Wednesday, January 31, 2007

First yarn

Ladies and gents, I present to you, hand-spun, Kool-Aid dyed and skeined, my very first yarn! Roving and drink mix were kindly provided by AKknitter, my SP from the fall/spooky SP round on knitty.

I've learned a lot from this skein. There's some roving left, but I couldn't wait to see the finished results. Yes, the dye job is uneven, but now I know to set the twist before dyeing. Scrunched-up parts don't soak up dye. Duh!
This little skein actually had to be soaked twice. The first time around, I forgot that you need to add weight to the bottom to set the twist. I got it wet again and put a large towel through the bottom. Et voila, she is done!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Midwest Moonlight (Red Scarf Project)

Unisex. Ahem. Well, the geometric lace pattern is kind of unisex, right? I can see a guy wearing this scarf, but then again, I've also seen the occasional guy who looked darn good in a man skirt. So maybe I'm not the best judge of what a regular guy would wear.

But I'm sending this scarf anyway!

Closeup of it blocking (the even squares on the side will revert back to being tilted once I take out the blocking wires):

Pattern Details:
Pattern: Midwest Moonlight from Scarf Style
Yar: Caron Simply Soft
Needles: US #8
Dimensions: Length was about 62" unblocked, it's probably grown an inch or two since. Sorry, I
feel too lazy to crawl around and measure the width!

Talk about procrastiknitting! I'm sending this off tomorrow morning. I hope it gets in by the 31st.

And now, I have nothing on the needles. Time to start Jespere's socks and Mr. Batty's sweater!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Saturday Spinning

I was going to go to the gym today. Just a couple of minutes of spinning first... ahem. About an hour is more like it. The 'top layer' and the yarn near the whorl are my latest attempt. The thick, slubby part is the stuff I produced during earlier attempts.

Clearly, this is a very diverse yarn. It goes all the way from slubby super bulky to fairly even fingering weight with the occasional little slub. What can I do with this? Any suggestions? I want to turn it into something other than a hank of handspun that just sits there!

Oh, and all of you fleece/wheel/spinning enablers: I guess I'm officially addicted to this. Once I get better at hand spinning, it'll be time for a wheel of my own!

Tomorrow: finished red scarf. It's a little late. I'll have to mail it myself.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Spinning interlude

I had a plan: finish my red scarf on Tuesday at a local SnB, then get started on Jespere's socks and the husband's sweater. It didn't happen. Why?

One of the ladies at the SnB brought in her portable spinning wheel! It was my first time ever trying to use a wheel, and I spent over 2 hours learning how to get it to go in the right direction (not at all easy), how fast to draft and treadle, and what to do when the wheel sucked all the yarn through the little gizmo with the hole in it (I'm sure it has a name, but I don't know what it is).
It was amazing. When I wasn't overthinking it, I actually managed to just sit and spin for a few minutes at a time! Then, of course, I'd notice, and there went the yarn. But I can tell it's addictive.

So today and tomorrow, I'll be knitting the red scarf like a crazy person. It's getting dropped off sometime tomorrow or Saturday, and then on to socks.

And dreams of owning a spinning wheel. That was fun!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Pr0n for Jespere

Le yarn est arrivee!

Now that there are options, which yarn will it be?

1. Cherry Tree Hill Supersock, a purple variegate with bits of... not sure what that color is, but it looks nice.

2. Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in a blue-ish colorway with a small part that has a greenish tinge.

3. Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in a lighter and darker pastel purple.

The colors in the pictures are pretty close to nature. Yay for sock yarn choices! Let me know which one you like, I'll start swatching right away!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

WIP: Red Scarf Project scarf

Right now, this is the only thing I have on the needles. It's a scarf for the Red Scarf Project, and I'm hoping that it'll be done by tonight. It's a simple lace pattern, Midwest Moonlight from Scarf Style. I'm using Caron Simply Soft, which is very soft and has such a pretty sheen for a cheap yarn. I think Simply Soft is my new cheap yarn love!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

FO: Samantha

This week, I'm having trouble with the knitty blog stalking theme because we're supposed to take a picture of our WIP's. The problem? They're all getting done!
Here is Samantha, the baby sweater dress I finished knitting in October. We've had a rocky relationship because seaming is not difficult, but hemming is a pain in the backside. I sewed on the last button just as our friend, the baby's father, was coming through the door. It's now on its way to baby Lilly.

Front of sweater:

Back of sweater:

Closeup of front with adorable flower buttons (the middle of each button is green). They were picked out with the help of several knittyheads when we took the big trip to WEBS last year.

Pattern: Samantha by Kate Gilbert (the old version, she has revised the pattern since)
Yarn: Aurora 4 in color 16, about 3.5 skeins
Size: A bit larger than the 12 month size
Needles: I don't quite remember, but I think they were US #4. I did go down a needle size for the hems on the sleeves but forgot to for the hems on the bottom.

The curling and unevenness is due to the fact that I hurried when I was taking pictures and didn't have time to lay everything out completely flat. The seams don't actually flare. I'm very happy with the outcome, and Lilly's dad liked it too.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lace Blanket of Doom

It's done, the Lace Blanket of Doom! It's blocking upstairs. This wouldn't be possible without the blockers the husband bought me for Christmas.

And a closeup:

Pattern: Lace Leaf Throw by Fibertrends
Yarn: Lionbrand WoolEase Bulky
Needles: US 11, 32" Addi Turbo circs
Dimensions: h= 56", w= 64"

I thought it would never end, but now it's done!

Monday, January 15, 2007

It's starting to look like yarn!

Thanks to the wonderful advice I have received at, here's my spinning improvement. We just got back from a 3 day trip, and I thought I'd give this another try. It's my second spinning attempt. I'm so happy because...
It's starting to look like yarn!

Here it is, all wound up on my spindle. The tufts are the much thicker, much more irregular results of my first spinning attempt, not entirely hidden by the much thinner layer of new... yarn! I still can't get over the fact that I just made something that is beginning to look like yarn.

Next: Pictures of my knitting WIPs for the knitty blog stalkers. Maybe even a FO, the Lace Blanket of Doom is nearing completion.

I made yarn!!!!

Ahem. Sorry. Just had to say it one more time.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Wiped out + Spinning HELP!

I was going to post pictures of the 8/10 finished blankie and of my Red Scarf Project scarf. But I went to the gym today, and it totally wiped me out. Getting back in shape after Lyme disease AND Parvo virus is hard. It's like starting from way below zero. But I'm going to do this. I'm going to be fit in time for one of this year's breast cancer walks.

Edit: Instead of eating and sleeping, I decided to try spinning for the very first time. After having a brain fart and dumping nearly an entire clove of chopped garlic directly into my pasta without sauteeing it first (thereby completely clearing my sinuses, killing any germs in my stomach, and acquiring rancid garlic breath), I should have known better. Instead, I produced this:

Somebody please help me! I don't expect my first handspun to be perfect, but this?
Why is it so tufty? Why are there over-twisted kinks at the bottom, near the hook (this is a top whorl spindle) that won't travel up the roving? What am I doing wrong?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Knitting, knitting, knitting

I've been knitting like a crazy fool! The Lace Blanket of Doom is almost done, I expect it will be finished before Friday. The sleeves of the baby sweater still need hemming. I did one, messed up the hem, will have to redo. Then, it'll be ready to block and seam... Maybe it'll get done while the recipient is still a baby? Let's hope for the best!
I also just started a red scarf for the red scarf project.
That's a lot of knitting.

My sock yarn still hasn't come in. I hope the nice e-Bay lady sent it out, I can hardly wait! One of the skeins is rainbow-colored yarn for my horrible bobble socks.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

First FO of 2007: Turbulence

First FO of the new year: Turbulence from Knitting Nature. Another first: my first set in sleeves. They fit! I was nervous because I had to fudge things a bit because somehow, I was a couple of stitches off somewhere. But they're in. They don't bulge or pucker. And, best of all, the sweater is almost falling off my shoulders. This means that it should fit my sister just fine.

This is me wearing it.

The yarn is really difficult to photograph. Berrocco Softwist is very beautiful. It's a light wool with a strand of something shiny spun throughout. Unfortunately, the shine also reflects the light from my flash. Here's a picture with flash:

And here's one without. Didn't help much, did it?

Pattern details: Turbulence U-neck sweater from Knitting Nature by Nora Gaughan.
Needles: US4 for the ribbing, US6 for the stockinette and cables
Size: Small (36 inch bust)

Why this sweater: In her introduction to the pattern, Nora writes that the cables imitate the way river water flows around stones. Last year, my sister managed to overcome a great many obstacles, including a learning disability, and become a physical therapist. It seemed very appropriate that she should have this sweater.
As I was knitting and putting the pieces together, I thought about life with my sister in general. It is, I think, fair to say that it's always been very turbulent -- there's always something going on, there are always people around her, she's always doing something. We are very different that way. I'm an introvert, she's an extrovert. Even when we were growing up, no toy was any good unless there were other children to share it with. I was happy being by myself, but she was always off with someone, doing something, getting herself in trouble while somehow still believing that "somehow, it'll all turn out OK."
She loves people, and they love her in return. She loves a good party, but she has dedicated her life to making those who are in pain feel better. She has grown a lot, from a wild party girl to a (still occasionally wild) responsible adult.

Life with my sister may be turbulent, but it's never boring.