Friday, December 4, 2009

Glovular Love

I've been knitting for 37 years now. I've knitted socks, hats, mittens, scarves, shawls, sweaters, vests, washcloths, ornaments, and tea cozies, but I've NEVER attempted to knit any sort of gloves. The idea of knitting all those fingers one after another just seemed too finicky for me. Besides, don't fingers stay warmer inside mittens?

This fall, however, I've been eyeing a lovely pair of gloves on display at Marji's Yarncrafts (knit by Marji herself). They're from Noro's book Mini Knits - "Design #27" The pattern calls for just one skein of Noro Silk Garden Lite. I bought the book and one skein of yarn, drove home, and cast on.

I was sure that I would make one pair, but ONLY one pair. All those fingers...all those yarn ends to weave pair would be enough.

Imagine my surprise and delight, then, when I finished the first pair in one evening! The pattern was easily memorized, my size 5 Addi Turbos were smooth as silk, and the colors of the Noro yarn were constantly changing in lovely, subtle ways.

So, one pair was just the beginning. I'm now working on the 7th pair of gloves! I can finish a pair in two evenings. The only problem I have with the pattern is that it claims to require just one skein of Silk Garden Lite, but I've found that I run out of yarn just as I'm starting the second pinky finger. So I buy two balls of each colorway.

Guess what a lot of friends and family are getting for Christmas this year???

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Look What I Made!

Well, I've completed two pairs of Yoga Socks (thanks, Yarns International!) for Christmas giving. Not very exciting, BUT I made them from my very own handspun! Go me! I'm very pleased at the way the two pairs turned out - the yarn is soft and seems to be balanced. Certainly better than the vest I made from the rescued (maybe shouldn't have been rescued?) single ply from years ago.

I'll be knitting several more pairs of Yoga Socks - but I'm not saying who they're going to!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Look What I Got!!!

Rhinebeck 2009 has come and gone, and what a fine time it was! Pam picked me up at 7:30 sharp - we arrived at the fairgrounds at 9:15. It was a cold and windy day, but the rain stayed away. A hat would have helped but we managed to stay fairly warm nonetheless. We hit ALL the barns, and my $300 was quickly drained as I bought (mostly) fiber for spinning. I did buy some yarn, including a hat kit, 5 skeins of "Sylvan Spirit" from Green Mountain Spinnery (along with their newest book, 99 Yarns and Counting), and some Shelridge Farm sock yarn for Nancy Bush's "Canada" sock in Knitting on the Road.

We were smart this year - had an early lunch of lamb ravioli and beat the LONG lines that formed by noontime. Later we treated ourselves to hot apple crisp with ice cream - yum!

Here's a photo of the fiber I bought!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Spey Valley meets Pine Star

I've begun Nancy Bush's Spey Valley socks from Knitting on the Road. The yarn is from Pine Star Studio, purchased at Fiber College in September of 2009. The colors are absolutely lovely, and the merino/silk blend is perfect.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Not Sure About This...

Here's the completed Abrazo Vest. I finished it this morning and modeled it for my husband. He hesitated for just a nanosecond too long - he doesn't like it. Actually, he doesn't like the yarn. Boohoo.

I guess I don't like the yarn, either. Though rescued from a life buried in the stash vault, it's unbalanced, thus it still skews.

Oh, well. I've got enough left to knit at least 2 pairs of Super Bulky Mittens.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Rescue Redux

This weekend I was rootling about in the stash - always a dangerous activity (I usually remember to attach a lifeline to reality but forgot this time) - when I came across several skeins of handspun. Handspun by Penelope, circa 2002??? Part of it was no longer in skein format, but was knit up into some monstrosity of a self-designed garment. The horror is that the garment was being knitted with - gasp - a single ply yarn. Nooooooooo, you say, but don't click the Back button yet. With my newfound grasp of the fact that singles are good for weaving but not so much for knitting, I yanked the skeins/balls/partially frogged garment out of the bin and proceeded to rescue - via plying - the yarn.Now, in 2002, my spinning prowess was, shall we say, limited. I knew so little about spinning...the tension band confused me (which way to turn the screw to tighten???), and predrafting - what's that??? Suffice it to say that the singles weight was a heavy worsted, and, now that it's plyed, I'm not sure if "Super Bulky" is descriptive of the rope you see in these photos.

Well. I'm now on the prowl for super super super bulky patterns. Or maybe I'll just donate this "yarn" to the nearest ship's chandler.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I have two scarves on the needles right now - both are somewhat lacy, and one is super easy (a one-row repeat - you can't get any simpler than that). The one on the left is a pattern designed by Marji Lefreniere, owner of Marji's Yarncrafts in Granby Connecticut. The scarf on the right is designed by Turvid. I don't know if they'll be gifts or if I'll be selfish...

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Again, it's still damp, but here's my second Dumpling Bag! I knitted the first one last fall and gave it away at Marji's annual Christmas swap extravaganza. I had enough of the same yarn to knit another, and voila! This is an EASY one day project, using size 11 needles and two strands of Noro Kureopatora. Easy to knit, easy to felt, easy to embellish.

I think I'll keep this one for myself!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Stripey Sock Yarn

The yarn's still a bit damp, but here it is - my attempt to create self-striping DK/Sport weight sock yarn! I purchased the dyed Falkland roving from Pinestar Studio - they had a booth at Fiber College. You're supposed to divide each of the two 2 oz. batts into two (stripping lengthwise), then spin one half from each batt onto the first bobbin, and do the same with the other two pieces. Then you ply them together. If you're careful, the singles ply together into lengths of the same color.

I'm very pleased with the look and weight of the resulting yarn. My only worry is that I have just 224 yards with which to knit socks! I guess these will have to be anklets...

I love to spin.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fiber Rescue

Two pounds of Coopworth lambswool has been rescued! I'm still not sure what the end product will be like, but here's what the roving
and the single ply
look like. The colors are pretty subtle, but they come to life when the sun shines in through the window I sit near as I spin. Mainly teal, but there are occasional touches of blue, light brown, green, and chartreuse. My hope is to have enough to knit a simple v-neck, button front vest.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I Graduate From Fiber College!

Located on the shores of Penobscot Bay in Searsport, Maine, Fiber College is a relatively new happening - 2009 is, I believe, the fourth year of the event. This was the first year I attended, having seen/heard of it last year, while visiting my parents, who live in nearby Stockton Springs.

The classes were held Thursday through Sunday, September 10-13, 2009, at the Searsport Shores Oceanfront Campground, right on Route 1 - easy to find. Unfortunately, being a working stiff, I could only attend on Saturday and Sunday, but there were lots of interesting-looking activities on all four days.

I signed up for 1) Natural Plant Dyeing, and 2) "The Gentle Art of Hand Carding" (love that title!)...both topics I yearned to know more about. Both classes provided lots of new information, but I especially enjoyed the hand carding class. I never knew that I'd been hand carding my fibers completely incorrectly...but now I know the secret of "gentle" carding, and I also know the difference between "woolen" and "worsted" fiber prep. (Woolen prep produces rolags,

worsted prep produces punis

- aren't you glad you asked?) Deb, the instructor and the proprietress of The Purple Fleece was friendly, knowledgeable, funny, and encouraging.

Of course, I also shopped - there was a "Shoppers Boulevard" which featured a dozen or so vendors selling yarns, knitting and spinning supplies, clothing, handmade baskets, etc. I managed to procure (surprise, surprise) lots of sock yarn, from two vendors - Pinestar Studio

and String Theory. Pinestar also offered some gorgeous merino and romney dyed roving - I grabbed some of that, as well.

All in all, a fine weekend - actually, the BEST part was the ability to spend time with my dad and mom. Not enough time, but better than nothing. We went out in Bonnie Jean V on Saturday afternoon, played the entire 13 rounds of Mexican Train in the evening, and had breakfast at the local coffee shop this morning.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Royal Colors

Here are the results of Monday's foray into dyeing my handspun merino 2-ply yarn. I used Jacquard Acid Dye, with vinegar as a mordant. Two colors, Aztec Gold and Burgundy - the Burgundy came out much more purple than I'd hoped, but I'm optimistic about how the colors will blend as I knit them.

I cast about for a decent pattern and finally settled upon the tried-and-true Broken Rib: 29 stitches, K2, P2 every row, on size 8 US needles. We'll see...

Dalarna Are Done

Nancy Bush's "Dalarna" Socks, from Knitting on the Road, are done! Knitted in Shibuii Sock in a sort of sky blue camouflage, they were a quick, easy, but none-the-less interesting sock to knit up. Another Christmas gift to check off the (too long) list.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Things I've Learned From Disaster

1. Regarding dye solution amounts, less is more.
2. Don't agitate dyed roving when rinsing, unless you really want to spend hours teasing apart 2 pounds of felted fiber.
3. Wear gloves when dyeing, unless you want your blue-ish/green-ish fingernails to scare the Kindergarteners - actually, quite a good thing IF it's near Halloween...
4. Record your dye solution formula (such as it is), because you never know if something incredibly ugly, e.g., 2 pounds of felted malformed dark green Coopworth roving is going to morph into something you actually quite like.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

28 Hours Later

Here is the yarn spun from Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club August 2009's selection. The colorway is called "Zombies". This fiber spun up BEAUTIFULLY - I was able to pull out just a few fibers to spin, resulting in, once plied, a DK Weight yarn (12 wpi) - the finest I've spun yet! Four ounces yielded 240 yards.

Not sure what this yarn's knitted destiny will be, as the hues are not "my" colors, but I'm certain that something lovely will eventually be born.

Now, on to some fiber dyeing!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

It's A Beautiful Baby...Scarf!

Today we welcome to the world a brand new, beautiful baby scarf, knitted from HANDSPUN!!! My first completed project knitted with my own yarn. Wahoo! Yes, it's chunky, not delicate and lacy, but it's my very own, and perfect in my own eyes. Though weighing in at only 8 ounces, this baby is long - about 78 inches!!! Great for keeping one's neck cozy in the midst of winter.

The original intent was to gift this to someone, but it's a wee bit bulky, so I'm afraid that the recipient might see that and miss the handspun, handknit, made-with-love elements. It'll keep Hartland Ziarniks warm.

Done in a free Ravelry pattern - "Easy Drop Stitch Scarf" - this knitted up FAST on US size 8 needles. Took just two days, really one day, given the fact that I worked from 9 to 5 at school yesterday, and spent half of today driving my younger son back to college.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Incredible Morphing Sock

I finished the first "Aidan" sock - cheating, as the pair is supposed to be knit simultaneously, but the yarns got all twisted and I got annoyed, so I abandoned the Simultaneous Ship and carried on with just the one.

This sock positively freaked out Zig, Abe, and Stu, as it looks like it would fit a very skinny chicken leg:

Fortunately, when slipped onto a sock blocker, it morphs into something that might actually fit a human being's appendage: Why so skinny to begin with, you ask? Well, the intended recipient has, to be blunt, skinny legs, and "normal"-sized socks are too loose for her. These socks are actually meant for children - this pair is the child's large size.

Sock #2 proceeds apace...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Finishing Up

Today I plied a cake of black merino into 120 yards of soft 2-ply. I purchased the roving from Enchanted Knoll Farm in Detroit, Maine. It's lovely, laced with sparkly bits and recycled sari silk threads. The colorway in Aurucana, named after a breed of chicken with iridescent black feathers. I have another 4 ounces to spin up. I think it'll make a lovely scarf for someone's Christmas gift...

Continuing with the theme of finishing things up, I completed the 2-at-a-time "Twilight" socks I started on the 18th. Knitted using Koigu - I think the colors look like stained glass. Very pretty. Another Christmas gift!

I just found out that I have to go in to school tomorrow - my unlimited hours for spinning and knitting are drawing to a close. But there will still be time in the evening, and if I get up REALLY early...?

Ruit Farm Coopworth

Just finished plying up the second half of one pound of natural white Coopworth that I purchased in July from Nina Ruit of Ruit Farm North in South Bristol, Maine. I washed it and it's drying - it'll need at least one more washing to get completely clean. Not sure if I'm going to dye it or knit it up sans couleurs. We'll see.

Given the damp we're afflicted with here in Connecticut, I wonder if the yarn will ever dry out!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rockin' Sock Blockers

I finally ordered myself two pairs of socks blockers - small and medium. They're from KnitPicks and very reasonably priced - $13.99 each. Here are the two most recently completed pairs of socks, drying nicely, thank you very much.

And it looks like...

this. I'm not too happy, but, on the other hand, I'm not too disappointed with the result. Just not sure what I'll use it for. I've washed it with Eucalan several times, but it still smells like fruit punch. I guess there are worse things to smell like. I am surprised that the Ice Blue disappeared - there are only tiny glimpses of any sort of blue at all. This is Corriedale, which isn't very soft. I imagine it will felt well.

Maybe a felted purse or pouch?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Kool-Aid Venture #2 - Mud?

It's too early to tell - the roving is cooling on the deck - but I think I might have just created the muddiest mud ever. Using Tropical Punch and Ice Blue, with a bit of Lemonade mixed in to the Ice Blue, and a indeterminate amount of green and blue food coloring thrown in for good (bad?) measure, I just nuked 4 ounces of lovely white Corriedale, quite possibly sending it to its doom. But who knows? Maybe it'll come out a beautiful shade of...brick? Blood? Madder? Burnt umber? Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Two For One

Yesterday I cast on for my first-ever "2-at-a-time" socks...from the book by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. A dear friend gave me the book for my birthday, and I finally mustered up the courage to actually try the method. After an hour or so of confusion and weirdness, I was able to sort out what was going on, and I have to say that I'm really enjoying the project now. Yes, it seems slow, but whenever I catch myself wanting to write down how many rows I did for the ribbing or the leg, I realize that I don't have to, because I'm doing the second sock simultaneously. That's a very pleasant feeling, indeed. I'm approximately 25% of the way through. Cool.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rock School House

Yesterday I gave a knitting talk at The Rock School House in Colebrook, Connecticut. A small group of friendly, encouraging women attended, and we all had a fabulous time. Lots of laughter! I brought lots of knitted items, with the intention of talking about different knitting methods(cabling, fairisle, mosaic, mitred, gansey, felting, etc.) and different uses for knitted items (tea cosies, framed artwork, holiday decorations, and, of course, garments of all kinds). Jean M. from Colebrook kindly sent me these photos - you can see that a good time was had by all.

By the way, the "model" in the photos is my dear sister Rebecca.