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Posts from May 2006

My Knitting Space

Scout, one of the awesome Dye-O-Rama Mammas, asked people to post photos of their knitting area. So, for better or worse, here is mine.


I most often knit in a small sunroom just off the kitchen. It's a 10x10 space with sliding glass doors on two walls that let in great light. It has always been the clutter room. If you don't know where to put something, just dump it in the sunroom. A few months ago, I decided to reclaim it to be my studio. I dragged in a hodge podge of forgotten furniture. There is the old living room couch, which is too formal for the sunroom, but is quite comfy. It lost it's spot in the living room, when my son's musical gear took over that room. I also have an old blanket chest that used to hold all of the kids videos. They have long since out grown the videos, so I got rid of them, and filled the chest with yarn. Yipee! On the side of the room I didn't photograph, I have a table, that used to be our kitchen table, when our family was smaller. It now serves as my desk. It is piled with mail and has my swift and ball winder always at the ready. The room suits me well, I am near to my family as they flit through the rest of the house. The kitchen and laundry room are nearby so I can make believe I'm actually getting house work done. (Really, all I'm doing is knitting!) I usually listen to podcasts or music from my laptop, as I knit.

The best part of the room is my little buddy who keeps me company. His name is Smudge, and he is the sweetest little dwarf rabbit. He hops around the room, periodically sniffing my ankles, which really tickles! He doesn't sit still very well to have his picture taken.


Currently the wips all seem to be sips. I need to get off this sock knitting binge. I've got so many other projects waiting in the wings. . .


To all of you in the US, have a wonderful Memorial Day! To everyone else, have a great weekend.

Pomatomus Redux


As the Phoenix rises from the ashes, so Pomatomus emerges from the depths of the frog pond!


Pomatomus considers her watery past.


She hides in a tree, fearing that she will be ripped out again!

No, not this Pomatomus. In this yarn, she is all she was meant to be. The k2tog through back of loop is no problem in this yarn. The knitter may use her prefered method of knitting her on two addi turbos. Her color is still in question. But isn't the dye pot a better fate than the frog pond?

More to come.

The Joy of Giving!


On Saturday I sent a package to my Dye-O-Rama buddy, Kristi aka Fiber Fool. Thanks to speedy mail, she got it yesterday (Monday!) This was my first swap. It was such a great feeling to get her reaction. She was so enthusiastic and gracious. It got me thinking about the old saying, that it is "better to give than to receive". Knitting has allowed me to experience this first hand. I have felt it through this swap, through the successes of people who I have taught to knit, or helped to learn a new technique, and through giving people my hand knits as gifts.


My favorite recipient of my hand knits is my father. There has never been a more appreciative person to knit for. I have knit two vests for him. Whenever I visit my parents, he is wearing one of them. He smiles proudly when he talks about his daughters' accomplishments, whether it is my simple knitted gifts, or my sister's PhD. I will continue to knit gifts for him, and because I have his gratitude, I will be encouraged to kit for others as well. Thank you Dad. For the confidence you give me, and through that, the fearlessness to try new things.


Fond Memories

On Friday, I visited my parents. I try to do this at least once a week. They may be moving soon, and I want to spend as much time with them as I can before they do.

My mother took me up into the attic, to get me to take home some items that she has been storing for me for the past 20+ years. In one of the boxes were some old high school photos. They were fun to look at since my son will be entering high school next year. Ah, the memories. The biggest thrill though, was finding something I thought must have been thrown out years ago.

My Panasonic Toot-a-loop radio!


It was quite a day when I got my Toot-a-loop in the mid-seventies. I saved up babysitting money for it. It traveled with me to the Jersey Shore, where I layed on the beach and listened to WABC radio. That was the station around here in those days. No one listened to FM then, there wasn't even an FM dial on this radio. I remember all of those pop hits blaring out at me as I soaked up the rays, The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, Billy Don't Be A Hero, My Name is Mikey, I've Got a Nickle. I brought it home to show my kids, who asked, "Is this like the ipod of the seventies?". Yeah, I guess it is. We put a battery in it, and it still works! The AM reception around here is pretty bad. I'll have to take it into NYC or to the shore, and give it a try there.

Also in my mom's attic were some boxes of yarn. In the late seventies, she got really into making Icelandic sweaters. One year she made three between Thanksgiving and Christmas, to give to my sisters and I as gifts! There were two large shopping bags full of Lopi that she gave to me. I have put myself on a yarn diet, but I think when your mother gives you yarn, you've gotta take it. Right? The Lopi is just too bulky and itchy for me to make any sweaters out of, so I guess I have some felting projects in my future!


Hey LJ, when you are here this summer, you can take some of this pile!

Today has been a funky day weatherwise. One minute it's sunny and glorious, and the next it's pouring. With weather like that what's a girl to do? Sit in her sunroom and knit of course! I listened to the witty ladies at Knitty d & the City and finished up a pair of "fraternal twin" socks. I love the idea of "fraternal twin" socks. They are quite simply, lighthearted and fun! These are knit from two different colors of Art Yarns Ultramerino 4. I didn't have enough of either color for a full pair of socks, so I just randomly striped them. They are lovely and soft. I am very pleased with them. The only issue is that everytime I knit socks from yarn that doesn't have that all-important nylon content, I tend to get holes in them pretty quickly. (I know, I know, but I can't be bothered with knitting in re-enforcements on the heels and soles.) We have brick floors in our kitchen and sunroom, which is pretty tough on socks.


I'm calling them my "Hill Socks" because their colors are exactly like the hills and sky I have the pleasure of viewing off of my deck. Yes, this is New Jersey, and yes, most of the state is quite beautiful!


Finally, I leave you with a few more garden pictures. I just love the colors and textures out there right now, and can't resist taking pictures!


These are Aquiligia, or Columbine. I'm not sure of the variety. They are some relation to Aquiligia, "Nora Barlow". I grew them from seed years ago, and they have spread politely around the garden. They are tiny flowers. If you'd like a better look at them click on the photo.


And of course, Poppies, lovely Poppies!

Amazing Lace Challenge

Warning: This post is not for the faint of heart. It contains:

Heavy Machinery
Sharp Pointy Sticks
Dirty Laundry
A Double Bass
Drivers (two kinds)
A Hoe (you decide which kind)
Angry Tennis Players
My Legs (ahhhhhhh!)
And Lots and Lots of yarn. . . .

Now, if you are still with me, let's meet the Team!

This is Kirsten and Birch. After grueling contract negotiations, and a bit of a roving eye, they have agreed to work together toward the common goal of finishing the Amazing Lace. They have both agreed that Rowan Kidsilk Haze will join them as the yarn.


Kirsten has admired Birch for quite a while. In her wanderings around Blogland, she has drooled over the finished Birches of many talented knitters. Not that she didn't consider other projects.


But she always knew it would be Birch.


They plan to travel together this summer.
To places far,


And near.



Distractions will abound,
Other projects will call out to Kirsten,


Dirty dishes will pile up,


The laundry will reach epic proportions.


The lure of the dye pot could draw her away from Birch,


Her kid's music lessons and performances will need her attention.


But Birch is a strong project, it will call her back. It will urge her to knit where other knitters fear to knit.

In traffic,


At the local watering hole,


While operating heavy machinery,
(Don't try this at home.)


On the golf course,


In the garden,


And on the tennis court.


(Some of these locales will be more successful than others.)

Most importantly, Kirsten and Birch will have strong group support.


They are looking forward to the challenge, and to sharing their travels, successes and failures, with the other particpants of the Amazing Lace!

Another Rainy Day Spent With the Dye Pot

Here are some photos of the results of my dyeing from yesterday. I worked on mixing the colors a bit more. I've found that what goes onto the yarn is not necessarily what you get after steaming. The colors get much brighter after I steam them. I'm happy with the results but will continue to work on my color mixing.





I wish you could smell this. As I took the photos of the yarn this morning, this lovely lilac gifted me with its beautiful scent.


Fun With Acid Dyes!

I finally got to try out the acid dyes I got last week. What fun I had!
The colors are a little brighter than I would choose in the future, but I wanted to get a handle on what some of the colors were like straight from the pot. In the future I will do a lot more mixing. Here are the results.


This color I am calling "Aquilegia", after some beautiful Columbines I have blooming in my garden right now.


This yarn is "Siberian Iris" named after one of my favorite flowers. It's not blooming yet, but will in a few weeks.

I spent this morning doing some more dying, so there will probably be more photos tomorrow of today's experiments. I should be sending out my Dye-o-rama buddy's yarn in the next few days, once I get the perfect color.

In other news, I decided to frog Pomatomus. The yarn I was using was just too fine. I tried it on after I'd turned the heel and couldn't get it over my instep. I also didn't like the way the pattern was stretching . I've got some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock waiting to be cast on for Pomatomus. I think the LL will work better. The yarn I was using will have to become some lace. I think it is just too fine for socks. It's a disappointment because I thought it would be similar to Koigu in weight and look. The yarn in question is on the right and in the middle in the photo below.


The other things that I have on the needles that I haven't mentioned, are a pair of socks from some of the cashmere I got on eBay last week. They are a simple 1x3 rib, and are oh-so-soft! They will be very cozy next winter.


And a little summer top knit in Rosetta from Artfibers, that I picked up in San Fransisco in February. Rosetta is a handpainted 100% cotton ribbon yarn that knits to a gauge of 18s=4". The color in the photo doesn't do the actual color justice. It is a beautiful plum with muted burgundy and soft lilac. The colors blend really nicely, it is not at all stark and stripey as in the photo.


I'll leave you with a photo of the delicious confection that one of my daughters whipped up for me on Mothers Day. She likes to get in the kitchen and make things up as she goes along. This one was quite a treat, chocolatey-strawberry goodness.


Tip Toe Through the Tulips

Flip-Flop Socks in action. . .




Now, it's time to get back to Pomatomus. I must finish some of those WIPs.

My new resolution is to go on a yarn diet. I have such a huge stash, and it is time to make a dent in it. So, I will not buy any new yarn until I go to the TKGA Conference in July. That will mean not checking to see what's new on Elann every day, and on my frequent trips to NYC, avoiding my favorite yarn stores, oh and this one and this one too.

Today was the day that I was going to dye my Dye-o-rama yarn. Unfortunatly, it's looking a little overcast, and I don't want to risk having the rain start while I'm outside dying. My DH wants to take me out for a little Mother's Day round of golf, so I guess I should humor him and golf in the rain today. The yarn dying will have to wait until the next sunny day. I just can't wait to try out those acid dyes I got in the mail this week. If any of my knitting group pals want to join my for some dying fun, just give me a call. . . Lynn, you know you want to. . .

Happy Mothers Day to all.


Here is the first finished "flip-flop" sock. Please disregard the pedicure. I've tried to distract you from the chipping red polish with pretty socks and plants. ;)


The yarn is Artyarns Ultramerino 4, color 139. I love this yarn, could knit with it for the rest of my life. . .
I'll probably make a second pair of these. I have twin 12 year olds who will be stealing them from me.

I Love Sunny Fridays!

This is what I did this afternoon. . .

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon. Perfect to cast on for those fun flip-flop socks that I mentioned in yesterday's post. I sat by the pool, poured myself a lovely weiss beer, and started knitting. These are a really quick knit. I'll have to go for a pedicure tomorrow morning so I can take some pretty pictures of the finished socks.

Then, to make the afternoon more perfect, the UPS man showed up. He brought two packages, one from Dharma Trading, full of acid dyes for my dye-o-rama project. The other, from Cafe Press with an undisclosed gift for my dye-o-rama buddy.


In other news, my sister has started a blog. Yipee! She is the one I have mentioned several times in this blog. She is funny, smart and talented, so go check her out. She is the Wandering Knitter. My sister, LJ, is the family computer guru. She was on the web 20 years before most of us even knew it existed. I rembember going to visit her in college in the mid-seventies and having her show me text based RPG's. I couldn't believe how cool they were. This was at a time when Atari was high-tech. She's an avid sock knitter, so she'll be joining me in the Pomatomus KAL.

Finally, I'll leave you with a garden photo. Thanks for putting up with my plant photos. I think there is a close connection with gardens and knitting. They are both about form, color and texture. The picture is of an ornamental rubarb. I know, most people don't think of rubarb as an ornamental plant, and they either love or hate the pie. (Me, I love it!) This plant is really cool though. It has enormous, serrated leaves. They measure at least 18" across! In mid summer the plant puts up a huge scape of bright red. I imagine I will be posting a photo of that too in July! I love the way this rubarb plant is such dramatic a focal point in the garden.