Monday, February 26, 2007

some things I learned in central Texas

1. A group of goats is called a tribe.

Call me a member of the tribe.

2. Angora goats make mohair. (Confusingly, rabbits make angora wool.)
Kid mohair is silkier than you can imagine.0207KaiRanch071
Especially on the hoof.

3. Lisa Shell at Kai Ranch makes beautiful beautiful (did I mention beautiful?) dyed mohair and weavings and yarns and dyed locks.kaicomp When she's home at her dying/weaving studio on the ranch, the mohair awaits outings to places like Estes Park or Maryland S&W. But let's say you're visiting to take photos, and you sleep on the futon in the you get it? essentially, I slept in a yarn store. sigh.

4. A sixteen year old son,
when removed from the rest of his species and placed in a new ecosystem, can be great company

5. Austin is a very cool place. soco1
Good food, friendly people.
airportmu Live blues music at the airport. And, it's warm in the winter.
centralTX 28 of 59

Monday, February 12, 2007

once again

These oldish socks are newly done! Not a moment too soon for this icy cold week. Since crossing into the cozy world that is sock knitting, my toes have known nothing else but handknits this winter. With only three pairs, rotation is heavy. Not to mention boring.

These are just the basics in Lornas Laces Stripes. I impulse bought this yarn on Destash late last winter when the brightness seemed, I don't know, perky or something. Then the seasons changed . I wished for more subtle colors. Now it's back to winter and, hell, they're wool, they're warm, who cares if they are garish and match nothing I wear? They're perky!
Careful viewers , by which I mean anyone with eyeballs, will note flashing on one foot and not the other. Curious? In my wisdom I customized the pattern to fit my foot shape but didn't write down the changes I made. I was sure I'd remember months later when I knit the second foot. I can hear you snickering , by the way.

That whole customized thing went down the drain after wearing them half a day. They stretched and are every bit as unfitted as if I'd never tried on either hoof. Not sure I'm loving the Lorna's Laces yarn as much as I thought I would. However, they are warm. And perky!!

Moving on. I bet you thought I'd be back with another Calorimetry.
You'd be right. An impulse one in some leftovers: Araucania NatureWool with a stripe of Frog Tree Merino. Its already done and on the head. More true to color in the view below. Cannot stop making these. I have tons of small leftover balls of yarn, there is no end in sight. I already showed you how many buttons are in the reserves.

Mia asked, in the comments last time, how I bound off. Firmly, in the same 2x2 ribbing that the piece is knit in. You don't want a baggy edge on these babies. I'd go down a needle size for the cast-on and/or bind-off if you're usually loose on those maneuvers.

I'm answering her in the text because Blogger, while the right price if you know what I mean, doesn't give you much chance to answer your comments unless your commenters write from their own email address or choose "other" when leaving comments and link back to themselves. You other Blogger bloggers know what I mean. The rest of you, if I don't write back, it's not cause I don't want to have some blog manners, I just can't.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

v2 debuts

v2sqWhen I stopped by the yarn shop to get some Noro Silk Garden for my second Calorimetry, there sat the sales person knitting the exact same thing, with the exact same yarn. She was re-knitting it for the third time. It was the too large problem. She showed me store samples she'd made using the recommended yarn - and she's a tightish knitter- and we agreed the pattern model must have been tall and melon-headed (in an attractive and proportionate way I mean) 'cause they were big.

Her third attempt was on size 5us needles with the full 120 stitch count, and it was looking nice and neat. She persuaded me to go down to size 6, I knit on the loose side so I went for 88 stitches.
I short row decreased until there were 34 stitches on either end outside the markers,and 22 stitches between them. I should have made it narrower but honestly, it's been a while since I knit any Noro . I was so into the color changes I couldn't stop. This is great for those of us with cold heads and behaviourly challenged hair. Did I mention immediate gratification ? And way less than a skein was used. I could cast on another one right now.

For those of you keeping track on your tally cards, here's the comparison, heavier worsted on size 8 needles us in green, lighter worsted on size 6 on top:

Side benefit, I opened my button tin for the first time in ages.buttontin Dontcha love a visit to the old button tin?

I think we can all agree this size, yarn weight and color is better than v1. If "we all" does not include the 13 yo, who still thinks it's a weird look. I told him not to worry. It's my aim to make a different color one for every day of the week.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


I could resist no longer. I was mentally designing headwraps- a standard diversion of mine that never gets anywhere near needles- all week. I was looking at Knitty Calorimetry as a possibility and then saw this and these and..well, at 6:30 am yesterday I was already into the short rows.
A bit of knitting then , a few minutes mid day and some rows during a wait in the evening and it was done. If I had to guess, under 90 minutes of knitting and I'm not all that speedy.

I was thrilled with it, I had a cool button that matched, I put it on.
Owing to my ethnic inheritance, most headwraps that look cool on others scream BABUSHKA on me. And not in that good waify gypsy way . 0207famvar_45

My 13 yo son upon seeing it said " That's really not good. You look like a...uhhhm...look in the mirror. Don't even bother finishing that hat." When I told him it was finished, and would he take a few photos of me wearing it so I could see, he agreed. As long as we did it in the backyard, away from humanity.

Me? I like it as a v1. I'm thinking maybe a colorway other than "Violent Spring" (just kidding, its Key Lime) would be a better choice for me, with less short rows so it was narrower. This being a heavy worsted yarn, and my head being smallish, I followed the experience of others , casting 8o stitches on size 8 needles and cut back my repeats to 8 short rows of decreasing and 8 growing back, about half of those on the pattern.

Its a potato chip of a knit. Tomorrow all the yarn stores around here have super bowl sales, and I'm thinking Noro, on size 7 needles, something subtler in tones and smaller in size. Meanwhile, avert your eyes if you're 13 and see me coming.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

everything old

...seems to be breaking. (Alternately titled, how about some whine with this post?).
On Sunday it was the tenant's oil furnace next door, flames licking out and smoke filling the basement. Emergency repair.
On Monday,our dsl modem flickered its last gasp of connection. I spent the afternoon agitating tech supports internationally . More locally, I crouched between my desk and the wall, in the big tangle of cables. I appreciate my talents as a champeen yarn untangler at times like this.
Monday night I thanked the helpful fellow in Mumbai, reconnected the router and set up a new improved wireless network for my family & world headquarers.

Later Monday night it was the tenants turn. The dishwasher was leaking next door. Not a little leak. A need-a-new-dishwasher type leak. Did the dishwasher talk to the furnace and plan this? Were my router and dsl modem involved?

Wednesday there was one old-ish thing I could make new easily, with blessedly no wires, added expense, cables, plumbing, heavily accented tech support or fumes .
The nephew's hat, knit and gifted in December came home to roost when he showed me that even though he has a great big dreadlock covered teenage noggin, it was way too big.

fyi: Its the go-to hat pattern that never disappoints, the Chic Beanie, knit in Farmhouse Yarns worsted weight merino, two strands held together. Black and something variegated.

It returns to him tomorrow night. And if the tenants call.....I'm not home.