Thursday, October 29, 2009

Disappointment, fall knitting plans

Well, it's finally happened. I bought a yarn I loved in the skein, but when I started knitting with it I've realized I just don't like how it's knitting up. At SS09 I bought a skein of a color called Saggittarius from Knit Witch Yarns Celestial Cloud Hand Dyed Sock Yarn, loving the bright blue, the pink, the green colors in the skein. The Northwest Regional Spinners Association bought a copy of Cat Bordhi's new book 'Personal Footprints' and I decided to test knit a pair of socks from it for my book review for our newsletter, Loose Threads. I picked the Manley Stanley pattern and started knitting away. Now, please keep in mind that I did not knit a Discovery Sock to get a personal footprint to keep, as I much prefer to knit my socks from the top down. But I did follow the directions very carefully and the sock was turning out just fine, right size and shape.

But Monday night I was sitting on the couch with the sock in my hands, knitting on the leg, and realized I just don't like how the colors are working up and I wouldn't want to wear the socks. DH said I could make him a pair of socks from the yarn. I asked him if he liked the colorway and he said no, he just didn't want the yarn to go to waste. That's sweet of him but I've decided I'd rather sell the yarn to someone else who loves it and get something that I'll not only enjoy wearing but enjoy watching the colors in it while I knit with it. So today I'm pulling the needles out of the sock, removing my markers, and putting the partially knit sock, along with the ball of yarn, in a zip lock bag while I look for a new owner for the yarn. Life's too short to knit with yarn I don't love.

This coming Sunday the new KAL for the Mara_class group on yahoo will start and I don't have all my yarns in hand yet. Last weekend I went through all my FI yarns and discovered I only have a few colors I need for my Allover cardigan. Since we're having a party this Saturday starting about noon and I need to have bread in the oven for our guests, I'm not sure if I'll have time to run over to Woodland Woolworks to pick up some of the yarns. I'm debating whether I can get up early enough to start the bread, put it in the oven to rise while I'm gone and DH is home, then get back before our guests start arriving. I need to do some more pondering on this today.

On the other hand, I'm knitting the Brigit pattern using my very favorite yarn from SS09 - A River Runs Through It - and I love it so much I'm even carrying the socks to work to knit on during my breaks! The stitch pattern is showing up very nicely in the hand dyed yarn and the hand is very smooth and soft. I'm seriously considering ordering more yarn from this Indie dyer after I get a few more pairs of socks done to work my stash down some more.

Tomorrow is the last day for about 15 of my co-workers, who are taking early retirement from the USPS. I have worked with these folks for my entire 23 years (so far!) career and it will be so sad to see them go like this, in one fell swoop. Not to mention all the knowledge and experience they are taking with them. But that is a large part of the reason the USPS is doing this - so they don't have to fight the employees who know how the job should be done and just do it any old way, whether it's beneficial for the American public or not (and more often not). USPS top management is catering to large businesses now, instead of the American public like you and me, and it is stomach turning to see just how far they are willing to pander the get their approval.

Okay, enough negativity for now. It's raining and blowing outside, so the nesting day I've planned for Saturday sounds so good - hot homemade soup on the stove, home made bread in the oven, a fire in the fireplace, a quilt on the wood floor in the living room so folks can sit and knit in front of the fireplace, and good friends coming over. Hot tea or coffee or hot chocolate to drink makes a complete picture and I might even get some organic apple cider to mull. I love a day like that!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday writing

Morning, everyone!

I have two FOs to show off here. First, is my Bayerische socks. Although there is only one shown in the photo, I actually have the second one finished and wore them Sunday at the Spin In we had at our home, with lots of compliments received. It's so nice to have them done finally, I had blocked myself mentally a year ago by deciding to enter them in the Oregon State Fair. My subconscious knew that the color changes were much too busy to allow the detailed Bavarian twisted stitch patterns to show up, so I just couldn't get the second sock started. This summer I gave myself permission to not enter them in the Fair, and I just whizzed right through the second sock (sort of, since I was also working on the Dragon Breath socks and the white Corrie Aran vest).

The second FO is my Dragon Breath socks, using Three Fates Knitting yarn in Lexington Green. Although the name of the pattern would make one think of bright reds, oranges, and yellows, the delicate flame chevron pattern actually looks beautiful in the bright spring variegated green colors. I was finishing the second sock last week while we were visiting DH's folks. His Mom absolutely loves the color so I've contacted Stephania to see if I can get another skein of that color but she's going to have to dye something for me, as she doesn't have more in stock. His Mom crochets prayer shawls for her church so I'm going to make her a shawlette she can wear in her recliner while she works on the shawls. I noticed she was wearing some of the socks I had knit her as slippers around the house and hand dyed yarns need to be hand washed. So I decided a shawlette with hand dyed yarn would be much easier to handle for her, as it would need to be washed only once a year or so, unless something spilled on it. I'm just hoping I can get it done in time to be shipped to her to open on Christmas.

This morning I'm going to plan the front neck shaping for my white Corrie Aran vest, which I'm making out of the left over yarns from DH's Norway cardigan using his handspun yarns. He has asked for a pair of white socks if there is enough yarn leftover after I finish my vest, but I'm not sure how much will be left. I told him over breakfast yesterday that the socks might have to be made using the black yarn, as I'm sure I'll have enough of that left for socks. Or, DH might get two pairs of socks in the end!

I'm also working on the first Shur'tugal sock, almost done with the heel gusset decreases. I wasn't sure how the pattern would work with the very bright Wildfoote Rock'n'Roll yarn that I received in a yarn swap a year or so ago. But the pattern is showing up quite well, giving a smocked look to the fabric at this point when the socks are laying flat. I might end up going back to work after vacation with three pairs of new socks to wear!

On Wednesday of last week DH took me on a wonderful field trip to Union Creek and the Rogue River Gorge. We took loads of pictures and I'm sharing one here, which I took at the Avenue of the Boulders. The river is very cold and very fast - at the Underground Bridge it flows at 400,000 feet per second going in and 335,000 feet per second coming out. Simply amazing how Nature works in creating beauty in our world!

At the Fall Board meeting for the Northwest Regional Spinners Association (NwRSA) we bought a pre-sale copy of Cat Bordhi's new book, 'Personal Footprints, for insouciant sock knitters.' I'm reading the book and knitting a pair of socks from it to write a review for our monthly newsletter, Loose Threads. I'm not a fan of knitting socks from the toe up, although I've done it, but Cat is such a cool person (I met her at Conference this year) and her books and classes so popular, that I'm biting the bullet and working my way through the process. There is one pattern that called to me yesterday when I was at a friend's house and paging through the patterns. My friend took her sock class earlier this summer, before Conference, and raved about it. I'm not one to do a lot of swatching, since I've been knitting for so long with basically the same type of yarns, so I'm going to take the plunge and not knit the fitting sock, just jump in and start the pattern. The other reason for not knitting the sample is that I'm using one of my precious skeins of yarn I bought at Sock Summit 09 - Knit Witch Yarn's Sagittarius colorway - and I don't want to 'waste' any of it or risk ruining it by knitting a whole sock and then ripping it out, especially since Cat has you cut your yarn during the knitting of the sock. I'm thinking about how to knit the sock without cutting the yarn and breaking the color repeat pattern. She does have one pattern that uses a similar yarn and she worked the sock differently to avoid breaking the color pattern. I don't think this is violating the spirit of the book, since Cat wants knitters to think about their knitting and achieve the item they want, using the yarns they choose, and not just slavishly follow her patterns. So I'll do the sock her way, just not cutting the yarn after the foot is done to keep the colorway going my way. And if I run into her at another event, I'll try to wear my socks to show her how I thought about my yarn and how I wanted the socks to look, being a thinking knitter.

A while back I was looking at the numerals for next year and it dawned on me that they look a lot like lace. I posted a thread on the Starmore Junkies group on about doing lace projects by the Starmores next year and there was a lot of interest. Alice hasn't published many lace patterns herself, the ones I know about being the Maidenhair cardigan/stole, a short sleeve top in a Threads magazine pattern flyer, and a pattern on her VY site. But she did write an article for Threads magazine discussing Shetland lace, giving several lace patterns, and encouraging knitters to create their own lace shawl. So for next year I'm planning to knit the Maidenhair cardigan (yarn yet to be decided on) and a Shetland shawl (yarn to be spun from a Moorit Shetland hogget fleece I'll be picking up on Friday). I'm being conservative in my planning, because I still have lots of WIPs to finish up at the same time.

And then there are two KALs that I am participating in - the Henry VIII one in which I am going to knit the VY kit but change it to a cardigan so I can get more use out of it, and the Mara_class one on yahoo which is knitter's choice of a pattern from the reprint of 'Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting.' For the second one I've picked the Allover pattern, again to be converted to a cardigan so I can wear it more often. I tend to go inside and outside a lot, so need to be able to add and remove layers as needed. For the Allover I'm going to see how many colors I have in my stash before I order the rest of the yarns. I stashed up two years ago when J & S was reducing their color range after Curtis Wool Direct bought them. I helped spearhead a successful drive to encourage the American distributor to special order the discontinued colors so American knitters would still have access to them so I can order any I need for the sweater.

So that's what's going on this week. I had hoped to go camping this week, after spending last week in southern Oregon, but the weather decided to turn to rain (it poured at 6 am today!) so we're staying home and puttering around the house. And spending time with friends, tonight is knitting with the Salem Area Ravelers.

Have a good day!