Thursday, September 28, 2006

My fiber obsession gains speed

Okay, my friends think I'm nuts. Maybe they have a point. Maybe I do get a bit obsessed. But at least they can now rest easy because the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival for 2006 is over, so they don't have to listen to me wax enthusiastically about how I'm planning to spend a full day there and really need to have more time! Of course, instead they get to hear about the things I did and saw and bought and now plan to make, but that's another story!

So without adieu, I give you the additions to my staff courtesy of OFFF 2006!

Let's see. In the back row are three DVDs. THe first one has already been used extensively. It's Learn the Continental Style of Knitting by Nenah Galati. If you don't have a knitting mentor or you don't have a good place (or time) to go somewhere and take a class, I highly recommend this DVD. The camera watches over Nenah's shoulder as she explains the basics and that makes it very easy to see how things are done and emulate her. I practiced for a few hours and got better and better. The swatch was kind of funny because you could really see where I finally 'got it' and the stitches became uniform and nice. But I'm jumping ahead of myself because I haven't told you about the rest of my new stash!

Next, there are two more DVDs from Nenah, both about knitting socks on two pairs of circular needles. I haven't gotten that far yet, but I'm sure they'll be helpful. These two DVDs came in a bundle with a skein of ONline Supersocke in Winter color and two pairs of size 3 Addi Turbo circular needles.

In front of that, on the left, are four skeins of Southwest Trading Company Bamboo in Esquire, a lovely verigated brown/grey/charcoal color. I had not seen yarn made from bamboo before and I'm impressed with the feel of it. Very soft, sort of silky in texture. This came with a very nice, large canvas bag (forgot to put that in the picture), which was handy for carrying everything else, and a pattern for the Mariposa shawl, which is free on the web but not everyone seems to know that. The yarn was a good bargain and I plan to make that shawl with it. I think it will have a wonderful drape and be quite nice.

Finally, we have my personal favorite, a 1,400-yard skein of hand-dyed Rick Rack, 100% rayon from Interlacements. There were so many beautiful color combinations in their booth! I kept going back there and hanging out to see which one spoke to me the most and finally settled on color 103, Sumbarine, which is a lovely combination of blues and greens and purples. (I don't think their website picture does it justice -- it's not that dark.) This will become a shawl, which I hope to have finished for a cruise I'm going to take next May. I think the colors and weight will be perfect for a cool Caribbean evening! They gave me a feather and fan pattern, but since I'm already making a shawl like that on my AJAL, I think I'll find something different. We'll see!

So that's my OFFF 2006 stash. Of course, I couldn't wait to come home and try some of it out, so I grabbed some yarn and started knitting with my DVD instructional guide. Before long, I got the hang of it and decided to move beyond a swatch to a wash cloth. So I visited a few bookmarked sites and found the Lighthouse cloth pattern by Rhonda K. White. Perfect since I have a friend who loves all things nautical. I grabbed some lilac cotton I had on hand (purple is my friend's favorite color), got out a long-unused circular knitting needle set from Boye, assembled a size 7 circular needle and got busy. And the result? Can I get a drumroll, please??

You like?? I'm pleased as punch! It went really fast and I was able to succesfully do yarn overs and decreases and the whole bit. Heck, by the time I finished, I was switching from knits to purls with a fair amount of ease!

Now, all you loom knitters out there, don't get me wrong. I'm not abandoning my looms by any means. I still find them exceedingly easy to use as well as functional. But let's be honest. There are some things that just won't work well on looms, chiefly the more intricate lace patterns. I've succesfully adapted some lace to my looms, but some patterns just have too many increases and decreases and yarn overs to be practical on a loom because of all the moving of stitches that is required to achieve the desired effect.

Since I'm currently very enamoured of lace, I need to add needles to my repertoire. But looms will remain prominent, too. Heck, now I can have even more projects in the works at the same time!

One final note. Fall has arrived and I find myself wondering where the heck summer went! But I love fall and spring the most, so it's really okay. This morning, I looked out the window from the loft where my office is and I swear the tree is five shades more yellow than it was yesterday. So I took a picture and I plan to take another one tomorrow and every day until the leaves fall off so I can see just how fast it really does change. Here's what it looked like this morning:

We'll see what happens tomorrow. It's hard to tell in the picture, but there are berry clusters all over the trees that are turning yellow. Those berries will ripen and be bright red through the winter -- until January/February when the robins show up and strip all the berries off both trees in a single day! I just love those trees!

Okay, friends, I'm out! Got to surf for shawl patterns for that Rick Rack yarn and head to the LYS tomorrow to get some bamboo Addis to work with that slippery yarn. Oh, my! Can someone send me a winning lottery ticket so I can just sit in my rocking chair and knit? Please?!?!? :)

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