Monday, October 31, 2011

Perfect Match

Every so often it happens.  That perfect match of pattern to yarn.  This is one of those times.  Witness:

Muscadine Socks by Star Athena available here on Ravelry and also in Sockupied, Spring 2011.
made with Grape Vine (a limited edition) colorway by Baah!

The pattern is fabulously simple.  Easy to remember and even if you forget, it is a two row repeat, so all the weary brain needs to do is read what has already been knit.  As you can see, it is a toe-up design.   

More importantly, it is almost time to work the gusset and then the moment that all sock knitters love takes place.  Yep, I'll put my big girl panties on and turn that heel!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Autumn

Quicker than the next project can be planned, the new shawl/scarf is complete.  The construction here is quite simple.

The body follows a typical pattern of increases at center back and each shoulder to make the piece hug the neck and shoulders.  This piece is only about eight inches in depth.

Then an edging is worked to match the total outer measurement of the body.  The most difficult part of this was sewing the edging to the body.

Black yarn is not my easiest endeavor these days.  

The yarn really makes the little shawl special.  All of those dangling bits add flair.

I thought I was being very swift by purchasing the yarn as soon as it arrived on Friday and returning to my yarn store just a few days later to share this sample of the yarn.  One weekend of sales and there were only three skeins remaining when I hung up this sample.

That should tell you how gorgeous this stuff is!

If you have not already, check out the color selection here.  And don't forget the free pattern that is available on the same page.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dark Edge to Autumn

The new black shawl made from Autumn is a more of a scarf than a true shawl.  My stitch count of the body matches the pattern perfectly with almost all of one skein used up.  And I've laid the lace edge against the body to judge how wide the "shawl" will be when the two parts are sewn together.  Definitely not of a depth that fits my definition of a shawl.

It is looking like the finished product will be more of a shaped scarf.  And that is perfectly fine because the yarn is the star - not the pattern.  Black yarn, dangling bits and a simple edging that hints at a repeating leaf.  That is what you should see in the photo.  Alas, black yarn is just black yarn and my skills to edit are not so great.

Forgive me for not sharing each stitch with you.  Already I am fretting the final photo.  Shall it be taken of the shawl/scarf elegantly and artistically tossed over a white shirt?  Or will a beige turtleneck show off the casualness better?  

These are weighty issues for sure.  Pondering the next blog post and photo can be distracting.  So distracting that Bert can feel ignored even when I sit with him to ponder the knit world.

Here is the man himself, wondering what I am wondering about.  Click on the photo to enlarge and follow the arrow to Bert's new blanket.  Of late, nothing for him has come from my needles.  Luckily, Bert has another lady in his life who  loves him enough to crochet new blankets. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Seduced By The Dark Side

There I was, sitting amongst friends enjoying the chatter that is Designer Hand Knits, working merrily along on the green vest.  After all, the back which is composed of one hundred twenty bazillion rows of nothing but stockinette makes a fine diversion from the laughter and camaraderie of the shop.  Less than one week of work and the vest is 3/4 complete.  Not bad for a rank amateur!

Any way, we all heard it.  Yes, two tables of knitters all heard that sound that causes any yarnaholic to pause, set the needles aside and jump out of the chair with a speed unmatched by the launch of a rocket.  That one sound, which when it breaks into the merriment causes us all to stretch up, body at the ready and looking like a clan of meerkats posing for National Geographic.

What sound?  The slicing/yanking of the closure on a huge box.  DELIVERY TIME!  

Now, where did I put that green vest??


Color: black with stuffage (beads & dangling polyester leaves)

Content:  47% Acrylic, 44% cotton, 9% polyester

I do believe that I have found my Halloween Costume.  It should be ready a whole week early.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WIP - Fast & Furious

It does not feel as though my fingers are flying quickly.  Every now and then I sit and knit.  Already the front of the vest is nearing completion.

So much progress has been made that it actually looks like a garment.  I like that.  This combination of yarn and pattern is one of the best bits of luck I've had recently.  The subtle shading results in a casually muted stripe, but the tweed breaks it up.  The shades are most visible in the stockinette sections.

The pattern is one of those that works out well, is easy to memorize, and looks much more complicated that it actually is.  The cables and lattice are interesting to work without requiring huge amounts of concentration.  

I think that starting this wool vest has brought a bit of luck my way.  Nice cool evenings, foggy mornings and this afternoon the temp did not break 80.  Maybe the temperature is correlated to what I knit in the same way that rain correlates to getting my car washed.

It's a thought. . . .

Monday, October 17, 2011


The slippers are completed but not photo worthy as they are just utilitarian slippers awaiting my next trip.  Moving onward, the next project is cast on with hopes that the triple digit temperatures have moved onward for the year and even the current high afternoon heat will give way to daytime temperatures that complement the cool evenings.

Onward to something wooly and of a worsted weight.

Onward to cables and a center panel of lattice stitchery.

Onward to an Irish green tweed.

Yes, Onward.

The calendar says that it is squarely autumn time even though the daylight has not yet done the "fall back" thing.  I'm ready for a stretch of days - dare I pray for an entire week - of cool days, a bowl of soup and the flicker of a flame in the evening.   And this design is perfect for creating the mood associated with changing seasons.

I have to tell you that the photo is a bit misleading.  On the left side of the picture, above the knitting and below the bowl of yarn is a cable needle.  Funny thing that cable needle.  It is really just a security needle as I do not use the things.  I prefer to work all cables (well, maybe not when made of slippy sliddy yarn on the Addi lace points) sans additional needles.  Sure, using a cable needle is the way most of us were taught.  But I find that method to be slow, cumbersome and it breaks the rhythm of knitting.  

Emotionally, I am feeling better  just because of working on a heavier wool blend and creating cold weather patterns.  Realistically, it never gets cold enough for a traditional heavy sweater here in Riverside.  Being the wise woman that I am, this one will not have sleeves - a vest of many cables!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Productive Waiting

Waiting for a much anticipated delivery in Memory of Steve Jobs. (huge hint)

After the delivery, there is an oil change scheduled which involves waiting and boredom.

Fresh oil is reason to celebrate; but I'll be forced to wait until dinner time to enjoy family.

Then it will be time to push FlightTrack (app) over and over waiting for the man to travel the time zones.

Lots of waiting today.  Good day to start a new quick project.   

Slippers, because sometimes all I want is for time to quickly slip away.  I am not skilled at waiting.  It's a good thing that I am skilled with string.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Burn, Baby, Burn

Untagged, unlabeled, unidentified.  While stash diving, two skeins of mystery un-anything yarn fell from the lower shelf.  What?  You have never had skeins of yarn fall from a shelf and go "plop" at your feet?  Clearly you don't have a big enough stash - get out there and shop!

What really gets my goat about these two skeins is that I had them together in a plastic bag as though they are supposed to be something.  But alas, no tag or any identifying anything was in the bag with the stuff.  How odd is that?  In today's yarn world everyone puts their personal logo and all manner of information on everything!  One would think that  this should have a clear label.  

What is an out of luck woman to do?  Burn, baby, burn.  

This day did begin with a list of chores.  Missing from the list was conduct burn test on mystery yarn.  But that is exactly what I did.  My experience with identification through the burn test is somewhat limited.  I've done it a few times, but by no stretch of the imagination am I an expert at fiber identification.  What can I say but that I like labels.

Look at that very bright yellow/orange flame!  Talk about fast burning and hot!  Even with my limited experience this is obviously not wool.  But I already knew that.  It did not feel like wool and it did not smell like wool when I wet a piece.  I only wet some of the stuff in an effort to see if it would felt and fall into the "animal" category.  If it had felted or smelled, then I would have been far down the ID line.

Just because yarn burns and is not self-extinguishing doesn't mean that it is easy to identify.  In fact, it barely tells me anything.  I have a not so secret weapon that gets me fairly close.

Check out this link to help determine fiber content.  It is a dandy of a reference.  

So, the stuff does not felt nor smell of animal.  In it's dry condition is it very flexible and "soft".  Today's burn test results are:
  • burns and not self-extinguishing
  • huge bright yellow/orange flame
  • fast burning flame
  • ember continued to glow for a bit
  • smelled faintly of paper, no leaf smell
  • a tiny bit of ash that was more black than gray
Taken all together, I am leaning toward a very high rayon content - maybe even 100%, but something about the feel of the yarn makes me want to conclude that it has a touch of cotton as well.  It is entirely too soft to have a linen mixed in there.  

What do you think? 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fiesta Time

The weekend was filled with joy and merriment.  The greatest fun was visiting the Fiber Arts Fiesta down in Vista.   In the same location was a gem & mineral show and both events were free.  Free parking, free admission, free conversations, free knowledge.  Let's give a cheer for local independent entrepreneurs.   

Before enjoying the fiber folks, we visited the gem & mineral exhibitors.   That was quite fun because there was everything from unpolished natural minerals to gorgeous gems set in wrapped wire.  Beads, glass work, buttons....all manner of items that could embellish fiber art.  

Among the exhibits, with free knowledge, was the weaver's barn.  This area is filled with over fifty looms and is really a mini-museum. It is also the active workshop for area weavers.  Very fascinating, even though I know absolutely nothing about weaving.  

I did talk to a weaver who is laying out all of her warp and hand dying the string with sections of color that bleed from one to the next.  Very similar to much of the artisan yarns that we all love.  The resulting fabric is mind blowing!  Sorry, I forgot to get a photo, but do be on the lookout for this type of work.   

If you are into crochet, as is my daughter who was on this adventure, check out Ami Amour (on Ravelry she is all one word, no space) for critter patterns.  Whether you are into amigurumi or just need a plushie for the grandkids, her patterns will fit the bill.  And you can even find her work at her Etsy shop.  

And then there was Tino.  He is a regal alpaca who came to the fiesta with his family from Alpacas of Anza Valley.  We could have spent the entire afternoon visiting with Julie & Don Roy and learning all about alpacas.  Talk about a wealth of knowledge for this under informed lover of the yarn.  Alpacas are considered mild-tempered, gregarious animals with an inquisitive nature and would never be caught parading around in a Ronald McDonald wig.  (Out of context, that wig statement does not make any sense.   You had to be there.  Apparently llamas have no dignity and will wear said wig in a parade.)

Here is Tino and friends doing what comes natural to alpaca.  Herding up in a pack and being friendly to each other and their many human admirers.  After spending time with these guys, it makes me love the fiber even more.

And, apparently back at the farm of Julie & Don is a lovely lady named Ebony Rose.  She did not make the trip down for this fiesta.  But 6.2 oz of her did.  That's about 722 yards of lace weight black yarn from Ebony Rose.  And no, the yarn was not free.  But - - and here is the joy of visiting with local folks - - I did get an invitation to go meet Miss Ebony Rose up in Anza.  

I do think I'll call and find out when she is receiving worshipers.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

One Down. Two More To Go.

Just laying there flat and unfulfilled, she looks rather sad.  But she is done.  This gift bag that is destined to bring joy to a recipient is completed.

The contrast of the sparkly knitted ribbon  woven with matte gross grain ribbon excites me.  There are times when too much glitz is uncomfortable simply because it is all the same level of "wow."  In this instance, the humble ribbon in that green shade that goes so well with the gold undertone, lets the sparkle be the star without having to compete with anything else.

For a while, I considered using a gold cord with beaded tassel as the drawstring.  But in the end, simple won out.

One bag completed.   And it only took about 5 minutes to move this from the Work In Progress column to the Done column. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Vision But No Completion

Oh yes.  I have vision.  Various posts over the summer waxed poetic about the beverage bags for gift giving in a few months.  Well, I'm still at the project but have expanded beyond the simple bottle cover.

Unfortunately it seems that for right now, my vision is out of sync with my fingers.  Witness the current state of the desk.  

Front bag with red yarn - - should be a completed gift bag for something small and delicate as we all know that good things come in small hand made packages.  Not even started, but envisioned.

The length of white/gold still on the needles is a half completed swath that will be just the right size to hold needles and a skein because fantastic gifts should come in fantastic packages.  Vision, but no completion.

And then under the needles is a seamless drawstring bag of a suitable size to hold a hat or scarf - either of which will fall out unless the bottom is seamed up!  Because everyone needs to receive a hand made project in its own project bag.  Near completion per the vision.

Lots of vision around here.  These three are in the "not complete" column.  They are not, I repeat NOT, ufo's.  They are each a work in progress.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.