Saturday, April 19, 2014

Knit Faster

Although I haven't been feeling too much love for the humble hand-knit sock lately, I have been working on my current socks-in-progress here and there. I don't think I even showed these to the blog yet.

Aren't they unusual? I'm not sure about how the colors are swirling down the sock but I love the colors and the yarn is soft, bouncy and wonderful. It's Nebula sock yarn from Ethereal Fibers an 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere and 10% Nylon blend and the color is Molly Ringworm from her Autocorrect series. This first one is almost at the toe and I honestly can't wait to knit the second one and wear these.
Never fear though, I'm still working away on my Wingspan shawl. I'm at the pink now! That's the last color so I'm getting close.

Honestly, I'm not entirely sure I'll have enough to do two more triangles and the last few edge rows. I'll just keep knitting until I run out I guess. If I knit faster, that means I'll have enough right?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Winging My Way

I was really trying to be good and not start anything new but last week, after finishing my Noro shawl, my needles felt sort of empty and odd (even though I have plenty of other things on the needles.) Since I was traveling to a conference where I would be in the car for about 2 hours and I wasn't driving, I needed something to knit. I have several plain vanilla socks on the needles but I just haven't been feeling the socks lately. I decided it was all right to cast on something new and I knew just what to knit.
This is really odd for me, I often flounder for several days deciding what pattern to knit with the yarn I'd like to use or what yarn to use with the pattern I'd like to knit. I often don't find a good combination and wander away to knit what's already on my needles.
This time it suddenly popped into my head and it just seemed right. I dug out the handspun Faux Cashmere from Sparktickes Dyes. It's a gradient in the colorway Jesse Pinkman from her Breaking Bad series. I had a lot of fun spinning this unusual fiber but I had had no idea what to do with it once it was spun. Some friends suggested Zuzu's Petals, I went so far as to buy the pattern and I like it a lot and I will knit it. It calls for a lot less yardage than I had though so I was afraid I would have to greatly alter the pattern to knit it with this yarn. Ultimately, I decided on Wingspan. The yardage was much closer to the 420 yards I had. I cast on and started knitting my triangles.

I love it! I love the simplicity of it, it really makes the gradient shine and I'm enjoying watching the color slowly change from one to the next. It's easy to sit down one evening and get at least one triangle knit. I can't wait to get to the pink so I've been knitting it a good amount of time and really enjoying every minute.
It seems maybe I just needed a mindless shawl (with a little interest). Now my needles are much more content to wing their way across this shawl. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Noro Finito!

Things have been a little bit crazy here. Last weekend I was traveling and sadly unable to get a whole lot of knitting done. I did get some movie-watching done and some wonderful time with my 3 year old niece. I even got to have a meal with my 17 year old niece. Being seen in public! Quite an accomplishment for a crazy Aunt.
I did manage to finish my Noro Stripes Shawl though. I'm so happy it's done. I had enough yarn to continue for a few more stripes but I wasn't happy with the color combination coming up so I decided to end it.

It hasn't been blocked and the ends aren't woven in yet, like I said things have been busy around here.
I also recently finished the first of my Cursed Cable Mitts.

As you can see, I immediately cast on the second in the hopes I would be encouraged to finish it but as the weather is warming up, I'm thinking these might have to take a short break. They really need good lighting to work on them too and I just haven't had that lately. I need to sit in my kitchen more, I get the afternoon sun there. Here's a close up of the cable.

Even with the better lighting here, you still can't see it very well but trust me, it's lovely. If it wasn't so lovely, I would be tempted to scrap these. I just keep struggling along with that cable. I also haven't woven in the ends on this first mitt. That's odd for me, I usually do that right away with something you knit a mate to but I just haven't taken the time. Hopefully this next week will slow down a bit so I can breathe (and weave in some ends)

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Ennui

I'm still feeling some pretty big project ennui so I've really not been working frantically on anything. I do a few rows a day on this Noro shawl I've been working on for a long time and that's about it. It is pretty and springy but the rows are getting long and I'm ready for it to be done.
 
 It's pretty and stripey but also not very photogenic since it mostly looks like a big stripey blob right now.
 
See, blob. In case I haven't gone into details before; this is a simple garter stitch shawl knit with two different balls of Noro. Normally, I would use two of the same kind of Noro sock yarn but in this case one is Kureyon (70% wool, 30% Nylon) and one is Taiyo (50% Cotton, 17% Wool, 17% Nylon, 16% Silk) The idea is to knit a simple shawl doing two rows of one color and two rows of the other and watch as the colors meet up and change slowly. The yarn itself does (almost) all the work and the result is lovely.
I'm definitely getting close to the end, the two balls of yarn are getting pretty small but I have several more days work to do. I'll just try to enjoy the colors as I knit since spring has definitely NOT arrived here in Minnesota. We got a dusting of snow again last night.




Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Fever

This month I've been feeling a little off knitting and spinning-wise. I just can't seem to settle in and focus on a project. So, when it came time to figure out what to turn in for Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup, I was at something of a loss. The Darling Clementine socks worked fine for Detention (a project started earlier that has not been finished, then gets finished during the month). Unfortunately, that doesn't count for your class and students are required (in order to keep their good student standing for sorting purposes) to turn in at least one class. I like to do at least two just in case there's an issue so last week I whipped out a couple of projects.

Here we have a handspun BFL Toilet Paper Cozy. (It's really a baby hat, just going incognito for the purposes of class turn-in.)
Then I also knitted this round dishcloth.

Nothing to write home about really. I've just been feeling sort of blah about dealing with complicated things lately. I think it's Spring Fever, despite the fact that Spring has not actually arrived. I keep telling myself to finish some things before starting new things too and I'm just not in love with any of my current projects.
These totally count as finishing things right? That means I can start something new? Like a little teeny sweater to match that baby hat? I have lots of yarn left.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hello Clementine


Last night I sat myself down and told myself that I was about half a foot away from some finished socks and it was time to do something about it. So, I buckled down and finished my Darling Clementine socks.

Aren't they bright and sunshiney and lovely next to all that fresh snow? I continued the cable down the sides of the foot and while it is a lovely cable, I did not enjoy knitting it.

I ended up using a cable needle which seriously slows me down but dropping stitches every time and having to pick them up (repeatedly usually) made it not worth cabling without a cable needle either. I managed to lose the cable needle somewhere in my living room last night just before the last cable too. How do they disappear like that? It really is a mystery. I'll look for it later.
It's a good thing these are done too because I noticed something the night before last.

These are my handspun Whomp socks. They have a cable down the side of the leg. That's where I got the idea for these Darling Clementine socks as a matter of fact. They weren't particularly favorites but they were a little thicker, being handspun, so they saw a lot of use this winter. I could darn them or reknit the heels but the whole heel area is worn very thin on both so I think it's time to retire these lovely socks. Good-bye Whomp Socks. Hello Clementine.
(Never fear, I still have some of the Whomp handspun left so I could always make something else in the same colorway, to will remind me of these socks, and how much they helped keep my feet warm on this cold, cold winter. That is if I can ever bear to remember this winter.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Stripe Kit

If you've been reading for any length of time you know that I'm in the Gritty Knits Merino of the Month club. Each month I get a braid of beautifully dyed Merino from the lovely Natasha and add it to my fiber stash. Sometimes, of course, it isn't my favorite colors but it's a club and that's bound to happen. I love the versatility of Merino and I really enjoy spinning it so I stick with this lovely, very reasonably priced club even though I often have more than 10 braids of Merino sitting around waiting to be spun at any given time. (That's probably a low estimate but I'm not going to reveal the truth about the stash.)
Every so often Natasha will use her lovely color sense and come up with an idea. Sometimes, being in the club gives us a chance to test it out for her and such was the case in January of 2012. I got this lovely big package in the mail and ripped into it to find...a Stripe Kit. It was 6 ounces, rather than the usual 4 and was in 2 ounce pieces. Each piece was dyed differently and the idea was to spin them and chain-ply for predictable, gradual stripes or alternate for a random pattern or anything else. The idea created a sort of stir in my Knitting and Spinning groups and lots of people spun 3 different-colored braids together. The results were gorgeous and I recently realized that I had never spun my Stripe Kit. It seemed like a great time to practice double drive on my wheel so I changed things up and got to spinning.

As you can see the three braids are very different, although the third one (on the right) has elements of both of the other two.

It was hard to get an idea of how they would spin up together though. So I dove right in and started. A traditional 3-ply all the way.

It turned out to be a very unusual yarn. It's all different and it's so hard to tell in the photos about the subtle shifts in color on each section of the yarn.

It's about a fingering weight but dense. Only about 420 yards from the 6 ounces.

Maybe here you can see a little bit better how the colors shift slowly in each part of the yarn. It's really unusual and I really can't wait to see how it looks knit up. I'm thinking after I finish some socks I have on the go, this might need to become some socks. Even though it's 100% merino, it has a nice tight twist and will be dense and tightly-knit so I think it will be okay. I'm not too worried, I have enough hand-knit socks in the drawer that I can afford to experiment a bit.