August 26, 2012

I Haz An FO

Yay! I finished something:

Buccaneer - this was my fractal spinning experiment on some superfine merino in the Buccaneer colorway from The Unique Sheep. It's mostly gray and white with some brown. 2ply, semi-woolen spun (attenuated longdraw from faux rolags from com'l top). I ended up with seven mini-skeins. The first four skeins (from left to right) are fractal 2ply and the last three are traditional 2ply. I think I like the traditional 2ply better than fractal because traditional gives me larger sections of solid color in addition to shaded, blended and barber pole sections.

This picture was taken before their twist setting bath:
Buccaneer 7 mini skeins

Also finished spinning braid #7 of Rasputin. It's resting to make it easier to pre-chain and rewind on another bobbin. Then all I have to do to ply is add twist. Makes for very travel friendly Navajo/chain plying. I will probably start #8 tomorrow.

Started spinning the second bump of New Moon earlier this past week. New Moon is the colorway name for the yak/merino blend I spun during the Tour de Fleece. This will be a 2ply spun semi-woolen to match the first bump. Mostly I've been spinning this while visiting Mom at the nursing home. I'm a little more than halfway through the first half, so it's progressing.

On My Needles:

I've been good. I've been concentrating on just my two projects that I picked last time: the Woolgathering socks and the Ohio Star pillow cover. Both are coming along nicely, although I did have to rip back almost four inches on the sock (boy did I made the sock too long!). It's striped sock yarn and I think I got a little carried away watching the stripes form. Nice thing about having to rip so much is those early stitches are fairly set, so I don't have to tink back. I can just rip without the stitches running.

The 2 1/2 inch pillow cover seaming edge has been ripped back and I'm replacing it with three needle applied I-cord bind off. Looks much better than the striped seam. I don't know what I was thinking with that...

2012 Yardage Goal: 17,600; Total to Date: 16,753; 95% Complete

Brought To Me By:

DVDs etc: How To Train Your Dragon; Mad Men; Dr Who end-S5;
Pod/VideoCasts:  The Knit Girllls; Cast On; Electric Sheep; Subway Knits; Sticks & String; Knitmore Girls; SpinDoctor;


August 19, 2012

Too Much

I was updating some projects on my Ravelry Project Page this morning and noticed it says I have 73 projects. Wow, I hadn't realized I'd done that much. But then I really looked at the projects, broke it down to finished, WIPs, hibernating and frogged, and you know what, turns out I haven't done that much after all. Only 39 projects were actually finished. Three were frogged and seven hibernating. The rest, 24, are WIPs. And not all my WIPs are posted. Now, I've never been a monogamous knitter or spinner, but that's just too much. No wonder I don't seem to get anywhere.

Soooo, this morning I picked two spinning and two knitting projects to concentrate on, at least one of each has too be 85% or more complete. Why two each and why not all almost complete? Well, mainly because the newer or less complete projects tend to be smaller and I can just pop them in my bag when I leave the house. Save the bigger stuff for at home.

For knitting, I chose the Ohio Star Pillowcover which only needs edging/seaming and a decision on how it will be closed. I'm not happy with the seaming I'd started so I need to rip back and redo. The new seam/edging will be applied I-cord. The second knitting project is the first pair of socks I grabbed from the pile (which happens to be one of the projects not yet on Ravelry). Maroon and yellow stripped socks in sock yarn from Three Ewes Twisted in Fiber.

For spinning, I will be concentrating on finishing spinning the last two (of eight) mini-braids of the Wensleydale top in the Rasputin colorway. And also processing and spinning "Tex", what I call the Texel/Border Leicester/Coopworth/Corriedale/Finn crossbreed fleece - my SPAKAL project. Tex is about 90% done with only about six ounces left to scour

I started with Tex this morning:
Tex last bit

August 14, 2012

Ravellenics Update #4 - Finished

Well, after a marathon nine and a half hours knitting on Sunday I finished knitting my preemie hats (a dozen total) with thirty-five minutes to spare! This was immediately followed by picture taking and a flurry of postings to the Finish Lines for Charity Rowing, Hat Dash, Synchronized Stash Bust, & Baby Dressage Events for teamDAM (Diagon Alley Marauders), more postings to pertinent Ravelry boards to proclaim my success, and then a good long alternating hot and cold soak for my tired aching right hand. And then a nap.

So, here are the finished preemie hats, which along with the four previously knit hats, are going to the Remembering Remy charity.

Preemie caps Ravellenics

And here are my medals:

Hat Dash medal

Charity Rowing medal

Synchronized Stash Busting medal

Baby Dressage medal

Team DAM

And now back to our regularly scheduled programing...

Brought To Me By:
  Curse The Dawn by Karen Chance; Dead Man's Mirror by Agatha Christie; The Tale of Holy How by Susan Wittig Albert;
DVDs etc:
Pod/VideoCasts:  The Knit Girllls; Cast On; Electric Sheep;

August 9, 2012

Ravellenics Update #3

Things are not going according to plan. With only three days left to the games I have only four and a half preemie hats done. I was sidelined by an eight day long migraine with vertigo that kept me from knitting, and well basically from doing anything too visual: reading, knitting, watching DVDs, etc. It broke this morning which allowed me to knit a hat and a half while on the bus and waiting to do tests at the doctors. Unfortunately, there's a storm front coming through and I can feel it gearing up for another round. I should be able to finish the fifth hat tonight - I'm at a straight knitting part and can pretty much do that without looking - but I have to look when ribbing, so starting new ones might be a little tricky. I'll try though. I really want to finish; I want more medals! On the bright side (I guess), no knitting/spinning means I'm getting a fair bit of fleece washing and prep done.

August 5, 2012

Crossing The Line

On/Off My Spindles:

Ravellenic Games
Team: Hopelessly Overcommitted
Event: Handspun Heptathalon

Ist Medal

Finally crossed my first Finish Line yesterday morning with approximately 300 yds fingering wt yarn, Shetland "Forecast" colorway dyed by Spunky Eclectic. The color is all off and I can't seem to correct it. This is actually shades of blue, not green.

Forecast Shetland

Other Non-Ravellenic Stuff:
I finished plying skein 5 of the Wensleydale fiber in the Rasputin colorway by Crown Mountain Farms this morning. It is worsted spun and chain plied and I got approximately 85 yds of 3ply. I was hoping for more but what can I say, I'm not spinning my singles on the same spindle I spun the first three mini-skeins on. I guess it makes a difference, at least this time.

On/Off My Needles:

Ravellenic Games
Team: Diagon Alley Marauders
Event(s): Hat Dash, Charity Rowing & Stash reduction

First up is a dozen Preemie Hats for the Remembering Remy charity from this 2+ year old pile of Louet Gems mill end fingering wt yarn.

Louet Gems mill ends

I cast on yesterday and have one and a half hats done as of right now. Will finish the second hat and start third tonight. There's over 900 grams of yarn here so one thing I don't have to worry about is running out of yarn!

Brought To Me By:
  Fool Moon by Jim Butcher;
DVDs etc: Harry Potter TDH Parts 1&2; Buffy TVS S7;
Pod/VideoCasts:  Sticks & String, Knitting Pipeline;

August 3, 2012

Ravellenics Update #2 - The Halfway Point

Well, here we are, one week gone and only nine days left. How am I doing? Totally off schedule, that's how I'm doing. Haven't finished my spinning for the Handspun Heptathalon. Haven't cast on for Hat Dash/Charity Rowing yet either.

So tonight I will finish spinning and then ply my Shetland fiber. Then I will cast on my first hat. Then I can go to bed. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

August 2, 2012

More Oddments

I'm still working on processing "Tex" and spinning it up for the Knitmore Girls SPAKAL (spin-a-long, knit-a-long). Tex is the name I gave a Texel/Border Leicester/ Coopworth/ Corriedale/Finn crossbreed fleece I got last year. There's only a little over fifteen ounces left to wash, but my scouring mojo seems to have run off and left me holding the bag. Literally.

Geek time! My latest badge at Hogwarts@Ravelry for my only completed class. Since they changed the rules to prohibit crossposting I've had to pick and choose where I can submit my spinning and knitting. Means less points overall for my House, but I'm going with quality not quantity. Badger Pride!

Muggle Studies class

More Badger Pride - I'm a Hufflepuff Prefect now and I've got the Badge to prove it!

Hufflepuff Prefect badge

eBay is my friend. I bought a few small fleeces at auction during July. I know, its not like I don't have a ton of fleece to process from last two years, but it's not much - under four pounds total. And besides, they're either pretty or interesting crosses.

August 1, 2012

Think First, Then Spin

Remember the BFL natural multi I spun up as a 4ply 2x2 cabled yarn last year for the Tour de Fleece that didn't produce enough yardage for the sweater I was planning? So I spun up another pound earlier this year to supplement. Remember, this stuff:

BFL natural multi round 2 closeup

Yes, well, I tried swatching with it, and was surprised to find the yarn doesn't stay cabled when I knit with it. It looks like I'm knitting with two strands of yarn held together (which technically I am). But it's not supposed to look like that! Why? Why? Why? After all that work! Why?

After throwing my swatch across the room in a fit of pique, I retrieved my swatch, and more importantly my needles, from Miss Ginger's clutches (she considers anything that flies past her fair game), and sat down to contemplate my error. I've never had a problem knitting with my handspun before. Why now?

Turns out the "Why" is because I jumped in head first without checking the water depth, i.e. I only went as far as technically learning how to make the cabled yarn but not how the cabling affects the yarn itself and the fabric it produces. Cabled yarn is made by plying together two strands of already plied yarn in the opposite direction they were plied in originally. Which is exactly what I did. I spun my singles clockwise, plied them counterclockwise, then plied two strands clockwise.

I always spin my singles clockwise and ply them counterclockwise. Why? When I started spinning I was "told" that's the way commercial yarn is spun and was the best for knitting. Crocheters and weavers (if they're using a plied yarn vs a single) prefer the opposite. I don't weave, I knit. And I rarely crochet these days. So clockwise singles/counterclockwise plying is my standard yarn. It's like breathing - I don't think about, I just do it.

Can you see where I went wrong yet? Exactly! My final ply is going in the wrong direction. For a cabled yarn I can knit with that stays cabled looking I need to start with counterclockwise singles so my final plying would also be counterclockwise. And I need to think ahead to what my final yarn will be used for, not just that it looks pretty.

Now I could fix the twist direction problem by doing another cable ply (and I will try a sample of this to verify), but that would give me an 8ply 2x2 cable probably mega-bulky yarn. Right now the yarn is a heavy, dense, heavy-Worsted/Aran weight. Doubling it might make it too heavy to work with, or, too heavy to comfortably wear as a garment. I am not nor have I ever been a fan of extremely bulky yarn.

Hmmm, I see another swatch in my future....
Damn. I hate swatching! Seriously.