Friday, July 25, 2008

Handspun Friday - Tour De Fleece

Well I've completed the initial challenge I set aside for myself. I have finally finished spinning and plying all 572 grams/20.20 ounces of mixed fiber I had set aside. This fiber was a mix of coordinating colors and several different fibers including merino, Blue Faced Leicester, silk, and tencel.

This is actually the first fiber I ever stashed away. I bought it from the lady who gave me my first spinning lessons from last November. I had been saving it until I felt I could actually spin a usable yarn.

When I read about the Tour de Fleece I thought it would be fun to set a deadline and see if I could get all the fiber all spun up in a specified amount of time. The Tour ends on Sunday and I've met my goal. The resulting yarn has all been washed and photographed, it's now just waiting to be knit into something wonderful.

I ended up spinning eight different singles and plying them together in random pairs. Some of the fiber was a 100% wool and some were wool blended with tencel or silk.

Each finished yarn has one ply of 100% wool and one ply of a silkier blend. I thought that give all the yarns a similar drape and shine and make the finished project a little more cohesive overall.

I ended up with twelve different yarns of lengths varying from 32 to 162 yards. In total I ended up with about 1222 yards. That is about the same yardage I used to knit my entrelac shawl, Lady Eleanor, earlier this year.

I love the shape and size that my version of Lady Eleanor ended up being, so I'm thinking that I'll try another rectangular shawl. I've just got to settle on some sort of stitch pattern. I don't want to do another entrelac shawl yet.

I'm thinking about trying a Lizard Ridge type pattern. but I'll have to take a look through some stitch dictionaries first. Any suggestions you might have a are welcome.

Even though this part of the challenge is complete for me; I'm still working towards the goal of spinning everyday. I'm participating in a swap for handspun yarn. I'm supposed to send my pal 4 ounces of handspun and 4 ounces of fiber and I'm working on that skein. I expect to complete the spinning tonight and ply the yarn tomorrow. So I'll have a fresh skein of yarn to share next Friday. Hope you'll come back to see how that one turns out too.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Garter Stitch Heels and Toes

Another pair of car pool socks are finished. I just realized that this is the third pair in a short time frame that is an orange/yellow color. I had no idea had so much of these colors in my stash. I'll have to pick a different color out for the next pair.

This pair of socks is very similar to the other I usually knit. They were knit toe up with a short row toe and heel with a simple pattern up the instep and leg. the main difference is that the toes and heels are knit in garter stitch instead of the usual stockinette.

The results are that the heels and toes are slightly thicker. I imagine that they might wear a little better than plain stockinette, but I haven't had a chance to really wear them much to determine if that is true. The other nice thing is that I didn't have to pick up any of the wrapped stitches to prevent holes from the short rows. I still did double wraps , but not having to pick them up made everything a little easier.

I liked the design idea of the pattern. There is a panel of 1x1 ribbing running up the back and front of the sock with a section of stockinette on either side. I made slight modifications to the pattern, but mainly because I used a heavier weight yarn and larger needles. I loved hoe the heels and toes turned out and I can see using that idea on other sock patterns.

Project Info
Pattern: Garter Toes by Karen Harper from Knit Front and Back (on Ravelry)
Yarn: Hello Yarn; Fat Sock
color: Marzipan; 2 skeins
Needles: addi TURBO Needles - US# 2.5 (3 mm)
Notes: The socks are 46 stitches around. I also added several rounds of 1x1 ribbing at the top of each sock.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Handspun Friday - Tour Update

I've made some progress on my Tour de Fleece spinning project. I've got all the fiber spun up and have started to ply the singles together. the project is coming together a lot quicker than I thought it would. I will have all the yarn plied and skeined by this weekend.

Here is a quick look at the first three skeins I've gotten from this pile of fiber. These skeins range in length from 120 yards to 132 yards. I'm expecting to end up with about 8-9 skeins of similar length. Now I just have to come up with a project for the yarn.

Right now I'm leaning towards a shawl in a chevron pattern like the scarf I knit out of sock yarn. I figure I'll alternate skeins every two rows. I think that I'll like the yarn better if the individual skeins are integrated like that instead separated into blocky sections. But Ill wait for a final decision when I have a yardage total and can look at all of the skeins together.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Little Experiment

Last year at SAFF I remember seeing little baskets that hang on your spinning wheel to hold little tools or gadgets like a diz or oil. I didn't get one at the time because I didn't have a wheel. But now that I do, I'm forever looking for little things like that while I'm spinning.

I like the idea of the little basket - but a basket might not be exactly what I want. So, I decided to try and make a small felted bag that would hang on my wheel and hold the little things that seem to go missing. It will be a little more colorful than a basket and I can make it to my exact desired size.

I've got my first prototype knitted up and it is standing by waiting to be felted. If this turns out, I"ll be sending this off to my spinning swap pal and I'll make another one for myself. I'll also write up the pattern if the whole thing works out; otherwise it is back to the drawing board for another try.

I'm still keeping up with my Tour de Fleece spinning - a little every day. I should actually have some finished yarn to show off by Friday.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Handspun Friday - Tour Update

Well another Friday and I don't have any new finished yarn to share, so I thought I'd do a quick post about where I am on the Tour de Fleece. I've been spinning a little bit everyday. I didn't get as much finished this week as I'd hoped. But hopefully I can catch up over the weekend.

Tuesday night we had a rain storm and lost power for an hour or so during prime spinning time and Wednesday night we went to the Stitch and Pitch at the Durham Bulls game. It was a lot of fun - but very little spinning got done that night. Last night was spinning night for the fiber guild I belong to, so I actually got the most done last night.

I have eight regular bobbins for my wheel; so that will let me spin each chunk of fiber into a single on separate bobbin and then worrying about plying. I have two large bobbins for the bulky/plying head of my wheel, so I'll use those to begin the plying. The bulky head is a little more work to treadle but I'd like to have all these singles spun up before I begin the plying.

I'm starting to question the total idea for this project. I hope it turns out as nice as it looks in my head!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Twin Rib Socks

I've got to say that this carpool knitting has been really productive for me so far. This is the third or fourth pair I've finished since I started sharing a ride to work. And I've got the next pair started. I haven't made a huge dent in the sock yarn stash yet - but I'm hoping to by the end of the year.

I like how these socks turned out. I use a sock yarn that is a blend of wool, polymide, and silk. The silk makes up 20% of the yarn, but seems to make a noticeable difference. The yarn is soft and smooth. There is nothing at all rough feeling about the fabric. Although at about $10 a ball (you need two for a pair), it isn't cheap. I think the socks ended up kind of short. I did save a little yarn to make a blanket square, but it wouldn't have made a huge difference in the length of the socks.

I liked the ribibng pattern too. It added some texture and interest, but best of all it was very easy. It's based on a 3x3 ribbing with a two row repeat. I'll definitely use it again. Although I am big fan of ribbing on socks. I think it is very forgiving and makes a comfortable sock.

Project Info
Stitch Pattern: Twin Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch
Yarn: Regis Silk Color; color 188; two skeins 50 grams each
Needles: addi TURBO Needles - US# 1.5 (2.5 mm)
Notes: toe up on 2 circular needles; short row toe and heel

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Tour De Fleece

I have joined this year's Tour de Fleece spinning challenge. The guidelines are fairly simple. Just spin every day the Tour rides, if possible. Saturday July 5th through Sunday July 27th. Days of rest: Tuesday July 15th, Monday July 21st (just like the actual tour). I think I can spin at least a little every day so that part should be easy.

I also wanted to pick a project that would be of some challenge to me. I couldn't think of a new technique that I was ready to learn so I had to come up with something else. I decided to try and spin enough yarn to knit a large project; something that would require more yarn than a pair of socks.

I decided to use fiber exclusively from my stash for this spinning challenge and decided to use the fiber that has been there the longest. I actually bought this fiber before I even had my wheel. I bought it from the lady that taught that first class I took. The fiber is a mix of wools. I know there is some Merino and Blue faced Leicester. There are some blends with tensile and silk too. Nothing is marked so I have to go on memory. I weighed this all yesterday before I started spinning and there is a total of 572 grams/20.20 ounces of fiber here.

The plan is to spin a bunch of singles and mix and match to make some two-ply yarns. I think I'll knit a very large scarf or wrap in the end. I think that this will be a suitable size challenge and if I don;t keep up with spinning everyday I won't reach my goal in the end. I haven't gotten very far yet, but I did spin some yesterday and a little bit this morning.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Handspun Friday - The 70's Unraveled

That is what this yarn looks like to me. Something in that avocado and gold color that has unraveled beyond repair. I almost threw this in the trash right after I took it off my bobbin. It has been trouble from almost the beginning. But I decided I might as well post about it here; after all it only seems fair that if I'm going to post about successes; I should post the mistakes too.

I bought this fiber at the festival I went to with my mom and thought I really liked it. It must have been the green colors. The fiber is from Crosspatch Creations and is a mix of wool (columbia, merino & corriedale)bombyx silk, tussah silk, and viscose. It sounded like an interesting mix to spin. When I got it home and looked at the fiber it didn't seem that appealing. I should have left it at that and tried to find another home for the stuff. But instead, I decided to spin it immediately and see if I couldn't change my mind about it.

The big problems started while I was plying the stuff. I spun the singles clockwise so in theory I should ply with the wheel going counter clockwise. But I didn't; I plied the whole thing wrong. So I tried to run the thing back through with the wheel going the right way to get the correct twist. I ended up doing that three times. Now the yarn is over spun in some spots and barely together in others.

And to top it off, I wound it from the bobbin to the kniddy knoddy to make a nice skein and promptly slide it right off. Whoops! I forgot to tie the skein - and made a nice little mess so I had to do that over too. The good news is that this is off the wheel and the Tour de Fleece starts tomorrow so this mess will soon be forgotten.