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March 2007
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Signs of Spring

I came home on Wednesday to see this:

signs of spring

It really does look like spring is finally here in the Bear house. The wool from the Spunky Club is so bright it catches your eye. I haven’t put it away, even though I doubt I’ll get to spinning it for just a little longer yet. I also finally decided to sign up for an Interweave Knits subscription and I thought it rather fitting that both the wool (superwash merino and sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo soft I cannot even tell you) and the magazine got here on the same day.

The first thing I did with Dandy Lion (that’s what the colorway for this month is called) was take it out of it’s plastic baggie and roll it into a wheel. I’ve wanted to do this with some wool ever since I started spinning, but I’ve only spun solid colors, so there hasn’t been much of a point.

Dandy Lion wheel

The colors aren’t quite right in the picture. I took around 20 pictures trying to get the green to appear as acidic and for the yellow to look as bright as they do in person, but neither was working. This is the best representation I could manage. I also wish I could explain to you how incredibly soft this yarn is. Think clouds and baby’s skin and kitten’s fur. I honestly cannot wait to spin it up, but at the same time, I don’t want to touch it, because I’m worried it’ll never look as good. But I promise, as soon as I’m done with the red merino (I’m no longer convinced it’s even remotely related to superwash) I’ll be champing at the bit to spin this up.

The rest of the week didn’t go as well. I know every’s had in their life something they got super excited about only to have it fall through or fizzle out or not live up to their expectations. So it’s no surprise that this happened in work and knitting for me this week. The problem has been my attitude towards the disappointment. I’ve kinda been pulling the blanket over my head and avoiding the issue. I hadn’t even realized that’s what I was doing until today. But let me back up and tell you about the knitting project.

It has to do with the Branching Out scarf I’ve been working on. I finished knitting it as I said I would

Finished Branching Out

I have absolutely no information about the yarn. It’s handspun with an American Wool blend, spun from top bought at Woodland Woolworks. I spun and spun and spun this yarn. I started off with a pound and I think I’ve finally finished off a few ounces of it. I have yards and yards of lace weight 2 ply. This was made from a portion of that. After knitting, as you can see, it’s around 38 inches long.

Soaking Branching Out

Then I gave it a soak.

Pinned Branching Out

Then I pinned it out. The last picture is deliberately obscure. I don’t have a good blocking surface. I have a roll of stuff that’s supposed to line wire shelves, that’s probably about 1/4 inch thick and as long as my ironing board, so I thought, hey, I’ll just use the ironing board since it has the nice lines on it already. Let me tell you, ironing boards do not make good blocking surfaces. The fabric bunches under the stress of trying to pin the wool out. There’s hardly any padding under the fabric either. It would have been ok though if it hadn’t bunched up. I couldn’t get a consistent width on the scarf. The worst part though? It’s not long enough. The scarf was only around 38 inches unblocked. I had no idea it’d grow like that. I’m not showing any pictures of the final product. It isn’t pretty and I’m not happy with it. I can see where it will be pretty though.

Today though is where I realized I’d been behaving like a child. I’d left the scarf pinned out for far longer than it needed to be. It had dried pretty fast. But it wasn’t until tonight that I realized I was putting off unpinning it. I was putting off writing this blog entry. I was avoiding the whole mess because I didn’t know what to do.

Now I do. Now I go to Home Depot tomorrow and try to find a decent blocking surface and some wire to use. At least the blocking surface. I can keep using the pins. Can you imagine though, it took around 70 pins??

Little presents

I came home on Friday to see this when I opened my screen door:

Yay for Surprises

The box on the left might not be of much interest to people. It’s a tea shipment from Seven Cups. I usually order my tea from Adagio, but I thought I’d try somewhere else for a change. I love talking about loose leaf tea and can spend hours wasting time online looking at different teas and teaware, so if you are interested, let me know.

The envelope on the right should be of interest. See the AIRMAIL sticker? How about the Royal Mail one? Or even the Customs sticker? It’s a little order from Heirloom Knitting. I made it, then completely pretended I didn’t. When we walked to the door and I opened the screen the conversation went like this:

Bear reached to grab the packages so I could open the door. “What’s this?”
I hunched my shoulders and reached for the packages. “A pattern and my tea.”
He laughed. “You bought it and then went into denial or something huh?”
I shot a glance at him. “How did you know?”
He hung up his coat and headed up the stairs. “Because you didn’t show me a million pictures and talk incessantly about it while you were waiting for it to get here.”

Heh. He’s so funny. Wanna see what was inside?


That’s the front of the Yarn Guide and a piece of the front of the Gossamer Sample pack.


Sorry for sticking my big hand in the middle of the photo, but for some reason I could not get the envelopes to stay on the bush when I flipped them around. But I find the back of the envelopes much more interesting than the fronts.

I waffled a lot when I was thinking about buying the yarn guide. A lot of the information I’m sure a person could find out on their own or wouldn’t even need, but it does have quite a bit of information and I found it terribly interesting. I also love her card with the yarn samples attached. It ended up being (in my opinion) very worth the 16 bucks or so that I spent on it. The gossamer sample pack is what convinced me to make the purchase, but strangely, I never would have considered buying it if I hadn’t already been looking at the yarn guide. The sample pack has 10g of the gossamer mohair and 10g of the gossamer silk. The little pattern that is supposedly takes 5 to make, so you have enough to swatch with both yarns and still make the mini Orenburg sample shawl. I’m extremely pleased with this purchase I have to say.

I spent a good portion of my weekend taking both the yarn guide and the little pamphlet that has the mini Orenburg sample pattern on it out and skimming and reading and rereading and reskimming both. The rest of the weekend was spent cleaning or knitting. I made great progress on the Branching Out doll scarf.

march 26 Branching Out progress

The ruler is there to show an approximation of how long the scarf is unblocked. Around 24 inches. Not terribly long. It’ll grow a bit when it’s blocked, but I don’t imagine by much. I actually expect to have pictures of it bound off at least by Friday and next week to have blocking shots and finished product shots. I actually think the greatest indication of how little is left to do is the flattened little ball of yarn. Can’t be long now huh?

Oh, and sample pack and yarn guide aren’t the only presents (those are just my presents to me). I don’t expect to keep the doll scarf once I’m done with it. I know a little girl who will die, just die, if she doesn’t get it. The horrible thing is, she has 3 other little cousins who must also get cutesy little handmade things so as to not feel left out. I have no ideas. The good thing is that they live in different states and so I can probably get away with giving the other 3 (who are all sisters) stuff for Christmas, so I’ve got months to work something out.

And honestly, that makes it sound like I don’t like making things for them. I love making things for other people. Making stuff for other people is my excuse (to myself, it doesn’t make a difference to Bear) for knitting lace instead of sweaters (sweaters are at least practical right?) and for having all this yarn lying around, especially since I’ve learned to spin. I’ve lost almost all interest in buying yarn, but it’s when I start to think about making things for other people some of the grand ambitions (spinning gossamer weight yarn to make a wedding ring shawl anyone?) fall away finally and I go shopping.

Speaking of shopping. I have more stuff arriving soon. Easy content for Friday huh?

back on track

So that last entry was slightly depressing. I have a short entry for today, but it has a much happier note.

I don’t have pictures because I’m working on the shawl that never ends (the song get stuck in my head every time I think about pink diamonds). I have a doll scarf that I’ve now abandoned. (I’ll get back to it. eventually.) I have spinning that looks exactly the same as it did before, but at least now I’m on a second bobbin. Once I get to the point of plying, I’ll take new pictures, but that’s still two (counting the current one) bobbins away. But. But! I have something coming in the mail. So the next entry shall hopefully have something fun in it.

Oh. I guess I could also do an entry about the abandoned sweaters. I have a dearth of readers, but if someone would like to see the abandoned sweaters, leave a comment and I’ll make sure to stick an entry in here about my sweater fears and pictures of the current unfinished ones.

And the one picture for today is a bad shot, but I love this yarn so much, I must share it.

window yarn

This yarn hangs in the window. It’s merino and silk with blue and pink streaks. When the sun is shining the light comes through the yarn and the fluffy bits glow and the silk reflects the light and the tighter spun areas are dark spirals that constrain the light, it is beautiful to me. I tried (I have about a million deleted pictures. Believe me. I tried.) to take a picture that shows the light shining through the yarn, but nothing worked. I would share it as my mind sees it if I could. I hope you enjoy this poor representation.

But the sun is shining today and the weekend is almost here.


I think seeing lace projects such as the Harlot’s snowdrop shawl are what really grabbed me when I first started knitting. I fully plan to knit that shawl one day. But not today, because today, I already have two lace projects on the needles and one carcass that was sacrificed to get me to this point. (I still have the dead shawl and leftover yarn. I plan on going back to it at some point. Probably with the Shoalwater pattern. Maybe if I have no content for a post on Friday I’ll dig it out to show.)

First we have the pink diamonds.

Pink Diamonds

I started knitting this… last summer? Yeah, it would have had to be ’06. It’s intended for a gift, but the little girl is 6 right now. I think I’ve got time. The yarn was bought from back when their website was that orange color and they had the non-merino laceweight wool. Although, I was just at their website and it looks like the lace isn’t merino anymore. I think I bought this in November of ’05. I don’t see the colorway up on their website anymore, but it’s called Little Lovely Fontonueva? I cannot tell you how enormous this thing is going to be when I use all 850 yards (maybe they were generous? Also, if you click for the bigger picture you’ll notice what’s blocked out there isn’t even all I have knitted. That’s just all that would fit on the little padding thing.). I also haven’t touched it in months. It might help me finish if I worked on it more often…

closeup of Pink Diamonds

And the other lace project, that was supposed to help me get over my problems (lack of willingness to even to touch it) with pink diamonds, is the branching out “scarf” that I’m knitting with my handspun. I have to admit, I have been working on it. And I do like touching it.

progress Branching Out

You can’t tell on the thumbnail, but if you click for the full version, you can see how it’s grown since I showed it pinned out. And honestly, it has been serving it’s purpose. I can look at the scarf and tell what row I need to knit next, so I never have to keep track on the notebook where I copied the chart. (That was an enormous part of my problem with pink diamonds. Sometimes I would forget to mark what row I was on and I’d put down the shawl and the next time I went to pick it up either I’d try to knit an old row again or I’d be totally lost as to what row to knit next.) And I’ve almost eliminated the need to look at the chart. I can tell when I need to start the decreases for the little diamond leaves and when I need to decrease to the left or right. I still screw up every once in a while and the row where you decrease the inside leaf has a yo, k, yo and I keep forgetting to knit that on stitch plain instead of increasing or decreasing it. But now I actually have some enthusiasm for the pink diamonds again.

And finally, just because this amuses me endlessly.

Yarn Donut

A YARN DONUT! *squoosh*


(I do this constantly. I do not know why it entertains me so.)