Warp Speed Ahead

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I forgot how much I like to weave.  Of course I knew I liked to weave but I forogot how much I enjoyed it. My loom has been neglected for a while but when I pulled it out again and proceeded to weave 4″ in no time the love affair was back. Creating fabric so quickly and beautifully makes me excited once again. Winding yarn onto the shuttle so I could continue making something out of nothing with only strands in perpendicular orientation. It’s quite fascinating to me and fun. I’m still working on the scarf that’s on the loom right now but it’s still fun. Even though for some reason I couldn’t find my pick up stick, which is needed for he pattern I’m working. But I had to improvise with the extra shuttle, which worked out well enough.  Right now I’m about 28 inches in on the scarf and I am hoping that I have enough yarn to go at least another 28-36 inches.  Yes this is the yarn that I looked for, for over a week.  Hopefully once I finish and wash the scarf the pattern will really pop, for now I just have to wait and see.  I didn’t do a swatch like an impatient person that I can sometimes be.  But in any case I think it’s going to be a nice scarf once it’s done.  Which I am looking forward to the next project on the loom, which will be that hand dyed cotton that I picked up a few weeks back.  That’s going to keep me going until I can get there.

 

As for knitting, Viajante is doing fairly slowly, I’m working on it here and there, but not as much as I could be.  For the other project it’s actually going very well.   The design is coming out nicely and I think it’s because I’ve been meticulously planning it.  It is out of Mora Silk again, which is becoming a favorite yarn of mine.  Not much knitting going on to talk about, which makes this a little dull.  But I’ll keep you distracted with some pretty pictures hopefully.

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A little sample of a Polaroid I took last Saturday.  It’s not perfect, or sharp, or anything, but it’s the look that I wanted.  And it’s quite fun.  Ok back to knitting/weaving.

Spin right round

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As an unexpected turn of events I can spin just fine when my body isn’t happy with me. I’ve been going a little spin crazy lately. Remember that spinion yarn, well it’s plied, skeins, washed, and reskeined. It’s gorgeous but a little knotty, standard three ply meant I had some left over on two bobbins.  So naturally I wanted to get all of the yardage from the fiber so I did some navajos plying.  Which had some breaks because I spun the fiber a little too thin in some places.  It was a wonder it went onto the bobbin when spinning the single in the first place, but I digress.  I used up all of the singles, which gave the yarn a little more in the way of yardage but also in the way of knots.  There were about 8 of them, which is something I try to avoid as much as possible.  But there was not much that I could do about it, so I pressed on.  If you’re wondering my normal process is to wind the yarn on my skein winder, set to 2 yards.  I then will wind it counting the number of rotations, since I found my yardage counter was very off.  So after it’s wound and the tangle reducing extra yarn is applied it gets the bath.  I let it soak for about 10-15 minutes making sure the water is all in the yarn.  Then it’s gently squeezed, given a good thwack, since it’s a BFL, and then rolled into a towel the excess water removed.  I then let it lay to dry and once it is, I wind it into a smaller skein that would be easier for most swifts.  For this skein I made a small custom label for it, most of the time I just stick a small label thats attached to a string on the yarn, which tells pertinent information.  But for this one since it’s a Spinion yarn, I had to do something fun with it.  I had this in my mind for a while and I think it’s quite funny.

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In total it was about 442 Yards of a nice 3-ply fingering weight.  I showed the picture to the recipient yesterday of it on the bobbin still and she got excited.  I’m hoping that she likes it in person even more.  It’s a great PigeonRoof Studios fiber, the color way is unknown since the tag has gone missing over time.  Wait hold that thought I just found it, the color is Saffron.  It’s a gorgeous color and I’m not a big fan or orange or yellow, but I even like this one.  I would keep it for myself, but it’s not for me.  But there is another yarn that I finished that I can show as well.  There was some GreenWood Fiber Arts that has been on my wheel for quite some time now and I got the singles done a few days ago.  Now the plying is done and it’s just finishing drying.  When I saw the yardage count I was taken aback a little bit.  It’s approximately 714 yards of a very fine weight, I don’t know the WPI exactly, but it ha to be at least 28+.  The exact fiber is a 50/50 Merino Silk in the color way Arcade which is bright and vibrant.  I spun the entire roving in one long strand, to preserve the colors as much as possible for a nice 3-ply, which was a Navajo ply.  It didn’t hit me until I was taking off the yarn from the bobbin just how fine it was spun.

With that done I chose another fiber to spin and what I was going to do with the new yarn I spun as well.  I’m thinking for the yarn I’m going to weave it with a neutral weft to make a more subdued scarf, but I think I’ll need to use a double heddle technique to get it to weave at the right “gauge.”  As for the next fiber I picked out a bit of Miss Babs fiber, which she doesn’t have any of this on the website right now.  It’s a 50/30/20 Merino/Bamboo/Silk blend in the color way “Shaken not Stirred” which was from a falling down I had a few years ago when she was having a post holiday sale.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s quite a color, which is a complete contrast to what I was spinning before.  But this is going to be another 3-ply Navajo yarn, which I think will be quite nice.  Not sure what it will turn out to be once it’s yarn but that’s for future me to decide.  I think I’ll do a little more knitting today and maybe some weaving if I can get myself to pull out the loom again.

Summer, can I return you?

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When I was blocking my Starting Point I said it was going to be around 96F, I was wrong.  It ended up being 103F here.  If you don’t know me, I don’t do well with heat.  I run warm normally and so having to deal with over 100 degree weather makes me unhappy.  Even more so because I had to lay down a lot of the day to see if I could get my back to be happier with me.  During these hotter months I try not to work on anything that is large and wool related.  I try to do things like shawls, scarves, and knit in materials like silk, silk blends, sometimes a plant fiber here or there.  Sometimes I’ll throw a pair of socks into the mix, just to spice things up.  But the only thing I had active on the needles was my Viajante and it’s wool.  Even though it’s lace weight and it hasn’t gotten to the massive lap status, it was still a bit warm.  Usually during the summer months I’ll also throw some spinning into the mix but I didn’t want to injure myself more by spinning (back might not like me sitting at the wheel).  Weaving was something else that I wanted to do, but I knew it wouldn’t be good for me in the current state that I was in.  Running low on options I knew I needed to get something going and fast.  I have a lot of plans for knitting, mainly wool related knitting but I do have some ideas for some more light weight shawls and scarves that would be good.  But that’s not what I had in mind.  In my mind, this weather screamed silk and silk it was.  I cast on for something I can’t really talk about just yet.  It’s another design, yes I’m teasing you again.  But there will be a big reveal late, I have many plans.

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But my Viajante is making some good progress even though it is a little slow.  I bet I’ll like it when it’s done and when the weather decides to cool down.  Which another reason I don’t like summer is that I don’t have AC at home or in the car.  My car’s AC broke a few years ago and I didn’t want to pay to fix it, so I just roll down the windows.  I have a good ceiling fan at home, but my fan that I used for years died a year or two ago and I still haven’t replaced it.  That’s something that I’m going to need to order and quickly if this weather persists.  Which according to the forecast for the next few days it’s going to be hot.  When I get my own place I’m going to try to get one that has AC and just not run it too crazily.  Even a nice 76 would be preferable to this oven that we are in here.  Today is not much better, sitting at a nice cool 96F.  Even though I probably shouldn’t do any spinning or weaving I’m going to do it.  Since the thought of sitting with wool in the lap or anything of that nature would drive me insane.  So it was time to pull out the spinning wheel and get some fiber off that’s been there for far too long.  I think the reason for that is because I was spinning it so fine, that merino silk blend does that for me.

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Now that today is pretty much coming to a close I do have some good progress to report.  I was able to finish the singles from the 50/50 merino/silk completed.  The colors are quite bright which is what I was going for.  I still need to chain ply the yarn so I can preserve the long color runs I was able to get going by not splitting the roving.  I hope it turns out well, I guess we will have to ply and find out.  But I did finally finish all of the plying for some spinion yarn.  If you don’t remember what that is, it’s where a fellow knitting friend buys fiber and yarn.  I get to keep the yarn but then I spin yarn for them.  Which this friend has been very firm they will not spin, but they’ve mentioned that they might actually learn to spin.  So I might not have to spin the other bit of roving, but I still will.  Maybe this handspan will be the breaking point to get them spinning.  What do you think?  I’m going to skein it and wash it up for this Friday.   Please ignore the little messy plying, I had a few breaks that I had to work with.  442 yards approximately of 22 WPI, making it a very nice fingering weight.

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Laying it down

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Another project completed is a good feeling. When you finally cast off your stitches and see how much stashed yarn that you use. It’s a really good feeling, let me tell you. When you see how much yarn you’ve used and to have something finished, such a good feeling. But you all knew that. It’s something all knitters know even if you haven’t been knitting for that long. It’s that sense of accomplishment, turning yarn into something that can be used. I’m especially proud of this one because I started 3 weeks in and finished a week after the last clue was released. I’m of course talking about the Joji mystery knit along. I’ve been working a lot on it and on Friday I cast off. All of the ends that needed weaving in, were woven in. And blocking was the last but that needed to happen. However, my back hasn’t been cooperating with me still. Today I had to stay home from work and I had to cancel some plans that I had for the day. There’s not much I can do about it, but I think it’s time to get looked at.
But today I’ve felt better enough to put the big piece of knitting into the water and block it. Since it’s going to be 96F here today I figured I might as well. It should dry pretty quickly and then I can cut the ends and it’ll be done. Now those needles are free and I’m planning the next bit that’s going to be on he needles. I needed those US size 4 needles for a few projects but I have one in mind. As for the other size 4s, they’re still in my second Viajante. That is my simple knitting in which I can just zone out and watch Netflix or what not.  The other projects that I have in mind will need a little more brain power.  Which is ok, I want to have one simple project and one more involved project so I can alternate as needed.  Speaking of the second Viajante, it’s going fairly well even though it’s getting slower now.  Which is to be expected when you’re increasing every second round.   But that’s not what you’re here for, you want to see pictures.  I understand, which I was able to snag one picture of the finished object as it’s blocking.  I won’t be able to do much more in terms of photos because of the back.  But I’ll try to get some glamor shots of it on me, when the weather is a little cooler maybe in the morning.

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This wouldn’t fit in the light box in it’s stretched out state and I don’t have enough space to put in a second pair of mats.  But this is what I have to work with right now, so there it is.  In all of it’s finished glory and my mom doesn’t like it because of the two Wollmesie colors, which is ok.  This is going to be for me I think, unless another recipient comes up.  But for now I’m going to let it dry, which shouldn’t be too much longer to be honest.  I’m going to lay down a little bit longer, maybe get some more knitting done on the Viajante or start the next project.  I’m thinking silk would be a good option.

Home stretch

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First and foremost I must start this off with a I think I found the problem. My back was not happy with me this morning yet again and I think I know what the problem is. My bed is getting a bit old and it needed to be replaced sometime soon. However I will be replacing it when I move out at some point so I don’t want to get one right now. If I did I would get one and then get another later when I move out. Since right now I have a twin and would like to get a queen, but for now I’ll have to make due. I flipped what I have over and it feels better but tomorrow will be the test of that. But enough of my back and bed issues let’s talk about knitting. Because there has been a bit of it lately, since sitting and laying around has been the extent of my abilities at this point.

 

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Yes this is the last and final bit of knitting to be done on the Joji Mystery Knit.  If you looked at the forums you will see a bunch of people have already finished, but that’s not the point.  I started this when clue 3 came out, I’m currently on clue 5, which is pretty good.  I was able to catch up to the point where I started 2-3 weeks later and am done about a week after the last clue launched.  I would say that’s pretty good, but with the last bit of knitting and ends to weave in I have to start getting ready for the next project for these needles.  I already know what that’s going to be and it’s going to be a surprise for all of you, since I won’t be talking much about it for now.

 

For the sake of getting things done I’m going to have a bit of a schedule I’ll be keeping for my knitting, spinning, and weaving.  Since the last two have fallen to the wayside a bit, I’m going to have to set dedicated days or range of days that I need to put work into them.  I’m thinking weaving will be on Wednesdays or Mondays (the idea to have a “W” or upside down “W” in the day).  Then for spinning any day with a “S” in it (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday) at least then I’ll get some more finished objects from two areas I love working on but don’t that often.  I know it will slow down some of the knitting but that shouldn’t matter too much, I’ll still be getting good progress on things.  For example I’m about 20-28″ into a scarf on the loom, if I work on it for an hour once a week I would add a bout 4-16″ on it which would mean I would have a scarf done in about a month if I only did 1 hour per week on it.  But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t spend more time on it.  As for spinning I’m about 1/2 and ounce left on the fiber I’m spinning and that should take about 2-4 hours of spinning time to finish.  It’s only that long since I’m spinning it so fine.  Then I would probably ply it in one day and then have finished yarn to weave or knit with.  I think that this plan should be effective.  For now I’m going to ease my back and knit some more of Clue 5, hopefully getting that done today.

Back in business

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I know it has been a little bit of time since I last posted here but I have good reasons for that.  One of those reasons is that I’ve been working on the same thing for the last week or so and it might have not been the most interesting content.  Sure the colors are pretty and it’s knitting, which is why I assume you read this blog.  But it is an identical piece to the other that I already knit.  Same colors, same pattern, same twisted rib that I am not a fan of knitting.  But the same piece none the less.  So I was preparing another bit of content for here, but things kind of derailed.  I’ve been having some issues with my back the last few days, which kept me laying at home for most of Sunday and all day Monday.  Monday I felt well enough to sit up and knit for a while which got me almost to the point to join both pieces of the Joji mystery knit along.  I have started the joining of the two pieces and I’m so happy to be getting this off of the needles.  I have plans for the needles that are in this project.

 

Last week I got the spinning wheel out and made a lot of progress on some fiber that I’ve had on the wheel for a long time.  It’s a very fine single and probably will be a heavy lace when it’s chain plied.  I never intended for it to be so fine, but the fiber told me spin fine and fast.  So I listened and did what it said, but it might be a bit too thin.  I will have to figure that out once I have actually finished all of the spinning and plying.  I might knit with it but more likely I’ll weave with it.  Speaking of weaving I am going to be picking that back up as well.  I’ve had a scarf on there for months now and I would like to have it done so I can make something else.  Which brings me to something that came in the mail yesterday.  I received an email on Sunday from Amazon, which I usually just delete, but I was reading the title when I hit delete and I had to get it back.  This recommendation was actually a good one.  It was for a new weaving book that intrigued me.  The book is called Handwoven Home by Liz Gipson and it intrigued me.  So I downloaded a sample of the kindle copy and read through it.  What I saw I liked and I wondered if my local Barnes and Noble carried it, they said they had it so I went down.  I spent maybe 30 minutes looking everywhere for the book and it was no where to be found.  So I left and ordered it on Amazon.  Anyways the good stuff now, it talks about making weaving projects for the home.  Something that has had me intrigued for a while about weaving.  I’ve wanted to make towels and all kinds of things.  And it’s all rigid heddle based, so I can use my Schacht Flip for it.  But I will have to figure out what yarns I will be using and if I need more heddles, which is a yes.  But I will do some other projects first and then start getting more tools of the loom.

 

No pictures this blog, back is still a little temperamental today.

Unbelievable

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You may remember before about a week or two ago when I was picking yarn for the Mystery Knit along that I went through my entire stash and I couldn’t find the yarn that I was looking for?  Well on Sunday I was cleaning up again and going through projects that I have on the needles.  I was opening project bags and other bits and bobs seeing what was in there and trying to consolidate things down.  Well I found a pair of socks that I was knitting for a test knit that had one of the skeins in question, it’s not a test knit anymore.  They’re the Whiskey and Rye socks which I was knitting out of Miss Babs Yummy 2-ply in Zombie Prom color way.  Quite a nice pair of socks and I remember stopping working on the second sock because I might run out of yarn.  But I think I have enough to get through the rest of the sock, even with my big feet.  I remembered I was working on another pattern with the yarn in question, Conflagration out of Miss Bobs Yummy 2-ply in Bat S**t Crazy.  Theres skein number two of three, but I couldn’t find the remaining one that I was missing.  I dutifully put away yarn, reorganized bins, and touched a lot of my yarn.  I was still perplexed to what happened to that yarn.  Maybe I used it in something and just didn’t remember working with it.  Maybe i gave it away to someone or sold it.  Or perhaps it was eaten by the stash as some kind of tribute to keep itself alive.  I don’t put it past the stash anymore, I sometimes hear it say “feed me Seymore,” which if you know the reference then you know what I’m talking about.  The stash has said and done weirder things, I think.  I kept working along, cleaning through everything, happily touching yarn and realizing more and more how much I have.

 

Then I looked at my loom, which I haven’t worked on in a while and I stared at what was warped on it.  I realized the third skein was starting at me straight in the face.  The skein I was looking for was warped on my loom in plain sight.  I couldn’t believe I didn’t realize that the yarn I was desperately trying to find was right there.  I had started a patterned scarf on the loom and work on it every so often to work through the stash a little.  But the last remaining skein that I was looking for and racking my brain was right there.  I think I couldn’t hear it trying to tell me it was there over the roaring sound of the stash.  Oh and the wool fumes didn’t help either.  The colorway of that yarn is Zombie Reunion also in Miss Babs Yummy 2-ply.  Well I felt quite ridiculous on Sunday I had to step away from the yarn and cleaning and have a sit.  I couldn’t believe I had been so blind to not see the very yarn that I was searching for.  I then realized that I needed to get all of these other projects done as well so I don’t have this happen again.  So I put all of the projects in progress in one area, even though they were pretty close before.  I looked in all of the bags and saw how much or little work each of them needed, making a mental list as I went.  S now I’m going to be working as fast as I can on getting all of these done as well.  That is as I work on my other two main projects or when one of them is done.  I don’t just want to abandon one of the projects I’m currently working on because the cycle would just start again.

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For now I’m going to knit feverishly and try to make myself feel better.  Here’s some knitting pictures to distract you.  On the bright side I’m making some good progress on the mystery knitting.  I know I’m supposed to make two identical pieces, but I figured I might as well try to get one piece caught up and get the other one caught up in the next week or so.  In about 5 days I’m halfway-ish through clue 3, not too bad of timing.  Clue 4 will release soon and I’m looking forward to that, but I’ll need to get the second piece ready to go after clue 3 is done.  Or maybe clue 4, depends on what that clue entails.

So many balls

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When I’m knitting on something I’m usnsure if I’m going to like how the pattern or yarn is playing out I have a strategy.  That strategy is to not cut the yarn at all. Hear me out because it’s smart and nuts at the same time. When I knit on Bolt I was not sure I was going to have enough, even though I was pretty sure I had enough yarn. So I would not cut the yarn until I was done with the project and in some cases after a certain amount of work I would cut the yarns as needed. This is a strategy I’m doing on the Joji mystery knit, not cutting any of the yarn which makes it very easy to rip out with no material waste or knots. But there is a downside to this, especially with more then two colors, your balls of yarn tangle a lot.  You have to be very diligent about getting everything in order and making sure that they do not tangle.  I have let them tangle a bit since there is a bit of knitting that needs to be done, but it still happens.  I think at this point I’m happy enough with how it’s turning out that I will be cutting the yarn and weaving the ends as I go.  Which will cut down on time spent after the project is complete and make blocking faster.  But as it stands I have all five balls of yarn attached to this project right now and it’s a bit unruly.  On the bright side, besides the colors being bright, it’s coming along quite nicely.  I’m only working on one of the two pieces needed for right now.  I want to get caught up on the clues before Friday when the next clue launches.  But that might not happen, or it might depending on how much time I knit.  That and making sure I don’t fatigue out my hands and arms in the mean time.

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On another note, my Love of Spiders is done, all blocked and ready to wear.  It did grow a little bit which I did expect being 100% Mulberry Silk.  What I did not expect was that it was going to be slightly asymmetrical, which might just have been an error on my part.  Though I did keep the stitch count correct throughout the project, but might just be a weird thing with mine.  I absolutely love how it turned out and my mother asked if I would make something for her out of the same yarn.  I only have one more project worth of that yarn and it’s already designated for something else.  So I might have to get more of it once the yarn embargo has lifted, whenever that is.  But for now I will just have to enjoy what I have just made.  By the way I am in love with how fast silk dries.  I did wet block it Sunday around 4pm and by the time I checked on it at 2am it was dry.  I will need to get some pictures of me modeling it when I have some time and when it’s daylight.

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Time to get back to the knitting of the mystery, lets hope I can make some good progress today.

The queen of spiders

Alive and done, the Love of Spiders is completed.  I am completely happy with how it turned out.  I finished the knitting at my knitting group yesterday and I am super happy with it.  I had some of my friends feel it and melt, I mean it is 100% mulberry silk after all.  Even my mother felt it and kind of swooned a little bit and ask if it was for her.  It’s for me, but I might let her borrow it ever so often.  I haven’t woven in the ends or blocked it just yet, but thats for later today.  But with it all done it freed up the needles that I needed in order to do the mystery knit along.  But for now here is a pre-blocked look at the finished item.

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Looking pretty good if I do say so myself.

 

You remember I said that I was going on a yarn embargo?  That wasn’t that long ago, when I saw the state of the stash and decided that I needed to slim it down?  Well I caved once again, but for a good reason.  Well more of a justification in my head.  This colorway was out of stock and I liked it quite a bit.  So when I saw another ball on the shelf I wasn’t going to take chances and so I picked it up.  With that purchase I earned a reward with the shop which I think I will buy one more skein of that yarn and resume the embargo.

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It’s Apple Tree and it’s beautiful.  Also helps that I have a good lighting set up now.

 

And I have some ideas for weaving from stash that I want to do, but I need to get a few different dent heddles for my loom first.  More to come on that.

The Light at the end of the box

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The title is a little strange but keep reading and I’ll explain.  Taking photos for the blog here, Ravelry, selling items, or whatever else can be a challenge sometimes.  The set up that I have been using for a while now works, only when it’s daylight and certain times of the day.  What I came up with to take my photos as a make shift light box is not the greatest by any stretch of the imagination.  But the fact of the matter is that it works and has worked for a while.  Though it has it’s limitations and I have worked around them.  Right now as I’m writing this, the natural light coming into my space is good.  It would be good enough to take some nice photos, with some touch ups needing to happen, the magic of post production.  After a while this started to wear on me when I wanted to get pictures ready or get some things done before I would relax for the night.  Which I sometimes would get the urge to do after I get home from work, which can be fairly late. By that time there is no natural light and I would have to rely on the electronic light that I have.  Not the best for taking photos, with it’s warm, slightly yellow cast.  A few days ago I had enough and decided it was time to invest in a good light box.  One that I could pack up and set up really easily and didn’t need a whole lot of other things for it.  I had one in mind for the longest time and I bit the bullet on Monday.  Yesterday it arrived and I did some test shots of what I’m going to be talking about here.  My initial impressions is that it is fantastic, exactly what I wanted.

 

That leads me into this blog post, the light at the end of the box.  So now that I have a proper set up and I’m on the border of my Love of Spiders, I thought it only fitting to take a picture of it.

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There are a lot of ends to weave in when I’m done, but I’m not really worried about it.  I’m on the last section of the border right now and I am thrilled to have it done finally.  Not just because I want to show it off and wear it (at some point), but then I have those needles back from a finished object.  The Joji mystery is coming on clue 3 shortly so I will have to play a lot of catch up, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.  Another benefit of having this done is that it’s a gauge swatch for something else.  Yes I could have knit and blocked a swatch already and started the new project, but I wanted a real life item made with it to see how it behaves before I start the other.  This way I have a finished object and a large gauge swatch in one.  I think I’ve talked about that before, but I thought it would be good to re-iterate that point.  I’ve also chose what set of 5 colors I will be using, it’s the one without the handspun.  But if all goes well and I really like the design I’m going to make the second option as well, because I think they both are fantastic.  For now I think I’m going to try to get the border done tonight and blocked so it could be hopefully dry for my knitting group tomorrow.  I do need to go through the stash more and get that uploaded.  But now that I have a light box I can do that at any time.  Back to knitting, to the light at the end of the tunnel and the box.