Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A black mood

It's frustrating enough when you don't have time to knit, but lately, when I've made time, I find I can't knit anything. What sort of perverse turn about is this? Beverlee gave me this giant roll of silk laceweight boucle to try and work up swatches for a shawl, but I'm stymied! Since the house is a disaster, I have no craft room and the light in the living room is inadequate, especially when working with thin, black yarn. Also, we're currently preparing to put in wood floors upstairs, which means there's a whole lot of pounding coming from above. Can't see, can't concentrate! After about 20 or so tries at casting on for a lace circular shawl, I was near tears and gave up. I guess I'm just not meant to work with that particular yarn.

So I tried something else... a fat yarn! Surely that will work. I did a gauge swatch and prepared to start the back of Juli's Barter Cardi (Lopi). No dice. My size 9s were already in use on my cabled sweater, and that's exactly what I needed to do the ribbing. Screw it. So what if I have to read a chart! I put a few rows on my cabled sleeve last night and will be taking it with me to knitting tonight. I have to knit something, and reading a chart for cables now seems a breeze compared with casting on for that #!@* circular shawl. Maybe when I have better light I'll try again. I think that black silk would look wonderful as a pi shawl, though creatively speaking, I'm just not up for the task right now. I'm feel very drained, and I hope that tonight will help lift my spirits. Group therapy indeed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Still here, still knitting

Wow. Work has been keeping me busy, as indicated by large gaps of time between posts. Somehow, I've still managed to get some knitting done in that time, mostly small projects. I gave up trying to further felt my birthday bag after a couple more spins through the washer, with additional ice bath shocks. It did shrink a tiny bit, but it's not as felted as I'd like it to be. The birthday bag will still be perfect for toting around light projects like hats and scarves, or socks if I ever get around to knitting a pair.

I made a second felted bag out of Lopi that finished quite nicely. I made up a simple triangle pattern for the top part of the bag, trying to practice my hand at creating fair isle patterns. I took this creative impulse one step further with the leftover leftovers, with which I made an earflap hat, loosely based on Vinter Lue. I essentially used the same stitch count, but significantly changed the pattern for the body of the hat.

Last Saturday was our S&B field trip to the Fuzzy Farm! That was a fun treat. Gayle and Rich warmly welcomed us to their home, and so did the critters. We stopped by right in the middle of shearing time, as this picture will attest:

Gayle showed us a pile of bags stuffed with fiber from various individual llamas and alpacas, and we were allowed to stick our hands in for a fiber feel. Yum!!! It was so tempting to just lay on top of those bags and roll around in it. Gayle also had samples of spun yarn and finished objects for us to peruse. I'm still on my yarn ban until August, but I put in an order for some gray sportweight yarn to make a shawl from. The batch of fiber from this year wasn't back from the mill yet, as it was just sent off. We were also lucky enough to see some new arrivals to the Fuzzy Farm:

The cria on the left is Thumbellena, who was born on my birthday! The smaller dark brown cria in the center of the picture is Holly's Dolly, only 4 days old when this picture was taken. And of course the two adults are the proud mama llamas. Hopefully we can add an annual trip to the Fuzzy Farm to our S&B field trip agenda. Don certainly seems to have made a friend. (And check out that antique camera!)

So, that's the scoop. At tonight's weekly meeting, I'm hoping to pick a shawl pattern to work up with the silk yarn Beverlee got from eBay. I started working up a test swatch last night and a single strand seems too thin for the pattern to show up well, so I'll consider doubling it. If that is the case, I'll need to borrow a ball winder from someone or I'll be winding by hand for the next month! The finished product will be assuredly decadent.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

When will it felt?

I'm in at work on a Sunday, making a quick post about my very slow introduction to felting. Saturday evening, I finished by Birthday Booga Bag and threw it into the washing machine with some old jeans to felt. The directions say it might take 3 or 4 trips through the machine to achieve desired felting. Well, I've gone through five iterations, count them, five, and it's still not quite there yet. When, oh when, will it felt?! Just to see how I feel about the quasi-finished product, I decided to block it anyway. And guess what fits perfectly inside the mostly felted bag? A cardboard box from a case of Yuengling.

And if I still don't think it's done enough after it dries, I can throw it in the machine again when I finish my second bag to be felted. That's right, I'm doing another one. I figured that I might as well use up any significant amounts of leftover wool, so I'm knitting up the tail ends of my Lopi sweater kit. I've saved the white for a hat, since bleached yarn doesn't felt, and the light green will probably go with it for a two color fair isle somethingorother pattern. Time to put samples in the processor!