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The Black Purl
.:: ..::: ..:.

The Knit List:
On the horizon:
Sock War Socks
Some sort of sweater (For me!)
Tabby Cat Mat
Dreamy throw

On the needles:
Icarus Shawl
Rustic Ripple afghan (earth tones)

In the wake:
Hoover Blanket
Rustic Ripple afghan (purple/red)
Classic Cloche
Feline Dim Sum wonton
Branching Out scarf
Loopy wrap
Baby bonnet
Chutes and ladders scarf

Molly's blue sweater
Tempting sweater
Jim's hat

September 2006
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The Black Purl [userpic]

As you can see, fresh batteries have been snapped into the camera, and the first thing I did was to take my John B. outside to snap some pics of it under the crab apple tree. See? I told you it was much more gorgeous than that other picture made it look! I still haven't cast on, but I will...oh, yes. I will. The Zorro roving I got last week from Crown Mountain Farms will be photographed tomorrow along with the couple of ounces of yarn I've managed from it, as well as the Tibetan dreams roving that I haven't touched.

I've been wanting to make a top for myself for a while now and never decided on a pattern to use. I'm also headed to a fiber festival in early October (for which it would be nice to actually wear something I've knit), as well as the Richmond Celtic Festival in late October. I've been looking for something nice to wear with my kilt for three years now, and as I've never quite found the right thing, it finally occurred to me I should just make the right thing. So I signed up for the Sexy Knitters Club Simple Knitted Bodice KAL, because that pattern will fit the bill for all three. I even think I could finish the thing in time to wear it, thanks to having the whole first week of October blocked off as vacation. Knitting on the porch looking at the ocean sounds pretty darn appealing, wouldn't you say? So all that is fine and dandy, sounds great and all, but at this point, I'm really torn as to what yarn I'm going to use to make it. I would love to use the Tilli Tomas yarn, but I'm really not sure I can justify the cost of the stuff (stupid expensive silk). I want to see what alternatives are out there before I injure the finances as seriously as purchasing that yarn would do. I also definitely want to pick up some Kureyon for a scarf, so I'm wondering if anybody's interested in making the trip down to Mosaic tomorrow for Starbucks and yarn (and maybe even a little Five Guys afterward?).

Tags: , ,
Mood: contemplativecontemplative
The Black Purl [userpic]

So I've been dying to post about is my trip to Mosaic in Blacksburg, where I scored some fantastic new sock yarn! I am so tempted to jump this yarn to the top of the knit list! There were several different colorways I wanted, but I could only afford one, sadly. I've been trying to resist casting on, as I know I'll be into plenty of socks soon enough between Sock Wars and Socktoberfest 2006, not to mention I promised Molly some socks a while ago that I seriously need to get on top of. But the sock yarn calls to me, with its gorgeous, sunny colours and the great name for them (who wouldn't love a yarn colourway named John B.?)! I have to say, maybe I got a funky dye lot of the John B., as everywhere has it looking like this picture here, but I swear to you, internet friends (and IRL friends, too!) my John B. is much more attractive that the picture would indicate.

So why no picture to prove the beauty of my new yarn? I still can't find the battery charger for the digital camera! So I can't stand it any longer: I'm buying new batteries when I run by the store (again) tonight. It's the only saving grace of tonight's trip to the store. I just went to the store last night to buy the week's groceries, and (of course) since I didn't have a list, I forgot to get sandwich bags and...something else...

See? This is why people with Fibromyalgia can't be allowed to live alone in the wild. We get stupid sometimes. I really honestly can't remember the other thing I forgot to get. Maybe the donut holes will be restocked, though. >:)

Edit (6 hours later): I just remembered the something else. It's hot dog buns. We have a package of tasty Hebrew National dogs, but no buns. I'm making a list now, really. Bags, batteries, and buns. Conveniently alliterative, no?

Tags: , ,
Mood: aggravatedaggravated
The Black Purl [userpic]

I hate every stitch
of the seven pattern rows
above the mistake.

Location: werk
Mood: annoyedannoyed
The Black Purl [userpic]

This whole long weekend thing was very nice, can we do it again starting tomorrow? I spent the weekend in Maryland with my mother and grandmother, and we had a lovely time, but I am T-I-R-E-D. This is probably completely my fault (I forgot all my meds, so I didn't sleep the whole weekend, and came home with a back like a board), but nonetheless, I'm recovering slowly today.

But on the positive front, a miracle occurred: I gave my grandmother her hat and IT FITS! I had no idea how big her head was, so I just felted it until it looked right and somehow it fits perfectly. And even better? She actually likes it! So, so much good luck there.

Also good, gave the Hoover to my cousin George, and he was very happy with it. His wife was not around, but he said he was sure Kathy was going to be giving me a call. XD Sadly, no pictures, as the camera batteries died before I gave anyone their gift.

No progress on knitting this weekend for two reasons:
A. I think there's a mistake in my shawl two rows ago, and I just can't face trying to work it out right now/rip back two rows.
B. I was in the middle of a really good book.

Tags: ,
Location: werk
Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
The Black Purl [userpic]

Okay, I know it's been longer than I meant since I updated, but something (lack of pictures, lack of computer access, new spinning wheel etc.) always seemed to be getting in the way. Now, however, pictures have been taken, minerva710 is sleeping in, my bobbin is nearly full, and I am free to use the computer.

As I am certain that the mention of a new spinning wheel didn't slip by you, cunning friends and knitters that you are. So here's the scoop:

The fiber and drop-spindles I ordered from Simple Market Farms arrived on Monday. The Blue Faced Leicester wool is fantastically soft, and the drop-spindles are beautiful. I would recommend them highly, but they no longer make them, which is terribly sad. The wheel did arrive, as the lovely Kate promised, on Wednesday, and I set it up that night. Over the next two days, I proceeded to spin some really uneven, wormy, fluffy stuff that I don't really like to call "yarn" (you can see it on the kate at the bottom of the wheel) that will become Molly's first foray into the world of Kool-Aid dyeing. But on Saturday, I figured a couple of things out, changed the bobbin, and spun this:

It's not much, but after the first skein, it's gorgeous.

Mood: ecstaticthrilled
Music: Daniel Powter - Bad Day
The Black Purl [userpic]

Okay, so even if I missed out on all the beading fun at sleepinbeauty's place, I was there in spirit. Everything they made is gorgeous, and while I can't compete in the bracelet category, I think I managed to bead some mean stitch markers for the Icarus shawl I'm casting on either tonight or tomorrow. They're murano glass, amber, and obsidian, in case anyone is curious, and they fit on any needles sized US8 and under. I have other, larger jump rings that can be attached if I need to use them on larger needles.

Oh, boy, the Icarus shawl. I'm excited to be starting a new project, especially one that should be a bit of a challenge. The last couple of things I've worked on, the baby bonnet and the Hoover blanket, have been fairly straightforward, and I'm looking forward to something a bit more difficult to knit. Something to engage my brain, rather than mindless knitting I can do while watching an episode of House, MD I've never seen before. Something definitively non-rectangular.* I could go on some more here, but by now you get the picture and are getting bored. I suspect all this is really just fancy justification for the simple fact that it's too flippin' hot around here not to switch to lace.

See, I can now cast on for Icarus, since the Hoover blanket is now nearly done, lacking only the edging I'm adding to the pattern. I know I want the edging I'm doing to be both simple and white, though I still haven't decided either which yarn I'm using for the edging, or the edging pattern itself, but that's to be dealt with later this week. After flipping through both Knitting on the Edge and Knitting Over the Edge, I decided to order the former on Amazon while I still have the free trial of Amazon Prime. I should have it on Tuesday, at which point I can pick out an edging for the blanket, as I really think it needs one. Suggestions/opinions, anyone?

Actually, while we're on the subject of opinions, what the heck. My mom calls as I'm finishing up the Hoover for my expectant cousin, and tells me that another of my cousins is pregnant. Dang. So now I need to find another baby something to make. Nina, Tracey, Kathy, and now Amanda. z0MGWtF?! This all makes me very glad I am sitting here at 0% change of getting pregnant, because despite the fact that neither Tracey nor Nina is as old as I am, I'm too young to have children!!! I just am. Really.

*When I'm swearing like a sailor at/about Icarus, and/or tearing my hair out over some little mistake in the lace three rows back which throws off the whole thing, please do not remind me I've said I was looking for something challenging. Trust me--it's better for both of us this way.

Location: home
Mood: hothot
The Black Purl [userpic]

Despite the fact that I've knit another inch and some change of the Hoover blanket, I still have 4 inches left to knit. Remeasuring the blanket this afternoon reveals that the width is 28", rather than the 27" it measured last time. That's the thing about yarn--the heavier the knitted portion gets, the more the freakin' thing grows. Sigh. This blanket is starting to feel like an eternity of green-and-whiteness.

Of course this is made much worse by my coworker's idea that I should totally knit snakes on a plane. I laughed my butt off when he suggested it, but then it dawned on me that I really could knit up some felty green i-cord snakes on a felty white plane with my leftover Cascade 220 from this project. Plush plane patterns are now making themselves up in my head, some of them including little buttonholes for snakes to enter. This is what happens when a project goes on for too long. Snakes on a plane, baby! How cool would that be?

Location: werk
Mood: artisticartistic
The Black Purl [userpic]

The cloche is really done now, and ready to be wrapped and subsequently given to my grandmother for her birthday. I really, really hope it's the right size. I remember her head being just a bit smaller than mine, and if that's true, it will fit perfectly. If it's not true, I'll be stretching felt that weekend instead of admiring my achievement. I ended up using one and a quarter skeins of Suri Merino as the MC, with some Suri Alpaca and Lamb's pride as the CCs. It knit up wonderfully soft, and I was almost sad to toss it in and felt it.
I have to admit, the fair-aisling in the hat is more subtle than I had hoped, and I probably won't be felting the Suri Alpaca again. That yarn is just so much more lovely and soft knitted than it is felted, not to mention it sheds a TON during felting. I had a rather large ball of shed when I was done skimming it out of the water. Honestly, it was pretty gross, especially when you factor in that lovely wet sheep/wet alpaca scent. But, the felted hat is still wonderfully soft, nicely cozy, and it only took 1 and a half felty egg wash cycles.

I finally got around to taking the after pictures. So without further ado, the finishing process:Collapse )

I don't know what I'll do if I ever knit something that doesn't meet with Spot's approval. It's such a boost to see someone (even if it is only my cat) get so excited about my finished knitting. He fawns all over it, enjoying the texture by making dough in it with his paws, then then lays his head down on it and enjoys how it feels under his chin. He even loves how it smells--I've seen him more than once stand up on his back feet to he can use both front paws to press the knitted object to his face, and rub it all over his little nose and cheeks. He may be the most enthusiastic knitting cheerleader I've ever met. If I'm ever feeling like maybe a project isn't turning out to be "good enough" to give someone, I just hold it down at cat level and enjoy an instant boost to my knitting self-esteem.

Also, I have some really fun news to post, but I'm waiting on one last thing to fall into place before I post about it [insert gleefully evil laughter here].

Location: werk
Mood: quixoticquixotic
The Black Purl [userpic]

So the double-knit Hoover blanket has now reached the official halfway mark. As of last night, it measured 13 1/2 inches. I'm still on the fence as to whether I want to make the blanket square, so it may not really be the halfway point. Regardless, I'm celebrating passing the 15,000 (!) stitch mark by taking pictures of my progress, further convincing my coworkers I'm insane. (I try to take these pics when nobody else is in my pod, but I'm sure they know what's really up down in my corner of the pod. These are people who can't understand why I would want to knit.)

Ooh, and guess what? No, I didn't get promoted, someone else is not pregnant, and I didn't finish anything cool.
My yarn came in the mail yesterday! The three skeins of Wool of the Andes (in Chocolate, Black Cherry Heather, and Firecracker Heather) are for yet another Classic Cloche, and the two gorgeous skeins of Alpaca Cloud (100% baby alpaca!) are for the Flower Basket Shawl, unless I decide to use them to knit the Icarus Shawl instead. Though I have sworn to work on nothing but the baby blanket and the cloche until they're both finished, I totally can't wait to get that soft, warm alpaca on the needles and start turning it into something fun. I love the colour, too. I was really worried that the colours wouldn't look right, or wouldn't be as nice as they seemed online/in the catalogue, but I'm thrilled with my new yarn (especially the alpaca!).
I thought the 'Autumn' colour would be a reddish brown, like it seems in the catalog and online, but it turns out to be a really beautiful combination of red/orange/brown/yellow that I've tried to capture in the swatch, but I feel I should warn you that I have utterly failed to do so. It's really much less red than it seems.

Tags: ,
Location: werk
Mood: jubilantjubilant
The Black Purl [userpic]

Okay, I really meant to get back here with the pics of the finished Feline dim sum wonton earlier, but what with the meltingly hot week we've had in VA, combined with the lack of air conditioning in the apartement (aside from the bedroom, which suffers from a distinct lack of computers with interent access), I just couldn't manage to get it together. But I brought the camera to work, so I will now cover the whole world
page with pics. As you can see from the third picture, he now prefers his wonton to the fuzzy mice he's so fond of. I made the wonton out of some Suri Merino I had, which is the same kind of yarn he's been hijacking from my yarn bag. I stuffed it with the same yarn its made of, with the addition of part of a crinkly plastic bag. as Spot couldn't really care less catnip, I didn't include any.
Sadly, I don't have a video of Spot first receiving the wonton, but there was much racing about, and many silly little cat noises, as he bounded around the bed hopping on his new wonton. It's extra sad that I couldn't manage a picture of him carrying it around in his mouth. But anyway, here's what we got:
wonton loveCollapse )

Location: werk.
Mood: busybusy
The Black Purl [userpic]

I have just stumbled upon the best bulky yarn evar. Oh man, do I want to make something with this yarn.

Problem: I don't know what to make with it!

Mood: hopefulhopeful
The Black Purl [userpic]

So my cat may be the real yarn pirate around here. yesterday, while Molly's back was turned, Spot snuck over to the chaise, retrieved the accursed Cloche from my carelessly-left-unzipped knitting bag, and proceeded to roll around in/on it, bite it, and just generally rub his head all over it. He did manage to get part of it off of the needles, but I gave it a brief once-over, and didn't see that he'd unwraveled any stitches, so the hat is okay. I'm just sad that Molly, in her immediate and well-founded concern for the hat, didn't think to take a picture of him all wrapped up in the hat with yarn spaghetti all over the place(the skeins stayed in the bag, even as the proto-hat travelled across the floor).

Apparently, although he won't do anything other than curl up on acrylic yarn, Spot loves wool. Any wool, any weight, any colour. Any form, too: yarn, WIP, FO, he doesn't care. He LOVES it. Since the little guy obviously loves wool/my knitting so much, he shall have his own. I can even make them out of that grey Cascade that I can't use for the Cloche.

Oh boy, Spot.

Mood: tiredtired
The Black Purl [userpic]

Okay, so I was making decent progress and enjoying knitting the hat last night, and when I got a couple rows into the fair aisle pattern, I realize that the Cascade 220 I bought to be a contrasting colour...isn't. It looks exactly the same as the Suri Alpaca I'm using for the MC. Arrrrgh! They look different in their balls--why don't they look different knitted?

So now I need to go back out and find some yarn that isn't exactly the same colour as the MC, but the LYS is closed. I was looking forward to felting that dang hat today, as it was going really quickly, but unless AC Moore has some 100% wool that isn't crap, that'll never happen. That'll pretty much never happen anyway, as I won't be done in time for laundry day if I have to waste the hour it would take to go get some new yarn. That hour is a LOT of rows.

Tags: ,
Mood: aggravatedaggravated
The Black Purl [userpic]

Went by the LYS yesterday to pick up the other 2 skeins of grey wool (Lamb's Pride and Cascade 220) to make the Classic Cloche for Mema. When I got home, I put the yarn on the floor next to my yarn bag so I could start knitting. Before I started, though, I decided to get rid of the bags from my shopping expedition. When I turned back around...

Miraculously, no balls of yarn were damaged or tangled in any way by the enthusiastic Spot cat.

Tags: ,
Mood: amusedamused
The Black Purl [userpic]

I have to admit it, I actually used the tips at Knitty and wove in the ends of the baby bonnet. I must admit, I didn't actually read the article, but I did look at two pictures. I also have to confess that I didn't hate it at all. It was actually oddly satisfying, even kind of...fun. I annoyed Molly the whole evening, saying things like, "bet you can't see where I wove the end in!" To which, after the third time, she started replying, "Yup. I bet I can't." She wouldn't even play the game. Killjoy.

Anyhow, the baby bonnet for Molly's cousin is now finished, but not shrunk or photographed. I guess it's really not finished, but the knitting/weaving in part is definitely done. The evil little hat will remain in a kind of limbo until Saturday afternoon, whereupon laundry will be done, and I will attempt to shrink the crap outta that misbegotten bonnet. It's so unfair when you get gauge on a project, and it's still too big/small. Grrr. Argh..

I was also able to correct the frustrating mistake in the Hoover blanket by building on the weaving techniques, which was very exciting. For this reason along with significant progress, I feel it's high time for a progress pic of the Hoover. Bask in the glory of the blanket--find the mistake now! *gleeful, maniacal laugh* As I mentioned before, it's coming along nicely now, and you can even tell it's a blanket and not a sweater or scarf. The yarn continues to be soft, and last night I had to clip poor Spot's claws, as he kept trying to make dough on the blanket. He did not appreciate it, but he did enjoy rolling on the Hoover.

Mood: restlessrestless
The Black Purl [userpic]

I am now no longer a knitting hobo. No more shall my knitting friends mock me for the grocery/yarn store bag I tote my projects in. Behold, my birthday present to myself: The Knitting Bag.

Oh, yes. Now I have a secure place for my scissors, my yarn needles, my needles, yarn, and at least one WIP. It's attractive, too, having come from Dancing Cat Bags. My fun new bag is gorgeous and well made, with strong fabric and a good sturdy lining.
This weekend it contained the afghan I'm working on for my dad, but it now contains the Hoover blanket, which is growing along nicely, and despite the hiatus I took knitting up and finishing off that baby bonnet for Molly's cousin, is almost a foot long now. As promised, the once awkward two-yarn-together-but-not-crossing k1MC p1CC motion is now fluid and comfortable. It's going a lot smoother now, and the rows are piling up. Finally! This is getting exciting.

Sadly, this project really gets rolling just as I need to think about putting it aside and casting on for Mema's hat. Her birthday is September 7th, and I really want to have this hat done on time, as her Christmas scarf was so woefully late. To make matters worse, I still need to decide on a pattern for Mema's hat. I know that this is the pattern I'm going to use for Jim's hat (due by Christmas), but what in the world am I going to do about Mema?

I bought some gorgeous silvery worsted yarn for her hat which I seem to recall being a wool/silk blend. I'm not sure it'll felt, as silk isn't usually amenable to felting in general. Why would I want it to felt? Well, because there are a couple of patterns that would suit her admirably, but frustratingly enough, both patterns are for felted hats. One is a cloche, and contained in one of my felting books, and the other is this brimmed hat. Maybe I'll swatch it and and see what happens in my laundry egg of feltiness.

Tags: ,
Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
The Black Purl [userpic]

What is it about weaving in the g-dforsaken ends of knitting projects that we all hate so much? I personally loathe it, as do all my knitting friends, but I can't really put a finger on what it is (other than potential tedium) that makes me hate doing it to the degree that I do. And I can't even say that I'm the worst offender: I know one fellow knitter who has an afghan she finished knitting nearly two full years ago sitting menacingly in her yarn basket, waiting to have the ends woven in. I know folks who have even gifted "completed" projects without weaving in the ends, passing it off as fringe.

Seaming, too, seems to be a great staller of projects. I've seen adorable stuffed animals all knit up and laying around in pieces because the next steps are to seam the pieces together and weave in the ends, not necessarily in that order. The baby hat I'm supposed to have finished by now stalled out as soon as the next instruction was to seam the sides and pick up knitting around the bottom of the hat. I had other projects to start and work on, so I just set that one down "until I find the yarn needle."
You guessed it, it's still sitting there quietly in the bag, waiting to be seamed. But this morning I decided it was time to get over it, face the music, and seam the darn thing. I picked it up, found the yarn needle, and tucked both safely away in the paper bag of stuff to take to work and work on. I put that bag with the one containing my lunch, and proceeded to leave both on the table by the front door. Apparently, I hate seaming enough to skip lunch over it.

Now, while I haven't gone to such extreme lengths to avoid weaving in, I have always managed to skate along, avoiding learning the "proper" way to weave ends. I've known for a long time that the information was available--Theresa Vinson Stenersen has graciously posted a very clear walkthrough of all the myriad ingeniously sneaky ways to securely hide those nasty little ends in an old issue of Knitty. I was thrilled to death when that issue came out, and promptly printed the article out. Of course, I never have her instructions handy when I need them (honestly, I have no clue where they went), so I end up just sort of weaving around randomly until the troublesome tails are hidden in the edges of whatever project they belong to and calling it done. With this new Hoover blanket project, it's about to become important how I weave the ends in, with the possible exception of any ends that may end up in the middle of the double-knit portion of the blanket. These lucky ends are exempt from weaving because Lou Henry Hoover said you can just tuck them in there, and if she said it, it goes (but only because I agree with it, of course).

So now if you excuse me, I have more afghan to knit, and a growing number of ends to ignore. Man I hate those things.

Mood: contemplativecontemplative
The Black Purl [userpic]

So I suppose now is about the time when I should think about actually purchasing the yarn I will require for the end-of-year gift-exchanging extravaganza that always happens mid-to-late December. I must do this before August, for then hordes of knitters that I didn't know existed, and that I've certainly never seen, descend on the LYS like ants on sugar, carting off and/or devouring all the decent yarn in the place.

This year, I am determined not to be the grasshopper! I will obtain my lovely yarn in July, thus beating the rush, and securing a season's worth of yarn-fueled joy. Of course, with my plan made, I have given this entry over to gleeful obsessing about what yarn I'm plotting to buy and eventually knit into something fun/lovely/useful.

But before I can knit all these lovely things, I need to decide what I'm going to pick out "by hand" at the LYS. This shall be done in the usual way, by way of me doing my eternal back and forth; pacing between the yarn that looks and/or feels beautiful but is harder to take care of, the yarn that is more practical yet not as much fun, and the yarn that would be absolutely amazing if it weren't going to cost me the entire grocery budget on top of the yarn budget.

I also get to decide what I'm going to order from Knitpicks. Sometimes I order yarn from Knitpicks because it's cheap, and sometimes I order because my LYS doesn't carry anything like it, e.g. superwash wool. Felting is apparently popular around here, so the least felty wool you can get is Cascade 220.

Gifts I'm planning for the rest of this year for which I have not yet acquired yarn:

  • Mema's Hat (for her birthday in September) - Definitely coming from LYS, so I can match the scarf I gave her.
  • My MIL's afghan - Definitely coming from Knitpicks, probably in this colour.
  • Wild Stripes blanket for Nina & her forthcoming baby, also coming from Knitpicks.
  • Jim's Hat (Oh, man, do I owe him that hat.)
  • A shawl for Mom (although really need to decide between Icarus and Flower basket pattern before buying yarn)
  • Perhaps I shall solve the above dilemma by making both, and giving one to Mema.

    Any thoughts? Any at all...???

  • Mood: cheerfulcheerful
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