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emmy [AT] curious-notions {dot} net
January 2023
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to ply or not to ply?

The trouble I go through for this blog. Thursday while I was Grey’s was on I futzed with the camera trying to take pictures. Good God Almighty, lemme tell you, some days it just isn’t worth the trouble. But I got into that obstinate mood where I was hide bound I was going to take pictures of this thing I’ve been working on and post about it. But it’s been getting dark so early (I hate DST, I’ve been an hour off twice now and I miss my sunlight) that I knew if I wanted to take pictures I’d have to go to this trouble anyways. Of course, now it’s Saturday, so I could have stopped and snapped the shots this morning since it was so sunny.

So this is it. Wanna see the fruits of my efforts?

I started off with that first picture. See how the lace is all crumbled and looks terrible? I wanted to show y’all what I see in my head, but to do that I needed to stretch out the lace. So I finally found my size 0 dpns and I looped the side stitches on them and pulled the lace apart. But that made it want to scrunch down. And I couldn’t hold the lace spread and snap the picture. I had the tripod, but 10 seconds wasn’t enough to pull everything back apart and make sure it was in position. I can’t tell you how many shots I deleted. Bear was ready to pin me down and pour water on my head by the time I found something dense and small enough to hold down the top and bottom of the lace. When I get really obstinate like this, I lose my vocab and I just start storming and gesturing.

But I finally got the above shot and I almost cried. The flash reflected of the wood and makes it kinda hard to see the lace. Ahh, but I didn’t give up.

That my friends is lace pinned out on a black fleece sweater. And even better is that the sweater itself held the thin metal sticks (you just shove the bottom ends into the fleece and then bunch the top and shove the top bits in) so I didn’t need my hands, especially with the weight on the lace fabric. So you guys can see the pattern. Realize that it’s really not aggressively blocked out, so it’s not nearly as pretty as it will be, but at least you can see it now.

So now we come to the other question. I started knitting this out of singles of the rambouillet fiber I have. But then I started spinning up a new batch on the spindle and I got better and the singles got thinner and I realized I could ply this new batch and still have yarn that’s thinner than the singles I’m using now. And I no longer know what to do. Because the original plan had been to knit this until it’s long enough for a scarf, then knit the wedding ring shawl edging on it. I still won’t be gaining familiarity with the border charts, but I’m already pretty sure I could knit this shawl. And that was the point of this exercise. And I have cashmere and silk in a gunmetal gray all ready to go for the real thing…

Well. Just to show the difference in my spinning

This isn’t terribly scientific, but that pictures is the single I’m currently knitting with. Notice the size against a US penny.

Same penny. Diff single. I realize that it’s really not fair when in one picture the single is pulled taut and in the other it’s curling all over the place. Did I mention I’d already spent 2 hours playing with these photos?

I meant to show how thick the plied yarn would be… *sighs* So probably I need to figure out if I want to continue with my little scarf idea or just call that a swatch and knit the scarf idea with the plied variety or… ya know, I’m still spinning the Celebration Shetland laceweight on the wheel… And I’m kinda dying for a hat knit with some cozy thick singles… I knit a hat for Bear and my brother and my ears are getting cold in the winter weather that’s been slowly descending on the Northeast. Of course, there’s still the alpaca experiment and Bear said we could try to figure out a contraption so that I can comb inside in the winter… Oh… and did I tell you about the ~4lbs of scoured Romney locks I scored? I’ll find the website later if someone cares. It’s gorgeous.

I have way too many things I want to do. Might have something to do with avoiding the homework I have to get done. *sighs* Back to work for me.

Creatively speaking

It always seems to me that in writing/knitting/spinning/probably-any-creative-effort, there are always many many ideas that occur to the creator. Stories and pictures and thoughts and dreams spark characters and plots and visions of lace and cascades of color and textures. But usually the ideas come when we are already busy trying to make some previous vision into a reality. So we try to capture the idea by writing something down or maybe creating something small and quick with the idea that later we’ll come back to the tangible thing we created and be able to recapture the nebulous spark. But I’ve found, despite years of writing down little bits of characters and plots and now taking pictures and writing little ideas of combinations of fiber and pattern that rarely does the spark get captured. Later more often that not turns into never and the best we can hope for is that those little notes and pictures and samples and bits will strike a new spark. Not that characteristic, turning point, color, fiber, fabric, or combination, but ah, this one will work.

I’m currently trying to breathe some spark into a few ideas. A story, some lace, some color, a bitty sweater. It makes it difficult to come by and write and document when things are so nebulous and I don’t share the writing or work efforts on this blog. But I’ll share some pictures and I’ll be by to share once I see some light.


I love this picture. The mornings were spent in my fiance’s mother’s living room, enjoying the roses, tea, quiet, and knitting (or spinning) . And this picture gives me a feeling of peace. Strange, because I’m not sure I was feeling peaceful at the time.

pink lily

One of my favorite lilies. We have a few of them outside the kitchen and on the other side of the house.

june fotm

June FOTM from Spunky. I probably won’t spin it for a while. The colors just aren’t talkin to me.

little experiments (picture heavy post)

So Bear and I finally finally finally bought a new camera.

new camera

Not that we really needed one, but we’ve been talking about buying a digital SLR for almost a year now. Bear and I have a tendency to do that. Anything above $100 usually takes months of talking and research and looking and talking and walking away and then starting over again. Actually, the number of months are pretty proportional to the amount spent. $200, is about two months. $300, three months. etc. The camera took longer because we really didn’t need it. I’d taken some classes back in high school and while point and shoot cameras are nice, I missed my manual. (I have it, but it sits gathering dust because I can’t stand buying film and having to have it processed). I’m super happy with the camera we got. Wanna see some pictures?

First I wandered around our neighborhood.

rose bush

Roses really were popular.

single rose

I wonder if the neighbors have as much trouble with the school kids picking their flowers and killing their flowers as we do.

But then I went inside for some real tests (also, it was getting dark…)

Red Sox 1 finished

The red sock looks a little too orange on my screen, but the fact that this camera could take a picture of the sock is an improvement over the other one. My old little point and shoot Nikon would end up with red blurs with strong, indirect sunlight. And then I realized I’d completely forgotten about a certain project.

Haruha folded

I found it tangled with a bra (I have no idea) on the couch under two throw pillows. Tonight I will wash and block the silly thing so that I can mail it!

strawberry fields singles

This is the first bobbin of strawberry fields. I’m about… 2/3rds of the way through. I’m so excited to see how these colors end up matching with the other singles.

rambouillet singles

And finally, the Rambouillet singles that I’m going to use to start swatching for the Wedding Ring Shawl. I’m going to make it a long swatch and when I’m done just call it a scarf. I’ve taken no information down on these singles. I just kept spinning on it until I was ready to spin the strawberry fields. Then I stopped. I have enough singles to get started, but soon I’ll have to go back and spin more. I have plenty of fiber and since this is as thin as I can comfortably spin there shouldn’t be a problem matching these singles.

Some of the pictures were shot with the camera in point and shoot mode, most of them were shot with me playing with the settings and a few were with all the auto features turned off (or at least, as many as I could). I’m still learning all the settings on the camera, but I’m having so much fun it almost makes me want to go buy film and take out the old camera again. I don’t know why, but I do have a slight pull. Probably nostalgia.

Haruha and Nightshade

I’m completely and utterly enamored of the Haruha scarf. I realized I neglected in the last post to say where I got the pattern from. Go clicky the link. I was vastly amused when I realize that part of what enchants me is also enchanting Anne with the bee shawl she’s designing. I can’t get a good picture of the wavy columns on my scarf. I think I’ll pin it out this weekend to show. Actually, on the scarf, because there are two sets of “grass” or “leaves” or whatever this looks like you to, I get this middle “leaf” instead of a wavy column around the bees like Anne does. If you want to see what I’m talking about her on her blog, scroll down until you see 5th picture. See the bees in the middle and the wavy grass on the sides? See the column of wavy stitches next to the bees?

Haruha (lightly stretched)

See in that picture (please ignore the jeans, I snapped that picture in a hurry so I could try to show this) in the middle how there’s the open stitches? And I know you can’t see the sides, but you do get wavy stitches at the sides. It keeps me entertained while I’m knitting the scarf. Sometimes I’m easily amused.

Haruha bumps Haruha dips

Other things that I love about this scarf? I love the texture while it’s unblocked from the back and the front. I’m pretty sure I’m actually going to miss this scarf when it’s gone. But I have plans. I’m not letting myself think about them too hard, because once I’m finally done with this I’m not sure what’s going to be calling my name the loudest, but I do have plans with this stitch pattern for myself.

I also got the May Fiber of the Month from Spunky Eclectic (aka Boogie Knits aka Amy).


The colors appeal to me immensely. But the fiber is Coopworth, which is a bit too rough for next to sensitive skin wear. Which probably means socks, but the idea of not being able to wear these colors so that I can see them is kinda making me want to cry.

Bunched Nightshade

I have a ton of stuff to spin though, so I have time to think about it. I might just say to hell with it and make sock yarn anyway. I don’t wear shoes in the lab, so I’ll be able to see my socks then.

Spread Nightshade

Can y’all see how gorgeous those colors are? Maybe not. I’ve also been thinking about photos. As this post clearly shows, I’ve been pretty lazy in taking the photos, which means the photo quality kinda sucks. To fix this I’m thinking about making a lightbox and buying a tiny cheap tripod. Hopefully soon the quality of the photos around here should improve.