Sunday, October 19, 2014

I Can't Un-see It

I am nearly done finished spinning up the second half of this month's Fat Cat Knits fiber club shipment, which I started spinning on Friday night. The colorway of this fiber is called Periwinkle Sky, but (and this may just be because I have a 4-year-old girl in the house) I haven't been able to look at it without seeing the colors of Frozen:

This should be finished up and ready to be plied in the next couple of days!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Being Secretive

I've been knitting a bunch the past few days, but I can't show you what I've been knitting or even give much of a clue. I'm sorry to have to tease you with that information, but I at least wanted to give some explanation for why there's not much knitting on the blog this week. I'm about halfway done with that project, though, and hope to maybe have it wrapped up in another week or so, so soon I'll return to my regular projects.

I have continued to work on my handspun socks during my lunch break, and they've made a couple of outings as well. I'm more than halfway through the leg of the second sock now:

These will be coming with me this evening, when the Mister and I are attending a taping of one of my favorite radio shows, Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me! I've been wanting to see a live taping for years now, so I'm thrilled that they've finally come back to Pittsburgh. I bought tickets as soon as I heard about it, but we'll be way back in the top of the balcony area (I keep reminding myself that this is a radio show, so it's okay if I can't see that well).

The weekend coming up is going to be a bit of a whirlwind -- a concert, three kids' birthday parties, and a high school reunion to attend -- so I'm not sure when I'll get back to my wheel and you shouldn't be too surprised if I don't post on Sunday. I think when it's over I'm going to need a vacation! All of you who are going to Rhinebeck, please have a wonderful time and post lots of pictures so that I can be properly envious!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Off Kilter

It's Tuesday today, which is something I've had to keep reminding myself of all day long. This is what happens when you take a Monday off from work and it feels like a Sunday. Today was back to the normal schedule, though I've felt a little off all day.

Part of that might be due to the fact that I keep bouncing from project to project. I started the sleeve decreases on my Sople on Saturday, but I put it down as soon as I find out that our neighbors finally had their baby because that meant I had to knit a hat in a hurry -- it's my opinion that any baby born in October is required to have a pumpkin hat. I dug out some leftovers of Cascade 220 superwash and whipped up a Berry Baby Hat in a matter of hours. The Mister didn't believe that I could knit a hat that fast, but this is 64 stitches in worsted weight -- easy peasy. I cast on Saturday evening and had it finished by Sunday morning.

I made no mods to the pattern, and you can see why this is one of my go-to patterns when I need a quick baby knit. It's easy to do, requires very little yarn (I had only a partial skein of the orange when I started and probably have enough to make another one), and is always cute. It was a big hit with the new mom and dad, too.

I spent a good portion of my down time yesterday spinning and was able to finish up the first bobbin of singles from my most recent Fat Cat Knits club shipment (it's amazing how fast spinning will go when you're not spinning frog hair!).

And I also finished a sock:

I don't think these have made their blog debut before, but these are being knit from some yarn I spun during this year's Tour de Fleece. It looks like I should have enough leftover to make Rainbow a pair of socks as well, and I have another braid of fiber in the colorway to spin into a self-striping yarn -- as much as I like the blended look here, I also want a pair of socks where the colors stay as bright as they were in the original fiber.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Nearly Instant Gratification

After the last spinning project, I needed to spin up something thick and quick, so I took this braid of fiber from Fat Cat Knits (superwash merino in Wayfarer):

I split it into thirds and very quickly spun up three bobbins' worth of singles. Today and yesterday, in maybe two hours total, I plied it all. Here it is in progress:

and on the niddy noddy:

It's currently soaking in the tub, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to see what the final yardage is.

Meanwhile, my October club shipment from FCK arrived earlier in the week -- 5 oz. of superwash merino in two colors, Ruby Truffle and Periwinkle Sky. Rainbow promptly claimed it for herself, so I'm spinning up each color separately and will ply them together, with the plan to make her a hat and/or mittens (or "middens," as she calls them).

I started spinning up the Ruby Truffle already. This fiber practically spins itself!

I'm off from work tomorrow to stay home with Rainbow (her preschool is closed) so I'm hoping to spend at least a little of it behind the wheel.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Well That Was Most Unfortunate

In the past year, I've gotten used to hand-knit socks wearing out on me. After all, I've been knitting socks for quite a few years, and I wear hand-knit socks pretty much every day of the fall, winter, and spring, so they get a lot of use. Yesterday, though, I got a surprise that I was not expecting -- and it was not a pleasant surprise. I was getting changed after work to go for a run, and I took off the socks I'd been wearing all day (my Rubus suberectus socks, which were finished just last spring) only to discover that I had a soon-to-be hole on the heel flap on one of them, and close inspection of the other sock revealed some thinning in the same area.

This was such a surprise to me because usually I wear out socks under the ball of my foot or even under the heel, but the heel flap is usually a safe area. Granted, these socks have a ribbed heel flap without any reinforcement, and the yarn I used also might not have been ideal for socks, but I didn't expect these to wear out as quickly as they did given that I haven't worn them that many times (maybe a dozen times or fewer). I'm going to have to go stash diving to see if I have any of the yarn leftover that could be used to reinforce the heel flaps, but I'll be honest -- I'm more than a bit bummed. These socks were not an especially fast knit because of the stitch pattern, and other than the heel, they still look brand new. But I suppose I have to accept that if I'm going to wear hand-knit socks, they are eventually going to wear out.

Meanwhile, last night I sat down to rectify the sleeve situation on my Sople. I ripped out everything I had done, picked up stitches again, and started working the short-row sleeve cap -- only to discover when I was nearly done that I'd completely misread the directions and had to rip back again. (You know how they always say to read through the pattern before you start knitting? It's really not a bad idea.) Fortunately, what I'd missed made the process a lot faster, so by the time I put it down for the night, I'd finished all the short rows and was ready to start decreasing. I have about 12 extra stitches, due to having to pick up more than specified, but I actually like the extra space in the arm, especially considering I almost always wear a shirt under my sweaters. I need to sit down and ponder the rest of the arm instructions to figure out if I want to decrease all the extra stitches away or if I want to adapt the cuff to be slightly wider. One can only hope that when it comes time to do the second sleeve, I'll be able to get it right on the first try.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Done but for the Baby

Our neighbors' baby is due to arrive any second now, but I no longer feel guilty for delaying its arrival because its sweater isn't done.

Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy (100% superwash merino) in Miami Red, less than one skein
Needles: US 5 (3.75 mm)
Started/Completed: September 15/October 1
Mods: omitted buttonholes in favor of applied I-cord loops and edging

I have lost count of how many times I have knit this pattern now; it's become my go-to pattern when I need a baby gift and the gender of the baby is unknown. I like knitting it in sock yarn for a newborn, especially one born in the fall or winter, because it ends up fitting almost right away and it's not too bulky. I knit one for Rainbow way back when, and she actually wore it home from the hospital.

The main mod I made was to use an applied I-cord edging all the way around the fronts, neckline, and bottom of the body. This makes it really easy to apply some loops that function as buttonholes. With my own kid, I found it a lot easier to fasten her up using this big loops as opposed to trying to squeeze tiny buttons into buttonholes, so I've continued doing it with the BSJs I've knit since then.

I still have to weigh my leftovers, but there's plenty of yarn left (perhaps enough to make a tiny hat, should I feel so inspired).

Once I finished the baby knitting, I did turn my attention back to my own sweater, which I'm happy to report now has a finished body, finished button bands, and a finished neckline. The last thing that remains to be done is the sleeves, which are worked seamlessly from the top down, starting with a short-row sleeve cap. I've only done this type of sleeve construction once before, and it was years ago and a bit of a disaster. What you see here is actually going to be ripped out and started over because I didn't really start it in the right place and I need to make some adjustments.

I'm starting to get anxious about finishing this -- we actually had to turn our heat on over the weekend because it went down into the 30s overnight! I wouldn't mind another sweater to add to my fall/winter wardrobe right now.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Well Worth the Wait

When I spin, I have a tendency to spin fine yarns, so it should not come as a surprise that it sometimes takes me a while to finish a project. I was a bit shocked, however, at how long it took me to finish this skein, because it felt like I was spinning a lot (and I was using my miniSpinner, which usually makes things a bit faster). My Ravelry spinning project page tells me that I started spinning this fiber (my Fat Cat Knits club shipment from July, I believe, an 85% polwarth/15% silk blend in the colorways Betty Boop and Olive Oyl) way back on August 15 -- so more than a month and a half from start to finish. As a reminder, here's what the fiber looked like before I started spinning:

I decided I wanted to do sort of a faux gradient, so I split each braid in half lengthwise and alternated the pieces so that they would flow into each other (blue going into purple, orange going into yellow):

I wound all the fiber up into a big ball and spun from one end to the other, then chain plied. It took several plying sessions to get it all done, but I finally have a finished skein. After washing, it looks to be a light fingering weight and roughly 689 yards. It's gorgeous, and I love it, but I have absolutely no idea what to do with it.

The colors are just amazing:

As soon as I finished plying and winding off and got the skein in the wash, I knew I wanted to start something new (but much thicker), so I pulled out another braid of FCK fiber, this time superwash merino in a colorway called Wayfarer.

I split the top into thirds and am spinning up a three-ply worsted weight (or perhaps heavier). I am thinking that the yarn from this fiber would be good for a hat or mittens when it's done. The first bobbin of singles was finished up in short order yesterday and the second one is about halfway done.

Judging from how quickly this is spinning up, I think I'll have a finished skein by next Sunday!