Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Camp Camnesia

This past weekend I trekked up to the middle of Wisconsin for Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp. I went last year, and it was exhilarating and empowering and I learned a LOT.

Same for this year. I split the drive up in two, stopping at my pal Kylee's house for the night. Kylee is the one who, five years ago, gave me a scarf kit at exactly the right time and started me down this whole knitting rabbit hole.

I had my camera with me in Wisconsin, but I forgot to pull it out. Every day I'd watch Amy Detjen adjust a camera over Meg Swansen's shoulder as Meg knit and I'd want a picture of that, but I didn't get it. It'll just have to be a mental photo, which I'm sorry I can't share.

Jessica logged a lovely moment from camp, though.

As happened last year, I came home with a heavily expanded project queue, including a pile of things from the new book Knit One Knit All. My sweater-in-progress is progressing, it's one that was added to the queue after last year's camp. Right now it's a twisty wad of stockinette on a big circular needle, but it'll straighten out.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Things finished

Managed to do the photodocumenting of various projects today, so here's an update!

A pair of plain socks in Noro Silk Garden:

These started life as an office emergency project, a designated break when grading was crazy or other things were getting to me. They moved pretty fast, because the thickish yarn required a heftier needle than my usual - they were on 2's and I think 60 stitches around. After classes were over they became my track knitting, and we spent at least one day out at the speedway every weekend that cars were on the track, so they grew fast. They were finished on the Saturday of race weekend, so I just had to start a new sock on race day. That one will show up soon.

I made a little shawly thing:
This is the Little Colonnade shawl, in a nice MCN blend from Pigeonroof Studios. The yarn was the special colorway for Simply Sock Yarn's birthday kit last year, and it was lovely to knit.

And finally, my new favorite thing:

I finished this at knitting on Thursday. I've been sighing about it not being done for months now, and finally it is! This is my first handspun sweater. I finished the yarn last fall, cast on once the orange sweater let go of me in February, and now it's done.

Not really a modeled shot, but a "I finished it tonight and I couldn't wait till the next day for pictures" pic in the mirror in my closet.


I love it, can you tell?


Well, it's pretty obvious that I am not particularly good at blogging daily. It's actually been a frustrating theme this summer, I can't seem to make myself do anything on a daily basis, whether it's eat right, exercise, spin, knit, or do a load of laundry.

I am reading pretty voraciously. I bought a Sony Reader a few months back, and the library's ecollection has become one of my most-visited websites. I'm working my way through several series of romance and mysteries, and I'm currently reading the campus book club selection, even though I can't make next week's meeting.

I'm trying to catch up some on podcasts, because I have a bad habit of getting behind on those. My very favorite that I tend to listen to as soon as I can after it posts every week is an NPR podcast called Pop Culture Happy Hour. I discovered it over Christmas break, and it's just fun. The Monkey See blog hosts it, and the blog (and its host) is a favorite as well.

I'm hoping to kick myself into updating my ravelry notebook in the next day or so, I've finished several projects that need to be documented. There will be knitting pictures then.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Trying new things

One of the things I learned at Stringtopia was how awesome Jacey Boggs is. Jacey blogs and does other stuff at Insubordiknit. At Stringtopia she taught me corespinning and boucle. I still have to practice my boucle. I'm working on it. (Did I mention there wasn't much spinning right post-Stringtopia?) This is my class sample.


The other stuff she was teaching was awesome too. So when I found out she was teaching at Midwest Fiber and Folk, I signed right up. Cables and Crepes was the first class, and Thick-and-Thin and Coils was the second.

I'm going to start with the coils. Coils are AWESOME.

Here are my class samples. Jacey's very good at breaking down the various steps of these yarns.

Thick-and-thin and coils are both rhythmic. I really like them. And coils are a really nice outlet for the control freak in me. I can make them Just Right, and it's awesome.

Here are the coils I spun last week:

They're better. Imagine that!

I don't have my class sample from the Cables and Crepes class. I kind of struggled in there. Balance is very important in cabled yarn, and I'm not used to paying a lot of attention to balance, because sometimes extra twist in one direction or another is useful, and it takes a lot of imbalance to affect a finished knit fabric by biasing it.

But I was determined not to let my unsuccessful class sample keep me down, and I came home and spun this:


Which is pretty good in places, if not as consistent as I'd like. I'll continue to work on it.

So, to conclude: coils are awesome; cables were way harder than expected, but gratifying to get rightish. Jacey is brilliant and fun and I will definitely take classes from her again, and I bought her video so that if I want to try other things, I can see how she does it. (And holy cow, SO MUCH stuff to try in that video!)

Saturday, July 2, 2011


It's still the second for a few minutes, right?

So, for the Tour de Fleece, I started today by going through my spinning WIPs and figuring out what was what with them. Today I spun a touch on three of them, two spindle projects and one on the wheel.

There are seven projects altogether, three on the wheel and four on spindles. Lots to do, but they should be plenty to keep me occupied this month.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Mid-year, the first of something

Happy Canada Day!

It has occurred to me that I have not been blogging. And sure enough, today I looked and saw that I have posted a grand total of FIVE times so far this year.

People, this is unacceptable. I need to do Something. July, then, is going to be a blog effort month. I plan to try and post something every day. There should be things to post. I have experiences. The Tour de Fleece starts tomorrow, and while I haven't figured out just yet what I'm spinning for it, I'm going to spin for it, you bet. So there will be embryonic yarn pictures, at the very least.

Today, since it ended two months ago and I haven't blogged it yet, here's my ONE and ONLY picture I took at Stringtopia:
sidekick and feet

There are various things that should be noted about this picture.
1. Yes, that's a Sidekick. It's lovely and smooth and ooh. I kind of want one.
2. No, those are not my feet. Not actually sure whose feet those are. Everyone was told to "try the Sidekick," but we were actually spinning some gorgeous silk for Shelly, one of the amazing organizers behind this event.
3. There is a beer in that ice bucket. It is very likely a New Glarus beer, because the awesome Tracy (woolwine on Ravelry) brought a bunch to share. Spotted Cow was one of my favorite beer discoveries last year at Knitting Camp, and I will be bringing home some later this month. This means this is a picture from Saturday evening.
4. This is the ONLY picture I have, and it's blurry, and of something nonsensical. The whole experience was an amazing pile of information and sensory overload, and I barely remembered to take my camera out. There are other accounts that really cover this all so much better than I can or will. See Melissa's posts, or Iza's or Lisa's or Mandie's.
5. I have not spun as much since Stringtopia as I think I should have. Part of this was that I came back and had finals and finishing the semester, and then the last run at my 500 miles, then houseguests for the 500, and then I went on vacation. Which gets me almost to now. Except that this past weekend I went to Midwest Fiber and Folk, which was just as fantastic in the information and educational aspects. And now I'm going to go spin some coils.

Have a great July, all!