Friday, July 29, 2011

Henry socks - July socks

Quickly a few photos of the finished Henry socks. They are called that way, because the fiber was called Henry, don't know why. Here's the fiber:


Here's the yarn: one of the two skeins, I'll be making mittens with the other one.


And here are the finished socks:

Henry socks done - July 2011 socks

Henry socks done

Henry socks done

I used Fleegle's toe-up no-flap no-hassle sock pattern, which is my go to pattern for very well fitting toe-up socks. I only do toe-ups with handspun yarn, and prefer cuff down with all the others. I've tried many toe-up recipes, and this one I liked best.

Henry socks done

A day after we got that mat, the boys settled down on it together. They needed a day to get used to it first. Now it's all combinations of all of them down there, or just one at a time, but I never have space to stretch out my legs. Once, all three of them fit on it, but not for long.

July - the boys under my desk

I've enjoyed reading Preita's blog for some time now. July was Preita's Birthday month, and she celebrated with her readers by giving away goodies from her Etsy shop. I was lucky to get this lovely fiber:

By Hand Fibers 100% Polwarth 4oz - River  Rock

It's 100% Polwarth, 4oz, colorway River Rock. I picked it out myself. Before I knew the name, I thought of pebbles on the beach. I also got one (Channel Island shawl) of her lovely shawl patterns , and I'm waiting just for the right yarn and time to cast it on.
Thank you very much, Preita!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What's next?

It's not like there's a hole in my life now, that the Tour is over. I actually enjoy knitting more than ever. Even during all those hours spinning, I knew I would cast on for socks right away. So I did.

Henry socks
One day, one sock, some Rainier cherries.

I grabbed one of the two skeins of Henry, and divided it into two balls. Whenever knitting with handspun yarn, where there's no more yarn when you run out, I knit my socks toe-up. So far I've never run out of yarn though, and this time was no exception.

Henry socks almost done
Second day, second sock, fresh cherries.

It was such a joy knitting those socks, and fast too, since the yarn was sport weight. They've been washed and blocked, just have to take final pictures.

I had already my next project in mind. It's another Earth & Sky shawl from Stephen West, and his Mystery KAL. It starts August 1st, but since I was a test knitter, I've started my second one last night. It's going to be smaller than the first one, since I don't have enough yarn for the large version. It's hard to capture the colors, especially the blue/purple one. So far I really like how it looks. Can't show you more right now.

Earth & Sky II getting ready

During Tour de Fleece, I cast on for another shawl. It's going to be lovely, but I dont' feel like knitting on it, so it will take a while. I like knitting with handspun yarn a lot more at the moment, even though I LOVE the colors of this one.

Sothia shawl- beginnings

The other day, we finally conceded, that the store were we bought rawhide bones for the pups over the last few years, no longer had them in stock. Really, really annoying! If we had known, we would have stocked up. So, we went to another store and bought the biggest ones we could find, just because Denny chews up anything else in record time.

July 26
As long as Maggie is just lying there, not chewing on it, it's O.K. (as far as Denny is concerned), I could care less.

July 26
He thinks all three of those bones are his. He has no problem carrying these big bones. He even tried carrying two at a time, like he does with the smaller ones, but that was just too much, so he collected them one by one, and plucked himself down in the middle. Notice how Maggie runs circles around him in a respectful distance. She's got a new toy as well, because she and Happy like to play tug o' war.
When we brought the new bones in, I had them in a big plastic bin. Denny saw me taking them out, and after he had inspected the big ones, he went back to the bin, and tried to nudge the lid off, to have another look inside. Later during the day, he went back there several times, to check if there's still something new for him to find.

Denny the pig

Since Denny is the boss, he takes away everything Happy wants, so Happy gets his treats when the others are not around. This time he got a smokey smelling bone, which he took gently, running around the house, not finding the right spot to enjoy it, until I let him out on the deck. It was insanely humid that morning, because it had rained during the night, but he still wanted to have his bone out there.

July 26

Do you like your treat, Happy?

July 26

Funny thing though, after he was done chewing, I took the bone away, and put it somewhere Denny can't get to it. So Happy can enjoy it again later. But Denny smelled something, and followed his nose throughout the house, even out on the deck. He did finally pinpoint where I've put it, but he still didn't get it. :o)


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tour de Fleece - Final Day

To wrap it all up here's what I've accomplished during Tour de Fleece 2011.

Tour de Fleece 2011

I'm quite pleased with it all. It's 64oz or 4lbs fiber, and 4,678yds of finished yarn. Phew! I can't say that I'm not glad it's over though. Right now I'm thinking this was a one time thing for me, but who knows how I feel next year? In any case, if I'll do it ever again, I'll need some goals I want to achieve, and a wider selection of fiber to spin. But for now, I'm happy!

Here's another video, where Happy makes a sprinkler out of our hose, but I must say, it was leaking anyway, so we'll have to cut off a piece. Oh and, I was so focused on keeping him in the pictures, that I did not see that he came closer. What a cold surprise that was. :o)

And another video of the boys:

Now I'm going to wind myself some Henry yarn, and cast on for my July socks.


Tour de Fleece - Day 22

Of course it was Denny who destroyed my shawl, and as Cindy said, he's got the Naughty Puppy Disease! Latest I heard, there's no cure for that.

I can't tell you how glad I am, but I'm done with Tour de Fleece! I've finished my last yarn today. First I finished spinning the singles,
TdF - day 22- Farmer Phil -BFL- singles-4oz

then I chain plied it,
TdF - day 22-Farmer Phil- chain plied

after that it got a hot bath, and was hung out to dry. Now it's done.

TdF - day 22-Farmer Phil- chain plied-304yds

TdF - day 22-Farmer Phil- chain plied-304yds

This was colorway Farmer Phil on BFL, chain plied, 304yds, 4oz. I've got another 4oz in my stash, and I think I'll spin, and ply it the same way, because I really like how it came out, but not right away.

TdF - day 22-Farmer Phil- chain plied-304yds

Now, I'm going to take a break from spinning, at least for a week or so. I need to get my July socks started. I've cast on another shawl, but didn't feel like knitting during the last couple of weeks. I hope that will change now.

Here's a video of the pups enjoying themselves:


Friday, July 22, 2011

Tour de Fleece - Day 21

Who would have thought that 30C would not feel that hot to me anymore, after experiencing a day like yesterday? Not I, that's for sure.
My today's post is a little late, since we didn't have internet connection for hours. That makes me very antsy, but also makes me think, that it's a little ridiculous to be so dependent on the www.

Today I was working on "Farmer Phil" on BFL. I've got 8oz, but for now I'm only spinning 4oz. This will be the last fiber spun for Tour de Fleece. I did get 2oz done today, and the rest I'll spin tomorrow. It's a little hard to work with, so I pre-drafted it for easier spinning.
TdF - day 21- Farmer Phil - BFL-4oz

This is yesterday's finished yarn. "Petey Pete" on superwash Merino, 3-ply, 300yds. I find it a little bit boring. Not "my" colors at all. With some colorways in my fiber stash, I ask myself WHY did I buy this? They had to have caught me eyes at some point.

Petey Pete on sw Merino, 4oz, 3ply, 300yds

Being merino fiber it's soft, next to skin yarn. I have no idea what it will be at some point, but I might add another yarn to spice it up, who knows.

Petey Pete on sw Merino, 4oz, 3ply, 300yds

And on a sad note, I've got one less shawl. For month now, since it's been finished, this shawl has lived on the back of my chair, keeping my shoulders warm when I needed it. I really loved this one, it's cuddly, soft, and even with all those holes, it warmed me just right.

Guess who killed it off?! Right.

minus one shawl


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tour de Fleece - Day 20

This morning was the first day since I can remember, that I didn't make myself some tea for breakfast. It was just too hot. When I first walked outside with Denny at the and of the leash so he could do his business, my glasses fogged up right away. The difference of temperatures between inside and outside were great. It felt so uncomfortable, and I had trouble breathing. I don't know where the humidity comes from, since it hasn't rained in a long time.
Even the neighbors, who stay outside all day, acknowledged that this was an extra hot day, by putting up some canvas over half their backyard to get some shade. But shade or not, it still felt like almost 50C! I've never experienced temperatures like that.

Thankfully it's wonderful cool in the basement, and I could spin uninterrupted what I had planned.
I finished Petey Pete, superwash merino. I'm going to ply it later.

TdF- day 20- Petey Pete for 3-ply done-2

Yesterday I finished my purplish/blue fiber, plying took longer than I expected, but I wanted to get it into the dye pot at all costs. And I did.
Here it is: 2 skeins of sw merino, 2-plied, together a total of 739yds. It's very squishy, and poofed up quite a lot while drying in the hot air. It's also very soft.

first skein: 350yds
TdF day 20-sw merino- 2 skeins-2-ply-total of 739yds-6oz-2

second skein: 389yds
TdF day 20-sw merino- 2 skeins-2-ply-total of 739yds-6oz-3

TdF day 20-sw merino- 2 skeins-2-ply-total of 739yds-6oz-8

We let the dogs out of course, but not as long as normally. They didn't want to stay outside anyway, and hurried to the door, when I gave the signal to retreat into our cool lodgings.

Inside they rested (Happy), and played (Denny & Maggie).

But mostly they slept the day away.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tour de Fleece - Day 19

Nobody wants this to be over more than I do! But there are still a few days to go. And since I've stuck it out that long, I'll finish this Tour.

I could really be whining about the heat, but I wont. It's hot, yes, very hot, but we do the best we can to cope with it. Some better than others.

July 20 - Denny after swimming

Denny after we were outside for half an hour, swimming, and the usual running around. Totally zonked out on the sofa. The other two found a cool spot too.

Wish I could do that too, but I have to sit and spin, which feels like insanity by now.
I've finished the second bobbin shortly after noon.
TdF - day 19 - sw merino-ready for 2ply

After a short break I started plying, and got the first skein done. It's ready for the dye pot, as soon as I'm done with the second skein. It will be almost 6oz, so I didn't get it all on one bobbin.

TdF - day 19 - sw merino - 2.9oz - 350yds-2ply-first skein-
It doesn't look so bad, but since it's for some specific purpose, it will have to be dyed again. I can only hope to get the shade I want. It will take another hour to ply the rest, and I really want to dye it today, and as hot as it is, it might very well dry over night. So I better get going.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tour de Fleece - Day 18

It's the time of those annoying mosquitoes again, and I have the itchy bites to proof it! Have I ever told you how much fun it is, to swim with the dogs?

Happy swims over to me, and I take his rubber bone and throw it, he swims after it, and brings it back. Real nice, and easy.

Denny however does not seem to be relaxed when I'm in the pool. He follows me around the pool at first (outside), until he can't stand it any longer. Then he throws himself into it with a big splash and paddles towards me, keeping his mouth shut, breathing through the nose. Once he's reached me, he grabs my shoulder strap, and tucks at it. I'm not sure how I should take this. Is he trying to rescue me, or does he not approve of my swim wear? It makes me laugh, and I grab him, and hold him in my arms, until he starts to struggle, and wants to get out. He's easy to hold in the water, compared to on land, where he feels like a bag of cement. Anyway, they swim with me back and forth, and overall everybody is just happy, when I get out. I think they have much more fun, when I'm not involved in their water plays.


So yesterday was rest day. I really thought I would not spin a thing, and put away the fiber I was working on on Sunday. But during the course of the day, I joined a Mystery KAL in the SAG group on ravelry. I've been a test knitter for this, so I've already made one, but I want to make another one with SAG hand spun yarn.

Stephen's Mystery KAL

I've got two colorways finished, and needed a third one. It takes forever to get packages from the US and I didn't want to wait that long, since I have to spin the yarn first, and dye it to the shade I have in mind. I grabbed some superwash merino from my fiber stash and dyed it in deep purple.
Tour de Fleece - day 18-sw merino - dyed it myself

Since I'm a dabbler in dyeing, it did not turn out as I wanted it. At first I thought I was going to over dye the fiber, but now I'm going to finish the yarn, and dye the yarn instead. It's going to be a 2-ply yarn, and I've finished the first bobbin today.
So, there you have it. I'll spin some more on bobbin # 2 today, but I'm sure it will not get done tonight. I'll be lucky when I'm going to ply it later tomorrow.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tour de Fleece - Day 17

It's another rest day. No spinning, lots of housework, and laundry, .....

Happy in my studio

July 5


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tour de Fleece - Day 16

While it's sizzling hot outside (35C feels like 40C), we enjoy some cool air inside. In the basement we have 21C, which is perfect, and doesn't make us immediately sleepy, like upstairs, or outside. Anyway, it lets me still enjoy touching fiber, and yarn. The pups appreciate the cooler temps too, after staggering around, jumping from shady place to shady place. The cooling water from the hose was very much appreciated by two out of three. Number three went into the pool to cool off.

July 17

Last night, after I thought I was done for the day, I grabbed some Petey Pete on super wash Merino fiber (long time fiber stash inhabitant), and started spinning. I filled one bobbin quickly, but left the second one for today.

TdF day 16-Petey Pete-sw merino-2-ply- 120yds-7

It was quickly plied, since I was trying to spin thicker this time.
TdF day 16-Petey Pete-sw merino-2-ply- 120yds-8

It was dry within the hour, and here it is, some squishy, super soft Merino yarn, 2-ply, 120yds.

TdF day 16-Petey Pete-sw merino-2-ply- 120yds

TdF day 16-Petey Pete-sw merino-2-ply- 120yds

TdF day 16-Petey Pete-sw merino-2-ply- 120yds

There will be more of this fiber, I have another 4oz, but I'm going to do another 3-ply with it, to mix things up a little. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to tomorrows rest day. I've got to catch up with housework, and laundry etc. before we go into the last stages of Tour de Fleece. Can't wait for it to be over.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tour de Fleece - Day 15

After finishing this yarn today, I've decided to NOT spin the second braid right now. I'll look for something else.

This is called "Pedal Pusher" on Falkland, chain plied, 355yds. I'm quite happy with the yardage.

TdF-day 15-Pedal Pusher-Falkland-chain plied-355yds-3

This yarn will make some happy, striped socks some day. I haven't decided on what to spin next. I picked out a couple of braids, but had no desire at all to even think about how to spin them etc. I say it's time Tour de Fleece is over. But, come the 18th, there will be a rest day again, that might help get motivated, or not.

TdF-day 15-Pedal Pusher-Falkland-chain plied-355yds-3

We are all wilting here. Poor tree's and bushes, and everything else, just can't hold up their leaves anymore. We've not had any substantial rain in a long time now. Of course now that it's unbearable hot, Happy can't go swimming, because as soon as he swims a loop or two, he's back pain is back. Today he just jumped in , and got out at once, just to cool off, but that's not so much fun.
Denny enjoyed a leisurely swim without being hassled.


The pups had some excitement this morning. Our neighbors had a 7 month old Golden Retriever to baby sit for a few hours. What a cute boy that was, and huge for his age. The pups interacted through the fence, Denny was barking his head off, even though the pup already was on his back, showing his belly. I had to take him inside, so the other two could enjoy the newcomer. Don't know if we'll ever see him again.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tour de Fleece - Day 14

Well, here's Esther II, chain plied, 292yds. I think I like it better than 3-ply. It's BFL fiber.

Esther - BFL

This is more the actual color.
Esther - BFL

Here you can compare the two. Which one do you like better?
Esther - BFL

I've only got Pedal Pusher in the fiber box, and some FatCatKnits Fiber Club package, so I grabbed the first of two Pedal Pusher braids, and started spinning. Once again, I'm not going to finish it today. Too much going on today, but that's O.K. Will finish it up tomorrow. I've seen that colorway spun up twice from different people, and I liked both their versions.
TdF day 14- Pedal Pusher-Falkland-2

It looks like "Clown barf" is what I heard, but it reminds me of cotton candy, the blue and pink parts anyway.

TdF day 14- Pedal Pusher-Falkland-3

I had to show you Ms. Maggie, she's quite a messy eater! See the kibble, and the peas everywhere (I ran out of cut beans, peas are their second choice of veggies)? Good thing she doesn't mind the boys helping her clean up after.

Maggie is a messy eater
She's been upgraded to big girl food bowl this week, but she still manages to spit her food in every direction.