Monday, May 30, 2005

Knitting the silk

Last night I did baseball knitting from a distance. Usually I'm doing it at the actual games, but this game was in Colorado. DS#1 plays for Potomac State College, a Junior College (JUCO) in West Virginia, and their team made it to the JUCO World Series! (Check out this article where he pitched a no-hitter a couple of weeks ago.) His team played for the first time last night, and won 12-6. We were able to listen to the radio over the computer (how odd that sounds), and so this is what I knitted last night. (Check out the previous day's entry to see where I had left off.)

I've been worrying about the yarn running out, and it turns out to be a very real worry. The balls didn't seem really big to make a whole top, especially this Chevron Rib Tank. If you notice from the picture, I've used up the first ball, and the back is only up to the armpits. (I did save the larger ball for the front, though.)

I started thinking about the yardage. When I started, I thought the yardage was 998 yds, plenty to do this pattern. Then I looked at the pattern again--oh, that was the price. Well, 680 yds is still enough since it calls for 600.

But it seems to knit up so quickly. Hmmm.... Well, that's because it's a bulky weight, not worsted like the pattern calls for. So a bulky weight shouldn't need as much yardage since it's thicker. Hmmm...Let's look at the label again.

Arrgghhh! Why did I never notice this before? It's 680 yds PER POUND, and I only have half a pound. That's 340 yds!!!! What'll I do?

A sane person would stop right there, maybe rip out the yarn and find a new project. Not me. I just picked it right back up and continued to knit. Maybe a solution will present itself soon.

I'm even considering stopping the back, putting it on spare needles, and starting on the front--just to see how far I can get. Is that persistance? Or just craziness? (That second ball IS bigger, afterall.)

While we're on the subject of this yarn, what's with all the chaff? I have to stop every now and then just to pick out a piece. I understand how bits of hay/straw/vegetable matter gets caught into a sheep's fleece, but what about the silk? Is the silk worm rolling around the hay before spinning its cocoon?

And finally, here is a picture of me wearing my blue cotton tank (that I crocheted an edge around the neckline/armholes and like much better.)

I asked DH to take this picture, which he very readily complied. After about 10 pics, I commented that it didn't really matter what my face looked like since I was going to crop it off anyway--I just wanted the sweater to look good.

"Oh, you want a picture of the sweater?" he asked. Turns out he thought I just wanted a picture of me, and while I never want pictures of me, in fact I am usually yelling "Don't get me in that picture", he figured he'd seize the opportunity. So he took a few more and I posted one with me AND the sweater, and a promise not to delete the others...

Sunday, May 29, 2005


Finally getting around to working with my silk noil yarn that I got at MDSW. It took a long time to get up the courage to dye it, but finally I took the plunge. Bought a couple new shades of blue Wilton's, did a test piece, set my silk to soak in vinegar water, and loaded up the crockpot with blue dye.

So far, so good, right? Nice and methodical and planned out....

Looked down at my shirt, which was green, dumped out the dye without a second thought, and proceeded to dye the yarn a yellow-green (chartreuse, to be exact.)

Anyone who knows me can attest to how unusual this was. Not the changing-my-mind part, that's pretty usual, it was the wasting-the-whole-pot-of-dye part that's so strange. I didn't even go get some other yarn to dye THAT blue, so as not to waste it (although, since I just thought about it, that would've been a good idea....)

Dyeing and drying silk noil yarn gives off a very distinct odor (with the added aroma of white vinegar) which I don't want to experience again any time soon. Add to that the fact that I dunked my MDSW basket in water to shape it while drying which gave off ANOTHER awful odor, and I almost wished I had a cold.

This yarn took forever to dry, but finally I was ready to wind it into balls. Here's my lampshade all ready to go.

The lampshade worked as a swift, and did a great job. I spun it around while DD#2 operated the ball winder.

Here's what I have done. Well, I've gotten this far about 3 times now, but I think this time's a keeper.

I swatched on bamboo 8's, but couldn't stand the squeakiness, so switched to metal 9's. Much better, but the gauge is off. Now I'm making the smallest size, and the measurements seem to be good for the largest size, so I hope that's good. At least I measured BEFORE I finished, so that's an improvement.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

More socks

Blogging two days in a row--just to show that I got these socks done! Continued with the dpns which was nice and relaxing.

Here's another item I worked on over the weekend. I had lots of "waiting room" time, so took this tank and the denim socks with me, and both are finished! It was nice to be able to switch back and forth between projects.

This cotton tank was knit from the repurposed yarn, and I was glad to see that after it was washed and blocked, it's the right size. I skipped the crochet edging, but might put it on after all.

Here's my leftover yarn that will be used for the edging, but there will still be some left over. Hmmm...gotta be something I can do with it!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Practical Jokers

Stupid computer. I've written this post twice now, but can't get it saved. Arggh!
So, I'll try again tomorrow, but in the meantime, fill in the words:
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Here now, are the words to go with the pics, and hopefully they are more interesting than blah, blah, blah.

I had lots of time for sitting around and knitting this weekend, so here's what I worked on. These are cute little
basketweave baby socks knit from Paton's Classic denim marl. The basketweave would show up better using a solid color, but they still worked up nicely, due to a very nice pattern.

I did these using dpns, even though the pattern is for 2 circs.

I decided for my next pair I would try using 2 circs, and also knitting both socks at the same time. Here's as far as I got.

Now, what I want to know is, Is this just one big practical joke that everyone's in on except me? How can this be easier than 2 circs? How???

Now given, I didn't read the directions for this method before diving in, but still, what's with all these curvy pointy things flying around, anyway? Even if I got the tangled yarn mess straightened out, I still would have 2 circs that would never go away.

Not giving up (or rather, giving up quickly but not totally) I decided to try one sock on 2 circs, and here again is how far I got.

Again--why? Why is this easier than dpns? I got the tangled mess straightened out, but those curvy pointy things are still flying around. I mean, I hate when I'm changing needle sizes, say for going from ribbing to stockinette, and have 2 sets of circs for one row. I try to knit the row as fast as possible to get it over with. Why would I want to continue the torture for the whole sock?

So, I transferred the sock to dpns. See how much neater it looks? Just a cute triangle plus an extra one.

This was the way I knit the denim ones, and is the way I will continue with the purple ones. (We won't discuss how many times I dropped one on Friday, or how many people looked up as it clattered to the floor. If I ignore them, then it didn't really happen.)

If it works for me, it works!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Taking the risk

I've been a blogging slacker lately. I mean to post, really I do. But something prevents me from taking the actual picture then actually posting it. (I know, it's called laziness.)

I've been doing a bit of knitting, but first a picture of my lilacs. This was taken one week ago (or maybe two), and represents my favorite yard flower.

I'm actually attempting a sweater for ME! It's a summer tank, so no sleeves, but still it's an accomplishment. This is being knit out of yarn that was a different sweater in the mid-80's. It's a cotton blue/green mix with some white slubs that I think was made by Phildar. I remember buying it in a shop that has long ago ceased to exist. It fit, and I wore it for years, but the short waist, big boxy top was best left in the 80's.

Last summer, I ripped the sweater apart, ready to make Brisa from

I eliminated some of the lace ladders to allow for more coverage, then proceeded to knit it up. Finished it, tried it on, and yep! too small. Put it away for a whole year, then pulled it out last week. Measured the gauge (only a year too late) and instead of 18 st. per 4" I was getting 21! It took me a WHOLE YEAR to realize that I had never checked gauge. (Where's the picture, you ask? Laziness is the answer.)

Last Thursday I ripped it out, did a gauge swatch, and started again. This time I left out ALL the lace ladders, and am just doing the ribbing. (No need to draw extra attention to my waist, anyway. :)

Here's where I was a couple of days ago.

I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but I have another boo-boo going on. My yarn is nice and kinky and should really be wound into hanks, washed, and hung to dry. Can I make myself do it? No. Am I going to regret it? Most likely. The extra kinkiness might certainly throw off my sizing when I wash it, but I just seem to need to take the risk.

Monday, May 09, 2005

A great day!

This may have been the best Mother's Day ever. Lori and I went to the MD Sheep and Wool Festival, spending 2 nights in a hotel and leaving our 9 (combined) children with our darling husbands. We only had to take care of ourselves, stood in line without any impatient family members, didn't have to spending an hour (or two) packing or looking for lost items. Came home and the families were happy to see us, and even cleaned up a bit! Not only that, but DD#1 baked me a cheesecake! What a day!

Feeling pretty good about my purchases. Didn't do much impulse shopping, but at the same time I got most of what I went there for. Here's a pic of my total stash.

Yarn from the Little Barn. Incredible deals. We waited in the longest line for this purchase--1 hour! It was worth it, though. Got 20 skeins of the white to try an Aran sweater.

Lori informed me that I have 2 of her sock yarns. I wondered why I bought 4 skeins of the same yarn.... (thinking....really big feet?)

Merino wool roving. Going to try my drop spindle again.

Gorgeous merino wool from Morehouse Merino.

Started a soaker in the hotel room!

This basket was my impulse buy. Saw the vendor early in the morning while there was still plenty of baskets, but wasn't sure if I needed one, so decided to wait to see if I had money left over. For the next several hours I would see people walking past with these until finally I succumbed. Went back to the building but couldn't find the vendor since he was constantly sold out. Finally, new supplies were brought in and we were like vultures diving over the baskets.

There's also some natural merino and a set of Crystal Place bamboo circs. Also got a hank of silk noil that I'll show once I dye it.

And again I was a great day!!!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

4 days and counting

MD Sheep and Wool Festival is 4 days away!

There's going to be a drop box for Children In Common items, so I've been trying to finish up a few.

Here's some pics (minus the caregiver shawl, of which I promised I wouldn't post any more pictures.)

The puppy puppet's pattern (say that ten times fast) came from here. There's actually more than one size that I didn't notice until I was done with the larger (obviously, I don't read thru the entire pattern before beginning. :)

The stuffed fish pattern came from here. The version on the left is knit in baby yarn and followed the directions while the one on the right is in worsted weight and had more shaping added. They've been sitting around my house for a couple of months--finally I got around to stuffing them.

I've also discovered this Orphans for Orphans sweater pattern that is a bunch of fun to knit.

This one used Cascade 220, and can easily be adapted for small balls of yarn.

This used Naturespun sport weight that was doubled, and yes, I ran out of yarn! The middle panel is knit first, and was fun to try a banana tree motif from my "Knitting on the Edge" book by Nicky Epstein. It was harder than I thought to find a motif to fit. The first one I tried had yo's, which left really pretty HOLES in the sweater. NOT a good idea for warmth!

Here's a close up. (Please don't find any mistakes!)

I also dyed several shades of orange yarn today.

Wait! What do you see? Yes! That's a pair of rubber gloves!!! Only took me 2 years and 99 cents to get them!