Not Martha

Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm Yarn CSA giveaway

We have CSAs for produce directly from farms, so why not for farms that raise animals for fiber? It makes sense to me but it’s not something I had ever thought about, so I was delighted when the good people at Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm contacted me to tell me about their Yarn CSA (the first ever!) and to offer one share of the 2008 CSA to a lucky Not Martha reader.

The share in the Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm gives you a portion of the year’s yarn as well as “a shareholders certificate, weekly email updates on what’s going on around the farm and an invitation to our Shearing Day Celebration”. The people at the farm are very forthcoming to non-shareholders as well, on their site they have pictures of the flock, a page on their farm dogs and a blog telling us what’s going on. And what gift do you get for the knitter who has everything? A yarn CSA share would be perfection, no?

I was lucky enough to get to touch some yarn from last year’s shearing of Cormo Wool, it’s substantial and surprisingly soft. When I do the Touch It To The Back Of My Hand test it passes easily, and even as I type this I cannot stop reaching out to squeeze it. The yarn comes undyed, and the farm is anticipating that each shareholder will get 10 skeins the first year. They also offer Spinner’s shares for both roving and raw fleece. More details can be found on the site.

I asked Susan Gibbs about the Shearing Day celebration had this to report: “Our Shearing Day Celebration is going to be amazing. I am shooting for April. We will be inviting other friends and especially other sheep and wool people as well. Depending on the response we are either going to have a local cafe do box lunches or a buffet. I’m also going to ask some of the other yarn farms on Island if they like to set up vendor booths and sell their yarns. We have a pretty good fiber guild and I am going to try to schedule a someone to give spinning and weaving demos.”

Sounds lovely doesn’t it?

If you’d like to win a share to the Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm CSA Spring 2008 Harvest please leave a comment on this post. Fine print: I’m the only one that can see the email address you enter (but don’t put it in the comment field), you don’t have to leave your real name if you don’t want to, if I have not heard from the first person in seven days a new winner will be chosen, if you have never left a comment here before I’ll need to approve it before it publishes so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away, the winner will be chosen by the random number generator. I’ll choose the winner on Wednesday, October 24th at 8:00 p.m. PST.

The CSA Share is worth quite a lot, so I want to say a hearty thank you to the Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm and wish them a very good year.

· comments [790] · 10-19-2007 · categories:craft · knitting ·

I’m knitting another sweater: beginning shaping

The fan on the graphics card of my elderly computer stopped working last night, so until I can replace it I’m limited to what I can get done on the laptop. This is really not so bad, but it makes getting images off my camera and onto this site laborious, so please excuse the cell phone picture for the moment.

Progress on my gray sweater has been slow [Read more →]

· comments [7] · 10-17-2007 · categories:knitting ·

I’m knitting another sweater: still on the first ball of yarn

I’ve barely begun my second Ribby Cardi, but I wanted to note my love for the first one. It’s the perfect trip to the post office/coffee shop/pub layer as well as the wrapping myself up to watch television layer. Not many things successfully work the range from jacket to pajamas. [Read more →]

· comments [6] · 09-28-2007 · categories:knitting ·

I’m knitting another sweater: math and casting on

I have cast on for my second sweater. I’m making another Ribby Cardi, again using Cotton Ease yarn in Stone. This time I’m knitting all the parts for the body in one piece, and the sleeves in the round and I will knit the collar up without binding off anything (if I can). I’m making a size smaller (38 chest), and using #4 circulars (last time I used #5 for most of the sweater). What you see above is the bottom edge of my beloved 2×2 rib tubular cast on, I cast on using #5 needles (my experiments using #8 turned out flabby). I did all my calculations and scribbled a pattern on notebook paper. I figure if I run into something confusing I’ll only have to consult my first one.

[Read more →]

· comments [24] · 09-14-2007 · categories:knitting ·

I’m knitting a sweater: The End.

the sweater: Ribby Cardi by Bonne Marie Burns
the yarn: Cotton-Ease in charcoal

I’d like to say I started wearing the sweater the moment I got the zipper sewn in but the truth is I started wearing it a few days before that as it was just the perfect layer to bring along, zipper or no. I’m really happy with how it turned out. It’s cozy and I know I’m going to love this sweater even more as the dark weather closes in around us here in Seattle. It’s a good layer to bring along because it acts like a jacket but bunches up like a scarf. I have to admit I went from treating it gingerly to tossing it into the back seat of my car with surprising speed. This is a good sign.

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· comments [30] · 09-10-2007 · categories:knitting ·

I’m knitting a sweater: it looks like something!

What I have done:

  • Finished knitting all pieces.
  • Fixed the ribs in the center front, very fun.
  • Seamed, not as difficult as I thought but so much more time consuming. Also, tidier looking than I expected. I left myself long tails where I started and ended knitting, but decided to seam downwards to reduce bulk at the neck. This was a good idea because I had lots of ends to weave in after I had put in the collar and the attached i-cord down the center fronts.
  • Wove in ends, somehow left myself with small holes in the armpits where four seams meet but since I seamed downwards didn’t have any tails left to use. Very small though, not a big deal. Managed to create small pucker at hem near side seams, wove ends too tight.
  • Discovered I made the sleeves oh ha ha too long, they are at fingertips. Could loose an inch and a half. We’ll see though, I might enjoy wrapping them around my hands when the rains arrive. [Read more →]

· comments [31] · 09-5-2007 · categories:knitting ·

links: crafts

How to make stickers at Etsy Labs.

Pretty, Ex Libris made firefly jars.

Incredible amount of information from Angry Chicken on making toys for your children, or yourself, and where to find safe toys.

Cool, an Ikea turntable ironing board.

New kind of faux leather from Joseph Noble, oh please let this hit fabric stores somehow. Via AT:NY.

Zakka Zakka is a new online shop offering Japanese fabrics by the fat quarter. Also check out the little tins of herb starters.

via Craft:

DIY Harry Potter wands.

Seaming knits.

How to sew a collapsible bucket.

No-sew jersey scarf tutorial, I love American Apparel jersey scarves, but the fabric they use to make them isn’t quite as soft as it used to be.

How to sew square bag bottoms.

· comments [10] · 09-4-2007 · categories:craft · knitting · sewing ·

I’m knitting a sweater: quick triumph and some links for myself

Lookie! I managed to learn tubular bind-off for 2×2 rib! And I like it! More on this later.

Attached i-cord links I need now:

· comments [6] · 09-3-2007 · categories:knitting ·

I’m knitting a sweater: I could fix this

the sweater: Ribby Cardi by Bonne Marie Burns
the yarn: Cotton-Ease in charcoal

After my long post on exactly how I managed to mess up the ribbing on the front pieces, both MadCarlotta and Amanda pointed out that I could fix the ribbing by ripping back and dropping some stitches then picking them up on the other side.

Luckily, I messed up in such a way that if I want to fix the extra wide rib along the center front I’d only have to rip out to the green dotted line, drop one column and pull it back up. The whole piece would be as the pattern called for it to be. That doesn’t seem too bad, even knowing I’d be doing it twice. While I’d made peace with wearing my pattern reading failures right there on my chest, my perfectionist tendencies are making my fingers itch to fix it.

Notes on the sleeves:

– I am to the decrease part of my first sleeve so I basted the seams together and tried it on:


Needs one more inch, for a total of 22 inches. (I’ll mostly be wearing this sweater while sitting down so I want extra long sleeves.)

[Read more →]

· comments [5] · 08-28-2007 · categories:knitting ·

I’m knitting a sweater: a stupid noob mistake and a grandiose demand

the sweater: Ribby Cardi by Bonne Marie Burns
the yarn: Cotton-Ease in charcoal

Somewhere between the last sweater update and this one I’ve managed to finish both halves of the front, start a sleeve, and discover I’ve made a devastating stupid noob mistake. The mistake caused me to create extra wide ribs along the center front of the cardigan. Here you can see the top of the right front panel with the sleeve and neck shaping. That rib on the right edge (where the zipper will go) is supposed to be only four stitches wide:

The mistake came from knitting while sipping wine and watching Dr. Who in the evenings, this combination obviously does not serve me well. With some help from far more experienced friends I figured out that I was reading the pattern incorrectly. [Read more →]

· comments [35] · 08-21-2007 · categories:knitting ·

I’m knitting a sweater: forward and backward

the sweater: Ribby Cardi by Bonne Marie Burns
the yarn: Cotton-Ease in charcoal

I had begun the armhole shaping on the back of the sweater while we were watching the last few episodes of the first season of Doctor Who. I was about ten rows in when I noticed that I had different numbers of stitches on either side, and that a few decreases were slanting the wrong way. I blame my mistakes on being distraught over the departure of Christopher Eccleston. I decided to rip out to just before the shaping started and do it over again. I was tempted to rip everything out altogether and start over using larger needles for the cast on, but I’m waffling. Whenever I actually hold it the cast on edge seems plenty stretchy, but when it’s not right in front of me I convince myself it could be better. In the name of sanity I decided not to start over. If it turns out too tight, I’ll know for sure.

I’m already planning on making a second Ribby Cardi using the instructions for doing all the body pieces together and the sleeves in the round (see those in my previous post). Maybe the next one will be Stone? Or Lime? Too bad there isn’t a solid red among the new Cotton-Ease colors, I don’t look good in warm colors, so Terracotta is out. Anyhow, I’m really eager to discover the differences between the sweaters with different construction – both in how they knit up and how they look and act when worn.

This week I also cast on for the left front using the smaller size needles. For this I did a 2×2 rib tubular cast on all the way across, ending with one purl and one knit to get the end. After that I started the pattern and the cast on edge fell into place with all the 2×2 and 3×1 ribs. I worked on the rows up until they call for the switch to the larger needles.

For the right front cast on I’ll have to double check whether to do to purl one and knit one at the beginning of the cast on or the end to get it to line up correctly. I suspect it’ll be at the beginning, but I don’t quite trust my suspicious.

I think I’m going to miss Christopher Eccleston’s Dr. Who more than I’m going to miss Harry Potter.

Previous sweater entries: first, second, third, fourth, fifth.

· comments [19] · 07-27-2007 · categories:knitting ·

I’m knitting a sweater: three worries and some research

Worry #1: The 2×2 rib cast on row isn’t stretchy enough. The only way I can think to make it even more stretchy was to do a 1×1 rib cast on, but that looked sorta funny.

Worry #2: It’ll be an awfully heavy sweater. 50% cotton/50% acrylic isn’t exactly lofty, fluffy wool.

Worry #3: The color will always look like something else. I got Charcoal colored yarn but in some lights it looks dark navy blue and in other lights it looks like a faded black. And it photographs it always looks way off.

I was doing some research and came across these entries on the Ribby Cardi knit along site about combining parts so there are fewer seams: the body and the sleeves. It looks pretty easy and I might knit the sleeves in the round. I wish I had come across this before I cast on for the body. Maybe I’ll make some terrible mistake and have to start over? I’ve only gone through two balls of yarn and it’s cheap enough. Nah, I’ll make this first sweater according to the pattern to see how it goes. I have never seamed before so I could use the practice anyhow.

During my research I came across a few people who said the sweater turned out a little short on them. Despite most readymade clothing being too long for me, I decided to compare the length of my back piece to a sweater I like the length of. I’m glad I did, I know for sure I have about an inch to go before starting the sleeve shaping.

Previous entries about this here sweater: first, second, third, fourth.

· comments [13] · 07-24-2007 · categories:knitting ·

I’m knitting a sweater: getting to the end of my first ball of yarn

I took Shelly’s advice and clipped out the temporary stitches in the cast on (see those here) before I knit too far along. This way if the cast on was bad I wouldn’t have put a lot of work into it and starting over wouldn’t be as heartbreaking. Thanks for the advice Shelly! Happily, the cast on hem is just fine, you can see my transitional section from 3×1 rib to 2×2 rib here.

I’ve done about 8 inches and so far it’s been going pretty quickly.

· comments [7] · 07-18-2007 · categories:knitting ·

I’m knitting a sweater: two miracles and a beginning

Miracle #1: I made a new swatch using smaller needles and I got gauge for the pattern! This takes some guess work out of choosing which size to make. A few people including Bonne Marie Burns (thank you Bonne Marie!) left comments suggesting I try smaller needles and I don’t know why I didn’t do that first, before I did a whole lot of math. I’m now using size #4 and #5 circulars to make the sweater.

Miracle #2: The knitting shop exchanged some circular needles. I first bought Crystal Palace circulars in #5 and #6 (the pattern calls for two size needles). The size 5 were sticking at the rotating joint. I phoned the store to see if anybody else had reported this trouble as I couldn’t find anyone online having it, and they said they would exchange them, so I threw in the request to exchange the as-of-yet unused size 6 while I was at it. And they agreed! They even checked to be sure my new pairs were working correctly before I left.

Ok, those weren’t miracles so much as exaggerations of small happy things.

Next came testing out casting on. The pattern calls for both 2×2 rib and 3×1 rib, which creates an odd number of cast on stitches for the back (the first piece I’ll be doing). Tubular cast on, which I’m using, calls for starting with half the number of stitches. When you’re casting on odd number you add one, then half that number. You deal with the extra stitch at, uh, some point. I figured that in my pattern at the point that I switch from 3×1 rib to 2×2 rib I have one stitch to deal with, one stitch that won’t allow me to just do a 2×2 tubular cast on all the way across. I did a test swatch and found that if I just added a third knit cast on stitch at the at point it would work out fine:

When I did the swatch I completely forgot to deal with the very last knit stitch I’m supposed to knit into from the bottom (as explained in this tutorial, picture #7). It doesn’t seem to be unravelling so I called it a solution to the extra stitch.

I went ahead and cast on using the #4 needles:

I have not clipped out the initial stitches yet, I’m sort of afraid I’ll stretch out the hem prematurely.

· comments [8] · 07-11-2007 · categories:knitting ·

I’m knitting a sweater: being schooled and practicing techniques

In the comments for my first post about the sweater Emily reminded me that I should check the gauge on my swatch after I had washed it. This makes a tremendous amount of sense. She also reminded me that when choosing which size to knit on a sweater pattern you should take your own measurement and add an amount of ease, in this case I’m going with 2 inches, which also makes a tremendous amount of sense. Thank you Emily, your advice saved me from a few embarrassing post-sweater conversations that would probably have included the phrase “you didn’t ___?” spoken in one of those amused/outraged Everybody Knows That tone of voice. If a tone of voice could roll it’s eyes this would be that tone. I hear this tone a lot.


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· comments [20] · 06-28-2007 · categories:knitting ·