Wednesday, November 15, 2006


As it turns out, 10 minutes in the dryer was all Maude needed to perk up. A short run in the dryer also gives Koigu a nice sproing.

Photos by "Crazy Woman" Jenn on a break from work. Sorry, Wendy, but your poses were winners, so I copied.

From the front:

And from the back:

All in all, a fab knit. If I had it to do again, I would limit the skeins and make it smaller (I'm pretty short and thin, so she's big -- but I love her anyway). Other than that, no major issues. In fact, I would do it again in a snap.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


In the not-so wee hours of a dreary, rainy Sunday, a lone knitter and her cup of coffee bound off a single stitch.

And Maude was complete.She waited a day to block it, and then managed to totally screw things up. Maude, blocked, is gargantuan. That said, I have only a lone picture to show.

Close-up of the lace:

Because you see, Maude had to be blocked doubled over on herself, she was so big when wet (that should have been a HUGE hint). Maybe I should have just left her alone and not worried about showing off the lacy edge to Jenn tomorrow at work. 'Cause when I came home tonight, ran upstairs and unpinned her, draped her over my shoulders and looked down, I realized that her ever-so-graceful arms were dragging. the. floor.I have to go back to the blocking board tonight (maybe I shouldn't have pinned, but rather just laid her out to dry).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Bald Bird.

Now that I have your attention, let me show you the (unblocked) featherless Swallowtail:

Why is it featherless? Well, I ran out of yarn. My plan was to do this shawl in Elsbeth Lavold Silky Wool ... on #10 needles. Plan was on track until I realized that I was running critically short of yarn so I stopped at the end of the second Lily of the Valley border chart (just before the peaked edging). Either way, this bald bird is a big one. It's lovely, too ... and warm. Despite my resolve to put it in the holiday gift box, I've found myself wearing it. To Stitches on Friday. Picking up the boys from after-care. On the sofa while knitting. It ain't goin' in no box.

That' s not a bad segue into my Stitches post.

A few months ago, I bought my ticket for the Marketplace on line and took a day off work. In October I went on a yarn diet (except for Santa Fe) with the understanding that I was going to drop big bucks at Stitches with one major rule: No buying anything that I can get at my LYS. That said, here's the rundown of the purchases.

Koigu. No yarn store in the vicinity carries this, so when I see it, I must buy it. In bulk. And kill the wallet in the process. Koigu is one of those yarns that TOTALLY lives up to the hype. I bought five skeins and some mill ends -- all from Rosie's Yarn Cellar. Rosie's was my first stop at Stitches ... I wanted to make sure I bought the patternfor Maude and enough Koigu to go with it. The mill ends were a bonus and will go in the bag with the ends I picked up at MS&W. One day I'll figure out what to do with them.

Socks that Rock. I have NEVER been able to score this. I don't know if it's been a situation where they've run out or whether I haven't been able to find it, but now it's mine. Three skeins. Harlotty, Lucy and Downpour. It seems way too succulent to put on my feet, so maybe I could take the Harlotty and Lucy colorways and make a shawl. Knitblogger's Shawl. Fun.

Other Miscellany. The STR, Koigu and Maude were my three major goals. The rest was icing on the cake. Some beautiful roving, some merino/tencel from Ellen's Half Pint Farm and some doo-dads from the Mannings (had to avoid the Koigu there -- it runneth over). I also picked up a book on dying with natural ingredients and a book on Shetland lace motifs.

One of the coolest things I picked up, though, were two sets of sock-needle covers. Check them out:

So what in the hell has taken me so long to get this posted? Well, I've been hard at work. That tencel/merino blend? One skein is destined to be the second Swallowtail ... this time with feathers. I'm on repeat nine of the second chart with plenty of yarn left. While this one wil be a much smaller piece (more like a "shawlette" most likely), this one will be more true to the pattern itself, which is designed to be small, and it. Will. Have. Feathers. I think I cast this on immediately to assuage any guilt I feel over not putting a shawl in the gift box. I cast on for this almost immediately after I got home on Friday from Stitches. I'm thinking that the other skein in this colorway could just be matching socks :)

But I'm not just working on the Swallowtail. Yesterday, I cast on for Maude, which I heard about from Wendy. I met designer Courtney at the Rosie's Booth at Stitches, and I have to say this pattern is really something. Not only are there no long purl-back rows, but it's done in such a way that you aren't stuck with a zillion stitches at the end -- it's knit from one wing to another and the lace is hypnotic. There's elegance to the edging and, put simply, I'm totally loving this pattern. I bought a very-Thanksgiving colorway of Koigu ... which gives me a serious deadline for this project. But here's evening one progress:

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Busy, busy, busy

Some weeks, I even surprise myself. This week has been one of those weeks. Not because I've been particularly busy knitting, or that I've made significant progress. Just because I'm in severe cast-on-itis mode and I have a raging case of PMS. Not a good combination ... because very little that I've cast on has been right and I've been spending quite a bit of time in the frog pond.

Actually, I need to move the dates back a little. I've been fiddly for a while now (other than that second Widdershin and a few scarves). Remember that peacock homespun that was Navajo plied? I hated it and unplied it. Ugh. I hope I never do that again. However, I managed to salvage enough singles to make a short stockinette scarf so the spinning and the fiber weren't a total loss.

And then there was the matter of knitting a new sock. Have you ever bought a skein of yarn that you fell in love with at the LYS, put it in the stash only to pull it out later and wonder what in the world you were thinking? I did, about a year ago. I pulled the Mountain Colors "Crazy Woman" out of the stash on Sunday thinking I wanted a new pair of socks. There's a lot of cherry red in this stuff. Too much for me. I spent four hours that day casting on and ripping out cuff-downs, only to realize that what I wanted desperately was another Widdershin. Problem was, I didn't want to waste this yarn. And then it hit me. These could be the Jennifer socks.

My friend Jenn is one of those people who just gets the whole crafty thing. While she refuses to learn to knit (she's a graphic designer, a painter, a jeweler, a scrapbooker and a great decorator -- there's already a lot in there), she's ALWAYS on board with a new project. When I was hanging outside with her the other day at work and we were talking about dyeing with pokeberries and black walnuts, she starting theorizing on the other things I could dye with ... pointing out this and that. When I'm working on a new project, she investigates, touches, sniffs ... just as though she were a knitter. We've done some very cool things craft-wise together and to boot, she's one of those gals who can pull off two patterns in the same outfit. Very cool.

She also never once judged me when I burned myself with hot enamel a few years back when I was in jewelery mode. No one else could understand why in the hell I was playing with enamel or why I'd want to in the first place. (Note: A few weeks ago, I bequeathed the melting pot to her ... I haven't touched it since that fateful day two years ago and for the record, she's been melting and dipping up a storm and hasn't yet seared flesh.)

I knew these socks were for her. Because she, like me, is also a Crazy Woman. The colors are much more jewel-toned than shown in the picture. I showed her the sock in progress, deemed them hers and she's psyched.

In other news, here's the color that Kool Aid Arctic Apple makes:

The picture makes it look sickly, but it's actually a very pretty pale green. Modeling the green is a skein of singles spun this weekend from the washed-in-the-tub fleece. Not too bad.