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Rockin’ Test Socks January 30, 2007

Posted by lunarawe in fo, knitting, Knitting - FOs, knitting socks, socks, yarn.
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Here they are at long last! My Socks that Rock test socks. So many folks were raving about the 2007  Rockin Sock Club, but I had never tried Blue Moon Fiber Arts’ yarn before.

What was I to do? I ordered a skein in a colorway different from my, now growing quite embarrassingly large, stash and took it with me over the holidays to knit. Well, I barely began the socks in Panama and then came home to purchase a spinning wheel.

I have been distracted.

That said I adored this yarn, joined the club, and am quite proud to be finished with my brown socks. Maybe now I will have to find something brown to wear with them.

These are in the Terra Firma colorway, medium weight, in a baby cable rib pattern (toe up, with a short row heel).

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Machine Washable Handspun January 24, 2007

Posted by lunarawe in fo, handspun, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, yarn.
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320 yards of finished yarn. This is 6.5 oz of the merino / tencel blend I just picked up from The Fold last week.  To my absolute delight the yarn was balanced after plying (2-ply)! I didn’t bother to wet set it, because it was just so soft and wonderful right off of the bobbin.

I am still thinking of making socks out of this. Attempting to spin a machine washable yarn was the goal for that reason. The tencel made for an interesting time spinning. The fibers were much slipperier than any I have worked with before. The fibers drafted easily, but were more difficult to draft evenly. I definitely remain a fan of all-natural fibers, which was reinforced for me by working with this roving.

I will have to see how it knits up. I am thinking to work on the socks as my first Project Spectrum 2.0 project. This should definitely qualify in the blue range.

Stash Enhancement January 20, 2007

Posted by lunarawe in knitting, knitting socks, socks, spinning, stash enhancement, yarn.
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Such an exciting fiber adventure today!

I returned to The Fold to pick up some more bobbins and play with fiber. After spending a delightful hour or so in the store with Toni and Eric (the sweetest German Shepherd ever) I left with these glorious additions to my stash.

The “Red” Merino / Silk blend is a lovely mix of red tones with greys and cremes, and incredibly soft. You can see that I couldn’t resist picking up some medium weight Socks That Rock from Blue Moon Fiber Arts in their “Puck’s Mischief” colorway. I am not sure what exactly I have invited into my home, but the colors were too delicious to resist.

The cobalt fibers next to that are a superwash merino / tencel blend that I am hoping to spin into machine washable sock yarn. And the gorgeous handpainted roving above is also from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, a 50/50 Merino /Tencel blend in their Rocktober colorway.

Oh the pretties! I don’t even know where to begin…. 

Prepping to Ply January 19, 2007

Posted by lunarawe in spinning, yarn.
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So after my experience with knitting a 2-ply yarn (I know, I know… 2 ply is for weaving not knitting) I think I am ready to try Navajo Plying. I decided to spin up some natural tops (100% wool) that I had been using with my drop spindle for practice before taking on my second roving from Ferndale Fiber. The funny thing is that I am loving this wool. It has a longer staple, is easier to spin into a fine single, and is soooo much softer than the last wool /mohair blend I was working with. The fibers are a bit more slippery, but I think I managed just fine. And the serious decrease in slubs is very exciting.

Plying (or attempting anyway) tomorrow. Wish me luck!

First Handspun FO January 18, 2007

Posted by lunarawe in fo, handspun, knitting, Knitting - FOs, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, yarn.
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 Yes, it’s lumpy. And a little scratchy. And the yarn doesn’t all quite match. But I spun, plied, and knit every inch of it… and I am proud.

Here is my finished One Row Handspun Scarf (thank you to the Yarn Harlot for the pattern). What can I say? My wheel and I are in for many years of happy crafting.

 

65 More Yards January 16, 2007

Posted by lunarawe in spinning, yarn.
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So my second attempt at spinning the night sky roving was much improved. And I am delighted to have gotten this much more yardage… for a total of about 200 yards all together. I am feeling pretty certain that this will be enough to finish a scarf of reasonable length. A lumpy scarf to be sure. But all mine.

Eric’s Socks January 15, 2007

Posted by lunarawe in fo, knitting, Knitting - FOs, knitting socks, socks.
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I have been meaning to post this picture of the socks I made for my friend Eric. Not only because I believe that pics of hand knit socks are important, but because of his amusement when he realized that a photo of his feet was on the web.

This was my first time knitting socks out of cotton… actually a pima cotton / modal blend (Knit Picks Shine Worsted in Bachelor Button). I was wary of the fiber, but Eric is allergic to wool, so my normal sock plan was right out. I am pretty pleased with these socks. I adapted Barbara Walker’s embossed moss stitch rib into a toe-up pattern of my own that I knit with only a fairly vague description of the size of his feet. Other than his ankles being a bit smaller than I thought, the socks fit pretty well. And I really liked the shine yarn. The modal (a fiber made from sustainably harvested beech trees) makes the yarn very lovely, completely changing the texture of the cotton.

As my family would say… May he wear them in good health.

Night Sky Yarn January 14, 2007

Posted by lunarawe in fo, knitting, spinning, spinning - FOs, yarn.
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So plying was harder than I thought. No surprise to anyone I am sure. The snarl I made somewhere in the midst of my first 100 yards was impressive. Thankfully no one was in the house to hear my cussing commentary.

That said, even with some impressive slubs and varience in yarn thickness, I am very pleased by my first yarn. There is still some of the roving left to spin, which I will get to soon. I am hoping to have enough yarn for a short scarf. We shall see. Right now I have about 130 yards or so, give or take. I plyed (just a basic 2 ply), soaked, and dried the yarn last night and was ridiculously pleased to wind the skeins into balls this afternoon.

I am working on turning this first “textured” attempt into the Yarn Harlot’s one row handspun scarf. Only without the skill at spinning that she so clearly displays. I know, time and practice. Anyone else find they needed to stretch a lot when they first started spinning? I didn’t realize this was such a physical sport.

Here is the scarf in progress, on my favorite Lantern Moon 10.5 rosewood needles.

Delightedly Spun January 12, 2007

Posted by lunarawe in spinning, yarn.
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The final leg of my spinning wheel acquisition journey looked like this. Pieces scattered around the kitchen, and my up-until-now enthusiastic housemate looking worried. She has been the champion of this spinning possibility for the past several months. Encouraging me to not think of this fiber craft as something to do “one day,” but to get on it now.

Because of her I started reading about spinning and learning about wheels. I even spent an evening learning to use a spinning wheel from a friend’s mother, with my housemate looking on. She then went so far as to find the perfect store to buy a spinning wheel, The Fold, in Marengo, IL. Toni was fabulous, and her shop is a stash addict’s dream. I can’t wait to go back.

So there we were, sprawled out on the kitchen floor, pleased with ourselves each time we put another piece of the wheel together. By some miracle we actually managed (ok, so the miracle was… again… my housemate who can build just about anything). And we ended up with this:

an Ashford Traveller wheel, perfect in size and pleasing in appearance. You know I sat right down to spin. I have a sore thumb as proof. And I think I did not do too terribly badly for my first real attempt at a single. This is Potluck Roving (wool with a little mohair) from Ferndale Fiber in their Night Sky colorway.

 

After two days I have two bobbins full (about 6 oz. of fiber in all) and tomorrow or the next day I will try my hand at plying. This is just too fun.

The Beer Cozy Saga January 10, 2007

Posted by lunarawe in beer cozies, fo, knitting, Knitting - FOs.
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Yes, it is true… I have been doing a lot of beer cozy sharing. But it really seems important to immortalize the end of this long journey. A friend of mine had really insisted that gifting a set of beer cozies was all about the presentation. She was clear that I had to knit at least six, and present them to my aunt on a six-pack of beer. Sounds easy, right?

So there I am sitting in Miami International Airport waiting for my flight to Panama. I am working on a second black and white beer cozy when a man sitting near me politely inquires whether I am making a hackey sack. I smiled at him and sheepishly told him that no, I was working on a beer cozy. After he understood what I was talking about his entire face transformed into an amazed smile (as opposed to the horror of many of my friends, especially those who believe beer is best appreciated out of the bottle).

I finished that one on the plane, and two more in my mother’s house in the day and half leading up to Christmas that I was in Panama. Of course I had to stay focused, since my mother pouted and insisted that she was in greater need of beer cozies than my aunt. Sisters? Could you tell?

Then came the fateful Christmas morning. When my aunt first peered into her gift bag (bringing wrapped presents through customs of course being a no-no) she had this reaction:

I will admit that this pleased me greatly. She was the perfect beer cozy candidate. After she finished laughing enough to be able to actually remove the six pack from the bag, the rest of the family was able to admire my handiwork.

 

Priceless. She was even smiling.