Saturday, December 26, 2009

My over thinking strikes again

So if you have been reading my blog for any amount of time you can feel my pain of spinning and knitting something and not totally please with the end results. One of my big goals at SOAR this past fall was to learn to spin and knit a sweater that doesn't weight 10 pounds. So I took a class from Maggie Casey on American Long draw which was great. If you ever have a chance to take a class from her DO. I have been spinning only long draw sense. I think I have gotten to the point where I can spin a really nice soft and light weight 3 ply. Which should be perfect for a sweater.
When the Winter issue of Spin Off came in the mail I fell in love with Amy Kings' Oatmeal cardigan. I have a vision of a darkish blue one.
One thing that would like to do this next year is learn more about different breeds of wool.With that in minde I am trying to make things with different breeds. While I was at SOAR I bought some really nice BFL that is cream with streaks of med. brown in it. My plan is to spin and re knit a sweater that I knit earlier this year but weights over 3 pounds. I also have plans for a cardigan the pattern was in an older issue of Ashford's Wheel magazine. By the way if you have never checked out this annual you should its a really good one. I have picked up some really nice Shetland from my girl friend for that one. I will be talking more about that as the Olympics gets closer.
So with wool from BFL and Shetland already for sweaters I wanted to use something different. I totally on faith bought a bit over 2 pounds of Romney from Paradise Fibers. Well I am happy to report that is wonderful. I have washed it and I'n thinking it will work out well for this cardigan.
So now here is where the over thinking begins. In an effort to make sure this will work out. I found some Romney in my stash. Now I know that a dyed roving will not be exactly the same as spinning from the locks. What I was looking for was will Romney be OK to wear. Now because its a cardigan it won't be next to skin but close so I want something that not horrible scratchy. So I decided to spin up a ounce on both my Matchless and the Sonata to see how they came out. I then knit up a swatch to see how they feel. Well I have to say I really like the yarn its some what soft and I think it will make a nice 3 ply. When I was knitting it didn't feel all that soft so I was a bit worried but after the swatches were washed and blocked they felt fine under the chin.
With that test done I have decided to get started. So last night I flicked a shoe box of locks so that I could get to spinning today. I really wanted to get started on the first but I just can't wait. Like I said I also am thinking about over dyeing the yarn a med. blue, I don't want to waist any of the locks to make sure I have enough for the sweater. The pattern calls for 1550 for my size which I think it way more then I need. I usually use 1000 for a top down sweater. Anyway I took some of the wool that came out of the dog brush and dyed that with some Gaywool dye in the color of bluegum. Right now its drying but I'm thinking its a little to light. I am thinking I want more dark blue, but I will decide that later.
Yes I know I am way over thinking this whole thing and its even beginning to drive me a bit batty but I really want to spin and knit more of my projects this next year and I want them to turn out so that I will want to wear them and not just in my house. More to come....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gerring up for the Olympics

Even though its Dec. 23. I have been thinking about my next big project. In a way its a new thing for me. I am usually knitting or crocheting my fingers to the bone to get all my Christmas gifts done for the 25th. Well this year I didn't do a lot for family and friends. Which means I finished up with plenty of time to spare. So I got to thinking its time for some fun knitting. As you may have read in the past I am a huge fan of the Spunk Fiber club. I have been getting fiber each month for all most as long as it has been going. I think I missed the first month. Anyway any time there has been a sporting event, Tour de France and the Olympics and we have had a spin along or a knit along I have been a member of Team Monkey Fart. Which is a colorway of Spunky Eclectic. So as the Winter Olympics approaches I have been doing a lot of thinking about what my goals are for this year and I haven't totally work them out just yet , so stay tuned for more on that. But in the spirit of the challenge I decided I need a mascot to cheer me on as I spin and knit. So let me introduce Harold! The pattern comes from

I used my hand spun. The cream is I think corridale that I bought at a local store. The browns in Monkey Farts from Spunky Eclectic. Have I told you how great the fibers are there? By the way I met Amy at SOAR and just love her. Can you stock someone that live on the other side of the US? Anyway I spun both yarns into a 3ply DK. I wanted the colors to blend well together but still have some texture to them. I ended up with 240 yards of the Monkey farts and about 100 yards of the cream. I was really worried that I wouldn't have enough yarn to complete this monkey. I did look at the ones that others have made on Ravelry but not one person listed how much yarn they used. I really hate when the yardage is not listed. Anyway I think I have enough yarn for another one. If I have time I may try the crocheted version. We will see about that. You do have to admit he does look a lot like my ravatar. Don't you think?

Monday, December 14, 2009

So how well do you Trust your LYS

So a question came up this morning. How well do you trust your local yarn store or fiber store for that matter?

Example number 1.
Some of you may know that I used to do a lot of designing a few year back. Well the reason I stopped was because of a LYS. When the store first opened I did a few sample pieces for the store and then once the owner found out that I had some designs she was more the willing to buy them and then sell them in her store. So I took in about 20 or so patterns I think it was 5 of each different design. Well fast forward 2 years. One of my students went into the same LYS and while she was there another customer asked for one of my patterns. Well I guess they had ran out so the clerk ran down stairs and made a copy and sold it to her ( for full price). Well of course my student was upset by this and she told me what happened. So when I went in to talk with the owner she made it sound as if she had been trying to get a hold of me to order more patterns. Which of course she wasn't because on all my pattern there is contact info. Anyway I felt pretty burned so I stopped writing up my designs. By the way karma got her and she went out of business a short time after that.

Example number 2.
I was at a fiber store about a week or so ago buying some fiber to dye, on the way out there is a box of free patterns. Well guess what was on the top of the pile. 3 of the patterns that was sold at the store that had been closed for a couple of years. By this time, it didn't upset me but it sure miffed my husband. So I have decided one the new year comes and I have more time I will be putting all those patterns on Ravelry for free.

Example number 3.
While I was at SOAR, I went into the market to buy a couple of spindles. I ended up with 3 but that is another story. If you have never been to SOAR market think of it like the day after Thanksgiving at Walmart. And no the people aren't any nicer, never get between a spinner and fiber unless you are asking to get hurt. Any way I found a spindle I really like and I bought it with out trying it out. I figured they would have to be good to be at SOAR. So later that night I ran into the maker and told them how much I love my new spindle. The remark to me was " Does it spin OK, because I never know if it will work or not". Yikes I think I will try them out before I buy from this time forward.

Example number 4.
I'm sure you have herd me complain that the Boise area really needs a good fiber store. Well there is a nice one about an hour away, so some girl friends and I went about a week or so ago to see what's new. I am in the process of buy some fiber to make a cardigan. Have you seen the really neat one in the current Spin Off? (Winter 09)Yes that's the one I plan to make next. Anyway the gal that owns this store is a spinner and she usually has nice stuff. Well this time there was some in my opinion over price fleece that when I did the lock test. It failed. Well after the first time I thought maybe I'm doing it wrong so I tried again. Well after the 4 try I realized this was a bad fleece. By the way the lock test is where you take hold of each end of a lock of fiber and snap it. It should make a nice musical sound and not break. Well this one broke every time. I course it didn't come home with me.

Example number 5.
Like I said I have been looking for some fleece for a cardigan. Well I found some nice Romney on line for a very good price. So I bought it with out touching it. So for 4 days I was biting my nails in hopes that the fleece would be OK. Well I am happy to report its just beautiful. I am thinking it will be my cardigan. I am now waiting to see how a gauge swatch turns out after the fleece dries so I can get to spinning.

So this morning I was thinking about each of these 5 examples of fiber stores, yes each one is a different store and none of them are the one I teach knitting classes at. But the question does come up. How well do you trust your local yarn or fiber store, or can you trust them? My lesson that I have learned is do lots of research before you buy no matter if you can feel the yarn or fiber or not, and just because the owner may seem nice its your money so buy only the good stuff that you can use.