Posted in Completed Projects, Current Projects, Spinning

An Update with a FO

I can’t believe it’s the end of April already. It feels like it’s been longer and shorter then that since I last blogged early in the month. Two weeks ago I started taking two college courses in addition to working full time. Needless to say, that leaves me very little time to do much else aside from work, school, homework, and whatever household and family responsibilities I have to fit in in-beween those first three. I feel exhausted just talking about it!

I feel like I’ve started and abandoned (frogged) and set aside a bunch of knitting projects in that time, but I’m fairly certain it’s not that many. It’s just my brain playing tricks on me, I’m sure! Hmmm, lets see. *goes back and looks at previous posts to see where she left off*

I did spin up the bright colored Masham from BohoKnitterChic I mentioned my last post. Turns out I’m allergic to it. QUITE allergic, in fact. Yesterday I tried to photograph it and it made my throat feel very itchy until well after I put it in a ziplock bag! While I was spinning it, it made my throat feel itchy and swollen, which is the same reaction I’ve had to some of the more coarse and sheepy wools I’ve tried to knit with in the past (which I ended up giving away because there is plenty of other yarn that DOESN’T make me react that way). Needless to say it has to find a new home with someone else who isn’t allergic to it and The Sheep’s Company Masham will be finding a new home with a local friend of mine as soon as I can remember to give it to her. The Expand Your Spinning Horizons is definitely doing it’s job. Masham is a hairy and corse fiber. It was actually rather nice to spin up aside from the bad reaction I had to it. I’ll post a picture of the finished yarn when I get one. I like how it ended up just as bright as the fiber pre-spinning! Sad I’m allergic to it because I think it would make a great outerwear item. Ah well. I’ve had a new experience I likely wouldn’t have ever had thanks to this spin-a-long.

As for knitting… I managed to get one FO for the month of April! A pair of socks. 😀 I knit these as part of the Solid Socks KAL (colorway: yellow) and Sock Knitters Anonymous KAL (literary themed) for the month of April. This is the first sock group specific KAL I’ve finished in a while! Knitting with yellow was definitely out of my comfort zone. I can’t actually recall anything that I’ve knit in yellow, ever. It’s not a color that I wear much, if ever, so it was fun to knit something I wouldn’t normally knit.

Nemesis Socks
Nemesis Socks

Pattern: Nemesis by Susan Dittrich (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: April 2, 2012
Completed: April 28, 2012
Yarn: The Copper Corgi Studio Fingering in the colorway Mac & Cheese, 2 skeins
Needle: US 1 (2.25mm) Knit Picks circular
Notes: When I started the foot of the sock after knitting the heel flap and picking up stitches, I misread the instructions and left out part of the chart on either side of the main pattern. When I got to the toe, I realized it wouldn’t line up to continue the patterning on the toe as instructed, so instead I knit a plain toe and did the second sock to match the mistakes in the first sock. Ah well, I still like how they came out!

I’ve been working on a number of different projects. I appologise in advance for having mostly iPhone pictures for this part of the post, but I figured if I waited until I got around to taking better pictures with my DSLR, most of these would be FOs and I wouldn’t have even talked about them here yet! (Much like the Nemesis socks above. Oops.) I have four shawls and two pairs of socks in progress. Some of them are now “hibernating” on Ravelry since I tend to only focus on 2-3 projects at a time.

Back in March, I cast on for TVG. I’m using Malabrigo Rios in Archangel. I haven’t made a whole lot of progress and it’s been hibernating since shortly after starting it, but it makes for a nice “mindless” project to pick up whenever.

TGV
TVG

The first week of April, I decided to cast on a shawl. I’d been itching to use some of the Cephalopod Yarns I’d purchased earlier in the year, so I cast on for Thin Ice. I’m using Skinny Bugga! in Leafy Seadragon. Here’s a picture of the yarn so you can get a better idea of the beautiful colors in this yarn since my iPhone picture really, really doesn’t show the colors well!

Cephalopod Yarns Skinny Bugga!
Cephalopod Yarns Skinny Bugga! in Leafy Seadragon

I’m working on the 5th stockinette section right now. I’ve been picking it up every so often and knitting a row or two on it. I think this is going to be a great shawl once it’s finished. This is really lovely yarn to work with! It’s been quite a while since I last worked with Bugga!, but man is it nice. 🙂

Thin Ice
Thin Ice

That same first week in April, I cast on for another shawl. I must have had a bad case of startitus that week! The pattern is Magrathea and I’m using handspun. The fiber is from Zarzueal’s Fibers (Etsy & Artfire). The fiber is targhee and the colorway is Emeralds. This stuff is super squishy and very nice to knit with. I can’t wait to have this one done! It’s going to be great to wear, plus this pattern will allow me to use up as much yarn as possible. A better picture of the color can be found here – it’s the two on the right side. It’s not quite as “warm” as this picture makes it seem.

Magrathea
Magrathea

On April 21st, I finished the first Bonnie and Clyde sock. (Bad Amy 80/20 Stripey Sock in the Bonnie and Clyde colorway) These are hibernating for now. Needed the needles to start another sock with just a bit more patterning then plain vanilla.

Bonnie & Clyde Sock
Bonnie and Clyde Sock #1

The details of the SSK KAL #5 were announced on April 19th and I cast on shortly after that. I knew before the details were posted that the KAL would be featuring at least Laura (aka LaLa) of The Knit Girllls since she had mentioned it in her Ravelry group, LaLa Knits. Since there’s also a KAL going on in that group, I’m double dipping with this next shawl and knitting LaLa’s Simple Shawl. I’m using Another Crafty Girl Twinkle Sock in the Lagoon colorway. Sparkly! Pretty easy pattern which makes it easy for me to pick up and knit.

Lala's Simple Shawl
LaLa’s Simple Shawl

And last, but not least, here are the Jaywalker socks I started this weekend (the socks I needed my US 0’s for – for the cuff). I’m using Bad Amy Splendid Sock (MCN) in Violeta Stripe (brown & purple). Mmmmm MCN. I think I love MCN yarns, though I don’t knit with them nearly enough. Very nice to work with and I’m loving the stripes in this pattern. A lot more fun then just plain vanilla!

Jaywalker Socks
Jaywalker Socks

I think that sums up my April for knitting and spinning progress. We’ll talk about my stash “progress” another time. 😉 What fun things have you been working on lately?

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Posted in Current Projects, Spinning

Spinning Update

Back on March 10th, a friend of mine, Karen, told me that there was a Lendrum DT for sale on Ravelry. This was one of the wheels I had pretty high on my list of wheels I wanted. As luck would have it, the seller wanted to sell it to someone local (in my city) and I had the funds for the wheel, so I messaged the seller. She still had the wheel available and we arranged everything so I could pick it up the next day. I was SO EXCITED! I met Barbara, the seller, at her house and picked up my new wheel on March 11th. Barbara was so sweet and a pleasure to talk with. She had learned to spin on a Lendrum DT, purchased one, then found that she much preferred spinning on spindles and decided to find her Lendrum DT a new home. She said that after corresponding and talking with me that she knew it was going to a good home. I couldn’t agree more! 😀

Lendrum DT
My new wheel!

For a few years now, I’ve had a Babe single treadle wheel. It’s served me very well in the time that I’ve owned it. For a while, I had been having some issues whenever I did some spinning on it. I’d always end up feeling a bit sore in my hips or knees after spinning for long. With my back issues, I wasn’t too worried about it, but it did mean that I’d often choose knitting over spinning even though I enjoyed spinning when I did. For a long time, I wondered if having a double treadle wheel would help with the physical issues I’d been having, so I kept looking at wheels and even tried a few out at fiber festivals. When I found out about this Lendrum that was for sale, I had been looking at getting a new wheel very soon and it was just luck that it all came together.

Since getting the Lendrum, I have had no pain while spinning! I absolutely love this wheel and look forward to spinning now.

The first thing I spun on it was this Shetland/fine wool batt from Sporfarm that I received in a swap some time ago.

Sporfarm "Seamist"
Sporfarm Setland/Fine Wool batt

I didn’t really have any plan on how I wanted it to spin up. As I was spinning it, it wanted to spin pretty fine and I found it easy to keep it fairly consistent. I did find it shed quite a bit while spinning. I kept having to pick fiber off me more then usual! I would say it was a bit of a sticky blend of fiber, though still very nice to spin up. After I finished the singles, I decided to two ply it. It really fluffed up after a bath and it is pretty well balanced. It was so nice to be able to ply it on the bulky flyer/bobbin and have one big skein instead of having to break it up. I ended up with 322 yards of fingering weight yarn.

Sporefarm Shetland - Spun
Sporfarm Setland/Fine Wool Spun

I haven’t done a whole lot of spinning since I finished that up. I had to take a little spinning break so I could finish up the baby blanket, but I’ve picked it back up this past weekend. I’ve been spinning Hello Yarn (January 2012 club shipment) BFL in the colorway Burnished. These aren’t colors I would have picked out myself, but it’s been fun to spin something that I wouldn’t normally go for. (You can see a better picture of the fiber here.)

Hello Yarn - Burnished BFL
Hello Yarn BFL in Burnished

Still debating on if I will two ply or Navajo ply once it’s finished. It’s taking a while to get through the first 2 oz, so there’s plenty of time to decide, but right now I’m leaning towards two ply. I’m planning to make a Lacy Batkus with it once it’s done.

It’s April, which means it’s time for the next fiber in the Expand Your Spinning Horizons SAL that The Knit Girllls are doing over in their Ravelry group. Friday I posted the hat I knit using the Moorit Shetland in Midsummer Night’s Dream from Unwind Yarn Company. I didn’t get a good picture of it before I knit it up, but you can see the hat here if you missed it. I Navajo plied the finished singles and ended up with 126 yards of Aran weight yarn. For April the fiber is Masham (also known as massam). I ended up getting two for this month and hope I have time to spin them both. I bought 4 oz ombre batt from The Sheep’s Company and a 4 oz braid from BohoKnitterChic. I loved the gradient batts from The Sheep’s Company and couldn’t resist the bright, fun colors from BohoKnitterChic! Even if I don’t get them spun this month, I’m sure they’ll be fun to spin up.

April's Masham
Masham from The Sheep’s Company and BohoKnitterChic

Always so many things I want to spin and never enough time in the day. 😉

Posted in Completed Projects

FOs: Socks, Hat, and a Blanket

It’s Friday which means it’s time to share some FO’s! I have a few of them to share since I didn’t blog much last month.

I finally have a picture of the socks I finished early March. The pattern was fairly easy, but did involve some shifting around of stitches for part of the leg. Aside from that it was a fairly quick knit when I actually worked on it and wasn’t distracted with other projects! haha 😉

Cadence Socks
Cadence Socks

Pattern: Cadence Socks (Ravelry link) by verybusymonkey (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: January 1, 2012
Completed: March 5, 2012
Yarn: Ogle Design Fiber Arts in Ruby, 1 skein
Needle: US 1 Knit Picks nickel circular
Notes: Followed the pattern exactly as written. Great free pattern! I think I’ll be knitting these again sometime so I have a pair of my own since these are a gift.

The 4th SSK KAL started in early March. I had just finished spinning Unwind Yarn Company Handdyed Moorit Shetland in the Midsummer Night’s Dream colorway. Since Unwind Yarn Company is also an SSK vendor, I decided I wanted to use the yarn I’d spun for the KAL. I had spun 126 yards of aran weight yarn (Navajo plied). One of the patterns for the KAL was the Robin’s Egg Blue hat, which I thought would be perfect for my handspun – right weight yarn and I thought the Shetland would make a good outerwear item. It knit up really quickly, but took me a few days to find a button, order it, receive it, then sew it on. I’m really happy with the finished hat and can’t wait to get some use out of it next winter.

Brown Egg Hat
Brown Egg Hat

Pattern: Robin’s Egg Blue Hat (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: March 9, 2012
Completed: March 12, 2012
Yarn: Unwind Yarn Company Handdyed Moorit Shetland in the Midsummer Night’s Dream colorway
Needle: US 10.5 Clover circular and DPNs
Notes: Added 1 inch to the “body” of the hat before doing the decreases to give it enough length to cover my ears well. I also sewed down the little button flap. Pattern didn’t call for this, but I thought it bug me if it weren’t secured. Seems more sturdy to me with it completely sewn down and I think it wears a little better (flap near where the button is sewn on doesn’t flare). The button came from Etsy from a shop called AskCheese.

My final FO from March is the Munchkin Blanket. This is a gift to a friend who has a baby on the way. I went with fun colors for this blanket and absolutely love how it turned out. If I were to knit it again, I’d likely choose a yarn that comes in smaller skeins so I don’t have so much leftover yarn. The construction of this blanket was great. Kept me interested and didn’t feel like a slog to get through. I spent last week working on this project. It went from one triangle and the start of the second, to a finished blanket!

Munchkin Blanket (front full)
Munchkin Blanket

Pattern: Munchkin Blanket by Amy Swenson (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: March 11, 2012
Completed: March 31, 2012
Yarn: Cascade 220 – 1.25 skeins in 1911 (blue), 1.35 skeins in 802 (green), 1.35 skeins in 1969 (purple), and 1.25 skeins in 821 (yellow)
Needle: US 8 ChiaoGoo Red Lace circular
Notes: Pattern instructions could have been more clear and next time I would take out that first WS row completely, but aside from that, I would knit it again. Actually thinking of knitting 4 and sewing them together to create a big blanket, then knit a border around the 4 squares. See on my project page for more detailed notes.

Munchkin Blanket (Folded)
Munchkin Blanket – Mmmm squishy garter stitch!

What have you finished up recently or hoping to get finished soon? Looking at finished items from others often gives me inspiration to focus on one particular thing I’m working on and finish it up. Many other times it makes me want to queue and cast on more things! haha 😛

Have a good weekend everyone!

Posted in Current Projects, Knit Ramblings

Progress… or something.

March flew right on by. I can’t believe it’s April already! I feel so behind with my blogging. I was off work last week (stayed home, just took some time off) and had planned to blog, but instead I mostly stayed off the computer and spent time knitting, watching TV, hanging out with Matt, and trying out recipes from America’s Test Kitchen’s Pasta Revolution. Ah well, it was a nice week off from work and I managed to get in quite a bit of knitting time. 🙂

Stashing down: I posted my stash totals for the first quarter and I wish I could say I did a little better. Speaking of which, I totally forgot to post my stash totals for February, so here’s an update on how it’s going in numbers.

February 2012: -950 yards. Total yards out – 6,965. Total yards in – 6,015. New Stash Total – 112,139.3 yards/63.72 miles

March 2012: +2,374 yards. Yards out – 1,540, Yards in – 3,914, New Stash Total – 114,513.3 yards/65.06 miles

For the quarter I’m up. I’m not shocked by this because initially I had a bunch of acrylic that I thought was entered into my stash, but actually wasn’t. Then I bought yarn. Wollmeise Lace (lots of yardage), other various skeins, club yarns, and yarn for a gift project that I didn’t have yarn for in stash. Plus I spun some yarn, too, which added to my totals.

First Quarter 2012: +19,058.1 yards/10.83 miles. Beginning total: 95,455.2 yards/54.24 miles. Ending total: 114,513.3 yards/65.06 miles

I think I’m going the wrong way!! Haha. Ah well. In looking at my stash, overall there’s not really anything I want to destash at the moment. That can change and has over the years, but I’m pretty happy with my stash right now. The thing I’ve tried to focus on the most is using stash yarn FIRST and really thinking about new purchases (Will I use it right away? do I have a plan for it? Will it just sit until I figure out something to do with it? etc). I’ve definitely seen some changes in my buying habits since the beginning of the year. For me, that’s progress! 🙂

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I spent most of last week working on a blanket, which I will show when I post my March FO’s. Made a lot of progress on that, but since finishing the blanket, I seem to be going backwards in terms of progress (and stash looking at the above totals!). This week I picked my Rocky Coast Cardigan back up.

Rocky Coast Cardigan
Rocky Coast Cardigan in Malabrigo Twist

But… there’s a problem. Since that picture was taken, I’ve had to join a new skein of yarn. I’ve tried multiple times, but every new skein doesn’t match up very well with the last skein used and creates a visible line right at the most unflattering part – the bust. Sigh. I really didn’t want to alternate skeins every two rows. Looks like I definitely need to, so I will be ripping it all out and starting over. 😦 I know I’ll be so much happier with it by doing this, but it makes me sad to have to rip it out and start over!

Seems like I’m on a roll with ripping things out this week because I ripped out something else, too.

Honey Badger Sock
Honey Badger Sock

After getting part of the way down the foot of the sock, I tried it on and decided it was coming out too tight for my liking. Bummer! I do like the yarn and pattern combo, though, so I’ll be restarting it on a larger needle at some point.

I hope to update on spinning and other WIPs soon. So much I want to share and never enough time! Until next time… happy knitting!