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February 2007
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April 2007

The Roving Report(er)

My fiber stash has grown quite a bit lately.  Much of the fiber I brought back from Rhinebeck has been spun, to varying degrees of success, and I've acquiring a bit more fiber for 'testing'. 

Lovelyrovingisthecolorofmyeyesthank Anne's new shop has been fun to drool look through and I just joined her Exotic Fiber Club. She still has few places left, but you'd best hurry over and let her know if you're interested. I am very lucky to have met Blogless Nicole and she knows how much I love Anne's fabulous bunny crack.  She bought this breathtaking (and yes, it do smell good) fiber as a birthday gift and Anne delivered it into my hot little hands on Tuesday.  It's Cormo/Alpaca/Bunny (not just any bunny, but Newman!) and it is just my color! In fact this gray/blue is about the color of my eyes (bat, bat).

Ohmyilovethisshetlandwool When Susan posted about her newly (and beautifully) spun skein of Shetland, Anne saw my comment that I had never spun with that type of wool. She is a very astute grrl and, on Tuesday, she handed me a bag full of Shetland just for my spinning pleasure. It's wonderful to have pushers friends who enable encourage exploration and discovery of new fiber. Thank you Anne and Nicole!

Dandylionisdandybeautifulroving Dandylionisspinninguptobethecolorso The selection of the month came from Amy’s Spunky Club and it's such a happy spring colorway...(Dandy Lion, is that not perfect?). I've already started spinning it as it makes me smile just to see the colors blend.  I just ordered two more bobbins for my Lendrum, as one must always be prepared for more spinning, (right!).

BlackgoldinthezengardenFabulousshepherdessrovingfrombell_3 Tan posted about this wonderful fiber and I was swept right up into her Vortex (with her help, thanks grrlfriend).  This is Crosspatch Creations Black Hills Gold and The Spinning Shepherdess from Bellwether Fiber.  Their service is fabulous and the fiber batts are going to be great fun to spin.  So far my favorite fibers to spin have had a bit of texture to them, but that might be because of my 'new spinner' status and their forgiving nature. Both of these batts are crying to be spun, but I need to be strong and leave them be for the time being.

Spinning Spider Jenny has a post on Navajo Plying (chained singles) and the post is full of other great info, too.  Many of my 'real life' friends have heard me throw out color terms, like value and saturation, intensity, and temperature, but they often don't understand what I mean.  Jenny recommends one of the most accessible books on color theory in print and it is also one I forced encouraged many friends to buy when it first arrived on the market.  If you don't have Deb Menz book you must run out and buy it now!

The end of Twisted Knitters has arrived and I confess to being a bad KAL host.  The phrase 'fools rush in' comes to mind, as I think the excitement of learning to spin, getting a wheel, and reading the Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook, just spun my ambition out of control.  I bit off more than I could chew and had no idea how to really lead the group.  It's only now that I find the desire to try my hand at dyeing (when the weather is warmer) and, with only a couple of days left in the KAL, I'm finally knitting my handspun!  Thank you to everyone who followed through and made fabulous projects!  Next time I take on something this huge I'll know what to do and do a better job of hosting. (Hope springs eternal). At least I finished my socks in time!

Finishedforecastsocksreadytowear

Forecast, February's selection from the Spunky Club.
Spun on my Lendrum, Navajo Plied.
Knit in simple stockinette sock (my basic sock) on size 3 DPNs. Time to knit 10 days.

Speaking of hope...I'll be knitting ALL weekend.

Enjoy your weekend!
 


Love Thursday

When Sheree posts on Thursday's she shares, and shows pictures, of what she loves most about her day and her life.  Her Love Thursday post is one I look forward to every week, as it's a joy to see pictures of the boys and her creative spirit. Sheree often ends her post by asking "What are you loving this week?"  So today, I give you "Love Thursday", Zeneedle Style.

I'm loving...

Thevariableweatherofspring

...the changing weather of spring (like the snow yesterday).  It's never boring, doesn't stays 'bad' for long.

Thegangatstitchnbitchhavinagrandtim ...the Stitch 'n Bitchers.  Tuesday is often the most enjoyable evening of the week.

Twonearlyfinsihedhandspunhandknitso ...hand spun, hand knit socks, nearing the wearing stage.

...Judy’s email response to yesterdays post...

Knitting socks is like splitting wood, it warms you several times over…
once through the process of knitting
twice by the wearing
thrice by the friends made.

Emmylouwithfiberandaview ...Emmylou with fiber and the view from my window as I spin.

Smithandmoxiecominginfromthesnow

....and Smith and Moxie coming in from their morning walk (in the snow).

What are you loving this week?

I know what Scout is loving today...it's her birthday!!


SocKnittin'

Let's talk socks...

PrettybirdsongsocksvvwithastersatthIs there any doubt that knitting socks is one of my favorite things to do?  I'm not talking about favorite things to knit, but one of my favorite things in general.  Do you think that's true of many knitters in or out of Blogland? 

PrettypetticoatlacesockatsilverlakeI didn't learn to knit socks from Nancy Bush, but I give her credit for giving me the passion to knit socks.  Her books, classes and local rock star status, brought sock knitting to Salt Lake City in a big way.  It's hard to remember the dates, but I think I started knitting socks around 1995 and by 1997 I constantly had a sock on the needles.  Even when my main focus of crafting was embroidery, a sock in progress was my traveling companion, lunch time project, and general distraction from tiny, exacting embroidery. 

Nancysfolksockswithpurldesigncuff My sock drawer holds many hand knit socks, and even a few skeletons of socks that can no longer be worn but can't quite be eighty-sixed.  When you have a large number of socks it means no sock is worn often enough to wear out quickly and, therefore, some of my socks could be called vintage.

Twinkletoeslatviansocksfromfolkso_2 The main reason I have always had a sock on the needles is the entertainment factor.  Few of us find the turning of a heel, even the 100th heel we've turned, less than magical and certainly never mundane.  Even sufferers of SSS* don't stop knitting socks; they just pick up a different sock and continue to knit. Sock knitters rarely knit the same pattern twice or the same colorway of yarn more than once. 

Eyecandyfridayyarnforsocks_2

The variety of colors, yarns and patterns is unending for the addicted sock knitter. Sock knitting, with all its accoutrement, can be nirvana and a sock can easily be made personally and uniquely your own.

Abitofforecastsecondsock As I knit with my own handspun, and consider spinning more yarn for socks, my thoughts turn to all the suggestions and advice given by spinners.  Some say that Navajo plying doesn't hold up for the long haul or that certain breeds of wool aren't as good as others.  Some say the socks you wear need to match your other clothing, or that hand knit socks should stand out in an ‘in your face’ way.  There are nearly as many opinions as there are sock knitters. 

BirchleafsockonstepsofredrockOur sock knitting isn't done as a necessity to survive. Today we can have warm toes without knitting socks. Purchased socks are not only as good as, or maybe even better for warmth and durability, but are often less expensive.  The main reason we knit socks is the love of knitting and the love of color and texture…at least that’s my opinion.  Therefore, I don’t really care how long a sock will wear, if the number of ply is 2 or 6, how the plying is executed, or even what the fiber content of the sock yarn is (other than it's got to be wool or wool blend).  It’s all about knitting something my feet love to wear, knitting something my hands love to do, doing something endlessly entertaining, and it’s about sharing a passion.

Give me a sock and I’ll 'knit on' forever.

*Second sock syndrome


In Need of Prioritization

It's the last week of March and I ask myself,  "How did that happen!?"  Truly I'm shocked that March is nearly gone and I have little knitting to show for the month. It feels like I've been treading water...no forward motion. Maybe goals and/or priorities will work, so here I post a list of who's on first.

Blueellenssockonhidcote Cuffofellenssockonhidcote First and foremost is Ellen's sock (from Folk Socks) for my Bloomin’ Feet pal.  How did May 1st get so bloomin' close?  How bloomin' slow can I knit?  Not only do I have most of the first sock to finish, but the second bloomin' sock as well. Oh and, I'd like to knit a little something extra, but I'm not sayin' what...so keep yer bloomin' questions to yourselves cuz I won't tell. The yarn is CTH Special and I'm very impressed and happy with its characteristics...it will surely bloom.

Alittlesnapofhidcote Second is Hidcote, but only for the reason that she is so bloomin' close to the finish line. (Yes, I know I've said this before.)  Can you believe I have 6 rows of chart #9 and all of chart # 10 to go? The going is so so slow, but the end feels so so near. I'm not making any predictions because every row is SO long and there may be, or may not be, time to finish and block her this week/weekend. 

Handknitforecastsocksinbagfromkim_2

Third up is the Forecast Sock, my very own handspun sock, solely (Norma is that enough of a pun for you?) because I need an easy, peasy project for SnB and other crazy times. The second sock should work up quickly and that will mean I can finally start knitting a sweater!

It's been too long and I must make this priority number four:

April first I'm turning into a sweater knittin' fool.


The Grrl Knows How to Party!

What happens in SLC, stays in SLC.
Whathappensinutahstahsinutahnot

Kim had a fabulous time in the 'big city'. Meet Joe...the man of her day dreams.   Kim knows how to pick 'em as this boy fixes a mean martini (or three)...just sayin'.

There as a bad case of camnesia all weekend, so there is little evidence that a good time was had by all.  (Maybe that's a good thing.)

Everyone of us had a grand time. There was lunch with Susan, shopping at Three Wishes, martinis and dinner at Canella’s (see above picture), walking, talking and tons of spinning, too.  Bailey and Moxie had a difficult relationship. Moxie was a bit mift at the competition, but they finally did play a bit of dog-o-war just before Kim headed back North. Smith and I miss them both, but Moxie is just relieved

Moxiesmithandbailyhaveafunwalk Sittinginthesunatsolitudeafterbreak Spinningonspindleafterthreemartinis

Wewalkedinthefarmandbaileyhadafabut  Thedogsplayeddogowarandhadagreattim Dogskimandsmithwalkingatthefarm_2

Mynewstitchnbitchbagforsockknitti_2 Kim made this darling felted bag and I'm the happy recipient! I love the colors and the little flower is such a happy embellishment. Kim is very creative in many craft mediums and it was fun her hear about all her great ideas (she executes them, too).  She has the passion and you can feel it!  She's a delightful house guest.  Thank you, Kim for making the trip!!

The spinning wheels were set up in the living room and we spun late into the evening.  I was able to finish up Kate’s Violette's Dream BFL Friday night and ply it (2 ply) the next morning.  Kate's colors have so much depth and it's fun to watch how they mix and play together.  It turned out beautifully and I"m very pleased!

Violettesdreamsbflforgift2ply

Beautifulviolettesdreamupclose

Just so you understand...no knitting what.so.ever occured this weekend.  It was all about having talking, laughing and spinning to our hearts content!  It was a grand time.  Come back soon grrlfriend!


Spinning Continues and I DID Knit

Lotsofyellowrovingdyedinvariouways It's the end of another week of running around and little knitting accomplished...sigh.  However, Wednesday evening was the Wool Pack meeting and I brought a door prize (Anne's lovely bunny crack), which was won by Louise.  She was very excited to get her hands on the Hank's Bunny Blend, but as a new spinner she was a bit intimidated. Kim once told me that every new spinner should have some exotic fluff to try out, so go for it Louise!  The meeting was the annual Dye Exchange and, while I didn't participate, I went to see how it all worked.  Many members brought 2 lbs of dyed wool in the color of the year, yellow and the yellows were as varied as the participants. Everything from Kool Aid to onion skins and every type of chemical dyes, too. Dyeing hasn't been at the top of my list of 'to dos', but by next year I plan on joining in the fun. Wouldn't it be fun to spin a project out of all the different shades of one color?

I was able to knit on the Forecast sock (February's Spunky Club offering) while on the fly this week and finished it just before bedtime Wednesday night.  Size 3 needles and primitive yarn make for quick work.  It's rather thrilling to have my first handspun, hand knit sock finished.  Now onto the second one!  (Oh, and it fits, too!)

Myfirsthandspunhandknitsockforecast

Chainedsinglesplyingofcorriedaleb_3 Last night was my one and only quiet night at home and I spun up as much of the purple BFL as I could before being distracted by the Brick Corriedale.  It just screamed to be plied and so, using my favorite 'plied chained singles' method (aka Navajo plying), the singles became yarn. I now have enough yardage to make one nice sock for Smith. And as soon as I spin and ply the other 4 oz. there will be enough for pair.  The colors are very rich and I'm very pleased with the yarn.

Lovealltheoclorsinthisroving_2

Bflpurpleygoodnessonebobbin_4 Over the the next couple of days I hope to finish spinning the BFL, Violette's Dream, and ply it too, as it must be in the mail by Monday. It will be a two-ply yarn which is best for lace. (How'd that red thread get in the picture?)  Kim and I will be spinning together and that should make finishing  in time doable.

My intention tonight is to knit, knit, knit while I await Kim's arrival.  Last night Hidcote received some quality time and tonight that should continue. The end could be insight!  Enjoy your weekend...I sure will!


I Will Knit Again..Won't I?

Floweringforsythiaandmountainswithc Moxie and I took another walk last night as the rain had cleared and it was another beautiful day.  Several of you asked what type of bird the feather it was I might have found and I do believe it is a quail feather.  It was found near a small group of bushes where the quail often hide.  It's the first quail feather in my collection (which is mostly mourning dove and magpie feathers).

Moxieandtheickyookyhuckybluething_3

Sara Lamb wanted to know how we could tell if Moxie was happy, which as it turns out, is a very appropriate question to come from Sara. Moxie hops and jumps in a lamb like fashion that makes us laugh out loud. Just head towards the door and you'll find out. He also has a great time if you chase him while he has the yukky, ukky blue thing in his mouth.  He'll be hopping around in a happy fashion this weekend as Kim and Bailey are coming to visit! 

A couple of weekends ago, while at breakfast with Miriam, I looked through a new book she had to review. I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of my own as there were several projects I knew would be good summer knitting (and the yarn for one sweater was in my stash).  While purchasing the book at Black Sheep, Vonnie mentioned that the author, Barbara Albright, had written numerous cookbooks, as well as knitting books, and that she had also passed away shortly after, or maybe before, she finished The Natural Knitter.  I took the book home and read it, looked through it thoroughly, with added reverence, and realized what a loss this was for the knitting community.  This book is a lovely swan song and one to be cherished and enjoyed.  The sweater I want to knit from The Natural Knitter is Memories of the Ukraine and I have the needed yarn in my stash! It's Euroflax and design looks like the perfect sweater for the yarn, one that will be fun knitting, very attractive and useful, too.

LacywavessweaterfromlacestylereadyAswatchedaswatchandreadytoknitlacyw But, first sweaters first, I'm going to knit Lacy Waves from Lace Style and I even had time to SWATCH.  The yarn for this sweater was also residing in my stash and it's one of my very favorite yarns, Silky Wool.  I could have tons of it on hand, if the budget would allow.  Fortunately, I had this beautiful turquoise and decided I would enjoy wearing Norah Gaughan's design.   It's not as 'out there' as some of her other patterns, but still has unique styling.  A grrls gotta have a plan and that's mine...now if I can only find some time to knit. (At least I got a swatch!)


Walking in the Springtime

Moxieneedssomeattentionandawalk

Stormbuildsupacrossthemountains_2 When you come home from work and your dog looks that sad, you had better pay attention and take him for a walk. Moxie has grown very weary of our usual path, and so he forced the issue, and we took a path less traveled.  We found all sorts of new blossoms and had a very nice walk while we watched the evening storm move in across the valley.

Blossomsontreesarepoppinglikepopcor Daffodilsarenowouteverywherewego Firsttulipsofthespringbrightredandb

Forsythiaisnowinabloom Thecolorofhyacinthissobeautiful Violetbunchesarestartingtoshow_2

Foundaspecialfeatheronthepath My face is often up in the clouds taking a look at the sky or mountains when I walk, but when I look back down to check my footing, I sometimes find the gift of a single feather.  On our walk I found an unusual feather and heard many more birds singing from the trees.  Moxie was so right to take me off in a new direction and we had a delightful time discovering a new way to go.

When you’re busy having fun, little knitting gets done.  Life last week was like that…too much fun…little time for knitting or even much spinning.  This week (and the weekend to come) will be much the same way. Time does fly, as the saying goes.

The only time I've had with Hidcote was last Monday night and, then again, Sunday night.  It was only about two and a half hours total and it was then that I realized that Hidcote is a beautiful beast. Two rows took almost an hour and a half, and it was THEN I realized (I can be slow at times) she, the beautiful Hidcote, would be done when SHE was good and ready. She is far from the finish line. It’s a good thing I love the process.

Hidcoteinthezengarden

Hidcoteintransistionfromlatistolave This takes me back to the time about a year ago when Mim was designing this enchanted garden and I remember just how much time it took her to think through the transition from lattice to lavender. I asked about the shawl often as I knew it was going to be incredible.  After her muse successfully guided her through that transition, she’d started knitting again and I wanted to know when, when, when?  She answered  it was taking a long time to knit each row, but she knew how it was all going to end.
Sensualblossomsofhidcotegarden

I now understand fully what Mim was going through.  Hidcote will not be rushed.  I knit on…slowly. Hidcote will bloom with the spring, a slow unsettled progress that will end with glorious flowers...well worth the wait.  Today it's raining...maybe that will help.


Time with Emmylou or How Much I Love My Wheel

Forecastpliedandreadytoknit It was easier to sit at the wheel over the weekend than to sit and knit.  Spinning can be done in a hit and miss fashion and I was all about sitting for only a minute or two here and there.  Plying Forecast, from the Spunky Club was so enjoyable and relaxing.  I'm hooked on the technique of plying chained singles. (How to PDF here.)  I was so excited with the results that I started a sock and found it quick work.

Turnedheelofforecastsock_2

The knitting is going very smoothly and I'm a bit impressed with the eveness of the spinning and that the knots, which I'd been told are obvious with this type of plying, are just not that noticable.  Rarely do I even see one and find they just aren't a problem.

Bflviolettesdreambykate_2 After finishing Forecast I couldn't stop spinning and loaded Emmylou with a new roving of BFL in an inky/purple colorway, Violette's Dream, dyed by Kate.  (It is more purple than the blue in this picture.)  This is a gift for a friend who doesn't spin and I hope it will turn out well.  Even with only a little time here and there, about half the spinning is finished. There should be enough yarn, in a two ply, for a nice sized shawl.

The new issue of Spin Off arrived in my mail box on Saturday and I was finally able to see Kristi’s very, very cool socks, which made the cover (you must check it out). Kristi, you did a very nice job on the article and the socks are a must for me to spin and knit (and I might even try some dyeing). Kristi bought her wheel at Estes  Wool Market 2005 and I captured a picture of her at the wheel. Spin Off's on-line information is great for a new spinner and I highly recommend the magazine, too.

MargenesockyarnthatlookslikemountaiColorofmountainslooklikeyarn A few of you have asked when the "Margene" sock yarn, dyed by Erin, would be available. She informed me last week that Kristy now has it in stock.  Erin, it really does look like our mountains, the mountains I love! Thank you for making such a beautiful yarn in my name.  You certainly captured the colors outside my window.


What I Did with Three Days Off

Mother Nature woke up in SLC with a jolt!  It was 25+ degrees above normal...just a slice of heaven that felt more like June!

Theskywassoblueandbeautifulwithreco
The sky looked like this (or bluer) all weekend.

With a cool morning breeze coming through the window, Emmylou and I sang a nice duet to the accompaniment of a house finch (a sure sign of spring).

Forecastisnicelypliedinchainedsin_3 Prettypurpleforafriendsbirthdaygi_2

Forecast was plied (chained singles) and a new project started. But, the outdoors called and I just had to get out of the house.

A few (more) flowers were found peeking up through winters garden debris.

Littlecrocuseverywhere Springcameinwideawake

Smith did a bit of spring cleaning while I hung a new wind chime (yes I got the better end of the deal).

Cleaningblindsonabeautifulday  Chainoflifewindchimreplacement

My toes were freed from shoes and socks and had a little pampering to boot. (As Norma would say, "Sometimes I crack myself up".)

Mytoesarehappytobeprettyandfree_2

All this information is meant to distract you from the fact that no knitting was done this weekend.  I don't mean to rub in the fact that we had perfect, albeit disconcertingly warm weather, while you in the East had more winter.  But, I did warn you while you were basking in December's warmth that you'd pay in March...did I not? 

Soon enough we'll have a few (more) days of cold and snow, the unsettled conditions of spring. And then, after that we'll all be complaining about the heat of summer.  The cycles continue. It's all good.