High in the sky apple pie hopes… Sunday, Jan 20 2008 

Spring yarns are trickling in at the store and they are super tempting! I have so much cotton, linen, hemp, etc. in my stash, I’m forcing myself to NOT gorge on anything from Berroco or Classic Elite, specifically the highly tempting Seduce and Soft Linen. Trying to ignore the totally adorable patterns from Norah Gaughan and Pam Allen. To quash these cravings and celebrate the fact that I think this is the year I’ve finally accepted that I’m a fledgling designer (long time readers will know that there has been much internal consternation surrounding that self-appointed title), I’m working up a little pattern that will take just a few skeins of these gorgeous new yarns and hopefully be a cute mid-season accessory. I wasn’t allowed to buy the yarn on Saturday because it is just that new (not in the Webs system) but hopefully by next weekend because it’ll be a quick knit, and I want to wear it!

Now, for some heart-stopping cuteness. In November (my month of knitting a million sweaters) I hinted at some unphotographed FOs, two tiny dog sweaters I made for a (very talented) friend’s adorable pomapoo. Shara snapped some pics and left them for me in the comments but I want everyone to meet the very dapper Diego!
Diego

And his new little sister Sadie, wearing the elfish green hoodie I originally made for Diego!

Sadie

That face!!

Sadie

I used the very adaptable Basic Hound Hoodie (Ravelry link but you can Google it for a free PDF). The first beige hoodie was knit with about half a skein of Tahki Soho Tweed which is a very nice yarn, soft and quick knitting. The green hoodie took half a skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca. In the store the Cascade 220 is right next to the Ultra Al and…it makes the Ultra Al look really good. For about 1 dollar more you get a vastly more luxurious yarn in totally unique, complex colors. I’m not knocking Cascade 220 (or it’s awesome rival yarn Northampton) but if you haven’t used Ultra Al, I implore you, buy a skein, knit some little gloves or a hat (or both). You’ll fall for it.

More handspun…I need to start knitting it before I have yet another stash to manage. This is what I’m calling Wheat Sheaves, spun from 4 ounces of Spunky Eclectic BFL in Monkey Farts, most hilarious color name ever. I’m actually kind of happy with the pictures I got of this one, so lots more at Flickr.

Wheat Sheaves

I’ve also been practicing my photo skills on the Sundara Season’s Club shipment (this is Tickled Pink, the spring selection):

Tickled Pink

It’s been interesting, I chose Autumn and Spring, my favorite seasons in real life but I’m thinking I should have stuck with my CMB season, Winter. Those skeins have been deep reds or weird combos of green and charcoal or magenta and black. I live for weird colors! I sold and traded my silk lace weight because I’m just not that masochistic. If I ever really get into hardcore lace knitting it’ll be with something sticky.

What else? Oh yes, I had some exciting scores at Target the other day, got a creme brulee set for 5 dollars!! Steve, owner of Webs and wisecracker overheard me telling a coworker and shouted, “you know why it was 5 bucks, because no one makes creme brulee at home!!” I beg to differ, I made it immediately and had a very delicious breakfast the next morning!

Creme Brulee

Won’t be making a habit of it though. They include a “low-cal” version but it’s probably not worth the dairy. Besides a momentary freak-out about the butane torch (visions of explosions, probably the REAL reason no one makes them at home) I had success. I also made paneer (Fresh Cheese in Bittman) the other day, which was very fun. I’m having a streak of food luck, what should I make next??

CR

“I vote for berets!” Tuesday, Dec 11 2007 

Name that film quote! So, last night Eric and I were rear-ended heading back from a show at a terrific venue in Allston. We called the cops and in less than two minutes there were 2 cop cars, an ambulance, a firetruck…I don’t understand how so many forces of…the force converged so quickly. I was a little dazed but I saw almost a dozen men in uniform, all asking me over and over if I was okay. I got a little teary at the attention we got, to be honest.

Then, I showed them my knitting. It was a sock in progress, on DPNs, and it was the first thing to fly out of my hands, thank God. They started roaring with laughter, making quips about how it could have been a total Farrelly Bros. situation. The last thing they said to me before driving off was “No more knitting in the car!”

This is the penultimate sweater in my NoSoNaFiSweMo runway “show,” it is Spray by Kim Hargreaves from the Rowan Plaid Collection. Since I knit it in in the Stormy Night colorway I renamed it T-Storms.

T-Storms

I don’t know what to say about it…the yarn was decent to work with, soft and lightweight. Another chunky knit with lots of clunky seams. I used the Plaid to seam but I removed one of the plies (the light grey) to reduce the bulk a bit.

Spray

My spinning is actually way more exciting than this FO. I’m flying through the sock set I ordered from Spunky Eclectic. I think my singles look pretty good!
Night Flower Singles

They’re a bit over-twisted but that should be okay after I ply it. Spunky’s sock kits are such an amazing deal–for $9.50 I get to practice spinning and plying sock yarn with a well-behaved wool (and coordinating nylon) and if all goes well I’ll have yarn to knit a lovely pair of new socks. So that’s hours of fun, PLUS a great pair of socks for UNDER TEN DOLLARS. I officially love spinning.

I kind of made up a method for preparing the fiber. I wanted to consult the Twisted Sister’s Sock Workbook, but it was checked out of my library. She includes two 2 oz. rovings (this kit was called Night Flower and included Banff and Pink Elephant, I think). I split each in half and then split each of those a few more times. I wound and weighed little “dreampuffs” and lined them up according to weight. I made two identical balls of roving alternating between the colors.

Dreampuff

So I’m spinning up two of these. Haven’t decided whether I’ll ply the two together or attempt to Navajo-ply each one separately.

Hudson Sunday, Dec 9 2007 

Edited to add: Okay, Winnie has unknowingly given me the answer!!  Why have I never considered headless photoshoots? You’re probably all sick of my face anyway! Question–does anyone know why my photos are showing up in Bloglines with a little bit of white between the photo and the border on the right side?

Hudson Hoodie turned into a zip-up, I have plenty of hooded sweatshirts. Eric tried his hardest to take some decent pictures for me but he had to contend with weak winter light and my ‘study face’–note grey-ish blue toned (hey, matches my Tilted Duster!) skin directly under my eyes. I don’t know what it is, I just can’t pose for him. Ho hum. I’ll try again in the future, maybe after my Gorillapod gets here.

Hudson Zip-Up

Hudson Zip-Up

One of the only non-blurry/well-lit ones:

: Hudson Zip-Up

Ha, this one is so Delia’s catalog. The photography duo that does the Webs catalog have a running joke about making a coffee table book that contains all the classic, cliched modeling poses (like, “Oh, just fixing my hair!” or “Squinting at Undetermined Point Far, Far Away”) and I think this qualifies. I’m trying to make sure my eyeballs don’t freeze open.

Hudson Zip-Up

This is a pretty straightforward knit, can’t believe it took me so long to pick it up and just finish it! All it needed was one raglan sleeve cap/top) and some finishing. It was pretty intense finishing. I hate seaming bulky knits, I used a lighter plied yarn but the seams are still large and in charge. Zipper installation takes time, this one was ordered from Zipperstop and sewn in by hand, twice on each side. The collar was improvised, which meant I had to rip and re-do 3x, mostly due to my lack of planning/number crunching.

I lined it in some delectable cashmere tweed , (a teensy bit that was left over from knitting a Panta for the store) so I didn’t really mind re-knitting it 3x! To work linings I usually work my collar as usual, work a purl turning row, then switch to my contrast yarn and increase a bit if it’s much thinner. I work until it almost matches the length of the collar and I usually bind-off while picking up a loop right below where the original collar started…I knit a stitch together with this picked up stitch so it’s bound-off and tacked down in one go. I hope this makes sense. Alternately, you can bind-off and tack it down with a whipstitch, which is what I ended up doing here. Is nice!

Hudson Collar

Tonight I’m happily spinning while Eric plays Mario Galaxy. Just two geeks, geeking out. Dinner was a Nigella recipe, onion pie (lots of caramelized red onions with a cheese scone crust) and some roasted cauliflower with plenty of wintery beer. Would you believe I already cracked a bobbin, most likely from dropping it. Those suckers are expensive. I might try to whittle a few =)

My father is insisting I give him Christmas wishes and while I was researching new knives on Amazon I came across Mollie Katzen’s new cookbook and promptly threw that onto the wish-list, but not before THIS treasure gave me whiplash. We’re not vegetarians but Eric doesn’t eat red meat or pork and I try to eat 90% vegetarian for ecological, fiscal and health…ful reasons. Besides that, the only thing I want for Christmas is more fiber!! Spinning is too fun…

Sepia Handspun

CR

P.S. Hope you’ll pardon my slow adjustment to WordPress, I’m a bit slow about Interweb things!

“You’re so beautiful… Thursday, Dec 6 2007 

you could be a part-time model, but you’d probably have to keep your day job…”

This is my theme song. It kills me when he says “spend part of your time modeling, and part of your time with me,” I would love to eat a kebab and take it slow with Gemaine, why does everyone prefer Brett, Gemaine is clearly the better man here!!

Anyhow, back to part time modeling! The latest Lexie photoshoot was really fun! She has given her site a makeover, it’s lovely! As always the new bags aren’t just in new prints, there are lots of cool new details. My favorite print is Pacifica, don’t know if it’s the colors I love or the fact that it was photographed with chocolates and a vanilla milkshake! There is also something very O’Keefe about the print, I love it. If you’re going to do floral, that’s my kind of floral.

My wardrobe for the day was…my wardrobe! Here it is resting on the radiator, which got rid of wrinkles and made outdoor shots a little easier.

Wardrobe on radiator

Lexie graciously provided a giant down parka which was so ANTM (btw, SO sad about Heather leaving last week). The location was an absolutely beautiful converted mill building. I’ve spent a lot of time in buildings like this–I earned my A.A. at Middlesex Community College which has a campus in Lowell, MA, a beautiful mill town and the home of Jack Keroauc (fun Skrilla fact: I used to write a column for the Lowell Sun and JK got his start writing for the sport’s pages there). I don’t know much about architecture but I love the feel of converted textile buildings. Plenty of exposed hardware that looks cold and heavy juxtaposed with worn brick and scuffed up hardwood flooring, plus tall, sectioned pane windows that let in tons of light and offer views of the rushing sparkling rivers that are always nearby. I love it!

The photographer is/was fantastic to work with. We’ve worked together on three or four Lexie shoots now and it’s always relaxing and fun–no barked orders, no impossible contortions (for ME at least!) just very thoughtful snapping. And unprofessional goofing off:

Flowers, for me?!

Lexie wisely chose this shot instead. I love this one, I wish I always looked that placid when communing with a laptop…

CR Laptop

Which I should actually be doing right now. I had a data disaster yesterday and I need to rectify the situation. Before I go, another finished object, the Girl Power shawl, details on Ravelry. This was nothing but fun and started a serious Spunky Eclectic addiction. Thank you again for spinning it, Jenna!

Girl Power Shawl

The FO parade will continue. Sorry to drag it out, but it’s really fun to give each item it’s own post. It’s also hard to coordinate good sun + me being showered/presentable. Heh. TMI?

CR

And the winner of NoSoNaFiSweMo is… Monday, Dec 3 2007 

Dharma! I’m going to have fun putting together a custom prize package for her, she is a fellow graduate student and used to live in Northampton. She correctly guessed the # and name of the sweaters that I would finish by my deadline (which I unscrupulously extended to include this weekend)!! Until the weather clears up and the sweaters dry, the promised runway show is on hold. You’ll have to be content with this, the remnants of the FOs:

FOremnants

Clockwise from the top these represent the Hudson Hoodie (which ended up hoodless), T-Storms, Blood Orange cardigan and the Tilted Duster. Technically I also finished Thermal…and by finished I mean chucked it into the wastebasket! That pattern is too cute to knit in such a droopy, pill-tastic yarn.

I learned a lot from this endeavor! I learned that, like Grumperina, I don’t think I’m a sweater knitter! It could be the deadline that was making it unpleasant but as I worked on these long abandoned projects I realized that I almost never wear the sweaters I’ve knit. I actually sort of hate them. There are always little flaws that bug me. I’m not a fashionista or even all that well put together but I’m insanely particular about fabrics and the way things fit. If an outfit is itching, sagging, riding up or doing anything weird it will ruin my day. Most of my hand-knit sweaters are imperfect, and I’m fine with that but I don’t know how sensible it is to keep making things I’m not going to wear.

Of course, last I checked I had enough stashed yarn to make…50 sweaters. It sounds crazy and inflated but it’s true and probably a low ball estimate as well. UGH. My plan of attack for the time being is to finish Treeline, Enid and Forecast. Then I want to emulate Siri and knit up my equally insane sock yarn stash. Socks get worn.

So do hats! Jenny and Nicole were reading my mind last week with their excellent episode on my absolute favorite thing to knit. Gudrun was as well, check out her adorable Unst. Julie at Team Knit has got me plotting a Brownie’s beanie redux! Hat love never dies around here.

Spinning is also kicking lots of ass. Jenna stopped by on Saturday with her wheel and it quickly turned into a night of spinning Q&A, chocolate munching and raspberry wine swigging (it was made by a Webs co-worker). Somehow, we ended up wearing a batt and a flyer.

Jenna wearing a flyer

I’m not as drunk as I look, I promise.

Cirilia wearing a batt

The same Cormo I spun and plied on the drop spindle was given the same treatment on the wheel:

First wheelspun

I like!

First wheelplied

I’m currently waiting for two packages from Spunky Eclectic, a lazy Kate and some assorted stuff to try (I’m especially excited about this, which I purchased in Night Flower). Hot damn, it’s fun to buy fiber. Speaking of Amy, I finished the Girl Power shawl. And two dog sweaters. Wow, it was a busy November.

Finished object runway show in the very near future,

CR

!!! Wednesday, Nov 21 2007 

So I’ve decided to try and streamline my Internet life, and making the switch to WordPress seemed like a good idea. Can’t tell you why yet, still exploring, but so far so good!

I haven’t posted much new yarn lately…this is because I’m really not buying much (well, compared to what I usually do), but it’s also because entering it into Ravelry feels like enough. I purchased yarn for the Colette sweater in the new Interweave (I chose burgundy and grass green Whiskey). I special ordered an Autumn Rose kit. I got two Ravens:

J.Knits generously sent me a few skeins of her new spring yarns to sample. I’d never seen these yarns, but Andra reps them in New England and speaks highly of them. They are GORGEOUS, look at this Camel in Nebraska (it feels thick and luscious, yarn Haagen-Daaz):

jknitscamel

This is Charming in Iowa. The yardage and the fiber content are really excellent–300 yards of lambswool, cashmere and angora. I’m thinking ridiculously luxurious socks.

Charming

And speaking of socks I had to grab this skein of my favorite ice cream flavor from Keegan Lane Yarns (I love the realism of the chocolate ‘chips':

Mint Chip Sock Yarn

In other news, a Ladybug has landed in my apartment! Jenna and Melissa graciously rang me up past the official Webs closing time so I could take my Ladybug home. Thank you both, ladies, I know it was an annoying sale on a few levels =/ I did assemble it and find my ladybug (she’s on the right side of the…the part the looks like a phallus, I’m sorry, it does).

I’ve decided to name the wheel Lexie Sedgwick, a double homage to how I earned it and a theorist I’m fond of who writes about gender, performance, deconstruction and textiles! I didn’t know naming wheels was a “thing” but I used to name my cars, so why not the wheel?And speaking of spinning, check out my first plied yarn, this was spun and plied on the drop spindle.

First plied yarn

I totally love it, flaws and all! Those fat fuzzy slubs (and the uh, unspun bits) are right up my alley. I couldn’t believe how cool plying was, it went from overspun, kinky singles to a relatively balanced, pretty yarn. I really think that this fiber (wish Foxhill Farm had a website to link to) is what prompted me to pick up the drop spindle again. As for the wheel, it was equal parts Adrian and Jenna. Again, it makes so much sense that my next fiber endeavor is spinning, I’m the sort of knitter who is somewhat ashamedly in love with miles of stockinette–I’m in it for the fabric, and beautiful yarns speak to me more than complicated stitch patterns or ambitious construction. There, I said it. I’m a knit simpleton, with expensive tastes.

CR

I suppose I should blog… Wednesday, Oct 17 2007 

Yeesh, October is crazy! I have let a backlog of events, purchases, etc. pile up and now I’m a little overwhelmed by it all. Here are a few highlights from Rhinebeck, I’ll tackle Stitches East in the next post. Sorry for the links to pictures, I sized them incorrectly and they looked really bad here. I’ll figure it out =/

This was my first visit, and it was lovely! Jenna and I used the buddy system and had an excellent, relaxing time. Maybe we were a little antisocial, we skipped meet-ups, the Ravelry party and Blogger Bingo but we’re both having insane semesters, we’re running on empty.

We feasted on the famous artichokes, as well as apple pie a la mode, milkshakes, and many tiny bits of cheese. Jenna’s old BF Max showed us around Rhinebeck and we caught a snippet of the Darjeeling Limited from the projection room at his family’s theater, Upstate Films. Met Jessica, that was awesome. I love meeting bloggers I’ve read for a number of years, it’s really bizarre–we were both like, “haven’t we already met?”

Minor purchases were made (Jenna was hyper-restrained/disciplined!). I picked up only one skein of yarn, tie-dyed angora from…I’m not sure where. I think it’s the same booth and same yarn that Jenna and Huelo purchased from at Cummington Sheep and Wool in May, Acker Acres Angoras? I asked the woman what it looked like knit up and she said “I dunno, I just dyed it and haven’t knit it!” I’m thinking it might end up looking like the sky in my favorite Van Gogh.

Some insane roving that looks like intestines from Foxhill Farm Fibers and Sheep. I’m regretting not picking up a bag that was really beachy, as well as two tiny ones that were yellow and bubble gum pink. I also grabbed some very cool wool fabric–tweeds and herringbones in amazing colors. It’s actually pretty hard to find small amounts of soft wool in interesting colors, so I was excited to learn where they’re hiding (rug hookers hoard them!). I’m hoping to try a Denyse Schmidt style scarf.

I’m starting to feel the pull for a spinning wheel! It’s a big purchase but I’ve been really good this year. It might seem like I spend a lot on yarn, bags and shoes (and I do) but I’m really good at budgeting everything else. Clothing, food, books etc. are all done on the cheap. I really like this blogger’s thoughtful approach to buying/shopping for a wheel. I have some offers to try some different wheels. The smaller/more compact the better so I’m thinking castle or folding. I know double treadle is supposed to be easier but I have an ankle problem that makes it hard to do things evenly with both feet…I might be better off with a single treadle. Aesthetically I’m drawn to the Kromski Sonata and Minstrel, the Ashford Kiwi, the Louet S75 and the adorable Schacht Ladybug.

One of the shopping considerations is what sort of yarn you’d like to spin. I love Jacey’s yarn and I lust after Spincycle Yarns. What has really sent me over the edge is all the handspun garter stitch stuff that Adrian and Jared are churning out. Remember the Spunky Eclectic roving I bought at Cummington? Well, Jenna spun it up for me on her Louet S75:



It came out BEAUTIFULLY, and it’s highly inspiring. It’s South African Fine from Spunky Eclectic, colorway Rocky Mountain High. I originally thought I’d make a hat and mittens (Jenna reserved some of the roving so I could thrum with it) but it’s so pretty I might do a really simple shawl instead, a Spunky pattern in fact! Full circle, nice.


More later,

CR

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