Friday, November 30, 2007

Handspun Hat!

Oh what an inspired title! Must be brain freeze. Just came in from playing with the dogs. It's cold and windy. Not that I'm complaining.

I'm a bit miffed, because I found out, that Canada Post is having a huge backlog on packages coming from the US to Canada. That might mean that there will not be all Christmas gifts under the tree this year. :o( I still hope we'll be the lucky ones to get the mail in time. They had the problem since October, and just now thought of hiring more staff. It's just not as magical to open presents in the dead of winter, in January (or whenever we'll be able to). O.K. enough about that. Here's my latest creation: Noro hat - but not.

There's not much to say. I finished it. I like this pattern a lot. This is my second Noro Hat, just a little shorter, but not much, as the original. I'm going to wash it, and try to felt it by hand a little. It's big and stretchy. There is some left over yarn from the second spinning, but not much. That's good. Don't want to have to many left over yarns around. In the picture below you can see the yarn from the second spinning. It's softer and was a pleasure to knit with. I have to spin some mohair/wool yarn again real soon. The top turquoise is even shiny. It's 60%mohair/40% wool, while the other two blends are 50/50. What a difference. There was a lot of vegetable matter in the fiber, but I could pick it out during spinning, and knitting.

I used 4.5mm needles, and cast on the required 95 stitches. It fits my head, I'm pleased.

I'm a little tired today, and my right hand hurts (from spinning). I have to take it easy (but I don't want to).

I made two more mini sock key chains, but they are almost impossible to photograph. I tried inside, and outside, but the red isn't coming out right. The red sock has cables all around the leg part. The other one got some fair isle. I just made it up as I went along. Even with this tiny sock I managed to make it tight. I really have to work on fair isle knitting more. I like it, but can't do it quite right. But as we learned form experience, I'm capable of learning new stuff! :O)
Wanna see what's making me happy right now?

Mm, shiny! More about it later. Wish you all a nice weekend!

PS. Ravelry got fixed. I can look through my favorite pages again. Yeah!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"I think she's got it!"

The last few days I've been spinning, and plying, and spinning some more. Here's what 4oz of FatCatKnits (etsy) "Find Jay" looks like, 2-plied (416yds): 100% combed, handpainted Merino
This yarn is so soft, and squishy, it bounces right back into shape whatever you do with it! I love it! The colores are a little boring, but I can live with that. I wish I could knit up all my handspun yarn as soon as it's dry. But alas, it has to go into my handspun stash for later.

Now we come to that title of this post :"I think she's got it!" is a quote from "My Fair Lady" (1964). I love the movie, watched it many times, but haven't in a long time. But as soon as it clicked in my head, I thought of this line. What clicked? Navajo plying!!!! Can you believe it? Manuela sent me this link with two videos of someone navajo plying, and watching her, how she's holding the yarn, it suddenly clicked and I knew I could do it. It's weird, really, because I saw several other videos, and some pictures, good ones too, and I had so much trouble with all that's going on with navajo plying.
edited: I forgot to take a picture of this mini skein; just a couple of yds from left over singles from the "Find Jay" yarn. I used it to try navajo plying before I did the following. It looks a little different, of course, but it encouraged me to keep going.

So, as soon as I knew it's not that hard, I decided on the roving for my hat. As you know the last time I produced a rather loopy, knobby, hard, overtwisted yarn with this method, and still I cast on for a hat, and promptly ran out of yarn. I had to make some more, and here it is:

It's not perfect yet, but oh so much better! It was even a pleasure to do it! I found out that it makes it even more easy, if there's no overtwist in the singles you want to navajo ply. Maybe my singles was just too fresh, because I couldn't wait to get to it, and see if I really can do it. Needless to point out, that I'm VERY, VERY, pleased with myself. Learned something new. Now I just need more practice, and it will be useful for the future.

Can you see the fuzziness of the yarn? It's three kinds of different mohair/wool blends. It was surprising easy to spin, but the tiny hairs tickled my nose several times. And I've got hair all over my cloth, still it was fun. I just hope I'll have enough to finish the hat now.

This was my last, disastrous attempt. I like how it looks in this cake.

That's how far I got with the hat. I tried several other spun samples I have lying around, but nothing worked. I'm using the Noro hat pattern for it. At first I thought it was going to be too small, but soon realized that it's going to be as big as the first one I made. Better big, than too small, it always can shrink a little with washing. Right?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mystery November Socks - Done!

I'm afraid ravelry is taking over, step by step. I don't want to, but I'm spending more and more time there. I've joined 3 groups so far, only 2 actively. I still find out new things every time I'm there. I now found the button where you can see your friends activities. That's real nice, so you know at once, what new things they added. I do have trouble with the "show me your FO" page. There's some error on it, and I have to wait for ages for it to load, and in addition I have to click a pop up window every time to see the next page (something about the script used on the page makes it so slow) so I don't go there anymore. But I liked that page! I've also opened the message box, now I have to go there and see if I've got mail there as well. Don't want to be rude, and not answer. :o)

After finishing a secret project (oh well, you can see it on ravelry already), I finished the Mystery November socks. Here 's one: don't you just love the heel?

I don't think I have ever knit as long on a pair of socks as this one. But that's the nature of being a mystery sock, dished out in weekly clues. I LOVE them! Not only the colores of the yarn, but also the unusual cuff, and heel, the lovely stitch pattern on the leg, as well as the twisted stitches for the foot. It was not hard at all to pick up stitches around the heel, as you can see it looks quite neat. At first I had trouble with the yarn, because it split easily. Once I got used to it, it went quite well. This is 100% wool yarn, not superwash, so they will be washed lovingly by hand. I did not block them this time, because I want to wear them right away. You want more specifics?

pattern: Mona Schmidt Knitstricken
yarn: Jojoland Melody color # y23, 2 balls with about 9g left over each
needles: cuff 2.25mm (will use 2.5mm the next time instead), rest of the socks 2.5mm 5 DP's
size: womens 10 1/4
start-finish: November 2 - November 23

I started two other secret projects, and I cast on for mittens with my handspun Goblin Eyes. I'm not quite sure about them yet. And I've spun up this lovely roving. It's from FatCatKnits (etsy), I've bought several colorways a long time ago. I had to have some nice colores in my hand right now, and it was such a lovely surprise after spinning 100% wool, and wool/mohair blend. It's 100% combed merino. Wonderful! That's all I can say about it. I'll be plying it tonight. I'm so excited, can't wait to see how it turned out.

I think I'm getting quite good in handling multiple WIP's! ;o)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Better than yarn!

Thank you all for your concern about my headache. I'm fine now. Yesterday was a snow day. It was nice for me, but I didn't have to go anywhere as many others did. This is the door prize I won last Saturday at Serenity Knits Christmas Open House. I'm very happy about it, because I would not have bought it myself, since I'd rather buy yarn. Thanks again, Ladies! :o)

I've finished my Sockamania Club Kal November Ripples socks. I made some modifications to suit my fancy. I used Trekking XXL # 145. I've worn them and washed them, and I love this yarn.

Since the stitch pattern is not apparent in the picture above, I took some action photos, and hope you can see the lovely pattern better.

Only three more knitted Christmas presents to knit. Woohoo! I started on my boggled Navajo plied yarn last night. It's going to be a hat. I knew that it would be close and of course I ran out of yarn 3/4 through. At first I tried using some samples, spun with my spindle, but they didn't do at all. So now I'm thinking of spinning up some more, something which will match. Don't have the same stuff anymore. But it will have to wait, because yesterday morning I started spinning some super sproingy, and soft merino fiber. It's a whole new experience, so different to the fiber I spun last. Anywho, wish you all a wonderful weekend. Got to go, lots to do!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

All is forgiven, when he does things like that...

O.K. - I had to share this. Sam woke me up at 5 AM because he had a late night snack, and it wouldn't agree with him. I stayed up, no point in going back to bed, when my spinning wheel was ever so softly calling my name. Outside, we had some mild freezing rain. Inside, warm and cuddly. Later the same morning, around 9AM, I opened the door to the backyard. Sam jumped outside, followed by Biko. He paused, looked at all the snow, and turned left! That's right, I freaking can't believe it! Why you ask? See what he's doing? I put his snow shovel there, out of reach I though. He never goes and gets it, when we are outside, unless I give it to him.
He made moaning sounds, and worked hard for it!


Happy, and proud Sam, yapping it out loud for the whole neighbourhood to hear!
Biko just watched him, cool as a cucumber, and brought me her tennis ball. By then my fingers were frozen, but we played a little.

I love my dogs!
Happy Thanksgiving to you folks in the US! Don't eat too much Turkey! :o)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Did I have a migraine?

Woke up with a brutal headache yesterday morning. I got up at 6AM, and felt nauseous. I had goose bumps, and cold sweat. Took two pills, and sat on the couch, waiting for the headache and nausea to go away. It didn't for a while. I must have fallen asleep on the couch, because next time I looked up it was 9AM. I felt terrible, and by now the light was bothering me too. At 11 AM I took pills again, covered my eyes, and fell promptly asleep again. Sometime during all this I dragged myself to the computer to check e-mails, which made me laugh about myself. No matter how bad I'm feeling, it's important to me to stay in touch with the world. By midafternoon, I felt well enough to start doing my chores, half a day late, which screwed up my "time plan". There was still some lingering squeezyness, and headache til the evening. Never felt like that before. Don't want to feel like that again.

To have some fiber content in this post, look what the mailman brought to my door. It's 3 lbs of beautiful chocolate brown alpaca/merino blend! I got it from Victoria's Fiber, after reading this blog post. It's very soft, only a few vegetable matters in it, but easily picked out. Looking forward to spin this up. What for? Don't know yet.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Hi, my name is Monika, and I suck at Navajo plying ...

Last Monday the 12th I went to Serenity Knits to get some Noro Silk Garden, and some Koigu. The store was closed. Next possible visit would have been Saturday. I was very disappointed that the store was closed. If I wants yarn, I wants it now! Imagine my surprise when I got an e-mail, announcing their second Christmas Open House on Saturday the 17th, the day I wanted to go there anyway! Needless to say I got more than Noro Silk Garden, and Koigu. I filled out some ballots for door prizes, all of them desirable goodies for knitters. :o) I was very sorry that I was in a hurry, because the Ladies had wonderful cookies there, and the smell of hot apple cider was just spreading throughout the store. Did I mention I went there early? Like right after they opened at 9 AM? Well I did.

Last night, it was late Sunday afternoon, I got a call from Laurie, one of the owners, to tell me that I won a door prize, so I have to go back to pick it up. I'm already thinking what I would need, once there, to make the trip worthwhile. Hm.

And regarding the yarn I bought, do not think I've started knitting any of it! But at least this time I bought the yarn with specific projects in mind.

So, now we come to this blogs title. On Saturday, after my LYS outing, I sat down to ply, and ply, and ply some more. Hours, and hours of plying. Well, I did ply on Friday, and on Thursday as well, and I think I started plying on Wednesday.

I got the 3-ply done, worth 2 pairs of socks in size 10. Never again! It's so boring to sit and ply, I think I took a nap here and there. All of the three singles broke once, which woke me up, and brought a little excitement into it. My Jumbo bobbin was backed to the fullest when I was done. Little happy dance, and on to the next - 2 ply. Very uneventful, everything went smoothly, but oh so booooring! I used to think I like plying best, because it brings me so close to the finished product. But that's only true for small projects.

So, to get it over with I decided to Navajo ply right away. In theory I know how to do it, and so on, but it was a disaster, once again. I treadled very slowly; I think I did all the right moves, or not, and I didn't get as stressed as the couple of times I Navajo plied before. In any case, I gave up caring about smoothness, and loops, pretty soon. I don't like how this yarn looks, and it's such a shame. As I said in the previous post, this yarn is holding a surprise. It came like this (the little balls of fiber are not included in this project. I think they are meant for needle felting. It came in my Birthday package from my daughter Hannah).
When I pulled it apart it became obvious that the colores separated easily, at least most of them. What to do? I was hoping to get enough out of it for a hat. I started with black and moved through the colores to where no black fibers where anywhere near anymore. I liked the idea, despite that it was hard to spin, because it stuck together even pre-drafted. I think my idea would have worked, if I would have been able to properly Navajo ply. I'm either going to abandon this kind of plying altogether, or I'll have to find someone, who can show me how to do it right. All the pictures on the Internet didn't really help me this time.
Here you have it: New Zealand Wool Navajo plied; going to be a hat, but not for my head. It's only 115yds. There is a section which is only black and gets more colorful in the middle, until it's only lilac/purplish in the end. I'm still liking the idea.

Goblin Eyes - Romney Wool - 4 oz - 229yds - 2-plied - mittens.

Below: Mohair/Wool (very much over twisted) - 3-plied - one skein is 375yds, the second is 366yds - 2 pairs of socks, some day.

Yesterday was a gorgeous day. While the men of the house raked leaves and filled paper bags, I was having fun with the dogs. I love the sight of Birch trees against a blue sky, can't get enough of it. The ground was frozen for the first time this fall; the top layer of the rainwater in the pool was frozen too, and the bucket with water for the dogs had a layer of ice too, which I had to break, so they could drink. Sam's prepared for the coming winter, snow shovel and all. He "found" it again, and was over the moon. Forgotten was his big red ball, not a second glance in its direction. He was shouting out to the world, that he's gotten his shovel back (little did he know, that it was only for this one time).

The chewed up edges cut his mouth, and under his elbows as well. I'm sorry for him, because nothing makes him happier than his shovel. So let him play for this one outing and hide it again. When he gets a good grip on it, he runs around, and then you've got to watch out for your knees, or in Biko's case her head. He bonked her once, and my knees escaped just barely.

So when the time has come, I took the shovel and held it high with my left hand, the right hand took a picture of this face .... so cute, if I say so myself. Sorry Sam, it's for your own good. And didn't you know, that things we like and have fun with, are NOT good for us (O.K. my mind's not on a shovel here, it's more focused on chocolate, very random, I know)?

Friday, November 16, 2007

A lot of spinning content, a l o t ...

But first, clue 3 is done on both socks. Isn't this a lovely heel? It's some kind of linen stitch, or weave stitch, I think. The other heel is a bit more green, but it would be boring to show both. Can't wait to finish these socks. I've mixed up the bamboo and metal needles on both socks, to keep them the same size (hopefully). I used to have two sets of 2.5mm Bamboo DP's, but I rarely use 2.5mm for socks, so I gave one set to my daughter. Normally I would knit one sock after the other, but since I had to wait for the next clue, I started the second sock, because I was afraid of SSS. O.K. moving on. These last few days I spun up a storm, at least for me. Naturally it's a form of procrastination, because I have to knit some things, I don't really like to do. Or should I say, I don't like the super fine lace yarn, I like the pattern just fine. I still have time, so I'd rather do anything, even scooping dog poop was on my to do list today.

This fiber was horrible to spin. I think the fiber was felted with the dyeing process, even after hard laboured pre-drafting, it stuck and I had to use excessive force, and pull throughout the whole time. I'm going to Navajo ply this bobbin. The last attempt on Navajo plying is long enough in the past, that I don't feel the pain anymore, so I'll give it another try. The finished yarn should be a surprise, you'll see what I mean when it's done. I got the fiber (New Zealand wool) from my daughter Hannah. Thanks, sweety!
"Goblin Eyes", Romney wool, was a little easier to spin. Nothing else came to mind, than to 2-ply it. See the right bobbin? I zoned out and forgot to move the single to the next hook. It was fun though. I tried to spin a little thicker, which makes it a lot faster. I hope I'll get enough for some mittens, but am not quite sure. We'll see.

Finally - the never ending mohair/wool blend is done. 8oz worth, crammed onto three bobbins. I don't even remember how long ago I started spinning this. This will be 3-ply sock yarn. It's an ugly duckling, which will never be a swan, and only mommy can love it. Very much laboured over. Last night I plied for 3 hours, and got about 1/3 done. Help!!!

Want to know the scary part? I've got the same mohair/wool blend in a slightly different colorway (grey/lilac)! 8oz of it! But before that's going to happen, I'll spin some lovely OTHER fiber, and lots of it.

My new best friend is my tensioned Lazy Kate. Am I glad I forked over the bucks for that! It's still unfinished, as are some extra bobbins I bought. Not sure I'll get to finish them any time soon, don't like to paint, and besides, I need them already.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lets see...

... what we've got here. Darn secrecy. On the one hand I'm glad that certain people I knit for, are reading my blog, on the other hand I would have liked to show the FO's. Soon, though, soon! I caught up with clue 2 on both socks. The funny thing I just realized looking at the picture is, that the second sock, which is the right one, seems a little tighter or smaller. They should be the same!!! I used Bamboo DP's for the left one, and metal DP's for the right one, same needle size. What's up with that? I'm loving the pattern, and tomorrow we will get the next clue. Yeah!
Doggies are good filler material. The weather is wet, but the temperatures are fine for now. Wet means, we have wet and dirty dogs. They enjoy being outside much more now, and have more stamina, since the heat is gone. Biko is always focused on her tennis ball, nothing else is important. Sam's about to shake off a few droplets, which fell on him creeping through the bushes. He hates water!

He felt stalked, because wherever he went with his ball, there I was, pointing the camera at him. He looks friendly enough in this picture, but right after he "yelled" at me, or maybe it was an invitation to play with him. He's kicking and holding on to his red ball with his front legs, and that's what they look like afterwards. This is not even so bad, since the rest of his body is still clean.

Hege awarded me with the "You Make Me Smile" award, and I thank her for that honor. It always makes ME smile, when people tell me, they like visiting my blog.

I read many blogs and it's hard to select 5 which make me smile, but I did it:
So, that's it. Nominees, feel free to continue giving this award, or not, if you have a hard time finding blogs, which make you smile. I didn't, it's always harder to just select a few.
Anything else for today? Hmm, I better go knit some more on my Christmas presents, so I can get back to normal blogging soon. See ya! ;o)
Thank you, Shannon for your help with the side bar. I had an error in one of my links.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Maria & Joseph & a little peanut!

Since this little family landed safely in the arms of my parents, I can show you the pictures. This is a mini nativity scene. The booklet shows sheep, a donkey, shepherds, and kings, and a beautiful angel as well. I don't know yet, if I will ever knit all of them. That's it for now though. It was fun, but I wish Alan Dart would construct his figures more to be knit in the round. All those seams are killing me! I made Mary's feet, but she would not stand on them, so I left them off, and didn't bother to make Joseph's. Mary's neck was so long, I had to make a necklace to keep it straight, and also I had to put a wooden skewer from head to bottom. Gory work, but it worked.

I like Joseph's beard. The best use for fuzzy fun fur is for knitted toys.

Mary's head wobbled from side to side, and back and forth, I had to do something. I felt quite clever when I came up with this little necklace. ;o) Mary also has hair, it's a pity one can't see it because of the headscarf.

Making Baby Jesus was fun. He does remind me of a peanut.

pattern: Nativity Scene by Alan Dart; last year I found this little booklet in one of my LYS.

yarn: Valley Yarns Longmeadow, 60% cotton, 40% microfiber (in the future I'll make toys with wool)

needle: 3mm

size: they are about 12 1/2 inches high

Friday, November 09, 2007

Spunky Eclectic October Fiber

... is finally here! I had almost given up on it! This is 4 ounces of Romney Wool colorway "Goblin Eyes". Not sure when I'll get to it, but am glad that I have it. ;o)