My current work in progress:

1. Ashburn, designed by Melanie Berg, knit from Woolfolk Tynd in colorways 6, 7, and 8 on a 4 mm (U.S. size 6) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Tuesday at Wheel Central

Well, the new baby spinning wheel seems to be settling in nicely with the big wheels.

Immediately after getting her, I did a quick practice spin, but have not played with her since. Lack of attention to the new wheel is due to back pain and spasms of epic proportions, of which I am getting heartily sick. This too shall pass and I’ll be able to give her the attention she deserves. For the brief time I’ve spent with her, she seems like a sweet little wheel that spins nicely, but I haven’t got her adjusted perfectly yet.

I do like the fact that her little head moves from side to side so that you can spin right or lefthanded and from an angle as the spirit moves you. She’s a nice quiet wheel with smooth treadling. She also folds flat so you can pop her into her carrying case in a jiffy!

I forsee years of happy spinning ahead for the two of us!

Thanks for all the entries so far in the Guess the Baby Spinning Wheel’s Name Contest. Several of you have guessed the name, but not how I am spelling it. If no one guesses the name with the exact spelling, the prize will go to the first person who submitted the correct name with an alternate spelling. Winner to be announced Thursday afternoon!

While We Are On the Subject of Spinning

Lookie here:

roving111505 Tuesday at Wheel Central

These are rovings I bought from Nistock Farms– clockwise from top left: Plums and Berries(Cotswold), Beneath the Waves (Cotswold), Autumn Spice(Cotswold), and Brown Sugar (lamb and alpaca).

The lovely wine roving I’m offering up as a prize in the Guess the Baby Spinning Wheel’s Name Contest is also from Nistock Farm.

I think I’m going to have to spin up the Autumn Spice very soon. That should come as no surprise to someone, for I blame her for my current obsession with the color orange.

Knitting?

Ummmmm . . . notice the lack of knitting content today? See “back pain and spasms of epic proportion,” above. Here’s Lucy, waiting patiently for me to return to the wheel.

lucy111505 Tuesday at Wheel Central

It’s the Process

Hey Margene, this woman is into the ultimate process knitting! (Link pilfered from Guy at My Vedana.)

And Now For Something Completely Different

spongebob111505 Tuesday at Wheel Central

Didja know that Spongebob rode the Washington DC metro?

“M” Day

It’s all Mermaid all the time here at WendyKnits.

I estimate that I’ve got about two evenings worth of knitting left on the body of Mermaid. And I just went past the halfway point on the first sleeve in my commuter knitting.

mermaid111405 M Day

So, the end is in sight. It’s pretty far down the road, but it is in sight.

Esther asked:
Would you do another one of Hanne Falkenberg’s designs?

A picture is worth a thousand words.

ballerina111405 M Day

That’s Falkenberg’s “Ballerina” in the black and tan colorway.

I’ve not touched the Frostrosen mitten since Sunday before last. I’ve been tempted a few times, but have stood firm. I know if I get into mitten knitten I’ll want to abandon Mermaid altogether.

I have, however, allowed myself to do some spinning.

singles111305 M Day

Speaking of spinning, check out this cozy family group:

lucy111405 M Day

Notice anything new? Hmmmmmm?

That’s a bouncing baby Majacraft Gem, which just arrived today. Isn’t she cute?

majacraft111405 M Day

In celebration of the new baby wheel . . . a contest!

Guess the New Spinning Wheel’s Name

She’s got a name, but I ain’t telling what it is. Can you guess?

Send an email to The Official WendyKnits Contest Email Address by 5:00pm EST on Thursday, November 17 with your guess for the name. One entry per person, and only entries sent to that email address will be entered in the contest.

First person who guesses correctly wins. If no one guesses the exact name, I’ll select the guess that comes closest.

If the winner is a spinner, said winner will receive this:

roving111405 M Day

4 ounces of yummy wool roving dyed a rich wine color.

Not a spinner? Then the lucky winner will get some of my crappy handspun:

handspun111405 M Day

This is a 2 ounce skein of my handspun wool, approximately sport weight. Enough for a small pair of mittens or a pair of fingerless mitts.

So . . . send those guesses in . . . to The Official WendyKnits Contest Email Address!

Wading Through Mermaid

I’ve been wading in the deep end of Mermaid all weekend.

Just a few more inches of knitting and the body will be done!

mermaid111305 Wading Through Mermaid

Yeah, I sucked it up and kept knitting. Watching movies while knitting helps a great deal.

I’ve still got one and a half sleeves to knit on Mermaid after I finish the body — so there’s a long way to go.

Anne asked:
I just got my Mermaid kit (colorway 4) as an early Christmas gift! I’ve just started skimming the pattern and I can’t find where it specifies how long the initial i-cord should be before you start picking up all of the front stitches. I am assuming that the length should equal the length of the left front (I’m making the smallest size). Is that correct? What size circulars did you get gauge with on the body?

The initial i-cord needs to be long enough to pick up one stitch for each row of i-cord. The pattern specifices how many stitches you need to pick up along the i-cord — that’s the number of i-cord rows you need to knit.

I got gauge with the recommended needle size.

Spinning

Lucy demonstrated her spinning position while The King All Remote Controls took photos.

lucy111305a Wading Through Mermaid

She’s just getting settled in.

And here she is, hunkered down!

lucy111305 Wading Through Mermaid

And while I was downloading the photos to the computer, I found this one:

beer111305 Wading Through Mermaid

It has a certain charm, does it not?

The Desultory Knitter

That’s me.

Sorta bored with Mermaid now, and I’m just about at the halfway mark with it. Perhaps if the weather ever gets actually cold enough so I have a chance of wearing it . . .

But we’ve had some dramatic weather changes today. A — dare I say it? — cold front coming through. I photographed the sky three times, just about an hour apart each time:

sky111005 The Desultory Knitter

(Like the reflection of the ceiling lights in the window?)

sky111005a The Desultory Knitter

And finally:

sky111005b The Desultory Knitter

But — back to knitting.

Do you all go through these periods of knitting malaise? I usually don’t, but the older I get, the crankier I get (if it is indeed possible for me to get crankier), and some of that crankiness rubs off on my knitting.

Here I am — mid-gusset!

mermaid111005 The Desultory Knitter

But you never know. I may wake up tomorrow and think: “Oooh, neato! I get to knit miles of garter-stitch! Neato! Neato!”

Though, for the record, I almost never think or say “Neato.”

While mid-gusset, I was drawn inexplicably towards the spinning wheel. Well, actually, there’s a good explanation. This:

roving111005 The Desultory Knitter

This is Australian wool, hand-dyed by Kathy of Holly Spring Homespun. You can see why I was drawn to it, can’t you? What fabulous colors.

So I did a bit of spinning:

singles111005 The Desultory Knitter

And here is the supervisor, sitting where she usually does while I spin:

lucy111005 The Desultory Knitter

Yes, that is the chair I sit in while spinning. As soon as I sit down, Lucy jumps up and wedges herself in-between me and the back of the chair. Who needs a heating pad?

So . . . let’s address a comments question, shall we?

Christina asked a good one:
I have a question unrelated to this post but infinately related to your career as a knitter. Could you tell me why Alice Starmore books are so expensive, and why so many of them are out-of-print? I am eager to build my library of knitting books and would enjoy her books warming my shelves, yet I cannot part with $110+ for one book. Any hints? Is is OK to copy patterns from library books for personal use? Thank you!

Ingrid offered an answer:
I think I can answer the question about the AS books. Knitting books, as much as we love them, aren’t generally a mass-market commodity. They tend to have small print runs and therefore cost more to produce per book. Then, as they go out of print, the prices are high because they have a consistent, yet small, fan base that wants them year after year. If I am not mistaken, there is a out-of-print Barbara Walker book that goes for hundreds of dollars.

(Aside: Pretty slick of me using reader comments to write my blog entry, doncha think?)

Ingrid is correct, I believe, in that knitting books for the most part are done in small print runs and go out of print quickly.

Why are the Starmore books so popular? The Fair Isle knitting book and the Aran knitting book both are great technical resources, so they are, in my opinion, rightly in high demand. But some of her earlier out-of-print books that are so expensive are (forgive me, Alice) not fabulous. I’ve got both Knitting From the British Isles and Scandinavian Knitwear and I don’t think they are worth the exhorbitant prices I see them going for as used books on Amazon.com. Just my opinion. Just sayin’.

On to the second part of Christine’s question — Is is OK to copy patterns from library books for personal use?

I did some searching, and found this answer on the Girl From Auntie’s site.

By the way, there’s an excellent article by the same individual on copyright and knitters in the Knitty archives here.

Thank You

Thank you for all the kind comments about the book cover. I quite like it and I’m glad that you do too!

I had absolutely nothing to do with the design — I was sent a preliminary design a few weeks ago that was very similar to the finished cover. I offered some minor suggestions that the publisher kindly incorporated and voila! Finished design.

I know not what yarns those are, nor from whence they came. But they sure are purty, ain’t they?

Knit Club

There’s a nice review of the Knitter’s Review Retreat here. Kindly note that L-B and I are mentioned and photographed as two separate, distinct people.

Or are we? There’s always Photoshop . . .

Okay. Back to Mermaid. Have a good weekend!

Wheeeee!

I’ve had my book’s cover design for a little while, but just got the go-ahead from my publisher to share it with you:

Bookcover110905 Wheeeee!

I love it!

You may notice that the subtitle is different from the Amazon listing — it was changed after the book was listed on Amazon. No doubt it’ll be updated there eventually.

A Two-fer

That little mitten cuff I showed you yesterday is my ticket to two, count ‘em, two knit-alongs.

First up: Sandy’s Warm Hands Knit-along. I’m a-knittin’ a mitten, so I qualify there.

And then there’s MJ’s Norwegian Knits-Along. My mitten is a Norgi mitten, so I qualify there as well.

That’s two, two, two knit-alongs in one!

Spinning

Thanks to all for your very kind comments about my spinning endeavors. Creating a consistent, balanced yarn might not be a big deal to you experienced spinners out there, but to this total novice it qualifies as a Very Big Deal!

Spinning with non-animal fibers? Haven’t really done it, apart from spinning some samples. Judging from the samples I’ve tried, I prefer spinning animal fibers.

Mermaid

She’s just relaxing on the couch.

mermaid110905 Wheeeee!

Lucy

Also relaxing.

lucy110905 Wheeeee!

Yup. We are having a lazy evening!