Thursday, January 26, 2012

Beautiful Mittens Can Brighten up a Winter's Day

Well my friends, I finished the Merino/Bamboo yarn. It turned out lovely.

I love how in some places the colors matched up and in some they didn't. It turned out really neat. I'm so excited for it to go to its new home too!

I've also been working on some mittens. I just decided I needed a project other than socks and these were small and relatively quick so they were just the ticket.
A friend loaned me her copy of the Fiddlehead mittens pattern. I dug in the stash and found some wonderful yarn.

3 skeins of Alpaca and Silk from Blue Sky Alpacas in a lovely undyed color. I wound off little balls of it and dyed them, waited very impatiently for it to be dry and knit these.

The best part about them? (Other than the fact that I dyed them) is this:

You knit basically a second mitten inside the first and then turn the second one inside out inside the first, making them double layered and super warm.

I love my new mittens, they make me smile.

One more thing before I sign off for today. As many of you know, I've been working at a local craft store teaching and moderating Knit & Crochet nights for several years, I've been going through some personal things, including some depression and anxiety and I just felt like I was putting too much of myself out into the world when I need to focus on myself and getting better so, this week, I quit my job at the local craft store. It was a very hard decision because I love some of the friends I made there but I need to focus on myself and getting to a healthy place before I can focus on others. I want to try to continue to blog as my knitting and spinning often keeps me going but I will be focusing on what I need first for awhile. Thank you, gentle reader, for understanding.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mmmm, Chock Full of Orangey Goodness

Remember that fiber that I showed off the other day?

Well, it's called Fruity Drinks by the Pool and it's from the Spunky Eclectic Club. I'm not in the club but occasionally will purchase something from a friend's destash when she isn't excited about it. This is one of those purchases. It's 60% Merino and 40% Bamboo. I think it's a lovely fiber, very silky and glides easily through your fingers to spin it. As a matter of fact, it seems to have turned into these singles.

I'm having the same issue my friend did with it though, I'm not loving the colors. I'm just not that enamored with them. The good news is, I asked a different friend, who commented on the fiber, what she'd like me to do with it. I'm going to 2-ply it for her and we will work out some sort of trade or something. Very exciting.

As I've mentioned, I've been trying to get my projects page more organized on Ravelry and have it reflect, at least in some small way, my actual projects. I think it's pretty much current right now. Sadly, the only thing I've added is socks. It's apparently all socks all the time around here. Just to prove it, here's another one.

This is the yarn. It's called Darling Clementine and it's Nom of course from the Gritty Knits Nom of the month club. It's not my favorite colors but they will be bright and soft and squishy and I think that honestly, if I'm going to stay in the Nom club, I need to knit with it once in awhile or I'm going to have a ridiculous stash of the stuff. I do love the way it's knitting up though.

As you can see (maybe) I'm into the gusset increases on the first sock. Isn't it full of delicious orangey stripes?

I've also been working on updating my stash on ravelry. I'm starting with my fiber stash only. I think I have it all updated now. At least with all the dyed fiber, although there could still be some lurking around the office, it's pretty messy in there right now. If you'd like to take a look, you can find it here. We will not mention all the undyed stuff yet right? Otherwise I might go a little bit cuckoo!

Anyway, I'm off to try to get warm and ply that Merino/Bamboo. It should be fun.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Finally the Green-Brown Yarn Story

After spending Saturday relaxing at home, we ran all day on Sunday. First church followed by a birthday party for my husband's grandma. She's 90 now! It's sure amazing to see how her life has progressed and the friends she has made along the way.
Well, after spending all day Sunday running my darling husband and I seem to have picked up some sort of bug. Both of us have been sick for days. Since I've been lying mostly comatose in bed I haven't gotten a lot of knitting or crocheting or anything else done. (You should see the pile of dishes in the kitchen. It's scary. Anyone want to come and wash them for me? Please? No? No takers huh? I guess I'll have to try to find the strength somewhere.) Anyway, instead of new projects, I have a couple of things to show off from the last couple of weeks.

First, I have a lovely snowflake dishcloth I crocheted. The pattern was free on a display of Bernat Cotton at JoAnn Fabrics. I originally picked it up because my mom was interested in it. I thought if I crocheted it first, then when she inevitably calls with questions, I would have some idea what they wanted and would be able to help.

I really like the result though. It's pretty enough to be decorative and it almost makes me want to wash the dishes. Not quite though. I think I will have to make a few more to have around for dish-washing though. If you're interested in it, you don't need to trek out to your local JoAnn's though, the pattern is also available online here.

I did feel the need to start a new sock on Saturday too. I really don't know why, I have several going right now. I wound up some yarn I had spun last year. It's the Zarzuela Sock Stripes yarn. I talked about spinning it here. I cast on a sock from the toe-up and so far, I haven't gotten very far.

It's turning out lovely though and I'm very happy to be knitting it.

As promised, I also have a bit of spinning to show off. First, the singles I showed off last week. They plied up into some lovely yarn. I got about 246 yards despite swiping a bit of the fiber to put into other spinning projects. I'm not sure what it would like to be yet though. I find that's so often true when I spin something.

Speaking of spinning something, I finally have a photo of the cursed yarn.

I'm joking of course, I don't really believe the yarn is cursed but it has had some serious problems. I originally received it in July 2011 for the Gritty Knits Merino-of-the-month club. I liked the colors and the subtlety of it but I knew it wasn't going to be exciting to spin, it was too subtle for that. I started spinning it with the intention of navajo plying and I should have known it was going to have issues when it seemed to be taking forever to get though the fiber, the singles were turning out lovely until...
the thread of singles broke while I was spinning. Normally that's no big deal, you just find the end, splice it and keep going right? Except! I could NOT find the end. I searched and searched. I finally created an end by snapping the singles and kept going with the spinning, trying to forget about the issues it had. I finished the singles before Christmas, but set the bobbin aside in order to finish all the projects I had going for gifts. When I finally took it out and started plying, I found no lack of breakage and when I got to that same spot where the singles had broken, I had the same problem, not being able to find the end. I got so frustrated, I set the bobbin aside and finally had to have my friend WoolPrincess help me find that end. I managed to finish the plying and wind the yarn off with no further incident. It really is lovely yarn and I have a whopping 544 yards of Navajo-plied yarn. If only I can bring myself to get past its issues and knit the yarn now. It will definitely have a time-out for awhile and then we'll see.

In the meantime, I'm going to try to get a little something done. Maybe some laundry could get folded. Let's just ignore those dishes for one more day.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

August Socks are Finally, Officially Finished

I keep saying I will blog twice a week and then time just slips away and here I sit on a Saturday, still without a second blog post for the week. In yet another attempt to keep the habit going, let's start with a few finished things.

I've had these socks finished since August. They were my August socks after all. I forgot to take pictures of them though and so the project for them on Ravelry has been sitting neglected. Gathering internet dust as it were. Finally, in all their getting-slightly-pilly-already glory are the August Socks.

I really do like them and I think they turned out very well. If you'd like to know more about them, check out their project on Ravelry here. It will be updated with this picture and it's completed information later.

I've been focusing a lot on doing spinning lately. Almost to the exclusion of my knitting. I guess I just find the smooth feel of fiber sliding through my fingers to be so soothing, something I can almost do without looking, that I tend to get lost in it.

I finally finished plying the cursed Green and Brown Merino but it deserves it's own post. It has a whole story.

I also spun and plied a braid of pink and purplish merino that I wasn't too sure about.

I took some of the fiber out of the braid for something else and was left with some unusual colors as you can see from these singles. Pretty but unusual. I'll bet you can't wait to see how they plied up. Well, wait you will have to, the yarn isn't washed yet and I think it deserves at least that before it's blog debut.

Since I finished two spinning projects that means I get to start another right?

Mmmmm, lovely stuff, very soft and silky. Let's talk more about that later too.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I have Nothing Interesting to Say Here

The last couple of days have been a bit crazy. I spent the weekend finishing up my family Christmas celebrations. We went down on Saturday and visited my grandma and then on Sunday we spent the day at my grandpa's house. It was a lovely weekend but it was not very conducive to knitting.

I have been working on getting some things done though. Here's the sweater for Critter #2 (the littlest lovely lady that I babysit for each week)

This is some Superwash Merino that her mama and I dyed at Shepherd's Harvest last year and then she spun into some lovely two-ply yarn. There's a full pound and so, when I finish the first sweater, I'll be starting on Critter #1's sweater. They are both very excited about their sweaters.
I'm on the first sleeve of this smaller one.

I would normally link to the pattern that I'm using but it's a free one on Ravelry and I don't think it's written very well. It's really more of a guideline for me so I won't encourage others to check it out. It's meant for a baby anyway and I'm knitting toddler size (by going up a couple of needle sizes, making the body and sleeves longer). The larger sweater will take some measuring and finagling before I can cast on. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I may be a little nervous that it won't come out the right size.

The Gentleman's Sock in Railway Stitch has been weighing on my mind as well. I threaded it onto waste yarn and tried it on. It's quite a bit shorter than the pattern calls for and when you stretch it to fit it around your leg, it shortens even more.

The verdict? I'm knitting more leg stitches. I'm really, really hoping I don't run out of yarn on the second sock. I think they're turning out very nice though. Although, I don't expect to have a pair of socks anytime soon.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Actually Sticking to one Goal

I don't usually post on a Saturday, but I did promise to post at least twice a week so I need to actually get to it, especially since I just said it the other day.

Not much has changed on the knitting front, although I did take a look at my sad Ravelry projects page and discovered that I am seriously outdated. I haven't posted a picture of my August socks and they've been completed since, well, August. I'm wearing them right now as a matter of fact. Hmm, now would be an excellent time to take a photo. I should remember that and take one today.
I did start a new pair of socks, The Gentleman's sock in Railway Stitch from Knitting Vintage Socks. I think the pattern is beautiful. Although a bit fiddly, especially on tiny needles in dark yarn. I'm loving the socks but I have encountered a problem.

I'm knitting them on size 0s as the pattern calls for and I realized (now that I have knit all the way down the leg to where I should start the heel flap) that I'm not getting gauge. I should have used 1s. I like how they look in this gauge and I'm enjoying knitting it. I'm planning for the socks to be for me (because why knit for someone else on 0s) I'm pretty sure they will fit well at their current gauge as well. The issue I'm running into is that they have leg shaping and they are meant to be 8 1/2 inches before the heel flap and they aren't. They're about 6 inches. My question is this: To add more leg stitches or not?

Well, weigh in, what do you think? I'm guessing the only way for me to know is to slip the sock onto waste yarn and try it on, figuring out where the shaping sits and where it should sit. More on that next week.

In the meantime, Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


I keep meaning to post but the time has just slipped away these last couple of weeks.

I had a wonderful Christmas with my in-laws, then a wonderful Christmas with my family. Then a crazy busy week and a lovely quiet new year with friends.

Now, as the calendar turns, I'm starting to look forward and figure out my goals for the coming year. Some are personal and I won't share them here, some are business-related and some, well, some are meant to be shared here. They are the fiber/yarn/knitting goals.

1. I would like to be better about blogging. I'd like to post at least twice a week, more if possible. Feel free to start bugging me if you don't see anything for a bit.

2. I'd like to get my projects page updated on Ravelry. It really helps me to realize just how much I have going on if I have it all listed and pictured. I've been really bad about that lately. Within the next week, I want to get a more accurate picture of my current works-in-progress and start getting my projects page more organized.

3. I'd like to get my stash listed on Ravelry. Completely. I want to get it all more organized anyway and while I'm going through it, why not take it out and take a picture, get it listed and then I'll have a much better idea of what I have too. That will make planning projects much easier as well.

4. I've signed up for a stashdown and so I'd like to focus on not purchasing more yarn and fiber for awhile. I am still going to continue my clubs so there will be a small influx of yarn/fiber (hopefully enough to take the edge off) but I think focusing on what I have will be a great idea. I have so much waiting for my attention and some of it is lovely stuff, so there's no reason to ignore it like I have been. Let's say I will not make purchases (unless it's needed to finish a project) until Shepherd's Harvest in May. Setting that goal will (hopefully) also help me to get a little money set aside to make Shepherd's Harvest a wonderful time to purchase some fun things!

I think setting these goals and actually putting them out there for others to see will help me to stay focused on them.

Meanwhile, I'd like to show off a couple of pictures of what I just finished.

This is 4 ounces of Polwarth from CJ Kopec Creations. I actually bought it from a destash awhile ago. The other night when I needed something to spin, I went for the lovely, bright package with this in it. It was a joy to spin, quick and easy because it was so well prepped (and not by me). I got about 400 yards of 2-ply. I love it. I tried to get the colors to line up for the most part and ply with each other so in most places they do. I think it's wonderful, although bright. I have enough for nearly any one-skein project but I'm not at all sure what I'd like it to be yet.

(The color is more accurate on this second picture)
It seems so bright and too beautiful for socks. There's some wonderful project just waiting in this skein, I'm just not sure what it is. Maybe it will have to marinate for awhile until I figure it out.

In the meantime, I leave you with this:

A picture of a wonderful winter afternoon at my parents house. Hand-knit socks up on the hearth, knitting in the lap and a lovely fire. Life doesn't get much better than that.

Happy New Year to all my lovely readers!
P.S. What goals do you have this year?