Friday, January 29, 2010

Recycling a Sweater

Several months ago, I purchased a man's XXL sweater from a local thrift shop that I intended to unravel and recycle the yarn into a new project. Little did I realize how much work goes into unravelling a man's XXL sweater. There's definitely more than enough to knit myself a sweater and then some.

After taking apart the knit seams, I managed to unravel the front panel of the sweater and to get it wound up into a cake. I started unravelling one of the sleeves, but, did I mention the amount of work to unravel a sweater?

It's not that unravelling a sweater is difficult, although sometimes finding the beginning in order to unravel is frustrating, but unravelling just takes so much time! Plus, this sweater was knitted double-straned using a sport/DK weight yarn. So, I have to make sure that I unravel it evenly. Unravelling & winding onto a niddy noddy at the same time to help get rid of those kinks is TIME CONSUMING!

Here's the yarn on the niddy-noddy double-stranded

So, I put the the unfinished bits aside. However, it was taking up room, and I really wanted to try making myself a top-down raglan sweater, but I didn't want to buy some really nice yarn just to flub it horribly. So, I started knitting using the recyled yarn I had already wound up.

Wow, this yarn is just absolutely lovely to work with. It's a soft wool/mohair/nylon blend. It's a dark chocolate tweedy/heathery brown. I've almost worked my way through the first cake. Now I'm working to unravel the other unfinished bits so that I can continue knitting.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sorry I haven't posted for a bit. Life(TM) got in the way. But, I just found out that Jared Flood (aka Brooklyn Tweed) is going to be teaching several classes at a local LYS.

I'd love to take a class with him as I think he's a brilliant designer, but none of the classes really appeal to me. The only things that remotely tempt me are the Shetland Colorwork & the Seamless Sweater class, but not *enough* to plunk down the cash for the class.

I'm really more interested taking the Golden Gate Fiber Institute Summer Intensive with Judy MacQuin, Abby Franquemont, and Cat Bordhi! Maybe I should save my pennies for that, as it is somewhat pricey.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Craft Room....

I was perusing CRAFT emagazine, and they were showcasing people's craft rooms & organizations. And, I thought, "Wow, my craft room (i.e. dining room) looks nothing like those being shown."

Essentially, these craft rooms, looked extremely functional, wonderfully organized, AND *amazingly* tidy & clean. In short, the Martha Stewart / Sunset Homes & Gardens magazine-ready craft rooms.

Oh, sure, I have most of everything organized. You need to be able to find buttons, closures, fiber, yarn, beads, thread, etc, quickly without rooting through everything. I *love* plastic storage bins of all sorts. All my craft books are (more or less) organized according to topic (historical, sewing techniques, fiber).

However, my craft room doesn't look very *crafty*. There aren't any interesting personally hand-crafted items hanging from the walls or decorating the tables. There are no cutesy items or hand-crafted lamp shades, gaily painted pencil holders, or fabric banners on the walls to attach little notes. Nope, my craft room is pretty much bare bones on the "craft-yness" scale -- unless you count the permanently (more or less) very used cutting board that adorns my dining room table as well as the serger that sits at one end...or the neatly piled fabric on the other end. Or the occasional cat that decides to lay on the table. I just don't have the time to do *that* much "craft".

And, my craft room will probably never look that neat or that tidy ... except *maybe* just after I do a massive cleanup in order to start a really big project that requires more table-space than is currently available. Or maybe just before the photographer shows up to showcase my craft room (and after about a week's worth of work....!) LOL

Coz seriously? My craft room looks more like a production room than a craft room of any sort with the pre-requisite organized mess. :-)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fiber Photos!

The 2-ply Black BFL I spun up (my first attempt on the Kiwi)
2-ply BFL

The 2-ply BFL after dye'ing. I love the color...
2-Ply BFL

And, the Mixed BFL top/roving I got from Village Spinning & Weaving in Solvang, CA. Isn't it beautiful? It's going to dye up quite nicely after it's been spun. The wool will take the colors differently, and I hope it comes out a beautiful heathered color.
Mixed BFL

Friday, January 8, 2010

Training for Ravelympics 2010

So, I joined Team Sasquatch for the Ravelympics 2010, just because I listen to multiple podcasts and this seemed the simplest way. I'm also on the Spindlers Team so I'll be doing two *small* projects.

For Team Spindlers: I'm basically doing what I have been doing, and working on new wool types.

For Team Sasquatch: I'll be doing a small color work project in the form of a bag using the Medieval Cat chart (ravelry link)

Here's my game plan:
1) Work in the round and do a two-sided bag.
2) It will be in 3 colors, but only two colors are worked at any given time.
3) Knitting in the round:

a) I'm going to cast on circular cast on and increase until I get to the needed # of stitches:
(78 stitches for pattern x 2) + 4 extra stitches on either side = 160 stitches

b) work pattern chart

c) finish with drawstring

d) add one tassel at the bottom.

4) Line the bag with denim or somesuch so that it doesn't stretch out.

5) Strap -- not sure what to do here yet.

In terms of colors:
I like SinisterSpinster's project with the jeweltones
but another did her cats in black which I find very appealing.

In terms of yarn:
- definitely wool & worseted, and probably Cascade 220 wool, methinks.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Shrunk Socks

A bit ago, I had made myself some very short ankle socks using Mirasol Yarn Chirapa yarn in a lovely blue-berry ish color.

Blueberry River socks

Unfortunately, DH decided to throw them into a wash of hot water...which promptly felted & shrunk them down to about a size "2" sock (I wear US Women's Size 7)

As we were going to family for the holidays, I thought maybe it would fit my niece (about 7) or one of the nephew (4-6). And, it fit my niece perfectly...the cuff had shrunk so it was a bit tight, but she LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the socks.

She loved the socks so much that she never took them off in the time we were there (except to take a bath) AND she managed to wear a whole through *both* heels during our visit (playing outside, inside, wearing them around the house, in her shoes, etc). I thought I could mend them, but she had continued to wear them even before I noticed the hole and almost the whole heel was gone. She was devastated when her mother told her she shouldn't wear them anymore and made her take them off.

I promised to make her a new pair of socks just for her. I was tickled pink at how much she *loved* these socks that I had made (and that she knew I had made)

Now, these socks weren't "old". I had made them back in July 2009, and barring the last washing (which felted and shrunk them), I had taken good care of them. I hadn't expected a very active 7-year-old girl to wear through the heels that quickly.

The yarn was definitely lovely to work with, but not good for something 'hard' wearing. I am going to watch my other pair of socks made from another colorway of the same yarn to see how long *they* last.

And, from now on, I'll probably be adding reinforced heels to all of my socks.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Brief Update

Surprisingly enough, with extra time on my hands after the holidays, I haven't had time to knit (except sparingly!) I knew I got a lot of train knitting done, but now that I'm on vacation (and at home) there hasn't been much time because it's been filled with other activities.

I'm still plugging away on DH's new socks, which should have been finished a bit ago, but now I find myself dragging without being able to knit on the train.

Hopefully, this changes, soon-ish.