Monday, May 21, 2007

Picture-less update in bullet form

  • I did, indeed, trash the white acrylic piece of crap, and had a wonderful time doing it!
  • I finished my green ankle-high socks
  • I've started a new pair of toe-up socks out of the peachier of the two skeins of tofutsies
  • I plied up around 180 yards of the variegated yarn (it's currently hanging dry with a heavy weight - I got WAY too much twist in it and realized it after it was too late)
  • I really haven't made too much progress on the shawl.... I can't exlain why. I think I was just in the need of something of the garter stitch nature (read, the new socks)
  • I finished spinning up the first half of the Wooly Fiber club fiber and have to spin up the other half before plying.
  • I received a bunch of benefit booklets and the like from my new job, I start work on June 4th and my position is officially called 'Research Scientist'!!!

Friday, May 18, 2007


I may be trashing the acrylic yarn sweater because Ive developed a very strong aversion to it. More to come later.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Obsession + A Job = Trouble

Sorry I haven't been posting lately... I've been a little obsessed with my new projects. Plus, I had an interview with a company called Bionovo. The description of the position was too detailed for me to get a good understanding of what I would be doing and then they SHOCKED me with a group interview. I was so nervous I was damn sure I had failed the interview. Then I called them and harrassed them a few times because they were taking so long in getting back to me. I was certain they just didn't have the guts to tell me that I wasn't hired. The next day I got an email to go in for a second interview. Well when I got there one of my future coworkers said, "So I heard they offered you a position." Tthat was news to me, but it sure put me at ease! Woohoo!!! They're not sure when I'm going to start working because they have to get corporate in California to send me the necessary paperwork but it sure is a relief to have a job to look forward to. I'll tell you more about it later, perhaps after my first day. This post is dedicated to all my on-going projects.

First, I spun up some of that merino from morehouse. I'm not sure if you can tell the difference between this picture and the previous one but I really haven't put a dent in the fiber.
The wool actually has a little too much grease in it and I'm losing almost half of the fiber to preparations but its spinning up very strong. I'm forced to spin it a little thicker than I would like because it snaps on me if it's any thinner. But now that I see it in the picture, perhaps it's plenty thin. I plan to navajo ply it and knit up some socks for both Michael and my mother.
When I first got this wool I was using Fez's cat brush to prep the fiber and for some reason I decided that I needed something more appropriate for the project so I went out and bought this:
It wasn't until I got home that I realized this was a direct violation of the yarn diet... I really have no explanation as to why the diet completely slipped my mind. But I was VERY good in the yarn store, Michael was with me and he made sure that I only got what I went in for. I was sidetracked several times and each time he wacked whatever I picked up out of my hands. It was quite humorous and I'm sure the other women in the store heard my laughing.

I also received my first allotment of wool from my spinning club. It's 4 oz. of Rambouillet.
I've already spun up a decent chunk of the first ball before taking this picture.
Here's the yarn:
I'm quite enjoying spinning with this! I'm not sure if it's the fiber or the fact that I don't have to spend an equal amount of time prepping the fiber before spinning it. This I'm also having to spin up a little thicker because it's already been washed and doesn't have any grease in it to help hold the fibers together. But again, this is certainly something I love!

Last night I went to Michael's softball game and brought along my jaywalkers. The weather was a little chilly (even with me in my sweatshirt) so I thought that it would be a perfect time to get some work in. Also, I need to turn the heel on the second Hedera and I'm not confident enough in my skills yet to not keep referencing a pattern. Anyway, I was sitting there, watching Michael and his team warm up when I got recruited to play for another team on another field cuz they were short one girl. MAN I forgot how much I used to love playing softball. They said that they could probably use me every week so I'm thinking about doing that! The league runs through early June and then I'm thinking about joining a more local league in the fall (which is August through October)!

I made some good progress on the Jaywalkers last night while watching the X-files we received from netflix:
Since we're discussing socks, here is the progress of my second Hedera. And I really don't think I've got second sock syndrome with this. I've just been obsessed with other projects lately....
For example, here is the progress I've made on my shawl. And those of you who look close enough will notice that the pattern is not at all what I decided on in the last post.I was having such a hard time working out the way that it was supposed to look that I just gave up on it and found that I really liked the pattern on page 68 called 'A knitted veil in Pyrenees wool.' I like the fact that I don't have to think too much with it and should be able to have a nice end product. Don't get me wrong there is some necessary concentration when knitting the pattern, but it's not like I took several pieces of other patterns and tried to make them fit!

And last, but certainly not least, I treated myself to a visit to the yarn store in celebration of my recent employment! I got two skeins of tofutsies because they are quite cute and something I haven't knit with before. I was only going to buy two skeins of sock yarn, but then I spotted an older yarn harlot book and snatched it up!
This picture shows more accurately the peachy shades in the skein on the left.
Now I know that they are very similar in shades and colors, but they were really the only ones that I saw that I liked! Oh well, I'm quite certain that I won't be knitting them back to back. I really think that I'm going to just be knitting these in a simple ribbing or striping pattern as something that I can use to keep my hands busy when I can't fully concentrate on a pattern.

Also, I haven't done any more work on the two sweaters. I'm really contemplating ripping back the neck shaping on the front of the cardigan and making into something more 'me.' And I'm not too worried about finishing Rachel's sweater in time. I've just got the sleeves left and seaming, that shouldn't take too long with the way it's shaped and pattern for the sleeves.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Say what?!

I got a delivery today from Morehouse Merino..... Gorgeous!
Since I love to spin in the grease I can just sit right down and get started! And to think, just last night I almost broke my fiber diet because I was really craving some dark wool to spin.
Only, I just realized that I don't have anything to card with. But at the same time I remembered that I prefer to spin up the individual locks. I still need to flick the ends, loosen up the fibers a bit. I do have several cat brushes and Maggie was talking about using a dog comb to flick the ends... I'll have to give it a shot.

On the other hand, last night I caved and decided that I'd had enough sweater knitting and was working out a pattern for a new shawl out of the dusty rose yarn I already bought. If anyone reading this has Victorian Lace Today I decided to go with the border from the Diamonds and Triangles shawl on page 150 and use the Trinity Stitch center panel from Half Square on page 126. I hadn't gotten to calculating gauge and how many stitches of the center panel I would need for the edging before the gorgeous fleece came.

I've been working pretty hard, trying to get back into my exercise routine and this morning I did some pretty intense leg work. That might be the deciding factor on how I spend my day!

(Also, I finished the front panel of Rachel's sweater yesterday... but nobody really cares. I know I don't.)

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Setting in sleeves has certainly proved to be a pain!

Well, my goal was to be able to set the sleeves in the cardigan today and finish up the ribbing around the neck. So I sat down with my yarn and needle and seamed and seamed. The armhole was matching up well, then on to the arm. I tried the cardigan on several times to make sure that everything was working out and looking ok. Other than being entirely wrong it seemed ok. :)
The whole thing looked too small and the buttons gaped when I buttoned everything up. I'm also a little disturbed with the way the shaping for the armholes was done up in the pattern.
Here, you can see what I mean. On the left side you can see where the armhole shaping begins and then there is a very steep 'ledge' of about 16 decreases to where the shoulder seaming occurs. What's up with that?! It makes for very odd cap shaping when the sleeve is set in, you can kind of see in the previous two pictures and this next one.
And then....
... if you look closer you can see that the sleeve is all wrong. It just isn't going to line up and give me a good sleeve. I'm going to have to rip it out and try to reset the sleeve. Bummer. Needless to say I'm a little aggravated and won't be continuing any further today. The fact that the whole thing just seems too small is not a motivating factor.

On the plus side, I finished the first 'anklet' sock Thursday night while I was waiting for Michael to get home from the midnight showing of Spiderman. From what he told me, I didn't miss much and had quite a bit more fun at home.
I love this sock! When I first tried it on after completion it didn't seem quite right for me. I've always worn those cheap white cotton socks that you get in bundles from the store and they're always a bit looser and breathable than the socks I knit up. But I think the stretchy lace and the ankle-height of these socks will allow me to ease into enjoying hand-knit socks, or at least I hope so.
Also, I've been getting a lot more spinning done than knitting. I've really been enjoying myself and intend to fill up this bobbin before plying. And, in case any are wondering, I've been not working on my sweater for Rachel. I told myself that I would only start the socks as a motivational project to finish this damned sweater. You know, knit a certain time on the sock and then an equal time on the sweater. That didn't happen and I've now got the yarn out beside me and have prohibited any spinning that I might want to do until I finish the front. Today is a less than fun day in lilac land.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Summer 2007 Interweave Knits

I'm not going to lie... I'm a little disappointed. But what was I expecting when the cover displayed a long-sleeved, cable-yoked sweater? I was under the impression that the summer issue of most magazines displayed items that are traditionally, Oh I don't know, more SUMMERY?! I've always felt like there is an abundance of items to be knit for late fall through early spring and that I have a hard time finding great summer-time knits. I apologize for the no pictures but I couldn't figure out how to link directly to the patterns on their website. But seriously, I'm disappointed. There are 6 very warm looking sweaters, a pattern for knee-high socks (which I still love, it's not their fault they got clumped in the wrong issue!), hats, and a few patterns for shrugs and wraps that would work better in different issues. Despite the self-imposed yarn diet, I don't see many patterns that make me want to cast-on right away. Hopefully Spin-Off will come soon and fix this sinking feeling that I have about Interweave right now.

On the knitting front... I've gotten past the gusset decreases on my little ankle sock and have made no progress on Rachel's lace-y sweater. I have seamed my cardigan, all that's left is setting the sleeves. I hope I'll be done with the cardigan either tomorrow or Saturday. Pictures to come soon.

A week and a half...

Until Anne sends out the first supply of fiber for her Wooly Wonka Fiber Club! I can't wait!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Crochet?! What?

This is what my living room floor looked like Saturday night.
That blanket, it has been crocheted. I started it last summer after I did a little crochet experiment to see if I would like it. Apparently I liked it enough to go buy some cheap acrylic yarn and an afghan pattern book... I found the blanket with all the blue made up, just needing a border.
I realized that this would be a great house-warming gift for a friend that was moving to a new apartment on Sunday, so I finished it. Granted the weather is now consistantly in the 60s and 70s so she probably won't be needing the blanket, she liked it.

A little aside, I actually do enjoy crochet, just not with acrylic. I have a set of 5 hooks and a desire to produce more crocheted products. I've been toying with the idea of a granny-square afghan using just a few colors to match my living room. This would allow me to crochet a little bit every once in a while, just when I want a small change from knitting and granny squares are perfect for that! Does anybody think that is just incredibly dorky? Are granny-squares awful and not to be seen in a 20-something's apartment?

This same friend is getting married in late June and expressed a desire to knit up something to wear for her wedding. She's fairly new to the knitting thing (she didn't even finish her first scarf) so I said she probably shouldn't try to knit up a sweater and plan her wedding at the same time. Also, she really liked the whole idea of the lace hoodie I'm knitting for myself. Well, a little light went off and I decided to knit her a similar lace-y summer shirt. She's not a fiber whore like I am so she's perfectly fine getting acrylic knits. While I was looking through my stash on Saturday I found a whole whack of white acrylic yarn (don't ask) and thought there might be enough to make a sweater. If I run short I'm fairly certain I can run over to the nearest Walmart and pick up another skein. Anyway, this is the pattern. And here a shot of the finished back.
The pattern is knit on size 10.5 needles. That's HUGE! So while I should be able to crank this project out pretty fast, I hate it. I'm just slipping it in the knitting queue before my own lace hoodie.

I geuss that I prefer smaller needles, no matter the size of the project. Also, I HATE acryilic yarn! It's all stiff and scratchy and makes my wrist hurt to knit it up. Still, it'll be nice to get rid of all this acrylic. See, before I became a fiber whore I collected quite a bit of cheap acrylic yarn and this blanket as well as the white yarn relieves me of at least half of the acrylic cr*p.

Anyway, back to the picture of my floor Saturday night... You can also see my cardigan blocking. It took until Monday morning to dry because I blocked all the pieces in twos to make sure everything matched (sleeve on sleeve, front on front, and the back folded in half). Well, yesterday I set out to seam it and ... realized the eye of my needle was too big. I'm a little worried now because I've never seamed a sweater before and I think if I don't get started soon the sweater might be doomed to wander around in pieces forever! I noticed that my yarn store sells needles up by the register for 25 cents a piece. I'll pick one up when I'm in Boulder tomorrow for Wednesday knitting with Val and Maria.

Last night after binding the back off of Rachel's sweater, I was really craving some small needle knitting with something of more color. So, I pulled out my green sock yarn and swatched for Hedera.
I love this yarn! It's superwash/acrylic... But it's much softer than the 100% acrylic and the green is so pretty! I'll be knitting these up as ankle socks for some summer sock wear.

An update on my spinning activities. This is the variegated merino that I navajo plied.
I quite enjoyed this method of plying, especially when compared to triple-plying with three seperate skeins of yarn; trying to keep every single seperate and unknotted really stressed me out. While this skein is a little over-twisted, it is still quite soft and the overtwist really isn't a big deal. The thing that really gets me is the way all the colors were distributed after plying. I originally did not like the way the singles were spinning up when I pulled out the various colors and spun them seperate. So I switched to just spinning up a piece of the fiber, letting the colors do what they wanted. I think I've changed my mind again, the navajo plying would work best with the first method. I've started spinning with the first method again and hope to have another skein to show some time next week.

Also, I bought 2 lbs of black merino fleece from morehouse merino. I hope to see it in the mail soon!

Also, I've been really bad with Eye Candy Fridays, so here is a picture that I took at Rachel's new place. Such pretty blooms!