Category Archives: handspun

2.5 pounds

That’s what I plan to shed over the next 2.5 months….in fiber of course!

I realized this weekend that my spinning wheel has been sitting sad and lonely in the corner for months now, and it was time to remedy that. Also, it’s only 2.5 months until Shepherd’s Harvest. If I want to be able to allow myself my one big shopping spree a year, I need to clear house a bit.
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This weeks effort is a merino silk blend. I’m spinning worsted style, inch-worming it with a forward draw. Absolutely no spin let into the drafting triangle, which is something I haven’t done in awhile. My spinning plan these next couple of months is to really try a bit of everything.

The best part of spinning this weekend? When Spinner and Knittykid both sat down to watch me spin, and Knittykid said in a confused voice, “Why do you have to DO that?”

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Filed under handspun, spinning, stash

About Hats, Part Three

So I’ve had this little hat series plotted out for the last few months, since it seemed that all I could manage to knit were hats.  Hats with problems. That makes for good blog-fodder. And it’s Minnesota in spring; still too early to put all the hats away. (Although the way this spring has been, it won’t be long…)

I fell in love with Shroom over on Knitty but wanted to keep with my pledge to not buy new yarn. The trouble was that the pattern used a very specific yarn and recommended you stick with it. But my spinning skills were improving so I thought I could take it on. Kind of.

I did end up with a ball of Navajo-plied bulky in the colors I was hoping for (remember the blue coat saga?) But I was short on yardage. Again with the knitting, the tinking, the knitting. Add in a stray ball of bulky white and brown and you get this:

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Sadly, I’m not sold on this hat either. I love how it looks when I’m holding it. I love it at certain angles. The side is good. But from the front it’s not quite right. The drape is off and I kind of feel like I have a giant piece of popcorn on my head.

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Do I rip it all out? Give up on the Shroom? It might just be that this hat isn’t going to work on my head. Or maybe I do need to buy the right yarn. But this yarn is so pretty, I love it. It needs to be worn, not hidden in the bottom of the woolens basket. What would you do?

You’ll notice that the Baktus is also finished. I am completely, totally in love with it. The fact that I spun the yarn, that it was perfect for this project, feels perfect, drapes beautifully. It makes up for the misguided Shroom.

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See how lovely it all looks together?

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I’m just not quite sure about it on my head…..

Keep your fingers crossed that About Hats, Part Four will able to be published. Because the hat in question is missing. The perfect spring boys hat, complete with new pattern, is lost. And I know it’s a hat you’ll want  to knit, if only I could find it.

P.S. Little Man, ahem, I mean Math Boy (he settled on that nickname) says thank you for all the birthday wishes! So kind of you to take the time!

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Filed under finished objects, handspun, hats, scarf

Boys

People often ask me, “So are you guys going to try for a fourth? You know, maybe you’ll have a girl!” My first reply is usually that a fourth child just might put me hiding under the dining room table with a bottle of something-or-other. But my real reply is that I’ve got nothing against girls (since I am one and all) but I really, really like having a house full of boys.

I like brotherly ice cream thievery.
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I love boyish forts, including imaginary bear hunting and some sort of “lost kids living in the woods in the Civil War” game they had going on.
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I love grubby little faces full of milk and cereal.

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And I love making things for my boys. Enter my second Pebble Vest:
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This vest was knit on size 10.5 needles using a handspun yarn I finished a couple of year ago. I was a wee bit short and used some leftover Lamb’s Pride in gray to finish it up. I can’t say enough wonderful things about this pattern.

I did have a realization this weekend about my knitting. Everything I knit these days is for Spinner, who rapidly grows out of it. Time to knit for the big boys so I can get more wear out of them. Enter the Robin Hood Jacket, which will be my Knitting Olympics project. I’m casting on Friday night during the opening ceremonies. Yes, I’m going to try to do this while all three boys are awake and jostling me on the couch for space. Anyone want to place bets on whether or not I even manage to cast on all the stitches? Maybe if Spinner falls asleep early….

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Filed under family, finished objects, handspun, kids, knitting

All Matchy-Matchy

Well, I didn’t mean to just fall of the planet there, but I guess I did. I’ve just been too sleepy lately at night to do any computer stuff, or should I say computer stuff that  I need to think about. Random clicking, sure. A thoughtful sentence? Not as long at Spinner keeps up this incredibly slow process of getting his molars and waking up at 4:30 in the morning.

But I DO have some FO’s to report that I’m incredibly happy with. And the best part, I actually planned it all out ahead and I now have winter gear that actually matches. Because if you are like me, you just go ahead and knit a sweet pair of mitts and then realize it clashes with your scarf, your hat, or whatever else you’ve got to wear. Not this time. My new green coat was screaming for purple accessories.

First up, Damson by Ysolda Teague. I want to knit every pattern she has written, I love her stuff that much. This was an easy knit, except for the one inch I didn’t notice my YO’s were on the wrong side of the stitch marker. I noticed two inches past and decided it wasn’t noticeable enough to frog, so I went with it.

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Next, my Head Hugger from Stitch and Bitch Nation. This has been waiting in my stash for four years to be completed. Guess I needed the green coat to get it OTN.

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Lastly, my garter stitch mitts from Weekend Knitting. There aren’t a lot of patterns I knit over and over again but this is one of them.

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I knit with my own handspun from Loop in Earth Goddesss (she’s doing a shop update today and had some of this last night as well, you might be able to snag a batt.)
Knitting these was an education in how to spin for a project:
1. I might want to be more aware of what I might be spinning. The color differences would have been fine with a hat but with mitts they look a bit too different.
2. Same with plying and size. Notice how one mitt is bigger than the other?
3. Density matters. My earlier spinning (this is at least a year or more old) was pretty dense. I really like a lighter yarn, but I think recently I’ve solved that problem.

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So there you have it, one very matchy-matchy ensemble. And I’m sad to see I have only close ups, nothing of the whole thing!! But trust me, it’s very cute.

Quick question before I wish you all a happy weekend. Is it okay to just do Ravelry links these days? Do I have any regular readers who aren’t on Ravely who would like regular links? Please let me know and I’ll be sure to post them, otherwise I’m just posting Ravelry links from now on.

Now I can say, have a great weekend! I for one will be playing with my new serger. And working on the start of some new reviews on Monday. If you’ve been wondering which sock books to buy, I think I can help you out!

 

P.S If you are a local sewer, be sure to stop by and visit Sewtropolis, a sweet little sewing studio in South Minneapolis. She’s got a great line up of classes scheduled!!

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Filed under finished objects, handspun, hats, knitting, mittens/gloves, scarf, shawls

Twelve Years

Sixteen years ago this fall, I was just getting to know a shy, goofy boy of 19, who played the bass and tuba and hated studying for music history. Twelve years ago today I married him, and what a blessing those twelve years have been. Last night the Skeptic noted, “it’s nearly half our lives already, isn’t it?” Wonderful to think we could be so very, very lucky.

Our anniversary marks your last chance to get your book review in. I’ve really enjoyed reading those that have entered and have already added a bunch of requests on my library list because of it. Hope to read a bunch more tonight! Remember, I’ll pick one lucky random winner to choose either a handmade needle roll or project bag, your choice of colors. You don’t need a huge review, short and sweet is fine. Old or new books, knitting or sewing, ti doesn’t matter. Be sure to post here when you’re through.

I wish I had some Halloween photos to share from last night, but to be honest the day was one big whirlwind and I barely managed to snap one blurry shot before chasing a vampire, Spiderman and dinosaur our the door and down the street. There were jack-o-lanterns, giant handmade spiders, and treats galore. Today we woke up extra early (@#$% daylight savings) and were already eating candy at 5:08 in the morning. I’m trying a new approach this year. Instead of the careful rationing I’m letting them eat it all. I figure it will already be gone by the end of the day, and out of my life!

So I’ll share the Miss Babs, all plied up for you visual folks. I’m in love it with, my best handspun yet, I think!

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Filed under books, contests, handspun, kids, spinning

Woolen style

One of my goals for the Tour de Fleece was to attempt new things. I recently purchased Spin Control and The Intentional Spinner and I must say, these were the books that have been missing from my spinning library. Everything I’ve had has been either too basic or too complex. (Alden Amos? Love him, but that stuff is complicated. Have you seen that math in that book?!?)

Between Amy’s excellent information on making your wheel work for you and Judith’s brilliant explanation of woolen vs. worsted (she has flow charts!!) I finally figured out how to spin woolen style. For you non spinners it means you are drafting (pulling) the fibers as they are being spun. Much trickier than worsted spinning, in which you don’t let any twist into the drafting zone. But woolen results in a nice, fluffy yarn with air trapped in the core. Both authors explain this stuff in a very understandable manner. Add to that this You Tube video I found….

…and suddenly I’ve got it!

Here are the singles. The singles look terrible:
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But once I plied it there was a huge improvement:
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Apparently the trick with woolen is to underspin, overply. Sadly I do not have a picture of the finished yarn, because once I gave it a good soak it looks even better. Nice and fluffy and fairly even despite that once thick hunk you see.

Not bad for my first attempt and now that I have it figured out I’ve got lots of experimenting to do!

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So what happens?

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WOW! Excuse that glaring flash. I was trying to capture all the pretty bits of this batt I spun up but I think this picture just may make me blind. I need to remember to photograph in daylight.

I spun up this batt using the double drive on my Ashford Traveler rather than the scotch tension I usually use (I’m experimenting for this tour, right?) The plan was to then ply it with some red silk hankies I’d been spinning on my spindle.

The problem? I always S spin my singles on the wheel, and just realized I Z spin on the spindle. So the question is, what happens if I just run the silk singles back through the wheel, S spinning them so I can ply it Z style? Guess I’ll find out as I’m about to try it tonight.

Tonight as he was falling asleep, Little Man reported to me that he thinks he’d like to be “a little bit Amish.” He then requested a horse for the backyard.  I love six year olds.

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Can’t stop

All I want to do these days is spin. Not knit, now sew, spin. This is a bit of a problem, since I really need to do massive amounts of sewing. Spinner’s baptism is coming up in a month and I’m hoping to make two sets of curtains, a dress for me, and outfits for the boys. Yeah, I’m delirious. No matter what, I am determined that I will not be dressing Spinner in a goofy all white outfit this time. I did with Little Man and Knittykid, mostly because I didn’t know what else to put them in. I remember finding a couple baptism outfits that were nice, but they were at Macy’s and a small fortune. This time I am being a rebel and dressing Spinner in linen and japanese fabric. I also have my brother’s sweet baptism outfit form the 80’s that I might incorporate as well. Take that, stodgy old Lutherans!!*

As for the spinning, I finally finished up the fiber I spun for my doula and very dear friend:
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It’s from Crown Mountain, and I think I’m obsessed with them as well. It’s Superwash in the San Franciso colorway. I spun up 8 ounces of it. I need more of this stuff. Although I’m not a huge fan of superwash, so I’ll be trying their BFL next.

I have some other stuff almost ready to show off the wheel, in the meantime I’ll be trying to maintain my focus.

*I actually adore stodgy old Lutherans, just so you all know….

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Three skeins

On spinning:

Phat Fiber spun up:
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I divided it into reds/browns, pinks/blues, and the last was from one individual sample of roving. More details once it’s knit up!

On levels of insanity:
I signed up for this.

I’m blaming Annik for this and will call her at midnight as I’m struggling through it! Okay, I won’t  call her then as she has a new baby and that would be mean. But I’m totally blaming her. 🙂

On dentistry:

If your own dentist ever tells you you don’t need to take your kids in to see them until they are three, tell them they are BEHIND THE TIMES and get that kid in by the time they have teeth. Poor Knittykid went under general anesthesia yesterday for two root canals, four crowns and four cavities. All would have been avoided if my dentist, as well as the first dentist Knittykid visited, weren’t medieval. Needless to say, I’m mad.

The good news is that he’s a trooper and bounced right back to his usual self by dinner last night. That’s my boy!

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Filed under handspun, kids, Quilting, sewing, spinning

Nice

I love winter. But I hate the thawing season, the season where a perfectly dry set of steps suddenly becomes the stoop of death as you walk to your car. At 7am in the morning, when you know it’s glare ice and you need to be really careful, but you’re carrying your lunch, breast pump, tote bag, computer, two boxes to get shipped at the PO, and your coffee, it seriously sucks. It sucks even more so when you then fall, pull a muscle so badly that it leaves you in tears on the back steps for a few minutes until you finally realize that no one in the house can hear you, so you drag yourself to the door get helped inside and assess the damage.

The damage seems to be that I’ve pulled or torn the muscle on top of my thigh (what’s that called?) so badly that I can barely walk. Ibuprofen and ice have dampened the pain enough that now I can sit here, bored and hurting, being tweaked that I’ve got to miss a day of work and trying the get the boys to not touch Mommy.

This is what sucks about teaching. I could sit here and type all day long but no way can I teach. And when I only work two and a half days a week, a day out means I’m even more behind on fixing the broken violins, making copies, planning curriculum and the other million things I need to do that I can’t do from home since I don’t have my stuff. Plus my kids now miss music this week, which they already basically missed for nearly four months since the sub I had was not a musician. Needless to say, I am not a happy mama this morning. Because not only is the work issue a pain, but not being able to walk when you have three young boys is not easy. Thank goodness the Skeptic is home on my work days, but still. Not easy.

So anyway, as I sit here bored and hurting I will at least show off a few FO’s in the knitting department. I’ve got lots to update including WIP’s and some cool spinning, but then this post would be a book. So we’ll keep it to FO’s today.

First up:
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This is Spinner modeling the handspun hat I gave to my friend Rebecca a few weeks go at her shower. This was some merino, dyed in fours separate rovings that I plied together. The pattern is simply a basic hat with a purl row before I did the decreases. Sadly it was not blocked since I finished it ten minutes before I had to leave, but she’s a knitter so she understood.

Next up, Little Man’s John Deere mittens. He picked the colors himself, because John Deere tractors rule and since he is a farm deprived city kid, he’s got to get his farm fix somehow. So he wears a green uniform most of the time, mittens included.
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This pattern was from Kristin Nichols’ book, Kristin Knits and is called Checks and Dots. If you’ve never tried fair isle before this pattern would be a great first project. I used good old Lamb’s Pride for this one. And yes, that is a mistake.

My Ubernatural is done, but awaits buttons, so you’ll have to wait too!

In the meantime I’ll be sitting in this rocker, knitting my newest project and hoping I’ll be on my feet again soon. If anyone has suggestions on healing up, let me know. I’ve never had an injury like this and still can’t get over how much this hurts. Yikes!

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Filed under finished objects, handspun, hats, random