Tuesday, December 8, 2009

NOT Holiday Crafting (Yet)

I haven't been blogging much, but I've been busy! And I haven't even gotten around to starting the holiday crafting. I know there are only 2 weeks until Christmas, and yes I am getting nervous, but with Thanksgiving travel and having a guest in town, I just haven't had the time.

Well, that and I was busy cutting this out:

Map, Hanging

This is a map of Boston, with all non-road land removed. I saw these beautiful city cutouts by Karen O'Leary, and I just HAD to have one. I taped a map of Boston onto a piece of white Mohawk Via Felt paper and started cutting, using a #16 X-Acto® blade. I sharpened and/or changed the blade fairly frequently. 24 or so hours later, and some hand cramping, and it's done! The white piece is framed and hanging on the wall, while the offcut map went to Young Sef's house.

I've also been test-knitting these awesome squirrel mittens:

Squirrel Sampler Mittens

Aren't they the cutest? The pattern is from HelloYarn (are you surprised?), and my test pair is knit using Hello Yarn Sock in "Coffee" and "Harvest Gold".

Squirrel Sampler Mittens - Lining

The lining is delightful Misti Alpaca Lace in Adrian's "Surprise" colorway.

And then I couldn't. put. them. down.


....so I knit these adorable mini-acorns from Pam Wynne. Aren't they sweet? The box-braid bows fit right over them, so they can be used to hold them together when not being worn.

So, um, yeah. That's what I've been doing. Now, on to the holiday crafting!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mr. Mxyzptlk

A week of not-so-frantic knitting, and I now have my FIRST! handspun handknit sweater. It's so satisfying! I present....Mr. Mxyzptlk!

Mr. Mxyzptlk Sweater (In Flight)

I wanted a raglan sweater with buttons along the left front raglan edge, that flowed right up into a loose-fitting turtleneck collar. The collar could be worn open or folded over.

Button Detail

Bandito Style.

I'm quite satisfied! There was a little bit of worry about how I would account for the extra stitches needed for the buttonhole band and buttonband, and making sure that they NOT interfere with the raglan shaping. I thought them through while knitting the body and sleeves, and I'm happy with how things turned out!

I basically followed EZ's Raglan pattern. I knit this on US8s, over the course of ONE WEEK. I'm not entirely sure of how much yarn it took - I have some left over, along with a ton of unspun fiber (can you say pantsuit?). The buttons are from Joann's, and there are nine of them. I'm pleased as punch with how it turned out!

Turtleneck Option

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fiber on the Brain, In the House, On the Loom

The cooler weather has kicked the knitting and spinning into high gear. I realize I'm knitting on my first real "garments" for myself this year. I'm not counting shawls and socks here, kids.

1 out of 5 Plum Pie

I scavenged a bit to get a sweater's worth of this Hello Yarn Club offering from May 2009 - this is "5 Plum Pie" in lovely Falklands wool. I've spun up enough for a sweater, and I still have about 1.5 pounds left. I accidentally cornered the market on this.

And I was anxious to get it on the needles:

Mr. Mxyzptlk?

Body done, sleeve number one is almost done! hopefully I will have a new sweater by the end of the week!

Also, the spinning:
HelloYarn Extravaganza!

(Hello Yarn - "Spring Loaded", "Fresh Start", and "Kale")

Hedgehog Merino/Silk

(Hedgehog Fibers - gift from weetsie! - Merino/Silk blend, "Glow")

Fantom Farm Fibers Fluffiness

(Fantom Farm Fibers)

....and I finally got the loom warped:

Because I Can't Just Set Up The Loom And Weave Something Simple Like A Normal Person

That's some 8/2 Tencel, set to be (hoepfully) a holiday-gift scarf. But as my first attempt on the floor loom, we'll see how it ends up.

Alright! promises, promises....I'll post more frequently :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

So I went to Rhinebeck and I didn't take ANY pictures! It was a helluva weekend - caught up with old friends, met up with new, had a great time. While the weather was reporting poor weather for the day, we lucked out with chilly temperatures and no rain. I saw some stunning handknits, I was inspired by many many patterns, and I had a wonderful time at the Ravelry party (thank you Rav!)

I returned a bit rejuvenated to get some projects off of the needles - first on the list, these Sottopassaggio socks from twistcollective:

And then there were two.....

I started these about 2 months ago, but as I do most of my sock knitting in the car and the pattern is 7 pages, this was tough! They are knit out of HelloYarn Sock in "Candied Peel", and are delightfully soft and bright. The pattern is easy to follow, though it favors the left sock, and leaves some parts of the right sock to figure out on your own. But it was easy, fun, and kept my interest - I may be making these again.

Right before I left for Rhinebeck I finished up some spinning:

Sweet Potato Vine

This is 4 ounces of Romney wool from HelloYarn in the "Sweet Potato Vine" colorway, spun into 325 yards of singles. It has a great sheen to it. I split the whole thing in half length-wise and spun it up into these nice long stripes. I don't know what to make of it yet! Maybe some nice mitts, as it is beginning to get cold :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Projects Up The Wazoo.

Hmph. Well, I've managed to somehow miss posting for a month and a half! Yikes. I'll admit to having been busy and mildly sick through a portion of that, but really? A month and a half? Where to begin?

Original Erie Canal

(Original Erie Canal Lock #52, on the side of the New York Thruway, Milepost 308E, Port Byron, NY.)

I drove out to Iowa to do some repairs on D's mom's place. We got a TON of stuff done, saw a lot of Interstate, caught up with some friends. We installed a new kitchen floor! I completely redid a room! I ate SO MUCH MEAT. While cleaning some things out, we found this awesome bag of pieces of a Wedding Ring Quilt:

Wedding Ring Quilt Pieces

...because what I REALLY need in my life are more of other people's unfinished projects ;) The fabrics and colors of these pieces are stunning and I can't stop looking at them.


Also found: This amazing bundle of Boy Scout badges! I haven't a clue as to what I am going to do with these yet, but they sure are rad. It thrills me to no end that many are still on their cards.

For the drive back, we detoured through Canada - a chance to meet up with jodi and weetsie. It was lovely to finally meet these ladies, and of course I'm an idiot and didn't take any pictures. I did have plenty of time to knit in the car, though, and managed to finish up this Ulmus Shawl:


This is some lovely Teeswater in the "Racecourse" colorway from David/SCF, with some Cherry Tree Hill Possum Laceweight. It's delightfully soft, and has a wonderful drape.

Back for a week, and in my unpacking procrastination, I knit this cute Forest Canopy Shawl:

Forest Canopy Shawl, With Cat

Spunky Eclectic
Club "Selfish" colorway, spun by me into felted singles.

Then off to NYC for few days, where I picked up a cold. I've been fighting it a bit ever since. Which gave me ample time to get work done on this vest:

Vesty Vesty Vesty

Hello Yarn
Fat Sock in "Pinstripe", "Merlot", and "Sky". This knit up delightfully fast, on US5s, and I steeked it. I'm thrilled with how it came out and I expect it to get a lot of wear this winter.

Rhinebeck this weekend, and making some more books!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Devil Wears Red Leather.

Devil's Dictionary

This is a commission job that I just finished. It's a full leather copy of Ambrose Bierce's "Devil's Dictionary". The binding features double-core silk sewn headbands, a satin ribbon, and marbled endpapers & pastedowns. The text is printed on Via Felt paper - it's a 252 page book (63 sheets in 4-folio sections - last section is 3-folio) and the tooth on the paper is LOVELY.

Devil's Dictionary Page Detail

I laid the whole thing out in order to get an 8" x 5" trim size to the total textblock. It worked out PERFECTLY - there's enough room to bring it in a little bit tighter if need be.

The binding itself was a bit harrowing - what with the weather here being a gazabillion degrees and sweaty and sticky, the dry-time for a lot of parts of the construction was severely hindered and/or delayed. Stamping the leather also proved to be a bit of a challenge - the type needed a LOT of shimming and some touching up.
Also, the time constraints for the project were pretty tight - I'm heading out of town for a bit, and I *was* just out of town for a bit, and the client needed it by the end of the month.

I'll be dropping it off tomorrow morning. I plan on doing another one for myself in the future, and I'd like to sell some copies of these books-in-sheets.

Oh, and knitting? I've got about 67 projects packed - hopefully I can complete at least ONE of them.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Looking Ahead


I started this in the car on the way out to the Finger Lakes. It's the Ulmus pattern (Rav link), using Cherry Tree Hill Possum yarn in "Natural" and SCF Teeswater in the "Racecourse" colorway, spun during the Tour de Fleece. It's a wonderful pattern - easy to memorize, and not too boring.

The Fall twistcollective has a ton of lovely patterns, and I'm hoping to make some headway in my stash by knitting up Argyle, Novak, and Cottage Garden. That's a whole lot of sweater, I know, but I haven't knit any sweaters in quite some time, and the cooler weather is on the horizon (I hope).

I'm heading to the printer this afternoon with the Devil's Dictionary in sheets - hoping to have it all done and ready to go out the door by the end of the week! Then on to....Alice, perhaps? Redoing Candide? We'll see.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


TWO Baby Ducks

I just returned from a whirlwind couple of days up at the Finger Lakes. A vacation on the lovely Keuka Lake, featuring boat tour and swimming, then over to Ithaca, where we drove around a whole bunch to familiarize ourselves with the different towns around there. It's quite lovely! The return journey was detoured somewhat with a trip to Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame (did you know it has been there since 1939?!?!? I didn't.) A lovely trip - great weather, great people, yet it is good to be back home. Of course, it is home in the middle of a heatwave, which sucks a bit. Oh well.

Just prior to leaving I took care of some marathon knitting:

Aeolian II - Eat Your Greens

This is my second Aeolian Shawl in the HelloYarn "Eat Your Greens" colorway. This used just shy of 700 yards of Wensleydale, and I had to change bead colors for the last 4 rows. It blocked out to the same size as the previous one.

I spun this up during the Tour de Fleece, and I wanted to preserve the color transition. I split the fiber up into 3 or 4 colors, but then I bundled those pieces together, lining up any darker or lighter ends so they would blend a bit more. Less striping. I'm pleased with how it came out - I feel like I have the warm and cool versions of this shawl now :)

Aestlight Done!

I managed to actually use some of my commercial-made stash, as well! This is the Aestlight pattern, in Malabrigo Lace. It is so deliciously soft - it's that soft that you can barely feel because it is so delicate and lovely. Fast knit, easy knit, wonderful construction.

Meanwhile, on the needles now.....I'm between projects! I have some contract knitting, but other than that I think I need a break from lace. But its too hot to do much else!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

TdF Wrap Up and Miles of Yarn, I Tell Ya!

Well, I made it through the Tour:

Tour de Fleece 2009

My total spinning came to a total of 14,460 yards of singles, 6,870 yards of completed yarn, and 7 pounds, 9 ounces of yarn. YIKES! It was great fun, it was nice to get through some stash, and I tried some new things (a 5-ply, felted singles, Masham, Teeswater). Now I have to get around to knitting with some of this.

I fell in love with this 5-Plum Pie Hello Yarn Club Fiber during the Tour:
TdF - Day Nine

...and feared that I would be unable to locate a sweater's worth (yes, another sweater's worth of 3-ply. You'd think I would learn), but I was lucky enough to score some more! Yay! So very excited, and I already have the sweater planned out that I want to work on!

In other news: I've been working on a fancy, new, leather-bound copy of the Devil's Dictionary. While the layout takes a fair amount of time, once it's done, I'll have it to print up on demand. I'm being soooooo meticulous about it - I'd rather not have to go in for any edits once I've completed it. I'm thrilled with how it's working out so far, and hope to have it completed within the week.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Spin Span Spun

Oh wow. And here we are, 2 weeks later.....
I was trying to be so good about blogging the Tour de Fleece, and I ended up too involved in the actual spinning for it.
TdF - Day Nineteen (Stage 17)

This has been the most time-consuming of my Tour feats - 2 pounds of merino, singles set to be a 3-ply. It took a bit longer than I had hoped for, and I plan on also spinning up a few colored mini-batts that I have around as "insurance" for when I actually get to knitting this up!

There's also some more lace:

TdF - Day Eight

....perhaps for a second Aeolian Shawl?

And taking care of some past club shipments:

TdF - Day Nine
(Hello Yarn Club, 5-Plum Pie)

TdF - Day Eleven (Stage 10)
(Hello Yarn Club, Thrive)

TdF - Day Twelve (Stage 11)
(Southern Cross Fiber Club, Veteran)

I've also been laying out some text for a new, larger copy of the Devil's Dictionary. While it is slow-going and a bit tedious, I don't mind it too much - I've got a system down, and I'm being soooo meticulous about every little bit of it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

TdF - Days 4 & 5

Playing catch up over here! There's been a helluva lot of spinning going on.

Day Four:
TdF - Day Four

This is about 750 yards of mystery fiber (and so much sparkle!) in gigantic batts from ironjohn. I had been unsure of what to do with them as the colors all seemed fairly disparate and I was afraid they would just muddy themselves up. I opted for the color progression option.

The Spunky Club Singles-A-Long/Knit-A-Long project from earlier this year played a giant part in my being able to make this yarn. A year ago I would have been afraid to take on such a large lace spinning project, as well as being afraid of the properties of a laceweight single. I'm happy with how this came out, and I'm excited to see how it knits up!

Day Five:

TdF - Day Five

This is a 5-ply - my first! - made from Southern Cross Fiber Club batts from May 2009 in the "Fire" colorway. They are a lovely 80% Superfine Australian Merino/20% Tussah Silk blend. I ended up with about 170 yards, along with a little bundle of 3-ply. This yarn is delectably soft and wonderful.

Meanwhile, in France - WOW! The Time Trials were tricky and incredible, and today's stage was also pretty crazy! Large lead group and the battle is getting heated.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

TdF - Day Three

And so it continues:

TdF - Day 3

Today was spent primarily plying. That's a pound-and-a-half of fiber up there, and it feels wonderful. It's fairly rustic-spun, and I love how solid bits of color pop out in some places. Measured off the niddy-noddy, there's just over 1000 yards there.

I also completed the "Soul Windows" 3-ply sock yarn.

So that clears off all of the bobbins! A clean slate tomorrow - new projects! Moving on to lace (where I am hoping to complete my goal for Team Suck Less - spin one mile of fiber in one day) and making a dent in a 5-ply.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

TdF - Day Two

I continued to spin up that mystery wool today, and finished up the singles!

TdF - Day Two

There's one more bobbin that I finished up after this photo was taken - I wanted to make sure I had some semi-decent light. Tomorrow will be a day of plying and freeing up all those bobbins in order to move on to the next big project - I'm thinking of breaking things up and working on my 5-ply from the Southern Cross Fiber "Fire" colorway series of batts.

That bobbin on the right is 1/3 of a Superwash Corriedale/Nylon blend in the "Soul Windows" colorway from Spunky Eclectic. I'm aiming for some 3-ply sock yarn.

Meanwhile, in France:
Today's race was beautiful to watch! While most all of the race today was held on pavement, early races were primarily on cobblestones or unpaved stretches. The competitors rode on bicycles with wooden rims! The weight of the rims alone must have impeded their progress significantly.

TdF - Day One

I love watching the Tour de France, and the Tour de Fleece is a wonderful excuse for me to actually get through some of my stash while watching it. I have lofty goals this year - 2 sweaters' worth of wool, a 3-ply sock project, a 5-ply (my first), and a few lace projects. I'm hoping to be able to accomplish all of this, though I remain apprehensive. I plan on spinning every day that the tour is happening (including rest days!) through (at least) the duration of the live coverage. We'll see what it gets me.

Today's bounty:
TdF - Day One.

These are my first 2 bobbins of what will soon be a 2-ply. This is mystery wool from Rhinebeck (in researching the seller, I am lead to believe that it is mohair and the rather vague "wool") that I am LOVING to spin. It's wonderfully soft. I plan on spinning all of it up as singles first, followed by some mixed plying action (bobbins 1 & 6, 2 & 5, 3 &4 or somesuch) in order to account for any inconsistencies in my spinning through the Tour. It's more than likely this will happen because things in the race can get TENSE!

For those of you who cannot comprehend the idea of watching 180 men (to start) bicycle 2100+ km around France:
The Tour de France is really lovely to watch as not only a sport, but as a travelogue - it's a wonderful, er, tour, of France, and it varies every year. Due to the duration of the race, one is able to really get an idea of the nuances of the actual race (which also vary by year) and understand the technical aspects involved. Of course, the entire idea of the race is fairly mindblowing. In early races, the riders did the whole thing on fixed-gear bikes! They also had to do any repairs along the way by themselves. Things have improved significantly since then!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Say Hello To My Little Friend

So much to report, and many pictures!

First off, the new loom!

Say Hello To My Little Friend

This is the 24" LeClerc Compact loom. It's a 4-heddle/6-treadle loom with the ability to go to 8-heddles. I have a 10- and a 12-dent reed for it. I had to replace the side knobs and the crank, but other than that, it's all ready to go! Sadly, I am a participant in this year's Tour de Fleece, which I am focusing most of my energy on, and I don't think I will get to any weaving until the end of July......

Tour de Fleece Goals

These are my outrageous goals for the TdF - I know, it's a LOT! I'm hoping to make sweaters out of the top bundles, a 5-ply (!!!!!!) with those center batts, and break it all up with some lace and what-nottery with the rest. I AM a huge fan of the Tour de France, and plan on watching it every day, so why not spin through it all as well? Please, no betting on how far through this pile I'll get.

As "training" I cleared off all the bobbins, finally getting around to finishing this:


That's about 200 yards of New Zealand Polwarth from Southern Cross Fibers in the "Budgie" colorway. It's absolutely delicious and squishy. It was wonderful to spin and maintained a TON of springiness when it came time to ply.

Anyway - I'll be doing fairly frequent TdF updates, and I have a book review for the rest day. See you soon!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Juneary Knit & Spin

Just as the Juneary weather seems to be coming to an end, I've managed to complete a couple of handknits. The first lovely is something I've wanted to knit for quite some time now, but just now got around to (with a little bit of help from the Webs sale) - the "Shocking!" skirt by Veronik Avery:

Shocking! Skirt

This is a very fast, very easy knit. There was some confusion in the tuck row as to which color yarn to use, along with ending up having to do 2 WS rows in a row. This was all worked out by the time I got to the same point the second time around - the pattern is knit in 6 continuous panels - and I was able to breeze through the remainder. The final grafting row, however, was a bit of a nightmare. In completing the Kitchener stitch as written, you would end up with an extra row of Color A. I opted to remove the waste yarn from the provisional cast-on and grafted to my first wrap-row. This proved to be less than ideal; it took a bit to figure out the count using the wraps, and I had to fudge things a little bit to fit things together properly (I was also too lazy to go back and resolve all of what I had already done).

This skirt was knit in Cascade 220 on US 7s. I expect it will get a lot of wear during the cooler months, I'm just hoping that it doesn't pill.

In other feats of completion, here are some socks:

Peat Socks

I started these a while ago, and actually completed the first sock - of course, it was the second one that I got hung up on. The solid yarn is Reynolds Soft Sea Wool, and the awesome brown/grey/white is my own handspun 3-ply, from the delicious "Peat" colorway of HelloYarn fiber club. These socks are so freakin' squishy.

There has also been spinning:

Pansy Detail

200 yards of Romney in the "Pansy" colorway, from the Spunky Eclectic May 2009 Club.

"Spring Loaded"

~520 yards of Super Sproingtastic Merino in the "Spring Loaded" colorway (and boy howdy is it spring loaded) from HelloYarn.

I also picked up a Floor Loom! I'm waiting for some parts, so no pictures right now, but soon soon soon. It's the LeClerc Compact model, with a 24" weaving width. It's an X-frame, 4-harness/6-treadle folding loom that I can't wait to get to.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I Finished Something

I finished this the night I got back from Minneapolis, but I just got around to blocking it out this week:

Future GW Textured Shawlette

That's my "Future George Washington" Textured Shawlette. The yarn is my own handspun - a 3-ply from batts from Enchanted Knoll Farms. The yarn is so freakin' sparkly! The pictures really don't capture how much glitz and glam are in there! These are a combination of Superwash Merino, Silk, Recycled Sari Silk, and SPARKLE. I was unsure of just what to knit with it. I decided to pack it up for travel knitting, and needing somethign mindless for the plane, ended up with the Textured Shawl recipe. The whole thing took no time at all, it's about 24" down the back, and it's quite soft. Fast, easy, mindless knitting. :)

I also received these today:


These are from the hot pads! and potholders! swap organized by the lovely Adrian and Maritza! I had a blast crocheting mine (and even learned to crochet) and it was wonderful to receive these and see everyone else's handiwork. These were made by (clockwise from left) Susan, Kate, deadkat, Donna, and Wendy G. They are all so wonderful - I love the variety of patterns, the colors, the yarns. I'm thrilled!

There has also been a bit of forcing summer to appear:

Summer Salad

For those of you NOT in the Boston area, it's been rainy and grey and cold for....well, most of June so far. And about 60 degrees or so. I made this salad last night - crisp, cool, refreshing, and delicious - perfect for summer! It's prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil, some capers, sea salt, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Delicious and easy.