Posts Tagged ‘fsm’

Unwound – Pt. II

November 19, 2010

For the previous days’ previous events at the 2010 KR Retreat, see this post.

Saturday morning dawned bright and clear.  It wouldn’t have mattered if a hurricane raged outside, for we were all absorbed in fibery pursuits.  It finally felt like we were really “there” at the Knitter’s Review Retreat, not on a day-trip that would end too soon.  Hearing Darling Bebe sobbing for me on the phone and being unable to complete a song for her (because I choked up) the night before sort of made that real.

Ann Budd crunches the designer numbers

We were so delighted to crunch the numbers that result in perfect sweater-fitting with the legendary Ann Budd.  Her Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns lives on my coffee table and I refer to it often when working through a pattern issue or putting something basic on the needles.  Clara always manages to bring the knitterati who are both geniuses AND approachable people.  Ann is no exception.  However, she is exceptional.

Throughout the class, the BlackBerry blinked.

Quince and Co. Tern - Boothbay Blue

Of course, in addition to all of those finds in the Stash Lounge ~ the room devoted to yarns seeking loving new homes ~ the KR Retreat features its very own marketplace from some of our favorite fiber companies.  Pam Allen brought her Quince and Co. brand-new wool-silk blend Tern.  The camera does not do it justice.  I’m hoping I can execute the soon-to-be-released Ann Budd scarf pattern with it.

Where are all the pictures?  There were too many eager knitters and not enough air ~ or room ~ to mess with a camera.  After all, how

Briar Rose Fibers Glory Days - Colorway - Nutmeg?

would I then hold onto this: Briar Rose Glory Days dyed in a colorway just for me. Really.  Or at least that’s the illusion I’m working under.   Chris was soooooo kind.  And I have a swoony kind of weakness for this particular BFL.

Foxfire Cormo/Silk/Alpaca in Great Blue Heron

Foxfire Fiber also joined the other wonderful vendors in the marketplace.  I currently have this yarn, Cormo/Silk/Alpaca on the needles making a LaNovia scarf.  It is soft and drapey at the same time.  There are only two times I year I see Barb Parry, (and she  missed Mass. Sheep and Wool) so I picked these up for the day when inspiration strikes again.

There were a few other yarn purchases we’ll talk about another day from Spirit Trail Fiberworks and String Theory.  And another of Lanea’s sock bags (in a different colorway) not for knitting socks ~ or for knitting at all ~ but for mommy-running-into-store-with-free-hands-necessities-and-toddler.   I committed far less wallet damage than many of my dear friends in that guilt-free zone.  OTOH, there were some skeins of lovely things that Minh “helped” jump into my bag in the Stash Lounge, so I was in no way yarn-deprived.

Instead, we took over the tavern for an afternoon of knitting and conversation about yarn shops, direction of the industry, designers and life in general.  No photos required, though I regrettably failed to document the dozens scores scads of gorgeous creations adorning everyone in the room. I’ll let another friend show you.

Confession:  By this point, the ignored BlackBerry was apoplectic.  So much so, that I felt obligated to send an email up the food chain to inquire whether I was supposed to engage in the discourse that would. not. end.  Response: No.  But the red eye resumed blinking as soon as I locked the keyboard.

BFL headband frpm Wool-along

Evening brought the long-awaited Knitter’s Book of Yarn / Knitter’s Book of Wool / Wool-along Hoe-down to KRR.  Oh, the lovelies we saw.  From headbands to shawls … and oh, the shawls.  There was this show-stoppingly gorgeous Tibetan Clouds designed

Tibetan Clouds in Sundara FSM

by Sivia Harding for KBOY, knitted by Hipparchia in Sundara Fingering Silky Merino with beads.  (Sadly, the camera hated trying to capture the bright, shiny colorway.)

Here, Sweet Jane poses with her peeps who made her design, the Falling Waters Shawl.  (Which,

Falling Waters with its creator, Jane

as was demonstrated, is long enough to cover lap and legs in a cold office.)  Between her Hedgerow Socks, the inspiration for Hedgerow Mitts, and Falling Waters, Jane is the de facto preferred KR designer.

Oh, and we had doorprizes galore!  From “it” yarns of the moment to needles, bags and beads, it seemed like Clara’s doorprize list would not end.

Spirit Trail Saule BFL and a new owlie bag

This is the part where I admit to embarrassing myself.  (It’s a state of affairs that happens too often for comfort, being a complete geek.  Not a geek in a cool way, just a geek.)  Clara rigged the drawing.  She had to have.  Because it’s just a little too coincidental that the BFL from Spirit Trail Fiberworks (called Saule, sportweight) came to me.  Poor KnittingKittens was afraid she’d have to sleep in the lobby while I … nevermind.  Shown here with a lavender/green owl bag from NanciKnits, the fraternal twin of another one I have.

All through this, I did something I’ve not done before at a KRR.

I knitted.

And knitted.

Into the owl hours of the morning.

While my voice disappeared.

And the BlackBerry blinked.

Leading the Yarn Church service ...

Sunday brought “Yarn Church.”  This is a chance to select a project for oneself and start it by having your friends help cast on a few stitches each.  It is a lovely tradition.

Though we were still together, I could feel the weight of home and job pressing from the outside.

Perhaps that is why I discovered nearly an hour down the road, that I had forgotten key items in the room, forcing us to turn back to retrieve them.

I wasn’t ready to leave.

Sleep socks for Darling Bebe

But I did get some actual knitting done.



Slice of Santa Fe

April 9, 2010

A Slice of Santa Fe

High on the list of “Best things about visit from Mom and Dad” is the requirement that the guest room become habitable.  This, in turn, means I get my “blocking bed” back.  Which means some long overdue Friday eye candy.

So I present a completed and blocked Citron.  I call it Slice of Santa Fe in honor of the Sundara Yarns Santa Fe collection that the Fingering Silky Merino in colorway Adobe comes from.

Some interesting blocking developments to report:  Though I knitted this at a gauge of 5.5 st/inch, after soaking in a warm bath and gently prodding into shape (Read: I did NOT block

A much-relaxed drape

this hard!) the gauge opened up to 4 st/inch.  This is good for the finished size – which is more like almost 3/4 of a circle than the designed shape of an actual 180-degree “slice.”  However, the same “opening up” also relaxed some of the texture in the ruched and ruffled

If you could only feel it!

parts of the shawl.

Important lesson learned: wash and block swatches before making a garment with this yarn, as I plan to do (per New Year’s resolution).  This could be a pleasant development or a disastrous one without a washed swatch.

As noted in previous posts, because of the uber-generous yardage of FSM, I was able to work an additional full repeat and complete ruffle, with about 5 yards of yarn to spare.  (Because of superstitiousness as to whether there would be enough yarn to pull this off, I did use some lifelines along the way.  Idiot-proofing is good.)  The resulting shape and drape really make this fit almost like a faroese shawl.  It’s been draped around my shoulders most of the time since it dried.

In summation: in all its simplicity, I found Citron to be eminently more fun than its viral cousin, Clapotis, and would make it again in a heartbeat.  The resulting shawl is not too large and shows off beautifully dyed yarn to its best advantage.

In case you are wondering, yes, that’s a sundial in my garden.  It is calibrated to our exact geographic location and keeps time wonderfully.


February 17, 2010

Thanks to novenas to the Yarn Goddess and candles to St. Jude, here is an enlarged and completed Citron – with about 5 yards of yarn to spare!

Unblocked Citron

That’s right, the generous yardage of Sundara Fingering Silky Merino – billed as 500 yards, but always more – allowed for completion of a 6th pattern repeat and a complete ending ruffle.

About the pattern:  Just what the doctor ordered.  An unfussy knit that required no concentration.  Another shout-out here to Lilia who unselfishly shared the math to preserve the remaining sanity of one overtaxed Owl.

About the yarn:  Yummmmm! It feels wonderful and it hasn’t yet had a bath!  I do love semi-solids, and in this case, I’m delighted with the marriage of yarn and pattern.  The tonal color changes add depth to the pattern’s simplicity.

About gauge: I went up one needle size from the suggested 6 st/in for laceweight to account for the slightly heavier yarn while maintaining desired drape.  Actual gauge (pre-blocking) of about 5.5st/in.  It will undoubtedly open up a little more with blocking.  I also used a needle 2 sizes larger for the bind-off to keep the ruffle from drawing in.

My only caution regarding FSM is that if you are using lifelines, be sure to use a blunt-tipped needle.  The FSM can catch a needle in weird parts of the loops if you’re not using a really a fat tip.

Yes, I used a couple of lifelines – because I could.  I believe in idiot-proofing wherever possible.  Had I run out of yarn, no big deal.  I mean, it wasn’t in any way a tricky knit.  Word has it that a number of knitters have felt the project to be a little small.  I will follow the advice of Sprocket and block it a little harder along the straight edge to get more length.  With the extra pattern repeat, it’s more than a half-circle anyway, and the extra repeat will help preserve the ruffle in so doing.

Another Citron angle

The tricky part as it were, involves the time/inclination to clear out the guest room from our vacation bags to have room to block this.  Yes, I know we went away a bit ago, but they’re all summer clothes that need to be put away somewhere.

Wouldn’t you rather knit instead?

I thought so.

Conversing with the Yarn Goddess

February 8, 2010

As noted, Citron has been a most delicious and utterly mindless knit.  Love the yarn (Sundara FSM) too much to want it to end.  And so, when I reached the written end of the pattern, after five repeats of the ruching and stockinette, we moved on to what I must now call Extreme Process Knitting.

Use me! Every last inch!

See, there was just too much yarn left to simply knit the ruffle and be done.  And since I am working at a slightly different gauge from the pattern as written owing to slightly heavier yarn (light fingering vs. laceweight), I have no earthly idea whether I can pull this off.  Not to mention that although the original called for 1 sk of Malabrigo Laceweight, there’s no indication of how much yarn was actually used.

Thus, enter the lifeline and burning incense.  Lifeline inserted after Repeat Five.  I am now knitting an0ther 20-row repeat AND 11-row ruffle, hoping the yarn will hold out.  Mind you, “ruffle” is shorthand for “doubling the amount of stitches in the row.”  A special shout-out here to Lilia, who so kindly posted the math she already did to add repeats to the pattern.  It may not have been rocket science, but it’s one less thing to have to wrap the brain around.

Oh please, Yarn Goddess, I have been an obedient knitter.  I swatched!  Please let there be enough yarn to use it to its full and complete advantage!

This is a one-way conversation.

If there’s not enough yarn, well, I’ll just rip, rip, rip all the way back to the lifeline.  And have quite a bit of yarn left.  And then knit it again.  Which is, really, fine – I mean, it’s a very relaxing knit.

In the meantime, the length of the rows keeps growing.  And the cake of yarn is definitely shrinking.  And my monologue with the Yarn Goddess continues.

A slice

February 4, 2010

… in this case, a slice of time removed from the real world, to sit on a beach, swim in the pool with a delighted toddler, see a movie in a theatre, stroll brightly lit downtown streets, sip a T&T with a big, fat lime and actual bubbles in the tonic while the sun dips below the horizon.

It was wonderful.

The other slice is this: A Slice of Santa Fe, my name for Citron, from’s winter issue.

Citron in progress

This pattern is the ultimate in vacation knitting.  Cast on, work stockinette back and forth, and let the yarn do the work.

In this case, the yarn is Sundara Fingering Silky Merino in the colorway Adobe from the Santa Fe Collection.  It’s a warm orange/tan semi-solid – exactly what the name says.  It’s my first time knitting with this yarn, and while it would initially appear to want to be somewhat splitty, it isn’t splitting at all while on the needles. (Addi Lace US 6, to be precise.  I had gauge with the 5, but wanted a more airy, draping fabric, so I opened it up just a bit.)  With no exertion, I’m nearly finished.

Just what the doctor ordered.  Along with that T&T.

Itchy fingers

January 8, 2010

With two recent FOs (still in need of photography) and two more projects nearing completion, the  itchy fingers are back.

I need to start something new.  It’s a practically primal urge.  Something fun and scrumptious.

I bought patterns the other day for some wonderful hats by the brilliant Ysolda TeagueRose Red, Snapdragon Tam and Ishbel beret.  I’m sure one of them will be forthcoming.  They make good travel knitting. Heaven knows, the yarn shop in the house stash offers plenty of possibilities and the patterns offer plenty of options to fit any hat that tickles my fancy.  There’s Sundara sock yarn, some yummy BFL, heaps of worsted and DK.

But right this second, I’m distracted by Citron from the new Knitty, done in this:

Sundara Fingering Silky Merino in Adobe

Sundara Fingering Silky Merino in the colorway Adobe from the recent Santa Fe Collection.  A one-skein project for a yarn I’ve been dying to put through its paces.

With all the snow and chilliness of late (and drafty office), every morning I grab something to wrap around my neck.  I might as well have something in my favorite colors with a little bit of ruffle — but not too girly.  It should also go wonderfully with my new (winter staple) car coat.

I hope to resist casting on until I’m finished with the current Darling Bebe sweater, Action.  Just working up the sleeves now.

Citron would be a terrific travel project, as there is a trip upcoming.  Perhaps it will become a race – does a hat beat this to the needles?

Which one is your money on?

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