Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A yarn buying blog.

That is what this has turned into. It looks like I am just a yarn collector and not a knitter. Well, just to disprove that, here is my Falling Leaves Shawl (Lavish Lace, Carol Rasmussen Noble) All pinned and blocked and good to go. I wore it to Stitches on Sunday. It is my first beaded work. It has a good weight to it. Because of the pattern it comes out longer on the front than the sides/back, so if you are wider than you are tall this is probably an excellent choice in design styles. I just worked until I ran out of beads then finished off. You can really make it as long or as short as you want, it has no specific size, you are only limited by your yarn supply (and your desire to have a 11 foot wide shawl). Most of the time it drapes on looking quite a lot more like a shrug than a shawl. The beads add a nice sparkle. I think I am addicted now to putting beads on knitting. So you will probably see a whole lot more of that on here.

My current project is the Ostrich Plume Shawl using the Cherrytree Hill Silk I got at FTA. It looks very, very (annoyingly) similar in color to the Schaeffer I just finished with. It has less yellow and orange, red where the last had none and quite a lot more green. However it is still similar. Several muggles have asked me if it is still the same project and where the beads went. This pattern goes really fast. It has only 1 truly patterned row per 4 rows of knitting with the WS rows are all purl and 1 row, with only yo's at the center stitch and edges. Very simple. Unless something derails me, this should be done within a week or so.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sunday at Stitches.

Well I am a psycho sometimes. Late Saturday night I finished the Falling Leaves Shawl while enjoying the festivities for my sister's birthday. We didn't get home until about 2 am. So like the fool I am I must/need/HAVE to block it. So I wet it and spin cycle it briefly and then pin the darn thing down, and now I realize I haven't even taken pictures of it yet, so that will be the next post. I finally rolled into bed at 3:30. Only to get up at 7:45 to be on time to pick up Teenuh for the last day of Stitches. We arrived right on time and wandered around. We realized we had missed a whole row of booths on the far left side on Friday, whoops! We picked up some of the things we had ogled on Friday as well. Then hit the Jane Sowerby talk on Victorian Lace Today, it was nice to see the shawls from the book, live and in person and to touch them and feel them, she is kind of humorous, with odd little quips here and there. We watched some lucky people win some money (why not me!!?) then hooked up with Tina's friend Amy and her friend Julia. We did some group wandering and then we went home at about 3:45. I was dead on my feet. A good time was had by all. So here are my Sunday purchases. Some rayon microfiber ribbon yarn in the Florida Keys colorway, from Tess's Yarns, if I had a choice (and the funds) I would buy enough of this to fill a bathtub and roll around in it naked for hours. These two silvery blobs of roving in Merino/ Tencel are from some store in SF that I can't remember the name of (maybe Carolina Homespun?), wow that leaves you feeling excited doesn't it!? Also added to my stash was this lot of odd balls. The sparkly purple is the super soft, not itchy Trendsetter Aura (which will become one of those generic potato chip scarves with some super kid or kidsilk haze), two yummy little tiny balls of angora in grey and two 50/50 wool silk balls of Horstia all picked at the Knitters Studio sale, buy 2 bags and get 1 free. This amazingly bright superwash merino/tencel fingering yarn is from Ellen's Half Pint Farm. The brightness in the picture looks almost computer generated or as if something weird has gone on with the pic, but it is really that bright, the shiny tencel helps. Funny thing about this one, I saw it at 10 am and didn't buy it, we came back by at about 3 pm and there it was, I knew it was meant to be, it will become something for DD not sure yet though she wants a shawl. She is the world's biggest fan of pink and purple and anything dramatic and girly. I also picked up some stubby Addi's in size 2 for glove fingers and some 0000 steel Addi's for beading. Finally, I have these precious little silk hankies ( 3 stacks) and some Firestar to blend in with them (as if silk weren't shiny enough, but my inner crow couldn't pass it by) all in the Pt. Reyes Reflections color way, from The Royal Hare in Santa Rosa. This place had lots of stuff I wanted to buy, including some sock roving in the same colorway among others.

All told, I spent a fortune (good thing I spent 4 months saving up for it.) If DH knew how much he would probably pop a circuit and have a stroke on the spot. Good for him he doesn't know. My stash has been enhanced enough to last until next years Stitches, don't you think? So if I buy more yarn this year, I probably need to be set straight or have my head examined.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I'm in stitches!

Yipee. Stitches was loads of fun. With the exception of my aching shoulder, I had a great time at Stitches West with Teenuh. I carried my Victorian Lace Today book, because Jane Sowerby was on hand to sign her book, all you had to do was catch her at any of half a dozen booths she was signing at. I did get mine signed, she seemed like a very nice lady. However I did have to carry my book the rest of the day and like a FOOl I bought another book right away in the morning. Added to my book collection, this lovely German book, primarily designed for knitting German socks, but full of nifty patterns not typically seen in the states.The show was huge. It took up pretty much the entire Santa Clara Convention Center Hall. The majority of vendors were yarn or knitting products, with some spinning stuff. There were also a few odd ball sellers, we really wondered what the seasoned olive oil guy was doing there.

We hit Cookie and Kristie's booth the Bay Area Knitting Co-Op. Where I picked up the Ostrich Plume Shawl Pattern and the Madeira Lace Stole Kit with black alpaca yarn (mmm alpaca, however black alpaca doesn't seem to photograph well) both designed by Lynn Curry. I also got 3 skeins of purple lace weight merino from Terrylynn Needlearts at the B.A.K.C.O.

Also added to my stash was 3 skeins of brown dk alapaca (that look pretty unappealing in this blurry picture) from the Yarn Barn that I am hoping will become one of the sweaters from Big Girl Knits, as well as 2 skeins of hand dyed sock yarn from Lisa Souza, the pink blend is the Sky Drama colorway and the Green is South Pacific, all of her colors were SO fantastic, I could hardly choose. I am SO in love with the South Pacific, I really have a thing for peacock colors of late. The skeins are a generous 400+ yards. For lace knitting I picked up a giant cone of red silk (1.10 lbs!) from Village Spinning and Weaving, that will probably end up as something from Victorian Lace Today or A gathering of lace, no specific plans yet. I also got a giant cone of rayon thread(about 1 lbs also), that I will use for some beaded knitting. That should be lots of fun. I also got this lace weight Harmony, color gradient yarn from Jojoland as well as some Melody superwash sock yarn, nice and soft. It is similar to the Yarn Place's type of yarn graduated yarn imported from China.

I also got 2 skeins of this Angora Cottage, merino/ silk blend roving that is so soft and lovely, I had 2 of these at home already, I am just padding my stash with this. Actually I have been torturing myself with spinning on the hokey cd drop spindle I got from the Serendipity Spinner's Guild, which is lighter than the wood spindle I have already. Maybe not so hokey, it sure doesn't look very cool though (because I am totally the image of cool, ha ha). Maybe I should stick some stickers on it?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

So here it is, the Super New and Improved Beading Wire Device!!!! *bounce bounce bounce*

I purchased some memory wire and spent quite a bit of time tormenting and torturing this wire into the correct spiral shape I desired. It was MUCH harder to bend into a hook on the working end and a loop on the terminus. It took 2 pairs of pliers and much force to make this wire comply. It works much better though, it doesn't bend out of shape and hold the beads quite nicely. You can see the spiral is much tighter. I have made the wire quite a bit longer since the memory wire holds its nice spiral shape and it doesn't ever flop around. I should have put a ruler in the picture for scale. It is about 2 inches across (with a radius of 1"). I am much more pleased with the results. I will probably make some more. I gave Teenuh some wire to make herself one too since she bought beads on Saturday too. Although, when it comes down to it, she'll probably bring the wire over and I will twist it into shape anyway. I don't know if she has pliers. Overall though it took me about 45 minutes to force the wire into submission whereas the first soft floral wire took me all of like 3 minutes to make. In the long run though, the stronger wire will pay off with lasting effectiveness.

Yipee skipee just about 58 hours until Stitches. Buying yarn may be my favorite part of knitting. I LOVE the hunt.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Hooray for a day spent shopping with a friend.

The sun was shining, the weather was a beautiful 80 deg. F. and not a cloud in the sky and we spent the whole day shopping to boot! Went to the 20% off everything sale at the Yarn Place. Hit, Micheal's, Joann's, 3 Beads and a Button and Starbuck's as well. What fun. Got some cute measuring tapes at Joann's. Hot fix crystals at Michael's. Memory wire to improve my beading device and lots of goodies at Yarn Place. More lace weight yarn: Also some really super yummy, yummy soy silk roving to spin. Now if could just get durn good at spinning and make it worth my while. This is a HUGE bag, it weighs 2 lbs. Yay for 20% off sales!
I can't wait to grope this and play in it and hopefully spin it into something usable.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I distinctly heard HOOPLAH!

Valentines hooplah. What is all the fuss about? I totally didn't buy any cards or even MAKE any cards this year. WTG. Called Grandma and Grandpa wished them a happy 58th anniversary. Gave DH Snakes on a Plane and a giant box of his fave Rocher. Gave the kiddies gifts. Gave mom roses. Gave Sister some roses. Though she's probably the one who needed something the most because when it rains it pours. Her house was burglarized Sunday night (the day she found out her best friend died). Her stupid separated husband is having health problems of some mysterious sort. Though I am routing for the side of mystery. Tough times.

I have been knitting deprived. DD has been sick for 5 days now and worsen in the last 3 days to a point that I am getting NO sleep and I had no time to knit today. Though I did have to go and buy 2 more tubes of the beads for the Falling Leaves shawl. I believe it will use all both of those tubes and probably want for more, but I bought the last 2 the store had in stock. Once again I told myself I was stupid stupid stupid for picking beads that were $6.95 a tube instead of the rest that were $2.95 or $3.30 AND came with more beads in each tube (simply because they are not as fat, yet the bore is the same size). These were NICE though. Look at them, they glisten like golden drops of sunlit dew sparkling on a leaf. They are fat and round and lusciously golden. I just know I made the right choice, even if my wallet is starting to hurt....

Monday, February 12, 2007

Reinventing the Wheel.

Sometimes things seem like they should be simpler. For example, putting a bead onto your knitting. What I started out doing, was what everyone said to do. Work until you reach the stitch you want the bead on. 1. Put down one needle. 2. Pick up the crochet hook. 3. Stab the bead onto said hook (max # of beads that will fit on the hook at once - 2) . 4. Use hook to lift desired stitch to be beaded and slide the bead on. 5. Drop crochet hook. Repeat as needed per each beaded stitch. Was it me or was that WAAAAAy too many steps and way too inefficient?

I sat and thinked for a minute (ala' Pooh bear... Think think think..) The light above my head went on and I grabbed a piece of floral wire, put a curly loop onto the end so the bead wouldn't fall off, then carefully bent the other end of the wire into a tiny hook (this was the hardest part getting it small enough to fit through the bead and not to snag onto the yarn and never let go). Strung the wire full of beads, then realized a giant 14" long piece of wire loaded with beads is a bit unwieldy.I curled the wire into a spiral so the beads would still slide nicely and instantly eliminated step 3, the slowest and most tedious step, completely from the procedure. It is now twice as fast to slip those beads on. I can even have my eager small helpers put the beads on for me. Instead of picking up a new bead every stitch, I now have 100 beads ready to load. In the right pic you can see the next bead on the wire, right at the top. Sometimes the answer to something can be SO simple if you just think about it. Now I just need to dangle it off of a necklace so I don't have to keep grabbing it off my knee. Tidy it up, make it look professional, with a dangley clip on it and market the darn thing to all the knitters of the world still wrestling with one bead at a time...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Today was a sad day.

My sister's best friend Melody died today. She had epilepsy and had lately been having fairly frequent seizures. She died alone in her apartment some time between 1:30 am and 1 pm when the police found her body. It was tragic and it was terrible. She was only 32. She was a nice girl, who loved to have fun, was always a good friend and loved all animals dearly. She will be missed. Keep dancing in the great Goth Club in the sky, Melody.

One perfect morning I was all alone
Listening to the blaze of summer
I was falling
I was floating in a golden haze
Breathing in the sky-blue sun
Of memories of other days

And in my dreams I was a child
Flowers in my mouth and in my eyes
And I was floating through the colours of the sky
Up to the stars and angels

Up to heaven
Up forever
Up to heaven
Up forever

Turning in my climb
I looked down on a lake
Traced upon the water
There I saw your face
Sending recollection of the times we shared
Pushed on ever up into the sky

And in my dreams I was a child
Flowers in my mouth and in my eyes
And I was floating through the colours of the sky
Up to the stars and angels

Up to heaven
Up forever
Up to heaven
Up forever

To the Sky. The Cure
Falling Leaves I.P.

Here are some quickie pix of my Falling Leaves in progress, modeled by my DD. I have decided to put the beads only in the center of the leaves. The pattern is not terribly clear because of course this lace has not been blocked, but you get an idea sort of. You can also see the bottom edge is actually V-shaped and not a blunt line. Here is a blurry close up of the bead work. Sorry, the camera did not want to cooperate and we had like 2 minutes of sun before the clouds blew back in. I had threaded all the beads on (PSYCHO!) then realized this was a bad idea and I ended up pulling them all off anyway and now am using the crochet hook method to place each bead (sllllllow) on the WS and RS rows. If I have enough yarn left I am going to knit on an edge with beads on it too, though I think I will probably have to go buy more beads, I bought 70 g of size 6/0 and I think it will be enough to just do the body of the shawl and not the edge. And of COURSE I picked the beads that were $6.50 per tube instead of $3.50 like all the rest.... gold and sparkley mmmmm.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Now in progress...
A falling leaves triangular shawl made from my Shaeffer Anne in the autumn leaves colors. I swatched it on a size 5 needle, too tight, not airy enough, switched to an 8 and was satisfied with its holey-ness. I am using the pattern from Carol Rasmussen Noble's Lavish Lace book, but I didn't like the beginning she used so I have changed it some to make it taper up more. As attentive as she is to details she makes a crappy beginning on this project. I have also noticed her lace charts are lazy, she adds on a garter edge but doesn't include it in the chart pattern. So back to the beginning part, she has you cast on 6 sts, then begin working the pattern right away off the cast on. ALL the rest of the edges ALL the way around have a garter stitch edging that is 3 sts deep on the sides and 5 rows tall on the last rows before cast off. So why didn't she put that on the beginning on the bottom? If you look at the picture in the book, you can see how weird and blunt her beginning edge is. So instead of c.o. 6. I did a c.o. of 2 sts, worked the first one in knit, knit the second row with 2 twisted lift increases, then knit the third row, knit the 4th row with 2 increases (now I'm up to 6 sts), knit the 5th row, so now it matches the top cast on and begins with a gently tapering point and on the 6th row, began working the charted pattern. So I am about 4 repeats into the pattern (about 40 rows?) and I realize that this thing will be so light it will always want to curl up, so now I want to add some beads to it, maybe just on the edges? I am going to a bead store tomorrow to shop around a bit and then I'll decide. I am debating putting it on every other row in the garter border, or using it around the edge of each leaf, or in the center of each leaf, or just knitting the whole thing up then knitting on a separate border onto the edge with beads on that. Too indecisive. What do you think?

As I was looking at this book I realized something kind of funny. I bought this book about 3 years ago (or whenever it was that it came out). All of the projects in this book use Cherry Tree Hill Yarn's, pretty much something is knit from every one of their lines. When I got this book I looked at that and said, "Ha, who's ever heard of this kind of yarn" the one yarn store near me didn't carry it and I pretty much put it off as something I would never get my hands on (at the time it was even hard to find affordable lace weight or fingering even!) Then I am sitting here in my living room with the Cherry Tree Hill Silk Cascade Fingering in my hand and I think, hmm, maybe something from that Lavish Lace book, and Lo' there are 2 projects in there made from that very yarn, bizarre. Things can sure change in a couple of years. Now there are 1/2 a dozen yarn stores to shop, with large selections and real yarn brands, plus of the course, the glorious world of internet out there waiting for us to search for that special something we saw somewhere and now need to have.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Post! Finally!

Well, Full Thread Ahead had a totally fun 1/2 time superball sale this Sunday which Teenuh and I went to. It was all you could carry for a whopping 45% discount. It was pretty funny watching people carry around arm loads of yarn and dropping them as they went along (Teenuh's Love yarn was particularly good at escaping). This was my haul.
2 skeins of Plymouth Fiesta (sea green and aqua colors) destined to be another fuzzy scarf, 1 skein of Cherry Tree Hill Cascade Silk Fingering in the Monet colorway, 2 skeins of Tofutsies (Yaye for soysilk and Chitin!?) in Put Your Foot Down 723 on the left and Tender Foot 727 (Thanks Tina!). 8 Skeins of Misty Alpaca dk in brown and 8 in cream.

Here finally are pictures of my convertible mittens in the Broad Street Mittens Pattern. They are made from Colinette Jitterbug. They are very nice and soft and warm.Here they are flipped up. They were supposed to have this dorky little loop at the end of the mitten that you could button up when you flipped them. I couldn't stand the loop so I just closed it up on the end no loop. The flaps stay up pretty well by themselves. The other minor change I made, I added a mini cable in the k2, p2 rib, so that I had a k2, p2, mc, p2 rib instead. I think it makes it 2% fancier! I like that. The cable is also on the rib on the flipped part, but It is on the other side, so when the mitt is closed you can see it, but when it is open you can't, I realized WAY too late I should have put it upside down. They haven't been washed yet, before I took the pics, but they will be soon since they absolutely REEK of vinegar. The Jitterbug looks great but the smell is very vinegar heavy. I have not decided on a new traveling project yet. Although I will have to come up with one soon, we are supposed to go to my BIL's house this weekend and I am thinking. Bore fest, watching DH and BIL play video games for a couple of hours *yawn*. Well, happy Friday people.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Vickie Howell, how knifty!

Last night Teenuh and I went over to Full Thread Ahead for a Vickie Howell book signing, yarn promo and her DIY Super bowl Knit In promo. She talked a little and answered questions. What a nice friendly lady she is (and every bit as cute as she looks on tv, boy she is tiny see the pic of her and me below, her wearing like 4" Steve Madden Heels and me like 5'11" in my Bass slip ons.) I am sure it improves her male viewership. This is her modeling her new original pattern for a crochet and knitted shrug made out her new super yummy soft soy/silk yarn Love. It is so very nice and soft and drapey. It is fairly pricey but a few skeins for something nice, worth it. She is smirking because she didn't want to model it because her outfit did not match with the shrug. I love the names of all her yarn colors they are hillarious and/or cutely named. Last but not least here is tiny Vickie standing next to GIANT me. She is so friendly she will just chit chat away with you while she signs your book and even after she is done. She doesn't make you feel hurried or like you are bothering her a bit. You couldn't imagine a more pleasant experience. Don't miss the FTA super bowl sale.

Knitwise, today I fnished one of the Broadstreet mittens without the flap. I made the fingers on it and decided in fear of running out of yarn that I would make both glove parts of the mitten first and then divide the yarn in half and make the flap portion. I am evening thinking maybe I should make the flap part from the point up and work backward and then I'll know exactly how far I can get with it.... but then it would be hard to join. Hmmm, decisions decisions.