Friday, December 11, 2009

Same Song, Green Verse
I know there are others out there in cyberland who keep knitting or crocheting the same pattern over and over because it makes them happy and brings such a satisfying sense of accomplishment. I love that feeling when I knit. I have looked at pattern after pattern of dishcloths so I know that others are knitting the same basic pattern over and over and over. You know a good pattern when you knit it. It feels good and you are comfortable with it. You know inside and out. Slipping into a familiar rhythm.

So this one is no different. I think I have knit at least 12 of this pattern. What can I say? It's the perfect 56 stitch lace scarf for a beginner. It's just enough lace to satisfy a need to knit lace and not feel like it's a life time commitment. Thus this makes the perfect gift for almost any occasion. I can knit this in 10 days or less even while working a part-time job. That's about the same amount of time that I can knit a pair of socks. Of course this time it took me a bit longer because I have been spinning and felting the same time I was knitting on the scarf.

I have never been one for doing gauge, swatching or blocking. I know better but some things you really need to know the gauge, swatch or even block. This pattern however does need to be block ever so slightly. All of the other times I have made this scarf I either steam and hand blocked or hand blocked it on an extra large bath towel. This time I have a new way.

My favorite enabler and I shared an order for KnitPicks and we bought blocking squares. I haven't used them yet and since I returned her blocking wires, I thought the blocks and some old sewing pins would do the trick. They did!

I love the blocks. I really wasn't sure about them but they are wonderful. Why did I wait so long to do this? The pins just slide right in and look at that! There was one little problem though...
My diningroom table isn't long enough to block the whole scarf. Since I sleep on a Sleep Number bed, pinning it the the bed to accomodate for length, isn't happening! So 3/4 of the scarf will be blocked over a two day period. Then I will have to wet the last 1/4 and block that. A little awkward but with five dogs my options are limited for sure.

Here is another view of the scarf in the process of being pinned for blocking. Lastly the close up of the lace. I am sure that if you are a member of Ravelry you can link to my project page and then follow the link to the designer's page. I feel like I got my money's worth from this pattern! I sure hope my friends think as much as their gifts as much as I did making them.

Pattern Stats: Mary designed by Linda Johnson. Knit with US #4 Addi Lace circulars with Misty Alpaca Lace weight.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Seeing Red These Days

Seeing Red These Days

I have to admit that I learned how to spin about four or five years ago, bought a wheel and then set it aside. It's been collecting dust and would continue to do so if it not for the small group of spinners that belong to Yarn for Breakfast. I have talked about them before. Every once in awhile they meet at someone's house and spin, talk about fibers and where to get the "good stuff". Being with them inspired me to start spinning a little more every week.

I went to Rhinebeck (NY Sheep and Wool Show) and bought roving. I have five fleeces stored in the house but thought I needed some more color in my life. I bought red roving what was really meant for felting but didn't realize that until I started to spin it. It's coarse and I have no idea what the fiber was other than it was a nicest color of red. So I snagged it and started spinning. I ended up with this... It's a bit blurry but you get the jest of it. I triple plied the yarn for a project. I did two plies red and threw in one in a misc. light colored roving that I had. The yarn ended up being a bulky yarn. That was what I wanted. It's for a project that needed bulky weight yarn.

I wanted to make my very first bowl from this book. I love books but never seem to use them after I buy them (except for sock books). I have thumbed through this book many times and admired the felted bowl. I have seen them on blogs and different sites and decided I wanted one. So I made one. I have to say that I was totally impressed. The pattern was wonderful. You can be the judge.

Here is the yarn in a cake (same blurry picture as above). Then I knit the bowl. I am sorry that I didn't get a before shot but I was so excited about getting it into the washing machine that I forgot.

After I felted it I found a bowl to serve as a form to put the newly felted bowl on so that it would dry like a "real" bowl. I was lucky because I found a pyrex bowl the perfect size in my cabinet. I wanted the outside of the bowl to dry first so I flipped it upside down and left that way on the dining room table for two days during Thanksgiving.

This is the bowl upside down drying. Once the outside felt dried to the touch I turned it back on the flat side of the bowl so that it would sit flat . Worked like a charm.

I love the texture. I haven't shaved it. Don't think that I will either. I did think that the two colors would be stripped or marbled or something but it turned out speckled. I really do love the way it looks; hairy and speckled.

Here is the final bowl. It's dried and it stands up really well. The walls are not as thick as I thought they would be but I really love the bowl. It has given me great satisfaction to spin the wool, knit the bowl, felt it and now get to use it. I have got to use my books more often!