I’m Still Around

It has been a very long time since I posted.  Life has a habit of getting in the way.  Nothing bad’s been going on, but I’ve been busy with work and being a little social.

I finished my Level 4 homework to the best of my ability considering how badly I procrastinated on it.  I was so relieved, and have been celebrating by spinning some really lovely Merino/Yak roving from Wooly Wonka Fibers.  I have only spun half of the four ounces I bought and I already have about 258 yards of delicious plied yarn.  I haven’t measured it for grist yet as it’s still drying but I keep waffling between knitting myself socks (which will die quickly if I wear them in my ceramic-tiled apartment), or knitting or weaving a scarf with it.  Here are some photos, for which I apologize; it’s been raining and the light has been less than stellar so I had to touch them up.

It’s been very important to me to keep using my wheel.  The first reason is so that it knows that I love it; when I was supposed to be using it for my Level 4 workbook, I was attempting to ignore it like an albatross.  The second reason is so that I remember that I love it.  I really enjoyed taking the Master Spinner program through Olds College, but I often allowed myself to feel that spinning for the workbook was a chore.  Now I can spin for shits’n’giggles again and it’s so nice.  Although, I kept looking at the fibres I was spinning last night and thinking, “When will I get through you?!?”

School took a bit of a backburner moment while my team and I got the costumes ready at the Park for another season, and it’s taken me some time to get back into it.  But, with an extension, I’m looking forward to giving it the attention it needs.

I gave up sugar recently; about three weeks ago I started getting the jitters when I had it.  It’s still in a lot of things I eat, such as yogurt or Raisin Bran, but I’ve switched from desserts and iced tea (the powdered kind – it was my drink of choice where most people have coffee) to fruit and water (and fruit juices for treats) and I feel so much better!  And I lost 5 lbs since doing it, which is quite remarkable.

And I’m playing with knitting without guilt.  Yup, getting my Level 4 homework done was a good thing.

Edit: I was looking through my Ravelry queue this evening and I decided I’m going to make Ysolda Teague’s “The Orchid Thief Shawlette” from Brave New Knits out of my handspun yarn – if I’ve already got 250+ yards and still have more to spin, I’ll be laughing.  The gauge is about 15 wpi and it’s a little hairy so it will compact nicely enough to work with this shawl.

Where are they now?

The February Lady Sweater.  It’s so cute on so many people, I had to start making one.  I found beautiful (and expensive) buttons to add to it, I got so much of it done and then I stopped for awhile.

I picked it up again a couple summers ago, but I had lost a fair amount of weight and realised it was too big so I paused.

I gained the weight back and thought, well, I may as well finish it.

I was working on it a couple of weeks ago, and realised, it doesn’t suit me.  I think I am not a girl for wearing worsted weight sweaters.  Where is it now?  Sitting in one of my yarn cubbies, waiting to be frogged (once I decide what else to do with all that Cascade 220).

Pics from the Textile Display

Below are my display pics.  I don’t like to put people on my blog so missing is a photo of my friend H spinning wool.  I spun cotton from the boll and handed the seeds to people, encouraging them to plant them in south-facing windows (we don’t have the growth season up here that you need for cotton, especially this year!).  Many of the visitors were surprised at the plant spinning fibres and most people loved how soft the cashmere was.

Plant table.

Protein table.

Weaving table.  I gave out 14 cardboard rigid heddle looms!

It’s Days Like These

When I realise how great my job is.  I get the opportunity to work with beautiful fabrics, hang out with like-minded people, and create in a rather fabulous space.

This week I’m building a Fortune Teller’s costume for our Midway out of fabrics purchased from three different local stores including rayon (“man made silk” was very popular in the 1920s), silk and cotton.

Tomorrow I’m doing a textile demo with friends.  There will be fibre prepping, spinning and weaving, including getting people to weave Travis’s way.  I like the idea of kids (and perhaps adults) sitting on the floor or ground with yarn strapped from their waists to their toes (scroll down for visual reference) making fabric.

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week Day 6 – Revisit a past F/O – knitcroblo6

Sorry, this is a day late…

Very early on in my knitting career, I had another influence I haven’t mentioned in the previous Knitting and Crochet Blog Week posts; Virginia van Santen.

When I met Virginia, she was working at Ewe Asked For It.  At first I only knew her as the extremely knowledgeable but mildly gruff, and therefore intimidating, employee of “The Ewe”.  But then I got a little less intimidated by her when I started admiring her yarns.  The woman had a gift for hand painting yarns, and became well known in her love.  But then she got really sick, and we lost her.  The Yarn Harlot did well in her tribute to VvS.

I think in the end I only bought two of her yarns.  One was in purples and greens (which I knitted into an Argosy for my Grandmother), the other was in peaches and pinks and all number of colours, which I knitted into a still unfinished Trifle Cowl (I have to put the buttons on).  But I used some of that multi-pinked yarn to create a colourwork mitten.  Yes.  A single mitten, of my own design, and when I wore it my father would often say, “Nice mittens, do you have another pair like it at home?”

I didn’t care that I never made the second one.  I never made any notes anyhow…but I loved that mitten, and was pleased that Virginia liked it too (she definitely approved of using handpainted yarns in colourwork and would often use two different handpainted yarns in her colourwork).

I wore that mitten until I wore it out.  It was imperfect (the three-needle bind off I did at the top wasn’t exactly done in the right area so instead of having a flat top, I had one was twisted over my fingers), but I made it out of my head, and it was the first.  And call me a pack-rat, call me sentimental, but I still keep it because it’s full of memories.  It’s my first design, my first knitted item that I made that wore through, and a memory of a fascinating friend to boot.  So I’m keeping this mitten.

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week Day 5 – Location, Location, Location – knitcroblo5

I’m a knit anywhere kinda girl.  Yesterday, much to my mother’s amusement, I was wandering around a gift shop, chatting with her, looking at various knickknacks, and knitting.  She was impressed at the level of multitasking.

My dad is not overly fond of my knitting habits.  I’m not allowed to knit at church when I visit my parents (though last time I was there I knitted while we were waiting for the congregation to file in…I’ve got some cheek, let me tell you), and when he takes me fishing, he won’t let me bring it with me to do in the truck on the way out to the lakes because I’ll miss the scenery (I kind of want to knit while I’m in my belly boat sometime; I think it would be hilarious).  One day while we were watching TV and I was deciding which of the projects I had brought home with me I wanted to work on, he accused me of being addicted.  I admitted that I was, but at least while I was sitting on my ass I was being somewhat productive.

I have a couple groups of friends, one group tolerates my knitterly ways with a little sceptical tolerance (oh, there she goes bringing out the knitting again), and the other contains my knitterly friends who whip out the knitting whenever convenient as well.

Generally on the whole, when knitting in public, I’ve never had anyone freak out that I was knitting.  In fact, I’ll often get someone who is curious, or someone who likes to reminisce about their own knitting.

Knitting a Herringbone Scarf (Rav link) by Allison Blevins at the Edmonton Folk Fest with Bela Fleck and Toumami Diabate in the background.  Upon posting this shot in facebook, a friend commented that he was told by another musician that knitting is the new Rock and Roll.

I just can’t knit in the dark.

The Knitting and Crochet Blog Week Day 4 – A New Skill – knitcroblo4

I couldn’t think of a new skill I wanted to learn knitting- or crochet-wise as I’m a project-inspired crafter.  I don’t typically seek to learn how to do something new until I’ve seen someone else’s project that makes me squeal and desperately want to do it.

But then I realised there is a skill I’m looking to learning; weaving.  I know the very basics of weaving.  I made a scarf for my mother out of bamboo and cotton a couple of years ago with the help of my friend and former silver smithing instructor who is a member of the local weavers’ and spinners’ guild, and then we had the looms donated to the costume shop and now I’ve woven the “Rainbow Brite” sash.

Picnik isn’t working today (I downloaded the latest Flash AND tried three different browsers) so I had to edit it in PAINT!

I learned a lot by this project alone as it’s the first one I warped without guidance (but I did have help).  I still have a lot to learn about sett and tension and planning ahead, but I’m really happy with the results, and the person who is getting to wear it is excited by the prospect which is lovely too.

Happily, I got a weavers’ and spinners’ guild membership for Christmas and it comes into effect in May, so I’ll soon be able to pick the brains of people who have been doing this kind of thing for a really long time!  And maybe they’ll help me stay on task with my spinning homework too…

13 Months!

I saw this pattern when it was released in March 2009 and instantly fell in love.  But I’m easily distracted, an admitted starter of projects, and I somehow put it by the wayside.  Finally last week I decided I had to finish it, especially since I was so close to the end.

Finally, my Aeolian:

Pattern: Aeolian Shawl by Elizabeth Freeman (I did the shawlette version)

Yarn: Dandelion Knits Handpainted Alpaca Merino Lace in the Mountain Lake colourway

Needles: 3.75 mm circular

Cast on: March 11, 2009.  Wove in the ends this morning.