Sunday, March 30, 2008

Tupelo Honey and Moroccan Spice - The Woolen Rabbit

Here are the two colorways for the lovely Susan Pandorf designs. The Tupelo Honey colors are more golden and summer IRL than they appear on my monitor (I can't account for what you might see, folks). And The Moroccan Spice seems to have more depth than the photo would suggest. Both are truly lovely yarns, and I look forward to playing with them! {These yarns were referred to in this post: }

This was clipped from The Woolen Rabbit shop.
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Sedona - Enchanted Knoll

Again, this was referred to in this post:

The photo doesn't really capture the intensity of the colors, but it does catch the subtleties better than the other photo posted of the yarn. You can get a little hint of the lovely gloss of the yarn, too. Clipped from the Enchanted Knoll Etsy shop.
clipped from
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Altair - Colorful Sheep

The photo really doesn't do justice to this yarn - I've clipped it from the CS Etsy shop where I purchased this. It does provide some idea, though, of the range of colors, but they are a bit more intense IRL.

This photo goes with this entry:
clipped from
Hand Dyed Laceweight 1750 Yards 100 Merino ALTAIR
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New Yarn!

I figured my taxes and found I was getting a sizeable refund back, so I've splurged on some lovely yarns to get me through 2008.

First there were two purchased from The Woolen Rabbit. I fell in love with Susan Pandorf's Moroccan Days (the yarn colorway has the same name) and Magic Carpet Ride (the yarn colorway is Moroccan Spice) designs, and decided to order the yarns she used for each of them in hopes that, when I knit them up, they look a bit like the original. The yarns are just beautiful! Lovely, soft merino, gorgeous colors. The Moroccan Spice (reds) is particularly incredible, looking very much like the reds from the tiny pseudo-Persian rugs in my apartment. Both patterns are available as kits through the site. I'm sure Kim was inundated with Ravelry folks pre-ordering kits from her; still, the yarn was shipped in a timely manner (one was sent out before the projected ship date, one was sent out about five days after, but I don't consider that a horrendous time lag).

But was that enough? No. I decided to try out a couple of dyers that I'd read about on the Mystical Creations Yarn thread on Ravelry (that thread is like a soap opera, and has been dubbed things like "As the Yarn Turns" - it's great! You can also find recipes for a faux crown roast made with hotdogs - doesn't get any better than that). One was Enchanted Knoll Farms, who was highly recommended by a couple of people. I went to their Etsy shop and found some gorgeous zephyr dyed in a colorway called Sedona - beautiful greens, a bit of teal, and some wonderful cedar red/browns, something that definitely calls up forests to my mind. I'm not going to post a photo today, but I may add one when I finally try to photograph it for my Ravelry stash. It has a beautiful silky sheen (sure, it's zephyr, but not all zephyr colors catch that silky gloss), and is yummy to handle. Great service, shipped out quickly, and included a wee gifty as a thoughtful way to thank a customer. A worthy seller, to be sure - check them out the next time you're looking for nice hand-dyed yarns!

I also ordered some yarn from Colorful Sheep's Etsy shop. I was impressed with her attempts to set the dyes from some of MCY's unhappiest customers. She seems to have an excellent knowledge of dyeing, and is very generous in sharing it. So I decided to check out her shop. She had 1750 yards of stunning merino in a colorway named Altair - an appropriate name for something in deep blues and blacks, very much like the night sky. Unfortunately I left it at my parent's house, so I don't have it to fondle - I'll have to wait a couple of weeks to get it into my sweaty little hands. Again, though, gorgeous colors, soft yarn, and incredible quick shipping with a nice thank you note. I would recommend Sheep as a purveyor of fine yarns!

I purchased one more bunch of yarn, but I won't write about it until I've received it and fondled it for half an hour or so. These are all lace weight yarns.

Maybe I'll just clip photos from these sites of the gorgeous yarns and post them, rather than subject people to my lack of concern for properly lit photos.

Forgotten Treasures

My summer project this year is cleaning out my parent's garage - with the onset of old age and poor health, it has become a disaster of a dumping ground for them, crammed on top of stuff packed up from when I went off to graduate school over a decade I'm slowly going to go through boxes, trunks, shelves, and I'll decide what needs to be kept or discarded. I'm beginning with my stuff, as it's pretty easy for me to assess what categories my junk falls under - Must Keep, Keep to Sell, Keep for Reassessment Later, and Trash. I came across some stuff of mine that my father had repacked, so it was a mish-mash of goods - books, files, rubber stamps, weird ephemera - and included in the books were a minor and a major knitting find, books I'd purchased over a decade ago and subsequently forgotten about when I moved back east.

The minor treasure is Barbara Walker's Learn-to-Knit Afghan Book. I've several older (1940's & 1950's) magazines that teach knitting this way, but I had completely forgotten I had this book. Purchased at a library sale over a decade ago. I don't think there are any undiscovered Barbara Walker stitches in there or anything, but it contains her 'how to knit' basics, and frankly, as a long-time admirer of hers, I'm glad I own a copy of it (and I probably didn't pay more than $1.50 for it!).

The major treasure is a 1960's era stitch book, "2000 Patterns of Design and Figure Knitting" by Y. Miyashita. Yes, a 1960's knitting stitch book from Japan! The cover, title page, and 2 pages of legend for reading the symbols are in English; everything else is in Japanese. Ah, this book is wonderful! Such beautiful laces, textures, etc.! I've had to talk myself out of spending the money for that great 250 stitches book five or six times in the last two months; I just remind myself of how much money it will cost me...this find from my forgotten archives, however, will quell that yearning for awhile.

I've included some crappy photos, just little samples. As I knit things up with some of these Japanese stitch patterns, I'll post photos and notes. I wish I could take next week off and just stay home and play with these designs and some of the new yarn I've purchased....

Monday, March 10, 2008

Ravelry Doings

Yarn Crawl

I went on a yarn crawl last weekend with a couple of Seattle Ravelers. What can I say, it was a joy to be able to spend four or five hours visiting six different stores! Hilltop was still closed – frown – but we made up for it by being snubbed at Tricoter (two of us were snubbed – one of us actually looks respectable and prosperous enough to shop there). Having said that, I do want to take a good gander at their skirt book – I’ve seen the designs hanging in the store, and if the patterns actually are human sized (as opposed to anorexic mannequin) I might want to add it to the library someday…maybe.

Valentine’s Day Swap

Some of us on Ravelry indulged in a knitter’s swap for VD. I have to say, it was a blast. My partner and I decided to both exceed the limit the group agreed on (I like low limits – that way, even when I’m super poor, I can still manage a little something for a swap pal). I got some of the coolest stuff – and I promise, Sue, to post the photos on Ravelry soon! She sent me tons of neat stuff, but c’mon, the Malabrigo lace weight was the best. Soooooo soft…sooooooo red….mmmmMalabrigo.

Jane vs. The Knitting Gremlins

Jane vs. The Knitting Gremlins

Battle One – Operation Colourmart

I ordered some cash-silk blend from Colourmart for the Spring Surprise Shawl KAL. I thought something bright and spring-ish (instead of the usual dark and morbid). I ordered and they shipped out almost immediately (they always do). Days and days go by; I ordered in early December, so I thought it might have gotten mixed up in the holiday shipping madness. But by mid-January, still no yarn. I emailed them – the address was incorrect that they shipped to – but the problem was remedied and more yarn sent out immediately.

Battle Two – Operation Backorder

I had planned to start the last of the Goddess Knits 2007 Mystery Shawl after the holidays, when I would have a little more time (very little) to indulge in a new project. So I ordered the pattern; I didn’t care for the colors in the recommended yarn, so I looked and swatched and swatched and looked for something I liked, and found another Jaggerspun 2/8 that I liked very much. I found a store on the east coast who carried it, so I placed a web order with them – again, early December. I got my email confirmation…and no yarn. Again, I cut plenty o’ slack for the holiday shipping season…but no yarn. So I phone them in mid-January to find out what the holdup was; the woman found my order, but there was no indication of why it wasn’t filled. She promised to investigate and get back to me. Two weeks go by…no yarn, no phone call, no email. So I phone back. The woman who answered the phone checked their supply – they didn’t have any, it was on backorder. It should ship at the end of the following week, she said. The following Friday…no yarn. The Friday after that – victory was mine! Of course, my plans to begin this thing in January are right out the window (receiving the supplies in mid-February will do that, you know).

Battle Three – Operation Royal Mail

Back in July 2007 I ordered “Practical Family Knitting Illustrated” from the UK. Come September 2007, the book had still not arrived. I emailed the bookseller, who checked with the Royal Mail. Whose response was, “It’s in the mail.” Needless to say, I eventually gave up all hope of receiving it, and resigned myself to waiting until I could locate another at a reasonable price (the dollar being worth bupkis these days).

Then, early in January there was a package in my mailbox. I expected it was some yarn that was on backorder…but when I got inside and opened it, I realized it was a book. As I was trying to figure out what book I had recently ordered (but not yet received), I noticed the customs tag on the package. I let out a big “Woo hoo!” because it was my long lost copy of “Practical Family Knitting Illustrated.”

If I can figure out copyright for the UK, I’ll post one of the patterns from it, a circular lace shawl. .

Well, Nertz!

Prior to the advent of Ravelry, my little blog got almost no traffic. However, in the last couple of months, a few daring folks have wandered over here. Which means I need to be less of a slacker these days when it comes to updating the blog.

I recently contracted a stomach plague of some sort, horrible and vile. I've been living off invalid food for over a week. How boring! And over my birthday, too. I was so sick I didn't even get any knitting done while I was home sick. I did read a book about Jack the Ripper; illness makes me feel a bit gothic, which is why I ordered the 1991 series Dark Shadows (derived/inspired by the soap opera of the 1960's/'70's). I actually enjoyed it when it was first aired, thought it had nice production values, decent acting - I liked Ben Cross as Barnabas. No one could be Jonathan Frid, so it was just as well that they went in a different direction. I'm not one of these people who likes their remakes to be just like the original, except newer. If you can't bring something new to the original, then don't expect me to watch it. Having said that, making arbitrary changes to the original doesn't cut it either. That's just jerking the audience around, and I'm not interested in that, either. If you can retell the story with new insights, perspectives, you'll have my interest.

I've drifted from my discussion a bit, which was about things victorian and gothic. The nice thing about Dark Shadows is it has plenty of thunderstorms, roaring fires in fireplaces, fogs, cemeteries, atmospheric music - not to mention vampires. Which reminds me that I need to order some lovely laceweight from the Plucky Knitter in the Wuthering Heights colorway. I want to knit up Sharon Miller's Bronte stole in those colors. Perfectly dark!

Back to Dark Shadows one more time...last time I saw Ben Cross in anything, it was some horrible, low-budget syndicated sci-fi/horror show, and he honestly looked like he'd been drinking non-stop for half a dozen years. I don't know what he was actually doing during those years, I just know he didn't look very good.

Project Updates:

Dracula's Bride - Slow but steady, making regular progress. It's a lot of knitting, an hour to do two rows.

Swan Lake - Dropped a stitch, figured it would take me just as long to fix it as it would to re-knit it, so I chose the latter. However, It left me bummed out - I'm rather mad at it, and I don't want to see it. It will probably be another couple of weeks before I want to look at it again.

Saigon Scarf - Onto second clue (link will take you to the designer's blog).

Dainty Bess - Made some real progress, right up until the plague struck.

I've also begun Nautical Knitter's "Guinevere" stole. I'm using Alpaca Cloud Tide Pool for that one. I'm not using beads, so the going is pretty straightforward. My goal is to finish the first clue this week (NB - the KAL was weeks or months ago; I'm just very, very slow at getting started on these things.)

Shortly before I got sick, I started to write some stuff to post on the blog; I'll post them now, but they're about 10 days older than today's writing.