Monday, July 28, 2008

From the Past...

I have been knitting so much on washcloths killing time until I go away for business, that I really don't have a ton of exciting washcloth pictures. So I found some pictures from Maryland Sheep & Wool that I wanted to share.

This first one is one that I love to see every year. I just love all the colors and they attracted me the first year I went but I passed on buying them. Then the second year I bought about five of them. This year I didn't buy any but just had to take a picture of them. They are the cocoons of the silk worms. They have been dyed to such wonderful colors. I still have not had time while at the show to watch the demo on how work them, but I have heard there are videos on the Internet. Maybe on the 8th day of the week , I will watch it and figure out how to work them. Just like food, color and presentation get you every time.

This was on the end cap of a booth. I love the color and again it's the texture and presentation that got me. Someone spent a lot of time making this and I just think it's awesome!
This one was hanging next to the one above. When you see things that are so unusual you just have to stop and look, touch and ask questions.
I know this is blurry but you can see that it's got texture all over the place. It reminds me of barnacles that attach themselves to pylons in the ocean here.
I promised the woman below that I would take a picture of her banner to give her credit for what you are about to see...

She has a hat on her head that hold a soda, beer or water so you don't lose your drink. I just thought it was so funny. I would be the one who bent over to pick up something off the ground and pour my drink completely out...and what would a sheep and wool show be without some really cute faces?

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Great Balls of Joy
I am so excited. I got the good word from a friend who owns a sheep farm about an hours drive from here where I live. She taught me how to spin and I bought my spinning wheel from her. It's sits idle in the living room but it is admired every time I walk past it. That's a start right?

Two years ago when I belonged to the local spinning guild, I was gifted two fleeces from a member who was moving from one house to another and wanted to purge her fleeces. No one in the room was jumping at the chance when they heard that they had to be picked and cleaned. Being the beginner I was, I jumped at the chance and took them home. They have been sitting under my bed ever since then. I did at least wash them, but nothing else. I bought some lock combs and have not really used them. So the enthusiasm had failed by the way side.

Maryland Sheep and Wool rekindled my enthusiasm for those forgotten fleeces. My friend Mary told me about Zeilinger Wool Co. She told me to bring my raw fleeces to them and they would take them, process them and then mail them back to me. I was truly not a believer for leaving my fleeces with someone else. Being the doubting Thomas that I am, I only trusted them with one fleece. If that one fleece came back unsatisfactory, I wouldn't give them anymore of the fleeces I have waiting under the bed. So I toted my fleece to the show and left it with Zeilingers. They said it should be to me sometime in July.

About the first of this month, I started thinking about my fleece. Where was it? Did they lose it or what? I figured that I would give them another few weeks and then start dialing. Opps, we don't dial anymore do we? Okay punching. Lo and behold, I fell asleep in the chair this past Saturday when DH went outside to mow the yard. When he came back in the had a box. I thought it was a shipment of books that I had ordered. I was so happy to see those books. I opened the box and got a BIG surprise. Not books, but fleece. It was coiled in the box like a big fuzzy hair ball. I had a devil of a time finding the end so I just picked a spot and broke it.
I somehow had it in my mind that the roving would come wound up in balls. After all, that's the only way I have seen roving. I had no idea that I had to wind it myself. Nevertheless, I did and got four rather large fluffy balls from the box. I am tickled pink with my roving. It's soft and looks pretty free of veg matter. I picked through it a bit and there doesn't seem to be too much.

I might have to spin some of this stuff here pretty quick. I have a full schedule until the end of this month so I may have to spin in August. That certainly won't stop me from admiring the ball of joy though!
So what color do you think they are? I can't decide. There is about 3 1/2 pounds of roving there. I am going to give the small ball away to another spinner so she can test it. All in all, I am just so pleased that I dragged that big honking bag up and down MS&W so I could get those. I am going to have to get the others ready to take next year!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Simplicity is what it's all about.

I love doing lace and socks. I think I am much better at socks than lace but that doesn't stop me from doing it. There are times that I want to throw the projects away and never look back, but I set them aside and take a breather. I set down the Lily Chin shawl for a few months and now have picked it back up. I have ripped out countless rows but somehow it has not stopped my desire to finish it. I want to triumph against my frustration. I can understand how other knitters have numerous UFOs. You just get to a point that if you rip out one more row on that project you are going to just toss it in the trash and move on. I haven't gotten to that point lately but I could feel my frustration level rising and needed a quick time out.

I ordered a massive amount of books from
KnitPicks at 40% off recently and found a book that I think will be a lot of fun. I used to never understand the fascination with books until I became a chef. There is something about owing a book that is very empowering. If you saw my cookbook collection you would understand I have a grasp on that concept now. This concept has now moved to knitting books. I don't buy a lot of them at full price just because. So about once a year I order when KnitPicks has them on sale. I did my part this year for sure!

One of the books I ordered is this
one. I have knit with one of her silk yarns and I loved it. It's this project here. So I was curious about what her books would be like. I went to KnitPicks and checked out what was on the inside for projects. I thought it had potential. I ordered the book.

A few days ago I worked on a new project to distract me from the Lily Chin shawl. This was knitting therapy that was so fast and it worked. I made these in less than two days. Yes, I did one and actually had to catch some ZZZs and darn it; go to work. As soon as I got the next day, I started and finished the second one. I still have some left over yarn and now am looking for a project befitting the left overs. I have a project in mind but not the proper sized needles. So I will have to buy needles before starting the next project.

Here is what I made. It's so simple that it was nerve soothing.
I made the washcloths from the book on page 78. I was so happy with how they turned out that I have been looking in my stash for other cotton yarns
to make more. I told DH that if they worked out
the way I hoped they will, the "others" will be
leaving us shortly. Today I will use one of them
and report back. I am not usually a wash cloth
user but this requires some testing.

I used TY-DY 100% yarn. I have never used this yarn before and I am pleased with how easy it was to work with. I split it a few times but that speaks of my technique more than it does the yarn if you get my drift.

I bought three balls total and have plans for the other two balls. I am hoping the plans work out but again, I have to buy some more needles. If you have never made yourself a washcloth, give it a shot. It's great for a really, really new beginner knitter. It's all knitting all the time. What could be easier??

Postscript: I used the washcloth after working on this post. I have to say that I was very impressed. I loved it so much that I am in the process of making more. 'Nough said...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Country Christmas Socks

I have been working on these socks a little longer than I wanted but when you have four projects going on at the same time, well you know... I wanted to get started on my Christmas knitting so that I won't be in panic mode come December. I see it all the time on other blogs that knitters are scrambling at the last minute to finish something for a family member and then other who are starting on the 23rd while driving to Grandma's house. That's just a bit too last minute for me. These will be a gift for someone in my family so I can't do into too much detail.

I have gotten better at reading instructions and these socks are from different patterns, sort of.

The heels are Eye of Partridge from Sensational Knitted Socks book by Charlene Schurch. I knit my first Eye of Partridge for the Ribbed Lace Socks. I liked it so much I decided to incorporate it into another pair of socks to see if I could do it and I did. The Ribbed Lace socks has no reinforcement yarn so you can really see the pattern clearly. This pair has reinforcement yarn so the pattern isn't as visible as I thought it was going to be. So the upside to this heel pattern is picking up the gusset stitches. It is very easy to pick them up with this heel pattern. I do like the ribbed heel that I learned first but I want to learn other patterns and this one is number two.

While I have been experimenting with the heel of my socks, the toe is still the same pattern I learned on my very first pair of socks. I am hoping to learn how to make a pair of socks from the toe up as I have heard that I can adjust the pattern more easily. I don't know this for a fact but hey, it never hurts to try and learn something new. While trying to get better at the toe, Sue from The Knitting Corner suggested a new toy. I bought it and it has made the kitchner stitch so much easier to work with.

I always dread closing up the toe but this tool has made it easier and now I close up the toes as soon as I get there. I have closed up every sock just as soon as I have finished it since getting this HUGE needle. I just love it!

I have not been posting because I have been trying to finish my UFOs and frankly, it's just not that exciting! I had to find someone on Ravelry to buy what's left of a full skein of yarn that I started my second Clapotis with. I really thought that two skeins totalling 737 yards was going to be enough. I was wrong. So I am sending her a check tomorrow morning to get that half skein so I can finish another UFO. Then it's on to the Lily Chin that is still giving me fits. I will blog about that later. For now I am off to do laundry...