knitting and other shiny things...


Welcome! I love knitting having learned how at an early age...it has seen me through good times and bad. I orignally went to college to study art but ended up as an RN (dont ask how THAT happened)Still an artist at heart, I try to listen to my muse and divide my creative time between knitting/dyeing/spinning and glass bead making. Once my life calms down, I also plan to do some knit wear designing and/or writing. Originally from Pennsylvania, I have lived in the Midwest and California-and am currently nomadic.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Wizard of that Something

In related knitting news....
Much to Monique's astonishment, I have frogged the central lace section of my SKB. I was using Cherry Tree Hill's Glitter Alpaca combined with Rowan Glitterspun and it was pretty, but having seen this there was no going back.
The SKB I am doing is in elann yarns Peruvian Collection Highland Wool in the "Redwood" color. Its a rusty heather and I just love the velvety feel of the yarn. I would post a pic but I wouldn't be able to do the color justice in this lighting so you'll have to wait for the finished object celebration.
Speaking of finished objects, I made the "Modern Bustier" sweater from "Alterknits" last week. I found some Jaeger Trinity on WEBS in a discontinued color for a very good price so I got enough to make two. I really like the simplicity of the shaping and the surprise of the lace in the back adds a lot of style options. The next one I make I will vary the lace and put a tiny lace edging on the bottom. Pic to follow as soon as I finish the sewing part...still considering not doing the silk in the back at all and just lacing it up with ribbon for a very soft romantic touch ('cuz I'm ALL about the romance, baby).
What about the socks I was making you ask? Umm....I'll get to them before the holidays, honest I will.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Hair of the Lamb....

For most of my life, I have been a very creative person, always the one who does stuff that other people see and say, "wow! I wish I could do that but I don't have the (insert desired excuse word here-coordination, time, skill, distorted sense of fashion, lack of social propriety...) to do that". And, always, I'd be the one saying, "oh? what? This?! This is EEeeeaasssy! Here...let me show you..." and *poof* many times a new crafter was born. Just ask Monique... I introduced her to the wonderful world of beads and...well....by now she has mostly forgiven me.
I'm here today to tell you there lurks out there a craft so insidious, so alluring, so seductive in its charms that I am powerless before it, unable to tear myself away from its soft siren call, forever yearning to master its fluffy depths yet always denied...Yes! I confess my crafting Waterloo, the Everest of my fiber world, the very thing that has me in the throes of unrequited crafting passion....
Spinning...the mere word conjures up tranquil hours spent by the hearth blythely churning out miles of beautiful handspun yarn. The whisper of the wool as it runs through the fingers, the soft creak of the wheel...ahhh....so peaceful, so harmonious....and about as much like my clumsy attempts as the butt part of a fleece is from a cashmere sweater.
Seriously...I try. I relax. I pre draft my roving...I adjust the chair...I tie on the leader and make sure my tension is good...then it all GOES TERRIBLY WRONG. Or worse yet...I'll muddle through the first part ok...then just when I think, "aha! I CAN do this!", fate intervenes and the yarn breaks or suddenly develops weird kinks from overtwisting or-you get the idea. Many years ago, (having been drawn to the creation of yarn since childhood-see below)I went to an all day spinning class at my favorite LYS. The instructor was so kind, so calm, nay-serene even- such inner peace coming from watching miles of silky roving from happy sheep pour through her hands on its way changing to magically into miles of beautiful handspun yarn-or so I thought. Looking back on it now, I think her serenity purely derived from infecting the rest of us...like a storybook curse that you avoid by passing it on.
We began the class with learning where wool comes from (sheep generally. This was an introduction class), how to prepare raw fleece (carding, etc), why wool makes yarn (how spinning works), then finally progressing on to the (aptly) named drop spindle. We spindled for most of the morning hours in various stages of grasping the essence of spindling. This part was not all that hard and under our instructor's benevolent gaze most of the class seemed to get the basics of that form down with nary a curse word uttered amongst us. This day would mark, however, the last time I attempted to spin without swearing.
After a short lunch we returned to the classroom to begin the segment that most of us were looking forward to-spinning on a wheel. This was it...my fiber nirvana at last! Soon I could join the ranks of all those ancestors that had come before me gracefully plying the fiber from their compliant sheep into miles of beautiful handspun yarn...Finally I would be permitted to touch a spinning wheel (Story: When I was very small, we would often visit an aunt of mine who kept an antique wheel from my father's grandmother. This wheel was hadn't been used since, well who knows... maybe since the latter years of the 19th century and I found it endlessly fascinating. It was forbidden to touch the Wheel but of course that did not stop me from sneaking out to the front room and working the worn treadle and watching the big wheel turn until I was discovered, scolded and sent out to play with my cousins-thereby setting the scene for my fiber addiction/wheel trauma for life).
We were introduced to our wheels and encouraged to treadle them to our heart's content to learn the feel and watch the parts working in seamless spinning harmony. Then we learned about ratio, speed, spin (z or s) and watched as the instructor effortlessly demonstrated various types of draws for our admiring eyes. I admit mine were glazing over with total creative goddess feminine overload (I was 8 1/2 months pregnant at this point and I won't discount the effect of hormones on this whole process) as I stared at her accomplished hands guiding the fiber to its destiny. Then it was our turn to answer the call of the sheep. I have really no memory of the rest of the day (I vaguely recall something about plying...). Hours laterI returned home with a silly grin clutching a spindle and giant dustbunny that I insisted was yarn. Soon I had bought a wheel and...well, remember that part about being pregnant? It would be a few years until I would touch it again. It lived in the garage, no doubt gathering spinning mojo from the massive black widows that kept it company. When I moved, I brought it into my studio room.
After a few weeks of settling in...I decided one day to clean it up, oil it and try spinning again.
I read library books, watched online videos and noted the progress of other neophyte spinners on their blogs...it all seemed so easy. Alas...this now brings me to the present day and the tempestous relationship I have with my wheel. It whispers to me, then mocks me as I try and try and fail to learn its secrets...it keeps me from my knitting. I again and again cast myself on the rocky shore of fiber creation only to lift my head from the sand bloodied and yarnless.
The floor at my feet is littered with scraps of fuzz from starting and stopping, breaking, and overspinning the not-yarn, the un-yarn. Such waste bothers me...I have to give myself permission to ruin this, after all its not like sheep are an endangered species (though if I continue at this rate...they just might be).
Then it occurs to me that I suppose spinning is much like being in love...the real attraction becomes apparent when you let go of your romantic notions and find that the reality is often more beautiful and deeper for the hardships you endure together and effort you put into it. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Unwilling Elves

How's THAT for a title? found that courtesy of http://mdbenoit.com/rtg.htm, which in turn came from http://mamacate.typepad.com/mamacate/
Amazing..just imagine..no more procrastination over what to name the day's entry...just hit the link and *poof* a blog title!
On the knitting front I have a few projects going...
1) the Simple Bodice sweater from Stitch Diva. I love this design and am sorry that I am running out of the yarn used in the lace sections. The pattern calls for silk (expensive) yarn that would be quite lovely but is out of my price range right now. So I hunted throught the stash and found a bag of elann's Pure Peruvian wool in worsted weight and dove in...I planned to use Cherry Tree Hill's Glitter Alpaca for the lace sections but it was just too too subtle an effect so I added some Rowan Lurex Shimmer to the mix and now its just right. The pattern calls for another lovely expensive silk yarn prestrung with beads for that part and ...this is a less expensive alternative and equally effective. Anyway, it has been paused until I work more overtime.
2) Corset Pullover (IK) Poor thing has got shoved aside so that I can do some gift knitting. I still love you and will work on you again-never fear! I think this will be my winter project so I can wear it at the first sign of spring.
3) Flower Petal Shawl from elann.com Earlier this year I got some of their Luna yarn to make a throw for a red dress that I have. That never happened and one day, nostalgic for my days as a Goth Princess, I dyed the whole 10 balls of it black. Then an incredible thing happened! The cotton part took the dye differently(turned black) than the rayon (stayed red) so now I have the ultimate goth yarn! How better to put such a yarn to use than this http://secure.elann.com/ShowFreePattern.asp?Id=107024
Bat wings! Trust me, its turning out great...though I'm tempted to call the FO "Drenched in Blood"
4) Monique's birthday gift...this will be "Swamp Witch" from "the AntiCraft" site but done in flame-like colors instead of the swampy ones.
5) Socks-socks-socks...is there a sock knitters anonomous group I could join? I mean really...The Birthday Socks, the black stripey socks, the Opal socks...where can it end? When can I stop looking at people I know and NOT be overwhelmed by the urge to knit them a pair of socks?
Pictures to follow...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

ok, ok, ok

Help! Blogger ate my post! Hehehe...that in fact did just happen but thats not why I've been gone lo all these many weeks....had some big real life stuff to handle that well, just took priority over me rambling about knitting. Thankfully, I think for the most part they have been dealt with or at least are looming huge on my horizon anymore. SO, cross my heart, I swear I am back. =)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Call me Impetuous...

...but I couldn't resist casting on for the Corset Sweater today. The lace edging SHOULD be simple but for some reason I have had to start the back over twice, mostly due to errors in counting on my part. Usually I start on the sleeves of a sweater because in a way that can be a gauge swatch (if ya get it-good-if not, well you haven't ruined a whole sweater yet) but I don't have any size 8 dpns. However, Michael's just so happens to be opening a new store here tomarrow so I shall run over and grab some. We have a Hobby Lobby store here but....I'm a tad less than thrilled with them. I know, Michael's is about the same in general but I'll take my chances with them anyway. I really need to get one of those needle sizer things, since I just found a set of dpns on my desk that MAY be the size required. That would be great, but not enough to deterr me from going to Michael's to look around at least.
I do plan on working on the green socks the remainder of the day tomarrow, and I'm pretty sure I can get one done and perhaps even start on the second one if I try hard. I'm also looking into selling some handmade glass beads on ETSY so if anyone reads this and wants 12 medium to small green/blue glass beads keep your eyes peeled for the listing.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Yarn pics

The pics show the colors pretty well except for the buff which is hard to see in the second picture....and the Elena *sigh* picking up a ball of that is like holding a baby chick in your hand. I am very much looking forward to making that sweater! My wardrobe and color preferences used to run to umm....the dark side let's say...but lately I have really been finding myself drawn to neutrals and pales (NOT pastels). I'll be interested in seeing where this new direction leads me...

Ps. The Kidsilkhaze (mentioned in previous posting) is actually called "Swish".

Almost August

I have returned! I know, I know...not earth-shattering news but still it is good to be back again. Life outside of knitting has left me a bit drained as of late but I'm better now and ready to get back to knits and purls. The break was not without knitting content and I was able to finish the black shrug. No pics of that one since all I have is my cellcam and as well you know, black semi-fuzzy yarn is hard to get good shots of anyway so....you'll have to use your imagination on that one. Its a shrug, its black and its warm. I made it a bit big (still trying to work out the degree of ease thats right for me) but since I winged it without a pattern I'm not too upset at how it turned out, though I do feel a little like a gorilla at times, but its comfy and thats all I ask for in a shrug.
Last Thursday was the day of the annual Sidewalk Sale in Lawrence, and if you are from anywhere around here you know its a fun day of adventure shopping. My favorite yarn store in the world is there (The Yarn Barn) and yes! there was sale yarn to be had. Monique and I were up and on the road by 0830 (a minor miracle in itself since neither of us is a natural morning person-even though I have a day job that requires me to be up before 0600 three days a week I'll never get used to it) and we should have known something was up because as we passed into Lawrence we saw a bank thermometer that read 95 degrees at 0900 IN THE MORNING!
We were not to be deterred, there was yarn to be had after all, and we had dressed for the heat.
We made straight for the Yarn Barn, and fondled much sale yarn. I was nearly swayed by a bag of Rowan Kidsilk Haze in a lush apricot color (being Rowan,I'm sure thats not the name of the color, it is probably something like...aurora or drip or something) since I have been coveting a certain little ballet-like wrap style sweater in just such a yarn but...I could not imagine myself knitting with the stuff. I do love it, I mean, whats NOT to love about that yarn, but it will have to wait for a time when I'm more settled. As I looked around my eye fell on some matte finished cottony looking yarn called Cabana by Reynolds. It is a 65% cotton 35% acrylic blend but I could not resist its suede-like charm. I immediately envisioned a heavily textured lace wrap/throw for fall in the lovely russet color, but I really liked the sage green color too thinking perhaps I may even use it for my mom's poncho-then I got 3 balls of buff to experiment with. I left there with 23 balls of yarn and it wasn't even 10am! Monique also scored some very nice yarn for 2 projects she is working on, then, exhausted from our good fortune we went and had breakfast. (I tried to upload some pics of the yarn but Blogger is being tempermental this morning-maybe tomarrow)
There was more bargain-y goodness to be had there but those stories will have to be for another time, I'm trying to stick to knitting content here.
Imagine my surprise when, on arriving home from the shopping trip on the surface of the sun (it reached 104 degrees before we stopped looking at thermometers) I find a box on the porch containing 17 balls of Filatura di Crosa's Elena for the Corset Pullover (IK spring 2003). I had always wanted to make that sweater and inspired by its recent appearence on another blog I ordered the back issue. After I had that in my hands I began a search for the yarn, which of course is discontinued. Just when I was sure I was going to have to substitute, I did one more search and found a lovely person selling that exact yarn on ETSY! Thank you AzureGrackle!
In another minor miracle for the day, a swatch was done and woohoo! gauge obtained! Yes!
Now all I have to do is finish some green socks I'm working on and I can start....it is almost August you know. *wink*

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream" - Edgar Allen Poe

Today's blog title has very little to do with the subject matter, I just have always loved that quote and that poem.
Have I been knitting socks? You bet I have but it feels like I'm not gaining any ground with them..in fact...I frogged a whole finished sock and one that was 3/4 finished. Grr. I had to do it for a couple of reasons and, you know...it felt kinda good. I was able to take out some sock frustrations on the poor pair (really, it wasn't its fault that I couldn't get the gauge back and that I had made a few mistakes and forgot what I was doing). Now I need to un-kink the yarn and start over again. I loved the yarn-it was one of the Opal ones but I can't recall which right now, but it had an almost buttery texture that was very enjoyable to knit.
I am also knitting a quick tank with thick yarn I had laying around and am nearly done. I'd post a pic but trust me, plain knitting with slightly fuzzy black yarn is pretty dull stuff.
My non knitting project of the day was great fun...I am going through my closet and remaking some outdated clothes. Years a go I bought a dress at a thrift shop, but I never wore it (still had the tag on it!). It was an ankle length layered dress, with a black slipdress underneath and a burgandy lace overdress on top. I cut the slip out and set it aside-I'm thinking it might make a great beginning for an evil fairy costume sometime-and then cut the lace part in half, separating it into a "sweater" and a "skirt". I then trimmed the bottom edge of the "sweater" and ta-da! instant cool lacetop. It needs a camisole under it but I like it. The "skirt" part I cut down the front and opened up to make a very large lace wrap. I'm considering dyeing the parts since I don't really like the color but even if I don't I now have 2 very usable wardrobe items from a dress that was languishing in the closet! =)

OH! I picked my new glasses up yesterday and I love them!