the drawing board

June 16, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Posted in 2010, Galleries, Knitting | 3 Comments

When my rate of posting begins to wane, you can best believe that all matters of creative things are happening behind the scenes…

the drawing board

Thought despite my busy-ness, for the life of me I can’t seem to see one project from muse to fruition without meandering off somewhere into knitting never-never-land…that place where the creative type within tends to stumble upon from time to time…where one project leads to another, and alas! a variation on a theme. And in my case in particular, the next thing I know…mittens multiply like bunnies and a melange of finishing techniques are tacked to a wall next to a colorful assortment of swatches, all illustrating the simple yet very important concept of yarn dominance.

*sigh*

I anxiously await a free day that I might sit about and catch up with my knitting basket, and otherwise entertain my various whims, as I am itching to line a pair of already soft mittens with even softer Kid Silk Haze(!) and rework a patten for my LYS that just didn’t sing to me the way I wish it would have on the first go-around.

p.s. I also seek to create a doppelganger, if anyone is privy, so that she could work my 9-5 while I stay at home and knit : )

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‘Ello! from the hills of New Hampshire

June 5, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Posted in 2010 | Leave a comment

I’m writing this from a So. New Hampshire sub-burb…so I’m not really in the hills…but I will be : )

Squam Art Fair

photo courtesy Ravelry.com

While it was truly a bummer that I couldn’t scrounge the monies to attend the workshops this year (with the amazing teachers and vendors lined-up!) but living within driving distance so that I can hang out at the art fair & ravelry party comes in as a very close second. Maybe I’ll see you there! I’ll be the one wearing the ‘EmilyElizabeth’ button : )

Let just hope this tornado warning doesn’t chock up to much…..

Gifts from Across the Pond

May 27, 2010 at 10:22 am | Posted in 2010, Knitting, swaps, Yarn | 3 Comments

A bit before the holiday season, I met Jane, a wonderful blogger who chronicles her life in London. After several emails back and forth, we decided to hold a little international yarn swap! Last week, I arrived home and look what was waiting for me at my work desk…

box of goodies

I am tickled pink by her yarn choices. Not too much of a traveler, I am rather stuck choosing amongst the wares of my local yarn shops…and never before have I seen such lovely skeins as these! This experience has definitely piqued my interest in ‘foreign’ yarns and I’ll be eagerly researching different mail-order stores for my future purchases.

wenslydale long wool

corriedale and black welsh mountain wool

The brown and cream-colored yarn are Wensleydale Longwool from the Sheep Shop in Yorkshire, and the crisp teal yarn is Organic Corriedale & Black Welsh Mountain wool from Blacker Designs. My mind is reeling with ideas of what I’ll use them for. I’m a little preoccupied with designing mittens currently, and have an idea for the Corriedale, but I’m still looking for the perfect pattern for the Wensleydale. Perhaps stranding…or stripes!

So of course after I cracked open the box and gasped at the lovely assortment of yarn, I gathered them up and took a big sniff. Rather than smelling like sheep, as I would have expected, they smelled faintly of Earl Grey Tea. These are British yarns, you know : ) But really, haha, they shared a box with some chocolate goodies as well which included a bar of organic dark chocolate infused with Earl Grey, and a chocolate cube on a stick that you swirl in warm milk to make hot cocoa! Oh, and let’s not forget a set of adorable ceramic buttons.

So excited!

Thank you so much, Jane! I look forward to future swaps : )

little bits

May 19, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Posted in 2010, Knitting, Original Designs, stranding | 1 Comment
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It puts a damper on my blogging when most of my projects are those that can’t be shared in-progress… but just a little peek won’t hurt : )

Spring has definitely sprung, marked with terribly allergies that won’t subside. And while I do enjoy the warmth and outdoor activities associated with the upcoming seasons, it saddens me that I’ve had to pack away my knitted goods in exchange for shorts and tanks, that is, until next fall when wearing woolen caps and scarves are no longer socially inappropriate : ) And I’m not overly fond of cotton/flax/linen yarns, so summer knits don’t really invoke my enthusiasm. Eh, we all have our things. At any rate, I am going to take the next several months to play with some ideas for next fall. It’s just too bad that the yarn manufacturers don’t plan like clothing stores and provide their fall colorways months in advance!

a yarn to build a dream on

May 1, 2010 at 11:08 am | Posted in 2010, Original Designs, Yarn | Leave a comment

Last week I took a little trip to my LYS and finally dropped off my secret knitting. As a fledgling designer, there is absolutely no better feeling in the world than when someone (or several someones!) gushes over something that you’ve designed and knit, painstakingly, with your heart woven into each and every stitch. Even the horrendous dental work I had done that day was no match for the smile I wore from ear to ear all afternoon. Hmm, makes me wonder if yarn love is key in reversing the many years of negative memories associated with the dentist. Future experimentation needed : )

As soon as the pattern is tech-edited and available in-store/online…I will link and share my own personal photoshoot. Until then, it will have to remain a secret!

Also, despite my personal reserve before I even entered the store that I wouldn’t take new yarn for another pattern until I had finished what was going on at home, I left with this:

ivy brambles stash

The entire color-range of Ivy Brambles hand-dyed 2-ply Shetland for my personal designing pleasure. Stranded mittens, anyone?

I am treading on dangerous territory here…oh, and I could easily get used to this : )

The journey of a thousand miles…

April 27, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Posted in 2010, Elizabeth Zimmerman, Knitting, Reclaimed Yarn | Leave a comment

…begins with a single step.

pi-shawl

Inspired by Jared Flood’s rendition of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s pi- shawl, I set out with some of my own reclaimed yarn and a pair of trusty circulars and knit a stitch. Then another. Then another, and so forth! I managed to fly through the first 5 increases with ease and am currently on row 14 of the 576 stitch rounds where my ability to zip through this beast has begun its gradual and exponential retardation. I have used up only 1 575-yard puck of yarn, and with 3 more where that came from, I have plenty to go around and haven’t a worry that I won’t make it to the 7th increase. I may have to increase to a 32″ circular as it’s becoming cumbersome to keep pushing and pulling 576 stitches along a 24″ line of cord. I hope to delay that until the next increase round, however that is a whole 82 rows (and a little over 47 thousand stitches!) into the future. We’ll see how long my hands can have at it.

center close-up

Despite the ease of construction and simplicity of design, not an ounce of beauty is spared this shawl. More over, what keeps me most in awe is that what began as a man’s large sweater–most definitely machine knit, what, with all those perfect little knit stitches!–will soon become a blanket, lovingly knit to adorn my couch or bed…or more realistically…a gift to my cat of impeccable taste who believes all knits inevitably belong to her. I still need to decide on a border and finishing technique, but at the rate I’m going now, I’ll only be crossing that bridge sometime well into the next couple of weeks…and that’s not taking into account any other knits/projects I may get wrapped up in the meanwhile.

Until then, I’ll be kicking back and knitting rounds and rounds of stockinette while watching old episodes of LOST in anticipation of the series finale. Mindless knitting and re-runs are a perfect marriage : )

the possibilities…

April 17, 2010 at 8:16 am | Posted in 2010, Knitting, Reclaimed Yarn | Leave a comment

this is going to be a good weekend : )

possibilities

My new hobby

April 13, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Posted in 2010, Knitting, Reclaimed Yarn | Leave a comment

Between the weather being as gorgeous as it was and the various errands I had planned, I wasn’t able to budget as much knitting into my weekend as I hoped, which is sad considering my “secret project” has been busy burning a hole clean through my knitting sack. I was able to spend a few hours on Sunday night deciding how I wanted to finish it, but of course that was ripped out, twice. I’m impatiently waiting for when I can have a mini-photo shoot before shipping it off to my LYS where it will live and where the pattern will then be available for purchase. (My impatience is partially influenced by my sheer excitement : ).

Despite not having much to share on the knitting front, I did acquire another thrift store find…a gorgeous Shetland wool sweater in charcoal grey.

charcoal shetland wool

I also spent some time harvesting the wool of another sweater from last week’s pile. (I’ve been wondering lately what I find pleasure in more, ripping these things out or knitting them!) I did have quite a bit of trouble deconstructing this one, though, as it was designed with a deep v-neck flanked by a thick, folded cowl-like neck bank that was seamed in what I believe was 5 different ways. To boot, the shoulder seams were serged with a machine and needed to be removed from the sleeves entirely, just above the bust area. I didn’t loose much yardage in the process, but I have quickly learned what to look for in a potential yarn-harvesting sweater, and what to steer clear from. Then again, I’d probably still purchase a heavily cabled, button-up raglan cardigan with serged seams and a humongous cowl if it meant that it would yield some fine exotic yarn that would otherwise eat-up my entire weeks allowance if I were to purchase it as a specialty store. It’s all about the cost vs. rewards, my friends : )

burgundy icelandic wool

So, after three very thorough soaks and a day of drying, I was able to sit and admire my five billowy hanks of 2-ply Icelandic wool in a deep burgundy. Gorgeous. I haven’t weighed it all yet, but I’m anticipating the total yardage to be somewhere between 800 and 1000.

I need to start thinking of how I’m going to put all these skeins to use. But for now, they look quite pretty just sitting on a shelf. Useful and decorative…the perfect utilitarian craft!

I’m a process learner…

April 7, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Posted in 2010, Knitting, Original Designs, Reclaimed Yarn | 2 Comments

…euphemism for “I make a lot of mistakes,” particularly with my knitting.

This weekend, I finally completed half of my secret knitting project. I’m very pleased, although it did take 3 or 4 goes of it because my math skills are atrocious and I suffer a glitch to the logical portion of my brain that would otherwise allow me to retain mathematical concepts past my nose. (I can’t imagine that it’s of any benefit to me or my knitting/designing that the mere mention of the word ‘math’ or ‘number crunching’ makes my ears hot and eyes go a little blurry. Ho-hum!). So, in the spirit of consistency, I cast on for the second portion. Twice. And then a third time… ; )

Besides the above mentioned, I haven’t cast-on anything new, although I do have quite a few items in my queue. These are among the top of my list:

February Lady by Pamela Wynne
Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Pi-Shawl from Knitter’s Almanac

Raspberry Cascade 200
Cakes upon cakes of Raspberry Cascade 200…
I have so much of this left over from a few months ago and I think it would look perfect knit up into the February Lady.

future pi-shawl
Heather Grey Lamb’s Wool.
2000 yards to go round-and-round. Enough said : )

Hopefully I’ll have some time soon to get one of these cast-on. Though, this
thing “time” has been a hot commodity lately. I’ve been trying my best to split it equally among knitting, designing, and now yarn reclaiming…but I feel rather unsuccessful. (Of course there’s also the dinner cooking, lunch packing, and a daily cat de-fur-ing of the house now that the warm weather is turning…but who’s counting??) Does any one else out there crave a handful-more hours in the day? I feel that if we tack just two more onto the evening…or more reasonably, if I could learn to sleep less (ha!) maybe I would have something more to show for it.

But then again, if my math is poor on typical sleep. *snicker*

Twice Loved

April 5, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Posted in 2010, Knitting, Reclaimed Yarn | 1 Comment

Having no realistic expectations of winning big on the lottery anytime soon, I’ve had to become frugal and creative with regard to acquiring yarn ; )

yarn spaghetti

Back story: A couple of weekends ago, I discovered a pile of hand-spun yarn at a LYS by a local woman who reclaims cashmere sweaters she finds on consignment. I thought it was a brilliant idea and, happy to support such an ecologically savvy endeavor, began to gather a handful of skeins. That was just before my enthusiasm hit a brick wall. Apparently there is quite the inflation on recycled goods these days…. So, feeling inspired, green, and rather ambitious, I took a trip to the local Salvation Army and scoured the sweater racks myself for several hours on Saturday morning hoping to find a sweater or two that I could try my hand at ‘reclaiming’.

I left with 9 sweaters of varying woolen goodness, all for under $34. Quite the steal, if I do say so myself, considering the first sweater I unraveled is easily worth 70+ in yarn if you were to purchase it at a specialty store.

Of all the wools, I am most excited about the heather gray lambs wool and sapphire Shetland wool. My mind is reeling with ideas of what they will be knit into : ). I’ll debut the rest as I unwind them.

2000 yds of heather wool

sapphire Shetland

As far as the actual deconstruction in concerned, once you get past poking around with a seam ripper for tiny hem stitches, the rest is a matter of ripping, winding, washing and hanging (a process made exponentially easier by means of ball winder and yarn swift). The only truly difficult part has been waiting for the ‘new’ yarn to dry before winding it into useful little cakes! The process is tedious, no doubt, but nothing so outrageously time consuming that the time spent outweighs the collateral benefits of feeling thrifty and self-sufficient. In fact, I found the methodical ripping out of each row quite relaxing. It gave me time to dream up all the wonderful thing’s I’d be able to knit with my new wool.

If you need more any more convincing of just how satisfying reclaiming can be, I procured just under 2000 yards of heather grey fingering weight lambs wool for a modest $4.99. More than enough to make my own version of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Pi-Shawl.

This may just open up a whole new world for me.

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