Monday, July 31, 2006

Secret's Out

I had a great time in Pennsylvania with my brother, my mom, my sister-in-law and her whole family. Reen's baby shower was a really good time, and her family was as welcoming and fun to be with as I remember from when they got married four years ago.

Anyway, you come here for the knitting, so here is my latest finished object that is made especially for my niecephew to be. (props to Laura for the coining of that word).

Project Specs:
Pattern: Prairie Blanket from Oat Couture
Yarn: Lane Cervinia Madrid (50% acrylic, 50% viscose); color 2001; 10 balls
Needles: Denise #7
Notes: The yarn is new to me, I wanted something super soft and machine washable so that this can get some real use. It did not disappoint - it is very soft, and almost chenile like. It was easy on the hands, and has a nice clingy-drape that I think is nice for baby blankets in particular, so they stay on the baby. The pattern was well written and very easy to follow. Itis especially nice because its knit on the diagonal, so you end the blanket decreasing down to the last corner and making quick progess, which is always welcome on large pieces. It is a nice, classic-looking blanket and thanks to its design can be worked in almost any weight yarn. I would certainly knit this again.

The main note I'd like to make about this project, is of a personal and sentimental nature (and perhaps a bit hormone-fueled after being in a house full of women and hordes of babies of all ages at the shower.) I frequently found myself thinking of M&M and their baby as I knit this, envisioning them with their first child and embarking on the fun, scary, exciting, and life changing ride that is parenting. It also was kind of magical noting my own burgeoning belly developing underneath the expanding blanket over the months I knit this, and picturing how the two little cousins so close in age growing and playing together. Their babe will be my first blood related niecephew, and I so look forward to both meeting him/her as well as to watching two very special to me people add to our family.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Madness and Silk

First the Madness: The sudden microburst thunderstorm that hit Somerville over the weekend managed to back up storm drainage and sewerage into the whole basement space of the building where I work. Myself and 25 other basement-dwelling coworkers had to be relocated hastily as it was no longer a healthy work enviroment. The week has been spent packing up cubicles and computers into boxes to be relocated to temporary office space for the next month or so while carpeting and cubes are ripped out and replaced. Fun times.

I am also headed out of town sans PumpkinBoy and husband tomorrow through Sunday, off to Pennsylvania to attend my sister-in-laws baby shower. This will be only the second time I've been away from my little boy for any overnights, and I'm going to miss him. He and Daddy have lots of fun stuff planned, and apart from missing my boys and long hours in the car, I am really looking forward to the weekend. That also means you'll get photos and a post of the completed super-secret-baby-knitting next week.

And now the silk: I bought a lot of silk to spin when Cheryl and I hit the NH Sheep and Wool on that legendary rainy day. For my first attempt, I decided to tackle this cap. The color is a poor choice for photography purposes, but it is a crazy bright, glowing blue that just about blew out my poor camera every which way I tried to photograph it.
I've never done this before, so I followed instructions from here on peeling off one layer (I think I only got one - it was hard) and stretching and pulling it into roving. This stuff is STRONG, and the length of roving from one layer is pretty impressive (feet included for scale):

It was a challenge to spin, but I did get the hang of it. The instructions I link to above really mean it when they say pre-draft the roving out to just about where you want to spin it from - it takes a lot of muscle to draft out thicker spots once you've got an end tied up in the twist. I would also strongly recommend removing any rings you wear that might snag the fibers, as well as not doing this when its 90 degrees and 70% humidity out - sweaty hands do not ease the process in any way.

Depsite all my fumbling, I managed to spin a little mini-test skien of singles from my little pile of roving. I have left plenty of room for improvment, but I am pleased nonetheless.
Happy weekend to all.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Busy Little Bee

Thanks to my Magic Mondays, as well as PumpkinBoy deciding to actually take a nice long nap one day last weekend (he never naps at home anymore) I've been amazingly, incredibly productive in my fibery persuits this past week.

Top left is 4oz/260yds navaho-plied Lorna's Laces top in the Purple Iris colorway. This crap has been on my wheel since March. Its not really crap at all, its very nice actually, I am just so freakin' sick of looking at it that all I want to do is shove it in a drawer and never look at it again. I still have 6 more ounces of the top left and will most likely try to destash it on the Destash blog - I just do not want to look at it anymore.

In the middle are long-ago spun singles from the Gotland fleece sample that Cheryl gave me, and which I dyed a nice crimson - I finally got around to plying that up - it is very wooly and I adore the color.

On the right, you can probably guess, is not my handspun, but my navy-blue dye job on the last hank of Nicks Meadow Farm merino that I will make into another Seaman's cap for my sweet patient husband. I actually weighed and measured and did all the necessary math on this dye job, as I wanted it to be just right, and it has met the husband's seal of approval.

I have also made crazy-fast progress on the Super Secret Baby Knitting, which is good, because dear Reen's shower is next weekend, and I really want to be able to give her a gift that is not still on the needles. I think I'm going to make it.

Once that baby knitting is complete, I free up my needles to do some knitting for our own impending baby. I have been thinking Pinwheel Blanket all along, and actually already have some very pretty hand-dyed Danette Taylor (her site appears to be down at the moment) worsted in pretty girl colors that would be perfect. However, I have been following Cara's progress on her random log-cabin blanket, and the idea appeals to me greatly. I would need to go yarn-hunting especially for that though (Koigu solids would look divine, wouldn't they?), and I'm feeling rather frugal and tentative about doing that when I can get a perfectly lovely Pinwheel from my stash. I think I will have to ponder that for a little while.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Worth the Wait

I have received my awesome Dye-O-Rama package from none other than PippiKneeSocks! She had contacted me before the due date to let me know she would be a little late, and not to worry, so I didn't.

It was well worth the wait as you can see! The dye-o-rama yarn is the pink/brown/green beauty on the right, and extra-guilt-reducing goodies (although she needn't feel guily, as she was super communcative about the brief delay!) are some Opal sock yarn, and some more hand-dyed in blue/green/yellow as well as a batt of "merino/nylon/navajo-churro/angora/
mohair! Holy shit, talk about more than I expected. All are just stunning and I am overwhelmed by your generosity, Ms. KneeSocks! You are so talented.

This swap was so much fun, I've also signed up for the Favorite Color Swap, which also sounds kinda neat. Sign ups close next week for that one, so get in now, its a really fun idea, I think.

Monday, July 10, 2006

M is for.....

Magical Monday Morning.

As some of you may be aware, I work only part time, and am home with the PumpkinBoy, being mommy all day (which is much harder than actual work, if you must know) on Mondays and Fridays. However, PumpkinBoy just started at a new preschool last week, one which strongly encourages a full week of attendance, so the compromise is that he will attend Mon-Thurs, and still be home with me on Fridays. With the new babe on its way, it didn't make much sense for me to rearrange my work schedule to fit his new school, so I am left with Magical Mondays all summer and into November.

These are days where I can lounge in bed, while Dan gets the boy up and dressed and fed and out to school, and I am left with the quiet expanse of a day to myself. Utterly to myself. I can count on one hand the number of days like this I have experienced in the past three years, so the thought of one per week stretching into late fall makes me positively giddy. I am trying very hard to refrain from plotting and planning all the knitting/spinning/fleece washing/dyeing I will do and just see what I feel like each day, but it is hard not to have visions of heaps of wool drying on the deck and dyepots simmering.

In the meantime, as I write this at 8am, I'm on my second cup of coffee, have already taken some kick-ass macro shots of my daylillies in the nice morning light, and am trying to decide what to do next. I do have some "chores" to get done, but not enough to take all day.

These colors would make a nice yarn/fiber colorway, no?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I Finished Something

Not only did I start something in the last week, I finished it. Hooray for me. Yeah, its just a hat, but I'm calling it a symbol of my knitting mojo returning.

This is my Dad's birthday hat. While the thought of putting a wool hat on my head currently makes me break out in hives, I must say this is nice enough to tempt me.

Project Specs:
Pattern: Seaman's Cap, by
Brenda Zuk
Yarn: 2ply Merino from
Nick's Meadow Farm (their wool, commercially spun I believe) used one 4oz hank
Needles: #6 DPNs
Notes: a nice, simple, classic pattern. The yarn is what makes this special - so soft but very firm. Dear Husband has requested his own version, but in navy blue, so I will be dyeing my last remaining hank.

The brighter piece in the photo is my replacement sock for the koigu toe-up that I have chosen to abandon for the moment. These are much more summery both in color and content - the yarn is Regia Cotton Surf, and these are going to be some light and breathable socks.

Really looking forward to spin night tomorrow evening, maybe some spinning mojo will be headed back my way as well. I missed last months due to vacation, and am dying to have some uniterrupted time meant just to spin in.