Warning: Blogger Fail Ahead

My favoritest fave was home for a whole week, and we did a whole lot of groovy things. We ate delicious food, and played with pretty yarns at Stitches East. We visited with friends and went to a really hilarious comedy show at my favorite brew house, City Steam. Allison finished The Purple Cardigan of Forever and, upon promise to frog two remaining projects, officially received my blessing to call her Finish or Frog It endeavor complete. We played with the kittens and hung out with faves and I took time off of work and politics and just had a nice visit.

I, of course, took no photos of any of this. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

Epic blogger fail.

Interspecies snuggling. If only Simon’s mother would follow his shining example of interspecies getting-along-ness.

Yesterday, Allison packed up little Frankie, and the two of them made their way back to West Virginia, officially leaving me with just Matilda and Simon, bringing my great kitten adventure to a close. Tilly spent about a half hour calling out (rather loudly, I might add…) to Frankie and was notably subdued for the rest of the day. I knew this transition would be the toughest yet for her; she and Frank were good pals.

Simon was extra snuggly, too, and the house just felt more…quiet.

Puppy butt-fluff makes an awesome blankey!

It was a little sad, but nice nonetheless. Next week, Tilly gets her spay, officially taking us out of the kitten-making business forever. Very much looking forward to that.

While I didn’t get any pics of any of the fun stuff we did, I did take this shot of my finished Reading Mitts.

Alpaca and silk, all blocked and everything.

I hope my mom likes them!

And, in a renewed effort to make a dent in my now semi-unweildy stash, I started a new project with my merino/silk/firestar Green Racer handspun.

Uber-sparkle, I haz it.

Inspired by Jenni and Emilee’s very pretty versions, the pattern is Multnomah (Rav link). It’s working up ridiculously fast…garter stitch plus feather-and-fan is good for that…and it’s totally mindless. I think I’ll be gifting it eventually, maybe to my brother’s girlfriend for Xmas. It’s in her colors, and a tad too sparkly for me.

Tomorrow is Election Day, a long and busy day for me. Did you know that this year marks the 90th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which officially gave women in the United States the right to vote? I try to keep politickey-ness out of this blog, but in honor of this auspicious occasion, I hope all women, regardless of political affiliation, will get out there and vote tomorrow. Do those courageous women who fought so hard for our rights proud!

Simon says, “Vote for me for president of adorable couch snuggling!”
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“You’re like the Rainman of knitting”

Survival 101: Always have knitting with you.

Ok, so that probably isn’t really a good survival tip. But when you’re stuck in a crowded, loud, concrete floor convention hall for a day and a half, it’s golden advice. I don’t like to bring work or politics here—my crafty life is my oasis from the rest of my life—but I had to share my latest project, which helped save my sanity this past weekend.

Just keep knitting…just keep knitting…just keep knitting…

It’s another scrappy scarf. I needed something ridiculously mindless that took absolutely no focus whatsoever. This totally fit the bill. Miles of linen stitch worked over 600 stitches on my US 6 circ using nothing but sock leftovers. Perfect.

I also took the opportunity—being held captive for hours on end—to teach my friend, Liza, how to knit. A pair of Boye US 10 straights and a leftover ball of Malabrigo Twist, and she was knitting in no time, despite much cursing and needle dropping on her end. At one point, in the 2X2 ribbing tutorial stage, she had so many yarn overs and extra stitches, that—much to her horror—I ripped the needles out, frogged all the ribbing, put the stitches back on the needles and handed the whole deal back to her prompting the comment, “Dude. You’re like the Rainman of knitting.”

Classic.

I did find time for other fibery happenings, despite all the busy this weekend. I finished spinning and plying this absolute crap silk that Allison bestowed upon me…

I actually met some silk I didn’t like

…effectively clearing off yet another spindle, my Spanish Peacock.

Now, most of the time when I use the term “crap” to describe fiber, it’s overwhelmingly scarcastic. My “crap” taste in fiber. That “crap” called Malabrigo. I need to stop buying that cashmere “crap.”

In this instance, there is no scarcasm. This silk was crap.

Neps and slubs for days…

It’s just tussah, but I originally thought it might be blended with mohair. The top was matted and fuzzed like nothing I’ve ever seen and it just felt…icky. Silk doesn’t usually feel icky.

Right away, the problem with this top became very clear. It was a mess of short fibers, mixed with long fibers, mixed with slubs. It was just crap. But I spun it anyways…just to see what it would do.

Prettier than I expected…but still crap!

The result is 138 yards of Navajo plied about-sock weight, thick and thin and bumpy—though I haven’t washed it yet, so it might get a little bit better. I’m not expecting miracles, but the skein is balanced, so it could be worse. And it’ll probably make a pretty little something, maybe a cowl. But ick…that was some crap silk, no question.

Madori survived the weekend of craziness relatively unscathed, mostly thanks to a trip to the park with the awesome Kris while I was otherwise indisposed. She’s still obsessed with fresh, clean, just-from-the-wash sheets, BTW…

They’s my sheets, Momma! You no make the beds, cuz they’s my sheets!!

…and with Hedgie, her stuffed hedgehog that *must* sleep with us every night.

Silly puppy, plus a WIP

Madori has developed a curious little quirk: She’s completely enamored with fresh, clean sheets.
There she is, stalking me, just waiting for the fresh sheets to be on the bed
There she is, stalking me, just waiting for the fresh sheets to be on the bed

It’s a little weird, though I myself enjoy clean sheets, so maybe she just picked it up from me. Either way, she just gets so excited.

Soooo happy to be on the bed!
Soooo happy to be on the bed!

She whines, she squeaks, she can just barely contain herself when she sees those sheets come out of the laundry bin and get made up on the bed.

 

Madori loves the clean sheets
Madori loves the clean sheets

Such a silly puppy.

The knitting has slowed down as I’m gradually slogging my way through a mindless-yet time-consuming project.

The Technicolor Scrap Scarf
The Technicolor Scrap Scarf

I’m really digging how it’s coming out, but these are some long, long rows. I cast on 500 stitches on a US 4 Addi Turbo, so each row takes about a half hour. And I’ve done a lot of rows.

So worth it for all the little woven stitches
So worth it for all the little woven stitches

It’s about five inches wide now and I’d like to add at least another inch and a half to it before it’s done. And, in the mean time, I’m using up a whole mess of my sock yarn scraps…which is all this is made of! Genius!

So styling...cant wait to wear you!
So styling…can’t wait to wear you!

I’m using this pattern (Rav link) and while it’s very simple, it’s really a great effect. But man…so much work…

Miss Madori has also taken a charm to sleeping under the bed, on top of the storage bins under there.

This particular bin holds sweaters, misc. craft stuff...and all my fiber!
This particular bin holds sweaters, some misc. craft stuff…and all my fiber!

Such a silly puppy!

Some catching up to do!

For the record, the winning gardenia was No. 2.

Pretty white petals
Pretty white petals

And the whole room smelled amazing right after this bloomed. So lovely.

So, I’ve been such a bad blogger its not even funny! But, the beauty of not updating for a while is that I have so much to catch up on! We’ll start with an FO: the Huntington Socks for Mr. Blue-eyes.

Voila!
Voila!

These are just awesome. Mr. Blue-eyes loves them and, wonder of wonders, they fit!! Yay!!

*Not* modeled by Mr. Blue-eyes
*Not* modeled by Mr. Blue-eyes

The details are what make these just a great finished sock. The Railway Stitch adds texture and visual interest, as well as form-fitting ease, to the sock and the striped heels and toes make them super fancy.

These were a quick knit, too. If not for a little break between socks, they probably would have been done in two weeks.

I’ve also been spinning, spinning, spinning like a spinning, spinning, spinning fool.

I’m working on the merino-bamboo batts from Rhinebeck on my Greensleeves Tom Foolery…

Purple merino-bamboo
Red/purple merino-bamboo

…and my Rhinebeck soy silk on the Bosworth Mini, which feels so tiny in my hands compared to the other spindles, but man does it dance like no other on the end of the single!

A very bright and interesting combination of colors
A very bright and interesting combination of colors

The soy silk actually deserves some commentary. This stuff gave me fits! At the time that this photo was taken, I was so fed up with the stuff that it took all my willpower not to scrap these singles and pick up something more fun to spin, like the two ounces of tussah just waiting for me  in the stash. I just couldn’t get the hang of it, even after receiving a tutorial from master silk spinner and laceweight idol, TerriSpins (rav link). So I set it aside, worked on the pewter merino/silk project, worked on the merino/bamboo project, and tried to forget about the nasty, evil soy silk.

And then I picked it back up and actually watched what I was doing. And realized very quickly that there can be zero, zilch, nada, absolutely no twist in the draft zone with this stuff. Even a half turn of the spindle is too much. That little bit of twist and it ceases to be beautiful and starts being bitchy.

It was a total “ah, ha” moment. I’ve spun almost an ounce now, and things are going much, much better.

In other spinning news, I picked up a couple of monster sized spindles from Heavenly Hansdpinning, and quickly worked up 2 ounces of merino/tencel blend top that I’m in the process of plying. More on that soon.

And I ordered these pretty, pretty, curly, curly cotswold locks from Dyeing for Color so that I can try my hand at my first art yarn. I’m planning on trying to integrate some tailspun locks into a single of ultrafine merino…sounds much easier than I suspect it will actuall be but  I can’t wait for them to arrive so I can try it out!

On the non-knitting/spinning front, Jackson has gotten huge…though it would be nice if his head would grow to catch up with his body…what happened to that little puppy??….

You know you just want to love me...
You know you just want to love me…

…Jackson and Madori don’t get to see each other as often, since Big Changes are still underway, and they really seem to miss each other…very sweet…

Dont touch my hedgehog, Jackson
Don’t touch my hedgehog, Jackson

….and this is what you get when you can’t eat any of the dairy-laden desserts offered at the Asian-fusion restaurant, but the cute little waitresses still want to sing “Happy Birthday.”

Blow out the candle on your birthday fruit!
Blow out the candle on your birthday fruit!

I can only hope that this coming year will be as wonderful and promising as this past year turned out to be!

An FO! But first, a peek at Miss Madori…

Mr. Blue-eyes got Madori a  little, or not so little, treat.

Not Madoris most flattering moment...
Not Madori’s most flattering moment…

I’m not sure what has come over that dog, but that’s definitely not Madori at her cutest. Jeez, give her a bully stick and she just goes crazy.

Don’t know what a bully stick is?

Are you sure you really want to?

OK, fine. Here you go.

Madori loves her bully stick.
Madori loves her bully stick.

Yeah, she’s such a gross little dog…

Anyways, in an effort of immense determination, dedication and perserverance, I finished the Herringbone Rib socks.

Ta-da!!
Ta-da!!

I’ve never been so freaking happy to finish a project that I wasn’t even going to keep.

These were a true test. And they are lovely. And I do consider them quite an accomplishment. And I am very happy with how they turned out.

And I hope I never, never have to touch them ever, ever again.

Good-bye, little sockies. Enjoy your new home!
Good-bye, little sockies. Enjoy your new home!