My New Best Friend

Thank you everyone for the lovely comments on the post of two days ago. I am not a professional photographer, or a professional writer, though I aspire to be as creative and inspiring (as self-indulgent as that may be) as I can be. That said, do you know how long it takes to get good photos of oneself in an apartment with bad light? The money shots were among the literally scores of photos I took trying to capture the essence of the Last Unicorn socks. And here's a secret that will make all your photos better:

My new best friend.

That, my friends, is not the landing gear of some fantastic alien spacecraft that dropped off some magic technology that would make me take better photos. It is a rather inexpensive piece of equipment: a mini (tabletop) tripod I picked up over the weekend at BestBuy for around $15. They had an even cheaper one too, but this one seemed a little more substantial. That little puppy, along with a timer and the ability to turn the flash off, will make all your indoor photo-taking dreams come true.

Of course, this does not replace talent, as evidenced by the shots that follow. There's nothing remotely inspiring about them. But there is something inspiring about their content.

Lovely items from two lovely bloggers.

Thank you a thousand times over for the loot ladies! First up we have the Lorna's Laces Black Purl that I first saw over at Opal's and then coveted with a passion. I nearly bought some too, when Ginny offered to send me some in her stash that she wasn't using for a trade. I love it more in person than I ever did before. More than words can express. Now to find the perfect pattern! And the perfect yarn to reciprocate. I was thinking of sending an extra skein of Trekking XXL that I have (in a lovely purply color but nothing at all like the LL) along with some lace mohair or maybe some alpaca...

Shaken or stirred?

Secondly we have the ultra-cute and superbly finished tiny pouch made by Stacey. Are you impressed? Because I am. I love the fabric, and am enamored by the "real snapping action". (Sewers: I have no idea how easy/hard it is to install a snap as I do not sew - if it is in fact super easy could you perhaps turn a blind eye and refrain from ruining the magic for me? Thank you!) And she threw in those fun martini themed stitch markers, my very first "grownup" markers. What can I send to Stacey in return? Some mohair? Alpaca? (Are you getting tired of the joke yet?)

Since the socks are done I was itching to cast on for another project right away. I am longing to try out the Embossed Leaves socks from IK Winter 2005, or maybe the Anna's Elfines, but with Sock Madness right around the corner I didn't want to be caught with my pants around my ankles...er, stitches around my favorite sock needles. I have mentioned Sock Madness but once before since I wasn't even sure I had gotten in before last week. It is tournament-style sock knitting, fastest knitter wins each matchup (though the first round is a time trial). Knitting is standardized (somewhat) by requiring everyone knit each (new, secret) pattern to specification. The only substitutions that are allowed are yarn and needle size, which maybe changed up but must maintain gauge. The number of stitches must remain constant. The gates fly open Saturday morning, and you can be sure that there will be some exclusive sock knitting going on at that point! Until then, however...

Since I haven't done any lace recently I instead chose Evelyn Clark's Shetland Triangle shawl from Wrap Style:

Lace shawl, not cat vomit.

This is further evidence that I actually do not have any talent for taking photos, just some luck. The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill Laceweight Possum. Yes, possum, but don't bother trying to find it on their website - it was discontinued two years ago. I found mine at Seaport Yarn last year. It looks nothing like the cat vomit in the photo. It's a luscious mix of earth tones - rust, peat, loam, slate. No purple as the photo implies. And that was the best one of the lot that I took. There's something wrong with the white balance, I think, but I couldn't for the life of me fix it. Ah, well.

As par for the course I am not following the specifications at all. The pattern calls for Jaeger Cashmina (80% cashmere, 20% merino) knit on US size 6 needles. I am using the Cherry Tree Hill (40% merino, 40% possum, 20% silk) on US size 3 needles. For one thing, the CTH is a slightly finer gauge yarn than the Jaeger (Yarndex says 32 stitches per 4 inches on a size 3 needle versus 28 stitches per 4 inches on a size 3). I don't anticipate getting the kind of loft the cashmere would impart, so I went down in size one more than I probably ordinarily would have. I have 1060 yards available, so though I anticipate having to add one or more extra pattern repeats to get a sufficiently large shawl I'm not worried about running out of yarn.

One thing - this yarn is dry and slightly crunchy, though not in an unpleasant way to knit with. Is it the silk content? The possum? Has anyone out there ever knitted with it? Does it soften up after a bath? I, of course, did not swatch. (What swatch? It is a shawl - you knit until it is big enough!)


Happiness is a basket full of yarn.

As you can see, there has been considerable enhancement in the stash department. All sock yarn, I assure you. And all will be revealed in the fullness of time.

ETA: Spring Knitty is up!


At 5:32 PM, Blogger peaknits said...

OMG - look at the fabulous basket of goodness - I think Fearless Fibers is on the way left...I have to study up! The Lorna's is gorgeous! And thank you for being so sweet about my markers and silly little pouch - it was my pleasure! :)

At 6:53 PM, Blogger Ginny said...

Oooh! Trekking! Yes, please!

Those stitch markers are so freakin cute. And you are going to need them with all that sock yarn...

You're tempting me to make a visit to the LYS tomorrow...

At 9:43 PM, Blogger Opal said...

What wonderful loot! I'm so glad you got your hands on some Black Purl. Those stitch markers are so CUTE! That basket of yarn? Droooooool. I hope you can get a better picture of the shawl soon. The way you describe the yarn also has me drooooooooling.

At 4:02 PM, Anonymous sandra said...

The moment I saw stitch markers and pouche my inner voice said."Man, ain't this STacey's work?"
You lucky one!

At 7:42 PM, Blogger schrodinger said...

What wonderful goodness, yummy LL.


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