Sunday, March 30, 2008

Swatching Sunday: A Variation on Basket Weave

Last Thursday I checked out The New Knitting Stitch Library from the library. Tonight I took one of the stitches for a test drive.

The stitches in the book don't have names. This one is stitch number 16. It seems to be some sort of variation on the basket weave stitch. I thought it had potential for my precious Silk Cotton. However, I wasn't real thrilled with the back. This is what the "wrong" side looks like:

I want something reversible for the Silk Cotton. Still, it has potential for other projects. It looks good with variegated yarn, and it lays flat.

I used US size 5 aluminum needles from my Boye Needlemaster and cheap acrylic from my stash. This swatch is unwashed and unblocked.

I don't know. Maybe the reverse side looks ok. It might grow on me.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ready to be random?

Time for a little of everything.

Manchaca Road Library Reopens

I was so excited on Thursday when my local library re-opened, but I didn't realize when I wrote that entry that the Manchaca Road Branch was set to open today. This is the library branch I grew up with. I was heading south today to do some cleaning (more on that later) so I went with my parents today. (I'm kicking myself for not taking my camera.)

We didn't go for the live music and stuff, but we did look at the new facilities. There are lots of new books. Mom recognized the old ones as well. She said they were like "old friends." (Like I said, we've been going there for ages.) Everything is nice and new, but it still "feels" like the old library, which is nice. There is a new computer lab there too.

Earth Hour

I joined my friends this evening for Earth Hour. We spent an hour in the dark, dining by candlelight and talking in the living room. We were going to play a board game, but we got sidetracked. I managed to work on my Fun Fur Scarf in the dark. Being able to feel the stitches is key when you knit with eyelash yarn, so I can do that in the dark.

One person drew this picture in the dark:

Actually, this has been edited by several people. The original is here. Look at what I added:

Spider Sally, Spider Sally, does everything that a Spider Sally does.
Can she swing from a web? No she can't, but she can knit one.


Here is Jules posing with the Amigurumi cat my Mom crocheted. She got the pattern from this website. I've named him Squinty (the cat, not Jules.)

Friday, March 28, 2008

FO: Skinny Eve Scarf

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and Year Long Gift-A-Long.

Here is Poncho Pig making his modeling debut. Just imagine if I made a scarf that actually fit him.

As I mentioned earlier I left my knitting bag with most of my current knitting projects at my parent's house last week. So I had no choice to cast on something new. Fortunately, I had something on my list of Christmas gifts to make.

I bought some Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande Paint at Hill Country Weavers last fall. I probably could have made this scarf a little wider, but I wanted length over width. It only took me a little more than one and a half skeins in colorway 8817. I also used the wooden US size 8 knitting needles I got in my Knitters Scavenger Hunt package.

This is the same ribbing I used in this scarf and this scarf. I'm not sure if it's technically the Brioche Rib or the Eve's Rib. (Hence the name.) I used the stitch I found in this pattern. It's a great stitch, and I love how it looks with the hand painted yarn. I also like the way it pooled diagonally.

Don't Hate on the Fun Fur

I'm including a bonus WIP, a simple fun fur scarf out of Lion Brand Fun Fur Stripes. The yarn was provided from a friend from church, who asked me to some scarves out of it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Return of Poncho Pig

I just went on a book binge. Fortunately, the books are free.

I just discovered the Little Walnut Creek library branch is open again. This is the library branch closest to my apartment, but it was closed when I moved in. While Jules was here, we drove by and I thought I saw people and cars there. Today after work I stopped there. It's good to have one close by again.

They had a few good knitting books, including Knitting the Old Way and a book about building spinning wheels I found with the woodworking section. I decided to wait and check those out another time. I doubt I'll be able to read more than I can carry before they are due.

My family has been using the Austin Public Library system for literally as long as I can remember. The Manchaca Road Branch was the one we visited most often growing up. It has been closed for renovations for more than a year now. I hope Mom and Dad get their library back soon. (They've been going to other branches, but I know they miss the Manchaca Road Branch.)

You'll notice I only checked out one knitting book, and the rest are about cleaning and money. I'm trying to move forward some more with my goals. Poncho Pig is back in business. In fact, when I shook him I discovered there was actually a little change in him already. I'm adding to it as I find it lying around. I've been picking up pennies my entire life, but usually they end up at the bottom of purse, on the floor of my car, etc. Now I'm trying to get it all in one place.

I'm looking back at the goals I set a couple of months ago. In the past few days, I got back on FlyLady. However, for now cleaning will work against my goal of being greener. Once I get things more under control, I'll make more of an effort to recycle. For I just need to "fling" things.

I've thought up some creative strategies for saving money and budgeting, and made a little progress in saving. At least Poncho Pig is back to work.

Also, I'm still swatching (although I missed last week because Jules was here), and I can honestly say I can spin. I have an idea for Knitty in the works, and I've knit a couple of Christmas gifts for next year.

I think I'll keep making progress as long as I listen to Dory:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

WIP: Malabrigo Madness Fetching

It was a slow start, but I'm finally making progress on what will probably be my one and only Malabrigo March project.

This is Fetching in Malabrigo Worsted. The Malabrigo Junkies group on Ravelry is having all sorts of Malabrigo events. It makes me wonder if marketing people from Malabrigo are running the group. If so, I'm not complaining. In fact, if I had more time, I'd knit more Malabrigo in March.

I was inspired to knit Fetching in Malabrigo after seeing Spinal Cat's Fetching. She got two pairs from one skein. I'm not sure if I'll go for two, or see if I can squeeze another small project out of the rest.

I had a revelation while talking to Titian Knitter at knitting group tonight. This yarn is a lot like the yarn I started spinning yesterday. Duh, they're both Merino. Titian Knitter said Merino tends to be more difficult to spin, but now I'm not worried after looking closely at the Malabrigo. It's not very twisted, but it holds together just fine. I feel like I know what's going on now. And keep in mind, most commercial yarns are made with many tiny plies, but Malabrigo is one fat single.

And I'm loving the dramatic variations in this semi-solid.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spinning and other updates

I took Jules back to the airport early Monday morning. Here's a picture of me and my big ol' butt hugging him in my parents' backyard. I'll probably have more details later, but for now, you can see pictures on Flickr.

Spinning Update

As I suspected, I didn't get much knitting done while Jules was here, mainly because I left the bag with most of my current knitting projects at Mom and Dad's house the Sunday after Jules arrived . (And I didn't get back over there until Easter Sunday.)

The good news is I got a lot of spinning done. I finished spinning my Corriedale Roving from Yarnivore, and I'm pleased with the outcome. I figured if I could get through all six ounces, I would know how to spin when I was through. It worked. I think it's safe to say I have gone from "trying to learn how to spin" to "beginning spinner."

I haven't processed the yarn yet. I think I'll keep this as a single, and maybe knit a hat.

Tonight I broke into the Merino roving I got at Yarnivore. It feels so different than the Corriedale. Either it needs more twist, doesn't want to twist or doesn't need to twist as much. It seems little harder to draft, but it can be drafted. I think I just need to get my bearings.

Crocheted Chickens

We spent Easter with some family friends while Jules was here. I forgot where they found these crocheted chicken egg covers. (I think it was a flea market.) Of course, I had to take a picture.

Parting Shot

I don't have a couch or a sofa (only chairs,) so Jules and I spent some time laying an old comforter on the floor in the living room. Tonight, Bunny Foo-Foo decided it was a good place to hang out. (This picture was also a good chance to see how well the red eye correction works on Flickr.)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Closed for "Blogcation"

I will be picking up Jules from the airport in less than four hours, which means I'll be taking a "blogcation" while he is here. (Hey, if you can have a blogiversary, I say you can have a blogcation.) I'll probably be back Monday, March 24.

I'll leave you with two things. First, there is a sale at Bluebonnet this weekend.

Second, here is some amazing footage of Mr. Rogers defending public television before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications in 1969. It's especially amazing when you consider the fact that in 1969, Mr. Rogers wasn't the icon he is today.

You tell 'em, Fred.

Don't forget that March 20 is Sweater Day.

Have a good week. I know I will!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cheer Up, Emo Knitter

This is Poncho Pig. He paid for my college education.

OK, it wasn't quite that simple.

I've literally had Poncho Pig as long as I can remember. He was a gift from relatives, although I don't remember which ones. I also don't know who gave him his name, but it stuck.

Through out my childhood, we fed Poncho Pig spare change. Mostly it was money from selling aluminum cans and change we found on the ground. (Finding change is a sport in my family.)

When Poncho Pig got full, we took out the money, counted it, took it too the bank and deposited it into my college fund. Come to think of it, I don't know why we counted it when they just put it in the coin machine and counted it again when we got to the bank. I think it may have been some sort of stealth math lesson.

For years I thought my college fund consisted solely of money we fed to Poncho Pig. Of course, my parents were putting a lot more money into the college account than spare change.

Poncho Pig has been through a lot. I dropped him once and we had to glue him back together, and he's been to Florida and back. But I haven't put any change in him for ages.

I don't know if my parents intended it, but I'm realizing his presence throughout my life has been very symbolic. Poncho Pig was the physical manifestation of the expectation that I would go to college. And college would be this wonderful happy time that would set me up for a wonderful happy life.

I did go to college, my parents did pay for it (with help from Poncho Pig) and I did graduate. And while there were good times, there was also a lot of tears, failure, disappointment, illness, dropping out, dropping back in and five years later I graduated ready to become a newspaper reporter. And three years after that I hated my career, and realized I didn't really have the skills to do anything else.

And where am I going with all this?

A couple of weeks ago I found a copy of Facing 30 at Goodwill. At first I thought "30 isn't old" and then I thought about some of the things I had been thinking about and picked it up.

It's not so much just the number 30 itself. Or the fact that my 10-year class reunion is in jeopardy because my classmates are too busy getting their PhDs or graduating from prestigious law schools to organize one. Or the fact that my one year of telemarketing/Lead Generation is probably more of an asset on a resume than my BA. Or the realization that people my age are doing "grown up" things like buying houses and having families. It's all of that together and more.

And whenever I read it this book, I find sections that make me think. "Yes! This is it! This is me!" And then I feel sad because I think about all the disappointments I've experienced since I graduated from high school.

The book talks a lot about the pressure of societal expectations, the reasons why the challenges of my generation's 20s are so different (and maybe more difficult) than the previous generation's 20s, and trying to redefine our lives.

And it all reminded me of what a friend told me last summer when we were having a heart to heart talk about life, and the future. She said something along the lines of "I'm sorry, but he American Dream is all a big lie."

Poncho Pig is the physical manifestation of American Dream in my life. I have to redefine Poncho Pig.

Emo enough for you? Maybe I should go back to posting fluff from other blogs.

Humorous Pictures
Enter the ICHC online Poker Cats Contest!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Because I'm lazy in need of inspiration, I'm posting some stuff I've seen on other blogs recently.

Small Projects

I've been reading Lifehack like the geek that I am, and today I came across an entry called Small Projects Generate Good Feelings. The author says:
After you finish the project, take notice of how you feel after you finish it. You can’t deny the positive feelings that come along with finishing a small project.
Well duh, knitters have known this for ages. Then the post goes on to describe how he built a "Cornhole" game.

(Of course, he ordered the corn bags online. Wouldn't sewing the corn bags make a good small project themselves?)


Humorous Pictures
Enter the ICHC online Poker Cats Contest!

My bunny has lots of threads that are relevant to her interests. She also has bags, baskets, furniture, electrical wires, catalogs, books and other things that are relevant to her interests.

Edit: I realize now this sounds like the rabbit in the picture is mine. This one isn't mine. This is something I saw on I Can Has Cheezburger that reminded me of my bunny.

Beyond Lips

I have only have one thing to say about this Mental Floss entry about eggs:

Chickens have earlobes?

Celebrity Look-alikes

Finally, I'm the last kid on the block to post one of these. If you're having trouble, you have to sign up for an account and everything before you create one.

Lisa Ling?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Knitty's here! Knitty's here!

In case you weren't paying attention, the Spring 2008 issue of Knitty is up.

I've just been looking at the new yarn and fiber reviews. My precious Handmaiden Silk Cotton is among the yarns that were reviewed, which means if I want to be first on Ravelry to cast on, I better hurry up. The good news is that it got a good review.

I suspect this is Handmaiden's way of introducing one of their new yarns. Apparently, different yarn companies submitted their yarns for the Knitty Yarn Roundtable, where knitters in Toronto get to sample them. *Sigh* I wish I was closer to Toronto. There is a yarn tasting at Gauge this week, but of course I didn't reply fast enough, and now it's already full.

The patterns look good this time around. The pattern I'm most excited about is the one for modular Posey socks.

Yosemite is a nice little spring top. I don't know if I'll make it, but I do like what the designer said in the intro:

It is not easy being a knitter during the winter when you live in the desert. “Sweater envy” doesn’t begin to cover the torture. The hats, the mittens, the afghans -- can a sister get some snow?

Amen to that.

Monday, March 10, 2008


A lot of people are using March to finish up lingering project. However, I seem to be letting them pile up. I have Startitis and I'm not doing anything about it.

It's time for a WIP round up.

This is the first time the Rainbow Socks have made an appearance on my blog. That's because they are a birthday gift for my sister, and since I've already done the old wrap-a-pair-of-unfinished-socks-for-a-gift trick, I can now reveal them to the world.

These socks have had bad mojo so far. They were slow to start, I kept forgetting them at home as I was trying to make the birthday deadline, and they keep coming off the needles. (I need to get my dpn holder thingy out again.) Although I consider myself pretty good with short rows, these aren't quite right, which is causing puckers. (Even after reading this helpful tutorial.)

Each short row section is supposed to have four unworked stitches left in the round before finishing the section. The first short row section was fine, but ever since then I end up with either two, six or at one point three stitches left. I kept counting them over and over again, and everything added up.

But just now, as I was getting the socks out for a picture, a needle came out (again) and suddenly I was stitch short and I have no idea where it went.

So these are going into time out until I can input from my sister (to see how picky she is) and my Mom (to figure out where I went wrong.)

I've dubbed these two Boogie Time watches "Even More Boogie Time" To differentiate them from all the other Boogie Time watches I've made. These are really late Christmas gifts.

As you can see, I've cast off, but they still need to be sewn up. However, the real problem has been finding a watch face that will work for a boy for the striped one. (No luck at all the thrift stores I've checked so far.)

Way back in January, I talked about "starting" the Candy sweater from Knitty? Yeah, I haven't made it past the swatch. I haven't even blocked the swatch. (And I want to be sure to block the swatch to be sure of the gauge before I do the math....yada yada yada.)

Strangling Vines continues to get the most attention these days, even when there are birthday gifts to knit, etc. It is a total luxury project, and it's just for me. (And it will be less puckery after blocking.)

This isn't even counting the "inactive" projects, the secret design I have planned, my plans for Silk Cotton that are forming in my head, the projects I owe other people that aren't technically "gifts," etc.

And with all this going, what am I going to work on before I go to bed?

I'm casting on (or at least winding the yarn for) Fetching to join all the Malabrigo March Madness on Ravelry.

Bits and Pieces

This link came up on my Gmail today. I have no idea why. And are these really any better than band aids?

I’m having all sorts of computer problems tonight. For now, I’m blaming the weather, because that does not require tech support from my cable company. Some sites just don’t want to load, including Blogger. (I’m typing this on a word doc so I can cut and paste later.)

Quote of the day:
“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” – Robert Frost (recently seen on Knitgrrl’s blog)

Hi, Mom. *waves*

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Swatching Sunday: This took more effort than you would think

This week's swatch looks unimpressive, but it took a lot of thinking, planning and unraveling to get there.

I was riffing off the ball band dishcloth stitch I worked on a couple of weeks ago. I'm not going into great detail because I have plans for this little swatch.

I will say this swatch was knit using Cascade 220 in Christmas Red 8895 and Black 8555 and US size 5 aluminum needles from my Boye Needlemaster. The swatch is unwashed and unblocked.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I got my package from the Knitters Scavenger Hunt

Cross posted at Knitters Scavenger Hunt and Sally Comes Unraveled.

I got my package for the Knitters Scavenger Hunt on Friday. Actually, it may have been sitting in the office of my apartment complex for a couple of days before I picked it up. Normally I get a little note in my mailbox letting me know when I have a package, but I didn't get it this time. It's a good thing I checked.

My package was from Jessica.

Here is how the categories broke down, starting in the upper left corner and moving clockwise:

Something green - Beaded Stitch Markers. These had a nifty tag, but no name. I wonder who made them.
Something related to the letter 'T' - T-Pins for blocking. These are helpful, because I never seem to have enough T-Pins.
Something hard (stop giggling)- Sock blocker key chain.
Something round - Plymouth Happy Feet sock yarn in color 6. It's soft and machine washable.
Bonus - The nifty little bucket that my sock yarn came in. I had to take the yarn out of the bucket so I could photograph it.
"Spoiler's choice" - Handmade Joy Lotion Bars. I've seen bar lotion before, but I've never used it. Do you just rub it all over your body? Also, I'd like to know who made them. These is will come in handy, because my skin gets pretty dry this time of year.
Bonus - Temporary Tattoos.
Something funny - Part One - Nuts about Squirrels pattern for knitted felted squirrels, by Debbie Radtke.
Something funny - Part Two (in the center) - Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted in Ash (left) and Stone (right) for knitting the squirrels.
Something local - Birch and Black Walnut Knitting Needles from "A Yarn Good Idea" in Eau Claire, WI. These are US Size 8. I'd like to know more about the origin of these needles. Jessica said they were "sort of" local.

Many thanks, Jessica. If you want a closer look, go here and see the picture on Flickr. Also, you can see what I got my partner here.

I also wanted to include links for Zen String and the main Entrelac store where I got some of the gifts for my swap partner. I always like to promote local crafters.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Contest Time

It's time to promote some contests.

Mariknits is having a Malabrigo March/Blogiversary contest. To enter, just comment and link to the first post in your own blog.

There's also a blogiversary contest here. The hard thing about this contest is that you have to name your favorite dessert. How can you pick just one?

As always, please tell them that Large Marge Sally Comes Unraveled sent you.

Also, if you were disappointed because the link in yesterday's post was broken, never fear. I will be fixed it shortly.

Edit: I just realized the dessert contest ended at midnight. Oops. Go check it out anyway.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


A friend of mine sent me a link to this t-shirt. I want one. If you look closely, you'll notice it has a knitting needle and a crochet hook. I'm impressed, especially because it isn't even from a knitting or crochet site.

Edited 3/8/07 to fix the link. Thanks for the heads up Karen.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Can you keep up with Mr. Rogers' Mom?

After reading about Mr. Rogers' sweaters on Monday, I looked around the Internet to try to find out more. I found a nine part interview from the Archive of American Television. It's long, and I would like to eventually watch the whole thing. However, he talks about the sweaters in the first five minutes of the first part. (You can watch it here.)

According to the interview, Mr. Rogers' mother is Nancy McFeely Rogers. During World War II she knit sweaters for the troops. Apparently she knit a sweater a month, or twelve sweaters a year, almost every year. She gave them to her closest family and friends each Christmas.

One of the sweaters is in the Smithsonian. If you look closely, there is a cable on each side of the zipper. Someone on Ravelry pointed out that the cables are pointing the same direction, rather than facing each other.

I'm going to keep looking for more information. I wonder what type of yarn she used and how she put in the zippers. Did she steek the sweaters? Were they her own design, or did she use a pattern?

Imagine having your knitting immortalized in the Smithsonian. And I bet Mr. Rogers truly appreciated the work that went into those sweaters.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Excuse me, I caucused.

Caucus sounds like a dirty word, doesn't it?

I got home a little while ago after my electoral evening. As of this writing, CNN projects Hillary the winner of Ohio, but Texas is still up in the air.

As I mentioned yesterday I had a hard time deciding between Obama and Clinton. I consulted friends who had done their research (lazy, I know) and I read this blog entry. (Thanks for the link, Patita.) And I was still undecided, despite all the pro-Obama stuff coming my way.

After work I had to fight traffic and head down to South Austin, since I'm still registered at my parents' address. By the time I left work, I had decided to vote for Hillary, partly because of her health care stance, but mostly because of some gut feeling. With the candidates touting such similar platforms, I felt like this was the best way to go.

I brought Strangling Vines with me, which was not an ideal project for standing in line, considering the counting involved. I had to unknit (or "tink") several times.

The line to actually vote was pretty short. I only worked one row before it was time to dig out my ID. I was actually starting to feel a little resentful. It felt almost like there was peer pressure to vote for Obama, as if he was the popular kid. But at the same time, his popularity may make him the strongest candidate.

That's about the time I saw our neighbors down the street walk in. My family has known Johnny and Yvonne for years. Yvonne came up and hugged me and ask if I was going to Caucus. I said I didn't think so because I was undecided, which sounded stupid considering I was about to vote in less than five minutes. She said she had to tell me something to help me decide. We debated whether or not to step outside. Finally she whispered in my ear.

I was expecting another Obama endorsement, but instead she said something about needing a woman if we're ever going to get anything done. I forgot her exact words, but the important thing was that I suddenly felt confident of my choice. I had to move up in line and I told her I'd meet her when I was through.

I had to fill out a voter registration card, change my address, yada yada yada, and then I voted. I admit I skipped most of the other races, but that's probably more responsible than voting for people I have never heard of.

Then I joined Johnny and Yvonne down the hall, in line for caucus. I hadn't planned to caucus, but Yvonne gave me the confidence to stand by my decision. I'm lucky I ran into her.

Johnny and Yvonne were in a hurry to leave by 7:30, so they made it a point to be first in line so they could sign in and leave. Apparently, signing your name under the right candidate is what matters. You really don't need to stay for the rest unless you want to be in the running to be an actual delegate.

I worked more on Strangling Vines and the line grew behind us. The head of the precinct said he had never done a caucus with more than about 10 people. We had a line out the door, and we changed rooms twice, ending up at the theater. The polling place was at a middle school. Johnny teaches there, so he lead the way.

They had to wait until the last vote was cast before we could go in and sign in. Finally, we were instructed to get in two lines, one for Clinton and one for Obama (There was actually a third line for other candidates and people who were undecided. I didn't see anyone in that line.)

There was a little trash talk, but all in good fun. "Isn't it funny that the Clinton line is on the right and we're left," one Obama supporter said. "That's because Clinton is right," I responded.

I signed in just after Johnny and Yvonne. I considered staying, but decided it was time to go home.

I just checked CNN again, and they are projecting Hillary the winner in Texas, although it is close.

Whether Obama or Clinton wins, I'll be ready support the democratic candidate when the time comes. I think we have two strong candidates, and either one will serve us well.

It's good to have choices.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Undecided and Stuff

The Texas Primary crept up on me. For some reason I had March 5 in my mind as election day. Then someone at work pointed out to me that the election is always on a Tuesday. This really sucks because I'm still undecided. The way I see it, I need to do some research tonight. I just got the e-mail from Lyndsey explaining why Hillary Clinton ruined health care. I also asked the advice of a family friend is a committed Obama supporter. He said Obama has given him new hope for America. I also have some bookmarked articles to read, and I want to check out the League of Women Voters to find out about all the other races. It's like a test I forgot to study for.


Today on the J-Walk Blog I found this column about tolerance for stuff. I think it makes a powerful argument that slobs like me are born, not made.

I also found this video of George Carlin talking about stuff. The part I related to the most was the part about other people's stuff. When I lived at home last year, I was constantly told to clean "my" room, to which I responded "how?" I gave up "my" room sometime in college. It's more of a guest room that I can stay in. The shelves, the drawers, the closets and all the other storage space is filled with stuff that's not mine. And trying to arrange my stuff on the floor was a futile effort.

March 20 is Sweater Day

I was wasting time on Mental Floss today and found this entry on Mr. Rogers. Number 15 surprised me:

15. The sweaters. Every one of the cardigans he wore on the show had been hand-knit by his mother.

I always thought they were store bought sweaters. I'm going to take a closer look now.

I searched Ravelry and didn't find a specific Mr. Roger's sweater pattern, but I did find a group dedicated to Sweater Day. On March 20, everyone is encouraged to wear a sweater in honor of Mr. Rogers.

Parting Shot

I think it's time for a spinning update. My spun yarn is still on the Niddy Noddy. In this picture, the oldest yarn is at the top and the most recent yarn is at the bottom. It's hard to tell, but it's gotten smoother. Also, I'm doing a lot less park and draft and a lot more actual spinning.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Swatching Sunday: Artfibers Kyoto

This week's swatching is kind of sparse, but a lot of fun.

In case you're tuning in late, yesterday I managed to get my hands on a sample of Artfibers Kyoto. Tonight I knit it up.

I used aluminum US Size 7 needles from my Boye Needlemaster set. The swatch is unwashed and unblocked.

The stitches aren't completely even, which is the nature of the yarn, so the gauge varied a little. I'd say it averages out to 9 stitches per 2 inches and 6 rows per inch.

Yesterday I was under the impression that Kyoto was 50% Silk and 50% Merino. I was wrong. I think I was thinking of Ming. Kyoto is 69% Silk, 25% Superkid Mohair and 6% "Extrafine" Wool. However, I think I was right about the plies. The silk is definitely the larger ply. The other ply seems to consist of two plies in itself - one wool and one mohair.

Normally, I think of mohair as "the devil's fiber," because it feels soft to the touch, but it's always itchy when you wear it. I may make an exception if I ever get my hands on some more Kyoto.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Yarn Pr0n: Silk is the Bacon of Fibers

I'll get back to the title later.

Being single and living alone means that I live my life with a certain degree of selfishness and abandon.

For example, yesterday I got paid and decided to celebrated by going to the Mr. Gatti's pizza buffet for dinner. I arrived 45 minutes before they closed. (Hey, they had enough stuff out for me.)

I was so stuffed that I didn't eat much for breakfast (except a nibble here and there) but by about 2:30 today, I was ready for another meal. And what really sounded good was, well, Mr. Gatti's pizza. If I lived with someone, they'd probably say "we just had pizza last night." But I don't live with anyone.

So I went to Mr. Gatti's pizza again for lunch. This makes two meals in a row, and two trips in less than 24 hours. (Fortunately, I don't think any of the staff from last night was there today.)

Being all pizza-ed out, I decided to make my second trip to Gauge in less than 24 hours. Last night I picked up some stuff that was on sale. Today I returned for something that called for a waiting period.

This is Handmaiden Silk Cotton in "Paris." You say you didn't know Handmaiden made Silk Cotton? Until last night, neither did I. In fact, I suspect much of the knitting world is not aware of it. No one on Ravelry has cast on any projects with it, there are no pattern recommendations and it has only been stashed five times.

Gauge also has Sea Silk (the same stuff I'm using for Strangling Vines) and Double Sea Silk, a DK version of the original Sea Silk. I don't think Double Sea is even listed on the Handmaiden website, and there are only three projects listed for it on Ravelry.

It was a hard deciding what to buy. The Handmaiden stuff wasn't on sale, but I knew it would go fast. And because it's hand dyed, it takes a long time to get a shipment. The Handmaiden that came in at Hill Country Weavers last summer went fast and to the best of my knowledge, hasn't been restocked since. Also, Carly said the store has already sold out of a couple of colorways.

Both of the Sea Silks came in some great metallic colorways that I found myself gravitating towards. (Which is unusual, because I normally go for brighter colors.) However, I finally decided to get the Silk Cotton because:

1)I'd never seen anything like it. There are other cotton silk blends, but none quite so....silky.
2)I could only afford one skein, and the next time I buy Sea Silk, I want to buy two skeins for Hanami.
3)I decided I could blaze a trail and be the first person on Ravelry to cast on Silk Cotton. In fact, I plan to design something for it. (Of course, now that I've posted this, someone will probably beat me to it. But I'm ok with that.)

Speaking of silk blends...

When I came home and checked my mail I had a small envelope that baffled me. It was too small to be my Knitters Scavenger Hunt package. And who did I know named Becca?

I remembered when I opened it.

This bit of orangey goodness is 8 yards of Artfibers Kyoto.

Nicole from Stash and Burn started a post in the Stash and Burn Ravelry group entitled "Would you like to try..." The idea was to offer up your little leftover bits for others to swatch. I jumped at the chance to swatch some Artfibers yarn, since it is only sold through the Artfibers store in San Francisco. After hearing about Artfibers on Stash and Burn, I want to visit San Francisco someday, just to go to there. I hear they offer up a few swatch-sized bits of yarn there for free. (Don't quote me on the free part. I may have that wrong.) You can buy some yarn "samples" online, and someday I intend to do that.

But now I can get a head start with my free little bit of Kyoto. I've learned something new about it already. I thought it would be an even blend of wool and silk, like Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb. But in person, I can clearly see it's one ply of silk and one ply of wool. Thanks Becca.

And back to the title, I read on the J-Walk Blog about the Atwood Tavern Bacon Eating Contest. In the video of the contest, a contestant says "Bacon is special. Bacon is sacred. Bacon is the kind of thing that you wrap other food in to make it taste better." I think that's what silk is. You wrap it around other fibers to make them taste better. Or to just make them better. Not that I licked my new yarn...much.