January 15th, 2010
I had said for years that I wasn’t interested in learning to spin. I enjoy too many crafts already - knitting, needlepoint, quilting and other sewing, I take photographs, draw and paint, and the list goes on. And once I start spinning, where does it end? I viewed it as a kind of gateway craft to dyeing yarn and fiber, weaving, or thinking that buying raw fleece and doing all the processing myself might be a good idea - but so far, none of those fears have come to pass. Last Christmas (2008), my fiber-loving aunt bought me an Ashford Turkish Spindle and two ounces of alpaca from Vashon Alpaca Fibers.
Apparently this fiber came from an animal named Clemente.
I jumped right in to learning to spin, surfed the internet for instructions, bought some wool top from Weaving Works, and made some yarn!
Not too bad for my first try, right? I discovered I loved making yarn but wasn’t sure if I loved the speed and motions of spindle spinning. I didn’t immediately abandon spinning completely, but I only poked at it for the following seven months… until I met Nancy in July.
(to be continued…)
January 14th, 2010
I love knitting socks for my friends, especially when they’re clearly proud of their handknits. My friend Ben sent me a message that said he was wearing the socks I’d made for him this past summer and that he’d received “two compliments so far today”.
Ben picked the yarn while we were on Cape Cod this summer and I knit him a pair of (11″ long!) socks. These are made out of ONline Supersocke 100, which I had never used before but seems to be another good basic like Regia or Fortissima Socka.
The pattern is something I made up so that the sock would have some give to it when completed to allow for a good snug fit but allowed me to knit most of each round in stockinette.
Shortly after finishing Ben’s pair I visited my friend Janie, who now has her own knitting blog at JanieGirlCrafts, and she was knitting her very first pair of socks out of the same yarn! I had knit her a pair of Primavera Socks (ravelry link) out of Patons Stretch Socks for Christmas/Valentine’s/winter last year:
Let me tell you: NEVER AGAIN will I knit with this yarn. It was seriously icky. I picked the color because I knew Janie would like it and the price was very reasonable. But the stretchiness in combination with splitting every few stitches really made me glad when this pair was over and done with!
The Primavera pattern is very likeable though - easy to remember, simple enough to show off a yarn, and could be knit up into socks for a man.
January 13th, 2010
These socks were knit and photographed last February - nearly a year ago now!
The yarn is delicious; it’s Silkie Socks That Rock in Haida purchased at my first Rhinebeck in 2008. And the pattern is my standard top-down 3×1 ribbed sock with garter instead of reverse stockinette; I’m sure there’s a proper name for this sort of ribbing, but I just can’t remember it right now…
These socks were very cozy and looked great with my clogs (pictured at the bottom of the linked post), but I think they’re a touch felted now either from wearing or from the washer as they definitely seem a bit shorter and tighter than when this photo was taken. I wash my woolies together on cold delicate cycle with a little woolite then hang them to air dry… shhh, don’t tell the knitting police! Maybe I should see if I can stretch them back out a little?
(link to Ravelry project page)
January 11th, 2010
Today I had the morning to myself to spin.
I set up in my favorite corner of my boyfriend’s house and enjoyed the sunlight through the windows in this chilly part of the country and spun up half my braid of Into the Whirled’s Pluck.
My spinning wheel lives at BQ’s house because his house is much larger than my 235 square feet and it means I always have something to do while I’m there if he needs to do some work or cleaning or whatnot. I’m not quite sure yet how spinning factors into my “knit 2010 yards per month” goal… or if it does at all!
January 10th, 2010
My last yarn purchase was on the 8th of November; I was in Los Angeles for work (I light the Grinch musical every year) and stopped into Unwind in Burbank for some Addi Turbos to work on my Henry Scarf for BQ. Two balls of Jade Sapphire Lacey Lamb jumped into my arms and would not let me leave the store without them!
But I resolved (well before this new year started) to not buy any more yarn until I’ve made a significant dent in my stash as I am planning on moving cross country to the Seattle area this summer and it would be great if I could move less unknit yarn!
One of the benefits of blogging daily this month is that I’ve been adding a lot of information to my stash and project pages on Ravelry. Soon I should be all caught up with stash entries and can then set a firm goal about exactly how much I’m hoping to get knit up in 2010!
My first thought was that I would join some other members of the Stash Knit Down group and try to knit 2010 yards each month of this year. Then I saw Eat.Sleep.Knit is having a “Yarn Marathon” and I thought that would be a great measure (their marathon is to purchase 26.2 miles, though, and mine would be to use up 26.2 miles!). There’s no way I can knit that much yarn in a year and there actually isn’t even that much yarn in my stash - so I thought perhaps I would do a half marathon or 13.1 miles of yarn - which, it turns out, is only 1064 yards short of the total of 2010 yards per month so that decided it for me! My goal is to knit 2010 yards per month in 2010 and not buy any new yarn or fiber until Rhinebeck in the middle of October!
(Also, I just told BQ that there is approximately 18.5 miles of unknit yarn stash - not to mention unspun fiber! - in my apartment and he blinked a few times and stared at me blankly before agreeing that there should me a moratorium on my purchasing yarn until I use a bunch up!)
Only nine months and one week left until Rhinebeck! And I have a lot of knitting and spinning to do before then…
January 9th, 2010
My family is made up of knitters. My mother knits. Here she is working on something brown in her car:
And this is my mother’s mother knitting a sweater for my grandfather this past summer:
And my mother’s sister knits too, but I live on the opposite side of the country from all of them, so I don’t have a picture of her working on anything… though I know both she and my mother are each working on a Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf (ravelry link) as they received yarn for them for Christmas. So it should come as no surprise that I receive awesome fiber gifts anytime gift-giving occasions roll around, especially since I am a list-maker and hint profusely. For Christmas my aunt subscribed me to Interweave Knits Magazine for the year! And I received a Knit Kit from my grandmother, which I had to return because I like my system for carrying notions and can’t stand the idea of another piece of plastic in my tiny apartment. Actually, I exchanged it and ended up with a lovely navy blue skein of Cascade Heritage Sock yarn (and a ball of Cascade 220 Superwash for my mother to knit caps for the troops):
My grandmother also handed me two balls of cotton she intended to make dishcloths with and then decided against (the other is some Lion Brand Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton):
I’ve never knit with dishcloth cotton before, but I am excited to give it a try!
My mother gave me two bundles of fluff (that’s my boyfriend’s term for fiber since I can’t help but correct him when he calls it all “wool” no matter the content) that I picked out for myself at Rhinebeck this year - one braid from Into the Whirled called “inferno”:
and an 8oz. bag of Ashland Bay 70/30 Merino/Silk blend in “red”:
She also purchased me the lovely Twist Collective pattern for Kirigami and four balls each of grey and black Tahki Yarns Dove required to make it in my size:
And BQ purchased me a beautiful braid of BFL/Silk from The Thylacine’s etsy shop (she does some stunning work on non-white wools):
(To be fair, he also bankrolled all my fluff purchasing at Rhinebeck this year as an early Christmas gift, so maybe I will post those tomorrow!)
All of these gifts were especially exciting as I am not purchasing yarn or fiber this year (and already have not for two months) until Rhinebeck rolls around in October - it seems that I am well stocked though!
January 8th, 2010
Many of the young women in my Sunday afternoon knitting group here in Brooklyn have worked for one or another of the New York City zoos at some point in their careers. In September, one of them brought in yarn spun from the wool of the Queens Zoo sheep - one of the directors there decided that, instead of throwing away what they sheared off their sheep, they should have it processed and knit up for charity projects. I volunteered to take two skeins home with me and knit it into child-sized socks for them to donate. And here’s what I ended up with:
I’m guessing it was about the same weight and yardage as Cascade 220 and I used all but a few yards of both skeins. I don’t know if this project is something they will continue in 2010 or future years, but if they do I hope I get to help again!
January 6th, 2010
I woke up early and had a long travel day, but I wore my current favorite pair of socks and they make me smile every time!
yarn: Noro Kureyon Sock color S150
pattern: my standard top-down heel-flap (Ravelry project link)
needles: 2mm dpns
started: 4 September 2009
completed: 14 September 2009
This was my first time knitting with a Noro yarn and I was very prepared to hate it. But I don’t care what anyone else says - I LOVE the Kureyon Sock texture. I didn’t feel too strongly about it either way while knitting, but now that these have been worn and washed a few times I never want to take them off! They feel like good solid old-fashioned wool and I heart them. Yes, I had to pick some vegetable matter out while knitting. And yes, the yarn was thick or thin in places, but that is precisely what is charming about spun wool. (And I probably feel more strongly about the charm of that particular feature since learning to spin this year - but that’s a separate post for another time. or four.) And the colors are delicious - especially when striping from alternate ends of the skein… I always wanted to know what the next stripe was going to look like and because of that I finished these socks in just ten days!
I adore my fraternal socks. So much so that I’m knitting a pair for a friend out of the Noro Silk Garden Sock!
January 5th, 2010
Okay, I have to make this quick because I’m supposed to be packing to return home to Brooklyn tomorrow…
I have recently been inspired to write posts after dinner, which is good but not so great because if the post idea requires a photograph of a new project or something I hadn’t thought to take a picture of before - I’m out of luck for that idea for the evening. I should really try to work a day ahead from now on.
Tonight I wanted to post about the scarf I made when I was studying in London in 2002 because that was my first project as a knitting adult and not just a child playing with my mother’s projects for a few hours before losing interest. The scarf is too short and too wide and far too itchy for me to actually wear, but I can’t bear to get rid of it so it lives here at my parents’ house in the Seattle area. Maybe after I get proper photographic documentation I could donate it…
Yesterday I wanted to post about the new yarn I received this holiday from my family.
The day before I wanted to post about my Demi sweater that I finally finished up Christmas weekend but haven’t remembered to have someone take pictures of me in it.
And then I don’t write the ideas down and forget to take pictures the next day while it’s light out. And tomorrow won’t be any better because I will be on an airplane all day. But I will dig through my photo backlog tomorrow to find something pretty to show you.
Thanks for listening!
January 4th, 2010
Just over a year ago I submitted a pair of socks to a sock design competition. I didn’t win, but I think the socks are pretty nice and definitely more attractive than the sponsor’s photo of them! Yuck! Who would vote for those? So I am thinking about writing up the pattern myself since I took careful notes for the contest - what do you think?
pattern: potentially forthcoming “Portrait Socks”
yarn: Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Moondance
needles: 2mm dpns
completed: 23 December 2008
I’ve given them a temporary name: “Portrait Socks” since they show off the yarn really well with the slipped stitches to help avoid any potential pooling and the sections of ribbing, stockinette, and reverse stockinette show off the yarn in different ways. And a rough draft of the pattern has been written out. Now all I have to do is find some test knitters!
Bonus: Mountain Colors sent me a tote bag and another skein of Bearfoot yarn for participating in the contest! Yay!