Thursday, August 31, 2006

Here Goes...

*Edited to add stats on Picovoli...and to note that the new MagKnits is up and there are some cute things this time around!!

In no particular order:

1. Spindling laceweight soy silk? Why don't you just hang yourself with the roving? Trust me, it's much quicker than the slow death you'll experience otherwise. I caved on that effort after about three yards (in six inch pieces that I had to keep twisting back together).

2. Behold! My latest single - I haven't set the twist yet, but Travis wrangled this wire hanger (which we hate, don't we?) into a good little holding place for the stuff in the meantime.


I'm going to leave it a single - it's a merino/silk blend, and I LOVE it. It's also Screaming Eagles colours (Travis' high school alma mater and the school where his sister just began her freshman year,) so it will probably become a beanie for her.


And there will be plenty more yarn - I have what seems like a TON of this roving to spin up, but I was anxious to...

3. Start spinning the roving my no-longer-secret Pal Vicki sent me! She sent two well-coordinated colors and suggested plying them together. Since I've been chickening and only spinning singles so far, I figured that sounded like a good idea (and will probably be beautiful, if I don't muck it up). I'd love to show you all the roving....but I already spun up one color. You'll see more of what's kickin' a little further down.


4. I signed up for SP9. "But Alyson, didn't you say you weren't going to do SP during the holidays?" Why yes, Reader, I did. But I also lie frequently. Stop paying such close attention to what I say I'm going to do. That way, it won't seem like I lie so much.

5. I upgraded to a fancy new Samsung cell phone. It has nifty Voice Command (and some other stuff like MP3 and TV capability) and is meant for a technophile, which I'm really not...but I really needed a phone that would use voice recognition to allow me to speak my text messages and send them to my chosen recipient without my having to type anything. (Yes, I am aware that this process sounds suspiciously similar to MAKING A PHONE CALL. I see that. But I don't like making phone calls. I like texting. So if I can text without texting AND without calling.....Brilliance.)

6. Despite all our efforts thus far, the Samsung has yet to accomplish the daunting task of passing along the gift of Voice Command to my spindle. So no matter how many times I firmly declare "Spin yarn!" to my spindle, it just lies there. Worthless thing.

7. My Picovoli has been modeled:


This is after I wore it all day at work. It wears great! I just wish I'd knit a size smaller - it's a bit baggier than I'd like. But comfy!!


(Necia asked what yarn I used and I realized that I hadn't given any details on the project! For shame!)

The Stats:
Yarn - Debbie Bliss Cathay in something like teal (I forgot to look at the colour, and yes I did use the yarn the pattern called for - crazy!)
Pattern - Picovoli in the 36" size (yep, shoulda knit the 32)
Needles - Size 4 Addi Natura 24"
Start - Not sure...cast on and knit about 1.5 inches ages ago, tossed in WIP basket and forgot about it...picked up again August 18.
Finish - August 26
Notes: I didn't really make any changes. Were I to knit it again - and it could happen - I'd knit the smaller size, lengthen the waist (two inches between decrease and increase wasn't enough for my long torso, turns out, and makes me look a little squat) and use any yarn other than Cathay. I LOVE the finished fabric, but there is ZERO twist to the stuff - knitting with it was sort of a pain.

8. I got a haircut.


9. We're upgrading faucets. When I say "we", of course I mean "Travis". I am occasionally called in to hold or fetch something, but I spend the entire time squirming and griping that Brodie is probably chewing on my spindle/needles/yarn/book and Travis eventually releases me. Still....the new faucets are super. (Unfortunately, now we have to upgrade some things in the master bathroom, as it is now way too blah for the spiffy new faucets. And I'd have photos of our spiffy faucets, but the work areas are, um, still in some disarray. So...later.)

10. Last but never ever least: MY PAL!!! Here's my goodies, in extreme detail. (Well, except for that roving. Sorry. I was antsy.) I heard some really scary tales of Secret Pal tomfoolery and let-downs, but I LOVED this whole experience. My spoilee was fun to shop for, and my spoiler was so good to me and indulged me so many ways! (Hence my inability to resist immediately signing up for the next round!)


Look - MALABRIGO!!! And in a colourway I haven't seen before, I don't think. Very ocean-y...I love it!! And Soak (which I'm so so curious about...I almost mail-ordered some a while back, so I'm antsy to try it.) An adorable keychain (in case I get trapped in my vehicle...I will always have knitting available!) and a knitting book to have on me at all times, and a poncho pattern (a coworker asked for a handknit poncho today, ironically.)

And now I'm off to finish what I started yesterday....I'm so anxious to spin up the rest and ply it - it's gonna be great!


Thanks, Vicki! You are AWESOME!!

Pal, Pal, Pal!!!!!!!!!

Aww, I got my last package...I was sad but that didn't stop me from tearing it open the minute I got a chance. (I would say "the minute I got home", but Travis was tearing apart the bathroom replacing faucets, and he needed several things right that know how it goes.)

And it was a WONDERFUL last package! Some of my favorite things, some new things...I haven't taken any pictures yet, though. I know, I suck - I'm wearing my Picovoli to work today, and I wound off some really nice handspun yesterday, AND there's all those goodies - and I've photographed nothing. But there was all SORTS of fabulous things...some of which will not be photographed in their original state. (There might have been some fiber in there that didn't stay unspun for long.)

So yeah, basically I was so excited about spindling up my new fiber that I didn't drag out the camera yesterday. Even though I was home all day hiding from Ernesto. (Not really - but the good ol' US of A did give me the day off for my safety.) I got a new cell phone too, and spent part of my day playing with that.

So anyway, I'm rambling and the point is to tell Vicki that she is a FANTASTIC pal!!! And I LOVED my package! And I'm so glad I had you to make my first Secret Pal experience so great! And I will post a big gushy photo post very soon!

Now, I gotta go read her blog!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Unemployment Is Fun!

Well, it is when it's temporary...Travis is on a "vacation", having left his job on Friday and starting his new one next Wednesday. So he's got ten days to do stuff! Yesterday's "doing stuff" was mostly coming up to my office, bringing me two dozen roses and taking me to lunch, then grilling up some swordfish and veggie skewers for dinner.

And there was this:


(Heh - he melted down some chocolate chips with a bit of cinnamon and dipped strawberries in it....yum!)

On to knit stuff:

Rooster feels strongly about his yarn:


Look at him, licking his lips - told you he thought it was almost as pretty as he is. (Or he's sticking his tongue out at me, frustrated that I would even TRY to find something as pretty as him. I'm not sure which.)


There's that shelf I've been going on about! It's system is sort of wacked and messy, but I assure you there is a system in place here.

I might have a sock yarn problem:


Been working on the same pair for six weeks. Think I'll ever get through all this stuff? Sigh.

Psst! Lookit:


(Model shots come later.)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Rejoicing In Discombobulatedness

(The title is nipped from Necia's comment the other day - it made me laugh...I've made it my own personal motto.)

Zee FO, she is still blocking. Or rather, lying around in humid air, languishing, dying to be worn to work. I'm a bit nervous about that idea, too - wearing a handknit for the first time to work sounds frightening. What if it droops? What if it sags? What if it stretches during the day and ends up somewhere around my knees, with my bosoms hanging out?! I'll bring an extra blouse, just in case.

I have no real reason for posting...mainly I just wanted to acknowledge my SP, who left a comment I forgot to email a response to - so, SP (er, Vicki) - I'm so excited, but sad it's almost over. You've been such a great spoiler, and I've enjoyed our time together. And, to be fair, I'll avoid visiting your blog until after I get the reveal package. (It's killing me, just so you know. But I'm making an effort just for you. And to be completely honest, I did glance at it on Saturday. But I decided not to read anything until later, really!)

I owe so many pictures...the FO, the shelves Travis built, Rooster examining his cat-matching yarn...soon, my pretties, soon.

And in today's happy "Travis Is The Greatest Knitting Widower Ever" story - I love that at 2:00 a.m., when I finally whipped my shirt off the needles and slipped it on, he just stared and stared at me for the longest time - and when I finally said, "Well? Are you gonna tell me what you think?", he just quietly said, "I can't get over it. You MADE that. It's incredible." Awww. I guess I should knit him a sweater.

If I ever finish his socks.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I Accomplished Something.

And frankly, I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Then again, it's 2:00 a.m. and I just wrapped up, after tearing up my gauge swatch because I ran out of yarn with 15 bind-off stitches to go. I don't think I'm expected to be in love with it right at the moment.

Photos to follow.

PS: Today's party at the LYS was a blast! And can I just say that I LOVE going to the big yarn shop party with Travis, having him make charming conversation with the knit ladies, carry my stuff around the store without complaining - nay, having even OFFERED to do so! - help clean up when a lady spilled her drink, and then - THEN! - when I cashed out (cotton yarns 30% off, sock yarns 20% off, books 10% off!!), he jumped in front of me with a, "No, let me get it." Five women within earshot nearly swooned. It's the knight in shining armor we all dream of.

PPS: Hurry, there's some Sea Silk on Destash. I already got one - grab the other!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Okay, a little housecleaning first:

In case you missed it in the comments, Necia (my SP) ALSO runs her own business making soaps and other bodycare products. (Note that sort of thing is pretty time-intensive.) So, let's amend that. She works, runs her own business, does an ungodly amount of crafting, AND raises a small child. (I'm going to assume she doesn't cook or clean. And honey, if you do, keep it to yourself!!)

So....does anyone else feel like a schlub, comparatively speaking? :-) Ah, it gives me something to aim for. I read some of the blog of a commenter (but just one of the commenters - I have so very many that it's just impossible to keep up, you know). Purl Needlemeyer (how cute is that) wrote about a world record, and I decided to do a little experiment.

(Sidelining here for a minute - how badly do I want one of these Gettin' Knit Together kits? This is Ms. Needlemeyer's - seriously, I love that - brilliant invention for discombobulated knitters like me. My LYS must start carrying this. I need one. For real.)

So, on to the experiment....the fastest knitter in the world knits 255 stitches in three minutes. (See also: feeling like a schlub, definition 2.) I wondered how well I could fare in three minutes. (Heh.) Before I reveal my count, a few notes.

1. I am lazy. I'm not casting on for this sort of thing. So I worked with what I had, and what I had was my Picovoli.

2. My Picovoli is knit with Debbie Bliss Splittay Cathay, on Addi Torturas Naturas, the ones with the freakin' nightmare join that forces me to continually tug my knitting along for the workin', which is the only 24" size 4 circ I have. (I think - see also: need for Gettin' Knit Together kit, which includes a handy needle reference card that would tell me how much of each sort of needle I what I consider to be a design glitch, however, it would fail to take me by the hand and show me where in my cave I might have left that needle - not that it would matter, because inevitably, it would not be there and would instead be found weeks later, covered in slobber and teeth marks, rendered useless, in the dog's crate.)

3. Stitch markers. Slipping a marker counted as a stitch (but I think, for some bizarre reason that involves how klutzy I am, it takes me much longer to slide a marker than it does to knit a stitch.)

4. OCD. I had to tink and re-knit a stitch that I deemed unsatisfactory. I counted this as three stitches (one to knit it wrong, one to tink it, one to knit it right.)

5. Stress. When I started, I fumbled quite a bit. I usually do well under pressure, but I was kind of tense during this. What - because there was so much riding on it? I don't know. I didn't adjust for stress, but I know I would normally knit faster than I did for the first 30-45 seconds.

So my total, given all that? 87. Well, 85 actual stitches, without that tink adjustment, or 83 stitches and two stitch markers....but hey, I might do way better with regular old yarn on regular old needles during regular old time. I'm pretty happy with this. Onward and upward! (I will never get anywhere near 255. I don't think I'd want to....knitting that fast doesn't even sound like fun. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Things Lately That Have Made Me Happy

With the arrival of terribly unhappy news (that is not knitting-related, and also not blog-appropriate) and other icky things (infections, hot weather, slow times at work, and self-imposed ultra-strict diet), I've decided to touch on a few things I've loved or will be loving:

1. I received my Lucy yarn from Socks That Rock. Rooster even took a fleeting interest in it (because it was almost, but totally not quite, as pretty as he is.)

2. I received my Kill Bill and Slayer (and Rusted, but that's for Travis) from Sweet Georgia. The Kill Bill makes me giggle every time I look at it.

3. Travis finished my first cedar cubby shelf for my yarn room! It's amazing and wonderful and stinks up the whole room with that lovely-to-me, loathsome-to-moths scent....the joyous odor of guaranteed wool safety. [Stocking up those shelves made me realize I have a LOT of yarn. Worse still (not that a lot of yarn is a bad thing), I have a LOT of single skeins. Ugh.]

4. I tried a new cast-on. (Baby steps.)

5. I'm rocketing along on my Picovoli. That is a whole crapload of stocking stitch...I think the Central Park Hoodie just moved up in ranks, and will be my next garment project instead of Hourglass. (Hourglass following Picovoli = enough plain stocking to make one think about knitting a fair isle, of course). And, since everyone hates posts with no pictures, here's something....a model in the Central Park Hoodie I intend to knit someday.


6. My LYS carries Malabrigo now!! This is very exciting stuff! (Okay, quick downside - at $15 a skein, it's a little higher priced than some places. So I'll just keep picking up the stuff for big projects from said other places. But a single skein here and there from the LYS can't hurt.)

7. My LYS is also having a big anniversary bash this weekend and I'm wicked excited. Travis is going with me (because there's food) and we were discussing duration last night. It starts at 3:00 and the shop usually closes at 6:00. The idea of three hours at a yarn shop horrified him, but I assured him that we wouldn't stay that long...unless of course Doni were to say "Hey, 60% off everything in the store...but only from 5:45 to 6:00!" But then I declared that I didn't need shouldn't buy any more yarn right now, and Travis declared, "For 60% off??!! Are you out of your mind? Buy, buy, buy!"

I think I love him.

I swear I am knitting. I'm just rotating projects and not actually finishing anything. I'm not Wendy, okay? I can't be expected to, you know, accomplish stuff.

You know what else, though? Since I've revealed myself to my Secret Pals, I can reveal them too! Necia was my SP8 pal, and I LOVED spoiling her. She was constantly into new hobbies (just in these three months, she added spinning and sewing to her repertoire) and, apparently, was blessed at birth with an 87-hour day. You should see how much spinning, knitting, and sewing she manages to accomplish. And she has a job. And a three year-old. (I always use that 40-hour-week excuse for not finishing anything...but apparently I have no right.) And Emily is my One Skein Pal, and she's a brilliant knitter, plain and simple. You should see the socks she just finished. Or her Hush, the nightie from Knitty (hee...alliteration). She also, unwittingly, taught me of the Waldorf School and how very much I'd like to send my future children there. (Emily and I have similar tastes in a lot of things - every time I shopped for her, it ended up being a "one for her, one for me" kind of thing. Oops.)

So go read their blogs. They've probably started and finished a project in the time it took me to write this post.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Erm, Oops.....

Yeah, I know, my posting sucks. I'm supposed to post once a week for SP8 purposes, and I've been failing. And I love writing! But I feel like I should have something to share in order to do so....

I do have some exciting fiber news, but no FOs to share. I'm working on some old WIPs (my Picovoli and those stupid boring Trekking socks for Travis) and have many more WIPs to pull out when I get done with the things I'm planning to start (Hourglass and Central Park Hoodie are at the top of the list.) Oh, and there's Travis' cousin's oncoming twins. They need goodies. I do have a few FOs, but I can't post them. You know how it goes.

I did get in on the Lucy colorway from Socks That Rock, and I'm anxious for that to arrive. Lucy's the same colors as my kitty Roosevelt, so I'm very excited about that.

I also ordered a few fun and amusing skeins from Sweet Georgia. Her colorways always crack me up - Kill Bill? Priceless.

I also ordered a whole slew of skeins of Debbie Bliss Merino (17 skeins, to be precise) from WEBS. I needed a good wool for my Central Park Hoodie (the one from the latest Knitscene, a pattern I had almost completely forgotten about until my SP giftee, Necia, mentioned it - I copied the pattern before zipping the mag off to her, as she was more in need of it than I was.) Did I mention that the yarn was TWO DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS a skein? Yeah. That's right. And, fight against it though I might, I bought green. I had three options, and I love green, but I ALWAYS do green, and the sample was knit in green (I'm usually determined to not knit the item as photographed)....but Jim, one of my gurus, gave me several very good reasons to do it in that color. I can't fight Jim. So that'll be a green Hourglass...and a green Central Park...and my green Odessa...and my teal Picovoli. I must do something different.

I'll have something finished.....someday.....

(Can I talk about Project Runway for a minute? I HATE the producers. I HATE that the show relies so strongly on "good TV" for its in-out decisions. Vincent is freaking worthless as a designer, and he's effing creepy as hell to boot - and I wish he hadn't said his own dress "gets me off" like four times because that further convinced me that the guy was one skein short of a sweater. But Alison? She was all that was goodness and light in the world. She was like sunshine and puppies, with fabulous fashion sense. I hate the producer-driven voting process. Eck. Oh, and did anyone notice that Vincent, in the same breath, said that his dress, "...gets me's like a child's finger painting!" Oh my God. Ew. Ew ew ew. Get him out of here.)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ooooh, Goodies!

I love days when the post delivers not one but TWO goody packages.

First off was my order from Amazon. (Just a couple of knitting books, nothing surprising there. I needed a pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts sort of ASAP, so I had to go ahead and order it, even though it was previously on Not-Dire status.)

But the other I actually didn't open right away. (By "not right away," I mean I waited about four minutes after getting home, allowing the suspense to build until I just couldn't stand it any more. Yeah, you can imagine how unbearable I am at Christmas time.)


My One-Skein pal sent me gifties! First, the soy silk yarn - I have been ITCHING to work with soy silk (even going so far as to purchase a bit of soy silk top during my Asheville fiber blitzkrieg...which fiber has yet to make it to spindle). I just haven't gotten my hands on the right yarn. My LYS carries a brand that feels lovely, but the shade selection wasn't to my taste, so I never bought any. I do, however, LOVE this blue. (If your LYS doesn't carry this yarn either, you can find it here, and there's even a few shades on sale!) That, and I am so tickled by tape yarns. I always play with the cotton tapes at my LYS - there's just something so amusing to me about yarn that looks like it's been knitted....and then you knit with it! (I'm so easily amused it's stupid.)

The book, Needled to Death (HA!!) is written by the author of Knit One, Kill Two (double HA!! - again, a tickle to my easily amused side). Please PLEASE note the ball of yarn/skull in the cover illustration. I kid you not, I spent a moment trying to figure out how I could wind my skeins to look like that. 'Cause it's so punk rock. I won't lie, I'm diving into this book as soon as I hit "publish" here. When I was in middle school, I went through an Agatha Christie phase, and then a Lillian Jackson Braun phase, and then a Sue Grafton phase, and then, far too young, a Dean Koontz phase - and my best friend and I traded those Young Adult thriller novels (Christopher Pike, anyone?) with alarming speed. My love affair with mystery novels is finely aged, unlike my love affair with knitting - but it runs just as deep. And who can resist a knitting murder mystery that includes a knitting pattern for a tank top and a recipe for blueberry pie? (July is Blue Month. She's good at continuity - remember the postcard that coordinated with the yarn back in June? Slick little thing, ain't she? Appeals very much to my easily-amused side AND my obsessive-compulsive side.)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Stirring The Beast Within

I've been home sick and feeling rather sorry for myself since Thursday evening. I figured I should try something new.


This began life as a plain old undyed skein of Lorna's Laces Sportweight. A few splashes of Kool-Aid later (and with thanks to my super-enabling Secret Pal!!!), I had a fruity skein of fun! I think I like hand-painting yarn - and I decided I don't completely suck at it, so I figured I'd keep trying!

I discovered (after attempts at three other local grocery stores) that our Kash & Karry has about 47 varieties of individual Kool-Aid packets, including the elusive brown Tamarindo (which, make no mistake, does not resemble anything I would EVER want to drink - but I am assured is a wonderful mixer for dyeing purposes.) So I now have 24 one-liter water bottles with pure Kool-Aid. 24 base colour options. Oh joy.

I'd wanted to dye a skein for my secret pal, but I decided I really didn't think the first one was quite the colours I'd like for her - a bit too pink, more my style than hers. So I picked up a few ivory skeins of Koigu (who doesn't love Koigu?) and tried again:


I gotta tell ya - I'm pretty good at this. (No, you hear no shame in my tone - I'm proud as hell of these skeins.) I named the colourway "Necia" (that's her name - I'm not being terribly original with the name, but what knitter girl doesn't want to see a skein of Koigu with, literally, her name on it??) I'll look forward to seeing how the stuff knits up - it may be tacky as hell knitted, but I sure do think the skeins are pretty.

My one-skein project has me worried. You should see what she did for her pal. I get the feeling she's a better knitter than I am. I must progress faster!!!

We went to Home Depot today and bought planks of cedar so Travis can build me some shelving units for my fiber room! Whee!! When you build furniture to support your hobby, it's officially here to stay.

Me & Knitting (/Spinning/Dyeing) 4-Eva!