't like the look of an afterthought heel and that I would just do a short row heel, accepting the fact that it would take a bit of grafting. So after I finished the leg(sewn bindoff, a la EZ once again), I picked out the waste yarn and put the live stitches back on the needles. Working from the other end of the ball of yarn, I started short-rowing on the lower half of those live stitches, then Kitchenered the other side of the heel to the upper half of the original live stitches. (Sorry if this doesn't make a lick of sense to some of you, I once again prove myself a moron by forgetting to take pictures of this process.)

So now that I knew I didn't want an afterthought heel, and was even more firmly resolved to have a matching pair of socks, I took a different route on the second sock. Heel and foot as usual, but when I got to the heel, I just knit it as usual, but from the other end of the ball of yarn. Once the heel was done, I just cut the yarn and picked up where I left off with the foot.

(I swear they really are the same size) I can't really tell the difference. The only way I found to distinguish was to turn them inside out and very closely examine the stitches. I think the one on the right is the first one, with all the grafting, but I'm certainly not willing to bet.

Aside from knitting for just a moment, I must introduce my newest obsession:

Yes, it's yogurt. Thick & Creamy Key Lime Pie yogurt! Empty, unfortunately. However, my saint mother went to the grocery store today and we have a lot more in the fridge. I am very likely to have another tonight and will definitely have another in the morning.

Well the first hints of spring are finally in the air down in South Carolina, and lemme tell ya, it couldn't come soon enough for me. (In general) I like cold weather more than hot weather, but I am so sick of winter right now. After Christmas, and down here where we don't have snow or anything, winter is just not fun anymore.

I am responding to the spring "make things" vibe by buying stuff, namely yarn. Yesterday I ordered 2 skeins of undyed sock yarn and 3 skeins of undyed laceweight from KnitPicks, and a pattern to go with the laceweight(the Forest Path Stole, since you asked) from The Alpaca Yarn Company. It's an Interweave pattern, but the issue is sold out and I'm not going to pay $16 for The Best of Interweave Knits when the shawl is one of only 2 or 3 pattern in it that I like.

Also, right after I finish typing this, I'm going to order some undyed merino top from Hello Yarn. After I dye it up, it'll help satisfy my urge to spin something other than my plain brown romney.

I'll have a lot of mail to look forward to for the next few weeks, including the package from Shelly(the Heathen Housewife, see sidebar since I can't get the links right on this blog). You may have heard of Shelly and her sock yarn blanket. If not, go see it right now, it's amazing. She just finished last week(or maybe the week before) and still has leftovers. She said on her blog that she'd love to give them away to anyone else knitting a sock yarn blankie, and I am one of the 6 or so people who responded. I sent her my address a few days ago and I can't wait to see what she sends me!