Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Lulu of a Day

This week just won't quit.  So I'm glad I have Lulu to take my mind off of my insignificant worries.

When It Rains...

Just want to say, I still haven't gotten my nap!  Work has been crazy, and not in a good way.  Some volunteer stuff has been nuts.  And when I went to re-seam the shoulder on Aunt Dorothy's sweater vest, I unraveled the wrong side.

I know...tragic, right?  

Sorry...none of these things in and of themselves are awful, but I'm still feeling somewhat overwhelmed by it.

Current Spinning

I did start spinning up Lulu fur, and it's delightful.

She told me immediately what thickness she liked to be spun and so my hands do it rather naturally now.  Looks like it will be a little thicker than fingering weight after it's washed and blooms a bit.

And since I look absolutely dreadful in natural white llama, I will need to make sure this gets dyed a gorgeous color when I through making the yarn.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Time For a Break

Last week was an avalanche of challenges.  Fortunately I escaped unscathed.

People My Age Need More Naps!

Last week Thaddeus's hard drive crashed, I realized I had an errant dye lot in my sweater project, there was a privacy issue breach on some volunteer service work I'm involved with, and I got dinged for being non-cooperative at work during my mid-year review. 

I'm honestly incredibly grateful that all of my problems are problems of abundance...or first-world issues, if you will.

Truth be told, the computer place diagnosed and fixed Thaddeus's computer in less than 24 hours and he had a full and recent back-up of the entire drive which took about 3 hours to restore.

The sweater is a great pilot-test and one I will probably send to Thaddeus' aunt for test-sizing.

And getting negative feedback at work is never fun, but honestly, it was very useful to hear, and I can fix it easily at this stage in the game.

I still need more naps or a vacation soon.

Current Knitting/Spinning

I did continue on with Aunt Dorothy's cardigan vest and it's looking lovely (if you can ignore the band of lighter yarn across the center of the entire sweater).

Just realized that last night when I three-needle-bound-off the shoulder seam, I twisted the garment, so I'll have to re-do that as well (I blame lack of naps).

I also finally got to card the Llama fleece I got from Teri at Wunsapana Farms and the drum carder worked perfectly for this fiber.

Can't wait to start spinning it up!  Here's a photo of some of Teri's beautiful llamas - Lulu is second from the left in this shot.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Oh Shit!

I was all excited about blogging today so I could show off all the work I've finished on the sleeveless cardigan I'm making for Thaddeus' Aunt Dorothy.

Then This Happened

I was prepping the project for a photo shoot and realized I must have had a different dye lot on one of the balls of yarn and the color is noticeably different.

I'm also not too thrilled with how noticeable the row is where I joined the yarns when I switched balls.


I like the design of the sweater, so I'm thinking this will make a nice test run of the design.  You'll notice, I added a band of Fair Isle design above the arm hole's what it looks like closer up.

I have no idea how to size this garment for Aunt Dorothy, other than her claim to be a size 10 (which means very little) and I have no way of accessing her closet to measure something that fits her currently.  So, I'm thinking I'll just finish this design and tell her it was a test-run to get her sizing right.  That way I can adjust on the final version.

Readers' Comments/Questions

Robert writes about at the Top-Down Raglan I've also got in progress, "I love the effect of the diagonal line of the raglan in a different color as well as your color choice....I'm not at all clear how your managed the color transition along the diagonal lines on either side. Is there a pattern?"

As you surmised in a follow-up comment, it is intarsia.  I just made up four butterfly bobbins of the green yarn and used the two stitches of green as my "marker" for raglan increases.

    Monday, August 18, 2014

    A Twisted, Curmudgeonly Weekend

    I had the opportunity to meet up with Marilyn, the infamous Knitting Curmudgeon and her daughter, Jenn at Twist Knitting and Spinning.

    Yarn Shopping Enhanced

    Twist is a wonderful store, especially when JJ and Steve are working.  They're both funny, smart and know my taste in yarn supplies.  Add Marilyn into the fray, and I can't go wrong with purchases.

    Here's what I ended up with on Saturday.

    First off, I'm increasing my stash of Knitter's Pride Karbonz double-pointed needles...these are US4.  Next, I had to pick up two balls of Kauni in the green/purple/orange colorway (in the upper right side of the photo).  Mar also found the sock yarn on the right which is Lang Jawoll Magic Dégradé (superwash).  For 400 meters, it was only $9.50 and I loved the colorway.  Finally, Steve convinced me to buy the four balls of linen's Schoppel Leinen Los which is 70% wool and 30% linen.  It's stiff like linen, but Steve says is softens up in the knitting and the washing.  Not sure what I'll use if for, but I'm very happy to own it.

    Current Knitting

    Based on prodding by Thaddeus, I have been working almost exclusively on his Aunt Dorothy's zippered cardigan vest.

    She doesn't live close by, I don't know her very well, but she assured Thaddeus that she was a size 10.  I honestly have no idea how that will translate to a sweater vest for her, so I'm crossing my fingers on sizing and shaping.  

    Tuesday, August 12, 2014

    Post-Ribbing Bliss

    On both of my knitting projects, I've made it past the ribbing section and they're both flying along.

    On The Downhill

    I consider easy knitting to have a few components:

    1. I don't have to look down at my knitting - if I can watch a dialogue-intensive movie with subtitles and keep up a decent pace of knitting...that's easy knitting.
    2. I can seemingly knit for hours without physical discomfort - with ribbing, the constant back and forth of the the feed-yarn makes my wrist and/or shoulder hurt after a while, whereas simple knitting or knitting one side, purling the other, my body can do comfortably for a long time.
    3. If I doze off during knitting it won't mess up any patterning.  Thaddeus has seen me snore and knit simultaneously and when that happens, I'm more often than not un-knitting at least a few stitches to re-establish whatever stitch pattern I'm working on.
    4. Requires not color changes and untangling of multiple strands of yarn.
    5. Can be done with a cat lying on half the project.
    All in all, I enjoy any kind of knitting, but it's nice to just have mindless knitting to accomplish sometimes.

    Current Knitting

    Switching back and forth between the top-down raglan pullover and the zippered vest for Thaddeus' Aunt Dorothy.

    I have to say, the Madeline Tosh DK is a bit bulkier than most DK's I've used, so this garment is DENSE.  But I will love wearing this when it gets colder

    For the Aunt Dorothy vest, I plan on doing a simple band of Fair Isle patterning across the chest...nothing fancy just simple graphics I think.

    Current Reading

    I just finished reading The Orenda by Joseph Boyden, and I can recommend it highly.

    The story of a French missionary's voyage into the Great Lakes area during the early European settlement of North America as seen from his point of view, a native American warrior and tribal leader's viewpoint, and his captured/adopted daughter's viewpoint.  The story is great, the writing is fantastic and I was glad to have gotten to read this.

    I've just started reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami and Jay Rubin and so far, I'm quite pleased.  It's nice having friends that know what kind of books to recommend to me.

    Wednesday, August 06, 2014

    Hating On Purl

    Throughout the years, I have always met a lot of knitters that just don't like to purl.

    Not Sure Why

    There are many different ways of knitting (and purling), so I can imagine how I see purling might be quite different than other knitters.  But for me, having the yarn in front of the work (and more visible) and inserting the yarn directly in between the two legs of the stitch is quite a bit easier than contorting the needle to enter from the rear (so to speak).

    I know there are various ways of changing the way to execute a knit stitch which can make it easier...I'm just saying that in an of itself, the purl stitch seems easier to do.

    Now, I can definitely understand how people could dislike ribbing (you'll note below, that my life has been ribbing hell for the last week or so).

    Bringing the yarn back and forth between each stitch can get tiresome.  It's the main reason I'm not a huge fan of ribbing.  But I blame myself for my technique, which is perhaps less efficient than many other knitters.  I've tried learning to pick my knit and purl stitches, and while I can do it, it's never become comfortable, and I also can't keep a consistent tension...yet.

    But I will continue to try.

    Current Knitting

    Working mainly on two projects these days...the top-down raglan pullover, and a new project...a zipper cardigan vest for Thaddeus' Aunt Dorothy.

    On the raglan pullover, you'll note I've begun the ribbing on the body.  I'm liking this sweater more and more as I progress.

    Despite being on the ribbing for my other project, that one is just beginning, although the ribbing is almost complete.  Not my favorite color yarn, but I think she'll like it.

    Monday, August 04, 2014

    The New Normal

    My work had me traveling almost every week for about 15 years straight (so to speak).  It's been shocking how easily I've adapted to working at home over the last 8 months.

    You Can Never Go Back

    Now, it's a rare occasion where I'm required to travel for work.

    Last week, I had to be up in Schenectady, NY for the week, and it made me realize I could never go back to traveling every week like I used to do.

    Partly, it was being out of the routine.  I no longer have two complete sets of toiletries, for for home and one for taking with me on trips.  As a result, I forgot to bring a brush or comb and I didn't have mouthwash or vitamins.  My sleep cycles are different now too, so waking up at 4:00 am on a Monday morning was anything but routine last week.  Even my mindset about various aspects of travel didn't work...for instance, I left an umbrella and a book up in Upstate NY last week, and in my days of constant travel, I never worried about that, knowing I would just recover them both in the following week, so it was never a worry if I left something behind.  Now I consider those two things as lost items.

    I honestly took for granted how having a regular routine made traveling for work significantly easier.

    Current Knitting

    Moving right along on the top-dow raglan project.

    I only have another inch or so of stockinette on the body before I switch over to the ribbing at the bottom.  I also have to start deciding on how long the sleeves will be so I can make sure my decreases aren't too erratic looking.

    I've also been assigned a knitting project that I started.  A vest for Thaddeus Aunt Dorothy.  I've started it, but just barely, so I'll do an update photo in a subsequent blog entry.