29 September 2011

Summer socks in Fall

I finished this lovely pair of socks at the wrong time.  I not only finished them the week when New England is forecast to get rain, rain, and more rain (that is why the pictures look sad, not enough natural sunlight), but also as summer ends and fall begins (summer pattern and summer yarn).  Despite that, I'm more than happy with how they turned out.

This yarn was another of my Webs super sale finds and it was a great buy.  My first thought was to use it to make baby clothes because of the colors.

Summer Sox by Classic Elite Yarns
Fingering weight
175 yards for 50 grams
40% cotton, 40% superwash merino, and 20% nylon.

One thing I would like to point out is...look at that unintentional striping!  Personally don't have the patience to work at making my socks stripe in exactly the same way (I salute those that do).  So when these socks turned out looking very similar rather than vaguely similar I was thrilled!

These were knitted two at a time from the toe up using the Diagonal Lace Socks pattern by Wendy Johnson.  I was one of those people who really struggled to learn the toe up sock method, I would find beginner's level patterns and even those didn't make sense to me.  I was limited to top down socks for a while, until I grabbed one of Wendy Johnson's books.  Now I vastly prefer knitting toe up socks and I always recommend her books to people trying to learn the technique.

20 September 2011

Drowning in Scraps!

Yesterday I was sorting through this sack I have hidden in a corner of my dorm room.  Mentally I refer to this as the "scrap sack" where I put all of my half used skeins and such that I swear I'm going to use one day.  As I dug through this bag, it became apparent that I never actually use them for anything.  About a year ago I donated a bunch of scraps to a "how to knit" night some friends and I hosted, but since then it has become a problem.  I've been thinking of ways to use these scraps that aren't useless and there are some options such as scrap socks or the ever popular Beekeepers Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits.

I started thinking about it, this is not revolutionary or anything it has been done before I'm sure, and I came up with this:

I-cord bracelets.  They look really different and are really quick and easy to make.  It is also a good way of practicing the I-cord which can be a really useful knitting technique to know (such as the I-cord bind on).  My favorite tutorial on how to do the stitch is this one here from Stitch Diva.

The green one was made with some of my earlier handspun and this is a fun way of showcasing it.  My favorite fiber is alpaca and this might sound kind of strange, but sometimes I just want to feel some alpaca.  Well that certainly is easier when I can wear it (the brown one).

I could have stitched the ends together, but I like being able to quickly adjust the size, especially if I want to randomly give one to someone who likes them, so I chose not to.

So, this is one of the ways I can enjoyed using up small scraps of yarn and practiced my i-cord at the same time.  Enjoy!

17 September 2011

Have you ever knitted with a rainbow? - Speaking of Yarn: Araucania Itata Multy

Me neither, but this yarn is about as close as I will ever get.

This is a yarn from a company that I personally don't like because of their quality issues, but this one is pretty much their masterpiece.

Itata Multy by Araucania in colorway 1010.
Fingering weight
430 yards, 100 grams.
70% Wool, 15% Bamboo, 15% Silk

I bought this yarn a few years ago.  I was drawn to it initially because of the colorways (I ended up with six different skeins) and because Webs was having a super sale on it.  This is actually my third pair of socks with this yarn and each time I have been impressed by the vibrant colors and how they added to the beauty of the end product.

The yarn is fairly stretchy and does not have the dye colorfastness problems (dye coming off on every surface it touches) that I have found in other Araucania products I have tried in the past.  The resulting socks are pretty comfy, although they make a better spring/summer sock because of the fiber content.  I must agree that the resulting fabric is a little scratchy as many Ravelers have mentioned, although I did not have the splitting problems that other people have complained about.

For more specifics on the pattern used for these socks please see the project page.

So, overall I would say that this yarn has the types of colors that I adore without the sorts of problems  one sees from Noro.  I have made some of my most beautiful socks with this lovely yarn.

15 September 2011

Spinning, I love it.

I have a close friend who is always pushing me to be better in all areas of my life, but especially in my fiber work.  She challenges me to try positive, new things and I always seem to end up a better person by the end.  I think that we all need more people like that in our lives.  Anyways, recently she made me realize that I never dye and spin fiber in a solid (ish) color.  Armed with my trusty spindle, I set to work and finished this project that I am lovingly calling Lee's Dungarees:

-- Spun: September 2011
-- Roving: 100% BFL Wool (The Woolery)
-- Colors: Self-dyed with Jacquard Acid Dyes
-- Spindle: Schacht 3" Hi-Lo drop spindle (2.2 oz.)
-- 2 ply, ~110 yards, 8 oz., 9 WPI (Worsted (4))

This turned at fairly well and hopefully it will be met with approval. (There! I did it! Hooray!)

01 September 2011

Spinning with self dyed fiber is a marvelous thing.

Here is my latest spinning creation.  I've been a little slow with my spinning and knitting lately because I have been enjoying the last week of summer vacation before I start the second to last semester of my undergraduate career (!). Somehow I still managed to finish spinning up some lovely BFL.

  • Spun August 2011 
  • Fiber: 100% BFL Wool (The Woolery)
  • Colors: Self-dyed with Jacquard Acid Dyes
  • Spindle: Schacht 3" Hi-Lo drop spindle (2.2 oz.) 
  • 2 Skeins, each: 2 ply, ~50.4 yards, 4 oz., 11 WPI (DK (3))

I somehow managed to dye and then spin this fiber into two separate dye lots.  I'm thinking that maybe I added more vinegar to one of my stock dyes, but I'm not sure. They both look great though and I think that they will make a wonderful knitted project for someone on Ravelry's RAK board.