knot to worry

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in projects, Uncategorized

Christine Says:
. . . I’ve looked all over for more details on your site on the ostrich plumes lace – is this a specific pattern you are knitting? Or one that you designed? Is that yarn that you spun, or something that you bought?
I’m in love with the pattern, and really want to add it to my collection! 😀

thank you, christine! the blue yarn is not handspun, but it is hand-dyed, from my overdye experiments in the last couple of weeks (a recycling project to honor earth day, and to
use what i have).
the ostrich plumes stole is my own design, soon to be available here; i am struggling to put a shop on my site for the patterns and some yarns. if anyone knows anyone (or IS someone) who might be able to help, for some kind of payment-in-trade or some combination of payments and bartering, i’d be mighty interested! maybe i could tempt someone with some lovely handspun, hand-dyed laceweight yarn, or a handknit shawl . . .

and speaking of yarn protests:

PersnicketyKnitter Says:
Well, you know I’m in for that bad yarn email campaign. But the campaign needs a name. What are you going to call it? Bad Yarn Feedback Day? Yarn Rant Day? It needs a catchy name.

you are SO right, and i am thinking about that! i have a little logo pic made up, and everyone is already on board for it. when i got to class monday morning it was the talk of the hour(s). hmm, lots of very angry N–o users out there! so let’s have any and all suggestions about what to call it, and how to get the word out. here is a little inspiration:

how about “knot taking it any more!”?
i am so tired right now, i can’t even think, but i’m sure we can come up with something.
once it has a name and i have the contact info on a page of it’s own for downloading, i can ask all the podcasters and the famous bloggers to help get the word out

now, about me and my knitting
well, actually, i don’t have much news about that! more progress on the otrich plumes last night, but i have been at my desk since 9am today and have not touched my needles (yes, my hands are itching, twitching, and ready to strangle something!!) (sorry about that).

but i did make progress on my blue sock yesterday

this handspun is knitting up so evenly, that it is almost not likeable. but the color is so fun and cheerful, i can’t be mad at it!

anne, from my monday morning class is making a feather and fan stole (like the one beth made in the olympics) from another knitspot pattern

she’s using mountain colors bearfoot; isn’t it dreamy? she is having so much fun with it, she can’t stop working on it. i tried to warn her what would happen if she kept that up; she would finish it, that’s what, and then where would she be?

she just snorted and said she would start an ostrich plumes stole.

lost weekend

Posted on 6 CommentsPosted in projects, Uncategorized

another working weekend . . . i did manage to get out on my bike a little, and to class, but mostly, i looked at the yard from the office, where i was chained to my desk. i did not start back on my weight-lifting program, or do yoga, or cook the pot of black bean stew i had planned.
well, gotta make hay . . . etc—i did get some overtime in.

so, not a huge amount of knitting got done either! drat!
when i work a lot, i find it more soothing to spin at night. i might knit for a while after that, but the spinning quiets my mind a little more without being a strain to my eyes. so saturday and sunday night i spun up a little tweed sock yarn from some fiber debbie gave me

it’s a black and white generic fiber (from brown sheep, maybe?), but it will make good sox (i think she was going to throw it out, which meant, of course, that i HAD to save it. like i don’t already have a whole bunch of fiber . . .). it ended up being less yarn than i thought it would be, but i think it will make a pair of sox, and i have a coordinating gray fiber in the same bag that will make nice heels and toes to stretch it a bit.

i looked around this morning and realized that i now have four pair of sox going at once. four.
i don’t remember doing that, but i DO vaguely remember going a little crazy over sock yarn last week. i have the brown tweeds, which i have one done and the second one started, and the grey pinstripe in lorna’s laces that have gotten no further than they were last week, and the holly sox, which i took to the chiropractor’s last week and got some more done on

they are definitely geting longer, bit by little bit. and then these blue and tan ones, which i worked on a little during saturday’s class

i’ll take them along today and try to get some more done.

but really, i am just dilly-dallying with the sox; my main squeeze these days is the ostrich plumes; it has stole-en my heart (oh groan, that was low, i admit it). last night, when i was finishing up work, i literally felt like if i couldn’t get my hands on it soon, i would kill someone. i was grinding my teeth!

it’s so soft, so pleasing to knit; what am i gonna do when it’s over?? (oh pshaw, probably move on to another japanese feather stole . . .). now, i don’t even think of blue as my favorite color, so it can’t be that. however, now that i said that, notice how my felt clogs are exactly coordinated to this project—hmmm. that is the perfect example of ratty-housefrau-garb meets lana turner, and doesn’t even know it should be embarrassed.

oh, speaking of gushing, check out Two Left Needles and her post about meeting the Yarn Harlot. it’s hilarious and i was SO right there with her.

i wish stephanie would come to ohio; i tried to get to pittsburgh to see her there, but the weather was very uncooperative, making the 5-hour round trip by myself, over the back roads of ohio farm country, sort of an insane idea, at least to some people. that is, some people who get handmade socks and sweaters all the time, and who are allowed to cut up the bathroom into little pieces; that is someone whose initials are DAVID. hmmph. i don’t mean to give the wrong impression—he didn’t force me to stay home; he just suggested it very quietly.

so brooklynne over at The Mosh Knit and i were IMing the other night about hating yarn with knots (we were talking about other things too, but we did get on a rant). especially the company whose initials are NORO. check out Persnickety’s rant on the subject; i can’t say it any better

so, while i was on my soapbox, i said, “wouldn’t it be great, since we now have all these knitters who are willing to sign up for stuff like the olympics, if we could get them all to bombard the yarn companies on one day with email about bad yarn.” and i continued to suggest that we could advertise it on our blogs and podcasts.

so brooklynne went ahead and chose May 29 as the day. i’ll make a logo button, or if anyone else wants to, they can. i’ll try to get that posted this week, and if everyone with a blog could grab it, and post it, great! (i have to come clean here: i don’t even know how to use those #$%#@ buttons myself, but i’ll make one. perhaps someone can clue me in on how to make then operable). i will also do some research on email addresses and phone numbers for various companies. please PLEASE, try to take part.

we will organize it a bit more so that all the information is in one place. if anyone has suggestions, wants to help, or knows of a good resource for yarn company information, please email me, using the button in my sidebar.

ok, i gotta boogie; classes all day today.

that’s a lotta Pink

Posted on 9 CommentsPosted in projects, Uncategorized, yarn and dyeing

wow, i am SO excited; i’m starting to get more comments every day (i love that!)— thank you everyone. please continue to ask questions and leave remarks!

today’s question

PersnicketyKnitter Says:
I love how that blue yarn turned out with all the variations of color. I think it’ll look great as in that ostrich plumes pattern. How about a close up of that stitch pattern?

here you go!

close enough? as you can see, ostrich plumes is a variation of feather and fan. you start out doing the pattern one way, then every 16 rows, you jog it over and do increases where you did decreases before. the double-decrease in the center is done in such a way as to suggest the spine of an actual feather. the sudden increases in one spot also make the fabric poof out like the edges of and actual ostich feather.

this pattern is SO fun to work—it has enough interesting stuff happening to keep you engaged, but enough rhythem and “resting” rows so that you can listen to a book or watch TV. and then, every 16 rows it changes; you almost can’t get bored—so what more can you ask from a stitch pattern?
does it show that i am easily amused? is my excitement and glee over stitch patterns weirding anyone out yet?

at any rate, i can’t keep my hands off this stole; i must be half done, and that’s just from the little bit of knitting i’ve done late-nights this week, and in classes. it is everything i wanted it to be (didn’t i say that about the original ostrich stole?)! but, YAY for overdyeing, right?

i did write one pattern written the other day, and i’ve been thinking about how to write the sock-of-all-sock patterns that everyone keeps asking me for. i think i actually found a new twist on the sock pattern idea. it’s sort of half formed, but i will definitely keep you posted. i also have two or three more shawl patterns to get to—how’m i gonna do that?.

ok, now, down to today’s news. one of the reasons i don’t have much big knitting to show for this week is that i’ve been spinning almost every evening (after blogging) on that cotton-candy pink falkland fiber i hand-dyed last summer. and finally last night i finished it!

it is so fine! it weighs a total of 7 ounces, and has 1350 yds of 2-ply. i’m a little proud of it! here is a picture with my number 1 knitting needle next to some strands

teensy, huh? and her’s a pic with it spread out a little so you can see the colors

it is fiber dyed and spun to emulate noro-type yarn, in that it will shade softly from one color to the next in very long color repeats. the only problem is . . . i really am having a hard time lovin’ the color.
i’m thinking of doing a triangle shawl with it, but i don’t want it to be so Pink that it distracts from the lace patterns.

later . . . actually next morning

alright then, i was going to let you all weigh in on whether i should dye it or not, but i just couldn’t stand the suspense. i even attempted this whole photoshop demonstration thing where i showed some different color effects over the pink (honestly, it was worthy in its detail, of someone else we know), but it all went bad in the end. photoshop just doesn’t DO yarn!

so i winged it without you, and did some dye dipping and color washing

now i KNOW you want to see them next to each other!

the light in the same location outside is a little diferent today, and the re-dyed yarn actually looks a little darker to me in life, so here’s a detail (it still doesn’t really translate really well)

you can see where i added some brown and some gray-green—i did that with a brush. then i dipped the whole thing in a bath of diluted persimmon dye to take the color back a notch and mask the streaks of brown a bit. i think i like it now, though i’ll know better when it’s dry.

night of the knitting dead

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Uncategorized

wow, that yesterday’s post was really . . . manic. sorry— sometimes that’s just the way it is inside my head!

afterward, i had a calming afternoon and evening of classes, so that frenetic mood has passed for the moment. on wednesdays, i have two back-to-back intermediate classes, each having a core group of ongoing students. these knitters have delved into all sorts of projects over the last 18 months or so, building their skills and trying new knitting concepts.

i like to be as free-form as possible with these groups, so that they can choose their own progression of project work, with me monitoring and mentoring as needed. i find that in this way, each person has the most positive outlook in taking on challenges, while becoming part of a knitting community. the social aspect of these classes is as important a component as the instructional material; it encourages discussion and deeper exploration of both shared and individual projects. it provides a pleasant and supportive environment in which to learn new things and make new friends. i think it the key to the amazing rate of progress each person has accomlished.

debbie s. is a fairly new knitter, who joined a class in the fall. this bag and pillow are her most recent FOs. she has made a number of purses, baby items, and has learned to do cables. next, she is making this

it will be her first sweater; the sample in the shop looks wonderful on her. she’s a little nervous, but janet, who already made one sweater, will be working on the same project (janet skipped out before i could get pictures! janet, you can run, but you can’t hide . . .).

melissa is making a lacy seaman’s scarf

isn’t her work pretty? we are SO jealous of melissa’s yarn; can you see the halo around it? it’s quiviut. say no more.

in the evening class, it was night of the knitting dead for susan

(sorry susan! debbie said i had to publish it) she’s just working through her second koigu sock, so being a zombie worked out for her today. she finally snapped out of it when we started talking about cashmere.
my ostrich plume stole sat next to debbie’s and they fluttered and giggled the whole time
(eyes rolling). you can see how the variegated yarn debbie is using makes “eyes” in the ostrich pattern, kinda like peacock feathers . . .

jackie showed us her second 2-needle mitten, with the anatomically correct thumb shaping (which will be felted when she’s all done).

rebecca worked on her brown trekking socks

and half the class went out front to buy another ball.
peggy is making a pretty modular poncho; she says it’s easy, but it looks complicated.

HEY! i totally forgot to check on peggy’s sox, the first of which she has not been enjoying so much, but doing a nice job on. peggy? where were the sox? we have all assured her that everyone hates their first sock and then falls in love with sock knitting just after casting on the second one. she’s not buying it. don’t worry, we will twist her arm on this one . . .

suddenly, jackie (she was sitting next to me) gasps, and i knew. i turned.
i said “you knit two left mittens, didn’t you?”
“yes, she said quietly.”
and of course this was where everyone jumped in with advice—
“just make another one” (horrified look from jackie)
“make two more and have two pair” (more horrified look from jackie)
“rip it out!
here is where i jumped in; they were starting to sound like a crazy soccer crowd. ripping it would be a pain i the patooty, because she had just put the thumb in. i wanted her to try something else—something drastic that i knew she wouldn’t like.
“well, what do you want to do, jackie?”
“i guess i’ll rip it out—i don’t want to knit another one”
“well, we could cut off the offending spot, so you won’t have to undo it all.”
jackie looked at me as if i had just suggested we light the mitt on fire and dance around
it naked to fix it.
“no, uh-uh”
“aww, c’mon, jackie; i wouldn’t wreck your glove . . .”
“no, i think i’ll just rip it out”
(martyred tone) OK—sigh”
so she started. and after a few rows, she hit the sewn-up thumb area and the lightbulb went off.
yeah, jackie.
“oh, let’s cut it”
YAY!! just what i was waiting for! ok, everybody, photo op!

first we snipped one stitch

if we had a fainting couch in the back room, i’m sure jackie would be lying on it now . . . but we don’t, so she sat next to me, hyperventilating instead.

(oh, and debbie?, do you think you could made this pic a little less attractive??) meanwhile, i picked out the snipped strand stitch by stitch across the row, until the bad part was separated. NOW jackie could light it on fire, or do whatever she wanted with it!

then we put the live stitches back on her needles, she reattached her yarn, and began to reknit, being careful to set up the thumb gusset for a right-hand mitten this time!

my work here was done.
except, we forgot to take pix of debbie’s surprise; maybe she will send one. debbie is always buying stuff and sharing it with everyone. this time, i wanted her to have one!

now that i’m blogging and my students are reading my own day-to-day progress, they seem even more excited to try new things. the posts about dyeing last week were the main topic of discussion today, for instance. i offered “dye day” workshops in the fall and winter, but we did not get signup for them; now that i’ve written and photographed the process a bit, everyone is talking about trying it. it makes me feel good that my writing extends out from this brain and this page to have an effect on others that way!

it was a beautiful night and as as i rode through the dark, quieted neighborhoods, i thought about how much i enjoy my classes, and how cranked i am afterwards to knit, or spin, or design something new—just to make something. i almost always feel like getting my hands on more knitting after i’ve been teaching, even when it’s been all day. i was heading home now with some sock yarn in my bike basket, my head full of the talk of the day, and plans for new work.

when i got in the door, i checked email, downloaded pictures, and finally got showered and changed. to the tiune of a whining drill from the third floor, i picked up the tweed socks to finish the brown toe (i did not knit on it in class as i had planned; ostrich tempted me away).

and when that was done (and only then, i swear), i cast on another new sock from the lorna’s laces “pinstripe” i brought home

mmmm. there’s nothing like one’s first time.
(i mean the yarn)