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Slow Bee MS3 July 20, 2007

Posted by lunarawe in beads, Knit Alongs, knitting, knitting lace, lace knitting, MS3, Mystery Stole 3, sloth.
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Believe it or not, I am one of the happy participants in Mystery Stole 3 – a wonderful knitalong which gives you a new piece of an undisclosed lace stole pattern each week. This is an original pattern, one of many fabulous patterns by Melanie who is now leading this madness for the third time.

I say believe it or not because while the much awaited fourth clue was released this morning, I have just churned my slow way to finishing clue number one. What can I say? It is summer, I have been working, and one thing I have learned not to rush is lace.

Ignore that red thread up there. It is just a life line – the first of many. One of the things I am really enjoying (to my surprise) is the use of beads in this stole. I don’t normally think of myself as a beads and lace kind of woman, but this has been a pile of fun. Maybe it is that I am finally getting to use my size 12 crochet hook that I snagged about a year ago at Lacis in Berkeley.

I chose size 8 beads in a “green iris” colorway – a blend of greens, golds, bronzes, purples, and pinkish beads to complement the JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk Yarn in Sable. The effect is subtle, but much more noticeable on the stole than in the pic. Still you get the idea.

So I am “slow bee” according to the MS3 group – and I am proud. Just in case some of you are thinking derogatory thoughts… here is proof that sloths (maligned, in my opinion) are truly adorable. I ran into this one a couple of days ago at the Cincinnati Zoo.

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Library Additions July 19, 2007

Posted by lunarawe in knitting.
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Normally I don’t confess share with the rest of you every time I buy new knitting books (about that recent Interweave Press hurt book sale… I really have nothing to say). But I have to stop and make a case for my sheer delight in Nikol Lohr’s new book, Naughty Needles.

I can really only have good feelings about someone working hard to interrupt that evil myth that knitting is only for staid, boring people. Naughty Needles definitely turns that stereotype upside down. I highly reccomend it.

There may have to be a mermaid’s tale in my future.

It’s All About Presentation July 18, 2007

Posted by lunarawe in dyeing, handspun, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, yarn.
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Let’s face it. Photographing fiber arts for blog presentation can be a lot less exciting than actually engaging with the fiber itself. I have recently been in something of a TV tray rut. This same tray which holds my ball and swift aloft as I make skeins generally gets roped into service any time there is a need for a photo shoot.

Does this type of pic look familiar?

Don’t misunderstand me. The tried and true TV tray is neutral and flat and can be set up anywhere. It has its distinct advantages. This glorious colorway was dyed by Deb of Dudley Spinner and then I spun it into a chained (or Navajo) 3 ply. This is about 150 yards, spun up as a thank you to the wonderful woman who let me practice on her wheel and taught me some basics about spinning.

There is always the creative TV Tray pile for a change of pace…

 

Or even the venerable office chair if you want to get really wild. I dyed these two rovings myself using Landscapes dyes – about 4 oz. each of that beginner’s white wool top I mentioned before.

They were both definitely inspired to a certain degree by the Portland Rose Gardens.

Then there is always a flat hand in a pinch. This is six ounces of blue faced leicester from Fleece Artist, spun into 325 yards of three ply for a friend whom I adore. I call it the “I Love Rosemary” colorway (blended from two different roving colorways that were not labelled). Crappe. Now I really need to get that in the mail ASAP.

At the end of things, I have to admit that this final pic is my favorite. This yarn was spun about a month ago, and wound up being part of my housemate’s hat. Lying still for this pic was definitely a sign of love. He is such a sweetie…

Babies on the Road July 14, 2007

Posted by lunarawe in baby surprise jacket, baby sweater, Elizabeth Zimmerman, fo, Knit Alongs, knitting, Knitting - FOs, Project Spectrum 2.0.
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I travel a lot. My work draws me back and forth across the United States, usually coming back to rest somewhere in the middle.

I knit a lot of socks.

As you know, socks are the most polite type of knitting to bring on airplanes, and that reality has wedded me almost permanently to the world of 16 inch, size two circular needles. Two by preference.

But then recently I decided to carry somewhat else with me on the road. And one evening, by the blue light of a laptop left on way too far past work hours, I began this:

 

Everyone seems to have tried Elizabeth Zimmerman’s baby surprise jacket at some point in their knitting career. I had to try it myself. Her almost cryptic directions called to me. I admit it. I was investing in the knitting origami of the future.

Fold A to A and B to B and sew up these two little seams and voila!

It just did not seem possible. Such a bizarre shape… talk about flying on faith. I finished this jacket at a large annual convention in Portland, City of Roses – see below. That may be why I did not manage to capture a final amoeboid shape pic before the origami ensued. Enter the baby surprise jacket.

This has already been sent to Baby N’s parents… awaiting his arrival in less than two months now! I used Mountain Colors Barefoot for the main body and Knit Picks sock yarn doubled for the button band. And I used one extra button. Ahem. Pretty much because I had six.

I was not thinking about the Project Spectrum colors as I started this, but by happy coincidence it definitely counts. Ha. And here I thought I was totally slacking off behind.

Sheep to Hat – the perfect hat model strikes again July 13, 2007

Posted by lunarawe in dyeing, fo, handspun, hats, knitting, Knitting - FOs, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, yarn.
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You may remember a while back I shared how my housemate is the perfect hat model. She is patient, and kind, and has a penchant for wooly head coverings. Or seems to anyway. She has also encouraged and prodded me on my journey as a spinner… a new identity which is threatening to take over my knitting and keep on running.

When I told her that I wanted to try dyeing in the house she was positive yet again. The one request she made of me was to not get stains on the kitchen counter; a fair request considering we rent our home.

So I began with great joy, starting by dyeing some sock yarn that was left over from my original yarn dyeing class. I was using Landscapes dyes, which work wonderfully and come in delicious and easily mixable colors.

What I did not expect was the joy that comes in dyeing rovings for spinning. I was shocked at first at how much dye was required. I have since learned that less than half that amount works much better and results in less of a dark, mixed roving.

Still, my first ever hand dyed roving brought me great joy. I don’t have a name for it, which is good because I could never hope to reproduce the colors. I used so much dye, which ran amok while steaming, that this was definitely a once in a lifetime event.

Still, it spun up beautifully and made a delicious, squishy, 3 ply yarn. I have had the joy of dyeing more than a pound of my first beginner’s wool top that, in my naive enthusiam, I purchased two pounds of just as I first started to spin. Let’s face it, white wool top gets too boring to be believed. But it dyed up a treat.

 

The top yarn is from that first roving, the purple tweed on the bottom (100% merino, in a “garnet” colorway) is about 210 yards that I spun for my ex’s birthday. Enough to make a hat, just like he requested.

Anyway, my housemate fell in love with this hat which practically came from the sheep itself. Yes, I know, I have some fiber prep to learn. But still. This was a fun journey. How could I do anything but send her off with this hat which just looks so adorable on her? Doesn’t she look cute wise?

Did I mention that she saved me from the inevitable, massive spill on our countertop that was preordained from the minute it was mentioned? And that she was supportive all the way through? Ahem. Turquoise swirls were not the fashion statement of choice for our mostly burgundy kitchen. Whoops. I didn’t have the heart to take a pic until it was clear that the counter could be saved. A saint she is… without a doubt.

A World of Roses July 12, 2007

Posted by lunarawe in dyeing, Japanese Garden, Portland, roses.
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It has, once again, been an unreasonably long time since I have brought any attention to the blog. I would just give up and tell myself that my blogging phase is over… if not for the 84 blog intended pics I just downloaded off of my phone.

It is a bizarre thing to finally have a camera on my cell that takes usable pics. This one even seemed artistic. It makes me more likely to document things, believing deeply that I will get to them in time. It is also strange to realize that I feel connected enough to the online knitting community that it would pain me to leave.

So here I am.

What is the best way to return and talk about the zillion things I have been doing in recent weeks? By showing you roses of course. I was in Portland, OR just past the height of the rose season this past June. I got to the gardens on a gloriously sunny day and ran around taking tons of pics, telling myself I would use them primarily for inspiration when dyeing rovings for spinning. More on dyeing later.

Wouldn’t these colors make a gorgeous handspun yarn? The roses in the garden were everywhere, so potent that I felt slightly intoxicated after a few hours wandering around and sniffing in the hot sun.

It was hard to capture garden shots, because the area was so large. But I would highly reccomend a trip to Portland in mid June.

After all, if an overabundance of flowers and perfume are not your thing, you can always head to the Japanese Gardens. Prepare yourself for beauty and relaxation.

Happy Summer!