Thursday, May 29, 2008

Spinning delights

Not much knitting has been happening this week. Filia has begun Calorimetry, and it looks like the second half of the roving she chose will need to be spun like unto the first, so there will be enough yarn to finish. I have been spinning away on the lovely purple roving , and have two skeins drying even now. Better yet, I've got the pattern picked out to knit with it!I wanted something wearable (ie, not a little triangle), something that I'd have enough yarn for (ie, not Mediterranean Lace. I think I have 700-750 yds), and something that will look nice in a heavy laceweight. A large stack of books and a bit of clicking in Ravelry yielded the idea of the Double Edged Scarf (or something like that) from Victorian Lace Today. So, into the queue it goes. The only other thing in my queue is Sanquhar, which is my June Project.

Except today I find that I have a deadline for another project of July 11th. I don't like cutting deadlines close, so Sanquhar may get bumped a bit. It's odd.... I can ignore something forever, but give me a deadline, even a month+ away, and I will get it done ASAP.

Things have been getting knit around here, though. There's a purple/violet twisted hat on my desk that has eluded the camera thus far. It's a nice hat -- a bit short in the brim, but perfect for a flapper hat, so my mom says. I think I'll make another like it, but a bit longer. Easy enough to do. And some half-mitts jumped off the needles last weekend and ran off before I got them photographed. They were boring (one color, next to no texture, and black) -- nothing to see, really. And I'm making progress on a pair of Burgundy Risata socks. At 14" tall, they will take longer than the average pair, but I'm over halfway up the leg of the first one.

Summer seems to be flirting with us. There are the lovely dog days, and then there's the cool damp cloudy gunk that reminds me more of a Maryland winter. Canis likes the dog days, and I like his new tie-out spot, which has saved 3 garden beds from his destructive attention.

One day of school left. Then ... productivity shall strike? I have high hopes and ambitions for this summer. Catching up on all editing (if only some people would stop writing books and desiring to change the old ones), decluttering the house, bit by bit, delightful knitting, keeping up with the garden. But then I look at my June calendar, and see the only thing without writing on it is Tuesday evening. Careful planning may permit ambitions to be realized despite reality; then again, reality may trump all planning. That's why I like winter. A good blizzard trumps all flitting around, and so long as there is electricity for comfort (read - warmth and thawing food), one can get an amazing amount of things done while being housebound.

And absolutely no one expects you to weed a garden and can tomatoes during a blizzard.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Quiet blog, busy fingers

Aren't these pretty mittens? I didn't knit them. A Real, Live, Latvian Knitter made them. In Latvia! They came to Shepherd's Harvest for my viewing pleasure, and are being displayed by the convenient lap of Filia. Have *you* ever tried to take photos of three pair of mittens while standing in line for popcorn? It's tricky.
Here is my loot from the festival. The two balls in the back are a lovely wool/mohair blend in a reddish purple. Violet, I suppose one could call it. One ball is currently attached to my spinning wheel and getting spun into what I hope will be laceweight. It's skinny. I have four ounces, and will make a scarf or shawl out of it. I don't imagine I will get it all spun this week, however. The ball in front was a lovely eclectically colored chain of Corriedale roving which Filia selected, to be turned by me into yarn for her knitting pleasure.. Since I was out of practice with spinning, and never knew much to begin with, I considered it, split it in half (should have split it into fourths), and the first half is spun, plied, and dried.
This curious photo is an example of my knitting stash. I used 8 or 9 partial balls of sock yarn to make these socks for my husband. Starting with the sock at the bottom, from left to right, you see Filiasocks, Momsocks, Momsocks, Husband's Argyle, Momsocks (move up one sock) Momsock, Momsock, Husband's Argyle, Mesock. My husband had the curious idea of using up all my stash before buying new yarn. He volunteered to actually wear a pair of Destashing Socks, so those popped onto the needle. They are now off, and we shall see if they get worn.
Sawtooth Half-Mitts, using some old handspun and odds and ends of HD Shetland from a weaving class I took before I even had a spinning wheel. I think. Or did I take the spinning class first?

Alpaca Mittens, using Brown Sheep Sport from Denise and some old alpaca I spun up on a drop spindle during mid shifts . Light, fluffy, and pretty neat. I wasn't sure how the yarn would turn out, and was quite dubious while winding it into a ball. Either I spun it worse than I thought, or else something had been nibbling on it. Two skeins turned into 11 balls due to breaks and bad plying.

Improved spinning. One half of the multi-colored roving from Shepherd's Harvest, spun and Navajo plied. Now, to see what Filia will do with it, and if the second half needs to be spun in like fashion, or if I can try something different with it.

Finally (and one day earlier than I was expecting it) my KnitPicks yarn! Here you see, in pre-project form, half-mitts, socks, two hats, and legwarmers
This bag contains a future Tea Cozy, Slippers, Sanquhar Gloves, and Mittens.

And that, my dear readers, is my life in photos. Photos do not record the garden (planted), the fence (to keep the bunnies from snacking on our asparagus. Don't they know you're not supposed to eat any the first year?) , my editing desk (which floweth over), or any number of other things.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Mittens, mittens, everywhere!

Mittens have just been jumping off my needles lately. No doubt it has something to do with finishing off the Sampler Stole, and having knittng time to work on them.

I'm itching to start another pair of mittens, but since this weekend is Shepherd's Harvest, and I'm hoping to find yarn for the Sanquhar Gloves there, it's not the best time to start something that will take a reasonable chunk of knitting time. So, I'm dinking away with swatches for classes and other stuff. My husband also thinks it would be a great idea to use up my stash before I buy any more yarn, and while I agree it's great to use up stash, I am not going to drive myself crazy trying to come up with useful ways to use up every last yard of leftovers. He thought I could use my leftovers to make him a hat. Or hats. I can't quite see him in a fingering-weight hat composed of 10 colors of self-striping sock yarn. But I can see him wearing house socks made of the same. So ... socks are heading on to the needles, for traveling knitting.

First finished after the Latvestonibu Mittens (the burgundy and white pair) were Kalev's Mittens. I used up some weaving yarn for these -- I think it was Harrisville Shetland -- and my standard 2.75 mm sock needles. The one-wick decrease used at the top is different from what I normally do, and I rather like it. It also explains why some of the mittens in Latvian Mittens don't look like they have the standard flat decrease. They don't! A one-wick decrease is like a central double decrease, but different.
After that, I snagged some more stash yarn, cast on, and knit. A pair of mittens jumped off the needles, and then a pair of half-mitts followed quickly.

And, after all that, I still had knitting time left. I cast on with Hempathy to make a sample Shetland Lace Swatch for a class I hope to teach. It came out nicely, but I decided to pick a narrower edging and so what you see here is no longer in existence. The swatch with new edging is on the blocking board even now. I used a US 6.5 needle for the swatch (better get that written down before I forget it).

Beyond knitting ... life, as always, proceeds apace. Never more than 24 hours worth in any given day. The weather is almost conducive to gardening, and Filius and I may get some plants in the garden this evening. We have one (of 24) asparagus up, and no hostas, wintergreen, lupine, or vinca. The day lilies are popping up just where I transplanted them, and also in places that I transplanted them from. The apricots are blooming, and the cherry will soon follow suit. Neighbors are wondering if our honey locust - always the last tree in the neighborhood to wake up - has died after the butchering it received in a wind storm two years ago. We're not wondering. It'll come back. If it can survive getting mowed over twice in its first year, it'll take more than losing half its height and half its main branches to kill it.

The Puritan Reading Challenge this month is some of John Bunyan's writing. The book is good, but it does not delight me as much as Burroughs' book last month did.

School is starting to warp up. We've 13 days left to finish off this school year, and then summer vacation begins. Summer vacation, the time when we can set aside all school subjects and really dive into things!