Monday, June 25, 2012


Blogging can lead to dangerous things . . . such as an inability to stick to a stash diet. A few weeks ago I had mentioned a certain blanket pattern. Within hours of that post, my mother and I were emailing back and forth, egging each other on to do our own private KAL. Then I discovered that there was a kit. The next thing I knew, I got an email saying that a package had been dispatched from Shetland. (There's something much more romantic about a package that has been dispatched than one that has merely been shipped, don't you think?)

All nine shades of natural J&S shetland yarns - perfect for a July knit, right. (Thank goodness we have central air!)

But first, I have some short rows and garter stripes to finish. This third section of Color Affection is why I love Veera Valimaki's work.

On a side note, I'm close to acknowledging that I'm just not going to be able to catch up on blog comments, but not quite. I'm still holding out hope. We'll see where I am at the end of the week.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

In case you hadn't seen it . . .

The USOC has sent Ravelry a cease and desist letter, asking it to take down the Ravelympics. The Ravelry thread discussion starts here.

I'm speechless (actually, I have all sorts of thoughts running through my head - a lot of them reminding me that I try very hard to keep my work and knitting lives separate (and that I'm no expert in intellectual property law) - but nothing that I'm ready to share). Time to get back to work . . .

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What do I do with this?

I've finished my latest spinning project a couple of weeks ago and gave it a bath last weekend. It's lovely, really lovely. The dye just glows on this particular fiber and I can tell that the future knitted fabric will have great stitch definition and drape.

So why the hesitation?

I have 340 yards of roughly dk-weight (yes, I know I really should start thinking of this in wpi) 2-ply Wensleydale. Sheen, drape, and stitch definition are all well-known qualities of Wensleydale fibers but did you notice what descriptor was missing? That's right - soft. This is not yarn for next-to-the-skin wear.

So it'll probably become some sort of accessory. Right now I'm thinking socks - the sort of nice, maybe cabled, boot socks worn over sock liners so I wouldn't have to worry about the scratchy bits. An iPad case has also come to mind but that doesn't seem quite right. Thoughts?

Regardless of what the finished product turns out to be, this was a really fun fiber to spin. 

Elizabeth gave me a gentle nudge about a year ago when she suggested that I really should try this fiber again. I'd spun up a braid of Fleece Artist Wenselydale/Teeswater (in green, of course) several years ago and had mixed feelings about the experience. The spinning itself was a breeze but I discovered that I couldn't fix any mistakes while I was going. My attempts to tease and stretch out thick slubs in the singles turned into a wadded mess - an unpleasant contrast to the smooth and sleek "untouched" singles.

When I started this project (a 5 ounce bump of Wensleydale top dyed by Chris of Briar Rose, who I just discovered has a new lace yarn in my favorite shade of green, but I digress), I was leery of trying to fix mistakes. It's actually kind of freeing to tell yourself that you'll take whatever yarn comes along and not worry too much about the little imperfections since they all even out in the end. But if you are a bit of a perfectionist like me, ignoring what should be fixable mistakes is tough to do. So I tried fixing a thick spot (pinching the singles above and below the problem section, untwisting the fibers, and gently tugging (re-drafting) the fibers to achieve the desired thickness) and it worked! It looks like my hang-up with Wensleydale was an issue with the fiber preparation of the first top I tried, not with the fiber itself. 

I'm absolutely thrilled to discover this since Wensleydale takes dye beautifully and its long staple length makes it a quick and easy fiber to spin. Now if only I could figure out what to do with it!

(Shoot, remember that green lace yarn I linked to above? I can't seem to get it out of my head. There's a particular Anne Hanson giant lace shawl that I've been mooning over for years that I think would look really lovely in this particular shade of green. The two skeins that Chris has in stock would be perfect for it . . . )

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Random Thursday

This was going to be a Tadpole Tuesday post but then something came up at work and suddenly now it is Thursday evening. How did that happen?

Since I have had all sorts of random knitting/blog ideas percolating in my head over the last week, rather than try to organize them into something coherent (or probably the several somethings that it would take to do that), I thought I'd do today's post in random bullets. There will be (Tadpole!) pictures at the end, I promise.

  • I really need to figure out balance. That's a whole blog post (or series of blog posts) by itself but I need to figure out some way to keep up blogging with my unpredictable schedule. When I'm really busy at work, I tend to get all sorts of great ideas popping into my head throughout the day but barely have time to jot them down, never mind actually implement them or write a blog post about it. And when things slow down, I'm recovering from the busy parts and just want to sit and knit and haven't figured out how to motivate myself to sit down and write (especially when I have weeks' worth of ideas backed up and don't know where to start).
    • This includes responding to comments. My apologies to everyone who left comments on my last post. I truly enjoyed reading all of them and I hope to write individual replies soon.
  • Blankets. I know I just finished two big blanket projects and I really want to make more. This is the one I saw today that made me want to head home early and start knitting. And, of course, there is this one by the same designer. I'm going to stop here or I'll never get around to knitting this evening.
  • I'd really like to be working on a bigger project right now. I just have a couple of small things (mostly socks) on the needles and I'm itching for something more substantial.
  • I don't really want to plan (or swatch) for something right now. I just want to knit it! (Yes, I know that's an unproductive approach to take.)
  • So I've been knitting toddler things since they're small and don't really need swatching (as long as I overestimate how big the piece will be, it'll fit at some point).
  • I've started and nearly finished two pieces but both have serious issues. 
  • The vest that I worked up over the weekend (no picture yet - the sun had gone down too far by the time I thought of taking one this evening) has a neck opening that doesn't fit over Tadpole's head. I need to unpick the shoulder seams and re-do the fronts. And maybe add a placket in the back to be on the safe side.
  • The little sweater that I started a couple of weeks ago, a modified Summer Days, has all sorts of issues:
    • I ran out of yarn. I have enough to do the neck band but not the button bands. I don't think. I suppose I could just run an applied i-cord edging around the fronts and neck. Or I could frog some of the bottom ribbing to get more yarn.
    • But the sleeves are just a bit too puffy for my taste. So I'm not sure how much effort I want to spend saving this one or if I should just frog the whole thing and make something new. that's where I'm leaning right now.

What do you think? (And yes, she's modeling the sweater over her PJs.)