Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Needle in a ... Nevermind

Much to my surprise, I finished spinning up another yarn this week -- my third for the month. This fiber came from deep stash; the information with the photo on my Flickr account tells me that I uploaded the picture of it in June 2008, which means that I purchased this fiber right around the time we moved into our house. This was four ounces of BFL from Sakina Needles, purchased from the Loopy Ewe, in a colorway called Smokestack (not "haystack," as I kept thinking).

I liked doing singles so much on the last spinalong I participated in that I decided to do them again for this yarn. Laceweight singles, to be specific. I ended up with approximately 531 yards -- a bit less than I was hoping for, but still a respectable yardage.

By their nature, singles can have extra twist in them because they're not plied, so to make sure I didn't have a twisty mess on my hands, I fulled the yarn slightly by alternating wet and cold soaks and then thwacked the life out of it. There are still some kinks and waves here and there, but because I plan to use this for lace that will be blocked, they shouldn't be a problem.

BFL is great for singles. It has a beautiful sheen and a slight halo. I'm not going to be knitting this up in the immediate future, but I think it might become a Citron one day.

Finally, because you asked, here's another Rainbow picture. This was taken last Saturday after a trip out to the hair salon (Mommy needed a cut badly!) and lunch. She was wearing more handknits than I was!

I thought she looked quite stylish in her Tomato Hat and Socks That Rock BSJ, and her Chalice Blanket was definitely keeping her quite cozy!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Still Snowing

I suppose my slow knitting progress isn't as bad as I thought, at least as far as the usefulness of the projects I've been working on is concerned. I was worried that by the time I finished my Vespergyle Mittens, for instance, the time for mittens would be long gone. Unfortunately, that might not be the case. We're in the middle of of the snowiest February on record here in Western Pennsylvania -- close to 40 inches already! We're also on track for the snowiest season ever as well. The record is 82 inches, and I think we're already close to 70. If I can keep up the pace on my mittens, I might just get to wear them before the snow melts. The first one is done:

I think I managed to finish the second half of the hand in a matter of days when I picked it up again, but for some reason (I think her name is Rainbow!) it took me several more weeks before I got around to doing the thumb. The second mitten is cast on and has about two rows of cuff, so I'm hoping to get in a few rows here and there when I can.

As far as spinning is concerned, I'm nearly done with four ounces of BFL that I'm spinning into laceweight singles. Up next is this beauty, 4.2 ounces of superwash merino from my favorite fiber pusher. One of the regulars on the Ravelry ASU board named this combination of colors "Goldfish Wearing a Tutu," and it caused such a stir on the board that Kristin has continued to dye up a few braids of it every now and then. I've missed many of her updates lately (mostly because I'm just not online as much as I used to be), not to mention the fact that I haven't been buying fiber, but when I happened to catch this update and saw this one braid still in the shop, I grabbed it.

Time has been flying here. Rainbow is now two months old, and I have to go back to work in a little less than a month. I'm going to miss my little one when we're not together all day -- though it will be nice to have someone else change her diapers every now and then!

Monday, February 08, 2010

That's More Like It!

After the last spin took more than a month to complete, I knew I had to spin faster or thicker to make up time and stay on track with my goal of spinning each month's club fiber in that month. Faster probably isn't a realistic option, given my limited spinning time, so thicker was the answer for February. That seemed the right choice, anyway, for this fiber -- take a look at these bright colors!

This four ounces of Finn top from the Crown Mountain Farms fiber club just begged to be a bouncy, tightly twisted, barberpoled two ply. And that's just what I spun.

I got about 206 yards of two ply that ranges from about sport to about DK weight (I'm definitely better at spinning more evenly when I'm spinning thinner). There are spots where both plies are the same color, more or less, but the majority of the skein is nicely barberpoled.

I'm not quite sure what I'm going to make with this yarn just yet, though I'm thinking it might make a nice pair of mittens one day. Supposedly Finn is good for felting, so I think a cozy pair of mittens that slowly felt with wear will be just the ticket. This was my first time spinning with this fiber, and I definitely enjoyed it. It's softer than the Falkland I spun last, though not as soft as merino, and has a longer staple length, similar to BFL.

The colors in real life are somewhere in between this photo and the ones above. They are quite vibrant, and something tells me that Rainbow will really like the pinks and purples when she gets a little older.

Speaking of Rainbow, did someone ask for more baby pictures?

This is how the Mister can hold her and be on the computer at the same time. She really likes being bundled up like this.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A Day Late Ain't Bad

Having a newborn around doesn't leave much time for anything other than feeding, sleeping, and changing diapers, but as Rainbow has gotten a little older and we've settled into more of a regular schedule, I've been able to sneak in a little more fibery time on a daily basis. I haven't felt much of an urge to knit, but, as I mentioned in my last post, I was feeling a strong yen for my wheel. I know that this year I won't be able to churn out as much handspun as I did last year, but I'm at least determined to spin the four ounces each month that come from Crown Mountain Farms as part of the 2010 fiber club.

January's shipment was Falkland top, a fiber I had just spun for the last All Spun Up spinalong. This time I decided to go for a chain-plied fingering weight -- chain plying to preserve the colors, because I worried that regular plying might muddy up the colors. In the end, I wound up with approximately 344 yards, which is pretty respectable in my book given my time away from spinning. And it only took me one day into February to finish plying.

I used my usual tight plying twist, which caused the skein to kink up up a little right off the wheel, but a good wash-and-whack caused it to relax nicely. I'm quite happy with this one, but I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet.

Up next: Finn top in shades of purple-y blue and hot pink. I'm doing a thicker two ply, so it should be done well before the end of the month, provided the baby continues to cooperate.