Saturday, September 29, 2012

Packing up and moving....

well, not so much with the packing up...
but after letting my blog languish for quite some time, I've decided to start new and fresh...

Please join me over here on my own domain with a shiny new site.  I've decided to not port over all my old content and to start completely over.

Pop on by, say hello, it'll be a little slow at first, but I hope to make a more regular appearance over there!

Thursday, March 03, 2011


Well, hello there. It seems I have inadvertently taken a leave of absence from the blog - this is partly thanks to other social media (twitter, facebook, flickr, ravelry and pinterest come to mind) -and also thanks to some changes in workload!

Fear not, I'm still crafting, though perhaps not in quite the same volume as I have managed historically. The newest things off the needles involved steeking (at along last!) - I did finish those socks that were on the needles back in June....

You can find more details on Ravelry.

I suspect this space may remain in limbo for a time, at least until things settle down a bit more - in the meantime, I leave you with proof of the steeking:

Monday, June 07, 2010


Miraculously I don't seem to have that many active projects (though I suppose Ravelry would disagree...drat that evidence ;) ) Okay - in all fairness, I do not have any socks currently on the needles. In order to remedy that situation, I wound up this handspun and am ready to get to work! No particular pattern in mind, other than something that I hope will really show off the handspun nicely.

I recently received a couple books that might help with the inspiration and/or knitting process since I don't knit socks quite frequently enough to have heel turns memorized. The first is:

Toe-Up Socks for Every Body - this is the sequel to Wendy's original book: Socks from the Toe Up. While the socks in this book are really quite lovely - I especially like the wonderfully textured and patterened ones - none of them are really suitable for this handspun. I will likely use the book more for reference when it comes to knitting the gusset and turning the heel on these socks....but I'll certainly be back browsing this book when I have more subtly varigated yarn on hand for cast on. This book, unlike the first, is definitely more pattern focused rather than technique focused - though there are useful non-sock-specific notes included in each section. The patterns each feature a full page photo of the finished project and are charted appropriately. While there are a number of very feminine sock patterns included, there are also a number of patterns that will suit men just as well as women, in addition to some that are geared more towards children. In addition to the cabled and lace socks, there are also a number of patterns that feature colorwork - two of which I'm thinking of casting on for (the Norgwegian Rose socks and the Fair Isle socks).

The second book I received:
The Sock Knitter's Workshop - is definitely more of a technique book, featuring a number of techniques for different cast ons, cuffs, heels and toes. This book seems to focus on cuff down socks, though it does have a section dedicated to toe-up socks and modified instructions for various toe-up heel turns. In addition to the various techniques, there are tips to guide the knitter in selecting a specific style of heel or toe treatment for sock knitting given the intended wearer's foot peculiarities.

The book is full color and includes lots of clear photographs illustrating technique and showing the knitting in progress. The book finishes with a number of patterns varying in difficulty from beginner to advanced (all cuff down) - each pattern mentions which techniques it employs (in addition to providing a convenient page number reference). Although I have a marked preference for knitting my socks toe-up, this book looks like it will be a valuable sock knitting reference.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Perfect Timing

Or maybe not...seeing as it's finished, just in time to be set aside for hot weather knitting.

I recently put the finishing touches on my last sweater for the season. It involved button try-outs...and these are the winners.

Here they are all sewn on. Curious to see what I knit? Head over here and see.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

new sweater?

Well...not for a while anyway....but that is the plan for all of this loveliness:

it will be a color progression sweater - likely a cardigan, since I seem partial to those, and probably something simple, all the better to showcase this stunning yarn. It's a sweatersworth, spun for me by Kiki as a gift. I am mulling over the potential projects but will likely not get started on this until it starts cooling down again. This is a blend of Turtle Cove and Outlaw colorways from Lisa over at Becoming Art. She dyes beautifully (and I'm addicted, which is one reason I haven't felt terribly compelled to fire up my own dye pots of late)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Fit to be plied.

In more ways than one. I feel like someone has gone and started twisting various strands within my reality - but that is neither here nor there other than it rather delayed my update!

When I left you last, I left you with some rather enticing photographs of my many yards of singles wound onto a book. I should warn you that andean plying this quantity of yarn is not for the faint of heart - it also requires a LOT of patience and care - especially since the singles are still energized. It may be easier to spin from the center and outside of a center pull ball rather than attempt to ply from a bracelet....with all that said, I apparently was not thinking of the potential fiasco that could have been in the making and proceeded anyway.

Here I've carefully transferred the singles to my wrist - this is done by carefully sliding the singles over my hand while ever so carefully working the spatula free of the singles in addition to keeping track of the two free ends. Once the yarn is wrapped, I tied both ends of the yarn to my leader and away we went. It was a bit touch and go a few times, and certainly this was probably not as fast or smooth a ply-job as it would have been had I been plying off a pair of bobbins. There were some times when I thought for sure I would have to break the yarn - there were other times when the singles threatened to snarl into an unruly mess....

It seems my slow and steady approach was to be awarded though:

here is the yarn, freshly washed, whacked and dried. Some areas were not quite as evenly plied - but thus is the nature of handspun.

here is one side, once wound into a skein....

and here it is from the other side.
If you are wondering just how big a skein this is, you can see my fingers peeking out from underneath here.

It is 8 ounces of lovely yarn (~635 yards) - a blend of Targhee and superwash merino wools plus bamboo and nylon fibers. I actually blended two different colorways from Hello Yarn to make this finished skein - Grim (superwash merino, bamboo and nylon) and Garland (targhee). The yarn is semi-fractally spun. First I split each roving half lengthwise. Then I took one half of each and split those lengthwise into eighths. When spinning the singles, I spun the large 2 oz sections first - one after the other, then I finished off the fiber by alternating the smaller pieces from each colorway.

Monday, May 24, 2010

taking a break

...from knitting...

...and based on the date of last publication, from blogging as well :P
In any case, I decided I needed to make some headway on the rather large pile of personal spinning I grabbed a couple of bags from HelloYarn and split the fibers up for spinning, aiming for a thinnish single with plans to turn it into a 2-ply. After spinning, the jumbo bobbin was nearly full...and the singles, I thought, were rather lovely.

Normally when I make 2 plies, I wind everything into an andean plying bracelet and ply away until everything is done - I rarely ever split my singles onto two separate bobbins for plying, mostly because 1) I'm lazy and don't plan ahead and 2) I like making sure all of my singles are "consumed" and I honestly don't think I could balance my yardage out on separate bobbins. What I hadn't been thinking of, however, is the fact that I have never gone to the trouble to andean ply quite this much yarn before.

I at least had the foresight to wind onto something other than my hand - thanks to this post from Rosemary Knits that suggested the use of a book for winding on. As I was winding away in preparation, the foolishness of this idea began to sink in.

Behold: over 1200 yards of energized singles wound onto a book, ready to be transferred for plying. The sheer winding on process was enough to trigger some slight muscle soreness in my arms from holding the book out and the winding-on motion.

viewed from another angle, you can see the spatula I stuck into the book to take the place of my finger (had I been winding onto my hand). Clearly, if I had wound all this onto my hand, I would likely no longer have circulation in the hand, much less the finger....

stay tuned to see how it all turned out :)