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June 2007
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August 2007

Half a Pair Trio

Halfapairofthreesocks

What's got into me?  Has this ever happened? Three, that's three socks that have no mates. What we have here is not second sock syndrome...its delusions of grandeur!  Too many fun socks to knit, so little time (this seems to be my mantra for so many things lately).  The Neapolitan Sock (Trekking yarn) has been a kick to knit. Whenever I'm working on it in public (usually I'm knitting with other knitters) everyone has to comment on what fun it is and how it looks like ice cream or candy.  It's very eye catching and just plain fun. Last week I told you about finishing the first Shockwave out of my handspun and today I must tell you about my love for Ruby.  Ruby My Dear aka Thelonious is the apple of my eye.

Fullfrontalofthelonious Ruby has so many wonderful qualities from the tip of her toe to the top of her cuff. First let's look at thesubtle shading of reds in her yarn.  Judy did a smashing job of dyeing a red so rich and true with deeper reds in the undertones.  It really is exceptional. Smith proclaims often how much he loves the color. Not only do I love the color (and the texture) of the yarn...I love the pattern and the way the design travels around the leg and down the foot.  This sock has been pure entertainment to knit, even if I do need to refer to the chart often.  The lace pattern starts in four places on the cuff and travels diagonally down the leg, intersecting and then crossing over, to travel down the foot.  It's really ingenious the way CookieA adds and subtracts rib stitches to create the movement.

Legofthelonious_2

The ribbing is constant, yet changing, and helps to insure the sock will fit (pattern is in three sizes).  It's so cool to see the ribbing come and go, end and begin, as the lace panel works down the sock.  If you look at the front of the leg and the top of the foot you'll see the ribbing and lace fit well together.  Don't you love it?  I do!

Tippytoeofthelnious

Lovelyrubythelonious

I do believe the second Ruby will be knit before any other sock as I do so love this pattern and the yarn.  However, I have been thinking it's time for Smith's next pair of socks and tomorrow I should pick another yarn from my SCFO.  Hmmmm, whatever will I do?


A Short Retreat

Snidervillebasinnearspinnersretre_2
Groupofspinnerssettledinforadayof_2 In a far off land, that isn't really that far away...just seems far away, a coven of  group of spinners gathered together for several days of communing with nature, the fiber they love, and with each other.  They stayed in a meadow surrounded by aspen trees and lived in a makeshift shelter that kept the summer rains off their tools and the delicate fiber. It was truly a magical time whether one was there for a day (like I was) or for four days (like most everyone else).
Prezziesandprizes_3 Purchasesofgoodfiberandspindle_3 There were prezzies and prizes, good things to buy and friends to sit with while chatting, spinning, eating and/or drinking wine.  Elizabeth, a spindle maker of excellence, was there with a wonderful selection of new spindles and I just had to bring home this lovely one with a mushroom shaped top.  (I've yet to give it a spin.)  Deb  and I sat and spun together much of the day and here she is lifting a glass to Marcy. Hey, Marcy!  Marge wanted to me say hi to Teyani as she spun a big bump of "Say a Little Prayer". Blogland is with me even when I'm spending a day with 'real' and not 'imaginary' friends.

Elizabethputtingthefinishingtouch_2 Debtoastingtoagrandday Margespinningsayalittleprayer

Tarathefiberrprincess Bigolrolagofblueskyfiber A little princess, her name is Tara, introduced me to drum carding.  This is something I've been very interested to learn more about and Tara kindly walked me through the steps.  She helped me create a wonderful batt that was the color of the sky.  I spent the day spinning it (it wasn't the best of wool) and came home with a bobbins worth to ply.  It made a very lovely souvenir skein and one that will always remind me of this charming young lady who already has fiber fever.

Spunupprettylikethesky_2

Next year my plan is to spend the entire weekend camping and spinning in this magic place with many delightful fiber friends.  Everything is so well planned, so well executed, so much fun.  Too much of a good thing is never enough. 


Can’t Quit Them

Rubymydearthelonious It may not be all about sweaters around here...rest assured, sock knitting will never be abandon. First of all there is my love for Ruby.  Ruby My Dear, my rendition of Thelonious, isn't the type of sock you can pack around and knit while in a social setting. It takes chart watching, careful watching of just where you are in the pattern, and careful marking of the rows as you go.  It's work! Fun work, good knitting work, but work nonetheless.  The slow going is well worth the effort as the pattern is intriguing and unique. The first Ruby should be off the needles tonight and the second sock should go more quickly as the pattern, and how it works, is now in my head.  Judy's Tulip yarn was a good for the pattern with its subtle shades of red. 

Firstshockwaveisfinished_2 I came >< this close to frogging the Strawberry Fields Shockwave Sock, but when I slipped it on my foot to see how it felt and looked, I was nicely surprised.  It fit well, felt good, looked great, AND was ready for a toe!   I finished it off and will start the second sock soon.   Spinning for socks will take a bit more practice as this yarn isn’t wonderful.  Next time I won't get so carried away and ply so tightly.

Shockwavesockisfinishedonemoretogo

The Neapolitan sock had a bit of attention on Tuesday, but it's mostly relegated to social knitting and I don't expect it to grow much...it's very nice, easy knitting when a mindless project is in order, however.  I DO love me some sock knitting and it's true...I just can't quit them.

Last night we had a gully washer, rolling thunderstorm, with loads of lightning, boil up over our end of the Salt Lake Valley.  It happened just before I headed to bed and it was so delightful to listen to the patter of the rain, the rumbling thunder that went on and on, and to also hear the chirp of crickets through it all.  Nature is a wonder and falling asleep to the sound of water and cool moist air was very relaxing. Thanks mother nature, we needed that

Today is Anne's birthday!  I hope you can come up for air, friend and have a wonderful day!

Tomorrow I'm spending the day at the Wool Pack Spinning Retreat. Hopefully it will be drier (no rain and less humidity) than that last few days. Hanging out with accomplished knitters will be a blast!  See you next week.


Planning for Sweater Time

Cloudsonmountainpeaks

Clouds danced along the mountain peaks all day yesterday. They looked deceivingly cool, a reminder of what's to come.  The humidity was high (between 45 and 60%), the rain rare. We swelter...we are not acclimated to moist air, but the rain late in the day was cooling despite the humidity.

Allthepiecesofphyllo_3 Unintentionally, the first half of 2007 was all about socks, so the second half will, intentionally, be all about sweaters.  The Phyllo Yoked Sweater is speeding along happily. Not much can go wrong with stockinette stitch, except perhaps ennui, and there is no ennui to be seen.  The back and fronts are finished and one sleeve is growing rapidly. Once the pieces are finished the fancy, smancy yoke knitting will commence.  Calmer, in an aptly named color called Refresh, is a very nice yarn and so we all spend as much time together as we can….happy together, that's us.

Plainandfancywoolmagentaforcardigan There is another sweater in the queue that has been swatched and is waiting for its turn 'in hand'.  After searching for the perfect pattern for the Magenta Plain and Fancy Wool, which I fell in love with all over again while swatching, I have finally decided on the Kelly Cardigan  (the link is Kris' rendition…just beautiful!) from Classic Knits by Erika Knight.  Ravelry played a very big role in my search for the right project.  It offers enough info from the pattern source, AND actual knitters and I've found it very valuable in my decision making. The info page on Kelly gave me gauge, needle size and yarn requirements, which matched my swatch perfectly. Despite the yarn differences (the pattern calls for Kid Silk Haze), I do think the pattern suits this unique yarn.  It is hard to put off  knitting Kelly (I HAD to start..isn't it pretty already?), but I’m going to stick with Phyllo until she’s finished...I’m just as excited about her and it shouldn't be too long before she's complete.  (If you're waiting for a Ravelry invite you might consider taking pictures of your finished knits, WIPs, and stash...get them set up in a Flickr account and once you're on Ravelry you'll find it easy going to set up your profile.)

Forestcanopyandnightshade

Oberonandjapaneseflowerstole Lace is also trying to wile its way into my knitting queue. I'm doing my best to hold off for now, but the Nightshade singles are singing a siren song.  Forest Canopy seems to be a good choice for the yardage and would be easy enough to do.  The Japanese Feather Stole (check Anne's catalog) is also in the near future for my handspun Oberon and, believe it or not, I might even "Free" Jóhö  in the next little while.  Oh dear, I think the "delusions of grandeur" are returning!


My Day Off

This was the sky early Tuesday morning.
Watchedtheglorouislybluesky

Thecloudsbuiltupasthedaywenton_2 Smoke free and bluer than I've seen it all summer.  It was so enjoyable to sit on the patio, feel the rare sensation of humidity on my skin and watch the clouds build up over the mountain. 40% humidity is quite something to a desert rat like me.  This time of year that much humidity means monsoonal moisture could make it's way in to our valley.  Rain, sweet rain, we so need you.

Satonthepatioandknitrubymydear_2Weenjoyedbreakfasttogether The main focus of my patio knitting was Ruby/ Thelonious. The pattern kept things interesting as I knit while being serenaded by a variety of song birds. The heel was a nice respite from chart reading and good progress was made. I ignored the parade (one of the largest in the country), but decided to get out of the house and take the Neapolitan sock to breakfast. If I could have had a Bloody Mary (only after noon) I would have. (Poor Smith works for a national corp that doesn't recognize State holidays...so I was on my own.)

Spunabobbinofhernamewasrio_3After breakfast, and while listening to some new music (link has music),  I spent a little quality time with Emmylou and spun a bobbin full of  Pippi's Falkland wool that I had picked up from Scout a couple of weeks ago. 'Her Name is Rio' is one pretty grrl and she's loads of fun, too.

Lovelyendtoholiday Later in the afternoon I spent time with a few members of my family who were in town for a larger family reunion (which I also ignored) and then enjoyed a lovely evening with Smith.  It rained, too! Not as much as we needed or wanted, but enough to make a cool, delightful end to the day.


Pioneer Day aka Days of '47

Meadowofwildflowersinalbionbasina_2

Albion Basin on Sunday...wildflowers galore and smoke from wildfires galore.  It really couldn't get much worse unless the fire was right here in our very own mountains.  We are surrounded by fire once again, breathing smoke, feeling the damage done to our eyes and lungs. There is a good chance of rain today...we are desperate for any amount that comes.

Saturday we stayed indoors, hold up in the dark house as temperatures soared...the smoke had just started to fill the air once again (9 big fires in Utah alone).  We keep the house dark, the windows covered, as it keeps the heat out to some degree. Not wanting to spend the entire day as moles, we headed up to Silver Lake in the evening hours, hoping to find relief from the heat.  Even at 10,000' you can't escape it....while it was cooler, it was still near 90.  The lake was glorious and had a look and feel we've not experienced, as our trips have always been in the morning or mid-day.  The sun was setting behind the lake, which meant much of it was in the mountain's shadow.  The air was delightfully cooler in the shaded groves.

Silverlakeintheearlyeveningofsat_2

Wildflowers are everywhere in the higher elevations of both Big and Little Cottonwood canyons. Another week or so and they'll be gone.

Monkshoodatsilverlake Fireweedaroundsilverlakeandalbionba Indianpaintbrushinalbionbasin

Today is the day we celebrate Utah. The pioneers arrived via Emigration Canyon in 1847, and as they viewed the valley below, Brigham Young said, "This is the place."   Since I'm a 'daughter' of one of the original settlers, my feelings on this holiday are mixed. While I don't follow the predominate 'culture', I do love this State.  Utah is my home, my heart is here, and I do hope that someday we, who are not LDS, are accepted and respected for our point of view, different though it may be from the 'norm'.  Okay, I'm off my soap-box and ready to go play (knit/spin?) the day away!

Please go and wish Katy a Happy Birthday!


Spinning Drama

The last few months it's been hard to find long stretches of time to sit and spin, however with bits of time here and there, I've been able to fill a few bobbins.  As with any group of projects in the works, there comes a time when everything seems to come together all at the same moment.  This weekend was the culmination of several spinning projects.

Ramboiulettesoftandluscioushardtosp A couple of months ago the Rambouillet from Anne's Wooly Wonka Exotic Fiber Club arrived. I had a rough go of it at first...my lack of experience took its toll and after spending too much time in frustration I set it aside to spin something easier. Amy's June Spunky Club offering, Nightshade, was nearby and called to be spun...so that's what I did.

Singlesonniddynoddybeforesteaming In an effort to continue the learning process, I tried to spin well enough to create a single with the Nightshade. The strand looked to be fairly even, not too tight (singles need to be a softly spun), so I let it sit on the bobbin for several days to relax the twist. When I wound it onto the niddy noddy I was extra pleased to see that it didn’t break and, again, set it aside for a few days more to continue relaxing of the twist.    
BobbinoftulipfromspunkyI just couldn't help myself and, as a reward for a 'job well done', picked up the newest fiber to arrive from Amy's Spunky Club, Tulip.  This is a very luscious BFL and it was a joy to spin. The fiber was soft, had a beautiful luster, and nearly spun itself.   I couldn’t wait to start the second bobbin but, to my horror, I found that all NINE bobbins I owned had fiber on them.  Something would need to be spun to the end and the best thing to do, so it seemed, was to go back to the Rambo, buck up and get the job done.

Bobbinofbadlyspunrambo This time I was determined to spin 'woolen' (long draw) as I knew the fiber (and I) would be happier.  After a few hours of trial and error my fingers and brain started to work together.  Toward the end of the bobbin I really had a fair handle on what I was doing and found the results quite rewarding.   Next came plying, which I did over a couple of evenings and over did...sigh.  The thoughts of finishing this fiber (remember my matching bucket and toilet yarn plunger?), along with the beautiful alpaca/bunny Oberon, danced around my head.  BUT, horrors again!  The niddy noddy was full of Nightshade singles!  However, I now had two empty bobbins.

Singlessteamingonthestove_2 So, if you're still with me you might now realize I have a bobbin full of plied Rambo, another of Tulip singles, and a niddy noddy full of Nightshade singles.  The plan was to 'finish' all of this yarn over the weekend, but without the use of my niddy noddy (full of singles) I couldn't wind the Rambo or Tulip into skeins. My hope was to stand over the steaming pan during the cool hours of Saturday morning, but the only way to have an empty the niddy for use was to steam the singles on Friday and let them dry overnight.  Just so you know what a sacrifice this was, the temperature outside was103 and 80 inside.  Bleh. What one does for the love of fiber, I swear.

As a reward for standing over a hot stove (and NO, I did not cook dinner after that), I spun and plied the second bobbin of Tulip. By morning I would be able to wind both the Tulip and Rambo into skeins and start the task of wet finishing.  As it was, the singles of Nightshade were dry very quickly (don't you love the desert?) and they turned out to be so beautiful!

Singlesofnightshadeaftersteaming_2

Sampleofoberonforfinishing Early Saturday, during the cool(er) hours of morning, I filled the bucket with hot, hot water, added a dash of soap, my delicate sample skein of alpaca/angora Oberon, and started plunging.  A quick dunk into a bowl of cold water and then another dunk in the hot bath and a little slapping around on the side of the sink, I called it good (as I held my breath).  The yarn looked good! So, I bravely, set about abusing finishing the full skein of 600 yds.  Scary as it was, it was worth doing...the finished yarn looked amazing!  It's soft, round and nicely fuzzy.

Alpacaangoraafterfinishing

Rambobeforebeating Ramboissomuchsofterandloftier Next up was the Rambo, and I really gave it a workout.  I dunked, plunged, and slapped the yarn around as much as I dared, and then went on a bit longer. The fiber was greatly enhanced by the abusive finishing and my spinning ills softened into a nice end product. (Before on the left and after on the right.) It's still over-spun, but it's soft and usable. The fulling of the fiber made a yarn with a nice halo that should knit up well.

While all this fiber drama was going on, the skein of Tulip had been soaking to set the twist.  The colors make a fabulous barber poled yarn.  It should make a very nice (and fun) scarf to wear with my black coat.

Tulip2plyyarnforscarf_2

It was a very productive day and before Saturday was back into triple digits, I had four fabulous skeins of finished handspun.

Fourlovleyskiensofhandspun

Oooo, ooohh, ahhhh, I’m a little pleased with myself. 


Picnic!

Picnic! is the Lynne's chosen theme for this go round of Special Swap and Elizabeth, my swap pal, put together a perfect picnic package. (Sorry for the poor picture quality...it was dark and I wanted to open everything...now!)

Atruepicnicforsmithandme

Can you see the fabulous insulated tote in the background?  I opened the front zipper pocket where the dish ware is so you can see how compact and useful this bag is.  It's completely insulated to keep things cold and Elizabeth thought of EVERYTHING one might need for picnic.  There's a bottle of Perrier, crackers and cheese, ice tea, Off  and citronella candles to keep the bugs away, hand sanitizer, sweets, a table cloth, note pads (so I can make a list and not forget anything) and so much more!

Prettywrappingofgifts Wrappedupbook Nicelywrappedupyarns

Completewithants Everything was wrapped up in fun, colorful paper with little notes and cute cutouts of summer items attached.  To make the picnic completely ants covered almost every item! It was easy to tell which packages contained yarn so I saved them until last.  How much fun is it to get Apple Pie yarn for a picnic?!  I have yet to knit with any Apple Laine yarns and these two Apple Pie's are moving to the top of the stash.  They are such beautiful blues with lovely names like Blueberry and Lady Blues.

Agorgeousgroupoflovelyyarns
Plus! Elizbeth sent a skein of Cherry Tree Hill Super Sport Merino (Monet) that should make up into a quick and dirty fun pair of socks.  Quick socks are definitely on the agenda and I love the happy colors. I'm going to be reading through the book to find a perfect sock to knit with my perfect picnic yarns!

Thank you Elizabeth for such a nicely done swap package and to Lynne for coming up with such a fun idea.  It will be fun for me to put together a package just for Elizabeth and I've been collecting goodies like crazy.

All this goodness has not made me forget about Flower Friday...

Twobeautifulliliesforsflowerfrida_3  

Enjoy your weekend!