Finally a Handspun FO

DSC01391Oh, I have knitted with my own handspun, but it’s been a while, and it’s been ridiculously infrequent.   While I don’t have a photo of the fiber or the yarn in a hank, it appears I spun it in the fall of 2009 on my first wheel, the Heavenly Handspinning Bellus

It seems I never reported on the fiber to yarn process, so let me capture some of that now too.

Fiber:  Gypsyknits BFL, c/o Gypsyknits  Pure heaven.  If you haven’t spun with BFL, do.  It is a GREAT novice spinner fiber.  Its staple length (the length of each single hair from the sheepy-sheep) is long enough to not be too hard to spin, soft enough to be worn next to the face or neck, and even in a novice’s hands, it has sproing and a touch of loft.

Yarn:  Over-spun, under-spun, but roughly DK at 15 wraps per inch.    In reality, it ranges from laceweight to worsted.

Plying:  Navajo plied… the only way I ply unless I’m using an accent thread or something.   In plainer language, it is a 3-ply yarn.

Verdict:  For my first “real” effort with “good” fiber, it’s pretty impressive.  I’ve come a long way as a spinner, but this is nothing to be ashamed of.

Now, for the finished object report.

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Paws to observe…

Project:  Handspun Tea Cozy Hat

Pattern:  Wooly Wormhead’s Tea Cozy Hat.   A great, simple pattern, designed to “vent” a high ponytail out of the top of the hat.

Yarn:  See above, but note that this photo is the most accurate on my monitor for the hues…

Needles:  Body of hat, US #8 16″ bamboo circular.  At least a size too large for most of the yarn, but I like a hat that breathes, so it suits me just fine.  #6 metal dpns used for crown decreases and i-cord. 

photo.JPGVerdict:  This hat will work for the ponytail-less too, but unless you have a long enough mane for a HIGH ponytail, this probably isn’t the design for you.  I’ll get plenty of use though because when my hair isn’t a in ponytail (generally a lower one) for dog walks, it’s in a clip of some sort, and those  don’t sit well under most hats either.

Yarn verdict?  I’ve dragged out more of my handspun still in my stash and I’m going to knit with it more often!  I do regret that I didn’t use but about half of the ball for this project, but luckily, I have a friend with two little boys who is willing to care for an extra-finicky handspun handknit hat.  If I knit it this year for the eldest boy, the two of them should get lots of wear out of it, right?

Now, to find the right projects for more of my handspun…

Hang on to …

photo.JPG… baby hats!

Can you believe it?!  I actually have THREE finished object reports for you.  I’ll do two of them together in this post, and the third… soon.  But first, if you want to hear about the fur-girls’ annual check-ups and Sissy’s latest eye pressure check, it’s up on their blog.  I can’t say enough how blessed we are to have two fabulous veterinary practices caring for our dogs.

First up is the Flame On baby hat.  OMG.  Why didn’t anyone – other than Kathy and Kathy – tell me how fabulous colorwork/stranded knitting is?!  I’ve done bits before, but this is the first finished object, and I’m over the moon now that it’s blocked.  I should have taken a before photo, but just envision a little, lumpy, frumpy bowl…

Anyway, it seems that I just had to vent about my blocking block.  Thanks for listening and understanding!

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Project: Baby Hat 1-12.  I know, name inspired by all the yarn companies I gripe about, but I have so many friends having babies from now ’til … oh, about 7 months from now, and I have a feeling several of these patterns will be done more than once.

Pattern:  Flame On.  AWESOME pattern.  No changes, other than to splice in more orange on the top because I ran out of green.

photo.JPGYarns:  Yes, plural.  The orange is a Gypsyknits fingering weight of unknown fibers (wool, but otherwise, dunno), because it was part of the snarky “Chan hates orange” birthday gifts Kathy and Anita gave me a couple of years ago.  It was held double.

The green was leftover from a project of yore, from what is now Sunflower Yarns.  Both are just yummy, fabulous bases with great colors. 

Needles:  DPNs, size 7.  Actually, the very first DPNs I ever purchased… metal whatever brand from a major craft store.

Verdict:  Can’t wait to do another.  And if you’re a stranded noobie…  block it before you panic.  Like lace, stranded knitting NEEDS at least a light block to relax those floats and to allow everything to mesh.

photo.JPGProject #2 – Baby Hat 2-12.  Actually, both of these will probably go to Baby #1 of 2012, due any day now.  This hat is more large preemie to newborn sized, and is fairly thick.  Flame On is nice and thin, and after blocking, probably fits 3-9 mos. or so, making it a good choice for late spring… I hope.

Pattern:  Fetching Inspired Hat.  I made a fair amount of modifications to this pattern.  I cast on 45 stitches on smaller needles, and added the minty (clover – love yarns that name their colors!) green when I realized I was running out of the neutral.

Yarns:  Patons Shetland Chunky in Aran (as in… those fab Irish fishermen sweaters?! get it?) and Patons Beehive Baby Chunky in Quicker Clover.  I like the Beehive about 700 times more than the Shetland, especially for a baby noggin.

Needles:  Those same beloved #7 DPNs.  If I had it to do over again – and I will, but without the Aran color – I’d use #8s or #9s.  The hat is rather dense and doesn’t have much give.  I’ll advise the new parents that a nice bath and drying it over a large glass or vase will make it a bit bigger, when needed.

Verdict:  Not a bad pattern, and very easily modified to fit virtually any head.  Thanks Ruth, for putting this one on my radar!

What’s your favorite baby knit?  I’m positive that before the late summer babies arrive, I’m going to get tired of hats.  I also have at least four super-dear friends who “need” more than just a hat for their bambinos, but since at least one of them reads my blog fairly often… well, let’s just say there’s more than one reason I’m number baby projects!  😉

Feelin’ Fruity

Whoooohoooo!  It’s Friday and the sun is shining! 

My favorite Knit Picks photo of Carmen

A couple of weeks ago, Knitting It Out had a contest.   The prize was a Knit Picks kit for Carmen Bananas.   I won!  The sock monkey from my childhood disappeared, and I’ve thought about ordering Carmen’s kit more than once, so I’m delighted to have her in my home, waiting for me to take her on.  She’s going to be a challenge…  I don’t like seams, and my stranded knitting needs practicing…  Thank you, Knitting It Out!  I’m looking forward to working on Carmen and letting her walk me through some knitting hurdles.

Long ago – last Thursday – I finally finished another pair of socks.  Yes, they’re baby socks, but they are socks!

September 2010 001

Project:  Sweet Baby Kiwi

Pattern:  Sweet Baby Kate by Irishgirlieknits is my new go-to baby sock pattern.  It’s really a baby Cotty sock pattern with a matching hat thrown in for good measure.  I just can’t telly you how much I like this/Cotty pattern!  The cuff is a tiny bit fiddly the first time you do it, but since I’ve done four of them now (don’t ask – this is indeed the first pair of Cottys I’ve finished), I can almost do it in my sleep.

September 2010 004Yarn:  Leftover Plymouth Sockotta.  I love the colors, and it will go well with the blanket gMarie made for me for the same baby.  I think it’s just about perfect baby boy yarn.  He might get a bigger boy pair for Christmas or something…

Needles:  US #2 dpns.  For baby socks, I love my shorty bamboo dpns.  It’s just easier for me to do wee socks on the little dpns, rather than manipulating all the cord it would take for my usual magic loop.

Verdict:  I think I’ve already said this, but this will be my new go-to baby sock pattern.  When I’m not knitting for a baby whose climate is headed into summer, I’ll give the hat a try too.

Can’t wait for tomorrow and the Fall Fiber Festival at Montpelier.  Anyone else going to be there?  In case you’re wondering, I do anticipate mud.  I don’t know that it’s going to be as bad as the mud-fest a few years back, but I do think the parking field will be soft and slippery, and I won’t be shocked if the same is true of the vendor area as well.

Oh – and if you’re making the trek, Dog House Yarns is only about 20 miles away from the festival…  It’s guaranteed to be climate-controlled, bug-free, no direct sun, and no mud!

What’s on your weekend agenda?

Every Everyday?

I was sitting here, trying to ignore the Knight and Neighbor Guy who are in the office today, when I realized I still owed you a finished object report.  Not bad… the object isn’t a week off the needles yet, right?

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I'm beautiful and so is my new sweater

Project:  Gretchen’s Everyday Turtleneck

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How I love this intense, beautiful girl!

Pattern:  The Everyday Turtleneck (duh?) from Knitting for Dogs.   I did several modifications, so I’m going to list them, rather than sticking with a paragraph, where they’ll all run together.

  • This was my first project with steeks.  I was DELIGHTED to start small, with the leg holes being the steeks.  They were far too big though, so once I got my model to quit flying around the house in her new frock, I single crocheted THREE rounds to get a size that’s good for my girl.  There’s no way I could have picked up and knitted sleeves according to the directions; I would have had to pick up about a third more stitches and then decrease, and the sleeves would have been too big at the shoulder and sloppy.  Not good for a little, active girl.
  • As several other Ravelers noted, I saw no reason to knit this flat and then seam, right up the chest.  So, I knitted it in the round.
  • Again, read those notes other Ravelers write!  Likewise, I knew my bouncy dog wouldn’t want a “flowy” sweater.  I didn’t like the look of the ribbed edge on the back, so I opted for an i-cord bind-off.  It was tedious, but it snugs the bottom edge right up to her belly, which is just what we wanted.
  • NOTE:  I did a regular bind-off and then tried the crab stitch.  It wasn’t “strong” enough to keep the miles of stockinette from rolling, just so you know.
  • I knitted a size small and then knitted to 10 inches before I bound off, because as a little girl-dog, Gretchen needs warmth, not a bare belly.

I orginally rated this pattern with two stars, because of all the changes I had to make, but Gretchen REALLY loves this sweater and is quite comfortable in it, so evidently, the basic recipe was a great start.

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Do note that the girl is guarding *HER* project!

Yarn: Plymouth Encore Colorspun, colorway #7733.  (I know.  Isn’t THAT helpful!?)  I also wasn’t crazy about the yarn, but see above.  Gretchen loves the sweater, loves wearing it, the yarn is easy-care, so it’s a great fit for this project.  That it doesn’t feel like buttah sliding through my fingers while I knit isn’t important here.

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Note the button hole at her neck so I can use it when she goes to work, with the leash

Needles:  #8 Bryspun dpns.  After this project, I gave in and bought #8, 16 inch circs. 

Hook:  Boye G.

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Verdict:   As much as she likes it, I suppose if ever it wears out, I’ll have to make another.   I still want to make her a stranded sweater, so I’ll be looking for patterns with colorwork AND a turleneck.

So… can anyone tell me if dogs really are colorblind?  I’m wondering, because Gretchen seems to “see” PANK and assumes (generally, correctly) that anything I’m knitting with PANK yarn must be hers.   She did it with her dress, and again (as you can see in the yarn photo) with this project, long before I  tried it on her the first time.

R&R

In my mind, “R&R” means “recruitment and retention” a key element in volunteer organizations.  However, I am aware that for many, it means “rest and relaxation.”  Right now, I’m counting to ten, doing some yoga “centering” exercises, and trying to release my anger and frustration somewhere other than at Sissy.  There are no photos, but I’ll be switching my Butterfly Lace to another set of needles.  My #6 Bryspun straights are dead.  Well, one anyway.  I thought she was in the study with Mugsy and me.  The good news is, the lace – about 25% done – is only slobbery wet, and still on its mangled needle.  Only the tips and the inch or so at that end of the needles (laugh with me!) are ruined.  I’ll have to wait for the Knight to get home, and have him cut the tip off while I protect the stitches on said needle, but I’ll be able to pick up where I left off.

Sissy NEVER bothers anything but Tofutsies.  Can that hound nose smell the chitin?  (And y’all think she’s so cute.  She is, isn’t she?  She just still requires CONSTANT VIGILANCE.)

Now, I can’t even remember what else I was going to blog about.

Oh yeah.  My lace in progress.  Ha.

That’s it, minus the during the thunderstorm repeats.  See my pretty, happy needles?  Yeah.  I’m going to have to order more, I suppose.  If Sissy got an allowance, I’d make her pay for them, and the yarn that I’d have to order too, just because, well… you know…  I really don’t like lace without borders, but this is nice and light.  It’ll block just fine, as did the first Tofutsies shawl.  It doesn’t require much to make it behave, unlike Sissy… (Who REALLY is a great girl, as you know.  I’m just mad, mostly at myself.)

Let’s go back to my front porch, yesterday afternoon.  Anita went to a little fiber festival recently, and guess who got a care package?!  ME!!!   That’s really a darker, almost jewel toned mix of blues and reds in a corridale blend.  I can’t wait to give it a spin, but I want to twist up all the pink merino on the spindle first.  (No, I didn’t spin last night and it’s not looking good for tonight either.  My blackberry wine is looking good though.) 

 

Anita also included this lush, angora blend.  I wonder if I’ll ever spin well enough to feel I can do it justice?  Almost looks like cotton candy, doesn’t it?  Feels MUCH better though.  Sorry to the Knight and the cotton candy fans out there.  I don’t care for the stuff, but this?  Ahhh…  I have no desire to taste it, but I could be content to just hold it and pet it.

 

 

This morning was also River City Knitters meeting time.  What a great group!  I wish such a guild for each of you.  There’s an informative training session at every meeting, and this month, it was machine knitting.  It was neat, but for the same money, I could buy a wheel…  I also don’t knit for “production” purposes (although the deadlines I create for myself sometimes make me feel differently), so I don’t care about grinding out some stockinette in a heartbeat.  I like the feel of the fibers slipping through my fingers, as one of the other ladies mentioned.  Still, I’m a curious bird, so it was good to actually see a machine in use.  A few ladies gave it a try, but I returned to my seat to chat (imagine!) and work on my butterfly lace (so Sissy could have an after dinner snack, evidently).

Darlene (blogless) brought me these little wonders.  DPN tubes.  The blue and red one with the slot is a wonderful little creature that will allow me to take my DPN sock on the road, because you know that after Magic Loop, two at a time becomes routine, I will still want to do a sock (or two?) on DPNs again.  I’m fickle like that, but in the meantime, my pretty Harmony DPNS can live in sunny little homes, designed just for them.  Thanks, Darlene!

Today also marked the start of the RCK lace KAL.  It’s my first ever mystery KAL, so I’m excited!  Of course, I have no fewer than three yarns I’m considering for it, so stay tuned.  Once I get the Butterflies out, I’ll cast on.  We get one clue every month, and even get to name the shawl.  Fun, no?

 

 

After the meeting, Rosanne and I went to Lettuce Knit.  I was shopping for a couple of specific things, but I ended up just grabbing a couple of patterns and the TyDy colorway I’d wanted to try for the Clapotis.  I might go back for more for a baby blanket if I don’t mind knitting with it.  I think that’s going to become a regular stop for us when we’re in Richmond.  They carry yarns I don’t see everywhere else, and I like that!

 

 

The pink flamingos are for Christmas gifts.  That’s all I’m sayin’.  The Plymouth bowl/wine cozy pattern was purchased just because I can’t put my hands on the Fiber Trends version.  It too will be Christmas gifts, including a smaller version for my dessert wines too.  (Erm… that’s for me, not a gift, obviously.  Gotta’ treat ourselves too, right?!)

Thanks so much for helping me put some time and distance between the slaughtered needles, Sissy and me.  All that matters is that Sissy didn’t eat the yarn and require a trip to the vet, right?  Add in that the lace is safe and sound, and I’ve really been crying over spilt milk, eh? 

 

It’s Tea Time Somewhere

Mugsy and I are having tea.  (Sissy’s napping.  Gotta’ love those puppy evening naps.)  It’s probably not technically afternoon here anymore, but who cares?!  Are these not the cutest tea tins EVER?!  Straight from London, courtesy of my WordPress coach Monica, come the bus and its traveler’s pal, the map.  Joy! 

They didn’t travel across the pond alone.  They brought along these beauties.  I cannot WAIT to turn this made for me colorway into socks.  (The ones for my mother’s birthday just got bumped down the queue…)  Many, MANY thanks Monica.  They did indeed arrive on a bleak and blustery winter’s day and I am most assuredly cheered by your thoughtful generosity!

I was rewarded for sending out several packages myself by having a two parcel day at home.  This wad of cotton is Knit One Crochet Too’s Ty-Dy, in the very colorway that is in the lead for my Clapotis yarn.  A vendor in my Yahoo Group knits was kind enough to send it to me to try before I buy.  You know I love that kind of customer service, so if it knits like it feels to the touch, I’ll have to make a color choice very soon!

Daylight was fading, so it’s not the best shot, but I quickly tossed out the Oh My! blankie for you to see.  Kiss, kiss, love, love…  this is my baby yarn of choice now.  The static electricity it creates with me is a small concern though.  (Comments?!  I am always shocking Sissy and Mugsy when I wear my Crocs…  Is this a concern for babies?) 

Details:  7 skeins of Plymouth’s Oh My!, 6 for blankie, one (almost to the centimeter) for the shell trim.  I had feared I’d need more for the trim, so I have one ball left over.  That’s ten sets of 35 stitches there, thank you.  The shells were crocheted, and I’m soooo pleased with this whole project, done on #8 Knitpick Metal Options.  I did cast on with the Bryspun DPNs, and I can promise you that the next trip to Knitting Addiction  will find more of those and the Oh My in other colors in my basket.   I think I used a J hook, but maybe not.  I can’t wait to present this to my friend; I very nearly took it to her last night, but then I’d have to whip up another shower gift!  The Knight is demanding a baby hat with the remainder.  What say you?

Look ma, I got gauge!  Me, the loose knitter (or so I thought?), I’m getting 3 stitches per inch on the #10.5 Harmony Options.  Whoda’ thunkit?  So, the Omega Wrap is underway, and I moved up to the Large size too.  I’d rather have to fidget to keep it on my shoulders than have parts smashed or yarn stretched a bit below the shoulders, ya’ know?!  Oh – and Firefly? – it’s a mohair blend.  I won’t make it back to the beach before your birthday, but maybe I’ll find a few skeins for you there…  I saw more of the same yarn there last visit. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go play with the Ty-Dy and make a decision, and I really want to make serious progress on the Omega tonight too.  Last night was long and tedious, so I think I’ll make another pot of tea and settle in. 

After the Frogs…

After Friday night’s frog-strangler, I am delighted to report three finished objects.  First, is Fishy.  He just needed some eyes, and a lip tuck.  The eyes are merely permanent marker, because this is intended to be a pet toy.  His lips are just rolled up inside themselves so that if the recipient wants to add a squeaker or a bell or whatever, she easily can.  It should also be washable for a long life of human and pet play!

Next came the be-frogged burp cloth.   Sugar ‘n Cream in Faded Denim.  I had to monkey around a bit with the Mason Dixon pattern, but at 40 stitches on my #6 Bryspuns, I found something close to gauge. 

However, my happiest project is Michelle’s Snowman Hat, in an infant size she’s going to post soon.  I knitted it in the round because I avoid seams at all costs.  Paton’s Shetland in Aran, #8 dpns, a quiet morning, and you too can knit the cutie pie in your life a snowman hat. 

Sissy finds the darnedest things as toys.  Remember this? 

Sissy found Mugsy’s Halloween costume and was running through the house with it, so the Knight thought she might want to wear it.  She did.  We weren’t able to capture a great photo, but… 

It’s  hardly the best photo for the big news  I have to share.  At 13.5 weeks, Missy Sissy Princess of Potty is housebroken, as long as the humans are paying attention!  She even has a little routine to get the humans to note her need.  She trots to the door (the CORRECT door now), turns around to face the humans, and sits down.  Should we fail to notice her, she’ll squirm, “bump” the door and whine or moan.  Hooray!