Friday, March 31, 2006


FYI - go check out the DeStash blog. A great idea, and a shameless plug, as I've posted some of my destashing there.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Comfort Shawl Complete

I was a lot closer to completing my shawl than I thought last time I posted. I quickly ran out of my main yarn in the rows to come. I was quite literally weaving in ends in order to snip tails and join on to my cast off row - eek! I didn't think it would look right if I just continued in stripes without my main color present anymore. It all worked out though, because after a bath the shawl grew so that it is as wide as my height exactly (5'9"). The knitting gods were smiling upon me that day. I have it in my office now to battle the fact that I work in an ice chest, thanks to my thermostat living in an closed/locked office accross the hall.

Project Specs:
Pattern: Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl, Sarah Bradberry
Yarn: all my handspun oddments
Needles: Denise #9
Notes: a very easy but engaging pattern. Just about perfect for a new spinner who has collected all kinds of smallish skeins. This has hand washed/carded/dyed romney, alpaca, my first wonky attempt at low-twist singles, everything but the kitchen sink. The pattern is very forgiving and not only hides a multitude of sins, but makes them look pretty!

I have started another project, but I have to keep it secret. You see, when my dear sister in law came to pick up her Rogue last month, she and my brother shared with us that they are expecting their first child! So of course this new little person will need some hand knit items. While it is no surprise to them that Aunt Pumpkinmama will be knitting, I can at least keep the nature of the knitting a surprise. In the meantime, Sockapaloooza socks continue apace, and of course there will be spinning.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Hard Won

So back in January sometime I bought a beautiful polwarth/cormo fleece from Treenway Silks:

I have been slowly chipping away, washing small batches in the kitchen sink (our ancient water heating system within our ancient steam boiler cannot fill a tub or a washing machine with hot water) , heating water on the stove, over and over for multiple wash and rinse cycles. I finally accumulated enough to merit spinning and have been working on that for the last month or so. It is amazing how many hours were spent to produce this;

About 4.5 ounces, 500yds or so, of stunning, soft brown(color looks accurate on my screen), lofty, softy yarn. My hope is to be able to wash/spin enough of this to make myself some torso-covering garment - depending on my stamina and patience a vest or a sweater.

Progress on the shawl has slowed, due to trying to focus on finishing up the spinning, as well as making sure I'll make my Sockapaloooza deadline.

Monday, March 20, 2006

F is for

Fishing. I've been fishing for far longer than I've been knitting. I've been surprised to discover that fishing and knitting have a lot in common.

Just like in knitting, there are people who do it for the process: men and women who just like being out on the water, the repetitive rhythm of casting and reeling in, over and over. A fish or two at the end of an outing is nice, but not a requirement.

Then there is the product fisherperson: The goal is a fish, dammit. This person will mostly only fish if there is evidence of looming success; the swirl of a bass just underneath the surface, terns diving madly at the bait a school of blues has driven to the surface, or even better: other fishermen reeling them in right in front of you.

Just like with knitting, I fall somewhere in the middle. There are days when I'm happy to just be out in the wind and the water, content with the cadence of it all, and others when I seek immediate gratification. Just like with knitting, as I mature, it is the process that gives me more and more pleasure.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Comfort Shawl

As promised, here is the progress to date on my handspun Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl. This is so much fun to knit. It is about 4 feet across the top, so not too much futher to go. Using up much of my too-small-for-a-project skeins satisfies my innate yankee frugality. For some reason it is really hard for me to have hard-won handspun just sitting unknitted. I have no such problem with store bought yarn though - odd no? Happy weekend to all.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Here is my latest dyeing/carding. Longwool Leicester fleece and "silk latte" both from Cheryl. Dyed in same pot, a la Cheryl. I think I will call it Cheryl's Spring?

Now, before you go imagining me gazing at my vase of tulips, being struck by their beauty and rushing to the dye pot to methodically recreate their subtle shades of pink, let me tell you a dirty little secret: I was shooting for red. This is what you get when you don't measure your fiber or your dye and just huck it all in a pot thinking "this should work". However, I LOVE what came out, even though I'm not really a pink person. So I kept it. No shawl photos until tomorrow, assuming its moderately bright out - I tried last night after work and it just looks like ass in every shot.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Halfway Done

I finished up sock #1 of my Sockapaloooza sock last night. I would have been done sooner, but I kept knitting away on my size 1 needles for far too long, in denial that the leg looked a wee bit narrow. I finally faced the music and ripped about 4 inches of sock leg. This version was knit on #2s with the same number of stitches, and I am still getting a good fabric. I am feeling ambivalent about the garter short row heel - it looks pretty cool, and being garter stitch has the added benefit of not having to hide the wraps. I am smitten with the spiraling decreases to the toe that maintain the pattern continuity - it just looks really neat-o.

I typically cast on immediately for all of my 2nd socks, so as to avoid the whole second sock syndrome, but I am too enthralled with my handspun shawl - it is coming out way more beautiful than I had hoped and I'm cookin' through it. So, so, so satisfying to knit with all your own yarn. Besides, I can't not finish the 2nd sock, so SSS worries are not too compelling. Shawl photos and a blatant rip-off of homage to Cheryl's lovely batts later this week!

Friday, March 10, 2006

E is for...

Energized! Nothing like a 70 degree day and a long walk in spring air with birds chirping and PumpkinBoy being boyish to get rid of the lumpiness I felt just a day ago.

My energy today has inspired me to get my next project going. First, let me show you the results of my first carding attempt that I showed you a few posts back.

300-ish yards of shiny goodness. My idea is to take that as a base with all of this (above skein also in this photo, 3rd from top)

And make myself a feather and fan comfort shawl with all my little random spinning attempts. I seem to have a penchant for blues and greens and I may or may not use everything here (and this is not all that I have spun, just what semi-fits in terms of color). I figure this will be a good way to use up all the randomness that I otherwise wouldn't know quite what to do with.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Wrung Out and Memes

I am just out of gas. No knitting, no spinning, no fleece washing, no dyeing, no carding. Just working and coming home and being a lump. I have no idea why, I'm just feeling sucked dry these days and it, well, sucks. I've been mostly MIA from commenting where I normally comment (please don't take it personally) I just can't come up with anything to say. I have a great idea for my next project, but can't bring myself to start it. Perhaps I'm getting a big dose of February blues a bit late, who knows.

So, I will do what all great bloggers do when there is no blog fodder, and catch up on some memes. First, long ago (before SPA!) Carole tagged me with the music meme. Thing is, I'm no audiophile. Yes, I listen to music, I even have favorite songs, but mostly I have no idea who/what I'm listening to. So, I'm copping out and will replace the music meme with the "knitting space meme" Here is where I knit:
Sofa cusions missing due to fort building; handy behind-sofa bookshelf holding current projects and assorted tools; my very first quilt project from years ago on the wall.

and here is where I spin:

My little corner of the dining room, which has now really expanded to along the wall with the window too - my dear husband is very kind to let me take over half the room with my "nests"

Also, Monica just tagged me for the "4 Things Meme" so here is my list:

Four jobs I have had in my life
1. Fishmonger
2. Secretary
3. Computer Operator
4. UNIX Systems Administrator

Four movies I could watch over and over
1. The Princess Bride
2. The Fellowship of the Ring
3. the Austin Powers movies
4. The Holy Grail

Four places I have lived
1. H*, Massachusetts
2. Me*, Massachusetts
3. S*, Massachusetts
4. Mi*, Massachusetts

Four TV shows I love to watch
1. Lost
2. Coupling
3. Project Runway
4. Good Eats

Four places I have been on vacation
1. Cancun
2. The Grenadines
3. Marthas Vineyard
4. Florida

Four websites I visit daily
1. Google
2. Bloglines
3. thebostonchannel.com
4. toothpastefordinner.com

Four of my favorite foods
1. roast chicken
2. hot dogs
3. popcorn
4. Cuban sandwich from Daves Fresh Pasta

Four places I would rather be right now
1. At home spinning
2. Cape Pogue
3. In bed
4. Anywhere alone (can you tell I'm feeling all people-ed out today?)

No tagging. I hope to be back soon with new energy and fun things to show you. Sorry for the suckage.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Rogue #2 Done

I finished assembling and blocking Rogue #2 last weekend, or maybe Monday... I can't remember, as its been another whirlwind week. My sister in law for whom I knit it came up (with my dear brother) and spent the night last night in order to visit and retrieve it. I was so pleased to see that it fits perfectly and looks fabulous on her, as you can see below.

Project Specs:
Pattern: Rogue, Jenna Wilson; 43.5" size
Yarn: Cascade 220, Ruby Red 7 skeins
Needles: Denise #8 and #7
Notes: I still loved knitting this the 2nd time. Things I did differently this time around were using a purl turning row for the hem - I like it much better this way. I also used the hood as an excuse to practice cabling without a cabling needles. There is not much else to be said - its a great pattern with great results, and given the excuse I could easily knit it a 3rd time.

The only thing on the needles now are my Sockapaloooza socks, I've been waffling on what my next large-scale project should be. I tried starting a lace-weight shawl, but keep ripping because I don't have the mental stamina needed for that at the moment. I kind of don't feel like doing another sweater right now, so I'm still pondering what else to get going. I might just keep the socks as a solo project and use the "extra" time to spin more often.