Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Slogging Towards Christmas

In the works are a few pairs of Christmas socks (I only have one pair done so far. Goal: 4 pairs. Think I will make it?)
The death of the beloved laptop continues to plague my addiction to yarn blogs. I can't take photos of my yarn, can't blog, can't hang out in Ravelry.
It makes me glum.
So after all the Christmas shopping is over then we shall see how much is in the bank account for a new computer, which I actually need for one of my remaining two jobs. What? You thought I only used the laptop for yarn related activities? (Heh: You wouldn't be wrong!)

Happy Holiday season to all y'all taking a break from your Christmas knitting to surf the yarn blogs. Oh how I envy you!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Spinning in my Tracks...

spinning getting finer
Originally uploaded by KelKnits
The big news from my end:
I quit my full time job!
Yay! I have been slaving away at the macadamia factory for 5 years now, and I just reached a point where I wasn't learning anyhing new, I wasn't ever going to do anything new, and I was stuck right where they needed me: Working the hated tasks over and over, with no chance of ever doing anything new. I was in a rut. One day I realized that my workload was now filled with the things I hated most: Purchasing, packaging, inventory... and it was never going to change.
So I left.
Now I am doing the two part time jobs, (writing and diving) and I am so happy- happier than I have been in years.

And I have time for a little spinning: I am working on consistancy and a finer wpi. This is still the scoured Romney roving from J's sheep. I think it may be fine enough to attempt a Navajo ply, which ends up being a 3-ply.

Kitty bogarting the stash

Kitty bogarting the stash
Originally uploaded by KelKnits
It is December, and I just have a few Christmas gifts I am working on. Not an undoable amount, but I did decide to put all my projects (okay, only 3 wips) aside while working on holiday stuff. I also had to dig deep in the stash for the dishcloth cotton and other fibers.
While I had those 2 boxes out, I thought I would do some Ravelry stash logging, but the cat had other ideas. It seems Pinot thinks this makes a great bed. "Why NO honey, that isn't more YARN... It's a kitty jungle-gym-bed!"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bombshell Sweater Finished

Originally uploaded by KelKnits
All about the Boobs in this one, yes?
Began: November 11, 2007
Completed: November 24th 2007
Pattern: Bombshell by Stephanie Japel
Needles: As written: Size 8s and size 3s
Yarn: Berroco Softwist. I used every last inch of 7 skeins (100 yards/50 grams each)
Modifications: This is a top-down raglan that you try on as you go. I reduced more in the body, and did a much longer length. I added short-rows in the belly, which unfortunately can be seen due to the show-all nature of this yarn, and now almost emphasizes a crescent belly-shape under the ribbing. But as DBF says, "The what? Huh? Sorry, was looking at your tits in that sweater."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Finished Lenores

Originally uploaded by KelKnits
Began: (again) November 7 2007
Completed: November 24th 2007
Pattern: Lenore by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (Yarn Harlot)
Yarn: Lenore Raven Series Blue Moon Socks that Rock Lightweight Club yarn and pattern for October 2007
Needles: Cast on with size 4s. Rest of socks in size 2.5mm as directed.
Alterations: Found the cast-on edge too tight, and ripped and re-started on the 4s. Also did the Larger size for about the first 9 rows of lace, then switched over to the medium lace chart for the rest of the socks.
I LOVE these socks! The color, pattern, yarn,...everything! Gorgeous!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Last night we got our small knitting group together (can we get a lil applause for teaching 2 of the SigOs to knit?) for some snacks and some projects.
J noted that knitting is actually a logical, linear, binary code. Knit and Purl being the binary. DBF said, "So I'm not doing a girly craft, I am CODING!"
I still maintain that a Purl stitich is actually a reversed Knit, and therefore I revert back to my original theory that Everything is One, One is Everything. (Zero being not the mirror, but the lack of knitting, which we don't like!)
(I don't have a bunch of stashed yarn: I have but ONE stash!)

That is enough foolishness!
On the Needles: 2nd Lenore is about an inch away from some heel turning. Yay!
Christmas Projects: You think I should start on these?
Laptop: Still broken, so no photos. Sorry!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Stash Management

Mango Moon Stash
Originally uploaded by KelKnits
My My My...
Don't you just love Ravelry? The other day I spent a little time playing in the stash, and Ravelry is the best place to have our stash compulsions recognized- nay- celebrated! There is no greater fun for an obsessive knitter than photographing and logging details of the yarn stash... except maybe knitting with it... but that is delayed gratification!
Barring more laptop issues (video isn't working, screen is blank, did some magic Apple troubleshooting but all is still not perfect) and some more closet-cleaning, I plan on having a bit more fun with Ravelry:
Flash your Stash Disclaimer: That wasn't all of it. Heh.

This is some very pretty recycled Sari silk from Mango Moon. I don't know what to do with it. It is probably enough for a purse?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Just in Time...

Just in time for Daylight Savings Time (which we don't celebrate here in Hawaii) and FALL, I present:
Finished Object!
Summer of Love Lace Socks (A Rockin' Sock Club pattern and colorway from Blue Moon Fiber Arts)
Pattern: Summer of Love Lace by JC Briar
Yarn: Socks that Rock Lightweight in Flower Power (August Club Yarn)
Began: October 27th 2007
Finished: November 2nd 2007
Needles: Knitpicks 2 circulars size# 1 (2.5mm) The pattern calls for #1s (2.25mm) and I didn't read the fine print, so ended up with large lace and large ribbing on the cuffs, then switched to the small size for the rest of the foot.
Alterations: Besides my sizing issues? None. Just jammed them out when I was sick last week.

Photo pending broken laptop...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Am I the Last One Again?

Look at this gorgeous stuff! As an Edgar Allen Poe fan, I LOVE this yarn, and the Raven notes, and the gorgeous gothic pattern by Stephanie Pearl McPhee. This makes me look forward to the Raven series as well!

Received: October 29th 6pm Hawaii Time.
Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club Installment October 2007. Lenore colorway in STR Raven Series Lightweight Merino Superwash. Lenore pattern by the Yarn Harlot herself! This means top-down, DPNs (Although I don't think I have #1 DPNs...)

My wonderful DBF came home to me reading the Dyer Notes, and exclaimed, "Well? Aren't you going to show it to me?" He liked the color, hated the plastic spiders, and flipped through the pattern, saying, "It's really sexy. Although usually when I see someone taking photos of their feet it is you. And maybe that is why I think it is sexy?"
I love him!
(Yes, he is still knitting- working on a sock right now. And like the rest of us, he has begun aquiring a stash beyond his current conceivable projects. Come over to the dark side my sweet! Muh-ah-ha-HAH!)

The irony of a new October shipment?
This is what I just started on Saturday:
August shipment: Summer of Love Lace pattern in Flower Power. So I am a little behind? I just got email confirmation for the 2008 club as well...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Finished! Flow Motion Socks

Began: Technically 10/17/07 (But that was after 2 false starts: One on a standard sock and once on this pattern.)
Complete: 10/27/07
Pattern: Flow Motion Socks. Cat Bordhi. Vogue Knitting Magazine Fall 2006. Pattern # 11. Errata on Cat Bordhi's site includes figure-8 cast on instead of provisional cast-on listed in magazine, along with more details on the sizing.
Yarn: SWTC Tofutsie Sock Yarn, 2 strands held together. Probably only like half of one skein, since I probably have enough left over for another pair of standard socks. Pink. This yarn is mostly wool with other fibers mixed in: Most noteable Chitlin, made from shrimp and crab shells. It is very soft. (Do you think it will turn red if boiled? hehehe!)
Needles: Clover Bamboo DPN. I started these on a US 3 3.25mm for an 8 stitch figur-8 cast on, then changed to a US4 3.5mm after I had 12 stitches on each needle. This was originally a mistake. After knitting a few rows I decided #3s were too small, and being too lazy to rip out, I just noted it and switched to a larger needle. I copied the mistake on the 2nd sock. Now that I look at it: I think it's a good mistake. You know how you always have to go back and tighten the stitches on a figure-8 cast on? Not so with smaller needles. Heh.
Needle Note: I had began a sock using #2s, and ripped them out for being too big. I then followed the pattern and used a size 6. They were too big as well.
Alterations: Besides the needle size, also used a figure-8 cast-on (only to discover that was what was intended by the designer). Otherwise: Followed pattern to the letter. Rare, I know.
Problems: On each sock I ended up with 2 extra stitches after the heel flap. I think it happened somewhere at the beginning of the heel flap and wasn't noticed until the end. As there is a "set-up row" before the ankle, I just fudged that until I had the right number of stitches. anyone else have this problem?
I love these socks! I love the lacy pattern and the color, but most of all I love how she skipped the usual side-gusset increase of stitches and instead increased right on top of the arch: A place I usually need room anyway! And such a gorgeous increase! Not just "M1 knit around" like a gusset, but a whole lace pattern! I am excited to get my hands on Cat Bordhi's new book (New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One), since I think she primarily explores alternative methods for the standard sock patterns.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Knitting is teaching me patience. Or at least it is distracting me from irritation. They may be the same thing.
I finished the first Flow Motion sock while stuck in traffic. (This time, I wasn't driving!) I am prone to motion-sickness, and fare better when I am the one in control of the vehicle. This means I hardly ever knit while I'm a passenger (nor can I read. Car trips as a kid were hell.) This weekend I flew over to Oahu for my Uncle's birthday party. I knit waiting at the gate, I knit on the airplane, I knit as a passenger in my Aunt's car as we were stuck in traffic on the North Shore (surf was nice: Saturday, full of surfers and cars, big enough for a nice ride and small enough for beginners.) I knit while I waited for other people to pack, and then I finally finished sock #1 while in line for gas at Costco.

A note about that:
I saw this great Paul Taylor Ballet once where he had a line of people waiting for something that was happening offstage. Each person in line reacted differently: There was the impatient one who yelled and pushed, the cutter, the person squashed up to the guy in front of him (had him at the supermarket yesterday), and the dreamer who stared into space while the gap in front of her grew. Paul Taylor had no knitter in the ballet.
Our car at the Costco Gas line was much the same: Dad was impatient and bitching at all the slow people in front of him, and inching up their tailpipes. Mom was concerned that the gas tank was on the wrong side, and the other lines were moving faster than ours. Uncle got out of the car, ran around it to spot the gas tank, then stopped traffic and waved us into another line. I knit. At the pump, everyone is screaming and rushing and the card machine won't work and the attendant is called... I bound off the last stitch and held it up... My Uncle thought it was cute.

I cast on for the second sock and knit on the plane and 2 hours at the gate. I didn't even mind that I had to wait so long at the gate. At least the airport wasn't in motion! Two places I did not knit: The birthday party, and in the airport security lines. I figured that waving pointy sticks under the noses of TSA agents was just asking for confiscation.

Thanks to Nartian for letting me know that the pattern in Vogue is erred, and Cat Bordhi has some errata listed on her website. I had already decided that the provisional cast-on toe made no sense and gone with a figure-8 instead. The foot measurements I guessed from my ripped-out version, and they are working pretty well. But I still don't know why I ended up with an extra 2 stitches after the heel flap. Whatever I did, at least I am consistent: The second sock also had an extra 2 stitches.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lost My Ability to Knit

I have three WIPs right now and I hate them all. Gauge is wrong on the Cromarty. Tilted Duster has huge batwings in the armpits. Fed up with these two, I cast on with some recently stashed Tofutsie yarn, planning to make some easy socks. I used pretty #2 Sox Stix from Lantern Moon that I had recently purchased on vacation.

They were huge. I ripped them, and wondered about how long it had been since I knit a sock with DPNs instead of 2 circulars. Do you think that made a difference? I used the same yarn again and started Cat Bordhi's Flow Motion Socks from Vogue Knitting Fall 2006 using #6's. I thought I was pretty good at socks by now, but they are also huge. Last night I threw the knitting. And I'm not talking Throwing vs. Picking: I threw the sock across the room. Then I threw the yarn: Both Skeins, one following the other. Then I threw the magazine. Followed by the tape measure. DBF cleaned them up this morning because I couldn't stand to see them.

I have never thrown knitting before. Cakes: Yes. I had a wonderful pastry mentor who taught me that sometimes, no matter how long you struggle with a cake, sometimes the more you mess with it the worse it gets. At those times, it is often better to cut your losses and start again. At that point, nothing is more satisfying than taking that cake, and all it's frustrations and hours of work and just hurling the sweet, sticky f**ker across a room (preferably into the trash can). In knitting I guess we call that "frogging", but somehow the creative-destruction of frogging isn't quite as satisfying as the violent hurling of a squish of cake and frosting.
See, I guess I thought I was pretty good at this knitting thing. Hubris! I felt it was a satisfying use of time. You use your mind and your hands, and something pretty happens. And I think maybe I was happy with how I was getting the socks to fit on my feet. I felt like I knew the size and curves of my feet pretty well, and when I was frustrated with being unable to fit the Tilted Duster to my body I turned back to the comfort of socks. "I can DO socks", I thought. It was like when I feel too fat to go clothes shopping, but shoes and bags are fair game?
And the Hubris of thinking I know what I am doing: When you get those polls or Memes that ask, "Are you a beginner, intermediate, or advanced knitter?" What do you answer? I would like to think I am beyond beginner: But I have had to take a step down recently, and come to terms with a few truths that land me smack in the beginner's camp:

  • I don't know how to fit my body. In fact, I don't truthfully even see my body correctly. Recently I learned what "long-waist", "short rise", and "rounded shoulders" mean. I hear that short-row-shaping will help me, but I have never done short-rows on my body (just like...sock heels and toes?) I also suspect raglan shaping won't look good on rounded shoulders + big bust. (Can anyone confirm that?)
  • The fit successes I have had are luck. My gauge swatch almost never translates to a large object, I have never even measured my foot or calculated my magic sock numbers or anything. In fact, the only place I ever really have measured is my bust, and since it is disproportionate, that almost always assures a mis-fit.
  • I have made myself only 3 sweaters, and they are all too big.

Does anyone have recommendations for books that deal with shaping and fitting and what shapes look good on what bodies? I plan on going back and reading all those sections in all the books I have. That is, after I frog this sock AGAIN.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Finished Vacation Scarf!

Pattern: Amy R. Singer's Montego Bay Scarf from Interweave Knits Summer 2007
Began: September 27 2007 on a plane to Wisconsin
Completed: October 4th, upon return.
Yarn: Blue Moon Socks that Rock Silkie in Lunasea: One Skein
Needles: 10.5 Boyle Circular

Pattern Changes: Used larger needles than called for: I wanted a more open look.
I knit away while on vacation until it was over 6 feet. Upon returning home, I measured the remaining yarn for the fringe (Wraps-Per-DVD-case) and realized I didn't have enough for the 200/12" pieces for the fringe. I only had enough for 88 pieces, or 44 per side. No matter, I didn't really want a huge fringe, prefering a longer scarf. I just divided the 88 evenly and made a fringe out of that. I braided 2 of them, and decided I didn't really like that so left the rest. A very fun pattern, easy to memorize, and great for a vacation project. Grew at a satisfying rate, and I was able, after awhile, to wear it as I knit (for warmth).
DBF also took me to Grafton Fibers again, where they were really wonderful and stayed open for us on a day they were usually closed. Got the following stash: (Note the 3 on the bottom of the photo belong to DBF. Also presented his grandbaby with the sweater I knit and the blanket he knit. (I shall find that photo of him in his new knitwear- super cute!)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Who's Got a Button?

When I was little I used to like to play in my mother's sewing supplies: Bright ribbons and bobbins of wound thread, bits of fabric and buttons! Over years of sewing and mending, she had accumulated a large pile of buttons, which she stored in a Chock-O-Nuts coffee can which had been covered with contact paper. (We went through a period in the Seventies that included art projects of Contact Paper, tissue-paper mache, and crayons melted on an electric warming tray. I also recall something about shrinking styrofoam cups in the oven to make little leprechaun hats? Painted with green Tempura paint and adorned with a feather?) If I recall correctly, the coffee can of buttons was covered in a shiny gold foil and bright pink design remniscent of flocked wallpaper.

I remember how the plastic lid was slightly transparent, allowing a glimpse into the treasure below. I recall the sound of the buttons rattling in the can, and the distinct sensual pleasure of sinking my fingers deep into the plastic and metal buttons, like beach pebbles or pirate treasure.

She still has the buttons, although I was dissapointed to see that they are stored in a practical rubbermaid tub these days: The coffee can and it's bright contact-papered surface and plastic lid has apparently succumbed to the rust and wear of age.

Yesterday I dug through them, looking for ideas or treasures that can be used to close my in-progress tilted duster. These days the button collection includes less of the fun plastic children's buttons of the 70's, and more of those little envelopes of spare buttons from shirts and skirts, and buttons found in the dryer filter or laundry basket. They are mostly small: white, black, or pearly.

My mother pulled out a tiny daisy button, fingered it lovingly and said, "You had these on a little dress at some point." I remembered.

A few of the ones from my memory:

The daisy, the red smiley face, bright flowers, the white balls, the white one with the red rings... And one pulled off the couch: We all love that couch, and it has since been re-covered with a similar tweedy woven fabric, only this time less bright, less 70's, less cat-scratched, and somehow less familiar.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Reasons the Harlot Should Come to Hawaii

A list for Jayme-the-wonder-publicist. (Aloha to all y'all who are following the link from Stephanie's blog!)

  1. Canadian winter. I hear it is cold. Grey. Miserable. You wouldn't want The Talent to get those winter blahs, would you?
  2. Careful reading of Stephanie's books reveals one skein of wool purchased in Hawaii, stashed as a travel memoir, and testament to the rarity and somewhat uselessness of wool in Hawaii. We wouldn't want that skein to get lonely, would we? Not when we have Hawaii Homegrown Wool Company for roving!
  3. Aloha Knitters Group: They meet on Oahu, have blogs, have a Ravelry group, and would love to host a Harlot party! Those of us on outer islands are obsessed enough to fly to Oahu, the "Gathering Place". They have bookstores there. Plenty of chairs, I am sure. If they don't have enough chairs, we can sit on the ground. It isn't like there is snow on the ground or anything!
  4. We are starved for attention. We just assume no one ever wants to come all the way out here to visit us. The truth is, we have one of the most beautiful States in the Union. Beaches, volcanos, mountains, jungles, cattle plains, even snow on the top of Mauna Kea. We love hosting guests. (I shouldn't really have to work this hard to sell it, right? I mean, it is HAWAII fergawdssakes!)
  5. Kona Coffee. Vats of it. You can go to where it is grown and roll around in the freshly plucked berries. You can tour coffee plantations and drink all the samples you want. We also have beer (Kona Brewing Company, Mehana Brewery, etc.) and copious vegetarian food including Macadamias, Guavas, Papayas, Cocoa Pods, Pineapple, coconut, taro, breadfruit...
  6. Flights are very reasonable, especially in the middle of winter from the West Coast. There aren't a ton of them, so they don't leave at horrid times in the morning, which would lessen the chances of needing to awaken at 3 in the morning. (And if they were early, see #5 above: KONA COFFEE. Did I mention the coffee?)
  7. Eyelash Yarn. Sold everywhere and used for those ubiquitous fuzzy leis. Save us. Seriously. We will fan you with banana leaves and leave you offerings of chocolate covered Kona coffee beans.
  8. I can promise you no snakes. I can't do anything about the spiders- sorry. However, I can promise that there are many people here with crazier, fuzzier, bigger, frizzier hair than you. Humidity + Ocean water (currently the ocean is 80 degrees Fahrenheit) means big hair is the trend.
  9. Hawaii State Washcloths! How shall you ever complete your collection unless we lure you here! Think how exotic they would be! (Eyelash yarn? Heh.)
  10. A chance to actually find out if that knitted bikini holds up in warm ocean water. Imagine the blogging possibilities!
  11. Finally: (Jayme... don't you get to come with on at least some of the tour dates? Choose wisely. That's all I'm saying.)
Stephanie: Thank you for your words and your community-building spirit. Knitters who stop by: This list is for you as well. Come visit us! Bring your knitting!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Finished Baudelaire Socks!

Pattern: Baudelaire by Cookie A. as seen in Knitty
Needles: 2.5mm 2 circular Knitpicks
Yarn: Austermann Step Superwash wool and nylon. One Skein.
Began: August 20th 2007
Complete: September 23rd 2007
Medium Size: And I used the larger-instep directions (8 row cable up each side).
Alterations? Did a short-row stockinette toe instead of a Figure-8. Just for practice.

I tried to get the pink to match on the toes, but chose the wrong pink. So the socks don't match, but are fraternally stripey. Come to think of it: I may have done the first sock from the middle of a center-pull ball, and the second sock from the outside of a center-pull ball, having had nothing but tangles on the first sock. Now that would make it stripe differently, wouldn't it!
I love the yarn: It is light and soft and makes the lace seem like lingerie. I couldn't tell any difference in smell or feel from the supposed Aloe and Jojoba infusion. I love that my DBF got this yarn as a gift for me!
I love the pattern. too. Next time I would do it in a solid color, which looks prettier than the self-striping circus that I have now.
(The Cat can't stay out of the photo! Camera-hog!)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I Love a Parade!

Originally uploaded by KelKnits
I finished the ribbing on the second Baudelaire sock while watching the Aloha Festivals Parade in Waimea. Thought I would give y'all who yearn for Paniolo Country a taste of how we roll...er...gallop?

Cross-Posted on the TD:KAL: Sizing Trouble!

I am having the hardest time, and debating ripping almost the whole thing out. Advice? I am making the 44" size for (what I have to now admit) my disproportionately larger chest of 45". What I have found: The pieces across the bust fit okay, and the sleeves are tight, but also okay. The skirt is only half-complete but looking fine. (I would post photos but they are just too embarrassing!)

  • The back is huge, and the armscyes are huge. So much so that upon setting the sleeves, the arm holes almost pleat a little to keep up.
  • The neck is monstrous, and doesn't lay prettily like the photo, but creeps halfway up my head and hides the fact that, yes, indeed I DO have a neck!

I think my problem is this: I think I needed to do a smaller size to fit my body, and somehow increase through the chest (someone here...or was it in Ravelry? Has already asked about bust shortrows? But I think with the diagonal shaping it may be impossible?)
What do you think about:
Ripping out the neck to only about 2 inches?
Creating side seams to take up the massive amount of extra fabric under the arms?
Creating darts in the lower back?
Ripping out everything but the sleeves and skirt, re-knitting to a smaller size, somehow making the bigger sleeves and skirt fit onto the new smaller body, and not being disappointed when the new size stretches oddly over the chest?
And finally a question for everyone who loves the fit of theirs: Does it fit your body but have negative ease across your chest?
Thanks for being a part of this KAL. It is insanely helpful to have other people knitting the same pattern!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Because I Need New Reading Material...

Have you seen? Knitty Fall 2007 is finally up! Yay! And I recently subscribed to Interweave Spin-Off Magazine, but until I get an issue in the mail, they have started a Spinners Connection Blog. I have been enjoying the Knitting Daily feature from Interweave Knits, as well. All this until I get my Ravelry invite... (Where IS that?) Enjoy!

Update: Got my Ravelry invite RIGHT after i wrote this... Now THAT is service! I am on there as KelKnits- come check it out!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Tilted Duster

I decided on a whim to make THIS: It is the Tilted Duster by Norah Gaughan in the Fall 2007 Interweave Knits. (I have been wanting to knit something of hers for AGES!I LOVE her book!)
Then I found the Knit-Along. Then I found some yarn last Saturday. I started on Monday afternoon and have been whipping along: I have been knitting socks for quite some time now and had forgotten how fast knitting goes in Stockinette on #10s. This is where I am now:
This is the back, the Right and Left Fronts, and one sleeve. And a SWATCH! The yarn is Galway Highland Heather in a heathered teal. I need to check the label but I think it is 100% wool. It has been quite some time since I knit a whole sweater!
Update: Oh: I altered the pattern only a little (so far) by knitting that sleeve in the round all the way up to the sleeve cap. (I like to reduce the amount of seaming and purling). Last night I sewed the side and shoulder seams on the top, and picked up stitches for the skirt and the collar. Technically this is a bit out of order (I should have done the other sleeve) but I am worried about the fit and want the top as complete as possible before I spend all that time on the skirt.

Flubby Spinning Attempts

This photo shows my first attempts at spinning and 2-plying. The two multi-colored mini-skeins in the front were done in spinning classes at the Black Sheep Gathering: They are very huge and quite flubby. The little one at the bottom of the photo was plied from either end of a center-pull ball, while the middle one was plied from 2 bobbins. (If I recall correctly.)
Some beginner mistakes (er..."beginner tells" or...): They are uneven, large, and flubby. I thought they were over-spun, but when plied evenly (or as close as I could get to balanced) they ended up quite fluffy from the S-twist. Everyone was very gracious, telling me there are art-yarns out there that try to be flubby like this. Awww: You-So-Sweet!
The natural colored skein is the next attempt and the first from my new wheel. I got the singles to be skinnier, but also felt they were tight and overspun. But when plied (close as I could attempt to) balanced, they ended up fluffy as well. (Also plied from both ends of a center-pull cake). This skein is about 121 grams and more than 41 yards (I think. I will do some math later...)
This natural-colored fleece is Romney from my friend Jan's Hawaiian Homegrown Wool Company: Maluhia Farms!
Does anyone have any advice for me?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Credit Card Injury

Yes, I live 65 minutes from the nearest Local Yarn Store. No, I actually get to Hilo only about once a year, and very often during hours that the LYS is closed. But guess where I was able to drop in on Saturday afternoon!
The Yarn Basket!
Big Island Bernina Sales & Service the Yarn Basket
50 East Puainako Street Suite 107 Hilo,HI
(808) 959-0034

I picked up some yarn needles, and some pink tofutsi's sock yarn (I hate to say it, but I actually probably have enough sock yarn. For now. Maybe.) But then I got enough yarn (hopefully) for three whole sweater projects!
DBF also bought yarn: He got some manly-colored cotton/spandex sock yarn and a bit of green wool for a hat and booties for the DBF's Grandbaby.
After YARN shopping, the rest of the errands seemed tame, but they did include Walmart and cocktails. Methinks shopping at Walmart should always be accompanied by cocktails. And a credit card sore from yarnage.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Was I the Last One?

I got the August STR package on Wednesday 8/29. Seeing as how I think I am the last one on the planet to receive my sock club kit, I proceed without a single spoiler warning:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

New Socks: Baudelaire

I started these socks on the 20th and they are whipping right along. The yarn is gorgeous: DBF chose it as a gift for me, and it is delicate self-striping shades of greys and pinks. It is also impregnated(?) with Aloe and Jojoba Oil.

I am working on Baudelaire by Cookie A. as seen in Knitty, with some adjustments (#1 needles, short-row stockinette toe instead of figure-8 cast-on...). The sock feels and looks like lingerie for the foot!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Spinning Wheel!

This is it: It arrived from Oregon unbroken several weeks after the Black Sheep Gathering. I think it is very modern and beautiful (and goes with my ScanDesign Furniture... Am I a little too happy about that?)
I love this photo: That halo around the wheel isn't actually there: It is a reflection of daylight on the floor. And yes, that is the cat's butt in the distance...
Louet S-10 from Woodland Woolworks in Oregon.
Double Treadle: Although apparently not a "true" double treadle since both treads attach to the same drive.
Upright: And a modern design.
Flyer Lead: Which I think means that the bobbin is connected to the wheel, and the brake band stops the flyer, allowing the yarn to be wound onto the still-turning bobbin. (I think it is more common for the brake to be on the bobbin, allowing the flyer to continue to wind the yarn onto a stopped bobbin? Anyone?)
Came with 3 bobbins and the lazy-kate attachment on the foot. Woodland Woolworks sent me a package with oil and some fiber, as well. I had purchased a hook, since it didn't come with one.
Some assembly: DBF helped me put it together. He jumped right in (male-style) and then had to back up and take some of it apart to make it go together correctly. I grabbed the directions (female-style) and started reading about A part into B part and count all the C parts. Then DBF adjusted the wheel very carefully so it runs smoothly and perfectly aligned!

It is very pretty.

I have even done some spinning of my friend's Romney fleece. (Can you see it on the bobbin?). While I am managing a finer yarn than my first flubby efforts, it is still overspun, uneven, and hard.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


DBF started a sock last night. And I started a sock last night. Both of us were using yarn he purchased for us at Grafton Yarn Store in Wisconsin. We both began with a provisional cast-on using hand-crochet. We did a little dis-ing of crocheters (no offense!) and he said:
"Crocheters SOCK! Knitters WOOL!"


Monday, August 20, 2007

I finished my June STR Club socks!
Began: July 30th
Finished: August 19th
Needles: #1s (2.5mm) Mostly 2 circular, with some magic loop, on one pair knitpicks, one pair short Addi's, and one pair longer Addis (both longer cord and longer needles)- I was expirimenting!
Pattern: Toe-up version of the Solstice Slip pattern. The only variation was 8 rows of 3/2 ribbing at the top of the socks and then a crochet bind-off.

I thought this pattern was a bit busy at first, but now I really like them. I'm grooving on the garter-stich toe and heel (also recently done with the February STR Monsoon Inside-Out socks).

I'm looking forward to the August shipment: Shouldn't that be coming soon?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Solstice Slip Socks

I started the June installment of the Blue Moon Socks that Rock Club on July 30th, which, for me, is not very late at all! (I admit, still haven't started the April Grasshoppers). 2 needles: Did the first one almost to the end with 2 different lengths of new Addi Turbos #1 (2.5mm), then left that sock on the longer needles and started the 2nd sock on addis and knitpicks #1s.
I think the pattern is fun, but I might agree with other members who have noted that the color and pattern together is a little busy.
Toe-up: Of course. I love toe-up because I can fit my feet exactly and I can keep knitting until I run out of yarn.
Needles: I think I actually like the knitpicks needles better than the Addis, because the tips are pointier, and therefore easier to do cable needle-less cables. However, I like the stiffer Addis cords. So jury is still out on that one.
I do think I will add some ribbing to the tops when I get there: I do like how that looks.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Jayne Hat: A Cunning Fit

Happy Birthday to my very good friend and co-Leo! The requested gift is on it's way to you!
A while ago he asked me very sweetly if "perhaps I had time to maybe just knit me up a Jayne hat? Pretty please? Because it would mean so much more if it came from you..." And of course how can I deny a request like that?!?!?!
After some searching for patterns and yarn sources and a quick review of my Firefly DVDs I found this excellent kit produced by Heather (blog HERE) of Wear With Style. She was a dream to work with, and has created a Jayne hat kit which provides not only an authentic pattern and dreamy thick portions of bulky wool, but a pompom, stitch markers, pattern help, the text of the letter from Ma Cobb (from the script) and cool Firefly-related stickers! The kit itself was sent Priority Mail stamped with Firefly-themed stamps! So very cool!
It did take me awhile to actually start the kit (sorry) but once began was a quick and fun knit.
I then had even more fun creating the shipping package for my friend, using straw and Chinese stickers and a card I made with the Ma Cobb text written inside. I'm even enclosing the original shipping envelope so he can see the stamps. I think he will get a kick out of them.

For those of you not familiar with the short-lived but awesome series Firefly by Joss Whedon (Of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel) go rent or buy the DVDs, then check out the movie Serenity. The rabid fan-base is well-deserved. And I love the fact that there are a collection of fans out there sporting this very distinctive piece of knitwear! It joins the likes of the Dr. Who scarf and the Harry Potter Knits in terms of crazed fans with knitting needles!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Gratuitous Black Sheep Stash

The Black Sheep Gathering was awesome. And not just for the shopping: I am not a sheep farmer, and actually don't plan to be. But my friend is, and with her in mind, I started the weekend out with a Sheep Shearing class. It was kinda like cutting DBF's hair, only different:
This is the poor sheep before and after we got ahold of her (we drew no blood, thankfully!). The class covered shearers and clippers, some emergency vet care, blade care, and techniques for handleing the sheep, along with practice on our very patient model here. I went on and bought the Blue Moon yarn and some of the hand spindles the first day. Then I went in search of what I always search for on the mainland: Ethnic Food One Can't Find in Hawai'i! (That day I had Middle Eastern for lunch and Greek and Indian for dinner)
Saturday brought the excellent class of beginning spinning, which I have no photos of since I was trying to actually spin something. Ditto with Sunday's excellent follow-up class: Wheels and Plyers. Basically all three of these classes were way beyond my range. However, we have no mentors here on this island. So I figure I absorbed as much as I could, took photos and video and notes, and spent money on good equipment, and hopefully I have enough theory to practice on for the rest of the year! Knitty-Knoddy (Isn't it pretty?) and- could that be?- Is that a new wooden SWIFT in the corner of that photo?
Note the 2-color swatch. On Sunday I also took a class on color knitting techniques. This was my "skate" class: I figured that I knew most of it and could relax my brain a little after all the new knowledge I had gleaned. Indeed: I took the class specifically for some intarsia help (I have never done intarsia to my liking) and specifically the right-hand woven-in fair-isle stitch on the purl-side (got that?). I got both of these missing pieces, and a little practice in holding 2 yarn colors in one hand (both the right and the left). I decided I still love 2 handed woven-in Fair Isle best.
And of course: Some family-members of mine may maintain that I really went to Oregon for nothing more than the copious amounts of cheap blueberries. They might not be totally wrong. And just when you thought I couldn't possibly spend more money than this:
Stay tuned for the arrival of the Spinning Wheel! Shipped UPS!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I Love the Rockin' Sock Club!

There I was, alone and yarnless on my fiber-deserted island, clinging to the internet for love, when I started to hear rumors on other fiber blogs about this beautiful stuff called Blue Moon Sock Yarn. People were writing confessions about sniffing it, fondling it, knitting beautiful things out of it just for the sensual pleasure, going mad in the shops and taking piles of it home and rolling around in it...
What was this addicting stuff? I wondered. I found the sock club by surfing their site and signed up immediately: I had to get in on it, no matter what "it" turned out to be. Yarn sniffing-fondling-knitting-rolling in it? I was in! Then came the silly banking issue, the blog with it's many vocal members, and finally, the first shipment!

I sniffed. I fondled. DBF wound it into one huge ball, which I then separated into two equal portions. We remarked how pretty it was. I read all the notes and the posts on the Sock Club blog and I read the pattern several times.

I did not knit it.

Then came April. I felt guilt for not knitting the February kit. This guilt did not stop me from fondling, smelling, rolling (into balls, and also a little in it... SILK!). But I didn't knit it either. I vowed to finish the February kit before beginning the April.

I did not start April.

However, I did start February! Yes, it was June (maybe even late May?) and I was knitting the Monsoon socks. In the meantime, I read the blogs and was envious when knitters all went to Sock Camp. I read about all the technical problems (there was more than just the bank: Apparently there were shipping problems, blog problems, email problems, etc.) and I read the very polite notes from Tina and the crew about how everyone should try to be a bit nicer on the sock club blog, and how they were fixing problems as fast as they could. I didn't think too much about these silly complaints. Maybe because I know that there will always be someone complaining about something on the internet. Maybe because in Hawaii we have so many shipping and supply issues that I have ceased to expect perfection and haste. I thought the yarn and pattern-related complaints were just crazy because- well- have you rolled in the stuff?!?! So I shrugged it all off.

Then the big news:


(It is so silly how we have knitting celebrities, isn't it?)

Tina was at the Blue Moon booth at the Black Sheep Gathering. I was telling her that I loved the sock club when she went ahead and introduced herself. Then she asked who I was and where I was from, and seemed to even remember me! (There must not be too many of us in Hawaii?) She then hesitantly asked if I have had any problems, and if I had received the June shipment yet. (When I left for Oregon I hadn't, but when I got back it was here waiting for me.) I reported no problems and I think I get the shipments around the same time as California club members.
I then handed her my credit card and brought home my own stash.

But I have been thinking about it ever since. See, I was a bit star-struck and tongue-tied at the time. I wish I had been more clear with my praise. I really love the club: I look forward to each shipment, love the yarn and patterns, appreciate the beautiful dyeing, and love that there is a whole community of people out there that are as delighted and surprised by it all as I am! I fear the crew at Blue Moon (like many of us) perhaps get fixated on the very few negative squeaky wheels out there, when there is a mountain of people out there gushing (like this) ridiculously about rolling in and snorting the yarn.

This is just another love letter to Blue Moon. One of many, I hope. Check out the June Shipment! (Er...Which I haven't yet begun to knit...)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sunday, July 01, 2007

DBF Gift

DBF went somewhere cold (Mainland, Lots of knitters and wool shops and the like!) and brought me back a present!
Austermann Step Superwash wool and nylon. The yarn has Aloe Vera and Jojoba Oil in it: I'm not sure if it just makes it smell nice or if it makes your skin smooth too? I think it's self-striping, too! What an awesome man who buys me sock yarn!