My current work in progress:

1. Strandwanderer, designed by Lea Viktoria, knit from Wollmeise Merino "Pure" in the "Zenzi" colorway on a 3.25 mm (U.S. size 3) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

New Spinning Toy

Rossana was right — my new spinning toy is a Woolee Winder.

Psst! Rossana! Would it kill you to post to your blog? icon wink New Spinning Toy

wooleewinder New Spinning Toy

I’d been wondering about the Woolee Winder and when Ann got one for her birthday a little while back, I was able to get a firsthand opnion of it. So I ordered it a couple of weeks ago and it arrived last week.

It works great, and I love it. It really is amazing the difference it makes not having to stop and move the little pinchie thingie on the Lendrum to wind the yarn on the bobbin evenly. The Woolee Winder does that for you, smoothly and easily. The winder comes with one bobbin, and I ordered three more with it, for a total of four.

What’s that on the wheel?

It’s one of Spinderella’s thrums, which I bought a couple of months ago. I have a total of 8 ounces of this color, which is sort of an iced mint green. It’s great fun to spin.

thrun040906 New Spinning Toy

Sock News

I finished the green socks.

socks040806 New Spinning Toy

To recap, these are knitted from hand dyed sock yarn from Black Bunny Fibers using my Generic Toe Up Sock Pattern on US 0 (2mm needles).

I wore them Saturday and they were very comfy. I washed them this afternoon (machine wash and dry) and they came out looking just fine.

I started a new sock, of course.

sock040906 New Spinning Toy

This is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock, in the Spanish Moss colorway. I love this yarn. It reminds me of the Socks That Rock yarn in how it feels and knits up. I am once again knitting using my size 0 needles.

Book Tour

I’ve gotten a number of comments and emails asking why I’m not going anywhere other than the places listed in my sidebar on my book tour. Remember, I am not the one who chooses where I go — that’s up to my publisher. They have a budget for publicity and are, of course, trying to get as many appearances as they can for what they have to work with.

Now if the book sells fabulously and we make a pile of money, there’s a very good chance I’ll be out on tour again!

Please note, also that I’ve amended my Maryland Sheep & Wool visit — I’ll be there on Saturday the 6th only, not Saturday and Sunday.

Why I Need a Keeper

I was mentioning to the King of All Remote Controls the other day that I thought it was funny that the remote for my new fan controls several functions, but to turn the fan on or off, you have to use the control on the fan itself.

King of All Remote Controls pointed out to me, very gently, that the big button in the center of the remote control was the on/off button. You know, the one with the universal on-off symbol on it?

Oh.

lucy040906 New Spinning Toy

Lucy is mortified.

International Sock Yarn

Judging from the emails and comments I’ve received, y’all are getting the sock yarn I mailed last week. I am so pleased that it seems to be travelling around the world so quickly — Brenda in New Zealand received hers a mere 5 days after I mailed it!

Clearly the U.S. Postal Service realizes how important sock yarn is.

Speaking of the sock yarn contest, yesterday, Lucy and I got email from Gandi, the Blue Lynx Mitted Ragdoll kitty whose photo we posted a few days ago. Gandi writes:

Dear Wendy and Lucy,

To get ready to knit socks from the yarn you sent me I thought I would take lessons. First lesson: don’t bite the needles. Second lesson: Reading patterns is easier when they are not upside down.

Thanks again,
Gandi

gandi040606 International Sock Yarn

gandi040606a International Sock Yarn

Gandi, judging from the second photo, you are practicing by knitting intarsia. Lucy and I are very impressed.

So I did a teeny bit of knitting last night on the Aran. Here it is:

aran040606 International Sock Yarn

I got some cool stuff in the mail yesterday. First, these:

dpns040606 International Sock Yarn

Rosewood dpns in size 0 (2mm) — my favorite size for socks.

These are Colonial brand, and I got them from Joann.com. They took freaking forever to get here, because of problems in Joann’s shipping department. To apologize, they sent me a $15 credit, so I am slightly appeased.

In the spirit of Bad-Ass Knitters everywhere, I immediately transferred my sock in progress from the Addi bamboos to the new rosewoods.

sock040606 International Sock Yarn

The rosewoods are five and a half inches long. The Addis are just an ootch under six inches long, which makes them just an ootch longer than I like for socks. Five and a half inches is perfect! (I find my five inch Brittany birches an ootch too short). I am a fickle wench.

I knit with the rosewoods on the commute today and am very pleased with how they feel. A slightly different feel from the bamboo. I dunno — smoother? I wonder how sturdy they are. I’ve got another set of dpns in this brand, but they are much larger.

Well, if I snap one, I’m covered — I ordered two sets!

I got another toy in the mail yesterday, but I just started playing with it, so I’ll talk about it next week. I’ll give you a hint though — it is spinning-related and I think it is wicked cool!

Book Tour!

If you’ll look over in my sidebar, you will see all the events scheduled for my book tour this Spring. I am extremely excited to be able to visit all the great places listed . . . and also terrified. icon smile International Sock Yarn

Peg asked about times for Maryland Sheep & Wool. I’ll post specific time and place when I get that nailed down. I need to confer with Phyl, who is going with me (yes, as my keeper). But we will be there both Saturday and Sunday, and will have a time set for meeting and greeting and signing books each day. The wonderful Jennifer at Spirit Trail will be selling copies of my book if you want to buy it there, but I’ll be happy to sign your copies if you already have it and bring it along to the festival.

Alrighty then. Today was the last day of the Very Important Meeting at work, so life can return to some semblance of normalcy. And maybe my blog entries next week will be more coherent.

But I wouldn’t count on it.

lucy040606 International Sock Yarn

It’s All About Mistakes

Question:
If you find that you’ve made a mistake in your checkbook and you actually have $100 more than you thought — doesn’t that mean that you must spend that $100 on yarn?

Yes, I thought that’s what it meant, too.

Not a whole heckuva lot of progress to report today, on any front. I am in the middle of a Very Important Powwow at work this week which has necessitated longer hours spent at the orifice office, so my knitting progress last night was virtually non-existent. I fell asleep extremely early instead. I am a Delicate Flower and unable to deal with all these extra hours of work.

aran040506 Its All About Mistakes

But speaking of mistakes, The Virginia Purl asked an interesting question the other day:
When I looked at your lovely green cotton Aran a question came to mind. When you are doing a large project like that and you look back to find a hole or mistake, how willing are you to go back and frog it?

The answer is . . . it depends on how obvious the error is. If I look at it and gasp in horror, I do indeed go back and fix it.

For example — when I was knitting my second Inishmore several years ago, I discovered after having most of the second sleeve done, I had knitted it the same as the first sleeve. The patterns on Inishmore’s sleeves are mirror-image of each other. Mine were not. So I did rip it out back to the ribbing (cursing myself for my stupidity and inattention all the while) and started again.

I make a point, these days, of scrutinizing my knitting very closely after every couple of rows to ensure that I haven’t committed some atrocity. It’s far easier to fix an atrocity two rows down than one twelve inches down.

The storm photo in yesterday’s blog entry was taken in Alexandria, Virginia, by the way.

Lucy is not bothered too much by thunderstorms. Monday night when the storm started, I took her into the bedroom with me, where the curtains were closed and the room is smaller, so she’d have a better sense of security. She looked a little nervous at the first boom of thunder, but I reassured here that everything was okay. And she believed me.

Unlike my dearly departed kitty Tristan, who would alert me of a thunderstorm before it hit. Without fail, ten minutes before every thunderstorm he would slink into a closet and hide for the duration.

Lucy Sez

lucy040506 Its All About Mistakes

I don’t care about storms — my Momma got something that came in a big box. Wheeeeee!

It’s a new fan, and boy oh boy, the King of All Remote Controls is going to be so jealous when he sees this:

remote040506 Its All About Mistakes

It has a remote!

Ominous Sky

Here’s one for you, Sandy.

sky040406 Ominous Sky

Half an hour after posting my blog entry last night, I took this photo of the sky. Pretty ominous-looking. We had a good ol’ rip-roaring thunderstorm last night, but fortunately nothing worse than that. And the area got half an inch of rain, so that’s a good thing.

Because things like this entertain me, here’s a picture of the weather map that goes along with the sky pic.

us dca closeradar large usen Ominous Sky

Anyway . . .

Janna asked:
I also used your Knitty tutorial to try out toe-up cast-ons recently, and I really like the Figure 8 cast-on — I love that there’s no waste yarn to mess with! But how do you decide how many stitches to start with using the Figure 8? Since you used 8 per needle for 16 total and ended up with 48 stitches, I guessed that you cast on 1/3 of the desired total, split between the two needles. But since that was totally a guess — how do *you* figure the number to cast-on?

My rule of thumb toe is to start with a third of the total number of stitches for your sock. But you know what? You can start with as many stitches as you like. If, unlike me, you have dainty, narrow toes, start with fewer than one-third of the total stitches. And vice-versa. That’s one of the beauties of handknit socks — you can knit them exactly to your specifications.

If you have wide feet and skinny legs, you can decrease stitches after you complete the foot. And, of course, vice-versa. If you have specific foot or ankle issues, you can compensate for them in your sock. You are de boss of de sock!

So, I bossed my sock-in-progress around a bit today. I’m turning the heel, see?

sock040406 Ominous Sky

Lucy Sez

lucy040406 Ominous Sky

Look at the nice cosy place I found to sleep — on Momma’s shawls!

April Showers Bring May Flowers?

That’s what they tell me, anyhow. Today was a gloomy, cloudy, day, but we’ve gotten so little precipitation here so far this year that I was hoping for rain. But by the time I got home — blue skies.

There is a tornado warning in effect for this area though. C’mon — send rain, not tornados!

Annette asked a couple of questions:
What’s your favorite sock yarn?
Any hints on how to avoid leaving a hole when doing wraps?

I don’t really have a favorite sock yarn. I tend to like yarns that have some percentage of nylon mixed in, versus 100% wool, because I think the socks with the nylon will last a bit longer.

About holes and short rows, check out this blog entry from last month.

Laughingrat asked:
Last weekend I tried a bunch of toe-up cast ons, occasionally working from the Knitty article you did. The one I haven’t tried yet is the short-row toe. How do you feel that works for, say, self-striping yarn? Do the short rows mess with the stripe pattern too much, or is the effect so slight as to be barely noticeable?

Check out the blog entry referenced above. There’s some photographic proof of what short-row toes and heels do in self-striping yarn.

ASC Aran

I finished the back of the All Seasons Cotton aran.

aran040306 April Showers Bring May Flowers?

And started the front.

aran040306a April Showers Bring May Flowers?

So far, this has been a pleasure to knit. All Seasons Cotton has enough microfiber in it to make it pleasant to knit . . . unlike pure cotton, which I almost never enjoy.

Thanks for all the kind comments on the handspun. I bought that roving last may at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, from Tintagel Farm. I started spinning it right away, then abandoned it for months. Then I plied the first two ounces in January, and started spinning the remainder. And abandoned it for months.

So I sucked it up and finished it last weekend and am very happy I did. I like the resulting yarn very much and I have no excuse for taking so long to spin it.

It’s possibly the best spinning I’ve done to date — pretty darn even and just about fingering weight. I really ought to spin more often to get more practice in. But I need more hours in the day.

yarn040306 April Showers Bring May Flowers?

Lucy Sez

lucy040306 April Showers Bring May Flowers?

What does she keep in this damned drawer, anyway?