New layout..

Finally.. it took me a good while to get *some* new background.. I had big plans.. huge plans.. but so far I haven’t found the time to even try to work on it.. so this will have to do for now.. yes.. spinning knitter extraordinaire… lol πŸ˜› obviously this is a big joke and reflects on my habbit of making on @$$ of myself.. especially when it comes to the process of learning to knit and spin..

Obviously I am not worthy of such a title but it brings in the lolz so I hope you all don’t see it as smugness.. because.. well.. me being arrogant about my knitting and spinning would be insane.. πŸ˜› I can be proud and happy and I will do the occasional happy dance.. but arrogance..? not in the least πŸ˜‰

Back to the order of business.. as you can see there’s the turkish spindle and some of the chocolate wensleydale I have been spinning for my girasole-to-be. Quite frankly I’m already pleased with the speed at which the spindling goes and I’m planning to spindle a lot more.. I would’ve never believed it but spindling in this house goes much faster than spinning on a wheel. Not because I’m a slow wheel spinner but because there’s simply not enough time to grab the wheel during my coffee break. (I still work and study at home so I can spin on my wheel and/ or knit w00h00)

I’m afraid this is going to be a bit of a rant post but I guess those can be good too right? (lol you can skip this part if you want hehe). I’ve started out with the wheel because get bored easily and I was afraid that a spindle wouldn’t give me the (quick.. I want it yesterday!!) results I was looking for. Little did I know that a spindle is a much easier tool to help you understand the fiber better. A wheel is very nice for spinning, and I’ll definitely keep using it, but the spindle is easier for a busy life. This has helped me understand much better, and now I’m actually having fun while handcarding… (wtf right..). I used to hate it with a passion.. I guess there really is a fine line between love and hate.

Nothing better than a well carded rolag to help you spin nice even singles. By now the yarn on the spindle outweighs the spindle and it’s actually getting nicer to spin. I wasn’t expecting that πŸ˜›

chocolate wensleydale

It’s getting bigger πŸ˜€ I’ll continue on this cop until I can’t fit the yarn anymore.. then I’ll weigh it πŸ˜›

chocolate wensleydale

ahh carded rolags.. I love how the colors blend and I can’t wait to see if it’s visible in the knitted girasole πŸ˜€

chocolate wensleydale

look! it’s yarn!

full circle

I’m having a bit of trouble here.. I last year I knit a Girasole for my MIL and I used two balls of Jaggerspun Zephyr in copper. It was a present and I knit it in two weeks (which for that time was way too fast) and ended up with not only a bit of a pain in my wrist but also with 40 repeats short because the yarn ended on me. So in the last day before her birthday I undid the edging and reknit it with smaller needles and managed to size the shortage down to a 10 row repeat shortage. But still a shortage.

This is what pushed me over the edge and made me take up spinning because I figured that if I had spun the yarn myself I wouldn’t have had the need to reknit the whole edging. Instead I could’ve used my time to spin up some more to finish the edging. So I think it’s quite fitting if I spin my first laceweight for this: a Girasole of my own.

girasole swatch w/ handspun wensleydale

This will be my first laceweight two-ply and even tho it’s not really regular yet I’m really stinkin’ proud of it. It’s roughly the same weight as the Jaggerspun Zephyr but at some points it’s thicker and I know the reason for it so I’m not too stressed out.

First of all you might remember this post where I was gifted (amongst a lot of other stuffs) 500 grams of raw brown Wensleydale fleece by the BF. At the time I had no idea of what to do with it so I gave washing a try. Unfortunately I wasn’t really good at it yet so the fleece is free of dirt and VM but there’s actually still lanolin in there… (so I don’t trust the cleaniness). So when I got my turkish spindle I wanted to try some of it out and I felt the bit of lanolin left helped me get a consistent yarn. I thought I’d wash it out once the yarn was spun. So I fingerpicked the locks and started spinning. I fingerpicked because when I first started carding I didn’t really get it. Do you know how you don’t understand something at first and then just let it sit and while you’re not working it your brain starts to understand. And then the next time you pick your handcards it all gets much easier?

Maybe that’s what happened because this time it worked like a charm and I got a nice rolag. So the first ply was fingerpicked and the second was hand carded and there is a big big difference it consistency.

The picture doesn’t do it justice however, because this swatch has a very nice halo going on which makes it very soft and warm already.

girasole swatch w/ handspun wensleydale

I didn’t find it as gross as I thought to spin it ‘in the semi-grease’, however I did notice a little problem I hadn’t anticipated. While spinning in the grease helps the fibers to stick together and make a nice thin single without too much effort (and breaking the yarn), and when plying the grease makes it look like you don’t need a lot of twist. This was misleading because once I washed the finished yarn it had much less twist than I had expected. I’m still not sure if it’s a good or a bad thing and I should do a little bit more experimenting first before I choose my final ‘way to go’. What I do know is that I need about 2,5km of singles to knit me a girasole (but I’m not going to wait until I’m done with all the yarn before spinning. I’ll probably cast on as soon as I have a skein and switch off knitting and spinning.

hanspun wensleydale

I’m sorry if you’re getting tired of seeing my little drop spindle but I’m so excited about it I can’t help myself! The first thing I’ll do is wash a few locks thoroughly and make a rolag and spin from it to see how that goes.

hmm purplee

In the mean time I still have the option to dye the BFL fleece I have into a deep purple and see where that takes me… I do want to pick a project for it first. I noticed this helps me be more effective πŸ™‚

onward..

So I’m still making swatches for the BF’s handspun Tomten vest. Today we’re giving a review on the shetland swatch/ yarn. I felt the Gotland was easier to spin evenly but the Shetland wasn’t half that bad either. I might need a bit more practice before I start a whole vest tho hehe.

4ply shetland swatch

Not completely done yet, but I feel like this already is an improvement compared to the gotland. The gotland one was much fuzzier, making the garter ridges disappear while this makes a nicer fabric with a better stitch definition. The yarn however is a bit less defined, but this could be due to my ‘loose’ spinning. I think it might’ve been better with a bit more twist in the singles.

4ply shetland swatch

This swatch is a lot softer than the previous one but still not soft enough. After this one I’ll make a BFL oatmeal swatch and see how that one behaves. If that one is too soft (is that possible?) for a vest I still might mix them up.

4ply shetland swatch

The yarn is a lot less shiny than the Gotland 4ply, which in my opinion is a very good thing. It’s very bouncy and round, so I’m really pleased about that. However there is a slight (lol) thick n thin effect but I’m blaming it on the fact that I’ve never spun shetland before lol.

turkish spindle vs brown wensleydale fleece

I’d also like to take this opportunity to mention how very much I love my new turkish spindle. I’ve been testing it a good bit and now I’m thinking of spinning a nice 2ply lace weight yarn in brown Wensleydale I got for my birthday last year. I don’t have an idea of a pattern yet so I’ll have to see how the yarn comes out.

turkish spindle vs brown wensleydale fleece

At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have a natural brown yarn or if I wanted to dye some of the BFL I was gifted, but I think I’ll go for the wensleydale first. If this one doesn’t work out I’ll always be able to dye some of that nice fuzzy warm fleece.

drop it like it’s hot..

I appear do things ‘backwards’.. as in start with the end and work my way to the beginning. The normal way would be to buy a dropspindle before you buy a spinningwheel right?

meet my new buddy:

turkish spindle

My first ever turkish dropsindle bought from Woodstory‘s etsy shop. It’s handmade and eco-friendly and there’s different sizes. This one is a small meaning it’s about 11″ high and about 4″ wide. It weighs about 0.52oz/ 15gr. It spins like a dream. So far I’ve been trying out some different things to see how it spins but I can spin it once and spin ’till the spindle is all the way down to the floor (I’m 5’3″/ 1.61m). I’ve been spinning some shetland and bfl and it really spins up nicely.

turkish spindle

I don’t think I’ll use this spindle for the 4-ply I want to make for the Tomten vest, but I’ll be able to use this little drop spindle for the fleece I have lying around. I still have a lot of natural BFL, Gotland cross and Wensleydale lying around. I might get to dye some of these locks and flick card them and just spin them up with my little turkish spindle. I might go for a 2ply for this one. Maybe even singles but I haven’t decided just yet. Let me dye a few locks first and see how well it goes.

turkish spindle

I already love the winding and the way it brings me ‘back to nature’. I somehow managed to order the ‘wrong’ EZ book for the tomten vest and now I’m ‘stuck’ with the Knitters Almanac. Poor me.. (lol). So obviously I’ve been reading it a bit and it struck me how she describes her feeling about knitting Aran sweaters. This is exactly how spinning makes me feel. I’ve never mentioned it to anyone because I felt it was such a weird thing to say but to me spinning feels like an old memory from a previous life. Like at some point I’ve been doing this for a long time and it is a memory that has been sleeping within my DNA or in my hands.. a memory that has come back to life the first time I came across a spindle/ spinning wheel..

anyone else have this feeling? πŸ˜›

kitty pic

While taking a break from spinning (and other stuff) I decided to sit down and have a 5 min. coffee brake.. it took a bit longer than intended.. I always feel guilty when I have to wake kitties up to get up *sad face*

tangled yoke cardigan wip

While watching my new fave series Dexter I managed to attach (not while watching) the sleeves I’ve been knitting. It amazes me how good knitting socks has been for my dpn knitting skills. No ladders people.. I can’ t believe it. When I’m rich (hopefully in the near future lol) I’m planning to invest in the whole set of knitpicks (knitpro) symphony wooden dpn sets… (the 15cm ones.. 10 is too short and 20 is too large). I want to have a nice set of Β these things because the dpn’s I had to use for this one really sucked. They have these blunt tips and the Wibra Ella yarn splits if you look at it cross eyed… ugh

I’m glad I’m back on the ‘good’ needles again and now progress should follow soon. I’m a little freaky about a: the cable pattern. My gauge is smaller than in the pattern and I’ll have to calculate where my stitch count for the cable is going to be. It’s a 10st repeat but I’ll have to calculate a bit more for the small size and a bit less for the large size. I’m not sure which one to take at this point but I’ll figure it out I guess. If I really have to sit in the middle I’ll go for the small sized cable and add a few stockinette stitches in the middle (where the zipper will be)

The other thing I’m really a bit scared about is the size. I’m not that great with ‘following patterns’ and I can’t really try it on. Another thing I’m calculating on is the growing acrylics so I know it will grow but I don’t know if it’ll grow enough. I really hate loose knits so if it’s too lose I can deal with it.. if it’s too tight I’ll add a buttonband (since I’m going for zippers at this stage). So I’ll have to wait and see. So far I’m liking the way it’s turning out and really looking forward to be able to wear this.

patience

I’ve noticed some things about how the weather affects my knitting/ spinning. Wintertime is knitting time and summertime means spinning time. I can’t seem to be able to get very excited for knitting in the summer (when it’s hot) and not really excited for spinning when it’s cold. I can live with that I guess..

So this year I decided to go along with this cycle and see what happens. I’m planning a big spinning and knitting project for the BF. I’m knitting an adult Tomten, and I’m planning to spin the yarn myself. The past two days it’s been nice and sunny out and it’s given me a reason to order myself some samples of roving.

Foto1800

100 grams of grey Shetland, Gotland and BFL in oatmeal. I’m going for a nice 4-ply worsted spun yarn and hope to make some nice samples of these first. Once I’m done we’ll decide which of the samples look and feel best. I’m also opting for some combinations between two of these samples. So once I’m done with the 100% samples, I’ll try some mixing up.

Foto1802

I took 25 grams of the Gotland and divided it by four equal parts. I spun thicker singles than I would’ve liked but ended up with the size 4-ply I was hoping to end up with. Now the challenge would be to recreate this same size…. Obviously the roving had to be examined by Kiwi.

Foto1807

I really like how the yarn turned out. The first single was a bit too loose, but it turned out exactly the way I hoped it would. Tho I really like the slight halo on the yarn it’s not a great feat in the knitted fabric. At least not with the tomten in mind. The yarn has become nice and even but the halo tends to make the ridges disappear.

Foto1809

I’m knitting this with a US8/5.0mm needle and it felt like it was the exact right size. I really like how the Gotland yarn feels. it’s nice and a bit rough. Not the kind of fabric I’d like up close to my face, but certainly something I would wear.

Foto1818

I haven’t figured out how many meters I spun but it’s more than I thought at least. I like how it knits up and I like the feel. So far I feel this little sample is quite successful.

I’m thinking of knitting the other two samples in the exact same manner. This way, tho the tomten is in garter stitch, I can see how it would work as stockinette as well.

Foto1796

A while ago I bought 50 grams of tencel to try it out. I planned to spin it with my takhli spindle but never got around to start. While I was dying the other wool I thought I’d add this to the dye bath as well.. unfortunately for me I had forgotten that tencel can’t be dyed in the same manner as animal fibres so the (imho) lovely shade of pink will be gone the next time it touches the water..

Besides this point… I’ve managed to spin up 18 grams already and I’m rather pleased with myself. I’m hoping for a nice 2-ply laceweight (I think) but I’m not sure what it’ll become. I guess it all depends on how much there’s left after ply-ing.

Foto1797

To be honest I wonder how much I can fit on this little thing.. thank goodness it’s a support spindle, tho I must say I’m rather surprised at the single’s strength. I realize it’s difficult to see how much it is so I added a kitty for reference..

Foto1799

I’ve also managed to finally continue knitting Skew 1.0.

skew 1.0

It might nog be visible on this picture but the yarn in the right sock is thicker than the yarn in the left sock. Also, the colors on the right sock look more vibrant than the colors in the left sock. This has nothing to do with the sock being used/ aged but it has everything to do with me being a total dye and spin noob πŸ˜›

I started out with a nice thick yarn and while I spun the yarn became thinner and thinner, ‘lucky’ for me I started out with the end of the ball and now I’m reaching the middle and beginning. It’s rather frustrating because.. well.. I’ll end up with two different socks that don’t match.. neither in color or in size. However I’m willing to look past it (with this one) because this little dandelion yarn has taught me a lot about yarn and spinning.

I’m sure I’ll get better and I believe my first 4-ply experiment going well is proof of this. A great thank you should go to all the spinners on Rav, because their pictures and stories help noobs like me to get better at this πŸ™‚

skew 1.0

Yes, knitting and talking is great, until you nearly start the heel shaping too late Β and end up with another difference between these socks πŸ˜›

I’m hoping the picture heavy posts can ease my guilt about missing my bloggiversary this year.. I hope to show some nice pictures next time πŸ™‚

uhm.. hi…

the look of shame.. I can’t believe I actually did not post a think in February… I can’t believe I missed my second bloggiversary….. Β There’s so much to tell I don’t know where to start.. I actually wanted to start once I found out what I was going to say but today the sun is shining upon my person and I can no longer bear the shame… the burden… so heavy…

I love this blog. I really do.

This is where I come to rant all about the meaningful (and -less) things that go on in my life. Mostly I talk about knitting and sewing and not blogging creates the feeling that I have not been knitting whereas I’ve been struck by the worst case of startitis in a good while…

So let me start at the beginning.. because not blogging is like not venting and I’m losing my mind here…. πŸ˜›

The BF and I have been looking for a new place to live. Nothing fancy, just a bit closer to the people we care about. I’m still working on my graduation but I should be done somewhere at the end of 2011 so we started looking forΒ apartments. So we found a great place we’d like to live in, and which is available in June. So I’ve been busy working and studying and somehow this new change made me forget about blogging. We’re so excited about the new place it’s all we’ve been thinking about… how to decorate it.. how we’re going to plan things with my graduation and all.. weirdly enough.. no stress πŸ˜›

So no stress means no stressknitting.. on top of that we started watching Dexter… I don’t know about you guys but I simply cannot knit when I’m watching Dexter… bahh.. πŸ˜›

Yes btw.. to add a little more fun to this busy time.. I’m helping my parents redecorate their home….

slight remoddeling

you know.. just a little redecorating.. removing two windows and replacing them by sliding doors, adding some floor radiation heating, replacing the bathroom and refurbishing once this is done.. Sorry for the blurry picture.

Visiting the frogpond

I reviewed some projects and decided that some UFO’s would have to go.. this one would be one of those projects. I used to buy patterns because I fell in love with them, but forgot about being practical and reading some reviews. This was one of the things that I would actually never wear. It’s not something that fits the stuff in my wardrobe.. and the pattern was a total pain.

Skew.. the unfinished original

I finally started the second sock of Skew. I now know exactly why it took me so long to start knitting this one. The yarn is really kind of sucky. I know it’s my own handspun yarn and maybe I should take a bit more pride in knitting my own handspun yarn but really… really this stuff sucks and it hurts my hands knitting it. It’s overspun and really not that great.. I’ll finish it.. but not right now.. πŸ˜› some day..

lilirious' progress at first design :)

Yes! sleeves! I’m still loving this pattern (sorry even tho it’s my own and even tho I’m using the TSM), but the yarn is still not really comfortable to knit with. It’s nice and soft but the tweediness of the yarn makes it really annoying for knitting. Maybe it’s just me.. but it really makes my hands hurt. So this too will have to wait a while.

lilirious' progress at first design :)

I hate that I love this pattern so much… I love how it’s turning out…

Foto1767#1

Obviously I couldn’t resist.. that you see here is absolute proof that this Wirba acrylics yarn called Ella is actually quite nice. It’s confirmed by the kitty… πŸ™‚

Humble beginnings of a Tangled Yoke cardigan (with steeks)

Since it’s kitty-approved I’ll give you some background info on it. When I saw the Tangled Yoke cardigan by Eunny Jang I knew I had to have it. However I hate knitting bottom-up. I really really hate knitting back and forth and I really don’t like patterns that are very detailed in their description.

<rant>

I’m sorry if I’m horrible but I hate how the pattern has been written…. it’s really way too detailed and the column sizes…… really…? I understand that from a graphical point of view it looks good but.. really…?

</rant>

Ok.. anyway the pattern is awesome but I wanted something very cheerful ‘cos I’m done with all the darkness and I’m in desperate need of some sunlight. So I bought 3 balls of this Wibra yarn and started knitting. With steeks in front (because I hate back and forth knitting) and obviously with a different gauge because I hate blindly following patterns. This way I can just wing it until I’m at the part where I can add the sleeves and yoke. I’m knitting this with acrylics because the yarn is cheap and I won’t mind if this experiment goes horribly wrong (this is what happened last time). I’ll be sure to keep you updated on this adventure πŸ˜‰

Foto1769

I had mentioned my case of startitis right? Here’s my attempt at the Truffle Cardigan. I’m knitting this with Lidl yarn and I’m loving the look. I can’t wait to see how it turns out, tho it’s really typical to start winterknitting when it’s almost spring… oh well..

Skew revisited :)

Yup.. that’s another Skew.. I stated above I hated the dandelion yarn.. so I tried to knit one of these in the sockyarn I do really like. Turns out I really don’t hate the pattern.. I just really hate the handspun.. who knew.

Francie socks for BIL

All of the sudden it was my BIL’s birthday.. and I didn’t know what I should give him. So I did the first thing I think every sock knitter thinks of.. I cast on for a sockpattern I knew I really liked. I knew my BIL’s feet are bigger than my BF’s so I knit these with bigger needles and hoped for a miracle.. well.. they’re going to fit alright.. I’m still not done.. I’m embroiding a something really geeky on them first. (Yes.. his birthday was in February and they’re not done yet.. I already explained why).

I think I’m forgiven when I say that after these socks I didn’t feel like knitting socks for a while.. and then I cast on for two.. lol

So what I’m trying to say with so many pictures is: I’m back πŸ˜‰ missed me? I sure missed you!