Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I'm bamboo-obsessed. I don't know why but all of a sudden I want to knit it and spin it all of the time. I've even been researching how to dye it. I'm also intrigued by this chitin (pronounced Kite-in) that's been added to Southwest Trading Company's sock yarn Tofutsies. Wow - kitchen waste in my yarn. Tres cool. I suspect that the fact that bamboo and shrimp shells can become beautiful yarn appeals to my fantasy that everything in this world if given half a chance can in fact - turn into luxury yarn. I'll never look at another shrimp cocktail the same way again. Overheard at a restaurant: "Excuse me sir, were you going to finish that?"
My spinning guild will be preparing a display this fall and the theme is Japan. I'd love to spin and knit something for the display and what fiber screams Japan more than bamboo? I found a lovely vendor in Florida called Oceans of Fiber who hand dyes beautiful fibres - including bamboo. I purchased 4.8 oz of 100% bamboo roving from her hand painted selection in a colourway called Sunflower. It's the most amazing mix of pale blue, sage and gold. As you can see, Holly presents her roving in such a lovely way with a co-ordinating ribbon. Now I circled this new acquisition for a while wondering if I had the skills to tackle this different breed. I'd love to make enough lace/fingering weight yarn to make the Hanami Shawl from Pink Lemon Twist. The motif is pure Japanese and it would look stunning in this yarn. In the end I fired up the Schacht, took a big sip of Chardonnay and went to town. I gotta tell you, spinning this stuff is like walking across a wet floor in stiletto heels. It's so silky that there's no grab as the spun yarn is pulled onto the bobbin so it goes like stink. I've had to back off of the tension quite a bit. I am developing a rhythm and the Woolee Winder is a must have for me here because I don't have to stop and fiddle with hooks - this puppy just flows on like chocolate fudge on a sundae. Here's a shot of what I've spun so far. I'm not sure if I'm under-spinning it. When I have to pull some off the bobbin if I get a break, it's tending the shred on me fairly easily. I know silks are often used single ply and I'd love to use this single ply but I think a double ply will hedge my bets and give a bit more balance. If there's anyone out there who's a spinning maven on bamboo or silk - I'd welcome some advice. The spun yarn just glows with the gold distributed though the strands.
Bonsai tunic - she plugs along. I had to rip back a few times about 3 inches. Missing bobbles and incorrect row counts - Oy! (permission to invoke an Oy requested Hope?). Life is really busy this week with the boys writing final exams. If there's a god/goddess of exams - please let me know and we'll arrange a live sacrifice (I'll decide who later on).
My Tulip Baby sweater kit arrived. Oh the joys of Dream in Colour yarn! Here are the colours clustered around the pattern. A lilac shade has been subbed for the pale pink but I think it'll look very nice so I'm cool with it.
Oh, and if anyone is wondering why Chardonnay pairs best with bamboo - here's my rationale: It's gold in colour, smooth and creamy and aged in wood.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
I've been waiting patiently for my Dream in Colour Tulip Kit to arrive from Lettuce Knit. Apparently, they were swamped after the Yarn Harlot posted them on her blog. As I sat tapping my foot peering down the street waiting for the mail man to deliver the squishy goodness - I had a horrible thought. What if the baby was a boy? This little sweater had pink at the collar. I first tried to reason to myself that "Heck, a little pink didn't matter. After all, this was the new millennium - gender neutral is in". I then checked with the mom to be. "Weeelllll...she said hesitantly, if it weren't pale pink and if it were just a bit". I then became furious that society put so much emphasis on one little colour. After all, a girl can wear blue without nary a batting of an eye. In the end, I did what any determined knitter would do, I went to "Plan B". I was lucky enough to be in Toronto on business recently and stopped at Lettuce Knit between meetings. Megan was very helpful as we looked at the pattern and pondered my quandary. In the end, we decided that the nice ruby colour may just prove to be a worthy substitute for the pink and if I bought two of the ruby - I could have enough left after the Tulip cardi for this beautiful little Dream in Colour shrug. They had a sample in the store done in emerald green. Yummmm. Done Deal.
Of course, since then the Yarn Harlot has done a few other colour ways that are perfect for boys and Threadbear in the US has done a gazillion colourways too. There's just something about this original design that begs me to knit it. My SIL called me today to say the ultrasound has indicated the baby is a girl so we're good to go.
In other knitting news; I'm finally up to the front of the Bonsai Tunic from Interweave Knits. I'm falling in love with this design all over again. This part has a whole lot going on with decreases for neck shaping and increases happening all at the same time on different rows (along with lace and bobbles) but the bamboo is a joy. I rarely run out and buy the same yarn over again but with my LYS and their "never ending farewell 40% off tour" I got some more Bonsai at 40% off in the gold colour (Bamboo) to make this charming little number. It's a free pattern on the Berroco website. Watch out if you head on over there. Norah Gaughan (cue the organ music) has some new books coming out that I already want to make things out of.
And what wine does one pair with the girly Tulip Baby Sweater? Why a rose of course. Hillebrand Artist Series Gamay Rose with the amazing portrait on the label called "Lady". After all- a little pink never hurt anyone.
Monday, June 04, 2007
I knit an extra k2together
I dropped a stitch
I checked the work and couldn't see a dropped stitch so, I decided to simply make one and carry on. Here's the section after I created a new stitch to get the number back on track. You can't really see the fudge but I was bothered by it. If it was a dropped stitch - the whole section could unzip after it was done - with my luck, right in the middle of a presentation to the Executive Team at work. I decided to put it down for a day and think about the right path to take.
I really had to examine how I felt about mistakes and what level of perfection I was demanding of myself. If I ripped out, I could easily be tossing several nights of work down the drain. Was that worth the comfort of knowing it was perfect? Why did I care?
In the end, I decided that I was the type of person who was OK with making a mistake but that I needed to at least know where I went wrong. If you don't know what the mistake is, how can you decide if you can live with it or not? I needed to know to deal.
I ripped back. It was about 8 rows worth before I found the problem. I had forgotten a yarn over. I needn't have worried about unraveling but that missing yarn over did mean the lace design was out of whack so, I was pleased that I did choose to rip. I'm now nearing completion of the lace panel on the bottom of the front and will start the waist ribbing soon. I'll spare you the photo because it's exactly like the back.
To rip or not to rip - that is the question. Knitting is one activity that does lend itself to Mulligan shots. Most things don't - if your screw up...a "do over" isn't even an option. It's actually a privilege to be able to rip. It may depend on the nature of the mistake and at what point of the project said mistake is discovered. The answer will however always teach you something about yourself.