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Preview: Fibergal Fantasy

Fibergal Fantasy



Strange ramblings of a fiber freak



Updated: 2015-09-17T00:07:20.486-06:00

 



New Kittens slow my knitting

2009-06-06T18:54:03.161-06:00

Meet Lydia. Tiny new kitten. 1 lb 13 oz when we got her last week. Sweet and fast. The second pic shows a pen for scale but is blurred by her fast movement. She is about twice the size of her little sister.
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Meet Mai Mai. Devil cat. So tiny she fits in a teacup. 1 lb 3 oz when we got her.
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Neither cat can meow, they still just squeak a little. Play is furious for 3 two hour sessions a day followed by collapse.

And, of course, all kittens need toys. This is just after play has ended. Mayhem.
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Some knitting happens during sleep. This is the last row of Aeolian.
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I am really wanting to work on Mara, but that is too attractive right now for them. Cats like Shetland.
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Goddess Knits Anniversary Mystery shawl is so nice. But Zephyr yarn is easy to bite through.
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So I shall be even slower than normal but happily playing with my new distractions. Today I shall introduce them to the looms and see what happens.



More Fair Isle tools

2009-02-08T01:25:08.937-07:00

I knit a lot in public, often at distracting concerts, and needed to simplify my process. When preparing for a long Fair Isle/stranded project, I start with pattern. I usually have charted in some software or graph paper, but after I settle on the chart, I move to excel. I make the color card and pattern bundle.
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In excel, I chart by using very visible colors, not necessarily matching the yarns I will use. Then I break the chart down by inserting a blank row between each chart line. Glue these babies up to pre-cut cardstock, insert a banker's ring and off I go. I just flip to change the row. (Spinners will recognize yet another use of those wonderful black rubber bands.)
This is what excel looks like:
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Notice that I add the color name and the count? The count has two forms, short and full. Short gets repeated across the row, counting right to left, just as you knit. Full give me the lead-in for a particular row. See row #25 on the second chart.
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While I am not thrilled by the color choice on the top of the tam, this sequence doesn't come up in the sweater. The side of the tam has the XO pattern and is a fine gauge swatch. Of course, many of you recognize Mara.
Meanwhile, fiberguy has been very busy cutting away on a semi-secret quilt project. Huge amount of cutting, but he is very organized and chugging along. A nice block in the background is partially finished.



Fair Isle toy

2009-02-02T03:54:48.643-07:00

While working a sweater in Fair Isle or Stranded Knitting, one often has 15-20 balls of yarn to keep straight. Not only do you have to have the colors correctly identified for the different bands, but you also have to prevent tangling. Some wonderful blogger had this tool but I just can't find her blog's link. I had it on my 'wanted' list for about a year and a half and finally indulged. It is better than I could have ever imagined.

The original purpose is to store cups or other small items. It folds completely flat and I could have opened the last section for more yarn, but chose to unsnap it for my color card and notes.

Once closed, I can store it on the side or even upside down and nothing is disturbed when I reopen the case. I can't express my joy at this wonderful tool.(image)
It is called a Canvas Storage Organizer and costs under $20.



Sweet Melodies Tam

2009-02-01T02:12:14.318-07:00

Mary Rowe's book Knitted Tams has long inspired me. But I never made anything out of her book. I used her methods and made many a tam. I have read my book so much, the pages are all bent and thin - well loved. So in my sock procrastination knitting frenzy, I decided it was time to pick a project.I had yarn on hand, that is in stash, to make a charmer called Sweet Melodies. I had to guess at just what she did for ribbing, peerie and length. However, when I look at her blocked tam in the book next to my blocking tam, they are pretty close. For those tam virgins, you will need a blocking board for this to make the shape stick. I use a very low tech item that I made 15 years ago or more when I first learned how to knit them. I got two disposable pizza tins from the grocer and a piece of cardboard. I cut the three to 11.5" and used masking tape on the edge. It works well and hasn't fallen apart yet. Fancy, eh? When I block, I first wash my tam to remove any hand oils and dirt from knitting and stretch it over the board. the ribbing will appear quite ruffled at first but I suspend the tam blocker over a can of soup and it pulls right in overnight as it dries. One note, you will have ends to weave in, or at least, I will. I usually steek Fair Isle sweaters and hide my ends in the steek section. But here I weave into the floats. First, it is Shetland yarn, all clingy, and will hold the ends. Second, I don't weave as I go since it can show and the background is often dark. It only took about 45 minutes and I am so much happier with the product. I gently pull my ends to the left and right to see which way to darn them in that closes, not opens the hole made when I change colors. When done properly you will have a hard time figuring out on the right side just where the colors changed.[...]



Slacker

2009-01-28T01:41:19.181-07:00

Nothing like a project (7 socks) to make me totally fuck off and make tons of other things. First, there were a quick 3 hats. [Gramma K's Tamm, 2 Turn a Squares] Then we have some bracelets [2 of my own design and one Circle Get the Square, highly recommended]. Oh, and another cowl. [Good Luck Cowl] I am also working on swatches for the Walker Treasury Project and did finish a project for the upcoming Spindlicity.Oh and two more socks are coming along. One of these is hideously ugly. Almost like a bad B movie - so ugly I am compelled to continue. It seems I have wicked startitis. Luckily, I also have wicked finishitis. Oh, and everything is from stash.[...]



Socks, loom and electric wheel

2009-01-17T18:36:24.257-07:00

Well my socks went forward and then back again. I made this whole pair in the wrong gauge. I knew it was wrong but persisted. And I screwed up the tops. Oh, and the color - I got it for Steelers colors but there was green. It was too much.


Now, it is ripped and overdyed with some old koolaid I wanted to clear out of my dye cabinet. Nice and mottled, as I hoped. I like them now and am ready to reknit.

Lornas's laces Bee Stripe before and after.
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I still have the same damn project on the loom, but I am not hating it yet. I made a huge miscalculation when I put on the warp. I used a different method of winding an screwed up so the warp was 4 times longer than I wanted. You think I would have noticed, right? But I was so thrilled to get the (new to me) loom setup that I just slapped that puppy on. So I am weaving and weaving and weaving. It will be very long and narrow.
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Lastly, since someone asked me about it, I thought I might show one of my home made electric wheels. I have it set in bobbin winder mode right now, but I can just pop out the stick and pop in the flier. I have a folded loom behind it, and a yarn counter on the table in this rather poor photo, but you can get the gist. I built it on a really thick and heavy spiral staircase step of solid oak that a woodworker in my old neighborhood was discarding. My luck to find it as the solidity helps stability. Anyway, it has always worked so well that I never really prettied it up. It has been used very often since about 1993, I think. It lives in the corner next to my loom and I can change it for plying or spinning pretty fast, but I built another electric wheel for plying exclusively and so this is now one of my winders. Foot pedal. Reverse by twisting the drive band (on a drawer pull). In line with both swift, ball winder and cone holder.
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Sock brat

2009-01-12T15:45:50.055-07:00

I admit it, I am a spoiled sock brat. As a spinner, if I want a luxury sock, I can just build it. Jacob combed with yearling mohair? No problem. Angora, silk, merino: easy. And we must not forget the lovely Romney/baby alpaca. But you know what these fine blends all have in common? They all get handwashed. Well, it is time for a change.

For my birthday, I promised myself 7 pairs of socks that I can toss right in the washer. Simple commercial yarn FROM MY STASH that are everyday handmade. And while I still use my fancy handspun joyful socks, at least I get a day off occasionally from handwashing them.

It has been fun. I discovered Kroy yarn - gee why didn't you tell me about that? And I am using up some dubious choices I made in the past. Like the bumble bee yarn that was to support the Steelers, only to find it contained green - the wrong color. Still the socks will be better than commercial white ones that never fit very well.

I have finished 3 pairs and have two more single socks done. I suspect I will go over my 7 sock goal too, and before a month has passed. Then I will have cleaned up my yarn storage area a bit, turned it into east care garments and can get back to some fancier spinning and knitting and spoiling.

Sock one is Kroy Cyan Stripes done at 64 stitches on 2.75 knitpicks wooden DPs.
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Sock two may be some old Magic stripe at 72 sts on size 1 metal needles.
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Sock three is interesting. It was from a massive cone of carpet yarn I bought on ebay for felting - kinda feels like a cross between Romney and Shetland, very pleasant. However this stuff won't felt. I am quite sure it is pure wool. I had intended to use it for some class I was teaching. Now, I toss a skein in every time I dye. The yarn has the most pleasing feel on the foot, which is good since there's about 10 lbs left. Anyway, 64 sts on 2.75 metal unknown needles. Ribbed.(image)



Silver and speed

2009-01-10T16:20:49.107-07:00

I met this amazing jewelry artist while at the silver supply place today. Living in Albuquerque means that I am surrounded by artists and you become kinda numb to the whole scene after a while. So when I tell you that this artist has a unique look, it means he really stands out in a crowd of artists. He has both a website and Etsy shop which I strongly recommend, especially for those looking to burn through some holiday money. (His photo with permission)
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Meanwhile, I have been catching up on some birthday knitting. I wanted a shawl, a wimple and 7 socks. It is the time of year when I toss out the old socks that can’t be mended anymore and need some quickie socks to fill in. I also want to clean up my stash of self patterning sock yarn since I don’t really use it as much these days. I am happy to blast through it with just plain old knit socks that can be tossed into the washer and dryer and used every week. When those are done, I get to go onto some fancier knitting.
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But you know what? That stupid plain knitting in the round without thinking is bringing back my speed. It is like finger exercises when you were learning to touch type. Slow, boring, mindless and yet a skill is perfected. So I will get 7 pairs of usable socks and speed, baby, speed.
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Sheep Cake

2008-12-19T01:19:18.392-07:00

While I am woefully behind in posting, I did have to share this special treat. Fiberguy really earned his name tonight when he came home with this:
Curly little sheep on my cake instead of the dreaded roses. Lovely and soft and tasty.
I have been beading since I tore my biceps tendon and only knit slowly right now. I would love to show you all photos, but I either sold everything or they are for upcoming gifts. I just have to make some more to show you all. Meanwhile, fiberguy is just pumping out the socks.




Cotton processing and insurance

2008-11-26T03:08:35.920-07:00

I think I was a little overwhelmed when I got back from SOAR this year. Between getting so sick there and losing my luggage with all my treasures, it was a bit much. Then having 6 socks fail for one reason or another, mostly user error and blind optimism, well, I was in a funk. However, now that the insurance check has come in and I can begin to replace those things replaceable, I feel less stuck. And finally, after 6 weeks, over the whole SOAR bug, I can see forward progress. I even finished 3 pairs of working socks. I did have to go back to the basics and work my way up. Still, I never did find that stretchy bindoff that I used to know but there is time to look around for it and use a sewn bind-off until then. Meanwhile, fiberguy is processing cotton like mad this week. Most of it had to be put into the dehydrator since our freezing weather came very early this year. I am normally out in a tshirt still but it is full jacket, scarf and gloves weather. The bolls pop just like popcorn in the dehydrator and while the cotton is a bit more compresses coming out, it fluffs just like the good stuff. I am very behind in my seed deliveries this year, but they are still coming along. I still want to start every project in sight, want to spin every fiber in my stash all at once (not actually acomplishable) and weave every pattern in every book all at once. I have a driving need to create. But I am plugging away on some holiday stuff and can't really branch out right now, drat. Being sick always gives me a wicked case of startitis. Lace looms heavily but, again, I think I need to start slowly and work my way up. Perhaps a simple Swallowtail?For those waiting, there are still some SOAR photos that will come along, perhaps in the dead of winter to warm us all.Oh, and one simple little thing that brings me joy right now. I know some make their own lotions and ointments, I am not one of those. But I often like to add stuff to commercial lotion to fix it up a bit. So Winter 08 healing lotion is:1 large (580ml) Lubriderm daily moisture1 small Peppermint essential oil (1/3 oz)1 small Lavender essential oil (1/3 oz)Aloe Vera gel - about 2 ozJojoba Oil (between 1-2 oz)Mix the Aloe Vera 50/50 with water to thin it (or it clumps). Dump the rest all together and mix for a while - it resists incorporation but will get smooth with a lot of stirring. If the scents are too strong, and they may be, cut the essential oils in half. Fill small decorative bottles or plastic bottles for your purse and every room of the house. I get mine here.I used to add a lot of other things, like tea tree oil and rosemary, but this mix suits me well and really has an effect on my hands. Immune issues mean that I was my hands over 30 times a day and I need the extra healing. I thought you might like a dry skin cure too.[...]



SOAR 2008 part 3

2008-10-29T00:11:51.643-06:00

The Power Trio at the spin-in.Carol and Jennifer are really splendid in these colors, don't you think?Here Denny approaches the tricky Dino with her trusty hammer cheered on by Beth and Anne, who finally snatches a minute to join us.I can't tell, but I think Abby is singing. What do you think?Class samples from the review.More class samples from the workshop review.This is Charlene. She is the bravest person I know. She has ripped this sweater back at least 3 times. She was doing it there in front of all of us. I don't mean a row. She ripped it right back - a sweater's worth. Her yarn maintained integrity and it is now finished. She makes me have a little courage with my knitting problems. She makes me want to rip a project back to the cast on row right now and fulfill my knitting dreams. Charlene is my hero.Here is Nancy Bush in the 3 day Estonian Lace with Judith MacKenzie McCuin.Fiberguy and his friend Jodie from our home guild. She ties for second most SOARs.Our friend Jeane stopped by to drop off some yarn at Carolina Homespun. She has lots of new colors. We used her yarn for Vivian Hoxbro's class and she liked it too. It is perfect for her patterns.Wormspit was examining Jeannine's spendid bands during a demo of his band weaving setup.And this is Elizabeth. She learned to spin cotton from the seed in under 1 minute and proceeded to spin a bag of it. She has amazing natural talent. Did I mention she was a SOAR virgin? She fit right in.And I made the big 20,000 on my blog counter today, woohoo! Thanks all.More to come on SOAR.[...]



SOAR 2008 part 2

2008-10-28T14:39:06.094-06:00

And more pics in no particular orderThis was a group gather, one of the first few nights. This location had some problems, but there were large areas in which to meet.During one of these meetings, Marcy performed one of the funniest imitations of Lamchop I have ever seen. Kelly and I were screaming with laughter. If I could rewind my brain to play this again and again, I would.Janel examines some Alpaca spindle spun yarn.Beth fondles some yummy yarn that matches her beautiful shawl.This is John's most seen expression - pure delight.Here is Pete in Deb's class demonstrating, ah, what?Sharon's class examine felted samples.Abby's classPat dropped by to show some new goodies.Samples in Sara's class.Vivian's class tantalized us all with color.I don't know what class Rita was in but don't the sample tables look great?Amy and Karen squeeze time to have a laugh. These guys were everywhere doing everything. I don't know how they even had time to eat lunch. We are all so grateful for your hard work. Thank you to everyone at Interweave for the gift of another SOAR.[...]



SOAR 2008 part 1

2008-10-27T16:14:58.469-06:00

Pic heavy post ahead to show you the wonders of this year's SOAR.There was much celebrating to see each other.That is Abby, Judith & MaggieAbby, Shelia & JenniferSteph, Juno (C)Rachel with her friend AngelinaAnd more joy to meet new people I have know online.Maia who spreads joy in her wakeAnd JimLots of newbies that seem to fit right in:Cosette who helped fiberguy in spinning classDana & Meghan, Ravelry friends showing off class samples. Oh and Pat with her camera behind.And people that warmed my heartSteve & Connie of SpindlewoodCarol & Pete & the wonderful Marcy showing off a strange spindle.Two of my especially treasured friends, Jeannine & Denny. Here Jeannine is showing her amazing bands that she wove for this year's fashion show. Perhaps someday she will show them all to the world as they are astonishing. Marilyn M. said Jeannine is always the wedding dress of the fashion show. She always goes last and gives us all a jaw dropper.OK, there is much more to come.[...]



On Healing and loss

2008-10-23T04:05:50.297-06:00

… I put away old my old projects. I went through the house and all the travel bags and gathered up those started and planned, bagged with patterns and needles, poised for fibery pleasures. It was like burying a beloved pet. The container they all went into was one of those giant plastic bins; it almost looked like a coffin. I counted and cataloged them, photographed them all. Goodbye my little friends, time to sleep, all of you. I'll be back when my shoulder is fixed. A big box of stored potential, stored dreams.

Now, after almost exactly one year, I pull out my spindles and knitting needles. My first touch of fiber was at SOAR. It was both joyful and sad. I lost skills. I didn’t think that could happen. I had been in a groove. Now I had holes in the corner of my first sock. How could I forget the secret magic to not having those holes? It took me so long to learn those things. How can I forget in only one year? It was crushing to realize I had lost my chops. I feel adrift in a world that was so familiar, like looking in through a window at something I can’t touch.

I have to admit that it was difficult to leave fiber alone at first. I went through my fiber bins, both yarn and fleece. I photographed them all. I weighted them. I cataloged them in database after database. Now, if I want the green silk/merino handspun from MDS&W from 1997, I can just say to fiberguy to go to bin 6 in stack 2 and get the item in this photo; there should be 6.5 oz.
And those projects I so lovingly stored? The ones that held all that potential? Some are ashes in my mouth. A pair of gloves that I loved now are clearly the wrong yarn choice and will be remade properly. I am finishing up the tiny things and ripping out more. I want a fresh start. I lost a piece of luggage on the way to SOAR that contained my nearly finished Pie Are Square shawl in alpaca along with many other treasures. It detached me, somehow, from all the other projects. I loved that shawl. I invested hours into it. It was the perfect color/yarn and now, sadly, no longer sold. My favorite needles, too, all gone.

I know a year from now that lace will fly off my needles without thought and I will be back into the groove of knitting. Spinning will come first. But it seems like I lost a piece of myself when I lost the skills. Like forgetting how to talk English or how to walk. Some fundamental loss that was a surprise and rather deeply disturbing.

And I did gain something else during the time I was losing myself. I learn to bead more seriously. I applied myself. I went through hundreds of books. I learned project after project, technique after technique. I would practice until comfortable. I took them all to SOAR as gifts as if to say, ‘Here, this is my healing. This is what I learned. This is for you.’ Yet that, too, was lost in the same bag on the way to SOAR. All my splendid pretty things to give to those who inspire me and I treasure. I had my best efforts in there to payback special favors that meant a great deal to me (Deb M). Yet I went empty handed; felt ungiving. Somehow that seems tied to losing myself too.

So now, I have projects that are ashes in my mouth, diminished fiber skills, an empty feeling of loss. It feels hard to get over this hump with no fiber to make me whole. When knitting helps you heal from loss, where does one turn when knitting IS the loss?



Awesome Gifts

2008-03-08T03:51:09.854-07:00

6 weeks of flu left me weak and wobbly, but I do have energy enough to read. And just in time, some wonderful books have come into my life.First from a friend: I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Ethnic Knitting Discovery and I love it. But I was surprised and delighted by the Priscilla Gibson-Roberts updates. I think that Knitting in the Old Way should be in every one’s library. And as a spindle spinner, I just loved Spinning in the Old Way. It was a thoughtful gift and I just love them.The paperback of Victorian Lace Today came out finally and I am flipping through that too. I missed getting the hardback and then saw everyone’s nice projects and, well, was jealous. I wanted some nice lace too. The reprint is reasonably priced and fits perfectly on my shelf – two reasons why I didn’t select the hardback.And lastly, out of the blue, a new and wonderful friend from SOAR sent me the best gift ever: Isn’t it splendid? Oh, and it just sparkles in real life. The back is great too. I was mesmerized by this band. It is so precious that I am a bit afraid to use it. But it is so great that I will buck up. I feel like I have some museum quality piece in my hands and it was just a total surprise. Thank you so much, John Malarky.Fiberguy has been busy too. Just look at these socks: Gentleman’s Fancy Sock by Nancy Bush from Knitting Vintage Socks in Araucania Ranco He is on his third pair of socks now and the first written pattern. There are some mistakes, but he has chosen to leave them in as part of the learning experience. He is working on them concurrently so no second sock syndrome for that boy. I have much more knitting that I've been working on, but I will save that for some photos. I can write, but I can't take many pictures yet, still too tired. Now I think I will go nap.[...]



SOTSII clue 3

2008-02-10T14:25:05.346-07:00

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I am still battling a bad flu and seem to be getting nothing done at all. While my head is too fuzzy to do anything, I find comfort in some types of knitting. I need 'stupid' knitting, mindless and fast. But there is one exception. I seem to be be doing ok on this project that would appear to be complex but is easy to read. The chart of SOTSII works up fast and is pleasant. I do count out all the spaces every row and write the numbers down before I begin - I am not crazy. But other than that, it feels like speed reading. It goes from my eyes to my fingers without stopping at my brain. That's good because my brain would just muck things up right now. I am not crazy though; that is a lifeline. I usually fly without them but I expect massive stupidity here and am putting in one about every 1/2 chart. Whew, this was enough for me -- back to my hot tea and lemon.



Stepping it up

2008-02-08T17:30:28.175-07:00

Way to go Dover. You have always had some amazing titles at great prices. It is nice to fill in my library for books that were lent and never returned and I picked them up at less than $10 each. I have seen them on ebay for over a hundred. Happy girl to have some old favorites back home with me.

Traditional Fair Isle Knitting by Sheila McGregor
Fair Isle Knitting by Sarah Don
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In addition, the new Drops designs are up. Boy, they are just steppin’ it up too, aren’t they? Lots and lots of great designs. Current stuff, lace, even Norwegian. Be prepared to lose a lot of time on this site if you haven’t been there before.



Blog-a-rific nominations

2008-02-05T01:34:59.029-07:00

I got a big double nomination from some of my buddies, so it gave me impetus to make my own list.I have a long bloglines list, I will admit. I go through days when I can’t spin or knit and it kinda keeps me sane to read about all of you out there doing it. If you are writing regularly, I probably subscribe. For me, there are some blogs that are critical for my brain and they certainly MAKE MY DAY. In no particular order then:Habetrot - It isn't just that she puts up tons of fiber-related photos. That would be enough, mind you. But the extreme quality of the finds, along with the witty commentary just puts her in the 'must see' list for me.Yarn Harlot - ok, I am a groupie too, how could I not be? She reaches right through that screen and makes me knit things. She turns massive frustrations into humor and makes me laugh at myself and all the rest of the fiber world. What an amazing ability to see and to show us all. Thank you for sharing so much for so long.Getting Stitched on the Farm - I first went to this site because I was most influenced by Kristin Nicholas designs from so many publications. But I got drawn in to the workings at the farm. Who doesn't want to look at all those great sheep? It is like a sheep soap opera, you just want to know what happens next.The Independent Stitch - I have been a Deb fan from back at the CompuServe days. Her books are well thought out, aren't they? And I do so miss the editorial page from Spin-off. High fibery goodness here.Enchanting Juno - Well, this woman is just a goddess, isn't she? Lovely, smart, very nice in person. I read every word she puts out. She has a brain in her head.Knitting in Color - great patterns, nice technical two-color knitting, and another local.Evilsciencechick - strange and funny. She should be writing for TV.Maia Spins - great techniques from a very clever mind. And we know a lot of the same people. I wish she would show up at SOAR - perfect fit. Shouldnt' she be in the Swill group with the rest of us?Carol's Blog - this one regularly makes me smile. And I get to hear about the other side of the pond. Both delightful people and wonderful photos.Woven Thoughts - this is the most colorful, interesting place to explore. The tenacity to tackle those mammoth projects, finish them and with such style and especially grace. Whew, my head spins here.Other category:Cool Tools - I don't buy them; I just want to see what's new out there.Stephen Fry - his charm comes through on posts dripping with wit.Engadget - I can easily read a couple of hundred posts at a sitting.Bloggers you wish posted more:Nona Knits and Nona Swatches - The swatch portion might just be the most mesmerizing thing on the web for me. When she was posting every day, I would rush to the computer.The Walker Treasury Project - my stitch addiction becomes clear when you go back and read all the posts. I can't get enough but again, there are no recent posts.Beebonnet Report - Don'tcha just wish she would give us a daily update, especially with fiber pictures? Love her stuff.Now, I have to go and catch up with everyone’s blog, I am behind as it was a heavy knitting day.[...]



Organization Rant

2008-02-01T01:46:23.179-07:00

Well here at Chez Fibergal knitting interest has never been higher. Unfortunately, my shoulder is still not working for a while so this afforded me the chance to do some auxiliary work on the knitting front – that bad word – Organize. Specifically, the Shetland fingering yarns got a full cataloging with weights, all label info, etc. All while fiberguy knitted socks. Of all my yarns, the ones most precious to me are my Shetland Jumper weight yarns. Classes in the 90’s with Alice Starmore at the Tomato Factory got me started on my mania. I have used them for so many projects. Nothing is as comforting on the needles or in a sweater than Shetland yarn for me. Of course, I get lots of leftovers, especially from my own designs. Many projects, like tams, require just a few yards of each color. And frankly, a new project can be so expensive by kit that it will be out of my range. Cataloging allows me to see just which yarns I have and which I need for my next project. I am leaning towards an oldie but goodie, the Mara vest. It is a little garish, it comes with a good story, it is almost a mindless knit and very nice with denim. Either that or some strange design of my own. And yes, I do spin a ton of Shetland. But I save it all. I hope to have a library of about 20 colors in jumper weight, several pounds each, and then start designing for that yarn. So everything I do with commercial Shetland is like practice, right?The thing that has me in a snarl after all that cataloging is brand. I used to love the Jamieson & Smith. Especially after I couldn’t get the Scottish Campion. Now that a lot of my favorite colors were discontinued, I am making the transition to Jamieson. A wonderful yarn, but strictly speaking, not quite compatible ypp-wise. And then there are all those color translations. Geez, just getting a database that worked was tough. On my color cards, I have Russet 297. On my skein, the same yarn is Russett (2 t’s) with number 124. Half my skeins that still had labels didn’t show up on any color cards, purchased at the same time as the yarn. Ok, trying not to freak out, I turned to the net to get translation charts. There were so many mistakes on those that it almost wasn’t worth it. And lots of labels that I held in my hand were missing from all charts. Now with the discontinued colors it gets a bit worse. Most stores I have spoken to have switched from J&S to Jamieson yarns, so I have to figure them into my translation table. What I really need is a master list that has the full list of manufacturer’s numbers and NAMES and equivalents in other brands. For instance, FC43 in J&S is sometimes called Corn, sometimes Honey Beige, sometimes Tan. Well, crap, no wonder I follow my own patterns and not other people’s. How the hell am I supposed to figure out what color they are talking about anyway????Ok, getting a little worked up there. That is what spending the weekend typing and not knitting does for me. The reason for it all, the reward that awaits me is some creation that has 30 colors with incredibly subtle shifts and all in wonderful heathers with 9 colors in each yarn. That dream is what makes all this listmaking, the massive database, worthwhile. You know how I know this? I made color cards of my own, well, am making color cards. The incredible shifts of color are so tricky, yet our eyes can distinguish all the differences.On other fronts, a delightful treat came in the mail today. Why had I not used this all my life? If you are a snipper or shaver, I can't recommend this enough. Get a sweater stone and you w[...]



Variations - Photo Heavy

2008-01-28T04:49:44.969-07:00

I can always tell when a new Fair Isle is coming. The color fever takes over. First I grab an image and manipulate the colors in Photoshop. Then, if I own the pattern, I bring the graph into Design-A-Knit and use a tool that randomizes your colors. You can save as you go and lock in some colors. Whew, it can get strange. [...]



Swayed

2008-01-20T17:24:55.185-07:00

What is it about mystery Knit-A-Longs that makes them appealing. Really, other people are picking your projects for you. Yet, I was really sorry when I missed the Mystic Waters Shawl and even sorrier that I missed Secret of the Stole. I did the Mystery Stole 3 and, very sorry, but I hated the asymmetrical wing. Now that is ripped back to the middle and sitting on my mantle waiting for SOME second half inspiration.

But missing some sweet shawl KALs really rankles. So I signed up for two recently and have really lucked out on the first one so far. I am in Secret of the Stole II (SOTSII) and loving it. Clue One was an easy, one sitting, almost mindless, pleasant knit. I had been working with the yarn and needle combo recently so I did not swatch but dived right in. What fun. Knitpicks Shadow in Redwood Forest on sale and from stash, Options #4 needles and my cd case to contain the yarn. Happy knitter.
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I also signed up for Mystic Light KAL which I believe is still open. It doesn't start for a while. Even if I work on it late, I will have the files this way.

Between the shawl KALs and Selbu stuff, I feel like I am knitting flotsam once again. I almost fear reading what other people are blogging lest I look down on my needles and see it there. I do have a brain in my head, you know. I just wish my hands and needles could figure that out too.



NM yummies

2008-01-16T23:04:17.718-07:00

I popped my shoulder, so had to set down the knitting needles for a couple of days. Instead I have been cooking and boy, howdy, have I found a doozie of a cookbook. I was dubious when I opened it, but got kinda caught up in the descriptions. Fiberguy had to leave town and so I tried a simple recipe thinking I could dump it if it was terrible without him being subjected to another strange kitchen nightmare. Welllll, it wasn't terrible. In fact it was yummy. Really yummy. So yummy, I drove down to the store to get ingredients for another recipe.

Who knew that you could bake with tofu and have the dish come out creamy, moist and totally yummy? I tried the blueberry muffins and boy are they good. I made the chocolate frosting and it has the creamy mouth feel of the most over the top buttercream frosting. The flavor was spot on. (see the picture on the cover?) The cupcakes are tomorrow since the frosting needed to be cooled in the fridge. Now I just want to make everything from this book.

Speaking of food, if you are in New Mexico or travelling to here soon, I just found the best site for restaurant reviews. Gil's Thrilling Web Site is not misnamed. I stopped by for a quick look and 4 hours later I was still reading. He writes very well and covers a lot of territory. It is not a blog, just a collection of reviews. On the weekend we choose one from the list and it was great. This is a place I drove past twice a week for years now. I never even considered going in and it may be the best place in town. Places I thought were pretty good got less than perfect reviews so I am dying to try what he thinks is better. Frankly we don't eat out much but now, we have a long list to try.

I also found a little treat for my feet. Aren't these nice? They mold to the foot and are so comfy. I started to knit socks right away to match. So much of a sock shows with these that they are perfect for a knitter. Love my new Mary Jane Crocs.



Knitting all over the map

2008-01-20T17:23:13.553-07:00

My new SNB group met on Tuesday and I started this sock. Finished Thursday. Boy are these fast and fun. Just a bit of left over dyed Top of the Lamb sport singles which will be hidden under the haze of the mohair after the first washing.
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Fiberguy went too and worked on his sock. He has turned the corner and done with his decreases. He is fascinated and thrilled with the magic of heel turning. Ah, what a wise man.
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My favorite IV nurse is leaving and I am thrilled for him and bummed for me. He was sure to be the most gentle of them all. So, I am thanking him the best way I can, with my needles. He gets a Marsan Watchcap. I added a stitches to make it 96 around since a lot of people mentioned it being a bit small. What do you give someone that never has to stick you more than once?
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And lastly, I have been spinning the same old, same old. My light green blend of superwash merino. Do you think I will end up with two or ten sweater's worth of this stuff? I have 2 pounds spun of the dark green alone and it is only one of many colors. I was thinking a raglan tshirt in stranded knitting. Just how big do I think I am??? I did really get into the blending part and still have two partial mixes to go. It is fun, mindless spinning, a bit finer than DK, 3 ply, maybe a light sportweight. The socks of the same ilk have been into the washer and dryer a hundred times or so and still sweet. All the time I was carding, I kept thinking of my old Starmore yarns and the magical blends of so many colors.
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You guys...

2008-01-07T18:36:30.374-07:00

Wow, the response to the Quilted Leaf socks has be tremendous. I got more blog hits in 24 hrs than in the last few months combined. And plenty of you signed up on Ravelry to queue them. Gee, thanks for the great support. And all the tons of email on these.

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Well, like so many others, I have fallen down the Selbuvotter rabbit hole and have 3 projects going and two more in travel bags. These gloves are Jamieson's Spindrift in buttercup and spagnum. Though the pattern calls for bigger needles, I am using #1 US double pointed. I have whopping big hands, but these fit me fine until I got to the fingers. For reasons I just don't understand, my tension got much tighter on the fingers using the same yarn and needles. And I have large and really long fingers. After ripping, I just had to think looser and got the gauge I sought. Why did it never hit me before that I can make gloves to fit my long fingers? All my other gloves were all fingerless and I feel like such an idiot. I knit, why didn't I figure this out before? Fiberguy is having a great laugh at my expense over this...

Lastly, I did finish the socks to show my team spirit to no avail. We lost in spectacular fashion and there was just no talking about it in the house for a while. The socks are my own dyed sock yarn and some alpaca/wool fingering blend called Alpaca Lana. Hmmm. I got a big bag of 10 balls for $5 and just love it, but noname describes it well.
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Oh, for those who questioned the Amazon list in the sidebar, I am afraid it is staying for a while at least. It is for the SOAR fund for both of us. Travel and swill add right up. If you need to order from Amazon, think of us and click through. Don't worry, I will never bring this up again.



Another holiday gift for you - adjustable width socks

2007-12-30T00:40:04.104-07:00

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You will find these in my sidebar as Quilted Leaf Socks.
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You can adjust the sock's width by adding more or less stitches in the ribbed sections between the lace patterns. Visually, we don't usually notice whether a rib is one or two stitches wide. It is easy to stuff a few more in or just go down to one stitch each. Yet, since these are done in light worsted weight, those stitches can add up to a better fit. Download the pattern and see for yourself.

Enjoy your holiday present from all of us at fiberhouse.

And for those of you who are counting, fiberguy's socks are done and drying - more on them tomorrow.