Tangential Knitting

So I’ve been trying to finish the socks that I don’t like. It’s just the yarn, I don’t know why I just don’t like it. They should have been done weeks ago, they are small and simple. I keep trying to knit on them, and my little one is excited to wear them.

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Does this look like socks? I think it is a One-Row-Scarf I have modified to be an infinity cowl. It is made from my handspun, (Serenity colorway on Falkland from Into the Whirled) and worked up super fast since it was much thicker weight yarn than I typically use. Off to find the stripy Halloween socks and knit a few rows…

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Or does this look like the socks? I made this pattern up from inspiration garnered from work others have done. Garter tab cast on, three stitches garter on the edge, yo, knit to center rib, yo, k1, yo, knit to last three stitches, yo, k3. Repeat every row. I used Noro Kureyon sock, alternating between two colors. I’m happy to have it finished, for one because it has turned a bit cooler, and second because it has been hanging around since mid March 2012. I would have liked for it to be a bit bigger, but seeing as I only had a total of 3 grams left from both balls of yarn, I doubt I could have accomplished that. I need to get nice pictures of this some time. After I knit a couple more rows on my stripy Halloween socks…

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Ahhh! This looks like a sock! But not the Halloween socks I want to get done so I don’t have to do anymore. These are Firenze socks out of Miss Babs. I finished the first one, and have a few rows of ribbing on the second. I’m worried that they aren’t knit tight enough and that the 100% merino won’t hold up well when worn. But they look pretty. Now to turn the heel on some nice stripy socks…

If you see some black and orange and purple stripy socks, please let them know that they are the project I really want to work on. It won’t do to hurt their feelings. They are going to be loved after all.

Just not by me.

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Back to the Slog

So September started. And out the window went my knitting mojo. I do want to spin a bit more, but finding the time and an appropriate place has been hard lately. But the knitting!

I have 8 projects on the needles currently, and all of them sit in the corner silently judging me. I want to knit new things, but feel my own inflicted guilt of not working on these projects that I do still want to finish, but they have all lost their shine. I want new! I want a different challenge! I want stitches to just fly off my fingers so I can get them done!

The latest of these projects is my Vergeven socks. This is another knit-a-long that I decided to participate in, but I think the combination of yarn and pattern challenges makes them tough to keep momentum on. First the yarn is great, I love the first pair of socks I knit out of it, but I had a similar problem whilst knitting them as well. I’m not particularly fond of the colors, I don’t love the feel of the yarn, though it will wear very well. This just makes me want to knit something else, however I am punishing pushing myself to get them done to get the yarn out of my stash.

The pattern is not bad, I like it and it is simple in execution, but I am not as comfortable with toe-up socks, so I have had to fiddle with some of the details (also knit a kids pair, so had to downsize the pattern measurements), and then the increases for the gusset are not so easy for me to memorize so I have to keep looking at the pattern, which at some points is not feasible for me. I have finished the first gusset and am working on the heel turn now. Luckily I am making little kid socks, so theoretically they are faster to knit! (HA! Good one! Keep lying to yourself, I’m sure you’ll be done in no time!)

Stellar Socks!

Also during August, I completed another knit-a-long project. I know, who is this person that finished two projects in a month?! Where did she come from?! (If you see her, please encourage her to come back, I really liked her!) The dyer behind Another Crafty Girl had a knit-a-long for her yarns that spanned the month of August. You could knit whatever you liked (or crochet, if that is your poison) as long as you used her yarn.

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I only had one skien of Another Crafty Girl, in the colorway Black Star Star Clan. It sparkles! I have also been wanting to knit the Breaking Hearts sock pattern for a while, especially wanting to try the gusset shaping included in the pattern, so away I went. I finished even before I finished the previous shawl, which I thought was in danger of not happening at one point. Glad I was wrong!

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I LOVE these socks. The yarn is squishy and lovely. There is an interesting cuff detail. There are easily (for me) memorizable 6-row pattern repeats. Little cables that charmingly look like hearts. A textured heel and toe. However the most loved part of this sock is the gusset shaping. It cups the bottom of my foot and fits my high arches stupendously. I want to do more of these gusset shapings on my socks in the future, even on different patterns. (Plus sparkles! Never thought I would like sparkles, but I do! I do like sparkles in my socks!)

I will definitely knit this pattern again, it was a great knit.

A Unique Shawl Design Experience

Earlier this summer Heather of Curious Handmade fame decided to embark upon a new-to-me form of pattern design. This design was inspired by feedback from questionnaires posted weekly through her blog. Everything from texture, yarn weight and color, number of colors, and shape was decided by voters, and then the shawl was created from those criteria. For me, it was fun to see how my choices ended up being interpreted into someone else’s design. Then, over the month of August, there was a knit-a-long for the pattern Heather created. It was made easier to judge how far in the pattern you were by the percentages in the pattern that were already calculated by row! I kept up very well, and even increased the size of the shawl, still finishing by the deadline. (The pattern is called Curious Collective Shawl)

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(I didn’t have my camera with me, so I had to rely on my mom’s, which had a smudge on it as I discovered later)

I chose two green yarns, Ella Rae Lace Merino and Frolicking Feet, and despite the increase in size I still had a goodly bit of each left. I definitely want to knit another one of these. Modifications I did were to increase the pattern by 14 rows which were interspersed through the shawl, keeping the aesthetic and the designs uninterrupted. It gave me a shawl that covered to my elbow, which was what I wanted. I had 32g of the light green and 16g of the dark left (313 yards and 360 yards approx). Sadly, this is not my shawl, as I had a gift emergency and this went to my grandmother for her birthday, a nice round number that was celebrated surrounded by family. I finished sewing in the ends mere moments before we went in to start dinner, while sitting on the boardwalk.

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(This photo taken by my sister, who is the model above.)

If you go onto the Ravelry boards for the Curious Collective group (or under the pattern page) there are a number of color choices shown, some that I really would like to knit now. However I'm sure that this next shawl will be a while in the making, as I have many, many other projects that I am itching to knit first!

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Breaking the Silence

I have been doing better this year than the previous year in my canning efforts. So far I have peach salsa, tomato sauce, frozen green beans, garlic dill pickles, peach puree, apple sauce, ketchup, and a few different jams I have done. Some of the produce is from my garden, some from my mom, and some purchased at farm stands.

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I also managed to explode dough in my fridge!

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Still up, more apples (maybe try some pie filling?) more tomatoes, and more green beans!

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New Toy Review

I purchased a kick spindle from someone a month ago. What is a kick spindle? It works like a walking wheel but you spin the drive shaft with your foot or hand, rather than treadling like a traditional wheel. I didn’t know what one was until the middle of May, then in the middle of the stars aligning, I have now become the owner of one!

This one is created by Heavenly Handspinning on Etsy, who sells kick spindles as well as drop spindles, espinners, and wheels that they make. They use different types of wood and the woodworking they do on their products is beautiful!

So here is the first yarn I spun on the kick spindle, as well as you can see it in action!

 

This was fiber that was gifted to me by the seller, very eclectic in it’s fiber composition. The process of spinning on this wheel is mechanically different from other methods of spinning, due to the way twist is put into the fiber as well as the angle coming off the spindle. In addition, the coordination of my hands, feeding and drafting, was reversed from the way I traditionally spin on a drop spindle or a modern spinning wheel. After a short time I became acclimated to spinning on the kick spindle and could focus on my drafting technique. It was just as hard to get my spinning consistent as it was the first time I spun on a modern wheel, however I feel some of that is due to the nature of the fiber I spun. I did feel that the drafting lent it self much better to a woolen method of spinning than the drop spindles I use, and after I become more competent I intend to spin various fiber samples woolen on this spindle. I still am not as consistent in the thickness of fiber as I am on a drop spindle, although I do mean to keep practicing! I did not ply the first yarn on the kick spindle. I used a drop spindle for that, I am currently in the middle of plying my second yarn attempt, and I have to say I am not as comfortable plying on it as I am spinning. I have tried both pushing the fly wheel in the opposite direction as well as reversing the direction the kick spindle sits in front of me, and both feel a bit awkward. I am less than an ounce into my plying, so we shall see if it gets better.

In order to spin effectively, I found you had to anchor the kick spindle by using your opposite foot. Otherwise it slides around or can be pulled over. You need to keep the thread you are spinning at the correct angle coming off the hook and under tension in order to draft effectively. Your drafting zone needs to be out to the side of your body, unlike in front as in a drop spindle or modern wheel, in order to keep the spindle spinning as well as draft at the same time. Another thing that is different is the obvious, driving the spindle with your foot. This is more involved than a traditional wheel, and I found that the chair you use is much more specific than with the Lendrum I borrowed a few months back. The couch shown in the video is actually a little low for the kick spindle, since I have to lift my leg up in order to kick the fly wheel. In the video you see me continuously kicking the fly wheel, however it does spin longer now that I have implemented some tips I picked up from other places online.

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The final yarn produced was thick and thin, also very textured due to the content of the roving (merino, Falkland, BFL, bamboo, silk noil, sari silk, baby alpaca, border leister x romney locks.) I spun a 2-ply yarn 50 yards long, approximately a bulky weight.

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Since then I started a Polwarth/Silk blend, and I have been able to be somewhat more consistent. My drafting method for this was worsted, since it tended to slip out of my hand more easily and I felt I needed to give more control with my fingers as I drafted. There is still a wide variation in the thickness of the yarn and I have started plying it as mentioned above. I am concerned about getting 4oz on the spindle since it seemed fairly full with only two on it.

If you are interested in learning more about kick spindles there are a couple of other companies that manufacture them, as well as a Ravelry group (http://www.ravelry.com/groups/kick-spindlers) where they share their knowledge and provide links and information, answer questions, and share tips on how to get the most out of your kick spindle.

Sewing Bug

The past few weeks I have been thinking more about sewing, even though I had my hands on knitting and spinning, it was fiber in a different form that I have been daydreaming about. Which shows in my progress in those endeavors, which has been scant.

I finished a pair of Quick Change Baby trousers for a friend’s baby, using some cute flannel. These turned out very thick, I’m not sure how they will change with washing and wearing, but should keep him warm in those chilly times that are a fast becoming a vague memory.

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Those have been languishing for a few months, and they only got done because I didn’t want to change the thread in my machine again. I decided last minute that I wanted to make a cliché gift for my dad for Father’s Day, which actually turned out very nice! (Yes, this picture was taken on the seat of my car, which might tell you something about how last minute this project ended up being!)

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The pattern is from the Purl Bee, and I did not turn under the inner seam twice, causing it to be a bit wider which I liked better. I used tags my grandmother had to put his name on the back as a nice finishing touch. Even though I used a medium weight cotton, it was reinforced by the interfacing, causing this tie to have a nice weight. The amount of time to make this was very quick, only be warned that it is mostly hand sewing, so it will take time to give it that finished look.

Plans for sewing continue, as am ready to cut out pattern pieces to sew pajama’s for a little girl who is dancing around my lair as I write this.

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Random Thoughts on a Thursday

After a long session of following my thoughts, here is where I ended:

“Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a discussion panel in which the Yarn Harlot taught Will Wheaton to knit?”

Discuss.

Speechless

My husband has decided he wants to go with me to Maryland Sheep & Wool.

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Making the Cut

I had a lot of time today to work on my projects, and while I did work on some spinning that is in progress, none of my current knitting projects called to me. Instead I went for the shiny new things that I have been itching to cast on.

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First some self stripping socks out of Twisted Limone’s Spooky colorway. I have been wanting some simple stripy socks for me, and I added a small cable to keep it interesting. Totally from my head. I didn’t like the color in the ball, but now that I am knitting it I really like the subtle depth of colors and how the different stripes go together. Also, I figure I can finish these in time for Halloween, thus being able to say I have socks for that holiday!

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Second, I have been meaning to knit this scarf for Riley since I spun this yarn up. She asked me when I was spinning it if she could have something out of it, and mentioned she needed a scarf. I think she even helped spin a few yards by treading the wheel. The fiber is Falkland, dyed by Into the Whirled, color Serenity, one of the club colorways from last year. Pattern is the One Row Handspun Scarf by the Yarn Harlot. I’ve knit this pattern before, so it was one that was simple and came to mind.

As if I didn’t already have anything to knit. I am now ignoring my other WIP’s, and am considering a sweater. I was close to casting on today, but that might change in the next few!

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