Tag Archives: yarn

Dizzy, my head is spinning

Are you old enough to remember this song? Apparently I am! But it was an oldie when it first came across my radar. Honest.

Here’s my first yarn! The fiber is Shimmer, 80% merino, 20% tussah silk, from Knitted Wit. The colorway is Hydrangea.


I did the shoebox lazy kate, but my center pull ball didn’t want to pull smoothly from the center. It kept tangling around the knitting needle because the outside yarn was wrapping around the needle in the opposite direction. I ended up putting the knitting needle up through the box and using it like a flagpole so it could unwind over the end of the needle. Whatever.


Plying seemed to be pretty straightforward, and the resulting yarn isn’t wackily twisty at all. I don’t know if it’s true, but it seemed like the twist of the single was untwisting itself into the twist of the plying. Is that what makes the whole thing balance? I just let them twist together, and if it didn’t go twisting back on itself in one direction or the other when I took the weight of the spindle off it, I considered it to be ready to wind off before plying the next bit.


I haven’t washed it or thwacked (!) it yet, but I will soon. I have some blocking to do for a friend, so I’ll use a packet of soak for all of it.

plied skein

And apparently I’m a spinning fool. Because look what I’m doing now. Dizzy…

rose city

This is more Shimmer from Knitted Wit. The color is Rose City, and I love it!

rose city 2

What happens next?

I finished spinning my first bit of fiber. What do you call that thing, anyway? It was in a pretty braid. My spinning isn’t very consistent yet; sometimes there’s a clump of almost roving, but mostly it’s a nice single. I’m getting to the point where I can feel if it’s doing what I want. I love it when the twist jumps up between my fingers and the fiber is nicely drafted and takes up the twist with a little zing.

Here’s Day 1.

first spin

And here’s where I ended; I think it was 4 sessions in all.

first spin done

This is the sum total of it, on a small Turkish Delight. It’s a center pull ball, if I can screw up the courage to take it apart. Will it explode? There’s a lot of twisty energy in that little ball of yarn! It’s all new to me.

I’ve read that you should ply your singles to balance the yarn. There’s not a lot of yarn here, so it won’t amount to much. I think I can take the end from the inside and the end from the outside, and ply them with the spindle in the opposite direction that I spun it. How do I hold the ball, on a knitting needle maybe? And I’m guessing that I somehow need to keep it under tension so the twistiness doesn’t curlicue everything up? Any and all hints welcome!

Luminary panel musings


There were some interesting questions put to the Luminary Panel at Sock Summit. One that I found particularly intriguing was, “Why are there no knitters of color here?” I found it interesting on a couple levels. One is that I *am* a person of color, just not the color that the questioner meant. (I’m Asian-American, and I saw many other Asian-American knitters at Sock Summit.)

The discussion by the panel first delved into socio-economic issues; if food and housing is insecure, knitting is not going to be high on your priority list. Race is often tied to socio-economic status. Knitting in the US is primarily a recreational activity, and it can be quite spendy if you let it be! But I ran into an acquaintance right after the panel discussion, and she commented that she doesn’t have a ton of money, and that you don’t have to have a ton of money to knit. Another idea explored by the panel was that knitting isn’t a part of all cultures around the world. One could extrapolate that we should evangelize knitting and spread the word, but I don’t think all people should be forced to consider knitting for their leisure activity. It’s supposed to be fun. I think we should just say, “Here’s something I like. If you want to knit, I’d be glad to teach you.”

Who taught you to knit? Did you ask to be taught, or did someone offer to teach you? Or did you just find it intriguing on your own? As a child, I wanted to learn to knit because I was heavily into the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Deep in my heart, I wanted to be a pioneer girl. (Pretty funny for a Chinese girl.) In fact, part of the reason I still love my cuff-down socks on dpns is the whole pioneer sticks and string schtick; pioneer girls didn’t have two circulars or magic loop! (This reminds me of the “You can’t use the pedal when you play Bach because he didn’t” argument, although in that case I’d say, “He would have if it had existed!”)

I’m still knitting along on my ruffle tank, and swatching my colorful stealth project. And I think I’m going to start one of Cat Bordhi’s toe-up socks, just for review. And I’ve fallen in love with Lorelei from Twist Collective, but I don’t think I’ll start that right now! Just dreaming. I’ve noticed a good bit of start-itis in other bloggers that were at Sock Summit. Too many creative ideas all at once?

Besides start-itis, Sock Summit has had another effect on me. I had to buy another box to store my increased stash. Although the stash is growing, I’m still not a stasher at heart, so I’d like to share a skein from my Sock Summit goodies. This is from Deb Accuardi’s pre-summit lunch. The colorway is Cherry Mallow by CraftsMeow. It’s 100% superwash merino wool fingering weight yarn, 400 yards.

cherry mallow

If you’d like to play, leave me a comment telling me who taught you to knit. I’ll do the random number thing and pick a winner after August 23. Good luck; I’m looking forward to some wonderful stories!

Searching for “the one”

It’s been quite a swatching week here. It’s like speed dating. Isn’t it tough when you know exactly what you want, and just can’t get it? I bought a bag of Noro Silk Garden Lite at Sock Summit with a project in mind. The yarn is too heavy for the intended project, so I went searching for something else. The Jojoland Melody wasn’t it; it didn’t have enough color change. Then I thought I had found it in the Noro Kureyon Sock. The colors were perfect.


The swatch was gob-smackingly pretty. But as I knit on, I found myself with doubts. Would I wear a garment that was gorgeous, but scratchy? I’ve already found that I prefer my Malabrigo Ishbel to my Shetland Triangle, because it’s so soft. Hmmmm.

I voiced my concerns in an email exchange with Melanie. I told her I was dreaming of something similar to Noro in the way color is treated, but as soft as Malabrigo Sock. She suggested Crystal Palace Mini Mochi. Not quite as soft as Malabrigo, but that’s hard to live up to.

Back to Twisted. I briefly eyed the Zauberball, but the colors were too eye-poppingly bright. Malabrigo Sock? The color runs were too short. Mini Mochi?

mini mochi

More swatching. Similar color palette, beautiful colors, and a long run of each color, with the colors gently shading from one to the next. Just like the Noro. But much softer to the touch. We may have a winner. I thought the extra Noro was going back to the store, but in the morning light it’s still really pretty and it’s not as horribly scratchy as I thought. It’s more of an art piece, though. Do I make two? Is this how stash starts? What am I making? I can’t show you yet; it’s my stealth project. Don’t you love surprises?

Speaking of surprises, the blue silk laceweight Ishbel has made it to its recipient. I made it for Susan as a thank you for guiding us through Vietnam. She says she’s going to call it Ishmael. I knit part of it on the trip, but I was so jet-lagged all the time that there wasn’t much knitting!

blue ishbel 2

And one more surprise. The community baby quilt was presented to our music director, the mom-to-be, and she was very touched. We started this on our women’s retreat in May. The theme was hearts, but you could go anywhere you wanted with it. Each person there was asked to make a square. I see mine! It’s the heart-shaped music notes in the upper left corner.

quilt web

My aunt called yesterday to ask about Sock Summit. I told her about Cat Bordhi starting class by asking our names and who taught us to knit, and that I had shared that she had taught me when I was 16. She thought that was pretty neat. So now I’m sharing it with you, too. Thank you, Aunt Rose!

Down the slippery slope…

I’m having a hard time getting started on a post-Sock Summit project. I have several ideas in my head, but haven’t found the right combination of yarn and idea. The Jojoland Melody turned out to be not the right yarn for what I’m planning, so I went back to Twisted and came home with this.


Noro Kureyon Sock. Still not soft, but such gorgeous colors. I like purples. I like gray. I like black.


And I love purple with green! Noro skeins are always a surprise inside. I like this combo a lot. And while it seems like I’m sliding down the slippery slope for a self-avowed non-stasher, it’s not quite as bad as it seems. I exchanged the Jojoland Melody for the Noro.

On the other hand, I also said that I didn’t want to learn to spin, but then I bought a Turkish Delight drop spindle from Jenkins Woodworking at Sock Summit. Today I met up with the local spinners’ group, Portland Spinnerati. They meet monthly at the Central Library. Tami and Leila got me started on some beautiful merino and silk roving that I got from Knitted Wit.

first spin

I spun some yarn! And liked it. After I spin some more, I’ll have to learn how to ply…a slippery slope indeed. Oh, later today I brushed the cat. I found myself drafting out the hair from her brush, wondering if it could be spun. Help.

Post-Sock Summit blues

Sock Summit is over; it’s time to go back to real life. What’s a knitter to do? I could go check out the Oregonian’s re-cap of the event here. I even saw myself in the video!



I could buy some more yarn! The Noro Silk Garden Lite wasn’t the right yarn for the new project in my head, so I went to Twisted to get some Silk Garden Sock. But I got distracted by this Jojoland Melody superwash, which is really soft. It also has a really long color run, and a very slow change to the next color. I think it will do what I want, but there’s only one way to find out. The S-word. Yes, swatch!


The colors are much richer than you see here; I can’t quite capture them.

I wanted to mention something that really struck me last weekend. Cat Bordhi began her class by having everyone give their names, and tell who taught them to knit. I love the honoring of the ones who came before. Mothers, grandmothers, aunts, friends, co-workers, Youtube! You can trace the lineage back, in much the same way that piano students can trace their teachers back to Mozart. Cat was also really good about crediting ideas, such as Judy Becker for Judy’s Magic Cast On and Magic Toe, and Jenny Staimann’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. It’s because of this that I can say that I learned my modified way of making an SSK (slip 1 as if to knit, slip 1 as if to purl, knit off together through the back loops) from Meg Swansen, who probably learned it from her mother, Elizabeth Zimmermann, and that was a modification of the SSK that was invented by…Barbara Walker. And so it goes.

Some other news: Abundant Yarn and Dyeworks, one of the Sock Summit sponsors, is closing their brick and mortar store. They’ll still have an online presence, but this is a big loss for Portland. I’m sad to see them go.

(Ravelry name) is knitting her own wedding veil, and she had several teachers and students at Sock Summit knit on it. That will be a wonderful keepsake! And maybe she should get in touch with the woman who made this amazing wedding dress.

That’s the news from here. Knit on!

VoilĂ  Ishbel, encore

blue ishbel point

The blue laceweight Ishbel is done, finally. She took a little trip to Vietnam, had some good knitting on the plane over, and then completely languished during her time there. I was too tired in the evenings to knit, because I was waking up at 4:30 every morning due to the time change. I did a little knitting in Tokyo, but couldn’t knit Ishbel on the way home. I had a little scare with my circular brass needles with airport security in Vietnam, and didn’t want to risk having to take Ishbel off the needles on the way home from Tokyo. I finished here at home.

blue ishbel

Unblocked, the shawl measured 46″ x 17″

unblocked blue

This is the lace pattern that I was never able to memorize, even after finishing two Ishbels.

macro lace

Blocked, the shawl measures 56″ x 22.5″

blocking blue

So the sheep says.


Ishbel, pattern by Ysolda Teague
Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Silk Lace, color Deep Blue
Addi Lace needles, US size 5
Weight: 32 ounces

Mods: I made the larger stockinette center, and the smaller border.

This shawl is beautiful. It’s extremely lightweight and ethereal. It is destined to be a gift. There’s more than enough yarn left (46 ounces) to make one more, or I may play with some ideas from Evelyn Clark’s book, Knitting Lace Triangles. But not any time soon. Sock Summit is coming, and I have homework!

BTW, I did make Blueberry Boy Bait the other night, after buying more butter. (It takes a pound!) And it was delicious. The boys of the house were quite taken with it, and so was I. The only problem was that it was bigger than my largest platter, so the ends fell off. We ate them right away, warm, so it wouldn’t look bad. Altruistic, aren’t we? ;-)

I’ve got the blues…

And I love them! Blue is my favorite color. I’m still plugging away on the blue Ishbel and the blue Ruffle Tank. And now I’ve won some beautiful blue yarn from Lorajean at Knitted Wit.

blue sky

It’s 400 yards of fingering weight sock yarn, colorway Blue Sky. Lorajean noted that I don’t knit socks, but that’s not completely true. What’s true is that I don’t knit socks with fingering weight yarn! Someday I may. But wouldn’t this blue make a gorgeous scarf or shawl?


I also harvested the first of the blueberries on Sunday when I got home from Carmel. I made blueberry cobbler, and we had it with vanilla ice cream for Father’s Day dessert. It was delicious! While I was picking the berries, I noticed a blue jay on the corner of my roof, with a big fat blueberry in his beak. I think there’s enough for all of us, but that was pretty cheeky of him!

Travel knitting

I’m going away for a weekend with the Piano Babes. Too bad I haven’t played the piano very much this year. Oops. Knitting and blogging have taken up a lot of my leisure time! But I’ll try to resurrect the three Granados Waltzes from Valses Poeticos that I played this year. Wish me luck.

I’m trying to decide what knitting to take for the plane. I think my socks on dpns (poor languishing Kai-Mei) would be a bad choice because it’s so easy to drop a needle. Circular needles are great for plane knitting, because you can’t drop one! That means I should take the Ruffle Tank. Or my new Ishbel. Or both.

addi ishbel

New Ishbel? Yes! I was feeling sorry about not using that glorious blue Claudia Handpaint Silk Lace. It was a bit spendy, and I was feeling guilty. I bought some Addi Lace needles, and it has made all the difference. I also went down a needle size to a US 5. The silk glides along on the metal needles, and I’m a happy camper.

addi points

This doesn’t meant that I don’t love my Lantern Moon Ebony needles. They’re still my favorite. And they’re working great on the Ruffle Tank! I finished the back, and have cast on for the front. This is a great knit, just enough pattern to it that I’m engaged, but simple enough to knit while watching old episodes of Firefly. Mmmm, Firefly. I’m going to be sad when the 14 episodes are done!

Have a great weekend! What’s on your needles?

Promises and Potpourri

I can’t remember exactly when our blueberries ripened last year, but there are promising signs out there.

blueberry promise

All five bushes are heavily laden again this year. I hope they’re ripe soon; I love blueberries!

My Ruffle Tank is showing signs of promise, too. The knitting is easy, and it’s a great take-along knit. I’m almost to the armhole shaping on the back, and still on the first of three skeins of yarn. I don’t think I’m going to run short.


It’s interesting knitting with this linen/merino mix. It’s string-like, but not really hard on the hands. I know that when it gets washed and dried, it’s going to get a lot softer, and it will help even up the stitches, too.

And one more sign of promise:

robin nest

This robin is nesting in Carole’s lilac. Since our wreath nest was abandoned, Carole says we can share this one instead.

In other local news, Lorajean of Knitted Wit is having a contest. She’s participating in Take Steps for Crohn’s & Colitis, a fundraiser for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. For every $5 you donate to Take Steps on her behalf, she’ll enter your name in a drawing for some wonderful prizes, including a Lantern Moon circular needle case, and hand-dyed yarn and fiber.

Deb Accuardi of Mt. Hood Fibers is starting a local sock club, which includes a lunch at Gino’s Restaurant in Sellwood (Portland) with every yarn/pattern release (every other month from October 2009 through August 2010).

And lastly, Saturday is World Wide Knit in Public Day. Last year I was on a camping trip, knitting in a field. I have several choices for this year: Hollywood Farmers’ Market at 8 a.m., Pioneer Courthouse Square at 10 a.m., or Hillsboro from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Get your needles ready!

Looking for a WWKIP Day event near you? Check here!