colors and progress

After spinning gray colors for what seemed like an eternity I decided to give the merino silk blend a go on the Russian spindle. Though at first I had some doubts, these doubts soon melted away when I noticed I can actually spin longdraw on my Russian spindle. To be honest I was a little shocked. The fibre, because of the silk, has a stickiness to it that turns out to be really helpful with longdraw spinning.

During the summer’s TdF I ended up not spinning but handcarding I think 25 grams of the 350 gram total of the merino and silk I dyed. I had used 4 of the 5 batts to make this yarn, and so with the one batt I had left I decided to do some spinning on the Russian. It was a little awkward at first, I had been spinning gotland, which is a much coarser fiber than merino and/ or silk. I was gripping the yarn and spindle too hard at first, but when I decided to relax some more and let go it all went really well. The fleece wants to be spun on a Russian spindle.. it told me so.

I love spinning this stuff because the blend made the colors really rich and deep. For thos of you who are interested, the AWESOME tutorial can be found here. Go check it out!

So, on to different stuff. Now that I’m finally getting used to writing down 2012 instead of 2011 I feel it’s time to clean up some of the old projects. We moved in June of 2011, but I still don’t really feel like it’s all over. This is the aftershock. While going through my blog I had to shockingly admit to myself that it was in January that I started to think of this project. Obviously, back then I couldn’t have foreseen the moving and the other events, but it did make me feel really guilty. Last year I had decided that I wanted to try my hand at designing my own sweaters. I’m still not done with the first one.

Hey no one said it had to be a quick process right? 😛

So two days ago I decided it was about time to finish up the old wip’s and free some cables and needles. I knit most of the sweater in the round with steeks, and slowly but surely I was approaching the ‘cutting the steeks moment’. Unfortunately it was done in the evening and I wasn’t able to take any good pictures, so I’ll just show you this.

Now I’d like to take a moment and think about what happened to me yesterday evening. I grabbed a ball of drops alpaca because it’s about the same weight and the color was contrasting enough for me to see what I was doing. I figured it would be the inside and who’d see it right? Turns out it’s not just a little contrasting. I had already thought of this while I was doing some crocheting and thought to myself: ‘this might be a bad idea’. Then I shrugged it off thinking: ‘nahh.. it’ll be ok, nobody is going to see the insides of this vest anyway’.

Then this happened:

As if on cue Murphy decided to show his annoying face and there it is… you can see the red through the holes… see..

Anwyays, it wouldn’t be a project of mine if it all went smoothly right? So I’m planning to ignore it for the time being and redo the crochet bit with the leftover yarn once I’m done. If I don’t end up with any leftover yarn I’ll just find some other yarn that manages to blend in 😛

full spindle, happy spindle

I wanted to post more, but I couldn’t get the pictures to cooperate, so I’ll get to those another day. For now I’d like to show you a very happy ‘fullly dressed’ Russian support spindle!

This is actually the second batch coming off the spindle and I’m really pleased with the way it turned out. It’s not really consistent just yet but I’m happy either way. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with 360m of 2 ply lace yarn in Gotland, so I’ll just leave it be for the time being and wait for the next awesome thing to cross my path 🙂

Here’s what it looked like coming off the spindle. The yarn is Andean plied on my Golding Tsunami.

I never thought I’d get such awesome yarn from a supported spindle. It’s mobile and I can just lay back and spin while watching a movie. I love it.

*le sigh* I love this spindle. I wish I had 3 more… I don’t know why I said 3.. I meant 10…  *drools*

spindling

I’d like to share something strange with you, my dear reader. I work with my hands, both my hobbies and in my professional life I work with my brain, eyes, and hands. This has always been a reason for me to be very careful with what I do (or don’t do) with my hands (and eyes). Now this fear can get a little extreme and I’m really trying to work on it. During the TdF this summer I ordered my first russian spindle from IST Crafts, and I was loving it. I had already practiced with the takhli from Cotton Clouds I bought at De Spinners. It’s a takhli with a hook so I could practice om the movements without constantly unwinding the yarn.

One of the greatest videos I’ve ever seen on spinning with a russian spindle is the one by fleegle. There’s also a lot of other great videos out there so go check them out if you’re interested in spinning on supported spindles! It might be me but I’m a big fan of videos that simply show you what to do without the talking. I’m way too impatient for the talking (I’m so sorry).

I started spinning the gotland roving I had left and plied it and I was absolutely thrilled with the yarn and the spindle. The spinning process was a bit different… I love spinning on my golding but after a while it tends to get really heavy and it’ll hurt my wrists and I have to take frequent brakes. Like I said I’m very overprotective over my hands and wrists and I don’t take pain too lightly. I will stop immediately and that will be the end of it. Unfortunately this is what happened to my russian spindle as well. When you’re trying to learn something you’re more focussed on the yarn you’re producing rather than the way you hold your hand, so my thumb and wrists started hurting and it was enough to freak me out.

That was until my cousing came for a holiday trip and brought me something I had asked for but had forgotten. An Iranian/ Kurdish spindle!

The spindle design is simple, but I love it! It’s a household item after all. I’m still a bit unsure how the yarn is supposed to be wound on but the shame makes me feel it should be wound in the center on top of the ‘whorl’ like thingie, but I’m really unsure 😛 So when I was looking at spindles I fell in love with my own pretty russian spindle again and started spinning. After a bit of spinning the pain in my hand returned, but this time I was determined to find out what I could do about it. I descovered something very important and I’d like to share this with you because it might be one of those things you accidentally do when you’re trying to learn something. Instead of flicking with my fingers I was flicking with my thumb… I didn’t even know that this was possible, but I managed to do it while my wrist was in an awkward position. There you go, a recipe for disaster. So I went too the googles and the youtubes and found this video by Lisa Chan. It made me realise I spin for fun, not because my life depends on it 😛

I can now happily report that the pain is gone and I’m spinning again (in a scandalously comfortable position).

The two happy spindles enjoying a little sun.

I’ve been working on Tenney Park as well. I’m still really happy I chose the TLS method instead of knitting raglans. Maybe it’s because I think my upper arms (and shoulders) are a little flabby and I simply don’t like the way they look in raglan sweaters. It makes them stand out I guess.

It’s going on rather well, and I’m still very happy with the way it’s turning out. Yesterday I felt bold and decided to try it on, and thankfully it fits me! Unfortunately I was working with 80cm cables and I had a hard time taking it off without dropping half of the stitches 😛

On another note I’d like to show you how I knit during the colder months:

They do get heavy after a while  😛

FO: gaudi socks for BF

They’re finally done and I’m really happy with the way they turned out! When I asked the BF what kind of socks he’d like me to knit him his answer was ‘rainbow socks’! My BF is a happy fellow and, as it turns out, is a fan of cheerful socks!

The socks are knit with drops delight and some zettl sock yarn in white using a 2.75mm set of dpn’s. I was really happy knitting this project because of all the colors. Knitting something this colorful during the early days of January was very pleasant.

The obvious drawback to rainbow yarn is that you’ll inevitably end up with socks that don’t match. The first is a nice rainbow sock but the second sock turned out a bit too pink.

I loved knitting this sock, not only because of the colors, but also because I was familiar with the pattern. Unfortunately knittin socks while being with family/ watching movies/ doing other stuff might cause some other problems. As you can see the first sock is half a repeat longer than the second sock. I don’t even know how this happened.. but I know for sure it’s not going to be fixxed any time soon.

January…

This is the third time I’m trying to type something here. This time I won’t erase it so bear with me.. 😛 I’m having trouble starting the January post because there’s something about January that makes me want to do a lot of different stuff instead of knitting/ blogging. The month of January is overcast and foggy. Today, however, it’s not. It’s a beautiful day, blue sky and sooo sunny! I’m not exactly sure why I have to do anything at all.. I just want to curl up on the couch (in the sun) and  knit all day. Unfortunately, that is exactly why I couldn’t finish this post and why I restarted everytime. My mind just wanders off to the sun and knitting and the post doesn’t get finished.

The new year came with a mellow form of startitis. I felt like knitting something nice and warm for me to wear with muted colors and tones of gray in it. I needed something that made me feel like I was a part of January and I was blending in.

The pattern is Tenney Park and it’s a whole lot of awesome if you ask me. I’ve never knit entrelac and to be honest I never felt like knitting entrelac. I think it’s like stranded knitting, when you don’t do stranded knitting you don’t like it, but once you try it you’re going to love it. I guess it’s the same with a lot of things in knitting. I had it with cables, socks, stranded knitting and mittens so why not with entrelac as well. It felt reallly good to read that the designer had the same experience as me and didn’t like entrelac at first either.

Let me tell you one thing: entrelac and variegated/ rainbow yarn were destined for eachother. It’s a chicken and egg story, it doesn’t matter which one came first, they’re basically the same thing. You don’t want to knit entrelac with a solid color. You can, but you’ll need different colors and the effect will be much less dramatic I suppose.

So I had this ball of frogged rowan tapestry in rainbow lying around and when I saw this pattern it became clear I had to start digging for it again. The gray yarn is the awkwardly named Zeeman Nigar. I don’t know who named the yarn but I personally feel the yarn should be renamed something else…. (just putting my opinion out there… ).

So the pattern calls for a fingering kind of yarn, but I’m knitting this with a heavy yarn and because of that I had to hold the tapestry yarn double. I’m modding the pattern because I’m using a heavier yarn, I don’t like raglan increases because it makes my shoulders look weird and because I don’t like to sew the entrelac front piece after I’ve knitted the whole sweater.

I’m using the tailored sweater method instead and I’m loving the way it’s turning out. I had made a little mistake in the calculations so I had to frog a bit and redo part of the sleeve increases, but now it’s all fine.

I know the edges (between sweater and the entrelac front piece) will be less obvious if sew them in the end, but I feel the sweater has a ‘sturdier’ feel because of the heavy yarn and I like the edge because it seems like the entrelac piece is behind the rest of the sweater. I might knit a ‘summer’ version of this sweater with light weight yarn if it turns out good!

This is probably the last update before the first FO post of 2012, but the socks are going nicely. It’s a bit awkward to knit with small needles after battling with 6.0mm needles, but it’s a nice change 🙂

I cast on a little mystery project on the side, but I’m not really focussed on it just yet. A while ago I bought the same yarn I had used for my Jailbird in a purplish color, but I didn’t know what to do with it just yet. So I went searching trough my faved Rav projects and found this. I fell in love with this adaptation of the original pattern (I’m truely sorry but the sleeves…… oh God the sleeves). I had fallen in love with it ages ago but I wasn’t confident enough and I didn’t have the right yarn. Until now 🙂

 

A fresh start… pt2

Yesterday I wrote about the unfinished and frogged projects of 2010. Today I’ll write about 2011.

2011

Sidewinder:

This sock was definitely something I wanted to try. When I started to knit socks I wanted to learn as many different techniques as possible. A sock knit sideways was a very interesting thing to me. The fabric stretches differently when it’s knit the other way around so the calculations are different and the number of rows really matter. Lesson learned.

Truffle Cardigan:

I’m adding this one as well because, like most of the other projects, it was a poor choice of yarn. I’m knitting this cardigan again and I’m trying to use the TTS method for the sleeves because I don’t want to knit a raglan. I frogged the first attempt because the yarn was too soft and drapey and I felt it was not what I wanted for a sturdy looking cardigan.

Skew:

After the first attempt with the handspun yarn I tried to knit this pattern again but for some reason was put off by the heel jigsaw construction. It’s not hard to do at all but I hadn’t finished the second sock from the first attempt yet and I hadn’t much confidence in the combination of this pattern and myself 😛 I frogged the half sock and finished the other one instead.

Apple Blossom crochet:

I’m not a fan of crochet, but I want to be. I try to at least give it a chance but I think I’m not ready yet. I used Jaggerspun Zephyr on this project and absolutely hated the result. I loved the yarn in knitting because of its sheen, but as a crochet project it became really dull and not at all what I had hoped. I think it’s just not meant to be. I’ll try again later tho because I do love the pattern.

Avalon Top:

When I saw this project I wanted it so bad! I loved it because it was simply but very stylish imho. I got lost in the pattern description and after a while just threw it aside. I’m not sure if I have it anymore, this project really hurt my feelings and I hoped it would go sit in a corner and burst out in flames. I feel like I’m willing to give it another chance some day, but I’m not sure if today is the day, if you know what I mean.

Weaving test:

I’m not sure if I’m really supposed to put this here but I’ll do it anyway. I was just testing my new loom but I had forgotten to prepare the warp yarns so they kept breaking and I was getting a little annoyed. I decided to cut because the tie up was very messy and I had to stop every few minutes to untangle the mess. I just decided to stop being frustrated and to make a fresh restart. I do really love how the fabric turned out tho.

Handspun Knotty:

Frustration. I should’ve made a 2ply but instead I went for a n-plied yarn and it ended up being too heavy for my purpose. After hurting hands and getting annoyed I just decided to start anew and use commercial (even) yarn.

I’m not the person to try easy things first and in many cases I gave up on projects because they were too difficult for me. But I’m still happy I try. I don’t mind the frogging and frustration sometimes. I still like the patterns I tried and I think I’ll try them again some time.

2011 was a very busy year for us and there wasn’t as much time for knitting as I had hoped. It was also a year of spinning and fiber prepping, which cut in my knitting time as well. I’m hoping that 2012 will be a good year for us all 🙂

A fresh start..pt1

To me, the start of a new year feels like a fresh installed computer, or a haircut. Everything is clean and pretty, you’d like it to stay that way forever. On January 19th this blog will be 3 years old and I felt I needed to take the time to celebrate this event. Last year I had completely forgotten about it and I felt pretty bad guilty afterwards.

During the past three years a lot of things in my life have changed, and much of it is due to me keeping this blog. Some changes are directly related, and some in less obvious ways. A blog, in a sense, is like keeping a (public) diary, or a sketchbook. I can keep track of the changes in my life and the knits that go with it. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but since it’s the first post of the year I’ll allow myself a good rant *wink*. Maybe it’s not just me, and there’s more people who function this way, but I feel like each knitting project holds memories of the time and period during which it was knit. When I wear one of the first scarves I’ve ever made I remember the weather, or the places and even the forums I’ve spent time on while knitting that scarf. But when I don’t finish a project, it’ll never be worn and the memories might fade. Which is why I’m dedicating this post to the fallen ones. The objects that never got finished. Because this is the first year I’m doing this I’ll show some of the 2010 projects in this post as well.

/rant

2010 

Camden:

I wanted this to work out. In a way I was desperate for it to work out, but I’ve learned that some things just simply are not meant to be. If you don’t like bobbles, you’re not going to wear a sweater with bobbles, no matter how much you love the sweater. It’s actually sort of impossible for you to love the sweater if you don’t like bobbles. I’ve even contemplated replacing the bobbles for some cables, but I found that the magic of the pattern was in the bobbles. I learned to let go. Maybe it was too soon.

Corona:

I still love this pattern. I decided to frog it because I didn’t like the way the yarn was knitting up on the cable part. It’ had drifted to the back of my mind for a while but I still intend to knit this sweater.

Jaywalker toe-up:

Knitting socks used to be a scary thing. I didn’t manage DPN’s that well and I got ladders all over the place. I also didn’t think knitting socks cuff-down was the way to go for a beginner and went looking all over the place for a good toe-up mod I could try. Obviously because it was my first sock I didn’t understand how stretchy socks need to be for your foot to fit it (AND out!). Instead of the recommended 76 stitches I cast on a lot less. The result is obvious and it almost cost me a dpn trying to take the sock off. Wise lesson.

Anastasia socks:

There’s a long list of unfinished toe-up socks I’m afraid. I think I didn’t blog many of them out of frustration and shame. One of the things I’m happy about right now.

Creature comforts:

This was just not meant to be. I fell in love with the cardi the moment I saw it but was putt off quite quickly by the sheer size of it. It’s supposed to be oversized and drapey but the yarn choice wasn’t too great so it ended up  being really bulky and heavy. It’s also a bit of a depressing knit with the yarn I used so I guess it’s better I frogged it. I actually didn’t even frog it. It’s lying on top of the knitting basket taunting me.. I actually bought the pattern so I will knit this thing, but I guess I’ll start when I feel the love bubble up again ^.^

Aeolian:

This project was doomed from the start. It wasn’t going to work and I knew it. I just didn’t want to accept it and I didn’t know why. The yarn wasn’t too bad for handspun, but it was a really really poor choice for the type of work. I guess you have to learn by making mistakes and I love making mistakes. The more mistakes, the quicker you learn 🙂

I’m splitting up this post because it’s really long and picture-heavy. Tomorrow there’ll be more 🙂