27 June 2011

I'm now an "All-Powerful Reeling Machine"!

I finally broke down this weekend and purchased a ball winder and a swift.  Now I'm really not sure how I lived without these essential tools!  Webs was selling the really high quality ones from Japan as a combo for less.  They wouldn't let me use my student discount, but too bad.  At least now my spinning experience will get much, much easier.

I absolutely love the retro packaging.  It's like the product is saying: "My quality hasn't changed as long as this packaging has. I'll likely outlive you".  The box also features the word "handy", so it must be good.  But having said that, the instructions that came with the swift were the best:
Look at her!  Wind that yarn, girl! 

So, that picture pretty much sums me up now.  Although I could never even aspire to have awesome hair like that.

Now I must refrain from turning all my skeins into neatly stacked cakes....

25 June 2011

Bluefaced Leicester Wool

Current spinning project!  Now I know that all the hype surrounding Bluefaced Leicester wool is completely justified.  This lovely fiber is from the wonderful woman behind Into The Whirled.  I was really lucky to get to actually meet her at the Mass. Sheep and Woolcraft fair last month.  Her colorways are to die for and her fiber is a really high quality.
When I'm finished with this I know that I will fall in love with it.

22 June 2011

Ultimate knitting in public

I aspire to master the art of knitting in line at amusement parks. Someday. 

Alas, I left my knitting in the car that day...

21 June 2011

Crazy Fiber

This stuff was a little weird to spin with because it has so many different fibers! It was excellent practice for spinning worsted (even though I didn't quite get there this time).

  • Spun June 2011
  • Roving: Unknown mix of Merino, Tencel, Sea Cell, Milk Fiber, Corn Silk (Fibers 4 Ewe)
  • Colors: Blue, Purple, and Green.
  • Spindle: Schacht 3” Hi-Lo drop spindle (2.2 oz.)
  • 2 ply, ~85 yards, ~2.0 Ounces, 12 WPI (Sport)

16 June 2011

The "I cannot believe I made this" moment in spinning.

I finished this yarn last month and was surprised at how nice it turned out.  It almost looks like something machine made!  Now I truly know why spinning is addictive (and dangerous).  Before I know it I will have accumulated dozens of spindles and spent way too much money on fiber (oh wait...already done that).  However resource consuming spinning gets, at least I know that I can make a truly beautiful product.
  • Spun May 2011
  • Roving: 100% Merino (Galloping Jester)
  • Colors: blue and dark purple
  • Spindle: Schacht 4” Hi-Lo drop spindle (3 oz.)
  • 2 ply, ~300 yards, 14 WPI (Fingering (2))

    15 June 2011

    Beautiful handspun Corriedale

    * Spun June 2011
    * Roving: 100% Corriedale (Super-fabulous Mill Ends)
    * Colors: Rainbow and black
    * Spindle: Schacht 4” Hi-Lo drop spindle (3 oz.)
    * 2 ply, ~220 yards, ~4.0 Ounces, 12 WPI (Sport)

    Note: Even with my fancy new camera I failed at showing the beautiful colors of this yarn. They are truly spectacular. I really loved working with the Corriedale. It was very soft and so easy to draft compared to many of the other fibers I have tried.

    14 June 2011

    When life gets busy...spin/knit even more!

    My life has been very hectic with some projects coming close to a deadline at work and studying like crazy for the GRE.  Despite all that I have found little pockets of time to work on my spinning and knitting projects.  One such project that I am having fun with right now is this spinning project:
    I bought this lovely fiber at the Mass. Sheep and Woolcraft Fair last month.  I was drawn in by it's interesting fiber content and bought a small amount (2 oz.) to give it a try.  The label says that it is an unknown blend of merino, tencel, sea cell, milk fiber, and corn silk.  It is very soft and has an interesting texture that I cannot put into words.  I'm attempting a worsted weight because it seems like the only weight that I can achieve right now is fingering.

    12 June 2011

    Speaking of Yarn: Tosca Light (Lang Yarns)

    I try to only have three unfinished (knitting) projects sitting around at any given time.  I'm aware that this is a highly ambitious goal, but for the most part it suits me well.  If one project gets too annoying or tiring, I have another to move onto in the meantime.  I feel sorry for one such project because I cannot seem to get going on it despite the beautiful yarn I am using.
    I bought this yarn quite a while ago at a LYS because I fell in love with the colors.  They are so beautiful just to look at!  In a shawl they would be divine, so that is what I did.  The yarn is Tosca Light (Lang Yarns) and the fiber content is 55% wool and 45% acrylic.  Acrylic content is usually enough to put me off a yarn...but the colors!  It is a little scratchy and icky to knit with (again, my personal preference is no acrylics), but it isn't too terrible.  Another note about this yarn is that although it is labeled as a worsted, it is very much a DK weight.

    Shawls frustrate me because they start off so little and the rows go by so quickly.  But then before I know it, it starts taking longer and longer to do just one row.  Eventually all that patience pays off and I have a shawl!  I just have to push myself to get it done, lucky for me Fall is a little ways off.

    09 June 2011

    Stockinette stitch of doom

    I love knitting sweaters.  They always come out very attractively for all my efforts and nothing is better than the squeals of appreciation when people find out that I knitted them myself.  However, in many cases, sweaters require row after row of stockinette stitch.  By the time I finally get to an increase or decrease row, I am ecstatic because I can finally do something else!  Sleeves are the worst, they go on for forever and then when I finish one the momentary feeling of triumph is squashed by the nasty realization that I must then complete the second one.  This is much more bearable during the school year when I can just knit mindlessly through lecture.  In the summer the rows drag slowly by.

    One thing that makes this sweater manageable is the yarn I chose for it.  Silky Wool by Elsebeth Lavold.  I was able to get enough for the sweater at Web's recent anniversary sale and chose the most lovely earthy colorway for it.
    The stitch definition is lovely (I'll attempt to take a picture of a swatch at some point) and it creates a very solid fabric.  The yarn is 45% wool, 35% silk, and 20% nylon, which should make for a very comfortable and sturdy garment.  I pretty much expected to enjoy this yarn because I have knitted with other yarns from Elsebeth Lavold, including Hempathy (from which I made one of my favorite projects Buttercup by designer Heidi Kirrmaier).  So far I haven't had any problems with the yarn, which makes it a good one in my book.

    I'm going to try so hard not to lose momentum on this project because it will make a perfect summer lab sweater.

    08 June 2011

    Not the beginning, but the middle of a journey.

    I am hoping that this will become a space where I can display my fiber creations as I produce them.  I do diligently care for my Ravelry page (and keep a Tumblr blog); however, I now feel the need for a more expansive record in the form of a more traditional blog.

    A little about myself:
          I have been knitting for a little more than 5 years, but only in the last two years have I actually gotten seriously into the process.  The discovery of Ravelry was a huge part of that growth.  So, I always recommend that aspiring knitters get involved with the amazing people there.
         Last January I took a class to learn how to spin yarn using a drop spindle and was instantly hooked.  One aspect that made it so satisfying was the rapid improvement that I found myself making almost instantly.  By my third try I had something that I didn't mind knitting with.  I continue to get better and better at spinning every time I try.
         In March I dyed my first two skeins with Jacquard Acid Dyes and loved it.  I have had to put that hobby aside due to lack of space and facilities to continue, but I hope to dye more in the near future.

    As of now that is where I stand.  I hope to continue to develop my skills and possibly even branch out into a small business in the future.  Someday I hope to design patterns of my own in an attempt to give back to a community that has given so much to me.  Lets continue to grow together.

    - Pumpkin