Thursday, November 30, 2006

Look Mom! Both Hands!

Brigitte asked me what I was going to do with the red carpet yarn. I actually spin a lot of yarns that I have no idea what to do with - I just enjoy creating them. In this case, Boogie gave me an awesome idea - and then she posted a pattern for me! She is wonderful folks :)

Amy posted the pattern Tuesday and I have finished mitts on Thursday - handspun bulky mittens for the Michigan niece. The pattern has even decreases for a round top so there is no true right or left mitten to keep it simple for the lit'lins. Knitting with handspun is so much fun - just watching all the unique characteristics and colors develop makes everything go so quick! Go find some Lit'lins and make 'em some handspun mitts - it's good stuff. And if you need some handspun for the project, check out Spunky Eclectic (Amy) and Pippi Knee Socks - great product and excellent customer service. Two of my all time favorites indeed, well, and my stuff of course ;) Now to figure out what color for the Maine niece.....






Yarn: handspun 2-ply merino bulky, 125 yards/4 ozs
Used: 2.1 ozs for a 7 year old
Pattern: Boogie's Bulky Mittens
Needles: 7 US Bryspun DPN's

Monday, November 27, 2006

Do-Overs

The Alba "swatch" was a great experiment and showed some more changes that I want to make.




First, I was only going to change 2 colors but I have decided to change the whole green section, re-order the sequence and eliminate one of the color changes. J&S just doesn't make one more green that I feel is right for this section so instead of matching Alice's number of colors, I am eliminating one and dividing it between the two neighboring colors.

Second, by changing the green section around, it also requires more changes in the seed stitch border which means a degree of surgery.

Third, I'm glad I cast on a sweater sized swatch because my gauge changed significantly over a few inches, becoming tighter, more even and therefore smaller. So I actually need to cast on the larger size to compensate. This sweater was originally in a combination of fingering weight and "Lite DK" so the gauge with shetland jumper weight isn't the same, but I was getting the same gauge at the beginning.

Fourth, the cast on edge is curling forward and showing the floats behind. Can't have behinds showing in the finished sweater. For Rosemarkie, I cast and then turned it before joining so the first row is the purl side of the long tail cast on which tucks the edge back instead of forward. I had forgotten to do that with Alba.

So Alba is in the Do-overs pile waiting to be cast on again. I can scavenge some of the yarn from my first attempt if need be but I think it will stay in the bin as a perfect piece to practice surgeries on if the need ever arises. Now I need to order the corrected yarn for the whole sweater and get it cast on again before I get completely sidetracked by yet another siren call.

PS - to those of you that were curious what the actual colors were, I will let you know as soon as soon as I get pics of the new cast on.


Friday, November 24, 2006

For the love of red

There is a lovely long hallway in the house I'm renting with golden oak floors - the real kind 1930's style. I needed a rug to protect this beautiful floor from all of the traffic it will receive and I lucked out and found a gorgeous runner that appealed to my love of color. It's wool too - I think Rocky likes it as much as I do as it gives him a nice vantage point when I'm working on the pc ......or maybe it's just vanity on his part :)


I was playing with a bit of merino this week in dye shop with these colors as one of my inspirations.

I love it as a two ply with all the hints of color - but then I rarely meet a red I do not like. Although so far it is the most difficult color to photograph for me, the accent colors show much better in person.



I had big plans for crafting this weekend but they were thwarted by water heaters, leaks, leaves, rakes, blowers, non-functioning garage door openers and smashed fingers and swollen hands. When reflecting on this US Thanksgiving weekend I am very thankful that I do not hurt myself any more than I do! There are many other things I am thankful for, including the new water heater my landlords put in that provided the hot water to soak this wounded bod, but that one is on there :)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Frolicking

I so can't focus lately - literally! One of the medications I have to take right now has a side effect of "blurred vision". I try to time things so I don't take it during the day so I can actually see the computer I work on all day but by the afternoon I really need it so my evenings are all a tad bit fuzzy. So I'm going with it and playing with the fuzzier side of things - blending up some lovely fuzzy batts and doing some spinning.

A fun mix of some soft and silky Romney fleece, Targhee lamb fleece, Leicester, and a little sparkly nylon, plied with a blend of Raime, Romney, Corriedale and a little sparkly nylon. The purples are blended with the chartreuse and white, and the chartreuse is blended with white to bring more balance to the sharp contrast of the marl. Soft and tough and just a hint of glitter - it's a chick thing :)



360 yards
5 ounces

The "dye shop" is coming together too. It is definitely working and I have improvement plans this weekend - big fun for me. I'm craving a sweatshirt/tunic in handspun for cuddling up in front of the fire this winter. Ooo, and some knitting with big needles, you know, like 6's or 7's instead of 0's and 3's for a little change :)

And now all the dust bunnies in my house twinkle!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Knitting Lessons


Well we started out with getting used to holding so much "stuff" in your hands at the same time, what you do with that crazy finger holding the yarn, and "which way was I going?" She is my favorite student, always willing to try and no hissie fits no matter how wonky things got once in awhile. She had the hardest time with the concept of turning the work around and switching hands to start the next row, instead trying to knit back, zig zagging back and forth across the same side. I know theoretically this is possible, the knit back backwards thing, but I don't know it and we were already 'in progress'- a little late for me to be figuring it out. She has the potential to be a true knitter - she took her knitting with her to work on it in the car, at the vets office, and while watching movies. She had so much fun that she got up in the morning and started knitting and ended up staying the whole weekend to work on it. Most of that time, she looked just like this:


Apparently the teddie bears are great helpers :)

On another surprising note, my brother asked me for slippers. (no, he doesn't read the blog) I was floored. He gets the obsessive compulsive aspects, the lack of patience thing, the need for creativity and challenge, etc., we are a lot alike that way. But he just doesn't get the choice of "knitting" as the expression of that so to ask me to knit him something was a trip. We'll see. If he brings it up again then I may just do it, especially since I received so many helpful hints to keep the soles from wearing out that I of course have to try them out.

As for my own knitting? Well, I just haven't had any motivation to knit so no progress there, but I did start organizing to create a "dye workshop" in the basement and yet more unpacking and re-organizing. This is all very unexciting in this stage and lacking any kind of fun photo documentation or funny stories to tell - but I'm sure some of the above will follow shortly. (I hope :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Little Miss Knit Kit



Thanks for everyone's advice regarding the best tools to teach a 7 year old knitter. I managed to pick up some size US9, 7" straights that feel really easy to handle. I think this is going to make a huge difference in her learning experience. I remember needles feeling like bat wings when my grandmother tried to teach me as a child. I took immediately to crochet but knitting was too awkward for me. I picked up a crochet hook for her too just in case. And Paton's Classic Merino in light blue for practice yarn. I figured yarn at worsted weight and stretchy to start was a good plan, yes? And not too great an investment if she decides she would much rather do something else. I'm so excited I feel like a little kid myself. I haven't had an opportunity to teach someone something in a long time.

I set up the cast on for 15 stitches and started her off with enough to give her some stability. We can always turn her practice knitting into a headband or something to put a goal to it.

I cannot seem to find the pattern I used for the sock protectors. I really liked it and they fit beautifully. I do like the idea of the double sole though - that should be perfect. And a great excuse to find the local yarn store in my new neighborhood too ;)