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March 2009

The Winner and My Knitting Stuff

Thank you, thank you again for the many comments and compliments on my upcoming Blogiversary. Surprisingly, almost everyone guessed more yarndage that the bobbin held…including me. I was a little disappointed there ended up being only 496 yards. It will still be enough for a shoulder shawl, which is just fine, as I wear a small shawl almost everyday of the year (cold neck syndrome).  Julie did a very nice job of dyeing the roving. The fiber spun easily and during spa time no bleeding of color occurred. The mohair adds a bit of sheen and the color play adds an iridescent quality.

Singlesafterdayspa
Without further adieu let me announce the winner:

Blogfree Chrissy - Her guess of 496 was right on the money!

Last week Vicki shared a photo of her knitting accoutrements. How cool to see what implements she kept on hand. Of course I had to follow her lead...this is the bag that has been bouncing around in my knitting basket for a couple of years and the little zipper pockets house various tools.

Knittingstuff

You can check my Flickr page for notes on any item you can't figure out, like the little silver hook on the far right. It's a special tool with hooks on each end, a Seed Stitcher, which was a gift from CherylS. March 1st is my "real" Blogiversary and the start of Project Spectrum Cardinal Directions. I'm going to take the day off, however, and enjoy a quiet weekend. Have a good one!


Oh, Oh...

Scribblednotesonasweatercollection

Which way do I go? It's that time again...that time of the month, that time of MoDo angst. The roller coaster ride begins anew!  It's new sweater decision time, pick the yarn time, pick the pattern time. It's make endless lists time, scribble and cross out time and start swatching time. It's time to pick a direction and go!

Believe it or not, I'm getting better at making sweater decisions.  The main thing I've learned is not to get ahead of the process. Don't pick the next sweater until it's time to cast on. The pattern, along with the yarn, must speak with one voice and a clear path must be visible.  If steps in the process are made too soon the result could be an unhappy marriage; wrong pattern with wrong yarn.  A knitter, especially one on a 12 sweater quest, cannot afford discord in the stash.

There are multiple yarns in my stash that could become any number of sweaters. It's nice to have choices, but too many choices can lead to indecision, angst and, ultimately, an unsuitable choice. Reading blogs and spending time on Ravelry can be a big help, but it can also exacerbate the problem by offering even more choices. (GAH!)

Beautifulyarnsinmystash

Let's take, for instance, the book "A Fine Fleece". I bought the book and loved everything in it, but wasn't sure if any of the sweaters would be right for me, my stash and MoDo. Then Anne knit Harriett, Amanda and she's now knitting the Trinity Vest. Every one of them looks great and her experience has answered some of my questions, plus I have several stashed yarns that would be suitable.  To complicate issues, Elspeth knit Espresso in another yarn that resides in my stash, Rowan Felted Tweed. This just might be "the one" for MoDo #4, however, I also love Lily from the Twist Collective (which may be my all time favorite knitting magazine) and Susan's Tempest.  Beautiful yarns are in the stash to knit both. The only way to have a real idea of what's next is to start swatching, see which yarn sings out clearly and tells me which sweater it wants to be.

This list angst just may be a monthly occurrence throughout MoDo and that's ok. At least I now know the undecided-ness of which yarn and which pattern is all part of the process, my process. If this is the way to find the path, so be it.  The trick is to not start the process too soon, and yet, be ready for the next sweater when the time comes. Think I'll start statching today.


Golden Vintage Knitting

Thank you for all your kind comments about my blog.  You have no idea how much I appreciate knowing you're out there.  Your yarndage guesses have left me wondering why I hadn't wound off the yarn so that I'd know the answer!  I'm dying of curiosity and will try to fit in some time with my niddy noddy tonight.  Then I'll be able to say (in my head) "wow, she was close or "that guess is waaay off".  As it stands, I'm going to have to go through the comments again and find who left the right answer...just one more thing to do during this crazy week.

Moxieandmaxafteradayatthespa

The week is so harried that I've had to resort to lists (I am not much of a list maker, truly, that is so) or I'll forget something that needs to be done. It looks like the weekend errands will be caught up just in time for the weekend! Two per night seems to be the trick. Last night went to the dogs, as I had to pick the boyz up from the groomer. They are (now) so handsome! Tomorrow night I'll head to the post office and mail prizes to the winners of the pantry contest (finally!) and then go shopping at the paper store (card making time). Friday is button shopping day for MoDo#3! Yes, sweater number three should be finished this weekend and I am very excited about that. On to MoDo#4...I'm still ahead of the game.

Sweaternumberthreeformodo

GVC has been a comfortable companion. The cables on the hem and front bands add simple, elegant detailing that charms and add interest to an otherwise plain cardigan.  A big plus has been the yarn which is a dream to knit. I know this is going to be one wearable, scrumptious sweater because the yarn and pattern make a beautiful duo.

Not many changes have been made to the pattern other than lengthening a bit and changing the suggested buttonhole to a yo K2tog. The pattern has been straight forward, but I do wish there had been a schematic. That's my #1 wish for every pattern, because any changes made to a design are easier when the measurements of each piece is known. By drawing out the schematic for myself I was able visualize where to make the changes.  The sleeve will also be lengthened to 3/4 and not the elbow length of the original. I love the details of the design and I also love that I can make a few changes and have a sweater that fits me (at least let's hope!).


Are You Ready for Another Contest?

While the weekend was full of good times, the "must do" weekend stuff was compressed or eliminated. This makes the first of the week hard to face. Monday's work day turned out to be fine, but the brain just didn't want to get into work mode. The brain also wanted to knit, something it didn't get enough of over the weekend. The brain wanted to do more spinning, but very little of that happened, either. This weeks after work hours this will be cram packed with "must do" stuff and time at home will (hopefully) be full of knitting (and laundry and grocery shopping). The third sweater of MoDo must be finished this week and that's still doable (I think). Plus, I need to find buttons for said sweater and that's just one more after work errand to add into the multiple after work errands. I'm tired already.

Five days from now, March 1st, will be my 5th Blogiversary. The last five years has comprised of over 1400 posts, over 46,000 comments and nearly 200 finished projects! About half way through the 5 years I learned to spin, but only recently has spinning become something I need to do and something I want to continue doing, learning and pursuing.

The biggest bonus, the best gift, from the last five years as been the friends I've made face to face and across the miles. Some friends remain "imaginary" and others are very real, but both are dear to me. Every known and unknown one of you has become an integral part of my life. If I blogged only for myself I would have written a personal, private journal, but I do this for the interaction, the camaraderie and community. I'm honored and humbled that you come here 5 days a week to read and participate in my knitting life.

Bobbinforblogiversarycontest

The packages from the last contest are almost ready to go out (I am behind) but that isn't going to stop me from offering even more prizes for the Blogiversary. This time you must make a guess as to the yardage on my newly spun bobbin of singles. The wpi (wraps per inch) is 17 (that's around fingering weight), the bobbin is a Lemdrum (and it's packed FULL), the fiber is a wool/mohair blend. It will likely be knit into a shawl or stole. That info may or may not help you make a computation, but in any case, just stick your neck out and guess! What have you got to lose? I'll wind it off onto a niddy noddy this week and report to you on Friday who the winner is and what the yarndage is. I'm dying to know, too!

You have until Thursday, Feb. 26th at 5:00pm MST to leave your guess on this post.  Friday I'll annouce the winner.  Good luck!


Selbu Weekend

 
Workingonmycuteselbuvotter 

The Selbuvotter lecture Friday night was packed with interesting stories of the Selbu tradition. The class Saturday was filled with lots of knitting time, LOADS of laughter, good tidbits of techniques and more Selbu information. Terri is a hoot and a totally fun teacher. 

Abunchofgloriousmittens

We touched, tried on and drooled over the mittens from Terri's book. If you don't have this book you are missing out! The history (and herstory), the patterns, designs and wonderful tips and tricks make it worth owning.  In Sunday's class we had a rollicking good time working on Selbu designs of our own.

Atablefullofselbufun
See the sweater she's wearing in this picture below?  Here's a better picture on her blog. I can't wait for her to publish it. It was a beautiful, well fitted Selbu sweater that would be fun to knit.  The patterns and kits should be available later this year. 
Cantwaitforsweaterterriiswearing
Big thanks to Cynthia and her shop Blazing Needles for giving us the opportunity to meet Terri and enjoy this wonderful class.  We loved it!

Well....um...

Fabulousblueskyday

I don't have spring fever, but I do feel spring in the air. Yesterday the business next door had lawn care people stop by to prune and clean up winter detritus. This has not been a winter of discontent and for that I am grateful. This weekend looks beautiful, sunny, and warm.

The iPod is the best invention (any mp3 player for that matter). Being able to knit and "read" is my favorite thing. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle has been an especially provocative and enjoyable read. It's a very long book (3 downloads) and I don't want it to end.

The local community radio station introduced me to a newish band call "Yarn" and they have the Americana / Country sound I love. Gotta love a band called YARN! The whole "album" is good. (I love iTunes!).

Congratulations to my friend and Ewe-tah grrl Susan!  She has a shawl pattern in the Spring 2009 IK. How cool is that?!  It's beautiful and elegant and I'm trying to decide which yarn to use.

If you were worried about Carole's disappearance (I was!), her blog was hacked while she was away for a few days.  She'll be back as soon as the blog is fixed.

Smith got a Bluetooth for his birthday. He didn't know he wanted one, but he loves it. We both feel technology savvy because of our new gadgets. You can teach old dogs new tricks.

Terri Shea, sponsored by Blazing Needles, is in SLC this weekend to teach a class and to lecture tonight, on the Selbuvotter knitting tradition. The weekend will be full of knitting and learning. It's going to be fun (lots of friends will be there) and very informative.

Enjoy your weekend whatever you do!


Take a Leap

Having successfully finished any favorite sweater, this time two in a row, adds to the difficultly of deciding what comes next. When I sit in the glow of a perfect project it taints everything else and the jump to the next  big thing becomes a huge leap of faith. Will the new sweater be as nice as the last; won't my luck run out at some point?

Last week nothing was working. I'd read the gauge wrong for the next sweater. The gauge was 13 st to 4". My eyes had seen 18 st to 4". Must not read patterns without my glasses! Time was short….the end of February loomed and the hope to have sweater number three completed before March 1st was evaporating.  Must stay ahead of the game. The next few sweaters in the queue were complicated, did have the right "feel" and could not be finished in the time I'd allotted. Yes, this is a silly game and one I promised to not participate in, but there you have it…the desire was for a sweater completed by February 28 and that's that. Is my Zen evaporating?

There has been much hemming and hawing, starting and frogging, swatching and gnashing of teeth, pulling of hair and biting of nails (not very Zen, I realize), but when the right yarn and pattern marry it's worth all the terror and tears...the "ah ha" moment strikes and happiness abounds. What a feeling! All angst, all (self) doubt, all disorder is gone, love and peace fill the knitting landscape. Ah, Zen returns.

Bluetifulperiwinklebluecardi

The third sweater is another that wasn't on the radar when the whole MoDo thing was cooked up.  Golden Vintage had been in my queue since Thea published it, but the right yarn hadn't presented itself…that was until I walked into Three Wishes a week or so ago and saw Spinderella's Thrums, a unique yarn from right here in Salt Lake City. (I've spun Spinderella's fiber thrums but had no idea she also made them into yarn.) The content was a merino silk blend and the sheen and hand were elegant. I couldn't leave it behind and bought enough for an unknown sweater. There is promise in a new yarn and the joy is to unfold the mystery, find the right combination, and the magic in the process. The minute Golden Vintage Cardigan popped into my head, I knew it was right, I felt it would be an enjoyable process.

There is magic in knitting (similar to the magic of baseball).  Do you see the magic and mystery?  It requires faith to begin a project whether socks, shawl or sweater.  When everything comes together and the process is effortless, we see the magic, we become one with the process as the mystery unfolds.  If we listen to our hearts and something, even one little thing, isn't right we know that too. Hitting that home run, hitting a double, hell, even hitting a single lifts us up and keeps us on the path.  Being is the goal, doing is the key.


No Time Like the Present


Closeupofskienofseashells

Alas and alack, my beautiful skein of handspun didn't end up with quite enough yardage for Flutter. The vision of Flutter knit with this yarn as been with me for so long that the disappointment was deep. But, this skein is so soft (cormo/angora), so luxurious that it would make up beautifully into any scarf or shawl. Flexibility is key to the spinning/knitting process. 

Handspunseashellsskien

This fiber spun effortlessly and every minute at the wheel was enthralling.  It takes several weeks of hit and miss spinning to fill a couple of bobbins, and then to ply the yarn, but the hours spent are enjoyable and entertaining.

It didn't take long to decide which pattern to use as I'd fallen in love with Old Shale as soon as I saw Marcia's.  Her beautifully spun fiber knit into an exquisite shawlette, and it felt right for this yarn, too. The soft colors work well in the pattern and we're off to a fine start. 

Startofoldshaleshawl

The siren song of spinning has been loudly filling the house. Walking past the room where Emmylou (my wheel) resides is difficult to do, as she sits inside calling and drawing me in. The fiber dangles attractively, the chair looks inviting and Emmylou promises enjoyment and fulfillment...a moment in the present.  It's a tough combination to ignore and, admittedly, I often find myself giving into their will and taking a few minutes to watch as the fiber slides through my fingers, slips through the hooks and onto the bobbin. 

Wheelofmohairwoolfromdulie

Bobbinofsingles As soon as one project is finished another is begun and I've quite enjoyed spinning this wheel of wool/mohair from Julie's Etsy Shop. The fiber told me it would make a nice single, and that sounded like a perfect way to go.  I'd enjoyed knitting the Icelandic singles in the Shetland Triangle, plus singles are a good way to extend the end yardage.  

Alpacabamboowoollywonkaym Before I'd started the singles I took a few minutes to spin up a sample skein of the gorgeous alpaca/charred bamboo blend I'd purchased from Anne. This might be the most delicious fiber I've ever spun and it practically spins itself.  I'd love to think enough yarndage could be gained to knit Girasole. It's a long shot, but I will spin with this large round shawl in mind, and if there isn't enough (who would want to run short!?), I'll find another lace stole.  The yarn sample is soft, fluffy, elegant with the bits of silver peeking through the shades of gray.  No matter what it becomes it will be heavenly and I will do my best to do it justice. 

Sampleofalpacabamboo

Spinning, and lace, are a perfect compliment and contrast to MoDo.  They keep me sane in the face of (self induced) pressure.


Magical Lace at Its Finest

While the main knitting is a continuous progression of sweaters, a lace project is always at hand.  Lace lends a little solace, a break from the push, a change of needle size, gauge and weight of fabric.  It's simple elegance a foil to the density of a sweater project.

Peaksandvalleysofshiborishetland The Shetland Triangle Shawl was an excellent companion, a good friend to have along when knitting with others and in need of something simple.  Simple does not negate beauty, or elegance.  The shawl, as Elizabeth noted, created the peaks and valleys of Japanese shibori, a fabric that was laughably textured and bumpy.  How could that lumpy mess become lace?

And yet, as the water infiltrates the yarn, the fiber opens and unfurls, the holes become more evident, the peaks flatten, the valleys rise, and a simple lace is revealed.  Shetland Triangle is lace at its most magical.

Chairseatandshetland
The antique mahogany rocking chair becomes an enchanting easel and back drop for the newly created lace.
Laceedgingofshetlandonrocker Shetlandisbautifulinthechairseat
2286395387_5836150e6cJager Farm Icelandic singles shows off the lace to its maximum and holds a crisp edge. The fabric has a solid hand and yet it is soft, slightly fuzzy, and incredibly warm.  The color, in shades, tints and tones of rose and raspberry, is named Snapdragons and it evokes the very promise of spring.
Shetlandtriangleonrockingchairandsnow
Shetland Triangle Shawl from Wrap Style
Finished on Valentine's Day
Raveled here