Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Projects and Sheep and Wool

I finished my traveling socks.

Originally this was a top down sock, I didn't bother doing anything to the pattern, so technically it's upside-down, but I don't care - looks good.

I also finished a teddy bear. My husband asked if I'd make one for a co-worker who went back to Japan, who's wife is due this summer sometime.

Kindof cute - now it just needs to be shipped.

So, suddenly, the day before MA sheep and wool, I didn't have any knitting projects. I had a couple spinning ones, but nothing knitting. So I cast on something I've been wanting to do for a while. Using some of the yarn I spun last July I'm making a Rivulet Scarf.

Originally the pattern gives no gauge and uses sport weight with a US6 needle. This gave me such a loopy wide scarf that I ripped out the 10 rows or so I had done and dropped down to a 3. I did about 15 rows and decided it was still too wide. I actually dropped down to a large US1. That's the same needle I just used in those socks I finished. I think I actually hold the yarn and needles differently (looser?) if I know I'm not working on socks, because it still is loose and drape-y but looks like a scarf instead of a wrap now, which is much better.

With apologies for the bad picture, I am also spinning on the wheel...

A friend of mine bought this wool for felting purposes and now, after using some for that, is ready to not have a big bag of wool in her life (or house) so I'm spinning it for her in exchange for probably some house repair advice from her...or something.

A few hours down, many hours left.... but it is fun - as she had no specs in mind for the yarn, so I'm just spinning it the way the wool and wheel want it to work.

I also got my May Yarn Pirate Fiber. This time it's BFL in colorway Zephyr. Pretty. :) I really want to start it right now, but have too many things going on at the moment.

Ok, so the Massachusetts Sheep and Wool was this past Saturday. Since we didn't go to any fiber fairs last year I was really looking forward to it, in fact, I think the whole family was happy about going. We looked through all the barns and stalls and saw the sheep, and then started going back and making purchases.

Curly has been wanting a sweater - most likely a Wallaby with a hood and pocket. I was spinning some yarn recently that she's tried to claim (and I probably will use it for her too) but this bag should be perfect...

especially since it has purple and blue :)

I then went over to the Journey Wheel booth and bought myself a 'real' spindle. I have a big ashford boat anchor from my mom, a spindlyn and a small ebay spindle (which is good, but not very sturdy). I chose a Purpleheart Featherweight. It's only 17 grams (.6oz) and it spins forever!

While buying the purple wool bag I also picked up just one small silk cap from Fantom Farm. I'm spinning it now on the new featherweight and will probably make a small kerchief for Lily with it.

I wish I had grabbed a couple more... oh well.

My husband picked out two projects he'd like to make, both are lacy, both use fingering weight. One will be blue, and one will be green, both from Sliver Moon Farms.

He also decided he wanted to at least try spinning, so when we walked by the Spunky Eclectic Booth he picked up some BFL in a nice green...

...and a little turkish spindle.

He says that if he like spinning it will be his for good and I can buy another one sometime soon - and if he doesn't like it then we made sure that I also like the one he chose. He has dabbled a bit now and seems to enjoy it. So far he's using some of my mill ends white superwash (mostly the pencil roving bits) and he's picking it up pretty quickly...-

We also stopped at The Wheel Thing and got some fun tools. I haven't tried them out yet, but hope to soon

We also sat through a senior (teenagers?) class sheep show that had a variety of breeds and listened to the judging, got to watch one shearing, saw the winning fleece and knits and yarn, and the girls had a chance to weave - they now want to borrow a loom and do some more 'real' (not potholders on a peg loom) weaving...

To finish off the day I ordered a tiny bit of yarn for a vest and helped one of my friends pick out a pattern and yarn for a sweater I'll be making her (she did some sewing for me), so I have a bunch of things I'm working on, and a bunch more planned. Fun Fun Fun!

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Difference Between Cooked Noodles and Pretty Lace

OK, here's an in-progress shot of the shawl, see how it's all lumpy, bumpy... the stitches are pulling together so it's pretty small and looks messy?

That is why we let lace soak and then block it before it dries completely. Usually this is done on a foam board, with big pins and wires...

You stretch it out, pin it in place and then stretch and repin. If you want a soft block you might just stretch it once. If you want a hard block you keep stretching - first one side and then another - lace can usually stretch a LOT. Once you have it how you want it, you just let it dry. When you unpin it and take the wires out it might relax a bit, but it will still hold the shape and be pretty.

Once blocked you can see the empty space that makes lace look so nice.

Isn't it purty? :)

The shawl didn't take all of the handspun yarn, so I wanted to make something else with it. I looked around a bit and found a pattern I liked, and then did something completely different.

Not completely different I guess, but I did change a bunch for this pattern - some details are on my ravelry page.

This Mothers Day was pretty low key, but we did go on a family bike ride, since I got a new bike! I still need to put a child seat on it for the little guy - already ordered. The girls have been riding the past couple weeks to knitting time at the library (1.5 miles one way) while I've been pushing the stroller and walking. In anticipation of my riding too I thought I better get them used to carrying their own books and knitting. So we (they helped choose the colors) used my leftover Lopi and made these two backpacks.

Here's another shot of Lily's. She decided to have me make hers second, so all the bugs would be worked out of the pattern I was adapting.

I still need to sew on big toggles or buttons, but right now I clipped one of my stitch holders there and it worked fine (I just want them back sometime).

One of my birthday presents from my sweet husband was a 3 month membership to Yarn Pirate's fiber club. I got my first shipment a couple weeks ago.

It's called Sweet Pea, and it's already on my little spindle. I broke it into 16 little balls and I'm just working through them one at a time.

I'm also working on some Superwash I had ordered a while ago from The Loopy Ewe that I'm spinning up using my Spindlyn. Aside from those two spinning projects I'm down to one knit project currently.

That one knit project is my socks. I had gotten both of them past the heel (toe-up) and when I counted the cable twists they didn't match. I then compared them and figured and tried to make sense of it - undid the offending one and redid the increases and heel. I then counted - I had undone the wrong one. I then undid the other one and redid the increases and heel and they now match fine.

The other sock is just a pattern or two shorter, but now I can pick up either and just knit on them whenever. I have the four row pattern memorized, and it's very easy to tell which row I'm on. I'm just knitting until I'm a lot closer to running out of yarn (since they are using separate balls of yarn).

I'll keep working on these - but I will be starting another teddy bear and a lace scarf soon!

Slippers, Shawl, and Sock

One (or two) more catch-up posts and I should be good to go. I actually couldn't post these right when they were done because they were a gift for my Father-in-law (his birthday was the end of April). Since Webs has a sale on their Cascade 220 I used it to make a pair for me, and then bought enough for his slippers and some for my girls that I'll make sometime over the summer.

These are a lot of fun to make - I just have to pay attention to the short-row shaping.... I can't really put them down in the middle of a section.

I ran them through the washer a couple of times and then had my neighbor try them on quickly - his foot is a half size off of my FIL, so we thought they'd fit well.

We went the extra step and put the leatherish bottoms on them so he won't be slipping around (and hopefully they'll last a little longer that way). I hope he likes them!

I also finished my swallowtail shawl. I had taken a break for 3-4 weeks in the middle of it, and then another week or so while I pondered the nupps in it. I ended up doing those rows with the help of one of my little crochet hooks - it took a tiny bit more work probably, but it was a lot easier than trying to make my needles work through 5 stitches...

Here it is before blocking:

...I have a whole post for blocking and after that I will do right away!

I am still working on my traveling sock also - updates on that soon too!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

One Year (a month later)

Ok, so it's been a month since I started this post - time to let it out of draft mode and let it be seen.

My little Tomato is growing up. He's a year (and a month) old now. For his birthday I finished this:

Cute huh?

...I thought it was much more cute this way:

This was on his actual birthday - this is one of the first times he stood by himself.

He isn't walking by himself yet, but he is all over the place and he looks so much bigger already.

I did the sweater top down and it was a good thing I had done it that way. The first time I tried it on him it fit ok, but every time I picked him up I had to tug it back down. I went back and added a couple more inches to the body and it works much better now. He was willing to let me take pictures all I wanted, as long as I kept handing over some animal crackers (and let him take the hood off).