Category Archives: wool

Finally Making Some Progress

I finally feel as if I am making progress on my spinning, knitting, and sewing projects. Not having classes two nights a week really does give me a lot of free time! The hardest part about wanting to update on all of this is figuring out where to start. Guess I’ll start with the spinning. Last year a dog got into some combed top I was working on, and strew it all around the house. It would be impossible to spin it as prepped top now, but with my fancy new hand cards I could turn the top into rolags pretty easily and spin from that!

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This is my spinning set-up from last week. In the front are the rolags I prepped from the affected fiber. The bobbin on the back left is full of 3oz of merino/mohair singles. The bobbin on the right is another 3 oz of the same fiber, chain plied. In the back you can see my yarn bowl and WIP.

I was hoping to spin a bulky single. Unfortunately learning to spin rolags in a truly woolen manner was a bit difficult, and I ended up with thick and thin singles, about a worsted weight. The colors in this photo are the most accurate for the pink fiber.

 

 

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Here are the singles. About 200yds, 4oz. I spun it up as a gradient, from dark magenta to a pink so light it’s almost white. I really wanted a thicker yarn, but if I ply this I’ll get a really awful barber pole effect, and I’m just not sure I want that yet. We will see. I have time before I need a winter hat from this.

 

 

Here is a swatch knitted up. It’s not bad, but this is on size 8 needles. Definitely worsted. 

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Here is the finished product of the chain-plied mohair. This skein is about 275yds, 3oz. I ended up with about a sport weight yarn. I’m still plying the second bobbin, but it should be around the same. I’m ok with that, I just need to figure out what to do with 500yds of a mohair blend. I’m not so sure it will make great socks. Maybe house socks? It could make a nice small shawl, too. That’s the hardest part about spinning- trying to figure out what to do with the yarn once it’s made! 

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Oh, and here was my super fancy set-up to skein this yarn once I was done spinning it:

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I know, don’t you all wish you had this impressive layout? I can’t wait until I have a craft room, and a table that has enough of a lip to attach my swift. 

 

 

 

 

This weekend we are heading up to the lake to spend the holiday with family. I’m bringing the Border Leicester, as I said earlier. Gertrude, all her supplies, and the hand cards are coming along, too. I plan on getting a good start with the Border Leicester this weekend. I’m hoping I bought enough of it- the original intention was to knit myself a sweater from it. If I am low on fiber though, I’ll have to decide if I want to blend it, or do a colorwork yoke to try and make the yarn last. I may kick myself if I find out I didn’t purchase enough.

The trindle went out in the mail today to get fixed/replaced. I’m hoping he is able to fix it. I really love that little spindle and was very excited to spin on it this past weekend. I’ve learned my lesson though. Never take a trindle out of the house!

Posted in fiber, roving, spinning, sweater, Uncategorized, wool, yarn | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Birthdays and Bags

About 3 years ago, a close friend of mine decided to try her hand at knitting. We were living in different areas at the time, so it wasn’t my influence that encouraged her. She has been progressing very well with her knitting lately. When I think about it, I try to send her a yarn or knitting related gift. I saw a pin on pinterest the other day of a knitting emergency box, and immediately thought it would be great. It’s not expensive or time-consuming, but it is super cute. Thoughts?

Knitting Emergency

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, I want one for myself, but why would I put yarn into a box for myself? It’s not like I already have an unhealthy collection, and I doubt J would let me display a case of yarn on the wall. Although, if I did one in our living room colors…

My other project lately is working on bags for my business. It has officially moved over to www.rock-solid-designs.com Anyway, I wrapped up a prototype for a padded project bag today.

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Later this week I want to try my hand at a padded box bag, and padded spindle bag.  I’m also going to work on a wallet to match this purse I made last week.

In the meantime, my knitting is still all J’s socks, all the time. I’m starting to really wonder if I will get this thing done in time for his birthday in May. 

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Actual Knitting Content

It’s been a while since I’ve posted knitting content. Honestly, It’s been a while since I’ve knit.  Between work, grad school, and trying to get Rock Solid Designs up and running and semi-viable as a company, I have barely had a second to relax!  This post will be a review of knitting I have completed over the past two months. 

Remember the Viper Pilot socks I was working on for J? Yeah. After 3 attempts and two different needles sizes, I gave up and told him I was keeping them for myself. I couldn’t handle ripping half a sock out a third time. That’s just demoralizing. So, here is the first sock of my new pair:

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Not the best pictures, but you get the idea. At least the sock fits someone now. But because I love J oh so much…I promised I would still knit him the sock. So we went digging through my stash, and found a yarn that would work better with a larger needle size. These are coming along quite nicely.

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Here is the start of his sock. Going along much smoother, thank goodness. I like the color of this yarn. It’s hard to tell in the photo, but it’s a subtle gradient from dark blue to dark green-blue. 

 

 

 

 

I wanted to get a sweater knit before winter ends, but it doesn’t look like it will get done. I haven’t even worked on this since Christmas. I LOVE this sweater, and I LOVE this yarn. It’s an Opulent Raglan knit with Madtosh DK yarn. I wish I had more time to work on this, because it’s done nothing wrong. It deserves to be loved.

 

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Hopefully I will have time to work on her once spring break starts for my classes next week. 

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2013 Cast-on-along

I have this group of internet friends that are pretty cool. One of these cool kids told us back in 2011 how she makes it a habit to cast on something for herself on the first day of the new year. One of those superstitions about if start off with something for you, that you want, that maybe your year will go more like the way you want it to. No additional requirements, just cast on.

I did it back in 2011 with my wedding veil. In 2012 I was so busy with wedding prep and trying to find a job that I didn’t join in, but I did it again this year. I decided this year I absolutely needed a pair of mittens. HAD to have a pair. Could not LIVE without a pair. And so, I started bella’s mittens.(sidenote: I haaaate twilight. But these mittens are adorable. The making of these mittens was in no way, shape or form an endorsement of those awful books or movies).

It only took me about 6 days, and I ended up with these adorable mittens.

They are knit with Cascade 128, which is a “chunky” yarn. Perfect for a quick knit project to wear out while it’s still cold.

I may have an unholy love for these mittens. I wear them even if they don’t match my coat. I wear them even if it’s really a bit too warm for mittens. 

 

I have also learned mittens are extremely impractical for important things like “buttoning your own coat.”

I don’t care. They are mine and I love them.

 

What do you do to get the new year off to a good start?

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Sewing Sunday

It has been two months since I last blogged. I keep promising I will do it more often, then life goes crazy on me. It’s been a hectic last few weeks, here. I just registered for graduate classes, starting in the Spring. Christmas crafting and preparations are in full swing, and I have been baking and cooking up a storm to make sure we get full use of our CSA boxes.

I have decided that having a specific topic to blog about, might make me blog more frequently. A lot of craft bloggers have days such as “Work in Progress Wednesay” “Finished Object Friday,” etc. Today will be Sewing Sunday! 

My first finished sewing item of the last few weeks: my new yoga bag!

 

I bought some neon paisley fabric at JoAnn fabrics for half price. This project took literally 2 hours from start to finish, including washing. It was really quick and easy to do, and I have a completely unique bag whenever I go to class now!

I will post a tutorial on how to make this tomorrow. The materials cost me approximately $7, including the drawstring and clip, and ribbon for the strap. 

 

 

 

My second sewing project I will share this week wasn’t fully sewing. I knit an earflap hat for my stepdaughter, but the flaps kept curling up, and wool can feel pretty scratchy to a 5 year old. So I bought some clearance remnant fleece and sewed it in! I think it’s pretty darn cute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That is it for today! Tomorrow will be a yoga mat bag blog. Wednesday I will show you all my current works in progress, both sewing and knitting. Friday will be knitting finished items, and Sundays will now be sewing finished items! 

 

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As Summer comes to an end…

It’s been a busy past couple of weeks. I keep meaning to come back to the blog and give an update, but I always feel guilty for showing up without any photos to show progress on things. So much has gone on since my last post!

First up, a summary of my 2012 Tour De Fleece efforts. I did a lot better than last year, managing to spin at least 3 days a week, but I didn’t do as well documenting my progress. I  finally plied my Cinderella colorway. It looks pretty neat. I spun up each bobbin randomly, so there are places where it’s all white, or all dark blue, but I think it will give the finished knit item a nice appearance. (Remind me of this post when I go to knit something and it turns out horrible looking). It’s approximately 300yds, although it has fluffed up to probably a DK weight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spun about 3oz of a mohair/wool blend I purchased at Knitter’s Day Out in 2010. It’s a nice teal and purple blend, and it has been spinning up wonderfully. I don’t know why I didn’t finish up the remaining 3 oz yet- I guess I am just too lazy to get my wheel out and work on it lately. One bobbin- full is 30z, but I am torn between doing a 2ply when it is all done, or doing a navajo ply for each bobbin. 

 

 

 

 

 

My big accomplishment in the past few weeks though, was finally finishing this shawl. It’s the Rose Lace Stole from the Spring 2011 Interweave Knits. It is an easy pattern, and 75% of it is just straight knitting with a few yarnovers. I just couldn’t bring myself to finish this shawl. It was the same thing over and over, and completely mind-numbing. It was supposed to be finished in time for my wedding, but that obviously fell through. It will now be a birthday/Christmas gift for my mother-in-law. She is always complaining about how cold she is, so I know she will appreciate this. I’m just glad I can finally mark another project “completed” in my mental knitting checklist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow I am off to enter a few items in the Maryland State Fair. Later this week I’ll share what my latest sewing projects have been, and give reviews of everything I am sending down to the fair. I think I have a good shot of winning at least one ribbon this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in fiber, knitting, roving, shawl, spinning, Tour De Fleece, Uncategorized, wool, yarn | Tagged | Leave a comment

Spin a Yarn

A month goes by way too fast. I’ll admit, part of it is me being a complete slacker, but it’s been busy the past few weeks. Three weekends ago we went up to the lakehouse where I fully intended to take amazing and awe-inspiring photos of my works in progress. I got one.  It was a very busy weekend!

I finished up the 1oz art batt I was working on. It’s probably 100yds of singles. I have no idea what I will do with it. This wasn’t my favorite stuff to work with- there was still a lot of grease in the fiber, and sections of the merino seemed a bit felted. I am moderately pleased with the final product, though.

(Note- it’s more pink than orange in real life.)

 

Next up, some wool/mohair/angelina blend. I don’t think I have any in progress photos of it, but I did spin some of it up into an art yarn last year, documented in this blog post.  I got about 62 yds of worsted weight, 2 ply yarn. it’s nice and squishy. I learned a lot on this fiber. One: semi-felted wool sucks, and Two: I need to put more twist into my singles. I seem to habitually undertwist my singles, and it makes plying more challenging than it needs to be.

 

 I also worked on a similar fiber with a heavier spindle. This one had way more felted sections, and sometimes I felt like I was fighting with the fiber. The colors were so vibrant though, I almost forgot what a pain in the butt it is to spin. 

The rest of this month (all 5 days of it) will be spent getting bobbins and spindles cleared off for the start of Tour De Fleece 2012. Hopefully that means pictures of more finished yarns to come!

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To Boldly Knit

I know my last post was all about new patterns I want to sew, but lately I seem to have a greater desire to knit. I have a number of projects I want to finish, and they seem to just drag. on. My purse sock, for instance, still isn’t ready to have the heel turned on it, and I have  been working on this sock for four months now. It’s like a black hole of sock knitting! Maybe it’s just imploding on itself due to it’s properties.

This sock is Viper Pilots (Ravelry link), knit out of Woolen Mill St Yarns Star Trek (it seems to be a discontinued colorway), worked on mostly while watching Stargate Atlantis. Maybe the problem is there is so much sci-fi coolness knit into this sock, that it just implodes from all the awesome? That can be the only explanation for 3 inches of a sock taking four months.

These are going to be J’s birthday/wedding/Christmas socks. Maybe I’ll get them done by the end of the year.

 

 

 I have spent the rest of my time getting ready for this years Tour De Fleece. I decided to finish spinning up some Corriedale I have been working on for about 6 months. I finally have two bobbins full, and now I just need to ply them. The fiber is also from Woolen Mill St Yarns, in her Cinderella colorway. What can I say, the woman does impressive dye jobs. I can’t buy enough of her stuff.

(I also got a new lightbox to play with. I’ll figure out optimal settings with it eventually.)

 

 

 

 

Once I finished spinning those singles, I started on an art batt I bought at Wool Gathering in OH last year from Roving Acres.It’s a 1 oz art batt consisting of Alpaca, Merino, silk noils and angelina. It’s been a little difficult to spin up. I am not sure I enjoy art batts. They seem to have a mind of their own on what they want to be, and no amount of wrangling will make them anything else. The singles are turning out awful pretty though. I’m sure the final yarn will convince me I love art batts and need hundreds more and that wasn’t really troublesome, was it?

 

 

 

 


 

 

This past week was J’s birthday. I don’t know if you guessed from the theme of his socks above, but he is a bit of a sci-fi fan. Every year I make him a special birthday cake, and this year we went with a Star Trek Theme. It’s just a basic chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting, but he loved it (and ate most of it. I would be more hurt if I liked frosting).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I doubt this week I will actually get some sewing done, but hopefully I can make a sizable dent in that sock and my spinning.

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Tour De Fleece

The Tour De Fleece is over halfway done! with thousands of people participating in the group on Ravelry, I was a little intimated. However I have a wheel that is feeling a bit neglected, and some spindles that probably think I have completely abandoned them, so my goals this year were:

Spin every day, even if it’s just for 15 minutes.

Finish my falkland that I purchased from FatCatKnits at the 2010 Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

Learn how to use my new Russian Spindle.

Do some cool looking art yarn.

So far I am doing well. I have actually finished a few skeins of yarn! Here is some Ashland Bay merino I completed. I got about 230 yards of a 3 ply worsted from this. It is so nice and squishy. I want to just walk around holding it all day.

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The falkland has been taking me a long time. I’m shooting for a semi-woolen yarn from this. I have been spinning the top long draw from the fold. This technique does make a very lofty yarn with a lot of yardage. I was actually fairly surprised that the finished yarn ended up at 412 yards. Here are some in progress photos. I haven’t taken a picture of the finished yarn yet, and it may not be possible before my cat eats it. I walked in on her attacking it this morning. I guess she doesn’t like multi-colors.

Progress on the bobbin:

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I packed up Gertrude and took her to visit my grandparents at the lake this weekend. My littlest cousin enjoyed treadling while I plied the yarn. Here I am finishing up my plying in the kitchen. I had to move in there to avoid the dogs who had all gone swimming. They were locked on the back deck with me, and wet dog does not mix well with yarn.

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I am now working on an ocean themed art yarn using beads from Jar-Jaf Miniatures. They have the cutest little wooden animal beads! I have a merino/mohair/alpaca/angelina blend that I am using to make this yarn. It looked bluish-green at first, but I am starting to wonder if it is too green for an ocean theme. I’ll post some pictures tomorrow and see what you all think.

Finally, I will leave you with this video my father took. I thought he was just taking my picture. No, no. He was attempting to embarrass me on the internet.
Dancing Spinner

Posted in kromski sonata, roving, spinning, Tour De Fleece, wool, yarn | Tagged | Leave a comment

Failing miserably

I really do fail miserably at this blogging thing! Life has just been really hectic the last few months, to say the least. so…where did we leave off?

Ah! January. Well, I met most of my resolution. I finished the swallowtail shawl.

And I completed the log cabin socks for my Texan friend. I am sure he loved getting them in april. :)

I finished my blackrose socks, but have no finished picture. Just trust me, they look and wear awesomely. In addition, they accidentally went through the washer and dryer, with no damage! This had me worried, since I am pretty sure Claudia Hand Paint sock yarn isn’t technically listed as machine washable.

The big accomplishment though? ARWEN IS DONE!! At a year and a half in the making, this is a huge accomplishment. I wore it every day for at least a week. I am a little sad it’s too warm to wear it now.

Avalon got put into time out for having different dye lots- I have already ripped it back 3 times, and just was NOT in the mood to do it a fourth for now.

I haven’t been blogging for a variety of reasons. first, work was pretty busy the first part of this year, wrapping up projects and kicking off new ones, which meant that by the end of the day I really didn’t feel like blogging again. In march, I found out my SO is being sent overseas for a year, leaving mid-June. Dealing with that and all the drama associated has kept me reasonably distracted from blogging and knitting too, unfortunately.

I have also been working on a stealth project. The item is done, but won’t be revealed for a few more months. Trust me though, it’s worth it!

I have been spinning a bit more lately- finished another roving from Christine Marie Potter. Her stuff is gorgeous, and I love working with it! This is her Snow White colorway, in corriedale. I spun about 400yds of navajo plied light worsted weight yarn.

I promise to be back later this week to share stories of this year’s MDSW, and honor my 1 year of blogging! (infrequently. but hey, it’s better than never, right?)

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