April 27, 2008

All better now

The Gore Place Sheepshearing Festival was just what I needed - lovely weather, excellent company, sweet fuzzy livestock and (of course) yarn.

There were knitters...


...And of course, the main event...sheep getting the livestock equivalent of a Brazilian wax (though we were assured that the process is actually painless for the sheep)...


There were goats (including one camera-shy fellow who spent the entire afternoon tucked away in this cubby going LA LA LA LA you can't SEE ME)...


And (aaaaw) lambs....


I was also privileged to witness a special moment in the life of any knitter - the first time a non-stasher buys yarn, not because they have a specific project in mind, but because it's too beautiful to pass up.


Welcome to the dark side! May your stash continue to grow and give you as much joy as that cashmere does.

I myself resisted the considerable temptations of the Bartlett yarns booth...


Though the Daft Crafter got up-close and personal with some of their yarn (you can just see her green t-shirt and quite smashing green cowl peeking out)...


The man of my dreams was working the yarn tent as well. Admittedly, he was probably 60, but he was also Scottish (maybe Irish) and brogued hotly and knowledgeably about wool and dyeing and shearing and spinning.

Between sexy wool brogue guy and the epic quantity of reasonably priced tweed, my resistance was worn down by the time we stopped in at Lucy's Mind's Eye booth.

So unsurprisingly, some of her always lovely yarn followed me home. Merino-tencel hand-dyed sock yarn, in the Ashes of Roses colorway. So ladylike, isn't it? Like dainty Victorian underpants.


Some Araucania Ranco multy might have fallen into my bag at the same time...


I love both these yarns so much that I wanted to yank my current sock off the needles so I could start knitting with them on the car ride home. The logistical difficulty of balling yarn in a car fortunately intervened, so I'm still making good progress on (re)knitting my mom's sock.

As for yesterday's bitterness? All gone. I'm entirely charmed by knitting again.

April 26, 2008

The definition of insanity

You know how they say the definition of insanity is repeating the same action over and over, and each time expecting different results? Well, by that standard I am clearly batshit nuts.

Remember my mom’s sock?


I did everything right on this sock, I really did. I knit a full size swatch, most of a sock leg really, which I then dutifully washed and blocked. The size seemed perfect. Just the wee-est bit snug on me, which I assumed would fit my mom’s narrower feet perfectly. I then cast on the same number of stitches, on the same needles, and proceeded to knit an entire sock down to the toe decreases.

At which point, I pretty much ran out of the first ball of yarn.


But that’s a different problem entirely.

The real problem with this sock is that it’s (surprise!) too small. I had one of my knittahs try it on after I washed and blocked it on the needles. And she could scarcely yank the traitorous thing onto her size 8 foot. My mom does not have a size 8 foot.

So mom’s almost-finished sock looks like this now:


And now that gauge swatching has proven itself to be an utter waste of time yet another opportunity for gauge to taunt me with false hope less helpful than I would like, what do you suppose I’m doing now?

Yup. Swatching! For the Sienna cardigan.

This is really two swatches, knit on size 7 and size 8 needles. So I’m looking forward to being twice as disappointed when the final item bears no resemblance to either gauge swatch. What, me, bitter?

Thankfully, I’m off to the Gore Place Sheepshearing Festival with a mess of knitters today.

Nothing some fiber love and greasy festival food won’t cure.

April 21, 2008

Friends don't let friends drink and knit

Or even knit near drinking. My friend Kelley and I had precisely one beer each Saturday afternoon, and yet...

I somehow got the hem edge of my Callisto shawl looped onto the needle, as if it was a working stitch. In the middle of a 300+ stitch row. Easily rectified with some cursing of triangular shawl construction and slipping 150 stitches to get back to the bone-headed mistake. But still.

And, almost simultaneously, Kelley did this to her heel flap...providing an excellent opportunity to teach her how to reverse a purl stitch to a knit stitch, sans crochet hook. Also, a pleasant opportunity to point at each other's crap knitting and laugh.

Truly, not our finest knitting day.

I've been one of the knitters lobbying to relocate our weekly SNB to a bar, but I may have to seriously rethink that stance.

After all, I'm entirely capable of screwing up my knitting stone sober under good lighting. So why risk it?

April 15, 2008

I'm so behind that...

...I've had this post written for ages and haven't posted it...but, through the magic of replacing "last weekend" with "a few weeks ago", I can still tell you about my recent(ish) dyeing adventure.

The Bitchin Stitcher and I had the pleasure of attending a hand-dyeing workshop a few weeks ago, run by the super-talented Lucy of Minds-Eye Yarns.

Lucy’s merino-tencel blend hand-dyed sock yarn comes in the most extraordinary colors, so we were eager to learn from the master. Not only is Lucy a dyeing genius, she’s exceptionally charming and funny. It’s an irresistible combination.

Under her tutelage, I dyed up a skein of laceweight merino and two superwash DK-weight skeins. All Knitpicks.

Barbie's Dream Lace

I dyed this4

In Like a Lion

I dyed this2

Twilight Time

I dyed this3

I’ve mostly done immersion dyeing with Kool-aid and food coloring, but these were handpainted. Little squirt bottles are key here. They allow you to direct the dye onto a small portion of the yarn. Or they would, if I could aim, instead of shooting dye across the table and nowhere near my own yarn. Thankfully, every surface was covered with a layer of plastic and newspaper. This seemed excessive at first, but turned out to be entirely necessary, given my aim.

I tried to use very small blobs of each color, hoping to avoid my nemesis, pooling. We’ll see.

And speaking of pooling, you all were right. My mom was totally down with the socks. Bonus – she preferred the fabric knit up in the Charade pattern (pdf), so I finally have a chance to knit it. Really fun, addictively easy pattern.


As for my newly dyed laceweight, I’ve never used laceweight before and yet in the past month I’ve acquired FOUR monster skeins of the stuff. All in pink/purple colorways.

I smell shawls in my future. Lots and lots of pink shawls.

So does anyone have a shawl pattern they’ve particularly enjoyed?

I’m thinking of either the Swallowtail or the Flower Basket Shawl from Interweave, or Laminaria from the new Knitty.