Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tower of London

IMG_0936 by kbshee
IMG_0936, a photo by kbshee on Flickr.

I don't know why this pattern is called this, but whatever: it is an infinity scarf (ie cowl) with half of it being a cable and the other half being lace. I'm sure there is a reason behind the name.

The yarn is from a small farm called Nebo Rock Ranch that I bought last week at BSG. I went for a color that I usually don't wear a lot of--the brilliant Emerald Green. It is pure merino, and really lovely.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bling Ring

IMG_0933 by kbshee
IMG_0933, a photo by kbshee on Flickr.

My new pattern! It uses three kinds of silk yarn and is pretty decadent, and feels terrific. I think this will work for both a spring and a fall/winter cowl. Stay tuned for more on this beautiful cowl!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Knitting

IMG_0929 by kbshee
IMG_0929, a photo by kbshee on Flickr.

Left to right:

-green yarn for the London Bridge cowl
-grey yarn for the Jeweled Cowl
-white and blue yarn for my new pattern: "Bling Ring"

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

FO and SK

IMG_0928 by kbshee
IMG_0928, a photo by kbshee on Flickr.

The FO (finished object) is the reverse engineered tank--I had a tank but not the pattern so did my best to reverse engineer it. I think it is a bit snug. But we'll see.

The SK (summer knitting) plans are taking shape. To wit:
-two infinity scarves: one the Tower of London and one a beaded scarf.
-chunk long sweater.
-legwarmers for a friend.
-finish WIPs: Romeo and an entrelac shrug.

AND: my friend Lauren suggested I knit an entire head to toe outfit out of alpaca. I'm going to research whether that is even possible (springiness issues) and will think more about it. 8 pounds of fleece winging its way to Washington State to Superior Fibers for processing!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Two (really four) bags full

IMG_0926 by kbshee
IMG_0926, a photo by kbshee on Flickr.
Yesterday was shearing day at Silk Creek Farm!

As some of you know, I own two alpacas--Brownie and Atom, who live at Silk Creek Farm, about twenty miles south of Eugene. The farm is owned by my friends Bil and Julia--both work at the UO and I've known them both a long time, they do a wonderful job on the farm and raising three exceptional daughters.

I missed shearing last year because I was teaching in Portland, so I was glad the schedule worked out this time. I've helped several times in the past. When their herd was bigger (they've had more than twenty at one time, I think) we had quite a crew out helping. Now they're winnowing down the herd, and they had only ten to shear (including mine). There is a new cria, too, who did not get sheared.

This is the third shearer I've worked with, and in my limited experience with shearers I would say yesterday's was the best. His name is Steve Bell and he works up and down the coast--if you want his contact info, let me know and I'll hook you up. Why was he good:

-he gave very clear and calm instructions to those of us helping. He made me feel he trusted me to do my job.
-he did not rush but finished an alpaca in about 10-12 minutes (I've worked with a shearer who does one in five minutes). This is a good amount of time--the animals are minimally stressed and he concentrated on getting a really good shear.
-He creates a gorgeous blanket (first cut) and does a good job with the second cut. No third cuts--which are the 'leftovers' he didn't get the first time around, and are relatively useless. No third cuts also means a much more beautiful blanket.

The two bags above are the first cuts (blankets--from the body of the alpaca)--the top is Atom, the bottom is Brownie. I'm going to send these off to a small mill that does small batch processing. I'm pretty behind on my carding and spinning from the previous shearings so this is a good decision to get this processed.

And my job: the head. Alpacas, as you know, have a long neck which flails around when you're manipulating the alpaca for shearing (we lay them on their sides). So my job is hold the neck down and keep the head still. It puts me in the line of fire for alpaca spit (not pleasant) but I also get to spend time holding and petting and talking to all the animals, which makes it a great job.

After shearing, Tim and I took the kayaks to Fern Ridge Reservoir, where we got stuck in the mud a few times and had to dig out.

My aches and pains today (a mix of alpaca shearing aches and pains and mud digging aches and pains):

-little sunburn on my forehead
-sore knuckles (digging out)
-sore back of neck (???)
-sore upper arm muscles (digging out)
-sore thigh muscles (shearing--standing up and down)

I've never had sore knuckles before. Luckily they seem less painful now than first thing this morning.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

New Cowl

IMG_0920 by kbshee
IMG_0920, a photo by kbshee on Flickr.

I've had this yarn called Zing String in my stash for a while, and wanted to knit something with it for a bit. Since I'm so into cowls, I realized this would be a great yarn for cowls.

Zing String, by Mango Moon, is called a 'carry along' yarn: it is very thin laceweight with a little 'thingee' strung on about every two inches. I'm knitting right now with the black, and the 'thingee's are all black stones and beads in different shapes.

My first attempt was knitting this 'raw'--that is, not as a carry along but just by itself. Did not work. Too thin yarn and the thingees kept getting n the way.

Back to the stash! I found Elann Silken Kydd (kind of a faux Kidsilk Haze) in both black and grey, which match the two zing string colors that I have. So I cast on 200 stitches and started knitting---right now Ihave one black stripe, probably about six rows, and one of the rows has the Zing string in it. I realized that I should have knit the grey stones on the black, but I'll try that on an upcoming stripe.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Yes, I do knit!

IMG_0918 by kbshee
IMG_0918, a photo by kbshee on Flickr.

School is over, back to the knitting.

This is the top that I'm reverse engineering (I have one I knit once, I want another one, I can't find the pattern). Two colors of Rowan calmer. The dark pink was knit in the round, and the light pink knit flat. Almost done with the first flat side.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Aloha!

IMG_0545 by kbshee
IMG_0545, a photo by kbshee on Flickr.

Tim and I just returned from ten days in Hawaii. We started in Waikiki for 4 nights at the AAA Global Conference, then bopped over to Kauai for 5 nights, staying at a condo near Prince Kuhio beach in Poipu.

It was great. The conference was, well, a conference but Hawaii was beautiful. We've never been, and it really is a vacation paradise. The people, everywhere we went, were lovely and friendly and accommodating. We enjoyed playing in the water, kayaking and hiking through a jungle to a secret waterfall, watching birds, taking pictures, and just experiencing as much as we could in the time we were there.

Tim was certified for open water scuba, so he had something to do while I was conferencing.

Our first night, we went to a luau at Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki. I was certain it would be an incredibly tacky evening. Instead, it was beautiful, educational, and truly moving. This photo is from the 'finale' which is a fire dance. But every one of the twenty or so dances was something special.

Oh, and slight knitting sad story: I left a half of a foot of a sock somewhere in Honolulu International Airport. Apparently there was not a need to evacuate.