March 7, 2014

February WIPs and FO's

February is far too short.  Zip it went, click went the needles, and whoosh went the wheel!

I'm in the progress of stitching some cute and colorful Mardi Gras Socks!  It's an Opal Mississippi self striping and patterning yarn.  Serious pops of color, and keeps me knitting.  It should be done in the next couple days.

I'm trying out a new heel type too.  I'm doing Cat Bohrdi's Sweet Tomato Heel, you can see the youtube video here.  It looks wonky, but I think I like the way it fits.  A definite repeater.  However, if you like doing your socks 2 at a time, it may not play nice with the normal needle placement.

In a whirl of self striping love, I also cast on a Baby Surprise Jacket (by Elizabeth Zimmermann).  It's done in the now discontinued Knit Picks Fecili Sport.  I just found an error in my stitch count.  (8 extra stitches!)

But how can you resist this color?  It's called Kingpin, the Dude would approve.

I did finish the Barndom I started on a whim.  The pattern is by Stephen West.  I wanted to make the largest size, but the cord on my needle couldn't handle any more stitches, so I made a sharp turn and worked the smaller size.

It's made from Mad Tosh Light, in the colors Carnation and Molly Ringwald.  Yum.  I did look up these colorways on Ravlery, and they look very similar.  I wonder if the dark one was labeled wrong as carnation.  Hmmm.  I love it anyway.  I finished it around Valentines Day, and doesn't it look like a hear while it's drying?

A short month, but I finished a lot.  Work is starting to pick up like crazy, so I don't know that I will be as productive.  I hope to get time at the spinning wheel though... it always calms my mind.

February 28, 2014

February Spinning and Events

I'm going to try to put out 2 posts this weekend.  So look for a second post later.

I have been doing some spinning because in this amazing cold you want to work with lots of wools.

I finished plying the rainbow yarn.  I think I'm missing one of the purples.  Not sure.  This whole project was a blur!  I THINK I had another skein that was all purple, but maybe it's in a bag somewhere.  I'll find it I'm sure. :)

I really like the dark polwarth carded with the sparkle.  I think I'll make a little more of that up, and then do a striped blanket!

When finding room in the craft room for that yarn I came across some of my first handspun, Some Miss Babs Merino Silk blend in a lovely gold she called Helio.  It was a two ply that I remembered being very proud of, it was fine and delicate.  And Now I see that it wasn't really plied so much as ... set next to each other to do it's own thing.  Kind of like some of those group projects you've had to work on at school.

There were spots that were OK, but others you can clearly see one ply just doing its own thing!  Not ok, all plies must work together.  I ran it through my wheel again.  That is to say, I set this up on my swift and with my wheel spinning in the direction I plied, I fed this yarn through it again.  This added more twist in the plying direction, firming the yarn right up!

Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!  Everything all together.

I worked with the "left-over" fiber from when I taught my friend to spin in December.  It was some 100% wool top from Lorna's Laces in the Whitewater color.  It's very pretty mix of blues and white.  Although I suspect it may have sat for a while, as it was pretty compacted.  The blues didn't want to draft well and yarg.  I was glad when I could start plying.  Although I had started with about 20 ounces of it before the spinning lesson.  I maybe gave a half ounce for her to play with.  So I have a lot.  I decided to do a 5 ply out of the singles.  I wound them off onto toilet paper rolls, because of how handy they are.

Then I used my handmade (by my dad) lazy kate annd the flyer for my sidekick (the wheel) to manage my "bobbins."  I have over 600 yards of a very squishy aran to light bulky weight yarn.  SQUISH THIS!

I plied this on my Heavenly Hanspun Vespera Espinner.  It's a handy little machine and look at the size of those bobbins!  They hold about 8 ounces.

I have more spinning to talk about but I will wait till March.

As far as Events go, I plied my 5 ply for the Ravellenic Winter Games (colors are appropriate right?) and I knit a couple kits.  I did one other spinning project, but again ... you can wait a week right?

The kits were from vintage stash.  One was from Stitches Midwest 2008, my first Stitches Event.  I was overwhelmed and some odd things came home with me.  It was wonderful.  I got a Sweaterkit from a booth there.  It was the Bear Cub Cardigan, child's sweater.  I have no idea what I'll do with the sweater, but it's done.  Although I didn't do ears.  I didn't like them much once I sewed the whites to the middle.  I might have to work on that and attach them later.

The second was a Christmas 2011 Holiday gift from my mother (I think it was 2011).  A Penguin Pillow Kit!  The pattern is still available on their website, but the kit is not.

I made several changes to this little guy.  One, I knit him in the round, from the beginning using the entarsia in the round techniques I heard on Amy Beth's Fat Squirrel Speaks Podcast.  I don't think she really teaches the method so much as mentions it.  I kind of thought, oh! that's not too hard.  So my little penguin looks a little wonky under ONE of his arms, but don't go looking!  It's rude.  I also changed the shaping on his arms and made his beak in the round in stockinette.

I don't think I've been more proud!  He also won me a prize in the group I knit for.  The Knitting Dead group on Ravelry gave me this badge and I won a provision.  I can't wait to see what I won!

Events on the horizon:  Yarn School Spring 2014, Dye, Spin, Weave, Friends, Food, Wine Yay!
Yarn Con 2014, Plumbers Hall and Indie Dyers!
A Patsy Z Class with my Guild!

February 4, 2014

January FO's and WIP's

I in no way mean to tell you that I have been more productive than you have.  Although I have been finishing things like CRAZY.

Two blankets are done.

The big stitch blanket - done on size 50 needles.  I used a box of yarn that came out of my friend's grandmother's stash after she passed.

Whites and greens, holding 8 strands of worsted weight arcylic together.  It's crazy squishy.  It went into the washing machine and dryer and stretched in the opposite way than I expected.  I meant to give this to Project Linus, but I think I need to send it through the washer ONE MORE TIME.  To see if I can get it to even out just a little.

I finished a blanket done in Lion Brand Homespun that I striped.  I striped to mask the mismatched dye lots.  I cannot recommend doing this enough.  Looks great, is supper squishy and cozy.  I bound this one off on Jan 1, starting the bind-off row at midnight.  Start the year as you intend to live it!  Finishing things, that's what I want to be doing!

Sit in this chair and wrap up in it right now...

I've finished two sets of footware.  One pair of Seamless Salomas.  Which I made a million pairs of for Christmas, but I know my Grandma R is going to wear her pair out.  She wore out the last pair, so ...

This pair is out of Vanna's Choice in Chocolate, and a lime colored Wool-Ease on the top.  I need to cast on more of these.  I love making them.

These socks are for my Dad, in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the Go Packers! Color.  Which is a small-stripes colorway.  In dad's size, 74 stitches, they were just over 1 round thick.  The gold was a little longer than the green, but so pretty.
It's a basic toe-up stockinette with 2x2 rib on the cuff.  I used Jeny's Surprising Stretch Bind Off and an afterthought heel in garter stitch, a basic wedge toe after Judi's Magic Cast On.  Go Packers!

Last finished object was a quick afternoon practice.  A hoodie with ears for a toddler, The Burton Bear Cowl by Heidi May.  It take about 100-150 yrds of a Bulky weight yarn.  I used Malabrigo Bulky, one skein and eeked out, just bearly, a toddler size with ears.

The pattern is clear and there are ton of sizing options.  From newborn to grown-up.  Very fun, you could make a family of these and be the 3 bears for Halloween!  A girl friend on Facebook wanted one for her daughter, and another piped up.  Now this one is for the second vocal knit-requester, but her little one is toddler sized yet.  I modified the ears, free-styled to use the 2 yards of yarn I had left.  The cowl also had an optional boarder, which I did not do either.  My biggest issue with the pattern was that I think the yardage requirements were short.  I am glad I did this test.

I have been working very hard on the third blanket on the needles.  A Building Blocks Blanket by Michelle Hunter.  She made a blanket square booklet with Skacel using Simply Worsted yarn that builds on what you know and adds skills to your toolbox as you work your way through the squares.  It's a great concept and a well done booklet.  I don't care for seaming blocks much.  I'm pulling together some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted that I picked up at an open house warehouse sale a couple years ago.  I've been working on this blanket since last March when I went out to visit my brother in AZ.  Blanket squares were the perfect project for plane knitting.

I picked them back up over late-Christmas stuff with my family.  I finished two squares in January.  I've got this green left for the rest of my squares.
I have cast on the 10th square on Monday.  It's Block number 8 in the book - slipped stitches.  I like it, it has you slip stitches with the yarn in front.  I have already had to fix spots where I slipped with the yarn held in back instead.  Pay attention!

I am working on finishing up my Stephen West's Barndom.  It's a great garter stitch shawl with geometric themes and a slip stitch pattern that really pops.  I did it in Madeline Tosh Light in shades of pink.  It's really girly and pretty.
I was hoping to finish it before I did this post.  It didn't work out that way.  These last few rows are getting very long.  So long, I decided to not do the 3 color version because I don't have another comparable circular needle, I'm running out of room!

The last thing on the needles is the Beekeeper's Quilt.  Still plugging away!  And look at all these fingering weight yarns I worked with here!  More puffs to come. :)

I realize I am now running out of on the needle projects.  Which is perfect!  With the Ravelry Games (to run concurrent to the Olympic Games) I want to have few projects to compete from my attention.  Can't wait to tell you all about my plans!

January 21, 2014

January Books and Events

Books are great!  I got a the new pocket edition of The Field Guide to Fleeces by Deb Robson and Carol Ekarius.  My version is signed by Deb, a big thank you to Elaine from my guild for ordering our group some books.  How lucky are we?  :)

There are a 100 sheep in this pocket guide, which is under half of what is in the Original Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook that the two fiberistas put together.  I don't know how they decided what to cut, it must have been a hard job.

The layout of the book is simple and will make this book an amazing resource up at WI sheep and wool this fall.  Each breed gets two facing pages, with the name in BOLD letters at the top, one page has a picture of the sheep with a light overview of the sheep, how it likes dyes, and what people use their wool for.  The opposing page shows some locks of the fleece, and stats of the wool, staple length, color etc.

I think next year Sheep and Wool is going to be so much fun!

Events are kind of a downer.

I've known it coming for a little while now, but now the shop front is empty.  The LYS, Fuzzy Wuzzy Yarns, where I taught stands empty.  Posts on classes might become a periodic highlight now, until I find another location to teach at.  It is a pretty big loss to my little knitting world, but there are lots of other shops in the area.

Other events include joining a new Guild, The Hollow Tree Spinners that meet at the Fold in Marengo, IL welcomed me.  Welcomed me so much that I'll leading a sock tutorial with another member sometime this year.

January 5, 2014

January spinning and a sock review.

have done some spinning lately.  Excitingly, some long term projects are off the wheel, some what.

I finished the New To You Spin Along from October.  I was trying to spin a sock yarn out of some destash fiber I picked up from Into the Whirled.  It's a super wash merino wool in a color called Its bigger on the Inside.  A bright pop of teal in a mix of oranges, that reminds me of the interior of David Tennant's tardis.

I have not washed the yarn yet, but the 3 ply gave me 616 yards out of 100 grams.  A little on the thin side for what I wanted.  It will fluff up after a wash, and I will measure again then.  I think I will still make them into socks either way, that's why I have a set of double zeros.

I started plying the prism on polwarth from the first installment of the rockin whorl club from August.  I hand carded the fiber with Angelina dyed to match.  Then I did the same with some polwrath dyed in Rauen, a dark brown.  The singles were plied together.  With coordinating sparkles.  I started with all the red, plying through the rainbow.  I got almost all the way through the orange before I realized I didn't have enough Rauen spun up.  I need more Angelina, and it should ship this week.
I love it!  I can't wait to work with it, but I need to put in more work to get to the knitting.

My speed spinning was gifted yesterday.  So happy with the results, and I'm sure Jess will make something amazing with it.

I took a friend to spinning guild on Monday, let her play on the wheel.  She learned to treadle, and draft and ply.  She has no fiber experience, not a knitter or needle arts.  She welds, so working with her hands and tools to create is not foreign.  
Lumpy and bumpy and amazing!

She did wonderfully don't you think?

I am not teaching or taking any classes for the foreseeable future.  So I have a sock review.  

I made the Hot Rod socks by Melanie Gibbons back in 2010.  I was in the yarntini sock cocktail club back then, and the club yarns were amazing basic colors.  I picked up the black in an update (how lucky!) to make these socks.

The socks are mostly stockinette with sections of color work, and these socks combined these yarns in a way that rocked.  So I wore the heck out of them.  And it shows.

Pros: The pattern is amazing although I would have gone up a needle on the color work part, but the placement of the color work is exactly where I like my socks to grip a little tighter.  So pretty, very fun, great for coordinating scraps of sock yarn.   The yarn is wearing well, no felting.

Cons: The pattern is not easily adjustable for in between sizes, not a big deal, but it is also hard to memorize.  So it's a medium difficulty pattern.  The yarntini yarn sells due to its amazing color, but mine bleed like a stuck pig even after 2 years of wear.  I cannot wash anything else with my yarntini socks, and these socks show it.   The black has bled into the yellow and muddied it and the toes are almost 2 shades lighter than the cuffs.  I have the rest of my yarntini in destash on ravelry for sale.  I recommend a good wash before working it.

January 2, 2014

The December & 2013 Wrap up

2013 was a good crafting year for me.  I love working with yarn and fiber.

I grew in my skills as a crafter and a teacher.  I can only hope to continue my growth, and the growth was most evident in the area of my spinning.  I felt good enough about my yarn to make a sweater!  I felt good enough about it to GIFT it!  I felt good enough about my skills to spin on purpose, for a gift, AT THE LAST MINUTE.  This is what I ended up with:

You know you wish that this yarn was for our.  I would say this is a 4 ply worsted/aran weight yarn.  So PRETTY, 50% BFL, 25% Merino, 25% Silk.

I got to give some great knitted gifts this year.  A cowl with Packer colors to my Sig Other's grandma.  She loved it.

And a bunch of those Seamless Salomas.  I have a couple at home for myself, and I just couldn't stop making them.  I sent a few off to AZ for kids to skate on the hardwood floors (since ice skating isn't really an option right?) and a few for my grandparents with puffy paint on the bottom for anti slipping purposes!  And a couple for small toes since I wanted to see what the sizing was like, I started out with the smallest size.
Forgive the blur, she's only 3, standing still is hard. The slippers are a couple of my pink colorways of sock yarns held together.  They are what I would call "princess puke pink."  Yup.  So PINK, with purples and greens and POW!

I hope your holiday crafting was successful.  Gifts were given, loved and will be worn out.

Did you make any crafting resolutions this year?  I did.  Here are mine - put some of yours in the comments.
1.  Never purl with Lion Brand Homespun again.  I have yarn for another blanket.  (I did finish my homespun blanket at 1:05 AM on New Years day)  I will work the next one in garter stitch (knit every row).
2.  Watch the craftsy classes I signed up for.  I have 2 that I haven't watched yet.  A knitting class on knitting with beads and a sewing class on tote bags.  I don't use my sewing machine often.  I probably could use a craftsy class on ironing skills.
3.  Spin 4 pounds of fiber before Yarn School in April.  This assumes that I'm able to register and go to Yarn School.  I have time off booked and can likely register on time, but you never know.  Yarn School was advertised in Ply Magazine, so demand could go up, and Spring session usually fills up fast.  I'm excited either way.
4.  Finish the blankets on my needles.  This includes the giant needle blanket and the Building Blocks squares blanket, not the Hexapuff blanket.  Hexapuffs are a long term project, I am not in a hurry.  The other blankets can be done.

And those are my 2014 crafting goals.  Really attainable, and there are only 4 of them.  4 is the right number.

But you might ask, what were my 2013 crafting goals, and did I do a good job on them?  I have to look for them.

I set only a few goals, one to finish decorating my new home.  Mostly done.  But that keeps shifting as we paint different areas of the home.  I'm pleased with what we have done right now.  A couple more things to go on the walls, but yay!  I had set a goal to finish the TKGA Master Knitter Program level 1, and I did not.  I don't have the motivation to finish knitting the swatches.  Does this make me a bad knitter, no.  It makes me a project knitter.  I want my knitting to lead to a finished object I can wear or gift.  This isn't what this knitting leads to.  I don't know that I will finish it.  Last goal was to spin every week.  I don't think I spun every week, but I have spun every month for at least 4 days a month.  Averaging it out, yes, I spun every week :)

I don't think you've had enough pictures this post - here's a bonus picture of how cold it is here.  Wear all your knit wear at once.