Monday, December 31, 2007

Begin Again

Well 2007 is almost over and it's time to start all yearly processes again. But in the meantime I've collect photos of my finished knit projects for the year and put them together into a collage to wrap up the year. I thought aobut trying to type up a list of resolutions and goals for the upcoming year, but have decided against creating a list.

I did make a list up for myself last year at this time and unsurprisingly I didn't finished them all. So I'm not going to create a new list for 2008. I still hope to complete all the things on the list for this year and do some others too. I'm just going to keep everything a little less formal.

I've had a good 2007 and have a good feeling about 2008. I know I'll be working on my spinning skills. You may have noticed a spinning wheel under the tree in my Christmas post photo. If fact, I'm working on that today. I've spun up some singles that need to be plied together. So hopefully I'll have some photos of some finished yarn to post tomorrow. I've also been working on my Noro Sakura sweater. I'm not going to have it finished by year's end - but It won't be much longer.

I hope you all have a great time celebrating tonight and have a wonderful New Year.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Best Project of 2007

The bag is finally finished and it came out great, much better than I even hoped it would. This is the The Rather Huge Carpet Bag from the Noni Carpet Bag patterns. I must admit that the bag is rather huge but it will be great to haul projects and other miscellaneous stuff around.

The lining for the bag is constructed out of two colors of cotton fabric and interfacing. I'm lucky that my mom decided to visit us for the holidays and is a sewer to boot because she kindly agreed to use her skills to stitch this lining up for me. I'm so glad she did this because I don't think I could have gotten the lining finished so nicely.

The bag lining is in an abstract print that mimics the colors of the bag. The contrasting batik fabric was used to create little pockets all along the inside of the bag. Each pocket is approximately 6 inches wide and about 7 inches tall. I love the pockets! I can stash so many things in the bag, but still find everything I'm looking for quickly. I also knitted a flap that has a magnetic snap on it to keep the bag closed. The flap is felted but it was not knitted as part of the bag. The flap was knitted separately and sewed on as part of the lining.

I did add a bottom to the bag to help it keep it's shape. There is a sleeve in the bottom of the bag that has a piece of cardboard slipped into it, but I'm looking for something a little more sturdy. I'm keeping my eyes open for a piece of corrugated plastic. The sleeve is made out of the same fabric as the lining on one side and the pocket color on the other.

I also used different handles than called for in the pattern. I wanted something that could be carried over the shoulder. I think that it will make the bag much more usable than a pair of small plastic handles. My handles are some type of cord or plant material with some wooden bead detailing. I picked out a coordinating button for the flap to help hide the snap and add a little decoration.

Project Info
Project: Rather Huge Carpet Bag
Pattern: Felted Carpet Bags in Three Sizes
by Nora J. Bellows
Yarn: Noro Kureyon - color #147; 19 skeins
Needles: addi TURBO - US# 15(10 mm)
Pre-felting Measurements: 10" deep x 33" wide and 24.5" tall
Final Measurements: 6.5" deep x 22" wide and 14" tall
Notes: I really made no modifications to the knitting instructions other than casting on 78 stitches instead of the 75 that the pattern called for and that was just a mistake that I decided not to correct. I also added a felted flap to the bag to hide a magnetic snap on the outside of the bag.To create the flap I cast on 20 stitches and knit 40 rows. I trimmed it slightly after felting. The handles for the bag came from M&J Trimmming. The fabric and button was purchased at a local fabric shop.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I'm hoping that peace, comfort, and joy find you and your family this holiday season.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fiber Friday - Brombeere

This color is called blackberry. I don't really think of backberries when I see it - but I love the deep red colors all the same.

Yarn Details
Brand: Wollmeise
Yarn Name: sockenwolle
Color: Brombeere (blackberry)
Fiber Content: 100% superwash wool
Skein Weight: 150 gramsYardage: 574 yards
Online: Website / Blog

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Back to Knitting

I have been doing a little bit of knitting, but honestly not a whole lot. I had hoped to be a lot further along with this project than I am. This is the Portland Sweater I'm knitting out of Noro Sakura. I've been sidetracked by the holidays and this new interest in spinning. but I have made a little bit of progress on this project. I had hoped to finish this sweater by Christmas - but that isn't looking too good.

I've got one sleeve finished and I'm ready to begin the shoulder part of the second sleeve. The sleeves really account for a good portion of the top of the sweater too. And the body will be plain stockinette stitch - so there is a chance I'll get it done by the end of the year I think.

I love the yarn and the way it is knitting up. I wouldn't have thought I would like it so much from just seeing it in the skein. Realizing that made me wonder why I even bought this yarn. I'll have to be more careful of that type of purchase in the future.

I've taken this project out and about with me for mobile knitting. Almost everyone that has commented on the project has asked about the little wormy slubby bits in the sweater and want to know how I did that part. they are always amazed when I show them that's just part of the yarn. It's kind of fun to have non-knitters look at your projects with amazement and think you are doing something special or magic. It would be nice if everything was like that.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Spinning, I've Been Spinning

This is my first hand spun yarn and I did it on the spindle I purchased at SAFF. It is a 2-ply yarn spun from a ball of pink fiber that I bought when I got my spindle. I actually have no idea what type of wool it is. I do know that I plied the two singles together with too much twist which is partly why the yarn looks so wavy. I did enjoy spinning doing it though and based on that I signed up for a four week class at a local yarn shop.

I have already been to two of the classes and the third session is scheduled for this Wednesday. The first two classes focused on spinning on a spindle. This yarn is a 2-ply Blue faced Leicester in it's natural sheepy color. By this time, I think that the spinning and drafting has gotten a little bit easier, but I don't think there is much improvement in the finished yarn. This time I ended up with under spun singles and in a lot of places the yarn is wrapped instead of plied. I think part of this is do to the under spinning and uneven thickness of the singles. I 'm still hoping the more I do it, the better it will get.

Our second week was spent trying out a new fiber, Corriedale. Part of the idea of the class is to try out new fibers and figure out the difference in spinning. I really liked working with the Corriedale. So far it is has been the easiest to spin in my opinion. Overall this yarn seems a little more even, but not a whole lot better. I still don't have any of the fancy little tools and gadgets for spinning so I can't tell you how many wraps per inch or estimate the yardage. Maybe Santa will drop some off under the tree this year. This week we get to sit at a wheel for the first time.

When I started knitting, I told myself that I'd never knit socks. Who would want to mess around with something that looks so complicated on such small needles. There is plenty to knit besides socks. I now love knitting socks. I told myself I'd never want to spin yarn - there are so many types of beautiful yarn to buy. Hand spun yarn can even be had for a price. At the moment, I'm learning to spin. Now I'm telling myself I do not want to prepare and dye my own fleece. I guess the next step is to go ahead and start building a barn in the back to hold the flock.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Fiber Friday - Zitron - Avanti

This yarn is the same color and stripping pattern as the popular Trekking XXL 100 sock yarn - just in a worsted weight. I love all the bright colors. I bought these skeins awhile ago with the intentions of making a scarf.

I have a skein of the sock yarn in this color too. I should have pulled it out for comparison here. The colors seem a lot brighter here in the worsted weight than they do in the sock weight.

I don't really have any immediate plans to start knitting this up. I'm still working on my Noro Sakura sweater. I should have an update for you on the sweater next week. I've also been using my spindle. I"ll show those results too. It is getting easier, but it isn't anything to jump up and down about yet.

Yarn Details
Yarn Name: Avanit
Color: #12
Content: 100% superwash merino wool
Skein Weight: 50 grams
Skein Length: 125 meters

Monday, December 03, 2007

Part 2 - Felting is Done

The monster of a bag is finally felted. You can see it here in all its glory on top of the washing machine. I have it blocking on a couple of old shoe boxes. I finally got the felting finished for this bag on Saturday afternoon.

I can't even tell you how many times I ran it through the washer. I have a soak cycle that agitates for a bit then stops for the soaking part. I just turn the dial back to the beginning of the soak cycle and it agitates again without having to add more water. I just keep repeating that processes until the water isn't hot anymore. I guess I save a little water that way. But it seems to take forever.

So far I'm really pleased with the results. The bag actually shrunk quite a bit. I haven't taken a tape measure out to see just how much shrinking actually occurred, but it now looks like something a human could possibly carry instead of sleeping in. I'm guessing that it shrunk by at least one third and maybe even a little more.

The bag is still covered with fuzz and yarn boogers. It was still damp yesterday and I'm hoping that when I get home tonight it is finally dry. I'd like to get the old sweater shaver out and give this thing a haircut and a quick measure so I can start thinking about fabric for the lining.

I did pull out my project bag for this and started to clean it out so I could start another project and all the ball bands from the Kureyon I used for this project came tumbling out onto the floor. There were nineteen empty ball bands and I still have a skein and a half of this color left!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Fiber Friday - TV Yarn

November is almost officially over, so I won't be flashing any more of my Noro stash at you for a while. Although I am still working on my Noro projects. The bag is almost finished being felted. I'll get it together and show you the shrinkage soon. The sweater is moving right along too. I'm into the second sleeve. But in between knitting, I've got to get some Christmas decorations up. We are staying home and having family over this year - a first for us. And at the end of my spinning class yesterday, the instructor gave us home work. I have to finish spinning some of the roving she gave us so we can try plying on a spindle next week.

But in the meantime, here is another yarn purchase from SAFF. This is TV yarn, aptly named since all the colors are named after TV shows. And of course it will eventually be knit in front of the TV. But I don't think that last bit had anything to do with the naming convention.

Yarn Details
Brand: White Oak Studio
Yarn Name: TV Sock Yarn
Color: True Grit
Content: 100% merino wool; Louet Gems Pearl
Skein Weight: 50 grams
Skein Length: 175 yards
Web Shop:
Notes: This was sold in a two skein set and it came with a matching sterling silver and Swarovski crystal stitch marker that I neglected to photograph.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Knitting Part is Finished

Well I've got the Noni Rather Large Carpet Bag knit and it is huge. As my husband says, "that is just ridiculous - what is that going to be an iPod holder". God - I hope it doesn't shrink that much. I'd be really upset that all I'm going to get out of this is an iPod cozy. But I'm crossing my fingers that in the end, it turns out to be a little bigger than an iPod.

See that expression on my face? That's why my husband doesn't take many pictures. He always ends up catching me with my eyes closed or some awful expression on my face. So usually I just don't ask him to take pictures.

I'm in the process of felting the bag now. I have washed the bag a couple times and have it drying on top of the washer to check when I get home from work. I think I'm going to go ahead and run it through a couple more times before calling it quits. I think it will turn out okay.

I'm hoping to get the whole thing felted and defuzzed this weekend. My mom will be here over Christmas and I plan on having her help me sew up a lining. I need to go ahead and order handles too. I'm thinking of finishing the top of the bag a little differently than the picture in the pattern. I'd like to use handles that can be thrown over my shoulder instead of the hand held acrylic type. I'm also thinking of adding a little flap that has a magnetic snap closure. I see the flap going from one side to the other on the outside of the bag instead of a snap on the inside.

These photos were from Thanksgiving and you can see we had good weather. We spent our time playing keep away with the Frisbee - that is Sherman's favorite game, watching movies, eating, and of course I knit. We had a great time.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Fiber Friday - Silk Garden

I've realized that at least one portion of my stash could serve as a Noro salesman's sample case. I have amassed what seems like a crap load (translate = a lot) of Noro yarns Can you tell that when I started knitting and realized there were so many beautiful color combinations of Noro - I got a little excited and went a little overboard.

This is Silk Garden I have stashed away for a couple different projects. The nice red color has been put aside to knit Tilt from This is the third sweater I'd like to finish this winter. I'm not sure that I'll really get it done in time to wear it before spring, but you never know.

The other color is set aside to knit Halfobi by Ivete Tecedor. It's not really a sweater, more of a shrug. I think that this pattern will be much simpler than the other, but I love the colors just as much.

I'm really liking both colors together and have decided any and all leftovers from these two projects will be combined in a scarf. After putting these skeins together for photos; I've decided that I really like the combination.

Yarn Details
Brand: Noro
Yarn Name: Silk Garden
Color: #84 (red) and #245
Content: 45% silk, 45% kid mohair, 10% lambs wool
Skein Weight: 100 grams
Skein Length: 100 meters

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Stitchin' Never Ends

I'm not sure what I was thinking when I decided to knit these two projects so close together. Both projects are just rounds and rounds of basic garter stitch. It's a little monotonous. The good news is that the carpet bag is nearing completion. It is turning out to be huge.

It doesn't really look like Kureyon to me any more. The striping seems a little bit lost. I do like the variegated color though and I imagine that I'll like it even more after the bag is felted. I'm expecting to finish the knitting of this bag over the Thanksgiving weekend coming up. I plan on spending a good part of the weekend knitting.

I'm hoping to get it finished so I can figure out lining and handles and get all the supplies so I can finish the bag up over my Christmas vacation. I'm going to have a couple weeks off work again. Plus my mom is coming to visit, so I'll have an expert seamstress in house!

I also got a little jump start on my Portland Sweater using the Noro Sakura. It's more of the same, just rounds and rounds of garter stitch. The good thing about this one is that I'm really excited about the colors and texture of the yarn all knit up. It is going to be an excellent light weight sweater, great for spring. It has such a different feel than the Kureyon I'm using for the bag. I'm hoping to make some more progress on this sweater this weekend

It's kind of nuts to be knitting this now. I knit a 100% worsted weight wool sweater in July; now I'm knitting this light weight sweater at the beginning of winter. Well, maybe I'll get myself straightened out eventually.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mistakes Don't Have to Be Bad

I started out with the intention of knitting Criminy Jickets' Ridges and Ribs socks. I liked the pattern because ribbing always seems to create a nice fit even if I have to slightly adjust the number of stitches in a round. And, I can easily pull out the stitch pattern and have it work okay with my current method of knitting socks.

So I began with a short row toe and glanced at the stitch pattern specifics and off I went. After a couple repeats of the pattern, I realized I was doing something wrong. See the little V-shaped column? That is supposed to a solid ridge line down the sock.

With a little help from Dave, I was able to see that I was actually slipping a stitch purl wise that the pattern calls for slipping knit wise. Slipping the stitch knit wise will cause it to tighten up and line up in a straight line. Slipping it purl wise leaves it a little loose and open to form the V's. I like how the V's look though. So my mistake has now been upgraded to a modification. I like it when that happens.

I also dropped the eye of partridge heel and opted for a much easier short row heel and straight shot up the leg. I love this pattern though and will definitely knit it again, both with or with out my lack of twist modification. The pattern does exactly as intended and makes a nice combination to work with hand painted yarn.

This is my first time actually knitting with Cherry Tree Hill yarn. I must really give it a big thumbs up, two snaps, and a twist. It was really a surprise to me how much I enjoyed knitting with this yarn. I mean it feels nice in the skein but I'm just surprised and how soft it knits up and just the overall look and feel of the finished project. I must thank my mom for this. She picked it up as a surprise at a local shop sale.

Project Info
Project: socks for me
Pattern: Ridges and Ribs by Criminy Jickets
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill; color - old rose
Needles: addi TURBO Lace Needles- US# 1
Stitches Around: 64
Notes: I knit these socks toe up using a short row toe and heel. The square pictured to the left is for my sock yarn afghan. I use leftover sock yarn to knit a square for each pair of super wash wool socks I make.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Fall Arrives at Geddesburg

The autumn colors are finally at their peak in our area. I think all the hot dry weather we've had may have had an effect. But the weather was beautiful yesterday. The sun was out, the sky was clear, and the air was fresh and brisk. Even Sherman will venture out now. So yesterday we spent part of the day outside enjoying the fresh air.

These are some of the better photos I took yesterday. Fall is one of the prettier times around our house. I love all the orange and yellows of the turning leaves against the crisp blue sky.

I've been knitting too. I've been working on my carpet bag and I've started the first sleeve of the sakura sweater. I've also got some finished socks to show you tomorrow.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Fiber Friday - Silver Thaw

Another Noro yarn from my stash. This one is being held to make a cardigan sweater. I have no idea when I'll actually get started in this sweater - but it is sitting there paitently waiting. This yarn seems to have a lot of orange in it. I'm hoping that when it is knit up that some of the blue and purple will show up.

I actually have yarn for three sweaters sitting in the queue waiting to be started. The one last week, this one, and one I'll show you next week. All are scheduled to be made from Noro yarn. The good thing is I bought all of the yarn on sale. My goal is to get all three finished this winter.

Yarn Details
Brand: Noro
Yarn Name: Silver Thaw
Color: #5
Content: 50% wool, 25% angora, 25% nylon
Skein Weight: 100 grams
Yardage: 220 yards
Yarn Weight: worsted

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nifty New Knitting & Fiber Tools

I had been looking to expand my knitting needle selection and was considering buying some of interchangeable needles. Zonda brought some of her fabulous needle cases she makes specifically for interchangeable needles to SAFF. I couldn't resist and bought a case on the spot. I ordered the needles when I got home and now I've got needles to go into my cool new case. You can get your own case in Zonda's Etsy shop.

The needles fit nicely in the case and I have lots of room for expanding my collection. My original goal was to get some needles and long cables so I can knit my STR log cabin throw and keep the needles in the live stitches. So for this plan, I'd need a total of 4 size US 6 needles on 60" cables.

I usually use addi Turbos and didn't want to go that expense for needles I probably wouldn't use again - so I decided to go for the Knitpicks Harmony Interchangeable needles and ordered a few needles and cables. I ordered 4 60"cables not realizing that 2 cables come in each package. So now I have a total of 8 60" cables. I need to read a little more carefully before hitting the order button.

But my favorite new knitting toy is my spindle. I haven't done a lot with it yet. I did spin up a 2oz ball of unknown pink fiber that I got at SAFF. The picture above is my first spindle full. I've taken this off the spindle and it is waiting to be plied with the results of my second attempt - pictured below. I've thought about just tossing this out and starting fresh - but I figure I can make an attempt at plying anyway. I'll be sure and post the results.

I've been using the park and draft method while sitting in a chair. It is slow going, but I think my second attempt, while still fairly thick is at least a little consistent. I've ordered a book by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts about spinning on a high whorl spindle. I'm going to try plying this weekend and hopefully I'll have a chance to try spinning something else. If you've got a favorite book or website about spinning - please share. I'd like to read more.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Free to Good Home - Felted Mittens

After knitting my hat, I still had a couple skeins of Kureyon in color #95 leftover so I decided to knit a pair of mittens and I figured felted was the way to go. I'm not that fond of wearing Kureyon next to the skin, I find it too scratchy. So I though maybe I'd tolerate it better if it was felted.

Once I knitted the cuff on the first mitten, I realized that these would never really fit me if I went ahead and felted them. I went ahead anyway - I wanted to see how they turned out. I knit them using two strands of yarn and I was curious how they would felt. you can see them pre felting to the left.

They did come out okay - in my opinion they could use a couple more turns in the washing machine to get rid of the remaining stitch definition. But I did go ahead and stop since I'm not going to be wearing them anyway. As expected, the mittens turned out to be way to small for me.

So if you know someone you think these will fit; email me and I'll send them to you! the finished measurements are below. I want to get some more yarn to see about making a pair that will actually fit me.

Project Info
Project: Felted Mittens
Pattern: Fiber Trends - Snow Country Felt Mittens
Yarn: Noro Kureyon - color #95; 2 skeins plus leftovers from hat
Needles: addi TURBO - US# 11 (8 mm)
Pattern Size: Medium (Women's)
Pre-felting Measurements: 11" x 5"
Final Measurements: 8" x 3.5"
Notes: I knit these according to the instructions for the medium size - but they seem very small. I would knit these again. I like the patterns - it gives the mitten shape. The double strand created a very nice thick material. Next time I would use US 15's and knit a larger size. They were very quick to knit.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Fiber Friday - Sakura Sweater

In the spirit of Norovember, I'm going to try and highlight the Noro yarns that are currently in my stash for all the FIber Fridays that are in November. I'm thinking I have enough different yarns to show.

So, first up is Noro Sakura. I bought this yarn while it was on sale and ended up with three different colors of it in total. I used the pink color (#6) to make a dream swatch. I also have some blue (#1) stashed away that I'm going to use for Monika's Cherry Blossom Shawl and then I also have the color in these pictures, green (#5), that I'm going to use for a lightweight sweater.

I've even gone ahead and done up a guage swatch for my sweater. I am right on target accorfding to the pattern at 6 stitches per inch. The sweater will be the Portland Sweater pattern from Webs - it was design for one of their Vally Yarns. It seems like it will be vey easy to knit both sleeves and them pick up and knit the body. There will be no seaming at all.

Yarn Details
Brand: Noro
Yarn Name: Sakura
Color: #5
Fiber Content: 36% Rayon, 28% Polyester, 18% Nylon, 11% Silk,
Skein Weight: 40 grams
Yardage: 147 yards
Yarn Weight: DK

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Which Way Do I Go?

I've cast on for my next Noro project, but I've kind of reached a stand still. I've decided to knit a felted bag and I'm going to be using one of the Noni Carpet Bag patterns. I'm going to be knitting the largest size, The Rather Huge Carpet Bag.

The pattern calls for holding two stands of yarn together for a firmer fabric and I like that idea, especially since the bag is large. I'm going to knit this with some Kureyon (color #147) that was in my stash and now I'm trying to decide if I should match the colors of the two strands for knitting. I've knit several rows of the bag bottom to help me decide.

This first example was knit with the colors matching for both strands as close as possible. I like the way it came out and the stripes are easily discernible. I think it might be important to note that the individual stripes of color will not be as thick on the sides of the bag. There are a lot more stitches in a round as I knit the sides than there are on the bottom of the bag.

For this second example, I just randomly selected two skeins and held the strands together with no regards for matching the color of the strands. You can still see the stripes, but maybe the stripes aren't quite as prominent. I do like the way each color is variegated too. The overall color effect of this one does remind me of some old 70's shag carpet. But I kind of like that idea since it is a "carpet" bag.

If you have an opinion, I'd like to hear it. Maybe you don't see a big difference. My husband didn't. He first said that each sample had different colors in it. And while that is true, it isn't the difference that I was going for. I explained the differences and then he picked, but he really wasn't into at all. I don't know why I keep asking his opinion on stuff like this.

So maybe you can help me decide. What do you think? I'm leaning towards option two. I think the mixed colors might look really good together when felted. But I wonder if I will miss the regular stripes of Kureyon.