31 December 2008

Handspun 2008

First hanspun
Pamplemousse en caoutchouc
100% BFL Hand dyed Roving

Steelhead Trout
Ozark handspun silk pencil roving

Tangerine Dream Mistake
Pamplemousse en caoutchouc
4 oz. 2-ply handspun
100% Blue Faced Leicester

Melanie's Birthday Mistake
Pamplemousse en caoutchouc
4 oz. 2-ply handspun
100% Blue Faced Leicester

Light Lolita
Pamplemousse en caoutchouc
4 oz. Navajo plyed handspun
100% Blue Faced Leicester

The White Album
Louet Natural Correidale
4 oz. Andean plyed handspun
100% Corriedale

Mint Calico
3 oz. 2-ply handspun
100% Bamboo Drum Carded Batt

Spunky Eclectic
4 oz. 2-ply handspun
100% Blue Faced Leicester

Finished in 2008

Pink Lopi Raglan
Pattern: Sweater no. 4 from Lopi no. 20
Modifications: Lots of adaptations for gauge (Létt Lopi instead of double stranding Alfoss Lopi)
Materials: Istex Létt-Lopi
Start Date: November 30, 2007
Finished By: April 20, 2008

Handspun Le'Slouch
Pattern: Le' Slouch by Knit and Tonic
Adaptations: Um, handspun anyone? Started with 6 st i-cord and knit down from the top making increases every other row. Alternated the handspun with the Silk Dream every other row to maximise handspun slouchyness.
Materials: 1 skein Lang Silk Dream, 50 grams Handspun from Ozark Handspun 100% Silk roving
Start Date: March 23, 2008
End Date: April 12, 2008

Such Great Heights Socks
Pattern: No-brainer toe-up socks
Materials: Noro Kureyon Sock
Start Date: May 31, 2008.
End Date: July 10, 2008.

Unfortunate Crosswalkers
Pattern: Crosswalker Socks by Emily B. Miller
Materials: Trekking XXL 193 - Sad Charlie Brown stripes (lot 5396)
Start Date: August 26, 2008
End Date: September 25, 2008

Baby Girls are more Fun to Knit for

Raspberry Beret
Pattern: Gwen Slouchy Beret by Lauren Nell
Materials: Louet Gems Sport Wt. Burgundy
Start Date: November 8, 2008
End Date: November 10, 2008
Modifications: Added i-cord nipple to the top as requested

Random Sock Generator
Pattern: Um, boring toe-up socks but with colour changes?
Materials: 10 mini-cakes=1 ball of Opal sock yarn, but with crazier colours
Start Date: July 13, 2008.
End Date: December 6, 2008.

Jelly Bean Scarf
Pattern: Feather and Fan (4 stitch garter version)
Materials: Part of 8 skeins of mostly Alpaca yarns: Berroco Ultra Alpaca, Ultra Alpaca Light, Louet Gems Sport, Susan Andrews Collection Warani
Start Date: December 2, 2008
End Date: December 10, 2008
Modifications: Well, kind of my own invention really

Frogged in 2008

Adult Surprise Jacket
Pattern: Adult Surprise Jacket - Elizabeth Zimmerman
Inspiration: Brooklytweed and Hello Yarn, her BSJ and Mirah's first orange garter stitch scarf
Materials: Noro Silk Garden
Start Date: May 31, 2007

Sideways Pullover
Pattern: Sideways Pullover by Mari Lynn Patrick from Interweave Knits Winter 2004
Modifications: For smaller gauge yarn.
Materials: Briggs & Little Regal in Fundy Fog
Start Date: November 17, 2007

Noro Wrap Cardigan

9 November 2008

I'm a real spinner now!

I am super proud of this yarn that I made. I officially feel like a real and official, grown up spinner now. I spun this one weekend in October. I spent the better part of a Saturday dividing up the roving and drafting it. I finished spinning one half that same evening, plied it Sunday morning and continued on with the second half, drafting, spinning and plying. It was so great to just draft draft spin spin spin that I didn't even take pictures of the process at all (sorry, it would have been good too).

I was being rather methodical and Mr. Peabody-like when I started on this braid. I can never manage to get one skein onto my spindle as a single, so nevermind about it once it's plied my friends. So this time I decided to split the roving in half to begin with. The plan of attack was to spin each half as a separate skein and let the colours fall as they may.

Now each half was still a bit long to easily manage to split, draft and spin, so I split the halves into half (so I would be working in quarter lengths of the total roving length). Each of these quarters had it's own little mix of colours. So once I had split them into slivers, drafted and they were ready (I think 8 per quarter), I alternated the next colour I would spin. I had two 'lines' of little lovely drafted crack piles of each quarter 'colourway' (again a picture might be nice here).

'Dora' Spunky Eclectic
4 oz. 2-ply handspun
100% Blue Faced Leicester

At the end of it all I had two quite distinct colourway skeins that complimented each other very nicely and are likely quite similar in weight/yardage and such. I was quite surprised that being SO methodical about the spinning didn't take away ANY of the fun at all. In fact it was super fun to be more 'scientific' about my spinning. I think I'll be all crazy and methodical like that again for my next big spinning weekend. And this time I promise to take more pics....well I'll try to at least ;)

8 November 2008

The Procrastinated Unfortunate Sock Report

These socks have been finished for quite some time. They've just been sitting on a shelf waiting for me to finally work in all the ends and stick 'em on my feets (or like make it official by posting them here). Sorry for the procrastination. I'm guess I'm just not feeling so wordy these days. A more poetic interpretation of this sock yarn.

Right, so, uh, I finished these socks in September and am only now getting around to writing about them now that we're into November. Maybe it's that the colours here in Montreal have turned to match. Or it could be this particular rainy fall day we're having but today I'm finally writing about them.

I started these back at the end of August in an inspired match of colour scheme to pattern and went whole hog from there. I did have to restart these to add some stitches to adapt for my gauge, but continued on from there. Each stripe transition was fully enjoyable in it's own Ugly Doll/Charlie Brown/Nanaimo Bar kind of way.

The pattern itself is pretty straight forward. I really didn't pay close attention once the mitered increase/decreases were set up. When ready, I plunked in the patterened heel, and then the toe. I did modify the gusset decreases à la Brainy but left the stitch count from leg to foot. I do find that the socks have a certain inherit slouch at the ankle, and I may have been a bit generous in my adaptation for my gauge, but overall I'm happy with these socks. Especially now that rubber/winter boot season seems to be upon us once more.

Pattern: Crosswalker Socks by Emily B. Miller
Materials: Trekking XXL 193 - Sad Charlie Brown stripes (lot 5396)
Start Date: August 26, 2008
End Date: September 25, 2008

16 October 2008

For all 3 of you still reading: Mint Calico

Heya. It's been a while. How's it going?

This past turkey sponsored weekend I spun my first batt AND my first non-sheep fibre. A while ago I found some terribly tasty looking batts on Etsy and I just couldn't resist buying them. Finally after spinning spinning spinning wool, I really couldn't wait any longer to take a shot at the bamboo.

First I followed the batt to roving instructions I found in one of Mr. Peabody's newly purchased spinning/dyeing/colour books. You know how you can take a sheet of paper, rip a strip from one end, but not all the way to the other, turn and repeat until it 'unfolds' to make kind of one long thin strip instead of a rectangle? That's what I did to make the batt more roving like.

But I didn't think to take pictures until the next stage of drafting the 'roving' to a more consistent size.

And then again when I drafted it to more of a pencil roving, time to spin me size. I'm very glad I thought to clear my desk as it took the entire open surface.

THEN it was time to spin! Let me remind you that this was my FIRST time spinning bamboo and only the SECOND time I've spun something that didn't come from a sheep. I have the feeling that spinning cotton candy would be very similar to spinning this bamboo from a batt. It REALLY wanted to stick to my fibre supply hand, even more so if there was any sort of moisture (I am a sweaty palm/feet girl).

But in the end I made it through all the prepared fibre.

And got a pretty kick ass yarn out of the whole experience. I like to think of it as some sort of calico cat-like yarn.

Mint Calico
loop - Mint Chocolate Chip
3 oz. 2-ply handspun
100% Bamboo from a batt

Oh and there was some festive holiday weekend food related/chore related activities too. I now have eco-puritan friendly lighting and evening lighting options. Overall a very productive and yet somehow very relaxing as well.

29 August 2008

A Tale of mischievous knitting habits

You ever have one of those things? There just this ball of yarn that sticks in your brain and you just HAVE to have it even if you don't REALLY know why? The perfect combination of individually ugly or unremarkable colours that when combined evoke the best of a classic Charlie Brown? Well this ball of Trekking XXL (colour 193) did that to me last Saturday. I kept thinking about it. So much so that after forgetting to buy it before Mr. Peabody and I headed out for evening hang out time, I HAD to go back to Effiloché and pick it up the VERY next day they were open (along with a skein of the Malabrigo sock yarn they just got in and some fishie bobbins for crazy yarn un-plying I'm doing which will be the topic of another post).

A day or two later, reading about Brainylady's forthcoming travel sock project: Crosswalkers, the two came together in my mind as a perfect pair of socks. Initially I'm calling them Unfortunate Crosswalkers as I see them as being part of a perfect costume for a character in the Series of Unfortunate Events. Now dear reader, had I ever read any of the books, I would be sure to scam the writing style to my heart's content. But alas, I was never pressured enough by my Teacher-Librarian mother to pick them up. Now that I'm several inches into the socks, I feel they may be more in the Ugly Doll category but I can live with that though I still like my initial instincts on their name.

I've been so excited to be knitting these socks that I'm even working on them while I take the Metro to and from work (a 20 min journey door to door). I don't usually knit on the Metro as a rule, especially during the usual morning cattle drive. But there's just something about these socks I tell ya. Just can't put 'em down!

9 August 2008

Summer reruns

Remember me?

Somehow while I wasn't really paying attention, this lovely fabulous rather old project seems to have knit itself somewhere along the past year.

These days it looks a lot more like this:

I recently picked up this sweater again and suddenly found that a little bit of neck shaping in the back was all that was left to do on the body. Somewhere in the middle of a 45 hour work week, an amazing Radiohead concert and other evening activities, I managed to wet block to body and found that my dry gauge from the initial planning on this project turned out to be dead on. Who knew?

I've been working on the sleeves. I had been working both at once with one ball each, but found the colour shifts to be too dramatic. Since I worked the rest of the sweater juggling two balls up the side, it would be silly to then have two different coloured sleeves. So I'll work them one at a time and continue to juggle.

Here's the progress thus far:

Trust me, these will be done soon...as long as our lovely Gotham summer continues.

2 August 2008

Twist is here!

The Twist Collective is open and ready for business and I like many others find it terribly exciting.

Personal favourite projects include the Oolong socks by Mona Schmidt, the Little Birds sweater by Ysolda Teague even if there needs to be more yoga in my life before I cast on, Wisteria by Kate Gilbert, Lily by Marnie MacLean, the Lissajous Socks by Cookie A. Oh and Cat Bordhi's Houdini Socks TOTALLY sing to my process knitter ways!

I hope everyone else finds it as exciting as I do. Long live the Twist!

27 July 2008

Homework's done, playtime starts

The sample knitting I've been working on is now complete and handed in. I can continue working on building my wardrobe for my future career as a Children's Entertainer.* The Random Generator Socks can continue without guilt. After finishing the Noro socks, I couldn't help but cast on. Now that my knitting homework is done, I can continue knitting without any guilt.

They are turning out to be way too much fun. I find myself knitting knitting knitting so that I'm closer to the next colour change. Like with the Noro, but even more exciting as I don't know what colours are going to follow.

*Children's Entertainer as future career is used for comedic purposes and is not to be mistaken as actual future career goals even if I seem to have some subconscious desire for the appropriate wardrobe.

20 July 2008

Fibre is good for you

Medium Coopworth

This past week I had a little food poisoning fun where sitting in front of the computer and knitting made me sea sick so I don't really have anything interesting to report to you. That and I've been doing some sample knitting for Véronik so...yeah...not really anything I can show you.

Dark Brown Welsh Top

But for those of you who have me on your Ravelry stalker lists, you may have noticed that I added a WHOLE bunch of yarn & such to my stash in the past couple of weeks. Now much of that isn't recent purchases and many of the oddballs are from the various destashes that a Montreal Knits member gets to partake in. Really I went through all the yarn that didn't get added since the last time I catalogued my stash (really, since I got my Ravelry membership I think a year ago).

Fine Brown Shetland

I haven't really been spinning much lately. I've been crazy busy/mentally occupied at work in the past months and this last week of sea sickness has really not been terribly condusive to me picking up the spindle. I'm thinking it would be an instant vomitrometer in my general state of this past week. Don't worry. I'll live. There has not been any actual vomit, but there were a few quite close calls Thurs & Fri.

Light Grey Swalesdale

Fibre accumulation on the other hand is something else entirely. And it really doesn't help that Mr. Peabody works over at Effiloché where Ginette's been getting in more and more spinning supplies to temp the weak willed spinning geeks such as Mr. Peabody & myself. We totally geeked out about the various sheep breeds available in natural colours. We decided to split bags to be slightly more reasonable and got basically one of each breed/shade available.

Light Brown Coopworth

Some spinners are totally turned on by some of the crazy manmade and plant fibres available out there. But me? I'm content to follow my spinning teacher's advice and stick to the sheep for the time being until I have some more experience. And now that I've seen how many lovely sheepies there are too choose from out there, I'm super happy to stick to that recommendation for now.

Grey Gotland

I'm planning on continuing to work through the rest of my white Corriedale before breaking into any of this lusciously tempting fibre. Let's hope the world stops feeling so spinny so I can get my spindle going again!

13 July 2008

Na Na Na Noro makes fabulous socks

These socks have had a bit of an identity crisis through their thus far short life. First they were the 'Serenity Now!' socks, then the Inverse Relationship socks, but I settled on Such Great Heights as one (that's right ONE) ball of Noro gave me a pair of KNEE socks. I just need to get some suspenders to be all set for a new career as a children's entertainer.

Pattern: No brainer toe-up socks cobbled together from various sources.
Materials: 1 skein Noro Kureyon Sock yarn
Start Date: May 31, 2008 (ish)
End Date: July 10, 2008

They started their life one Saturday when I ventured up to Efflioché to bother Mr. Peabody and his pupils for the afternoon. Somehow it completely didn't occur to me to bring any knitting. Add into the equation an instant love affair with the Noro Kureyon Sock yarn and suddenly there's a new project on the go.

Purl seam in the back as in Knitting Vintage Socks

Noro Noro Noro, how doth I love thee? Let me count the ways...your surprising colour combinations and long colour selections that entertain as I knit AND provide a unique interest in the finished garment all packed into a unsuspecting hearty woolen skein is hours of entertainment and a sensual delight (we're talking a feast for the eyes AND fingers). There is yet to be a Noro that I dislike. Maybe there's a colour I can't completely get on board with, but that's the wacky cousin in whichever colourway family I'm looking at, and chances are the rest please me much more than the crazy deminishes.

So these socks would probably be considered boring to many of you, but I have to say I enjoyed them a lot. They brought me back to the Zen of knitting with some pretty pretty colour changes to keep me entertained. There was an evening or two where I stayed up a tad late in anticipation of the upcoming colour.

Magic Looped on a 2.0mm needle from either end of the ball, these socks are all about turning off the brain. Turkish cast-on of 16 sts, increased up to like 64 sts I think and then knit straight until my little foot was covered, HEEL, then knit until I run out of yarn with a purl seam in the back to make calf increases from.

These socks have each been my favourite at some point during the knitting. First I really enjoyed the one that started with the orange/pink/greys, but then there's a harsh colour break at the heel. The other sock behaved rather nicely in the heel, but then up in the leg there were two knots right after each other, so there's a déja vu in the colour sections. So finally they're both my favourite.

The more conscientious knitter (say Mr. Peabody) may have taken the time to split the ball in two, start at the same points and attempt to make matching socks. For me, these socks would always 'go together' just from them both having the same colours and going to all the trouble of getting them to match isn't really my style. Especially future children's entertainers.

Oh and I spent a day during my recent holiday cataloguing all my yarn and fibre and adding it to my Ravelry stash. Not that it's really all that note worthy, but I sure feel better knowing that's all done. Now all that's left is to knit with it.

14 June 2008

Yes I'm alive. No I'm not bored of knitting.

Heya. Sorry I haven't been terribly reliable as a blogger lately. I've been terribly busy at work and have been stressing myself out worrying about all sorts of silliness. But things are settling down, so I can relax.

I know many of you would like to see/hear progress on the Squid Sux Cuttlefish Socks, but I really haven't had the mental energy to work through the killer chart for that project. I've been furiously knitting simple things...wanting to just zen out with a project. Not really the best strategy for getting something worth wearing out of my knitting. At the moment I'm working on some simple socks.

One pair that I'm really excited to cast on for are the Random Sock Generator socks. At an Ariadne knit night a few weeks ago, Mr. Peabody realised something amazing. Ariadne sells the little Opal Sock Cakes for $1 (CDN) with proceeds going to Breast Cancer Research. Now if 10 of these mini cakes is the equivalent yardage of a ball of sock yarn, but isn't quite as expensive of a single skein (plus you're doing your part to save bobbles).

Much of the rest of the evening was spent coming up with our perfect socks choosing from the yarn cupcakes that Ariadne had in stock.

These were my picks for some fabulously crazy socks:

These are going to be no thinking socks. I'm going to knit these toe-up, magic loop style. I know, I know, I know but if you know me at all, you know that I resist change/new things/hype until I've tried it out and made up my own mind. Toe-up magic loop isn't the cat's pyjamas in my book, but I'm not going to write it off completely.

My minimal planning for these socks is to divide each cake in two so that each sock will have equal amounts of each yarn cupcake. There are two cupcakes of one kind of yarn, so no splitting required.

The Randomness is what order the yarns are going to be in. Once they've been cast on, I'm going to split the little balls into two little bags and choose which yarn is next by picking them out of the bags. It's going to be awesome! I just have to finish off a few other things first...

Oh and I'm going to be bothering Mr. Peabody at Effiloché this afternoon for that whole Knit in Public thing that's going on.

12 May 2008

Consistency is the thing

Yes, more spinning. I do have some more knitting to show off, but I'm all sick and phlemgy at the moment so that will have to wait for a bit.

I've been working my way through the 8 oz. of Louet Corriedale that was part of the Intro to Spinning class I took with Mr. Peabody at Ariadne. I'm working on establishing and maintaining a decent level of consistency. While I don't feel that I'm 'breaking' the colours that I've spun, I feel that working through the 8 oz. of just simple white will allow me to focus on consistency without needing to worry about how the colours are going to match up once it's plied.

Also, I'm not a big fan of having a large stash. I find it kind of like a mental block for new fibres. If I see something I want to spin, I'll instantly get the stash-enduced guilt and think of all the fibre I already have. Same principles apply to the yarn stash and I don't really like it but I am trying to knit my way through it.

All these skeins have been Andean plied so that it gives a better idea of overall consistency (plying one end with the other & meeting in the middle instead of plying lengths of the same section together).

Skein 1

I'm pretty sure this is what I spun during the spinning class.

Skein 2

Later that same weekend.

Skein 3

A little quickie skein during a conversation or something.

Skein 4

My super happy joy skein. I'm super proud of this one. I'm getting larger lengths of consistent gauge and I'm now back at the spin and stand stage with park 'n' draft reserved for problem areas. That's right. I spin old skool style now. As the spindle does it's thing spinning away as I draft. It makes me feel like a spinning rockstar.

I'm also happy with the weight of my singles. As a 2-ply it's roughly a dk/sport weight which I think will be quite versatile. These days I've been tending towards dk/sport weight for projects. And if I want something more substantial, then more plys.

And I've still got a third of the bag yet to spin. It's very exciting. And I'm sure this is not the last that you'll be hearing about White Correidale.