Old FO

I was digging through my closet today and came across this sweater that I finished, except for the buttons, back in March 2007. It was the first sweater I did (except for a couple I made over 20 years ago) and I thought of it as a learning experience. Good thing, since I was disappointed in the finished product; the body was too stiff, with no drape; it was shorter than I like; and the fit was too tight in the shoulders and arms.

Seeing it today made me wonder what would happen if I washed and blocked it. A quick soak in cold water and fabric softener made a huge difference. I stretched the length and shoulders when I blocked it and it fits much better.
The arms are still too tight, but I think they'll stretch with wear. I added some vintage abalone shell buttons, wove in the ends, and voila - a finished sweater. I'm hoping it will continue to soften and stretch with time. I don't think it will ever be a favorite but I think it's wearable.



Hooray, spinning doesn't hurt my shoulder. If I don't do it for four or five hours at a time, that is. Moderation in all things is my new motto.

I Navajo-plied - my new favorite technique - the last 2 ounces of this Ravelry colorway and ended up with about 74 yards.
I haven't measured the first batch of yarn yet, but it should be about the same, so I'll have in the neighborhood of 150-160 yards. These aren't my usual colors but I really love this yarn.
Once that was off the wheel, I dug through my stash and came up with some roving I bought back in February '06. This is Frosted Fields from Spinderellas; 12 ounces of wool and alpaca yumminess, with just a touch of glitz. I got several ounces spun tonight; I'm spinning it fairly thin and plan to Navajo-ply it, aiming for a DK weight 3-ply. I have several Spinderella colorways - some I purchased and some given to me as Christmas presents - but I've never actually spun any of it. Now that I've started, I may not stop till it's all gone.


Christmas in July

Even Mother Nature got in on the act today, rocking and rolling to the tune of a 5.4 earthquake. I've been through a number of quakes since we moved out here in 1968 (when I was but a wee lass . . . ) and this was one of the strongest I've ever felt. As in 'it's time to get out of the house' strong. A few seconds of gentle waves to get your attention, and then several sharp jolts that seemed to just go on and on. Fortunately, no damage here and only minimal damage - and no injuries that I've heard about so far - in the wider SoCal area.

So why Christmas? Look what came in the mail today -
my order from Interweave's hurt book sale back on July 9. I've heard a lot of complaining in some forums that Interweave's prices weren't that good, shipping was too high, and - my personal favorite - the books weren't 'hurt' enough so obviously they were overstock and Interweave shouldn't have sold them at discount. Huh??????

But it did get me wondering, so I moseyed over to Amazon to check their prices. I'd have saved the $8.95 I paid in shipping but even with that, I still saved over $17 on the five books. My best deal? Wrap Style which retails for $21.95; Amazon had it for $14.93 but I bought it for just $5.49. With no damage that I can see.

I do love a good book sale!


Next Obsession

Tomorrow's the last day for the Tour de France and the knit-along. It's been amazing fun - I was assigned to the Yellow Jersey team (go Team CSC!) and I accomplished all my KAL goals, so I also earned my Polka Dot jersey for King of the Mountain. Unfortunately, I pushed too hard and re-injured my shoulder. I won't be doing any knitting or crocheting for at least 30 days. I'm hoping I can still spin (probably not) and weave (more hopeful). I'm bummed but at least I finished my projects before I went on the disabled list.

So what's my next obsession? Fleece baby blankets with satin binding.
For the last year or so, I've been buying fleece remnants whenever I find them at a good price. The Joann's in Loveland is my best source; they often discount their remnants by 75%, after marking them down 50% from the regular price. My original plan was to crochet edgings on them but I really don't like having to hand stitch around the edge to give the yarn something to hold on to.

A passing comment about how much babies love satin-trimmed blankets sent me back to Joann's. I hand-sewed one blanket for Addy (8-hours later I was firmly convinced to never, ever do that again.) For these four blankets, I pinned and sewed
the trim while watching the Tour de France. The white/pink (Marie's favorite) and orange/yellow blankets (my favorite) are presents for Baby Leia. The other two (it's been a loooong time since I've seen Pokemon!) are for us to use when the grandbabies come to visit. I have a couple more remnants but I'm out of satin binding - and truth be told, I'm bored with pinning and sewing. I need to come up with another way to trim them. Any ideas???


Fair Entries

Three years ago, our guild's Fair rep challenged us to enter spinning and weaving items in the fair as the Fair board was considering deleting those categories for lack of interest. Never one to pass up a challenge, I entered several items - spinning, weaving and crochet - even though I really didn't think I stood a chance of winning a ribbon. I took home several ribbons - and it was fun.

This year I entered
only six things; I've given away most of the items I've made in the past 12 months. There's the cabled sweater (of course), the pineapple shawl (my personal favorite), the entrelac scarf, Addy's baby dress (also a favorite), a handspun, crocheted shawl, and a skein of handspun yarn. Not sure what my ribbon odds are this year, but the waiting to find out is killing me!


Books, Part 2

2 copies - brand new - $1.79 each. One for me and one for the raffle table at Guild this weekend. Score!!


Idle Hands . . .

I finished two projects so obviously I need to start something new, even though I still have several WIP's (works in progress). Tomorrow night, I'm teaching a beaded shawl class based on a class I took at TNNA in Long Beach. The original pattern is for a triangular shawl; I want a long rectangular one for myself, so I'm reworking the original. This is Rowan Kidsilk Haze - kid mohair and silk - in Black Currant. Gorgeous stuff and a pleasure to work with; I've had to rip back several times while I work out the kinks and the mohair has only tangled once. If you've ever worked with mohair, you know that's almost a miracle. I have a ways to go, but I think I'm really going to like this shawl. Light, warm and, with the beaded trim, elegant. What could be better?



Hello, my name is Elisa and I'm a book junkie. It's been 6 hours and 47 minutes since I bought my last book. I'm especially defenseless with on-sale craft books. I know I'm weak, but how could I resist books on the 75% off table at my LBS (local book store)?

The discount table is always my first stop at any bookstore. It's hard to find craft books - especially fiber arts books - on clearance, but today I really scored. I got Vogue Knitting's Weekend Knits for $2.59; Vogue Knitting Accessorize for $4.04; and for the grandkids, Eric Carle's Grouchy Ladybug for $3.36. I also bought Very Busy Spider, even though it wasn't on the 'deep' sale rack. I'm a sucker for good kid's books and Addy's going to love these two.

In Tour de France news, I've started on Goal #3 - making a knit baby sweater for Leia Kalise, who's due August 20. I had two balls of Plymouth Dreambaby DK in my stash - one pink and one a multi-color with pinks and purples - so I cast on Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket.
I've made this once before, in a toddler size for Addy, so there shouldn't be any surprises. I'm hoping it will be a fast knit and I can finish by the end of the month. Can I bind off before the Tour ends? Probably not, but it should be close.


More Done!

The buttons are on and Goal #1 for the Tour de France KAL is completely, totally finished. I added one more row of ribbing to the cuffs to make the sleeves just a tad longer - to better fit my longer-than-normal arms - and increased the width of the back by 1/2" just to be sure it fit right. Other than that, this project is 'stock'.The only thing I'd change, if I made this again, is to make the neck a little smaller/tighter. With the weight of the sweater pulling it down, I'm afraid it is going to get stretched out of shape. But it fits and I love it; I hope to get years of wear from it.

Goal #2 is also finished! I was on a roll last night - which is why there were no photos yesterday - and this:
became 142.3 yards (approximately; I don't think my yarn meter is very accurate) of this : which is now this: The stitch pattern is based on Blizzard by Leigh Radford. I shaped the sides inward to mimic the lines of my favorite shawl. The handspun is a little coarser than I'd hoped but I love the color. Hopefully I'll get a lot of use out of this shawl once the Fair is over.



Except for sewing on the buttons, my sweater is done! done! done! Can you tell I'm excited? And I found the perfect buttons at my LYS. Photos tomorrow; it's too dark now to get decent shots.

Whoohoo!! Goal #1 is D.O.N.E.


Closing In On The Finish Line

Dick's been working on his own Tour de France challenges and finished two projects during the Tour's first week. The bottom is myrtlewood that we bought on our Oregon trip and the top is paduak; he turned, shaped, and joined two solid blocks to make this vase. Isn't it gorgeous? Dick was going to give it away as a gift but I claimed it first. It's MINE.

He's been working on Marie's hope chest for awhile, but put the finishing touches on yesterday. The top is leather;
the outer section is cherry wood, and the inside is lined with cedar. I especially love the interior sliding drawer. He does such beautiful work. And no, I'm not at all biased. Why do you ask?

Onward to my Tour de France challenges: Goal #1 - I've finished the collar, bottom band and the left front button placket.
I just need to do the right placket, seam and set-in the sleeves, weave in my ends and find the perfect buttons. I'm taking it with me to tomorrow's hair appointment so I can button shop on the way home. With any luck at all, this should be done tomorrow. The finish line is in sight!

Goal #2 - tonight I Navajo-plied the second 8-ounce bobbin of Gotland.
I'll set the twist tonight and let it dry tomorrow. The first batch, a slightly lighter gray, is finally dry; this unusually humid weather we're having is interfering with my time schedule. Fortunately, the weather forecast is for significantly less humidity starting tomorrow. But with my luck? We'll get pouring rain.


Stage Win

What an amazing ride by Italy's Riccardo Rico in today's mountain finish! That's what makes the Tour de France so exciting to watch, someone sprinting out of the pack, flying by everyone on a steep uphill run. But the sad side-note? Wondering if doping made his victory possible. I'm crossing my fingers that he's clean and the Tour can put the doping scandals behind them. I guess we'll see in a few days.

I finished the reworked sweater
back tonight and sewed up the side and shoulder seams. I anxiously tried it on and it seems to fit well; I'd have been really ticked to have had to rip and redo at this point. The sweater is being modeled by Lily, the adjustable dressform that Marie bought me for Mother's Day. This is the first opportunity I've had to put Lily through her paces. I love being able to see how things look without breaking my neck trying to see my back in the mirror. I see a long, happy partnership between me and Lily, especially after I figure out how to adjust all her dials and levers.
I didn't get my sampler finished during the weaving workshop but I made good progress and learned a lot, which was more important. We warped (the long-ways threads) one inch sections of 12 colors plus 3 neutrals (white, gray and black), then wove six 1"-patterns in each color, in the same color order as the warp. The object was to see how colors interact and how the different patterns affect color. I started weaving with red so I'm a little over half done. Depending on how this looks off the loom, I may hang it on the wall in my weaving area - or I may throw it in a drawer, never to be seen again (kidding!) As usual, I'm anxious to get it finished, but I'm trying to be good and finish my Fair projects before I weave any more. Being good is hard.


Time Trials

Goal #2 for my Tour de France KAL is Navajo-plying a pound of Gotland singles and making a shawl before next Saturday. I love Navajo-plying, but my technique is a little rusty so I decided to do a practice run before starting on the big project.

This is about half of the 4 oz Ravelry roving, 70% merino/30% kid mohair, that I bought from Twisted Fiber Arts.
It was a joy to spin and I didn't want to muddy the colors with traditional plying. I'm pretty pleased with how this turned out. The only problem with Navajo-plying is that I end up with less yarn than a 2-ply would give me; this is a little less than 100 yards.
With the practice run out of the way, I did a quick time trial with the Gotland. I thought I'd over-spun it when I got this bit off the swift, but after a quick rinse, it hangs perfectly straight and balanced. I love the texture and the thickness. Tomorrow night I'll start plying the rest of this so it can dry by Monday night and I can start crocheting on Tuesday. No pressure.

And why am I not plying until tomorrow night?
Because I'm taking a weaving workshop that started tonight and runs through Sunday evening. Hooray for multi-projecting!