30 July 2010

The sound of silence

7 Small Shawls: T - 157 days and counting down.

The kids are in bed and it's quiet quiet quiet. Aaaaaaaaaah. :)

Today I got the edging completely swatched on shawl number 3 for my 7 Small Shawls project, and I'm starting to think it's time to name her.
I know what I have in mind.
But what do you think she should be called?
Leave your choice in a comment by Monday, August 2, midnight PST, and be entered to win a shawl pin like the one pictured here!
Remember, it will have to be the name of one of the seven sisters (Pleiades)!


I sometimes think about how I am really not making an important contribution to the world, like an AIDS researcher might be, or a teacher, or firefighter. Today was one of those days. But then something happened. Someone wrote me about being touched by my blog in a very personal way, and I reminded myself again of something Yarnhog once left in a comment: "bloom where you are planted." Make your little corner of the world a better place. I'm feeling pretty good right now. Thank you for sharing. :)

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29 July 2010


7 Small Shawls: T - 158 days and counting down.

Where fiber dreams come true.
I took a friend to Cast Away in Santa Rosa today to buy yarn for her very first sweater! How great is that?!
I wanted to post a few pics of the uber-cool little shop, but I forgot my camera. Le sigh. Happily, Justine was able to fix me up with some pics that her friend Jessamyn Harris took. Saved!
When you come into the shop, the first thing you see is this cute little boat filled with yarn.
If you're in the area, it's a must-see. :)

Not only did I do my share of enabling today, I got some work in on my Maia mitts and shawl #3. More tomorrow!


28 July 2010

In the air tonight

7 Small Shawls: T - 159 days and counting down.

I'm sitting here by the window inhaling the amazing scent of California's dry grass and trees the evening after a warm day. There is nothing like it. Nothing. Being a California girl born and bred, I missed that smell horribly when I went back east to school.

But here I go off on a tangent when I have some more pics of Leyfi for you. I've seen a few comments where people were saying they thought the sweater fit strangely through the shoulders, based on the IK photos. It does look a little iffy, but I think it's because the model was shrugging her shoulders. Here you can see that it hangs properly.
Another shot of the shoulder.
The full sweater:
The sleeve detail.
And another shot of the sleeve detail with the yoke.
I tried it on and I also tried it on one of my small neighbors (who thinks I'm totally crazy because I'm always trying sweaters on her). It fits through the shoulders! Honest! :)

The other day, I got an email from Susan Rainey of the amazing Rainey Sisters. She and Sally have been working on my Maia Shoulderette. Susan said she wondered about the Maia chart and whether I would be charting everything they way I charted Maia. So I thought I'd explain a little bit about the method I use. Many charts, (and perhaps all non-lace charts I have used) show the chart as it looks on the right side. That means that when you turn it over and you see a knit stitch, you actually purl. But because there is patterning on both sides of some of my shawls, I have been writing the charts exactly the way they will be knitted. IOW, if you turn your work over and you are supposed to purl, the chart will have a purl symbol. Even though it annoys me once in awhile not to be able to see an exact representation of the right side of the piece, overall, I am super happy with just being able to follow the chart without thinking, especially on slanted decreases! Alas, it was more difficult for Susan to follow and she re-charted it. But I do hope that she will give my method a try some day. :) I can't wait to see your Maia, Susan!!!

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27 July 2010

Dirty laundry

7 Small Shawls: T - 160 days and counting down.

We're digging out of a huge pile of it here. But I'm too embarrassed to show you any pics! So it's back to the Maia fingerless mitts I'm knitting. I love how this one stands straight up!
I've made some progress, even though I've been working on other projects as well.
You can see the beginning of the patterning here.
The yarn is really lovely, but it's fairly variegated, so the pattern doesn't pop as much as I like. I think it's ok, but I will probably re-knit these later on in a solid or semi solid color. Or maybe I'll beg my friend A to knit them up when she gets back from Oregon. :D This one will only be available in the 7 Small Shawls eBook, not as a single pattern.

Ann asked about the cast-on used...it's a tubular cast-on. I will show a tutorial for it when I start the second one! It's my absolute favorite for socks, mitts, and hats because of the great finished look and the stretchiness.

My resolution to get to bed early and get up early is already toast. I am such a night owl! I work much better when it's late rather than early. For instance, right now it's 10:50 pm and I am full of energy! :sigh: I'm going to keep trying, though, because everyone else here is a morning person. Wish me luck, please!!!

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26 July 2010

Monday's Musing

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” - Buddha

I needed this one today. Often when I haven't quite been taking care of myself the way I should, I get anxiety attacks. I always have to remind myself that it isn't because of anything that's happening; it's just that I haven't been doing the things I need to do to feel peaceful and calm. Breathe....

Have a fabulous week, everyone!


25 July 2010

Take it easy

7 Small Shawls: T - 162 days and counting down.

I've been trying to rest my poor fried brain a little bit this weekend. I'm happy to report that it's working. I feel almost human again! :)

I did do some knitting today on my Maia mitts, and I started a thumb.
Since they're top down, the thumb gets knitted on. But I didn't think about this until I had done the ribbing and was down to the thumb. See what I mean about a fried brain?! It's a good thing I had more than one pair of US 1 dpns. :) I knitted the thumb from the the other end of the ball, but the finished pattern will be different, and, erm, more logically planned out. I'm finishing one mitt and then checking myself on the second. Then it's off to my test knitters!

For those of you who asked, the yarn I'm using is from Lucy Neatby in the Sugar Maple colorway. Its quite pretty in person too!

Meanwhile, I'm working on the edging for my starry shawl, although I think I've ripped more than I've knit. Some times are like that.

I'm trying to turn over a new leaf this coming week. Up early in the morning and to bed early. Wish me luck! I'm such a night owl! This may not work....

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24 July 2010

Small town

7 Small Shawls: T - 163 days and counting down.

Remember my mail carrier? The one who insisted on loaning me her spinning wheel because she thought I needed to learn to spin? And then found me a little spinning wheel at a garage sale? Today, she brought over a giant basket full of basil, beets, lettuce and onions. Look at this!
So we had fresh pesto this evening. zOMG it was good. I love living in a small town. :)

In other news, I went to my knitting group this morning and began my Maia fingerless mitts in earnest. Twice. Knitting group is not conducive to concentration. Heh. But today I managed to get this far.
They are top down mitts, because the pattern really needs to be around the wrist and it also needs to point down, just like the shawl. This is the first pair of top down mitts I've designed and I'm having fun with them, especially dreaming up the thumb. You'll see!

I also wanted to share my little trick on keeping my dpn knitting ladder-free. I never leave the same exact stitches on the needle. I always work one or two from the next needle.
It works amazingly well!

Onward. :)

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23 July 2010

Life in a northern town

7 Small Shawls: T - 164 days and counting down.

It's been a long long week. But it ended with one of our most favorite things: a mini swim meet: "The Summer Racing Series" put on by our team. This year, we invited another local team to join us and it was a blast. Low key, friendly and supportive. Perfect for a Friday.

Other than that, I've been trying to catch up this week, doing a lot of these:
and these.
Did you happen to see my new shawl? It's a kit from Classic Elite, including a pattern, shawl pin and alpaca sock yarn! There's a small picture on their site:
It was a fun shawl to design and knit and it was the secret shawl I mentioned when I began my 7 Small Shawls project! Since it's on their site, I'm thinking it's ok to talk about it now. :)

Off to bed for me. I'm doing something novel and getting to sleep before 1:30. Hee. Mr. Romi is getting up tomorrow early to take #1 Son to Saturday morning swim practice. I'm so lucky to have a wonderful husband who is a morning person!

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22 July 2010

Down the way

7 Small Shawls: T - 165 days and counting down.

Just look at what Karen dyed for me!
Believe me, it's even more stunning in real life. The color fairly crackles with life. It reminds me of that old song Harry Belafonte used to sing: Jamaica Farewell. I imagine the water around Jamaica to be this color, but, never having been there, I could certainly be wrong. Isn't it gorgeous?! What do you think the name should be?


21 July 2010

Eat it

7 Small Shawls: T - 165 days and counting down.

My friend Karen has worms. Silk worms. :) When I visited the other day to pick up yarn, she was just feeding them, and I could hear them munching. They sounded like Rice Crispies cereal right after the milk goes in. So yesterday, when she asked if I would stop by the local fiber pusher enthusiast's (who taught me to spin) and pick up some mulberry leaves on the way down to her place, of course I said sure! To be honest with you, I wasn't quite prepared for the volume of mulberry leaves she had in mind. This is the back of my chow wagon car. It looked like I had a tree in there!
Apparently, this will barely get them through the weekend. They are eating machines! They aren't really very charming pets. But a puppy or kitteh doesn't spin silk, so I think they're even. Here is one tray of them hanging out before feeding.
Here's one that has already started to spin its cocoon. Pretty wild, eh?
The best part? The look on the face of one of the swim fathers when I showed up at practice to pick up the boys, and told him what I had been doing. Priceless.


20 July 2010

Let's do the time warp again!

7 Small Shawls: T - 165 days and counting down.

Do you ever feel like time is moving too quickly? But then you realize that something you thought was a week ago was actually the day before? Heh. Me too. I've been in a serious time warp. The good news is that I was thinking that more time had passed than actually had. It's never good to be behind, thinking it's Monday when it's actually Thursday.

Today I got some more time on my Precioussssss. And it's true confession time here. Remember when I said that I didn't like to use the floss method of placing beads? Well, it's grown on me. Especially since I took my knitting to #1 Son's morning swim practice today. I have to say: that string of beads was super handy to have and I was silently thanking whoever it was who first thought of this brilliant idea and hoping they didn't notice me foolishly saying I don't like their amazingly awesome method. The other thing? The floss method is much easier on the yarn than the crochet hook, so if you're ripping and re-knitting and re-beading a lot like I am (because I'm swatching and I don't want to waste the beautiful yarnz), it's nice not to be splitting the yarn even a little.

Which brings me to another confession: I ripped out the previous swatch on the shawl. It just wasn't quite right. And I did what I often do: simplified. It always happens; I start with too much and I winnow it down until it sings to me.
In this case, I took out some yarn-overs and added more beads. Because really? You can never have too many beads. Especially when you're creating a starry night sky.
I really like it now.
I went from meh to YES! Now for the edging. It's in my mind; I just need to transfer it to yarn.



19 July 2010

Monday's Musing

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none; be able for thine enemy rather in power than use; and keep thy friend under thine own life's key; be checked for silence, but never taxed for speech." - William Shakespeare

I just watched Shakespeare in Love for the millionth time. I couldn't resist today's quote. :)

Have a great week!


18 July 2010

Breakfast in America

7 Small Shawls: T - 166 days and counting down.

And dinner. But first breakfast: blueberry pancakes cooked by #1 Son. Yum!
And for dinner? (Yes - we totally skipped lunch!) Seafood paella made by Mr. Romi. It's been forever since we've had one of these and it was a huge treat!
And guess what else I did today? Swatch swatch swatch on shawl #3 of my eBook subscription (if you haven't seen it yet, here are shawls #1 and #2)! I got to break out this gorgeous yarn from Saffron Dyeworks again. I was so happy. :) It was my treat today!
I used my favorite method: swatching on the actual shawl itself. No matter how much I swatch up front, it never looks quite the same when I get there, so I love knitting part of the shawl and then working a few stitches back and forth like this. In this case, it still needs to be tweaked a bit, but I'm loving it!

Well, off to work on a pattern write-up! I've been neglecting my duties. ;)

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17 July 2010

Life is good

7 Small Shawls: T - 167 days and counting down.

Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments on Leyfi! I have some other pics I will share with you later, that I took before I sent it off.

Today was a wonderful day of rest and relaxation. I went to my knitting group this morning and then spent the rest of the day with my family. After working so hard straight through the last few weekends, it was just what I needed! It's funny how mundane things like buying the kids shoes at the factory stores, going for ice cream, wandering around town aimlessly, and watching a movie together become such sweet and satisfying morsels when you haven't had time for them.

Before I scoot back for a little more leisure time, I thought I'd leave you with a picture of the CSA box I picked up last week from my friend Susan.
Isn't it beautiful? :)


16 July 2010

[I've] Stop[ped] making sense

7 Small Shawls: T - 168 days and counting down.

Finished and sent out this week:

1 (one) secret project.
156 (one-hundred-fifty-six) shawl pins.

Lost this week:

Ability to speak in full sentences.

Oh. Did I mention the club packages that went out too?

But there is news! The Interweave Knits preview is up and now I can divulge another secret project: Leyfi!
This is one of my absolute favorite things I've ever designed. I almost couldn't part with it!

Gotta finish up some packages for the post office tomorrow morning. And I'm blithering, so I'd better sign off.

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15 July 2010

And she was

7 Small Shawls: T - 169 days and counting down.

Today, between moments of packing club shipments up and making more pins, I got a little time with my preciousssssss. I just had to pet the yarn and play with the beads. It's been so long.
Plus, I was aching to try out a new method for placing beads. After hearing so many great things about it, I decided to try SuperFloss from Oral B. I had to track some down online first. Apparently, no one around here uses it.
It comes in a box of 50 (I think) pre-cut pieces. Each piece has a stiff end (for threading through braces) and it's fairly easy to string beads on it. And even though I knotted the end, I really didn't need to, since the floss plumps up and the beads really stay put.
To place a bead, stick the end of the floss through the stitch to be beaded and then move a bead up and run the thread back through the bead.
Pull the stitch off the needle.
Settle the bead down on the stitch and replace it on the left needle. Work as usual.
The best thing about this method is that you can keep quite a few beads ready to go on the floss. It seems like it would be great for travel.
Other than that, though, I'm not a huge fan of this method. It works fine, but I love my little teensy crochet hook more. :)

Well, now. It's back to work for me. Happy beading!

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14 July 2010

Something's gotta give

7 Small Shawls: T - 170 days and counting down.

The great thing about thinking in terms of songs is that it's easier to title posts. Hee. :)

But really, something did give. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. Actually, I'm kind of blithering. I had entered projects at the county fair, and that was the first thing that went. Even though most everything was done (except for Spinner's Challenge - and that was a non-starter), the problem was that my shawls would have had to be re-blocked. Pieces were due today and I made the executive decision to blow it off completely. No time, you see, and little inclination to rush around like a madwoman trying to block everything! Unless I can learn to wrinkle time (did any of you read that amazing book? A Wrinkle in Time? Love!), I will probably need to say no a little more often.

But I digress. I blew off the fair, and then I had to triage my projects. Away went one that was just too much. It was one of those things that might have been fun if I had a little extra time, but I knew it would turn out to be a disproportionate amount of work for the pay. And it was a very short fuse. So I had to be brutally honest with myself. I hate doing that.

In other news, my new shoes came, and I love them! They are the best of both worlds; two of my very favorite shoes combined.
Cowboy boot clogs! Awe. Some. (ETA: I got them on sale here.)

And how is knitting going, you ask? This is as far as I got on the Maia fingerless mitts today.
The provisional portion of my very very favorite sock and mitt cast on. The design has gelled in my mind - I often daydream designs while I'm hammering out shawl pins. And I made a lot of pins today.

Tomorrow, the first stage of my club shipment goes out, along with a bunch of pin orders, both retail and wholesale.

And now I must must be off to give the bunnies their evening treats (and get a few nose rubs in return) and then it's off to bed with me! Nighty night!!!

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