September 13, 2010

Rainy Days

Because it rained all day on Sunday, I was forced to stay inside and knit (and spin).  I recently purchased a fiber 'flower' from Spinning Awesome Good, BFL/Tussah in Moonlight Shimmy, 3.9 ounces:

Which turned into this squishy,soft and lovely yarn which is Navajo plied:

Other than it's obvious beauty, I don't have all the particulars because it just came off the spool today, but I bet it's going to be just great as a little colorwork for a baby sweater or hat.  I can't wait to use it.

Saturday was a busy day for me since I had a bout of start-itis.  I cast on for socks from Stephanie van der Linden's book (which I have in German, but it recently came out in English).  The book is called Around the World in Knitted Socks.  I love every pair of socks in the book, but if it wasn't for Monika, these socks would not be possible.  Thanks Monika!  These socks are called Kilim:

They might look complicated, but they're not.  I'm using Knit Picks Bare in fingering weight and Regia Design Line Kaffe Fassett in Landscape Fire.  Lovely socks and perfect for me and my cankles, but these socks were originally intended as a gift for someone with skinny ankles.  Unfortunately for her, she won't be getting these socks ... fortunately for me, I will!

Most of the sock patterns in the book will have you casting on 70-80 stitches for a sock.  Even using the smallest needles, the socks don't get smaller, just tighter.  That said, this book isn't for everyone especially those of you with skinny ankles - unless you're really, really good at math.

Lastly, I cast on shawl #10 yesterday and I'm already at the halfway mark.  The shawl is called Spring Thaw and what I love about the pattern is the finished edge which you can see here, but only if you're on Ravelry.  Here's a peek:


This shawl is absolutely going into the dye pot!  The yarn is Misti Alpaca Lace in cream, but it looks old and tired and I think a dye job will make this shawl more attractive.  I'll let you know how that goes.

September 09, 2010

Mail Day

Every day is mail day, but usually it's bills and junk mail and occasionally mail for my neighbor.  I think the mailman has the same problem with numbers that I do.  In spite of that, today was mail bonus day.   All of the mail was good news and most of it was from Greenwood Fiberworks.

There was this 4 ounce braid of BFL in Rosewood:

And this 4 ounce braid of BFL in Persimmon:

And yet another 4 ounce braid of BFL in Huckleberry Truffle:

And Spin Dye Stitch came today too!

And if I thought newness only came in boxes and bags in the mail, I'd be mistaken because this lovely over spun beauty came off my own wheel:

I don't have any stats on it yet, but the color changes are wonderful.  It's merino/tussah from Cloverleaf Farm.  I'll work it all out on my next post where I hope to display some more of my own handspun.  I'm on a roll!

Now all I have to do is cast on shawl #10, the last one, which has to be done by December.  I've got plenty of time, but if I keep telling myself that I'll run out of time.  I wouldn't want that to happen this close to the end.

Gotta go - Miss Kitty is trying to make a meal out of my fiber!

September 08, 2010

Happy Dance!

I've got three reasons for doing the happy dance.

The mini spinning challenge wasn't a complete bust because I got this:

Two skeins of Louet's wool in Deep Jungle.  Both are 2 ply, 17 wpi, and the yardage on skein #1 is 193 yards and skein #2 yielded 196 yards.  Who knew it could be so good?  I see a "fake isle" hat and mittens in my future.  Woo hoo!

Then today's mail produced this:

My first flower from Spinning Awesome Good (thanks Shelby!).  It's 3.9 ounces of BFL/Tussah in Moonlight Shimmy.  OMG!  If only you could feel the softness!  I'm going to work on this carefully and with thought so I don't screw it up, but I can see clearly that it can't turn out bad because it looks and feels so good!

And my third reason for happy dancing is:  SCHOOL'S IN!  I'm a working mom and nothing says love like curfew, dinner and bedtime on time!! Yay!  My son is 17 years old and the last vestige of control I can exert over him is "You have school tomorrow" followed by some non-specific ridiculous set of instructions that HAS to follow.  Can you see my smile so wide it almost cuts my head in half?  I've been doing the happy dance since school shopping on Saturday.  I'd really bust a move, but I'm afraid I'll bust my hip if I do.

It's a little sad that's he grew up (without my permission, mind you), and when he graduates from high school what will be my new mommy job?  Clearly I have come up with other means of control.  Tell me how this sounds, "Don't think this dictatorship has suddenly become a democracy because you graduated.  This is still my house and as long as you live IN my  house  blah blah blah."  How's that?

For now, I'm still happy dancing.

September 06, 2010

Not Even Close

Well ... I tried.  I worked as hard as I could and even threw in a few excuses, but no cigar.  I didn't even knit all weekend because I was trying to spin 16 ounces of fiber.  I got maybe 12 ounces almost done.

This is what got done: Louet wool in Deep Jungle.

And that wasn't all of the yarn, I still have a small bit that needs to be plied.

This is what's halfway plied on the wheel: Marino/tussah from Cloverleaf Farms.


 And this is what I had to ply from the Tour de Fleece contest because I needed a spool: 100% bamboo from Xtreme Knitting, an Etsy store that has since closed up shop.

So there you have it.  I fell short of the mark, but I had a great time and I even freed up a spool or two.

Sojourn Knitter, thanks for the inspiration to spin.  I had a great time and I managed to make a small dent in my fiber cabinet.  We should try this again in about six months - after my shin splints and cramped hands have had a  chance to recover.

Oh No!

When I opened my big mouth and said I'd spin 16 ounces of fiber in a weekend, I never imagined that I wouldn't have time to do it.  Did I think the house would magically clean itself?  Or that I could do all of my back to school shopping in an hour?  Oy!  (I must confess that I break into a happy dance every time I think about my son going back to school, though.  I chuckle to myself so he doesn't see, but the happy dancing has cut into my spinning time in a serious way.)

I finished spinning up the Louet in Deep Jungle:

This yarn is obviously not going to be a 3-ply since my bobbins are so uneven, so I see three skeins of Navajo ply yarn.  How long does that take?

So, last night at 8p, I sat down to spin and I spun like the house was on fire.  With a little help from Miss Kitty:

I only got this far:

How much is that so far?

Break out the tissues because I'm not going to make it to 16 ounces.  I have laundry and a few other unpleasant chores to do before I can sit down to my wheel with any peace of mind.

Hope springs eternal, though, so I'm going to hop to doing what needs to be done and we'll see where I end up by 11p tonight.  Sixteen hours from fiber to yarn in 3 days is impossible!

I gotta go find a free bobbin.

September 04, 2010

Bad At Math?

If you've ever read my blog, then you know about my relationship with math.  I can sure enough count to 10 without a problem, but I can't count to 10 five times in a row without losing count.  My mouth says 28, 29, 30, and my brain says 52, 64, 29 ... it's most pathetic.

All of this is to say that I know I'm bad at math, make no mistake, so when I took up the challenge to spin 8 ounces of fiber, I knew I could easily fill two 4 ounce spools.  I had a bag of fiber that was labeled as 1/2 pound, which is 8 ounces.  Right?

I presume that my spools hold 4 ounces each and you can see that they're really packed, so reasonably two spools would have seen me to the bottom of this huge bag of fiber.  Well I filled up the two spools:

And to my surprise, there's this much fiber left over:

I believe that I am the only person on the planet whose fiber and yarn multiplies while I'm using it.  That's a whole 'nother spool!  Am I really that bad at math?  Three spools and then I'm done, right?  No, actually.  My larger than life mouth committed me to spinning 16 ounces of fiber.  Oy!

Well, I couldn't keep mindlessly spinning, so I took a break and finished shawl #9, Calais.  It's blocking right now.

Not too shabby for a day's work, eh?  I like the shawl, but I wasn't overly thrilled with the yarn I used, Jojoland 100% wool, which is stretchy and a little rough.  Not too rough to be against skin, but not nearly as soft as, say, cashmere.  One more shawl to go before I've completed my commitment for 10 shawls.  Yay!

Seems like the more yarn I use, the more I have left over.  I had two skeins of this yarn at 220 yards each (440 yards).  The pattern called for 382 yards and I still have half a skein of yarn left over.  Why doesn't my yarn ever get used up?

So, I guess I'll get back to my wheel and ply up some yarn so I can free up a spool so I can spin up some yarn so I can keep my ill chosen commitment to spin up 16 ounces.  What was I thinking?

September 03, 2010

Sojourn Knitter has gathered a bunch of lovely fiber and I applaud her choices, but while she was whiddling down her choices, I was on the fly:

Mind you, the only prize is free space in the fiber cabinet.  This fiber is Louet's wool top in Deep Jungle, 8 ounces of lovliness.  Four ounces down, four to go and lots of fiber drafting left to do.  Oh boy.

Me and my big mouth!

Not that I'm competitive ...

My friend Sojourn Knitter and thrown down the gauntlet and challenged us to a spinning duel and I, daringly, have taken her up on the challenge.  I am going to spin 16 ounces of fiber by Monday (yeah, right!).  So in between the laundry, floor mopping, dishes, cooking meals and sweating it out in this humidity, I'm going to spin yarn.

Presently, I have no free spools so I'm going to have to do some plying tonight to get one.  If anyone nearby sees smoke coming out of my windows, it's my wheel going at top speed, so please don't call the fire department!

Here's my entry:

I may have bitten off more than I can chew, but I don't care if I have to spin all night.  I'm going to get this fiber spun up so I have room for the new stach I'm going to score at Rhinebeck!

If anyone else out there has a wheel or spindle and some fiber they need to spin up to make room for new fiber, please join us so that the if (when) I don't make my challenge I won't have to blog with pictures of me crying!