Sunday, July 27, 2003

I FINISHED THE CRAB AND SEAHORSE CHART!!! The COTR shawl is my first attempt at lace knitting and it is my first project knit "continental" style with the yarn held in the left hand rather than the right. Needless to say, I approached this project very ackwardly at first. About half way through the crab and sea horse chart, everything "clicked" and my fingers were able to work "independently" without too much thought. Whew!

I love the color of this Sea Mist fiber more and more. I've decided it is definitely ecru with gentle waves of pink, blue and yellow interspersed. It looks good with most colors so this shawl will be very practical.

I wish I could capture the color better on film, but my camera had almost dead batteries this morning and I was grateful to get the pictures I got. Naturally, of the tons of batteries in our house, I had an insufficient supply of AAs.

I can't even imagine what this will look like when blocked.

Of course, I am now addicted to spinning and knitting lace.

I have been enjoying the COTR shawl so much that I decided to spin up MORE lace weight yarn to do another one when I am finished with the first. I want to do it without any mistakes the second time! This is Rose merino and silk from The Fold.

This fiber is a rose colored gray that plays with the light the beautiful way all silks do. It looks like it will be nice and conservative, which is good since I want to knit my next shawl for my grandmother. She is the one who taught me to knit when I was a little girl and so I would love to finally make her something.

I've been playing with the drum carder quite a bit lately as well.

Remember this early drum carding adventure? Well, I ran it through the carder a few more times.

Despite how beautiful the early batts were, I knew spinning them would be a nightmare since each color was a different fiber. (Silk, mohair and BFL.)

The fiber now has a silver or pale lavendar color with subtle waves of blue, purple and rose. Nice, but I wanted some excitement.

The Las Vegas girl in me arose and grabbed the Angelina. Now the batts sparkle with blue, pink, purple and rose. Perfect! I think I want to use this to weave on the triloom I told my family they were getting me for Christmas. I just have to figure out how to spin it. I have about 8 ounces total so I have plenty to spin thick or thin. I'd like to spin it as light as possible since I live in Florida, but I don't want to spin it so light that the final product looks like cheese cloth. Thus, I am taking a poll. How thin is too thin? A couple of people have assured me 20 wpi would be okay.

Our guild is working on a group project for the Destin Spin In in January. We are starting with raw fleece.

I wasn't at the meeting the day everyone picked up their share of the fleece and so I think I got the worst of it. It sure is dirty even though Sally generously washed mine for me. I think I am a bit of a clean freak.

I just got a beautiful box of llama fiber from a trade with Tracy from Spindlers.

It hasn't been washed yet. Tracy says with llama you card it and spin it and then wash it. The neat freak in me is insisting it be washed first. So, as soon as I figure out the mechanics of successfully washing 3 pounds of llama, it is getting a bath!

I also found out that my Dad received the socks I knit for him and they were a perfect fit. I am so grateful for all of the help Nannette gave me to make that happen. Now I've promised Kurt a pair of socks. I have to decide upon a fiber. Kurt suggested the llama, but it has a delicate pink cast that I don't think will work for his socks. I think he just liked the idea of something exotic for his socks anyway. And he insists it be something that is not the slightest bit scratchy.

Monday, July 21, 2003

I finished my yarn for the Creatures of the Reef shawl and have also finished the shell edging. Thus, Caroline says it is time to update my blog. Far be it from me not to comply with my COTR mentor's request! (I did tell you I adopted you as my mentor for this project, didn't I Caroline???)

It took me two days to ply my singles.

My Schacht bobbin bulged with 5 ounces of double ply 30 wpi Sea Mist yarn.

How many hours does it take to hand wind 1,133 yards of 30 wpi yarn on a nostepinde?

I don't know, but I was able to watch the movies "On The Beach" and "The Philedelphia Experiment" while I wound . . . and wound . . . and wound. I actually put a blister on my elbow from rubbing it against the arm of a chair while winding.

I also finished knitting the first 10 rows of my shawl. The first 10 rows completes the shell scallop.

I love beads and glitz on clothes. I thought some simple pearl beads in the center of each shell would be quite fitting and add an elegant touch. Since I am more likely to wrap up in a shawl when dressed up than not, I thought the beads would dress up the shawl just perfectly.

I just love the way the Sea Mist yarn looks so different depending upon the light. When reflecting a lot of light, like with the flash from the camera or under bright lights, the yarn looks silvery and magical. In low light it becomes a more conservative taupe color. Yet there is always the subtle play of blue, pink, brass and silver thoughout the yarn so it is impossible to ever truly decide on the yarn's real color. This shawl will complement my mysterious side. (You know, that side of a woman that pretty much evaporates once she has children, thus leaving only the mystery of where that part of her went.)

The nostepinde, by the way, is from Grafton Fibers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Today is progress report day for the Creatures of the Reef Shawl group.

I have finished spinning my first bobbin full of Sea Mist fiber and have started on my second bobbin. I am spinning 2 1/2 ounces of fiber per bobbin then plying them together. Thus, I hope to have all the yarn I need in this one skein.

Of course, I could not wait until I was finished spinning to start knitting my shawl so I have started with the small 200 yard skein I spindle spun last week.

I have cast on 437 stitches, knit the set up row and rows 1 and 2 of the shell border. I also learned to read the chart for the shell border and am quite proud of myself as a result!

Before starting my COTR shawl, I wanted to finish knitting the socks I started for my Dad.

These are my first pair of socks made from some of my very first homespun. They turned out pretty nice despite so many "firsts" being involved.

Gabrielle finally got to wear the new dress I sewed for her birthday. She wore it to church on Sunday where it got rave reviews, much to her delight.

Here is another picture just for you Wendy! My family has not seen my kids for 2 1/2 years and my sister thought I should post more pictures of them on the blog.

In order to get more spinning and knitting time today (as well as time to update my blog), I sent the kids out to play.

We have a huge blow up swimming pool. We set it up under one of the slides on the kid's swing set and boy do they have fun!

With temperatures in the high 80s, the swimming pool keeps the kids cool and out longer.

Why didn't we have a set up like this when I was a kid?

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

I've been spinning like crazy to get ready for the Creatures of the Reef Shawl Knit Along and finally have something to show for it.

(Sea Mist merino and silk blend from The Fold.) I used a flash in this picture. I love the way the light plays off this fiber. This fiber says "mists of Avalon" to me.

I started with my Dogwood Lolli Spindle and produced a skein of 20 wpi yarn. Then I found out I needed 30 wpi for the COTR shawl. So, I took out my Grafton Swan spindle and my Copper Moose teal gem spindle and went to work.

Once I learned to draft for 30 wpi (when plied), I decided to try lace weight spinning on my Schacht spinning wheel. But I first had to clear my bobbins of the colonial, cotton and gold thread yarn I have been spinning over the past couple of months.

I now have more than 1,000 yards of this yarn. I wanted to knit a summer sweater with it at first, but now think the yarn is a bit too heavy. (This comes from, I believe, learning I can spin at 20 wpi and smaller!) So it looks like I will be starting a homespun stash instead!

When I finally plied and skeined off all of the homespun from my wheel bobbins (and discovered why I need more bobbins in the process), I started spinning what I hope will be 30 wpi (double ply) on my wheel.

I want to hurry up and finish my Dad's socks and start swatching for my shawl over the next couple of days. Homeschool starts in early August and my spinning and knitting time will then be greatly reduced. I need to squeeze in as much fiber time as possible in the meantime!

Sunday, July 06, 2003

I tried my first blending experiment with the Louet drum carder yesterday and I really like the way it turned out. I combined some hand painted silk I received in a trade with some BFL top (Grafton Fibers) and unprocessed white Mohair locks (Running Moon Farm).

These batts turned out so soft and lucious!

Of course, now I cannot wait to see how this spins up! If there is enough fiber here, I think this may one day become a shawl. Wouldn't that be beautiful???

However, I MUST be disciplined!!! My spinning priority is the Sea Mist fiber I am spinning for my Creatures of the Reef Shawl. I joined Stasia's Knit Along and need to be ready to knit, swatch completed, by July 14.