Tuesday, October 31, 2006


How did this
go from this
to this?
...the HELL? eeeeewwww. I think I'll chain me some singles instead of two-plying it. Back at ya later on that.

We are outa here until the 6th ~ long knitting/spinning weekend with friends out on the Olympic Peninsula. Although it will be raining like it's suppose to here in the damp northwest (like a bee-atch, in other words) we won't care 'cause we'll be inside spinning and knitting and yakking with pals over cocktails. At noon. Yes. Life is good.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Spinner's Shawls

We love Evelyn A. Clark patterns.

They're charming, charted, exciting to knit and, bonus, there are no errors. The new one is just out, courtesy of Fiber Trends. We saw the ad in the 2006 Fall issue of Spin-Off so we're assuming the pattern is available at your LYS. We got to do a bit of test knitting for Evelyn on this one and now that it's out we can show you what we did with it!

Peggy's Spinner's Shawl ~ knit with Betty's Handspun*, 100% wool, less than 5 oz. on a size 6 needle; 17 repeats (largest size by number of stitches). *Betty Roberts, The Spinning Wheel Lady, doesn't knit any longer. She occasionally gives Peggy and me an assignment and some yarn, "Make me a nice big shawl." she says, and we do. It's a curious thing, but we don't seem to mind. It is knitting, after all. This brown handspun will be dyed red.

Peggy's Spinner's Shawl pre-blocking

Peggy's Spinner's Shawl blocking
Peggy's Spinners Shawl blocked, edging
Point of Peggy's Shawl
All done and beautiful

Rebecca's Spinner's Shawl ~ knit with Sandi Soreng's handspun/hand-dyed merino. Sandi and Evelyn and I were knitting together one morning at Friday Knitters and Evelyn hatched the plan with Sandi to design a shawl specific for use with handspun yarns.
Rebecca's Shawl, blocking
Rebecca's Spinner's Shawl, blocked, edging
Rebecca's Spinner's Shawl

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Lupine Lace Socks

Pattern: Lupine Lace Socks by Evelyn A. Clark, a Fiber Trends pattern
Yarn: Fingering weight yarn, hand dyed by Jill Laske of Ashland Bay. Jill's yarns are available locally at Weaving Works in Seattle and The Artful Ewe in Kingston.

Jill is also teaching several classes at Madrona Fiber Arts in January.

Changes: I made the leg slightly shorter than called for in the pattern.

Close up
Finished and in their natural habitat

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Braids, blocking

Wow, it's blocking! I'm going to be taking it off the woolly board this afternoon, after drying it there for about 48 hours. I want it dry dry dry. If it's not, it will snug up a little and I want it exactly the measurment it is on the board.

The sleeve and the collar/button band. I won't show the whole sweater as I want it to be somewhat of a thrill for Peggy (The Other Peggy) to see it for the first time in November, at the Knitters Retreat.

This is a lovely pattern; hopefully I will be making myself one in the near future. I believe I have enough yarn for it in my stash...

Monday, October 23, 2006


This years' last photo of the Flame Ash
as of October 22nd, 2006
Looking north on 35th N.E. & 102nd

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I'm about to...

Feeling down about your job? Feeling over-worked and under-appreciated? Feeling like you need a little song to cheer you up? Go here. Feel the cheer.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Monday Sky

Lake Osoyoos
Oroville, Washington

Looking north, to Canada-eh.
One of my all-time favorite photos.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Braids continues

The button band is done. Only had to redo it once. You do know "The Collar and Button Band Rule of Knitting", doncha? We do them an average of three times. I'm always so relieved when I get it right the first time...until the "duh duh duh duuuuuhhhh" echos in the back of my brain when it occurs that the next time, or the time after, it will be one long battle with the button band. Or collar. But I'm not going to dwell on it, 'cause this time: nah nah nah nah nah, nah. Ha!
Ok! 7 button holes and 5 buttons. I am now on the search for semi-matching buttons! I like eclectic. Big fan of it. I found these at a sweet little vintage button shop which used to be open twice a year (yeah, a whole two times a year ~ fancy that!) and is no longer in business. hmmmm. Wonder why. No! Don't tell me. I'll figure this out... Well, in any case, I bought these and several other sets on spec, thinking they may come in handy some day. Some day does come, once in a while.
Also, a sleeve update. I have begun the decreasing. I'm deleting all but about 50 stitches. This should be fun! Every 4th row I'll have 4 less to knit! I see that light, there, at the end of that really long sleeve tunnel......

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The last thing I ever knit

Do you ever think about it? What if this is the last thing I ever knit? If it's for you or for your grandchild, for your spouse or your sister or for charity ~ what if it's the very last thing you ever knit?

Do you love it? Does it make you happy every time you pick it up and run your hand across the beautiful fiber? Do you love the color? The pattern? The technique? Is it a challenge but a joy? If it's easy enough to knit while on vacation, is it still meaningful?

What if it's the last thing you'll ever knit? What if (fill in the blank) happens and you will never be able to knit again? Will you have made that special item you always wanted to? Will you have used the best yarn you could afford, every time, so that your hands had the pleasure of alpaca or merino or cashmere (or, ok, even pima cotton can be nice for some)?

I have a finite knitting future. I have a little arthritis in my thumbs, I have tendinitis in my elbows. I try not to lift over 5 lbs so as to not stress my elbows and I always have Mr. open the tight jars. I use a small chain saw instead of limb loppers, I don't vacuum with that 80 lb monster machine he just had to have (because, heck, it really MUST pick up more dirt because it is, after all, BIG,) and I try to not knit or spin until I drop because no good can come of that.

What I do try to do is choose my projects carefully. I used to just knit everything that came along. I used to knit 30 or 40 items a year. I'd knit anything. I was a knitting ho. Then I hurt myself and couldn't knit for about 3 months. omg, I thought. What if I can never knit again? Now I take time and contemplate my options carefully and I've stopped buying sale yarn. Just 'cause it's on sale doesn't make it yarn I want to knit with, or yarn that will work with a pattern I've always wanted to knit. Yarn on sale* doesn't work for the person with a finite knitting career. THAT yarn is carefully considered for a perfect project, the one that may be the last.

I'm not trying to be an alarmist. I don't want to bum you out. I'm just saying. If you have any issues with maybe not being able to knit anymore, you may want to be choosing projects that thrill you instead of just picking something cute or easy. And yeah, I know that we can't do a major project EVERY time but we can choose patterns more classic than trendy, something we know will be lovely in twenty years instead of for just this one season. We can knit for people we love instead of the baby of the daughter of a friend of our boss...

*Exception to this rule: if you have yarn for a project that you've been waiting to make until you find that last ball in that particular dye lot, and it's on sale, of COURSE you should buy it. Silly.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Flame Ash

These glorious trees are in their prime right now and for the next week or two on 35th NE in Seattle. Pick a sunny day (hahahaha) and check them out. They are growing along both sides of 35th NE from Lake City Way south all the way to 84th. It's a part of Autumn that I never tire of, as in Spring is that gigantic Magnolia tree on top of 65th..oh my. I love me some Seattle trees!

Maybe this is what inspired my favorite color combination.

Real name:
Autumn Purple Ash (Fraxinus americana, 'Autumn Purple')

Friday, October 06, 2006

Don't wash that floor ~ blog!

I'm still knitting on Braids and I am beginning to believe it shall be finished within the next couple of weeks. Why this total turn-around from the panic of a few weeks ago? Simple! I'm now in-between jobs. I could be out looking for a new one 8 hours a day, but seriously people, I'd rather be knitting. Not for eight hours a day ~ my hands and elbows couldn't take that much knitting ~ but certainly for several hours a day, in day-light, in front of good movies with breaks for grocery shopping and projects around the house. Oh, and blogging. This blogging thing sure sucks the time away from washing that kitchen floor, wow. As my friend Evelyn says: "I only wash the kitchen floor when I start sticking to it, and then I only wash the sticky bit." This, people, is why she has time to design all those wonderful shawls...

But back to Braids. I have picked up around for the button band, which is all in one piece so I used several long-ish circular 5's for this process. I have left the button band half done because I want to consult with Peggy about how many buttons she wants, and how wide she wants the band.
I have also picked up around each armhole for the sleeves and have put them both on two circulars for knitting at the same time. I am obsessed with knitting both fronts, both sleeves or both socks at the same time. I am compulsive about getting the shaping the same, the number of rows the same, etc. They can't be close ~ they must be exactly right. Don't judge me too harshly. You have a 'thing', too. You know you do.

These photos were taken in the last bit of sunlight on my driveway, about 4 p.m. Seattle is a city of hills, and if you live on the top or the side of a hill you have a darn good shot at a good view of some sort. If you live at the bottom of a hill, as do I, you get early, deep shadows and somewhat lower property taxes. Until the next election when there will be something to vote on which will raise them again.

Which reminds me. It's a few short weeks until said 'next election'. It would make me very happy if all of you will vote. There is no excuse good enough to not and I just can't be your friend anymore if you don't. Voting doesn't take any longer than washing the kitchen floor (if you wash more than just that sticky bit, of course) and if we have time to knit or spin or blog, we have time to vote.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

My Budgie died

January 1999 - October 4th, 2006

The English Budgie's average life span is 7 years.

Cloudy was an above average Budgie in most other ways.

He was the adored and adoring mate of Sweetie-Dahling, good natured to all other Budgies in the flock, an avid oat-groats connoisseur and the boy did love his salad.

He was a rescue Budgie, from a bird seller who was done using him in her program. I found him three years ago and I like to think he had a good life.

Fly free, Cloudy.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Folk Socks

I will admit that when I don't have much current knitting to talk about here in the Blog I'm not too proud to fall back on past projects.

Back In The Day (the last decade of the last century) I bought Nancy Bush's book FOLK SOCKS because I wanted to knit every single pattern in it. That was my goal. The year was 1995 and I bought pattern-specific yarn for a few of the patterns and had high expectations.

I started with 'Stockings With Clocks', in Brown Sheep Nature Spun 3-ply sport.

I loved them.
Then, as was my habit, I got distracted by shiney things and the rest of the yarn and Folk Socks, The Book, were put away and became lost in the sock yarn section of my stash. And no wonder.

It was a crowded place.

(Still is. eek!)

Happily, Rebecca in Colorado started the Folk Socks KAL, and I got a jump-start on The Book again and made 'Country Socks', also in the pattern-called-for Brown Sheep Nature Spun sport.

Then came 'Latvian Socks', which everyone in the KAL had knit as their first project and I was just so wanting to make with some Trekking XXL from the stash. These turned out rather well. Love the colors.

Our next pattern was a pair of knee socks, 'Norwegian Stockings'. I had it in my head that I don't wear knee-highs, silly me, so I shortened them, which saved me time and I liked them. These are made from almost the-called-for yarn. I used Dale of Norway's FALK (instead of HEILO, which isn't superwash) and I changed the pattern just a little bit by doing my usual heel and some left/right toe shaping.

The October/November sock (voting just closed) is 'Highland Scottische Kilt Hose', page 94. Nancy calls for Nature Spun sport for this pattern also. I think she was in love with that yarn in the '90's, or else Brown Sheep was supplying her, one, but I'm going to use some "original" Kilt Hose wool that a friend is giving me. She and her knitting friends have been knitting Kilt Hose for the men in the Scottish Club (or they play the Pipes, or something) and there's always a new boy in the group who needs an authentic hand-knit pair of Kilt Hose, so as long as I'm knitting them I may as well knit them for someone who will actually wear them with a kilt.

Speaking of kilts, Diana Gabaldon's next Outlander book, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, is now out in paperback. I do love a 900 page book. It's the sixth in the series. All the books in this series are available in the secondary market (ebay, half.com, etc) and I recommend paperback, if only for weight. They're all big, fat yummy reads and you seriously risk cutting into your knitting time whenever you start one, and if you start at the beginning of the series...well then, we'll see you sometime next year. Late.