My current work in progress:

1. pour moi, designed by Lori Versaci, knit from Wollmeise Merino DK in the "Stella Polaris" colorway on a 3.75 mm (U.S. size 5) needle.
2. Outlander MKAL Shawl, designed by Rachel Rodin, knit from Lornas Laces Shepherd Sport in the "Beauchamps" and "Fraser" colorways on a 3.75 mm (U.S. size 5) needle.
3. Myriad stealth projects.

Year 2004 Wrap-up

It’s been quite a year in my blog-i-verse. At the beginning of 2004, I was knitting Alice Starmore’s Abalone. At the close of 2004, I am knitting Koigu gloves and my own Lucy design. I designed nine sweaters in 2004 and knitted more non-traditional designs than I ever thought possible.

And I made lots of new friends, both in “real life” and online. All thanks to knitting blogs.

Almost all knitting blogs are personal blogs, non-commercial websites. The individuals who write them are just that: individuals. We are people who go to work at a job or raise a family. We have ups and downs.

While there have been lots of flames and criticisms floating around in the knitblog world lately, I think the positive outweighs the negative. I’m happy to be part of this community.

Lucy is getting a nap in before tonight’s celebration.

lucy123104 Year 2004 Wrap up

I’m knitting my second glove.

glove123104 Year 2004 Wrap up

And spinning my Corriedale.

yarn123104 Year 2004 Wrap up

The mousse au chocolat is made, the shrimp creole is in progress. We’ll be breaking out the kir royales later.

Happy New Year! See you in 2005!

Charity

I have been watching the news all week, but have found myself unable to articulate a reaction to the tragic results of the earthquake and tsunami in Asia and Africa. It’s difficult to comprehend the magnitude of this disaster, and the millions of lives it has ruined.

Sitting in my comfortable home, surrounded by material possessions and good fortune, I decided it was time to get off my butt and do something. Today I sent as large a donation as I could manage to UNICEF, following Kristine’s example.

CNN has a list of organizations where you can donate money to help the victims here.

I checked the Heifer International website, and they are encouraging people to donate money to organizations that are offering direct relief, while they determine the best way they can help.

Deb and I are keeping the Knitbloggers Knitting Basket project open until January 10. We still encourage you to donate, even if it’s just a dollar or two. Every dollar you give will go towards helping devastated people get back on their feet and support themselves.

And our heartfelt thanks to all of you who have donated so generously already.

Fits and Starts

There were a couple of questions the other day about how I obtain a good fit with my designs. I think it’s a combination of experience, math, and good luck. If you are designing something for yourself, my best advice is to measure a sweater that you like the fit of (the fit of which you like) and use that as your guide for measurements.

Feeling the Glove

I did finish the first glove late last night. Like 2:00am.

glove123004 Charity

I stuck my size 0 Brittany birch dpns in the remainder of the ball of Koigu and left it on the nightstand and fell asleep. When I got up this morning, it was gone.

I interviewed Lucy, but she feigned ignorance.

lucy123004 Charity

I found the ball of Koigu with the needles still stuck in it in the dining room. Here it is, all safe and sound.

koigu123004 Charity

Not quite. I discovered one of the dpns was broken when I pulled it out of the yarn. Good thing I have another set.

The pattern, by the way, is “Sonata Gloves” by Heartland Knits. I bought my pattern from The Knitting Zone. You need two skeins of Koigu KPPPM. I used about two-thirds of a skein for the first glove.

The pattern calls for size 1 needles, but I used size 0 to get the gauge of 9 sts/inch. There is a lot of fiddly knitting in the pattern, but the instructions are detailed and crystal-clear. And the knitting quite fun. I’ve started the second glove.

Spinning

I’ve got three pounds of Corriedale top that I’ve just started spinning. With any luck, I’ll be knitting an actual sweater from my handspun at some point in the future.

yarn123004 Charity

Ouch

It’s been a bad week.

On Monday I decided to install my poly drive band on Katarina, which involves meting the ends of the band and fusing them together. Did you know that dripping molten polycord on your thumb burns?

thumb123004 Charity

Then yesterday morning I whacked my instep on my rocking chair and gave myself a lovely bruise. Then last night whacked the side of my head on a sharp metal edge. Still have the honking big lump (and accompanying headache) from that.

I think I’ll sit quietly and knit for the rest of the day. Hopefully I won’t impale myself on a dpn.

Graceful I ain’t.

How to Torture Your Friends

In one easy lesson.

How?

kristine122904 How to Torture Your Friends

Force ‘em to spin on a drop spindle. That’s what L-B and I forced poor Kristine to do. And what did Kristine do to deserve such treatment? Only bring me fabulous gifts!

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Some loverly Kollage yarn!

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And some loverly Inspirations yarn! This is their wool laceweight, called Expresso.

And of course L-B brought piles of gifts for Lucy and me. Lucy was very excited!

lucy122904 How to Torture Your Friends

L-B made me this fabulous scarf!

scarf122904 How to Torture Your Friends

Here’s a close-up:

scarfa122904 How to Torture Your Friends

It’s a hand-dyed wool/silk blend (my favorite!) that came from Holly Spring Homespun. I can hardly stop petting it!

L-B brought her spinning wheel (an Ashford Traditional) and we had quite a spin-a-thon! I spun this wool:

orangeyarn122904 How to Torture Your Friends

I’m sorry now that I didn’t take a picture of the top before spinning it — it was sort of ugly. But I really love the resulting yarn.

We Also Have Knitting

I started a very fun glove pattern — this one:

sonatapat122904 How to Torture Your Friends

It’s a modular design — you knit lots of little diamonds and triangles to make the gloves. Generally I don’t like modular designs, but I give this one two thumbs up! It’s great fun to knit and it goes very quickly.

I’m making my gloves from Koigu KPPPM — here’s the start:

sonata122904 How to Torture Your Friends

And a bit further along:

sonata122904a How to Torture Your Friends

And unless I get sidetracked, I might very well have a finished glove to show you tomorrow.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go take some aspirin. I just whacked the side of my head very, very hard. (Hello, I am a klutz.) I saw stars and have a huge lump rising. Ow. Ow, ow, ow.

Maybe I won’t have a finished glove tomorrow. This feels as though it’s gonna be a doozy of a headache.

Just Spinning and Knitting Here

Just in case you wondered (and I’m sure y’all were losing sleep over it), I did decorate my tree last week, after a fashion.

tree122704 Just Spinning and Knitting Here

I am off from work until January 10. My number one plan? Sleep. Hopefully the added rest will help me rid myself of this pesky cough.

So I actually did some cleaning up today. Not surprisingly, there were little fluffs of unspun fiber all over the living room floor. Add that to cat hair and you’ve got quite a bit of stuff floating around. I feel as though I’m a better person for having vacuumed it up. Or something.

A question from the comments — where did I get the sheep tumblers pictured in yesterday’s blog entry? They were a gift, but I have it on good authority that they are available in World Market stores.

This morning I did this:

yarn122704 Just Spinning and Knitting Here

This is two ounces of handpainted merino wool. It reminds me that there was a question in the comments last week asking how long it takes me to spin, say, 4 ounces, of wool.

The answer is . . . it varies. Some fiber is a lot easier and faster to spin than others. I’d say it takes me a couple of hours to spin and ply 4 ounces of an “easy” fiber, like the pink Coopworth from the other day.

The merino I spun this morning was just a bit over 2 ounces, and it took me 2-3 hours to spin and ply. The merino was soft and slippery, so I had to spin more slowly and carefully.

We Have Knitting

I finished the Koigu sweater on Christmas Eve.

lisa122704 Just Spinning and Knitting Here

This is my “Lisa” design that I knitted last summer in Rowan Calmer. I think I like it better in Kersti. It took 7 skeins of Kersti to complete.

The whole sweater is done in a 2×2 rib. Here’s a close-up of the rib pattern.

lisa122704a Just Spinning and Knitting Here

Speaking of Calmer

Several of you guessed correctly. The knitting that I pictured a few days ago is indeed my “Lucy” design. I’m reknitting it in Calmer, and it’s working out quite nicely.

lucys122704 Just Spinning and Knitting Here

St. Distaff’s Day

Yesterday, Dharia left this comment:
Have you heard of St. Distaff Day before? I’d never heard of it until learning to spin and joining a spinning mailing list. i thought this was amusing because you are spinning over the christmas holidays… here’s a blurb that was sent to the list, but its easily ‘google-able’.
In England, as well as other countries the days from Christmas through Twelfth Night were considered a time of rest from the labors of spinning. The maidens returned to their work on St. Distaff’s Day, January 7th. This was the day that women returned to their spinning after the Christmas Holidays. Since the men didn’t return to work until the Monday following 12th night they were usually free to annoy and harass the spinners.

Interesting! I’d not heard of it. I googled and found this interesting write-up of St. Distaff’s Day.

Speaking of Spinning

Here are two of my Christmas gifts.

books Just Spinning and Knitting Here

Great spinning books! The Alden Amos book is amusing, because he certainly is opinionated. But the book is full of very useful information and I’m enjoying reading it very much. The smaller book, The Spinner’s Companion, is great as well. It’s a nice portable size and full of good stuff.

I’ll not be blogging for a day or two, so I’ll see you here later in the week.

lucy122704 Just Spinning and Knitting Here

Boxing Day

margarita122604 Boxing Day

A good time was had by all. But I’m still sick with this nasty cough/congestion thing. Bleah. Enough, already!

So we had a quiet holiday weekend. I did a bit of spinning on Lenny:

yarn122604 Boxing Day

I plied those singles that I spun on Lenny using Katarina — that’s why the yarn is in her bobbins. I also did some spinning on Katarina — the rest of the dark grey wool that was pictured in my blog last week.

See what I gave Ian?

ian122604 Boxing Day

It’s the Liam sweater.

See how sneaky I am? Some of the stuff I knitted over the past year was destined to become gifts. Two out of three of the AbFab afghans I made this year were gifts for family.

I think Lucy had a fun weekend. Here she is in a pensive mood, contemplating Lenny:

lucy122604 Boxing Day

She suddenly likes that chair because I was given some nice soft seat covers, one of which I put on the seat of that chair.

lucy122604a Boxing Day

But at the end of the day, it’s just nice to snuggle up with some friends.

lucy122604b Boxing Day

I’ll be back tomorrow with some actual knitting content. Imagine that!