Mittwoch, September 27, 2006

Woulda Coulda Shoulda

If I woulda knitted in a "life line" before starting the lace shaping on my Titania's Revenge sock,
I coulda easily frogged back when I discovered just before starting the toe that I shoulda been counting every single row of that lace the whole time (I hadna).

Dienstag, September 26, 2006

And Now: The Loot!

OK. So here's what I bought at Blue Moon's booth on Saturday:

  • Rovings:

  • On the left we have Puck's Mischief (50% merino/50% tencel), and on the right Highway 30 (50% mulbery silk/50% superfine merino).

    OHMYGOSH! I have been on Highway 30 now, myself, in person! I didn't even think about it. Highway 30 doubles Route 84 pretty much all along the route we took to Oregon, then shoots off towards Scappoose where the Moonies in Blue (hey, just joking) live and work right about where we cut off to take the St. Johns bridge on the way to Ane's.

    I have the Highway 30 colorway already in STR, but for some reason I wasn't excited about Puck's Mischief until I saw it in person. And then I got it in a couple of different yarns. Go figure.

    So far the way I have spun rovings like this where I want to keep the colors distinct is to split it into sections, ball them all up identically, and then spin them as similarly as I can and ply them with same colors matching same colors. At Blue Moon they did have a yarn, which I didn't get, that had a barberpole look. Maybe I'll try that on one of these. I believe the spinning kits they have give you instructions on that method.

    I'm going to do the Twisted Knitters Dye-Spin-Knit-along, and the Roolz allow buying your roving already dyed. Sounds like Puck's Mischievous Socks to me.

    Anyway. Moving right along.

  • Seduction in Obsidian:

  • 50% merino/50% tencel
    approx 400 yds/4 oz.
    7 sts/in on US #3

    I bought three skeins because I want to knit MimKnits Seraphim Shawl.

  • Bambu in Obsidian:

  • 100% bamboo
    approx. 400 yds/3 oz.
    8-10 sts/in on US #2

    a scarf, maybe? It's very soft.

  • Socks That Rock in Harlotty:

  • 100% superwash merino--lightweight
    approx 360 yds/4.5 oz.
    8-10 sts/in on US #1

    Lovingly known by its afficionados as "STR", this is Blue Moon's flagship yarn in a colorway designed especially for Stephanie Pearl McPhee, the Yarn Harlot--and the rest of us who got there before it ran out.

  • Sock Candy in Rhode Island Red:

  • 96% cotton/4% elite (whatever that is--something stretchy?)
    approx 200 yds/2 oz.
    7-8 sts/in on US #2

    You'll need two skeins for a pair of socks.

    Tina is taking this chicken thing really seriously. When I got to the booth she was shrieking, "That person had a chicken bag! Did you see the chicken bag?" I did not see the lady with the chicken bag, but I told Tina that she needs to go to Kauai where the island is populated mainly by chickens. She would go nuts.

    Maybe one of us needs to knit Tina a chicken-shaped dishcloth.

  • Periwinkle in Puck's Mischief:

  • 100% wool
    approx 250 yds/8 oz.
    3 sts/in on US #13

    As you can tell from the yardage and possibly the photo, this is a thick 'n' thin, but mostly chunky yarn.

    It doesn't know what it wants to be, but that's enough yardage for a scarf or a couple of hats.

  • Kidmo in Bleeding Hearts:

  • 90% kid mohair/10% nylon
    approx. 200 yds/1.5 oz.
    4 sts/in on US #8

    I bought two skeins of this to knit the Urban Bubble Scarf (seen here draped on the manniken leg). It's a shibori scarf, knit in plain stockinette but then felted with wooden beads trapped in the knitting so it makes those awesome bubbles. Bobbles. Whatever.

  • Rio in Hurricane:

  • 100% rayon
    approx: 800 yds/8 oz.
    gauge: swatch

    This has got to be a shawl. And I had better wind it pretty soon before it self-destructs. This pose was kind of hard on the skein. Can you see the bright green on the far side of the skein? It's kind of an Oz green, as in "Wizard of," not the continent.

    I obviously missed some yarns, but I was handicapped by not being independently wealthy.

    Montag, September 25, 2006

    The Great Portland Road Trip

    Thursday morning at 0-dark-30 hours (to quote my piano student who's an Air Force Colonel) my sister Robin, her daughter Rachel, and I headed into gloom-surrounded Pocatello, Idaho headed for Portland.

    The first part of the drive, through the high flatlands of Idaho and the southeast corner of Oregon is desert, but not boring. The colors of the land and the constantly changing sky kept us busy snapping pictures and planning colorways.

    As the road got closer to the river, we were entertained by tugboats and trains

    and--the last hour--sunset on the water.

    See more pictures of The Great Portland Road Trip

    Possibly the most exciting part of the day was getting from my niece Ane's house in St. John, where Rachel and Robin were going to spend the weekend, to my daughter's house in Beaverton, where I was going to stay. Being a great fan of bridges, I wanted to go back across the St. Johns Bridge--my camera battery had died by this time so I don't have my own photos of it.

    I told Karl-Heinz, my German-speaking GPS unit, to give me the shortest route from St. John to Beaverton, and boy did I ever get it. He gave me a winding, narrow, mountainous track that went through thick woods in the deepening gloom past no houses but instead parked cars with steamy teenagers and monsters with hooks instead of hands breaking into them, and two cemeteries, and a bar and roadhouse, and then he told me to turn into a drop-off that looked like a cliff and I was afraid to turn down it until I saw a car coming up and bravely took the plunge telling myself I was in a 4x4 after all and then came out two blocks from Sharman's house and there on the street were her husband with the baby and my truck that they're borrowing and it was OK after all.

    On Friday I hung out with my daughter and her kids. Then on Saturday we went to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival.

    We were immediately sidetracked by a wolfhound show taking place at one end of the fairgrounds.

    "If that's a dog, then I'm Tinkerbell"

    Trusty may have to get a brother.

    Click here for more wolfhounds

    The Wool Show

    My budget for OFFF was $100 in cash. This worked with the Great Basin Fiber Fair, so I was pretty confident it would work at OFFF. While my daughter and her husband took their kiddos to find food, I started looking around for

    Blue Moon Fiber Arts

    Before I even made it into the booth I had already collected almost $100 worth of gorgeous, Tina-dyed rovings, and I hadn't even started on the yarn. So much for the budget. Luckily these guys take plastic.

    Tina gracefully held my sock for a group portrait, but that Woman of Incredible Mystery asked me not to post her likeness online. Also not in this picture is Woman of Incredible Mystery #2, Kaci.

    While I was standing in the middle of the booth with my arms full of loot, Kaci wanted to know if I had ever been surrounded by that much Blue Moonishness. Nope. I realize now that the stash in my closet is a joke.

    In fact, everyone's Blue Moon stash is a joke. Click here to see what I mean. The inside dope is that Tina has hired a new web designer, and we can expect to see the new products online very soon.

    There was more going on at the show: The Standing Stones playce Celtic music, including harping, whistling, and singing. I bought their CD. There were animals; Robin bought Ane a brown baby alpaca fleece. And there were more vendors (only I had already spent all my money at Blue Moon.)

    Click here for more scenes of the show.

    We didn't see much of Robin and her family at OFFF. By the time they arrived, my grandkids had pretty much lost it. Robin's lot stayed and shopped (Ane got an alpaca fleece) while we headed for my daughter's house.

    However, the baby went to sleep in the car, which let us make one more stop: The Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe in Beaverton.

    I bought a box of Halloween chocolates for the grandkids to share and admired a case of novelties while waiting for the best hot dark chocolate fudge sundae I've had in my life. Don't worry, I took sundaes out to the grownups waiting in the car as well.

    Sunday morning found me up again even earlier (it was probably oh-dark-hundred hours) to take a longer but less thrilling route back to Ane's house. I collected my Idaho family members and we headed back up the Columbia River like the inveterate adventurers we are.

    Tomorrow: Photos of the Loot (including closeups of some of Blue Moon's new yarns and rovings)!!!

    Mittwoch, September 20, 2006

    I must be nuts

    Why am I sitting here at my computer? I was going to leave for the first leg of my Portland trip at 3:30, and it's 5:30.

    Trusty and I went to the pet store and bought two 5-lb. bags of dog food and some new treats. Then he went to Camelot Pet Resort and Spa for the weekend (hopefully Paul will be home enough to pick him up on Saturday). This place is so cushy I would even want to stay there. No wait, maybe not.

    I took Joanne her birthday presents (happy birthday, Joanne! She works at My Mind's Eye, a company that makes scrapbooking papers and doo-dads. I went in to see the new lines and it almost (I said almost) makes me want to scrapbook. Get a load of the Bohemia and Signature Suite lines. Sadly, they only wholesale so you'll have to find them at your LSS.

    I seriously covet one of Joanne's presents, Bazaar Bizarre:Not Your Granny's Crafts. You need to buy this book and make purple sock monkeys. I picked it off her wishlist, sight unseen, but I think I will add it to my wishlist.

    I went to Shopko Pharmacy and picked up Singulaire . . . wait, did I forget to put my asthma inhaler in my bag???

    I went to Radio Shack and bought a rigid case for my iPod so I don't bend it by sitting on it.

    I went to Mrs. Cavenaugh's chocolates and got treats for the people I am staying with along my way. Plus some for me. You need these chocolates. You need cherry cordial and almond cluster. Anyway I do.

    I was finished with all these errands at 4:30, only an hour late, no prob.

    Then I realized I had forgotten to put my sleeping bag in the car. So I came home for it. And I decided I needed another audio book on my iPod. So I started downloading one. And downloading it. And downloading it. I have been sitting here for 20 minutes and both segments of the book have made it to 97%. My internet is working fine. I wonder what's wrong at

    While waiting I read Stephanie's blog and realized I had forgotten to pack my camera. Thanks, Steph.

    And the asthma stuff. I hope this isn't a sign from God that I'm going to actually need it.

    OK, the iPod is loaded. NOW I'm leaving!

    P.S. I tried to upload a picture, but blogger hates us today.

    Montag, September 18, 2006

    Weekend at OFFF!

    My sister and I are headed for Portland! Each of us has a daughter and grandkids there, so we have to check out how they're doing.

    But I admit it: We picked this weekend because it's the weekend of the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival! Does this look cool or what?

    Blue Moon Fiber Arts will be there. No lie, this is the whole reason I'm going to OFFF. I have Lindsey-Brooke to thank for telling me about it. And she lives in Virginia. Go figure.

    In other news, I did start my "Titania's Revenge" sock (from Blue Moon's "sock of the every-other-month" club). Sorry no photos; I am staying SO FOCUSSED on my trip.

    Things to take:

  • booster seat for Emerald (they forgot to take it when they moved)
  • next size larger car seat ditto ditto
  • Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis videos from the past two weeks (they don't have cable yet)
  • sleeping bag to sleep on niece's floor in Pocatello Wednesday night for an early start
  • knitting for the car (we have three drivers due to another niece coming) as in titania and welsh country sock
  • $$ to spend at OFFF
  • asthma medicine (you never know)
  • oh yeah, clothes . . . well, only if there's room

  • OK, focus . . . back to packing and studying

    Check this space next week for the full report.

    Samstag, September 16, 2006

    It's Heeeere!

    Sunrise on the lake . . .

    Snow on the hills . . .

    Naptime . . .

    Titania . . .

    How much better does it get?

    Freitag, September 15, 2006

    Maybe Autumn

    I told Paul about the cool digital camera someone had at the Yarn Harlot book-signing--it was tiny and lightweight, but had a huge screen. To my total astonishment, he bought me one! Of course it may not be the exact same camera. But it fits the above criteria. It has more than twice the pixel count of the old one, and is about the size of my cel phone. Thanks, whoever you are, for bringing your camera to Black Sheep and letting me see it.

    A picture taken with the new camera (sleeping on the cat's food bowl can't be comfortable; it must have sociological ramifications):

    A picture taken with the old camera:

    What, did you think I was doing a scientific experiement?

    This is scrummy-umptious March Hare from Autumn House Farms. It's so soft that Mikayla and I just sat around and rubbed it on our faces when we opened the package.

    I love Autumn House. When I was first learning to spin I bought tons of their roving. Harriet even dyed one especially to my specification. I have enough to knit a sweater but I haven't spun it yet. I called it "Man with long hair walking on the beach in a kilt and the wind is blowing." I think it's the same one Harriet calls "Bracken and Gorse." Personally, I think my description captures the essence of the blend much better than hers does.

    My only caveat is that when spinning blends like this that have a variety of fibers, pull off a chunk of roving and spin from the fold. If you try to spin from the end of the roving, all the long fibers spin out first, and you're left with a messy knot of silk or bunny in your hand.

    Actually another cool thing showed up during today's round of closet cleaning. It even beats the LoRan magnet board from yesterday.

    I have to tell you some background first. When we first moved here we got water in our basement due to a badly placed sprinkler. I had put boxes of books for which we didn't yet have bookshelves in the fruit room and they were the main victims. When I got ready to get the books out, they had been there for about a year. In that time the books had turned into sodden masses of black, moldy tar that had to be removed with a shovel. I tried not to look at the titles as I shoveled them out because it was too painful. We have replaced a lot of them as time went on, but some were simply irreplaceable.

    Well, on a closet shelf that was full of music books and photo albums I found a volume of Robert Frost poetry. I had to stare at it for a while before I could open it and read the inscription. It was my birthday gift from Paul the year before we were married. The note was signed "love, Paul"--when I received that book, it was the first time I had ever seen those words in writing addressed to me. Finding it today, free of water damage, and reading that inscription again was incredible, a real gift.

    In fact, it beat the new camera. And cheaper, too.

    Donnerstag, September 14, 2006

    One Man's Project's Rejects . . .

    OK, so these are the "rejects" from the Rustic project.

    You're right, these are not rejects in any sense of the word. They're Yorkshire Tweed and Rowanspun 4-Ply substitutes that The Handworks Gallery thought might work instead of Scottish Tweed, which they apparently hadn't received yet. One shade was right on, the others either too dark or too light. But picture them in this cuff

    Nancy Bush's cuff from Piecework March/April 2006

    perhaps applied to the Seaside gloves from MagKnits!

    In other news:

    With a little help from my friends

    (actually Laurel and Amber were a lot more help than these two jokers) I made some serious progress on the doggy-fodder moving.

    The new bookcase:

    Wait a minute, is there yarn in that one? This is supposed to be a yarn-free zone (like there's a yarn-free zone in this house).

    It's Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Lakeview (I had to have that
    one because I live on Lakeview Drive), Camouflage, and Bittersweet.

    It's dangerous to go into Black Sheep Wool in Salt Lake because they leave this stuff lying around in huge piles, to trap the unwary. I was just going in a couple of weeks ago to get some copies of Knitting Rules to be autographed, and I came out with all this sock yarn. Sheesh.

    Anyway, we also put up a new home for the sweaters.

    I found these nifty swifty storage cubes I put the sweaters in at Fred Meyer Smith's Market. I was originally going to use them in the toy room, so they are, er, purple. But hey, I'm saving the PINK ones for my shoes.

    But wait! There's more! While cleaning out the old jigsaw puzzles, why-did-I-keep-that clothes, and ten-year-old Writer's Markets, Amber found my big LoRan magnet board!

    This board saw me through the Salt Lake Olympics Dale of Norway sweater and then disappeared. It's hard to find this size (it's about 12"x18"). Welcome back, magnet board! Somewhere I have a stand for you. And two new lace patterns to dress you in.

    Tuesday night's knitting while waiting for Paul's midnight flight:

    And this morning's knitting while waiting for the garage door repairman:

    The colors are pretty subtle. Plus the photo's a little out of focus. But note the puffy little trinity stitch band. The sleeves are supposed to be done entirely in trinity stitch. Umm, I can't imagine how much weight I will have to lose in order for my arms to want something puffy on them. They are puffy enough without trinity stitch sleeves. I think I will knit the sleeves plain.

    Dienstag, September 12, 2006

    Rustic takes off

    I am feeling a little more normal this morning. In the middle of Margene's page (actually while reading it) I nipped over to MimKnits and ordered her Seraphim and Hidcote Garden shawl patterns. Looking at lace is a great endorphin producer.

    Although there was a positive side effect of being dysfunctional yesterday: I nearly finished the ribbing for Rustic.

    I spent the morning putting together my new bookcase. There are still things within Trusty's reach in my room that need to be on shelves. With the audio books in my office, the rest of the Trusty fodder can now be tucked away.

    I got my hair done, always a cheering event, and worked on the Welsh Country Sock while the hairdresser put highlights into my fake red hair.

    The gusset on the Welsh Country Sock seems a little short, maybe because I'm on smaller needles than called for. I think I'll frog back and redo it with two rows between decreases. But not right now. I'm almost to the color work on Rustic!

    Montag, September 11, 2006

    This sad day

    I almost didn't post anything today because I didn't want it to say "September 11." I know that the date December 7th means Pearl Harbor, but I only know it intellectually. But no one who turned on the TV or radio just out of habit on the morning of September 11 five years ago can see that date and not think of horror, fear, silent skies.

    In any case I have a bad case of anxiety today. I don't know if it's because I watched too many TV shows about the September 11 tragedy on the weekend and went out to find the Boy Scouts had put a flag in my yard in commemoration. I don't know if it's because I have too much to do. Maybe the thyrogen shots I had in July had side-effects they didn't tell me about. Trusty is at daycare but I am going to go get him because I'm ditching out on the rest of my day. No early music ensemble. No highland dance class.

    I might sign Trusty up with Bark Busters, an Australian dog training franchise. It's expensive, but their training methods use natural dog communication methods rather than treats and punishment. I wonder if I will have to growl? I know part of my stress is constantly having to worry if he's chewing something he shouldn't (most of the time he is, despite stacks of chew toys) or peeing on the floor.

    I did go talk with Dr. Rorke about my project for Renaissance Music Literature. I'm going to try to find out once and for all which types of music can appropriately be played on my bray harp. The main reason I went back to school was to get Dr. Rorke's playlist (I'm an early music/art/culture nut and have a previous degree in Medieval Studies).

    The reason the bray harp is an issue is that it doesn't sound the way people expect. Click here and then listen to Track 11, "Little Caniad" for a sample. People in the Middle Ages and Renaissance must have loved that sound, since they had a number of buzzy instruments, such as the Krummhorn, hurdy-gurdy, cornamuse, bagpipe, pibgorn, etc.

    It's just a little discouraging to go to a rehearsal chock full of medieval music and be told not to bring the medieval harp.

    Of course research isn't always the answer. One singer told me that she gave me full points for historical accuracy, but it still didn't sound good. Maybe I just need to practice more.

    Sheesh. Another thing to do.

    Sonntag, September 10, 2006

    So much for socks

    The rest of my diet sweater yarn finally came!

    Isn't this amazing? I think it looks like a basket of apples.
    Well, OK, I don't have a basket. But still.

    This is the yarn for Rustic. The main color is Rowan 4-ply soft in color # 382 "Beetroot" with fair isle patterning colors in Scottish Tweed 4-ply, Rust (#009); Lobster (#017); Apple (#015; and Thatch (#018). Incidentally, Scottish Tweed is the yarn that Rowan had to change the name of. They had originally called it "Harris Tweed," but the Harris Tweed board sued them and they had to change the name to something else.

    For a while I just played with yarn. I have the yarn for both sweaters packed up in Daisy Bags from Knitpicks, each with its full-sized picture from Rowan #40 and, in the case of Lorelei, its pattern all photocopied and tucked into plastic sheet protectors.

    The main color for Lorelei is Wool Cotton in Deep Olive (#907). The fair isle is done in two more colors of Wool Cotton, Chestnut (#966) and Still* (a greenish color, #964); and two shades of Felted Tweed--which I love--Herb (#146) and Pine (#158). The beads for this haven't come, but as it's the second sweater and I can only get one ball a week (and only then if I lose weight) it will be several months before I need them. *Still is not shown correctly on the Rowan website.

    I did manage to stop playing with the yarn long enough to cast on for Rustic--about 400 stitches on #2 needles. This was an amazing accomplishment with Che attacking the cast on tail every 10-20 seconds.

    I'm going to knit it both of these sweaters in the round. I'll have to do a little calculation to make sure I have the design centered at the front on Rustic, a cardigan, since I'm not going to have seam stitches.

    There is still some sock activity going on. Before I checked the mail yesterday I did fix the sock heel.

    Using the reinforcement yarn that comes with Jawoll bulked it out and made it look a lot nicer even though the heel flap is knitted on the same number of stitches as before.

    Look closely at the "before" picture and tell me if you can see the other problem with the sock before I frogged the heel.

    No tickers