Thursday, August 30

A new shawl, handspun, and free patterns

I've cast on a new leaf lace shawl with some yarn I solar dyed earlier this month. It's a 440 yard skein of Knit Picks Gloss (wool/silk) dyed with Easter Egg colors. I will definitely order more of this yarn for dyeing experiments. The yardage is a little less than I'd like but the yarn is thicker than what I used for the original shawl. I'm hoping it will block into a large enough shawl for me. Though my SIL Dana has been dropping hints that it's her favorite sunrise colors. :-)

I finished spinning the royal blue/lime green wool last week. I plyed it the day my MIL died. I bought the fiber several months ago from someone who was destashing. That 5 ounces of superwash merino roving spun up into about 750 yards of fingering weight yarn. Yummy! The fiber is from the Dyepot. She has some wonderful colors! Sign up for her mailing list to find out when there is a sale.

My new spinning project is Rambouillet combed top from Etsy seller, Sarah Wood. The colorway is a lovely blend of shaded greens and rust. It was pretty felted from the dyeing process, not unusual for such a soft wool. Hubby took one end of it and I the other and attempted to pull it into two pieces. It wouldn't budge! I split it lengthwise into pieces, split it again, and then drafted it out so it's workable. I have a basket full of little balls all ready to grab as I finish spinning a length. It's spinning up very fine.

I have a few ideas for new knitting projects rolling around in my head. I need to write them down before I forget what they are. As I searched the web for some information today, I ran into a number of free patterns. So many temptations to knit!
  1. A Little Felted Bag that I know I'll have to knit.
  2. Stefanie Japel's Spencer Jacket (aka The Better Sweater) on the DIY Network site is from a Knitty Gritty episode. It was on yesterday. The cropped jacket is much nicer than the picture shows. The sleeves have a little lace detail toward the cuff and they flare out a bit. Nice! It's knit in bulky weight and is a fast knit.
  3. Mohair Lace Stole in the latest Ram Wools newsletter. The picture doesn't do it justice. I have some mohair laceweight in my stash just waiting for a project like this.
  4. A Square Baby Blanket knit from the center out in Old Shale (wavy) pattern. This would also make a nice square shawl.
  5. Or how about making your own Stitch Holders from old coat hangers? LOL!

Monday, August 27

Friends and a shawl

It's finally over. A marathon five days of dealing with endless details, overflowing emotions, and saying goodbye. I am shattered, heartsore, and tired in both body and spirit. Now it's time to rest, recoup, and try to find our way back to some form of normalcy. Whatever that may be.

I never truly understood how important friends could be in such situations until the past few days. Friends have held me up when I thought I could no longer stand. They made me smile when all I wanted to do was weep. They helped make an unbearable time bearable. Thank you to each and every one of you.

I also appreciate every email or comment left on my blog about my MIL's passing. Others too have been in my shoes. They know how much a kind word or an email hug can mean. Thank you for your kindness.

The green Cascading Leaves shawl I knit is mine no more. Unbeknownst to me as I knit it one careful stitch at a time, it had a destiny to fulfill. It's woolly softness now unseen, wraps my MIL in an eternal hug. I do not miss the shawl; I do miss the woman it covers.

Goodbye, Mary Alice. Rest in peace.

Thursday, August 23


My MIL has finally lost her battle with cancer. She passed away peacefully about 10:30 this morning. Per her wishes, she died in her own home with her husband by her side. It's been a rough go for everyone. We're all glad she's not in pain anymore. Now we have to figure out how to put the pieces back together and go on without her. :-(

I may not be online much in the next few days. If anyone orders a pattern, please know I will get back to you as soon as I am able. Peace...

Tuesday, August 21

Michigan Fiber Fest

Michigan Fiber Fest was a blast on Saturday! A vanload of 8 from my fiber arts group rode up together. It's a 1-1/2 hour drive from northern Indiana where we live. The weather was perfect--cool and a little sunny--a great relief after the 90+ degree days we've had for most of the summer.

Since it was cool, Elizabeth was wearing her Cascading Leaves shawl and I wore mine too. We both had lots of people stop us to admire our shawls and ask about the pattern. Between us, we gave out almost every card I had with my blog and email address. I always carry a supply of cards to give out to knitters I meet.

The vendor booths and buildings were packed with people. Usually, by mid-afternoon it eases off. This year it didn't. If you didn't buy something the first time you saw it, it was gone when you came back. The food booths were bombed and ran out of things. I didn't even get my yearly elephant ear! :-( It was starting to sprinkle a little rain when we left the fairgrounds about 4 pm. Sunday was a very rainy day and would not have been a good one to attend the fiber fest. I heard that some of the vendor tents on the lawn collapsed and all their merchandise was ruined. Not good.

Here's my loot from Allegan. Top left is some rainbow dyed merino top from Orchard Hill Fleece Farm. I'm kicking myself for only buying one 2.5 ounce package. I'll spin it fine as a single to preserve the colorway and ply it with something else.

Top right is a package of merino/tencel and lower left is soy silk top, both are from Ellen's 1/2 Pint Farm. Directly under the rainbow top is 8 oz of Ashland Bay merino top in a gorgeous variegated rust colorway called Cassis. In the middle are 2 colorways of handpainted rayon from Babe's Fiber Garden. On the lower right is an $8 drop spindle that spins quite well, a high speed whorl for my Little Gem wheel, and a Bosworth featherweight (.5 oz) spindle. It took me a while to decide to spend the $$ for the Bosworth spindle. I'm glad I did. I'm spindling silk on it and it spins like a dream!

If you'd like to see a picture of me, my friends, and a couple of new friends, go to Joanne's blog. I'm the one on the far left in the turquoise shirt. It was great meeting Joanne. She's working on a book about fiber festivals. Can't wait to see it! I also got to meet Bonne Marie of Chic Knits.

I took my camera and totally forgot about taking any pictures until we were in the van on the way home. I am not a picture taker! I am so caught up in the moment and what's going on that I don't think about doing it. Pictures would have been nice for the blog but memories will have to suffice.

I picked up a flyer asking for volunteers to help continue Michigan Fiber Fest. Several people are stepping down from key positions, which could mean the end to this 10 year old festival. If anyone lives near the Allegan, Michigan area, please consider volunteering your time. As well as general volunteers, they need new ideas, a new office manager, bookkeeper, and someone to do advertising and publicity. I don't know if any of these jobs are paid or not.

They really could use a web page designer too. This year, their website didn't even offer directions, times, or much of anything else. I heard comments from festival goers that they were not even aware that it existed and that it was hard to find information about it. That's a shame as it's been going on for 10 years. This is my third visit to the event.

Their annual meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 16, 2007 at 7 pm at Sam's Joint in Yankee Springs, 2412 S. Briggs Road, Middleville, Michigan. You can contact their office at 269.945.2497.

Monday, August 20

Good things come in small packages

What's in this small box? It's the very first fleece I ever bought, fresh back from the processor. This creamy Shetland lamb fleece was bought from Sheltering Pines at the Greencastle Fiber Event in April. I dropped it off at the Wooly Knob booth that April 13th day for processing. Finally, here it is after 4 long months of waiting.

I opened the small box and released the fiber from confinement. It grew and grew and grew. Here's what it looked like out of the box and all fluffed up. It's an amazing mass of baby soft spinning fiber.

The 2 lb 9 oz raw fleece is now 1 lb 7 oz of clean, fluffy, and very soft roving. I pulled out a drop spindle and started spinning. Oh, does this spin into a fine single! I may decide to spindle it instead of wheel spinning it.

I split the fleece with my friend, Jessica. We each have almost 12 ounces of lusciousness to work with. As fine as this will spin up, we should get a lot of yardage. I can foresee some handspun lace shawls in our future. LOL!

Friday, August 17

272 Triangle Shawl Patterns - Updated 12/09

All the deadlinks have been fixed or deleted from the list. I may add more links when I get the time. 12/09

This is the master list of triangle shawl patterns. It contains 272 patterns sorted by yardage. They are coded by free or purchased. Click on a pattern name to find a free pattern or go to an online shop where you may purchase it. Shawl patterns from books or magazines have that information listed after the pattern name. Google Images to find pictures of these shawls.

The shawl patterns vary widely in style from easy garter and stockinette stitch, to those with simple lacy holes, or challenging ones with charted lace stitches. Some may be blunted triangles or even half circles. Close enough to a triangle...IMHO. LOL!

They are ranked by the amount of yarn needed to make the smallest size. Check the pattern to see what weight of yarn it recommends. You can vary the size by: 1) using more yarn to make it bigger or less to make it smaller, 2) use a different weight of yarn to change the size. Thicker yarns take less yardage and a lighter weight yarn require more yardage for the same size shawl. Suit the needle size to your yarn weight for best results.

Some of the foreign language patterns have English translations. Others don't, but do have charts. Knitting symbols are pretty universal. Google for translations of knitting terms or use Babelfish or other translation sites for help.

If anyone knows how much yardage is needed for the shawls marked with a ?, post a comment with the information. Ditto if you find any patterns that aren't on the list. Enjoy and have fun knitting!

100-199 Yards
100+ Musings on a Poncho
131 Short & Sassy Shawl (One Skein Wonders by Judith Durant, p. 35)
150+ Drop Dead Gorgeous Shawl (link fixed)
175 Caryl’s Kerchief
180 Fabulous Filigree Scarf (One-Skein Wonders by Judith Durant, p. 186)
180 Triangular Scarf (Vogue Knitting Scarves, p. 37)
190+ Versatile Scarves

200-299 Yards
200+ Casino Shawl
200 Elegantly Simple Triangle Shawl
200+ Landscape Shawl
200+ Manipura Shawl (in Spanish, use Babelfish to translate)
218 Aunt Phebe's Comfort Shawl (scroll down a little)
220 Babushkas (The Best of Knitter's Shawls and Scarves, p. 98)
220 Fernanda Shawl
225 Butterfly Scarf
229 Seafoam Shawl (One Skein Wonders by Judith Durant, p. 59)
250 Triangular Lace Scarf (scroll down to find pattern link)
250 Victorian Shoulderette
259 Luna Moth Shawl
260 Diamond and Purls Shawl (The Knitter's Book of Yarn by Clara Parkes, p. 202)
260 Little Arrowhead Shawl
260 One Skein Shawl
265 Wide Triangle Shawl (Victorian Lace Today, p. 8)
270+ Bird’s Eye Shawl
273-383 Eye of Partridge Shawl
275+ Flower Basket Scarf (also published in Interweave Knits, Fall 2005, p. ?)
276 Kite Kerchief

300-399 Yards
300 Birchette Shawl
300 City Shawl
300+ Easy Garter Stitch Shawl
300 Easy Elegant Scarf
300+ Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl
300+ Kate Winkler Thrift Shop Shawl
300+ Rob Roy Shawl
300 Rose Hearts Shoulder Shawl
300+ Shapely Shawlette - Eyelet & Garter
309 Vienna Shawl #69-07
310 Summer Lace Shawlette
315 Easy Does It Drop Stitch Shawl
325+ Alix's Lace Prayer Shawl
325-400 Lighter Than a Spiderweb Shawl
328 Maggie’s Shawl
330 Daisy Meadow Scarf (Two Lace Scarves pattern)
330 Shoulder Warmer Shawl (Knitted Shawls, Stoles and Scarves, p. 58)
330 Triangle Lace Shawl (scroll down)
350 Celtic Hearts Shawl
350 As You Like It Shoulder Wrap
350 Chevron Shawl
350 Diamond Fantasy Scarf/Shawlette
350 Easy Knit Shawl (with additions at this blog)
350 Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl
350 Shapely Shawlette - Simple Garter
350 Weavers Wool Mini Shawl
350+ Triangles Within Triangles Shawlette
360 English Garden Shawl
370 Easy Triangle Shawl #1 (aka Butterfly Shawl)
370 Easy Triangle Shawl #2
370 Tea & Sympathy Shawl
375 Lacy Winged Shawl (2007 Knitting Pattern a Day Calendar - March 28, 2007)
385 Bloom Shawl (half circle)
390 Hug Me Boucle Shawl
393 Salina Shawl

400-499 Yards
400+ Lily’s Leaf Shawl
400 Alpaca Shawl
400 Clearwater Rapids Shawl (half circle)
400 Driftwood Victorian Shoulder Shawl
400 Diamonds & Flower Shawl
400 Hydrangea Scarf
400+ Double Delight Shawl
400+ Triangle Scarf
400+ Ash Leaf Shawl
405 Jacana Shawl
410 Shoulder Cozy (Wrap Style by Pam Allen & Ann Budd, p. 78.)
420 Kiri Shawl
430 Arrowhead Lace Shawl
433 Aerang Shawl
436 Alabaster Shawl
436 Jenny Shawl
437 Swallowtail Shawl
437 Triangle Trio (Knitter’s Magazine, Summer 2001, pg. 34.)
438 South Slocan Scarf (Knitting Pattern a Day Calendar 2006, February 17-19, 2006)
440 Blue Jeans Lace Leaf Shawl
440 Gioiello Shawl
440 Lace Fichu
440+ Foulard Scarf (Morehouse Merino, pg. 45)
444 Gossamer Triangle Shawl
446 Drops Loosely Knitted Shawl
450 Leaf Lace Shawl
450 Ridged Eyelet
462 Bev’s Dishcloth Shawl
470 Amor Pitsihuivi
471 Shetland Floss Shawl
480 Sweet Alyssum Shawl
482 Heartland Lace Shawl
490 Sweetheart Shawl
495 Kellokukka Huivi
495 Onnenlehti Huivi

500-599 Yards
500 Cascading Leaves Shawl
500 Crystal Cove Shawl
500 Dice Blue Shawl (Knitter’s Magazine, Spring 2004, p. ?.)
500 Dishcloth Shawl
500 Easy Oddball Shawl
500 Feather & Fan Triangular Shawl
500 Making Tracks Shawl
500 Meadow Flowers Shawl (Knitter’s Stash by Barbara Albright, pg. 24-25.)
500 Minttumaari Huivi
500 Moonlight Sonata Shawl
500 Sagittaria Shawl
500 Self-fringing Shawl
500 Show Your Colors Shawl
500 Sophia Evening Wrap
500 Twin Peaks Shawl
500 Autumn Blaze Shawl
500+ Easy Elegance Shawl
515 Falling Leaves Shawl (Lavish Lace by Carol Noble & Cheryl Potter, p. 40.)
520 Triangle Net Scarf
540 Spring Things Shawl
548 Shetland Triangle Shawl (Wrap Style by Pam Allen & Ann Budd, p. 45.)
550 Angel Lace Shawl
550 Comfort Shawl
550 Drunken Daisy Stitch Lace Shawl
550 Easy Triangle Shawl
550 Onerva Huivi
550 Super Simple Shawl
555 Diamond Knit Shawl
560 Aurora Shawl
560 Katy Shawl (half circle, scroll down for pattern)
560 Simple Yet Effective Shawl
560 Violets by the River Shawl
590 Eyelet Lace Shawl
594 Kevat Huivi
594 Liisan Lilja Huivi
594 Mohair Tiger Shawl

600-699 Yards
600 Barbara’s Shawl (picture only) For lace chart email: jeantownsend AT earthlink DOT net
600 Ethereal Fichu Triangular Shawl
600 Fancy Wind Shawl
600 Garter Lace Triangle Shawl (Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls, p. 109)
600 Mountain Peaks Shawl
600 Simple Triangle Shawl
600 Spinner’s Lace Shawl
600+ Stash Shawl
600 Triangular Drops Shawl
600 Tuch Vision
600 Wings of Fantasy Shawl
633 Pavonis Huivi
636 Red Hat Lady Shawl
650 Die Artischocke Shawl
650 Lachende Tropfen - Smiling Drops Shawl
650 Lavender Linen Lace Shawl (Knitted Shawls, Stoles and Scarves, p. 62)
650 Shetsoie Shawl
650 Spring Garden Shawl (Knitter’s Magazine, Spring 2007, pg. 44.)
650 Tuch Lindenhof
652 Sheer One Piece Shawl (or Modular Knits by Iris Schreier, pg. 104.)
654 Agatha Shawl
654 Sun Ray Shawl
660 Capri Shawl
660 Fifi III Shawl
684 Koigu Kersti Shawl
687 Birch Shawl
687 Daisies Shawl
687 Jade Shawl
687 Roosa Huivi
690 Spring Garden Shawl

700-799 Yards
700 Leaves & Flowers Shawl
700 Mystery Diamond Shawl
700 Revontuili-huivi (Northern Lights)
700 Syrian Shoulder Shawl (Victorian Lace Today, p. 130)
700+ Ene's Scarf (Scarf Style, p. ?)
720 Drops Shawl with Leaf Pattern
727 Wildflower Shawl (scroll down)
730 Ocean Waves Shawl
740 Rainstorm & Desert Dusk Shawl (Lavish Lace by Carol Noble & Cheryl Potter, p. 56.)
748 Zetor Huivi
750 Garter and Lace Shawl (The Best of Knitter's Shawls and Scarves, p. 62)
765 Frost Shawl
766 Queen of the Waves Shawl

800-899 Yards
800 Cameo Shell Stitch Shawl
800 Carmen Shawl
800 Fractal Diamonds Shawl
800 Lotus Blossom
800 Truly Tasha’s Shawl
800+ Bell Pattern Shawl
800+ Mitered Squares Shawl
810 Dragon Scales Shawl
819 Tuscany Shawl (No Sheep For You by Amy Singer, p. 51.)
820 Progressive Shawl
825 North Roe Shawl
826 Wool Peddlers Shawl (Folk Shawls, p. 71)
832 Cuspid Wrap
875 Icarus Shawl (Interweave Knits, Summer 2006, p. 75 & Best of Interweave Knits)
875 Lehmus Huivi
875 Papillion (butterfly) Shawl
880 Adamas Shawl
880 Lehtimetsa Huivi

900-999 Yards
900 Arvika Shawl
900 Beauty and the Bias Shawl
900 Bee Fields Shawl
900 Carnival Glass Shawl
900 Cherry Leaf Shoulder Shawl (Victorian Lace Today, p. 134)
900 Grape Arbor Shawl (Wendy Knits, p. 157)
900 Seraphim Shawl
900 Garden Party Shawl
900+ Wings of the Moth Shawl
910 Forget-Me-Not Shawl
935 Wigwam Shawl (Knitted Shawls, Stoles and Scarves, p. 56)
942 Sakura-Cherry Blossom Shawl
945 Pacific Waves Shawl (3 different versions of this shawl at Elann)
950 Chevron Shawl
950 Handsome Triangle Shawl (Victorian Lace Today, p. 32)
990 Annhelen's Shawl
990 Basic Triangle Shawl

1000-1099 Yards
1000 Adara Rainbow Shawl
1000 Jeanie's Rainbow Shawl (July 15 for email, picture at Oct. 30)
1000 Queen of Hearts Shawl
1000 Sangria Shawl (Lavish Lace, p. 31)
1000 Trinity Stitch Shawl
1050 Bobble Lace Flowers Shawl
1050 Endpapers Shawl (The Knitter's Book of Yarn by Clara Parkes, p. 114)
1050 Highland Triangle Shawl (Folk Shawls, p. 89)
1050 Lacy Prairie Shawl (Folk Shawls, p. 57)
1050 Pinwheel Shawl
1050 Weeping Willow Shawl (triangle version)
1060 Tiger Swallowtail Shawl
1093 Floral Mesh Shawl (One-Skein Wonders by Judith Durant, p. 196)

1100-1199 Yards

1100 Crystal Garden Shawl
1100 Dragon Wings Shawl
1100 Flowing River Shawl
1100 Lotus Blossom Lace Shawl (The Best of Knitter's Shawls and Scarves, p. 68)
1100 Ostrich Plume Triangle
1100 Pacific Northwest Shawl
1100 Simple Lace Shawl
1100 Matilda Shawl
1120 Butterfly Wings Shawl
1120 Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend Shawl
1125 Gypsy Shawl
1182 Dimple Stitch Shawl (Easy Knitted Accessories, p. 123)
1188 Berry & Leaf Shawl

1200-1299 Yards
1200 Evergreen Shawl (Handknit Holidays, p. 142)
1200 Peace Shawl
1200 Snowdrop Shawl
1200 Spirit of the Southwest Shawl
1200 Sheep Shawl
1200 Spanish Dancer Shawl
1200 Which Way Do We Go Shawl
1241 Winter Wonderland Shawl
1250 Trinity Stitch Half-Square Shawl (Victorian Lace Today, p. 126)
1260 Creatures of the Reef Shawl
1260 Emerald Isle Shawl
1260 Peacock Feathers Shawl
1260 Icelandic Lace Shawl

1300+ Yards
1300 Hidcote Garden Shawl
1300 Drops Knitted Shawl
1300 Three-Cornered Shawl (Victorian Lace Today, p. 138)
1400 Terttu Shawl
1450 Super Simple Triangle Shawl (One-Skein Wonders by Judith Durant, p. 156)
1500 Drops Lace Shawl 105-3
1575 Geyl Shawl (Jan. 2 entry)
1575 Prairie Shawl (Folk Shawls, p. 55)
1750 Heere Be Dragone Shawl
1750 Misty Morning Shawl
2200 Lake & Summer Sky Shawl
2570 Nature Scene Shawl (The Best of Knitter's Shawls and Scarves, p. 65)

Unknown Yardage
? Chale Aux Paquettes (French pattern, chart is here)
? Fir Cone Triangular Shawl
? Half Circle Knit Shawl
? Jennifer's Knit-'til-You-Quit" Lace Shawl (pattern being revised)
? Kite-o-Mania Shawl
? Nature Shawl
? Rainbow Shawl (scroll down to August 12 entry)
? Triangle Flower Power Shawl (Knit ‘N Style, Fall 2002, p. ?)
? Stormy Morning Shawl
? Odd Ball Shawl

Monday, August 13

Errors, handspun, and what's up this week

There were a few errors in the Cascading Leaves shawl pattern. They have been corrected and information has been sent out to everyone who ordered the pattern. Several people are hard at working knitting the shawl. Can't wait to see pictures of the completed shawls.

I was not feeling well over the weekend. Hubby apparently brought some bug home from work. He had it last week and it caught up with me early Saturday morning. I was miserable all weekend. I'm feeling a little better today but still achy and tired.

I'm trying to decide on my next knitting or design project. Percolating in my head are some ideas for shawls and lace knitting, as well as baby socks. Last week, I was too busy with some unexpected work to work on them. Over the weekend, my concentration was shot from not feeling well. Hopefully, that will improve soon.

Meanwhile, I'm spinning. The top skein is the Blue Face Leicester (BFL) from Lisa Souza. It spun up into a very consistent fingering weight yarn. It should make a nice sock yarn. 4.0 ounces/327 yards. Hubby saw it last night all skeined up with a label. He told me it looked like something you'd buy at a yarn shop. I'll take that as a compliment. LOL! The bottom skein was spun from 1 ounce of superwash wool and tencel that I bought at Greencastle in April. This was a very quick spin! I spun and plied in in one evening on the wheel. Woo-hoo! If I had spindle spun it, I probably would have gotten a lot more yardage. Wish I had more of this fiber. It was fun to spin. 1.0 ounce/87 yards. Click on the picture for a closer look.

Several people have urged me to open an Etsy shop to sell my handspun. I'm considering the possibility. It looks to be a better venue for this type of item than Ebay. It's on my to-do list when I get some free time. My calendar is bursting at the seams this week:

1) a Frog Pond meeting on Tuesday night,
2) helping a friend wash some raw fleece on Wednesday,
3) taking an all-day silk spinning class in Allegan, Michigan on Thursday (A friend can't go. She asked me to take her place.), and
4) going to Michigan Fiber Fest with a vanload of friends to shop on Saturday.

Of course, this list doesn't include all the fun things like cleaning house, grocery shopping, making meals, laundry, picking and processing vegetables, etc., that needs to get done. Sigh...I might have time to sleep for 15 minutes.

Overshadowing everything on my schedule is another factor---my MIL is terminally ill with cancer. She's in the final stage and it's a day-to-day thing. It's a fact that follows me around all my waking hours and makes me cringe each time the phone rings. :-( When she passes, my calendar will be forgotten as my priorities change. Much as I would miss participating in any of the events on my calendar, family comes first.

Wednesday, August 8

August Fiber Frolic

Saturday afternoon, Frog Ponders got together for a Fiber Frolic at Charlotte Wolfe's farm. We had fun spinning, knitting, and eating. The food is always delish!

It was a beautiful day if a little on the warm side. We set up on the deck where there was a good breeze. How's this for a view? Unfortunately, everyone was covered in pollen in a short time. We hadn't had any rain to wash it out of the air. We moved inside shortly after. I thought we were in the shade but discovered later than I was just a little sunburnt from my spinning adventure outside.

Here's Sandy with her back to the camera. Mary is trying out Aubrey's Ashford Traditional spinning wheel with Aubrey's help. Both Sandy and Mary were trying out our spinning wheels. They both want to buy a wheel.

Chris brought the scarf she knitted out of this BFL handspun I gave her several months ago. Didn't it turn out nice? The scarf pattern can be found in Knitter's Stash, called the Heavenly scarf. I charted the scarf pattern for Chris to make it easier to knit. (Aren't I a nice friend?)

No one went home empty handed. If they didn't win a door prize, they went home with fresh produce. I came home with fresh eggs and green beans. Yum! Janet brought tomatoes and zucchini from her garden. Our hostess, Charlotte, told us to pick anything we wanted o ut of her garden. It was too hot to do that. :-) She also offered us any of the fleeces in the barn for free. Elizabeth brought two beautiful Shetland cross fleeces home to process. I was tempted to take a peek but didn't. I already have more fiber than I can spin and limited storage space.

Tuesday, August 7

Dyeing experiments

Our weather has continued to be hot. I decided to take advantage of it to do some more solar dyeing last Friday. I dyed some yarn and some spinning fiber.

The yarn came out great as you can see from the picture. I soaked it in vinegar and water, added color, wrapped them in plastic wrap, and laid them out in the sun to bake all afternoon. Once rinsed out, I hung them in the bathtub to drip.

The two skeins on the left are Knit Picks superwash sock yarn with nylon. I mixed Easter Egg colors up in three jars and dipped a portion of each skein into a jar. I left some white in between so the colors wouldn't mix. Superwash wool really does make intense color! One is dyed with bright blue, green, and an egg yolk yellow. The other is a lemon yellow, hot pink, and a purple that split a bit.

Top right is Knit Picks merino laceweight dyed with pink, blue, green, and purple. I used a measuring cup to pour each color onto the yarn. The colors aren't as intense as the superwash. One of the colors I used split a little.

At bottom right is Knit Picks gloss, a silk and wool blend. I dyed it with red, orange, and brown. I was trying to make a autumny-leaf-turning color. I'm happy with the way it turned out. It may become another Cascading Leaf shawl.

I also pulled out a skein of laceweight from the dyeing workshop. The colors weren't strong enough to suit me so I added more green and purple. I'm much happier with it now. I've learned to have a heavier hand with color. When it dries it loses some of its intensity.

The spinning fiber didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped. I was experimenting with the colors I had left from dyeing the yarn. Some experiments were more successful than others.

I never thought I'd care for dyeing yarn and fiber. This is my third go at it and I like it more each time. If anything, I am beginning to feel constrained with the color limitations of Easter Egg dye. I'd like to do more subtle and different colors than it allows. Since I don't want to use any of the really toxic dyes out there, I may have to shop for some Wilton's icing colors. Just call me the color freak! LOL!

Pookie decided he needed to be in the pictures. He has grown so much! I call him my little bear cub. He has yet to grow into his big feet. I tried taking a picture of him both with and without the flash. This was the best I could do. It's hard to get a good picture of a black cat.

Spinning projects

I finished spinning some Ashland Bay daffodil merino top sometime back. It's sat on the bobbin waiting while I debated about how to ply it. The single is so beautiful that I wanted maximum yardage. Earlier this week, I decided to try plying it with some polyester thread. The result is a pastel boucle yarn. (Double click on the picture to take a closer look.) I really like it! There are a few places that are a little loose. I've thought about putting it back through the wheel to tighten them up. I'm not sure it's worth worrying about. Five ounces of fiber = 750 yards. I'm keeping this skein!

Last night, I finished spinning 4 ounces of BFL in Lisa Souza's Mardi Gra colorway. Was that ever a fast and enjoyable spin! Maybe it will get plied tonight. I've also finished one bobbin of the royal blue/lime green superwash. It was a very thick rope of combed top. I stripped, pre-drafted, and rolled it into balls. It's all ready for me to sit down and spin it up.

I had a lot of fun at the Fiber Frolic on Saturday. I've been waiting to blog about it until I'm able to download the pics from my camera. I need hubby's help with a few things to get them out of the camera. I hope the pictures turned out. I'm still getting used to all the controls on this camera.

Sunday, August 5

White Kitty has a birthday!

Hi, my name is White Kitty. I turned 20 yesterday. Aren't I a handsome fellow?

I'm a domestic shorthair but I sound and act like a Siamese. My fur is not very soft. Some of it is short but there are patches of long fur along my spine. At my age, it's too much trouble to clean anything but my face and front paws. I go to the vet's office for a bath when I get too bad. I like the groomers. :-) Mom says my dander makes her itch.

I'm totally deaf. I holler loudly when I think I've been abandoned, wake up in the middle of the night or when someone sneaks up on me. (We don't sneak, he just thinks we do.) I can feel vibrations but not voices.

I have arthritis in my spine and tail. To help with that, I have my own prescription for cortisone which I take every other day. (Thank goodness, he will take his pill in his food.) Before I started taking medication, I screamed when my back would go into spasm. I thought the pain was from a cat attacking my butt. The pills help a lot though I'm still so stiff, I walk like a wind up toy. I can't jump up on the bed anymore. I'm getting really skinny which Mom says is typical of old cats. Who is she talking about? It can't be me. I really enjoy eating and eat lots of food every day. The food is great here.

I was adopted from a Pet Refuge Adopt-A-Cat event. I could holler louder than any other cat there. I was very unhappy. At one years old, my owners abandoned me because of a cat allergy. I don't understand, how could a baby be more important than me?

I wasn't left even 30 minutes before a new daddy showed up and took me home. My first name was Mikey, which he changed to White Kitty. I moved into a house with three unmarried guys. Then a friendly, big kitty named Gray Kitty arrived (though he said his name was really Omar), and a stuck up, black kitty named Sam came to live with us. We had a lot of fun and adventures together for many years. It's sad. Gray Kitty got sick and passed on in 2005 and Sam died in 2006. I'm happy and have no plans to leave anytime soon.

Saturday, August 4

Circular shawl patterns

Recently, a thread on some of the Yahoo groups has been about circular shawl patterns. I've found very few free ones on the web. They are sometimes labeled doilies, tablecloths, Pi shawls, baby shawls or blankets, etc. They all look like they could be made as shawls.

Circular Shawl (click on picture to get the pattern)
Heirloom Shawl
Pinwheel Blanket
Knitted Lace Doily
Old Shale Tablecloth
Queen Anne's Lace

If you know of any other free circular shawl patterns for these, let me know.

Thursday, August 2

Ebay sales: thumbs down!

I have sold stuff from time-to-time on Ebay for many years. It used to be a good venue for selling unwanted knitting patterns and yarn. In the past year, it hasn't been worth my time to post auctions. Rising Post Office rates (especially the new first class rate structure), Ebay and Paypal fees are killing Ebay sellers.

Last week, I posted 7 skeins of my handspun yarn on Ebay. I started the auctions at half price, much less than it is worth. For example, four ounces of spinning fiber costs me $8-$12 or more, depending on the fiber, if it is dyed, handpainted, etc. Add to that many hours of my time to spin and ply it, skein the yarn, wash, and label it. The thinner the yarn, the longer it takes to spin. My handspun is consistent, good quality, and tends to be fingering weight or finer.

The auctions closed yesterday. Only one skein sold at the starting price of $15.00.

The really sad part is the $13.00 I had to pay in Ebay and Paypal fees for the auctions. What??? You mean I only made $2 for my handspun! That's outrageous! I'm glad I spin because I enjoy it and not to make a lot of money.

Lesson learned. From now on, I'll stick to trading or selling my handspun on the Yahoo groups or gifting it to friends.

Wednesday, August 1

Handspun swap package

See what I got in trade for a skein of my handspun yarn? Woo-hoo! Sarah was destashing and traded me all of this for one big skein of turquoise merino handspun (over 500 yards).
  • Smooshy sock yarn from Dream in Color in Spring Tickle (450 yards). I may knit another leaf shawl out of it. It would have to be a little smaller in size, but is still do-able. Sarah may regret having traded me this one now that she's seen my shawl pattern.
  • Koigu Painters Palette Merino - My friend Elizabeth recently made a beautiful Koigu floppy jacket. (It's available as a single pattern or in the book Knits from a Painter's Palette.) I'm seriously thinking about knitting it and have been collecting Koigu for it.
  • Socka Cotton Color - I'm not sure what I'll use this for but I doubt it will be socks. :-)
I mailed the package to Sarah on Monday with a couple of surprises in it. I'm waiting to hear if she's received it yet. I hope she is as happy with the trade as I am.

The word is getting out about my Cascading Leaves shawl pattern. I email the pattern pdf out as soon as I receive the orders. For those of you who have ordered the pattern, if it has been more than 24 hours since you ordered and the pattern hasn't arrived, let me know. A few people have had difficulties receiving the pdf file due to the spam filters.

I'm taking a break from knitting and returned to spinning. I'm back to working on the lime green and royal blue superwash I started some time back. I'm not sure if it's the project I will take this Saturday to the Fiber Frolic at Charlotte's farm or not. Have to get together the things I want to trade or sell to take along. And, of course, what food I'm taking to share. We usually have a good spread since everyone brings something to contribute.

The zucchini and summer squash plants in our organic vegetable garden are really pumping out the squash. I've been freezing cubed zucchini for pasta and soups, shredded zucchini for breads, and making zucchini bread with some of the monster squash that get missed in the garden. I made some killer zucchini bread the other day from a recipe off the web. It has no eggs and less oil than most recipes. I baked it as mini loaves so it wouldn't take as long to bake in the hot weather. Hubby and I managed to polish off an entire loaf in one setting. It's dangerous stuff! I'll have to post the recipe for it and the orzo pasta with zucchini that I make. As you can tell, I have a lot of zucchini recipes. LOL! We eat a lot of it when it's in season and I give a lot of it away too.

I don't know how much longer we'll have fresh squash as the squash bugs and vine borers are working on the plants. I refuse to use any kind of chemicals and pesticides in my garden. It kills good bugs as well as bad and isn't good for humans either. Sorry, I feel pretty strongly about this.

Our cucumber harvest has been sparse. The ground hogs living nearby are eating most of them. I'm growing a number of different varieties that they seem to find tasty. At first they ate the leaves and vines. Now, they've moved on to the fruit. When I go to pick them, all I find is a little bit still attached to the plant---the rest has been bitten off! Ground hogs don't know how to share. :-(

Hubby finally picked the first ripe tomato on Monday. He got the plants in really late this year. I'll probably freeze a lot of them and make sauce during the winter. The skins slip off easily from the frozen tomatoes. Processing them in the winter, I appreciate the heat cooking them generates much more than when it's 90 degrees out in the summer.