Thursday, February 28, 2008

Finally... finished objects!

It's been a while since I've had a wearable finished object. Over the weekend and during the early part of the week I was feeling under the weather, so I actually finished a few:

Handspun sock yarn is a finished object, isn't it? I finally spun all of The Ranch "Fall" superwash merino into yarn. I'm really happy with the consistancy, and I think it'll knit into great socks.

Yardage: 718!

WPI: didn't measure, but thin. It's thinner than STR lightweight and koigu. It's closer in thickness to Trekking XXL or Wollmeise Sockenwolle.


First Handspun Project: resoleable house socks

Most of the yarn is from my second and third week of spinning, so it was a bit of a lumpy & bumpy adventure. The soles were knit first with a dk weight handspun toe-up, then I joined a sportweight handspun at the toe and knit up to the heel. They're great for cold Minnesota nights.

Last year I bought a skein of Jitterbug sock yarn in "Alizerine". I just loved this colorway, and coveted Miss T as she knit up her pair a few months ago. (Hers pooled in a much cooler way than mine.) They're terribly bright, and I absolutely love them.
They were knit toe-up with Judy's magic cast-on on two circulars, two at a time. I tried Charlene Schurch's reverse heel flap. It fits well, but I had to play with the gusset decrease to make it work. Recommendation: start the heel flap just before your arch starts to begin. It'll be much sooner than you think.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fervored Felting

Many thanks to friends, family, and online buddies for birthday well-wishes this week. The gorgeous fiber swag was unnecessary, the dinner with knitting friends was delicious and entertaining as always, and the fantastic chocolate & tea has been sampled a few times over!

There's one item that begs to be shared. I'll let Deepa's note tell the full story:

(you may need to click and embiggen)

They're warm, soft, fuzzy-- and will be cherished always.

Friday, February 15, 2008

"You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em"

On winners and losers

Let's start with the loser project.

Yes, this bit of knitted sunshine is a total loser.

The culprit? Check out the calf shaping. The too-tight calf shaping, that is.

The "Stansfield 304" stitch pattern from Charlene Schurch's More Sensational Socks is used here. It's in essence a 12-stitch chevron pattern, and really pulls the fabric in.

I've completely thrown in my hand. The sock has been frogged to the ribbing, and I'm thinking about starting over entirely. Such a dis-service to a gorgeous yarn. (Wollmeise in "sonne").

Do I try the next needle size up? I really like my arthritic gauge. Miss "you Undercounted Sassy" November accused me of this last week. Before you start saying, 'oh just add another stitch repeat', I'll add that these socks have 96 stitches before the shaping, and 84 afterward. No, I'm not going to share how many stitches there are per inch!!! Let's just say "lots".

Dense sock fabric is a good thing, I think! :)

The winner: Bohus

For the bohus enthusiast, AnnieSofie sells both Swedish Bohus Stickning books at her shop. That is, they're published in Swedish with just a touch of English thrown in here and there. Yes, even the out of print one is available! The site may not be in your native language, but AnnieSofie will respond to Emails in English. My copies arrived last week in perfect condition.Bohus is a hand I'll never turn in.

Now, it's true, I've loved knitting the colorwork soo much on the Wild Apple pullover that I've procrastinated. I'm just not ready to let the colorwork go! My kit had plenty of yoke yarn, so I've modified the design by adding about seven rows. I think I've just worked out the last few, and I'm looking forward to miles and miles of soft and fluffy green angora on the sleeves and body in the next week.
Before you wrap-up your daily knit blog fix, make sure to check out the new Yarnival over at Miss T's. You might recognize a few MN bloggers in the mix like MaryLou at Yarnerinas, Wound-Too-Tight Deb, and perhaps even this blog too!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

You spin me round and round

The sock yarn spinning obsession continues.
Last week I tried spinning superwash merino batts. Oi! This stuff is slippery as a wet eel, and I'm guessing it's not the best undertaking for new spinners. (just call me crazy.)

Onto spinning progress-- This week I've improved a great deal. The yarn is becoming more consistent. The thin and thick parts are evening out, the clumps dissapearing, and my singles are certainly less enthusiastic than a week before. (That is, it's not curling back on itself like 1500 piglets in a pen with their bums in the air.)

Oh, and I remembered to take a photo of the plied yarn with the original fiber! Well-- for one of these photos, anyway. Above is "Fall" by The Range at Lovely dye work, great price.

Crown Mountain Farms-- oh how I love thee.
I will now refer to you as "Crack Mountain Farms"

Remember the sock hop love? I never ordered any skeins, but I did pick up a few colors of roving. At $19 for 8.5 oz of superwash handyed merino roving, its a stellar price compared to similar kits from Blue Moon Fiber Arts (Sheep to Shoe is 8.5 oz for $30), or many Etsy sellers with averages at $15 for 4oz of superwash merino.

From 8 oz. I was able to spin approx. 378yds of tighly plied sportweight sock yarn. I just love the way it turned out.

First Handspun Project:
From last week's spinning I started a pair of resoleable house socks. They're pretty comfy-- and may never wear out.
(Thanks to my enthusiastic singles!)

Friday, February 1, 2008

all spinning, all the time.

News from the past week:
Amy hosted a fabulous knitting party over the weekend. Thanks again! The camera stayed at home, so check out pictures at Deb's blog - Wound Too Tight.
My dear friend Deepa-- previously seen here and talked about here-- has started a fabulous blog at least partially about knitting-- and a good deal more. She's a self-proclaimed "creative spirit, bibliophile, polyglot, knitter and mom. Not necessarily in that order." Go and check it out!
Even if you can't possibly add another blog to your watch list, you must- MUST view this Bollywood homage to Barak Obama linked at Deepa's blog.

Fiber Talk:
I've worked on a secret knitting project that you'll see in due time, and have continued to spin.
Toby and Paco were a little miffed at the lack of snuggling opportunities. They both started sleeping on the wee rug below and would snuggle up to my legs or the wheel. Cute, but annoying. The best course of action was to bring a dog bed next to me and the Ashland!

Perfect for one dog-- but a tight fit for two!

When I started spinning my goal was to be good enough to make my own sock yarn. Here's my first sock yarn singles on the bobbin, Funky Carolina merino superwash in Royal Robes. I've learned that I need to start taking pictures of fiber before spinning begins. Apologies.

After the first week of spinning , I was rather productive. From top to bottom

Brown Yarn: thick dk weight superwash sockyarn from Enchantedknoll at Etsy. I've used 1/2 of the fiber to knit sock bottoms. Next week I'll post a picture of progress.

Yellow: thick fingering weight superwash sockyarn from Funky Carolina. Loved the way it turned out after I plied the singles together. This yarn will become the sock tops & legs for the Entchanted Knoll yarn above. I've started knitting the top to one of the socks-- wow. It's a joy to knit your own sock yarn!!!

Pink: Worsted weight Corredale from Pigeonroof Studios. She's a dying genious. Love her work. This yarn was given to a friend at work who knits and often leaves gifts at my desk! I also pointed out this neckwarmer pattern to her. She has a maroon coat, and I think it's a perfect match.

Blue: Crazy, insane ART skein spun from everything but the kitchen sink. Merino, silk, denim, mohair, BFL, Angelica, Cotton, Alpaca, Angora.... everything. I have no idea what this yarn wants to become when it grows up.