May 27, 2011

First FO of the Summer: Rocket's Cardigan

I started knitting this sweater weeks and weeks ago after having made a doll-sized sweater from a free patten from a French lady.  Rocket loved the mini-sweater so much that she had to have one of her own "with stripes!"  Well, I started in on the sweater, for which there was no pattern.  As I knit it, I received countless instructions from Rocket, the 7 year-old, about how I was supposed to knit this sweater.  Needless to say, it's been knit, frogged, and knit again to fit Rocket's specs.  Gathered at the top--she doesn't like raglan seaming--not too tight in the chest, only one button because she "doesn't even like buttons", a little ruffly in the back for the bottom, short sleeves "because I hate sleeves, mom!", and, of course, the button band had to have a pattern and be blue.  Rocket picked out the yarn, decided on how wide the stripes should be, and decided what order the colors should be.  This is totally a custom-made sweater.

And I almost died this morning when I thought I had lost the majority of the pattern notes!

So, thoughts?  I was thinking that I would publish this pattern in a size range of girls' 6-10.  I guess that this will be a summer project. Depending on how this wool washes up, I may change the yarn type, too.  Although she loves the sweater, Rocket is already complaining that it itches.  We'll see what it feels like after a bath.  Some little girls, however, are going to get free test sweaters; so if you know of a reliable children's charity that takes sweater donations, let me know.

May 26, 2011

Playing Around with the New Wheel

For Mother's Day, my wonderful husband bought me a Kromski Fantasia spinning wheel and a lazy kate to match.  I've been so busy with the whole end-of-the-school-year craziness that I haven't had much time to spin on it.  But, let me just say that if you want to know what inner peace feels like, stop and spin a while on the back porch in the morning with the birds singing in the trees.  Wow!

Here are pictures of the wheel. The first is when it was being put together by Honey.  It came in a box in about 70 pieces with a diagram (this is why I married an engineer!), wrapped in most of the pages of a Polish version of People Magazine.  Very nifty! 

 It's currently unfinished.  I am not exactly sure what it's true color is meant to be, but after much discussion with Honey,  I think that I am simply going to go with a clear, wipe-on polyeurethane (did I spell that correctly?) and let it be what it is.  So many people seem to like to stain the white wood to a cherry or a walnut, and that's pretty; but I don't know.  I tried to order an additional whorl; but these Polish people are so popular that it sat on backorder for a month before I discovered that it was on backorder and gave up.  I watched a video about spinning on this type of wheel, and the guy said that you should use the different whorls; but many people say that they can spin all of their fibers on just one whorl.  Based on my ordering experiences, and the limited supply that is apparently out there, I can understand why one-whorl spinning literally becomes a necessity.

Not having had much time to spin, I've a few half-completed projects.  Come to find out that my spinning is very much like my knitting, and I get bored half-way through the exercise.  I'm a grass-is-greener-in-the-storage-bin kind of gal.  So, I have half of my 50/50 Tussah Silk/Merino spun up and plied into a two-ply yarn.  I have half of my so totally gorgeous Wensleydale, which came from Corgi Hill Farm on Etsy, spun up. This may be the most favorite wool I've ever spun because of it's odd tactile properties:  scratchy on the uptake, soft in the skein--even before it's finished.  The fibers are monstrously long and easy to spin.  And, I made a go with some Romney that I had left over from an old spinning project, hot pink and lavender, and whipped up a little crazy low-twist two-ply skein of it.

The only thing that I don't like about it is that it doesn't fold up.  So, it sits in the livingroom and, even though it is under cover, is fair game for Nutzy, the house cat.  She has figured out that if she shifts from one pedal to the next, the wheel will spin.  She also likes to just paw at the side of the wheel to make it spin.  Woe to the fiber that gets left on the wheel partly spun! Here you see her scouting the possibilities as the wheel is being constructed.

It's the first day of summer vacation, and I can't wait to get some no-Nutzy time on the wheel!

May 23, 2011

The Summer List

I had a New Year's Project Resolution list, and I've actually gotten a few FOs out of it.  Here's where it stands:
sweater for me (elsebeth lavold Christmas present skeins)
medium Sportsman test gloves
large Sportsman test gloves
extra-large Sportsman test gloves
2 sweaters for Rocket (1 nearing completion for the second time)
1 pair of gloves for Scout 2
that gorgeous blackberry cabled cowl sweater for me
Swing for my mom
buttercup beret
socks, socks, socks! (Groovy in progress; waterfall; monkey socks)
Reconstruction Sweater (sleeves not yet done)
cowl for a friend 
another pair of Elegy gloves for me (in progress)
80s Shrug (in progress)
cabled cardigan (hibernating)
yellow Swing (in progress)
Macrame Vest (in progress)
cowl for Honey
black cherry wool/silk cowl

But summer is upon us, and that means a whole new list to work on, plus the old one.  So here's the summer list as it is stacking up:

3 custom ordered scarves/cowls
finish yellow Swing
Swing for my mom
additional sizing for Swing pattern
2 test sweaters for Rocket's sweater toward publishing the pattern
publish Rocket's sweater pattern
socks for mom
finish twitsted basket weave toe-up socks for me
finish Autumn Leaves beret
finish the Reconstruction Sweater
finish the green Elegy gloves for me
finish the baby blanket
finish the teddy bear
finish the macrame vest
finish the 80s shrug
woolen rectangular shawl
cardigan for me
cowl for Honey
write a new pattern for Knit Picks
knit 2 new cowls for me
dishcloths for the kitchen

I'm sure you have noticed all of those "finish" statements in the list.  I think I am a compulsive beginner of projects.  If I could only compulsively finish them, too.

Garden's been in and is growing well, except for the berry plants/bushes.  Chickens got into the blue berries and polished them off before they even had a chance to ripen.  Strawberries started with a bang and petered out, WAY before the growers' plants did around here.  I'm hoping for a second round of straweberries from them.  We ate our first salad with garden lettuce last night, and all those strawberries we picked on Saturday (5 gallons) mostly made it into 4 quarts of frozen berries and 15 pints of strawberry jam.  Wouldn't you know it if two of the jars (from the same batch no less) haven't set up. Frick frack.

Well, off to post planning and grading the last of the papers for the semester before grades are due this afternoon:  the dreaded research papers!  Happy knitting to all! (I know that's what I'll be wishing I was doing instead of sitting down with those papers.)

May 15, 2011

A New Website for Zibeline Knits!

Did you hear the news?! 

Zibeline Knits has a new website!!! 

I almost gave up.  I mean really.  I've been trying to get a website up and going without having to shell out the big bucks to pay someone to do something that I knew I could figure out on my own since December, 2010.  I've been through three different web hosts, countless wasted hours of my precious knitting time, a few dollars unnecessarily spent to learn lessons about mistakes that I won't make again, and a significant amount of expletives since I first got this plan in my head. 

And then at 12:23 a.m. on Sunday, May 15th, it went live. 

So, Ta-dah!  Here she is:

You should check it out right now and tell me what you think. I am pretty darned pleased at the moment, but I am sure that improvements can be made.  But in the meantime, HURRAY FOR MY NEW WEBSITE!!!!

May 03, 2011

Serendipity in the Yarn Universe

It's only Tuesday and already it has been a week and then some!  So much stress that it makes me not even feel like knitting.  Seriously.  And that is just plain tragic. But, despite non-existent sales in the shop and a domain that won't transfer to a web host with a clue and the end of the semester crashing about my ears, the Yarn Universe has been sending me little signals to let me know it has my back.

For instance ... I almost never watch videos on Knitting Daily via my Iphone, but on Friday I thought "what the heck" and the one I picked at random was all about a new book that has everything one needs to know to design a sweater in terms of measurements and gauges and yarn weights DONE FOR YOU!  Serendipitously, I need that book to finish the various sizes in about 3 patterns that I have going right now for publication.  Not only that, but Amazon delivered it, at no extra charge, on Monday!  That constitutes, basically, two-day shipping for the price of 7-10 day shipping.  When does THAT ever happen?

Also for instance ... I didn't participate in the April swap among my group of swap pals at Ravelry.  I guess I wasn't feeling all that creative.  But, impulsively, I signed up for May's swap, and it turned out that I am paired up with one of my California customers, which is just nifty and fun at the same time.  We are working with a "favorite flowers" theme this month, and after a few convos with my new partner, I feel a new colorway coming on! 

And then yesterday, I was invited to participate as a dyer-of-record in a new e-zine about fiber, dying, crafting with yarn, etc.  The magazine is called "The White Line" and they sent me the first fledgling issue yesterday.  I think it has great promise, so participate I will!  If you are interested, here's the contact:

Teri Sabah <>

Teri and her pals are West Coast dyers who own Pico Accuardi Dye Works in Oregon.  This comes just as I've decided to cancel various monthly advertising subscriptions to various websites that haven't turned out to be quite as much of a new-customer draw as they promised.  Actually, I don't think they've drawn in any new customers.  Another e-zine that I advertised in, which also, incidentally invited me to submit a yet unpublished pattern and then snubbed me because the original picture wasn't of the design done in handspun, didn't turn out to be all that prosperous of an investment in advertising; but I think that the intentions of the editors of "The White Line" are a little less self-serving and yarningly superior and are much more down-to-earth, which is where I try to reside most of the time.

What kind of a blogger would I be if I didn't give you a little WIP update on at least one project?  Here's the Autumn Leaves Beret so far.  Gotten through the initial "ribbing" and working into the pattern--about halfway through the first diamond, I think.  I'm in love with this new colorway!  I think I've mentioned that before.  I thought the purples would be eclipsed by all of the grey; but they definitely stand out with an identity of their own.  The picture doesn't do the color justice; but it's hot and threatening to rain, and I can't seem to get the light just right.  P.S.  The hat is upside down in the picture because I put it over the yarn bell for the picture.

And now, off to grade papers ... okay, let's be real.  I mean to veg on the back porch.


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