Monday, December 31, 2007

No photos today, but updates and "Zebra Stripe Gum"

Okay, no pics today. Sorry.

1. Finished Hannah's slippers- felted and currently drying. I'll snap a photo of those before they're off to live with her.

2. Started spinning the Brown Sheep mill ends roving. Not sure if I'm loving it yet, but the second bobbin-full came out more even than the first. I Andean plyed the first bobbin, which was kind of a bust (as in "almost broke my flipping-off-finger in the process" kind of bust) in which I had to do half-at-a-time because my bobbin was FULL. Yeah, well, it's plyed. Not exactly pretty, but for a first attempt at a new technique, I learned a lot! The second bobbin will be spun from a center-pull-ball instead, producing (hopefully) smoother 2-ply yarn.

3. Super-Secret-Mystery dying/spinning project in progress. Let's just say 4 oz. of superwash merino has been begging to be dyed. Leftover Easter Egg dyes were involved. Dh's reaction contained the words "Zebra Stripe Gum," and it's drying now so I can't start spinning yet. :sigh: Probably once I get back from Chicago later this week, as I doubt it'll be dry before we leave tomorrow.

(Leaving y'all in suspense! Mmmmwwaaaahhhhhaaahhhaaa!!!)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Finished "Burrow" Socks

Both socks DONE!
On the needles next- I have a pair of socks using the leftovers from Sarah's Socks (below) and some Wildfoote in solid turquoise, just to use up some scraps. I have tons of other things I could work on (like that raglan- yeah, I forgot about that for a while!) while I wait for the Kauni I ordered. (Still stuck in customs-limbo...)

Feels SO GOOD to be able to finish up some projects without having them "linger," KWIM? Maybe I'll spin up some of the Brown Sheep mill-ends tomorrow. We'll see what kind of mood I'm in tomorrow morning! Gotta love Winter Break!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"The Burrow" Sock #1 Complete!

First sock knit from my handspun, Navajo plied "The Burrow" fiber from Spiffy Knits. Knit on Clover DPN's size 2, using Fleegle's pattern modified for a 2x2 rib on top of foot and up leg. Fits like a GLOVE and is currently drying on my new sock blocker from The Loopy Ewe.
These are pretty rugged socks! I can't WAIT to wear them with my Birki's, even in the dead of winter my feet will stay warm!

Alas, no action shot, but here debuts "Rona!"

Up first, fresh off the needles, is "Rona- Blob stage."
Full shot- blocking
Center Detail
Edge Detail
The giftee was my sister, Nikki, who gifted one of her first knitting projects (a striped purse for our Mom) this year. I completely forgot to get an action shot, but lets just say I think she was happy and maybe even suprised! (Considering about 18 months ago I sent her the link to the Zephyr colorcard and told her to "pick a color." She picked this, Elderberry, and Fuchia, which I *knew* I couldn't knit with for that long (without color-induced migraines!) so Elderberry it is!)

Specs: Yarn- Laceweight Jaggerspun Zephyr, colorway Elderberry, approximately 100 grams. Pattern, "Rona Shawl" from KnitPicks. Knit on DPN's and Circ's, Clover Bamboo size 3. Started in January 2007, finished December 2007, but marinated for long periods of time while I knit plenty of other FO's! Those last dozen-rounds are KILLLER, each round taking a good 90 minutes!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Still can't show you the F.O., but...

(Just a couple more days, and I might even get an 'action shot' of it with it's new owner!)

I *can* show you the socks I finished (in the nick-of-time, literally!) for our school's Media Specialist, Sarah.

Sarah always comments on my hand-knit socks, and for a couple of years now has bugged me to teach her how to knit. I'd be more than happy to, but she (like me) is always busy, and had decided back in October or Novemeber that she was going to put that idea on the backburner, and threw out the "how much would you charge to knit a pair if I bought the yarn...????" question we all hate to hear. (A fair wage for the number of hours spent? A small stipend on top of the yarn cost which is WAY more than most non-knitters expect? Not an easy question, especially when dealing with friends and co-workers.)

So, what did I do? Suprised her with a pair for herself. Her daughter was so impressed she now wants her mom to learn how so SHE can have a pair. I guess she'll learn how to knit anyway! LOL!

Behold: Sarah's Socks:
Specs: Yarn-OnLine Supersocke 100 Tropic Color, pattern by Fleegle. Completed and photographed at my desk on Wednesday, 5 minutes before Sarah came in for her afternoon shift. Instead of wrapping, I just cut a length of leftover yarn, balled up the socks, and tied a bow. Complete with a "Post It" note To/From tag. LOL!

What's up next?!
Tonight- I shall finish the second Convertable mitten, as it's been marinating too long.

Then- Emily's friend came for a sleepover last weekend and requested a pair of slippers, so it's another pair of FiberTrends Clogs- Bright green & purple! I'm thinking of reversing the colorway to make a mis-matched-but-coordinating set, as that's just the kind of funky girl Hannah is! LOL

Friday, December 14, 2007

One More F.O.!!!

But I can't post pictures!
(Because it's a gift, and I'm not going to give away the suprise! But, if you're on Ravelry, I'm asemumma- look for my most recent finished project!)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

First attempt at Navajo Plying! ("The Burrow" Part Deux!)

Here's half of the fiber spun super-fine on my Ashford. (Quarter for scale)
Navajo Plied on bobbin- a little over-plied and the irregularites in the singles are kind of amplified by this method of plying, but I think it's pretty good for my first try at a new technique!
Just for a little more eye-candy- on the winder (see all of the lovely color variations? LOVE how Navajo plying keeps the color sequences intact but still blends them well!)
And finally- skeined. (Once I spin the second half I'll soak and smack to set the twist!)

Teaser for later...

Imagine for a minute what I could do with this...
When I get home and can take some decent pics of my own... you'll see! Mmmwwhhaaahaaaa!

***Thanks to Colleen from "Spiffy Knits" (part of the "Tiny Lady Cooperative" group) for letting me steal your "pre-spun" photo! Stupid me forgot to photograph it before I dove right in there! LOL!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

One Convertible Mitten Done!

Problem is, it's too big! Well, it "fits," but it's too wide. Even though I got gague for this project, it's pretty obvious that this convertible mitten is too wide. Considering it's 100% cashmere, I'm leary of trying to felt it down a little for fear of ruining it completely. Now, I need to decide if I

a. Frog it and re-knit (probably not going to happen)
b. Knit its mate and deal with it (likely)
c. Knit its mate and gift them to someone with larger hands. (Although the thumb might be too short for someone else... while I didn't get width gague, the thumb (knitted to the pattern) is almost too short for ME! Of course, I could always rip that back a bit and knit it longer...)

Decisions, decisions!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Top is the first skein of "Hippy Guts," bottom is the final (of 5) skeins. Gonna have trouble working these into one project, given the different gagues! LOL! Oh well, good problem to have, I suppose!
Next up is either some white-and-brown mill ends I bought off of Ravelry or a gorgeous braid of "The Burrow" I bought from... where else... Ravelry. It's an addiction, I tell 'ya!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

"Honey- It looks like a hippy BLEW UP!"

Yep, that's my hubby's reaction to my newest batch of fiber. LOL!

Specs: Lorna's Laces Roving in "Rainbow," total weight 10 ounces.

First, I split the whole bundle down the middle into two (roughly equal) "bumps."
Emily assisted with the splitting, and while we were working on that, my husband walked in and said the title quote, which put dear Emily on the floor laughing.
Spun up 2 bobbins (a little too full, I found out later) of singles, with the color repeates slightly off-set.
Plied the singles into 2-ply, and here's about 75 grams of yarn.
I still need to set the twist, but enough for tonight. "Hippy Guts" it is. LOL!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

We have YARN!

Second full bobbin of singles- this one is a little bit better than yesterday. I'm finally getting the "feel" for the Ashford!
I ended up with 2 HUGE 2-ply bobbins full of yarn, once I finished spinning the singles. Off to the left you can see the mini-skein I'd spindle-spun before the Ashford arrived. I'm pretty close on WPI (just by looking- I need to find a WPI tool.... Lori... did you hear that?? How much for one made by your hubby? LOL!) so it should "mesh" pretty well. I'll skein it up tomorrow and set the twist, since I have to get some sleep for work tomorrow.
Oh, and I snapped a pic of the last half-bobbin of fiber before I spun it, since I totally forgot to photograph it pre-spun. DUH! Beautiful sheen, eh?

Life is good!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

First Bobbin-full

Here's my first (admittedly sloppy) bobbin of singles spun on the Ashford Traditional. Yep, she needed a good lube job and some adjustments on the drive band tension & brake tension, and the thick/thin over/underspun areas are TOTALLY my fault. I need to get used to wheel spinning again!

This is some merino/tencel I picked up at the Michigan Fiber Festival last summer. (Yeah, it's been in my stash THAT LONG!) I have a couple of bobbins worth to go, then I'll ply it (probably 2-ply, since I have a spindle-full of spindle-spun that I plied end-to-end, and I'm hoping the gague matches up enough to knit up a pair of socks or something with this, as it's not exactly going to be 'pretty' yarn when I'm done, being the first trial run with the wheel!)
After I finish this roving, I have a huge batch of Lorna's Laces in Rainbow to spin. Oh, the possibilities!!!!

My new toy! Yipee!!!!!!!!!

What's this I see? The UPS man dropped off this rather unusual-shaped and unusually-large box at our doorstep yesterday!
Hmm... intriguing. Bubble-wrap and packing-peanuts galore, and here's what came out!
Ta Da! She's my new (used) spinning wheel! An Ashford Traditional, bought off of Ravelry, from a lovely seller named Nikki (great name, but nope, not my sister Nikki!) who did an AWESOME job dis-assembling, packing, and shipping her to me quickly! I had her put back together within a reasonable amount of time, and there wasn't even any cussing involved! GO ME! LOL!
Behind her, you can see my great-great-great-(I'm really not sure how many "great's" but you get the idea) grandmother's wheel brought over from Norway. Let's just say my Mom can remember her grandmother spinning on it and telling HER stories of HER grandmother spinning on it. However, she misbehaves for me- the double-drive drive band just will NOT stay on no matter what kind of tension I set it at, and one of the maiden supports is gone, so I've rigged it up to hold up one end of the flyer and bobbin assembly, but it's more frustration than it's worth. Plus, about half of the hooks are missing and the half that are left are snagged and jagged. Refurbishing it would ruin the antique-ness of it, and would be Verboten by Mom. She may go back and live with Mom now that I have a functional wheel to USE!

Had a bit of trouble treadling my new Ashford last night, so I picked up some 3-in-1 oil and plan on giving her a good lube and seeing what she can do!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

TWO finished objects this weekend! Whoooo Hoooo!

First- the FINAL pics on the Peace Fleece Everyday Cardigan.
Get a load of those hand-painted buttons! (THANKS AGAIN, MOM!)
And I FINALLY finished Sam's Wonderful Wallaby, although now it's 80 degrees in October and it'll probably be a while before he can wear it without sweating buckets!
True to his big-headed size, the hood is a little wonky, but I think it'll all work out once the sweater gets a wash, as it's mostly cotton and will stretch out quite a bit. Here's a shot of him being his goofy self...

Then it was "Can I take this off now, it's TOO HOT OUT HERE!" Can't blame him, but he really IS happy that I finally finished this, since it's been "hibernating " in the "almost done" pile for months.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Peace Fleece Everyday Cardigan

DONE! Well, I'm waiting on the clear coat on the handpainted buttons (THANKS MOM!) to dry, and the final blocking of the sweater is still a bit damp, but it's DONE!
My mom is a FANTASTIC painter, and I sent the natural wood buttons that came with the sweater kit over to her with my gague swatch of the yarn, and she came up with these dainty little flowers that are PERFECT!

Now, if the ridiculous weather would cooperate! It's been in the 80's (yes, the *80's* in October, in MICHIGAN! Unheard of!) I can't wait for sweater & turtleneck weather, but I guess I'll have to wait a little longer. :sigh:

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Photo Update!

Peace Fleece Everyday Cardigan- all pieces DONE and blocking! YAY!

That's what happens once school starts.


I *have* been knitting on the Peace Fleece EDC! In fact, I have the back peice and the front panels done, and the sleeves (which I'm knitting both at the same time flat) are 2/3 of the way done. But, alas, I have no pics.

One of the coolest things is that I dropped my gague swatch and the natural wood buttons that came with the kit off at my Mom's place, and she's going to hand-paint the buttons to coordinate with the tones of the yarn. That "special touch" the sweater needs? COVERED!

A big reason I haven't posted much lately is Ravelry. I finally got in! YAY! But, it truely is the "black hole of time," and entering things into my 'notebook' there and spending WAY too much time in the forums and browsing other people's projects has eaten up a lot of time (and energy.)

The school year is well underway, with our fourth week under our belt. Things are going well, but with the Michigan State budget issues right now, and the threatened State government shut down, it's a bit (??) tense too. They've threatened to JUST NOT PAY the October 22 School-funding payment unless the State is back up and running by 10/16. Seriously now. Skip the payment? I can understand DELAYING it, which would be bad enough, but how in the H*%# do they expect schools to eat that much money when they've strapped us every year for the past (at least) 10 years?

Oh, and little man broke his arm on the playground at school during recess on the Monday of the third week. He's none-to-happy about missing out on critical monkey bars time, not to mention his gymnastics lessons are on hold until he's given the all-clear from the orthopedist. :sigh:

Monday, September 3, 2007

Peace Fleece Progress

I've been plugging along on the back piece of the Peace Fleece Cardigan, and now have about 17 1/2 inches done (it needs to reach 23 1/2 inches* to go on to the next step!) I think I've chosen that to work on right now because it's pretty mindless stockinette, and my brain is on overload with school starting back up and even the relatively easy Cashemere Scarf lace repeats are too much for me right now. Plus, I'm catching up on smut TV, and I can "knit-a-row/purl-a-row" without thinking too much, which I need when I'm in this kind of mode.

(*Yes, I'm fiddling with the pattern a bit. The size Large instructions say 25 inches, but when I measured MYSELF, I still have to admit while I'm a Large in girth, I'm definately not a Large in length, thus I'm using the Medium size length measurements and melding them with the Large girth. :sigh:)

I took this picture when I had reached about 9 inches, but I'm too lazy to take another progress pic, since it's basically just a bigger rectangle at this point. Once something interesting starts to take shape, I'll snap more photos. (Oh, and it's not BLUE as this photo implies, it's WAY more purple than this! With tiny bright-pink flecks too! Much closer to the yarn/pattern color below, which I took with more natural lighting. This one is way-off-color.)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Terrible case of Project Polygamy!

I ordered some Peace Fleece yarn (actually, a kit to make the Everyday Cardigan Sweater) and it arrived today. Like I need another project, but I JUST CAN'T HELP MYSELF from casting on a gauge swatch! It's "just" a little gauge swatch, right?

Eye candy

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cashmere Goodness

OMG! This stuff is like knitting with HEAVEN! I bought this scarf kit at the Fiber Festival (don't ask how much $!) and it is SO DREAMY to knit up! The pattern is called "Crest of the Wave" lace, with a garter ridge edging. I can't even tell you how soft this stuff is! The yarn is 100% American Cashmere, 2-ply laceweight from Rabbit Tree Farm.

Now that the Mystery Stoles are done, I need to finish little-man's Wallaby (it's probably 95% done) and a few other things, but I can't put this scarf down right now. I've knitted another 2 repeats since I took this picture a half-hour ago, and I'm seriously addicted. So, I think the scarf comes first (unless the pattern gets too repetative, which is a possibility) then finishing some UFO's. ("unfinished objects" in the knitting world! :tee hee:)
In the meantime, I'm dreaming in Cashmere!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Both Shawls DONE!

Black shawl is DONE! You can't see them here clearly, but this shawl has peacock-green shiny beads. (They didn't photograph well at ALL!)

1. Tip & body
2. Wing Detail
3. Full Shot
4. BOTH shawls! "Odette & Odile" a.ka. "Yin & Yang"

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Fiber Festial and ONE FINISHED STOLE!

Today was the annual Michigan Fiber Festival in Allegan. I was so proud of myself, I only spent an arm instead of an arm and a leg! :tee hee: Seriously, I stayed under budget, even though I bought a skein of cashemere (and pattern) to make the most lucious scarf, a new bag, a shawl pin, and some wool wash. NOT BAD considering all of the high-ticket items I had my eye on. What I really want/need is a working spinning wheel so I can take advantage of the gorgeous fibers they have there every year.

This year, I brought a friend, a fellow teacher (who happens to be the art teacher, so you can imagine her excitement upon finding out about said festival!) and we had a great time ambling from booth to booth, enjoying the eye-candy Angora rabbits, petting an Alpaca or two and watching a sheep-shearing. She got TONS of supplies to do some felting (which it totally new to her, she's trying this as yet-another-hobby like most of us crafty/artsy folks!) both wet felting and needle felting.

In other news, Mystery Stole 3- White is DONE!
Knitted, washed, and blocked! I bought a 1-inch thick 4' x 8' sheet of insulation (with foil backing on both sides, so it doesn't absorb any water) at the mega-home center yesterday. THAT was a trick to get in the mini-van! Thank goodness I was alone (and that I'm short!) since I had to fold down the back bench, both of the kids mid-row seats, and put both front seats all the way forward to get it in and close the hatch. I covered one side of the insulation with an old twin sheet (pink, of course, from princess' collection!) using duct tape and now I have a portable blocking board! No more mattresses for MOI!

By the way, the "Mystery" theme is "Swan Lake." According to the designer,

"First performed in 1877 as The Lake of the Swans, in Moscow, Russia, it was not an immediate success. The score, written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was originally deemed "undanceable" and too complicated for a ballet. Several revisions and rewrites were made of the score and the one performed with today's productions of Swan Lake is a revision of Tchaikovsky's original score by Riccardo Drigo for an 1895 performance.
The story begins with Prince Siegfried's birthday. He receives a crossbow as a gift from his parents and is told that since he is of age, he must marry. His response to this is to take his crossbow and his friends and go into the woods to hunt. As he sees a flock of swans flying over, he waits near a lake for the swans to land. As the swans land however, he sees that they are in fact women. He learns that the evil sorcerer Von Rothbart has turned the princess Odette and her maidens into swans. By day they are swans, but at night they resume their human form, only to become swans again at dawn. Some versions have the swan to human transformation occurring at midnight. Prince Siegfried dances with Odette and falls in love with her. He intends to announce his love for her and declare his intention to marry her at the ball the following night to be held in his honor. This will break the spell on Odette and return her and her maidens to their human form permanently.
The following night at the ball Von Rothbart (who has found out about the Prince's intentions) arrives with his own daughter, Odile. Odile is dressed exactly as Odette, but she wears black instead of white. The prince doesn't recognize that Odile is not his love and, not paying attention to the time doesn't realize that Odette is still a swan even as he dances with Odile. He declares his love to Odile and pledges to marry her. At that moment he realizes that it is only now time for Odette to regain her human form and that he has been tricked. Odette, realizing that she has been condemned to live her life as a cursed swan, drowns herself in the lake. Prince Siegfried, in grief, also throws himself into the lake.
The stole begins with the traditional lace pattern “Wings of the Swan” that I used in Leda’s Dream. Only one repeat of the pattern is made before it is split in half and continues up the sides of the point and along the edges of the first two thirds of the stole as a border. The large decorative motif that many of you saw as faces, insects, dragons, and other creatures in is merely a decorative motif with swirls and curls to fill the space. The honeycomb pattern is another pattern used to fill the space and not necessarily symbolizing anything in particular. The following motif that has a floral appearance is the traditional Shetland lace design “Cat’s Paw.” This design is usually worked as a vertical insertion, but I used it as a scattered, all over design in this stole in reference to a particular dance in the Swan Lake ballet. Le Danse des Petits Cygnes or Dance of the Little Swans is one of the most famous parts of the ballet. When Siegfried meets Odette and her maidens, there are several dances by the swan maidens, but this one is done by four dancers, each holding to the next one, moving in unison doing the pas de chat step. Pas de Chat means literally step of the cat, so using the Cat’s Paw lace design seemed natural in this stole. The final third of the stole is a wing. It obviously fits as the swan part of the theme, but the single wing with the more formal first part of the stole also alludes to Odette’s cursed existence as both swan and princess."

Okay, eye candy pics!

1. Done- unblocked
2. Soaking in Euclan
3. Full view
4. Wing detail
5. Mid section & join
6. Tip

I can't wait to finish the black stole and show it off too! (It should show up better against the bubble-gum pink background!)

Until next time!