Dec 28
2015

Christmas spinning

I feel like I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can give away my handspun. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely useable, and it’s fun to share! This Christmas, two of our friends/staff got a skein of my handspun.

The first was 155 yds of bulky faux cashmere that I dyed myself – my first time dyeing fibre! I actually really love the faux cashmere; it’s insanely soft when not overspun. Unfortunately, in this skein, I got a little overzealous on the plying so it’s slightly overplied, and therefore not quite as soft. It still looks good, and hopefully the tighter ply will mean it’s easier to work with for Danielle – she’s fairly new to crochet, so splitty yarns are still a challenge. Here are the pics – from fibre to yarn.

1st ply 2nd ply

My second handspun gift this Christmas was for Sarah. I had planned the blue Louet Northern Lights skein for her, but her challenge for 2016 is to only acquire yarns that are local, traceable, and/or untreated, so I adjusted my gift accordingly. I had just picked up some untreated, natural oatmeal coloured BFL, so the timing was great. I really focused on not overspinning this one – no one wants wiry BFL yarn. It was a little tougher than I typically find BFL, so I’m not sure if it was the lack of processing for superwash treatment, or just that this top was more open/combed more thinly than I’m used to, but it turned out well in the end, I think. I lost a fair bit to sampling as I figured out how to spin it without it drifting apart on me, but in the end, I got 155 yds of bulky out of this one, too. And it’s not overspun! Actually, there are a couple of areas that are slightly underspun, but I hope it will be enjoyed nevertherless. Here it is:

100% natural untreated oatmeal colour BFL

Nov 9
2015

Spin, spin spin!

Things have been crazy since we moved to Dawson, and there’s been little time for blogging, but I have been doing lots of spinning lately, so thought I would start keeping a bit of a log here again. This first post will be a little picture heavy, as I’ll include some of my recent favourites.

This was the first major spinning project I was actually happy with. It’s just over 300 yards of chain plied natural Jacob. The “joins” of the n-ply are pretty visible, but less so than my previous attempts, so I was pretty pleased. I also learned that I really don’t love Jacob with this one, or at least not spun in this fashion. It did make a nice hat, though, and while it’s not soft at all, it’s not really scratchy either, so maybe I’ll make a pair of thrummed mitts with the remaining yarn.

This year’s Tour de Fleece was when I really got back to spinning, though. I finally fixed my wheel, and when I went back to it, was reminded how zen spinning can be for me.

I started out with these skeins, made from Louet Northern Lights wool top. I love the ease of drafting this stuff, and the colours look great, even just spinning end to end, with no colour management at all. The first skein ended up being just over 200 yards of sport weight, and the second one is about 370 yds of DK. Still waffling on whether to keep one of these for myself, gift it or bring it to the shop.

I’m really proud of this one. While I’ve dyed lots of yarn before, I was always afraid of dyeing fibre (either of felting it, or having it drift apart). A friend recently started crocheting, and just loves it, so I decided I wanted to spin something for her. She loves and appreciates handmade gifts, so I was thrilled to find something I could make that she would be able to use and enjoy. She can’t do wool at all, so I tried my hand at dyeing some faux cashmere I had on hand, then spinning it. I dyed one braid in a lighter blue with lots of white, and a second in a darker blue with a little white, then plied them together. At 140 yards for a 170 gram skein, it’s not nearly as much yardage as I had hoped. I guess I squished a lot of air out as I spun, so it’s super dense (170 grams, and 140 yards but it’s somewhere between aran and bulky weight). It turned out fairly well, though, so I think she’ll love it.

This fibre was a Ravelry destash purchase. I had wanted to try Polwarth, so jumped in despite the exchange rate. I was disappointed when I got the parcel, as the colour was quite different than the photo I had seen, but still was excited to try the Polwarth. Until I started trying to spin it. It was horribly compacted and hurt to spin. I was a little shocked given how wonderful everyone said it was. I kept working on it, and in the end. I’m pleased with the results. The colour has grown on me, and my spinning and plying are getting a bit better with each new skein. This ended up being about 180 yards of aran-weight, so definitely a useable skein. I even bought some more Polwarth (which is beautifully soft and uncompacted, to try again).

This one was supposed to be cheap learning fibre, just to learn a new technique with, but I liked it so much, I decided to keep the skein. I wanted to spin a less dense yarn, and decided to try spinning woolen (or as close as you can get when starting with top). This was Cheviot I got on sale (less than $1/oz)! Given how rough and wiry the fibre felt, I was shocked at how nice the end yarn was. Yay for semi-woolen spinning, and not overplying! It made a huge difference, so I’ll definitely be using this technique for other spinning projects, too. The yarn is a super squishy, and quite soft, bulky to super bulky yarn; it actually feels softer than it did as loose top/fibre. I’m thinking it may become a hat.

And this one is my absolute favourite. I just finished it tonight, and I’m in love. I won the fibre in a Ravelry spinalong challenge – a 5.4 oz braid of Targhee, which I had never tried before. I think it may be my new favourite. It’s as soft and drafts as easily as BFL, but has much more sproing to it. Soooo squoodgy! And I love the colours, both in the fibre itself, and how they play together in the yarn. It’s probably my best yet, so part of me wants to bring this one to the shop, but I kind of want to keep it all for myself!

 

Nov 19
2012

Last Minute Christmas Knitting Project? Check!

I swore I wouldn’t do it again… and yet! Knowing I have to mail my gifts home within 2 weeks, I just started some Christmas knitting. At least this time around, it’s a small project for my niece, so there’s actually a chance I’ll finish on time. We’ll see…

Oct 6
2012

It’s a good day to dye!

We took over the roommie’s mother’s house while she was away and had a few friends over. It was a blast! We brought all our dyes and a bunch of mini-skeins of yarn, and told everyone to just have fun. No technical dyeing workshop here, just a bunch of friends hanging out over a some stock pots, mason jars and a microwave. Here are some of the spoils:

 

Sep 11
2012

The Day is Over!

Yes, you heard right! You’ve seen me blog about projects lingering in UFO status for months and even years. Not this time, though. I started Stephen West’s Daybreak shawl on August 20th. Last night, a mere 3 weeks later, I finished casting off!

The pattern calls for fingering weight, and I chose to do it in laceweight, so I figured I’d have to change it a bit to get a decent size. In the end, I made less changes than I anticipated. The patter includes three sizes, so I did the large size for the initial solid section. By the time I got to 12 stripes, which is how many are called for in the smallest size shawl, I realized it was getting to be a decent size, so I did only two more, placing it somewhere between the small and medium size for that section, then did the full large size border section. In the end, I got a scarf/shawl that is over 46″ wide before blocking, so I’m guessing I’ll have something in the neighbourhood of a 50″ wingspan in the end. And the whole thing ways less than 55 grams, so I can wrap it up under my coat as a scarf without it being too bulky. Yay!

What do you guys think: should I block it like this with soft points, or with a smooth, rounded edge?

PS: Forgive the bad photos; they were taken at night, with bad lighting and a flash. Colour is closest to second photo, though maybe slightly cooler.

 

 

Sep 2
2012

It’s a new day

Remember that green laceweight yarn I talked about getting at the stash swap? Well, I paired it with some black Malabrigo and began Stephen West’s Daybreak shawl, as I had dreamed about. The bad news? The Malabrigo is a lot thinner than the Knit Picks, so while the gauge was great for the main colour, it’s a little too open for my taste in the black. That being said, I decided to continue on, hoping that the Malabrigo will bloom a little after blocking it. It’s been slow going, but this day off thing is fabulous! I got tons of knitting done today (not to mention lots of Stargate watching), and it’s now over 30″ wide and 10″ deep! See?

 

Aug 24
2012

Stash Swaps

Have you been involved with a stash swap before? I participated in one in Calgary, and loved it, so we decided to host one ourselves this year. What a blast!

We took over the shop on a Sunday afternoon while it was closed, and gave everyone a table (or two, or three… apparently I have a large stash). It was all very casual, and we chatted and bartered and pet and squished and oohed and aahed, and it was awesome! I walked away with an entire vacuum storage bag less of yarn (yay for much needed space regained), a fair wad of cash from people who just shopped rather than swapping, and several new skeins of yummy yarn!

I finally get to try some Madelintosh Vintage, which I’ve been eyeing for a year now. I’ll need to find the perfect project first, but that was the trade I was most anticipating (isn’t stalking friends’ stashes on Ravelry fun)?! I also picked up several sock and shawl fingering wreight yarns. Lately, though, I’ve been in the mood to knit larger, simpler projects, so I also picked up a few skeins of Mirasol Sulka. I think the most surprising swap was probably 250 grams of bright tonally variegated green laceweight that I had originally traded with the roommie last year, and traded back for this year. See… I have this plan. I’ve had a vision of a bright green and black scarf or shawl. I’m thinking Stephen West’s Daybreak (or possibly his Clockwork). I may be insane for trying it in laceweight, but I don’t need a big shawl, so I think it will work out… and I can’t wait to cast on!

Aug 22
2012

Ribbons, Ribbons Everywhere!

Well, our fall fair ended a week or so ago, and I didn’t even update you guys on all the fall fair knitting!

Last year, we were sad as we walked around and saw very little knitting, and some categories with no submissions at all. This year was a different story! One of our knit night regulars lit a fire under us all to submit tons of projects, and it worked. There were about twice as many items entered, and most of them were projects we recognized from our own knit night! It was so fun to look at all the ribbons and prizes, many for people from our knit night, and even some from the new knitters we taught this fall! I won in the handspun knits category for the Amanda hat in my previous post, as well as coming in second for a yarny christmas ornament, but nearly every category was won by one of our ladies or gentlemen! I think the best part for me personally, though, was to see one of our regulars from knit night win the socks and mitts category, since we provided the gift basket for that one from our shop!

Aug 5
2012

I Spin, I knit… Something Else!

Remember that handspun entrelac scarf in my last blog? I really liked how it was looking. You know what I realized though? I really dislike knitting entrelac! I’m thinking I’ll hone my knitting backwards skills, and then try again, but for now the constant turning is too annoying for a project I wanted done in time to submit  in the fall fair’s handspun knits category.

So… time for a new project! Enter the trusty Amanda Hat (Ravelry link). I’ve knit two of these before, and loved them, and I was confident it would be fairly easy to modify the pattern to work with my bulky handspun. And it was! I finished it with enough time to spare that I’m planning on making two other small items before Wednesday’s submission  deadline. It doesn’t look like much right now because it hasn’t been blocked yet, but I’ve had so little knitting to show off lately that I wanted to show you. I like it, although I think this particular pattern looks better in the lighter weight yarns. That’s ok though. It will be warm, and I still have almost 100 grams of handspun left for another project (maybe the Sulka Bulky Hat). Anyway, here’s my very first handspun knitted project!

Jul 17
2012

I spin, I knit

In my last post, I mentioned spinning, so I thought it was time to show you some proof!

20120717-232420.jpg

It’s not great, but I’m happy with this giant skein of yarn. It’s 167 grams and about 420 yards of bulky, navaho-plied (sort of three ply out of one strand of singles looped on itself) yarn.

I struggled to find a project that would use most of the yarn without the risk of running out, and that I thought would highlight the handspun nature of the yarn. In the end, I went with a basic entrelac scarf, which is a technique I had yet to try up to this point. I love it!

20120717-233026.jpg

Jul 7
2012

Spinning!

Pulled out my spinning wheel tonight… Aaaaahhh! Every time I pull it out, I am reminded how much I enjoy spinning, and that I am stupid for letting it sit sad and lonely in the corner for months on end.

At first I thought I’d spin some alpaca and knit a project from it for the fall fair, but sadly, I have no alpaca. That’s ok though. I’ll find something for the fair, and in the meantime, I’m spinning some some natural very light brown/tan jacob. It’s not my favourite fiber to spin, but I haven’t spun in a long time, so it’s good to get some practice in on the more basic fibers to get my groove back. Then I’ll move on to some of the old favourites in my stash: a merino-tencel blend (love the staple of the tencel), or bamboo (my best spindle-spun yarn to date), BFL (so easy to draft), or Wensleydale (so… creamy… don’t know how else to describe it… but it’s a good thing). Or maybe I’ll try some that I bought but have never spun yet, like my camel down, or bison down, or bombyx silk, or merino-seacell blend, or cotswold. Or maybe some of the ones I’ve only played with a tiny bit like the corn silk (so fun), or … or maybe I should just get back to my wheel.

Good night! :)

Jun 17
2012

I Done Yarn Maths

I started this shawl (pattern: Vlad, yarn: Araucania Ranco) on Thursday and it is just flying off the needles!  Lace is a refreshing change from all of the baby stuff I’ve been doing lately — lots of mindless stockinette and ribbing, but not a lot of challenge — and I’m loving how the pattern is growing.

But I just hit the point where I should be starting the edging and I realized that I had a LOT of yarn left. As in, more than half of my skein. So I wondered if I had enough yarn to add an extra repeat. I know that edgings can take a deceptively large percentage of yarn, so I booted up my handy-dandy spreadsheet and went to town…

[SIDENOTE: I do know that the transistion chart isn’t exactly the same as the first 6 rows of the body chart, but it’s pretty damn close. I can easily drop down that middle stitch and turn it into 2 stitches instead, if I do decide to add an 8th repeat of the body chart.]

I figured out exactly how many stitches were in each row and I estimated that the bind off would be the equivalent of twice as many stitches as the last row (possibly a high estimation, but the absolute last place you want to run out of yarn is DURING the bind off!)  So, the pattern as written has 17,711 stitches and at the end of the transition chart you have completed 11,220 of them. Which is 63% of the yarn.  Okay, I’m definitely going to have a ton of yarn left over.

But, if I add that 8th repeat of the body chart, am I then going to screw myself over and run out of yarn?  HERE COMES MATH TO SAVE THE DAY!  If I add in the 8th repeat, the shawl will then have 20,951 stitches (which means it will take 18% more yarn than as originally written!) and I am still at 11,220 stitches. So that means that I have used 54% of the yarn that I will need to complete the shawl… but when I weigh my yarn I still have 56g left of a 100g skein, which means I’ve only used 44% of it. So Math informs me that I should be just fine to finish this shawl — and that I’ll still have some left over to do a couple of squares for my mitered square patchwork blanky.

Some days I forget just how much of a nerd I am. Some days I remember just fine, thanks.

P.S. Yes, I know it’s been a year and a half since I posted here. I am *so* good at this blogging thing…

Feb 4
2012

Finished projects!

That’s right, not just “the knitting is done” but actual finished projects! Granted, they’re small projects, but they’re done nonetheless. The first was a staghorn cable coffee cup cozy I knit up out of a tiny bit of leftover Bernat yarn from years ago. I actually finished the knitting part a week or two ago, but I only stitched it together and wove in the ends at this week’s knit night. The second is the first of my charity knitting for the year: a basic 2×2 ribbed beanie. I don’t have much heavy yarn (my stash is nearly all lace and sock weight), so I went to one of the local shops and picked up a skein of Bernat Jacquards. I’m not usually a fan of self-patterning yarns, but the colours and price both appealed, so I thought I’d try it. As it turns out, knitting it at a different gauge than it calls for breaks up the patterning just a bit – enough that I quite liked the results, and went out to buy a second ball! I finished knitting this one at knit night too, and also wove in all the ends. Woo! I’m on a roll!

Jan 26
2012

I rock the knitting resolutions this year!

Well, maybe not rock, but… I did start the first of my charity knitting projects for this year: a Just Your Basic Beanie (Ravelry link), and only after finishing another project, so I’m on top of at least a couple of my knitting resolutions! And I’m blogging about it, so there’s a third. Now, if only I could remember to take photos during the day so I had some visual appeal to my posts, I’d be set!

I promise I’ll post with pictures by this weekend… The days tend to get away from me when I’m at the shop.

These quick projects really are getting me motivated to knit more again – exactly what I’ve been needing lately. And tonight was our store knit night, and it’s exciting to see new people picking up new skills, too… I don’t know why, but someone’s enthusiasm over learning a new technique somehow spills over and reminds me of why I love fiber crafts. Our little group, which was often just 3 people last winter, is now often over 10, sometimes more. While it’s not as relaxing as it used to be (since we’re also running the store at the same time), it is so much fun! The enthusiasm I see in this group and in our knitting 101 students has rekindled my love of knitting in the past few weeks, and I couldn’t be happier!

Jan 21
2012

My first socks…

May they rest in peace…

I went to put these on earlier this week, and noticed a problem:

These socks – my very first pair –

now look like this:

I’m kind of sad… I didn’t love the yarn as I knit it, and was only moderately happy with the socks when I completed them. I wore them once, and accidentally through them in the dryer, but then, suddenly, they were amazing. They didn’t shrink or felt, but they came out so soft and supple, it was like it was a completely different yarn. All of a sudden, these “meh” socks became “wow” socks! And with that first heel especially, there’s really no point in darning the holes, since the whole heel is thin and worn and about to go.

RIP old friends… you will be missed…

Jan 9
2012

It’s a new year…

Time to turn over a new leaf… or an old skein. I don’t normally do the whole “New Year’s resolutions” thing, but this year, I’ve decided to take more time for crafts and blogging. I’ve also decided that I need to tackle some of my oldest UFO’s. To motivate me toward that end, I’m only allowing myself to start a new project once I’ve finished (knitted or ripped out) at least one old one. So… you may begin to see lots more photos and posts about old projects I started years ago. And a few new ones! Or perhaps posts about my forays into teaching knitting and crocheting, or even a few designs that have been stewing in my brain for a while. Mmm… brains! Well, that’s it for now! See ya soon!

Dec 4
2011

More Christmas Knitting?

Well, I was done my Christmas knitting because I had planned to knit something for the adults in my family, and buy something for the kids. I was skyping with ym niece this week, though, and I got this crazy idea that maybe I could tackle one more project before the holidays. Have you seen the “Hey, Mickey” pattern (Ravelry link here and Knitty link here). It’s adorable to start, but I saw better pictures on Ravelry, and it’s just too cute not to try and have it done before I go home!

So yesterday afternoon, I headed off to B&T to find some worsted weight purple yarn. I did some gauge swatches when I got home, asked my sister for some measurements, and today I’m casting on. I think I’ll do it in 2 colours, since perian had a ball of the same yarn in light grey that she’s willing to let me have, kind soul that she is! So, I’m off! Am I crazy tackling another knit Christmas present at this late date? We’ll see!

Nov 23
2011

Christmas knitting done!

Dad’s Toe Armour – now complete!

Nov 7
2011

A Christmas Sock!

One down one to go. Well, I actually finished this sock for my dad about a week ago, and started on the second sock a few days ago. Yesterday, I was happily knitting away, finishing the heel, when… horror! I noticed that my 2x1x2x2 rib was actually a 2×2 rib on the instep of the second sock!! Now to decide whether my dad would even notice, or if I want to start over to match the first one. I do like the look of the first… We’ll see…

Oct 25
2011

Mmm… Malabrigo!

Faking Sanity now has 100% more yarn! We thought we’d share this yarnie goodness on our craft blog. We have Malabrigo, as well as a small assortment of other sock yarns and a bit of laceweight, too! We’ll have an assortment of cool new needles and accessories in the coming weeks, but we thought we would tempt you with our pretty woollies in the interim!

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