Wednesday, July 25, 2007


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Monday, December 05, 2005

More flippin' yarn

Yup, that's right, more yarn. I might as well just admit it. I bought more yarn.
Do you know who's at fault? Well, I won't name any names, but it starts with "J" and ends in "ulia". Really, though, I don't mind. I got a pretty good deal on it.

Yesterday, we went to Michael Levine in downtown LA. It's right in the middle of the fashion district, which, in LA, is not nearly as cool and trendy as one would imagine. Nestled snuggly between skid row and the skid row suburbs (skurbs?), this is not a place one would venture after dark. But on a Sunday afternoon a few weeks before Christmas (don't even get me started on that fact) the area was alive.

Two good bloggers might have taken a few pictures to document the event, but two bloggers did not. This blogger, though, has plans to go back. Michael Levine is amazing. For a store devoted primarily to sewing supplies, the yarn selection is amazing. And, just to show their good judgment, the Red Heart yarns are kept in an entirely separate section from the rest of the yarn.

Ultimately, despite the fact that I saw many yarns which made my heart go pitter-pat, I only bought enough yarn for one garment for me and one "commissioned" piece for my brother (that's in quotes because he has paid with the years of torment I've heaped upon him for my own entertainment).

For me, some Cascade 220 in a tweedy sage green.

I have 5 skeins so I should be able to make a little something warm for myself.

And Matt will be getting a Dragon Hoodie for a friend's baby.

This will be my first time using Berroco Lullaby, but I think it'll be a nice substitute, especially since it's machine washable.

I've been working on another piece for a book that I can't show here, and a bunch of spinning that looks pretty much like the spinning I've been showing you, so, nothing more to show today.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Thought it'd never happen

I finally finished writing the pattern for Deciduous and it's off to be edited.

I'm really excited to offer this pattern and look forward to the feedback I'll be getting from my testers. I've actually modified the pattern slightly from that shown here. There are now a couple rows of garter at the top of the garment and the recommended fit is a bit tighter, but it's otherwise basically the same.

My plan is to offer the pattern for $7.99. $2 of every pattern sold will be given to Habitat For Humanity until my birthday, February 18th 2006.

For those of you who didn't read Janice's response to my spindle problem, yesterday, I'll post her excellent suggestions here:
For reattaching fiber after you've dropped your spindle: Sometimes fraying the end of your yarn and overlapping a little will work if you support the spindle till you get the twist established back into your roving. IOW, fray your yarn end, hold the yarn below the fray, give the spindle a good twist to get some spin in the yarn. Stop and hold the spindle between your knees or under your arm or wherever. Overlap your fiber supply over your frayed end and let the twist start running into your fiber. You can tug and coax your yarn into shape as your twist goes into the fiber. The main thing is not to make the yarn have to support the weight of the spindle until the twist is established in the fiber supply again. (We all know it's the twist that makes the yarn hold together.)

If this doesn't work (and sometimes it doesn't, depending on the yarn and the fiber), unwind your spun yarn a bit so you have 6 or 7 inches of yarn above your spindle hook. Overlap a *thin* bit of your fiber much further down your yarn than you normally would, like 3 or 4 inches down. What you're going to be doing is using those few inches of spun yarn as a core to spin over. You may still need to support the spindle for a bit till your twist gets established.

I do this thing with my yarn hand where my hand is positioned so that my thumb and index finger are just above the point of twist insertion, and my little finger and ring finger are just below it. I mostly hold the yarn with thumb and index fingers, but when I need to let twist pass up into fiber, I close my ring/little fingers over the yarn below the twist, where it's still yarn. This lets me hang on to the spindle when the join back to the fiber is a little tenuous.
Thanks! She's been really invaluable with my learning to spin, so I just have to give her some big public kudos here.

And on the topic of spinning, get your butts on over to Spindlicty. And see a couple of free patterns designed by yours truly. You'll also want to read the start of Julia's adventures in learning to spin. There's a bunch of other great stuff in there as well, go ahead, check it out. I'll still be here.

Finally, I thought I'd show you that I machine swatched a little of my alpaca. It took a bloody eon to wind it from a skein into a ball, even with a swift and ball winder, but it's worth it. It knits up beautifully.

The swatch is plated so it's a strand of the blue and a strand of the brown worked at the same time so that you get a dominant color in the front and a dominant color in the back, both of which have tweedy flecks of the other color. I haven't decided what I want to do, but I love playing with it.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Getting into the swing of things

Commuting to work with Leo is great, but the change in my morning "system" is taking some getting used to. I didn't think I had a system, I thought I just did whatever and then headed off to work, but apparently, I'm fairly structured, unbeknownst to the only person it ever effected: me.

It used to be that I got up at 4am, brush the teeth, pee, pet Miss Panda, water for tea, feed Miss Panda, sit and begin to blog or, on none blog days, read other peoples' blogs. Between 5 and 5:10, Miss Panda gets her walk. I come back, attempt to get beautiful, surf the net until 5:53 when I would leave to catch the bus. I'd listen to my iPod and if I had enough room to do so, knit.

Now, things are different. I get up at the same time, but now we're bringing lunches and breakfast with us to save money (yay!) but that eats up a lot of morning.

"Marnie," you might say, "Can't Leo make those?" Sure, and I'm positive he'd be happy to do so, but Leo, he is not much of a morning person and I'm not sure I want to find out what that would mean for our lunches. Plus, I think I might be just a touch picky about how my sandwiches are made. I would consider myself high maintenance except I'm happy to do the work myself, so there you go.

What I'm getting at is that blogging has been less frequent and I haven't been doing much knitting on the bus, so please excuse my lack of exciting content lately. That said, let's get to my exciting content, already.

I've been fitting in a little spinning and swatching.

Here is more of my silky roving and I've knit it up at a much larger gauge to see what I think. The tighter gauge swatch has been sitting in a bag since my last post about it and is a little less airy, but I think it's still clear that the gauge really effects the scale of the motif (yah, duh). The stitch itself is quite interesting, actually, knit tightly and unblocked it's a great textured stitch. Then blocked out, it's beautifully light and airy. I'm definitely inspired to do something with it. What? I'm not so sure.

From my spinning friends out there, I would love any tips you have on getting going again after you drop your spindle. Especially when I'm spinning fine yarn and already have quite a few grams of spun fiber on the spindle, I find myself really strugglign to get the spun end reattached to the unspun fibers. I try to fray the ends and ease the new fiber into the old, but I find that no matter what I do, there are times that new fiber just won't hold, and it's often the point that I end up deciding to give up and ply what I have and start anew. Any suggestions?

Over the weekend, I worked up a really simple little top.
It's actually got a very deep scoop neck, which is not very evident right now. There are princess seams and just a bit of contrasting ribbing at all the edges. This is the Maratona yarn which I originally planned to make a stripy top out of.

Now, I can hear a few voices out there already. "You made that THIS WEEKEND?"
Yah, I had a little help from a friend, though....

All the ribbing is hand knit but everything purple was done on my good ol' LK-150.

And here is my little purple corset, working up slowly but surely.

I tried her on and the fit is amazing. It's got a bit of negative ease, but since the yarn is Calmer, it actually has a some support (for, you know, girl bits), so the low back isn't an issue. The previous version was looser, and while I'm very happy with it, I'm not sure I could have worn it out. This actually has more potential. And now that I'm finalizing it, I have a better idea of how I want to write the sizing instructions for the pattern.

I am probably going to need a person or two to test knit this. If there is anyone out there who is interested in test knitting, send me an email at marnie (at) marniemaclean dot com.

Um, I also bought myself some yarn, you know, because I don't have enough. It's KnitPick's Alpaca Cloud in a soft blue and a light brown shade. Both are heathered and, dear lord, so soft I can hardly stand it. I have five skeins of each and, man oh man, did I mention they are soft?

Not sure what they'll be yet, but I was thinking about holding them double stranded (of the same color) for a garment of some sort.


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