Archive for May, 2009

hillflowers

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

every time i say hillflowers to myself i think of edelweiss—not just the flower, but the song made famous in the musical the sound of music, which every child in my grade school knew by heart. it’s completely apt then, that the scarf was finished just when a plethora of white flowers began blooming in my yard. the deep, rolling texture of this scarf or wrap marries well with rustic yarns and handspun, as well as plump sport or fingering yarns. the stitch is easy to learn and i very much enjoyed this scarf as a traveling companion during the month of may.

shown above, petite wrap in sweet sheep sweet socks tight twist, colorway, no comment.

shown below, scarf in mountain meadow merino singles, colorway, natural cream. this yarn can also be seen in dyed colorways as briar rose fibers harmony

to purchase pattern or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the product page in the knitspot pattern shop.

the circular bee brooch pictured above with the wrap was purchased at perl grey. the small bee pin pictured below was purchased at the albany institute of history and art (maker unknown)—i love the way it appears to have alighted on the flowers in the fabric.

valerie and karen from mountain meadow wools sent me the gorgeous merino yarn for the scarf to make up something special for their booth at TNNA. its wonderful texture and cozy softness made me search for a pattern that would bring out the cushy qualities of the yarn.
michelle from the sweet sheep wool shop provided the lovely sport yarn for the wrap in a wonderful mix of neutral tones that ride the waves of the pattern to perfection. you can see more of her beautifully dyed yarns in her shop, along with a complete selections of fibers.
ronni turned her talents to helping me get the pattern is shape for publication and i so appreciate her efforts.
kari did a super-nice job test knitting the wrap and even sent it to me so i could take some photos—thank you so much kari!
david patiently photographed this very warm piece on a hot may day—he’s just wonderful.

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a secret revealed

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

remember this? so many of you have asked me about this piece of mystery knitting over the last few months, wondering when we could talk about it. and finally we can—take a look at my artichaut lace triangle in the new summer 2009 edition of twist collective.

i knit mine up during the month of january in the extremely fine angel face alpaca laceweight yarn from briar rose fibers. the cool, summery greens i knit with really cheered up my winter knitting—this colorway reminds me of spring lettuce

or, you know—young artichokes, heh.

once i had a pattern put together, my friend jocelyn jumped up with her hand waving to knit a second sample from the sport weight grandma’s blessing in darker, more sensuous colorway of black olives with a touch of gold

in this weight, the stitch pattern becomes oh-so-lusty and bold—you say “no” but the shawl says, “ravish me” (er, or something like that . . .)

we met up in san diego in january to compare shawls and i spirited hers away to ship off to the magazine, where they’ve been under cover ever since. all of it a secret from you—til today.

so, well, i hope you like it—fine and sheer or sexy-bold, your choice. many thanks to jocelyn, rachel, and all the wonderful staff at twist collective for their hard work to make each issue happen.

spin control

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

the mock orange bush is just beginning to bloom; i’ve been watching the buds for several days and finally, this morning, they were open. this is one of my favorite flowering shrubs—it gives off a heavenly scent i remember from childhood—we had a large one in the front yard at home.

ours has forced itself out of a tiny crevice between the huge oak tree and the back fence—it was just a slip of a thing when we moved in and now it is quite big with hundreds of blossoms each year. which i am highly allergic too, but i don’t care . . .

today we were back to our usual spinning class here and linda was finally well enough to attend, so we spent the whole time catching her up on the fiber show last weekend and the month’s news (she had pneumonia this month and couldn’t come to most of the classes). and well, spinning class just hasn’t been the same . . .

she’s working through a small bundle of briar rose BFL in a blend of grays with some plum and old rose mixed in. it’s going to be a 3-ply so she’s spinning fine and taking her time.

barb is also spinning some 3-ply from the same fiber for a sweater project, and brought some finished yarn with her but all my photos came out blurry and awful, so i’ll have to show that next time.

susan is spinning some merino top in a pretty pink/gray/brown mix

and i’m afraid i don’t know where she got this from, but maybe she’ll tell us in comments. anne marie is still working through a huge batch of dark brown coopworth, which she is spinning 2-ply for a sweater project.

we have been meeting in this class for a year now (already!), and i’m so impressed with everyone’s spinning. not just that they are making beautiful yarns and have gained such control over their tools and techniques, but that each one has knit with the yarn she made and has aspirations to knit ever-larger and more ambitious projects with handspun.

yesterday i was poking around in my disaster area construction site “workroom” for something (it’s so hard to move in there right now, much less find anything) when i noticed the alpaca i plied two weeks ago still sitting on the bobbins in the lazy kate. i put it there “for a few days” to set the twist and forgot about it.

so i skeined the yarn up and put it on to soak while i wrote yesterday’s post, then hung it in the breeze on the porch

today it is nearly dry, so i brought it in for class show ‘n’ tell. this is a yarn that i truly thought i did not spin as well i could; i wasn’t patient enough to spin as fine as i thought it deserved, and i wasn’t all that careful about being consistent

then, to make matters worse, i was sure i’d overplied it. but i soaked it anyway and when it came out of the bath it looked like it was hanging straight enough.

but it forgave me and now it’s a lovely, soft fingering weight yarn with a beautiful sheen and a bouncy hand. i like it. it’s a great example of how really REALLY nice fiber can help me make better yarn than i deserve am even aiming for. i’ll probably get more of this fiber some time and spin it the way it deserves to be spun—it’s the least i can do . . .

ok, that’s really all i have today—just a quick stop-off to update you on sunday spinning. it’s another gorgeous day out there so i think i’ll get outside.

i’ll leave you will a picture of the painted begonias, which wintered over indoors. we put them outside earlier this week and the new leaves are quickly unspooling into large wings splashed with color, a fitting image i think.

come june, there must be roses . . .

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

and i think we’ll have that order filled—the rambler that spreads across the side of the back yard fence is filling up with buds that seemingly weren’t there a few days ago. not being a rose person, i hardly pay this shrub any mind, but it rewards us anyway with a multitude of red blooms each june. we also have a regular rose bush that sometimes blooms in the prettiest lipstick pink later in the summer (that one has even put out out new flowers in the early fall snow here and there).

the lady’s mantle is also in bloom right now—not a plant i think of as “flowering” but in its maturity it has shown itself to be just that.

the vegetable garden seems to like what we’ve done with it this year—a comfy straw bed of mulch underlain with newspaper to keep the weeds down. the plants i put in a week ago have doubled in size

(these yummy peppers were just wee things seven days ago) and nothing looks to be in danger of failing. though i was worried when a few of the biggest tomato plants seemed to catch a good sunburn in those first couple of days, they seem to have recovered nicely. some rain and cooler weather have helped things take hold well.

the spinach seems to have germinated very well in its box and the lettuce in the box next door is all up, too.
the nicest thing of all is that this garden will be a lot less work for me—at least until harvest time (if we have a good harvest, anyway). good thing too, because i have an extremely busy summer of knitting and design work ahead.

the hillflowers wrap knit up by kari arrived the other day, so i put it on to soak first thing yesterday morning to prepare for blocking.

we were a little short on yarn for it, so i stretched and stretched

and managed to get it blocked out the correct petite size. this one is knit in the lovely sweet sheep sweet socks tight twist yarn dyed by michele in colorway no comment a mix of cream, browns and grays (i don’t see any of this color on the site but i’m sure it can be made available).

we both just love how the smudges of neutral color accent the rolling lines of the stitch pattern (and the beautiful stitchwork, thank you kari!). here’s the join

didn’t she do a beautiful job?
this morning i unpinned it and took a half hour to play with it on the dress dummy (apparently my old love for dolls and dressing them up has not abandoned me; good thing i have an outlet . . .).
i just love draping shawls and fabric on the form

finding just the right pin to accent the folds near the neck (hee! i’ve been hiding this one from kim since i bought it at thanksgiving time in the albany history and art museum—i just know she’s going to want one and i don’t know where to find another)

or maybe this one—bees seem like just the right thing to accent hillflowers.

well, enough of the teasers—you’ll see more of these photos on monday when we release the pattern . . . oh, ok, you talked me into it—just one more

last night i was able to start knitting fairly early in the evening for the first time all week, so i took up the gold maze sweater and worked on establishing the patterns in the front half of the upper body—once it’s set, it’s easy to relax into, but i needed just a little quiet time to make sure i got off on the right foot with it

all set now; i’m not very far from the neck shaping (if i decide this is the front).

once i felt comfortable with that, i switched to working on the nightingale stole. i added another repeat before it was time to go relax with david and watch a little TV.

it’s growing, really it is. but i know i have to be patient to really appreciate the gains i make on it. i can actually work on this in front of the TV too, but i chose to switch to the roger sock and get a few inches done on it. the pattern is all set, we just need a second sock, i gotta finish it up.

i managed to get it almost to the start of the heel—a few more rows and i’ll be there.
it’s the only sock i have going right now so i’m thinking about what i’ll do with the lorna’s laces yarn i showed you the other day. i’m thinking something with sailboats might be fun—a bright blue one to represent sunny sailing and the neutral one to represent moonlight sailing. maybe something like that . . .

i also cannot WAIT to get my hands going with those needles, hehehe.

it’s a gorgeous day outside so i’m not going to linger—it’s too nice to stay in and my bike is calling to me from the front hall. i have no set plans other than to knit, work on patterns a bit, ride my bike, and have my spinning class tomorrow, which feels very good (although, i really should do some cooking, too).

who knows, i might even get out for some much-needed shopping—my one favorite pair of knee shorts isn’t really enough, i think, to get me through the summer, and baby, summer IS coming . . .