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Posts Tagged ‘handspun’

At a family dinner last night, I was reminded that I never updated about my Bundle-Up Bear Brigade post Christmas!  Shocking!

By the time I finally put away my bear bag (yes, I had a bag I carried around all month containing every relevant scrap I could collect as well as the pertinent needles & notions), I had knit 8 bears.  Sadly, since 6 of them went to other homes over the festive season, I don’t have a photo of them all together, but I think I’ve got pictures of all but the very last one (who I just discovered at the bottom of a project bag, finished except for her blank little face).  First up, here’s a picture comparing the regular and mini sizes (regular size bear went home with a friend’s toddler because babies deserve bears; yellow Noro suit belongs to the unfinished last bear).  I might be biased, but I rather prefer the teeny ones!

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Now I want you to notice in the following pictures the amazing crispness, clarity, and colour.  One of the awesome things about giving away the bears to various family members was that my mother-in-law was usually around, with her DSLR camera, and she was kind enough to let me use it.  I have hemmed and hawed for a long time about getting a DSLR – I know that part of the appeal is that I imagine I can make up for my artistic shortcomings with a fancier machine, and as such I’ve pushed myself to be content with my point-and-shoot and improve my skills instead.  But the pictures are just so much better.  So after I purchase the sweater quantity of Everything Old yarn I’m currently saving for, I’ll be starting a new camera fund, because – look!

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*Wistful sigh* …and now back to your regularly scheduled point-and-shoot update, under the jump.

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Now that I’ve got my computer back up and running, and the Universal Toque pattern tested and posted, it’s time to revisit my FOs, WIPs, and wistfully, the frog pond as they’ve been in the last six weeks.

First up, here’s my current love affair: Stephen West’s Spectra, knit from Little Red Bicycle worsted (grey; purchased at Knit City, and sadly I think in-person sales are currently the only way to buy this awesome yarn) and my early handspun, in Hydrangea BFL/silk gradient-dyed fibre from Everything Old!

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More (pics, projects, pontification) under the jump.

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Angelus at last!

Finally!!!  Today I can share with you the project that bumped Dearli off the needles last month (not literally, though it almost did as they are written for the same size…)!  I present…

The Angelus Shawl, by Emma Galati of Everything Old Fibre!!!

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Oh yeah, it’s awesome!  More pics and prattle under the jump!

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Oh dear!  It’s not looking like I’ll have time to finish my Dearli cardigan by the end of the month for the Summer Sweater KAL!  I am feeling a bit disheartened as the FOs pour in over on the Ravelry group for Luvinthemommyhood…some people are wrapping up their second sweaters and I’m only halfway done my first!  Here’s where it’s at at the moment and I’ll tell you why I don’t think I’ll make it to the finish line…after you enjoy how well it ended up fitting my waist in the new & improved version.  Not to mention how perfect that shawl pin is!  If it looks equally good with the ruffles, I won’t need to do a belt at all!

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Okay, here’s the problem.  See that section of increases/decreases around the centre of the front?  The one where the fullest part is just below my breast and the decreases start right at my bust line?  Those are my bust darts, and they’re supposed to be about 1.5″ higher so that, you know, the fullest part of the dart would match up with the fullest point on my bust (crazy, I know!).  I’m not sure what happened in the armhole portion, but something went horribly wrong with my stitch count and this is the result of me having fudged things to get that right, only to apparently add over an inch too much length.  Sigh.  I will be ripping back yet again to make this right – I thought I was quite carefully following the “decrease at neck edge every X rows Y times, then every Z rows Q times” directions, but when I achieved the full length of armhole I was supposed to have, there were several decreases left to go…so I just did them.  Nope.  Don’t do that, kids, it brings nothing but tears.  At least this time I’m not ripping back to my cast on – it’s only about 8″, no big deal…

The other reason I won’t be finishing this sweater in the next 11 days is that I’m working hard on a super secret project for which I juuuuust finished spinning this yarn!

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I’m really looking forward to having a proper blog about it in October…and wearing it at Knit City on the 13th & 14th!  The yarn, a heavy fingering/light sport, is spun from Everything Old fibre, a merino/bamboo mix that I’m really enjoying, spun on my favourite sparkly spindle.  Over the course of this project I’ve also decided that I really need to get into proper supported spindling, since I currently just use my pointy-ended drop spindles as makeshift supported ones.  Any suggestions for brands/styles you’ve enjoyed?  I will be checking out Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts at Knit City, as I’ve heard they carry spindles, and if not there I’ll be ordering online soon after!

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I met (most of) my goals!  And I didn’t even have to stay up all night, not even once in 17 days!

Check out The Brightest Socks – they are awesome!  We have had a few comments that they will be perfect for Christmas…which seems a bit odd to me since I don’t usually think of nuclear pink and orange (WHY does the pink insist on photographing so red?) as Decembery colours, but I totally dig the idea of a pic of us resting matching mismatched stocking feet on the coffee table with a lit tree in the background, don’t you?

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I think this is the fastest I’ve ever knit a pair of socks.  I cast on at knit night, and finished at knit night two weeks later.  Well, we got kicked out due to the coffee shop closing, and I had to bind off sock #2 at home, but it was pretty much knit night to knit night!  Contrast this with the last pair (about 6 weeks), and the pair before that (more than 2 months) and you can see why I am so proud.

After abandoning my WIP goal, I settled on a different second project: to knit something from handspun, specifically my super-extra rustic linen from the Tour de Fleece.  Here’s the thing: in my summer job, I’m obliged to carry a phone at all times, which is a problem since women’s fashion seems not to believe in pockets.  So last year I knit myself a cute little shoulder bag just big enough for a phone and a keycard…only problem is, since it’s mauve, it clashes terribly when I have to wear my bright red staff t-shirt!  Enter the rustic purselet, complete with bonus kitty:

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I went all the way to the last inch of yarn and the strap is still a tiny bit short.  But hey, it works!  And it’s basically seamless (if you consider picking up stitches to not be a seam…), using sock heel-style short rows to knit the bottom continuously from the front and sides.  It was a cool design challenge.  And the button matches that red staff shirt perfectly.

Now I’m ready to get back to the summer sweater KAL I started pretty much forever ago.  Never not knitting-along!

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I love a good craft-along!  They’re just the thing to give me a kick in the butt to finish things and photograph things, and it’s so much fun to hear what everyone else is working on.  So for the past 11 days, I’ve been participating in the Tour de Fleece, a spin-along whose members (by and large) pledge to spin every day the Tour de France rides, from June 30th to July 22nd.  Some people add extra challenges throughout the tour or on the most challenging mountain climb (this year it’s Stage 18: Pau/Bagnères-de-Luchon on July 18th).  For my personal challenge, I’m learning to spin flax!  So far it’s a lot harder than spinning wool – my first ounce is hairy and occasionally quite uneven, but by the end I was starting to get the hang of it.

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I had heard that flax wanted to be spun fine, so I tried it out on my sparkly lace spindle, but I think it was too light.  It seems like the flax fibres require a lot of force to add twist, compared to wool, so I had a lot of problems with backspinning.  But I just got a new spindle that’s similar in design to the lace spindle and about an ounce, and hopefully the next 3 ounces will go a bit more smoothly.

I’m also working on finishing the second skein of My Preciousss.  All the wool is spun up and I’m about halfway through the first plying pass.  Maybe by the fall I’ll be ready to knit with it!

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Speaking of knitting, my summer sweater is coming along nicely.  I did take some pictures to show how much I’ve knit, but they weren’t very interesting – I haven’t made it to the armhole shaping or anything, so it’s just a curled-up not-really-a-rectangle, so instead I took some more detail shots of my pretty pretty stitch markers.  I’m loving the fabric so far and as much as I’m enjoying the beautiful weather right now part of me can’t wait for fall!

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I’m also making progress on the second pair of wedding socks!  These ones are for my sister.  Since this photo, I’ve finished the first sock and got a good start on the second.

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The pattern is Alice Yu’s Crowley, from her book Socktopus.  I got this book for Christmas and opened it right to this pattern.  I thought it was so pretty, and I squeed over the fact that they shared a name with one of my favourite Supernatural characters…and then I squeed even more when I read the pattern description and realized they were in fact designed with the self-same King of the Crossroads in mind!  My sister is the one who introduced me to Supernatural, so I thought they were exactly perfect for her, and I’m so happy with how they’re turning out so far!

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Folks who read the ABJD Knits group over on Ravelry might have already divined that this is in the works, but here’s the official announcement.  I’m working on a super-simple pattern for toques of all sizes, sized not for “tiny” and “large” but for wig sizes (e.g. 5-6″ and 8-9″) to make things easier on owners of dolls with unusual head sizes (not that I know any of those…).  I’ve worked out three sizes so far, 3-4. 7-8, and 8-9.  I’m planning to do at least two more, 6-7 and 9-10, but I’m not sure if there are many dolls who wear size 4-5 or 5-6 wigs.  NEED MORE RESEARCH!

Here’s a teaser photo showing two sizes and two styles of brim.

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By the way, aren’t the two of them cute together?  I didn’t expect them to form a couple when I brought Suzuha home, but then BJDs love to surprise you!  Somehow I find their size difference adorable – in Edik’s embrace she literally has a handspan waist!

My design work, however, has been interrupted by a new hobby: hand spinning!

On Thursday evening I started messing around with my spindle and some youtube videos and some Corriedale fibre that was a “learn to spin” gift along with my BFL/silk top from Everything Old.  Here’s what I came up with:

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It’s awfully uneven – there are cocoons of fibre almost a centimetre thick, and it thins down to cobweb weight in a few places.  But it’s…yarnlike?

Then yesterday, I took a drop spindling class at Knotty By Nature, joined by my lovely sister.  I learned a lot, bought some more fibre, and had a lot of fun! Here’s my sister, spinning her impressively fine and amazingly even single.

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And me with…mine.  It’s miles better than the first already – I’ve learned how to deal with those cocoons and how not to let it get quite so thin – but I’m still having a very tough time getting the spin distributed evenly, so I have sections that are very soft-spun and others that are corkscrewing like mad.  But that’s okay; I now have lots of fibre to work on!

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When I got home, I was in such a great, energized mood, and I didn’t want to stop spinning!  So I took the rest of the white Corriedale and some scraps from the braids I bought today as well as my needlefelting stash and spun a ridiculous riot of colour, which I attempted to ply with that first single.  Here are the results – my first yarnity yarn!

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My plan is to knit a couple of coasters from it – something decorative yet useful.  I’m still waiting for the yarn to be fully dry after setting its twist, but I should be able to knit it up soon.  Meanwhile, more spinning!

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