Thursday, September 27, 2007

Best Google search string ever

Occasionally I check my stat counter to see what types of Google searches are leading people to my blog. It's often a mildly amusing activity, but today I came across a string that I'm almost tempted to use as my tag line. Wait for it...

that thing that's not knitting but close

To the person who originated this search: I think you are awesome.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New things

First up, new man lace socks. Out of the ashes of New Year's Day comes, appropriately enough, Fawkes!

mb fawkes first
The fit is good, and the Professor approves of the pattern. All is well in sockland once more.

Next, here's some yarn I dyed on Saturday.

2nd hand dyed
The Sisters of the Wool had a "field trip" down to Heritage Arts. Angeluna has brilliantly documented the excursion, so I won't elaborate any further. Much fun was had by all, despite the heat.

And we'll round out the yarn portion of our program by showcasing some yarn dyed by someone else.

ff sdssc 2
This is the second shipment of the Fearless Fibers Seven Deadly Sins sock club. On the left is Sloth, "a varied light blue shade often used to symbolically represent laziness, mixed with the slightest, subtlest hints of gray and lavender." On the right is Lust, "a rich and passionate shade of eggplant purple mixed with dark oxblood and crimson." Swoon!

Here are the first singles I spun on my beloved new Lendrum. (Is it wrong to love an inanimate object so much?)

first singles
I'm quite pleased. Although there is some unevenness, these singles are much more consistent than I was expecting for my first go. The wool is some coarse Icelandic top that came with the wheel, but it's perfect for a newbie like me. The heathered gray is lovely too.

Finally, here's a peek at my newly accumulated fiber stash.

begin fiber stash
There are almost six pounds of fiber in this picture, and not all of it is visible. It's piled on top of the sock yarn cabinet, waiting for a new home. (What? Don't all of you have pieces of furniture dedicated to yarn?) I'll find an appropriate vessel for it this weekend.

Friday, September 21, 2007

It is not a house

If you've been a regular visitor for a while, you might remember this photo from last March.

first spinning lesson
That's me at a B&B in Christchurch, New Zealand. The proprietor gave me an impromptu spinning lesson, and I haven't stopped obsessing thinking about it in the six months since. So it is with great pleasure that I introduce the newest member of the family.

lendrum dt
Lendrum double treadle folding wheel

After I came back from New Zealand, I knew I wanted a spinning wheel, so I started to do research. There are a lot of good wheels out there, but it didn't take long for this one in particular to sing its siren call to me. But in an attempt to be practical (ha!), I decided I should wait and get it for my birthday.

My birthday is in November. It is now September. I know, I know, but honestly, it's the Professor's fault! The conversation went something like this:
Me: When I get my wheel, I'll be able to ________. [I don't remember exactly what I said.]
Him: What are you waiting for?
Me: Sorry?
Him: Why are you waiting to buy the wheel?
Me: Um, well, I'm waiting for my birthday.
Him: Why?
Me: [quizzical look]
Him: You already know you want it, so I can't understand why you don't just order it.
Me: Well, it's several hundred dollars.
Him: So?
That was my cue to shut my mouth and run (don't walk) to order the wheel. It arrived on Thursday, and I think I'm in love.

lendrum dt top
I think I have the best husband in the world. However, I'm not sure he would have been so encouraging if he had realized that getting a wheel means that I will be accumulating fiber as well as yarn from now on. Well, he knows now.

Another reason this week was good: look what came in the mail.

from lori
Lori has been giving away books, and I was lucky enough to win the first one she offered up. I'm thrilled—it's the first time I've ever won a blog contest. The book is gorgeous, and the chocolate...well, it's now just a yummy memory. Thanks again, Lori!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to play with my wheel.

Monday, September 17, 2007

You're all so smart

Yes, of course the Socks That Rock I showed in my last post is for a chevron scarf. Yes, I'm using one of the most popular color combos out there for this scarf. And yes, some day I hope to have an original thought.

str chevron begin
Seriously though, I'm loving it. This scarf will be a present for my niece, and the vibrant colors will be perfect for her. I'm overdue for a mindless knit, and this one has the added entertainment of watching the color pattern develop. Look at those two balls of yarn! It shouldn't work, but magically, it does. (For a more amazing example of two colorways working together synergistically, you must see Grace's version. It's even better in person.)

As for the New Year's Day socks, they have retired to the frog pond, so we shall speak no more of them. The pattern, while lovely, is not stretchy enough to accommodate the idiosyncrasies of the Professor's feet. I've simply lost the will to keep trying to make it work. The quest continues for the perfect man lace socks. I think I may have found a new candidate, but I'm also open to suggestions.

I'm not terribly sad about the socks, though, because something wonderful is going to happen this week here at T4SHQ. How's that for being vague?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mossy Trellis

Presenting Trellis, looking completely innocent after the button fiasco.

trellis done
Pattern: Trellis by Britta Stolfus Rueschhoff
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish DK, "Moss," 3 skeins
Needles: size 4 (3.50 mm)
Size: 6 month
Modifications: I used DK weight yarn instead of the specified worsted/aran weight. The pattern calls for ⅝" buttons, but I used ¾". It just seemed like the ⅝" buttons would slip too easily through the buttonholes. (It could be that I make unusually spacious yarnovers.)

trellis back close
This little sweater charms me. It looks like something an old man would wear, but in miniature. The pattern is well written, and the chart is easy to memorize. However, this may not be a good pattern for anyone who despises sewing. I don't really mind sewing pieces together, so it was fine for me. If I were going to knit this again, though, I would probably try knitting the body in one piece to the armholes

trellis back
Despite my initial disappointment with this "shades of '70s" green, I do quite like the yarn. It's soft and squishy. Like most yarns, it gets even softer after washing—just the thing for a baby garment. As I've noted before, Swish DK feels a bit heavier than most other DK weight yarns I've used (admittedly, that's not a large number).

trellis front close
Now I just need to box up the sweater and ship it off. I hope the sweater keeps its wearer warm throughout the upstate New York autumn.

My mind is now turning toward holiday knitting. It's time for another non-sock project, I think. I just wound these into balls.

str mw fh wt
Yes, I am no longer a STR virgin, although honestly, I don't know why I've been, um, saving myself. Many of you will be able to guess what I'm making out of this just based on the colorways.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Hard lessons

I had hoped this post would be all about my finished baby sweater, but the knitting gods would not have it so. My grand plans were foiled by buttons, if you can believe it. Buttons! The cute metal ones I originally picked turned out to be too, um, substantial for such a tiny garment. Important lesson learned! I only wish correcting the error hadn't entailed driving from one end of my little piece of suburbia to the other twice. (Fabric/notions stores are sorely lacking around here.) Anyway, I just finished sewing on the new buttons, so photos will be forthcoming. It's just to dark to take pictures now.

There has been other progress on the knitting front, in sock form, of course. Having conquered one pair of blue socks, I've decided to go back to another pair that previously gave me trouble.

nyd begin
After a few false starts in which I tackled gauge issues, all is now going well. This pattern—New Year's Day—is similar to Monkey (without the purling), although I think it's a bit less stretchy. The Professor asked me for some "socks with holes" (i.e., man lace), and I thought this pattern didn't look too feminine. Come to think of it, if he's the one asking for lace socks, why should I be worried about whether the pattern looks girly? I'll just be proud of him for being so secure in his masculinity.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The bees, they are tipsy

Drunken Bees are finished! Actually, they've been finished for a few days now, but the weather has been too dark and overcast for good photos. Not that today is any less dreary; I've just grown impatient.
ff drunken bees done
Pattern: Drunken Bees by domesticat
Yarn: Fearless Fibers Superwash Merino Sock, "Prosperity"
Needles: size 1 (2.25 mm) DPNs
ff db on
I adore these socks! The pattern is fun and interesting, and the yarn is gorgeous and soft. Really, it doesn't get any better. Here's a closeup of the stitch pattern.
ff db leg close
This is certainly not a mindless knit, although I didn't find it difficult. After completing the leg of the first sock, I didn't need to consult the chart anymore (although I didn't actually abandon the chart until I started on the second sock). Still, there is patterning on every round, so it's important to pay attention. I just love the way the honeycomb cable continues down the heel.
ff db foot side close
I love the "bare bones" way the pattern is written. It's basically a chart with instructions to "do your own thing" for the sock. My version differs slightly from domesticat's in that I chose not to do the 6-stitch partial pattern repeats on the sides of the instep. (Once again, my innate laziness rears its ugly head.) As you can see in the above photo, the transition to stockinette on the instep sides isn't particularly elegant, but it doesn't bother me.

In the past I've gushed about how much I love Fearless Fibers yarn, so I won't yammer on the subject any further here. However, I would like to point out how particularly lovely the yarn looks in the stockinette sections of the sock. "Prosperity" is a lovely shade of greenish-blue, with subtle hints of gray here and there.
ff db model
In non-sock news, I only need to knit one more sleeve for Trellis. Yes there's still seaming and collar knitting after that, but I'm excited about the prospect of having all the pieces finished.