Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Changing Course

When I bought this yarn from "Laura Fry Weaving Studio" I was planning to use the handpainted Rayon in the "Northern Brights" colourway for warp and the Bamboo on the cone for weft in two scarves, one for myself and the other to sell or give as a gift.

I'm still planning on doing that, but my idea has switched looms. I was planning to warp my rigid heddle loom with two ends per slot or hole in the 10 dpi reed, making a basket weave effect. I'm now thinking it would be much smarter for me to drag my 8-shaft table loom out of the closet for this project. For one, the scarves would have a nicer drape done in a twill. Twill is much easier to do on a multi-shaft loom. Another good reason is that I could warp and weave both scarves at once on the larger loom. I'm not so sure my Beka rigid heddle loom would be able to handle a length of 13 or 14 feet. And a third reason; weaving of fine yarns goes much faster with a boat shuttle than it would with the stick shuttle necessary on my Beka.

So there ya go, the thought process behind switching looms for this project, even though I find warping the rigid heddle so much easier....and less frightening and less prone to warp snarling error.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Subconscious Perhaps?

Maybe my subconscious is pushing me further in the direction of bobbin lace making?

I find bobbin lace making fascinating (like all of the fibre arts!). There is a woman in my spinning and weaving guild that does it and I love looking at the pieces she occasionally brings for Show and Tell. I've been avoiding becoming involved myself though, always managing to talk myself out of it, telling myself that I don't need another hobby and asking myself what would I do with a bunch of handmade lace anyway. That voice of reluctance is getting quieter though, fading away until I can hardly hear it.

The purchase of 10 wooden lace making bobbins kind of looks like I've already slipped into the deep chasm of yet another hobby doesn't it? But wait, I didn't buy these for bobbin lace making. I saw Sharon from "Homespun Haven" using them to wind the threads she was using for Kumihimo (the bobbins added a bit of weight too). She mentioned that they make good intarsia bobbins too and that was all it took, I was sold! So these are now my Kumihimo/instarsia/maybe-some-day-bobbin-lace-making bobbins.

Okay, I'll admit it, I'm weak. I know that some day someone will hand me a bobbin lace making pillow and I'll be sunk, totally smitten, doomed to add yet another obsession to my long list of hobbies.

I need more hours in my days. Or days in my month. Or somethin'.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Sort of spur of the moment, and sort of not.

Although I didn't go to Fibres West looking for Kumihimo supplies, and really did NOT need another hobby, this Japanese art form of Kumihimo braiding has fascinated me for quite some time now. I took a few books out of the library last year studying the technique, but without a marudai (which can be expensive) and not inclined to take a chance and order a beginner kit online, I dropped the idea.

While passing through Sharon Wickstrom's "Homespun Haven" booth I came across these little beginner's kits. There is not much to them, and all the instructions are in Japanese, but they weren't expensive either. The diagrams are good so I think I will be able to figure out the dozen or so braids pictured. After that I'll hunt down those library books again.

I had linked to Wiki explanations of these different words; marudai and Kumihimo, and to a source for the kits, but Blogger isn't having any of that today so if you're interested you'll have to seek them out yourself. I'm done typing this entire post over and over!

FAIL! ~ Try Again.

I'm attempting to make a lace curtain. The lower border is hand knit and then that is hung on the knitting machine to work the remainder in machine knit and beaded lace. At first glance it looks like everything is going okay, but some sneaky little stitches have dropped, making holes where they can not be ignored.

By the time I noticed the problem I had hung the hem by hand on 200 machine needles, knit 4 repeats of the pattern, hand applying 25 beads per repeat. An entire evening of knitting wasted. Sometimes, in the long run, machine knitting is NOT fast.

I'm participating in a project a month knit-a-long (MKGAM KAL) on the MachineKnitting forum on Ravelry, and this was to be March's submission. Three days left in the month. I might still be able to finish in time IF all goes well in my next attempt.

Not Much Longer

Accommodations are getting quite cramped.

And Mommy's patience is wearing thin. This baby is STRONG!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

And More Tomorrow

I picked up these bags of top from the Aurelia Wool & Weaving booth. There are two bags of corriedale in the "Everglade" colourway and one of a green merino called "Sherwood". I plan to spin these fine to eventually design a vest for myself with the varied colour as the main body parts and the solid for trim.

I won't be getting to it for a while yet as I'm still slowly spinning my way through a huge mound of light blue batts. I'm a one project at a time kind of gal when it comes to spinning ( on the wheel, and one on the spindle, but both are occupied right now).

Stay tuned, there will be more tomorrow.

Friday, March 27, 2009

On The First Day

I'm finally getting around to showing you the goodies I gathered at Fibres West last weekend. I have enough stockpiled and photographed to show you something new every day for nearly a week.

I look forward to these annual fibre filled events and put a little money aside in anticipation so that I am able to splurge and enjoy myself....during the event and for months afterwards! Attending the annual events, (Fibrefest, which I hear is returning in October of 2010 and this years' version, named Fibres West and put on by another sponsor), is like a mini-vacation for me. Kind of like a taste of what I imagine would be my dream vacation.....a world tour based on my fibre arts interests.

I spent all day there, both days, even though it doesn't take that long to see everything. I went to all the presentations, I talked to people, old friends and new, and I went around and around the booths looking, touching, and admiring the goods and oftentimes returning to buy something I had passed over my first time through.

On the first day I arrived chomping at the bit for I was anxious to get my hands on some Kauni yarn while the selection was still good. Within 10 minutes of arriving I had spent a good chunk of my hoarded money on this:

Three very large balls of Kauni yarn. I've coveted this yarn for quite some time but it is not stocked in my community's yarn stores. This colourway, with it's long gradual transitions from cream to grey and into black, is a rather subdued colourway for Kauni. Most of their stuff is quite vibrant. For my needs though this will be perfect. I'm planning to knit the "Ladies Jacquard Vest" from using Knitpicks "Palette" in Garnet Heather for the foreground and the cream/grey/black Kauni W-EC for the background and ribbings. I think it will look really nice, even if the busy patterning is very outside the norm for my wardrobe.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Question Of Habit

I'm a regular. Unless I'm ill or have an appointment that just can't be scheduled at another time, I am very faithful about working out at the gym for about 2 hours, five mornings per week. That kind of dedication gets noticed. Occasionally I'll have someone comment on how hard I work, or that they admire my dedication and determination.

I had a lady ask me today how I keep up the motivation to be there, working hard, day after day. My quick answer was, "I have to", with an explanation that if I don't remain that dedicated I gradually lose ground. Slowly the weight comes back on, my strength diminishes, my flexibility declines and my cardiovascular health suffers. I notice a difference even after an absence of only 4 or 5 days!

After thinking about her question a little more, I realize I could have served her better by telling her of the value of good habits. It takes a while to build up a good habit to the point that it is so strongly imprinted, so automatic, that you no longer give it much thought at all. But then, when you no longer think about it, no longer fight with yourself daily to do the "right" thing, you've won the battle.

There are things that I do to reinforce this habit of daily exercise. I have set it as a top priority. I do my darnedest not to let anything get in my way. I workout at the exact same time every day. First thing in the morning, when my husband heads off to work, I head for the gym. When I schedule doctor or dentist appointments I make every effort to have them at a time that won't interfere with my gym time. Friends and family also know that this is my time and it's not negotiable. Of course because I go to the gym so early it is not hard to work around the needs of others. Not too many people are clamouring for my time before 9:30 in the morning, and by that time I've exercised, showered, dressed and I'm ready for whatever the day has in store.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Little Hat A & B

Using the "Lifestyle Top Down Hat" as a guide, I designed and knit two hats to go with the Garter Ridge Baby Sweater. For the first one, Little Hat A (top of picture), I stopped increasing at 80 stitches.

After trying the finished hat on a life sized baby doll I decided the first attempt was a bit big for a newborn and knit another one, a wee bit smaller. In this sport weight yarn, 64 stitches made a hat that measures about 12 inches around. Little Hat B (bottom of picture) has a generous amount of stretch and should fit a newborn quite nicely. If it's too small, well, there is still Little Hat A.

And that's IF the baby is a boy. We still have about 30 days to go before the big reveal.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Garter Ridge Baby Sweater

My daughter bought a little blue, beige, and cream coloured outfit in case the expected baby is a boy. In response I knit up this little sweater in coordinating colours.

It's loosely based on Elizabeth Zimmerman's "February" Baby Sweater on Two Needles from the Knitter's Almanac. As written EZ's sweater is quite feminine, so I substituted garter stitch ridges where she has the lace pattern.

The front edges looked a bit untidy where I had been carrying the two colours up from one ridge to the next so I picked up some stitches and then immediately cast them off loosely creating a neater, bound looking edge.

Buttons were courtesy of the ever evolving Button Jar.

And now to design some kind of hat........

Friday, March 06, 2009

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'

Instead of sleeping I spent last night rolling over and over and over in bed. Some dreadful flu has taken hold of me and my whole body is aching. I swear, even my skin hurts! I couldn't find a comfortable sleeping position at all. Even though I was exhausted from lack of sleep I was very happy to get out of bed this morning just to end the flip, flip, flipping!

Okay, enough whining. I feel somewhat better now that I am up and moving around a bit. At least I'm well enough to sit and knit next to a cozy "fire" (no real flames involved, it's electric, but keeps the room toasty).

I'm knitting another tiny baby sweater for the new grandchild expected in April. This one is a bit smaller than the "Offset Wraplan" I made earlier. I'm using a newborn sized sleeper to get an idea of the correct size for a "first" sweater.

Once again, this is in boy colours with no lacy bits, but don't anyone go jumping to conclusions, (that goes especially for you extended family members!), we really don't know the gender this time, and I claim no instinctual grandmotherly insights. I'm as likely to get it wrong as anyone else. There are lots of girly hand-me-downs though, so no urgent pink or mauve knitting needs to be done. I'm knitting for a boy just in case.