Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Slow Week, I'm Being Taken Down by a Cold

Actual work on projects has been somewhat stalled lately since the cold I'm dealing with has made my thought process sort of slow, when I can actually think. It's just a cold, I just find myself sitting and staring at my hands holding my knitting rather than knitting it. I did manage to get a bit farther on my second Fiddly sock.

I actually finished the ribbing and started on the leg patterning. I still love the pattern but bright light is very helpful with the dark yarn and it has been somewhat scarce lately.

I also cast on the second Critter sweater.

It really doesn't look like much of anything yet does it?

As you may recall, I watch two little girls for a friend of mine. She is also a knitter and spinner. She's also quite an enabler. I knit a baby sweater for a mutual friend last year and she requested that I knit sweaters for her girls, that she calls Critters, with some of her handspun. When the second critter tried on the baby's sweater (which came out too large for a baby really as this critter is 2) she was so enamored with it, I could hardly say no. The first sweater is already finished. As a matter of fact, she wore it to church a couple of weeks ago. Since the lovely critter mama would like the girls to be able to wear them on Easter and Lent has already begun, I figured I'd better get a move on. I am figuring out this pattern based on the baby sweater pattern I used so I may end up doing some major ripping. Let's hope not.

You may notice that I'm not linking to the baby sweater pattern I used. I do have it on my Ravelry page if you really need to know, but while it has some interesting slipped stitch pattern rows, I felt the pattern itself was not particularly well-written. It was missing some vital information (like how long to knit the body and how long the sleeves should be) as someone who does not have children herself, that was kind of important in the pattern. I'm not going to bad-mouth the pattern but I will not recommend it and not link to it to keep others from running into the same issues.

I'm going to head back to the spinning wheel and hopefully finish the singles for my Merino today. I'd like to let them rest overnight at least before plying and that implies that I do actually need to finish them at some point. You know, if I can stop staring blankly at the wheel and actually make the treadle go.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

In Which I Use the Word Discernible and Hope It's Spelled Right

It turns out that tomorrow is going to be a bit busy so rather than waiting to blog, I decided to put a post up tonight. I'm slowly but surely descending into illness. Stupid nasty cold that's going around, nothing serious. I thought I was going to avoid it but it's coming and I know it. It's probably better that I post a little something tonight because of that too. Who knows how coherent I will be tomorrow.

The BFL yarn from yesterday is dry so I thought I'd give you all a look at how it looks now.

This is the Cloudlover BFL. I fractal spun it, splitting the braid in half and then half split again so the colors would twist around each other. In some places they line up and in some they barberpole in the most lovely way. I can tell the winter is starting to get to me because I love the parts where the golden/mustardy yellow line up with themselves. It makes me happy and I'm not usually a big yellow person. I guess I'm missing the sunshine.

I finished the first half of the Gritty Knits merino I was talking about as well and it occurred to me that if the other picture was terrible, why not take another.

This is the first bobbin of singles and the second half of the roving. As I said, I'm spinning it straight down the roving with no splitting. I am taking a smallish piece and drafting it well before I start on it though. You can see a little of the bright aqua blue on the bobbin. As you can see, it blends into a bright, bold pink with some brown and then into a sea blue-green that's quite lovely. I think spinning it this way will make a lovely almost gradient type yarn. I can't wait to knit a little shawlette or something with it.

I also made actual discernible progress on something I'm knitting. I finished a sock. Of course it's a single sock, but I did cast on it's mate so I'm working on it.

This is the first of the Cascade Heritage Handpaints (I believe) in the Gentlemen's sock in Railway Stitch pattern. I really like it so far. I'm not making any mods on this pattern except to make the leg a bit longer. I'm even using the size needle called for, even though I'm getting a bit tighter gauge than the pattern calls for. I love how it's turning out though and I'm really looking forward to having a lovely pair of dressy socks when I'm finally finished with these.

Here's a little bit closer shot so you can see the stitch definition a little bit better. They really are beautiful and a soft subtle shift of colors.

Well, I'm off to blow my nose 1200 times and watch a little television with my husband. Then, hopefully a good night's sleep.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Reappearing, just like Magic

Well, hello again. I seem to have disappeared for a week or so there. Oops, I certainly didn't mean to, I can't even use the "being busy" excuse because I wasn't all that busy. I just sort of forgot.
I'll try not to let it happen again. I have been getting things done, although not much on the knitting front. I have knit on lots of things but very little progress has actually been accomplished. Really more than anything I've been spinning. I sometimes just get into that mode. I just want to spin all. the. time. You have of course, seen some of the lovely yarn that's been coming off the wheel lately. Things that I absolutely love, so I think that has encouraged me to keep spinning things, plus, I uploaded all my dyed spinning stash into Ravelry so it made me remember all the great things in that stash.

I finished some yarn. I can't find the picture of the original fiber but here it is on my Ravelry Stash page. I spun some nice, fine singles and navajo-plied it.
Isn't it lovely? I am actually having a hard time not winding this into a ball and casting on with it immediately. I both spun and plied it on my Matchless. I got 472 yards. Like I said, I think it's just lovely. Before washing it seemed a little overplied but when I twacked it a couple of times, it seems to have evened out quite a bit.

Inspired by this yarn, I dug out another lovely braid of Gritty Knits fiber.

This picture is really horrible but I didn't take a better one. It's a lovely bright blue on one end, a combination of pink and brownish in the center and a sort of sea green-blue on the other end. Since the colors travel along the braid and are so different, I thought it would be fun to spin it straight down the braid, navajo ply it and have a lovely almost gradient yarn to knit into a shawlette of some kind. I started spinning it but as I'm spinning it quite fine it's taking forever. Since it's taking so long, I needed something instant gratification (or as close as you can get in spinning)

I grabbed this lovely braid of Cloudlover BFL from my stash

Since I love how the colors look together I fractal spun it. That means I split the braid in half then split one of the halves again so the colors would mix up.

This is a really terrible picture of them during plying. They are moving, that's why it's a bit blurry. I really like how the yarn came out. It's drying right now so I will wait to take a picture of it. I planned to spin a chunky two-ply but really, the fiber drafted so well that I ended up with about 364 yards of sportweight. I'm not sure what it wants to be yet, so it will be marinating in the stash for awhile.

I did acquire something new this weekend too. (In addition to my fiber clubs which both arrived. I won't post pictures yet so I don't spoil surprises but they are up on my stash if you are interested.)
I didn't break the yarn diet, don't worry. I instead won a prize!

This lovely batt is from my friend Lisa's etsy shop (the shop has been on hiatus for awhile but she's wanting to get it up and running again soon so keep checking if you're interested). We had a Lord of the Rings party on Saturday (during which we watched all 3 extended edition Lord of the Rings movies, that was a lot of sitting)
and we had a "costume contest". That's in quotes because really it was Lisa and I that showed up and she was sick so I was the only one in costume. We had a lovely time anyway and had more snacks since there were only the two of us. I got to choose a lovely prize for having a great costume. It's a 2.05 ounce batt. I'm not sure of the exact content, although I think it may contain some silk and it definitely has something sparkly in it. I think the picture shows the colors pretty accurately and I'm in mad, crazy love with it. It too is going to hang out in the stash for awhile though.

Not much else has been going on, just a lot of spinning, some knitting and a fun party. I'll have more to report later this week since I'm going to try getting back in the habit of blogging at least twice each week.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Just a Quickie

As I've mentioned, I haven't been feeling the love too much with my current projects. Rather than casting on something new, I decided to find an older UFO (Unfinished Object) and finish it.
And so I present: Hubby's Hideous socks.

Now that they're done they aren't as bad because I don't have to knit with the yarn, but they are not my favorite colors. I originally purchased the yarn, thinking it would have more of the pretty reddish pink in it. It doesn't. I decided to knit socks for the hubby because he doesn't mind colors like that. Okay, so getting back to an older format;
The Specs:
The Yarn: Red Heart Heart and Sole sock yarn. 1 Skein Navy Blue, 1 skein Rustica
The Needles: US 2 (2.75mm)
The Size: Men's Size 12 (12" foot)
The Recipient: The Jumping Bean (My darling husband)
The Pattern: Just a plain toe-up sock with coordinating heels and toes
The Notes: I wanted to use up the yarn that I didn't care for so I knit these two at a time from either end of the ball. Hubby's foot is 12" long and I had quite a bit for the leg. I'm impressed. I did have some of the Navy Blue left, I just got sick of the ribbing and the leg of the socks, including ribbing is about 5.5". I had one foot done through the heel when I picked these up and quickly finished them. JB says they are really comfortable and he likes them a lot.

So, do we like this format for finished items? Do we like how it's presented, that you get all the information in this format? Leave a comment, let me know.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Corriedale is Inspiring

The other night I was watching TV with the hubby and thinking about knitting. I was just not loving any of my current knitting projects so I knew I needed something new. Maybe something quick and simple so I could get back to my other projects (which really are lovely, I just wasn't in the mood for them the other day.)

I grabbed some lovely yarn and cast on a baby hat I had been wanting to try. When I finished it, I also knit a quickie pair of booties to go along with it. The set is going in my gift box and someday some very blessed mom-to-be will be getting a great set from me!

Isn't it great? The hat is from Homespun Handknit and part of the Bouncing Baby Set. The booties are Oh! Baby baby booties pattern. I've knit the bootie pattern before (several times) They're super cute!

I've also been working on spinning. This week I finished some lovely Corriedale. I got the Corriedale fiber from out Spinning Guild's gift exchange at the Christmas party in 2010. I spun the almost 3 1/2 ounces into a lovely 2-ply laceweight.

I've thought about dyeing it but it just looks so lovely I think I need to knit it as it is.

Here's a dime for scale. I'm thinking twisted stitches would be gorgeous in this yarn. I'll have to try it out. I have 412 yards so I should be able to make something lovely. I'm off to search patterns now.