Birthdays, Spinning and Secret Pals
My niece Kara and my Dad both celebrate birthdays this week, so there was a celebration at my parents' house yesterday as Kara and her boyfriend Art were up from VA. I, of course, forgot my camera, but Karmellah had hers with her so she got some photos.
After Christmas, I got the idea to make my dad a scarf for his birthday. I picked out a nice basketweave pattern from Stitch n Bitch Nation and ordered some Valley Yarns superwash merino in navy from Webs. I was hoping to get the yarn really fast, as Webs has a reputation for shipping out things fast, but with the huge sale they had going on they just couldn't ship it out lickety-split, so I got it last Monday. I figure, hey, it's a scarf, how long can it take? Well, it turns out the Yarn Harlot was right about scarves. She doesn't think they are a good beginner's project because they take so damn long (which is why my first scarf is pretty short). The Yarn Harlot thinks hats are a much better beginner's project, and I agree. Why not tackle knitting in the round, ribbing, and decreases right off the bat? Then you can move on to socks, which teach you almost everything you need to know about knitting, right there. But I digress. . .
As of Saturday night, I had finished one ball of the yarn and about 15 inches of basketweave stitch:
If I were to start this over again, I'd go down a needle size to 7. The gauge isn't as tight as I would like. It looks nice, but it could probably be a little tighter. This yarn is pretty nice to work with; it doesn't split much and it is completely non-fuzzy. It's kind of like cotton, but without the finger aching stiffness of cotton. It's pretty soft, and would probably be a good yarn for cables.
I just don't really like how my seed stitch edging looks a little holey. I don't know if a smaller needle size would make a difference, or if it is just sloppy knitting on my part. Or maybe it's just a knitter's tendency to see every single mistake in his/her own work.
I took a spinning lesson yesterday from Lucy at Mind's Eye Yarns! She's a great teacher, and showed me what I need to do, what I need to correct, and gave me good advice on spinning. I just have to remember that my treadle is NOT a drum pedal, and I shouldn't play it as such, I need to pull hard and remember to treadle as I'm pulling on the fiber, and, if suddenly it's not working like it was, take a break, because I'm probably getting fatigued. She also said to expect some swearing and maybe crying. So, it's not that much different from knitting.
I also decided to join the current rounds of Secret Pals on the Knittyboard. For three months, I will assume a secret identity and communicate with the person I am assigned to spoil. I will periodically send that person presents based upon his/her likes. I'll also have a person assigned to *me*, whose real identity I won't know, who will have conversations with me and will stalk my blog/board posts, and send *me* presents based on my likes and dislikes. So, do I post links to all the online shops whose yarn I like? So I declare my love of sock yarn? Do I drop major hints about spinning fiber? Do I talk about Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice Tea, Stash Ginger Lemon Tea, Dove Dark Chocolate and Hello Kitty? :-D
I also need to share what may be the Cutest Picture in the World. ZMrK did NOT put Zelia in his arms like this; she snuggled in there all by herself. She does this to me sometimes, under the covers, and makes bread on my stomach.
Snuggly cats are the best.