Sunday, September 30, 2007


Can you believe it? It's essay season again already. I have the 'great pleasure' of writing an historical analysis of a document about Clovis, King of the Franks. It is not so bad really, except for the fact that I don't understand what is meant by 'historical analysis'. It doesn't really matter; I'll write the best paper I can and the prof will either like it or he won't.

At least I'm getting some knitting done. Knitting helps me think.

This is the Spring Cap (pdf) by Woolly Wormhead. It's a lot easier to knit than it looks. I am using some of my handspun from a while back. It's all slubby and uneven - which makes a fun texture in the finished object. I'm just a bit worried that I will run out of yarn before I finish. If that happens, I have some roving left that I can use to make more - that is if I remember how to make yarn like this.

I'm off to work today. Although, I would rather be knitting.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I had spun this kid mohair from Fleece Artist with the intention of knitting it into a Christmas present; however, when I was finished, it wasn't long enough. There are 140m for 50g after Navajo plying. It's still quite thin, but I think I will stick to wool. Besides, I find mohair rather scratchy.

I had the worst trouble trying to spin this super fine. It wasn't until the last hour or so of spinning the singles that I got the hang of how the mohair wanted to work. Besides, my Ashford Traditional isn't exactly designed to spin this fine so I had to continually negotiate with the wheel to make it work.

It took about a week and a half to spin. Since I am not using it for it's intended use, in my stash it goes.

The mohair shines in the light, and the colours seem to glow. I cannot capture the effect with the camera, but perhaps you can get the idea. Some of these photos are with the flash on, some with it off.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The HitchHiker Wheel

Does anyone out there have a HitchHiker Wheel (see also here)? I am thinking of buying one, but I won't have the opportunity to try it out first.

I want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly about this wheel. I want to know everything from what kind of yarn it spins well to whether it will fit in my bicycle's basket.

Monday, September 24, 2007


I stayed up to the wee hours re-watching House DVDs and deconstructing my Kauni.

The problem is the hem - it curls. Perhaps if I had one of those sweater blockers, I could handle it. But getting the iron out each time I want to wear it and steaming it flat just doesn't appeal to me. So I decided that the hem has got to go.

I finished one arm and put a two colour gtst cuff on it. When it came time for the cuff, I stopped knitting in the round and instead knit back and forth; two rows one colour, two rows the next. I think it turned out quite alright.

This is what the original hem would look like if it stayed uncurled.

It doesn't look much like a sweater yet, but it's getting there. At this rate, I might actually be finished by Christmas.

So, now that I've picked apart the hem, I can rebuild it according to my will. But that's a task for another day.

As for the Guild, sorry, they didn't teach me any handshake. Either there isn't one or I have to learn how to weave first. If there is one, I suspect it is something like the Knitters' handshake described by the Yarn Harlot in Cast Off - Where you stroke the person's finished object while admiring how well made it is.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

sixty-nine point one

Have you seen KnitMap yet? I have been dreaming of the day when some intelligent person would invent a website with a map that has all the yarn shops know to humankind. Finally, my dream is beginning to come true.

From what I can tell, if there is a shop that is not on there, you can add it. I've noticed that my local area is completely void of shops (which just isn't true!), so I'll be adding some on there soon.

This will be the most valuable tool in the history of knitters everywhere. How many times have you gone on vacation and not been able to find the closest yarn shop? Personally, too many.

Yarn shop owners out there, get on it! Put your shop out there for the rest of us to find.


The guild meeting was amazing. I wouldn't have thought there would be so many weavers and spinners all in one place, but they were. There is so much knowledge and experience amongst those people and I feel honoured to be welcomed amongst their number.

I learnt how to make a new kind of heal from one of the guild members. She called it a Turkish heal. It's a way of placing an afterthought heal, but it's different than anything I have read about. I am going to give it a go on my cable and rib, rib and cable socks.

I took my new Knitters' Cube with me to the meeting. Lots of people loved it. I am really, really pleased with this bag.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


It is only through the kindness of other's that I have stuck to my no-yarn-for-me self imposed yarn diet.

It's been over 10 days since I began my one year challenge, and there has been so many temptations. The Internet is bad enough, especially now that I have access to ravelry. There is an epidemic of startitus going round that site. I should warn those of you who are not infected yet to take warning. I have started and frogged so many projects in the last few weeks. I know I'm not the only one.

I almost blew my no-yarn-for-me last weekend. I told you that I went to the spinning guru last weekend. Well, she had fiber. She had silk merino roving. She had silk merino roving in a vibrant garnet colour. It fell off the shelf into my arms, and wouldn't let go of me until I put it in the pile of things to buy.

I felt torn: on one hand, I had made a commitment to myself not to buy any yarn/fiber, on the other hand, it was so soft and the most perfect colour for me. What could I do? Lucky for me, through an unforeseen chance of fate, my father swooped in and bought me the fiber as a present, thus saving me from my self imposed dilemma. It was a blessed act of charity, and I bought him lunch to say thank you.

The Christmas gifts are coming along fabulously. I have finished spinning and plying the yarn for the second one. I'm not certain about the colour, but the yarn sure is thin: 50g makes 220m three ply. That's thin right?

Tonight, I join a guild. I don't really know what I am getting myself into with this, but I will let you know. That is unless they swear me to secrecy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


In the last two days the weather has gone from bright summer days to assertively autumn. It's very sudden this year, but then again, we didn't really have a summer. There is a cold nip in the air and I am contemplating knitting gloves or perhaps a hot watter bottle cozy.

While on campus yesterday, I glanced up at an oak tree and saw fiery red consuming the tips of the leaves. Nature provides the perfect colour combination for a future knitted jacket - perhaps a version of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Epaulet sweater.

It won't be much longer before the chestnuts are ready. Maybe they already are. I will have to go have a look'see tomorrow. One thing I know is that the days are getting shorter and it won't be long before I'm grateful for all the socks I knit over the summer.

Fall colours have even invaded my knitting.

I received my Knitters' Cube in the post yesterday. It took only 10 days to travel all the way from New York. I am completely delighted with it. It is perfect for keeping my handbag knitting safe. At first, at the very first, I had my doubts that it was hand-made. It is so well sewn. But then I realized, there is no way that something mass manufactured would be this good a quality. It's lined and the seems are enforced with bias tape... and all that good sewing stuff. Shrodinger is a delight to buy from and she makes such a wonderful product.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


I've been really in the wars this weekend. I bashed both my elbows on stationary objects (by accident) so hard that my little fingers are still numb a day later. They don't hurt only when I keep my arms right next to my body, so I am knitting all hunched up like a T-rex (short little stubby arms).

Even so, I did finish my first Christmas present yesterday. It looks great. I would share with you, but I don't want to take a chance that someone might see it. Sorry. But I'll post photos after the holidays. You know, at this rate, I might be finished Christmas shopping by Halloween. That's just weird.

I did have a great time yesterday. I stopped by Honeysuckle Studio and talked with the local spinning and weaving guru. She knows so much and she is more than willing to share what she knows. I asked her all sorts of questions, like for example, "how do I make my wheel NOT squeak?" and "what are the differences between different folding wheels?" and she knew all the answers. One day, I want to grow up to be just like her.

If you have a moment, and you like free patterns, check out this site, Stash Bustn'.

Now, I must go design a pattern for knitted dalek tea cozies. Unless anyone knows of any pre-existing patterns?

Friday, September 14, 2007


I want to thank everyone who has stopped by my blog and left comments. I love receiving comments. It is wonderful to see what other people think about my blog. The thing I love most about the Internet is that there are so many people and so much knowledge out there. Sometimes I feel that I must have been infinity stupider in that time before the Internet became what it is today. It is also a rather frightening thought, that I'm probably the last age group to remember what life was like before the Internet arrived in it's current incarnation.

I wanted to remind you about the site KnitFree. Actually, I wanted to remind myself about it, too. I love this site, but being the absent minded philosophy student that I am, I forgot until she came by and left a comment. (See how important comments are?) KnitFree is all about free knitting patterns, so if you like that sort of thing, click the link.

I'm taking advantage of the Indian summer (I believe this term refers to the really hot summer like weather they have in India and is not a derogatory reference to First Nations - If anyone wants to correct me, go for it. Just make certain you can cite your sources.) and washing some more of my Golden Fleece.

Hopefully I will have enough washed up to spin for a sweater (or two). I am thinking that I might start with a basic raglan cardie from EZ's Knitting Workshop; however, I'm not entirely decided yet. We will have to see how the spinning goes, and that, my friends, depends on whether I can beg, borrow or steal a drum carder.

Kauni is coming along. I've been knitting it while re-watching season one of House Md. He makes me laugh.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

sixty-four (Free Knitting Pattern)

As requested one typed version of of the Elephant Tea Cozy for your enjoyment, available free on my free pattern page.

Let me know if you find any mistakes. I typed this up quickly so I'm certain there must be one or two in there.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I finally finished my torso on my Kauni Cardie. I even cut one of the steeks.

It was rather foolish of me, sitting in the dark living room, watching The Last Detective, crocheting the steek edge (see See Eunny Knit talk about crochet steeks). Since, I had crocheted it, and there was still half the show left, I thought, why not cut it.

The knitting fates must have taken pitty on me, because, against all the odds, not a wrong thread was snipped. I paid for my good luck when it came to picking up the sts around the edge. It took 7 (that's SEVEN!) tries, and two days of frustration and tossing the darn knitting in the corner to get the stitch count right. It's the age old theory, if you make someone or something sit in the corner long enough, maybe it will start to behave. But I didn't give up, and now the sleeve is on it's way.

That is, except for the spinning.

Okay, I know it's Christmas knitting, and I shouldn't share this with the blog. But the intended recipient seldom uses the Internet and reads this blog infrequently at best (better for me that way). Besides, if my friends aren't expecting knitted gifts from me for the holidays, they just aren't paying attention (and haven't been for quite some time).

But I am going to share it with you, at least a little bit, because I am so proud of the yarn I MADE! That's right, I used all capitals, because I made it. I visualized what I wanted the yarn to be, and it became what I wanted it to be! It's amazing. It would be almost like me knitting a sweater that fit. Anyway, have a look. Isn't it wonderful?

Bad news, there was a moth in my room last night. I am hoping that it's just that time of year again when all the creepy crawlies, and flittery flyies are trying to find new homes for the winter. But if anyone can tell me if it's an evil-moth or just a moth-moth, I would love to know.

In the spirit of being dedicated to my blog, I risked fiber and yarn to take a photo of the offending moth rather than the proper reaction which is to kill it as quickly as possible.

Edit: The moth is tiny; at most, about one centimeter long.

Monday, September 10, 2007

sixty-two (blogger be good)

Now usually, on a normal day, under normal circumstances, I make a copy of my blog post before pressing the 'go' button. Just in case, but some strange misfortune which I'm certain must not be their fault, blogger looses my post. Today I didn't. And today, of all days, was the day that blogger lost my post. I could just scream. It was such a good post. It must be a Tuesday, I never could get the hang of Tuesdays.

But no matter. Let us try this again.

I was writing about my self imposed torture, oops, I mean no-yarn-for-me pledge. It's been two days so far and no one has been hurt. It is difficult though, especially when you consider my morning routine is to drink my (very delicious) coffee while reading blogs, etsy, ravelry and the like. If you think it's difficult, under normal circumstances, not to buy every beautiful thing I see. You should see how difficult it is when I prohibit myself from buying these things. Prohibition seems to increase desire.

It always amazes me how many people add to the overall beauty of the world by creating yarn (and yarn related things). Take See Jayne Knit, perhaps my favorite dyer of all times, for example. She has just come out with a new sock yarn, Canadian Maple. It would make the most perfect fall socks. I would have snapped it up in an instant, if not for my no-yarn-for-me pledge.

But there is nothing in my pledge that denies me from entering contests to win yarn. It simply prevents me from spending money on yarn. I was delighted when I saw that HollYarns is having a contest. You can enter too. If you do, you can mention that I sent you. That way I get an extra chance to win some yarn and you have the opportunity to do your good deed for the day.

That's enough about yarn for now. In my last attempt to post on my blog (darn you blogger - I know you are a free service, but do better, will you.) I had a brilliant segway from yarn to knitting. But sadly, it's gone now. This will have to suffice.

The day after I cast off my handspun Montego Bay Scarf, the weather turned warm. It's always that way here. It rains the last two weeks of August, and gets obscenely hot starting the first Tuesday of September for a few weeks. But the moment the weather turns cool again, that scarf is going round my neck so I can show it off to the world.

You will be happy to see, there is also handbag knitting. The bordello socks from the yarn band off Seasilk Sock yarn.

As you can see, I'm using yarn from See Jayne Knit. Now I have proof that I already love her yarn. It makes such comfortable socks.

Now it's back to the books for me. As I worked yesterday, I'm already considerably behind on my readings for class. If I get them done in time, I'll pick up the sts for my first Kauni sleeve. I cut the steek last night while watching The Last Detective, so I am curious to see how many mistakes I made due to poor lighting and inattention.

(best go make a back up copy of this before pressing 'go')

Saturday, September 08, 2007

sixty-one (my, you sure do have a lot of yarn)

I have a lot of yarn.

I have yarn for designated projects.

I have yarn for WIP and left overs from previous projects.

I have yarn, well, I just don't know what I'm going to do with this yarn.

I have a lot of yarn.

What's more, I have fiber too. Fiber for spinning and yarn I've spun.

(there is also 9lbs of unwashed wool from my Golden fleece and a large bag of alpaca in the other room)

All together, I think, that maybe, just maybe, I have a lot of yarn.

So this is the plan. As of today, I am starting a one year, self imposed, yarn purchasing ban. During this time, I will not purchase yarn of any variety (except for certain exceptions listed below).

Why go to such drastic measures you ask? I can give you three reasons. First, I sure do have a lot of yarn. Second, the yarn stash has currently reached maximum storage capacity. And third, I am saving up for some large purchases (a second spinning wheel and drum carder among them).

This is a very difficult thing for me to do, this is why I'm sharing it with you. I need your support. Please don't tell me I'm nuts. I'll cry.

Due to the difficulty and the length of time of this self imposed challenge, I will allow myself a few exceptions.

  1. Fiber festival shopping is exempt. It's the equivalent of eating birthday cake when you are on a diet.

  2. I can purchases new fiber to spin if and only if it is for a particular project and I do not purchases more than is reasonably needed for said project.

  3. I have three (3) wild cards - that means that I have three opportunities to buy yarn and not feel bad about it. But once they are gone, they are gone! (If I don't use them up, I get to buy myself a special present at the end of the year. One for each wild card not used.)

  4. Buying yarn to make specific gifts for other people (not myself) are also exempt.

  5. I can buy myself a gift of yarn for my birthday without using up one of my wild cards.

  6. Enabling is all okay. Which means I can still tell you about this fantastic new yarn being offered by Knits Galore. It's so wonderful and darn it all, I wish it came out yesterday so I could go on a yarn spree before my self imposed torture. I especially like Angela* in Bamboo/Merino/Nylon.

  7. And I suppose, if someone else were to buy me yarn and give it to me, that would be okay too. Besides, it would be rude to refuse.

With these exceptions, one year, one whole year!, will not be too difficult. It will be a challenge, but I think I can get through it.

When will the madness end? After 365.4 days or after I have reduced my stash by more than half. That would be when my entire yarn stash fits comfortably inside my yarn suitcase you see in the photos.

Friday, September 07, 2007


I wandered around the house in a panic. The scarf, the wonderful Montego Bay Scarf was finished, ends darned, and gently hanging around my neck. Kauni sat quietly in the corner, but I couldn't bring myself to knit it. I felt almost dizzy. My stomach felt as if filled with stones. Why, after completing such a beautiful project like this scarf, out of such beautiful (may I say) hand spun yarn, would I feel so antsy?

But then I realized what was wrong. The yarn for the first Christmas present wasn't anywhere near ready to ply, let alone knit; and even though I still had knitting on the needles, I had no handbag knitting.

Handbag knitting are small knitting projects that live in my hand bag. This may mean, as in The Mysterious Case of the Monkey Socks (note the hint of Sherlock Holmes), that a particular handbag knitting project, though small, may take months to knit. You probably have no idea how many time having knitting in my handbag has saved myself (and many an 'innocent' party) from harm.

I'm pretty high strung. I'm also very outspoken. Usually I'm shy enough for this not to be an issue. But sometimes...well, let's just say, it's not pretty. Okay, it is pretty funny for me, but it's not pretty funny for the poor sod who asks me 'does this make me look fat.' Because when I get high strung and outspoken, I'm the type of person that rejects decorum and tells that poor sod where and how much it makes her look fat. I end up feeling bad afterwards, but at least people (most people) learn that I give an honest opinion (even when I 'shouldn't').

This is why handbag knitting is such an important thing. It keeps me calm and, more importantly, it keeps me from saying things that maybe I shouldn't. This is why I was in such a panic when I ran out of handbag knitting. This is why I picked up some yarn from my stash and immediately cast for socks. The world is much better now. (details about yarn and socks coming later - it's been a long day at university, and I ought to leave you something to look forward to).

Thursday, September 06, 2007

fifty-nine point one

Quick, go here. Vote for a hunk. Not just any hunk, a knitters hunk. Don't ask, just go. (Oh, vote for Hugh Laurie - he's the best, nudge nudge, wink wink.)


The design said to spin 28g of fiber lace weight, then Navajo ply the yarn to arrive at just over 300 meters of scarf yarn. So I spun about 30 grams of fiber, in this case my Bamboo Mix, fairly thin, I Navajo plyed it, and I ended with about 88 meters of the most wonderful yarn. 88 meters is less than 300 meters. Something went wrong. There is not enough, I think, for a scarf.

Now, I've been told that at each stage of spinning, the colours of the fiber dull a little more. Yet, for some reason, these colours didn't fade, they grew in intensity. When I hand carded the fibers to blend them together, they almost seemed to shine with colour. When I spun the yarn, it glowed with impossibly bright yellows and greens. Once I plyed the yarn, it overcame me with it's unquenchable brightness. I suspect, it's too bright for me to wear as a scarf on its own anyway, but the way the finished yarn feels. It's soft, it's even, it slinks across your fingers, It's perfect!

There is just not enough. So, in the stash it goes for now. There will be something just right for it someday, I know.

My Montego Bay Scarf is well underway. It's almost finished actually. Another handspun creation (I like spinning). It's my first time knitting with handspun which isn't lumpy armature slub. It has properties that I've never known in any commercial yarn. I'm not certain how to describe it. I think if I had to try, I would say it's denser than commercial yarn. It slinks across the needles, but once it's formed into the knitted fabric, it softens. In a way it's as if before you knit it, it's all tense and waiting with anticipation. Then once it's finally in it's finished form, it relaxes and gets comfortable, put its feet on the couch as it were.

The Kauni is coming along, albeit, slowly. The scarf keeps stealing away my attention. I reach for the Kauni, and my hands pick up the scarf. But no matter. It is getting there.

I've also been spending time stealth spinning for Christmas presents. I know, I know, it's early! But I want to get them finished, and besides, it is an excuse to do more spinning. Here is one photo to tide you over, but you don't get any more until after the holidays. I picked up these Fleece Artist braids at the Loom.

Right, it's back to the books for me. Hooray for University being back in session.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I did warn you, didn't I? I did warn you that once I received my Ravelry invite , it would consume me. I'm certain I must have said something to the effect. Because it's true. It has consumed me. I have been devoured by Ravelry. I'm just glad it happened before classes started.

Now that I've digested Ravelry (or should I say, it's digested me), I can return to blogging. That first infatuation is subsiding and I can now answer a simple question like, 'what would you like for supper?' with a responce other than 'shh... Internet....later....maybe.....(mumble mumble)'.

It was a bit overwhelming! But I don't think I'm going to talk too much about ravelry here. Some of you aren't 'in' yet and I don't want to make you feel bad like you are missing out some super-wonderful secret of life. You are not. It's just a lot of yarn, and yarn related things, and yarn related people. All gathered together in one wonderful place. But I'm not going to talk about that.

What I am going to talk about today is Badges! The ever wonderful Brenda, host of Cast On, the podcast about knitting. Yes I know there are other pod casts, I use to listen to several of them, but then stopped when I started riding my bike everywhere (you can't really cycle, listen to mp3 player and be safe). Lately I've started to listen to Cast On again, this time, while I'm spinning. But that's not what I'm here to talk about.

I'm hear to talk about badges!

I've earned four.

I talk about knitting. I talk about knitting to everyone. I talked about knitting to my stylist today. I talked about knitting to my boss. I talked about knitting to my friends. And I talk about knitting to strangers on the street. I suppose there are a few points taken off for referring to my Grandmother, but I do so only to mention that she taught me how to knit.

The Macgyver bag was earned on a camping trip. A friend of mine wanted to learn how to knit so we swiped some chopsticks from a Chinese takeout, and frogged (unsuccessfully I might add) a goodwill sweater to produce yarn. Then by firelight we tried to knit the tiny little bits of yarn we managed to selvage from the sweater. It was an utter failure due to mass manufacturing of sweaters which involves somehow cutting up the fabric to make it fit. But it was fun. We felt better for trying.

Knitting under the influence. It's rather a frequent occurrence, so there is no specific story I can share with you. Even now, I have a Guinness and a Kauni Cardie, and as soon as I finish this post, I'll combine the two activities.

I think I should get extra points for knitting while on T3s and other pain killers, not to mention knitting while under the influence of a very gripping TV programme (see this post). Neither of those ends well, but I soldier on non the less.

Ah math skills. Yep! That's me (sometimes). When I get my hands on a new pattern (even one that I would never, ever, ever, ever! knit) I will read through it with a fine tooth comb and a calculator. Just for fun because that's the kind of gal I am.

That's all I've got for now. I suppose I should design a new pattern and submit it to so that I can earn my I've been rejected by a magazine badge. But maybe later.

Classes start tomorrow, that means that blogging will either be far less frequent or far more. We will just have to see how things go from here.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

fifty-seven - the Saanich Fair

It's called Sheep to Shall. It requires some spinning wheels,

some spinners,

wool or in our case mohair, a loom, a weaver,

and a lot of happy people.

This is how I spent my day at the Saanich fair. We arrived fairly early in the morning and started spinning right away. The bagpipes from the highland dancers provided us with a suitable rhythm to start us off. We chatted with each other, we chatted with the public, I cursed at my wheel a little bit (that squeak I thought I fixed came back - apparently wheels need grease - I'm just saying this as a hint for all my fellow new-spinners out there - grease is good, sometimes).

The sheep to shall is the chance to demonstrate to the public what it was like before commercial machine made yarns were readily available. We start with the loom already prepared (the hand-spun warp (I think it's what it's called) already on it), and as we spin the fibers into yarn, the weaver, or in this case, weaver's assistant, takes it from us and winds it on the weaving-thing-a-ma-bob (shuttle bobbin?). Then, using magical weaving motions, which I hope to learn some day, the weaver makes yarn into fabric.

It was a great deal of fun. Lots of people stopped by and asked questions. I think that I liked the children the best. Most of them watched so closely and the expression on their faces said, "I bet I could do that, now I wonder what that spinning bit is for." Whereas, the expression of many of the adults faces said, "wow, that looks very hard, oh, and time consuming."

The woman also put together a display of what pioneer life was like. I especially like the distaff and the selection of plants that can be used for dyeing.

There was also a section where entries were judged. There were all sorts of knitted objects,

woven objects,

and even spun objects. (these photos are only the smallest sampelling of all the wonderful things people made)

Mine's the drab looking one in the middle. I was coaxed into submitting something. I knew it wasn't any good, but I thought, "If I put this in there, it will be my good deed for the fair. It will make everyone else's look so much better." And it did. Mission accomplished.

Here's my lunch. I won an apple for knowing the difference between egg chickens and meat chickens.

I had a quick look around some of the fair. There were all sorts of things to see and I don't think I saw a tenth of it. There were even pheasants.

I saw some rabbits but I couldn't find any angora ones. Nor did I find any sheep, although I could hear them from time to time. I did find a caff with a similar name to me, Brenda (the wonderful woman who taught me to spin) pointed him/her/it out. I think the calf was a bit overwhelmed by all the new sensory stimulus.

There was also a moth. I'm told it's not the evil kind, but I'm still a little suspicious of it. Why else would it be around all the wool? It did however, have a wonderful design on it's back. There are suggestions that it would make a good sweater pattern.

Anyway, today is a day for resting, deep-cleaning the house, having Y over to make us Japanese food, knitting a little, and didn't I mention, playing with RAVELRY! I'm in! My name there is trampledbygeese, so if you are 'in', come and see me.