by Kerrie James


Make It Monday

Posted on September 11, 2011 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (2)

I was not successful in getting a post out this past weekend but you know what they say about life and all.  I will be posting an addition to last week's Focus Friday, elaborating for wheel-type specific needs.  Until then, let's see what I have been up to this past week!

The weather last week had cooled down tremendously and I couldn't think of anything more appropriate for dinner than fresh made chicken soup.

The weather is also beckoning my fiber stash from it's plastic storage bins.  Thursday evening I spent a significant amount of time going through those fibers to decide which I would spin this season.  It was a toss up between red and black Cashmere/Merino and autumnal jewel toned (is that a thing?) Targhee.  Considering I had not yet spun Targhee, this batch of wool won out.

I then spent about 30 minutes fluffing and splitting the roving into manageable sections and finally, spinning one strip, just to get a feel for the fiber.  I find that it spins quite nicely and is also very soft and loft.  My test spin was worsted but I think I will spin another length woolen to see which I prefer.  And, in an effort to stop spinning aimlessly, I want to put some thought into what exactly I will do with the yarn once finished!

Having two Abalone samples to work, I had hoped to have both finished by today.  Instead, I have 1 3/4 finished.. not bad, really!  I am hoping to get the second shawl finished by Wednesday now, to include blocking, etc so that I have time to take photos and finally ship it all off to KnitPicks. Everything has gone off without a hitch save for one issue.  One skein was riddled with not only knots but also weak areas.  Most of these spots I had cut and spliced before or during knitting.  Wanting to see the bright side to everything, I thought I would use this opportunity to use several different splicing techniques.  At the time, I thought it was a great idea... you know what they say about hindsight.

Many of the joins are hardly, if at all, noticeable.  The only join that I could easily spot was the braided join but that was with my sense of touch only, I could not see the join whatsoever.  It was time to soak the shawl in preparation for blocking.  Into the water it went, soak, then lift and - 'No!' 

The weight of the water had helped along a broken end and stitches were falling fast.  I immediately and gingerly squeezed out as much water as I could and inspected the area.  It seemed the weak join was a spit splice, which usually is a great join but I suppose I had not felted that particular spot very well, or it was due to the silk content of the yarn.  It mattered not, I still had a hole in my wet shawl.  I ran to my project table and grabbed the few yards remaining of the project yarn, a darning needle and a crochet hook.  I worked the dropped stitches back up to their proper places and began to weave the dry yarn through the wet yarn.  I will not lie, it was a mess.

I decided that the best thing to do would be to continue blocking, hope for the best and address further issues once the shawl was dried - that and have a cup of tea and maybe even a cookie.  The next day, I adored the shawl, trying so hard to not look at the aforementioned spot but who was I kidding?  It looked horrible.  I tried as best I could to fix the spot but again, it seemed nothing could be done except to ignore it.  The strangest thing of all is that the spot causing all the issue is two rows below where the joined yarn was!  I can not for the life of me understand it.  Is it possible that over only two stitches my tension eased up considerably and then went back to normal?  Because that is what it looks like.  At first, from the right side, I thought the spot was the join and in need of tightening.  Try as I might, there seems to be nothing I can do.  It looks as though I won't be send *this* one off after all.

No Pics Just Yet

When I am not working on the two Abalone shawls, I have been working on my September Sock Down Challenge for the Sock Knitter's Annonymous group in Ravelry.  Last week I posted photos of the yarn I initially dyed for use in the Sacre du Printemps sock and, as you may recall, gauge was an issue.  I did manage to find a sport weight cashmere blended yarn in my stash and once again, took to the dye pot. 

I find it quite interesting how the same dye recipe resulted in two different tones.  The only differences I can think of are the differences in fiber content, the differences in twist and finally, I admit, I did (accidentally) add extra citric acid to the first dye job but I am not sure if this would have affected the color quite so much.  The first yarn is tightly twisted and compact while the second is light and lofty.  In any case, the second yarn is near perfect in gauge and is making quite the comfy sock.

And when I am not working on those projects, (of course, you do realize I mean in my free time), I have been continuing my studio/stash cull and also preparing for holiday knitting, to include a sweater for myself.  Yes, a sweater.  In cleaning the stash I realized how much sweater quantity yarns I have and depsite my desire to tone up a bit, I likely won't.  So I may as well accept this fact and go ahead and make a sweater.  Though to be honest, I am planning a 'comfy', yet light, tweed sweater to accommodate or flatter any shifts is body shape.

Sewing has been in the form of mending still... it seems that just when I think I'm finished, someone tosses a pair of pants in need of hemming or repair.  I hope this trend ends soon so I can finish my blocks and make a house shift.  Send positive, energy inducing vibes my way!

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Wordless Wednesday

Posted on September 7, 2011 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (10)

Giveaway Prize Part I from Cookie A: Knit Nation project bag

Giveaway Prize Part II from Cookie A: Yarn Prize!

Monthly Adventures Swap Gift from Bumper/Jane

Make It Monday

Posted on August 29, 2011 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (1)

Instead of WIPs and FOs of the week, this is more or less WIPs and FOs from this past summer and so, longer than future installment (you've been warned!):

Some of you may remember the quilted sewing machine cover, I could not make up my mind as to how to place the blocks.  Ultimately I decided to keep it simple:

Overall, I like the way it came out.  I used an old maternity shirt (the brown bits) as well as long, long forgotten remnants from projects past.  I decided to keep the top quilting on the front and back very simple while following the curves of the vine pattern for the side panels.  I did make this cover slightly larger than necessary as I plan to purchase a new sewing machine this year so that my daughter will have her sewing machine again!

One of my long-term goals is to create my own wardrobe or in the very least, base pieces.  There are many reasons for this goal, the first and most encouraging being that finding clothing to fit my 5'2" curvy frame is rather challenging.  Customization is a necessity and so, instead of simply altering everything, why not start from scratch?! 

I had planned to start and finish three pieces during the summer.  My children, however, had other plans, commandeering our table most days and nights with their own projects.  I was truly lucky to have only gotten this far:

I first had to draft  a new pattern block since my last block from 2003 is no longer sufficient.  I was surprised to learn just how much my body has changed in the past 7 years.  No longer thin and sporty but curvy and feminine.  This realization was cause to truly clean out my closet, getting rid of anything that did not fit.  Needless to say, my daughter and her friends had very little school shopping to do after shopping my closet.  Two years ago, this would have made me so sad and depressed but I've found closure and I have to admit, the challenge of creating a new wardrobe is not only motivating but also exciting.

Finishing or ripping UFOs is yet another goal I've created for myself.  I had a rather large Rubbermaid box full of projects long forgotten.  It was time to sit with each project and be honest as to why I started it and whether or not I would finish it.  Most projects were ripped for reasons such as 'startitis', fad, KAL/CAL, etc.  In the end, I found the projects kept (to finish) are projects I had started because it was planned or my 'type' (socks, lace, etc).  I learned that while community is important, I had often started projects I was not passionate about simply because the Jonses were doing the same project.

One UFO which had been put off simply because my youngest was far too interested in what was going on was a spinning project.  If you spin and have young children, you understand.  I had finally finished spinning the South Cross Fibers Polwarth in the Cairins colorway.  One hank is 3 ply, another is 2 ply and still, I have singles still on the bobbin which I will Andean ply. 

Now the focus (creative-wise) is to finish up the current WIPs and get some older designs written out for publishing this Fall.  I'd really like to kick up my photography, editing and graphic skills a few notches and so, am hoping to take a class or two as well.  Busy, Busy - and I wouldn't have it any other way!



WIP(s) - Work(s) In Progress
UFO(s) - Unfinished Object(s)
FO(s) - Finished Object(s)
KAL/CAL(s) - Knit/Crochet Along(s)

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