• Projects 16.06.2017 No Comments

    I guess I should never say never again. I was working on a Banana Leaf Shawl with some nice Mrs Crosby Satchel, picked up at the WEBS summer sale. And it looked pretty good:

    But there can be issues with single ply yarns biasing. And I started to feel like I’d knit this at too tight a gauge and it really needed a yarn that wasn’t so stripey. In short, I wanted to do something else. I looked through my favorites and was drawn again to designs by Ankestrick. These are top down, contiguous sleeve designs. I have one on the needles, but hadn’t gotten past the underarms. This was partly due to the yarn (I just don’t care for cotton yarns) and that I’d had some problems doing the slip stitch design. I decided to try Antler. And so far, it seems to be turning out pretty well.

    I’ve picked up several more of her patterns and will be knitting those next. I really like the idea of color blocking. So nice after all that solid color knitting. I just finished a couple of things for Lon’s birthday on Monday. First up, the Fair Winds Scarf:

    I knit the beanie as well, but don’t have a picture of it. I need to block the scarf and weave in the ends. And I did the Henry scarf, out of buffalo/silk yarn:

    Lon has wanted something in buffalo yarn for over a year. I’m not a fan of the stuff. The two skeins I bought really weren’t close in color. I had about 3/4 of an inch to finish with the second skein, so it looks okay. The pattern was interesting and looks great. And I managed to knit it without him knowing about it. I am still working on two scarves for me. One is the Diagonal Lace scarf in Folio and the second is the Fir Cone Shawl I’ve been working on for several months.

    And I did a hat for me and a watch cap for Clyde. Need to do a watch cap for George next. Then it’s time to start knitting socks. I want to do another cabled sweater for Lon, with better yarn and a custom fit this time. And a picture of Jack, just to show there’s more to life than knitting!

  • Thoughts 19.04.2017 No Comments

    ..I don’t care how much Churchmouse patterns cost. When you buy a pattern and it doesn’t fit, you have wasted time and maybe money. I don’t buy patterns so that I can re-write them. I buy patterns so I can start a project and just knit. This was a raglan and the top part simply did not come up far enough. I ripped it back and reworked it, but it still didn’t fit. I don’t want to rag on the designer. I still think the design elements she chose are beautiful and other folks seems to have come up with a sweater that fits. But it did not work for me and I can’t stand to see this nice yarn wasted. So I am spending more time taking this apart.

    For some reason, the pattern police come out every time the Churchmice have a new pattern. Now this is a yarn shop that actually gives away a free pattern with purchase on their anniversary. I have not had any problems with their patterns and they fit. But for some reason, people feel that they should bitch about the price. Every blinking time. If you don’t like the price, don’t buy it. I find it interesting that someone would spend significant money to buy yarn yet want the cheapest pattern possible. There are lots of free patterns on Ravelry. Pick one out and knit it, be my guest. But seriously, find something else to bitch about. I will continue to vote, with my money, for the folks that turn out patterns that work and don’t have to be rewritten.

     

    UPDATE:

    I still need to skein up the yarn and wash it, but it’s done. And I have dirt and hair all over my skirt. What a mess! I think, with the exception of knitting a gansey, I am done with sweaters knit in one piece. (And I say this having just bought a cardigan pattern that is all one piece.) I don’t care for knitting with circulars. You wind up with this big, heavy, unmanageable piece that goes on and on. When you knit individual pieces, you actually finish a piece and move to the next one. The shaping tends to be better than when you knit a single piece. I’m not fond of sewing, but it’s just finish work. When I started knitting, everything was knit in pieces then sewn together. And knitting in the round was touted as this great improvement, where you’d be done with the sweater all at once. Yeah, after you’ve slogged through round after round of several hundred stitches.

    I’m knitting differently these days. I buy yarn with a project in mind, mostly. I finish projects. I knit things that I really want to wear and, if I can get yarn on sale, I don’t mind if it doesn’t last forever. I need lighter weight sweaters and gave away some nice heavy ones.

  • Projects 18.04.2017 No Comments

    Just can’t seem to stop knitting. I’ve done three Better Than Basic Pullovers in Avalanche. I may do a cardigan with the last of it. I have a (surprise) birthday present for Lon on the needles. I’m working on the new Thinking Cap by Churchmouse. And I have a couple more projects that I’ll start as soon as I finish something.

    Take a look at the video of spinning with a distaff here: http://windwraith.blogspot.se/2015/12/ode-to-distaff_5.html

    It’s impressive. I dug out my Lisa Chan Rose spindle today, but doubt that I’ll get any spinning in. Will take another look and see if I can give it a try.

     

  • Projects 14.03.2017 No Comments

    I just love Classic Elite’s Avalanche. There are some drawbacks to it. I suspect that it won’t hold up over time. The nylon makes it easy to snag. The advantages though make it worth it. It’s warm, lightweight and soft. Since it’s a chainette yarn, it’s stretchy. I’ve had some snags work back into the sweater, just by stretching the area a bit. There’s no drape, so this feels more like fabric. And I like the colors. They have a watercolor effect to them. And since this is discontinued, prices are good.

    I’m on my third Better Than Basic Pullover, all made from Avalanche. They seem perfect for this climate. I’m not a fan of drop shouldered sweaters, so it’s not the most flattering thing I can wear. I just keep one by the door and put it on to take the dogs outside. It’s a comfortable choice for road trips too. If I didn’t have to pay property taxes, I’d probably be tempted to do a fourth.

    I am close to finishing the Twice Reversible Ribbed Poncho. I did this in Rowan Hemp Tweed. I think it looks okay and I like the color. I wish I were more enthusiastic about the yarn. It does soften up but it’s not that pleasant to knit with. I find it interesting that people will call a wool yarn scratchy, yet they don’t seem to call hemp or linen scratchy. I have some Classic Elite Telluride, which is linen/alpaca. It seems much softer than this wool/hemp blend. In general, I prefer Classic Elite yarns to Rowan. I haven’t used either brand all that much. The Hemp Tweed was on sale at a great price and I’ve enjoyed trying something different. It’s just nice to get back to Avalanche again.

    I have a couple of projects coming up for Lon. He wants a scarf out of buffalo fiber. I’ve ordered that. I already don’t care for the yarn. I ordered buffalo fiber to spin and just hated working with it. The yarn is half buffalo, half tussah silk. I think it took about six hours to ball up the skein, due to it tangling. I’ll have to use it double, which makes this an expensive scarf. He has a birthday coming up in June, so this is his present. And I’m going to make him a second watch cap, out of alpaca. He sometimes misplaces the black one I made, so I’d like for him to have a backup. I have two projects lined up for me. I think I’ll order a bit more of the Telluride and make a Go-To Cardigan. I was going to make the Easy Folded Poncho, but it’s too lightweight. I have the mohair for another Modern Wrapper. Just need to buy the second yarn for that. I have been good about buying for specific projects and I have been working them up as I go. I’ve also been getting rid of my old stash, as I seem to get a reaction from it. Need to finish going through it and let most of it go.

    Here’s the sweater trio. The colors, left to right are Mountain, Sea, and Sky:

  • Back in the day, there were no dedicated places to talk about spindles. If you discussed them on the spinning lists, wheel spinners would complain that they weren’t interested. It seemed that we needed our own place to discuss them, so that we could share the excitement of the new spindles we’d found. And back then, there were a lot of new spindle makers and new designs. I decided to start a list just for us. I’d have people send me their posts and I would manually put them together into a post that I emailed to the folks that were interested. Responses would show up in the next day’s post. It was work, but it was fun. Eventually, I found some software that would create the posts for me and used that for awhile. Then someone on the list offered a place on their own server, so we tried that. Then companies came out with email groups. They kept getting bought out by Yahoo, so eventually we wound up there. I never liked Yahoo. I hated dealing with it, but it was convenient for folks, so we stayed.

    I have noticed that people are not using email as much as before. A lot of that traffic went to social media and sites like Ravelry. Participation on the list dropped off. I had a monthly reminder for people to talk about their projects, but that didn’t seem to help. And I didn’t spend as much time as before participating. I talked about closing the list last year, but people wanted to keep it going awhile longer. After almost a year of no traffic, I closed it this week. Thank you to all that participated! I hope you continue to spin and enjoy your spindles.

  • I have been knitting a lot. I haven’t been spinning much. It’s one of those weird things I go through. I had this plan to knit some of the patterns in In the Footsteps of Sheep I have the wool cleaned and combed. I even started spinning a bit of it. But there it sits. I normally like traditional patterns. Right now, I am on a Churchmouse patterns kick. I’m not sure I’ll be buying any other patterns. They just seem to fit and I never have problems with the pattern. Normally, I like basic wool. Now I’m knitting with odd stuff. I’m doing my second sweater from Avalanche. It’s a wool/alpaca chainette yarn. It’s a bit odd but I just love the sweater.

    It’s not a great picture, but it’s better than no picture at all. I have another Classic Elite yarn up for the next project. I’m doing the Easy Folded Poncho in Telluride. That’s an alpaca/linen blend with those donegal tweed pieces. It’s interesting stuff. I am looking for more weird yarns to do the Simple Tee for the summer. I figure I need a couple of light winter/fall sweaters and a couple of light summer/spring tees. I still need to sew some skirts. I’ve had one ready to go for months, but still need to hem it. Will see if I can manage that this weekend. I am still working on the shawl, about halfway through it and I have a pair of socks on the needles. I like that Kroy sock yarn. I just am not adventurous right now. I have a sock pattern that works. I find that I don’t like wearing the fancy socks as much as the plain ones. (This could be bad for that handspun sock project!) So I am just knitting what works and using the same yarn for them. I don’t want to have to rewrite the pattern.

    I still don’t have a picture of Lon wearing his nice cabled sweater. He really loves it. He’d like a thicker collar so I may try and work on that this weekend. It did turn out nice.

  • Fiber, Projects 16.12.2016 No Comments

    I’ve been suckered in by the book. I thought it would be interesting to see if I could find fleece from any of the breeds mentioned in the book. It turns out that you can! TheFibreMine in Canada has small amounts of different fleece available. I ordered North Rondaldsay and Black Welsh Mountain, plus a few other interesting samples. MagpieLaneCrafts has full fleeces available, including the Castlemilk. This is where I started to run into trouble. The fact is that I’m not big on white fleece and a lot of the fleece in the book is white. So I ordered an interesting fleece instead of something from a breed in the book. I am going to be substituting other fleece when I make my own socks from her patterns. And Wol4All in the Netherlands also has fleece from the breeds mentioned.  I entered the patterns into Ravelry (although I still have about 4 to go). I still it will be a fun project. I’ll post some pictures here as I start to make some progress.

    I’m working on the collar of Lon’s sweater. Will still need to put the buttons on and make buttonholes. It’s very close and I found great buttons for it. I should have an update on it this weekend.

    We have a bit of snow but already melting away. So nice to have an excuse to wear wool!

  • Projects 30.11.2016 No Comments

    I’ve finished both sleeves on Lon’s sweater. I have sewn in one and seamed that side. Still need to sew in the other sleeve, then on to the collar. I really do need to finish this. He could wear it now. I still may need to tweak the sleeves a bit with a gusset. The sleeves are a bit tighter than I’d like.
    2016-11-29-17-31-36
    Got a new book today. It’s In The Footsteps of Sheep. I’ve wanted this since I first learned about it. I’m about halfway through it. I like the journey and the patterns. I do think they shortchanged us spinners by not covering the details of the yarn and her tools. I gave it a good review on Amazon, but said I was disappointed that the socks weren’t knit in handspun.

    And reading about spinning has me plying up a bit of yarn that has been just sitting around.

    2016-11-29-17-31-52

    And this knucklehead hopes that you had lots of whipping cream for Thanksgiving! He does not like cranberries, so you can eat those yourself!

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  • Projects 13.07.2016 No Comments

    Still working on Lon’s sweater and making good progress. I’m up to the armhole on the first front. It’s an enjoyable knit. But, of course, I wanted to start another project.

    I like Churchmouse patterns. I’ve yet to find an error in them. They are a bit old school (sweaters sewn instead of worked in the round). They look modern without looking odd. I’ve had the Fir Cone Lace Shawl pattern for awhile. I bought some silver grey Cascade 220 Fingering for another project. And somehow, it wants to be a shawl.

    I picked up Elizabeth Lovick’s book on Shetland Lace:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1250039088/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    The book arrived today and it looks great. I have some alpaca lace yarn that needs a project. It might be my winter project. This is such a strange summer. We’ve been having 70+ degree days and it feels like September.

     

    2016-07-12 11.11.33

     

     

  • Projects 04.07.2016 No Comments

    I haven’t been spinning much. I’m on a knitting kick right now.  I’ve done two Modern Wrappers and will likely do more. They are very simple to knit and comfortable to wear. They use a fingering weight yarn and a fine mohair, which makes a lightweight fabric. It’s especially nice if it’s a mohair/silk strand. I don’t have pictures of me wearing one yet, but will post what I do have.

     

    2016-05-25 12.17.21

    My other project is a sweater for Lon. It’s coming along nicely. This is a wool blend and actually nice stuff. I wanted a sweater he could knock around in.

    2016-06-28 12.28.39

    Here’s another picture of this project:

    2016-07-04 12.23.55

    The yarn is Sidar Harrap Tweed and is primarily synthetic. I will make Lon a nice wool sweater, but wanted the first one to be easy care. I like this yarn. I’ve been trying to buy extra, so I can make the Kerry Blue shawl out of the leftovers.

     

    And this guy has now been with us for a year:
    2016-07-02 10.42.53

    He’s frustrating and crazy. He barks too much. Loretta hates him and the cats don’t like him. But we are very happy that he lives with us.