Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bea's socks - test knit

It's amazing, there are more than 30 post cards winging their way to Germany right now! Some have even arrived and Mrs. Sabatowski said her son is very happy! Thank you all so much for doing this little kindness for somebody you don't know!


I've finished some socks:


The little bump on the cuffs is not because of the pattern, but because of the sock blocker. The socks were just to long.


free pattern: Schraegrippsocken by Bea Zaech (not yet released)
yarn: Regia, 4-faedig, 2 x 50g, color # 1034
needles: 2.25mm DP
start-finish: March 21-28
size: for my feet


These socks were fun to knit, once I understood the concept. It took me that long to finish them, because I reknit the heel of the first sock three times. Not because of the pattern, but first I knit the foot too short, which I realized after heel # 1 was done. Than I had so many holes in the heel, it was embarrassing, so I ripped it again. Short row heels are not my forte. I normally don't like the fit of short row heels, but Bea wrote a gusset increase into the pattern. So the fit is perfect now! Third time was the charm though, I'm happy with how the heel turned out.
Too bad the yarn didn't like being photographed, it's a lovely colorway, I like it a lot.
Also I'm going to knit this pattern again some day. It's a great pattern.

And as if it were not enough to get a pattern to knit for free, as a thank you for test knitting Bea sent me these mohair balls!
I haven't used mohair that much, in fact I can only remember using it for the Capeletts I made last Fall. I'm planning on finding a great pattern for this, and if I can't find one, I'll have to think of something myself. I'm looking forward to work with it!

Thank you, Bea!

Bea's gift to me- 4 balls mohair, no labels

Friday, April 24, 2009

Handspun Friday - Tan & Teal

Thanks everyone, who agreed to send a postcard! That's wonderful of you! (there will be over 20 post cards on their way)

merino top-fine shetland-light grey coopworth-3

Usually I spin my yarn for hard wear, or at least long lasting. That's why I like to spin as evenly as possible, and ply the crap out of it (see cabled yarn). This yarn was originally planned to be a 3-ply yarn, as you can see in this picture. I've got this great merino fiber Tan & Teal from Maggie (it was not even in her store, I just saw it on flickr and got lucky!), the light grey is Coopworth sliver, and the natural white is Fine Shetland. Using all three together would have meant that I would have lost the beautiful colores in Tan & Teal. And besides, as I picked up Fine Shetland, it was so very soft, and suddenly it felt wrong to add it here, and not use it by itself. Now I will.

merino with coopworth~ 339yds-14WPi-2-ply thick thin yarn
2-ply, thick/thin yarn, ~ 339yds, 12-14 WPI (more on the 14 WPI side)

I started spinning Maggie's merino, and after about a quarter bobbin full, an unintentional slub occurred. That got me thinking (have been reading spinning books and got probably inspired). A 3-ply would obscure the wonderful colores of the merino for sure. I did not want that. I started to spin slubs intentionally, which is not easy, since I pretty much didn't want that in my yarns I've spun so far. To my surprise it was fun! I like the blue/teal color especially and every blue slub made me happy.

merino teal&tan with coopworth~ 283yds-12WPI
2-ply, thick/thin yarn, ~ 283yds, 12-14 WPI (more on the 12 WPI side)

I had slightly less Coopworth fiber to work with, but I figured, since I wanted to spin this evenly fine, it would be enough, and it was (with left overs).

merino-coopworth 2-ply-~ 622yds together-12to14WPI-2

This yarn bloomed a lot after the wash and drying. It might not look it, but it's squishy and soft, you hardly feel the rather scratchy Coopworth. I would like to cast on at once with this yarn, to see how it looks knit up, but I want to finish my other projects first. Can't stand multiple projects, so it has to wait, like all the others.


The pups have finally accepted that it's Winter no more, and they don't like it (yet), probably because of the rain we got lately. When we are in the backyard, after a while they wait at the door to go inside, before I'm ready.

Sam April 15-22
Here's the Samster, looking out the bay window in the living room, surrounded by my spinning equipment. I was told by a family member recently, looking for a place to deposit his plate on the coffee table, that it was a big mess. But I disagree, this chaos has its order, which admittedly only I understand, and as I pointed out, there are only tools I'm using every day around.

Anyway, back to Sam. He was so cute today, he made me laugh, and hug him. Our dogs don't get to be outside by themselves. It's mostly because Biko would get into trouble because she gets bored. I don't want any trouble, and I hate it, when she's barking at the birds and bees, and passers by. So they don't, get to stay outside without supervision I mean.

Today though, Biko was out on the balcony, barking her head off, and I was busy vaccuming the walkout basement. We had some stuff on the floor, which could hurt their paws. Sam as usual was right beside me, and that was not good. I let him outside, because he never gets into trouble by himself, he's a good boy. :o) At first he was happy, but that changed as soon as he realized, that nobody was following him. By then I had closed the door and vaccumed away. When I was finished I opened the door but could not see Sam, only his abandoned red Jolly ball. I called, and that's when he came galloping as fast as his gimpy legs would let him around the corner of the winter garden. He was waiting at the garage door to be let in. I'm sure he was looking for a way in other than the closed door. We use the door through the garage more during warmer month. Anyway, he's cute and a little smart. :o)

Biko April 14-32
Biko all the while did what she likes to do - barking, until I cut her off and get her inside. I played around with the photo a bit, but I'm too impatient to waste too much time on this.

Wish you all a wonderful weekend!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009


"Happiness depends upon ourselves."
-Aristotle (384-322BC)

Well, yes, but sometimes we get some help from family, friends, acquaintances or even people we only know through the Internet! Some days I just can't help but smile from ear to ear. Those are good days. :o)

gift from Monica

It pays to leave a comment. I've been reading Monica's blog for quite some time now. I find it quite interesting and think, that she deserves many more readers (who leave a comment), as many other blogs I read do. She had a contest and I was a winner for leaving the 1000th comment! Woo Hoo! Wasn't she generous with her prize? I finally got a knitting related mug! I like mugs in general, but so far I've not found a sheepy mug or any other knitting related mugs, so I'm VERY happy about it. The Tangerine Cherry Tree Hill skein made me laugh. It really IS orange! I have to find the perfect project to use it with. Thanks Monica for everything!

gift from Chawne

Another generous person is dear Chawne! I know her first and mostly through flickr. I love to be part of her days through her photographs and comments. She's so funny and excellent in every craft she does. If you don't believe me, see for yourself. Look through her sets of wonderful crafts. She inspired me to do many projects, the last one was the Babette blanket.
All I did to get this wonderful, generous gift was to send her a project bag I made, and she's still waiting for it! I sure hope it gets there soon. It's not that I expected anything in return, although I DO like surprises as well. I think I was quite selfish in sewing those project bags, which was fun for me, and than giving them away, which made me feel good. So there, selfish! :o)

excellent customer service

Excellent customer service! I never doubt that it exists again! Back in 2007 I bought Amy Butler's Chelsea Bags pattern to make this tote bag. The same pattern also gives instruction to make a the handbag size. I kept the cut out pattern, but lost the instructions. Since my sewing machine is still out, I thought, I'd like to make the small Chelsea bag, but I could not remember how the handle was done. I just knew it was a bit difficult.
So I wrote to Amy Butler's customer service and to my amazement I've got a nice answer, and what was even more amazing, they sent me the pattern free of charge!
Isn't that great customer service?

Now there's something else. Somebody did me a favor, and in return she only asked me for a post card from were I live, which her disabled son collects. This is a small thing to do. I was just thinking how great it would be, if instead of one post card, she would get many for her son? If anybody is willing to send a post card, please send me an e-mail. I've already obtained the help of some family members to participate. :o)

Thank you!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring Blanket - Done!

Spring Blanket finished 48 inches x 50 inches-3

Finally! It's done! As much as I loved this idea of 10-stitch blanket, after 20+ balls of knitting with unloved yarn, it was getting on my nerves. I knit on it intermittently mostly late night,watching TV. The bag which held the Patons SWS balls seemed like it would bring forth never ending supply, until one day in frustration I checked and there were only 5 balls left. That's when I got a new booster and within a week the blanky was done. Thank God!

Spring Blanket finished 48 inches x 50 inches-122 x 127cm

There's nothing really wrong with the yarn, except that I don't like knitting with it. I don't want it near my skin, but as blanket it's quite soft and warm. Too bad it's not machine washable. The blanket is also heavy, that might be a good thing, so it stays put better, I think.

Spring Blanket finished 48 inches x 50 inches-back side
This is how it looks on the back side.

pattern: 10-stitch blanket by Frankie Brown (only as free ravelry download)

yarn: Patons SWS, color: natural pink, 20.5 balls (threw away last half ball with satisfaction, with evil grin on my face, as I heard it scream on its way into the garbage bin)

needle: 5mm DP

size: 48 inches x 50 inches (122cm x 127cm)

start-finish: August 22, 2008 - April 16, 2009

Babette beginning April 17-3

The best part about finishing it was, that I already had my next blanket waiting in line. It's the Babette crochet blanket. I'm officially a Babetteier now. Of course looking at all the color changes with all those ends, I opted for the lazy version, and that means I'm going to use Noro Kureyon in several colorways. We'll see how long this blanket will take me, since I like to work with this yarn I expect it to go faster. Last night though, as I encountered the umptiest thick, unspun stretch in the yarn, after a few knots too, I seriously thought why I would buy this yarn. Oh yeah right, it's the colores!

This yarn is a bit frustrating, because after every thick part, there always comes a thread thin part and you just can't start cutting those parts out, because there would not be much yarn left of each ball. This will be my second Noro Kureyon blanket, unfortunately another handwash blanket.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Handspun Friday- Black Merino/Tencel

Thank you all so much for your comments on my Dante Purse! And I wanted to say Hallo to those who are new here, and left a comment for the first time! It's always amazing how people end up here from all over!


Sometimes there's not enough yarn for a pair of socks in my size, but it's still good sock yarn, like Black Purl here. I thought I would spin up some black fiber to knit cuffs, heels and toes. I had some merino/tencel in my stash. Doesn't it look rather like hair? It felt weird to spin this, and I wanted to get it over with quickly.

Black Purl Socks-1

The socks look a little gloomy but the feeling on my feet is wonderful. It's wool/mohair/nylon blend, just the way I like my sock yarn.

Black Purl socks-3

I knit them on 2.25mm DP needles, toe up, 60 stitches for the foot, 64 for the leg. The heel was a weird construction, I found it in the book "Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn" by Carol J. Sulcoski. It's from the Staccato Socks by Veronik Avery, really neat socks too, but the heel is kind of funny to knit.

Black Purl socks-2

I think I just have enough left of the black yarn to knit another handspun pair, with a different sock yarn, which has not enough yardage on its own.

For those interested in spinning great sock yarn, I found this interesting link here. I've read about spinning good sock yarn somewhere else before, can't remember where, but this is a good article too. I agree with what she's saying, even though she does not recommend machine processed roving. I don't think I will ever prepare my own spinning fiber, it's just too much hassle. That's why I try to spin as good a sock yarn as possible to get the most wear out of handspun socks. Everything else would be a waste of money and time, even though socks can look beautiful, and can be wonderful soft on your feet, but either they felt after the first wash, or get holes in the heel or toes quickly. That's why handspun sock yarn for me will always be at least navajo plied, or 3-plied or more. Anyway, I think it's a good read.

I did some dyeing over the Easter weekend, not much, but just to get the dyeing bug out of my bonnet.

Easter weekend dyeing

The left one I love, the middle one is O.K. I guess, and the right one did NOT turn out as I wanted it. The first two are Columbia fiber, 8oz each. I think it's similar to Corriedale, but I have not spun it yet. The right one is 50/50 merino/tencel, 6.7oz and it was a PIA. Don't think I'll get to this one any time soon.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dante's Purse

multicolored experiment bag-15 high-7

Ever since I saw Kirsten's first Dante's Purse I wanted to make one myself. I only got around to it now, but better late than never.

Dante's' Purse 1

pattern: Dante's Purse by Kirsten Kapur (free download)
fabric: outside: cosmo barnyard, purlsoho , lining: local fabricland
yarn: multicolored experiment, handspun from previous post
hook: for base H (5mm)
needles: 4.5mm circular
size: 15inches high, base is 7.25 inches in diameter
start-finish: April 1-2

Dante's Purse 2

The only modification to the purse I made was the crochet base. It was so much fun to see it develop, I almost couldn't stop myself. I wanted to use up all the yarn I had, so the bag is a good size. I've got only a couple of yards left in the end. I didn't use an I-cord as drawstring either, just twisted the already cabled yarn. It could have been a few inches longer, but it's working as it is.
The hardest part of this was to sew the stretchy knit bag together with the inflexible fabric bag. I did it with my sewing machine, but first I had to pin it together. I found a big enough round plastic container, where I could slip it on and pin everything in place. That was the least favorite part. Everything else was very fun to do.

Dante's Purse 3

It was easy to follow Kirsten's instructions, even though there was MATH ! involved. It was fun, you get to decide how big the bag is going to be. I'm sure this was not the last one I made.

There's nothing else to say about it, just to enjoy!

multicolored experiment bag-15 high-8

Friday, April 10, 2009

Handspun Friday - Multicolored Experiment

I've been reading Marianne's blog for some time now. Not too long ago she opened her etsy store. I wanted to support her, and I think I must have been one of her first customers. At the time she didn't have a lot of colorways I liked (she's updating often), since she seems to like pink a lot, and I don't necessarily, so I got this:

Multicolored Experiment-1

It looked to me, like she used it to mop up spilled dye, no offence, but we all know how deceiving handpainted fiber can be, because it became this, and I totally love it!

multicolored experiment-151yds-2-11 WPI

fiber: superwash merino, 157g
source: Picperfic's Fluff-n-Stuff
yardage: 151 yds
WPI: 11

multicolored experiment-151yds-6-11 WPI

Now, why is it called "Multicolored experiment"? Because of the way I plied it. So far I've never made cabled yarn, were you make two 2-ply yarns and cable those together (or any amount of strands as it seems)

So I was thinking, what about if you make two navajo plied yarns and cable those together? Would that work? Why yes, it did! No problem at all.

If you ask yourself, what purpose could this method of making yarn have? What's it good for?

Well, no purpose or advantage really, besides that you get a very sturdy yarn. It looks unusual too, depending on the colorways one uses, it can be quite beautiful. It feels a little like rope. I worked the softness out of this lovely superwash fiber, no doubt.

multicolored experiment-151yds-1-11 WPI


I started writing this blog post yesterday morning. At lunch time I went to get the mail and to my delight I found "The intentional spinner, a holistic approach to making yarn" by Judith MacKenzie MacCuin in my box. I ordered it after I read an enthusiastic review of it on Monica's blog. I skimmed through it, when my eyes fell on the chapter about cabled yarns. How wonderful! Turns out, my idea about cabling multi stranded yarns, is not a new one. It's been used for ages! Decorative cabled yarns actually DO have their uses, for instance as trims, animal and human decoration, or ceremonial yarns. Who'd have known? There's still so much for me to learn (it's not that I thought I know it all, but I just didn't know what I didn't know about spinning). Since this technique makes the yarn really dense, it's much heavier, than ordinary plied yarn.

multicolored experiment-151yds-3-11 WPI

Holding the finished yarn in my hands, feeling it's texture and drape, I was trying to think of something to do with it. I wanted to use it right away, no putting away in my handspun stash bin for this skein.

I'll show you what I came up with next week, if you can stand the suspense. :o)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Spring? April 7 before 8 AM

Sunday afternoon, I was sitting in the sun, knitting. The pups froliced around the back yard, and now this:

click pics to few full size (I've got a new camera, which I'm still trying to figure out)

Copy of April 7-before 8AM-4-2

The pups think the world is in order again, now that snow is back!

Copy of April 7-before 8AM-3-2

Copy of April 7-before 8AM-7-2
Biko was miffed because she had to sit still for a second.

Copy of April 7-before 8AM-8-2

Copy of April 7-before 8AM-9-2

Copy of April 7-before 8AM-2-2

Copy of April 7-before 8AM-13-2

In the end Biko had no trouble taking away Sam's ball, even under heavy protest.

April 7-before 8AM-14-2

Monday, April 06, 2009

Spring time urges

Every year when Spring comes around, I get the urge to sew, and to dye. The urge to do some spring cleaning is there too, but very weak. I turned over the basket where I keep my sewing threads, they were all tangled, and I had to wind all of them, so I arranged them by color. I even found a 1 Schilling coin, which was the currency in Austria, before the Euro. I gave the coin to my son, who's very sentimental about things like that.
sewing threads

So, out came the sewing machine and since I like all kinds of bags, I was looking for a project bag pattern. I found one too! It's called the Two Kates project bag, and I could not stop at one!

Two Kates Project Bags-1

It was so much fun sewing them. The only regret I had was, that I used fabric from my very old stash (some are a little newer), still left over from my patchwork and quilting days. I still have lots of left over. They all have a different fabric on the inside, but they are not really reversable, but very roomy. I like them, because they are not drawstring bags, although I like those too.

Two Kates project bags-2

If you are shaking your heads, thinking, "What's she going to do with all those project bags?", I'm telling you. I'm going to give them away as gift bags. No contest though, I'm going to decide as the mood strikes me. Coincidentally, April is the anniversary of my blogging life. I've started blogging three years ago! I would have stopped several times during that time, would it not have been for YOU, my readers, and especially those, who leave comments on a regular basis. Thank you all very much!

Key Lime and Mountain Lake sock yarn
(for some reason this yarn was VERY hard to photograph, it was not the colores, but my camera wouldn't focus right)

This weekend I grabbed the dye pot again, and decided to give the yarn cake dyeing technique another try. I DO really like the results I'm getting. It's just a time consuming thing to do, and I think I'm done now for a while. Here you see what I call "Mountain Lake" and "Key Lime" sock yarn. I've already cast on for socks with one colorway. It took me a long time to find a stitch pattern for it. I hope it works out like I want it too.

Bloody Toes socks
(our front yard has no color so far, the tulips are just peeking out, and you can see the "bloody toes socks" in progress, as I call them)

The other colorway will be Bea's socks again. I like the pattern that much. :o) It's going to be available for free in German and in English as well, as soon as the test knitting is done. Bea, correct me if I'm wrong! You can find instructions on this dyeing technique in Bea's blog post.
Now, I better get back to work, so I'll get to the fun part sooner.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Handspun Friday - Roses in the Snow

Roses in the Snow, 5.6oz, Happy Hooves Sock Batt Club from Enchanted Knoll, trade from Dave
Roses in the Snow, 5.6oz

Dave is in Happy Hooves Sock Batt Club from Enchanted Knoll. The February Club Batts were called "Roses in the Snow". He felt he didn't like the colores for himself, so he offered them to me. I saw finished yarn from these batts on ravelry, and liked the shiny sparkliness of it, and so I agreed to take it off his hands, and traded some FatCatKnits fiber I had in my stash.

Roses in the Snow and Dream in color Smooshy - peaches, trade from Dave

Well the batts came, and he snuck in this gorgeous sock yarn as well! I've always wanted to give Dream in Color Smooshy a try! Thanks, Dave!

Roses in the Snow, 5.6oz, Happy Hooves Sock Batt Club from Enchanted Knoll, trade from Dave-ready for plying

Here are the batts all spun up. Each batt had lots of sparkle in them. I started with the pink one. It was really easy to spin, which made me question my dislike of batts. Next up was the whitish batt. This one was a major PIA to spin, and it confirmed my opinion about spinning batts. All I wanted was just to get through it. I think for batts to be spun nicely they have to be carded many times. The white stuff was just horrible. Last was the yellow batt, which sparkled golden on the bobbin, it was in between the other too. Not a total mess, but not as easy as the pink stuff either. I was really glad when I was done with it.

With all that sparkle and glitter stuff going on I expected the finished yarn to sparkle like a lit Christmas tree, but to tell you the truth, I was disappointed with the finished yarn. It looks all frezzled and worn. It got too much twist as well, because I didn't realize that the lazy Kate was holding on too tight until I was almost done with it.

These batts were supposed to be spun as 3-ply for socks. Well it's 3-ply already and there's enough yardage to make socks and than some. I don't know what I'll do with it, this one's just a twisted mess, and I think the fiber is too soft for socks.

Roses in the Snow-3-ply-565yds-2-25WPI

fiber: Roses in the Snow, 5.6oz (don't know what's in it, besides glitter stuff), Happy Hooves Sock Batt Club, from Enchanted Knoll, February 2009

yardage: 565yds, 3-ply

WPI: 25

Roses in the Snow-3-ply-565yds-3-25 WPI

while plying, Sam's always under foot, March 27

Sam's ever so helpful, always underfoot. :o)

while plying, Biko's not far either, March 27
Biko's never far away either. Both start to snore as soon as I start pedaling.

KP merino lace, 880yds, closest to the real color, with Roses in the Snow
Here's it one more time with some lace yarn I dyed. Last year around this time I dyes some yarn, two skeins of lace weight yarn among them. This year I took them out and didn't like how plotchy they were, so I overdyed them. The color in this picture is pretty accurate. It's KnitPicks Bare lace weight merino, 880yds a skein. I like it much better now, that it is almost solid.

KP merino lace, 880yds, dyed in Raspberry-1