Thursday, February 28, 2008

I must be totally crazy!

OK so mark it down. I have totally gone crazy! Last week while I was reading the Yarn Harlots blog, I saw the Must have Cardigan. Well I just fell in love with the pattern. So I thought I really need to make it . Now here is where the crazy part comes in. I decided to knit this cardigan in black. I have ten balls of Galway in black that I had planned another sweater that I am using. I have so far completed one and half repeats on the back. The pattern comes from the Plymouth book called Street Smart and it really is called the Must Have Cardigan. The pattern is only sized to a 41 on a size 7 needle so what I did was go up a needle size to an 8 and now its going to be a 44 chest, which is what I will need. I also plan to make it a bit longer too. Even though I'm working with black so far I'm not having to much trouble seeing the stitches. I have to say it is so much fun to knit.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Big Bag Swap info

Below are my answers to the Big Bag Swap. If you are looking for a neat little swap then check out I know that they are still taking sign ups. The idea of this swap is to knit the big bag ( a free pattern that knits up really fast) then fill it with goodies for your partner.

Do you knit, crochet, or do both? For how long? I have been crocheting for 20 years, Knitting for 10
What other crafts do you do, if any? Hand spinning is my favorite "other craft" but I also tat and do some needlepoint
What are your favorite colors? greens and purples Colors you loathe? Pastels and orange, yellow
Favorite yarn brands? for felting Lopi and Lopi light Fiber types? wool Yarn you can't stand? acrylics
What is your favorite type of item to knit/crochet? socks, sweaters really all kinds of stuff
What kind of needles do you like? (i.e. circular, straight, metal, bamboo, etc.) I only use Dps for socks and circular for everything else. I have an allergy to metal so my favorites are the old Susan bates nylon but they aren't made anymore. I really like the feel of Knit Picks harmony needles but so far I only have size 1 dps
Any knitting tools you lack but crave? Knit Picks harmony needles
Patterns you've been dying to get but haven't yet? not really
Do you drink coffee, tea, cocoa? Flavors you love/hate? I love sugar free decaf coffee
Favorite sweets & snacks? Dark Chocolate
Any pets, kids, spouses? Spouses that act like pets or kids? (j/k) One spouse, three daughters ages 17,13 and 9
Favorite things to knit/crochet for the above, if applicable?
What kinds of books do you like to read? Favorite authors or genres? mysteries
Do you collect anything? (besides yarn! LOL!) sheep stuff
What, if any, are your non-craft related hobbies? I love to watch an old cheezy western, Roy Rogers, etc.
Scents you adore?Lavender Scents that make you gag? vanilla or fruity
What is your idea of a relaxing time? quiet afternoon either knitting or spinning
Oh yeah, are you on Ravelry and if so, care to share your Ravelry ID? yarnsnthreads

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Can you spin a bulky yarn?

When you first become a spinner its really easy to spin a think and thin yarn. Once you get more practice in then you can spin a bulky. Well once you have spun for awhile it become easy to spin a sock yarn or as some would call it frog hair. The real hard part is to spin a bulky yarn once you get to the frog hair stage. So this past weekend I attended a Spin In. My goal for the day, besides adding to the stash, I wanted to spin a bulky. Now that may sound like it would be easy. Well it was and it wasn't. I really had to think about what I was doing. But I am happy with the result. This is a hand painted roving that I got from Spunky fiber club about a year ago. Its called Down under. I ended up with about 140 yards in this 4 ounce ball of roving its also very soft which I'm real happy about. Next I want to spin a worsted weight yarn. I have a project planned that I will need 800 yards for a pound of roving.

Color work...What fun

Ok so I recently joined a group on ravelry,called New Project Knit Swap group. Well this was my first kit. What the idea of this swap is to send your partner eveything that they would need to knit a project. Yarn, needles and the pattern. Well I loved this kit. I have seen the Knit Picks harmony needles but have never held them in my hands or knit with them. Well I'm in love. They are so smooth plus they are really pretty to look at . The yarn is knit picks palette in purple and mint. Now when I saw the colors in the balls I wasn't so sure they would look all the great together but as you can see the mitts look just great. I had so much fun knitting these that I think Iwill make some for Christmas gifts this next year. By the way you can find this free pattern by doing a search for endpapers mitts.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Well you know how the best laid plans can go

When it comes to knitting sometimes things can go so wrong is so many ways and so quickly too. I have been working on a top down cable sweater for a while now. I have had to put it down to finish up some Christmas gifts, store samples and other goodies. Well today I was finally able to get back to it. As I was looking it over to find out where I am in the pattern. I got to looking at it and thought humm the collar really looks tall. So I did what any smart person would do. Which is something I don't always do, heck I rarely do. I put the whole thing on a life line and slipped it over my neck. Well if I was a giraffe I was in good shape. Now I wouldn't say I'm neckless either but there was no way I could wear this sweater and not feel like I was recovering from wiplash. So out it will come. I'm not sure what I plan to do with the yarn. I would still like to knit a very classic looking black sweater. That way in about 10 to 15 years when I want a black sweater I will have one already, because I know by then I won't be able to see well enought to knit with black. Oh the pains of getting older. I have been looking at the must have cardigan in the Patons book booklet called Street Smart. I first saw this pattern on the Yarn Harlot's blog earlier this week and am leaning towards knitting it with the black yarn. Yea I know I'm crazy but what else is new.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Favorite yarns and spring knitting

Even though its still the middle of February this week it as being acting a lot like spring around here, so its got me to thinking about what I would like to knit for spring. Now I know Idaho weather can change on a dime. We could have a foot of snow next week, but I am hopeful just the same. As you may remember this year I have been working on things that I can show at the state fair later this year, so with that in mind I have been thinking of my big spinning and knitting project. What I would like to do this year is spin the yarn to knit a gansey. I have 3 pounds of roving in a spice color and I think I have a pattern picked that will work with the roving. So next week I plan to get started on the spinning while I finish up a top down cabled sweater that I have been working on. I think I will have the cabled sweater finished when the yarn is ready for the gansey. I plan on making a three ply that is about a Dk weight. So look for pic to come.

Every time I get asked about what is your favorite yarn, I first say it all depends on what I'm working on. I have say first and for most I really do love to knit with my handspun. With each new skein my spinning gets better and better. But when it comes to store yarn I do have a list.
For discloths I really think there is nothing better then Sugar and Cream it has a great feel and the colors are just great.
Now when it come to socks I can't pick just one. I really like plymouth Happy feet

I also really like Araucania multi sock yarn, for that matter I really like the worsted and the chunky too.
I also like Mountain colors bearfoot
and Jitter bug
Each one of these sock yarns have a great feel and I just love the colors. I also have in my stash some socks that rock and some of the new sock yarn from Berroco. I haven't knit with either of them yet so I'm not sure how they will work out, I'm sure they will be great.
When it comes to a DK weight in my opinion there is nothing better then Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool. I love the colors and its feel. Its just a wonderful yarn.

When it comes to a worsted weight yarn I really love Plymouth's Galway. This yarn is soft enought to knit a sweater with and not feel scatchy. I can feel the tags on a Tshirt so I know about scatchy. It also felts wonderfully,even the white.

When it comes to a bulky I really love Cascade's Eco wool. The yardage is huge 487 for about 15 bucks. Its really soft and knit up wonderfully.

Now every once in awhile a person needs a special yarn so I would have to say my fav in that area is Silk purse from Alchemy yarns. . Really anything from Alchemy is totally cool. I have worked with just about all her yarns and I just love them. I have no idea how she comes up with such great colors but I really glad she does.

Lastly a new one that I have really like has been plymouth's Suri Merino. I have been looking at this yarn for almost a year at my LYS and I finally pick up some and I just love the feel. I chose a dark plum and I think it will work up just great.

SO for now these are my favorite yarns but I do have to confess I may not stay true to them as it seem that there is always a new yarn to try out that has just arrived at the LYS.

Valentie's Day

OK so I really couldn't let Valentine's Day go by with out a little comment. First of all I really can't think of a favorite Valentine's day from my past. What I do remember is the neat thing my Dad did for all the years I can remember before I was married. He would always buy me a box of chocolate and give me a card. Which might not seem like a big deal but when you are 15 and have no boyfriends or even a hopes for one it was nice to know you are loved. Well I am happy to say that my husband has conitued this tradition. Each year he buys some candy and usually a stuff animal for each of my daughters. This year was no execption. It was really special, because out 17 and 13 years were so trilled that they took their stuff animals to school to show them off. There are not to many teenage girls that are that proud of their Dad's that they would tell their friends about it.

Can these socks be yours?

Finally! I have my socks for my sock it to me twice partner finished. It seem that every time I sat down to knit on these sock it seem that something would come up. The pattern is one of my all time favorites. Its called little arrowhead lace socks by Nancy Bush. It can be found at her web site. The yarn is plymouth happy feet, the color way is #12.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Gotta love a great swap partner

You know there is nothing better then coming home from a long day at work to find a box waiting for you. Its even better if you get a box from a swap partner. The reason its so great is; one, I didn't pay for the contents and second I have no idea what could be inside. A couple of weeks ago I signed up for a knitting kit swap on Ravelry. The Idea is to send your partner everything they will need to knit up a project. The needles, yarn and pattern. The box I got today was totally cool. Andrea Higdon sent me a knitting kit that included two balls of Knit Pick's Palette in purple and mint, a set of Knit Picks' new wooden DPS and a pattern for color work mitts. Now I'm not totally sure how she knew but I have been wanting to try these needles. I have to be really careful what needles I use as I have an allergy to metal so I have been using wood ones or nylon when I can find them. As you can see on my blog I really love the color green and for the past 6 months or so I have really been getting into purple so this was just great. I need to finish up a couple of other projects so I can get started on these. Thanks Andrea!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Its been a spinning winter here in Idaho

I have lived in the Boise area for about 22 years now and this winter is one for the records. We have had more snow that I can ever remember. Of course I grew up in southern Oregon were snow was a rarity. One year, as a matter of fact I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, it was 20 below for a week or so, but we still didn't have the snow like this year. Sense Oct 1 we have gotten about 30 inches our normal is about 14. So its been awesome spinning weather. There is nothing better then sitting in a warm home spinning and watching the snow fall. Needless to say I have been doing a lot of spinning.

**** Comercial Alert***********
This first skein of yarn is a great Romney batt that was processed by Pat Anderson, She sells a 1 ounce batt for just $3.00. I'm not sure what all she carries but I can tell you I have some Lincoln in waiting. I don't usually like to spin from a batt but I have to tell you that its the cleanest I have ever seen. There was no VM in it. This Skein is a three ply that I spun from three different batts I think I have close to 200 yarnds. If you would like to give a batt or two a try you can email Pat at I really like to support small home grown businesses. By the way she is in the San Diego area of CA where lots and lots of small farmers have lost so much this past year with fires and now heavy rains.

This skein of yarn is three colors of Gotland. If you have never felt this fiber then you are in for a real treat. I purchased this roving from ebay to just try it out. This was before the latest issue of Spin Off came out. (there is a really informative article about the Gotland sheep and its history). Because I had three differnt colors of grey,Gotland only comes in shades of grays, I decided to spin something a bit different. What I did was to divide each of the rovings in half and then spin the light, then the medium and finally the dark. I did this on two bobbins. I then plyed them together so that for the most part the dark stayed with the dark, the medium with the medium and the light with the light. I spun this in a light weight. My thought is to knit a scarf that starts our light and moves to the dark. I haven't looked for a pattern yet so I'm not sure if it will turn out or not.

Now this was I spun just because. With all the snow and the gloom of this winter I wanted to spin something cheery. I have no idea what the fiber content is. I do know that there is some wool, and glitter and maybe some mohair too. Its kind of hard to see but there is one strand of lavender with glitter and one strand of blue/green with glitter.

Two weekends ago I took a class on wool combing. I have never tried to use wool combs and I found them to be much easier then I thought they would be. As a matter of fact I am thinking of buying a set. One of the neat things about the class was I got to try out all kinds of different combs. So when I do decided to buy a set I have a better idea of what I want. Durning the class the teacher also showed us a couple of different ways to wash fleece.( which I will demonstrate in a later blog)So I had to give both methods a try. Instead of washing a hand full of fleece we washed them by the locks. Well when the class was over there was quite a bit of washed lock waiting for a good home. Which of course I had to make sure they got one. The fiber is Polworth ( love it) I wish I had some of the fleece before it was washed. It was really yellow from the lanolin. Polworth is known for its bright whiteness. The lenght of the fiber is around 3 1/2 to 4 inches. So when I got home I don't have any combs so what I did with each lock was to use one of my cotton cards and flick card it. I would nomally use a really good dog comb that I have but it was not were to be found, so the cotton card worked great. I wanted to spin this into a lace weight yarn so that I could knit a pair of lacey fingerless gloves. I plan to use a pattern out of the New Once skein Designer book. I need to have about 225 yards to for the gloves. Well I ended up with about 300 yards.

Lastly, Its angora month. As I have talked about one of my goals for the year is to spin a different fiber each month. I chose angora for the month of February. Yes I know this skein is really small, well spinning angora was a bit harder then I remembered it. I did finish it like Judith Mackenzie McCuin talks about in her book Teach yourself Visiually Hand Spinning. Its where you lightly felt the yarn to even it all out and set the twist. It did work out well but I do have to say my spinning does need to improve. So my question to you is... What is your best way to spin angora? I plan to do a bit of reading and rethinking the angora and giving it a try either later this winter or next fall when the temps cool down. I don't really want to spin angora when its really hot outside.

So you might be asking your self does she ever sleep? Or what is she going to do next? Yes I do sleep, and I am planning to spin some burgundy roving that I picked up last summer in Salt Lake to make a pair of Cookie A socks. I'm not sure wich pattern I will knit, I'm going to wait and see how many yards I spin up first. I would like to knit some knee highs so I will defently need more than the usual amount for socks.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

a little crochet too

This is my all time favorite baby afghan to crochet. I can't even tell you how many I have made over the years, but I can tell you that the book it comes out of it beginning to look a bit worn. One of the reasons I like this afghan so much is it only takes 14 ounces of worsted weight yarn and you use a size K hooks. So it works up really fast. Over the past couple of years I have been buying the Caron 1 pounders for it. This ones is mint green. I do know that its for a boy but the mother hates the color blue so green was the request. By the way the pattern comes from the book Quick and Cozy Afghans.

Racing Russets first stop

Here is the loot from the first stop of the racing russets group. One of the Yahoo groups that I am on (love2knitdishcloths) is doing a contest were groups of knitters each get a box with two balls of cotton yart a knitted dishcloth and then some other small goodies. Well I in the Idaho group called the racing russets. I was the first stop. The gal (Tami) sent me a beautifully knit green dishcloth some great stitch markers and some chocolate that my daughters have already eatend. She also sent me two balls of cotton yarn. I am to knit a cloth from the yarn and sent it to the next gal in our group. I'm not sure how many groups are playing along but the first group to get through the group and then back to the starting point wins a prize so I think we are off to a great start. I plan to have mine part done tonight and in the mail in the morning. So I better get to knitting.