Thursday, August 30, 2012

Skyp-ing Along

Projects have been going along pretty well. I worked on my Skyp socks a lot while I was down at my parents' house. I got it past the heel turn even. It's turning out pretty well so far. Although I haven't made much progress since I returned home.

I had a little trouble after the heel flap and turn while starting up the gussets because the pattern calls for you to stop 5 stitches before the end of round (for the size I'm making) before starting the heel flap and then when you start up after the turn, while picking up gusset stitches I wasn't at the correct part of the pattern to start the pattern as written. I'm not sure if the fault is with the pattern or me but I decided rather than ripping the heel flap back to figure it out (since that is my least favorite part of a sock) I would just fudge it and keep going. I was at my parents and couldn't look for errata but I wanted to just keep going.
Here's how the pattern looks.

It's really an interesting pattern and I'm loving the knit, very simple and quick.
I've also been doing a little bit of spinning. This month in the Knitgirllls group for Expand your Horizons it's Rambouillet. I happened to have some lovely Rambouillet in my stash so I decided to participate and spin some of it up.

Here's the braid I started with. It's from Cloudlover and it's just lovely. So soft and sproingy. I'm not sure why I hadn't spun this earlier but I really enjoyed spinning this lovely fiber.

I only spun about half of the fiber but I wanted to get it done so I could get back to my commissioned project. I'll have to get to the second 2 ounces later. Meanwhile, I finished this:

It's a little less than half of the 4-ounce braid and it's Navajo-plied. I absolutely adore it. It stayed soft and sproingy and when washed, it puffed up a little but not a ton. Now the truly amazing part.

Less than 2 ounces, 3-plied in a Navajo-Ply and it's...wait for it....358 yards!!!!
Sorry about the excessive use of exclamation points but I'm very excited about this yarn. Of course there are a few thicker and a few thinner spots, which is usually true of handspun but it's all soft and smooth, none of it came out wiry. I definitely want to spin more rambouillet very soon!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Quickie Sneak Peak of My New Projects

I'm spending the weekend down at my parents' house. (Well, until tomorrow sometime, Hubby and I sing in church Sunday so I will have to head home sometime tomorrow to be back in time for church Sunday.) I just attended my niece's second birthday party. Such a sweetheart, she was too busy playing with her friends at the party to eat her cupcake even!

Anyway, I thought I'd give you a quick peek at a few things that I've cast on recently while I have internet at my brother's house.
First up, the Spoke sweater from some handspun BFL yarn.
The yarn is Chocolate Cherry from Frabjous Fibers but this is on hold until I do some math. My gauge isn't quite what's called for so I need to figure out the actual cast ons and such. I think it would make a great fall sweater though.

Next we have the Lacy Baktus. This is a smaller skein from my stash of some random yarn. I just wanted to knit it up so I decided to try out the Lacy Baktus pattern. I like it so far but we'll see how big it will actually end up being.
 I also cast on some plain old toe-up socks from my handspun Muddy Autumn Rainbow yarn. It's just too pretty to not cast on!

Well, I'm off to spend a bit more time with my niece before she needs to go to bed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

As You Wish

I really was undecided about whether to frog the ribbing or not, that's part of why I left it open to a vote. I also thought it would be really fun and to me, it was! I had a blast tallying these votes and it ended up (including a couple of votes in person and a couple on Facebook) that the winner was....
frogging. It would be easy for me to say that's what I was leaning toward now that it's done but really I could not decide.
Now I'm moving on to cast on again.

I will admit that over the last 24 hours I've felt sort of lost. I had cleared so much off my needles that I couldn't decide what to work on with these in limbo. It felt like I didn't have enough projects going. That's a very dangerous sign. Look out for some Startitis. I can feel it coming on right now!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

An FO Parade and a Finish or Frog it Query

I feel like I have a lot to say today so please bear with me. First, I have some older projects that didn't get blogged because I hadn't blocked them. Then I finally blocked them and didn't bother to take pictures. I'm remedying that today.

First up: The Eleanor Cowl

I believe I did blog about it but not blocked. It's knit from some Gritty Knits Merino handspun.

One of the things that held me back from blogging this is that it's very difficult to take photos of yourself wearing a cowl that are not horrible.

You can see how just a soak and a lie flat really made those twisted stitches pop too. I can't wait for the weather to get a bit colder so I can wear it again. I really love it and I am considering knitting another one in a more solid yarn.

Next I have a pair of short summer socks. These are just plain socks knit with some lovely nom yarn, also from Gritty Knits

I just wanted some short socks for the summer in case my toes got cold. I really like the way they turned out.

Just 15 rounds of 2x2 ribbing, 5 rounds plain knit then right into the heel flap. It's an eye of Partridge heel and then down to the toe, nice and plain. They work wonderfully well for keeping toes from being cold in over air-conditioned places.

Whew! As if that weren't enough, I also finished the National Gallery shawl I was knitting for a shop sample for CJKopec Creations. (A quick note here. It currently says her shop is on vacation for the Michigan Fiber festival but I heard a rumor she will be updating with sock yarns for sure this week.) I blocked it and mailed it off already but I did take some photos first.

It's a really unusual stitch in the middle and I wasn't sure about it but the lovely colors that CJ chose really looked lovely. The edging is knit on sideways when you're done.

I had a little trouble with the edging because of the way it was described in the pattern and the way the chart was laid out, it didn't seem intuitive to me so I'd recommend that you are comfortable and familiar with knit on edgings if you're going to knit this pattern. I loved the finished product though and it was a little difficult to mail it away.
Keeping up with the parade of finished things I went on a trip out of town to see some family this weekend. I traveled with my mom and she prefers to drive so I had tons of knitting time. It was awesome! I got so much done!
First, on Friday as we were traveling there; I finished the Lotus Heart Socks

I was really glad to finish these because I had some trouble with them. It really was no fault of the pattern, the pattern is very well written and lovely. I had issues with myself. First, I didn't read the pattern correctly, then I mixed up the pattern, then I made them too small, etc. etc. I love the finished product though.

The yarn (as I've mentioned before) is Zarzuela's sadly discontinued Chromatic base in the Sprout colorway. I knit them on size US 0 needles and had to modify the pattern accordingly. Check out my Ravelry Project page if you are interested in what modifications I made as I put the notes there. I'm also glad these are finished because they are a part of the Summer of Socks 2012 and I wanted to get their photos posted to be eligible for the prizes. The pictures are up and I'm ready for the next goal. More on that later.
Also on the drive up, I finished the baby blanket that was meant to be the gift for the 1 year old's birthday party I was attending so I was happy to be ready for that as well.

Here is the lovely birthday girl enjoying her blanket. Isn't she a sweetie?
That's not all though! On Saturday evening while sitting around with my cousin, her little one and my uncles and aunt, I finished my purse socks!

These have been languishing for a good long while because I only took them out and worked a few rows when I had a few minutes. I really wasn't in a hurry, but I was getting so close that I was excited to finish. The yarn is handspun Fiber Optic Yarns that I purchased from a destash in the color Sweet Georgia Brown.

I've already worn them too. I was just too excited to be finished! Handspun socks are the best! I split this braid into stripes, spun it and Navajo-plied it to make lovely gradual color changes. I loved the yarn but the socks are even better!

I was going to talk about all the new things I've started but I think this is plenty so I'll just sign off with one thing. Today marks the start of month 3 for the Summer of Socks 2012 and I got to cast on the third project. This month's pattern was chosen by vote by those of us in the group. The winner is the Simple Skyp Socks
so I went and dug out some lovely nom yarn and got it all wound up and printed off the pattern. I read through it last night so I'd be ready.

Here is the yarn I chose. It's the Dusk colorway and it was a club colorway in June, I think. It should be very interesting in this pattern. I got up this morning and realized today was the day! I went ahead and cast on and knit myself up some ribbing. Here's what it looks like.

Now, here's the problem. I was apparently more tired than I thought last night when I read the pattern because for some reason I thought it called for 10 rounds of 1x1 ribbing. I really prefer at least 15 rounds and I greatly prefer 2x2 ribbing but if it's going to be 1x1 I'll do twisted ribbing so it's a little bit firmer. I knit 15 rounds of 1x1 ribbing, then I went to the pattern to make a note of the changes I made. Um, yeah. It calls for 2x2 ribbing. The real question is, keep going or frog it and do the 2x2 that I usually prefer anyway.
So, here it is, my very first finish it or frog it. I need to get going on these so leave me a comment by tomorrow at 5:00 pm Central time. Let me know whether I should keep going or frog them and start over. I'll be waiting.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The Cousin Baby Blanket

Did you know that sometimes I knit something and I never blog about it? That's right, sometimes I just cast on and knit without regard to showing my lovely readers what it is. It has been known to happen.

It did happen as a matter of fact, last year my lovely cousin was due to have her first baby and I cast something on. The pattern is Square Shawl from Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmermann. Very simple and easy. I was knitting it out of some plain old acrylic. I chose it because my cousin is not wooly and this was to be for a baby so I wanted something that would be easy care. I know, many of you are screaming "Superwash Wool for Heaven's SAKE!" at your computer. I don't have quick (i.e. in town) access to a nice superwash wool and I was impatient. I did manage to find a pretty decent-feeling and pretty-colored acrylic at the store and so I purchased it and started knitting.

It really isn't much to look at when it's in progress.

Kind of just a pretty lump.

Although, if I lay it like this:

You can see how it started. It makes a sort of an x or cross in the middle. Then you keep increasing and increasing...

Until it's big enough or you're sick to death of it. It's almost the first birthday of this lovely child and I haven't finished her blanket. I figured I'd better get going so I pulled it out and started working on it again this week. The party is on the 19th of this month. I'm not sure how far I'm going to get. I'll probably just knit until I run out of time, do a few rounds of garter stitch and call it good.

I have over 100 stitches per side right now, that's 400+ per round so I'm pretty well into the sick to death of it phase. Honestly I'm only working on it when I need a little break from the Lotus Heart Socks though so not too often. I'm getting a gauge of 4.5 stitches to the inch so if I can make it to 150 stitches per side it will be about 33 inches. That's not too bad, good for a small person to drag around the house. At least it means I have a birthday present too right?

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Whew! Lots of Linking

My blogging time seems to be lacking lately. I swear I really have been doing lots of knitting and even spinning though. Let's jump right in shall we?
The Lotus Hearts socks which is a pattern by Gina House. I made some progress on these, ripped, reknit, made some progress and had to rip and reknit again. I got past the heel turn.
What's that? This sock is not past the heel turn? That's right, it's not. I had to rip again. So this is literally the 4th time knitting with the same yarn (it's holding up really well to all the ripping and reknitting by the way). I'm two repeats into the leg and I think it's working out. I'm not getting my hopes up at this point, it's really just a crap shoot. These are for the second project for Summer of Socks and they're being knit from the sadly discontinued Chromatic Yarn from Zarzuela's Fibers. (There are still a couple in her shop if you're interested.) I'm knitting them on size US 0s. A bit smaller than I usually would but the yarn seemed fine to me. They are turning out just lovely, when I can get them to work out.

As a break from knitting these socks (mostly because I'm frustrated with my own inability to read directions and knit correctly) I've been working on some spinning. When I'm home I've been spinning on my Schacht Matchless. I have a lovely Sheep to Shoe Kit from Blue Moon Fiber Arts that I've been working on. I finished spinning the first half (or so) today. The package says it's 8.5 ounces total and I spun 4.625 ounces so far and have 4.25 ounces left so I think it's a lovely amount.
I purchased it pretty recently from a destash and I wasn't sure about the colorway at first but I love the yarn!

As I said it's a Sheep to Shoe Kit that I purchased from a destash on Ravelry and the colorway is Muddy Autumn Rainbow. Instead of doing the traditional 3-ply like the directions call for with this yarn, I went for a Navajo or chain-ply to make the colors stay with each other and possibly even stripe. I really love it.

It's a light fingering weight as you can see. From my 4.625 ounces, I got 514 yards.

I may not be able to stop taking pictures of it! I was unsure of the color because I'm not a big fan of the brown but I think it breaks up the brighter colors very nicely.
You may be able to tell from this picture that there's a little curlicue from the yarn being over-plied. I tend to over-ply everything (mostly because I'm afraid it will come apart or break if I don't) and assume that it will all come out in the wash. I did just wash this yarn and twack it pretty well so it would loosen up a little and I love it even more.

I know blue tends to be a color that bleeds very badly and I was a touch worried that it would bleed in this so I put very hot water and some Soak wash in the sink, then added just a splash of white vinegar, just in case. No bleeding at all! I was super impressed, especially because the colors in the fiber are so saturated but there was no bleeding at all in the water after a 30-minute soak.

As much as I love this fiber, I won't be spinning the second half right away because I'm very excited to start a commissioned spinning project. A friend of mine asked me to spin this:
It's a sweater's worth of Woolgatherings Fiber. Four 4-ounce braids of Blue Faced Leicester and two braids of Polwarth/Silk in the same colorway. It's going to be a 3-ply and I think it's going to be absolutely lovely, although I am a tiny bit worried about messing up her lovely fiber!
Woolgatherings does not appear to name her colorways. The only number I can find on the label is a stock number and it is BFL04111204. I have no idea if that's the colorway but I think the first part denotes the fiber it's on. Anyway, I would not normally do such a large commission project but she's an amazing (and patient) friend.

I've also been working on my drop spindling.

This is a new (to me) drop spindle from SpinSanity that was given to me by CJ Kopec of CJ Kopec Creations (we'll talk about why in a minute) I probably would have chosen a different design, it's a little dark for me but it spins beautifully!
I'm spinning some Merino/Silk from Cloudlover on it and I'm loving the way it's turning out. That little ball next to the spindle there is what I've spun so far, and it's just about an ounce of the 4 in the braid. The spindle seemed pretty full to me, so I wound it off. I'm starting up on the next little bit and I'm finding it to be the best travel project because it's so lovely and shiny that I'm always wanting to whip it out and work on it a bit.

A friend recently got the Respect the Spindle book by Abby Franquemont and I've been reading it intermittently while I'm over there. That really helps with my spindle-spinning, so far just because it's inspiring because I haven't gotten very far in the book.

Back to the Lovely CJ Kopec of CJKopec Creations. She and I are friends on Plurk (which is a really fun social networking site, look it up if you're interested) and she put out a feeler to see if anyone would like to purchase this lovely spindle since she never used it. I was the only one who replied because I looked for a spindle at Shepherd's Harvest this year but just didn't find any that spoke to me. I wasn't sure though, like I said, it's not totally my style so I was thinking about it. Then she put out a call for sample knitters for her shop. She's vending at Michigan Fiber Fest and was hoping to have a few lovely things to show off in her booth. Myself and several other people responded and I agreed to knit the National Gallery Shawl for her. The pattern is unusual and one I probably would not have chosen for myself but it's a fun knit so far. The yarn she sent is absolutely lovely too!
It's called Insatiable and is 245 yards per skein of 50% Fine Alpaca/30% Merino/20% Silk. It's absolutely amazing! The tan is called Dune but the deep teal didn't have a label so I'm not sure what she calls it. Like I said, it's absolutely amazing so far and I'm going to be sad to send it away. I'm knitting the edging now, which is the last part and then I'll be sending it back to her. Sadly.
I'm knitting it on size 9 needles, which is what the pattern calls for, even though I didn't get quite the right gauge. I figured, it's a shawl so it's not as important to have perfect gauge.
She sent me the spindle as a little thank you in the package with the yarn and pattern. I'm very blessed to have such wonderful knitting friends!