Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sock Yarn

There has been a failure of the software that I have been using to edit my digital photos. So I thought I'd try Picasa, a Google program. I've made an album of my sock yarn stash. To be sure, there is more, but I photographed everything that isn't involved in any WIP socks right now and that isn't hiding. I think I got most of it. I didn't count non-sock yarn that I bought with the intention of making socks or sock yarn that I bought to make something other than socks. Minus all that, I came up with 27 pairs of potential socks. The impetus was to get it on Ravelry. I can't do that yet because I'd still have to upload it to Flicker first. You have to use Flicker. Well, here's a link to my photo album on Web Album. Link

I've made an agreement to make Molly from CelticSwanForge a pair of socks. They will have a bit of color work on the tops with blacksmith symbols--Well, blacksmith tools. I told her about the dark green yarn I had leftover from Packer Fugarama and she requested a lighter green to go with it. To that end, I did a little playing with color this weekend. I may not be done tweaking the color. The actual color turned out brighter and less minty than it appears here, but the picture is really not that far off. Maybe I will learn to like Picasa, though I am dissatisfied with the sizing options.
In other sock news, I've finally made it past the legs on the secret socks I'm making for my Knitty sock pal, Fschmom. They've been taking forever. It is partly because they have special features!!! which I cannot discuss right now and partly because I wasted a lot of time trying to master the short row heel. I, um, didn't master it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Last Stitches Post 2007

I bought this knitting bag at Stitches. It says "Baskets from Cambodia" on a label in the interior. It was SO hard choosing the color, but when in doubt, go with the wildest, least conservative. Thus, spring green. The photo doesn't show this, but the base is kidney shaped to hug the body. The thing I'm having issues with is that I can't snug up the drawstring so that it shuts completely, try as I have. This is the kind of perfectionist I am. I end up breaking things once in a while because of it. I definitely overcook things. A little is good, a lot is better. I managed once to partially felt 900 grams of llama/wool that I'd overdyed by zapping it too long in the microwave. Oops. Another example is that I have a really, really, really hard time not putting more gas in after the pump stops. This is not what I set out to blog about, but I'm just killing time while the picture of the purse uploads. La di da di dum, di dum. Here is the rest of what I bought at Stitches. Just 5 skeins of yarn from Newton Farms' four-dollar yarn man. Last year he was the seven-dollar yarn man. This year he was the four-dollar yarn man and the skeins were smaller. Not a problem. The 2 pale blue skeins are 60/40 angora/merino. I have a weakness for angora. There was another color, but I had to think about the unknit angora I had at home. The other stuff is 100% rayon. It's soft and drapey. After returning home I realized it was a lot like some of the cotton I visit occasionally at the Elann site used for a vest I like. See? I think it'll knit at 5 to 5.5 stitches per inch. The labels were marked 80 yards, but I knew that was wrong. There is definitely more. The angora labels didn't state yardage at all.

How to measure? I remembered hearing that one could put a hank on the swift, measure the circumference of the swift, then count the revolutions as the ball is wound and do the appropriate math. I had no confidence in my ability to count the revolutions. But never fear, I figured out a way that probably everybody else already knows. Anyhow, first I laid out one hank so that it was double. I measured that length and doubled it to get the full length. Then I counted the number of strands in the hank and multiplied that amount by the length I'd gotten. Here is the best yarn shot I've ever taken. Actually there are 2 as you plainly see. The thing is, I couldn't decide which illustrated the counting of the strands better, and besides, I'm powerless over angora.

The next task was winding. All five hanks unrolled cleanly off the swift. That was a treat. Either I'm getting better or Newton Farms has a superior hanking method. A problem did develop between one of the angora skeins and the ball winder. Halfway through the skein this happened:

Oh, oh, big mishegoss (Yiddish mess).

Down to one little snarl. Piece of cake

The heart of the matter. It looked like I'd have to break the yarn.

Glasses off. Now I'm serious, and look! Success!

Aw, not again! Only 9 yards from the end? Sssssssssnap! Problem solved.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Oh, the people you'll meet!

Seiding and I went to Stitches on Friday, the 10th. We saw and spoke to Lily Chin! Seiding saw a woman sitting a chair knitting about a million miles an hour. When she commented to the woman, the woman looked up and said, "I'm from New York. I do everything fast." We figured out who she was and spoke for a couple of minutes. We didn't introduce ourselves. That was rude. Sorry, Lily Chin, wherever you are. We didn't ask to take a picture. Duh. We also found my friend Bev's booth. She sells a line of jewelry knitting kits. The jewelry is knitting with wire. Bev blogs at Knitter's Journey (see the sidebar). Bev was there and so was Carolyn whom Bev had recruited from Monday Night Knitting. They were doing a whizbang business and we didn't get to talk much. Again, I didn't take a picture. Duh. I even had the camera out to show them a saved picture of a friend's new dog. Double duh. (He came with the name of Scooby.)
Along about noon Seiding and I headed for the snack bar, whipped out some of our new yarn, placed it delicately on our poor foolish heads and waited for the Knittyhead meetup to begin. Ah! Celtic Coyote has spotted us! And then there were more!

Cast of characters:

Celtic Coyote Plum Fan

Big Wild Onion




Disclaimer: Every single one of these people look better in person, in fact they are stunning women known far and wide for their great beauty.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Knitting Camp, the other

I'm finally getting around to blogging our knitting camp from last weekend. I'm not sure quite how the idea got started. I know what we were talking about, but I'm not sure who decided we needed an informal camp. I blame Elizabeth from the Knitty Coffeeshop. J'accuse! Elizabeth is also the one who really got the ball rolling in reserving a convenient site, with excellent consulting from Seiding. Thank you, both.
The following Knittyheads made up our corps: Celtic Coyote, from DeKalb, Illinois, Pumpkinseed and Criosa from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Elizabeth from Madison, Seiding from West Bend, and me, your next American Idol, from Milwaukee. We camped at Lake Geneva, WI in Bigfoot Beach State Park. The campground wasn't the best, but it worked for convenience. We all agreed that we'd like to do this again, but start earlier in order to be able to reserve a better campground. Apparently, many state parks have less crowded grounds. This one was too close to Chicago apparently. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It was quiet and that was nice. Sue brought a nifty tent. We both had our own door and there was a wall in the middle. I basically just threw all my crap in my side and didn't have to make it neat or organized. Thumbs up for that. Elizabeth dragged her camper from Madison and everybody else slept there.

Elizabeth was the hero of our trip. She bought all the food, hauled it over, cooked it, kept it cold, and provided the plates, pots & pans, stove, and utensils for it. She provided the means for and did most of the dish washing. The woman is a dynamo, I tell you. From her screen presence and having met her briefly at one Last Saturday Knitting in Madison, I thought she would be more formal. I'm not surprised she has developed so many needle arts talents as she has the wonderful ability to go from thing to thing very quickly and still achieve deep focus. Yay! Of course I felt a little guilty (but pampered)about not helping much, but I think I stayed out of everyone's way pretty well. She made a terrific fire and kept it ablaze. She's a campfire whisperer.
I brought a lot of stuff along including my swift and winder, my box of beading stuff, and yarn to trade. The trading was fun. I managed to resist everything except for some vintage worsted wool that Elizabeth had brought. Sort of a light mulberry/rosy color. It's interesting that Elizabeth took the vintage worsted wool that I had brought. We probably could have saved each other the trouble of bringing it.
I was very careful to make sure the battery in the camera was fully charged and to bring the freshly charged spare, carefully wrapped in Saran Wrap. You may be wondering where is a picture of everybody. (There's one on Elizabeth's blog, that's here. ) Well, I only took 3 pictures. Why did I only take 3 pictures? I can't show you more of the fun that we had or of the site, or of our knitting, or even of the big rain. My middle age--can't live with it, can't remember s**t. But here is a very nice picture of PumpkinSeed and Seiding who've just finished successfully hanging the water on the big, giant maple tree (take my word for it. It was big.) I like the look of accomplishment on their faces and in their body language. Well done, campers. By the way, if you can think of a good name for our knitting camp, come on out with it. It might be worth it's weight in yarn. Nothing with the word Knitty, though. We don't want to imply any sponsorship.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Stitch N Pitch

Stitch N Pitch
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Miller Park, Milwaukee
Brewers vs. Mets
Final: Brewers over Mets 3-2, 12 innings.

This is Flora. Flora owns French Knots II in Bayside, one of Milwaukee's northshore burbs. She is my lys owner even though there is another closer, larger yarn shop. I bought 2 tickets for Stitch N Pitch night at Miller Park from Flora. Flora brought goodie bags for the French Knots group. Among other things, the bags had a set of #8 bamboo straights and a ball of Louet worsted wool yarn. Mine was light blue. My partner in crime's was brown.

My companion for the game was my friend/honorary grandma/honorary mom, Grandma Lil. Grandma Lil was interviewed by a reporter who somebody sent over because of Grandma Lil's being old. She is a big baseball fan and apparently the other stitchers interviewed were not. The gist of the article in the paper was about the non-sports mindedness of the knitters and one other fan's negative reaction toward that. Grandma Lil was thrown in at the end as an afterthought. We were all disappointed with the article, but not with the experience. We stayed for all 12 innings.

Midwest Fiber Art & Folk Fair at Crystal Lake, IL

Sue and I went to a fiber fair in Crystal Lake, IL. Sue drove while I knitted. It was very pleasant (for me). My camera battery failed after only a few pics, so enjoy these.

It was July 20th and the last Harry Potter book was about to be released that very night. I was sorely tempted to buy this witch hat. It was 55 dollars and definitely worth it. In the end I wimped out because I spent A LOT of money on yarn. I am still thinking about it, so that's how I know I maybe should have bought it. I would have been excellent for work. Here are more of the hats made by the lady in that booth. I apologize for not getting her name.

The Fold had a booth shared with someone else. Toni, The Fold's
proprietor, was there. She had some Socks that Rock yarn.

Here is what I bought:

Clockwise from top left:

1. 2-8 oz. skeins Interlacements Kansas (aka Rayflax), 600 yds each. 85% Rayon, 15% flax

2. 1-8.1 oz. skein Enchanted Meadows (undyed) white alpaca, 584 yds.

3. 5-3.5 oz. skeins Knitting Notions, Andee in Aubergine, 50% merino, 50% alpaca

4. 3-4 oz. skeins Knitting Notions, Wildflower worsted, 100% wool
5. 1 skein Knitting Notions, Wildflower sock yarn, 100% Superwash Merino

6. 1 skein Knitting Notions, Fruit Basket sock yarn, 100% Superwash Merino
7. 1 skein Socks That Rock medium, Downpour color,100% superwash merin0
8. 1 skein Socks That Rock medium, Backstabber color,100% Superwash Merino
9. 2-4 oz. skeins Knitting Notions, Brilliant Blue worsted 100% wool
10. 5-4 oz. skeins Knitting Notions Deep Blue Sea worsted, 100% wool

Sue and I met another Knitty person and knit blogger, Celtic Coyote for lunch. This was cause for the best picture of all. Sue displays the International Symbol of I'm Meeting an Internet Knitter Here: