Monday, March 23, 2009

Busy as a bee

Well, sort of. After the insanity of finals week, we went to visit the boyfriend's parents. This resulted in lots of knitting time, luckily for me. I needed it. Thanks to the help of a fellow raveller, I was able to pick up the graduation dress without a math induced headache. She's challenged me to a friendly competition, and holy crap, she's already kicking my ass. She started the dress 2 weeks ago, and she's got more done than me already! She has everything but the lower half of the sleeves done on the upper half of the dress. She's already 3 inches into the skirt of the dress. Have I mentioned she's knitting it in the round?

It's a great challenge, because I started a new project out of anger against the dress. I've started the shaker cardigan from Rowan 25 and the Treasury of Rowan Knits book. I really should look through my own pattern books more often, I'd forgotten that I'd wanted to make the cardigan in the first place. I'd gotten some gorgeous silk/cashmere yarn (55/45) in a trade from a friend. It's argosy yarns, haiku 2 ply in their La Haina colorway. It's this gorgeous varigated blue that looks good on both sides of the fabric. Let me show you.

Can't tell which one is the right side or wrong side without having to look for the purl bumps. The first one is the right side. I'm debating making the cardigan reversible, it's just so darn pretty. I started it because I wanted to make something where I wasn't doing drastic changes to the pattern. Okay, okay, I made some changes to the pattern. I added the ribbing, and I'm doing it all in one needle size, 2.5mm. But those are all the changes I'm making, I swear! Except, I might make it 3/4th sleeve if I don't have enough yarn. If my usual lace yarn karma holds out, though, I'll have leftovers.

As you can see, the cardigan has distracted me from my graduation dress. So far, I have the front done.

I've made it so that I don't have as many ends to weave in, by incorporating the ends into the knitting. I like it, because there's less seams to sew and less ends to deal with later. I've started on panel 2 of the back.

I'm nearly at the 8 inches length required, so I pinned the back of the dress to the shoulder of my shirt to test the length. 8 inches barely covers my ass, so it looks like I'll be adding a bit of length. I know there's a second ruffle, but I don't trust ruffles. One good breeze and you're flashing the world.

As for other goodies, my goal this week is to get the etsy shop up and running. Expect to see more links because of it.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I live in a crazy town

And they have made me queen. For good reason.

So, in the course of three weeks, I have learned to spin, and gotten two spinning wheels. I think that might be the reason I have inherited the crown. Yeah, about that. I don't even know how to spin on a wheel. I've never even tried. I tried to convince the boyfriend I just wanted maybe 3 spindles so I could perfect my spinning technique. No, no, he eared a million billion brownie points and bought an antique spinning wheel.

Not that I want to sound ungrateful, but I don't feel worthy enough to spin on a wheel yet. While the person who taught me says I'm a good spinner - I'm still just a beginning spinner. You know, someone who's just been spinning for 2 weeks. Okay, now it's 3. I can spin alpaca, but wool is the devil and everyone has lied about wool being easy to spin. It's easy for me to spin something my cat threw up if I use wool. Hmmm, maybe I can make cat toys out of that horrid beginner's wool...

The reason I got the second wheel was that we couldn't agree how to fix up the antique wheel. The bulk of the research has been my responsibility, and I wanted to make it into a single drive, scotch-tensioned system. The wheel, from the looks of it, was originally a fine yarn spinning wheel judging from the number of hooks. Oh, and it was double drive, with a canadian tension bar. Guess who wanted to restore it to original condition? Not me. I understand the argument to return it to pristine state, but I'd be afraid to use it.

So, I trolled around on e-bay for parts and lo and behold - I found a second wheel for a terrific price. As in less than 50 US dollars good. The seller had it listed as decorative, and so the auction wasn't doing so hot. Thus I entered into nail bitting negotiations to buy this wheel. I'm not kidding about the nail biting part. I established the wheel important parts still worked - at this point I knew what I could repair and what I could repair from all the extensive research. A wobbly wheel, or a bad flyer were things completely out of my league. Replacing the drive band and switching from double drive to single drive? CAN DO. Thus I find myself the owner of a second wheel. I am so incredibly excited, because this is going to be my workhorse, my wheel that I can tell "Dance for me, my puppet" and do whatever else the hell I want with it.

Okay, I might deserve the title of queen.

So, I'm happily helping the boyfriend restore the antique to pristine original condition. We've got 2 parts ready for restaining already, and we've had it a week. Oh! It's the last week before finals. Shouldn't we be doing something other than studying? I mean, studying for class, not studying about spinning wheels and repairs. Heh.

Other happy news - I traded 3 skeins of RKS Night for 1 glorious skein of Argosy yarn. It's haiku, a 45/55 silk/cashmere blend and I have yarngasms every time I touch it. It's a new color for me, dyed in shades of blue, from the color of the Aegean Sea to midnight blue. I kinda sorta want to do something with feather & fan, because the colors SCREAM for gently waving patterns. Or maybe I'm the only one hearing it say that. It's a delightful process trying to find JUST the right pattern for it.... as I work on the graduation dress.

Shut up. I love the hectic pace of crazy town.
Welcome to Crazytown, where my friends have proclaimed me queen. Why did they do that you ask? For some reason, there's very little that I fear about knitting. Hmm, a dress in laceweight done in lace knitting written by vogue? Sounds great! I have very few inhibitions when it comes to knitting, and that sometimes ends disasteriously. Apparently, other people think this signifies a level of crazy that only the royalty can attain. Follow along with my escapades as I dive head first into all sorts of insane techniques and projects without much more than an "Oh! That looks pretty, I can make it!"

Those will probably be my famous last words.