Sunday, July 31, 2005

A Little Guest

Look who came to visit! Monkey and his mom, "Kristo". You may have met them before at their home-blog, "busternme".

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Monkey is tired and needed a big sleep-in.

Kris and I kept Monkey busy all day yesterday shopping. We visited the two local yarn shops and the yarn section of every department store in town. She was looking for just the right pattern to use with a gorgeous merino wool coming on sale soon at We found the perfect pattern at "Aunt Debbie's". It is in the "Drops, Strikkedesign, nr. 78", (model #11, follow the link, it's the third photo from the right on the bottom row).

We also traipsed through all the accessory departments looking for a suitable sash for her wedding dress. Wouldn't you know it, we found exactly what we wanted at another LYS, "Chilliwack Wool & Craft Shop". I'll be knitting an exquisite lace and bead sash for her. I've got it started and we held it up to her wedding dress and it looks MAWvelous DAWling.

Sorry, no pictures of the wedding dress itself, but I can give you a bit of a sneak preview of the sash.

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Saturday, July 30, 2005

Wretched Day

I rarely post about anything but my knitting or other fiber related projects, and I am not going to start now by detailing everything that went wrong or stressed me out yesterday. Suffice it to say I should have slept in so that the day would have seemed shorter. Bad days do not deserve to have both an early rising and a late retiring!

Amongst all the other annoyances that caused me stress, even my fiber related projects were out to get me. I started the day at the guild room struggling with a weaving on one of the guild's looms. That loom needs to be fixed or flung. 'Nuff said.

The rest of the day was consumed with too much time spent conversing about things I can do nothing about. This goes totally against my belief system of "Allowing". Usually allowing others to live their life as they see fit (without trying to interfere or "fix" them) brings me great peace. It didn't yesterday. I didn't feel much like allowing. I was angry. Still am, actually.

So, in an attempt to relax at the end of a stress filled day I picked up my lace knitting. The Peacock Feathers Shawl. Hmpf! A moment of inattention (due to WAY too much on my mind!) and I placed a double, centered decrease in the wrong spot. No big deal right? Just undo it and continue on? That was the idea anyway. I missed one of the three stitches, it dropped, and after about 30 minutes of desperate attempts to knit it back up through several rows of yarn overs and multi-stitch decreases I was resigned to the fact that I had "lost it". Emotionally and literally. I now have to rip back to the last lifeline. 10 rows below. At around 340 stitches per row it is a Very Big Deal. More than my frazzled nerves can handle at the moment. Peacock Feathers is flung in the corner for a "Time Out".

If I knit at all today it will be nothing more complicated than a garter stitch scarf. On big needles. With fat yarn.

Friday, July 29, 2005


For the "Monkey" fans out there this is a "heads-up" announcement. The busternme blog has been updated! It's kind of like waiting for Christmas as it only happens once in a very long time, but it is always worth it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


This is a prototype of a pattern I am working on for a friend.

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It (there is only one so far) is a little "sockette". They take so little yarn that I was able to make one from the scraps leftover after making a regular sock from a 50g ball of "Confetti". It weighs less than 15g, including the button. These would make great "stash buster" projects for using up all those little oddments of sock yarn.

I've got the pattern partially hashed out, but need to write down the revisions I made on the fly.

Toothpick Needles

It's small, but it IS a FO (finished object)....a little lace knitter pin. The "needles" are toothpicks with beads on the end.

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I didn't actually KNIT with the toothpicks (approximately a 2mm), they would be too short to handle easily. I DO own and knit with 2mm needles though.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Another Pair

I've finished another pair of socks. These are toe-up,peasant heel socks done in Confetti Superwash Color #3005.

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I carefully matched the starting points of both socks (using two separate balls of yarn) so that the pattern on both socks matched exactly, then knit both socks at the same time on one long circular needle, thus avoiding the dreaded "Second Sock Syndrome". Using a Peasant Heel makes this maneuver easier, it also ensures that the self patterning across the instep of the foot remains intact, unlike some other heel styles.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Navaho Ply

My two friends here are examining my first attempt at Navaho plying. They say they like it, but suggest that next time I put less spin into the plying. *sigh*

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Sunday, July 17, 2005

Camera Question

Amanda asked about my camera, and although I have answered her privately, I thought perhaps the information might be of interest to some other readers as well.

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Note:Camera's "self portrait" is larger than life.

My camera is a Canon PowerShot S330 (digital elph). I love it. It's about 3 years old now, and as with all technology, you can get better cameras for less money now. Mine is 2.0 mega pixels. The newer ones have BETTER close-up capabilities than mine does. I won't be changing cameras though as this camera suits my needs just fine. I'd like to have a tri-pod so my close-ups would be easier. It's hard to hold my hands steady enough to get a good close-up shot, especially if I am avoiding using the flash.

If you are looking to buy a digital camera I can't emphasize enough the importance of getting one that does NOT require you to buy batteries all the time. Don't be seduced by the lower price of the battery operated ones. These digital cameras eat batteries for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the cost of regular batteries would greatly add to the expense of using your camera over time. It is better to bite the bullet at the time of purchase and get a little more expensive camera that uses the rechargable battery "packs". Mine uses a Canon "Li-ion Battery Pack". I have two of them and a charger and don't regret one bit making that decision. Often when we are at a special event we take a lot of pictures (you CAN when you have a digital camera....then you go home and weed out the ones you don't want before printing) and it is nice to have an extra, charged battery on hand.

Friday, July 15, 2005

1,788 metres

The spinning of the wool/mohair blend is complete. It has been bathed, hung to dry, weighed, measured, and counted.

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I ended up with 9 skeins, a total of 652g, (23 ounces), with a length of 1,788 metres, (1,955 yards). A quick check in a couple of places tells me it averages about 17-18 WPI (fingering to laceweight).

It may yet receive a second bath. The very first skein I did was washed with a conditioning dog shampoo but the remainder were washed with Dawn dish soap. I can really see a difference. The dog shampoo one is whiter, softer, and has a nicer halo effect to the mohair. If you look closely at the picture you should be able to pick out the one that had the bath in dog shampoo.

Just as a side note to spinners who are also dog owners, our dog, Shelby, ran and hid when she smelled the dog shampoo. It took her a while to realize the bath wasn't for her.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

It Wept

My newest plant is weeping for joy. It IS joy isn't it?! It wouldn't be weeping because it came to live at my house would it? Just because the rose gave up the ghost in short order? Could those be tears of fear? Say it isn't so!

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Any of you plant experts out there want to tell me why this plant is weeping? I was brave and tasted one of those drops and it tasted like plain ordinary water. I haven't misted the plant and it is not in a moist location.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Bathing Beauties

My beautiful wool/mohair skeins lingered in a hot* afternoon bubble bath while I knit away on the Peacock Feathers Shawl (now finished row 122)

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They are now safely hanging to dry. Tomorrow they shall be weighed and measured so I will have an idea what their future might hold.

*For those who freaked out, went faint and had to sit down when I mentioned WOOL and HOT WATER in the same sentence, rest assured they are fine. Wool and hot water are fine together as long as you DO NOT AGITATE, nor shock it with any sudden temperature changes. The water was in fact, SCALDING hot, but so was the rinse.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The End

I have come to the end of a huge bag of wool/mohair rovings that were very generously given to me. These two spools full of singles are the last of it.

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Because I am a new spinner and my work is getting better as I practice, I was afraid to alternate between projects. I figured if I left the wool/mohair to work on some of my other stuff, when I came back to it I would have (more)inconsistencies in the WPI, so I diligently stuck with this one project all the way to the end. When I get the last two bobbins plied I'll wash the whole lot up for you and take a picture. I'm still not sure what I'll make with it. Got any suggestions for a slightly itchy wool/mohair blend? I think it will be about a "sportsweight" yarn, but I'll double check after it's washed. It feels lovely and reasonably soft to the hand, but it is a little too scratchy to wear next to my bare skin. I wonder if I have enough for a small afghan/throw?

As a reward for my stick-to-it-iveness I allowed myself a little dip into my waiting stash of roving. These three wool rovings were purchased from Seabird Island reserve. The white is from their own sheep, the dark brown and grey were traded with another producer.

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Each of the rovings is quite different to spin. The white feels greasy and spins compact and smooth, but I suspect that it will fluff up when the skeins are washed. The dark brown is not as soft and a fair number of neps make it a little harder (for me) to spin consistently. The grey is to die for! It feels lovely and soft in the hand, has no neps and little to no VM. It spins into a lovely, even single. I could spin the grey VERY thin....if the other two would cooperate and do the same.....but they are all destined for the SAME final project (a fairisle sweater or two) so I have to try to get them to come out the same. Should be fun. With this big undertaking, I think I WILL alternate between the three wools, spinning and plying one skein of each throughout, so that I don't get carried away and spin the grey to a consistency I cannot reach with the other two.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

100 Rows

I've reached the 100th row of the Peacock Feathers Shawl. There are 250 rows in the shawl, each getting progressively longer. The final row will have 495 stitches.

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I'm really enjoying this project. It's definitely not boring, each row is different.

The socks I am also working on ARE, *yawn*, VERY boring. Round and round I go in plain stockinette. I would like to have them done in time to go in the Fall Fair. That's about 3 weeks away, a very do-able time frame if I could just stick with it. Unfortunately, every time I sit down to work on them the shawl lures me away.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Almost Lost 'Er

There were a few stomach churning moments yesterday afternoon when I thought I had REALLY done a number on my shawl and would be experiencing a large amount of frogging. I was knitting on the Peacock Feathers Shawl and was a little forgetful when working row 80 (a wrong side row, mostly purl stitches, but requiring a k1,p1 into the occasional double yarn over from the previous row). In several places I missed that "k1, p1" and just purled twice into the stitch. I didn't discover it until the next row when I kept coming across long, loopy bits. I knew what was wrong, but my efforts to correct it were nearly my undoing. At one point I even dropped all the stitches of a double central decrease! *gasp*

It was at that point that the phone rang and I spent the next hour or so talking to a friend. It seems that that break was just what was needed. After preparing dinner, eating and cleaning up, I came back to the knitting expecting to find it hopeless. I was pleasantly surprised. A little fiddling and it all came safely together and I was able to continue knitting. Frogging averted. *whew*

Today begins with row 86. Charts one and two are complete, a life line is in place, and all is well.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Lacey Beginnings

I've got a good start on the Peacock Feathers Shawl and I am really enjoying it. In fact, I have a hard time tearing myself away when other things need to be accomplished.

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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

3 Hour Hat

This hat was a quick hold-me-over project while I waited for the arrival of the Peacock Feather Shawl pattern.

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It is a crocheted "Crusher Hat" from a Fiber Trends pattern. I used up my leftovers from the Cotton Sheep Pullover making it.

The pattern and yarn for the Peacock Feathers Shawl has arrived and after making many errors and restarts in the gauge swatch, the shawl itself is going very well. I'm through the first 38 rows.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Lace Bootie-Socks

With the completion of the bootie-socks the Leaf and Lace Baby Set is done.

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In the photo I flipped up the cuff of one of the bootie-socks so you could see the alterations I made to the original pattern. I knit the lace pattern for 2 1/2 inches, did two rows of purl for a fold line, knit an additional 2 1/2 inches in 1x1 ribbing and then completed the bootie as the pattern directed. The ribbing should help these to stay on without the need of ties.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Additional Information

Kathy asked a few questions about the alterations I did in the construction of the Leaf and Lace Baby Set. I've written back to her directly, but thought maybe it might be beneficial to other readers to see my answers to her questions as well.

I wasn't as precise with my gauge calculations as I usually am. One needle I tried was too big, the next I tried was too small so I chose the needle size in between and never checked the gauge again. I figured a baby set will fit when it fits, a wee bit "too small" or "too big" won't matter.

I tried just now to check the gauge for Kathy, but there is very little on that set that is in plain stockinette. Across the plain bit at the tip of the leaves I seem to be getting about 9 sts to the inch, which is a little smaller than the recommended gauge. The final sweater is 17 1/2 inches at the underarm instead of the stated 18 inches in the pattern. I intend this outfit to be used to bring a newborn home from the hospital. There is plenty of room in a typical 18 inch "3 month size" for even a large newborn so I am not concerned.

I never did the bonnet as directed. I eliminated the ribbon ties by altering the original pattern to be a hat knit circularly with the next size larger needle (the size used for the lace portion of the sweater). It was a bit fiddly to figure out, and I didn't write down what I did, so can't offer you the pattern. I should get it written down while it is still reasonably fresh in my mind. I'll give you what I remember though....

I started with a central "pinhole" cast on (done with a crochet circular shawls are sometimes started) and followed the bonnet pattern but omitted the edge stitches (eliminate 3 stitches from all the stitch counts and work only the directions between the *s) and knitting in the round. Of course this means that the "wrong side" rows have to be adjusted to be knit from the right side. Just knit where it says purl and purl where it says knit, but also remember that the order has to be reversed. Be sure that you get that solitary purl stitch in each repeat in the right place on every even row.

One thing that was rather confusing was the fact that with each subsequent row the starting point of the round moved one stitch to the left (because of the yarn overs). That meant that when I got to the garter stitch triangle that separates the leaves, it was half on one round and half on the next....the round change came in the middle of the garter stitch triangle. I had to watch carefully to be sure that I changed from the even row purls to the odd row knits at the right spot. Surprisingly this bisected garter stitch section really doesn't look bad. It gives a slight seam effect that looks fine.

After the leaf section was complete I continued the garter stitch portion until the hat was 4 1/2 inches from the crown. At that point I did 10 rows of stockinette, allowing the natural curl of the fabric to form a roll brim which I later stitched down neatly on the right side.

I used "Bernat Baby" 100% "gentle soft" acrylic, which is a washable/dryable fingering weight that is inexpensive and readily available in my area. The impractical side of me would love to do it in an ultra soft alpaca, but I know that new moms don't have time for fussy "hand wash only" baby clothes, so acrylic it is.