Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Just a note.....

........that I haven't disappeared, just swamped lately. Half of our local division at work was let go, well more than half, but I'm in the part that stayed. This one wasn't merger/acquisition/redundancy oriented like the others, it is a true shift in business focus so we are scrambling like mad and working around the clock.

Spinning is the only thing I've managed to take a break with. Since this is a large project that involves consistency for a duration, it has been easier to just spin a few yards here and there than focus on knitting related projects. I am really pleased with how it is turning out and I love the heathering.

I was stressing on whether I was on target and stopped before the bobbins were full to ply. I am almost half way there in total yardage for a 3ply aran, 9wpi, 14.5oz and 602 yards, with slightly tight ply to increase the durability of the merino. I got gauge in my swatch (17 spi), a nice fabric (not too drapey like my first sample) and am thrilled with this yarn! It is intended for Harald by Elsebeth Lavold, a gansey (guernsey?) style with traveling cables in the top half. It should make a very comfy curl-up-and-knit-spin sweater for Sunday mornings. Lots of Sunday mornings in Michigan with the long cold season. With cable practice to boot, how good is that!?!

Now I have to spin up the rest of that couch pile from my last post! And those skeins top 6 ounces each!! Much fewer ends to weave in, yay :) You can biggie size the photos if you click on them and actually see the coloration detail.

Stay warm (or cool - wherever you may be!) Personally, I'm looking forward to spring :)

ETA - There has been "stash acquisition" too, hopefully I'll get some pics this weekend........I may have gone SABLE lol :) but that doesn't take very much for me!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I've gone.......nuts

It takes a lot of wool to make a bit of yarn and my house has been taken over lol. I think I have finally finished blending the batts. Each batt is approximately 1.7 ounces blended from three separate multi-dyed merino tops of 1 pound each. The braids off to the right are what I started with and they looked like a pile of steaming entrails coming out of the dye pot! Much prettier blended don't you think? ;-) The yarn in the photo is my sample from the last post, you can see that I lightened the blend considerably to a more raspberry heather. I only double blended so there will be minor variances in the finished yarn. I could have run it through 1-2 more times but I like watching the subtle shifts while spinning.

I've only spun about 7 ounces so I have about 24 more to go to get to the end total of 1500 + leeway for 100 yards variation in spinning density. I'm spinning a 3 ply so that is 4500-4800 yards in singles then another 1500 yards for plying. And yes, you can BUY yarn, but I like spinning and blending my own. This is my first attempt at a sweater so I am very excited.

Speaking of yarn purchases and excitement, I have received my newest love - St. Aula! From Virtual Yarns of course :) Yeah!!!!!! Stranding on really big needles feels funny but I am in total love with this sweater.

The photos don't do it much justice but if you click on the swatch to make it larger you can see that Dulse is not brown, but green with many flecks of purple, red, etc. mixed in. The background is Limpet, the deep purple but it looks more blue here. The constant blizzards this weekend wouldn't let me get a good natural light photo so I had to make do.

I don't have much time lately and worked most of the weekend so the "Guilt Squad" did major duty staring holes in my back on the office futon. Everytime I got up to do something I was tackled in a traffic jam at the office door by bouncing excited puppers 3 feet tall and pogo-sticking in the doorway. I'm 5'2" - you can imagine the rest but I really couldn't help but laugh at their antics.

And since they did try to be good (even though they *know* they aren't supposed to be on the futon) I'm off to give them some treats and loves before bedtime. How could I resist ;-)

Many thanks again Marina - I wouldn't have considered Dulse without your beautiful photos!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy Hogmonay!

Did you know that Scotland shuts down for the new year for like 4 days to celebrate Hogmonay? Yeah, apparently when you tell a people they cannot celebrate Christmas they get really creative. So I'll get an answer to my question from our Scottish friends when they "stagger back in on Saturday". I love this! I think I will have to add this to my annual celebrations in honor of my ancestors. Then when my friends tease me "you drink like an Irish lass!" I can retort "and party like a Scot!" I should have discovered this in my 20's! :)

My year end party is being spent with my six year old nephew which is apparently a "Family Tradition". My niece gets Christmas Eve's-eve. I'll fill you in on that later.

The Alba swatch is complete. I finally used all of the 17 colors at least once so it is no longer a swatch. It was quite fun because while I had all of the colors in front of me, I wasn't too sure what decisions I had made last year when I re-worked my colors. I like it!

Ophelia is still ahead on number of rows and has not disappeared into the river as yet. She will get more attention once I finish at least one repeat on Alba.

On other fronts, I am preparing to join in with with Ravelry Forum "Spinners Central" to spin for a sweater in the first quarter of 2009. I always thought I would need to be close to a perfect spinner to accomplish something like that but they got me to give it a try and I was delighted.

I dyed up, blended, spun, set and knit my sample. Started out with some basic cables which held up well and then threw in some of Lavold's, they hold up too. The color way is too much like the Shepherd's Wool in my stash so for the actual sweater I dyed up 3 lb's in a brighter mix, everything from deep purple, black, six shades of red, and even some various pinks with a bit of white. I'm blending up the batts now for a nice deep heathered raspberry shade. I think this will help the cables show nicer as well.

Happy New Year Everyone!!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tis the Season

For sparkly lights! The lights are always my favorite part. When I was a kid we used to have live trees with those really big actual bulbs on the tree. And it was always a huge deal to see how many lights we could actually get on the tree. I have never outgrown that and have been known to challenge the circuit breakers on occasion in my delight. This is as far as I got this year though because I totally broke out in hives by this point. But it looks pretty :)

So while I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I haven't developed allergies to any of my other decorations, I was delighted to find this in the mail when I got home. I must admit, I ordered the kit for stash. Everyone else has "just stash" so I wanted some too. Instead of my standard of "WIP Stash" ;-) We'll see how long this works for me.

I ripped it open, jumped on the bed, and dug them all out to oooo and ahhhh over. Dam I love these colors!! And now that I've been able to check 'em all out I have my choices for St. Aula!!!! Now just to see if the exchange rate will cooperate with my budget. Wheee!!!!

Thanks Sonya, Brigitte and Marina for all of the enabling, you guys are good! But I think it was really worth it!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Back to School for Me

I have mostly been camped out with google and just about every knitting book I own researching all the various nuances of sleeve construction. Eventually, I will actually knit sleeves for my sweaters, that would actually make them sweaters, as opposed to a pile of potential oddly shaped vests. So to achieve actual sweaters, I find myself needing to understand the "why" of how sleeves are done for that magical transformation. This is so not very blog worthy.

I have also been researching cast-on and cast-off methods - while I understand them and can use them, figuring out why one is the best option for the project at hand - not so intuitive. Most times, the basics work fine. But apparently it's a whole new ball game when it comes to lacey knitting. This is also, so not very blog worthy. But these things take time, and that's what I've been doing with my time, so that's what you get :)

I have also become obsessed with the stranded knits again. I keep trying to do other things, you know, those things with less stitches and bigger needles? Those things that actually let me *finish* something? Yeah, what a unique concept. I like this concept and will learn it eventually, but not this week. This week I had to start Lorraine's Ophelia.

I didn't realize it until I got the pattern that it is exactly what I was looking for when I was playing with traditional charts in the this colorway previously. Still waiting for the two colors I didn't have enough of in stash. Karen was out of stock in the main one but Anne had plenty so they'll be here soon and I can use the J&S 90 that I'm obsessed with :)

I'm loving it but I've had to start exploring different join methods because I was getting blisters from felting. More back to school for me - Schoolhouse Press being on the list.

I ran out of needles and colors to swatch for St. Aula too, so I had to order more of those as well. I really hope the mail comes soon, because these aren't working for me.