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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Happy Spinning

English Rose singles 
I've gotten two of the three bobbins of singles finished!  This is the English Rose colorway of Malabrigo Nube fiber (100% Merino).  The different pinks and rose tones are so pretty and happy and I'm really enjoying spinning this.  I'll start the third bobbin today and I really hope to be plying later this week! 

In other news, I might attempt knitting later today.  All the knitting I've tried over the last couple of weeks has been riddled with mistakes and stupid errors.  I've set it aside for about a week now, but I want to give it another try and see if maybe things have gotten better.  If not, I'll just keep spinning!


Friday, March 27, 2020

Just In Case You Wanted To Know...

...what a Golden Retriever looks like under 2,730 yards of yarn - here you go!
Logan and Fireworks
I finished plying the Fireworks singles and I've washed the yarn.  I ended up with 2,565 yards of three ply and a small 165 yard skein of chain plied fingering weight yarn.  I plan on knitting another Ambiente pullover with this and I've got plenty to do that.  Unfortunately for my knitting right now, I am making seriously stupid mistakes and messing things up so I won't be casting on anything new right now.  I'm figuring it's stress related.
Malabrigo English Rose
What I can do however, is spin.  I've already started another spinning project.  This is just a single braid (about 4 ounces) of Malabrigo Nube in English Rose.  Nube is 100% Merino.
Malabrigo English Rose
I'm just spinning this to be a three ply fingering weight yarn.  I have a lot of patterns for fingering weight yarn and it works well in this climate.  I thought about chain plying it, but then I decided just to do a regular three ply and let the colors fall where they may.  I loved spinning the Fireworks fiber, but I have to admit that I'm so much happier spinning a smooth single.  I embraced the texture of the Fireworks, but spinning evenly is where my heart is happiest.

When I finish this spin, I will do another small spinning project before I start another big one.  I thought I'd let the blog pick the next small project.  I'll show you the choices and you can vote by leaving a comment.  I'll give each one a number to make voting simple.  I won't add up the votes until I'm ready to begin the spin!

Bluefoot Market - Celestial
This fiber (above) is from Bluefoot Market in the Celestial Colorway.  It's Merino, Rose, and Stellina.  I've never spun rose fiber but I'm guessing it's similar to Tencel.  We'll call this Fiber 1.

Jakira Farms - BFL
This is from Jakira Farms and it's BFL.  It's a blend of white and black BFL so even though it's a single fiber type, the colors take the dyes differently and make it more interesting.  This can be Fiber 2.

Jakira Farms - merino/alpaca/camel/mulberry silk
This is also from Jakira Farms and its a Merino, brown Alpaca, Camel, and Mulberry Silk blend.  Soft doesn't really even begin to describe how this feels - like the belly fluff of a baby bunny.  Fiber 3 seems like a good name for this one for voting purposes!  (I bet you never saw that coming)

So just leave a comment and tell me which one you'd like me spin next and when I finish the English Rose I'll total the votes!
Logan and Fireworks
In the meantime, stay safe, wash your hands, and keep a safe distance from your neighbors.  Here's one more shot of Logan for you.  He'll be back on the blog more now.  He had to take a break from his blog modeling career because a certain little Tonkinese who hated having his own picture taken, had no problem staying just out of camera frame and taunting Logan shamelessly.  It's super hard to sit still and wear your mom's lace knitting while Max was doing the arched back sideways hop at you.  Max never got tired of taunting Logan!

Have a nice weekend!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Knitting With Handspun

Back in July I spun a Merino/Yak/Silk blend top from Greenwood Fiberworks in the Durango colorway.  I chain plied it to keep the colors intact and I've started knitting it up now!
Sockhead hat
This is the Sockhead Slouch pattern and I'm loving how the striping in the yarn is working up in the hat.  I'm making this for Caleb, and it's really flying off the needles because I'm so amused by the stripes!  Also, I used the Chinese Waitress Cast On for the first time and while it's fiddly and takes a while, it really looks good and I will definitely be using it again.  I'll get a better picture of the cast on next time.

In other news, I've finished plying the 3-ply skeins and only need to chain ply the tiny amount I have left now to finish the Fireworks singles.  I hope to get that done today and get them all washed.

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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Another Block

Sherlock block- Stoke Moran 
I've knit another block for Caleb's blanket.  This is my first block for March and it's an unblocked block.  I like to block them in pairs, so it will get blocked when I have the second March block knit.

This block has cables (which pull the knitted fabric in horizontally) and seed stitch (which pushes the fabric out horizontally).  In order to have something that will block to a square I knit the cables loosely (this was suggested in the directions) and I knit the seed stitch section using combination knitting.  I just tried to explain combination knitting but deleted the whole thing because it was just a really bad explanation (so bad).  Also, I'm not caffeinated yet.  If you're curious you can find information on the Internet.  I learned about it in Ysolda Teague's Little Red in the City book.  I use it sometimes in ribbing and seed stitch but not in stockinette.

Also, the plying continues around here.  I'm about halfway through and I have 1,250 yards of three ply fingering weight.  I'm hoping to get it finished over the weekend but I'm not spending all my time plying either.

Have a good weekend and don't forget to wash your hands (and them moisturize them - they're going through a lot right now!)

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020


Fireworks singles 
There's big news on the spinning front!  On Sunday I finished spinning the last bobbin of Fireworks singles!  Just to recap, this was fiber I bought on Etsy from BeesyBee - 65% Merino/35% Recycled Sari Silk.  The Merino is black and the silk is pretty much every color there is.  There are also some bits of metallic fiber in there.

Each bobbin has 128 grams of fiber on it.  I started spinning this on September 7, 2019.  I only finished one bobbin last year though.  Bobbins 2-6 were all finished this year.  The singles were spun worsted with a short forward draft with a goal size of 50 wpi (for the singles).  I say goal size because the nature of the silk waste means the singles were thick and thin - there was no way they would be perfectly even.
Fireworks skein 1
Yesterday I started plying!  I'm making a three ply yarn, so in the interest of balancing out any differences that might have happened between the first and the last bobbins, I'm plying bobbins 1, 3, and 5 together and bobbins 2, 4, and 6 together.  I've gotten the first skein plied, from the first set of bobbins (as full as these bobbins are, I'll probably get three or four skeins from each set).  I haven't washed it yet (I'll wait and wash them all together), so it's not completely finished, but this is 428 yards of fingering weight three ply.

Since I'm lazy and I'm not going to reskein and remeasure after washing (when you wash freshly spun yarn it tends to shrink a bit as it fluffs into it's new yarn shaped self), I only count 90% of the yardage I measure for project figuring purposes.  The actual measurement came out to 476 yards.  I started doing this when I first started spinning because my niddy noddy was actually 1-1/2 meters, not 1-1/2 yards, but as an American, I tend to think in yards, so I just ignored the approximately 10% difference and let it compensate for skein shrinkage.  For Christmas this past year Mickael got me the new Akerworks Super Skeiner*.  It measures in yards, so I'm just counting 90% of the actual yardage.  I've never gotten super scientific to figure out how much actual shrinkage there is, and I have a sneaky suspicion that different fibers and even different wools have different rates of skein shrinkage, but I've never come up short in a project by estimating my spun yardage this way either, so it must be working!

*Yes, it's expensive, but it's much easier on my shoulder than a traditional niddy noddy.  For a big project like a sweater spinning project, that could make the difference between spinning for a sweater, and still being able to knit it afterwards.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Another Pink Sweater

Sunday Morning pullover-back 
About a week and a half ago I started another sweater, and this one is pink too.  Also, it's knit in pieces (and then sewn together).  I can't remember the last time I knit a sweater in pieces, but I think this is the best choice for the yarn.

The sweater pattern is Sunday Morning, from Sunday Knits and calls for her sport weight yarn.  I've knit with her yarn before, and while it's lovely, I feel like her sport weight is very close to fingering weight, so I didn't hesitate to choose some Madelinetosh Eyre Light in Coquette Deux to knit this design.  The Eyre Light base (which I believe is discontinued, but who knows, Madelinetosh is in a bit of a transition phase right now) is mostly Merino, but has a decent amount of Alpaca and Silk in it too.  Both Alpaca and Silk are super drapy fibers, but neither has any recovery, so the seams in this sweater will help add structure to the sweater so it doesn't just stretch down to my knees the first time I put it on.

So what you're seeing in the photo above is the back of the sweater.  I've started knitting the front, but at this point I'm still in the lower ribbing section.  The back neck stitches are on a holder to be used for the neckband after I've seamed the front and back together with the sleeves, oh, and it's got raglan shaping, so everything will end in a point kind of shape.

If none of this makes sense, don't worry, just stick around and you can see the other pieces and the seaming.  Eventually, it will look like a sweater!


Thursday, March 05, 2020

Basically The Worst Blog, Ever

So I'm going to start with normal blog stuff and if you want to stop reading then, you seriously won't hurt my feelings.
Fireworks bobbin 5
I've finished the fifth bobbin of the Fireworks spinning.  I've started the sixth and final bobbin of singles now!  I'm all about celebrating the tiny wins right now.

OK, if you're not up for heavy, depressing, horrible news, go on about your day now.

On Monday Max had an episode of heart failure and we had to make the decision to let him go.  He was 8-1/2 years old and we had no idea this was even an issue when we woke up that morning.  Cats mask their symptoms and he had given us no clue.  He lived every day at 100% and loved and played with every single part of himself.  When we named him Max (Maximus), we nailed his personality.  Obviously, our household was already grieving and the loss of our beautiful, sassy kitty has just gutted us.  Mentally, I'm curled up in the fetal position right now.  We all are.  Logan is giving hugs and cuddles, but he misses him too.

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