Saturday, December 31, 2011

Peachsicle Handspun

After the stash organizing project I had settled down to knit for the evening and work on some of my projects that I had begun back in 2006 and 2007.  I didn't want to knit.  Not.  At.  All.  So I took a field trip up to my fiber closet and pulled out some roving to spin.  I divided the roving in half, spun up my singles on Friday night and then this morning woke up and plied the singles together.

I ended up with this:

Approximately 208 yards that clocks in at 113 grams.  I do enjoy a worsted weight yarn and will probably be using this for a scarf or hat this coming year.  It's a 80/20 Merino/Tussah silk that was dyed by DragonFibers over on etsy.  I bought this years ago when she first opened her shop, and after spinning it last night decided to look her back up.  Unfortunately it seems like she may not be dyeing fiber anymore. :(  Sad because she had such a talent for colors.

I do have a few fiber goals for the upcoming year and I hope to stick to all of them this year.
  • Knit from Stash! - I have a lot of fiber and yarn as you saw from yesterday's post.  I would love to say that I'm not allowed to buy any yarn, but I know that goal is unreasonable so instead I will say that I can only bring in half of what I use up.  If I knit up 1 pound of yarn, I can bring in 1/2 a pound of yarn to replace it.  This way, if I want to make any gift knits I can as long as I've used up some of my own personal yarn first.
  • Finish all of those UFOs. - I have a shawl from 2006, an afgahn from 2006 and a pair of socks from 2007 that have been lingering for far too long.  I also have a scarf on the loom that I plan on finishing this year.  (I want to finish at least 2 of these 4 projects currently cast-on.)
  • Knit Gifts Year Round. - I plan on knitting little items that I can gift, whether for birthdays or holidays and keeping them with my fiber stash so that when those deadlines roll around I'll be done long before.  This will also help me use up my yarn stash and hopefully some of those odds and ends that I have hanging around.
I did join a KAL on Ravelry to knit 12 hats in 2012 which should help with my gift box collection and use up my stash in the process. :)

I'm ready for 2012, are you?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Yarn Stash Revisited

It's December, and since New Years is just around the corner I decided to reorganize my stash and plan out my knitting goals for 2012.  I hit a bumpy start when I pulled out my yarn basket and as I began to organize it I ran into a few bugs.  Literally, evidence of carpet beetles.  Although I have been fortunate never to have any wool moths invade my stash, I have had carpet beetles.  Luckily the first time I found a few carpet beetles, they hadn't done any real damage to my yarn.  One little bit of roving was tossed and the rest of the stash was fine.  This time unfortunately there were a few casualties.  Two 50g skeins of knit picks memories that I had purchased years ago (it's no longer sold) had several holes chewed in them.  They immediately went into the trash along with some leftover Lisa Souza yarn that I had used when knitting a pair of socks years ago.  Overall it wasn't a huge loss, and I do still have tons of yarn left in my stash.  Although, taking photos of my yarn and roving today I realized I'm still missing a lot of fiber and yarn.  Things I know I haven't knit with, but have no idea where they are.  They aren't in my current house, so I'm assuming they're still back in my bedroom somewhere in Ohio.  Next trip home I'll dig through my stash and hopefully bring the rest of my supply home.  I miss my yarn.

This is the yarn stash currently living in my house with me.  Organizing it really made me realize just how much of my yarn I do not have.  Yes I have a lot, but there is quite a bit that is missing from this pile.  Sock yarn on the left, some cottons in the middle, and then on the right side there are some current works in progress and some leftover yarn from old projects that I plan on using in a fun scarf or something else.

My Roving stash is quite large too now that I take the time to go through it.  In the back left I have quite a bit of Crown Mountain Farms superwash merino that I plan on making some sock-hop yarn out of.  Once upon a time I used to spin sock hop for CMF so I do know how it is spun and I did horde it back when I used to spin for them.  There are my two Sheep2Shoe kits in the back, some louet fiber in the front which is just delicious, and several 8oz balls on the right side.  Of course, I have quite a bit of silk in the stash as well that I'll need to find something to do with.

Since I have quite a bit of roving I also have quite a bit of handspun in my stash as well.  It's kind of sad actually, I had forgotten I had the majority of this handspun.  I have a few ideas of projects I'm dying to make for myself, and my sister really likes some of the handspun I don't like, so she may get a scarf or shawl for herself.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Xmas Knitting 2011!

I wasn't planning on knitting anything for Christmas this year, and I was dead set against knitting Christmas gifts especially since I had already purchased gifts for all of the family members this year.  Well on the 20th I managed to finish the handspun scarf I had been working on for as a little thank you gift to our real estate agent.

As much as I really don't care for the color blue, I love the way this scarf turned out.  There are darker bits, lighter bits and of course all of the ones in the middle.  I did a basic, reversible, no curling kind of pattern in order to show off the yarn.  Believe it or not the mindless knitting was insanely addicting to do.

Pattern:  Beginners Reversible Scarf
Yarn:  Handspun  100% Merino
Comments:  I loved the pattern and I loved the yarn.  I did block it out, and it is incredible soft.  I was a bad spinner and didn't bother to set the twist prior to knitting (shame on me!) but it turned out just fine.

I am definitely keeping this pattern for future reference.  It was so much fun to knit and got me into a huge knitting high which made me want to knit other people gifts.  Yes, I who wasn't going to knit any gifts this holiday season decided on the 21st of December (after blocking the handspun scarf) that I wanted to knit my future sister-in-law and sister both little gifts for Christmas.

Insanity?  I think so.  First thing is first, I picked up the phone and called my sister to see what her favorite colors were, and had my fiance call his sister to see what colors she liked.  She said blues and purples, my sister chose greens.  Then I went into the stash and dumped all of my yarn onto the floor pulling out all of the blues, purples and greens I could possibly find.  I have a lot of purple.  A LOT of purple.  Blues I had a few of, most that were purchased with the intention of knitting gifts ages ago.  Green, is something fairly scarce in my stash.  I have some green, but again it was not green that I myself had purchased with intentions of knitting.  Then with my new collection of yarn I wanted to use, I rushed back to Ravelry to search for projects that would match their personalities and the stash yarn I had found.

For L my future sister-in-law I selected a skein of noro kureyon sock yarn that had been lingering in my stash for about 3 years.  Of course the original plan was to make me a pair of handknit socks but honestly living in South the chances of me wearing wool socks is pretty slim now.  When I lived in Ohio, it happened quite often during the winter or when just relaxing around the house.  So I took the sock yarn, and cast on for a Clapotis Scarf.  This was the first Clapotis I ever attempted, and now I understand exactly why the pattern is so popular.  Man was it addicting.  I started it on the 21st and finished it the afternoon of the 27th.

Pattern:  Clapotis
Yarn:  Noro Kureyon Sock - Color 188
Comments:  I did have one knot in the skein.  I HATE when there are knots especially with Noro since it throws off all of my color repeats.  I did remove the yarn after the knot in order to line up the color repeat, then used some of that removed yarn at the end to make the scarf a little longer.  In all I used 84 grams of yarn and got a decent length scarf!  I have definite plans to knit more of these in the future, they were easy carry along projects and were my travel knitting for a few days.

When I finished this, I immediately turned to the beret I wanted to make for my little sister.  She loves handknits and has always been one of my biggest supporters as far as my hobbies goes.  I have made her countless scarves, hats and socks over the years and she wears them until they fall apart.  I can't count the pairs of socks I've had to repair or scarves that have ripped due to her continuous wear.  (She will put a pair of socks on, and wear them non-stop until they have holes in the bottom.)  This of course means it is very easy to knit for my sister.

I found a little bit of green yarn in my stash.  Unfortunately this picture does not do the color of the yarn justice.
This yarn is a bright emerald green!  And when I say bright, I mean bright.  Once upon a time I found myself completely addicted to my craft, and it seems I've re-discovered my love of not only yarn, but knitting as well.  I don't know if it's the easy patterns, or the finished objects but I'm finding myself itching to crawl back into my yarn closet and pull out some fibery goodness.  This beret was a piece of cake.  The pattern was well written, easy to follow and was knit on BIG needles (10s and 11s) which made it a very quick knit!  I cast on late on the 27th, and cast off early on the 29th.  I think in total it took me only 5 hours to knit the entire thing from start to finish.

Pattern:  Star Crossed Slouchy Beret
Yarn:  Berella Muskoka in Green Clover
Comments:  This yarn was gifted to me years ago in a sock swap that was happening online.  Nice yarn, I wasn't crazy about the color and I had no idea what I was going to do with it since it's definitely NOT me.  Thankfully, it is my sister's color.  Only used about 70 grams of yarn (about 140 yards) so it was a quick knit and would be a great project for handspun!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Comes Early

Yes, it's that time of year again and this year I got my Christmas present a little early from the man in my life.  I jumped up and down, clapped my hands, and then did a little happy dance with the box.  I know, I'm way too easily excited.

Since I've recently got back into my fiber arts hobbies when he asked me what I wanted this year, my first response was "roving."  Of course, he isn't much of a yarn/fiber guy, so I did help him navigate through my favorite websites so that he knew what would be good to get.  Of course he got to pick out the colors, and ooooh he did so good this year.

Not one... but TWO Sheep 2 Shoe kits from Blue Moon Fiber Arts.  I've never gotten one of these before, so I was excited at the thought he may get me a kit for Christmas, I never actually thought he would get me two of them!  The color on the left is called Cattywampus and on the right is Dragon Dance.  My goal is to spin these with the directions included in the kit, a 3 ply yarn.  Only problem is my typical yarn I spin is 2 ply, one reason being because all my extra bobbins still live in Ohio.  Luckily for me, my mother is coming down to visit next week and bringing the rest of my roving stash down with her, and hopefully my other spinning heel (and lazy kate) with her!  So, I have two options, either spin it as a 2-ply or wait until she brings the lazy kate so that I can do a 3 ply for this stunning roving.  I do have plenty of other yarn and fiber to keep me entertained until next week.

Of course, I also have my 2 other Works in Progress laying around the house should I finish the  handspun scarf and need something to work on.

Speaking of the handspun scarf, I've made some progress over the last week or so since I've posted.  I've spent a lot of time lately listening to podcasts, and nothing better than mindless knitting while listening to podcasts or chatting with friends online.  Life is definitely good.

I'm definitely past the halfway point as far as yarn is concerned.  I plan on knitting until I run out of handspun, and then blocking it out.  Hopefully I'll finish with it tonight assuming my new kitty will let me knit.

On Saturday we went down to the local SPCA and I brought home one little bundle of love.  Nothing better than a cat that wants to be in your lap or at your side 24/7.  Even when I'm sleeping at night he feels the need to be either on top of me, right next to me, or under the covers with me.  It really is adorable.  My older cat is definitely not this snuggly, so I'm enjoying the little guy being around.

I think I'll leave you with a picture of the little guy before I get back to work on the scarf. ;)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Actual Knitting

I told myself when I made this blog I would update a few times a week.  There would be works in progress, finished items, lovely photos of handspun yarn, but then real life got in the way, and I remembered just how horrible I am at taking photos of yarn.

Well, for my first project I thought I would pull out something I rarely knit with, my own handspun.  I got this roving ages ago from a knitter friend I met online years before.  It's blue.  Now blue isn't one of my favorite colors, but I love variety in the things I make, and there are always friends and family members of mine who will gladly take some blue handmade items from me.

Allow me to present, the yarn:
I do love this yarn.  It's a 100% merino wool in a lovely blue color.  Just a little over 300 yards and exactly 4oz in weight but I figured it would be a good bit for a scarf.

So last Friday night I went in search of the *perfect* pattern.  It was handspun yarn, so I wanted a pattern that was interesting, yet simple enough that it would focus more on the yarn instead of the pattern.  I ended up finding this lovely scarf over on Ravelry: Beginners Reversible Scarf

It was the ideal pattern.  A basic knit and purl pattern that won't curl even if my non-knitter recipients do not block it out after washing.  Most importantly, it is knit on large needles, a 10.5 US and really shows off the yarn.

Of course, I cast on a week ago, which means by now this ball of yarn is looking quite different.  It's about a foot and a half in just a week and I haven't picked it up in a few days.  The best part about size 10.5 US needles is that it goes so quickly.

I have the ideal person I want to gift this too, but in order to give it to her I would have to finish it very soon.  If I start now, and knit constantly, I probably could finish it by tomorrow night.  Wish me luck. ;)

Friday, November 25, 2011

A New Beginning.

Once upon a time I was a Knitter.  Yes, Knitter with a capital K.  My hobby in a sense defined me and it was something that I did constantly.  Of course, hanging out in yarn shops with other like-minded individuals I transformed over time and picked up a few new hobbies including spinning and weaving.  When I first started college I had some difficulties with depression, and it was the creation of my "knitting blog" that pulled me out of that messed up state that I was in at the time.

I threw myself into my hobbies via my blog to the point where it was my pure obsession and at times became more of a chore, or a job, than something I loved.  Did I love it?  Of course!  But I wasn't always able to do what I wanted, when I wanted.  More time was spent making things for others than on what I wanted to make.  Eventually I found myself getting absorbed in other things online, and drifting away from not only the blogging world, but the knitting community as well.

Several years ago I graduated college and found myself off in the real world, working, relaxing but still not knitting like I used to back when I was making what I wanted, when I wanted, my life was again being controlled by hobbies that turned more into "work" than fun.  So I'm quitting it all.  I'm coming back, a new beginning, making those things I want to make that I love to make and I plan on blogging it as I go.

Why blog?  Because writing is a way to help myself unwind and organize my thoughts.  I don't expect anyone to ever read this blog, to comment on my posts, or to even become my friends, but if that should happen I would never regret one moment of it.