Friday, March 28, 2008

Fiber Friday 3/28/08

I am in the heart of packing and moving now. It's going as well as can be expected.

I am shipping a lot of the yarn and fiber so it is already there, waiting for my arrival. I couldn't bear to part with the sock yarn though. I've got enough yarn for like, 50 pairs. I need all of them near me at all times, just in case.

Some would think this insane. But not you. You are like me, right?

So this is another Fiber Friday Flashback. Let's look at what I spun around this time last year:

Fiber Friday 4/6/07

Here we are again... can you believe how quickly this week went by?

I have four yarns to show off let's get right to it!

This first jumble here is bulky weight singles yarn spun from mixed wools all hand-dyed in my kitchen. 4.1 oz, 159 yards.

I was attempting something that alternated between rich jewel colors and neutral, earthy tones.

This second yarn here was inspired along the same lines, muted colors with shocks of something bright. I think I was dreaming of Noro at the time. 2.1 oz, 127 yards.

The third yarn here is a basic two-ply, originally inspired by peas and carrots but it definitely evolved into something else. Candy and flowers got in there too I think.

They do that sometimes - take on a life of their own. 2.9 oz, 86 yards.

And last but not least I've made another seashell yarn. This time with pearls! For those who missed the last one, here is the run-down:

Dye soft white roving in various beachy, sand and sea colors. Then spin it up, starting with the sand and work your way through the sea and sky. Then ply with holographic thread strung with real shells and pearls.

When knit, the yarn should form some kind of landscape. Or crochet. I'm an equal opportunity spinner.


I think this was my favorite part:

Originally inspired by peas and carrots but it definitely evolved into something else. Candy and flowers got in there too I think.

Sounds like a fantastic picnic?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Jericho Season Finale

Do you see me?

Can you see me walking across the screen? I'm the blur above the last name.

Feel free to laugh. I did!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Finished Object: Clapotis

I am officially a Real Knitter. I finished knitting the most popular pattern ever: knitty's Clapotis.

And because I am the millionth Clapotis maker:

1. I am not going to make "clap" jokes.

2. I am not going to tell you how it is pronounced.

I followed the pattern as written with a few minor changes.

First change: yarn. I used Wollmeise 80/20 Fluffy Dani Medium.

Next: Needle size. Because this is fingering weight yarn, I went down in size and used a US 4.

Yes, you would use smaller needles for socks, but I wanted this thing to have a nice drape.

Last: Number of repeats. I added an extra set to the middle section. I could've added more.

What I would do differently: If I did this again, I would weigh the skein before starting, then weigh it after the increase section.

Then I would know how far I could go before I had to start the decreases.

Overall: Very happy with it. Of course. Great pattern + great yarn = great joy.

Now that I've finished two iconic patterns (Monkey) this year, I'm wondering what the next one will be...

That is, after round two of Sock Madness. And after I move. And after I finish this other shawl...

A knitter's work is never done!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Fiber Friday 3/21/08

Hi again. Warning: rambling ahead.

Of course I don't have any new fiber to share today (still moving!) but I love Fiber Friday too much to let it slide unacknowledged.

I thought I would show off some yarn I spun just about one year ago today...

Fiber Friday 3/23/07
Here we are, another Friday, and I've got some more homespun, hand-dyed yarn to show off!

These first two are part of a series I am exploring called "crayons." I want the yarn to look like a fresh box, full of potential.

The first one weighs 3.5 oz and measures 142 yards. The second one weighs 3.4 oz and measures 135 yards. Together, I hope they have some bright future.

The third yarn is definitely a left turn for me. I tend to go for rich earthy colors and well, this one is delicate and girly. It's for a swap and I do try to work with the colors I think people will like.

The last one is a return to Tiffany's. This yarn is based on a similar yarn I spun a while back. I dyed up some Tiffany blue roving and spun it up. Then I plied with a holographic thread strung with nearly 100 pearls. Real pearls, of course.

I'm happy with the way it came out, nice and bouncy and energetic. 3.7 oz, 104 yards.

This one is going out in a swap as well, but it's not meant to be a surprise, so I think it's okay to share it. I was obviously hypnotised by the yarn as I photographed it, because out of the many many pearls you can only see about five. Trust me, they're in there!

Have a good one, people! That's not an order or anything, but a strong suggestion. Yeah!


What can I say? I'm not spinning and I'm not swapping right now but I am knitting every day... and:

-downloading songs on iTunes
-watching cute animal videos on youtube
-writing a shawl pattern
-calculating what I can buy with my Loopy Ewe credit
-watching John Adams on HBO
-enjoying detoxing spa treatments (thanks mom!)
-having lunch with old friends
-reading "A New Earth" and "taking" the weekly online class
-lurking in the Ravelry forums

In summary, doing all sorts of things instead of packing.

I thought I would feel better getting this off my chest but I only feel a mild embarrassment.

This is still true: Have a good one, people! That's not an order or anything, but a strong suggestion. Yeah!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Updated story of a sock you've already seen

Regular readers will know that I sometimes work as an "extra" in TV and film when I am in between jobs. Please forgive me repeating anything you may have read before. I can't help myself.

I believe the episode of Jericho I was "in" will air next Tuesday night... the season finale?! Allow me the indulgence of sharing with you some knitting I did while working on the set that day, which resulted in a knee sock...

There was this one day at the end of September I went to work a one-day job as an extra for the TV show "Jericho". I brought along these socks (then in progress) to keep me company.

I packed my stuff up the night before, because our call time was set for 6am. My alarm clock was set for 4:30am. My mood was set for excitement mixed with a mild dread.

It is important to pack properly if you are going to be an extra. I'm always amazed when I see people hanging out on set, staring into space with nothing to do. Or worse, trying to talk to others about how "Brad Pitt got his start as an extra."

The kit that day:
-one business casual outfit to wear (Khaki pants, light blue blouse)
-one to change into in case they don't like the first (Navy dress)
-one book (Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri)
-one journal (unlined, for ideas, sketches, whatever)
-a sudoku book
-pens, pencils
-a different pair of earrings (for the dress)
-various hair clips
-this sock with corresponding pattern notes

I'm normally cranky getting up at 7. Getting up at 4:30 is just confusing. I made it to our location right on time. The thing I forgot, is a sweater. It was chilly and dark out. My first outfit was rejected and I changed outside in a freezing tent on the muddy, horse trodden field where base camp was set. Wardrobe then approved my dress.

Time for breakfast. Except I can't gather the desire to eat at 6:30 in the morning. I observed this to not be a problem for the rest of the background players. Trays stacked with breakfast burritos, paper cups of orange and cranberry juice, mounds of bacon and sausage all passed by and got shoveled in quickly. Then they went back for more and more. There is rarely any shame with us extras and free food.

I put a banana in my bag for later. I ate a few spoonfuls of unsweetened oatmeal. I was proud of my choices, though I was foolish for feeling this way.

Before I could get cracking on the sock, they corralled us onto buses that took us to our shoot location. The journey lasted about 20 minutes and the woman next to me had an unpleasant smell about her. Nothing unusual about this, of course. Somehow it contributed to my claustrophobia and I couldn't wait to get off the bus.

While we waited at our new holding area, I whipped out the book and started reading. A man playing a construction worker approached me. I told him he looked convincing in his role. Of course, I looked like mine as well: "civilian." I put my book away and we chatted about this and that. A rumor circulated that the show just got canceled. This was to be the very last episode, making this the third time I have appeared in the very last episode of something. 1. Providence. 2. Alias. Now, 3. Jericho.

(It turns out this was to be the last episode of the season, not series, probably.)

We got the call to go on set and work. We were all placed evenly throughout the "Cheyenne" town square. (Pasadena) I was to hide behind a tree until the main stars walked by a hot dog stand, which was my cue to cross the street in front of them. It is here I saw one of the roles is for "man with dog."

I became obsessed with the dog, some kind of white and tan spaniel with a good dose of enthusiasm. I watched him work. He walked down the street convincingly in his role as "dog". After the director yelled "cut!" the dog and man returned to their mark, the dog with the same enthusiasm he had walking in the scene. Every take, the dog did it like it's the first time. I daresay some other extras could learn from this dog.

I say this because we had to re-do the scene countless times. Every time we were supposed to basically do the same thing. However, every take was different on my route. I ran into different people as I did my walk. One time, I was almost run over by "woman with bicycle." I don't get it.

By mid-morning, I found myself hiding behind the tree for a while, so I ate the banana. A toddler in the role of "toddler" started to cry. A woman leaned in to whisper to me, "When I was a kid, I would have gotten beaten for that." I nodded in agreement, though I don't know why I did this. Maybe I was afraid she would beat me if I disagreed with her.

And that's when a crazy person started shouting at us from a building across the street. He yelled four-letter words in various combinations with the word "Hollywood." He did this because we were all over his street, in his way. Ironically, this dragged out the production. If he would've remained quiet, we could've finished the scene and left. It's hard to reason with crazy though. We got in half a dozen more takes, and they were occasionally peppered with a shout or two from Mr. crazy. We just kept rolling as if we didn't hear him.

It's not until we broke for lunch that I finally got to work on the sock. That is to say, the cast and crew broke for lunch. We were told to sit at holding and to not eat anything. I knit an inch or two while the extras speculated about when we'll get to eat. Very, very slowly they started to let us go. They were not obligated to feed us then, because they released us from the job. The extras naturally got snippy, even though many of them already had three consecutive breakfasts.

About a week later I finished this here Schaefer Anne diamond-studded knee sock.

The pattern is for sale in my etsy shop and now through Ravelry downloads:

Monday, March 17, 2008

New Pattern: Cabled Shrug Hoodie

Finally! Yay!

I have a pattern in this book here.

I nearly forgot about this one considering I knit it back in December 2006. Books take a while to put together, yeah?

I'm pretty excited about this because it is my first pattern in print in an actual book.

It's a cabled shrug hoodie and you can see it in the bottom picture.

I'm taking time in between rounds of Sock Madness to get caught up on things like self-promotion, eating and sleeping.

Mostly eating and sleeping unfortunately.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Whatever happened to Fiber Friday?

There was no Fiber Friday this week because of The Madness.

From Thursday morning until Saturday afternoon I've been frantically knitting this pair of Zombie Socks.

I'm happy to report my knitting was fast enough to have made it through the first round of Sock Madness!

Now that they are done and I can breathe, I think I can say that these socks look pretty good.

Pattern: Zombie Socks (not yet available) by Emm1e.

Yarn: Koigu KPPPM.

Needles: KnitPicks Harmony 2.5mm 32-inch circular, magic loop.

I predict this will be a very popular pattern when it gets officially released. It's fun to intentionally drop stitches too.

The designer suggested we listen to Thriller while knitting. This means I have to share with you a creepy photostream of Neverland.

If I were to knit these again, I'd knit the stitches next to the dropped stitches through the back loop, for tighter definition.

I was inspired by the name to pose as a zombie might, just before awakening to feast on brains. That's the last photo here.

Don't worry. I'm not really interested in breaking into your house and eating your brains. Not at the 'mo, anyway.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Where have I been all week?

Come sit and have a cup of tea with me for a sec...

Like you, I have been busy. I present this information in the popular and efficient list form:

1. Finishing a new pattern for a one-skein shawl. But... the shawl is still on the needles.

2. Staying up all night stalking The Loopy Ewe in hopes of scoring more Wollmeise.

3. Success occurred at 7:30 this morning. It was worth it.

4. Sock Madness round one pattern was released today at 10am. I must knit very fast now.

5. Soliciting donations for prizes for this year's Tour de Fleece. Amy stepped up and is going to give away 4 oz of fiber to a winner! I think you want to visit her shop now.

6. Aaaaaaaaaand I'm still supposed to be moving.

But I'd really rather spend the afternoon sipping tea with you, my fiber friends.

Monday, March 10, 2008

9 to 5 socks are done!

Just as I finished my job, I finished the socks knit in honor of hard working people everywhere. Perfect!

Pattern: Nine to Five by Nicole Hindes.

Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy. Color: In Vino Veritas.

Needles: Knitpicks Harmony Double pointeds, US size 1.5 (2.5mm) AND 32" circular, same.

Pattern Review: A fantastic (and free) pattern with a new and interesting heel: The half-linen stitch. The cables are not actual cables, but mock cables. That was fun too.

The socks are worked from the cuff down over 72 stitches. This was too big for me and my loose knitting and my narrow feet. Which brings me to the...

Modifications: The tough part was the realization that these had to be knit over 72 stitches or else 60 stitches. To have a balanced sock, there was no in between. Unless I wanted to really modify this sock, which I didn't want to do.

Lucky for me, 60 stitches worked out great. The heel was done over 31 stitches. If you are going to make the same modification, the magic number on the heel turn is 16.

The resulting socks are very stretchy and stay up well.

Yarn Review: Besides the fact that "Dream in Color Smooshy" is a very pleasing collection of words in a row, the yarn totally rocks.

It's not quite solid enough to be flat and boring, but not variegated enough to distract from a pattern. The texture is smooshy as promised.

Also, the yarn is machine washable, spun from 22 micron 100% Australian merino wool, (traditional wool is significantly coarser - around 28 microns or higher) and each skein is a generous 4 oz/450 yards.

At the risk of being called an enabler, you can buy it here, here or here.

Overall: Love love love... even though they seemed to take forever. I blame the mock cables for that.

I guess here is where I'll mention that I finally learned the magic loop technique on the second sock. I am very comfortable with double pointed needles but wanted to see what another method would be like. I understand why people like magic loop; I like it too and I plan on doing more!

In case you missed it: In Vino Veritas = In Wine we Trust? Could that be?

EDIT: It's "In Wine, Truth"... thanks for pointing this out (see comments!)

Friday, March 07, 2008

Fiber Friday 3/7/08

Welcome to a special "Last Day At Work" edition of Fiber Friday!

I have that weird feeling of relief mixed with disbelief.

No, I do not have another job lined up. I am at peace with that. Actually it feels great. I have faith that it will work out somehow.

Got it? Good. Because I will need YOU to remind ME of this in about a month when I freak out that I don't have a shiny new job yet.

...Or maybe as soon as Monday. Hard to predict a freakout, really.

But for now let's celebrate with two party yarns I spun last year.

My yarn likes to party. Especially on Fridays.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Tour de Fleece is coming... four months!

I think you better start thinking about it now though. I am.

New this year:

1. We now have a Ravelry group. Join if you can.

2. We are now officially soliciting prizes. Get in touch!

Same as last year:

1. The Flickr group. Join us!

For those who don't know what I am talking about, you can read all about last year's Tour here.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Spring Is Near

Spring Is Near
Photo by Clearly Ambiguous

A time of growth and transition... or quitting jobs and moving without much of a plan?

Either way I'm seeing a lot of action this March... And all I really want to do is stay home and knit!

I've got a list of ten new patterns to work out and write up. Doesn't that sound like more fun than cleaning out closets?

To Do:

1. Clean out closets

2. Write up new patterns

3. Get rid of most of my stuff

4. Move to Portland

It's a small list. But also a big list. We'll see where I stand in a few weeks!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Brag time

Bear with me, but when one wins a contest, it's customary to have a period of pure obnoxious joy. Right?


I won first place in the Hill Country Yarns sock design contest!

Who, me?

Yarn: Pictured here - Hill Country Instant Gratification in lavender. Currently on sale, I hesitate to add.

Go on, check it out. I'll still be here.

Pattern: "Quite Contrary" in honor of Mary, Mary. The actual pattern will be available soon through their sock club and presumably on their website sometime after.

The Socks: Belong to my mom, knit for her birthday.

I can't help but feeling really excited about this. I know it's braggy. I'm doing it anyway!