Archive for the 'Blue Bamboo' Category

Midweek odds and ends

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Shelda asked about the sock pattern I have in mind for the beaded socks.  Actually, this is a Heartstrings sock kit which I purchased from our mutual friend Carol H. a while back.  The pattern was included, and the colorway is “purple iris.”

Heartstrings sock kit

At first when I bought this kit from Carol, I didn’t think I’d make the pattern as written.  I just wasn’t too sure about the whole idea of beaded socks.  But the idea has sort of grown on me, so now I think I’ll go ahead and make them according to the pattern.

But first, I need to make myself another knitted dishcloth.  I bought this hemp yarn from Elann recently with just that purpose in mind, having heard that hemp is naturally bacteria-resistant.

hemp yarn

Now, I know that some people have lots of fun making different dishcloth patterns, but I myself just use the garden-variety, start-with-two-stitches-and-increase dishcloth pattern.  This may be because I only start knitting a dishcloth when I absolutely, positively need one, so I need to get it done as quickly as possible.

I have a week and a half before I go to the fiber retreat in Jefferson City, and it occurred to me recently that I had written on my registration that I would be putting Blue Bamboo in the gallery of student work.  Uh oh.  Guess I better pull it back out and work on it.  In typical fashion, I petered out while working on the sleeves.  I’m about two-thirds through the first one.

Blue Bamboo 2-27-07

Then, after completing the sleeves, I’ll put the leaf edging along the fronts.

Blue Bamboo swatch

Will I be able to finish it in time?  Only time will tell…. 

And, truly, I guess if I don’t, no doubt nothing tragic will occur. 

Woolly beast

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

I’ve been spinning something new the last week or so.  I started combing the naturally-colored grey Romney, and started spinning it on my wheel’s highest ratio, creating a soft-spun single with just enough twist to ply back on itself.

grey Romney on bobbin 

I was able to spin two full bobbins fairly quickly, with frequent breaks for combing more wool.  Then I plied the two soft singles together.

2-ply wool 11-7-06 

grey Romney 2-ply 

It’s hard to see in photos just how lovely this yarn is.  Soft and spun with just enough twist to really let the fiber breathe.  Sometimes I have a tendency to spin fibers with a bit too much twist, and the finished yarn ends up feeling a little “hard.”  Not so with this wool.  It also retains some lanolin, so the yarn has just a bit of that wonderful “sheepy” smell.  I know there are those who don’t enjoy that smell, but I for one really love it.  I don’t even mind the smell of raw wool, come to that.

The fleece itself has a range of grey color in it, and I decided early on not to obsess about keeping the color consistent.  You can see in the second photo how the color varies throughout the skein.  I’m operating on the assumption that it will all even out in the end.  And anyway, I am liking the way it looks.

I have approximately 4 pounds of this wool, so I’ll be spinning on this project for a while.

I’ve also been working on Blue Bamboo.  Here’s the finished leaf motif on the upper back.

Blue Bamboo leaf motif 

And I’ve started the first sleeve, from the top down, naturally.

Blue Bamboo sleeve 

My new mantra:  Must finish Blue Bamboo.  Must finish Blue Bamboo.

Bamboo report

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

I have been working away on Blue Bamboo and on her leaf motif on the upper back.  My progress thus far:

Blue Bamboo 10-18-06 

This would make me feel pretty good except for the fact that I’ve already decided to rip back the entire leaf motif once I get to the top of the chart, shown here:

blue bamboo chart 

I made a couple of mistakes, you see, which will forever haunt me unless I correct them.  Plus, this motif has been such a raving bitch an extraordinary challenge to chart that I’m still not sure if the chart is correct.  Therefore, I feel I must knit the thing at least once more to make certain of my charting.  Sigh.  Things would be sooo much simpler if I didn’t feel I had to follow my vision for this garment.

I’ve also had a renewal of interest in spinning, and have been working diligently away on the angora blend.

angora blend on bobbin 10-18-06

Can you see the progress?  Can you, can you?  Well, say that you can even if you can’t, OK?

I have a couple (har, har–yes, I know I can’t fool you) of fleeces upstairs that are calling my name now that the cold weather is arriving, and I can’t help but think it would be fun to spin some singles that would go a little more quickly than this laceweight angora nonsense.

Oh, and sis? I can’t believe that you’ve never done any stranded colorwork!  Are you holding one color in each hand or holding them both in your left hand?  (For those that might have wondered, Ellen and I both knit Continental, aka picking not throwing.)  The great thing about colorwork, among other things, is that you can feel entirely justified in picking up one or two skeins of some beautiful yarn, as long as you stick to about the same yarn weight with all your purchases.  “Well, I’ll just include this in my next multi-colored project,” you might think.  You understand, I’m speaking completely hypothetically.  I myself have never justified a yarn purchase in this manner.  I’m just helping the rest of you out, is all.  All part of the Knit Sisters package.

Bumpy stuff

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

I took the little skein of tufted yarn and knit up a little swatch last night, just to see how it would look when knitted.

The knit side:

tufted yarn knit side 

The purl side:

tufted yarn purl side 

It’s kinda cool-looking, I think, although for me it was really more fun to spin than it would be to knit with.  For that reason, I am going to offer this tufted yarn as one of the prizes in the Fall Challenge.  Someone should have lots of fun with this yarn, I hope.

In general, I think I lean more toward smooth yarns and the kind of detailed knitting one can do with them than the fuzzy, hairy, and otherwise bumpy novelty yarns.  With a couple of exceptions, of course.  I have a minor love affair with mohair, of which I have lots in my stash (and covet more, especially laceweight–are you listening, she-who-works at-her-LYS?) and I can see that angora is fast sucking me down as well.

I finally made it to the underarm division of Blue Bamboo and started the fronts.  I am knitting these simultaneously, since that ensures that they will both be the same length.

blue bamboo progress 10-10-06 

blue bamboo 10-10-06 

Uh….I’m starting to think I might not have this sweater done by Oct. 15 for the Challenge.  This is somewhat lowering, since I am the one who issued the challenge.

I’ve said it before but I don’t mind saying it again:  working really gets in the way of my knitting time.

Saturday’s post

Saturday, October 7th, 2006

I spun on the wool/angora blend last night while watching the two-hour season premiere of Battlestar Galactica.

wool/angora blend on bobbin 10-7-06

I realize that Ellen posted about this very show just the other day, and I have to admit that I had never watched a single episode.  But my sister-in-law Pam is a big fan, and she was at our house last night and wanted to watch the show.  So naturally we all watched it too.  Well.  This is a good show, folks, despite what Ellen may say.  (I suspect that she secretly really enjoys it, but is just too proud to admit it.  Because, when I spoke to her on the phone just before the show started and told her that we were about to watch the season premiere, she said in an extremely wistful voice, “You get the SciFi channel?”)  Now I’m hooked.  It helped that Pam was there and could fill me in on what had happened in the previous two seasons.

But back to the angora blend.  I’m spinning this pretty fine, so my progress isn’t too dramatic.  Plus I had to stop spinning and comb some more of the fiber.  I love this angora.

chocolate angora

Putting this picture up is a little like watching a TV cooking show:  nice enough in its own way, but there’s only so much a picture can convey.  You get the idea that it’s good food, but without the senses of smell and taste, true understanding is somewhat limited.  This angora is so, so soft you almost cannot feel it in your fingers.  You’ll just have to take my word for it, I guess.  (Or you could go right out and find some angora fiber of your own.)

And lest you think I have forgotten Blue Bamboo,

progress on blue bamboo 10-7-06

I have 18 inches done.  Knitting 21 inches straight of anything is pretty boring.  Enough to make you want to stick a pin in your eye.  But I am persevering.

Oh, and I washed the tufted yarn this morning.  I’m happy to report that the rayon ribbon did not immediately shrink up, but the yarn is still drying.  I’ll have a full report and a picture next week. 

True confessions

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

Ellen called me on Sunday night and gave me her account of the Boston Knit-Out, including the tale and description of the so-ugly-it’s-cool furry fuchsia yarn she managed to acquire.

“Oh my, that does sound dreadful!” I laughed.

Imagine my shame and horror, then, when I actually read her post yesterday and realized that that self-same so-ugly-it’s-cool furry fuchsia yarn (Katia Danubio Style) is a yarn that resides in my stash.  Not only does it reside there, but it resides there in several different colors.  Not only does it reside there in several different colors, I made a co-worker a scarf out of that yarn last Christmas.

Katia Danubio Style

I realize that anything I say in my own defense at this point will no doubt seem both slightly pathetic and self-serving, but I’m going to say it anyway.  I kind of like this yarn.  It’s a mostly wool fur yarn, which is rare, and I purchased it with the intention of using it in some felting projects.  (Which, no, I have not done yet.  There are many knitterly things I have not done yet.  That’s why I need to quit my day job and become a free-lance knitwear designer.  Oh sorry, that just kind of popped out.)

Aaanyhoo, Danubio Style knits up pretty nicely.  I was pretty pleased with the scarf.  It’s waaaay better than, say, the Fun Fur you get at Michael’s.  So there.

In other news, I am still working on those 21 inches of Blue Bamboo that come before the armhole shaping.  I’m into my third skein of yarn.  Will I have enough?  Only time will tell.  Stay tuned for further developments…

blue bamboo 9-26-06

The Suspense

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

I’ve been plugging away on Blue Bamboo.  She now looks like this:

blue bamboo progress 9-22-06 

I realize that this is virtually the same picture I offered on Wednesday.  Not much to be done about that; I have 21 inches to knit before starting the armhole shaping.  I’m 1/3 of the way there.  I’m starting to have my habitual and predictable fear that I will run out of yarn halfway through the second sleeve.  That’s why I knit–the suspense.

blue bamboo progress 9-22-06 

I started listening to The Echo by Minette Walters last night while knitting.  She is one of my favorite mystery writers–her books offer a little more psychological drama than your garden-variety mystery.  Check out The Scold’s Bridle if you have a chance.  Come to think of it, I need to reread that one myself.

A couple of Friday-after-a-long-week photos for you all.

Hugo, apparently seeing one of the cats doing something highly suspicious in the corner.  (Actually, when aren’t the cats doing something highly suspicious?)

Hugo 9-22-06 

And Rob, looking both goofy and handsome.  (It takes a truly gifted man to do that, I’ll tell you.)  That’s another one of his artworks hanging on the wall above the refrigerator.

Rob 9-22-06

Have a lovely and productive knitting/fiber weekend.


Wednesday, September 20th, 2006

I got all my hair cut off this week.  This was kind of a big deal, since my hair was pretty long.  My hairdresser, Linda, measured and said she cut off about 15 inches. 

Here I am, posing with my new haircut and new cardigan, Nicola.  My head feels light and free!!

Sarah's new haircut 

It was actually cool enough to wear Nicola today, which made me happy, even though I had to go to the doctor this morning because I’m just not kicking this cold.  It’s settled in my sinuses, and I’m now juiced up on antibiotics and Allegra.  Then I spent the afternoon in bed.

I did work on Blue Bamboo last night, and made some good progress, although I had to rip out both fronts after I realized that I had made a mistake on the edge stitches.  I had just been feeling pretty pleased with myself for my rapid progress; then I found my mistake.  Sheesh.  Pride goeth before a fall.

progress on blue bamboo

Here’s a detail:

blue bamboo detail 9-20-06

Barbara asked in the comments about how much experience I had before I started designing my own garments.  Weellll…that’s really hard to answer.  I was always one of those little kids who loved making things, and would come up with elaborate plans for things I was going to make (like little dolls and their clothes).  Often I didn’t get them made, but still!  I learned to sew and knit at a fairly young age, and so had early experience following other people’s patterns.

When you’re young, you know, you don’t have as much fear, and so it wasn’t long before I was branching out and making up my own patterns both for knitwear and sewn clothing.  I remember making my mother an original sweater when I was a teenager.  I also remember checking out the first Kaffe Fassett book from the library over and over, and seizing on that sort of freeform approach to making sweaters.  I made one sweater in that style, and looking back I can see that I made tons of mistakes, but I did have a lot of fun doing it.  I still have that sweater somewhere.  (I also remember some fairly spectacular disasters, mostly relating to sewn clothing.)

I guess I’ve just always been one of those people who wanted to know how to do things from scratch.  (Well, things relating to textiles.)  I’m rarely able to knit someone’s else’s design without changing it in some way, and a lot of times I just can’t find the “right” pattern that I see in my head.  So I have to make it up!  And from making up patterns to fit just me, it’s been a fairly small leap to expanding the size range.

I hope this answers your question a bit, Barbara!

Blue beginnings

Monday, September 18th, 2006

I sat down last night and sketched out Blue Bamboo.

Blue Bamboo sketch 

On this one I’m thinking ahead and deciding on a size range from the start.  I thought about things like armhole depth, shoulder width, and length for the whole size range.  (And I wrote them down, too!  You would think this would be self-apparent, but unfortunately it is often not so.  I have fallen victim to the “I’m sure I’ll remember that” syndrome more often than I like to admit.)

Remember the charts?

blue bamboo chart 

This is where I ended up.  It’s still not quite what I want it to be; I want the leaves on the back motif to be a bit longer and more bamboo-like, which naturally requires some re-charting.  But this is enough to be going on with.

And then I sat on the couch late at night and cast on!

blue bamboo beginnings 

The embryonic Blue Bamboo back. 

I’m planning on side vents, so I’ll be working the back and fronts separately for a few inches before joining in the round.  You didn’t actually think I’d be knitting this in pieces, did you?  Never!


P.S.  Ellen, I wore your silk shawl this morning when I walked the dog.  I felt simultaneously warm and glamorous!  Handknits can do that for a person.