Hmm, may have created a monster

A sock monster.

Spring Day Socks

These are going to be birthday socks for a very dear lady.  It’s yarn I dyed that I wasn’t too sure about, but it’s working up fantastically.  Yay for no pooling!  (and now they will start pooling, of course)

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Published in: on October 10, 2014 at 11:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Well if I had known it would be that easy . . .

. . . I would have posted about losing my sock mojo sooner!

Behold – socks! (or at least the start of them)

Ziggity Zag socks

Yarn I bought in Vancouver from a local artist

It might have worked a little too well, as I’m finding myself wanting to cast on all the socks.

As a special request for one of the readers out there, I’ll also post more of the hat rampage.

More hats for photography props

The Duketer newborn and toddler sizes

And Ramblin’s hunting hat

1898 hunting hat

I have more knitting that needs blocking and photos, but that seems to be slower than even the sock mojo had been.  Hmm, maybe posting about it will motivate me for that, too.

Published in: on October 9, 2014 at 8:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Socktoberfest that wasn’t

It’s Socktoberfest!

And who isn’t working on a pair of socks?  This gal.  In fact, the last pair I finished was in June.  June.  Really.

What’s going on?  Well, there’s a pair I started based on a pattern I saw that isn’t currently available.  I’m futzing my way through it, and it’s just not doing it for me.  However, I can’t bring myself to do anything about it, so they languish in my knitting bag.

But if you think that means there hasn’t been any knitting, let me assure you that’s not the case.  Currently, it seems my mind has turned to hats.

Pumpkin hats

These are for a local photographer to use as props.  I’ve made two more pixie hats and found several other cute possibilities.  Today I made a hat in two hours.  Let’s see socks compete with that.

I’m sure the sock mojo will come back. If it can fight its way past the soap-making and weaving.

Published in: on October 7, 2014 at 5:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Moar soap!

Lemongrass grapeseed bars

This is a batch of grapeseed and other oils scented with lemongrass essential oil.  It smells just like lemon bars.  I may have to bake some actual lemon bars to avoid gnawing on these, which sadly would taste nothing like lemon bars.

Lest you think I’ve forsaken knitting in favor of all things soap, fear not!

Frillibet in Malabrigo Sock "Light of Love"

Frillibet in Malabrigo Sock “Light of Love”

Breakwater in Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere in "Crystal Storm"

Breakwater in Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere in “Crystal Storm”

I’ve also been watching my Craftsy class on floor loom weaving.  This week is spring break, and despite online classes not really needing to observe spring break, I’ve given us all a much deserved break.  My goal is a woven thing in the next two weeks.  Note that I didn’t give any parameters to what the woven thing might be.  The class walks through weaving pillow covers, but something tells me that won’t be my first project.  Not with all the tempting weaving drafts on Pinterest.

Published in: on March 11, 2014 at 10:35 pm  Comments (1)  

Book-learnin’

As you can see over in the sidebar, I’m not a grad student anymore.  And I’m still quite happy about that.  One of the best things is that instead of getting and Amazon shipment of books titled Cross-Talk in Composition Theory and The Rhetorical Tradition, I get fun things like these:

Weaving Books

Two of these were suggested by my friend last April when I told her I was thinking about getting the loom I’ll be acquiring.  The third, The Weaver’s Companion, just seemed like a good idea.

Since knitting will be a no-go, I think I’ll take Learning to Weave along with me for jury duty on Monday.  Or maybe I’ll take a Stephen King book.  Which one do you think is more likely to get me tossed off a jury?  :)  Actually, I’m not bothered by the prospect of serving on a jury.  I just know that it can result in both sides reaching an agreement at the eleventh hour, making all the time invested for naught.  Exactly why is it you need us to sit in uncomfortable chairs for all of it?

In knitting news, birthday gifts are underway.

Sign of Four - Lake Louise

 

I just started these socks, and they are moving so much faster.  Amazing what a difference good yarn and a non-fiddly pattern can make.

And I’m slowly progressing on my Loopy Ewe fourth quarter challenge.

Bile bag further along

 

Much more enjoyable studies, to be sure.

Published in: on November 15, 2013 at 10:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

When Socks Go Bad

I don’t know where October went.  Nary a pair of socks were completed for Sockoberfest.  That’s not to say I wasn’t knitting on socks, just that too much other stuff was going on.

The problem was the socks that I was working on.  They took me a while because of a trifecta of issues.

  1. yarn that tended to split
  2. bluntish needles
  3. fiddly three-stitches-out-of-one pattern

If I had any two of the above three, it wouldn’t have been a problem. It all just conspired against me.

I was whining to a friend about them, and she told me to give myself permission to rip them out.  And I knew that I could.  But I was so close, ripping them out would have been like throwing away the time spent to that point.  So, I just focused, toughed it out, and got them done.

Borracha done

That said, they are awfully fun socks. Just be sure you’ve got good points and non-splitty yarn. ;)

Published in: on November 13, 2013 at 6:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

And in other late breaking news . . .

I’m buying a loom.

No one who knows me should be surprised by this.  Fifteen years ago, I went to a spinning guild gathering.  What brought me there was an interesting path.  I’m an English major, and I love to tell a story, so you might want to get yourself a cup of coffee and settle in.  I’ll wait.

Let’s start at the beginning.  My mom and grandmother were both talented crafters, though my mom never would have considered herself such.  She and my grandmother made beautiful lace crochet.  My mom also crocheted fun things for me.  Naturally, I wanted to learn to crochet, and I did.  I don’t remember how old I was when I first started, but let’s say it was somewhere around age eight.

My mom was friends with my friend’s mom.  Sue was just an awesome person and also crafty.  Then she took up knitting.  Since we spent a lot of time together, I got to see all of her wonderful projects.  I was amazed at how fabric-like knitting was where crochet was decidedly bumpier.  Of course, I decided I needed to do that, too.  Sue lent me the book she learned from (The All New Teach Yourself to Knit booklet by Evie Rosen, in case you’re playing along at home).  What’s great about this book is it has very clear illustrations for both the English and continental methods.  Sue had picked up the English method; I chose continental for its resemblance to crochet.

I dove right into knitting.  I practiced a small swatch of about 10-15 stitches.  I knitted, I purled, I knitted and purled, and then I decided I was ready to knit a fisherman’s sweater.  And I did.  That’s how I roll.

This area doesn’t have a lot to offer in the way of enrichment.  However, about an hour away there was an annual craft fair held on the museum grounds.  This was not your usual ‘teddy bears with lace glued on them and wooden cutouts of people’s backsides’ show.  Oh, no.  It was a juried fair, so there were artisans from all over.  There washand-thrown pottery, blacksmithing, fine art, and a woman, Rosalie Truong,  with angora rabbits.  Oh yes.  She had handspun angora yarn, dyed by her as well.  The softness!  The colors!  Up until this point, the spinning I had seen was with natural-colored fiber, so it really wasn’t anything I was interested in.  But now I saw the possibilities before me, and I knew I needed to do this.

In addition to her angora, there were other spinning fibers, and I bought two bags of a purple merino with firestar blended in.  I told her I wanted to learn, and she pointed me to the fiber arts building, saying that a spinning guild was set up there for a demonstration and that they would be thrilled to help a new spinner.  So off I went.

There were several women set up with their spinning wheels, mostly spinning the same natural fiber as I had seen before.  I told one of the women that I was interested in learning how to spin after seeing Rosalie’s booth.  She told me to get a drop spindle and learn on that.  Hmm.

I went home and ordered a drop spindle kit from one of my knitting catalogs.  (Note: don’t do this)  I received it in the mail, and the spindle appeared to have been cut from a 2″x4″, the wool was neppier than any neppy thing you’ve ever seen, and the instructions were less than clear.  After several tries, I laid it aside.

The next year, I went back to the craft fair, checked in with the spinners, and reported my progress, or lack thereof.  One woman said that she would be happy to teach me, but she would be leaving to winter in Florida soon, but once she returned in March, we could start my lessons.  Excellent!

There was a group of knitters I met with in the biggest town around us, which was about 60 miles away (told you this area doesn’t offer much).  That month, a woman pulled out all these beautiful yarns that she was going to make into a Kaffe Fassett sweater.  She was discussing how she had hand-dyed her handspun yarn for the project, and I was all over that.  “You spin?  I would love to do that!”  She told me that I should come to her spinning guild’s get-together in a couple of weeks, and they would be happy to teach me to spin.  I wasn’t going to have to wait until March!

That Sunday, I showed up at the event, trusty drop spindle in hand.  “No,” she said, “We’re going to teach you on the wheel.”  She had me sit down at her wheel and practice treadling.  First your feet learn what to do, then your hands.  I spent about an hour treadling, learning to start and stop the wheel.  Then we added the fiber, and I learned what fiber should look like.  Not the cruddy stuff sent along with the lumber-mill-reject drop spindle.

After I had spun on her wheel for a while, another woman invited me to spin on her wheel.  For the uninitiated, spinning wheels are very much a matter of personal preference.  What one person adores, another may despise.  Now, the first wheel I used, a Schacht Matchless double treadle, is a very, very nice wheel.  However, when I sat at Chris’s wheel, a Majacraft Suzie, I knew that was the wheel for me.  Later in the afternoon, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that a couple of women were watching me.  “I hope I’m doing this right,” I said.  “Oh no, you’re a natural,” one replied.

I should also mention that during this get-together, there were dyepots over a fire.  People had brought spinning fiber to sell, and naturally, I had to give dyeing a try.  So actually that day, two passions were born.

I went home, mind abuzz with possibilities.  I researched the wheel I had fallen in love with and discovered that Majacraft had just released a new wheel built on the same principles as the Suzie, but a bit more fancy – the Rose.  So, a mere four days after first touching a wheel, I ordered my Rosie.  Drop spindle, schmop spindle.  (Although afterward I got a quality spindle, and it is much, much better.  Then Ramblin bought me a Golding, and, well, Reason #189 why I love Ramblin)

Now, also during that day, another woman let me try her wheel.  It was a single treadle, and I learned that I don’t care for single treadling.  But as I was trying it out, we were discussing various things, and I mentioned my knitting.  “I would love to do that,” she said.  I was puzzled. “But then, what do you do with your yarn?”  I pictured her spinning up a yarn, winding it into a ball, tossing it over her shoulder into a mounting pile in a corner, and turning back to the wheel.  “I weave with it.”  Note that I did not immediately have the desire to weave.

So I’ve had many happy years of knitting, spinning, and dyeing fibers.  I wasn’t against weaving; I simply said I didn’t need one more hobby as I barely have time to do the things I want to do with my current hobbies.  Also, there’s all that finishing.

It was a friend’s beautiful Lunatic Fringe towels that created a hairline crack in my reserve.  What can I say – I’m a sucker for all things rainbows.  Still, I resisted.  Then The Loopy Ewe started carrying rigid heddle looms, and people were posting their weaving projects on Ravelry.  Then the Fat Cat Knits group started posting pictures of woven fabrics made into gorgeous bags.  I began pricing the rigid heddle looms at The Loopy Ewe.  Then one day one of my friends, out of the blue, declared, “I want to learn to weave!”  Sigh.  “I’ll learn to weave with you.”

A friend had a loom for sale.  No, we’re going to Europe; I have no place buying a loom when I’ve never even woven the first thread!  And it was big, a Schacht eight harness 46″.  Surely I shouldn’t start with something impressive as that, should I? (with my history for diving in with both feet, I still don’t understand my hesitation at this point)  But I did email her about it.  And several other friends for their advice about getting into this new endeavor.  And then it got put aside with travel, teaching, and life in general.

Fast forward to the rigid heddle class from this past Saturday.  My friend and I went to River Wools in Terre Haute to be indoctrinated.  By the end of the day, we both had scarves we were quite proud of for a first effort.  All it did was whet our appetites.

I posted all over about my scarf, (See my scarf?) and a friend sent me a link to a loom for sale.  It was a good distance away, and another person had inquired about it.  But that was enough to get me thinking.  I checked a few sources and then remembered the loom my friend had for sale.  I hadn’t seen any mention of it on our discussion boards, so I thought perhaps she had sold it.  But I emailed anyway.  And she still had it.

So, that’s how I’m getting a loom.

Published in: on November 12, 2013 at 10:41 pm  Comments (4)  

Hey, do you come here often?

Hi!

Since I’ve recently told someone that I still blog, I thought I better, you know, actually blog.

Today marks one year of my mom’s passing.  I can’t say that it’s easier, but I get by.  I still have moments of outrage about the whole situation, wondering why on earth any of the doctors couldn’t see what was going on, but then I repeat my mantra, “And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”  I also think it’s unfair that I’ve lost the only first-degree relative I’ve ever had and almost get overwhelmed by the sense of aloneness (not bereft of people that care, just knowing the family tree doesn’t have a lot of branches left).  But, there’s nothing to be done about that, so you might as well keep moving.

So, what have I been doing?  Well, not working on the Europe update.  When we got back from the trip, I had a fairly sizable project to complete, then there is the madness that is the summer semester.  Everyone seems to think that summer is the ‘easy’ semester, and after 13 years in higher education, I can tell you that’s simply not true.  A regular semester boiled down into 8- or 10-week sections spells chaos, especially with students brand new to online learning needing a couple of weeks (or more, in some cases) to get acclimated.  Oof.

But, there has been fun.

ROMP bracelets

Ragged and Cynical were kind enough to host us for their local bluegrass festival.  If you haven’t listened to bluegrass in a while, you might be surprised to know it’s expanded and evolved.  Groups like Carolina Chocolate Drops, The Deadly Gentlemen, and The Punch Brothers all redefine what I thought of when hear ‘bluegrass’.  Good stuff.  Also, you have to love the vibe that comes along with it.

heart tie-dye from ROMP

I might be turning bohemian.

And knitting!  There has been knitting!
Laar progress
Laar by Gudrun Johnston

And more knitting!

Opal sock purpley blues

 

Standard Sock Recipe by me.

TdF (Tour de Fleece) has came and went.  I spun a couple of days in the nearly month-long spin-a-palooza.  Nothing like I used to.  Last year I spent a good chunk of it in doctors’ offices and hospitals, this year – meh.  Maybe next year I’ll feel more like it.

And finally, our little garden patch has been giving us some yummy things.

garden haul

 

This was from a week ago or so.  We’re getting lots of cukes, though the beans look like they’re slowing down.  The cherry tomatoes keep rolling in, Ramblin has been getting peppers hot and sweet, and we’ve plucked the first ‘big’ tomato this week.  Not bad for a 6′ x 8′ spot.   Plans are to acquire some equipment (hand-turning over a garden is hard work, yo) to expand next year.

If I can get over the guilt of not having the Europe summary done, I might try to start coming here more often.  Or, you know, just finish the darn thing.

Published in: on July 23, 2013 at 8:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Greencastle 2013 (and six days left!)

What you are about to witness is a whole lot of yarn.  And I don’t regret a single thing.

I haven’t been to Greencastle in the past two years, thinking that I would be responsible by saving money for impending vacations.  Well, this year there’s an impending vacation, but I needed to go to Greencastle regardless.

It’s a time to get together with friends.  Ragged and Jenny from the Blog plotted and planned, and on Friday, Ragged headed my way.  We loaded up the car and headed north.  Jenny from the Blog was already north, but west, so she started her journey after some family time.  We met up at the Birdsong B&B, caught up a bit, then hit the road for The Fiber Event.

Another of the wonderful things about Greencastle is seeing people that I may only meet up with once a year or only a few times.  Vendors remember our, um, enthusiasm for the yarn and fiber as well as talking each other into more of it.

And it wouldn’t be Greencastle without the wild weather.  Years ago, when it was just one day and I made the trek by myself, I swear the weather was decent, at least in the 60s or 70s.  Ever since I talked Jenny into joining me, and then later adding Ragged to our crew, the weather has never failed to keep things interesting.  This year, the area had been drenched with quite a bit of rain in the previous week, we were sleeted and snowed on intermittently on the way up, and then late Friday, it was just flat-out cold.  However, awesome pizza and coffee that evening helped drive out the cold.

Saturday was a bit warmer, and the sun made a welcome appearance.  We had managed to do quite a bit of shopping the day before with the reduced crowds, but there were still things to find.

After we determined we could leave the rest, it was time to part ways.  Jenny frorm the Blog headed back west, and Ragged and I made our way south.  Jenny from the Blog was able to present Ragged with her birthday gift while in Greencastle, but I had to wait on an item, so Ragged got to be showered with gifts again once we got back to my house.

So by now you’re probably dying with curiosity about the shopping.  Here you go:

Greencastle 2013 haul

Greencastle 2013 haul

  • Two sweaters’ worth of Briar Rose Fibers Fourth of July yarn in purple, green, and brown and purple, green, and blue (pictured in back)
  • Coordinating blue, green, and purple wool and silk fiber from Carpool (in back on the far right)
  • Wild Hare Fibers BFL in Nightlife (in front of BRF yarn)
  • Petals Socks in Flowering Cabbage
  • Fiber Optic Bitter Lime to Rose merino/tencel gradients
  • 1330 yards of fingering weight in blue and purple from Carpool (in front of Wild Hare Fibers BFL)
  • Sweet Feet sock yarn from Interlacements in Taiga
  • Fiber Optic in Vineyard Batik on BFL/silk, Tangerine to Ultraviolet merino/silk gradient, Something Wicked merino/silk gradient, Bitter Lime to Rose merino/silk gradient, and Dusty Plum to Olive merino/silk gradient

Like I said, I don’t regret a thing.  Good fibers, good foods, good friends.  I needed that.

Published in: on April 21, 2013 at 8:05 pm  Comments (2)  

Hi Blog! Remember me?

Gah.

That’s really all that can be said.  But since I opened up a new post, I’ll add a few more words.

The List of Six has somehow turned into the List of Sixty.  Right now, overwhelmed barely touches it.  However, I have come to the conclusion that I need to preempt a few of the items to include this item at the top, every time.

  • Take care of myself

Remember the 2013 Plan?  It included exercise which is great self-care.  With all the stuff I have going, that gets shoved aside too frequently.  Although, I do have 260 fitness minutes for the month of March (I track my stuff on Sparkpeople).  Still, I can do better.

So, what’t the other five items on the list?

  • four responses for 682 (yeah, with spring break last week, work just doubled up)
  • one post for 660
  • two responses for 660
  • design the revision guidelines for the teaching-class
  • grade stuff

I’m going to be so happy when four of those items are gone.  And that will happen in 31 days!  I’m going to see if WordPress has a neat countdown widget.

And because maybe some of you come here for the knitting, here’s some knitting.
Foot Fetish side view

 

This is an awesome pattern, and it’s free (Ravelry link).  I’m going to knit it toe-up next time.  (I knitted it as is to qualify for a monthly challenge on Rav)  The pattern will run in reverse when I do that, and I think that will look equally neat.

One month and done – keep swimming, keep swimming . . .

Published in: on March 26, 2013 at 10:35 pm  Leave a Comment