Baby Girl Knitting

While I am perfectly happy not finding out the baby’s gender until the moment I push it out, it sure is fun when my friends find out what they are having! Girlie knitting is so much fun, so when my knitting buddy found out she was having another daughter, I was very excited (in a purely selfish, now-I-can-knit-something-gender-specific kind of way). And I knew what yarn I would use, too.

Mosaic Moon BFL/Silk top always comes in a super fluffy braid of yummy fiber goodness, and this braid, dyed in the Colibri colorway, was no exception –

IMGP8353_medium2I spun it up right when it came in the mail and n-plied it to keep the colors pure. Then it sat in the stash, waiting for the perfect project. Ravelry stash page here.

IMGP8437_medium2The perfect project ended up being something straight out of my head, a onesie with frills and a balloony butt. Ravelry project page here. (I pretty much wrote out every step, so if you wanted to, you could make one, too.)

IMGP9332_mediumIt is always so much fun to see how my handspun knits up, and this was no exception. I am very pleased and proud of how even this yarn turned out and pleasantly surprised by the way it striped up.

This was a very hard thing to give away, but there are few as deserving as the recipient. I am so excited to see her little baby girl wearing it in just a couple more months!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Learning to Love Monogamy

This week seems to be my week for finishing up languishing knitting projects. For some odd reason, I am in the mood to be monogamous with my knitting, and even though I have only four WIPs, that many unfinished works has been nagging me to distraction. This one took an exceptionally long time for a few reasons and I am mega-releived to have it off the needles, blocked, and ready to be worn.

IMGP8835Panda Silk DK Shawl in handspun BFL/silk from Spunky Eclectic, September 2012 Club, Pheasant
Ravelry project page here

Reason number one that it took me so many months to finish knitting this relatively simple shawl: I stink at estimating yarn requirements and yardage of my own handspun. After running out of yarn once, I ordered and spun a bit more. I kept back some of the fiber that I ordered the second time, thinking that I would love to see this yarn navajo plied. The I ran out of yarn again. Again, I pulled off a piece of the new braid, spun it up and kept knitting. And then I ran out of yarn again. Sigh. The top rail of the shawl is knit in Knit Picks Palette because I refused to spin up any more of that gorgeous fiber for this shawl! As it worked out, the black looks great and I still have one and half braids left to navajo ply. Win-win.

IMGP8837Reason number two that this shawl took me so very long to complete: all of that running out of yarn, spinning up more yarn, running out again, etc.. really killed my excitement in the knitting process. So with each setback, I became more and more reluctant to continue. Fortunately, the yarn is amazingly gorgeous, the knitting was boring enough to do while watching movies in the evening, and I really wanted to see the finished object and so I kept going, albeit with long breaks throughout.

IMGP8838Reason number three that it took and eternity to get to the end of this shawl: morning sickness. ‘Nuff said.

IMGP8836I am extremely happy with this knit. I love knitting with my own handspun and the finished work means that much more to me knowing that I took a lump of gorgeously dyed fibers and turned it into a useful and beautiful work of art.

Now I am off to finish another of my WIPs and get one step closer to being the monogamous knitter that I never knew I was.

 

A Handspun Sweater and Three Years of Wool and Chocolate

When this fiber came in the mail, I knew that I wanted to wear it.

I wanted to wear it all the time. Day and night. Night and day. The colors were so “me” that I wanted to frame it and roll in it and write sonnets about it. And, as I have mentioned before, the Romney wool is new and exciting for this still beginning spinner.

So after I spun it up, I made this.

IMGP8780

 

A sweater of my own design, (Ravelry project page here) in Spunky Eclectic March 2013 club, Lightening Strike on Romney (Ravelry stash page here).

IMGP8779

A sweater made from a bit of fluff.

IMGP8784

 

I only had 12 oz to work with, so it has narrow fronts and 3/4 sleeves, both of which suit me just fine. I added a bit of shaping at the waist (which is totally lost on my currently more rounded form) and used up nearly all of the fabulous, 2 ply, worsted weight yarn.

IMGP8785 I love it, love it, love it! And it is just in time. As you can see, today is looking mighty dreary, wet and cold. Just the right weather to try out a new wool sweater!

But that’s not all! That’s right, folks! Three years ago today, I acted on a whim and started blogging. It took me awhile to get some momentum, to develop my style, and to figure out what it is that I want to say. I have met many interesting folks, both knitters and not, and learned a whole heap of new stuff. Thank you for reading my (sometimes) drivel. Thank you for commenting on my rants. And thank you for coming back for more.

Spinning Rainbows

Draped over my shoulders right now is the most awesome thing that I have made yet. It is a rainbow of lace, spun, designed, and knit by me. I am so excited about this shawl!

It started out like this –

This is Renee’s 12 Color Rainbow on Mystic MCN Roving from Family Pendragon. Beautiful, yes? Yes.

And a very pleasurable spin it was! I separated out the colors and spun all of one color before moving to the next, being careful to blend the transitions evenly, for a gradient rainbow. The yarn is exquisite light fingering singles in a gorgeous riot of color. (Ravelry page here with notes on the spinning)

I agonized over what to knit with it. I really wanted a half-circle shawl that would accentuate the rainbow, but I couldn’t find just the right one. Then I remembered my handy Elizabeth Zimmerman book collection and inspiration just started coming in waves! I looked up the formula for her Pi Shawl and adjusted it to make a half-circle. It was laughably simple once I got going (seriously – so very simple!).

Once I got the shaping figured out, it was just a matter of choosing lace patterns to knit in the arches between the increase rows. Out came all of my lace stitch dictionaries (and quite a bit of Amazon dreaming, I admit! Oh, what I wouldn’t give for some Barbara Walker treasuries!) and I started knitting. The end result? Fabulous! (if I do say so myself) (Ravelry Project Page here)

I didn’t plan too much at once, just letting myself create over the course of the project. Each time I came to an increase row, I sought out the next lace insert, poring over my lace volumes anew.

The only thing that I really knew was that I wanted scalloped edges, so “Feather and Fan” was the obvious choice for the border.

The other goal was to knit a different stitch for each color. This worked out until the rows exceeded 300 stitches and the color repeats shortened to one inch, but by that time I was ready to start the scalloped edge anyway, so it worked out.

Among the many pleasing bits in this project is the lovely fact that the colors cooperated so well, leaving the dark purple for the bind off. I love the dark edge. Perfect.

Another thing that I love is the way that the various lace patterns work together in a pleasing way, even though I didn’t plan them. I was a little concerned that my haphazard method was going to produce something that looked, well, haphazard. On the contrary, I think it looks pretty good, and there are very few things that I would change (one of them being that I wish the orange section was less geometrical and looked more like leaves, as I imagined that it would). The yellow section is inspired by the Kai Mei socks, altered to make an all-over pattern, and the orange section I totally made up myself. For the other patterns I used Vogue Knitting Stitchionary vol 5 for guidance, but tweaking it to my liking along the way.

It is quite a thrill to start with a wad of wool and turn it into something so lovely, and even more thrilling to start with a plan and actually accomplish the goal almost perfectly.

And, though all the girls are vying for ownership, I think this one is for me.

Maine Dish Mini Satchel

This months edition of the Spunky Fiber Club was an exciting adventure.


Four ounces of Swaledale in the Eating Maine colorway from Spunky Eclectic

One thing that I really enjoy about being a part of the Spunky Fiber Club is the variety of wools that are offered. This month was no exception. A rough, hairy wool that I would never have picked out for myself offered me an opportunity to broaden my fibery worldview and I even learned a few things along the way.

Another thing that I really like about the club is the people who are in it. They are cheerful, helpful, playful, and very talkative. After I spun my Swaledale (using a long draw for the first time – woohoo!), I had a severely thick and thin, very itchy, and hairy skien of singles. I decided to ply it with something, asked for some help on the Ravelry forum thread related to this months club, and Whamo! I had all the info, opinions, and input that I needed to make my yarn.

The colors are excellent, the feel, not so much. A bag it is.

After much searching, I landed on this one as inspiration and started knitting something that sort of turned out somewhat similar. Only better. In a handspun sort of way.

Call me crazy, but I love it. In a handspun sort of way.

It fits me perfectly. It will hold my wallet, keys and a spare diaper, which is about all that I carry these days.

But, knowing me, it will probably spend most of it’s life as a knitting project bag. Because that is how I roll.

Oh, and I might line it. But I might not. For now, I just want to look at it…

… as I anxiously await the September edition of Spunky fun to arrive.

Topping the Tots

I may be in a rut. I just can’t think of a better use for this handspun yarn than this.

It may be a rut, but it sure is a cute rut.

And the kids are loving it.

Look how happy The Fraggle is.

Oh, and with that same ball, I also topped The Princess quite smartly.

She likes hers, too.

The patterns for both of these hats are easy – just start knitting and see where it leads. Knitting is so fun, isn’t it?

Yarn Rav page here. Fraggle Hat Rav page here. Princess Hat Rav page here. You know, just in case you’re interested. 

Enjoying Every Inch

When I started spinning my own yarn, I discovered a whole new way to enjoy my hobby. This latest project is an excellent case in point.

I took this fiber –

spun it into this yarn –

wound it into this ball –

and then knit it into this pair of capris for The Fraggle –

Every single stitch was incredibly thrilling. I am so in love with this yarn! So, here are some more pictures!

Three things about this knit –

1. The yarn – I already gushed quite a bit, I know. So here are the details. The fiber came from Dear Husband and is a superfine merino dyed in the Norway Girl colorway. It has more brown that was intended, so I got a great deal on it. I spun it on my new wheel (my first yarn on the Elizabeth I). I learned how to chain ply on this yarn and am so thrilled with the results.

2. The pattern – I totally wing baby pants and soakers, now. If you are interested in the details, I used my Ravelry project page to remind myself what I was doing, so it is all here.

3. The plan – I made this a bit larger than I needed. My hope is that they will still fit come winter, and then I will add legs to it with snaps. (More on that in the months to come, I am sure).

I literally enjoyed every inch of this project twice – first in the spinning and then in the knitting. It was an incredibly satisfying spin/knit.

And I have three feet of yarn left over!

Spun It, Knit It, Gave It

Another handspun hat has flown off my needles and onto a loved one’s head. (Rav page for yarn here. For hat here.)

Fiber from the Cosymakes Falkland Fiber Club, the January 2012 colorway, spun on a drop spindle. 

This knit was a little eye opening for me and I learned something about spinning and about yarn in general. This yarn was my second attempt at spinning and it is horrid. Thick and thin, overspun here, underspun there, under plied all over, horrid. But, look at how beautiful it knitted up! Even badly spun yarn can make a lovely hat!

Three things about this knit –

1. The pattern was totally improv – I knit a cable band approximately the circumference of The Dancing Queen’s head, joined it into a ring, picked up a bunch of stitches, and knit straight for awhile. When it was time to decrease, I worked decreases at three points around on every row until I had only a few stitches left. A pom pom finished off the yarn (until I realized that I still have another skien hiding in the back of the yarn cabinet).

2. The Dancing Queen has been on a yellow kick for a few months now, and when she saw this fiber on my spindle, she claimed it as her own. She was very happy to see it become a hat and she can’t wait for it to get cold enough so that she can wear it.

3. Knitting hats is an excellent way to be creative and use up weird yarn. It is fun to just knit without a plan and then find that a really cute hat is at the end of the journey. Makes me want to spin some more, too!

Taking it to a Whole New Level

From fiber to finished object, I made this hat for The Man.

Mosaic Moon BFL/Silk Blue Louvre, spun on Ashford Traditional, two ply, approx. worsted weight. Rav page for hat here, for yarn here.

It is truly amazing that before I got a hold of it, that hat looked like this –

It feels a little bit magical and I am so pleased with the results.

Three things about this knit.

1. The spinning – This was my sixth wheel spun and I think it is pretty good. I am really getting the hang of spinning on the wheel. I also played with the colors a little, not haphazardly letting them fall where they may. I spun the first ply with the darker blues and browns and the second ply with the lighter blue and the silver. I also tried to keep them in order. I love that the yarn striped like it did. I didn’t really know how it would translate to knitted material and I was pleasantly surprised with the results.

2. The pattern – This is just a basic hat that I made up as I went along. I cast on 72 and worked a 4×4 rib for 9 inches. The decreases were worked at nine points every other row, first decreasing the purls, then the knits until I had worked it down to a 1×1 rib. I put in one cable row early on just for fun.

3. Knitting for The Man – When this fiber showed up in my mailbox, I knew that it was going to be a hat for The Man. He had been asking me for a hat for a few years, and while I have knit two hats for him, he still doesn’t have a hat. The first one was horrid and I am embarrassed when he wears it. The second hat was too small and The Boy wears it mostly. His head is large. Much larger than I imagine when I cast on so I pretty much gave up. Even this hat was a close call. I originally cast on 80, thought it was too big after knitting 10 rows, pulled it out, cast on 72, finished it, tried it on. Too small. Grrr. I played with the idea of just giving it to The Boy, but I really wanted it to be for The Man. So, I pulled it back and made it fit. At last, success! And careful note taking will help me make more successful man hats in the future.

Knitting with my own handspun was incredibly rewarding, so much so that I immediately jumped into another handspun knit. More on that later.

Oh, and tomorrow a package is coming via UPS that I cannot wait to receive, use, and show to you. What is it, you ask? I’ll give you a hint – I won’t be borrowing the Traditional from my buddy anymore. Heeheee!