My current work in progress:

1. "T-Rex," designed by Rebecca Danger, knit from Blue moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock in the "Lucky" colorway on U.S. size 3 needles.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

It’s New Project Day

Because my Ingrid sweater is almost completed, I felt justified in starting a new project. And what a fun one it is.

At the Knitter’s Review Retreat, I bought an assortment of lovely yarns from the very talented Jen of Spirit-Trail, all in the same colorway. I bought merino wool, mohair, silk chenille, and a wool/mohair/silk boucle. And I also have some matching silk cap that I’m spinning (mentioned in yesterday’s blog entry).

These yarns are on their way to becoming a shawl.

shawl111604 Its New Project Day

I’m knitting in stripes. A stripe of merino, then one of mohair and silk chenille held together, then one of the boucle. Repeat until it is deemed big enough. And I’ll use my handspun silk at the bottom for an edging.

Snazzy, eh?

The pattern is L-B’s own made-up “shawl formula.” Yarnovers at the center and at each end of right side rounds. Easy as pie to execute. (Please remember to say “pie” the way Eric Cartman does: “pahhhhhhhhh.”)

Comfort knitting at its best!

Spinning Comments and Questions

First off Vanessa had to point out the following:
If you go to ms$w next year you can play on a golding wheel. they are hands down drop dead gorgeous. and spin like buttah.

I so did not need to hear that . . .

Another Wendy asked:
I’m very intrigued by the spinning–any chance that you’d web-cam your spinning? I still don’t understand how it works.

There are some sites on the web that have video of spinning, which would probably be far more useful to you than seeing me (a spinner for less than two weeks) demonstrate it. Besides, I don’t have a web-cam.

The Joy of Handspinning website has some drop spindle video here.

Merrill asked:
Have you spun llama?

No I haven’t . . . yet . . .

And Claudia’s comment made me laugh:
What are the Vegas odds as to what month Wendy buys a wheel? My money is on December.

Heh. I don’t have the definitive answer for that one myself.

Here’s another photo of Sonia, one that better illustrates that the whorl is a sunflower.

sonia111604 Its New Project Day

Heidi, no, I’m not getting my hair cut anytime on the forseeable future. I just cleaned up my blog page a bit, removing some stuff from the sidebar.

When I got home from work today, Lucy was playing with her handspun mouse, clearly all hopped up on catnip.

lucy111604 Its New Project Day

Knit a Hat for a Child in Need

In surfing the blog ring yesterday, I came across this entry at the Knit Happens blog, where Kristine is talking about a charity project to knit hats for the children of Safe Shores.

The same day I posted my quick and easy hat pattern.

The internet moves in mysterious ways sometimes.

I’m thinking my hat pattern can be easily sized down for a child. I’ll use worsted weight yarn and size 8 needles, and maybe make it a tad shorter. It’s done in a deep rib pattern so it’s very stretchy. I’m going to dig around in my stash for yarn for a hat and make one for this worthy cause.

Are you in the Washington DC area? Do you have a free evening or two? Consider making a hat yourself, using my or any other quick hat pattern — there’s a bunch of free ones out there. Kristine links to a good one in her Knit Happens blog entry.

I’m sure that there are organizations like this across the country. So if you’re not in DC, please consider knitting a hat for a child in need and donating it to your local charity.

I had a question in the comments about how to rework my hat pattern to use Silk Garden instead of Transitions. For an adult hat I’d add 6 stitches to the total number of stitches, and knit it on size 8 or 9 needles. That should do it!

And a question about my multidirectional scarf:

Anne asked:
I have a question for you about the multidirectional scarf. When I tried it with Noro Big Kureyon it was coming out very mishapen. The whole thing got wider, and the triangles turned out more like half moons. If I do it again will I be able to block it into shape? What do you do at the corners of the triangles?
Your set looks great!

Thank you! Actually, I didn’t block my scarf, but Transitions is a much softer yarn than Big Kureyon, so it’s much more forgiving. I didn’t do anything different at the corners of the triangles.

I think if you steam press your Big Kureyon scarf, it’ll block out nicely. If need be, wash it gently in warm water with a little hair conditioner added. That’ll soften it up, if you’d like it a bit softer.

Spinning Update

Roi asked in the comments yesterday how many more spindles before I cave and buy a wheel. The answer is: at least one! I have a new spindle. Yep, another one! Meet Sonia, my Golding spindle.

sonia111504 Knit a Hat for a Child in Need

Isn’t she gorgeous? And she spins like a dream!

But I’m still using Anya (and Betty the Bosworth, for that matter). Anya is right now spinning some silk cap. (Well, no, not by herself. With my supervision.) It’s the lovely stuff that L-B gave me at the retreat.

anya111504 Knit a Hat for a Child in Need

I’m pleased to report that my spinning is getting faster and more even. I started out laboriously predrafting everything. I’m doing less and less of that. Drafting is getting easier (duh, practice helps!) and more fun.

Liz asked:
Did you learn your plying from the web? What kind(s) do you do?

I have plied from a Lazy Kate, I have plied from both ends of a center pull ball, and I have done Andean plying, my favorite. That I learned from pictures I found on the internet, these pictures, to be specific.

I think I like the Andean plying best, because it’s so danged portable. You can do it anywhere. On my lunch break today I spun up some wool and Andean plied it. One of our contractors stuck his head in my office to ask a question while I was in the midsts of plying and looked mildly alarmed. Frightening the contractors. It’s a good thing.

And in answer to Ida, who asked:
You say you are spinning lefthanded, do you also spin the “opposite” way – that is to the right, making what is called S-spin?

Nope, I’m spinning my singles with a Z-twist, and plying them together with an S-twist.

Ingrid Update

I’m now this close to finishing. The second sleeve is all but done.

ingrid111504 Knit a Hat for a Child in Need

What remains is to machine stitch the steeks, cut open the neck, knit the neckband, and set in the sleeves. The end is in sight!

Though I’m not sure I’ll get to it this week. I have a couple of long days at work ahead of me, so my knitting time will be curtailed a bit. Oh well, more rest for the wrist.

As I mentioned yesterday, my wrist is feeling much better. This is a recurring problem that flares up occasionally and I think it’s on the downswing. I hope so anyway!

lucy111504 Knit a Hat for a Child in Need

A Spinning Question

If I spin cookie crumbs into my alpaca, does that make it novelty yarn?

Why do I ask? No reason . . .

Pam asked:
Do you find the spinning is easier on your wrists? And have you tried switching back and forth between hands? Do you find one more comfortable and productive than the other?

Spinning is a lot easier on my wrist. It’s my right wrist that is giving me pain, and I’m lefthanded, so my left hand is the one doing the work. (But actually the wrist is feeling a bit better today.) I haven’t tried switching back and forth between hands — for now I’m just sticking with what works!

I did spin up two-thirds of the chocolate brown alpaca that L-B sent me. She got it at Holly Spring Homespun, by the way, and it’s great fun to spin.

alpaca111404 A Spinning Question

Noro Transitions Fun

I finished my Noro Transitions scarf that I started a week or so ago. I had three skeins of Noro Transitions, but discovered that I could make a scarf that was plenty long enough according to my standards, complete with fringe, with just two skeins. (The pattern I used, you may recall, is the multi-directional diagonal scarf pattern available free online. Google and you’ll find it.)

So I used the third skein to knit a hat.

transitions111404 A Spinning Question

I made up the pattern as I went along. It’s very fast and easy — you can knit it in an evening or two, and it would make a great last minute gift. One size fits most adult heads because it’s quite stretchy.

transitions111404a A Spinning Question

Want the pattern (such as it is)? Here you go!

Noro Transitions One Skein Hat

Cast on 72 stitches on US size 10 double pointed needles, join, and work k3 p3 ribbing in the round for 10″.

Shape top:
Next round: (k1, k2 tog, p1, p2 tog) to end of round. 48 stitches
Next round: k2, p2 to end of round.
Next round: k2 tog, p2 tog to end of round. 24 stitches
Next round: k2 tog to end of round. 12 stitches
Next round: k2 tog to end of round. 6 stitches

Cut the working yarn, leaving a couple of inches. Finish off by threading the yarn end through the 6 remaining stitches and pull tight. Secure the end of the yarn on the wrong side.

Liam Sizing Question

I nanswer to a comments question on Friday, Liam is available in finished sizes 40″, 44″, and 48″.

Handspun Handknit

lucy111404 A Spinning Question

This is actually the first thing I knitted from my handspun — a little bag to put potpourri in. The bag is knitted from wool/silk blend and the handle and edging is Rowan yarn leftover from my Fern.

Lucy almost never messes with my yarn, but she loves her handknitted catnip mice. No doubt the aroma of catnip is what lets her know what can be considered her toys!

I decided to try posting my blog entry in the evening instead of first thing in the morning. Just for a change.

Liam Pattern

The pattern for my Liam sweater is now available for sale . . . at Knit Happens. Want a copy? Call them up to order, or drop in to the shop to buy.

I spent some time at Knit Happens yesterday, and of course bought some stuff.

tote111104 Liam Pattern

Check out the cool Knit Happens tote bag and accessory bag!

lorna111104 Liam Pattern

Check out the cool Knit Happens exclusive colorway Lorna’s Laces sock yarn!

iro111104 Liam Pattern

And some gorgeous Noro Iro!

soho111104 Liam Pattern

And finally, some Debbie Bliss Soho.

I knitted Lucy a catnip mouse from the alpaca/merino/silk sample I spun up the other day.

mouse111104 Liam Pattern

It got the Lucy seal of approval.

lucy111104 Liam Pattern

I also spun up some alpaca that L-B sent me the other day. Yum!

alpaca111104 Liam Pattern

TGIF! Have a good weekend, all!

I Do Still Knit

Yes I do. Just not very much lately. My right wrist is not happy. Here’s a picture of the progress on Ingrid’s second sleeve:

ingrid111004 I <i>Do</i> Still Knit

Fortunately, spinning doesn’t hurt. I’m lefthanded and my left hand does all the work. Which leads me to wonder why my right wrist is the one bothering me. Life’s little mysteries.

Thanks for all the enabling on where to go to buy luxury fiber!

Keyboarding hurts too, so this will be brief. But first, a reader question:

Liz asks:

I bought a spindle a couple of weeks before you did, but I have no one to teach me how to use it. Do you think you could have learned without one-on-one help? My feeling is a few minutes of being shown would equal several hours of “book learning”. Do you think from your experience this is true, or am I just making excuses for myself?

I myself am generally much happier learning from a person than from a book. Seeing something done live and in 3-D beats reading about it in a book in my opinion. For me, I think this is due in part to the fact that I am lefthanded. All the pictures and diagrams I’ve seen are demonstrated by a righthanded person, and that just adds to the confusion for me.

The instructions I looked at for Andean plying were of course illustrated for a righthanded person. I had to think carefully about how to wrap the yarn to make it work for me.

Samantha mentioned that yesterday’s photo of Lucy made it look like she was giving me the kitty silent treatment after my having been away for a few days. Actually, that was her “I’m freezing — is it too much to ask for you to turn on the frickin’ heat?” look.

lucy111004 I <i>Do</i> Still Knit

I did break down and turn it on after that. It was getting pretty nippy.

Today is a holiday. Thankfully.