Archive for May, 2007

ch-ch-ch-changes

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

it has been a week of running and more running. deadlines and changes make for a busy, busy life.

and watering—we haven’t had much rain here and the plants are in a fast-growing stage, drinking it up as fast as we can get it to them. but it’s so worth it when i go outside and see that in just a few hours there is a noticeable difference in their size. how do they do that??

the squashlets, just 5 days later. amazing

now, as for changes, i am going to be raising pattern prices starting june 1st (tomorrow!). all patterns will increase $1. the good news is that there will be no more charge for transactional fees when you order directly from me—that will be rolled into the price increase.

you may see some price variation between vendors during the transition as some online shops still have older stock of hardcopy patterns; please don’t think that this means anyone is selling my patterns at different prices on a continuing basis.

it took me a long time to make this decision—i like to keep prices down. but a couple of vendors (and some customers) have been telling me that i should bring my prices more in line with what other designers are charging. and then, of course, the cost of keeping a workspace and equipment to do this work is always rising—electricity, gas, supplies, taxes, etc—having to pay for those things affects how much time i can spend designing.

and i am still very much committed to making sure that a portion of knitspot proceeds is recycled back into funds that make the world better. so, an increase for me is an increase for that, too.

now let’s talk about knitting, because i have indeed been doing that, too
look what’s finally ready for a sewn bindoff

it’s about time. they really are lovely. these are the teosinte socks knit with woolen rabbit merino sock yarn. (oh dear; i just went over there to copy the link, and kim has new colors AGAIN)

you know what this means? i will probably start a new pair . . . soon. actually, i still have two pair on the needles that i really should get cracking on. poor tree scum has been languishing, and the golf sock—i should get that done before summer ends, right?

i think for the summer i’ll try to keep my sock projects down to two at a time rather than the usual, er, um, four. i don’t need as much portable knitting in these months, and with bike riding and the garden vying for my free time, i’d like to stay focused on the bigger projects.
i hope that won’t be too boring for you . . .

oh, and BTW, i know there are a bunch of you that have been waiting for the word that ed jenkins is ready and willing to sell his wonderful lace knitting needles. they go down to size 2 and really, you cannot beat the points on these babies.

much as i love the new addi lace needles (and i DO adore them) the jenkins needles in natural wood with that positively seductive finish are the tops. and though i would never, EVER be pushy about something i like (cough, COUGH, ahem-hem), i’m just hinting (gently) that you might consider them before you start your bee shawl later this summer . . .

i’ve been cranking away on the bee shawl, too. the rows are getting longer now that i’m into the second section, so the inches don’t pile up quite as quickly

but i took it to classes yesterday (it’s always good to give projects a taste of the world by getting them out in public . . .), and everyone had a feel. it’s a hit—several people think it’s the prettiest one yet. (not that i would EVER compare them to each other . . . they are each special in their own way).

and the orchid scarf—well, i’m a little ashamed to show you this picture because it only vouches for my laziness.

i’m on the second half. this is how much i had done when i left for class yesterday. and i’m too lazy to take a picture of it this morning to show you how much i accomplished yesterday, all told.
let’s just say i will have an orchid scarf surprise for you probably by tomorrow evening.

now, the last ramp-up for the MS booster drive will begin on saturday june 2nd right here. we will have a drawing and lots of opportunity to make me PAY. check back on saturday to view the wonderful list of prizes, and the rules for entering the drawing.
it’s fun and simple, and i’m the only one that’s likely to get hurt.

wooster weekend

Monday, May 28th, 2007

what a beautiful weekend we had here—the weather was great, even with the thunderstorms, and there were lots of fun things to do. and no pressing duties for a few days, which made it all the more enjoyable.

our local fiber show at wooster, OH, was held this weekend and i went out saturday afternoon to see all the vendors. i didn’t take any pictures—shame on me. we had a thunderstorm shortly after i got there, so maybe it was all the water that kept me from taking my camera out.

once again the show was big and wonderful, with lots of regional producers there, including my buddy, chris (AKA briar rose), from michigan. her booth was hopping all day saturday. go briar rose!

i bought a very few things, so as not to burden my already-too-full yarn closet.

one bump of fiber and one kind of yarn—not too bad for me!

the fiber is very similar to the one i spun up and knit hypoteneuse from. it is soft jacob, some flax, and some silk noil. i know i will be sorry that i only bought the one bump, but i’ll get over it. it makes a beautiful tweed yarn, and i’m looking forward to spinning up something nice for david with it.

the yarn is from knitting notions. it is incredibly soft merino laceweight that is a little heavier—almost a fingering weight. this one is the ironstone color (you know i can’t resist a beautiful gray . . .). catherine is a wonderful dyer from tennessee; her husband makes gorgeous wood yarn swifts that also function as skein reels.

i got a new flyer hook and an oil bottle for the merlin wheel, since it didn’t come with any tools.

oh yeah, and a couple more of those spindle beads i fell in love with last year. i’ve enjoyed having one on my desk so much that i chose a couple of companions for it. i find these poieces incredibly soothing to look at and hold . . . worth their cost just for that alone. they are ceramic and finished with some sort of raku-type firing.

one disappointment was that my chair from walter turpening was not done—i had SO hoped to pick it up this weekend. we had a nice visit anyway, and he said it should be ready in late june. now that i have more than one spinning wheel, i’ll be needing it.

i did have one moment of semi-insanity as i walked out of the show. the judges had just awarded the prizes in the fleece competition and as i walked past the burgeoning tables, the “best of show” fleece and the “blue ribbbon” dark, fine-wool fleece were sitting right there, unsold. the price? $20 and $15 respectively. the producer was someone i bought from last year, too. i even had a credit with wooly knob mill for processing, and they were right there, managing the competition. sigh.

“matt, i think i want to buy these fleeces . . .”
“well, lemme check with mike and make sure he still wants to sell them; since they won such high prizes, he might want to keep them”
(phew!)
but the next day, they were indeed mine, and the producer was SO happy that i had come back to buy from them again. fortunately they are quite small; one is only 2.5 pounds, and the other is about 3.5 pounds. i SO don’t need these, but they are gorgeous (oh man; why don’t i have pictures??).

toward the end of the afternoon i went into town and found a good cup of coffe to sip while i waited to meet chris and her family for dinner. i sat in the window of the hungarian cafe/bakery, knit on my sock, and watched the rain fall

i always enjoy sitting alone in an unkown place and absorbing the atmosphere this way.

we ended the day with a great dinner at a local french bistro, specializing in fresh foods grown or raised locally . . . yummm! we talked and talked, and laughed and had a great time . . . it’s always SO good to spend time with friends that you don’t get to see often.
that chris can never send me home without a gift, and after dinner, handed me a bag with these goodies

a beautiful skein of wistful and one of grace.

on sunday i had a class with pat maley on tips and tricks for spinners. pat is a wonderful teacher from the cinncinati area who is a master spinner who has been at it since the 70s.

since i am largely self-taught as a spinner, i wanted to take a good class where i could learn more about all the techniques i use. i learned that most of the time i use long draw, and that i do know how to do worsted spinning, but i don’t use it very much. i learned to spin from the fold picked up lots of great advice.

the 6 hours just flew by and now i feel a lot more confident about my teaching. i had been feeling a little uncomfortable about taking students for handspinning and not really knowing if i was teaching good technique. turns out i was fine, but just didn’t understand some of the fine points between this or that.

after class i found debbieKnitter and her family, my friend karen, and we went fiber hunting for them. do we not look SO cute??

what the heck are we doing here? i’m sure some of you might recognize this pose from a certain spam email that has been going around. and if not, you can assume that this is how long we like our, um, fiber. or, at least that’s what we told kids.

we headed back to canton at the end of the day, with the mandatory stop at the dalton dariette for ice cream. karen’s son, jamie, is a real trip and i enjoy spending time with him.
(i can’t believe i don’t have pictures of any of this!)

i worked on the bee shawl last night while catching up with my mom and my aunt on the phone, and listened to more rain come down.

i’ve gotten through the first pattern section and have started working on the bee swarm. i even have a chart that seems correct.

today i had class to teach in the morning and rode my bike back and forth, since we’ve had beautiful weather all day. i wanted to get more done this afternoon, but succumbed to a big nap instead. sometimes, you gotta do it.

water reigns

Friday, May 25th, 2007

i feel like i accomplished so much today. i woke up early and got outside to water before work.

squashlets in the early sunshine. it’s been sunny, hot, and dry here all week.
good for the seeds, and for these

but it makes me sympathetic toward the plants. the ground just looked so thirsty for so many days.
i’m trying to get on a new watering schedule, because evening watering attracts bugs. hopefully, i can keep this up throughout the summer.

of course, by end of day, we were looking at this

so i really needn’t have bothered . . .
for those that have asked, this is another section of our back yard, where we have all our vegetable beds.
we have quite a bit of space around our house, considering that we live right in the city.

i met a deadline at work that i didn’t think i would, and even got the documents in a little early. i got my hair cut, which i needed badly (my hair grows like weeds and it’s hard to keep up), i ran a couple of errands and now i’m ready to knit for the rest of the evening, as soon as i write this post.

it’s especially good because for the last two weeks, i’ve been feeling very “behind”. i still have several things on my immediate “to-do” list, but at least i’m starting the holiday weekend in pretty good shape.

tomorrow and sunday will be our local fiber show, which i wrote about at length last year. it’s a great event and i’m excited.

chris, from briar rose fibers, will be there again and we have a dinner date. i can’t wait to see her and giver her a big hug (she’s very huggy, and frequently sends them via email).

and of course, there will be fair fries. mmm.
(seriously, i have GOT to get more biking in than i have been this year).

sunday i am going out again to take a spinning class, “tips and tricks for spinners”. it’s five hours long, so i’m expecting to learn a few good things at least.

last night i worked on the bee shawl and i am only about an hour away from starting the second pattern, i think. i don’t know if you can tell from this photo, though

unfortunately. but trust me, it’s growing. what i should do, if i’m smart, is work on the charts for a bit, and get those out of the way. if i chart the second pattern out, i won’t have to work out the increasing by trial and error. of course, i could end up in the black hole of charting . . . so, it’s a tossup—knit my way out of the paper bag, or chart first, and THEN knit my way out of the paper bag?
hmm, tough one.

(i just finished work for the day so i’ve been sequestered in the office for several hours. but david had a free afternoon, so he’s been cleaning. how nice is that??)

well, at least the weather took the other big question of the day out of my hands—go for a nice long ride, or stay in and knit? i always feel a bit guilty if i opt for knitting over riding.
i wish i didn’t have to choose.

just popping in for a minute

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

hahaha, i just HAD to take a picture of this sock cuff

i find it incredibly comical that i zoomed through both these socks in a very few days’ time, and getting the last 1.5 inches done is taking me almost 2 weeks. sigh. that’s how distracted i am.

last night i took a break from the bee shawl (reluctantly) to work on the khaki golf/ice cream cone/eiffel tower sock, and managed to add several inches.

i was feeling bad after that last picture when i realized i hadn’t so much as looked at it since the day i cast on. now it’s looking a bit more substantial and dignified at least. and it’s a very pleasant knit. soon, this will be the only sock i have on the needles, so i should be able to give it a lot more sock love.

i put more than a few inches on the orchid scarf yesterday

this is really an easy, and quick-knitting lace pattern. it’s just about half done, and i swear i’ve only put in three (short) sessions of work on it.
the best part is that it has already been test-knit. my friend julie took care of that. since i had a working pattern for myself, i sent it along. and, hello! the next day she sends me photos of her partially completed scarf and OK’d the pattern. wow. she puts me to shame, but in a good way .

julie ROCKS, right everybody?
(julie is also one of the masterminds behind the craftborg podcast); go have a listen.

ok, it’s much later now than i’d like and i really want to get my butt upstairs to knit. so i’m signing off.