Friday, May 25, 2012

May Knitting but No Weaving

So...what have I been doing? I have been knitting a good amount!

I actually did finish the drape-neck sweater. Where are the finished photos, you wonder? Well, while I finished KNITTING it, that doesn't mean it's put together. I still can't find my blankety-blank blocking squares. I am thinking the only way to find them is to buy some more. Then they will turn up and I can knit an immense item and block it. I am going to look in ONE more place, then order more. I have two shawls to block still and one was for a gift for someone else. Ugh.

In a happier vein, I did indeed start a second Hitchhiker shawl, this one with beads, which I keep trying to spell "beeds."

Extreme close-up of Hitchhiker #2 on a good book.
I got the beads at local bead shop Nomadic Notions, if you want to get some for yourself. I am alternating an orange-ish bead with a green-ish bead on every other point. This picture has more accurate colors:

Little shawl in progress. Book is called Healing Spices, and it's wonderful!
The yarn is the Araucania Huasco, fingering weight that I got two skeins of when I went to Old Oaks Ranch. I feel proud for using yarn soon after I bought it. I figure with two skeins, I can make the shawlette a little bigger, and still have enough to also make hand warmers or a hat.

I do have another project (in addition to that fall shawl that gets a few rows a month knitted on it). You see, my lovely summer house guest, Eli, and I took a road trip last Saturday.
The Graduate
She's the older boy's college friend, and she graduated a year early. She's doing a couple of summer classes and an internship, so we offered her the guest room, like we did last year.

Anyway, she agreed to drive all the way to Paige to check out Yarnorama, since my other knitting shop checker-outer friend keeps having to do things with her KIDS, sheesh. She had never been to a yarn shop. Shocking, and she made it to age 21!

I'd gone out there because I had a sudden urge to buy a Cricket loom. I want to weave placemats and napkins and such, and I want to use up some of my incredibly large stash of sock yarn. I have seen some really nice scarves (Yarnorama has some nice samples Susan the owner made) from sock yarn.

Of course, while I was there, I looked at yarn. They'd recently had a Shibui yarn trunk show, so had some really  nice patterns and yarns. I got yarn to make two items. One is a really interesting vest from their Heichi booklet, called Shadow. It's made in Heichi, which is a raw silk tweedy kind of yarn. I got rust colored yarn for that one.

I also got more Heichi and also some Silk Cloud to make a very light-weight cardigan from one of their booklets, No. 5, from the Spring Summer 2012 leaflet collection from Shibui. Here's what it looks like so far:
Good Ole #5

Up close you can see the halo from the mohair in the Silk Cloud. It is a very loose knit. The pattern says use a size 11 needle, but I am using a 10.5 needle and getting gauge. It's knit in one piece bottom up, then you sew the shoulders and knit the arms down from the armholes. What gives it some definition is a simple crocheted edge. I get chilly a lot at work, and my Wrap Me Up shawl helps, but is bulky. I hope this will be a perfect work cover-up. Note that the sweater has fake side seams. They sure would be easier if the slipped stitches were done from the front, but NOOOO, they are done from the back, which means it's harder to see when to do it. That's why I put markers in.

Yarn to teach Eli to knit was also purchased. She volunteered, honest. I think her favorite part of the store was the angora bunnies, however. Still, Yarnorama was looking great, considering they'd been hit by lightning not too long ago, and all their electrical components went wonky. I heard today they have air conditioning again! Yay! But it wasn't too hot--those old Texas buildings had good circulation.

And yes, I got a loom, one of the new 15" Cricket looms. It will be easier to make place mats and even garments with that size loom. Unfortunately, even with helpful lessons from Deana from the Olden Days (it was so good to spend time with her again), and Susan, I had trouble getting started at home. Either I am messed up, or the loom was put together funny. I'm hoping to take it in tomorrow, since I am no longer going to our ranch this evening.


Ranch. Yes, we now own Hermit's Retreat Ranch, which is adjacent to Wild Type Ranch in scenic Milam County, Texas. We bought a chunk of our friends' property, with a pasture, a woods, a pond, and meadows. We will eventually build a place to retire there...with an entire fiber room, I promise! First we need water, electricity, and septic. One thing at a time! If you are interested in following along with our adventures, visit the blog where we've been chronicling our RV adventures. It will now have ranch adventures, too!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Shawlette to Hitchhike In

I really have had a hard time knitting lately, since we have remodeling going on in my bedroom and bath. It will be nice, though, and my hand knits will have storage space! We got two under-the-bed storage boxes, plus there is a lot more space I can USE in the closet, or will be when they are done. I got rid of about a third of my clothing, and packed things I won't be wearing anymore into neat boxes labeled "long-term storage." So, some of my ancient knitted items are now there, stored for posterity.

This, however, is a finished shawlette!
I got 40 little points on the end of my Hitchhiker shawlette, using the Zauberball Crazy sock yarn. I love the stripes. All lovely shades of blue that will go with denim nicely. I used size 3 needles, so it's loosely knit (remember, I use 0s for socks). I truly enjoyed the pattern (it's on Ravelry so you can buy the pattern and make one, too). And it is quite easy. The only trick I had to do was learn to count four garter stitch ridges so I'd know when to bind off to make the points. I can count to 4!

And here's what it will look like when I wear it:

Me ready to Hitchhike
There are so many options--but it looks fine with a white t-shirt! Wow, my hair has gotten long.

I wanted to start another one and put beads in it, but now I think I'll just make another plain one. I have two balls of the yarn I am thinking of using, so I will make a bigger version to throw dramatically across my shoulders, and perhaps end up with yarn left over for mitts or something.

What? Did you ask why there are no finished gray alpaca wrap sweater photos? I am still almost done with it. I have knitted some more, I think up to 34 inches of the endless 38 inches of stockinette for the front. I do hope this weekend will be the weekend of finishing.

Blocking is another issue. I can't find my blocking mats. Nor is there any flat space in the house right now, because we are sleeping on the guest bed, and the college kid's bed has all my clothing on it. I have two shawls to block for my friend Diane. I even have some new pins. But nowhere to block. I really hate it when I let people down (and wow, do I do it sometimes!). She really needed a shawl blocked last weekend, and I couldn't do it. Sigh. It will look good eventually, and so will my alpaca sweater. No need to be hard on myself.

I've been telling a bunch of people to not blame themselves for other people's issues. Well, I need to admit my shortcomings and just do my best, anyway. We are all fine folks who slip up occasionally, right?