Category Archives: Crazy Projects

A(nother) Sneak Peek

20150915_185634That’s the first bobbin of the epic project that I’ve been working on, but, sadly, not blogging about. Time has gotten away from me and I haven’t been taking as many pictures as I should have been.

What’s on the bobbin? I’m glad you asked! It’s Argentine Llama from right here in Oregon, just over the mountains from here. The wonderful llama who donated this fiber is Argentine Mach One, or Machie to his family:

Mach OneI’ll be posting in detail about Machie and friends another day, but I will say that you don’t know llama until you’ve felt Argentine llama! The only llama fiber I’d had any experience with is the coarse, hairy, nasty stuff I’m sure you’ve all seen. There’s really no comparison with Argentine llama fiber – it feels like a cross between alpaca and silk. Really.

So the Sweatshop Girls brought home a car full and got to work. I decided to separate the colors from Mach’s fleece and carded and spun them up separately. I’ve finished a small shawl and am working on a lacey scarf. Pics to follow later in the week!

Updates

Summer is all over but the shouting and we’ve been busy, busy, busy here at SODesigns!

Just got an update from our favorite designer, Natalia Fedner – the dress with the angora yarn has recently been tried on by not one, not two, but three entertainment industry heavy hitters! Here’s another look if you missed it the first time –

Famous DressNatalia told me who the famous woman are, but I can’t share that info with you…yet! Trust me when I say I’m over the moon about it and wish Natalia years and years of fashion success.

Meanwhile, back at the Studio – we’ve moved! The space above the yarn shop proved to be too small for three people to work in and so we put Jean on the hunt for a larger space that’s closer to her house. Less than 24 hours later we were looking at the perfect space and moving in as quick as we could. Jean makes shit happen!

Now the Sweatshop Girls are hot and heavy into production for the upcoming Craft Faire Season – we’re booked for six weekends in a row November thru early December. Schedule to follow. These particular shows are geared towards people looking for Holiday gifts so we’re churning out goods as fast as we can – no fleece or stuff to spin for these shows except packaged as gifts for knitters and spinners.

An interesting conversation the other day:

Jean: I think we need more fiber to spin if we’re going to make enough stuff for all the shows…

Awana: Yes! We don’t have much wool laying around do we?

Me: ::blink blink::

J: Where do you two usually get your wool? We have to watch the costs and it has to be locally sourced.

A: I dunno – Sofia, where do you get your Romney wool?

Me: Well…I generally just open this here bin and fish out what I want. If it’s not there I look in this bin. And this box, which is full of alpaca fleece. Or this bin, full of angora fiber. Or this bag here – more Romney. This bag is Scottish Blackface wool. Over here we have some commercial stuff, firestar, silk, even a bit of Quiviut…

Them: ::blink blink::

Me: I think we have plenty of fiber for what we’re doing 🙂

Pictures to follow – the new Studio has WiFi, so expect updates to appear in a more timely manner…

The House of Mom – Part One

Still recovering from a very busy weekend. Awana needed a ride to the airport and I volunteered to drive into The Big City and drop her off. I took the Friday off work and made a long weekend of it, packing dog, cat and necessities into Awana’s van in case I needed to haul something back from The House of Mom (I’ve posted a bit about THoM on another blog.) Sadly, her flight left too early for us to make a day of it like we did last time.

Some of you may scoff at the idea of taking a cat on a road trip, but Revy did just fine. I was going to leave him behind, but Mom said, “Oh, just put him in his carrier, pack his litter box and bring him along.” Now, Mom has been reading my blogs – she knows Shredmaster is capable of some vile deeds and she has a large collection of glass, so I was sure this would be a disaster but she insisted  she would “have a little talk with him,” they would reach an understanding and all would be well. Having lived with Revy’s stubborn streak for awhile now I was not as confident, but it did provide an opportunity to visit Harley and let him see how big his tiny kitten had grown.

The visit with Harley turned into a major event when he invited his BFF, wife and small son over to see how kitty had grown. Revy seemed to remember the apartment and spent most of his time exploring, not really letting anyone pick him up and pet him. We had a nice visit and got back on the road.

Arriving at THoM, I unloaded the car and went to work, letting Mom and Revy sort out what would be allowed (perching in the windowsills and eating his food on the bathroom counter) and what would not (jumping onto the kitchen counters, dining table or knocking things off the buffet.) I had come to Hood River to help sort out Mom’s Round To-it room and get her organized so she could work in there.

It went much easier than I expected. When I arrived there were many, many boxes in the family room – she had emptied out the room for the most part so we could re-arrange the furniture. Turns out many of the boxes were filled with glass objects (more about that in another post) and they fit nicely onto a new shelf assembly I put together. Much of the rest was organizing and putting like with like. I was expecting a huge purge would be necessary and that I might be driving home with a van full of Cool Stuff – I’d seen how much was crammed into that room and didn’t see how it could all go back in – but that was not the case.

Dog, cat and I will be traveling back this weekend for Round Two and a quick stop at the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival – I’ll be sure to take some pictures this time!

I did come back with some Cool Stuff, including a small knitting machine –

Fashion KnitterI had an ISM years ago that I traded for a rectangular shawl loom and I’ve been sorry about that exchange on and off for years. Of course I’m only borrowing this one for now (hi, Mom!)

Anyway. I’ve been interested in knitting up sock blanks and dyeing them for a few weeks now, but hand knitting them would be a waste of valuable time and buying them doesn’t seem all that economical considering I want to sell the blanks. Take a look at these –

Aren’t they wild? Each one is machine knit with a double strand of sock weight yarn. When you’re ready to knit, you start to unravel and knit two socks at the same time, toe up or cuff down and they will be virtually identical. You can use various techniques to create your own self-striping sock yarn, but I love this idea of having the blank look like art before you even start knitting. There’s even a group on Ravelry that discusses techniques.

I know! I don’t really need another obsession, but there you have it. Sock blanks and dyeing have been around for a few years, I’ve come late to the game, but I’m determined to try it out even if it’s only a passing interest.

Okay, I’m off to give the dentist all my money to get a tooth fixed and must cut this post short. More updates to follow…

Katniss Finished!

Despite the lateness of this post, Katniss was finished on time and mailed Express* to Wisconsin in the hope that it would arrive in time for Kristen to enjoy it with her family on her Holiday vacation.

Because of one snafu or another, pictures were delayed, so today I treat you to a couple of phone pics of Kristen modeling Katniss:

1472897_341959279277930_578070558_n 1477440_341959322611259_1543222548_n

The fit is good. The yarn is nice and cushy and I hope it keeps her warm. Next up is a hat to match because there’s more than one skein left over from the cowl. Stay tuned!

* The package did not arrive as promised, so I took advantage of the money back guarantee, much to the irritation of the lady at my local Post Office whose computer had a very hard time coughing up permission to refund my cash.

Katniss Cowl Part Two

Recent weather related issues have kept me from finishing Katniss, but it is moving in the right direction.

The three giant I-cords are complete and sewn together, but the pic is on my phone – I’ll update when I find the data cord…

Note to self: having a cute little bag to store the cords is a great idea, but it only works if you actually put the cords back in the bag after each use. Sigh.

The “yoke” for lack of a better word is complete –

Katniss4

Please excuse the blur. The color, however, is pretty true on my monitor.

And the drape is 8 rows (or about 6″) complete. Fabric is quickly made, but the large size 35 needles are hard on the hands, arms and shoulders. They’re the hollow plastic kind, but it’s still a bit of a work out just manipulating yarn and needles.

The herringbone fabric is lovely, though, and the yarn is very soft and lofty. I think Kristin will be very happy when it’s all done.

Weather here has been freaking C-O-L-D and the roads are covered with snow and ice. Kristin and I had sorta planned to do a late night parking lot exchange so she could have Katniss before she left on vacation, but I can’t ask her to drive over the Coast Range just to pick up a piece of knitting. I’m hoping she will be happy if I put it in the mail to Wisconsin. That way she’ll be able to enjoy it on her Holiday Vacation without trying to travel in this nasty weather.

The Katniss Cowl

While at the craft fair last weekend, I was talking with Kristen of Black Kat Beading (sadly she has no blog or online shop, but look for some of her work on my website when I get things up and running) and she showed me a picture of what has come to be called the Katniss Cowl:

katniss-catching-fire-2-537x402There are  many versions online, including this free pattern on Ravelry, but the one Kristen chose is the best so far, IMHO, for being close to the movie original but not a slave to design. The original was woven, after all.

Kristen asked if I would be willing to knit her up one, as she doesn’t knit and doesn’t have time right now to learn. I said sure – it was a great excuse to purchase the pattern and make one for myself some time soon 🙂

The Anaid Designs pattern calls for Lion Brand Thick and Quick yarn and once I had agreed to knit it up Kristen ran over to Jo-Ann’s Fabrics to pick up the yarn.

When she got back to the LCCC she mentioned that she’d talked to her Mom on the phone while strolling through Jo-Ann’s and told her about the project. She will be flying back to Wisconsin on the 12th to be home for the Holidays and Mom asked if she would be bringing it back with her. Huh. It is only half a sweater knit with bulky yarn and I’ve been known to knit up a whole sweater in four days with similar yarn…Maybe it was fatigue after a long drive and days of being on my best Public Behavior. I agreed to give it a try. If I manage to pull off this little Holiday Miracle Kristen will be happy indeed!

The pattern starts with three giant i-cords worked with the yarn doubled. The cords are then sewn together and the drape knit in two pieces – this allows for a nice structured look in the end:

katnissfront_mediumThe drape is knit in herringbone stitch on US 35 needles (not a size anyone in this little town stocks) so it will be a learning adventure – using such big needles (or something McGyvered together that Will Do) and learning the herringbone stitch. Whee!

So far I’ve finished the two largest i-cords and am working on the third:

DSCN0434Hopefully the final i-cord will be done tonight and I can get started on the first drape section and sew those pieces together at Knit Night tomorrow.

Seems I should get myself down to the local theater to watch The Hunger Games – Catching Fire just for the knitwear alone! Take a look at this scarf:

katniss-everdeen-captiol-couture-2And I must design a sweater along these lines:

tumblr_mwl1f5R5yf1r9i187o3_500There are probably more pictures online somewhere – leave a link in the comments if you have a source for the knit costumes from either movie…