Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: What I Am Thankful For

1. My husband and my child. Without the two of them, my life would not be meaningful. Everything else comes second.

2. Being a nearly-healthy human. Okay, I could lose a few pounds and I could probably do a whole lot more yoga and eat more veggies. But after the summer we had, in and out of the hospital, I just want to be here and alive and with the people I love.

3. The chance to do what I love for a living. My yarn business has had a few ups and downs since May, when I really started thinking about actually selling my own yarns. But considering how well I've done in an economy where lots of other people are having hard times and losing jobs, I really can't complain. I have wonderful customers to thank for that, many of whom have come back time after time and many of whom have been fantastic to communicate with and have been very patient and understanding.

4. Could we live in a better era? Barack Obama. The right to vote. The internets. Digial music. The public library system. Knitting as a hobby as well as a living. Communication. Enlightenment. Buddhism and yoga in America. Global economy and shopping locally. Etsy. Ravelry. Blogging. David Tennant as The Doctor. I love where I live, in both time and space.

...and maybe a few things I learned the hard way.

1. Don't smack the beast. If you make someone angry or defensive, stop pushing them. I know that I'm going to have to apologize for the rest of my life everywhere I go because I am crappy at being humble and "why why why" doesn't endear me to anybody. Sorry, everybody. And I don't hear subtext very well.

2. Nobody thinks the way that I do. With the notable exception of my husband. The downside to this is that we're constantly looking at each other wondering if we've both lost our minds. Or, if the rest of the world has. It has been brought up that maybe we should just find a remote cabin somewhere and hope that our child doesn't wind up as weird as we are.

3. I am not funny. I can't write funny no matter how badly I'd like to.

Okay, that's all.

Would a yarn sale help with the January blues? If so, I have some at the site.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snowpocalypse 2008

Or Snowmageddon. Either way, we've been stuck inside for a couple days now. Yesterday, I finished a ton of knitted gifts, today my bedroom got cleaned from top to bottom, including moving everything out of the closet to vacuum. At this point, if tomorrow doesn't ease up just a little (and I don't think it's going to) I'll either wind up dyeing every single ounce of raw fibre and yarn I own, or we'll risk life and limb to a.) go somewhere or b.) play outside and get some exercise. Our school has already called Uncle, and as far as I know I'm not getting any hours at Wil Sonoma.

Maybe these fun pics can distract you:

Coming soon...a finished child's garment in HMS. I can't knit enough of this stuff! Also keep an eye open for the aforementioned fibre - I have some undyed roving that is just begging to become Gorgon, Roy G Biv, Chocolate Cherry and Black Trillium.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Your Portland Local

I have a wonderful thing to tell you - my yarn is now available in a store other than my own!

Twisted over on 23rd and Broadway, owned by the lovely Emily and Shannon, placed an order a couple weeks back. I delivered it today, much to my relief. (It seems I cannot sit and knit peacefully when I have work to do.) Shannon seemed to enjoy it, and I hope her customers will as well. We shall see.

I dropped off some HMS, (oh this yarn is becoming my all-time favorite, it's so soft), Merilon Sock and Meriamboo sock. If you're local, and you go by Twisted, I'd love to hear what you think!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Another Etsy Treasury

Hurry, it will only be up until 1am, November 30th.

Etsy Treasury Vol. 2: Socks From Space

edited 12/4: of course, it's expired. it was fun, though. lots of really bright sock yarn!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Etsy Goodie Box Vol 1: Eggcelent

Why Wait For Etsy?

As much as I love Etsy and have lots of fun browsing and looking at other people's Treasuries, I really don't love stalking a website, waiting for "my turn" a whole lot more. So, I'm launching my own version, which will be equally fun for me, and involve a whole lot less poking around, calculating, stalking, wishing, and generally wasting time.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Got One!

An Etsy Treasury, that is.

For Knitters

Check it out!

(edited Nov 27th - sorry, this Treasury has expired.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Black Trillium Shop Samples

I've been busy knitting up samples of some of my base yarns - I want folks to be able to see how my dyeing turns out if they're curious before they purchase. Here's my all-time favorite so far:

That's a finished sock out of the Heavy Merino Sock, which I'm calling HMS for short. This yarn is something between a DK and sport weight yarn, so it works really well for socks and for garments. I want to sell it in 200g skeins so that folks can knit a smaller garment out of a single skein - which should cut down on alternating skeins and pooling. I think my favorite part about knitting with this yarn is that socks take half the time on US 3's when the yarn is nice and fat.

I called the colorway Princepessa, because, let's face it, that's fairly fru-fru pinky-purple. I threw in small bits of deep rose and indigo to add visual interest, and I love the way they made single stitches stand out here and there.

The next sample is knit from the very first skein of yarn I ever dyed - and my mother bought! I'm knitting socks for her because she doesn't knit her own socks, but first, let's take pictures.

The yarn is 100% Merino Superwash, called Merino Sock, and it has a lovely twist that plumps after dyeing in a way that makes the softest socks. I haven't ordered more of this base yarn in a while as I've been trying new things, but there are a few skeins left on the site. The colorway was called Veggies, which I love (although it needs more orange), but I don't think will be repeated as it isn't terribly sellable. I might do it for myself one of these days. The thing I really appreciated about knitting this up is that it showed me that kettle dyeing really is the way to go to avoid pooling.

The next sock sample I'd like to show you is Meriamboo Sock - a blend of 80% Superwash Merino and 20% Bamboo. I cannot tell you how excited I was to find a base yarn that excluded Nylon content along with the other two. There is still so much wool in this yarn that color can still get nice and dark even though the bamboo is there. At the same time, the bamboo is shiny and will mitigate the wool's tendency to felt under the heated, moisture-laden environment of the inside of a shoe. Not to mention that Bamboo has anti-microbial qualities.

This sock is knit from a smallish half-skein that was left after winding, so I dumped it in the pot and added green and black to see just how dark and saturated the color might get.

I still have Merino Piccolo Sock to knit up - one self-striping in Wicked Sweet, and one in a fantastic variegated plummy fuchsia called Willful. I also have a skein of the Merilon Sock to start, finally. I love this yarn, but so does everyone else, so it seemed smarter to post what I had. But seriously, a girl can try her own yarn once in a while, right?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Oh, Busy, Oh, Crazy

There can't be enough hours in the day for all the things I have gotten done in the last week. It all started Sunday, at a little barn in Granite Falls, tucked just off the highway.

I got me one of these.

The adjustable hand-winder, which is going to be my savior in a multitude of ways. It turns out that the folks at Fricke are a husband and wife team that hand make these winders, which means that I supported my local economy! They let me pick up my winder six days after I ordered it, bless their hearts.

Monday, I got down to business making some tools for Black Trillium. If you've been to the site, you know how bad the photography is, and don't think I don't know it as well. So I built a light box from scratch. It was fun, and I got to bust out my sewing machine. I also set up a dyeing stand that will help make space-dyeing a little less insane in an apartment kitchen.

Tuesday, I finished up some other sewing projects and then went down to a knitting group I'd been invited to show my hand-dyed yarn to. Oh yeah, and I had the pleasure of going to "work" (love Holiday retail jobs, eh) until late.

Finally, after spending time working on handknits for the site, and stitch markers, and everything but the yarn, today I finally got some dyeing time. I'm really excited about some of the new color combos that came out of today, and I hope I can get them all posted by the end of the week.

Now, since tomorrow is a school day for the bubba, I think that means I better get some sleep as well.

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Peanut Buttah & Pumpkins

Recipe time.

We wanted edible playdough today, so I looked 'round the internets to find a recipe. Guess what? 99% of the recipes I found call for milk, mostly powdered. For an art/cooking project? Has anybody tried eating that stuff lately, because what I remember from my own childhood is that powdered milk has more flavors in common with licking the outside of the animal than the sweet stuff from the udder. (Not that I get to ingest milk anymore - lactose is not my friend.)

So, experimentation time. Here's what we did:

crunchy peanut butter
brown rice flour

I warmed the honey and the peanut butter for easier mixing, then sprinkled in rice flour until the little guy liked the texture. This is obviously a very easy process, and doesn't need exact measurement. I wouldn't recommend using a peanut butter than already has sugar (you know who you are), or if you must then omit some or all of the honey. I'm also quite sure that cashew or almond butter would sub in well if peanuts are an issue.

* ~ As a health warning, if your child is under three, you might want to skip this recipe. It sounds fun, but you're more likely to have problems with both peanuts and honey if you're under three. ~ *

Last nights recipe actually included measurements. Well, most of the ingredients did. Pumpkins are undoubtedly my son's favorite part of Hallowe'en, so we buy them early and often. But then I have to cook them up, so I needed a creative way to use up a few things I had in the fridge (oh, that yogurt is still good, I promise). Here's the what-for's:

1 small pumpkin, baked, skinned and gutted
2 sticks butter, or 1 cup, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 cups AP flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cups plain yogurt
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

First, prepare the pumpkin. For me this means splitting the sucker down the middle, greasing a pan with a little olive oil, then throwing the pumpkin in the greased pan into the oven (at 350 degrees) until the skin starts to turn brown and the whole thing has give when pressed.

Second, prep the yogurt. Say what? If you've seen Alton Brown's Good Eats episode on recipes for lactose-free folks, you've seen him make yogurt cheese. The stuff is brilliant - it makes fantastic ice cream, "cream cheese" frosting, bagel schmear, or sour cream substitute. Here's a quick run-down of AB's recipe: scoop a cup or more of yogurt into a moistened multi-layer cheese cloth. Twist the cloth into a tight little bundle - the whey will start to release immediately and run out. You can either hand squeeze for a while, or you can weigh the bundle down with couple cans on top and inside a strainer. I just squoozed mine until I felt like enough whey had come out - this will drastically reduce the volume of the yogurt.

Okay, cake time.

Cream the sugars and butter together in a large bowl until the mixture is light and fluffy. As the butter/sugar mix creams, combine the flour, leavening, spices and salt and sift together. In another bowl combine the pumpkin, yogurt cheese, vanilla and eggs. If you think the wet mix is too thick, add the second cup of yogurt a little at a time, stopping when the wets resemble pancake batter. Alternate adding flour and pumpkin into the creamed butter and sugar. When everything is well mixed, it should be very fluffy and pale orange.

Butter and flour two loaf pans. Set the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the batter between the pans and bake an hour at 350 or until the cakes test for doneness.

Beware, this cake tried very hard to collapse on me right out of the oven. The crumb will be very moist and tender. Wait until the loaves fully cool to avoid total collapse.

I will probably revise this recipe to include more flour so that it has a little more structure. The tender, pudding-like texture was really yummy, but very unprofessional.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Projects Renewed

There have been some changes at Black Trillium recently, which seems a little strange because we only just started the site as a trio. We sat down and discussed our crazy lives and realized that maybe now was the most ideal time to be starting something. I walked away from the evening as the ongoing proprietor of the online shop, which was way more than I hoped for. I think we left the "joint venture" on a positive note, and I'm happy to say I've been able to post new things over the last few weeks. Dyeing solo is quite different than in a group - I'm still waiting to see if what I dye has appeal to a wider audience. If I'm still doing this about the same time next year, well, that will be something.

Just because I'm dyeing doesn't mean I've changed my knitting habits either. Startitis, I think that's the clinical term. Socks, blankets, laceweight cardigans and pullovers. Cowls, kid sweaters, other random knitted gifts. You name it, I probably have something on the needles to fit. But hey, I scored big time:

Noro decided they didn't have need to continue this colorway (182, I think), so Little Knits has it on the seriously cheap for a whole bag. I think I'm going to do my own version of one of the new Mason Dixon Knitting patterns. Noro for the dots, Cascade 220 in Jet for the background and border. If I take time to contemplate my own crazy, I might chicken out, so no self-reflection on this one.

Oh yeah, in other news, I started back working at the kitchen store. I know, silly me. Bills need'a payin'.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What Do You Smoke?

Okay, so we've been dyeing yarn for what, a month and a half? It was in the works long before that, but our first skein of yarn went up near the beginning of August. Well, over time and because we have solemnly sworn we will not hock our wares at our pal Jami's shop, we have formed our own little gathering afterward at a coffee shop 'round the corner. We're not the only ones who knit there - we've seen other groups gathered there before us, and we've heard tell of a group that outgrew the place and moved to the grocery store across the street.

At one of these gatherings, my dear friend Stef asked, and I quote:

"So, are you guys like drug dealers? You can't sample your own stuff?"

Okay, I think that's how she said it, but at any rate, you get the gist. And then I started thinking about why it is none of the three of us has jumped on knitting up our own sock yarn.

There have been many skeins in this process that we've all expressed a great deal of interest in. We've redyed several colorways that have sold because we liked them enough to want to knit socks with them. I carried around Sonrisa for days before I realized I should probably put it up on the site instead of hoarding it.

So why not? We could certainly benefit from having pictures of our finished yarn as socks or some such as "shop samples". All yarn stores do this sort of thing. I personally would love to wear some of the insanely bright things I've dyed. I don't care if you could see my feet from Jupiter - I love bright colors.

Again, I thought to myself in the shower, while doing dishes, and sitting there next to Stef and Em and Jess on Wednesday, why not?

Seriously? Well, actually it's not serious, it's rather silly.

I'm a 401(K)nit Stasher. I have more sock yarn than I need finished socks or than I could reasonably give away (finished socks). Okay, I'm not as well stashed as this nice lady, but give it time. If I am really jonesing to cast on another pair of socks, I can stash dive, or crawl through Ravelry and find something that inspires me. All of my stash makes me want to cast on - that's why I bought it - so often it's a matter of keeping myself from casting on like a crazy person.

Our sock yarn has a whole different feel to me. The creative process is in the dyeing so when a colorway finishes drying, that is a finished object to me. After that, it's up to someone else to take the baton and move the yarn through to the knit-up object phase. I wonder if it feels this way to yarn store owners? Or spinners? Or the folks herding and shearing the sheep?

Really, though, it's a matter of time until I succumb to some lovely skein or other. Our newest base yarn is just fantastic. I think it would compare to Lorna's Laces in plied texture and fineness, but smoother and tighter. It doesn't get all loopy like 100% merino as you dye and dry. When I have a chance, believe me, you'll see what I'm capable of. Vanilla socks, of course, but something fun color-wise. Clown vomit, maybe.

Just a couple more things...

Check out the widget on this sidebar. Usable only in Wordpress, but how totally cool anyway! Okay, so I'm considering switching to Wordpress and establishing my own domain name and this is just one more piece of motivation. If you're already powered by Wordpress, you can find the coding for the widget here. Brilliant.

Happy birthday, Em!

Sweet. A blogger who loves dictionaries. And the Harlot.

That's all. Carry on.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Yarn Harlot (W)rides Again

First, you should know, I have no idea what I plan to do with post. Mostly, I feel like writing.

A while back, I was fortunate enough to get an interview with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, which was posted here. Okay, so that site is run by my husband, Joe, and his business partner and good friend, Dan, and occasionally I feel like I should contribute to new content, as that helps keep the numbers running. A little bit like new blog posts, though I can't say that I'm very good at that on my own. Their site is a bit more of a geek site and a whole not-a-lot of the knittery, so I tried to keep the interview about writerly, and geeky, stuff. It was fun. And terrifying.

She (the Yarn Harlot) is on tour again. Right now, as we speak, she's probably (smartly) getting some zzz's in a comfy Seattle hotel. The place she was to appear this evening, Third Place Books, is a top-rate independent used and new bookstore that has way more to it than just books and magazines. I mourn my lack of residence in my home town on nights like tonight, although if I were several years younger and unleveraged by a young child I would have made a bonsai trip up and back just to be there.

I have this wild idea that I might have a few more questions to ask the illustrious Harlot. Wisely, we haven't contacted her with such flights of fantasy because I have yet to read the latest book. I know, I'm a bad little fan. But if I were honest, I would have to admit that, English Literature near-degree not withstanding, I don't read much anymore. Knitting books are great - most of the words are about patterns or techniques - but not this most recent of YH endeavors. No, Free-Range Knitter is ". . . a sort of David Sedaris-like take on knitting--laugh-out-loud funny most of the time and poignantly reflective when it's not cracking you up." according to Library Journal. Essays. Oh crappers, I'd have to actually think while reading. Having at least some familiarity with YH's personal style I'm sure that means not only funny, but thoughtful, intelligent, conscious writing. Yup, too brainy for this momma.

Well, not really. I should give myself a tiny ounce of credit - I did used to read smart books. The list of things I read and absorbed at University is pithy, and I still own every bleeding tome. But that part of my life, and my brain, seem to be on hold for at present. I am present, but in a different way.

I don't know if this means I will try down the road a bit to read the book and then ask for an interview, or if I should just bag the idea altogether. The woman writes darn well on her own. And she would choose to fly over any other super power. How can you top that?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Betrayed by Sock Yarn

As happens every so often, I recently did a reorganization of my stash. It helps me get a clear picture of what holes I have in my stash, and what projects I bought yarn for that maybe I've forgotten about. I also get to play with color, which is fun and enlightening. Oh, and who doesn't love the manhandle a whole bunch of cushy, sweet-smelling wool?

I found out two things about myself in my last yarn reorg that I thought I'd share:

1. I am a fetishist. Can you see a common thread in those colorways above? The same can be seen in the bin where I keep my greens, blues and purples. I like particular color combos and tend not to deviate from them very widely. This is not good news for our dyeing.

2. I like pink. Wait, what? I've told people outright (Emily, I can hear that smirk all the way over here) that I hate pink. I used the word hate. That's a pretty strong word, right? Well, I stand contradicted.

If anyone would like to find out just how OCD I am about sock yarn and particular colorways, you can check out my stash on Ravelry. The whole thing should be up there, as I've found it to be an excellent dose-of-reality tool. Here's the link.

We've been dyeing away in anticipation of our Ravelry ads going up. Here's a sample of what we've come up with in the last week or so:

We've been working with a new wool and nylon blend sock yarn that is absolutely fabulous. Nicely plied, very soft, very little halo (unlike some of the other wool/nylons we've worked with) and takes dye like a sponge. I can't wait to see how it knits up.

Here's a bit of a laugh to end with, especially if you're a Trekkie.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Pile It On!

I would love for there to be a good time to do things like oh, start a business. But apparently, I get to test the waters of several pools all at once.

Black Trillium is getting noticed here and there. It seems we're dyeing as fast as we can, but the real work is in all the setup. I'm so thankful to have gotten the orders we've received thus far, and I'd love for us to keep moving forward.

I've also finally gotten an actual writing credit at my husband's website. Check out this review I wrote about Eagle Eye, Shia LaBeouf's new flick. I did a couple other interviews for the site a while back, and now I finally get an official credit for them!

Can you tell I'm not shy about self-promotion? I figure if people come back for more, then you're doing a good job and doing a good job dyeing and writing is what I think is important.

OFFF is this weekend, and I think we'll be taking my mother and checking out the animals with my son, and the sock yarn for me. I'd love to have a booth there next year, and at Sock Summit 2009, if possible.

More yarn pr0n:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Ways of Movement

Five years ago, I moved from one coast to the other to live with my best friend while her husband went overseas. We kept her business going until we could sell it - a full week before she had her first child. Now, her second child is about to have her first birthday and the business we sold is officially closing its doors because the new(er) owner hasn't been able to make it work.

Four years ago, I had my own first child. Today, he had his first full day of mom-free preschool. He was excited to see me when I came to pick him up, but he wasn't phased that I hadn't been there for several hours.

Three years ago, we moved back to the coast we belong on. My husband and I moved our family back here without a job to come to or a home to live in, but we found work immediately and we're definitely happy to be settle in our community of fantastic liberals, knitters, and pirates.

Two years ago, I started working outside the home for the first time since I had my son. I have never been so happy in a job. This spring, I had to leave that job because everything had changed about being there. I still don't know if I want to go back to a similar job.

One year ago, plus a couple months, I started going to Knit Night at a fabulous little place I happened to find in an internet search for a yarn that I never got around to buying. Now, I'm quite pleased to say, several of us that have gotten to know each other through knitting together have decided to go out on our own and start dyeing yarn.

There is nothing constant, eh?

You can find us here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Gone, But Not Totally Forgotten

Whew, that was a long break. Oopsie.

It seems not to matter how much I stash and how many project I plan for, I always get distracted by the latest or coolest new thing. For example, the previous post on this recently unabandonned blog speaks of stashing a sweater's worth of Kauni EQ. (No, I will not trade you for some Wollmeise.) That lovely yarn has been in the bin for two months now, and nary a swatch to be seen. I have been looking at Zephyr Style's Juliet, however. And some Embossed Leaves socks. And the Apres Surf Hoodie (darn that Connie, always designing with those itty bitty yarns that I adore!). There are probably several others, but I shouldn't mention exactly how many.

Now wait, you say if you are a knitter in the know (nice, accidental alliteration). Embossed Leaves came out in '04, and Juliet isn't new either. New to me, dudes, new to me. I could blame my pals at Knit Night, because they are always up to something extremely addictive. Maybe it's the fiber fumes at the my LYS. Or maybe, I just don't have the ability or desire to self-direct.

Did I mention the Katrina Rib pullover? Or that my Ravelry queue is 78 items long?

Somebody stop me.

Monday, April 7, 2008

S C O R E ! ! !

This yarn has become almost as hard to get as Wollmeise or non-sexist Disney movie. But there it was, newly arrived, when I stopped in to Knit Purl for the first time in months. We're having a bit of a rough day here at Chez Dils, what with my husband's job ending out of the blue and all, so a little retail therapy was in order. Ill advised, maybe. Good for the soul, definitely.

My plan for the yarn is the obvious: the Kauni cardigan of Yarn Harlot fame. Although I really like how all the geometric versions have turned out, and with Ravelry perusing the permutations is quite educational, I am not squarishly inclined. The Damask is more up my alley, and knowing this I long ago went about charting the design. Check out this photo from a fellow Raveler - she's my inspiration.

That very small part of me that isn't very good and sometimes does twisted and uncool things has contemplated posting a Microsoft Excel file of the Damask chart I made. I wonder how fast Dale of Norway could get a Cease and Desist letter into my mailbox? But that is just evil of me, isn't it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

At Least The Tracker Knows

'Cause the USPS just flubbed my latest yarn order.

Most of the time, I buy yarn two places: my LYS when I really need a fix or want to get larger quantities of something basic, and a variety of online sources. Whatever the varietal, the majority of online yarn stores (OYS's?) have the ability to let me see where my package is after the conduit has picked up the actual box. I find this a great source of comfort because I can watch as my package gets closer and closer, know all the time that a yarn fix is coming my way. There hasn't been a single hiccup thus far.

Today, my latest order went to Oregon City from Seattle. For those of you not familiar with Oregon geography, that package whizzed past my exit and headed about thirty miles further south. For the first time ever, the USPS tracker says "mis-shipped". Oi. Is it possible to give a big whistle and get those folks turned back around and headed out here with my yarn? We'll see what happens next.


In just over a week, my son and I board an airplane for the East Coast, with hub following a few days behind. Agenda: hang with BF and her munchkins, visit in-laws and various relatives, get a tan. April is another one of those months that always seems to pack in the to-do's and this year is the epitome of that rule. I have a new volunteer group to train for all month long, we spend a week and a half on vacation, then we move house on the final weekend. Did I mention the Harlot is coming to town on the 22nd and I've been putting together a group from the Bee?

So I'll see you all more in May, is what I think I'm saying.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Whe-yal. Wollmeise stalking at The Loopy Ewe was a total bust. All that perfectly good computer time wasted on hitting refresh every five minutes or so. Last time, I was bugged because the servers were too slow. This time, I'm bugged because the new dedicated server worked so well that even though I checked for the Sneak Up at 7:30 am to find nothing, I had totally missed out by 7:40 am. Arg. Maybe I should try stalking Blue Moon instead.


Morrigan, my obsession. (Do N.O.T. google "Morrigan", you will not find a knitting pattern.) You're driving me bats. I want very badly to knit you up, but your requested yarn it just not my cuppa. Rowan Calmer? My skin may not enjoy a direct association with wool, but my pocketbook has a much more powerful aversion to bankruptcy. (Go do the math - the smallest size of this pattern calls for 2000 yds of Calmer. That small a sweater wouldn't fit my right thigh.) Even in Cotton Fleece, you're still a tad painful.

But wait, there might be an answer.

Morrigan, will you let me try a smaller yarn? A lighter, though less skin-friendly, (and much cheaper) yarn? Delphinium, perhaps. Or Lazurite. The bounce and bloom of a tightly wound sport weight wool might just do the trick.

Hey, is that a leftover ball of Telemark in Delphinium loitering in my stash waiting to be swatched?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

petme, smellme, loveme

My lazy arse can't think of a good reason to post, and now that Ravelry keeps track of my stash and projects, my blog has lost it's form and function. However, as this week there is a new Sneak Up of Wollmeise happening, maybe it's time to get my little problem out in the open. You see, I have joined the bandwagon.

If you dumped my whole stash in the middle of the living room floor for a good look, you would notice several things:

1. That is a LOT of sock yarn.
2. Do you like bright colors, or what?
3. Hey, what's this...

"This" would be 4 skeins of Wollmeise's hand-dyed loveliness. I don't have more than two skeins of any other dyer (that's a lie, she has 4+ full skeins of DIC Smooshy). More than quantity, though (which isn't totally out of control. Y.e.t.) the glorious colors of this highly popular yarn peek right out of the mess in the middle of the room to say "hiya, petme, smellme, loveme". Srsly, I've heard them do it.

Sheri, the most benevolent enabler ever, has done us all a favor and fed the obsession with a little light perspective (Ego, knockitoff) in her latest Loopy Limelight, seen here.

I, for one, will be doing a lot of laptop time this week scouting for that new shipment of Wollmeise. It will go very, very fast. Not that I need more. But hey, what's an addiction without a little irrationality?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Grape Gonzo

Whah! Done. Finito. Yay!

I finally finished the Pi Are Square shawl I started last year in February. Now I know the true meaning of boredom AND biting off more than I can chew.

For my next feat I will post with actual knitting, and actual pictures. There might even be an Amy Butler Sweet Life bag lurking in the background.

*Big Fat Grin*

Oh, yeah, almost forgot. I've only got two hibernating single socks in my WIP bin. I'm feeling very proud of my own self-control.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Still With The Not Knitting

Last year, BF and I set ourselves up on Etsy and promptly did nada with our storefront. Okay, so she was busy having a new baby and I was at work all the bloody time. We posted 3 items, and didn't really check back. Until now.

I had forgotten how hard it is to design jewelry! Satisfying work, but much more about the aesthetic than knitting socks usually is. As my primary material of choice are Delica Seed beads, and I have no real training, I probably have more trouble because of my lack of experience than because of anything else.

The above photo was taken toward the end of attempting to get flattering photos that showcased the color and also the sparkle of the beads. Arg. I think I took in the neighborhood of 50 photos with a wide variety of arrangements and came up with five or six usable shots. I think I've heard that this is par for the course. Drat.

So, I may or may not be putting up new items in our humble little shop. I am trying, and I have some apparrel ready to be photographed and posted, but I think the jewelry end will be slow going. I love making shiny things, but I just don't think I'm very adept as of yet.

Oh yeah, and the DIC Shrug is blocking and waiting for seaming and edging. Woot! Photos to come. Of me. Wearing something I made. That isn't a sock. Woot?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

So - Where's the Knitting?

As you might notice, that isn't knitting. I'm busy learning something the hard way yet again. I'm teaching myself to use the sewing machine my BF's mom let me borrow, and that needle case is my third project.

As usual, there is shocking lack of patterns, which means my corners stink. But I'm gaining experience quite quickly. I think my next endeavor might be a skirt from a book I saw at Powell's: Sew What!.

Aside from the sewing machine marathon of last night (I finished putting together a log cabin quilt top, hemmed some fabric for napkins, and you've seen the needle holder) there has been actual knitting as well. Cast-on-itis, probably. I was feeling pretty good about having a good clear-out - giving my single socks mates, getting somewhere on those blankets, the shawl and the sweater. And then some well-intentioned stashing got all out of hand. View the carnage:

The DIC Shrug.

Endpaper Mitts in Noro Kureyon Sock.

And various and sundry other bits. Oi.

So - what's up with you?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Log Cabin Blues, Indeed

It seems that my choice of names for my latest (and belated) Log Cabin project was more apt that previously expected. In setting up Excel to help me chart my colors and arrange a final pattern for the various squares, I inadvertently figured out a way to calculate precisely how much progress I'd made on the blanket. Being all for precision and perfection, I went ahead and did the math.

Conclusion? I have just now crossed the halfway mark. Gah.

Happy discoveries of the day: a Loopy Ewe group on Ravelry, and a DIC Shrug that only requires 2 skeins of Classy. I'm thinking "Into the Mystic" is my color of choice for that last one.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Not All Business

It seems that while I was away, racking my brain for a topic that could be somewhat interesting to write about and read, I missed a couple comments by Quail Hill and Yarnhog! Sorry ladies. If anyone is still reading. I guess when we changed our email setup here at home (and server, and internet provider, though sadly not hardware) I didn't get things quite sorted with Google and Blogger. Whoops.

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Ravelry, wonder that it is, has served to show me that I have way too many projects "in progress". Well, hibernating, really. My commitment since for the last few weeks has been to get some of the single socks into pairs and possibly finish off that blue log cabin disaster in time for Mother's Day. The Pi Are Square shawl is still wallowing, but I'm 3/4 done with the border. Just a little at a time is all I can handle, I swear. The things that seem to be easiest to get finished are the things that don't take a year or more to reach FO status. It must be some reverse law of physics; I think the Yarn Harlot said something like "projects that aren't finished stay unfinished". My PRS shawl must be a test case.

Just in time to fill my WIP queue, Spring '08 IK arrived last week in my hot little hand. Just love getting good mail, don't you? I'm totally loving about six different patterns, but most especially the
Flutter Sleeve. I was thinking it might make good use of something with a little linen drape, and I've been dieing to try out Knit Picks' CotLin. I know, somewhat cheap on my part, and I could make all sorts of justifications about buying Knit Picks and staying within budget. However, the honest fact is that I actually do want to try out that yarn.

(was that too self-conscious?)

The other thing I've been a little obsessed about starting are Eunny Jang's
Endpaper Mitts. After my little experience with the Celtic Spiral Socks (a bit bumpy, knit too tight) I think I'm ready to try something else. Which means I've finally found a use for a skein of Kureyon Sock yarn. Let me just qualify this with the fact that I was super excited the minute I heard such a thing was coming out. The very next minute (the one in which I discovered it wasn't superwash) I was totally bummed out. My feet could felt cotton, for booger's sake. But I've been biding my time, knowing an opportunity would present at some juncture. I think they might resemble the color changes of the Kauni geometric and the finished product with either be hideous or wonderful. I've been cruising photos of other Endpaper FO's on The Rav, and finding that really good contrasts make a more attractive FO doesn't get me down. I'm going to try anyway.

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So that's me for the end of V day. Hope you all had a great one. See you on Ravelry!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tangled Up In Blue

Free of deadline gift knitting, I've gone right back to my old flame - Socks. Okay, so I was checking out the lines on a Sunrise Circle Jacket pattern, knitting, ripping, editing to match gauge and bodily peculiarities. But that isn't cheating. I didn't spend more than a week on the sweater before I slagged back home to the Socks.

Above is my most recent attempt to reflavor vanilla. Koigu, baby. I'm totally in love, and it shows. I knit the entire first sock in 24 hours, and I've actually cast on the second instead of moving to the next yarn and letting the single snooze.

Strawberry Fields. Love them.

Schaefer Anne. A colorway I like to call Buffy. Yes, as in the Slayer.

Jade basketweave socks. Shibui sock yarn. Gack. I have 2 more skeins, and that's all I'm ever going to buy. It was like knitting with cheap unmercerized cotton, only not as good. The socks are pretty, though.

Jaywalker, second attempt. I cast on the larger number of stitches this time. Still no success. I'm inclined to stick to Vanilla for the time being.