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July 2007
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September 2007

Knitting Happens

Here it is Friday before a nice long weekend.  The knitting (and cleaning) I had hoped to do won't happen as we have guests coming.  Oh well, the best laid plans and all that...time to go with the flow.  There has been knitting off and on this week and I haven't really told you how that's going.   

Johoisgrowingslowly

With future knitting dreams shaping up into a nice long queue, I'm trying to make sure the two projects currently in process are finished up before the Baby Surprise class starts on the 8th.  It's doubtful the Kelly cardigan will be finished by then and I'm ok with that.  It's Jóhö I'd like to see a good ending to and to see in action in time for some cooler fall temps.  She's been hanging around since May 2006 and that is just WAY too long...long enough to put a strain on our relationship. I'm feeling very fickle and have a new lace project ready to cast on, but I'm trying to remain true until the bitter end. 

Kellycardiganbackisnearlydone Kelly is easy going stockinette and she'll be a good packing around project for the foreseeable future.  Being constant and truly monogamous to a project is a good way to see it come to an early fruition. There are just SO many things I want to start and I'm trying my damnedest to stay in the moment, be true to the process and not let in delusions of grandeur, or allow the queue of desire, to overtake my focus.  It's one step at a time, one stitch at a time, babee...

For the next little while I think my sock needles will be on hiatus. The Little 16s are finished and couldn't be cuter.  Baby socks a great use for left over sock yarn and there will be a few more pair in my future.The yarn I used was left over from this pair of socks made from Dave's Cabin Cove yarn, colorway Parrot.  This pair is full of prayers for my two week old niece, as she deals with a health issue.  It will likely turn out to be no big deal, in the all of it, but at the moment, it is a big concern for my brother's family.  Send extra good thoughts and prayers, please.

Cutelittle16socks

Enjoy your long weekend!


Knitting With EZ

Can you believe there was a time I didn't know who EZ was? YOU know who Elizabeth Zimmerman is, right?  I worked in a needlework/yarn shop in the 1970s and have no memory of ever hearing her name mentioned.  I didn't learn to knit until after I'd left the needlework shop (I was the embroidery expert) and still don't remember ever hearing her name over the next 20 years of my knitting life. I vaguely remember seeing her articles in Knitter's magazine, but I rarely bought anything except Vogue Knitting in the 70s-80s.  It was in the mid-90s, while hanging out at the Wooly West that I heard about the EPS (percentage sweater), and bought Knitting Workshop in anticipation of a class I never did take. 

Ezsbooksfullofinfo At one point I took a class based on EZ's Rib Warmer and made a couple of them from other knitter's patterns (Sidna Farley and another from a local teacher). While I remember EZ being mentioned, it must not have made an impression because I was never curious enough to find her original pattern.  Over the years I bought all of Meg Swanson's books and read about EZ.  I was impressed with her expertise, but never wanted to knit her patterns and didn't even read (or look through) the one book I had.

It was my entry into Blogland, in 2004 that brought to light just how big her impact on knitting was. It was Susan , in a long ago blog post about decreases, which lead me to think more about EZ and her publications. After that post I started to collect all of her books.  (If Susan thought she was something...).  Peg, Vicki and many other bloggers knit EZ's patterns and talk about her often and that has inspired me further. I realize my knitting education is incomplete, bereft in fact, and that must be corrected. 

Serendipitytweedforbsj To wit, the decision to become a Zimmermaniac has come about and I will spend September 2007, and all through 2008, rectifying this glaring error. For the first step in my educational process I'll be taking Susan's Baby Surprise class at the Wool Cabin.  Yarn has been purchased, class fees paid and I’m ready to begin my year of EZ.  Here's the basic plan...

Baby Surprise Jacket - Sept. 07 (Class)
Norwegian Mittens (isn't that a cool pair?)- Knitter's Almanac (Finally I WILL be knitting mittens!) and, perhaps a second pair, Mitered Mittens (also in Knitter's Almanac - SO cool!) - Oct.-Nov. 2007
And the culmination: Fair Isle Yoked Sweater - January 1, 2008 - My usual January 1st 'get the new year of to a good start' project, Opinionated Knitter-  The SnB grrls have been cajoled coerced talked into decided to join me in this adventure.

Picturesoffairisleyokedsweateresp

EZ will make a great start to 2008!


A Small Spinning Swap

Last year I met Manise, one of the blog-free MA spinners, while at Rhinebeck.  She and I started our spinning education at about the same time and, as part of that process, we decided to spin a skein of yarn for each other. 

Thrumsandyarnformanise Bucketosudswithyarn For my skein I spun up some of Spinderella's thrums (sadly unavailable right now) that I had purchased at the Idaho Falls Festival last spring.  I used a semi-woolen technique (I'm still learning that technique) and, when done, gave the skein a good whacking around.   It turned out fairly good and fluffed nicely with a bit of abuse (as is usual for me, however, it's a bit over-spun).  The fiber content is unknown, but I could detect wool, a bit of alpaca and a smattering of sari silk. Since I had two bumps, the second one went to Manise unspun so she could have some thrum fun. After she spins up her bump there should be enough yar(n)dage for a scarf.

Yarn before abuse washing    ...     ...Yarn nicely fluffed by washing
Yarnisnotfluffyandneedswashing Yarnisnicelyfluffedandwashed_2

Manise sent a few goodies with the skein she sent my way. It was such a fun package to receive!

Goodiesfrommanise

Here's what Manise had to say about her experience.

Manise~

Margene's Skein When Margene e-mailed me expressing a desire to do a skein exchange with me I was first flattered then somewhat apprehensive. What fiber was I going to use? What colors? Was she going to like my spinning? But she hates yellow and green and most of my fiber in stash contained one or both of those colors. Ahhhh!

After stirring the rubbermaid containers housing my fiber, I located something that would fit the bill, but went back to her blog to make sure and to check the colors she's used in her knitting. I really needn't have worried so much. I chose Leaf Peep in Falkland Wool Top that I special ordered for myself earlier in the year from Amy King of Spunky Eclectic- a beautiful mix of reds, wine, cobalt blue, a splash of white and pink and black.
Rovingfromspunkyeclectic

My original plan was to fill 2 bobbins with spun fiber and then make a 2 ply yarn ensuring I'd have enough to satisfy the 200 yard agreement Margene and I had. I started by dividing the top in half and weighed each to make sure each half was of similar weight. I then put one half away for later use. I pulled off 10- 12 inch pieces (one at a time) trying to maintain color runs, then divided each one down the middle into 2 slivers , pre-drafted them and spun those end to end. Half way through the spinning Knitagator Kathy and I had a discussion about spinning handpainted fiber and how to tackle issues of not making mud out of our nice fiber. She said she divides each piece into 4 slivers and then spins those end to end or in an order that pleased her. So that's what I did and spun the slivers end to end. I noticed that it required less pre-drafting and preserved more color saturation as I spun it up. I also noticed that my spinning was rather fine and a 2 ply would be too thin, so I decided to spin it all up on one bobbin and Navajo ply it. When I plied it I didn't pay particular attention to preserving the color runs and wound up with a mixture of solid color and some barberpoling at the color transitions.

Manisesyarnonniddynoddy_2

All in all I'm pleased with how it turned out. It'll go nicely with jeans and are colors that I think will look good on Margene.

Skeinwithyellowdaisies_3

Details: Spun on Alice ( a borrowed Ashford Traditional from Carole ) using the largest whorl. 214 yards. Soaked it in Eucalan in very warm water for 20 minutes, squeezed out the excess water, took it outside and spun it like a helicopter pulling the rest of the water out and whacked on the deck railing a bit. No major roughing it up as Abby and Margene do therefore no fulling resulted.

I look forward to our next skein exchange!

~~

OK,  Margene here.  I look forward to our next exchange too, Manise!

Manise had the use of Carole's wheel, Alice and the skein she sent was her last on Alice.  Carole loans Alice out as a way of aiding and abating friends into becoming spinners.  Julie's is the next victim person to enjoy the company of this well traveled wheel.  (That's such a sweet thing you do, Carole!)  Manise has her own wheel now, a new Schacht. 

I think I'll be petting this beautiful skein for awhile before I decide what it should be come.  A hat might be just the thing.  Thank you, thank you Manise!!


Ruby's are Red

Violet's are Blue...

..and nothing is sweeter than a fancy new pair of hand knit socks.

Happysocksinrelaxingstate

Yesterday, in an answer to Beth's comment, I told her my feet were very happy feet.  They are housed in skimpy sandals all summer and hand knit wool socks all winter. After wearing Ruby My Dear socks for to the photo shoot my feet are looking forward to cooler temps and dancing to a jazzy tune…the happy jazzy tune of new Ruby's.

Tiptoesofrubytulips Ruby My Dear socks are ruby red, a very joyful color, a beautiful rich color.  If there were any tulips around I'd be tiptoeing through them in celebration, as this Tulip colorway is heav-eeen-ly, plus it's as warm and lovely as any sock yarn can be.

Rubysfromcufftotoe The pattern for Ruby was as complicated as any sock I've knit, but once my brain understood the way the rib pattern increased on one side and decreased  on the other it was smooth going. The second sock went off without a hitch and was much more fun to knit.  The way the lace panel moves down the leg and crisscrosses over the ankle is ingenious and creative.  I especially love the way the panels come together and run parallel on top of the foot. It's a shame such beautiful socks will be hidden inside a shoe, but I'll know, and my feet will know, just how wonderful they are..it will be our little secret.

Lovelylacyrubymydears

Ruby My Dear Socks
Pattern: Thelonious by CookieA
Yarn: Ball and Skein Tulip by Judy
Time to Knit: July 1 – August, 23 2007


Why Are Weekends So Short?

We seemed to pack quite a bit of fun into the weekend even though it sure felt short! 
Friday I had a lovely conversation with Birdsong. We both had a crazy week and she thought hearing her voice would be better than an email.  She was so right!   Also on Friday, we had dinner with Deb and Jim.  The food and company were fabulous and it was a lovely way to start the weekend.

Fancyredtoesonsaturday_3 Saturday a friend and I had pedicure, followed by lunch, to celebrate her birthday.  I had planned to take a picture of both our toes...but we were having too much fun and I forgot, so you get my toes alone.

Movieinvalsbackyard She gave us a treat of ripe red tomatoes form her garden which I made into a caprese, of which I also forgot to take a picture before taking it to another friends end of summer outdoor movie night party.  I did however remember to take a picture of the movie being projected on the garage so we could all see it (Captains Courageous!).  What  great way to enjoy a summer evening!

Astormisbrewing_2 Zengardenduringrain The heat returned for the weekend despite a promised respite...it was 80 at 5:30 Sunday morning and the short afternoon thunderstorm served only to create a steamy afternoon.  We could see the storm building as we were taking pictures of the Ruby My Dear Socks. The sky was quite dramatic during the storm and I did a little rain dance in the Zen garden so the rain would stick around...but, alas, I have no sway over the rain gods.

Skydramaduringstorm

I'll confess to a lack of knitting during this too short 2 days...we need longer weekends, don't you think?  However, this tiny sock did grow quickly when I could sit for a minute or two. Teri's Little 16 Newborn Sock pattern was a nice weekend project. Isn't it cute!? 

Newbornbabysocksweet16


Friday, Finally!

Rubysocksarenearlyfinished_2

This weeks knitting has been all about Ruby My Dear's, with a little Jóhö thrown in.  Because of that, Ruby is/are nearly finished, only a toe to go!  This sock pattern has been a challenge, a good challenge, and fun to knit.  The second sock was much easier and I rarely needed to check the charts or pattern.  The red yarn is so, so lovely...call me very happy! (Photos next week)  Sadly, or maybe not, the Shockwave socks have taken Jóhö's place in hibernation.  I just can't face them right now.  Their day may come...don't hold your breath.

The last week of August looms...it is just amazing how quickly the last two months have gone by even if it seemed like the excessive summer heat was interminable.  The return of the heat they thought would come this weekend will now stay away and we have had a few cooler nights. This August's weather is turning out to be what August should be like.  Still, it has been the hottest summer on record...just in case you thought there was a bit  too much complaining around here.

So, back to the last week of August...two main projects are on the needle, only two!  If I stick with the Kelly Cardigan and Jóhö, stay true to only two, I should make headway, don't you think?  The finishing flurry of the last few weeks has been rather enjoyable and it would be nice to keep it up.  There are plans, formulating now, that will cover the next few months of knitting time and, said plans, should also slosh over into 2008.  So, rather than tell you about what's up my sleeve (in time my dears), I'll stick to talking about Jóhö and Kelly.

Plainandfancykellycardigan Kelly is a very classically styled cardigan by Erika Knight from the Classic Knits collection. Erika's choice was Kid Silk Haze, but the yarn I'm using is Grayce's Plain and Fancy Sport.  This is a lovely hand dyed yarn spun from the wool of Grayce's own sheep.  It can only be purchased at Estes Park Wool Market or the Taos Wool Festival (coming in October!).  Grayce dyes it in the most beautiful combination of colors and Magenta is one of my favorites.  As with any hand dyed/hand painted yarn there can be subtle differences from skein to skein.  To keep dye lot/pooling/flashing problems at bay, I'm knitting with two balls, two rows per ball.  The photos appear a bit eye-shearing but in reality, it looks great.  So far I've got about half the back finished. The wool is so soft and the fabric has a nice hand.  The color changes keep the plain ol' stockinette very interesting and entertaining.

Moxiesdirtyface

That's all I have today, no flowers for Flower Friday as they are mostly spent. It's the first sign of fall...the lack of perennial, showy flowers. Instead, I give you a picture of Moxie. He needs a little grooming, but he's still a cutey. Have a super good weekend!


Thank you, Thank you!

Thank you for your kind and caring words about the loss of our friend David.  At SnB on Tuesday we had a larger group than is normal for our summertime meetings. It felt good, right, to come together to grieve and celebrate.  We talked about David and share stories of when we first met him and what a great guy, a wonderful knitter he was.  He loved the challenge of knitting and never had anything easy on his needles.  Sadly, we are now 'grrls only'. Thank you again, your kindness has been a balm to us all.

Susanwithhernewfriend_3 There was cause to celebrate on Tuesday as well!  Three of the grrls have birthdays over the next couple of weeks.  Eileen (who's husband isn't well so we need more good thoughts, please), Heather and Susan were feted with gifts and yummy delights.  You won't believe how good the treats were. Val's Rootbeer Cake (oh my it was yummy), brownies from Jessamyn hot out of the oven, coconut meringue cookies from Gwen (sooo good!), and strawberry rhubarb pie dropped off by Susan's very sweet husband, were tasted and enjoyed by one and all. We had a good time watching the grrls open yarny gifts while everyone ooh-ed and aah-ed.  Susan fell head over heels for her surprise gift from Beth...isn't he just a doll?

Susanandhernewbuddy

Phyllowithlargepintree Thank you, too for the very nice comments about Phyllo.  It was such an easy, quick knit and the yoke was very fun to do.  It's comfortable, like a favorite sweatshirt comfortable, and I think I'll be wearing it often.  Many of you asked about the neck because, in the book the picture looks like the neck is large and close to dropping off the shoulder.  It is a wide neck, but not so wide as to show inappropriate straps or slip off the shoulder.  I think the model in the book was very small and the sweater size a bit too big for her.

It was Amy's Phyllo that first caught my eye.  She wore it with a t-shirt and it looked great. So good, that if the neck proved too big, I thought I could do the same.  The yoke turned out to be a perfect fit, however and if extra warmth is need, I can wear a t-shirt or turtleneck as another layer.  If you want the neck a little smaller, my thought is that you could add a few knit and purl rows after the diamonds.  It's a great design and a very easy to wear sweater.

Thank you again for your kind comments.


Phyllo Debuts at the Lake

As lucky would have it, Sunday at Silver Lake was perfect sweater weather.   The day was cloudy and blustery with just a tiny chill in the air. Phyllo and I enjoyed her debut.

Phylloatsilverlake

Phyllospiralsaround_2Phyllotreehugger_2 We danced around the forest and at the waters edge in celebration of cooler days to come.  It might just be that the worst of the heat is over and sweaters will be de rigueur before long.  Phyllo will be the perfect companion for the cool days of fall.

Artyphyllopicture_3   Phyllofromabove_2

Phyllo and I could have spent all day watching the wind dance across the water and the clouds above move across a palette of the blue sky. 

Phyllowithmillicent

Phyllo Yoked Pullover from Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan
Yarn: Calmer Refresh 487
Time to Knit: July 12 – August 5, 2007
Comments: The only modification was to knit the body and sleeves 2" longer. There are no errors in the pattern, but you must remember to increase in the K2tog on the yoke.  That's the only pitfall I can see. This sweater was fast, fun and fabulous to knit.


As I Was Saying Last Week...

Johoandherbeginningedge

Langsjal Jóhönnu ( Jóhö) (from the Icelandic book Three Corner and Long Shawls) has had a rough go of it, but she has been a lovely companion this past week.  Knitting the complicated pattern has been a good distraction, offering many hours of solace.  Rumors flew during her hibernation and some thought she’d been kidnapped or worse…FROGGED!  However, if anything would keep her alive, it was the Plain and Fancy Wool Co. laceweight singles...they are so beautiful, so soft and so worthy.  Despite her start, oh so long ago in May of 2006, and then subsequent abandonment, she has now move to the top of the queue, and she needs to know how I feel.

Johoisabout27inchesathispoint_3 Our day will come and
we'll have everything
And ooh, we'll share the joy

Our day will come if we
just wait awhile
And ooh, no tears for us
Our day will come

Will come I said one day,
our day, will come
One day, our day, will come

FirstedgeofjohoOoh, and nothing can stand in our way, oh
Ohh, said nothing, nothing can, stand in our way

No one can change your mind
Baby you are one of a kind
Forever you'll be mine

And I want the world to know
Our day will come Will come(!)

Johohanginginthegarden Yes, I did do a little bastardizing of the lyrics, but you get the point, right?

Jóhö is now at about 27".  She and I will continue to revel in the growth of our relationship over the next few weeks and our day WILL come.

Yes, I'm stalling a bit before showing off Phyllo.  Tomorrow my sweets...in the mean time, go wish Susan a Happy Birthday!