My current work in progress:

1. Brickless, designed by Martina Behm, knit from Mrs. Crosby Carpet Bag in the "Boston Fern" colorway on a 4.0 mm (U.S. size 6) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Do You Crochet?

I don’t crochet. Well, I do, but just barely. Those who were at the retreat this past weekend and saw me laboriously crocheting a chain for the finishing class will attest to that.

(And thank you to all of you who didn’t snicker while watching me.)

But getting to the point, Annie Modesitt is compiling crochet projects for a crochet calendar that will be published by Accord Publishers. These are the people who put out the 2005 Knit Project a Day Calendar.

Annie’s looking for patterns for the calendar. If you are interested in contributing, check out her information page here. There’s a button for this in my sidebar — clicking on it will take you to the info page.

Fiber Enabling!

Look at what Eklectika! sent me (and I immediately spun up):

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It’s a sample of merino/alpaca/silk blend from Margaret Peel in Australia. Doesn’t it look sinfully yummy?

She also sent me a couple of “W” stitch markers

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And . . . believe it or not . . . a Spongebob catnip toy for Lucy!

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So I’m spinning happily along. I only did a very little knitting yesterday as my wrist was hurting after only half an hour.

I love my new Kundert spindle. It spins much easier for me than the Bosworth. It’s a bit lighter weight than the Bosworth, weighing in at 1.2 ounces, and the whorl is larger in diameter — about 3.5″.

I have been plying my singles from both ends of the same ball. I saw Bess do this at the retreat — she wound a center pull ball and then plied using both ends of the ball. I looked at some instructions for Andean plying and gave that a try last night.

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Dena asked if I considered spinning exotic fibers. The answer is a resounding YES! I’ve spun up some semi-exotic samples — silk and alpaca. I’ve got some more that I haven’t gotten to yet — some camel from the samples that Dena sent, and more silk. L-B gave me a little carton of pure angora at the retreat, and while there I tried a tiny bit of that. I loved the alpaca sample I spun.

So . . . does anyone have any good sources for some truly exotic fibers I can try? Yak, as Dena mentioned, sounds particularly alluring. I think I need some qiviut too.

And Alice, thank you for your comment: “If I can master the coordination necessary for wheel spinning anyone can.” I really am very uncoordinated. I always sucked at video games because my eye-hand coordination is non-existent. But I suppose at some point I’ll go somewhere where I can quietly try out a number of different wheels. Maybe I’ll find one I love.

I loved this comment from Pat: “Remember – you can buy perfect yarn. The little irregularities in handspun give it “character”. Have fun!”

That’s exactly how I feel about it. I wanted to learn to spin so I could spin small amounts of exotic fibers to knit little projects. I think Lucy will have a lot of exotic catnip mice soon.

Here’s something I did Monday night:

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This is pink merino with white silk slubs in it. I love it!

Oh, and I guess I should show you some more of the stuff I bought at the retreat.

Yarn from Spirit Trail Fiberworks!

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I bought all these yarns to make a shawl in stripes. L-B saw what I picked out, and sneakily bought this for me.

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Handpainted silk caps in the same colorway, to spin up as an accent yarn for the shawl. Wasn’t that sweet of her?

Do I have more fiber purchases? Why, yes I do. I’m dragging out showing it over several days so I can kid myself into thinking I didn’t buy that much.

Don’t think that will really work, though.

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Spinning Out of Control

Lucy looks on in amusement as I attempt to turn roving into yarn.

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In order to provide you with a chuckle, here is photo of some of my spinning. The results of my very first attempt is at the far left, and the rest follow in chronological order.

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Clearly, practice helps, as my spinning has been getting progressively more even, and is now starting to look like “real” yarn. I’m not sure I’ll ever get great at it, because I want to devote more time to knitting than spinning, but it sure is fun!

L-B very kindly brought her drop spindle and a spinning wheel, a lazy kate, swift, ball winder, carders and a whole bunch of fiber to the retreat and taught me to use the spindle the first afternoon. I couldn’t use her wheel — it’s a lovely antique and somewhat tempermental and I’m too uncoordinated.

I brought the box of fiber that Dena had sent me, and we happily spun up a bunch of samples.

I started out using my Bosworth midi, but I bought another spindle, one made by Kundert Wheels, in the market Saturday afternoon.

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I found this one much easier to use than the Bosworth. I’ve named her Anya.

Yesterday I hauled this out:

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This is a merino/cashmere blend that I bought (along with quite a lot of other stuff!) from Jennifer of Spirit Trail Fiberworks.

I have some Spirit Trail yarn, and as you might recall, Jennifer kindly dyed and donated some mohair for a Wendyknits contest prize last summer. But seeing so much yarn and unspun fiber in such glorious colors in one place made me woozy. Jennifer’s fiber is gorgeous.

So I spun some of the merino/cashmere and made this:

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I love the color!

I did work on Ingrid over the weekend, and finished the first sleeve.

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Here’s what the sleeve increases look like:

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I made a good start on the second sleeve, but guess what? It looks pretty much the same as the first sleeve!

Back to work today. *sigh*

Fun!

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Wowie, wow, wow, what a fun weekend!

L-B and I went to the Knitters Review Retreat at Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria, Virginia this weekend. That’s a photo of our room mate, Maggie, basking in the late afternoon sun.

Here’s the view from our room:

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Graves Mountain is a great place, and you get a lot of exercise trudging up a steep hill to get to your room from the lodge. It’s almost enough to work off the huge meals they served us. Almost.

So . . . Friday night, L-B taught me how to spin with a drop spindle.

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I managed to ply my singles, albeit badly!

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It’s a good thing Maggie was supervising.

Saturday morning we had a great class on reading charts with Annie Modesitt, who is a wonderful teacher. Period.

Saturday afternoon we took a walk. We stopped by to visit with the horses:

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Trudging back up the hill to the room, we stopped halfway, and ran into Larry:

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We all maintained the little fiction that we had stopped to admire the view, not to rest and catch our breath.

Sunday morning was a finishing class with the incomparable Bess.

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You probably can’t tell from this photo, but Bess wrapped her ebony circular needle around her head so the points stuck up like little devil horns. She was trying to convince us what a mean teacher she was, I think, but nothing could be further from the truth. She was fabulous!

I had a wonderful time — thanks to Clara for organizing such a great event!

But I was happy to get home to my baby.

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Tune in tomorrow for pictures of my spinning attempts and some of my purchases.

Oh, and one more thing:

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Kendra, they are coming to get you . . .

Thursday

(Another one of my blindingly brilliant blog entry titles)

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Tuesday night I taught a beginning lace knitting class at Knit Happens — it was great fun. I only hope the students felt the same way about it. Everybody left having mastered, I think, what I set out to teach, so that’s a Good Thing.

And I managed not to grab the Koigu Kersti out of the hands of the two young ladies who were using it for their lace swatches. I might have gotten some drool on it, though. For that I apologize.

So guess what? I’m still knitting the first Ingrid sleeve. Yada yada yada.Yup. The same first sleeve. Can you stand the excitement?

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Knitting is only being accomplished in fits and starts here.

But on a happier note, I did manage to take a pic of my mohair sitting next to my uber-cool Plassard ribbon yarn.

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Now tell me: don’t they look like they were meant for each other?

Here’s a question for you:

Do you associate pieces of knitting with what was going on while you were knitting them?

On Tuesday night I brought some of my knitted lace to Knit Happens to use as visual aids for the class. I have a shetland lace stole, knitted from cashmere that I made four years ago. I haven’t really touched it in four years. (Yeah, all my knitted lace lies fallow after I knit it. I am a heartless bitch, ignoring its lacy sighs and whimpers.)

When I took out said cashmere shetland lace stole, I remembered exactly when and where I was knitting it. And it occurred to me that I can recall this about most of my knits. My mind is a scary, jumbled place.

Carol, who stopped by Knit Happens for a bit after work, very handsomely offered to take the cashmere shetland lace stole off my hands, lest the memories it invoked bother me. Carol, you’re a peach, but I think I’ll hang on to it for just a tad longer.

And In The “Could You BE A Bigger Moron” Department

Our friend from the comments, “S” strikes again. She is now identifying herself as “q” and left this lovely missive in the comments yesterday:

I don’t care if you did get the thing from petfinder.com. It doesn’t make you a saint, and it still makes all your ridiculous cat pictures just that–ridiculous. It’s a cat. Not a human. And certainly not that great.

“q,” because you have commented using an invalid email address (oooh! you are so clever!), I am unable to reply to you directly. My suggestion to you is that if my blog causes you such distress, don’t read it. Duh.

I have other suggestions too. Betcha can’t guess what they are.

Check It Out!

As some of you know, November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month at Petfinder.com. And as some of you know, we have a project going to knit kitty beds for senior cats adopted in the month of November.

I am pleased to report that nearly 100 kitty beds have been knitted, felted, and mailed at this point. 100 older kitties who go to a loving home will have a warm snuggly bed to sleep in. Kitty bed knitters, pat yourselves on the back!

Considering adopting a pet? Go to Petfinder and have a look around. That’s where I found my Lucy, you know.

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Mail Call!

What every girl needs for the cold and flu season: a Spongebob thermometer, courtesy of Kim!

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Thanks Kim! If I wasn’t a moron and deleted your email, I would be emailing you a thank you.

And what this girl needs to send her into transports of delight: Plassard ribbon yarn from the ever-delightful Becky!

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I happen to have some mohair yarn in an almost identical colorway. The two together will make a wonderful scarf!

And if I wasn’t a big dork, I would have thought to photograph the mohair along with the ribbon. Duh.

Ingrid Report

Not a lot of progress because I’ve had to take it easy on the wrist. But here, for fun, is a pic of the sleeve increases.

ingrid110104a Check It Out!

Call me a geek, but I love doing increases and incorporating them into a pattern. It makes my time on Sleeve Island less arduous.

But ask me how I feel about it when I’m on the second sleeve.

In this blog entry I’ve referred to myself as a moron, a big dork, and a geek. I think that’s a new personal best.