Monday, August 29, 2005

Orchid Socks

These have been done for a week, but due to a nasty head cold I had to quarantine myself and deny the photographer access so he wouldn't get sick. I remember reading blogs, so if I've left a comment on anyone's blog that made no sense, I'm sorry! Sinus meds put me in a haze. I also owe some emails, soon soon! Anyway, these here socks are made from Nature's Palette Fingering Weight Merino in orchid. I did them toe-up, short-row toe and heel. The lace pattern is a mix of doing yo, k2tog twice and the leaf pattern is from a sweater in Rebecca 28. It looks identical to MJ's scarf, so you could also look it up in the book she references. I might just write it up together with the Springgrass socks pattern, let me know if you're interested in the patterns and I'll put them on the blog.
Initially I wanted to make them knee-highs, but I didn't place the increases right, the lace pattern stretched too much and it looked bad. I frogged the trial sock, but not enough, so now one sock is one pattern repeat higher.
I'm not sure yet if that will bother know, trying to be non-chalant about the mistake while the inner perfectionist is having a fit. Let's see who wins.
What else is new? I've been hovering in the knitting doldrums lately and I'm not sure why. I've noticed that other knitters have been feeling them too, so I'm not alone. In my case, I feel a little overwhelmed by my stash. You'd probably laugh if you saw it, as it all fits in one bin. So I've been trying to come up with projects to reduce it, yet nothing has caught my fancy. I frogged Butterfly because I dropped a stitch and wasn't able to retrieve it. The Corset Pullover is scaring me because it looks so tiny even though I know the yarn relaxes after a wash. I've lost my confidence, and that's why I've been sticking to socks (since I for sure don't need any more scarves). So here's what I got from my LYS to keep the hands busy until I figure out how to get back on the horse:
Two skeins of Koigu, in a color that can't be photographed, a color that I have a hard time describing, a dark red with a hint of magenta. Glowing from the inside like the sun shining through a red robe in a stained-glass window. It's religious and sinful. It'll be the antidote to the blues on a chilly winter morning. Did I mention it'll be another pair of socks?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Ignorance sometimes is bliss

It's not a Debbie pun.
A couple of weekends ago I attended a one-day encaustic workshop. Encaustic is a process of layering beeswax mixed with resin on a panel (preferably wood). You can create collages covered by the medium, or mix the medium with colors, scratch into it and fill the scratches with oil pastels. There are a lot of possibilities and one of the reasons taking this class for me was that I wanted to create images like these. I've seen Thea Schrack's work in person during the Hunter's Point Open Studios here in SF (this was a yearly event that sadly will no longer happen as the area is being transformed into new housing). They are really stunning, and the color seems to be glowing from within. Very ethereal, hence perfect for the romantic Craftoholic. I had brought a bunch of photographs I took in India(copies of them, as the beeswax won't stick to photo according to my teacher) and a lot of excitement which got toned down when I realized that I wasn't going to do what I thought I would. Working with the medium is extremely difficult as you're holding a heating gun in one hand to keep everything warm, and a brush with the hot medium in the other. It's very hard to produce a smooth even film, which didn't seem to be the purpose though. I tried to work on some collages, but couldn't get into the groove of it. As I got increasingly frustrated with my lack of creating that perfect piece of art in my mind's eye, silently berating myself for having spent money for this when I could have bought yarn and beads instead, something snapped in my head. I decide to just have fun. To not care to make it beautiful, to keep the oil paste neatly in the ridges, to not worry about whether this would look like my imaginary 4-year old had drawn it. I slopped on the wax, carved and mushed paint into the grooves, and stopped thinking.
It was the most fun I've had in a while. Letting go of the thinking and just enjoy the doing.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Butterfly fluttered by

Here are four repeats of the hem, knit on US7 needles.
It looks so...loose, but I guess that's the point. I'm just not used to the look because I'm more familiar with crocheting lace, where thin cotton yarn and a tiny needle give you very crisp stitches and a defined pattern.
The color is 'bleached', which is a milky white. I may end up dipping this in hibiscus tea once it's done, to give it a hint of color.
And here is a peak at one of my orchid socks. It is in limbo at the moment, mid-calf high and awaiting a fancy don't know what yet bind-off. I'm past the ankle on the second sock. I wanted to make them knee-highs, but have had trouble getting the increases to look good. I wonder if it's better to make knee-highs top-down instead of toe-up? Anyone know?
The colors in this picture are incredibly accurate...what with all the gloom outside.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Earthly Treasures

Kim is popping out one gorgeous collection after another. Why oh why couldn't all these be in the new Rowan mag??? I love every single item! Now lady, you did it. I swore I wouldn't support that whole kit thing. But my willpower is deleted away click by click.....

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Orchids and Butterfly

For the past week and a half or so I've been stuck in a biorythmical valley the depth of the Mariana trench. This was due to things unavoidable, like the chilly weather, messy roommates, homesickness, anxiety about my review at work (it was great), and the bad news that a friend had an aneurism. But things are looking up again, my friend is recovering, and my spirits are coming back. There has been knitting, but BF's sister borrowed the camera, so no pictures yet. I'm working on another pair of socks in that Nature's Palette 'orchid' I showed you a few posts back. I'd like them to be knee-highs, but will most likely stop when the yarn ends, as I don't want to buy a third skein. And inspired by Blossom I started Butterfly from Rowan 37, again. I've started and frogged it so many times in the past year, I'm surprised I'm still into it. But what else am I going to do with three balls of KSH in 'bleached'? I'm all shawl-ed out at the moment, so no suggestions needed ;-). I had used the suggested #8 needles and found the resulting swatch to be just a mess of holes instead of beautiful lace. The #7 I'm using now are making it look better, but as soon as I get a picture I'll need some input on whether it looks like it's supposed to. More satisfying at the moment is the corset pullover, which I decided will be knit in the round. There's no reason why not. I knit a few rounds the other day and the Cathay is still amazing. So soft and drapey, it's tactile Prozac. After I had knit up my swatch, I took to carrying it around with me and kept it on my leg while driving to work. No more road rage for me, whenever someone cut me off, I just petted the swatch. Instant calm, I tell you.
I've also shared my disdain about the new Rowan mag with a few bloggers, but it looks like I might have been beating it up a little too quickly. Now that there are more and bigger pictures abound, I've found a few pieces that are very pretty indeed. With some I'm hovering in that nebulous area of ugly pretty, that feeling where you somewhat repulsed, yet strangely in love. Like this, they call it a poncho, but is it really? I don't think it a swoncho? A sweater with huge dolman sleeves?
And this..scarf? Have I fallen on my head? I think it's ridiculous, I don't think I'd ever wear it. But I want it.
Now this coat. I might choose different colors, but it could be quite nice, I will have to search for a belt just like this though, because the belt gives the coat that 'je ne sais quoi'
This pattern look interesting, though I could see that sweater requiring some shaping adjustments:
And these gloves are very cute, but I really want the dress:
I love this jacket but it's made from 'Big Wool'. I love BW, it's so soft, but it makes the model look like a football player, and she's probably a size 2
This issue has a few things that inspire me to change them around rather than follow the pattern exactly. Maybe some stash busters as well.
Oh and I bought more yarn. Where's that camera.....?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Lambtown USA

Last weekend I went to my first ever sheep festival, which happened in Dixon, about 65 miles west of San Francisco. Somehow I had completely missed out on all the great events that had been happening so far this year in California, I wasn't going to miss this one. BF and I got up early, dressed in very little with warm jackets on top ('cause it's barely 60 in the city but probably 90+ out there) and set off for a day of watching sheep, eating lamb (BF) and buying yarn (me). They had a special pavillon filled with fiber vendors and I have to admit that I was completely overwhelmed (though I'm sure that seasoned fiber festival people might have found it small). There were heaps of fleece, gorgeous yarns, spinning wheels whirring, a teenage boy needle-felting and this little cutie:
I had to keep an eye on BF so he wouldn't sneak the little guy back home with us. We petted sheep and watched the sheep dog herding competition, chatted with an ostrich and emu farmer and just hung out. Dixon is a small town and this festival had a very smalltown feel to it. In another building, the local library sold off old books for 10 cents, and I found some vintage children's books with beautiful illustrations. Because I freeze up when I'm bombarded with a lot of pretty stuff I didn't end up buying very much. One booth I couldn't resist though, Janet Heppler of Nebo Rock Textiles had the most beautiful hand-dyed mohair, and also some gorgeous woven scarves. I bought this from her:
32 oz of the softest mohair dyed in dark plums with hints of caramel and grey blue shining through.
I'm not quite sure yet what I'll use it for, most likely a scarf or wrap. Right now it just sits happily on my desk where I can fawn over it. I also bought something else....but I'll leave that for another post. Janet also gave me flyers to some upcoming events which I won't be missing:
* The 8th Annual California Wool& Fiber Festival in Boonville, Sept 16-18 (; and the
* Natural Fiber Fair in Redway, Oct 1&2. If you need more info let me know and I'll email you.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Silly Socks

About a week ago I started a pair of socks for BF, knit with Lana Grossa Meilenweit Safari. He picked the yarn and it was a lot of fun to knit up, I finished them on Saturday. My internet connection has been problematic, so after many attempts, here they are:
At some point during the second sock, I must have knit more loosely as the pattern stopped matching. But they are pretty silly to begin with, and BF loves them.
I've been stalling on my Corset Pullover. I made a swatch with the Cathay, and after washing and tossing it got bigger and I got perfect gauge. So I cast on for the 35+" size and knit a few inches, but it looks tiny. Now, I know that it will expand after washing, but it's scary to knit something that looks like it'd be perfect for a six year old. Then it occurred to me I might want to knit it in the round. So it's been stewing, and I just need to sit down and do some math and tell myself it will work out.