spinningphoenix: Shadow of lace shawl (Default)
For the love of wool, it has been the week from hell. As the joke goes, this has not been my week, and next week doesn't look good either.

I have been knitting and spinning in a last-ditch effort to keep from going completely insane. The Thrummed Mittens are back after a trip to the frog pond, with an extra inch of stitches added to the width. I've cut back on the amount in the thrums, because I'm still not sure I'll be able to get my hand inside after it's seamed up. I still love this handspun yarn (The Dyeing Art's "Mad Hatter", spun by me). My knit group has decided it looks like a Santa beard; I now have freaky ideas for a ski mask with the thrums on the outside, a la the crocheted mustache masks, but I'm not going to do it.

Caireen from Knitty is proceeding; I worked on it yesterday at Starbucks instead of the Thrummed Mittens, because I can knit cables and read somewhat, but I can't thrum and read, and I had two new magazines from the library. The Dale of Norway yarn continues to surprise me with crappy spots where the plies just separate for no apparent reason. If/when I ever knit an authentic Norwegian ski sweater, it is not going to be in this yarn. Hello, KnitPicks.

(Speaking of KnitPicks, they now sell the Kromski line of spinning wheels, and they're carrying hand-blended batts from Hanks in the Hood. $20 for four ounces, with varying percentages of merino and bamboo.)(Um. Sorry to all spinners whose New Year resolutions I just ruined.)

I'm waiting to ply the Dyeabolical lace singles until I'm a little less likely to cry hysterically if the singles get snarled. So I tossed the upstairs spinning stash and picked something for brain-dead spinning; Mountain Colors 100% Targhee top in "Ruby River". Wow, this stuff is like velcro; I split the roving in half, then loosened the first half a good bit. It isn't felted, the Targhee is just so crimpy and spongy that it didn't want to draft well at first. A big change from the fine Merino/Tencel blend I just finished on the Reeves. I'm spinning this thick, to about a DK-weight single. I haven't decided whether to ply it with the other half, or if I want to knit this as a singles yarn. I'm considering doing another of Yarn Harlot's One Row Scarves.

That's it for now; I plan to post this, then spin a bit until my parents arrive. Mexican food and margaritas tonight!

spinningphoenix: Shadow of lace shawl (Default)
In hopes that the insanity and heartbreak of 2010 are content to stay in the past, I've resolved to start using this craft blog a little more consistently. (Again. Like I did last year. Drat it.)

On the Needles (and wheel):

Spinning Dyeabolical Yarns 50/50 Merino Tencel roving in Evil Jeanius. Beautiful, beautiful stuff. Just finished the last of the singles today, and plying should commence tomorrow. I already want more. It's spinning insanely thin and will make a silky, shiny, drapey lace fabric. I'll have to see how much yardage I have after plying.

Knitting the Caireen scarf from Knitty's Deep Fall 2010 issue. I'm using Dale Falk in a deep pine green, purchased on clearance at the Myers House Barn. It knits into cables well, but I'm concerned about all the faulty spots I'm finding as I knit. In some places, the yarn has completely drifted apart, and I have to wonder if moths got to it (hence the reason it was on clearance). No picture yet, but I'm on row 40 of 56 before the short-rows start. Very strange to be knitting a shawl from the long edge; I'm grateful for my KnitPicks interchangeable 40-inch cable.

I have other various projects that have been neglected for some time, and the end of the year has definitely prodded me in the rear end to get some of them completed -- for no other reason than so I can find my needles again. (Size 6 needles seem to be the most scarce.) There's a gansey for my husband in Lion Brand Fisherman's wool, a Bristow cardigan that just needs blocked, underarms woven and buttons sewn on. Various socks abandoned for something either more interesting, or more simple based on my stress level at the time. I'm trying this Monogamous Knitter thing on for size; it's amazing how fast your knitting progresses when it's the only thing you're working on.


That said, I have a Thrummed Mitten KAL with the Restless Knitters that starts today, so I will need to get started on them before Caireen is finished. I spun the yarn for the mittens from The Dyeing Arts superwash Merino in the complementary colorway "Mad Hatter", which I have not photographed after the two colors were plied together. I'm using Rita Buchanan's "Fleece-lined Mittens" pattern from the Winter 2001 issue of Spin-Off. These get started tomorrow.

Also in planning stages is a warm, brimmed hat in Cascade 220 to coordinate with Caireen. Regular toboggan caps, or toques, are not the best look for me. I found the Brimming pattern on Ravelry that includes a nice turned-up doubled brim, but the fabric of the rest of the hat is too thin for the arctic blasts coming across our cornfields. I need to knit a lining, so I ripped out the brim and a few inches of the side, and I plan to try again on size 5 instead of 6 needles, with a provisional cast-on so I can essentially knit the same hat twice. Think I'll finish Caireen first, since my old Polartec hat will do for now. I get very practical when it's 20 degrees and 30 mph winds.

I have no socks on the needles right now, and I need to rectify that oversight. One of my Christmas gifts was Cookie A's wonderful new book, Knit.Sock.Love.  I love nearly all of the patterns (have already knit a couple, like the Monkey socks), so I'm thinking about making my own sock club (a la Yarn Harlot) and knitting my way through most of the book in the coming year. I'd love to say I could work through a pair a month, but I haven't drunk nearly enough alcohol today to say that with a straight face. So I'll get the first pair started and see how it goes.

I haven't decided what to spin next, but it isn't through lack of choices. I think something woolen and Aran-weight, to change it up from the inch-worm worsted-style cobweb lace I've been spinning. Maybe something bouncy and warm for a cowl or some fingerless gloves.

As Elizabeth Zimmermann wrote, "NOW, let us all take a deep breath, and forge on into the future; knitting at the ready."

spinningphoenix: Shadow of lace shawl (Default)
...but not too lame to spin and knit.

I've been busy crafting, but too busy to fight with Picasa to get pictures to make a blog entry worthwhile. Rather than a big catch-up post, I've been working on my Ravelry projects page, so at least it's getting updated somewhere.

I took today and tomorrow off work to use up some of the eight vacation days I have to take before the end of the year. I've spent time spinning yarn for a Thrummed Mitten KAL in my local knit group that starts in January, and knitting a Clapotis, and watching Knitgirllls podcasts. (And I may have stimulated the economy a bit on the Knit Picks website.)

I also test-combed some of the Cormo locks I washed in September. When I picked through the fleece to prepare it to go to a processor, I saved some of the nicest (a.k.a. least scummy looking) locks to test-wash myself. A ton of water and Orvus paste later, it still isn't brilliant white, but all the grease finally came out. I combed a bit with two dog combs, dizzed it with a glass pendant, and test-spun some laceweight with my tiny cherry spindle.

I got 19 wraps per inch, which isn't too bad for slightly matted Cormo combed with PetSmart dog brushes. There were a quite a few neps, and the comb teeth weren't long enough to keep the fiber on them during the combing. Even so, the end yarn was thin, lustrous and springy. So now I'm shopping for proper wool combs. Just need to decide between two-pitch hand held, and 4-pitch English combs.

spinningphoenix: Shadow of lace shawl (Default)
I know I owe pictures of quite a few things here. The Sheep to Shoe plied yarn, my Aeolian, the Nightsongs Shawlette...well, it's my anniversary and I just have time to post pictures about my very recently (Wednesday night) finished socks:

These are plain, toe-up socks with a gusset heel. Knit magic-loop from Regia Jacquard color #5156, mostly during two trips up and down Highway 57. There's a simple two-rib expansion joint up the side of the foot and leg, and a lot of ribbing at the top because I had a lot of yarn left over and a lot of trip left over.

Illinois is a very flat state. It's also a very rural state between the larger cities, which translates to a very dark drive when you start a five-hour return trip at 9:30 at night after driving five hours that morning to get there. I also knit on the newly-started Kernel Scarf during the daylight,  just to keep my sanity.

I've found a new way to navigate the highways, based on the tourist traps we pass on the way. Southwest of Missouri brings OzarkLand with its little cedar chests and walnut bowls.  Directly west is IndianLand with all the fake Native American artifacts that Taiwan can churn out. And evidently north towards Chicago is AmishLand. I'm still trying to figure out if they sell stuff by lamplight, and how they take credit cards if they aren't supposed to use telephones.

(Really,  I spent a good portion of the trip trying to decide just how offensive I should find this place. The idea of commercializing an entire culture and way of life that is known for not bowing to commercial pressure to live the "normal American life" makes me squirm and wonder what the hell someone was smoking when they thought AmishLand was a good idea.)

*Sigh* Off the soapbox, I need to get ready to go out for dinner. Twenty-three years of marriage today; think it's safe to knit him a sweater yet?

spinningphoenix: Shadow of lace shawl (Default)
A little hiccup in the plying this evening...

This is the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sheep to Shoe that is supposed to be a 3-ply sock yarn.  I had divided the roving into what looked like three equal chunks of roughly the same color sequences. One bobbin was spun straight through for the longest possible color lengths. One bobbin was spun from the roving divided into thirds lengthwise. The last one was spun from roving divided into ninths for the shortest color changes. I've been working on this stuff since before we moved to our Cottage three years ago.

After breaking my plying wheel (took a few weeks to get it fixed), tangling the singles so badly I had to throw away a huge section, then spinning a good two ounces backwards today, I finally got things going right -- after wresting the singles out of Logan's jaws and banishing all cats from the office for the evening.

It's always a gamble when you're plying anything from more than one bobbin. Having everything come out evenly with just two bobbins is close to a miracle. Three even bobbins would be more than the universe could bear without exploding.

So I have two bobbins full of 3-ply yarn, and one bobbin full of 2-ply yarn. Part of that 2-ply yarn is the last bobbin plied onto itself. It was kind enough to not have a large color section plied to itself until the very last eight inches, so it doesn't look too different. I'll let them rest on the bobbins tonight, then skein them up tomorrow night and throw them in a bath to even out the twist energy.

Two good things: It's finally done, and I didn't make the universe explode.


Feb. 27th, 2010 10:13 pm
spinningphoenix: Kira reluctantly modeling my handspun yarn. (Kira)
Done! I finished the second Atlantis sock at my Mom & Dad's house this evening. Cast off done, ends woven in, all ready for the photo op! All I need is decent light and time to take the pictures, which I should have tomorrow morning.

I can't believe I managed to stay monogamous to this project (other than some emergency work glove repair) and actually finish an entire pair of lace socks in two weeks, in which normal life didn't stop (no snow days, no vacation days) and laundry still got done. I'm actually looking forward to focusing all my knitting attention on the new fingerless work gloves and getting them done and off the WIP List now. I make no promises that my poly-project days are over, but boy howdy it looks like you get a lot of knitting done when it's all on one thing.
spinningphoenix: Kira reluctantly modeling my handspun yarn. (Kira)
I just finished turning the heel on the second Atlantis Olympics sock! No pictures, because it's already half an hour past bedtime, and I've been falling asleep at my desk all day.

Unfortunately I haven't mended the latest blowout on the fingerless Husband Work Gloves (herein after known as the Zombie Gloves), and it's supposed to be pretty cold tomorrow. bad wife! It looks like the latest patch of the patch on the palms has given way again.  (Hmm. Suede reinforcing for the new pair of gloves on the heel, just under the thumb? Wonder where I could get some...)  As soon as the Atlantis socks are finished, I'll focus all my knitting-time attention on finishing the second new glove, so he can burn the Zombie gloves for good.

spinningphoenix: Shadow of lace shawl (Default)

The first Atlantis Knitting Olympics sock is complete! I had a near miss with a too-short tail during the bind off, but I persevered and (with the help of a crochet hook) finished the sewn bind off for the cuff with under an inch of tail for weaving in. SGA-1 is done. Whew!

For those of you following along at home, that's one sock knit in a complex 24-row lace repeat and a 33-row lace hem, all done in six days while working, washing dishes, cleaning up after cats and husband, etc.

Now to cast on for SGA-2!
spinningphoenix: Shadow of lace shawl (Default)
Yes, I'm trying for the Knitting Olympics this time around. Events conspired against me.
  1. I've been reading the usual hue and cry on all the knitblogs, and seeing their beautiful planned projects.
  2. I've been diligently working on my WIP elimination and only starting new projects for necessities for cold husbands (more later).
  3. I picked up The Enchanted Sole by Janel Laidman at Knit & Caboodle last Thursday, and found the Atlantis sock pattern.
  4. I then found the perfect handpainted Opal sock yarn in blues and bronze browns to represent the Atlantis Gateroom.
See? Events conspired. I had to buy the book and the yarn. My goal is to finish both socks by the end of the Winter Olympics. Considering that even when applying myself to finish the second sock of a familiar pattern, it took me a little more than a week to knit one, this should be a sufficient challenge. I started the socks late Friday night after the Opening Ceremonies. Here's the yarn, recently released from its ballband and before an encounter with the ball winder:

From 2010-02-14

And here's the progress after a weekend trip to Illinois and the usual errands before it started snowing too heavily to chance metal needles in the car today:

From 2010-02-14

The lace is a 10-stitch, 24-row repeat, with patterning on every row. I'm not a big fan of the process, but like an athlete practicing the basic fundamentals every day, I do enjoy the results. I have nearly three pattern repeats done, and I should be ready to start the heel after another half-repeat. The yarn is Opal at its best; fine, vibrant and non-splitty. I only hope it wears as well as its Southwest Collection brethren; I usually knit Opal on size 1's or 0's (that's 2.0mm to 2.25mm), but to get anything approaching gauge I had to go up to size 2's (2.75mm).

In non-Knitting Olympics news, I finished my Andromeda socks last week. Paparazzi-shy cat and my Valentines gift added for background interest:

From 2010-02-14

Specifics: Yarn is Knit Picks Essential Sock (now Stroll) Kettle Dyed in Ivy. It's actually not as flat as shown here, but a beautiful vibrant green. Sorry, it's snowing like mad, and this is the best I could do. This picture is a little truer to the actual color, but didn't have a cat.

Knit on size 2.5mm Addi Lace circular needle. Pattern is knotions Andromeda Sock by Polly Outhwaite. They fit well, look really dressy, and the lace was an easy 3-pattern-row repeat. I love the cable that flows down the heel flap. Bonus cool points: learning to do the slip heel stitch inside-out, with the slip 1 on the purl side. So much faster! This pattern was so much fun, I might have to knit it again and add the beads around the hem this time.

Two more FO's to report:

From 2010-02-14

The Elfin socks are done. Not bad for leftovers. Still not sure when I'll want to wear wool socks that won't keep my ankles warm, but there they are.

Also, the black ribbed dickey is finished. I haven't had a chance to get it and its recipient together in daylight for pictures (see: snow, clouds, tons of overtime, and early winter sunsets). Since black yarn absorbs all light more efficiently than a black hole, imagine an Elizabeth Zimmermann Trickey Dickey in plain black 2x2 rib. Yeah, it was about that exciting to knit. But husbands with cold necks get priority.
spinningphoenix: Shadow of lace shawl (Default)
I worked on the Andromeda socks yesterday while running errands (husband drives, I knit and act as an organic GPS system). I've started the toe shaping.

Last night I watched "Hoarders" and "Good Eats" and knit a 1x1 rib around one of the Elfin socks with some royal blue Swilan fingering yarn I had in stash. It matches the blue bit in the blue/green medley perfectly. Unfortunately the ribbing looked weird with the lace and flared out, so I ripped it out during the errand-running today and started a picot-hem cuff. It's ready to be sewed down, but it's going to have to wait. I have a late Christmas present to finish off before Tuesday night.

I'm a little unsure how much use I'm going to have for lace wool footie socks, but they should be finished before the end of the week. Photos then.
spinningphoenix: Shadow of lace shawl (Default)
...of my Works in Progress, at least.

I'm moving my craft blog to DW from Blogger effective the beginning of 2010. The few posts I managed to drag screeching and kicking through the Blogger interface are here.

More about me tomorrow; it's after 11:00 pm, it's my mother-in-law's birthday tomorrow, and I have to be in another state by 8:00 am. As Elizabeth Z. would say, Onward.

I tossed all my WIPs out on the floor this evening and took lousy flash pictures of them. Full Disclosure #1: This is not all of them. There are more in the basement in plastic totes, and somewhere around her is a 90%-finished Bristow sweater that should just need blocking, sewing and button bands. I'm not sure where it's hiding. These are the WIPs that I can reasonably say are actually in progress. A few have been relegated to the Frog Pond of Ripping Despair. And boy howdy, there's a lot of socks...

Whole Lotta Pictures... )That's it for now; I'll work on making the blog look pretty and put together some user icons tomorrow. It's now 12:45 am, and I'm off to bed.
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