My current work in progress:

Moth Cardigan, designed byAmy Christoffers, knit from Rowan SoftYak DK in the Plain colorway, using U.S. size 3 and 5 needles.

Being Passionate

Today Cassie had a thoughtful post about passions and power. If you haven’t read it (and the just as thoughtful post by Sara Lamb she linked to in her post) I encourage you to go read them now. I’ll wait.

Good, thought-provoking stuff there! And it made me think about my own fiber passions.

I’ve done it all (well, not all, but a bunch): crewel embroidery, counted cross-stitch, needlepoint, sewing and tailoring, quilting, a tiny bit of weaving, (a very little and very bad) crochet, spinning, and of course, knitting.

I think that’s everything. Some of the above needlecrafts I’ve dabbled in, some I’ve been intense about.

The latest non-knitting fiber pursuit I got passionate about was spinning. Didja notice that I haven’t talked about spinning much lately? It has once again taken a back seat to knitting.

(A note about spinning: I haven’t given it up. As a matter of fact, I did a half hour of spinning last weekend. And I joined a qivuit knit-along that begins in September. I’ve got qivuit roving that I’d really like to spin into yarn to use for said knit-along. We’ll see.)

Knitting is, and I think always will be, my first fiber love. Throughout my live when I was dallying with other fiber loves, I was always knitting.

But my knitting passion changes direction. I go through periods: the aran period, the fair isle period, the norgi period, the lace period.

It goes without saying that I’m back in a lace period. Who knows how long this will last? I’ll wake up one morning and decide I’m sick of knitting lace. Maybe I’ll go into a fair isle phase. I’ve got the yarn for Starmore’s Mara and Rona designs in stash, and I’ve been thinking more and more about them lately. I’d also like to knit another Roscalie cardi in the other colorway (the pattern has two colorways).

Of course, there is also the boatload of Koigu Kersti I bought that screams “Cromarty!” at me every time I look at it (that’s your fault, Rachael — no, wipe that innocent look off your face), so perhaps a cable period is next.

But for now, it is all lace all the time.

spider080305 Being Passionate

I’m just about halfway done with the Inky Dinky Spider Stole. So of course I’m thinking about my next lace project. Well, actually, I’ve charted out a design for my next lace project.

I’m going to do a triangular shawl using Jaggerspun Zephyr in a pretty copper color and employ, for the most part, traditional Shetland lace stitches. It’s got leaves and trees, which is why I’m using the copper Zephyr — I’m thinking autumn leaves here.

See? A segue into the Autumn of Lace.

I went to late night at Knit Happens. I was happy to see Phyl-Phyl there. She is always so ladylike.

phyl080305 Being Passionate

Lucy stayed home and watched tv.

lucy080305 Being Passionate

Are You Sick of Needle Talk Yet?

Heather asked:
Ok, now you’ve done it. I too am on a quest. Where did you buy the Holtz & Stein that you do have? I’m Googling like crazy and everything is a dead end. 🙁

That’s not helped by the fact that I referred to the needles as “Holtz & Stein” while they are actually “Holz & Stein” (but I corrected it this morning in my past two blog entries).

But still, they are very difficult to come by in the U.S. There may be a few retailers selling them, but precious few.

I first went on my Holz & Stein quest a couple or three years ago, because I love them for fair isle work. The needle size I use most often for fair isle is a 3.25mm. Back then, I was able to get some Holz & Stein ebonies in that size, but nowadays a 3.25mm is very rare indeed — any place I’ve seen them, the sizing goes from 3mm to 3.5mm. So I feel very fortunate to have the ones I’ve got. I’ve got several ebony 3.25mm circulars (thanks to Susan in Germany!), and one in rosewood — the needle I’m using right now.

spider080205 Are You Sick of Needle Talk Yet?

Sue asked:
Why are you preferring H&S over Addi Naturas? I love H&S too but they are so had to find. Just curious.

My laceweight yarn slides over the join in the H&S much more easily. And I think the points are sharper.

So, I’ve . . . uh . . . ordered sample needles in as many different brands as I could find in a U.S. size 3 (3,25mm) so I could do a comparison. In circs I already have Clover, Addi Naturas, Addi Turbos, Crystal Palace, Bryspun, Suzanne ebony (which has a join not as good as the H& S) H&S ebony and H&S rosewood. and I’ve got some straights as well — Inox, Aero, and old, old Susan Bates.

I’m on a quest.

And I’ll share my opinions when I form them. But of course, your mileage may vary. A number of people have said they really liked the Bryspun circulars and I don’t. So a lot of this is personal preference.

Sanity is So Over-rated

This morning I ordered this.

It’s Snow’s fault — she pointed it out to me.

Will I knit it? Only time will tell.

A Huge Congratulatory Shout-Out!

To Kim, who knitted my Baby Norgi pattern and entered it the Medina County Fair.

Kim’s Baby Norgi won best in show! Wow! Photos of her fair winnings on her blog.

And a Huge Thank You!

To Betsy, who very kindly sent me the following:

yarn080205 Are You Sick of Needle Talk Yet?

A lovely assortment of Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud laceweight yarn and a pattern for some lovely lace scarves. Thank you!

Cute Lucy Story

(If you are not into cats, you can stop reading now.)

lucy080205 Are You Sick of Needle Talk Yet?

One night last week I got home from work and found that Lucy had deposited her paper ball in her water dish, as per usual. (That’s what she does with her paper balls when she’s done playing with them — plops ’em in her water dish. I think we’ve already discussed this, no?)

I took the sodden mass of paper out of her dish and left it in the sink while I gave her fresh water (thinking I’d throw it in the trash in a minute).

I totally forgot about the sodden paper until an hour later when Lucy brought it to me, on the living room couch. I thought “Ewwww!” and got up and threw it away.

When I was posting my blog entry that night I heard Lucy crying. Not just meowing — crying. I thought she was ill or hurt. I raced into the kitchen and there she was, sitting on the counter, looking into the sink, mourning her lost paper ball.

(Yup. She was on the kitchen counter. A place off-limits to felines, which she darn well knows.)

I of course made her another one, which she happily played with the rest of the evening.

And in the morning there it was, in her water dish.

Needled

Yup. I’ve got Addi Naturas. They are not quite as pointy as the Crystal Palace Bamboos, though the join is slightly better.

The Crystal Palace bamboo needle I was using before I swtiched to the Holz & Stein rosewoods is new, so it’s not likely to have been one of a faulty batch.

The trouble is that the Cherry Tree Hill Suri Alpaca is extremely fine, so it will snag in any join of a circular needle. The Holz & Stein join is the easiest one to deal with. Too bad they are so bloody hard to find in the U.S. I’ve got some, but I don’t have them in every size I use.

spider080105a Needled

I actually pulled out some of my straight needles to see how they’d work with this yarn. I’ve got straights in the right size (U.S. 3) in Inox, Aero, and Susan Bates. But I did not try any of them out. They are 14-inch straights, and it would not do to take those on the train. There’s not nearly enough room to be flailing straights around.

I did find an online shop in Canada that sells Aero circulars, so I placed an order last week. (Can you tell that I’m on a quest?) I’ll see how they are when they get here.

I’ve not tried the Denise needles. For some reason, I have a prejudice against them. Wait, I remember why. Because they come in sizes U.S. 5 — 15. I do a great deal of knitting on sizes smaller than a 5. The Inky Dinky Spider Stole is knitted on a size 3. So Denise wouldn’t do for this.

So, I knit along on my Holz & Stein rosewood.

spider080105 Needled

For those of you keeping score at home, kindly note that the Inky Dinky Stole is not yet one-half completed, but it is more than one-third completed.

If I were ever to find the Holy Grail of lace knitting needles, it would go much faster!

Lucy is surprisingly unconcerned.

lucy080105 Needled