Thursday, December 24, 2015

Star baby quilt top - with a slight problem

A few weeks ago (actually, a few weeks before Thanksgiving) I was feeling like I had done a lot of apparel sewing this year and not enough quilting.  I have fabric and pattern all ready to go for two or three lap to bed size quilts, but I was also feeling kind of overwhelmed with work and job-searching (I'm expecting to graduate in May), so I pulled out a Simply Color charm pack I've had sitting around for a while and the leftover grey background fabric from my Half Moon Modern Half-Square Triangle quilt and went to town with this free Moda pattern.

It took two evenings to piece the top.  I didn't trim my HST units or pin any seams until I had all of the rows sewn together.  It was quick and easy and fun, and really satisfying to get it done quickly, and I think it looks great - but it is decidedly not flat, which I'm feeling pretty okay about.  I think it will quilt out just fine.  I am not stressing out about this little baby quilt.

The problem came at the end of the second night of piecing, when I pulled out the fabric I had bought for backing and binding when I bought the charm pack.  I only have one yard of the backing fabric.  Lately I've been in a groove of making baby quilts about 40" by 50" and so I assumed that I would have 1.5 yards for the backing, but I don't.  I don't have enough binding fabric to do anything but bind it (only 1/3 yard!) and I don't have any of the grey fabric left over.  I think what I'm going to do is trim 4" of of the two wider borders on the top and then piece that fabric into the back along with a few leftover charm squares that didn't get used in the top.

I'm not really feeling inspired to finish this quilt right now, but at least I have a plan for how to finish it.  I don't like to have long-term hibernating UFOs, but I also don't know of any babies who will be needing a quilt from me any time soon, so I think I'm going to piece the back and then fold it all up until I feel like finishing it.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Being a mathematician improves my knitting

I am a mathematician.  The fact that I am a mathematician shapes the way I think, and slips out when I tell my mom that she doesn't need to worry about my apartment flooding because it's at a local maximum, or how I have a special appreciation for the non-simply-connected geological features at Arches National Park, or in my knitting.  Lately I've been noticing how my mathematical ways of thinking are helping me knit this little cable cardigan (Trellis from Knitty) for my nephew.

Modular Arithmetic: This particular cardigan has an 18-row cable pattern that repeats several times beginning with row 9 of the sweater body, while at the same time you knit a buttonhole every tenth row beginning in row 5.  So I know that I need to put a buttonhole in row 5, 15, 25, 35, and 45.  I want to start counting my rows with row 1 of the CABLE PATTERN, so using the new numbering system for rows, I'll be putting buttonholes in row 7 (this is the second buttonhole), 17, 27, and 37.  Then using modular arithmetic (also known as clock arithmetic) I reduce those modulo 18 and work buttonholes in rows 7, 17, 9, and 1 of the CABLE PATTERN. For me, this is much easier than trying to keep track of one count for the cable pattern and another for the buttonholes - instead, I just track everything in terms of the cable pattern.

Symmetry:  If you look closely at my photos in this post and compare them to the photos in the pattern, you'll notice that I changed some of the cable crossings.  Many mathematicians care a lot about symmetry (non-mathematicians care about this too, of course, but we're trained to notice it wherever we can).  This is a case where I think the pattern-writer was wrong.  If you imagine a vertical line going down the middle of the back of the sweater, in the center seed stitch column, and think of reflecting one side of the sweater across that line, you would get the other side of the sweater.  This is called a reflectional symmetry, and it makes for a much more pleasing image than what is written in the original pattern, with all of the large fancy cables twisting to the "right" and all of the little cables twisting "left."  I fixed this so that the two large fancy cables on each of the front and back twist toward the center, and each of the little cables twists toward the large fancy cable it frames.  

Braids:   This one doesn't really improve my knitting as much as add to my enjoyment.  My research is in knot theory, which is closely related to the study of mathematical braids. Every knitted cable is a braid; in this sweater, each of the fancy cables is a two-strand braid, and each of the little cables is a four-strand braid.  Referring back to symmetry for a moment, the mirror image of a braid is its inverse, so in this sweater we see braids paired with their inverses.  It makes me so happy when my work shows up in other areas of my life!  I'm so glad I'm a mathematician - if I wasn't, I wouldn't be able to properly appreciate this little sweater!  

Monday, October 26, 2015


I feel like I'm not making any progress on my knitting lately.  I seem to be knitting everything at least twice.  This is a sweater for my nephew.  It's going to be a Christmas gift.  I knitted almost the entire body in the car on the way to and from our vacation in August ... and I'm going to rip it all out to start over.  August was way too soon to start a Christmas gift for an infant.  This is way too small.  I'm going to start over with the next size (or maybe two sizes) up.
This is my second attempt on the second sleeve of my Lofoten sweater.  I knit the first sleeve twice, too, and then I didn't think to mark which of the two sets of increases (for the two times I knit the first sleeve) was the correct one.  So of course when I got ready to knit the second sleeve, I followed the wrong one.
This first sock picture was my second (maybe third?  I can't quite remember) attempt at stripey socks.  Then I tried it on, decided the leg was too short, and ripped it back to the top of the heel because it was also kind of gapey at the back ankle and I didn't want the leg to be half ribbed and half not.  

Here it is now.  I'm much happier with it, and hopefully on this one I can replicate it on the first try when I get to the second sock.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Stars baby quilt

I made this quilt for a church friend whose baby shower was last Sunday afternoon.  It was a bit of a scramble to get it done - I started it about 96 hours before the shower.  The four star blocks are from Vintage Quilt Revival.  Except for the blue-grey background and the purple print in the stars, all of the fabrics were scraps and stash.  I think there are elements of four other baby quilts in this quilt.
For the back, I used a cut off strip from the top of this quilt, bordered with the grey background from the front and filled in with a green solid I've had in my stash for a long time - this is almost the last of it.  To wrap the quilt, I rolled it up with the back facing out, and when she opened it my friend thought it was the main side of the quilt!  I quilted it all over with loopy-loops, using charcoal thread in the bobbin for the whole thing.  I used the same charcoal thread on top for the background, and switched to an off-white for the star blocks.  Then I machine bound it.
 I labeled the quilt by writing directly on the binding at one corner on the back of the quilt using an archival permanent pen.  It finished at about 39" by 50" after washing.

I'm really pleased with how the quilt turned out, and it got lots of oohs and aahs at the baby shower.  My friend sat with it over her lap for the rest of the shower!

Now I'm about out of low-volume fabrics.  I'm also running low on the green solid and the blue wave print that has showed up in several of my recent baby quilts (although not this one).  I think I need to re-stock my stash.  I'm really wanting a fat quarter or half yard bundle of the new Modern Background Paper by Zen Chic for Moda ...

Thursday, October 22, 2015


I finally made my Washi dress!  I bought the fabric with the intention of making this dress at least two years ago.  I'm really happy with how it turned out.  It's Anna Maria Horner Little Folks Voile, lined with a solid navy voile, and it feels so nice to wear.
I used Rae's video tutorials for a lined dress.  It was pretty straightforward.  I made a bodice muslin and then sewed the medium as-is, but with probably about 6 inches of extra length in the skirt.  Robert helped me level the hem at the right level.  I'm really liking my knee-length dresses right now.  The lining is hemmed about half an inch shorter than the outer dress, and that seems to work well.  I tacked the inner and outer dresses together at the side seams, which are french seams on both the outer dress and lining.

By far the most difficult part of making this dress was sewing in the sleeves.  There are notches in the armscyes for the edge of the cap sleeves, but no indication of how the sleeves should be eased in.  It may be that the length of the sleeve edge is exactly the same as the length of armscye between the notches, but if so that wasn't much help for pinning them in since the two edges curve in opposite directions.  I ended up aligning the center of the cap sleeve with the shoulder seam, but I have no idea if that was the right thing to do.  I guess it was, because it worked.  When I make this dress again I will not do cap sleeves.  Aside from being a pain to put in, they cut into the front of my arms a little bit.  I think I would be more comfortable in a sleeveless version or one with long sleeves - and I want to make both!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

An idea ...

I want to make my own long underwear!

Robert and I like to go camping and backpacking, and I've been wearing the same long underwear I got in high school for chilly evenings.  It's not particularly well-fitting, comfortable, warm, or cute.  The sleeves and legs are too short.

I've been dreaming about fancy wool or silk long underwear sets designed for backpacking.  The current plan is to buy a set of those for me with next year's REI dividend.  But then I had an idea: I could make a pair of leggings and a close-fitting long-sleeved t-shirt out of wool or wool-silk knit!

I'm looking at the Manila leggings from Seamwork and maybe modifying the bodice of the Lady Skater dress for the top.

I want the sleeves on the top to be extra-long and have thumb holes.

I like the leg cuff detail on the Manila leggings.  I like the idea of making my own long underwear, I think I could do it for less money than it would cost to buy a fancy SmartWool or Patagonia set, and I could make sure the sleeves and legs are long enough for me!

Now I need to start making practice leggings ... I think it will be a while before I'm ready to even think about buying wool knit fabric.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Special Birthday Dress!

My niece turned 2 last weekend.  I decided to make her a special dress.  It is a mash-up of the Geranium from Made by Rae and the Puppet Show dress from Oliver + S.  I used the geranium skirt, the puppet show sleeves, and a bodice that was mostly geranium.  I made the 2T size, which it turned out was quite a bit too big.  I thought it would be the right size since I made the a Geranium top for her in the 18-24 month size for the 4th of July, and that fit.  The 2T size isn't that much bigger than the 18-24 month, but I think the way I combined the bodice patterns made the shoulders a little bit wider, and the sleeves made it extra obvious that it was too wide for her.
I had intended to cut extra length in the skirt, but I only bought one yard of the fabric (Heather Ross Tiger Lily voile), and I didn't have enough.  Instead I added a faux sash to the bottom of the bodice and lining, using some navy voile leftover from the lining of a dress I'm sewing for myself.  I was pretty proud of the way I added the seamless sash. I stitched the ends of the sash to the back bodice pieces (after sewing the shoulder seams), then sewed the bodice and lining together along the neck and back edges as directed in the geranium pattern.  Then I sewed the side seams (bodice and lining separately), then went back and sewed the rest of the seam between bodice and sash:
This way there were no side seams in the sash.  Of course, later I realized that I could have sewn the side seams first, then the sash, then the neck and back edges, since I was adding sleeves and therefore couldn't finish the armscyes as directed in geranium.  So this was a bit of extra work, but now I have it figured out in case I ever want to add a sash/waistband to a straight-up geranium dress.
I sewed in the sleeves - I had to trim off the armholes because they were incredibly small!  I used the armscyes from the Puppet show pattern, and I don't know what happened.  There was no way the sleeves would fit into them.  I ended up trimming quite a bit off.
Then I went to sew the skirt pieces and discovered that I had made a cutting error.  I cut pockets onto the front skirt piece but not the back.  I felt really stupid.  The dress lost its pockets.
I fought with my sewing machine's button-hole function, but eventually got it to work.
The inside of the dress has no raw edges.  I bound the sleeve cuff seam with the cuff seam allowance and hand sewed the bodice lining to the seam allowance of the sleeve and to the skirt lining.
I added a layer of gathered tulle between the skirt and lining to give it a bit of extra fullness. I had a bit of trouble gathering the tulle, but it turned out well in the end.  I gathered the tulle, lining, and skirt in three separate layers and then pinned them all together.  I wish I had read this post by Nicole at Five and Counting before sewing this - I think her way would be much easier.

My niece looks very cute in her dress, even if it is too big.  When she gets taller I can add a band of the navy voile to the skirt hem to give it some extra length so she can wear it longer (especially given that it is so wide on her)!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

My Stripey Hat

I finished knitting my new hat on the drive to our backpacking trip.  The first night, we camped by the cars and my hat fell off multiple times in the night, so in the morning I quickly added braided ties.  Those worked well to keep it on the rest of the trip!

I don't have a super clear picture of the hat in action, but this one shows the hat okay and the beautiful lake where we camped our last night backpacking.  It was a wonderful trip!

Pattern: Lil' Midi Bean pilot cap
Size: midi
Yarn: grey fingering-weight yarn left over from this sweater, held double, and my Wensleydale handspun, not doubled
Needles: Size US5 bamboo DPNs
Started/Completed: August 2015
Modifications: I'm pretty sure my gauge was different from what the pattern suggested.  Also I added the stripes and used symmetric increases and a centered double decrease.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Dog bandannas

Huck has been wearing his last bandanna almost all the time since the 4th of July.  It's been such a success that I decided to make a few more.  The middle one here is for Huck, and the other two are for Huck to bring as a thank-you gift for the dogs he stayed with when Robert and I went on our backpacking trip.  All three are made with the same fabrics: super hero sound effects on one side and manly purple mustaches on the other.

The three dogs were very cute all wearing their bandannas.  Next time I'll have to remember to make the channel in the littlest one wider - Rusty's collar wouldn't fit through his, so it was safety pinned to his collar.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Striped hat - with Handspun!

Robert and I are planning a backpacking trip soon, and I decided I want a new hat.  I don't usually like to wear hats, because I don't like the feeling of having something touch my eyebrows (and any normal hat that comes down far enough to cover my ears seems to touch my eyebrows). I decided a long time ago that what I need is a bonnet or pilot cap of some sort.  Robert suggested that I should use my handspun, so I decided to knit this pilot cap in stripes, using leftover yarn from this sweater held double for the grey and my Wensleydale handspun for the stripes.
So far it's working pretty well.  I had to start over, because I initially started knitting the larger size (starting with 139 stitches).  It quickly became clear that it was WAY too big for me.  Now I'm using the "midi" size instructions, and it seems like the size will probably work out okay.  If it doesn't, I still have the dorkiest hat ever (an orange and red Klein bottle hat) to fall back on.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Stripey socks: Take 1

I'm almost to the heel turn on my first stripey sock, but I'm going to rip it out.  I started doing a Fleegle heel (which I recently learned is also called a Strong heel) like I did on my last pair of socks.  I decided that this time I wanted a slipped stitch heel pattern, so I started doing eye of partridge at the same point where I started the gusset increases.  I was inconsistent about the edge of the pattern though - next time I will place markers to delineate the slipped stitch area.  I would also wait to start the slipped stitches - I think it looks a little strange to have them go a third of the way down the sole of the sock.

Once I had decided I would rip it out, I decided I don't want to do this kind of heel after all.  I chose it because short row and afterthought heels are usually too tight across the instep on my feet.  But now that I'm getting to it, I'm deciding that I don't want to distort the stripe pattern at all.  I did a bit of research on heels for self-striping socks (and almost ordered this book from Amazon but managed to restrain myself) and came across this article on Knitty.  I'm going to try a gussetted afterthought heel.  Hopefully it will fit better, and the stripes will be just a tiny bit narrower around the heel, but not any narrower than the last two stripes in the photo of my Fleegle gusset, which I think is fine.  I'm excited to see how it turns out!

I still want the Sock Architecture book.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Five steeks

I reached a big milestone on my Lofoten sweater this weekend: I finished the body!  It has five steeks ready to be reinforced and cut: two for the armscyes, one for the placket, one for the front neck, and one for the back neck.  It looks pretty ridiculous with all of the holes closed.  The shoulder seams are already "sewn" with a contrasting 3-needle bind-off.
I had a little bit of a panic because it seemed way too long, but I compared it to a ready-made sweater I own and held it up against my body after I got the shoulders bound off and I think it will be perfect.  Now I just need to finish knitting the sleeves and gather my courage for the steeks (there are two on the sleeves, too!) and the sweater should be finished in time to wear this fall!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Spinning along

I've been spinning at least one day a week since the Tour de Fleece ended.  I still have a ways to go on these singles, but I am making good progress.  It's good to keep the spinning in my fingers - I had a really great groove going by the end of the tour de fleece and was hardly ever breaking my singles, even though I'm spinning this as finely as I can manage.  Now I'm having a few more breaks and it's a bit frustrating, but I'm still enjoying it.  I can hardly wait to see the shawl that this is going to be!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Hydrangea Mystery Shawl!

I finished my Hydrangea Mystery Knit-a-long Shawl last week.  I think the edging turned out beautifully!  It has an interesting construction method: a long narrow edging is knitted, then stitches are picked up along one edge and the shawl is knitted up from the bottom edge with decreases in each of two side triangles, with a lace panel in the center.
Learning to read your knitting was a big focus of the text in the pattern, and the little lace circles are pretty easy to read.  I've been doing lace knitting (and other kinds of knitting) for a long time and I'm pretty good at reading my knitting, but it's a bit more difficult to do when the background is garter, as it is with the Hydrangea shawl.  
I knitted the larger of the two sizes in the pattern, and was surprised that the shawl is pretty small.  I think it would cover my shoulders and that's about it.  Maybe this is because I used a different yarn than the one called for?

I have a ton of yarn left over!  It was a 100gm skein, and I still have 69gm left.  Enough for two more of these or a different large shawl.  In any case I'm not keeping this one.  I'll either give it as a gift sometime this year or donate it to my church's auction in the Fall.

Pattern: Hydrangea Mystery Knit-a-long Shawl by Courtney Kelley for the Fibre Company
Size: larger 
Yarn: Lanna Gatto Harmony 2/30 in Captain Navy, 31g of a 100g skein
Needles: I already forgot
Started/Completed: June 2015/July 2015
Modifications: none

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tour de Fleece Finish!

Here is what I accomplished during the Tour de Fleece, which ended on Sunday.  I finished spinning the singles, plied, and washed my green gradient shetland.  I ended up with about 468 yards total, including both skeins (the larger, darker skein is about 357 yds and the smaller, lighter on is about 110 yds).  I think it's approximately sport weight, but I haven't checked.

The third skein was 2 ounces of Wensleydale wool, which I bought on vacation in Vermont six years ago from the Wool Shed at Frostbite Falls Farm.  I spun it sort-of long draw and plied it into a 2-ply.  I'm not wild about the finished yarn.  I don't love how the colors work together, although I do think it's better in person than in the photo.  It's not that soft, and there's not that much of it.  I have no idea what I'm going to do with it.  The skein is about 64 yards.

On the bobbin is almost half of my Hello Yarn Portuguese merino in the colorway "Furry Paws" from Yarn School in October 2012.  The plan is to spin two equal bobbins of singles and then ply them to end up with lace-weight two-ply finished yarn.  This might be my ongoing spinning project for quite a while!

All in all, I consider my Tour de Fleece to be a success.  I spun just about every day - the Tour has two rest days, so even though I missed two days I made them up by spinning on the official rest days.  I feel like I got a good rhythm going with my spinning, and I really do enjoy spinning.  I'm going to leave my wheel in my living room and keep spinning at least once a week - my plan is that Tuesdays Are For Spinning.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tour de Fleece: Stages 12-16

I started a new spinning project Thursday night (which was stage 12 of the Tour de Fleece).  This is Hello Yarn Portuguese Merino from Yarn School 2012.  I have 4oz of combed top, and it's in beautiful olive, brown, and light blue-grey colors.  I'm trying to spin it very finely and hoping to end up with a 2-ply lace-weight.  It's easy and smooth to spin, but going pretty slowly.  I doubt I'll even have the singles finished before the Tour de Fleece ends on Sunday.

I missed spinning on Saturday (stage 14) because we were visiting family out of town, so I'm going to spin today (which is a rest day for the Tour de France) to make up for it.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tour de Fleece: Stages 10 & 11

On Tuesday (Tour de Fleece Stage 10) I finished spinning the singles of my 2 oz of Wensleydale.  I figured out/remembered that I could spin it long draw from the fold and that made a huge difference!  It went much faster and more smoothly.
Yesterday (Stage 11) I plied the singles.  I chain plied, and it mostly went smoothly.  There were several places where the singles were too thin or underspun and the thread broke as I was plying - including one spot where the broken end got lost in the bobbin of singles and I ended up cutting it.  Those spots were much more common towards the end of the plying, which was of course the beginning of the singles, when I hadn't yet figured out how to spin this fiber.  Towards the end I also noticed that the singles were way underspun (you can see this in the picture) so I may not be able to actually use all of the yarn.  I'm okay with that.

I have no idea what weight this is or how many yards I have - I still need to skein it off and wash it.

Today I get to spin something new!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Lofoten sweater progress

Between my mystery shawl and the Tour de Fleece, my Lofoten sweater has been neglected lately.  Before the mystery shawl started I had been making good progress on the colorwork - it's not particularly visible in this picture, but I finished the mountains at the bottom of the black-and-white section.  I feel like my shawl is moving pretty quickly now (it helps when every row gets shorter!) I'm looking forward to getting back to this sweater.  Although I do have a trip to a lovely yarn shop planned for this weekend, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that Lofoten will get pushed back in favor of something else new and exciting!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Swans Island Socks finished

I finished my Swans Island Socks last weekend.  I'm really happy with how they turned out!  I used Swans Island sock yarn, which is an organic superwash wool.  It's a really beautiful color and has great texture and stitch definition.  The socks are soft and stretchy.  I made up the pattern as I went along, using Fleegle's toe-up heel.  The cables at the toes and cuffs are inspired by these socks.  I finished the cuffs with Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off - this was the first time I've used it, and I really like how it turned out.
The yarn looks grey in some lights and light brown in others.  I think they're beautiful!
According to my blog, I started these socks at the beginning of April, so they took just over three months to finish, although I definitely wasn't working on them very steadily for a lot of that time.

Tour de Fleece

Yesterday was a rest day for the Tour de France, but since I missed spinning last Thursday I decided to make it up by spinning anyway.  I spun for about an hour, still working on the wensleydale top.  I started out with 58g of fiber (the package says 2 oz) and I have 31g left.  I feel kind of impatient to finish spinning this so I can move on to something I'll like better.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tour de Fleece: Stage 9

I spun a bit more Wensleydale yesterday. I'm moving a bit towards long draw, just grabbing with my right hand close to the orifice and pulling back with my left hand. The yarn seems to be breaking less often. It's pretty fuzzy-sort of like what I think of mohair as looking like.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Adjustable-waist toddler shorts

I made these shorts for my niece, who is a very skinny almost two.  Her size 2T pants and shorts have been falling down, but anything smaller is too short!  I had been admiring the Oliver + S Puppet Show Shorts for a while, and when I got a hole in the knee of one of my pairs of jeans, I decided to repurpose the remaining good fabric into a pair of toddler shorts.

The fronts of my jeans were totally worn through, but the backs of the legs were in good shape, so I cut along the side seams and inseams and across below the back pockets.  That gave me enough fabric for the body of the shorts and the pockets.  I used a large scrap of quilting cotton for the waistband, leg hems, and pocket edges, partly because I didn't have enough of the the denim and partly because the denim would have been too bulky for these folded parts.  (I did interface the waistband with some lightweight interfacing.)
I cut a size 3T because the size chart for these shorts lists the finished measurement for the size 2T shorts as smaller than the hip measurement given in the size chart for a kid to fit in the 2T shorts.  The stated sizing didn't make any sense to me.  They may be a bit too big for my niece, but I found a reference on some blog to making adjustable waist kids' shorts using buttonhole elastic, so that's what I did!  I didn't sew the front bottom of the waistband all the way down.  Instead I left a 1-2" gap, put a buttonhole in the top layer and a button on the back layer, and threaded buttonhole elastic through.  I put the buttonholes in the elastic over the button at what I guessed might be the right length, pushed about 5 more inches of elastic into the channel, and buttoned the front outside of the waistband over it.  It was pretty easy! (Although the extra elastic did make the waist of the shorts a bit more bulky.)

The most labor intensive (and cutest) part of the shorts by far were the pockets:

Tour de Fleece: Stage 7 & 8

I did spin on Friday (Stage 7), but somehow I didn't manage to get a picture.  I finished plying my green yarn (you can see it in the bottom of the picture up top, I haven't wound it off the bobbin yet). Yesterday for stage 8 I started spinning a braid of Wensleydale that I've had in my stash for at least 6 years.  It was immensely frustrating.  I want to get comfortable with long draw spinning, so I figured I would practice on this, but the staple length of the wensleydale is really really long, I was having trouble with the drafting, and the singles was lumpy and kept breaking on me.  I felt like I couldn't get enough twist in without having the twist all the way up to my fingers and the fiber I hadn't drafted back yet.  I think part of the problem is that the staple length is so long - I think 8-10".   
So after a few minutes I reverted to my modified short draw that I always do, but I might try to watch a few videos of people doing long draw and try again.  I don't think I'm going to like the finished yarn, so I figure this is really just for practice.  You can see in the picture of the combed top (there's about one staple length pulled off, split in half, and fluffed on the right) that the staple length is longer than the color changes, so there's no way the yarn isn't going to look muddy.  I also don't like how the colors are much more pastel in the spun singles than in the length of top.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Tour de Fleece: Stage 5

Wednesday was Stage 5 of the Tour de France/Tour de Fleece.  I filled up a bobbin with 2-ply green yarn.  I also figured out the awful squeaking noise my wheel was making.  The drive band was slipping on the drive wheel.  At first I thought that meant my drive band was too stretched out and I would need to replace it, but then I did some internet research.  It turns out that for the smaller whorls, it is sometimes necessary to tension the drive band with the little white drive band tensioner wheel (just above the red drive wheel in the picture).  I had thought that the drive band tensioner was only for the double drive set-up, but the wheel's documentation also mentions it in connection with the smaller whorls in Scotch tension set-up (which is the only set-up I've ever used).  I started using the drive band tensioner once I figured out where the sound was coming from and it seemed to help, but next time I sit down to spin I'll set it much more aggressively and hope that that makes the noise go away all together.

Yesterday I had a super busy day with work and then a church commitment, and I didn't even think about spinning until I got home from church at almost nine o'clock and just wanted to go to bed.  So yesterday was an unplanned rest day.  I'm planning to spin on the first planned rest day (I think it's the 13th) to make up for it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Friday night sewing

I sat down to sew last Friday with two projects in mind. The first was a fourth of July bandanna for Huck, inspired by the one my cousin gave him for Christmas. I used scraps from other projects, and one side of the bandanna is red, white, and blue and the other is a single lime green print. Huck was very cute and patriotic wearing it for the fourth!
The other project was another pair of cloth napkins. I really love this constellations fabric, and I'm excited to get to use it every day! This fabric turned out to be narrow, so I ended up having to hide a bit of the selvedge in the hem of one of the napkins. Luckily it's not visible now that the hem is finished.