Lots of fiber arts this weekend and not one stitch of it was knitting. Where has my knitting mojo gone? Still no start to my Dad's birthday sweater- think he'd like a woven scarf?
On Friday, I had to stay at home and wait for the cable guy to set us up for DVR, so I got my spinning wheel out. I had a little 1 oz. sample of some merino wool that I got at my spinning retreat. Because it was free, I didn't feel too guilty using it to practice navajo plying.
Not altogether even, but not too bad. I've got about 50 yards here. I'd like to use it for something - the navajo plying is supposed to create some distinct striping. I haven't looked for a pattern yet, but I did find this really cool resource. For once, I was smart and bookmarked it so I can find it again.
I cleaned up my room this weekend and I found a previously unblogged FO. This was knit all in one day while I watched M play in a basketball tournament.
This is one ball of Elsebeth Lavold Cotton Patine and there was a little yarn left over. I didn't have a button with me, so I crocheted a cover around a penny and used that. I did a quick pattern search on Ravelry this AM, but I couldn't find the pattern. The photocopy is around here somewhere, so I'll get back to you with a link to it or at least the name.
My new crochet project is another granny rectangle scrap afghan - this time in worsted weight. I have been overhauling my stash lately and I had a giant drawer just full of little scrap balls, mostly worsted. I needed a quick movie project in a hurry, so I grabbed some of them and a crochet hook and started another afghan. (No, the sock yarn blanket isn't done yet.)
I sorted the scrap balls by size and used the littlest ones in the center. The scraps are getting bigger, but the rows are getting longer, so I still change colors 3 or 4 times every row.
The trick to an afghan like this is to stop and sew in ends periodically so it doesn't get too overwhelming. Now that the rows are longer, I stop to take care of ends about every two rows. Unlike the sock yarn blanket, this one is growing at a gratifying rate and I may just get it done before I'm sick of it.
Yesterday, I washed a mountain of laundry. In between folding, I warped my loom and started a new project. Unfortunately, it is another present, so I have to keep it a secret for a little while. It is really turning out pretty, so I will show it to you as soon as I can.
The return of my knitting mojo may be aided by the new book I got this weekend.
This is the same designer that created Fifi. Her designs are girly and pretty and they are also SEAMLESS! I haven't had time for more than a quick browse through it, but I suspect a couple of these sweaters will tempt me, starting with the jacket on the cover. No men's sweaters though, so the birthday sweater is still hanging over my head. How quickly can I knit a sweater-without-sleeves out of Thick & Quick using size 13's?
Such a happy day, seeing our new president sworn in while a million freezing people screamed and cheered and cried. I didn't get to watch the whole shebang because I was busy seeing patients, but I was satisfied just knowing it was really finally happening. I know the poor man has fifty bajillion fires to put out, but I just can't wait to see something change. Doesn't have to be anything big, just a little symbolic act to let us (and the world) know there's a new sheriff in town. There were hints and whispers about an executive order banning torture - sounds like a good place to start to me!
It is a measure of the extent of my hermit homebody nature that when CNN was talking about Barack and Michelle going back to the White House to change for the balls, my first thought was "Poor man! Bet he'd rather put his jammies on and go to bed." Yet another reason I will never be the leader of the free world.
I can finally show you my third weaving project!!! It arrived safely in Montreal today, so this will not spoil L's surprise.
I made a rug!
L was telling us about her freezing floor when she was home for Christmas, so I warped up the loom once she went back to school. Because I was so excited about it, the actual weaving was done in just two days. I used red Lamb's Pride Bulky and the cream and brown ragg yarn that I spun last Fall from the pencil roving.
See how the red crosses over more warp threads? Those are a fancy little feature called "floats" and it was my first time trying them. I thought they really spiffed it up.
The rug is 21" x 39" + fringe. Looking at the picture in her dorm room, I certainly could have made it longer, but at least she has a wooly place to put her bare feet when she gets up in the morning.
To keep the rug from sliding on the wood floor and breaking somebody's neck, I bought some cool rubbery mesh fabric at JoAnne Fabrics to put beneath it. I cut it just a little smaller than the rug and then I rolled the rug and the mesh onto a wrapping paper tube so I could ship it without it getting wrinkled or creased. The mesh fabric is really wide, so I have enough leftover for a second rug.
I haven't done any more weaving since I finished this (I've gone off on some weird tangents) but I have to stay home on Friday and wait for the cable guy, so maybe I'll get the loom warped for project #4. My new obsession is podcasts, and I have several old episodes of Cast On I can listen to while I do it. Who needs inaugural balls with that kind of excitement in your life?
* Because "Na na, hey hey, goodbye!" would be ungracious and a little tacky. Just like this.**
OMG, it is so hard to find a few minutes in a row to put together a blog post. Yesterday the big drama was our furnace. Despite being only 3 years old, the fan motor seized up and we had no heat!! Couldn't get a new motor until this evening, so for about 24 hours it was space heater city at Chez Knitasha. Managed to keep the house around 62-63 degrees which is not exactly comfortable but at least pipes were not freezing. Furnace is back in business now (knock wood) just in time for a big cold snap that is moving in. The poor people in North Dakota were at -26 this AM! It is headed our way, although I doubt we'll get quite that low. Doesn't make me eager to jump out of bed and head off to work, though. I still have that thin Arizona lizard blood and extreme cold is just miserable for me.
The main thing I wanted to blog about was my new loom. I love it! It is easy to warp and fun to weave on and it is so cool to see how different yarn looks woven.
My first project was a scarf because that was the instructions it came with suggested. I used KnitPicks palette in purple for the warp and then a muticolored worsted called Europa for the weft. (Warp is the yarn that runs vertically through the weaving and weft is the side to side rows you weave onto the warp.)
There is a visible improvement in my selvedges as the scarf goes from start to finish, but I love it anyway. It is light and drapy and I love the colors.
It turns out that trimming the fringe at the ends of the scarf is just like sewing the buttons on a sweater: not as interesting as starting a new project and apt to be put off indefinitely. This scarf was finished December 29th and it still has really long and uneven fringe. I plan to use a straight edge and a rotary cutter on it, but it just hasn't happened yet.
Instead, I set sail on scarf #2. I chose to weave this one a little narrower. For the warp I used some Regia Silk sock yarn in black and for the warp I used...
Does it look familiar? Here's a closer look:
This is silk yarn from Nepal. It is spun from the little bits and pieces leftover when they make all those bright and beautiful saris. If you have browsed a LYS, you have likely seen a skein of it and thought "That's really pretty but I don't know what the heck I could knit with it." I bought 2 skeins of it many moons ago and never used it because it has absolutely no stretch in it. None. Stretch is an important characteristic for a knitting yarn, but it turns out weaving is more forgiving.
I can't possibly give away my very first scarf, but I am thinking about giving the silk scarf to my mom for her birthday. I can afford to be so loving and magnanimous because I have the second skein left to make another one for me!
I finished project #3 last night and blocked it tonight. I don't have time to show you tonight but I will say that 1) it is not a scarf and 2) it is a little fancier than the standard weave I used for the scarves. My oblivious hubby who pays absolutely no attention to my fibercrafting actually said, "Did you make that? Really?" Truly music to a knitter/weaver's ears!
P.S. I just thought of third fact about third weaving project: it features some of my handspun!
This little guy was not as emotionally satisfying to make as the sleepy baby. The pattern is very brief, not well worded, and has some errors. A rookie crocheter would not get through it. Assembly was involved and awkward - too many fiddly little pieces. And he won't stand up on his spindly legs! (My attitude toward this project was very likely influenced by the fact that I worked on it while I watched my Dolphins lose a playoff game.)
Anyway, M was confused but grateful to receive him.
These are M's Christmas slippers.
Somewhat garish, but they fit and she seemed pleased. I gave up on ever getting her to model them. Now that she is back to school, it is dark when she leaves in the morning and dark by the time I get home from work.
According to the immortal words of "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas," I am supposed to be thrilled that the kids are back in school. Meh. For me, it means L has gone back to the frozen North and I won't see her until April and I am back to getting up at 6:15 every morning to threaten, cajole, and prod M onto the bus. I liked Christmas break a lot better.
I have finished my first sweater of 2009.
I started it after Christmas and finished it Sunday driving home from dropping off L at the airport. (I wasn't the one driving!) Like Shalom, it is knit with 2 strands of Wool-Ease sportweight held together. Got rid of more stash, which is always good. I had planned to make the whole sweater in the stripe pattern, but when I got up to the yoke I was running low on purple and had tons of cream, so I switched to some stranded patterns. I wasn't really sure how it would turn out, but I like the final result. It fits me really well, so it may make its debut at work tomorrow. Heaven knows it is cold enough!
Last picture for today - my new toy!
This is an Ashford 24" rigid-heddle loom. Don't ask me why, but I've had an overwhelming itch to try weaving ever since my SOAR retreat in October. When it just wouldn't fade away, I gave in and ordered this loom. So far, I can report that it is really fun and very different than knitting. I have finished two projects, which I will try to get photographed for my next post. I am hoping this loom will give me another way to use my homespun since it is not always easy to spin enough yarn for a knitting project. I haven't tried it yet, but it will be soon.