Sunday, August 31, 2014

I Put It Off Long Enough

Spinning laceweight yarn is truly an exercise in endurance. First, you have to spin the singles, which of course have to be very fine if the finished yarn is going to be thin. That, for me at least, can take quite a while. When you finished that, you then have to get yourself mentally and physically ready to deal with all you've spun again as you ply. In my case, I started spinning some Bee Mice Elf mixed BFL/silk on one of the last days of the Tour de Fleece. Here's what it looked like to refresh your memory:



Normally I'd use my miniSpinner to ply, but I had the itch to start spinning up some other pretty fiber on it, so the two bobbins sat. Today, I decided it was finally time to start plying. A couple of girlfriends were coming over for the afternoon to knit and spin while the Mister took Rainbow to a birthday party, so it was the perfect excuse to sit at the wheel for several hours. Here's how the bobbin looked about halfway through:


I'm not finished yet, but I can see the end in sight, so I'm hoping to finish, skein, and wash tomorrow while we're off for the holiday. It will feel great to start a new month with a new skein of handspun!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thank Goodness for Decreases

I have been enjoying a rare day off today. Rainbow's day care/school is closed for two days while they get ready for the start of the school year, so that meant I took off two days from work. I had envisioned two days of sleeping in, relaxing, and getting a lot of knitting done. Of course, that's not happening. I woke up -- on my own -- at around the normal time this morning. I slept in for about ten minutes, but then I figured I might as well get up. We were out the door by 8:30 to go to her dentist appointment and then run a bunch of errands. By the time I sat down to do any knitting today, it was after 1 o'clock -- and I started nodding off as I was knitting. So I managed to snooze for about half an hour.

Although I haven't been nearly as productive as I might have imagined, I am working on the crown of Rainbow's blue hat, which means the rounds are getting shorter and shorter.


As soon as I post this, I'm going to try to finish up the last 10 or so rounds so that I can weave in ends and block tonight. I have grand plans of finishing up the pattern and doing a photo shoot this weekend, but something tells me I won't get everything done.

Tomorrow I should be able to get more knitting done. We are hosting my parents for dinner for their anniversary, and I'm planning to bake a cake and make a brisket, so there will be lots of sitting around while the oven is on. Stockinette in the round, here I come!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I've Seen the Future, and It Is Stockinette

I did a fair amount of work on Rainbow's Magnolia in Bloom over the weekend, and as a result, it's actually starting to look like the finished thing. After posting on Thursday, I worked the rest of the yoke that needed to get done before moving on to the next step. The construction at that point is actually quite clever. Once you've knit about an inch below where you joined the underarms, you put the body stitches on hold (conveniently, you can even leave them on the needles you were using to knit). Then, with a smaller set of needles and a new skein of yarn, you pick up for and work the ribbed neckline and then the two button bands, both of which are worked in 1x1 rib. Then you return back to the body and join for working in the round by overlapping the button bands and picking up stitches through both layers of fabric.

My join was a little sloppy, but it's nothing I can't fix with a little duplicate stitch and some strategic weaving in of ends behind the join.


After about eight rounds of garter stitch, there's a whole bunch of increases for fullness of the "skirt" portion of the tunic, and then it's nothing but stockinette in the round for quite some time. Eventually there will be some more of the lace at the bottom, but for now, it's just mindless knit knit knit knit.

I must admit that as much as I was enjoying this project, I have been cheating on it a little the past couple of days. A couple of weeks ago, Rainbow had asked me to make her a new hat, and she'd indicated a skein of Knit Picks Palette that she really liked. (Strangely enough, it's a very similar shade of blue. I'm sensing a new trend in her color preferences!) I was planning on making a fingering version of my new hat design anyway, so on Sunday night I cast on for it with the intention of having it do double duty as a pattern sample and a hat for her.


This was meant to be my lunchtime knitting, but I got to the joining round of the brim last night and couldn't put it down until I got the lace established. Then, once I got going, I didn't want to stop. So now I have several inches of hat done -- and I'm not complaining. I'm planning on giving her top more attention later in the week (we'll be off together on Thursday and Friday, and stockinette in the round is ideal when I'm sitting around with her). On top of that, there's a long weekend coming up, which means more knitting time. Stockinette, here I come!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Slow and Steady

I have a feeling you're going to be seeing this spinning project for many weeks to come.


I have moved from purple to pink and finally to orange, and I can see the end of the strip of fiber. Unfortunately, there are three more strips to go after I finish this one, so it's going to be quite a while until all the singles are spun. It's a good thing there's a holiday weekend coming up!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Small Yarn, Small Sweater

As much as I hated interrupting the new-found mojo on my sweater, I decided that it really made much more sense to work on Rainbow's new sweater than mine -- hers is, after all, a short-sleeved sweater that won't fit her forever. So I've been working on it diligently for the past two evenings, and despite the fact that I'm knitting with fingering weight yarn (and a thin fingering at that), I'm seeing noticeable progress.


The sweater was cast on a week ago, but what you're seeing here is really only three evenings worth of knitting time. I know it looks tiny; trust me that it's bigger than it looks (it's just all bunched up on the needle here). Last night I got past the point where I put the sleeve stitches on holders, so I'm just working straight down at this point. I need to work a little more than an inch under where I joined for the underarm before the next step, and I'm hoping to get to that point this evening.

In design news, I did want to mention that I have two new shawl designs up for testing in my Ravelry group and still have a few slots open, so please take a look if you might be interested in test knitting one of the lace patterns you've seen here several times!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Who Knew?

Apparently all it took for me to find the love I'd thought I'd lost for my sweater was to mention that I wasn't sure why I wasn't liking it anymore. I pulled it out over the weekend -- mainly because I thought I'd be self-disciplined and plow forward on it -- only to discover that I did indeed still love it. I will admit that I do not love working twisted ribbing flat all that much, but look at what hours of it have made:


You gotta admit, that's some damn sexy twisted ribbing. I was going to end a bit sooner than the pattern specified, but then I measured where I was just before putting it away last night and realized that I have just about an inch to do. So that should get me one more cable crossing for a total of five, which is a good round number, I think.

I'm going to take a break from my sweater tonight, though, to give some attention to Rainbow's sweater, which frankly hasn't seen any action since I started it last Thursday night.


This will be a lot easier on my wrists (not to mention that the rows will go a heck of a lot faster, even with a bunch of increases).

I think it's fair to say that my mojo has been reignited!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Thin Is In

I know that my default yarn when I spin is on the thin side, but lately it's been getting ridiculous. On Friday night, I finally finished up the second bobbin of my Bee Mice Elf BFL/silk singles. Granted, I was going for a two-ply laceweight, so I knew that it would take some time, but there were some moments in the middle there when I thought I'd never finish. But finish I did:


I can't quite bring myself to think about plying just yet, because I know it's going to take almost as long to ply as it did to spin a bobbin of singles. That's not happening just yet because I started another project on the miniSpinner as soon as this fiber was done:


It doesn't look like much, but that's about 20 or so minutes of fine spinning. This is the Fat Cat Knits fiber club shipment that I showed you last week. The singles look to be about the same diameter of the BME stuff, so I imagine this will take a while to finish as well (though I'm guessing the miniSpinner will help move things along just a bit faster). I'm excited for this spin and for the fun, stripe-y yarn it will be. I'm also a little anxious to get these two projects done because I have things in line to get spun next.

Yesterday I received a shipment from Fat Cat Knits from an order I made a couple of weeks ago (normally Ginny is much faster than that, but she was waiting on some fiber from a supplier and the USPS slowed things down at the end). Every two months or so, Ginny runs a poll in the FCK group on Ravelry in which she shows about nine colorways and everyone gets a couple of days to vote on which one will be the next featured colorway. The winner is then offered on several fiber bases with a special discount. The most recent winner (for August/September) made up half of my order. This is Wayfarer on superwash merino:


I thought this would be a nice color to spin into a slightly heavier yarn than my normal (like sport to DK) to use for a hat and/or mittens for Rainbow for this winter.

Because I was ordering anyway, I decided to throw another braid in my cart. It might look familiar:


If you're thinking that I already spun this one, you'd be right. This is Boogaloo (on superwash merino/nylon); I spun an earlier braid of it for the Tour de Fleece this year, but the way I split up the fiber didn't really maximize the brightness of the neon colors. This time around, I'm going to split the top lengthwise, spin all my singles, and chain ply to get stripes. I will get some very loud socks of the resulting yarn, but sometimes you need loud socks.