Random thoughts of a fiber enthusiast - mostly fiber related, sometimes coherent

Month: November 2006

Chewing Gum

I picked up Anne again, after several weeks hiatus. Why did I wait so long? Well, that second row of each chart is a bitch. (First one is always a solid color. The second row is the one that established the pattern.) It usually takes me upwards of 5 attempts before I get the stitch counts exactly right. I usually end up back at the steek when I figure out that I’m off by one or more stitches. Careful counting as I go along doesn’t seem to help. Placing stitch markers as I go also doesn’t help, because I still end up with a missing or extra stitch somewhere along the way. (I seem to have problems counting to 6 or 8 or whatever.)

But once I get past that first row, I just fly along and the world is perfect. I was taking lessons learned from my first full chart series and applying it to the second repeat — don’t pull as tightly when I strand the colors. Let it “give” a little. See? No puckering!


The new repeat is smooth as silk, even without blocking.

The observant amongst you will rub your eyes, and say, “Hmm…Something’s not right, Ann.” And you’d be right. While I was making sure that I was as loose as someone on Percocet, I was, well, knitting as loosely as someone on Percocet. The stitch gauge was still okay because there just wasn’t much room for the fiber to go, except up. Yup, the row gauge was way off.

So, I leave you with this…


Back to square one.

I did learn something the second time around though. Count and place the stitch markers during the first row (solid color row). It’s easier to find out if you came out at the right place at the end of a repeat then at the end of the round. And if you count and place the markers during that first row, you aren’t trying do colors at the same time.

Believe it. I was never able to walk, talk and chew gum without biting myself inside my cheek. Break it down. Do one thing at a time. It saves time.

SOAR, Sore, and Conspicuous Consumption

I went…I spent…and I’m sore. Okay. Disclaimer. My left shoulder (my drafting arm) was already in mild pain before I went to SOAR, but it really went into full gear while I was up there. It didn’t help that I forgot to pack the new bottle of Advil. I only had enough Advil to last one day. This afternoon, I cried uncle, or rather Annie…my acupuncturist. I now have the Gwyneth Paltrow look on my back. I have never heard of cupping before this evening, but I have to tell you, I have movement in my shoulder again. It still hurts, but I think it’s going to take several therapy sessions to fully recover from abusing myself and ignoring treatment for so long.

SOAR was marvelous. It’s always marvelous when you get to spend extended time with so many talented people who are passionate about fiber arts. I’ve attended Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat for several years now, so I thought that I’d know what to expect. But, WOW! SOAR is in a much bigger and grander scale. Don’t get me wrong. I still love Madrona’s retreat (and I will definitely be up at the crack of dawn later this week to register). It’s much more intimate, and because it’s primarily a regional retreat, you get to know everyone, at least by sight. But the international talent that was present at SOAR was amazing. Apples and Oranges, but delicious nonetheless.

I arrived at SOAR late on Wednesday evening so that I can be there when the market opened the next morning. As it turns out, it was an excellent idea. Have you ever seen a shark feeding frenzy on the Discovery channel? That’s what it was like. I was surprised that a fisticuff didn’t break out. The vendors were picked clean of the prize bounties by 1000 (the booths opened at 0900). Lines were close to an hour long at Rovings.

So, what did I come home with? I’m too embarrassed to show pictures of the fibers in the back of my staionwagon. Let’s just say that I did my bit to help pay down the national debt.  So much that I backed my stationwagon into the driveway so that Penny wouldn’t see my haul as I unloaded my car.

I will say that I came home with something that I had planned to get for some months now — a new Lendrum Spinning Wheel. Much as I like my Schacht Matchless, it does weigh a ton, and it can’t go on an airplane. The Lendrum can fit into a large hardsided suitcase and go as checked luggage.

But I didn’t come home with just ONE spinning wheel…no, I came home with TWO. Before y’all worry whether I can afford my Annie’s Mac & Cheese for the rest of the month, the second was free. Sort of. My Matchless was acting up. When I arrived at SOAR and settled in for some relaxing spinning, I felt this clunking thing going on. I took it to Cindy at the Schacht booth. She looked at it, worked on it, but it still wasn’t right. On Saturday, she flagged me down and said that she’d swap her demo wheel with mine — straight across. There was something too strange with my wheel and she was going to take it home and do an autopsy on it. (Cindy — I’m SO going to take you sailing when you come to the Bay Area next!)

So, hardware wise, I came home with 2 spinning wheels, 2 spindles (plus the one I took up with me), 3 nalbinding needles, and a little wood frame loom. There. That doesn’t sound so bad. As long as I don’t list the fiber that I had to buy to pad my spinning wheels in my stationwagon. You know, so they don’t get damaged coming back down the hill.

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