Friday, February 29, 2008

Fiber Friday - Sweet Baby

I finally settled on the Feather & Fan Comfort Shawl for this mixed up bunch of handspun. This skein will be the fourth out of five skeins. I'm actually really looking forward to starting this project. I'm just trying to get the knitting on Halfobi finished first.

There isn't much new with this spinning project to talk about. I didn't try any new techniques, I'm just trying to make sure the weight of the yarn matches what is already spun up. The colors aren't too exciting or anything, but I like the pink and brown tones of the yarn. I think it works well with the green, brown, and blue colors I have waiting.

Brand: Geddesburg Handspun Yarn
Content: 100% Bluefaced Leicester
Fiber Source: The Fiber Denn on Etsy
Skein Weight: 4.5 ounces
Skein Length: 286 yards
Spinning Ratio: 10 to 1
Plying Ratio: 9 to 1
Other Details: 2-ply, hand wash

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

About the Same as Last Time

It seems like I've been busy, but when I went to get pictures together for this post it didn't seem like I'd accomplished much this week. I did take the remaining scraps from hubby's socks and knit a square for my blanket. Hopefully I'll eventually have enough squares, but at the rate I knit socks it's going to be awhile. I did figure that some of the yarn from his first hand knit socks deserved to be in the blanket. The socks were also a mental victory for me, so I saved some yarn to make this square. Although it may have cost the socks about an inch or so in length, I'm glad to have the square to remember the socks once they are gone.

Halfobi is more that half done now. I'm in the home stretch and knitting the second side. I'm hoping to give a really good try at finishing up the knitting this weekend. I know need to decide what to use to seam it up and to use for the edging. The pattern calls for a crochet edging around the outside. I've always been led to believe that Noro isn't that great for seaming because of the strength. So I'm going to need to haul this thing to the LYS or something to find something appropriate.

I have done some spinning too. I spun the batts from Loop into two singles yarn. I original decided to spin half of the fiber and mix the colors and spin the other half with the colors separate. So, I started the first bobbin by mixing the colors and decided that was really the way to go. To make the separated colors work well, I thought that each color would have to be its own separate ply in the finished yarn because each color is actually a different fiber. I don't think that would have worked well with the quantity I had.

So, I decided to just spin it all mixed up and make my standard two-ply yarn. The colors are beautiful but I'm not crazy about the idea of plying the singles. Maybe I'll like the finished yarn better once I'm finished. I think this fiber really wanted to be spun in different way. After I was halfway through the second bobbin, I realized that the fiber shouldn't be so tight, but more lofty and bulky. Hindsight is 20/20 and I can't redo this, but I am thinking of buying another set of these batts to try again and compare the two.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

D is for Diaper Cake

This was my contribution to the latest baby shower at work. I had considered knitting something, but I was asked to make a diaper cake. It is the second one I've made for a co-worker's baby shower. I think the knitting would have been a little more cost effective - but the cake was definitely fun to make.

I started out with a package of size 1 diapers and rolled them up and secured then with a little light blue yarn. These diapers had a very colorful print and I think that added to the cuteness of the cake. The other cake I did was primarily white and pink and had an overall different look to it. Once all 100+ diapers were rolled up, I gathered them into four progressively larger round layers and secured each with more yarn. Ribbon could be used too, but I had baby blue yarn on hand. Rolling up all the diapers is where most of my time was spent.

I cut a circle out of cardboard and covered it in foil and stacked the cake layers on top of each other. There is a paper towel tube running through the center of the bottom three layers for a little stability. Next up was attaching all the little doo dads. Some are just resting on the cake and others are tied on with ribbon or yarn. Diaper pins are another great way to secure things to the cake too.

The hardest part was transporting the entire thing to work and hiding it in my cube until the party. I think overall the mommy-to-be was surprised with the shower and pleased with the cake. We are looking forward to meeting her new baby soon.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I Won!

I won a Blogoversary Contest over at the Esoteric Knitter's blog. She knits wonderful socks - check out her blog if you haven't. See what she sent me? The chocolates made it to the picture but they won't last long after that. I've already made a big dent in the number of chocolates in that bag. There are two notes pads too. I can never have too many note pads and these say "It's all about me". That is a running joke between me and my hubby so these are going to be perfect to leave him little notes. And of course, there is sock yarn. Two skeins of Claudia Hand Painted Yarn in a rainbow color called Carousel.

Thank you Jennie for such a wonderful prize!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fiber Friday - Mmmmmm...Rich

I took a break from the Bluefaced Leicester and pulled out something else from my fiber stash to try. This is Wensleydale. Wensleydale sheep have a blue-grey face and have long, fine, and lustrous curly fleece. The sheep appear covered with long ringlets of yarn. The staple length of the fiber is usually about 8-12 inches.

Take a quick look at what the fiber looked like when it came to me. You can still see the waves from the curls. I'm not sure if you can truly see the shine and luster the fiber had, but it was beautiful. A little of the luster seems to be gone after spinning the yarn, and I'm not sure why.

This was nice to spin up actually. It was beautifully dyed and well prepared so drafting the fiber was easy. The yarn is nice but a little rough and scratchy. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet. I'm just enjoying the colors for now.

Brand: Geddesburg Handspun Yarn
Content: 100% Wensleydale
Fiber Source: Hello Yarn
Skein Weight: 4 ounces
Skein Length: 216 yards
Spinning Ratio: 10 to 1
Plying Ratio: 9 to 1
Other Details: 2-ply, hand wash

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Just Keep Stitching

Well, after I finished those socks, I got another baby hat knit for the Hats for Alex. This hat was knit using Lion Brand Landscapes and it took the whole skein. The skein came from my basket of ugly stash yarn. The pattern is the Jester Baby Hat by Cathy Campbell. I know it is kind of a goofy looking hat, but I liked it for some reason.

I've also picked up my little Silk Garden Halfobi and have made some more progress. I'm almost done with the ribbing on one side, only a row or two more and I'll be knitting the back. This thing is knit flat in one piece and then folded over and stitched together. You can kind of see how it is starting to take shape now.

I've also been spinning. I have some new handspun yarn to post on Friday and I've finished all five skeins I'm going to put together for that shawl I've been talking about. I'm hoping to start the shawl after I finish up Halfobi. Remember those merino batts I posted about a couple weeks ago? I spun them up into the two singles on the bobbins in the left in the photo above. The bobbins on the right are from some Bluefaced Leicester roving I bought from PigeonRoof Studios in a color called Flame. I'm hoping to ply both sets of singles this weekend.

This lovely fiber is what is up next and it is from Loop. She has beautiful spinning batts. The fiber is a mix of bamboo, English wool, Corriedale and tussah silk. I'm looking forward to trying out this blend of fibers. I'm not sure how I'm going to spin them up so I've laid them out on the table so I can look at them and think it over. I'm trying to decide if I want to keep the colors separate or mix them up for a more heathery combination. Let me know what you think.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Weight Has Been Lifted

I can finally sit down in my knitting chair without dreading having to pick up these socks to knit. I finally finished them yesterday afternoon! I handed them to my hubby to look at and so I could take a picture of him wearing the socks. I haven't seen them since. That is good news - it just means there won't be any more pictures. He doesn't like waiting around for pictures to be taken.

These socks took me almost a year to knit and I'm ashamed of that. There is nothing especially complicated about these socks at all. They are knit with a simple ribbed pattern and I've knit more complicated socks, but for some reason I struggled with this pair.

I figure it could be the needles. I used US 0's to knit these. That didn't seem too bad. I knit them two at a time. This is the second time I've tried it, but the first time I finished a pair this way. The socks are 96 stitches around - that is almost thirty stitches more than I usually use per sock. It was probably a combination of things and mostly just in my head.

Next time I knit the man socks though, I'm going to need three skeins of yarn I think. These are a little short with just about a six inch leg, but I used almost all the yarn. I did like the yarn - Lorna's Laces. It is the first pair I've knit with this yarn. It made a nice feeling sock.

Project Info
Stitch Pattern: Waffle Rib
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock; 2 skeins
color: Pioneer (16)
Needles: addi TURBO - US# 0 (2 mm)
Notes: socks knit toe up; two at a time on two circulars; each sock was 96 stitches around

Friday, February 15, 2008

Fiber Friday - Enchanted Forest

Brand: Geddesburg Handspun Yarn
Content: 100% Bluefaced Leicester
Fiber Source: The Fiber Denn on Etsy
Skein Weight: 4 ounces
Skein Length: 312 yards
Spinning Ratio: 10 to 1
Plying Ratio: 9 to 1
Other Details: 2-ply, hand wash

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

C is For Crochet

I must admit first thing - I did not crochet anything in this post. I do not know how to crochet and I'm usually okay with that. Although sometimes I see a knitting pattern that has a crocheted edging and I'll think about learning. But in the end I just substitute some type of knitted edging and go right along. I also have a desire to crochet a granny square afghan, but that is about it.

This crochet was done by my grandmother quite awhile ago. Last year she was cleaning out a closet and gave this to my mother. My mother showed it to my while I was visiting. We had a fun time trying to imagine my grandmother sitting in a chair using the small, no, tiny, steel hooks that were still inside the box. The pattern and extra crochet cotton were still there although both have yellowed with age.

The tablecloth was something my grandmother started as a deal with my grandfather before they were married. If she finished the table cloth, he would get her a dining table she wanted. Well she got the table but the tablecloth never got finished. The pattern shows some crochet between the circles and there were some circles in the box that were not attached to anything.

My mom does know how to crochet and used the existing circles to make the tablecloth as big as possible and now I have a beautiful family heirloom.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Fiber Friday - Jeffersonite

This is the second of five skeins of Bluefaced Leicester for the handspun shawl that I am planning. I love the rich browns and green highlights in this skein. I think it spun up very nice; I like the color distribution I got. The roving is from the same dyer and was very nice to handle.

I've been trying to decide what shawl to knit. I've seen several nice versions of the Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl that were knit in handspun. I'm just not really crazy about the triangular shape. I've also thought about trying a Lady Eleanor, but I'm not sure how to work all the color changes. And, I have silk garden stashed away for a Lady Eleanor - but I could always do something else with that. So the pattern is still up in the air. Besides, I've got three more skeins to go, all kinds of things can happen between now and then.

Brand: Geddesburg Handspun Yarn
Content: 100% Bluefaced Leicester
Fiber Source: The Fiber Denn on Etsy
Skein Weight: 3.75 ounces
Skein Length: 220 yards
Spinning Ratio: 10 to 1
Plying Ratio: 9 to 1
Other Details: 2-ply, hand wash

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

What Knitterly Things Are Happening at Geddesburg?

Well things are moving along with the man socks. Slowly, but they are progressing. I've gotten the heels turned and have begun to move up the legs on these socks. I'm hoping that they will start to go a little faster now. The good news is that the end is finally in sight! I don't think I'll be knitting two socks at once again for awhile. This is my second time trying it out and I just don't enjoy the whole process very much. I did get an inch knit on each sock last night; I'm going for another inch tonight.

I'm also continuing to work on my little Silk Garden jacket. I hap a slight mishap. I knitted the marker right into the jacket! I just need to go out to the garage and find the wire cutters to extract it! I thought about unknitting the rows I need to get to the marker. In the end, I decided that just cutting it out and remaking the marker will be much quicker.

I'm still spinning too of course. I'm working on the skeins I need to go with last Friday's post for some sort of shawl. I'm thinking of a feather and fan type thing. I'll have the next skein posted on Friday.

I'm also looking ahead to my next spinning project and I think I 'm going to try spinning from a fiber batt this time. All of my spinning up until this point has been from combed top or rovings, but the fiber above is in batt form. I haven't figured out quite how I want to divide them up to start spinning. These batts are from Hobbledehoy and the color is named Constellations. The fiber is merino, about 3 ounces, and is primarily black with bright colored streaks. I decided to just lay them out and have a look. I think the black might end up muddling all the other colors. I'm anxious to see how it turns out.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

B is for Basket, Ball of Yarn, and Baby Hat

This is the basket that I used to store my yarn when I first started knitting. I was sure that this basket would hold my yarn and any project I was knitting. That was true for a very short time. My stash quickly overflowed the basket and the basket was eventually forgotten and stuck in the corner of my crap room.

I found this basket yesterday when I was organizing and editing some things and decided that this basket would be nice to hold my bobbins and other spinning wheel parts. I opened the basket and discovered yarn I have tried to forget about.

The basket contains a dizzying array of novelty yarns, fun fur, chenille and acrylic. A lot of these things were purchased around the time I first picked up knitting needles. I had no idea about what I wanted to knit when most of these yarns were collected and stuffed into this basket. I have no idea what I planned to do with the yarn below and after looking at the ball today I still don't. Maybe it can be used as ribbon on a wrapped gift.

I've been editing and reorganizing the posessions in our house to get rid of things we don't use or need. Anything that is nice enough gets donated and the rest gets pitched. I'll eventually be going through all my craft supplies and yarn stash too. Now, I'm not getting rid of all my yarn or even a lot if it, but I don't thing I need a three drawer trolley filled with rubber stamps.

So I've decided that might as well start with the yarn in this basket since I want the basket for something else. There is no need to put this yarn in a storage container and put it into a closet. Decisions will be made today! Some of the yarn will be purged, a couple things might go back into the stash, and some of the yarn will be put into a bag and put beside my knitting chair to be knit up into baby hats.

After reading Turtlegirl's post about Hats for Alex, I decided this is something I can be contributing to as well. My first hat is finished. I knit this up last night. It was quick to do and I'll just knit one up between other knitting projects and at the end of the year, I'll send them together.

This little hat was knit last night with some Plymouth Dreambaby D.K. that I found in the basket. I had about half of skein of this green color leftover from a Christmas tree hat a knit a couple of years ago. Now I've just have to sort through the rest of the basket contents. So, who wants some fun fur?

Friday, February 01, 2008

Fiber Friday - Granulito

This is the first time I have spun Bluefaced Leicester (BFL) on my wheel. It was the first fiber we used on a spindle in my spinning class. Both times the fiber proved to be a good experience. It was easy to prepare and draft the fiber for spinning and the resulting yarn is soft. It's a good thing too, because when I was getting my stash of spinning fiber together I bought a bunch of the BFL in all types of colors.

BFL is a longwool English breed that had a fiber staple length of about 3-6 inches. I think that length is part of what makes it a nice wool for beginners to use for spinning. I did a little reading and found out that the blue face comes from their bluish black skin covered with white hair. They have no wool on their head and neck. An entire fleece will typically weight 3 to 6 lbs., with a fiber diameter of 56s – 60s count, or 24-28 microns, creating high quality luster yarns with beautiful drape.

I do have plans for this yarn already. This skein is destined to be part of a shawl. I have several colors of the BFL that seem to coordinate very well so I am thinking of putting them together into a feather and fan comfort shawl. I've got five colors I think will work - but I need to get them all spun up to make sure. I've also got to be able to spin each skein to a somewhat consistent thickness. I'm really excited about the idea of an actual project out of my own handspun.

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn
Content: 100% Bluefaced Leicester
Fiber Source: The Fiber Denn on Etsy
Skein Weight: 3.75 ounces
Skein Length: 238 yards
Spinning Ratio: 10 to 1
Plying Ratio: 9 to 1
Other Details: 2-ply, hand wash