30 April 2006

Having not purchased for a month....

... I bought a wee little May present on Saturday. Will photo post another day.

But I used what I had and finished the Seuss Socks. Started my first toe-up sock with the Wick (soy and polypropylene) (that is, Gortex-like moisture wicking yarn...)

25 April 2006

Don't Tell My Neighbors What I Said.

It's cold and rainy.
I swear I saw snow.
I'm wearing my new sweater.
I'm not responsible, really.

Knitting is powerful, no?

(Posted the pictures after midnight. The wind turned cold between my locking up the shop, posting, and locking up the office. This morning? Weather and sweater.)

I'm ready for spring's disappointing cold spell.

There is usually a disappointing turn in spring weather. Just when we've fallen in love with the sunny days and the walks eyeing the blossoms, BAM. A cold snap. I'm ready, though. I've finished the Peace Fleece sweater.

Behold, the less-than satisfactory mirror shot in the hallway. I didn't change the camera stops, so it is what it is.
The sweater isn't disappointing. This is it, blocked and all. It's warm and it will be just the thing next fall and winter for days at work when I am tired of looking ratty just because I'm working in the shop and running between buildings.

Even if the sweater isn't worn until fall, I'm sure I'll have one or two cool nights for sock wearing. I'll finish that other sock within the week.

The photo perspective is kind. The contrasting toe is really a toe plus the ball of the foot. And I made it a little too long, but after a try-on I decided I didn't care.

There. I've posted.

24 April 2006

Coming soon....

Pictures of the finished Peace Fleece sweater and of a finished and goofy looking Seuss sock.

On another note, I love my mother's letters. More on that later.

But I told her so.

06 April 2006


The Package Has Landed. The photos have been blogged by glittrgirl.

03 April 2006

Well, I'll be danged.

I started toying with this vintage worsted.

As I mentioned, it is not a comfy hand knit, process-wise.

I made a swatch, though, and tossed it in the laundry with a load of bedding. (Safe - many pink hues in the bedding.) One hot wash, one dry later, no fancy fulling steps, and it DID shrink up a bit, fuzz up a bit, and seems much more cozy. I'll insert the photo later. If I take one.

I can't tell you what I'm doing with it. It's a SEEEEECRET.

(Vintage yarners note: Two different labels, same yarn. I noticed that with several of the yarns passed along to me from a family friend. Wonder if it was a marketing thing. You know - Wieboldts carried one line, Sears or Goldblatts carried the other, both yarns from the same manufacturer....)

Stash and Flash: What Matters Most?

I sat down to eat some late lunch, knit a little bit to prepare for my contribution to the knit-a-blog, and look at some stash flashing. Stopped first at the knittyboards and found myself reading conversations and viewpoint statements ABOUT yarn accumulation, stash justification, consumption and creativity. Makes a person think, that collection of ideas and viewpoints.

What matters for me? Where did I start?
Where do I start? Where do I stop?

My family starts the saving of materials. The family members that sew or have sewn, knit or have not, covered the two key missions for textile arts & crafts. They created the useful and they instilled beauty. They've purchased materials that have been used in due time. They've saved scraps.

We wore clothes, we girls, passed down from one to the next, made by Grandma. One little dress worn by 2 of us was fabric purchased to be pajamas for an uncle. I forget the rest of the story, whether they were outgrown before he could wear them or if there was just that much leftover. Sale kitchen curtain fabric let my aunt enjoy quirky clothing choices in her 1960's youth. Those stories inspired me to find my own pride in a three dollar blouse, made without a pattern to match the ones in the stores. Two of the dollars were for the buttons, I think. Maybe it was the other way around. While there was thrift, there was also a sense of the value of quality goods. I have a few lengths of fabrics my mother purchased long ago from Amluxens and from Marshall Fields tucked into one of my trunks of fabrics. My mother has the rest of her own purchases - these took coaxing. (Now that she's retired, she's sewing again, so there are no plans to divest anytime soon.)

Scraps were saved. Yes, rural frugality, depression-era tendencies played in. But scraps have been used. My mother made an ensemble from a Fields remnant that has an Escher-like metaphor about it: there was a jumper (think pinafore) for a wee me, from the scraps a smaller one for a baby doll, and from those scraps a smaller one yet for a Skipper doll. I do have many of my grandmother's scraps. Everyone wore out the corduroy throw pillows she pieced for them years ago. I may be remaking the pattern for my mother in a different colorway when she recovers her couch.

So I save. I stash. They're a start. I save family history. I share family history. I made clothing I wore. I knit things I wear.

Of course, things do accumulate. I admit to having an irregular productivity rate. If given a vacation, I've cranked out a tailored shirt in a day. I've tackled a sweater in a few weeks. In heavily work focused stretch, dust collects on that which is not put away carefully. It's been important to me, ever since an unfortunate apartment and a carpet beetle infestation, to try to store materials carefully. (And after the Great Tissue Pattern Shredding Cat Incident, I have continued to improve!)

Creatively, they are also, as elizabeth put it, a paints box. This serves both vocation and avocation. I'm not a professional knitter or quilter, but I do work with costume and I collaborate with other artists from time to time. And a paints box is good even for thinking outside the box. When I spent some years on the road, I'd go to the local libraries for quilt books and art books just for the visual creative stimulation.

Creatively, it makes sense that there's as much variety in the styles of stash as there is in the mode of storage and the aesthetic of the surroundings.

Creativity works differently, after all. Witness the stories one has read about the work habits of different painters or writers. Monet - painting out of town - had multiple paintings going on at different locations and at different times of the day. (I think I learned this some time ago at an exhibit in Toronto - Monet, Whister, and Turner - so please pardon any memory-fuzzed inaccuracies.) Surely art history affords contrasting stories of single-minded focus, as well. (And even repeated studies of a subject, if a metaphor is needed for the knitter who simply enjoys re-working a single pattern.)

I enjoyed documenting some stash flash. I do have to keep some of it packed away, so it was good to be reminded of something forgotten. I enjoyed the limited exploration of seeing with the camera, framing a shot, remembering and forgetting about light. I don't mind not having used all of it when I bought it - a lot of it wouldn't fit now, if it had been made!

It's interesting to have had a comment from someone who felt better about her stash, having seen mine. I thought the VERY same thing, I know.

Do I have excess? Given that I've not taken the vows of poverty, I'd say I do. I indulge in yarns and fabric and books. I keep a sense of proportion. Only bought two pieces of fabric for myself in the last two years, since I've plenty at home I want to sew anyway. Besides, I'm a grown woman of mumble years. I have plenty of economies. Let me go heat up my lunch, now that it's supper time, from the casserole I made yesterday. Thriftier than frozen dinners. And I know I could sing the "I don't spend this, though" song for ages. It starts with "I own no computer," moves through something about mending underwear elastic, mutters something about having two remaining bottles of October-themed beer left from the 10/05 six-pack purchase, and mercifully fades away before we get to the dried-bean chorus.

Imelda was criticized for her shoe consumption, but her position was the part of the point, if I remember the press. I remember (from my youth) one woman who came into the fabric store where I worked. "She doesn't really make anything," was the whisper. She bought the most beautiful fabrics, the designer patterns, selected all the necessary notions. The full-time clerks shared the secret with us high schoolers. "What I wouldn't give to see HER sewing room" was the closer, "or go to her estate auction" the alternative.

It doesn't change my day much if someone enjoys collecting handpainted yarn or catching the best sale deal on ebay at the same rate they knit. It's certainly interesting to see varying the views which reflect recreation, status, fascination, or frustration. I'll try not project someone else's outlook onto my own habits. Much, much more interesting is what the stashes and the flashes expose about me TO me.

I really like beautiful materials.
I really like old leftover crap with stories.
I really, really like making things. I like knitting. I like sewing.
I like the knitting and sewing that others do.
And after years of dwindling journal keeping and letter-writing, I'm enjoying this wave of blog-journalling. I may be able to actually write letters again.
Documenting what I have and what I've done eggs me on toward the next project. I do feel more productive - and this is more productive OUTSIDE of work, which for me is HUGE.
When I grow tired of what I do and quit my job, I'm going to be unstoppably productive! It's a different kind of stock for retirement.

Looking at others' photos and reading their stories and viewpoints is much like, as Proust said, looking with new eyes. To this little artist who doesn't often grant herself that title, that IS a part of what matters most.

01 April 2006

Towering Textiles Flashed

I've had a lovely hour's romp through blogs with flashed stash. I have to go home before I overdose. What an awful lot of fun.

Of course, last year one student's refrain was "you have a weird sense of fun." She may be right. The viewing is going to be fun for days and days and days.

I'm going to go home to knit or sew. The towers of textiles call.

Besides, I accidentally caught a little of an organizational program on a cable network early this afternoon (see how I protect the innocent?) AND an that program, the organizer told the knitter and quilter that five projects going at once was a little much. She should really only have three.

I nearly choked on my cheese sandwich.

(PS. This is just some of the landscape which inspired the blog name in the first place. The actual fiber flash is in the previous post.)

(Post PS. And if I actually tried to flash the fabrics, I really WOULD have the vapors.)

It's not SABLE if I hope to use it all, is it?

The photos should be click-through-able. This is a HUGE old post. Hope the smaller pictures make it better for loading.

In a previous home, the knitting boxes were one stack, taller than I, in one corner of a three-season enclosed porch. This stack is in one closet.

Another stack is in the closet across the hall....

...as is this stack. I'm not clever enough to put numbers on the photos to direct you to the contents. Besides, it's the contents that count. I might have skipped a box or a layer of box. Hard to say.

This box contains the maine monster, an unfinished Fassett-tile inspired experiment. A-frogging it may go.

The wool itself was really Maine Wool, as I recall. Didn't have a Bartlett's tag. No labels at all, if I recall correctly.

It's been stashed with this bag from a clothing shop on Canal Street in NYC.

Next up is an Irish box, after a fashion.

This aran knit is Tivoli aran. Bought it in Dublin, along with this pattern. Can I FIND the pattern? Not since the move...some years ago.

Irish Tivoli meets Patons Ballybrae, bought in the states, but My! it sounds Irish. Don't think that's made anymore.

Have you worked with this yarn? I'm starting to think about it. Wouldn't it make a smart jacket?

Another box of Maine Treats.

Bought a sweater's worth of each of these two, the plummy maroon Lamb's Pride and the navy Bartlett. Different trips.

Bought these two squishable skeins while on a day off expedition when I worked in Maine.

I just like to look at them.

Next up: a tub of fine finds and treats from others

From Art Fibers in San Francisco, here's a taste of a sweater's worth of gorgeous silk and a carry along kid mohair. (Maybe a blend? Info is at home.)

Also a hat.

Bought some sari yarn when shopping for my sp4. Bought one for her, one for me. And look! The glace I thought was going to be fringe on another scarf matches. Thank goodness. I don't think I'm suited to fringe.

Mittenfarce sent the Beatrice. Look! It picks up the flecks in the tivoli. I may reconfigure that Tivoli aran yet.

Other little tidbits and leftovers - including some handspun from E3cat. PS. I sent E3cat a note a month ago. Forgot until now to report that she's doing well, just crazy, crazy busy. She said to say hi.

These little yarn cakes I bought at School Products in NYC years and years ago - before I even knew what yarn cakes were. They were interesting, REALLY a sale, and I have no idea what I'll do with them. There are about a billion dozen strands, sort of "un-plied." I'll have to do a burn test.

This peace fleece in Tundra is heading to saintjay. There's some Varya Fog elsewhere, but that sweater isn't technically done. Not done, technically or metaphorically or literally or wearable. (Raglan sleeves - joined in the round - are the current puzzlement.)

Lovely Lopi swapped with urbanpagan. I'm getting closer to figuring out what to do with them. (How's the mighty cone of chenille?)

On top of the tubs is a zip bag of some vintage worsted.

If I do the felting thing ever, I think this is a kid gift. A bag. The yarn is awfully unappealing in the hand.

Still, it looks like knitting memories....

There's a tub of mohair, leftover from a throw I knit a billion years ago. I should take a photo of that some time. Very groovy.

It's French!

This tub has quite a bit of dainty vintage stuff.


A yarn sale indulgence for which I hoped my color memory (or color creativity) would work.

I do think these could work with the vintage things. Somehow. Maybe not ALL together, but SOME.

Dingy vintage destined for dyeing.

This doesn't live in the vintage box above, but right now I can't figure out where it lived before or after the photo sessions of the last days of March. Lana Gatto Feeling. A little summer top of light blue. And if not enough, why the grey might just be the necessary design element. Two different sale moments.

One tub holds leftovers of my own personally-aged vintage yarn. At the base is this leftover worsted wool. I made some hats for gifts. A ragg sweater for a gift. A fulled hat experiment when I lived in a house with a washer. Not an unqualified success, that hat. I left it behind in a costume shop.

This was the one of the first itchy wool sweaters that I made for myself. This one I figured out how to wear DESPITE the itch, and I loved it to the ends of the earth. I am now too big (read middle-aged) for it. It was the first wave of the rolled neck and rolled hems sweaters, sort of a sloppy joe sweater. I have outgrown it, but it hasn't even pilled. I'll frog. Or diet. Meanwhile, mothballs. Oh, and plenty of leftover, six I think. What to do?

This is the green from the trim of my Favorite Knit Ever. It was meant to be a cardigan from an Elle magazine pattern. I didn't have enough, which I discovered before I was too far. This too is French.

I don't remember if this is the right tub, but here's some lovely alpaca from mittenfarce.

Similary, a little laceweight alpaca for taking that particular knitting plunge.

Tub of cotton & linen

Hidden within is this bit of paper moire.

Loverly linen

Can't get a clear photo, but still loverly...

Some cotton linen warp for, oh, I don't know, card weaving? Or better yet, a basket

Cat came to inspect.

Yes, there is cotton crochet there, too.

A largish tub has some cones - one from School Products and several from a shop formerly near the British Museum.

I had photo help.

You know, I had some of this. Made a scarf for a friend. Loved the color, not enamored of the knitting. Clearly the sale on top of the 30% off made me forget.

Also contained in the same box, a bit of fingering weight Tivoli from another trip to Ireland. Cat is assuming the "when will she come home" pose, in honor of the travel momento yarn.

The rest of the Rowan chunky print lives here. Yes, enough for a sweater. And some miscellaneous cotton on either end.

This next tub has all sorts of little things. If the yarn looks ratty, it's because it was sale and I'm willing to deal with it.

And at the bottom of the tub is the oldest of the knitting flotsam and jetsam. I made a lot of those little dolls once.

This is an embarrassingly big tub. It didn't have yarn in it a few years ago.

It's definitely full. I'll show you a few of the contents.

A little baggy of vintage angora and vintage... something.

Practically right off the sheep. One was a pinkish red sheep.

Bought some lovely manos for a sweater. Forgot that it was sunny the morning I took these photos with the golden glow. After a few mornings of grey day photos, I forgot to change the camera.

The brown is much deeper. And yes, there is enough of the two for a sweater. Hopefully only one.

These singletons are north woodsy reds: Wool in the Woods and Paton's Classic. Scarf. Hat. Matches the coat.

Peace Fleece tub will soon be EMPTY because I will soon FINISH that SWEATER.

I wound a centerpull ball of this Noro Kochoran on a big needle. The last bit of it looks more like a birdsnest. This is the stuff I've worked into the Peace Fleece Sweater. This last bit will work through the yoke, once I finish out the Raglan Sleeve math, as referenced above.

And there's a little leftover Rowan in there...and some stray Rowan Chunky Print in a steel grey.

Sock tub, saved toward the last for the sock inspired.

Here are the contents of the exploding sock tub. First, a quantity shot....

...followed by the close-ups.

These were some of my first multicolored sock yarn discoveries.

Bought these little oddballs in London. The shop is long gone, sadly.
First I thought they'd be part of a fair isle. Then I thought socks. They're living with the sock wools, but I'm starting to think about fair isle. Maybe.

Mountain wool Bearfoot, ready to start

Remnants and Reinforcements

Some Lorna's Laces and a Cherry Tree Hill

Regia cotton - used the black as a carryalong for sweater trim. Thought the leftover could head toward socks with the blue.

Ja! We have Woll!

Some clever yarn that wicks away moisture (Wick, get it,get it?)

Trekking. Yes, I know, one pair per ball. One's for me, and one's not.

A finale of sorts. This box has two sweaters in it. Really.

I frogged the galway. It was an aran, and I should have swatched more thoroughly and measured myself more carefully. Galway doesn't come in loose hanks anymore, does it?

This decadent pile of artyarns is a sweater. Really. I'm not kidding.

Sinful, innit?

I ran out of time. You'll just never know what's in the crates. Just some spring sale shopping. And stuff.