Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pretty pictures in the sun

As I was knitting away on my Meida's Socks this morning. the sun started shining on the knitting, and it was so pretty I had to share. This is my handspun merino that I dyed with Kool-Aid and Wilton's, and the color is really lovely. (More by accident than skill with the dyepot) This stitch pattern is so fun I can hardly bear to put it down. It is a little hard to see because my yarn is a variable in thickness, but that neat little cable is a four stitch thing that takes the stitch from the far right to the far left. In the non-cabled rows the two middle stitches are purled, so it is like two little train tracks going along and then cool.

And after knit night at Enoteca the other night I realized I needed at least one project OTN that was simple so I could knit and chat at the same I pulled out the Skye Tweed that has been sitting in my stash for a long time and cast on a vest with it..more about that soon, but isn't this yarn fantastic? I love the tweed flecks and the olive-ish color. The yarn is very stiff and scratchy, which is why this is a vest to be worn over a shirt. I don't think I could wear this if it were touching my skin. In fact it is a little bit hard to knit with.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Flame Wave Socks

The long saga of the Cascade Fixation socks has finally come to a satisfactory conclusion. I bought this yarn a while back at the LYS thinking it was really neat. Cotton yarn with stretch, machine washable, I could make some socks that would be real workhorse socks like those I buy at K-Mart. The first sock I made came out like this. I am sure you can see the problems, but let me enumerate them for you.
1. The short row heel is very poorly done. I am not sure if this was lack of skill or related to problem number
2. The gauge is whacky.
I thought that since the yarn was stretchy, I should knit it tightly enough so that it would stretch when worn. Obviously it should not stretch this much when worn however, becase in addition to the fact that it looks wierd, the individul columns of stitches hurt the bottoms of my feet.
Brief note of explanation. I have an inherited condition called Charcot-Marie-Tooth Syndrome which is a demyelinating problem with the peripheral leads in my case to orthopedic problems and six corrective orthopedic surgeries over my lifetime. At this point both of my ankles are fused into that 90 degree position and that is why my feet look so funny. I definitely need sock blockers! (For size 5.5 feet)
Anyway..back to the socks. I bought the Favorite Socks book from Interweave and it had a pattern for these socks using Cascade Fixation, so I decided to try using a pattern written specifically for the yarn. Much better.

The strange thing about the whole project is that the pattern is so subtle and the yarn so textured that you can't always tell easily when you've made a mistake. I made several and didn't correct them all, to be honest I didn't think I would be able to tell later anyway. Lazy knitter I am! So does anyone else have experience with this yarn? Do you machine wash it?
Pattern: Flame Wave Socks by Ann Budd

Size: woman's

Yarn: Cascade Fixation, cream, two balls

Needles: Size 3 Addi-Turbos

Friday, July 25, 2008

Beauty or the Beast

I can't decide about this color. It is from Wilton's copper color food dye, and I was hoping for a more coppery amberish color. This one is a bit too salmon colored. I took it to spinning night last night at Fiber Nooks and Crannies and Michelle loved it. I think I need to dye it again with a bit of brown...please weigh in with opinions or suggestions. I finished spinning this alpaca last night too. It is really soft, and overall is not as badly spun as I thought it would be. I tried to put a lot of spin into the plying after reading the Yarn Harlot's post about her tendency to underspin. I am pretty much a self taught spinner, so I gather up information where I can find it.
I also get many helpful suggestions at spinning night. It seems like there is no official right or wrong way to do many things, so I ask a question and get a variety of answers. Then I try what seems like it might work for me. Last night I asked how best to deal with this flyaway alpaca..and got the following
1. try misting it with a little water, or even a little baby oil
2. try spinning directly from roving without predrafting
3. try pulling it apart down the middle to get thin strips of roving
I tried options two and three and option three worked really well. I didn't have to predraft which eliminated the problem of the fiber fanning out and separating into tufts.
This would be much more clear with photographs..but I was too busy learning to document.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The hoodie progress

This should be an update of all WIP's, but since this is what I am obsessing about today this is what you get. I am almost finished with the first piece..I decided to pin it out to have a look at the time I finished the first skein of yarn. It is kind of amazing to me to have this much fabric from one hank of yarn. I am having brief periods of worry about whether I have enough yarn. I have four skeins. I just finished the first one. I still have a front, two sleeves and a hood to go. I tell myself that the back is the biggest piece, that I can always have a collar instead of a hood. I really want the hood. I am sure I have enough. Don't you agree?
I love this arrowhead lace. If you look carefully, which you do when you knit this for hours, there are multiple arrowhead shapes formed by the yarn-overs and the ssk/k2togs going both up and down. Neat stuff!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's Green!

This is the merino I spun a few weeks ago. I turned it green with lemon-lime Kool-Aid and a little bit of Wilton's icing dye.
There's quite a bit of variation in the color throughout the hank..but I think I like it!

Friday, July 18, 2008

BFL handspun

In my frenzy of spinning I have finally finished up the remainder of a pound of BFL that I bought off ebay about a year ago. This was really different to spin..the fiber was more crimped than the merino and had bits of hay and grass in it here and there. There were some places where the fiber had little tangles that could not be untangled. It seems more rough than other BFL that I have spun. I have quite a bit of it, maybe 400 yards..and I am guessing about DK or sport weight. I am planning to dye it, but I haven't been successful in finding good Kool-Aid colors in my local grocery store, so I may have to use my acid dyes. This isn't a huge problem, but it does make a mess, and I do have a curious 4 year old daughter.
Actually, the longer I look at this, the more I am liking it..maybe I can make a vest.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Projects in Progress

The Apres Surf Hoodie is coming right along. This is so fun and beautiful that I am working on it a lot. It is a good thing I am working on it a lot, because a fine gauge sweater with a lace pattern could otherwise be another never ending project (Icarus Shawl anyone?). The Aran Sweater is not coming along very might be sent to the zzz'x classification on Ravelry soon. I just can't get excited about a big wool sweater in summer which is unfortunate since this is for a friend in Australia where it is now winter..
And I have cast on the second sock out of Cascade Fixation. This project has been sleeping for a while also, but I really need to get some of these things done and off my list so I can do some new stuff.
And here is..don't laugh.. my potholder. A crocheted potholder no less. So how did this come about? I had a spool of yarn that I spun when I was just beginning and it was very uneven and underspun and there wasn't very much. I needed to get it off the spool so I could use it and I couldn't figure out what else to make out of a small amount of irregular yarn-so I crocheted a potholder. I did have some issues figuring out how to make a flat round disc..does anyone know a rule for this?
The most fun I had with this was dyeing it with Kool-Aid. There is a very helpful article on on this subject. This flavor is lemon of course!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Handspun Merino

I am so excited to have finally figured out what yarn pr0n is (thank you Urban Dictionary) and apparently Friday is the day when we post our yarn pr0n for the week. So for my inaugural entry I present my merino handspun. This is my best spinning so far. The fact that the fiber was incredibly smooth and easy to spin has something to do with that, but I am pretty pleased by the fact that I made a yarn that is pretty small when plied (haven't checked my wpi yet).
And while it isn't great is by far the most consistent and least bumpy yarn I have yet produced. I took it to spinning night last night, and Michelle wound it onto a niddy noddy for me (I need to get me one of those!), and I seem to have about 200 yards. Now to dye it...hmm, what color?

Monday, July 7, 2008

I finish and begin.

I FINISHED THE CAP SLEEVED SWEATER.I was starting to wonder if the day would ever come when I could block this and send it away out of my house. This has definitely been a love/hate knitting project. My mom picked out the yarn and the pattern, and it is very beautiful. I have received many compliments on the yarn and the pattern during the knitting process. However, the Royal Bamboo splits a lot. The cap sleeves look cute from the front, but the seam is a big indentation, which is ok for a shoulder, but not for a sleeve. The worst problem with this sweater is that the lower edge rolls up really badly. I ended up picking up along the lower edge and knitting four more rows of garter stitch to try to fix this and the tendency is still there. I am hoping for a blocking miracle! Photos of the FO on Mom will have to wait until it dries and gets into an envelope and travels to Arizona.

In other happy news, I started the Apres Surf Hoodie with my new yarn from BSG and it is so gorgeous I can't begin to describe it properly. There will be more on this later.....

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Minisweater

I finished the knitting on this a while ago, but it needed the button which I finally found. Today I once again forced my husband to the duty of fashion photographer. I like this sweater in most ways and it was really quick to knit. The bottom of the back tends to stick out from my body a little, maybe a few descreases before the garter stitch edging would have helped this.
I did some of the increases for the puffed sleeves, but not all called for in the pattern.
This is me trying for a non-smiling picture, which came out looking almost as strange as some of my smiling photos. The sweater also poufs out beside the garter stitch band down the front. This may improve with some washing and blocking.
I haven't figure out what adjustments I would make so that this would be perfect, but I do mostly like it.
Pattern: The Minisweater, aka the Boobholder - free pattern from Stephanie Japel, Glampyre Knits.
Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Wool 100% Merino Superwash, sort of a rose color, from stash
Needles: Size 8 Addi Turbo
Size: One size adjust to fit.
Alterations: Detailed on Ravelry-was not able to get gauge, she said something like 13 stitches/4" for a worsted weight yarn, and I could only get 16, so I recalculated for casting on and dividing. I also didn't do all of the decreases called for in the puffed sleeves. IMHOP-this isn't a pattern for a beginner, its strength is in the top down construction which allows one to knit it to fit well, it can be tried on as you go.