Thursday, November 11

When stealth knitting has a deadline

This will be a rather detail-less post but I wanted to get something up. I know it's been quiet around here and for good reason. I bought a ton of fiber recently (more on that in an upcoming post) and once here I went to town. In five days I took 1 lb of fiber and spun it and knit it. I'll have more details tomorrow after the intended gets it but for now here are a couple pics to tide you over.
The fiber is a merino top (colorway: Forest) from Alpaca Direct. I was very happy with it. Spins well and the colors are nicely saturated. More to come!

Wednesday, November 3

Musings on unexpected results

The finished yarn from yesterday's post was not intended to go beyond a test spin. The wheel has been neglected as of late and has been in pieces for months. I have been itching to get it up and going for some time now and I finally got over my laziness and did it. Note to self: Do not take it apart EVER again. Not worth it. It wasn't difficult to assemble by any means but all my settings are/were off. After a day of tweaking I got busy and prepped some fiber.

This was a process. See the green there? Unknown, randomly dyed wool. See the issues with it? It was thick with lanolin. Not a problem since I can wash it out. I waited until after it was spun knowing the manhandling it was about to receive would help with that. Due to the amount of lanolin in it this was a sticky clump. It pulled apart easily but it was clingy to itself. Imagine pulling apart a peanut butter sandwich. Connected to itself but not. It also had second cuts in it. Not a problem seeing as most of my non-commerical fiber does and I'm used to it but this has been processed once before. In a very basic way but it has been done. As a result this has turned the end pieces of the cut (I'm assuming based on how they spun) into balls worthy of a sweater shaver. Add in my quirky blue and it was a fun night (no sarcasm). The blue is some of my free cycle fleece, dyed with Ashford one pot dyes last year. As you can see mine is loaded with kinky and curly pieces (some of which include 2nd cuts). Also, vegetable matter. Luckily this was not a repeat of the fleece-that-shall-not-be-mentioned and it was easily removed.

How did I make my bats? I grabbed a chunk of the green and a chunk of the blue (which needed some picking and fluffing to make it through my drum carder) and sent them on through. Once my large drum was filled I removed the bat and worked it another couple times. If a piece was noticeably not working in (i.e. a second) I'd simply pull it off/out and toss it. By the time I was done I only had a small handful of fluff not worth writing home about. Spinning the blended bat was interesting. The wool is not from the same sheep. Two different textures makes that very clear. Despite being covered in lanolin the green was very dry and had no silkiness to it. The resulting yarn is hearty and tweedy. The single made from the blended bat turned out a nice mellow blue. In fact it made me think of ocean water in the fall time. That blueish grey color you can get on an overcast day. Cheesy and poetic but there you have it. Once plied however the blue single swallowed any blue in the blended one and it was now a mild green color. Sage-y if you will. Tweedy and rustic it makes me think of places like New York. Places, I'd like to add, I've never been but that's the feel it gives. Because I didn't bother to work out the second cut fluff from the green the yarn has slabs in it. As I was spinning I wasn't sure I would like that but in the end they behaved nicely and add to the rustic quality.

Is this yarn something to take home and rub all over yourself? No. Not at all. Is this a yarn that could be worn and used and abused as an item of usefulness? Absolutely. I think, just from the experience of having knit it already, it also has the potential to submit and be broken into an item of comfort. Will its scratchiness (notice I said scratchy and not itchy....there is a difference) or utilitarian aspect go away completely? Probably not. It will however mold itself into something that makes you think of home eventually. It's a heavy load for a yarn to carry but it screams that to me as I ponder it. Who knew yarn would scream at ya'? I feel the need to share that this is a scratchy yarn. It isn't like the itchy most folks think of when they think of wool. I've had that kind before. This is a dry and brisk scratchy*. I rather like it actually.

Yes, the yarn is scratchy. No, the cowl is not. No worries. I've managed to work with the yarn and there will be no scratchiness going to town on your neck. :) It's all about working with what you have and what I have rocks.

Tuesday, November 2

From sheep to spun: A yarn FO

**More details to follow. Some of these pictures blow in terms of quality. Night time spinning/eagerness is not conducive to step by step picture taking.**

Sunday, October 31

Today is brought to you by the letter A

A is for Alien. In our case a one-eyed, brain eating alien.

A hat can't eat brains? Surely you jest. I have proof.

See? Gobble, gobble.


Size 8 needles (mod)

"Heavy Rug Yarn" in grass green. I'm not quite sure what heavy rug yarn is other than atrocious to knit with and an unslightly color. It is a blend of rayon and cotton but feels like cheap toilet paper. Nice and rough. Perfect for a hat huh? :) I've had this sitting in a box for years now and am happy to finally use it. Sadly, I still have some left. The eye is unknown white acrylic and red heart black (duplicate stitched on). I did stuff it for added oomph.

Pattern is the Brain Slug Hat found here! (Sorry, Ravelry link)

Size: largest


I did a few. First I used size 8 needle to reflect the difference in yarn weight. The yarn was definitely "heavy" and the thought of knitting it on anything smaller made my hands hurt. Knitting it on 8's made my hands hurt. Luckily it goes pretty fast. Next thing I changed was the brim. I didn't want anything rolled up since I live where it gets freaking cold and since this was intended for Halloween I wanted it snug against her head. I opted for 2x2 ribbing for 1 inch. I changed the length of the hat as well. The size I did called for 6 inches BEFORE decreasing. I did 4 inches (shorter than the smallest size) but would have been happier with 4.5 (still shorter) but that is purely a neurotic thing on my end. This came down enough to cover most of her ears. I also added a chin strap to help keep it on. I picked up 6 stitches (lined up under ribbing) and continued the ribbing until it was long enough to cross over to the other side (I don't have it measured has been relegated to the dress up box). For a fastener I did a bobble and a braided looop. Super simple. Easy to get on and off but keeps busy hands from prying it off. The last modification was duplicate stitching the eye on. I wanted to do the felt (I thought the texture would rock) but didn't have any black and wasn't about to go buy one large piece only to cut out one tiny piece.

In the end I loved the hat. I thought I'd hate it initially but it won me over. How could it not? Doesn't help the baby wearing it totally rocked it.

Wednesday, October 27

It's been knit: Halloween Edition

Every now and then I get volunteered for something. Similar to the way a kid says, "Oh my mom will drive us. No problem!" and then goes home to ask if mom will indeed drive. Recently my sister did this to me. She had not only volunteered me but had struck up a correspondence with the person and THEN called me. As she was reading the person's reply. Yes. My sister is thoughtful. ;) What happened? My sister is a reader of VeryMom. Well she goes by Balancing Everything now but I know her as VeryMom. If you notice off to the side she has a box for inspiring ideas. About a week and a half ago my sister hopped on over and happened to glance over and see mention of vikings. Turns out VeryMom's kids wanted to go as vikings for Halloween this year but they had no hats. VeryMom was hoping to find some cute ones. My sister instantly clicked her ask a question form and pimped out my knitting skills. After a series of emails and info exchange me and VeryMom were talking. I ended up making her 3 viking hats. In about 5 days. The original plan was for 2 and on Monday night she requested a 3rd. People this was a time crunch if there ever was one. I dropped them off to her today at 2 and due to a series of uncooperative children last night was up until 4:30 this morning finishing up. I was weaving in ends at the last minute. I finished with exactly 15 minute with which to get my kids ready to go and trade cars with my mother in law. I'm very much done knitting hats for now (well that's not more for the baby). I know you are waiting and getting impatient so here are the pics.Stats:

Every hat was done in acrylic. The hats were on 8's and the horns were in 5's. The smaller needles helped with not showing stuffing and kept the horns in size accordance to small heads. The 2 fellas on the ends have a band of rivets up the center. This is a mod. created by a Ravelry person. It rocks but can be tricky when it comes to decreases. I did do the decreases as written but it does throw off the purl texture that helps them pop. The middle guy has no rivets for a couple reasons. It is for a little girl so I wanted less bulk over all and, as odd as this sounds considering it's a VIKING hat, to make it a little less manly. A feminine Viking hat. Who knew? One set of horns needed to be done in a different white (ran out of the original) and as result of it being thinner I held it double. That made the overall horn larger so I stuck it on one of the boy hats. All hats have a large ear flap with ties. I live in Idaho and these are for Halloween. Cold does not even begin to describe it. This way they get the ear flaps from the original pattern but they double as warmth. I love how these turned out. As did my kids. I had to hide them more than once. The nice thing about this pattern is the stretch. It fit everyone in my house from my one year old to me.

I will leave you with one final image:

Hope everyone who celebrates Halloween has a good weekend. I'll have family up so I'll be quite until Monday. :)

Friday, October 22

Dirty motivation

People, I have never been more motivated to get rid of a fiber than I am today. This is the bottom of my tub after letting the fleece soak. I knew it would be bad but this? This is gross. This isn't even half of it. I had already started cleaning out clumps of fiber before I thought to take a picture. The entire thing has been washed and is drying. This is an overwhelming project. I went out into the garage to find my hand carders only to find another large bag of this. I'd guess, between the two, I have about 11-15 lbs of fiber here. Like I mentioned below though I'm weighing on my home scale (not a digital) so I'm pretty sure my number is off. Finding that second bag was depressing. I've since contacted the company I want to use (Spinderella by the way) to see if they even think it's worth sending in. I'm hoping they tell me yes because I would hate to toss these bad boys. I get that not all fleeces are created equal and I know somewhere in my heart these will likely be tossed but it would still seem a waste. Blegh.

I've noticed more and more lately that I have lots of people visiting here. I want to hear from you! Comments, questions, concerns. Whatever floats your boat. Talk to me. I want to know what's rolling around in your noggin. What would you do if you had a couple large fleeces that made your skin crawl in terms of ugh factor?

It's been knit: Bathroom cotton plus more

Today's post is brought to you by the room: bathroom. No worries. We're all about the clean factor here.

First up is an FO. Shower mitt. Done on 8's in some basic cotton. It was meant to be part of a gift exchange but I had forgotten it at the time (this has been done for months) so I kindly took over it. It needs some tweaking. As it is once it gets wet it grows way too much to be of much use. I like it though. Makes my tub look inviting. I do have a pattern somewhere but I'd have to track it down.

See? Looks super inviting huh? :) That is a natural chocolatey brown (and black occasionally) alpaca fleece. I've been feeling the urge to spin lately (is my wheel put together? of course not). My sister and I have been talking fibery pursuits these last couple days so I decided to pull this bad boy out. He is large. Like stuffed in a 55 gallon black garbage bag you use for outside stuff large. In an attempt to find out just how large I managed to stick it on my itty bitty little home scale but it was difficult to see the number and I'm not sure it was correct anyway. During processing alpaca can lose anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 of it's total weight. That's on an already skirted fleece. Is this one skirted? Absolutely not. It's one gross, matted, clumpy fleece currently. The amount of vegetable matter is insane. At one point I was afraid to open the layers up and have a mouse or something come flying out. Do you know what it's like to be afraid of a fleece? It isn't pretty. I have 2 small sweater bags full of fiber in my washer. I'm currently on rinse 3. I'm hoping it doesn't take much more. The fleece in the tub has soaked overnight so with any luck a good amount of junk will have dissolved enough to shorten my overall cleaning time. There is a place in Salt Lake City that will process this for me but it has to be cleaned first. They are very honest and have no problem tossing a fleece if it's just too horrible. They say on there that a free one often costs you more, whether that's in time or money. This one was free and it will take a lot of time. If I send it to them (Spinderella) though they will process it into roving for me. I'm tempted. Very tempted. I know I could do it myself but processing a fleece is a time intensive thing I'm not sure I want to do it. Skirting it (removing tags and VM and the like) seems like such an overwhelming task at times. I'm thinking of cleaning it up the best I can and sending in pictures to see if they'll even accept it. If they will I'll totally send the beast in. Stay tuned for more pictures of the process.

Thursday, September 23

It's been knit: Kitchen cotton


Past FO

Sugar and Cream cotton yarn in red and orange

My own pattern

Size 8's (if I remember right)

I love these. As you can see from the faded color they are very much in use. I'll be making up more here in the next little bit.

Friday, September 3

FO: Gifted skirtie

This was for the family the last Apple Blossom went to.


Pattern: Juliette skirtie

Size: Newborn

Yarn: Lambs Pride in yellow and pink

There is/was a headband that went with it but no pictures. :) I love how it turned out and it still fits her at 3-4 months old.

Thursday, September 2

She's alive! (Also FO)

I know. There are no excuses for my lack of blog energy. So let's skip that and get back into blogging. :) I need to play catch up still. So as a quick note to myself: washrags (2), shower mit, Christmas stockings (they rock if I do say so myself), pink socks, skirtie and headband, baby hat, baby shower gifts (maybe). Also note to self: alter sock pattern and get it back to being for sale. On to the FO (not listed above): another Apple Blossom Cardigan.
Pics are older and not that great but you get the point. :) Same as the other one but with purple for the body (acrylic again). I love how it turned out...hurt my hands though. And because I know the rules ;) here is a modeled shot (yes I have permission on the is much older now).

Thursday, April 29

Pardon the absence...

we are in the middle of a move. Will return shortly. :)

Wednesday, April 14

It's been knit: Christmas Gift Edition: Ragdoll

I made these up for the kiddos for Christmas. I'm just slow to blog them. :) I'm not even going to attempt to tell you what yarn I used. It was way too many odds and ends (and even some acrylic). The torso is done in a dark brown on each of them for 2 reasons...I wanted a layered look and I didn't have enough body color. :) The head on the brown haired one is a bit floppy and drives me batty but I'm not motivated enough to take it apart and add a bit more stuffing. :)

(hair detail...kind of...the brunetts is pig tails and the blonde one is a funky pony tail)

(detail of the dress...the back is left open though the pattern says to put a button)

I've been requested to make more clothes. We shall see. :)

Oh yeah! The Pogo socks have been under test knitting. I did take the pattern down in the mean time to allow for that and it will be up again here shortly!

Friday, March 26

It's been knit: Gift Edition:

Pattern: Knotty but Nice from Knitty
Yarn: Wool-Ease
Mods: None. I actually did what I was told. :)

This was a brother in law for Christmas. Our birthdays are right next to each other and for mine he gave me a giftcard for yarn and a request for a hat. To say I'm a slacker would be polite. I finally made him one for Christmas when we drew nanes for the guft exchange and he happened to be our giftee. Seemed fair enough. He wanted a hat and we had his name. I'm not sure he saw it like that though. :) I have no action shots (though not for lack of trying. I asked AND the spouse asked...nothing yet) so I have no idea how the fit was. It fit me rather snugly (remember...that's CABLES not ribbing) and his noggin is bigger than mine. I'm determined to find out though. It's such anice hat and a fun knit. There are some mistakes (in mine..not the pattern) and only because I wasn't paying attention. It doesn't need a super amount of it but it does require a little bit. The weather is warming up but this pattern has been on my mind for a bit now. I want one for myself. :)

Thursday, March 18

Pogo Socks

are now available!

Sadly, I won't be entering the sock contest. My gauge is 1 stitch off (which in the grand scheme of things can make for a much different fitting sock). It's up and ready though. I just hope it's well done and makes sense!

I asked a friend for help on the name. The construction of these is not a common one. You start at the heel and work DOWN the length of the foot. After that's all done you go back to your heel and work your way UP the length of the leg. Easy and fun but still offering a bit of a change in pace to keep you interested. It works great for handspun. I like toe up socks for the fact that I get to use every last bit of yarn but I don't always like the fit of them. With this pattern I was able to get the foot (and heel!) fit that I want. By turning around and going up the leg I was still able to use up all my yarn and not worry about running out too soon.

Monday, March 8

Calling all test knitters

Come out, come out, where ever you are!

I need some test knitters! You must be familiar with sock construction (yes, I will be entering this in the contest mentioned in a previous post so if you are entering as well, please don't ask to test knit for me!). There are 2 sizes available. You can do 1 sock in each size, a complete pair in both sizes, a complete pair in one size, or just one sock in one size. However you want!

This is a unique pattern that uses sport weight yarn, size 5 needles, has a short row heel, and uses a provisional cast on.

For those who do this (I'm thinking I could 2 or 3 testers), you can get a final copy of the pattern for free. I do plan on listing this one for sale. Gotta love the motivation of a contest to get your butt in gear! I've been meaning to write this up since I made these socks.

If you are interested please leave a comment! First come, first serve!

Sunday, March 7

I love surprises :)

Ok that's a big fat lie (by the way I have new yarn and socks to show!). I really don't...unless I don't know about them in advance. :) I noticed a visitor off to the side had stumbled upon my blog via another website. It's not one I know so I clicked it. My child's apron was linked on another site! Small on the grand scheme of things but cool in my book. :) It's this one. Lots of good links there!

For the sock knitters out there lookie! A contest to help battle SSS. Who can resist goodie baskets? I think I'll give it a shot....if for nothing else than it'll be fun to see what everyone else cmes up with.

This is more of a note to myself but I have a couple things in the wings to blog. A hat for a brother in law (waiting on pics) and two (technically 4) final Christmas items (stockings and dolls). We are out of town right now so they will have to wait. Up next though are the socks mentioned above and another Apple Blossom Cardigan.

Saturday, March 6

Here I go....

making my first attempt at selling a pattern. :) Nothing big but I've been pondering it for awhile now. I've decided to make my soap sack (blogger isn't letting me link to it tonight...I'll try again later) a purchase pattern. You can find it over on Ravelry!

Buy now!

Go check it out! I'm hoping this is the start to lots of designs (however simple they may be). I'm eager to see how it turns out. :)

Friday, February 26

Fiber to FO: Gifted Socks

Fiber: No 9 "Black Coffee" superwash merino from FiberOptic on Etsy. GORGEOUS colors and fantastic dye job. I had no dye transfer on my fingers or bobbins. The color was deep and saturated and just all around beautiful.

All plied! Did my basic 2 ply. Not sure of what the yardage was. This was done for sometime before I was even able to get a good picture. I gave up on trying to get yardage and WPI. I'd say it was sport weight-ish.
The socks ended up being a Christmas present. The toes and heels are done in leftover Swish Worsted from my sister's socks. It ended up being a perfect match for the handspun. It was a bit thinner but it worked out well I think. I was hesitant to use it at first but knew they would be too short without. These are like my last handspun ones and done both toe up and cuff down. Not sure ont he numbers right now but I do have the notes somewhere. They fit a man's size 10.5 shoe though so just assume "large". :) I love the way they yarn striped. I didn't plan it at all. At first I wasn't a fan of it but in the end I really like the effect. Reminds of "country" scenes you see in gift shops...the ones with moose and pine trees and little cabins.

Saturday, February 13

It's been knit: Gift edition: Curly Purly soaker

Size: Newborn
Needles: 5, 6, and 8
Yarn: Red is random wool and green is Wool of the Andes. Snowflakes are done in Paton's Merino.

This was for my neice, L. I swear my sister said she has a picture of her in it but I could be mistaken. I'll have to ask. :)

Alrighty, I think all the gift edition knits for my sister have been blogged. Grand total? 10 items.
Hats: 3 "child", 1 "toddler", 3 "adult"
Socks: 1
Extra: 1 doll, 1 soaker

I do believe she can never complain about never getting anything knit. :)

Friday, February 12

It's been knit: Gift edition: Socks and a doll

This is "Ragdoll" by Debbie Bliss (free pattern on Ravelry though it's also in Essential Knits for Kids: 20 Fesh, New Looks for Kids). This works up super fast! I was able to use up lots of little scraps with her. The purple (I know, hard to see) is some of my handspun. Pink is Paton's Merino, green is Cascade 220, body is Wool of the Andes, and panties/bottoms is more Cascade 200. Hair is leftover Swish Worsted from socks (posted below). Stuffed with wool.

These are Blueberry Waffles by Sandy Turner. I did these over 40 stitches on size 5 needles with a short row heel and 2x2 ribbing. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these socks and it was tough to send them to my sister.

Thursday, February 11

It's been knit: Gift edition: Earwarmer Caps galore!

There should be three more in this set (hint hint) but they were also gifted once they were mailed out so there are no pictures. Le sigh.
First pic: Wool of the Andes, largest size and with the zigzag texture. I think there might be extra rows in this one but I can't be sure. 2 of the missing 3 were also done in Wool of the Andes, largest size, and with texture. I can't remember which one though. Note to others: Do not rely on the recipient to take pictures for you if you intend to blog the item. :)
Second pic: Girls hat: Lion Brand Wool Ease with tree texture. Boys hat: Wool of the Andes with tree texture. Child size on both.
Third pic: Lion Brand Wool Ease with tree texture. Can't remember size here.
The 3rd missing hat pic was done in some random acrylic I have lying around.
If I remember right (wow, there is a huge lack of memory in this post isn't there?) the Wool Ease ones were done on size 6's (instead of 8's). The smallest one (pic 3) has extra rows. I did the pattern as specified and it turned out oddly short...I added more length and I, personally, think it's oddly cone headed now but apparently it's a perfect fit
I'm cutting this post short...there's not enough memory to make it worthwhile. :)