11/30/08

Spinning Memories

The holiday and cold left me worn out. Not enough to keep me away from fondling fiber though!

Yesterday, I decided to reminisce on my few spinning ventures. Seems that I'd made some progress from the snarled hanks done when I first purchased the Wheel of Fortune. The best of it all was from my first spindle spun ever, in the autumnal colorway to the left and the more recent turquoise and brown hanks on the right spun on the wheel.







In the spirit of frugality, I've decided to knit up virtually everything that I've spun. Into anything. Anything at all. Coming up with just the right pattern would take me forever so I just grabbed some needles and cast on. With the snarled blue hanks, I am currently working on a mat of some sort. Perhaps it would be suitable for a small animal or maybe a footmat for a car in inclement weather. Since there is a bit of older brown coopworth spun, I've knit that in for striping.

The snarly green "english wool" hanks might make a nice felted bag. That's worth taking a few minutes to either find or create a pattern for. The other balls and hanks are too nice to rush and knit. I'll take a day or two to devise a plan. Maybe, just maybe, there'll be a garment in the making? Hoping.


On that little note pad holder, I would wind on miscellaneous bits of spun yarn from time to time. Even those bits are getting used. I saved a tiny ball of coopworth to make a felted bowl like in the One Skein book. I used a few strands of colorful handspun as an accent and to bind off. It reminds me of a bird's nest. Wish that I knew how to needle felt. I'd make a few robin's eggs to go with.











While on vacation for my birthday last year, I tried my hand at spindle spinning baby camel. Wasn't able to do very much. I just wound what I did around the little note pad.
Even though I had a mind to chuck it because it wasn't very much, I couldn't. It's soooo soft.

I got a pair of sized 3 needles and cast on eight stitches and just knit. Lightbulb. Made a yarn over. Ohhh. Now if there's enough, this'll become a bracelet! Yeah! I did some decreasing, tied the end into a knot and attached these cowrie shells to the end as an ornament. This might be nice with jeans and a t-shirt? If I were to do this again, and I may, I would begin with a little ruffle, then button hole. If the yarn were spun a bit thinner, perhaps a cable in the middle? We'll see.













11/25/08

Effort counts, right?

Between being sick with a cold and cleaning for Thanksgiving, I made a poor attempt at plying.





The cat was not impressed...

Yes, mistakes were made. I had the bobbins on the lazy kate in different directions. My slidy hook wouldn't stay where I put it. Getting the wheel to spin counter clock wise was miserable. I will never mock Fred Flintstone driving his car again!
All in all though, this, for me, is a good beginning again. It matters not that I've made craptastic yarn, It matters that I've spun at all. Viva bliss!

11/23/08

Evidence of Things Rarely Seen

I've spun!!!!











Two quirkily inconsistent bobbins of dark brown coopworth roving.

I'm going to let them marinate for a day or two to help set the twist before I attempt to ply.
Oh, joy! Yesterday and today are my new spinner's beginning. I've been on hiatus for quite some time. Fiber has been multiplying in my stash so I've got to make a dent in it before it rivals the yarn reserves. Even just a few minutes a day would be fantastic!

Previously, I'd worked with a bit of fiber that perhaps was in a batt? (Need to learn the terminology). The fibers weren't all in the same direction, made me miserable. In contrast, the coopworth is wonderful! As a beginner, I appreciate the length of the fiber more as I'm learning to spin. It gives me an opportunity to control what's going on much better than before. Only thing that creeps me out is that this fiber is not pretty and feels like hair. Seriously, it resembles something that was clipped off the undead.

11/10/08

Updates

Last week was nothing short of stellar. Amidst economic and political angst came movement motivated by hope.

Remember when at everyone's graduation for like a decade, speakers waxed poetic to inspire those in attendance to be 'agents of change'? Agent of change, change agent, it became cliche. Laughable.
On November 4, 2008, citizens voted to elect what we, with great anticipation, hope to be one of the best and brightest agents of change that this nation has seen in a very long time. Pioneering... Palpable... Change.

Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America.


It was like New Year's Eve and Fourth of July all rolled up into one where I live. Listen...

{Insert video clip of jubilant neighborhood that will not, after numerous attempts, upload to Blogger. Grrr.}


Rhinebeck 08

Another wonderful trip. The weather was nippy. (Sigh. I used to say, "It's a little Nipsey Russell outside." He will be missed.)

The perfect weather to have debuted my newly completed Sunrise Circle Jacket that was cast on ages ago:












It's knitted in Patons Classic Merino in Rich Red. I poured over local button selections and came up with these as the better choice.












Somehow they never made it on. I've been using a wooden cat pin that I've had for years instead.


Time.
Time flies when you're having fun at a sheep and wool festival. This is the loot that I managed to score as I made like a ninja between barns on the fairgrounds.

Two awesome Ghanaian african baskets, a wonderfully soft skein of American cashmere, some braids of bfl, a couple of sweet lace patterns, a turkish spindle, and a giant hank of Briar Rose yarn called Charity came home with me to Brooklyn. That's it...



I must be slipping.

Stitches East 08

Perhaps because my Rhinebeck purchases were comparatively light this year, I felt compelled to attend Stitches East this past Saturday. So glad that I went. The beauty of the fall colors on the way down to Baltimore was inspiring. I believe that they prepared my palate for the dessert feast of beautiful yarns and hand dyed delectables that were on display at the convention center.

Here's my 'make up shopping'

This is make up shopping, you ask? It looks like just a few skeins. Did she travel all the way to Baltimore for that?
Can't be. Is she hiding the rest?







Yup! Make up shopping = Big booty (the pirate kind, of course)


Odd bits were a lace blocking kit, stylish n' reasonably priced shawl pin and sized 2 -40" Addi circs.
In your mind's eye, add thirty-nine balls to that pile! I got enough yarn to make four sweaters.

The nine comes by way of Berroco's Jasper. When I saw the Sept. 08 Creative Knitting Magazine, I just had to make that vest! It's the first time that I ever wanted to make a project in the exact same yarn and colorway as printed. I've already cast on. Should be a quick knit.












Would it be too matchy, matchy if I wore it with this?










With the darker purple Di Ve Zenith yarn, I hope to make a lovely ribbed cardigan, like so:




Not sure which pattern, but the lavender Zenith may be a gift sweater for mom. What to choose, what to choose? The yarn is incredibly soft. WEBs had sold it as a bag sale. Just $37 for ten balls! Seriously, I could have emptied my bank account at that one stop. The selection was off the chain.




My next yarn to try from them will most likely be the Shepherd's 12 ply Lambs wool yarn. It reminded me of Frog Tree Merino, only heavy worsted/chunky-ish. Devine.
I'm taking the plunge into new techniques with the Noro Kureyon. I've been admiring this mitered jacket from Knit Simple Magazine for a while.


This may be a challenge. Wish me luck.










The sock yarn shown above may actually become socks. Shhh. Don't tell anyone that I'm assimilating. That lovely brown hank of yarn is from a vendor that BronxKnitter told me to look out for, Miss Babs. I've got to order some of her roving. Beautiful.
The other hank of sock yarn is from Yarn Love hand-dyers. The colorway that I chose seemed cheerily retro. It taunted, 'Marsha, Marsha, Marsha'. So very Brady. Those socks are destined to be paired with cords and clogs.
Two very talented hand dyers with such a wonderful eye for color. You must try them.

What I love about Stitches are the classes. In the midst of my sashay through the garden of yarn, I took time to add to my skillz. Joyce Wyatt taught a good one hour Market Session course in slip stitch knitting. Swatch is pictured there with my new stash. I almost laughed out loud in the middle of class when I realized that the scrap yarn that I brought matched my outfit. It's confirmed. I have a purple problem.

5/4/08

MDSW 08!

What is baby goat for welcome to the farm???
video


This year's trip to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival was wonderful!
We were really fortunate to have such great weather. Saturday's crowd was intense. Being from the city was a big help in keeping sane in such a situation. There were a couple of times though in the barns that I felt there was no way out of a vendor booth. Merchandise and shoppers were jammed up everywhere I turned!
Being around cuties like these certainly helped to lower my blood pressure in all the excitement.


They're what it's all about at the festival. Sheepy goodness.

Here's the obligatory new stash shot. Not much compared with previous trips. I am very thankful for the strength to resist going overboard. There was soooo much yarn to choose from. Even though this was my fifth trip to one of these types of events, I was seriously overwhelmed!

As a novice, I am being purposeful to try new fibers. This undyed cormo top from Stony Mountain Fibers made me particularly giddy. Looked for processed cormo last year at Rhinebeck but found nothing. The braid of Wensleydale in periwinkle and gray came from Flying Fibers. Last, but not least in fiberous entertainment, the intoxicatingly purple "Crazy Ball" of roving was from Spinner's Hill. (I cannot tell you how happy I am that my camera is finally showing purple so close to the actual color.)

This time around I didn't have any real mission in terms of things to buy except for the book Spinning for Softness and Speed and a heavier weight 3 inch spindle. This is my second Bosworth in a canarywood that resembles carmel fudge swirl. Yum!

That's all folks! Until next festival, the end .....

4/2/08

Finished Kepler

Finally, a finished project. Kepler was a challenge because I am new to cables. It was good practice. Other than that, a joy to knit. The yarn is Frog Tree Merino. It is oh so soft to knit AND to wear. I present to you, Kepler. Welcome to the wardrobe!



2/2/08

What had happened was...

So, the holidays are well over and New Years resolutions have come and gone.

I counted myself as one of the rank and file knitter elves, dutifully churning out gifts and resolving to clean up all the WIPs from years past. Knit I did, too. The WIP list was treated as public enemy number one. One after the other I tackled, or in one case frogged, the most urgent items (among 17).
Among them, I finally, finally finished Klaralund! After much grief, I am very pleased with the results.
The yarn used was Artyarns Ultramerino, color way 214 using Ernst glass sized 7 circs. Between my camera and dimly lit apartment, it's hard to see what the true colors are. This is photo is from an older post. See, the colors are much brighter!


There were a few modifications to the pattern. Sleeves were lengthened and fewer body garter ridges were knit. Most significantly, I felt as though the garter pattern that lay on the upper arm made me look like an armadillo. Instead, stockinette was knit up to the top of the shoulder.

Lessons learned? a) varigated yarn will give a whole different look to a striped pattern sweater, duh. b) do not be cheap. Always buy more yarn than the pattern calls for. c) if you make modifications, for the love of craft, mark your changes EVERYWHERE.

Really, it was an easy pattern. I just seem to specialize in rookie mistakes. :)

Now that was all the pleasant stuff, but what had happened was in all the knitting like a machine that I did over the holidays, I developed a pinched nerve in my shoulder. It's been a month and a couple of my fingers are still numb. Can you imagine an entire month of not being ABLE to knit?! Please, I beg of you to get up and stretch. Do arm circles or something to break up your knitting time. Pausing to read blogs doesn't count. Get up! Go for a walk. Your body will thank you for it.