Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Slipped and Twisted

Round 1 of test knitting was completed just in time for my Eastern Seaboard Tour. I love how the pattern breaks up the little bits of color on this yarn in the small cable section...

The bigger cables aren't half bad either...see?

Wondering what I made? You can see the finished object details here.

The yarn was a pleasure to work with - with regular addi's I had no issue - though with my lace needles I'd occasionally split the yarn. For hand, the yarn is wonderfully soft, and it seems to wear quite nicely - I'm thinking I'll likely add this as a base, I just need to find space in the house to put it...and decide on a name :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A brief Glimpse

Despite my best intentions, it seems I keep getting derailed from blogging...Life simply is not cooperating ;)

Anyhow, here are some little looks at what I've been up to lately:

more test knitting with the new base - these are Orchid Lace Mitts by Anne Hanson (Knitspot)...I'm knitting the pair at the same time, but on separate needles since I have to shift the stitches around.
Gorgeous fall colors - this was taken in Maine, where peak colors seemed to be had. I was amazed that the leaves hadn't all fallen off the trees yet. Of all the seasons, I miss Autumn the most. It's just wrong to find myself at the end of October, with the house still sealed up and the air conditioning blasting because we are still having 90 degree days.

And this is a shot of the hills in New Hampshire....its fair to say I had a grand East Coast tour, which is one of the reasons I find myself short of time blogging - I'm still digging out from the pile that amassed while I was away! Stay tuned, I've got more photos from out east...and yes, there is one of a Sheep...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Testing, Testing...1...2...3...

While I haven't been doing a ton of dyework, I've been working on some evals...there were 4 skeins total, one of them has already been appropriated for some knitting evals:

see? Sorry for the flashy flashy photo - I kept forgetting to take photos while I had good natural light. I don't know how to explain what I was knitting - other than to say it's basically a pair of short close fitting leg warmers. Anklets - but taller. No feet - fancy tubes with a little bit of shaping to accomodate my shapely calves :)

More interesting perhaps is the fact that it's a true fingering base, about 420 yards per 4 oz's soft and lovely...and it has some nylon content to make it more robust! I'm still working on the eval...and on the name selection :) stay tuned!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Blanket time?

I'm back from my whirlwind tour of the east coast. I still haven't gotten the photos off the camera yet, and it's safe to say that the day job is a wee bit hectic. I've got some new finished projects (that I even got to wear during my trip!) and I didn't leave Rhinebeck empty handed....

The crisp cool weather back East had me thinking about blankets. And a perfect complement is Kaffe Fasset's new book: Glorious Patchwork

Colorful as always, this book is full of inspiration. While I have yet to sit down and cut fabric for even a sampler (I love quilts, and I can sew, but I have a love hate relationship with the sewing process - especially the cutting of the fabric part). Should I decide to get off the couch and make use of my modest fabric stash, this book is definitely one that I can turn to - the projects seem to vary in difficulty, and the book includes information about the basics of patchwork and also includes templates for the projects included in the book.

The book is broken down into several sections: Soft Pastels, Circus, Leafy Gardens, Antique Stone, and Renaissance - each of the projects are all patchwork designs, with different fabric motifs and styles featured in each section - my favorites seemed to be Antique Stone and Renaissance, though each of the quilts in the other sections would satisfy my love of simple (and sometimes not so simple) geometric designs.

While it may take me a while to get to cutting fabric, a clever crafter could learn to adapt some of the patterns into other mediums - Mitered Squares and Log Cabins both have their backgrounds in quilting, I'm sure. So inspired was I with this book that I immediately cast on for some additional mitered squares to contribute to the very meager pile that I have already if I could just stay focused I'll hopefully have a blanket to show you in the not terribly distant future!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Down the rabbit hole...

things, as you may have surmised by my absence, have been a little crazy - I'm taking a detour down the rabbit hole and popping out at:

Rhinebeck. Hooray! Sheep and Wool! I've only been to one other fiber festival before...and that resulted in the launch of Spritely Goods...I think it is fairly safe to say that I don't foresee any other huge endeavours coming out of this visit - though I did make mention to my husband of bringing home a sheep (too bad I have no place to put the poor thing). I have my camera. Hopefully I won't be so goggle-eyed at the goodies that I forget to take photos!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Forget the Pants...

...All I want is a plain ol button down, long sleeved shirt. You know - similar to the kind that seem to be ubiquitous for men - but cut for a woman, and preferably with a touch of stretch to the fabric. And wrinkle resistant. Is that so much to ask for? Apparently, it is - either that or I simply don't know where to look to find one locally* - honestly - I was more successful at shopping for pants, believe it or not! So...the next time I find myself in this predicament (having to shop for business attire) - any of you have tips? Or should I just make sure to give myself enough time to order online? I see LL Bean has a nice selection of oxfords and strech poplin shirts...

*Places I tried include, but are not limited to: Old Navy, Nordstrom (had some, limited selection - $75 ea!), Gap, JCrew, Macys, Dillards, Eddie Bauer (turns out they have a fantastic online selection, but had nothing to see in the store that I could find), Ann Taylor, and Banana Republic (had some, limited selection).

*sigh* keep those suggestions rolling in. Looks like next time I'll be resorting to ordering online!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

All Spun Up. more than one way! Seems I've taken an unforseen hiatus from blogging - I'm here - just all wound up from worldly goings on. Hopefully things (all around) will settle over the next month or so! So, instead of carrying on with boring things, how about some yarn?

mmm. Squooshy. That would be a wonderful closeup of this:

Fresh off the only took me about a month to get it off the bobbin...then another week before I actually stuck it in the sink to set the twist - speaking of which, I better go fish it out and give it a whack before hanging it to dry! I love how curly the yarn is when taken fresh off the bobbin, and how a simple soak and whack will transform it into happily behaved (for the most part) singles. That big pile o yarn is 5.3 ounces, and approximately 400 yards. It's made up of a blend of a bunch of fibers including wool, tencel, bamboo and maybe even a little bit of ingeo (I can't remember) - there's a little sparkly in there too, but not much. When I pulled the fibers together, I was thinking fallen leaves and a different take on autumnal colors.

Speaking of yarn, there is some new yarn in the shop - I had some new Mooi colors arrive, and a whole shipment of 1855 Handspun Merino - if you've never heard of 1855, I recommend checking it out - the yarn is lovely, each skein spun by hand and dyed using natural dyes!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Perfect Timing

Just as I'm getting ready to embark on another cabled sweater, this book arrived for perusing (pre-order now! It's officially released next Tuesday, October 7). I adore cables. Always have - there is something magical and wonderful about their squooshiness and meanderings.

This book starts out with a primer on cables and how to go about making them (instructions complete with clear illustrations, vocabulary, knitting symbols and charts). Because this book also specializes in knots and rings, there is a section about closed-ring cables (a technique I have not yet personally tried - but look forward to doing so!)

Projects in this book are broken up into four sections: Simple Starter Projects (a pillow and a hat), Accents for the Home (a rug, a throw pillow, some blankets and a placemat), Clothing for Women (sweaters/cardis and a skirt), and Gifts for Friends and Family (sweaters, baby blocks and a bag). Overall, there are a nice smattering of patterns, all featuring wonderful cables and knotwork. Each pattern includes a large photo of the finished project, along with several detail photos in addition to clear schematics and charts (along with a chart key so you don't have to flip between the pattern and the front matter of the book!). If you've never knit from a chart before, I think this book does a good job explaining (and illustrating) technique and walking you through the reading of charts.

Believe it or not, the above material only occupies the first 128 of this 191 page book! Starting page 129 is a glorious stitch dictionary - perfect for working into original designs. Broken into several parts (Panels, Closed-Ring Motifs and Horizontal Bands), accompanied by a clear photo and a chart, the stitch dictionary includes 87 glorious cable samples. I look forward to working some of these wonderful cables into my projects!