Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Fat Tuesday!

Truly, this post isn't about Mardi Gras or Lent or Ash Wednesday or any of that, although I know that Fat Tuesday (or Shrove Tuesday) is associated with all those things.

I just like to mark the one "holiday" a year that is actually named for my body type. There, I said it! Oh, and while you're reading, take a minute to read this article and think about your fat assumptions. Thanks.

Now, on to more knitterly things...

There has been a lot of fiber-related stuff going on here lately. I have pictures of some, but not all of it, so here you go.

Austermann Step 3x3 seed stitch2First, I finished the Austermann Step socks. They are warm and sturdy and fit perfectly. Size 0 (2.0mm) needles with my standard 3x3 seed stitch ribbing and flap heel. As I've grown accustomed to doing, I carried the slip-stitch heel pattern all the way down the 22-stitch center of the foot, stopping only when the toe decreases reached those 22 center stitches. Makes for a very sturdy sock, indeed, and one I hope lasts for several years.

Crazy socksA new pair is already in the works. In fact, I finished the first one last night. This is the same needle/pattern combination knit in Lana Grossa Meilenweit 100 Multieffekt. It's a wild colorway with just about everything in it. I can only surmise that I was in a very adventurous mood when I bought it! Second sock is already cast on and will be my public knitting project for a while.

That's because the big project I'm working on right now is private and cannot be revealed until later this year. Maybe one of the things you can give up for Lent is wondering what it is. LOL

I also finished my Madelinetosh Sarah cardigan, but I haven't gotten a good picture of it yet. I wore it to Madrona and it fits like a dream. I've decided not to put a zipper in it for now. In fact, the pretty heart-shaped pin I bought looks really good on it, either to hold it together or just as a pretty thing on the wide shawl collar. I'll get some pictures soon and post them for you. :)

Madrona cowl 1I went to the Madrona Fiberarts Retreat over the weekend. When I got settled into the hotel on Thursday night, I cast on for a cowl using some yarn I spun up last year from some Stitchjones Merino roving in the Bulb Garden colorway. This isn't my usual color palette, but when I saw it, it just screamed "Tulip fields!" at me and I had to have it. I spun and plied it to keep the colors together as much as possible and then stared at it a lot. I threw it in my bag before leaving for Madrona thinking it might be the perfect thing to have along, and it didn't disappoint.

I used a 24" US6 (4.0mm) circular needle and just made up the pattern as I went along. If y'all are interested in it, I did take notes and can write it up. It's just a bit over-sized so that it can be pinned when worn, if you like. Of course that meant I had to go to the market at Madrona and look for the perfect pin to complement it.

Madrona cowl modeled by Ann-MarieHere's the lovely Ann-Marie modeling the finished cowl. The heart pin in the picture is from Gita Maria, maker of beautiful enameled pins, earrings, buttons, and other jewelry. I love it and it can be worn with lots of other things. It didn't dawn on me that it was perfectly in alignment with Valentine's Day until someone at Madrona commented about that. Doh!

At Madrona, I had the pleasure of attending two full-day classes with Judith MacKenzie McCuen. We learned all kinds of things about fleece from luster long wool sheep and the down breeds. Judith has more knoweldge about wool and sheep in the tip of her nose than I can ever hope to have in my entire head! While I don't plan to purchase a raw fleece any time soon, I learned a lot of interesting things and my eyes were opened to the benefits of using some of the coarser feeling wools for garments instead of always looking for fibers that are soft to the touch. I even went back to the market and bought eight ounces of drum carded Wensleydale to experiment with.

JMM luster long wools 1
Judith explaining about the various types of coats found on one luster long wool fleece. That one is a Wensleydale that has already been washed and skirted.

JMM luster long wools 3
And here's another one that has been skirted, but not washed. This came from a coated sheep, so it was fairly clean and had limited grease.

JMM down breeds
Various down breed fleeces. In this case, "down breed" means sheep that came from the Downs of England, not necessarily downy soft fibers. :) These included Dorset, Suffolk, and Hampshire.

The two days went by in a flash and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. How'd you spend your Valentine's weekend?

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Thanks for posting the link to that great article. Glad you had fun at Madrona. And as you know, I'm a very big fan of the cowl! ;)