Knitting and Spinning and Stuff, oh my!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Oh My Sleeves and Necklines!

Otherwise known as status update on the Pojke-Dot's sweater (well, technically the neckline is not on the status horizon just yet, but I needed a "Sleeves and" something). Not terribly exciting, but that's all there is. I'd take a photo opp, but I just can't bring myself to post the measly 1 inch wide sleeveworm that currently graces my needles -- promise, you're better off waiting for blocking or something that actually looks like something.

Life in general has been not terribly exciting -- I thought about titling this post "Oh, Fodder, Where Art Thou?"... All the Dots in the household, big and little, have been sick, but that's pretty common news anywhere you go lately. I haven't felt interesting enough to be able to write about my humdrums, and there you have it, sum total.

I did join a new Sheepalong (see the Sock Madness link in the sidebar) though I'm not sure just who the madness refers to -- me for taking an extra crunchtime style challenge, cast and crew for trying to organize the whole thing, or just joyous mayhem in general. How it works: a buncha folks knit the same sock pattern at the same time and those that finish first move on to the next round. I'm trying to convince myself that I won't be concerned if I fall by the wayside even in the first round, but I seem to recall a certain fair isle poncho that someone we know worked frantically on throughout the Olympics. Okay, so I have a bit of a competitive streak, but we're talking socks here, folks, how cutthroat can it get? (And, at the very least, I'll have some socks when I'm done, some new sock patterns, and some impetus to finish them quickly...). I am quite anxious to finish the sweater first, though, and the Madness begins next week, so on your marks, get set, let's start running now!

I've been thinking about Stranded knitting, both the knitting itself and the magazine, a lot lately. Bonnie of the Stranded Newsletter has considered dropping the newsletter due to time constraints. I love her newsletter, the patterns, the history, even the ads, and I think this would be quite a shame to lose. Currently she's considering publishing sporadic issues, to be published when available, and we touched on the idea of starting a newsgroup to give folks a chance to chat about things from the issues, colorwork in general (to cover all colorwork, rather than specifically fair isle, Nordic, etc.), and basically pick up some of what might have been in the in-between issues. Given Bonnie's time constraints, I'm hoping this will be a joint venture -- I'm definitely not ready to pick up where Stranded leaves off on my own, and I definitely don't have the readership to get a chat list set-up going on my own yet, but I'm sure I could handle much of the admin stuff that Bonnie doesn't have time for. And I think it'd be a sin to see Stranded go away without at least giving it a shot.

And, in honor of that, my first Stranded-style contribution, long overdue, I offer:

Stranded "Toe Up" Mittens

The PDF is simply the chart I used while creating my set of mittens, thus there is only one size and some of my personal shorthand-ish notation (though I suspect that most of such notation will be perfectly readable to anyone familiar with basic knitting terms). Also, I've only knit the mittens once, so I can make no accuracy guarantees -- what ya see is what ya get (how ironic is it that I've stopped back in to correct a typo in that very sentence?)! If you need help with the charts or instructions in any way, though, give me a head's up and I'll be happy to sort things through. And, incidentally, the chart was originally laid out for socks, though that's one of my rather long-term WIP by now (one sock done, but I don't remember what yarn or needles I used, so it's likely to stay one sock done, and that sock needs "tweaking"), so there is the someday possibility of matching socks. If you're interested, I could probably be bribed... er... convinced... (chocolate, yarn, needles, praise -- actually, just asking might do it...).

Anyway, enjoy, and spinn lyckligt for now!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It's Spin Crazy Around Here...

Quick update today; I've been insanely busy trying to get my office work caught up enough to take Friday off so that I can be insanely busy with home stuff. But one must take time to visit with the important stuff along the way, right?

Yes, as you ask, Suzanne, the wheel has named itself. It proclaimed itself "Harriet" somewhere along the way back from Maine. Funny how one might personify a wheel with a (feminine) name, but still refer to it as an "it", you think?

I was almost afraid to mention my other Timbertops wheel (Bob the Beaver, if y'all will recall) when I was buying this one -- they're both double treadle accelerator wheels, they have similar ratios, and they're sort of sister/brother in the Timbertops line. But that's actually what I wanted -- similar wheels, sharing bobbins, whorls, and accessories, so I wouldn't have to schlep one upstairs/downstairs. By all reckonings, it should feel much like spinning on the same wheel -- turning out smooth, fine, fairly tightly twisted worsted spun that sock and lace knitters like me love. But Harriet had other plans... I haven't quite figured out why or how -- Harriet definitely likes it smooth, but softer, more long-draw-ish, for lighter and airier yarns -- hmm, nice for sweaters and snuggly knits, colorwork, you think? Just as knitters like me love? Turns out Harriet wasn't what I expected, but Harriet is exactly what I didn't know I wanted. And, yes, it's definitely a keeper!

So far I've spun two bobbins of Corriedale singles and plied several bobbinsful that were already spun and I'm quite loving it. I've never been very regular with long-draw, but, wow, it does go fast. And I am getting better at it. So you know where I'll be when I've a moment to set aside for myself... For today, I'll leave you with another set of intros:

Bob, meet Harriet,

(would that then make their offspring "Bobbin" or "Bobbette"?)

and my buddy Stass, who finds the whole thing quite tedious...

(and who I'd rather didn't introduce herself to the wheels too terribly personally...)

Friday, February 16, 2007

It's Friday!

(and, warning, too late, this is a picture heavy post!)

First off, my thanks to everyone that responded to my mini-crisis (anyone that knows me, will already know that mini-crises don't necessarily signify all that much, tend to happen more frequently than perhaps is healthy, and are often allayed quickly -- especially with the application of fiber in whatever form)... Anyway, I actually wasn't really cris-ing over it, but I am concerned that I'm sort of treading roving with my blog, not really sure where I'm going with this (or this, actually, to be honest). Anyway, thanks for the good ideas, hints, and the like. I've noticed that my frequency of commenting on others' blogs has increased since I've been writing here, and I suspect there might a confidence issue or two involved as well... Whatever, I'm gonna try to worry less, blog for me, and hope some of you will still like it here enough to visit. >Now to step down, stop babbling, and hand out some of the bubble-bars from this here soapbox.<

You asked for pix, and today is the day, indeed! Following up on my swatch adventures, I'd totally recommend Cara's cable mending tutorial to everyone! It's simple enough for even "late night after a glass of wine" mending, efficient, and quite effective!

Before (miscrossed cable at upper right):

After (gotta learn to doodle on my photos, but miscrossed upper right no more):

And the back, post recabling:

And, no swatch this, the front is growing!

And, not leastly, as Suzanne requested:

More wheel-spiel to follow in another post.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

After All That...

I haven't forgotten to write, or post, or any of that, I promise! And I have a bunch of pictures, including shots of the new wheel (that happily named itself 'Harriet' on the way home -- hopefully that'll mean it's a keeper...), and a buncha, but I seem to be having some technical difficulties centering particularly around said photos. Hopefully things will work out better for tomorrow and I'll be able to offer a substantial Foto Friday...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Casey Cobalt Cooped a Cache of Cut-Up Cables

Hint for those of you that might be wondering how to fix instructional difficulties in a given pattern -- there is always the last resort that I ultimately ended up going with regarding Friday's swatch... Rereading the instructions made all the difference... (Though, admittedly, now that I'm using Elsebeth Lavold's step-by-step for increasing at the lower portion of the cable, I've switched to a somewhat different version of decreasing at the top. At least this time I'm doing it intentionally...)

New: (maybe I should have sacrificed color for flash, sorry it's so dark...)


And before you mention it, yes, I know I messed up with the upper right cable -- I'm figuring it will give me a perfect chance to try out Cara's January One in-depth -- so it must have been intentional, yes, that's it, I botched it simply to have the chance to try out fixing it...

And now, We Interrupt This Message...
I'm trying to figure the whole blog philosophy thing (okay, so I admit that many people would have figured out what they intended their blog to be/stand for/focus around before they actually got the whole blog thing up and rolling, but...). So I mentioned to himself that I wasn't quite sure how to attract folks to the blog, and that there didn't seem to be much commenting going on, and I wonder, kinda, whether it's a matter of how long before one develops a readership or a matter of if... Anyway, his reply was something along the lines of "maybe folks got bored and stopped reading..." and that he personally thinks knitters find stories about their foibles and how such foibles affect their family members most amusing. Not to burst bubbles or anything, and I could be wrong, but I tend to suspect I'd get bored with a blog that focused on funnies at the strict expense of knitters somewhat quickly.

So the big question, I guess, is whether I'm willing to blog for the sake of me and hope that someday it might just be interesting to someone else too or whether I need to attempt to write particularly to entertain an audience that may or may not ever show up. I'm guessing that the second choice would, for me, get old mighty fast. Assuming that there's anyone reading this at all, what do you do? Is it okay to write into a black hole? Is it boring to read a blog that someone writes mainly for themself? And how does one attract readers that might not be bored? And, yes, at the end of this all I realize that I've a rather new blog, and it takes a while, and patience, wait and see and all that, but I have to admit there's a bit of thrill when I read that I've actually got a new comment...

Friday, February 9, 2007

My Dog Ate My Eye Candy...

When I wasn't looking (yeah, right...). I have a particular picture I wanted to post, but I can't find it amongst Himself's photo filing system (hence two photo filing systems and we have involuntary backups of most of our photos). I'll just have to save it for next Friday.

Some photos I do have for today, though:

Revisiting my in progress Sunilda Childs Version, and yes, I swatched, twice even -- first umpteen times for guage (I'm not using the recommended weight yarn as I wanted a denser sweater and had to adjust the needles to approach the recommended guage), and just now to see if the cable pattern worked for me (please forgive the lack of blocking -- I just finished binding off). So, cable pattern -- I admittedly haven't reconsulted the Viking Knits book, but my increases to start the bottom don't much resemble my decreases to close the top of the cable pattern. I much prefer the top of the pattern, so I'm wondering if anyone might suggest a way to increase on the bottom corners that would match...

Ideas?... Anyone?... Anyone?... Bueller?

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Mittens Then, Shawl Now

Last week I finished Double Helix / Galaxy Purl's Callisto Pico child's shawl (as yet unblocked), and a miniature 20" doll version with the leftover yarn. It'll be a while until I can actually give them to Flicka-dot as I'm saving them for her birthday (in March! S'gonna be hard to wait that long...). I expected that the shawl would take longer to finish, but it just flew along, almost on its own it seemed.

I'd highly recommend this pattern. It's well written and quite easy to follow, and it was interesting enough to keep me going without being so intricate that I'd need to set time aside to work on it especially. I might even try the adult version one of these days (isn't it usually the child that gets one to match Mom's rather than the other way around?)...

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Not Quick Enough on the Draw

This would have been the perfect picture-capturing morning, bright, crisp, and sunny (albeit a bit frigid), and I missed it -- the first robin. I'm not sure I believe that groundhogs know what they're about, truly, but I always believe the birds and I've always associated robins with spring. Admittedly, I believe the cardinal family that lives in my backyard sings about the end of snow, and they haven't moved in yet, but still, at this point I'm happy with the hope of spring... How I wish I had been quick enough to photo the robin in the holly bush! (So this is how it happens, you predicted it, I know... She starts wandering around thinking: That would have been perfect for the blog, how could I have missed it?)

Monday, February 5, 2007

Thanks Be For Busy Work

... 'Cause it's so hard to wait...

I've noticed that wheels that select names for themselves seem to stick around... I've had quite a collection of wheels come and go, and only three so far that have personas -- the Peacock, which became Astrid almost of her own accord, no idea where the name came from, it sorta was just there; Zelda at the office (likewise); and the Beaver, which was sort of aptly named by the Dots as "Bob the Beaver". These three seem to be survivors, and now there's to be an addition. I'm purchasing a Timbertops Chair Wheel, already dubbed "big sister to the Beaver". We're due to pick it up next Sunday, and I'm all week-before-Christmas excited, can't wait-ish about it. Upstairs wheel, downstairs wheel, work wheel and travel wheel, and I'll be settled perfectly. And the Chair Wheel has long been my dream wheel; having the Beaver already makes me confident that it really is the dream and really will spin the way I expect it to.

Of course, along with that goes selling a few wheels of my own, finances, space issues, and all. On the block are my Hitchhiker and the Timbertops Suitcase wheel (Himself told me this morning that the Joy has already been spoken for). Not that I imagine tons of folk are passing through to note them, but just in case you might have an interest, please swing by Himself's eBay vendor site Randoma and have a look see -- I'd love to know they're going to a happy home...

More busy work -- OTN: Sunilda Childs Version from Elsebeth Lavold's Second Viking Knits.
This qualifies as a multi-duty project. From the sidebar, Project Spectrum blue and Stashalong stashbusting (not to mention that I've been hankering to work on a sweater for a while now), but more importantly, I've the second round of gift knitting looming rather imminently. Most knitters have a breather after the year-end holidays, but me, not me. I married into a family of clustered birthdays and, even better, managed to carry on the tradition with the next generation -- within the next three months there will be eight family birthdays (not to mention Himself's, that just passed). Better get a move on, hmm?

Friday, February 2, 2007


When I was little (way back in the Stone Age), one of my grandfather's favorite jokes referred to a law firm with the name "Dewey, Cheetham, and Howe". I remember it quite well -- no matter how many times he told the joke, he would chuckle and find it ever so amusing. Fast forward to much later... I'm wandering around Harvard Square, where I've worked for years now, and I look up, and lo, behold the third story window!:

Obviously it's been there for as long as I've been wandering the neighborhood, but I've never noticed it before. I'm not sure what type of company it actually is, but no matter what, I can just imagine how tickled my grandfather would have been to see his joke in person...