Thursday

[knitting] WIPs

I have several more works in progress...

More ballband dishcloths. I'm trying to use up leftover Lily Sugar 'n Cream cottons, so my color choices are limited (which makes it a challenge to pair things up and not say, "Oh, well that's just fugly"):

Ballband Dishcloths


I want to make a stack (like, a dozen) and give them to my mom for her new house in Florida.

Wisp using Noro Kureyon sock yarn:

Wisp


The colors have been lining up well with the fishnet and garter sections. Also, I can fudge the numbers by a row here and there to make the colors fit. I bought blocking wires at White River Yarns and this will be the first project I use them for. I can't wait.

Meret, the February hat-of-the-month at WRY:

Meret


I know, such an exciting shot. The yarn is a handspun that I bought in Alaska last year. It's a fairly heavy worsted weight. I cast on for the Large size of Meret and knit a lot more than what you see above. After finishing the first lace repeat (about 4-5 inches in), I said, "You know what... I think this is going to be too big." I don't want another Rangoli* (a.k.a. the the steering wheel cover), so I'm going to rip it out and knit the medium size. Bonus: If there's more yarn leftover, I might make the matching fingerless gloves.

*The Rangoli wasn't a complete loss- it's a soft, round thing for Murderface to kneed and curl up on.

Wednesday

[knitting] Berry Difficult Hat

I finished the Berry Stitch Hat:

Berry Difficult Hat


Berry Difficult Hat


Pattern: 98-14 a - Hat in Eskimo

Needles: US 8

Yarn: N.Y. Yarns Olympic, 1.2 balls

Pros: It's soft, it looks nice on, I was able to maintain the stitch pattern during the decreases for the crown.

Cons: Totally sucked to knit. The p3togs and then k1p1k1 in one stitch were torture with this yarn.

Tuesday

[knitting] Odessa

This month's hat for Hat Club at White River Yarns is Odessa:

Odessa


Pattern: Odessa by Grumperina (free at Ravelry)

Needles: US 4 (ribbing), US 6 (rest of the hat)

Yarn: Jaeger Baby Merino, taupe, 1.2 balls (I believe this yarn has been discontinuted, but Jaeger Matchmaker Merino DK is pretty much the same thing)

Beads: Size 6 seed beads from Vermont Beadworks in White River Jct. There are lots of great beads here large enough for knitting. And if they don't carry something you want but you see it in one of their books, they can order it for you.

Mods: Did "make 1" for all the "yarn overs". This made the hat a tad more arduous to complete. And I think the puckering is from the "make 1"s. I still need to block the hat to smooth it out.

But she is pretty, no? The beads look clear in this picture but they are different colors- yellow, green, purple. They show up stronger under florescent lights.

I've only knit with beads once before- a beaded mohair shrug that makes me feel like the Cookie Monster when I wear it. The whole project left a bad taste in my mouth but I was recently able to borrow a Lucy Neatby video on knitting with beads that made me go "Yeah. Okay. I can do that. That's clever."

Now I need to find more beaded-knit projects...

If you need some Odessa inspiration. There are lots of Odessa hats on Flickr, too.

Monday

[knitting] Money Bags

I knit little green dice bags for Dollar, on which I duplicate stitched dollar signs:

$'s Dice Bags
Small- about 3 inches across


$'s Dice Bags
Large- about 4.5 inches across


Pattern: Draw String Bag from Vogue Knitting, Fall 2005- following an article on how to do a Turkish Cast-On, which I used for this bag. It creates a seamless edge, but I'm sure you could use whatever method you use for toe-up socks.

Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca (green), Knit Picks Andean Silk (gold)

Needles: US 7

Notes: I used the book 1000 Great Knitting Motifs for the "s"es. Upper and lower case letters are charted and there are instructions on how to do the duplicate stitch. I used the lower case s for the smaller bag and added a couple vertical lines. It came out a little messed-up looking but I tossed the bag to Dollar across the room and he said he loved it. I used an upper case S for the larger bag and I'm more please with how that one turned out. I wove in the ends and Dollar immediately put his dice in the bags. Awwww...

Sunday

[spinning] Alpaca & Wool

Here's greenish-gray alpaca & wool that I got at the VT S&W:

Alpaca & Wool


It looked more gray in the bag and more green when spun and plied. I'm not sure I dig the color but it is very soft and sqwooshy.

Currently I'm spinning 4oz of brown shetland on my Woolie Winder. I heart heart heart heart my Woolie Winder.

Saturday

[spinning] Holographic Fiber

Here is the Holographic Fiber that I bought from Fantom Farms at the Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival last year:

Holographic Yarn


The wool is Romney mixed with either Angelina or similar glitz called Firestar or Flash. It was interesting to spin. The sparkle is really amazing:

Holographic Yarn


I couldn't capture the ZING! with my camera. In direct sunlight, the yarn sparkles like a disco ball. I loves it but what am I going to knit with it?

Tuesday

[spinning] Fiber Goals

While I wait for the sun to come out to take more handspun pictures, I wanted to share some fiber goals.

Goal #1 - Use my drum carder

I got a drum carder a few months ago and I didn't take it out of the box until last night. I bought it second-hand which saved me a bundle (bonus: it had never even been used) but there were a couple things missing- a doffer pin and table clamps.

I ordered two table clamps from Louet and they are on their way. As for the doffer pin, it's about $35 and it looks like a screwdriver that comes to a point. I went out to hardware stores looking for extra long ice picks and awls but guess what works just as well? A knitting needle. I chose to use an old aluminum one that never gets used for knitting.

There are many helpful YouTube videos on "using your drum carder" and from what I saw, having a burnishing tool was completely necessary. It looks like a hand carder and it costs $55. Again, looking for a cheaper alternative (and with the help of the Ravelry forums), I heard that a wallpaper smoothing brush works just as well.

Let me save you some time. LaValley's doesn't have one. Home Depot doesn't have one. Sherwin Williams (hidden between Wal-Mart and The Weathervane on 12-A) had two. I chose the one with shorter bristles. It cost less than $5.

Back at home, I took some 1 oz packets of fiber meant for needlefelting and started carding. It went... Okay. Except for the carder slip-sliding all over the table (where are those damn table clamps?!). It is cool being able to blend colors and make your own heathery shades.

Goal #2 - Navajo ply all my leftover singles for practice.

I love the way three-plies look but spinning three bobbins is tiresome.

Goal #3 - Use my Woolee Winder.

Dollar got me a Woolee Winder for my birthday and two bobbins. I know. I had to order another bobbin (learning the WW and N-plying at the same time would have been too much). I did try it once and it was a nightmare. It took the yarn in before it had enough twist so the single kept feathering apart. It totally sucked. Some people have recommended going to Scotch tension (I'm on double-drive), so I could try that.

Goal #4 - Spin for singles.

As in, spin for yarn that is a single, not a 2- or 3-ply. I think this is where whacking the finished yarn really helps to spread/even out the twist.

Goal #5 - Spin enough yarn for a sweater.

Hhaa hahaha hahahahaha. I mean, I have the gigantic bag o' yarn in my closet but... Wait, gimme a minute, I'll think of an excuse here in a sec... Okay, my goal will be to spin it all before this year's Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival.

Sunday

[spinning] Toffee

I spun 8 oz of Louet Northern Lights in the Toffee colorway. This is the third time I've spun a bag of Northern Lights and it's a DREAM to spin. The pencil top is so easy and the colors blend into one another as you're spinning:

Toffee


I wish that they offered the Northern Lights in a softer wool but the wonderful colors make up for it.

Saturday

[spinning] Luster Twist

After all the practice on the pastels, I felt confident enough to spin the fiber I was most looking forward to: 4 oz of BFL called Luster Twist from Dye Dreams. I also got this fiber at the 2008 Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival.

Luster Twist


I love it. Lots of warms browns and gold. Not really sure what to call this colorway, since it wasn't written on the label...

Friday

[spinning] Vintage

I have 4oz of BFL from Burtonwood in 'Vintage' that I got at the Vermont Sheep & Wool 2008 Festival:

Vintage


There was no color name on the band around the fiber so I was calling it 'Apple Blossom', but after visiting Burtonwood's Etsy shop above, I believe it's 'Vintage'. I like it, it's very pretty, but after days of spinning pastel colors, I was ready for something darker and richer...

Thursday

Wednesday

[spinning] Rainbow

The next skein I made was from this "Barfy Rainbow" I dyed with food coloring. It was:

Barfy Rainbow


It became:

Rainbow


The spinning is a bit more even. I think it would look more rainbowie without the brown but it's fun and pretty and bouncy.

Tuesday

[spinning] Cotton Candy

Having nearly two weeks off from work for the holidays afforded me much needed time to reacquaint myself with spinning. It had been a couple months (or more) since I spun anything. I started with some wool that I had dyed with food coloring:

Barfy Cotton Candy


Not that pretty but the the finished, two-ply yarn is:

Cotton Candy


Much better. This ended up being uneven, thick-and-thin, and bulky. I'm okay with that because this was just to get used to pre-drafting, the feel of drafting at the wheel, treadling with even speed, etc.

More spinning to come. MUCH more...

Monday

[knitting] Hats

I closed out 2008 with a few new hats.

One that was gifted away as a Christmas present:

Turkish Patterned Cap


Pattern: Turkish Patterned Cap from Hats On! by Charlene Schurch

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, Wheat, 1.5 balls. Valley Yarns Northampton, Dark Gray, 1 ball.

Needles: US 5

Size: Large

Mods: Did a hemmed brim rather than a braided one, which I hear tends to roll up.

*****

This one was just a quickie for me...

Turn a Square


Pattern: Turn a Square by Jared Flood (Brooklyn Tweed)

Yarn: Misc wool from the Norwich Farmer's Market. I can't remember the name of the farm that this came from :(

Needles: US 8

Size: One size.

Mods: I don't think the jogless jog worked all the well with the two rows of pink. It was less noticeable on the three rows of grey. I would suggest that if someone does this hat, work three rows of the main and contrast colors each. But this will affect how much yarn you need.

*****

And my new favorite hat:

Watch Cap


Pattern: My own. Just knit lots and lots of ribbing, switch to stockinette, decrease, end.

Yarn: Plymouth Suri Merino, off white, two balls.

Needles: US 7

Size: 96 stitches.

It started out as a simple ribbed thing but I eventually made the decision to make the brim long enough to roll twice, then went to stockinette for the rest.

Watch Cap


I love it. It's simple, really soft, and covers my ears well. I can see this hat getting a lot of wear.

Sunday

[misc] Catatonic

For Christmas my sister gave me a Stave puzzle that she cut herself. It was a great surprise and I love how she personalized it to my likes. There are lots of cat-shaped pieces and knitting ones that she designed. It's the best present I've ever received.

Here's an in progress photo:

Catatonic Puzzle


Hmm... Looks like a kitty is looking up at a fish in the sky. The puzzles don't come with a picture to work from, you just have to group colors together and make guesses. All the puzzles come in blue boxes which, personally, I would rather have than the OTHER blue boxes from Tiffany's.

Just a few of the knitting and kitty silhouettes...

Catatonic Puzzle


Catatonic Puzzle


Catatonic Puzzle


Catatonic Puzzle
These are my favorite pieces- it's Murderface scratching one of our Merrell shoes. Which he really does. Dollar and I don't mind (it saves him from scratching the sofas) but it drives my sister crazy that we let- okay, encourage him to do it. So it's in the puzzle. See how personalized it is?


Catatonic Puzzle


Catatonic Puzzle


Catatonic Puzzle


Catatonic Puzzle


Catatonic Puzzle


Catatonic Puzzle
This is called a Sculpt. It is where slivers of the puzzle have been cut away in such a way that the missing areas create another image. These are HARD to put together- edges and sides are no longer meant to be against one another so it's hard to figure out how they fit together. The effect of the finished sculpt is awesome though- it's the first thing people comment on when they see the finished puzzle.


Catatonic Puzzle


The finished puzzle. Aw, it even looks like Murderface a little... [tear]

Catatonic Puzzle