Saturday, April 1, 2017

fiber notes


What with combing goats every day lately, it's no surprise I've got fiber on the brain. Also on all my clothes and sometimes in my eyes.

So this post will be about three recent knitterly projects.

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A lovely woman in England - who I "met" on twitter because she raises pigs and we were trading a rueful laugh on the subject of barnyard bruises - very kindly sent me a tube of her favorite pain-relief gel called - wait for it - Movelat.

(I like it. In fact, I'm wearing some right now. Combing Tansy is a rodeo.)

Of course I wanted to respond with something equally useful, and after much pondering, settled on an earwarmer made from the 1898 Hat pattern. I wear my earwarmer about 20 times more often than my hat, which actually gets too hot when I'm moving around doing chores.


Do the crafty folk amongst you fret about handmade gifts? I sure do.
Is it nice enough for a gift?
Does she wear wool?
Does she wear green?
Will she like it?
Will she hate it?

So I am thrilled to report that the recipient likes it a lot. Huzzah!
It was a bonus surprise to see someone else's picture of my knitting on twitter.
Sweet!

~~~

Next: from the UFO ("Unfinished Object") Department


This is the project that made me admit - with muttering and frowning - that I must stop knitting with very dark yarns. This sock is being made with West Yorkshire Spinners self-striping Mallard. A contrasting heel seemed like a nifty idea until it came time to pick up stitches on the sides of the heel flap. That's when I realized I could not see little spaces where one pokes the needle in and picks up the stitches.

Not by daylight. Not by lamplight.
Not with my embiggening glasses.
Not with every trick in the Knitters' Book of Visibility Tricks.
(There isn't really a book, but there are a few tricks and I tried them all.)

When muttering did not make my vision improve, I decided to rip out the heel and knit it again in light yarn. But first, with nothing to lose, I tried just poking the needle in at intervals and literally picking up stitches I could not see.


Not my finest hour as a knitter, but there's some sort of heel, anyway.
And I'll try very hard to make another one that matches this one.
And then, I will Stop Trying to Knit Very Dark Yarn.
Knitting should be fun, not frustrating.

Oh, that reminds me: Mason Dixon Knitting has a great Daily Letter on their blog today, introducing their very own minimally-processed yarn, called Sheepy!
I recommend giving it a look.
I love the way they think.

~~~

Final knitting note of the day: remember when I made a pair of felted slippers? So cozy! Well, this winter I accidentally felted them a bit more. Oops. When I pulled them out of the washer, my former slippers had shrunk to half their previous size and moved on to a new destiny: raw material for making catnip mice.


I made one right away, using half a slipper stuffed with catnip, and a tail made of non-fraying elastic saved from a cut-up garment. I never use yarn or other string for cat toys, as it gets chewed and swallowed, and not digested. Dangerous for kitties.

Mouse #1 is pretty popular.


With both Della and Moxie.


Guess I'd better make another?


"Right now? Right now would be good!"

~
Hope you are having a lovely weekend!
~~~~~

27 comments:

  1. I completely understand stressing about sending projects to other crafters. I'm so worried the item won't be to their taste or liking. Or that they are infinitely better at that craft than I am.
    I love the sock - I'm not able to tell that you had issues picking up stitches. I think the contrasting yarn looks great!

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    1. Interesting point! I don't know if I would find it easier or harder to make something for another knitter. Easier, I think, because I would feel s/he would appreciate the effort that went into the "good" bits and forgive the rest ;)

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  2. I like all the three projects. The sock looks perfect, one can not tell that you had any problem picking up stiches on that heel, from looking at it. I hope you are able to complete the pair. The catnip mouse is such a clever idea, you should definitely make the second one soon.

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    1. Thanks! I'm going to try to keep knitting a little every day so I don't lose momentum on this pair. And originally I planned to do the toes in dark brown as well, but now I think I'll just make a striped toe. I don't want to try grafting stitches that I cannot see.

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  3. I've done my share of fretting over handmade gifts. But then I turn it around - I am always delighted when I get something handmade. I use that thought to ease my anxiety.

    Such a wuzzy goat. :-) And your kitties look more than happy with your shrunken "mistake".

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    1. That's a very good perspective - I feel the same way about handmade gifts I've received.
      And Tsuga is slightly less wuzzy after being combed a couple of times...I can almost see what she'll look like when she's in her new Spring outfit!

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  4. The ear warmer socks and catnip mouse are charming beautiful.
    Could you use a string of light color floss in the knitting of the dark yarn to better show where the stitches are, and then pull it out when that section is finished?

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    1. Good idea, and a lifeline might help if I was trying to see the row, but for a heel flap I'm trying to see the edges and I couldn't find a way to incorporate a strand in the edge, unfortunately.

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  5. I am always anxious about giving home made gifts and so I generally supplement with a bought one, too, which is foolish. But your ear band is lovely and I agree, they are far more useful than hats -- I use a fleece one (since I have no needle skills) even on summer evenings if it's breezy. So I think that was a fabulous gift and I'm glad that the recipient agreed! What a great re-purpose for a felted slipper! And I am impressed at sock-makers always! I love hand made socks, they are the only reason I've ever wanted to know how to knit. :)

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    1. I think you've come up with a comfortable and practical solution - not foolish at all!
      Aren't earwarmers great? I was surprised at how often I wear mine unless it's actually raining or snowing - and then I want a hat with a brim to keep the precip out of my eyes. The 1898 hat is good for when it's windy or very cold and I'm going to be mostly sitting or standing still - which isn't very often, really ;)

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  6. I'm always thrilled with handmade gifts and if they're well made it's a bonus! So there's that. What's the destination for the cashmere?

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    1. I'm not thinking about the destination at this point...it's all about the journey, Grasshopper.

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  7. Loved the Sheepy Yarn and also the March Madness. So clever and fun! As are the catnip mice :-).

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    1. The time that must have gone into both just staggers me! I love Ann and Kay, and in all the years I've followed them, they have just come up with one fun endeavor after another.

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  8. Oh yes - I know how you feel about whether or not something I've made is 'good enough' or 'the right colour' or 'the right size', etc. I am known for my handmade gifts, but oddly enough I don't get too many myself. I love it when someone makes something for me!!

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    1. Me too! Especially when it's a surprise! A certain unique and beautiful handmade postcard has a VERY special place in my home, and I smile every time I look at it. Thank you :)

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    2. It was fun to surprise a few people with those postcards - might have to make some more!

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  9. Oh my goodness, that last photo made me laugh out loud, which I really needed. Yes, right now!!!!!!!!!!!! Ha ha! Still laughing - a very good post, Quinn!

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    1. They are hard to refuse, are Moxie and Della! :)

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  10. What beautiful work! And thanks for the laugh :) I surely admire those who do needlecrafts.

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    1. Thanks, Sue! Well I'm glad I posted about the socks, because all this encouragement has really made me feel better about the Very Dark Yarn situation.

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  11. Sarah Happy SavageApril 5, 2017 at 3:35 AM

    I love those socks, Quinn!

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  12. What a great looking ear warmer, and perfect for chores. I agonize over handmade gifts as well. Far too much. Although I'm more comfortable giving handmade to other crafty people who I know will appreciate it and not think it's dorky.

    Your socks are so pretty, and I love the contrasting heel. Good luck with the second one. Dark yarn ... yeah, I feel for you ;)
    Wendy

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    1. There may be a Very Dark Yarn giveaway in the future...there is certainly some in my stash.

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  13. Excellent save with the slippers! Cat nip grows wild here and the cats are so used to it, they ignore it, mostly. The ear warmers are wonderful and the socks even better. I'm grateful for OTT lights and use them a lot. As to hand crafted gifts...not sure I even bother anymore. The hand quilted quilt I made my sister is now being used to cover the chest her dogs use to gain entry on her bed. To paraphrase the Bible...a hand crafter is without honor in her own land and, yes, it hurts.

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    1. Not sure the catnip is much of a factor with Moxie and Della, either, since they are equally exuberant about plastic caps from milk jugs, small dried leaves or corn husk, a popcorn cob without the kernels (Della found that and carries it around) and the occasional live mouse which is Moxie's greatest joy in life.

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