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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Two Down, One To Go

I've spun my second bobbin of Winter Solstice singles.
I've begun spinning the third bobbin of singles for this project - the undyed fiber.  Once again, I'm reminded that BFL is one of the most fun types of wool to spin!

Have a great weekend and stay safe!


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Let There Be Sleeves

Sunday Morning sleeves 
The real, actual knitting has continued!  (Versus the knitting that is completely, 100% autopilot.)  I'm working on the sleeves for my Sunday Morning pullover and they're coming along nicely.  I realize it's a bit ridiculous to be this excited about stockinette sleeves, but with the way my brain has dealt with this year's events so far, this is a major accomplishment.  Sometimes you've got to celebrate the little successes.

Here's hoping your day has a little success too!


Thursday, April 23, 2020

New Spinning

Last week after I finished the Celestial spinning I started a new spinning project (shocking, I know).  I had eight ounces of Blue Moon Fiber Arts 75% BFL* and 25% Tussah Silk in the Winter Solstice (light gray) colorway.  I had spun the same amount in a different colorway a few years ago and ended up with over 800 yards of three ply yarn.  I realized that if I spun this slightly finer (the previous yarn ended up sportweight) and added about four ounces more fiber, I could get a sweater quantity of yarn.  I found the exact same fiber content at Raw Fiber Arts Co on Etsy in an undyed creamy white so I was ready to spin!
Winter Solstice spinning
I'm spinning two bobbins of singles from the Winter Solstice and one bobbin from the undyed white and will ply them together.  I should get kind of a ragg yarn, which I think will be pretty when it's knit.  Also, I think I'll have enough for a sweater when I'm done, but it might be close.  I've finished spinning the first bobbin as you can see above.  You can also see the subtle sheen of the BFL and silk in the fiber.  It's been a while since I've spun BFL and I'm just loving it.  I always love spinning it and I feel like it practically spins itself.  I'm spinning it on the Flatiron set up with Scotch tension and the 17.4:1 pully (fast whorl, small groove) because the staple length is longer than the Merino I've been spinning.

Have a great weekend!  I was finally able to find some bread flour so I'm going to be making bread!

*BFL stands for Blue Faced Leicester which is a sheep breed.  The BFL's are the finest of the longwool sheep and it's next-to-skin soft.  It's also super easy to spin and makes a really nice yarn. 


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Actual Knitting

Sunday morning pullover 
Yesterday afternoon I pulled out the front of my Sunday Morning pullover and re-knit the upper section.  This was the section I had frogged back after thinking I was finished with it because I had messed up the decreases and dropped a random stitch.  It had been waiting for me to come back to it when I had the mental space.  I did it though!  I was fully caffeinated, the house was quiet, and I started knitting.  There were decreases (fancy ones), short rows, and counting of stitches.  The front is now finished and has been folded and put in the bag with the back.  Later today I will begin the sleeves!

Such edge of your seat excitement around here!


Thursday, April 16, 2020

Celestial Yarn

Celestial yarn 
I finished plying the Celestial singles yesterday!  Here's what the three bobbins looked like once I had finished spinning the singles.
Celestial yarn
I plied them together into a three ply and ended up with 545 yards.  It's a fingering weight again.  (I have a huge number of fingering weight patterns in my pattern library, both sweaters and shawls and socks and other accessories, so spinning a fingering weight yarn when I don't have specific plans for it just makes sense.)
Celestial yarn
I also ended up with a 39 yard mini skein of chain plied yarn.  You can see it at the top right of this picture.  This was taken before I washed the skeins because I didn't think they'd be dry in time to photograph for this morning (they aren't). 

The finished yarn reminds me of Elsa (from Frozen) or a Monet painting, if Monet was into sparkles.  It doesn't photograph well, but the finished yarn is soft and shiny (from the rose fiber) as well as sparkly (from the Stellina).  The rose also gives it a lot of drape.  I think this will probably be a shawl but I might try to spin something to go with it - maybe white or a solid.  Who knows?

Have a great weekend and stay safe!  I'll be starting another big spinning project - possibly another sweater quantity, but not as big as the last one.


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

It's a Good Thing I Like Knitting!

I've been knitting on my Nuvem.  It's actually all I've been knitting on.  My Sunday Morning pullover is still waiting for me to redo the top section (correctly this time, hopefully) and Caleb's hat is just hanging out.

I've gotten the Nuvem big enough to put on a single needle now, but I'm still on my first skein of Silkpaca lace.  At this rate, I should be binding off in about five years.  I don't even care though.  I knew it would be a big project when I started but it's simple enough that it's knitable right now.

There was a question about it last time I mentioned it because the pattern description mentions that there's no purling.  This is true.  You start with Judy's Magic Cast On and work out from the center, just knitting and knitting and knitting (and sometimes increasing, but mostly knitting).  Also, the pictures are just going to keep getting weirder because it's just going to keep getting bigger but will stay on this needle.  So, yes, I'll be blogging a dark, navy blue, laceweight blob for at least the next five years.  Stay tuned!


Thursday, April 09, 2020


Since the spinning fiber vote was tied I chose to just start with Fiber 1, Celestial from Bluefoot Market (which is either currently out of products or taking a break).  The braid weighed 132 grams and is made of 50% Superfine Merino, 25% Rose Fiber, 17% 25 Micron Merino, and 8% Stellina.  This is my first time spinning Rose Fiber, but it feels about the same as spinning a Tencel blend.
The sparkles are really hard to photograph, but in real life this fiber is amazing!
To begin, I unbraided the fiber so I could take a look at the color distribution.  Approximately one third of the length of the top is dyed in the royal blue, purple and orchid pink colors with no blue green at all.  The remaining two thirds are primarily blue green with bits of these colors leaning into white.  Since I want a good mix of color distribution in the finished yarn and I'm spinning a three ply, this made it easy to decide how to handle the braid.
I split the braid into thirds by weight with the first section being the blue and purples with the pinks, the second section is the blue greens with bits of the colors in the first section, and the last section is blue greens with whites. (Counterclockwise starting at the bottom of the above picture.)
Celestial singles Bobbin 1
Then I split each section lengthwise into fourths to make the sections of each color shorter and started spinning.  I'm spinning this on my Schacht Flatiron using Scotch Tension at the 15.1:1 ratio.  The Rose Fiber makes it a bit slippery, but as long as my take up tension is kept light this blend is wonderful to spin.  It's practically spinning itself!  I actually finished the first bobbin yesterday and will start the second bobbin later today.


Tuesday, April 07, 2020

English Rose

Malabrigo Nube - English Rose 
I finished my skein of Malabrigo Nube in the English Rose colorway!  This is 114 grams/ 430 yards of three ply, fingering weight yarn.  I spun it using a short forward draw without twist in the drafting zone, or true worsted.  I didn't do anything fancy for color management, just divided the length of top into thirds by weight and started spinning.  I spun it on my Schacht Flatiron using the larger groove on the Fast whorl (15.1:1) with the wheel set up for Scotch Tension.
Malabrigo Nube - English Rose
I loved spinning this, both the colors and the spinning.  Malabrigo has some amazing colors and I adore spinning them.  I don't have any definite plans for this yarn, but as it's 400+ yards of fingering weight, I'm sure I'll find something for it.

So, a funny thing happened.  Remember when I showed you three different braids for my next spinning project and said I'd spin whichever one the blog voted on?  Well, as of yesterday there was a tie.  A three way tie.  So today I will pick one and get started on it.  I'll show you which one I chose later this week.


Thursday, April 02, 2020

Knitting Again

A little over a week ago I was knitting on the front of my Sunday Morning pullover and over about a half hour, I made 76 mistakes.  This is not too much of an exaggeration.  I added random yarn overs in the middle of stockinette, I forgot decreases, I did the decreases wrong (the decreases in this sweater are super fancy and a design element), and basically spent a lot of time making and trying to fix mistakes.  I powered through and finished knitting the front though.  After putting the remaining live stitches on a holder, I spread out the front to give it a look and there, right in the front, just a little below what will become the neckline, was a dropped stitch.  I must have caught a wisp of the stitch because it hadn't continued running down, but this was something I'd need to deal with.  I stuck a stitch marker in it to keep it safe and put away my knitting for a while.  There was just too much going wrong in my brain to deal with this right now.  I could spin, so I spun and the knitting could wait until my mind had the space to deal with it.

Earlier this week I decided the best thing to do with the front would be to frog back to below the dropped stitch and re-knit the top portion of the front.  If it had been on the back, I probably would have woven in a bit of extra yarn to stabilize it and camouflage it and called it a day.  I have long hair, no one would have ever noticed it, and it would have been fine.  Being on the front, just below the neckline, it was super obvious.
Sunday Morning problems
I sat down on a sunny day when I was well caffeinated and found the decrease row just below the dropped stitch.  (You can see my bright green marker above holding the dropped stitch.). By using a decrease row for my pick up row, I could figure out which row I was on and still have a front that would match the back - kind of important for seaming purposes.
Sunday Morning problems
Using a smaller needle, I carefully picked up along the row.  (It's easier to do this with a smaller needle than the one originally used to knit the row.)
Sunday Morning problems
Now that I had a safety line in the knitting, I could start frogging.  I'm now ready to re-knit the top of the front, correctly this time.  I plan to work on this in a well caffeinated and alert state and only for a little while at a time.  Hopefully, it will go much smoother the second time.
Nuvem shawl
Just to verify that I could still remember how to knit, I cast on for a Nuvem yesterday.  This is my project for ESK's Q2 KAL and I'm using Malabrigo Silkpaca in Paris Night.  I realized when I was picking projects for this KAL that I needed something pretty simple.  (Have you noticed that most people on Ravelry are either knitting super simple and easy projects or complex, involved feats of knitting power that require 110% of their concentration?  I don't see a lot of middle of ground at the moment.  I'm in the simple camp.)  Nuvem is all stockinette.  Miles and miles of laceweight stockinette.  I've gotten started and fortunately, it's going pretty well so far.

I haven't forgotten how to knit!

Have a great weekend, stay safe, and wash your hands!

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