Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Just in the nick of time!

I have managed to finish my Inside Outs (February's BMFA Rockin' Sock club selection) just in the nick of time. Sort of. My newest RSC sock kit arrived today when I was one row and the bind off away from finishing my second sock. Of course I've still got two other kits that arrived in the mean time that I haven't started but I decided I'll just leapfrog those for now. I finished my second sock and immediately wound the ball of this new kit and as of the time I finish editing this post, I have already cast on and knit two rows of August's gauge swatch in the called for needles.

The foot portion of my Inside Outs looks a bit long and the leg a bit short when they're empty but on me they're a pretty good fit. The leg is, as others found with this pattern, a bit tight to get on over my instep but not impossible. And it fits my leg well enough since I stopped knitting up the leg just before my immense calves get going.

You can see that the leg portions still striped which is great. And from this I think you can see how one sock had wider stripes in the foot than the other. What amuses me no end is that the sock that had the wider stripes in the foot appears to have narrower stripes in the leg. So now I'm wondering if I was supposed to knit one from each end of the skein to get a perfectly matched pair? (I now have this mental image of knitting on the two socks at the same time until one gets the spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp.)

In other knitting news, a while back I started some socks in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport using Wendy's basic sport weight toe-up pattern for some "quick" socks. I did a toe. Just the one. They've been waiting patiently for attention ever since. I think I'm starting to get a clue why I have so little knitting accomplished. I don't spend enough time on it. (Doh!) I have done a few rows of the FMB and of the Barbie (TM) dress and so on but nothing worth showing yet. And the dog has now chomped both the needles I was using for the Sidewinders so until I get ahold of some more size 1s they are on hold again. Miraculously the yarn appears to have survived the experience each time.

And of course there's always the other reason why there's been no increase, if not a net decrease, of knitted fabric results. I finally admitted that another sock I had started (circa 2001, iirc) was never gonna make it and ripped it back. You can see why in this photo (as almost always on this blog, click to enlarge the photo for details) I think.

I was still blindly following without thinking when I started this sock so I started it with the needles called for in the pattern. The fabric was coming out way too loose. Only I didn't really know enough then to know that it was too loose for a sock. Now I do. So I took a deep breath and leapt into the frog pond with it. I may start over someday but possibly not with that white sock yarn. It's a biggish percent cotton and I'm not sure it has enough stretch for a stockinette based pattern to work well.

I've been wasting a little of the little time I have for knitting time on photographing the stash instead of knitting with it. Partly for putting it on Ravelry and partly just so I would be able to remember which yarn was which when trying to choose the next project (or rather the 32nd next since I've already got a long mental queue in addition to the one on Ravelry). In doing this I discovered that it is very safe to say that I have enough yarn to last my lifetime even if I had as much time to knit (and weave) as I could possibly want. Well, maybe not if my requisition for 36 hour days while the rest of you only get 24 ever comes through. But otherwise, I could just stop buying yarn (and fiber too probably) right now and be totally set. Not that I have any intention of doing that of course. Someday maybe I'll take and post a photo of the entire stash in one spot. Or maybe not. Might be too embarassing... Or, you know, I might never have that much open space in any one room.

I've also had to continue to devote some time to continuing to move things back into the studio from the various places they'd been stored for the last several months while remodeling was taking place. This last week in addition to starting to sort out the yarn stash, I also set up the "antique trunk of jewelry making goodness".

That's the seed bead (which applies for beaded knitting as much as jewelry making of course but "atojmg" is long enough already) drawer. The much deeper drawer below it is for the ongoing projects and tools. And the one below that is full of other beads and findings, and so on. In the process of unpacking my stored jewelry supplies, I discovered that I have over the years managed somehow to collect rather a lot of nice raw material for lovely jewelry pieces. Not to mention start but not finish a number of pieces. So I think I might start making myself some jewelry again soon too. In that copious spare time that I don't have. Maybe after school starts next week.

If I live that long. The last week or so of summer vacation is getting to be a bit too much for me.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

If you can't say anything nice...

... or in the case of blogging - interesting, and all that. Since I've had practically nothing to show in the way of knitting I've said nothing. But a month is ridiculous. So in a bit I'll show what little I've got and why it is so little.

But first by way of a public service announcement: Norma of Now Norma Knits is doing a contest to help support the OFA (Orphan Foundation of America) and the Red Scarf project's new fund. Read about the Red Scarf Project here on Norma's special blog for this year or on the OFA site here. I donated some sock yarn (of which I have an ample supply for my lifetime at this point) to Norma's contest for prizes. But since I know I'd never have made it through college without the support of my folks, emotional as well as financial, I feel very strongly about supporting the OFA and their Red Scarf Project. So I'm gonna run a little contest of my own. If you make/made a donation to the OFA via Norma's blog (she has links to thePayPal donation page for the OFA in several posts) or the OFA site between when they started the fund about the 1st of August and oh, I dunno, lets say the end of September, let me know and I'll enter your name in the list to pull a random number from for this reward for your generosity right here:

A skein of Handmaiden SeaSilk in the Nova Scotia colorway and a copy of Victorian Knits Today for you to find a pattern in for the SeaSilk.

Since I'm sure readership of this blog is pretty low, your odds should be great for this prize. And since I'm a softie, I might even come up with (an) additional prize(s) if I get more than one message saying someone's donated. Mention your donation in the comments or by e-mail (raspberry _AT_ gmail _DOT_ com) - whichever you prefer, and you're entered in the mini-contest for this lovely skein of yarn and book. It really is an excellent cause, so please do consider making a donation.

And now, for the little fiber arts I've accomplished since last time:

I've got proper fitting heels on both my Inside Out socks at last and have gotten one repeat of the leg pattern done on each of them. It seems to go faster now that I'm not trying to keep the tension so tight so I am now starting to feel like I see the light at the end of the tunnel (although not apparently in this photo).

I've got another bobbin of brown romney spun up. Once I get a third bobbin filled, I can't get much further until I can get some more bobbins for this wheel. I'm wanting to make a 3 ply yarn from this so I need at least 1 more bobbin.

The why so little knitting has been accomplished: I've been working on the studio to get it ready for my fiber pursuits etc and more immediately guests. IE my sister-in-law, whose visit early this month somehow resulted in lots of not-knitting time when I had thought I would have at least some. But we had fun so it was all good. When last you saw it, the studio looked like this:

Now it looks like this (well, mostly):

Actually, the bed has already been decommissioned to make room for my loom. But that's not in yet, nor are some other things so I may subject you to further photos at a later date.

This photo is here to show what I do with all that yarn I buy at the Loopy Ewe that I don't seem to knit up. I use it as decoration (for now). I do have lots of knitting plans though.

I've also been employed providing entertainment for the "home from school for the summer" child. Which I find terribly tiring, and she - no doubt - doesn't find as entertaining as either of us would like.

Oh, and best of all, I heard back from my Auntie to whom I sent the Spring Things Shawl and she was very complimentary about it. I think she really liked it rather than being polite. So naturally, I'm all afire to knit her something else. She says she needs shawls to keep her shoulder warm and ward off issues with it. So I'm thinking I'd like to make something warmer for the winter.

Possibly something in this nice Handmaiden 2-ply cashmere would be nice.

Or maybe in this Blue Moon Fiber Arts Geisha.
I can't decide which would be the better choice. My mum is all over the cashmere option just because it is cashmere I think, but I'm not sure she's a good barometer for what my favorite English Auntie would like best. And I'm not sure what would be the best pattern idea. To try and make something up on my own or find a good pattern. I do want to make a nice warm shawl for her. So any and all advice on these matters will be cheerfully received. Cashmere is always nice but there is a lot more of the Geisha yardage-wise. Of course, it's also always possible to buy more cashmere. I'm also not sure which color she'd like best, I'm kind of thinking the Geisha colors might be more her style. This is why it takes me so long to actually finish anything of course...