Friday, December 19, 2008

Erratta? What Errata? (Wherein we dope-slap ourselves)

No matter how many times I tell myself not be be a "Beta" tester for new lace knitting books, I find myself getting caught-up in projects only to find that there are corrections. This was the case with the "Crown Prince" shawl from the new Nancy Bush book on Estonian Knitting. I was half way through the center of the shawl when a nice person on Ravelry let me know there was an error in the chart. I thought those center diamonds looked kind of odd. I ripped the whole thing back and started over again after giving myself a mental "dope slap". For those of you who are going to get the book, here is the errata page so far. Be sure to check back from time to time as more are added.
Though it has been awhile since I posted, I have not been idle. After playing with the "Wonder Weave"and making about a dozen woven squares, I realized that what I really wanted was something a little bit bigger to work on. I did, in fact, buy a 25 inch Schacht Rigid Heddle Loom from "Verb" and made a scarf out of hand spun yarn. It's a two ply made with a single spun from a batt of merino/silk noil from "A Verb For Keeping Warm" and plied with a complimentary fiber (the one left over from Mountain Pine) which is also a merino/silk for the weft. I used a smooth version of the yarn for the warp without the noil. It worked up to 20 WPI and I got to use the lovely new inch gage I puchased from Brandywine Woodworking. They are made from Goncalo Alves and are just beautiful. I kept one and the other went to my sister. As for the weaving, I used a 10 dent heddle and warped directly onto the loom rather than using a warping board. The scarf was a 4 day project so this new hobby will be my "Stash Buster" for fibers building up in the house :-) While I can see this fitting into my crafting nicely, I don't see it taking over all my time. My heart still belongs to lace knitting but making a scarf of hand spun yarn is really fun and quick.
The taupe skein of lace weight yarn is more of the CVM I'm spinning up. The singles on the bobbin are Black Bunny Fiber singles in a colorway called "Faded Flowers" I bought more alpaca lace weight from "Verb" in colorway "Green Beans" as well as additional spinning fibers "Victorian" which is a 80/20 merino/tussah silk in pinks and greys and,"This is a new day" in a sort of purple 50/50 yak/silk. The last two braids are Super Wash BFL from Girl On the Rocks that I picked up at Bizarre Bazaar. I could not resist. I will need to be able to weave just to make it through all this fiber!
I will be knitting on the Crown Prince, Goldregen and "Bells Through The Leaves" this weekend. Just so you don't think I'm in hibernation with piles of yarn and fiber around me. I hope to be able to post progress in January 2009!
As this difficult year comes to an end, I'd like to wish everyone out there a Happy Holiday and a hopes for a prosperous and healthy New Year!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Slippery Slope (Getting sucked into the vortex that is weaving)

Wonder Weave U Tube Video

Just a short post to try to catch up on what I've been up to.

I have been flirting with the idea of another craft. Not like I have time for yet another activity but somehow it just feels like something I might enjoy. I'm thinking of trying a little bit of weaving and I imagine it's not big surprise to those of you who already enjoy weaving and for me, it just another excuse to play with fiber :-) Now I'm not talking about getting a floor loom mind you. Just a simple Rigid Heddle loom. So I've bought a few books on the subject thanks to "Sock Pron" who suggested which books to look at. I got, "Rigid Heddle Weaving" and "Textures and Patterns For The Rigid Heddle Loom" both by Betty Linn Davenport as well as a really old book "The Xenakis Technique For The Construction Of Four Harness Textiles" by Athanasios David Xenakis (this last is very advanced but a nice investment if I really get into weaving). I am waiting for a book on edge finishing for weaving as well. Books are never a waste for me and I like to know what I'm getting into before I commit. I have my eye on the Schacht Flip Rigid Heddle Loom but decided I needed to check out U Tube for any weaving videos just to get a look at people actually weaving. While surfing the tube, I saw this video on the Wonder Weave Loom and just had to give it a try since it mimics the process used in Rigid Heddle weaving. Got one for $2.00 on E-Bay though shipping was $10.00. It's fun and it really is very addicting :-) Silly I know, but I wanted to know if the process of actual weaving was going to put me to sleep or be something I would get caught-up into like spinning. I will let you all know what happens but I am really very tempted!

I have posted a few pictures of some very pretty stitch markers in copper that I got from Spindle Cat Studios. They are very tiny and they fit up to US 3 needles. I really find them charming and I like the little "keepers" that she makes to keep those stitch markers corralled as well. Though I generally use cheap plastic hair ties as markers, these were so attractive and well
made that I could not resist. The singles on my wheel are of some of the CVM I prepared with my mini-combs. When plied, it's a light taupe color and makes a bouncy, soft lace weight yarn. I'm still enjoying using my combs and since I have this week off, I can indulge myself as much as I want with my crafts. My version of Heaven! I will be working on all my knitting but wanted to give a few more shots of one of the shawls I'm working on. It's from "Knitted Lace of Estonia. Techniques, Patterns and Traditions" by Nancy Bush and is called "Crown Prince Square Shawl". I'm knitting it using US 3 needles and "Holding" a 100% baby alpaca lace weight yarn from "A Verb For Keeping Warm" in colorway "Twilight". I only was able to show the border on my previous post and I'm now working on the center. I love how this alpaca feels in my hands. It has a nice spring to it and the fuzziness fills in those big holes that are made with US 3 needles. The color is subtle but looks very nice in person. I'm half way through the center portion of the "Triinu Scarf" from the same book and have all my other projects to knit on. If I need more to do there is always the reading pile with lovely trash novels along with making stuffing and pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving. Until my next post I hope everyone stays/gets well (Get Well Soon Fleegle!) and that you are all able to have a little fun before the end of the year!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Holiday Slow-Down (And yet I'm still knitting and spinning)

I now have my voice back and have returned to my spinning and knitting so Thank You to everyone who expressed concern over my condition. As the year comes to a close I may have some difficulty finding time to post as the Holidays will take up a lot of my time but I hope a few pictures of what I'm up to now will help. As you can see from the top shot, I got my copy of "Knitted Lace of Estonia" by Nancy Bush. If you want a look at the inside, here is the link for the preview of the book. It's a very nice book with assorted scarfs and a few shawls as well as good information about the techniques and traditions of this type of lace knitting. The patterns are well within reach of an intermediate lace knitter or an adventurous beginner knitter. Most of the projects use US 2-5 needles though you could go bigger if you wanted and it gave me an opportunity to look at some of the yarns I have that had no particular project in mind when I got them. The first shot is of the Trinnu Scarf that I'm knitting with US 3 needles. The yarn is from "Just Our Yarn" and is 100% Cashmere, 500 yards in "Myne". Though this yarn is very colorful, I think it looks pretty nice and it knits up quickly too. It gave me a chance to practice the 7 yarn over "Nupps" that this scarf requires. Mine are not very "pluffy" but they still look pretty nice. Next up, a few skeins of 100% silk lace weight from "A Verb For Keeping Warm" in colorway "Chocolate Cherries." I could not help myself though I have a very large lace weight stash. I have no idea what I will do with it, but that hardly matters at this point now does it. It would appear I have no will power when it comes to lace weight from "Verb" As the next shot is of the border of another shawl from "Knitted Lace of Estonia". It's the Crown Prince Square Shawl which I'm knitting on US 3 (it asks for US 4) using "Holding" from " A Verb For Keeping Warm" 100% Baby Alpaca Lace Weight yarn in colorway "Twilight". Shots of the yarn and skeins follow. It has good body when knit, a lovely subtle color and the alpaca has a nice halo as well. This shawl is on the cover of the book knit in white, but you all know that I was not going there! Next I have a shot of a type of tatting shuttle. I had never tried this type before and got it on E-Bay. It's made of giraffe bone and malachite. It's a little awkward for me to use but I just wanted to try one out in this style. Below that I have some pre-washed Moorit Shetland Fleece that I got on Etsy from skippysmom. She was really accommodating even after the first 2 pounds of fleece she washed for me were found by her chickens and used for nesting material! I don't mind competing with people for my fiber but I refuse to wrestle chickens! She washed me up 2 more pounds and the locks are long and lovely. I will be spending a lot of the winter spinning and I'm still loving my mini combs for fiber prep :-) Lastly, I have been spinning and plying the Rambouillet from Sue Givens at Wind River Woolen and I only have a small handful left. She has a small farm in Wyoming where she raises not only the Rambouillet but Churro as well. This fiber was such a joy to spin that I have bought a white fleece as well which I will be washing up in spite of the cold of Winter when I have a vacation day. Unlike some of my other spinning, I washed this yarn so that the crimpy fibers could show off. I love how this yarn came out and I really have to think what to do with it. It has great body and might look really good with the textured stitches of a Niebling

PROJECT UPDATE- I have to say that I have finally frogged the Shetland Tea Shawl. I started it in 2005 and never finished it. I have given away the yarn since I know I will never knit with it again. I just did not "feel the love" for it and I just couldn't stand having it lay around any longer. That leaves only the Wedding Ring Shawl as a hibernating project. I just can't admit defeat on that on yet. I am on row 121 of Goldregen (it goes to 227) and have bought a new pattern by Sharon Winsauer called "Dragon of Happiness" . My niece has decided she likes this dragon better than the triangular shawl that Sharon designed.I will be casting on with black Cashmere from ColourMartUK since my niece is kid of a "goth light" girl. That's all the news that's fit to print for now. I hope all of you enjoy the end of the last few months of they year and STAY HEALTHY!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sinusitis = Tedium ( Lose your voice, lose your mind)

It doesn't happen to me very often, but sometimes my allergies get the better of me and I end up with a sinus infection and loose my voice. To say that I hate this is an understatement. I snot a lot, have to grunt and point at things in response to questions and the codeine in my cough syrup makes me fall asleep over knitting or reading. Still, being home gave me time to work on some things. Since focus is a challenge, I only did a little bit more of Goldregen. The first shots are up to row 109, about half way up the chart. I really enjoy knitting this pattern but I'm going to wait until I feel better and the antibiotics kick in to do more of this. I went on Etsy and bought several sets of Diz and threaders from GVPencheff (curly maple, Corian and Red Oak Diz and threaders of maple, Oak and Corian) I got the Corian set to use with dyed fleece. I spent time processing fleece and using the Diz sets to make rovings off of my mini combs. The CVM lamb fleece is another acquisition from The Fiber Denn as is the blue Cormo below it. The light colored roving is also CVM and the Grey/Brown is Rambouillet. The bobbins show the singles from the Rambouillet that I'm spinning. I also have shots of the 50/50 merino silk lace weight I made from the roving I got from Blue Moon Fiber Arts in the "Iris" colorway. as well as the lace weightPolworth locks I purchased from A Verb For Keeping Warm in the "Butterfly Wings" colorway. Lastly, my final shipment of the Team "B" fiber club from Black Bunny Fibers. It s a Border Leicster and Kid Mohair called Red Maple II. I now have so much fiber that I guess it was fortunate I was too sick to go to "Colors, A Fiber Festival" this weekend. No hyperlinks with this post as I'm just too much of a mess to focus. I hope to have more to show for myself once I get over the crud.