Thursday, July 27, 2006
You know its a great day when all that comes in the mail is FIBER, not bills! Yes today was a great mail day. The first box I opened had my fiber of the month from Spunky fibers http://www.spunkyhats.com/acc_spunkyclub.htm. This months offerings is a wonderful 2 oz of 100% tussah silk. The color way is called the new Black. I think I will spin this for a triangular scarf. However I will have to wait for a couple of things. First the temps to go down. Its really hard to spin silk when its over 100 degrees. And second I think I will wait until I get the fine whorl for my Schacht, which will be next month. My second package of fiber was some wonderful Irish linen that I purchase off of Ebay. I have never spun linen and really never thought I would, but its was such a good deal that I couldn't pass it up. $1.95 and ounce. I think I will spin this in a DK and make a couple of soap sacks for Christmas gifts. So I best get busy.
Well, I have the new wheel in my house. I have had it here for about a week but I have not had the time to play with it. I have been busy finishing up the cabled man's cardigan and a couple of other projects. So I have now had time to sit and spin on it. I have to say I have spun on quite a few wheels.,Ashford traditional, lundrum, Fricke, Louet, and my old hand made one. I have to say I just love this Schacht. I'm looking forward to getting more whorls so that I can do some fine spinning. It came with the Medium and extra slow whorls. But the first thing I need to do besides paying it off, is to buy more bobbins and a Kate, then I will work on getting the whorls and I think I will also get the wheels that you can put on and it makes it much easier to transport to classes and spinning groups.
I have been knitting for quite while for other people that I though it was high time that I made something for myself. So Thought it was time to give this pattern a try. I have had this in my collection for quite sometime, but have never gave it a go. I love to knit modular its great for when its really hot outside. The yarn is 100% Egyptian cotton and I would call the color hot pink. I did have to adjust the size a bit. The pattern calls for you to cast on 40 sts but I added 46, which makes the squares a bit bigger but not to large. I also am using a needle one size larger a 7 so that the fabric will be a bit lighter weight. I do plan for some growth as I wear this as cotton as a habit of doing that. If you like this pattern you can order if from http://www.justonemorerow.com/ . They have lots of wonderful patterns.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Well, it took me quite a long time but the cabled man's cardigan is finished. It was some what fun to knit. The big problem was the past few days have been over 100 degrees here in Idaho and having a wool sweater sitting on my lap was not fun. I'm not a real big fan of sweaters that need to be sewn up. I usually make ones that are done in one piece. But I do think this one did come out well. I have been working on this for a customer of the yarn shop I work at. I plan to use the money I am going to make for knitting this to buy a new used spinning wheel. One of my good friends is selling me a Schacht matchless single treadle for a very good price so for a while all me spare cash will go to getting this wheel. So it was worth working on the hot sweater to get the wheel.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
As I continue with the spinning tour, I'm having a to come up with different ideas to try in my spinning. A few months ago I was given a bag of weaving yarns from a friend of mine. In the bag was a spool of this really neat glitzy thread, way to thin to knit or crochet with but still really neat. Last night I was thinking before I fell alseep, that the glitter thread might look nice plied with some wool. So here is my results. The blue is cotswold dyed in denims and has a wpi of 12. The red is a wonderful wine color of corriedale with a wpi of 13. I did both with two plys of the wool and one of the glitter. The blue has about 55 yards and the wine 120 yards. I'm thinking I may enter the wine one in the fair, but we will see. I just can't make up my mind which novelty to enter.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
I haven't talked about this yet but I'm participating in the Le-Spin-de- tour. As you may or may not know, starting on July 1st the Tour-de-France began. That's the insane bicycle race that run though the month of July, that Americas Lance Armstrong has won for 7 times. The idea is similar to the knitting and spinning challenge groups that spun or knit through the Olympics,earlier this year. Those who are working on this have to spin each day that the tour is racing. You can find more information and even sign up at http://keeponknittinginthefreeworld.blogspot.com/2006/06/le-spin-de-tour.html. So far I have spun the yarn that is on my blog for July 2 entitled a "New Project" and then yesterday and today I spun up my Fiber of the Month. I came out with 260 yards with a wpi of 25. So I think it will make wonderful socks or mittens as I wanted. Now I just have to find the right pattern, so I guess I will let it mature some.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Today I started spinning with my fiber of the month roving. You may be aware that there are sock-of-the-month type programs going on all over the web. Where you send in money and each month you will receive enough yarn to knit a pair of socks. Well Spunky fibers also has a sock-of-the-month program but they also have a fiber of the month. The cost it pretty good. $15. I just started doing it this month so I thought I would show you the roving and then the single and then the 2 ply later when I'm finished. This months fiber is BFL (blue faced leicester)and the colorway is berry patch. I have 4oz. I did spin this very finely as I'm trying for a sport weight so that I can either make socks or maybe mittens. I don't know for sure. I have a friend that says you have to let your hand spun yarn sit for awhile and let it mature like wine. So I think this will be one that will needs to mature. If you would like to sign up for the fiber of the month, I think its great fun you can go to http://www.spunkyhats.com/acc_spunkyclub.htm for more information.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
I have been teaching knitting classes for a few years now. I am on a bit of a vacation for the first few weeks of July, so I'm trying to get myself caught up on some knitting projects. Right now, I'm working on a cabled cardigan for a customer at the yarn shop. It's been fun to work on, but I have just needed more time to work on it. I hope to finish this project by the end of July, but we will see.
This is my favorite hand spun yarn that I have spun so far. I not only spun the yarn, but I hand dyed it also. I used little cups of colors that I have had . These dyes were given to me by a friend and I have not been able to fine them in stores or on the web. Anyway, I used green, yellow, purple, blue, pink and orange. When the roving was drying my family thought I was nuts for using so many colors. I kind of did myself I was afraid I had made a mistake. Well, I spun this 2 ply and am so happy with the result that I think I will add it to some other handspun that I have and make a sweater. Ain't it great when a mistake works out so well?
I have a new project I have been working on over the past couple of days. I have spun a skein of yarn for a skein swap. I hand dyed the roving a couple of months back and I was so disappointed with the result, that I stuffed it way. Well, the skein swap's theme is spring colors. So I thought I would see what would happen with this roving. The original color of it were pink, purple and sky blue. Well I just love how it turned out. There is 120 yards of about a DK weight and I have to admit I'm having second thoughts about sending this off next week.
I can crochet, and even tat too! As a matter of fact I started out a crocheter way before I learned to knit or even tat, but I have to admit I don't do it very much any more. I have taken the time however to whip up one of my favorite afghan patterns. I just love this pattern I think over the years I have made this afghan about 20 times. This one is for my sage green couch. I really like how the shades browns and reds stand out on the green. And yes, this will also be going to the fair to see how it will do. I know it's a pretty plain pattern, but it was great fun to do.
On May 27, 28 and 29, Carol H. Rhoads came to Boise and taught some more classes and I took them all. On Saturday, we learned how to make novelty yarns. I really had fun at this class. I learn how to make cabled, thick and thins, boucle, and slubby yarns. We also spent some time on plying. From that class, I took away the confidence to make a better plied yarn, plus some neat novelty yarns. On the 28th, I took the class on spinning for knitting. Now this would seem to be a much easier class after taking the spinning for fine fibers and the novelties. But no, I found this one to be much more challenging. I can spin a fairly even single to make a sport, DK or even a worsted weight yarn. But let me tell you I found it very hard to spin a bulky weight. My first attempt for a bulky I had to use 4 plys to get the size we were looking for. But after some practice I was able to get a bulky with a 2 ply. On May 29, the class was for Bohus knitting. If you have never seen this type of knitting and you love color work, then you are really missing out. Bohus knitting is a type of knitting that was done from the 1930' through to the 1960's as a way for knitter to make extra money. There is a great book out called Poems of Color byWendy Keele. I do believe that it's out of print, but I have seen copies on sale at ebay and even amazon. The thing that makes bohus knitting different than say regular Fair Isle knittng is instead of carrying just two colors on a round you might carry 3 or 4. Also, there are placed in the pattern purl stitch every now and then to add shaping to the pattern. Also, the yarns used were very fine and very nice. Usually a wool angora blend. In the class I took, we made wrist warmers. Again, something I have never made. They yarn is a 50/50 blend of merino wool and angora. I had such fun over the two weekends that Carol H. Rhoads taught class in the Idaho area. I think it will take me quite a long time to process all that I learned. From spinning to hand carding, to plying to knitting. I was very inspired to keep learning and impoving both my knitting and my spinning.
One of the areas I enter things at the fair is Hand spinning. There are several areas that you can enter. Wool, mixed fibers, non-wool, and novelty. Above are the yarns I have ready for non-wool and novelty. The camel colored yarn is alpaca. It's a worsted weight yarn and there is about 174 yards. I think I'm getting better spinning the finer fibers. Of course, one reason that for the class I took from Carol H. Rhoads. One thing I like to do is shop on ebay for different rovings. The thick and thin yarn I spun is one of those cases. I bought this 2 oz. bit of roving and spun it thick and thin, I then plied it with some size 30 tatting thread that I had. This thick and thin is a bulky weight and is about 95 yards. I think there will be enough to make a scarf. When I get to it of course. The final one is for the mixed fibers. I bought this roving at the Snake river Fiber festival in May. It's a wool/ tencil blend. I just love the colors I think I have about 200 yards and its about a DK weight. Almost all my yarns are a 2 ply once in a while I do make a 3 or ever a 4 ply, but these are all 2 plys
Mittens have become my new favorite thing to knit. Here are a couple of sets that I have made recently. The grey ones are from my hand spun yarn. The yarn is wool, mohair and angora. The angora comes from rabbit we used to have a year or so ago. She was a beautiful bunny, but unfortuately a raccoon got near the cage one night and scared her to death. We sheared her about a week before she died and I have been saving the fiber for quite some time to make the perfect thing. The mitten pattern comes from Spin Off winter 2003. Even if you are not a spinner, you might want to check out this magazine as it has some great patterns that can be adapted to regular yarns. My second pair of mittens comes from left over lopi light yarns I had hanging around my stash, The pattern comes from the book Knit Mittens! By Robin Hansen. As a matter of fact, it's the cover set. I did have to change some of the color placement as I ran out of some of the colors. This mitten is not only cool, it does use up some of your left overs. I usually wear a black leather coat in the winter, so I think both these mittens will work great with it. Some days I can be calm and classy and others I can be loud and colorful.
Every now and then, I get in the mood to knit some lace. This year for my birthday I bought the Mananita (lace poncho) kit from www.schoolhousepress.com. If you have never been to this web site, it's the site from Meg Swansen and her mother Elizabeth Zimmerman. In the kit, I got a video showing how to do each stitch and the yarn to make it. The video has two different ways that you can make this poncho. I really like this one as it looks like its peacock feathers. The large holes are made with multiple yarn overs on one round and then you knit and purl quite a few times as you come to the yarn overs. I have worn this over a bright pink tank top and a pair of denim capris, but I also think it will look gorgeous over a black dress this next winter.
I have always wanted to to make a steeked sweater. For those who don't know what that is, it's where you make cardigan by knitting it totally in the round then cutting down the middle of the front to add a button band. This pattern is from an old Lopi pattern book. I just fell in love with the color work and had to give it a try. I did use lopi light and I think it turned out really well. I do plan to teach a class on this early next year. It's not as scary as you might think. Before I cut the front, I ran two rows of straight stitching with my sewing machine so all knit stitches were secure. I can't wait to wear this next winter as it's a very warm sweater. If you have never used lopi yarns, you might find them to be scratchy at first, but I have found that they soften up after you wash and block the yarn. I do mean hand wash. Lopi, at this point in my knitting, in my opinion , is the best yarn for felting. I have tried all colors, even the light ones, and they felt wonderfully. And yes, I plan to take this sweater to the fair.
On May 19, I, along with a couple of girl friends, went to the Snake River fiber festival in Idaho Falls. I have never been to something like this and I have to say I had a ball. I left here on Friday with a very sore back. I had hurt it earlier in the week and it was very hard for me to carry my wheel and supplies to the class I decided to take there. But, I was not going to let some back pain stop me! While I was there, I took a class from Carol H. Rhoads, who is the Tech. Editor for Spin Off magazine. She is such a delight, if you ever get the chance to take a class from her I would. The class I took was on spinning cameled and fine fibers. I learned how to spin cotton, silk, alpaca, angora, mohair and even bison. I had such a good time at the festival. Not only did I take the class, I went shopping. I left there with a huge tote bag of fiber and patterns and then another shopping bag of goodies. This is a picture of the felted Lucy bag I made from my hand spun. These fibers were in a kit I bought for $8 from the show. I made the strap longer so that I can wear it over my shoulder and across my chest. These are the natural shades from the sheep.
This is the yarn I spun from the roving I dyed back in March. I know there are ways that you can spin so that the yarn will have the color in a more variegated way, but I like it with the tweed effect, so you will see yarns spun this way from me in the future. This is about 100 yards of what I would call a worsted weight yarn. I think it will make a wonderful scarf.
I know it has been a long time since I have updated my blog. Please forgive me as I have been having tons of fun with my new Fricke spinning wheel and all my knitting. At this time of year, I begin to move into high gear as fair is on its way. Each year, I enter as many things as I can. My daughters are 4Hers and we attend the first 5 days of the Western Idaho State Fair.This year, the fair begins on August 18th and runs through the 27th. On the last day we are there, which is Tuesday, the fair office pays out any prize money that you may have won. So we as a family take my prize money and eat that night at the fair. Some years we eat well and other years we share plate of Loaded fries. So for the next few blog entries I will be showing you what I have ready or are in the middle of finishing up for the fair. I usually enter in a few areas: knitting, crocheting, hand spinning and some in needlepoint. To start off, I have had so much fun with my spinning wheel. If you have been thinking of learning to spin, but the cost of a wheel has kept you from getting started, by all means pick up a drop spindle or a lower cost wheel. The Fricke is a very low cost wheel. I saved up & paid $275 for mine and it is well worth it. This is a picture of some of the yarns I have spun on the Fricke in the past couple of months.