Monday, October 31, 2011

Sakaki - Epic Fail

I talked about the shawl pattern here a while back dealing with the lace panel and after I solved that problem, I continued knitting the shawl hoping to finish it as soon as possible.

The yarn I used is A Verb for Keeping Warm called Creating and I find that the hand of the yarn is very coarse feeling.  Of course, I am a princess so pretty much everything except for cashmere is coarse.

I showed this project to a few of my friends and almost all had the same thing to say - that the yarn is very stiff.  It could be a very good thing, since the yarn is tightly twisted, there is no chance of it splitting during knitting, but for me, I'm not a fan.

So I continued knitting and at the last knit group get together, I came to the conclusion that I did not have enough yarn to finish this shawl.

Here is what I have remaining and I still have to decreased another 13 stitches - no way, no how.....
I feel this project was doomed from the get go and I'm going to frog the entire thing and go back to knit the pattern that came with the yarn - Mithril Cowl by Star Athena.  I was not that attracted to the lace pattern so to appease the gods of knitting, I'm going to knit the plain version and hope for the best.

Sakaki will be revived another day with another yarn that I hope will be more forgiving - probably some hand spun.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Upcoming California Fiber Events

It has been busy and I have lots to post but need some time to get my photos and video edited.  However, I have been reviewing upcoming fiber events and California is chocked full of them next year.

I found out that CNCH will be in Oakland next year as will SOAR in Lake Tahoe.  I have already been scoping out the classes at CNCH and can't wait to see what classes SOAR will have to offer.  Also, Convergence will be in Long Beach where all the big looms will be for review.

It will be the ultimate fiber event year and I can't wait.  I still plan to go to Estes Park to see a little different scenery and visit my best friend.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sakaki Dilemma

As I previously posted, I joined the Twisted Socks are for Suckers club and the second installment was a skein of Creating by A Verb for Keeping Warm in the Asterix color way.

The pattern that came with is the Mithril Cowl by Star Athena.  I was not really interested in making a lace cowl and I dug around my pattern library and decided to make the Sakaki Shawl.

I modified the pattern to include beads in between the body and the edging but not at the edge of the shawl.  I have some beads left over from another project but not enough to bead the entire shawl.

Everything was going pretty well until I hit the lace pattern section.  I followed the written instructions and moved along until I got to the other side and looked at the results.
This is what the lace panel should look like.
I think it looks awful and I'm debating whether to rip it out and just do the plain knitting through the lace section or try to restart it again.

I decided to reknit the lace panel in another yarn with my signature needles and following again the written instructions, I ended up with this.
I must have had a brain hitch and I'm not sure what exactly happened.  I really like the lace panel so I will be ripping out what I have and starting the lace panel over again.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I'm a Process Knitter

I think I have come to the concluion that I am a process knitter as opposed to a project knitter.  The difference is enjoying the process of knitting instead of just rushing to finish a project.  I have been knitting seriously since 2007 and at the beginning I was project oriented.  I saw pictures of knitted items and wanted to make them to have the item.  This slowly gave way to the process.  After mastering the basic stitches, I was more interested in learning new techniques and eventually graduated to lace knitting.  Knitting lace takes quite a long time and I found that finished items were few and far between.

I still made other small things and when I started spinning my own yarn, the knitting portion became even slower.  I found that I started to accumulate knitted items in the closet and was not really interested in wearing them.

As a result, I started to sell them to see if I could recoup some funds to spend on more fiber and yarn.  It is a vicious cycle.

The last items that I sold as part of the Vista Fiber Festival were these:
 Blooming Garden Shawl
Symphony V Moebius and Sea of Azov Scarf

I have a closet full of items that are ready to leave and I have surveyed the number of knitted items that I seem to wear most often and I can count them on one hand.  Luckily most of items in the closet are going to a craft sale in Colorado next month and hopefully some of those knits will go home with people who can appreciate and use them.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Spin Group

It has been a little while since our spin group has met.  It has been a busy fall and the weather cooperated with being cool with a bit of afternoon sun.

It is important to get together with your peeps to sit and spin and chat and eat.

We munched on soup, honey apple challah, roasted potatoes and for dessert we had spiced cake.

Here are the wheels being spun on - an elizabeth and two pocket wheels.  
I spun on my miniSpinner and when the battery ran out, I switched to my Bosworth book charkha after carding some more cotton punis.  This charkha is a breeze to spin on and the woodworking is superb.
I was able to finish spinning the singles for my In Dreams redux.
All that I need to do now is ply the singles and start re-knitting my shawl.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Spreading the Wealth

In this climate of "Occupy Wall Street" and the heated rhetoric of the growing gap between the have and have-nots, I have decided to do my small part in trying to change the way I consume.

I have regular expenses just like everyone else but in the past few months I have spent a new car's worth on dental work that has been in the works for the past year and a half.

I know that I need to consume much less especially in the "extraneous wants" category and stick to a budget but I'm so ingrained with American consumerism that I find it really hard to resist a bargain or a sale.

I'm very lucky that I have a great job and can afford a lifestyle that is probably the envy of quite a large portion of the population and a lot of that can be attributed to luck and circumstance plus some hard work.

I happened upon a post in Ravelry about Kiva.  It is a micro-loan program that assists people all over the world pull themselves out of poverty with business loans in small amounts.  It is in essence a world bank made up of investors.

I firmly believe that if one has to work for a goal instead of just being handed a bounty, it is worth more and valued more.

I decided to lend to women artists with the same amount of money I would spend on my fiber habit.  So for every $25 I spend on yarn, fiber, equipment, etc., I would loan the same amount to Kiva.  This should make me budget a bit more knowing that for every dollar I spend, it will be doubled and I will be spreading my wealth to empower entrepreneurs.

Here are the first three recipients of my Kiva loans.
Sinon Minh from Cambodia
Nemesia Ongco from the Philippines
Rayma Susas from the Philippines

They are all weavers which I think is a good tie in with my fiber addiction.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

More Mere Yarn

I have some progress on the Mere and I needed to spin some more yarn.
I think that I have finally mastered consistent spinning since I was so very close to being even at the end of my bobbins when plying.  Each bobbin had 1 ounce of fiber and it is almost a perfect match.
Here are the links to my progress to date - start of project, the first skein of yarn, and the first repeat of the pattern.

I have finished 4 out of 14 repeats of the pattern.
Here is what I have left over from the first 368 yards.
I have also used up almost 1 tube of beads.
Here is the new skein of two-ply yarn at 462 yards.
Ready to start knitting again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pedestrian Crossing Cowl

While I was in Chicago at Loopy Yarns, I picked up a skein of Malabrigo Rios in the Piedras color way.  It was a beautiful fall color that I had to have.
When I got home, I looked around for a pattern to use this lovely yarn and found the Pedestrian Crossing Cowl by Melissa Tuttle Sibley.  It is a fairly simple knit with cool details and brings out the fall colors of the yarn.

I had some trouble deciphering the button hole row and went to youtube and found this video which I used.  It is a great tutorial.
I went to Beverly's Fabrics to scope out some buttons and found these.

It turned out great.
I could knit a few more of these cowls.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Icelandic Sweater with Horses

I follow the Panopticon blog and Franklin is in Iceland right now and posted that he saw a bunch of lopapeysa (traditional Icelandic yoked sweaters).

He followed up with a post with a website that one could download a free pattern to make one of these sweaters with horses.

Here is a photo of the sweater.
Since I was born in the year of the horse, I think this would be an apropos project.  It is knit with an aran weight single ply yarn in 100% wool.  That definitely will be too hot for southern California so I need to scope around looking for something else.

I will have to wait until 2012 before starting this sweater since I have too many WIPs in the queue. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Vista Fiber Festival

This weekend was the first annual Vista Fiber Festival held at the Vista Steam Engine Museum.  Fluffy participated by vending with a booth and allowed me to have a few items for sale.
It was a beautiful day and the event was well attended.  Jan and I arrived early to help Fluffy set up her booth and I walked around taking photos of the other vendors.

Here is the booth across from Fluffy - Weaver's Cupboard.  They had the Schacht spinning wheels and a Wolf Pup Loom.  They also had a triangular loom set up being woven through out the day.
This is Slipped Stitch Studios where I purchased some project bags where the theme was "all about sheep."
I also bought a pattern keeper with ruler magnetic bookmarks.
Vista also has a weaver's guild and they have a barn full of looms.  I walked through the barn and here are some of what I saw.
I'm told that if you become a member of this guild, you can make appointments on the looms and weave to your heart's content.

At the end of the barn, there were two antique singer sewing machines being worked.
There were also alpacas present and were too cute.  
I also bought a knit kit from the Knitters Brewing Company, a couple of ounces of organic cotton, and a boat shuttle.
I spent most of the day in the Spinner's Circle talking about spinning and demonstrating on my miniSpinner.  It was a quite lively group and periodically, Fluffy would give me a handful of fiber for sampling for the spinners in the circle.

It was a great day and I hope it becomes an annual event.