Thursday, June 26, 2008

Barn Raising

Knitting has finally resumed, and the theme has been simple. Anything stockinette will do. The Barn Raising Quilt from Knitalong has dovetailed nicely into this mood. Small, simple, quick. I'm not sure I'm really capable of anything else. I tried to start sleeves on Mom's Cabled Cardigan (I want to be done with it already!), messed them up, put it back in the closet, went back to my squares.

At first, I thought I'd do a coordinated quilt out of the sock yarn stash. But once I gathered all of the coordinating yarns, my stash was pretty bare, and, of course, subsisting of my least favorite colors and yarns. So instead I pulled out the grab bag of sock leftovers, and I really think this was the way to go. Every square is different, which means that I'm entertained enough that this thing might actually get finished some day. And that's always a good thing.

Barn Raising

Even better, each of these squares has a back story.

This one, for example, is from my first pair of socks ever:

Barn Raising
Knitting and photography skills both much improved.

And this one is that same yarn mixed with the Koigu from my Embossed Leaves:

My creation

Grandma's birthday socks mixed with a yarn sample from Cider Moon:

My creation

Leftover singles from handspun socks, Navajo plied:

My creation

And so on.

My creation
My creation
My creation
My creation

I tend to like the two-color squares, both to knit and to look at. Plus, you can get away with less scraps.

Barn Raising

I don't have enough scraps for 42 squares, but I can go a good long way, and I'm not opposed to cranking out socks just to have more squares. And I might sacrifice a skein or two to the blanket, but at this point I'd really like to keep all of the squares different. I also have some "scrappies" from Funky Carolina that I might spin up for squares. I'm thinking I could just spin them end on end and Navajo ply for potluck squares.

I'll try to post weekly updates of progress so it isn't all squares all the time around here, but if you only see me then, you know what's going on.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

HHHH Questionnaire

This is the questionnaire for the HHHH swap. If you're not a participant, feel free to move along. I'll try to do a real blog post sooner or later.

1. How long have you been spinning? What skill level do you consider yourself?
I started about a year ago on a spindle and moved to a wheel about six months ago. I'd consider myself intermediate. Lately it seems like some of my earlier stuff looks better than my more recent yarns, but I guess that's what happens when you start trying something new.

2. What kinds of yarn do you create (singles/2-ply/3-ply/art yarn)?
Singles, 2-ply, 3-ply.
Spunky March "Mud Season" handspun BFL Forbidden Fruit 3-ply merino sock Insect Wings

3. What do you spin with (spindle/wheel/both)?
Mostly a wheel; I still get frustrated with the spindle.

4. What are your favorite fibers to spin with? Anything you don't like?
I'll try anything. I haven't tried alpaca yet because it itches my hands to knit with, but I'd give it a shot. I'm best at merino, because that's what I taught myself to spin on.

5. Who are your favorite crack dealers fiber sources (etsy or otherwise)?
AllSpunUp, Spunky Eclectic, Hello Yarn, Pigeonroof Studios... Sometimes I just go on Etsy and search "spinning fibers" and see what looks pretty.

6. What kind of fiber do you want to try?
Rambouillet -- that's the kind of sheep my MIL has, so I want to see what it's like to spin "ranch wool."

7. Are there any techniques you would like to learn?
I'd love to learn more woolen techniques. Sometimes I do a modified long draw, but I've never tried woolen-prepped fibers.

8. Do you dye fiber? If not, would you like to learn?
A little, it's not my favorite thing to do.

9. Do you have fiber prep tools (and like to use them) or would you prefer ready to spin fiber?
I have some handcards, but I prefer ready to spin.

10. What do you do with your handspun? What projects have you completed?
Some socks, lately a lot of scarves. I need to get out of the scarf rut.

Happy Handspun Socks Baby Surprise Accompli Chevron Scarf Forbidden Fruit Handspun Socks handspun baby ensemble handspun baby sweater Handspun socks for DH Think Spring Things crocheted handspun scarf Handspun Scarf

11. Are you in need of any spinning gadgets (WPI Gauge, threading hook, etc)?
I don't think so.

12. What colors "fall into your shopping basket"? Any colors you just can't stand?
I tend to go for reds, purples, oranges, browns, and greens. Less so for blues and yellows and pinks.

13. What is on your wheel/spindle right now?
Spunky Eclectic's April club fiber: Wensleydale in "A Perfect Storm"
Will be a light fingering 2-ply.

On the Wheel

14. What other crafts/hobbies do you have?
Knitting, reading, cooking, baking, gardening.

15. Other than crafts, what are you passionate about?
I'm supposed to be passionate about something else? See #14, I guess.

16. Do you have an online wishlist?
Yes, on Amazon. I don't want to post the link, but you can email me for it.

17. Is there anything that you collect?
Fiber and books.

18. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What magazine subscriptions do you have?
I can't wait for the new Nancy Bush Estonian lace book. I subscribe to Vogue Knitting, IK, and Spin-Off.

19. When is your birthday?

20. What book or movie character do you most resemble in personality?
I don't know.

21. What is the climate like where you live around this time (need to know for careful shipments of anything meltable)?
Hot and humid.

22. Tell us one weird fact about yourself!
I hate questions like this and #20.

favorite painting/picture(link)
: can't think of one off the top of my head, so it'd be weird to call anything a favorite

Candy: Butterfinger

Food: Mexican

Drink: Iced tea (unsweetened)

Movie(s): The Godfather

TV Show(s): House, The Office, Bones, Monk TV is mostly background for me.

Book(s): Anna Karenina, Atonement (loved the book, haven't seen the movie)

Guilty Pleasure(s): not getting dressed 'til noon

Sorry if any of this sounds a little grumpy. I just realized my husband had set the thermostat to 80 degrees. No wonder it was so hot in here! I thought maybe I was getting a fever.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Smiley likes it.

This weekend I finished the handspun scarf that I had been working on since late April. I cast on right after I finished spinning it, and it went through a couple of iterations before I found this waffle stitch that it liked. I even made a special trip to my "local" yarn shop to buy Brittany Birch straight needles to knit it with, because it just wanted to be knit with wooden straight needles. It did not, however, want to be garter stitch. At least on the size 3s I was knitting it on. It really could have stood to be knit on smaller needles, but that's the smallest I could find in straights. It was my TV knitting for a while and then it went to San Antonio and got left in the Jeep for a while, but now it's done, just in time for the 100-degree weather.

Handspun Scarf
Handspun Scarf

I like how the texture lets the yarn be it's slightly rustic, fractal-striped self. It's not quite reversible, but I like the nubby texture on the backside as well as the cleaner "right" side.

Smiley likes it, too.

Smiley likes it

Or at least she likes the attention. She does so many cute things, but she's not nearly as photogenic as Bruneaux was. For one thing, if she sees you looking at her, she wants to be petted, and for another, she's scared of the camera.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The best thing about the new place.

Our "new" house has one more bedroom than we've had before, but no garage. So my husband's hobby stuff that used to live in the garage now has it's own (tiny) room in the house. It's only fair, then, that I should get a whole closet.

Fiber Closet

Now, more unpacking.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Moving tomorrow!

Just one more push through today to get the rest of the things here packed and some stuff pre-moved before the movers come tomorrow! The yarn, fiber, and one of the wheels are already living in their new space (the Symphony won't fit in the Jeep!), and I just have to tell y'all, my new fiber closet is beyond awesome. I'll have to get some pictures for you later, and also of some of the house stuff I have been working on nonstop for the last six weeks. It's really paid off.

Handspun Scarf

In the meantime, since I finished the socks I had held back to work on (pictures forthcoming), I had to dig the handspun scarf project that I was working on on the San Antonio trip out of the Jeep. Pack a few boxes, knit a few rows, that's how things are getting done around here. I'm trying to take it a little easier than usual today because I know we'll be moving some heavy stuff tonight after my husband gets off from work.

I have a feeling that I won't quite know what to do with myself when I'm not home-improving 10+ hours a day. I plan to unpack at a much more leisurely pace! Hopefully I'll be able to step things up around here.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Handspun for Bea!

Bea finally has her yarn (and likes it -- yay!), so I can show it off, now, too.

Handspun for Bea

Spinning for a non-spinner is a little daunting. Especially when that non-spinner is also a dyer. I felt compelled to do something with color that can't be done once a yarn is finished. Hence the 3-ply. I can't wait to see what it will look like all knit up!

OK, so maybe I have a little idea. The middle bobbin was spun a little thicker and ran out well before the other two. And then I had about half again as much blue/green as remaining purple, so I didn't want to ply them together. Instead, I wound them into center pull balls and plied up two little yarn balls of very fine 2-ply, and then I had this idea to make Bea some perfectly useless little socks out of it. 16 stitches on size 00s. Fun!

Handspun for Bea

I'm tempted to knit tiny socks for all my yarn now :)

The yarn came out at about 500 yards of sportweight, but it's so fluffy and squish I'm sure that it could be knit to sock gauge. Bea wouldn't tell me what she wanted except that she likes knitting socks, so I was really hoping against hope that it would come out in that range, and I think it all worked out all right. Since the yarn is a soft fiber and softly spun, the fabric would probably benefit from being knit a tight-ish gauge.