Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I would do some kind of April Fools, but I'm not that clever. Also, it's still March on the West Coast, so neener neener. But I do have some yarn I made.

I picked up about 2 oz of three different rovings in Seattle on Thursday. I got Ashland Bay multi colored merino in Cranberry, solid color merino in Tartan, and 70/30 merino silk in McKenzie. So far I've spun up about half of the Cranberry on my Golding spindle.
Handspun merino singles
I was liking the evenness I was getting, so I decided to keep the yarn as a single. Unfortunately, I overspun it pretty well, seeing as I didn't decide to do singles until well into the process. But I soaked it and thwacked it on the kitchen counter, and it's not so bad. It's slightly kinky, but it's not twisting back on itself. I'll put less spin into the next half of the roving. And next time I'll be buying more than just a couple of ounces; it spins up fast when you get in the groove (although my shoulder aches something fierce the next day).
Handspun merino singles
Handspun merino singles
With the flecks of blue in there, it makes me think of recycled sari silk, but much more pleasant to work with. I think I'll aim for a finer thread on the next color I spin up and ply it. I'm at about 165 yards so far. I hope I can get up to 300 with the rest of the Cranberry.

Monday, March 30, 2009

FO: Lace Cuffed Socks

I've had a long weekend. I was last at work on Wednesday. I go back tomorrow. I've had the lovely opportunity to do a lot of knitting. (and spinning, but I'll get to that another day.) I finished my Lace Cuffed Socks from A Gathering of Lace.
Ankle lace cuff socks
These socks are usually not my style, but the theme for this month's Sockdown! was lace socks and I wasn't feeling the full on lace socks (which are mostly what I knit in reality), so I found these. The cuff is turned down, and it reminds me of the frilly socks I had when I was a little girl.
Ankle lace socks
The body of the sock is knit in Wildfoote sock yarn, with the cuff in some leftover Regia yarn. I didn't read the pattern thoroughly, so I discovered after the fact the the top two inches of the cuff in the main color are supposed to be ribbed. It makes a lot of sense - the ribbing would help it stay up. But I'm just going to cross my fingers and hope for the best without the ribbing.

It was an interesting knit. The foot was plain and simple, but the lace on the cuff was a little tedious. There were a lot of triple decreases, but the decrease instruction was slip 2 together as if to knit, slip 1 as if to knit, knit all three together through back loop. It was a bit more annoying that the usual slip 1, k2tog, psso, but did create a different effect. These socks could probably stand a good blocking, but they're not going to get one. They'll just be tossed in the laundry with all the other poor handknit socks, poor things.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Round we go

So I'm really feeling this spinning thing lately. And I haven't even been playing with my pretty new Golding spindle (I want to finish this pair of socks I'm knitting before starting a new project, seeing as I have 3 active and 1 semi active projects right now... that's about my limit). I'm trying to spin up the last couple ounces of black alpaca on my Ashford. The first ounce or two took forever, I think because I was trying to spin it too thin for the spindle, but I'm spinning a thicker thread now, and it's going much more quickly.
Black alpaca
I put the pencil there for some sense of scale. Doesn't really work, does it? Aside from black being pretty hard to photograph at night, you can see that my yarn is really inconsistent. I've been jealous of how quickly some people seem to be able to drop spindle perfect yarn. Mine? Still inconsistent. Not like a thick and thin yarn, but with definite areas of slight thicker and thinnerness. It may also not help that this batch of fiber has been abused and carted across the country multiple times.

But I also expect this has something to do with the way I learned to drop spindle, which was from watching videos and reading descriptions on the internet. And I have produced yarn. Yarn which, I think, one could actually knit with. But I want to learn more, which is why I am going to hunt for a copy of Spinning in the Old Way when I'm used book store hopping in Seattle tomorrow. It seems like a good resource for the basics, and I hope to feel less like I am making things up, and perhaps less panic when trying to ply.

I am also hoping to stop at the Weaving Works tomorrow. They have buckets and buckets of spinning fiber to pet and purchase. Since I certainly don't need anymore yarn (unless it's on clearance! That's my weakness.), purchasing spinning fiber is an excellent excuse to go to the yarn store. What kind of fiber? I don't know. Something soft. And pretty.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

New toy!

On Monday I ordered a new toy. And today it arrived. A .75 oz, 2" Golding La Fleur in Cherry. And it's so purdy...
Golding La Fleur spindle
These little guys come packed very very well! The box would hold a pair of tennis shoes and was stuffed with packing peanuts. Once it got here I took it for a, um, spin. I spun up some little wisps of leftover merino top I bought when I was first learning to spin. .
Golding La Fleur spindle
I like how it spins - very smooth, very easily. It has a different feel from my entry level ashford spindle, and reacts differently to extreme overspinning And it sure is tiny! Sometimes my yarn would break and it would go clattering to the floor and I fear for its safety.
Golding La Fleur spindle
I think this little spindle and I will be great friends.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Trends in crafting

So, have you all noticed how weaving is the new quilting is the new spinning is the new knitting? Everyone is gaga for weaving, it seems. Meh, I say. Your woven scarves all look very nice, but meh. I have other ideas for my sock yarn. Mostly socks, actually. Some scarves maybe, but knit, not woven.

You won't see me weaving until I get my grandma's loom someday. And that loom takes up whole room (not my grandma, just some random image). And then I think we're mostly talking rugs and maybe heavy stoles.

Or, you know, maybe I'm just behind the times. I have a drop spindle, and am wheel-curious... so perhaps it's just a matter of time?

But mostly it's still knitting. I'm almost through with my first of two girly socks. I'm doing the main part in some light Wildfoote and using light tan leftovers for the frilly bit. Problem is that I didn't read the pattern when I started knitting it, so I didn't know that I was supposed to switch to ribbing for the last 2" of the leg before the lace cuff. oops. I'm not ripping it out. If it doesn't stay up, I can sew in some elastic. Obstinate, that's me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

On The Fly Socks!

Some may recall that last year I designed a pair of socks. That is, I made up a stitch pattern without any reference material and I was darn proud of it. I even made up the chart for it.

I've finally revised the chart and put it together in a .pdf for free download from Ravelry. Click for pattern page.
On the Fly socks

Your feedback is appreciated. I never realized how difficult it is to write instructions for a short row heel!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Beware the Ides of March

There are some knitting techniques which I like to avoid. Like provisional cast ons. Not so much the part about casting on provisionally - that I've got - but the picking out the cast on to get the live stitches.

Somehow I always miss stitches, or lose them, or have to make them up somewhere else, so the beautiful symmetry the provisional cast on was supposed to ensure is lost. In this case, it's my Simurgh stole. I've finally completed the first half, but I've now spent an hour picking up stitches and picking out the cast on edge and I'm about 5 short. Grr. And "unzipping" the crochet chain? No, that never works for me. So annoying.
Provisional cast on
And I'm sure that, in this case, choosing a waste yarn the same color as my main yarn was not a great help. That fuzzy grey at the top is the waste yarn (leftover Trekking XXL, I think) which I am not yet done picking out. Almost there. Then I can see how easily findable my lost stitches are. Heavy sigh. Should not have undertaken this on the Ides of March.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Floppy Hat aka Relm

I mentioned the hat last time. It's warm, it's floppy, and now it's photographed. Relm, by Jared Flood in the latest issue of knit.1.

Relm by Jared Flood
It's knit out of Cascade Ecowool. I used my knitpicks interchangeables, which are performing admirably. Knitting all the cables, especially the 6 stitch cables, really tired out my hands. It's why I don't do a great deal of cable work - I find it tedious and the rewards minimal. But don't hold me to it; I'm a fickle knitter.
Relm by Jared Flood
I'm still not quite sure how to wear this hat. But I like that it covers my ears and forehead; I have a bad habit of knitting caps too small, leaving my ears only partially covered.
Relm by Jared Flood
I've cast on for a new pair of socks, something a little silly and outside my normal range of sock knitting, but hopefully kind of fun. They're mostly stockinette, so I am flying though them so far. And I've picked up Simurgh again and worked a few more repeats of the first edging. Slowly but surely I will finish it. I want to finish Simurgh and then return to the edging on my enormous, knit in black, Diamonds and Triangles stole. I have so many lace projects I want to tackle, but I hate having one hanging over my head like this.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Maybe I oughtn't to have had that double shot americano at 7:30 tonight. Oops. In any case, I'm awake now and expect I will be for a while yet.

I finished a hat tonight. Relm, by Jared Flood. I cast it on as a quick knit, but it proved to be anything but. I guess I finished it in less than a week, but those cables, man, they kill my hands. But I did the last dozen or so rows while watching The Graduate tonight. No pictures just yet.

When it comes to hats, I don't swatch, so it tends to be a crap shoot. This hat came out on the large side. It's a little bit rasta. But made of wool, so very warm. Now I need to decide what to knit next - work on socks or continue on my Simurgh stole. I'm almost done with the first half of the stole; I'm maybe 20-25% done with the edging on it. But I've got an urge for quick knits... Maybe it's time for the Owl Sweater. I've got some grey cascade ecowool that's been trying to be a sweater for about a year now. Poor yarn keeps getting ripped out and rewound into a ball. I think the owl sweater will be just right for it.