Friday, May 25, 2007

Calling LisaB

LisaB recognizes my dis-en-head-ied torso! I'm going to regard that as cute rather than creepy. :) As I don't remember Lisa's email address and I received other requests for it, I'd like to point out that I wrote up a bit about the math behind short rows. (The Carolina Machine Knitting Guild will also be publishing this tutorial in an upcoming issue of their newsletter.) If anyone has any problems with that, please just email me at leakATEcsDAWTcmuDAWTedu (apply obvious transformation to email address). If it would be more helpful for me to go through the steps I take to create or transform a pattern, I could do that as well. Just ask! The FedEx truck and people who wanted free furniture showed up, so I'm almost home-free at this point.

Cool blue sahara

In between packing boxes, I finished up my Sahara for the Sexy Knitters Club knitalong. I guess this makes me sexy. Or perhaps it makes me a knitter. Or perhaps a club. (I have been known to be a bit blunt.) The colour isn't quite true; it's more of a dark denim-y blue than a navy blue. In all the moving chaos, I haven't had a chance to block the sweater yet; I expect blocking will make it softer and drapier than it already is.

I made the following modifications:

  • Decreased the neck depth. I felt the sweater looked better proportioned on bustier people with a shallower neck.
  • Reworked the bust/waist shaping. I made the bust larger, the waist smaller, started the shaping further down (under the fullest part of my bust), and changed the shaping accordingly.
  • Added a bust dart. I put bust darts in all my sweaters. They fit much, much better with this feature.
  • Increased neck trim. I needed four repeats of the neck trim pattern to meet in the middle of the neck.

Yarn: Silky Tweed, somewhere around 7-8 skeins. I have a lot of this floating around, so it was a bit difficult to count in the moving chaos. Silky Tweed is soft and lovely, but a bit splitty, even with Stumpi Bluntos.

Needles: One Addi Turbo 16" circular in size 4. If these had pointy points, they'd be perfect! In this case, I appreciated the dull tips, because the Silky Tweed was splitty enough on its own.

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to CA we go!

We're moving. We're really, really moving. We're moving via FedEx (and USPS media mail for the books). This is actually the cheapest way to move, if you don't have really expensive furniture (or can just ship the few pieces you care about some other way) and are willing to sell/give away on one end and scrounge/buy on the other. Tips about FedEx:

  • They will pick up from your house. You'll need a commercial account (be sure to get one in advance), but then you can print out labels on your home printer, stick em on, and get someone to pick up the boxes.
  • Their online system can crash. You can then end up with 500 boxes entered instead of 92 and have to poke their system into being a little more reasonable.
  • If you try to ship that much stuff, FedEx may very well send someone out really early. They won't be there to pick up your stuff. They're there to check that you're not playing some weird data-entry-based practical joke on them. Then they'll see this:

    Then they'll claim to send out a real truck. (I can't vouch for the real truck showing up yet, unfortunately.)

In fiber-related news, I finished spinning up virtually all of 8oz of Colonial Wool top. Please, keep in mind that this is the 5th yarn I've ever created and be gentle.

It's a bit underspun, so I treated it a bit roughly so it would full a little bit and help with the structure. I'm feeling ready to tackle a few pounds of BFL fiber for a cabled sweater for myself... once my spinning wheel comes out of a box. (Perhaps once I get a WooLee winder as well. I fear the Joy is probably not the best production wheel out there. I really want something with some higher ratios and a bit more oomph for big projects and to stop changing hooks all the time!)

I've pulled out the hemp from last summer to try to make an honest yarn of it. I've swatched and tweaked a bog jacket into a light summery cardigan.

Unfortunately, sitting in a box all winter has not improved this yarn. It's giving me chemical burns again. I'm not going to be smart and quit while I'm ahead; I'm going to be smart and get myself some latex gloves. Let no one say I'm not determined in pursuit of my art!

To give my hand a break, I'm trading off with socks made from Ellen's Half Pint Farm wool/nylon sock yarn. Aren't they wild? Socks with nylon are often too hard on my feet, besides Mountain Colours and Lorna's Laces, so I'm hoping these work out better than certain other socks.

Just a warning for those of you who are planning to move: moving brings out the evil in your pets!

Monday, May 21, 2007

How kitty beats the heat

Shaved legs!

Sorry for the delay. I had to take kitty in to the kitty dentist (you can see how thrilled he was in the above picture), then ran off to Seattle for a bit, and now we're finishing the packing. We're doing a scorched-earth move: everything that doesn't fit into a box gets sold, donated, or thrown out. Anyone in the Boston area want a perfectly nice couch with included very nice soft green machine-washable cover (protects from kitty!)? How about some end tables (beat up but matching coffee table included) or bedside tables (IKEA)?

Monday, May 14, 2007

New Hampshire S&W part 1

First off, let's take a look at what I didn't finish before NHS&W.

It's Phroggy! Everything fits remarkably well except for the bust. (What do I expect by losing 10+ pounds? Luckily, the sweater is fixable.) I've bound off the neck several times now and I just can't get it quite right. I think Montse Stanley will have to come to my rescue. I didn't worry about it, though, since it was too hot for sweaters anyway. Ah, the perfect time to shop for wool!

This was my first fiber festival and I had a blast, even though I found precisely nothing on my shopping list. (I didn't walk away quite empty-handed; a hank of sock yarn and a few ounces of fiber jumped in my bag.) Luckily, Morgaine of Carolina Homespun was there (a store from San Francisco called "Carolina" at a New Hampshire festival, no less) to soothe my fears of running out of fiber when I move to CA in a few weeks and find my poor packed wheel.

There was tasty, tasty fiber there (if not the BFL I've been craving).

We even found out what happens to Susan's hair when she's shorn.

Next up: fleece-bearing creatures other than Susan.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My goodness, I'm knitting from a pattern

I've wanted to knit along with the Sexy Knitter's Club for a while, but quite a few people there seem to have a predilection for bra-unfriendly designs. Given that I (and probably everyone around me) would be happier if I wore a bra, I waited until Sahara came along. (Yes, I'm knitting from a pattern. Kinda.)

I've been knitting away at it in my last week of work (I'm now temporarily unemployed, pending the move to CA), during endless discussions about how to move (scorched earth option), and kitty's dentist appointment (he now has one fewer tooth, but all the drugs). (BTW, the muffin-top look is an optical illusion. I even checked after squinting at this picture for a while.)

Changes to the pattern:

  • Gauge. Knit with Silky Tweed at a smidge over 5.5 stitches per inch
  • Neckline. Closed off the neckline early for (I felt) a more flattering look on me and ease in bust adjustments.
  • Bust. Added quite a few extra stitches in the bust and a short-row dart.
  • Waist. Nipped in the waist more than on the pattern, and adjusted the seam decreases/increases to reflect this and the extra room in the bust.

Hey, for me, this is following a pattern!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

You spin me right round, baby, right round

I promise, not too many more terrible spinning references, if for no other reason than I'll run out of them soon. Here are a few things I've spun and dried lately: teal/white hand-dyed (my hands, no less) wool/tencel top and purple merino roving.

I was just playing around with these and trying to discover the many secrets involved in spinning yarn that doesn't suck. One lesson from the purple: pre-drafting results in far more even yarn. One lesson from the teal: I rampantly undertwist, so I can't spin a balanced yarn without rampantly underplying.

My current spinning seems to suffer from this problem as well (far more than it has to, as I'm trying to keep it consistently underspun), so I plan to make a cabled DK-weight yarn from it. Once I've spun that up, however, I'm pretty much out of fiber. New Hampshire Sheep&Wool to the rescue! I think that I might just have a little BFL fleece and some bits and pieces of other wools follow me home, wagging their fluffy little tails behind them.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Please, no more frog for Phrog!

I'm hoping that I don't jinx myself by posting this, but I think I've finished the knitting on Phroggy. (See, spirits of knitting screwups, I said "think"!)

Phroggy now has sleeves with a pair of cables twisting in a helix around the arm. (Each arm has a different direction of spiral and and different direction of cabling.)

The sleeve is a rather odd raglan. The body is a standard decrease-every-three-rounds raglan, but I wanted something that fit my shoulder and followed the line of the body. I measured the distance around my shoulder (raglan-line to raglan-line) in several spots and simply interpolated between them to design this sleeve. I put a few stitches at the armpit (blue marker) to form the underarm, knitted straight for a while, then did a decrease-every-two-rounds decrease for the remainder of the cap. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this works post-blocking, but it seemed to be fine pre-blocking.

Once Phrog dries, it'll have its seaming (har) moment of truth. Then I may need to take some of those increases out of the bust, because I've lost a bunch of weight. Perhaps it will be an appropriate temperature to wear Phrog at New Hampshire Sheep&Wool, which will be my very first S&W ever. I'm a woman on a mission, so Lucy said she'd help me avoid doing something terminally stupid. (No, I'm not buying another spinning wheel. Yet. Plus, I don't think Lucy would consider that terminally stupid.)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

And... we're back

I've had to stay away from the blog because I had news (such news!) and I simply couldn't blurt it out. First off, I've quit my job. While I liked the people I worked with, there simply wasn't enough work around to keep me entertained. Now my husband and I will be moving back across the country to California. Again. Luckily, I seem to have lured a new knitter into the fold, so someone can use my heavy wool. (Wave a bit of math in front of her and she's putty.)

I'll be working for a very well known company in the San Francisco bay area, doing exciting things in exchange for more money. I'm really looking forward to it, even though I'll miss my Boston friends.

Knitting updates next time, where I think I've frogged Phroggy enough to nearly finish the thing, the beginnings of a new sweater, socks for my mother, and enough underspun handspun to choke a small child.