Thursday, October 29, 2009

Handspun Friday - Woodland Violet

I'm behind on everything, including all my knitting and spinning projects. But I do have a new handspun to share this week.

I made a two ply yarn out of Corriedale with the intentions of knitting a shawl of some type. The colors are a little more muted than I normally choose and the yarn is even a little more muted than the fiber was. Probably even a little more than I expected, so I'm anxious to see how it knits up.

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn

Fiber: dyed by Maisy Daisy
Content: 100% Corriedale (combed top)
Weight: 8 ounces
Yardage: 662 yards
WPI: 12 wraps per inch
Notes: 2-ply; handwash

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Are You Happy Wearing That?

Brad spouted off with this line from the Christmas Story movie as soon as he saw this finished hat. I guess this bunny ear hat is just a little too reminiscent of Ralphie's pink bunny suit for Brad.

Well, at least I didn't knit the hat in pink and I did leave off the little pompom tail that the pattern called for stitching onto the back. The pattern was really easy and went pretty quick. I like knitting the little hats - they are quick and generally easy on my hands. I've already got another on the needles.

Project Info:
Pattern: Bunny Tail
by Susan Anderson
from Itty Bitty Hats
Yarn: Berroco Comfort
color - hummus
Needles: addi TURBO US# 7 (4.5mm)
Size: 6-12 months
Notes: pom pom tail left off the back of the hat

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Swissy Sunday

All is quiet on the Swissy front lately. They are definitely enjoying the cooler weather that October has brought our way.

The have seemed almost oblivious to the excitement around them preparing for the new family member. I think that is because most of the activity to date has been upstairs where the nursery will be and neither of the dogs likes stairs. In fact, neither Sherman or Scarlett has been upstairs in our house.

I think they are in for a big surprise when the baby comes. I do think both of them will do well with the baby although we will have to watch them both if for nothing more than just because of their size.

Scarlett does still have a lot of playful puppy in her and we will have to make sure she is careful and never let with the baby unattended. Sherman will probably be afraid of the baby and stay out of the way. It will be a learning experience for all of us.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Handspun Friday - Norway

I started this yarn back in the summer during the Tour de Fleece but have just recently gotten around to getting everthing finished. It took me a while to figure out how I wanted to spin this fiber. The colors are so bold and different from each other. In the end I decided to try and keep the colors together by chain plying the single.

I started with two 4 ounce pieces of fiber and divided each piece into thin strips so drafting would be easy. I used the bulky flyer for my wheel and filled one giant bobbin with a continous single. I like having a single skein, but it does get tedious plying for that long without much of a break.

I'm thinking that I might knit soemthing for the little one next winter with this - Hopefully I have enough yardage for a small baby sweater.

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn

Fiber: dyed by Hello Yarn (Club Fiber)
Content: 100% Bule Faced Leceister (combed top)
Weight: 8 ounces
Yardage: 512 yards
WPI: 13 wraps per inch
Notes: chain-plied; handwash

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Widget's First Booties

Some call it the bump, bun, bean, fetus, the alien, peanut, or even gummy bear. The list goes on and on, and it seems like everyone comes up with a different name for their little expected one. Ours is simply Widget. My husband said the name one evening and it stuck. I'm just hoping we can break away from using the nickname and stick with his given name after his birth.

We have started a list of names we like, we haven't picked one yet. We are also inclined to wait until the actual arrival to decide on a final name. I've had a few mothers tell me that the first time they saw their baby that they just knew the perfect name and several have said it wasn't what they originally had picked. I'm a little skeptical of that - but what do I know I've never done this before. So, I'm willing to wait and see but I've got a list - I even have a favorite on the list.

The booties turned out cute but it was a bear getting the stripes to match up so I don't know if I'd do that again - a solid color might work better. My understanding is that nothing stays on the little one's feet. So these things probably have the life span of an afternoon. But they are so cute and it does feel good to knit some baby things even if they are small.

Project Info:

Pattern: Blue Steps - Baby Booties
by Regina Willer
on Ravelry
Yarn: small amount of leftover sock yarn
Needles: addi TURBO US# 1

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Handspun Friday - Step One (The Plan)

I've got a couple more skeins of handspun in the works, but they aren't read to post about yet. So I decided to post about a planned spinning project today. This fiber is Falklands wool in a color called Five Plum Pie from Hello Yarn. There is 2.5 pounds of fiber in the photo below divided into 4 ounce bags. The first 8 ounces was from a fiber club shipment. The rest I purchased when extra dyed fiber was made available to club members. I wanted enough for a sweater.

My ultimate goal is to get all this fiber spun up before the baby arrives. I'm hoping to be able to start knitting my first handspun sweater while I'm home on maternity leave. I'm planning on knitting the Panel Jacket by Carol Lapin (on Ravelry). I like the idea of a wool jacket - I think I'll get more use out if it than wool pullover. I rend to wear jackets and cardigans over t-shirts for easy layering and un-layering as needed.

I'll need about 1600 yards of worsted weight yarn to knit this project and that seems very possible with the amount I've fiber I've set aside. I'll need to get around 200 yards of yarn from each 4 ounce bag. That would mean I'd end up with just a little extra and could make my jacket longer if I'd like. Or more than likely, it will allow for a little wiggle room to accommodate for variation in the hand spinning.

My grand plan is to chronicle this spinning project on Fridays between postings of finished handspun. This would be my first sweater spinning project and I think I want to approach it with a little more planning than I use when I'm spinning a single skein or two. So, I thought sharing the entire spinning project instead of just a finished yarn would be a nice change.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Expectant Knitting

If you have been following this blog recently, you've probably noticed a sharp decrease in the my posting and crafting activity lately. I'm going to place the blame for that squarely on the fact that I'm pregnant. I'm very excited, thrilled, and elated. This has been something we've wanted for a long time, although we weren't sure would ever work out. We are expecting a little boy to join our family around January 9th.

I always imagined that I would knit up a storm for any baby I was expecting. there would be booties, hats, sweaters, toys, blankets, and any other knitted item you can think of in abundance. But when I first found out I was pregnant, I was hesitant to knit because the whole thing didn't seem real. Once I settled in with the idea a little bit and things began to look like they might work out, I had a hard time picking patterns and colors that seemed gender neutral. I couldn't decide on anything.

So I joined some blanket square swaps. The swaps are over and I've received all the squares I'm going to get, but the knitting isn't over. I need to fill in missing squares where people dropped or flaked out. Then I'll be ready to stitch them altogether and hopefully have finished blankets for the new arrival. but, I'm currently burnt out on that project so I've set it aside for a little while.

Once I completed my part of the swaps and knew I was having a little boy, I thought I'd be really ready to knit. But my newest obstacle is pregnancy induced carpal tunnel. That has just sucked all the joy and relaxation right out of knitting and spinning for the moment. I'm just starting my third trimester, so I do have a little time left before the impending arrival. Some days though, I'm only able to do a row or two before my hands bother me to much to continue. So the plan is to try smaller projects and just enjoy what I can do. I am told that this should clear up after delivery, so hopefully I can get back into the swing of things early next year.

My first little finished project is the baby socks in the picture above. I knit them from the top down using some leftover Paton's Stretch sock yarn. They are 2x2 rib over 40 stitches. I used a short row heel and toe in garter stitch so I didn't have to pick up the wraps. The socks are probably a little big for first thing home from the hospital, but I look forward to watching him grow into them.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Handspun Friday - Melancholy

I love the blues and purples in the fiber and the way they twisted together into a three ply. I actually started this spin back in the summer during the Tour de Fleece, but am just getting around to photographing and posting photos.

I don't have much to share about this particular spinning project. I stripped the top into thin strips and weighed out three equal piles of fiber. I spun each pile onto a separate bobbin and then plied the three together.

I really like the finished weight of this yarn, and the roundness of a three ply always makes me smile.

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn
Fiber: dyed by Funky Carolina (Club Fiber)
Content: 100% Super wash Merino (combed top)
Weight: 4 ounces
Yardage: 228 yards
WPI: 13 wraps per inch
Notes: 3-ply

Friday, September 11, 2009

Handspun Friday - Rebel

I started this project with two braids of fiber that were fairly equal in weight. So I spun a single out of each brad and plied the two together. The result is one large skein that is a little cumbersome to twist up into a nice shape, but I won't have multiple skeins to join for one knitting project.

The name of the fiber color was Rebel; it just doesn't seem to fit the yarn to me at all. The yarn looks more sweet than rebelous. The colors kinds of remind me of some of the colors you see in salt water taffy.

The blend was really nice to spin and the resulting yarn is very fluffy and soft. I was aiming for a worsted wieght and overshot my goal a little bit and ended up with something much closer to bulky in weight. But I am really happy with the final yarn.

The overall result is fairly even and I think it will knit up nicely.

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn

Fiber: dyed by Flawful Fibers and Yarns
Content: 80% Merino and 20% Tussah Silk combed top
Weight: 8 ounces
Yardage: 440 yards
Notes: 2-ply; bulky; handwash

Friday, August 07, 2009

Handspun Friday - Phantasm

This is the second time I've spun Wensleydale and it is definatley different from merino and the other soft wools I usually spin. The fibers are longer and the finished yarn is a little more fuzzy or hairy than softer wools.

The sheen and shine of the fiber is what always draws me to Wensleydale. It almost looks luminescent in person and that always makes me want to spin some up.

I think the fiber would be best served spun up as a soft single, but for some reason I just can't get that accomplished. Wensleydale always seems to want to draft out very thin when I'm spinning. So this time I decided to ply the two thin singles together. I think this will make a beuatifully colored shawl.

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn

Fiber: dyed by Hello Yarn
Content: Wensleydale combed wool top
Weight: 8 ounces
WPI: 20 wraps per inch
Yardage: 288 yards (1st skein) / 312 yards (2nd skein)
Notes: 2-ply; handwash

Friday, July 31, 2009

Handspun Friday - Adirondack

I really enjoyed spinning this fiber, watching the colors collect on the bobbin. Watching the singles twist together to make the yarn. I only wish I had more of this fiber. I have to say that the final yarn is probably my most favorite in a long time.

Spinning this fiber made me remember just how much I like hand dyed fiber with a good amount of white or undyed fiber left after the dying processs. I think that the white fiber helps balance out all the color during the spinning process and in the finished yarn; especially if the fiber has several different seemingly unrelated colors.

I'm thinking I'll use this to knit up a nice pair of thick winter house socks. But I think I'll just enjoy looking at the yarn for a while first.

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn

Fiber: dyed by FatCatKnits
Content: Superwash Merino combed wool top
Weight: 4 ounces
WPI: 12 wraps per inch
Yardage: 224 yards
Notes: 3-ply

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Traveling Scarf Has Returned Home

My first Traveling scarf project i s finally complete. The scarf returned home a couple weeks ago. It sat for a little while until I could get some time to get it finished up. I added a section to the end that matched the first I knit and bound off the scarf.

The fun came when I tried to block the scarf. The scarf was longer than almost any flat surface in our house other than the floor. The two big dogs we have really preclude using the floor for anything like blocking a knitting project because they are almost always covered with fur bunnies.

So I did what I could and laid out the camping mat I use for a blocking board onto the kitchen island and started pinning out my scarf. I ended up having to make a fold in the scarf and blocking the scarf that way - but you really can't tell when looking at the finished scarf.

I'm really happy with the overall results of the scarf. The only thing I asked the group to do when working on my scarf was to keep the width as close as possible on each section and to add 10 rows of moss stitch with a skein of yarn I sent along. the skein I sent along was a leftover from my first year in the Socks that Rock Club.

The scarf travelled with a small journal so everyone could write down their pattern, yarn, and any other information they were interested to include. The photo above shows each scarf after it made it's way to me and I added my section. I did have a lot of fun with this project and enjoyed seeing all the different scarves along the way. I'm looking forward to using the scarf this winter too!

Project Info:

Pattern: Various Patterns throughout the scarf
Yarn: 16 different sock yarns
Needles: Started and finished with addi TURBO US# 2 (3 mm)
Finished Size: 4.5" wide by 124.5" long
Project Start: December 3, 2008
Project End: July 25, 2008

Friday, July 24, 2009

Handspun Friday - Paris

This is the first time I've spun fiber from this vendor and the fiber spun up very well and the finished yarn is nice and soft. I loved how the colors looked in the roving but I do think that the colors got a little muddled in the finished yarn.

The odd thing is that the photos of the yarn look pretty accurate for color on my monitor and so do the colors in the photo of the roving below. The final yarn is very nice though. I look forward to knitting it up into something wonderful.

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn

Fiber: dyed by Spindlefrog
Content: Corriedale wool top
Weight: 4.6 ounces
WPI: 11 wraps per inch
Yardage: 226 yards
Notes: 2-ply; hand wash

Monday, July 20, 2009

Blanket Square Swap

I've joined another swap. This time the theme is blanket squares. The object was to knit 16 nine inches squares and mail most of them off to other swap participants. The squares were supposed to be knit or crocheted out of a machine washable yarn and be neutral in color.

I used Knit Picks Shine worsted to knit these squares. It was my first time using this yarn and it seems to knit up very nicely and is soft to the touch. Hopefully it will hold up well to general use and washing and too. I guess only time will tell.

I just used the same pattern I've been using for my sock yarn squares. I just used two colors in each square. The nice thing was that the number of round I needed to knit to get to nine inches was divisible by three so the color transitions were very easy to work. The biggest pain was weaving in all the ends. But that tedious task is finally finished. The squares just need to be mailed out now.

I'll end up getting as many squares as I send off back. So in the end, I'll have sixteen nine inch squares to put together a 36" x 36" blanket. I have no idea how I'll put together the squares I get. After I can take stock of all the neutral colors, I'll pick a color for joining the squares and putting a border around the whole thing. I do have a couple skeins of each of the colors of Shine I used, so maybe that will work.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Three Little Birds

One week later and the little birds are really starting to grow and take shape. Last week there were two little birds and two eggs. This week there are three little birds and one egg left. I don't know if the final egg will hatch, but these little birds seem to be thriving.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Handspun Friday -Sea of Green

I thought I'd share something nice and bright feeling today. This is a simple two ply yarn spun from Bluefaced Leicester top.

I got the fiber from a Hello Yarn shop update a while ago. It'd been marinating in the stash waiting for me to pick it out and spin it up.

So as part of my Tour de Fleece participation I'm trying to spin some of the great fibers I've been hiding.

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn

Fiber: dyed by Hello Yarn
Content: Bluefaced Leicester Wool Top
Weight: 4.2 ounces
WPI: 13 wraps per inch
Yardage: 226 yards
Notes: 2-ply; hand wash

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More Fiber Makes More Yarn

I don't have much knitting progress to show. But I have been spinning, so I thought I'd share that progress instead. I've been spinning every day since starting the Tour de Fleece this month. My approach to this type of marathon spinning is to fill up as many bobbins as I can and then ply all the bobbins at once.

The first set of bobbins that I worked up are finished. I spun, plied, washed, and thwacked. The yarn is in skeins and waiting to be photographed. I ended up with three skeins of yarn from that run through. The first of which I'll post on Friday.

The second set of bobbins is just out of the soaking stage. The skeins are hung up to dry so to speak. I meant to get a picture of all the full pretty bobbins, but forgot, so you get to see an out of focus photo of the finished yarn soaking in the laundry sink. There are four skeins of yarn in this second bunch, but two of the skeins are the same fiber.

When I started this marathon of daily spinning, I promised myself that everything would come from my stash. So far so good, but I must admit my stash has some nice choices available. I've also tasked myself to include a three ply yarn and at least one selection from a fiber club. I've started work on my third set of bobbins this week. I'm starting with a three ply yarn out of super wash merino.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday Surprise

I decided to spend this morning working outside. I've got some neglected plants that could use a little TLC. So I started with a couple hanging plants on the back porch. I pulled the first plant down to snip out the dead leaves and give it a good drink of water and look what I found!

There is a bird's nest in my plant. It looks like two eggs may have hatched and two eggs remain. The little hatchlings were moving about a bit, but don't look quite as developed as I imagined new hatchlings should look. Hopefully the little ones will be okay.

I'll continue to watch their development and hopefully the mother bird will be back soon!