Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Zipper Foot

Yesterday, I spent about 3 hours making myself a small box bag. (I used this tutorial). I'm pretty sure it should have taken me about 45 minutes, but I'm new at this and I had to rip out and resew at least three seams.
Isn't it cute?
 It's very small. I don't think it will fit any of my knitting projects, but since it only used 2 fat quarters (and not all of the fabric), it was an inexpensive project to try out some new skills. It's even lined:
 I had meant to do this on Sunday night, but I couldn't find my zipper foot. I totally thought I knew exactly what it looked like, and I didn't understand where it could have gone, since all of the feet to my sewing machine are stored in a pouch attached to the machine. Monday night I finally got out the book to the machine, just in case I didn't know what I was looking for. Turns out, I didn't. My zipper foot was right where it belonged.

I've never sewn in a zipper before, so despite some ripping and resewing issues, I'm so proud to have been successful without calling my mom for help!
 I even managed to add the little pulls on each end of the pouch.

Now that I've been successful on a small scale, I'm going to try to make a larger bag, one that might actually hold a knitting project. I'm also going to attempt to attach a handle to this one, although I'm super confused by the directions on how to do that. It will be Valentine themed:
I know, it's a lot of black. But the remnant bin was 50% off, so the price was totally right!
Maybe I'll have a project bag for every month!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Rambling on...

I feel very rambly today, but I'll try to keep some coherent line of thought going!

First, a couple of finished objects. I finished a 2x2 ribbed scarf for my FIL's birthday (he's 87 today). I did not take a picture of it, because it's black and ribbed, and I just didn't see the point. I've also finished the first of three christening caps for BFF's triplets:
The ends haven't been woven in yet

I'm using a pattern from Easy Baby Knits by Claire Montgomerie. I've actually knit this bonnet at least two if not three other times before - I love it! I've cast on a second one for the other boy baby, but the only girl will get something a little fancier. It doesn't look like the Christening will be until April, so I have some time. I'm using Cascade 220 Superwash for all of the hats.

I also knit myself a pair of Fetching fingerless gloves. This was the extent of my participation in National Knit Mittens month. Had I known before January started that it was NaKniMitMo, I might have planned something a little more exciting.
I still need to block these.

The yarn is Scrumptious Aran by Fyberspates and it's a wool/silk blend. It is VERY scrumptious! I have to weigh what I have left to see if I can get a pair of kids' mittens or some other accessory from the remaining yardage. I'd hate to have it just sitting around.

Besides the second bonnet, I've been knitting on a stockinette sock, a different scarf, and another sock. Here's the other sock:

The pattern is Hermione's Every Day Sock and the yarn is the Secrets Kept colorway from Creature Comforts. This was the Bardic Circle club that I tried out and we read "The Winter's Tale". My only complaint about the club is that there is very little discussion about the play. I think only three people actually read it. The price was incredibly reasonable and the yarn is GORGEOUS! My picture does not do it justice. It goes from almost pastel blues to lovely jewel tones. I'm actually knitting socks instead of a shawlette because I knew the socks would get used more and therefore, I'd enjoy the colors more often.

I've also swatched for a sweater for myself and hope to cast on for that very soon! There's some steeking involved, and I'm taking a steeking workshop in mid-February, so I'd love to have it done to bring with me to the class. The pattern is Taiga Cowichan. It's a short sleeve sweater and uses bulky yarn, so I think it will go quickly.

That's all for today. Hopefully, I'll have some sewing to show you tomorrow!

Happy knitting!

Monday, January 28, 2013

A letter

Dear blog,

I have a TON of stuff to tell you about and to show you. I have a ridiculous number of projects on the needles - a scarf, two socks (different ones), a baby bonnet, and a sweater. I have finished stuff to show you - a scarf, a baby bonnet, the hat and sweater that I finished in December and still haven't told you about. I have spinning going on! I've signed up for a steeking class! I even have some potential sewing projects (potential because there's been cutting and interfacing and pinning, but no actual sewing yet).

I have thoughts on yarn and on color and on the squeak my wheel makes. I've signed up for a spinning group that meets bi-monthly and it turns out that Sheila Bosworth is a member of the same group!

I'm thinking about making bread and made two really delicious desserts last weekend.

I would really like to tell you about all of them and show you some pictures.. I haven't wanted to stop the knitting/spinning/blocking/thinking stuff to take any pictures. So I haven't. I planned to do that today, but I'm just too tired.

I hope you understand, and I do hope to update you soon.

One Tired Mommy

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

From Batt to Finish

When I was at Rhinebeck, I bought a small amount of fiber to spin on my drop spindles. I only bought a little because I know it takes a long time to spin on a drop spindle. I bought the pink Romney from Into the Whirled that you've already seen, and I bought this batt from the Ulster County Guild booth:

The Polworth/silk batt is from byMelody, and while she doesn't have fiber in her etsy shop yet, she hopes to start selling it sometime this year. I had grown a little tired of all the white "practice" fiber I've been spinning and decided it was time for some color.
 Lots of color!
After I unrolled the batt, I divided it roughly along the color lines.
Then I divided each color section in half.
I predrafted each section and rolled it into little balls. Then I spun them, following the color progression of the batt onto two separate bobbins.
 (Here's the first start of the first bobbin, and then I forgot to take more pictures!)

I plied the two bobbins together, and I wound up with about 106 yards of this bright and colorful, sportweightish yarn:


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Some Finished Yarn!

I skeined up some yarn yesterday, soaked it, thwacked it, and hung it up to dry. Here are my two finished yarns:

The first is Romney fiber from Into the Whirled that I bought at Rhinebeck. I spun the singles on my Golding spindle, but plied them on my wheel:

 As you can see, it's a bit overspun, although it's much better since I soaked it. When I first took it off the niddy noddy it completely spun up on itself.
Obviously, it's very uneven, but I think there are signs of hope for consistency. I have about 50 yards of a dk-ish weight (the weight varies A LOT through the skein.) I still have some singles left to ply and about 1.5 oz of the fiber left to spin.

Next, I have the wheel spun skein:
 This picture actually doesn't do it justice. The skein is very well balanced. It had just the slightest twist when it came off the niddy noddy, but hangs beautifully after its bath.
Again, very inconsistent. I have about 50 yards of again, a dk-ish weight. The fiber is Romney sliver that came with my wheel.

Yesterday, I moved the driveband to the faster whorl and I'm spinning singles significantly thinner than these.

Despite the spinning time, I have been knitting too!

I have a friend who is having her third child any day now. I've been working on this cute little sweater:
It's supposed to be a 6 month size, but it feels a little narrow to me. We'll see how it looks after the button bands are in place. I LOVE the cable detail along the raglan lines and if the size seems right, I will definitely knit this sweater again! I'm going to a new knitting group tonight and hope to finish one if not both sleeves.

My car and holiday knitting was this sock:

 The yarn is from Lollipop Yarns on etsy in the Ski Lodge Colorway. (The odd blue stripe between the red and the black is for the afterthought heel). Lollipop Yarns updates every Sunday at 7 and you have to be quick! The updates usually sell out in minutes! It took me 3 weeks to finally get some yarn! The toe is ready to be grafted and I have yet to start the second sock. There on hold until I finish the baby sweater.

I'm also working on a 2x2 rib black scarf out of Cascade 220 for my father-in-law. It's black. It's ribbed. I'm sure you can picture it. :)

Not much else is going on here. The house is slowly returning back to normal. I've been putting Christmas decorations away at an astoundingly slow rate, but am trying to find the motivation to really work at it until it's done (SO hard to do with my wheel staring me!). I'd like to do a little organizing every day as we still have lots of loose ends around the house. I know that in the long run, the better organized the house, the more time I have to do fun stuff. Maybe I'll have be really focused this weekend! (Maybe........)

I hope you're enjoying whatever it is that you're working on these days!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Spinning!!! On a Wheel!!!

Yesterday, I w finally able to spin on my wheel (there might have been a moment on Sunday night where I had to sternly tell my husband to SET THE POLYURETHANE DOWN). I had so much fun!!!!

Here's me spinning in my new little spinning nook in the dining room (and by new I mean I put the spinning wheel in front of the chair and put my fiber in the little basket that makes up the bottom of the table).
 The learning curve for basics wasn't too steep. Here's my first and second attempts.
First Attempt

Second Attempt
I think it's okay for a beginner. I spun up another batch of singles this morning and I'll ply the two better ones together tomorrow (I think the first singles will not be saved).
I also used the wheel to ply some of the pink romney I've been spinning on my Golding spindle. I was tickled to realize that my antique bobbins fit very well on the Traveller's bobbin holders and I could ply from them. (One bobbin obviously had more fiber on it than the other.)
Here's the plied yarn:

I have more to ply, but this was SO MUCH FASTER than plying on the spindle.

I'm using the wheel as a single drive and spinning on the lowest ratio. I wish I understood more about when to use the different ratios, but I'm sure I'll learn as I go. Next time we go to the library, I'll see if there are any spinning books around. 

I have been knitting too! Right now, I'm working on a simple 2x2 ribbed scarf for my FIL's birthday and a baby cardigan. I hope to finish them both by the end of the week; I want to start a sweater for me! I'll try to get some pictures up this week.

I love that the kids are content to sled outside (we have a small hill in our yard) or play with their new toys. I'm giving myself a break in getting stuff down around the house this week and just resting and enjoying all the fibery goodness!

Happy knitting!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christmas Gifts, Part II

Yesterday, I said I still had one more knitterly gift, but I actually have two!

The first is this beautiful row counter bracelet that my mom bought at her LYS:
(I have a new camera. You think I'd be able to take a half-decent picture, but not so much). It's much prettier than the photo and I love it!

The second thing is this:
That, my friends, is a Bosworth spindle. I actually picked it out at Rhinebeck and my mom bought it for me. It was a pleasure to unwrap it at Christmas, and I came prepared with fiber to spin! I'll show pictures of that once it's skeined and washed.

Re-entry into normal life is always a bit rough in January, especially since besides re-entry there is also all the Christmas clean-up. I don't really enjoy taking down the tree - it's just such a chore. Plus all the putting away of gifts and generally getting the house back in order. It will get there though. I'm giving myself until next Wednesday to get it all back to normal so I'm not driving myself crazy trying to do it all at once.

I'm off to grab a quick nap before its time to get the kids from the bus stop. Happy knitting!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas Presents!

I received some AWESOME knitterly Christmas presents!

Here's a few of them:

My mom gave me the Knit One Below book, and my husband bought me Knitting Without Tears, the harmony knitpicks sock needle set, and the yarn is the Snowstorm Scarf kit, also from Knitpicks.
I've never used the harmony needles before, but I love that they're so pretty! The kit is for a double-knit scarf and I'm excited to learn that technique.

All of those gifts are really nice, but they were slightly eclipsed by this one:
Look closely at the box. Do you see what it says?
It says "ASHFORD"!!!!!

Inside the box, is this:
An Ashford Traveller Spinning Wheel!!!!

I can't tell you how surprised I was! My husband is well aware that I wanted one, and we had spent a little bit of time talking about them and the kind I might like (and by talking about them I mean I talked at him and didn't really think he cared). Turns out, he was listening! He spent the weeks before Christmas making some phone calls to a couple of spinning wheel dealers and asking some questions, before he picked out this baby. Isn't he awesome?!?!?!?!?!?!

Unfortunately, we were only home for a little while after opening Christmas presents before leaving for my mother's-in-law house for Christmas dinner there. We got home pretty late and then left the next day for my parents' house and didn't get home until last night. Which means, the spinning wheel is still in the box. I opened the box today, took a quick look at the pieces, and quickly decided that spinning wheel assembly is a husband job. He's much better than I am at putting stuff together (and no, I don't think this reveals anything at all about the differences between genders. I think it reveals a lot about my strengths/weaknesses versus my husband's).

The wheel is unfinished, so it will need some work after it's assembled. I'm hoping to start spinning on it next week.

I have one other gift to show, but it's upstairs and I'm not, so I'll save it for tomorrow.

Happy Knitting!