January 2007


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My January photo for the Shoot a Dozen Days thingy is from the biopond (this afternoon).  Just a little wintery without being completely frozen, the way this month has been. 

I managed a bit of spinning this weekend–I plied up some of the "copper" corriedale I bought as backup yarn for my diamond fantasy shawl (spun a couple of months ago, I think, although two weeks ago feels like months ago, so it’s hard to tell), and I spun a sample of my new Shetland wool.

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Just over sixty yards of corriedale and nine yards of shetland.

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I’m really happy with the evenness and grist of the corriedale, although I wish it were a bit softer.  The shetland, well….  I’m not sure I’ll be able to make myself not spin it as laceweight.  It was soooooo nice.  I need to spin the singles more so I can get the tight plying I want without having it overplied, but I don’t foresee major problems.  (I do, however, foresee my purchases at Maryland being fiber like this.  I don’t think two ounces will be enough for a shawl, but maybe I can get coordinating fibers.)

I wound up spending a good chunk of this afternoon with Rachel and Mac, at the fiber arts demo for the 100-mile suit project.  Aside from all of the joys of knitting while surrounded by spinners and of talking with friends, I got the opportunity to buy this:

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Two ounces of beautiful grey Shetland (I think she said it was Shetland, but it’s really soft, and I don’t care) from a local farm, run by one of the spinners I met this afternoon.  I think it’ll be one of the colors in the Anemoi mittens I plan to knit. 

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Today’s eye candy is a picture of Mel from quite a while ago.  It’s a decent representation of how I’m feeling right now…  Work is crazy, and though it’s good to be busy, I could use a bit more sleep. 

Fiberly activity this week has been limited to a couple of rows on the Diamond Fantasy Shawl, which is nearly at the end of the seventh repeat.  The directions say to use six repeats for the scarf and ten for the shawl; has anyone tried using seven, eight, or nine?  I’m not sure I really want it to be as big as the full shawl…

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This was the view out my front window this morning.  Snow!  Enough to stick!  The best part was that there was just barely enough to crunch under my sneakers, but not enough to make it tricky to walk to work.

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I played around with kool-aid dyeing again last week.  This is about 3oz of Amy Boogie’s wool blend, with several packets of various flavors of kool-aid.  Lesson for next time: grape is really powerful. 

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I’ve also been knitting away on the second fire sock.  Most of the ribbing was knit during the Värttinä (Finnish folk-rock) concert I saw last Thursday–they were excellent, and I’d highly recommend seeing them if you get the chance. 

And that’s it for me for today.  Work is really busy, and I haven’t had the energy for a lot of fiber stuff, but there’ll be fiber night this week, at least. 

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sunset over West Philadelphia (on Tuesday)

I’ve been doing a lot of spinning lately.  Almost no knitting (just…half a row of my diamond fantasy shawl, plus the sock-knitting from Friday), but a good deal of spinning.  Some of it I’ll show you today; some of it will wait for later.

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This is the purpley-grey stuff I carded on New Year’s Eve, plus some of the purple bfl–I made a striped single and plied it back on itself.  It’s about sport-weight, about 40 yards.

The other skein of which I have a picture is for my handspinning-swap pal, so don’t look at the extended entry if you’re in the Spin to Knit swap thingy.

(more…)

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Sorry about the delay.  I’d intended to pre-post this (wow, that looks weird, but I think it’s comprehensible), but I was essentially incommunicado all day yesterday.  I had jury duty (excused due to work, thank goodness–trying to do my work after leaving the courtroom would’ve been awful) and so left my phone at home, and I’d left my computer at work on Thursday…and I was out ’til late because I went to a basketball game.  Anyway, this is a picture of the flower structure (and a couple of leaves) of one of the plants on my windowsill at work.  It always makes me happy when they bloom.

I signed up a while ago for the Spin to Knit handspun swap thingy, which is sort of like a secret pal thing except it’s just two skeins (or more, if one feels like it) of handspun, going to another spinner who signed up as the same skill level. 

I’m still working on my outgoing January skein, but I got this in the mail yesterday:

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Plus extra fiber:

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My pal said this blend is from her spinning guild’s "garden party", wherein everyone brings some fiber, everyone’s contributions get blended together, and everyone leaves with the weight of fiber that they contributed.   I love the way it turned out (although it’s a little more in the pink-and-purple realm than I usually wear), and I may need to organize something like that garden party in Philly.

And the loveliest Chanukah candles ever:

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I am now prepared for next year.

I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do with the yarn…it’s way too nice to use my fallback of "knit something for Dulaan".  (Sorry, Mongolians, you can have my handspun, but not gifted handspun.)  I’m thinking it may become something like this elephant from Knitted Toys:

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Any other suggestions? 

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I love taking pictures from car windows…  This is blurrier than I tend to prefer, but it does convey the feeling of motion.  (I hope it does, at least.)

That last post was long enough that I figured I’d give the pictures their own post.

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The lace headband.  It’s not blocked yet (and it’s shown folded over, so I could get it in the frame), but it took just over a week to knit–I knit the first repeat before going to bed on the 23rd, and finished knitting and wove in the ends on New Year’s Eve.  I used Louet Gems Pearl in Cherry Red, a size-6 bamboo circ, and a zig-zag pattern from Beautiful Knitting Patterns.

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The alien wool is all spun!  This last batch is a single ply that (miraculously) isn’t badly overspun at all.  Clearly, I have improved in the last ten months of spinning (i.e., since I started using a wheel), which is reassuring.  It’s still more thick-and-thin than I’d like, but this is clear progress toward my goal of being able to spin yarn like Malabrigo.  (My two gold-standard commercial yarns are Malabrigo and Koigu.  I want to be able to spin like that, plus a good, even 2-ply laceweight.)

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This is about ten yards of tweedy, mottled 2-ply, around sport-weight.  It’s two of the three rolags I posted about here (not the greenish one, which I haven’t spun yet).  I’m so much happier with this than I would’ve been with the base roving.  I bought the Colonial Top in Shale when I bought my first spindle, at MDSW05, as an alternative to the orange-multi wool/mohair that I couldn’t resist, but I didn’t much like the color after I brought it home.  I may still wind up trying to dye it with red kool-aid, but blending is a really nice alternative.

I’m not making any yarn-related new year’s resolutions, but it’s about time for me to review my progress and short-term goals again.  Since the last time I did this, I have finished all of four and a half knitting projects (the autumn sunset shawl, the blue Dulaan hat, the garter-stitch scarf for my labmate, the spirit-trail fire sock (which is the half I was counting), and my lace headband thing).  I’ve also finished a few spinning projects, with the green romney and the spirit-trail merino/mohair being the most notable.

I am currently (within the last two months) working on the following projects:

• diamond fantasy shawl
• green mohair cabled scarf
• lorna’s fire sock
• green freeform blanket
• alien-and-black hat for my dad
• purple hat for either my grandmother or Dulaan
• orange hat for me

• silk in "walking on the sun"
• purple, grey-brown, and purple-grey-brown yarn
• super-secret yarn for the Spin to Knit handspun swap
• orange mohair/wool

And I am planning to start the following projects sometime soon in the foreseeable future:

• Norberta, for my cousin L.  (by either Passover or October)
    red and gold cascade 220
• wristwarmers for my mom (by mid-March)
    the merino-mohair I spun
• half-finger gloves for use in lab (soon!)
    mossy green lorna’s
• peacock feather shawl
    Boogie laceweight
• shadow-neuron scarf
    this I’ve started already, in KnitPicks WotA, but I need to rip it out and restart with fewer stitches
• a leafy shawl that I need to convert to a triangle from a rectangular lace pattern
    my green grafton handspun
• a sweater for me!  that fits well and which I will wear!
    (probably) the chocolate brown elann wool that I’ve had for this purpose for way too long
• the orange mohair/wool shawl that’s been in my plans for the last year and a half
    the orange mohair from MDSW05 and the wool/mohair I’ve been spinning to go with it
• if I’m sticking with my plan from October or November, I should include a pair of Tess socks on this list

So…I want to finish at least the gift hats and the sock from my current-projects list before I start anything else.  The wristwarmers, the half-finger gloves, and the orange mohair shawl are up next, with the Tess socks as mindless knitting for concerts and trolleys.  I should also note that I have the yarn for all of those, not counting the bit that I have to finish spinning, so I shouldn’t have any trouble not buying yarn before Maryland.

Tagged by Anne:

First Things First

What is the first thing you did in the new year?

Finished a game of Settlers of Catan.

What is the first thing you ate in the new year?

Half a (very large) pumpernickel bagel with some smoked bluefish.  Yum.

What is the first thing you knit in the new year?

Well, I haven’t finished anything yet this year, but I started a hat out of purple Lamb’s Pride that will be either a birthday present for my grandmother or another item for Dulaan.

What is your first ‘blessing’ of the new year?

Games with friends!

What is the first thing you will do to make the world a better place in the new year?

I may have to go with Anne and Rachael on the not-stabbing-people thing.  But I am continuing with the local foods…I’m getting my January Winter Harvest delivery tomorrow.

Post the first photo you took in the new year!

I will, as soon as I take one.  Sorry.  It’s been a little crazy around here.  I would’ve taken a picture of the "Godfather of Cement" trailer that was parked somewhere in South Philly on Monday, but my camera was too slow–the light changed by the time it’d woken up.

I’m not tagging anyone, but if you answer this, let me know.