Finished Objects..

I have them.. πŸ™‚

The Gaudi socks for the BF are done! This time I used actual sock yarn and I’m pleased with the results. I’m sorry for the not so photogenic shape in the pictures. I had sock blockers, but I’ve lost them in the move from Utrecht to Amsterdam. I might still have them somewhere but I haven’t been able to find them yet

I tried to lay them as flat as possible, but I do think I’ll need to make myself a new set of sock blockers. They just don’t look as pretty.. On the other hand, the BF loves them and he’s been wearing them so that’s all I really want anyway πŸ™‚

This little FO is the Bray Cap by Brooklyn Tweed, and now it’s story time.

A while ago my brother told me he’d like to learn to knit because he’s seen me (and my mom) knit some awesome things. So I got all overexcited and thought it’d be a cool idea if he would get himself a ravelry account. So we set up an account and he picked a nice pattern. Now I know this pattern is waaay to hard for a new knitter, but I was planning to knit it for him anyway (mostly).

So I gifted him the pattern and helped him cast on (the simple version). He learned to knit and purl and we were both very proud. He was supposed to come to knit night with me on a few thursdays but he was too busy with his homework (well.. it’s important too I guess), so he never made it and he never finished the hat.

So in the end my mom and I finished the hat, and my brother never really learned to knit. But he did get a nice hat.. oh well πŸ˜› at least he’s excited πŸ˜€

In other news: remember the baby blanket? Well, apparently I’m no Yarn Harlot. Baby Yara was in a bit of a hurry and said hello to the world last week. (This is also the reason I didn’t post anything last week). I was (stupidly) surprised that more than 4 months had passed and I was still not done spinning and knitting (I know..).

I’ve been spinning and plying for 3-4 days, but I’m finally done πŸ™‚ Now I only have 100 grams left and I’m going to use that for the edging. I’m still just working through the whole thing without any real plans. I’m going to use the first 200 grams for the center of a garter stitch blanket and the last 100 (which is more green than pink) will be used for the edge.

I really love the feel (and colors) of this fiber.. once the last batch is done I can finally move onto the huge list of other things I was supposed to finish in 2013…

At least I finished my second sock in January.. now.. what to do with Loki…

Handspun (Throwback Thursday.. uhoh.. I feel a trend coming up on this blog..)

This is it. My first handspun yarn, ever. This picture was taken on april 11, 2010. At this point I had been looking at handspun pictures on Ravelry for a while and I had already told myself that I was not allowed to buy a wheel. I usually get bored easily. I start things, but I never finish them. I’ve read that this is a Gemini trait.

Not buying a spinning wheel also meant that I was not allowed to by a spindle. It’s important to mention that during 2010 I was a poor student living in Rotterdam. Allow me to point out that architecture turns out to be more expensive than you would like to believe.. they never tell you in advance how many models you’ll end up making and how absurdly high the material prices are.. *le sigh*

Let’s just say that I was broke and didn’t want to spend money on something (I thought) that I would get bored of very quickly.

I went on to make a CD spindle as well, but I don’t think I have any pictures of those. This here ‘spindle’ is what I used to create that first yarn. Looking back I’m still amazed that I’m still spinning today. That spindle really sucked…

I decided that I really liked spinning, but I really disliked the craptastic DIY spindle I had made. I decided to look for a spinning wheel.Β (Obligatory artsy picture).


My first wheel-spun yarn. I found this wheel on the internet and, even though I’m no longer using it (it’s in storage), I really love this cute and sturdy wheel. The lady who sold it to me mentioned that she and her sister learned to spin on it in the 1970s.

Yay! Spinning away on my 2m2 balcony in Rotterdam.

I’m one of those people who likes to run before walking.. First time spinning yarn? OK! Now let’s dye it as well! I really do like this picture, the colors, the memories.. ahh πŸ™‚

I fell in love with dying fiber and tried some different things, always using food coloring and vinegar.

Midwinter Sunrise is still one of my fave’s πŸ™‚ I must say that there’s something magical about spinning. I used to be very chaotic and restless, but spinning gives me a very zen feeling. When I’m spinning I’m so at peace with everything. I’m still amazed that this is one of the VERY few things that I’m still doing on a very regular basis. There’s a lot of things I really love to do, but I hardly do them (make the time to do them), but spinning.. wow.

Creating yarn is awesome, but to me, knitting with handspun yarn is even better. I’m working on a baby blanket/ shawl/ wrap for my new to-be-born niece πŸ™‚ It won’t be done before she’s actually born because this is the first apple blossom and I still have 200 grams to spin (I now have about 600m of yarn to work through on 3mm needles).

I bought the fiber from Nunoco’s etsy shop and I’ve only spun one of the bags.

The blanket/shawl/wrap will be a simple garter stitch. I’ll probably use both the lighter colors for the center (squarish), and use the green color for the border. I’m not sure yet, I don’t even know how many stitches I cast on..

Distractions..

The mailman came by and delivered the cutest package πŸ™‚

I have to say that it’s MUCH smaller than I thought it would be. Strange isn’t it? I adore this little spindle!! I haven’t weighed it yet, but it should be something between 22 and 25 grams (depending on the type of wood that is).

The spindle came in a cute little bag and there was a nice fluff of fiber added so I could spin right away. Bep (the owner of Wol-Uniek) also added a tea bag for a nice cup of tea and there was also a note with instructions on how to use the spindle.

When you go to their website you can choose which size you want and what types of wood you’d like.

As you can see I was too excited to take pictures of the spindle before starting.. nope.. I had to start immediately. I was trying to spin a little thicker than I would normally spin, and the spindle really did most of the work. It’s got a nice weight to it so you won’t start to spin thicker halfway.

I still can’t get over the cuteness. There are four sizes to choose from, the smalest (roodborstje) is only 6 x 8 cm an weighs between 7 and 11 grams, the one I have (kolibrie) is 9 x 11 cm. There are two larger/ heavier sizes. The heaviest being about 50 grams (about the same as my golding 3″ spindle).

The wood is only treated with natural oil and (obviously) the spindle is handmade. I love that it doesn’t have a hook. I love that the shaft is super short. Also: it spins very fast and very long!

I noticed that it’s also great to ply on this spindle. I made a 2ply to see how it would behave (plied from both sides of the ball/ cop).

I had finally time to snap some pictures when I was done spinning and plying. I really like the contrast between the rugged texture of the wengΓ© (shaft) and the smoothness and lines of the olive ash.

Looking at this ball of 2ply, I’m really curious to see how much yarn I can fit on this little spindle.. challenge accepted

Sock stash..

I can’t help myself. The longer I look at sock patterns, the more I want to knit them. The more socks I knit, the more I want to buy sock yarn.

When I look back on all the socks I’ve knitted (I haven’t actually knit that many socks, and I’ve given away most of them), I realize that I’ve always used rather “less-than-awesome” yarns. Most of them are knit with yarns that aren’t actually sock yarns. Or acrylics, or even very cheap sock yarns that would wear out too soon.

The first pair of socks I ever knitted were made in 2010. I really should say that these are the first I completed (second sock syndrome). I started with toe-up socks because it seemed more logical. you start with the toe and shape it. Unfortunately I had a very hard time with the turning of the heel. I constantly turned the heel too soon (ending up with socks that were too small for me.

To avoid second sock syndrome I tried knitting both socks at the same time. I haven’t used this technique much, but I must say that it’s quite convenient because you don’t have to think about how long you’ve made the cuff/ foot part. Both socks will be exactly the same. Although it takes a bit more time (well, you ARE knitting two socks at once), and it can be a bit tangly because you work with two balls of yarn at once. Great for at home, not so great for travel IMHO.

I then decided to knit the very popular Jaywalker socks. Of course I had to find the toe-up version, because I was still living in my toe-up is best up phase.


Still too tight. I was so happy with the way it was shaping up. So I frogged this one and moved onto the next sock.

 

Another sock bites the dust. This one, too, became too tight.

I’m a very stubborn person. I want to be able to do certain things, and I think I should be able to knit socks both toe-up and cuff down. So I don’t give up easily and just keep going on until it finally works out. Except, I wasn’t quite there yet..

Two months later I still had the same problem.

Cute pattern isn’t it? I love it so much! I have to say Β that I really don’t mind all the tries. It’s been a very good way to learn about knitting socks.

It took me about a month or two, but I had finally knit myself a pair of lovely socks for my MIL.

It was time to knit socks for myself and I decided to use the handspun yarn I had made. It was too tightly spun and plied, so I thought it would be nice. I was trying out different styles of toe-up socks and ended up with Skew.


I loved these socks so much I wore them until there was nothing left of them πŸ™‚

I’m not going through all of the socks I’ve made.. but in total I’ve completed 18 pairs of socks, most of which have been gifted to people around me. I love knitting socks, and apparently I love giving them away just as much πŸ™‚

The main conclusion is that I’ve knit more socks than other things, and I really enjoy knitting socks. My recent vanilla socks were finished in 2 days, and I’ve been wearing them non-stop ever since (maybe that’s why they wear out so quickly).

I’ve decided to knit a lot of socks in 2014. My goal is at least 2 socks per month, but I might have the chance to knit more this year. Here’s the hard part: I’m only going to knit socks for myself or the BF. I will not give any of these socks away. And that’s really hard (but I need to have more socks and so does the BF).

So to help myself stay motivated (lol) I got myself a little sock stash to get excited over:

I’ve already finished one pair of socks this month, so this is January’s second pair of socks.

For february there’s these yarns to play with:

Dutch Wool Diva Sock Star, in colorway: “loki”

YUMMM! This is going to be good!

Then there’s the Jeans Ball, by Schoppel Wolle. I think this is going to turn out lovely πŸ™‚

Last but not least: Admiral OmbrΓ©, also by Schoppel Wolle.

I also got another skein of yarn, but since it’s not sock stash I will not post about it just yet πŸ˜‰

Triplo FO action

Dear January,

I know I haven’t been posting a lot in 2013, so to make up for that I decided to post a triple FO post. (That or I can’t keep up with the posts).

Meet the Cozy Bottle.

It’s a bottle cozy for your hot water bottle, and in my case it might actually be the thing that saves another hot water bottle from becoming a kitty scratch fest.

You an choose between this pattern and another patter, and there are two size options. It’s a great project to use leftover yarns, in total it weighs about 100 grams. I love this little cozy! It’s so nice and soft, also the colors really match my couch πŸ˜€

The second FO is none other than Strokkur. I finished it a while ago, but I had to sew on some extra buttons. It’s already my favorite cardi ever and I’ve been wearing it a lot!

Unfortunately for me it’s not cold here yet, but I read that we might get some colder temperatures about next week or so.

I really like the way it turned out! I usually find sweaters and cardi’s a bit too short, so I made the bottom part (before the decreases) about 10cm longer. I also made the sleeves longer and added a hole for my thumb (I’ll show this another time, I don’t have a picture yet).

It’s great because now it’s also a fingerless mitt-sleeve when I’m on the bike πŸ™‚

The pattern is very easy to follow, but most importantly, I loved the endless stockinette. I really do like it strangely enough. It’s comforting I guess πŸ™‚

The third FO I’d like to show you is my pair of vanilla socks πŸ™‚

The only thing that’s vanilla about these socks is the pattern (because there’s not really a pattern). The self striping/ patterning Drops Fabel makes it so awesome πŸ™‚

So much awesome. I love knitting socks.. in fact.. I love it so much.. I already cast on for another pair..

Meet Gaudi socks part 3. I knitted a pair for the BF a while ago, but I accidentally threw them in the washer. Not a very big problem, but I noticed that Drops Delight tends to shrink. (I know, it’s not sock yarn, even though it’s being marketed as such). So I decided to knit a pair with schoppel wolle sock yarn (in white) and drops fabel in red-ish..

I’m already nearly done with the first sock, (I took this picture yesterday morning).. Gotta love knitting socks man.. πŸ™‚

New year’s resolutions..

How two days can change so much. The whole month of December felt like one long weekend. And endless string of parties, presents, food and not much time to clean up. January feels like a monday, but not in a bad way. I know people hate Mondays, and to be honest I used to be one of those people too. But even though people may dislike the ‘Monday’, it’s the same Monday that makes the weekends feel so good. The fear of ‘Monday’ will make you want to enjoy sleeping in on Sunday morning even more.

I know, because I used to have a very active outdoor life, and since I work at home I no longer have the ‘Monday’s’, but I also tend to sink into what I call ‘perpetual weekend mode’. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome to never have to take off my jammies for anything I do (be it relaxing or work), but it does make the days blend into one whole big weekend like thing..

I miss Mondays sometimes. January will be my Monday, and I’m going to enjoy every stinking minute of it. Because sooner or later, it’s going to be Tuesday, and then comes weekend.

So my new year’s resulotion? I want to be more mobile again. In 2014 I want to take my laptop and knitting and work at the library, or perhaps some nice coffeeplace near the IJ, where I can also watch some boats and ferries. Yay!

I’m going to make that happen! But there’s one thing I need before I can do that. Socks.

vanilla socks 01

Socks are one of the most portable and awesome projects to bring along while working or traveling outside. Plain vanilla socks in combination with self patterning/ striping yarns is knitting gold. It’s so awesome to do nothing but knit simple stockinette and watch the yarns pattern themselves all over the sock. Nice. I can’t read while working on lace/ cables, but I can read and work while working stockinette. The best part is that you’re changing needles 4 times every row (with dpn’s at least), so you can always move onto the next page or scroll down without any real difficulties.

Yay for sock knitting πŸ™‚

In other news I’ve also been spinning the last few days of 2013.

d1

I’d been spinning some merino on my tiny Turkish spindle, but noticed two problems. The spindle is a bit too light and and a bit too big. The size makes me want to spin quite heavy yarns, but the size won’t let me. Another problem is winding the cop. Spinning on a Turkish spindle is always a bit slow for me because I’m very focussed on winding a nice cop and end up spending a lot of time on the winding.

supported spindle

The supported spindle, on the other hand, is much easier to handle when it comes to winding on. I can spin much faster on this spindle compared to the Turkish one, just because I’m not spending a lot of time on cop building. Another thing I like, when I compare the two is the thickness of the yarn.

comparison

As you can see the spinning on the Turkish spindle looks much finer than the spinning on the supported spindle. It’s true that the spindle singles are finer, but I wonder how much of it is due to the weight of the spindle. The singles on the Turkish spindle are less bouncy than the singles on the supported spindle.

I’ll have a look once the yarns have been plied. This could be interesting πŸ™‚

Spinning on the support spindle

It could be just me, but I feel like the colors in the yarn blend more as well..