Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas the night before Christmas...

We are actually having Christmas at my parent's tonight so that Bill's parent's can watch Cayenne, and then we can spend Christmas with them tomorrow.

So I guess I should give the final rundown of all this season's craftiness.

First, my mother's handspun mittens:

momshandspunmittens

I hope she likes them; she's been pestering me for a pair for a while.

On the embroidery front we (finally) have my grandmother's pillowcase.
I finished it a while ago, but didn't get around to washing and ironing it until yesterday:

birdembroideredpillowcase

Also on the embroidery front, I've been on a bit of a cross stitch ornament kick:

crossstitchornaments1 group
(tree with cardinals and the deer are from page 8 and 28
Cross-Stitch Quick & Easy Dec/Jan 1991, cardinal is from Crossed Wing Collection and the scrollwork tree is from gazette 94

I actually have a ton more patters that I want to do, but I had to put them aside for next Christmas, because was running out of time!

Then there is Bill's scarf:

billsscarfdone

No, do not adjust your screens, you se right, that is a woven scarf. I have indeed succumbed to yet another fiber hobby.
This was my first ever weaving, so it is very far from perfect (please, don't even LOOK at the selvages!) But I am incredibly pleased with it. I've already got several ore projects in mind, I can only weave once a week though, because I'm using one of the looms in the weaving room at the hand weaving museum but then do have Inkle looms that you can take out, so I took on home and have been playing around on it a bit:

inklebookmarks1 group
inklebelts1 bluepurple1inklebelts1 purple1inklebelts1 orange1


Some of the belts and bookmarks have gone up for sale in my shop I'm having so much fun playing around with color patterns and pick up designs, I'm making way more than I could ever use!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I'm alive!

I've just been super busy with Christmas stuff.

I finished off the merino/tencel:
purplemerinotencel

purplemerinotencelbg
(click through for a super huge version that I am currently using as my desktop wallpaper)

30/70 merino/tencel from stony mountain fibers
It came out to about light fingering-ish, 520 yards, 4 oz.

Im planning a pretty lacy scarf, but it will be for me, so it will have to wait until after the Christmas crafting is done.

Example: my mother's mittens.
You may remember I posted a picture of the bats last time
The bats became this:
halfandhalfbluesliverbg
(this was my desktop for a while as well)

Which became this:
bluehandspunformombg2
(also makes a nice desktop)

166 yards, worsted-ish, 4 oz.

I've cast on for the mittens. Just a plain old boring mitten pattern, no pictures yet.

I've also been cross stitching up a storm, I have a bunch of ornaments ready for finishing, I just need to get to jo-anns tomorrow to pick up some fabric and ribbon. I'll be posting pictures once they're done.

I've also finished my grandmother's pillowcase, but it needs to be washed and pressed before I can take any good pictures.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Holidays are coming!

And with that in mind I have a few presents already done.

First is a pillowcase I embroidered for my paternal grandmother:
purpleribbonpillowcase

I actually finished this a wile ago, but kept forgetting to post a picture.
I've started another pillowcase for my maternal grandmother and it's almost done.

I also need to make dishcloths for her, but have been dragging my feet, because they are so simple and boring.

Also in embroidery, (cross stitch to be exact) a bookmark for my mother:
bluecelticbookmark2

(Modeled on one of Bill's textbooks)

I also want to embroider up a few cute little ornaments for other family members, our local library had a book sale a while ago and I picked up a ton of holiday crafting books.

Since I was in an embroidery kick, I made this.
I decided my new wheel needed a tote bag, so I took some denim and made it on, then I embroidered the thumb an planet logo from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy on one side, and "Don't panic" in nice friendly letters on the other:
embroideredhitchhikerbag on

embroideredhitchhikerbag don'tpanic


On the selfish knitting front, I took the alpaca/merino/mohair I spun up and knit myself a pair of mittens:
handspuncablemittens


Pattern: Plait Cable Mittens
I love them, so soft and warm. The pattern was pretty good; but I have a little gripe. I hate patterns that are written for 4 (or any number) or DPNs and give instructions as needle 1, needle 2 needle 3, etc.

I knit magic loop and it is a huge PITA to convert everything where there are no actual stitch counts. (ie, knit 5 stitches, purl 2, cable, purl 2, knit 5 stitches, etc.)

I’m not sure if I got the thumb placement just right, and there were a few other bits I had to fudge due to the lack of actual numbers.
but otherwise this is an awesome pattern, and the mittens turned out beautifully.


after my mother saw my handspun hat, and then the mittens she started pestering my for a par of mittens for herself. So I've carded up some wool, 1/2 romney/perendale sliver, and 1/2 louet northern lights in violets, and I'm going to spin it up and knit her a pair of matching mittens.
halfandhalfbluebats

But first I have to finish my current spinning project:
purplemerinotencelspinning

4 oz merino/tencel from stony mountain fibers.

It's coming along beautifully; I actually have a full bobbin done, and am working on the second half now. I'm hoping for a light fingering. I want to make myself, a nice little lacy scarf or something.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saturday Sky

on Wednesday Bill and I went for a hike on the nature trails at the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center on Wellesley Island.

while there we decided to stop and rest at the bench overlooking Eel Bay.


eel bay sky


Saturday Sky, taken Wednesday November 5, 2008, 2:30(ish)pm

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The great fleece to sweater adventure!

One of the ladies at my Wednesday weavers and spinners group has sheep, and recently gave me two fleeces.

fleecetosweatersdventurepart1 bags


She said they were washed, and the do look it for the most part. But they are also old.

One of the fleeces has a long staple, good crimp, but is a tad coarse, and in fact, a bit crunchy and dry feeling.

fleecetosweatersdventurepart1 girl



The other fleece is rather short and fine, but also still quite greasy and tacky. The sheep was a male, and the fleece is a bit… um, strong, if you know what I mean.

fleecetosweatersdventurepart1 boy

All her sheep are a mish-mash of different breeds, and there was no note as to the lineage of either of these fleeces.


The crunchy fleece, I hoped, just needed a little hydration, I carded up a couple of ounces and spun them up, and after a nice bath with some kookaburra it seems much better, but still a little rougher than would want for a sweater.
fleecetosweatersdventurepart1 samples female


The other I took a handful and gave it a nice hot bath with some Dawn before carding it up and spinning. And not only did it smell better but it came out amazingly soft. When I was picking it to get ready for carding, I had this intense urge to cuddle up into the soft cloud of fibers and take a nap! The spun sample was nice and soft, but not very strong feeling. And if I want this sweater to stand up to a lot of wear, I need a strong yarn.
fleecetosweatersdventurepart1 samples male


Also, I noticed a bit of felting at the cut edges of the fleece, and ended up with a ton of nepps because of it. Thankfully, when I went back and looked at the original fleece, I didn't see any of that felting, so I'm assuming I was a little too rough when washing my sample, and I just have to remember to be extra gentile.


After my original samples, I blended up a 50/50 batt of the two fibers, and spun that up.
fleecetosweatersdventurepart1 samples blend


It came out way softer than the skeins of just the long fleece, but also much stronger feeling than the skeins of the soft fleece. So I think I have found my winning combination.

The next step of this adventure is to dye the fleeces up and get them prepped and ready to spin.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rhinebeck part three: FOs and WIPs

I've been a bit remiss in my blogging duties; objects have been begun and finished with nary a peep from me, let alone a picture. But I intend to fix that today.

Let's start with the spinning first shall we?

You may recognize this as the swamp gas I was spinning for socks a while ago.
I finally got it all spun up and plied. It's just been waiting for me to finish my current sock WIP.
postrhinebeckfowips swampgashandspun


while I was waiting I started anther spindle project: this is the tie dyed flowers roving I dyed up. I only had 3 ounces though, so I spun up one ounce, and plied it with some wooly nylon along with one ounce of undyed singled from the same base roving. I intend to use that for the toes and heels. The other I spun up and plied as normal.
postrhinebeckfowips tyedyedflowershandspun
I'm really happy with the way this yarn turned out, and I can't wait to see how it looks knit up!


As for wheel spun, I have this:
postrhinebeckfowips bluegreenhandspun

4.5 ounces of merino/mohair/alpaca from all strings considered that I talked about yesterday. This stuff was a DREAM to work with. I hope to make a pair of mittens from it. I got over 230 yards of worsted weight, so I should have plenty.

postrhinebeckfowips bluegreenhandspundesktop

but that's not all, I've also been knitting!

The most recent FO is this hat:

Knit with my own handspun even.
I carded up three bats, one with mostly white, one with about 1/2 & 1/2 and one with mostly blue, and then split them into quarters and spun each little section one after the other to make the yarn. which I totally forgot to take any pictures of, because I was just that excited.

postrhinebeckfowips handspunhat

stats:
handspun yarn, worsted weight, less than 100 yards.
Pattern: Asminah's Hat

Mods: I knit ribbing instead of the crochet edging, the original pattern used a flat version of the stitch pattern, and that left a weird unpatterned ridge at the back, so I altered it to work better in the round. This also let me cast on a few more stitches to make a better fit. I ended up knitting three repeats of the lace pattern. And then completely changed the top decreases to look nicer.



Last week a friend of mine from work went into the hospital for surgery. Before she left she jokingly asked me to buy some yarn at Rhinebeck and knit her a sock. (just one) when I saw the little mini sock blocker I knew it had to be, and I got it right away. This is the result.
postrhinebeckfowips minisock

I mailed it off on Tuesday, and I hope she gets it soon, and that it makes her smile. She's and awesome woman.


Speaking of socks, for the October sock for the SAM kal I was hoping to finish a pair of Coriolis. But so many things have been popping up that I just haven't worked on them enough:
postrhinebeckfowips unfinished coriolus


In order to still get my monthly socks in I dug out the single practice socks I made while learning Cat Bordhi's new architectures and knit them mates.
The green are little sky, and the blue are little coriolis.
postrhinebeckfowips minicoriolus

postrhinebeckfowips miniskye

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Rhinebeck, part two: The loot

Well I said that I wanted to fill my bag full of fibery goodness, and I certainly did:
nysheepandwool2008 haul 01

lets start with the fiber:

these two are 4.5 oz each color way of a delicious merino/mohair/alpaca blend from All Strings Considered
I've already finished spinning the blue/green, but more on that tomorrow.
nysheepandwool2008 haul 02


starting from the top left and coing clockwise, we have...
silk hankies, some merino/bamboo from Creatively Dyed Yarns (Dianne is totally awesome btw), merino/tencel from stony mountain fibers, and merino/tussah from cloverleaf farms
nysheepandwool2008 haul 03

are you sensing a theme?
I've begun to feel confident enough in my spinning that I really wanted to try out some luxury type fibers.

Next, the yarn!

Once again, clockwise from top left...
Poseidon, Imbas, and the vintage leaf kit from holiday yarns (formerly VanCalcar Acres) and the Tsock Tsarina, a mini sock blocker keychain from stony mountain fibers, and Strideaway Twist in Indigo Garden from Autumn house farms

nysheepandwool2008 haul 04

of course, a visit to NY sheep and wool would not be complete without a visit to the authors tent
Franklin Habit signed a copy of it itches for me, and I got up the nerve to finally speak to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and have her sign her newest two books (free range knitter and Things I learned from knitting) for me as well.
nysheepandwool2008 haul 05

now... the piece de resistance!

My two BIG purchases this year were a new Stauch Finest drum carder. And my baby... introducing, the Hitchiker spinning wheel Heart of Gold!!!!
nysheepandwool2008 haul 06

I eventually plan to paint the large wheel, and to give the rest of the woodwork a good coat of oil. But that will have to wait until the weather is a bit nicer and I can work outside again.

Tomorrow, catch up on my finished projects and newest works in progress.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rhinebeck, part one: critters and people

Well I guess I've had long enough to play with my new toys from Rhinebeck, I guess I should make a post about it now eh?

As usual, Bill and I drove down to Albany the afternoon before; we usually get a motel room in Albany, because by the time we know that we can go to the festival, everything closer is booked up. And anyways, it's a pretty ride.

The next morning, bright and early we got up and went to Bruger's for breakfast, and to get something for lunch later on. (ah, Bruger's, I wish we had one up here, they are pure bagely ambrosia) then went to grab Monica and her fiancée Lee. And we were on our way!

On Saturday we had a great time wandering around checking out the vendors and the critters, I got to meet bunches of cool people from Ravelry, including the Tsock Tsarina and I even got a book signed by Franklin Habit! And Sunday there was more wandering around, more talking to people, and more book signing (this time, by the yarn harlot!)

Now for the pictures:
(click on any picture for a bigger version, I'm using the smaller size to save the load time)

there were Suri Alpacas, with shiny, shiny wool:
atnysheepandwool2008 01

lots of Llamas:
atnysheepandwool2008 02

atnysheepandwool2008 03

you may recognize one of the two guys above as the one who was giving me smoochies in my earlier post well, he was quite a sweetie, and also gave Bill kisses:
atnysheepandwool2008 04


there were sheep (duh):
(I think these guys are romneys)
atnysheepandwool2008 08

(Suffolk)
atnysheepandwool2008 05

(Babydoll)
atnysheepandwool2008 07

(and my favorite, Jacob)
atnysheepandwool2008 06


and of course, lots and lots of vendors, but by then things were getting crouded, and wes getting busy buying stuff, so I only got one picture of my favorite sign:
atnysheepandwool2008 09

if you want even more pictures, check out Bill's photo set from the festival he was way better about the picture taking than I was.

Tomorrow: the haul!
Stay tuned!

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