Wednesday, August 20, 2008

delayed post

**This post was written last week but for some reason I never posted it. Enjoyed the belated fun!

I've been knitting pretty steadily since last weekend but most of it has been Christmas gifts so you'll have to wait a couple of months to see the pictures. I'll just say that I absolutely love the one gift though I've made 1.5 extras of it because my gague was way off the first time around (and then the third time around which was just plain annoying). Then I started knitting some things which could be pictured because they are not gifts for anyone. Dishcloths!

My work has a silent auction (usually) twice a year. I knit these up the past couple of nights and am going to put them in the auction. Someone's daughter already knit up a bunch for the staff breakroom and I know people really like them. They are so super easy, fun and addictive. Must stop knitting dishcloths. . .

I've also picked up my February Lady Sweater again. It started languishing at the end of July for no good reason. If I had kept at it, this sweater would have been done in 8 days. Now, however, it will be done in a month + a few. Recently, I've been having a bought with startitis which results in many, many works in progress. It also produces many knits which sit in the corner being neglected. I'm hoping to put the finishing touches on this one in the next couple of days.

I love this lace pattern! It is so simple that I don't have to look at it at all and I don't have to follow a pattern which is really good for knitting during the Olympics. Chart knitting and/or counting while watching engrossing TV is usually a bad combination.

The morning light made the yarn look much more purple than it actually is. The earlier pictures of my project page show it much more accurately. I love working with this yarn! It is O-Wool Balance, a mix of cotton and wool. Apparently, I'm not the only one who loves it. . . .
Knitted items on the ground/me/the couch/any flat surface seem to be kitty bait. You put it down and *poof* kitty appears. I swear that she was nowhere near me before I put the sweater in the grass to take a picture of it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympics = spinning for me

Thanks for all of your suggestions with plying the rainbow soysilk. I'm leaning toward plying it with a white or cream. I don't want to lose the rainbow color changes but REALLY don't want to navajo ply that many yards. Now my next decision has to be if I'm going to buy undyed soysilk or, because soysilk has no memory to it, undyed wool. Decisions, decisions. I'll just shelve that one for a while.

While most people on Ravelry are participating in the Ravelympics, I've apparently been having my own spinning marathon for the Olympics. I'm also knitting but you aren't allowed to see those pictures/projects because they are Christmas gifts. Christmas, already?! Yes, I know it is multiple months away but, in the life of a crafter, it isn't that far away. I am really excited about one of the gifts and can't wait until December gets here just to see how the recipient likes it. I'll just have to content myself with taking pictures of it and waiting until December.

Let's talk about the spinning so I'm not tempted to spill the Christmas gift beans. In the middle of the Tour de Fleece, I had a small spending spree (oops) during which I bought a beautiful rose quartz little spindle and this 4 oz of roving.

This is Chocolate Toffee Cream from CJ Kopec Creations. I've bought lots of roving off of her before but let me tell you this is my absolute favorite. I thought the alpaca/merino blend was nice but compared to this stuff, it was like spinning straw! This is a blend of merino, alpaca, silk, and bamboo. It absolutely flies through your fingers and feels magnificent.

Right now, if I did a 2 ply with the singles I'm spinning, I would definitely have laceweight. But I'm thinking something different for it. In one of the last couple of issues of SpinOff, an article was talking about cabled yarns. Those are created when you 2 ply and then ply it again. That would probably bring me up to a fingering weight yarn. I can already imagine those beautiful socks. Magnificent singles = magnificent yarn = magnificent socks. Yummm. . .

I should be finished with the 4 oz tonight at spinning guild. I can't decide if I want to start plying it right away or if I want to start up on some different fiber. Guess it will just depend on how quickly I make it through the rest of this fiber. I probably would have gotten through it sooner if I hadn't paused to ply up this fun stuff.

It is Wisp from Gaslight Dyeworks. This yarn was so much fun to spin. It has wool, alpaca, and sparkly nylon in it. The nylon was a range of fun sparkles from blue to pink to purple to silver. The wool/alpaca was dyed a light yellow and makes for a nice background. I wish the pictures showed the sparkle more so you will just have to trust me that it is there.

I was trying to spin this into a heavier weight which can be difficult after spinning so much fine stuff. It ended up being somewhere between worsted and bulky. I haven't done a WPI (wraps per inch) measurement yet to find out the actual weight. The total yardage on it ended up being 216 yards and the skein was absolutely massive. For some idea of scale, the cat in this picture is 6 pounds. In her "kitty log" bundle, she and the skein are the same length.

I swear I'll get back to knitting (that I can show you) sometime soon!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Different fibers

I have to say that I was really happy about my participation in the Tour de Fleece. Most of the time I sign up for something and then don't do anything about it. Either I lose interest or get so insanely busy that I don't have time to participate. This time, I spun everyday at least 10 minutes though it usually turned into much longer. I used lots of roving from my stash. In fact I hardly have a stash any more. Just some unskirted alpaca (4 oz black and 4 oz light brown), 8 oz of 100% merino, 4 oz merino/tencel, 4 oz (I think, it might be 8 oz though) black Corriedale, a little bit of silk, a little bit of merino, and some roving I've been using to make cat toys and other felted objects. Oh, and 4 oz of merino, silk, alpaca, and bamboo I bought after the Tour ended. This slight falling down is sooooo pretty. It is like air and so warm!

Anyway, back to the last of my Tour spinning. I bought a couple of ounces of dyed soysilk at the beginning of the summer. Originally it seemed like this would be one of those things of roving you just look at and pet but not actually use.

One of my goals for the Tour was to use many different types of fiber. So far I've used alpaca, silk, merino, Finn, llama (technically this was used the day before the Tour started), and tencel (also right before the Tour but the Tour was the inspiration for using it). I had a lace bobbin open (note to self: buy many more lace bobbins!) and rummaged through the stash to see what I should use next. That soysilk roving came bobbing to the top so I started spinning.

Someone said that spinning soysilk was like spinning cobwebs. Let me tell you, they couldn't be more right! People recommended spinning it with a high twist so it holds itself together. I thought that the alpaca I spun up a while ago was thin but I was wrong. This stuff sticks together so much that I don't have to work hard at making it thin. This yarn, once I ply it, will definitely be laceweight. I spun for hours and hours but I only made it through 2 color changes (the ball of roving goes through all of the colors of the rainbow starting with purple).

The next morning I started on the green section. I spun during my lunch break down in the staff breakroom. It definitely confused some people :)

That night I made it through the green section and into a little bit of the yellow.

Now, as you can see by the pictures, the bobbin was getting a little full. Well, I just kept going because my other lace bobbin was full still. This Tour definitely made me think of getting some more bobbins! The following day, I got through the rest of the roving (the rest of the yellow, the orange, and the pink). Let's just say by the end of the orange I was getting a little nervous about getting everything on this bobbin.

It was a tad bit packed! Everything made it but just barely. If I had had even 1/16 oz more, it would definitely not have happened.

When I wound all of the soysilk up on the ball winder, it definitely made a statement! Talk about all of the colors of the rainbow.

What do you think, should I ply it back on itself or should I ply this with a completely different color? A different color would definitely make the yardage better and make the color transitions very apparent. But I have no idea what other color would look good. White? Black? Any suggestions?