Today I had Sasha and Erin over for a little Spinning 101. Erin is borrowing one of my wheels so I spent some time plying odds and ends off of bobbins to free them up for her. I made a cute, though odd, skein (which I forgot to photograph) of all the spinning from my Three Wild Downs class and my Color in Plying class from Madrona this year. So now I have very colorful, very soft and completely erradically spun yarn. I also used up a lot of dribs and drabs of things just laying around. I've searched high and low and am still missing a bag full of storage bobbins with who-knows-what on them.
While Sasha was over she gave me a quick introduction to the knitting machine. This is going to take some time to learn. Here's my first attempt.
I had some *cough* problems on the edges.
My second attempt had much better edges.
The center left a little to be desired.
I currently understand nothing about this process. I'm hoping to get good enough to simply make blanks to dye a la Nancy Roberts. My fantasy idea is to make Kauni-like sweater. Who knows what my reality might be.
Pattern: Simply Lovely Lace Socks by Karen Baumer from Interweave Knits Spring '06 Yarn: Elann Esprit Needles: US2 Addi Turbos Notes: Amazingly fast and easy socks. These are the sport-weight version. I used a slightly smaller needle due my ever loosening knitting.
Sasha had a blog contest and I won this super cute Japanese knitting machine for children. It's got the instructions inside (in Japanese). Fortunately it's written for kids so maybe I can figure it out on my own.
If she can do it, so can I. Now what project have I wanted to do with miles of stockinette...
There's something I haven't been telling you. I am taking a sewing class. It was supposed to be a two week class on Amy Butler's Weekender Bag. (My nearly-complete bag is down in the car and I just don't feel like going down there to get it and photograph it for you. Sorry.) But much like Gilligan's three hour tour, my class has lasted much longer. We had our third class last night because no one has finished her bag. In fact we spent the entire first three hour class just cutting out the pattern. We will be meeting for a fourth class next week. Unless something really gruesome happens I will have a finished bag by then. Which is good because if I can finish the bag without crying or cursing too much I want to make this new Amy Butler pattern. Because it's omygodawesome!
For those of you who feel the Amy love but don't dig sewing she has a new line of bags coming out. I've ordered several for the shop. I can't wait for them to come in.
In other news I made it to the gym today with my gym bag and there was hot water. Yay me. On the down side I lost a lot of ground in my running training by slacking off for nearly two weeks. But I always tell myself, "I'm here making an effort and that's all anyone can ask of me." So there.
In other, other news, I have only knit about two inches on my second SLL sock. The reason the first went so fast is not because I am a fast knitter. I'm really not. It was due to the short size (only 4" from cuff to the start of the heel flap) and the big gauge (Elann Esprit on US2s). Presto, zippy socks!
On Wednesday night a whole whack of Purlygirls went downtown to see Crazy Aunt Purl at Barnes and Noble. We started the night with drinks and nibbles at Dragonfish's happy hour. When we arrived at the bookstore there were about 20 chairs set out with knitters sitting in all of them. As we stood aghast and incredulous at the poor planning on the part of B & N some employees were dragging the only other available seating in the store our way--the wee, foot-high benches from the children's section. We hunkered down as more and more knitters poured into the store. They apparently ran out of books at this event. A bookstore invited an author to come speak and they didn't have enough books. It's just like every bad story about bookstores that Stephanie tells. They really don't believe in the power of the knitting community.
By the time Laurie came out there were as many people standing as there were sitting. Laurie was lovely, of course. She was funny, sweet, twangy and such a good sport answering all sorts of personal questions.
Here's Laurie looking all camera-ready while I look significantly less so.
After the event there was more eating. This time at Steelhead Diner. I got the most incredible dessert. Black Velvet Cake. Covered in almonds and toasted coconut served with coconut ice cream. Oh. My. God. Yum.
After the Pomatomus socks were finished on Friday I started a new project.
Tailored Scallops from Lace Style in Cormo/silk handspun and dyed by me. This was my Tour de Fleece '06 spinning which I dyed recently then overdyed. I'm still not entirely happy with the color. This photo looks exactly how I intended the yarn to look. Sadly in real life it's lighter in color and more orangey. I can't remember the last time I knit a sweater on size 10 needles. So fast!
I knit while watching the first few episodes of Life. I live in the DVR dark ages. I can only record one show per time slot. I started watching Dirty Sexy Money (not loving it). I thought Life was going to be super heart-felt, life-affirming and dull. It's not and I really like it. In fact other than Pushing Daisies I think it's the only decent new show I've seen this season. As an added bonus there are ads for Papa John's throughout that are so craptastic it's nearly worth watching just for the painfully bad acting and horrendous script. I also caught the Season 2 premiere of Dexter which is available in the Watch Instantly section of Netflix. Score!
Today I went to Bainbridge with friends (Molly, her baby, Sasha and Sarah). I needed a new sock to take with me.
We met for brunch at Lola--more yum--then caught the ferry to Bainbridge. I say this every single time I go but man, I just love taking a little jaunt over there. It's so relaxing. There's yarn, fabric and a really good bakery all within a block. I got a pumpkin cupcake that was so darned cute I made everyone admire it and photographed it before devouring it like a rabid beast.
It's difficult to see in the photo but that's one of those candy corn type pumpkins on top. They piped a little leaf right on top of it that was just so darling.
Wes and I played tag team. As soon as I got home he ran out for a benefit dinner. I spent the evening (screen-free) with the boys. I knit on my sock, I started to quilt the spider quilt I pieced a while back. I managed to break another needle. What is up with that? I guess I'm just not moving the whole quilt around fast enough and the needle is getting pulled so that it misses the hole in the plate?? That killed my confidence on that one for the evening.
The boys and I played Apples to Apples Kids for hours. It's kind of lame with only three people but those two just laughed themselves sick. A word of advice: When playing Apples to Apples with boys you will always, always win if you get the "dirty diapers" card. Doesn't matter what category. It is a lock. While playing the category "cold" came up. My older son said, "You can win this category is you have Ladies" a la Demetri Martin. I don't know where he comes up with this stuff.
Pattern: Pomatomus by Cookie A. Yarn: Socks That Rock, Lightweight, in Ms. LaRock colorway Needles: US2 Addi Turbos Notes: I tried to knit the socks as written with three leg pattern repeats but ran out of yarn for the second sock. I cut off the top of the first sock and knit the ribbing back up in the opposite direction. It's not too noticeable but the stitches do twist the wrong way back up the sock. I used that extra yarn to try to finish the second sock. It wasn't enough so I ripped out the first toe and knit it shorter (it was a little too long anyway) at the same time I knit the second sock. I then ran out of yarn at the same spot on both socks and finished the last smidgen with some Socks That Rock in the Mist colorway. If I had to make these again I would a) knit them on US1s and b) only knit the leg repeat twice.
The first Pomatomus cuff has been picked up and reknit. It's not the most elegant thing ever but it won't make people stop and stare either. I'm and starting the toe decreases on sock two and see that I still won't have enough yarn to complete it. I'm going to cut sock one--again!--and make the toe shorter and use that yarn to hopefully finish the second toe. A transplant, if you will.
I have some photos and still have to tell you all about Crazy Aunt Purl but not until I finish these damned socks.
There is a problem with my little "I'll just cut off the top of this here sock. No problem." plan. The problem is that the ribbing seamlessly runs down into the pattern on the sock. Picking the stitches back up and knitting to the cuff will not line up properly. It will not be seamless and elegant and it will not match the second sock.
Of course, I realized this after I cut off the top of the first sock. Shit!
So here we are. I have one sock done with three leg repeats. I have have one sock done up to just past the gusset decreases with two leg repeats. I have this much yarn left. Now I get to knit up that last bit of yarn, rip out the top of the first sock and reknit the ribbing. Then use whatever extra yarn that produces to knit the remainder (hopefully) of the second sock. If it's not enough, and I'm thinking it's not, I then move on to ripping out the toe of the first sock and knitting both toes with another yarn. If I were I more motivated knitter, and I'm not, I would rip out everything and start again on a smaller needle doing only two leg repeats on both socks. But that, my friends, is never going to happen.
Here's a tiny peek too at the tiny bit of spinning I've been doing lately. My fiber blending class samples from Madrona.
The garish colors made more garish by night photography.
I'm going to see Crazy Aunt Purl tonight at Pacific Place. Who else is going?
So I head to the gym this morning, this time not caring about whether or not there is hot water. I don't have work today. I can shower at home. I pull up, get out of the car and open my trunk. There I discover that I forgot my fucking gym bag.
Walked up to the front door of the gym today and saw the sign announcing that there was no hot water. I don't know about you but I am not one of those folks who can run for 30 minutes then dab my forehead with a damp paper towel and be ready to face the world.
I cheated on Screen-Free Sunday today. But I have a really good excuse. I was interviewed by Jenny and Nicole of Stash and Burn! As Jenny would say, "Yay!" It was really fun to talk to them. I felt like I knew them already from listening to their podcast so much.
I finished the first Pomatomus last night. Just for kicks I weighed the remaining yarn. 47 grams. Okay. Then I weighed the completed sock. 67 grams. Crap! I'm going to knit the second sock with one less repeat on the leg then I'll rip back the first sock to match it I guess. What a waste. They're so pretty all nice and tall.
I've been doing a little bit of spinning lately. I'm finally spinning all the samples I made in Jill Laski's fiber blending class at Madrona last year. The fiber is lovely to spin but the colors were *ahem* experimental. I also overdyed the cormo/silk I dyed a few weeks ago. I got closer to the color I wanted. If it doesn't morph into something heinous overnight I think I'll call it good.
I also made a trip to a fabric store. I tried to resist all the fabric but a pretty good chunk came home with me. I basted my son's spider quilt to ease my guilt feelings. I now have four quilts that need to be quilted (three are partly quilted).
Here's my Pomatomus as of yesterday morning. I'm nearly through the heel now. I've seen a lot of comments about how hard this pattern looks. That is the beauty of lace. It looks complex but is often very simple. This pattern is the most simplified version of lace there is. There is one yarn over and one decrease in each repeat. It's spiced up by being worked in a twisted rib. Instead of knit one, purl one it's knit one through the back loop, purl one. The k2togs are also knit through the back loop. That's it. The increasing and decreasing creates the arched appearance in the ribbing. Deceptively simple.
For the last year or so I've devoted myself to not one, not two, but three Nancy Bush sock knitalongs. One for eachbook. I have enjoyed the socks I've knit immensely. Prior to that I was trying to keep up with the Six Sox Knitalong. Once I gave myself permission to just grab a skein of sock yarn and knit any old pattern I wanted to I feel so free! The Broken Cable Ribs were a delight to knit. They were so simple and so fast. When I got home from the conference I wanted a rest from my Roveniemi mitten bitty-needles-chart-reading (I'm sure there's a Finnish word for that). I opened my bin of sock yarn and just pulled out a skein of Socks That Rock, Ms. LaRock colorway, and looked on Ravelry for a pattern to knit. I landed on Pomatomus. I know. Everyone and her dog has already knit them and then moved on to Monkey. Monkey doesn't really do anything for me. I'm liking Pomatomus. I like knitting it. I like saying it. Pomatumus. Say it with me.
Pattern: Broken Cable Rib Socks by Ann Budd, Interweave Knits Summer '05 Yarn: Regia Line Step Colors Needles: US2 and 3 Addi Turbos Notes: I made the leg slightly shorter as always. Very fast and easy sock pattern.
I have lots of photos to share but no time to deal with it all tonight (and most likely not tomorrow) but some time soon. So for now I'll give you that classic blog crutch, a list of random stuff.
1) I got to watch Friday Night Lights online last night. Yay. 2) I could not watch 30 Rock (kept freezing). Boo. 3) I finished my miniature Icelandic shawl from my Friday class. Yay. 4) The class itself was disappointing, too long and boring. Boo. 5) I finished my Broken Cable Rib socks on Friday. Yay. 6) I got to meet an internet friend at the conference and have dinner with her tonight. Yay. 7) I got to show Myrna Stahman the completed shawl that I started in her class last June. Yay. 8) I took Susanna Hansson's Roveniemi (Roveniemi webcam. How awesome is the internet?) Mitten class today. It was very interesting and while the technique is slow and cumbersome the results are very intriguing. 9) I took Annemor Sundbo's class yesterday and got to play around with Norwegian designs (many pictures on this one tomorrow). 10) She'll be speaking at the Knitters Guild this Wednesday night. Meetings are free and open to the public so do come! 11) I drank more regular coffee in the last three days than in the last three years. Those Nordic ladies really take their coffee seriously. 12) I now feel a deep need to visit the Faroe Islands (have you checked out their coat of arms?), Iceland and Lapland. 13) My older son keeps referring to Lapland as "Yakland." We cannot seem to straighten him out.
I came home after a long, long day of Nordic knitting and then spinning at the shop to watch the season premiere of Friday Night Lights. The ReplayTV didn't record it! It recorded the rebroadcast of Grey's Anatomy! Bah! Nobody tell me anything or I'll poke you in the eye.
"I don't know what this Rose-Kim chick keeps going on about Big Ass Knits for. They're perfectly fine. Please ignore that my arms appear to be missing and have been replaced with robotic appendages. I'm okay. Really."
"And, um, I don't really need pants. Nope. It's all good. I've got my knee pads. I'm all set."
"Just let me adjust these breast wings and I'll be right with you."
"A little help here, please."
"All better now--Gah! Oh damn. Arnie, the thing's on my head again!"
"What? No, I've tried moving the things already. Yes, I'm wearing my lycra bodysuit but it's still not working."
"There! Ah ha! Now I'll open a can of whup-ass on anyone who says another word about my Big Ass Knits!"
445 yards of fingering weight yarn. It's very *ahem* irregular. This bat is from Dawn's Custom Carding. It's the fourth or fifth one of here's I've spun. It wasn't as nicely prepared as the others. There was tons of VM. The silk also just doesn't blend in as nicely as wool or mohair. It's very soft and squishy though and I'm happy with it.
I don't like football. I actively dislike football. But everyone kept saying, "Friday Night Lights isn't really about football." "Sure," I thought. But I decided to be a sport about it and try it out. I got the first DVD from Netflix. After the first episode I still wasn't entirely sold. By the end of the third episode I was completely sucked in.
And now I have to admit to the world that I love Matt Saracen. Thankfully the actor who plays him is 25 which makes this still kind of icky but at least legal in all countries. I love the way everyone on the show always call him by his full name, MattSaracen. And mostly I think I love that he is what I always wanted the football players I dated in high school to be, rugged and cool but incredibly kind and sweet. In reality they were more like self-involved and badly groomed.
The Gee's Bend show was wonderful. I wish I had had the foresight to buy tickets to the panel discussion with some of the quilters. I had an epiphany standing in the gallery looking at the quilts. The quilts of Gee's Bend made me want to make quilts. I love their improvisational style, their organic forms and the sense of history and time about them. I wasn't attracted to fussy, "perfect" quilting. Then, once I started making quilts, I went straight toward the fussy/perfect ideal and left spontaneous and lively by the wayside. I want to have both. I spent some time in the Open Art Studio at the museum with Wes and the kids and made a "paper quilt." Even just gluing random strips of paper down was very liberating.
Can I work in a plug for museums here? You know how people always say no one on their deathbed ever thought "I wish I'd spent more time at work." Well, I have never left a museum thinking, "That was a waste of time." I always find time at a museum interesting and enriching. So I would strongly recommend a trip to a museum for everyone right away!
I finished my first Broken Cable sock in the car on the way to Tacoma.
I started number two last night watching* Hot Fuzz** with Wes.
I've got my yarn on the drying rack but I have no idea when it will actually get dry. The weather forecast is for lots of rain for the entire week. I hope it can dry before it gets mildewy.
This was kettle-dyed for a variegated effect. The final color isn't what I had hoped for (it never is).
Screen-Free Sunday is still working remarkably well. We went to the museum, did some shopping, came home, made dinner, cleaned the house, reorganized some of the kitchen cabinets, did laundry and dishes! We ate dinner at the dining room table all together! Plus I had time to finish spinning the singles for my current project and start plying. (No photo). It's amazing and embarassing how much time gets sucked up by the computer around here.
*The screen ban lifts once the kids are in bed. **Very light and funny but the second half was a little too drawn out. The outtakes are priceless though.