Friday, August 29, 2014

No New Knitting

I've been trying so hard to work on my current projects and not start anything new. The Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup (HPKCHC) term starts on the first of September and I signed up to be sorted again. Since I took a couple of terms off, I'm not sure if I will end up as a regular student which is fine. I understand that they are often full and cannot accommodate everyone.
The problem with not starting anything new is that I'm utterly bored with what I'm currently knitting. It isn't terrible knitting, it's lovely.
Handspun socks.
These are from the Stripes Kit from Gritty knits Merino of the month and I am loving how they are knitting up but knitting plain socks is plain and I'm not in the place where I love that right now. Plus, I knit a plain old short row heel and I don't love how it turned out. I need to rip back and do a different heel.
The only other thing that's a current project is my Magrathea shawl from Martina Behm's Hitchhiker series. I love it so far. I'm knitting it out of Gritty Knits nom in the colorway Cranberry.

What's better than a Merino/Cashmere/Nylon shawlette? Nothing, it's soft and squishy and wonderful.
I really like it but it's not a pattern I seem to be able to memorize so I have to look at the chart all the time and that means it doesn't work for some kinds of knitting. Even watching TV sometimes it doesn't work because I can't put all my focus on the show I'm watching.
It is so lovely (although it does need a good blocking, the edging doesn't look that great yet) and it will be worth it in the end but I just need to sit down and get some work done on it. That's the plan for this weekend. Along with the normal cooking and spending time with the husband of course.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Socks for Surfing, or Something Similar

Spinning has been thin on the ground since the end of the Tour. Mostly I just spin for a few minutes here or there, I think I burned myself out a bit; so I'm taking a break from any set goals with my spinning and instead spending a little more time with my knitting.
I made a deal with a knitting group friend to knit her a pair of socks for some yarn she traded me. I made the agreement at Christmas time and since it's already August, it was high time I got them done.
I chose some nice yarn from the Deborah Norville collection at JoAnn Fabrics and started knitting. I chose to do them toe-up with the Wendy Johnson Slip Stitch Heel, messaging the friend when I needed to know her foot length. The yarn is in the colorway "Surf" and I really think they came out lovely. The Superwash Merino/Bamboo/Nylon blend is just lovely and while it's not my favorite to knit with, it is a nice, sturdy yarn.

The socks have already gone to live in their new home along with my old wheel! This lovely friend is a new spinner and she decided to buy my Ashford Scholar. I had decided to sell it to someone who would love it like I did since I just don't use it any more. My lovely Schacht Matchless does everything I need to do in spinning so the Scholar was sadly neglected. It was a little bittersweet seeing my first wheel leave but I'm so glad it will get loved now!

Friday, August 15, 2014

The End of Another Tour de Fleece

This summer has been a little bit crazy. I seem to keep setting goals and way overdoing my commitment to them. I set high goals for the Tour de Fleece, expecting lots of spinning time and I did have lots of spinning time. But when you're spinning lace yarns, it takes a bit longer to spin them. So I didn't finish everything. 
I finished the brown yarn.
I'm really happy this is all spun and hopefully by the time the weather turns colder, I'll be ready to knit it into something sturdy for the cold.
Then I worked on some of my other TdF goals. I got pretty far on some things.

I finished the Gritty Knits Rambouillet in La Grande Boucle and I finished the Cloudlover Organic Polwarth/Silk in Artemis. I also finished the Cloudlover Merino in Peacock.
Overall I'm decently happy with my finished products and I just need to get them washed and thwacked so I can knit lovely things with them.
Meanwhile, I've started a couple of new projects and I'm knitting away on them (mostly ignoring my spinning for now) but hopefully that means I can get back to more regular blogging.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tour De Fleece, Closing in on the End

The Tour de Fleece continues and while I have greatly enjoyed our two rest days, I have been making great progress on my spinning too.
I finished my Cloudlover Merino in Peacock.

It turned out so lovely I can't stand it! It's pretty well-balanced too. Just barely a twist in the skein.

With 730 yards of two-ply from 4 ounces, it's pretty much a true laceweight as well. It isn't washed yet (you have to stop carrying it around and petting it to wash it) I think it will be even more lovely when the twist is set.

I had a hard time stopping myself from taking more pictures.
I've been working hard on my spindle spinning as well.

I really wanted to focus on my spindling this tour. I'm spinning Cloudlover Polwarth in Haunted Vineyard on the Turkish spindle and I'm filling it for the third time. It seems like it's progressing well. Partly because I take it with me everywhere and spin whenever I have a minute. The small size is so great for that.
Next to it is the Spinsanity spindle that I'm spinning Gritty Knits Merino in the April 2010 club colorway. I love it but progress is slow and I haven't focused as much of my spindling time on this spindle.
To the right is the Russian spindle with the Cloudlover Rambouillet in Iris on it. I have filled the spindle once and I'm working on it more. I really would like to enjoy supported spindling and do well at it but some days it goes well and I love it, some days it is a struggle and lately it has felt like more of a struggle than anything. I love the fiber though so I keep plugging away.
I've also been spending time spinning on my wheel.

I just love my Schacht Matchless and the only thing I don't love about it is how heavy it is if you want to take it somewhere. On the left is the fist bobbin of Cloudlover Organic Polwarth/Silk in Artemis. It's so shiny and sleek (and a bit slippery to spin) on the right is the Gritty Knits Rambouillet in La Grande Boucle. I finished the first half of the Artemis last night so I decided to work on the La Grande Boucle and I have to say switching from a sleek, shiny, slippery spin into a bouncy, crimpy spin was a challenge but they're both so beautiful!
I've really been neglecting my knitting the last few weeks and focusing on the tour spinning but did start a new project with handspun on the rest days. I'll save that for next week.
Have a great weekend and if you're doing the Tour de Fleece; Spin fast! We're almost to the finish line!!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Tour de Fleece 2014

Last week sort of got away from me. Sorry about that. This week we're already to Tuesday though and Tuesdays are for spinning. Since it's the Tour de Fleece I figured I should at least post something here about my goals for the Tour.
I laid out all the fiber I'd like to spin.

At the top, on the bobbins is some coarse brown wool I've had for a couple of years. I've been spinning it into a traditional 3-ply for a sweater and I have had it partly finished for so long. I decided my very first goal was to finally finish it.
Below that, starting on the left, the peachy fiber is Merino/Bamboo from Zarzuela's Fibers (sadly no longer dyeing) To the right of that is the Gritty Knits Tour de Fleece colorway La Grande Boucle on Rambouillet. Then Cloudlover Organic Polwarth/Silk in Artemis. On the far right is Cloudlover Merino in Peacock. I had started it on a spindle and I'd like to finish it but I'll be doing it on the wheel.
Then in the front on the left is Cloudlover Rambouillet in Iris on my Russian Spindle. It was also already started and I'm planning to keep working on it. Then to the right of that is some Gritty Knits Merino from the Merino of the Month club way back in April of 2010! I'm working on it on a spindle as well. I really like how it's coming out so I plan to keep working on it.
At the last minute I also decided to add;

This Cloudlover Polwarth in Haunted Vineyard from the Knitgirllls SAL/KAL.
My main goals though are just to keep working on all these things, every day of the tour and make some progress.
The first thing I did was finish the coarse brown wool.

On the first day I filled 3 bobbins with the last of it and plied it up into yarn the next day. (Just the 3 in the front) It's all finished and I'm so glad. To be honest, I kinda hate it now so I don't know that I will knit with it very soon. As a matter of fact, I may just sell it.

I'm making okay progress on the other things though but sadly slowly because my spinning time the last couple of days has been seriously cut short.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Learning Experience (or Not)

The other day I was knitting away on my handspun socks.

They had a heel and I was working up the leg and enjoying the feel of knitting with handspun (as one does) and I noticed something. I noticed that the foot looked long. It looked too long really, I started to get a sinking feeling. I look at it, I held it up to my foot. I looked at it some more. I thought about the gauge I had checked and the math I had done to check on when to start the gusset increases. I decided to try it out. I pulled the needles out and pulled the sock on my foot. There was over an inch of sock flapping at my toes. Way too big.
I really don't know what happened. I measured gauge in a couple of places (partly because it's handspun and might be a little different here and there) I figured out how many increases I would need to do and how many rounds that would take. I added in a bit for the actual heel turn and away I went. I did actual math. They still didn't work.
To me, that's part of the trouble with toe-up socks. You don't know that it isn't right until the heel is actually done. At that point it's so demoralizing to have to rip back. I decided these needed a good, long time out. So then, this happened.

Yup, ripped out entirely. I'll reskein the yarn and wash it and then maybe I'll think about winding it and casting on again but maybe top-down this time. No sense getting all crazy again.
I also heard the other day that it's six months to Christmas. That caused me to do this (after ripping the handspun sock).

I'm not too sure who these will go to yet. I was thinking my stepdad but now I'm not sure. Is this too, uh, girlie? Time will tell. Please note: I obviously didn't learn from being frustrated with the other toe-up socks. These are toe-up too.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Molly Ringworm Socks

This week has been busy and full but very good too. My darling cat came home so I've been enjoying lots of furry snuggles and knitting plain, simple things. As evidenced by these purse socks that got finished.

Normally Tuesdays are for spinning but all I've really been doing for spinning is getting in a little practice with my spindles before the Tour de Fleece starts and the progress is slow going on those.
So, back to the socks. I started them some time ago and while they're just plain socks, they didn't actually spend a whole lot of time in my purse, which is why it took me so long to finish them. The purse spot was being held by my Vesper Smoke on the Water socks for a long time and only when they were finally finished did these fall into place.
The yarn is an absolutely beautiful 80 Superwash Merino/10 Cashmere/10 Nylon blend from Ethereal Fibers in her Autocorrect series and it's called; Molly Ringworm. I love all the colors in it although I'm not too sure about the way the colors lined up with my stitch count but they're lovely, soft socks and I can't wait for it to be cold enough for me to actually need socks again. (Although, I don't want it to come too soon!)
I did a plain top-down sock with these and worked an eye of partridge heel and decided to change up the toe and did a round toe rather than a flat toe. I wanted to see how it would fit. Except for this brief modeling session, I haven't worn them though so time will tell if the round toe is a new favorite.

When these lovely socks were done I decided to opt for sanity and pull out a languishing UFO to finish rather than start something new. So I dug out some lovely handspun socks I had started a long time back and I've been working steadily away on them.

Look, this one has a heel now! This is 100% Merino from Gritty Knits but I spun it and plied it very tightly so I'm not too worried about wear. To give you an idea of this yarn, I'm knitting with US 1s (2.25 mm) and it's chain-plied yarn. It's very fine. They're a joy to knit (isn't it always a joy to knit with your handspun?) so I'm enjoying them immensely.