Tag Archives: yarn

Crazy 8s

My manic knitting episode didn’t last long – it was triggered by the need to pack a week’s worth of projects for a trip up to the White Mountains with a rainy forcast – but all new attempts were thwarted, so I’m back to being monogamish to what’s on the needles now.

I started the Amiga a few days before we left thinking it was possible that I could be done and wearing it by July. I used US 9 needles to get a better drape (some of the others I’ve seen on ravelry with this yarn look a bit thick or stiff) but the 9s ended up being a bit too loose.

(Bamboo needles for stitch holding purposes only – just knitting one row of this cotton blend on to them took me down for the rest of the day.)

But then I couldn’t find my 8 tips. I knew with certainty that I didn’t have a current project on 8s, and couldn’t remember the last time I’d used them, and I was pretty certain I’d never used my 8 tips at all… So that project didn’t make the cut.

So I packed a small paper pieced quilt, a thrift unraveler, and 4 knits – only 1 of which was new and not yet on the needles.

On the first rainy day, I stared a cabled reflective hat for N.

Though I remembered to pack a few sizes of needles, I forgot that the old dpn packs have only 4 needles, not 5, so I started it on 3 US 8 needles, but kept dropping stitches off the tips and it was driving me bats – I added a fourth US 7 needle to the mix but by then I’d screwed up a cable too and had had enough. I thought if I re-started it on the full set of 7 dpns top-down and knit it plain I’d whiz through it and he might be able to wear it on the trip, but it was too tight on the 7s, and again, I don’t like bamboo needles unless the yarn is super slick, and I prefer doing the main part of hats on circulars and didn’t have them packed with me (and the 8 tips were still awol anyway).

So I knit, and knit, and knit on that firey sontag.

And amazingly, my hands & wrists were okay with marathon sessions, so I condensed what was likely 2 months of my painful knitting rate into a week.

My favorite color change was this brief moment of pink-grey – reminded me of things from my past, not specific and not necessarily happy, but familiar – I’m inexplicably drawn to dirty pinkish these last few years…

I took just a few breaks – one to prep a thrift cashmere tank for unraveling, and the other to shoot and reacquaint myself with the Paulie cardigan, perhaps even knock out a few rows.

I tried it on the skunk, and only after I shot it did I realize…

skunk paulie had the 8s.

Why?

I’m knitting this sweater on 2s. I’m guessing I needed said 2s (yes, for this hat likely) and put the 8s on to save the stitches knowing I’d never used the 8s and it wasn’t likely I would.  So even if I’d planned to work on it while away, I couldn’t have.

But I had one last back-up – the Paris Toujours I started in the mountains last summer.

I love it, but I didn’t work on it, but I will – I’d like to be wearing it by early fall (or perhaps I’ll knit on it during another mountain trip then).

But there was some great weather too and I managed to get on the trails a little bit – my good knee is now my bad knee and I’m dealing with pain and the clumbsiness of favoring the other, formerly bad side now – it’s still bad, but not as bad as the newly bad – I’m just grinding down on bones now, no longer receiving the sharp bite of torn cartiledge.

We did a few short woods trails, a lovely pond, and a pretty impressive waterfall.

But taking it easy was the biggest accomplishment.

And Rocco was the most relaxed we’d ever seen him at the cabin – no road in sight, nor people, or animals – he only barked twice at some hummingbirds and a scent – either bear or turkey – not a single full tantrum/rage/freakout the whole week – until spying a bichon frise 50 yards away at a rest stop on the way home.

I got some quality time with the foliage – forget-me-nots, mosses & lichens, ferns – in the few acres around the cabin.

I like moss. #moss

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(Yeah, most of that is lichen).

And ate some of it (from a food co-op, not foraged) cooked up by N and other spring tasties too…

Going up north also means going back in time to tasty spring eats again… #fiddleheads

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As well as sweets (and of course pancakes) I usually only buy up there.

We’re home to the heat and finally productive, but needy garden (though some asshole ate half the onions and squash plants), and my wrist hurts again, so the knitting has sloooooowed down once more.

 

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Casting-on madness

Does the feeling of impending unlimited leisure time with the start of summer (that was had only as a very small child) ever go away? It’s this time of year from which I have to clean-up, catch up, and be burdened by (to a degree) unfinished projects for the rest of the year. I cast on several knitting projects with the excuse that: I’ll have vacation knitting time and don’t want to run out of projects (I never do because I’ll only have like 2, maybe 3 days of vacation where I’m not doing something else), I’ll have long evenings of natural light (I do but I can’t knit for any longer than if I didn’t), I’ll have undistracted time to knock out something more complicated (I sort of do, but never enough for anything larger than a hat), and I need a few mindless things on different needle sizes so I don’t have to pay attention to my hands (these are most of my projects these days).

Summer hasn’t meant significant leisure for nearly 4 decades now, but I still acquire a large number of paperbacks and projects – the books are usually finished by the following year, the projects usually not.

And I still haven’t finished last years vacation knitting, or in the case of a long suffering sweater, the year before that…

But I’ve also got it in mind to start spinning with more of a purpose and sooner-on-the-needles time now too. I don’t have too much handspun (that I like) waiting to be knit up so it’s not really a problem – it’s easiest to solve things that aren’t really a problem. That fiery roving I got last fall is becoming a sontag-like shawl – I’m not sure I’ll use up all of the yarn on it yet, and I’m not sure I like it yet, but I do like the black portion and have been wanting a black neck-thing for a bit, and I do have some black roving, so spinning a lumpy bumpy black yarn and knitting it up will be maddening on both counts, but on my list of fiber priorities and I know it will get a decent amount of wear.

Unlike this one? I don’t know – I was thinking it would be a good visibility piece for hunting season walks, but I don’t wear knits in the woods due to branches and brambles, so unless I stumble across some meadows or moors around here it isn’t likely I’ll use it for that purpose…

I just tossed and re-organized the stash and only found one surprise – some cotton I’d forgotten about, and I’ve now forgotten why I got it – I think it was going to be a skirt since I got it (on sale) around the time I’d made another cotton knit skirt (that I’m likely going to frog soon).

Otherwise the rest was familiar and waiting patiently – I’d even paired a few skeins with the pattern I intended to use…

I’ve been thinking/half remembering about this one for a bit – a Shapely Boyfriend out of Malabrigo and Noro – my only hesitation is that Malabrigo is absolute shit for wear and tear. I made a scarf for N out of the stuff a few years ago and it was a pilly fuzzy mess before the season was out.

But the ones I’m actually sticking in the summer knitting bag are an Amiga out of gold bamboo & cotton, and a Burton Vestigan out of green wool & mohair. The biggest gaps in my closet are spring/summer/fall things and buttoning things.

Also soon on the needles is a hat for N out of reflective yarn.

And this very rustic handspun for mittens for me, but the spinning won’t be finished for a bit.

Filthy rough kinky (wool). #spinning #wool #spinningwheel

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I’m also thinking about felted things, though I haven’t felted with our front-loader yet – some felted clogs for others and myself, and I’ve got some skeins set aside for a couple of felted bags (as well as a heap of feltable cheap/scrap yarn).

And I’m also thinking of a cabled pullover with some special wool, a few other cardigans I can’t decide on yet, possibly a blanket out of handspun llama (or alpaca?) I’ve yet to spin, a poncho – make that two – one for N and one for me (but not matching), gloves (never made those yet), more mittens, more scrappy stole/scarf things like the one earlier this year, and a coat, (and socks -I’ve taken a wee break on those at the moment, but that moment won’t last long).

(Still on the needles is a cotton blanket, a pullover that’s reeaally close to being done if I’d ever work on it, a Paulie cardigan on small needles that has zero satisfaction since I can work on it for hours with little progress to show though I’d get a lot of wear out of it assuming I don’t get bigger before I finish, a dish/wash cloth (I think the last) for waiting room knitting since I don’t have a pair of socks on the needles for the first time ever, a couple of thrift sweaters getting knitted cuffs, collars, and button bands, an old shale/feather and fan scarf that I’m 95% sure I’m going to frog, and this shawl/scarf that I love and should just keep on keeping on with it…)

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Some time in January

I’m on a wrap-up bender and actually might be able to stick a fork in a couple more things by the end of the month, but I don’t want to jinx it…

But I’m here to keep track of things, so you might want to hit snooze for the next few posts…

One thick sock is 90% done (still needs top ribbing, I always do that last and at the same time as the other to maximize yardage) and another is fast on the way – first socks are usually a very slow, very occasional project for me, but I get a burst of impatience after one is done – I have the opposite of second sock syndrome – second sock mania?

jan-thick-sock

And there’s still a bunch of tasks to do around the house – some tiny and doable in a day, others still make me want to weep.

jan-tiles

I thought the official bathroom re-do could wait another year or too, and while the painted floor is still just fine, the underneath is not… I’m still not 100% on tile though, originally I wanted marmoleum to keep the weight to a minimum and still think it’s an issue, but it’s got some issues too (mostly $$$) and the sink I’d been pining for isn’t made anymore, and our water stains in a dirty rainbow, so I can’t accept wanting white fixtures but not being able to fully clean them and/or willing to constantly clean them, but the beige has got to go and dark grey fixtures would be hella expensive and potentially scare off a buyer and/or my favorite toilet is white only, and I can’t figure out the shower walls, and… no other house project has been so frustrating for me…

But I finally replaced the floor in the pantry – from this godawful “vintage” vinyl:

jan-old-floor

To this contemporary godawful vinyl:

It’s awful because it’s vinyl and I oppose vinyl in nearly every circumstance, and I wanted black-ish stuff and this is faux soiled metal of some sort – but – it was only three tiles and it’s where the recycling can and back-up water supply goes, so it doesn’t really matter except that it is no longer annoying to see that nasty old stuff. The original linoleum is still holding up, but if we’re still here coming up on another decade, it will likely need to be replaced, so we’d probably just run the flooring into the pantry too (the old linoleum was there, just gouged up beyond repair).

(I’d also like to get some lighting in said pantry, but then the floor would look annoying again.)

In the same weekend I finally got around to fixing the caulk around the kitchen sink that I should’ve done better the first time around, touching up paint, oiling the counters, and N built a nifty cubby in our cloakroom.

(That I still need to finish, but I’m waiting on the oil wax.)

I’m still in full-on cold-sheep mode again for yarn this year except for festivals and legitimate need – usually that ends up being superwash for gifts and whatnot – my superwash stash/scraps only fit in the equivalent of a shoebox at any given time – but this reflective yarn caught my eye recently and I got both some godawful nasty acrylic on the cheap, as well as filament/thread stuff that I can hold with a better yarn. N walks the dog in the dark on sidewalkless roads so they both could use some items made of it.

jan-reflective

The orange yarn also broke my buying made-in-China ban (could have sworn it said made in Turkey, which I know nothing about the conditions and regulations there, but at least it’s not China?) But the dog’s fondness of mud and brambles limits things to the very cheap and warm-washable. There are some reflective wool blends out there too, but I’m hoping the spool of filament stuff is the way to go for human wear – especially since I scored both an orange cashmere and another orange wool sweater perfect for unraveling at the thrift a few months ago…

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Something about color shifting…

I’ve been away.

And my computer is still dying and/or I haven’t figured out what is wrong with it, but most likely it’s dying.

I finished that gradient spin – kept it as a single and fulled/felted it.

color-change-spin

(The color is more accurate in the linked post.)

I was thinking of knitting it up as a superhero cape to get through my trumpdisgust but I’m still not in love with the colors, though there is enough blaze orange for something to be worn in the woods during hunting season (but I don’t usually wear handknit shawl/scarf things in the woods due to snagage) but maybe something sorta tacky/vintage in a feather and fan/old shale…?

And I found a vintage cardigan at the thrift store earlier in the autumn that I thought my brother would like.

color-change-green

Even the clerk commented on its blinding lime…

color-change-brown

But when I got it in natural light, it was excrement colored mustard and brown.

At some point I had something to say about sneaky color changing and artificial light – I’ve purchased more than one set of lovely pale sage green sheets only to find that they’re nicotine-stain yellow in the daytime bedroom – and worry about the color lies being fed to our brains, but that rant is somewhere behind.

And I need to buy more lamps.

 

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Restoring ReStore yarn

I often look for yarn at thrift stores, but rarely find anything other than acrylic.

(And not the better acrylics that I would consider using for charity knitting and whatnot – the nasty stuff that is most often bright obnoxious red or an inexplicable white.)

During the last few months of winter and early spring, despite periods of beautiful weather, the weekends were often nasty, so we fell into a near weekly ReStore habit. We brought home a few more books, a few tchotchkes I’ll probably end up selling online, weights that had regular use for only a few weeks, and some vinyl records – but never the little piece of furniture or two we were actually seeking. But on the last trip, I spied some good yarn – some luxury stuff, and a decent amount of lovely rustic tweed for 50 cents each.

The tweed was a sad victim of carpet beetles – some of the balls had the telltale broken ends without any mothly webbing – I carefully examined each, left three behind and snatched up two that seemed to be in the clear, along with a ball and skein of the soft stuff.

Since I knew the bastard beetles had been near the yarn, I didn’t take any chances – wrapped the yarn tight before leaving the store, stuck it in a zip lock bag outside, threw the shopping bag into the recycling outside, then tossed it in the freezer for a week. Then let it warm up for another, then froze it again, then warmed it again – all the time shaking vigorously to see if anything fell out.

restore yarn - freeze

But all seemed well, so I re-skeined it all to wash. No breakages either, so I felt better knowing that these were spared from direct attack.

restore yarn - lux

The yarn on the right was wound into a ball too tightly – might be hard to see, but it was thinner and flattened a bit, but it was still nearly the full skein.

restore yarn - donegal det

And the tweed is a lovely teal. My camera can’t shoot teal, but this is close, and the raspberry bit of tweed is accurate and shows its era…

restore yarn label

Yep, here we are back in the ’80s (maybe early ’90s, sometimes knitting style lagged) but I love teal, so I’ll put up with the raspberry. I won’t, however, put up with back buttoning garments – I can still feel the buttons jabbing in between my spine knuckles on a hard-backed chair…

restore yarn - wash

They both had a nice long soak, followed by another vinegary one, then spun out and dried.

restore yarn washed and dry

And they’re back to a pleasant fluffy, beetle-free state.

Technically, this failed my yarn buying ban, but it was only $2 total – the two skeins of Road to China alone would have been over $30, and though the color is lovely, but a little too fleshy by itself, I’ll probably combine it with a few other complimentary things in the stash – it might become part of a luxe scrappy stole. And I’ve got a small collection of tweed that needed a bit more to become something, and these two new skeins should complete it – if not, it would pair well with handspun, or make for some nice mittens.

On the one hand, I don’t believe a knitter should pass along infested yarn or risk infesting a thrift, but on the other, I’m glad this wasn’t just thrown away…

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Latest Lacy Baktus

Spring came on early- warm and dry.

I wasn’t ready – a few nights were outside of my comfort zone – and working outside for more than quarter hour required rehydration at the ready.

But then it went back to its proper cold and damp state and required woolens.

I realized if I hurried along my latest baktus, I’d actually be able to wear it immediately instead of packing it away for the autumn.

latest baktus with sweater

And so I did and have been – it still needs to be blocked, but the weather might turn warm again before it dries…

In the meantime, I’m cozy with it-

or all three…

latest baktus triple

They’re becoming invasive in my woolen collection…

And in outdoor news, the march of the invasives in our yard continues…

latest purple yard

This front yard patch of bugleweed is doubled from last year, soldiering through the lesser celandine.

I gave up fighting the ground invasives unless I hear about something magical and effective, but natural and easy – and perhaps the bugleweed will take over my ultimate nemesis the Japanese stiltgrass – I do like the intense blue too, and I don’t think it’s technically invasive, just non-native and aggressive, so I wouldn’t mind if it took over that part of the yard completely…

latest lilac

And the lilac is doing so much better after its year free of Chinese wisteria. I’ve left a tiny patch of that stuff to attempt to train, but perhaps that isn’t responsible – it would just take one untended season and the stuff would take over the hillside again.

Pray for me as I go in for the first of several annual poison ivy tear-outs soon too – too bad that is the only native stuff.

And now I should return to the knitting I’ve ignored for the baktus – none of that will be ready to wear in these last cool days…

(perhaps not even by the time the cool weather returns in a few months…)

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Driving away

I had a full day of good bad luck recently.

The brakes in my car went out while I was driving…

…out of the state car inspection garage.

(Moments later, I’d have been on the highway, instead, I coasted into an uphill parking spot just outside the garage – and still passed the inspection!)

I had many other errands planned that day, but had to wait for a tow truck instead.

But I’d brought some knitting along at the last moment, so I had something to do while waiting.

I’d just downgraded our automobile club membership from the longest towing allowance because we hadn’t used it in years and the yearly fee is much higher now than where we used to be.

But it was still enough towing to get me back to my town.

I didn’t wear a coat when I’d left the house that morning because it was sunny and I would be running in and out of places.

But when I started the long walk home from the garage, it dropped 15 degrees and started snowing.

But I had inexplicably put on walking shoes instead of my usual clogs that morning, so at least my feet were fine.

The garage called to say my entire brake line was rusted out and my car would be in the shop for days.

And N had just left town for a three-day weekend with his.

So I was stranded in the house, which is where I’d normally prefer to be most of the time, but I was unmoored and annoyed to not be able to do the stupid running around crap I’d planned do, so with my thoughts on autos, and mood bend on frustration, I ripped out the van sock and removed the offending skein to overdye it.

van redo-before

I only had violet and yellow food coloring gels and a smattering of stinky drink mix on hand.

I wanted the neon to go away, and I was still going to knit it with the other burgundy/cranberry/orange yarn, so as long as I could turn it into some form of purple or brown, or a favorite of mine, purpley-brown, or at least just all toned the hell down, all would be fine.

van redo-dyeing

I started off with just the violet, but it turned the yarn very dull and almost grey – acceptably muted, but surprisingly unpleasant (I usually like muddy, dull, muted colors). So I jabbed in some yellow and liked that it was heading to a brown. But then for entirely unknown reasons, I tossed in a packet of grape drink mix.

I decided that fake grape is the only drink mix stink I can somewhat, just barely, not quite really, tolerate.

But I got something acceptably purple-ish.

van redo-rinse

And rinsing the whole shebang was fun – the colors broke in the wash, so at first the rinse water was pink, then cyan, and then green when I remembered to pick up the camera.

There was still some color left in the pot so I tossed in some natural white (not quite cream) roving for shits and giggles.

van redo - sop color

And it cam out an intense orchid that I would hate to wear alone, but will be a nice occasional addition in a spin.

van sopped

The yarn came out mildly nasty on its own, and has a bit of that lifeless dullness that comes with food color dyeing…

van redye

and you can see the areas I jabbed in the yellow vs. the violet…

van redye det

 but it’s just what this pair of socks needed for me to take off with them again.

van new sock

(While I’m waiting to get my car out of the shop… and on the water treatment equipment repair guys, and my new tooth, and now possibly the washer repair person or new delivery, and the lumber delivery that we planned before everything else went to hell… this is becoming a helluva expensive month.)

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