Thursday, October 25, 2007

Prize Received

As many of you know by now, I am in the Sockamania Club. Each month wonderful Anni comes up with a great sock design. If you finish the sock by the end of the month your name is entered into a "hat" for a prize. Well I won for completing my September socks!! I was able to choose anything from Anni's esty shop. My yarn arrived yesterday and I couldn't be more pleased. It's laceweight yarn. It looks like it's single ply. Now all I have to do is figure out the yarn wants to become.

Thank you Anni once again. I love the club and the yarn is just the icing on the cake.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Puzzle Scarf

Three days and three days with bad news. My boss found out this morning that a friend of his passed away last night. My mom always said things happen in threes. I am hoping that's true and this is the end of it for a long time.

On the knitting front, here are pictures and more information about the scarf I made for my partner for the International Scarf Exchange 5. Since I have no idea if this pattern has a proper name or not, I am going to call it the Puzzle Scarf. The scarf is from the Japanese knitting book called Let's Knit Series 3. The ISBN number is 4529042758. I bought my copy from The Needle Arts Book Shop. I am not affiliated with this website in any way. I am just a very satisfied customer. I got a lot of help working on the mechanics of this scarf from the KnittingInJapan Yahoo group. I don't think I could have done the scarf without them (but then I have said that before).

Yarn is Schoeller Esslinger Merino Soft, in case you missed it. Scarf started on October 13, 2007 and finished October 21, 2007. I used 3.5mm needles and 3.25mm crochet hook for the crocheted edging.




The scarf is worked IN ONE PIECE from beginning to end. I have never seen anything constructed this way. It's pure genius if you ask me. I did change a few things when I did the last section and edging. The edging is a crochet edging where you chain 7, single crochet in the next stitch, skip the next stitch, chain 7 etc. I did two rounds of the edging instead of 1, doing the single crochets in the stitch that was skipped the first time around. Also instead of keeping the entire scarf stitches live after finishing chart D I chose to cast off each D section and single crochet around to the next section where you would pick up the stitches to work another D section. For me, this was much easier than working it with all the stitches live. I would have gone nuts and this way I was able to do the double row of edging.

I must admit, I am very pleased with the final result. I am still a little nervous about my partner. I hope she is going to like it. I was going to use an alpaca yarn in a black with red tweed but I decided against it because if the yarn was a dark colour the pattern would have been lost.

Now I need some ideas on what to send along with the scarf so I can get this out in the mail this weekend.

Next up, I am working on a sock design but I can't really go into that right now other than it's toe up.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fall Fire

It's only Tuesday and it has been a very difficult week so far at work. First, I should clarify I work for someone in the life insurance business. It isn't easy for me when someone calls to tell me someone has passed on. A friend of my boss, whom I have met and spoken to via the telephone many times over the years passed away on Saturday. This one hurts a lot. He was way too young, only 47. He suffered and I know he is at peace now but he was such a fighter. I spoke to him about a week to two weeks ago and he was still cheerful, upbeat, and hopeful. He knew the end was near, I think, but he never let on. He fought to the very end. Then today my boss got a call that another one of his client's wife passed away. This one was totally unexpected and she was also way too young.

When I got home I checked the mail box and this was inside. I had received an email from my secret partner to expect a package but today couldn't have been better timed. The package was sent from Robyn's Nest and I couldn't possibly be more pleased. I forgot to mention the package is from my SP 11 Pal. THANK YOU!!!! I just LOVE IT!! The colour name is Fall fire and it is gorgeous. The pattern, also Fall Fire, is adorable. There's also a few stitch markers in colours to match the yarn. How cute is that?? I can't wait to knit these up but it will have to wait a little while because I have stuff I must finish first.

I am working on a sock pattern that needs to be finished very soon. Then, Joseph needs me to crochet stuff for school and he needs it for November. When in November? I have no clue. He hasn't advised me yet. Then I have a baby blanket I have to do for his teacher's wife who is expecting in November. Looks like I am going to spend another lacevember knitting the Sweet Dreams Baby Blanket. I did the same thing last year. Oh well. Maybe by next year I'll be able to knit something differnet for lacevember?



Entrelac'tober is almost over and have I knit anything entrelac? Not even one stitch and it doesn't look like I am going to have the time to do that either. I need to stop joining and start doing, I think. I will do something entrelac but it isn't going to be by the end of this month. Maybe by the end of the year. Only time will tell.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Puzzle Unraveled

I have been busy all week trying to get the scarf for my ISE5 partner worked out. The pattern is from Let's Knit Series 3. It's on page 25, I think. When I saw this pattern I just knew I had to make it for my ISE exchange. I was going to use the elann.com 100% aplaca but it didn't work. Instead I am using Schoeller Esslinger Merino Soft. I'm pleased to say that since the two knots in less than 6 inches, I have not encountered another knot in the other 2 balls I have used so far. I'm about to wind another ball and I might need one more after that to complete the edging. I have to admit I am very pleased with the results so far. I just hope my ISE partner will feel the same way. I really do need to thank everyone on the Knitting In Japan Yahoo group. I never would have been able to get this scarf done without them. I am now in the middle of chart D. I've changed the way the pattern tells you to do it. You're supposed to work chart D in that hollowed out section between B and C and then pick up the stitches at the beginning of C until you get around to the next "hollow/arc" section. All sts are supposed to remain live on the needle. Since I've made this scarf longer than it stated (15 sections instead of 9) I didn't want all those sts to get in my way as I worked around. So I am casting off D instead and using single crochet around B till I get to the next D chart. Confused? I think it will be a lot better for me this way. I hope I can get all the D sections done today and then finish this scarf either today or tomorrow.

Yesterday I went to The Black Lamb to change the drive wheel on my Little Gem. The drive wheel that was on the wheel when I bought it was warped and very wobbly so Laurie ordered a new one for me. The drive was much more pleasant that I thought it was going to be. As many of you know, I am not a fan of driving even though I do it all the time. I left home just after 9. I got to Laurie just after 10 and left around 11:45 and was home just after 1 (with a stop at wally world) You would not believe the amount of fibre I saw there. Incredible. You know the saying "The one who has the most yarn wins," well Laurie wins in the fibre department. I can't go there and come home empty handed. I bought 3 bags of pencil roving. The one on top is lipstick the other one is a gorgeous olive green and the one on the right is an off white/taupe colour. I could have bought much more but I also bought a cone of merino/nylon in off white for some baby blankets I have to do so I was maxed out by the time I left. The wheel is working great now. I just have to be able to stay awake at night so I can get more time to spin, knit and anything else I want to do to relax and have fun.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What's Wrong With This Picture?

I am working away on the Japanese scarf for my ISE partner. The yarn is Schoeller Esslinger Merino Soft. I prefer to wind my yarn into center pull balls most of the time so this morning I was merrily winding the yarn onto the ball winder. I knew there was a knot because I saw it when I went looking for the end. I wound the ball from the inside out so that clump you see at the bottom is what's left of the 50 grams after the TWO knots!!! Take a look at how close these knots are to one another. This is NOT ACCEPTABLE practice at all!!!! Schoeller Esslinger should be ashamed of themselves. Knots are bad enough. How do they DARE to put two knots within inches of each other. I must admit I have never seen this before. I used one ball of this stuff so far and that ball didn't have any knots. I have 11 more balls of this stuff. If there are tons of knots in it I will definitely write a letter to the company to voice my displeasure. I doubt it will get me anywhere but it will feel good to get it off my chest.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

First Single Ply

I spun half a bobbin of what I think is lace weight singles and decided it was time to wind it off, wash it and see how it turns out before I invest anymore fibre or time. I am so pleased with the result. The yarn look amazing. It came off the noddy virtually straight. There are no twisties here of over spun spots. Now I have to knit something with it and wash it and block it and see how that goes. Then I will spin up the rest of the pencil roving I have and make a shawl or something. This skein is 55 grams. I don't know the yardage. I'll figure that out when I wind it into a center pull ball.

I folded up the wheel and put it back in it's bag yesterday. The wood on the Majacraft wheels is so soft I worry about something falling on it and denting it. Space is at a premium here. Now I have to pull it out and spin more.

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SP11 Contest #4

The newest contest for SP11 is to show a picture of our first FO and our last FO and tell how we have changed as a knitter. To be honest, I don't even remember what my first FO was. I've been knitting almost 40 years and I think it was a scarf but I don't have a picture of it. The socks I finished and blogged yesterday is my latest FO.

How have I changed as a knitter? I've become much more confident. When I first learned to knit my mother was still alive. Whenever I wanted to knit a sweater I would call mom up and tell her what I wanted and she would tell me what to do. She would tell me to cast on so many sts, work so many inches, decrease for the armhole, keep decreasing until you had so many sts. etc. I never used a pattern. Mom would just give it to me from her own calculations. Most of the sweaters were raglan sleeves. When my mom passed away I had to learn how to read patterns. Now I change most of my sweaters to knit in the round. I can't remember the last time I knit a raglan sweater and I use patterns as guidelines as opposed to rigid rules.

I've learned to knit socks. That's something I never would have thought of doing in my younger days. I've learned to knit lovely lace. As a matter of fact, I've become obsessed with lace and socks. They are my two favourite things to knit. I've learned I don't like colour knitting. I never used to do it. I did only aran sweaters and the like but about 11 years ago I took a class on colour knitting at a LYS and I made an intarsia Mickey Mouse sweater for Joseph. The sweater was never finished. I hated intarsia and I don't like fairisle any better. I admire people who can do that, but it just isn't for me.

Years ago I never would have bought a book that wasn't in English. Now trying to figure out puzzles is so much fun. I've learned to read charts. Not only did I learn to read them when I did my first Rose of England, I now prefer charts. Rose of England is from The Second Book of Modern Lace Knitting by Marianne Kinzel, for those of you that would like to know. It is a great book to start with charts because either that of her First Book have charts as well as a written pattern so you can follow the chart and if you are unsure of something you can go back and check out the written pattern. As far as I know both of these books are error free as well.

Now I'm spinning too but that's another story altogether.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Socks

I needed a break from trying to figure out the scarf pattern. I don't want to get so frustrated with it that I end up hated the thing. I really like the look of the pattern. Tomorrow I am going to ask one of the teacher's in Joseph's school for help. I'm told she reads Japanese so maybe she can translate some stuff for me.

October is Socktoberfest. Yesterday also marked the beginning of Sock Wars II. I thought I had joined. This was going to be my first attempt because last year I didn't hear about it until it was too late. This time I missed the post where I was supposed to reply that I was still in so I got booted. It's my fault but all things happen for a reason and it was probably for the best. I've got so much on my plate right now, I guess this is one less thing I have to worry about.

Since I didn't have a Sock Wars sock to work on, I decided to finish the Sockamania Club socks for October. These are named Elegance. They are knit in Lang JaWoll Cotton in colour 54. They are knit from the toe up and I added a k3, p3 ribbing after 7 repeats of the cable pattern because I prefer to have a ribbing on my cuffs.

Now I am going to finish the second On Line sock and knit an entrelac bag for Entrelactober.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Unravelling Puzzles

I've been hearing and seeing pictures of the Mountain Ash Shawl for quite some time. I joined the Yahoo group and finally caved and bought the book. When I ordered the book, I couldn't just order one so I went through the books that Marsha has at The Needle Arts Book Shop. After much consideration, I ordered the Let's Knit Series 3 and Series 11 at the same time I ordered the New Style of Heirloom Knitting. (No affiliation just a satisfied customer). I received the books on Tuesday and ever since I've become obsessed with this scarf pattern in Let's Knit Series 3. It is on page 25. I joined the Knitting in Japan Yahoo group and I am now trying to unravel the puzzle that is this scarf. I would like to make it for the ISE5 partner. That's if I ever figure it out. I understand the charts now. It's how to get from chart b to c that will be the challenge, I think. I've started knitting a sample out of some scrap yarn I have in the house to see if I can figure out the construction. This is SO MUCH FUN it should be illegal. I just love a challenge. I just hope I can figure it out soon or I might just lose my mind. Thank you to everyone on the Yahoo group that is helping me unravel the puzzle.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

The Right Tool For The Right Job

I'm just a beginning spinner but boy have I learned the importance of proper tools. I've been trying and trying for a very long time to be able to spin fine yarn. The bobbin on the right is still not as fine as I want to get it but I'm getting close. I've been spinning the pencil roving you see on the left. I got that from Laurie at The Black Lamb and, like I've said before, this stuff practically spins itself. This is going to be singles that I am going to use for a shawl, I think. The single is not 100% even but I don't think that is ever going to happen unless it is machine spun.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Little Gem. I've spun on the Ashford Joy, the Louet Victoria, and now the Little Gem. Don't get me wrong, I loved the Joy. The problem is the ratios. If I wanted to spin fine yarn I can only do it if I treadle like mad on either the Joy or the Victoria. I bought the fast whorl last week and it has made such a difference. Not only do I not have to treadle like I am running a race, my treadling has slowed to a crawl on the highest whorl (19.5:1). I would love to see how the Victoria will handle fine yarn once the fast head is released but who knows when that will be. I feel like I've finally produced something I am truly proud of. The yarn on the left is still a little either over or under plied in spots but, on the whole, it is looking pretty darn good. Now I just have to figure out what I want to make with it.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

First, I would like to wish all those who celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow a very Happy Thanksgiving.

It has been a very productive long weekend for me so far. I spent the majority of the day yesterday plying the two bobbins I had of the Fleece Artists Merino Sliver. I can't believe how long it took me to ply. I did stop from time to time to walk and stretch but I am guessing it too me at least 4 hours to ply. When the first bobbin ran out I decided to play with navajo plying for the rest of the second bobbin. The small skein you see that is twisted is the 3 ply. I had to REALLY concentrate on slowing down my treading so the yarn wouldn't be over plied. I still think it is to a small degree but I can honestly say I am very pleased with the result. The 2 ply is drying on the noddy right now. That's the straight yarn you see in this picture. I have to admit that this is the best I have achieved so far. I am definitely going to knit something with this. I just am not sure yet. The plying and or singles still need a bit of work but this yarn is more consistent in the spinning and the plying. I honestly believe the difference in the fast whorl I got for the Little Gem. I love that whorl.

I just started spinning some pencil roving I bought from The Black Lamb at the Knitter's Fair last month. This stuff, like so much of the fibre I've gotten from Laurie, practically spins itself. I am thinking I am going to make this a singles lace weight yarn. I am interested to see how it comes out. I'll keep you posted once it's finished.

We went to my in-law's for our Thanksgiving family get together. I always have to have some knitting with me so I decided to start the October Sockamania Club socks. This month the sock is called Enchanted. I am in the middle of the gusset shaping now. I should hopefully get the first sock done tomorrow. Yarn is Lang JaWoll Cotton superwash in colour 54. The picture doesn't really do the colour justice. It is turning out much nicer than I thought it would. I've had this yarn in my stash for quite some time and this pattern was calling for this yarn.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

I Love Long Weekends

TGIF!! It's not just any TGIF. We're heading into a long weekend. Monday is Thanksgiving here in Canada. I look so forward to the day off but I also know the weekend will go by much too quickly.

On Wednesday I was waiting for the fast whorl to arrive for my Little Gem. As luck would have it, I received 3 sets of stitch markers in the mail on Wednesday so there was no room in the box for the whorl. I picked that up at the post office yesterday after work. I have to say it is such a huge difference when you are trying to spin fine. I don't have to treadle like mad now. I'm still getting used to it but I am happy I finally have it.

For the stitch markers, just look at the great sets I received. The uppermost markers are from Marion. They made their way all the way from Amsterdam!! I just love the colours. The markers look fantastic. On the left are the markers from Liz. They made their way to me from the UK. Oh and she sent this cute little button Cadbury chocolates. I have never seen those here in Canada. Joseph will enjoy those. Last, but by no means least, I received markers from Michelle in British Columbia. Her daughter helped her make them. Originally, I thought she had coloured them but she not only coloured them she also drew the pictures. They are shrinky dinks. I never would have thought of that for stitch markers but they are fantastic!

Have a great weekend everyone. I look forward to being with family and getting some spinning time in. I want to finish the green fibre and then move onto something else. I also have at least one Sweet Dreams Baby Blanket I need to make. I might have two but I am not sure about the second one yet. One is for a baby that is due in November - 9 weeks to be exact. This is unexpected knitting but I will get it done even if it is finished after the baby is born.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Fibre, Yarn, And Knitting

I finished spinning the fibre that Maggie gave me. Compared to some of the other stuff I've spun, I am relatively pleased with this. I still have a very long way to go but as long as I see improvement with each skein I spin, I am happy. I also ordered the fast whorl for the Little Gem so that should make my life a little easier. I should have that by the end of the week. I'll spend the weekend getting used to using it.

Once I have the fast whorl I am going to play with this fibre that arrived today. One of the ladies at the spin in had some of this fibre. It is an 80% alpaca 20% merino blend. It's from Misty Haven Alpacas. The customer service at this place is amazing. I ordered the fibre on Saturday when I got home from the spin in. I had a bit of a problem and emailed them. Everything was solved without any hassles. The fibre was shipped yesterday and, to my utter amazement, I received it today. It is soft beyond belief. I think I am going to try and practice long draw with some South African Fine fibre I have and then I'll see if I can spin the alpaca. I must admit I haven't had much success with 100% alpaca and I'm hoping the blend will make it a bit easier.

On the knitting front I am knitting the second sock to a sock I finished months ago. Unfortunately, after I had finished the first sock I couldn't find the second ball. I finally gave up and said it would show up at some point. I was looking for something else, and as is usually the case, I found the second ball of yarn instead.

Once the second sock is done I have to begin knitting the scarf for the ISE5. I bought elann.com Pure Alpaca Fina in colour Loganberry. The picture doesn't do it justice. It is a beautiful tweed. Now I just have to decide on a pattern. I'm leaning towards something but I haven't made a final decision.

I loved the felted purse so much I got another colour so I can make another one. I'll actually make two or 3 more, I think. I'll have enough for two bags of this colour. It's Cabin Fever Cottage Colours in Fireplace. I have 3 balls and the other bag only used the second ball for the strap so I should have enough to make 2 bags from the 3 balls. I also got another ball of the dusk colourways so I can make another bag the same colour as the first one.

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