March 21, 2014

A Little Gets You Lots

If I knit or spin a little every day, then it's a no-brainer that something is going to get done eventually.  As it turns out, everything I was working on got finished in the past two days.  Woo hoo!

I had some teal cashmere yarn laying around in the leftover bin, and the Wandering Wool left over from the Stitch Surfer socks and with those I made these:

They're drying now, and it's kind of hard to see the design because the yarns used are low contrast, but they're cute - and they're done.  And when they dry I'm going to wear them right away.  The cashmere is soft and the Wandering Wool is the second best sock yarn I've used this year.

The cashmere was in such bad shape that I couldn't continue the pattern down the foot or the socks wouldn't last a week.  It ultimately ended up in the garbage.  Ute Socks by Nancy Bush from Favorite Socks (Interweave Knits), US #1 needle.

The second thing drying is the Haberdashery Cowl, another Interweave knits pattern (Fall 2013):

The white is Lion Brand, the blue/green is my hand spun (and I still have some left over).  It was so easy to make and for me, using a US #6 needle is like knitting with broomsticks.  It went fast and I would have made it longer except that I started to get bored.  It's going to look great around my neck - and I'm thinking maybe I'll use one green and one blue button - keeping with the theme, so to speak.

I finished spinning/plying/washing some yarn too:  below is some punta:

And here's some polwarth:

And here's a Loop batt I spun last year (it's the first one on the left):

Maybe I'll make a Zuzu's Petals cowl with the Loop batt, hopefully there will be enough yardage to both finish and use all the colors.

That's how I spent my day today, washing wool.  My living room smells like sheep and it's making me want to spin more, but you know what happens when the sun goes down.  My living room gets chilly and my bedroom is warm and cozy - and I think there's jelly beans up there.

Now I'm headed off to find the next thing I want to make with yarn I already have.  You would think that would be an easy feat, but stash diving always leaves a big mess in it's wake.

March 17, 2014

Casting On

There I was, happily spinning in my warm living room - and then the sun went down and it got cold.  Spinning always ends when my nose gets cold.  I think it's just me because my son says it's warm in here.  Must be his youth that keeps him warm.

What I'm spinning is Crown Mountain BFL in the American Spirit colorway.  I'm almost done, but I must admit, the fiber came in pencil roving form and I should have broken the fiber in half to make a two ply yarn.  Since I didn't, I guess it's going to get chain plied.  

After the spinning session ended, I attempted to knit something.  Everything I cast on was a massive fail.  The yarn was disagreeable with the pattern, the pattern was disagreeable with me, the mojo was full on for something, but there was no desire to shop in my stash.  

A few days ago, I ended up doing a 'what's on top' stash dive and found some cashmere I purchased from Sarah's Yarns years ago, and I used the leftover Wandering Wool yarn from my Stitch Surfer socks, and came up with the Ute Socks by Nancy Bush in the Favorite Socks book:

The cashmere is so old that it breaks easily, so I only used it for the leg of the sock, the foot of the sock will be in the tougher Wandering Wool yarn.  I should have made the cuff longer, but the socks are for me (not suitable for gifting) and I alone am aware of the care they'll need to have any life at all.

While I love making socks, a peek inside my leftovers bag revealed almost an entire skein of some Frabjous Fibers that I used to make my son some socks.  Why is my hand spun sitting in that bag at all?  So I matched it up with some white Lion Brand merino and cast on the Haberdashery Cowl from Interweave Knits Fall 2013:

Believe it or not, I cast it on this morning and I would have finished it tonight if I didn't have to do stuff like laundry.  It's a fast knit, it's pretty and while it won't be finished by morning in time to go out for my coffee, it will be finished if I have errands to run tomorrow afternoon - in the freezing cold.

Lastly, Little Miss Kitty is not happy with me today.  She is upset that she wasn't able to get any lap time because of my knitting.  Her revenge came in the form of refusing to make eye contact with me:

Mind you, she wouldn't look at me or crawl on me today, but she also won't leave my side either.  Right now she's snoring next to me on my bed.  Pobresita!  There's room in my heart to love Miss Kitty and my knitting, but today there was only room for one on my lap, and the knitting won.

The stash down is still on - I haven't purchased any yarn since Vogue Knitting Live, but I've been sorely tempted by all of the sales on sock yarn.  For the record, it's killing me!

March 13, 2014

Knitting Done, Spinning Begun

It started with two skeins of Wandering Wool, one skein solid, one skein (ball) a gradient, and ended up with these Stitch Surfer socks (Knitty, Deep Fall 2012):

Not very impressive.  That is, until you turn those same socks to side B:

Obviously the serious part of these socks will be in my shoe, but the party will be on top!  Oh. My. Word.

The gradient yarn has very, very long repeats so I only used two of the four colors.  What I should have done (and didn't do), is use the inside and the outside of the skein at the same time.  That would have made the socks more similar.

Ultimately, I don't care that they don't match in color.  Heck, I've been known to walk out of the house with two hand knit socks that only matched because they were both hand made.  I think it's only fair to flash as many of my knits as I possibly can, if for no other reason than to make the people who see them ask about them. Then I can induct them into the world of knitting.  I call that a win/win.

After the socks were done, I realize that I needed a wee break from knitting, so I started spinning.  There's just something appealing about spinning in my living room when it's warm and the sun is shining through the vertical blinds (as much as that's possible).

I have two bobbins waiting to be wound off onto a niddy noddy, and some fiber from Crown Mountain Farms (now out of business, but you can read all about it here) on the wheel:

Can I, just for a moment, sing the praises of the WooLee Winder?  It winds the yarn on the bobbin into a perfect form so that all I have to do is watch my hands while I draft.  I have five bobbins and the plan is to fill them all, wind them, wash them and get some great yarn.  That's the plan, while I wait for my knitting mojo to come on back.

I have fiber in my one cabinet, but I ran out of space so every time I open the door, fiber falls out.  The Crown Mountain fiber fell out and that's why it's being spun up.  However, the next time I went to the cabinet, three braids fell out!  What the heck is going on?

I have fiber in the cabinet, fiber in boxes that have been opened, fiber in boxes that have never been opened, and some fiber that's been screaming 'pick me' for years.

I have got to make a dent.  Or buy a bigger fiber cabinet.  There's a thought, another piece of furniture to hide my hoarding.

So it's a toss up between two fibers as to what to spin next:

Some fiber from Creatively Dyed that I purchased from The Loopy Ewe:

Or this fiber from Sunset Fibers:

I also have mountains of undyed fiber.  I'd like to make the Tweed Baby Blanket for a baby gift and it's OK if the center is white.  I have a five pound bag of merino in the fiber cabinet.  Yikes!  I don't remember buying it but I must have.

For now, I'm going to go back to my pattern search for my next big thing.  I still have to make 8 pairs of socks, and I want to make two sweaters and one hat before the year ends so there's no shortage of things to make, just a lack of desire.

At least for the moment.

March 07, 2014

Knitting Strikes Back

I'm sure you know what it's like to have knitting backfire.  Everything is going along just fine and then poof it all goes to heck in a hand basket.

The Stitch Surfer sock is a fairly straight forward pattern, especially if I trust the pattern as written and disregard what my eyes are seeing.

My first attempt with Wondering Wool ended up with socks that were two colors of gray and not what I want in a pair of socks (although considering attempt #2 they might start to look better to me):

So I tried another pairing, but that all went wrong too.

Strike 1: I made a silly mistake and tried to fix it.
Strike 2: After knitting 'backwards' for many rows, I couldn't find my mistake.
Strike 3: There won't be enough yarn to make the second sock. Dang!

So, for now the Stitch Surfer in in time out.

Now with the socks on hold for the time being, I resorted to another crafty 'sport' that rarely, if ever, hurts my feelings.  Spinning.

Thanks to She Spins I have some lovely punta to spin.  One bobbin all spun up, one more to go.

The colors are so pretty and spinning it gave me so much peace of mind, and I didn't lose my place when the mailman showed up, or when the phone rang, and I even cooked dinner.

I had time to admire my new acquisitions from The Silver Shed:

And a sample pack from Greenwood Fiberworks:

Now I'll have a moment to think, consider my options carefully, and move forward,  Until then, I will spin until I figure it out.