Doldrums and Diarrhea

November 24, 2008 at 11:19 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

Urrgh… not too much going on on the fiber front lately. Just been trying to keep my head above holiday knitting, family crises, and the above-mentioned diarrhea. And cramps. Yikes. I know that may be WAY too much information, but that is just kind of where I’m at right now. Will be posting pics in a few days of works in progress, and things that are finished.

On a positive note, I did manage to get a job! I am a naturalist by trade, and sadly a lot of those jobs in my area have dried up very quickly in light of our economic troubles. There was even one fab local gov’t position that I was offered which was sadly unoffered due to a rather large budget shortfall in my municipality. However, I am now going to be working in the wellness department at My Organic Market– a delightful locally-owned independent chain that has the best organic produce and other yummies in the DC Metro Area. All that, and I get to work with all of the herbs, supplements, essential oils and such: all of my favorite things. I am SO lucky to have a cool job (heck, any job!) right now, and this is going to be a blast!

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Autumn and Aubergines

October 24, 2008 at 4:10 pm (Uncategorized)

Autumn has finally arrived in my neck of the woods… cool, crisp, sunny days have been dominating the last week or so, leading to spectacular sights like this:

We are trying to keep the furnace off for as long as possible… but I always have such chilly hands. What else could I do but knit up some little mitts? Hmmm… apparently I am in a real garter stitch phase.

Autumn Aubergines2
This pattern was very fun and quick to knit. It’s funny, these little mitts do not look very impressive off the hands… but when worn, the garter stitch contours nicely to the shape of the hands and completely transforms the finished product. I also like how the edging contrasts with the body of the mitts.

Autumn Aubergines1

Specs:

Pattern: Ann Budd’s Fingerless Knits from Weekend Knitting (a delightful book)- largest size (7″ around hand)

Yarn: 1 ball Rowan Designer DK Wool (125 yds), about 15 yds of Ella Rae Classic in rust for edging

Needles: 4.0mm

Mods: worked a few rounds of garter stitch in contrasting color at both ends to polish off the edges a bit. Also reinforced bottom of thumb openings with a couple of sewn stitches.

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Strength and Simplicity

October 20, 2008 at 3:34 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

Sometimes simple things are best… like miles and miles of mindless garter stitch:

Carolyn's Shawl 3

This little shawl is for my dear friend and neighbor, who is undergoing some health problems and is going to be having major surgery soon. What can I say about this woman? She is sweet, sensitive, funny, a cancer survivor to boot, and one of the best neighbors I could have ever hoped for. I knit this for her with intent, trying to place as much positive energy and healing thoughts into every stitch of this shawl…

Carolyn's Shawl 1
As with my last project, I again used a yarn that I would usually disdain (I really am such a yarn snob). However, it is synthetic, and when one is recovering from major surgery, there are all sorts of messes that can be made. Machine-washable things are therefore the best thing. Plus, this yarn is surprisingly nice to work with, and makes for a nice, soft, cuddly, comforting fabric.

Carolyn's Shawl 2
The size of the shawl is a a bit on the small side, but I wanted to make something without too much bulk… just a little something to drape over the shoulders when sitting up in bed. I’m also hoping this will make her feel graceful and strong and comforted by the simple things in life… like a portable hug.

Specs:

Yarn: Red Heart Plush, 1 skein sage green, 0.5 tan

Needle: 5.5 mm Addi

Size: 60″ from tip to tip

Pattern: I just did a generic top-down mitered triangle, in which I cast on 5 sts, and increased two sts at each end and two in the middle every right-side row. Easy peasy!

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Grace and Gratification

October 9, 2008 at 7:24 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

one-row scarf4

A new scarf, simply knit for a friend on 8 mm needles. Instant gratification… and the wonderful feeling I get from Actually Doing Holiday Knitting Before Christmas Eve. Not that I will not be doing that, but this project gave me the momentum I needed to push it along on other projects.

one-row scarf
Ordinarily, this is not yarn I would knit with… but, it was gifted to me and I found it a surprisingly nice yarn to with which to work. Although partially synthetic, I think that actually added to the nice hand of the yarn and the drape of the finished piece. The synthetic component is also nice because this scarf is going to a dear, dear, friend who doesn’t quite get that most handknits should not go in the washer.

one-row scarf3

But what I love most is the graceful color changes… like autumn leaves or glowing embers.

one-row scarf2
Specs:

Finished size: approximately 4″ x 56″

Yarn: Moda Dea Tweedle Dee, 1 ball (155 yds)

Pattern: this one (14 sts cast on)

Needles: 8.0 mm

Deep thoughts: love this pattern- the epitome of mindless knitting. A perfect project for a nutty week, when I need repetitive motion to lull me into a sense of peace during these troubled times…

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Swallows and Shawls

October 5, 2008 at 5:29 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

I finished a Swallowtail Shawl this summer, and while I did post some utterly horrid blocking pictures of her on Ravelry, she really hasn’t been documented properly. I feel like this shawl, folded gently on my bookshelf, is like a beautiful debutante waiting in the wings for the courage to come out. And so, here are some suitable pictures of one of my favorite finished projects:

Swallowtail Shawl 4

Swallowtail Shawl 3

Swallowtail Shawl 1

The specs:

Finished size: 60″ (!) from tip to tip

Yarn: my handspun, 2 skeins. The first skein, which makes up the bulk of the shawl, is about 200 yds of fingering-weight created from a blend of mohair, alpaca, merino and Angelina. Beautiful colors- everything from peach to mauve to purple, with little bits of teal here and there. The outer portion of the shawl (the “swallowtails”, if you will) is made up of about 200 yds of fingering-weight created from a blend of mohair, alpaca, merino, angora, and silk. Absolutely luscious. Both yarns were just tweedy enough to keep things interesting, but subdued enough to let the lace patterns shine through.

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark, Fall 2006 Interweave Knits

Needles: 5.0 mm Addi Turbos

My thoughts: like many others who have made this pattern, I found it a thoroughly enjoyable knit, made all the more fulfilling with the use of handspun.Very pleasantly surprised by how much the change in gauge really pumped up the size of the finished piece.

This is something to be treasured, and passed down someday… something I can look at during difficult days and know that I am capable of making things of great beauty… something I can wrap myself in when feeling chilly or drape myself with when I am feeling romantic.

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Sugar and Spice

October 4, 2008 at 1:59 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Sugar and Spice

125-ish yards of chunky-spun llama, alpaca, camel down, merino, and mohair plied all squiggly-like with thread and pompoms thrown in for good measure. Sassy!

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Hungover and Hairy

October 3, 2008 at 5:42 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

So, I had a righteous hangover the other day. You know, the kind of hangover that really, really makes one consider if there is any point to living anymore. It’s not like I make a habit of making poor choices with regard to alcohol, but this is my last week of playtime before the New Job begins. Therefore, I imbibed… in the middle of the week. Classy.

In my delicate condition, I could barely sit up… forget about working on any knitting. Even so-called mindless knitting wasn’t going to work on this hellish day. But then, I remembered that I have a spinning wheel. A nice spinning wheel that never ceases to give me comfort and lull me into meditative grace. I also remembered that I had that nice little pile of mohair. And since it was just a couple ounces worth, and I knew I would be spinning chunky, I had confidence that I could crank out a little bit of sweet soothing yardage with minimal commitment. I therefore present my latest yarn, “Hungover and Hairy”:

Hungover and Hairy #1

Hungover and Hairy #3

Hungover and Hairy #2
Only about 20 yds- but this will make a lovely accent on a hat or something. I just grabbed handfuls of the locks and corespun them over a thin boucle yarn using golden metallic sewing thread as a binder. It gave me a sense of accomplishment… the knowledge that this terrible, terrible day did not totally go to waste. Who needs a bloody mary when you have fluff?

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Masochism and Mohair

October 2, 2008 at 3:49 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I must confess, I have not always been the best about keeping up on blogs. I have at least two now that just sank right into the Blog Bog. But you know, I just turned the Big 3-0 now, and that makes me think that perhaps I should be able to handle the Big Responsibility of maintaining a half-assed blog about my fibery pursuits. At least, one can hope. Never mind that I am enrolled in school full time and about to start a new job… yeah, I’ll have plenty of time to spend blogging about crap that I will no longer have time to make. Sigh. Well, as suggested in the title, I do seem to be a bit of a masochist, and piling more stuff atop the plate is really my cup of tea. However, I also want to have a place in which to document my work. I’ve been doing some nifty things lately, and well, I need to keep up with taking photos and reflecting upon the things that I create.

But hey, sometimes making time to do things that you really don’t have time for is incredibly rewarding… like the other day I made a point to play with some mohair I purchased at MD Sheep and Wool. Look what I made using some Kool-Aid and other toxic, but FDA-approved, colors:

Mohairy!

pretty, pretty, pretty… if I do say so myself. I love Ozark Handspun yarns, and I want to try to create some yarns that are similar in texture. Can’t wait to spin this up!

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