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Archive for January 5th, 2006

Will Work 4 Yarn

Thursday, January 5th, 2006

My friend Janine has a new blog. We met on the Knitlist first. Then we met in person, I think twice, in Ann Arbor. It was one of those convenient mid-way places with yarn shops, you surely understand!

She’s been busy the last few years doing more rubberstamping than knitting. Now she’s back! I’m delighted.

We’re planning another tea and yarn meeting in early February, for old times’ sake. Goodness knows that neither of us really needs more yarn, but that seems to stop nobody… obsessions are just that, obsessions. And wool does for a fact make me happy. I’ve got proof!

At least I can honestly say I’ve been cranking out knitting/using up yarn like a wildwoman lately. Getting out the knit machine helped a lot there, because since Christmas I’ve used up 4 skeins for a funnel neck sweater and 3 skeins for a pair of legwarmers, just on the machine alone. Add to that 4 skeins on a Bloom Shawl, parts of skeins for 2 pair wristwarmers as gifts, and countless hat samples for shops, I’m truly using up bits of the stash. (Did you say hoarding? Well… not this week, anyway.)

I’m grateful I’m primarly a socknitter. Merely $12-20, enough yarn for one single pair of socks later, I’m happy and the need to acquire is appeased. Let’s hope that’s all I’ll want when Janine and I have our reunion.

Janine has started a knitblog called Will Work 4 Yarn. Perhaps you’d go visit her and say hello?

Bloomin’ in the Rain

Thursday, January 5th, 2006

Lansing Winter SkyWeather
It is just as sunless today, but with active rain (rather than just mist/fog as in several previous days). The picture here seems to show several clouds with a brighter patch top left. Trust me, in real life it all looked like one single blanket of total gray.

The red car shown in this photo is a bright, crayon red… I did not mess with the color here. You can see how there isn’t really enough light to show color properly outdoors here these days. It was a perfect day for being a cat on a heat vent, you know?

The snow is gone in all places other than where there were once large piles made by snowplows. However, the good news is that I am finishing knitting items like crazy. I still feel behind, but that is normal for a creative soul and I’m trying not to feel stressed by it.

Knitting Progress
I stayed up too late finishing the second legwarmer on the knitting machine. I sewed the seams today at Foster Center and wove in ends when I got home. They got a nice washing in Eucalan woolwash and are drying as I type this. I am eager to wear them tomorrow. These are a bit different than previous legwarmers I’ve made, they are not as long so they don’t scrunch up at the ankle much. I think they look good, we’ll see how I like them after a few months of wearing them and comparing to the other pairs I’ve knit for myself.

These are now the fifth pair of legwarmers I’ve made. The first were aqua stockinette Philosophers Wool of my own design, then purple cables from a pattern, then variegated blue/purple/fuschia I made up, then the Maximum Legwarmers from Sally Melville Knit Stitch (a virtual rainbow, mine with a ribbed top rather than rolled), now these magenta with purple/lime flecks on the machine (yarn was my birthday gift from Rae) with my own design.

I recently bought some great hot pink Rio de la Plata yarn (on sale!) from the Boyz at Threadbear, for my next pair o’legwarmers. Those will have to be hand-knit as the yarn is far too fat for my machine. However, I’ve promised a pair to “My Sara” who is a dancer, out of Opal 6-ply (DK weight, about 5.5 st/inch). I’ve only knit maybe 3 inches on each one of those, so that needs to come before even more for me.

Cleanup Time, and How!
It’s time to take the knitting machine down to the basement for storage for a while again. When I have it out, it takes over the small kitchen, and we’re having a guest on Friday. I will need to move as much of my “I work at home” mess down into the utility basement so that our guest can be comfortable. He’s never been here before.

Bloom Shawl before blockingTherefore, it’s “shovel the yarn” week at casa de ColorJoy, trying to put the wool in places that make it reasonable for a guest to sit down without being stabbed by a knitting needle or finding a ball (or bag) of yarn where they want to sit.

If I were Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, I could write about this and it would sound funny. I guess it’s funny in a way, but I can’t seem to put words together to bring a chuckle. Normal people have plenty o’stuff, artists typically seem to have WAY too much and WAY too messy stuff. (Unless you’re Pablo Picasso, anyway, who seems to have perfectly scrubbed floors in all photos I’ve seen of his studio.) I’m in the WAY WAY department, myself. Good thing I like being an artist.

The good news is that I feel like a million bucks, in the middle of all this what-work-should-I-do-right-now craziness and no-sunshine-for-days gray. I don’t mind working hard and late if need be to get things back in some sort of order. Never mind I’m still in the midst of a dyeing extravaganza and need to get on that. (Hat testers have completed their work, more on that here very soon.)

Bloomin’ Wonderful Surprise
OK, back to today. The coolest thing that happened Wednesday? I stopped by to see The Boyz at Threadbear (to drop off their order for even more patterns, I could kiss them for selling my designs as well as they do).

And I walk in and who do I see? Trish Bloom! My friend! The designer of the Bloom Shawl! She lives over an hour’s drive from here. And I’m at the shop for 10 minutes in the middle of a Wednesday, and there she is! (Redeeming a gift certificate, lucky grrl…. but I won’t complain cuz I got one to Yarn for Ewe from My Sara’s mom, and will be on that side of town next Monday so will have my turn then.)

I wish I’d had time to say more than hello to Trish (and her friend whose name I neglected to ask… I was really in a hurry). I did, however, show her the progress I’ve made on the Multicolor mohair version of her shawl design. It is SO pretty! I’ve only done 3 sections so far, so it’s not much to photograph yet, but I’ll show you that one soon enough.

Bloom Shawl blockedBlocking my Bloom
But here are two photos that are for real. I often don’t fully block things with pins. I do get them totally wet and then I spin them out in the washer. Then I tend to just let them relax, and I smooth them out on a sweater dryer rack to dry. Some things need pinning at the edges so they won’t curl, but most things I make, I like relaxed (I don’t do lace or sweaters, at least almost never, which probably benefit more from pinning than do other things). So here is my relaxed-blocking version of my Bloom Shawl.

This shawl is knit from center back, knit to one edge, bound off, then picked up center back again and knit to second edge. Well, I was three rows short of my final repeat when I ran out of the 2nd skein on either side. So my friends, I decided to bind off 3 rows early and return one skein of $9.99 yarn to the shop… of course, so that I can buy more yarn for something else… but 3 rows just was too close to dive into another skein. I don’t like wasting things, yarn or otherwise.

And even then? It looks like a full circle before blocking. Notice it’s just wider than the sweater dryer (it’s slightly hanging off both sides). Then I washed it in Eucalan and spun dry, and I seemed to remember that Trish or someone had folded their Bloom Shawl in half to block it because it was so big. So I did that, once it was wet. I could have pinned it but it wanted to be this shape, sort of a flippy hem like a gored skirt.

Actually, after I took this photo I left it sit for a while and then went back and made the edges straight. It just needed a rest, I guess, before it would comply with my prodding.

So it’s drying like this (see how much it grew in length, you can see the sweater dryer here and the folded-in-half shawl is about 2/3 the height of the drying gizmo. And it’s still nearly half a circle, folded in half. I’m thinking this promises to be a really wearable item!

(I haven’t even looked at sewing the funnel neck together any more today. It’s a tangled mess with all the ends dangling from all the pieces… but I’ll do it. Probably once our company has gone home, though!!!)

OK, time to go unclamp that knitting machine and put it in its sleeping place in the basement…