Saturday, September 23, 2006

We have a winner, a knit-along, a cause, and a spoilee

Thanks everybody for weighing in on color choices for Serrano. I'll be going with my first instinct, the lovely mint green:

It might be a little heavier than called for, but what's a little recalculating for a knitting geek like me?

My SP7, Rainy and I are hosting a knit-along. Come join us!

Not busy tomorrow (Sunday)? Come see me at the Boston Knit Out and Crochet Too. I'll be staffing the Afghans for Afghans booth until 2pm, and flitting about after that. Stop by and say hi!

I'm several weeks late announcing it, but I have revealed myself to my one-skein spoilee, Shannon Okey. Shannon is a bigwig author (her new book, Spin to Knit is about to be released by Interweave Press), used to live in my neighborhood (although probably not at the same time), and learned to spin from the same person I did: Lucy from Mind's Eye.

Now that I'm revealed, I can show you the gift I made for her:

(Shannon took a better picture)

That's the Droplet Hat from Knitting Nature in McTaggart Tweed from Beaverslide Dry Goods. I did four pattern repeats instead of five to make up for a gauge difference (3.5 vs. 4.5-5 st/in).

I first tried to do a scarf using the cable pattern from the Vortex-Street Pullover, but:
- it was way too big in the yarn I chose, so I couldn't do the whole pattern
- it made a much stiffer fabric than I wanted
- I didn't have enough yarn to make a long enough scarf without cutting the pattern on the sides, and I didn't like my modification.
- the cable pattern didn't "pop" in that yarn at that gauge

I took pictures, but I can't find them, so I think they may have been deleted. :(

Still, I think I'll have to make that sweater eventually; I did my thesis on Vortex-Induced vibration, so I think it's a moral imperative

Oh, yeah, and I started a Tubey in Karabella Aurora 8 (in brown, wine, teal, rust, indigo, and pumpkin), and finished Hopeful, but one sleeve is too short, so I need to redo. I will post pictures eventually, I swear!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Yarn Diet, a poll

Inspired by my OSSP Ali (not to mention by my hefty yarn purchases over the summer), I am going on a yarn diet.

I can buy yarn only under the following circumstances:
- I have made at least 25% progress towards a WIP (or done the finishing on something in the finishing basket) since my last purchase
- I buy it with a gift certificate (and I may add up to 30% of the value of the certificate ONLY if needed to buy the exact amount of yarn I need for the project I have in mind) OR
- I am buying it to make a gift for someone else for a gift-giving occasion, and nothing already in my stash will do

I can buy fiber for spinning under the following conditions:
- I have spun up all my fiber (I can order when the last batch is spun but not yet washed, but I have to wash it before it arrives)
- I spend no more than $20/month for the fiber (exception: may spend two month's worth

Luckily, I'm going to be filming for the national film challenge with the Postmodern Avengers the weekend of Rhinebeck! Unless, of course, we get assigned the documentary genre, in which case I think that calls for a fiber film...

And, of course, I have met my purchasing conditions with some hefty progress on Hopeful (pics coming soon), so I am going to use a kpixie gift certificate my lovely coworkers at MIT gave me when I left to get some Aurora 4, over which I have been salivating for weeks. Whee!

Now, Aurora 8 is officially my all-time favorite yarn. Nothing beats its softness, springiness, and versatility, not to mention the color choices. Except that it's kinda pricey. But when you start getting into the fingering-weight range, yarn suddenly gets a whole lot cheaper. I was thinking of making this lovely:

when I saw Serrano from the latest Knitty:

Fitted sweater, fun lace pattern, HOOK AND EYE CLOSURES? How could I not knit this baby?

The question is, what color? The contenders:

1- color 15 in a lovely mint-to-celery green:

2- color 13 in turquoise, which always looks nice on me. I already have a turquoise Sitcom Chic, but that's a summer-weight sweater.

3- color 6, a nice brown. Would be very versatile, but I'm not sure it would pop the way I this this sweater deserves

4- color 10, a sassy hot pink, which would look *fabulous* with a tank top I own, buuuuuut I already have some Aurora 8 in the same color, which I'll be using for a non-lacey cardi.

5- color 9, a slighly more bubble-gummy pink, which has the exact same pros and cons as 10.

6- color 20, a beautiful pale aqua / baby blue

So many choices! I think this calls for... A POLL!

Which color should I use for Serrano?
Mint Green
Hot Pink
Bubblegum Pink
Aqua/Baby Blue
Free polls from

And if I may end with a word that made me laugh so spasmodically my husband thought I was choking: stashweasel. Just scroll down.

OSSP revealed!

My One-Skein Secret Pal has been revealed! Ali is a Scot living in England and working in Wales. She spoiled me rotten during this round of SP, and capped it off with this lovely package:

She knitted me a beautiful scarf in silk from Hipknits (drool). Besides being really pretty, it is both warm and cool at the same time; it will be great for transitioning my summer clothes.

Ali also included a tea towel and lanolin soap from Quarry Bank Mill, a living museum of the cotton textile industry. The mill reminded me of the Genesee Country Museum, which I used to visit when I was little as a daytrip from where I grew up in Buffalo, New York.

A final surprise in the box: a package of heart-shaped paperclips. I'm going to use these to mark pages in my knitting books; they're currently full of slips of paper.

Thanks, Ali. You've been a great SP!

In other news, I finished my first skein of handspun this weekend. The fiber, a blue-faced leicester from Copper Moose, was a gift from Rainy, my SP7 secret pal. She game it to me along with a top-whorl spindle, and some merino/mohair blend from Beaverslide, which I must... not... spin... until... other... projects... get... finished....

I took a lesson from Lucy at Mind's Eye, and then spun up the rest after a 4-month hiatus for a new job, business travel, family weddings, and general hosedness. I don't have a niddy-noddy, so I skeined it around two chairs:

When I hand-dyed some sock yarn from my SP7 spoilee Paula, I skeined it around one chair, but the diameter was too small for her swift, and it got all tangled. Sorry, Paula! Will definitely use two chairbacks from now on.

I overspun it, so I washed and weighted it with some hangers. Hopefully that'll set the twist.

This is absolutely beautiful fiber. The color seems to mix a rich medium brown with a glossy grey, and it changes depending on the light. I'd say it's half-way between these two:

The diameter varies a lot, both as a thick/thin texture, and at different points in the skein. You can distinctly see what was spun during the lesson, what was spun that month, and what was spun this weekend. I can even tell where I started to get tired in this weekend's batch! We'll also have to see what the gauge is like; the class yardage is about fingering, but it looks like most of it oscillates around worsted weight.

Still, I'm really happy with it. I haven't decided what to do with it yet, but the color would go beautifully with my winter coat. I may make a hat from it, or use it to trim a hat and mittens.

I also picked up a long-stagnant project: my Hopeful in Knitpicks Ambrosia. This is a much drapier yarn than the pattern calls for, but it's looking pretty good. The yarn has a beautiful fuzzy quality to it: not so much a halo as a fog, particularly in this color (Fog). I have the body completed, so now I'm on to the sleeves and neck trim. A short-sleeve alpaca/cashmere sweater will have a pretty limited season, but since it's going to be pretty delicate, that's probably just as well. :)

I also finished Clapotis #3 and delivered it to a very happy mother-in-law, but we forgot to take pictures. :( We'll get some soon.

I also made an object for my one-skein SP spoilee, but won't post it here until all is revealed.

I decided to do the rising flames heels with gussets, and will try to adapt the technique from the Widdershins pattern from Knitty. We'll see how they turn out.

I attempted a stash cleanup on Wednesday night (while frantically looking for my dance veil, which I didn't find but still swear is in that room). My goal was to get rid of some stuff and organize everything, but I failed miserably. I did manage to pass on three balls of yarn and a pattern. (By the way, if anyone wants an out-of-date wool of the andes color card, let me know. Knitpicks still carries those colors, but they've added new ones since I got it. Free to good home.) The organizing didn't go so well either; instead of nicely arranging everything, I just took bags from the floor and piled them in a wardrobe. the pile is semi-stable, which is an improvement. :0