Thursday, December 18, 2008

Don't cry for me Argentina...

It's been a pity party for one over at Chez Yarn this week. Last Friday night I came down with a whopper of a cold and I am still fighting it six days later.

My biggest complaint, once the sore throat faded on Tuesday, has been the lack of energy I have had in mastering the fabulous combo Christmas/birthday gift I received recently:


IMG_7713

The older I get, the more sympathy I have for the people who couldn't program the second generation of VCR's in the 1980's. I've decided that the human brain's capacity to absorb unwanted information is inversely related to their age.

I reached my peak interest in technology in 2000. Since that date I have gone from being able to put a computer together to a wife who hands her husband any electronic device and asks him to "make it work." Faced with the idea of learning a whole new trade is daunting, but the source of much reward.


Suzanne

I did not expect the range of color I found in these skeins of Wollmeise which I received in the mail yesterday, but I am over the moon elated to finally have the tools to capture it.

Thank you hubby and sis!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Eye of the Beholder

When I take pictures of my knitting, and my yarn, I really take it seriously. I really love looking at pictures of knitted items and yarn. I love seeing the colors and textures and the overall object. The more detailed the picture, the more natural the lighting, the more joy I get in looking at it. Pictures of the tiny little stitches of socks represent my most favorite type of knitting p0rn.

I kinda feel weird about this fascination. Among knitters, I surmise, I may be in a minority, but probably not alone. Yet, it is not a topic I have ever seen discussed in the knitosphere. I'm sure, now that I am reflecting on it, there is a group on Ravelry for people like me. If I was more of a social creature, I would have flushed them out by now.

In the meanwhile, though, my latest attempt to capture my own piece of pictorial heaven was done in poor light yesterday afternoon.


Meaghan's Socks

These are a Christmas gift for my niece, Meaghan. Even though these are not my colors, I was still impelled to take picture after picture after picture trying to capture their essential beauty.

There is nothing spectacular about the pattern, or the colorway. They are a simple 2 x 2 ribbed sock, for a no frills tomboy. But my eyes are still drawn to these photos like a moth to a flame.


Meaghan's Socks

Yarn
Cherry Tree Hill Sockittome
80% Merino, 20% Nylon
Purchased at the lovely Butterfly Yarns

Needles
Two Knit Picks Harmony wood 16" circulars, size US 1 1/2, 2.5mm

Pattern
Basic cuff down sock in 2 x 2 rib. After 8 or so months knitting toe ups, I've definitely needed to change things up and go back to cuff down.

Began November 24, 2008, finished December 14, 2008.


Meaghan's Socks

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Lanolin Dreams

Back in September I went up north to spend the weekend with my Dad's wife, Chris. The reason was the Vermont Sheep and Wool festival.

VT Sheep and Wool is a small festival that held several delights. One of these delights was a sheep shearing demonstration. The demonstration sought to illustrate how old "skool" tools work, rather than the art of shearing. The docents used a hand cranked shearing tool. It was extremely labor intensive.


VT Sheep & Wool Shearing demo

VT Sheep & Wool Shearing demo

While the demonstration was fun, Chris's being able to walk away with the fleece, free of charge, was priceless. That they gave it away surprised us so much, I realized later I never got a decent picture of the completely shorn (shorn is so a word, blogger!) fleece.

I was further surprised, and deeply impressed, that Chris was over the moon with the prospect of transforming that greasy, feces encrusted pile of mess into spinning fiber. My sensory idiosyncrasies bar the thought of such a thing, never mind the the deed.

Throughout September and October I received updates from Chris telling me I'd better be ready to inherit a lot of fleece. When we finally made it back up for the Thanksgiving weekend, she made good on her threat.


VT fiber

She carded the wool with samples of merino. I walked away with about half of this booty, effort and remuneration free. (Although Santa has been instructed to send a set of Knit Pick's harmony wood option needles her way.)

One of the afternoons of our visit was spent spinning this wool. I was pretty nervous about it, though. Back in August I had had a lot of difficulty plying some 100% merino. For three months I lamented bitterly over it. With each passing week a fear grew: Do I hate spinning. Do I? Could it be? If it's true, then I am a selfish goober to take Chris up on her offer of the wheel only to let it sit idle in a corner while some deserving person who wants to spin goes wheel-less.

Oh the recriminations were potent and never ending. That is one thing I AM good at. And yet, when we took to our wheels to spin, I was like a fish returned to water. All my (imagined) discomfort twirled away with each inch of spun fiber. Within the week I had spun and plied two new fibers, as well as finished plying that pesky 100% merino:


handspun December

Foreground: 100% blue faced leicester from Moonlight and Laughter, which I purchased at VT Sheep and Wool;
Mid(?) ground: 100% merino from Mind's Eye Yarn; and
Background: Unknown fiber from VT Sheep and Wool chased with a sampling of colored merino.

While these "set" I've got plenty (read: far too much!) gift knitting to get to.

Friday, December 5, 2008

An FO to Remember...

This blog hasn't had an FO in a good long while, so I thought I'd turn back the clock and recap what is my last lace shawl of 2008, my Peacock Seraphim.


Seraphim Shawl

Although I am extremely proud of what this project represents, this is overshadowed by a longstanding frustration with my photographic skills. (A point which no matter how much time passes, I cannot seem to withhold harping on. Ack! What a whiner I am!) My pictures do not capture the vibrant color and hue of this fabulous yarn.


Seraphim Shawl

Yarn
ShibuiKnits Sock
100% Superwash Merino fingering weight

About 907 yards (or nearly twice as much yarn as my prior two shawls). The ease at which I've been tackling larger projects makes me feel like a "real" knitter. Not that it should, but you know, I'm as insecure as the next knitter, so it does.

Needles
Knitpicks Harmony Wood Options, US6 / 4.0mm

Pattern
Seraphim Shawl by Miriam Felton, AKA Mimknits. (More than one item fell into the cart when I purchased this pattern, so have something to look forward to, too!) The pattern was a breeze to read all the way through. I absolutely love lace charts. If only sweater patterns could be written via chart, I might actual try one.

The only mod I made is that I disregarded the bind off instructions and went with the Evelyn Clark K2, K2tog bind off from Knitting Lace Triangles.

Began September 19, 2008, finished November 12, 2008.


Seraphim Shawl

I see many more shawls, and more Miriam Felton patterns, in my future.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Inspiration

Cocoa Lace Scarf

Color and texture inspire me. If only my photography skills could keep up. This lovely Cocoa Scarf has been a long time coming. But alas, it is because it has to be perfect; it is a gift for a long lost friend who tracked me down via a mutual friend on Facebook. (If you're stalking Claudia, go away! And I say that lovingly.)

Together we've chosen and abandoned several yarns and patterns. After ogling my flickr account for a half an hour or so she saw my Apple Lace Scarf and proclaimed it her heart's desire. Choosing the yarn was far more difficult, as most of her favorites had already become FO's.

Kim, of Butterfly Yarns in Wakefield, Massachusetts needs most of the credit in my final yarn choice:


IMG_7251b

As a rule, I am loath to accept help when shopping. I am an extremely picky and indecisive buyer. I can never explain what I want, but can guarantee I will say something rude because, as an aspy, I am not skilled in the fine art of no, among a fair many other social conventions. Yet, help me she did, again and again and again, until finally we settled on a yarn that was originally disregarded. And a lovely choice it is indeed.

 

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