Monday, August 24, 2009

We were Knitting, we were spinning

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Sunday was our regular spinning and knitting gathering and we had new faces and old faces and some regulars were missing, but it was a great group. There are not a lot of spinning activities on the south side of the metro area, so we are hoping to grow over time and provide that resource. The skill level varies, but all are always welcome and there is no shortage of advice and help and camaraderie.

This fiber from Pagewood Farms

became this:

and then this!

The small skein was Navajo plied from the overage from the three ply on the bobbin. Isn't it interesting how the same fiber can have totally different looks depending on how it is spun and plyed. Navajo plying reduces barber-poling giving clearer colors and longer color runs.

After plying the soft colors of the Pagewood Farms Fiber, I started spinning the fiber from JulieSpins in the color Bouquet. I split the roving in half, lengthwise and am spinning from the dark tones to the bright tones. The wool is Targhee and not superwash, so I think I will make another shawl from it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I couldn't help myself.

I was powerless against the draw of casting on for socks in my new STR yarn in Sapphire After flipping through lots of patterns, both online and in books and throughout the house, I decided on an unusual pattern from Knitty: Target Practice from the Spring Issue '09. This is the first photo from the pattern page, designed and photographed by Kellie Pederson.

What is nice about this pattern is that I will have the opportunity to practice several new skills: Toe up, Judy Becker's Magic Cast On, circular inserts into a pattern, and a stretchy cast off at the top of the cuff. All in this great variegated yarn from Blue Moon Fibers Arts. What could be more fun? What I find strange is that when I did a Ravelry pattern search to see if there were any pitfalls to this pattern, there were only 37 projects to date and all the comments were favorable. I cannot understand why more folks have not done this pattern because most of the comments said the pattern was fast and easy, and the only negative was weaving in some loose ends.

With the instructions for casting on on my lap and me in front of the computer watching Cat Bordhi demonstrating this technique on You Tube, I cast on for these toe up socks for the first time!

The third time was the charm and now I am happily knitting away on the toe of the first sock. I thought momentarily about trying 2 at a time, but decided against it since there would be too much to keep track of on each sock with the short row heel.

See how nice the toe looks!

To be continued.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Yesterday was my birthday! And look what my friend, Sue, gave me:

This is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sock that Rock- lightweight in the Color: Sapphire. Sue was up near Portland OR and her sister, who used to work in a knitting store, directed her to a wall and said, "Just choose any color and it will be perfect" and it was! This sock yarn is not available here in the Denver area at the stores and I had only seen it in person previously at Rhinebeck, where I picked up a skein in Mediumweight. All the patterns I like seem to be for lightweight and now I am so excited to cast on. Must...wait...til...I finish...the...other...socks!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The other exciting news was that we had the first hummingbirds of the season right outside my kitchen window hovering at the hibiscus plants. Unfortunately, by the time I ran for my camera they were gone. I hope to winter these plants and put outside early enough in the season next year to become a regular stopping place for them. Here they are.. sans hummingbirds.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ishbel is finished and it is Bee-yooo-tee-full!

If I do say so myself! Here is the history of my lovely shawl, the Ishbel. From everything I read, it is the shawl pattern of the year with thousands being knit according to Ravelry!

The BFL fiber started out as roving purchased at Rhinebeck last year from Briar Rose Fibers at the end of my wonderful day there.

I started out spinning on my spindles and then when I purchased my wheel in February, I finished off the rest of the 17 oz of fiber. As you can see from the photo of the drying skeins, there are many many shades of green in the fiber, so I had to be careful which of the spun yarn skeins I put into the project. As it turned out, I ended up using both wheel spun and spindle spun yarn in the shawl, because the colors worked best.

Knitting up the lace had several false starts, but finally I rolled along to the end. While knitting it, you can hardly see the lace pattern and it was hard to believe that it would end up so beautifully!!

Here it is all spread out on the floor, finished, but unblocked:

I don't have blocking wires or blocking boards, so I used the carpet in the spare bedroom with towels and glass headed pins. The stripes on the towels were my guides.

Now the lace was starting to reveal itself and all its beauty, like magic.

Ta Da! The finished shawl. The camera doesn't capture the colors as well as some of the other shots. The photo above is close.

Isn't she pretty! The details: This is the large size of the pattern, knit on size 6 needles. The final dimensions are 63" from tip to tip, and 27" from the top to the bottom point.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

We ARE the Ladies of the Second Row!

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Today was the most enjoyable Tea/Lunch with my terrific group of friends. We acquired this nickname from our regular attendence at Friday night services at Temple Sinai. As of today, we range in age from 57 to 80 (a couple of us are having birthdays in the next week or so, so I am erring on the side of youth). I blogged about them before, but to remind you, 3 of us travelled to Israel together for the Millenial New Year and then 4 years later over the same time period, all 4 of us went again. What fabulous memories we all have together. Add that to attending the same Torah Study class each Saturday morning for over 20 years for most of us, we have bonded in a very unique way. My very special friends, who I don't hug often enough. Must work on that.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday Catchup

I cannot believe this week and that it is already Thursday. What that means for me (but not most people) is that my weekend is here again. Working parttime is bad for the budget, but I love the 3 days off each week. My only problem is that I have one extra day to get into trouble. I couldn't help myself....the Koigu was on sale last Friday when I went to knitting group at Colorful Yarns. My purchase qualified for a green bag by being over ??? dollars. I just cannot reveal in public the amount of my purchases for my own protection!!! ;-) The green bag can be used in the future for one of the Green Bag Sales where everything I can stuff into it is off a certain percentage. I just hope they don't have one too soon!

Nice group and a variety of ages and abilities. And something is on sale every week! The book wasn't on sale, but I couldn't resist this one:

There are lots of gift ideas for socks, hats and accessories that are unique. I really want to try the beaded socks from the front cover.

The other rabbit hole I fell down this week was JulieSpins shop update last Sunday. I knew in advance and planned my morning accordingly. Julie's yarns and rovings are so sought after that you have to sign in to Etsy and be ready to commit. If you dawdle, your choice disappears into someone else's shopping basket. I didn't dawdle.....but I did control myself and limited my purchase to only one:

This is Targhee wool fiber in the color Bouquet. I have never spun Targhee before but it is rumoured to be like buttah! I am trying to get away from spinning my favorite colors of blue teal and green and this roving grabbed my mouse finger right away.

Progress on the socks: I am working on the heel flap now and had to look up the formula for the heel turn on a 48 stitch pattern. Thank you Charlene Schurch!

What I am finding that the sock on the left has much thicker spinning at the heel than the one on the right, and I may actually have to do a few extra rows before turning the heel. My spinning is not perfect, but who will notice???

Last but not least is the Ishbel Shawl. I finished all the lace and now casting off. I definitely will make this pattern again since once I got the hang of it, it went along smoothly. As you can see, I am using much larger needles for the cast off (10.5) so that blocking this edge with its point will not be a problem. I think the side edges are a bit tight now and I worry about stretching it out.
It sure doesn't look like much in its green blobby state. Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ripped Again!

My socks, that is...... With the DragonFibers handspun,

I am hoping that this third attempt is a keeper finally. I made two attempts at doing the Berry Season Socks from 2 at a time Socks
by Melissa Morgan Oakes. My handspun is very dense and the gauge just wouldn't work out. They were coming out huge, so I ripped them again and started a plain jane pair using a 48 stitch cast on. So far so good, now, and I like the shine the yarn has in the plain stockinette. So, here is the third attempt:

I hate that I am still working part time and that I can hardly make ends meet, but I am loving my job and my 3 day weekends........ Everything is a trade-off in this life and things could be lots worse. At least my yarn and handspun stash is large enough to keep me in projects. Now, if I only can restrain myself from new purchases.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

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I snagged this photo from Ali's facebook page. It is the only shot of ME spinning! Doesn't my hair look great???

I finished the fiber

that I am spinning in this shot.

I now know why it is called Caribbean! Look at the wash water after I soaked in Eucalan to set the twist.

What I ended up with is about 240 yards of fingering weight, navajo plyed.

Now to plan a project with this! The fun part!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Too Quiet on the home front!

Ali has only been gone for 2 days and already the silence is deafening. I am so glad she was able to spend so much time here with us. Amanda was only here for the first weekend, and with both girls here, the girl energy was strong. How great it was to be able to have the family together again for a happy gathering.

Alison did allow me to photograph her in the beret she chose of the two finished hats, both handspun and hand knit. It will serve her well in the damp cold of KC!