Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Overconfidence is a Killer

This time of year those of us who craft for the holidays and have started early may start to get overconfident. I know I suffer from that every single year without fail. Just because I have a couple of things done and tucked away and have made good progress on almost all the other items on my list, does not mean that I should go ahead and throw additional projects in there.
Case in point: The socks I have started for a friend's birthday. To be fair, I didn't know her birthday was coming up and when I found out I decided to knit something for her but really? What was I thinking? The other night I was looking over my holiday crafting list and thinking about what projects I had left. I realized just how much I had left. Maybe some of it can get done quickly and easily but a great deal of it cannot. Therefore, I should also not have added the handwarmers I somehow got talked into knitting for a choir-mate. I'm also knitting a sample for a company but I don't have permission to talk about it and haven't received the yarn yet anyway so I will not be sharing that right now. What exactly was I thinking?
So, please enjoy this photo of socks that are partially finished (pictured with my new Jessalu Grinch Project bag, I highly recommend you check it out! They are her limited edition holiday print this year!)

I'll just be over there in the corner planning how little sleep I can survive on for the next month. Pay no attention to the soft sobbing. (Maybe it's not quite that bad, yet.)
P.S. Although the pattern looks a lot like No Purl Monkey it's actually Dragonfly socks and the yarn is Gritty Knits nom in last month's Nom of the month color: Aloha.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Faux Yarn

For the second Tuesday in a row I have actual spinning content. Don't hold your breath that it will continue.
Sunday afternoon I napped a whole bunch so when the handsome husband went to bed, I wasn't tired and I stayed up spinning. I finished the second bobbin of the Sparktickes Dyes Faux Cashmere. That was perfect because it had the opportunity to rest overnight and be plied the next day. I'm terrible at waiting to ply. I want yarn right away when I'm that close.

The first bobbin is on the right and the second bobbin is on the left. Doesn't it look like there's a whole lot more on the second bobbin? Really I had to break the yarn once and wind a small center-pull ball, plying from the outside and inside before joining back to the bobbins again to keep the colors gradiating at the same time. The bobbin that had more of the medium blue? The first bobbin. Then when the one bobbin ran out, again the first bobbin had more, I had to wind a second center-pull ball and ply from both the inside and outside to finish off that first bobbin.
I'm really happy with how the finished yarn turned out though.
 Here it is wound onto the Niddy Noddy. (I apologize for this picture. It was really gray and I had a hard time getting a decent photo. I tried to fix it so the yarn looked right but it made the rest look ridiculous.) It came out to be a very well-balanced skein and now that I know the yardage (430 yards) I'm thinking that I may do some kind of simple shawlette rather than a cowl because it's really too much yardage for a cowl. As I've said, I'm not certain it would hold blocking so I think maybe something very simple like garter stitch might be a good idea. I haven't decided yet. It maintained it's softness in the yarn and has a sort of smooth slickness that I think will make it a fun knit. I'm not sure that it will have a whole lot of give in the knitting either. It may knit more like a cotton.
Unfortunately it's going to have to wait for awhile to be knit because I'm smack dab in the middle of Christmas Knitting right now. The other day I stepped into our local Wal-mart and there was a big sign saying: 38 Days until Christmas. It was like a panic attack smacking you in the face! Since I have several bigger projects this year, I'm getting started early though so I can hopefully stave off the last-minute crazies.
In the meantime, I'll be over here with my 87 cast on projects knitting frantically. (It's really not that bad.)

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Week that Would Not End is Finally Over

Last night I finally turned the heel on the socks I've been knitting for my stepfather for Christmas and realized they were a full inch too long. Yup, that about sums up my week. Thankfully it's now the weekend and I can have some time with the handsome husband and tomorrow some adorable critters.
Tonight is the Knitter Movie night so I'm hoping to head to that, spend some time with my knitters and watch a campy movie (Edward Scissorhands) and dig out another gift that is long due to be worked on.
Yup, the Cool Beans socks are finally coming back on the radar. Don't worry, I'm also going to bring the socks that need to be ripped back to fix them. I'm not sure I can knit two-color socks while watching Edward Scissorhands.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Spinning Faux

It's been awhile since I did a Tuesday for spinning and that's partly because I haven't been doing a whole lot of spinning lately. I'm working on a very unusual spin. I purchased a braid of some faux cashmere awhile back because I had heard about it faux cashmere and had the opportunity to feel it in person at Shepherd's Harvest Festival, it was so soft and I had heard it was unusual to spin so I was excited to try it. I found an online friend who was selling some in her shop and picked up this braid of Jesse Pinkman, Breaking Bad Series from Sparktickes Dyes. It's a light braid, about 3 ounces and dyed in a gradient.
The end is a bright pink, then a sky blue into a deeper royal blue. It's very vibrant and the faux cashmere seems to take the dye really well. I undid the whole braid and split it into two the long way and I'm spinning it onto two bobbins to be two-plied.

This is the second half. As you can see, I've moved from the pink onto the light blue. It is definitely an unusual fiber to spin, very slippery so you need to move slowly and add lots of twist. What stalled me with this for a good amount of time is that I was unsure what I would ever do with it once it was spun. It's a fiber made of nylon so it's not a traditional wool fiber. Does it hold its shape well enough to be lace? It's soft but will it fuzz up? More information was needed. I think it might become a cowl, maybe a Zuzu's Petals (which was recommended to me) but I still haven't decided for sure.
I think it will come out to be a light sport weight when it's finished. That depends on whether it puffs up when washed after spinning though.
That's not all that I've been spinning though, I actually scored a wonderful spindle destash awhile back as well. I got an Enid Ashcroft Mini Turkish spindle made of Cocobolo wood.

Pictured with my favorite coffee cup for scale, you can see how small it actually is. I really love how small and portable it is though and I'm currently spinning Into the Whirled Rambouillet in Captain Tightpants which I managed to score from a destash a long while ago. I love how it's coming out and I love that spindle-spinning it means I get to spend even more time with it. You really can't tell all the colors that are in the beautiful fiber from that picture though.

This gives you a little bit more of an idea, although it's not a great color picture. It has reddish pink, yellow, brown and blue. They blend together in such a beautiful way too. It really is a lovely fiber to spin.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Duluth Recap

I've been so terrible about blogging lately. That's partly because I've been spending more time doing actual knitting and partly because real life stuff seems to get in the way. I finished my lovely Monday Morning Cardigan in time for our Knitters Duluth trip but neglected to get some wonderful pictures of it and it deserves a nice photo shoot so I will save that for another day.
I also am so close to finishing Morticia I can taste it! I finished the last beaded row on Halloween and at 11 pm decided to opt for sanity and not stay up trying to finish the bind off. It's still not done but I want it to be finished so I need to get back to it soon! Since it's not blocked, right now it looks like a tangled black blob but I can assure you I will bore you to tears with it once it's really done.
Meanwhile, let me distract you with some photos of our wonderful trip and memories of great times.

The view from our hotel lobby was wonderful, that's Lake Superior out there. They had some lovely couches set up where we sat and knit.

There we are, taking over the main floor of the hotel. There were a total of thirteen of us that went. It was so much fun. I got to order real gluten free food in restaurants which was such a treat!

Pizza Luce was one of my favorites, of course!
Some of my lovely friends brought us treats. Buttons with cookies attached. Or the other way around.

My button says Knit Happens and I pawned the cookie off on someone else since I could not eat it.
Saturday we went to the yarn store Yarn Harbor, which is a great shop. I highly recommend checking it out if you'll be anywhere near it. I just couldn't decide what I wanted so I got the nerdiest souvenir a knitter could buy (probably).

A sock blocker key chain. Yes, it already has a sock on it. Then we headed over the bridge to the new Three Irish Girls dye studio.

 We got a tour and did some blanket seaming. This is one that was already done. Isn't it lovely?

Then it was back to the hotel for more knitting with a great view. We got to see a big ship come in.

The horse-drawn carriages that take people on rides by the lake.

And in general we had a really wonderful time. I had so much fun that it was bittersweet to come home.

(The lift bridge as pictured from our hotel parking lot.)
Since being home I've also started some things.
I've been using some Gritty Knits Merino of the month, often when the colors don't call out to be something specific, as a palate cleanser in between other spinning projects. I have been saving up the skeins. At first I wasn't sure what I would do with them but eventually I decided to knit the Mitered Crosses Blanket and after some math, I decided I had enough to at least get started and I knit my first block.

I love how it turned out and I have started the next one already. It's a great mindless in-between knitting project too! It does have a ton of ends to weave in so that is already done on this block and I will be weaving them in as I go so it doesn't get overwhelming.
I started one other thing this week (I've been resisting, you have no idea!) a pair of socks. These are being knit out of Deborah Norville Serenity Sock Weight yarn that I got a long time ago on sale at JoAnn Fabrics. The yarn is a Wool/Bamboo/Nylon blend and I'm finding it an interesting knit, even though it's plain stockinette socks

Don't start to panic but these are Christmas knitting. They're for my stepfather and I decided to get going so I don't get so panicky as we get closer to Christmas but the sad truth is; it's already coming, get started now.