Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Finished yarn!

This is the first yarn that I've finished since I went to yarn school, which was over a year and a half ago.  It is one ply of natural white BFL and one ply of a batt that was mostly alpaca with a bit of tussah silk and a little bit of something sparkly.  The color in the bottom photo is much more accurate - the natural really is a creamy white, not yellow.  I honestly don't love the yarn, but I am satisfied that I finished it.  I guess I should wait until it's knitted up into something before I make a final judgment, but I don't know what I should knit from it.  If I counted correctly when I was winding the yarn onto the niddy-noddy, there are about 225 yards here.  It's kind of thick and thin, and I sort of wish that the plies were more tightly twisted around each other, if that makes sense.  I think I am going to try to overtwist my singles and plies a bit on my next spinning project to make that happen.  I should probably make a sample card for quality control on my next project, too, to try to make it more consistent.
Fiber: one ply BFL, one ply mostly alpaca with a bit of silk
Yardage: ~225yds
Weight: sport to bulky, but mostly worsted?
Spun and plied on my Ladybug

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A quilt finish!

 Before I went on vacation, I finished my moth quilt.  I've been referring to this as my "half-bed quilt" - it covers my half of the bed only, because I'm usually cold.  For daytime, I've usually been draping it across the foot of the bed. 

The plan for this quilt was that it should be a manageable project and provide free motion quilting practice.  I think it did both, although it did take me a lot longer to quilt than I expected!  I did a sketchy outline of all of the moths, using continuous lines and overlapping and jumping between moths as necessary. 
 You can see the back in the next photo.  The front is a single piece of Anna Maria Horner's Sinister Swarm from Field Study, and the back and binding are Free Spirit Designer Solids (the back is also a single piece of cloth).  I machined the binding on both sides by attaching it in the normal way to the front, clipping it to the back with binding clips, and stitching in the ditch from the front.  It worked really well!  I stitched in the ditch on the top with the same purple thread I had used for the purple and in the bottom with a thread to match the binding.  I wasn't sure I had enough of the purple thread, so I went ahead and bought another spool, but I almost didn't need it.  I ran out of thread just as I finished backstitching after I had stitched all the way around the quilt!  I did need the extra thread after all, though, since there were three or four spots where I didn't manage to catch the binding on the back, so I had to go back and fix them.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Vacation knitting!

 I've been working away at my toadstool socks, and I finished the first one while Robert and I were on vacation the last ten days.  I did an afterthought heel over almost 60% of the stitches.  I'm pretty happy with it.  I started the second sock, and I'm already counting down the toadstool repeats left to go!

 The white crescent shawl was my airplane knitting project, and it's almost done.  I have fewer than ten rows of lace left to do.  This thing got really wide - I'm pretty sure it's longer than my long circular needle.  I guess I'll just block it for depth as much as I can and hope it's not too long and unwieldy.  I still have a lot of yarn left - probably enough to make another small or crescent-shaped shawl.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What I've been working on lately

I've been spinning a lot more often lately, and I'm really enjoying it!  It's very relaxing to sit and spin while Robert reads aloud in the evenings.  We've both been impressed by how "productive" wheel-spinning is.  It's really gratifying to see the singles accumulate on the bobbin at what seems like an incredible rate.  I've been spinning some undyed white BFL (I bought a whole pound to practice with after I got back from yarn school 18 months ago!) but recently I've started reading a few spinning blogs and have really wanted to spin some of the gorgeous colored fiber I have.  So I started spinning a lovely custom carded alpaca and tussah silk batt that I bought two (I think? maybe it was three) years ago.  It's a lot of fun to spin - pretty easy, and it's fun to see the interplay of the different colors.  Here's the rest of the batt:
My plan is to ply this with some of the white BFL singles I've been spinning.  I only have two ounces of the alpaca, and I want to stretch it into more yardage - also I think I will like the candy-cane stripe effect.

My other new project is these toadstool socks in fancy self-patterning yarn.  This yarn was given to me at yarn school, and it is a pain to work with!  You have to get the tension EXACTLY right or the mushrooms will be all messy and ugly.  Also, the pattern is written pretty terribly (and apparently not tech-edited?), which is a shame since the kits are so incredibly expensive.  The pattern calls for casting on 56 stitches, and says that if your yellow and green stripes work out to almost exactly two rounds, you'll be good to go.  I did not find this to be the case.  After starting over on the toadstools about 5 times, I finally looked at the chart and realized that the pattern is for 52 stitches!
I started over a sixth time with the right number of stitches, and I've been following the chart religiously, adjusting my tension stitch by stitch to make sure I have the correct number of red and white stitches in each section.

I'm glad I kept working on these - I'm finally getting the hang of it (I've knitted another one and a half repeats of the toadstools since this picture was taken) and the socks are going to be really cool when I'm finished, but I'm also glad that I'm not the one who paid for this yarn.

Both the purple yarn and the socks count as new starts.  I've also finished a quilt that I haven't blogged yet, so I'm at six finishes and three starts since I started counting in February.  I want to finish some more things so I can sew myself some clothes!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

CMS and Colloquium knitting

Week-before-last was the last week of classes for the spring semester, and also the last CMS and colloquium of the semester.  I kept going on the stockinette section of my white shawl(ette).  I'm getting very close to starting the lace section.  I've got over two hundred stitches (if I remember right), which is more than the pattern says to have when you start the lace for the smallest size (and the second-smallest size!) but since I've totally been winging the increases, I haven't knitted as many rows as the pattern calls for in the smallest size, so I'm a little worried about what the final measurement is going to be.  I also haven't used as much yarn as I expected, but I'm not sure how much yarn the lace section is going to take, so I'm not quite sure what to do.  I want to use up all of the yarn, but not run out again.

I guess I'll start the lace section very soon, but this project will probably move much more slowly this summer.