Saturday, October 30, 2010

Quiet Time

Jim and I planned a nice quiet weekend away together (with Baz of course).  We come up here to canoe, hike, sit, read and just be peaceful.  The town the cottage is in has no overall internet or cell service.  At first this is difficult to get used to but once accepted it is delightful.  The cottage has electric, water, heat, great views and, of course, was completely refitted by Jim so is beautiful as well.

It usually takes me a day or so to unwind and get unhooked from technology but this time I must have been in dire need of being off the tech grid.  We planned a nice hike and a dinner or two out but other than that had nothing special on the agenda.  The weather did not cooperate as it has rained most of the weekend and today is 36 degrees.  So a thought came to me on Friday and I started knitting it.  I knit a prototype and wrote a draft for a lacy beret in about 24 hours.  I am so impressed with what I can do with so much uninterrupted time.
Usually, when up here, I hike from the cottage to town each morning to sit on the benches in front of the closed library borrowing it's wifi (along with several others) but the weather and temps really put a damper on that idea.  So I decided to wait until today at 3 when the Screamen Eagle opened to sit in their bar (um Draft House), have a nice ale, check my messages and write this blog.  I am also about to order a pizza to take back to Jim and Baz.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hanky Panky

Spanky likes to hunt birds.  He has several blinds near the house that work well for him - one under a bench on the deck and one under the table on the deck, both near a feeder.  Fortunately he does not actually get more than a tail feather or two most of the time.  He also likes to chase squirrels from those blinds.  In my experience he has not yet gotten even one squirrel tail hair.

We also have a feeder outside the dining room window that is on the second floor from the rear of the house and on the first from the front.

He is ever the optimist.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Underestimated big time

 Last Valentines's Day (or was it Xmas?) Jim presented me with such a sweet gift of wheel spun merino plied with spindled silk. As I have said it was just waiting for the perfect project.  I thought this shruggy shawl I am knitting and designing would take maybe 6 ounces of yarn in fingering weight.  The skein Jim presented me with was about 8 oz and 660 yards.

I thought that a great plenty and felt good about it as the ball did not seem to be disappearing quickly at all.

Then all of a sudden at about 22 inches the ball looked very light.  Big space in the center.

I weighed the ball - 3.2oz.  I weighed the knitted piece - 5.1 oz after taking out 0.1 for the needle.
Halfway is about 28 inches.  You do the math. I have several times and just cannot seem to make the ounces stretch.  More than half of 5.1 + 3.2 does not make less than 3.2.  

Shoot - Do I frog the whole thing, thereby relegating the last week of knitting to zero?  I put the project down and proceeded to work on something simpler - T's baby sweater to be precise.  Easy easy and I know I have plenty of yarn for that.  

But the shruggy was sitting there and I love the yarn and I love how it was turning out.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Star is Worn is now to be known as Estrella

When Knit Picks said yes to this pattern they also wanted a new name.  I can understand that "A Star is Worn" may just be too close to the 1976 motion picture 'A Star is Born' starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson.  When I looked this up I found that 2 earlier movies were also filmed; the 1937 version was a drama starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March, and the 1954 version was a musical film starring Judy Garland and James Mason.

  I wanted to keep the word star in the name as the main pattern on the wings of this faroese shawl forms small star shapes, so I came up with Estrella which means star in Spanish.  Knit Picks approved the new name and so it shall be.

Yesterday the shawl was blocked.  Well not that simple really since I had to find a place to block it first.  My bed was out as the cat and the dog sleep there way too much to take a chance on leaving a shawl on it. My worktable is currently covered with old jeans and such in preparation for cleaning out my closet (well its a good intention anyway).  So I finally took the skein winder and odd hanks of hand spun and the big swift off the worktable, cleaned it up (actually I had been meaning to do that for quite a while) and set out the blocking blocks.  I also got to use the nice blocking wires Jim got for me for Xmas last year.  They were perfect for this shawl.

Today I tucked in all the loose ends (Imagination [alpaca/wool] and Gloss [merino/silk]) and finally finally finalized the pattern.  It all goes out to Knit Picks tomorrow.  Most likely they will want to use their own model for the shawl so I'll let you know when it's available on their site.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Where am I?

Truly. I have been right here but so inundated with knitting projects I have barely had time to sleep, let alone blog.

Preparing for 2 Fiber Festivals left me little time to knit so several items were left to gather fuzz for several weeks. The festivals were fun and it was great to meet and greet so many repeat and new fiberholics.  Jim and I look forward to seeing some of you again at the Lake Country Fiber Fair in Fairport, NY on Nov 13.

The major item left to gather dust bunnies is the Estrella Shawl that some of you know as A Star is Worn.

Knit Picks sent me the yarn (Imagination and Gloss) for this shawl in the summer.  All I needed do was follow my own pattern and knit it up in their yarn.  HA.  Those of you who know me also know that I just can't leave simple alone.  I have rewritten the pattern so that is is waaaaay easier to follow and added some neck shaping to the final edging.

Anyone who has the original pattern and would like a copy of the new one, please let me know.  It will be pdf'd to you as soon as it is ready.  I will also announce on here once the pattern is available on Knit Picks' website.

I am also in the midst of writing a shruggy pattern.  Jim gave me some wonderful fingering/sport weight yarn that he spun up out of tropical sea cutivated silk and black merino.  I adore the yarn.  I left it within reach and sight just waiting for the right pattern.  I almost knit it into a shawl several times but something stopped me each time.  Now it is being knit into a shawl with sleeves and cuffs.  Kind of a very loose shrug I call a Shruggy.  I just may do a shruggy series.

And then T, whom many of you have met at fiber fairs, is expecting her first little one next month so it dawned on me I had better get on the needles.  However it seems that with writing, rewriting, knitting into the wee hours and other mundane things like dyeing and laundry and eating I just cannot keep even a 4 row simple pattern going.

This one has been tinked and frogged too many time. It is now back into a ball.  A new start on another pattern and with a different yarn is forthcoming.