Stasia's Place Of Grace


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Yarn, Yarn Everywhere And Not A Minute To Knit

Hi! How are you? I really would like to know, so do leave a comment if you're so inclined! Thanks for stopping by.

Before I get to anything else, a quick "ad" for a good friend: Lael has Shetland fleeces available, and lamb pictures. Go thither and be tempted!

Moving is a crazy business, and house showings really stink. How is a girl to get any knitting done when she has to keep her sink perpetually clean? Between cutting the grass, weeding the garden, picking up dog poop, and hollering, "Put it DOWN, put it DOWN!" at DH every time he touches a guest towel, I'm not getting much knitting in. Is it any wonder I'm resorting to gin and tonics as a means to sanity?

I am now faced with the possibility that I will get to enjoy the process of having a septic system installed yet again. What fun. Perhaps the stress of this accounts for the fact that the Shelridge Farm sock yarn I just purchased bears a striking resemblance to the fiber I just spun. Separated at birth?

I obviously wasn't focused when I bought it (or was perhaps a little too focused on this color scheme.) But it is lovely and soft and very worth the price so I'm not sorry, not one bit.

However, in addition to not being able to focus on colors-already-in-the-stash, I couldn't find an appropriate project for this yarn. I was worried about pooling, though I needn't have been - more on that in a minute. After having friends explain to me why the Jaywalker pattern really would work out if I knit it, despite my inability to add up the stitches in the lace pattern correctly...

    I wrote:

    This is what I'm coming up with:
    k-f/b = 2 sts
    k7 = 7
    dd = -2
    k7 = 7
    k-f/b= 2
    Total: 16 sts. - should be 19!

    And the ever-knowledgeable Halla wrote:

    Let's watch it as we do it:

    k-f/b= 2 stitches on right needle, 18 on left
    k7= 9 stitches on right needle, 11 on left
    DD= 10 stitches on right needle, 8 on left
    k7= 17 on right needle, 1 on left
    k-f/b = 19 on right needle

    And she was correct, of course, but by that time I was right off those...

... I decided on something simpler - the Faux Cable pattern from "Socks Socks Socks".

No pooling - look at the lovely short color repeats in the strand.

Unfortunately, the pattern repeats over 18 stitches, and because I changed the pattern to have two cables on the instep instead of one, this made for a very wide sock that was never going to fit me. And then I felt guilty for knitting for me instead of for charity, anyway. In a crabby fit I ripped it and the yarn is now marinating in the stash, likely to appear later in a simple stockinette or ribbed sock, as the pooling is no longer a concern.

Speaking of not pooling, look at the new handpainted Painted Toes sock yarns I scored from The Knotty Sheep! I just know I will have better luck with these, and I can't wait to cast on.

Right now, I'm working on a "simple" Storm Water shawl in SeaSilk from Colorsong Yarns (great service, shipping, and selection!) For anyone who has listened to the fabulous KnitCast, you may think that SeaSilk smells like seaweed or the ocean or even fish. It doesn't. It smells like silk. That is just how plain old silk smells. I was really looking forward to imagining the salt sea spray as I knit with it, but I'm going to have to "make do" with the gorgeous sheen, wonderful smoothness, and incredible Hand Maiden colors (there's more of a deep purple to these than my camera picked up):

SeaSilk Yarn & Storm Water Shawl Pattern
From Colorsong Yarns

One Ball Wound

I said that the shawl was "simple" - it's supposed to be. For me, with my moving mentality, not so much... Depends on the day, really, and how much gin rest I've had. Anyone else would find it a piece of cake. But memorize the pattern after a couple of repeats? Definitely not me, darn it! That's ok - it's easy to follow.

However, I should have read the pattern through before I wound one skein into a ball and sat down, ready to cast on, because the instructions alternate yarns from two balls at once! You knit across row one with one yarn, then knit the same direction with the second yarn, then turn your work and knit back with one yarn and then the other. This mixes up the colors in the hand dyed fiber very nicely. And contrary to my first thought, it does not make for tangles. It does make for a seriously non-portable project, however... You'll want to keep your balls from collapsing in this way (suggested by my friends Denise and Nan):

Don't moosh your lace balls - keep them in a bowl. Put paper tubes in the centers to keep them from collapsing. And for this shawl pattern, label the balls One and Two!

It's going slowly but well. I will tell you now that if you use markers, you will have to shift them by one stitch every once in a while (eight rows, maybe?), as the pattern repeat changes to angle the other way - don't let it freak you out. Actually, you probably don't get freaked out by things like that - it's just me, isn't it?

I'd better cast on some of that Painted Toes sock yarn quick so that I have one portable project to take with me if I have a house showing meltdown and need to jump in the car for a quick getaway, because I'm certainly not carting this bowl around. (Of course, one can't drink gin in the car.)

So, getting back to podcasts, you must check out the BritKnitCast!

I became a bit bored when many of the fiberarts podcasts suddenly became promotions for other fiberarts podcasts and their own shows (it seemed that one week the whole circuit was playing each others' ads for the full first ten minutes). How many times could they all chat about the same new online projects or the latest must-haves to hit the market? Finally, when a few provided faulty advice as if it were factual research, that did it for me, and I unsubbed from most of them. Not that I'm not glad they gave it a shot, but maybe if someone doesn't have something original and/or positive to say, they shouldn't be posting a new podcast every two weeks until they do (that's my excuse, anyway!)

The KnitCast was the original and it still tops my list, and Marie's been incredibly generous to promote those who've stolen her thunder, her ideas, and (therefore, perhaps) any financial contributions that may have resulted from her listeners. I've got the EatFeed and Rick Steeves for other iPod fare, anyway. It doesn't have to be all knitting, all the time, right? (Right???)

Well, for something completely different from all the other knitting podcasts that try to imitate (or intimidate) instead of originate, give Carrie Anne's a listen. She takes us into her felting workshop as a bunch of friendly, creative women discuss fiberarts and creativity, stabbing with their felting needles all the while. The fact that most of them sound just like Wendolene from Wallace & Gromit is sweet and comical to this Yank. Carrie Anne is a natural - she's upbeat, positive, energetic, edits well, and is obviously into many different art forms. Though her recordings are definitely low-tech, it adds so much to the charm of them, and I wouldn't change a thing. Give her a listen!

    Special shout-out to Nichole.... I'M WORKING ON IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;-)

In other knitting-related news, it seems that our beloved Targ├ęt (also knows as the $100 store, because even if you go in for mouthwash, you will end up spending $100... in the 90s it used to be the $75 store, but of course we're now in the aughts) is finally jumping on the knitting bandwagon, with adorable little knitting gift kits, featuring CD-ROMS, for new knitters. Val approves of this doggie toy knit this kit which I picked up for my Rubbermaid Tub O'Potential Holiday Gifts:

Under $10, and you get everything you need to make a tug toy for Rover. How cool is that? Go stock up and you won't have to worry about a last-minute Christmas gift.

By now you've probably figured out that while I'm too stressed to sit still and knit, I'm never too stressed to shop. Besides that knit this kit, new acquisitions include a tote for my journal from OfficeMax:

When you have to keep your house tidy, you don't want a pile of stickers, colored pens, glue sticks, and paper all over the place. And when you're a mental case from too many showings, you can pack up your journal case and go sit in a bar Starbucks and write down all your swear words concerns. Good, cheap therapy. Cheaper than gin.

Another shopping excuse favorite form of therapy is a long, hot shower with a bar of Pangea Organics Pyrenees Lavender With Damiana Tea soap. Mmmmmmmmmmm... good for you, good for the Earth.

I've been writing this post off and on for about four hours. Everyone in the house is now asleep. There are no showings scheduled for tomorrow (and even if some pop up, the house and hand towels are clean!) I'm thinking that if I log off now and sneak into the living room, I just might have a moment to knit after all...

I'm wishing you time and quiet for your creative therapy as well!

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Stasia is a knitter, spinner, weaver, writer, reader, and musician from Wisconsin, USA.

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