Monday, January 29, 2007

A Fezzik Update

Not a whole lot has been going on around here since I last posted. Mostly knitting on my grandma's socks and a little spinning. Michael and I spent the day just relaxing with each other and Fez. And, for the record, Fezzik was not named after anyone at all, it's just a name that Michael remembered and we thought it described our new cat perfectly. Here are a few images of our Sunday together:

"Mom, I really enjoyed being your model for a while but will you give it a rest, woman?!"

Here you can see my progress on the first sock. I have turned the heel and am working on the gusset decreases. I wouldn't be surprised if I finished it tonight. But I also wouldn't be surprised if I didn't. :)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Sock Fiasco Continues...

I've got both good news and bad news regarding the Aran Braided socks that I made my grandmother. The bad news is that they didn't fit. If you look closely at the socks I knit you will see that I decided to continue the braiding down onto the top of the foot because I felt that the plain ribbing just wasn't good enough for my cute little grandma:

Well, when I did that I added too much tension into the pattern and the poor woman wasn't able to get the socks over her heel. The possibility that this might happen crossed my mind when I made the alteration but I figured that it wouldn't be bad enough to prevent the socks from getting on the foot of the wearer.

The good news about this little fiasco is that I get to knit a more enjoyable pattern with the same yarn! I spent the day with my grandmother and mom shopping. Then we went back to my parent's house and talked and ate dinner. During this time I was racking my brain for a sock pattern that I already had that was similar to the pattern I knit. I didn't want to reknit the correct pattern for the socks or larger socks with the same alteration because, as I mentioned before, I REALLY dislike this pattern. I wanted to get started on something right away and I only had Val's Sensational Knitted Socks with me. So I looked through the book and decided on the Ribbed Lace pattern on page 50.

The pattern looks similar but the technique is very different so hopefully this will be a much more enjoyable knit. I will use the yarn from the ripped pair and hope to finish by the end of the week so that I can mail them to her in a timely manner... She does live in Kansas which isn't an altogether comfortable place to be wearing wool socks in the summer.

Today the women on my mother's side of the family got together to open our Christmas presents and we had quite a blast, just like old times. I received some long awaited wine glasses and can't wait to use them. I don't like sweet wines and tend to drink cabernet but my grandma gave me some white wine glasses along with red wine and champagne glasses, so I stopped at the liquor store on the way home and picked up some chardonnay. I have to say, it's a lot better than the white wines I've tried before. Perhaps I've just been trying a bunch of sweet white wines; this would certainly explain my aversion to white wines altogether... And now, an image of how I plan to spend my evening:

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Friendly Schacht

As promised, I am posting about spinning class last night. I had quite a blast but was too shy to ask for any pictures... maybe next time?

I had my heart set on trying an Ashford Traditional but Maggie plopped a Schacht in front me:

I think this wheel is beautiful in its own way, but I've been dreaming of an Ashford for several months now. I have been looking through the most popular brands and but I come back to that same Ashford Traditional, time and time again. I understand the practical uses of an axle wheel verses the more traditional forms but I feel like the Ashford speaks to me. I plan to ask Maggie if I can try it next week and if I am still in love with it, I'll put in an order! My only concern is that the orifice is not directly in front of the spinner and I really enjoy that luxury with the Schacht. I know that I won't be truly happy until I at least try the Ashford and even then I don't know if I'll be happy buying anything else.

As for the yarn that I spun last night, there are two kinds: the really crappy all-over the place kind with many lumps and thin spots, and then there is the kind that I spun once I got home and had a glass of wine:

It's kind of a blurry photo but you can see a lot more consistency than what I started with. For the most part of class Maggie walked around and helped people individually if it looked like they needed it. This allowed me to concentrate fully on what I was doing... which turned out to be a bad thing! Once Maggie started talking and I started listening to her, my yarn came out much more consistant and fine. Of course this was towards the end of class and I was in need of a break. However, right before leaving I looked over at Val (who has taken the class before) and saw her technique. She was quite calm and her yarn was very consistant and pretty. I made a mental image of what she looked like and what she was doing and attached a note to give it a shot. Both that image and the glass of wine, when combined with much more relaxing lighting, allowed me to produce what you see here. This was only my second attempt at spinning on a wheel and I am very pleased.

I'm pretty sure that I can spin all of the fiber that we got for the class this weekend and am trying to figure out how to get more so that I can continue to practice through out the week. Plus I really enjoy spinning and while I don't find it that much more relaxing than knitting I get a pleasant, happy feeling that can only come when you are producing practical with your own two hands. I spun quite a bit of crud last night, and previously on the drop spindle, so I am trying to figure out how I can recover that wool. It's not like I'm gonna use it for anything anyway so I'm going to experiment with washing and re-carding it to see if I can get some back.

I am also going to attempt to participate in Eye Candy Friday, so here is the first picture.

It's one of those funky, rubber-y, stretchy balls. I thought it would make a decent entry into the Eye Candy Friday collection.

I'm off to spend the day shopping with my Grandma and Mom. I'm also going to be giving my Grandma her socks, so tune in next time for an update on the Not-From-Heaven-Not-Quite-From-Hell Socks.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

First Post!

Hello all! This is my second attempt at maintaining a blog and I certainly hope that I will be able to keep this one up. I previously used wordpress and I had a heck of a time figuring out how to get the pictures to come out right but blogger is MUCH easier for me to understand. For the most part I intend to use this blog as a place to discuss any fiber related activities of mine, currently knitting and spinning.

Tonight is my second ever spinning class and I am very excited because tonight we get wheels. Last week Maggie sent us home with drop spindles... no offense but I find wheels much more interesting. I think I will save any further spinning discussion for my next post because I will be able to include pictures of the wheel and discussion of my spinning mishaps.

I am currently working on three knitting projects:

There is actually a story behind the socks for my grandma. I don't know her sock size, only her shoe size. So I borrowed Val's Sensational Knitted Socks which has a table that allows you to determine the necessary number of stitches for each size. The socks are to be a Christmas gift, and they aren't late! Grandma lives in Kansas and is only now able to come out here and visit because of all the snow and then a cold that she had. I will be giving them to her tomorrow; she will try them on and (HOPEFULLY) they will fit. Then I will finish up the toe decreases before she leaves to return home on Sunday, I think. This pattern really did not interest me and I had to force myself to finish them at all. The original plan was for me to knit another pair for myself but I certainly don't see that happening. The sweater is beautiful. I'm knitting it with the Andean Treasure that the pattern is written for. For those who don't know it is from KnitPicks and made of baby alpaca! I really love the pattern and the yarn. My only hope and desire is that I am able to seam the pieces together correctly and have a wearable object. Up until now I have not knit anything but hats for myself. This is my second sweater attempt, the first had numerous mistakes that I would notice more than others but enough that I wouldn't wear it. Right now it is in exile at the back of the closet.
  • A Rectangular Cover Shawl from KnitPicks

The shawl is knit with lace weight Shadow yarn from Knitpicks. I had to downsize on the needles two whole numbers because I felt that the other two sizes made the shawl much to hole-y and the pattern would not have been discernable. To compensate for the much smaller size of the shawl I added on a few repeats and ran into some problems there because some of the repeats overlap each other. To make a long story short I was missing about 8 stitches for a full repeat and was too far along to rip back and cast on 8 more stitches. I made a few modifications to the pattern and will live with the fact that my shawl will be ever so different from any one else who knit from this pattern.

Remarkably, all of the pictures shown here are very close to the actual colors of the yarn, at least on my monitor. I took MANY pictures before deciding to post the few that I did. Mostly, the pictures that I took were too blurry to actually be able to see the pattern. I will try to keep posting relatively clear pictures because I feel that part of what makes a great blog is the pictures.

I'm very excited for tonights spinning class so I think I'll go knit and try to calm myself before heading out! Stay tuned for much more information than you ever wanted to know about my spinning escapades....