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I have finally got a pdf version ready for Lyra’s coat.

Download it here: Lyra’s Coat. The original version is still here.

It is almost time to start wearing it again.

One of the best things about a long car ride is time to knit, and driving from Saskatoon to Kansas is very far. I spent at least 6 days in the car and knit almost the whole time — and I finished the Leaves and Waves shawl from Knitty, Fall 2004 by Kat Coyle.

I am so smitten with the shawl now it is done and absolutely over the moon about the fact that the oldest work in progress from my work basket is done.

It took so long because I got bogged down in the stocking stitch section. I don’t think I would ever do another project with quite this combination of yarn, stitch pattern, and size of pattern — I kept dropping stitches, but the dropped stitches were almost invisible in the mohair. Ironically, the lace sections went faster.

I could have knit several sweaters in the time it took me to make this.

All the same it is beautiful now, and it is just sufficiently unusual to really appeal to me. I like traditional lace, but it never looks like I would really like to wear it. This on the over hand is (in my opinion) a perfect combination of traditional stitching and textures with asymmetrical design.

It is also rectangular, and for some reason I find rectangular shawls to be more wearable, and I wear a lot of shawls. I think it is because I treat them like security blankets — just call me Linus.

I couldn’t wait anymore, and I have cracked out my drum carder this weekend. I didn’t know what fibre to start with, but I finally chose this coloured knot:

I wasn’t really sure what it was — I was completely winging it. When I untied it, it turned out it be several rovings tied together. The yellow and the purple were in equal proportions and the red, orange, and brown were about equal to each of the other two. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but I decided to card the yellow and mixed colours together and the purple separately.

If you have a carder and spin already, please bear with me, but if you don’t this is so cool:

Here it is when it is almost ready to come off the carder:

Here is my processed purple batt:

And the multicoloured:

Finally here is the yarn I spun from it:

I found this fibre to be a little over-processed for my taste: I like it to have more springiness. This was like over-processed hair. I also need some practice working with the batts because I have only spun from roving so far, and I found that the fibre is not as firmly in the right direction as it is in roving, but overall I would say the venture was a success.

While I was in Kansas we went to Harveyville to see the Harveyville Project and buy a drum carder from Nikol Lohr of Naughty Needles and Disgruntled Housewife fame. First of all Harveyville is such a small town that where I was staying in rural Kansas no one had ever heard of it, except for my boyfriend’s step father who knew a saucy story about the minister’s wife leaving him 25 years ago or so.

The school building looks quite fun — not quite fun enough for me to want to live in it, but that is a moot point as no one is asking me to, staying there long enough for Yarn School would be an entirely different matter and that sounds great.

I wanted to go there to pick up a drum carder, which I could have got from Nikol’s Etsy Store, especially as she offers free shipping, but this way I wouldn’t have to pay duty, and how often am I in Kansas anyway? I discussed it with her and I ended up getting the Strauch Petite with the brush:

I haven’t taken it out of the box yet as I have not had time to spin, and we are planning to move some furniture around shortly.

When I told Nikol I had never used a drum carder before she was very gracious and showed me how it works, she even let me make a batt myself, which I am inordinately proud of:

She also gave me enough fibre for another matching batt, so I can make another:

I am so excited because I was wondering about what to do with certain fibres I have and wondered how to spin them as they are so dense, and I have had problems spinning some fibres because the roving was clumpy. It was not really apparent to me how to deal with these problems, but now I get it, and the possibilities make my mind reel — you put it through your drum carder.

While we were in North Dakota we got to go to Little Shell Pow Wow on Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. Pow wows are so fun.

I think they are the most exuberant display of fibre art I have ever seen. Everyone makes their own clothing and the dancers are judged on their outfits as well as their dancing. Some are traditional and use almost entirely natural supplies and some are very bright colours, with a special preference for fluorescent green.

Just look at the artistry in these moccasins:

As far as I can tell everyone is welcome, so if you have a chance you should go.

I just got back from a lovely trip trip down south of the boarder. Here are a few pictures as a little taste of things to come:

Here is a picture of Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota:

And here is a picture in York, Nebraska:

And another of North Dakota:

The Great Plains were looking beautiful and I would recommend a trip, but I have to say that the food was not great, until I got to Kansas and got to eat the best watermelon I have ever tasted. I have stories of fibrous adventures and knitting that got done, which I will be posting about over the next few days, but for now I need to go to bed.

p.s. you know how Canadians, Americans, Australians, Brits, etc. all speak the same language, but not quite? Well in the United States, if you are ever in a rush, please remember that “restroom” is the preferred local usage, but “toilet” works everywhere I have been.

I am so very smitten with my yarn and my spinning and my wheel.

This is the alpaca I wanted to spin, and I wanted to have a yarn kind of pull up from a ball something like this when it was being plied, but when I started touching the fibre it seemed too loose and liable to pull apart to do that with, so I spun it in a thick and thin single:

But I felt that leaving it to untwist as it went back through the wheel it would fall apart, so I wanted to ply it with something to help it stay together. I raided my stash and came up with some brown Sisu from some gloves I knit my mom about five years ago:

I am running out of Sisu, so I will have to find some other brown yarn and just hope it isn’t too different, but how could one not be proud of oneself to have created this:

My mind is running a mile a minute trying to figure out what I want to do with it. I am thinking it would be fun to knit it all on one size of needles, but switch to larger ones for the bulky sections. I figure that would make a really textured knit, but the only problem is that you would almost certainly need to make it into a scarf — surely I can come up with something more exciting than that.

Here are my newest gloves in an almost completed state:

When I submitted Gloves Can Be Deceiving to Knitty Amy asked me for pictures of the gloves in the process of being sewn up, but I didn’t have any (I didn’t have a digital camera, so I didn’t document every aspect of my life as obsessively as I do now), so I didn’t want to let the opportunity to pass this time.

I am very happy with them.

I spent my day off this Monday (happy Saskatchewan day to one and all) writing the pattern out, so I hope to make it available in a couple weeks. I have the seamed version now and I plan to do another version knit in the round.

They really do help you channel your inner princess, and I anticipate being very grateful when they meet my three-quarter length sleeves in the middle.

There are two new online knitting magazines that are definitely worth checking out.

The first is Twist Collective: it has some wonderful designs. The sweater that most fascinates me is Little Birds by Ysolda Teague. I would love to knit that one, and sometime I might. The patterns are fee based; however, you can look at all the eye candy for free, and the patterns really look worth the money.

The next is Knotions, which is also quite lovely. I was initially a little confused when I went to the pattern page because the patterns were familiar, but that is because they are mounting some patterns from Magknits. The new patterns are here.

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