Behind the Eight Ball

Behind the Eight Ball

Hullo, Monday… nice of you to bring the cooler weather. Too bad you did not bring some organization with you because I am feeling decidedly unorganized today!

Friday Happy Hour was an inside affair, but it was good. And, that Tomato Jam is to die for! Couple that with some icy cold Martini’s and a bit of music and you have the makings for a perfect weekend!

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We did a little retail therapy over the weekend and did some walking of the indoor type (thank goodness the mall is air conditioned!) And, then there was some Olympic viewing, which was a pleasant way to spend some quality knitting time!

I would like to say that the remainder of the weekend was wildly exciting, however, it wasn’t, and that was fine with me!

However, I did finish Jen Lucas Mystery Shawl (2013). I did need to break into the second skein but I only used a few yards. Blocking will commence shortly as the weather is perfect blocking weather. My Autumnal Pincha will be joining in on the Soak wash and a light blocking as well!

I did some reading as well. I am only about halfway through Knitlandia because I got derailed on Friday with the delivery of my friend, Jillian Moreno’s new book – Yarnitecture.

Last week, Kay and Ann talked about having a little Wash-Along that I am going to be joining in on this week. The humidity has departed, so things should dry fairly quickly. I am also going to be doing a bit of Knitting Kon-Mari. (Thanks, Vicki for this fantastic idea!) There are so many knitted things that I no longer wear (or never wore, if I am perfectly honest). These things need to either find a new home or discover a new life by either repurposing the item or repurposing the yarn!

This weekend was the Michigan Fiber Festival, which was kind of melancholy for me because Blogless Karen and I always went together. However, she came up with a fantastic idea – we are going to knit the shawl that Ann Hanson has in the latest Interweave Knits! It will be a little fall knit along we do and we are knitting it with the same yarn! Twinning in separate states is so much fun! Thanks, Karen for helping me feel like I was there, without being there!

How was your weekend?

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A Tale of Four Swatches

A Tale of Four Swatches

Happy FriYAY from a MUCH cooler, LESS humid Pittsburgh! The AC is off and the windows are open!!

Cranky Pants level has been dramatically reduced.

AND!!!

Dark Sky™ is forecasting temps in the 70’s next week, with overnight lows in the mid 50’s – low 60’s!!!! Funny how a little change in your surroundings can have such a huge impact on your emotional well-being (and FriYAY does not hurt either)!

That brings me to the Fiber portion of the post (if you are not a spinner, please feel free to skip ahead to the Friday Links below):

Last week’s yarn has become this week’s swatches, with some very interesting results! I knit up four swatches – two 2-ply swatches, and two single lace swatches. All yarns were washed in hot water with a little Soak Wash and laid flat to dry – they did not hang. The single yarns were fulled slightly by agitating them lightly in the hot water and plunging them into cold water. I repeated this process twice.

First up, the yarn spun and plied on my Matchless (details are here if you are interested):

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The first swatch with the finished plied yarn, the yarn bloomed some, but not so dramatically that it changed the weight of the yarn. The finished yarn is 27 WPI and 5.5 TPI. This swatch came in with a gauge of 8 stitches per inch and 11 rows per inch.

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The single yarn bloomed dramatically and ended up between 18-20 WPI and 1.25 TPI. It created a stiffer swatch, but it blocked out beautifully. Because I fulled the yarn, it has fairly good strength, however, it is still a fragile yarn. I do not think this yarn would wear well, but it does make a lovely open lace swatch.

Next, the spindle spun and plied yarns:

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The first swatch with the finished plied yarn, the yarn bloomed a bit, but this yarn was less consistent than the yarn spun on my matchless. The range of TPI went from 23 to 14, however, the TPI was consistent at 5. I knit both swatches on the same size needle (US4), and this swatch got 7.5 stitches per inch and 10 rows per inch. However, I like the fabric that I got with the Matchless spun and plied swatch much better. It is much more even and uniform.

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The second lace swatch with the finished single yarn is my favorite! The finished yarn has a little more twist (2 TPI) and it is consistent at 20 WPI throughout the skein. It created the most lovely, airy fabric! This fabric has beautiful drape, and it allowed for some aggressive blocking! While this yarn would not be perfect for a hard wearing garment, it would make a lovely shawl.

Now for those fabulous Friday Links:

That’s all I have this week, have an amazing FriYAY and an even better weekend! I will see you back here on Monday!

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Finishing Well

Finishing Well

I have two fantastic finished objects that just might be the perfect things to help me when summer withdrawals start happening about mid-October!

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First up – Tales from the Isle of Purbeck. This was a MKAL that I was late to join, but join I did. I spent some time thinking about what would I like to knit this with and I settled upon a truly spectacular yarn; ElsaWool fingering weight, woolen spun Cormo. Now if you have not tried any of Elsa’s products – you need to. Really. The wool is from Elsa’s own sheep and it is expertly crafted into the softest, yummiest yarn. She sells both woolen spun and worsted spun yarns, as well as knit garments. And, the sheep pictures are lovely! Add to this the incredible service you get from Elsa herself, it is an experience not to be missed. If wool “makes you itch” you need to try some of ElsaWool, you won’t be disappointed – it is baby soft! I also love this brown with my Indigo Linen Dress No. 2! The pattern is really very simple and once I had the flow of it, it went very quickly. I did a partial repeat of chart 3 to increase the size. And, I really love the Icelandic bind off. If you wanted a light, but warm shawl for the fall, this might be just what you are looking for!

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The finishing did not stop there, I also finished up Nahant. It really did not take much time, thanks to the Lava Field on Netflix! I had been moving right along on this until it got too big to be good “travel knitting”. The yarn is some vintage Yarn Hollow BFL that I spun up some time ago. I had two bumps of fiber that were in similar colorways, as I recall. Anyways, I spun up each bump and then plied them together. There are times when the colorways match harmoniously, and times when they barber pole together. I really like how this turned out – and it is LONG. I can wrap it twice around my neck and still have scarf hanging down. Plus, the colors remind me of the changing leaves.

I am left looking at my basket of WIP’s wondering what will I pull out next. There is something so gratifying about getting something done quickly. And, crossing another item off the list is always a bonus. Pincha, I think this means you are up next! With the temperature in the 90’s and the humidity so high it feels like a sauna outdoors, staying in the air-conditioned house is not hard.

What are you finishing this week?

The Weekend Trifecta

The Weekend Trifecta

Why is Monday always in such a rush to get here and close the door on the weekend?! The weekend was so good; I would really just like to squeeze a bit more out of it!

Friday’s are always so nice, because well – Happy Hour! Icy cold martinis and good food makes unwinding from the week an easy task. Bonus treats included homemade ricotta, homegrown tomatoes, and smoked salmon!

There was LOTS of reading this weekend!! Which means I have a Bingo or three to tell you about! The books in italics are the ones I finished this weekend!

Book Bingo Card

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First Bingo Across:

  • White Nights by Ann Cleeves
  • My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl
  • Emma, Vol. 01 by Kaoru Mori
  • Shear Spirit by Joan Tapper & Gale Zucker
  • Still Life by Louise Penny

Second Bingo Across:

  • Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves
  • Written in My Heart’s Own Blood by Diana Gabaldon
  • My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Third Bingo Down:

  • Emma
  • Grandmother
  • It Itches by Franklin Habit
  • Doc by Mary Doria Russell
  • Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda

My Thoughts on the recently finished books:

My Grandmother… While this was not nearly as good as A Man Called Ove, it was still a lovely read. It caused me to think deeply about the relationships with the people around us – both family and friends – and the impact they have on our lives. And, every child should have a superhero! And there is indeed something incredibly special about a grandmother’s house. You truly never forget how it smells.

Emma…this is not a genre that I would have ever picked to read had “Manga” not been a bingo square. Thank you Margene for steering me to this book. It was a quick read.

Shear Spirit…Having to select a book from the top shelf of one of my bookcases and a blog post last week really spurred me to get this book down and read it. The book details 10 different fiber farms; all new to me and one of which was right in my back yard! I also found a project or two that I might have to queue up to knit! The photography and stories are just beautiful!

It Itches…I really just wanted a quick little read to fill that free square, as I have a good bit of reading to do to get a “cover all”. This is light, humorous and true (especially the stash story!!)

Finally, there was knitting and Olympics and an EPIC bind off. Now I just need to block the brown blob and get some glamor shots! Plus, I may have cast on something new…

How was your weekend?

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The Case for Cladonia

The Case for Cladonia

A couple of years ago, I knit this sample. It turned out beautifully and I really wanted to knit one to keep. But, as with many things – time passes and I forgot about it.

Until this, since Gale posted her fantastic version of this I have been unable to get Cladonia out of my head!

I looked at yarns online. Lots of yarn online. Nothing really struck me…don’t get me wrong, there were volumes of gorgeous yarns, but nothing that really said to me – I need to be your Cladonia.

Then I remembered this Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal I had in my stash. I have three skeins of it, but I really did not want to make it one color. I played with other yarns in stash, but nothing was really the right color.

It did not take much effort to convince a friend to head out to Sewickley to visit their yarn shop and I am happy to report that I had great success finding the perfect yarn to match. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and for me it is true. Gale, I simply adore your Cladonia – my version will be a tribute to you!

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I am holding off on casting on until I have the big brown blob finished – which, with some Olympic Assistance, I hope will be today!

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I did get the first half of the Sheepspot Perendale plied up – I ended up with about 160 yds of 3-ply fingering weight yarn and I hope to get similar yardage out of the second half of the fiber. That will give me about 320 yds for a pair of socks, so here’s what I want to know from you, Gentle Reader, what is your go to toe up sock pattern? This is not my usual method of knitting socks, but I want to maximize the yardage!

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Now for the Friday Links (and they are amazing this week!):

Svetlana has been busy again

And so has Thea

I laughed at this, but really – perhaps every little girl needs one!

It has been years since Interweave Knits has had anything that I even remotely wanted to knit, however their Fall edition has some really yummy things. Like this. And this. And this.

There was an update to Sight is Life

Grellow gets me every single time.

This does not Vex me at all.

Diabolique

That is all I have for today, have a fantastic weekend and see you all back here on Monday!

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