Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Design Along! Inspired!

A talented knitter, knitting designer, and the owner of the wonderful blog, Alyoops, has organized a design along!

She organized mood boards on and called for original designs inspired by the photos. I can never get my act together to actually sit and design and be creative, I thought this was a wonderful opportunity.

There was a photo of a maze that seemed to call my name. Then last night at the weavers meeting, I saw a lady working on mitered squares. Finally this morning somewhere between the snooze button and the coffee pot, this idea came to me:
Yes I've been scribbling around in Photoshop for few weeks now. Sorry professors! I sketched in photoshop. What a disgrace. But it helps to get my idea solidified. Now I'm going to cut some paper and fabric and see if that's a reasonable idea before I start knitting....after I find that 30 yards of red.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Have your thumbs crossed please!

Once upon a time in my brain, there was a great idea about using leftover yarn to make some mittens for an auction for my favorite group ever.

Fast forward 2.5 years to June 2011. The knitter finally got her act together and started knitting the mittens. She was confident that she had enough yarn for this because:

A: The yarn has been around for a long time (since 2007!) and didn't seem to go away
B: Ravelry said there were 2.6 skeins in my stash

But there were few things she didn't put into consideration:

A: Since 2007, she has knit two projects using the very same yarn
B: Ravelry lists yardage stashed in the project page, not how much yarn is left.

So in reality, I only had 1.3 skeins of the red yarn. Although I positively suffer from hypo-yarnophobia (phobia of running out of yarn), I bravely knit the first mitten. Hmm, I thought. This mitten used about 30g of the main color. I'm not going to have enough for the second mitten. Hey, I know! I'll reverse the colors for the second one to balance out the amount of yarn used!

Tonight after finishing second mitten: The yarn left is photographed above the mittens:

So glad I was alone when this happened. Where are the thumbs?

Must say tho, the bugs are looking good!

specs for my thumbless mittens:
Pattern: Entomology Mittens by Adrian Bizilia
Yarn: Knit Picks Telemark Garnet Heather and Cream
Needles: 1 for cuffs and 3 for body. Both dpns.
CO: June 5. (yes I had lots of free time this past weekend)

There is one bit of hope. Ravelry says there is another 0.3 skeins of the red somewhere in my stash. Should I go stash-diving for that 30 yards of yarn? I should, right? Red yarn, I will find you. >)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Spinning Camp!-Day1

I'm back in Greensboro, NC for a week of Master Spinning classes! I took Level 2 last year, and am taking level 3. So far it's been so fun spinning with lovely spinners from the area. The teacher is very talented and lots of fun.

Left to right, Lincoln @ 1.5TPI, Colored top @ 4TPI and 6TPI (in theory)

On the first day, our teacher handed us bits of red top and yellow top and asked us to spin to a specific tpi (twists per inch). The first one was a 6tpi yarn, and I seemed to get everywhere between 5.5-7.5 tpi except in one little inch.

The second yarn spun out of Lincoln (rough!) was a fat yarn with 1.5 tpi. That one came out better than the first, but I still need practice being consistent with my drafting.

The third yarn was spun at 4tpi, and that felt like the best yarn to date. There are definitely parts in that yarn that is not 4tpi, but it's close.

Then we did some math and confused every single neuron in our brains. It's simple algebra really, but with all the dimensional analysis for changing from metric to English and working backwards to get the proper tpi for singles, it got more confusing. Of course, there is an English system that has some arbitrary numbers (I'm sure it'll mean a lot later, but now, they don't mean anything) for different kinds of fibers and styles of spinning wool.

For example, a worsted wool yarn needs to be divided by 540 to get the number of skeins produced from a pound of prepped fiber. For woollen yarns it is 300 yards per skein. For silk and cotton it's 800. Right. What? Why? Why can't we do yards per pound to show how thick the yarn is? We can count up to 1000, right?

Anyway, the point of the lesson was to not only spin evenly and precisely, it was also to have a visual of the kind of yarn you want to spin in your mind. Thicker the yarn, less twist it needs, and less TPI there will be.

It was so exhausting thinking so hard about spinning, I took a long nap after class!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Newer Knits and their story-Alpaca Sweater and Indigo Dandy

Thanks for the yarn, Black Tulip Farms!

Pattern:: 122-41 Knitted Jumper with Short Ragland Sleeves and Norwegian Pattern in "Alpaca" by DROPS design
Size:Small (34 5/8" bust)
Yarn:Black Tulip Farms Alpaca Fingering Grace (grey), Athos (blue) and Adrian (white)
Yardage:~1200 yds
Needle:US1 & 2 Circ
Date started: Dec 13, 2010
Mods:The original pattern is a short sleeve sweater, which will never be worn unless the weather is perfect. I continued on the sleeves and decreased every 7 rows or so. I also added more short rows because I slouch and need a lower neckline.

This sweater has a fun story: The grey yarn came home with me when my knitting group visited Black Tulip Farms for the Alpaca open house in 2009. I remember one knitter laughing really hard because I jumped when another knitter claimed that she was getting ALL of the lovely grey yarn. The yarn was all lovely, but Grace the grey alpaca made my heart skip a beat. We also got to meet the alpacas. The yarn always mean a lot to me when I get to meet the animals that the fiber came from.

About a year later, I had gotten to know Ms. R at the farm; we took a spinning class together. I had the honor to redesign their new logo. We bartered her yarn for my graphic services and received the lovely blue wool/alpaca blend and the white pure alpaca yarn.

Knitting it was an adventure because it called for tiny needles. I love the fabric though, it's really soft and drapey. It's also very comfortable.

Also useful for hiding identities
Pattern:: Indigo Dandy by Hannah Ingalls
Size:one size
Yarn:Imperial Stock Ranch Columbia in Heathered Teal
Yardage:~120 yds
Needle:US6 Circ
Date started: Mar 21, 2011
Mods: None, except I went down two needle sizes because this woollen yarn is very fluffy.

This yarn came from my first swap I ever. My swap partner is a wonderful mother to three in Oregon. She took time to pick out wonderful yarn and fiber from Oregon. It was such a great experience. I feel like my gift to her didn't measure up to what she had given to me. I know now what to get for her next year, since we're ravelry twins and share the same birthday.

The simple pattern shows off the subtle colorways in the yarn, and it's really warm. The pattern is brilliant because it combines the easy-wear of a cowl and a dressy look of a lace shawl/scarf.

She also gave me 2 oz of lovely fiber to spin, and that's being worked on right now!

No More Fiber challenge!

So March has come and gone, so did April, and half of May. What!

Anyway, I noticed that I have SO MUCH fiber in the house. I can knit at least 3 sweaters, 3 shawls, 2 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of mittens, and hours worth of spinning.

And my boyfriend still thinks I'm not insane.

After coming home with only 8 oz of fiber from the Maryland Sheep and Wool (I know, I'm proud of myself), I decided that I shouldn't buy any more yarn until Maryland Sheep and Wool next year.

Some silk caps, primary color roving for mixing colors,
and a braid from my good friend Mary Ann @ Three Waters Farm
in the coloway Morroco

Enter this past Sunday--

My good friend Miss A and I went venturing out to a farm with Jacob sheep! Since the Yarn Harlot raved about the breed, I was worried about not finding any. Fortunately, I was able to find some local fleece available. yay!

sweet sheepies
kind of shy

After sorting through the fluffy and lovely fleeces, it was like Christmas:

I'm the fleece Santa!

I'm pretty sure I can work with the fiber I have for a full year. Not just for knitting, but processing and spinning the fleece.

Let's see how long this will last =)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

almost March already!

Almost March already!? With all the Holiday madness followed by a month of sickness followed by a month of busy work, I guess I had trouble keeping up with this blog. I'm back now, so I'm going to share what I've been working on since November 2010:

Charity knitting for kids in Baltimore
Baby socks and hat for Marie's baby
Skewed socks
3 Tunisian Crochet cushion covers for family
Cowl for Asher's aunt
Running mittens
Praying Mantis for Cameron
Alpaca Sweater
Cambridge Jacket

Wow that's quite a list!

I challenged myself to knit a sweater a month before Sheep and Wool this year. I do have at least 4 sweaters worth of yarn.

I'm also going to start posting some tutorials that I haven't seen yet elsewhere on blogosphere. If you find them helpful or have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me!

PS: Here's a teaser