Thursday, May 29, 2008

Linen washcloth

linen cloth
Originally uploaded by Valkyr8
Knitted out of Louet Euroflax linen. It feels heavenly!

The pattern is Theresa Gaffey Designs #20 and I made the Knit Seed Stitch Stripe Washcloth.

Why I LOVE Ravelry

If you are a fiber person (be that knitting, spinning, crochet, weaving, or dyeing) and you have not signed up for Ravelry, stop reading my post and go to the site and request an invitation now! Seriously!

Why are you still here? Go now! You will not regret it.

Good, that was easy.

Here is my story about why I love Ravelry. First off, I love being able to track my projects and it is so dang convenient to do it using the Project notebook. I can find patterns, record my library, track my stash, share pictures about my various projects and see what other people are doing. What sealed the deal was the day I started musing about knitting a cardigan for summer.

I wanted to make something using Knit Picks Shine Sport and I started searching through the projects on Ravelry to see what other people were making with this yarn, cause you can do that! I found Arietta by Barbara Gregory. Loved the design, loved the colors, and it used the yarn I wanted so off to Knit Picks I went to order the yarn. Shoot, 2 of the colors were no longer offered so I looked at possible color substitutions. Hey, the designer, Barbara, is on Ravelry too so I sent her a note asking her what she would recommend instead of Sand and Cloud since Knit Picks had discontinued them. She responded and said that she would recommend choosing a whole new color pallet. ::sigh:: She also referred me to a really nice article that she wrote for Knitty that explains how she organizes colors for her designs. It was really informative.

If I was buying yarn in a store I think it would be easier to grab hanks and throw them together to see how they mix and match, but trying to do that online was a bit daunting. Instead I decided to search through people's stash to see if anyone had extra skeins of Shine Sport in the colors I needed and would they be willing to sell? Another feature in Ravelry! I found someone who had 2 skeins of Cloud and G2 was kind enough to use her Pay Pal account to order them for me. I found someone else who had 3 skeins of Sand and despite writing her twice I never got a response. Out of the blue I received an e-mail from Barbara who asked if I had managed to find the two colors and if I hadn't she was happy to sell me what she had left over in her stash. WOW!
I now have 1 skein of Cloud and 3 skeins of Sand headed my way from Canada and I will have all of the yarn I need to knit this design. All because of Ravelry!

Thanks Casey and Jess for dreaming this up and making it a reality!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How am I doing?

Back in March I decided to make some changes in my day to day life.

One of them was to bring my own bags when I go shopping/ or simply carry my purchases out of the store if I forgot. I am happy to say that I have not taken a purchase out of a store in a plastic bag this year and I'm getting really good at bringing my own bag.

My second resolution was to start riding my bike. I started in early April and I have, for the most part, stuck to my resolution to ride my bike no less than 1-2 times a week. There were 2 weeks in a row that I did not ride, which was a combo of rainy weather and illness. Currently my goal is 3 days a week and I'm averaging 2-3 days. My co-worker is bringing his old bike in for me to look at and I can have it for nothing if I like it. Fingers crossed cause it has gears and everything!

Another goal that P suggested was that we would make our own lunches. He makes the meals for one week and I make the meals for the second. Overall I think we have both been happy. I do think he would be happier with larger portions, but really for lunch the portion sizes are appropriate.

1) reducing waste. Excellent!
2 and 3) reducing waist. Excellent!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

One week post crash

Believe me, this actually looks better than it did a week ago when I face planted on my bike. Yarn Dyers must be reading my blog cause look at this. Awesome!

The blood in the eye is such an extra special touch of gross. It's going to take a while for it to get absorbed by my body. Fortunately since I ALWAYS wear my helmet this is the worst of my injuries, the other being some scrapes on my right hand.

I rode my bike to work on Friday and today.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Getting Anxious

I finished the stockings for Eleanor last night and I hope they are the right size. I'm used to knitting for adults and not 9 going on 10 year olds. The worst thing will be that it is too small and I will need to undo the kitchner stitch, rip back, knit some more length and then decrease the toe. All can be done in an evening.

I'm anxious to start on my silk stockings, but there are a couple other projects that I'd like to tackle. First I'd like to finish the final market bag that I started. I also am toying with casting on the lovely sock yarn that I got from G2 (nummy), but then there is the sock yarn from Setti. Hmmmmm. I should probably wait until G2 vets my new chart for Eleanore, but I'm pretty happy with it now.

I'm no good at waiting.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Balling yarn

Saturday I went to Bachmans and purchased some plants for the front garden, and 3 tomato plants and herbs for the pots in the back. I also purchased a longer hose so that I could reach the front garden easier. I'm hoping I won't have to water the garden every day this week, but it will depend if the rain is not what they predicted.

I made better acquaintance of G2's ball winder on Sunday. She and Setti were planting the front yard, which will now include a rather substantial flower bed and I wound yarn into lovely cakes for myself and both of them. I wound some Cascade 220 for a Felted Sheep Kit for G2. I wound the hand dyed sock weight yarn for Setti. I think I liked the skein that had more green and red/ purple colors. It was more subtle. G2 split her hand dyed yarn with me. I wound 2 balls for her and the colors are just glorious! I can't remember what the base yarn is, or when she dyed it, but it is skeined and off the inkle loom, along with the hank of camel colored wool.

I also wound the 4 skeins of lace weight that I bought from Knit Picks and one of the 2 balls of hand dyed silk that I skeined and then wound. Much nicer to work with it in a center pull cake.

After gardening and ball winding we went to PetSmart to get items for the birds in our lives. Mine are wild and her's live in a cage. We went to Panera for a snack and coffee and poured over the swatch for the Eleanor cuff, the original photos and my chart. Overall I think we reached the same conclusions about the original and my interpretation. Bonus, we made some new discoveries about the pictures we had both looked at a number of times. That was a lot of fun and it's great to bounce ideas off someone who has a lot more experience knitting than I do.

Sunday night I sat and worked on the stockings for my apprentice Eleanor. I need to provide her with clothes this year and since her garb from last year still fits, I'm going to focus on wool hose and woven garters for her.

I need to get my Henry loom functional this week for G2.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Eleanor cuff

I knit a swatch with some scrap wool on size 0 needles with my new chart. Overall I'm pleased, but I don't think it is quite right. Just a simple change is needed, but it is close.

The pictures I used are on the Realm of Venus website in the workshop collection. The close up of the cuff from the Moda alla corte dei Medici: gli abiti restaurati di Cosimo, Eleonora e don Garzia, Firenze, Centro Di, 1993 was really the most useful piece in this puzzle.

Here is the detail of the original stocking from the wrong side (or at least I'm calling it the "wrong side" some might prefer to have this side displayed).

This is what I'm referring to as the right side of the cuff from my swatch.

This is reverse of the cuff on my swatch.

The leg pattern is pretty apparent, but I'm less convinced as to which side should be out. The rice stitch and horizontal rib pattern is fully reversible, but the garter rib is not and while it has been a held theory that the cuff folds down so that the "right" side is displayed, the stockings are displayed both ways in the "Moda di Firenze". While I would wear the stockings with the cuff folded down so that the purl bumps that form the lattice show, G2 prefers the side with the purl bumps in the lozenge. Actually either way would work and due to the nature of the stockings they really could be considered reversible.

This is a fascinating project.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Is Knitting hazardous?

Conversation at the St. Paul Post Office

Post office employee: Any liquids, fragile, hazardous contents?
Me: No, unless knitting is considered hazardous?
PO: ::blink:: What's in the package?
Me: Knitting
PO: No, I don't think I would call that hazardous. How much insurance do you want?
Me: $100.00
PO: ::blink:: $100 worth of knitting?
Me: Yes! 1000+ yards of hand dyed lace weight silk, $100 doesn't even cover the almost 2 months it took me to knit the stockings.
PO: You can knit with silk?
Me: Oh yeah, you can knit with all kinds of stuff.
PO: I didn't know that, but then I'm not really 'in the loop'. But I guess that is more crochet.
Both: ::Laugh::

It's nice finding a post office employee with a sense of humor, bonus that they actually know fiber craft.

Friday, May 16, 2008


I think I managed to replicate the cuff from the Eleanor stockings. Yeah, I've already finished 2 pairs, but I was never 100% satisfied with the directions I was using. They both turned out fine, but I really wanted to see if I could do better.

I recently put my hands on a couple of good photos of the originals and I've re-doubled my efforts to make what I'm knitting look like the picture. At knitting last night I think I cracked it. This is so exciting! I'll be posting a photo of my swatch soon. I'm going to give the chart to G2 and have her knit it as well and see what she thinks. I'm still contemplating how I want to make the pattern available, once I write it up. It will deffinately be ready for Lilies.

Drea's stockings went into the mail this morning!!! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Second Silk Stockings Complete

Drea stockings, done
Originally uploaded by Valkyr8
Kitchnered the toe on #2 this morning. Yay!!!!

It took me longer to complete this pair than the first, but that's ok. They are done and awesome! I'll be washing and blocking them tonight and putting them in the mail once they are dry. I'm hoping Thursday after showing them off to the knitting group.

Ride Your Bike to Work Day


This photo was taken a couple weeks ago and the world has grown a lot greener since then. All of the rain from the weekend has really helped. I actually forgot that today was "Ride your bike to work" for St. Paul (actually it's all week long) It just worked out that I was going to ride my bike anyway. I'm planning to ride on Thursday and Friday as well and I'm toying with the idea of riding to knitting on Thursday. It will mean that I will have to leave before my normal 10:45 pm departure time, but that's probably a good thing.

I do love my bike, but when I'm facing hills I really do wish I had more than one gear. ::sigh::

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Baby sweater

Originally uploaded by Valkyr8
I got this picture the other day from my friend in Fargo. Her daughter is now big enough to wear the sweater that I knit many months ago. I still love it!

The sweater pattern is the Child's Placket Neck Pullover by Joelle Hoverson from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I knit it out of leftover Cascade 220 from my stash. Lime Green, 7814 and Hot Pink, 9469.

Ball winder

I used G2's ball winder at knitting last night and wound the 2 skeins of silk and 1 skein of flax that I purchased at Shepherd's Harvest this past weekend. I also wound one of her skeins that was lying around since I had the swift and winder out. I should have wound the yarn for her sheep too, but I didn't see them. Oh well.

Setti dyed yarn and it looked cool. I finished the gusset decreases on the foot of stocking #2. I have 12 more repeats left and I can start the toe decreases. If I work hard I could have the stockings washed and blocked Wednesday night and ready to go in the mail on Friday. This means I will have the pair to Drea before Memorial Day weekend, which was my goal. It will be nice to have that project done. I have learned so much.

Tonight is attempt #2 of setting up the pavilion canopy at Fighter's Practice. The predicted rain is either going to ruin this attempt, again, or it will pass along to the north and we will be fine. Either way I'm handing over the bundle of canvas to someone from Silfren.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Yarn shopping

I went to the Shepherd's Harvest Festival on Saturday with my apprentice and her son. Since she was still on the mend I suggested we bring a wheel chair and I push her and DJ around so she would not get overtired. It worked really well.

We arrived at 8:45 am and strolled through the vendors booths. We then went to the livestock barns and visited with the llamas, alpacas, sheep, goats and rabbits. DJ was having fun calling to all the animals.

I was fairly well restrained in my purchases. The amount of fiber is overwhelming and I since I can't buy everything, I usually buy nothing or very little.

I purchased 4 bars of MN Summer soap and a tin of Knitters Little Helper hand balm from Shepher's Choice. I didn't realize that they had a shop up in East Bethel. They are hosting a sheep shearing festival on May 31st and I think I may have to take a jaunt over there from TOC. This was the main purchase that I was planning to get at the event. We walked through all of the vendor buildings. In the first building my attention was caught by some hand dyed gold silk. It was such a beautiful color. As we ate lunch, my thoughts kept going back to that silk. I found myself saying that we need to go back to building B so I could visit the silk.

Yeah, I bought it, and a skein of lilac as well. It's a 2/12 weight, the same as the silk I am currently using for the stockings. The silk is from Chamomile Connection, currently located in IN but soon to be moving to NM. They carry naturally colored cotton too and it is just lush! I think I may try to chart the pattern in the 17th. stockings in the MFA and try to make them with this silk. Could be a fun project.

About 1:30 we were all spent and I drove Liz and DJ home.

I joined Setti, G2 and Maddie at the Sheepy Yarn Shoppe in White Bear Lake. I hadn't been there before. It's a really cute shop and I decided to splurge on a skein of Louett Linen and a washcloth pattern.

We went to a local place down the street from the Yarn shop and had lunch. They had a lovely beer selection! Afterwards we headed to G2's place and had coffee and kept knitting. I finished the heel flap and turned the heel, picked up the stitches along the side and started the gusset decreases. My goal is to have the stockings to Drea before Memorial Day and I think I can do this.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Shepherd's Harvest Sheep and Wool Festival

The 11th annual begins tomorrow (Saturday, May 10th).

I'm looking forward to it. It will be my 3rd year going and I am bringing my apprentice and her son, and possibly her sister. I will be meeting up with other friends on Saturday.

I don't have plans to buy a lot of stuff. I just love to look and I know DJ is going to have fun looking at all of the animals.

We are all wearing handknits, of course. Hope to see others there!

YAY fiber from local farmers!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The first knot

I'm a third of the way through the decreases on the second stocking and I had to tie the first knot. I will be able to finish this stocking with the ball of yarn that I added and probably knit the pair for myself.

At this rate I will have one skein leftover............hmmmmmm.......... what shall I do?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Creating Historic Stockings


This beauty is from the collection at the MFA in Boston. It's Italian, knit in silk and metal threads from the early part of the 1600's. I think it is stunning. I would love to know what color it is.

At Jara's 35th Anniversary celebration I taught a class on knitting period stockings. Some people had already knit socks, some were just starting out knitting scarves, but they all seemed eager. I think the class went well so I'm ecouraged about my class at Lillies.

I worked some more on the second of pair #2 of the silk stockings. Sewing a pavilion and preparing for the class ate most of my time last week so I need to make it up. Having a cold now is not helping my concentration. I just want to sleep.