Sunday, December 31, 2006

It's been a good fiber year

Each year I designate a new page in my day-timer notes section for knitting and spinning projects as I start them in that year. I have been keeping this record in this form since 1999. I begin the new page with all the projects I started in the previous year (or previous to that) but didn't finish. This is the end of 2006 and I will share that unfinished list with you, beginning with the newest UFO's which I will not have time to finish today, December 31st, 2006:

12/26 - Swallowtail Shawl in Corriedale Handspun - Knitting
12/15 - Superwash Merino/Alpaca in rust, gold & navy - Spinning
11/15 - Merino/mohair roving, Dicentra, for socks - Spinning
06/10 - Litla Dimun Shawl in Betty's Handspun - Knitting
11/01/05 - Natural Polworth from Birkund Bros. - Spinning
10/01/05 - 50/50 wool/alpaca - Black - Spinning
09/29/04 - Top Down striped pullover w/ hood - dk wt - Knitting
08/13/04 - Scalloped Wrap for Marcia - K.S. Haze - Knitting
08/2001 - Oregon Shawl in purple D'cer et Soir - Knitting
1997 - Die Tolle Wool/Florica Fair Isle Cardigan - Knitting

Every year, before I add the UFO's to my new list, I review them to determine if I really want to finish them or not. If not, they are either frogged and re-hanked or given to another knitter who wants to finish the project. With the spinning, I will ply what I have and then either give that away or use it as is.

For 2007, these UFO's will not make the cut:

The two '05 spinning projects. I dislike the Polworth - it's got far too much VM for my comfort; the black merino/alpaca is lovely, but Peggy could really use what I haven't spun up, so I'll keep what I have, ply it and make a shawl instead of a sweater. The sweater I was planning would have been far too hot for wearing in Seattle anyway. What was I thinking???

Also not making the cut, the Oregon Shawl in purple silk/wool lace weight from 2001. I finally admit to myself that I don't like the yarn. I have a full bag of it, and must now decide if I want to run it with another yarn and start a new project or release it to the Universe. Not a small amount of swatching will be involved. It will be fun to finally use this yarn, as I love the color.

This leaves me with the fair isle cardigan project from 1997. A short history: I was designing it for the LYS I was working in at the time in order to use two lovely yarns which were moving slowly; I pulled a simple repeat from a vest pattern in an old knitting book from the '80's, used a gray solid and a variegated pink and wa-la, my own cardigan. I had only half of both sleeves to complete plus tacking down the lining for the stand-up collar, button bands and border when word came down that one of the yarns was being discontinued. BUMMER! I totally lost momenum when that happened. I am incapable of frogging it and can't finish. Conundrum.
All other UFO's make the cut for 2007. Congratulations to all of you.

I also keep a page each new year for future projects I really really really want to knit or spin during that year, a 'wish list', so to speak. We've been doing that since 2004, when Peggy and I decided we had been Fritterers. We were frittering away our precious knitting/spinning time on bullshit. Really. Here's the equivalent: instead of reading Daniel Martin by John Fowles, I pick up a Superman comic and am so pleased with the experience ~ it enriched my life and taught me so much...

Historically I haven't completed 100% of any annual 'wish list', although I love having it to refer to, to remind myself to not pick up that comic book. This year I was more successful as there were fewer items on it:

Braids Cardigan for a friend - finished 10/22/06
Knitting for the Folk Sock KAL - 3 pair finished
Knitting for the Evelyn Clark KAL - 2 projects finished, a third begun
Knitting for Dulaan, a local charity - 8 projects ready to be delivered
Using more handspun for knitting

I have a nice list of many completed 2006 items with which I'm very happy but don't need to go into here. It was a satisfying year of knitting and spinning in many ways: I cut back on buying commercial yarn in favor of knitting with my own handspun; I learned a lot about spinning and plying; I got to know some very wonderful women in the intermediate knitting class I teach at a LYS; Peggy and I traveled more this year for fiber events than we've been able to previously; I've put myself out there into more spinning groups, trying to overcome my fear of social situations and a tendency to hole up AND I cleaned up my yarn room.

2006 has been a good fiber year.

Happy New Fiber Year to you all and may your fiber dreams be plentiful.

Spin and knit on!
Rebecca and Peggy

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Swallowtail Shawl

Indoor photos:
Blocking and closeups

In natural light and
Outdoor photos.

Spinner/Knitter: Peggy
Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl, design by Evelyn A. Clark
Source: Interweave Knits, Fall 2006
Fiber: 50/50 Superwash Merino/Alpaca blend, dyed with Mother MacKenzie's Miracle Dye by Heidi Parra of Artful Ewe.
Source: Artful Ewe, Kingston WA, purchased October 25th, 2006

Treatment: Spun in November, 2006 on a Betty Roberts Chinese Elm wheel and then two-plied.
Shawl knitting began on Dec 5th, finished December 20th, 2006
Beads: copper metal beads and burgundy glass donuts, purchased at BeadWorld, Seattle, WA.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Some Knitting Content

but not so very much. This is Sweety Dahling, our old Budgie, back in 2002, knitting with Peggy. Back then she was still judged to be male, as there was a bit of blue on her cere.

This is Sweety today, showing a bit of her age and enjoying breakfast with the folks. She likes bread, toasted or regular, so we twist-tie it to her perch.

She's about 6 now, and you can see how her cere is pale and a little wrinkled. She's got a bit of arthritis in her left foot and she's not as plump as back in the day, but she's still eager to interact and loves being out to visit.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Plan D:

Email the lovely Lisa at Disentra and beg to buy
any small amount of merino/mohair Gulf
that she happens to have in stock.

Now why didn't I think of that sooner?

5.2 more ounces received in the mail!


I think it's going to match the first batch just fine!
oh boy oh boy, Socks! Here I come!

Monday, December 18, 2006

After the Deluge

The Flame Ash were lovely in October.
Then came December and The Storm.
They fell like Pick-Up-Stix.
This is one neighborhood, just a few of the many trees that went down in this one neighborhood, just a few of the Flame Ash that went down on this one street. It's a disaster, not just for the trees. Since last Thursday thousands have been without power. Peggy stayed with us since Friday; last time we went to check on her house it was 42 degrees in there. brrrrr.

There are many overcome with carbon monoxide and, sadly, some Darwin Award winners. People tried many ways to keep warm and most of them survived although some houses did not. BBQ's and candles can do a lot of damage. It's a disaster. We're never prepared for this sort of thing, though some manage better than others. On the local TV news there was no word about possible shelters until Sunday, so many people had no idea that help was available, especially those without TV. There was no sign of relief workers going door-to-door to notify people in their dark, frozen homes and apartments that there was a shelter with heat and food and light, mere blocks away.

Granted, this was a Hundred Year Storm ~ but there is a system in place for emergency action and we saw none of it from our local government (although the power companies were out in force and still are.) It was badly handled. The Mayor should resign.

There are still thousands of people without power, 198,000 in King County alone, as of Monday morning, today. Thousands! It's been 4 days.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

In love with Lisa

Hand Painted Fiber
from Lisa Milliman

This is Blue Faced Leicester Top
5.1 oz of a colorway called DELPHINIUM
I took out most of the yellow after it was spun, not because I didn't like it but because I wanted to 2-ply it and the yellow washed out the other colors a bit more than I liked. I only had 5.1 oz, so I lost a little by removing the yellow instead of one third by chaining. I ended up with just 260 yards, but it's lovely.

Here are two other Dicentra fibers I've been working with,
both of them chained singles.


Before (on the right):

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Red Trellis Scarf

Just in time for Christmas...
Project Details:
The Artist: Peggy
The Yarn: Handspun by Peggy from 8 oz of Romney purchased at OFFF, dyed with Mother McKenzie's Miracle Dye and 2-plyed to a worsted weight.
The Pattern: Trellis Scarf by Evelyn A. Clark
Changes: Using #8 needles, knitting two ends at once to the middle and grafting. All yarn was used and finished/blocked size is 13" by 63".

Friday, December 08, 2006

Plan A:

Clean up my yarn room because I thought I had misplaced a bit of roving I was working on and needed it in order to finish this project so that I could move on to the next project, the one I 'really' wanted to spin. I couldn't find it in the mess that was my office/guest/yarn room but I knew it was in there, somewhere.

I know it's not just me, but why is it that every time I need to do something I'm required to do 5 other things in order for that one thing to happen? sigh. Yet things needed to be moved, and in order to move them other things had to be moved, and then cleaned under...well, we all know how it goes. Ultimately the kitchen floor gets swept and washed and it's not even part of the plan. It's magical, really.

I eventually finished de-cluttering my yarn room. I can now actually spin and knit in here again. While I watch dvds! All good. Rather, mostly good.

Bad? No roving found. Curious, since this is the only place in the house it could possibly be and I know this because of those 5 other things I had to do first, which included looking into every basket and drawer I touched in hopes that the wayward roving would show itself and save me from all this housework. But no.

Plan 2: Weigh it. Pull out the yarn scale (which I can now find) and, deducting for the 1.9 ounce spool and throwing on the little swatches I had knit up and found in one of those baskets I looked through, I have 4.8 ounces. It’s all there. How could that happen? Since it didn't even fill up one spool I was sure there must be more. But chaining, while giving it that cushy feel, plus the added bonus of clear color runs instead of 2-ply heathering, decreases by a third the total yardage. Had I known I would be chaining, I would have purchased more. But that would have required forethought and planning. Yardage wise, 260 yards is not enough for a pair of socks, my original plan for this roving and the reason for chaining the single in the first place. There would have been enough, had I just 2-plyed it, as 4.8 ounces is adequate for socks and I would have ended with about 400 yards.

Chained vs 2-ply
Plan III: I could knit it double and make a hat for Dulaan. Rabbitch sez I have too much free time and I could knit for charity instead of making doll clothes. In my defence, my doll clothes phase was pre-Dulaan and back then I never knit for charity. I prefered donations of dollars, as I always felt the charity could spend those dollars better than I. Post-Dulaan, however, I have come to realize that along with my dollars a nice warm hat and mittens could go a long way in making some kids day.
I'm not too old to learn, I'm simply old. Just saying.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Wee Folk

Awhile back I went through a phase. I needed to dress my dolls. By an accidental stroke of luck, I still have my very first doll, Ann-Marie. Her hair is matted and she has a ding in her nose, but she's not bad for 50 (mas o menos.) I made the sample sweater from the book on knitting guernseys. It fit Ann-Marie just fine, so I knit her a little denim skirt to go with.

I received my own American Girl doll for The Holidays a few years ago and Clair got a felted jacket and hat. Marti knit the little socks.
Also for Clair, a top-down v-neck sweater using the same wonderful pattern by Karen Alfke, Unpattern #6 Top-Down Sweater, that I've used for knitting sweaters for myself.
Then there were these little onesies, using leftover Shetland and tiny buttons. Cuter than cute on Boyd's Rabbits but unfortunately I've given the Rabbits away, in their own little onesie, of course. These two I had to keep, just to remind myself that I can knit small.

And finally, my baby doll.
She's not quite as old as Ann-Marie but she's never going to have a chink out of her nose, either. (Rubber vs plastic.)
Using left over yarn for Wee Folk clothes, priceless.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Pumpkin Tree

I know, it's late for Pumpkin News. Halloween is over. Thanksgiving is over. The November Floods are over. But still, there is Pumpkin News which hasn't been covered and I think it needs to be. Covered. Like this Tree. With Pumpkins.
This Pumpkin Tree is on the road going into (or out of) Snohomish. Clearly someone close to The Tree decided it was time to have some pumpkin fun by throwing pumpkins at it! I wonder if it was just the family or did they invite their friends to join in the Pumpkin Fun?

The flooding in the Snohomish Valley was severe last month. This is farm land, from which the water is now receding.
From up here is doesn't look so bad, but close up ~ oh man. The pumpkin fields flooded and left pumpkins on the sides of the raised road that curves through the valley.

There was still a pumpkin in the field,
but nobody was going in after it.

We come once a month for the NwRSA spin-in (for Area 2010) at the local library, and one of the reasons we drive to Snohomish by this route is to stop at our favorite vegetable stand for local produce and honey. Oh, and the spicy pickles. But not on this day. It just wasn't an option.
The Nursery was underwater.
Next Spring this field will be full of vegetables again, or sod or strawberries. Today, it's a pretty scene and a lay-over for geese on their way South for the Winter.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Using the 'no' in 'snow'

NO going out.

Here's what I did instead:

I turned this
Into this:
Bobbin #1
Bobbin #2
And then this!
Ta Daaaaa!
I love spinning targhee! It's sproingy.


Fiber: Targhee, Combed Top ~ 8 oz
from Woodland Woolworks, Carlton, Or.
Dyed by Mountain Colors
Color: Mountain Tango
Results: 775 yards, 2-ply, 11-15 wpi (it varies, what can I say?)
Spun on my Betty Roberts Russian Olive spinning wheel