Thursday, November 06, 2008

Valkyrie and my gnomiejo knits orifice hook!

When Ellen and I went down to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in September I purchased some roving from Blue Moon Fiber Arts - 50% merino, 50% silk in the Valkyrie colorway.

This particular purchase was a definite impulse buy. Here comes the justification logic. I figure you can't purchase roving(except superwash merino) on-line. When you go to conventions and festivals they always have roving of different fibers. This is the time you *need* to stock up on BMFA roving! Plus! know Tina's take on can't resist!

I had gone back to their booth because I had loaned Tina Newton(owner and dyer extraordinaire of Blue Moon) a sweater I had made out of BMFA mediumweight Socks that Rock to display in their booth. I picked up my sweater and also picked up this roving. I recall trying to call Ellen on the cell to have her talk me out of it but she didn't hear her phone ring. I guess her not picking up the phone worked out well for me!

I finished spinning this up into 2-ply laceweight. It is very pretty and I enjoyed spinning this. I wasn't sure if I would like working with this blend and I found out that I really enjoy it(good thing because I bought a lot of merino/silk blends at OFFF). It is approximately 7 ounces. I'll have to check again but I think it is around 22 wpi.

I made a recent purchase at Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs. I know one of the owners of the shop, Shiori, as she is a fellow student in Nihon Vogue. I saw an orifice hook with a gnome on it in their shop. I emailed Shiori right away and asked if she could do some custom work on it. Her business partner, Stephanie, makes these works of art and she graciously agreed to make me a custom hook!

I wanted her to add 'gnomiejo knits' somewhere on the hook for me and she did!

Isn't it just wonderful?

I love the glass bead they added to the base which has a toadstool look to it. I appreciate the attention to detail that went into creating this work of art.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Nihon Vogue Year Two, so far

When I began year two I had the best intentions to blog in more detail what I am learning.

It is now the day before our second session and I have not given you more information on what we are learning.

I am thoroughly enjoying my journey in year two. It is amazing what NOT working does for a student taking on this level of certification.

Project one is a puffy/gathered sleeve garment. My inspiration came from the Skater's Top by Veronik Avery. I am knitting this garment out of a fiber exactly like Kidsilk Haze but made by another company.

Here is the body sewn up but without the neckline ribbing.

The concepts involved in creating a puffy sleeve is very intriguing. During class when Jean showed us how to make the design, all I could think was "how cool is that?". I feel fortunate that as we are learning this concept just as the puffy sleeve has come back into fashion. I am seeing them in many fashion magazines.

For this short sleeve tee, when creating the puffy sleeve, after you have drawn the sleeve cap curve, you take tracing paper and draw the cap only onto the paper. Cut it out. Then anchoring at the underarm point, pivot the cap at that point upward. Then you can draw the new sleeve cap.

With each garment we design, I learn more on how to determine if a certain pattern will work with the design or not. I learned, after knitting the front, that the stitch pattern I chose isn't going to work out as well as I thought it would.

The lace pattern I am using is a 9 stitch repeat and there is no center stitch, per se. It is not a balanced pattern, as you can see above.

I should have mirrored the lace stitch pattern on the left and right sides of the center front and center back, or use a different stitch pattern altogether. Luckily the fuzziness of this yarn will disguise this *problem* a teeny, tiny bit but *I* will know there is a problem. I wasn't willing to start all over and re-knit the front once I realized the issue but I will chalk it up experience.

Not only did I make the sleeve so it will be gathered at the top of the sleeve, but I also did short rows right after the provisional cast-on to create a little puffy shelf-y thing at the bottom of the sleeve right before the ribbing. In essence you are creating a collar shaped fabric on the sleeve.

To create this on your actual pattern you create an area of short rows.

To explain how this creates additional fabric, the photo below of my notes may help you to understand. The orange line is the provisional cast-on and you knit up from this line. The purple line indicates where the ribbing is done downward. You still knit down from the provisional cast-on but the drawing is trying to indicate and show the extra fabric that you will create.

Project Two. Dolman sleeve garment. More detail to come later(I would rather do some spinning today!). Originally I was going to do a very short sleeved pullover out of Euroflax for a cute summer top. That design went out the window the day of class where we learned the dolman sleeve concepts. I didn't want to do a short-sleeved garment as I felt I would be short changing my learning on the technicalities to create the dolman sleeve.

I landed on doing a dolman sleeved version of Kate Gilbert's A Cardigan for Arwen. The dolman area of the sleeve will be very small(no wing bats for me). I won't do a hooded version but I have yet to determine how I will finish the neckline.

Here is my progress on the front. The back is done up to this point but it is just stockinette so there is no point really showing you.

We also had to knit 4 guage samples out of 100% wool with about 110 meters(120yds) in 50g. Each swatch is 25 sts, 25 rows. One swatch for 3.25, 3.5, 3.75 and 4mm needle.

This will help us determine, in our own knitting, about how much each change in needle size will give us in our knitting.

To help me keep track of what needle size I used for each swatch, I put little knots in the cast-on yarn. Here is an example of my knots for my 3.25 swatch.

Have a great weekend! I know I will! Going to Nihon Vogue class is always exciting and fun, and little exhausting.

'Cuz you asked

I've had a number of inquiries about our home siding project. is still incomplete. I'm glad we had a fixed price bid, not time and materials bid because we would have gone way over budget.

The area in the photo above where the orange is the master bedroom deck. They came to lay some decking material and found additional rot(not sure why they didn't discover this before). We decided to put in a new sliding glass door there while we are at it before they put up the Hardie Board. Did you know it can take awhile to get the door delivered? No wonder these projects go on and on!

Here is the south side of the house comprised of the Hardie board. As you can see the boards were cut to our design of varying sizes. Of course this added time for installation.

This week the guys are doing finishing/detail work. This crew had never put up the sandstone/Nichiha product and now they are experts. Here is a closeup of that material.

Whew! The end is in sight and I'll be able to have my quiet once again!

I have had my fill of living in a fishbowl, so to speak. I've also had my fill of noise and feeling that my home really isn't my home from 8am to 5pm.

I'm retired now. I can sleep in if I want. I can take a nap if I want. NOT!

The upside is the men that are working are 1) nice and respectful 2) detail oriented, 3) competent. As much as I like them, I just wish I wouldn't see them everyday! I usually make some type of baked good/treat once a week for them because they are so nice!

The Hardie board still needs to be painted a dark charcoal grey(currently beige/tan in the photos). The doors and railings will be sundried tomato. Since our contract included painting of the Hardie board we have had a couple sub-contractors out to take a look so they can bid with the company we contracted with. Both said they wouldn't be available for at least a couple weeks and then...well we know Seattle weather in winter....will depend on weather conditions. I sure hope that it can get painted soon!

The frustrating thing is the Hardie board installation has been complete on the sides and back of the house for quite some time. The past month they have mainly been working on getting the sandstone up. We told the company many times over the past month(nag, nag, nag) to get someone out to paint now before the weather turns. The weather has turned.

The crew had never installed the Hardie board in this fashion with a rainscreen and a reveal before. They had never installed the sandstone Nichiha product so there was a learning curve on all fronts of this project. It is no wonder this project has taken over a month longer than the company estimated.

Now to the fiber portion of this post!

I found this wonderful pencil roving from FiberOptic. It is superwash combined with nylon! I was curious to try this combination in a roving because it would be perfect for socks!

What I love about this roving is it is split into two mini pencil rovings. I just separate the two lengthwise and spin away.

2-ply sock yarn made easy! No drafting really. Goes really quickly. I spun the singles in an afternoon and plied them the next day.

It is hard to capture the depth of the colors in the yarn but it is wonderful. This is a fun fiber to spin. I recommend it! In fact she is dying some up for me and should be ready this week. I think she will be updating her shop on Wednesday and she will be listing more of this fiber. I hate to tell you all because I want it all for myself but that would be too selfish!

One last thing. I looked out the window last week because it had rained and the sun was shining brightly across the lake. I was in awe of the autumn colors across the way and by the time I got my camera, the rainbow appeared.