Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Mystery Sock Yarn

I bought this mystery sock yarn of the month from The Sweet Shop. The yarn arrived last week; it was sKNITches Bebop Sock Yarn in the Koi Pond colorway. 100% superwash merino in fingering weight. It feels very soft for superwash yarn.

I like the colors but I'm not sure I'd call them Koi colors. It's more pink than an orangey-coral like most koi that I've ever seen. I especially like the bits of pale sage green in it; in my opinion, anything green is always a winner.
Mystery Sock Yarn
Sknitches label

This yarn was bought in anticipation of Sock Madness. Starts March 10th. I hope my arm will keep-up with all the socks. As far as I understand the knit-off, there are 16 sock patterns the winner will have to finish.

I also finished another pair of the Cabled Fingerless Mittens in black Baby Alpaca Chunky by Cascade. I tried to take a photo but it was just a black blob; no details. So go back and look at the red, gray and green pairs I've made and imagine them in soft black alpaca. Shhhh, they're a gift.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Spinning Workshop with Celia Quinn

I am coming down from two days of Spinning Classes with Celia Quinn. What an exhilarating, educational time it was! I learned so much.

(In respect to my regular teacher I should put that statement in perspective.) There were really only two small things that were completely new; the rest was connecting the dots in a different way that brought about the "ah-ha!" moments over the two days.

The first day was "Good Solid Basics." I learned to spin equally on both sides with either hand in front or behind. We learned spinning worsted method and true long draw. Second day was "Spinning to Specification." This was a hard class; lots of counting with rulers and other measuring devices. I did learn to do my wraps per inch around a pencil and then measure the wraps on the pencil rather than trying to smoothly wrap singles around a ruler - lots easier.

Here is the result of our efforts to all match the same number of Wraps per inch and Plys per Inch. For you non Spinners you need to be able to do this so you can make the same yarn at the end of a project as what you started making. This is a big problem for me as I always seem to be making much thinner and thinner yarn as I spin up my fiber. And you need to be able to determine what yarn you need to make for a specific project. Lots more detailed than just going and buying commercial yarn but OH! so much more satisfying!!!

The main problem of both classes was the heat. We were in a member of the class's backyard patio over looking Lake Murray. The weather decided to go into Santa Ana mode and it was 90 before Noon both days. It's hard to spin fiber out of sweaty hands! And poor Celia, who lives in Alaska, she was really uncomfortable in the heat.

There were 20 of us with our spinning wheels. I can't tell you how nice it is to spend several days with fellow Spinners where you talk about little else than Spinning, Weaving and Knitting.

If you ever get the chance to attend a class with Celia Quinn please jump at the chance.

Thanks Margaret and Karalyn for all you did to make these classes happen!!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Yarn Pirate Socks in the Snow

Here's the Finished Object Picture of my socks made from Yarn Pirate 50/50 Merino/Tencel yarn.

Anyone ever figure out a way to stop the pooling/flashing of color around the heel and instep? I just
tolerate it.

Notice all the flower petals everywhere? Looks like it's snowing on the west side of the house; the Fruitless Pear is in Flower. This is always the first thing that flowers each year. I'm not sure but I think that freezing cold we had for a couple weeks really brought on the flowers. Everyone's trees are in full flower; really beautiful.

Here's my cyclamen on the back step surrounding by falling petals.

And the edge of the grass and stepping stones.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Movin' on Up

My new bigger Drum Carder arrived Wednesday!!!

Here she is, #405 a Strauch Drum Carder.

I sold my Petit Drum Carder two weeks ago and have been waiting on delivery; checking the UPS tracking everyday. (UPS tracking doesn't track much. It shows when the package was delivered to them, when they expect to deliver and nothing in between; it wasn't very satisfying but I still couldn't help checking on my box.)

After playing with this model for a few hours I am very happy I moved up from the Petit. Everything is more substantial and works nicer/smoother. Take the handle; on the Petit you had to use it with the handle over the edge of the table otherwise it (your knuckles) hit the table while #405 is tall enough that the handle easily clears the table top.

My original purpose in getting a larger model was that for the same effort you could process nearly double the fiber with a larger drum. I was right about that but the larger drum makes the whole process, feeding the fiber in to removing the finished batt, much smoother. I'm sorry I don't have the words to explain how well this new toy works.

Just a few hours of playing with some colored fiber yielded this pile of rolags

A close up

I've started spinning.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

New Socks

I finished the Argosy scarf yesterday morning, started to block it and found I'd made a double square decrease about 1/4th from the beginning. "Stupid Cold" strikes again! It was such a glaring mistake I either had to throw the whole thing away or rip it back. So I left it to dry and then unraveled it last night. What a pain; you know where!

Saturday's mail brought two skeins of Fleece Artist Basic Merino Socks yarn from Little Knits. I selected the colorways: Hercules and Paris. Paris was so pretty that I had to cast on ASAP.

I started the cover sock pattern in the new book, Favorite Socks from Interweave press. Wavy Lace Socks by Evelyn A. Clark are an easy pattern/chart to follow. The yarn colors are probably too busy to show off the lace pattern best but I'm still very happy with the texture and color.

The surprise twist is that my usual Crystal Palace size 0 needles weren't pointy enough to pickup the K2Tog (Knit 2 stitches together) so I pulled out the Knit Pick Double Points I bought awhile ago. What a difference! I've never been a fan of metal needles; they fall out every time you touch your work and they make your wrists ache. These needles stay put yet slide easily through the stitches - that sounds impossible but it's true - and they give just enough that I had no wrist ache after several hours knitting. Plus those pointy points on the Knit Picks needles - I may never go back to bamboo!

Casserole dyeing has intrigued me for the past year. Everytime I've tried I've felted the roving. Gave it another try yesterday morning; the roving is still drying so I can't report on the felting. Even wet it does look a bit less felted than previous efforts.

This picture looks more like I'm baking than dyeing roving.