Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Baby Kimono Sweaters

The baby sweaters are done and should be delivered today.

Size 6 months for the new born

Size 1 year for an older baby

This was a fun easy knit. The Lion Brand Cotton was easy to work with and my swatch washed well. I find them a bit hard to tie. I hope it's easer (and not harder) with a baby inside.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Vacation Weekend

This was a nice weekend. Saturday was pretty much dedicated to knitting. Knitting and reading. Sunday after lunch I got a phone call saying that my friends were on their way over to play games. I begged a half hour so I could get out of my pajamas. I’m so pleased with myself. In the half an hour not only was I able to make myself presentable but it was all I needed to make my apartment company ready too. It was trashed when they called but I set my timer for 5 min per room and most of the rooms were actually done in 3 so I had time to vacuum. If I had known in advance I would have mopped the kitchen floor but really I’m surprised and pleased with myself. Even when I let the house work slip it’s nothing like it used to be.

While playing board games we set up Monday’s project. It took 3 people almost 4 hours to do this. And I though about not mentioning it, but it was already half done when we started. I am so pleased with how well it turned out and that I helped do it. It felt good do physical work and to actually see a difference.

That’s one of the reasons I like knitting. It might be hard or time consuming but at the end there is a finished project. All of my jobs I had to work hard but nothing was ever done. There is something entirely soul satisfying to have something finished that will stay done and doesn’t have to be redone the next day like dishes or the next week like mowing. The experience was made better because we were working in the rain. A very light summer rain made it something to remember.

I’m hoping to go back today to start on the sides.

Because I know you want to see it, the knitting projects I finished this weekend.

The bamboo socks.

On the feet of the recipient. Looks like a good fit. Although isn't that why we knit socks? There is just something about a custom fit.

The arm warmers.

And my wearing them.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Little Cat Feet

I still don't think like a cat parent. I locked him away while I was making soap. Once I was done I let him out thinking it was now safe. It only took 5 seconds for this to happen.
I saw him bunch up to jump and I gave a yell. Sumi-e knows he's not to get on the counter and my yelling usually makes him change his mind but this was just too interesting I guess. He looked at me and jumped anyway. He landed right in the raw soap.

It then took about an hour or more for me to deal with the mess.

After bathing him and rinsing his eyes with water just in case.

But doesn't he have the cutest little feet?

Speaking of feet here are the socks I’m working on right now.

A pair using Regia Bamboo. These are a birthday gift for Sean and they are almost a month late. But look I'm almost done.

And Regia wool. Look at the nice patterning. I had it in my mind that I didn’t like this yarn but I do think this has the best patterning I have seen in a long time. Some of the yarns are pretty sloppy with the way they apply the dye. These socks are my car socks. I keep them in a bag in my car so I have them handy if I’m caught someplace with no knitting. They take longer to finish that way, but I have been glad to have them several time.

Using The Stash

After all of that finishing I decided to do some starting. Yes, I have plenty more projects I could be finishing but we will ignore that for the moment. While I have the urge to start new projects in general I’m not inspired by anything in particular. So I went to my stash to use up some materials that were taking up space. You know the ones, yarn or fibers that are too nice to get rid of but aren’t exciting to use. I’m sure I’ll toss these projects aside as soon as something exciting comes along but until then they will keep my hands busy and I can feel virtuous for using them up.
The Fixation is for some socks I need to knit. Because they are expected and soon too, I have no urge to actually knit them. But in pulling out the fixation I see once again that the picnic basket I use to store my sock yarn is ready to explode. To relive a bit of pressure I pulled out two skeins of Knit Picks Merino Landscape (now called Memories) sock yarn in the color way Cape Cod. I’ve never much cared for those colors and only bought them because they were on sale at a guild meeting. I am a sucker for sale yarn.

The thought was to knit mittens or maybe gloves. I cast on 60 stitches on size 1 needles. Part way into the ribbing I decided that I might prefer arm warmers. I’ve been thinking about arm warmers for a while now. I had thought to knit them out of machine washable yarn but really, how often would I be washing arm warmers anyway.

Then for the spinning wheel I picked up a basket of wool that had been shredded by Joey then matted down by Sumi-e. I dyed it a few years ago and in its disrupted state it was still too nice to get rid of but no longer inspiring.

I am pleased with how well it is spinning. I’m thinking of leaving it as singles until I have a plan for it. If I want to knit it I can ply it later or if I decide to weave with it I can use it as a single.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Thank God it’s finished

The ends are tucked in and this sweater is ready to be worn just in time for summer. That’s ok, it will be winter soon enough. The yarn is Himalaya Yarn Tibet 60%Wool/40% Recycled Silk. It’s a hand spun bulky single so the swatches skewed when I washed them. It’s pure luck that I did since washing my swatch is a new thing.

Actually I had learned a new trick just that day and wanted to try it out. Wash your swatch and gently squeeze out the water. Lay it between 2 damp paper towels. Then steam it in the microwave in short 30 second bursts until the swatch is dry. It only works for natural fibers but is just the slickest think ever. What I found to work the best is to set it for 30 seconds and walk away. Come back at the next commercial break and set it for another 30 seconds. It takes about 3 to 5 times to be completely dry and ready to check the gauge. The steam the billows out when the microwave door is opened tickles me to no end.

My ribbing and seed stitch swatches didn’t skew so those are the stitches I used. The sweater is knit top down using my own design. It has short row bust and lower back shaping. I’m pleased with it.

Here take a look close up.

Every time I knit socks for me I have a good sized chunk of yarn left over. Not enough for a sock much less a pair but too much to throw away. I have a large bag of sock yarn bits waiting for some of the colors to look good together so I can knit stripes or heels and toes or anything. But my tastes are eclectic and so far they all clash. I’m not ready for knitting clashing socks. Not yet.

When I saw sandal socks I couldn’t wait to knit a pair. What a great way to wear hand knit socks in the summer and to keep those pesky sandal blisters away. I thought they wouldn’t stay in place but they are doing ok. The do tickle the bottom of the foot a little. I’m going to make another pair that will protect the toes from the thong part. But I have a little secret. I rarely get sandal blisters and am wearing them because I think they are supper cute.

After finishing two projects and deciding I was dedicating Friday to Finishing I sat down and gave a big push to finish spinning this yarn. I have been working on (and denying its existence whenever I couldn’t take it anymore) this project since November. It was several pounds (at least it looks like several pounds I forgot how much it was long ago) of natural brown CVM roving from Little Barn. I dyed the roving with WashFast acid dyes and spun it loosely using a modified long draw. It turned out nice and I’m very pleased with the yarn, but I’m glad to be done with it. Can you believe I thought it would only take a week or two to spin it all?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Flowers For Me

Look what I found in front of my door yesterday. I’ve never had flowers delivered to me before. They are from Mo, the woman I’ve been teaching to knit. Yes flowers from Canada. Ok, so the flowers themselves didn’t make the trip from Canada but the thought did. Isn’t she sweet?

Let us look some more.

Mo had a Knitter for a mom and wished many times that she could knit too but had it in her mind that it was too hard. I sent her fingerless mitts when she was having some tough times. She says those mitts inspired her to really get knitting, that and she started working at a living history museum where knitting became part of her job. I think it’s the museum that did it but it’s nice of her to think it was my mitts.

One day she showed our online group the back of a sweater she was knitting. She had some wonderful yarn from walmart and was using a pamphlet she bought there to teach herself how to knit a sweater. It was mighty fine knitting but I knew where that was going based on what I have seen of those pamphlets. I gently asked her is she knew what gauge was and had she measured the size of the sweater. As expected, the sweater had no relation to any size she had hopped for, so we started knitting baby sweaters together. A few baby sweaters, a few good books, my finding a real yarn store in her area, just a few months later, and now she is knitting lace shawls.

My Weekend Sweater is coming along. Already I’m worried about having enough yarn. It seems that I have no idea how much bulky handspun is needed to make a sweater. But look at how charming the variegation is turning out.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Fun, Fun, Fun

The Kansas City Wool Festival as put on by the KC Fiber Guild and the Shawnee Indian Mission

Some sheep waiting to be sheared. There was a shearing every hour.

The meal was $1. How cool is that?

Felted mittens made by the talented Jamie. You wish you had bought them don't you. Me too.

Handspun yarn for sale

Fleeces for sale. Mmmmmm Yummy.

Some mighty fine Merino came home with me.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Weekend Sweater

This weekend was the KC Wool Festival. It was small but fun. I’ll post the photos tomorrow.

I have started a new sweater. It’s the Cashmere Unisex Sweater form Weekend Knitting. I’m using some hand spun that has been waiting its turn for about 2 years now, sort of marinating in the stash.

I swatched and swatched before getting the fabric I like. Of course that isn’t the gauge called for in the pattern. For the first time I will be doing the math needed to change the sweater. And you know what? The thought doesn’t bother me at all.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Pink Sweater

Last night I finished my pink sweater. It’s about a pound of targee, silk, mohair, alpaca and glitz dyed by Needlefingers and I spun it loosely to ararn weight. I have been waiting for a few years to find the right pattern for this yarn. After extensive swatching I decided it looks best with yarn overs but not lace at about 4 stitches to the inch. I started a sweater from IK but wasn’t too excited with the way the YO pattern looked. I pulled that out and started a top down raglan using the best things of that sweater, a lacy rib pattern.

By the time I separated the sleeves from the body I knew it was going to be a short sweater as I had already used half of my yarn. I made shorter sleeves to compensate. The neck shaping bothered me a bit too. But I was half done so I could be sure before ripping.

Here it is finished. Not bad. Look at the fabric. Look at the stitches. Look at the glitz.

And again

And sadly again

I’m sure.

Friday, May 18, 2007


The photo up-load button is missing. I so need that photo button or I am clueless on how to post a photo. I guess my nice photo filled post will have to wait until Monday. And I so wanted to share...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Baby Legs

Last night at the KC Fiber Guild Work Night I finished a pair of Baby Legs.

Traditionally Baby Legs are a strait tube but the baby to get these is 8 inches bigger at the top of his legs than his ankles. Because of that I felt that I had to shape them. So the parents can put them on right, I worked in a cute little pattern around the top. I used Cascade Fixtation so the lycra content would help hold them up. This yarn was fun to knit, all stretchy and bouncy and very soft.

I also knit some pirate socks. The pink and chocolate yarn is Fly Dyed that I picked up at Stitches last year. I love that yarn. These socks were traded for soaping oils. A good trade but now I’ll have to buy some more of the yarn so I can have a pair of socks made from them. It was very, very hard to send those socks to their new home.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I was a member of the Kansas City Fiber guild Sheep to Shawl team this year at KAWS. After a trial run at our winter retreat we were ready to go. I spun 16 oz of Falkland wool for the warp which we broke into two batches and dyed one from blue to forest green and the other from blue to plum. We were then able to wind a warp with gradating stripes. For the competitions the warp could be spun and measured but the loom couldn’t be dressed. That is practically unheard of all the sheep to shawls I have watched they always came with the warp already on the loom.

The wool for the weft could be washed and dyed but it still needed to be in lock form. We bought 3 lbs of raw merino fleece form a guild member and washed and dyed it. Leslie and I even set them out in layers of tissue paper with all the tip ends going the same way for faster preparation time.

While it was close, the 4 of us were ready to set up on time and we got right to work. Debby and Lolly warping the loom while Leslie and I flick locks and started spinning. This pretty much covers the next 2 hours. Once the loom was all warped we took turns weaving. Once the loom was warped Lolly wove and Debby took over the flicking the locks.

Four hours later the competition was over but not one of the 5 teams had finished. I think that had some thing to do with us having to warp out looms on site. But they graciously allowed us to work through breakfast the next morning to finish.

The KC Fiber Guild team finished first. YAY us. That’s right we won. We also had the most team spirit (notice our uniform of matching hats) and the nicest shawl (at least I think so). A slam dunk for that first place spot.

I finished some socks in Sockotta yarn. They’re too big for me because they are a gift. It didn’t occur to me until I was looking at the photos that my wearing them first might be considered icky by some. That I might consider it icky if I thought someone else was wearing my gift socks. Betsy, I promise those are shower fresh feet in your socks, but go ahead and wash them before you wear them if you want.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Everyone is asking about Sumi-e and where I got that name. I wanted something Thai, you know Siamese, for a Siamese cat. Pretty obvious and I thought simple. Not so simple with the exception of Pad Thai and about 10 baby names I could find nothing much online about the Thai language. So right when I was going to name him something lame like Soot I thought how much he looked like dirty water color water. No, make that the way ink pools around in its little cup. So there you go. Sumi-e

Sumi-e had a rough beginning in a farmer’s market in Utah. When I got him he ranged from a bundle of wild cat to a purring, purring, licking, and nursing bundle of love. It’s nine months later and nothing has changed except his size.

I don’t believe in de-clawing a cat but after 10 weeks I was at the end of my rope. I asked people that had de-clawed their cats and learned the horrors of days spent at the animal hospital and weeks of bandages. It was all so sad and nothing I would do, ever. However, Sumi-e shredded a pair of hiking boots the day he had his last shots. Shredded. And already Joey and I were a mass of itchy scratches. Poor Joey. He was so drugged up from his chemo treatments that all he did was sleep on the couch. Sumi-e would walk up to him and give him a swipe then bound away with his tail a bottle brush and a smile on his face. Joey was a wreck. It’s his home first and he couldn’t even sleep in peace. It wasn’t for me that I asked my vet about de-clawing, it was for my dog and may I say, my shoes. Shredded.

My vet told me all about de-clawing now that they had laser surgery. Only a few hours at the vet, no bandages at all, and he would be better in just a few days instead of a few weeks. I though of my couch, my shower curtain, my bedspread (and that was just the last 3 days) all showing damage. I thought of Joey. I looked at my shoulders and cleavage and the itchy scratches. I told the vet I would do it.

I go to the front counter to pay for the shots and set up the appointment. The receptionist is filling out the date book for the appointment and she asks without looking up “Will that be all four feet?” That surprised me since the vet had only wanted to take the front claws leaving Sumi-e his back. I said as much. The receptionist looked me in the eyes and said “With this cat we will make an exception”.

It turns out that Sumi-e had shown his stuff in the backroom and no less than 3 vet techs bore the signs of his disapproval. In a very short time he had shown his stuff and rolled over on his back and had a go at him with his back feet. They had never seen anything like it. I felt vindicated.

Now when Sumi-e smacks Joey or me and starts kicking we just laugh. Ok, I laugh. Joey, who is no longer on medication, bites him back. But that’s ok Joey lost 16 of his teeth during the cancer treatment. At this point neither are going to do much damage.

or maybe they are...