Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

In which I trip over my tongue.....

There are so many ways that it is poignant for me to say that I cannot properly describe where or what I've been doing for the past week that has kept me from the blog. Some of those days were spent knitting like a mad woman. Some were spent in front of the wheel growling whenever humans came to close to me and Rose. Some were spent in the worst 'funk' I've been in in years (old man winter may need some help crossing the street but I, for one, am fighting an infantile urge to kick him) and the rest of that time was spent drooling over the abundant talent and generosity of this woman. If you can walk with me a minute, I'll show you sparkly delights, finished objects (I hear gasps and someone belts out a laugh), and the great apple of temptation into which I helplessly took a bite:
roving 065
You know how you stumble upon someone and you just instantly know them? You talk to them like you've known them forever and once they are there, you can't even remember what it was like before you knew them? That's how it has been in the many eons of years that may only factually be condensed into a couple that I've known the Spindling Scot. I mean, we're both two semi-lunatic women who live a lifestyle that some might argue is 'odd' and we both seem to share an addiction to fiber and we both like sparkly, beautiful, colorful treasures so it's no surprise I like her so much. Of course, as you can see from her blog, she kicks my arse in the fine spinning of sock yarn department. She also managed what some people (husbeasts are not supposed to be allowed opinions, are they?) were in total awe of - the moment in which I can find nothing AT ALL to say and just sit there making a sort of baby noise like, 'bluh de bluh de bluh'. There is no way to describe the honor I felt when she made me this triplet from some seriously treasured family heirlooms. The jet beads were her grandmother's, the amber her mother's and the quartz hers. roving 058 I fell out of my chair. Got back up - and promptly fell over again. The stitch markers are of the same and I was so taken with the beauty of the whole ensemble and story that I took it as a direct signal that it would be okay for me to drop what I was dutifully knitting for Thing 1 and IMMEDIATELY cast on the Spider Shawl I said I was going to make a while back. I mean, look at them - don't they look happy there? Judy, you rock! And I hope I don't creep you out by following you around like a puppy for the rest of our lives....

march custom orders 020I did manage to break from drooling over my treasures and get some spinning done. These beauties are from our 'Raven' batts and they are so, uh, sensual that I couldn't help purring when I ran my fingers across them. Sparkly, dark, mysterious- zis is very nize, no?

I finally finished the Lady of the Lake socks - though not in any form as I had meant them to be. I initially cast on for a design I was chewing on in my brain. Then, as many of you know, there were some attempts to organize a knit along of the Mama Monkey patterns in tribute to her generosity in her life. I chose her beautiful 'brigit' socks and then promptly injured myself. The brace is off (still have to sleep in it which I'm sure you can imagine is really enhancing married life)but while it was on it was impossible to knit cables. Ouch and the stuff looked like puked up spaghetti that the cat got a hold of. So, over 1/2 way through the first sock, I had to admit defeat and rip the sock again. I have suffered permanent trauma from this incident and will possibly proceed to despising cables for all eternity. Love how they look, don't want to knit them, though. As all the Mama Monkey patterns are no longer available, I couldn't just pick another one that didn't call for cabling. Here, I learned about the pitfalls of our techno-savvy age. Prior to the last few years, I would have printed out every pattern I liked and kept it in the gargantuan binders collecting dust on my shelf. With the birth of a knitters greatest glory (aka Ravelry), I had even less motivation to print all the patterns I liked and just stuck them in my queue and went on about my business. Oh, how I wish I had not done that, now. I love her work and wish, oh wish, I could have another chance to knit some of her designs. Lessons learned.

By now, I was in a real pickle and the yarn needed to be knit into something for at least one of the billionty sock KALs that I have signed up for in my late night perusing of said glory bank of knitterly possibility (aka the Ravelry forums). So, I thought about it a while. I couldn't really stomach not knitting anything for KAL as they had changed the focus and many people were making Mama Monkey socks in tribute to her. I had to find a solution I could live with and then it just came to me. A person who felt so strongly that her beautiful creations should be available to people, free of charge....hmmmm, how to honor her? I cast on for this sock:
lady of the lake sock 004
CO 56 sts
for 1 inch : k3, p1 all the way around
Separate 29 sts onto one needle (this is the front of the sock and is needle 1)
On each row, needle 1, knit 3, knit fishtail lace pattern, knit 3, then knit the sts on the other two needles.
on every fourth row, make a mock twist cable on the first and last 3 sts of needle one as follows: knit into last of three sts and leave yarn on needle. Knit the first two stitches and release the last stitch after that. This will create a twist that frames the fishtail lace pattern.

Knit at least 6 repeats of the fishtail lace (more if you want a longer cuff. About 1 inch before the heel, knit all stitches in the round for that inch (I find this helps the sock wear better as the lace rubbing against your shoe is very stressful for yarn).

Separate 28 sts onto one needle in the back and begin the heel:
k1, s1 to end
turn, purl all sts.
repeat these two steps until you have a 2.5+3 inch heel flap. Turn the heel:
K1, s1 for 17 sts
turn, s1, purl 5 sts, turn
sl1, k1, s1 for 6 sts, turn
*continue in this pattern until you have knit all the stitches on the heel.

Pick up the 15 side sts on the flap and re-join. Decrease a stitch on the two back needles at the ankle each round until you have 14 sts per needle. Continue knitting for the foot.

Toe: my favorite toe decrease is to k2tog on the bottom needles at the sides of the toes and ssk at the same place on the top needles every other row until you have 4 sts left on all the needles, then BO with kitchener stitch.

Peace, Mama Monkey, and thank you for always sharing your great talent!
roving 049
So, I'm knitting away on the shawl, figuring out what my next sock project will be, and trying to finish all those drowning WIP's in the basket and who should show up but this little delight? Sedona merino roving with a strand of white merino/nylon handspun two-ply sock yarn! I loved the way the white strand sort of melted the colors. roving 054 But, is anybody but me noticing the troubling trend wherein I don't seem to be able to spin JUST ONE skein of sock yarn? I seem to make....twins. Bother! I guess this means I have to keep one, at least (how to feign innocence when the evil smile is trying to spread across her face?).

I realized too late that I failed to mention when the drawing for the March 'Great Giveaway' would be. Heh! I'm surviving the winter that will not end - details are failing in importance for me at this point - yet, I realize that may not be the case for ya'll so I threw the dice and landed a 2 and a 1. Since I'm lazy, perpetually behind my schedule, and the two did land first, I'll draw a name on the 21st and post the winner of the skeinlet of lace. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!