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…

Comment Cap Test Knit

What a joy to test knit for friends!!  The most awesome Kathy posted a darling little baby hat last week, and then patiently recreated her pattern in a newborn edition just for yours truly, asking only that I show her the results.  Duh?! 

May 2013 007Pattern:  Comment Cap  (I’m sure Kathy will share the pattern if you ask.)

Yarn:  Red Heart Sparkle something in white.  I’d call it DK weight, and Ravelry agrees.

Needles:  US #6 dpns until “cord” topper; then I switched to whatever very wee, short dpns I had in my buddy case.

Verdict:  Yes, please…  I’ll knit another!  Probably in this very same yarn, since so many of my friends are expecting.  That one is going to a precious little guy named Tucker, just as soon as I can figure out what to take for his new big brother (suddenly not an only child)…

May 2013 002In case you don’t speak JRT facial expression language, that says, “I’m NOT a baby… and my feet are wet.  This modeling gig SUCKS.”

… but I wanted you to see the very cute top to the hat, so mission accomplished, even with a disgruntled model.

Do you have a favorite baby hat pattern?  And with “all” of my friends expecting in the summer, are hats appropriate gifts?  Do babies wear hats in the summer?

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!  😉

Quick Knit

It was lovely to see Amy yesterday.  I should have taken a picture… she looks like a million dollars!!  Hopefully when she blogs, she’ll share a photo of herself too…

photo.JPGAmy has the heart of a giver.  I think I met her the summer she started Warm Up Winchester (Ravelry link).   The latest total shows the group is roughly only a third of the way to its goal, and the deadline is next Thursday.  I only turned in one hat this year, but I’m sure if any of you wish to contribute, you can leave Amy a comment on her blog and she’ll make arrangements to get your hat.

WuW 2011

Pattern:  Snappy hat – and that it is!   I doubt I have three hours of knitting time invested in this bulky-weight hat that will fit youth through adult.   I made the medium size , but with the ribbing in there, it will stretch considerably.

photo.JPGYarn:  Patons Shetland Chunky in aran.  As synthetics go, it’s not a bad one.  It shines a bit, but it didn’t hurt my hands while I was knitting and it will require no special care by the recipient.

Needles:  US #10.5 circular, US #10 dpns for the final decreases.  I’ve found my hats look neater if I go down one size for the final rounds and do them on dpns.

Verdict:  Who doesn’t love a quick, pleasant knit?  I might be making more of these.  While I love my sport weight knitted hat, my ears are getting cold already, and I haven’t walked when it is below 40 degrees yet. 

October 2010 003

Me in the WuW 2010 hat

Do you have a favorite hat pattern?  Do you wear hats?  I happen to know the Knight thinks I look ridiculous in “stocking caps” but Sissy doesn’t care and Gretchen understands that warm trumps everything…

Except walks.  Those dogs want their walk no matter what the weather, unless it’s POURING rain.  Of course, my definition of “raining too hard” doesn’t quite match theirs either.

Note to the furgirls:  It’s not looking good for today’s walk either.  Of course, given that even Sissy refused to go outside to potty this morning until the rain eased up, maybe they’ll be understanding…

When housebound…

… learn a new knitting technique.

October 2010 018My weekend went NOTHING like the plan.  In the last hours of Friday, I came down with a stomach virus, so no retreat for me.  In fact, I didn’t leave the house  – except to walk the dogs, because, well…  Sissy is persuasive – until last night. 

I FROZE on our Saturday morning walk.  I bundled up, complete with a knitted hat, and still, my ears were cold.  So when I got back to the house, a braincell fired, and I remembered I wanted to learn to double knit. 

**Note:  Hat works better when I pull it down over my ears and let the extra “height” collapse against the back of my head.  It’s never going to be my favorite hat though.

I happened to have a double knit headband in my Ravelry queue, so I grabbed two washable wool blends from my stash and cast on.

September 2011 003

Main color side

Project:  Double Knit #1

Pattern:  Simple Double Knit Headband is a great introduction to double knitting.  It’s very straight-forward and yields a truly functional headband.

September 2011 004

Contrast color side

Yarn:  Main color – Lion Brand Wool-Ease in natural heather.  Contrast color – Valley Yarns Sugarloaf in blue-green.  Again, I will be using this regularly on walks to keep my delicate ears warm, so it’s machine washable.  I also wanted two yarns with serious contrast for my first project.

Needles:  Addi Clicks, #6, 24″ cord.  Note to self:  Order the longer and shorter cords already!  I do plan to size down to #5 for the next one.

September 2011 007Verdict:   It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough for who it’s for – me!  I do need to work on even tension, and I’d like to ask those with double knitting experience, do you hold both yarns in the same hand and just pick accordingly or do you run one color through one hand and the other, through the other hand – as with color work?

And no, there is no photo of me wearing it.   The Knight wasn’t home when I was doing photos and I’m not very good at self portraits!

How was your weekend?

Knitting Dusk

Ironically, I somehow started typing “Knitting Su…”  I can only assume “sucks” was coming out of my brain/fingers.  Crazy!!

After quite a long hiatus, we have a finished object.  May I present the Dusk Cotton Hat!

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That’s the only photo you get because the hat is going to a chemo patient, and while I love having Sissy and flower pots model most things, I don’t play around with gifts for those with compromised immune systems.  In prayer shawl fashion, I knitted as much peace, hope and good wishes into that hat as possible.

Pattern:  Short-Rows Wavy Hat (non-Ravelry link so all can see) is knitted flat (note the kitchener ridge on the far left in my photo).   Normally, I avoid seams like the plague, but I loved this textured pattern and wanted to give it a try.  It was an easy to memorize pattern that traveled well.

Yarn:  I am in love with Universal Cotton Supreme.  It is so soft, and knitted flat on larger needles, it didn’t bother my hands at all.  The colorway was called Dusk.  I have a few more skeins of this in my stash, and believe me, it’s going to be the first cotton I reach for. 

Needles:  The flat part was knitted on #9s.  The tippy-top was finished off with #8 dpns.

Verdict:  I’d like to do this in a self-striping yarn.  It’s a GREAT little pattern… so great that the very long 30-some stitch kitchener didn’t upset me.

January 2011 009I’m still picking up the Argosy baby blanket.  It’s well past halfway, but it’s tedious.  I need to finish it by mid-May so I can give it to the mama before the baby goes to pre-school next time I see her.   Since I now know it’s a girl, I’ll be adding a pretty PANK single-crochet border and embroidering the same PANK flowers on some of the squares. 

Maybe.  Time is of the essence.  Hem.  Luckily, crochet is fast.

I’m getting ready to finish a garter scarf, and then I’m going to test knit some socks for gMarie so she’ll formally write up the pattern for the whole world to enjoy.  I’m not sure who is motivating whom here, but that’s where the phrase mutually beneficial comes from, no?

What are you working on?  Don’t tell me you don’t knit.  Most of you read, bake, sew or SOMETHING!!

Oh – and all yarn in these photos came from Dog House Yarns & More.   Yes, I am affiliated with said store, so let me know when you’re going to be there.

First ’11 FO

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Being virtual show dogs is STILL exhausting!

Before I share the first finished object of the year, I have been remiss in telling you that the fur-girls’ Mango Minster entries are up.   As seasoned bloggers and readers, you know that Sissy’s was done first – that’s important to her, so I’m just sayin’…  I’ll announce voting here, but it is time-sensitive and has a rather narrow window, so if you’d like a personal email notification at the appropriate time, let me know.

January 2011 016Also, DIVA aka: Queen, Sissy, etc. reports that her recovery is complete.   Her staff is holding off on such a proclamation until the esteemed surgeon says so, but at any rate, she’s galloping, leaping and stealing things off counters again, so all is right in the Woods. 

She has also requested that we only call her DIVA or Queen, but the staff isn’t cooperating.  We have ceased with “Queenie” after learning that despite its use as by an esteemed matriarch related to me by marriage, it does have rather mean connotations in literature.  Since Sis, while rambunctious and curious, is no troublemaker, we wanted no parts of that!

So… ’bout that FO…

It took me a week to knit Dae’s birthday hat

January 2011 001

Pattern:  Rib-a-roni is a great pattern.  This is actually my second time using it, so that should tell you something.  It’s rare that I go back to a pattern, but this makes the perfect man’s hat.  Don’t let my week confuse you; it’s a quick knit when the yarn is truly worsted weight (more on that in a bit) and when life isn’t unravelling at the seams. 

I knitted the largest size.

January 2011 010Yarn:  Cascade 220 Superwash, not quite a whole ball.  While I love the “touch” of this yarn, meaning that it’s soft and very easy to care for, I am not at all convinced it really is even a light worsted.  A little poking around Ravelry finds that plenty of people agree with me about 220 in general being VERY lean for a worsted.

Needles:  I used my favorite #6 bamboo circ, and then switched to the cramp-making 9″ #6 Hiya Hiya bamboo circ.   There’s just no way.   I know some people are switching to 9″ circs for socks, and the only way it would work for me is if I used two of ’em in the “two circs” style.  I already know that’s not my favorite method just because I tend to have stitches sliding off needles when I careless set a project down to let the dogs in and out or whatever, so if someone else wants to try this arthritis-maker, speak up and I’ll drop it in the mail to you.

Little sidenote here for the non-knitters.  THAT is the beauty of knitting.  If one method or type of needle doesn’t work for you, you have options, and lots of them. 

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The first RaR hat, shown on a flower pot

Verdict:  I doubt this will be my last Rib-a-Roni, and 220 Superwash is too soft to hold the gauge problem against it forever.  Dae likes his hat, so all is well.

Be sure to check in on Thursday.  DIVA has granted permission for me to share some photos of her in her mostly healed state.  I’ll also share a special Vera Bradley purchase on this blog, and yes, it does relate to Dogs on Thursday!