Thursday

[spinning] The Fug

I went down to The Fiber Studio with my sister a while ago and picked two 50g balls of pencil roving:

The Fug: Before


The colors are... Well, my sister saw it on the counter when I was paying and asked, "You're...? Uh... Really?" But I said, "I know it's the fugliest of the fug but I've seen nasty fiber spin up into the prettiest yarn. You can't tell what it's going to look like by what it looks like now."

But I got the sinking feeling in my stomach when I unraveled it all. Oh, the fugliness of it:

The Fug: During


Some of the color combinations aren't that bad in and of themselves but I thought things like, "What's that blue doing in there? What's with all the red? What's with the pink and minty green?"

I spun and the singles looked like:

The Fug: During


Christmas. It looks like Christmas. Holly and evergreen and candy canes. Oh, the fugliness of it.

Determined to see this thing through to the end, I plied the two singles I spun and got:

The Fug: 2-Ply


It looks more like Easter to me now, rather than Christmas. I am going to make an earflap hat and see what happens.

I did some research on the fiber. Turns out it's not really meant for spinning (whoops), rather for felting. It's pencil roving by Zitron (which practically spun itself) for Skacel Artfelt. I see. I will say, though, that the merino is crazy soft and lofty. The finished yarn is VERY sqwooshy.

Wednesday

[knitting] Cowl Crazy

Cowls seem pretty popular right now and because I'm so impressionable, I've been making some.

I call this RBC (Reverse Basketweave Cowl):

RBC


Just knit a tube in basketweave stitch and then (here's the magic part) turn it inside out! I did this because I prefer the purl-ier texture on the outside.

I used one skein of Plymouth Royal Llama Linen. The color I used can more accurately be seen below:

RBC


The silk and linen in the yarn really make this a soft and slouchy cowl. I loves it.

The mossy handspun became a very handsome Serrated Cowl:

Handspun Cowl


The pattern is simply rows of stockinette, then a row of p2tog, then a row of kbf, repeat. I increased as I went, to flare the bottom.

After a severe wash and block:

Serrated Cowl


I was surprised when Dollar asked if he could have it. I shouldn't be, though, because when he wears a scarf he wraps it around his neck and tucks the ends into the neck of his coat (he doesn't enjoy the long ends hanging out). So really, this cowl is perfect for him.

I tried a variation on the Serrated Cowl with Aslan Trends Invernal:

Serrated Cowl


Needs to be washed and blocked. For this one, I increased the number of stockinette rows between the purl ridges as I went. I did this only because the rows of p2tog and kbf were becoming murder to my hands and wrists. Still, I like end result.

I chose to name this design "Serrated" because the purl bumps look like the teeth on a serrated knife to me:

Serrated Cowl


Lastly, I noticed that I've recently been pulling the same color from my stash to work with:

Color trend?


I think I'm all done with yellow. Please, someone stop me if I start to work on something in yellow. Even if I call it something clever like "maize" or "wheat", just slap it out of my hands.

Tuesday

[knitting] Organic Washcloths

I finished and machine washed/dried the organic cotton washcloths:

Washcloths


They are so soft.

I improvised the pattern- I wanted a seed stitch border around a stockinette center. They came out more rectangular than square. If you would like to make a couple (the written instructions below are for a more balanced and square washcloth)...

Materials:

1 ball Plymouth Oceanside Organic (makes 2 cloths)
US 7 needles

Pithy instructions:

Cast on 35 st. Seed stitch for 6 rows. Maintain a 5-stitch seed stitch border and make the center 25 stitches of stockinette. Work for 35 rows. Seed stitch for 6 rows, then loosely cast off.

Washcloths


Now I need to find a way to artfully wrap these up.

Monday

[knitting] Irish Hiking Scarf

Angora Irish Hiking Scarf


Pattern: Irish Hiking Scarf

Needles: US 8

Yarn: Elizabeth Lavold Angora

Tech: I did the cables without a cable needle and spit-spliced new yarn to join (FYI: I don't use spit. I use water.)

Angora Irish Hiking Scarf


The scarf is very soft. And very white. I think it will only come out on VERY special occasions.

Angora Irish Hiking Scarf


I think I'd like to do another cabled scarf. Either this Cabled Brioche stitch or Manitou Passage (with a slip stitch edge rather than the garter border). I like that they are reversible and the cables are staggered.

Friday

[amy] Sleepwalking?

I think I was sleepwalking the other night. I went to bed before Dollar (like I usually do) and woke up wondering if Murderface the cat was indoors. I must have been dreaming about spinning yarn though, because I got up, opened the door to the game room and saw Dollar on the futon.

AMY: Did... Did... Didn't...

DOLLAR: What?

AMY: ...

DOLLAR: ...

AMY: Is... Didn't... Where...

DOLLAR: Murderface is inside. Is that what you wanted to know?

AMY: Where's my ply?

DOLLAR: Your... what?

AMY: Plah... My plied.

DOLLAR: Plaid?

AMY: My plied yarn.

DOLLAR: ... Your plaid yarn?

AMY: [Frustrated, shuts door and walked downstairs. Sees Murderface curled up on a couch. Mind becomes clear.] Oh. There you are. [Starts to walk back upstairs.]

DOLLAR: [Coming down the stairs] I came to see if you're all right. I think you're sleepwalking.

AMY: I know, ha ha. I wasn't making any sense, right?

DOLLAR: No, you weren't.

AMY: Weird, haha haha. Well... good night.


I laughed myself to sleep about it and through the next few days. I felt like I was awake but I couldn't get my thoughts or my words clear. I said more stuff but I can't remember what now. Huh...

[amy] Unicorns? You swear? Okay, I'll go.

[knitting]

Finished my angora Irish Hiking Scarf last night. Despite the issues I was having with this yarn, it came out looking great.

I only have two unfinished objects (one of which doesn't need to be done until Christmas) so I figure I'll cast on a bunch this weekend.

[spinning]

I'm all done spinning three bags (12 oz total) of Ashland Bay Merino Tussah Silk top. Some of it is washed and drying, some of it is on the niddy-noddy, some is plied and some is waiting to be plied. I kind of have to do things in stages since I only have one niddy-noddy (I leave the plied yarn on it overnight).

[reading]

I just finished Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus: Vol. 1 and I didn't really like it. The writing is just so bad and they've drawn Buffy to look like her name should be Booby. We'll see how Vol. 2 goes...

[cooking]

I made these Molasses Cookies last weekend and they came out perfect. After you buy the ingredients to make these once, you'll have enough left over to make them at least 10 more times.

[watching]

Going to see Batman: The Dark Knight on Sunday down in Massachusetts. Yes, we are driving two-hours to see this movie in a special Imax theater with stadium seating where your drinks are served to you by Unicorns and they give you a big bag of money at the end. I'm a little skeptical about the unicorn and money parts but it's the only way I would agree to ride in a car for FOUR HOURS just to see a movie.

[happy]

I am the happy (borderline ecstatic) owner of TWO tickets to see Henry Rollins in Boston at the Orpheum Theater on November 1st. I know, it's a long way off but I got excellent seats. I bought pre-sale tickets through the fan site, rather than waiting until they go on sale through Ticketmaster TOMORROW, when only the nosebleed seats will be available. Now all I have to do is find a hotel near the Common that isn't $400 for one night.

Wednesday

[knitting] Oceanside Organic Washcloths

I have a friend who is leaving the Upper Valley to tour the world. I wanted to knit him something and we both agreed on washcloths. They are useful, easy to care for and small (which is important when luggage space and weight are at a premium).

Organic Washcloths


Just a simple stockinette washcloth with a seed stitch border. I am using Plymouth Oceanside Organic- an organic cotton with no dyes used. What's interesting that it comes in shades of white, beige and green. With no dyes used. I didn't know that you can grow naturally colored cotton but...

"Before they were bred in predominantly creamy white strains centuries ago, cotton plants were well known for producing an array of colors. But following the advent of the cotton gin and inexpensive industrial dyes, white cotton reigned supreme. Colored plants were marginalized, surviving only in seed banks kept by some agricultural departments here and there around the world and in small, traditional communities in a handful of places, including Mexico, Guatemala and Peru." Source

I'm glad naturally colored cottons are becoming more readily available. This would be a good fiber to use for babies or adults with skin allergies.

Monday

[spinning] Mossy? Algae?

I don't think I ever showed what this looked like spun up. Before:

From Alaska


Very different from the tooth-achingly sweet pink roving I got from the same company. I love the blue, green and gold combination. There's no assigned name for this colorway but I've been trying to think of what it reminds me of... Moss? Algae? Pond scum?

Alaska Fire & Ice


What do you think it should be called?

Alaska Fire & Ice


I started spinning the first bobbin very thin and then I started to get lazy and spin thicker. You can see that a good portion of the yarn is a thinner strand wrapped around a thicker one. Oh well.

I had a lot of leftover thin single ply that I Navajo plied. See the smaller skein at the bottom:

Navajo Ply


Essentially, with Navajo plying to can make a 3-ply yarn from a single. It's a matter of making a loop and plying that with the tail and making another loop and plying that with the tail, etc. You can retain lengths of color in the yarn this way.

Trying to do this from help text and poor quality videos online made it pretty complicated for me. I need to find someone that can do it in real life and watch.

Navajo Ply


I do like the finished look of this yarn but it has some definite bumps where one loop ended and I pulled a new loop through.

The bigger skein is currently in the process of becoming a cowl. I'm going a little cowl crazy right now.

Friday

[spinning] Louet Northern Lights

Here's a pile of the Louet Northern Lights in the Picasso colorway.

Northern Lights Sliver


I picked a colorway that wasn't my first choice because I have seen some of the fugliest roving spun up into the most gorgeous yarn.

This type of roving is called "sliver" (pronounced sly-ver). Here's a good article from Spin-Off on the different types of fiber preparation you can spin from.

It was so much fun to spin this, I couldn't stop. Check out the finish yarn:

Northern Lights


Take a closer look...

Northern Lights


Closer still!

Northern Lights - close


I could stare at this all day. In fact, I made it my desktop wallpaper so I do stare at it all day.

I ended up with bulky, springy yarn. What to do with it? I had planned on crocheting the Anne scarf with it but after a few inches in, I realized that yarn was just too big for it. Then I started bulky mittens:

Handspun Mittens


It went all right. I had to rip back once to get the thumb placement right. It felt a little tight but not too tight. The hand ended up kind of pointy but I could deal with that. I wove in the yarn ends at the top and it feels annoyingly lumpy/bumpy but that's not big deal, right? Right?

I'm ripping these mittens. It's just not working. I'm going to see if the yarn needs to be washed again to get the kinks out and then save it for when the knitting gods bestow upon me the wisdom of what to make with this colorful, awesome yarn.

Thursday

[knitting] Scalloped Table Runner

I finished the table runner and have the pattern all written up.

Scalloped Table Runner


Scalloped Table Runner


Scalloped Table Runner


Scalloped Table Runner


It's going to be a free PDF download at Ravelry but for those not on Ravlery, I'll try to find a server where I can create an account and upload PDFs. Then I'll link to it from here.

I went to the Upper Valley Knitting Guild meeting last night at the Norwich Public Library. There were only 8 of us there, so show-and-tell was over rather quickly. Then it was knit-and-chat time.

Tonight the Upper Valley Stitch & Bitch is meeting at White River Yarns. I'll bring a few copies of the table runner pattern to distribute, if anyone wants to test knit. I think the pattern is sound but I did find a "yarn over" missing from the directions for the first row yesterday.

EDIT: I just added the PDF to the sidebar at the left. The link goes directly to a PDF but I also set up a Google Page to host/list all my (future) PDFs.

Wednesday

[crochet] Annabrigo

What's this blobbity blob?

Annabrigo


A crocheted scarf!

Annabrigo


Pattern: Anne
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted, 1 skein
Hook: H

Annabrigo


The project was FEF: Fast, Easy, Fun. I was nervous about the whole "crochet" aspect of it, but I brought the pattern to knitting group at White River Yarns and had Shelby walk me (and others) through it one step at a time.

I finished it at home in only a few hours. Crochet is so much faster than knitting.

This was the first time I knit with Malabrigo and I understand why people love it as much as crack. It's really soft and the yardage is good. I've heard some negative things about pilling but that's to be expected with a single ply like this.

I think this might be my go-to project for birthdays or Christmas. I still have three skeins of Malabrigo in my stash (I bought 4 skeins at Knit New London when they were on sale for a crazy 40% off).

Tuesday

[misc] Murderface Monday... Belated.

Murderface got caught out in the rain last week:

Murderface caught out in the rain


Murderface caught out in the rain


I like the spiky 'do but he wasn't amused. He shook his coat like a dog and water sprayed everywhere. I toweled him off and spent and hour grooming him while he purred.

He was unusually sweet this morning. Normally I drag him up from the bottom of the bed and lay him on my chest to pet while I try to wake up. He tolerates this for a minute before moving back to the bottom of the bed. This morning he came up on his own (which felt like being woken up by dining room chair walking all over me) and laid down, purring. Awww.

It was super sweet because our relationship usually goes something like: (a) me kissing his belly, (b) him biting me in the head.

Or: (a) me pointing at the scratching post, (b) him staring straight into my eyes while scratching the end of the couch.

Or, best ever: (a) Murderface uses the litterbox in the bathroom and in an effort to cover his waste, he scratches and throws half the litter outside of the box onto the bathroom floor, (b) I start dust-busting the mess, (c) Dollar walks by and says, "Oh wow. Murderface made a mess, huh?" and keeps on walking, (d) Dollar and Murderface high-five each other around the corner because I am a slave to them both.

Monday

[amy] 4th of July weekend

It was a super-busy but super-fun 4th of July weekend. Friday afternoon Dollar and I went to see WALL-E. We both really liked it (I don't think Pixar can make a bad movie).

My sister and I went to see the fireworks that night. I haven't been to see fireworks in years and I wasn't disappointed. It was awesome. During the finale, everyone is cheering and clapping. As soon as the fireworks stop, everyone grabs their blankets or chairs and makes a mad dash to their cars to get out of the parking lot. It was insane. Luckily, we were late to arrive so we were one of the first ones out.

Saturday my sister and I took a trip with our mom to Franconia Notch State Park. On our way there, we saw:

A Bear!


A bear! We were like, "What kind of dog is that... Holy cow, it's a baby bear!" I rolled down the window and snapped as many pictures as I could:

A Bear!


A Bear!


We got to The Flume Gorge at the main visitor's center just after 9 am and we were the 5th car in the parking lot. We went on the easy 1.5 mile walk around the flume:

The Flume


The Flume


The Flume


The Flume


The Flume


The Flume


The Flume


The Flume


The Flume


The Flume


It was about noon by the time we came back out and the parking lot was PACKED. People were everywhere. There were probably only a dozen people around us while we were in the woods but there must have been 700 in there by time we finished. I can't imagine that would be very fun so I recommend you get there right when it opens at 9 am.

We had a nice picnic lunch and then went up the road to take the tramway to the top of Cannon Mountain:

Mt. Cannon


It was pretty crowded at the top but such a nice, amazingly clear day we could see all the way back to Vermont and the Upper Valley.

I was fairly beat by the time we got home. I think I just puttered around the house, doing some knitting and watching old Scrubs episodes with Dollar.

Sunday we drove down to the Claremont cinemas to see Hancock with my sister and her boyfriend. None of us liked it. It was an interesting idea but... I just wasn't emotionally invested in any of the characters. WALL-E, an animated robot, had more character and interest than anyone in Hancock.