Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Slogging through 2nd Sock

Normally, I knit two socks at the same time on two circular needles. I find that my socks match pretty much perfectly when I do that.

However, this time around, I was trying out a new slip-stitch ribbing pattern that I'd never done before, and I thought it best to just do one sock at a time, in case I mess up. Ripping back one sock is much easier than ripping two socks back.

And, now that I'm done with the first sock, I'm really slowing down on the second sock. And somewhere along the line, I messed up my round count, so I think one sock might be a smidge longer than the 1st sock.

I think I shall have to go back to doing 2-socks at the same time.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tour de Fleece: Picked Project

I think I've finally decided on my Tour de Fleece project. For this year (my 1st year), I'll be doing core plying/spinning.

So, to that end, I've spun up 3.5 bobbins worth of singles.
I have some rather bland wool weaving yarn that I'll be using for the core.

I have a backup project if that doesn't work out as I hope it might -- try actually doing core spinning using some colored merino wools that I have in the Stash.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Knitted Matches?

It was a little chilly this morning, so I grabbed a knitted kerchief and fingerless gloves as I ran out the door in a rush. I had decided to wear my hand-knitted pull over today as well.

Hand-knitted items always match, right? And primary colors always match together, yes? I mean, red, blue, and green match, yes? (I caught a glimpse of myself at the glass doors at work....oofda...)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Top Down No Gauge Stocking Cap

Several days ago, I finally finished up my stocking cap using my handspun. I wasn't exactly sure how much yardage I was going to end up using, and while looking at the ever shrinking ball of yarn, so I decreased the number of rows between increases until I got my finished hat size.

Stocking Cap

I ended with a foot of yarn left over, which promptly went to make a tassle for it. The tassle looked very wimpy, so I got some purple commercial yarn, and made another tassle for it.

Top Down No Gauge Stocking Cap
Lengthwise: 33 inches (not including tassles)
Circumference: 21 inches

I still need to write up my notes for this pattern.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Famous Dead Fish

Well, that was unexpected.

I was catching up on some of the blogs I read, and saw my Dead Fish Hat on the Craftzine Weekly Round-up. LOL I was wondering why I had gotten a bunch of comments on it, via my Flickr account!

I'll have to tell my nephew that his hat is famous now. LOL

Dead Fish Hat 2

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fiber Exploration

Yesterday, I started spinning this particular fiber.

CVM, Wool. Silk

I took about an ounce to play with to see what it wanted to do. First, I tried to spin it as a low-spun single, like the last one, but it wasn't too happy with that.

Then I tried to see if I couldn't core spin it, but while I liked the look of it, the silk content (nearly 50%) wasn't cooperating. Plus, I think I had the wrong type of crochet thread to use as the core.

Finally, I changed out the ratios to 14:1, and FINALLY, the silk & alpaca were happy with it being spun super/frog-hair thin. And, it looks pretty darn good.

And, I've found that while I like silk, I'm not particularly fond of spinning something that contains 50% or more silk. Nor would I use something that's frog-hair thin -- even plied, this is going to be light laceweight. I'm just more of a fingering / sport / DK weight type of girl.

However, I will finish this particular 5 oz of fiber, and then go back to my beloved wool. I have some cormo sitting and calling my name.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Core spinning?

I was perusing through Ravelry recently, and I came upon some core spun yarn like this one:

And, I am thinking that I am liking it. I think I might try this very very soon....if only as a learning experience.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

3rd Glove curse

Apparently, I have been saddled with a curse -- 3rd glove syndrome -- whereby, I will *lose* one glove, and be forced to make another. This has hit me twice over now.

First, it was one of my Dashing Handwarmers that I lost on a train; I think it fell out of my pocket.

Dashing Handwarmers

Luckily, I had more of the same yarn to make another.

Then, most recently, it was my Hand Thing-a-ma-bobs. A dear friend had given me a *single* skein of hand dyed merino worsted yarn from Spincycle (120 yards) as a gift.


It took me 113 yards to make the last pair (which was a gift). So, I knew I had more than enough to make a set for myself.

I had finished the 1st glove and had started the second. I knew that I should have left it at home because I was afraid I was going to lose it. However, I didn't listen to myself, and brought it to show a friend.

And, guess, what? 20 minutes later, it was no longer in my bag. I double checked to where I was earlier, checked lost & found, filed a report WITH lost & found, but I never got it back.

I *thought* I might have enough yardage to finish it, IF I made it a little bit shorter --- having it come to my knuckles versus the 1st joints on the fingers.

I managed to eek out just enough yardage. I had 5 INCHES left. Talk about heart pounding....

Hand Thingees

Lovely, aren't they? And, oh, so warm. I have made definite use of them.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

FO: Travelling Mojo

During a recent trip, I managed to finish the last four charted rows of my shawlette, the Travelling Woman pattern (Ravelry link) using some KnitPicks Essential Kettle Dyed.

I also managed to get it blocked that day because the day was extremely warm, and only a hour outside saw it completely dry.

Travelling Mojo (1)
(The correct shade of red.)

It's thin, but warm, and is serving perfectly at work when the AC kicks into high gear.

Travelling Mojo (2)
(The incorrect shade of red due to lighting.)

AND, as it happens, it's the same *exact* shade of red as my REI fleece jacket and my fingerless mitts. I am nothing but consistent (or predictable....)

Overall, it was a relatively simple pattern to follow, and I *might* make more out of yarn from the stash. It only took 1.35 skeins (at about 311 yards), so it'd be good for left over yardage or low yardage from handspun.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Knitting Handspun

Despite being in a spinning mode as of late, I have been knitting a little bit. Normally, I am a process spinner and don't really spin for projects. AND, I usually finish all of my roving/top/batt first, before I start knitting with it. However, before we went on a 4-hour trip, I had finished spinning/plying 2 ounces of a 4-oz corriedale hand-dyed roving. I had purchased it over at Stitches West from one of the dealers.

I wanted to start something "simple" that my poor addled brain could handle on the 4-hour drive up to Tahoe that didn't involve counting stitches (i.e. My Travelling Woman shawlette). So, I started a top-down stocking cap (my own design) that is all stockinette stitch.

Stocking Cap

I have to say, I *love* knitting with handspun. It was balanced, it was lofty, and oh-so-soft (despite some problems spinning it). It's got a few thick-thin spots, but most of it is pretty consistent, but I can see where it could have been improved. LOL

I managed to finish off the first skein of yarn in the middle of the trip. Luckily, I had brought another knitting project with me (along with 2 spindles), but I couldn't wait to get home to finish spinning up the rest of the roving.

When we got home from the trip, I had taken the day off from work, so I went ahead and spun/ply-ed/washed the second 2-ounces of the roving into about 151 yards, which should be enough to finish the stocking cap.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Spinner's Study: Low Twist Singles

I got this wonderful roving from the Morro Fleeceworks at the Retzlaff Winery Spinning Event.

Alpaca & Romney

And I very much wanted to spin it, because it looks so yummy! But, how?

I took 2 ounces of the roving, and spun it thin, intending to see how it'd look 2-ply (like my Targhee). I didn't like it. You couldn't really see the red & silver mixing together, although it was a bit more apparent in the 2-ply.

From experience I know that both Romney & the Alpaca have a long staple length. And the roving itself was pretty lustrous (characteristic of long staple length fibers -- see Fiber Information Below) and I wanted to maintain that luster. So, I thought that this might be a good candidate for a low-twist single, which I haven't spun before.

After consulting a few spinning books, I set up my Nona to have a low ratio with a fast uptake. And, after a few yards, I had something that I was extremely happy spinning.

I was so happy, in fact, that I managed to spin the rest of the 5 ounces of roving within two sittings. Then, the finished yarn was washed & fulled; dunked in both hot & cold water baths to help ensure a bit stability in the yarn.

I love the finished yarn. It's well-balanced, and is light & airy.

Low Twist Single (1)

Low Twist Single (2)

Now, the only question is...what to knit it into?!

Yarn Details:
Weight: Sport
Skein 1: 113 yards (52g)
Skein 2: 188 yards (94g)

Fiber Information:

* wool type: long wool
* staple length 4-8 inches
* crimp: well defined
* coarser fleeces used for carpets

However, the Romney in this roving was luxuriously soft, and most likely from a lamb.

* staple length: 4-7 inches
* crimp: depends on the breeder, but generally, alpaca isn't considered to have crimp

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Spinner's Study: Targhee

The following is part of my continuing spinner's study on various wools.

Information about the Sheep Breed
Targhee Sheep are named after the Targhee National Forest where the breed were developed/grazed. (The forest was named for a chief of the Bannock Indians who had lived in the area in the 1860's.) This is a one of the youngest American breeds; developed in 1926 at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho.

Targhee sheep were bred from Rambouillet, Columbia, and Corriedale crosses. This is a dual-purpose sheep developed for meat & high quality wool. This sheep became popular and is now found in primarily in the Western United States -- Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota.

The Targhee is a large sheep and are naturally polled. Mature rams weigh from 200 to 300 pounds. Breeding ewes weigh from 140 to 200 pounds.

Targhee wool characteristics:
  • Considered a fine wool
  • Microns: 22.05 - 24.94
  • Count: 58s-64s
  • Staple length: 3-5inches

My Review: The Good & Bad
I picked up 2oz of Targhee wool from "A Verb for Keeping Warm" in the colorway, "Granite". I'll do a review of AVFKW wool, then a review of the Targhee itself.

The Bad
What I didn't like was AVFKW's dye process. During spinning, a lot of dye bled on my fingers of my drafting hand. I showed it to some fellow spinners who were with me at the time (I was at a spinning event), and they were surprised as well.

In addition, some of the wool seemed a bit felted from the dye'ing process. There were some small sections that just did not draft property and I fought with those parts or just tore them out of the roving. Also, the roving came in two parts: one long piece of consistent roving, then an extra .5 ounces of the same colorway that looked like they just stuffed in, in order to make the whole thing 2 oz. This extra "piece" did not look like it had been accidently ripped off either end of the roving as it wasn't the correct color in the sequence.

As this was my first purchase from AVFKW, it did not impress me.

Once I was done spinning, I washed the whole thing in white vinegar to help set the dye. (I'll probably rinse it with dye AGAIN once it's been knitted up just to ensure that it doesn't bleed)

Targhee Wool: -- The Good.

Despite the problems with the sample I bought, I really liked spinning this wool. It was soft, and didn't mind being spun thinly.

I really liked the colorway from AVFKW, and I wanted to preserve the change in color.

I split the longer piece of roving lengthwise, spun those into 2 bobbins worth singles in the same direction, then did balanced 2-ply with the bobbins.

The resulting yarn is lovely, balanced, and just so utterly soft. I *definitely* want to spin this wool again, but probably not from AVFKW.

1.5 oz. 259 yards of 2ply heavy fingering weight.
Targhee 2ply

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sick Spinning

Because I was sick with the flu these past two days, I didn't have the fortitude to do much except be a lump on the sofa/chair.

T.V and Internet surfing was out for long periods of time, because, well, everything on the monitor was much too bright and hurt my eyes. And a low level headache kept me from reading, well, because it hurt to read.

And I wasn't about to tackle the sewing machine in my mental state (which wasn't much). Knitting was out, because I didn't trust myself enough to be able to count well enough on the shawl I am currently knitting, nor did I think I had enough of a mental state to try and wrap my head around starting something new. And I couldn't really nap for periods of time because I'd wake myself up with a major coughing fit.

So, I sat at my wheel, and spun..and spun..and spun...and spun....while listening to various podcasts to keep my brain from turning into more mush. And I managed to finish up several skeins of yarn on the wheel, and get them washed, thwacked, and dried. (This is probably the most I've spun in any one given period of time, ever....)

So, here's what I did:

I finished plying up singles for a 3-ply Black Merino - Fingering Weight: 161 yards. This came out absolutely faboo. The yarn is nice, lofty, and has the springy-ness of Merino. This yarn is for a set of Fingerless gloves

Black Merino 3-ply Fingering

And, I washed up it's matching white merino counterpart
White Merino 3-ply Fingering

I finished spinning up the last ounce of Targhee that I started at the Winery. Then plied both of them for a 2-ply Fingering weight : 259 yards / 1.5oz total. This came out extremely well balanced, and I managed to maintain color consistency. (I'll review targhee in a later post)

Targhee 2ply

For a bit of a new experience, I navajo-plied some Coopsworth singles (2oz) that I had languishing on a bobbin. I had never done this technique before, and it was easy, once I got it actually started. Getting the first chain done was tricky. The resulting yarn is a bit over-active (it's one of my first yarns I created)

So from this:
Medium Coopworth

to this

Coopsworth Navajo Plied

Low Twist Yarn
And, I spun up this lovely pin drafted roving (all 7oz) into low-twist sport/dk weight single: 250 yards. (I'll also talk about this later in a later post)

Alpaca & Romney

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Spinning at the Winery

This past Saturday was a spinning event at a local winery, the Retzlaff Vineyards‎, which was an extremely fun day, and which I learned a few things, including the basics of looking at a given fleece (thank you Jasmin!)

There were plenty of vendors there, selling an assortment of fibers, spinning supplies, and finished yarns. I picked up a absolutely gorgeous chocolatey brown 10.5 lb merino/corriedale fleece (from a ram named Frank) that I am splitting with another person (which we promptly dropped off at Morro Fleeceworks across the way for processing -- because I just don't feel the need to do all that work myself.)

I also picked up some very yummy fiber from Morro Fleeceworks in gorgeous colors that I'm die'ing to start spinning immediately.




And, while there, there was a little bit of wine (just a glass of port) and I managed to spin up 1oz of the Targhee that I had brought with me (which I'll review later as part of my Spinner's Study.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tour de Fleece: Debating Projects

As part of my masochistic self, I've signed up for Tour de Fleece and shall be spinning my wheels / spindle with Team Sasquatch.

I want to send realistic goals for this 3-week marathon spinning event, especially as it's taken me over a MONTH to spin 400 yards of 3ply fingering weight yarn. (However, truth be told I have not been spinning constantly every night.)

I need to peruse my fiber Stash(TM) to see what I should spin as part of this project. Currently, I am debating between the following:

Ashland Colonial in Garnet (1lb)
Garnet Top

or this mixed BFL -- which I'm debating on either dye'ing it AFTER I spin it, because I want to see how well the different BFLS mix...or I could DYE a solid color and then spin....Decisions decisions!

(1lb of White, Oatmeal, & Dark BFL)
Mixed BFL

or this lovely batt!

(4-6 oz?)
Butterfly Girl Fiber

Spinning up a WHOLE pound of fiber in less than 3 weeks is rather daunting for me. So, currently, I am leaning towards working on the batt for The Tour de Fleece.