Month: February 2015

Mail Day

The beautiful and dangerous thing about this country is the free shipping. It’s everywhere! Some online shops have free shipping on all orders (love you Mr. Yarn), others you have to spend x dollars to get it, but it’s usually not a huge amount. And if you are paying for shipping, it’s probably not too prohibitive – maybe $3.00. This is not so much a thing in the motherland (Canada). I looked into ordering a beeswax candle online one time from Ontario and the price of shipping was almost as much as the $20 candle.

The other thing is that things arrive so darn quickly. Hellooooo free 2-day shipping from Amazon!

Today I’m mostly going to flood you with some things that happened this week, materialistically speaking. I have a feeling that if I add too much WIP-talk, this post is going to get way too long. So I’m considering adding another weekly post – does that make this blog biweekly? Wait. I just googled it. It’s semi-weekly. (Is that what bihebdomadairement means en français? If hebdo = weekly… and yet biweekly ≠ twice a week…I don’t know people, it’s not an issue). All this to say, I will contemplate which are the best 2 days a week to post posts!

Also, I appreciate that some people might not be interested in just seeing photos of yarn and bags, rather than actual knitting. On the other hand, I know that I personally like seeing what goodies other knitters have purchased, because I might be interested in those things too. So in the spirit of sharing (not boasting!), here we go:

1. WOLLMEISE

IMG_3252

Yes, it’s true, I ordered this 2 weeks and 3 days ago, and picked it up from the post office today. My first sip of the Germanic Kool-Aid. I chose 3 skeins of DK in the colourway “Unbeschreiblich” which means “unexpected” and 1 skein of Twin in the colourway “Zarte Knospe” which I think means “tender shoot”…?

IMG_3253

I am so excited to get swatching and knitting away with these guys! The first thing I noticed was the skeins are mega-heavy and wound so compactly. I swear I could knock someone out with that skein of sock yarn alone.

Unbeschreiblich is destined to become either a Grandpa Cardigan or a Lucky (me). I am not yet decided, and am still open to other suggestions of cozy cabled cardigans that take 1500 yards of DK or fewer. Let me know what you think!

I think the Zarte Knospe would be cool as some Ivy Trellis mitts.

PS the bag has all these German-English knitting translations! Seems like it would be easy to follow a German pattern if you just have this paper bag.

IMG_3258

2. Shetland roving

A whopping 2 lb of incredibly priced Shetland roving from Paradise Fibers showed up this week. I have a dream of spinning this into a 3-ply worsted weight to knit either a sweater or the ever-dreamy Loro Vest.

IMG_3231

This is a natural Shetland colour (i.e. undyed) which is called “fawn”. I was expecting it to be a bit scratchy, since Shetland is one of those ancient, rustic breeds – not so much that superwash merino yarn which is what every yarn company seems to be using. But lo, it is actually surprisingly cuddly soft! I think it will be perfect as a sweater.

3. Fat Squirrel Bag

Another!! I could’t help myself. I stalked another Fat Squirrel update because… loooook – Little Red Riding Hood theme with tiny mushrooms in a sock project size, with wood grain lining?? Thank you Amy Beth!

IMG_3267

If you haven’t watched AB’s knitting/spinning podcast, The Fat Squirrel Speaks, I highly highly recommend it! She has such an amazing energy and is downright hilarious. You can also get the inside scoop on her shop updates there.

4. Farm Fiber Days

So, I didn’t end up posting a big update about Farm Fiber Days in Wayland, MA because I put a little update in this NH Knits discussion thread on Ravelry, and, well, that kind of exhausted me. I will say that it was AMAZING, and not only full of fabulous local fibre, but also full of fabulous local food! I will certainly return next year.

The goodies:

photo 5 (6)

Roving (in the bags up top):

  • This was ~5 oz of bulk llama fibre from River Valley Farm Wools & Wovens in Pittsfield, MA.

Yarn (left to right):

  • 3 skeins of 100% alpaca sport weight from Hamden Hills Alpacas
  • 2 skeins (the white one and the grey one) of 100% merino DK weight from Greenwood Hill Farm
  • 1 skein of 65% mohair/35% cormo from Moonshine Design at Keldaby Farm

Deliciousness abounds!

Here’s a peek at the Canucks socks for Jason that I’ve been working on, out of some Tumbleweed Yarn in the Lariat colourway.

IMG_3262

Toe-up, 2.25 mm, using exactly half of each skein to make them as long as possible. That red stripe of yarn in my placeholder for the afterthought heel.

RANT

Can I just say…I have now gone through four different sets of needles to make these socks, and I had to buy new ones every time. #1: DPNs. I bought metal ones because I have wooden DPNS but always break them. These were okay, but very frustrating for knitting the toe, which is only on 2 needles, and they were creating some ladders in the rest of the sock. #2: 32″ circulars. I usually don’t like magic loop but gave it a go for these socks, and actually thought it was an improvement! The cable seemed too short, though. #3: 40″ circulars. The sizing on Amazon was listed weirdly and they came in the wrong size (2.5 mm). #4: 40″ circulars in the correct size. Holy moly people. I can take no more! 

/RANT

I try to stay positive here, but I feel like knitters can relate to this kind of frustration..?

We went to a Bruins-Canucks game on Tuesday night, and I really wanted to take my Canucks socks. In the end, I didn’t, because you can’t bring bags in (and presumably not sharp sticks either), and I really didn’t want to risk them confiscating my knitting! Knitters, man. They’re an unpredictable folk.

IMG_3240

We won, though 🙂 GO NUCKS.

See you people in a few days!

Advertisements

Places Where You Can Knit

Guys. Guys guys guys. Look at this cool thing I made omg 

Deeeep breath. Hi everyone, I hope you’ve had a fantastic week. As you can tell, I’m super pumped to share with you my finished handspun (remember the one I posted last week?) It’s Sweet Georgia 100% merino fibre in the colourway “Midnight Garden”. This was a nighttime photo, so not the best, but….

IMG_3141

It was a wonderful spin. It’s merino, so the staple length is a little short than what I’m used to. (She says, even though she’s only ever spun a few skeins ever!) Anyhow, I ended up using the tiniest whorl, which I believe means I was spinning at a large ratio, right? Big wheel spins one time, whorl and bobbin spin many times. Spinning people, help me out here.

photo 1 (31)

These colours… they are EYE POPPING. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t stop spinning this week (and..uh..didn’t really knit anything to speak of). I ended up doing a 2-ply yarn from a centre-pull ball, figuring that the colours would barber pole and be all jumbly and fun. Not so! By some stroke of crazy coincidence, or more like… I could have easily figured this out… the colours aligned almost perfectly to create nice long progressions from colour to colour. It’s not a gradient because the colours repeat, but it’s more like long bands of colour.

photo 4 (12)

454 yards, fingering weight. Say what?? Double my previous best yardage from a 100g skein. I must shout it from the mountain tops.

photo 5 (5)

How cool, right? It’s enough to do one fairly large shawl or other neckthing. I’m thinking this. It has a cool textured pattern that I am guessing wouldn’t be outcompeted by the crazy colour changes of my yarn. What do you think? Any suggestions for patterns?

In other news, I tidied up my knitting space yesterday and wanted to show you guys where the dirty work gets done around here! I recently discovered this hashtag on Instagram #placeswhereyoucanknit. And it’s literally just photos of people and their knitting in various locations. I actually love seeing where people knit, both outside and – especially – the little knit nests they have created for themselves at home. This could be the most boring post of all time to some people (nonknitters, to be sure!) but if you’re like me, it could be of interest! So here’s my usual habitat.

Peeking out from my bed/reading nook. Note single cushion for lumbar support.

IMG_3187

The Sidekick lives here, and then when I want to spin, I just pop it in front of the couch. In this photo, I just plied my most recent handspun so in a rare scene, it is bare-bobbined. Then there are two shelves of yarn stash, specifically the stuff that is still in full skeins. (Spot the sea turtle). The black basket holds my DPNs, circulars, interchangeable needle set, and notions.

IMG_3188

Random half-used balls of yarn live in these two baskets on the shelf, and the bottom drawer has spinning fibre. That bigger basket off to the side has my WIPs. I may have discovered previously forgotten projects as I cleaned up. There may or may not be 8 projects in there. (Strokkur sweater has full priority sitting in its Fat Squirrel bag on high).

IMG_3189

Jarz of straight needles and my very small spindle collection. A tableau with a possibly dying money tree.

IMG_3190

That green spindle actually has a cool story which I will abbreviate: Something like 10 years ago, I went to a learn-to-drop-spindle workshop at the Fisheries Museum in Lunenburg, NS. Totally coincidental – a very friendly lady dressed in pioneer garb was giving lessons and I happened to be at the museum that day. Although I had never been interested in spinning, I got really into it and bought a kit that included this spindle made by her husband. Fast forward to this past summer. I had newly acquired a spinning wheel and wanted to learn how to use it. My grandmother in NS said there was a local master spinner who offered lessons and I should bring my wheel. So I did! We joked about how funny it would be if this was the same lady who did the drop spindling workshop. GUYS of course it was the same wonderful lady, and she gave me a most amazing private spinning lesson in her home. She freaked out a little when I told her how she had inspired me to learn to spin so many years before. Anyhow, totally tangential, but that green spindle has many memories!

Now, lastly, don’t let me fool you into thinking that my fibre collection is so seemingly small and organized. There’s fibre in my closet and chest of drawers, and some other baskets here and there. This one by my desk is apparently an advertisement for Spunky Eclectic but that’s pretty much where I’m getting my fibre these days.

IMG_3191

Tomorrow I will be going to the Farm Fiber Days in Wayland, MA hosted by Russell’s Garden Center. They have a weekly farmers’ market, but on this particular day, they are also hosting fibre vendors! I’m hoping there will be lots of rustic yarns and sheepy roving/fleeces, and maybe even live sheep?? Who knows, but I’m super excited as this is my first fibre event. I’m also excited to meet up with a fellow NH Knits listener and Ravelry friend who also lives in Mass. So I might just have to do an update on the event before next Friday 🙂

I leave you with these puzzling words from my afternoon tea time:

IMG_3198

Rebound Knitting

Happy Friday the 13th, everyone!

Just a quick post from me today, but heavy on the pictures. We had another two snow days this week, which is starting to get a little old. Not that I don’t love snow days – I actually do. On snow days, it’s pretty much expected to hide under the blankets, knit, and drink tea all day, which is a perfect day in my books. But come on, Boston! It’s like the city has just had enough, that’s it, everything is cancelled. No one go anywhere, because the T has become a giant Ötzi and you won’t be able to find your car until July.

photo (15)

But onto the fibre!

My Ease pullover is still in time out. I’ve decided that there’s no point in continuing with the sleeves since I know in my knitter’s heart that it is too big and I won’t wear it. It must be frogged! But I can’t bring myself to do it yet. For now, I am easing the pain with a new project, Strokkur by Ysolda Teague, which is happily living in my new Fat Squirrel bag! I’m using Quince and Co. Osprey, which is an aran-weight yarn.

IMG_3117

At this point, I have reached the end of the waist decreases and am soon moving onto the increase section. My stitch gauge is great but my row gauge is seriously off. So off that if I knit the sweater as written, it would probably reach my knees. To avoid this, I’m doing a little mathemagic. (PS. About that bag, can I just say again how awesome it is – it is currently holding 6 cakes of yarn, my project on the needles, plus notions).

IMG_3118

Smaug is making sure this sweater doesn’t get up to any funny business. Maybe I should have used him for Ease… I love this stitch marker – it’s actually part of a set of Hobbit themed stitch markers (including a little Arkenstone!) from Inglenook Fibers.

Now for a journey in pictures. Today I finished spinning and plying some amazing Polwarth that was from Spunky Eclectic‘s October 2014 fibre club. The colourway is called Hungry as it was inspired by sushi! I love it. This was both my first time spinning Polwarth and attempting to fractal spin. I didn’t get fancy about it – just split the fibre in half lengthwise and then took the first half, and split it a bunch more times. I spun those skinny guys end to end, and then spun the other half as one large continuation of colour. Let me know if that didn’t make sense and I will try to explain better! Here we go:

IMG_3119

IMG_3122

IMG_3127

IMG_3131

IMG_3132

IMG_3133

IMG_3136

IMG_3135

This skein is still dripping away in my shower, so next week I will show you what it looks like in its final form 🙂 I got 234 yards pre-bath so I will be interested to see if the yardage changes post-bath. So far, I’m really jazzed with this spin. I’m still a spinning newbie, but I would say this is my best spin so far! Pretty consistent and pretty good yardage!

Next up, from my moderate-yet-growing fibre stash, is this insane merino braid from Sweet Georgia in the Midnight Garden colourway. I’m guessing it will be more challenging as merino has a fairly short staple length but those colours… that name… mmm I just want to dive right in!

IMG_3141

For my Hungry skein, if you have suggestions for what to do with ~200 yards of a (maybe worsted weight? Haven’t done WPI yet) fractal-spun yarn, I’d love to hear them. So far, I’m thinking some kind of hat, maybe with cables if they show up well in this handspun? Decisions, decisions.

Tomorrow is February 14th so I wish you all a happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you love the day or not so much, I do hope you get to spend it with some truly special fibre ❤

Ricardio_and_pb 2 copy

EZ as Pi

Hehehe get it? EZ… as… Pi?

Elizabeth Zimmerman’s pi shawl is complete! And it really was easy. The hardest thing was blocking it: trying to make my blocking mats cover a big enough surface area and trying to pin the whole thing out in a relatively circular shape, all in my wee studio. And trying not to irritate Jason too much as he worked on his Stats homework.

photo 1 (31)

Before washing the shawl, I thought that my large(ish) collection of blocking mats would be more than enough. But after taking it out of its bath, it was like wrangling a python or something comparatively large and unwieldy. IT GREW. It grew like a just-add-water sponge toy. Which was such a happy surprise because I thought the shawl looked kind of small when it came off the needles. So I got creative and supplemented my blocking mats with towels.

One problem I had (being new to blocking round things) was how to pin the shawl out without getting a bunch of points on the edges. I ended up pinning the shawl right at the inside edge of the border (you can see how it scallops there) which let the real edge remain smooth. It’s not too noticeable now that it’s dry, but I wonder if this is the best method. Do you have any tips for blocking circular pieces?

photo 2 (28)

I’m also really happy with this dark, moody shade of purple that is Grand Street Ink, a colourway chosen by Brooklyn Tweed for Lorna’s Laces.

photo 3 (25)

Here’s an incredibly Nessie-quality photo of how I have been wearing it:

photo 4 (12)

The shawl was a lot of knitting (clearly) but a lot of really fun knitting. I highly recommend it! This only took 2.5 skeins of Shepherd Sock so if I can get my math right next time (yes there will be a next time) I could make an even bigger one. But not too big; as EZ said, we’re not trying to knit a football field.

To borrow a phrase from Claire of NH Knits (I love her podcast), a few things have decided that they want to come live with me this week. First up is this Aurora Self-Striping Kit in the Lariat colourway, by Tumbleweed Yarn. Any Canadians or hockey fans might recognize these colours 🙂

photo 1 (32)

I bought this yarn to knit a pair of Canucks socks for Jason! Note the contrasting mini skein to knit the toes and heels. I am so excited to cast on for a toe-up sock with afterthought heel, which is a style I have only tried once before but it will work best with the stripes. Laura of The Knit Girllls is coming out with a pattern for afterthought heel socks with short rows, so I’m just waiting for that to drop. The only other pair of afterthought heel socks I have knit ended up being really tight in the gusset, so I’m going to try to use the short row heel to add some more room in that area.

Lastly… I’ve been eyeing the Fat Squirrel bags that other knitters (of the Interwebs) have been showing off and fallen in love with Amy Beth’s fabric choices and bag styles. I actually have been in need of a big sweater project bag for a while (oversized Ziploc is just too gauche, no?) and so I finally decided to get my hands on one. Easier said than done, as Fat Squirrel bags seem to sell out the moment there’s a shop update. If I was going to get one of these bags, I’d have to be quick! I set a calendar reminder on my phone for her next update, stalked the website 10 min ahead of time, refreshed the page again and again… and nabbed one the moment they were posted! I’M CRAZY.

photo 2 (29)

It arrived today! All the way from Indiana. The first thing I noticed was that it smelled amazing. Amy Beth includes a little lavender sachet in each bag. The bag itself is actually massive and clearly very sturdy. It will be the perfect vessel to take care of my sweater projects.

That’s all for tonight, dear knitters. Have a happy weekend and I’ll be back for a new post on Friday the 13th! 

PS. For my readers (I know there’s a few of you out there) thank you so much for checking out my blog! It would make me so happy if you leave a comment and let me know a bit about you, any comments you have, or even if you have a blog, too. I’d love to know who is out there!