Monday, May 28, 2007

I gave myself the finger

I saw this on Nathania's blog today and couldn't help myself...

You Are a Pinky

You are fiercely independent, and possibly downright weird.
A great communicator, you can get along with almost anyone.
You are kind and sympathetic. You support all your friends - and love them for who they are.

You get along well with: The Ring Finger

Stay away from: The Thumb

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Making Waves

Yesterday was the photo shoot for the new version of Waves in the Square. Thanks to my wonderful and creative friends (and co-owners of Three Bags Full) Yee Jee and Zoe, who seem to regularly bail me out when it is time for picture-taking, here are the results below. Zoe was kind enough to model the shawl as it was much more her color than mine.

It was very hard to decide (and very late at night to boot) which shot should grace the pattern cover, but I decided on the top one because it shows the shawl as I love to wear it most - like a wrap with one long end thrown over a shoulder. But I LOVE the interesting corner details that the other shots reveal. This shawl is kind of a mystery... very few people figure out that it is three-quarters of a square unless they actually see it lying flat. The shape lends itself to a very stable fit and "seats" over the shoulders very much like a raglan sweater. Yet there are lots of interesting ways to drape and wear it.

I am very happy with this latest version... the beaded picot border is new and I think it adds a lot of charm to what used to be a very minimalist garter stitch bottom border.

This shawl is being packed up today to fly away to TNNA. Join me in waving a tearful bye-bye... Don't know where, don't know when, but we'll see each other again someday...

New version, Waves in the Square, available now in pdf and printed format.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Addi Love

In answer to questions about the new Addi lace needles, yes, they are SO much nicer for lace than the "regular" Addis. Here is a visual comparison of two 3.75mm (US 5) needles, the bottom of which is a lace Addi, the top is a regular Addi:

Click for bigger if you want...See how the point is longer on the bottom needle, and the tip is sharper? It IS very nice to have a sharper tip, although to tell you the truth, I was getting along just fine with the old ones. I have also heard a lot about the better grabbing of the lace needles and I do notice a different surface texture on the needle (gold in the photo) that is less slick, but again, I had no trouble with the slickness of the old ones so that is nice but not a selling point for me.

But the longer tip area is what is really winning me over to the lace needle camp. All of a sudden, I am noticing that is no longer such a chore to do k2togs and ssks. I actually enjoy the maneuver as I get to watch those elegant long tips swoop in and out of those stitches in style! Yeah, baby!

The cables are still wonderful on the new needles, as you can (hopefully) see... almost exactly the same as the old, as far as I can tell.

And thanks to all who commented on the new shawl and the new wheel... yes, I am thrilled with both! However, just to clarify... the Waves in the Square pattern has been around for a while - this is just an updated version, with a picot bind off added to jazz up the bottom edge. I beaded mine because I love what that does to the drape of the shawl, and I will be including instructions for doing this in the new version of the pattern. If you want the new version, PLEASE WAIT TO PURCHASE IT.. I still need to take a new cover photo of the shawl! Alternately, please email me if you want to be put on a list for the new version with the beaded picot border. The rest of the shawl pattern will be exactly the same as the current version.

As for my new Sonata, I love her! I love her! Just need more time to sit in front of her and spin to my heart's content. One little tiny thing... I am finding that the bobbin spindle needs a good bit of lubrication, and oil doesn't quite seem to be cutting it as I still seem to be having a tiny bit of noise/vibration (but I am very sensitive to noise and vibration - this may not be a problem for most, and it does not affect the spinning one little bit). I am about to try some vaseline for my next spinning session.

Other than that minor point, I am really really happy with the wheel, the action of the treadles is smooth as silk and I like sitting right in front, almost on top of the wheel, so the positioning is perfect for me. I love the light-yet-solid feeling of the wheel, the footmen with their cute little plastic tubing connectors, love the quick-snap bobbin change, love the beautiful turning on the wheel, love the easy fold and perfect flatness of the folded wheel, in a word, love it all!!! Even with my Symphony (now gone to a new owner who had more floor space than I), spinning wasn't this easy and fun. Those Kromski folks have done up a nice one, folks.

Now... back to trunk show knitting!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New Waves

New waves... fresh off the needles and blocking...

Am I alone in loving lace that is not quite symmetrical? Take a look at what's happening in the corners, first the bottom front:

Then the top where the "seams" meet:

Nice, eh?

And this was coincidentally right above the shawl:

I am getting turned on by pink everywhere!

New Waves in the Square, yarn Handmaiden Mini-Maiden, 2 skeins rose. This shawl is to be shown at TNNA and will be made available for a travelling trunk show thereafter.

The trunk show knitting is almost done! Here is what I washed and blocked today:

One more brown Journey Cable Sock to go...

Not much spinning has been done unfortunately, with the close knitting deadline, but here it is for what it's worth:

Can you imagine this plied with the licorice all-sorts from the previous post? No, I can't either... hopefully I will have some newly plied yarn for you to see in the next installment...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Playing Hooky

Yes, procrastination continues to happen as the deadline for the TNNA trunk show mail-off looms very near...

Saturday was FibreFest International, at nearby Abbotsford, and two friends escorted me away from duties and responsibility into the fantasy world of fibre...

Where I purchased this:

a Kromski Sonata folding wheel. She is beautiful and I love her. I think we will be getting along just fine!

I also purchased these:

The bottom two are topknots from Aurelia Wool, lovely little bite-sized confections that are perfectly sized for socks or a hat. Charming, eh?

The one in the last picture has been split into two parts, one that I think is Aurelia's "licorice all-sorts" colorway, black with brights, will be one ply, and the other, strips of soft lilac and purple roving, will be ply #2. Here is what the black combo looks like on the bobbin:

I am just having way too much fun.

However, knitting for the trunk show is also happening, thank goodness. I have a new-to-me yarn on the needles that is gorgeous, Mini Maiden by Handmaiden Fine Yarns, and for a special treat, I am using the new lace Addi Turbos. Pictures will be forthcoming soon, I promise...

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Bead Show Swag

The Whole Bead Show came to Vancouver this weekend. I wasn't going to go, having in mind a weekend of intense "good girl" knitting, with TNNA coming up straightaway and a new trunk show to fill.

It didn't take much to sway me from my straight and narrow path. One little email from my friend Cathalynn, fellow beader and designer, and I was gone. Yesterday we toured the shop displays and took a class on wire working.

Swag was purchased - almost none of which is destined for knitting projects. No, a new obsession has been born... making wire and bead jewelry. Here are some of the not-so-ill-gotten gains:

The priciest gems I bought (although not nearly as expensive as I thought they were going to be) were strings of faceted garnets and faceted hematite rondelles, which seemed to go very well with some beautiful handmade glass beads and sterling silver chain. I love garnets, which are not only my birth stone, but are my favorite color. These will become something very special...

Then there were some lovely rosy-gray freshwater coin pearls which begged for some zebra rose quartz to go with. Not shown are some almost transparent gray phantom quartz beads which will almost certainly be included in the piece. Such a sophisticated mix of textures and subtle color.

I could not pass up some more "show specials" - multicolored freshwater pearl strands that had broken from the original threads and sold for an astonishingly low price, and some lovely semi precious beads made from amazonite and jasper, all in greens and other earthy colors.

In the class, I did a freeform wire bracelet adorned with magenta freshwater pearls and small silver beads, courtesy of Cathalynn who shared them from her stash. I think I like it better today than I did at the class yesterday. Maybe we will make friends yet...

I actually do not wear a lot of jewelry, preferring knitwear as a quieter form of embellishment, but that may change soon if the earrings, neckpieces and other playful ornaments dancing in my head ever come forth into creation. Here's to creative play in all of its forms...