Monday, March 30, 2009

Addicted to rove

Roving, that is. I had free tickets to see the Mad Ants last night, but I could not find anyone to go with me and the weather was bitter cold and hey, here's a bit of Shetland just begging to be spun.

I'm getting thinner singles, but only because I pre-draft the wool to gossamer first. Is this normal?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sock therapy

My brief and frustrating excursion into toe-up socks was interfering with my enjoyment of sock knitting in general. I'm glad I (temporarily) abandoned toe-up because I really missed socks.

While I am waiting to find out if the Fool's Rush are now long enough, I have been enjoying these Dublin Bay socks, in self-striping yarn.

It doesn't take much to keep us knitters amused: changing colors, a little lace, a cold day, a warm cup of tea, and a bored dog in the background.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Stimulating the economy

Earlier this year, I was on a money diet, limiting purchases to necessities. As much as I love yarn, with several drawersful of the woolly stuff, I could not count it as a must-buy-now item. But consumer spending is up, and I am following suit. It helps that retailers are offering deep discounts (wish I could come up with a good excuse to buy a new car). I just hope I don't ruin that diet with a binge.

But sock yarn never counts as stash enhancement, does it? Especially if it is ON SALE from Simply Socks?

These big boys (150 grams!) are Online Supersocke DK weight, in manly colors, colors I thought would stripe.

But no. I started a chevron-patterned sock and came to the conclusion this collection is more variegated than stripey. I think I can still make use of them.

For the inner girly, I grabbed more Online Supersocke but in fingering weight. Now these will stripe.

Maybe it is a spring thing, but I am drawn to working with the brights instead of the darks right now, even though DK socks work much faster.

(Side note on Online: This yarn is 75% wool, and 25% polyamid, whatever that is, and while I know it knits up fine, it just ain't the same as 100% superwash merino.)

While I was not buying yarn, it seemed like a lot of other knitters were also not buying yarn. I worried for the LYS's in my town. Sarah Jane's had a knit-in a week or so ago, and I thought about going, picturing a handful of knitters lounging on the couches by the fireplace, sipping tea between rows. I didn't go, and it is probably just as well because it was SRO. Check out their blog if you don't believe me.

I did stop by today, though, just to buy some Eucalan. Really. But somehow I left with a sackful of Lamb's Pride Bulky.

Now, when I get sick of socks on US1 or US2 DPNs, I can whip out my US10s or even US11s and felt me a bag or two.

Until then, I will continue to work on Fool's Rush.

I actually finished these, but when my daughter tried them on, they were too short. Way too short. What was I thinking?!? So I ripped back the toes and am now making additions. Fortunately, it is an interesting but not frustrating pattern, so I don't mind. Too much.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Practice makes practice

I have been diligently practicing my spindling, working my way through the roving that came with my spindle kit. This is what my coffee table looked like this past week.

Today it is a little better, but not much. I concentrated on keeping the results even, which means I lost sight of making it thin.

The result is 100 grams of super bulky yarn that I think will become a hat.

Or something.

This week I have been so busy, both at work and at home, that little knitting has been going on. But I am making a some progress on the Fools Rush socks.

The yarn is some early product from Yarn Daze, and while I like the semi-solid colors (this one is "Crabapple"), I am not very happy with the yarn splices. I'm used to sock knitting that is uninterrupted by knots, but that has not been my experience with the current skein. Yarn splices are not deal-breakers, but I prefer to do without. To be fair, the Hedgerow socks were knit from Yarn Daze yarn as well, and I don't remember there being any splices in that skein. Maybe it is just a case of bad yarn-ma.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

There ought to be a law

I had so much fun yesterday that you would think fiber fests should be declared illegal and all roving confiscated as a controlled substance. I arrived at the Jay County Fairgrounds in time to see a sheep shearing and border collie demonstration. The rest of the morning was spent shopping and the afternoon spindling.

The Fiber Fest and Spin-In was smallish by most standards, and mostly devoted to spinning. Consequently, there were wheels, roving, spindles, more roving, fleeces, more roving, some yarn, and, if you can believe it, more roving. I have roving at home, but that did not stop me from buying more.

This is Audrey and Duncan with a little alpaca thrown in. The vendor refers to her roving by the names of the sheep, which never failed to get a giggle out of me. Her sheep were originally purchased by her husband who viewed them as organic lawn mowers. She countered his sheep purchase with an Ashford wheel she found on eBay. And now, here they are, spinning and selling roving at a fiber fest.

I have been to enough fiber fests in Ohio and Indiana that I come to expect certain vendors to be present, and Weaver's Loft did not disappoint. Weaving is becoming the new knitting, and I was tempted by their tabletop looms, but opted for this alpaca instead.

A pound of "Mist Gray" that is destined to become a Faroese shawl.

But yesterday's woolly high was due less to fiber and more from the class in spindling. I had previously attempted to teach myself, with ugly results. Three hours of instruction was just what I needed, to get back in that saddle. The instructor was great, very knowledgeable about not only spinning, but sheep, wool, yarn, etc. There was not a question she could not answer.

My classmates were an interesting group as well. There were six of us in all. One woman stitches with yarn; she creates her own singles by splitting two-ply sport weight yarn, but thought it would be fun to spin her own singles. Another woman's specialty is filet crochet, something I have attempted but not to any great degree. A third woman does not knit or crochet but wanted to learn spindling in order to do it at reenactments; the instructor had specific suggestions for her about that.

The instructor supplied us with a variety of roving to work with, mostly from her own flock, and by the end of the three hours, I was spindling better than ever. That isn't saying much but I was quite pleased with the results.

And I drove right home and continued spindling into the night.

And this morning my shoulders and hands are causing me some pain, but it's a good pain.

And my funk seems to have lifted. Thank you, Fiber Fest, I needed that!

Saturday, March 07, 2009


I seem to be in a bit of a knitting funk. February Lady is still inching along, but with little fire. The kfb stitches in the Crosswalker socks were bugging me, so I started a pair of Fools Rush socks which incorporate slip2tog-k1-p2sso stitches (which I think I am doing wrong) - as if that would be easier. There are other UFOs laying about, but none of them are calling to me.

Maybe it's the late winter blahs. Maybe it's because I have been super busy at work. Maybe it's the book on CD I am listening to. (Collapse by Jared Diamond. Very interesting but very depressing. Makes one wonder if the world would be a better place without human beings.)

There is something to look forward to next weekend, however. A fiber festival! In Jay County! About an hour away! And I'm signed up for a spindling class! (Sorry about the exclamation points - trying to generate some enthusiasm.)

What do you do when you are in a knitting funk?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Damn the torpedoes - full speed ahead!

February Lady II is well on its way now. I cast on for a size small, in order to make the neck smaller, then I increased the yoke to size large to accommodate my shoulders, and now I am gusseting back to a size medium for the gull lace. We shall see how that works out.