Drive it into the ground

You know the commercial where that guy says "I want my hard drive to make the sound of a Yetti"? Yepper, thats the one. But warranties can be great and a new one is flying here during the holidays - it is a race for backing up 160 gig before death. So I won't be knitting, so much as backing up for the holiday. Ah, but it will still be a fiber filled treat. This is why you should have your printer on one side and your spinning wheel on the other side of the computer. While the system does crap, like write DVD's, you play. Just no angora near the unit please. I will be spinning some SOAR treat, maybe yak down? Yes, on the coldest day of the year some Yak down from Toni at the Fold sounds warm and soft. Doesn't she have the fluffiest stuff?

And then I get to go to
Old Town to see the luminarias, eat hot tamales and drink steaming cider while listening to the bands. This is such a nice tradition here in town. Not very many tourists, but a lot of locals come out to see this spectacular display. When you live in tourist town, it is nice to see the locals gathered for such a spectacular sight. Happy Holidays and safe travels my fiber friends.


A new felted bag test - sort of. This is unknown ebay yarn, hopefully wool. It was not nice for anything, but the old knitting machine liked it. My SK-860 used it up. Even if it doesn't felt, it will be a nice bag for projects. Roughly 16" x 16" x 2.5". The ruler is 15" for scale. Tomorrow we will see what happened in the washer. Posted by Hello
Philosopher's wool cardigan coming along. Posted by Hello

Remembering Tricks

Isn't the web wonderful? You go and search for some technique that is driving you crazy. In this case, I was having problems with a circular cast-on for machine knitting. Anyway, I am out and about hitting lots of good info, but none to solve my dropped stitch problem and I run across this juicy site. She has great hints and lots of fun things, but mostly she has this join (Russian Join). Gee, I knew this yarn join 10 years ago. What happened to that knowledge? Why did I forget and stop using it?

I am knitting a sock with some really fat yarn that was naturally dyed by my guild. It is Tomato Vine, Madder and Chamisa. And though it is a basic stripe, I forgot how to make a smooth join in big yarn. I didn't want ends. I spliced several different ways, but got nothing but little ends hanging out. Then I see this site and remember why I thought it was the perfect join in the first place. It is like an old friend coming home. I will have to carry a needle with me, but that isn't so hard to get the join I want in this sock.

Thank you web fairies for bringing back this lovely trick for me to enjoy.

The socks in Tomato Vine, Madder and Chimisa. Posted by Hello

The yarn is logwood=purple, cochinille=rose and purple plum leaves=green. Posted by Hello


Fuzzyfeet from handspun wool/mohair mix.

Free pattern from Knitty.com. This is the same as Brown Sheep's Lamb's Pride that I got as roving. I tried to leave the mohair a bit thick in places so that it was a little fuzzier. One big difference was that this felted so much faster and tighter than the Lamb's Pride. I spun fat yarn and plied it. It was quite thick and thin, but it didn't matter one bit. The slippers are firm, fuzzy and warm. It did take less time to knit these than it did with the store bought yarn, but I can't image why. This was fast and simple and DONE. We love those finished projects. Posted by Hello

New Project Joy

The beginning of a new sweater is always full of promise. I started a kit I got last year at MD Sheep & Wool as a special treat. The Philosopher's Wool Alligator's Teeth in Night Sky colorway. A lot of my friends think this wool is kinda crappy, but I like the springyness and I love the look of their sweaters. They wash up all soft and snuggly. I have wanted one since I first saw them at Stitches in the early 90's.

I normally knit at a much finer gauge, so this is going quickly - except for one thing. The directions call for #4 to rib and #8 for the body. In whose dreams were these needles recommended? I ribbed with #4 in 1x1, and it was huge. I tried 2x2, nope. Then corrugated rib; it was worse. I went to a 3 and tried them all - bad, bad, bad. Finally, I was sick of ribbing and did a provisional cast-on and started knitting. Wrong again. I ripped and went down, ripped and went down a size. I am on a size 5 and still a little big, but I think it will draw in a bit when washed. When they say don't swatch, just start knitting - don't do it. I couldn't believe the needle change. However, having found my sweet spot, I am blasting away.

The pattern looks complex but is stone easy and I won't look at the chart again until I start the next piece. You go up, you go down. And for the larger frame, such as mine, the vertical points are pleasing, I think. Luckily, my LYS carries this yarn. I wasted a bit with bad cuffs and will use that for socks now. I added a pale lavender to the mix and another pale plum.

The kit was cheap, as today's yarn prices go. And the gauge was my fault for not swatching. If asked, I would buy this kit again, and plan to get a 'fire' one for Dano. I gotta say for all the yarn snobs out there, this is really fast and fun and will suit me perfectly. You don't know what you are missing. After doing so many fair isles in AS classes and books, this is really so easy.


Chenille disaster

I never realized that chenille could give problems weaving. I have only used one color from a single cone in the past and had great results. This time, I used 5 colors and two thickness' for a mixed warp. This was from 2 sources - one reliable and one unknown. Lables both said rayon chenille. Bad bad bad. One was cotton and finished at a different rate than the rayon. Don't believe labels.

I sewed the ends with zigzag and straight stitches. I knotted the ends tightly. I dampened it and tossed it in the dryer, as I always do. Threads broke, threads came out. The cotton hung didn't change much but the rayon ends tangled and shed - that was ok, since I was going to sew my sample into a vest. But I have these stiff pulled threads the whole length. After trying to untie my knots and work the ends so the tight ones loosened and the loose ones tightened, I still have a mess. the areas in between are this lovely velvet - good color, just a wonderful feel. So tantalizing.

The lesson here is know your sources and always test the yarn. I have plenty of the good stuff and, undaunted, will put on another warp soon minus the thin cotton. I was sampling to make a jacket. I wonder if the seams will ravel with rayon chenille. I have only used it for scarves. Can you tell, I am not a very experienced weaver? I nearly ran to the knitting machine with my chenille when I first saw what happened. But I will get back on the horse and try again.

Send advice, if you have any. I am always willing to listen to the voice of experience. Help me get this dunce cap off my head.


Cotton Finally

This spring my cotton plants were hit by a late frost and died. So in mid June I put in a few green cotton seeds hoping to at least have seeds for next year. I knew my crop would not have a long enough growing season to produce a full set of cotton.

Well the bolls formed, but wouldn't open, except for one. I have been worrying over the coming frost, so I took matters into my own hands. The technique I settled on was to use a table knife and slice along the natural spines of the cotton bolls. I sort of pry the sides open and wait a day. Finally, I pop the inside supports so the bolls curl back and fluff the cotton. The sun will bring it to full color.

I don't know if I will get any viable seeds, but the bolls do seem to be opening and drying out. I can bring them in to a windowsill to finish off, if I must. We must wait until spring to see if my seeds work.


Hazel wins war of the needles

Oct 10 2004
Shetland Islander Hazel Tindall was crowned the world's fastest knitter after beating international competitors in London.

Mrs Tindall, 52, took the title with a world record 255 stitches in three minutes, far ahead of her closest challenger, Londoner Olga Pobedeskaya, who managed 214 stitches in the same time.
Defending champion and world record holder Wendy Moorby from West Yorkshire completed an all-British top three with 207 stitches.

Mother-of-two Mrs Tindall, who works as a school administrator, said knitting was a family tradition which she took up when she was four years old.

She said: "Winning the competition feels a bit unreal. The opposition was very stiff.
"I was brought up in a house where my grandmother and my auntie would always be knitting.
"They all needed to knit in order to clothe the children and put food on the table."

She added that, school holidays permitting, she would defende her title at the next World Speed Knitting Championships.

Competitors from across the UK and the world took part in the event which was held over three days during the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace.On Thursday, American author and designer Lily Chin defended her speed crochet title, setting a new world record with 86 treble crochets in three minutes.

Sad Sock Day

While reorganizing the studio today, I ran across my bag of old handspun socks, no longer wearable. Oh what a sad thing. I found my first pair done with my first handspun - romney mohair mix. And my favorite pair, a lincoln/corrie cross (in the sheep) combed with yearling mohair. Those worked well and felted down slightly. They are in perfect shape with perfect color. Unfortunately, they are just too small.

It was an education learning what has worked and what wore out over time. I found that I make a lot of socks with mohair and they resist dirt and odor. I should mix this with a felting wool like merino and make them big. The ones with The Fold's Lincoln/Silk heels showed no signed of wear at all. I need to reinforce the ball of the foot.

I picked out the really good ones that didn't fit and sent them off to charity pickup. I picked my two favorite pairs and will reknit part to fix them. I tossed the rest, having darned them too many times. As my husband was picking up the garbage after my sorting he saw the socks. "Can't we unravel these and reknit?" Ah, he is really getting the fiber habit. No stash is safe. I have created a monster!

This is the first time I throw away any handspun projects. But some things just must die. Goodbye old friends.


SOAR Market Song

Sung to the tune of the Underdog Cartoon Theme Song (can be found here)

When autumn comes around this year
We'll gather wheels with all our peers
And send the shepherds to their shears
We hope those vendors have new gear
For SOAR Market, SOAR Market

Bags of Fiber
Tools and Yarn
Woody Francine
Jim Yarn Barn
SOAR Market, SOAR Market


Back from SOAR 2004

Official SOAR wave:
Elbow Elbow
Wrist Wrist Wrist
Screw in the Lightbulb, Screw in the Lightbulb