28 March 2012

Work-in-progress Wednesday - #4

In the past I have mentioned that I have a knitting rule where I can only have up to three projects going at a time.  As of late, this rule has fallen helplessly by the wayside and now I'm a little overwhelmed by the number of projects I have to chose from.  It is like there are a whole bunch of little yarn children begging for my attention and I only have two hands to work with!

Keeping in mind that I have several projects filling up a corner of my room (don't ask...), I'm only posting about the two I've been working on lately (plus some spinning).

First we have my Beatnik, which I am really enjoying despite the fact that the cabling gets tiring after while.  I'm finished with the back and a sleeve, and now working on the front and the other sleeve.

My pretty summer Textured Cardigan is working up quickly despite the fact that there is a huge error in one section of the pattern (what would I do without the wisdom of Ravelry at my disposal?). 

I've also been having a lot of fun spinning the silk hanky, even though one strand of the silk often gets latched on to something and it is very difficult to get even strands.  Look at how vibrant the colors are!

Anyways, I have many projects and so little time, but at least I have a lot of knitting and some really attractive (hopefully!) new sweaters to look forward to!

Hope you all are having a great Wednesday and I hope that you also join in with WIP Wednesday with Tami's Amis.

26 March 2012

Mohair Cloud Handspun

I decided pretty early on to name this skein of handspun "Mohair Cloud" because it was so soft and dreamy to spin with!  I'm glad that I decided to cheat a little bit and spin it up plain rather than as a part of a blend.

I was really excited by the sheen of the fiber, it is so bright and shiny!

- Finished: March 26, 2012
- Fiber: 100% undyed mohair from angora goats (Wicked Stitch) 
- Spindle: Schacht 3" Hi-Lo drop spindle (2.2 oz.)
- Other Information: 1 skein, 2-ply, ~180 yards, ? oz., fingering weight

I have now finished another item on my Fiber Goals for 2012 list: Spin a New Type of Fiber

I think that this lovely fiber should become a cute little scarf, what do you think?

Also, I'm having second thoughts about dyeing it because it is so pretty the way it is.

Soon after I spent a little time admiring my finished handspun, I started on another goal on the list of Fiber Goals for 2012: Master Spinning A Silk Hankie.

Turns out, silk is difficult to photograph, it is so shiny!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  Here's to another week of exciting projects!

23 March 2012

Speaking of Yarn: Worsted Merino Superwash (Plymouth Yarn)

I know that I have mentioned my love for Worsted Merino Superwash by Plymouth Yarn in the past, but would like to talk more specifically about why I love it.

This yarn is a glorious 100% superwash fine merino wool in worsted weight.  It is sold in a standard 218 yards per 100 grams skein and comes in 56 different lovely colors.

The first project I knitted with this yarn was a pair of worsted weight socks, which I adore and have been worn often with minimal pilling (oh how I hate pilling).  I am currently working on my second project using this yarn, my Beatnik.  The colorway I chose for my current project is a comforting navy blue with flecks of purple mixed in.  The thing I like about this yarn the most is its elasticity, it is the most springy merino I have ever worked with!

Overall, on Ravelry people seem to enjoy this yarn as well, people seem to like the feel of it (it has this texture that I cannot describe, I would recommend taking a look for yourself) describing it as soft and high quality.  There were some complaints of color bleeding, splitting, and pilling (don't put in dryer).  I have had it bleed during hand washing, but the color did not fade much.  I don't think that the yarn is splitty at all, but then again, I do not seem as bothered by splitting as some people.  I have had it pill a little bit, but only after quite a bit of wear.

- Amazing stitch definition (especially with cables!)
- Super springy and elastic
- Pretty colorways
- Superwash and appears to wear well (at least for me)
- Rips out well (don't ask)
- Lovely merino smell!

- Ends unravel a lot
- Expensive

Final thoughts: I have really enjoyed working with this yarn personally.  The texture of the yarn is irresistible to me.  I always look forward to knitting with it and would certainly buy it again!

*** According to FTC law, I'm required to disclose that I have not received free products or compensation for this review, and that my personal opinions on the product are represented here.

21 March 2012

Spinning Mohair Fiber

One of my Fiber Goals for 2012 has been to spin a new kind of fiber.  A while back Lisa gifted me some amazing mohair from Wicked Stitch in Wamego, Kansas.  I have always been very interested in spinning fiber from Angora goats, they look so adorable with their shaggy hair.

I waited for quite a while to begin spinning this fiber, partially because I just wanted to squeeze it for a while and partially because I was thinking of blending it with another type of fiber.  In the end I broke down and decided to just go for it and am I ever glad that I did!

This fiber is a joy to work with, it is super soft and the resulting strands have beautiful drape and sheen.  I'm spinning the strands fairly thin and I'm trying to decide how I want to ply it and what I might want to make out of it.  I think that after I finish spinning this pretty mohair, that I am going to dye it using natural dyes of some kind, I haven't decided yet.

Also, to help address the problem of commenting on Blogger blogs that some people have had problems with, I've decided to give Disqus a try.  Please let me know how your experience is, and of course as always, I love receiving your comments and reading your wonderful blogs!

19 March 2012

Spring break knitting!

Sorry in advance for the crappy photo quality and general rushed quality of my posts for this week.  I'm currently on spring break and galavanting around with some of my family. 

I've really been focusing on my Beatnik recently.  This may mean that I am a glutton for punishment, ie. one sweater horribly failed, no problem, start working on two more.  

I'm really enjoying this project a lot, even though it is working up very slowly.  These are some serious cables here and I forgot how long it takes to get length worked up on a project like this.  Pictured here is the back of the sweater (almost done) and part of the first sleeve, which I am working in seed stitch along with the pattern. 

I have also been reminded how much I love knitting with Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash.  It has such a great texture to it and that lovely merino smell that I'm so fond of. 

I'm definitely going to take my time on this project and savior it.

16 March 2012

Lilac Handspun

I have finally finished spinning up what was frankly the most frustrating fiber that I have ever had to deal with (well, besides silk hankies...).

I spun this up in a space of two weeks on my trusty Schacht spindle.  I would say that the weight ranges from sport to worsted because of the nature of the fiber I was spinning with.  It was almost as though the fiber was either tangled (not combed properly?) or felted.  I think that this started as 6 oz., but I cannot recall for sure.

I've agreed to send this single ply nightmare off to Lisa, where it will likely become a part of one of her many amazing art projects.

Now I get to start spinning up some fiber that I have really been looking forward to.
More on that to come!

14 March 2012

Work-in-progress Wednesday - #3

After the sweater failure (is it just me, or are a lot of people having various knitting failures lately?) I decided to spend more time on projects I feel confident about.  Also, I apologize for the crazy pictures once again, apparently 7am is not the best time to take them.

I've been slowly progressing on my Tulip socks.  I love the pattern and the yarn (Shibui Knits Sock), but for some reason I haven't had enough ambition to get them done.

I recently cast on a pattern I mentioned in a past post, the Textured Cardigan knit in Classic Elite Yarns Classic Silk.  I love knitting with that yarn, it is super soft!
Also: Edit. If you like the stitch markers in this picture, Lisa has been making them with beautiful beads collected from all around Europe and all proceeds go to charity! Check out her page here.

I have also been slowly and sufferingly spinning up the rest of the merino fiber.  I dislike working with it so much that I probably won't ply it.  Would anyone be interested in having it when I'm done?

As always, WIP Wednesday hosted by Tami's Amis makes Wednesday more fun!  I'm looking forward as always to getting to see what you are all working on.

12 March 2012

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012

I don't know about all of you, but I am super excited about taking part in the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012!

This time last year my little blog was not yet in existence, so I was not able to contribute.  I certainly give props to Eskimimi for putting together such a huge project like this!

I cannot wait to not only be apart of such a fun, exciting week of crafting, but to also get to see what everyone else is doing.  I'm hoping to stumble across some great new blogs as well!

I hope you all will think about joining in too!

11 March 2012

Successes and failures

I don't really like to share what's going on in my life in very much detail, you guys don't want to hear about all that boring stuff, but I have to share that on Friday I was offered a position at my first choice graduate school program!  I've been ecstatic because this means that I will not only have the opportunity to be in the perfect program but that I will also be moving to North Carolina, my favorite state! 

In knitting-related news, I've hit a huge block with my colorwork sweater.  After spending several hours yesterday attempting to seam the stupid thing, I have been unable to seam it in any way that does not make it look like crap.  The pieces just don't want to fit together correctly!

I have always avoided traditionally constructed garments requiring seaming, simply because I have always felt as though there are better, more efficient methods.  So, granted I started this project knowing full well that I would be required to seam.

I was lucky to stumble upon a couple of videos from Berroco on the subject which really helped: 

Video on seaming shoulders:

Video on seaming set-in sleeve:

Through attaching the sleeve, ripping back, and then repeating several times, I have gotten quite good at making an attractive looking seam!  Sadly, I still cannot seem to make the sweater look attractive no matter how hard I try.

After closely following Evelyn's cardigan adventures, I have decided to take a leaf out of her book and calmly let the sweater hibernate for a little while until I feel better equipped to deal with it.  

Besides I have plenty of time to finish it to meet my Fiber Goals for 2012.

09 March 2012

Sweater addition!

I'm free and willing to admit it.  I'm addicted to knitting sweaters, they are just so much fun to construct and then you have a new, substantial article of clothing when you are finished.

I was hoping to have the colorwork sweater finished in time for today, but with midterm exams and other crazy life events, that just didn't happen.  I should be able to finish it up over the weekend considering I only have to finish knitting a few more inches of the border, and then seam and block it!

I don't think that I have ever been this excited about a sweater before!

On the topic of sweaters, my mother received her sweater a few days ago and sent me a picture of her wearing it:

Doesn't she look warm and happy?  I'm just relieved that it fits and that she likes it.

Happy friday everyone, I hope you have a great weekend!

07 March 2012

Work-in-progress Wednesday - #2

I've really been focusing on my colorwork sweater for the last few weeks and because of that I'm nearing the end:

Is it looking pretty good so far, but as always when it comes to larger garments, I'm a little worried about the fit.  All I have have left to knit is the last of the back and the neckline, then I need to block it and seam!  Let me say that I am really looking forward to getting to wear this sweater!

I've also started another spinning project with some crappy roving (I don't even remember where I got it from) that I've been putting off spinning.  I've been spinning it haphazardly just for fun and it's working for me even though the merino is really not processed well.

I'm really enjoying the knitting process right now, probably because everything else in my life is moving a little too quickly!

Be sure to check out other WIP's and share your own at Tami's blog!

05 March 2012

When stressed, go to LYS

When I get stressed out, usually halfway through the semester, I often find my way to a yarn store.  I jokingly describe it being like a defense mechanism where when I reach my stress threshold I black out and when I come to I find myself at Webs with a basket full of yarn.

Today I felt this overwhelming desire to escape campus and decided to make a quick trip over to Webs.  While there I thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the new yarn and squeezing the yummiest merino I could find.  I also found some yarns that I would really like to use on some future projects.

Malabrigo Worsted (soon...soon...)

An old favorite: Rowan Felted Tweed 

I ended up buying some yarn too:

Here's some beautiful Manos del Uruguay for Lisa, just wait and see what she has planned for it! 

And for myself, some Hempathy, one of my all time favorite yarns to be used for the Vogue Lacy Vest I mentioned the other day

Exploring LYS can be such a fun thing to do, I never know what I will find!  I also feel much more relaxed afterwords and even get a little creative boost!

03 March 2012

Alpaca Handspun

I'm finally finished with some more alpaca handspun!  I love the colors of undyed alpaca, they are all so natural and soothing.

Thanks for all of your generous feedback on what the yarn should become, I've decided on some nice alpaca mitts!  It will be a colorwork project of some kind (once you become addicted you cannot go back) and I'll likely write the pattern myself because I 've been working on one that would fit this yarn.

Spun: February 2012
Fiber: Alpaca by Alpacas of Wildcat Hollow (100% undyed alpaca)
Spindle: Schacht 3" Hi-Lo drop spindle (2.2 oz.)
Other Information: 1 skein, 2-ply, ~200 yards, 4 oz., DK weight.

I have really enjoyed spinning this yarn as always, because I love alpaca and in particular love the fiber from the lovely couple of Alpacas of Wildcat Hollow.

In retrospect I wish that I had made this 3-ply, but then if I had I wouldn't have been able to combine it in a project with the last batch of alpaca I spun.

Also, I wanted to thank all of you who are being so supportive over my sweater woes.  I just have no patience for poorly written patterns, but I think that I can work around those problems and have a pretty sweater to show for it!

01 March 2012

Colorwork Sweater Update

I meant to post this update yesterday as a part of WIP Wednesday, but that just didn't happen.  Don't you just hate how sometimes life is not very understanding about your crafting ambitions?

I've been working half-heartedly on my colorwork sweater lately:

The colorwork pattern is beautiful, the sweater itself is very attractive, the problem is the pattern has some weird little aspects that really bother me.  It's almost as though the pattern is written for a beginner, but the construction is not suited for a beginner (I'm not sure if that made any sense at all).  The pattern author and I obviously disagree on more than one topic...

I've mentioned once before that I am annoyed that the pattern for the garment is to be worked flat, rather than in the round (even the sleeves! Why?!).  In retrospect, I really should have just taken the plunge and knitted it in the round with a steek.

Also, the pattern is very nice and all, but the chart was not adapted for use with all of the available sizes.  This just came across as sloppy to me, but I was able to work around it.

All and all, this pattern has been an adventure and I'm sure that more surprises lie in wait.  But I'm sure that it will come out looking very nice in the end.  However, I think it was wise to offer this as a free pattern.  As Evelyn wisely said, we must finish our wintery knits.  Finish them we will!

Also, I apologize for the crappy, low-light photo, it looks like this outside: