Sunday, May 27, 2007

How do you know there's been a 4-year-old girl in the house?

The ceramic veggies that were in the bowl are now feeding the bunny!

Note: The quilt is my doll quilt made for me by my grandmother from flour sacks c. 1950.

Spinning with Matilda

I named my wheel after Matilda, the wife of William the Conqueror. This is my first wool spinning on her. The roving is the color Tourmaline from Crown Mountain Farms. It's pencil roving, but I'm predrafting down to a finer yarn. I'm having to learn to spin on my own. I read the books, but a video has been immensely helpful in helping me visualize the process--"Spinning Wool--Basics and Beyond" by Patsy Zawistoski. I am going to follow her directions to try to Navajo ply this to preserve the color changes.

OTN--Magic Stripes socks

FLAK KAL aran sweater--ready to start the back

Saturday, May 26, 2007

More FLAK Progress

The second saddle is finished. I'm not posting a picture--it looks just like the other one, which is a good thing, I think. I will try to sort out the instructions and start on the back sometime this weekend. Today, however, DGS is having a birthday party.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Given the subject of this post, the title should probably be in Gaelic instead of French, but I have no idea how to do that.

Finally, a saddle for the FLAK KAL sweater in the correct gauge! The yarn is still Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool in Violet Heather. I even used a new-for-me technique. The minicables on each edge are done without a cable needle using the "Slip and Switch" technique from this Knitty article. Yes, I know big cables can be done without cable needles as well, but just getting a grip on this very narrow knitted strap with tightly braided cables was enough without trying to hold firmly to stitches that were off-needle.

May everyone have a safe Memorial Day weekend!
School is out! Yeehah!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

In the Middle of Final Exams

Two more exams tomorrow, but through for today--graded, recorded, and exported. I'm intermittently cleaning up my classroom, trying to leave things in some sort of shape so that the waxing crew can move them into the hallway on Friday so that they can work.

Said goodbye to the seniors, except for the one class I have tomorrow. Some of these students were in a very special group that I had when they were sophomores. It's been wonderful seeing them grow up. Next year's seniors have several members that were in my last two-year-old Sunday School class. These are some of the joys of teaching in a small town.
In fact, I'm teaching in the same town in which I grew up in the same high school I attended.

I am both excited at the prospect of some time off to do family and fiber things and dreading all the housework things I need to do. My summer chores did not get done last summer due to health issues, and they have really mounted up. I have quite a list, mostly of the clean out and toss variety. I've decided to take one area a week and just be satisfied with getting as far as I can get before school starts in August.

On the fiber front--I have spun yarn on my wheel! (Her name is Matilda, after Matilda of Flanders, the wife of William the Conqueror. She herself was a descendant of Alfred the Great. Hey! I'm an English teacher after all. We'll just pretend that I don't know that spinning was on spindles in her day.) I had several samples of roving and a video. The singles are looking pretty good, although not as fine as I would like, but they are coming along. It did dawn on me after two spinning sessions that I was spinning, not with Corriedale or Merino, but with llama. I have not plied yet, but I did wind off the singles onto a niddy-noddy because I don't have extra bobbins. Some are coming in the mail.

I am on the second sock of the same pair--heel flap.

I have begun the Aran cable swatch again. It should be finished this evening, and if the gauge is right, the saddles will be next.

I also have quite a bit done on the Zimmermann sweater for my DGS. However, I have decided that it is going to be too closefitting. I am thinking of it as a swatch because I worked out a really nice stripe pattern that I am going to use. I ordered another skein of the camouflage yarn, which really is just an attractive color blend when knitted, not camouflagey at all, and I will start over promptly. Even if the skeins are not the same dyelot, it won't be noticed with the design I'm using. The pattern goes really fast. I am planning to go up a needle size so that it will be a little more drapey.

Review on the Knit Picks Options. I still love these needles, but I have had 2 cables which would not tighten; they just kept turning. The points worked fine on other cables. KP has been most courteous about sending out replacements. I was glad that I was at home when I discovered this instead of out some where with no backup cables.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Fie! Bitten by the Gauge Monster!

I faithfully swatched and washed as per instructions for the FLAK sweater. I had gone down to 5s from the specified 7s because I knit loosely. The gauge was perfect. Then I did the cable swatch. It looked OK, but didn't seem to have as much definition as the pictures on-line, even though I was using the same yarn. There was not specifically a gauge specified. However, when I was looking for how to make the calculations for my shoulder straps, I found that my center panel was much too wide, and when I measured the moss stitch on the end, my gauge was off significantly--17 stitches over 4 inches instead of 22. I guess I'll reknit the cable swatch on 4s.

Since I wasn't in the mood last night after my discovery, I, of course, started a new project. I've been promising myself to work through some EZ techniques this summer, so I cast on for a 4T sweater for my grandson for next winter. I'm using some LB WoolEase from stash. I'm going to combine the camouflage color with some ivory and some black. I'm just on the bottom ribbing, and I can't decide if I'm going to do the hawser sweater or the nalgar. I have about 9 inches to decide, so I can make up my mind when I get there.

OTN--FLAK sweater (sort of)
EZ sweater
Magic Stripes socks

Friday, May 11, 2007

End of School Madness--Knitting Sanity

The usual end-of-school frenzy is upon us--Advanced Placement tests, TAKS results coming in, pre-registration for next year, graduation plans, prom, awards ceremonies, who's who, a charity soccer game, and a lip sync contest. That's the last two weeks. Of course, I'm still teaching seven sections per day in the midst of this madness, and there are still final exams and book check-ins to go. I have developed the usual stress-related fever blisters, and I'm really grouchy--just ask my DH.
Knitting is a calming oasis in all of this. I find myself longing for a sock when I don't have one in hand although I'm not entirely sure about carrying around pointy sticks for the next two weeks.
I have completed the cable swatch for the FLAK KAL sweater.
It's a good thing I made it because it took me a little while to get the hang of the chart and the cables. Tonight I cast on and got about 2 inches done on the first saddle.

OTN--FLAK KAL sweater
Magic Stripes socks

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Socks Twisting in the Wind

I decided to try an outside shot to show the beauty of springtime and to get an accurate picture of the colors in my new socks. This is the Panhandle, and there is no such thing as a day without wind. Here's the sock data:

  • Regia Mini Ringel #5216--khaki, blue, soft green, white

  • Knitted toe down, 64 stitches

For some reason, I only picked up 17 stitches for the gusset. They are a little snug--I'll do more on the next pair. I absolutely love this colorway--I had picked it up because it was on sale online somewhere when I needed a few more dollars to get free shipping.

The sock blockers are from Holly at Knitting Haven.

OTN--more socks for me from LB Magic Stripes that I got cheaply at a Hancock's closing. Knitted on 2s for a quick project.

Swatching the cables for the FLAK KAL sweater. I'm using Elann Peruvian Highland Wool in Violet Heather. This will be my first project reading charts that include WS rows. I've already messed up, so it's a good thing I'm just swatching.