Thursday, April 27, 2006

Southwest Washington Adventures

As you probably suspected, I brought more than just the sweater to work on for our trip. There is quite an array of stuff to knit, including a couple of new projects that I thought I’d cast on during this trip.

When I was first spinning yarn, a friend gave me a cotted fleece, a freebie for anybody in our spinning group willing to tackle it. It was from a Lincoln breed sheep, and the fiber was truly lovely - very lustrous & long. The cotted part was pretty nasty. Greasy & felted together, and a challenge just to pull apart. Once the fleece was washed, though, it was a nice spinning experience, and even though it is lumpy bumpy quite irregular newbie yarn, it should be nice for a not-next-to-skin garment. The color is silver - and the swatch looked nearly like chain mail (with lumps). Way cool.

So, after swatching, and washing the swatch, I measured and calculated the number of stitches to cast on for a vest, and jumped in. I got about 5” into the vest and realized that something was amiss, in a *very large* way. It would have comfortably fit me and my hubby, together. Apparently the Swatch Fairy had stopped by and poofed either my swatch or my arithmetic, or both, or perhaps I just picked up the wrong size needle when I started the vest. (I had tucked both a size 9 & size 10 1/2 into the bag.) Or maybe all of those things factored in. In any case, I frogged, re-swatched, re-calculated and re-started the vest.

I’d like to say that I’m on a roll now, with the vest well in progress. Yes, I’d like to say that, but . . . I’m using two balls of yarn simultaneously, you know, just like you would if you were working with two dye lots & trying to blend them. I’m doing garter stitch. So, a couple of times it appears that I’ve picked up the wrong ball of yarn & knitted back the wrong direction, which yielded something *other* than garter stitch. I’m calling these rows "design elements".

As for the other new projects that I had hoped to start, well, the Swatch Fairy has been messing with those as well. But today, I was lucky enough to find Tapesry Rose Yarn Shop in Ocean Park, which had several different types & sizes of needles from which to choose. I was led there by the handy-dandy Travel Guide, which I received from my friend Janice & her hubby for my last birthday. :-)

Tapestry Rose was wonderful. The shop’s sign was on the same building as a small cafe’s. When I entered the door, there was a corridor along the right side of the room which lead through numerous shelves of yarn into the shop, which was in a small parallel universe toward the back of the building, behind the cafe. The folks were most welcoming & helpful & I found what I needed, plus a couple of other treasures.

Just for fun, here is a photo from our trip - The North Head Lighthouse at Cape Disappointment, near Ilwaco WA. The lighthouse is still operating today. Cape Disappointment was one of the last stops on Lewis & Clark's expedition.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Little Vacation

We're off camping this week. The main question I have to ask myself is which toys to take along - which knitting projects, which spinning projects (drop spindle vs. wheel), and sewing. . . well, that's another issue all together.

We've had the trailer for a couple of months now, and it seems that at this point, one of our main functions has been trying to see exactly *how much stuff* we can comfortably cram into the new rig. So far, so good. And, as far as which projects come along this time, I chose this sweater, a Philosopher's Wool kit that I started a couple of years ago. Love the sweater. Not quite getting the hang of dealing with multiple colors. And now, I've discovered that in the last couple of years, I've really become quite a loose woman. Well, as far as knitting gauge goes. The sleeve/swatch seems *really* tightly knit. Question: Do I frog, or just deal with it? To be continued. . .

Friday, April 07, 2006

My Evil Twin

Wouldn't you know that she'd show up when I truly need to prepare for a presentation on constitution & bylaws for my local educational group? Look what she's done! Not only am I now sidetracked from working on my program, which I was optimistically hoping to rewrite into poetic form (or maybe tap dance? now that'd keep everybody awake. . .) but I'm also sidetracked from the two lace projects that have been consuming most of my wakeful knitting time. (I can knit socks in my sleep, and apparently have, given the number of times I've awakened to find socks-in-progress & needles amongst the sheets.)

She knew, didn't she, that I had some hand-dyed Woolpak set aside for a vest. She just had to cast it on, and start knitting the first few rows just to see how the colors would knit out. The colors are impossible to ignore, flashing with near-neon intensity that I can still see from the corner of my eye. And the sock. Now that was merciless. She knew, didn't she, that my last pair of gourmet socks made from Mountain Colors sock yarn felted & shrank, so she cast on some Woolease that she knows won't do that. . . plus, they'll be a fast knit . . . I could do them while working on the presentation .

Next, she's gonna want to go see that new Antonio Banderas movie.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Happy Feet

So here's what happened. I was blissfully jumping from blog to blog, reading as I sometimes do when I have a few minutes to spare, when I came across the most wonderful idea. Where I got it from. . . who knows, but some very creative blogger out there was my inspiration. She (I do believe it was a "she") had taken two dissimilar self-patterning sock yarns, and alternated rows while knitting, to create some *very interesting & unique* socks. So I thought to myself, perhaps this would be a good way to use up the bits of leftovers that I've accumulated in my five (can it be five already?) years of knitting. I have a tote bag full of leftover bits, and from it I pulled six compatible yarn balls - five Regia & a Trekking. Voila! Happy feet! Why it is that my socks almost always match is beyond me. . . the only time they don't is if I'm using variegated yarn, in which case I get fraternal twins rather than identical. The Happy Feet are pretty darn close to identical.

The second photo is of lace projects in progress. I started a Tina Shawl KAL at my LYS 2/1/06. We are all making great progress on this (I'm probably the behindest of the group), and this shawl is a total joy to work. Not too complicated for any of the knitters, and very pretty. It is the white shawl pictured. The dark shawl is the Inky Dinky Spider, which has been more than challenging for me. But after ripping out 16 rows & redoing, I think I am back on track with only one mutant spider. It's living in a bag for awhile. (The large ball of yarn behind the lace shawls just sneaked into the photo. . . it wants to be a sweater.)

While I was recuperating from a series of bugs (laryngitis, sinus infection), I plied close to 1000 yards of three ply Fantasy Fibers multicolor & Shetland heavier-than-laceweight yarn. It'll be a shawl when it grows up, too. I have to spin about 500 more yards, but it's a fun spin with all the different colors in the batts. I can hardly wait to start knitting on that shawl.

The last photo is of my son & his new friend, at the Yuma Camel Farm.