Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ishkur, I am your Shala

Here is a story:

Once upon a time.  I drove to Astoria, OR.  Then I drove to Seattle, WA by way of Tacoma, WA.  Then I drove to Eugene, OR.  And at Eugene, OR I attended Black Sheep Gathering 2012.  And I met my best friend Sasha, of the Spin Doctor podcast.  And I shopped for fiber.  And I showed Sasha one of the fibers I purchased. 

It was this:

 Polwarth, 8oz, from Crown Mountain Farms in the colorway Ishkur.  I asked Klaus about “Ishkur”, and he told me that this is the name of a very old god.  And the god’s lady friend was named Shala.  So I said, “I will be Shala to this Ishkur” and bought it. 

I didn’t buy it because of the name or the story of a Mesopotamian god and his consort.  I bought it because the colorway attracted and repulsed me.  My first thought when I saw it was “uck”, but I kept circling back around the booth to pick it up again.  It was a scary colorway.  I had no idea how it would spin up or what I would do with yarn of such colors.  I bought it as a challenge. 

And then I brought it to my best friend Sasha and asked her to tell me how to spin it.  Sasha held and stroked and gazed at Ishkur in a way Shala did not appreciate.  But then she released the fiber and suggested a thick-and-thin singles.  I was game. 

Then one day I took my Ishkur to my spinning group and asked my best friend Theresa to show me how to spin a thick-and-thin singles.  She was happy to do this, and I was off and spinning.  Now I have these:
 Two Ishkurs. 

I’ve looked up more information about Ishkur.  He was a god of storms and rain.  Ah, I get it.  Lightning and thunder and walls of blowing dust and funnel clouds that pick up some houses and leave others standing.  Unpredictable, astonishing power.  Ishkur.  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bunch of Bags

My best friend Jan joined me a few weeks ago in ripping up the carpet throughout our little house.  In appreciation, I am giving her these bags:

Thanks, Jan.

I modeled them after a reusable bag I had purchased from Jewel-Osco.

Here is the long version of the story:  Once upon a time.  The local Jewel-Osco grocery store was selling reusable bags.  For a dollar.  This was many, many years ago.  Jewel was ahead of its time.  I bought a bunch of these bags.  My mother bought bunches of them.  And she has now used these bags weekly for at least 15 years.  They're tough nylon things, but she has managed to wear holes in them and has patched those holes with: duct tape.

I saw that this was true and determined to provide her with similar reusable bags.  I brought her a few prototypes made from cotton duck fabric and she chose the one she liked best -- the one I modeled after the Jewel-Osco bag.  I made her a bunch of bags.  There was enough fabric left to make slightly smaller versions for myself.  Then the carpet and my best friend helping with that project, and now the smaller bunch of bags are hers.  Well, they soon will be.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The First of Three

As I was explaining to Abby of the Knit Knit Cafe, there is a project I want to crochet.  The magazine and pattern have been set aside for me at my LYS.  Then I came face to face with the sheer number of partially-completed knitting projects.  My inner Governess instructed me to complete three projects, using yarn I already have in my home, before I purchase the yarn and magazine.

And now, the first of the three projects is complete:

 Sock Project 1.  

This is the first completed pair of the Sock Project (more to come in another post), meant to teach myself more about sock construction techniques.  Once upon a time many years ago I bought a skein of Trekking XXL intent upon knitting a pair of socks.  I knit a sock.  It was, I thought, just a bit large for my foot.  Nine or so years later, I knit another sock, using the yarn from the original sock as I unraveled it.  And now there are two.  Two socks.  A pair.  For me.

For purposes of the Sock Project, some stats:  Completed September, 2012.  Trekking XXL.  Size 2.25mm dpns (I think).  Top-down.  Long-tail cast on, 68 st.  Rib for 8 rds, then inc 1 st to 69 st.  Cuff to 4 in.  Pattern: Rd 1: P1, *Twist 2, P1;  Rds 2-4: P1, *K2, P1.  Heel Flap w/ slipped stitches.  At Gusset, change pattern to:  Rd 1: P1, *Twist 2, P1;  Rd 2: P1, *K2, P1.  Foot to 7 in.  Toe decreases e/o rd to 32 st, then every rd to 16 st and graft toe.

That change of pattern at the gusset was the result of a brain blip during the first sock.  It makes the foot a bit more snug, which is something I like.  The short cuff is intentional.  These are meant as after-hike socks.  I often get a bit rashy above the ankles by the end of a long hike.  Something to do with the combination of socks, tight boot lacing, long distance and heat.  I imagined a short-cuff set of socks to change into would be ideal for having just enough coverage under a pantleg while giving my troubled skin a chance to breathe.  They're perfect after-hike socks.

And now I have this:

38 grams of this yarn left over from the project.  That's nearly 40% of the original skein, by weight.  I think that means a second set of socks, perhaps with shorter cuffs and a corresponding yarn for toes and heels.