Wednesday, September 27, 2006


The Oregon Flock and Fleece Festival was this last weekend so I thought I'd stop by. We had planned a trip up to Orygun earlier this year and upon searching for knit and yarn events in the Northwest, it ended up that our trip coincided with the festival.

We drove south to Canby, a mere 30 miles from Portland (what's 30 miles when you've traveled 500+?). We followed their directions and pulled into a dirt/grass parking lot to find animals the size of sheep, but were in fact large dogs. We think there must have been a dog show going on at the same time. Anyway, we got back in the car and went a couple hundred yards further to another dirt/grass parking lot (bigger than the other one) and I noted that there were folks carrying large bags of loot, I mean fleece, to their cars...

The four of us went in and saw lots of folks in the central area spinning. There was also the yummy smell of barbeque, but since we'd eaten right before, it wasn't that tempting (especially the huge lines). We perused one building and realized that the animals weren't there.

btw-- that's how I was able to get them to go to the OFFF...the promise of sheep, llamas, and alpacas.

We finally found the animals and they were utterly charming. I love love the alpacas.
Also liked the llamas.
The angora bunnies were freaks . They were huge and fluffy and they took up the whole bunny cage.(didn't take pictures)

While z&a and z&a's dad were looking at the animals, I got a chance to look at yarn. I will post pictures of the small loot when I get a chance to take pics of them.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Whiny winding

Okay, I love love my new swift. In fact, I wanted to wind my first windable-only-with-swift laceweight yarn on it. It's a lovely dark blue wool...Placed it on the swift and noticed that there are more than 2 ends...hmmm...what's that all about?! Maybe a separate piece of yarn was used to tie off the skeins...yes, that must be it.

Well, no.

I now have (count them) 7 cakes of yarn! One large and 6 small to very small cakes. What the F? (I'm so bummed I'm not even dignifying it with a picture). I'd be winding a bit, then it would end. How frustrating was that? I'll be able to Russian join them together for the stole I have in mind for it (Persimmon from Summer Knitters mag), but still. I think (I'm hoping) that the hank of yarn was accidently cut? I think that's the case because there were times where I fished out 2 yarn ends that matched perfectly. But still, how annoying. It's not like I'm going to go and get my money back (all purchases final and their last day will be Saturday). Also, I got such a great deal on the swift itself...

Anyway, whine whine vent vent.

Thanks for listening.

On a less whiny note:
I'm 44% done with the edging on the Print O' Wave stole...I am seeing the light.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Swift Story

I've been yearning for a swift for gee, I don't know how long. I have been making do with the 70's style floor lamp and aging non-matching shade as my swift. Here's a picture of it. (Please disregard the quikrete bag in our basement.)

How funny is that?! I've had on more than one occasion been so enthusiastic with my winding that the finial went flying off. Oh, and the shade does not match the lamp, the original shade was cylindrical in shape (and that just won't do). Also, please note the clips literally holding the shade onto the metal shade cage. Classy, I know.

Aside: You probably already know how using a lamp/shade as a swift works, BUT...For using a lamp/shade as swift, you find a nicely shaped lamp and shade (unplugged, of course), and place hank of yarn over the shade. Then loosen the finial (nobby thing on top that holds shade to lamp) and you are set to wind. Words of caution: try not to get too enthusiastic in your winding because 1) the finial can fall off and the lamp shade may derail, 2) you may end up with a tangled mess around the lamp base or harp, 3) the hank of yarn can slip off the shade since the only thing stopping that are those lovely clips. Guess how I know these things.

As I said, I've been craving swifts. I've been checking and rechecking the Joann site, looking at Mama Bear's swift, and even downloaded,printed out AND purchased items to make a swift myself. But I got hung up on the make it yourself model. I didn't have a drill bit to drill the holes for the dowels (how lame is that?!).

So, I thought I'd think about purchasing a swift. I had the wooden swift in my basket at Skein Lane when it was 20% off. Nope, too expensive, back it went. Then, I had the Japanese metal/plastic one in my hands (50% off) when I was at Skein Lane a little while ago. I checked it out, and couldn't pull the trigger on it --it would have been very close to the price of the Joann swift(also at a 50% discount). It just looked too rickety, and the metal clamp? Don't even go there. Instead, I did the enabler thing, I found a woman in the shop who I overheard had wanted to purchase a swift (she was looking at me with envy as I had the only swift left in the store in my shopping basket) ...And I gave it to her. Then I had non-buyer's remorse for about a week...shoulda...shoulda...but didn't. Not only that but later at another yarn store, I realized that this is what they use for winding yarn?! Can't be THAT rickety. Drats!

Then I went to Lacis and looked at their wooden swifts. Very pretty, like furniture. But it takes up room, but very pretty...hmm...oh, and they had the metal one also, at full price. Drats!

I read up on swifts some more and I read about the Schact GOKO swift. And how this swift is the perfect swift for lace, and you all know how I'm crazy for lace now. It's got a flywheel and gravity isn't an issue with this swift since it's ferris-wheel like.

Back to my story, yes, I thought what a wonderful swift, and didn't I see some metal bits that looked like the swift in a box under a table at Skein Lane? Naw, that was a spindle for spinning...

I ended up stopping by the shop as it's now been several days at 75% off original prices and I thought a few patterns would be good. I walked into the shop and looked under the table where I thought I'd seen the box, and was a little disappointed when it wasn't there. Oh, well...then I looked AT the table and a shopper moved a box off the buttons so that she could look at the selection., it can't be...why, there's a sale tag on the box saying spindle on sale. I nonchalantly went up to the box and peered inside and took out the manual. It was indeed the swift and they had 2 of them! I asked about the adjustability of the swift and I apparently couldn't read, because the shop owner looked at the instructions and said yes.

I promptly bought the swift (at 75% off). I told her how surprised I was that this wasn't snapped up and she thought that folks didn't know what it was. Seriously, this is what she was selling. And really, would you have purchased this box? And it said spindle. And it's mine!

Took it home and have set it up and finally got around to winding the Koigu for A's socks. It is wonderful. And it's mine. And it was very inexpensive. And did I mention it was mine? Ends up the swift is a little limited as to size of hanks for winding (57"-63"), but it's very very nice.

Monday, September 11, 2006


I'm blocking! This has been a super interesting knit. I'm finding that I really do like doing lace work (altho' it's a real challenge doing it with a 3.5yo and a 4mo old, especially the older one pulling on the arm whilst knitting). But I finished this lickity split fast (for me).

start date: August 29
end date: Sept 7
blocking: today
yarn: 1 skein of Misti Alpaca in Blue (I have some left over)
needles: size 3 Clover circs

Thinking that this:

would turn into this:

I did make a major error in knitting this (besides not paying attention to how I'm blocking this sucker), I shifted off a stitch on the edging and didn't realize it until much later. It's here. On the edging, I misknitted and then somehow recovered such that two of the triangles aren't pointy (extra yo?)
I'm pretty darn proud of this. And it was such a nice fun knit that I'll just have to do another one. It really is too bad that I don't like triangular shawls...I may have to make another, but alter it to become a stole (ala print o'wave).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

It's a good day

It's been a good day. We went to Baby knitting at Article Pract today. Wow, there were lots'o babies and many moms. In fact, stroller parking was in the back (aside: didn't know that they had a back yard, will have to investigate another time).

Very nice moms and kids ranging in age from 7 weeks to 14months (that was the teacher's baby, so that doesn't count). Not alot of knitting got done, but I tried. I brought my swallowtail because I'm binding off (happy dance happy dance)...I've not done this type of bind off before, but pretty cool. I'll have to check to see what's the real name for this bind off and also whether this is SOP for lace. I managed to bind off maybe 12-15 stitches...the rest of the time was spent chatting and admiring other babies. Like I said, a good day.

I come home to find this:

yes, this is my sample pack from ColourMart. Plus they sent 250yds of washed cashmere. I will be super good and just knit up one of these samples (and then wash it) to see how it compares with their sample. Their laceweight is a bit thinner than I expected, and I believe I'd like the 4-ply the best.

The only thing is that their DK and Aran weight is just strands plied together.

I do want me some cashmere...

Did I mention that I have very expensive taste in yarn? I always seem to find the absolute most expensive ball of yarn in a yarn store. Today for example, I am minding my own business and browsing and come across a little ball of pretty yarn. Yep, Qiviut at $52(?) for a small ball. Or the hank of yarn that I was admiring, only to find that it's cashmere (sigh).

Can you knit up a neckwarmer with 250 yds? I think I'll have to find the perfect pattern before I invest in this yarn. (they're about $30/1150yds plus $5 shipping). That is not too expensive. Maybe for my birthday...but I may want either a pressure cooker or a swift for my birthday...I'll have to try to remember if I got myself a present last year...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Lace on the brain

I had to post this picture from IK as inspiration. As I'm nearing the end of IK's swallowtail, and feeling that I'm screwing up the final edging. Don't ask, I somehow gained 2 stitches and tinked it a couple of times back a couple of rows, and couldn't figure it out, so I just faked it.

Anyway...I felt the need to get some inspiration, so it was pack up A and head to lovely Lacis (I also had to run errands, so it wasn't too bad). Yes, just you shush, I've driven by it how many times and never went in. I wanted to check out their book selection as well as their tools and you KNOW I just had to take a look at cobweb weight yarn.

What a neat place. I was directed to the knit lace part of their book section, I got a chance to look through (albeit quickly since I had A in a sling) some of their books. Prices for books were steep. Maybe I misread the sticker, or else it's signed by the author or something, but they were about twice the amount I've seen elsewhere. I was specifically looking for A Gathering of Lace, but didn't see it there. But what I really liked was their needle selection. Wow. There are some seriously dangerous tools there. Their metal dpns were amazing. They had 000 (?) double pointed needles. I swear they were wire. They looked like wire. Anywhoo, they carried the Inox, so I got a circ for my next project.

I was shown what cobweb weight yarn look like (yes, it looks just like sewing thread, but slightly thinner!). Yeah, I'll be doing a project in that weight real soon...yeah, right.

I was told that they're getting Zephyr yarn in pretty soon. They will only be carrying white ecru and black to start. I can't wait!

Back to Lacis, they have all this lace stuff, just beautiful stuff. It's so inspired me that I may pick up crocheting again and doing some lace. I wonder what I'd do with lace doilies...

So, if you're in the neighborhood, definitely go!

Oh, and since Lacis doesn't open until noon, I had a little time to browse at Article Pract in Oakland. They reminded me (again) that they have baby knitting Thursday mornings. I'm going. I'm really going to go. Really. 10:30am. Really.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Nupps suck!

So, I'm thinking that lace is fun. It's easy, lot's of yos, ssks, and k2togs...until now, got to nupps and thought, 'oh, my friggin goodness' (okay, in stronger terms than that). How are you supposed to purl 5 stitches to 1 stitch.

I had recently checked out of the library the Barbara Abbey's knitting lace book and there's a bit on bundling stitches and such. Instead of trying to purl all the stitches at once (which was what I was attempting) the book suggested purling a couple of them then psso. Now, I'm thinking, the book is old, that can't be the "correct" way of doing this stitch, otherwise, they'd tell you in the protocol, right?! Anyway, googled and found that yep, that's the way to do them without going crazy. (At one point, I had extra needles out, a couple of crochet hooks, it was ugly, really ugly...AND I had to tink back to reknit the ,k,yo,k,yo,k into the same stitch several times because those yos tend to sprong away if you're not careful).

So, pics will be available when I get around to it.

Happy Labor Day!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

On another edge

While waiting for a reply to my dilemma regarding the stole o'the wave, I couldn't help myself...I started the Swallowtail from IK. I'd read about it on Yarn Harlot's blog( I think it was her site) a bit back and I thought 'wow, a scarf done with one ball of yarn -- I'm so there'. I think if I could do 1 cone/ball/skein projects, I so would.

Anyway, I casted on and started working on this project while waiting for an answer, any answer from the KAL. Thanks so much to Eileen, I now have the numbers correct in my brain to finish Print O'Wave, but first, I must must finish the swallowtail. I'm at the edging now. Will post pics later.