January 2006 Archives

Amazing Crochet


This is art and craft of exceptional quality.
Found via Drawn

I may be wrong, but I suspect that a lot of this is actually machine knit fabric, cut and sewn into shape and other pieces look like they may be crocheted, but without being able to see them more closely, it's hard to say. Either way, amazing stuff.

UPDATE: Urraca informs me that the artist is Patricia Waller and the pieces are all crochet. Some of those are either huge pieces or some extremely fine gauge crochet. Make sure you check out Patricia's site for more of her beautiful work.

About that hat


Last we met, we learned all about my insecurities and short comings. Yay! It appears I've unveiled some kindred spirits in the process. I'm sure if we all took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, we'd find ourselves scoring largely the same. But that's not what this post is about. I thought I'd tell you more about that hat I had mentioned.

It sort of came out of nowhere, huh?
Get the whole story, after the bump.

Break out the antibiotics


I've caught another meme Instructions: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot.

step into my thimble

absinthe knits

bird's nest knits

Marnie Talks

Select 5 people to tag

If you want it, it's yours.

What were you doing 10 years ago?

I was in my junior year of college, studying psychology and graphic design. I lived on campus and worked as a Resident Assistant. Additionally, I worked in the campus computer lab, and in the campus snack bar, and did a bit of work as a tutor, as well.

What were you doing 1 year ago?

Well, why don't you check for yourself. Here's my January 2005 archive.

What were you doing 1 hour ago?

Knitting a commissioned hat for the Knit Cafe

List five creative things you want to achieve this year:

Honestly, I don't really do the whole "resolution" thing and if I want to do something, I generally just do it. So I don't really have anything specific on my list. I do hope to improve my spinning and produce patterns I am proud of.

List five snacks you enjoy:

There are oh-so-many that I like.

  • Mixed nuts (easy on the peanuts, please)

  • Raw veggies

  • Cheese and crackers

  • Fresh bread

  • Dark Chocolate

List five things you would do if money were no object:

  • Help all my friends pay off their school dept.

  • Quit my job and go back to school full time. First I'd get my undergraduate and then my masters. For what, I don't know.

  • Get a place with a yard and a brother or sister for little Panda.

  • Travel around the world.

  • Buy a spinning wheel.

List five bad habits:

  • I procrastinate when it comes to cleaning.

  • I err on the side of efficiency instead of accuracy, when I'm not completely engaged in what I'm doing.

  • I am risk and confrontation averse, which sometimes makes me a bit of a doormat.

  • I tend to be an unfairly harsh judge of myself.

  • I don't ever really yell in anger, so I end up crying which people seem to find unnerving.

List five things you like doing:

I won't name the obvious, since most of you know my crafty interests

  • Learning new things

  • Reading about science

  • Intellectual debates that challenge my preconceived notions

  • Watching Cartoons

  • Eating great food

List five favorite gadgets:

Name one thing you like about yourself:

I have a strong internal drive to do what's right.

Finally, some knitting


Before I bore you with more of the same, how about a little something new?

I finished my stealth knit a little while ago, and it's awaiting whatever fate the yarn gods have in store for it. That left my needles free for other things.

I begin teaching some classes at the KnitCafe, starting this week. The owner asked me to come up with a simple eyelet scarf pattern and the above image shows the results.

I'm relatively picky about scarf stitches. I don't believe they have to be completely reversible, but I do feel that, if others are respecting your personal space, it shouldn't be apparent if the back and front don't match. So my quest was for a stitch pattern that used only knits, purls, k2togs, ssks and yos, and did so in a manner that was very simple, basically reversible, and would lie flat without any additional edge stitches. I couldn't find anything that entirely suited my needs, so I modified a stitch pattern and came up with what you see above.

Here are some close ups.

There isn't a front or back, per se, but let's call this the front.

And here's the back

The yarn is the leftover Karabella Aurora 8 from Hopeful. I used exactly 2 balls with less than a yard left over after I wove in all the ends and cut the fringe. The scarf blocked out to about 6 feet long. The stitch pattern is a modified 5x5, with a 3 stitch selvage on each side.

I will post the pattern, for free, sometime soon.

And now, some entirely unnecessary images of my Cotswold as it basks in the California sun, after the bump.

Brownies and Pumpkin Pie


I just love my Autumn Spice Cotswold. I think about spinning it when I'm at work and it's become increasingly hard not to burn dinner while I try to work spinning into my nightly routine.

Here's a bit more of it spun up and plied. Why do I love this yarn so? I don't know. It's not the softest yarn I have, but it's certainly soft enough to be knit into a nice wrap or a cardigan. The little halo of fuzziness delights me. At first I was thrown by it, but now I love it more and more. I pre draft the roving and the yarn just seems to spin itself. It's nearly effortless.

But I also got myself some of the Fudge Brownie roving. This stuff is gorgeous. The color is dark chocolate and the feel is silky, dense and smooth. Fudge Brownie is the perfect name for it. I find it harder to spin though. Instead of long snakes of roving that I can predraft, this tends to want to fall into clumps. It's smooth but the fibers like to grab ahold of each other in unexpected ways so I end up with more thick and thin areas than I'm used to. I tried my 0.9oz and then my 1.3oz spindle. The extra weight seemed to help. I decided to try spinning it a bit thicker than normal, and this is the result.

On top is both of my skeins of Autumn Spice held together in a single skein. You can see that the brown top is much thicker. Spinning thicker yarn is turning out to be challenging for me. I did notice, in the process, that I like the way the yarn looks when it is really tightly spun. It loses some of it's softness but it picks up a sheen that's decadent. I think my next skein will err on the side of overspun, to see what happens.

Here's a close-up of the two yarns. You can see that my brown yarn is not very even.

MJ has been trying to spin more thickly too. A lot of people feel that spinning fine weight yarn is harder than thicker yarn. But I think most people acclimate to spinning a certain weight of yarn and need time to learn to control other weights. It's not a matter of "this weight is good" and "this weight is bad." I'll consider myself a good spinner when I can spin many weights well. For now, I proudly wear my "novice" crown, with my head held high. No shame in it.

There's just one thing that bothers me. Do you hear it? I know I do. I hear the sweet song of the wheel calling me. I'm trying to be strong and, luckily, I do not think I could reasonably justify the cost right now. But that doesn't mean I'm not haunted by the thought of spinning all my gorgeous roving in a couple days instead of needing months to do it. I can't deny that seeing huge skeins of continuous roving, wound off a bobbin, doesn't make me drool a little. I'm counting on a certain friend of mine, to keep me sane. And if I happen to visit this site several times a day, it's only for research purposes.

Make love to the camera


I snapped a quick picture of my roving, basking in the sun at work.

Just thought I'd share.

Mangos, Pumpkins, Saffron, Ginger


Not very long ago, Wendy spun up the most beautiful orange roving. You can see it in all its splendor here.

If you swing by my blog, with any regularity, you know that I'm not terribly drawn to warm colors, as a general rule. Blues, greens, and purples dominate over all other colors. It's not that I don't love a wide variety of colors, its just that, given a choice, I stay in my color comfort zone and stick to shades I know look good on me and that I love looking at. But this orange had me smitten. So I headed on over to Nistock Farms, where Wendy had gotten her roving, and I got myself 8 delicious ounces of Autumn Spice.

It arrived last night and I didn't even shed my heels and suit before I was spinning away. We reached the front door at 6pm, by 7:30, I had spun, plied, washed and set to dry 26 yards of handspun.

Since these pictures were taken around 3:30 AM (I'm having me a little bout of insomnia, thanks for asking) there is no proper lighting. I think, all things considered, the pictures are fairly representative of the color overall, but they don't really capture some of the beautiful subtleties of the shade. It's mostly a lovely pumpkin color, with shades of a soft pink, some grey and yellow. The overall effect is amazing.

The wool is definitely not as soft as, say, a merino or alpaca, but I love it and it spins surprisingly easily on my little 0.9 oz spindle.

In addition to the 8ozs of Autumn Spice, I also got myself 4oz of the Fudge Brownie shade you'll find on the same page. I haven't even begun to spin that.

To all of you spinners out there, I'm starting to find myself overflowing with roving. I have absolutely no issues with this. I am wondering, though, what is the best way to store the stuff to avoid any problems with it as it waits for my little spindles to spin it up? It's relatively warm and dry here in LA, though I live within a very short distance of the ocean.

How do you make your knits look great?


Put a baby in them.

Jess said I could post pictures of her little one making my Dragon Hoodie look almost too cute to bear.

If you think that's cute, check out the other pictures, after the bump.

Spin spin spin


As I reported before, almost all my knitting has been on my stealth project so I can only entertain you with spinning, for now. I hope that those of you who aren't spinners aren't too bored with it all.

After such success with my soy silk roving worked on my 0.6 oz spindle, I thought I should try it on some of my other roving.

The result is about 52 yards of two ply Lace to DK weight yarn.

More yarn porn after the bump

Shine your light on me


Well, I found a couple minutes to snap a photo of my knit handspun. There's a big old window near a couple of empty work stations, in my area, and since I get to work so early, there was no one to ask, "Marnie, why are you taking pictures of a band-aid sized piece of knitting, at the office?"

Here is a picture that shows how textural the stitch is.

And this shows, fairly nicely, what the stitch really looks like.

The handspun has proven to knit up much better than I could hope. There's a gradual transition from one dominant color to the next and a subtle second color that acts like a highlight.

Here's my knitting enjoying the view. If you were able to look right, up a steep hill and into the "nice" part of town, you could also see where Leo works.

Many of you have asked about the stitch. It's the same stitch used in this cardi from Vogue Knitting

I've found a couple variations in my Harmony Guides. They refer to this one as "Star Stitch II"

I really like this stitch because of its versatility. Worked on larger needles and blocked out, it produces a lovely flower like lace stitch. Worked tightly on smaller needles, you get a great textural stitch that doesn't curl and is just unusual enough to catch peoples' attention.

The stitch is worked as follows.

With a multiple of 4+1
Star: P3 tog, but leave old stitch on left needle, yo, P same 3 stitches together, removing the old stitch from the left needle.
Rows 1 and 3: Knit
Row 2: *k1, star stitch* repeat to last stitch, k1
Row 4: k1, p1, *k1, star stitch* repeat to last 3 stitches, k1, p1, k1

Actually, I knit it slightly differently, because I knit in the Combined method, which means my knit stitches sit differently. I essentially reverse the pattern. I Purl the odd rows and I work purls between the stars and work the stars with k3togs, only, because of the way my stitches sit, it's like I've done an SSSK. I'm not sure that's actually of any interest to anyone, but there you go.

Watching sausage being made


I really want to show you images of the handspun I've been knitting. What is my problem? Lighting. I get up at 4:30 am to blog, and I've spent an hour trying to get a decent picture. It's not light out when I'm home, this time of year. While I've certainly offered my fair share of crappy photos, I genuinely do strive to have something decent to show you.

There are some bloggers who just never seem to have bad pictures up. They tend to photograph their pictures in natural light to ensure that everything looks beautiful.
I am not these bloggers, nor any of the others, who, ifI weren't so sleepy, I'd remember. Nope, I take pictures when I am ready to blog and light be damned! But it doesn't mean I don't lament my crappy photos. This morning, I took my soy silk yarn on a field trip around the house in hopes of finding a decent shot.

Go on the adventure, after the bump.

I've been doing my crafty thing as well. Here is some left over wool/soy silk roving I've had a little sample of. Since there was such a small amount, I spun it as finely as possible. I used my 0.6 oz Golding spindle which helped me achieve a true lace weight yarn. I knit a little swatch of it last night and got 9 stitches to the inch on a US #1 needle and I certainly could have gone down a needle size without a problem. This stuff spun beautifully. I assume it's the soy that gives it its smooth drafting ability since I still find myself struggling a bit with pure wool.

It's taken me a little while to adapt to my 0.6 oz spindle. I learned on a 1.3 oz, have been using my 0.9 oz for almost everything but I'm now really starting to appreciate this lighter one. I know there are people who can spin spider web thin yarn on a 3 oz spindle and I tip my hat to those folks. I just can't get enough spin into the fiber soon enough to ever be successful. My spindle will have proven its dropping ability long before I get a yard spun. But a light spindle holds its own challenges. I realize it's all simple physics, but it's hard to know exactly how it will feel if you aren't well versed on those sorts of sciences. In my case, I face two big hurdles with a lighter spindle.

  1. I have to spin the spindle harder to get a long enough spin to be productive. Or, I have to spin the spindle more than once to spin the same length of yarn.

  2. The spindle tends to be less stable in its spin. I suspect this is partially technique on my part, but, while drafting, I sometimes maneuver in such a way as to send my spindle into a planetary like rotation, where the poles no longer sit at a true north/south*. While this works splendidly for our fine earth, it's less effective for a spinner.

* Ok, ok, I know that North and South are relative to our own planet and not the least bit relevant once you step off the planet or out of our solar system. Let's think "grade school diorama," for this analogy, ok?

More spindly fun, after the bump.

If you'd like to weigh in


Warning, only read this post if you aren't bothered by politics.

JenLa made me do it


Well, they didn't single me out or anything, but it is an amusing meme

90 yards


I have a lot of "well duh!" moments, which would be "Aha!" moments if they weren't so obvious. One of those moments was when I realized I had everything I needed to determine the yardage I'm getting with my spinning.

Here are two skeins of my soft and lovely yarn spun up from the roving my brother gave me. Before this weekend, I would have told you that I had no idea how many yards were in there, but the answer was obvious all along. To make my skeins, when done plying, I wrap the yarn from the spindle around my calf, from foot to knee. the long way. To find out my yardage, I wrapped the tape measure the same way, found out my length and multiplied it by the number of times I wrap the yarn around my leg. Well duh!

More gratuitous yarn shots after the bump.

Adios 2005


Matt and his girlfriend left town yesterday after a fun filled weekend of eating, partying and eating some more. We also did a bit of snacking between meals. I'm not sure if meeting Leo and me completely doomed Matt's relationship with Jess but if that didn't, perhaps seeing Matt do karaoke did.

Because I'm a loving and good sister, I recorded said karaoke for all the world to enjoy. Do you have Quicktime? If so, click on one of the links below


Don't forget to crank those speakers.
This was about a half hour before midnight on New Year's Eve. We went down to Santa Monica where we found a bar full of happy people enjoying some of the flat out worst karaoke I've had the opportunity to experience.

More pics from the weekend, after the bump.

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