Fiber Corner

Daily life of a knitting designer/publisher of handknitting patterns

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Doily Fever

Doily fever has taken hold around here. First it was Nieblings Lyra pattern. Still a doily pattern even though I'm using lace wt. yarn to make a shawl.

Then, it was the Birch Catkins Summer KAL on the Niebling Yahoo group. It's a small doily, so I decided to use thread. Here's my first weeks start.
I'm using #30 Cebelia and size 2mm needles. Used Emily Ocker's circular start and opted for two circs instead of dpn's. There's a rapid increase of sts in the first 10 rnds. Most of what you see is called Hex Mesh, a favorite stitch of Mr. Niebling. Some people hate it because it's worked with a double YO, but once you get a rhythm, it's not bad at all. Though, see those larger line of holes running between the two sets of needles. I stupidly used a double YO there and even though I pulled it as tight as I could, they're a different tension than the rest. RIP. Don't try to stop me, by the time you read this, it will already be done. Maybe my second try will be better because now that doily fever has hit, I'm not giving up.

There will be plenty of new doilies in the future, too. This book, newly reprinted by Lacis, arrived on Friday.
It contains many gorgeous Niebling designs. As soon as I saw it, I ordered two other doily books from Lacis. Yep, I've got the fever. Though, it may be in my genes. My mom has been telling me stories about the beautiful doilies in the parlor of her grandmothers house. And, the ones my great-grandmother made for my grandmother. Wish one of them would have been passed down to me, think how special it would be!

I recently discovered a long lost piece of my own handwork. Made a couple of years before I started knitting. It's called Hardanger and this was my first piece.
It's a type of embroidery and cut thread work. First all the embroidery is worked with pearl cotton and then areas of the fabric are cut and some of the threads are drawn out with the remaining ones being tightly wrapped.
No knitting projects to show, but I do have some handspun. First off, Wensleydale in Elektra dyed by Lisa. Despite my best efforts, this skein does not at all match the Jonquil skeins spun some time back. It's definitely heavier. Swatching will determine whether I'll be able to use it in the project or not. Lovely color, though!
And, I finished a spindling project! Always feels good when that happens. This is 596 yds of Merino/Silk spun from the ButterflyGirl Plumaria batt. It was spun on the spindle shown--pink Mother of Pearl, also from ButterflyGirl.
Originally, I had the intention of spinning sock yarn, but now I'm thinking it would be better suited for a shawl. It has that sort of crunchy silk feeling and seems like it will be nice and drapey. Am considering a Flower Basket shawl, or maybe Sivia's Norwegian Woods. Other suggestions will be happily entertained.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What a Week

Last week was one for the record books. We started off Sunday, 6/8, with flooding rains. Received nearly 5". Unusual, but we've dealt with that much before.

More unusual, was waking up in the wee hours of Wednesday, 6/11, and hearing a strange sort of a cracking noise outside. People talking outside, at that hour, was kinda strange, too. So, I figured it was worth getting out of bed and looking out the window to see what was going on. Could not believe my eyes when I saw flames shooting into the sky--higher than the treetops.
The garage of the house two doors down and across the street went up in flames with both their vehicles inside. It was an incredible and scary sight! If you look in the upper right hand corner of the photo at the green house, you can see how their shutters were melted from the fire's heat. Luckily, no one was hurt and the fire didn't spread to their house.

Then on Thursday, 6/12, more storms were predicted for the area. Long about 3:30p, it started thundering and the rain started pouring down. The ground was so saturated from the previous heavy rain that it quickly started building up.

The elementary school across the street usually looks like this. They play soccer and there's a baseball diamond just to the right of this shot where they play little league games.
At about 6:30p, it looked like this.
The water was already up and over the curb. It poured down rain for 8 more hours! (accumulated to an additional 6") The streets started looking like rivers. And, the houses soon were surrounded with water.

The dirt and debris behind my car shows how high the water level got. You can generally park two cars in the driveway so it was way above the sidewalk.
I was really worried whether water would fill our basement. We were very, very lucky! When most of the neighbors had at least 6" of water and some had 10 feet (their entire basement filled!), we only ended up with less than an inch in one corner as a result of the storm sewer backing up. And, the garden, though soggy, was not under water.

The next block over has a huge pond covering all their backyards.
A couple of huge, probably 80 yr old trees were casualties as the ground around their roots was so saturated that it just couldn't hold them up.

The school yard looked like this. No soccer for awhile.
And, the playground submerged, too. Didn't stop the kids from playing in it. They put on their swimsuits and had a grand time.
None of this can compare, of course, to what is going on in Iowa. Or what happened to those houses down by the WI Dells when Lake Delton vanished and swept them along with it. But, we're still a little uneasy. We've had Fire...and Flood. What's next?...Pestilence?

The fibery delivery this week was a braid of merino from PigeonRoof Studios on Etsy. It's called Venetian.
Pretty colors, but it was so tightly braided when it arrived, that I feared it would get compacted. It did fit into quite a small package, so perhaps that's why she prepares them that way. Probably wouldn't matter if one was going to spin it right away, but it will have to wait it's turn around here so I quickly rebraided it.

And, what's this? a finished object to report! Nothing better for stress knitting than going around and around in circles on a sock so I picked up my second Blue Hawaii sock and finished it up.
Spindle spun in the fractal technique and knit with my basic sock recipe. Definitely fraternal twins. As Mel would say, the mismatched stripes make me a little twitchy. But, it was such a fun project from beginning to end, that's it's kind of sad to see it end.

Let's hope this week is a little calmer.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

In The Pink

It's official. The color pink has taken over my life. The above shot shows a little snippet of my pink border. Dianthus (commonly simply called pinks) and Cosmos. Other pink flowers included are: Delphinium, Petunia (regular and double), Primrose, Zinnia, Rose, Lavender, Alyssum, Snap Dragon, Vinca, Daisy (regular and African), Impatience, Foxglove, Hollyhock, Moss Rose, Baby's Breath, Dahlia and, of course, Pansy.

To expand out of my color comfort zone a little, I ordered this batt prepared by Abby Franquemont.
It was called Sunshine Sock so was expecting it to be slightly more yellow than this peachy color. The fiber content was listed as Superwash/Romney/Tussah. The batt was incredibly prepared. Very thoroughly blended and a delight to spin (aside from the color).
Worsted spun on my Ashford Joy, my 6 oz. turned out to yield 260 yds of 2 ply fingering weight yarn. The yarn will make nice socks, but will have to be overdyed first as I can't imagine spending knitting time staring at this color. Any ideas what color dye I should try?

Another arrival was my May batch of fiber from the Spunky Eclectic fiber club. Wasn't really what I was hoping for, especially after reading all the raving done by people on the Ravelry group. I feel like the only person on earth who hated it. Maybe it was just a bad batch and theirs are actually prettier, I don't know.
This photo does not accurately represent the colors. In real life it is lime green/Burgundy/Rust/Brown. Not really what any Rose Garden (the colorway name) I've ever seen looks like. Actually more like fall colors, sans the lime green. I'm going to stick with the club for one more month and if the next batch isn't more to my liking, I'll probably be a Spunky Club dropout. Now, if only Lisa would start a fiber club, I'd be assured of colors I'd love every month.

But, back to pink.

Through the deluge of rain we received last weekend, I picked up my Lyra and began knitting on it again. When starting it, I noticed that all the double decreases were charted as SK2P and since they were strong vertical lines, I changed them to S2SK. Then, as the rain pounded down (and the streets started flooding) and the patterns were developing, I failed to notice that some of the decreases finished off the top of leaves so would look better done with another decrease.
I was about 4 rows above this when I noticed. Knew I could just leave these as they were and keep a watch for the next batch of leaves, but also knew that wouldn't work for me. It was only 16 fixes and 4 rows. The above pic shows the centered double decrease (S2KP).
And, this pic show the fix. I simply dropped that stitch down, reworked the dec and then worked it back up. They're a little looser right there but when blocked won't be noticeable. And, I'm much happier with the look now, too--up to rnd 47.

Lots of pink fiber has been arriving. First up in some Apple Blossom roving from CopperPot Woolies.
It's Merino/Colonial/Tencel. Figured it would be a good sock blend, too.

Then, from Spunky Eclectic, some alpaca.
The colorway is called Pink Elephant. It is so soft and nice. Love it. I've taken to braiding all my fiber purchases as it's so much easier to store that way.

Finally, Kerry spotted this pink cloud fiber at her local shop and knew I had to have it.
Yes, I squealed like a 4 yr old when I saw it. Don't know what the fiber content is but it's very soft and stays that when when spun kinda thick and chunky.

That's all for now.