Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Slowly I turn, step by step: a post in which my reader can watch me go slowly insane.

Actually I think this blog is one protracted journey through mental instability. But that’s a prerequisite for grad school I think.

Well, blogger spent about a week arguing with me, so my post is waaay overdue. Here it is finally, with updates in parentheses for added excitement. I think I win the prize for most parenthetical statements in one post! An entire day’s worth (and two skeins of Zara) of knitting wasted. That’s what I spent last week on: the marley’s ghost. Yet Zara is superwash. Yay for ballbands! So no felting for me. I had to start over, with my own handspun (see last blog entry on this) so here is the new version of marley's ghost that I call "cadenas en fuego"-fiery chains. I’m very happy…now. It felted up beautifully, it’s long enough to wear, plus it’s sassy and fun. I think the boss will like it. (update: the boss loved it) Now if I can just spin enough of the merino and silk for the other boss’s scarf, wash it, knit it and then block it before Monday, I’ll be just fine (update: I did not, but it was ok and I did finish the other project noted below). Also, here are pics (FINALLY) of the Madiera Leaf Lace stole. This stitch is a traditional one, in most stitch dictionaries and is surprisingly easy. I LOVE the magic of blocking, have I mentioned this? I was really worried about how this stole would look, but it bloomed perfectly and opened up to show off the stitches just fine. I had never blocked anything this big before, so it definitely taxed the free space of our small apt. The cats helped. Blocking pins are apparently the most fascinating thing ever! Who knew? I had to fight with our Maine Coon for hours over this stole. I think she slept on it all night. Yay for lint rollers. I added the Willow Leaf border from Victorian Lace Today to each end (not perfectly…there are errors, but the recipient will never notice them and I was too tired to fix them) Have you ever woken up and found you were still knitting? That happened to me with the border of this stole and it shows.

Also I need to do a miniature knitting pin as a last-minute gift. A friend of mine told me about these. They’re small pieces of knitting in progress on miniature short needles mounted onto a pin back. I LOVED the idea and am experimenting with toothpicks and fimotm. I think I’m going to use some of the turquoise malabrigo laceweight, size 0s, the wandering vine pattern, and we’ll see what happens. I think she’ll love it. (update: I used leftover smooshy dream in color from Mom’s Hedera socks, and did a basket weave pattern because I was exhausted and it was 11:30 at night. So sue me. She still loved it. The needles were not toothpicks, but rather the sawed-off ends of those paper drink umbrellas, smoothed with sandpaper. They worked beautifully. Unfortunately no pics. Maybe I’ll take some when she wears it) So all this has to happen before Monday. In addition to cleaning the house, doing laundry, and actually getting some of MY work done. Oh, and throw in a holiday party or two and you’ve got a great recipe for nervous exhaustion, no? (Hey, I did most of it, had the parties, cleaned the house and didn’t collapse on the fainting couch. All is relatively well! Now I just have to finish the Weasley sweater—I’m done with the back and working on the front—and make a hat. And finish some lace. And re-block Kiri. Before Thursday night. YAY!)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Lacy goodness for all!

The wonders of technology and my inability to make the most of them never cease to amaze me. I finally have some images of kiri, some lace-weight spinning I'm working on, and sundry other things. However the amount of camera wrangling I went through to obtain these mediocre images is truly mind boggling. I haven't said much about kiri because I am a little shy about showing you my first big lace project. Especially since I need to re-block. But I love Polly's pattern, it's so easy and fun and provides a sophisticated shawl with minimal effort. Especially when you use DK weight and size 6 needles. If you've never tried a shawl before, I highly recommend kiri, as so many other ravelers and bloggers have noted. I am almost done with holiday knitting. Can you hear my wrists breathing a sigh of relief? But the big news, dear reader, the big news is I got my solstice present early. Yes, the gf read my mind and splurged. I am now the proud owner of a Strauch petite drum carder. I managed to card up the entire half-fleece I've been working on for weeks with hand cards in only a couple of hours. I have scratched knuckles, pricked fingers (mostly because I ignore directions printed on machinery with ridiculous abandon) and am deliriously happy. The gf told me she thought the real present would be letting me play with it for 2 weeks before we head home for the family holidays. I love her. She really gets it, even though there's not a single fiber lovin' bone in her body. I guess I should say she gets me. As you can see from this picture, one of our furry babies decided she would help me card. She's our little helper girl, this one. Sorry about that image, I took it at night and my best attempts at photoshopping it could not help the humungous glare issue. Kitty cuteness trumps bad glare any day!

So in terms of holiday knitting, I only (HA!) have a sweater, a hat, a marley's ghost scarf, and a shawl to finish. In two weeks. No problem. Did I mention I'm spinning the yarn for marley's ghost? And I have to give it to the recipient in two days? And I'm only about 1/3 of the way done. Because I ran out of yarn. And I haven't spun up more yet. Can you tell what I'll be doing tonight? Ok, enough angst...more yarn. I just bought this, probably one of my last yarn purchases for quite some time, mostly because I couldn't stand knowing there was malabrigo laceweight at the LYS and I didn't try to get some of it for my very own. So here, I give you 2 skeins of fabulous turquoise malabrigo lace. I'm doing the large rectangle with leaf pattern from VLT. I'm only two repeats in and I LOVE the pattern (I have since I bought the book, I just didn't feel ready to tackle it until now) and I am head over heels completely infatuated with this yarn. I won't discuss my thoughts about it on this blog, because they're just too racy. I'll leave it to your imagination. Maybe that's more dangerous....hey, yarn! This is black merino and silver silk spun into a lace-weight single. I'm lovin' this fiber combo. It's prepared rovings from Louet. I bought a whole pound. YUM!

The second image is some cinnamon-colored alpaca I bought at Maryland Sheep and Wool this year. More lace-weight, although I think I'll ply this, would put it more at a fingering or DK weight...but since I like heavier shawls, that's not a problem!

ok, enough with the yarn pron, I'm off for now. I need to re-shoot the madiera lace, it keeps arguing with me about its closeups. Finicky thing!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Snow, blocking, and fun with dpns

My dear reader(s),

just a quick note to let you know there will be pics, lots of fos, and more fun than you can shake a circular at this weekend. When I actually have access to a camera. And time to upload images. But until then, I leave you with this thought: First snow!!!! The hush that settles as the flakes drift. The cruuuunch of your boots in it. That quick bite against your cheek before each petite miracle slowly melts with a kiss. Can you tell I love snow? That is until I have to dig my car out and I'm 20 minutes late for work....
And a bit of wisdom from my first big lace project: it needs to block longer than 4 hours. really. I learned that the hard way this morning (after staying up until 3 am to finish kiri) when I simply HAD to wear it to work. See first snow, above. I will have to soak and re-block tonight, but it was worth it to wear as I walked through the woods to the museum this morning (yes, I really am a lucky girl).
So look for kiri and cadenas en fuego this weekend and maybe one or two more. I'm rollin' rollin' rollin' out the knitted yummies. or maybe that should be "clickin'"? Or "blockin'"? But I digress.