And another one
Tuesday August 22nd 2017, 10:16 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

The merino/silk from last Friday’s dyepot, drying again. Lace pattern: Little Arrows.



Hey! Shoe! Shoe!
Monday August 21st 2017, 10:00 pm
Filed under: Life,Wildlife

I put away the fake crow in the dead of the night (well, 8:30 pm) so that the twice-a-month gardener doesn’t unwittingly make himself a target of the real ones’ fury tomorrow for forever to come if he were to pick it up or move it while wondering, what the heck?! I remembered. It’s gone.

Apropos of absolutely nothing at all except maybe that, we here at this fine spindyeknit blog now bring you: how to make your own felted pigeon shoes. (Scroll down the page and there’s another story about knitted and crocheted Converse shoes cum slippers, as long as we’re talking footwear.)

Not sure I have the artistic ability to transmogrify rock doves into Cooper’s hawks. I don’t wear heels, either, but surely one could make do.

Y’know, I do have some old Birkenstocks…



Cowlabundance
Sunday August 20th 2017, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Friends,History,Knitting a Gift,Life

1. Felt much better than yesterday.

2. Cowls: the navy merino/silk, the Malabrigo Mechita in Whales Road and in Pegoso, one of the two red/purple merino/cashmere with sparkles. (Hey, Sherry, your cashmere was well loved all over again.) Someone fairly new, whose story I don’t know but whom I don’t think I’d ever seen really smiling, broke out into all kinds of happiness at the latter–and that, I tell you, is what keeps those needles going.

The friend who’d hoped for aqua exclaimed over her Pegoso and when I said the yarn was handpainted, held it out a moment in wonder and asked, How?

I explained that they (or at least some dyers, I shouldn’t speak for all of them) lay the racetrack-shaped hank out and paint sideways.

She was fascinated by the repeats and the way adjacent stitches in different rows held the same color and just wanted to hold still and absorb it a moment.

3. Re the eclipse tomorrow, from an optometrist: https://stellasplace1.com/2017/08/13/caution-the-solar-eclipse/ There won’t be enough sun to hurt your eyes and force you to turn away to warn you that you’re still looking long enough to do permanent damage. She recommends you watch it on TV.

Me, what I find most interesting is watching the effects of an eclipse: how the light changes, how the shadows turn all sharp-angled, how the wildlife reacts. And, come to think of it, how much I’ll need a sweater on.

Also, hopefully, how empty the freeway will be (hey, everyone’s in Oregon, right?) while I go make a peach run to Andy’s.

Although–maybe after 11:37 when it’s over.



Playing musical chicken: BACH, a Bach a Bach a Bach a Bach
Saturday August 19th 2017, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift,Life

I woke up with just enough of a cold to have the oomph to quietly sit and knit most of the day. Richard (thank you!) did the grocery shopping; I turned on the music to get my fingers moving. (Richard pitched in on that too at one point, and we compared Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock vs CSNY’s.)

I never play yarn chicken.

Except I did. I was making this navy cowl from leftover dk-weight yarn and there was another small ball of it and I got to where I really kind of wanted to be done with this but I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied if I didn’t get to that seventh repeat–so I was kind of resigned to having to splice balls as it is. Hopefully not three stitches before the end.

It ain’t over till the fat chicken sings.

So I kept going. Got to the end of that seventh repeat that I’d thought the thing couldn’t possibly have in it, eyeballed the squiggles where the bottom of the ball had exploded, and proceeded with the cast off, tighter than usual.

Four and a third inches. That end with the bit of white still tied to it from when I wound the hank? Yeah. But wow. One for the ages. I will have to work the sewing needle through the stitches I want to pull the end through before I even try to thread it, but it will exactly do.

After dinner I picked up another cowl I’d started a few days ago in the exact shade of traffic-cone vivid-orange-red that most makes my balance go nuts. (Head injuries are so weird.) I’d gotten that yarn at an earlier Colourmart clearance, had overdyed most of it as planned, but had left some of it as is because I knew some people love it and I knew it was not something I would ever, ever pick up at a yarn store. Might as well let a bit of it be.

And that is the color skirt a friend was wearing to church last week. Alright, then, she’s next. (I will try *not* to tell her not to wear it near me–and I will also give her others to choose from when I surprise her, just to make sure, y’know, that she likes what she gets. Yeah that’s it.)

I’d found the needle size that that red almost-laceweight needed pretty small for my hands, and after the first diamond yesterday I put it aside and made the navy one today instead. Bigger needles, more comfortable, and if it worked up fast well that was to make up for the guilt from lack of follow-through on the other.

I held it in my hands. I looked at the bigger needle the blue had been on and felt tempted. Well, maybe I could work on this just a little bit after all right now first, y’know, space it out to a little a day, go easy on the hands while still getting stuff done.

Wait. How did that happen.

 



Getting a little crow-ded
Friday August 18th 2017, 10:16 pm
Filed under: Knit,To dye for,Wildlife

The birdnetting somehow gets moved a bit day after day–no squirrel could have done that from there (I don’t think) –and the figs have still been disappearing. And I was getting screamed at by a crow whenever I went near that tree. Although, funny how when I gave “the look” in its general direction, wherever it was, it stopped.

Research has shown that they are highly attuned to human faces.

It could see me. I couldn’t see it. But even I can hear a crow.

Hey, nice of it to remind me. (Yup, I did go back and buy a fake dead one last year but I never used it.)

After repeats of this all week long, I finally remembered at night and not in the morning when it was too late that I needed to put that bird out there.

I carried it in the shopping bag it’s been in to hide it from any glimpse through the windows, hoping it would work for the Indian Free peach and fig both even though they’re not that close. I slid it out with me between it and the tree across the fence that is where I think I’d been yelled at from, trying to block any night-vision view (it wasn’t as dark as I would have liked) and then I sprinted the heck around the corner and out of there.

So yes, I put it there myself fer cryin’ out loud, and yet it still startled me this evening when I went to water the tomatoes. Whoa! Well, good, then, so I pretended to be startled again and shied away from it every time I looked in its direction. I can play the game.

Meantime. I bought a large cone of merino/silk 50/50, steeply discounted to get rid of the last of it, in a color blend I would call bleached-out camouflage. I’d worked with that yarn before in navy and knew how nice it was. (Hey, Morgan, that’s your doubled hat.) This was a heavier and darker version of the one I played with recently and there’s a whole lot more of it.

It came yesterday and today I wound off just enough yards to make a nice cowl, tied the hank and threw it in the dyepot to see what I could talk this stuff into being.

I don’t know if I can get the other 900 grams all into one dyepot and have it come out evenly. Quite unlikely. No afghan out of this, then, no matter how practical home decor-wise, I would go nuts having to look at the blah in my hands for a month.

Such a shame. I’ll just have to splash and play and make lots of happy colors out of it. We’re talking a dozen merino/silk hats or cowls, easily.

Maybe Sapphire, next.



I still have the beaded socks she made me eleven years ago
Thursday August 17th 2017, 10:42 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life


Finished that one (colors muted by the nighttime photo and the fact that it’s wet) and there will be lots of nice folds on it around the neck. Started another cowl tonight.

But in between I played with the dye pot.

Colorwise, the hanks to the left in both the following pictures are the ones most true to life.

I have a friend (don’t miss that post) whom life has put into a tight spot and it was time to do some stash diving in return for all the good turns she’s done me. She wanted to knit her young daughter a red sweater and it seemed to me I ought to be able to do something about that.

I found two big hand-dyed hanks I’d bought maybe eight years ago at Stitches: 9.17 oz/1300 yards each in super wash merino–not a thick yarn by any means. I’d had plans for them but they’d just never leaped onto the needles, and the plan for the dusty sandy peach one (brightened by the camera here, in real life, not so much) was clearly not going to happen. (It made sense at the time, honest.)

I always thought that weight-wise, if I weren’t making a shawl, they’d be great knitted together–if only the colors were more compatible.

Well now they are. I offered to overdye the multi, too, to obliterate the orange bits, but it was loved just as it is.

The ties around the peach-ish one had been drawn tight enough to mostly resist the original dye. I moved those ties and knew anything I did would come out lighter in those spots, and they were. I like it, though.

That dark red will lighten up a bit once it’s dry.

Somehow, what leaped onto my needles tonight was a small amount of red from another part of my stash. Funny how that happened.



Pegasus
Wednesday August 16th 2017, 10:24 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

Iced my hands, took maybe longer of a break than I needed to so now it’s not finished.

If I type fast I might be able to get another repeat done tonight; I think it probably needs two.

Malabrigo Mechita in Pegaso colorway.



Mathias saves the day
Tuesday August 15th 2017, 10:58 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life,Lupus,To dye for

The color of the sky, she said. That was her favorite.

I looked over the blues in my stash yesterday, and then again today, willing it to be there. I have some really nice yarns that were close but they just weren’t quite…they were my types of blues, not hers.

I could wind white yarn and haul around dye baths and wait for things to dry and hope I guessed right on amounts or I could go for a little more instant gratification. Besides, I hadn’t seen Kathryn in months and I missed her.

Cottage Yarns in South San Francisco was a hike, but: “Today you can do it–do it today,” I tell myself all the time and I wanted to get started and I wanted to see what Malabrigo had to offer these days (turns out she has a new shipment coming in soon, too) and if anyone in the area had the inventory it would be her. There. Talked myself into it. So off I went.

I wanted superwash for a young mom; she helped me find the most perfect colors of Malabrigo Mechita and I had myself envisioning an entire cowl finished by bedtime.

Yeah as if. But I got to meet her daughter! Too cool that hers is also named Sam–and that it was her birthday.

Came home to a robo-call to pick up my prescription before they returned it to stock. Fudge. That had definitely not been in the plan. Wound a ball of Mechita and headed back out into the early rush hour.

Hit the top of my head, hard, on the car at the pharmacy. Klutz. Had a quiet little freakout to myself over head injuries but seemed to be okay.

Still, it took me a couple of hours to pull myself and my sore head together and actually finally sit down and start knitting, and oh did it ever help. That sweet anticipation as beautifully dyed wool wrapped around wood, again and again and again as I pictured my friend’s face…

My phone buzzed.

Our Sam and her family are in Texas, visiting Mathias’s Great Grandpa. (Where our Alaskan born, on being taken outside into 100 degree heat, was initially stunned: what IS this?! Make it stop!)

After all the news of these past few days–weeks–months–it all comes back to that poster in my obstetrician’s office years ago: “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”

Baby giggles, or even just pictures of baby giggles. They make the world whole again.

 



For J and A with love
Monday August 14th 2017, 10:44 pm
Filed under: History,Life,Lupus,Politics

There are times when I really, passionately regret and even resent that my lupus does not allow me to spend time in the sun, not even five minutes in the middle of a summer day.

Because I want to be one of the counter-protesters when they come here. They intend to come this weekend, these evil men who are trying to out-Westboro the Westboro idiots. Maybe they’ll see how many of their peers are being identified and arrested or fired after Charlottesville and do like Westboro does half the time these days: make lots of noise and threats and then stay home.


With so much going on that is so beyond words, I took comfort in reading accounts of good people who took care of others in Virginia, and in finishing this today, one of the softest things I have ever knit. In looking forward to seeing my friend’s face when I get to give it to her.

Knitting it was also my way of conveying to her immigrant husband how glad I am that he is here and that he is married to her: he’s a deeply good man. We are fortunate to have him here.



Mark her words
Sunday August 13th 2017, 10:10 pm
Filed under: Friends,History,Life,Politics

Let me put the knitting down for a moment and show you where to see a photo.

Of first responders.

In Charlottesville. (Washington Post video. Warning: includes that car.)

The one overcome by grief, sunk down on his knee in the grass with a friend’s steadying hand on his shoulder, is the husband of my friend Chan, and that is her blog.

What happened in their town should never happen anywhere. Especially, absolutely, never in America. The actions of these few are a terrorist threat against everything our country aspires towards.

As Orrin Hatch put it, “My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”



Gotta give a little
Saturday August 12th 2017, 10:52 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

(They’re not brownish in real life.)

The baby hat came out a perfect size 3-6 months. Size 5 needles, 80 stitches.

The cowl that I cast on this morning, same yarn, size US 6 needles, all of .25mm larger: 84 stitches.

They don’t look that much different width-wise. But the cowl stretches sidewise easily way out to here, and the hat, just barely. The cowl will be exactly what the recipient wanted, hugging her neck but with the stretch to collapse down and outward in folds (when I get done.)

But then the Pythagorean pattern is essentially ribbing done in diagonals, and ribbing is put in places where you need stretch. My friend wanted solid fabric and diamonds and stretch and this does it.

I don’t regret flubbing it the first time around: that’s one very soft hat.

My thanks to Sally for prompting the much-needed pattern idea for the cowl.



But I’m glad I did it
Friday August 11th 2017, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

Splitty yarn, a stitch that tightens everything up on the too-small-for-my-hands needles, knit in a Venn diagram with one pair of circulars with too sharp a point for that splittiness and the other too ridiculously long for such a small project… Yesterday I simply avoided the whole thing altogether.

Today I vowed I was not going to bed with it still unfinished. It will look much prettier after a little water hits it, and I need to go ice my hands, but, I did it.

It took so little yardage, really, and the cashmere fabric is to swoon over. I’m just afraid it maybe came out too small (baby sizes chart here) for its intended recipient.

But I never have to knit on this one again.

Okay, I just doused it. As always, the stitches immediately relaxed, and you know what? I think it will be perfect for exactly whom it was meant for after all. (Even if that means surprising me later.) And it’s actually hat-shaped, too, so there.

One grousing. Gone poof.



Inside out
Thursday August 10th 2017, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

Add one more fold to the brim with the hat turned inside out and it looks like this.

I realized just in time that I can’t mail it to Alaska quite yet–they’re in Texas visiting Great Grampa. Where the baby decidedly does not need a hat in August.



Blueberry and cranberry
Wednesday August 09th 2017, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Food,Knitting a Gift,Recipes

This version of blueberry clafoutis. Half a cup of sugar was plenty. Other than that, that’s the one I want to make again. (These are by far the best 8″ cake pans I have ever owned. Highly recommended.)

Meantime, just finished, another cowl in this pattern because it’s an easy one to widen out at the bottom so that it will ease into perfect folds around the neck without messing up the continuity of the lace within.



Rolling with it
Tuesday August 08th 2017, 9:10 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift

Somebody learned how to roll over today and he was very very proud of himself.

Re the green hat: it matches the cute outfits sent by Aunt-by-love Phyllis but it did not get the spiked dragon tail I was going to knit winding around it and dangling off the end.

It occurred to me just in time what a great cat toy that would make Mathias’s head into.