Sunday, August 30, 2009

Shades of the 80's

Friends of mine have been scouring the thrift stores for sweaters to take apart for yarn. Some have been very good and one, Tiggywinkle Knits, has a blogpost on how to identify the right sweater for recycling. While going through my stash for some yarn for a scarf commission, I got the idea to do that with a sweater I've had for many years.

This sweater was one I found at Nordstrom Rack. When I first got it, it had huge sequins sewn onto the color panels. But there were three things going for it: it's angora/lambswool; it was my size; it cost ten bucks. Beautiful sweater, beautiful colors, but hotter than an oven. Consequentially I wore it maybe three times in the years I've had it. Dang, I want to wear it but I can't!

Well, I got the idea of recycling the yarn. The color as you can see has not faded. When I investigated how it was put together, it was thankfully done in panels with selvages, not sliced out of yardage. It's going to take some time to take it apart because of all the intarsia, but I'll end up with a rainbow assortment of fingering weight lambswool/angora yarn.

Last Week's Spinning

Remember my telling you about the yarn I was spinning Saturday but had no pictures? I have pictures of the singles now. I haven't done much spinning this week but it is coming along nicely.

Playing Hooky

One of the things I want to sell at OFFF are beaded orifice hooks. Some wheels have deep orifices so a long hook is sometimes necessary. Also there are few that are beaded instead of having a wood handle, so they would be a piece of jewelry for the wheel. I found colored wire heavy enough to hold its shape, but the problem I ran into was how to hold the beads onto the wire. The solution I came up with also aided in how the hook can be held to manipulate through the orifice.

At the point where the beaded handle begins on the wire, I made a loop in the wire. This is the point where you can pinch the hook to hold it while using it to fish through the single/yarn. The handle length is comfortable and at the end loop there's a dangle. I'm asking $20 for them and will be selling them at the PDX Knit Co-Op at OFFF.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Quiet weekend

Not much to post about the past week. Most of it was the usual go to work/come home/go to work/come home/go to work/go to knit night/come home/go to work/come home/go to work/come home. Part of it is coping with health issues that are draining me of energy. Those are being addressed. The rest is just making preparations for the next big event, Oregon Flock and Fiber, which is at the end of next month. I have plans, oh do I have plans.

I finished the Arbor Rose socks for Gail and she's very pleased with them. I'm thinking I'll be altering the pattern when I get around to doing the next draft. I'm thinking that the number of repeats of the pattern are making the foot too wide. I'm also thinking that it would be better with a solid instead of with a multicolored yarn to bring out the lace more. Socks need to have negative ease to fit properly and I think I made them too loose. If nothing else they're good samples for Susan to display at her booth or bedsocks.

I did some spinning experimentation with some fiber I had purchased some time ago. It was tricolored BFL and the first part of it I spun up along the color repeats, thinking that I'll break up the color and do the second ply in long colors. I decided not to go that route. The first singles are sitting waiting to be plied up and the unspun fiber is sitting waiting for inspiration. I set it aside for Abstract Fiber's BFL in colorway Hydrangea, which is black, purple, and fuchsia. The first bobbinful flew off my fingers yesterday (4 oz packed on there). The second bobbin's just started today. It's very pretty, colors a goth grrl would just love. (pix will be forthcoming when daylight and my camera are in the same place)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Post Sock Summit Blues

I took Monday off to recover from Sock Summit but I gotta tell ya I was not ready to go back to work. The four days of playing with fiber made work so blah in comparison. It was fun looking at the swag the Wednesday knitters brought to knit night and compare experiences. One thing that I added to the swag show was completed laceweight yarn spun during SSo9.

Laceweight Blue Faced Leicester

StitchJones "Earth Angel"

710 yds, 18 wpi

This was split in half lengthwise, then the first half spun in the color order of the roving, followed by the second half having its colors split up so that there were long stretches of color. The two were then plied together.

I leave you with a few peaceful pics from a day jaunt to the beach.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day Four: Wrapping It Up

I have to apologize for the lack of pictures in this post. While I was up early and was able to mosey about getting ready for the last day of Sock Summit, I forgot my camera which was next to my computer from the previous day's download. So I have no pictures of the Luminary Panel event that happened in the afternoon or other shots.

The last day had an air of finality to it. People knew it was the last day and for many it was a combination of disappointment and relief. There were many tired folks wandering in and out of the Marketplace doors. The staff were mustering up their last dregs of energy to keep everything moving smoothly. Vendors were smiling through their exhaustion, pushing for that last sale that meant one less thing to pack home. But throughout the venue there was still this aura of pride and joy from the event.

In the morning I people-watched as I spun on my wheel in the lobby. I finally hooked up with NeedleGrrl, who will be moving back to Portland some time next year (and is so looking forward to that!). I ran into Ray, the director of Confluence, who was there with his boyfriend. I showed more newbie and wannabe spinners the spinning process and answered questions. At last it was my class with Anna Zilboorg on Turkish socks. It was a delightful lecture on the motifs and design, and I came away learning a new cast on that made a decorative tuft on the toe.

In the afternoon, folks gathered in the ballroom for the Luminary Panel. It was to be a discussion of various questions posted by the event hosts and convention attendees. On the panel were Lucy Neatby, Cat Bordhi, Deborah Robson, Anna Zilboorg, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, Meg Swanson, Barbara Walker, Judith McKenzie McCuin, and Nancy Bush. At the end were the closing remarks, and Tina and Stephanie were so grateful for everyone who participated.

During the Luminary Panel, we were not allowed to have our bulky items in the ballroom, so I had to fetch my wheel from the storage room. I was about to leave but found my friends gathered inside the ballroom. In the front of the ballroom there a few of the panel folks signing autographs and chatting. In the back of my mind I had an idea so I was looking for a Sharpie. Deb A happened to have one in her hand, so I borrowed it from her. When I left the ballroom, I had a few signatures on my wheel.

The perfect ending of an amazing weekend.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Day Three: Taking a break

After coming home so exhausted that I had to get a ride home, I thought over what my options were for today. I told Lisa the volunteer coordinator last night that I wasn't going to be up to covering the Marketplace Info booth for the 4 hours I was signed up. I looked at what I had for working on and decided to take my spinning wheel instead. I chose to drive to the venue instead of taking the train. I opted to stay in the quiet of the lobby, away from the noise and temptations of the marketplace. These decisions made today pleasant and I came home not so exhausted.

Yesterday I fell to the sirens of the marketplace. It began with a visit to Jenkins Woodworking where I found a Turkish Delight spindle that managed to find its way into my pack. The wood is atzelia, an African wood that Ed Jenkins wasn't sure he'd be able to to get again. I could have been wise with the budget but I couldn't walk away from that.

For yesterday's world record attempt, I needed yarn and needles. I have lots of yarn and needles at home but did I bring any? Noooooo. But my search ended up at the booth of Laurel Hill, maker of wonderful fiber tools out of different woods. They had lots of straight needles. I picked up a set of palmwood 4's as those were ones that were very nice for making lace stoles.

In the fiber department, I came away with yarn and spinning fiber. In my search for yarn for the world record attempt I was having a hard time finding yarn to go with the #4's I had picked up. I didn't want to work on fine yarn because my hands were wanting something a little larger. But what were the yarns there? Sock weights! At last I reached Briar Rose Fibers and amidst their treasures I found a beautiful wool/bamboo sport weight that was perfect for what I wanted. They also had some Blue Faced Leicester roving I couldn't walk away from.

Last fall Bobbie had found some beautiful merino silk from Lisa Souza in a subtle colorway Mother of Pearl at OFFF. The laceweight she made from it had color gradations that at first glance were not easy to see but overall gave the yarn a delicate pearl-like appearance. In my perambulations about the marketplace I found Lisa Souza's booth and to my delight she had bumps of that colorway. That found its way into my goodie bag.

The last item in the party was something that I couldn't resist. I saw as a future project a tam with matching mittens for the winter. I could see it in my mind as a stained glass type pattern before I went to sleep last night and I knew exactly what yarn I would use for the color. Mini Mochi from Crystal Palace. Combined with Louet Gems in black the tam will be glorious.

I didn't commit as much damage as some folks at Sock Summit, but I'm happy to have assisted in supporting the fiber economy.

There was more to my day on Day Three. Bobbie came by asking if I would be willing to be wheel nanny for the spinners in Judith McCuin's class at lunch time. "Sure!" I said. "When do you want me?" "Be there by noon." So wheel and I toddled off to the classroom and parked ourselves in the back where Bobbie and I sat and span, she on dyed sheep locks, I on the remainder of the Earth Angel top. Bobbie told me of some of the things she'd learned during her stint as Judith's assistant during classes as well as some of the tips and stories. Amongst the things Judith brought in with her were two stockings that had been knitted in the 1840's. During the break I was able to photograph them. Bobbie's hand can give you a scale of the stitch size. One of the heels had a different construction, a kind of simultaneous four-point decrease similar to that of a triangular shawl.

There was plenty of fiber for the students to practice on. With the amounts she was giving out Judith needed it all. And per Bobbie this is only part of what she brought in.

I can't wait for SOAR.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Day Two: World Record

I have to say that the past months of fighting my allergies have taken their toll. I'm dog tired, though I imagine not as much as the staff of Sock Summit who have been running back and forth with their tasks. Pretty close though, and they're in much better shape than I.

My first task for the day was to help out with the world record attempt staged for noon. I used my superpower -- my voice that can carry a mile -- to notify knitters coming up to participate to "have your ticket filled out! Have stitches cast on your straight needles!" for the deal was that in order to qualify for the world record, every knitter had to knit on two straight needles continuously for fifteen minutes. Each knitter had to be documented on a ticket that could not be photocopied. By the time my legs gave out we were really close to ready.

We were pumped! We were excited! We were ready! Stephanie gave the required spiel to confirm that we were following the rules, then we were off! We could chatter as long as we knitted continuously. And we knit. And we purled. And we knit and purled some more. After what seemed an interminable time we were told we have a few minutes more left. The witnesses (City Commissioner Randy Leonard and Margie Boule' to name a couple) came back to the front of the ballroom we were gathered in, then "Stop!" We raised a huge cheer.

What was I knitting? I knit on Laurelwood Palm #4's some lovely Briar Rose Fibers wool bamboo. The garter stitch I produced was scrumptious. I must get more but not now. Later, after SOAR.

My second task of the day was covering the conference store, ringing up purchases of books, t-shirts, and other souvenirs of the event. It went very well, but I could feel the exhaustion of the day catching up to me. Another volunteer came to relieve and I leaped at the opportunity. I stayed to meet up with some of my fellow Internet listers for a drink but I was very tired by the end. Awntie was very sweet and gave me a lift home instead of my taking the train back.

So now I'm home waiting for my dinner to cook (it's nearly done). I have some lovely swag that I will share with you later. I was party and part of making a new world record. I'm feeling very proud.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

SS09 Day 1

At last the day has arrived and Steph and Tina's grand production began in earnest at the Portland Convention Center. Registration opened Wednesday evening. Behind the scenes, vendors were busy setting up their booths and volunteers and staff were running about getting everything ready. If there was any fear of not being ready, it wasn't reflected in the atmosphere. All seemed calm and organized.

This morning opened calm, cool, and quiet except for the thuds of the gas men working on installing lines in a nearby house. The weather had turned cool with the promise of a truly pleasant weekend for the convention goers. When I arrived at the center, I found the halls filled with knitters relaxing and chatting with each other. I met up with some of my friends and settled down until it was time for my class. Hijinks abounded and the time spent people-watching and chatting was loads of fun.

My class for the afternoon was with Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, best known for her books Ethnic Socks and Stockings and Simple Socks Plain and Fancy. Health issues had kept her from making appearances at conferences so her presence there was quite a feat in itself. She gave a presentation of the socks she had gathered and seen over the years from various sources. She peppered the presentation with stories and was very approachable. During the break, we got the opportunity to view and examine some of the socks. Even though her presentation took longer than the class time, it was worth staying for the end.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

One more day

I've been excited about various things in my life. Christmas as a kid. Going to Hawaii. Knit camp in Vermont. I don't know if this is the most excited I've ever been about an event but it ranks up there.

Sock Summit 2009 starts tomorrow.

I've arranged to have all four days off from work. I'm doing volunteer stints just about each day. I have classes with Anna Zilboorg and Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. I'm there with just about all of my knitting buddies in Portland and a number of my cyberfriends from other locations. I don't have to pay for a hotel or airfare to be there -- I get to sleep in my own bed! The media has been talking about it. It's estimated there will be around 3000 people there. I'm thinking there will be more based on all the chatter on the Ravelry forums, the registration response (36,000 hits in less than an hour I believe), and just the general excitement in the knitting community in general. It is a tour de force that Tina and Steph have assembled at the Portland Convention Center.

Tonight I go to registration and pick up my packet. I have a sock toe I need to knit for my Turkish Stitches class (I have red yarn that will be perfect for the background; now to pick the variegated -- decisions! decisions!). I need to decide which straight needles and yarn to use for the World Record attempt. I'll have to put together a day pack for toting to the Summit since I'll be spinning as well as knitting there.


Sunday, August 02, 2009

I'm pumped. I'm excited. I'm rarin' to pieces. Why? Sock Summit is this week. I've arranged to take the days off as well as the following Monday from work. It's exciting that the Summit is happening in Portland instead of one of the larger cities. I have plenty planned for the days -- volunteer work at the Summit, helping fellow fiber artists sell their wares, hanging with my spinning and knitting pals. I hope to have enough energy to record it all here. In the meantime I've been working on a sample sock and pattern for Susan and Gail at Abstract Fibers. You'll find Arbor Rose at their booth.

Heat recovery

I survived our heat wave pretty well for the most part, taking refuge in my house. The cats, unlike me, were really enjoying getting cooked outside. I'd come home from work and find furry pancakes on the back porch. They'd come in, eat a little, drink a little, and insist on returning to the heat. Well, considering that during the winter they prefer to sit on the register when the heat comes on it's understandable, but all that fur. Ugh.

Tour de Fleece -- The numbers are in!

I sat down and calculated how much yarn I spun up from the Icelandic fleeces. These are the final numbers. I'll be able to make my jacket!:

Tour de Fleece Icelandic Fleece

1361.1 yds, 2 ply, 10-12 wpp

Upcoming projects

I've been looking over my projects that I have coming up --an alpaca scarf; a dog sweater; spinning up the Earth Angel fiber-- and wondering what else I need to get done. One thing that has been sitting on the WIP pile for a while is the Kauni sweater. I've been stuck on the gussets of the sleeves and the body but I've worked so much on it that it would be a shame to leave it dormant. So between obligations I'll be working on it.