Monday, September 18, 2006


...poor Shapely Tank. I knitted you. I blocked you. I wore you. I unraveled you.

In what incarnation will you appear next, lovely, drapey Rowan Luxury Cotton? Whisper what you want to be in my ear, and I will knit you up again. This time in a smaller size. After all, you ARE mostly cotton.

Meanwhile, I've finished Soleil in Rowan Calmer (it fits wonderfully!), and one pair of cozy winter in-the-house socks, in navy blue Dale Sisik. (FTR: I love Sisik. It's fluffy and warm. Just a little itchy, though. Hopefully a nice bath will soften it up a bit. Maybe with a tiny bit of conditioner...Unless I get my hands on some Eucalan. I really need a bottle of that, and a nice bag of dried lavender. I worry about my woolens--especially the ones I've worked so hard to create!)

I've also made several ball-band dishcloths for myself and for family and friends. AND I've been swatching the yarn Karida and I dyed a few weeks ago, to see how they look when knitted.

We've both been happy with what we've done. In fact, after batch #1, Karida moved forward and dyed some final colorways--Neighborhood Fiber Company's first offerings. They'll soon be on the market! Exciting...

- Clapotis: Blue Sky Alpaca & Silk (a luscious, juicy violet)
- Short ribbed socks (my own design): Aurora 8 (rich eggplant)
- Argyle Tea Cozy (adapted from the one in Sally Melville's "The Knit Stitch": Blue Sky Sport Weight Alpaca (dusky merlot, pesto green, and a dash of mustard yellow)
- Tubular Scarf (from AlterKnits): Rowan Kidsilk Haze (in a bright raspberry color to cheer me up in winter) THIS IS NOT AN EXCITING KNIT, AND IT TAKES FOREVER! (Oh, but it will be worth the wait...)
- Linen Hand Towel (Mason-Dixon style, but with a different stitch pattern): Louet-Sales Euroflax (champagne and willow)

So why do I feel like I'm in a knitting funk? Some kind of ennui descended upon me last week. So on top of being exhausted most of the time, I also feel less than enthused about most of what I'm working on (knitting-wise). I'm sure it will pass...The cure might be starting to work in earnest on the Master Hand Knitter Program, which has suffered back-burner status recently.

Onward. The honey-colored light of autumn beckons...the days of knitting in the sun are once again upon us!


Friday, September 15, 2006

Shapely Tank. Shapely? Hmmm...

Shapely Tank, huh?

I finished this in July, and wore it twice.

I'm obviously uncomfortable having my photo taken, unlike some of the really gorgeous bloggers out there...

Anyway, the first time, it looked a bit big, but kind of OK. The second time, I had to wear a tank top UNDER my shapely tank...and NOT because I'm one of those people who has to layer everything (I think layering t-shirts and tanks is a bit "done," but that's just my opinion).

The Shapely Tank had morphed into The Unshapely Tunic!!!

Rowan's Luxury Cotton DK was only slightly different from the yarn the pattern called for, and my gauge was right on target. I know because I checked it obsessively from bottom to top.

My stitches were even, lined up like little soldiers. The short rows were perfect. And I am the queen of compulsive finishing techniques...decreases lined up at the seams, trim neckline, and (my own touch) a three-needle bind off at the shoulders, with the seam on the outside, mimicking the neck and armhole edging.

But alas, it was not to be.

My advice to anyone making the Shapely Tank? Go for the negative ease. Really negative. I'd go four inches smaller than your regular size. And decrease more at the shoulders--the straps were wide, more "corporate shell" than "sexy summer top." Or just go for Sizzle instead.

Live and learn.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I'm tired. I have a headache. Two Excedrin and some knitting will probably help, though.

So....Which of these piles of fiber should I spin first?

Hmmm. Tough choice. They're both so fluffy and soft. I'd like to make a cozy little nest with them, curl up, and hibernate...

...But I guess I'll work on the one that's not looking at me. Kind of like dinner...I don't like to consume products with faces.

Once I comb enough Katja (which I am saving in ziplock bags), I'll combine her fur with some Merino and try spinning it. She feels like an angora rabbit, so why not?


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Handspun & Formula One

First, my Formula One rant-of-the-day:

Fernando Alonso was right when he criticized F1's decision to penalize him in Monza this weekend. Obviously, with Schumi retiring, the Powers That Be decided he should go out in a blaze of glory. They tend to "see red" quite often. Alonso is in good company.

Two years ago, Juan Pablo Montoya (now soaking up the rays in Miami and getting ready for--sob!--NASCAR) was heading down the final stretch to the world championship.

But in one of the final races--the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis--he was handed a penalty that would end his hopes. The penalty was unfair, and unduly harsh. JPM fans were sick and angry. But Michael got his all-important 7th world championship, and that was what F1 deemed important. Sorry if I sound bitter, but injustice does that to me...

Now Michael Schumacher is retiring. We will miss his elegant driving, his eloquent post-race interviews, and his droll sense of humor. But now that the Great One (and he really IS great) is leaving, perhaps the rest of us will be able to enjoy F1 as a sport once again, instead of paying hundreds of dollars to see obviously-engineered "sports entertainment."

Now, on to the important stuff.


Two weeks ago, Karida and I dyed a batch of yarn and roving--it was Neighborhood Fiber Company's first batch. The yarns were striking, and the roving was utterly gorgeous:

I had to wait a couple of weeks before I could spin it, though, because of the horrific (to a knitter, anyway) finger injury. But yesterday I couldn't wait any longer. I predrafted and predrafted some more, and then I sat down to our Louet S10 (a great, intuitive wheel) and started spinning. There's some funky stuff going on on the bobbin, which I'll rewind today, but the wondrous colors slipping through my fingers were amazing:

Tender pinks and mauves, twilight blue, dusky violet, all wrapping around each other like the penny-candy sticks we used to buy as kids. Even unplied, the yarn glistens, it's glossy beauty tempting me: I want to EAT IT, like the perfect tiny petit fours it reminds me of...

Soon, this will be available for sale, through Neighborhood Fiber Company. Meanwhile, though, our hand-painted yarns are set for production...sleek sock yarn, puffy thick-and-thin, and an ever-so-soft mohair/wool blend. Coming soon to a store near you...


Friday, September 08, 2006

Grand Prix Knitting & Circle K Alpacas

The U.S. Formula One Grand Prix took place at the beginning of July this year. It was hot. I mean HOT. But I still managed to get lots of knitting done..(When we came back to D.C., of course, we realized once again (as we do every summer) what hot REALLY means.)

BTW: That yellow thing I'm wearing is a Colombian flag t-shirt I customized, in honor of Juan Pablo Montoya (now sadly departed to...ugh...NASCAR, thus breaking my F1-loving heart).

Anyway, yesterday, Chris, Karida, and I drove down into the depths of Virginia to check out Circle K Alpacas. If you look closely at the picture below, you can see their "guard llama" on alert in the background. She's been known to run BEARS off the pasture!

I'll never forget how cute the young males looked as they came running out of their barn when Barbara clapped her hands. What sweet animals! The barns even SMELLED sweet--like fresh-cut hay. Alpacas are so clean, fun, and good natured. What an idyllic life it seemed...Almost enough to make me want to move out of the city and buy a few acres...


Doing Wheelies

My very first wheel-spun yarn...Not bad, if I do say so myself.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Knitter's Hell

What's the worst thing that can happen to a knitter/spinner? A right-index-finger ligament injury, that's what! Ugly metal splint and only slight use of finger for several weeks.

Oh, well. Time to catch up on my reading, designing, and one-handed spinning!

Once healed, I promise to start blogging regularly. Promise. Really.