Saturday, March 24, 2007

Well, I finally finished the Targhee. The 2nd skein was 690 yards, 20wpi. So it's grand total of approximately 1400 yards from 11 oz of fiber. I'm really happy with the way it turned out! Not so much for the weight, but because it's probably the most consistant yarn I've produced to date. 11 oz of it, no less! :-D

Of course, I was rushing out of the house to go on vacation just when I was finishing it, so it got balled and I'm using it right now. So no picture of the second skein. But I do have the shawl in progress. I really like how it's turning out. And since the 1st skein was a bit more of the pinks and reds, and the second skein was more yellows and oranges, I'm using the 2nd skein first. Then, I'll use the 1st skein next. Hopefully the end result is a gradual transition, with more yellow and orange near the top, and more orange and reds near the bottom. Of course, projects don't always go the way we plan -- we'll see what the final product looks like. Here's the current status:


In addition, my daughter's Easter basket is currently going through the wash (so no picture currently available -- I'll add it in the next entry). Also, Carole pointed me towards a pattern for some cute Easter Peeps (obviously non-consumable), so I think I might try making 1 or 2 of them. And finally, I was going to also try and do one or two Curly Purly Eggs. All this before Sunday... maybe!

And, of course, I had to start another pair of socks. I figured for a change of pace, I'd try a toe-up pattern, so I'm using the pattern on Wendy Knits. I'm even doing the Feather and Fan pattern. Hopefully, this will go faster than the last pair! I've actually made quite a bit of progress, but that is partially b/c of being on a flight to and from Florida last week. Of course, I could have accomplished much more than this -- our flight back was a fiasco that involved 5.5 hrs to get from Ft. Lauderdale to Newark, with an unscheduled stopoff in Philly b/c we were running low on fuel (not something you want to be hearing at 30,000 feet!). Unfortunately, Cassie never took a nap. Mind you, her naptime is 1pm and bedtime at 8pm. We got to the airport around 12:30, were supposed to take off at 2pm, were delayed until almost 3:15, then didn't land in Newark until after 8:30. And she never slept! Although I was very proud of her... she was amazingly well behaved despite being stuck in either a carseat or stroller for pretty much 9 hrs door to door. She finally passed out exhausted 5 minute from the house! :-D Ah well, I guess the days of her reliably falling asleep in the carseat are over! It was good while it lasted! Now, just thank god for DVD players! :-D

Oh, so here's the progress on the first sock:


My newest spinning project is an attempt at using navaho ply. It's BFL in a beautiful colorway called "Iris" from Zen String. It is varying shades of purple with small highlights of yellow/orange. But I was worried that the gold/orange colors would be lost in all the purple. So I decided it would probably be best to use navaho ply to preserve the color transitions. The only problem is that I suck at navaho ply! Of course, there was an article and pattern for exactly this on Knity -- Palette . So I decided it was kismet and it's going to become "Palette". Besides, you have to start somewhere.

Here's the current status. Just under 2oz completed. I still have a little over 2 oz to go:


As you can see, it's REALLY thin. I've been shooting for about 45-50 wpi (I got one of those card thingy's for measuring -- I'm not obsessive compulsive enough to actually do all those wraps!) My hope is that the resulting yarn will be about 18 wpi.

And finally, my other new project. I've been inspired by Carole and am attempting my first washcloth. I know tons of people love making them. So I figured I'd give it a try. What's really nice is that it's a relatively short project, so I get the "reward" pretty quickly. I started yesterday, and here's where I stand right now:


It's a very lovely pattern -- I found it here on Smariek Knits. She has quite a few really nice patterns. I'll probably a few other washcloth patterns (I really love the lacy heart pattern) and I really love her Persephone scarf too (what is it with me and greek mythology?!?!) My only problem is that I'm really a "chart" knitter. So, of course, being a computer geek as well, I can't go with the simple paper and pen approach. I can do a chart in Excel, but how to do the symbols? Well, turns out, someone created a font for it! YAY! I found it here at Aire River Designs. So I've created a chart for this washcloth, and now I'm a happy knitter...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I've been a bit under the weather for the past few days, but seem to be doing better, so I wanted to try and at least put a quick post up. Partially b/c I got some beautiful stitch markers the other day that I wanted to post, plus I finally finished those socks!

First, the stitch markers from Sarah:


Aren't they beautiful! And very well made, which is a necessity b/c of my new lace obsession. Otherwise, I'd constantly have to be untangling. MUCH better than the straw pieces (which, btw, have a tendency to slip under a stitch, which can REALLY throw things off!) Plus , she sent me an extra little treat:


Yep -- silk hankies! I've really wanted to try them, but they aren't the type of thing you can just buy a few of...

Of course, with not feeling well, I didn't get a chance to try them out until today. But that's ok, I spent that time moisturizing my hands to cut down on the snagging. My hands have a tendency to be rough and dry to start with, so they desperately needed it anyways. They really are facinating to work with! It's like what I'd imagine pulling taffy is like. You have to pull pretty hard, but you need to make sure you don't overdo it and pull them apart. I managed to do 2 of them this evening. The first was REALLY slow getting it stretched out to my satisfaction, but the second went much quicker since I had a feel for it already. I think the first one I was just trying to be too delicate. By the second, I realized I really could pull much harder on the stuff. So, this is the results:


Next, the socks. They already look a little stretched out, especially at the top. but that's just because my feet were cold when I finished them, so I couldn't resist putting them on. Of course, I never got around to taking the picture until a day later. The picture doesn't do justice to this colorway -- it's Gold Hill from Lorna's Laces.


And finally, I'm ALMOST finished with the Targhee! There are only 4 fluff balls left. Here's a picture from earlier today, only b/c I thought it looked really cool :-D


Next up, another pair of socks, a new shawl, and a new fiber. I've already picked out the shawl and socks, but I'm still trying to decide which fiber I want to start next. But I'll leave those for another day. I'm a bit tired and want to go to bed!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Flower Basket Shawl Blocked

Well, I finally got time to block the Flower Basket Shawl. Because I've become so addicted to lace knitting, I decided to try one of the wire blocking kits. I'm really happy with the kit b/c the blocking went MUCH smoother this time. It made it much easier to block it evenly. The last time, there was a bit of an "arc" to the center line. This one is much more even. So, here it is, first a full picture:

Here's a closer shot where you can see what the pattern looks like:


And, finally, a really close up one to see a detailed picture of the pattern. It turned out really nicely!


The other thing I got to do was dye 2 4oz skeins of Knitpicks bare merino lace. I'm reasonably happy with the way it turned out. The color doesn't show up well in picture. And it looks better wound up than in the original dyed skein It's a pale periwinkle color. The only problem is that there were apparently a few bits of blue that didn't quite disolve -- I used some blue that I prepared back a while ago, so it was kind of a jello consistancy. So I have a few specks throughout the yarn. I'll have to see what it looks like in the end. They are REALLY tiny but they are significantly darker. We'll see. But here's a picture of it in the mean time:


Changes I'd make in my process next time. I definitely need to make sure that I reheat "premixed" dyes thoroughly before adding it to the water. I really think that was all the problem was. That, and I probably should have made the water a bit warmer before adding the dyes. Finally, I think I've hit the limit for the crock pot. I don't think it can handle more than 4 oz. I'm going to try and find a larger metal pot that isn't too expensive.

Other than that, I've really just been making progress on projects. Nothing exciting enough to take pictures. First, the second sock that has been sitting there for a WHILE (I finished the first one at Thanksgiving! :-D). And second, the Fire Spirit targhee. I'm about 2/3 of the way through the last 5 oz. So I'm hoping to finish it up this weekend!

Friday, March 9, 2007

Flower Baskets and Fiber...

I haven't posted in a while, mainly b/c life has been a little chaotic. My dh has been working all hours of the day and night, so I'm pretty much on my own taking care of my daughter and the house. So my free time has been a bit limited. And what time I did have, I dedicated to finally finishing this:


Well, actually, almost finished. It still needs to be blocked. It's definitely bigger than the last one. Actually, it's pretty much the same size unblocked (28inx61in) as the last one was blocked. But this is the FiberTrends Flower Basket Shawl. Oh, and see that few yards of yarn on the left? That's how much yarn I have left from the original 8oz. Think I cut it a little tight? Actually, I can't complain. I went into it knowing that I didn't have enough and that I'd probably have to cut a round or two out. Amazingly, even though it called for 1100 yards and I only had 880 yards, I just made it with the full # of rounds! It's not getting blocked tonight... I'm babysitting for some friends, so it's been me vs. 3 kids (4, 3 and 2) all night and I'm pooped! I don't know how everyone who has 3 or more kids does it! :-D

Other than that, I also washed a small amount of the CVM and carded it:


It's got more neps than I'd like... but I did some asking around, and I think it's because I'm using the wrong cards. So I've ordered a pair of fine fiber cards since that's predominantly what I plan on doing. I haven't decided whether I'm going to actually use these still or if I'll just work on my long draw with them. I might try a rolag or two first, see how it looks. I'd like to try and make this into a 3 ply light worsted weight yarn that I can then knit into a sweater for my dh. The nice thing about 3 ply is it hides a whole multitude of sins! :-D I know it's a huge project that will probably take me until Christmas, but I've wanted to make him a nice sweater, and I believe I have just enough of this fiber to do that.

And finally, my newest "aquisition". I swear, I have absolutely no self control when it comes to Zen String! She really does make some of the most beautiful colorways I've found anywhere... if you haven't seen her stuff, I HIGHLY recommend you go take a peak :-D. Here's what I got during her latest stocking:


The first is 8oz of Merino/Bamboo in the Spring colorway, and the second is 4 oz of BFL in Iris. I can't wait until I can try them... I have a few items that I'm considering for the first one, but I'd like to use the second for Palette from the newest knitty. I really think it would look best Navajo-plied. And I've wanted to work on that anyways!