Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Stitches West report, finally...

...yeah, I know it's Wednesday and I haven't posted since Friday. It's been a busy week so far.

The short story: I went to Stitches West all four days. I bought cool stuff. I saw many friends. I had a great weaving class and came away with a completed project. I won a door prize. My broken toe survived!

The purchases:

1. Warwick Shawl pattern and Knitted Wit Shine yarn; 2. Watermelon Slice Socks kit from Knitters Brewing Company; Cream yarn from Valley Yarns; 4. Light Teal yarn from Vally Yarns; 5. Teal yarn from Valley Yarns; 6. Navajo Churro top from Ranch of the Oaks; 7. Merino-Silk batt from Greenwood Fiberworks; 8. Camel-Silk top from Greenwood Fiberworks; 9. Milk Silk from Greenwood Fiberworks; 10. my badge; 11. Merino-silk top from ,Wonderland Dyeworks; 12. Merino-tencel Gradient top from Purl Up and Dye (Purlescence Yarns); 13. Llama-Camel-Silk top from Knitifacts;
14. Alpaca-merino top from Ranch of the Oaks; 15 Alpaca toy from Ranch of the Oaks; 16 Thera-gloves; 17. Lo-Lo bars from Bar-Maids; 18. Ultra fine super long blocking wires from Inspinknitty; 19. Sheep and knitting fabric from Williams Wool & Weavings.  Not Shown: Alpaca Yarn from Amazing Yarns; door prize from Desert Designs Knitz

The long story:

I've already written about Thursday and Friday (see this post).

Our class on Saturday was great! We learned how to warp the rigid heddle loom for a log cabin pattern and then how to handle the two colors of weft. Both my friend Loretta and I finished our scarves by the end of class. While it's not quite a completed project because I need to wash it and trim the fringe, it's very close.  I'll post a picture once I've washed, trimmed, and pressed it.

Loretta and I decided to try to shop during our long lunch break, but it was a zoo on the market floor. We looked a couple of booths, but just couldn't handle the crowds, especially those with those d@mn rolling carts that they dragged behind them like big tails. I almost tripped over those things multiple times. We both decided we'd had enough and escaped to the calm and quiet classroom.  Loretta wove during her lunch break and I worked on my shawl.

Although the class was great, it was exhausting to weave for 6 hours. By the time we were done, Loretta was ready to go home. I went into the market and went right back out again. It was not as busy, but I didn't have the brain cells to deal with it.

When I got home, I saw a Facebook post from my friend Janice, telling me that I'd won a door prize. I hadn't decided whether to go back on Sunday and was leaning towards skipping it...after that post, I decided to go back. My door prize (no picture yet) was a pair of socks from Desert Designs Knitz.

Sunday morning can be a good time to talk to vendors as the show is winding down and there aren't many shoppers yet. I saw a lovely alpaca wrap(?) on a rigid heddle loom in the Amazing Yarns (Redwood City, CA) booth that I had somehow missed in my previous 3 market visits. It was done in creams and tans, using a log cabin border. It was so soft. I chatted with the vendor about how well the alpaca held up as warp (very well, apparently). I bought one skein of  cream alpaca to use as warp in a project I've been planning.  I also discovered that she teaches personal classes in weaving and that she is willing to teach one in creating double-width fabric on the rigid heddle loom. Yay! Put that on the list of future classes to take!

The rest of my Sunday was spent in chores and grocery shopping. Mostly I was getting my house in order to have my Craft Night group over last night. That spilled over into Monday night and I did the final straightening. I think it when well. There was enough room for all of us and the lighting seemed to work. My studio is now christened and I hope to have many more gatherings there.

Tired, but happy at this's been go-go-go since Thursday. I'm ready for a quiet evening.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Eye Candy Friday, Stitches West edition...

...I'll get to the Stitches West stuff in a bit. First, the eye candy.

The flowering plum tree has gone completely bananas:

Flowering Plum

On the other hand, the apricot tree is just putting out a few random blossoms:

Apricot blossom

Thursday night, I went to the Stitches West market preview. I bought the flexible lace blocking wires I needed and Lo Lo Bars in Lemon EO scent. I bought some fiber from a new-to-me indie dyer and from a couple of other vendors. Two of my favorite vendors, KCL Woods and Brooks Farm, were not there this year. I was a little bummed as I was looking forward to seeing KCL's wood bowls and buying even more yarn from Brooks. Of course, there were plenty of other vendors with lovely yarn and tools!

The highlight of the night was meeting the designer of the Celestarium Shawl, Audrey Nicklin, and seeing her Celestarium shawl! It's not often you get to meet a knit designer and get to tell her in person how much you love her design and show her your version in process. Happy dance!

Today, I went to the market again to check out some of the vendors I didn't look at last night. I bought a little more fiber plus the yarn and pattern for a small shawl. I only spent a couple of hours, as I really wasn't looking for anything specific. 

I spent part of the afternoon taking photos of the new acquisitions. I need to make some adjustments and upload them to Flickr. I'll get them posted here soon.

Up this weekend: My friend Loretta and I are taking an all-day weaving class with Deborah Jarchow.  I need to wind the yarn tonight and get may class bag together.

On Sunday, I might swing by the market one last time and be there for the drawing at 1pm. I might decide to stay home to catch up on some chores. We'll see how I tired I am on Sunday morning...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

top-of-the-waves Tuesday...

...AKA another picture-less post.

It was a long weekend and not just because it was a holiday on Monday. I'm taking a new medication, which decided that Saturday was a good day to mess with me. I woke up not feeling right and everything that I ate or drank gave me heartburn. Yuck.  As a result, I didn't get much of anything done on Saturday except a little knitting.

Sunday was a little better. I went to the grocery store to get ingredients for dinner. I threw everything in the crock pot and went into the studio. I got a little spinning done and then moved onto the shawl.

I finished Chart E and knit the increase row. Somewhere along the way I ended up with an extra stitch (probably forgot one of the many K2tog). While I couldn't exactly figure out where the error occurred, I determined that it had to be the last quarter of Chart E2 as I had been pretty Type A about counting every section until about then. Since it did not affect the bead placement, I skipped one of the M1s in the increase row to make the stitch count correct. Back on track now and being very anal about counting each chart section!

I did a little stash diving to find the yard for my weaving class. I have a couple of candidate, but I'm not totally in love with them. I might have to add "class yarn" to my shopping list for the Stitches West preview on Thursday night.

By Monday, I was feeling more normal, so I did a little straightening up and some dusting. In the studio, I made a dust cover for my sewing machine using the last scraps of the upholstery fabric I used for the bench cushions. It's not the best thing I ever sewed, but it's decent and it's functional. I did a little reorganization of my fibers and found some wonderful merino-silk tops I totally forgotten. They are now in my storage benches where I can get to them easily.

I knit a couple of more rounds on the shawl. I'm ready to start round 107 (of 157). And I still have not finished the first ball of yarn! Kind of amazing since this shawl is supposed to use 1200 yards of yarn and each of my skeins is 400 yards.  It's probably my row gauge, but I'm not really worried. It's a shawl...if it's not big enough for my tastes when I complete the rounds, I'll adjust by making the edging wider.

I've been trying to come up with a better name for it than Velvet Celestarium. When I created my Ravelry project, I picked a name based on the yarn color's name of Velvet Damson because I couldn't think of a name someone else hadn't already used. A few that I've been auditioning:
  • Something Like the Stars - take on the title of my favorite Robert Frost poem
  • Gather the Stars - from a Sandburg poem
  • Silver Night - I'm using silver-lined beads for the stars
  • Diamonds in the Sky - Rhianna song (yeah, not my favorite)
I mentioned this to the Husband who has a definite flare for the punny and twisted. His suggestion:
Lacy in the Sky with Diamonds

Yup, he's a keeper!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Eye Candy Friday...

...followed by a 3-day weekend and a very short work week. Because of the holiday and Stitches West, I am only knowing Tues and Weds next week. Love Stitches West week!!

Unlike last week, we have actual eye candy today.  The Husband gave me a wonderful card and a pretty little rose bush for Valentine's Day. Here's one of the little roses:

Another Parade rose

and a bud:

Parade rosebud

He also made sure to tell me about one of the dwarf irises that had bloomed in the back yard. It's really quite tiny, but lovely:

Dwarf iris

Here's a close-up:

Dwarf iris, close up

Up this weekend: I need to get some housework done so I won't feel so guilty about spending time in the studio. I want to have some spinners over for a show-and-tell after Stitches West and it's never to early to start getting things in order!

I need to search my stash for some worsted weight yarns that I can use in my weaving class at Stitches West. I hope I have a couple of non-variegated yarns that have good contrast for the log cabin scarf. If not, I might have to put that on my Stitches West shopping list.

Speaking of which, I need to finish marking up my map and make the list of things I want to see and things I want to buy. High on my list are fibers from A Verb For Keeping Warm and Royale Hare, and flexible lace blocking wires that I'll need to the Celestarium shawl [Ravelry].

Spinning is also on the agenda. I'd like to finish the Navajo Turquoise merino that I started during the January Spin-In so I can work on something else. I'm really ready to start spinning something that is easy on the hands.

Ans, of course, knitting Celestarium. I just finished round 97. Only two more rounds before the next increase! I'm still knitting from the first ball of yarn, but I figure it will start using up yarn like crazy once the stitch count doubles.

It's going to be an epic shawl...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

WIP-it Wednesday... it's all about spinning.

Our Spin-In group has spun 2 sample wools. In January, we did BFL:

Wool Survey: BFL

Spun 1/12/13
1 oz BFL
31 yds chain-ply, 12 WPI

This month, we did Cotswold:

Wool Survey: Cotswold

Spun 2/9/13
1 oz Cotswold
61.4 yds 2-ply, 13 WPI

I wouldn't classify either of these samplers as easy to spin. Sometimes when I spin, the fiber is so soft and well-prepared that it just flows onto the bobbin. Neither of these samples "flowed." The BFL was not an easy spin and plying it was OK. I struggled with the Cotswold trying to get it spun evenly, but the plying was a PITA. It's not the best plying job  I've ever done...

After I spin my wool sample, I work on Navajo Turquoise. Here is bobbin #1 so far:

Navajo Turquoise, in progress

I love the colors of this fiber, but I'm finding it a little difficult to spin. It's just not going as smoothly as I'd like.  Maybe it's because my hands are tired after spinning the sample wools.

I have no other WIP pictures as there has been no progress on anything other than Celestarium. :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

obsession, thy name is Celestarium...

...I can't seem to stop knitting this shawl!  It's grown to 18-inches in diameter. [Ravelry]

I am knitting round 87 of 157 (not counting the edging). When I finish the last 12 rounds of Chart E, I'll do an increase round and knit Chart F. That chart will take a long time to complete as each round will have 576 stitches and there are 54 rounds in the Someone on Ravelry reported that it took her 30 minutes to do one round. [Sigh] I'm a slow knitter, so it will probably take me longer. Oh, least I'm enjoying this pattern!

Spin-In on Saturday was fun. We spun the second installment of our Spinner's Fiber Survey. This time we had  Cotswold. It was hard on my hands (could it be all of the knitting?) and not enjoyable. I was very happy to finish spinning that ounce! I plied it on Sunday and it turned out OK. It will probably soften up after washing, but that won't happen until after I've woven into something.

After I finished the survey fiber, I continued to spin the Navajo Turquoise [Ravelry] fiber I started last Spin-In. Now that My toe is on the mend, treadling doesn't hurt anymore. I'm not making a lot of progress with this spinning (see the obsession above), but at least it's easier to spin that the Cotswold!

No pictures today. I hope to post some WIP pictures of the spinning stuff tomorrow. I won't post another picture of Celestarium just yet, as it doesn't look marginally different than the last one.

I'm looking forward to our first Craft Night of the year tonight. Guess what I'll be working on? ;-)

Friday, February 08, 2013

Eye Candy Friday...

...the non-garden version.

Let's just say that the garden did not offer many eye candy candidates today. And my normal backup, the sky, was very gray and overcast. So today you get an apple:

Honeycrisp apple

This honeycrisp apple was my morning snack. That's it, that's all I have!

Up this weekend: Spin- In tomorrow! It will be the first time I've spun since last month's Spin-In. My toe is healing, so I think I will be OK. I'm taking my knitting just in case my toe starts to hurt.

I've figured out what I'm going to take...lime cream scones with lime curd. I have an abundance of limes leftover from the Daughter's party that we need to use. This seems like a yummy way to use them up!

I'm making slow, but steady progress on my Celestarium shawl. I'm about halfway done with chart E, but I've already prepped chart F. With chart F, I've printed each piece single-sided instead of double-sided. The constant flipping sheets back and forth was getting to me. I've also marked the corners with the chart number (F1, F2...F8) and added stitch numbers 1-72 below the original stitch numbers. I've found that if I deal with the pattern 72 stitches at a time (the number between the markers), I can stay on track with the YO, K2tog, and bead placement and not be overwhelmed by the total number of stitches in the round.

I really should spend time working on some of my WIPs, but I'm having too much fun with the shawl!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

WIP-it Wednesday and a little catch-up...

...yes, I'm behind!

Quick weekend report: The Daughter's birthday party was a hit, we had way too much food, and everyone seemed to have a good time. I made Mexican Chocolate brownies and red velvet cupcakes as planned. They were both yummy! That and laundry was pretty much my whole weekend...

I knit through the entire Super Bowl game. My hands gave out towards the end, but I got quite a bit done. Here is what the Celestarium shawl looked like today:

Velvet Celestarium, as of 2/6/13

I am ready to start round 66 on chart E...only 34 more rounds on this chart and only 92 more rounds total until I get to the edging! The only thing I don't like about this pattern is the edging. I think it's too plain for me. I'm looking at what other knitters have done with the edging and there are a couple of options that look interesting...with 92 more rounds to do, I think I have time to figure it out!

Because I've been enamored with this shawl, I haven't worked on any of my other WIPs. However, this weekend is Spin-In and I'm looking forward to working on one of my spinning WIPs.

I've been in the Rockin' Sock Club from Blue Moon Fiber Arts since the beginning. A couple of times I've been tempted not to re-up as I'm not very interested many of the patterns or yarn colors. I've also lost my sock mojo somewhere, so I wasn't actually knitting anything from the club. This year, the club includes one sock pattern and one pattern that is shoulder and neck related. Given my current thing with shawls, I went ahead and renewed.

My first installment arrived Monday (picture behind the spoiler):

Rockin' Sock Club Spoiler Alert

The patterns are interesting, but the yarn color does not thrill me. Hmmm, hope I didn't make a mistake re-joining!

The one thing that got my immediate attention was the sticker. It's now on my bulletin board at work:

My bulletin board

It's the Notorious Socks Knitters Got Sole sticker on the right. Yeah, I have a few! And, yes, that is a Star Trek sticker at the top. I get my inspiration from many places!


Monday, February 04, 2013

January 2013 recap...

...not too bad considering my obsession with the Celestarium shawl (see Started below).

  • 1/26 Oreintal Buterfly,  a Daydreams/Dimensions kit (embroidery) 
  • 1/26 A Captured Moment,  a Daydreams/Dimensions kit (cross stitch)
  • 1/20 Recipe for Summer, Pine Mountain Designs kit (cross stitch)
  • 1/13 set of 5 stitch markers (beading)
  • 1/12 10 project bags 
  • Books:
    1. Gunmetal Magic, Ilona Andrews
    2. Magic Slays, Ilona Andrews
    3. Magic Gifts, Ilona Andrews
    4. Magic Bleeds, Ilona Andrews
    5. Magic Dreans, Ilona Andrews
    6. Magic Mourns, Ilona Andrews
    7. Magic Strikes, Ilona Andrews
    8. Magic Burns, Ilona Andrews
    9. Magic Bites, Ilona Andrews
    10. Touch of the Demon, Diana Rowland

  • 1/27 Celestarium shawl [Ravelry]
  • 1/12 Navajo Turquoise top from Yarn Wench (spinning)  [Ravelry]

Worked on:
  • Sea Foam Wrap (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch) 

IDJ (It's Dead, Jim) Progress:
  • Midnight Rose Mitts (knitting) [Ravelry]

Works In Progress, did not work on:
  1. Anasazi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  2. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Happy Pumpkin Scissor Fob by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
  4. Halloween Phat Fiber samples (spinning) [Ravelry]
  5. Mediterranean Mermaid by Mirabilia (cross stitch)
  6. Pilgrim top, 2 oz (Merino-Tussah Silk) top from A Verb for Keeping Warm (spinning) [Ravelry]
  7. Royale top, 2 oz (Merino-Yak-Silk) top from A Verb for Keeping Warm (spinning) [Ravelry]

  1. Going Snow Global quilt (quilting)
  2. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  4. Seaweed Cardigan (knitting)  [Ravelry]

Friday, February 01, 2013

Happy February and Eye Candy Friday...

...boy, am I ready for the weekend!

First up, a couple of flower pictures.


Calendula in the morning sun

and some pansies:


Thank goodness there are flowers by my office building's front door, because you wouldn't have any pictures otherwise. Our garden is deep in its winter sleep and there is very little blooming right now.

Up this weekend:  On Saturday, I need to make a run to the store for ingredients and then bake Mexican Chocolate Brownies and some mini cupcakes for the Daughter's Super Bowl/35th Birthday party on Sunday.

She is really looking forward to the party. I'm looking forward to helping her with the party and spending a little time with her, but the football part...not so much. Between my ex doing the all-sports-on-tv-all-weekend thing and having to take my kid to the Pop Warner football games (she was a cheerleader) for 2 years, I really don't like football. I'm taking my knitting so I won't get bored and I can make progress on the Celestarium shawl. It's only one game, right...

Eye Candy Friday...

...and rolling into a long baking weekend. I'm completely loving the skies and clouds. 11/30/18: 12/5/18: Today was a co-w...