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Angelarae Knits: October 2006

Angelarae Knits

...and Crochets

My Photo
Location: Raleigh, NC, United States

Hello! Welcome to my Blog! I live and enjoy the fibery crafts here, in Raleigh, NC with my husband and 5 children! I love to share patterns, tips, and recipes along with my spinning from time to time. I hope you'll enjoy your time here and stick around a bit!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Lace: An Epic Tale

I have been blogging here at Angelarae Knits for about a year now. I have visited many of your blogs and seen some absolutely beautiful knitting. You all have inspired me to try a variety of different types of patterns, including socks, hats, mittens, cardigans, and even a purse. During this time, I have never considered myself crazy patient enough to attempt knitting lace. The patterns seem so intricate, the yarn so tiny, like thread, really, and I could just imagine my hands cramping as I tried to knit with size 00 needles.(that's pronounced "double aught" for those of you not acqainted with southern lingo) But with time and, what I like to call, "the moebius experience," under my belt, I began to gain a vainglory small bit of confidence. One day, while perusing those southern girls' knit blog, I came across a stole Ann was knitting and became enamoured. The scary thing is, I actually thought I could knit this.

So, I got myself some hand-dyed, laceweight alpaca, 'Shimmer' from Knit Picks. I blogged about it here and here. I then went to Eunny's site and found the instructions for the Print O' The Wave Stole. (To those of you snickering in the back, I should like to point out that I mentioned this folly to you in the aforementioned posts. Not one of you said a word. So put a sock in it.) I printed the pattern and I was off to the races. My horse died after about the 3rd row....here's how it went. The provisional cast-on was no problem for me, I have done one or two before. Then, I began knitting the chart.(did I mention that I don't know how to read the charts?) How hard could it be? I followed the chart exactly(?) and came up with 3 stitches extra at the end of my row. Hmmm...I must have miscounted. I tinked back and reknit the row a second time. This time, 4 stitches too many. What the h?*! Counted my cast-on...right-80 stitches. I emailed Dipsy to see if she could find anything wrong with the pattern. She didn't. Then I really lost it and started to ignore the extra stitches, telling myself that maybe I could find my error easier if I could just knit up some of this stupid pattern. No such luck. You can imagine what it looked like. Finally, I ate some chocolate, threw down a shot of Jack Daniels, took a deep breath, and looked at the chart again. I counted the chart stitches to see if they were correct. It went something like this..."Knit 3, knit2tog,yo...that's, let's see, ummm, oh yeah...5 stitches. " I did this for two solid hours before it finally occurred to me what the problem had been all along. (let's ignore the implications of my improvement in critical thinking under the influence, shall we?) I had been doing the pattern repeats between the brackets under the chart, when the repeat is outlined in bold within the chart, itself.(They do that to make the pattern easier to follow, don't 'cha know) So, I ripped it all out and started over following the repeats in the chart and actually got about 4 rows done, total. I put it down after that and have yet to pick it up again.

So, one day, I was innocently looking at the new Interweave Knits Holiday Gift Issue, you know, the one with the felted pears on the front? (lovely) And as I was flipping through the pages I was halted by the sight of billowing clouds of mohair wrapped around a woman's neck. (seriously, I needed something wrapped around my neck) I kept thumbing through, trying to ignore the sudden burst of joy in my heart at the sight of the mauve and purplish fussy delight I had just seen. But my hand moved even beyond my will, and I found myself looking at the picture again and thinking, "I could so knit a simple lace scarf...maybe I can find a pattern."

Here's the thing. I know I should have, based on my past lace fiasco, felt sick at the sight of another pattern chart, but it simply did not happen. So, when my Mom asked me to sit with my Nanny for the weekend, I saw it as a sign...a sign that I was supposed to buy more alpaca and try a scarf. After all, the fates know I visit the Shuttles, Needles and Hooks shop whenever I sit with Nanny. They also know I was getting extra money. They must want me to try...bless them. (for those of you wondering, there was no alcohol involved in this dicision). This time I was smarter, though. As I entered the SN&H shop, I did something that you will not believe...in fact, you may want to sit down for this....I. asked. for. help.

A moment of silence, please.....

Okay. The woman who helped me (I wish I could remember her name) picked a pattern, showed me how to write each row on an index card, and allowed me to practice with various versions of very pointy needles. I tried Addi Turbo's first(hey, as long as we are just trying, not buying) but did not find them pointy enough for my taste. I finally settled on a set of Bryspun straits. They are wonderful and inexpensive, too. My instructor made me sit there and knit for a few minutes before she would let me leave with my purchases: the Bryspun Needles, 3 balls of Misti Alpaca, and a Fiber Trends pattern called " Lacy Accessories." There are 3 different scarves to knit in this pattern. I cannot wait to knit all three. Here's my progress so far:

I have to tell you, I am having a blast. This yarn is the bomb! ...all 437 glorious 2-ply yards of it! So soft! And knitting lace, at least this pattern, has been fun. I have only had to tink back once, maybe twice. So, lesson learned...don't be too ambitious when attempting to acquire a new skill and get some help, for goodness sakes!

Thomas' Old Store

Statuarys, Flags, and Stuff

I have never been inside this little store. It sits at an intersection of Sunset Lake Road, between Fuquay Varina and Holly Springs, N.C. I pass by this way, maybe, once or twice every month or so...only when I need to drive to Cary from where I work. Anyhoo, my heart warms naturally at each passing...not sure why, just quaint to me, I guess. Sort of a mini Artist Date...something to fill the well. Thought I'd share:)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Re: The Dressing Gown of My Discontent

In response to the Jen portion of JenLa and her search for the Knitting Muse, found here:

Dear Jeni Fleur,

Well, I also have found myself lacking inspiration at times. Writers call this ‘blocked.’ I know just about any type of artist can be blocked; same as lack enthusiasm, inspiration, muse or whatever you’d like to call it. For me, at least the last time I experienced such a problem, I was able to unblock by finishing u.f.o.’s. Also, I visited a local art museum, listened to Ella Fitzgerald, went on a photography journey and photographed (w/my ancient digital camera) anything I found interesting or lovely. Theses type of exercise are what Julia Cameron would call “filling the well,” and I have found it to be most helpful. I agree with her that art is derived from a combination of images, smells, touch, and sound. To experience the beauty of these things can fill our “well” of inspriation and so bring new life to our art, whatever that may be. In my case, my art is knitting. The book I have refered to here is called “The Artist’s Way,” by Julia Cameron, an excellent read. I wish you luck on your journey. May the knitting muse find you again:)


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Rhinebeck No More

I have been signed-up for Stitchy McYarnpants' Rhinebeck Blogger Bingo for quite sometime. The idea is that everyone attending the Rhinebeck Fiber Festival could participate by either being a space on the card and/or playing the cards. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend, so my squares on cards will be replaced with names of new players. On the card called Both2, my name (angelarae) should be replaced with Brooke a.k.a 'Missy B.' On the card named Sat2, the name on my square should be replaced with Mel a.k.a 'Cabezalana.' Hope all players have a blast. Maybe next year for me:)


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Halcyon Yarn

Just got my Halcyon Yarn Catalogue today and what a joy! I love all of my yarn catalogs, but this one is a visual treat. You can see it for yourself, here. Also, there is a review of their yarn shop at Knitter's Review. All I did was call, and they sent it out to me, free of charge. Very nice people:)
The shop is in Bath, Maine. They sell yarn for knitting, weaving and spinning supplies. They also had some nice patterns I have not seen before and some interesting yarns. For example, they carry a sock yarn called Step. It is treated with aloe vera and jojoba oils for your feet, and it lasts 40 washings! They also have a unique offering called 'yarn store in a box,' filled with sample cards and yarn info along with a $10 Gift Certificate toward your first purchase of $60 or more. Enjoy:)

( I know, I know....I'm an enabler!)


Monday, October 16, 2006

Fetching In Blue

Knitty's "Fetching" in Wool-Ease Sea Mist. I easily knit this up in about 4 1/2 hours, give or take, and was very happy with the way it turned out. The pattern is well written and easy to follow. For me, the finishing time works out to be about right for a full pair. I am nearly done with the second. This is one of my favorite colors, sort of a Robin's Egg blue. But they will be going to my Sis for her birthday in November....shhh! The Picot bind-off, around the fingers, is a new technique that I am pleased with, as well. I could see using it for other ribbed projects.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Extreme Skooter

May it never be said that my skateboard dude, Ian, is not "the extreme." Checkout the chair skooter he rigged up. Works, too...it only started to wobble after the road flattened out and the skooter slowed to under 30 mph. After that, the contraption hit our parked Buick and Ian ended-up on his hiney.
Our hispanic neighbors don't speak english and rarely say anything to us other than to wave. Appearently, slapstick is universal, because when Ian began to wobble and veered into the car, all of them, sitting at their yard table, fell out laughing. Emma has the coolest bro ever!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Trailer Trash

The Inspiration
Trailer Kitchen, Snead's Ferry

The Yarn

I'm thinking Log Cabin Rug with rag details for the kitchen...maybe a Courthouse Steps rug for the screened-in porch (it reminds me of a lighthouse light)...Navy and Natural.

Courthouse Steps Theme...see what I mean?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Friends, Romans, Countrymen...

"Shakespeare? What the hey? I thought this was a knitting blog? "

Okay, I digress. But not really. The truth is, I have my hubby's computer, (none of my knitting pic's are on it), minimal caffeine coursing through my veins, and therefore feel somewhat sleep deprived, so work with me here. The kids are getting ready for school, save Ian, who overslept and will be going late. Not starting out on the best leg today, but, why stress the small stuff. Today, at least, it's not worth it.

Just so you know, not much knitting going on lately, due to work, kids, daughter-working-with-no- car, and my new mission to finally go to the trouble of decorating my home. I like cottage/country style. Things have been beyond lay- back in my home since my husband's illness. Call it depression, more important things to worry about, whatever you want...I am not feeling good about myself on the home front. So I have decided to make some basic changes (money will be a challenge, here, another reason to use this decorating theme). A few furniture covers in stripes and florals, new curtains, couple of colorful vases of peony's and roses and I should have a good start. Also, I need to paint a table or two white/antiquey. If anyone of you know what I am talking about and can help me figure out how to do this, I'd love some help.

What surprises me is the lack of magazines lately offering pics to help me plan. Found a book, but Cottage Living didn't really show much that appeals to me. Nor did Country Living, which I usually love. I did find an article here ,which has helped me to understand basic elements of this style and how to achieve the look. Add a few personal touches, and I should be okay.

Bring the outdoors in, lots of white and floral accents, collection's, rod iron, and flowers...cool. I can do that.

I think a MD Circle of Fun rug and maybe a log cabin might work well in this setting. What do you think?


Monday, October 02, 2006

Magazine Alert!

Some of you may know that I merchandize magazines for a local distributor. I thought you might like to know that I just put out a new PIL booklet (you know, those little booklets sold at the cash register, often with recipes and crafts) called "Knitting For Babies." Check it out at your local Wal-Mart, Harris Teeter or Kroger. The patterns are really cute, my favorite being a inch worm head rest for the baby's car seat...too cute! I love my job! Please let me know if you find it via comment or email. Happy hunting!



You are looking at a cotton field. I took this picture last weekend, on my way back from Snead's Ferry, N.C. It is in Kenansville, or thereabouts, and I could not resist the urge to stop and explore. I actually picked a piece or two, (much to my mother's chagrin) and it was very soft and nice! Hard to believe that the stuff I knit with so often, comes from a plant like this. I do not know very much about cotton production, but I do know that North Carolina is one of the leading cotton producing states in the U.S. When I held the pieces in my hand; they were lumpy with seeds. The seeds did not let go of the cotton around them very easily. I can see why ginning is important. They were also very soft. It made me wonder what is involved in the process of refining and spinning it. None of the cotton balls or yarn that I have come in contact with are this soft. Some oils must be removed during ginning. Mercerized cotton is given a bath in sodium hydroxide (lye) and then rinsed with acid to nutralize the lye. This treatment increases luster, (down south, we say shiney) strength, affinity to dye, resistance to mildew, and also reduces lint. Cotton with long staple fiber lengths, respond best to mercerization. Therefore linen, hemp and flax can also be mercerized. There's your fiber lesson for today. :)

My mother was with me and I was so excited and couldn't understand why she didn't share at least a little of my joy. Then it occurred to me that she had grown up around cotton. Her grandfather grew some, and she often helped pick it. No wonder she didn't consider it a big deal. I also thought about the story my Aunt Carolyn tells about planting and harvesting a cotton field to pay for college. She told her dad that she wanted to go to Gardner Webb College. He gave her some bags of cotton seed and a field to plant them in and said, "There you go." She planted and harvested and sold the cotton for four years to pay her tuition and expenses. Things sure were different back then.