Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Raha Scarf

so i've had the Knitted Lace of Estonia book by Nancy Bush for about a month. spent quite a bit of time stroking it,reading it over and over. now i've cast on my first project--and instant gratification piece, the Raha Scarf on page 63.
Rowan Kidsilk Haze
pattern: Raha Scarf, "Knitted Lace of Estonia" by Nancy Bush
yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Haze (3 skeins) colorway, "Gold"
needles: Addi Turbo Lace size US4 (3.5mm)

i've made a few modifications: the original is done in a fingering weight yarn on size US4(3.5) needles. i'm using Rowan's Kidsilk Haze (KSH), on the same size needles and have doubled the pattern repeat. i thought i might need to double the KSH but so far, i like the way it looks. i'm a bit further along than in the picture.
i doubt i'll need all 3 skeins but i do like the color, and since doing the Mellon Shawl, i also enjoy knitting with KSH. i know, you haven't seen the Mellon Shawl, but you will soon.

i could see doing this pattern with or 4 repeats and a nice edging to get a shawl. i don't normally do scarves, but then again, who said i was normal?

i also got two goodies in the mail:
BGD spindle
.5oz Italian Resin whorl spindle from Butterfly Girl Designs
Greensleeves spindle
.3oz Ethan Jacob spindle from Greensleeves Spindles

and yes, precious, i'm already spinning with them.

Monday, March 30, 2009

If There had been a 6th Spice Girl..

...she would have been named Spinny Spice. "if you wanna be my roving, you gotta be really soft...be from indie dyers, and be extra lofty, yeah!" decked in an ultra-risky outfit of emmaculately carded tuffs of roving--strategically placed, of course. the heels of her platform shoes would be skillfully carved spindles that whorled everytime she kicked up her heels...

okay, i admit it. i've been scrounging like a crack addict for roving. i. am. addicted. and that's alright. in this case, the first step in healing is to get some. and get some i did:

Woolarina roving in Butterscotch
4oz of Merino/Cashmere/Nylon from Woolarina in colorway Butterscotch. since my picture taking skills are below sub par, here's another one:
Woolarina roving in Butterscotch
I think the color is a bit richer and true in this one. plus, you can see Woolarina's tag.

Woolarina Roving in Lavender
4oz of Merino/Silk in Lavender. Also as scrumptious.

There's a lovely lady at one of my LYS named Dietrick--i've mentioned her before. Well Dietrick loves cashmere. As wonderful as she is, i believe she just might sell us all up the river if it involved getting some good quality cashmere. Well now, i understand her. i can't stop holding the Butterscotch roving. it's an 80/10/10 blend, and is absolutely divine to the touch. i pet it and say "i'm saving you for something special precious, i've bought a special spindle for you precious, i'm going to spin you well my precious" and i'm hoping it believes me. there are spindles making their way to me but only one will touch this roving from beginning to end.

yeah, i know this is weird, but the fiber lovers out there get it.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Dizzy Yet?

the Mellon Shawl is blocked and needs pics. the Shetland Tea Shawl is coming along--so much that i think i don't like the Madiera Diamond portion and am contemplating ripping out 15 rows of 574 stitches to do something different--eek! not that i'm afraid or anything...i ain't scared of no lace!

since the Homespun Yarn Party, i have been obsessed with spinning laceweight on my spindle. its all i can think about--finding the perfectly dyed roving, hoping to experiment with different scanning the internet for spindles carved by old men from woods the gods would covet, reading and reading and reading, drooling over Miss Alice Faye's absolutely stunning handspun yarn that she skillfully crafts into exquisite pieces of lace. if i can spin a smidge as well as what i've seen, then i'll be giddy.

everything i have learned so far, i have learned on my own...never been one for hand holding. of course, with wonderful crafters all over the internet, it makes learning so much easier. with that said, here's what i've been spinning along with the goat angora:

my photo skills are horrible but this is a pretty good representation of the colors. roving is from Hello Yarn 2-3oz bag of leftovers (feels like BFL but could be Corriedale)from Adrian Bizilia's dye club (i'm still on the waiting list to get in!)She's a wonderful fiber artist and is the person who introduced me to spinning. She was so kind to steer me towards really good sources to get me started.

here's what the roving looks spun up. i pre-drafted the roving into long strips, in keeping with the dye pattern. they look like this:

most of my learning has been from a SpinOff booklet on spindle spinning, so i think i focus more on results than technique.

as i've mentioned before, i'm a fairly thin spinner--anything above fingering weight and things get uneven and scary. in this pic, the needle is a size US1 just to show the thinness. i've ordered some lighter spindles--in the .4-.6oz range--one from Greensleeves and two from Butterfly Girl Designs and some roving from Woolarina. my mind says, "if i spin this thin now, imagine how much thinner it will be when the lighterweight spindles arrive?"

Mental note: Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is coming up REAL soon!

along with the spinning and the knitting, i've been doing a lot of cooking--trying to come up with really good vegetarian dishes. dishes that will become staples in the home. in a forum that i participate in, we decided to have our own little Iron Chef competiton. the main ingredient? eggs. here's what i made:

Omelette with Roasted Vegetables, Carmalized Onions and Guyere Cheese

this is sort of a 'morning after' dish. its a great way to use up leftover veggies. for the meat eaters, try beef, pork, shrimp, lobster...for a vegan version, prepare as a tofu scramble with soy cheese.


3 eggs
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
herb de provence (blend of rosemary, thyme, marjoram)
1 small yellow onion
guyere cheese (can substitute swiss or provolone)
roasted vegetables--fennel bulbs (anise), red, yellow, green and orange bell peppers, baby potatoes (red or gold is fine)

Roasted Veggies

cut fennel bulb into quarters and all other veggies into 1-2inch chunks. place in mixing bowl and drizzle olive on veggies. liberally add herbs de provence, a bit of salt and peppers. you want to season well, but not over do it. toss until veggies are well coated with the oil and herbs. roast in oven at 350 degrees until tender.


slice one small onion and seperate rings. saute in olive oil and very lightly season with salt and pepper. cook until tender and golden brown. set aside.

Egg mixture
pretty self explanatory. beat eggs in mixing bowl and add a small splash or two of buttermilk. you don't want it too runny--just enough to add a bit of richness. pour mixture into nonstick pan. add roasted veggies and shredded cheese in center.

when done, add onions on top and enjoy!



Monday, March 16, 2009

Crowds and Fiber and Knitters, Oh My!

this weekend, Sue and Diedrick--two wonderful ladies at Knit and Stitch = Bliss in Bethesda, MD--convinced me (as if i REALLY needed convincing)to ride out to Savage, MD to go to the second annual Homespun Yarn Party. the party was held in a large section in what looked like an old mill. a beautiful rustic building with LOADS of antique shops (of which we've vowed to make a second trip). but today it was all about the the fiber and the knitters. speaking of knitters, i got to meet the ABSOLUTELY delightful CiCi and CajTalk of the blog Sistahs That Knit. lots of indie dyers, some alpaca and sheep farmers, and lots of painted sock yarn. actually, most of the inventory there was sock yarn. me? since this was a last minute trip, i kept it simple and got two of each:

Homespun Yarn Party '09

the colors are natural and the vendor had it listed as goat angora. it is absolutely scrumptious, and sooo soft. i've only spun dyed/painted Corriedale and Blue-faced Leicester wool, which is nice and pretty easy to spin. once i got home and got comfy, i started spinning right away and:

spindle spinning in process

this is the dark roving. once spun, it has a lovely rustic look and you can see the variations of color in the fiber. i'm getting a solid single ply equivalent to a 2ply laceweight like Knitpicks Shadow. as i'm still a fairly new spinner, i plan to knit a single ply swatch and see how it looks. not sure if i will ply this. i may keep it as a singly ply because i really like the thickness i have now. if i ply it, it may be a little thicker than what i want--unless i pick up a lighter weight spindle to spin thinner. i spin pretty thin as it is...even with plying, i've only gotten heavy fingering to sport weight. once i try to spin thicker, i somehow lose consistency. go figger.

i've finished the edging on the Mellon Shawl and just need to block it. my focus will then be on finishing the Shetland Tea Shawl--i'm on round 13 of the Madeira Diamond chart--23 more rounds to go before the edging!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mellon Shawl

one of my current knitting projects is the Mellon Shawl from "Victorian Lace Today", a wonderful book that is a reinterpretation of several lace patterns from the 1890s. i've been plugging away at this shawl since Feb. 1--its not complicated at all, but the edging slowed me down a bit. but now i've picked up steam and here are a few in progress shots:

Mellon Shawl 2
pattern: Mellon Shawl from "Victorian Lace Today"
yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Haze in "Marmalade"
needles: Addi Turbo lace size 6US for center, size 5US for edging
center panel--see the oops?

Mellon Shawl 3
after turning the lower right corner

Mellon Shawl 1
knitted on edge in progress

overall, this is a very easy knit. and any mistakes (first pic!!) were absolutely due to the knitter. i don't normally knit with mohair/silk blends, but really enjoyed knitting with the Kidsilk Haze. depending on how it blocks, right now, i could see using a slighty denser mohair blend. i used a size 6US needle for the body and size 5US for the border but think the mellons look a bit sparse right now. maybe a nice sproingy merino/alpaca blend. but i think i'll do a different border.

once this is completed, the only lace project i'll have is the Shetland Tea Shawl. i'm still gawking at the shawls in "Knitted Lace of Estonia". and fingers keep perusing "Heirloom Knitting". in my mind, both of those books require a bit of commitment on my part. there's also a sampler shawl in "Victorian Lace Today" that i've been eyeing. either way, i need to make up my mind soon as it's no good having only one think on my needles....

Friday, March 6, 2009

On Passing Time

it's been quite some time since i've had the opportunity to blog. after the jury dury duty, so many things (life, Life, LIFE!!!) in between a new job, all that lovely history being made in DC, and lots of knitting, i think i've got things in order to get back into the swing of things.

the summer was pretty uneventful, other than following the campaign with the girlchild--her first election. at the beginning of the fall, both the girlchild and i have decided to have a vegetarian household. No one specific reason, but many different ones. the girlchild has never been much of a meat eater, i found i was finally able to lost weight and resolve some health issues by modifying my diet/lifestyle. i'll still be posting recipes and pics from time to time, but i doubt there will be posts/pics of mung beans, or seitan, or mycoprotein products. nor lectures about Paris Hilton and her puppies-as-accessories etc.

on the crafting front, after a major love affair with knitting all sorts of hats that were snatched up as soon as they came off of the needles, i am back to my knitting passion of l-a-c-e. i have two shawls on the needles right now: The Shetland Tea Shawl from "A Gathering of Lace" and The Melon Shawl from " Victorian Lace Today". shetland tea shawl
Pattern: Shetland Tea Shawl from "A Gathering of Lace"
yarn: Laneborgosesia/Baruffa Cashwool, 100% wool laceweight;red
needles: Addi Turbo lace size 3US 24in.

i'm also working on a set of swatches for an upcoming class i will be teaching at my LYS--Beginner Lace. this will be the third time that i've taught the class and i've enjoyed every moment. speaking of teaching/learning, i've acquired a few new lace books too. Nancy Bush's "Knitted Lace of Estonia" and Sharon Miller's "Heirloom Knitting". Next on the list is to get the two Ichida books that have Niebling-esque patterns.

now that things have calmed down a bit, i hope to contribute more online--especially since i appreciate all of the sharing from the online crafting community. plus, i just really miss some of y'all.