Thursday, February 19, 2009

no signs of spring where the bison roam

I slipped on the ice last month and did some damage to my elbow, impairing my ability to make things temporarily. I had an appointment with an orthopaedic doctor today. In the examining room I was knitting away intensely and mouthing the instructions, k2,yo,k6, k2tog, when the doctor came in. After he prodded and twisted my arm he said "I really shouldn't encourage the knitting, but it seems to have helped the healing process and you probably wouldn't stop if I told you to anyway". Right! I like this guy...he get's it. The xrays show that I broke the radial head in my elbow almost a month ago. I'm sort of surprised. It's the first time I broke anything and I didn't get a cast! That was disappointing---if you've broken something you should really have a cast so you look like you attempted some daredevil feat or...something stupid. Okay, so the cast idea was stupid.

On the way home from the xray appointment, I drove the farmland route in case there was a sign of spring to shoot. Little activity at the farm stands, no snow, no nothing. So I turned on the road that passes by the pastures where the bison herds are. (Yes! On Long Island.) I should have taken a photo of the sign for the owner's restaurant that advertises bison meat. Owww! I grew up in the bisonless California suburbs and I'd rather not picture the pasture-to-plate process that makes bison burgers possible. I was thinking more along the lines of bison yarn, which probably doesn't involve death, I would hope. Bison "fiber" is used to make some exotic Mooi. Wonder if this bison herd owner is utilizing their fiber? You know, to make Mooi?

I'll have to ask the local spinners if they know anything about the local bison herds fiber potential.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

libraries are good

When I became obsessed with knitting a few years ago my friend Sarah reminded me how useful and economical the library can be when you're tempted to order more knitting books from Amazon. My library records look like I'm determined to check out every title in the system with the words knit, yarn, or wool. That suggestion has saved me hundreds on books!

On Friday I picked up the next knitting book on my library list, The Best of Lopi. On a winter evening when your yard is still dotted with snow, a book full of bulky, warm Icelandic sweaters can be very tempting! The color choices began to swirl in my head and the online yarn ordering options lured me to the brink... almost. My better angels performed an intervention in the nick of time! After all I did have a few skeins of Lopi yarn that I had over-dyed for Christmas projects and well, maybe I should just experiment with what I had before committing to a whole sweater. Enter this glorious skein of yarn from the end of a dyepot session that suggests a name like Easter meets a Sunflower! Maybe glorious is not the right word.

With a hat pattern I found online and Easter meets a Sunflower primed, I cast on. A quick project with big needles, if you're paying attention to what you're knitting, which I didn't. I did finish it in a matter of hours and now I have no desire to order Lopi yarn for a whole sweater. As I pushed the bulky yarn on and off the big needles, I remembered December's Lopi knitting marathon and how it inflamed my shoulder and well, now I'm cured of the Iceland sweater project. Though I really liked the hat's inside where the two strands of yarn are carried along, there's some interesting, felting potential there, but the Lopi moment has passed (for me). Pphew!

But friends and family, the Icelandic moment may not have passed for you! I tried the Bjorkish hat on and was reminded of how dorky I look in hats. This must be gifted! When you least expect it, it may end up under your Christmas tree or next to your birthday cake or for your anniversary, arbor day...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

in the works

This is the pile of flannel on my table---inspiration to get started on a new group of sewfaux items! I use print backgrounds for the base layers that are invisible from across the room. It's that secret layer that you become aware of upon closer investigation, like when you hug a log pillow! You'll see how much better it is with the print background when you get a chance to hug one.

The two new log pillows I listed at sewfaux use the dark brick red print and the top olive green print (you can catch a glimpse of it in the zipper detail) in that neatly stacked for photography pile .

In the non-log news, there is a new ladybug stool in the works---a collaboration with my friend Deborah, a talented artist, quilt designer and stitcher. She just launched her first etsy store last month, Debadoo! She uses bits of fabrics from the quilts she designs for Bright Hopes , a non-profit quilt group. Their quilts are donated to victims of domestic violence, children in foster care and others. The wall next to Deborah's sewing machine is pinned with the ongoing group of dolls, animals, and pillows that she's constantly assembling with cheery and boisterous prints, ricrac and ribbons. She works with her daughter's drawings to stitch their faces---they're charming, fresh, little labor intensive creations and you need visit Debadoo right away!

The lady bug stool in the works will be fabulous! I promise!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

none of the above

Last night I pulled out a knitting project that I had set aside in the late fall before Christmas knitting tendonitis set-in, before I slipped on my butt twisting my left arm in the icy courthouse parking lot during jury duty where you're not allowed to bring knitting needles! (I just had to get the slipped-on-my-butt part in some post.)

Inspite of my numerous handicaps I finished knitting the collar and armhole ribbing on the vest project, unaware that I might be bringing on an early Spring with it's completion. As I sat at my desk this morning I discovered yesterday's Yarn Harlot calendar page---

Too funny! Can it be?

Maybe this poor wool, this blazing amazing, amber Manos wool is finally a garment (and will bring an early spring?). It has already had another brief life as a boxy sweater. Though I really like the idea of boxy garments, I hated the way it fit after I labored over it one long winter, ripping and knitting to get it to it's ultimate undesirable state. Blocking would have prevented some of the unnecessary modifications I made to it in an effort to make it fit better---look better, but I hadn't discovered the benefits of blocking wool yet.

I couldn't stand the thought of all that expensive yarn sitting there in the closet in an unwearable form for another winter, so I ripped it out, washed the crimped strands and let it dry in hanks. Determined to bend it to my will, I cast on another boxy garment inspired by a fellow Ravelry knitter's modification to Sally Melville's Einstein coat. As I knit along on it I realized the button holes per the instructions would not be big enough for my large wool buttons, but I continued along in denial, until this morning.

I pulled out my inventory of wool buttons to see which set would win a place on the not-so-bad vest. Surprise!!!

None of the above! All the wool buttons looked great with the vest but are disqualified by their size. The silk embroidered buttons would not hold up to the wear and tear of an everyday garment, but did fit the too small buttonholes.

Not to worry, I immediately got an inspiration for a new wool button form that will work with small button holes! To be continued...

Okay, so maybe I can't bring an early spring on by knitting, but finally I love this yarn in it's new form and I'm adding a new button technique to my repertoire.