Monday, March 21, 2011

Jazz Hands

If my latest project were a body part, it would be Jazz Hands. (That's directly from the creative loin of my muse. What the fuck does that mean? And is she right? LOL.)

Fire on the Mountain

I finished the German Fish socks yesterday and by last night I had given birth to these new socks. The yarn is Wollmeise. Oh, yes kiddies. The one, the only (colorways Kurbis and Schwarz), the no longer selling for $90 so I can feel safe to use it, Wollmeise.

I lost hours of sleep stashing this yarn. It was the beginning of the end in the aught-not madness, very much like Tulip Mania, but with less men. You know I sometimes wonder how many indie dyer's reputations and businesses were built on the toxic assets of the aughts. (I totally have a little person complex, so forgive my haughtiness in advance.)

I am perversely proud my husband and I kept sane when it seemed the whole world was refinancing their house, or flipping houses, in order to make fast cash that was turned into tropical isle cruises and/or stainless steel dream kitchens. We live in a grubby little grandma home and I love it just the way it is. Sure I'd love a brand new kitchen and some new floors, but the cost! I'm not ready to pay the price.

When the yarn stashing craze hit me I was spending a lot of time on Ravelry ogling the yarn stashes of my fellow crafters. I spent hours in the Wollmeise chat thread reading the same handful of posters wax erotic about their hauls. I wondered how someone could afford to buy so much Wollmeise, much less have the time to stalk it at 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning, Eastern Standard Time, week after week.

I remember clicking on a Wollmeise or Sundara skein in someone's stash and seeing the neverending list on the left hand of the screen indicating how excessive their stash of the yarn actually was. I remember how that jealousy tasted.

Something awful, it was. Toxic, toxic stuff.

I also remember the snark around it when someone would whine about how newbies couldn't get their hands on any because of those stashers, those stashers whose list of the yarn went on and on down the page until the drool made a pool in your empty lap. Laughing at the whiners was fun. It helped me to see my own foolishness.

Kurbis Caked


But don't you think I didn't wax moronic when my own stash list began to grow. Oh was I ecstatic. I was one of the cool kids. I could have what they have. Or as much as I could get into my cart before each weekly posting was bought up.

And then something crazy happened. I tried to knit with my Wollmeise. And it was, um, kinda cardboardy and cottony. LOL. Wasn't I the tulip fool? I considered that I was. For a while. Then I looked on my mania from a different angle. The yarn is (was?) a collector's item and I realized I was a collector. Not a hoarder, or usually not a hoarder. A collector.

Yes, a connoisseur of finely made string. There are worse things.

Fast forward a few years and well, this yarn seems a great deal softer than I remember it. The sock above is knit fairly densely on size 2.25mms (US1s). The fabric is lovely, not how I remember it being when I knit the hubby some socks in the Paul colorway. Those washed up beautifully, but knitting that yarn was tough. I wonder if it has to do with the cleansing agent? Or the maybe the dye? Is it possible for age to reduce the abrasiveness of these additives?

Who knows. I'm a full-time crackpot full of crazy ideas. I am thankful that my crackpotheadedness started these socks. They give me joy.

The fair isle pattern I using is a derivation of a basic four row peerie chart from the reissue of Alice Starmore's Fair Isle book.

Viva das Wollmeise! Viva la yarn. And knit on beyotches, for tomorrow we may die...












Monday, March 14, 2011

This week in everyday-crazy...

So, how are you darlings? I'm fine; even very well, thank you. I had some splendiferous knitting time this weekend, turning a knitting frown upside down. (I love that original corny saying!)

A couple of weeks ago I broke down and splurged on a tub of Cascade 220 (mostly heathers).

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I felt an instant, but short-lived relief. On it's heels came the compulsion to begin knitting the yarn fair isle. It ran so hot, I wound a few balls at work during my down time.

I was possessed and it wasn't entirely pleasant. In under 48 hours I had picked out a color chart I like, chose my palette and began knitting something. Will it be a swatch? Or an afghan panel? Or a Sweater? All I know is that whatever it is, I'm not knitting on it now. The palette I chose is a mirror of the German Fish Socks and it wasn't long before my jagged passion bled out of me like the pulp of a crushed grape. Pffft...blech.

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The pattern I chose is Eunny Jang's Ivy League Vest from Interweave Knit's Winter 2007. (If you follow the link, turns out it is a free pattern on their site.) I really really love the pattern, but the colors are all wrong for me.

So I panicked. And then I panicked some more. And then I grabbed for my hibernating Evenstar project.

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The bright rusty golds, turquoise, and olive greens are the perfect antidote to the chilly palette the German Fish Socks and vest. Humina humina humina.

I began chart 3 of the pattern and now have 560 friggin' stitches on the needle. And I'm faced with 67 more rounds of these 560 stitches. Holy cowshit, Batman! Will this FO survive my congenital caprice? Tune in next year, kiddies. Same Bat time, same Bat channel.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

German Fish Socks, a Pseudo-Etymological Study, AKA Happy Wednesday!

Kamerherr

For the lovely German Fish socks I am working on I am using some fine, but sturdy, coarse 75% wool/25% nylon yarn from a German dyer, Tausendschön. I got this and two other colorways from a rav trade a year or so ago. I loved the colors, but wasn't particularly impressed with the texture.

The German Socks natural base color is a fingering weight yarn of the same material mix from (gasp!!!) Red Heart, called Red Heart & Sole. It's got aloe in it. LOL. But red heart? Oh yes, my stranded fascination knows NO bounds. I had to start another stranded project, and it had to be the fish pattern, and I had no other base yarn. I never rav'd this yarn, so it was by accident I found it hidden in my yarn scrap bin when I went scrounging there in desperation.

Really, I feel no shame knitting with Red Heart. A year or two ago that may have been the case, but no more. I mean I love my Sundara socks, but they are knit at a gauge (maybe 6 or 7 stitches to the inch) which insures they are not that sturdy, as far as socks go. This conflict, my liking to knit socks in soft, two-ply merino at a loose gauge, and my liking to knit socks to last forever, has been percolating in the back of my mind for about eight or so months. The last pair of socks I knit for myself took eight months.

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Yes, eight months!?!?! I thought it was the color that was stalling the project. That may have contributed to my ennui, but really, my inner utilitarian was stamping her gargantuan, impatient foot to a rhythmic, impatient beat that would only be ignored for so long before it asserted it's rightful place at the front of my consciousness.

My inner utilitarian found a great and happy solution in stranded socks. And it's a serendipitous perk I enjoy knitting them at a tighter gauge than my plain Sundara socks. The other joy is that I can mix all the fanciful multicolored yarn I love to own with a solid base. Stranded knitting gives them the perfect frame within which they can be showcased properly and are made useful. Win-win.

Does the fear that my new-found stranded love is but diaphanous and soon to be a victim of my capriciously evaporative nature come through in my prose?

LOL, gurgley purple prose. I just had to, I had to. Now I'm done. LOL.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Stranded Knitteh I lovez ye, let me count the wayz

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Finding I have acquired the patience, the quieted soul, the inner peace, the karma, the whateverthefuck it is that I have now that allows me to really enjoy stranded knitting is an extraordinary milestone.

I love knitting stranded so much, I'm enjoying knitting these socks on size US 0/2.00mm needles. Oh, yes, this is a vibrant infatuation.

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Infatuation? Or real abiding love? Only hindsight will confirm. But I'm so enjoying this knitting. LOL As if I really needed another reason to stash sock yarn. As if I really needed to get the new Knit Picks catalog with all of their cheap, rainbow colored yarns begging me to knit a fair isle sampler afghan.

I'm still holding out. But it won't be for long. Their yarn is cheap. And colorful. And I have Alice Starmore's fair isle book. The future is bright!

 

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