Sunday, June 25, 2006

More Sock Yarn!

I've made another Etsy shop update--just a few things, as I'm off to the ATL on Wednesday. There's also a button in my sidebar now, so the shop is easily accessible to all.
Now that's about enough yarn-winding and photographing--must work on Birch!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Mexico vs. Argentina

Just in case you're ever thinking this is a good idea, let me tell you that it's not. If your significant other invites you to come along to watch the Mexico vs. Argentina World Cup game on a Saturday afternoon, in a Mexican restaurant, with a number of friends who happen to be Mexican, and you think, "Well, why not? I can bring my lace project and knit!" just stop right there. Take my word for it. Or else you'll find yourself, an hour later, crammed into a room full of screaming fans dressed in green, smushed in a corner while beer and tequila slosh all around you, thinking, "There's no WAY I can take out my precious Birch here!"
See how happy I look in this photo? That's only because I was smart enough to bring along some socks to work on, just in case it was too wild and crazy for Birch. It's a good thing too, I would have been bored silly without my socks! It was too crowded to see the gigantic TV from where I was, but I did gather from the deep depression the place sunk into that Mexico lost. Que triste.
As for Birch, she remained safely in my bag, and is coming along quite nicely, despite having missed out on all of those potential hours of knitting:
I guess I'm about a third done? I gotta tell you, I am totally addicted to this project. I can't stop knitting it, and I think it's because I know I'm going to love the shawl. It's green, it's pretty--what's not to love?
I dyed some more yarn this week--hopefully it will be up on Etsy soon, and then I'll be taking a week or so off to go visit the fam in Atlanta! Yay! But no worries, I'll be blogging from there, as I lounge poolside in my bikini with a couple of mini-dachshunds at my feet. What could be better?
And much, much thanks for everyone's response to the launching of my little Etsy shop! I am so excited that people actually bought yarn and I really hope everyone is enjoying it. This is a total work in progress, so any feedback would be appreciated. I'm experimenting with different weights of yarn, so we'll see what works out the best.
Hope everyone here in NYC is someplace cool and dry this weekend--I'm staying in to work on Birch!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Etsy Shop is Online!

OK, I finally posted to Etsy!
These guys are officially for sale at My New Yarnmonster Etsy Shop--except for one of them, which has already been purchased!!! SO exciting.
And what do you think came in the mail today? More yarn for dyeing, yum yum....

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Renegade Craft Gluttony

It's been a couple of days since I've blogged, but I promise I have been busy with nothing but crafting pursuits! Saturday was the 2nd annual Renegade Craft Fair in Williamsburg, and I have to agree with Veronique that I found way more to buy this year than last. Though there were items that I, too, had regretted not buying all year (like Michelle's cool "Steak is Wack" T-shirt!) and didn't happen to see this year, there was plenty of new stuff to catch my eye:

That's my loot. There was a cute "Love Forever" T-shirt, a polka-dot "Citizen Jane" T (these shirts were popular among our group, I think there will be 4 of us sporting them around town), a handmade skirt from Brooklyn General, a fabulous cabbage from My Paper Crane, some Spinning Bling, 3 hair bobby pins, and a vegan peppermint lip balm (I admit it, Veronique, I do love that cool and tingly feeling!).
This is the only photo I have from the day:
Much thanks, Michelle, for snapping a pic of me and my cabbage, hands down my fave purchase of the day.
There were also many others in attendance, including; Katie, Blogless Nancy, Sandra, Carrie, Steph, Lisa, Kaitlin, Virginia, and Marie. And baby MJ, who was just as sweet as she always is when I see her, provoking dangerous thoughts like, "Huh, babies are kinda cute...." Gotta nip that in the bud! Also ran into blogless pal Johanna, heading in the opposite direction. The day was much nicer than the expected 90 degrees, though it did get a little warm at the end, resulting in a much needed stop for food and beer. All in all, a pretty perfect day, aside from my VERY dusty feet!
And this is what I did today:
Six skeins of self striping sock yarn! They're all drying right now, but as soon as I get them skeined up and photographed, they're going on Etsy. Unless I get greedy and decide to keep them all for myself!
And an FO shot:
Yay, I finished my top-down merino-silk sweater! It took about 2 1/2 weeks, gave me a break from my recent Sock Obsession. I promise to take a modelling shot as soon as I can catch Mr. Monster in daylight hours.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Birch Beginnings

So it has finally happened. I've cast on for a real, grown-up lace project: Birch.

This is what one repeat looks like. A frothy green cloud. But I am convinced that it will turn into something beautiful, like everyone else's did. It had better; casting on 299 stitches ought to pay off in the end!
Much progress has been made on the merino/silk sweater:

Next time you see this puppy, it'll be done! It's a slightly roomy, very snuggly sweater. I guess I could have been more dramatic in the way of shaping, but I'm OK with it how it is.
Also made up some pincushions while sewing my skirt:

I got the idea from this post on Mary-Heather's blog, where I found this tutorial. And then I read her post from today and saw this. Is that crazy or what? Either we are psychically connected after getting back in touch with each other last week, or we both just have really excellent taste in pincushion fabric.
And last but not least, I took a trip to Kinokuniya Bookstore on Monday, and left with two beautiful Japanese crafting books:
One is clothing patterns for sewing, the other is sort of random accessories. And yes, they're in Japanese. And no, I don't read Japanese. But the illustrated directions seem really clear and simple, so I'm going to give it a try. If I can't seem to get myself to Japan, well, at least I can sew myself some cute Japanese clothes!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

It's a skirt!

I bought this fabric, oh, about a year ago on a trip to Brooklyn General with Nicole, and have finally made it into a skirt:

Now, we all know I'm not the world's greatest sewer, and this should have taken a lot less time than it took me, but overall, I'm pretty darned pleased with it! The "invisible" zipper is certainly less than invisible, and I had to get some emergency online help for the rickrack edging from Heather, the very kind and generous-with-her-time teacher of the sundress class I'm taking at Purl Patchwork. Thank you, Heather!
Had a lovely afternoon and evening Friday hanging out with many, many knitters. Too many, I think, to link to every one of their blogs, but they all have them. Except Nancy. A good time was had by all, and it was really cool to meet a lot of knitbloggers whose blogs I had read before.
While at the Point, it was requested that I put up some photos of my sock yarn, knitted up. I had posted a pic of these socks a while back, but it was a bad, self-taken photo. So here are a few more:
These were dyed with Kool-Aid; I have since moved on to the Serious Stuff, but the stripes are the same size.
Turkish toe cast-on, short row heel:
This shows about how high the socks go (on my legs) if you use every bit of the yarn:
The stripes got a lot skinnier as my calf got... less skinny.
And I have a question for all of you sock knitters out there. I have been using a yarn that is 100% superwash merino for all of this sock yarn. I love it, it's really soft--but it is a bit bigger than fingering, and I knit it on size 2's. Which makes for a quicker sock, but I'd also really like to find an undyed base yarn, machine washable, that knits up on size 1's. Any suggestions? I'm open to superwash, a bit of nylon--as long as it's soft.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

My Pretties

Now this is more like it:

I overdyed certain sections of my most recent batch of sock yarn on Monday, and was much more pleased with the results. You like? I ended up scorching the strawberry-ish ones, so I'm keeping those, and the green is promised to someone, but I am thinking I'm going to put the purple/green/fuschia ones on Etsy. As soon as I figure out how to do that. Which could be weeks from now.
And an FO:

These are my Fluffy Slipper Socks, knitted out of some merino/cashmere I spun quite some time ago. Funny how I forgot this tidbit until I started the second sock: when I decided to dye this stuff, I had spun half of it, but the other half was still roving. So I dyed it all the same colors, thinking that would be fine. Only it knit up totally differently, with the right sock (on top) having random bits of color, and the left (bottom) having a sort of random stripeyness. Live and learn.
And here's a warm and fuzzy story for you. I was reading through "Greetings From the Knit Cafe," which features my lovely pal Nicole on the cover, and saw the name of a certain designer in there and thought, "I knew a girl by that name in 4th grade in Virginia." Her biographical blurb even mentioned that she moved from VA at a young age. I was like, Could it be? I googled her, and lo and behold, she has a knitblog! Which showed a lovely redhead much like the 4th grader I remember. So I sent her a really stupid email ("Were you in so-and-so's 4th grade class?") And it WAS her! Wow, was I thrilled to hear from such a long, long lost friend--and wow, was I relieved it wasn't some stranger, totally laughing at my email.
This makes the 2nd friend I have rediscovered via knitblogging! Anybody else out there who maybe went to kindergarten with me? I have to tell you, nothing makes me happier than a day like that, hearing from an old friend you thought you'd probably never see again. Our world is just getting smaller and smaller--in a good way!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I Cooked Some Yarn... And Dinner!

Check it out, peeps:

That would be Vegan Fondue, straight from the cutest blog ever, Vegan Lunch Box. I was a little skeptical when I read how much it tasted like real fondue, but when Michelle insisted on Friday that it was indeed, very good, I decided to give it a try. I guess a real-life recommendation still goes a long way with me.
Spent a lovely afternoon on Friday knitting away with Jenn and several others, all bloggers! I had met Stephanie and Sandra before, but was happy to meet Colleen and Marie as well, and several others stopped in right before I left, but Jamie had come to collect me, in the rain, for dinner. I had shamelessly worked on my wool/silk sweater all day instead of his socks, so I didn't linger.
This weekend brought some time to play with my fab new turkey roaster, my newest kitchen purchase that is reserved only for yarn-dyeing use.
I dyed all of this:
Self-striping, superwash merino yarn, knits up on a size 2, nice soft stuff. Only I have to go back and overdye some parts of it--the dye was a little spotty on the greenish-blue part on the left.
There was also this:
That's a "before" picture of some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock that has been driving me CRAZY for quite some time. I hate the way it stripes up--it is about a row per stripe but not exactly--and I finally got the idea to overdye it with a few more colors and thus obliterate this pattern.
And look what happened!
The yarn soaked up the dye so nicely, and now it's so much prettier! I think the 20% nylon helped the dye to spread evenly, which I like, so now I'm trying to find some undyed yarn just like this (80% superwash wool, 20% nylon, 7 sts.=1" on a size 1) for my dyeing obsession. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Startitis Claims Another Victim

It was hardly to be helped. When this:

finally came out of the dyepot (after 2 days) and dried (after another day and a half), it was so durned pretty, I just had to cast on the top-down raglan it was intended for (there's more than this one skein). Yes, I seem to have caught Jessamyn's bug--knitting top-down with pretty eyelets along the raglan lines can't be beat.
And though it's hard to get the true color with a camera and computer, you can at least see the very subtle variegation, which I am just thrilled with.
The color is a little lighter than I expected, but I still like it, and it is still pinky-corally-orangey, as hoped. It was a pain in the bottom using the natural dyes, and trying to keep the silk from going above 185 degrees (and thus ruining its luster) was not so easy, even with my new candy thermometer. Not to mention that silk smells like roadkill when it's wet....
I am going to stick to the acid dyes for my next batch, which will be all non-stinky, superwash sock yarn, and will hopefully happen this weekend.