Monday, January 30, 2006

Restraint Rules...

In case you are wondering, the order slip that would allow me to order Vogue's Stitchionary is torn up and on it's way to be recycled into newsprint.

Instead I switched my focus to registering for Convergence. There's a lot to digest in the schedule before deciding how to go about this. It's going to be a whirlwind week becaue I'll need to come home and immediately be ready to go on a second trip to the shore with dh that Saturday.

Progress continues on King's Puzzle and the lace sweater, but not enough to warrant a photo. Meanwhile I have to finish (er... begin) reading The Known World for book group by Friday morning. Perhaps I'll be able to prop up the book and read as I knit.

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to see what this new site will Whip Up. I'm a little tired of "all knitting all the time" sorts of blogs. Perhaps this will be more inspiring. to read a few pages....

Friday, January 27, 2006

Decisions, decisions....

This year I am trying to be a responsible consumer of all fiber related things. My reason for this is the volume of fiber related items in this house. There is a lot...I won't go into inventory here (been there, done that, and besides you don't really want to know.)

While rummaging through my "stuff" shortly after returning from a fiber acquisition binge, there was a light bulb moment. Much of this stuff arrived here as a result of impulse buying. Now I'm sure that most of you admit that some impulses are better than others. So there are some mistakes. Things that seemed a good idea at the time, but really, they just aren't me.

Meanwhile, there are some fiber things I want this year that are a little more expensive that most of my impulse buys. So human logic suggests that if I restrain myself from some of these impulse purchases, there will be enough accumulated resources to acquire the desires of my heart....right?

So here are the (current) desires of my heart:
- Registration and lodging for the full week of Convergence in Grand Rapids, Mi. this summer, with enough pocket money to splurge at the market. (Ingenious! Planned impulse buying!)

- Fiberworks PCW software, silver version.

- Designaknit 7 software.

I think that covers most of the biggies. I still covet a 30" Jensen cherrywood saxony production wheel, but can't justify it with 3 really nice spinning wheels already. It would be right up there with a 45" Toika loom (sigh).

Now here's where I need your help. I have the opportunity to purchase the new Vogue Knitting Stichionary at half price....for a limited time only.

I already own all of the Barbara Walker and Harmony Guides stitch dictionaries, along with: Lesley Stanfield's New Knitting Stich Library, 4 German stitch dictionaries, Mon Tricot, Susanna Lewis' Knitting Lace , Barbara Abbey's Lace Knitting, Sara Don's Lace Knitting. That's the short list. There are other books with some stitch patterns as part of the book (eg. Nicky Epstein's and Helene Rush books).

So what d'ya think dear readers? Is it possible that there's anything in this Vogue Stitchionary that I don't own in one form or another? From the sneak previews, it looks kind of pattern per page, line by line written instructions (no charts) and it's only knit/purl combinations.

What will you do...push me ahead, or restrain me?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

Perhaps you think you've seen this photo before? But it's not a repeat, there really is progress:

Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

See? This is taken from beneath the loom. Weaving with two shuttles and a skeleton tie up does not make for production speed weaving! I did cut off and retie after the last photo. The part with the treadling error will go in my sample book. This is about the halfway point for the runner. I hope to have enough warp to make a table mat as well. It would be a great gift, accompanied by a bottle of Black & Tan Scotch when we are dinner guests at a couple's home in a couple weeks. They are novice weavers.

Knitting progress on the alpaca lace cardigan is slow. The back is completed, but not blocked. Here you see it unceremoniously tossed on the bed for a photo:

alpaca lace back
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

Although the photo doesn't look like much progress from the last one, this is 12 pattern repeats and will block to a length of 22 inches. I've started the left front. I usually knit both fronts, both sleeves, or both socks at the same time. However, I find this 1x1 twisted knit ribbing so tedious to work that I could bear to be doing the ribbing for both fronts at the same time. Perhaps once left front ribbing is done I'll start the ribbing for the right front, then just put them on the same circular needle. We'll see. This is mostly evening "in front of the tv with hubby" knitting. Slow going.

Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

I've started these Sock Bug Crooked Cable Socks
as a new portable project because one can never have too many socks in the middle of winter. However, I've decided to put ribbing at the top rather than the stockinette rolled top. Some people can just never follow a pattern as written.

That's all the fiber stuff for now. I'm spending the rest of my energy ruminating about redecorating. It's been something we've been putting off for a long time because we both dread having the house ripped apart in the process. However, I've reached the point the being "ripped up" can't be much worse than the status quo.

Had a group lunch at a friend's house this afternoon. She's been to my home before. It's the first I've been to hers. When I commented on how much I liked how the walls were painted in her house, she quickly wrote down the name and phone number of the couple who did her painting/decorating. Uhhmmm....they're not relatives of hers, and she doesn't "own stock" in them...I think I get the hint. She thinks I need to redecorate too.

It's sort of like the adage "when someone spontaneously offers you a breath mint, take the hint. Take the mint." When someone offers you a painting service...take the hint....

I stopped at the library on the way home and checked out a stack of decorating magazines. Now to persuade the hubby to take the first steps on this journey. Oh how I wish decorating could be done just by thinking about it (or at least wallpaper removal!)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

In the news...

Just got back from weaving guild where someone brought in the fashion & style page from today's NY Times. Adjacent articles seem to be in strange juxtaposition.

First is The New Spinners: Yarn Is the Least of It. It's not really breaking news that the popularity of knitting is spilling over into handspinning. Yet there are at least three suggestions in the article that this recent wave of spinners don't ever intend to do anything with their yarn. Please, no...don't let that be true! I love spinning, but it really is all about the yarn. If handspinning is not about the yarn, then I shudder to think what the parallel to "funky furzy" yarn would be in the spinning world!

Of course Interweave people are quoted extensively, since there is only one spinning mag out there. Oh how I long for good technical, skill enhancing articles that used to be in Spin Off (Rita Buchanan where are you?!)

The Hands That Sew the Sequins talks about the diminishing numbers of skilled embroiders and their importance to French Haute Couture. I love the quote from Valerie Steele, the director and chief curator of the Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology. "Fashion isn't necessarily about concept but about craftsmanship. You need the people to make the best ribbon, the best lace, the best hats. This is essential to keeping French fashion prestigious and creative."

In truth, I am more fiber artisan than fiber artist. There is something to be said for the skill required to execute the concept. Perfect stitches (embroidery or knitting); perfectly tensioned warp and and even beat; and yarn spun to meet the requirements for the next weaving or knitting project: That's what it's all about.

I'd love to know what others think about these two articles appearing together.

Monday, January 09, 2006

I live among geniuses...

One of the things that I listed as a holiday gift was a device to measure the length of yarns. Specifically handspun yarns, although there are times when it would be nice to wind measured lengths of yarn for weaving too.

When I researched the market the choices didn't suit me. I wanted to be able to measure in yards, up to 1,000 yd. Both the Schacht and Dundas bobbins hold a lot of yarn and I often spin fine yarns. Nancy's Knit Knacks yarn meter measures up 999 ft. The Schacht and LeClerc yarn meters are more expensive than I could justify for hobby use. So, I just dropped the wish off my list.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but this little gem:

My son and husband worked together to produce this yarn meter using the counter from an old tape player and maple scrap wood. They used their engineering and math skills to get the thing to measure almost any type of yarn with a +/- 5% accuracy.

I'm thrilled.

Here's a view from the back. Yes...those are rubber bands from green onions used as the drive belts.

Meanwhile, today they (the guys, not the rubber bands) are back to school and work respectively. So, once I get some of the clutter cleared up and can walk across the kitchen floor without sticking to it, I'm going to be playing with my yarn meter and perhaps weave some more on the King's Puzzle.

There's still more birthday stash to show you....perhaps later...

Thursday, January 05, 2006


King's Puzzle Table Mat

Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

The warp is on the loom and I am weaving (at last!) Carolyn suggested repair heddles in comments to the last post. Indeed a repair heddle or two was required. However, I would also have needed "repair warp threads" for this complex threading.

My past is checkered with repair threads hanging off the back of the loom, weighted by penny filled 35mm film canisters. I didn't want to start '06 that way. Besides, the cat has no self restraint around such items.

This project is in Weaver's mag., Issue 36, Summer '97, designed by Norma Smayda. It's an 8 harness weave, threaded with two different 4 harness twills: Motif 2 is the one you see treadled here and is threaded on harnesses 1-4.

Motif 1 is a mirror image threaded on harnesses 5-8. It will come up in the area where there you see horizontally dominant twill lines.

Of course the side borders and breaks between the pattern areas are twill threadings.

It's a two shuttle weave through out. A skeleton tie-up is required and each pattern shot requires two treadles.

I find the combination of twill and overshot blocks arranged geometrically (rather than in linear fashion) intriguing. It's also challengingto me: you'll note that there's a treadling error in the twill portion of the fabric.

Traditional overshot fabric has all over patterning which tires my eyes and just isn't all that interesting. To me this is the antidote to all that pattern. OTOH, my dh says this looks like a vision test. We are all entitled to our opinions....

I wanted to follow Norma's directions closely to wrap my head around the structure and construction of this fabric. A similar pattern in silk, or silk/merino combination with a different colorway would make exquisite fabric for a jacket or a vest, don't you think?

I leave you with a close up. Oh...the warp and tabby weft are 20/2 merc. cotton (warp is tan, tabby is cream), the weft is 10/2 merc. cotton, black.

Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

Sunday, January 01, 2006 no pictures.
I finished threading what I thought was a 605 thread warp in a combined 8 harness pattern and had 2 threads left over. So I went back and meticulously counted, found a couple of threading errors and am pretty much back almost to the beginning of threading again. At this point, I'm not going to bed until the threading is done! grrr...