Saturday, April 28, 2007

What can you not run out of?

I believe our sense of security can be intertwined with a feeling of abundance. And of course abundance means different things to different people, but often there is one thing you need to have plenty of. For some it is food, for some yarn, or books. I am right now visiting my Mom in her new environment. She has five pints of Ben and Jerry's Coffee Toffee carmel ice cream. It is hard for her to get to the grocery store and she doesn't want to run out. Last year it was Chai Tea. She had several cases of the stuff. I used to bring lots of books and magazines with me whenever I traveled, and especially when I went to visit the family nest. It wasn't until I went home for my Father's funeral, and realized I had packed four large bags of just reading material that I understood that the books were some form of protection. On this short trip to visit my Mom, in her new apartment, I only brought one novel with me. Progress! But, and mind you I am here for only two days, I brought 5 projects. A shawl, a sock, a scarf, a tapestry, and a coil basket. At least with the fiber arts as comfort and protection, I can still engage in conversation!

I have made progress on several projects, but left my camera cable home. I am blogging on my laptop, which for some reason doesn't have the same editing options as my desktop at home. Sorry, no pictures. And I can't make a link - but I can encourage you to visit this website: The most inventive theory as to what this means will win a four ounce skein of my hand dyed Kona Super wash in the color way I call Laramar. Deadline: May 6, 2007.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Marathon Sock

While Gary was running into a Nor'easter, I was knitting this:

The yarn is Tofutsies from Southwest Trading Company, and the pattern that is working so well with the yarn is Tidal Wave, found on the Southwest Trading Company website. There is a link in a previous post. I find I like knitting on two circular needles. Especially when traveling - as it is much harder to lose one, or have some of the stitches fall off when you have to quickly cram your work into your knitting bag to catch a plane. I prefer bamboo needles for tiny stitches, but prefer the join on the Addis for tiny needles.

I have decided to try to tuck spinning into the spare minutes that do not already have weaving, knitting and crochet in them. "Spare" would be when the I am not doing shop work, dye work, or engaging in family activities and home maintenance. (oh and exercise and ...) I have several lovely wheels at the shop, and I want to get to know them better, partly so that I can be of more help to Spinners wondering which wheel is right for them (so that makes it shop related work- right?) and mostly because I have succumbed to the fascination of soft fibers being pulled through my fingers into a twist and onto a bobbin. I find it is pretty easy to make "yarn". But to know short draw, long draw, worsted vs woolen, twist angle, wheel ratios. Wow. I am easily seduced by knowledge, and by the quest for crafty perfection. I like to know how to do things right, and then use that knowledge to do things that are unexpected, and could even be considered "wrong" by those too tightly married to "right". Because "spare"minutes are rare indeed, and because there is much worthy competition already for these little bits of time, I don't expect to be knitting a sweater with my hand spun this Summer. But, you never know.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

This is Gary before the race.

And this is more like what he looked like after. He would say he was just happy to not be running anymore. But he did well. He should be very proud. I am!

I will post a picture of my Tofusie sock maybe tomorrow. I think my new marathon survival technique will have to include a sock. So portable and satisfying.

In the meantime, a dye shot:

Top to bottom:

Tiara, a 100% silk boucle.

Nassau - silk and cotton - divine hand. Could eat 'em colors

Cascade silk - 100% silk.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Take your smart wool honey...

This is how much I love my husband.
I am up very early, folding and packing running clothes, headed out the door to spend the day flying standby to Boston, for this.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Comfort Knitting - better for your nerves and waistline!

I have a winner! I found a project to comfort and distract me on my way to Boston tomorrow. I have a ton of Tofutsies, the new sock yarn from Southwest Trading Company. And they have some free patterns on their website. I chose the Tidal Wave Socks. The pattern is written for two circular needles, and coincidentally I have been wanting to try that method. I normally use bamboo double points. So, last night I cast on. I found it to be a very weird way of doing things, the instructions said to put 32 on one needle and 32 on the other needle and join without twisting. Huh? That kept me very distracted throughout the evening, with my apologies to Phylis, Gretel and Liz. It took about four rows of "suspending disbelief" before I saw the beginning of a sock. Now that I am going, I think I might like knitting socks this way - but it is too early to tell, and too early to retire my DP's to appetizer size kabob sticks. I am using size one Turbos. I know that air travel allows knitting of all kinds now. But I am still a little apprehensive. You'll find out if I have a problem!

Now for the dye show and tell:

A lovely customer wants to crochet a maize and blue blanket with a big block M in the middle for her son who will be attending there this Fall. Gary approved these colors, so I feel confident they are right on the money.

Once upon a time I was placing navy and yellow on a white skein, and of course the two colors blended and I got a maize and blue and green and white skein of yarn. I gotta do that again - for us hybrids. I know we are many.

This sugary confection is on Party ribbon. This is a fun and beautiful nylon ribbon that has a wonderful hand when knit. For ideas and patterns go to the Crystal Palace website and look under patterns, and under party ribbon.

Now, please join me in wishing good weather all the way to Boston, and all the way through Monday. The man, along with 20,000 others, has worked hard for this day. They deserve perfect weather. And I would much rather listen later to how great it was instead of how awful!

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Out Of Project S!

And a quick trip to Boston looming in the near future. Yes, Gary is running the Boston Marathon, and I am going to cheer him on. To admire, encourage, cajole and engage in the whole eat, drink, be merry and listen to way too much talk about running, thing. He is very excited. He has been planning for this ever since he achieved a P.R. in Boston last year. He made air and B&B reservations 6 months ago. Everything is undercontrol. He is so excited that Tuesday night he printed off our itinerary. Just to see it. And it was wrong. Instead of leaving Lansing for Boston at 7 a.m. and arriving at 11 a.m., we're scheduled to leave Lansing at 7 p.m., arriving in Boston at 11 p.m. I admit my first reaction to this news was "Whooppee!" Morning is not my favorite time of day to be moving around. And I could really put an "extra" unscheduled day to good use. But this made Gary very unhappy. Plans have been messed with! We would miss the big group dinner in Boston. The dinner in which everyone obsesses about how their run will go. The dinner where they eat, not too much, drink, not too much, and discuss running technique way too much. We can't miss that. So the solution is to attempt to fly to Boston on stand by, hoping to get there earlier. I forsee lots of airport time, and lots of needing to be calm. I am in desperate need of a portable, easy but not mindless (I will need to be able to say "Hang on, let me get to the end of this row"), project to entertain me.

Having just finished the Cabin Fever ribbed tank, my needles are freshly empty. Except for the Salina Shawl (free pattern on the Unicorn site), which does require some focus and attention. And a new cashmere and Habu silk and mohair mobius. I would be just too upset if I misplaced that one along the way. I do have a few other projects going on as well. Two are on looms. Another is the coil basket I am making for Gary for Father's Day. Even though he is not always very observant (I work on it a little every evening that we watch TV together), I do feel he might notice it on a plane.

Luckily, I get to spend the entire day in a yarn shop, helping people with their projects. That is sure to inspire me. Plus I have the ultimate excuse: I need to knit this for the shop!

Tomorrow, pictures of this past Monday's dyeing.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Two aquarians knit two aprons for two gemini

Even though it was Easter, Woven Art was open for the traditional Second Sunday Knit-in. I am so glad! I enjoyed the wonderful people, and as always the conversation was funny and interesting. Diane shared some of her experiences of traveling in India. I overheard one wonderful customer (who is very familiar with India) exclaim "You saw cows and monkeys in New Delhi?". Apparently, New Delhi is not supposed to have cows. Old Delhi - sure - lots of cows and monkees and maybe some water buffalo.

It was fascinating to listen to the conversation between a visitor to India and someone who knows India very well. Better than a chocolate bunny! Then I came home to a yummy roast leg of lamb to share with my local loved ones, and had lovely phone conversations with my far away loved ones.

I have a couple of pictures to share. Deidra and I, independently and coincidentally, decided to knit aprons for two young women in our lives. I knit one for my daughter Kristin. Deidra knit one for her niece Milana. Don't tell - they are supposed to be birthday presents. The aprons were inspired by the one in the Spring issue of Interweave Knits, though each of us changed them in our own ways.

On the left is Kristin's birthday apron. Yarn is Summer Tweed and Riviera. Kristin's birthday is May 23.
On the right is Milana's apron. Hand dyed alpine cotton. Milana's birthday is May 24.
Both aprons are modeled on Kelly. Kristin's sister. Notice how great they both look in front of Jessy Henderson's quilts!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Weave and Dye Happy

First some dyeing. Simple Green and Sort of Peacock colors. Both much richer in person.

All on Kona Superwash.

Looks like an Easter Bunny nest! You can almost see the marshmallow peeps hiding inside. The yarn is Panda cotton, a stretchy blend of cotton, bamboo and nylon. In front Sharazade; a fun, slubby blend of cotton and rayon.

And here to the right is the beginning of a double weave shawl on the Schacht 8 harness table loom. The top warp is Louet Merlin, and the bottom warp is Mellenweit sock yarn from Lana Grossa. You can see it peeking through the "window" in the black section. I am thrilled the double weave is working. You see, it had been awhile since I had done a multi layered weaving. Very happy to see my brain still gets how to do it. I have to keep up with Jill, who has a four layer warp in progress on the Macomber in the
Woven Art studio.
One of the frustrating parts of doubleweave is that it is very hard to see what is going on underneath. It is a two sided weave. Both sides should be pretty, should be structurally perfect. No warp or weft floats. And just as interesting as the top side.
See? Well - no you can't really see anything. Still a cool picture.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Spring? No- summer and Winter

Loom Controlled Bead Leno Lace. That's what you see pictured above. Tencel warp, Diaketo warp. This is a lovely rayon blend that is tightly spun and changes color over fairly long distances. The weave structure allows for a very open effect, while capturing the yarns in a secure grid. There is a texture stripe as well as a color gradation. That's because I threaded it on all 8 harnesses. so some rows beat in tighter that others. On purpose. This shouldn't snag, just be lovely and lacey. The beads are between the reed and the heddles, and serve to help twist the warp threads around each other. there will be no beads in the finished piece unless I decide to add them later.

Now, this! This is an 8 harness table loom, brand new from Schacht. Isn't she lovely? I am putting a warp on her straight away. A double weave using Louet Merlin for warp on one side, and sock yarn on the other. Total experiment. I can hardly wait to see what happens. I intended to do some warping today while I was at the shop. It is Spring Break in my town. I had a blow-out two day sale to celebrate Woven Art's 4th birthday last weekend. I was practically guaranteed a slow day. After a few house keeping chores (including ordering a bunch of books - yippee!), I'd have plenty of time. why, after I got bored with warping I would even knit a little.
Well. The door jangled right at the opening hour. a wonderful customer needing sock needles. And then? Who should walk in but the UPS guy carrying a brand new box full of Tofutsies ( wonderful sock yarn) and a box of books. Hey - wasn't I just ordering books a minute ago? How fast is that?
The next time the door opened:

Three Victorias! This is the cute little spinning wheel from Louet. She folds into her own tres chic carrying case. And then pops open ready for action. Great for travel, or for smaller living spaces. Or as a second wheel. One is spoken for. I am seriously lusting after one.
Now on to documentation of creative progress:

This is the beginning of Liz's shawl. Liz is a student, working on one of the studio Norwood looms. She is using a Summer and Winter weave structure. There will be a diagonal progression of full tone and half tone blocks. She is using 8/2 and 5/2 tencel. The brown was dyed to compliment her hair. She will be stunning in this.
And finally: Happy April!

Here is a bad, off center, shadowy picture of April's stitch challenge. My camera was running out of battery power, so I couldn't see how it looked on the little pop out screen. Later - too late- I realized I could use the view finder. Huh. Anyway -here it is - fun to knit. On my list of things to do this week? Design the May Challenge!