Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘spinning’

Living the dream

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a big geek.  Not only am I a general Geek (who loves sci-fi and tabletop roleplaying games and the Avengers movies and…) and a fibrecraft geek, but also a folk music geek.  Back when I was first learning to spin, I wrote about how I felt like my spindle connected me to all the makers who came before me, especially through folk music relating to fibre crafts.  I loved the idea of putting together my passion for music with my spinning skills to literalize that connection, and this week I had a fun opportunity to do just that.  My family was invited to sing at an intercultural night of music featuring both organized choirs and ensembles with a specific ethnic focus, and more casual groups who just like to get together and sing music from their culture.  My mother suggested that we perform some French Canadian music, as another group was presenting English folksongs from BC already, and she lead with the suggestion of “Dans mon chemin (In my road),” the song I mentioned in that old post.  I added a song I had recently learned, after having sung it many many years ago in a choir, “Je le mène bien, mon dévidoir (I run my swift well),” giving us our theme of fibre crafts.  Finally, Mom added “La laine de nos moutons (The wool of our sheep),” a sort of little-red-hen type song that I loved for its thematic resemblance to “Sejala sam lenek (I sowed the flax),” a Croatian song about flax and linen that I sing with the Balkan Babes.  But it’s not just the singing I’ve been dreaming of.  No, I also thought how cool it would be to do a bit of performance-spinning-in-public!  And it turned out, so did my sister.  So we got out our spindles and spun while we sang!   And since I know pics or it didn’t happen, here is the video of our performance (sorry, it’s just a cellphone and the video quality is questionable).  Check out the cool harmonics in the first song – I was a bit confused when I first listened to the recording since I could have sworn I didn’t sing that high note until the very end of the song…but by the second verse I realized we had just achieved the sort of excellent blend you can get when you’ve been singing together for over a quarter century. 😉

 

Read Full Post »

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!

GEDC0073

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!

IMG_0416

IMG_0176

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

(more…)

Read Full Post »

OMG DEARLI IS DONE.  Now that it’s November, I’ve finally finished my summer sweater, aw yeah!

GEDC0076

It took over a week to block that ruffle.  Now I never want to wash the thing for fear of having to block it again (I am pretty sure I could get it down to about 5 days now that I understand it’s imperative to block a section upon waking and before bed, not just once per day).  But I’m sure it will happen because, as I suspected, I LOVE THIS CARDIGAN.

GEDC0068

I went for a modern/urban and yet Mori-girl inspired look today.  I’d really love to super-Mori-style this with a big fluffy hat, a pair of loose leggings over the tights, and maybe a long scarf…but these were the pieces I actually own.  Seriously thinking about knitting a hat, though.  Like, now.

GEDC0080

All my hard work shaping and re-shaping the body paid off.  The shoulders aren’t quite perfect (although some of that awkward pooch is from blocking and should fade after a couple wearings), but can I just say how much I dig the turned cuffs?  I love how smooth and simple they are, providing a super-subtle contrast to the excitement of the ruffle.  They’re also really comfy!

GEDC0063

And check out the cute purse I got for $2!  It’s pretty small (I usually go for big sack purses), but so cute, and just right for this outfit.  Only problem is, I can barely stuff my next knitting project inside it and still have room for wallet & phone!  What’s the next project?  Oh, you know, just yet another sweater…!

GEDC0094

When it grows up, it’s going to be a sweater I heard about from the gals over at the Just One More Row Podcast: Wanda Nell, a cardigan with such small yardage it can be knit from about 300g of fingering weight yarn – perfect for 2-3 skeins of indie-dyed sock yarn you might have impulse bought without thinking what you would use them for!  I actually bought this yarn specifically for the cardi when I was at Knit City; it’s Sweet Georgia Tough Love, and I am totally loving the subtle tonal variation, as well as the incredibly funky mix of grey and pink.  Hey, maybe I can do this colour pairing thing after all!  Since it’s a top-down seamless raglan, it feels like it’s clipping along quite nicely right now, though it will slow down by the time I get to the main body.

I’ve also been getting to know Tamar (my wheel), spinning away at the alpaca I picked up at Fibrations.  Here’s about 2.5 oz of mixed natural-coloured alpaca, spun up “que sera sera” style to approximately fingering weight 2-ply. It really turned out quite even considering how little I was trying to spin it accurately – I am starting to get the hang of this wheel thing!  I have one more “practice” bump of fibre to spin, and then I think I will be ready to spin something I really care about (I totally agree that life is to short to spin crummy fibre just because you’re learning, but I also believe there’s value in learning on middle-of-the-road stuff and saving your totally dreamy indie-dyer batts from heaven until you have a modicum of skill)!

GEDC0100

It’s soft and floofy as alpaca ought to be, but it does have a little vegetable matter still stuck in, despite my best efforts to remove it.  I am thinking it will either be a hat (see above post re: Mori girl style) or perhaps a möbius cowl.  I only have a little under 300 yards, though, so although I was dreaming of being able to do both, I think I’ll have to choose just one.  Time to start pattern diving!  Any favourite hat patterns out there, especially for gals with bangs they don’t like to compress?

P.S. I totally found the white balance setting on my camera!  I feel like a total doofus that it took me almost 2 years, but holy crow did that make a difference in how accurately I was able to photograph colours!  Live and learn, eh?  Maybe now I’ll be able to take indoor photos and have them look decent too, who even knows?!?

Read Full Post »

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!!!

GEDC0069

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

(more…)

Read Full Post »

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!

GEDC0064

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!

GEDC0052

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!

Read Full Post »

One craft-along wraps up, another starts, and just where is a person supposed to find time to blog about it?

I outdid myself on the Tour De Fleece.  I didn’t come out with as many completely finished yarns as I maybe hoped, but I spun every day the tour rode, challenged myself to try out new fibres and new techniques, and all in all had so much fun!

tdf23

I’m really excited about the Polwarth/silk in the top right corner.  It was my spin on Challenge Day: I was busy with work and friends and wasn’t sure how much spinning I’d get to, so I gave myself half an hour and measured how much I was able to complete in that time – about half of this 1/2 oz teaser bump from Corgi Hill Farms, it turned out.  In the end, I was able to spin the rest while visiting my friends (as we played Small World, I worked on this and Em was busy just, you know, SPINNING A SWEATER!), a thick-and-thin yarn destined to be a sweater for poor, neglected Edik.  He’s equal parts thrilled (“It’s for me!!!”) and bemused (“But…what is it?”), as you can see in my progress pic.

tdf19

Now, of course, the Ravellenic Games, which run parallel to a certain international competitive sporting event but had to be renamed this year so as not to go on diluting the brand, as it were, have started!  Actually, I guess they’re more than halfway done!  And I have so much more to do!  Which is kind of sad, considering that I kind of burned out in 2010 and therefore set my goals commensurately lower this year.  Well, I guess in 2010, I was only employed part-time and wasn’t entertaining folks for board- and role-playing games 4 nights a week.

My main focus is socks for Mr. Salamander.  I bought the yarn (you might remember) on impulse one payday, then saw the perfect match for it over at Everything Old (it’s awesome to find amazeballs indie dyers who happen to be local and also fun to hang out with) and knew this needed to become his-and-her mismatched socks.  I’m a little more than halfway onhis, have yet to start mine.  I’m using various elements from Socks A La Carte 2: Toes Up, which my lovely mother-in-law gave me for Christmas.  I have to say, I’m not overly impressed with the book – some of the directions are worded confusingly and relatively few of the designs appeal to me – but it’s great for learning different construction for toes & heels.  Here, I’m using the star toe and origami heel, and I’m planning to try out a couple of different options when it’s time for my own mismatched pair.

GEDC0107

I was going to work on an old WIP as part of my games challenge, especially since I’ve been doing so little dolly knitting lately, but, well, have a look:

GEDC0099

It’s the thinnest cobweb-weight yarn I own, on 1mm needles, a bottom-up skirt for Vasya, my 60cm girl.  I worked on it for about 2 hours last week, and do you know how much farther I got than that photo?  FOUR ROWS.  I calculated how much more there is to it, and it’s over 100 more rows.  Now, the rows will get faster as they get shorter, but not soon enough!  I’m still committed to finishing this skirt in 2012, especially now that I can work under a magnifying craft light (Canadian Tire!  $40!), but I think it can wait until after August 12th.

It’s also been hard to convince myself to do any knitting at all, since this totally happened:

Tamar

That there is my new spinning wheel (tentatively named Tamar).  Vintage (reportedly 50s), virtually all wood, so Mr. Salamander can help look after her/make some new parts, on consignment at the local yarn store for only $100 (I’m still not ready to spend $3-600 on a wheel, but this seemed manageable), not too frightening since she only has one setting, so no worrying about ratios (yet).  There’s definitely a learning curve: here’s my first attempt at yarn, the braid of corriedale that came free-with-large-purchase plied with some boucle cotton that was what I was in the store looking for in the first place.

GEDC0124

After I spun that, I went back to spindling my flax to prove to myself that I don’t totally suck at spinning.  I’ve also been plying several strands of that cotton together to get a feel for the wheel and also make up some bulky multi-strand funkiness with which to make more wacky hot mats.  Soon, I’ll spin up the rest of my KP Roving of the Andes – I had a lot of trouble drafting the Corriedale, but I had trouble drafting it on a spindle as well.  I don’t quite want to sacrifice one of my beloved braids from CHF or Everything Old to learning how to wheel, but I do want to try out something a little less compacted and grabby.  Plus, must stash down before buying more fibre at the local agricultural fair!  Yes, that’s what’s going to happen…

Read Full Post »

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.

tdf4

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!

GEDC0031

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!

GEDC0042

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.

GEDC0187

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!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »