Saturday, March 31, 2007

I knit, too...

I've been posting photos lately, and written about what yarn I want, but today I thought I'd write about what I've actually been case you think I just look, buy, and read about it!

Tahoe still owns the honor of being "main project." I'm enjoying the way the Heirloom Breeze looks when knitted up in large-scale stockinette stitch...almost like French terry, with its nubbly, squeezable texture. And the color's all right, too. When the light hits it, there's a mauve-ish sheen that deflects the sheer purple-ness of it:

My plan, if I can find the right yarn, is to end the sleeves a little early and crochet a lace edging on them to make up the last two or three inches. The problem I'm running into, though, is that I can't find a Louet Gems Pearl-type yarn (like Koigu) in the color I've imagined: a dark, dark plummy purple, so deep it's almost black...but not black.

The closest I've seen is Sundara Yarns's delicious Bittersweet colorway. In fact, I'm pretty sure that will be my choice, unless I unearth exactly what I've imagined at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival (or, as we call it, the Meat & Wool Festival...Last year, Chris consumed more lamb in one day than any human being should eat in a year!).

I've also been spinning, with the end result being a bobbin of natural colored fingering-weight wool yarn. It's actually a bit finer than I'd anticipated, so I need to decide what to do with it. My initial plan was to spin up some more yarn to use in a shawl I'm making for Chris' grandmother. But the yarn didn't want to be as thick as what I'd previously made, so I just listened to the wool and let my fingers play...

The smokey lavender yarn (color is truer in the photo below) is Jo Sharp Silkroad Tweed (DK). I knitted the swatch with three needle sizes: 5, 6, and 7. Amazingly, the gauge didn't change very much between needle sizes! The row count was the primary difference. Must have been me...relaxed with the 5s and stressed with the 7s, or something like that.

I absolutely adore this yarn! It's scrumptious. My hands can't get enough. I was swatching with a sweater in mind, though a bit worried about the hot and itchy factor. But when I washed the swatch it relaxed to a drapey, felty, mouth-watering softness. I've never been able to wear wool next to my skin, but this yarn may change all that.

Sometime soon, I predict, a slew of Silkroad DK Tweed is going to land--PLOP!--right in my stash!

Other projects on the needles:
1) Lace Sock #2 in the orchid-colored Koigu
2) Argyle tea cozy in Blue Sky Alpacas (regular and melange - burgundy, pesto green, and mustard yellow)
3) Ribbed hat required for Level 1 of the Master Handknitter course (brown, mauve/rose, and sage green Ella Rae)
4) Tubular Scarf from AlterKnits...I'm determined to finish it, but it is one BORING knit (deep pink KidSilk Haze)
(I just realized that, without meaning to, I typed those in a specific order: from most to least interesting...)

One more thing: Looking back at all my projects, it's become obvious to me that I need to break my pink and purple habit. Perhaps a lightweight green or espresso colored sweater? Maybe I'll buy a different color of that Silkroad Tweed. Hmmm...


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Cherry blossoms and so much more...

PS. Click on the first photo to enlarge - or, if you have very good eyes, just look closely - and you'll see the White House at the end of 16th Street...

All photos (c) 2007, Hannah Six


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Grey Saturday...Warm Colourways

Hypothetical Situation: You have $60.00 to spend on yarn. What do you buy?
The answers (if you're me, and, like me, you have a "sweet tooth"):

1) A skein of Sundara Yarns' luscious Cherry Blossom sock yarn. I live in Washington, DC, so this is a must-have, right? (Oh, Purly, puhleeeze tell me I can still get some Cherry Blossom if I have to wait until post-rent-week!)

2) Two skeins of Claudia Hand Painted Chocolate Cherry sock yarn (Do you see the color pattern developing here?)

3) One skein of this Claudia Hand Painted "Pink Dot" sock yarn, to go with the orphan skein I rescued from my LYS yesterday
Now, if only I had that $60.00... Hmmmm. What can I pawn? I have lots of stash yarn and a ton of books I could sell--anyone interested? ;-)


Friday, March 23, 2007


I take so much inspiration from our trips to the shore. Cape May in particular. The moody colors of the sea, sand, sky, and the brilliant hues of the Victorian houses (mostly B&Bs now). And when I look more closely, I find inspiration in the lines and shapes around me: the way the grasses lie on the dunes, the windblown beach fences, the slants and curves and layers of the Victorians' architectural elements. Honestly, I could live there and never tire of it. Maybe some day...

My knitting has slowed a bit this week--as has my writing & blogging--due to indescribable back spasms in my upper back. The muscles by my left shoulderblade seem to have fused into a single, cement-hard system of knots. Like having golf balls wedged against your bones...Lovely for the nerves, as you can imagine. I can feel it all the way down to my palm. Ugh.

So, while I can't NOT knit, I've been trying to take it easy. Early in the week I played around with this:
Although I was familiar with all the techniques already, Nona's excellent improvisational knitting tutorialreally got my creative juices flowing. The swatch remains in this condition, due to my laziness about digging through my stash to pull out other bits and pieces. But it's still on the needles, so one day soon it may begin to grow again.

I also started working on Tahoe, using my purple Heirloom Breeze(ordered from Ozeyarn...they're wonderful!). Last week I said that I didn't want to look like a giant Easter egg, wearing all purple (egg comment courtesy of a rude coworker from my distant past). Then I figured out my problem with the yarn: I don't want to make something that's 100% purple Heirloom Breeze. It's wonderful yarn, but for me it needs some embellishment to de-purple it a little.

Then Tahoe came along and inspired me to cast on. I will probably use a dark shade of fingering-weight yarn (Koigu or something similar) to tone down the overall color a bit. And I may end the sleeves at 3/4 length and finish them with a few inches of lace edging in the contrasting color. No photos yet--it's in the boring inches-and-inches-of-stockinette phase. But someday soon, pictures will be taken and posted.

This weeekend, by the way, is not only mon cheri's birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHRIS! I LOVE YOU!!!!!), but also our 4th anniversary--on the same day--so we both took a long weekend off.

Hope you all have a great weekend, too.


Friday, March 16, 2007



(c) 2007, Hannah Six


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spring! Light! Warmth!

I have utterly succombed to Spring Fever...
That's OK, though. Our winter wasn't long, but it was frigid, so I feel like we've earned some nice weather.

Maybe it's because I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Not the warmest place on the planet, but it was mild. I remember sitting out on the lawn in front of Tamalpais High School in March, wearing a blousy camisole top ('70s style) and admiring how tan I'd already become! It's been a long time since I've lived in California, but I still miss those lovely spring days.

I've been really tired lately, so the knitting and spinning has slowed down a bit. I keep starting projects (pullovers and cardigans) with my stash of plummy-purple Heirloom Breeze (bought 12 balls on sale from Ozeyarns last year). I love the yarn's elasticity and texture, but the color doesn't thrill me the way it used to. Maybe it will look better in a tank top. I mean, really, do I want to wear a purple cardigan?

This whole issue probably stems from the time when I was a corporate travel agent in Philly. (I'm a Penn grad. Even "Ivy League" English majors don't easily find jobs right out of school...But I'm glad I didn't go to Wharton! Business...Blech.) Anyway, I needed a warm coat to wear on my commute from Northeast Philly, and fell in love with an expensive deep purple parka that was kind of iridescent (it was black from one angle, purple from another...not rainbowy). And it had cool toggle closures.

I loved that coat. It was an extravagance. But shortly after I bought it, one of the girls in my department--she was slim and chic and a bit too nice--walked by me and said: Oh, what a pretty coat! You look like an Easter Egg!

How catty is that? Well, so much for the coat. I tried to wear it after that, but just couldn't do it. Obviously, my distaste for purple-y outerwear (including sweaters) has its roots firmly planted right there. It's a shame, though, because I love purples and plums, and admire them on others. But a little voice in my head still says: Easter Egg.

Oh, well. Perhaps this is a good reason to go yarn shopping and pick up something less "eggy" with which I can knit myself a killer spring sweater. A silver lining, to be sure.

PS. Photo taken by my hubby in Cape May (NJ) last year. Pretty, huh?


Friday, March 09, 2007

It was a gray day...

But not for this guy's sweetheart!
Happy Friday!


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Not About the Socks

Remember these socks?

No? Well, if you're interested, you can look here. If not, don't worry...this isn't about the (warm, cozy, comfy) socks. It's about that lovely Corriedale roving.

Oh, those colors! They were like Italian water ice and gelato. Raspberry, blueberry, grape...Transluscent, saturated colors. I dyed the top/roving with Karida. It was our first hand-dyed roving experiment last fall. (She founded Neighborhood Fiber Company last year.)

Karida let me keep her Louet S10 at my place--a studio husband's so nice. (Well, with his trombone and trumpet taking up space, there wasn't much he could say, right? But he's still the nicest person ever.) So the S10 and I made friends while I practiced with some coarse Finn top they sent to me.

(Like my chaotic fiber workshop/breakfast nook? I'm happy to say that the boxes are finally gone and our mirror is on the wall.)

I'd never spun before, so it took a few tries to get it right, but my drop spindle experience really paid off.

(Check it out: We have a Murphy bed in that cabinet!)

Not that my first attempts at wheel spinning felt easy, mind you--the speed was challenging. It made sense, though: I looked at the wheel and thought, "OK, there's the hook, there's the place that acts like the drop spindle shaft (the bobbin), that's the part that puts the twist in the yarn..." You get the point. It just made sense to my brain.

After spinning the Finn for a while I started getting a consistent, DK weight singles yarn. So I took a deep breath and switched to my beloved roving. I was afraid of "wasting it," of spinning yarn the color of mud, the thickness of a pencil (I don't care for bulky yarns), of breaking or overtwisting it into a useless ball of crap. But I didn't.

Ta da!

Now, this all took place last fall. What a great learning experience! Books like the Twisted Sisters' Sock Workbook and Deb Menz's excellent Color in Spinning were invaluable. Because you can't just grab a bunch of roving and spin! Oh, no, no, no. You have to prepare the roving: separate it into thinner strands, roll them into sweet little nests of fluff, and plan out how you want to use the colors. I tried the one-color-at-a-time method for a while, but wanted more colorplay. So I changed my plan and created a yarn with candy-stick color twists.

Oh, lovely yarn! Why did I abandon you for so long??? It took me weeks to get around to my decision to not ply--it homogenized the colors--and then to set the twist. Finally, washed and dried, my yarn was ready to wind on the niddy-noddy. The final product? Three bouncy, springy skeins (about 500 yards total) of gorgeous singles DK yarn.

Knitted up (I swatched it yesterday...nothing seems to happen quickly around here!), the yarn was drapey, with a subtle glossiness and long color changes.

Now...I just have to decide what to make with it. Entrelac? Maybe a smaller version of the Lady Eleanor Stole (from Wrap Style)? If you're out there lurking, help me out! Suggestions are welcome...


Monday, March 05, 2007

Cold City, Warm Feet...and Barbara Albright's Final Book

I am not knitting for charity. I am not knitting for Peace (though we need it NOW).

I am knitting for SPRING. It will come. I believe.

Here's my expression of faith:
These socks cheer me up a bit, even though they are going to be a present for someone (I won't name names). The pattern is Simply Lovely Lace Socks from IK (Spring 2006). I'm using Koigu KPPPM in "Purple - P217" and Addi Turbo US#0 circular needles (magic loop, for purse-carrying convenience). I chose the picot edge instead of the 1x1 rib...the jury's still out on that. What do you think?

Last week I took the sock out to Dupont Circle to bask in the sun. Honestly, it was nearly HOT in the sun (I had a long-sleeved T-shirt and light fleece jacket on). God, it felt good. I was suddenly happy, filled with energy, bursting with a sense of wonderful possibility. Then the damn north wind started to blow.

So, we're back to cold temps and wind chills in the single digits, and even a chance of more snow. I know, most people living north of D.C.--and I used to be one!--think I'm being a weenie. But we moved here for a reason: Warmer Weather! Guess it's going to be time to head further south soon...

Meanwhile, though, we're all cold here. Including this little guy:

(He had a friend, but she flew away before I could snap the photo.) Oh, isn't he CUTE???

Yep. Spring is on the way. Time to go out to A Tangled Skein (our newest--and my new favorite--LYS!!!) again (with Karida!) and pick up some yarn for a pretty new project. I'm thinking of Tatami, but I'm...what's the word...voluptuous, curvy? You know. I wonder if it would look OK on me?

Thoughts? Suggestions?

PS. Has anyone seen The Natural Knitter, Barbara Albright's final work? Absolutely gorgeous. Exactly what you'd expect...and definitely on my short list!


Friday, March 02, 2007

She used blue...

A little eye candy for your Friday.

Intarsia Ball Band Dish Cloth
Various "kitchen cotton" yarn
Brittany US#7 straight needles
Made on a dreary Monday afternoon...

PS. For those of you who don't "get" the title: Bask in your youth--then go look up Bobby Vinton. (Embarassing fact: When I was really little, I had a big crush on him!'s THAT for full disclosure??)