Tuesday, 30 November 2010

FO- handspun Victorian Shoulderette

I've become addicted to project spinning. It's not a bad thing. I used to spin for the sake of spinning, and then end up with hundreds of yards of yarn that I wasn't particularly inspired by. It would just sadly sit around in a bin, waiting for a moth to cozy up to it, or perhaps for me to get my act together and create something that didn't look like clown barf.

This was part of my conscientious effort to create yarn that would make a beautiful, wearable finished project.

The Fiber:
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A Verb for Keeping Warm in Rainer Cherries. This was the July club selection. It's 3 oz of a 80% merino, 20% silk blend. I split the roving in half lenghtwise and spun each half up as a ply.


I ended up with 300 yards of fingering weight yarn.

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It's very soft. I chose the Victorian Shoulderette by Sivia Harding. It's small, delicate and purdy. I also thought that the colors would transition nicely with the pattern.

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I love it when I'm right.

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The specs:

I used almost all of the 300 yards of yarn, but I also modified the pattern and threw in two extra repeats. I hate having leftover handspun. I used US 7 needles. The bind-off was fun- after the lace section, you rotate the shawl on its side, and then do short rows to make the border. A little time consuming, but I like the effect.

Totally unrelated, but I can't keep this to myself any longer.

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This. This is the guy who lives next door. He's always out on the stoop, smoking a cigarette wearing nothing but a ratty old robe and flip-flops. Mind you, it's cold enough for me to pile on my winter woollies when I go out even for a few minutes. He actually goes out and talks to people like that. There's just something a bit disturbing dealing with someone who is that comfortable talking to people with nothing but a thin veil of terrycloth between him and an icy wind.

Sigh. I guess instead of purchasing a super-soaker and getting my revenge, I should just continue to wear accessories that have names like "Victorian Shoulderette".

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Etsy Shop Update

I just got done updating the Etsy Store. Lots of spindles, plus some yarn, roving and batts. I will be updating the store again soon- I have a whole lot of silk caps that have been dyed and are ready for new homes as soon as they get ready for their close-up.

Also, I have a coupon code. If you use the code "GIFTMAS" during checkout, you will receive 10% off your entire order. This coupon is good until December 22.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Fiber Club

Let's talk about stash, shall we? I've been kind of holding out on you stash-wise. A few months ago, I joined the A Verb for Keeping Warm Essential Luxury Fiber Club. All I can say is "wow". The talented Kristine only uses natural dyes and unique blends and rarer breeds of sheep. I have been super pleased with everything I've received so far. Plus, it's only in 2-3oz increments so I never feel overwhelmed by fiber, but just insanely tickled and inspired that I have this bit of awesomeness in my hand.

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This is the latest club shipment. It's 2 oz of Wensleydale fiber and 1 oz of tussah silk. I'm thinking about spinning the Wensleydale into a thick-ish single, spinning the silk into thread, and then crazy-plying them together.

AVFKW July Club
2oz of a 50/50 merino and cashmere blend. The colorway is called The Pyrenees. It's begging to be spun up soft and lofty and knitted up into something that you could wrap around your neck and purr like a kitten.

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Merino/Silk/Yak blend. The colorway is called "The Best Bite". It's dyed with Indigo. Heavenly soft.

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"Sweet Tart". 3oz of Targee Roving. I love the fact that she searches out less common breeds of sheep.

I'm busy knitting away a small lace shoulderette with this selection:
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It's "Rainer Cherries" merino/silk.

I split the roving and lined up the colors for minimal candy-cane effect.

Spinning it was a joy. It's knitting up so soft and lofty. Swoon.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Sox on the Beach

What better way then to escape the November chill than to fly down south and spend the weekend at the beach?

Actually, I can think of lots of better things. Like dental appointments and getting ingrown toenails righted, but no matter. The weather was beautiful and I cast on for some socks.

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They are the Lenore Socks. I'm using a skein of Socks That Rock lightweight in the "Blackbird" colorway. This was a sock club mailing from last year that was paired with a pattern from Cookie A. I thought the pattern was too complicated for me to tackle as a travel project, so I cast on for this one instead. I love the color- there's green and purple and reds and blues all mashed in there, but very subtle.

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I cast on two at a time, and I actually have the heels turned already. They progress very quickly, and have a simple lace pattern that is fairly mindless.

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Which is good, because sun tends to make me woozy when paired with a few stiff drinks, and I didn't really have the concentration thing going on.

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I also made it to the Morikami Japanese gardens. How wonderful is that?

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Thursday, 18 November 2010

FO- Knetted Socks

I finished a pair of socks recently. They are from the Socks that Rock club from last fall. Begone, sock yarn! You will languish no further in my stash.

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The yarn is BMFA medium weight in "River Rocked". The skein is absolutely gorgeous- so many great fall colors in there.

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Predictable, it knitted up kind of muddy, but I did love this pattern. The linen stitch diamonds helped show off the colors.

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The pattern is "Knetted", by Cat Bordhi. She does such unusual, creative patterns. This one had a heel that I can only describe as a "happy face". It's "U" shaped, and it fits really well, and it eliminates the need for gusset shaping. And the toe- there was no Kitchener stitch involved. There was a series of decreases the spiraled down to nothing. Really ingenious. They look kind of funky without a foot in them, but they are actually really nice on.

Oh, and I started this for Socktoberfest. I forgot to take pictures of that event. It's our annual sock-knitting and beer-swilling evening at the local Teutonic establishment. We do it on a Monday night, and everyone backs away from us and leaves us alone.

This is yet another skein gone for my A-Z stashdown challenge. I actually noticed a dent in my sock yarn bin the other day. Oh, that's only because I've used 12 skeins of sock yarn up since this challenge began last spring.

These are going to be gifted, as my sock draw is full. The medium weight yarn is a bit too thick to shove into a pair of shoes, so these would be great house slippers or an outer layer boot sock. I grew up in Maine, and buying your winter boots a size too big so you can fit another thick wooly layer of sock is the norm.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Loop Spin-In

I've been slacking lately on getting up to Loop's monthly spin-in. Last Saturday was a brilliant and sunny autumn day that was perfect for getting out of the city.

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I love the little riverwalk the Gaga complex has.

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The trees back there were at peak color and just fabulously brilliant.

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Naturally, there was spinning going on as well.

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B is for Bison (or Buffalo, if you must). I'm spinning some.

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It's a great challenge. I have 5oz of the stuff. It's dehaired, but not carded, so I'm just fluffing up handfulls of the fiber and spinning it like that. It's got .5 of an inch staple length and it's super slippery, but it's warm and soft- almost like cashmere. I'm spinning it as finely as I can and I will be 2-plying it eventually. Too much twist and it snaps like a dry twig, not enough and it falls apart. There's no in-between with this fiber, but it lets you know exactly when you've got it right by behaving.

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See all the scraps on my skirt? That's what it does. I end up covered with a million pieces of half-twisted bison fiber every time I sit down to spin.

It was a relaxing day with good friends.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


I missed this gem of a film at the New York Film Festival last year and finally watched it last night. Sweetgrass is a documentary about a Montana sheep farm. It's an unflinching, unsentimental look at a lost way of life. They filmed an annual event of driving sheep to high summer pastures with no narration or dialog at all. It's really quite something. The film moves very slowly, with lots of wide, sweeping shots, and the effect is hypnotic.

The sheep appear to be Rambouillets. The sheep bleating is the only soundtrack of the entire film.

There's a rather amusing foul-mouthed oration from a fed-up whiny-ass cowboy that was the only real gauge of mood in the film. It sounded like it should be coming from someone stuck in midtown-Manhattan traffic rather than out in the high open range. Range Rage, perhaps?

I would highly recommend checking this film out.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

New York

I feel that Autumn is a good time to get re-acquainted with the city. After enduring sweltering months of trying your best to avoid heatstroke and melting into the pavement, the cooler weather really makes you want to get out and see what you've been missing. I tend to go for epic walks this time of year- hours of meandering with no particular direction, and usually places that I would normally take the subway to.

Recently I was in Greenwood Cemetery. It's a vast, open space with lots of old-growth trees and not so many people- a perfect spot for birdwatchers. I saw several red-tailed hawks at very close range.

Red tail Hawk

Red tail Hawk

He landed on a branch a few feet from us and didn't move for several minutes. How cool is that?

Also, the NYC Marathon was this past weekend. It's always inspiring to see that many people out running (well, it inspired me to carb-load for the rest of the day anyway).

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Hard to see, but this guy was juggling WHILE RUNNING. And not screwing up. Here's a video, but I can't figure out how to rotate it, so you're going to have to get a neck cramp for a couple seconds.

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It takes about an hour and a half for everyone to run by. We're not that far along the course, so people look fresh and excited.

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