Saturday, July 28, 2007

Eight Days worth of Knitting

Where did the last eight days go! I've been knitting every chance I get which is never as much time as I'd like. Same song as everyone else.

Mystery Stole 3 is progressing
Mystery Shawl 3 Zephyr
Knitting this is enjoyable even if I'm only at the beginning of Chart 2 while everyone else is done with Chart 4. (Adding a bead is like a tiny bit of desert thrown into the rest of the knitting.) I can only work on this in daylight; most of my available knitting time is after 8 PM which equals way behind. I'll keep doing my couple rows a day - I'll get there.

My Smokin' Socks were nearly to the toe of the second sock until I discovered a pattern mistake clear up in the middle of the gusset so I had to rip out. (Ed. Note: This was a mistake in my knitting the pattern stitch not in the pattern instructions.) I'm back down at the toe decreases again. When I originally thought I was so close to finishing Startitis set in and I cast on another sock. Ashes by Monika Steinbauer in Mama Blue Knitting Goods' Semi-Solid Merino Spruce.
Faux Cable Socks
This is an easy Faux Cable pattern that knits up quickly.
Faux Cable Socks stitch closeup
The yarn is very nice to work with, no splitting, knots or uneven spots and I like the way the light and dark areas of the yarn blend together. (My pictures don't show the slight color variations but they are there.)

There have been so many great blog reports and Ravelry pictures on the EZ Modular Totem Sweater that I cast on for on in Berroco Love It. The way you size this pattern is with gauge but since I don't have a child in mind I'll just knit and enjoy the process - sort of fit the child to the sweater rather than the usual other way around. I'm almost up to the arm divide - where the fun begins.
EZ Totem Sweater

Reading back through older blog entries I can't find any mention of these socks
Feather and Fan Socks
They were finished right before the Summer of Socks so they don't count in the total socks knit during that Knit Along. This is Wendy Knits' Generic Toe-up Feather and Fan pattern. Sock One's toe must have been knit and ripped seven or eight times before I actually followed the instructions to knit through the back loop when I picked up the wraps. How did I missed that one little bit of the directions so many times!! I was really beating my head on the wall while I tried to figure out what I was doing wrong.

I weakened and bought two skeins of yarn:
first is Dream in Color's Smooshy Sock Yarn in Ruby River colorway
Dream in Color Smooshy

and the other skein is Fiesta Boomerang in Sandstone.
Fiesta Boomerang
Although it's 100% Merino it stretches like it had elastic - not as stretchy as Cascade Fixation but still stretchy; these socks should be interesting to see how they fit.

And the final picture courtesy of The Photographer is the first 2/3s of our new fence.
New Fence
We had to replace 75 feet of fencing along the side street (corner lot) that blew down last Winter during the big wind storm we had. The bouganvilla had grown into such a hedge that they were the only thing holding up the old fence.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Is this a gender spatial thing?

Warning: this post has nothing to do with knitting or spinning and there are no pictures - feel free to skip it.

I've recently encountered an odd gender difference and I'm wondering if anyone out there has a good explanation.

Three months ago my social conscience finally got around to buying eight (8) canvas bags to do my part in trees being cut down, water used, landfill, yada, yada, yada. All eight bags are exactly the same. Here's a link to the bags I bought from Lee Valley.
Seven of the bags are folded in quarters and put inside the eighth bag which I use to store and carry them into the store..

Here is how the gender difference comes into play: When I buy a large number of items I will just hand the bag of bags to the person that will be bagging whether it's the cashier or a clerk. If a woman is bagging my purchased items they reach into the bag pull out a folded bag and proceed to fill it. Handing me back the unneeded bags inside the original eighth bag. EVERY WOMAN has done it this way.

While EVERY MALE, except one, dumps all the bags out and uses the eighth bag to start bagging what I've bought. (This has nothing to do with education levels as I saw a male, that I know has an MBA, do the dump and bag on two occasions.)

I find the dump and bag method mildly annoying; if there are any unfilled bags left they hand the bags back to me loose and unfolded rather than still folded neatly inside the eighth bag.

Is this being too picky and/or severely anal on my part?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Smokin' Socks

I finished the first sock of Knitspot's Smokin' Socks pattern. I LOVE Anne Hanson's patterns! This is two out of two patterns I've purchased from her that have been good patterns, fun and interesting to knit and the most well written pattern I've ever read.

I did fiddle with perfection and change from her short-row heel which isn't deep enough for me to a regular flap and gusset heel.
Smokin' Socks

This is knit in lightweight Socks That Rock seconds that I bought at Black Sheep Gathering last month. See how interesting the heel flap looks in this yarn. (Like to comment that the only thing I saw that might have made this yarn a second was one knot. And the color pattern wasn't interrupted or reversed as I've seen in other yarns that were sold as firsts. Hope the other five skeins are as near perfect as this one.)

Here's a close up of the pattern stitch
Smokin' Socks Stitch Pattern
It's a rib stitch worked over 72 stitches for a woman's size medium

This stitch made a fabulous ruffled edge
Smokin' Socks Cast-on Edge

I've already cast-on for the second sock; they are a joy to knit.

The yarn store where I work has started carrying a new yarn dyed by a customer. When I got to work on Wednesday there were very few skeins to choose from; I was told that the yarn was a big hit!
mama blue knitting goods featherweight
It's from mama blue knitting goods.
This is Merino Semi-Solid Sock Yarn, 4 ounces/435 yards. 100% Superwash Merino.
7-9 stitches/inch with US 0-2 needles. This is colorway Juniper.

I am still spinning in the Tour de Fleece
Tour de Fleece

No pictures as it's rather boring looking; a white alpaca/silk roving that I'm spinning at 37 wpi. Hoping I get enough yardage for a lace shawl.

Remember the roving I dyed that was vandalized by some varmit? Most of the dirt and VM washed out and it's very usable. Only problem is that it was suppose to make one think of the Rider's National Flags. I'm sorry but it looks more like a Jamaican Team Jersey.
Jamaican Team Jersey Colors

Even if the colors are beyond wild the fiber is very nice; I'm looking forward to spinning it. It's a Superwash Corriedale Roving that was given to me by Wendy of Lanas de Libelula. I had quite a time washing out all the dirt and VM from being opened and dragged through the dirt plus yellow dye which never would come clear, yet it didn't felt, pill or anything else from all the washing and rinsing. That's a great roving!

Last Saturday I turned this
into 12 pints of Apricot-Pineapple Jam; a family favorite.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Oregon - The Photos

The Photographer and I flew into Portland on a Wednesday afternoon. Thursday morning we started driving south to Eugene for Black Sheep Gathering.

First stop was Salem where we had quite a time finding the Visitor's Center because half their directional signs had no "this way" arrows. Thought we found it once but it turned out to be the Housing Authority. When we walked in to ask directions they ask us why everyone comes in to their building thinking it's the Visitor's Center. We suggested it was because out on the main street, right in front of their corner building, there is a sign that says, "Visitor's Center." (The first we realized all signs didn't have arrows.) The people in there had to call the Center to find out where it was; they live there and didn't know!

Turns out that it's in the Old Woolen Mill that's now a museum to the area's historical wool industry.
Old Mill Salem OR

The wool scrubber train
Old Mill Scouring Train

This Mill was water powered; water was diverted from the main river by a flume.
Old Mill Flume

The gates that controlled the amount/speed of the water that powered the machinery
Flume Gates

Driving up to our hotel in Eugene we found this right on the street

Yes, most of you will say it's just a fireworks tent. Remember, I've always lived in Southern California where it's always fire season; fireworks haven't been legally for sale where I've lived since I was preschool age. (Our four seasons are: earthquake, flood, mudslide and fire) Back to the fireworks, I was surprised at the smell. It was pretty strong especially in the mornings.

Friday afternoon after we made our first pass through BSG I drove The Photographer with the bad back around to see the covered bridges of Cottage Grove.
This bridge was still in use. One lane with no particular right of way that we could determine. We found several other covered bridges, not in use, in various stages of decay.

While driving through the town of Cottage Grove we passed this store. Had to make a loop around the block to get this picture.
Machine Gun
I realize hunting is big up there but what are they using Machine Guns for? Or am I mistaken and this means they machine guns?

Saturday was spent at BSG and a drive up the McKenzie River Valley.
McKenzie River Valley
How's that for green?

field in Portland

Dinner that night we couldn't have picked a harder restaurant to find. I think we drove across this bridge six times before we finally found the place
Land of Bridges

Here's a picture of McMenamins Pub - North Bank
Mc Menamins Pub
such a beautiful place! And the food was worth the frustration trying to find it. The Photographer mentioned to our waitress how much trouble we had finding their establishment. She laughed and agreed and said she can't ever give directions to the place, she always hands the phone to someone else! She works there and can't tell someone how to get there - I'm surprised we're not still driving back and forth over that bridge!

Sunday morning we left Eugene earlier than planned due to the back problem. While driving to our hotel we took a wrong turn off the freeway and came upon 23rd Street in downtown Portland. Talk about revitalized downtown - this one street starting at the north end being very artsy and got more upscale the further south you drive until right before W. Burnside it's looking like Rodeo Drive. Wish we'd had more time to spend there.

The Photographer took this picture just because it was a beautifully designed condo building just off 23rd St.
23rd ST Portland

Monday morning I drove The Photographer around to all the waterfalls along the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge that you could easily walk to.

(Strangely he could walk uphill with no problem, downhill was just too painful even with me carrying his 40 POUND camera bag.)

Multinomah Falls

The sock at Horsetail Falls

We had a bit of a search looking for Vista House; we could see it from below long before we found the road signs for the turn off.

This building is all marble inside
Vista House inside

And this is the billion dollar view looking east

It was a fun trip which will keep us in wool and stories for quite awhile.

Friday, July 06, 2007

and he's got a cousin in Southern California

Everyone has read Stephanie's post about her "wool-filching rat bastard squirrel" - if not go read it here right now, I'll wait.

Yesterday I joined the le Tour de Fleece a-long where you spin as you watch the Tour de France.
Tour de Fleece
(The Photographer isn't a sports watching guy but he never misses "The Tour" and I've gotten into it too.) So yesterday while dyeing some roving, I dyed one Red, Yellow and Green to match the national flags of a large number of the participants, wrapped them all sausage style and put them in a pot to steam. They're steaming time was up just as I should be starting dinner so I picked the whole thing up and set it outside. After dinner I checked and it was all to hot to handle so lid off I left-it-outside-overnight. (you see where this is going, I'm sure)

Now I don't live in the country, I live in Southern California surburbia in a 40 year old housing tract. We have lots of birds - Crows - due to San Clemente and Rose Canyons open space but not a lot of other wild life that I've seen although there was a squirrel two years ago that was living in the neighbors yard and came over the fence just to drive our dog crazy.

Anyway this morning I looked out the sliding glass door and saw this!
He had to pull this big roll out of the pot and drag it about five feet; only the red section had been unsealed and fiber pulled out. The plastic saved the rest of the roving. This fiber stealing thing also chewed through the plastic on another roll still in the pot and pulled out some gold roving there. (No interested in anything blue or green.)

So I pulled on my gloves, picked up the remains, pulled out as much VM as possible and put it all back in the pot and re-steamed it for 20 mins hoping to neutralized any cooties left behind.

Not to be out done by the fiber thief my Siamese, Ty, chewed through my ipod USB cord!

Yesterday's score: Nature 2, Me 0

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

4th of July

Happy 4th of July to every one in the USA!
4th of July Bear

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Judith Mackenzie McCuin Spinning Class

This is a top heavy spinning post, if you're looking for the knitting content skip to the bottom for the two finished projects.

Last Sunday morning found me in the Eugene Catholic School Cafeteria with 24 other spinners to learn about Spinning down fibers from Judith Mackenzie McCuin. (This woman has groupies! A Spinning Teacher with groupies - yes! Spinning is edging into the Rock Star arena.)
Bsg Class 1

The Class started with a representative from the Empress Chinchilla Breeders Cooperative.
She brought two of the cute critters that we got to pet and a few got to hold. You can get an ounce of fiber a year off one Chinchilla. She doesn't spin her fiber straight; she likes to put in 20% chinchilla with a mix of cormo and silk. We each got a handful to spin. (the chinchilla is the light gray single to the left.
Chin & Yak Singles

The singles to the right is bison. This is Judith's fiber that she collects and sells. She sure has a lot of good Bison raising stories. (She and her husband use to manage Ted Turner's Bison Herd in Montana.) She'd pass out fiber, give a short demo on spinning it on her Jensen Wheel, then entertain us with stories while we spun.

Judith and her Jensen Wheel

Clockwise, starting at 12:00; Combed Cashmere, cashmere with silk, bison, 50/50 yak and merino, quivet, the last little bit of the chinchilla blend, 15 micron Royal Cashmere, Cashmere with wool and center is cashmere down.
Wild Downs

My singles left to right; yak, cashmere and wool, yak 50/50 blend, cashmere with silk top
Down singles

Judith apoligized for not having any quivet to hand out as the cost and availability was just too dear. When a woman in the group brings out a gallon ziploc stuffed with what turns out to be Quivet from the Portland Zoo where she works. What an unexpected treat!

This two-and-a-half hour class went fast. I didn't get to finish spinning all the cashmere samples and didn't touch the quivet. But I did learn that my San Diego Spinning Teacher is a very good teacher. I knew all the terms, I could spin all the different methods each fiber required, in other words I had been well prepared. (Truth: in back of my mind, I was a bit worried that the class might be a bit over my head.)

A couple more documentation photos, since that was the main reason I started this blog:
the half of an alpaca fleece I bought at BSG. (See Isaiah's one spot? It was in my half - don't know why but it seems like I found the prize in the Cracker Jack's Box!)
Isaiah Alpaca Fleece

The six skeins of Socks That Rock, lightweight seconds (minus one that I had to start a sock with) there is no color names on these labels
Socks That Rock lightweight

Here's the Silkie Socks that Rock , colorway: Ms LaRock
Socks that Rock - Silkie


And the Teal ShiBui 100% superwash merino sock yarn
ShiBui Superwash Merino
This yarn feels so good and the twist is very similar to the Koigu I bought.

I finish the Teosinte Socks from KnitSpot. I loved knitting this pattern; I've never felt this way about a pattern it just seemed to be like a rocking chair - back and forth, back and forth. I'm definetly going to try some other patterns by Anne Hanson; I hope they're all so nice to follow.
Teosinte Socks

And my first pair of sock for the Summer of Socks.
Austerman Step Ribbed Socks
These are my vanilla ribbed sock pattern made in Fortissima Socka - sorry I can't find the label to tell you the color.

That was a long update!