Friday, May 31, 2013

By the seashore

We spent our vacation in Portsmouth New Hampshire. D really wanted to go to some beaches. I did pack his swimming trunks but May in New England can still be chilly.

We found a wee beach to stop at and found these stacks of rocks quite mesmerizing. Anyone know anything about the phenomenon? Where and when did it come about? 

I can tell you it is much more difficult than you think it is. Here is my pathetic four rock stack.

We saw Cowboy Dave's camper there too. Apparently he carves walking sticks and is just like a camel, always humping to please. Yeah, I don't want to spent too much time thinking about what that means either.

He did give us a cheerful honk when we passed him later in the day. It is nice to see someone be friendly. I still think it should read YEE-HAW, that's how we spell it in my neck of the woods, which is to say the plains.

I'm not sure if D is ever happier than when he is next to the sea.

We drove farther down the coast on US 1 and found a little picnic area. We watched a boat race in trying to beat a quick moving storm. We were lucky enough to enjoy the downpour from under the pavilion roof.

We had a nice picnic lunch on North Hampton Beach after the storm. D was chilled but happy. (It was a two hoodie day.) I am ever so thankful that I brought my Holden shawl to wrap around my neck. I ended up being not quite as cold as D which is a big switch for us.

This guy is Vinnie he kept scaring off the other sea gulls in order to be the only seagull to get our crumbs. Vinnie is a bad bird. So I gave a piece of bread to Lennie who was perpetually shooed away. I always root for the underbird don't you know. Been that way since we lived on the farm. I an animal had a face only a mother could love; I was that mother.

Good news is that we did not get sunburned and the beaches were not crowded. Always look on the bright side of life!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I've been working on the lovely Lintilla for a bit now. Last weekend I thought I was done, mostly because I ran out of yarn.  I bound off and tried to live with having one pointy tip and one not pointy tip. I could only live with it for a couple of hours. I frogged back a tad and tried again. Man, that yarn runs out quickly when you don't want it to. I was able to achieve slightly longer not pointy tip. 

Gus wanted a little camera time too.

So I let it sit for a day, I think...pointy and not pointy really don't work for me. I am a very symmetrical person. I think I developed a twitch that day. I tried wrapping it a couple of ways but in the end it was too much for me.

So back into the frog pond with us. Rip it, rip it. I shortened the main portion by two rows. I hope it will be enough. So far, so good this time.

Anything not working out the way it is supposed to in your world right now?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

Today we attended a memorial service at our American Legion. It is always so humbling to think of the people who are no longer with us. The analogy was made that when you sign up for military service you're signing a blank check, to your government for up to and including your life. This really struck home for me. I am always so proud and thankful when D stands up at one of these services.

This past week D was thanked for his service twice. I was a proud Navy wife. His short career may not have been dangerous but it was needed and valued.

So if you know a vet thank them again sometime randomly. Maybe I will start carrying notes of thanks that I can place on autos. Every vet deserves a Thank You. And don't forget to buy a poppy either.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

On the way

Did I ever tell you how great my Hubby is? We took a road trip recently and he let me detour...

I have been to WEBS now. He even sat patiently while I roamed and roamed. He reports that they have comfortable chairs and interesting magazines. You know for the non-yarn inclined.

You will notice that I carefully took the picture so no one's license plate is revealed. I would not want to be the reason a fellow knitter was revealed on an unauthorized WEBS trip. Because you know there are so many husbands that read my blog trying to find just that data. D questions if I really tried to avoid taking a picture of the license plates. It is true I don't like pictures with plates in them for some reason.

I came to the conclusion that sheep and wool festivals have ruined me. In an ever so pleasant way but I am ruined nonetheless. I was under the mistaken belief that everything that was on their website I would be able to find at the physical store.  Don't worry I managed to find some lovely items to bring home.

I now have no excuses not to knit my hand spun since I found a wraps per inch measuring device. I found a lovely "pretty cheep" bag that will contain projects bigger than socks but smaller than sweaters, i.e. shawls. I will be trying out two Valley Yarns; Huntington for D in navy blue and Franklin for me in Kangaroo dyed color. I managed to wrestle a skein of madelinetosh sock into my ownership too. It was my first time seeing the sock yarn in person. I resisted the madelinetosh light section as I could not choose the colors for my Color Affection shawl.  Choosing the color combo is going to be more difficult than I thought. I may just need to call in Kisknit to help me.

My new button says "Life's too short for plain white socks." Which is totally true in my case. Occasionally D has to wear his plain socks but I'm still building his hand knit sock stash. The plain white ones can be worn when he is mowing the yard or something dangerous like that.

D was a tad disappointed in me since I bought carbon fiber knitting needles. You all know my love of wooden needles and I had stated in the past that carbon was not anything that I needed. Which would still be the case if the market held the $45 price tag that they started with. Knitter's Pride just came out with Karbonz at a much lower price. I know how to justify the worth of a tool but somethings are still good enough. I drive a Ford not a Ferrari. And so does my knitting.

I am itching to get some new things on the needles but first I am so close to finishing a shawlette. It would totally give me the stink eye if I did not work on it. So very close.

So while I may not be planning any trips to WEBS for my knitting group, I will be stalking their website for things I might like. Their Valley Yarns seem to be quite a bargain and many of the yarns may be discounted when you buy enough. Let's face it we all know I will buy enough.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Still spinning

I've filled another spindle with wool. While this one started out a bit thicker than my usual spinning, I quickly reverted to my normal spinning style. 

I spun up a quarter pound of Wensleydale Romney cross wool, pictured on the right below. It was my first time working with nice fluffy pin drafted fiber. 

Boy could I tell a difference with the staple length too. It took me just a bit of adjustment then I spun through it quite quickly, in about a week. The fluffiness of the fibers helped. I did not have to do much fiber preparation, just spin some yarn.

Once it was spun I let it sit for a week on the spindle to relax into itself. I wound it off on my handy dandy ball winder, and then held the two ends together and once again wound onto the ball winder. I have found this makes plying so much easier for me. I just need to pay attention to making sure the two plies align correctly.

When I plied from the outside and inside of a ball I was having some difficulty with one ply pulling a longer length and twisting back on itself. When I wind them together first the lengths are matched reasonably well.

Now my little ready to ply ball is resting and waiting for me to finish the job so I can call it yarn. I am looking around for an additional spinning tool, a wraps per inch tool. Yarn weight classification is based on how many wraps around a set size tool you can make. More wraps per inch means a finer yarn weight.

Currently I have not knit with any of my hand spun. Gus has hidden my two earliest efforts. (He tells me it was not him, but I don't believe him since he is the only other one in this house that likes to carry around yarn almost as much as me.) Anyway, part of the reason I've not knit any of my yarn is that I can not judge yarn weight very accurately. I can tell the difference between lace weight and bulky sure, but hand me fingering and sport weight without the yardage and needle recommendations attached and I am lost. Odds are that I can make socks out of both.

I also have the handicap of being primarily a sock knitter. I assume all yarn should be knit at a gauge that could stop a bullet. What do you mean a sweater should drape? Don't all your sweaters stand up in the closet like mine?

No really I am not that bad but I do tend to knit rather tight and lean toward preferring a tighter gauge than most. Knitting, it is all in the style, right?

Monday, May 20, 2013

It's what's on the inside that matters

I show you a lot of sock pictures. We all know how much I like showing off my socks but you know what we don't talk about? The inside of the sock once it has been...broken in.

So I give you inside the sock.

It is not all pretty stitches once they see some work.

Sometimes I put them on and have to take them right back off, because they develop lumps. Lumps of fiber that sit right under the ball of my foot. It may be better than walking on shards of glass; it is still a trial for my foot.  Who knew my foot could not handle wool?


It gets fuzzy in there doesn't it? Good thing I like fuzzy things. Most of the time I just let the inside felt. I figure it just makes it more cozy. Cozy is good, but I tell you it is just a tad embarrassing to have bits of brightly colored wool stuck between your toes at the doctor's office. 

Not too embarrassing that I don't wear my woolies. I am not one to let someone else's opinion get between me and warm feet. However I do worry how long the vacuum is going to last when it is tasked with sucking up all those toe bits of wool. I hope it lasts a long time because I don't want to reduce the yarn budget by new vacuum cost.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Lucky Socks

It is official Adriene sent me lucky sock yarn! I think they increased in luck once I knit them too.

As you will recall, Adriene and I swapped some knitterlyness last year. I was knitting the socks when we went to our first trivia night at the Legion. We won first place and a dollar on a lotto ticket.

Last night I thought "Adriene" might want to go for trivia again. We all know Adriene would rock trivia night.

We came in second by one point, but we won $19 in lotto tickets. Hmm I wonder what I could buy with it? D looks like he could use some fro-yo, don't ya think?

Adriene you want any special topping or a certain flavor in your honor? I am leaning towards salted caramel myself.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I'm thinking...

I would say that I cast on a new sock once I finished the Porcupine Socks, but I didn't. This sock was already on the needles because sometimes I just cast things on with abandon. 

I love it but I don't. I like stripey socks, especially ones that don't stripe in a perfectly straight line. You know something like these.

But if you will consider that first photo again you can see how the striping changes as you get closer to the needles. Instead of striping it is now pooling or flashing, as we knitters call it. Most of the time I like yarns that do that too, but in the same sock? Yikes.

So what to do? You know, other than cast on another sock and ignore the problem by knitting on something else. Because I'm already doing that don't ya know? (D will be getting another nice dark grey toe up plain sock sometime soon.)

I am mulling over ripping back to the cuff and finding a nice pattern that will mesh well with the colors. Oh maybe Mockery Socks would play nice with the patterning, yet keep it in line?

I'm still working on it, but don't worry about me I have plenty of other things here to keep my hands busy in the mean time.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Porcupine Socks

My porcupine socks are off my back and on my feet. As you know I knit a lot of socks, maybe not as many as some people but my feet are always tucked into something woolly. I love looking at sock patterns but don't seem to knit many of them. I decided this was the year to alter that trend.

Achilles HeAl by Lucia Light with my little 2x4 feet modifications. 

This pattern caught my attention because it is knit in a different way. The heel can be replaced without needing to reknit the whole foot again. I thought this could be a valuable technique to add to my skillset. Plus it makes a cool sole.

I did have trouble figuring out how the heel was made. I don't think it is the best method for me, but it is nice to know it can be done.

Plus it broke up the color pooling so nice. Pretty are they not?

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Socks that Rock, medium weight in the Drusilla colorway.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Spring Spinning

It seems this spring has not only attacked me with terrible allergies but also the spinning bug. When the temperature warms up I throw off my blankets and cuddling cats. This of course frees up the full range of my arms for spinning duty.

I clearly still have no idea what I am doing but I am having fun doing it. This yarn is still quite twisted. Is it possible that it is over spun and over plied? Or did it just not spend three months on my niddy noddy? Here is hoping a good bath will relax all the over crimp out of it.

Well it is less crimped but still much shorter than the older fiber on the left. I guess it is time to research what thwacking is and what it does for yarn. Plus it is fun to say, thwack.

See all that crimp? Do you think I am over compensating for my straight as a board hair with this yarn? Yeah do too.

And on the other side of the color rift, we have yowsa that is some bright yarn!

I wanted to wash my first and second spinning attempts, but I think Gus may have claimed them as his personal stash since I can not find them. Probably how he spends his day, gently patting the yarn and giggling his maniacal kitty laugh.