Expo-sing

needle felted pumpkin

Jenny, Chloe, and I went to the 4th annual Ann Arbor Fiber Expo this past Sunday.  My first time out there despite it being but a short jaunt to the other side of our fair but wee city.  Past attempts have been foiled by family plans and the like but this year I was all selfishness.

What’s a good fiber festival without running into friends? We had the pleasure of seeing Charlotte (girlfriend, why don’t you have a blog yet?) and her husband.  While we chit-chatted, we were standing right next to the most enormous angora bunny I have ever seen.  Full disclosure: I have not seen a lot of angora bunnies.  But this guy was larger than a Jack Russell terrier!  We all commented on the largeness and how it was probably mostly hair but I am hear to tell you – especially you, Charlotte! – Jenny and I saw the bunny on our way out a few hours later and it had been shaved.  It was still a VERY big bunny.  I think more to the Thanksgiving end of the scale rather than the Sunday family dinner end.  Not that I want to eat rabbit.  Anyway.

I got some things.  More than I planned but by no means a crazy splurge.  As is only right and proper, first was a gift for my husband. All I can tell you, since he does lurk here sometimes, is that it came from an animal and will keep him very warm.  Hopefully that isn’t much of a clue at all since I was at a FIBER festival, shah.

cute needle felted pumpkin

Second was a delightful felted pumpkin from Wooly Pett’s Creations (no website, sorry and my picture is total crap but do you like our scaaaary dinosaur-themed mantel decor?  Guess who though of that).  I could go in for a whole army of these pumpkins, seriously.  Roxanne Pett’s fibery goodies were fantastic and by no means limited to needlefelting.  She is very talented and industrious.  I look forward to seeing Wooly Pett’s Creations again at the Spinner’s Flock Fleece Fair in Chelsea every February and September.  (The magenta price labels were a dead giveaway!)

Moving on, there was some awesome licorice twist yarn – how to describe it?  Handpainted in gently shifting hues of blue and purple (some skeins also had green) but the yarn had a dark wrapping strand so it had an overall light-dark spiral going on.  Why was this suddenly so beautiful to me?  I don’t know.  I don’t generally like the mash of strong contrasts like seen in a marl.  This website has an example of what I am talking about in general although it is not the same vendor.  I missed who that was.  Jenny might now because she did not resist, good patron that she is!

Studio June yarn

Next piece sans resistance was Studio June Yarn (website coming soon, they say).  Their colors were so saturated and delicious. Jenny and I were both taken with the Bamboo La La yarn and bought some.  I was originally thinking Clapotis for this plummy delight but I have another idea for that pattern thanks to the new Webs catalog.  The Studio June ladies, both mad scientists, were fun to talk to.  They also had Fleece Maiden! I have never seen Fleece Maiden in person, so wow!  I know who I am calling when I am ready for that Fleece Maiden fix.

rug hooking starter kit

Finally, my moment of crazy was had over a booth that specialized in punch needle embroidery and rug hooking.  The small pieces (not rugs despite the words on the package) were so completely freakin’ cute, it made my fingers itch to not make one or a dozen!  This booth was near the entrance so I had the entire expo to hem and haw.  Jenny not so gently pushed me over the edge as we were readying to leave.  Now I have a NEW HOBBY.  Bwahahaha!

I have yet to start, though.  Sadness!  If you spend time with children under the age of 5, you have probably had a moment or two of terror that their bodies could come to harm by way of your knitting tools.  Imagine that, plus a pencil-sized punch needle.  Oy.

Also, it might not be fair to my long suffering husband if I start an absorbing new project with his birthday sweater, the Urban Aran Cardigan, finally in the sewing up stage.  Sewing is not my strength or interest but I am by no means incapable.  More on this later.

Nevermind that my holiday-themed punch needle piece will likely not be done for Halloween this year.  Because the boy-child is ill and if it is the flu and just starting today, he might not be well enough for Halloween.  Sob!  Cross your fingers and toes for my little dinosaur.

Gauge Bites. Hard.

Well.

Let’s get the big news out of the way: The Urban Aran Cardi isn’t done.  Besides having some fantastic excuses mostly related to late-pregnancy mental and physical health, there now appears to be a gauge problem.  Nothing quite kills the knitting mojo like second-guessing the finished product.  This came up Thursday evening.  Although I got gauge per the pattern in stockinette stitch, I’ve found that in pattern, my back piece is measuring 18″ instead of 23.5″.  Don’t strain yourself, I will do the math for you: that’s a 5.5″ difference.   Sheeeeet.

Pro: The yarn is a bit on the thin side for the what the pattern calls for so even though I am supposedly getting gauge, it is also producing a VERY stretchable fabric with a gentle cling.

Con: It clings.  Matt is not a negative ease kind of guy.  At 18″, which would theoretically be about 36″ around, we’re looking at about 5-6″ negative ease.

Pro: I already have this yarn and enough of it if I continue as I am.

Con: It’s a loose fabric (ie, you can see through it a little when you hold it up) which concerns Matt as not being warm enough.  I’ve tried to allay these fears with high and mighty talk of the virtues of wool, which he knows very well himself.

I tried all weekend to talk myself into not restarting.  The reality is that I have to do something different.  My first move will be to knit a double-stranded gauge swatch with the Ecological Wool and see how that works up.  I don’t know for sure how to measure gauge this time around but I will probably try some of the pattern components and not just stockinette.  I just need 116 CO stitches to come to close to 23″ wide so that Matt’s cardigan is a fit he likes.  I’m not aiming for some sort of pattern perfection purity here (reminder to perfectionist self).

Then it’s time for math and calling WEBS for more yarn, which is still in stock right now.  Hopefully they have my dye lot but all I really need is the same color since I am double stranding and can easily meld different dye lots.  I considered just going with the Shetland Chunky the pattern calls for but it’s 75/25 acrylic/wool–not wool/acrylic so blah.  I get enough of that making kid things out of Wool-Ease.

Here’s something more fun:

I started myself a pair of Jaywalkers using the sock flat Matt & Zander gave me for Christmas.  I’m actually much farther along and the pattern and striping look great together.  Stay tuned for more pictures.  I am looking for my camera battery charger.  Damn pregnant brain.