Saturday, June 30, 2007

twenty-eight

I haven't had a chance to tell you about this spinning group that I've been attending. They meet every fortnight and to me, their gatherings are a magical experience. Most bring their wheel, but it's not just spinning. Some times, one or the other will be working on a project made with their hand spinning. Gathered together in one room is a wealth of knowledge and experience. What's more, they are open and willing to share. I have learnt so much from them already, and I know it is a well of knowledge that will never run dry. I feel honoured to be welcomed into their fold.


Talking about spinning, I've made the first sock-ish skeen of light grey yarn from some wool I bought locally.


I spun it woolen style (twist enters drafting zone) and as a two ply it comes to somewhere around 16 wpi. It wasn't until I wound it into a skeen that I could see how lovely it was. All the time I was spinning it, I thought to myself, "Self, this yarn sure is better than last time, but you just know all you can spin is crap at this stage in your life. You should just give up and stick to knitting. Why would you want to make yarn anyway? That's for the experts."


Good thing I seldom listen to myself.

I made around 60 meters, so that should do one sock? Maybe?

I have some dark grey to spin up for the colour work. Then we will see how things go from there. Here's the plan:


And here's the finished yarn!



If everything goes well today, I'll have some more items up on my etsy shop by Monday. That is, once I've gone to the market, worked in the garden, cleaned the deck, watered the plants, made bread, washed the cat and gone out for dinner with family.

And one more thing, is it skeen, skean, skein, or skane?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

twenty-seven


New Free Knitting Pattern:





Please let me know what you think.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

twenty-six

Nothing exciting to report today. I'm completely exhausted from a series of late nights, early mornings, insomnia (does anyone remember how to sleep? I seem to have forgotten) and work. I do have some questions though, and I hope that one of you knowledgeable people out there would be able to tell me the answers.



  1. I'm still looking for a pattern for a floppy felt sun hat. I saw a hat at the market last weekend and I just have to make myself one, only I'm too embarrassed to ask the woman for her pattern. Anyone know of any patterns out there?


  2. Yesterday, I stumbled across this most wonderful knitting blog run by two woman, one Muslim and one Jew. Now, I can't find it again and my IE History purges itself every time I close the browser. Please guide me back to this wonderful blog. (if it's any help, it had the word 'peace' in the title.)


  3. Just how eco-friendly are soy and bamboo fibers? They are both renewable resources, but how are they produced? I know that soy yarn is produced using the byproduct of tofu (yuck), but what kind of chemicals are used in that process?


  4. And lastly, what do you do to help you get to sleep when you can't sleep? I really need help with this one.

Thanks all. (Pictures of spinning and knitting are sitting on my camera - will post soon, in the mean time, feel free to admire this felted camera case, I should post the pattern soon, it's dead easy to make):


Monday, June 25, 2007

twenty-five point one

The most amazing thing happened to me tonight. It's so unbelievable that I turned my computer on in the evening (rare in itself) just because I had to tell someone about it.


I was at the spinning group this evening and when I was introduced to one particular person who was not there last time, she said, "Oh, I know your blog." Now let me stop you there.


No one, in the history of this green earth has ever said that to me before!


It is not a phrase I ever expected to hear in my lifetime. Or, at the very least, I never expected to hear it spoken to myself.


It's a very powerful phrase and I was completely caught off guard.


I drew a complete blank on how to respond to such a flattering remark. In fact, I drew a complete blank on what happened next. I think I either said, "what? Okay." or more probably, "what's a blog?"





I think that I have just spent so many years talking to myself (and my imaginary stalker) on this blog, that I completely forgot that real life people read the Internet - and what's more, they pay attention.


Thanks for reading.

twenty-five

There are a few things (well okay, just one thing) that I need to get off my chest. Since I'm not one to mince words, I'm just going to come out and say it.

Please Do Not Put Music On Your Blog!

There it is. Simple as day. Although, I would also accept, "stop putting music on your blog" and "get that Sh%tty music off your blog".

Yes, it is your blog, yes, it is nice to be able to customize the reading experience by adding an additional sensory input for the reader to 'enjoy'. And yes, not only am I able to not view a blog that I don't like (even though it is very good accept for the automatic music) - I will not read a blog with music that automatically loads. Simple.

Some of us enjoy customizing our reading experience by playing music on our PC (or mac) and having our own choice of music over powered by some stuff which - although very nice I'm sure- we would personally not listen to at gunpoint, and even then it depends on what kind of gun, is just darn anoying.

If you are going to have music on your blog, PLEASE, and I'm begging you here, make it optional. Make it so that the reader can click a button and enjoy what you love so much. I love that! I love sharing what you enjoy, I just want to be given the option of when to do it.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

twenty-four

Teddy's wedding went wonderfully. The ceremony was held at Sax Point (the location of the recent Victoria Knit Out). I finally gave the happy couple their gift and now I can share it with the world.

The wedding afghan from IK,






"This blanket is handmade by me with love for the both of you. I hope that you have many opportunities to enjoy it together. This wedding afghan is made from 50% Highland Wool and 50% Llama and thus requires special care. If you place it in the washing machine, it will destroy both machine and blanket. Please hand wash the blanket by placing it in warm, soapy water and gently squeezing it. Repeat with clean warm water 2 to 3 times to rinse. Dry flat. I hope it keeps you warm on those cold Alberta nights."


All the design elements symbolize growth, love and togetherness. It was a long knit as the pattern required considerable attention. But I'm glad I made it for them. I hope they love it.



And now for some more photos:

From the Bridal Shower...



And, of course, the happy couple...(yes they really did look that nervous, but I think I would too if I just got married)...


And again. Isn't that the spot where the YH took a photo of her socks when she was in town?



And in honour of socks, I took a photo of the bride with my WIP. I don't think that she quite got it, but she obliged me just the same.






In other news, I am looking for a pattern for a felted hat. I saw one at the Moss St. Market yesterday and now I just have to make one for myself. Only, I don't know how - yet. If you know of any patterns for a floppy felted sunhat, please, Please, PLEASE let me know. It might just be the one.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Twenty-three

My friend Teddy's wedding is this afternoon. I'm excited and a little bit emotional. She is the first of my age group to tie the knot. It really makes me feel my age.

I hope that the weather is good, I hope that my outfit is appropriate, I hope that she enjoys herself and I hope that everything goes smoothly so that she might have the most perfect wedding ever.

I hope I take lots of photos and I really hope that they both love the Wedding Gift I have made for them. I hope he's not allergic to wool....

I hope...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Twenty-Two: Kauni KAL




My resolve not to purchase any more yarn has fallen by the wayside again. My sunhat just isn't working out. I think the yarn is a bit to thin for the recommended gage, so I would either have to double it up (which I could do ofcourse) or I could buy the next bit of lovely yarn I come across - Hemp Yarn. For those of you who don't know yet, hemp is NOT pot. It is a plant that in the past was used to produce rope and linen (along with flax) and is produced in a very similar way to linen flax. 55%hemp, 45%wool and a sage green colour should make a cool sunhat. Either I will follow this pattern, or more likely, I'll adapt one of these Japanese patterns to suit my needs.


The KauniKAL also has swamped my resolve not to buy any more yarn. But it's just one project. Now - except for the Salt Spring Island Fiber Fest - the only new yarn I will allow myself to acquire this year is stuff I spin myself. All other projects must rely on my STASH! (not pot stash, yarn stash - boy, some of you people have a dirty mind).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Twenty-one

The rest of this week is dedicated to my friend (let's call her Teddy)'s wedding. She says here vows on Saturday, and as some of you already know, I've spent the good part of this year knitting her a lovely Wedding Gift (I really hope she likes it). Come next week, I can share photos with the world. Although the photos I've taken so far just don't do it justice. There really is no way to capture texture in a visual image...



I think I'll be knitting the Kauni Cardie. There is a new KAL for it: The KauniKAL. What a name.



If I can find the yarn in colours I like, I'll be pleased as punch. I don't wear a lot of bright colours, but perhaps some muted jewel tones would be just right.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

twenty

My friend Y returned from Japan this week. It is so good to see here again. She came for dinner and we made her roast chicken (which is really hard to come by in Japan appereantly) and she brought us gifts. Including this knitting book:



Yes, I know most of it's written in Japanese, but they put the knitting pattern in such a way that you don't need to understand any of the written words. It's done with schematics and diagrams. It makes me very very pleased.


It looks like Y will be making some beaded goodies for my Etsy Shop. She is an absolute diva with beads, so it should go well.


I finished spinning up a Top Knot from Aurelia that I bought last year. The spinning went quite well, (semi-worsted) very little breaks, it went quickly and I made a fun pattern out of the different colours.


When it came to plying however, things went all to pot. It kept breaking, over and over and over again. I Navajo Plied the yarn in an attempt to keep the colour pattern somewhat in tact, but I think I didn't have enough twist in the singles for it to hold together enough. Also, the wheel kept pulling on the yarn before it was ready no matter how I adjusted the tension. Next time I won't be so impatient.



I'm thinking that I might have to knit Monkey. I saw no less than six people knitting these at the Victoria Fiber Fest. Now the Yarn Harlot is knitting a pair... Is this peer pressure?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

nineteen

My Knitting UFO page is finally back up and running. The story of the red socks is now on there. I have a few other UFO's that fill me with shame that I should drag out from under the bed where they were thrown in anger and despair to share with the world. I just need to be brave and swallow my pride.

There is something refreshing about sharing one's disappointments with the world. It makes the object less painful and then I can move on and finish it up (or frogg it and create something new).


If you ever feel like sharing your UFO's with the world, you can join the Knitted UFO Sitings blog.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

eighteen

6 hours in a hospital waiting room last night lead to a good chunk of knitting. I finished one BC sock and got a good start on the second. Don't worry, I'm well and so are the one's I love. It was scary there for a while and I don't know what I would have done if I had left my knitting at home but it would have involved someone getting hurt.

The BC Socks are just lovely to knit. I think I'll make another pair out of a solid colour. The yarn I am thinking of is a bit thicker so I will adjust the pattern accordingly. I think a nice silk/baby alpaca blend would be just right.



Preparation for my Etsy shop are well under way. I have several skeins of yarn washed that just need to be weighed and measured. I should be up and running at full capacity by the 25th (after my friend's wedding). The reclaimed yarn has turned out far better than expected. I hope that someone will find a good home for it. Perhaps they will even send me a photo of the yarn's next incarnation.


I like the idea that I am doing something helpful to the environment while 'stickin it to da man'. It is just one small act of civil disobedience by not depending on all those big yarn companies that over-charge for machine-made yarn (I don't mind expensive hand-made/dyed yarn).

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

seventeen

Well, I didn't have a chance to write out the pattern for Y's socks. Instead, a woman at work loved my BC socks so much that she asked for the pattern. I never realized just how difficult the pattern was until I tried to write it out. It took well into the early morning to get it finished. The thing is, it's not that it's hard to knit these socks. Yes, it requires some attention but it only takes you two seconds flat to get the stitch pattern down. Once that's done, the only difficult part is the heal, but you could easily substitute that for an add later heal. Heck, you could just tell me what types of heals/toes you like to knit, and I'll adjust the pattern accordingly for you.

Anyway, the BC Sock pattern is up on Trampled by Geese Free Knitting Pattern Page. I plan to have a top down version of these socks one day as well. If you want one sooner rather than later, just ask. As usual, any questions, comments, corrections &c. leave a comment.

Photos coming soon.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

sixteen

I have found some spinning mentors, although, I must admit I am a bit dizzy with it all. There is so much to learn, so many different kinds of wheels, and so many different kinds of people. I think that I might have found the right place for me.

I need to make a banner and avatar for my Etsy shop. I admit, I'm terrible at that. I suppose, once I have some photos of my yarn, things should go much easier. I also made some cards for my shop. I would have rather used recycled card, but I figure that it is more eco-friendly to use what I already have rather than toss them out just to buy new ones.

I thought I could share with you all the pattern for Y's socks. It's a great stash-buster as it has 'random' stripes. It's also highly customizable. I hope to have it up today, or at the latest tomorrow. I'll let you know when it's there.



I realize that the patterns I've included here are not as detailed as a printed pattern, as I'm still working out the details for myself and I'm just so eager to share with you all that I publish before I'm ready. But if you want anything translated into a fully functional knitting pattern, please just ask. I am more than willing to do so upon request.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

fifteen point one

Reclaimed yarn has an entirely different feel to new yarn. I just skeined up my gray sweater-coat thanks to my new niddy-noddy. Next comes washing and with any luck selling. Although, I'll keep a skein for myself to play with and make a Dalek tea cozy with. Yeah for science fiction!



What I've noticed so far about reclaimed yarn:


  • Most people call it recycled yarn, but I don't think it's recycled yet. I think once it's made into something new and exciting, then we can call it recycled. When it's yarn like this, it's a lot like Aristotle's prime matter, it's neither here nor there, it just is - it waits for form to be imposed upon it.

  • It's much softer than new yarn with the same fiber content. This must be from wear, the same way a sweater gets softer the more you wash it.

  • It is slightly felted. This appears to make the yarn stronger thus compensating for any weakness that may have developed during it's previous life.

  • It's not perfect. But then again, the last mass produced yarn I bought had over 8 errors in 50 grams of bulky yarn. From poorly tied knots to big slubs (in a 'consistent', machine produced yarn. UG!). It may not be normal for a new yarn to have so many errors, but it does happen. Same with reclaimed yarn. Perhaps there was a weak spot that needed re-splicing. For the most part, I was able to get long, uninterrupted lengths of yarn.

  • Unbroken segments of yarn are longer than new yarn. This must be because when it is machine knit, they don't use these tiny little balls of yarn like us hand knitters. Rather, I imagine, they have large spools of yarn to work from.

  • It knits differently than new yarn of the same size and fiber content. For reasons stated above and others unknown to me, it does knit up differently. But I like the result.

The Victoria Fiber Festival continued today. I rode to the knit-out on my bike in the pouring rain (was that hail?). It felt just like England all over again. I got so overwhelmed with all that fiber, I forgot to take photos. Sorry all.


I think I'll curl up with a blanket, a nice cuppa tea and a good book (Yarn Harlot) or my BC socks (see previous post) and try to get rid of this chill I picked up on my cycle ride.

fifteen

I spent all of yesterday participating in the Victoria Fiber Festival. All in all, it was a very enjoyable day. I met some new friends, I learnt some new skills and I saw the Yarn Harlot. I took my Clematis with me everywhere.







I have only just started a toe up sock, and with so much going on, I didn't get too much knitting done. In my infinite wisdom, I chose to knit a sock pattern that a) is rather complicated and b) I only just made up the day before - a Brioche twisted knit stitch rib toe up pattern, I call them my BC socks (Brioche Clematis). So, needless to say, I had to TNIK (knit backwards) almost as much as I knit.



In the morning I learnt how to hand spin with a very good instructor named Brenda. I met some new friends. I tell you, it's a new experience having friends who like to knit first rather than having learned it from me. That's how it often goes with my friends; they see me knitting so much and enjoying it so much, after a year or five, they ask me to teach them.









Now, this is where I confess to my new friends (we traded blogs you see, and since they now have access to the majority of my fiber art's history, I had best be brave and confess my sin). I have spun before. I have spun exactly three times before the class. One on a drop spindle (which dropped more than it spun), once on the spinning wheel, it was far too thin to knit with and I was truly disappointed in myself. So much so that I didn't pick up rooving again for almost 8 months. The third time was also on the wheel. I had been reading about spinning you see, and I though, "I can do that, what am I so afraid of?" I was going to spin luscious grey sock yarn, but instead, I spun the chunkiest yarn I ever did see. I was time to find an instructor.


So, you see, I had spun a bit before, but I felt kind of embarrassed to say.




In the afternoon, Brenda also taught a weaving course. Now, I have to stop and tell you, I think weaving is amazing! There are so many threads going all different directions and so many machines and gadgets. What's even more impressive is that it comes with so many toys. I mean, you've go the loom, you've got the shuttle, you've got the.... well, the list is rather long. If I could find the right sort of loom for me, I would love to start weaving.









In the evening I saw the Yarn Harlot. I had read her blog a few times but never her books and to be honest, I had no idea what to expect. To start with, there was a room of almost three hundred (mostly women, but more men than I expected) almost all knitting.



It was quite a sight.


There were so many lovely knitted creations. Sweaters, bags, vests, so many things. I wish I had taken a picture of each and every one of them to share with the world.

I hadn't intended to, but since it was cold during the afternoon, I threw on a sweater as I left to go see the Yarn Harlot. I hadn't realized until I arrived that it was my Eris (yes, I actually am that absent minded - think Philosophy and then think Academic). Everyone was telling me how great it was and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee even pet it (while I was wearing it). I'm so unaccustomed to compliments about my knitting from people who actually know what they are on about (rather than the usual "that's nice, how cleaver of you to have made it all by yourself. Wouldn't it have been easier to have just gone out and bought one?"), that I turned bright red with all the attention and got quite shy. It also felt rather nice to have people appreciate my work as well.


Here are some of my new friends:



There were people from all over, including one couple from Mississippi (I think) who had arrived on one of the (many) cruise ships docked here. They were so excited that the husband came up before the show and took pictures of us all.


There were also stash wiesel (I hope I got that name right). Adorable felted little creatures made by a woman in a shall so lovely, it almost made me want to knit a shall. She was needle felting all night, and I didn't quite see, but I think she presented her creation to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee at the end of the evening.




As for the Yarn Harlot herself, what can I say? She is inspiring. She is funny. I'm extremely glad that I didn't stay home to watch Inspector Morse.




I can't do her justice to try to describe what it was like except to say that she had me laughing to the point of tears almost the entire evening

At the end she signed my book and I had my photo taken with here. Here is one of the rare instances you will see a photo of me online (the first time, and probably the last, I will post one on my blog).




Aren't we happy.


Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, thank you for coming to Victoria.


Friday, June 08, 2007

fourteen

I learn how to weave and how to spin (again) tomorrow. I have high hopes and I think that I'll have a lot of fun. Also, in the evening, I get to see the Yarn Harlot. That's right everyone. I get to see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.



I'm a bit concerned because I recently found out that we are suppose to bring a knitted item to give to charity, only I gave away all my extra knitted items over the winter. Not to a charity per se, but as charity to people who couldn't afford to keep themselves warm. Since I've spent almost all my time knitting this Wedding Gift, I haven't had a chance to knit anything else. I'll just have to go empty handed and hope that I'm not hated for my lack of charity this month.


No matter what happens, I'll do my best to take lots of photos for you all. (all two of you that read my blog... well, if you don't include myself, all one of you.)


I sold my first item on Etsy today. I cook dinner for my elderly grandfather a few days a week, and when I came home the item had sold! I'm glad that I only listed items I was ready to ship, but I honestly didn't expect anyone to buy anything until after my official launch (if then). It feels quite strange.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

thirteen point two

Another early start tomorrow, so I don't think I'll have a chance to blog. I know, it's two days in a row I have to work when I'm ill, but there is no one else to do it. Lucky for me that God invented pain killers. Sometimes it really sucks to feel needed!



I was going to start my Clematis socks today so that I could be knitting them at the Victoria Fiber fest. Sadly, the needles I wanted are already engaged to a pair of silk/baby alpaca socks. It's too bad because I had dreams of people fainting with envy as soon as they saw my lovely yarn. So many people would faint that they would have to quarantine the entire knit-out for fear of some evil contagious illness. After much expense and two days of being examined by people dressed up like astronauts in weird white suits, they would accidentally discover the true cause of the distress - my wonderful yarn. They would confiscate my yarn and ban me from engaging in fiber-related activities for five years...

...well, I doubt it. But maybe it's best to be on the safe side.

thirteen point one

I was going to work on my sunhat and hopefully have it ready for the weekend, but the yarn I ordered arrived this morning (already!) so I'll knit with it instead. You wouldn't believe how happy I am with it. Here, have a look: Clematis.

Now to decide what to knit with it. Maybe some socks and a scarf? Perhaps some lace socks even. I wonder how it would go. Maybe I'll leave it out on my desk for a day or two until it speaks to me and tells me what to make with it.

I'll share pictures later, now I'm at home sick, so I'm not up to much moving around.

thirteen

I have finished the Wedding Gift! I jump with Joy! Five months of worrying whether I made the right decision. Will they like it? Will she? Did I choose the right colour? It's too late now to change anything. All that remains is to package it up, write a card, and hope for the best.



I just listed a new vintage pattern book on Etsy. I rather hope that it doesn't sell, it's got some great cable stitch patterns in it that would translate well into socks. But if it sells, it sells - I don't have time this year to work out the details. I have been listing one a day for the last few days, I already have everything I need to ship these out, so there wouldn't be any delay while I figure out how to package the item (like there would be if I shipped yarn right now).

I have decided to go with a combination of recycled, reused and new packaging, and advertise in my shop that I make an effort to help the environment. Maybe, if I am creative enough and careful enough to provide an excellent quality product, it could become a signature of sorts.


Next week, my very good friend Y returns from her trip to Japan. She is an absolute diva with beads, I should ask her if she wants to make stitch markers or jewelry for my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Twelve point two

Much better day than yesterday so far. Got plenty of Wedding Gift knitted up, went to the garden, baked bread. All and all, a very good day.

A strange idea came to me, what about a knitted Dalek tea cozy?

twelve point one

New Free Pattern:


Please let me know what you think.

twelve

It was a bloody awful (yes I swore, but it warrants it) day at work yesterday. One of the bosses made me cry by being a git. I know he's grumpy because his real life sucks, but I wish he wouldn't take it out on the rest of us. What kept me going though the day was thinking about the lovely yarn I bought before I went to work: Clematis. Go on, have a look. Isn't she lovely? I can hardly wait for it to arrive.



When I came home from work, I felt the need to do something deconstructive so I frogged two and a half sweaters. I'll put them up for sale on Etsy after I wash them (in mild, eco-friendly, hand made washing soap) and measure how long they are.




Speaking about Etsy, I have a plan for my shop. I will list a few items such as vintage knitting patterns while I work on the logistics. Then towards the end of the month, once I have everything prepared, I will launch my shop by putting a whole lot of things on at once and have a sale. A few things I still have to work out:




  • How do I set up the shop to have a sale. Do I go in and change the price manually for each item (most likely) or is there some feature I can say 10% off these items, and 50% off these items?


  • What should I do about packaging? Should I go with the eco-friendly thing to do and re-use materials I have in the home (tempting) or should I go for a more professional look (more to my liking - I can still use recycled paper.)


  • What sort of return policy should I provide?


So many things to think about.



But I would rather talk about my Hand-Spun Hand-Knit Hat. It's finished. Actually, it was finished last week, but I needed some spare time to take some photos of it to share with you all. I'll see if I can't get the free pattern ready for you today. Keep an eye out for it.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

eleven

I have three sweaters to frogg for making recycled yarn, all wool blends, one of which is purely delightful. As they are not purely natural, I think I'll offer them on etsy for a lower price. But I can't do that until I finish the Wedding Gift.


I am almost finished the Wedding Gift, one or two more days left of knitting, then another day to weave in the ends. I'm very glad that I learnt how to splice the yarn together for this project, else I would have to give myself another week to darn in all these ends.


Wedding Gift is made from 22 balls of yarn with a llamma/wool blend. It has taken approximately five months to knit so far, and needs to be completed by the middle of the month. It's designed so that two people can share it at the same time. That's about all I can tell you right now, once the gift has been delivered I will share photos with you all.

All, alright, here's a hint:




My poor cat has been under the weather lately. I fear it's getting near the end, but I just love her so much, I don't want to let go.