Take Care of That Arm!

Well, I overdid the holiday knitting and my tendinitis has flared up again. (Go here for a great tutorial on taking care of your arm.) So no knitting for now, which is nearly unsupportable. I cannot sit and watch tv and not do something. And I have a slew of new pattern ideas, but I can’t knit up samples or swatches.

End of whining. Ironically, since my New Year’s not-resolution was to knit up more handspun, I’ve found that spinning does not flare up the tendinitis. So I’ve been spinning up the rest of my fiber stash. Here’s the result:

Painted Tiger Club – can’t find label – what fiber? 2 ply – will become some sort of small shawly thing
100% wool from Mountain Fiber Folk
Wool/mohair from Mountain Fiber Folk plied with the first yarn- very dye-heavy – had to have a lot of baths before the dye ran out
Wool/alpaca/silk from MFF plied with the first yarn – not quite as vibrant yellow in real life

These three will become a manly scarf – I’m thinking a knit2, purl2 rib with the first brown-y yarn as the main color and then the red and yellow (and green – still on the wheel) as big stripes – sort of Hudson’s Bay Blanket look.  Someday I will knit again and make this mighty scarf!

And now, for a gratuitous cat picture:

Jack in a box. Really.

Not A New Year’s Resolution!

I like the idea of New Year’s and fresh starts and throwing off the bad habits of the old year. But I also think we set ourselves up to fail if we start making resolutions. So instead of a resolution, I’m making a, shall we say, re-energization. And it’s going to start with the 12 billion skeins of handspun that I’ve spun and done nothing with.

I don’t know many other spinners, so I don’t know if we all do the same thing, but when I get a bump of fiber, I have a vague notion of what I want to do with it (weight, fractal, n-ply, etc) and spin it accordingly. Then I wash it and thwack it and skein it up and put it in my yarn cabinet, and that’s the end of it. The whole act of spinning it feels like a finished project to me.

I’ve knit exactly 3 things with my handspun. This cat (the one in front – ha!), for a friend who was going through chemotherapy:

I’m adorable!

These mitts, for a spinners’ swap on Ravelry (last year):

I look better on hands than on a windowsill.

And this scarf, for a spinners’ swap on Ravelry (this year):

I need to be blocked!

I counted, and I have 36 skeins of handspun sitting in my yarn cabinet! Shameful! So as part of my re-energization, I wound all of those skeins into center-pull balls, so they’ll be ready for me to knit up. Here’s the chaos of yesterday:

All wound up with someplace to go! Look how pretty!

It shouldn’t be that hard to find a nice pattern for these. I’m thinking maybe (MAYBE) I’ll try to use one handspun each month. Is that too resolution-y? We’ll see.

Welcome, Backyard Visitors!

One of my favorite things to do is to gaze absentmindedly out my kitchen door at my backyard.  We have bird feeders and our garden in the back. It’s very pretty, and I love looking at the birds. But the last two days presented me with two new visitors to the backyard. Here they are:

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, on the purple coneflowers:

I’ve never seen this butterfly before – it was not shy and let me get quite close to take 5 billion pictures. It was working hard on those coneflowers!

And then the very next day, a big gorgeous classic, the Monarch Butterfly, also on the coneflowers:

I’ve seen tons of Monarchs before, but not usually this big. He/she was skittish about my presence (perhaps because I tumbled out of the back door in my pajamas, hurriedly focusing the camera), so I was lucky to get a good shot.

Nice treat.

The Stupidest UFO Ever

Periodically I go through cuckoo-crazy yarn/project purges. When I started working at The Tangled Web 10 years ago, I had never seen good yarn and I was blown away by the colors and textures and my 20% discount. I bought a lot of yarn and I started a lot of projects.

Over the years I’ve tried to be a little more selective about what I buy and when I buy it, but I still have a lot of yarn and a lot of unfinished projects. Every year when I teach UFO (UnFinished Objects) Camp at the store, it is always inspiring. Our camp started last Friday and of course as I always do I came home and started going through the old yarn cabinet and project baskets. I love getting rid of stuff!!!!*

Anyway, in my purging journey I came across what has to be The Stupidest Unfinished Object of All Time. Here it is:

Are you serious????!!!!
Yes, that is the 2nd sock of a pair of socks that I started a couple of years ago. At some point I finished the first sock, cast on and knit up the 2nd sock and stopped TWO ROWS FROM CASTING OFF. Say what?!?!?!?!!!! I couldn’t believe it when I came across the bag that held this goofiness.

I knit 2 more rows, bound off the sock, and now it is done.

Finished 3 minutes later, for heavens’ sake!

Note to self:  check through unfinished projects more often.

*It’s like when you watch “Hoarders” and then throw every single thing out in your house because you’re so afraid you’ll get that way.

Summer Knitting

It’s summer, and a knitter’s thoughts turn to lace. Well, mine do.

I went through a gigantic lace knitting jag a couple of years ago and kind of got it out of my system. Because I’m not a Victorian society lady, I don’t really need the 25 lace shawls I’ve accumulated. But I find that every year when hot weather rolls around, I suddenly feel compelled to knit some lace! Go figure.

The Tangled Web, where I teach, is featuring an Olympics Knit-Along next month. The Gold Medal Project is the Summer Flies Shawl, a free pattern that has a million projects on Ravelry. So I thought I’d knock out a sample to make sure it could be completed in 10 days (the length of the Olympics).

Cast on with #7 needles and Ella Rae Lace Merino. Done and done (in 3 days!):

Obligatory Japanese Maple Tree shot
Prettiness!

I like these semi-circular shawls (like Citron, too). They’re fun to knit, though I don’t especially love the way they wrap. They work better as big scarves than actual shawls.

So I finished the store project and thought, Now what? I poked around Ravelry (what is more fun than that?!) and found the Meandering Vine Shawl, by one of my favorite designers, Susanna IC.

(Not very impressive looking. Will take another picture post-blocking beautification.)

Cast on with #10 needles and a double strand of Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace in my favorite “color”, beloved charcoal grey. This is a rectangle; I’m just going to knit until my yarn runs out. I have a feeling it won’t be long enough for a wrap, so I may graft the ends together and make it a multiple-wrap cowl.

What’s on your needles this summer?

Are You Serious?

This news story is easily the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read. It’s four weeks from Opening Ceremonies for the Summer Olympics, and the International Olympic Committee sends a Cease and Desist letter to Ravelry (for God’s sake!!) not to use the term “Ravelympics”, because it is “disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work”

SAY WHAT?!

First of all, the Olympics is a sports competition, that’s all. You can ring out all the grand metaphors you want, but in the end it’s sports. I say this as a huge sports fan.

Well, I could go on for paragraphs and paragraphs, but I won’t. You get the idea.

Ouch.

After seeing 10 billion Color Affection shawls on Ravelry

(That’s not mine – I wish!)

and reading Yarn Harlot’s experience with hers, I decided to jump on the bandwagon. Though I love finding obscure new patterns, I admit I love knitting with the herd too.

I happened to have 3 gorgeous colors of sockweight yarn in my stash and proceeded to cast on and knit. And knit. And knit. And knit. I gleefully finished the first part (solid gray); then the second part (2-row stripes of gray and burnt orange); then started the third and final part – the good, wedgy, short row-y section with all 3 colors (gray, orange and navy)  The construction is fun, the yarn is beautiful…..and yet…….

I looked at it yesterday and thought, “I do not like these colors.” Uh oh.

Then I thought, “I do not like these colors at all. But that is a whole lot of knitting I’ve already done.”

Then I thought, “I do not like these colors at all. But that is a whole lot of knitting I’ve already done. But when it is finished, I think that I will never wear it.”

And then I thought, “I do not like these colors at all. But that is a whole lot of knitting I’ve already done. But when it is finished, I think that I will never wear it. And so I must frog it.”

Back to the drawing board.