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All right, already. April 21, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in dyeing.
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Last but certainly not least I am officially suspending the Quest For Yarn Blanks, at least temporarily – I compiled all of the yarn I’ve gathered thus far and here is what I have awaiting my attention…

Yarn to dye

Oh wait, I just remembered I have twelve more skeins of feltable wool stashed in a bin somewhere. Okso I’m really done for now, at least until I dye what’s stacked up here.


Further adventures in knitting April 21, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in knitting.
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Okay, crafty talk, I’ve owed some photos for a while and now that I have my lens back (hooray!) I can take pictures again that are worth a damn.

First of all, I mentioned I was going to knit up some Acorn Socks and I honestly did start. The problem is I picked a yarn that I thought would be fine enough, Schaefer Anne, only it seems kind of stiff knitted up and I’m not completely happy with it. That and while it is a really gorgeous colorway, the yarn itself is splitty as hell so it’s a real pain when working the lace pattern. The last straw is that it seems like I might be making too large of a size (I’m knitting a medium based on the measurement of the middle of my foot but now I’m thinking I may be a small) so I’m not sure how much longer I’m going to fiddle with it. We’ll see.

Acorn Rib Socks

Pattern: Acorn Rib Socks at suzisknits.com
Yarn: Anne by Schaefer Yarn Company in Julia Child

Second of all I am trying really hard to love the whole “magic loop” concept. I really am. I don’t know what my deal is but I just haven’t fallen for it yet. I decided to try it out with that skein of Tess’ Designer Yarns Super Socks & Baby and cast on for a generic hat, and I like how the colors are working up, but so far I’m just sort of “eh” about it. I had to frog and cast on again about three times so maybe that’s what is stopping me from warming up to it.

Oh, Magic Loop.

Pattern: Making it up as I go along
Yarn: Super Socks & Baby by Tess’ Designer Yarns in Spring Garden

In order to feel somewhat successful I started another pair of socks that I’ve actually owed to someone for a long time. You see, I had this yarn kicking around and I had even started a generic cuff-down stockinette sock that was boring as hell so I had abandoned it long, long ago. I frogged all that and tried to find something inspiring to use it for. The other day I was reading some posts to the ElJay knitting community and someone had made these Swirl Socks – when I saw the pattern I said, “That’s it!”

So far the pattern is working up very quickly and easily. It’s a little boring but it’s just enough that the sock has some style yet the pattern isn’t completely lost in the colors of the yarn. I just hope these will be the right size as my recipient has larger feet than I, I believe, but a lot of this is guesswork. The pattern calls for US1 needles but the yarn calls for US3 needles so I’m using US2s and hoping for the best. The resulting fabric is very thick and warm, these will be lovely boot socks or great just for wearing around the house on chilly evenings.

Swirl Socks

Swirl Socks

Pattern: Swirl Socks
Yarn: Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch by Lana Grossa, Color 704

In Silly Things That Make Me Happy, I have two words for you: fabric shaver.

I <3 you, fabric shaver!

I finally bought one of these things, opting for the larger one I could find, and I love the durned thing. I’ve shaved my wool Keen clogs and they look like new. It even worked on the Jayne Hat I made for myself but my kidlet appropriated instead. This thing has been through two hard Winters on the playground and resembled some sort of fuzzy animal before I took the shaver to it, and now it looks like I just knit it – the only proof is in the pompom and the raw ends on the earflaps.

Jayne Cobb Hat

Jayne Cobb Hat

Pattern: Jayne Cobb Hat
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay 100% Wool Color 102

Yarn looks so much better with an SLR. April 18, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in dyeing, Etsy.
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But oh! OH! Guess what? I GOT MY LENS BACK!

*happy dance happy dance*

I am so so so so SO happy to have my Nikon back. I’ve already taken about a billion pictures with it and it is so much better than that crappy loaner I’ve been using. I kiss you, SLR camera. I kiss you and hug you and will not leave you anywhere you can get knocked down ever again, I promise. I missed you so much!

(But just in case I’ll extend that warranty to five years, mmhmm.)

Oh how I have missed you, macro lens.
Macro, how I have missed thee.

Before I forget, here are some photos of that yellow-orange skein I dyed *gasp* a week ago. I need to get back on the horse, all that work duh-rama distracted me!

Hand-dyed yarn

Hand-dyed yarn

MOM SHOES MOM BAG April 18, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in knitting.
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While I was at the shoe store getting sneakers tonight I saw a Vera Bradley Linsday handbag in the clearance bin for 50% off. Normally I think VB bags are a bit loud but this one was very Spring-y and sweet and I was so tempted. That made me think of Joy and then when I picked it up to look at it I immediately thought, “This would be a great knitting bag.” At the risk of getting all SWF on Joy I got it.

Come to think of it, my bag matches my sneakers. Eep!

Oh good lord.

Ladybug, Ladybug, fly into my home! April 18, 2008

Posted by jeninmaine in spinning.
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Today I stopped by the Portland Fiber Gallery as I wanted to make sure I wasn’t behind on my wheel rental payments. While I was there the girl said, “We have the Ladybug in, would you like to try it?” I had received their shop email telling me about this new wheel and said “Sure!” I sat down with teh bebeh still strapped to my chest and gave it a try. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out the Scotch tension and get things moving in the right direction but…

oh. mah. gah. I have found the wheel of my dreams.

This thing is AWESOME. It is so friggin smooth and powerful, I was spinning nearly perfect singles after not having picked up any fleece in two months and it was fast, fast, fast. The treadling was effortless, it was the perfect height, and made hardly any noise at all. It almost looks like a toy with its bright red plastic wheel but I have to say that I was completely blown away by the thing. I think it helps that I had been wrangling with the Louet’s high-speed flyer and not liking how far off the ground the treadles are as I could no longer sit on the couch and use it, but I even liked the Ladybug more than the Ashford Traditional I had fallen in love with previously. I must have this wheel. I must. I could spin at least five times faster and more evenly than I did when I was at the top of my beginner spinning game.

So yes, I am in love. I’ve sent an email to Melodi letting her know how much I loved the wheel and asking about payment plans. The wheel itself is $550 and I’d want to get the attached tensioned Lazy Kate (that holds four bobbins!) for an additional $35 to start, though I’m sure I’ll want more bobbins as time goes on. I’ve paid about $170 in rental fees since I started last year so that should go toward purchasing this wheel, so maybe she’ll let me pay $100 a month or something like that? Keeping my fingers crossed!

I had an exciting afternoon :)