Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Log Cabin Blanket

I finished this little blanket just shy of the two year mark. I started knitting this blanket in June 2007 and finally completed it last weekend. I am so glad to have it finished and out of the WIP pile. The blanket is finished and that is the best part - it is a little smaller than I had originally hoped, but there is now way I have the patience to order more yarn and add more knitting time to this project. The last few rows of garter stitch really started to drag on and on!

I don't think I can knit another log cabin blanket - or at least one the is made up of only one square. I might be able to complete one if I used smaller individual squares. but the one large square was what enabled me to get the swirl of the three colors. I think one of my mistakes was trying to knit a blanket on size US #6 needles; probably too small for a real blanket. I won't be knitting another blanket with needles that small again.

The finished blanket is 40 inches square. It is probably a little small for an adult to use for curling up on the couch. It is also a little on the heavy side and the garter stitch does make it kind of stretchy. But it is machine washable and the stitching is nice and tight.

I had thought about finishing the blanket with an applied i-cord border, like I did for my Lizard Ridge Afghan. but in the end I just finished with a regular bind off; the edge is actually kind of nice and simple that way.

I had a little yarn left over. I probably could have knit two additional bars, but I liked how I ended up with an exact square with a matching amount of bar on each side of the center square. Each bar is only two inches wide, so it wouldn't have added a whole lot to the finished size anyway.

Project Info

Pattern: How to Log Cabin from Mason Dixon Knitting
by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne
Yarn: Socks That Rock Heavyweight
100% super wash merino wool
each skein: 350 yards / 6.98 ounces
colors: Lemongrass, Thistle, Knitty Rocks / 2 skeins each
Needles: addi TURBO US# 6 (4 mm)
Finished Size: 40" square
Notes: Center square is 4x4 inches and each band is approximately 2 inches wide

Friday, May 15, 2009

Handspun Friday - Decay

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn

Fiber: dyed by Cloudlover
Content: 100% Merino
Weight: 4.5 ounces
WPI: 11 wraps per inch
Yardage: 314 yards
Notes: 2-ply; hand wash

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hidden Benefits of Spring Cleaning

I've been doing a little spring cleaning around Geddesburg and part of that task that involves cleaning out the closets and deciding what clothes stay, gets sent on to others, or have officially been worn out and hit full retirement age. But I have decided that there may be another category that I have yet to fully explore; recycling and re purposing.

I do some recycling now; old worn out t-shirts hit our rag basket and get used for general household cleaning until they are just too tattered to go any further. They do make nice soft dusting cloths. But this time I came away with two stacks of wool sweaters that might have other possibilities. I don't have any intention of unraveling any of these sweaters for the yarn itself, but I've been wondering about felting them down and using the felt for projects like bags, pillows, or even stuffed toys.

First up are the men's sweaters. I'm not sure how well these will felt. They are all wool except the bottom sweater, which is alpaca. Based on the fiber content, they should all felt. But the green sweater is really thick and the top two are color worked so they are thick in their own way too. I have a feeling that these sweaters will make their way to new homes or at least the local Salvation Army drop off point.

Now my sweaters might offer a little more promise. I think the striped sweater on top would make a fun project. A couple of them have very small holes that make them bad candidates for donation. I'm thinking that the striped one will be fun to felt and use to make a bag or hot pads. The sweater on the far right is pretty thick and I'm not sure that the color work will felt well, but I might just give this one a try. The white sweater is one of those with a small hole but it is 100% cashmere and it just seems wrong to throw it away or felt it.

I'd love to hear about any old sweaters you used or seen used in fun projects. I'm open to ideas. Let me know what you think should happen to this pile of old sweaters. Realistically though? These sweaters will most likely remain in the back of the closet until the next spring cleaning attempt.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Handspun Friday - Juniper

Today's offering is a two ply handspun merino tencel blend. This is the first time I've tried fiber from this vendor. I was browsing on Etsy and was drawn to the color. I had spun merino tencel blends before and I liked working with the fiber - so I decided to give it a try.

I really liked working with this fiber. It was dyed beautifully and it drafted very easily. I was able to spin up two fairly consistent singles and make a nice drapey two ply yarn.

I plan on knitting the Lace Ribbon Scarf with this skein.I think the drape and the weight of the yarn will complement the pattern nicely. I hope to have some time to cast on this weekend.

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn

Fiber: dyed by Cloudlover
Content: Merino/Tencel (50/50)
Weight: 5 ounces
WPI: 15 wraps per inch
Yardage: 450 yards
Notes: 2-ply; hand wash

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Carpool Knitting Season

I've started knitting on my ride home from work again. I kind of let it slide during the winter months. Mainly because it was dark going to and coming from work each day at that time of year. Now it is at least light during the trip home.

I think I need to find something else for this season though. I like the socks and they fit the bill for easy knitting when I confine myself to self striping yarn and a simple ribbed pattern. But they certainly aren't very interesting.

I like using the sock yarn because each skein gets me one square closer to having enough to put together my blanket. So I'll have to search for some simple projects that still use sock yarn. I'll have to come up with something soon though - I need a new car project.

Project Info

Pattern: 4x2 rib
Yarn: Regia desing LIne by Kaffe Fassett
75% wool, 25% polyamid
color - 4253; 2 skeins (50 grams/210 meters)
Needles: addi TURBO US# 1
Notes: Knit toe-up using a provisional cast on, short row heels, and a short row toes. Yarn is super wash.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Swissy Sunday - Sherman and Scarlett Return

I've had a couple requests for more frequent additions of Swissy Sunday, so I will try and accommodate Sherman and Scarlett's fans. As you can see, Scarlett is no longer a small petite puppy. She is grown to a full rambunctious adolescent. You can see that she is getting close to her full grown height and is now a contender in wrestling matches with Sherman.

She has been the more ornery of the two hands down. She has chewed up two pairs of prescription eye glasses and a fancy remote control to boot. I'm hoping we are approaching the end of these puppy behaviours. She does seem to be maturing - but it sometimes seem painfully slow. But she'll get there, and besides, she is mostly just to cute to stay mad.

Otherwise, both are doing well and are enjoying the last bits of spring. Soon it will be too hot for them to do much outside. When it gets hot outside it is sometimes a chore to get Sherman even to step off the porch. I was hoping to get to the dog park this weekend, but we had too many chores around the house.

So we settled for playtime in the yard. Sherman likes rolling in the grass.

Scarlett enjoys exploring by smelling and tasting everything she sees. I'll try and post photos more frequently now, but this is it for this week!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Handspun Friday

This spin is from a Black Bunny Fiber Club shipment. I loved the colors in the fiber and debated for quite a while on how to spin this up. In the end, I decided on a chain-plied yarn to keep the colors together as much as possible.

In order the keep the color repeats as long as possible, I did not spilt this roving in anyway. I simply starting drafting and spinning at one end and kept going until I reached the end. I spun one continuous single and then chain plied to finish.

The fiber was a little bit coarser than I normally spin. I would guess that the fiber was carded and not combed. Carded fiber is always a little more challenging for me to spin. I like to spin smooth worsted style yarns, but carded fiber makes that a little harder. But in the end, I'm happy with the results.

Geddesburg Handspun Yarn

Fiber: dyed by Black Bunny Fibers
Content: Cormo/Corriedale Cross
Weight: 5.8 ounces
WPI: 12 wraps per inch
Yardage: 236 yards
Notes: chain-plied; hand wash