You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2008.

I received the new Knit Picks catalogue, and noticed that every question that came to mind as I flipped through it could be answered with a yes.

Does this sweater make the model look fat?  Yes.

Is this garment poorly blocked?  Yes.

Are those buttons sloppily placed?  Yes.

Is it possible to have too many cables on a sweater? Oh, yeah.

Would that sock pattern look really nice with some beads on it?  Yes!

Do I really need more knitting books?  Um, yes, but not today, thanks.

Are these needles as pretty, great to work with, and affordable as everyone says? Yes, yes, yes!

So as I was knitting away on the Blue Blob, I had a sudden thought. “Beads. Perhaps some beads would look good on this.” I’d had a good experience with the beads on the Perdita cuff, and the idea didn’t seem impossible. I bought a small packet of variegated irredescent blue beads at the knitting store to see how the color looked, and knitted a bit of a sample to figure out where to place them. I decided that knitting them at the tops of the YO holes in the Old Shale edging would make a nice effect, and found a bunch more similar beads for a whole lot less at Alexander’s Bead Bazaar, so mixed them all up in a flat lidded container.

Rather than string them all onto the yarn and slide them into place, I decided to use the wire technique, a variation on the crochet hook technique. I don’t happen to have a crochet hook that small. It may be a faster method, and I’ll give it a try sometime. I did have some Tigertail bead stringing wire, so I cut about a 6 inch length and crimped it hard near the center, making a V shape.

After knitting the pattern row, I came back, knitting into every stitch. After knitting into a YO, I slipped the new stitch off the right needle with the wire

Beading 1

then put a bead onto the wire and slid it down into the stitch.

Beading 2

I put the stitch back onto the right needle, snugged down the excess yarn,

Beading 3

and knitted the next stitch.  Only 479 more beads to go! Not that I’m counting, or anything.

The advantage to the crochet/wire technique is that the bead is nicely centered on a stitch, and equally visible from both sides of the finished piece, a good quality in a shawl. (Sorry about the picture quality — the camera  just really wanted to focus on the table, not the fuzzy stuff.)

I finally sprung for a set of blocking wires, JoAnn’s having thoughtfully emailed me a 40% off coupon.  These are the best!  Apparently, you can get the same effect by using welding wire stock, but this set was inexpensive enough, came with a handful of T-pins, a ruler, and a handy storage tube, so it works for me.

To illustrate the true marvelousness of proper blocking, here’s a picture of my first lace project, a Branching Out scarf in a pleasant wool yarn — which means I forget what it was.

Boiled what?

I had washed it, squeezed it dry, then pinned it in sections to my ironing board and held the hot iron over it for bit, which is a simple and quick blocking technique that had been recommended to me when I was incredulous that one would possibly be willing to pin a whole scarf out on the carpet or some such place. 

But I’ve traveled a ways down the road of madness lace since then, and can totally see cordoning off a room to let a large pinned-out lace object dry in peace.  So when my blocking wires arrived, I knew what the perfect test case would be.

Wash, squeeze dry, as before. But this time, I threaded a wire along each edge of the scarf, overlapping  a couple of inches when I added a second wire on each long side.  Using the ruler, I made sure the edges were parallel as I placed T-pins every few inches to hold the wires in position.  No picture of scarf-submitting-to-discipline, unfortunately, but here’s the finished result, draped casually over the very chair I sit in to write this blog:

Ahhh . . .

 Much better, don’t you think?

 And it’s good to have these wires ready to spring into action, because I’m getting down to the last sections of the Blue Blob, which will certainly require a good job of blocking. Here it is very roughly pinned out so I could see how big it was getting and decide how many rows of Old Shale edging to put on (a lot):
Blue and not so blobby

A wire is visible along the right hand edge, and when the time comes I’ll thread it much more rigorously along the sides. But it’s coming along nicely, and is recognizably a Seascape Shawl. Whew!

Today is the  one year blogiversary of Moominmama’s Memoirs.  What began as a lark, a “because everyone has one and it looks like fun” project, has had the following results:

I made a lot of new friends,  one of whom I have actually met in person,

I started a tiny cottage industry , with some wonderful practical help from a so far unmet-in-real-life friend, and have sold yarn to complete strangers,

I got involved with a major time-sink,

I finished more knitting projects than I have could have imagined, and have . . . err . . . a  few more in the works, thanks to the inspiration I find in reading other folks’ blogs.

Thank you for making my day every time I check my blog stats and see that, yes, people are actually reading this thing, on purpose even.  Thank you for commenting, writing your blogs, and being creative in so many ways and sharing it with the world.

Let’s have some cake!

Mmmmm, yarncake. . .

Hot spinning action

The St. Distaff’s Day Spin-In was a great success! This event was so well-attended that late arrivals couldn’t find space to set up their wheels, and they are looking for a larger venue.

A wheelAnother wheelYoung drop spindler

There were wheels aplenty, in all sorts of shapes and sizes (click to biggify).  The young man on the right avidly watching the drop spindle was happy to turn it for his mom: “Turn it the regular way  . . . now this time, turn it the other way . . .”

Prettiest wheel I’ve ever seen!

This wheel was amazing! There are dried flowers embedded in plastic on wheel,  and also butterflies and bees.  It is a Betty Roberts wheel and her work has quite a following, deservedly so. There is even a Yahoo group dedicated to them.

I did well enough with my yarn sales to treat myself to a couple of purchases.  This niddy noddy is perhaps the prettiest niddy noddy in the world, certainly in my house, since I did not have one at all.  It’s handmade, and was in the booth next to mine.  I saw it from across the tables, and thought, “Oh, my!  That must be ast least $70, being handcarved from some lovely wood, and all.”  Turns out it was $20, and came into the dealer’s hands  with a bunch of stuff that came along with a used loom. She didn’t know any more about it.

Niddy noddy resting, in fact, nodding off

It’s had some adventures in its life, and has a blotch of ink here and some spots where the finish has worn off there, but it’s light-weight and lovely to use.  I put it to work right away holding the yarn I plied.

Another vendor was selling this:

Ah, cashmere!

Oh, my.  Locally produced cashmere from her own herd of goats. Breezy Meadow Cashmere Farm is in Bellingham, Washington, and sells fiber, yarn, animals, soap, chickens, and eggs. They don’t have an formal internet shop for the fiber products, but if you email them (link on their website), I would hope they’d be happy to sell by mail. Roberta explained to me some of the problems of getting cashmere processed into yarn, and her insistance on high quality work from any mill she deals with. I feel that this is a product that is truly outstanding, and would recommend whole-heartedly.  Not cheap, but then I wouldn’t want it to be.

Ah, cashmere!

They have both brown and white cashmere yarn, and also cashmere/merino and cashmere/silk blends

Ah, cashmere!

plus ready-to-spin fiber.

Soooo sooooft

Softer than a bunny’s ear, softer than a baby’s cheek, or a kitten’s tail, or anything else you can think of.