Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday meanderings

Hope everyone's Sunday is going well. DH just left to go fishing at Detroit Lake, which means the dogs and I have the house to ourselves for a few hours - whee! Party time! 

Actually, what it means is that I will get the dishwasher loaded and started, find a good movie on Netflix to watch on the computer, get my Ingvold cardigan and knit on the couch with my feet up while the dogs nest around me for a few hours. Ingvold is the summer Aran KAL for the Starmores From the Top group on Ravelry and I need to make some progress on the back so I can send the instructions to my test knitter before publishing them on Ravelry later this week. 

Yesterday at knitting I sat down in a nice comfy armchair with a table next to it, started to spread out my knitting stuff (cable pattern printouts, notepad and pencil, yarn, needles, shoulder straps, .... toolkit? What? I left my knitting toolkit, with my stitch markers in it, at home because I had a long list of things to do before knitting and had been rushing around trying to make sure I had everything in the car before heading to Salem Saturday Market. Turns out my toolkit never made it into my knitting bag for the trip downtown. 

Now, I'm an experienced knitter, right? So I know that I can make loops of some other color of yarn to put on the needles between the different cable stitches. Except that I have tried this several times before and I tend to knit the marker loops together with the stitches and don't notice it until an inch or two or three past the point. So that option won't work. 

I could wait for another knitter to show up and borrow markers, which any of them would be happy to do, except that it's a good hour before any are expected and I don't want to sit twiddling my thumbs and waste precious knitting time. So, I figure, I'll do what my ancestors would have done and just count the stitches as I knit them, right? I hadn't counted on several things; 1. two knitters brought cute little babies that needed cooing and smiling at, 2. a woman came in looking for a knitting class supposed to be held at the restaurant, 3. I'm using dark purple yarn sitting on a dark blue chair, and 4. I'm visiting with folks. 

So I ended up having to tink and reknit the first two rows of pattern four or five times before the stitch count came out the way I wanted it to. But I am happy to report that the Black Water Abbey yarn withstood the fuzz test, although impromptu, just fine. I am having an issue with this lot of the yarn having a lot of knots in the skeins, so far a minimum of three per skein and a maximum of five in one skein. I have checked with other folks using this yarn and they report at most one knot per skein, so I think it's just this lot of yarn. 

But I am now making progress!

Oh, the lady looking for the knitting class? Turns out she is from Greece and needed help with her pattern because she doesn't read English well enough to figure out the abbreviations in the pattern. She learned to knit in grade school back in Greece and we got to watch her do a sort of tubular cast on, then an interesting knitting style where the end of her right needle rests on the inside of her right elbow and she throws the yarn with her right hand. By the time she left, she had the back of the baby sweater for her granddaughter's baby done and the back half of the sleeves almost done. She had to knit one more inch, then divide for the neck. Very fast knitter and so interesting to watch her style. I'm hoping she is able to come to our Wednesday evening knitting session, so I can study her style some more.

I have also finished the August Monthly Mystery Project for Tangled Purls Knit Studio, packed up the yarns and grosgrain ribbon for the project, printed out my pattern and the pattern for the Knit Camp Vest as I used a chart from it (with permission!), made the sample, and taken the whole kit and kaboodle to Vivian so she and Sharon can decide on what swag to put in the kits to sell. The free class for the project is Saturday, August 7th from 11 to 1 and I'm hoping to have more than one person at this class. I need to get hold of the person from the last class and see how she's doing with her project. Hopefully she's done and enjoying using it now.

The August project is a chatelaine with Fair Isle pocket and is called 'Goin' Shopping!' The pocket is used for cash, credit/debit cards, id, and cell phone while one is browsing at a yarn shop, fiber show, fleece show, etc. Pins can be put on the grosgrain ribbing that it hangs around the neck on to show off, swap, or collect. Folks have seen me at shows with the one I made last summer using leftover Hebridean 2-ply yarns from DH's Oregon Autumn vest. It's a quick and easy project, even for someone new to FI knitting, and I hope Vivian sells all five kits I made up for her. What folks won't know is that the dark blue yarn in the kits is discontinued Scottish Campion yarn, because that was the only dark blue I had in my stash to match the chart. It's left over from DH's Marina vest and I have the yarns to use them, so figured I'd just go ahead and do it. If any of the kits don't sell, I'll take them back and gift them to knitter friends later. Win-win in my book.

The September project is done and I'll be sending the pattern by email to my test knitter today. I did my original one in the purple Brown Sheep Naturespun Worsted yarn I had left over from the tea cozies for July, but stopped by the shop yesterday and bought a skein of Universal Yarn Worsted Tweed in Apricot Nectar for the shop sample. It looks like orange and should appeal to OSU Beaver fans. Vivian had pointed out that she had the orange and a green in that yarn for OSU and U of O fans to knit with. I woke up this morning thinking about a shadow scarf in each school's colors that said "Go Beavers" and Go Ducks" - wonder if they would sell?

The only other knitting I've been working on is starting to plan a scarf in Stephania's Three Fates Yarn hand dyed sock yarn. That will be a two month project for the shop and I'm still weighing whether I want a garter stitch triangle with lace edging or the entire scarf in lace. I'm hoping to get some books down from the shelves today and look at some more lace patterns to see if anything catches my eye. I have the skein of yarn I want to use wound up and sitting here on the coffeetable waiting for me to start knitting. Need to do more cogitating on it.

Happy knitting!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Heat wave!

I reallllllllyyyyy hate when the temp gets over 80 degrees, I want to just sit down, drink iced sun tea, and doze. But it's only Thursday so I have to work today and tomorrow before I can veg out. Still, I'm very thankful I have a good job that pays well and has good benefits (oh, and air conditioning!). I've been asking my customers to clear the door scanner area so the doors stay closed more and the air conditioning works better.

I am getting some knitting done, though, slowly. At the moment I"m working on a swatch cap for the Ingvold Aran KAL I'm leading on Ravelry and yahoo. We postponed the KAL for a few weeks while my test knitter cared for her mother as she fought her disease and then passed away. Karla's back to her knitting and expressed her appreciation to everyone for giving her the time and space to care for her mother. 

Of course, I also have other projects that I'm working on in rotation - my orange Mystery socks, my October Frost cardigan, my Escher Cube socks, and so on. I've entered four items into the Marion County Fair - my Amphora pullover, my Pacific Northwest shawl, my Latvian Lace socks, my Annemor mittens. DH entered two items - a skein of his handspun yarn and the shawl he wove from it for his cousin in Washington state. We'll be demoing spinning on Sunday at the Fair so will be able to find out then if we won any ribbons on our items. We might hear earlier, because a member of my local knitting group is demoing spinning at the Fair today. DH and I will also be entering items in the Oregon State Fair in August.

Hope everyone stays cool and hydrated!


Saturday, July 03, 2010

Celebrating our Nation

Happy 4th of July to those who celebrate it! My neighbors have been setting off fireworks for several nights now and are really going to it tonight. We had some friends over for a barbecue and hanging out. At one point we had four spinning wheels running at one time - I was spinning Dicentra roving in the Pellenor colorway, B was plying some pink top, K was spinning natural grey pygora roving, and DH was spinning Romney in the grease. C was knitting on a sweater for her son and N was knitting on two pairs of socks alternately. After our friends left tonight, we had a DVD from Netflix to watch but about 3/4 of the way through it, it froze and we discovered a break in the disc. DH emailed them to let them know about it and we'll mail it back on Tuesday. They'll replace it as quickly as they can - it's happened before.

I'm designing Monthly Mystery Projects for the new Tangled Purls Knit Studio here in Salem and the first one is ready to go. It's a small tea cozy called Cozy Tea For One, designed to fit those tea for one sets or small teapots. The kits will include the pattern, yarn, needles, beads to top it, and a bag of Tea Time Garden tea. The default color of the yarn is a heathered green, but folks can exchange it for a color in the same yarn if they choose. I'll be teaching a free two hour class on the project next Saturday, July 10, from 11 am to 1 pm at the shop. 

Tonight, while we were watching the movie, I was working on my October Frost cardigan. I haven't worked on it for a month or so, so it took me a while to figure out where I am in the pattern. I'm modifying the pattern to be knit from the top down in one piece, instead of in pieces from the bottom up. I'm not in a hurry to finish this sweater, but it's a nice change to work on as it's on size 8 needles, much larger than I usually use. 

This past week I three-plied the first skein of my Border Leicester x Corriedale fleece I bought last year at Black Sheep Gathering, washed and dried it. I left some of the lanolin in it to be traditional and it feels so silky.

Since the fleece is 8-1/2 pounds, I'll be working on it for quite a while, lol. It's going to be a self-designed Aran cardigan for me, eventually. 

I finished spinning the Dicentra roving before our last guests left and will Navaho-ply it later this weekend. It's the last hank I need to knit the cuffs and front bands for my Dream Coat and I am looking forward to finishing the sweater. One of my customers was telling me yesterday that one of his customers makes custom blown glass jewelry and might be able to make me custom buttons for my sweater - cool! I really prefer to support local artisans and this way I can get just the colors I want for the buttons, the size and shape I want, and no one else will have the same buttons because they will be hand made one at a time! After the time and money I have put in on this sweater, getting custom made glass buttons to finish it is totally worth it.

I finished the first orange sock of the May/June Mystery sock for the SolidSocks group on Ravelry Thursday night and promptly cast on for the second one Friday morning. I'm really enjoying this pattern, even though each section has its own chart. I did make some changes on the foot, to fit my long feet the way I prefer. But the first one looks good and I might get the second one done this week. That is, if I get the charts done for the Ingvold Aran KAL first.

Tomorrow I'll redo several of the charts which gave me problems last weekend. I bought a copy of Aran Paint Plus software to make the charts with and had some problems figuring out how the software works. One restriction that I personally don't like, because I'm a pretty experienced knitter, is that the program creates two rows at a time. The developer told me this is to keep new designers from creating designs impossible to knit. It also means I can't do seed stitch in the middle of cables, which is a limitation I don't like. I'm investigating other programs and might get a different one to use. I also had to reinstall Open Office, as the two programs had conflicts I had to figure out and resolve. 

July is the stranded sock month for Sock Knitters Anonymous on Ravelry and, when I finish the orange socks and the grey Escher Cube socks, then I'll cast on the Nordic Lights socks by Janel Laidman using the royal blue yarn I got at Yarnia with the Socks That Rock Mill End I got at BSG. 

The top pic shows the true colors of the STR yarn and the bottom one shows the royal blue. I think they will look great together, just hope there is enough to make the stranded socks with tops long enough for me!

And one last beautiful photo to share - this is the Julia rose that my first MIL bred. It was the first tangerine rose registered and I really love it, the fragrance is delicious. Sorry for the lack of detail, the pic was taken with my iPhone. 

Happy weekend everyone!