Sunday, April 22, 2007

Here I am...

I do apologize for being a horrid blog mom and being MIA for so long! My personal blog has suffered horribly as well and I really do have to commit to fixing that. In my defense, I've been dealing with the remodeling, have since changed the entire lay out of my brick and mortar shop, am still nursing my very old and ill piggie, and trying to get the dye work done that I need to do.

The pic at left is something that was a UFO but is now a FO :) See? half the fiber is spun on the spindle in the pic and is now done! This was a colorway I was playing with and ended up testing out on a small amount of fiber I had laying around. This stuff makes me wish I could navajo ply, which I WILL learn one day. It wouldn't have made much sense with this since it's only about 60 yards in a 2ply. But the singles were really pretty!

Most of my UFO's are spinning projects right now. I still have the Sheep Shawl, which I've done a few rows on but that is an Epic UFO and will stay that way for awhile. The Target Mittens still languish, as does the Mesilla tee, the purple lace socks, the Funky Scarf Vest (I'm GOING TO WASH THAT TODAY DAMMIT!) the Lacey Riverine Scarf at the shop, and a pair of little cotton button up sox at the shop. George...I THINK THAT'S ALL! hahahaha...really though, with the exception of the Sheep Shawl, that isn't so bad. One mitten, one sock, sleeves on a tee and a collar to knit. The Lacey Riverine scarf is about half done as well.

I did knit this up one day so it doesn't really qualify as a UFO...but it's out of my very own early spindle spun yarn and is done :) I've been obsessed with the book, One Skein Knitting lately and this is the little Umbrella hat in there. I have a show May 19th and wanted to have a couple handspun knit examples for it. This was a super fast, fun knit! I carried along two similar fingering weight yarns for it and it's cute!

This is a skein of yarn I'm selling, but the UFO status is that the pin drafted silk/merino needed a sample spun up (never mind that most of it's already sold and I only have 2# left!) and I did the above dye colorway on it, using a fun little heathered technique with a paintbrush that I'm now in love with! This fiber didn't spin up really smooth...there are teeny noils from the silk being processed but the resulting yarn is soft, lovely, slightly slubby with awesome drape. Another skein I don't really want to sell but will.

The top skein here is a total UFO since I still have 2 bobbins of it to ply. This is from a batt that my friend made up for me on her drumcarder with odds and ends I gave her. Some wool/silk dyed laps that were "waste", a small bag of silk noil, a little nasty matted dyed angora and some plain white wool/silk laps that were also "waste" (meaning they were the nasty bits I sorted out of what I sell) I discovered that I HATE spinning with silk noil but it's a fun, funky skein of yarn. I think the total weight of the batts was about 12 oz but it did spin up relatively bulky due to lumpy bumpies and will be fun to work up into something!

The other skein is the yarn from the spindle pic in the beginning of the post. Sigh...yet another small skein I'll obsess over, trying to find something teeny to knit. I have that problem...I spend a lot of time knitting my small bits...sometimes I combine them, but often, I try to find a little something to make with them that isn't a little bag. It's a challenge and I'm not sure why I do that but when I'm kind of bummed out or stressed, it's one of the weird things I do.

Thank you all for the b'day wishes...they meant a lot to me!

SILVER wins again ~ she guessed correctly about the mystery project, which I'll post about as soon as I get it back (lined) from my Mom. Yes, I ask my Mommy to line my bags. I know, I know...grow up and use your own sewing machine!

Saturday, April 21, 2007


I'm on a roll lately with finishing socks! This is probably a good thing since I've discovered The Loopy Ewe and I've been buying new sock yarn like a fiend!
Both of these pairs are knit from Opal. I started both pairs last summer. The red striped pair are for DH - I started these when we went to St.Louis last summer to visit DD. For some reason, DH started calling these Superman socks. The other pair were started for me, but DD came home to Maine two weeks ago and really liked them so I gifted them to her. I was surprised she liked them because she's never been fond of hand knit things until recently. In fact, since she's been home she's learned to knit herself and has started a scarf!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Two Socks on 1 Circ

Okay, I'll admit this project wasn't on my list of UFOs. That's because I didn't list balls of yarn as UFOs -- if I did that I would need my own separate blog, and of course, yarn is not a project when it's sitting in the balls -- it's potential that could be realized in any one of a countless number of ways. Just because it's sock yarn doesn't mean it will become socks, right? Anyway, I bought this ball of Trekking XXL because I like ombre-type yarns, this one looked like it would be great with denim, and I was wanting to try knitting a pair of socks on circular needles. My last pair of socks was, oh, 15 or so years ago, done with sportweight handspun on double-pointed needles, and while I was proud of them and liked them I was not inspired to keep knitting socks. But I do like wool socks, and with the new yarns and the new popularity of sock knitting, it seemed time to try again. I decided to avoid second-sock syndrome by doing them both at the same time on one circular needle. I used a 32" size 1 from KnitPicks (I knit loose -- most people would use a 2 or 3 to match my gauge). I did cuff-down, no particular pattern, just a basic turned heel and a toe that seemed to make sense. I tried them on as I knit to get them the right size. I didn't want a big cuff to turn down or bunch up -- this height seemed right to me, somewhere between anklet and typical cuff height. I divided the skein into two center-pull balls and then put the two balls in a ziploc bag and fed the yarn from the center of the balls through small holes in the bag... this to keep the yarn neat and organzied (the one drawback to doing both socks at once is keeping the yarn from getting tangled and twisted up -- I think my zip-lock bag method helped keep this to a minimum.). Here's a picture of the socks in progress, on the needle, and one of them completed. I can't say that the sock knitting bug bit me, but I like these and I'm glad to have at least one pair of handknit socks in my wardrobe. If and when I do another pair (assuming I don't get a sock knitting machine, that is), I would definately take the two-socks-on-one-circular approach again. And I'll remember the technique for gloves, sleeves, etc. -- the technique is a definate keeper!
- Melissa

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Happy Birthday Leah!

As a birthday treat, here is my progress report (hahaha). Well, at least it's not April Fool's Day.

Respinning the purple yarn (my newest UFO?) -- on hold.

Knitting the Oregon Jacob Tote -- on hold, but itching to get worked on. Gotta find the tote it's in!

Miniature knitting -- had two new colors come in, so they got done instead of "old" colors. But I have now, I think, standardized on the mini sweater and my own "we hate finishing even _small_ things" knitting pattern (below, for your knitting enjoyment).

The Fair Isle Arm Warmers -- hey, this has been ACTIVE lately. May even finish arm warmer number one. But I think I may skein up the remaining yarn rather than knit #2 this summer ... maybe next winter, LOL. This yarn is seriously cool looking, if-i-say-so-myself (see the picture?)

On the plus side, I got all the tax paperwork organized and on its way to the tax man! So they may even be done on time this year unless he finds a spanner in the works.

Miniature Sweater Knitting Pattern
Use an appropriate needle for your yarn (sweater size will vary). Takes about 20 yards of yarn. Except, I stick to US3 for stuff finer than that, as knitting this with US1's kills my hands.

Cast on 12 stitches. If you want Knit 3 rows K1P1 rib. Knit a total of 12 rows, include any patterning you want. A little 2/2 cable up the middle looks sweet :-).

At the start of a right-side row, cast on 6 stitches, using e-wrap cast-ons (this is one of the sleeves). Now, K1, P1, K across to the other arm-edge, and cast on 6 stitches there, using e-wrap cast-ons. Yes, the arms end up slightly catywumpus from each other, but it really doesn't matter. Note, the K1P1 at the start of the row is so the sleeve edges sit flat. Cool trick, not original to me.

Now, you are on a wrong-side row, facing 6 e-wrap cast-ons. Work your way across like so: P1, K1, P until 2 stitches remain, K1, P1. (you should have 24 stitches on the needles right now ...)

You need to knit 4 more rows before you bind-off some neck stitches:
K1 P1, K until 2 stitches remain, P1, K1;
WS do P1, K1, P until 2 st remain, K1, P1.
Repeat. There are your four rows!

OK, now: K1, P1, K7, cast off 6, K7, P1, K1
And next: P1, K1, P7, cast on 6 (e-wrap style works fine), P7, K1, P1.

Now you need six more sleeve rows:
K1 P1, K until 2 stitches remain, P1, K1;
WS do P1, K1, P until 2 st remain, K1, P1.
Repeat two more times. There are your six rows!

Now we get to the tricky I-hate-to-finish step:
turn the sweater inside out and match the cast-on edge of the sleeve you are working on up to it. As you knit across the sleeve (just to K's this time, skip the non-curling purl), pick up and knit it with a stitch from the cast-on edge and cast it off; yup, K-with-picked-up-cast-on-stitch and cast it off, 6 times. Then K across the sweater and the other sleeve until 2 stitches are left, P1, K1.

Now, do the same-on-the-flip-side to the other sleeve ... just purling, pick up and purl a cast-on-edge-stitch with each stitch from the needle and cast the new purled stitch off as you go along, 6 times. This leaves you with just the body left.

Now as you knit and purl each row, at the start and end of each row, pick up edge stitches (I didn't slip first stitches for this very reason!) and knit or purl them together with the last and the first stitch of each row. (ed. note: I haven't tried skipping one and just, for example, doing the knit-together at the end of each row or something. It might work. If I'm in a rush, I'll try it -- it would be easier!)

Do as many rows as you did in the front -- 12 rows total. Cast off after the last row. Be sure to repeat the ribbing if you ribbed the bottom front.

Now you have two small ends to weave in (or push up inside the sweater).

Whew. I know this is "rough" but if you try it, let me know if it's totally mud or obviously flawed, as it's typed in off-the-cuff (hardeharhar).