Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Diamonds Squared

With June's SOTM out of the way, I started some lace today - FINALLY!

Sivia Harding is Canadian and her Diamond Fantasy Shawl has popped up here and there in blogland in various guises. I wanted to do two in different yarns - partly so I can display them at the shows that I do, and partly because I wanted to see how it worked in each yarn.

The first one I started was in Fleece Artist Blue Faced Leicester 2/8 - the other half of a skein I have left after designing a shawl of my own (pattern under development). Let me tell you how much I love this yarn - love the feel (soft) and the colours that Fleece Artist adds to it and the weight - it is just the right weight for a woolly shawl or a pair of socks - but then my preferences are for yarns that are fine and/or finer.

This is the beginning and 1 repeat of the pattern and is going to look a lot better blocked.

The pattern starts at the bottom point and includes the edging as you go - very nicely done I would say!

And here is the other version in Silken (Hand Maiden - colour is Amethyst) which if my memory serves is a sport weight so just perhaps a tad heavier than the BFL.

This one is the starting section and 2 repeats of the pattern. This one shows the pattern more clearly and edging detail is a bit better too.

Great fun to knit - easy to remember the pattern and effective in both yarns.

Lace on!

When you hear hoof beats do you think Zebras?

Just finished my new sock for the Sock of the Month Club! I am liking the way it turned out and they were great fun to knit.

It evolved from this: and this

and this:

Aren't those wonderful stripes? Just look how they are narrow on the face and wider on the neck and how they curve in a different direction at the top of the leg. Fabulous... just fabulous

At first my sock looked like this:

Very Zebra-like.

I knit that and then set it aside thinking that not everyone is going to want to wear animal stripes on their feet - it felt a little predictable.

More fun that this though:

Part way through the process it looked like this:

And this is what it looks like now:

I am reaching way back into the lexicon of the 70s (yes I did live through them) and calling it Funky Zebra. It is a self patterning yarn and a solid - done in a fair isle ( well not truly fair isle but you get what I mean) . This Zebra was playing in the finger paints and got them all over himself!

No animals were harmed in the making of THIS Zebra footwear!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Off to the Laces!

Well actually not!

Today is the official start of The Amazing Lace but since it isn't a holiday here in the very hot frozen north (it is 31.7C outside my kitchen window - that translates to as close to 90F as I ever want to be) , I have to finish my sample sock for my June Sock of the Month and I have rehearsal tonight, I will not be starting my Lace project along with the group.

Tomorrow will just have to do!

I think I might change from Triangles within Triangles (does anyone else out there have trouble typing trinagle tienadle trinagkle tringle triangle) and maybe do a Flower Basket Shawl instead with the charcoal grey Superfine Merino (JaggerSpun - Zephyr's sister). Wendy just finished one and it looks very pretty.

Hmmh - perhaps inspriation will strike while I am playing the Mozart tonight

I hope you all have a lovely Memorial Day and/or just plain old Monday (Toronto Transit Commission work stoppage and all)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Progess made!

Feeling a bit uninspired after finishing up the T within T shawls.

I did a swatch of the red Japanese Cardigan using red Wensleydale Dk on too large needles but experimented a bit with the stitch symbols and have them mostly figured out. I am a little uncertain as to whether the chart represents every other row or every row but I know there is/was a knit along for this sweater and should be able to find that detail out. I am thinking from what I knit that it is every row so will try another swatch on a smaller needle (likely need to go to a 3.0mm or even smaller) and see about sizing it to fit.

I finished up the 2nd sock of my turquoise and green Meilenweit Magico pair:

Of course now the weather has turned hot hot hot so it will be a while before I will get to wear them.

I started - or rather - restarted the design for my June Sock of the Month. This was one that has been percolating on the back burner for a few months and I had a bit of a brain wave about it this morning so dragged out the yarns and managed to finish the ankle. I will post it once it is done and all I will say about it now is think 70s (funky, psychadelic, groovy and lots and lots of colour!)

Off to bed - it isn't a long weekend here - that was last weekend for us, so tomorrow is a work day.

Have a lovely holiday to all my US friends, relatives and customers. I have extended my sale to end the 29th at midnight in honour or perhaps more appropriately "honor" of Memorial Day.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Finished objects of affection

Both versions of Heartstrings Triangles Within Triangles are complete!

The Supersock Merino version needed to be tinked back as I ran out of yarn half way into the edging (blech - I dislike tinking a great deal!) . I weighed what was left of the Suri Lace at the end of my 8th repeat and bravely decided there would be enough left to do another repeat and the edging. As luck would have it, there was and I have about a thumbnail size ball of Suri left. A bit nerve wracking towards the end but I am very happy that it made it.

I will post pictures once they are blocked.

Both are large enough (using just 1 skein) to wear as small neck scarves although they may grow once I get them wetted and pinned out.

What to do next? Should finish up a few UFOs before starting anything more but I am itching to get started on the Japanese aran (either the creamy one with the gorgeous leaves or the red one that has a real Alice Starmore feel to it)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Romneys and donkies and spinning - oh my!

Spent a wonderful day yesterday at Chris English's sheep farm near Kingston. Chris is a spinner's breeder and has a wonderful array of Romney and Romney cross sheep that provide us with the most wonderful fleeces from fine to medium and from white to almost pure black.

What started out as a short visit turned into 6 hours of talk, fleece skirting and walking in the field to get closer pictures of the sheep. I bought a white ram fleece - lustrous as can be - from Nelson - a gorgeous long medium white fibre. I will have it processed into roving and put it up on my website.

While we were out in the field trying to get some sheep pics, Chris's guard donkey walked along with us and kept butting in to get her head scratched. She was remarkably soft - but then what do I know - I am a city person from top to toe and haven't been within 10 feet of a donkey before. This one really wanted attention and would walk in front of me if I stopped paying attention to her and stop any progress until I scratched her head again. Very cute!

On my way home from Kingston this morning I stopped in to visit Janet Wagg at the Wilton Road Custom Fibre Mill in Odessa (Odessa also boasts Gord Lendrum who makes the great Lendrum wheels). Janet and her family have just set up a Mini Mill and have been processing from washing all the way to spinning and I pawed through some of her gorgeous samples.

I am going to have her do my "Hair of the Unknown Sheep" that I bought at Maryland - a medium grey possibly Corriedale - fine-ish fleece that wasn't identified - into roving and I also hope to get some single breed yarns spun by her - a couple of different breeds to add to the Merino, Wensleydale, Blue Faced Leicester that I have already.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend. Tomorrow is a holiday here to celebrate Queen Victoria's Birthday.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Just for fun

Tombstones for knitters!

Try one at Tombstone Generator

More dyeing

These are what I dyed on the weekend - took an age to dry in the rainy wet weather we are having.

That is my favourite one - some greens, some blues and a splash of darker blue and a very small splash of fuchsia then saddened with a short bath in a dilute black.

The bottom skeins were overdyed in a dilute black bath. I like them both for different reasons - the brightness and clear colours of the top skeins and the smokey subtleness of the bottom ones.

I am having fun experimenting with these and just found another bag of the yarn I am using to dye so another session in the not too distant future I think.

The natural dyeing will some a bit later - I have some lace weight Cormo that I want to do in naturals but I want to do some experimenting first - so the experimenting will be 1 session and the actual dyeing a day or perhaps a week later.

Made progress on the Triangles within Triangles and am back onto the border (again- after tinking 1 repeat of the pattern) and if my Brahms Sextet doesn't go too long tonight, I will likely have it finished and block it tomorrow with pictures to come soon after.

A bientot

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Japanese Knitting books

Look what came in the mail today!

Three Japanese Knitting books!

They are fantastic and of course are all in Japanese

But look what is in them!

Are they not just about the most gorgeous things you have ever seen!

I ordered them from YesAsia - relatively painless payment through PayPal (although they couldn't find my payment for a while and I had to call them) and ordering was by pictures only from what I had seen on other blogs.

I am dying to get swatching and see what works in the red cardi above and also the pullover with the leaf motif in it (the one on the cover). I am trying to stay disciplined though and want to finish the Heartstrings Triangles within Triangles twins (Suri Lace and Supersock Merino versions in the same colourway) but had to take out the last repeat of the Supersock one as I ran out of yarn almost halfway into the border. My wrist is sore from tinking!

Everything is charted so my lack of Japanese shouldn't be a hindrance - just to figure out gauge but the swatching should do that.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Amazing Lace

One of my customers brought The Amazing Lace challenge to my attention and I jumped at the chance to sign up. I can't think of anything more fun than to spend the summer knitting lace!
I am planning to do the Heartsrings Triangle within Triangles again but this time in JaggerSpun's Superfine Merino in Graphite

- it will look fantastic with the 2 Foxy Lady versions from Cherry Tree.

Superfine Merino is the same weight as its more famous cousin, Zephyr and is spun from the very finest of Australian Merino wools. Should be soft and stunningly gorgeous

I am thinking that it will be an easy knit and a good take along project as I head out to TNNA and then on to Colorado to the Estes Park Wool Market - very conveniently located about 1/2 an hour from my cousin in Evans, CO! I went there last year and had a wonderful family visit plus a great time at the Wool Market.

I spent all of Saturday morning at Estes listening to the judge as he went through fleece after fleece in category after category and learned so much that I intend to do the same this time. I bought the prize winning fine fleece (Cormo) and an amazing cross of Rambouillet/Merino and Teeswater - also a prize winner - in an almost pure black.

When I first arrived at the park, I could barely breathe - I live at sea level and this is high - higher than Denver which is a mile high. I got myself a big cup of coffee and found a bench and sat and started chatting with a gentleman there. He introduced himslf as Jimmy and during our conversation he told me I was doing the right thing by allowing myself time to acclimatize. I discovered that Jimmy had worked with the original 7 astronauts and was exactly the right person to be sitting beside at altitude! We had a great chat and he introduced me to his wife who turned out to be the breeder of the Rambouillet/Merino/Teeswater whose fleece I later bought.

Estes was also were I met the Cormo shepherd whose yarn I bought and have on my website. Her booth drew me in with its natural colours and hats, mitts, sweaters, scarves and yarn - oh the yarn!!! From very fine to fine and hanging tantalizingly in row after row... What a sight!

I can't wait!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Maryland oh Maryland

How I miss you! Maryland Sheep and Wool that is! I am still floating from my two day immersion in sheep and colour and wool and pit lamb and the sweet smell of deep fried Twinkies (no - I didn't have one and I am not even sorry!).

I was somewhat disappointed by the Fleece Sale this year - perhaps I am jaded since I have lots of fibre and still some raw fleeces left over from previous years that still need to be processed (not by me however - I'll get them done at Frankenmuth or somewhere else). Seemed that everything I picked up was tippy.

What I did buy were 2 Cormo fleeces (8 lbs in all), a Columbia ram (a big, fine one), a dark Grey Lincoln and a medium grey Hair of the Unknown Sheep that looks like a Rambouillet but wasn't marked ( but the price was right and the colour appealled). All but the Unknown went to the Frankenmuth booth and this time I even remembered to bring ziplock bags to put some samples of the fleeces in!

Earth Guild got the rest of my money. I had picked up a book on natural dyeing at the American Handweavers Guild booth (Wild Color - I'll have to dig it out and check the title) that has a very pleasing and to my mind readable format and I dug into it on Saturday evening to see what I would need to start some natural dyeing.

I had seen quite an assortment of mordants and natural dyes at Earth Guild the first day so went back there to pick up what I needed. Now I am all set and have alum, copper sulfate, ferrous sulfate, tin, cream of tartar and an assortment of large and small containers of cochineal, osage, logwood, cutch and something else that I can't remember - maybe Brazilwood. Great fun will be had I am sure!

Ainslie, my travelling companion, took some fantastic sheep pictures at the Parade of Breeds. The Parade was, again, a highlight with 2 black Icelandic lambs stealing the show - very cute!