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!