Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Its A Slippery Slope

Welcome back! Ashley and I had a fun day yesterday that culminated in a field trip. I'll be talking about that in the Out for a Spin segment.

In the Bag

I have made some progress on the Tapestry Mr Greenjeans sweater. I am about halfway down the first sleeve. I wasn't happy with the appearance using the DPNs so I ripped it back and am using my #8 16" Addi circular. Its true, at least for me, that your gauge changes in the round vs. back and forth. Apparently my gauge when I'm purling is the culprit. Even though its still a little different with the circular needle I'm happy with it, and the fit is good as I decrease the sleeve. I want this to be a cozy sweater to wear over long sleeve and short sleeve tops so I wanted to be sure the sleeves were roomy. I have about 2" to go on the sleeves before starting the rib/cable pattern that forms the cuff.
I have to admit that I don't usually find myself interested in "fad" knitting. Especially with "fad"yarn. Sorry for the quotes, but that's how it looks in my head. Last post I showed you a poorly composed picture of my Favorite MIL's pink ruffled scarf. It was knit from Starbella Yarn by Premier Yarns. That is the "fad" yarn I'm speaking of. Its a net yarn with a selvage edge that you knit or crochet through the top row of holes. Its really very cute and and trendy! My friend Colleen who owns my LYS Make it with Yarn gave me a skein of Joy Metallic yarn by Plymouth. Its the same type of yarn that has sparkle in it. This was a damaged skein and I asked to try it out. I guess I can say its turned into my guilty pleasure. Its so easy to do. I started my scarf at the Superbowl kick off and finished it just before the Ravens were awarded the Vince Lombardy Trophy. 
When I gave Dina, my SIL, the pink scarf to take to her mom she really liked it. I told her I would make her a scarf but she had to pick out her own yarn. She picked out 3! Here is the start of the first one. 
I've also been working on dishcloths for my kitchen. I love cotton knitted dishcloths but I've learned not to bother matching colors to kitchen colors cause I bleach them every time I wash them. I found some kitchen cotton that is white with flecks of blue and green in it. It looks cute but doesn't bother me when the colors fade from bleach. I also don't want to take a lot of time making them with fancy patterns. On Sunday afternoon, yes before starting the scarf at kickoff, I cast on 35 stitches with #6 Chiao Goo circular needles and knit in seed stitch until it was square and then cast off. I should get at least 6 cloths out of the cone of yarn. 

I've made some progress on my Hitchhiker Shawl. I'm up to 20 teeth. That is about halfway done. Loving the color, texture and feel of this. It will be a favorite when done. 
I'm also keeping up with my Weather Scarf. I have 3 days to add to this but its completed through Saturday. Yes I have some ends to weave in.... :)

On the Drying Rack/Knitmeter Update

I haven't finished anything other than the Blue Green Ruffled Scarf. That one and the Pink one were 33 yards each so I've added 66 yards to my Knitmeter. 

Up and Coming

I am still planning the Holden Shawl, Cabled Preppy Cowl and some fingerless mitts but I wanted to show you my new addition to the Up and Coming segment, and the inspiration for the title of my blog post today. Some of you already know that my daughter, Katie, is expecting a baby. This will be #3 for her and our 11th grandchild. I've been planning some knitting, its a slippery slope!, but didn't want to buy yarn until I knew the sex of the baby. Last week she had an ultrasound and it showed that she was having a girl. This is good for all concerned because although she loves her boys.... she really wanted a girl. And Grams wanted to knit girly things.... So I've started to to look at yarn and made decisions on what to make. Yesterday when Ashley and I were on our Fiber Day Out we started out in Downtown Asheville. One of the stops we made was at Purl's Yarn Emporium on Wall Street. This was totally a spontaneous purchase. I saw a baby/kids hat that was so cute, and the yarn was rolled in a gradient looking ball and I saw a perfect color way. It is Be Sweet Bambino Taffy in the Candy Sprinkles color way. It is 100 yards of 70% organically grown cotton and 30% bamboo. I wound it into a center pull ball on my ball winder to reverse the colors so that as I pulled from the center it would start with the hot pink. I have one complaint, the color changes are achieved by knotting the yarn. I don't like knots. But so be it. Its probably the only time I will use this yarn. The pattern is on the ball band and its on Ravelry also, the Sweetie Pie Hat. This will be another learning experience since it uses a provisional cast on and I've never done that. 
As it came, isn't it beautiful?

After I re-wound it. Since the white is on the outside I put a yarn cozy on it to protect the white.

This is the hat in the Candy Sprinkles color way, picture borrowed from Ravelry

Out for a Spin

Have I said I love my WooLee Winder???? Well I do! At Roc Day spin group I carded some batts of Alpaca, wool and dyed mohair locks. 

I had talked about this before, but I spun it up last week. I had 11.65 oz so I split it into 3 and spun the singles on my WW in a thick and thin process. This was totally based on how the fiber seemed to want to be spun. I believe in listening to my fiber. 
I spun up my 3 bobbins lickety split on the WW...
Then I plied them using the Freedom Flyer for my Joy. Since I knew this would be a bulky yarn I used the Freedom Flyer and got about 2/3 of it on the first bobbin and then plied the rest resulting in 2 skeins. I have a total of 103 yards. 
Yes, that is Molly in the background...

This is sooooo soft and cozy. I'll be looking for a pattern to use but I'll be making a cowl from this. 

As I said at the top, Ashley and I had a field trip. We had a Fiber Day Out yesterday and visited 3 shops in Asheville, one in Hendersonville and ended up at Hidaway Farms. As a little background, Ashley found a group on Facebook called Spin a Pound, Get a Pound or as I like to call it SAP GAP. LOL.... basically its a way to connect fiber farmers with spinners to get their fiber spun. It is an international group as there are people from Canada on there. Actually, one of my fiber farmer friends, Cindy Telisak from Jacob's Reward Farm is on there! Ashley connected with Christine at Hidaway Farms who is right here in Hendersonville. Christine and her daughter Katie raise Shetland Sheep and are adding Icelandic Sheep to their flock. We picked up some fiber to spin for them and its a 50/50 split so we keep half of what we brought home. A great way to add to my fiber stash. I got a couple of pounds of brown and cream fiber from Charlotte and Butterscotch and about a pound of cream fiber from Camille that is first cut lambswool. She is giving us free range to spin, dye, ply as we want. 

Ashley also got cream fiber as well as gray and cream. We will trade some of our two color fiber so we have some of both color ways.

After we talked about our spinning background and showed our handspun samples and decided on how much fiber we would start with we went out to see the sheep. Ashley took a few pics for me after I asked permission to use them on the blog. 

This is in the pasture of ewes that have been bred. They are expecting as many as 11 ewes to lamb this spring. Some of them are definitely getting round. Ashley and I are hoping to make a visit for lambing and/or shearing. We had a great time, thanks Christine and Katie. 

Mindless Nattering

I've been thinking about the way that I use social media and how it connects me to the fiber community.   I am able to stay connected to my friends and family even though I have moved away as well as connect with my new friends and family here in this beautiful part of North Carolina. I can share my new surroundings with everyone as well.  But I also use pictures, Facebook, Ravelry, Plurk, Twitter etc as a way to keep track of things. Its how I can keep a journal of sorts of my life. Life goes so fast and its hard to keep track. I am also using this blog to track my fiber journey. So there are times when its going to be longer or with more pictures than other times. For anyone who is reading this, I hope you understand that the first reason I do this is as a journal. The second reason is to share my journey with anyone who is interested. So there may be a lot of pictures or a long post. I hope you don't mind. 

That's it for this time. I hope you have enjoyed my post. Please remember to make the most of every day. Life is short... 

See you next time!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Exciting News!

Welcome back! I have some fun things to talk about this week.

In the Bag

I have made some good progress since I last posted. I have finished the body of the Tapestry Greenjeans Cardigan and have started on the sleeves. I'm very happy so far. This pattern is really easy to follow. Its the Mr Greenjeans pattern by Amy Swenson published in Knitty:Fall 2007
I know the pattern does not match from side to side, but that's ok, its the way the yarn knits up. This is Universal Yarns Worsted Tapestry in the Vineyard color way. 

The Nanner Nanner socks won't look much bigger as I am working on the heel increases. I didn't do a lot on them at the end of this week due to a new project. But I really am making good progress. For some reason the heel increases seem to take forever! After that the sock really flies... This is the Nanner Sock pattern by Wendy D. Johnson and I'm using Unwind Yarn Company's Weekend Sock base in the Aurora Borealis color way.
My Weather Scarf is up to date as of yesterday. You can see the light blue row I did last night for the 31° to 40° range. I have woven some ends in but I'll do more as I go along. I won't leave it till the end of the year. We are using Plymouth Yarn Encore yarns. 
 I cast on and finished a scarf for Favorite Mother-in-Law this week. Its not meant to be a surprise so I can post it here even though she doesn't have it. I'll try to remember to get a picture of her wearing it and post that later. I used the Starbella yarn in this lovely pink variegated color way called Hope. I know it looks like a mess, but it will look nice when finished and hanging up.

 I started a shawl this week. Its not the one I had planned to start next but my step daughter, Ashley, wanted to do this one so we bought the pattern and I've cast on. Its the Hitchhiker Shawl by Martina Behm. It sells on Ravelry for about $4.10 or 3.00 Euros. I'm using a cashmere yarn by Jade Sapphire called Mongolian Cashmere. Its a lovely 2 ply fingering weight yarn that I was gifted by a friend, Amanda Truan, for my birthday. She gave me 3 skeins. I'm thinking I will only have to use one. Its luscious and soft as you would expect for cashmere. Its in a variegated pink color way called Vintage Rose. So this is my Vintage Rose Hitchhiker.
In case you are not on Ravelry and can't look at the details, its named the Hitchhiker because the size she knits it gives you 42 "teeth". I'm currently at 12. In the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" the answer to the question about everything in the universe is.... yup, 42! Yeah, I'm a geek... I had this pattern queued and was happy to knit it with Ashely.

I didn't show this before but I have some car knitting that I carry in my handbag at all times. Its just mindless knitting that I don't have to concentrate on. I'm using my left over sock yarn from all the socks I knit to do this. I'm using the Itty Bitty Sock Yarn Blanket pattern by Christine Long Derks. Its a free pattern on Ravelry. I started this back in December 2012.
I didn't purposely coordinate the colors in the beginning, I just started with the yarns I had in the craft room from socks and cowls that I had finished. 

On the Drying Rack/Knitmeter Update

I only have the pink scarf as a finished object this week. But I have started updating my Knitmeter and Spinmeter. I sent the people who do this website a message asking if they can make one of the "distance" choices ounces for spinning. They have recently added spinning to the site but I think how many ounces you have spun is more representative than yards, meters etc. But until, or if, they change it I'll use yards for spinning. Of course the knitting is including yardage from the skeins or balls as I knit them so it won't include projects that consist of one skein until they are done. So far I've knit 591 yards and spun 374 yards. Next year I'll set some sort of goal after I see what I do this year. 

Up and Coming

I still have the Holden Shawl and the Preppy Cabled Scarf planned. I'm going to do the scarf as a cowl and use some handspun Baby Camel. 

Weaving Along

A new segment I'll be doing is about weaving. I'm still working on getting a bigger rigid heddle loom but until then I'll showcase what I do on the 10" Cricket Loom I already have. Last week I ordered some needle tips from KnitPicks and was $14.35 away from free shipping. So I spent $14.75 on a book from their 40% off book sale to save $6.99 in shipping. See how much I saved? 

Sew Good

I'm making project bags using a pattern from the In Color Order blog. I made two in December to use for my Christmas gift in my two spinning groups. 

I have 4 more in progress for Colleen, my friend and owner of Make It With Yarn, my LYS. I also have fabric set aside to make more for myself since I keep filling up the 6 I have... lol

Out for a Spin

My exciting news has to do with spinning. I sold one of my spinning wheels, my SpinOlutions Bee wheel and used the proceeds for a WooLee Winder for my Ashford Joy! I'm so excited! I've wanted one for a long time. I ordered the winder and 3 extra bobbins on Sunday evening 1/13 and it was delivered on Saturday 1/19!
In the box
2 oz. single spun

4 oz. 2 plied
Absolutely everything is easier and faster with the WooLee Winder. Even winding off the bobbin on my niddy noddy. And this wheel being a single treadle has always had some dead spots when starting to treadle but the balance of the WW makes it such that I rarely have to use my hand to start the wheel spinning. 

The other exciting thing was getting my fiber back from Echoview Fiber Mill. I took in some mohair from Mea Stone at Stonywoods Farm, some unknown wool fiber from a fiber festival that I purchased really cheap. This was all raw fleece and needed processing. I also took some silk from Mary Berry at Fancy Fibers Farm. They blended all that together and I got back 10.6 lbs of lovely roving! 

I spun a sample of it, just a half ounce and got 24 yards. Its got a nice halo with the mohair and has good luster from mohair and silk. I haven't washed it yet. I'll set aside 4 lbs. for myself for a couple of sweaters and probably sell some. I think I'll dye some 4 oz bumps and take them to the LYS to sell along with some white ones. It lovely and I'm so very happy with it! 

Flashing my Knits

This is also a new segment talking about what I've been wearing out of my handknits. With the colder weather I've been wearing my Summer Solstice Mystery shawl as a scarf, and my Stacked Eyelette Cowl. As cold as my hands are typing this I need to cast on some fingerless mitts. :)

Mindless Nattering

I've really been enjoying my craft room since Dion got me the glider rocker for Christmas. It has much better light than the den and makes it nice for knitting when I'm home. 

As I was working on my Weather Scarf and having to use colors for the 60's and 70's in January has made me think of Global Warming and all the effects. Last week we had rain all week and some places got over a foot of rain. I think we got about 4-5 inches. My rain gauge has a crack in it. Need a new one... In many places there were roads washed out and mud/rock slides. Near us there was a rock slide of a boulder that was as big as a small house. They had to break it into smaller pieces to move it. All this wild weather is a result of global warming, at least that is my feelings. 

Thats it for now, thanks for joining me on my fiber journey. Remember to make the most of everything you have. Its not the quantity its the quality. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Longer Than I Thought

In the Bag

I pulled out my Soay Cardi this last week and frogged the sleeves. I have set it aside and will probably pick it up closer to spring. It won't take long to knit the sleeves and it is a spring/summer cardi. I feel better that I got it ready to begin knitting on again. I also frogged a worsted weight shawl that I have tried to knit twice and didn't work. I will have to wash the yarn to smooth it out and then find a new project for it. 

Nanner Nanner Socks are coming along nicely. I have started the increases for the heel gusset. The picture probably doesn't look much different but I have put about an inch on them since the last picture. 

I mistakenly said the yarn for my Mr. Greenjeans  sweater was a faux Fair Isle. Silly me, its a Tapestry, its even called Worsted Tapestry! Anyhow, I've changed the name to Tapestry Greenjeans Sweater on Ravelry. I've made some nice progress on it. I'm past where I put the sleeves on holders and am knitting down the body. Its a very soft, squishy yarn and its working very nicely. I believe it will be an awesome, comfortable cardi. 

I've started a new project. Its called 2013 Weather Scarf. Its taken from the blog 400 Square Foot Living by Kristen Cooper. There are many variations and you can see some of them on Ravelry in the My Year in Temperatures Scarf KAL. Colleen, Ashley and I have split skeins of Plymouth Yarn Encore in 11 colors. We are using 10° increments beginning at 0°. I am using the daily high temp, ideally using my own thermometer at the house. If I can't use that then I'm using Wunderground or Weatherbug temps. I am planning to knit one row for each day and to knit every day. 

Out for a Spin

I finished spinning the all of the Bamboo/Alpaca I discussed last time. I have 2 bobbins of singles to ply and I'm saving that for tomorrow at spin group. I'm being very cautiously optimistic about tomorrow. If all goes as planned I will be meeting with a young lady after spin group and sell her my Spinoultions Bee wheel. I have my Ashford Joy which is really my favorite wheel and I really don't feel I have space for two wheels. Even though both are small travel wheels. I would really like a Woolee Winder for my Joy and by selling the Bee, which is not being used, I can purchase one. I am also going to be watching for a great price on a 24" or 32" rigid heddle loom. I'll be adding a segment for weaving as I go along. I'm leaning towards the Kromski Harp loom because it has a built in warping board on the back. So I hope it all works out. Here is a pic of my singles... I forgot to take a pic before packing the wheel in the travel case to go to spinning tomorrow. I will ply them together and then I think I'll try dyeing them with the Kool-Aid ice cubes and see how it comes out. 
I also made use of the loan of a drum carder to card some fiber. I had washed some alpaca back during the Tour d' Fleece but never got it carded to spin. At spin group last week we celebrated ROC day and a few people brought drum carders. At the last minute I pulled out this alpaca, some wool locks and some dyed mohair locks I've had for a long time. This is my resulting batts. I ended up with 5 batts and 11.65 oz total. I'm looking forward to spinning this.

Mindless Nattering

I'm really not sure why I didn't get a blog post done earlier this week. I guess my posting dates will change somewhat depending on what my work schedule. Anywhere from a week to 10 days will probably be typical. I'm also starting to plan my garden,,,, this very warm weather (near 70° today) is making me want to plant. But I will resist, since I'm very sure that we will have much more cold! 

Thats it for now, thanks for joining me on my fiber journey. Remember to make the most of everything you have. Its not the quantity its the quality. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

I've spent the last couple of weeks thinking about where I wanted to take my fiber craft and how I wanted to do it. I have expanded my skills this last year and I have posted pictures on Facebook about it. I decided that one thing I can do is keep a better record of my journey. I have a new outline and will attempt to publish a weekly blog. I have thoughts of producing a podcast one day. So this is my journey. I hope you enjoy it.

My new segments will include some or all of the following. I won't always have content for every segment but this is what I have planned.

Who's New
In the Bag
On the Drying Rack/Knitmeter update
Up and Coming
Sew Good
Out for a Spin
Mindless Nattering

I also will be updating the Knitmeter and Spinmeter. These will change as I finish a project and can calculate how much yardage I got out of it. 

So here we go with my first weekly blog post for 2013.

In the Bag

I have a couple of ongoing projects left from 2012. The first one is my Soay Cardi which has been in time out for a few months. I plan to rip back the sleeves and reknit them so that they are the same length. This is the last picture I took. In reality it has two sleeves but they are different lengths. 

My next project is the Nanner, Nanner Socks. They are toe up socks knitted with Unwind Yarn Company in the color way Aurora Borealis. I'm using a Wendy D. Johnson's pattern called Nanner Socks. Dana, Craftygirl83 on Ravelry, owns Unwind Yarn Company and she and her friend Brittany have a podcast call Just One More Row. I met them at SAFF and Ashley took a picture for me. 

I just cast on a new sweater today. Its called Mr. Greenjeans and its a free pattern on Knitty. I am using Universal Yarn's Classic Worsted Tapestry in the Vineyard color way. It works into a faux Fair Isle pattern. I did a test swatch and loved the pattern. 

On the Drying Rack

I have two Finished Objects (FO) this week. One is a shrug/cardi that I was knitting for my friend Colleen who owns Make It With Yarn, my LYS. This is a Plymouth Yarn pattern called Encore Worsted Tweed #1940 using Plymouth Yarn Encore Tweed in #9960 color way which is a purple color. It is knit sideways and was a good knit.

I also finished my Heloise Cardi. This is knit from Lion Brand Cotton Ease yarn in the Hazelnut color way. I used the Eloise Eyelet Cardigan pattern. I loved knitting with the yarn and the pattern is very easy. The fabric is a bit looser than I normally like and if I knit with it again I'll go down another needle size. The one complaint I have with the yarn is that every single skein had at least one knot in it and one of them had 2! 

Up and Coming

I have several items in my queue that I will be starting soon. I will be casting on for the Spatterdash Wristwarmers using Viking yarn Nordylis. It is a long repeat variegated yarn. I also plan to cast on for my Holden Shawl using Kraemer Yarns Sterling Silk and Silver in the Estate Green color way. I have yarn chosen for a Color Affection shawl as well. I also have two sock patterns waiting to be cast on as I finish the Nanner socks. One is a vanilla sock using 3 colors to stripe. I'll try an afterthought heel on these. The other is Earthbound. This is a sock pattern published in Knitty magazine by my friend Carissa. You can see her other great patterns here.

Sew Good

I haven't been doing much sewing for a while but I've been missing it. I'm hoping to do some garment sewing this spring. In the meantime I'll be making some project bags. I have 3 cut out ready to sew but I need interfacing. Here is pics of some I made for Christmas exchanges. 

Out for a Spin

I was spinning some 50% Bamboo/50% Alpaca fiber that I got from Fiberlady a couple of years ago. Its the fiber I used for my beet juice dye experiment. I spun the part that I used vinegar as a mordant so it was more pink. The other is with alum and is more purple. Both of them are very pale though and so I decided to spin them and ply together and then over dye it. Here is the "pink" 1.5 oz. I know... it doesn't look pink. 

That's it for now. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy my journey through my fiber discoveries. Remember, make the most of everything you have. Its not the quantity its the quality.